Friday, August 29, 2014

Emerson: 24 Months

July 1, 2014

  • You are still wearing 24 month and 2T clothes...plus some 3T knit shorts. (But, we're blaming the cloth diapers on that.)
  • Independence is still very important to you, and you tell us multiple times daily that you prefer to do things "all by my delf". (You now say MY delf, whereas last month, that word was not included.)
  • "Here my am!"
  • You've given a lot of thought to the idea that God (and Daddy and Mommy) "watch over me", and you mention that at bedtime quite regularly. It is comforting, little one, I agree.
  • "God heal me!"
  • Singing has become such fun to you! You have a repertoire of songs that you know and enjoy, including "Ba, Ba, Black Sheep", "ABC's", and "B-I-B-L-E".
  • You love to read, and take such delight in the stories, recognizing your favorite parts and discussing them together.
  • "Shoo fly, don't bovah me!"
  • You've begun to say "I love you" on your own, and it melts my heart. "I love you, mommy".
  • "There one!", you exclaim, at the sight of a firefly in the yard. You and Daddy hunt for them almost nightly, and sometimes you pretend to find one, grabbing it in your hand and pretending to let it go.
  • "Lotta books" must be in your bed at bedtime. We're talking at least a dozen. You don't read them, but you prefer that they be close-by as you fall asleep.
  • "This called?" you'll ask. You're identifying lots of unknown things these days, curious and unafraid to inquire.
  • Understanding what you're trying to say is so often so easy. You are a communicator, and your language development is amazing. 
  • After you give Royal a treat, you sit on the ground in the kitchen, panting and begging for a treat yourself. (This is a game entirely invented by you, Emerson, I should point out.) "In my mouth, in my hand, in my paw."
  • We don't watch Daniel Tiger before bedtime anymore. Instead, you take a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth and then we read three books together in your bedroom.
  • You like to wear a "nightgown like mommy", and when you're in bed, you repeat what you've heard Mommy say many times about nighttime expectations..."no fuss, no cry, sleep all by my delf...." And, you usually do! You're getting it figured out.
  • When you wake in the morning, you call "Ohhhh, mommmmyyyy" to be rescued from your bed. It's pretty sweet to wake up to, I must say.
  • You request and watch the "Monkey George" movie on television practically daily. I don't know what it is about it that has so captured your attention, but it is unquestionably your favorite right now.
  • You are discovering pretend play, and your imagination is really growing. It's fascinating to watch that develop, and fun to see you enjoying your mind so much.
  • There are many, many mole hills in our front yard this summer (much to Daddy's dismay), and they have provided the most wonderful play area for you. Who would've thought?! You build "castles" with sticks and blow out "birthday candles" of sticks, and dig and scoop and play. Who needs a sandbox?! We've spent many summer evenings sitting in the yard together watching you explore.
  • It's fun to hear you quote phrases that you've only heard once or twice. You pull them out of nowhere, usually in correct context. It's fascinating. 
  • You particularly like to eat "non-nonny" (macaroni) for lunch, and have quite the appetite for it! We often eat our lunch on the couch, with a hand towel spread out on the ottoman as a placemat for you.
  • You regularly request to pray, particularly at lunchtime. "Pay birst?" (Pray first?) It's humbling when I've forgotten, and so meaningful that you haven't. 

You are two years old now...and I had no idea how much fun & laughter & joy that would bring! 
Emerson, your love for life and the world around you is inspiring. 
I am in awe of your sense of discovery, your tender heart, 
your budding sense of humor, 
and your ability to communicate. 
I am so very, very grateful to be your mommy. I love you, precious.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emerson: 23 Months

