As of Lately (and a 4 month old Theo)

We've taken a little break from Social Media, a whole month in fact. And while I'd like to say so many crazy things happened with the Joneses, I have to admit, life continued on as usual. I think the biggest thing that happened was that Anna pooped in the potty after going on a little hiatus and continues to do so. Which, if you're a parent of a toddler or ever have been, then you know this is major news! Travis continued playing soccer with the boys on Mondays and Tuesdays, my girls nights continued as usual, we went to the mountains for our staff retreat while Anna stayed home with Mimi and got spoiled rotten--that's what Mimi's are for ;) And the kicker to end it all: we all got sick AGAIN!!! complete with double ear infections, pink eye, upper respiratory colds, sever sore throats, and RSV for the second time in less than a month. We've been to the doctor so many times in the last 7 weeks that any time we leave the house Anna asks if we're going to see Dr. Brown again. A majority of the time the answer is yes. She doesn't seem to mind. She loves Dr. Brown.

Taking walks on warmer days. Somehow as February has gone on it's gotten colder.
That's not how it's supposed to work--doesn't it know that?
Staying warm inside taking bubble baths.
Proof that bibles are being read! They're falling apart. What a beautiful sight. 
Mrs. and little Mr. Sickie. 

Our first, and hopefully last, snow and ice storm came through the other night. While we only got a few inches (if that) of snow, the ice was pretty thick so they called school. I'm sure they would've called school even if we didn't get the ice because that's just how it goes down here. I didn't mind like I usually do because we were stuck inside being sick anyway. Anna and Travis got out for a bit though and played with the other kids who turned cardboard boxes into sleds because that's just what you do in the south. At one point Travis said, "I wish we had a sweet sled!" And I'm all, "what would be the point?!" Plus sifting through the dumpster to find the perfect piece of cardboard is the cherry on top. 

My mountain man and sweet little eskimo

In other big news Theo turns 4 months old today. I remember when Anna was 4 months old. We were in Ohio while Travis was in SE Asia. She was getting over RSV too. We were excited about starting solids with her. Starting solids with Theo really hasn't crossed my mind. The first time we tried with Anna we decided to wait a few more weeks because we knew she just wasn't quite ready. I may wait a few more weeks for Theo too. Besides being twice the size of his birth weight he hasn't really shown any other signs that he's ready for solids yet. I'm pretty sure he started a growth spurt a few weeks back. He all of a sudden started waking up every two hours at night to eat like he was a newborn again. The first few nights weren't too bad but by the fifth night I was becoming exhausted and a little annoyed. At almost 4 weeks later he's still waking up every 2-3 hours. My body is finally get used to it again but that doesn't mean I don't long for the nights when I'll be able to get a consecutive 4 hours of sleep! His day schedule isn't any better. I feel like with Anna at Theo's age we had a pretty good schedule going but when you've got a toddler who has her own needs too the second child tags along for the ride. He naps 3 to 4 times a day and thankfully takes a long nap while Anna naps in the afternoon which means I can catch a shut-eye every now and then. It's been extra difficult with Theo being sick twice in one month and going through a growth spurt but we know we'll eventually get in the groove, it's gotta happen at some point. Plus he doesn't seem to mind getting the extra cuddle time at night.

Who needs Christian Bale when I have this little guy as my Batman?
Big Boy
Yup, I went there. It needed to be said and I'm just trying to be honest.


I blinked

Little man turned 3 months yesterday. I'm scratching my head wondering where the past three months went. I'm realizing the more kids you have the faster the time goes. If I ever had a reason to stop at two, there it is right there. Time s.l.o.w. down! I feel like so much has happened in the last 13 weeks and not just with Theo. This past week I caught myself looking at Anna and just blown away by how much she's grown too. Since Theo's been here Anna has transitioned from her crib to her big girl bed, is counting to 15, singing her ABCD's (as she calls them), holds lengthy conversations (some of which are still questionable if it's English), and is currently potty training. I blinked. I told myself I wouldn't and I did. I blinked and my baby girl has officially become a kid. It even feels different to carry her. She's so long now. It breaks my heart. But at the same time it brings me joy seeing her grow so beautifully.

