Two Years Old

M turned two on Saturday and I’m still trying to recover from the shock. Time has always been a thief, but it’s strange to see time personified in my little human. She was once a little squishy cute potato with two or three solid skills (eat, sleep, poop) and now she’s an incredible, complex, talking, opinionated, hilarious little girl. I love it.

I struggled during our newborn days. Nowadays things are tiring, but life with a toddler is amusing and fun. She’s ornery and clever and hilarious and sweet. This past year was such a rollercoaster and M has really grown into the person she will be forever. I’m so lucky to know her.

Nicknames: Moo, Toots, Toodles, Mads

Stats: Her 2 year checkup was yesterday. She is 29 lbs. 5 oz. and 35 inches tall.

Likes: Snacking, Mickey Mouse, reading in the morning and before bed, things in nature (the moon, leaves, etc.), animals- but especially dogs, visiting with the neighbors, playing at daycare, helping feed the dogs, French fries, and rides in daddy’s new car.

Dislikes: When mom is within sight but out of reach, sitting in her high chair (UGH), and being denied a cookie/French fries/any food she’s demanding.

Sleeping: We’ve had good and bad weeks. M takes a late morning/afternoon nap every day. She goes down for bed around 7:30pm and is up around 7 or 7:30am. When she’s healthy, she’s happy and cooperative at sleep time.

Eating: In true toddler fashion, some days we love carrots and some days we won’t look at them. The same is true for most foods. She’s always in the mood for noodles or a cookie, though. French fries, pouches, and yogurt are also favorites. And bread.

Development: I was reading the 18 month update where I said M says a few words. LOL. The kid talks all the time now, half the time in full sentences. She is great at verbalizing what she wants- sometimes too “great.”

Personality: I genuinely enjoy hanging out with M. She has her moments and we’re working on not hitting people, but she understands it’s not ok and she corrects her behavior pretty quickly. She is funny and so smart. She is a negotiator and a problem solver. She follows directions and makes up songs and loves to be where K and I are. Bristol is still her favorite but she’s a big fan of the office cats, too. She’s friendly and adventurous. She’s still a daredevil and loves chasing and racing and monkeying around. She’s starting to cuddle a little more and I’m not mad about it.

Travel: We’ve been very unlucky in this department. We took a family trip to Michigan and our vehicle broke down. M was a trooper, though, and we tried to make the best of it. A few weeks ago M and I were supposed to fly to Tampa… but M spiked a super high fever and we had to cancel. We did a few camping trips this summer/fall, but other than that we’ve been homebodies.

Mom’s Summary: Over the past two years there have been moments when I’ve doubted my role as a mom. I think a lot of women do when sh*t hits the fan… But I have never doubted that M was made for me and I was meant to be her mom. She is the highlight in my day. I love to celebrate her triumphs and I love to hold her during her big emotions. She’s such a gift to her dad and me. I’m so glad we get to be her mom and dad.

These past two years have been a gift. Even new thing Mads learns brings me joy. I love to see her love other people and I pray every night that she knows she is loved and adored by not only Jesus, but everyone who knows her. I look forward to all the moments- big and small- we’ll have together in the future.

I hope you had a happy birthday, my sweet girl. We love you the very mostest.

*Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet Enzo boy! 8 years with our snuggle bug ❤

-Momma

You can find our past developmental updates here:
birth / 3 months / 6 months / 9 months / 1 year / 18 months

Another Year Wiser

October is an introspective month for me. On Sunday I turned 31. Today marks 14 years with Kyle. Most of the time I feel pretty young at heart, but also feel like I’ve collected some worldly knowledge during my 3 decades on Earth.

The first 18 years are essentially spent learning school subjects. In college I learned how to exist in the adult world. I think my 20s taught me how to be a better friend. After M was born, I started working on how to be a better person on the inside. I don’t think we ever stop learning and changing and (hopefully) improving.

