My baby–isn’t so much a baby anymore.

It’s pretty custom to write a fresh blog post for the New Year.  But, this time it’s not about resolutions or solutions.  And, it’s not a trip down memory lane either.  I get tired of reading posts like that.  You know–posts that are full of optimism and hope for the New Year to bring new things.  Posts that ramble on about new goals and ideas.  Posts that reminisce on all the woes and triumphs of the past year.   Seriously though, how many goals do you attempt to achieve in one year and actually achieve them?  Okay, I’m guilty. I’ve written these types of posts.  We all have. But, this year I’m just not feelin’ it.   Don’t get me wrong–I did make a goal list and I’m very excited for 2016.  I’m just choosing not to share it this year, because I’m assuming you’ve read enough of these posts.

  
Maybe it’s because Cora (my youngest) turns 1 today,  and that’s what I want to write about.  The fact that my baby– isn’t so much a baby anymore.  And, it’s totally heartbreaking.   Insert 1,000 tear emoji’s. Sure she will always be my baby, because she is the youngest.   But now, she is a walking toddler.  A freakin’ one-year-old!

  
Each age comes with new responsibilities, stages, and developments.  And, with Cora turning one I’ve slowly entered into this world where my children are starting to fight.  Sibling rivalry has officially begun folks.  Uhh surprise! –Yeah, no.   It’s not fun.

And if you have kids you know how it goes:

Cora is holding a toy.

McKinley grabs the toy.

Cora starts flailing and screaming.  Technically a tantrum. (And not a cute one).  It’s the kind where you actually scrunch up the side of you lip, raise your eyebrows, and say, “Are you serious?”   Then you attempt to correct the situation.

“McKinley, you took that from your sister and she was playing with it.  Please give it back to her and when she is done you can have a turn.”

Boom. Fireworks.

McKinley starts stomping her foot with hand on hip.

My eye starts twitching.

Cora grabs toy from McKinley.

“Hey, that’s mine!” as she grabs back from Cora.

Eyes bulge. Teeth clench.

“If you guys cannot share, then the toy goes.”

Thankfully at this point I can still distract Cora—but with effort.

It’s obviously not all like that.  Now, when McKinley stubs her toe, or is crying about her newest and latest “boo-boo,” Cora toddles over to McKinley and repetitively pats her with both chubby little hands.   And smiles.  McKinley giggles. They hug.  Ah!  I live for these moments.  Every parent does.  Because, It’s better than gold.  It’s a calm and peace that rushes through your mind and body.   Where the world makes sense.  And you understand purpose.  And love simply permeates the room in a profound way.

  
“Cora say, “MA-MA,” come on you can do it!”   McKinley has become an amazing sister.  I think it’s a big milestone–developing that role and understanding what it means to be a sibling.  But, in a year, McKinley has owned it.  Cora cries and in a matter of minutes McKinley returns to the rescue with a teddy bear.

Another aweing thing about having a big One-year-old is that their personality emerges.   Cora is a sweetheart.  And that’s the best word to describe her.  She stumbles over to give my legs a hug while I cook dinner.  And is laid back enough to let me hold her in an Ergo carrier for hours.  She has gentle eyes. You look into them and see a softness. I recognize them, because my father had the same blue eyes.

  
Cheers to parenthood and Happy Birthday to our sweet Cora. We love you!

 ~g 

 

Monday Milestone: Toddler bed!

She’s growing up! Yup, McKinley has made the transfer from her crib to a toddler bed! I’m so proud of my little Kinleybug!  She is handling the changes of growing up like a champ. Mama on the other hand? Not so much.

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Usually, parents do this toddler bed switcharoo in preparation for baby #2…but for the record, no, that was not our reasoning.  Other reasons parents switch to toddler beds:  safety reasons. For example, McKinley attempting to climb out of the crib.

So that’s why. She probably could have stayed in her crib for awhile longer, but honestly I thought she would love the idea of being able to crawl into her own bed by herself.  She has slept 4 straight nights without waking and is still waiting for us to come into her room before climbing out.  So precious!

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Milestone: 1 YEAR

Happy Birthday McKinley!

McKinley is truly an amazing daughter. I know I know…every parent thinks their child is amazing and wonderful and the best. But duh, if a parent didn’t feel like that about their children then I would be confused…possibly even concerned.

McKinley has grown into this free spirited little girl. My little hippie. Her heart is bigger than her body and her hugs sweeter than sugar. She is silly, funny, happy, and bright. Brilliant actually.

Watching McKinley’s growth has been soul changing. Life altering. Inspiring. Faith building. Empowering. The vocab list goes on, but every writer knows that telling you is one thing and showing you is another. I want to show you.

When I think of McKinley’s life, I think back to when my husband and I found out we were pregnant. McKinley was planned, after an unplanned pregnancy, and unfortunate miscarriage. To me, that’s when this adventure began. No matter what, if you are adopting, doing surrogacy, in vitro, etc… It’s a process. And in any given process you will find love and commitment.

I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.

McKinley’s birth was a struggle, but a precious gift. 19 hours of labor, with some unforeseeable aftermath complications, and high levels of stress. Though, it was all worth it, because I met the most beautiful girl. That’s what life is all about. The struggles and sacrifices. And then, the gifts. Gifts of love, growth, and enlightenment. I’ll never forget seeing her wide awake eyes. It was, I swear, the most breath taking moment.

Here is a look back at some of those struggles and gifts:

Me Pregnant

Me Pregnant

McKinley's Born!

McKinley’s Born!

McKinley had Jaundice.

McKinley had Jaundice first week.

First Month : Smile

First Month : Smile

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Three months: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (and first time failing board exam)

3rd month: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (& first time failing board exam)

That same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

Same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

4th month: McKinley pushes up, and my husband leaves his job.

4th month: McKinley pushes up! My husband leaves his job.

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

6th month: Dad starts law school & McKinley Sits up

6th month: My husband starts law school & McKinley Sits up

7th month: Mom fails exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

7th month: I fail exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & Mom quits her job (something she was committed to emotionally, intellectually, and physically since the inception of the business, because she helped develop it.- and still hurts to think about today)

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & I quit my job.

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & Mom passes the board exam!

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & I finally pass the board exam!

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, then is diagnosed with Stage3B lung cancer.

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, and then is diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! Dad does extremely well in law  school, is asked to be a TA and research assistant.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! My husband does extremely well in law school, is asked to be a TA, and research assistant.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

Through all of these hardships and accomplishments, my husband has been my rock, and McKinley my light. I love you both an insane amount.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia