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emily crall blog

July 18, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

I had vague ideas of photographing this room before Perrin was born, but, lo and behold, she’s 6 months old and I finally took the photos. I’m not mad though because as you will see, because I waited, she is in some of the pictures, which are obviously my favorite.

So for starters, I should say I didn’t do a lot to this room. I had been selective back when I was pregnant with Henry in making this room gender neutral so that it could be used for either boy or girl. I did swap out a few things to up the girly factor, but really, the room was basically ready to go when we moved Henry into his new room last fall. This is what it looked like when it was Henry’s room and, scroll on, to see what it looks like now.Little_Girl_Bedroom_EmilyCrall_Photo_0003.jpg

The canvas above the bed was one I made digitally and had it printed. I still love it so much! And that geometric mobile is such a fun art piece hanging over the crib.
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I adore (adore) these Sarah Janes prints. Henry had these all memorized when this was his room so when he was done with diaper changes, he would stand up and go counter-clockwise saying, “Be fwendly, be happy, be smawt, be cewius, be patient, be nice!”
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We chose this verse for Perrin for her baby dedication.
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My mom made this quilt for Perrin and the colors are absolutely perfect. Not just for her room, but for her personality. I love it so much.
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Crib: Hand-me-down/gifted (similar HERE and HERE
Dresser: Craigslist (we sanded, patched, and painted it)
Lamp: TARGET
“Be” wall art prints: SARAH JANE STUDIOS
Picture Frames: Michaels, Target
Canvas art: I created it on the computer then had it printed on canvas
Glider: BEST BRAND TRUDY GLIDER (custom ordered white wood with gray fabric cushions)
Side table: Amazon
Green geometric throw blanket: TJMaxx
Bookshelf: IKEA
Toy basket: LAND OF NOD
Bow shelf with hooks: Amazon
Rug: Rugs USA
Verse print: Custom calligraphy by Kayla Schlabach
Elephant rocker: Gifted to us at a baby shower from our registry (RESTORATION HARDWARE)
“Along Came Polygon” Geometric mobile: Modcloth (out of stock) 
Curtains: Custom-made by my mom (I purchased the polka dot fabric from FABRIC.COM and the sheer from WAREHOUSE FABRICS)
Bumper pads & bedskirt: Custom-made by my mom
Door-silencer: Custom-made by my mom (similar here
Baby quilt: Custom-made by my mom
Paint: Valspar Signature from Lowe’s, Sandstone Gray, #7004-18

July 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

My darling girl,

A few nights ago, we were busy and you missed your late afternoon catnap, the one that gets you through the evening until bedtime. You were so tired and grumpy that I finally just rocked you, trying to hold you off until bedtime. But you fell asleep in my arms, cuddled so close to me that our breaths mixed, your face tucked into the curve of my neck. If there is anything perfect in this world, that was it.

Perrin_6_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_1352.jpgThere’s a lot of ugliness in our world and I won’t burden your sweet, young soul with the details, but not a moment goes by that I don’t think of how lucky I am to be with you. To have you in my arms. To watch you giggle at Henry. To tuck you in every night. To kiss your chubby cheeks a thousand times a day. To tickle your tummy. To hold your innocent gaze. (And by the way, locking eyes with a baby is another perfection in this world. Adults don’t lock eyes anymore; we somehow become self-conscious to hold a gaze for too long, but babies don’t have that self-consciousness yet and I can get lost in the depths of your eyes.) To see your beaming smile when I wake you up from a nap.

You are my child, a brand new person who started your life inside my own body, and to know your absolute trust in me takes me breath away. You have no fears. You have no doubts in my abilities to care for you. You have unwavering faith that I’ll get you from your bed, that I’ll feed you, that I’ll change your diaper, that I’ll sing to you and talk to you and hold you and play with you. You trust me with absolution. One of my biggest fears in life is breaking that trust, even non-intentionally. To have something happen to prevent me from being able to meet your needs and be with you. I say all this because that ugliness I mentioned? It’s my worst nightmare happening to other loving parents. And the events that are playing out in history right now make me all the more aware of every blessed moment I have with you and Henry. When I say I’m lucky, I know how true that is. I don’t take a moment of it for granted.

