Friday, August 10, 2018

Happy Birthday Maddie!

Dear Madeline,

Happy Birthday, baby!  You were born a year ago in the middle of the afternoon after a quick, slightly crazy labor.  We brought you home that same evening, to the extreme delight of your siblings.  I can’t believe you are one already!  You’ve brought us so much joy this year.  Here are some of my favorite things about one-year-old Maddie:

You are funny, spunky, usually happy.  You love your siblings and try to be close to them if possible, sometimes to their dismay if it lands you in the middle of their toys.  You’re always so happy to see Daddy.  You also love your grandparents.  Grandpa is a favorite of yours and when Grandma M came home from a recent trip you were so happy to see her that you snuggled with her.  (You haven’t been much of a snuggle baby unless you’re super tired...there is just too much to see.)  

You are very clear on what you do and don’t want to eat.  I rarely even try to spoon-feed you anymore; you prefer to feed yourself.  You calmly but determinedly refuse when you aren’t interested.   You love scrambled eggs, most breads, and banana and adore berries.  Meats and savory things aren’t so appealing right now.   You cut your first teeth at 8.5 months, a good two and a half months earlier than your siblings, and now you have four; a cute little lopsided grin, since your top two left teeth came in together instead of two top center.  

You can be hilarious.  Even as a baby you tended towards glee when one of your siblings started to cry….but sneezes, especially Daddy’s, made you cry.  You love people; don’t like to be alone and don’t seem to mind crowds.  You ham it up when there are others to watch you; lately you’ve been blinking slowly with a huge grin.  We have this game where you alternate shaking your head and “nodding” along with the person holding you, but since you can’t figure out nodding you just wiggle your whole body.  It’s so cute.  Sometimes, especially when you’re tired, you get disgruntled and make outraged noises, glaring at me.  

(trying to put your hat on by yourself)

You are just getting mobile; finally crawling and going everywhere; you want to be right in the middle of the action.  If crawling isn’t fast enough you have a funny lopsided scoot; crawling on one knee and one foot stuck out to the side.  You pull yourself up and just started to let go and stand by yourself for a few seconds!  You like carrying little things around; Duplo candles and plastic baby spoons or play utensils are your favorites.  You’ve held onto them through mealtimes, naptimes, play time...sometimes I know you’re coming because I hear your toy clicking on the floor as you crawl. 

You’re figuring out words: “Daddy”, “see” or “I see” with the cutest little lisp, especially when you want my phone.  You recently started saying something like thank-you. “Ni-ni” is for bye-bye, good night or all done.  Sometimes you babble conversationally and it’s adorable.  I think I heard you say Emily the other day, but you don’t seem to want to repeat it for me.  You also have some terrifyingly loud sound effects that you tend to pull out when James is being a vacuum.   Like your siblings, you love music.  When we start singing you light up, waving your arms and bouncing.  Sometimes you sing along.

(you were so happy when everyone sang Happy Birthday to you)

You are such a gift to us, Maddie Rose. We’re going to have so much fun together as you get bigger; there are so many beautiful things to see and share!  So glad that we get to be the ones to watch you grow.  I pray that you grow secure in our love and Jesus’ love.  Happy birthday!    

Love you forever,

Photo credits to the wonderful Auntie Sarah

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Emily's Third Birthday

Dear Emily,

Happy third birthday!  You are a little sunshine girl; such a gift to us.  You’re so caring and empathetic....spunky and vivacious when you’re comfortable with people; quite cautious when you aren’t. Here's a little snapshot of three-year-old Emmy:

You’re my shadow and helper.  You don’t like being too far away from me and you love helping with whatever I’m doing.  You help me “smash” eggs in the morning for scrambled eggs and pull up a chair to help me (or lie with your blankie on the kitchen floor) while I’m cooking.  You’ve become quite good at folding towels and washclothes. You were my big helper with putting in the garden this year; some things got buried rather deeply but you loved it and I’m so happy to see you loving the outdoors.

You are surprisingly articulate.   I love the way you open your eyes up big when you’re telling me something exciting and your little grown-up voice and unique phrasing. (“I tumbled!”; anything warm is “cozy”.)  You’re always saying “When I was a little girl…” or that anything in the past happened “last year”. You told me recently, rather sadly, that you were “worried about da new house” (moving has been a big transition for all of us).   The other day we were eating snacks; you took a goldfish cracker from your bag and tossed it on the ground: “Dat was a old dead one!”

(when you saw your "pink house cake" for the first time)

You notice so much; a new outfit, if I change my nail polish.  You love pretty things. Anytime you see me with any kind of product for my lips, you want some: “Lips on?  Lips on?” (The other day you tried to introduce Maddie to “lips” but she thought it was something to eat.) For your birthday party you said “I want lips on--sparkly ones.”  You want to try out my make up; recently you saw me putting on mascara and said “Is dat scary for you, Mom?” You also love to have your toenails done and find it rather sad when the “polish” wears off.

You’re very aware of your surroundings. You like things in their places and it’s disturbing to your soul when things change too much or are disordered.  If I don’t say “amen” after a prayer, you are rather distraught. “I smell something!” has become a regular refrain. (Once it was “achully James” and once... “it’s my feet!”)  I gave you Swiss cheese a couple of months ago and you said “It comed into my nose! I want lellow cheese.”

Your imagination is amazing: I got a few books of artwork from the library a few months ago and was looking at the pictures with you and James after naptime one day.  We were looking at a two page spread of a winter scene, noticing details. You said “I’m cold!” and I went to wrap you in your blankies, but you said “I’m cold from the picture!”.  Then we were talking about a man who was using a pickaxe on the ice and you said “I don’t like dat noise”. What noise, thought I? ”Dat noise he is making. I will dus stay close to you.”  

You’re still a little music girl.  You sing to your babies, play your (toy) violin with appropriate movement, like to play along when I’m playing the piano.  You typically request “violin songs” when we’re going to listen to music. You also loooove stories. You always want more and I don’t think we’ve ever read so many to you that you didn’t want another.  The Little House, Madeline, Kim Lewis’ll sit and snuggle and listen. You're also quite the little baby mama. For a while you kept the entire collection of dolls in you bed.

You and James have both been asking more questions about Jesus lately. You love to hear all of the verses of Jesus Loves Me and ask specifically about the part where He washes away our sins.  It's so exciting to me to see your awareness of spiritual things grow and to watch Jesus reach out to you.

You and James are getting to be good friends.  It’s so cute to hear you playing and conversing together.  You were sitting on the patio step eating dessert the other night, looking thoughtfully at the huge trees along the canal behind the house.  You said, pointing at the sunny blue sky, “Look at dat shooting star up dere!” James, a minute later: “I wonder if we walk fru da trails if we will see a moon coming up...”  You love Maddie and watch out for her; you’re quite vigilant to make sure she doesn’t get too close to the stairs, sometimes to her dismay. I can’t wait to see the relationship you two develop as you grow.  

You bring us much joy, Emily Grace.  I’m so glad we got you and that I get to see you grow up.  You are loved and precious.

Love you forever,


Photo credit for all the good ones: Sarah Morgan Photography