Friday, August 29, 2014

Emerson: 24 Months

July 1, 2014

  • You are still wearing 24 month and 2T 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" 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.

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 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.