One Year

Sweet Nola Hope,

I can hardly believe that you have been in my arms for a year already! When Daddy and I decided it was about time to have a baby, we knew that we would enjoy being parents. But we could never have imagined how wonderful you would be! Your sweet grins, your ginormous blue eyes, your giggles, your funny little grunts and squeals -- all of these things fill our hearts with overflowing joy!

You have changed our lives and taught us so much already... and we're just getting started! I had hoped before you were born that I would be diligent about writing you letters as you grew, recording funny things you did or the things you were learning. Alas - I quickly learned that you keep me VERY busy and I never did stop to write much down over the past year. So hopefully we will instead have a tradition of birthday letters.

Your stats:
Weight: I think you weigh about 20 pounds - we go to the doctor soon, so I'll verify that in a few weeks.

Height/Length: Again, coming soon!

Teeth: You have three and more coming!

Words: None yet, but lots of mamamamama and dadadadada. You do understand some words, however - eat, more, Nola, kitty, doggy, dada/mama (I think, at least!).

Walking: Not quite yet, but you're almost there. You love to cruise around the room holding on to whatever you can grab, but sometimes I think you know crawling is simply faster right now. You also really enjoy being carried in your sling (below) or riding in your "strolla" (as Daddy calls it).

Sweet things about you:
  • When I say "face bump" you gently lean your head towards mine until our foreheads bump and then smile.
  • You also think it's really funny to take your pacifier out of your mouth and put it in my mouth or daddy's (and then steal it back and repeat as long as we'll let you).
  • You LOVE cheerios and puffs and screech and squeal repeatedly for more whenever you eat them all off your tray (you have yet to sign for more, despite our concerted efforts to teach this to you). (ETA - now you've learned which cabinet we keep them in and point at it when we're in the kitchen, saying "eh?" over and over, smart girl!)
  • You much prefer to be fed than to feed yourself (though today you showed more interest in holding the spoon yourself). You're eating: baby food (fruits) and roasted/steamed veggies, yogurt, cheese, cheerios/puffs, bread, peanut butter and often a taste of whatever we're eating for supper. You still nurse three times a day, but you're less and less interested in that, except first thing in the morning after you get up.
  • You love looking at books and flipping the pages (thought you usually skip a few in the process) - especially books that have textures inside (fur, fabric, etc.). Your favorite toy right now is your "cookie jar" which has a lid that you take off and put back on while emptying and reloading the "cookies" (plastic shapes). You also really like the bugs that Gran and Papa got you for your birthday.
  • You mostly enjoy bath time, especially now that we got you a big girl bathtub and some bath toys. Yesterday you actually cried when I got you out to get dressed for church!
  • You like being "chased" whether crawling or in Daddy's or my arms - if someone's saying "I'm gonna get you" in a sing-song voice, you're in.
  • You're great at pointing at things - and if someone points at you, you usually point back and smile.

 There are so many little snippets of memory that I want to record from this first year: your hilarious "halloween eyes" (thankfully captured on video!); the first time you smiled (which made all the sleepless nights instantly worth it); your strong grip on my finger as a newborn; the way your little fingers would knead against my side as I nursed you; rocking, rocking, rocking late at night in our dark and cozy house; singing you Christmas carols because those were the only songs I could think of I was so tired; walking you through the dark house in the middle of the night, looking out the windows on a silent and moonlit snowy world outside - feeling complete peace with you snuggled in my arms, and grateful for the roof over our heads keeping us warm; our first Christmas morning together - piling into our bed and enjoying being a family; Daddy and I overjoyed at your first giggles (well, all your giggles); Daddy's reactions to your stinky diapers; seeing you discover new flavors (like chocolate cake on your birthday this weekend!)...

Just watching you figure out the world - how to roll over, sit up, crawl, pull up, and soon - walk. It is so much fun to watch you grow, Nola. Your life brings joy to those around you - even strangers who laugh at your silly faces and always comment on your beautiful eyes.

I pray that the sweetness in your spirit continues to grow as you do - that the Lord will mold your heart into a compassionate one that is full of the knowledge of His grace towards you, that you will be a worshiper of the King, and that you will always know how loved you are, both by your Heavenly Father and your parents here on earth.

Looking forward to all this next year of your life has in store for us, my love. Happy 1st Birthday!

Mama & Daddy  

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