Life as a queen in a land of many kings…

Busy, busy bees

I feel like so much has happened lately, and we continue to be busy, busy, busy.  April was a truly joyful month!  It started with Easter, which to me is a season of love, hope, and joy.  The world comes alive again, families come together, and I am left feeling so blessed and loved.  I’m overwhelmed by happiness every time we gather with family and I see how many people Westin has to love him, care for him, and guide him.  That is so, so important to me, and I hope he will some day also value all the amazing, loving support that surrounds him.  My heart breaks knowing there are children in this world who are lonely and hungry and unloved, who are physically and verbally abused, who don’t know the comforts of bed time, who may not even have a bed…but I feel assured that will never, ever be my son.  There are far too many people looking out for him, and what a lucky boy he is because of it!
Following Easter, Matt and I celebrated seven years since our first date.  Even though we don’t do anything to recognize this “anniversary,” I always like to take note of the date and reflect on the beautiful journey we’re traveling together.  Seven years may not be that long compared to a lifetime of marriage, but it’s a sweet beginning nonetheless.  Our first date, our first kiss–those were the start of many wonderful things…new love, new hope, new dreams, and new family.  Seven years later, there are still so many “new” moments we experience no matter how many anniversaries we celebrate.  I fall in love with him all over again all the time, and I think that feeling of “new love” is so important to a happy marriage.  We aren’t perfect, we have our little fights, we get grumpy sometimes, we get annoyed with each other, but there is always something that renews us in our love for each other.
Flash forward a bit more.  We celebrated Talia’s first birthday.  We went to market.  I baked, planted flowers, went to yard sales.  We went out for breakfast and got the usual comments from strangers admiring Westin.  We met baby Robby and still can’t believe Westin was ever so small.  We napped together.  I took Westin to visit his Great Grandma and enjoyed an impromptu picnic with his grandma, Talia, and Great Aunt Denise too.  I played peek-a-boo with Talia.  I went to church with my mom and grandpa and rocked my sweet baby to sleep in my arms after he tired from “singing” along to the hymns.  The list could go on and on.  All these little things make life so good, so sweet, so simple.
We ended April with the March for Babies walk in support of March of Dimes.  We got involved with the walk when our friends started a team in memory of their son.  To me it was a special way to support them while helping a good cause.  I became quickly passionate about the charity because of their baby boy, and it’s been amazing to see the outpouring of support they’ve received and how their son has made such a positive impact even though many of us never had the chance to meet him.  Now that we’ve been blessed with so many healthy babies (their daughter, Westin, our nieces), it’s still a nice way to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate.  Despite having some brief emotional moments to realize why we walk and who we walk for, I felt it was just a wonderful way to spend the day as a family.  The weather was gorgeous this year, and there is such a bright, positive energy at the walk.  I was glad to have Westin be a part of it.  He smiled and squealed as he bounced around on Matt’s back, and he was such a happy reminder of why this charity matters.
May is upon us now, and we kicked the month off with a Kentucky Derby party.  Matt is a huge fan of horse racing.  His grandfather used to own race horses, his dad grew up helping with them, and now horse racing is a passion the three of them share together.  They get rowdy cheering on their horses, but it made for a fun excuse to get together with family and friends and wear obnoxious Derby hats for the occasion.  Dress up isn’t just for little kids, you know!
Amidst all the fun we’ve been having, Westin finally got his first two teeth at 8 1/2 months old.  He got his top left tooth last Thursday and his top right tooth this Monday.  He has been a champ about teething, and despite missing his toothless grin, I’m really excited for the cwazy wabbit smiles we’ll soon see once his teeth come down the whole way.  I’ve started offering him some finger foods, but unless its a dissolvable food like baby puffs or yogurt melts, so far he just gums the food and lets it hang out in his mouth, never swallowing it.  We continue introducing new foods to his diet–yummy things like apricot, and gross things like pureed chicken.  Pears seem to be his favorite, but peaches, blueberries and apples, and apricot mixes also seem to please his taste buds.  If he starts to get fussy during a meal, I sometimes say, “Busy, busy bee,” emphasizing the buzzing sound.  I did this randomly one day, and ever since it has been a great way of distracting him enough to get him to take a few more bites.  It’s a fun little moment between the two of us, a daily dose of giggles to give us the break we need from real life as busy bees.
Westin is trying so hard to crawl.  He lunges toward his favorite toys, favorite people, and of course his favorite puppy, but he hasn’t quite figured out how to maneuver his legs.  We encourage him and praise his attempts, and I enjoy watching him try and progress.  When he first started lunging forward from a sitting position, he didn’t even know how to support himself on his arms, and he’d face plant every time.  Then he learned how to fall to the ground more gracefully, almost as if intentional.  Then he learned to hold himself up but didn’t know how to free his legs underneath him.  Now he can free his legs but can’t hold himself up on them and flops to the ground to do push ups.  I realize being a parent that there is so much about our daily lives that we take for granted.  Basic things don’t come as inherently as they may seem.  There is a lot that we must teach ourselves and be taught, and the amount of things babies learn in such a short time and their persistence to keep trying is inspiring in a way.  Unlike adults, they don’t give up out of fear or frustration!   

In addition to his attempts to crawl, Westin has been developing some dance moves.  This mostly consists of bending his legs repeatedly to jump in our laps.  He does this now without much encouragement, whereas we used to always initiate these little springs and bounces.  He also sometimes straightens his legs when we try to sit him down–a very obvious way of telling us he’d rather stand for a while.
Bath time has changed quite drastically.  I used to let Westin lie on his back in the tub, but when he started insisting on rolling over, I knew it was time for something new.  Now he sits up, and since I don’t have to worry about water getting in his ears anymore, I fill the water higher, much to his delight.  He splashes with his hands and reaches for his floating rubber duck.  I also sometimes flip him over onto his belly and hold him up in the water so he can kick and “swim.”
Westin now smiles at us from across the room.  When he plays and “talks,” he sometimes seems like such a little boy.  I catch glimpses of him and just can’t believe how big he’s gotten and how much he looks like his daddy.  His hair is getting longer and wavy, and the resemblance to Matt is there now as much as ever.  Sometimes he looks scruffy because of bed head, and I think it’s the most adorable thing.
Westin has also started this thing where he randomly blows/whistles.  It sounds kind of like someone trying to blow on their food to cool it off.  Again, it is so neat to see him experiment with his vocal capabilities.  Cries, coos, squeals, giggles, and raspberries–he has quite a dictionary of baby sounds.
This weekend I’ll celebrate my first real Mother’s Day as a mom, not just a dog mom or an expecting mom (though those were wonderful “mom” roles to celebrate too).  I’m quite looking forward to it!  Westin and Matt got me peridot stud earrings to match the necklace Matt got me of Westin’s birthstone before I had to go back to work after maternity leave.  They are so good to me, and I wear those stones so proudly!  I think of my baby so often, and then I see or feel those peridots and think of him some more!  Our weekend should be fairly low key but enjoyable as always.  We’re having a picnic with my grandma (and mom, aunts, cousins, and brothers and their families) Saturday and then breakfast with Matt’s parents and grandparents Sunday.  
I’m joyful as ever to be Westin’s mommy, to watch him learn and grow, to share in his smiles and wipe his sweet tears.  I’m thankful to my mom for being the kind of mother I can model myself after, to Matt’s mom for raising him to be a thoughtful, loving husband and father, and to the generations of moms before us for growing our family tree and making “us” possible.  
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