This past Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. Sunshine, light breeze, happy vibes. Our plans for the afternoon were deterred by an extra long afternoon nap on Isla part. Darn – she says in her most sarcastic voice. So we set up Isla’s water table and inflatable pool, put on some tunes, and enjoyed every little bit of the perfect weather.
I’ve been really wanting Josh to get more comfortable taking pictures with my camera so that I, too, can be in pictures with the family. With this being an ideal setting to get some practice in, he very willingly agreed. And I love it. Not only is it great to be in pictures with my sweetie girl, I also love seeing our world through the eyes of my husband. How even though we’re shooting the same subject his perspective is completely different. I’ve included those shots in this post; they are obviously the ones with me in the picture 😉
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little snapshot of our family.
You are my wild thing,
my busy, buzzing bee.
Your words are here and there,
someday to be understood.
Your highs can be no higher,
your lows are full of tears.
You make my days neon bright,
my heart is happy here.
My Darling Girl,
I started writing this a bit in advance because I knew it would be a challenge. I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for what this past year has brought. Both in the actual growth from couple to family and through that my own personal growth. I am the classic cliché mom. The phrases you hear over and over from new parents are cliché because they’re true. You really never knew you could love someone so much. You never knew how hard being a parent could be and how much of a blessing at the same time.
Personally, this past year has brought out both my good and bad. I realized I have to keep my perfectionism in check. I can get very idealistic about what I want for you and for our family, which in itself is not bad, but if not balanced with reality it can be a slippery slope. To my surprise, I found out I’m more patient than I that I would be; much more actually, not that situations don’t ever get the best of me. You have brought so much joy to our lives. Seeing you in all that you are still takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye.
As we begin your next year, I have goals for myself. I want to grow in confidence as a mother. I want to respectfully listen to those who have already been down this road and learn from them or let their words roll off my back. I need to remember even in these early years that you are your own person. You may look like me but you will have your very own personality, thoughts, dreams, and interests. I need to work on staying calm in moments of frustration so that you can also learn how to handle frustrating situations. Most importantly, I want you to know that you are loved always.
But now let me tell you a bit about what you are like as a one year old. You are still a big lover of your food. For your birthday dinner I made you pot roast, which is one of your favorites (just like your daddy). You are starting to stand on your own more and more, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that you have that mastered quite yet. You love to turn on light switches and clap to the beat of the music. You like to wave “bye, bye” and when dad pulls up from work you emphatically yell “Dada!” You love being outside, and you especially love to play on our front steps.
I love you so much my sweet little Miss. Your sweet smile is my sunshine, and your hugs and kisses melt away all bad things.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
Happy 1st Birthday Isla Rose!
My Darling Girl,
You are 11 months old, and my life is 11 months the sweeter. I have been ill-prepared to deal with the bittersweet life that is being a mother! You grow and learn and my heart soars and drops all at once. To think you’ll be a year next month…
You have two main modes of existing during the day:
Apparently, we can thank your Dad for your hangry behavior. Your Gigi said he was the exact same way as a baby.
You love to pull up onto everything right now. Toys, chairs, Mom, Dad, tables, stools, cupboards, boxes, if it’s in your reach you’re pulling up. You cruise around a little bit, but I think we have a few months before you’re walking. Your favorite food is chicken, and your favorite toy is the Zany Zoo Cube (pictured below) on loan from our sweet friends Ben and Erin.
One of my favorite things you’re doing right now is that you’ll hand me whatever it is you have at moment whether it be your pacifier, toys, or beloved puffs with the biggest of grins on your face. In those moments, I’m reminded how truly sweet you are. Another one is sleepy morning cuddles. You’ll wake up like a little alarm clock at 6:20 most mornings, I’ll nurse you, and then a lot of times we just snuggle and fall right back to sleep. I will treasure those moments… having you tucked in my arms close to my chest with your downy hair tickling my chin. I can’t think of a much better way to wake up. And I can’t forget the blessed 6 o’clock hour… you’re typically done with dinner but you’re not quite ready to wind down for bed. You, me and your Dad play like it’s going out of style. So many giggles, so many games of hide and seek, and so many smiles. Many times either your Dad or I have to remind ourselves that we need to calm down and get ready for bed because we’re having so much fun.
You are my treasure, Isla Rose.
My Darling Girl,
A little late, but better than never… let me tell you about your last month.
