Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 31

Since, I haven't really written much about life in St. Louis, here are 7 takes worth of thoughts on life here.

1. Overall, life in St. Louis is good. I can't complain about anything that is St. Louis' fault. I will probably have more to say about my landlord when she is no longer our landlord and I can feel free to vent away without worrying about the highly unlikely even that she will find this, read it, and use it as an excuse to keep our security deposit.

2. Humidity. I don't like it. I can live with it. I can tolerate it. I can bear an afternoon outside with 90some degrees and humidity. But given the option, I would just as soon pass.

3. My biggest fear when we set out on this little adventure was that I would go crazy. We have one car, so some days, I drop Charles off. Some days, I'm carless. It has actually been a nice balance between the busyness of getting stuff done while I have the car and relaxed, quiet days at home when I don't. I was also worried about the lack of community, but it has been ok. Don't get me wrong. I look forward to being close to family in Denver next month week (already!). I look forward to getting home to my peeps. I know the importance of building community if/when we do a longer-term move. But for the time being, I've survived.

4. Last night was not my first 24 hour shift as a med school wife, but it strangely felt like it. Probably because I was alone at night with the baby in a new place for the first time. Would I be ok? Would I freak out? What would I use for the white/TV noise I usually fall asleep with when Charles is gone? All for naught. I read myself to sleep and all was well. One thing I can safely say about myself is that I'm not scared of the night.

5. As an aside to #1, I don't know that it is St. Louis' fault, exactly, but there aren't nearly enough Starbucks for my taste, at least not in this part of town. Now, don't get me wrong, as much as I enjoy a latte, I don't really treat myself that often. (Except coffee dates with friends, but that's a different story.) But somehow, the mere fact that I couldn't get one if I wanted to without dragging my poor baby 20 minutes down the road in a hot, humid car makes me want one. All of which has turned into something of an obsession.

6. One of the times I do treat myself to Starbucks, is when I sometimes go, get a latte, and read on a weekend afternoon. Alone. No Clare. No Charles. (Well, usually they're together. ;) ). Just me and a book and a coffee. Bliss. So when I wanted to do it the first time a couple of weeks ago, I was thwarted -- big time --  by the initial drive, which took the wind out of my sails. Sad Mama.

7. Beyond that, though, the weekends have been glorious!! Oh, have they been glorious. Yes, Charles has to hit the hospital Saturday morning, but then we've had so much fun being tourists and exploring the city and, best of all, enjoying our little family. So wonderful!

Tourists at the zoo

Clare understood the animals for the first time! And loved the penguins!

The people who dragged their baby on the Budweiser tour.

I'm off to enjoy my post-call husband. Have a lovely weekend and check out Jen and the Gang for more!

post signature

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In Which I Give in to Mommy Blog Temptation and Whine

Even though I'm not good at it. Looking back, it wasn't the worst day ever.

But it started at 4.30 am. And that never makes for a great day.

So, yeah. Clare woke up screaming at 4.30. I went in to try and calm her down. She fell back asleep in my arms, and as I eased her down . . . the crying started back up. We tried to calm down/snuggle down/not-rock-because-there's-no-rocking-chair until about 5, when she decided to start standing up on my lap and playing.

Coffee it was.

That was followed by dropping Charles off at the hospital for his 24 hour shift, to put a damper on the day from the get-go. (Second get-go?)

Constant clock-checking, waiting for the next item on the list: Home. Breakfast. Walk. Nap. Get ready. Errands. Screaming in the carseat. Lunch. Nap. Fall asleep on the couch instead of getting anything productive done (that excessively early morning wake-up took it out of me!). Snack. Play. Dinner. Bath. Bedtime. Chores

Finally . . . jammies for me and a chance to pound out a post mostly just to do the 7-in-7 thing. And a moment to appreciate how much having Charles around makes things better. (Continue denial that being at el hospital more often is a likely reality sooner than I care to imagine.)

None of that was really that bad. It wasn't. Really. It just started too soon. And that just changes everything. Bah Humbug on this Thursday.


I do not make mischief.

post signature

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 15

Linking up with Grace filling in for Hallie for the weekly faves.

1. Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days link up - It has kept my reader full to the brim of new content, which makes me a happy Mama. I think making myself write will be good too, come tomorrow when I have to use a bit more of my brain to manage posting.

2. Walks - I'm not good about getting out and walking. I wish I were, but I'm not. That said, the last couple of weeks, I've made myself load Clare and myself up after breakfast and hit the neighborhood sidewalks. Not surprisingly, it makes our day go so much better. We're both in better moods. We get some fresh air before the humidity makes me want to curl into the fetal position and cry. We fly though the pre-morning nap crankiness. It's good.


3. Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip -- I love Breyer's ice cream for being allergy friendly and for their short ingredient lists. And plenty of flavor. I don't usually keep ice cream in the house, but I picked this up on sale a couple of weeks ago. I remember not loving the mint chocolate chip so much when I was a kid, but my palate was not particularly astute at that point in my life. Oh my gosh! Yum! Where has this been my whole life? Bonus: no dyes resulting in never-natural mint green coloring!


4. Softsoap Shea Butter and Almond Oil bodywash - Much more chemical-y, but I've still fallen for this stuff. I tried it at my dad's last month and have been using it instead of the Dove Sensitive (or generic) that I've been using for years. My sensitive skin hasn't had any adverse effects and it is a nice change of pace. Plus, the price is right!


5. Barnes and Noble - I love eBooks, I really really do. Especially for myself. But there is just something about real, live books that is irresistible. I took Clare to B&N yesterday to use up a gift card, and I found myself wandering the kids' section like a dazed junkie. I only walked out with one more item than I had gone for, buuuuuuuuuut. Magic.

Happy Posting. Happy Wednesday. Happy. Happy. Happy.

post signature

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Party! Party!! Party!!!

7 in 7 Day 2 (but I must have hit Save instead of Publish! Boo!! Fixed, but still . . . )

So, it's nearly been a month, but I'm finally sitting down to write a little bit about Clare's 1st Birthday party!

We celebrated Clare's birthday with family and a couple of friends (*cough*Andi*cough*) the weekend before we hightailed it for the humidity Midwest, so that our loved ones could watch her demolish cake.

Being me, I decided to have a patriotic-themed birthday party. It had several advantages: 1) it was seasonal, so I got lots of fun decorations at the Dollar Tree for not too much dinero; 2) excuse to dress myself my kid in red, white and blue; 3) food = 4th of July BBQ. And by BBQ, I mean grilling out with family and friends. No sauce, rub, or style debates to be had.

I made the menu with cheezy patriotic food names: Patriotic Pasta Salad, Freedom Fruit Salad, etc. I've never claimed to be cool.
My sweet sister helped out with planning, decorations, and getting ev-er-y-thing done Saturday morning. Could.Not. have done it without her. Could.Not. I love that girl.

It was only like 115 the day of the party (summer birthdays are not the same kind of fun in Phoenix as other parts of the country!). Sweltering. Poor Charles manned the grill with the company of my cousin. The rest of us enjoyed the A/C and the yummies. We opened presents. Clare smashed cake.

It was lovely!

 Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!!

(Photo credits to BG/Rhonda! Love you and thank you!)

post signature

Monday, July 22, 2013

My NFP Story

{This has been sitting in my drafts folder for longer than I care to admit, because I've been too chicken to hit publish. In honor of NFP Awareness Week this week, I decided to be bold.}

I've never set out to write a "Catholic" blog. Mostly, I just set out to write. Since my Catholic faith is an important part of my life, it certainly creeps into the conversation.

While I enjoy learning about my faith, and as such know a lot about it, I don't have the deep knowledge of a theologian. I don't have the clear explanations of the apologist. I don't have the hutzpah of an evangelist. I'm left being a lame, "Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words" Catholic (quote falsely attributed to St. Francis). Only, as one homilist pointed out -- in our society, words are usually necessary!

So, for a variety of reasons, but especially the "words are necessary" one, I'm sharing with you my own journey to not just using NFP, but truly embracing it and loving it. I am so passionate about it, how can I not share it here?

As I begin, I'd just like to say, first, that I'm not here to condemn those, especially those friends and family members, who might be reading, who use/have used other methods of family planning. I'm sharing my experience. Second, I'm not here today to explain the science or theology behind NFP. There are lots of places to find that allllll over the internet/blogosphere/bookstore. I might suggest starting at for some fun, modern, user-friendly information written by real women who also use and love NFP. Third, I am not here to debate what "good" or "just" or "grave" or whatever reasons are to use NFP. Again, I'm just telling my story.

