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My second Mother's Day with Mo

Once again, Mother's Day was busy busy. But it's busy because we're blessed with so many wonderful women! I have a great grandmother still kickin', two grandmas, a wonderful mother, a step-mother, a mother-in-law and a step-mother-in-law. Not to mention the sweetest baby girl. We didn't manage to see everyone, but we made a pretty good effort.

In the morning, Mike's mom and brother came to celebrate. My mother-in-law brought me Starbucks and flowers. I only got her a measly little card. We had brunch, and Mo made Kitty Grandma read her just about every book in the house.


Then we went to my grandparents' house where we met my mom, sister and nephew. It was a gorgeous day (finally!) and we spent most of the afternoon outside. Mo loved hanging out with her Gamma:


And her Great Grandma and Grandpa:




I still often reflect on my journey to motherhood. The fact that we started by pursuing adoption, then opened our hearts to consider trying to get pregnant (opposite of many people, I know). Then not getting pregnant and not knowing why. In hindsight it was such a short time we struggled, just a year, but it was such a long, heartbreaking year. It pales in comparison to what others experience, I have no delusions about that, but that year - all the negative pregnancy tests and millions of ovulation predictor kits, the ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, all the waiting and wondering - has made it impossible for me to take my daughter for granted. 

Mother's Day is a hard time for so many people. An impossible time. I'm forever grateful for what it has come to mean to me. 

Mama and Mo on Mother's Day



Mo - 16 months

Another month! Mo is growing, which surprised me. I could have sworn she hardly grew or gained weight in the last 6 months, but at her 15 month appointment (a couple weeks after she turned 15 months), she was 2 inches taller than at her one-year, and a pound and a half heavier.

John Ball Zoo 2014 - family selfie

More than that, she's grown so much in maturity. She's so much a part of the household now. She can easily go where I go so I no longer have to carry her around or figure out how to entertain her. If I need to run upstairs, I say, "Mo let's go upstairs" and she walks over to the stairs, crawls up or I hold her hand and she walks up, then I close the gate and she wanders around from room to room as I do whatever it is I needed to do. When I take a shower, she hangs out in the bathroom with me. Even if I leave the door open, she perches at the end of the tub and watches me wash my hair. Sometimes she even imitates what I do.

Mo pig tails

Mo is still extremly easy going. She is one of the most adaptable toddlers I know. We keep her on a pretty predictable routine - she's up around 7:30, breakfast, play, snack, play, lunch, nap around noon, up 2-3 hours later, snack, play, dinner, play, snack, bed around 7:30 - but if we sway from that sometimes, it's no skin off her back. No matter where we go or who we see, she goes with the flow. Mike has had a few interviews lately, and each time he makes different arrangements for her. No problem for Mo! The other day she went along when he went to sell plasma, and had to hang out in the supervised children's area, and it's like she had been doing that every day.

This face - sweet Mo

She's also still an amazing sleeper. When it's bedtime, I suggest we go up to bed, and she goes easily. Usually I carry her up, but lately when I mention bedtime, she walks herself to the stairs, climbs all the way up, down the hall to her room, and waits for me to lift her into her crib. What? She puts herself to sleep, and even if she's not ready to fall asleep immediately, she reads a book or talks to her animals until she gets tired. When she wakes up, from a nap or nighttime, she just waits patiently for us to get her. I honestly could not ask for an easier kid in that regard.

Mo reading with dad

Mo is starting to talk a little. She figured out "hi" and looooves to say hi to everyone, anyone, all the people, all the time. On Mother's Day, Mike asked her to say "mama," a sound she can make, but something she has never said on command. But that day she did, and has many times since. She also tries to say "down," she says "wa wa" for water, and "uh sah" for what's that. Mostly she says something that sounds like "snghu" for the words she doesn't know. 

home repair mo helping dad

Her hair is getting longer and curlier. In the humidity it tightens up into little corkscrew ringlets. She loves to read books now, is always bringing us something to read to her, though usually she just wants to flip through the pages quickly. Her current favorite book has a bunch of pictures of animals. She can make the sound of a puppy (oo oo), a kitty (maa aah ahh), a snake (sssss), a monkey (ah ah), and she imitates the gorilla by beating her chest. 

Mo curls

She is still thrilled by visiting Ellen, the neighbor's dog, through the fence. Last week Mike took the latch off the gate (because nobody knows where the key is to the pad lock that keeps it shut) between our two yards and united these best buds. They were both in heaven!

Mo visiting with Ellen neighbor dog

Really, Mo is thrilled by all animals, as I've said before. She will often gather up all the stuffed animals she can manage and tries to do things like feed herself, without dropping a single one. My mom brought her dogs, two chihuahua mixes, over recently and Mo freaked out with joy. They were running in all directions, and she just couldn't keep up. She grabbed her stuffed puppy and got him in the action, too. It was sweet.


