Dear Lila: You’re 20 Months Old!

Dear Lila,

Tomorrow you turn 20 months old. It’s late and I should be in bed asleep, but I wanted to get down on my blog how I feel right in this exact moment thinking about you as a 20 month old.

20 months old

Today was one of those typical stay at home mom days. We had eggs and yogurt for breakfast (you ate FOUR eggs!), then we went to the park (I pushed you on the swing for a good 20 minutes). After your nap, we went next door and played with the neighbor kids. There were ups, like our dance party in the living room, and downs, like when you cried when I said it was time to leave the park. Just a normal day.

And yet tonight when I think back on our day together, I’m filled with such an immense amount of love for you. I so enjoy our simple days together. We have such fun on our little adventures, and I have never felt such peace, contentment and JOY than when I’m spending a completely ordinary day with you.

Oh my goodness you are so much fun right now. The other night at dinner you, me, daddy and Mimi were sitting around the kitchen table singing “patty cake.” You got the hang of rolling your arms during the “rollll it” part and at the end of each verse you’d cheer “yaaaaaay!!!” and clap your hands. Of course we were all smiling and laughing right along with you.

You finally have let me cuddle you a bit. Your mommy loves to cuddle and until now you have been more like your daddy – very independent and no hugging please! Lately though, you will rest your head on my should for short bits of time, run up to me and give me a big hug or my favorite, let me hold you very tight before bed when we sing “twinkle twinkle” by your crib. I love burying my face in your sweet smelling hair and closing my eyes to savor the moment.

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You still eat like a grown man. Seriously, you out-eat your dad occasionally. You favorites are eggs, sauerkraut, plums, peaches and popsicles. I make popsicles for you at home using coconut water or as you call it “coco,” mashed up berries and a little orange juice. The other day, you ate three popsicles right in a row (Daddy was watching you).

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I am amazed every day by what new things you can do or how your understanding of the world increases. This morning you were playing in my closet while I got ready to go to the park and I said “Lila, can you bring me my tennis shoes?” You immediately picked my tennis shoes out of 10 pairs of shoes and brought them to me saying “shoo shoo!”

Speaking of shoes, you are sort of obsessed with yours, mine, dads … any one’s shoes! You will point to dad’s sandals and say “Is dada’s shoo!” while you try to put it on. When I get you dressed in the morning, it always takes the longest for you to pick out and approve of what shoes you are wearing that day. I love that one minute you’re proud of your shoe collection and the next you’re throwing dirt.

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After a month or more of living in Ohio, I must say, I think you like it here. Between seeing both sets of your grandparents, having both mommy and daddy home all week and playing with your cousin Reagan and friends Liam, baby Harrison and the neighbors regularly, I marvel at how happy you seem lately. You are an Ohio girl just like your mama.

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I think about how fast you’re growing and how soon you’ll be a full fledged little girl. I tell daddy, “I hope as she grows up that she’ll continue to want to be around me.” I know that sounds a little silly and that there will likely be some years where you’ll prefer your friends over me, but please know my little Lila, I will ALWAYS enjoy being around you. Even when you’re angry, sad or mad at me, being will you will still be my favorite way to spend a day.

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Love,

Mom

It Takes a Village

As a new mom, I heard the phrase “it takes a village!” quite often, but living across the country from my family, I never quite understood it fully. Since we’ve moved back to Ohio, our village has been out in full force to support us, and it has been a welcome respite!

When you don’t have a support network in town, everything falls on your shoulders – all the childcare, all the cooking, all the work etc. Over time you adjust and learn to manage it all, but those moments of “if only we had grandparents here!” creep in. I remember some long days at home with Lila, and the total desperation I felt for Luke to get home from work so I could take a break.

Now that we’re back near our family and friends, we have been fully enjoying all the help we can get.

On the 3rd of July, my brother’s family hosted their annual fireworks party. We were having a nice time, but by 8:30 Lila was rubbing her eyes and on the verge of losing it from exhaustion. Normally, we’d be packing up and saying our goodbyes before we were really ready, but this year, my mom volunteered to take her home so we could stay and enjoy ourselves.

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Then this weekend, we went to visit Luke’s family in Indiana, which meant two days of sleeping in for me, grandparents and aunts and uncles to play and entertain Lila while I read, wonderful meals I didn’t have to cook and even a night out with Luke.

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Living with my parents while we work on our house has also meant a lot of little, much needed, breaks from toddler duty throughout the day. Those 10 minute breaks can mean a world of difference when you’re watching a very active toddler.