And then there is my sweet Theo. A mama's boy if I've ever seen one. He can't be away from me for more than 10 minutes. Even if I try to put him down for a nap or nighttime in his bassinet, our bed, his swing, anywhere where I am not, he senses my absence. I've gotten pretty good at baby wearing and I can tie that Moby Wrap around me in less than five seconds. We've also been co-sleeping a lot more than we did with Anna. I always told myself I wasn't going to be that parent but when you and your baby aren't getting any sleep unless he can feel your breath on his face you do what you gotta do. If you read my previous post than you know he had RSV this week, but despite being sick his smile never faded. His smile is the best. His whole face smiles. His big eyes all of a sudden disappear.  I just can't get enough. We can already tell Anna and his personalities are completely different. He's easy to get to smile, a big flirt. With Anna you had to work for a smile from her, and you still do. Which I don't mind one bit. I love that about her. And I love that my little man is so easily entertained especially by his mama.

Yes, you read that last line correct. He is going bald--and it's not just the balding that happens from his head rubbing while he's sleeping. I know babies who have lost their hair after a few months only to have it grow back much lighter. Fingers crossed Theo will be a little blondie like his daddy was :)

I can't get enough of these two together. I love to imagine how they'll interact as they get older. I can already tell Anna's going to be miss bossy britches and Theo will be at her beck and call. He looks at her with such fascination. He loves her so much. She still pays way more attention to her own baby dolls than to Theo but when she does it's the sweetest--except when she's "disciplining" him in which I have to remind her that Theo is a baby and he "wistens 'n obeys" just fine. Sometimes, if her play is innocent, I don't stop her because it's just too cute.

My two littles. The most joy comes in teeny-tiny packages, am I right? How did we get so blessed? Hopefully the next three months don't go by as fast as the previous. I'm not betting on it. This time I'm going to use toothpicks to keep my eyes open so as not to blink.


2015, I dislike you already

We can't seem to catch a break. We've been sick since before Christmas. One right after the other. I guess we should've assumed it'd go that way. If one person is sick in the house the rest are soon to follow. I kicked it all off by coming down with the flu. The day my family was planning on joining us for the week of Christmas I got a fever, chills, cough, the whole shebang. I took ibuprofen like it was my job and sucked on cough drops until my throat was numb. I was bound and determined to be well while they were here. Travis insisted he wasn't going to get sick. His persistence didn't stand a chance and neither did my determination. He came down with a fever on day 3 of my family being here and my fever returned after being dormant for a few days. Having my family here was a huge help. I was sad we weren't able to do as much as we wanted to and I really wanted to be a good host while they were here, but really that's what family is for, to take care of you when you're down, to take care of your kids when you feel crummy. They couldn't have cared less if I was a good host. Even though Travis and I were both sick we ended up having a wonderful Christmas and as long as Anna and Theo were around to entertain I'm pretty sure my family had a happy Christmas too. 

First time in over a year all four of us were together. I couldn't let the flu keep me down. Thankfully Stef didn't get sick after I bit her ;)

Not even a week after my family left we were expecting Travis' mom, his brother, and sister-in-law. We were super excited to spend a few days with them watching Buckeye football in the Sugar Bowl, showing them around Charlotte, and again we wanted to be good hosts. Well, what do you know, the morning they were to arrive I woke up with a sore breast and fever which ultimately turned into mastitis later that day. Awesome. So I had to spend the next few days, while Travis' family was here, massaging my breast, taking hot baths, nursing as often as I could, and taking antibiotics and more ibuprofen to keep the fever at bay. Again, having family here though was a blessing. 

