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dear arlo


Dear Arlo | two years

Dear Arlo,

Truth be told, I've been putting off typing this out for a few reasons. It feels a little weird writing this to you now. Now that you are saying things and understanding what Daddy and I say to you. But I want to remember how you were at this age, because I know that we will forget all of the little details, the ones that really make watching you grow up so fun. The other reason for my procrastination is that I simply can't come to terms with the fact that you are TWO. If you have children someday, you will understand when I say that time doesn't play by the rules when you're a parent. Days turn into weeks faster, weeks into months and suddenly your "baby" is 30 and you can't remember how the hell that happened (at least I'm assuming).

But enough of my blubbering and blabbering. This is about YOU! You are fiercely independent and stubborn.. at first I hoped it was normal toddler 'tude, but we are way passed that now.  You do what you want, when you want and no one will tell you different. Though you test our patience and sanity daily, every part of me hopes that you continue to exert your power and stand up for what you want and believe in. I have a good feeling that nothing will ever stop you.

 You're trying out lots of words now, and you've recently started adding an "SH" sound in replace of your S's. For example, YES is now YESHH. Your Dad and I think it's hilarious and adorable and a little bit odd, but we'll roll with it. You really like to wear shoes/hats/jackets/whatever you can find lying around the house. On any given day you can be found in just a diaper and whatever pair of shoes you forced me to put on you... usually a pair that is two sizes too small. You're a picky eater, you love music and dancing, you entertain us with a hearty fake chuckle whenever you feel it's appropriate. You get bribed with M&M's way too frequently. You love playing outside, painting and drawing (usually on carpet or furniture). When you get mad, you tense up your whole body, clench your teeth and shake. It's hard not to laugh at you every time you do it. Your Papa is currently your favorite person ever.

When I get right down to it kiddo, I'm constantly teetering between two fears. The first being that we are going to royally screw you up. I can't help but look towards the future and wonder who you'll grow to be. If you'll be a well rounded human being who forgives her parents for their flaws and loves them unconditionally no matter how many M&M's they bribed you with as a child. ( God I hope so.) The second fear is that I'll forget. I'll forget to completely immerse myself in each day with you. That I'll forget to slow down and enjoy and remember and relish in this time. Because as they say, you don't get it back. So again, If 16 or 21 or 35 year old Arlo is reading this some day, these are my letters to you. So I can remind myself each year that time flies and to pay attention, and for you. So you know what an honor it has been to be your Mama, from the moment they placed you in my arms. 

Happy Birthday Arlo Eloise Balash. 

(Dear Arlo | one year )



Dear Arlo | one year

January 27th.

 I headed off to my doctors appointment. I was a week and half away from my due date, feeling pretty large, out of breath, just generally very pregnant. After checking to see my progress, the doctor (almost too casually) explained that it was probably safest for me to be induced on the following Monday or Tuesday . I sat there in my paper gown staring at him blankly as he described his schedule to me, asking what day I would like to be induced, as if it were just another appointment for me to schedule in. This would be the biggest appointment of my life.

After discussing the induction process, and deciding on a day, I got in my car and cried. I had always pictured going into labor naturally ( really -  I had pictured something dramatic, like my water breaking in the middle of the grocery store or a movie theater.. ), but I wasn't crying because of needing to be induced, I was crying because I was straight up scared shitless.

I made my way to the hospital for my scheduled non-stress test, called my husband (crying), and called my mom (again, crying). There's something about being forced into doing something when you are SO not ready that is extra difficult and terrifying. Looking back now, I'm not sure if I was more scared of the actual pains of labor, or meeting the baby that had been vacationing in my belly for the past 9 months.

At 2:30pm I arrived home, my husband and I ate some lunch and I continually reminded myself that I had a handful of days to prepare for the induction date. To prepare for meeting her, the one we'd been waiting for.. I could do this, right?

and then my water broke..

I yelled to my husband.. "Umm.. frank? I think my water just broke.."

Basically chaos ensued shortly after this little announcement.. And for the record, I was as cool as a cucumber (surprisingly) as my husband called his family, and ran around like a chicken with his head cut off. After reaching the hospital for the second time that day, we were admitted, mild contractions began, then the real frigging contractions (UGH am I right?!),  and that wonderful, magical thing called the Epidural was administered (because- I ain't no hero, you guys). The joke was on me because the epidural slowed down my labor and had worn off by the time it was really needed, but boy did I enjoy every minute of it. ANYWAY, By 10am it was finally ready to push, and sparing you the gory details (if I haven't already grossed you out), at 11:11am on January 28th, 2015, a screaming, blue eyed, 6lb baby girl was laid on my chest.. and all was right in the world.




