Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 28- Love- Plain and Simple

Our little Lovebug,

I'm sad our little month of posts is drawing to a close.  I have enjoyed focusing on only but a few of the ways I love you, and honestly, if I were to count, we could be here for a very long time because there are millions of things I love about you.  MILLIONS. I'm not joking!

Almost two years ago now, you burst into our lives opening love's floodgates and we haven't been the same since.  We now see life in color thanks to you and your laughter, your antics, your little hand squeezes, your snuggles and your sweetness.  I know we are only at the beginning of our journey together, but I wanted to tell you how much we love you and cherish all the ways you give and show love.    

Speaking of love, you have two bunnies and a blankie that are with you every time you lay down to sleep or just need a little extra soothing.  You love these guys- they are your peeps and we call them Mr. and Mrs. Bunny.  Right now, you just call them Bunny (ie. "Ba-Ba" while you do the sign for blanket).  You snuggle them, hug them close, offer them drinks of milk and bites of crackers.  You show concern when you think they may be cold (like for example when they are waiting for you in the car while we ran an errand) and you HATE it when they have to "take a bath" (be placed in the washing machine for some serious refreshing).  You carry them with you almost everywhere you go and you call for them when you cannot find them. It is safe to say you love them- big time.  We love them too because we know how much they mean to you and how much comfort they bring you when we are not around.

You also love your family.  You talk about your Daddy all day long while he is at work, you call Nana and Papa on your pretend phones and want to call your Uncle Mark at least five times a day.  You now give these incredible running hugs where you race across the room into the open arms waiting for you and you actually give hugs now by squeezing back- those are the BEST.  When you want to, you give some great good night kisses (which sometimes feel like mini head-buts) and you love to be cheek to cheek when we cook together.  You snuggle your head down onto my shoulder when you need a hug and you hold my hand when ever we walk somewhere together.  I love that you want to sit close while we read books and it is safe to say that I love every single one of these little connections that I get to share with you.

Being your Mama is my favorite thing in the world.  I love that you trust me to take care of you and that you call my name in the night when something is wrong.  When your brother was born, he turned me into a mother, but I didn't get to bring him home and be his Mama in the little moments and through the long days and nights.  But you have made me into a Mama and and not just any Mama but your Mama.  I love this journey of a million little steps that we've been blessed to be on together.

I love that I'm your Mama and that we have our own little language that no one else can speak or understand (yet).  I love that I understand what you are saying better than anyone else can.  I love that I still walk around to your side of the car and open the door to get you out even when you are not with me.  I love that I miss you after you go to bed at night.  I love that I can literally see your little brain learning things right before my very eyes.  I love that you mimik things that I say and with the same inflections that I use (well, most of the time!).  i love hearing your little voice through the monitor telling me you are awake and ready to go (like right now).

I love you, my sweet little Lilybug. You are my girl, whom I deeply, deeply love.  I pray you never forget our little saying that we say together so many times a day....Me:  "Who loves Lily?"  You:  "Mama (big smile)"....and I always, always, ALWAYS will.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 27- Your Energy

Heading into the playroom straight from a full on run!

Dearest Busy Lily,

You literally move at full speed all day long.  The only times I can truly say you are "still" for any prolonged period of time are when you are sleeping, or buckled into your carseat or high chair!   It is full steam ahead from the second you awaken until the moment you lay down in bed.  As someone for whom it takes awhile to get going in the morning, I envy this about you.  The way you run from room to room instead of walking, the way you can sit still for only a few seconds at a time before you decide it is time to get going again.  How you love to spontaneously start jumping just for the heck of it.  The way you love to just start dancing and twirling around when you hear music and even sometimes when you don't.  I always want to remember the way you are a constant, beautiful blur of motion and light everywhere you go.

Tonight at bath time, Daddy was helping you while I was literally "resting" my head on the side of the tub as I watched you splash around, fill your cup in the faucet, play with your bath toys and chatter away to your Daddy about your day.  I was exhausted, but you were still going strong.

You are my busy bee and I am constantly trying to reframe my frustration from my recent parade of blurry photos of you as a joyful reminder of how fast our lives are moving these days.  Daddy reminded me tonight as I was "resting" my head and lamenting my exhaustion that I too could have a little more energy if I napped for a few hours each day and slept for twelve hours each night (which is true) but something tells me that you, with all of your sparkle and twinkles would still have more energy than me even on my best day.  But I like it this way because you keep me on my toes and always in motion trying to keep up with you!  You are my whirling blur of energy, laughter and movement and I honestly thank God for the blessing of getting to share that with you every single day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 26- Your Determination

In action!

Adorable Lily,

What I want to tell you about today is how much I love your determination.  It is a character trait that will carry you far.  Whether it is figuring out how to climb up onto a chair or onto the couch, or learning to use your spoon and fork or turning the TV on and off by yourself,  well, you just do not quit  practicing until you get it figured out.  The best part of when you do figure something out are the proud and frequent, "Ta-daaa's!"  that often accompany your triumphs.  Lately the three primary things you have been working on mastering have been zippers, putting on your own shoes and walking down the stairs.

