September 20, 2016

The Night Before Your First Birthday

My Darling Emmerson,

Tomorrow is your birthday! You turn ONE! I am a ball of emotions as I reflect back on what has been the greatest year of our entire lives.

Everyone says, "it goes so fast!" And honey, it really does. This has been the fastest, most amazing, most joyful tear-inducing, most heart-swelling, exhausting, beautiful year of my whole life, and I can truly say that I've loved every minute of it. Being your mom is the most precious gift I've ever been given and I take not one moment for granted.

We have come a long way, you, me and daddy. We waited and prayed for years for you. We fought for you and traveled oceans in order to bring you into our arms. We never lost hope for you and you are so much more than anything we could imagine in our wildest dreams. You came true and softened the cracks in our hearts. You taught us (and continue to teach us) more every single day. Because of you, we are Mama and Dada. Because of you, we are your world, and you are ours. Because of you, we see every day through your innocent, precious eyes. You are an angel sent from Heaven and we know how far you've come to get to us. You. You, brave, courageous, wise little girl. You spent 9 months in an angel's belly in India until we could get to you. You fought to grow big and strong and hung in there the entire pregnancy and were born perfect and healthy on September 21, 2015. You knew how much we needed to meet you. You have since brought an immeasurable amount of joy into our hearts and lives and the lives of everyone who knows you. What a gift you are, Emmerson! Please know what a gift you are.

I am in awe of you. Everyday for the past year, you have done something that has taken my breath away. It might be you reaching your big milestones, like holding your head up, smiling, laughing, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing or talking. Or it might be the simple moments, the ones where your eyes light up when you see your daddy walk in the room, or when you figure out how to sort your shapes, or when you clap every time we say "yaaaaaay". Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I get to stand in the kitchen making dinner and look down to see you, a tiny (but mighty) person hanging onto my leg looking up at me. Or when you get into these giggle fits, and whatever is making you laugh is the only thing I want to be doing. Or when you calm as soon as I pick you up, or the times when you don't want to be put down. Or how you love your books and say "moo" every time we see a cow. The way you try all the food we give you, and sometimes spit out the parts you don't care for. (You never spit out fruit!) Or when I introduce you and call you my daughter. Or when you nurse in the middle of the night. And how you always start each day with a big smile and a wave to Bailey and Sadie. These moments (big and small) that make our new life together are ones that I cherish so dearly. I dreamed of being a mom for so long, baby. Now I can't imagine what life was like before you.

I hope Daddy and I are doing great as your parents. We just want to give you the world and often feel the weight of the responsibility and privilege we have to raise and protect our perfect little human. Even though I'm sure we've made lots of mistakes this year, I'm positive we have poured our hearts and souls into you, trying our best to be the best parents we can be. We'll always keep trying and will be learning as we go. You're teaching us how to be better every day, so thank you for that, sweet girl.

I pray this is the first of many (like, 120) birthdays that you celebrate. You have such a spectacular life ahead of you. What will you love? What will you do? Who will you love? I just want you to know that we will always be your biggest cheerleaders and supporters. We will love you through every moment of your life and will always be by your side, encouraging you and routing for you.  Watching you grow this year and seeing your amazing personality shine through has been incredible. I want to freeze time, right where you are, but at the same time I'm so excited for all that's ahead. I'm sure this year will bring many new changes and I'll look back on it thinking where has the time gone? I want to soak it all up and experience every single bit of life with you. You make ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. We're so thankful for you, angel.

 I want to share some words from our favorite book, Wherever You Are: my love will find you. We have read this every night of your first year and it just captures my heart so perfectly.

I wanted you more than you ever will know,
so I sent love to follow wherever you go.

It's high as you wish it.
It's quick as an elf!
You'll never outgrow it...
it stretches itself!

So climb any mountain...
climb up to the sky!
My love will find you.
My love can fly!

Make a big splash! Go out on a limb.
My love will find you! My love can swim.

It never gets lost. Never fades, never ends.
If you're working..
or playing..
or sitting with friends.

You can dance 'til you're dizzy...
paint 'til you're blue. 
There's no place, not one, 
that my love can't find you.

And if someday you're lonely,
or someday you're sad,
if you strike out at baseball,
or think you've been bad...

Just lift up your face,
feel the wind in your hair.
That's me, my sweet baby,
my love is right there.