Other people’s “happy” won’t make you happy, so figure out what makes you feel good.
Along those same lines, when you know what makes you happy, it’s easier and more rewarding to be genuinely happy for others. The jealousy dissipates.

Actions & words both speak loudly, but they need to aline.
So many things we learn at a young age (“actions speak louder than words”, “lead by example”) are very very true in adulthood. I can say I love or support or understand others, but I need to physically show it, too.

Chance are you treat those closest to you the worst…
This is true for me, at least. Not so much my friends, but K and my mom. Two people who I know- without fail- love me unconditionally… And I push it sometimes. Since I’ve become aware of this, I’ve been trying to change.

I don’t believe that women who are moms are better than women who are not moms, but I believe that becoming a mom- specifically M’s mom- has made me a better person. Or… it’s at least made me want to be a better person. I have to be. I have a little sponge soaking up every single word I say, every reaction I have, every interaction I’m part of. All day long the pressure is on to demonstrate how to be a less-sh*tty human. I’m monitoring my patience, tone, and temper constantly.

It’s tiring, but good for me. I try to apply a patient attitude, soft tone, and controlled temper into all my interactions, not just my time with M. I’m less successful, but I try.

And that’s where I’m at right now… I’m very grateful to celebrate year 31 and I’m the luckiest person to have 14 years with K by my side. Here’s to many many more.

-Audrey

Oh, What A Year

The whole country (& world) shut down around K’s birthday last year. March 12th was our last meal in a restaurant. Sunday night suppers at my grandparents’ house stopped, mindless Target wandering was no longer ok, and spending time at home with our 3 month old became our only entertainment for a while.

Running a company is always a stressful thing, but watching K sort out how to keep everyone safe, employed, healthy, and just OK in general has been exhausting and painful. (I can’t begin to imagine how he feels about it.) It’s been a soul-crushing year.

(Our primary customers are schools- specifically the extracurricular music programs in schools. The programs that have been cancelled, delayed, reduced due to COVID.)

It’s been an atrocious year to say the absolute very least. I don’t know if we’ve (Kyle’s) ever been this stressed out, 24/7, without relief. It has most certainly shaved years off his life. The rebound/rebuild isn’t a walk in the park either.

And while he’s walking into a new year with a shorter fuse, more grey hair, and a much bigger chip (gash?) on his shoulder, he’s also grown into an even more wonderful human, partner, and dad.

We’re raising a smart and snarky little girl that loves to play with and laugh with her daddy. We have two dogs that get excited every. single. time. he enters the room. K has started cooking his way around the kitchen and- spoiler alert- he’s really good at it. We’ve bought a camper and started down that literal and figurative road. He’s paying better attention to his physical and mental health. He listens to me and encourages me and calls me out on my b.s. when I need it.

Despite all the things that I know weigh him down, he’s such an accomplished, fulfilled, incredible (almost) 34 year old. My life is good because he’s a part of it. We’re in a pretty tough, stressful season of life right now, but seasons change.

Happy Birthday, love. It’s going to get better and then maybe worse again but then better.

To My Little Love

Sweet Moo Baby… today is your last day being ZERO.

Last year I knew we’d be meeting you soon. We had a scheduled induction on December 4th at 8am… but at 2am you decided to start things yourself. Now that we know you, I completely understand. You’re a headstrong, determined, do-it-yourself little spirit. I love your spirit.

When we brought you home Bristol barked and growled at you. She wanted to play with you SO badly. Enzo was more than happy to cuddle up & nap all day- although I think he was quickly over the sleepless nights. But you figured out sleep quickly. And then you figure out eating. And crawling. And babbling. I love your smart little brain.

Watching you grow and learn and move has been the greatest joy of my life, babe. You bring out all the strong emotions in me- pride, love, fear, frustration, humor. You are such a clever, funny, goofy little girl. I love your personality.