I recovered shortly after Travis' family left and we thought the kids might be in the clear. The flu had been out of our house for over a week and of course I wasn't contagious with mastitis. But then last week Anna started coughing. It was the exact cough I had before I came down with a fever. I called the doctor right away. Sure enough she had the flu AND strep throat!!! You'd never be able to tell though. She is a trooper. Her cough wasn't too bad and she didn't really ever get a fever. The worst part of her sickness was giving her Tamiflu. We had to get creative in how we gave it to her because the first few times she threw a fit and one time she vomited it up. It was awesome. After bribing persuading her with stickers and at one time a cookie (insert emoji with hands over eyes) she mustered up some courage and took her medicine like a champ. 

I was praying really hard and with my eyes closed really tight (not that that really matters to God) that Theo would stay healthy through it all. Then this past weekend a little cough started to rear it's ugly head. That sweet little cough. Poor guy. I took him to see the doctor this morning, and not surprising, come to find out he has RSV. Flashbacks of Anna from two years ago flooded my mind; memories of breathing treatments and humidifiers and suctioning snot. Then Anna exclaims "my turn, my turn!" So Dr. Brown played along and listened to Anna's heart with her stethoscope, and for good measure checked her ears. "Anna has an ear infection." You've got to be kidding me! She is still taking amoxicillin for her strep throat, how the heck does she get an ear infection!? Off to the pharmacy we went for the third time in three weeks for a stronger dose of meds for Anna and albuterol for Theo. 

Maybe this is how the sickness is spread. Just a guess.

My tough guy. That smile tells me the RSV isn't getting the better of him.

While 2015 didn't begin how I would've liked I'm hoping all the sickness we've had to endure isn't any indiction of what the rest of the year holds. But I've got to look on the bright side. Family was a huge help and great company over the past few weeks plus two really big things happened: Anna is potty training (wahoooo!!!) and our Buckeyes won the National Championship, so we're not too down in the dumps over here. 

We're so proud of our big girl! Look at all those stickers behind her. I'd say she's pretty proud too!

Raising them up right.


The Baby Boy Without a Name (Theo Shepherd's Birth Story)

Remember when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I posted how we still hadn't pinned down a name for our little boy and how we'd better figure it out before we arrived at the hospital because we're not like those people who can just wait to see our son and know his name? Well God has a huge sense of humor and wanted to keep us on our toes because that's exactly what happened. I mean we were driving to the hospital exclaiming to one another, "what's his name?!" We were still mulling over it between contractions. We continued to repeat our options over and over after he was born and nothing sounded right. One of us would say "I think it's ____" and the other would say "but I like ____" and it'd go back and forth like that all the way up until we finally arrived at Theo Shepherd 12 hours after he came into this world!

It all started on Thursday, the 16th. Up until this day Juice Drop's back had favored my right side, which according to spinningbabies.com is not an optimal birthing position. I should know because Anna was not in the optimal birthing position and I didn't want to have another labor and delivery like hers! He was on his way to giving me another back labor so all week I had been doing exercises to help him flip. The evening of the 16th we went to a friend's art show fundraiser. While there I started having contractions pretty frequently. Nothing too consistent yet and no pain but I knew they were different than regular braxton hicks. He also felt different. I felt his back on my left side! We walked around the show, admiring all the beautiful art, talking to friends, and every now and then I could feel a contraction come on, and every time I thought this could be the start of something. As we left I told Travis what was going on and he insisted that the baby stay inside of me until we come up with a name. I said, "yeah, ok, I'll let baby boy know". I got through the night still having contractions but again no pain and they were about 10 minutes apart. The next day I had my midwife appointment. I was hoping she'd confirm that he was in the right position and I was also hoping she'd say I was in the early stages of labor because I was still having contractions. Well double bonus, Juice Drop was in the optimal birthing position and I was dilated 3 cm! Being the on-call midwife she said she'd be surprised if she didn't see me back that weekend! Woo HOO! We started letting family and friends who were on standby to watch Anna know things could happen pretty quickly since my contractions were picking up speed after I got home. (Side note: we soon discovered that this would be the worst weekend to have a baby. Travis' mom who was planning on coming down as soon as we told her I was in labor said she couldn't arrive until Sunday--it was Friday. Our friend who lives in our neighborhood who was on standby for a middle-of-the-night trip to the hospital was out of town. Thankfully our dear friend Susan offered to watch Anna for most of the weekend but was unavailable for a few hours on Saturday, along with everyone else! We finally found a family we were just getting to know (so Anna didn't know them) to watch her for those few hours--we were making phone calls just an hour after Theo came and thankfully was able to find this gracious family! We were starting to realize the joys and challenges of having more than one child!)