Anyway, the story really begins with a rewind back 5 years. At that point, I had been Catholic for a couple of years. I had just started dating a really nice guy. And I had what I considered "typical" positions held by pretty much all the Catholics that I knew. Among these were, "abortion is wrong, and I would never have one myself, but I don't know if they can/should be illegal" and some version of "artificial birth control rules, NFP drools." I have always thought that IUDs were scary and were clearly abortifacient as (what I now know to refer to as) a method of action. I truly believed that life begins at conception, but things like condoms and the Pill that prevented conception and still brought the husband and wife together in the marital act couldn't be all that bad.

(Side note: I just said "marital act." I really have turned into an NFP person.)

Notice how I slipped, "had just started dating a really nice guy" into that last paragraph? He was smart and nice and cute and Catholic. The thing was that he was pretty passionately pro-life in all respects. Like big time. And he was sure. Positive. Without a doubt. NOT going to use contraception when he got married. Which is all well and good and stuff except that I was pretty sure that I wanted to marry him (spoiler: I did!) and our views just didn't seem compatible. I needed to figure out how to rectify that if the marry him thing was going to happen.

The thought didn't form word-for-word like this, but this is pretty much how it went: I need to know about this NFP stuff. It will prove one of us (him) wrong, and we can move on from there. So, thanks to the wealth of information available with a click of the mouse, I learned a ton about NFP. In the process, I learned some things that totally surprised me: 1) real people, like people I would be friends with, used NFP; 2) it works (define "works" as you will; for me, then, it meant that if you were serious about delaying pregnancy, you could); 3) it kinda made a lot of sense.

Along the way, I was doing a lot of praying, both about the relationship and about "finding the truth" or something like that. (When I don't like the answer I'm getting, I tend to pray in lame, generic terms in vain hope of getting a different answer.) I married the guy and I fell head over heels in love with NFP. In the opposite order.

What changed? My perspective. For my whole life, I lived on society's junk food message that the more sex the better and that everyone should just plain be on the Pill unless they were actively trying to get pregnant. In my research, I learned about the biology of NFP. I learned about the various methods of NFP. I started to understand, for the first time, Church teaching on marriage and sexuality. I started to get excited about NFP. My heart and mind just grew more passionate and open from there.

Mostly though, I learned how empowering NFP is. For the first time in my life, I wasn't ashamed of how my body worked. And all the things you didn't talk about? God made those! He gave them to me! Fertility is not a disease that needs to be kept at bay with creepy chemicals! It is a gift! If it ain't broke, no need to fix it! And if it is broken, it should be diagnosed and treated, not just patched up with a pill to "regulate" your cycle until it's time to have babies.

All of this is before touching on legitimate concerns about carcinogens and abortifacients and estrogen levels in our water supply. 

I'm not saying NFP is perfect or easy. There are couples that struggle mightily with it, and I respect them so much and offer them my prayers. Certainly, it requires a shift to understanding that sex is for marriage, and that any act of sex can result in pregnancy. Certainly, it requires self control. Certainly, it requires trust, in yourself, in your body, in your spouse, in God.

The thing I want people to know, though, is that I'm Catholic and I use NFP. But I don't use NFP because I'm Catholic (though certainly they are related). I use NFP because I truly, 100%, with my whole heart, believe that it is the only moral way to space pregnancies. Because I believe that it truly upholds the dignity of women. Because it works. Because it is real women's health.


P.S. All my graphics are from Thanks, girls!

post signature

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 30

Joining Jen for 7 Quick Takes.

1. Last night, Charles and I were participating in the ultimate act of partnership -- I was taking out the trash while he gathered recyclables -- when I saw a spark of light. Was it? No. Then again. Magic. Ok, lightening bugs. When we arrived in STL a couple of weeks ago, we were disappointed not to see any. But last night, we found them flickering around. I ran inside, and squealed, "Honey! Fireflies!" I'm sure I sounded like I was 5 (and there really weren't that many), but I didn't care. I was so excited.

Magic - Via

2. As an aside, ladies, if you're still on the hunt, find someone who will gather the recyclables. Added bonus if he pulls a Charles and sneaks into the baby's room to get the (dirty) diapers to take out. Hallie linked this article in her 5 Favorites on Wednesday, and Haley could not be more right. No flowers, chocolates or promises you don't intend to keep (Beauty and the Beast? Anyone? I'll stop.) are more romantic and sexy than simple, daily acts of service from your beloved.