When we moved into our new house, you had never consistently been in a place that had stairs let alone been taught to climb them.  But you quickly set out to learn how to crawl up- which did not take long for you to master at all!  There were some tense (for Mama) moments as we practiced learning how to go down the stairs backwards on your tummy.  You picked up on that quickly as well and now, when you don't feel like walking, you just zip on down on your belly- and you are FAST!  There are times when I still try to carry you down but you quickly remind me that you want to do it yourself.  Thank goodness we still have baby gates up because I have a feeling that you would be zipping up and down without my knowledge which makes me nervous! Someday we will take them down for you, but not yet sweetie pie.  Mama is still too much of a nervous-nelly about the stairs.

Lately we have been practicing walking down facing forward and holding onto the railing...and you are doing AMAZING with this new skill.  Sure there are wobbly days and times when you stumble a little bit, but we are right there beside you holding your hand and cheering you on.  Sure it takes longer, but we know in our hearts that these precious days when everything is new will not last forever and we will wish them back.

We are so proud of you for picking up this new ability by sheer determination and practice.  It is fun to watch you focus and to see how proud and happy you are with yourself when you are doing well as you cautiously step, step, step down the stairs.  You are a joy and an inspiration to your Mama's heart.  I can only imagine what you will be able to accomplish in your lifetime and I just hope I can simply keep up with you!  You are one amazing little gal and I am beyond proud of you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 25- Your Love of Peek-a-Boo!

I love the look of joy on your face in the reflection...
Peek-a-boo is one of my favorite games we play these days...You can be sitting at the kitchen table, hiding behind a chair, taking a bath or just simply looking the other way, when all of the sudden, you will lower your head or duck down low and pop back up and say "Baa-pa-baa!!!" Which is how you say "Peek a boo!"  Over and over and over again and it is (I admit) a lot of fun to see you enjoying playing this game so much.  I'm not sure when it clicked in for you, but lately you have been playing it non-stop around here.  

When you were younger we would play it all the time by covering our eyes and you loved that version as well, but this new one is always instigated and led by you, which makes it even better.  You giggle, crack yourself up, have the most adorable expression of glee on your face (eyebrows raised and eyes wide with excitement) and last night you even started playing peek-a-boo with your own reflection in the window during dinner.  (I could not resist snapping a photo of you having such a great time.)  

I know there will be days in the future where you are too busy playing or are out with your friends, and I will glance around the house with memories filling my mind of all of the fun and cute little games we used to play during this season of your life and I always want to remember your sweet little voice wanting to play and calling out, "Baa-pa-baa!" to me from across the room. Be still my heart.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 24- How Much You Love Trash Day

Waiting and watching on a Tuesday morning....

Little Lily,

It is safe to say that every Tuesday morning is your favorite day of the week because it's trash day in our neighborhood!  The way your room is arranged, your crib is next to the window so you can pull the blinds back and watch the recycling truck and trash truck make their way down our street and around the corner.  You LOVE it!  So much so that one of your first words was "trash truck!"  

Your favorite "chore" to help with around the house is to help bring in the trash cans from the curb.  Every Tuesday afternoon, you and I go out and check to make sure all of the trash is out of our cans (even though we already know that it is all gone because we watched them pick it up) and then we wheel them back up into the garage.  You love the rumbling sound giggle the whole time.  We are still working on discerning that every truck that goes by (UPS, Fed Ex, snow plows etc) is not a trash truck, but for now, we are loving sharing your excitement about all of your beloved "trash trucks!" 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 23- Your Love of Talking on the Phone

My Little Chatterbox,

Dare I say that your love for talking on the phone has already started?  Ever since you were seven months old and were pulling up on everything, you discovered that the telephone had been perched all this time just above your head and now you could reach it!  Your joy of pushing the buttons, paging the receiver, your discovery of speaker phone and redial buttons...oh the fun is still continuing today.  We disconnected our land line a few months back, but have left our phones plugged in because you enjoy walking around and "talking" and pushing the buttons.  Your little "hello?' when you pick up the phone or want to know where the phone is, is super cute.

Of course you love to play with your Daddy's and my real phones, but we try to keep that to a minimum (as much as we can!)  You also have your own pretend phones.  You have a little one that makes various animal noises when you call the respective animals.  You have a little purple cell phone that calls a puppy named Violet and helps you learn to count.  You have a little Elmo phone where his eyes open and close and a Little Mermaid one as well.  We keep a couple at Nana's house and two of them in the car for some no-fail travel entertainment when reading or looking out the window grows old.

Over the past month, you have recently developed a fondness for actually calling some of your favorite people on the phone.  You have picked up on my tendency to talk with the same people on a near daily basis...your Daddy, your Papa, your Nana and your Uncle Mark.  Those are the people you love to call.  You see my phone and start saying their names over and over...and we will call them and you say, "Hi" followed by something usually indiscernible followed by a very clear, "bye-bye!"  Your conversations are brief, but sweet.  As soon as we hang up with one person, you begin saying the next name on our regular list, (Nana, Mark, Papa etc) and we will go down the list either speaking in person with them or leaving some fun voice mail messages.  