Later that evening, on the 17th, my contractions started to get more frequent, 5-7 minutes apart. I decided I didn't want to make dinner so we went out for pizza. The whole evening I caught myself staring at Anna. I just knew this was going to be our last night as a family of three. I tried to cherish every moment with her that night. As we went through her bedtime routine we made sure to take pictures and video of her kissing my tummy and talking to her baby brother. We let her know how proud of her we are and how excited we are for her to be a big sister. I continued counting contractions and they got to be 3-5 minutes apart but still no pain. I asked my friend of five children her advice and she said she'd call the midwife if she were me because if she would've waited until her contractions were painful she'd have had 2 of her 5 kids at home! Well I definitely didn't want to have an unplanned home birth, nor did Travis want to deliver our baby so I called my midwife. She told me to come on in! After Susan arrived 15 minutes later we were off to the hospital, still without a name for our son.

After being admitted and getting settled into our room, my midwife checked me. I was hoping she'd say I had progressed to at least 6 cm...but I was barely 4. Well, shoot. I was afraid she was going to send me back home since my contractions didn't hurt either but instead she told me to walk around and try to get something started. I walked for a bit, we put on the movie "Brave" to try and pass the time, and I told Travis he might as well get some sleep since I knew we'd be there for a while and at that time I didn't need him. Around midnight I finally started feeling the contractions. They still weren't too painful. A nurse came to check shortly after and told me I was 9 cm dilated!! We got so excited! Only one more cm to go and my contractions weren't too bad! ... However, my bubble was soon deflated because my midwife checked me just 5 minutes later and she said I was closer to 7. Well shoot (again). She decided to break my water (which I still don't understand why since I was progressing fairly well and my contractions weren't terrible so why couldn't we just keep it that way because as soon as my water broke all hell broke lose!) But seriously, it was like night and day how different my contractions became. And I wasn't ready for them. I figured since he was in the optimal birthing position the pain was going to be more manageable than the contractions I had with Anna. I was wrong. It was difficult for me to focus, relax, and breath like I needed to, and they were coming so fast and strong that some weren't even a minute apart. I didn't even have time to rest. Unfortunately during this labor I didn't want anyone to touch me. With Anna's I needed Travis to push his fist into my back with every contraction and hold my hand with his other. This time Travis felt helpless. At one point I told Travis I didn't think I could make it to 10 cm without relief. I felt so exhausted and I couldn't imagine having to go through another contraction. After slapping me and yelling "get your act together!"--no just kidding ;) he told me I could do this, I was so close, and encouraged me to breath correctly. Up to that point I wasn't breathing how I had learned, and after he reminded me of this it was like a totally different labor. The pain definitely didn't go away but it was more manageable.

Finally, a little before 7:30 am, I felt pressure and asked the nurse to check me. She told me I had a little bit of cervix left but I could try to push through it. Hallelujah! I got myself into the position I wanted to push and within 3 contractions we met our baby boy! He was out and on my chest by 7:44 with me exclaiming, "I love him so much!" and he still without a name. I was hoping as soon as I saw him I would just know his name. However, that didn't happen. And it didn't happen for Travis either.

