I still can not believe how quickly this year has flown by. It has certainly been a crazy one, but it’s been the best yet. If you follow our family account on Instagram, you’ve seen my monthly updates, but for those who haven’t, here’s a little rundown.
Month 1 was spent snuggling nonstop and getting ALL the smiles. From the very first day he’s been all smiles! He was born a month early, and weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces, and was 19 and 1/4 inches tall.
Month 2 got a bit chaotic with all the doctor visits and appointments due to what they thought was a CPAM on his lung. By the end of the month, we would learn that Elliott actually had what is called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and bronchopulmonary sequestration — OR to make that easier to read, he was born with a tumor/clump of extra lung tissue growing on the outside of his lung while a hole in his diaphragm had allowed his stomach, liver, spleen, and small intestine into his chest cavity, which was pushing against his heart and his lungs. It is truly nothing short of a miracle that he could breathe on his own.
For month 3, we immediately were sent to surgery with Elliott, and he showed the world his strength. We were told he would probably spend 2 weeks at least in the hospital, and would be on a ventilator for some time. To everyone’s shock, he came out of surgery able to breathe on his own, and by day 2 of recovery, they said we could take him home to recover in the comfort of our home (which was absolutely terrifying since we were scared of hurting him!).
Month 4 was a special one. We had our first Christmas as a family, he got to see his first movie in theaters (and did fantastic!), did our first beach trip as a family, but we also came together to spread my grandmother’s ashes. Though she didn’t get to hold Elliott and meet him on this earth, I’m glad he got to be present at such a meaningful moment. Getting to see Elliott enjoy Christmas despite knowing he was confused about what was happening the entire time made my heart melt! He loved opening gifts, meeting his great-grandfather for the first time, and also trying food for the first time as well! He healed nicely as well, and showed us how quickly he bounces back from any setbacks.
Month 5 was full of new things! At the end of the month he had said daddy and was saying mama, holding onto the couch and standing, eating yogurt all the time, and loving Blue’s Clues!
Month 6 was full of snow trips to Banner Elk, and we had no idea how drastically different things were about to be due to the coronavirus. I’m so so glad Elliott got to experience the snow though!
Month 7 was weird. We started off full of excitement with counting down until our trip to Europe, and ended the month on lockdown with over half of my weddings rescheduling for the year. That was a very hard hit financially, but it actually was a blessing to us since it allowed Chad to be home and be more present in our day to day life since his store had shut down.
While month 8 was spent discovering all the beauty in our day to day life sans jobs ❤️ We found a beautiful tulip field to travel to, played in the water on hot days, and just had fun despite being in the midst of a pandemic.
Month 9 was not spent traveling to Europe, but instead spent traveling to the beach and discovering spots that were empty so we could social distance while take a much needed mental break from the insanity in the world. We had no idea what was coming as we ended the month celebrating the start of pride month.
Month 10. The biggest thing about month 10 was the emotional roller coaster we were (and still are) on. Pandemic from covid, police brutality protests, and trying to find balance in emotional health. I lost people over my stance on BLM, and honestly, despite it being sad that it happened, it had to. Equality should be for all. After discovering the majority of all protesters wore masks, I decided to go be part of it. I kept my distance from others, but being part of this movement was an extremely worthy cause to get out and show solidarity and alliance. The next day, I took Elliott to be a witness of the beautiful BLM mural artists from around the area were hired to do. The atmosphere was filled with hope and companionship. There was no hate like everyone had felt every single day the past few weeks. It was so important that Elliott can be able to say, “I was there.” Many don’t know, but my great grandmother actually started one of the first non-segregated churches, and that is something I have always been insanely proud of. Speaking of church, by the end of the month, we baptized Elliott in his great grandmother’s gown. It was sweet, though very different since it was just immediate family, but it was so so special.
Month 11 was pretty chill! We were busy planning for his party, but we still got to experience new things. For one, we discovered feeding ducks, and that is now a favorite! Elliott went swimming SO much during that month, and has been able to go under water without freaking out.
And finally, month 12:
Here are his stats from his birthday:
Height: 31 and 3/4 inches
Weight: 24 pounds 14 ounces
Diaper size: 5/6
Clothing size: 18-24 months and 2T
Words: Mama, dada, nana, hey, hi, he still barks (bah!), good girl, whoa, yay, bye bye, and has said both fork and duck this last month, though I’m 99% sure duck was unintentional.
Things he knows on command (but only will do it if he feels like it): splash, wave, sing, kick, whistle, dance, jump, come here, high five
I think the most shocking thing is that he’s actually whistling now. He’s practiced every single day on his own, and gets actual legit whistles out.
He has technically taken his first steps without holding onto anything when I tricked him and let go of his hands, but he’s still skeptical about trying to let go since he hates falling down. We have caught him standing without holding onto anything so many times now, but the moment he realizes he is, he grabs whatever is closest to him.
He sings and whistles ALL. THE. TIME. He adores music (but who’s surprised – Chad and I are both musically inclined), and shakes his little booty every chance he gets. He giggles nonstop when you dance with him too, and my heart explodes.
He’s figuring everything out. He knows how to turn on and off our aurora lights AND how to change the colors. He’s also figured out his sound machine, how to lift up the crib bumpers to throw his pacifiers on the floor (😑), how to take photos on iPhones when they are locked, how to escape the playpen, and how to use the remotes. I’m sure there’s way more because he’s surprising us daily with doing things like this.
On Facebook, I kept joking that he has experienced so many natural disasters and scary things that I just now got to experience myself for the first time.
Here’s the running list:
4 tornado warnings with 1 touching down just outside our house
Getting legit stuck in an elevator
And if we want to get technical, there were landslides in the mountains where Alexa stayed for her last year of college.
So, in summary, he has grown over a foot taller and has almost quadrupled his weight in one year. He went from being a preemie baby to being in the 99%. He’s the sweetest, funniest, and most good-natured child, and we love him to pieces!