Thursday, April 28, 2016

To my daughter on her first birthday....

People tell you all the time about the joy of being a mother. But really you can't know it until you've experienced it. Harper, you represent sheer joy and love in my life. I love picking you up from daycare and seeing your beautiful face back close to mine. I love rocking you to sleep every night and watching your sweet eyes melt into the darkness. I love hearing you wake up in your crib and listening to you "talk" until I come and pick you up. I love reading books with you each night and playing with Lennon in the mornings. I love being your mom. 

I didn't really know what it would like to be a mom. Would I be able to really love you? Care for you? Help you? How would I continue to work and at the same time add the duties of motherhood? But we've learned together. We've grown and changed and you've shaped me in ways you will never know. You have taught me how to love someone with unconditional love and tenderness. You've taught me the importance of living in the moment (not that I'm always good at it) and savoring each sweet bit of life that I can. You remind me of the importance of laughter and play, the silliness of Lennon, and the joy it is to be alive! I love the way you look at your dad and the way you say "dada" when you see him. I love it when he makes you laugh so hard you are practically crying. I love your beautiful hair--have loved it from the moment I laid eyes on you--and love it even more now that it's outgrown it's tendency to stand straight up. It's your trademark :) I love shopping for your adorable clothes and putting bows in your hair. I love when you pull up to standing while holding on to my fingers--so proud of yourself. I love the way you eat--making such a big ole mess (especially when it's black beans). I love your independence. I love your tenderness--the way you hug your dolls and toys--the way you care about other babies and adults and animals. You are a gift! 

In the last week you've learned to hug. And right now what I love most is the way that you wrap your arms tightly around my neck and arms and squeeze tight. I never want to forget these moments. 

What a year! Thank you for teaching me, for loving me, for helping me to push my limits, to stretch my compassion and understanding, and for so much more. I can't wait for what is still to come! 

Twelve Months

Twelve Months?!?! We made it! 

This month has been so fun! You've started to pull up to standing and love to take steps while we are holding on to you. I call them frankenstein steps because you pick your foot up so high just to set it back down. And you are so proud of yourself, you just giggle and smile every time you pull up and take steps. Way to go baby girl! You'll be walking in no time! And just in time for your first birthday you've really started to scoot/crawl all over the place. 

You've also added to your vocabulary with the word baby and by trying to repeat everything that we say. However, not many of the other words have stuck just yet. You continue to say uh oh and doggie quite often. You are very adept at signing "all done" when you are finished with meals. You also love to give Baby Stella a bottle. You love to "read" books and are very interested in knowing what everything is as you read. 

You battled a second round of a double ear infection. And mom spent several nights away from you for the first time. But we all survived! We've taken two trips to the zoo so far and you love seeing all the animals. Grandpa Doc came with us on your birthday weekend! What fun! 

You amaze me every day as you learn new things and grow and change. We are so proud of you and love you more with each passing day! 

Eleven Months

Now the real countdown to one begins! This month has been SO much better--everyone has been happy and healthy! The weather has also been warming up so we've been trying to show you all the wonder that is spring time in Alabama. 

You are still not really crawling but are working on standing more and more. You love to use yours legs to kick and stomp. You love books! And good music makes you dance :) You continue to talk often and your giggles melt me. You still LOVE black beans but will eat almost anything we eat at dinner time. You love the dog and definitely are saying doggie when you see her. You sleep like a rockstar and are still such a happy and lovely baby. 

You are a true joy! We love you! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ten Months

I seriously can't believe you are 10 months old. Where does time go? That's only 2 months shy of 1 year!! Woah! As you can see from the picture above you are still cute as a button with the best locks of any 10 month old I've ever seen. I believe you've crossed the 17 lb mark and based on your clothes your legs are getting longer by the minute! 

Over the past month you finally mastered the wave in addition to clapping and "saying cheese" with the cutest wide/toothy grin and closed eyes. You are still not super interested in crawling though you are definitely mastering the backwards scoot on your tummy. We are working on strong legs right now to see if you begin to gain any interest in pulling up or standing on those strong legs. You love to eat what we are eating (yay you!) and are still experimenting with food all the time. Your favorites currently are black beans with cheese, yogurt, halo oranges, and most any kind of bread! You still love to talk and all the time I swear you say words--things like dada, da (for dog), and the newest is uh oh. Either way, you are definitely a chatty little bug. You've officially moved into your 9 month clothes and I'm hastily trying to get you to wear all of the winter ones before the weather changes! 

