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My dear, sweet, baby girl,

How has one year gone by already?  One year ago, you made a rather dramatic entrance into this world.  You’ve kept us on our toes ever since.

You weren’t content to do things like your older brothers and sisters…that just hasn’t been your style.  Just when I thought we had this “parenting” thing down, you’ve taught a little humility by proving to us that we haven’t actually seen it all!  Sometimes I just throw up my hands, because you have me completely baffled!  I’m sure you’ll probably continue down that path.  

It started out the day you were born.  We expected a 4 hour labor…just like all your other brothers and sisters had been (except your oldest).  So did the doctor.  He even had things all timed out when he started the induction so that he could finish seeing the rest of his patients for the day, then come back.  Boy, did you have different plans!  You were here after an astonishing 66 minute induction.  It set off all the blinky lights in the hospital and caused the doctor to break a lot of traffic laws.  The cops are probably still looking for him.

After you got here, you already had opinions of your own, and you had no problem letting us know about them.  You screamed at us at dinner time daily pretty much from the first day you came home.  You finally grew out of it about 6 months ago…mostly.  You still want your dinner on time, and you’re rather adamant about bed time too.  

You never did like a binky, or your thumb.  You never wanted to suck to sooth yourself like most babies do.  When you were mad, it really seemed that you just wanted to be mad.  You started fighting the swaddle months earlier than your brothers and sisters as well.  Oh, the things we tried to help you stop crying every evening at seven!  Your daddy walked up and down the driveway every evening while the rest of us ate.  Then, he’d come back in and get your brothers and sisters ready for bed while I nursed you and put you to bed.

You like food.  All kinds of food.  In fact, you like food so much, you gave up nursing early.  It nearly broke your poor mother’s heart.  But, I still pump every day, twice a day, so that you’ll still have some milk to drink.  When you see your cup come out, you still get excited.  But then, when I have to heat it, you get angry because you have to wait.  I keep telling you that if you’d go back to nursing, you wouldn’t have to wait for it to heat up…but so far, you haven’t listened.  

But, for all of your stubborn ways, you are still so affectionate.  Even though you went on a nursing strike at 10 months old, you still want to snuggle every night before bed.  You also give the sweetest little hugs and kisses. 

When I walk into the room to get you up from a nap, your giant, dimpled smile lights up the whole room.  You have an exuberance for life that is contagious.  You have a precious little laugh that makes your whole family smile with you.   

You often toddle about the house, getting into all kinds of mischief.  When discovered, you give us that big smile of yours and chuckle at us as if to say, “That’s fair…you caught me!”  Then you run away with your pilfered item as fast as your little legs can carry you.  Lately, you’ve been stealing carrots off the front porch as they’ve been picked.  As your mother, all I can do is shake my head and laugh.  Go ahead…eat that carrot.  I dare you!

You don’t say much yet, but you do try to copy things that we say.  One of your favorite things to do is throw something off your high chair then look up at the rest of us and say something that sounds suspiciously like “Uh, oooooooh”.  Then you grin while you wait for one of your dutiful subjects to start playing fetch with you.  Out of your 4 other brothers and sisters, you can usually find at least one who will follow your command. 

The other day, I’m pretty sure I also heard you say, “I love you Mommy”.  [*Daddy wants me to edit here that you most definitely said, “Love you Daddy”, not Mommy.]  Don’t worry, dear daughter, this little argument will continue for many, many years!

Happy Birthday my sweet little girl.  I’m looking forward to watching you grow up even more!  

 


Check out this video of Baby’s first taste of her birthday cake…with a surprise ending!

 


My big girl,

Time passes so quickly. It was only yesterday that we were bringing you home from the hospital. But, now, here we are, 7 years later. You were the first baby we brought home to this house. We still lived in town when your older sister was born. I know you often get frustrated because Bear gets “all” the new things first. But you have that distinction…the first baby in this house.

You have grown up so much this past year! Last year, you were still barely reading. You could do it…when you wanted to. But, most of the time you didn’t want to. This morning, as you read to me from your school reading comprehension book, my eyes teared up a little. You’re reading fluently now, and hardly need me at all.

You’ve learned to add and subtract, multiply and divide this year as well. You fight with math quite a bit, too. But secretly, you know you’re really good at it. You’ve picked up near-instant recall of most of your addition facts without any prompting from me. You did it by yourself.

But enough with the academics.  You are so much more than phonics and multiplication tables!  Your energy and enthusiasm for life are infectious.  I have to laugh sometimes as I watch you play with other kids.  You can march right into a crowd of kids and take charge, handing out parts in your imaginary games like a casting director.  Those kids never knew what hit them!  Most of the time, they even think it was their idea.

But, when things don’t go your way, you do have a bit of dramatic flair.  How many times have I heard, “Momma!  Monkey won’t be a fairy.  I’m NEVER going to be able to play my game!”

You should see the annoyance painted on your face at my typical sing-song response, “Never ever ever in a hundred million years!”  You know then that I won’t play the drama game today.  Most of the time, you walk off in a huff…and then promptly figure out how to play nice with your brother.  

You always want us to tell you stories.  You can hardly get enough, and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve already heard it, either.  You like to ask for stories about Trinity, my old dog who now lives only in our memories.  You want to know about Trinity getting run over by the horse, or Trinity and the squirrel, or maybe the story of how I got Trinity.

But you don’t just like animal stories.  Some of your other favorites are the one where G-Pop dropped a brick on his brother’s head (for those concerned, everyone was ok!), and the story of Granddad getting his tongue stuck to a railroad track.  Of course, we won’t leave out the story of you or one of your siblings “getting born”.  You’ve heard all of those at least a hundred times. 

You’ll hear them a hundred more, if you can get us to keep telling them.

You seem to need that connection to the past.  You’ve told me that you’re afraid you’ll forget Trinity and Granddad…that’s why you want to hear the stories so much.  So, I’ll keep telling, as long as you’ll listen.  Even when you correct me when I don’t tell it right!

Most of the time, if I want to find you, I can go look in your room, amidst the costume wreckage that you’ve thrown about your room, looking for the perfect outfit to be a princess, or a fairy, or a mermaid.  You are so full of imagination.  You make me smile when you come prancing by wearing your “heel shoes” and a glittery dress, dripping in “jewels”.  I know the magic will someday fade.  But today, you’re the queen, with a brand new baby-doll princess.  I’m glad that you’re still little, time is growing short.

I love you, my sweet little princess.  Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Laura


Dear Monkey,

It’s official.  Five years goes by so fast.  You’ve gotten so big this year.  Somehow, you’ve transformed into a little boy.  Not so very long ago, you used to be a baby.  Sometimes, it’s hard for Mommy to let go. 

Five years ago, I was exhausted…Daddy was tired too.  After a 4 hour induction, you were finally with us on the outside.  Your doctor was so happy to come deliver you…he got to leave a meeting.  It turns out, though, that your momma didn’t need him very long.  So, a few minutes later, you were here, and an irritated doctor had to go back to his meeting.  It’s a story that I’m sure you know well…you think it’s funny, and ask to hear about it at least every other day!  But that’s alright…we think it’s a funny story too.

You are a very thoughtful child, and you wear your emotions on your sleeve.  One minute, your little brother is tormenting you, and your world is falling apart.  The next, the two of you are conspiring and giggling in your room together.  I must always be on my guard…sometimes, when you ask me for something, you’re really requesting supplies for your plot.  Whenever the two of you are working together, I must be extra vigilant.  Otherwise I may need a shop vac to clean the bathroom.

Silly faces are your specialty.  Your pirate face is infamous.  To be honest, when Mommy had Bell’s Palsy last year, that face was one of the few things that managed to keep her in good spirits.  Then, there’s “the eyebrows”.  One of these days, when you get bigger, the little girls won’t stand a chance!  But of all the faces you make, I still like you’re happy smile the best.

Your laugh is infectious.  You like to laugh, and you always want to make sure everyone else is laughing, too.  Knock-knock jokes are your favorites…they don’t need to make any sense.  In fact, I think you like the ones that don’t make sense the best.

