Doesn't matter how I say it or type it, it seems unreal and super unfair. Look at that baby. My sweet little girl. She is still such a sweetie and gets cuter every day, I think ;) But gosh. Where did the time go? Why did it fly by so quickly? And all the other cliche things that people say as their children grow.
I now dream of her at her current age. It's weird but in my dreams she has grown too. Just the other day, I realized that I cannot remember her cry at this age. I know she cried, but now when I try to remember it all I hear is her cry now. Now she's almost two and her cries are over-exaggerated screams (funny, not funny, I know - #toddlerlife).
I look at this face and I just want to cry. My baby is going to be two...
There was this one time when a girl, who was a few days shy of her 18th birthday, went to a college party on 2424 Durham Street.
That night she met a boy, who had just turned 21.
That boy soon became her boyfriend, then later her fiance. Then, the same boy became her hardest breakup. But happily, her boyfriend again, a few months later. Then her fiance again. And then on October 28th, 2006, he became her husband.
A few years later, that boy (who was now a hard-working husband), became a papa to their adopted fur-baby. A few years after that, he became a papa again; this time to their baby girl.
Together, they have experienced love, friendship, hardship, a few bumps along the way, a lot of happiness, a fur-baby and a baby, and scrapbooks full of memories.
15 years have past since that fate-full night on 2424 Durham when they locked eyes, and never stopped thinking about one another. And today, they celebrate eight years of marriage.
Happy Anniversary to the boy with the striking blue eyes that made it hard to look away then, and still does. I cannot imagine my life, had I not been sitting with friends that night on the porch of 2424 Durham Street.
I spend so many days waiting for the weekend. That is until Ellis says or does something new and I think, "Man, I should write that down; wait! stop and enjoy this moment right now. Savor this - stop rushing to the next..." Reality is that each day passes so quickly. I jot things down here and there - hoping to put it in a scrapbook someday. I take plenty of photos, that's for sure, but printing them and getting them in a book of some sort, well, it's on my list too.
I've decided to start writing love notes to my sweet baby girl. Maybe once a week. Possibly once a month- like I did before she turned a year old. Or just when I feel like it's something that I should "jot down."
Putting them on my blog will certainly be a way to keep a record of them - a quick link to them when and if I ever get around to printing them to put in a scrapbook.
At almost nineteen months your personality is really starting to shine through and it's so much fun watching you grow and learn. You are saying so many words now it's hard to keep up with.
You call your blankie your "Beeee!" and "Beeee!" is always said in a high pitch of excitement because you are always so happy to hug it straight to your face. A list of other words you say a lot: Mom, Dad, Kitty, Bub-ba, baby, Tuck (stuck), can't, yes, no, bye, hi, nacks (snacks), Oh Cool, here and there. Just in the past week we have gotten you to say, "yellow" and you say it in such a cute way. I just love watching you learn how to say words.
For the past month you have been putting yourself to sleep in your crib. I remember the first night you asked to be put in there and I did it and just knew you would cry when I walked out of the room. But much to my surprise, you did not. You played and read a book to your babies (stuffed animals), and then put yourself to sleep. Each night following that night has been the same. Honestly, sweetheart, there were nights when I would *WISH* that bedtime would not take so long - rocking a baby, drinking your bottle, waiting for your to go to sleep so I could put you down...and then one night it didn't. And I must say my heart misses that time so much. Now you just want your Beeee, your kitty cat, and a book and say, "Bye!" We are working on saying "good night," but for you right now, "bye" is your way of saying goodnight.
You are still drinking a bottle. Sometimes it's all you want to eat and then other days you are more interested in food. I've thought about weaning you, but Grandma Rose says that we shouldn't until you are at least two.
Back in June, I bought you a Minnie Mouse potty. You were super excited to use it and still are - you still wear diapers but before bath time each night you happily sit down on the potty and go.
Macarroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken, hot dogs with ketchup, and tator tots are your favorite foods at meal time. And CHEESE of course (like your mama!). You love fruit too - strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, and apples are usually what you get for your afternoon snack.
You LOVE Peppa Pig. This is nothing new - it's the one show that would catch your attention even before you turned a year old. I admit, that your dad and I also love Peppa. It's one of those shows that will always be a favorite for us because it was your very first favorite.
You enjoy being outside so much - in that way, you are like your dad. I really try to enjoy it too - so I can spend time with you outside playing bubbles (one of your most recent favorites!), but the heat is not for me. Luckily, your dad gladly obliges when you want to go outside.
