Sunday, April 2, 2017

Maxwell Thane {3 Years}

Oh Sweet Maxo,

I've been working on this post on and off again over the course of the last 2 months, trying to come up with the perfect words to capture YOU at three years old. There are so many facets of your personality that make this phase of life with you oh so sweet, yet oh so frustrating all at the same time! You're growing and changing every single day - and while I'm loving every minute of it, I'm always wishing and hoping that things will slow down.

Here's a quick rundown of you at THREE....

Let's start with your crazy admiration for your big brother, Harry. You want to copy his every move and repeat every word that comes out of his mouth. This monkey see, monkey do routine is making you wise beyond your 3 years. You watch him do big boy things, and are determined that you can do them too. You write your letters with minimal assistance  as well as words like M-A-X and your big brother's "long name" H-A-R-R-I-S-O-N. You try to sound out 3 letter words and have an imagination that sometimes makes me lose track of reality.  And while he may be your best friend, partner in crime, bring out your best belly laughs - you have no qualms about calling him out on things you don't like. One of my favorites is when I hear you say "Harrison Paul Ritchie" in your stern I-heard-Mom-say-it-that-way voice.
When your dad and I found out that we would be welcoming another sweet babe into our home, one of our biggest concerns was how you were going to handle the addition. At the time you were a total mama's boy and the very definition of NEEDY! If we only knew then what we know now. Oh my word, how you love your baby "Bwooks". You cover him with kisses ALL DAY LONG, talk "baby talk" to him, sing him silly songs, and rush to his side when he's upset. And speaking of upset - its pretty common for you to come stomping up to me and say "Mommy! I'm being funny and Bwooks isn't waughing!" Its obvious that you take your big brother role quite seriously and its been amazing to see this gentle, tender-hearted side of you shining thru.
You're 99% sweet, but lets be honest here, you have some sass in you too...and boy are you volitle. Happy one minute, in tears the next...most often as a result of H telling you he's "not gonna be your best friend anymore." We're working reeeeeally hard on not whining. You do it a lot. (For real. A lot.) One of these days you're going to get tired of us responding with "What? Huh? We can't understand you!" 
You are a creature of habit and like a good routine. The best example of this is the bedtime routine that you have created with your dad. Hug. Kiss. Butterfly. Eskimo. High five. Fist bump. Followed by a series of "Is it stuck? How stuck?" that I myself will never be able to do as well as him...and you have no hesitation pointing that out to me. Watching the two of you orchestrate this routine is one of my favorite parts of the the day. And speaking of our nighttime routine...one bedtime prayer is ever enough. First up is our Guardian Angel prayer, followed by none other than our dinnertime "Bless Us Oh Lord" prayer complete with the sign of the cross. 


You still suck on your two middle fingers when you get tired and love to have your "nigh-night" by your face as you fall asleep. (You hide your head under that same gray blanket when I try to wake you up in the morning!) When you were a babe you didn't want anything in your bed with you at night, but now it is overflowing with "sleeping buddies" who keep you company at night. Just this morning I found you sound asleep with your head on a Lego palace that you built last night.
You are not...let me repeat, NOT a morning person. Its best to let you wake up on your own terms, and when thats not possible? Hold on to your hats. Mom picks out your shirt? Melt down. Mom combs your hair? Melt down. Mom walks down the steps too fast? You guessed it. Melt down.
You're becoming very opinionated when it comes to things like picking out clothes. Usually the shirts/pants that I pick out for you are "boring" or "slow." Weirdo. You would eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if given the chance. You started big boy swimming lessons and are trying so hard to be brave like Harrison. There's still a little fear in those big brown eyes of yours, but you're "waking up your brave" more and more each week. You call croutons "croutons", country roads "crunchy roads," and say "inscusting" instead of disgusting. Every L out of your mouth sounds like a W. You're a big, thick kiddo, steadily creeping up on big brother in terms of size. I don't think Harry is going to be too happy when the little brother becomes the bigger brother.

I could go on and on, but when it comes down to it there is really just one thing that I want to remember about you at this phase of life. You heart, Mr. Max. Its sweeter than sweet and so full of love. I can't help but melt a little just thinking about it. I hope that you embrace this part of your person and carry it with you always. 


Happy 3 Mr. Man. 
May it be filled with all sorts of silly adventures and endless laughter.






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Brooks Edmund {6 months}

SIX months. Ugh. It can't be here already, can it!?  Time with this little boy is passing waaaaay faster than I would like and my best efforts to keep him little are proving futile. You'd think that having done this 3 other times I would cope a little better!

Here's a snapshot of what 6 months looks like for our sweet Brooksy-Babe...