You are such a busy girl (so much so that I had put you in a basket to try to take your picture)! Let’s climb the stairs, open and close some books, pull up on this, pull up on that, clap our hands, eat whatever Mom and Dad are eating, say “Dada,” etc. and repeat. You are always going and doing something. This isn’t terribly surprising or particularly new, but since you can do so much more I feel like you’re the energizer bunny at times.
A cute (for now) thing that you just started doing is shaking your head “no”. At first I thought it just happened to occur at well timed situations, but it only took me a day or two to realize you know exactly what you’re doing. Let’s change your diaper… *insert head shake, while crawling away.* Do you want some water….*insert head shake, pushing the cup away.* Give me a high five?… *insert head shake, with a big goofy smile.* Which of course only made me realize that I probably shake my head a little too often.
You can mark off another state on your list: South Carolina. While we saw less of the state and more of the pool, it was a nice trip nonetheless. You also got to see a bunch of your “aunties” and “uncles” as well as the adorable 14 month old Amelia Jane. Seeing you two play together was almost too much precious one room could hold. But the best part of our trip was how attached you got to your Daddy. You two are the bestest of best buds, and my heart explodes now whenever he walks into the room and you emphatically crawl-run to him with the biggest of smiles on your face.
You really are such a great baby girl, but when you get your mind set on doing or not doing something you let the world know. You’re not shy in sharing your feelings on a situation. If you want to eat, we will know it. If you want to be held, we will know it. If you want something in particular, we will know it. If the babysitter shows up and you are not pleased, we will know it. If you get your mind set on doing anything, we can try to distract you but you are persistent.
One really big change for you was your interest in food. *Tangent: I always say “one day you…” as if that should be surprising, but if anything the last 10 months have taught me is that you (and probably most babies) really do change overnight.* But one day you decided that food is awesome and that you want ALL OF IT. You went from us begging and pleading for you to eat maybe 2 ounces of food before bed to wanting to eat 4 ounces breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some days it seems like no amount of food is enough for you.
In true Uncle Taylor fashion, he asked me what’s the best part of being a mom. It’s almost an impossible question to answer, because if I wanted to be specific the answer would change everyday… and I don’t think there is a word that exists that fully encapsulates it as a whole. Being your mom is greater than I would have ever guessed. I will never tire of you crawling into my lap just to cuddle, your sweet little cackle-giggle when you think something is funny or when I ask you for kisses and you lean in with a big open mouth smile.
I love you to the moon and back,
Our days look mostly the same with some new elements sprinkled in. You are incredibly proficient at crawling and have even started to pull up on short things, namely my lap. You still love to play with all your books and eating solids is still very hot and cold.
You visited two more state (Missouri and California). Thank God for your dad and I that you travel WELL. In the most disastrous trip to date, you were an absolute angel. Thank you for that. Truly. We had no less than five people comment on what a great baby you are, and they are so right. You deserve a metal for somehow sleeping through the 30 minutes of the plane ride where the fire alarm (that we were sitting right next to) couldn’t be turned off.
You’re very chatty with a wide range of your own cute vocabulary. Some personal favorites are “lurdy, lurdy, lurdy” which reminds me of the Chef from the Muppets, and “bob, bob, bob” which happens to be your Granddad’s name.
You absolutely love water. Whether the pool or bath time it doesn’t matter, as long as you can splash and play you’re enjoying yourself. Hats and sunscreen still aren’t your favorite though.
Biggest accomplishment for the month (heck, for the last 9 months)? SLEEPING THROUGH THE DING DANG NIGHT! *insert the Hallelujah Chorus* Oh divine sleep, I’ve missed you.
You’re such a Momma’s girl, but I think that’s partly to do with those first teeth coming in…. and because of my general awesomeness. *wink* You cling to Mom like it’s going out of style, but oh sweet girl, how your eyes light up when Daddy comes home from work.
I remember a friend of mine making a comment on how being a stay at home mom is like having a friend to hang out with all day. I have to agree. Don’t get me wrong, some days are ROUGH and when Dad gets home I need a break. But life these days are fun. You’re goofy, curious, and so sweet. Being your Mom continues to show me how beautiful life can be and how to find the joy in simply living life.
I can’t wait to see what this next month brings.
My Darling Girl,
It’s hard to believe that is has been 4 months since the last time I sat down to write to you. I could easily explain to you why it’s been so long, but I don’t really think it matters in the long run.
I’m kind of sad I didn’t write this all down, because many of the memories from the past four months have blended together.
You went from little yoga, foot-clapping baby, to roly-poly queen, to crawling.
