Shelton & Brandi

Hello! We're Brandi & Shelton Koskie. Since 2006 we’ve been one of the many couples on the In Vitro Fertilization journey. We were the first IVF fundraiser blog, and thanks to the generous help of many, in we had our first successful IVF attempt. Nine months later, we had a beautiful girl, Paisley. You’re invited to follow along on our journey from infertility to parenthood.  Learn more

This is Why I Fought to Become a Mom

Tonight Paisley had five paper plates arranged on the coffee table, and one coffee-scoop that she insisted was a fork. She told me to sit down and “eat bref-fast mama!” She pointed to each plate and told me what was on them: “eggs, cake-cakes, eggs, cake-cakes, ur-gurt!” (cake-cakes are pancakes; ur-gurt is yogurt) in that sweet-as-honey, sing-song voice she has.

I ate the most gigantic, imaginary breakfast and loved every bite! She grinned the entire time, watching with satisfied eyes as I scooped shadows of breakfast favorites off my plates. After I’d eaten something off of each plate she told me “mama full!” and proceeded to get a baby wipe to clean both of my hands and my mouth. Of course! Syrup, yogurt and cheesy eggs would make quite the mess.

Love her.

Note: I want to do more of this this year. Writing individual stories, rather than attempting to remember them all at the end of the month. This moment was so perfect tonight that I’d be doing Paisley and I both a disservice if I didn’t remember it exactly.

Dear Paisley: Month 18

Note: I wrote “notes” for this letter to you on October 25, 2011, one month after it should have published. I finished writing it January 25, 2012, four months after it should have published. The notes are choppy. We got busy. I suck. And I’ve thought about this a million times and have kicked myself almost daily for letting FOUR WHOLE MONTHS get away from me without any letters. I love you bug.

I was shopping at Country Bumpkins, this adorable antique/craft store in College Hill, today. The shop owner came up to me and said “You might get tired of hearing it, but I can’t get enough of hearing her call you Mama.” Paisley kept pointing things out to me “Mama flowers, Mama bear, Mama, phone.” So there were a lot of them. I told the owner that I never get tired of it. I waited a long time to hear that word and I savor every syllable.

One of your newest phrases was “I did it!” You say it with all the pride you can muster, whether you put away a toy or walked across the room. I like that you like being proud of yourself, it means you’re cognisant of your own growth. It reminds me that for as little as you are, you’re incredibly aware of yourself and everything around you. I’m glad we talk to you like a person, and not a baby. You did it… and you get it.

We’ve brainwashed you and you’ve been accepted in to the Apple fanboy crew. As fate would have it, on the very night that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, passed away from pancreatic cancer you walked up to daddy’s computer, pointed to the Apple, and said “Mac!” You also started calling the iPad by name. Your proficiency with this device, and our iPhones, baffles me. I can say yes, the devices are incredibly intuitive (and they are), or I could say you’re a damn child genius (which you’re working on). I think it’s a bit of an intersection of the two. You would school full grown adults on how to operate that thing. You know how to open it, slide between pages, get in to YOUR folder, in and out of apps, and even how to work your favorite apps.

You and daddy are pals. Not that you and I aren’t, but sometimes I feel like our parenting style is like a human mullet. He’s ALL fun and I’m ALL business. It’s not always like that, and you and I have our goofy, fun moments too. I love the relationship you have with him and hope it’s something the two of you hold on to when you starting hating me around your thirteenth birthday. You follow him in to his closet every morning and recently began demanding to play with his belt. He hands you one off the hook on the wall and you carry it around the upstairs. “Dad-dy belt” you tell me.

The two of you also WEEEEEEEeeeeEEEEE. When daddy gets home from work, it’s like playtime to the max. He holds your arms and swings you around and around and you say weeeeee the whole time. If he sets you down, you demand to “wee.” You also love flying with him; he’ll place your belly on his feet and sending you flying. You simply cannot get enough play time with him. It’s good for both of you.

We adopted your very first baby doll. After Ellie left hers at the house over the weekend and we saw how much you were adoring her, I realized that was one toy your arsenal was lacking. Every girl needs a baby! You went to Target with me and we selected a pretty standard cloth-body-plastic-limb doll. You loved her instantly, as if you’d always had her and you just had to go pick her up. She was instantly the favorite to take to bed, car rides, and play with.

You think things are funny. I know this because you tell me “funny!” The way you say it is even funny. Good thing, because you will not survive this house or this family (or let’s be real, this world) without a sense of humor. I’m glad you found yours early. Don’t ever let it go.

I know there are a dozen other stories I could tell you, but four months later, I’m just filling in holes for some very sparse notes I left myself. Life gets busy and priorities get shifited around. It’s no excuse, but it’s the one I have right now. I can’t tell you how important these letters are to me, and how disappointed I am that I let so much time get away from me. Sometimes I think these are my only chance of remembering all the amazing things you’ve done, and here I sit with a four-month gap. I might as well have left the country, or fallen in to a coma. (I don’t know where you get your dramatic personality.) I know I’ll remember the big stuff, but I also know I’ll forget the little ones. Like the lady at the store telling me she liked hearing you say mama. These letters are about capturing the little everyday things you do because they are magical and plentiful. If I don’t write them down, they’ll vaporize as quickly as the moments in which they exist.

I love you bug —




The Year That Was 2011

The clock is ticking pretty hard right now and I’m running out of time to do this – my annual wrap-up post. I feel like this and a million other things are behind. Namely, three months without a Dear Paisley letter. I have notes, lots of them, and I probably have the time, I just need to make myself see it. She changes so much on a daily basis that writing those letters every four weeks is sometimes impossible to remember everything, catching up on one-fourth of the year feels insurmountable.

I’m not going to lie, 2011 can go ahead and roll in to 2012 and I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. This wasn’t a bad year, it was certainly not a great one. Maybe it was and I just didn’t slow down long enough to see it.

I have some BIG goals for myself in the coming year and I’m the only reason any of those won’t see the light of day … or will … however I choose to act. I’m ready to take back time that is rightfully mine, giving more of it to myself and more of it to Paisley. I’ll toss a little to Shelton too, of course!

It’s hard to say it was a bad year when I look back over the past 12 months and once again I’m reminded of the abundance in my life. So join me now as we take this little walk through my Google Calendar.


Shelton took a position as the interactive marketing director for RSA, a new ad agency in Wichita. A year later, he’s more or less killing it and has truly found “his calling.”

We were asked to be part of the Moments of Joy marketing project with Johnson & Johnson. Emmy-winning photographer Michael Franzini (above, photo credit) and friends came to our house for a half day to shoot us in our own “moment of joy” with Paisley – waking up in the morning! We were chosen as the family to represent Kansas in a photograph coffee table-style book featuring one family from each state. Paisley now reads this book almost daily, and loves flipping to the first page to see our family.

Paisley started walking at 8.5 months old!


Had the privilege of attending a reading by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my very favorite books, Eat Live Laugh. She was spectacular and made me love her story even more.

My dad had a heart catheter procedure. We made light of the anxiety we all shared by video taping the nurse shaving his disgusting hairy chest for the monitors.

We celebrated Paisley’s first Ayyam-i-ha in OKC with the Koskie family, minus Baltimore Koskie representation. We ate plenty of chocolate cake to make up for their absence. She also fit in to the dress my Great Great Grandma Lilly Kelly made for me.


Shelton and I attended SXSWi in Austin with six other couples, a group of some of our dearest friends. We transported a fully baked and decorated cake on our SW Airlines flight to ensure the week kicked off right by celebrating Sarah Sanchez’s 30th birthday. The week included a handshake with Dennis Crowley, A LOT of day drinking, and A LOT of good laughs.

Upon return from Austin I immediately took off to San Francisco to attend IHRSA and meet with the Cybex team to review their new BL Arc machine. It was my first trip to the city and I think it was worth every penny of the $50 cab ride to check out the Golden Gate Bridge.