We are still trying to work out the timing of the whole voice mail thing- you know, waiting for the beep...sometimes you say a very clear, "Hi Mark!" only its before the beep, so when it's actually time to leave a message and I tell you say it again, it comes out a mere whisper and I have no idea if your little voice can be heard across all of the miles.  I certainly hope that it can be because yours is the sweetest voice in the world leaving your own little genuine messages of love.  I can't wait to get one myself someday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 22- Your Love of Weather

As a complete weather nerd, I LOVE seeing your face light up when you hear a rumble of thunder or feel the splash of raindrops on your little face.  You joyfully proclaim "SNOW!!!! (with a silent 's')" when you see the ground covered in white or flakes falling from the sky.  You always want to hold our umbrella in the rain and by pure coincidence, we have been running errands the past few times it has been raining here- which has been an absolute blast.  I love to be hunkered down with you beneath our broken down umbrella zipping across the parking lot in the rain giggling and getting wet.  I like watching you stare out the window watching it snow or rain and the smile that spreads across your little face when a rumble of thunder is especially loud.  I like to think you enjoy the beauty of a storm as much as I do.

All suited up and surveying the snow situation from the edge of the garage moments before you realized that your hands were freezing and that you wanted to go inside after all.  Gloves were not an option.

Just days ago, God dropped a foot of fresh snow outside of our house and your 'oooohs' and 'Alwite'-s continue to cause the joy of it all to linger.  You were not a huge fan of playing in the cold snow because you did not want to have your gloves on, but you have loved looking at it all through the window and watching Daddy shovel.  

Some of my fondest memories of my dear grandmother include watching some storms roll across the prairie towards her little farmhouse where we would sit on her porch together feeling and enjoying the power of God move through nature, and I look forward to doing that with you, my beautiful little future storm watcher.  I love that you are enjoying discovering weather and all of the excitement it can bring with it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 21 - How Much You Love Your Shoes

Our Future Fashionista,

Oh, how you love your shoes! Sparkly ones, shiny ones, flip flops, Uggs, snow boots, Mary Janes, velcro ones, crocs, shoes with laces, tennis shoes and love them all and have many strong opinions about which ones you want to wear at any particular given moment.  Your current favorites are your pink sparkly ones from Target that are now (I'm afraid) about a 1/2 size too small which makes me very sad because you truly love them.  We have been blessed with many great hand me downs and sales, so I have to admit, you do have a great variety to choose from these days (yes, I am jealous)! 

It is so fun (at least when we are not in a hurry) to watch you decide which ones to wear, only to change your mind a few moments later.  I have noticed that you are an ACE at taking your shoes off seconds after I get you buckled into your car seat which at times can drive me a little bit crazy because you then fling your shoes and socks all over the car where I then have to track them down underneath seats and in the way back of our SUV (you've also got an arm on ya) when we arrive at our destination.  I have wisely started putting your selected shoes on only after we arrive where we are going because it seems easier to put them on your wiggly cute feet once instead of twice. Plus I feel like it gives me at least a slight illusion of control!  

The first time you put your own shoe on!   "Taa-daa!"  (bad photo taken fast at a red light)
In other shoe news, just this past week, we were driving along and I heard you exclaim from the back seat, "Taa-daa!"  I looked back and after taking your shoe off, you had put it back on all by yourself!  This was a first and you were super excited about it.  We both clapped our hands and did a little celebration of your accomplishment because we are the only ones who know how hard you have been working on that skill.  It was so sweet and I was super proud of you and enjoyed seeing how happy it made you.  Yes, your shoe was on the wrong foot, but that is not the point.  Neither one of us cared about that minor detail.  When we got to the grocery store, I happily put your other shoe on the wrong foot and away we went into the store with no one but us knowing what big deal had just transpired.  It was hands down, one of my favorite trips to the grocery store with you ever and still today it makes me smile to think of your cute feet dangling down from your perch in the grocery cart with your shoes on the wrong feet...super happy.

Just hanging around in your jammies and boots...
The best however, is when we are playing around the house and you want to wear your shoes over your footed pajamas.  I have given up trying to explain that one does not necessarily wear shoes with pajamas, but I have conceded that I indeed may have been wrong about that, because you consistently and joyfully continue to prove me wrong...and I absolutely love it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 20- How You Like Things in Order

Little Lily,

One of the things I cherish about your dear heart is how you love to have things in "order."  I'm not necessarily talking about organizationally but more along the lines of how things are supposed to be.  Like for example, we have child proofing all around our house, but if we forget to re-plug in an outlet cover, you are quick to not only notice, but bring it to our attention with your "uh-ohs" until it is returned to being safe again.  Another example is if we forget to close a cabinet door in the kitchen, or if something is dropped or spilled on your clothes, or if you write in ink on your own hand, or if you notice that we left the gate to the stairs open by accident...your sweet little reminders help keeps things in line around here.  I love it.  You are very helpful and super great at noticing things going on in your environment and that makes my heart swell with love for you.  I love that you are a rule follower (like your Mama) and as your Mama, I just pray that even when you are a teenager, that you stay that way!

*Note:  The above photo is from one of your favorite books at the moment called Just Like Mama.  You love to point out that the little girl has happily slurped spaghetti onto her face, shirt and hand.  Every time we read it, I know you are going to want to race to that page and point it out and I love knowing that it matters to you that the little girl in the story spilled spaghetti on herself. Your sweet tender heart melts mine every time. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 19- Your Hair

Exhibit A: Where is the cute bow that was in just a few minutes before we tried to get a wiggly little cousins photo?

