Letters To My Children | 21 Months + 39 Weeks Pregnant

Letters To My Children | 21 Months + 39 Weeks Pregnant | Bethadilly Photography

Letters To My Children | 21 Months + 39 Weeks Pregnant

thursday, january 11, 2018

to my babies:

i truly thought the last letter i wrote to you would be the last before we became a family of four, but here i am sitting here with one baby upstairs sleeping and the other still in my belly.  we are taking it day by day at this point and mama can’t even call daddy or grandma without them picking up on the first ring asking, “is it time!?”  nope, not time…just called to chat.  mama’s phone is buzzing constantly with family and friends asking for baby updates and it seems like the last week is going to take an eternity.  we are so excited for baby that we just don’t know what to do besides read into every little ache and out of the blue feeling.

to my oldest:

66 words you are speaking!!  they say you should be learning one new word a day, but we are now up to at least 2 or 3 new words each and every day!  mama can’t write them all down fast enough and you amaze us daily with how much you enthusiastically speak now.  not only are you a chatterbox, but you also read your books aloud now!  once mama is done reading a book, you will pick it up and flip through the pages on your own, pointing out all the things you know as you say the word and describe the pictures.  it’s amazing that you were once such a shy and quite little one and now you are constantly telling us anything about everything.

christmas proved to be such a beautiful memory for our family.  we had a quiet christmas, just us three, and it was absolutely perfect.  santa claus completely spoiled you and it took you literally the entire day to unwrap your presents, as you liked to daintily unwrap about an inch of paper off at a time, before handing each piece to mama or dada.  unlike other toddlers who just rip the paper and make a mess, you definitely had a precise and tidy way about unwrapping your christmas gifts.  your favorite presents were your new tutu and your wooden bus.

these past few days have been the days that i will always cherish with you, as they will be our last days of just you and me.  mama has been bringing a book up to your room to read, while you play with all of your toys.  all week you have looked over at me, then walked over to give me a spontaneous hug.  it’s like you know that these days are just as special to you as they are to me.  in a way it breaks my heart a little, but in another way i am so thankful that these last moments of just mama and you have been so beautiful and meaningful.  i don’t regret one minute clearing our schedule so it could just be the two of us during these final weeks, and i will always be thankful for these sweet memories.

to my littlest:

you can come anytime now, little baby!  we are so ready to meet you that all we do is think and plan and prepare.  mama has every little detail planned and organized at this point.  daddy thinks that preparing for a baby is like preparing to sell your house, as every night mama walks around the house before bed, making sure everything is perfectly clean and every pillow is fluffed.  every morning, i do my hair really nice…just in case it is the day we meet you!  yes, it’s silly to put effort into looking nice but i can’t help but want to be perfectly prepared in every single way.

we laugh often at how much you roll around in my belly.  daddy can see your movements from across the room and always exclaims, “whoa!”  you are especially active after mama has something to eat, drinks water or in the evenings when we lay down in bed.  i love feeling your movements and i always tell daddy how much i am going to miss my pregnant belly.  it’s the best feeling in the world to feel a baby moving inside throughout the day, reminding me of how blessed i am to have this beautiful family that i do.

tomorrow is our 39 week doctor checkup!  the last time i went to the doctor, she said, “i hope to see you in the hospital before i see you at your next appointment!”  and while i never thought we would make it to the 39 week appointment, it looks like we will easily do so!  last time they checked me at 37 weeks 5 days, i was 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced and the doctor could feel your sweet little head…so i am hoping for more progress when they check tomorrow!  while we are simply giddy at the thought of meeting you, we know that you will come when you are ready and we want you to be healthy.  that doesn’t mean mama won’t encourage a little labor by walking a lot, eating some spicy foods, and researching the pressure points in my feet for my foot rubs from daddy!  (it worked with your sister!  about two hours after a really good foot rub during a pedicure, my water broke!)

