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End of an Era

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We’re coming to the end of an era. I have only 2 more evenings of nursing Mason. Thursday night will be my last night with this sweet little bedtime ritual we’ve had for the past 15 1/2 months. It’s so bittersweet. On one hand, I’m excited to have the range of foods returned to me, since I won’t have to alter my eating for Mason’s allergies… But I’m definitely sad for this chapter to end. I don’t know how often I’ll get to cradle him in my arm like that again, squirming, wiggling, energetic little boy that he is. I never really thought I’d be sad to see nursing end, but it’s just such a sweet, simple way of nourishing your baby. Of giving and being needed.
Little steps of independence, they come so soon! No one told me! I thought he’d be my little baby till at least junior high years, you know? Teenagers… I expect steps of independence from… but my little almost 16 month old? It’s one more thing he’s learned to do on his own, that he doesn’t need me for.
It’s so strange, isn’t it? We grow these little babies, our whole lives change, shift, rearrange so that they’re at the center of them because they need us for absolutely everything. They can’t eat without us, they can’t move without us. They can’t learn without us. So we nurture and feed and pick them up and carry them with us wherever we go, so that they can, little by little, step by step, no longer need us for any of it. So much single minded focus on these little baby bundles with the singular purpose of teaching them how to do all those things without us. It’s mind boggling. We grow so attached, and in some ways, the rest of their growing is learning how to release.
Not everything of course. Strings will always be tied to our hearts. And arms will always be open and welcoming, aching to encircle. Laughs will be had, and eventually, phone calls and visits will be made.

Such a trip. This parenting thing, hmm?

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In other, slightly belated Christmas news, we took down the last of our Christmas decorations this past weekend. Except for a garland and some white lights above our window that I’ve decided are winter decorations. I love Christmas, it’s always sad for me to see it pass (wow, what a sentimental lump I am in this post, huh?). BUT it does feel like the official signal of the new year.
Here’s a glimpse of our Christmas home that is no longer.

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I’ve always wanted to be a person who sent out Christmas cards.

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This was our bookcase come Christmas Day: christmas cards

Filled with lovely photo cards from our friends and faraway family.  Many more now than even a year ago.  I think that getting married and having kids inspires people to get their Christmas card act together.  Except us apparently.  Slight Christmas guilt lingered over the fact.  But heck.  One more thing on the plate this season was just not what our sanity required…  But I did come across this article, and felt right at home in it.  My favorite line:

“My kids are cute ya’ll! Just as cute as the kids whose parents organized their labels and pictures and whose photos now decorate my mantle.”

We may not have sent out Christmas cards… but we will at least get our Christmas post up before the year ends!  So just one short hour before the New Year rings in… here’s a small visual offering of what was probably my favorite Christmas ever.  With some just the four of us (Ruby too, of course!) time in the morning, some Arkin/Martinez/Gutierrez family time throughout the day, a Christmas walk through a nighttime Carpinteria, and a Solvang trip the next day… There was just the right amount of bustle and not too much hustle.

Christmas Weekend

And some of my favorites in a little series.  (Line1) Natalee making Mason talk and smile.  (Line2) Cousins posin’

Hope you all are enjoying your New Year’s Eve!!