I have been so thankful for you over this past month as we faced all sorts of challenges in our little family. Right after you were baptized and Mimi and Doc went back to Virginia, we found out that Grandpa Doc was having heart problems. The Saturday after they left you and I loaded up the car around 3:00pm and drove all night until we arrived back in Virginia. You were awesome with mom in the car by herself. Doc ended up needing bypass surgery so we spent the week with Mimi. While it was no fun to be in the hospital all the time, we did enjoy lots of extra fun with Mimi, Doc, Aunt Mary Beth, Ava, and Uncle Caleb. We will take any extra time we get with them and consider it a real gift. Doc had his surgery on Thursday and we headed back to AL on Friday. It was hard to leave but good to know he is feeling much better and recovering very well. You were SO good while we were out of our normal routine. You just rolled with the punches and kept your smiley happy demeanor. Thank you for being you! 

We had a few semi-normal weeks before I came down with some nasty sickness. I spent a week in bed quarantined from you and dad because I had the flu and mycroplasma both of which are very contagious. Thankfully, neither of you caught what I had but it was NOT a fun week for me. 

By the time you turned 10 months everyone was healthy and feeling much better! We are looking forward to a fresh start in March (and hopefully lots more warm weather for outside fun)! We love you more and more with each passing day. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Nine Months

Can you even believe it? 

We kicked off this month by spending a week with Mimi and Doc in Virginia! You were a real trooper on the 10 hour car ride. Go you! We also got to spend lots of quality time with Aunt Mary Beth, Uncle Caleb, and Ava. Such fun! We celebrated our Gilbert family Christmas and you walked away with your own special chair (that Ava wanted to sit in!!) and lots more new toys. As you can see in this picture we were SO happy to all be together!

We also spent a good bit of time just enjoying snuggles and family. 

 Grandpa Doc wanted to pout about the picture like the little girls were doing! 

Hanging out with Ava and Auntie Mary Beth! 

We welcomed the new year before we left-where is the time going?!? You also tried some puffs and, of course, loved the sweet potato flavor. You are up to 16.6 lbs. and 26 1/2 inches (we think the measurement was off last month). You closed out the month with a double ear infection and a case of bronchiolitis. It was not fun for any of us :( But we were glad we got you to the doctor early in the week because the day before you officially turned 9 months old, you were baptized! 

January 24 was a beautiful day of celebration! We even got to sneak in some extra time with Mimi and Doc who came to town for the special occasion. We are thankful for the gift God has given us in trusting us to be your parents. We are thankful for the wonderful community of faith that watched as you were baptized and vowed to help us grow you up in the love and grace of the Kingdom of God. You are SO very loved. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Eight Months

Month eight has been a fun one! During the past 30 days you've had your first round of winter holidays. We celebrated Thanksgiving on your seven month birthday and Christmas on your eight month birthday! 

You are growing, growing and are up to about 17lbs or so now and definitely getting longer by the minute. Your feet can almost reach the floor in the exersaucer. Still only have the two teeth on the bottom but seem to be thinking about the others every now and then. You still love sweet potatoes-they are by far your favorite food! And you definitely enjoy talking and this month you learned to clap. You are a marvelous clapper! 

We tried to soak up the season this year and introduce you to all of the fun things that Thanksgiving and Christmas bring. We spent lots of time with family and ate lots of yummy food. We visited Zoolights Safari to get in the Christmas spirit and you loved all of the lights. 

 We also took you for your first visit with Santa. You weren't quite sure what to make of that crazy old man with the beard but you didn't hate him :)

We made cookies for our friends, you learned about Hanukkah at school, you loved playing with your Little People nativity, and enjoyed all of the extra time with the people we love most. Christmas Eve was extra fun with you around-after a yummy meal at Bebe and Pops' we headed for a special service at church and ended the evening by reading the Christmas story and Twas the Night Before Christmas together on the bed. 

Christmas morning was full of toys and laughter! Look at all of those goodies Santa left! 

After some time playing at home, we loaded up and headed to Bebe and Pops' house. What fun we had (until the storms rolled in). We made it home safely (and snagged your 8 month picture at the top super quickly before it really turned bad) knowing that storms were on the way. It was a strange ending to Christmas as we spent a good 30 minutes in the closet hoping for no tornadoes. Thankful to be safe but we spent the rest of the night without power. We definitely won't forget your first Christmas any time soon! 

Seven Months

Growing like a weed. You officially broke your first two teeth over the past month. You weathered your first ear infection (we didn't even know you had one until we took you in for your 6 month check up). You still talk ALL the time and when you get a case of the giggles you just lose it! You love to chew on your teethers (and anything else really). You are very interested in iphones and remotes (don't worry Xmas is coming, maybe you'll get your own). 

You celebrated your first Halloween and were the cutest strawberry I've ever seen!

We are working on finding new foods to try and eat. Mostly you like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and avocado. It's a work in progress. 

What a joy you are Harper! Thank you for making life more fun!