From your first full-out belly laugh to saying what sounds quite a bit like “mama.”
You ate your first “solid” foods (avocado) and showed use your full range of emotions: excited, confused, happy, and disgusted.
You had many the dance parties with your dad.
You were baptized attended by close family and friends.
You traveled to Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Kentucky.
You started sleeping better, than worse, than better, than worse…
You stuck your toes in the ocean again and weren’t quite sure if you liked it.
You got in the pool and loved every second of it.
You’ve played more games of peekaboo than anyone really needs to play in a lifetime.
You have shown me that you are going to have a BIG personality, and I love that.
In many ways, you are still the same baby at 8 months that you were at 4 months, and in many ways you are not. Watching you grow and morph into the little person you are has been more of a thrill than I could have ever expected. I love to watch old videos of you just to see how far you’ve come.
I love you so much Little Sweetie. Keep growing… but not too fast.
In the words of A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
Let’s talk about the best of times first. Your sweet smile that starts as a twinkle in your eyes. Your belly laugh when I make silly noises by your ear. The way you munch on your toes. The way you roll over from your back to belly in 5 seconds flat.
All in all you are one happy baby and are wonderfully generous with passing back smiles to anyone who gives one to you. I can see you processing the world around you in your rapidly developing mind. And I can’t believe how quickly the days go by with you.
What is always surprising to me is how instantaneously you will change what you like and what you do. One day the play gym was nothing to you, the next day it’s your favorite place to be. One day your kicking around on your back and find your toes, and now you won’t be on your back without them. One day you decide it’s time to become a roly-poly, and you haven’t slowed down for even a second. It’s truly amazing.
Now… the worst of times. It was not you sweet child that was the worst. It was me.
I’ll spare you the vast details, but to sum it up you realized a bottle takes a lot less work than nursing does. Thus the struggle began, but unfortunately for me I didn’t figure that out until many bottles later only compounding the issue.
My ugly tendency for perfectionism came out to ruin my days with you. It changed the way I looked at myself as a mother, and how I looked at you as my baby. It made me angry, anxious, and overwhelmed. It made me believe I could control and change things as if I were God, instead of turning to and believing He was enough. It turned me into someone I truly do not like and wouldn’t want around. Unfortunately for you and for those around me, it took a long time for me to realize enough was enough.
I apologize, my darling girl. I do not want to be that to you, and I most certainly do not want to teach you that part of my personality. You deserve better than to struggle through that battle in your life. Nothing good comes out of striving for perfectionism. Trust me.
So this next month, sweet Isla Rose, let’s change our focus. Let us (me) be grateful for all the wonder and beauty in this life. Amen and amen.
I love you my precious girl.
You are now 3 months old, and man oh man was it a whirlwind of a month for all of us. We had huge family decisions to make, lots of traveling, and you just kept growing and developing which has brought me joy in ways I never expected.
Just after your 2nd month, you turned a corner girl. You went from being on the fussy-end to smiley and chatty. Everyone said this day would come, but I was thrilled beyond thrilled for you and me both when it did. Happy baby, happy momma, happy life.
You go through these weeks where you are a roly-poly queen. If you’re on your tummy, you’re rolling over like it ain’t no thang. And then nothing, you won’t roll over for a good long time. I chalk it up to you growing, and I’m not worried about it in the least.
I really look forward to our morning chats. Something about a nice long sleep mixed with a nice long eat makes you a chatty Cathy. And if I have Nana on speakerphone, you want to join the conversation. It warms my heart.
You also now love mirrors, swatting at your toys, starring at and munching on your hands, and having us read books to you. Another precious new thing is this little march you do. If we hold you up with your feet on the ground, you march, march, march. The first time it happened it was more of a heel tap dance, which made your dad and I crack up (which was needed on our unexpected 6+ hour layover in Chicago).
In just one month, you were here in Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and North Carolina. And I have to say, I hope to not travel like that again in a long time. Not because you did poorly, you were a champ. It did however wear me out (I got sick, bummer, and then you got sick, double bummer), and it messed with your practically flawless sleep routine (dang it). For you to celebrate Christmas with both families, meet your great-grandparents, dip your precious toes in the sand and surf, and meet all of your extended “aunts” and “uncles” makes it worth it.
While everyday has its own special challenge, everyday with you is the biggest blessing in my life.
I love you Little Love.
We had a wonderful time in Ft. Lauderdale, FL over New Years. Watching Isla take in the sounds and sights of the ocean was such a beautiful experience. It looks like we have a beach baby on our hands!