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Almost 18 months.

Dear Hailey Rose,

You are full of so much life and personality these days, and I just can’t get enough. The older you get, the more zest for life you seem to have. Your exuberance brings so much joy to our family.

As you near the 18 month mark, I can’t help but reflect on just how much you’ve changed. As the months fly by, I see you not only becoming your own person, but with each day I also seem to see more of myself in you.

Hailey Rose, you mischievously grin when you know you’re pushing boundaries and testing my limits. You never cease to stop trying to go after what you want. As trying as this can be, your persistence that you get from me is a trait that will carry you a long way someday.

You don’t take no for an answer. Even though your favorite word seems to be “No!” these days, you get upset when Momma and Daddy tell you no because you want to go your own course and are determined to go after it. You get that determination from me.

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You insisted on sitting like a big girl today.

Hailey Rose, I am in love with your tiny curls starting to grow in your short, thick hair. I can tell already you are going to be a blonde girl with lots of wavy hair like your momma.

You babble endlessly. You are speaking so much more these days, and I can’t believe how much you know, from images in books like animals and food to body parts and more. You love to repeat things we say, which is absolutely adorable. Phrases like “uh-oh” and “ta-da” and words like “color” and “please” and “thank you” are just too cute for words. My favorite is your little “grrr” noise you make for just about every animal. You love to chatter, and I am pretty certain you get that from your momma. 🙂

You look up to your big sister. You just love spending time with “Nana” and miss her and are looking for her as soon as she leaves the room. It reminds me of my own childhood and playing with your Auntie Katie. You want to do everything Hannah does (and of course play with all of the same toys). As trying as the moments can be at times, it melts my heart to see the love you have for each other.

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Coloring at the big table just like Hannah.

You love to read. This is my favorite thing to do with you these days. You love to sit with me on the couch with a giant stack of books. Sometimes I will read to you, and sometimes you will name the pictures and sometimes you will point and want me to tell you what I see. I have loved to read for as long as I can remember, and I hope you continue to love reading just like your momma and big sister.

You don’t have the greatest moves, but you sure love to dance. Your signature move is spinning in a circle with your hands straight out at your sides like an airplane. It is hilariously adorable. I’m pretty sure my dance moves aren’t nearly as entertaining to watch.

You love to do just about anything. You always seem to be up for whatever your big sister does, and you want to be a part of what she is doing. You seem to have no fear when it comes to playing and trying new things. You get your sense of adventure from your momma, but I wouldn’t quite call myself fearless, either.

Though it may seem like you are my mini, Hailey Rose, you’ve definitely got your daddy’s playfulness. Roughhousing is near the top of your list of favorite things to do, and your daddy offers plenty of it. Seeing the two of you play and laugh together just fills my heart with so much joy.

I am so filled with love for you my sweet girl; what a whirlwind this past (nearly) 18 months has been. I look forward to the summer, spending lots of time outside and making lots of fun memories together as a family. It’s going to be a blast with you, my little firecracker. 🙂

With love,

Momma

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Stop growing so fast.

Dear baby girls,

Well, it’s official. I am no longer a parent of a baby, but of two little girls.

I’m not sure when it happened, but it feels like I blinked and now I have a toddler and a preschooler.

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It’s a bittersweet transition as we’ve packed away bottles and baby clothes, but it is also exciting as we see the two of you become best friends. You love to play together, albeit for short periods of time. The bickering over toys and the joys of toddlerhood keep things interesting to say the least. But the moments where the two of you dote on each other, give each other hugs and kisses and play so well together make the hard moments worth it.

At 15 months old, Hailey is into everything. Literally. Discovering all the things you should — and shouldn’t. We keep you from scaling furniture and grabbing everything out of accessible cupboards and drawers. When you’re not keeping busy playing, you love being a big helper. In the morning you will help get yourself dressed (if you’re not running around the room half-naked 🙂 ) and you will grab your shoes, coat, hat and gloves when it’s time to go. This morning you were so confused when we tried to tell you we didn’t need your hat and gloves!

Reading books has become one of Hailey’s favorite activities. You love to grab the books and thumb through them quickly, resting in your “reading seat” or grabbing one and itching to climb up on Mommy or Daddy’s lap to read. It melts my heart to snuggle up with you and read. You’ve learned so much and can point out many objects, from blocks to cars to shoes to your belly and nose. Your favorite words to say these days are “Hi,” “Nana” (Hannah), and “NO!” We couldn’t be more proud. 🙂

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Hailey Rose, your zest for life and joyful attitude fill our hearts with such love.