3.  Anyway, while we're standing there feeling like 5-year-olds as we marvel at the lightening bugs, we see a possum lumbering across the neighbor's yard. I squealed in delight and announced that I felt like I was living in a fairy tale.

Via - A Google image search for "possum" turns up lots of creepy stuff if you're so inclined.

4. For reals, yo, I hope that, however tough life may be or how easy it can be to become overwhelmed or jaded or cynical or whatever, I never lose my ability to be delighted in one way or another.

5. Clare is a lot of things, but eager to walk is not one of them. I'm pretending not to be worried/annoyed/whatever. And I know that she still has plenty of time. And I know that once she's walking, she'll be alllllll over. But still, the mama in me sees my smart, strong, girl who is totally capable of taking a step or two and really wants her to let go. Plus, I don't want to feel like I'm holding her back just because I want to hang on to her babyhood as long as I can. No conclusion. Just thoughts.

6. One thing she is eager to do is self-feed. No problem when she's getting bites of fruits and veggies and whatnot, since she's been doing it all along. Bigger problem when it comes to yogurt and the like. We're entering the gloriously messy phase of "learning to use utensils." She also wants to control her own plate/bowl, mostly so she can dump its contents and then discard it on the floor. "Phsaw, Mom, that bowl and that peach is not good enough for Princess Me." Anyway, this week, I've been giving her the empty bowl at the end of a meal to play with and yesterday, she actually put her strawberries back into her bowl and then took them out herself to put on the tray! Progress?


7. If you're not already, please keep Dwija in your prayers. I cannot.even.imagine.

Have a lovely weekend!

post signature

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 14

Glad to have a reason to look on the bright side today, since it started off super-duper auspiciously with:
  • A tired husband who seemed less than super-eager to leave this morning.
  • A baby who was up and at 'em at 5:15, and then cranky at 7.
  • A sinus headache
  • Clare ripping yet another page out of Brown Bear
  • Slamming my finger hard in a drawer -- ouch!
Alone, none of those things are the end of the world, but they can put you in a funk. Enter . . . Hallie's sunshiney link-up! Yay!

1. Board Books - The obvious antidote to pages ripped out of real books is board books. I *heart* them as a mom in a way I never did before. The board book edition of Brown Bear is going to be making its way to our house this week. Yeah, yeah, duplicating books is lame, but so is not letting Clare enjoy her favorite book. Keeping a book away from my daughter goes against every instinct in my body, but I can only stand so many page repairs. Board book = win.


2. Flavored Seltzer Water - I started drinking seltzer water splashed with juice when I was pregnant with Clare and needed a fun zip besides more water by dinner time. I'd been turned off by the bottles of flavored seltzer that seemed full of aspartame and sucralose, since I try to avoid creepy artificial sweeteners. I recently found some that only contain carbonated water and "natural flavors" which are still a bit creepy, but much, much less so.


 3. Ebrary Books - When I got my first e-reader a few years ago, I was really disappointed to learn that the local library's selection of downloadable media left more than a little to be desired. Since then, I've wrestled between dragging myself to the actual library (particularly difficult with a fussy infant), wasting money on books that I'm going to tear through in a couple of days, reading books I'm not particularly interested in, or (what ended up happening) not reading nearly as much as I would like in what time I did have to read. So imagine my delight a few weeks ago to learn that my library now subscribes to a couple of ebrary partners. As a result, I can download and race through all the lame recent fiction I want! Bonus: I can still access it away from home, so my options are not further limited by our journeys.


4. Technology - Seriously. Thanks to my phone and my computer and advances in technology, I can feel connected in spite of distance. I can have an hour-long conversation with my sister, shoot off mad-texts to Andi, read blogs that help to stop feeling like the only person in the world with an early bird morning-person baby (or various other baby terrorism plots), keep connected with my husband when he is away, etc. It makes all the difference.

Repeat; from AT&T website.

5. Big Kitchen Plans - Luckily, I had already planned to fill my afternoon making my two favorite things: stew and bread. The only thing better than chopping veggies and a simmering pot of delish is knowing that you have a rising blob of dough to go with. And no, I am freakishly not put off of these plans by the fact that it is the middle of summer. Heating up the kitchen is good for the soul, darn it.