Dear Arlo,

So there you have it, kid. Your birth story. Someday I'll read you this story, and tell you all the funny details .. like how your dad got food poisoning from the Dunkin' Donuts sandwich he ate while I was in labor. It's hard to believe it's been a year since you made your entrance into this world and it's even harder to believe how much you have changed our lives. You have filled spaces in our hearts that we didn't know ached for you all along.

You are silly, dramatic, stubborn, an entertainer, a wild child. You look like your dad and sometimes act like your momma. You love to give kisses to your dogs and stuffed animals, but rarely give them to anyone else. Your face lights up whenever daddy comes home from work and you only say 'mama' when you're crying.. everything else is "DADADADADA". You sometimes pull your own hair (which freaks everyone out), have no interest in walking yet, and to mommy and daddy's dismay, you have yet to sleep through the night. You love bath time and nothing will stand between you and a piece of cheese (I'm with you there, girl!).

   In a lot of ways, the day you were born was the day I was born. Someday, you'll read this and be all  like "Really, Mom? What does that even mean? You are so weird." and I will tell you that I didn't even exist before you were here. You are that significant, that life changing, that special.


Happy Birthday, my sweet sweet Arlo Eloise. You are so loved.




Dear Arlo | 10 & 11 months

Dear Arlo,


I don’t have to tell you because you already know, but for record’s sake, I will remind you and label this past month as the month of chaos. We spent all of November packing and unpacking, moving into our new home and getting settled in. December made a dramatic entrance when mommy got Shingles, you got Roseola, and you had your first trip to the E.R. with a 104 fever. It was so incredibly heart wrenching to watch you scream in pain and not be able to help you. I am constantly taken aback by how deeply I feel, as a momma, and In that hospital room pacing back and forth holding you as you sobbed.. I would’ve given anything to take away your discomfort. Thankfully you are back to your normal, healthy self as we prepare for your first Christmas.. We are surely more excited than you are, and are also pretty sure that you’ll spend Christmas morning playing with the boxes that your gifts are packaged in, but that’s okay with us. This holiday season is so much more magical and special with you here. This time last year, your dad and I were sitting on the couch playing Skipbo and talking about how strange It would be to have a little baby crawling around at Christmas time. Now I’m looking into the living room, watching him play peek-a-boo with you, as your scrunching your nose and giggling. Time is crazy, and next time I write to you, you will be 12 months old. It seems unreal that a year has almost passed.

Call me super cheesy, girl, but you are the best gift we could’ve ever asked for.

I love you,  baby bird.



(Also, that time we put you in your cousin’s hand-me-over snow suit that was huge and made you look like you were wearing a potato sack…  hashtag fashion fale.
Also, Also, that time we sat on the floor of our empty old house, surrounded by overflowing boxes.. trying to capture some last photos in your first home. I hope someday we look back at those photographs and remember the excitement, anxiousness and the tiny bit of sadness we felt about moving into a new home.  )





Dear Arlo | 9 months

Dear Arlo- It's been a month and a half of firsts, Linda. (We have started calling you 'Linda' because of that "Listen, Linda" viral video. I can't stop, won't stop.) We experienced your first Halloween (as a unicorn), took your first trip to the zoo, had your first real boo-boo (as traumatic for momma as it was for you) and we're preparing to move out of our first home in just a few days! This fall has been so busy and we can't wait to spend the winter winding down, getting settled into our new home, celebrating your first Christmas and your first birthday in January.. I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I can't believe in a few short months you will be One Year Old! We love you, little unicorn..

Love, Mom





Dear Arlo | 8 months

Dear Arlo, Eight months- also known as the month that you decided to go all Kelly Clarkson on us, and become 'Miss Independent'. Gone are the days of plopping you down on the floor with toys and staying entertained for thirty minutes. You are on the move. Within seconds, you are dragging your body (army crawl style) across the floor, trying to find whatever you can to chew on. You like to drink your bath water, pull yourself up on things you shouldn't, and chew on the bars of your crib. Yes, Arlo, you are a straight up wild woman... but If I'm being honest, Daddy and I kind of love it.  You have us all wrapped around your finger and we don't mind one bit.

Until next month, little lady.

Love. Mom