Eleanor is one!

My dear darling wild one,

You are one year old! Which means I have succeeded in keeping you alive for an entire year. Whew! You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not. You have not been an easy one so far. It has been the hardest year of my life, actually. Between your falls, clumsiness, crankiness, sicknesses and demanding nature we have made it! There is a reason people have their children young, Not that I would ever know but can imagine, instead of when they are nearly 46 years old. It’s easier, I suppose. But you are here and have a mighty purpose I know. This is all God, baby. You are His. He wants you here and He wants me as you mom. I question Him daily, I really do. I have not fully accepted my life yet. I know, I know. You are here to stay, but you are still just a shock!

I’m kind of hard on you, and I need to lighten up. You really are a good little girl. My expectations are too high and I’m working on that really. I need to slow down, soak you in, savor each and every moment. You would think that I would know how to do that, but in actuality, I think it’s because I feel like I’m running out of time, that my life has been put on hold for now, and there’s still so much to do here. So much I want to do here. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job with you right now. Forgive me, sweet girl, and know that I love you so much and want the absolute best for you. I’m trying to be better.

You are so smart. You are beginning to understand our conversations and you try so hard to say the words as well. You’ll get there, I’ll get there, and it’s getting easier to communicate. You can understand practically everything I say and if I say let’s go take a bath, you head straight to the bathtub. You love your bath time. You can throw your diapers in the trash (along with things you shouldn’t), you are learning to put puzzles together, you love, love, love your books and it’s one of the few times you actually sit for a period of time.

You love people. I think you’re going to be an extrovert, we’ll see. You can be so tired, cranky, and irritable, but when it’s time to go bye-bye and we get around others, you are all smiles and waves. You have people smiling right back too. You have the toothiest, cutest little smile and you truly light up a room with it. You love to give big hugs and give a little grunt on the end of one. You blow kisses and love your family so much. Oh! And you started saying mama! I don’t think it is directed to me, but you can finally make the mmmmm sound and it’s so sweet sounding to my ears.

Sleep is so improved! I am so proud of you. We finally got into a rhythm and you just might be the kind of kid who thrives on a schedule. I’m going to try to remember that. It goes against every fiber of my being, I am more of a free spirit, but you definitely benefit. You’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours through the night now and are taking two pretty good naps each day, all in your own crib! Hooray! It’s amazing what a little sleep can do for you and me both! To think of it, you might be a free spirit as well, but function better with scheduled sleep!

We had a little family party for you and you had a blast. We practiced blowing out your candle, but you didn’t quite know what to think of that flame. We had presents and your dad made you a chocolate cake, which you loved squishing your fingers all in and eating up. Your Grammy Jo, Buddy, Uncle Chad, Uncle Steve and his family, and us were all here to sing to you and shower you with loads of attention and love. You got a slide and immediately learned how to crawl straight up that thing. You also got some fun toys and new shoes and socks, and a toothbrush for those seven pearly whites. You went to bed worn out.

I’ll be taking you for your one year check up next week and I’ll update your stats, but I think you are weighing in around 20 lbs right now. Your hair, which has stuck straight up on your head all year, is finally beginning to lay down and it has quite a bit of red in it too. You’re just a little beauty. You’re just a little wonder. I am thankful you are here to teach and guide me to be a better person. I love you so much and I always will. Never ever forget or doubt that.

XOXO,

Mama

A letter to Emma Kate on her 10th birthday

My dear sweet Emma Kate,

Hey there baby girl, you are 10! I can’t believe it. I have yet to get super emotional on any of your birthdays. You know I’m not too emotional anyway, but this one gave me a run for my emotional money. I got a bit weepy, a bit teary. I’m just in awe of you and the beautiful ten years you have been in my life. They have been the absolute best and I would never ever want to do it again any other way. I also am slammed with the realization that time is passing so quickly and kids grow up and these years will soon be nothing more than a memory.