Happy bright-siding it!

post signature

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Some random observations

1. Most mornings, I get up around the same time as Charles, depending largely on when he gets up, and even more largely on when the baby gets up. My day is much, much better if I'm awake enough to have already poured a cup of coffee when Clare makes her early bird chirping. Today, I was rolled over and planning to get up when I heard the shower turn off. Two minutes later, I sat bolt upright remembering that I had forgotten to get the coffee ready last night. So, up I hopped to get 'er brewing. Priorities and all.

2. Speaking of really having my priorities straight, my big, huge, major victory of the week is successfully turning Clare into a ponytail wearing kiddo. Even if it is a tiny, goofy ponytail, I feel like it makes her a respectable baby instead of a ragamuffin baby.

3. Mint chocolate chip = happiness.

That is all.

post signature

Monday, July 15, 2013

Love Story, Part II

Part I is here:

When last we left, Charles and I had failed to meet for nearly a decade of our lives . . .

Just before Easter 2008, I agreed to be the RCIA sponsor for my best friend/RCIA sponsor's younger sister, who had been baptized Catholic, but never received the sacraments of First Eucharist or Confirmation. Unlike lots of places, the Newman Center at that time (since I don't know how they do things these days!) ran RCIA more-or-less year 'round. As a result, she and I started attending RCIA sessions on Sunday evenings a week or two after Easter.

I (obviously) didn't know it at the time, but Easter was on Charles' (March) birthday that year, so we must have finally met at the beginning of April. I remember the day. A good friend of mine from when I studied abroad was in town visiting family, and we met for lunch that Sunday afternoon. It was a warm, sunny April day in Phoenix, perfect for eating outside, which we did. I was in a happy, tired, sun-drenched mood when I got to RCIA.

We always sat in a circle for RCIA, and when we got there, I was surprised to notice a cute, blonde guy across the circle. Which proves that I have never, ever thought of Charles as a redhead, even though everyone else does. Colorblind, thy name is Ashley. Anyway, I decided he must be too young for me, and I kinda put it out of my head. Or at least tried to.

Catch that? I finally met the guy!!

Then, one week, maybe the next week, he sat by me during the RCIA session, and we shared some laughs. I decided he was definitely cute. And nice. And clearly a good Catholic boy. About this time, I friended him on Facebook and learned 1) that we had several mutual friends and 2) that he wasn't actually really young. In fact, he was my age, minus six cougar-ific months. By then, I convinced myself that he was, indeed, cute, but that he had the potential to be a really good friend. I didn't want to blow that with some stupid romantic entanglement that would, inevitably, end badly. No, I've never overthought anything. Ever ever never.

Also about that time, I remember talking to an RCIA team member who I knew from my own jaunt through RCIA (a post or 10 for another time), who was going on and on about all the great people who were RCIA sponsors that year, including Charles, and my heart did that stupid beat skipping thing. By now, I was working really hard at not liking him and doing a fair-to-middling job of it.

Meanwhile, according to Charles, he thought I was cute, but didn't think it was even possible.

So, Mother's Day rolls around. Meaning it has only been like a month, but girls, you know how it is when you're developing a crush on someone; things go in slow motion and fast forward all at the same time. My sister and I had gone to Prescott to spend some time with each other and with our dad. We talked about boys the whole way up, but I was so convinced that nothing was going to happen with Charles that I never even mentioned him to her.

We made it back to Phoenix in time for me to fulfill my obligation to serve the 7pm Mass. There was no RCIA because of Mother's Day, but I did get a little wave before Mass. I decided, for sure for sure for sure that nothing was going to happen. All I got was a wave! Not even a "Hi"!! Clearly.Not.Happening. After that, I joined the young adult group for a drink and fellowship at a local brewery. I was sitting there chatting with some friends when Charles walked in. He said, "Hi," to one of the people I was talking to, and I smiled and said, "Hi," to him. I got a "Hi" back, but things moved on. It was a big group.

Somehow, we ended up standing close enough to converse. He asked me a question about RCIA. Except that he says I said something to him. Regardless, we started talking and continued talking (with a couple of friends--one of whom had to later confirm for him that I was interested) for a couple of hours, until I couldn't put off getting home and going to bed any longer, since I had to get up early the next morning. Before I hit the pillow, however, I posted on his Facebook wall, because I'm that cool late at night. It was something like, "I had fun talking to you tonight. I hope we can do it again sometime." Subtle, too. The wall message turned into a couple of private messages turned into a phone number exchange turned into plans for Monday night.