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I read this recently in a book, “There’s just something about daughters. From the very beginning, I felt a rush of wisdom that I wanted to impart to her about womanhood: how to be brave, how to build real confidence, and fake it when you have to, how to respect yourself without taking yourself too seriously, how to love yourself or at least try to and never stop trying, how to decide who opinion to value and whose to disregard quietly, how to believe if yourself even when others don’t.” (from What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton) That paragraph resonated so deeply with me that I returned the iPad ebook to the library and bought the hardcover just so I could highlight the physical pages.

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Perrin_6_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_1355.jpgYou’ve just recently started sitting on your own. You still have some spills when you get excited or tired from sitting too long, but you’re getting visibly stronger every day. We have reached this magical, unicorn stage of babyhood where you can independently sit, but you can’t yet get anywhere. We have a very limited time before the baby gate will need to go up and Henry will have to put his small toys out of reach. (I can imagine how mad he’s going to get the first time—or several times—that you get into his stuff.)

I can’t believe how fast time is going and I’m not just saying that in cliche mom-talk. You’re eating food like a ravenous girl (like, you will aggressively try to pull the spoon if I’m not getting to your mouth quickly enough), you are learning how to drink from a sippy cup (how are you old enough for this?), you are sitting up, you’re funny and adorable and interactive and incredibly curious about what everyone around you is doing, mostly Henry. Your smiles are bright and big for your daddy. You have moved from the carseat-in-the-stroller to just sitting in the stroller like a little girl. You can sit in a baby swing now and you love it! You are so cuddly and not just because you are squishy (you do have the most amazing rolls!). You are cuddly in that you actually love to snuggle close. You like to take my face in both your hands and then just head butt me to get your head tucked against mine so that my lips are lined up with the top of your head, perfect for kissing. You giggle when I kiss your cheeks and neck and then snuggle back in for more. (Similarly, when Henry’s in a snuggly mood, he asks for “nineteen four twenty” kisses, a number whose origin I don’t know, but it’s consistent every time. “Nineteen four twenty”.) In so many ways, the things that I had been looking forward to—longing for—back when you were first born are already here. Bam. You’re a half a year old and when we do the same amount of time again, you’ll be walking.

What a joy to be your mama. What a great responsibility—and I mean that not as big, but as wonderful—to have your trust in me to provide for your needs, to be there for you always. The way you look at me is filled with pure, undiluted love and I echo that right back to you. “There’s just something about daughters…”

I love you with abandon.

Mama

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This smile…it’s the most angelic whole-face smile I’ve ever seen.
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Arts Fest downtown…
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…and Tractorcade with Grandpa
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My friend saw this picture and said, “She looks at you like you are absolutely the only thing she loves in the entire world.” <3Perrin_6_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_1374.jpg

Loves: your jumperoo, music & singing & reading, sitting up, swinging, stroller rides, eating food, having people talk to you/getting attention, “talking”, your pacifier, being in just your diaper
Wears: 3-6m in clothes, moving into 6-9m, size 3 diapers
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon) 
Previously:

June 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

My sweet little Perrin,

You’ve been in our arms for five whole months. It seems unreal. The first few months were a blur and now that things are easier, I made the rookie mistake of thinking time would slow down a little bit. (Hint: it doesn’t.)

There are so many things I’m looking forward to with you, but I’m also treasuring the stage that we are right now. You are sweet and full of smiles—they are big, gummy, open-mouth smiles that take up your whole face. You are such a happy little girl, unless you’re tired or hungry. You love observing the action around you, particularly your big brother, and you wiggle yourself around to get the best views. Perrin_5_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0017.jpg

Speaking of wiggling, you are a professional roller now, but only from back to front. As soon as I lay you down, you pull up your little legs and swing them to the side, rolling herself over using all your momentum. Zip, there you go. Unfortunately, even though you’ve rolled from front to back before, you seem to have forgotten so then you get mad that you’re stuck on your stomach. (Although as I’m writing this, I see you on the monitor rolling everywhere in your crib so maybe you do know how, but you just don’t want us to know? I caught you, girl.)

When you were a baby, you refused your pacifier. You’d spit it out immediately. Over the last couple of months though, you’ve become attached in a big way and there are times during the night when we have to go pop it back into your mouth while you’re half-asleep crying. You immediately go back to sleep and, thankfully, so do we. Perrin_5_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0018.jpg
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I started feeding you some baby food as a trial a couple of weeks ago and you immediately gobbled it down like you were starving (you’re not as clearly evidenced by your adorable chubby thighs). So now I offer it to you once or twice a day (lunch and/or dinner) and you loveto eat. Girl after my own heart you are.