A follow-up to the Johnson’s photo shoot was a commercial shoot. This was an intense day-long event that had about 15 people in our house shooting, directing, decorating, and a little acting from Paisley and I. It was a bath scene using the Johnson’s Naturals products. Paisley did great, but couldn’t quite understand why we kept getting in and out of the bathtub. The entire team was incredible, took very good care of us, and made a very generous contribution to Paisley’s college fund. The commercial aired during a one-hour special for the “Joy” project, and we’ve heard from several friends that it runs on HULU too. You can see it here now:


We mostly laid low this month, up until THE BIG EVENT on the 27th! Paisley turned ONE!!! Can you believe it?! Ugh, I still don’t think I can and we’re only a few months from the second one. On her actual birthday we went to dinner at Yia Yia’s; not because Paisley would care about a nice dinner for her birthday but because it was also Shelton’s birthday. We had a blow-out bash for the birthday girl on Saturday, complete with a pink tutu, all of our friends and family, and individual watermelon cakes that she refused to touch or eat.


We met up with our dear friend Paul Riedl to do Paisley’s one-year photos in Norman. We sort of snuck in to the OU stadium and caught a photo that few Sooners have. I hope she grows up to be a Sooner too and cherishes this pic as much as I do.

I went on a whirlwind tour for about a week. I left Wichita for Baltimore where I got to have lunch with Heather and Tilton by the bay, and then spent two days at a fitness conference meeting some incredible people who sort of changed the pace of my year. From there I rode a bus to NYC and hung out w/ my Brooklyn peeps for the weekend. Then, it was my first cross-country flight out to LA for the Biggest Loser 11 finale.

While I was away, Larenda stayed with us to help Shelton with Paisley. It was during all of this that the Joplin tornado happened and we were unbelievably relieved that her and my brother’s house, as well as their respective jobs, were spared.


This month was pretty much when my 2011-bad-mood started. I’d taken a few days off of work and just Paisley and I were headed to Dallas to soak up some fun and sun with Christie and Ada. We made it from OKC to Ardmore when the radiator blew up on the side of I-35. It was a brutal day, that turned in to a God-awful week, that turned in to an painfully large credit card swipe, that all resulted in never making it to Dallas at all. AND THEN when my incredible FIL drove me from OKC to Blackwell to be picked up by Shelton to go home, we were each 20 minutes in the opposite direction when I realized my laptop and luggage were still in Kerry’s truck. The night ended with sangria with friends. The end.

Later that month, Shelton and I ventured to KC for a quick overnight trip to see a Chelsea Handler show, a gift from a friend. This trip was also a fiasco and we were beginning to mull over the benefits of a hermit existence. Her 20-minute show was hilarious.

We started attending the free jazz concerts at Bradley Fair and it was becoming the highlight of our summer, until the World’s Hottest Heat Wave Ever descended upon our fair city. We got three evenings outside with live music watching Paisley run around the gardens, and I’m grateful for each of them.

Paisley gave up her bottle without a fuss!


Shelton and I left Paisley with Grandma Lori so that we could spend an extended weekend in Denver with the Sanchezes. This trip may, or may not, have had something to do with my turning 30 the following week. We ate and drank our way through some excellent restaurants and cool microbreweries in Denver and up the road in Ft. Collins. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this trip. Including eating super glue off of my birthday cake.

I turned 30. I got to spend the day with some of my very favorite people and was surprised by a really nice dinner with my most favorite person.

Early in the month, my Papa Nick lost his very, very short battle with stage four lung cancer. He was a Marine and a pretty cool guy. The day the call came I walked around all day saying to myself “Got’Dammit Ann!,” a phrase he was frequently heard barking at my Grandma. I still laugh every time I think it to myself.


Grandpa’s house finally sold and we packed up the place where we took Paisley home from the hospital. We moved to a beautiful 1927 house in College Hill and are IN LOVE with this new home. We’re super close to the park, even closer to some of our very dearest friends, and a bicycle ride away from Shelton’s office.

Shelton and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. We treated ourselves to a babysitter and went to see The Help and then had the most fan-freaking-tastic Italian meal I’ve ever tasted from a new restaurant, Luca. We said mushy things to each other. And there were flowers waiting for me when I got home.