We decided to give ourselves a deadline. By 7 pm that evening we needed to decide on a name. So for the next several hours we repeated our options. We had two names we were mulling over and both had different middle names to go along with them. We would stare down at him and say "are you a _____? or a ______?" We would switch up the first names with the middle names and see if those worked too. And then right before 7 o'clock something clicked. We decided on the name we originally had chosen for him all along (since before I was pregnant) with the middle name that Travis thought of just a few weeks before. It wasn't like we hadn't tried these two names together before but in that moment it was like "Yes, this is it! This is his name!" We finally had a name for our precious baby boy: Theo Shepherd. The name just fit him perfectly. He even looks like a Theo Shepherd. The meaning of names means a lot to us and we pray that as he grows his name will become more than just a title, it'll become who he is in Christ. Theo, a divine gift--that he is. Shepherd, a guide and protector--our prayer is that he is a guide and protector to all those around him and he will lead the lost to Jesus just as Jesus, our ultimate Shepherd, leads us to our Heavenly Father.

It's been almost three months since Theo entered the world. Every day I fall more and more in love with this sweet boy. His contagious smile, his precious coos, his sweet smell, I can't get over him. His personality is starting to shine through and I'm realizing the name we picked for him is just perfect.


As of Late

The past two months have been crazy, to say the least. I feel like I'm finally wrapping my head around the fact that I'm a mother of two and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is the first time I've really had the desire or energy to sit down and write a post. This blog has definitely been neglected. Sorry I'm not sorry. But really though, all you new mothers of more than one child, how do you have time to devote to your blog?! I give you props, ladies, because this mama is spent come bedtime and all I want to do is veg on the couch watching old Parks and Rec's episodes. I mean, who has the time to edit photos and write a post to go along with it when I have a toddler who won't nap most days, a baby who refuses to not be held 24/7, a house that still needs to be cleaned, plus all the hoopla that goes along with the holidays. Ain't nobody got time for that! I promise I'm in the process of writing Theo's birth story. It will be published one of these days! But until then you'll have to settle for pictures of Anna during our trip to Charleston this past weekend and little tidbits of our happenings with her since Theo came along.

Seriously, this girl. I think I'm more in love with her than before Theo graced our presence. I just can't get enough of her and all I want to do is cuddle with her. Her giggles, her tiny voice, her sweet spirit, and those eyes. They getchya. It's like when you look into them you're gazing into her soul. Those eyes are dangerous. She can get whatever she wants with those eyes. And mommy and daddy have to be very careful not to fall into her trap because she knows it. There are times when I'm disciplining her and I have to look away for fear of being sucked in. True story.

Then there are her "smarts". She knows her ABC's--or her ABCD's as she calls them; she can count to 10 successfully--11 is "robin" and then she repeats 14 until we help her along to 20; she sings all the time--her current favorites are Jingle Bells, "kinkle, kinkle, widdle stah", and the "la la" song aka The Fighter by Mumford and Sons; she repeats everything she hears including "gosh", "oh man!" and "what the heck!"--oops! Travis and I are working on our filter; she is super polite telling complete strangers "thank you" when they hold the door open for her (melts my heart and makes this Mama proud!), she'll even tell me "no thank you" when I ask her to throw away baby brother's diaper for me--how can I be mad at that?!

She's the complete opposite of me when it comes to her fearlessness and her desire for adventure. It's going to be the death of me. We moved her to her big girl bed at the beginning of November after we found out she could jump into and out of her crib. She would climb up onto her rocking chair that was next to the crib, climb on its arm, climb onto the railing of the crib and then balance on half an inch of wood before jumping in! Insane. And then somehow manage to climb out. We knew it was time. She's done great in her big girl bed. Thankfully it's not on a frame or we'd be hearing lots of bumps in the night. 