boy or girl, we are still completely stumped.  last time, with your sister, we were always guessing but this time we just haven’t a clue.  one thing is for certain is that your daddy will be the one to announce your gender at your birth.  we did that with your sister and it was so special.  it was the only request we had of the doctors and they thought it was so darling too.  having lived this beautiful moment before, we are so excited to get the chance to do it all over again with you.  there is something so incredible about meeting your child for the first time and spending those first moments together.  maybe this is why we just wish you would come soon, because we know how beautiful this time is.

every night we come together as a family and pray with your sister about a lot of different things.  we thank God for our health and for another wonderful day as a family.  we thank Him for our food and our warm home.  we pray for big sister and we pray for you.  every single night, we pray for the both of you.  and when we are done, your sister says, “amen!” before kisses goodnight.  we always pray that you stay cozy in my belly until you think the time is right, and we pray that the right time comes so soon.

i love you, babies!  this is it.  this is the life we prayed for and this next chapter is going to be insanely beautiful.  we aren’t sure how we became so blessed to have the both of you but we are so thankful for you both, every single day.

love, mama

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Letters To My Children | 20 Months + 36 Weeks Pregnant

Letters To My Children | 20 Months + 36 Weeks Pregnant

Letters To My Children | 20 Months + 36 Weeks Pregnant | Bethadilly Photography

thursday, december 21, 2017

dear babies,

with this week bringing on two separate calls to labor + delivery and one visit to triage at the hospital, i thought it best to get a final pregnancy photo of me with my babies and write my final letter to you both before we become a family of four.  this whole week i’ve been waking up feeling as though our family could grow any day now, with these final weeks of pregnancy getting very real.  it has me both clinging onto the moments of just big sister and i, but also extremely excited to finally meet the little one who dances constantly in mama’s belly.  one thing i know for sure is that i am the luckiest mama in the entire world and i will never know how i became so blessed to be given the two of you.  i cry when i think about how lucky our family is.  i really do, ask daddy.

to my oldest:

the most beautiful thing that i hear every day is your sweet little voice.  you went from being a really timid and quiet girl, to a little girl who has lots to say.  i love that you say “mama!” when i walk into your room each morning, followed by “dada?”  and on the weekends, he comes in right behind me and you are so excited…but on the weekdays i have to remind you that he is at work but that you will see him soon.  i love how much you love us, it truly is the sweetest to hear the excitement in your voice when you say our names.

as of this morning, you are up to 33 words!  your speech teacher is utterly amazed by how many words you have picked up in such a short amount of time.  your favorite things to say are “ry ry” for riley our pup and “woof!”  you can point out just about anything and everything in our storybooks when we read and are pointing to everything around the house, these days.  it is so fun to watch you learn each day, you honestly just soak everything right in.

another thing you love right now is cherry tomatoes and talking on the phone.  every evening when daddy calls to tell us he is on his way home from work, you instantly take the phone and run away with it.  you both talk back and forth for a few minutes and it’s so sweet!  mama hasn’t had the chance to talk to daddy on the phone for quite a while, but i love hearing you both chatter back and forth.  daddy always says funny things like, “oh, mommy ate a lot of cookies today, huh!?” when you talk to him.  we have a lot of good laughs.

visiting santa claus was a little bit different this year, you were not a fan.  you have decided that he should be observed at a distance only or seen in books only.  you didn’t like it when you sat on his lap, and we have the photo to prove it!  but when we went to the north pole the next day on the train (thanks to ollie the elf), you had a fun time seeing santa when you stayed on our laps and you loved mrs. claus.  you have her high fives and loved watching the snow fall outside from the train window.  it was such a fun trip!  this weekend, you get to make a gingerbread house with daddy and oliver the elf, as one last fun activity before santa comes on christmas eve!

one of the funnest playdates we had was our christmas cookie exchange with our friends!  little did we know that it was actually a surprise baby shower for mama!  we showed up with our christmas cookies and were surprised by our friends with a really fun morning to celebrate the baby.  you got to play with your friends and mama had a wonderful time!  we are so blessed with great friends.

