Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To my baby boy

As I was stuffing you into your size 3 months (didn't know they were too small) pajamas tonight (and you were already too tired for me to change you), I feel like you grew overnight.  And, I love your chunkiness.  You and your brothers have always LOOKED like little peanuts; BUT, when people hold you, they often say something like, "Oh, he's solid".  Yes, you are HEAVY!  LOL.

I love, love, love your feet.  They are like my father's...the toes anyway.  You have the chunkiest feet among your brothers.  They are perfect.

I realized when I was consoling you for the third time tonight that tomorrow, you will be four months old!

I so enjoy being your mom.  It is so different, every time.

I can't figure out if you rub your head because it itches (your newborn hair is falling out and little boy hair is growing in) or if you just like the way it feels.  OR, if you are developing the same mannerism my dad had, to swipe his hair up and to the side (right on his swirl cowlick, like you have).

If you catch someone's eye, you almost always smile your sweet smile.  I love your beautiful little snore.  I love that ever since you were born you nurse with big gulps.

This has been a season.  I haven't written much lately.  Haven't known what to write.  But, tonight...tonight I was inspired.

I love that you came into this world at this time.  Everything feels new to me...but, at the same time, I have a little bit of experience at raising boys (ha!).  I also miss my dad less because you are here.

I wish that you had met him.  I wish that I hadn't let my fears get in the way of my heart's desire for him to meet you.  I pray that I can show you what a wonderful father he was.

I was feeling sad today.  Your grandpa died just over two months ago.  But, through the sadness came memories and...peace.  Oh, my son, may you know peace...and joy. 

We have been celebrating the advent season this year.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Oh, my son, may you know Jesus.  I have a feeling you already do.

Dearest God in Heaven, thank you for these boys, this life.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

14 months

To my sweet Greta Maeve...at 14 months.

Your kisses give me strength. Seriously, the way you have been freely giving hugs and kisses to both your dada and I...it makes all other troubles and worries and being upset with you for something I specifically asked you not to do just melt away. You are forgiven always with a hug and kiss.

You have your grandpa's crooked halfway smile and unfortunately, your mama's pouty resting face.

You say, "mama, dada, hi, buh-bye, up, no-no" and various other things. "No-no" is the one most frequently used in your repertoire these days.

You went apple picking for the first time! You also ganged up with dada and lost me in the corn maze and drank the whole apple cider slushy which we were all supposed to share afterwards. You refused to let it go...you loved it so much.

Your grandpa (my dad) passed away this month on October 12. It's been pretty hard on mama, but seeing your face with your bright little eyes makes each passing day a whole lot easier.

You also got to see ALL your Sehstedt cousins and aunts and uncles in one place. No small feat.

You are a climber. A risk taker. A daredevil. You are so brave.

You can stack your blocks, and you clap every time you stack one on top of the other.

When you concentrate very hard, you bite your lower lip.

People keep telling me things like, "You have the most beautiful daughter."
"She is so precious."
"I always look forward to seeing what your daughter is wearing. She always looks so adorable."
"Do you sing in your family? She's got a set of lungs on her which means she'll probably be a good singer."
Mr. Dave in music class to you, "Thank you for dancing."

I am proud of you. Whatever you choose in this life, I will always be your proud mama.

Monday, October 27, 2014

a eulogy for dad

It's been two weeks. Two weeks since his death.

I keep wondering when this sadness will go away. Some days, when it is quiet...while I'm nursing Greta or late at night...I think about dad. I think about so much. And I cry. It still doesn't feel real.

A day didn't go by that I didn't think of him while he was living...and I've thought about him everyday since he died.

About a year ago, when Jon, Greta, and I were visiting dad, it was a day much like the day he died. Autumn. Warmer. Beautiful blue skies. We sat outside during most of the visit. Greta was just a couple months old and was getting restless. Dad was looking off in the distance. I always wondered what he was thinking...especially after the stroke.

So I  asked him what he was thinking about...not expecting much of a response, but the words which came out his mouth made me tear up.

"What it all means," he said, with a flourish of his hand.

"I wish I knew," I replied and took his hand and gave it a squeeze.

