Time is a peculiar thing, if you can call it a thing. One moment, my baby girl was born and the next she grew up. (If you missed her birth story, you can read it here.)
Her first few weeks were the most rough, in typical newborn fashion. She woke up every 2-3 hours to nurse, didn’t sleep in her crib, and had some massive diaper blowouts. But by month 2, she settled into a routine. She her nursing sessions spread out to every 4 hours, and she started sleeping through the night in her own crib in her room across the hall. It was a miracle! Everyone said it wouldn’t last, but I’m here to tell you that from the time she was 2 months old, she has always slept the whole night in her crib. I don’t have any magical secrets except prayer. We figured out fast that she liked having her legs swaddled, and she would only stay asleep in the complete dark. My sister Ruby also bought us a sound machine. Alethea loved the sound of the rain and so she has slept with it every night for a whole year until it broke just about a week ago. (Don’t worry, it has been replaced!)
Everyone also told me I was so lucky to have a baby who nursed so well from the start. Again, I don’t have any magical secrets other than prayer. My mom and sister struggled with nursing for different reasons, so I was kind of expecting I would as well. But Alethea nursed like a champ (and still does, though we are nearing the end.)
At each doctor appointment, she was right on track with her development and hit all the milestones right when they said she would. She gained a lot of weight in her first few months and quickly outgrew her clothes. At 4 months, she was wearing 9-12 month outfits.
These are some of the photos I took of our lives together from May – July last year. She got to meet her Great-Grampy from New York, on Daddy’s side of the family, as well as Aunt Nen and Uncle Joe.
We celebrated mother’s day, which was so bittersweet. It was my second mother’s day, but my first one where I got to hold my baby in my arms. Jonathan took us to UNO in the waterfront, then to Kerber’s for some ice cream. When we got home, Jonathan took some lovely photos of Alethea and I on our porch, in the pouring rain. It was the perfect day.
Memorial day came around and I was dreading it. Last year, Memorial Day fell on the day we lost Aria. We got up that day unsure of what our plans would look like. I dressed Alethea up in her rainbow heart onesie, and we went to the Irwin Memorial Day Parade. It was very hot outside, but we managed to find a spot in the shade. This parade in particular isn’t very long, but the highlight is that they wheel a canon along Pennsylvania avenue and set it off every couple hundred feet. I’ve always been at Deep Creek for Memorial day, so this was a new experience for me! Jonathan always has gone to the parade here in Irwin as long as he can remember, so it was special to share that with him for the first time.
Afterwards, we went to my parents house for a quick lunch. Then, we went to Dairy Queen and got an ice cream cake, and then to Giant Eagle to get a happy birthday balloon and a lovely bouquet of baby roses.
We mourned over the loss of our first baby girl, while rejoicing for the gift of Alethea. It’s a hard thing to explain when you feel so many different emotions at once. I can’t imagine life without my Alethea, yet I live in a life without my Aria. One day we will be reunited. I cling to that hope and grace through Jesus.
Alethea would wake up with the funniest faces. I’m so glad I was able to capture them while she was so small.
On the fourth of July, we had a cookout at my parent’s house. Alethea was not very happy that day. She cried almost the whole time we were there. The couple weeks after that were the same and we weren’t sure why. She would just get uncontrollably fussy. At her 4 month doctor appointment, her doctor said she was ready to start eating food! We were surprised by this, but knew it was a possibility. Oh my goodness, it was like magic. The day she started eating, she was the happiest most pleasant baby from then on.
We spent some time at the Deep Creek Lavender Farm, and I set up my tripod to take a few family photos of the 3 of us. It’s a family tradition for us to go there in July now and I can’t wait to go again next week!
Alethea had to take her baths in the sink at our lake house. She had grown so big, it was really tough to bathe her well! She made the funniest faces at her daddy while he was washing her.
We spend a lot of time at Deep Creek every year. It’s part of my family’s heritage. I can’t imagine summers without Deep Creek Lake. I am so thankful that my great grandfather had the foresight to buy some property down there 67 years ago. It has served our family through many generations, and will for many to come!
Enjoy these moments in time!