June 1, 2014

  • You are wearing primarily 24 month and 2T clothes. 
  • You love to look for and point out the abundant robins in the yard..."rob-ah!"
  • You aren't nursing much, but you still frequently request a "lil bit o' nook" (little bit of milk), and then just get a small taste before you're ready to move on.
  • You also request a "lil treat" when you have a sweet tooth. These usually take the form of an M&M or three. "One for your left hand, one for your right hand, and one for your mouth!" (Coincidentally, you have learned the difference between left and right very quickly.)
  • Celebrating birthdays is quite fun, you have discovered, and you joyfully wished Grandpa "happy birthday" as we celebrated him last month. "Habby birday, papa", you said, or a variation, "Hobbah deb beh". 
  • You prefer to do most things independently these days, and you say "ah by delf" when that's the case. We hear that regularly.
  • You exclaim "Ta da!" when you're done with something, and frequently, when a task is not really done, but you want it to be!
  • Occasionally you'll request that your diaper be changed. You're recognizing how that feels and that a dry, clean diaper is preferable. Progress! 
  • You give Royal a good deal of attention now...and wish he'd reciprocate. "Hey, buddy. Hey, big guy...." You're taller than he is now!
  • You recognize the shape of a triangle and will sometimes make one with your hands. "Tah-gle!", you proudly exclaim! 
  • You've discovered singing, and really enjoy Darius Rucker's song "Wagon Wheel", which has the line "rock me, mama"...you request that that be played frequently. You sing the "Winnie the Pooh" theme song with Mommy, particularly the "Pooh" echo part. Adorable. You know your "ABC's", too!
  • You've figured out the difference between "me" and "you" and are able to use those terms correctly. 
  • At bedtime, you request milk, water, "pea o' bread" (piece of bread), "bayguh" (bagel), and "knees" (string cheese)". This bedtime snack seems to help you sleep better at nighttime, and it's become quite the routine. 
  • You are really learning how to count well, and enjoy counting to ten and practicing the alphabet regularly
  • When you're trying to suggest something, you often present it as "how about...?". It's hard to turn down your request.
  • "Try, try again", you say, when working on something new. (Thanks, Daniel Tiger, for that important lesson! There are several "Daniel Tiger" songs that seem to be sticking with you. Cute!)
  • When you stumble, you say that you "wobbled", and then "whoopsie!"

Emerson, you cannot know how special you are to me, 
and how much delight I take in watching you grow. 
It is impossible to imagine life with you getting any more fun than it is right now. 
You are one incredible little girl, and I love you more every day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Years

It isn't as though the arrival of our five-year anniversary comes as a shock. When you commit to spend your life with someone...a vow that, when made in your early-twenties, you expect and pray will last for several decades..."making it" to five years hardly seems surprising.

Still, I remember thinking as a newlywed that this milestone seemed like a lifetime away, especially given all the uncertainties about what our married life would look like.

Are we going to be able to financially support ourselves? Is our budget going to work out the way we think it will?

What kind of job will I have? How secure is Bobby's employment? 

Will we be living in St. Louis permanently? How soon could we move back home?

When will we be able to buy a house? How does one even begin to go about doing such a thing?

Children? Of course! How will we know when the time for parenthood is right?



We had vague dreams for what was our not-so-distant future, but the how and when we'd be able to achieve them was hardly certain. There was much to figure out first about how, exactly, to grow up. And that is, truly, part of the beauty of marriage...figuring out "life", and making "grown-up" decisions, together.

Five years later, although I'm sure we still have much "growing up" to do yet, we have had so many of our uncertainties resolved. If I had been able to see a glimpse of my life now as I walked down the aisle toward Bobby, it would've been better than I was even able to imagine at the time. This life with him is exactly what I'd pictured it would be, even if the specifics were unclear. I'm so grateful to him for helping to make these dreams come true.

The plan (for years!) has been to take a tropical vacation to celebrate this anniversary. We so enjoy time on the beach, and this milestone seemed worthy of taking a big trip. But, between unknown scheduling for Bobby's work trips & this pregnancy timeline & uncertainty about toddler travels, our plan fell through.

But, that's okay. As much I would have enjoyed time on a white sandy beach somewhere, in some ways it seems more appropriate that this anniversary is being acknowledged in a much more quiet way. It's because of all these dreams that we've been able to see become reality in the past five years...all of the answers to our uncertain questions...that we're staying home. Those are the very things we're celebrating, really!

The financial comfort we enjoy. 

The gift of my being able to stay home, and Bobby's growth and success in his career.

Living in Springfield, surrounded by those we love.

Creating a happy home in the house that we own.

Raising our daughter, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of her sister.

Building a life together, secure in each other's love, support, and faithfulness.



Our marriage isn't about the grand gestures or the extraordinary events. Our romance has really always been, instead, about the day-to-day simple gestures and memorable moments that make life so sweet. For that, I'm grateful.

