Letters To My Children | February 2018

Letters To My Children | February 2018

Letters To My Children | February 2018 | Bethadilly Photography

february 15, 2018

dear babies,

and just like that, we are a family of four!  and you are sisters!  after months of wondering boy or girl, we became parents to two girls on a monday night in january.  it’s such an amazing feeling to say, “our girls” when we talk about you and there is nothing in the world better than being your parents.  we are learning every day how to be parents to two babies under two years old and, honestly, each day we learn that it is simply blissful.  sure there are times when it seems like you both are trying to compete for who can dirty the most diapers in a day, but our days are filled with more smiles than they are tears.  we have been blessed with two very sweet baby girls who, thank goodness, rarely seem to cry at the same time.

to my oldest:

in an instant, you grew.  you will always be my tiny baby, but the moment we brought your sister home…you looked so much older to us.  becoming a big sister took a day or two to get used to.  while you love your little sister and are very curious about her, you were a little sad that mama and daddy were gone for a few days in the hospital.  it took you a few weeks to realize that we weren’t going to leave again and you were happy once it was just you, mama and baby getting back into our new normal of a daily routine.

being away from you while we were in the hospital was one of the hardest things for us.  while we were happy to meet your little sister and have that time, you were so missed every second.  when we finally left the hospital to come home to you, we were so ready to see you and to begin our new life as a family of four.  everything about those first moments of just the four of us where beautiful and will always be cherished.  i will always remember how daddy cuddled you while mama cuddled your baby sister and we all sat together to introduce you girls to one another.  we had been waiting for that moment for a long time and it was just what we hoped it would be.  your little sister brought you a big sister basket of goodies to enjoy, and you have loved playing with your new things.

your first month as a big sister has made us very proud.  while you were a little anxious about being close to mama and daddy, you were and are always really happy and sweet towards your little sister.  you love saying, “baby” and “baby night night,” and you love to rub her little belly and lovingly and softly say, “shhhhhh!” when she is rather fussy.  it makes my heart so happy to see you so sweet with your sister.  i, and everyone else, always knew you would be such a sweetheart of a big sister and you sure proved us all right.  we are so proud of you!

while these days are now different and our new everyday routine has changed a little, you have taken it all with grace.  you have shown mama patience when i’ve needed to feed the baby or given me a hug or sweet kiss when i have needed one.  it is so amazing that you always seem to know what i need, just like i know what you need.  it seems like your sweet spontaneous kisses and hugs always come in the moments when i need a little love.  it’s like you are saying, “mama, i know you have spit up all over your shirt and you are so tired, but we love you so much.”  you girls are my little angels and you always keep me smiling, despite the spit up and the endless dirty diapers.

becoming a mama to another little girl reminds me of all the wonderful moments we shared with you during your first year.  maybe it is because your little sister looks exactly like you!  seeing her is like looking at you!  it’s as if we are reliving our first year all over with you again, and we are blessed to do it twice with a second beautiful girl.

as you will always know, we love you so much and can’t even tell you have remarkably proud we are of you.  you have taken on being a big sister will grace and you are, without a doubt, the best big sister our little girl could dream of.  she is so lucky to have you to look up to, to chase after, to share clothes and shoes with in her teen years, to stay up late talking to, and to create endless memories with.  you, my sweet girl, are one of a kind and mama loves you so incredibly much.

to my littlest:

the moment daddy told me, “it’s a girl,” i thought sisters!  having grown up with two sister of my own, i can tell you that the best is yet to come.  not only are you blessed with the best big sister God could give you, but you are bound to have a special childhood that only sisters will know.  you are going to love everything about having a sister and she will be someone you can laugh with and rely on both today and for the rest of your life.  there will be things that only the two of you will tell one another, or understand and there is truly nothing like having a sister.  you are so lucky!

today you are one month old and i cannot believe we have already spent 4 weeks as a family of four.  it seems like the first weeks disappeared in the blink of an eye, but it isn’t surprising as these first weeks seemed to have been so busy.  while i will write out your birth story later so it is perfectly documented, know that you entered into this world perfectly.  and fast!  our first days in the hospital were beautiful and we will never forget them.  the only thing better than our first few days in the hospital with you was the first few days at home with you, where we introduced you to your big sister and began our new life as a family of four.

you, my sweet girl, had a little bout of jaundice that made our first week home a little stressful.  we had to go to a few additional pediatric check ups and you had to have a few blood draws at the hospital to monitor your jaundice levels.  luckily, the levels weren’t high enough to be admitted to the hospital for light therapy but it was still stressful, none the less.  the only way to get rid of it was to poo and pee it out.  which meant mama nursed you like crazy, every two hours promptly, for the first couple of weeks to get your diapers going.  while it seems to be under control now, i still worry about it from time to time, as i am a natural worrier.  daddy always reassures me that your color looks great and we are reassured with your wonderful weight gain and number of diapers that you are on the right track.