Sweet Lilybug,

I love your hair.  I really, really do. I love how soft it is and how sweet it smells.   love that it grows from your head and I love that its getting longer by the second.  I love its color, the way it shines in the sunlight and I love that its actually getting long enough to style in pigtails and bows.  You love your hair when it blows in the wind.  Your laughter when that happens is completely contagious and I find myself eager to go outside with you on windy days just so we can giggle about your hair blowing around all crazy.  I could seriously do that with you for hours.  I love how much you love it.  

One element about taking your baths at night is that most nights you go to bed with damp hair which leads to some CRAZY bed-head in the morning.  Your bed head is cute and adorable when we are playing around here at home, but not always so cute and adorable when we are out and about around town and I have forgotten to or been unable to tame it down and help you look more presentable.  (Bad mama!) I'm super sorry about this.

Another element about your hair is that it is currently in that difficult "in-between" stage of growing out.  When it is pulled back out of your eyes, it is not a problem and it looks very cute, but if it is "natural," well, sometimes your hair can look rather shaggy, un-kept and at times, kind of wild.  We have not cut it yet and I try really hard to keep it pulled back with cute bows and such, but that does not always work because you sometimes have other plans for how you want to wear your hair.  

So yes, there are some days when I snap a photo of you doing the cutest thing, but your hair is all crazy and I cringe a little bit.  We try our best, right? It's tough.  I want it out of your face so we can see your sweet eyes and so you can see this big world you live in, but you sometimes just want to be in control of your hair and I, in choosing my battles, let you have control.  

On those days where your hair is in your face, you carry on like it is not a problem...but when the inevitable setback occurs and some tears and some snot get added in, well, the hair surrounding your adorable little face often becomes a regular gunky tangle.  That's the part of your hair we both agree we do NOT love, but I secretly still do because it is sweet little you and I love every single hair on your sweet little peanut head.  Even the gunky ones.  xoxo

* I should also note, I'm not a hair genius myself and often times, my hair could use some (or a lot of) serious help of its own.  I just wanted to put that out there in case anyone reading this knows me and was thinking it.  I know don't worry, I am thinking it too!

Monday, February 18, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 18- How Much You LOVE Your Robe

Sweetest Lilybug,

On Christmas Eve, your Nana gave you a little robe.  It was obvious from your immediate desire to put it on over your pajamas that you loved it as much as we loved seeing you in it!  Now, each night after your bath, we towel you dry and then you insist on putting your robe on to walk (literally) across the hall, maybe ten feet to your changing table where we get you dressed in your pajamas for bedtime.  You LOVE this little robe and we love seeing you in it each night before bed.  You call it your 'bee.'  Sometimes I think my heart will just burst from all of the cuteness and love I feel seeing you so happy.

An action shot of you happily racing around upstairs in your robe after bath time

Sunday, February 17, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 17- How Much You Love Your Sunglasses

Dear Lily,

Today I want to tell you how much we adore your love of sunglasses.  You like to wear them any and everywhere, day or night, in the tub, out shopping, while playing both indoors and out.  You currently have two pairs, some white ones and some pink ones.  I LOVE that you wear them with complete confidence and act as if nothing is out of the ordinary when folks are ooohing and ahhhing over you in the grocery store.  One of our favorite things is when we glance into the backseat and see that you have put on your sunglasses all by yourself and they are upside down and you are just gazing out the window completely happy and relaxed.  You are precious.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 16- How Much You Love Your Nighttime Routine

Here you are, all clean and ready to wind down.  Sometimes it takes you awhile because you are having such a great time...
Ever since you were a tiny baby we have had the exact same ritual for going to bed.  You eat your dinner, you take a bath, you get your jammies on, read some books and snuggle while you drink your milk and then we say our prayers, sing a song and put you down awake with your bunnies and turn on your rain.  Some things have been added as you have gotten older, for example now before your bath (which you love) you enjoy a good game of chase around the upstairs.  It is quite fun and we love the giggles and the quickness with which you bolt around up there as we try and catch you for bath time.  Another added element is brushing your teeth.  Most of the time you are pretty good about this, but often times you are determined to chew on your tooth brush rather than brush with it.  You love your My Little Pony training toothpaste too- and do not seem to mind when you get it everywhere on your hands and face.  You also like putting on your robe after your bath (more on that coming soon), and of course the nightly decision of which jammies to wear.

Your bedtime is typically between 6:45pm and 7pm and you love to snuggle in with your bunnies and blankie with two of your fingers in your mouth for extra soothing.  The funny thing that we learned (the hard way) a few times, is that if an element of your routine is skipped over or forgotten (either intentionally to save time or accidentally), you are very quick to inform whomever is in charge of putting you down that something has been missed.  Whether it is a bath, a particular lotion, your milk, one of your bunnies is missing or we forget to turn on your rain (soothing sounds cd), you let us know, so we can correct it and keep things rolling along as they should be.  

Experts always say that kids enjoy and thrive with structure and routine, and you are no exception my sweet girl!  It is great for us too because it ensures that everything gets done that needs to be done for you and it also allows Nana or Papa to step in if we are gone and things can be exactly the same for you even when we are not here to tuck you in ourselves.  You are a dear and the evening wind down is a busy time but also a sweet and favorite time of day for all of us!  You are our snuggle bunny!

