This has been one of the best years of my life raising a baby. It really has. It has been purely joyful! Not only because M. is such a wonderful, happy, joyful baby, but because our family is in a really good place right now.
It's been so nice to be not in the middle of moving, thinking about moving, or relocating for a job. It's been really nice to have older, more responsible children who can help out, and a neighborhood of really nice, supportive friends. It's been really nice to be in a church full of babies and mothers who love and cherish their family's, to encourage me and uplift me in my motherhood journey. It's been really nice to have such a strong, supportive husband who happy in his own life, and who loves children.
All these things make such a big difference in the level of stress that can go into raising a baby. Because raising babies is hard work! And when I've been under stress and all these things have not been aligned in my life so nicely as they are right now, It makes caring for babies that much harder. (But still do-able, of course!) I'm just really grateful right now that, although it's taken ten years to get here, we are in a very peaceful, happy place for raising baby!
Baby Malachi is an absolute joy. He is full of light and happiness, and shines that light to everyone around him. He has the biggest smile, and chubbiest cheeks. His first words were dog and cat, but more like "Dah" and "Cah." He has learned how to wave hi and bye. He has learned how to sign "more" when he wants more food (and it's adorable!). He has learned how to sign for milkies when he wants to nurse (and it's even more adorable!). He has learned how to walk! He reminds me of a little penguin waddling all over the house. He has also learned how to climb up everything! The fireplace, the kitchen chairs, the beds, the computer chair, and anything he finds outside to climb on. He is a master climber! Whenever he does something tricky or new he gets this huge smile on his face to show how proud he is of himself.
He is a big eater, too. In addition to his favorite milkies, he loves fruits of all kinds--strawberries, peaches, pears, bananas, mango, blueberries and apple! He also loves little pieces of cut up toast, scrambled eggs, lasagna, shredded chicken, broccoli, carrots, and peas! He'll eat pretty much anything that we're eating, which makes my life easier!
Malachi loves it when I sing to him. Eensy Weensy Spider, Baby Beluga, and Twinkle Stars are his favorites. He tries to sing along and waves his little hands and arms all over the place, and it sounds like "Gah gah gah goo gah gah gang gang!!" Micah taught him the "This Little Piggy" rhyme on his toes, and he loves doing that, too.
He wakes up around 8am, and is taking two naps a day, and then falls asleep by 10pm. Everyday with Malachi is busy, busy, busy! I am often very exhausted at the end of each day. He loves to play outside best right now and can spend hours out there. Yesterday he spent four hours straight playing at the lake by our house: Rolling in the sand, digging holes, waddling around the beach, splashing in the water, playing with toys, and just having a grand old time! He stopped to nurse twice and I thought he might fall asleep, but then he got right back up to play again!!
On Malachi's first birthday we were traveling in the van through California on a road trip. We had packed up our camp sight at Sequoia National Park and were headed to Leo Carillo State Beach park in Malibu. It was a four hour drive! It was hot and suffocating in the car and we were all sick of driving, so we stopped at a little park in Castaic, CA to play. The playground was tiny and we were all hot and hungry. I kept thinking guiltily to myself, "I'm sorry my little baby, this isn't much of a birthday, is it?"
Then to add some irony to the situation, there was a family having a huge first birthday party for their baby at the park there! They had a bouncy house, a full buffet, a dessert bar, streamers and balloons strewn everywhere, presents piled high to the sky, and over a hundred guests. It was a big celebration for their baby!
Then I looked at us, with our meager bag of bread and cheese, and our worn-out-from-camping-little family, with not even a birthday present for our baby! haha!
Yet watching baby M climb up the slide over and over and over again, while his brothers followed him and watched over him, giggling at his bravery and his toddler clumsiness, was absolutely priceless. There was a lot of love being shown for the well-being of our waddling baby boy, as he tripped and fell all over that playground. We may not have had a big party or birthday presents for him, but what we had was all that he needed.
Later that night when we got camp set up in Malibu, we blew up some glowing balloons and set them free in the tent. It was dark by then and the balloons shined bright and happy in our family tent as we all laid there and punched them in the air.
Malachi's eyes lit up. He giggled and laughed, and followed the glowing balloons around in circles. It was pure one-year-old joy!
We went around and told one thing that we love about baby Malachi.
"His smile," someone said. "When he head-butts me," said another. "When he climbs all over me and rubs his face in my face," said another brother. "His beautiful curls and contagious smile" I said.
Happy Birthday baby Malachi! This was one of the best years of MY life!