8 years old. My first baby is 8 years old. How is that even possible!!

Maya at 8, what can I say. She is walking a fine line between the little girl she was and teenager she will become. Part of her still loves to play with dolls and live in make believe worlds, while  another part of her likes to sit around chatting with friends talking about fashion and what life will be like when they are older. She cares more about what others think about her now, a phase I hope passes quickly. She is passionate and smart. She feels things deeply and is full of “why” and “what if” questions. Reading and writing are her two favorite subjects at school right now. She can’t stand math, but still does pretty well in it. Science gets her curious mind thinking and she loves when they get to do experiments at school.

The year from 7 to 8 had a few struggles in it for Maya. She felt pulled in too many directions by the needs and wants of others and thus learned to find her own voice and stand up for herself. She learned that sometimes it is okay to step away from someone for a little bit and that we all need time to decompress.

It is amazing how much growing up has taken place this year. Maya at 8 is smart, passionate, curious, spunky, a challenge  sometimes, loving, and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for her.

I miss this space. I miss having time to write about the goings on in our fun, crazy, busy life. It has been over a month since I have carved out time in my busy schedule to write. Time is flying by at warp speed with days filled to the brim with so much to do. Between school schedules for Maya and Anna, extra-curricular activities, play time with friends, chasing a super energetic and daredevil of a toddler, cooking, cleaning, running errands I barely have time to breath let alone sit at the computer and write.

There are so many stories that go untold. So many moments captured only in my mind because they happen in a flash and I don’t have time to reach for the camera or write about it. When I look back at the archives of this here blog at all the stories told about Maya, the fewer,but still many stories told about Anna, I feel bad. Nora’s stories are not being told. They are being captured and fill my memory but the days just don’t have enough minutes in them to write it all down.

My goal, moving forward, is to be more diligent about making time to write. To be more purposeful about this space and schedule time, at least once a week, to write. It might just be a few sentences and a lot of pictures. It might be rambling. But, I’ve always loved having this space to write. I’ve always loved that I can come here and document the big and small moments of our lives. Maybe no one reads it, maybe it doesn’t matter to anyone but me, but it does matter a great deal to me. I love looking back at the stories I’ve told, the moments I’ve captured in this space. I want to keep doing it. I want to find the time in this crazy, busy, chaotic life to keep writing, to keep capturing the moments of our life, big and small.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get dinner going, clean up a wall or two that Nora decided to draw on and fold a load of laundry. Phew, so much to do, so little time.

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In the wee hours of the morning when I hear her  cries I bolt out of bed in a half awake, half still very much asleep stupor and stumble down the hall into her room. I am so, so tired and wish I was still sleeping soundly in my warm,comfortable bed instead of dealing with a crying toddler who refuses to sleep through the night. I pick her up and she presses her head firmly into that perfect spot on my shoulder made just for a baby’s heads and sighs as if there is no where else she would rather be. She asks to nurse but since we are working on weaning from night time feedings and it is before the arbitrary time of 3am that I came up with I quietly whisper no and shush her as she cries a little. I rock her gently and she quickly gives in to the fact that she isn’t going to get to nurse, and settles into my shoulder. Her hand wraps around my arm and her breath becomes steady as she returns to the land of sleep.

In these quiet moments I can’t help but think about the fact that she is my last baby. That one day she’ll figure out this whole sleeping through the night thing and moments like these will just be a memory. One night I’ll stumble into her room in the middle of the night to answer her cries and requests for the boob and it will be the last night it happens. I won’t know at the time but it will be the end of an era. Sure there will be times she calls out for me in the middle night but not like this, not to be rocked or nursed. I know I’ll miss these moments when they are gone. I won’t miss feeling completely exhausted but I will miss the feeling of a baby’s body getting heavy against my chest as she gives into sleep. I will miss the sweet smell of shampoo and sweat as I lay my cheek against the top of her head and breathe in her scent. I will miss the hypnotic sound of rhythmic breathing and soft snores. I will miss the feeling of being completely needed and trusted.

In the middle of the night when others are sleeping, when I should be sleeping but instead am on mom duty, rocking my sweet toddler back to sleep, I think of these things and feel lucky to still be needed at 3am. I feel nostalgic for all the moments just like this one that I have briefly spent with all of my girls. These moments can feel endless when you are living them, but when you look back they are so fleeting. Truth be told, I hope there are at least a few more of these quiet moments with my last baby girl in the wee hours of the morning because I’m not quite ready to be done with this phase yet.