Of course, our dreams for the next five years are vague, too. There is uncertainty about what our family will look like in a few years time, and there are questions that surround getting from here to there. But, I am even more confident than I was as a new bride that, with the Lord's blessing and Bobby's leadership, we will be, as we are now, exactly where we are meant to be.

(Which could be, perhaps, on a beach for our tenth anniversary. Or, our sixth...?)


Happy anniversary, handsome. 
Thank you for a beautiful five years, 
and for sharing this life with me.
xoxo

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ready or Not!

A few weeks ago, Emerson woke up from her Sunday afternoon nap, stood up, and said "Mommy, Daddy, take off rails? That be fun!"

We've been talking with her about the possibility of taking off the crib rails for weeks now, giving her a chance to think through that idea. The plan had been to hold off until the crib for the new nursery came in. (Something new for the baby, a new room update for her, too....) She's been sleeping so well at night and has only made limited and feeble attempts at climbing out, but seemed "ready"...and if there were going to be sleep interruptions, I'd hoped to address them now, instead of months down the road when there's a new baby in the mix, too.

I've been preparing myself, as well. And, in my heart, I knew it was almost time to make it happen. I "supported" the change, so to speak. I did buy new toddler bedding for her birthday in anticipation of the move, after all.

The new crib had been set up for two days. She had unwrapped her new bedding two weeks prior. So, when she woke up and suddenly (and albeit, quite randomly) declared herself in the mood to remove the rails...I had no good reason to say "no".




Daddy got the wrench, and after a few quick photos of Emerson in her baby bed for the last time, the rails came off. Emerson immediately loved her new "big girl" bed, giving us lots of big smiles, and she has slept like a champ ever since. (Update: Since I drafted this post, we're back to some nighttime sleep struggles. She seems to be dealing with some nighttime fearfulness, and needs Mommy to "sit in the dooooorrrrwaaayyyy!" at bedtime and when she wakes in the night. Unrelated to the crib rails, I'm quite sure, but a new challenge to work through together, nevertheless.) It suits her, and her absolute delight in her new bedding and her new ability to get in and out of bed herself has made it entirely worth it. She's growing up, and suddenly, with this latest change, seems to be even bigger, still. (Incidentally, this change to her "big girl" bed has coincided with her lack of interest of nursing right before bedtime. We haven't nursed for the past couple of weeks since. It's a strange thing to let go of, but she may finally be ready. I am so grateful to have chosen to allow her to decide for herself when the time is right.)

It's a funny thing, watching her grow. While I'm trying my best to mentally and emotionally prepare her for changes and new experiences (talking about everything she might encounter on her doctor visit, for example), giving her time to thoughtfully process these things (which she seems to do best with)...she just rips the Band-Aid off when it comes to forcing me to face them.



That's probably for the best. I may have postponed taking off the crib rails for weeks. But, she was ready to grow, and she let me know; I needed to let her.

She's going to keep growing, keep taking steps before I'm entirely ready for her to take them. I'm probably going to need her to keep ripping off the Band-Aid.... Some growth will come when I'm expecting it; other changes will come without warning. And, as hard as some of it may be, I'm going to try to keep in mind the joy that I know so often comes with growing up. There was much joy for me. And, I know that, as I grew...with every change...my mom probably faced it with a lump in her throat, at the same time celebrating with me as I embraced growing up.

Ready or not!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Held Her

I held her as the bride danced with her father.

I held her the same way at another wedding last November, and just as I did then, tears filled my eyes as I imagined watching her dance with her daddy at her own wedding one day.

November 2013
July 2014
Only, this time, as we swayed together, she was a bit bigger.

She's grown since November, now fitting a bit less comfortably in my arms. So, although I know that her wedding day is many years away...I've seen how quickly time passes. The past eight months between these weddings have felt like a brief few days...and I suspect that the time between now and her wedding day will feel that way, too. 

I can't slow down time, and I don't really want to. But, I do want to be mindful of it as I watch my children grow....

So I held her.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christmas In July

I drafted this post last December. And, then the holiday season got busy, as it does tend to do...and I forgot all about posting it. Oops! And, because I cannot bear the thought of having spent some time writing this and NOT posting it at some point...we'll call this "Christmas in July". 