With our Dallas trip null and void, Christie and Ada braved the I-35 stretch to visit us for Labor Day Weekend. We couldn’t have had a better time! The little girls played, the big girls talked, and the boy just stayed out of the way. We sat on our patio and enjoyed the single best night of the entire summer together.

I went to NYC for a week to work from our main office. This involved a Saturday on Jim’s and Amy’s Brooklyn roof top with a lobster brunch that started late in the morning and wrapped up early in the morning.


I had a chance to speak to Lou Heldman’s Social Media class for the second time. It was as much fun as the first and a great learning experience for myself that I hope to expand on.

With DietsInReview we hosted an aid station at the Prairie Fire Marathon. I was a little disappointed in myself for not running this year, but I also cheered a little harder and louder knowing just how much those runners needed to hear it.

We spent a weekend in Lawrence with the Sanchezes to watch a terribly boring OU win over KU. We also stayed in a hotel where, as Jeremy put it, wouldn’t have been out of the question to see a raccoon giving birth in the hallway. The weekend involved tacos, cupcakes, and an awesome breakfast.

I lost part of Paisley’s Smurf Halloween costume so at the last minute she went as a hippy which proved to be FAR more adorable. We took Paisley to about seven houses on our block, where she said “trick or treat” and “thank you” each time. Then, we handed out candy to about 300 kids, and Paisley helped with each piece saying “I share candy!” Jenna, Josh, Ellie, and our friend Sherry shared in the festivities.


One of our few quiet months, but as you can see, we’d earned it. We spent Thanksgiving in Moore with the Koskies, as usual. This year, Grandma Polly passed the spatula, if you will, down to me and I had he privilege of preparing the entire Thanksgiving dinner. I made the best turkey I’ve ever seen or tasted (give it up for brining!), a fig and turkey sausage stuffing, fresh cranberries, green beans, honey mashed sweet potatoes, and I even baked homemade bread. I was smart enough to leave the gravy and desserts to Grandma!

On that trip we took Emilee and Paisley to see their first movie at the theater – The Muppets. Both did a really great job.


We spent a weekend in OKC with “the crew” at the Crews/Titus Christmas Party, where we always push the limits of becoming an instant diabetic. It’s a rare opportunity to have all of our friends in the same place, and we love it!

I made my way to LA once again for the Biggest Loser 12 finale. It was a lightning fast 48 hour trip that crammed in quite a bit of excitement. I got to meet the Derow twins – Silas and Cian!!! Two sweet boys who I waited anxiously for this year.

Christmas was perfect this year. It was low-key and included all of my favorite things – great surprises from Santa, all of my family, and good food. Paisley was really in to the holiday this year, which made for a pretty magical morning.

We plan on ringing in the new year with the Moreheads, my aunt/uncle and cousins. This is a tradition that I find to be the perfect way to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new. When that clock strikes 12, Shelton and I will mark 11 years as a couple … even though he says we don’t recognize that as an anniversary.

What this list both does and doesn’t say is that we have good jobs that we love. We didn’t have a single medical incident this year and as of this writing all three of us are in excellent health. My heater is blowing really hot air on me right now while I’m watching OU play in the Insight Bowl on my 11-year-old television. My belly is stuffed full with homemade enchiladas and guacamole. I’ve hugged my husband about a dozen times today, and gotten more kisses and “wuv you too”s from my daughter than I can count. In other words, I have every single thing that I need, and when I stop and make myself really look around, I pretty much have everything I want, too.

As my friend Karin taught me to say… this is the Best Life Ever.

Happy New Year to each of you, and thank you for being a part of our year. We look forward to sharing the one ahead with you, too.

Dear Paisley: Month 17

There’s not much I hate more than doing work twice. And that’s what I’m doing right now. I already wrote this month’s letter to you, but it’s gone. It was really funny and I was in a super emotional mood when I wrote it so I was very detailed in what I wrote. But that’s gone. And now I’m sitting here and I don’t feel well, I’m exhausted, and I know I have to knock it out because another one is due in 17 days. I have this really terrible habit of opening blank text documents, writing in them, not saving, and then getting really, really irritated when they’re gone. At least I made notes. So I’ll do my very best to re-capture last month for you. I’ll apologize now, there are going to be some holes in the story. That’s why I write these every single month, because there’s so much I don’t want to forget with you that my brain can’t hold it all. Memories are funny that way, so slippery.

