Moments to Freeze in Time


girls-o

Most nights our house echoes with the banter of two teeny girls playing with toys, bare feet padding down the hardwood floors, each chasing after the other one and usually trying to retrieve a toy that one sister has claimed.  Two tiny hands lock on the toy and before I know it, both of them are red-faced and trying to pull it away from the other one, high-pitched squeals and eyes welling up with tears.  Sometimes there is even hair pulling (Milly, that would be all you) and there is almost always crying involved.

Usually, it ends with me just taking the toy or giving Everly the same rundown she’s been hearing since Milly could take stuff: “She’s just a baby.  She doesn’t know how to share yet.  Just give it to her.  Be a big girl.”  And she does, reluctantly, and I wonder if it’s wrong, what I’m doing.

Some days I break up more fights than I can count, and I wonder if you both know, amid all the drama, just how sacred your sisterhood really is.

Tonight, as I was putting Everly to bed, she brought up the beach and how she is excited to go back this summer.  We talked about going into the ocean on the big pink raft with Ganny, eating popsicles by the pool, and how much fun we were going to have.  I mentioned her pink floatie and how important it was for us to be safe by the water this year.

“Mommy. I don’t want Milly to go by the water,” she said, her voice taking a serious tone.  Thinking she was already not wanting to share the ocean with her little sis, I explained that Milly was going to swim with us this year.

“I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her,” her voice cracked softly.  “I’m just worried about her and I know she’s gonna fall in the water, and I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her!”  Before I could say anything else, she burst into tears and hugged me tightly, tears streaming down her face.  I shushed her and held her close as she calmed down, explaining that she was a good big sister, and that it’s OK to be worried about Mil but that she was going to be OK, and that we should always watch out for her.

Trying to keep from laughing out loud or bursting into tears myself, this was one of those moments where I just thought: “Freeze this moment right now.  Never forget this.”

Dear Everly & Amelia, I am sure there are many more arguments with each other in your futures, but my only wish is that you never stop looking out for each other, and that you always remember, that even at 3 1/2 and 16 months old, you were each other’s world.

Love,
Your Mom

Vivid

evster

Dear Everly,

These days, your imagination has been running wild and we have been just smitten with your little three-year-old ways.  Our pediatrician told us at your 3-year old checkup that this would happen and she was correct – right around  your 3rd birthday your creativity has been blossoming and your Dad and I love watching you become so inspired by things.  A few recent examples:

1.  Every night we head into the bedroom, you spot Roxy by the bed and exclaim: “Look!  There’s the crocodile!”  You have also been very fond of decking Roxy out in your headbands, which she happily obliges.

2.  Sitting on my lap tonight, I hugged you tight and looked into your big eyes and said, “What happened?  You used to be my baby and now here you are, such a big girl,” to which you matter-of-factly replied, “It’s because I like to eat bananas.”  Duh.

3.  You are always finding make-believe animals here and there.  Tonight it was a snake in between the couch and end table.  “Look Mommy!  It’s a pink snake!  But it’s a nice pink snake, don’t worry Mommy.  He’s just a little hungry.”

Even in your when throwing a tantrum, you never fail to make your Dad or I crack a smile in a heated moment when trying to discipline you.  But we love it.  It’s what makes you, you, and seeing the way your little mind processes this world means everything to us.  You are our sunshine girl, always.  I hope you continue to tune into this wonderful creative side of yours and always keep that spark alive.

Love,
Mom

Three.

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I can’t believe this one is THREE.  It seems like just yesterday I was dreaming of what she would be like as I wished the weeks of pregnancy away in anticipation of meeting her.  And now here she is, Three years old, a doting sister and the darling daughter we have always wished for.  Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for choosing me to be her Mom.

Dearest Everly, you are our greatest adventure.  I wish you all the happiness and love in the world.  Happy, happy, birthday, my love.

Love,
Your Mama & Daddy

The Girls. 30 Months and 3 Months.