Mo at the park

Mo is my little sidekick lately. Actually, she's her dad's sidekick most of the day, running errands and hanging out with him. But when I get home, she's my little buddy. My biggy girl, my lovey, my little love pie.



What's to do in Atlanta?

Friends, I'll be in Atlanta next month for work. I won't have a lot of free time, but if you live or have visited there, do you have any recommendations? What does one do in Atlanta? What should one not miss while there? 

I'll be staying "downtown." I have no idea what that means, but all the hotels say "downtown." So where should one eat when "downtown"?

I used to travel quite a bit for my last job, and this job has been different. Which is a good thing now that I'm a mom, but I am pretty excited to be jet setting again, even if it's just for a few days and I don't have time to do much but work. This will be the longest I've been away from Mo, even though it's just three nights. She'll be fine though, and so will I. 

But what should I do with my three days in Atlanta?


Mo's first participatory Easter

Last year was Mo's first Easter, but she was three months old and just kind of laid there, like she didn't even care. She hardly even participated in the egg hunt!


This year, however, she really got into it. A week before Easter, we colored eggs, which, actually, that wasn't her favorite part. It mostly this:

Easter 2014

But Easter weekend, she actually had a lot of fun. Saturday we hung out with my family, and my step-mom put together an egg hunt for the kids. I didn't think Mo would get into it, but turns out she's a Easter egg hunting master! We showed her once what the idea was, and from there, she had it figured out. She'd carry her basket to an egg, set the basket down, grab the egg, place it in the basket, pick up the basket and move on to the next egg. Her poor older cousins, nobody was even paying attention to them because we were all so entertained by Mo.

Mo easter egg hunt


It was a gorgeous day, so we played outside. Mo drew with sidewalk chalk, played on the swing, tried to play basketball with the big kids, and even tried to be a skater!

Mo skateboarding

On Sunday, we gave her a meager little Easter basket. Then we spent the afternoon with Mike's family. I didn't realize Easter was such a big gift giving holiday, but Mo actually got a lot of stuff: books and candy and stuffed animals. And a miniature wagon.

Mo in a mini wagon

I was totally caught off guard, but grateful for how loved she is.

Mo bunny ears


Happy (belated) Easter!


Easter family photo


Mo - Fifteen months

This morning I was thinking about how much Mo has changed in the last few months. It's not that long ago that she turned one, and back then she wasn't walking or climbing. Now that's about all she does! She can get onto all the furniture, including the end tables in the living room, which I recently found her standing on. She not only walks everywhere, but has started experimenting with running (sort of) a little bit. She figured out how to break out of the "baby wall" of objects we use to contain her in the living room.

Mo with her balloon

When we do let her out (like she's a dog, ha!) she just wanders around the house entertaining herself with whatever crap she finds behind the furniture. Her favorite place is this little nook behind our arm chair and next to a table. We always find her little face peeking out from back there as she rips up a tissue or plays with nail clippers she found. She also loves to climb onto the chair. We always say, "On the buns!" which she knows means she needs to sit down. But she thinks it's hilarious to ignore us and keep standing until we make a move to pull her off. Then she flails her body into a sitting position, as if we won't remember she hasn't been like that the whole time. We're pretty good at consistency though. If we said we were going to pull her off, we pull her off, even if she managed to get on the buns before we get to her.


Now that it's finally warming up a bit, we've been getting outside more. When we first put Mo on the grass, she didn't know what to do. She wouldn't even walk on it! But after a couple minutes she decided it was safe and then she explored the whole yard.


Her favorite thing to do is visit the neighbor's dog. When we're inside, she loves to look out the window in hopes that Ellen will be there, and when she is, Mo laughs with joy. Then when we go out and she can visit through the fence, she flips out.

checking out ellen the neighbor dog

Speaking of animals, Mo loves them, all of them. Alive or stuffed. She loves people too. Not in a show-off-center-of-attention way, but in a beautiful-big-heart way. Whenever one of her aunts or grandparents is over, she wants to be held by them or sit in their lap. She just wants to be near them and show them love. Her love of people and animals is one of the things I love most about her. Maybe THE thing I love most. She has such a beautiful, wonderful spirit that I admire and envy. 

thrilled to see neighbor dog

Mo still isn't talking much. I'm still not concerned, but I'm always reminded how little she talks when my nephew is around. We just named him Talking Bear and call him The Orator because he is so verbal! Even though she is very noisy and knows how to communicate, Mo still only consistently and correctly says "uh oh." When she was a tiny baby, she was so noisy, always chirping and cooing. We used to say we couldn't wait until she could talk because she clearly had so much to say. It's still true today. She is noisy and expressive, and I can't wait to hear what she has to say. I know, without a doubt, someday she'll talk my ear off.

Mo kissing mom

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