Friday, February 15, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 15 - How Much We Love Your Laugh

Dear Lily,

You have got the worlds BEST laugh and it has really started to burst forth in these past few months.   You laugh at photos, books, funny story lines, silly faces, hiccups, dogs, and you are very ticklish!  It is so much fun to see you grinning from ear to ear and gasping for breath through your laughter.  We always try to be respectful of your wishes about being tickled and if you say, 'no' or 'stop' we stop immediately, but those occasions are few and far between and you simply love to laugh.  It will be a lot of fun in the years to come to see what you find hilarious.  I can't wait to hear your jokes, watch funny movies with you and tell funny stories together.  Just know that the sound of your laughter is my very favorite sound in this entire world.  Hands down.  LOVE. IT.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Little Message for You on Valentine's Day

Yep, it's true!
Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 14 - How Much You Love Sledding

Sweetest Pea:

One of the best parts of Christmas for us this year was introducing you to the joys of real snow (the kind that is deep and does not melt in an hour) and sledding.  We were in Colorado where it snowed a lot while we were there and your Nana got you a little red sled with a comfy bucket seat and seat belt for you as an early Christmas present!   You had not really seen much snow since you were a baby last Christmas, so we got you some snow pants on sale in town and some warm gloves and outside we went!  You had no idea, but life was about to get really, really fun!

You were initially a bit tentative as you tend to be in brand new situations, but you eventually loved the snow and enjoyed stomping around in it a bit.  You loved to walk along on your own on the driveway and the road (zero traffic!) You would let us know when you were tired, but you loved being outside in the cold air and it was so much fun to experience your first real encounter with snow as a family.  

The best part of playing in the snow with you was by far, the sledding.  We had an absolute BLAST pulling you all around on your new sled.  We went for walks in the forest with you sledding along behind us, we twirled you around in the gently plowed road (still no traffic up there of course!) and your delighted squeals made us forget how winded we were getting running you up and down the road in the thin air.  You LOVED it.

Your smiles were huge, your cheeks rosy, your body all bundled up warm, your boots were on and you were super duper happy out there on your cute little red sled in the winter wonderland.  We could not help ourselves as we took photo after photo and video after video of your delight.  You loved it so much that every time anyone would put on their coat to go outside, you would run and get your boots and snow pants telling us in your own way that you wanted to head out and sled some more.  You were soooo cute and we LOVED getting to be your first sledding buddies.  So. Much. Fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 13- You are a Trooper!

a glimpse from Monday afternoon...

Oh My Sweet Little Lilybug,

I had not planned on writing on this particular topic in this series, but the past 48 hours have brought out my admiration for you in grand fashion.  I love that you are such a trooper!  For the past few weeks, you have had a little cold on and off.  Nothing major, no fever, nothing that took you out of the game per se, but your nose has been running - a lot.  But you have done your best to deal with it while maintaining a good attitude.  

Then, on top of your cold, you started cutting two new teeth at the same time (maybe more- you won't let me peek in the back of your mouth) which has only added to the mix of not feeling your best, and has also interfered with your normally awesome sleep rhythm with frequent wakes in the night for snuggles and some ibuprofen.

THEN, on Monday, you did not nap.  This is SUPER unusual for you unless we are way off our schedule which we were not, and I knew you were super tired from our morning's activities, so it was really odd that you did not crash out the way you normally would.  Monday afternoon was a real challenge as I could tell you did not feel well, but you tried your best to soldier on....but there were lots and lots of tears.

Then came today.  You were very tired from waking up during the night last night followed by a busy morning, but again you were unable to fall asleep when nap time rolled around.  I knew you were so, super tired and your inability to fall asleep had nothing to do with wanting to be awake...something was wrong.   I knew you were trying to tell me something (duh! hello mom!!?)  so I took you into the doctor's office and - wham.  Double ear infection.  Poor little girl!!

I felt awful that you had been probably dealing with this for the past couple of days but I did not realize it until today.  I'm glad you are such a great sleeper because when that disappears or is disturbed, I am learning that I can trust you are telling me that something is really wrong.  So thanks for hanging in there with me as I learn to speak your language.  I'm learning, sweet girl! Thanks for being such a trooper and trying so hard to stay your adorable cheerful self- especially when you don't feel like it!  I love you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 12 - Your Love of Cooking

Dear Sweet Lily,

Today I want to tell you how much I love cooking with you.  You are an avid fan of helping me in the kitchen when it's time to fix dinner.  You are still too little to be standing on your own chair or sitting on the counter (well, you don't think so, but I do) so I spend most of the time holding you- which can and does get tricky when the cooking gets going.  I have learned to do a lot of things one handed and find myself remembering fondly the days where I used to prepare real meals with ease.  Now it all goes through the filter of what can I do with one hand?  or What do we have that does not require any use of knives?  You know, things like that...

You love to help dump things into our crock pot, you like for me to hold you while I stir soup or sauce, and you love to watch meat brown on the stove.  Shaking up the juice is another favorite of yours along with pushing down the press on our French press coffee.  It is a fun process to do together even when my arms are shaking in protest due to carrying you for 25 minutes straight around our kitchen.  But in your defense, you just want to be in on the action.  You are snuggled close - usually cheek to cheek with me- while we cook and I love that....really, there is nothing sweeter.  Another added bonus of you cooking with me is that after you have helped prepare the meal, you almost always enjoy eating it too!  