in these final days of just the two of us, i am soaking in every single moment.  even the moments when you throw your breakfast all over the floor.  i cherish every moment that you want to cuddle close with me and give me hugs and kisses.  everyone always comments on how sweet and loving you are, making me so excited for you to become a big sister in just days!  goodness, you are so loved and we are so proud of you.  every second of the day, we are so proud.

to my littlest:

you have given daddy and i a lot of laughs lately, as you move constantly in mama’s belly.  your sister was a mover too, but you have managed to take the cake.  you wake up every time i wake up in the middle of the night to go potty and it takes me awhile to fall back asleep because just that two seconds that i was up to potty has thrown you into a dance party.  you know exactly when i wake up in the morning, before i get out of bed.  it seems like the second i open my eyes, you are rolling around.

mama has had to call labor + delivery twice in the last 4 days, making me think that you really are going to make your entrance any time now.  at this point, daddy is constantly asking me if i am feeling okay and he picks up his phone before it rings any time that i call him.  we are in the final 28 days until your due date, meaning we are expecting you every five minutes.  we were in the hospital for a little while at the beginning of the week, monitoring you.  mama was a little nervous because you were making some spastic movements in my belly, but it turned out to be just fine.  they did a sonogram in the hospital to check on you and you scored a perfect 8 out of 8 on the test.  they said you couldn’t have done any better.  when they monitored you for over an hour on the heart monitor, they said your heart results were textbook perfect.  the nurse said that if she were to ever teach another nurse how to read a perfect heart monitor chart, she would use ours because it was fantastic and just as it should be.

the second labor + delivery call was this afternoon, with concerns that i am leaking amniotic fluid.   but it seems like it may have been a false alarm and we are just monitoring signs and symptoms at this point.  mama is hoping we don’t have to call again until it is really time, but the doctors and nurses are always so thankful that i call when i am concerned, just in case!  they always remind me that it’s better to call and chat than to miss something important, so they are so wonderful to us.  keep growing, little one!  we will have lots of time to cuddle soon but, for now, just keep eating, sleeping, growing…and kicking!

one great thing about having an emergency sonogram at 36 weeks is that it was officially confirmed that you are head down!  yay!!  we are going to have another sonogram the day after christmas to confirm again, but it looks like you are ready to go!  mama thought so, as i constantly feel your little hiccups near my tush and always feel your feet right under my ribs, on the right side.  last night, you were sunny side up and your belly was right by my belly button.  we could literally see you breathing, as we watching the rise and fall of your little chest.  it was the neatest thing we have ever seen and we loved taking turns feeling my belly and your breaths.  it was a beautiful thing to see after such a week.

at 36 weeks pregnant, mama is feeling very sore by the end of the day.  most of the day is very manageable, but the one thing that is super difficult and painful is rolling over in bed.  the doctor prefers that i sleep on my side, but rolling back and forth from side to side makes me feel like you are just going to pop out!  which makes me feel like i am on high alert all night long…it is no wonder that i don’t get much good sleep in these final weeks.  the pregnancy insomnia was very real a couple weeks ago, but it seems to have gotten better in the last week.  sometimes i read a couple pages of my book in the middle of the night, but it quickly makes me sleepy and i am relaxed again.

the three of us are just so excited to meet you!  are you a girl or are you a boy!?  mama and dada really have no clue, at this point.  all we know for sure is that we love you so much and we cannot wait to meet you so soon!  with everything that we have, we are so happy to be your parents and we can’t wait for you to meet the best big sister anyone could dream of.  i am just so ready for you to be here so we can start this new chapter as a family of four!  we love you so much!

love, mama

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Our Christmas Card Memory Book

last year was our very first christmas with our daughter, when all my well thought out traditions that i had been dreaming of played out.  one of those traditions was taking christmas photos in christmas pajamas, which always proves to be one of my favorite photo sessions of the year.  i like to include a favorite item of hers within the photos, as a way to subtly tell a story of her current favorite thing.  last year, it was her sophie giraffe teether, but this year she took a huge loving to our christmas card memory book that i annually add to.  (i have received a lot of questions about this book, so i will chat more about it towards the end of the post).