In the blink of an eye 18 months has flown by. Some how my baby girl, my smallest daredevil princess, the lovely Miss Nora is 18 months old. It feels like just yesterday that I was holding a tiny little bundle of newborn Nora in my arms for the first time, in awe of her perfectness. Then I blinked and she was suddenly an 18 month old toddler not afraid of anything and taking on the world one daredevil stunt at a time.

Weight: 20lbs 10oz (23rd percentile)

Height: 31 ins (24th percentile)

Head Circumference: 18.5 ins (70th percentile)

Nora had her 18 month well child check up this morning and was declared to be petite and perfect! Just like her big sister Anna she is still rocking her petite status with pride. After a thorough check up by the doctor that included lots of talking, since Nora is a chatter box, I was told she was perfectly healthy and way ahead of the curve with her verbal skills both with her ability to communicate and her ability to understand. It is always nice to walk away from a well child check up with a glowing report.

There is so much I could say about our sweet baby girl and yet it is hard to find the right words to describe her. She is full of life and energy. She is a total daredevil and not afraid to try anything. She loves playing both on her own and with her big sisters. Her favorite toy is her baby dolls. She pushes her doll around the house in the stroller and hugs her and pats her back and gives her kisses. It is so sweet and cute. She also loves to play dress up, especially with hats and shoes (one of her current favorite words!). She also loves to color and read. But, her favorite activity is climbing anything and everything! I had to move our bar stools away from the counter because she figured out how to use them to climb on to the counter and I couldn’t not keep her off of it. She is a fun one ;)

Nora is a busy little girl. Busy growing, busy learning, busy talking and busy keeping us on our toes. She has a great vocabulary and can communicate very well with both words and gestures. I’ve lost count of how many words she knows. It seems like she is adding new words daily now. She can say, hi and bye, mom and dad (but mostly mom, she uses mom for a lot of things), dog, cat, bird, duck, meow, quack, tree, truck, bus, shoe, fish, this, that, nose, belly, bum, bike, hat, boot, blanket, bath, bubble, balloon, outside, help, cheese, juice, snack, lunch, park and plane. I’m sure there are more but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. There is rarely a time that I don’t understand what she means. She is very good at combining words she knows with gestures to make her point clear. She also understands an incredible amount. She will answer questions and follow directions.

This is one of my favorite ages. There is so much exploring, learning, growing and changing taking place it is almost like there is something new or different about her every day. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a curious toddler.

For months now, literally 4 months, Maya’s top front tooth has been wiggly. Shortly after she lost her first tooth her one top tooth started to get wiggly. Since the first one came out fairly quickly she was expecting this one to follow suit. She waited and waited and waited, growing ever impatient. A trip to the dentist a little over a month ago showed (in xrays) that the adult teeth were right there and the baby tooth was hanging by a thread. The dentist predicted it would be days, maybe a week or two tops. But the tooth had other plans and just kept hanging on for dear life. She wiggled it and pulled on it and even got to the point where she could twist it a bit, all in an effort to get that sucker to fall out!

Last night, as the girls were getting ready for bed Maya just had to show me that she could twist her tooth far enough to fit her thumb in between her teeth. It got stuck and she said it really hurt. There was blood, and blood and Maya do not mix, at all. After much convincing she let me try to pull it out. I promised to just tug very gently and if it didn’t work I’d leave it alone. I tugged, ever so gently and out popped the tooth!! She screamed and told me to stop, and then realized it was already out and her tears turned to a giant, semi toothless smile :)

She was so incredibly happy to finally have that tooth out!! She wrote a little note to the tooth fairy telling her how brave she was and tucked the tooth into an envelope. With hopes high of what she would find in the morning she drifted off to sleep.

The Tooth Fairy was caught a little off guard by this sudden development and was a little ill prepared. But she didn’t let that get her down. A fairy sized note was quickly created, complete with glitter and some glitterfied money, of course, was left in the envelope to be found this morning.

Maya was super happy with the results of last night’s visit from the Tooth Fairy, and was so excited to go to school this morning to show off her new semi toothless smile and tell her friends all about the details of how she finally lost her tooth.