For Christmas you got your own play kitchen that you have loved cooking in these past couple of months.  You fix up all kinds of masterpieces for us to enjoy.  My favorite though, are the picnics we have in the playroom.  Those are the best.  You are a wonderful cook and I cannot wait to see what you  have in store for us in the years to come! Love you, Lilybug!

A picnic...

Monday, February 11, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 11 - Your Love of Taking and Putting

Oh Lilybug,

You are just so much fun these days.  Sure there are moments where my last nerve is being tried, but overall, I just deeply enjoy all you are into these days which is a lot!  One of the things you are kind of "obsessed" with is the 'taking and putting' of any and everything.  You collect little things, carry them (sometimes one by one) into another room and then repeat the process into a different room as well.  It can be books, your Sesame Street friends, your little plates, your play silverware, your socks, your diapers (clean ones!), your shoes, Nana's decorative gords, goldfish from your snack cup, remote is never ending and super cute.  I especially enjoy finding little stashes of your "favorites" after the fact.  It may be a little collection of wash cloths in the corner of a closet, or a gathering of my nail polish bottles in the guest room...whatever it is, I know you put it there with great deliberation, effort and joy.  It makes my heart happy and I just wanted to write about how much I love this little phase of life you are in right now.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 10 - Your Innocence

Sweetest Lily-

You dressed up as a lion for Halloween this year and besides the fact that you were very cute, you LOVED your Halloween candy....but not for eating!  For carrying around and moving around to all of your favorite hiding spots around the house.  You would put it in your little pumpkin and carry it around, dump it out, pick it up, move it again and on and on.  You had no idea of the sweetness you were holding in your hands, to you it was all just a new stash of crinkly toys to fiddle with. You played with all of these pieces of candy for was almost Thanksgiving by the time I was able to phase  the candy and pumpkin out of your daily life.  It will be fun to see how you react to it all next year.   I loved your innocence of not yet understanding what candy is and I hope this special sweetness of yours lasts for at least a few more years!  

When we bought our house, there were two young girls who lived her before us and they loved American Girl Dolls.  For a couple of months after we moved in, the girls' American Girl Doll catalogs would arrive in our mail box and you were instantly drawn to them.  I do not think it is an exaggeration to say we have spent HOURS reading these together.  You do not yet realize that these are catalogs and that with a few clicks of the mouse or a trip to the store, these dolls could actually come and live at your house!  You are perfectly content to just "oooh and ahhh" over the glossy photos of the beautiful dolls in all of their crazy finery.  You enjoy looking at their glasses, their shoes, their pets, their cups of hot chocolate and their ice skates.  I love these sweet times and how much you have so innocently enjoyed reading these catalogs without expectation of receiving or even knowing to ask.  I pray you stay this way for a very long time!   

For Christmas we gave you some Sesame Street "action" figures and you have LOVED them.  I had a hunch that you would like them since you really liked your friend, Lila's when we played at her house one morning.  You carry them around, you know their names, you love when we hide them around the house for you to find and you especially love books and music where they are featured.  Until about a week ago, you had no idea that they were on TV or let alone that they had their very own show!  But about a week ago, you had asked me to turn on some music on our tv and when I flipped on the tv to get it all adjusted for music, the channel was on PBS and Sesame Street happened to be on and you were ecstatic!  You were beside yourself seeing all of your "friends" dancing and singing and talking on tv all together.  You ran into the playroom and got them, brought them and set them beside you on the couch.  You have never before had much interest in what has been on TV but this was the exception!  You were glued to the TV for about fifteen straight minutes.  It was so cute!  You just had no idea.  I had the thought of "Oh, this is how it all begins" with television watching for kids, but seeing your joy I did not feel bad for letting you watch.  Since then, we have added some Sesame Street  episodes, both current and classic to our Netflix queue and I have to admit, it has been fun to turn them on and watch with you while I'm folding laundry and I have been blown away by how much I remember from my own Sesame Street watching days!  It's such a fun show and I love how much you are loving it too.  But I will always remember your sheer joy at seeing your "friends" on TV for the first time.  So, so sweet.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 9 - Our Chats

Chatting with your uncle Mark

For a long time now, you have been using your signs to communicate with us, but these past several months have brought with them new words and new concepts that you are able to communicate and it has been so much fun!  You love talking and I love to hear you talking on your "phone" in the back seat while we drive.  The main words I can make out are "Hi Dada."  or "Hi Papa."  It is super cute and I just want to drive looking backwards so I can watch you in your little mirror. (One reason why I love red lights!) 

You love to take "roll call" and name everyone who is in the room or everyone you saw that particular day.  These days, you talk constantly, but we are not yet able to make out a lot of what you are saying.  If we take context into account, it is easy to grasp what you are trying to say, but to the untrained ear, it still sounds like you are speaking your own language.  But we know better!  You are talking up a storm!  

Sometimes you absolutely amaze me.  Every time we are at Jazzercise, you remind me to get our coats and water bottles and don't let me forget anything we may have brought with us.  Yesterday while rushing out the door, my earring fell out of my ear and I just left it on the floor because we were in a huge hurry and I asked you to remind me when we got home that I had dropped it.  Three hours later when we got home, you were looking at my rings and you remembered my earring and began reminding me about my dropped earring from earlier by pointing to where I had dropped it and saying over and over again, "Uh-oh, uh-oh" until I showed you my earring that I had picked up.  You not only remembered, but you told me! It was amazing.  You love to say, "Boo!" and peek out from a hiding place or call out, "Hiya!" when you are standing up on something you are not supposed to be standing on.  You know the names of all of your Sesame Street "action" figures and you are starting to sing along with some of your favorite tunes.

