Letters To My Children | 16 Months + 20 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters To My Children | 16 Months + 20 Weeks (In My Belly) | Bethadilly Photography

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friday, september 1, 2017

dear babies,

life is just so good.

with summer coming to a close and mama reaching 20 weeks pregnant, we are reminded that our family is that much closer to growing by one more.  we will have a house full of more toes, more love, and more fun.  we aren’t ones to wish time to hurry by, especially these days, but we are also anxious to start another adventure with two babies under two!  these days mean everything to us.

to my oldest:

my goodness, have you changed in the past month!  i feel like daddy and i are on repeat because we are always telling each other, “look at how much she has grown and learned!”  you are just learning so much, these days.  we finally completed our 1000 books read together and you have developed a few favorites along the way.  you love to hand us books to read and will even grab our hands to place the books in.  your favorite books right now are big little, your baby’s first word will be dada (eye roll), and spot’s birthday party.  you really love the interactive books where you can open and close the flaps on each page.

you may have said “dada” first, but you were first to give mama kisses!  you started giving mama kisses this week and it is the best feeling in the entire world.  now you love to give everything kisses, from your stuffed animals to characters in your book.  you are too precious for words.  i cannot even describe how sweet you are.  and soon you will be giving kisses to your new baby brother or sister, which melts my heart.

you still prefer crawling and standing, but are yet to walk.  you are so cautious and just love holding onto mama and dada’s hand.  you did, however, take two steps on your own on tuesday!  mama actually cried.  seriously, she did.  i was so excited for you and you just did it out of the blue.  i think walking will be any day now, so look out world!  i think you are waiting to walk because mama is always telling you to stop growing!  you are such a good listener.

i love love love everything about you.  from the way you hand me your blanket every morning to the way you say “dada” all the time to the way you wave hello and bye bye to everyone, especially the shoppers at target.  we are having so much fun everyday, even more now that you are officially down to one nap a day.  instead of an afternoon nap, we now spend our time reading stories, playing in your new play kitchen, and working on stacking blocks.  just seeing how much you’ve changed in just one month leaves me really excited to see what you will be like in the next month.

to my littlest:

you finally started kicking at exactly 18 weeks!  you especially love to kick when mama eats apples with peanut butter, that is your favorite!  you don’t react much to spicy food, like your sister did, but mama loves spicy food all the same.  last night you were really kicking up a storm at bedtime and daddy felt your rambunctious kicks.  i love waking up and falling asleep to your little kicks, it makes me whole.

we have been spending a lot of time preparing your nursery and your big sister has been a lot of help.  she has helped me fold all of your little clothes, organize your baby things in your dresser, put the crib together with daddy, and test drive all your new toys.  you are going to love your new room and your new sister, both are perfectly made for you.

if the first 20 weeks went by as fast as they did, mama knows that if we blink we will find ourselves in january meeting you!  i got so excited last night, i think because of all the kicking.  just knowing how amazing your sister is, we are so excited to meet you and learn just how special and amazing you are too.  life always seems to surprise us with the best things, so we know the future is going to be full of happiness for us four.

love, mama

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for those of you who follow me on instagram, you know this story.  my husband is so super practical.  he hates shopping for clothes.  let me clarify, he hates shopping for clothes for himself, but has no problem with my love for clothes shopping for us and the littles.  thank god.  just for him, it’s not his favorite pastime.  so as a result, he rocks the same seven polos and pair of leather flip flops since high school.  though, i will tell you this…when he does by something for himself, he goes for quality not quantity so the minimal wardrobe he does have is perfecto.  and so his wardrobe involves me being his personal shopper and him coming home from work to a million different try ons every so often.  but hey, we are like peanut butter and jelly, i enjoy the shopping and he enjoys not having to shop but getting new things.  win win.

so when JORD asked if i wanted to collaborate with them to do a giveaway, i instantly thought of my husband.  he has been wearing the same watch since high school and i have been begging him to get a new one.  only problem, he is particular.   but when i showed him the watches by JORD, he instantly thought they were awesome!  score!  he instantly was drawn to this walnut and black hyde watch, which is definitely his style.

My Hubby’s New Wooden Watch | JORD Giveaway

My Hubby's New Wooden Watch | JORD Giveaway | Bethadilly Photography

this watch is even prettier in person and my husband loves to wear it.  not only is it a watch that is unique and different, but it is classic.  i love that he has a watch that you don’t see on every man’s wrist and that it’s beautiful wood allows it so go with just about every outfit.

i partnered with JORD to do a giveaway, where the winner will win a $100 credit towards a JORD wooden watch!  to enter, check out the details below:


giveaway ends on 09/03/2017, when JORD will pick and contact the winner!  good luck!