Summer hit hard and we’ve been struggling through high-90s already in May. I’ve been dressing you in as little as possible to try to keep you cool when we are out. But all that also means that pool season is here and you have the darlingest little bathing suit. Given how much you love to splash in the bath, I’m hoping you’ll also love the pool. I’ve yet to manage our maiden voyage with just me, you, and Henry.

We had your baby dedication at church on May 20th. Henry was most excited that he got to be up on the stage. We chose Zephaniah 3:17 for your dedication verse: “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” And I pray that’s true for you throughout your life, Perrin. That you know God’s love in such a sweet way, calming and serenading while also strong and mighty. The juxtaposition of all His greatness in every marrow of your bones.

My darling, I’m so proud to be your mama. To show you the world, to guide you into it and through it. It’s such an overwhelming responsibility, but it’s equally an overwhelming joy. I’m so glad you’re mine.

I love you.

Mama

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(You are sending me so many messages right here, but mostly, “Mom, make him stop.”)
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Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, sitting in your bumbo, eating food, having people talk to you, cooing, your pacifier 
Wears: 3-6m in clothes, size 2 diapers (size 3 overnight)
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon) 
Previously:

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May 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

Hi peanut,

These days your smiles come easily and your opinions are strong. For the most part, you have become an easy baby, though evenings are still when you get crankiest. You are a good sleeper and you really prefer your room and bed over sleeping on the go, but you don’t always get that luxury with the warm weather and an older brother and playdates and walks to the park.

I have realized that time is going faster with you, my second child. It’s partly because I have less first-mom-syndrome and partly because my focus is split between two kids. You’re reaching milestones before I’ve even had a chance to think about them. With Henry, I was always aware of what would be coming next; soon he’ll roll over, soon he’ll laugh, soon he’ll sit up. With you, I’m so focused on each day that I barely realize time is passing and you’re either doing things already or will be soon. Because, see, you’re already four months old and it feels like I just pulled you up onto my chest in the hospital room.

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Perrin_4_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0003.jpgWhen you turned three months old, you could start going to the daycare at the gym rather than coming with me in the carseat and stowing away in the corner while I worked out. It’s been an adjustment and most mornings there, you refuse sleep until about 10 minutes before I pick you up when you finally conk out in someone’s arms. Thankfully, so far you’ve been good about going down for a nap once we get home and getting back on track for the day. I love seeing your resilient little self and am thankful that you’re learning to be flexible.

We finally (finally!) have warm weather after a seemingly endless winter. We’ve been spending our afternoons at the park, on ice cream runs, having playdates, playing outside, and going for walks. Again, I’m thankful that you’re learning to be flexible because the fresh air is so good for all of us.

Your brother adores you. His voice changes to a high-pitched, adorable, baby-gaga voice when he talks to you. And he gives constant updates on your response to him. “Mama, her eyes are open!” Mama, she’s looking around!” “She’s smiling at me, mama!” You are fascinated with him and always look around to see where he’s at. He will be your best protector and I am so excited to see the relationship between the two of you grow.

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Perrin_4_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0007.jpgThis next month will undoubtedly continue to bring more changes; you keep growing and discovering and learning new tricks. I love to see your personality shine and I’m so excited to continue to watch you grow. I’m savoring every moment, while also looking forward to new milestones: sitting up, crawling, climbing. I’m just soaking you in.

I am so grateful to have you in our family, Perrin. You bring joy to my heart and I will never be able to describe how much I love you. Some day I hope you will understand when you have children of your own, but for now, you have to trust that the love I have for you is just indescribable. It’s deep and wide and goes farther than you can see. As one of your books say, “You’ll never outgrow it. It stretches itself.”

Oh, my sweet, I love you so.

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Taking these monthly photos is no easy chore and I’m usually sweaty by the time I’m done. I already know from experience with Henry that these photos are priceless and I’ll treasure them always so the effort is worth it. This month, Perrin was waaayyyy more interested in chewing on her hands or making duck faces than she was in smiling. And Henry was trying to do his own photoshoot so that made for some extra fun workaround.
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Weighs: 13 pounds, 1 ounce
Height: 25.25 inches
Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, having people talk to you, cooing, your pacifier 
Wears: 0-3m in clothes in a few, but going up to 3-6m now, size 2 diapers
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon) 
Previously:

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April 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

My sweet girl,

Shortly after you were born, I read something that referred to the first few months of life with a newborn as the “100 days of darkness”. They’re hard, those 100 days. Keeping a tiny human alive, wild hormones and #allthefeels (anxiety, guilt, sadness, joy, pride, rage), the sleep deprivation, a healing, postpartum body that feels strange and foreign and saggy, the loneliness that hits at random times, but especially during the middle of the night, the mental wearing of dealing with colicky cries, the knowledge that your life has irrevocably changed and you have to figure out how you fit in this world again. Those first 100 days are hard.

But.

Perrin_3Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0095.jpgBut then it passes. The 100 days slip by in a haze and suddenly, one day, you realize you’re on the other side (or technically speaking, we are almost on the other side; I guess we are only 90-some days in right now but close enough). The tides shift. It becomes easier. It feels more doable. The bad days are fewer; the good days more numerous. We sleep again, full, restful nights of sleep. You smile at our crazy sounds. You coo in response to singing. You chew on your little fists in the most adorable, drooly way. You look around with smooth eye movements and are curious about everything you see. You become less fragile and more stable, holding your head upright and pushing yourself up on your hands. You become less fresh and more human.

It’s the most wonderful thing, making it through those hardest days. The best thing about a second child is that, even though it’s harder in many ways trying to juggle it all with multiple kids, as a parent, you also know it will become easier instead of just hoping that someday it won’t be so insurmountable. And with that thought in mind, I’ve been counting down to 3 months since a few moments after you were born. I knew it would be hard; I remembered it so well from when Henry was little. But I also knew it would become easier.

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Perrin_3Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0097.jpgI’ve continued lugging you to the gym and you sleep in the carseat while I work out. Now that you’re three months old, you can start going to the gym daycare and I’m admittedly a little nervous about it. Henry will give me a full report, I’m sure.

He loves to go in before me to get you up from your naps. He turns off your sound machine, turns on the light, and goes over to your crib and starts talking to you. You love it. “Perriiiiinnnn. Hiiiii little Peanut. Did you sleeeeeep good? I think you did. Your mama is coming.” And you smile at him like he’s your hero.

You love laying on your play mat and kicking at the piano keyboard to make music and batting at the toys hanging overhead. Your little fists have become your favorite chew toy and they are constantly in your mouth.

You haven’t taken to your pacifier like Henry did. We use it occasionally to calm you down, particularly when you’re tired, but you have to be in just the right mood to actually suck on it and, even then, after a few minutes, you push it out with your tongue because you’ve had enough of it.

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Naps are finally getting better. Though you’ve been sleeping through the night since 7 weeks, naps were a constant struggle where you’d only sleep for 30-40 minutes and then wake up crying and couldn’t settle yourself back down. The last week or two have shown significant improvements though and you will sometimes nap over 2 hours now. Unfortunately, it’s not at the point of being guaranteed yet so I can only semi-plan things to do (clean the bathrooms, reply to emails, workout on the spin bike, schedule client calls, go play outside in the yard with Henry, etc.) with the knowledge that they might be interrupted. But we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

With your age and development, your personality is continuing to shine. You’re a fairly relaxed little baby now and you generally don’t fuss unless you’re tired, hungry, or overstimulated. In fact, I can always tell when you’re ready for your naps simply because you start to get fussy.

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And so, my sweet girl, three months have passed and you have seamlessly inserted yourself into our family, making it nearly impossible to remember what it was like before you. We are whole. We are complete, the four of us. You were just who we were waiting for. You have been absolutely worth every tear shed, every sleepless moment, every throbbing headache, every doubtful terror.

Loving you has been such a pleasure. I am breathing in every moment with you and loving you more than I thought possible. You are my joy.

I love you.

Mama

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Weighs: 12 pounds, 1 ounce
Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, having people talk to you, cooing
Wears: 0-3m in clothes, size 1 diapers (size 2 overnight)
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 4 naps a day (two long ones and two shorter ones in the late afternoon and evening) 
Previously:
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March 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

My darling girl,

I knew it would happen like this; the longer you’re here, the more I love you. The first weeks were hard—really hard—and there were times when I loved you, but didn’t really like you. Love is like cement though; malleable and a little sticky at first, but absolutely permanent once it sets. And it is long set by now, sweet girl.

You’ve started smiling and cooing and, as I predicted, your smile is beautiful. I’m just so excited to hear more and more of your voice and see your personality shine.

Perrin_2Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0085.jpgWe moved you from sleeping in your rock-n-play to your crib at 7 weeks. I was really nervous about the transition, but, exactly like your brother back in the day, you swapped over without even seeming to notice. We also switched you from your weighted swaddle to a zip-up swaddle (because you kept getting your arms out of the swaddle) and that too went much smoother than I had thought. Sometimes the things I’m most nervous about are the easiest and the things I don’t even consider being an issue end up being the hardest.

You are my little gym buddy and I’ve been lugging you along to my HIIT classes since you were 2 weeks old. It’s conveniently timed during your nap so you mostly just sleep in your carseat though you occasionally need it to be rocked or jostled a bit. You’ll be able to go to the child care room once you’re three months old and I hope you’ll do okay with that. Your brother will be there too and I’m sure he’ll keep any eye on you.

Speaking of Henry, he’s grown to love you. When you were first born, he was very much uninterested and even dejectedly said once, “Ohhhh. She’s still here.” Now he loves to go with me to get you up and clambers up the side of your crib to lean over you and say, “Good morning, Perrin! Did you sleep good?” When you’re laying on the play mat, he constantly goes over to talk to you (right in your face, always!) and check on you. Just a few days ago, I was in the kitchen, you were on your play mat in the living room, and Henry was bouncing between the two, telling me, “Mama, I’m just going to check on Perrin.” He’s sweet and protective and all of that has happened in the last several weeks. Just a couple days ago, he wanted to help feed you your bottle and he also requested to take a picture with you, both were firsts for him. He will continue to be the best big brother and I can’t wait until you start laughing at his antics because it will just send him into high gear to make you so happy.

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Perrin_2Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0089.jpgSleep has become really good. At five weeks, you shocked us by going almost 9 hours one night (you slept from 10 PM to 6:45 AM!), but then you dropped back to consistently going 5-6 hour stretches, waking once a night, usually around 3:30. But at seven weeks old, you surprised us again and started sleeping all night (10 PM to 7:30 AM). You must be competitive because when I mentioned last month that your brother slept all night starting at 12 weeks, you kicked it into high gear to beat him. Thank you for that. (Though I still wake up around 3:30 AM to phantom crying in my head…and then I have trouble going back to sleep, thinking you’ll wake up any minute.) There were 4 nights of all-night stretches and I’m not sure if it’ll stick or if you’ll go back and forth between an all-nighter and a wake-up, but if you do wake up, once you’re fed, you go back to sleep.

This week has brought some warmer temperatures so we’ve spent afternoons outside, going on long walks to the park. I wear you in the Tula carrier and put Henry in the stroller and off we go. The bouncing of my walking puts you right to sleep. The fresh air has been good for all of us, especially since Henry got a cough last weekend and I’m trying desperately to keep you from picking it up.

As much as I’ve been counting down to 3 months, I’m also shocked at how fast time is actually going. I’m glad for it at this stage, but once we hit that magical time post newborn stage, I know I’m going to be like, “Stop. Now it’s time to slow down.” But it doesn’t. It never does. So I’m just soaking up the cuddles and the way you loop your arms around my neck when I carry you and your soft little cheek against mine when I rock you. You’re my favorite little girl and you always will be.

I love you to the moon and beyond, my sweet baby.

Mama

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Weighs: 10 pounds, 2 ounces
Loves: your play mat, music, being held upright, having people talk to you
Wears: 0-3m in clothes, size 1 diapers
Sleeping: all night most of the time (!), with an occasional early-morning feed (usually sometime between 3:30-5); bedtime at 7 PM with a dreamfeed bottle at 10 PM and sleeps until 7:30 AM
Previously:

This was how almost all of the photos turned out. You weren’t in the mood.
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And this is the one where Henry wanted to jump in with you. You’re not so sure about it.
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Real mom life:
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