Oh baby.

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Archer has grown and changed so much and so quickly. He is already definitely out of his newborn phase and so I find myself pouring over these pictures taken by Becca from his first days home with us. (He was five days old when we took these pictures, and now he’s four months old and I’m just getting them posted now because #newbaby #summer #noschool and #busybusybusy).

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I already miss his little balled fists and fishing baby lint out of them every morning. Maybe it’s weird, but I just adore baby lint. Now his hands are wide open and reaching for puppy noses and they don’t get so linty anymore. His toes are still linty, though, so I’ll be content with that for now.

I already miss when you could just wrap him up in a ball and set him anywhere – the bench of a coffee shop, the sofa, the church pew, and he’d just stay there, fast asleep. He is still a great sleeper and we’re so lucky, but now he’s too big and sprawling to be perched just anywhere. Now he sleeps in his own bed in his own room all through the night and for most naps, too. Which is of course good in its own way, but still.

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(^^^ These pictures of Steve and Archer? I die. So lucky to have them both.)

And he is just so, so sweet. He loves to giggle and I swear that when I say, “I love you” he says it back, or at least mimics the sounds so well. He loves to chat before bed and gaze up at with me with his big hazel eyes. He seems to know that talking before bed is a tradition in our house and he’s not missing out. He loves to be kissed and sung, too. And really only gets upset if he thinks that maybe you’ve forgotten him. Or if he’s hungry or tired, you know, the usual.

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And speaking of the usual, Steve likes to say that he thinks Archer is the most perfectly average baby alive. He loves all the typical baby stuff – swaddling and bouncing and shushing and pacifiers. Not all of our other children have been so easily soothed.

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For our last baby, his infancy is going by just too quickly. I’m in no rush for him to be independent just yet. So I’m soaking up the middle-of-the-night feedings when we lie curled up together, his tiny feet kicking my stomach and his hand reaching out for mine, unsatisfied until he is grasping my fingers. I’m reveling in his bedtime routine and our little cooing sessions. He’s going to be so big so soon, so I’m trying to just hold him a little extra tight these days.

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P.S. All photos in this post are by Becca of Lady and Gent Photography. Becca and her husband, Kevin, specialize in taking amazing wedding pictures, so if you’re in the market, be sure to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Archer at One Month Old

One month in and we’re determined to keep him.

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Archer has been pretty great, and has seemed fairly content to join the craziness around here. When his siblings pester him too much he just falls asleep out of annoyance – which is a great coping skill, if you ask me.

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The big kids have lots of things to say about him. For one, they think he cries a lot. (He doesn’t, really). And when he does cry, they’re quick to problem solve. “He made a bird face! That means he’s hungry!” // “He’s crying because he wants his pacifier/blanket/toys/etc.” And my favorite, from Henry, “Maybe he’s crying because his umbilical cord is out.”

And they really like to think that he is talking to them. Ellie today said, “Archer said his first word! He said “Oh”. For real. I didn’t even make him do it!” And when Olivia heard that “Oh” she said, “He is trying to say “Oh – Oh – Olivia! He is trying to say my name!” Again, we clearly have a very advanced baby.

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I mean, doesn’t he look so smart and sophisticated?

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He’s still a little yellow, but he has the greatest smile when we can coax it out of him. It takes over his whole face. I hope he’ll be a very smiley baby. And thankfully he’s already gotten his nights in order. He usually sleeps from about 8pm-2am or so, eats and then goes back to sleep. Even if he does wake back up a time or two before the morning, he is happy to just eat and snuggle back to sleep. Which is good, because, well, he’s the fourth kid.

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Dear Archer,

We love you so much and we’re so glad you’re here with us.

I hope you’ll always love adventure, and also be content to enjoy the simple pleasures of the every day.

I hope you’ll always be snuggly, and you’ll love to learn, and that you’ll tell us all kinds of funny stories.

I hope that you’ll live up to your name. An Archer is a defender – a champion of those who are in need. An Archer protects, is valiant and courageous and stands up for what is right. May you always be a protector of the weak, a friend to the forgotten, a lighthouse of hope and a safe harbor. May you be a guardian of the sacred, and advocate for those who have no voice.

Holding your tiny self in my arms is overwhelming sometimes. I have so many hopes and dreams for you. I have fears and plans and so many things I want to be sure you know. I feel so responsible for teaching you those things, and worry I won’t be everything you need me to be. But baby, I’m going to try my hardest.

This world you were born into – it’s a terrible world, and a beautiful one. May you be someone who adds to its beautiful. Who encourages and loves. Who lights up the room with a smile. May you be strong, yet gentle. May you be brave and compassionate and fearless.

You’re one of a kind. Thank God you’re mine.

I’ll love you forever and ever.

Love, Mama

The Best Time of Day to Have a Baby

… is 5:45 pm.

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Archer James Waters was born at 5:45 pm on May 7, 2016.

Since Henry was also born at 5:45 pm, I think it must be a great time to be born because you are all excited and awake for a few hours, everyone meets you, you eat and look around and wonder about things for a while, and then when nighttime comes, you are ready to sleep. A nice, long sleep. And you get your days and nights right from the beginning.

Ha! As if anyone has any control over what time of day their baby comes! But if you did, I would suggest 5:45. Two babies in a row, and it’s worked out quite nicely.

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Anyway. It’s already been four weeks since our baby came out! We sure like him a whole lot, even if his arrival has meant a crazy month of new baby and visitors, etc. etc. Sometimes those visitors make us delicious food, though. And the food is so good and it is so nice to not have to cook that you start thinking, “I’ll just keep having babies so these people will keep feeding me.” Seems like a great long-term plan.

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Monkey feet!

Archer is the sweetest. He is (so far) a pretty contented baby. He hiccups all the time, just like he did in utero. Which is fun. He also doesn’t like having his feet messed with, another carryover from his time in the womb. And he has the sweetest little bottom lip quiver. I don’t really know what it’s about, but it is cute.

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His brother and sisters adore him. Olivia said, “We are just the luckiest kids in the whole world to get a baby baby baby brother like Archer Bear.” And when he was just brand new she said to him, “Oh Archer, one day you’re gonna grow up and you’re gonna laugh and you’re gonna say funny things that are gonna make your sisters laugh.” And on that note, whenever he does make any little noises they like to say things like, “He said Mama!” or “He said hi to me!” He must be a very intelligent, very advanced baby. But I guess we already knew that.

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When he starts to whine a little bit they rush over and start singing to him. Ellie likes to sing, “Oh stop you’re crying it will be alright. Just take my hand, hold it tight…” She also likes to say that he is just like baby Tarzan because for one so small, he seems so strong. And also, Tarzan is the long-lost brother of Anna and Elsa, and she and Olivia are just like Anna and Elsa! (Do my kids watch too much TV? Or is Disney just that good? We may never know.)

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Olivia likes to sing, “If you ever awake in the mirror of a bad dream…” She is probably the one who wants to hold him the most, and is the most content to just sit with him for a while. He usually gets antsy before she does.

And Henry wakes up early every morning to come climb into bed with us saying, “I want to snuggle wis the baby.”

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He is such a sweet and snuggly little guy. We sure love having him around.

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And I love those moments where everything is quiet and calm and it’s just his short breaths on my neck and the lingering smell of his hair. His sweet little voice when he coos at me and his bobbly head trying so hard to look up and around. The fuzzy lint I find clenched in his tiny fists. His little bowed legs that fit perfectly against his belly so he can be all tucked up. His sleepy, content hints at a smile.

Everything is right in the world when a new baby is here.