I must say, it is making me anxious for the holiday festivities to arrive again! ... But, the long winter that always follows did leave quite the impression on me last year...so I'll keep the hot summer days around for a while longer, please and thank you.

Last week, Bobby was able to take a morning off from work so that the three of us could visit Santa at Bass Pro. It was another one those experiences (like this activity in the fall) that brought back all kinds of memories from this time last year. 

2012
2013

2012
2013


2012
2013
  
2012
2013

We didn't ride the carousel last year, as Emerson was much too young. This time, however, it was an absolute delight, and certainly made up for the "ho, ho, ho"-hum visit with Santa. Emerson selected her ride of choice (the bear) straight away, and smiled the entire time. 




The ride was fun, and we were all full of smiles. As we got off of the carousel, the attendant came over to me and, speaking of our family, said:

"You guys are so cute. I hope you're together forever, all three of you. You just look like you were made for each other."

I do believe we were.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ode to Camry

A few weeks ago, we said "goodbye" to my 2001 Toyota Camry. After finding a great deal for a new vehicle online, the time had come. (What we replaced the car with is neither here nor there...but it IS in my garage! Let's just say that every Friday, I silently acknowledge our weekly "VANniversary", and, weeks later, it's still like Christmas morning every time I open the door to the garage.)

But, bidding the car "farewell" wasn't without a fair amount of emotion, silly though that sounds. The Camry was "just a car", of course...made of metal and steel, and not a person in any sense. But, "she" was a part of my day-to-day life for approximately ten years, keeping me warm & cool & comfortable. The Lord kept me safe, and used the car as an instrument to do so. For that, I'm grateful.



I have so many memories associated with the Camry....

  • Driving it in high school, after wrecking my first car. My mom had been driving it before that for a short time, and then my parents generously allowed it to be "mine". 
  • Dating Bobby, driving to and from his house, often cutting curfew a bit too close for wanting to stay with my handsome high school sweetheart as long as possible.
  • Packing the trunk and interior so very full as I left for college at Mizzou, and driving back and forth from Columbia many, many times over four years.
  • Getting pulled over. The ONE time. On my way home from college at Christmastime. To see my parents...who I love so much...who probably never heard that story...and will ask questions about it now.
  • Going to work at San Francisco Oven on so many summer days, often changing out of my hot and regularly food-stained khaki pants and restaurant shoes the moment I got into the car.
  • (I'm just sure my dad isn't even reading these bullet points anymore for being stuck on that one about being pulled over. Keep reading, Dad!)
  • Having a blown tire on the highway, headed home from MU in the middle of nowhere, and being rescued by a Highway Patrolman who happened to be passing. Such a blessing.
  • Visiting Bobby at CMU, on a weekend or to watch him play baseball. Those drives to see him were so anticipated and brought such happiness!
  • Being hit on the way to church one Sunday morning by a cyclist participating in a race through Columbia. Bobby, my roommate, and I were sitting at a stop light, waiting for the police officer directing traffic as the cyclists made their way through the intersection. He gave us the go-ahead, and as we slowly accelerated, we were suddenly hit on the rear driver's side of the car by a cyclist, who, though relatively uninjured, left a greasy faceprint on the backseat window. The Camry only sustained minor damage, which was paid for by the eye clinic sponsoring the race. I can only assume they took care of the cyclist's minor injuries, too. Poor guy. Given his location in town at that time of morning, he must've been doing fairly well in the race up until that point. Big bummer. What a strange (and frankly, comical) situation that was.
  • Generously being given the car as a college graduation gift from my parents. 
  • That time my sister's boyfriend (who later became her husband) backed into the parked car in my parents' driveway and had to come inside to tell my dad. This was days before our wedding, and resulted in our getting a rental car to use that week while the Camry was fixed, which we then drove to Wisconsin post-wedding. This event was so impactful that I found a way (oh, you KNOW I found a way....) to incorporate it into my Matron of Honor speech at Rachel and Brice's wedding.
  • Using it as our primary (most reliable) vehicle for the early days of our marriage.
  • Driving to and from Springfield from our first home together in St. Louis.
  • Dealing with the awful stench coming from somewhere in the car, driving with the windows down in the heat of summer, on the freeways in St. Louis, for a week or so until we could get it to the shop. I cannot describe how much it reeked. And, after the repairman found a dead mouse somewhere in the air conditioning unit, we learned that it was, in fact, the smell of death. So gross.
  • Finding a replacement hub cap at a salvage yard with my dad after I lost one, somewhere, somehow. 
  • Smashing the passenger side mirror as I reversed a bit too quickly out of the garage.... My dad says that it really was a bit of an "abusive relationship" between the Camry and me. He's not really wrong. Over the past few years, she just didn't receive the maintenance that a car deserves from a responsible owner, and I am sorry about that. She was never less than faithful, though!
  • Having morning sickness in the Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot while I was pregnant with Emerson, and having the car nearly overheat when I was running errands solo the day I went into labor.
  • Those first solo drives with my brand new baby in the backseat.
  • Driving around, running errands with Emerson, often nursing or soothing her in the back seat between stops.
  • Sitting in the garage in a lawn chair, watching Emerson sleep peacefully in her carseat after falling asleep on a drive, waiting for her nap to end before going inside.
  • Washing the car with Emerson, as she eagerly assisted with soaping and scrubbing and rinsing...and more soaping.
  • Watching Emerson learn to climb in her carseat all by herself...and often into the front seat to "drive". 


