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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

8 months old

Xavier Michael my dear,
You are 8 months old today. What is just another day to you is such a milestone to me. It seems like yesterday you arrived so small and fragile and as I write this I watch you sleep sprawled out on our bed - your chest rises and falls, arms to one side and the other, legs curled up- toes touching, your expression that of an angel. Occasionally you smile and your belly bounces to a silent laugh. I can only imagine what you're dreaming.

You're still so young but I find myself thinking of you more as a "boy" than a baby. You are changing so fast. Those coo's and gurgles have become screeches and sounds that all too often sound like words. Our I love you's are answered with a smirk and "ahh-goo". You've taken to your baby signs so fast, the past two Monday's pleading for me to listen to the garbage men in the morning and the chorus of lawnmowers at dusk. You tug at our shirts to nurse and laugh when we pant to say dog. From the day's of kicking around on your back you now prefer to sit and have pretty much mastered the craft. Sometimes you wobble and tip over with delight, but always optimistic you maneuver onto your tummy and carry on. You love to take little steps when someone helps you stand. And giggle as you take wobbly tip-toed strides towards Oliver, once close you grab his ear and exchange a slobbery baby/puppy kiss. About those kisses (and hugs) that melt our hearts: all too often you sneak in a kiss and squeeze when we least expect it but need it the most, and are always happy to deliver on request.

While you are growing so much more independent I cherish the fact that you are still happiest snuggled up with me in your sling, watching and enjoying the world around you. Still endlessly happy - full of smiles and such a hearty laugh. We've been learning a lot about the things you love to do... reading books, swimming, swinging at the park, going for walks, watching baseball games, playing with your buddies Grayson and Liam. You've begun to join us at breakfast, lunch and dinner, perched in your high chair pretending to eat with your spoon. Bottles of water excited you more than anything I've seen. I offer you the smallest sip and you respond with a refreshed "mmmmm". The days of your gummy smile are fading fast with your first 3 teeth on their way through. How hard it is to see you hurt!

Almost daily now there is something new that emerges and daily I am amazed at how strong and healthy you are... fiesty from your first breath. For the first time to you, my boy, I will admit that there were days we thought the moments we were sharing may be your last. But you have proved everyone otherwise! I'm so proud of you! The struggles you've been through you may never remember, but your spirit is marked with determination and will, purpose and favor. You've taught me so much and shown me the miracle of life and power of prayer. I can't count the times I've been told you've the eyes of such an old soul, eyes that are beautiful and wise. An old soul in a new dwelling. And I am endlessly blessed to have been chosen as your Mama. Your name suits you well little man, Xavier-a new dwelling. Michael- Close to god. Allen- Noble.

I could go on for days, but you're stirring... and stretching... and smiling awake. Happy 8 months Xav.

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