Fair warning that this is a loooong post…SO many changes to share from this month! I’m grateful for these posts to keep me accountable, or else I would be buried in unedited personal photos right now. I keep taking more pictures every month as her personality grows, and my hard drive is becoming stuffed to the brim!
I am loving this age so much!!! She is just a delight right now…I wish I could freeze time right here. I love the weight of her curled up in my arms, her heavenly soft baby skin, her big old belly full of milk, her tiny breaths against my cheek. Her sweet, innocent smiles and the way she furrows her brow when she is focused on a new concept. When she looks at me with complete trust, it’s the biggest honor of my life.
Clara is playing games with us and even developing a little sassy sense of humor. Sometimes I get a little sneak preview of what she’ll be like as a toddler…I’ve heard those years can be tough, but the more I see her personality grow, the more excited I become for the chaos to keep unfolding.
I feel the clock ticking down to her first birthday and I’m desperate to capture this fleeting season…no amount of pictures can capture the feeling of being her mama. But I sure keep trying!
It’s been a month full of LOTS of transitions! Here are the big updates from our family this month:
I went back to work!!!
I’ve been wanting to re-open my business for months, but I kept hesitating because I was worried about how to balance everything and find the time to be a full-time SAHM and a business owner.
Right now I’m a nap time warrior and I edit/answer emails while she sleeps…which I’m lucky to be able to do! I don’t take that flexibility for granted! But at the same time, I’m adjusting to the idea of working for 1-2 hour chunks at a time, and that doesn’t leave much room to catch a breath at the end of the day.
We might start part-time childcare at some point if it starts to feel overwhelming. For now, I’m still very excited to be working again. I truly respect and admire SAHMs, but while I was on maternity leave, I craved and missed the interaction with my clients and I missed having a purpose outside of the house. This will be a season of adjustment, but I’m learning how to serve my clients well while letting go of unnecessary details that aren’t helping to meet that goal.
My parents came to Boston earlier this month!
Now that everyone in our family is fully vaccinated (except Clara), we are starting to host visitors, which feels WONDERFUL after a year of parenting in isolation. I forgot how amazing it feels to get to share your baby with others! My dad met Clara for the first time ever!! And it was my mom’s first time back since she stayed with us when Clara was a newborn. It was such a relief and a joy to get to share the baby with them and see how much she lit up both their smiles.
I think my dad really enjoyed getting to interact with Clara in person after seeing her only through photos and FaceTime since she was born! We lovingly dubbed him “Grumpa” since before she was even born, but I think Clara makes him very un-grumpy. Who knew he was such a baby person?!
My mom extended her stay to hang out with Clara a little longer (she can’t get enough baby time!!) She had not seen the baby since 10 weeks old, and it was a whole new experience for her to get to interact and play with Clara so much now that she’s older. She had a blast reading books to her, making goofy sounds, and taking her on walks. We got to explore the neighborhood together and have picnics when the weather cooperated. But most of all I just loved having her company. It was wonderful to trade the baby back and forth and watch the two of them play together. I loved seeing her wonder at Clara’s new skills because it’s not often I get to see the baby through someone else’s eyes other than E. It was just so so lovely, and we really felt the hole when she flew home.
It is HARD living so far away from family. Either we don’t see each other at all, or we see each other for long visits where we’re together all day. I’d give anything to be able to meet up with E’s family for dinner after a day at work or just pop over to my parents’ house with Clara. But it’s not that simple when our families are both two flights away. Every visit takes planning and schedule coordination and expensive plane tickets. We love our lives and jobs here and don’t want to leave, and neither of our families are in a position to move here either. But I feel the ache of missed moments with grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I hope we can give Clara a childhood filled with family despite the distance.
Our first date night & overnight trip!
With the grandparents’ visit came E’s and my very first date night post-baby!!!! During COVID, E and I tried our best to have nice evenings at home, but there is just no substitute for getting out of the house alone for a proper date. Our first destination was a bunch of regular old box stores, since we had not been shopping in person since March 2020. I never realized how thrilling it can feel to walk around PetSmart, but it’s true. (We were not buying a pet, we just went in to look at the fish in the aquarium because we could!)