You’re not one for cuddles yet, but you will sit on my lap for a few minutes of Blue’s Clues. You gentle pet and play with Bristol’s fur when you’re taking a bottle. You nuzzle your head into my neck when you’re having a rough night. You freely give me and your daddy and all the stuffed animals kisses. I think you’ve learned not to kiss the pups- it results in a mouthful of hair. I love your big, sweet heart.

Mommy and Daddy had a doozy of a first year. We learned a lot about being your parents. We picked our battles. We had little sleep and lots of help. We navigated a pandemic as new parents and, as a result, we got to spend lots and lots and lots of time with you. I will always be so thankful for that. Despite the world being upside down, you were hardly affected. I love your resilience. You are a brave, happy, incredible little soul.

Your daddy and I spent many years together without you- but this year with you has been one of our favorites. I’ve never seen him so in love with or proud of another human. You will forever be the apple of his eye, my love. I’m happy to share his heart with you ❤️

Happy Birthday, Moo-da-Lou. We love you forever and always.

-Mom

Thirty Years Old

Hello, again. Saturday is my 30th birthday. Tomorrow is my last day “in my twenties.” I don’t think I’ll wake up feeling any differently on Saturday, but it’s a strange transition nonetheless.

I loved my twenties. I went to India, graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house, adopted several puppers, married K, had my little Moo, bought and sold a few houses, traveled, found my (fingers crossed) forever job… It was a decade of discovery and growth and freedom. I squeezed a lot into those ten years. K was with me for all of it, too ❤️

I momentarily freaked out when I hit 25 but I have no qualms about 30. I truly have everything I want and I’m excited to live my life in that mindset. We’re comfortable, we’re in love, we’re happy. Is 2020 a weird sh*t show? For sure. But personally I’m entering my 30s with confidence.

As such, I thought I’d share 30 thoughts/tips/pieces of advice that I live by…

  1. Look up.
  2. People, animals, and experiences will make you rich. Things will not.
  3. Speak clearly and learn to communicate well. It will alleviate so much heartache.
  4. Spending money to get your dog(s) groomed is worth it.
  5. When you can help someone, help them. When you need help, ask for it.
  6. Pay attention to what and who bring you joy- then invest your time & energy there.
  7. Find your people and show up for them. Quality over quantity.
  8. Know how to calm your mind: pray, read, meditate, write. I prefer sitting in the dark.
  9. Clean your dishwasher & washing machines. I guarantee they’re gross.
  10. Same with fan blades.
  11. The miracle of aging is a gift. Accept your mortality & appreciate your longevity.
  12. “No” is a complete sentence.
  13. Eating chocolate before bed makes for some really weird dreams.
  14. You’re not for everyone. Everyone’s not for you. See #23.
  15. The most rewarding things are often the hardest things.
  16. You can do hard things.
  17. Less really is more.
  18. Order a side of gravy for dipping when you get fries at Dairy Queen. Trust me.
  19. Eat your veggies. And if you don’t like veggies, change how you cook them. They’re delish.
  20. Honesty is the best policy but sometimes silence is the best option.
  21. Respect your sig. other & give him or her the benefit of the doubt. They are on your side.
  22. Drink more water.
  23. It takes all kinds of kinds.
  24. Wild animals are meant to be wild.
  25. The grass is greener where you water it. (K says this a lot actually.)
  26. Adopt don’t shop.
  27. Always try to be kind. You don’t always need to be nice, though.
  28. Absolutely positively NOTHING is guaranteed. And no one owes you a damn thing.
  29. It’s not a good deal if you can’t afford it.
  30. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours brighter.

Just call me the Audi Lama. I kid, I kid. Sometimes (often) I fail to take my own advice, but over the past three decades these are the things I’ve learned bring me the most joy and serenity.

What am I doing for my birthday, you ask? Getting a professional manicure (FINALLY! I’ll be masked up, obvi), going on a family hike, and playing a board game at home. Coming into my 30s like a mad woman! 😉