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when i was expecting my first baby last year, there were so many things that i was worried about leading up to the birth.  was i going to recover quickly?  was my birth going to be hard?  would my baby be healthy?  the one thing that i didn’t worry about was breastmilk.  it never occurred to me to worry about my breastmilk.  but my biggest worry occurred on day 2 after my daughter was born.  my breastmilk had still not come in and my baby was dropping below her birth weight.

this post is written solely based on my own personal opinion and experience as a mother.

Lactation Bars : A Yummy Boost for Breastmilk

Lactation Bars : A Yummy Boost for Breastmilk | Bethadilly.com

so there we were in the hospital, with a doctor recommending that we start supplementing with formula until my milk came in.  formula.  the “f” word.  i had taken enough breastfeeding classes to know that formula was honestly a nightmare word for a mama who wanted to breastfeed. but what was i to do?  my baby was hungry and my body simply wasn’t ready to sustain her.  i started bawling.  i literally broke down.  (both because of the formula word and because…postpartum.  need i say more?)

fast forward a couple days, we found ourselves at home with our brand new baby and…my breast milk arrived.  in the end, we only had to supplement a couple bottles of formula to wait until my breast milk came in (thank god), but still…the new worry about my boobs being the sole provider of nutrition for my daughter started to become a constant worry.

over the months ahead, i was constantly worried if she was getting enough (the answer: yes, she totally was), but it’s so hard when you are breastfeeding because you can’t actually see the amount of milk your baby is taking in.  you are limited to facts: how many minutes they nurse, how often they nurse, their attitude, their wet diapers, etc.

the one thing that calmed my worry about breast milk production was lactation snacks.  i drank the tea and i baked the cookies.  all the time, i baked.  and for me, it worked like a charm.  i could noticeably see an increase in my breastmilk because of lactation snacks and tea.  and in the end, i was able to breastfeed my daughter for her entire first year and her pediatrician couldn’t be happier with her weight, she’s a healthy little breastmilk junky.

as we are expecting our second baby, that tiny fear of breast milk production is starting to creep in.  because i know about the worry, i am doing something about it beforehand.  and because i will soon have two babies under two, i am also being smarter with my time.

oat mama was gracious enough to send me some of their lactation bars and lactation tea  to enjoy during breastfeeding baby number two.  and because i know how tiring it was for me to bake cookies all the time with a newborn, when i just wanted to sit and relax…i am so excited to have a lactation snack that is already ready to go and super easy to pack in my hospital bag.

to be clear, i haven’t tried these lactation bars nor tea yet because i am saving them for baby time, but i will definitely update you once i try them to tell you how they are working for me and…of course, my favorite flavors (which i am pretty sure will be all of them…that peanut butter chocolate chip is taunting me).  i won’t be trying these until after our baby arrives, they are currently hidden away in the freezer, awaiting that day when we drive to the hospital with white knuckles.  i say hidden because it is taking everything in me to not eat one, they look so good!

just knowing these are tucked away makes me feel better for two reasons.  the first reason, yum!  the second reason, the conveniency.  i love that i just have to grab one on the go, instead of laying out a dozen ingredients on the counter (only to realize that i am missing an ingredient) to bake cookies when, to be honest, a new mama should be napping instead of baking.

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for those of you who have followed along with me since i had our first baby, you know that i took over 10,000 photos of her first year.  yes, you read that right.  (in case you missed it, i wrote an ebook about how to photograph your baby’s first year to inspire new mamas with their cameras).   when i was growing up, my mama was always wonderful about documenting our childhood in pictures.  and being that my childhood didn’t have digital cameras, she was also diligent about printing those photos and placing them beautifully in albums upon albums upon albums.  when i was little, i used to pour over those albums, as my mama would retell funny stories about me at a young age and walk down memory lane herself.  even when my boyfriend (now husband) came over, we would have some laughs as we turned each page and i showed him my childhood.  i also placed a huge emphasis on how darling i was as a baby, to reel him in.  (i mean, it totally worked.  married for 10 years with our second baby on the way.  i knew what i was doing.)  all of these things come to mind as i dreamed of our baby’s first year photo album and i knew that i had to follow in my mama’s footsteps and create books upon books for my daughter to see.  and to show her boyfriend, should my husband ever allow her to date…which is highly unlikely.

this post contains affiliate links.  thank you for supporting my blog so i can continue to write and inspire!

after her first birthday party was enjoyed and photographed (if you missed it, click here to see), i went into full “baby’s first year photo album” mode.  i knew immediately that i wanted to make her album through artifact uprising because their photo books are simply stunning and timeless.  i like to have keepsakes that are like my home and my style, simple and timeless.  it may have taken me a few hours to put together (mostly because i am all about the details and i was equally crying as i was picking out the pictures), but creating a photo book through artifact uprising is so simple!  in the end, i love that her first year album starts with pictures of her in the hospital and ends with her at her first birthday party, with all the best moments in between.