At 4 years old, Hannah has such a big heart. Your love for your family and friends shines through, and you say the sweetest things these days. From telling me I’m the best mommy in the whole world to saying you want to be a nice mommy just like me someday, you are melting my heart on an almost daily basis. Tonight at bedtime, I hurt my hand. You asked me if I was OK, said you were sorry I got hurt and then wanted to kiss and rub it to make it better. Your kindness and empathy just make me so proud to be your momma.

We do have our moments, however. This age can also be trying as you are becoming more and more independent. Not quite being completely self-sufficient makes certain activities more time consuming than they need to be and more frustrating for you (and let’s be honest, for me a little bit, too). But I love seeing you become your own person. One of your favorite things to do these days is pick out your own clothes, and each day your outfit seems to include a skirt and something pink, your favorite color.

You also love to play games, read and have movie nights with Mommy and Daddy. You crave to learn so much, from spelling words to asking questions about anything and everything. The questions are never-ending, but I love your thirst for knowledge.

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Hannah Kate, you bring such a sweet, kind-hearted and loving presence into our lives, and we couldn’t be more proud of you.

Being momma to both of you girls just fills my heart to the brim each day. You’re growing up so fast, and I am soaking up every minute of it. I wish for time to slow down, and yet at the same time, I look forward to what’s to come.

With love,

Momma

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1 year in: Happy birthday!

Dear Hailey Rose,

One year ago, I went to bed as a momma to one little girl. I eagerly anticipated the next day, knowing I was going to meet you and hold you in my arms in just a few short hours.

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Just two days old!

I had no idea how things would go that day, but I felt a sense of peace going into it. I knew that you would be perfect. And sure enough, one year ago, your heart melted mine. I saw you and fell in love. I knew just how special you are and how much joy you would bring our family.

It has been a long, short year in many ways. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I learned that I was pregnant. When I felt your kicks for the first time, which quickly turned into jabs. Little did I know just how much you love to move!

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4 months old

Since day one, you’ve been active, full of energy and so much life. Joyful is the perfect word to describe you. I just love your smile, and you radiate the joy that is in your heart. You squeal with delight as you play with your big sister and belly laugh as Daddy tosses you in the air and tickles you.

You have always been eager to move, whether rolling over, learning to crawl, sitting up, scooting, cruising around furniture and now finally walking. It’s hard to believe you were a tiny baby who slept most of the day.

It feels like not long ago when I was on maternity leave, sharing snuggles with you all day long while binge-watching Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights and Parks and Rec on Netflix. I soaked up those days (and also enjoyed the good nights of sleep while they lasted).

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9 months old

I didn’t expect some of the sleep deprivation challenges we faced, and I didn’t expect the chaos that is balancing working mom life with being mom to two girls. But you know what else? I didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love. With you. With how you love each of us. With our new dynamic as a family.

Though we have had our challenges, it has really made me grateful for our family. I love our time together and the love we have for one another. We’ve created some great memories this past year, and I look forward to so many more.

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1 year old

This quote from C.S. Lewis is so true: “Isn’t it funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?”

Everything is different. Life is crazy. And it is beautiful. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

With love,

Momma

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38 weeks.

Dear baby girl,

You’re moving like crazy right now, and as I sit here envisioning what you look like and praying for a healthy baby girl, I can’t help but feel a little sad that very soon I will no longer be pregnant.

There’s something special that happens when you’re pregnant, feeling tiny life forming inside of you, watching your belly slowly grow bigger and bigger from week to week.

I no longer view my body the same way that I used to. It isn’t just mine anymore. It is a vessel. A home for you. I provide your nourishment. Your sustenance. I am all that you know right now, and only from the inside.

Very soon you will know me from the outside. My voice will be more clear, and you will begin to see and know me as your mother. Even though I will be sad to no longer be carrying you on the inside, I am so excited to hold you in my arms for the first time.

I look forward to the moment when we will finally meet; I will stare at you as I memorize your eyes and your gaze, holding your tiny fingers in my hand. You have been knit in my womb, and very soon I will see who God has been forming for the past nine months. You are His. And you are mine.

Our days are numbered as a family of three. When I first got pregnant, I was anxious about all of the changes that meant for our family. I didn’t know what to expect (and I still don’t). I was (and still am a little) nervous about how stressful it will be.

But the farther I have come along, I have felt thankful. Blessed beyond measure. So fortunate for the opportunity to bring a second daughter into this world.

The closer I get to your arrival, the more my worries subside, and the more excited I become for the changes ahead. I can’t wait to see Hannah become a big sister, and I am looking forward to seeing your daddy fall in love with you just as I already have. And I couldn’t be more excited to be your mommy. To have you in our family. To become a family of four very soon.

With love,
Momma