Let’s get down to business. You sprouted your 15th and 16th teeth. It was mostly uneventful. According to your baby book there’s only one or two more sets of molars and you’ll have a full set of teeth. A set of teeth that you’re slowly but surely working to remove the enamel from because you love lemons and would eat them like apples if I’d let you.

You’re loving the new house. In fact, you say “home” every time we pull up in the car and I love that. You know you’re home. You have an incredible command of the stairs; if you could just get an extra inch or two on those legs I think you would climb up and down like a regular person. You’ll do this if we hold your hands. You also slide down on your belly, crawl up on your knees, or recently have started sitting on your bottom and scooting down one step at a time. You also get rather belligerent with me if I try to carry you up the stairs. Damn it, you can do it on your own! Haven’t I seen you do it!

You’re also a big fan of our front yard and patio. That space kind of belongs to you. You have your playhouse, car, and chalk, plus the entire front yard and the side walk. You insist on taking walks every morning, which I think is fantastic. You’ll come up and tell us car, and then runnnnn over and hop inside and patiently wait for us. We usually walk our block. When we return and park the car, you insist on taking an actual walk. So you’ll take off down the sidewalk and wait for me. The walk down our block and back takes roughly 30 minutes. To pass about eight houses. You want to meander and take in everything. You’ll gather acorns, sticks, rocks and anything else in our path and hand it off to me. You like to watch the neighbors mow their lawns; in fact, you’re fascinated by this and have plopped down on the sidewalk to watch, as if it were a show. We live so close to the park that it makes it easy to get out for a nightly walk. We give you the option of walking, the car, and the stroller, and depending on your mood you will declare which you’d like to take by name.

Your vocabulary astonishes us every single day. It’s constantly growing and is a point of pride for me. You’re very verbal, but it’s never been in a nonsense, jibberish baby way. When you speak it’s meaningful and you try very hard to be clear and tell us exactly what you need or want. You rarely get frustrated. If we don’t understand you, we all take a moment to work through it. Often it requires you pointing to something or taking us somewhere to show us, but we always work it out. I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to understand you. You and I have conversations. This makes life easier for both of us. It’s also fully entertaining because you are still a baby and have your own versions of words, not to mention the way they sound in your little itty bitty voice.

Some of my favorites are:

Bye Bye [   ] – water, daddy, Ellie, Jessica, etc.

See you! – this is usually “Bye bye! See you!”

Read That – you’ll sit down with a book and say this.

Shoe Off – you don’t like to leave them on any longer than you have to. Socks have to come off too.

Pock-Pock – this is your little pink backpack that we use as a diaper bag.

Rock Rock – this is what you tell me when you want to sit in your chair and rock

Nope – You’ve told us no for a very, very long time. You recently added the p sound, making your dissents even sassier.

Toes! – when the blanket (fuzzy) covers your feet you tell me toes! toes! I have the same problem, they can’t be covered.’

Sure – Finally, an affirmative answer to my questions! Ususally in response to me asking you “are you sure?”.

You’ve also started letting us know about each. and. every. ouchie. that you get. No matter how insignificant or grossly painful, you are sure to tell us about your “aww-chee” as soon as possible. You’re a big fan of bandaids. You also like to have your ouchies kissed. Days, even weeks, after they’ve healed, you’ll still point to the wounded spot and say “knee ouchie” looking for sympathy. I always kiss them and you always tell me “better.” It’s very sweet.

Our beloved Jessica needed a day off last month (her first since January. How dare she!), so I took the day off to hang with you and Eleanor. It was such a treat and made me wish I could do more of it! We spent the morning at Botanica’s Children’s Garden – a place that I was very impressed by. You and Ellie had a blast and we probably would have stayed longer but the heavens opened up on us so I decided to bail. It worked out because we left there and had a surprise lunch with Grandma Ann, which everyone enjoyed. You were both very adventurous, wanting to look at, touch, and climb on everything you found.