Board books are a favorite too! You have quite the collection thanks to your Grandma Rose, MeMaw Trump, Aunt Tammy, Aunt Rachel, and Aunt Leslie. Your favorites are the one's that have the touch and feel pages.
You love playing with Mardi Gras beads. Dad and I went to New Orleans in July and it was your dad's idea to bring you back some beads - he just knew you would love playing with them. Sure enough, you do!
You have also discovered your piggy bank and how cool it is to put loose change in it. You have a couple glass piggy banks, but you were given a purple plastic one at the bank when you and I opened up your first savings account this past summer. That's the one I let you play with shake around after you put change in it. You also know that I keep change in my purse because when you run out of coins to put in your bank, you run to my purse on the counter and point to it to ask for more. Smart, cookie, you are.
Just last night while I was chatting with Aunt Stacee and dad in the kitchen you were busy playing with your babies and I noticed you holding your Cabbage Patch and feeding her a bottle. I've seen you rock your dolls before, but never actually holding the bottle up to the babies mouth. I literally stopped our conversation so we could all watch you. It was to cutest/coolest thing to see you nurture your baby.
Oh you and Henry. Sometimes you two are partners in crime - and other's like fire and ice. I think what you would love the most is if he would let you bury your face in is soft fur. But I think Hen also knows that you might pull his tail or tug on his hair, so he keeps his distance. He prefers to initiate the playing. You are so sweet to him though, always sharing your snacks with him, and lovingly talking to him in your own gibberish. Recently you learned that he will follow you through the house if you have a bowl of snacks he likes - so you happily have him follow you around and laughing and talking to him before you stop to share.
I cannot say it enough how much joy - pure joy - it is to watch you each day learn new things, say new words, and play. You are growing so fast I just want to hold you closer, hug you tighter, and rock you a little longer each time you are in my arms. You are so loved and so important to me and so many of the people in your life.
Shares her life with a wonderful man who not only loves her despite her many flaws and weird quirks, but loves those flaws and quirks too (well, most of them!). He is forgiving, has such a laid back “go with the flow” attitude, and is so very patient with her. Grateful for him each day is only the beginning of what she feels for him. And about him being a dad to her babies...well, she could easily say it’s one of the best things in the whole world to watch how gentle and loving and fun he is with them.
Has an 18 month old daughter and a five year old fur baby.
Has no desire to be pregnant ever again. She loves the result but was definitely not one of those women who would say they “enjoyed being pregnant.”
Shares no thoughts or plans with her husband of another child yet...until a photo of one month old Ellis scrolls across her computer screen. And then...sigh...
Gets so much joy from watching the two of them play together. Explore together. Actually be in the same vicinity of each other. There was a time when she thought this would never happen. But as the days/months pass, she realizes how true it is that time and time alone changes everything.
Teaching her baby to love and respect animals is one of the coolest things. Watching her gently pet Henry and long to pet soft kitty cats who are timid of her is one of the cutest things.
Will celebrate eight years of marriage in a month and a few days.
Is teaching art at the high school and middle school level. She loves seeing creativity happen in her classroom and thinks is SO very important for kids to find a creative outlet, but is also focusing her teaching energy into character and citizenship this year. She has realized there are so many different ways both of those things can be taught in the art classroom.
Is making time to scrapbook. She recently read an article about creative minds and how they sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the ideas they have...the article went on to say that it’s important to think about death when trying to decided just where to start. Not in a morbid way, but like if you knew today was your last day, which task/idea would you not want to leave undone. There are many things, but creatively speaking, she would not want to leave without creating a birth scrapbook for her girl. It’s just paper, glue, and pictures, she knows, but it’s also a way to express the love she has for her daughter. So without over-thinking and taking too much time to pick out product and photos, she just created.
Over summer vacation, she made an effort to take at least one photo of her daughter each day. Of course, one photo is never one.
Realized this morning, that she still uses drugstore makeup like she did in high school. She finally changed lipstick shades this past summer, but that’s about it.
Raced her first 10K post baby last year and won first woman overall, but is a bit nervous again about this year. No surprise there. Races always make her nervous.
She knows that crossing a finish line - first or not - is still an indescribable feeling. One that she will undoubtedly never get sick of and would love everyone to have that feeling at least once in life.