We also wandered around Target’s baby section for the first time as parents, which BLEW MY MIND. Pandemic parenthood has been weird. Now that we can finally go to the store, Clara has already aged out of a lot of the baby things you can buy there. It’s like we skipped an entire chapter. But the endless choice of butt pastes still felt thrilling! 😉
After we dipped our toes into the date night world, we felt brave and decided to try our first overnight trip without the baby. It was laughingly rough – we had a terrible dinner and then couldn’t sleep at all that night – but I came home with renewed appreciation for our simple life at home. I was so happy to see Clara again after just one night away that I cried when I hugged her again. I had never been away from her that long for her entire life and I missed her a ton. It felt like going without an arm or something!
Getting out into the world again…
Now that COVID is improving locally and case numbers are going down, we are getting more comfortable with taking baby steps back into the real world. It’s bizarre trying to figure out how to “get back to normal” after so long in isolation. Do we still wear a mask outside out of courtesy? Are we comfortable meeting up with vaccinated friends? How do we keep Clara safe even though she can’t get vaccinated yet? Everyone will feel comfortable at their own rate, and while I think E and I have definitely fallen on the more cautious/anxious side of the spectrum, we are trying to work our way back to normal again.
I always imagined what life would be like “after COVID,” but in reality, I think many of the things we used to enjoy are no longer easy to do with a baby. There is no more zipping over to the store or taking a day trip to a nearby town without a ton of planning and packing involved. Baby gear is no joke…between the car seat, stroller, pack ’n play, and diaper bag, it’s a big haul!!! We want to be adventurous, but often it’s just easier and less complicated to stay at our “home base” where we have everything we need within easy reach and the baby can stay on her familiar routine. Hopefully we’ll figure out more easy adventures to try now that the weather is warming up.
I’ve been struggling a bit with my new identity as a mom.
Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I can do some things that I used to looove to do – like go to Target to just walk around. But the first time I tried it by myself, I just felt kind of empty. Without my husband and my baby by my side, I didn’t LOOK like a wife or a mom…and without those two roles, who even am I anymore?! This year my whole identity has become my family and my home, and I feel a bit lost being back in public. I spent a year away from downtown, away from running my business, and away from other people. It’s shifted my priorities a lot and it feels unsettling to go back to the things I have been looking forward to, only to realize they are not quite for me anymore. My life is my family now, and they are my world.
That being said, I truly am looking forward to starting to work with clients again. It has been so nice to reclaim a part of my identity from before Clara and strive to find a healthy balance between home and the outside world. I’m lucky to go back to a job that I enjoy so much.
OK…on to lighter things! Here are some fun details from Clara’s growth this month!
• She’s trying SO hard to crawl! She can army crawl by dragging herself with her arms, she can push backward, and she’s starting to rock back and forth onto her knees. Even though she’s not crawling typically, she can still get around like crazy by pivoting and scooting to the toys she wants. One day she wiggled herself off of her diaper mat, flipped herself onto her belly, and opened the wipes container to eat them before I caught her. Time to get serious about baby-proofing, ha!
• She has started standing on her own while holding onto furniture and loves to “show off” by letting go of one hand at a time
• She started cutting her first tooth and it’s making its way in veeeerrry slowly! The only way we can peek is if we get a huge gummy grin out of her, so it’s usually a team effort with E playing peekaboo and me checking her mouth, haha!
• She’s constantly coming up with new “tricks.” Her favorite one this month has been waggling her tongue side to side while talking – it’s SO goofy and we love it!
• She’s trying hard to sit up on her own but can’t yet, so just props herself up on her elbows instead
• When she’s in your lap, she will lean her head back to see who is holding her
• We lowered her crib mattress 😭 and she loves to sit in there and peek through the bars at us. We run our hands along the bars to make sounds and she thinks it’s the best thing ever
• She still loves playing peekaboo and fake sneezes!
• We added “Elmo Slide” and “Baby Shark” to our playlist and she bounces up and down to “dance” when the music comes on. When we say “Alexa,” she turns her head to look at the speaker because she knows that music will come on soon (that is a little scary to me, to be honest)
• She’s holding her open cup like a boss! She LOVES water and drinks it all super quickly, and then when it’s gone, she still chews enthusiastically on the empty cup until it squeaks against her gums.
• We tried to teach her the sign language for “more,” but she has already decided that she will say “more” by banging her hand against the table. Oh well!
