Guest Post by Stephanie: A mama in March

Welcome, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts as our Central IL winter winds down.

Ever since Gertie the Groundhog failed to see her shadow a few short weeks ago, I have anxiously been awaiting the start of spring. Each morning I wake up in full anticipation of green grass and singing birds; thus far, I have been mildly disappointed. While I am thankful for the slowly rising temperature, and the ability to wear my winter vest instead of down coat, I am just craving to wake up to sunshine. Although as a new mom, this may be wishful thinking. The sun may not want to be up at 5:00am either.

Maybe that is the reason I am impatiently awaiting the turn of the season...I cannot wait to experience our first spring with baby Ray (as he is so fondly called by all). Too cheesy? Perhaps. But this year has been so significant knowing it is Ray's first time experiencing everything! Surely other moms can relate?

Ray was born this past July, and is such happy little man! Each milestone he experiences brings so much happiness to my soul; which in turns fuels the ability to wake up four times in the night and still function through the day. I am grateful to have my husband, Jason, by my side through each experience (and wakeful night), and love being a mother.

Ok, I know that sounds gushy again, but really. My maternal instinct has been running since my siblings were born. Ray has filled this piece of my heart that I didn't realize was missing. Even when he refuses to eat any solid foods, and just wants to nurse all day. Even when he is cutting four teeth at the same time (thanks to Bushbaby for recommending Nurtured Baby Boutique). My baby Ray cracks his smile, and makes each day special.

At the moment, our favorite Peoria spots include the Rock Island Trail and Bushbaby. When the weather is tolerable, we venture out as a family and walk the paved trails. Ray loves observing the people and his fur sisters, and I love the fresh air! When the weather is less accommodating, Ray and I like to pop into Bushbaby to check out the sales and great company! It is the one place in Peoria- outside the comfort of Amazon- that I can nurse and shop. And truly, anytime Ray wears a Bushbaby outfit, he gets loads of compliments.

I am sure our favorite spots will change as Ray grows and the weather improves. Jason and I are excited to take Ray to the Peoria Zoo, and eventually Peoria Playhouse Children's Museum. Ray is already traveling and making memories, having visited his family in Monroe City, Missouri and preparing for a spring getaway to Tampa, Florida. Ray will have also lots of playmates, as he and his three cousins are all born within 13 months of each other; so I am sure even the backyard will become an adventure!

I am ready for spring to arrive in Peoria! I will be patient though, because this sweet baby Ray of mine is growing fast, and I will value each day for what it is. Happy March, my friends!

Oh, Stephanie! You are such a sweet, grateful mama! You inspire us all to grab hold of these swift moments + revel in their beauty!