Woke up sneezing this morning due to allergies - swiped some peppermint, lemon, and lavender essential oils inside her cheek and under her nose and within a minute, the itchiness was gone. She believes that essential oils work for her.
Instructing classes at Brownwood Fitness Center has been her “free-time” in the past year. She is certified in Les Mills Body Combat, Body Pump, and over the past year, added Body Flow to her list. A class that she initially wrote off as a “cool down” is now the class that she craves the most and feels the most challenged when doing it.
Has a few favorite songs lately: All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, Rude by Magic!, and Hold On by Colbie Callait. Also, because she’d be lying if she didn’t say, the theme song from Peppa Pig.
Knows nearly every word to each Peppa Pig episode and LOVES it. She’s not ashamed to admit that she loves the humor of Peppa Pig and has favorite episodes. Just hearing the tune of it makes her happy because she knows it makes her daughter happy.
Successfully breast fed her baby for nine and a half months, and weaned her onto Similac formula, but cannot for the life of her get her now 18 month old to drink whole milk. She’s tried whole, 2%, 1%, chocolate...with no luck.
Did something that felt very "grown-up" today on her 33rd birthday. Signed herself, her child, and her husband up for dental insurance. Par-taaay, right?!
Has a spiral notebook with lists in it. Still finds it hard to organize herself, and Lord help her if she forgets the spiral, but it does help her prioritize things and who doesn’t love marking things off their to-do lists.
Made a few changes in her afternoon schedule this fall. As much as she loves teaching Body Pump, she absolutely LOVES picking up her sweet daughter in the afternoon and did not want to miss out on that.
Is still self conscious. At thirty-two three. She thought it would be easier in her thirties. It is way easier than at 18, but still pretty self conscious. She guesses this is just part of who she is and her personality.
Started reading She Reads Truth - a Bible Study for women - a few months ago, and it has completely opened her heart she loves it. Her walk with God has deepened because of it and she feels compelled to learn more, read more, and do more of what He wants for her.
Has a softness in her heart that can only be described by motherhood. It’s a fierce and sharp feeling sometimes, and other times it’s as soft and her baby girl’s blankie. It can be full of worry and happiness at the same time. She gives the worries to God and basks in the happiness that being a mom brings her. The times when the tunnel looks dark and never-ending, she is always reminded of those first few weeks with her new baby. The nights seemed never ending and horrible. And then sure as the sun would rise, her mood would shift and she just knew everything was going to be okay. And it was.
She now sees that nothing can help you become better at adjusting to change than having a baby. It’s not always easy, seamless, or without pain/struggle, but it’s almost always for the better.
Admits that she may have a problem with shopping for her daughter. Current obsessions include but are not limited to: Freshly Picked Moccasins, adorable easy sun dresses from Carters, and Baby Boden.
She is still a self proclaimed homebody, but if she absolutely has to be away - anywhere with family and friends who feel like family is where she’d like to be.
Walks around her home with a smile and a sense of humor. They are both necessary and a must when it looks like a toy tornado hit. Each night she stresses about picking up each toy and putting it in it’s “home” or just turning the lights off and walking away. She finds that most nights it’s easier to just pick things up - to start fresh the next day. She may or may not obsess a bit when she can’t find the missing puzzle piece or that damn purple ring that ‘s been missing for days - but these are the things that she knows she will look back on later and laugh. Parenthood of a toddler. And in the grand scheme - if this is what she stresses about before bed, life is good.
Has no idea what is on t.v. lately, but re-watched The Office over her summer vacation, completed House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and is just beginning season seven of Dexter. Netflix on the iPad is her form of television. The t.v.s in her home reside on Nick Jr. and Disney only.
She knows that He is in control. Family, work, relationships, friendships are all his deal - his path for her. Each day she wakes up she thanks Him, and asks that His will be done. Life is shaky and scary at times, beautiful and peaceful at times, and sometimes it can be all at once. Finding beauty and acceptance exactly where she’s at - in what ever situation - is her goal this year.
I recently came across this very cool service called Chatbooks. For only $6 you can have a 6X6 book made from your Instagram feed photos. Each book has 60 pages. For six bucks and free shipping!!!
I thought it would make a cool gift to give to Adam for his birthday since he is in so many of the photos, so I had my entire feed (13 volumes) printed.
Each book spine is labeled by dates and by volume number.
When you do not have at least 60 photos for a book it tells you how many more you need until you can complete another volume.
