It’s here, the post I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to simultaneously. My baby is ONE, we made it baby girl. It’s been without a doubt the fastest year of my life, and while the days sometimes feel long, this year was definitely short.
Motherhood is this mix of clinging tight to the present moment, imprinting it in your brain, while also realizing that it’s all happening so fast. There have been so many moments over this last year where I held you in my arms, willing myself to memorize every eyelash, knuckle wrinkle, your tiny toes, promising myself to never forget – and yet even with all of that memorization, I find myself looking at photos of the tiny version of you wondering how you could possibly be that small.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned this past year is that so much growth happens not just year by year but month by month. You gave me a new perspective on what’s possible in just 30 days and as you grow and transformed month-by-month, so did I, as your mama. I’ve never measured a year like this: growth, progress, new-ness every single month.
What we’re loving
- These Montessori toys: We visited a local Montessori school that Conley will start at next fall! She’ll be going part-time and we are so excited about it. That being said, we have been getting this toy subscription and she loves the Montessori toys so much. Each one has a purpose and teaches a skill and it’s been so fun watching her interact with them as she learns and grows. It also helps educate us as parents to guide her in how to use them, so we’re learning with her!
- This clothing rental: Think “Rent the Runway” but for babies. Using Upchoose has been invaluable to us for so many reasons this first year. It’s saved us money, helped us approach baby clothing from a more sustainable place, and it’s taken the guesswork out of clothing our babe. They ship you an entire set of clothes based on your baby’s size (you can customize your options) and then you can send them back and use the credit for the next size up! They source simple, organic clothes for your baby, and make the process super easy, plus it saves you time on shopping and money on investing in clothes that your baby only wears a few times!
- This play kitchen: I mean, I can’t lie. I’m envious of this kitchen… it’s that cute. It’s like “Honey, I shrunk the kids” came and shrunk our kitchen to make it Coco size. This is the gift that keeps on giving and more of an investment piece but a piece that is as functional as it is beautiful. Conley started playing the second it came out of the box and we can’t wait to keep adding to her collection of pots and pans. This is her Christmas and birthday present all in one from Milton and Goose!
- This All-Natural Baby Oil and Balm: Minnesota winters tend to wreck havoc on our skin and we’ve been lathering on this baby oil that’s non-toxic and totally safe for Coco — plus, mama loves using it, too! Our entire year has been filled with using these products that are safe for her and that work incredibly well. I love these added moisture boosts that are oh-so needed this time of year!
We celebrated her birthday just the three of us at home! We laughed when we woke her up in the morning with her silly grin and crazy bedhead and decided to create a new birthday tradition of going to see the Christmas lights at Bentleyville and seeing Santa Claus. I died laughing when she cried the minute we passed her off. It was the only time she cried all day! We went out to dinner after the lights and she was a hoot. She laughed and gave her cheesy grin to anyone who would look at her and a sweet man in his 80s came to us as he left and smiled as he said, “You’re living the best days of your life right now.” We couldn’t agree more.
I did an entire post about why we didn’t choose a traditional approach for Coco’s birthday; don’t feel bad, because we still celebrated with our immediate families and she got the simple joys of smashing a cake with balloons and all that fun stuff. But we just opted to forgo the big extravagant themed party to instead use her celebration to celebrate her while also passing joy along to others in need. We had close family over and celebrated with pizza and cake, and it was low-key, laidback and totally perfect.
We have everything we could ever ask for, and we are so blessed beyond measure. Instead of investing in clothes she will grow out of or toys she will soon forget, let’s give to others. Out of all the things I hope Conley becomes, I hope she becomes a kind, compassionate, giving human being. We hope that someday she’s thankful that she was the reason that women and children in the Northland were given shelter and resources thanks to her existing and others celebrating her life! Because of her birthday, Safe Haven has received over 40 packages from Amazon with items they need and over $2,000!
Apparently, all Conley wanted for Christmas was her two front teeth because those teeth are coming in hot. Beyond new teeth, her hair is growing every day, and it’s beautiful and curly and I love it so much. The other night, I brushed it while she was in the bath and it was down to her little shoulders, and it’s crazy how it’s coming in. Girlfriend has the best bed head ever and we fight over who gets to wake her up from her nap to witness it each day.
She isn’t walking YET but she’s definitely curious! She stands and pulls herself up on everything, climbs the stairs every chance we give her, and even loves climbing on the coffee table, that little daredevil! She is even balancing on two feet, so I think it’s coming soon! It’s interesting because she was more curious about walking before she discovered she could cruise around crawling, so we’re trying to give her opportunities to take her first steps but are letting her discover life on her own two feet in her own timing.
It’s also wildly apparent that she understands us on a level that’s sometimes hard to comprehend from helping me make lattes by putting the capsule in the Nespresso to putting her toys away when she’s done playing and listening when we tell her to not dig in the dog food. It’s obvious that while she can’t talk, she certainly can listen. It’s fun watching her take in life and it’s definitely made Drew and I better humans since her little eyes are taking all the things in.
How I’m feeling
Minus the fact that I am in denial, I am wildly thankful. This year has been an incredible year personally, professionally, but also for us as a family. There has been more presence, more memories made, and just more joy as we’ve settled into our life as a family of three.
I feel like I am finally coming out of the fog of having a newborn and juggling a baby and a career and I am feeling ready to ramp up the business this next year while still fiercely protecting my time with my family! When I dream about 2020, it’s this mix of dream chasing and freedom and I’m ready for it.
I’m feeling more confident in my ability to step back a tiny bit on the parenting front so I can step into those big God-dreams on my heart and I know that Drew’s ready to rock the stay-at-home-dad life on another level. This past year was all about just figuring out our new normal, protecting this raw season of motherhood and reserving my time and energy to be a mom first, entrepreneur second – fitting work in between nap times!
Since this was a record-breaking year in so many ways, I can’t wait to see what happens when I can work more than just a few hours a day.
When I set the goal of nursing for a year, I never really thought what that looked like lived out… like it’s an easy statement to throw out there but when you do it, it’s a selfless dedication. No days off, sista, heck, no 4 hours off in a row for an entire year.
I did some research and if you nurse for a year, it’s equivalent to working a full time, 40-hour a week job (except you don’t get two weeks of paid vacation!). I am super duper proud that I’ve been able to hit that goal of the year mark and truth be told, I’m not totally sure that I’m ready to be done. I am thankful I’ve been able to work from home and be able to put her down for each nap, to bed each night, and to share that special time just the two of us.
When I started thinking about weaning seriously, I just felt more emotional than I thought I would feel. There’s a part of me that wants to have my body back to myself and mine alone but there’s a tenderness and a sweetness (and let’s be honest, breastfeeding is so simple) and so I think for now we’re just going to keep going and make the decision to wean when we feel ready. I will probably drop a feed or two in the upcoming month and then go from there.
This past year can be summed up as: The greatest year of my life, the year that made me a mom, softened me in a million ways and the year I fell in love with the new version of myself and my baby girl. I wouldn’t trade this past year for the world, it has without a doubt been the best year of my life, thanks to Coco.