That was that. We went to the movies on Monday. We hung out on Tuesday. I don't remember why, but we didn't hang out Wednesday or Thursday, but we talked. I'm pretty sure that every day that we've been able to talk to each other or see each other since then, we have. We got engaged just over two years later, got married 51 weeks later, and had a baby 52 weeks (and a day) after that.

I didn't ruin that awesome friendship with romantic entanglement. I got so very much more.

My dad calls us two peas in a pod, and I think that works rather nicely. We may not be grand gestures people, but we certainly are happy together, raising our family, and doing it side-by-side.

All we had to do was meet.

La Familia
 post signature

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 29

Linking up with Jen and the Conversion Diary Crew for 7 Quick Takes.

1. Having been a desert-dweller pretty much my whole life, has caused me to be freakishly enchanted by rain. Being in a place where it rains more frequently than a) a handful of late summer afternoons in July and August, or b) January, is like being in a magical fairyland. Only this land is populated by rabbits and squirrels instead of nymphs and dwarfs. Or maybe it is a Disney fairyland.


2. It has been a week of celebrations 'round here. Our anniversary was low-key, buuuuut, I did manage to pull some Mexican food together. We had Mexican at our wedding, and Mexican last year, so I've decided it should be a tradition. Fiesta!

3. We also had a 2nd mini-celebration for Clare. (I still need to get a birthday party post up.) Mostly she got to destroy another cupcake after a very 21st Century rendition of "Happy Birthday" that included both sets of grandparents on FaceTime.

What? You gave it to me.

4. Charles, being way too sweet for his own good, likes to bring flowers home for his girls on special occasions. We have double bouquets. *swoon*

Anniversary flowers on the left; birthday flowers on the right

5. Clare is pretty much obsessed with playing peek-a-boo with her blankets. She does the peek-a-boo-ing, and laughs and laughs and laughs every.single.time. Adorable.

6. Sunday or Monday, Clare discovered that there is a deep range of her voice. It is hilarious to hear a baby with a voice that sounds like she has a 20 year pack-a-day habit practicing her vocabulary. Gruff "Baby." Gruff "Puppy." Gruffy "Happy." Then she, for example, throws her cup and wants us to get it, so she starts with the high-pitched scream. No extremes. Not around here.

7. I found this picture from our trip to Prescott last month on my phone the other day. I had totally forgotten about it, but it just makes me smile.

Just call me Diva and let me eat my fingers.

Happy Friday! Be sure to visit Jen's for more.

post signature

Thursday, July 11, 2013

To Clare, on Her First Birthday

{Written during the nap she didn't take yesterday, bien sur.}

Dearest Clare,

I don't know if this feeling is true of all parents, or only first-time parents, but I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. I cannot believe how big and smart and capable you are.  If I didn't believe that life is a precious miracle before you were born, certainly I believe it now. I understand now what people mean about not knowing how much you love until you have a child. God is so good.

You were born during a dust storm, and came home during a thunderstorm. It seems fitting that you turn one in the rain.

Too cute not to.

We're in St. Louis, part of the big adventure that is part of Daddy's last year of medical school. You won't remember this, except in pictures and in stories, but I hope you remember the message of this: to pursue your dreams, to put family first, to live this adventure that is life. Sometimes it's scary. Sometimes it's a risk. But if you're listening to God, He will provide and protect.

You are a beacon of light. I hope you never stop smiling or inviting others to share in your joy. You love babies and puppies and animals. You are the 'appiest baby in the world . . . until you are not. Then you scream. You love to eat and devour most anything you can get your hands (and 5 teeth!) on. You talk up a storm. I can't wait to hear what you have to say when we understand more than a few words!

You have a headstrong, independent, perfectionist streak. Even though you are totally capable of walking, you won't let go and do it until you are ready. I know that when you do, you will take off running, both literally and figuratively.

You love to learn and explore. Everyone comments on how curious and nosy you are. You love books already. You want to be in the middle of everything, to not miss a thing. I hope you never lose that thirst.

I look forward to learning what the next year holds for us. I don't know where we'll be celebrating your 2nd birthday, but do I know that you will still be delighting and surprising me.

I love you so much. I pray that you have the happiest of birthdays and that the year to come is full of joy, health, and innumerable blessings.

Love always and forever,

post signature