If you subscribe, each time you get 60 new pictures on your feed, Chatbooks will automatically send you a new book.
You can change the cover photo for each book and also add some different text if you want, but what I love most is the that it also prints your original caption from your Instagram post.
Excuse my dirty blue fingernail. I had a fight with an ink cartridge. The cartridge won.
From the gifts that Ellis, Henry and I gave Adam for his birthday, I think he enjoyed looking through these the most. He commented that it was like, "looking through a time line of events from the past few years." Made me happy.
You may try using the coupon code "PICKED" to see if you can get one free book when you order three. Like I said earlier, I stumbled upon this service app from FreshlyPicked's blogpost, and she mentioned using the coupon code - I tried it and it worked a couple weeks ago, but it may expire soon.
I'm not a sponsor for Chatbooks in any way. I just wanted to share this because I thought it was cool and I am totally impressed with the quality for the price!
About a week ago, I was contacted via email by an editor of POPSUGAR.com. The email was short and sweet and basically just wanted to know if I would be willing to share my "how to" tutorial on E's alphabet wall.
Uh, duh! Of course!!!
So a couple of days ago, it was featured with some very awesome other DIY nursery ideas.
The article is here, if you want to check it out and see the other very cool ideas.
I say this trying to be very humble and totally not trying to toot-my-own-horn, but it is a great feeling to get a bit of recognition for something that you truly put your heart into.
I cannot remember how the conversation went between my sister and I but I remember it was right before Ellis was born that we decided it would be so fun to have a Fiesta for her first birthday. The cute dress, the bright color decorations, the flowers...a PINATA! And so when it came time to start planning, I dove in head first.
Of course, the planner that I am, I had to draw it out first.
A lot of the stuff I made ahead - the party sacks, the "lets eat cake" and "nacho bar" banner, the tissue paper flowers (with help from my sweet friend!), the pinata-like number 1, and the monogram E's. The rest of the decor was bought in San Antonio by my sister and my amazing friend, Sarah.
With an hour and half to decorate the restarant room, my sister, my cousin, my mom, and I had the room decorated and ready for guests to arrive.
I started working on the party favor sacks back in early January when my students were working on linoleum printing blocks. I drew the design on the block based off of this beautiful chalkboard sign by the awesomely talented blogger of Little Baby Garvin, and then cut it from the linoleum and printed it directly onto the brown paper sacks.
I then added strips of fringed tissue paper to the bottoms of the sacks topped with a strip of washi tape for a finishing touch.
I made way more than I needed, but that's the beauty of printing with lots of colors - I just couldn't stop!
The cake was made my a very talented friend of mine, Tonya Staggs. She did a wonderful job making it look colorful and fun.
She had a smash cake that was just as yummy as the big cake, but there was no smashing that took place (smile).
Just a little finger tasting...
Followed by some water drinking...this girl is not used to sweet stuff...on this, I kid and question if she is my daugher or not...
And then she ordered that it be taken away - again, I kid, but that's what this looks like, right?!
Unfortunately, this is the only actual photo we got of the three of us at her first birthday party, but at least we got one. I wore a Mexican top like hers. I realize the days for us to dress alike are going to go fast, so I took full advantage.
I'm happy to say that her first birthday party was a complete success! Sweet pea was an absolute peach the whole time and enjoyed being carried and doted on by lots of family and friends who genuinely love and care for her. I'll be the first to admit that the planning that went into this was sometimes stressful and time consuming, but to see this smile, I will do it a hundred times over again.
She and I went home soon after the party was over and took a much needed siesta together. The day could not have been any better.
can say: mama, dada, bubba, this, that, and Ooohhh (hello).
have 3 teeth, and two beginning to push through on top.
LOVE spaghetti and macaroni and cheese...I remember I ate a lot of spaghetti while I was pregnant with you, so that may be why - either way, we share a deep love for pasta!
pull up on any and everything, but you just yesterday started standing straight up by yourself without holding on to anything. You know it’s a big deal because the first time you did it, you gave me the biggest grin and clapped for yourself.
I think you will be walking soon, but just like your birth, you will take your time. And that is perfectly okay with me.
know way to much about technology already. when we get a text message, you immediately look for our phones.
hold down the button on the iphone to make Siri talk, then you put the phone to your mouth and talk back to Siri. I tried to get you on video doing this the other night, but of course, you stopped as soon as I pulled out the camera.
also put the phone to your ear and say “Ooohhh?!” (hello)
crawl so fast from room to room. You love to crawl and have us follow you. Follow the leader is one of your favorite games to play.