You are beginning to string words together into short sentences and you are a wonderful mimicker (much to my dismay sometimes!) and you are really getting good at saying more complex words as well like 'breakfast' and 'Jazzercise.'  I have always felt like we could communicate with each other even when you were not able to speak yet, as your receptive language was incredible.  But now that your expressive language is taking off, I'm absolutely loving every minute of our little chats.   

Friday, February 8, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 8 - Your Dancing

Action shot of your dance moves on our coffee table before I had to remind you that it is not safe to dance on the table!  (For so many reasons!!)
Dearest Lily:

Today I want to tell you about how much I love your dancing!  It is a day-brightener for sure!  You are into any and all kinds of music these days, but your favorite tunes to dance to are the ones Pandora plays on their Sesame Street channel. (Especially songs sung by Elmo and The Count!)  We don't watch much TV around here, so in your mind, the TV is for playing music.  When we walk into a room that has a TV, or you see my phone, you begin swaying and trying to communicate through your dancing that you want the music turned on so you can "officially" start dancing.  You wiggle, stomp, twirl, shake it and clap for as long as the tunes are playing.  It is super cute and my favorite part is seeing the sheer joy on your face while you are dancing and your delight in applauding the performers at the end of each song.  

You especially love it when we turn on some tunes, hold you close and dance around the house.  I used to do that a lot with you when you were a baby as when music was on and we were dancing around, you would stop crying and it was a lot of fun to do together as well!  I hope this freedom and joy in your spirit that emerges when you dance never disappears, for it is truly life giving- especially to those who are blessed to get to see it!  Keep dancing sweet girl! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Happy Anniversary to my Amazing Hubby!

My Sweet Husband-

Today marks four years of marriage for us. Four years since we stood before our nearest and dearest and pledged our hearts to one another- for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health. We said 'yes' and I would say it again, and again and again. Marrying you on that rare, beautiful warm day in February was, I thought, the happiest day of my life. But I love you more today than when I said, "I do." Four years later, we can look back on our journey together through five job changes, two full pregnancies, loving our son all the way to heaven, giggles and snuggles with our beautiful Lily, one big move, and so much more in between. Our days are busy and our life together is full and I would choose you and our adventures together every single time. You are a gift from above straight to my heart. I love you, Joe. We made it to four! 

 Happy Anniversary!

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 7 - Your Love of Coloring

Sweet Lily:

We LOVE what a little artist you are becoming.  We have a giant pad of paper that we lay out on the floor and you adore coloring whether it is with crayons, pens, pencils, or markers.  Markers don't usually work out too well because you enjoy how easy it is to color on yourself and your clothes, and then I have to step in and take them away (usually by force) and the scene ends in a giant puddle of tears.  So, needless to say, we don't use too many markers around here! (But thank goodness for washable markers! Well worth the extra couple of bucks!)

You love to scribble and draw straight lines.  You are not yet drawing anything in particular, just enjoying the art you can make all by yourself.  You are really beginning to learn your colors and it is fun to see you carefully selecting them and lining up the ones you have used when you are finished.  You are DELIGHTED whenever we go out for breakfast and they give you a few crayons to color with to keep you busy and enjoy racing home to add them to your box of "colors."  One of your current favorite activities is to carry your box of crayons into a room and dump them all out all over the floor.  Every once in a while you think it is fun to pick them up, but mostly there is just great joy in spilling the crayons all over the floor.  It is such fun to see what you create.  I am hoping you get your artistic streak from your Daddy!  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 6 - Your Snuggles

Dear Lily,

Some of my very favorite moments in life are those where you are sweetly snuggled near. Whether its in the middle of the night when your teeth are hurting, just before bed, a running hug where you race into our arms, or in the middle of the afternoon when you just need a hug, there is nothing sweeter than your snuggles.  Parts of my heart wish you could stay this tiny and this snuggly forever.  I love you, Lilybug.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 5 - You are a Great Eater

Sweet Lily,

One thing we really enjoy about you is what a good eater you are- most of the time.  You eat three big meals a day and tend to nibble on your snacks.  You have always LOVED fruit of any kind.  You are willing to eat most vegetables and you adore turkey from the deli counter.  Cheese is another favorite of yours along with crackers.  You latest favorite is oranges.  When I get things together enough for us all to eat together, you usually devour whatever we are all having.  Your palate includes fondnesses for Asian, Italian, Mexican, American, soups, pickles, comfort food, pizza, grilled cheese and pancakes to name a few.

These days, you are working hard to master your fork and spoon.  Some days are better than others and when you are tired of them, you often throw them on the floor and use your fingers.  In your mind, plates and bowls are optional.  Your food always starts out on them, but typically you dump them onto your high chair tray and throw them on the floor or set them to the side as well.  You do not get to eat many sweet treats these days, but you sure do enjoy them when you do.

I would say we have a long way to go before I would call you a "neat" eater, but I will easily say, you are a GREAT eater and we love your adventuresome spirit and willingness to always try new things.