Baby’s First Year Photo Album

Baby's First Year Photo Album | Bethadilly Photography

stay awhile and read some more posts.  here are some posts that are trending!

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Letters To My Children | 15 Months + 15 Weeks (In My Belly)

thursday, july 27, 2017

dear babies,

my heart is full.

the life that your daddy and i wanted is just playing out beautifully and it’s all because of you two.  from the moment the doctor placed big sister in our arms last year, i turned to your daddy and said, “let’s do this again.”  and while most daddies would halt the breaks, your daddy quickly agreed.  if there is anything we wanted for our children, it was for them to be very close in age.  we want you to never know life without the other and grow up being one another’s best friend.  we want you to have the childhood of your dreams, with a sidekick sharing every single moment and memory.  we want you to know that your sibling will always be your biggest fan and will always be there to hold your hand.

to my oldest:

everything about you at 15 months is pure bliss.  although calm and reserved, like the little lady you are, you are equally full of life and the first to offer a heartwarming smile.  and babe, are you smart!  it was only a few weeks ago that we were at dinner, talking about how cute you are as you played quietly in your highchair.  as you were entertaining yourself, your daddy asked me, “don’t you think it’s adorable when she claps her hands.”  all of a sudden, you looked up and clapped your hands!  it was in that moment that we realized that you are listening at all times, and can truly understand certain words.  since that moment, we have taken that to heart and really watched how you respond to simple commands.

you can easily hand mommy your milk, play peek a boo, clean up your toys, put your books away neatly in their bin (yes, you literally put them in the same direction!…you are a little mama!), stand up and sit down when asked, dance and pat your belly.  while you have always loved to read books, you now turn the pages a little slower and really examine the pictures before moving onto the next page.  it is as if you are retelling the story to yourself and it thrills us to pieces.

when it comes to eating, you are a blueberry addict!  you love, love, love blueberries.  and while there are a lot of things you will share with the puppies, there has never been a blueberry shared.  you also really love organic cheddar bunnies, cilantro chili, strawberries, yogurt, cheese, beans and red peppers.  and steak!  you really love steak.

steak is easy to eat with the 12 teeth you have!  four of those are molars and you got all four of them last week!  you are literally the easiest teether anyone has ever seen.  you wake from nap with two new teeth and a smile.  you don’t show any signs of teething, making it an ultimate surprise when you open your mouth for your toothbrush and reveal new teeth to us!

while you aren’t walking yet, you are cruising around really well.  you love to walk along the couch and your play table and pull up on everything!  the thing is, you have become a very fast crawler!  you know that crawling will get you from point a to point b in the blink of an eye, so it’s your preferred method.  but babies who crawl well are known to excel at fine motor skills, making some of the most famous surgeons excellent crawlers.  or so someone told me…

since my last letter to you, we have learned that you will be a big sister in 6 months!  just watching you giggle at the puppies and play kindly with your friends, i am so excited to see you as a big sister.  i will always love you because you made me a mama and i can’t wait to give you the gift of a sibling.  you are going to be a perfect role model and we couldn’t be more excited for you.

to my littlest:

we learned about you on a sunday in may.  mama had been feeling a little tired for about a week and excitedly bought a test…only to wait another week to take it.  i was the same way with your sister, too nervous to take the test.  i always want a plus sign so badly that i get nervous.  after daddy finally urged me to see if what we hoped was true, i took the test and immediately two lines appeared in the window.  immediately.  i then took a digital test, and a plus sign popped up quickly.

the first thing about of my mouth was, “well peanut, you are going to be a big sister!!!”  to which your sister looked at me with a quizzical look and then kept drinking her milk.  then i started jumping up and down when your daddy hugged me, to which he said, “be careful!”  and for the next 5 weeks, it was a beautiful secret that just your daddy, your sister and i knew about.  i love those first couple months of being pregnant, when we are the only ones who know.  i love the secret smiles that we share and the anticipation of seeing you for the first time at the doctor.

your sister got to see you get your first picture taken and hear your heart for the first time, right along with us.  it’s heartwarming to know that she will literally see your whole life.  if there is one thing you should know about your big sister, it is that she is so loving and there is no better big sister to wish for.  she is it.  you are so lucky to have her to look up to.  i can’t wait for you to meet her, you will adore her.

if there is anything that i am most excited for, it is watching the two of you together.  she will always be there for you to help you when you stumble, to hold your hand, to listen to your secrets and to kiss you when you worry.  she will be the one to find you when you hide, to chase you with the sprinkler, to pick up your dropped ice cream cone and shush you in church.

as you continue to grow and grow, we can’t wait to meet you in january.  we are getting your room ready for you, one decision at a time and dreaming what life as as family of four will be like.  know that you are so loved and that there is a little girl waiting to tickle your toes.

love, mama

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