One of my favorite things about this blog is logging on at night to look through my archives at some of my earliest posts, when Everly was just a wee little thing and I did a little monthly-or-so update on how she was growing.  Since it’s usually a rare occasion when I get the chance to write, I decided it’s probably best to do a little rundown of both girls.  So here we go…

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Dear Everly- it is the eve of your half birthday.  You turn 2 and a half tomorrow, and you are one of the most intelligent little ladies I know.  Your favorite things these days are your two bears – Elvis and Purple Bear – who accompany you pretty much anywhere and everywhere you go.  You love chocolate milk, dancing, Cinderella, and makeup!  You’re a pretty independent little girl, though you still love to sleep in Mommy’s bed any chance you can (I love it too) and you are such a proud big sister.  You have not shown an ounce of jealousy when it comes to Amelia, and you’re always kissing her and gushing over her every chance you get.  It’s all happening so fast, my little love, you grow up a little bit more each day.  You are the happiest person your Dad and I know, our Sunshine girl.

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Dear Amelia – it’s hard to imagine that you turn 3 months old this week.  You are 100% perfection; a bundle of sweetness that I thank my lucky stars for each and every day.  Your smiles are the best thing ever.  Sometimes I’ll be nursing you, and all the sudden, you’ll stop.  When I peek down at you, you’re just gazing up at me with the happiest, biggest smile I’ve ever seen.  It’s the best feeling ever.   When I’m having a rough day, I just think about that smile and all my worries fade away.  These days, you pretty much love two things – nursing and naked time!  It’s true.  When you’re cranky, sometimes we just strip you down, and all the sudden, you stop crying and start smiling.  Works like a charm every time. 🙂  And your big sister, of course.  You find her more interesting than any toy around.  I have a feeling you girls are going to be very close.

Love,
Your Very Proud Mama

Dear Everly, You Are 18 Months Old

Dear Everly,

At just 6 months shy of age Two, you never cease to amaze your Dad and I with showing  us something new you’ve learned each passing day.  You’re like a little sponge, taking in each and every person you encounter, reading their feelings, studying their movements and mannerisms, and imitating actions, repeating words, and using everything in your power to communicate.

Recently, you’ve demonstrated your interest in climbing and love walking on the balance beam at your tumbling class.  You also love pretend-play with your stuffed animals, brushing your teeth, and reading books.  Most of all, my little Everly, you love to move your body and dance when you hear the sound of music.  You’re never inhibited- even in a room full of strangers- and I hope you always hold on to this confidence.

You’re starting to show so much affection toward others, which warms my heart like nothing else.  You always have a hug for me, a kiss for your Dad, and a snuggle for Roxy and Leyla, and your awareness about others’ feelings is starting to grow more apparent to those close to you.

Your reaction to the world and things around you is quite humbling.  Many times I’ll hear you gasp in excitement at the sight of a full moon through our dining room window, or I’ll catch your eyes widen in wonder as a sunset peeks over the horizon.  It makes me remember the true beauty in ordinary things that we sometimes take for granted, which is such an important lesson you’ve taught me.

Not a day goes by that I don’t tell you that you are beautiful, that you are smart, and that you are important, and if I teach you anything in this life, I’ll do everything within my power to make sure that you always know this.

Love,
Your Mama

Dear Everly

Dear Everly,

I thought that Fall, Winter and Spring were so enjoyable to experience with you for the first time, however I must say that so far, Summer is the best.  Your eyes sparkle when sunshine creeps through our morning windows and into your crib, and that familiar birdsong that manages to drawl its way through the hundred-year-old brick of our home is always sure to make you smile in your sleep.  It is such a magical season.

Just last year around this time, your father and I were so excited to greet the first lightning bugs of the season, secretly knowing that their arrival meant meeting you was right around the corner.  And now here we are together, sitting on our back deck and watching these same glowing creatures dance around our backyard at dusk; your soft voice telling me stories about them in your secret baby language.

Soon these little legs of yours will walk about, and these lazy  Summer nights will transform into evenings of exploration and playtime in the backyard, around the neighborhood, and anywhere your bike can pedal to.  You’ll return home with muddy fingers and stars in your eyes, with plenty of stories of your discoveries.  These days may seem far off but i know they are truly right around the corner.  For now though, I’m holding you tight on my lap, soaking in every precious moment of your infancy, and trying my best to freeze these memories in my heart forever.