you definitely slept your way through the first few weeks of life and, honestly, just woke up this week!  you are now having more awake time, where you love to look around the room and try to lift your head up.  you are having more fussy moments during your awake time now and definitely went through your first growth spurt.  but you love being cuddled into mama’s baby wrap and it seems to cozy you just enough to calm you and encourage you to sleep away.

as i told your sister, you look exactly like her!  the only thing different about you two as babies is that your hair is blonde and her hair was darker when born.  knowing this, i made sure to take off your hospital hat during your newborn pictures because, if i didn’t see your hair, i knew i would surely mix up your newborn photos with your sister’s in the years ahead.  🙂  that is how much you look alike!  knowing this, we are so excited to watch you grow this year to see who you end up looking like.  if there is one thing for sure, you are a smiley girl.  you are trying to smile, from time to time, and we can’t wait for you to officially do it!

you are perfectly you and you are your own person.  even though you are taking after your sister in looks and sweet personality so far, we know that you will become your own sweet self and we are so excited to continue getting to know you, sweet girl.  know that you are loved immensely by daddy, me and your big sister.  she is going to teach you so many things in the year ahead and you are bound to have some of the sweetest moments that only sisters can share.  we are so happy to finally have met you and this first month with you has been everything.  happy one month, dear girl!

you, our sweet girls, are so incredibly loved and daddy and i will spend the rest of our days telling you and showing you just how thankful we are for the both of you.  often, throughout this past month, we have just stared at the two of you and told one another repeatedly how blessed we are with two wonderful baby girls.  daddy is always telling us all how lucky he is to be surrounded by such beautiful girls and daddy and i love one another even more today because we have the two of you.  having the two of you has shown us that love and family means everything to us.  not a day has gone by this past month where we haven’t been unbelievably thankful for this life of ours and for the blessing that is the two of you.  in all that we do, we will always love you with everything we are and we will spend our life showing you what it means to be a family.

in our dining room, we have a quote on our letter board saying, “a happy family is but an earlier heaven.”  and that quote is everything.  we are living in heaven today with you two girls, as you make us so happy.  life as we know it is just what we hoped and we can’t wait to start another day tomorrow loving you.

love, mama

to read more about our everyday with our littles, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

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Happy Heart Day | Valentine Ideas for Toddlers

i love valentines day.  some say it is just another hallmark card holiday, but i love a sweet excuse to spoil my little ones.  and i love being spoiled by the husband.  although it is a seemingly small holiday, it is one that i love celebrating with my little ones…and let’s be honest, we just love spoiling our girls any chance we can.  when it comes to gift giving for my little girls, i like purchasing things throughout a period of time and setting them aside.  not wanting to base our valentine around sugar and chocolate, i thought of a few things that i know my sweet toddler girl enjoys and compiled a few of her favorites into a darling valentine basket for her.  let’s just say, she adored it!  if you are trying to think of valentine ideas for toddlers, be sure to check out how i spoiled our little valentine this year.

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 so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

being 4 weeks in to being a big sister, i wanted to be sure to give her some fun things that she would love, but would also keep her busy.  aka, mama needs to breastfeed so how can i keep her entertained.  our little girl is in love with her chalkboard and loves stickers, making sweet heart shaped chalk and a book a stickers a given for her basket.  for some more fun, i added a sweet tic-tac-toe game to her basket, as she loves sorting little shapes and organizing things so i knew she would love these pieces.  (this little tic-tac-toe game was the winner this year, she loved it!)  for a little something to cuddle, i found a sweet plush bunny and because i always like to include something they actually need, the final item is a new lunchbox to take on our playdates and outings.

toddler outfit and basket source list with links can be found at the bottom of this post.

with easter just around the corner, i already have plans for my girls’ easter baskets!  i will be sure to photograph and post them once they are ready!  in the meantime, to inspire you as you create your easter baskets this year, check out last year’s easter basket that i created for our little girl.

Happy Heart Day | Valentine Ideas For Toddlers

Happy Heart Day | Valentine Ideas For Toddlers | Bethadilly Photography

Valentines Basket Source List

manhattan toys plush bunny // purchased at target (similar one found here)

tic-tac-toe game // purchased at target (similar idea here)

heart shaped chalk // purchased at target

stickers  //  purchased at target 

snack and bottle bag // purchased at target

Outfit Details

blush knit romper // purchased on amazon

white hair bow // courtesy of little reese and wren

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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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