I had to spend a week in New York last month for work. Those trips getting harder and easier every time I go. I know you’ll be OK while I’m away, but I know you’ll be doing all of your awesome things and that I’ll miss out. Skype helps, a lot. You’re usually good for a Skype call for the first minute or two, and then you’ll wave, tell me bye bye, and walk off. This was the best homecoming I’ve had yet, though. I didn’t get in until about 9:00 at night after a very long day of travel. Exhausted, I rounded the corner to find you standing next to daddy with your Elmo jammies on. When he pointed me out to you, you took off running in that amazing wiggly-body-all-over run that you have, squealing, and I scooped you up and held you so close and so tight. The three of us had a good long hung in the airport before we drove home and resumed life as usual.

I love you bug –


Dear Paisley: Month 16

Alright you… who are you and what have you done with my baby? In general you’ve been a perfect little Paiser Pais this month. However, there have been days that make me want to pray to the Lord Baby Jesus for what awaits us when you turn 13… or 3. There was one evening in particular while eating your rice and beans at Chipotle (that they give us for free! Thank you!) where your attitude had taken such a turn for the worse that your dad dropped his fork, looked at me, and with all the astonishment he could muster said, “She’s You! It’s genetic!” Well, why it took him 16 months to figure out that your personality is a clone of mine I’ll never know, but what this means is that you and I have a stormy future in front of us. Hurricane Irene (google it) is going to feel like a dance in the streets on a rainy day, I fear, compared to the butting of heads and battling of wills that will take place in our home.

I say this not to be like, “Well, Pais, this was fun. You’re cute and all, but we’re bound to hate each other. Hugs and kisses, mama.” I say this because I grew up with all of that same angst, fury and battled wills with my dad. It made for very turbulent teenage years, a few adult years too. Even this morning when you sat with me in bed screaming NO NO NO NO NOOOOOoooOOOOOO because I simply wanted to hand your blanket to you (THE NERVE!) I just smiled. I know what it’s like to hate mornings, and to feel such frustration with your parent you want to grab your Seventeen Magazines and very best T-shirt and march out the door, and I will love you anyway. I know we’re going to fight, but I’m going to love you anyway. I’ll understand it, I’ll see through it, I’ll blame my genes, I’ll blame the hormones, and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, you will too. You and I have some monumental head butting ahead of us, but we’ll be OK.

When you aren’t throwing fits of rage because we’re trying to feed you, wipe your ass, or bathe you, you’ve taken up dancing. This time, you can blame your father for those genes. It’s either the weeeeee-spin-in-circles kind of dancing, or the drop-your-booty-to-the-ground-and-bounce kind of dancing. Both are equally adorable, and both put a huge smile on your face. You say “dance! dance!” while you do it.

We survived KoskiePalooza ’11 this month. Fourteen Koskies, two dogs, three days, one house. I was excited for your first big cousin visit, you were less than interested. You pretty much kept to yourself, playing quiet and dainty like usual. You got lots of Oma and Papa snuggles, rides on Grandma Polly’s and Papa Rudy’s scooters, even a few snuggles from Aunt Heather, and refused to give Uncle Keith the time of day. I think the big kids were a bit much for you, but next year, I think you’ll be ready to join the anti-sharing, hair-pulling, and general horseplayery that takes place in the den-now-playroom.

One of the big things that happened on that trip was how many times you told me you needed a diaper!! The first time I thought it was cute; the second time I thought it was an interesting coincidence that you asked at the same time you’d soiled your diaper; by the third request I was catching on. Upon our return to Wichita, you were the proud new owner of not one, but TWO, potty seats (One for each bathroom, of course.) We plopped your tiny hiney on that seat and you thought you were a really big deal. Heck, I thought you were a really big deal. LOOK AT MY BABY ON THE POTTY!!! We’re not forcing anything, we’re letting you lead the charge here. You frequently ask for new diapers when they’ve become dirty, and just this morning you picked up your potty seat while I was doing my hair, patted the real toilet seat, and said “Potty!” When you ask, we sit. The rest of the time, we just have elmo decor in our bathroom. Good job big girl!