Oh my goodness, Brooks, you are THE happiest baby. Mouth always grinning. Eyes always sparkling. You charm everyone who crosses your path! What makes you smile the biggest? Your brothers singing "If you're happy, happy, happy touch your toes," your daddy and his goofy noises and silly faces, and seeing mama at the end of the day. I love watching your sweet little personality develop.
This past month you decided that it was in the best interest of everyone if you gave up naps. You'll sneak a cat nap here and there, but gone are the days of a good 2 hour snooze. Its a good thing you're cute. On the other hand, your lack of day sleep has translated into some pretty awesome night sleep. You usually go down for the night between 6-7PM and wake up around 5:30AM for a quick bottle before heading back to sleep. This mama it THANKFUL to finally get a little more sleep. You definitely kept it interesting there for awhile.

Cashed out within 10 minutes of being home from daycare...
We (finally) started feeding you some baby food this month. You're a big fan, but still prefer a good ol' bottle over most anything. You get SO excited when you see one and instantly reach out for it, smacking your lips. Remember that little premie baby who wouldn't eat for his first two weeks of life? 
Yeah, me either.
You made it thru a solid 3 months at daycare before picking up your first round of "sickies." Three trips to the doctor, 2 antibiotics and a course of steroids later, we finally cleared up a nasty sinus infection that plagued you for about 3.5 weeks. Poor Bubba! 
At the beginning of your 6th month I broke out my mom voice and said to you "Brooks Edmund, your sister had 2 open heart surgeries by the time she was 2 weeks old...and even she was rolling from her back to her belly by this time." No, its not fair for me to compare accomplishments between siblings, but you were being flat out lazy. 
Apparently mom voice = action.
A few odds and ends: You love being upright so that you can keep close tabs on everything going on around you, but you're not quite "sturdy" enough to sit on your own. You don't talk a ton, but when you do, everyone in the neighborhood can hear you! You love Miss Beth at school and get super sad when she's out of your sight. I think that maybe you should re-pay her for all of her love with a nap or two. You wear mostly 6 month clothes and at your many doctors appointments this month you were anywhere from 14-15 pounds. Two Four final words: Red Hair. Red Brows. 
Happy 1/2 birthday little man! It has been quite the adventure so far, and we look froward to all of the fun that the next half has in store!

Brooks Edmund Ritchie {6 months}














Thursday, February 23, 2017

Brooks Edmund {4 Month Photos}

Because Charlotte was in the hospital for the first month of her life and had a wound vac (a device used to help heal a section of her incision) for another few weeks after that, we didn't end up having her official "newborn" photos taken until she was close to 3 months old. For consistency sake (because I'm a weirdo like that) we've stuck with the same timeline for each of our boys. Well...until Brooks that is.  He didn't end up getting his taken until closer to 4 months because thats what happens when you have 3 kiddos ages 4 and under. 

In early January, Brooks and I loaded up and made a trip back to my hometown for a perfectly simple photo session with the talented Leah of Leah Marie Photography. No fancy props. No outfit changes. Just our sweet little boy, his sparkling eyes, and his unruly red hair. Brooks was too mesmerized by the camera to share many of his signature smiles, but he did give us some of the most perfect little expressions.

And did I mention his eyes? Holy moly...those eyes.



And no photo shoot would be complete without our traditional baby "headshot." We have the same simple photo of all of the kiddos hanging in oversized frames on our wall. I can't wait to round things out with this little grin.

Brooks Edmund
 Maxwell Thane
Harrison Paul
 Charlotte Delene

This mama's heart is so insanely full.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Brooks Edmund {5 months}

Sweet baby Brooks,

Our first 5 months with you have been simply magical. In the blink of an eye you have transformed from a tiny little newborn into a sweet little personality that I can't imagine life without. You are such a HAPPY baby - always quick with a smile that absolutely melts my heart. My sweet, sweet baby boy.

Here's a snapshot of what you're up to at 5 months.