Monday, February 4, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 4 - You are a Wonderful Sleeper

Dear Lily,

We love what an AMAZING sleeper you are!  You are just a rock star sleeper! You are currently sleeping between 14-15 hours a day.  You take one nap at noon that lasts between 1.5 to 3 hours.  Your bedtime is anywhere between 6:30 and 7pm and you usually sleep until 7am the following morning!  You usually don't wake up during the night unless you are sick or cutting teeth, so we know you are just as distressed as we are when you wake up when you are not feeling well.  We have a pretty structured schedule that you are thriving with and it is a sad day when we get off of it a little bit.  While you are flexible and able to adapt to most changes, when your nap gets messed up, things are just not the same, so I do everything I can to keep things on track for you.

These days, you are primarily a tummy and side sleeper.   You have two lovie bunnies and a blankie that you sleep with each night.  You have never been a thumb sucker, but you do like to suck on two of your fingers at night. I like to sneak into your room late at night to say a little extra good night to you before I go to sleep.  Sometimes you stay sleeping, other times you stir just enough to notice I'm there.  Your sleepy sweetness makes me want to just jump into your crib beside you for some sleepy snuggles.  So far,  I've held myself back, but there are times it feels next to impossible!    

The best part about all of the sleep you get, is that you are a very well rested, even tempered, smart and pleasant little gal! We love you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

28 Days of Loving Lily: Day 3 - How Much You Love Reading

Dear Sweet Lily,

We LOVE how much you love to read.  Ever since you were itty bitty, you have always loved your books.   You help us turn the pages, study the pictures, point out the various colors and creatures, lift the flaps, and have even started to show an interest in the letters on the pages as well!  You certainly have your favorites and opinions about what you want to read at any given moment.  Sometimes what was your favorite book -often re-read 4-5 times a few hours before, you won't want to read for several days, so it's hard to predict and keep up! Your current favorites are  Goodnight Moon, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Pinkalicious, any of the Sweetheart Fairies books, what we call your "prayer" books, and your "little" books.  We love to hear you telling us with your words what books you want to read.  I try to keep your books in rotation, but that is sometimes a full time job!

Throughout the day, you often bring books to me and want to snuggle in for some reading time.  I love to see what books you pick out from your shelf.  We have started going to the library to keep some variety in our options which has been a lot of fun and super budget friendly!  Your morning routine always starts with some reading time in your bed before we start the day.  You wake up, and we change your diaper, turn on some soft music, put you back in bed and you read books by yourself for about 30 minutes.  We have found that if we skip this step, you are kind of out of sorts for the whole morning, so obviously, you like it as much as we do!   When we bring in your morning cup of milk, we snuggle in the big chair together and read even more books before going downstairs.  Before you go down for your nap, we always get a few minutes of snuggle time in and read some more books before you drift off to sleep.  And then, before bed at night, we have another glass of milk and read several more books together before we tuck you in for the night.

Believe me, it's SUPER difficult to look over at the clock and realize its already past your bedtime because we could happily sit there with you reading all night long.  It is the simply the sweetest.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

28 Days of Lily Love: Day 2 - Your Social Side

Dear Lily,

Today I want to tell you about how much I love the little social butterfly in you.  While you have a shy side that protects your tender heart when you are around strangers, I also see that when you feel safe and decide to let your little personality emerge, you absolutely shine.

You have a smile that lights up a room and in turn, all of the faces around you brighten as well.  We have had a lot of play dates recently and I am continually amazed at how well you share your toys.  You are friendly, gentle, welcoming and very sweet with your friends.  You love to play, "Boo!" and "Surprise!" and chase.  You easily go to Sunday school and are talking up a storm to those of us blessed enough to be in your circle of influence.  You are a bright shining light, sweet girl.  I love you.

Your Mama

Friday, February 1, 2013

28 Days of Lily Love: Day 1- What a Great Helper You Are

Dear Lily,

Here at the start of a new month, I thought I would do a little series of posts about things I am loving about you these days.  I have felt like I have not been good at documenting your life since I stopped doing your monthly birthday posts, so without further are just a few of the reasons why I am so crazy about you- my sweet little gal.

#1.  You are a helper.

Sometimes that is literal and other times it is figurative, but you love to help me around the house.  Here you are helping me put away dishes.  Each morning when I empty the dishwasher, you love to tell me where each item goes in the kitchen.  It is amazing how much you soak up about life when I'm not looking!  You know where all of our plates, cups, silverware, serving spoons, tupperware, sippy cups, sharp knives and little plastic bowls go!  Your favorite part about helping me put away dishes is when I don't notice that you have climbed up onto the dishwasher so you can be really close to the action!  I have been trying to teach you not to do this, but sometimes it is so cute, I just have to snap a photo!

You also love to help take both the clean and dirty laundry out of the basket when I'm not looking, pick out your own outfits, close and open every door in the house multiple times a day, sweep the floors, stir soup, fix me a meal in your kitchen, carry our plates to the kitchen sink, pick up ice cubes off the floor, take off your own shoes in the car and take the bows out of her hair.

But your very favorite way to help is to have me hold you while I am trying to do any and all of the above.  I know these days won't last, so I'm trying to remind myself of that when my arm feels like it is going to fall off from holding you while trying to fix dinner one-handed.  I secretly love it though...even when I don't.  You are my FAVORITE helper.