I knew that car like the back of my hand, and it was a part of so many different seasons of my life like I suspect no other vehicle will be. In many ways, selling that car was Bobby and me saying "goodbye" to another piece of life before "us"...in this case, the car that was "mine" before it was "ours". As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer things like that, and almost five years into marriage, it's fun to see so many belongings of ours existing from decisions and purchases we've made together.

So, here's to a great, faithful old car...& to the excitement of the new ride, the adventures we'll go on, and the memories to be made with it...wherever the road may lead!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Glucose Test

Presently, I am sitting in the lab of my doctor's office, beginning my three-hour glucose tolerance test. I don't particularly want to be here; the circumstances surrounding my need to be have been highly frustrating. I have issues with the policy and the medical “necessity” in this case; it's a long story. But, between fighting a summer cold and a family vacation on the horizon, I just don't have it in me to fight “The Man” this week. So, here I sit, after a week of thinking about this looming visit and my serious preference not to find myself here.

But, today I woke up very much at peace with what was to come this morning. I was up before the sun and before the rest of the family (something that hasn't happened in months!), able to shower on my own and begin the day largely at my own pace. The sun began to shine on what should be a beautiful summer day, and when Emerson did wake, she had a big smile on her face, happy as could be and ready for cuddles. What a perfect way to start the day.

As I drove to the clinic, I was calmed and overwhelmed with the realization that my doctor isn't in control of this situation or this day...the Great Physician is. That reminder makes all the difference.

So, I am adjusting the poor attitude that I've had leading up to this test. I still wish I weren't here. I still want to talk to my doctor about the frustration in “having” to be. But, the truth is, there is simply too much to be thankful for, too many abundant blessings, for me to be anything less than joyful, even in this unpleasant circumstance. I'll be darned if I'm not going to do my best to find the positive here.

I am, after all, only here to make sure that the healthy baby I get to carry stays that way. There are many, many more scary reasons to have blood drawn, and I'm grateful to not be facing those.

At the very least, I get three hours to myself (well, myself and the phlebotomist), and I am hopeful that between the blog post drafting and the photo editing, this will be a productive time. (After nearly passing out following the first blood draw, I had to take a trip to the exam room to lie down with a wet towel. That was a setback, but I think I'm back in business now.) I am missing Emerson this morning, but having some time away is nice, too. 

It is what it is. And, Father knows best.


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 
whenever you face trials of many kinds.
James 1:2


Monday, June 30, 2014

Fireflies

Tonight, after dinner out & dropping-off Daddy at his office for a late-night of work, Emerson and I came home. It was past bedtime and quickly growing dark, but Emerson sweetly requested to spend some time looking for fireflies in the front yard. And on a beautiful summer night, on her birthday eve, how could I resist?

I'm so glad I obliged, because the tender moments that followed were a gift, surely to be among my favorite summer memories.