We took a little road trip. Finally, just the two of us! It was completely uneventful, which is just the way I like them! It was a bittersweet trip. In July we lost Papa Nick to cancer. You never got a chance to know him, and I think you both missed out. He was a pretty funny guy, liked giving the granddaughters candy, and kept Grandma Ann mostly in line. You and I went to Grand Lake to help Grandma pack so she could move back to Wichita. We also got to spend the day and night with one of my best friends, Sarah. I hope you’re as lucky in life to have friends like her, the kind that stick around for years and feel more like sisters. You had a great time playing with Liam and Lydia and made quite a mess destroying their toy room. Then, we got to have a big birthday breakfast with Uncle Kyle and Aunt LaRenda; he ended up paying for all of us. Like how I worked that?

You seem to have a name for everyone these days. Your vocabulary knows no bounds, and I love hearing you discover new words, especially the ones you make up! Jenna is Nenna, Felicia is See-Shaw, Ellie is Eh-ee, Jessica is Ca-Ca, Grandma sounds like Mama but is definitely a little different, then there’s DADDY!, and Oma and Papa are down. Oh yeah, and Mama. I’m not gonna lie, the way you say it with your teeny tiny voice makes me fall in love with you every time I hear it. It is my favorite word of all of your words. There’s such emotion in it every single time.

My favorite change in your routine is our mornings together. It’s always been Cry > Mama Gets You > Daddy Gets Milk > We Lie In Bed > Everyone Falls Back to Sleep. Now, we lie in bed while you drink your milk and then you throw your arm out, pop me in the face with your zippy, say Done!, and then roll/crawl your way to my chest. You then climb on top of me, with your fuzzy of course, and curl in to a little ball on my chest and stomach, and fall back to sleep. And there we stay for 30 minutes, sometimes, an hour, sometimes more. I absolutely eat it up. It’s my favorite part of the day with you, as mornings have always been. Next week I go to New York for a week and I’m dreading the return home to find that you have some new routine and you don’t my snuggles any more. Then again, maybe you’ll need them more than ever.

I love you my sassy little bug.


Dear Paisley: Month 15

Hey there Paiser Pais!

Or should I call you chatty cathy? You are just a non-stop talking machine these days. Some of my favorites are hiney, pretty, color, i sit, puppy, and knock knock. Last night I scooped you up and you squealed “I got you!” so clearly I almost dropped you from the shock. You can say the name of nearly every food you eat – avocado (acaho), watermelon (wallamalla), berries (bobbies), cheese, peas, bagel (gagel), apple, banana (nana), water, milk, cracker (ka-ka… not to be confused with Jessica’s name, also ka-ka).

You are fully obsessed with shoes. Certifiably on your way to be named Imelda Marcos of the year (you’ll need to google her). You want daddy’s off, you want mine on, you want to put them away, and if yours are on then the only logical next step is to head to the back door and leave. “Dye Dye!” you cheerfully remind us until we oblige or reason with you that we’re not leaving. Once you’re strapped in your car seat, it’s only moments before the mischievous tear of velcro fills the backseat. “ah!” you’ll say, letting us know you’re taking them off. Sighhhhh.

You really do love going bye-bye. No matter how rotten your mood is at home, I know it can always be fixed by going somewhere. You do so well in the car, and are generally very well behaved in public. You like going bye-bye so much that you practice it at home. Anything with a strap becomes your purse. While my purse, an obvious choice, is often used, you’ve also pulled bras, shoes, buckets, Target sacks, and more up on your itty bitty arm, turned to us and waved “dye dye!” and headed to the door.

You are growing to be quite a big helper. You think it’s a really big deal to take things to the trash. Diapers, paper, or even the end of food you no longer want, you proudly take it to the trash can and drop it in, then turn to clap and yell Yay!!! You also like to help me in the laundry room. I will pull one. item. at. a. time. from the washer and hand it to you. With each item I pass along you say thank you and then place it in the dryer. Then, you help me shut the door, and once again clap and say yay!

