Ethan Edward – 8 Months

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A week and a half ago our baby turned eight months old. At the time we were visiting his Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts (and cousin!) for Thanksgiving and a bridal shower, so it was a busy time… but I have a feeling the rest of this winter will be just as busy. Time flies when you’re having fun… and when there’s a fast growing baby in the house.

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My little hunk weighs 20 pounds! My goodness, he is so well built. My arms can attest to that fact. Also, mom workouts can be intense. All you have to do is opt for a basket instead of a cart while grabbing a few items at HyVee, with said mini man in the other arm wiggling and grabbing. We’re talking about some pretty impressive biceps in this mommy’s future at the rate E is growing.

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There haven’t been a lot of big visible changes for E this past month, though I know a lot more is going on in that cute round little head of his than we realize. He’s not crawling yet and still isn’t really interested in solids, though he does enjoy an occasional chew on a celery stick or apple slice. We’re not stressing. He’s obviously happy, healthy and quite interactive, so I’m really okay with taking things slow. I have a feeling he’s learning so much mentally that he’s taking some of the physical things slower.

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One of the biggest changes we’ve seen, though, is Ethan’s awareness of finer details and smaller objects. His love of books continues to grow as he’s learning how to open and close them and flip the pages. He still chews on them, but in his baby mind, that’s the most obvious way to explore things, so why wouldn’t you? He also pays more attention to little objects, picking at different colors in the carpet, mashing beans with his chubby hand at the dinner table, grabbing drawstrings on jackets.

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He also laughs more at various things, and watches you more carefully when he knows you’re playing with him. We played hide and seek with daddy for the first time, and he picked up on the mystery of hiding in the dark bathroom, eyes big, while daddy loudly called out for us, and then laughing and smiling when daddy flipped the light on and found us. He likes watching daddy play guitar, observing mommy cooking in the kitchen, reading, playing peek a boo, jumping, and climbing on things- which is fairly new. He climbs all over our laps and over objects and tries to pull himself up (very close to pulling up to a standing position without help). We have so much fun with our happy little man! I’m looking forward to when he starts talking, and I can get a glimpse of what goes on in that adorable round head of his.

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Training? Mommy does get lax in that area. Potty training isn’t happening (the potty is SO far away from the changing table…). I think I’ll be more motivated when he can walk and help initiate, though that’s really more of an excuse. Sundays are hit and miss… we don’t expect a lot from him when we’re traveling and he’s overtired and overstimulated. Some Sundays we do end up walking him in the hallway for a while to get him to sleep, others he’s happy enough to flip through his books and stay fairly quiet. We still have our quiet time together in the mornings and we are working on having him sit still during family devotions in the evenings. It’s a work in progress… Since he’s not crawling we don’t have as much training to do regarding stuff, and what not to touch, though there are a few things we’re teaching him “no” on… grabbing the table cloth, grabbing at mirrors on the wall, “biting”, eating (paper) books. I have this sneaky feeling that we have a stubborn little boy on our hands. Sanctification for mommy, here we come!

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Now that we’re eight months out from the biggest physical event of my life, I think I can safely say that I feel pretty much back to my new normal. I do tend to get colds quite often which I’m trying to address through diet and extra supplementation, but I’m so thankful for the energy I normally have (and all the wonderful sleep I get!) that lots of times can be elusive with a little one. Sometimes E will randomly wake early in the morning, or when we’re traveling or sick, but a pacifier almost always puts him back to sleep. He also takes two 1.5-2 hour naps a day which is an immense help. Here’s to hoping all of our kids are great sleepers!

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I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as mommy. I know there are difficulties ahead, especially as we’re in the pre-talking and pre-crawling stage (we’re having our cake and eating it too!). And, when I sit down to consider all the responsibilities in our future as we raise our little boy to become a godly man, I feel quite, quite small and a smidgeon overwhelmed. I guess that’s why the Lord said

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:34

He knew we moms would look ahead to the driving lessons, the algebra questions, the character building, the disciplining, the protecting… the example-setting as fallen women, trying to be the best and failing. So many days I still feel like a 16 year old, dreaming of the future, excited about becoming a wife and mom, but feeling like the reality of it all was so far away.

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I bet you can’t guess what this face is… in the middle of our photoshoot…

But here I am! My little boy watching me with his big blue, curious intelligent eyes. It’s a blessing and I’m trying to foster the attitude of what I share with Ethan as we struggle with the diaper bag, purse, grocery bags and the poofy bundled baby wiggling under one arm, emerging into the world to get some groceries… “are you ready to go on an adventure with mommy, Ethan?”. Mommyhood is an adventure. It can either be one of doom and gloom as we choose to lower our eyes to the valleys, and point out the dark caves and the ruts and the rain and the mud (been there, done that). Or it can be one of excitement, of hope, of joy that we’re in it together, watching the sunrise in the distance, keeping up each other’s spirits despite our tired feet (because we’re together!), sharing awe over a the fresh dew on a spider web, or getting excited over a detour through new and uncharted territory. Sometimes, adventure is in a pile of laundry, or in front of the Christmas tree right before bed with the lights off, or a walk around the apartment complex watching the leaves blow. Mommyhood is vastly under appreciated for it’s culture, excitement, newness and growth. I hope I can be a mom who displays it to be the messy joy and youthful wonder that it really is.

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And how about Daddy? Well he’s pretty awesome. He provides for us, works hard, helps with laundry and dishes and cleanup and diapers and baths, and he leads us spiritually. The older baby gets the more fun it is to see them play and discover together. And to think that the next time we’re able to really play at the park, E will be toddling around. Exciting times ahead!

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We continue to learn as a couple and be challenged as we make decisions in raising our little one. They may seem small decisions now, but we know we are laying the ground work and foundation for what we pray will be a lifetime of service for the Lord. So in the end, no decision is small! We are trying to be intentional in how we speak to Ethan, speak about him, in what noises we allow him to make and when, what things we allow him to touch, when and how often to take him out. I am so very grateful to be laying the foundation of Ethan’s upbringing on a loving marriage.

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Keepin’ it real…

We recently had an older couple over from Church, as we are trying to get to know other families better and build deeper relationships, and they encouraged us to remember that when Ethan tests us, he is really testing our marriage to see if we are truly committed to what we say we are… and how important it is that we take time for each other, that a healthy family life will fall into place around it. It’s early on, and we can still talk over Ethan, and have several hours just the two of us each evening. But as life gets fuller we don’t want to be blindsided in our marriage. How thankful I am for my husband… and how very little I deserve his patience and support in my life. 
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And already 8 months have flown by. We love you, baby E! We can’t wait to watch you enjoy your first Christmas on the outside.

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