As the day turned to dusk, I played in the front yard with my daughter...running barefoot through the freshly-cut grass, spinning in our sundresses, giggling together as we followed the soft glow of the fireflies.


So simple. So innocent. It was the most precious, perfect way to celebrate the end of this year with my little girl.

Tomorrow, she'll wake up as a two-year old, and there will be such incredible things to come as she continues to grow in the year ahead.


But, tonight...tonight, she was one.
A one-year old, for one more night...full of imagination, wonder, & pure joy.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Emerson: 22 Months

May 1, 2014

  • You can still squeeze into many of your 18 month clothes, but since the weather has finally warmed up, you're primarily wearing your 24 month and 2T spring and summer wardrobe. (Except for the 18 month Christmas pajamas that you wear when Mommy hasn't done the laundry. These things happen.) The 24 month shirts are a bit short...and the 2T pants are a bit long. But, they're all adorable. 
  • You love visiting the park, and have shown very little fear in going down the big slides all by yourself. They are by far your favorite piece of playground equipment, and it's so fun to watch you discover and play. 
  • You are so very conversational, and quite easy to understand. To have actual conversations together and be able to get our mutual points across is a really cool thing, and makes spending time together that much more enjoyable. You're such a good companion and really fun to be around.
  • You are a great grocery shopper these days. You usually request a piece of produce to nibble on during the shop (often a Roma tomato) and I oblige. For the record, we pay for the practically-stolen goods at the end of the shop. It makes me happy to see you already choosing healthy foods. You're usually ready to watch a YouTube clip of Curious George on the iPhone while we wait in the checkout line. We have a good routine going! We've come a long way, little girl!
  • Daddy has been eating a little handful of gummy bears after his morning time at the gym. (I don't really understand the logic but it seems to be working for him!) He started surprising you with one or two from behind your ear (magic!) which absolutely delighted you. Now, you request them, by color, when you see him in the morning. "Red bay-uh." Not exactly a breakfast of champions (and it ISN'T your breakfast), but it is an adorable little ritual you two have.
  • You have developed an attachment to your stuffed bear, appropriately named "Bay-uh"...(that is, "Bear".) Of all your stuffed toys, for whatever reason, you chose him, and although your baby doll ("Amy") and the little hippo ("Henry") from Grandpa sleep in your bed with you, too, it's "Bay-uh" that you need to have and hold tight to as you sleep. I love that you have something that brings you comfort.
  • During one night of rough sleeping, you taught yourself to say "Mommy" in the midst of your calls. And, Mommy and Daddy are your go-to names for us now...which is both precious and a little heartbreaking at the same time. Your days of calling me "mama" are largely over.
  • You are sleeping much, much better at nighttime. We've stretched your bedtime a few times (for socializing and enjoying the spring weather) and you've done wonderfully. It's nice to be able to have a little bit of leeway in that schedule these days. But, we still stick to our routine: a bath (every other night), pj's, brushing teeth, a quick clip of Daniel Tiger while you nurse, read three books (three being the limit, to your usual disappointment), goodnight hugs for Daddy, then a prayer, cuddles, and a lullaby with Mommy in the rocking chair. But, after your get your "pea bed" (piece of bread) to have in bed with you, you fall asleep quickly and we don't usually hear from you until 6:30 a.m. or so. It's so, so great.
  • When you do need Mommy in the middle of the night, you usually call "Hode you, Mommy." ("Hold you, Mommy.") Or, "hug you, Mommy." Obviously, I have no choice but to oblige when that happens. Melt my heart.
  • Speaking of brushing teeth. You've lost a lot of your initial, positive and productive interest in that routine. You now take the toothbrush, suck off the toothpaste, and immediately say "aww duh" (all done). Of course, that isn't sufficient, and sometimes we have to work together for a time (sometimes, a very long time....) before you allow Mommy or Daddy to brush your teeth for a bit. It's a learning process, but we're getting it figured out.
  • Grandpa taught you to (gently) bump your "noggin" with someone else's. You enjoy requesting that little game with Grandpa or Daddy. I don't know many almost two-year-olds who call their head a noggin, but you do, and it's pretty cute.
  • What little interest you displayed in going to the potty a few months ago has passed. We regularly suggest that you try to go to your potty chair, to which you say quite simply "no". You're not ready for that yet, it appears, and that's okay. But, it's also okay if you are! Just keep that in mind.