In the green of the grass,
in the smell of the sea,
in the clouds floating by,
at the top of a tree..

In the sound crickets make,
at the end of the day..
"You are loved, You are loved, You are loved,"
they all say.

My love is so high, and so wide, and so deep
It's always right there,
even when you're asleep.

So hold your head high 
and don't be afraid,
to march to the front of your own parade.

If you're still my small babe, 
or you're all the way grown...
My promise to you is you're never alone.

You are my angel,
my darling,
my star.

And my love will find you, 
wherever you are. 

So, my baby, Happy Birthday! We have so much to celebrate. Thank you for this year. Thank you for being the most magnificent human we have ever met. Thank you for loving us like you do and allowing us to love you like we do. It is an honor and a privilege being your parents. We love you, we love you, we love you so, dear baby.

We love you,
Mommy and Daddy

September 2, 2016

Dear Emmerson--Eleven Months

Dear Emmerson,

You are eleven months, my darling! I can hardly believe that this time next month we'll be celebrating twelve months---ONE year! This has been the fastest, most amazing year of our lives, and we are soaking up every single sweet moment with you. Everyday is better than the last, and we are the luckiest people in the world to be your mommy and daddy.

 This month you've been a busy bee! You are weighing in at 16 pounds, 12 ounces, and have moved up to size 3 diapers. You can still wear some 3-6 month clothes, but you mostly wear 6-12, 6 month, or 6-9. You're our perfect little petite peanut!
 You are crawling fast all over the place, cruising, walking while holding our hands, and have most recently started standing on your own for longer periods of time!
 You squeal (shriek) loudly when you're excited, or just when you want to try out your voice, and you are super friendly. You love other babies and being around people. You smile at everyone and are only occasionally weary of some men with bushy beards (sorry uncle Andrew!)

 You LOVE to eat! Your number one favorite food right now is cheese. If a cheese stick is anywhere near you, you immediately start smacking your lips and smiling. Aside from cheese, you love yogurt, toast, pasta, all fruits and veggies, egg yolk omelettes, and you'll eat salmon, chicken, and turkey--though you seem to prefer the produce. You're still nursing several times a day and I'm just following your lead on that!

You enjoy going to music and ballet class, so we try and do that once every week. We also go to stroller workouts in the park and have weekly playdates with our friends. It's been so awesome to form a little village for you in this urban jungle!

Your favorite toys are stacking cups, shapes, piano, and getting into everything that isn't a toy. One of your favorite games is pulling things out of a bag or box, and you love drumming or making noises with your toys.

You are obsessed with your doggies, Sadie specifically, and follow them around everywhere. Bailey allows you to climb all over her, stick your hands in her mouth, pull her hair, etc. Sadie, on the other hand isn't as interested in a tiny person pushing up on little self. This seems to make you covet her attention more so you seem to focus on what Sadie's doing at all times. It's very sweet, and we know they both love you.

You love to wave, clap and point. You know "hi" and "bye bye" and say it by waving. You most recently started saying "moo", and can find your head, belly, and mouth. You give the best kisses ever. You still say "mama" all day long, "baba", and sometimes you'll say "dada" but that one you save for special occasions! Your smile lights up the room and your laugh melts us into a million pieces.

You are a silly goose, and love playing games like peekaboo. You love your books, and enjoy popup one as well as textured ones, like Pat the Bunny.

Lately you've been napping like a champ, taking (usually) two solid naps, ranging from 1-2 hours each. Nighttime sleeping is still not your favorite, but things seem to have improved over time and you're getting some longer stretches. I think mommy and daddy have gotten better with handling the lack of sleep, though I certainly enjoy making lattes with you each morning. Staying home with you is the greatest job I've ever had, and I seriously love every single day. We've got our routines, and weekly activities, and I just love playing with you and watching you explore your world. Being your mom is the best. The very best!

 This month you went on your 13th flight, visited Hilton Head with family, went to the zoo twice, tried lots of new foods, played with lots of friends, swam in the ocean and pool and ate some sand (among other new food items).

 My angel, we are savoring every minute with you and love seeing your sweet personality shine through more each day. I am all kinds of emotional thinking about and planning for your first birthday. It is the greatest privilege to be your mommy. We are so proud of you and we love you, we love you, we love you so, dear baby.

Love you,
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