• She found her pincer grasp and focuses really hard to grab tiny objects now! Even little specks of dirt! We call her Swiffer because between “crawling” and picking up random objects, our floors get pretty clean! 😉
• She loves the silk product tags on blankets, clothing, and toys, and she can find one ANYWHERE even if we didn’t realize there was a tag. I can’t bring myself to cut them off like I usually do because they’re her favorite.
• Bath time is still a bit of a struggle, so I started bringing her into the shower with me instead (my mom did this when I was a baby, so I thought I’d give it a try). She likes showers much better and enjoys running her hand over the steamy shower door to draw on it.
• Due to messy meals and trying to help her learn to crawl, these days she’s usually in just a diaper. I still find lots of excuses to dress her up though!
• For a good part of the month, she “spoke” by inhaling instead of exhaling…which we dubbed pterodactyl screeches! Thankfully she has now figured out that she can use her voice the other direction instead!
• E and I have realized we can now recite most of her baby books by memory from reading her favorites over and over. E has also taught me lots of nursery songs in Spanish, and I find myself singing them all around the house
• E wakes me up in the morning by bringing Clara over for snuggles in bed. It’s the best way to start every day.
OK…on to the pictures!
This first set is beyond special to me. An afternoon of playing peekaboo 🙂 I’ve dreamed of taking pictures like this for a long time! Pure, simple baby goodness. ♥
Is there anything sweeter than a baby in a summer bonnet?
Daddy taking Clara for a ride in a box. She was a little unsure what to make of this!
Our first “official” pictures as a family since Clara was a newborn! Before I went back to work and E went back to the office part-time, Aunt Lena captured a little piece of this weird, chaotic, beautiful season for us. A year full of of trying to avoid accidentally bombing Zoom meetings, wearing pajamas from the waist down, and above all, lots of time at home getting to know our crazy Clarasaurus. It was just the three of us (for better or worse, but mostly better). It’s easy to over-romanticize the rollercoaster that has been our pandemic experience, and I haven’t forgotten the hard parts…but overall, I am so grateful for our year at home, and I’ll be forever glad that we got to start our family in this way. Thanks to Lena Mirisola for making it look more glamorous than it really was 😉😘
Reading one of her faves (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). Sadly the author, Eric Carle, passed away not long after this was taken.
The girl behind the camera…Aunt Lena!!! Featuring matching bows! 🙂
Clara’s forever grabbing our toes…
One of her favorite things this month has been watching us count on our fingers:
Still a super messy eater and I think it’s the best. She’s a big fan of “obble-gobble” (avocado)
E made a new game called terremoto (“earthquake” in Spanish), where he shakes pillows around her.
Grandma and Grumpa’s first day!!! She was a little unsure what to make of all these new people, but within an hour they were old friends.
Classic Grumpa face!
Who’s this new person holding me?!
Celebrating Clara’s Mexican heritage on her first Cinco de Mayo!
Grandparents in heaven giving Clara her bottles…
Her first time trying a lime, and her “fishy face”
Maybe my favorite photo of the two of them EVER!
Oh my goodness…taking a tripod photo with five people including a baby is NO JOKE, but somehow we ended up with this gem!
More fun with counting!
What a gift to be able to spend my first Mother’s Day with my own mom – our first time together on this holiday since I was in high school!
E spoiled us with flowers, a homemade breakfast, and a sweet customized baby book.
The only thing Clara likes more than blueberry pancakes is WATER, ha!
Nom nom nom shoes!!!
My mom snapped this for me when we hung out at the park, and it’s one of my favorites of the two of us. Helping my girl learn how to stand!
Clara sleeps like this a lot and it cracks me up. She’s one passed out baby here 🙂
My most treasured photos with my mom EVER. E snapped these on her last morning in town when we were just snuggling on the couch in our pajamas with Clara.
Clara tried to take a trip to Texas in my mom’s suitcase, and I think my mom almost let her.
We added the tent cover to our Lovevery gym!
If there’s a tag-like object, she will find it. Guaranteed.
Now that the weather has warmed up, I’m trying to take her on more sunset adventures in the stroller!
Decapitating every dandelion one by one, ha!
Never a dull moment with this girl!
The most eventful part of taking her monthly photos is keeping her from eating the wooden disc. LOL.
That’s FINALLY a wrap for month eight…phew! More coming soon!
Updates from previous months: