7 weeks

4:22:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

My precious baby girl. 7 weeks.






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dear Logan (19 months)

8:00:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

My sweet little man,

You are such a boy... and I love it.



Football season is upon us, and no one could be more excited than you are. You squeal and run to the tv, quick to grab a spot right next to your daddy. You watch each play with intent and passion, and seem to understand the game better than most people. You yell "oh!" with every tackle, and appropriately say "uh-oh" if you see a fumble. The first thing you said when we came downstairs this morning was "football", and I know it broke your heart to learn that there aren't any games on a Monday morning. You are definitely your daddy's son.

You're running and laughing, and testing us in every way you can. Your need for independence and constant defiance has been a challenge for us, but thankfully one we have enjoyed. You haven't yet learned to apologize when you've been on your worst behavior, but you are quick to shower us with smiles and kisses when you know you've done something wrong. Quite the charmer you are. I don't think I've ever been mad at you long enough to realize it.


When you're bored or frustrated you often throw your paci, and because of your good arm we have had quite a few casualties when we're out running errands. At your current rate, we may say goodbye to pacis in the coming weeks. If you throw them out of anger we never retrieve them for you, but it hasn't stopped you from throwing the next one. We have plans to wean from the paci, transition to a toddler bed, and begin potty training all before the year is over. Survival will be key for all of us.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel grateful and blessed for everything you've brought to my life. Even on the worst of days, a little bedtime snuggling is all I need to remember how wonderful you have made my life. Your smile can change the world.




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watch me grow! (Adaleigh weeks 5 & 6)

8:13:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments





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fun at the zoo!

11:38:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

Some days I feel like I'm drowning with two little ones, and other days I feel like a rockstar. Like the day that I successfully made it through the zoo with a single stroller, an adventurous 19 month old, and a hot, sweaty 5 week old against my chest.

I should admit that I did have a little help in the form of two dear friends, but they each had a toddler with them as well. We were definitely outnumbered. We haven't yet invested in a double stroller, so Logan in the BOB and Adaleigh in a carrier was the only option I had. She's usually strapped to me when we're out and about, but on long adventures I like to be able to breathe for a few minutes without constantly sharing body heat. Today I didn't have that option.


So with the stroller, Ergo, and a weeks worth of luggage, I cautiously entered the zoo with the little ones in tow. To say I was anxious (and may have started packing the night before) would be an understatement.

 But, you know what? We all survived. We ran through the zoo for nearly three hours, ate a picnic lunch, nursed, rode a train... and I only lost Logan once (and only for a second!). I actually left the zoo with both kids I came with. They were angels.


Logan was in an exceptionally good mood, which always helps. He only lasted in the stroller for the first ten minutes, and spent the rest of the day leading the pack on foot with me chasing behind.


We visited the train, and I gladly treated Logan to his first train ride. He was so excited at the suggestion, but as soon as he first spotted the train rounding the corner he burst into tears. A few hugs and kisses later, and he was happy to board the train with his buddies and my two friends. I was so proud of him! Not only did he overcome his fear, but he did it without holding my hand or even having me nearby. He is awesome.


The day was exhausting, but so much fun. I was proud of Logan, proud of Adaleigh, and proud of myself. This life really is everything I dreamed of. Crazy enough to have me rethink baby #3 (and #4) at times, but never to regret where we are now. So many more adventures await us!


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dear Adaleigh (5 weeks)

7:26:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments



My beautiful baby girl,

What an angel you are. You have been such a precious addition to our growing family. There could have never been a more perfect little girl to bring into our lives, at a more perfect time. Life is crazy and hectic, but in the most wonderful of ways. You have a calmness and peace about you (most of the time) that is exactly what we needed for our home.


Your personality is shining a little brighter every day. You are smiling more and more, usually just before you nurse or at the sound of my voice. You are alert and curious of the world around you. Your skinny little legs are getting stronger as you stand and jump when we hold you, and you continue to keep those long limbs stretched straight out. I've even found that you are happier and sleep better if I leave your legs out of the swaddle. No frog legs for you!


You love to be close to me, and if we're out and about you are always close to my heart in our Sakura Bloom sling. Your brother still dotes on you every chance he gets, and I love to think of the special bond the two of you will share. I see many games of catch and tea parties in the future. There is no doubt that he will be the protective big brother!


There's something special about a girl and her mama, and I have felt it from the very second you were brought into our lives. There is so much that awaits us in the years to come. We will challenge each other in the best of ways, and at times may struggle to find common ground, but I will always be by your side. I will always be here, loving you in every way I know how.


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3 to 30

9:00:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

3 months until I'm 30. The big 3-0. I'm not heartbroken about turning 30... honestly, I've felt "in my 30s" for quite some time now. But finally reaching that age has me doing a lot of thinking.


 I've always been a planner. Sometime in high school I mapped out my years of early adulthood and made my plan for the future. I would get married at 24 (what was I thinking?!?), have my 1st baby at 26, my 2nd at 28, and my 3rd at 30 (there may have also been a plan for baby #4 at 32!). In reality I got married at 25 (a few months before I turned 26), and I still think I was far too young. But Nick and I had been together for nearly 7 years, so it made sense. We had our 1st, Logan, when I was 28, and Adaleigh at 29. My plan was crazy, but my life hasn't been much different! Baby #3 will NOT be here when I'm 30 (or ever, if you ask Nick), but everything has worked our perfectly and I couldn't be happier.

I don't know where I imagined my career would be at 30. I definitely never imagined I would be a nurse (that decision didn't come until a few years after my first college degree). At times I though I would be finishing up my PhD by 30, by I don't regret life taking a different direction for me. I love my career as a nurse and I'm happy with where I'm at, but I don't put much thought into it these days. I'm grateful for my job, but nothing can compare to raising a family and the pride that comes with having little ones. I have a flexible career that allows success while still being my second priority, and that is nothing short of awesome.

By the age of 30 I will have already bought my first house (and hopefully have already sold it!), and will have moved into our first custom built home if everything goes as planned. We have more debt than I would like, but we're finally on track with our finances and see a lot of hope for our future. We have lived so many places, but finally feel settled and content with where we've landed.


 My children are my world. There is nothing I've ever done that I've been more proud of, and without them nothing else matters. This is truly the life I've dreamed of, and I've never wanted anything more than a family. I welcome my thirties and all the joy and happiness they will bring!



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watch me grow! (Adaleigh weeks 3 & 4)

8:56:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments



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moving on: walks around the lake

9:02:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments



In a few weeks we will pack up our things and move on. We will take pictures off the walls, books off the shelves, and carefully wrap up the memories of our lives to take to our new home. We've done this before, more than once, but never have we had wrinkled coloring pages and small little hand prints stamped on construction paper to take with us. Never have we left memories of bringing our newborn children home, or watching them stumble through their first steps across the floors we so carefully laid ourselves years ago. Never have we had so many tiny little clothes to neatly fold and take with us.



Our new house is perfect. Just enough space for our growing family, tall ceilings and open rooms, and customized to our liking. But when we leave our cozy little condo for the last time, we will leave behind five years of our lives. This is the first home we lived in as husband and wife, and the first home of our family. Five years of learning the challenges and commitment of marriage, five years of tears and kisses, of good times and bad. Our hearts are hidden behind each coat of paint, and our lives tucked away carefully in each cabinet and closet.


I have spent five years critiquing everything I've hated about this house... not enough bathrooms, rooms too small, ceilings too low... but now I can't seem to find a thing about it that I don't like. We poured sweat and tears into making this house our home.We have walked hand in hand around this lake countless times... first as a newlywed couple with endless hopes and dreams, then as new parents with bags under our eyes and gray in our hair, and most recently as a proud family of four looking toward the future. I will miss so many things about our first home, but mostly I will miss what this house stood for.


I will always remember Logan first learning to kick a soccer ball across the front lawn, and the look of joy on his face as he learned to run down the sidewalk to chase the dogs. I will remember the long days and nights we spent painting and nailing to transform an old, neglected house into a warm, cozy home. I will remember snuggling with my two favorite boys on a well-loved terracotta sofa with our sweet little girl wrapped safely in my arms. I will remember it all with a smile on my face.





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blogtember: where I come from

10:10:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I'm taking advantage of maternity leave and trying to write as much as possible before I return to work full-time in a few weeks.  I'm joining in the blogtember fun with Jenni from Story of My Life and you should too! You can find the list of prompts by following the badge at the end of this post or in my sidebar. Of course my first post is late, as most of them will probably be :)


I come from the union of two loving, endlessly self-sacrificing, hard-working, compassionate role models. My parents have survived 30 years of marriage, raising two daughters... raising two more daughters/granddaughters, countless jobs and moves, and decades of drama and emotions that only parents of teenage girls can understand. They have survived it all side-by-side, hand-in-hand, and taught me early on the importance of commitment and unconditional love.

I come from North Carolina. I was born in Chattanooga, lived briefly in Georgia and Florida, and spent most of my school-aged years in Winston-Salem, NC. I have lived in Tennessee for nearly 8 years now, but I will always be a Carolina girl at heart.

I come from obsessive-compulsive counting and attention to detail... anxiety and perfectionism... and I wouldn't change it for the world. These characteristics gave me years of straight A's and academic achievements, athletic success in sports, and two college degrees.


I come from a need to belong, a desire to fit in, and the realization that in the end it doesn't matter at all. I come from years of learning the hard way and falling for the fallacies of middle school and high school. I come from finally figuring it all out and finally finding happiness and contentment within myself.



 

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