She is super strong willed. And that is exactly like me. We butt heads for sure and a lot of the times I have to catch myself before I lose my patience. I try to remember that she learns patience from me and when I want her to exercise patience I should be the one modeling it. We're working on "no" right now. I know she says it because I say it way too much--I'm working on that too. The times when I just want to throw my hands up and turn my head for fear of laughing is when she looks me in the eye and says "No way!" Obviously I've said those words way too many times (insert embarrassed hands-over-eyes emoji). 

She's been into all things baby after she got a doll for her first birthday last year but since Theo came along it's been like baby overload for her. We're finding Theo's diapers on baby dolls, I saw her "nursing" one of her dolls while she was supposed to be napping, she's constantly changing her dolls clothes, and then one day I caught her trying to change Theo's diaper. It was almost an epic disaster! After laying Theo in his bassinet I went to use the bathroom. I thought Anna and Theo would be ok by themselves for the few minutes I was gone, ha! Anna started saying "poopy, poopy, poopy". I knew Theo was poopy and I had planned on changing him when I was done using the bathroom myself so I just thought Anna was stating the obvious. I took my time washing my hands and checking myself in the mirror--first time that day--and Anna's still saying "poopy". Yeah, yeah, Anna, ok. I finally walk into my bedroom and there lies Theo with a huge smile, his pajamas unbuttoned, his diaper pulled down but thankfully all of its contents still intact, and Anna still saying "poopy"! I gasped and said "Oh, Anna! (ok, I could make a huge deal out of this and scar my child or I could handle this appropriately--I chose the latter) Thank you for helping change Theo's diaper! Mommy and Daddy are the only ones who can change his diaper. I think your babies need changed though too" and out the door she ran. Crisis averted!

I'm not sure the point of this post except that I just needed to write. I haven't been able to write as much as I'd like but getting to sit down and put some of our sweet memories with Anna on paper makes my heart feel happy. These early years are fleeting and the time goes by just way too fast. I want to bottle up every little thing my children do and, for Anna, say. I know it's not possible and I hate that. So until someone figures out a way to do that and lets all us parents know I'll continue to find small openings in my week where I can write out and capture our beautiful life together.


The last month

It's been a big blur. That's what they all say, right? The first month you barely remember and that is why you have more kids because you forget all that a newborn brings. I've been humbled yet again. I was humbled with Anna because I thought I had it all figured it out before she was even born because, you know, I was a nanny (huge eye roll). And this time, I just feel like my whole world is a tailspin. Out. Of. Control. Where have the days gone? or nights, rather? Where have my beloved nap times gone where I get everything done? Oh, they're being used for catching up on the sleep I didn't get the night before. Laundry is never-ending. I used to get by doing a load or two a week, now I'm doing a load everyday, which means baskets are laying around the house with unfolded clothes--clean, albeit, but unfolded and yet to be placed where they belong. Some days we're living out of baskets. I don't remember the last time I cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed, or dusted. I don't remember the last time my eyes haven't burned or randomly gone crossed out of sheer exhaustion. By the time I'm able to take a shower I wonder if it's even worth it knowing within the 15 minutes I'm out I'll be spit up on again. I've never changed so many poopy diapers. Literally, every diaper change has been a poopy one. Guys, I'm not joking. If I got a quarter for every poopy diaper I've changed...

Be real with me, you experienced this too. That's just how it is, right? I think God gave parents the newborn stage to bring us to our knees. This life is out of our control and having a newborn reminds us of that. Really just having kids does that too, but having a newborn is only the beginning. I also think the newborn stage brings light to how God looks at us. We're like the newborn: fragile, unable to care for ourselves, totally dependent on someone else. And God takes care of us, feeds us, cleans us, keeps us alive. And why? We don't do anything to deserve it. Because He loves us. A sacrificial, unconditional, incessant love. In all our helplessness God still looks at us with a perfect love. Despite all that I've been through the past month in adding another helpless being to our lives I can't help but look at my son and marvel at the vast amount of love I have for him. As caregiver over another I get the honor of experiencing just a glimpse of how God sees and takes care of me. And that's another way He brings me to my knees.