  • You are nursing very little now. I never would've guessed that I'd be nursing you this long, but I love that we've been able to take weaning at your pace and on your time frame. I think it's spared us both a lot of heartache. You always want at least a "lil bit" of "nook" (milk) when you wake up, and then it's on to a couple graham crackers and milk to "dip". (This isn't your entire breakfast, but it was a habit that developed during my morning sickness days, to buy me a little more time on the couch when I was queasy and needed a cracker to start the day.) Very rarely do you nurse during the day, and usually when you do request "nook", all you want is to check-in...a quick taste and you're off and running again. We nurse again right before bed, but that's more of a comfort thing than anything else, and I think your interest in that is lessening significantly, too. 
  • You are really taking to your daddy now, Emerson. It makes me so happy to see your relationship together grow. He loves you more than you will ever know. You give him a big hug when he leaves for work in the morning, we wave as he drives away, and you're ready to play when he comes home at night. You two are going to have such fun together in the days ahead!
  • You recognize and can name almost all of the letters in the alphabet. It amazes me. You definitely recognize your written name, too, and have begun to spell part of it..."E-M-E...."
  • When you count with someone, you usually say "1, 2, 1, 3". You'll get it! Daddy's favorite trick of yours these days, however, is that when you count, you'll say "ah-ah-ah" afterwords, like the Count from Sesame Street does. It makes us all smile!
  • Although I do my best to call Daddy "Daddy" around the house, occasionally I'll say "Bobby" or "babe"...which you usually repeat, to his dismay. We're working on that. It is quite funny to hear you say it, but he is "Daddy" to you, after all.
  • It took a bit of time to teach you to say "knees" (please) without prompting, but now you do it almost all the time. "Tank you" (thank you) came about on its own, and you use it constantly, almost never with prompting...not only when given something, but sometimes, even, when someone has done a service for you. Grown-ups aren't even always so polite. We are so proud of your incredible manners, Emerson. What a sweet little girl you are.
  • There have only been a few occasions where it has been made clear that "two" is right around the corner. Usually it's something very small that turns into a larger problem when you're trying to exert your independence. You do have a strong will sometimes. But, so does Mommy. I'm learning that these episodes can be quite entertaining (sorry, darlin') with the right frame of mind. I'm so thankful that, for the most part, there's rarely anywhere we have to be at a certain time so that we can take our time with these learning experiences. You're so precious even in the midst of your frustration, and I love helping you grow through them.
  • Your hair is so long! You let Mommy put in a ponytail more often than not...although I could still use a little more time to actually get it brushed more thoroughly. Baby steps! It has just the right amount of curl at the ends and it's gotten so much lighter as the months have passed. What a beautiful blonde you are!
  • You say so many things over the course of a day, but there are several phrases that you use regularly. And, ones I want to remember. 
    • "Awww...cuuuutttteeee"...when there's an animal or a baby that's cute.
    • "Little bit"...of milk, of a treat, of playing. You take your thumb and pointer finger and pinch them together to show just a little bit of whatever you're after. Hard to resist, I tell you!
    • "Hmmm, yes"...when you're agreeing to something, often with your head tilted and lips pursed.
    • "Bummer, dude" and "no way, dude". I don't know whether Daddy or I started those phrases, but it's pretty adorable.
    • "No pah-bah" (no problem). Daddy said "no shirt, no shoes, no problem" at the dinner table one evening, and it stuck. 
    • "Big pah-bah!"...the opposite of "no pah-bah". 
    • "Ta-da!"...when you're done with something, usually when you think you're done brushing your teeth.
    • "Dirt evvveyyy-wheh" (dirt everywhere), or whatever else is all over the place. You often say this after you've taken out the Swiffer from the laundry room and begin to clean the kitchen floor. The bad thing is, you're never wrong.
    • "(fill-in-the-blank) nice"...when you want something. "Cookie nice". " Swing nice". "Mommy nice." 

Emerson, there are so many things to love about you. 
Watching you become a "big girl" amazes me daily.
You are a treasure, and bring unspeakable amounts of joy to my life. 
I love spending my days with you, and I hope you always know what a treasure you are.
I love you, precious.