Love,
E

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lightning bug image source

Dear Everly

The first day of February brought with it a huge blizzard complete with freezing rain, sleet, ice and snow. I was all set to work from home when I got word that our St. Louis office was going to be closed due to the winter storm, which meant good things for Miss Everly and I.

We both stayed in pajamas for most of the day and played with toys, read books, took silly pictures, and even baked chocolate chip cookies. Everly wore cloth diapers the whole day and I didn’t even have to look at my breast pump one time. We snuggled on the couch and she drifted off to sleep in my arms. I can’t tell you how good it felt for my little girl to fall asleep on me and to feel her soft breath and little coos in my ear, and even better, to see the look of surprise and happiness on her face when she awoke and realized her Mom was there and had been with her the whole time she was asleep.

It was nice pretending to be a Stay-at-Home Mama for the day, and as much as I’m dreaming about the sunny days of Spring, I wouldn’t mind the occasional snow day once and a while.

Love,
E

Dear Everly

Dear Evie,

It’s so hard to believe that you’re nearly six months old.  We are loving every second of life with you right now.  Your infectious laugh echos through the halls of our house and  fills it with your happy energy. Those hands that used to fumble are now focused and much more precise.  Your movements are calculated and your eyes wander about, exploring your space and studying everything that comes into your view.  It’s amazing watching you grow.

These days we’re propping you up, helping you to sit and find your balance, and watching your eyes grow big when you realize that you’re doing it on your own.  Your arms are always reaching out to touch anything that comes into view, and you carefully and fearlessly examine everything that you are exposed to.  It is truly life-altering to watch this and to know that we are playing a key role in these discoveries.

I hope you never lose that adventurous spirit that you’ve been blessed with.  Keep reaching for the stars, little one.  Your Dad and I will always be lifting you up as high as we can to get to them.

Love,
Your Mama

Dear Everly

Dear Everly,

I am writing this while you lie asleep in your crib at the foot of my bed.

I wanted you to know something.

My camera is filled with nothing but pictures and videos of you.

My house is in disarray (and your Mama  knows how to keep house like none other), yet it’s never felt more like home.

My life has never been more complicated, yet it’s also never been this satisfying.

I have never been more sleep deprived in my life, but I have also never felt so refreshed.

I had such a good laugh tonight when I came home from work, late as usual, to a sink full of dishes, stack of bills, hamper of dirty laundry, and a happy husband and baby waiting for me and thought to myself, “I am the luckiest girl in the world.”

I’m sure I’ll give myself another huge laugh when you’re a teenager and I’m looking back at these old letters, but we won’t go there yet.

Thank you for enriching my life in so many different, unimaginable ways and simply for just being our little Gracie-Boo, as your Dad & I like to call you.  We have so much ahead of us.

You are truly the best!

Love,
Your Mom

Things We LOVE About Everly Grace

Dear Everly,

There are countless reasons why your Dad & I think you are the neatest thing in the world, but if we had to narrow it down, here are a few things (as of lately) that we love about your happy little self:

1.  The way you wake us up in the morning by chatting up a storm in your baby bed, and when we peek in to find you lying there, you’re nothing but a smile factory.

2.  How when we lean in to sneak you a kiss, you open your mouth and try to eat our noses.

3.  The songs you sing in the car when you think no one’s listening.

4.  Chubby wrists that look like they have rubberbands wrapped around them.

5.  How you always seem to know when the weekend is here (and how we want to do nothing else but spend every waking second of it with you!)

6.  The way that we find out something new about you and how your unique personality shines through each new day.

7.  The way you smell.

8.  Those long eyelashes & the way those big blue peepers seem to have such a story to tell.

The list goes on and on….  Just thought you should know, your Dad and I (and most everyone else who has had the pleasure of meeting you) is absolutely smitten with your perfect little self.

Love,
Mamacita