As of late, coloring is your absolute favorite activity. Something along the lines of “cuh-wuh” is said within 30 minutes or so of you waking up. You get so excited that your whole body will wiggle, and a big cheesy smile overcasts anxious fingers that just want to get ahold of a crayon. We’ve been brave enough to offer pens or markers in a pinch. In fact, you decorated many of our moving boxes on the way out of Sandplum over to Fountain.

Your hair is growing quite a bit. In fact, it’s long enough that (if you’d let me) I can put 1 ponytail in the back, 1 “spout” ponytail on top, or two VERY adorable pigtails. But you don’t allow this. You barely allow me to play with it, much less put a tie in. I’ve gotten you to participate a few times when I’ve asked “Can we make your hair pretty?” You’ll look at me with big eyes and say “pity?” and then back in to sit in my lap (swoon!). I spend the entire time going “ohhhh so pretty!” and reminding that “this won’t take long” just to convince you to sit still. The hair is definitely starting to curl and I have no doubt you’ll have a curly mop to rival mine by this time next year.

We learned how long one can go without a diaper. It’s about 5 minutes. The look on your face as you pottied on the bathroom floor was so concerned for what was happening. I reassured you that you’d done nothing wrong, and made a mental note not to let little naked baby bottoms run unprotected in the house after a bath, no matter how cute it might be. An inch back and it would have been carpet, so thank you for being a constant shadow and following me to the bathroom.

We celebrated your second Fourth of July this past month. It was a low-key yet eventful holiday. We lit sparklers, snakes, confetti poppers, and snaps on the Saturday before with Ellie, Grammie, See-Shaw (Aunt Felicia) following a big family BBQ. You loved all the colors and noises! Daddy was insistent on getting a few fun things from the fireworks stand to enjoy with you and spent the most he ever had on such things… a whole nine dollars. That night we went to downtown Wichita to see the World’s Lamest and Most Disappointing Fireworks Show EVER! But you didn’t care. You and Ellie played and played, and then took in the 6 minutes worth of booms and bangs, loving every minute.

The actual holiday we spent swimming and cooking out at Aunt Denise’s and Uncle Gary’s, with Great Great Grandma Morehead making a visit. You and I played in the pool, and you were more content to play in-and-out than to just keep your butt in the water. That evening was more fun and food at The Farmers where we stripped you down to a diaper and let you eat two huge slices of watermelon all on your own. You couldn’t have been happier!

You spent four days hanging out with Grammie, Nenna (Aunt Jenna), Ellie, and Aunt Felicia while daddy and I ran away to celebrate my 30th birthday in Denver. Paisley, when you turn 30, don’t fear it. Don’t stress about it. Just let it happen. I’ve spent weeks, even months, anticipating this birthday and it turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever had. We missed you like crazy pants while we were gone, but honestly enjoyed the break and uninterrupted four days to come and go and do whatever we pleased with Jeremy and Sarah without considering nap times, diaper changes, and the ease to take you some places over others. During our one and only Skype call while we were away, you were happy to tell us hi several times, and then got bored and wandered off to play with your BFF Ellie. Some day you really won’t care that we’re gone and that will make me more sad than turning 30.

We spent the last few days of this month packing and preparing for a move, a move I’ll explain in more detail next month. I wanted everything to go as smoothly as possible for you and now (the 16th of August, sheesh I’m behind!) that I’m looking back I think it has been. Not long before we moved you started saying “Home” whenever we would pull the car in at Sandplum. Only two weeks in to living in this new house and you said the same when we pulled in the driveway tonight.

The truth is, “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It’s something I’ve been telling your daddy for years, and a band (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes) finally put it in a song so I can put quotes around it and make the thought seem so much more profound.

I love you my little bug-


PS – are you ever going to grow? At your 15-month check-up you had only gained ONE POUND since your 1-year check up three months prior. At 20 pounds, you’re most definitely tiny bits and qualify for the 12% category. You are 30″ tall, and I’ve forgotten what percent that puts you. You’re not going to be a giant. You’re welcome.