On Friday, Luke’s parents are coming up to watch Lila all weekend while we get away to Put-In-Bay and Cedar Point. It’s been a really long time since Luke and I had a weekend to ourselves. I am looking forward to being off toddler time, going on all the “big” rides and eating slow leisurely meals. I am most excited about these giant swings. Weeee!

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After being away from a support network and now having them close, I will say it doesn’t HAVE to take a village, but it sure is nice have people who love your child around to help. I think as a new mom, it’s easy to feel like you must do everything yourself in order to be a “good” mom. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes, because we don’t want to admit we’re struggling.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving home and getting help, it’s that self-care is very important when you’re a mom. Having these breaks when people help has made me a better mom when I am with Lila. When my cup gets refilled, I am more patient, understanding and nurturing.

Whether it’s a good daycare, loving babysitter or family and friends, having a “village” around to support a young family is so very important. I’m so happy we are settled near our large and loving village.

 

 

Turning 30

This weekend I am off to Austin, TX for a bachelorette party for one of my closest lifelong friends, Becky. I also happen to be turning 30 on Saturday. Spending my 30th having a blast with some of my closest friends … I couldn’t have scripted the overlap in fun any better myself. (Becky is the fun girl in my first few photos below)

With all the craziness of the past month, I haven’t really had a chance to sit back and reflect on this birthday milestone. I know 30 is supposed to be a big one that can conjure up a lot of feelings good and bad. So far, I’ve been feeling pretty good about seeing my 20′s come to a close. Probably because I don’t have many regrets from the past 10 years.

I lived the fun, single life with my girlfriends in Chicago. I started a career that ultimately led to my main goal – being able to work and raise a family in harmony. I met and married a truly wonderful man. We lived a life of adventure in Lake Tahoe for several years. And finally, what I’m most proud of, I had my little Lila. All in all, I’d say my 20′s rocked!

When I dreamed about what my life would look like at 30, it thankfully looked very similar to what my reality is. I think maybe that’s why I don’t feel much anxiety around hitting 30. But the interesting thing, is I never really thought beyond 30, so right now I really have no clue what my new life goals are.

I suppose on my list of things I want in my life at 40, would be creating a warm, inviting home. Growing our family with more children. Improving my golf game. Having a happy, loving marriage. Reclaiming some of my old passions like acting or volleyball. Building a solid group of friends in Toledo. Finding ways to give back through service. Elevating my relationships with family. Being a supportive, kind and patient mama. Accepting wrinkles with grace. And having a lot of fun along the way.

For now though, I’m going to put my mom-self and wife-self aside and celebrate the 20-something in me with my friends in Austin. That 20-something girl sure does know how to have fun! She also knew more about how to build a happy life than I originally gave her credit for.

A walk through my 20′s in pictures. :)

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We Bought a House!

We had an offer accepted on a house this week! To be honest, it’s not what I originally thought we would buy. I envisioned us in something older with more charm, but after seeing a few older homes, I quickly realized the smaller closets and lack of a master suite would be an issue.

We also realized quickly in our home search that we wanted to be in one certain neighborhood that is both walking distance to a downtown area with shops and restaurants but also right next to an amazing metropark with miles of walking paths and a great park.

The house we bought was only on the market for a few days when we put an offer in. It’s situated up on a hill just a half block to the entrance of the park and .5 miles to the town area. It is 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and was priced way way below the comps in the area and also well below our max budget, making the decision a no brainer.

For safety and privacy reasons, I am not going to post a photo of the house, but it is a saltbox colonial style like these, with cute shutters.

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There is a great school and church we’ll attend on the same street, so Lila can walk to school when that time comes. And it’s nestled in a quiet neighborhood with nice neighbors (I may have done some knocking on doors to meet them already). Here are some pictures of the park across the street.

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We are planning to do quite a bit of work to the home before we move in, including sprucing up the exterior with a paint job (I’m thinking either yellow, blue or red!), building a front porch and landscaping with flowers.

For the inside, we are going to open up and renovate the kitchen, do a lot of cosmetic changes like new floors throughout, paint and wainscotting, then possibly if we are brave and can afford it, do an addition above the garage to build a bigger master suite.

I’ve been Pinteresting my heart out while Luke manages the details with our inspection, financing and close. Don’t we make a great team!?

I am so excited to raise our family in this house and this neighborhood. I already have dreams of going for long walks together in the park, walking to church on Sundays and getting coffee and ice cream in town. I have a feeling we are going to be very happy in our cute house on the hill.

Many thanks to our amazing realtor Christine Stowell for helping us find our home and seal the deal. If you are looking for a realtor in the Toledo, OH area, I highly recommend Christine. She was a joy to work with!!