One of your most recent favorite activities is grasshopper hunting.  You’ve figured out that you can usually talk your daddy into fishing in the pond if you catch a grasshopper.  If Daddy isn’t home, you enjoy throwing them to the chickens then laughing at the game of keep-away that ensues.

You think you can conquer the world right now.  You can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than any of those stinky old superheroes!  Just in case there was any doubt of your skill, you try to make sure someone is watching you every time you attempt any daring feat…like running up and down the driveway, or riding your bike through the grass.

But, your favorite thing to do is still sitting in my lap.  You’re starting to get kind of heavy, and I don’t let you just sit with me nearly as often as I should.  Sometimes, I need to remind myself that the dishes can wait a few more minutes (after all, they’ve been waiting several hours already).  Because right now, my little boy needs my lap.  You won’t always.

Happy birthday, little Monkey!  I love you more than words can express!

A Letter to Rhino...A Letter to my son

Rhino and MommyMy dear, sweet little boy.  Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time (though you’d already been kicking and punching me for quite some time!).  Your birth itself was rather uneventful.  It was a four hour long induction.  At the end, there we were, holding our fourth baby.  A little boy weighing in at 8 pounds 7 ounces…bigger than any of your older siblings (though your little sister would eventually beat you by 8 ounces). 

 You’ve been a little rambunctious from the beginning, and so you still are today!  You are a happy, healthy, strong 3 year old boy.  You have no sense of pain (we’re fairly convinced you have a future in the NFL at defensive tackle), and rarely show any signs of fear.  Sometimes, I wish you had just a little more fear.  You make your old momma so nervous sometimes, while you climb furniture and old tractors without a thought for your own safety.  You think fist fights are hilarious.  Luckily, when you do get hurt, a kiss and a band-aid still makes you all better. 



Rhino with a pipeA year ago, we were worried, because you didn’t seem to talk much.  You’d get frustrated and angry when you didn’t get what you wanted, but you didn’t talk much.  You’ve come so far over the past year.  You jabber up a storm these days.  Unfortunately, it’s still mostly spoken in a foreign language.  But, at least you’re talking!  You’re speaking more clearly each day.  By this time next year, I wonder if we’ll even be able to remember your special language! 

You have an exuberance for life that is infectious.  Everything is exciting for you…even if it’s just an episode of Paw Patrol (or is it Pop Control, as your big brother calls it…or maybe Bah Bole, as you assert?) that you’ve seen a thousand times…today.  After all, we bought them on DVD so we could see them over and over again.  You come grab my hands and start jumping up and down, telling me that you want to dance at least 3 times a day.  I need to agree far more often!  Just, maybe not while your baby sister is trying to sleep. 

Muddy RhinoSometimes, you look up and smile at me, and you have a certain twinkle in your eye.  That’s when I know that the proverbial brown matter is about to hit the rotary cooling device.  You’re up to something.  If I say, “What are you up to?” in my biggest, gruffest Mommy voice, you’ll get a huge grin on your face and start giggling maniacally.  Then, you’ll say, “I Doh-nooooo!” (that’s “I don’t know”…if you don’t speak Toddlerese).  Perhaps, when I get up to follow you, there will be a flood in the bathroom, or I’ll walk through the door just in time to see you scramble up the side of the bathroom counter to a perch you’ve found standing in the bathroom sink…why is it always the bathroom?  Your cuteness at these particular moments, when you know you’ve been ‘busted’ is incredibly endearing.  But, no…for your own good, I must stand firm…all while hoping that someday you have a little boy just like you.  Then you’ll understand.  I just hope your future wife is a patient woman (Bless her heart!). 

For all of the mischief you make, you pour out just as much love.  You bring Mommy flowers, and give me huge squishy hugs.  You can be as sweet and gentle with your little sister as you are rough with your big brother.  You have a big heart, my dear son, and you use it well.  I pray you keep it that way.  I pray for you every day.  On good days, I pray for all the big, grand things you might do with the life God gave you.  Some days, all I can manage is constant prayers that your guardian angel is being extra vigilant!  Thankfully, you’ve made it another year. 

I love you son.  More than you can possibly understand.  Happy Birthday! 


Easy Peasy Pleasy