We went back inside to leave and I asked dad if he wanted to come back inside. He didn't. He stayed outside as the sun was beginning to set and all I could think of for the next few days was what it all means.

I wanted to say so much about him. I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful father he was to me. The words I wrote below for his funeral don't nearly sum up all that he was to me...but these were the words that came to me in the time between his death and funeral.

Matt or Ryan mentioned "ding-dongs"...something I nearly forgot. I loved it when he did "ding-dongs"...where he would pick us up by our ankles and hold them to his ears and swing us back and forth like a clock. "Ding-dong, ding-dong"...like the bell tower which bellowed for ten minutes after we returned him to the earth.

My dad was a gentleman, in every sense of the word.

He loved books, music, pineapple upside down cake( pineapple anything, really. He was always making this pineapple jello cheesecake thing that nobody ate but him), basketball, Jeopardy! (He knew all the answers), poetry, old movies (particularly "The Sound of Music" and "White Christmas") and his children. Oh! How he loved his children.

Though he never outwardly said the words, "I love you" to us, he said it through music when he sang to us..."Too-ra-loo-ra" and "A Bushel and a Peck" were in heavy rotation at our house. He had a voice like Bing Crosby.

He said it through hugs when he would leave for work at night. I never wanted to let him go...he would pick me up and squeeze me so tight. He called them bear hugs.

My dad was a great speaker. He spoke in front of hundreds or even thousands at conventions for the Witnesses...though I was too little to remember this. I knew him more of a great listener. I could talk to my dad about anything and everything. He made it easy. He was just that kind of person. Gentle. Kind. Loving. As you would hope any parent to be.

Sometimes I would go and sit on his bed while he was trying to sleep after working all night and ask him for advice on a boy I liked or for help on my homework. He would always listen and even in his sleepy stupor, would offer his advice or try to explain how to multiply fractions. I'd thank him,give him a kiss, and tell him to get some sleep already. I loved this time we shared together. For a good twenty years, I don't know that my dad ever got much more than five hours of sleep a day.

When I close my eyes and think about being a child and growing up with my dad, I am reminded of his soft but large hands that enveloped mine whenever he held my hand. I think about "whoopie" hills and slowing down to 15 miles per hour to push the ejection button to catapult you onto your front lawn. I think about sitting on his big wide foot and taking rides on his leg and the way he said "browners" when you farted in front of him. His bear hugs, the way he danced like Elvis and sang like no body else I've ever heard. I think about "swickers" and singing with him in the car. I think about all the lame jokes he told and the fact that he would actually laugh at his own jokes. I think about how he would sing to my friends...one friend in particular who shared a name with his favorite grandmother. The way he could comfort me by simply being near me. He just had a calm about him.

Perhaps the thing I loved the most about my dad was the fact that he never sugar coated anything. Even when I was a young child. He gave it to us straight...always. Even if the truth hurt. "Dad, does this dress make me look fat?" "Oh hon, you don't look THAT fat."

Despite the aforementioned comment, I've always felt like my dad and I were kindred spirits. we just had a bond that I knew was special. We were both born on a Sunday. He in 1938. I in 1983. I may have his nose. I'm not sure...it keeps growing, though. And I'm told it doesn't stop growing. We both love to write. He wrote for his school newspaper and so did I. And we are both really good at making people laugh...but I'm more of physical humor kind of gal.

Growing up, the only wish I ever had for my dad was for him to be happy...something I realize is the only wish I have for my own child.  But thinking about it now I realize he was. He found happiness in his children and I feel so very fortunate to have been his daughter.

Friday, September 26, 2014

13 months

I've been debating whether or not to continue with the Greta updates after the year milestone...it seems as though she's taken over quite a bit of the content of this blog we've created. To be honest, this is my life. She is my life, at the moment, so it only makes sense that I would be writing about her...to her...for her to read someday...maybe.