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog.

because i know that i love these photos so much, i always order her christmas pajamas towards the end of summer/beginning of fall.  each year, we’ve worn burts bees baby pajamas because i am obsessed with their clothing.  they do sell quickly though, so i am mindful of purchasing them at least a season or two ahead of time to get the ones i want.

this year’s photos showed me just how much of a toddler we have.  she is a busy little bee, making the photos that much better.  i love that they show her love for our christmas card memory book and her busy and inquisitive personality.  last year, i simply sat her in the middle of the bed and took a thousand photos of her, while this year i was chasing her around the bed with my camera (and eight month pregnant belly).

all the photos within this post were taken with my nikon d750 and sigma art 24mm f/1.4 lens.

Our Christmas Card Memory Book

Our Christmas Card Memory Book | Bethadilly PhotographyOur Christmas Card Memory Book | Bethadilly Photography

our christmas card memory book is simply a book of our christmas cards, from the year we were married to the current year.  i don’t keep cards from family and friends within the book (shhhhh….i toss everyone else’s card at the end of the season), the book is simply filled with our family’s christmas card.  i love that the first one contains our wedding photo, with the current one showing us as a family of three with one on the way.  each year, our christmas card tells a huge story about our lives, whether that is through a sonogram announcement or photo of a recent move.

i simply use a 9×9 scrapbook album purchased at a local craft store (similar one can be found here).  the scrapbook album layout allows me to simply slip the card in each year (i actually tape it, so it is perfectly centered).  my favorite thing about our daughter seeing it this year is that she can recognize mama and dada on each page and points to us.  and let’s be real, i am flattered that she recognizes me in my wedding photo, which was a solid ten years ago.  mama has still got it!

just seeing how grown up she looks in this year’s photos, i am overwhelmed thinking that next year she will look even bigger and that she will have an almost 12 month old sibling in the pictures with her!  time is going by way too fast, but it always does.

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Elf On The Shelf Shenanigans

i have to say, this year christmas is taking the cake.  at 20 months old, our little smartie pants is embracing christmas fully.  she loves the christmas tree, looks at her christmas books daily, and the return of oliver the elf was a hit!  we adopted ollie last year, but at just 8 months old our daughter didn’t really understand.  this year, they are best friends.  and the elf on the shelf shenanigans have been so much fun.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog.

when i say shenanigans, i mean pure fun.  our elf on the shelf is a little different that the traditional elf.  while the rule is that children aren’t allowed to touch him because he will lose his magic, our elf’s magic is fueled on kissed and cuddles.  i mean, we are 20 months.  if she wants to give her elf smooches, she can give her elf smooches.  and while other elves arrive each morning doing something disobedient, our elf is a good elf.  he doesn’t do naughty things like dump out the toy bin or unroll rolls of toilet paper.  he simple comes to play each day, sometimes bringing christmas gifts to build anticipation for christmas morning.  (i mean, the whole concept of the elf on the shelf is to watch over children and report their behavior to santa each night.  so it seems a little odd and confusing to little ones that someone who encourages good behavior should be naughty…so, our elf is a good elf.)

need some ideas for fun traditions to do each year?  check out what 6 christmas traditions we do and love.

Elf On The Shelf Shenanigans

Elf On The Shelf Shenanigans | Bethadilly Photography

so far this year, our elf has brought christmas stickers for craft time, wrapped christmas books for us to open and reach each night, and surprised us with train tickets to the north pole to visit with santa.  he is a sweet little elf, who she completely adores.  and next year, we are so excited that we will have two little sets of feet searching for oliver the elf each morning.  it’s such a fun tradition that our whole family is enjoying.