Play with Henry...or I should say, sometimes Henry will play with you. You LOVE it. You belly laugh and squeal with delight when he plays with you.
give kisses - especially when we bring you to our bed in the morning on weekends. We like to pretend to be sleeping and you put your hands on our face and give us a big smooch. It melts my heart.
Love the swing at the park, and feeding the ducks.
play with anything and everything that is not a toy. If I really want to occupy you for a bit while I get dressed or wash dishes, all I have to do is let you go through a cabinet or unpack a bag. You have only been in my scrapbook room a handful of times, but I know it is going to be a favorite place for you and I to play and explore.
Still love anything soft. You immediately put it up to your face to feel the softness of it.
Still suck on your first two fingers when you are tired.
Love playing outside on the back porch...especially when the sun is shining.
Love bath time - some nights you don't play as much, but you are always happy to scoot to the bathroom when I ask you if you are ready to take a bath.
Point and say “Dat” to something you think you need. Sometimes when we give it to you, you say, “this!”
Love your board book that has different textures in it...it has a furry fox, and a furry baby chick. It’s the one book that really holds your attention.
are not much for watching t.v. - but you love to have the remote and point it toward the t.v. so you can change the channel.
Love music - Aunt Rach just discovered your favorite song - Hold On We’re Going Home by Drake. You start singing and dancing when it comes on.
Wake up singing some mornings...I thank God for Grandma Rose who sings to you almost daily. I do too, but I think Grandma Rose is the one who taught you to sing.
Love sitting at the dinner table. When you see us putting your high chair at the table you scoot fast to it. Some nights you are a good eater and sometimes you play more than anything.
You love drinking water. Your sippy cup of water is your favorite. Anytime I try to get you to try juice, you take one drink and then won’t touch it again.
Oh you and your socks. I promise I am not lying when I say, you play a lot with your socks. They literally make you happy. It’s so funny and cute...when I took these photos it dawned on me that we totally should have had a “sock” theme for your party. That’s how much you love socks.
You are a mama’s girl. Sometimes you prefer your Papa, but most evenings you want me - and that warms my heart. So we rock and snuggle before you go to bed each night.
Some nights like tonight, you fight sleep. It’s almost as if you cannot get comfortable in my arms anymore...it makes me a bit sad to just lay you down in your bed, but most nights when I do, you fall right to sleep on your own. Another sign you are twelve whole months.
If you wake in the night, your Papa is always quick to jump up and tend to you. He is great at comforting you and getting you back to sleep.
I love to watch you play. I see so much of both your Papa and I in your play. Just tonight you were playing with your Little People and I could not help but watch with a smile from ear to ear. It’s truly one of my favorite things.
Your super soft leopard blankie is still your favorite. It soothes you and comforts you when you are feeling fussy or under the weather.
you have the sweetest curly hair.
You have the sweetest personality and we think you are going to be quite the jokester. I hope you learn that laughter literally is the best thing for your soul - and being able to make other's laugh is great, but being able to laugh at yourself is even better.
My sweet Ellis, on your first birthday, my one wish for you is that you always trust in God. Be comforted by Him, and know He is by your side always. If I have learned one thing from this past year, it is to lean on Him in good times and tough times; and to pray.
We love you so much, baby girl. Happy Happy 1st birthday, Ellis Chandler Rose.
People will tell you - a lot - but you won’t believe them...
And then the year goes by, and your baby, OUR baby, is turning a year old.
I remember one of my best friends telling me time and time again - like when Ellis was crying for no reason, or when she wouldn’t take a nap and I thought I would never get myself dressed before 1PM, or when just leaving the house felt like an act of congress - I can hear my understanding sweet friends' voice saying, “...it’s such a brief period of time, I promise!”
And it’s only now, on her first birthday, that I look back and my heart immediately goes back to those moments of time and I am in awe of HOW brief it truly has been. She was so right.
And though I know the first full year is only the beginning of our beautiful story with our girl, it feels as though my heart is in my throat. My baby is now a year old and it’s the most bittersweet feeling that I suspect all parents get when their children turn a year older.
It’s been such an incredible and enormous year. I dare say, the best year of my life. The hardest, most challenging - uh, hell yes - but gosh, the most amazing and wonderful year. And I thank God for getting us here and trust Him to know that tomorrow will be just as amazing.