I wish I could say that I'm saving the world one day at a time or being this real kick-ass photographer lady or opening up a children's shop because I kind of really love hunting down new clothes for Greta, but I have zero business sense. Not to put a label on me or anything, but I am, first and foremost, a mother. It's probably the easiest and hardest job I've ever had...and I've had A LOT of jobs. Easy because she makes it easy...and hard because I make it hard. Because I am hard on myself. I am hard on my husband. Because deep down, I think I've always been sort of a perfectionist, but a laid back perfectionist. If that makes any sense?

Ultimately, I decided it made me happy to write these monthly updates. She makes me happy. And so does that fellow in the photos below. And seeing them together kind of melts my heart and causes me to feel this super kind of love. Everyday. And so it goes.

To my little goose...at thirteen months.

You are a C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R! All caps.

You like to run into our bedroom and close the door and wait for someone to look for you. Or you yell...ahem...very loudly to let us know you've gone in the bedroom and we should probably open the door. So, mama gives you kisses through the glass. And you press your nose to the window and giggle and bite the wood between the glass panels. I open the door and you run out screaming at the top of your lungs.

You also love to hide behind furniture and when I say, "Where's Greta?" you run out really fast with your panting breath and scream, too.

Daddy and I took you on your very first camping trip to the Warren Dunes in Michigan. It was beautiful and you did so well, like you typically do and slept so well. Mama, on the other hand, was never accustomed to the wiles of camping. Not a happy camper.

You like to stand in front of the fan and you close your eyes and look so peaceful.

"Eight Silly Monkeys" is your favorite book.

You love your rocking horse. You cry when mama takes you out of it. You do the same thing with the swings at the park.

You dance. And often. Pretty much any time you hear music.

You prefer to use a fork when you eat something you think requires a fork. You're actually pretty good at it.

You recently started climbing onto furniture. And you think standing up and walking off if it is a perfectly reasonable way to get down.

You help mama load and unload the dishwasher...but mostly unload and put the dishes in various places around the house.

You bring your baby, lamb, monkey, bunny, and elephant with you everywhere. You take your baby on the swings with you and insist they all eat with us...and then you feed them your meal.

When you give kisses, you make this smacking sound with your lips beforehand to let us know you're giving us kisses. Which I love.

Friday, August 29, 2014


It amazes me how quickly this year has passed. Greta is one. My baby is becoming a toddler. She is walking, "talking", and generally being very mischievous...but she is really just curious about the world around her. We still call her "baby" and probably always will. She will always be my sweet little baby. How I love her dearly.

To my darling Greta...who is one.

You had your first taste of chocolate at your first birthday party at Montrose Harbor surrounded by friends and family. It was a good day. We also had a little birthday celebration at home with dada and grandma and a cake (that mama tried to dye ombre pink with beet juice...but failed to make it work).

You love fabric so much! You could take laundry in and out of baskets all day long. You like to drape it over your body and cover your head and play peek-a-boo, you little goose, you. (goose is dada's favorite nickname for you at the moment...mama still calls you her little babushka.)

You also love to push the laundry basket all over the house and put things in and take things out. You are very particular about what goes in your basket. If mama and dada are looking for something we seemed to have lost...we can typically find it in one of a few baskets we have around the house.

You are running! You are so less cautious nowadays. You like to run and you make this panting sound as you do it and it is so darn cute.

You love to feed mama and dada. We love it too...sometimes.

You also like to throw your food on the floor and dump your water out and splash in it on the table.

We have stopped going to swim lessons...you kind of screamed the whole time the last few times we went...perhaps we'll try again when you are two.

You kiss the characters in the books we read...especially those monkeys with the boo-boos who keep falling off the bed. You did this completely and utterly on your own, you sweet girl.

You "share"...because you will give something to another child or mama or dada and then maybe want it back immediately after.

You have been making the most unbecoming faces lately. I tell you to "stop it with the faces" and you make that face again.

I think back to that glorious, wondrous night you came into our world, and am stricken with such an awe for you. You were this tiny, little, precious thing...the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I couldn't get enough of you...watching you in constant wonder. We made you. Me and your daddy. You are forever ours. Our sweet baby girl. You've grown so much and I have loved every minute of it. Every second.

Many more years of growing and learning are ahead of us, my darling...and I couldn't be more excited for it.