Our house is a bit of a circus these days with 3 boys ages 4 and under, but you don't seem too phased by all the commotion. You are fascinated by your goofball brothers and barely flinch when you're on the receiving end of an on-the-fly puppy kiss. You've been practicing your screeching and definitely do your fair share to add to the noise.
After a bit of tough love, you are finally sleeping 10-11 hour stretches at night. Can I get a big ol' AMEN? I can’t tell you how much your mama appreciates the extra sleep! If you would be a little more consistent with naps at school during the week, we'd be set. 
You can roll 3/4 of the way from your back to your belly…then you just get lazy. You’ve never been a huge fan of tummy time, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, really though, why focus on moving when you have 4 big people to bring you everything you need?
At 5 months old you are officially 14 pounds and wear mostly 6 month clothes. So much for my best efforts to keep you little. You have a voracious appetite and I feel like you still drink bottles non-stop. You LOVE them and cry the minute you finish, regardless of how much you ate. Trust me babe, you ain't starvin'. Solids are next on our list (when mom finds the energy) and I have a feeling you'll be pretty excited about those too.
This month you really fell in love with your daddy. I can’t say that I blame you, he’s pretty lovable. His goofy faces and silly sounds are guaranteed to make you grin from ear to ear.
I know that you will always be your own person...but Brooks...I can't tell you how much you remind us of your big sister. The resemblance absolutely takes my breath away. Your big sparkling eyes. Your perfect little lips. Even the way that your auburn hair grows in 800 different directions. My eyes are filled with tears just thinking about it.

A few odds and ends: You still love a nice soak in the bath and have graduated from your little blue tub to a comfy reclined seat. You like watching Tom & Jerry with your brothers in the morning while they eat breakfast. You survived your first influenza exposure...courtesy of yours truly. Boooo. You're stuck in a really bad hair phase...but don't worry, your brothers were there too. And speaking of hair, yours is definitely still red. Your eyebrows too. Lord knows you'll be a feisty one. You love to rock with your mama, and my oh my do I love to rock with you. 
Happy 5 months (+10 days) baby boy! We can't wait to see what shenanigans month #6 holds.
 



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Brooks Edmund {4 months}

Oh Brooksy Babe. You're officially 4 months old. Four months. Sigh. You're getting so big and showing us so much of your little personality (which I LOVE), but I would totally be ok with you slowing things down a bit. A new little babe started in your classroom at school this week, and it made me realize how much you have changed in such a short amount of time.  Oh my poor mama's heart.

Here's a little snapshot of you, sweet Brooks, at 4 months old...

Your brothers have been big into capes and masks these days. Max has been Batman, H is Robin, and you are "Hulk Smash." I wish I had captured the giggles that came from their mouths when they saw you in your costume. You fit in quite nicely with this crazy crew!
You are just the sweetest little boy - quick with a smile for most anyone who gives you attention. You used to save the best grins for your mama, but have definitely developed a soft spot for that daddy of yours. 
Baths, while few and far between in this crazy home of ours, are your favorite. 
Month #4 was full of baby dates! First up was a morning meet-up with Miss Elin. You weren't quite sure about the whole deal at first, but by the end you were quite mesmerized by her! I'm so excited to watch the two of you grow! 
The very next day we welcomed your "Big City" girlfriend out to the farm. Neva made the trip all the way from NYC just to see you (errrr...and to celebrate Christmas with family...but thats beside the point!). She's 2 weeks older than you and an excellent option for when you're both 35 and allowed to date.  
I can't even tell you how happy this picture makes me. Like smiling ear to ear, eyes full of tears happy. Oh how I love these 2 ladies.
Before you were born, daddy and I were a bit concerned about how your big brother Maxo was going to handle a new baby in the house. Well...this picture says it all. Max absolutely ADORES you, giving you no less than 100 kisses each day. This month you have started to reciprocate his affection, giving some of your best grins when he's within view.  Its been so fun to watch this relationship in its earliest stages!
Its been a fun season (well, second half of the season) for Packer football! You got some new onesies for Christmas, just in time for post-season games. The Packers won the Super Bowl when your sister was a baby...so we're thinking capping things off with another this year. You know...kind of a Super Bowl sandwich with our first and last born being the bread?? Too much to ask?? ;)
You, sweet boy, are a trooper and get lugged around on all sorts of crazy outings. This is a sneak peek into what our Thursday mornings look like. A mad rush to get out the door in time for 9AM swimming lessons followed by a little one on one time for you and mama!
Odds and Ends: You started out your life with a 2 week battle with a bottle and a feeding tube. Now, 4 months later, good Lord do you eat like a horse. Some days we're lucky if we can go 2.5 hours between feedings. I even had to break out some 6 month clothes last week because you're growing so quickly. The good news is, all of that daytime eating is reaping good things at night! For the last 3 nights (knock on wood) you have been sleeping 10 straight hours (7pm-5am)! Can I get a big ol' AMEN to that!!? You're having your very first sleepover at NamNam and PopPop's weekend, so I hope you treat them to the same solid night. You love being upright - standing on our laps, sitting in a Bumbo, dangling in your jumper - you name it! We haven't started any baby food for you yet, but it probably isn't a bad idea judging by your appetite!




Oh Brooksy Babe - life with you in it is oh so sweet. I can't wait to see what adventures the next month have in store!