Along with the sleepless nights, the unceasing loads of laundry, the eye twitches, days without showers, the endless poopy diapers, the cries we don't know how to stop (by both baby and parent), we've also experienced so much joy, awe, love, and sighs of disbelief that we now have two beautiful, amazing children. We look at one another and wonder how did we get so lucky? We've also been blessed with a village surrounding us. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles aren't close but we have found "family" in our friends who have brought us meals almost every night since we arrived home from the hospital, who have taken Anna to play with their children so I could take a shower or catch up on some needed zzz's, and who have encouraged us that we're not alone in this crazy world of parenting two children. Blessings have overflown in the Jones' household, that is for sure.

I mean, just look at this little guy on his one month birthday:

A little note from Theo:

I weigh 11+ pounds (way to go, Mommy!) I'm a spitter upper who is now on Zantac for my acid reflux. It seems to be helping which makes me feel better. I know it makes Mommy and Daddy feel better too. I have great head control, I poop like it's my job, I smile when I'm gassy, and I can't live without my paci. I like baths, cuddling, tummy time, and co-sleeping (shhh, don't tell Dr. Brown). I dislike being alone, wearing hats, and being on my back. Mommy says I'm a tiny heartbreaker.


A Letter to My Children

Dear Anna Jubilee,

You're a big sister! How did that happen? How are you old enough, big enough to have someone younger and smaller than you in our little family. You are already the best big sister to your little brother. You are so sweet, so loving, and so helpful. I was nervous how you'd react when we brought your brother home. I was afraid you'd poke his eyes out, try to feed him your crackers, and I'd have to continually tell you to be more gentle. But not once since we've been home have I had to worry about you. You're so gentle with Theo, you love giving him kisses, you love to hold him (even if it is for 2.5 seconds), you love to sing him songs, and the first question you ask in the morning is "where's baby brother?". I'm so proud of you, sweet girl. You're growing up way too fast but I love seeing you learn new things and become more of girl and less of a baby. You're a sponge right now and I swear you're a genius (I may be biased). You love singing, especially to Mumford and Sons. You enjoy drawing and I think you've inherited your Daddy's artistic abilities. Your fearlessness is going to be the death of me (or just make me pass out every now and then when you come crying to me with a broken appendage). You'll always hold a special place in my heart being my first child and my first (maybe only) girl. I pray you'd continue to grow in wisdom and stature and that Christ would always be the center of your joy. I love you, my sweet Anna Jubilee.

Dear Theo Shepherd,

You're finally here! A week early nonetheless; and while we weren't quite ready for you (considering you didn't have a name for the first 12 hours of your life), I'm not complaining. You, sir, are one special guy. You have your sister head over heals in love with you, and your Mommy and Daddy are pretty smitten as well. As soon as you entered the world my first words were "I love him so much!", and after taking a good look at you I realized how much you resembled Anna. For a few days I felt like I was reliving two years ago. But now, after two weeks, you're beginning to look less and less like your big sister and you're becoming your own person. I love it. Your eyes are starting to lighten, I can't wait to see what color they'll finally settle on. Will they stay blue like your Daddy's or turn brown like your sister's or will they change to a green like mine? Your cheeks are starting to fill out and become more and more kissable. You're still so fuzzy and soft and your sweet baby scent takes my breath away every time (or maybe that's all the poopy diapers!) You're always making noises and they are the funniest. The other night, I swear, Predator took over my son. One minute you sound like an alien, the next you sound like a velociraptor. I wished for a cuddly baby, and boy, did I get one! You won't let me put you down for a second. It makes for long nights since you don't sleep well if you're not on mine or your Daddy's chest. But that's ok. We can't stay upset for long because we just look at you and our hearts melt all over again. You have added so much to our little family. I already forget what life was like without you (more sleep, that's for sure!). I pray you would always know the love of the Father and that as you grow you would look to Him in all things. I love you, my precious Theo Shepherd.