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Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

thursday, november 30, 2017

dear babies,

tomorrow begins both the most wonderful time of the year and…the fastest.  the christmas season always brings so much joy to our home, but it also goes by in the blink of an eye, meaning this last full month of pregnancy is going to go by with the snap of my fingers and soon we will be a family of four.  before all of that, i thought i better write another letter to you to document what’s happening in our everyday.

to my oldest:

you are quite the jabber box, these days!  you are now saying 25 words and talking from the moment you wake until the moment we say prayers and lay you down to sleep.  you love, love, love talking to your daddy on the phone when he is at work.  and when he calls us to say he is on his way home, you just light up when the phone rings.  mama doesn’t get the chance to talk to daddy when he calls anymore, as you quickly grab the phone and walk around the house jabbering into the speaker.  it is a special time for you to tell him all about our day and it’s so sweet to watch.

we have been keeping so busy, these days!  you now do swim school with daddy instead of mommy, so mommy can rest on the sidelines with baby no. 2 and take pictures of you swimming.  you are the best splasher in the group and are getting so great at swimming.  you also love story time at the library and we found a really great group that we love going to.  you love doing puzzles during our library visit and picking out books to take home.  we currently have a lot of christmas books in our book bag to enjoy this month!

when it comes to food, you are getting so good at using your spoon and fork!  your current favorite food is cherry tomatoes and you love saying “yes!” when i bring them out of the fridge.  you also love bananas and exclaim “nana!” when you see them!  the last couple of weeks you have had a slight cold, so there has been some extra cuddling and coughing.  i got the cold right along with you, so i know how crummy it feels but you really keep your spirits up despite not feeling your best.

tomorrow marks our last full month as a family of three!  daddy and i have a lot of fun activities planned for our family to ensure that we spend some fun quality time together before the baby arrives and we know you will have so much fun.  lots of surprises coming for you!

in the weeks before you become a big sister, there are so many things that i want to tell you.  first, you are so incredibly loved by daddy and me. everything you do brings us joy and watching you grow has brought so much fun into our lives.  you gives us a wonderful dose of laughter and smiles every single day and we couldn’t be prouder of the kind and sweet little girl you are becoming.  everything about you in humbling and you show us that it is family, not things, that mean the most.

having a little brother or sister in the house is going to be a little different for all of us, but it is also going to be really fun.  you are soon going to meet your best friend.  that person who will laugh with you, play with you, grow up with you, and be your biggest fan.  sometimes you are going to have to share mommy and daddy with your new brother or sister, but know that they will also share us with you too.  no matter what, you will always be our first and the one who made us mommy and daddy and there is always something so special about that.

to my littlest:

you are a mover and a shaker!  and we are pretty sure that you move a lot more than your sister did, in my belly.  about three days ago, i am pretty sure you flipped head down, which is really exciting!  it’s hard for me to tell, but i am pretty certain i am feeling feet near my ribs and a tush near my belly button.  your big sister stayed head up, so this is all very new to mama to have a flipped baby and we will see if the doctor confirms it in a couple weeks!

at our last appointment, your heartbeat was strong and perfect!  after being really concerned about some pain around my belly button, the doctor quickly diagnosed mama with having an umbilical hernia.  it explains all the discomfort i have been experiencing.  most of the time, it feels completely fine and then there are the times when you push against it and it feels…not so great.  but everything should feel much better once you are born, so mama is thankful for that!

everything is prepped and ready to go for your arrival!  mama is putting the finishing touches on the hospital bag, important phone numbers are on the fridge and waiting to be called for “it’s time!”, and daddy is putting the baby carseats in both of our cars this weekend.  we are 3 weeks away from full term, or what daddy likes to call “any day now!”  your clothes are washed and ready, your room is more than perfect and you have three very excited people who are so excited to meet you!

as we enjoy these final weeks of pregnancy and being a family of three, we are so excited for the both of you.  having a sibling is such a precious thing and we know that you both will grow up having so much fun with one another.  we already see ourselves as a family of four and are already thinking of adventures to take next year.  we love you both so so much and, while we cherish today, we are so excited for tomorrow!

love, mama

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