I didn’t write you a birthday letter last year. I am sorry for that but I was in survival mode. It was a bit of a crazy time. You turned nine and I was 38 weeks pregnant with your little sister and just trying to throw you a party and not go into labor, and get everything else ready in case I did. This year, I’m wondering to myself how many letters will I write you? I began writing to you your first year of life, month by month to document the milestones, then it changed year by year, and here we are ten years into it. Do I stop? If so, when? I mean you are old enough to read these now. My plan has always been to print them out and make you a little book, but now I’m questioning when? I guess I will carry on for now and we’ll just see.

This past year has been crazy and beautiful and at times quite awful for us. You have spent the past year in the shadows of your sister, Eleanor who was born 11 days after your 9th birthday. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve not gotten the attention that you were accustomed to. Don’t think I haven’t been aware of the change in our family dynamics, our time together, our relationship. Eleanor has been so demanding of my time, my presence, my energy, my everything. And yet, there you’ve been; ever loving, ever patient, ever gracious, ever kind. Never a squeaky wheel. Adjusting to these new changes and loving your sister so very much. Helping me when you can, and being the most beautiful human I know.

Having a baby sister appear on the scene 9 years into life has been one thing to come to grips with, and to add to that you lost your Grandy this past October. I know that has been difficult. You don’t talk about her, but I know you miss her and your Friday night sleepovers with her. I know you don’t want to feel sad, but please know that it’s okay. Feelings are so very important. We cannot go through life without them and they are the glue to humankind. All of us experience emotions. The situations may be different, but we all will know the feeling of grief and sadness at some juncture, and it is the common thread to what enables us to be able to connect to one another, to understand each other and to be helpers when others experience those same feelings. It’s a beautiful thing to have loved someone so much that you miss them so greatly. So please don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed of your tears. It just means you feel deeply, that you loved greatly, and that you were greatly loved. Your Grandy loved you so much. You were her very special girl, her heart and her soul, she prayed for you before you were born, and I don’t know if I can ever articulate what you meant to her. Take the best parts of her with you, her big love, her generosity, her adoration of others, and let her love carry you forward in life. You have such a life ahead of you!

You didn’t want a party for your birthday this year, so we had a few friends come over to celebrate and spend the night. You and your girls had a fun time with lots of little girl giggles. You have some really great friends and you are a positive impact on so many as well. Always be the kind girl you includes everyone and you will never be short on friends. Remember the people you surround yourself with impact your life in a large way. They can take you up or bring you down, so choose wisely.

You are still in ballet and gymnastics and you are awesome in both. You are a graceful ballerina, who can actually keep time, and in gymnastics you can do 6 back handsprings in succession. It is pretty amazing to watch! You are a super student, always trying your best and setting goals for yourself. You are a fabulous big sister, full of love and patience and fun, and you are the best daughter I could have ever hoped for. You will always be on a pedestal in my eyes, Emma. No matter what. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect, and you never have to be, (don’t think that is what I mean), but you are perfect in my eyes because you are mine. My daughter. I pray you always see your worth. I pray you always know what you mean to me. I pray you always remember that there is nothing in this world that is too terrible that with love, family, God, and help you can’t overcome. Always know you can come to me for anything, anytime. I will be here to help, support, cheer, cry, laugh, or anything else the situation needs. I’m here. Always.

To my sweet ten year old, it won’t be long until your wings are ready and you will take flight. I cherish each and every day with you. Let’s make lots of more wonderful memories together!

Much love,

XOXO

Mama

May be an image of person, child, standing and indoor

8 month old Eleanor

My Dearest Little Elly,

This letter is very delayed, as we have lost a very special person to us. Your Grandy, my mom, passed away on October 5, and we buried her on your 8 month birthday October 8th. Your momma has been overwhelmed with sadness, questions, and busyness and although I have never forgotten about you for one second, it has been hard to find the time to write you a letter. Your Grandy called you Elly. She would say I have my Emmy and my Elly and she loved you so, so much. You will grow up not knowing her, but I will try to keep her memory alive for you. She was a spit fire, much like you. She was loud, much like you. She was fearless, much like you. She loved big, and she loved people, much like you. She was so happy you were here. She had prayed for you and prayed for you, that’s what she told me. And in fact, the very last voicemail I have saved from her on my phone, is her calling to check on you when you were sick last month. When you’re older, I’ll show you a video of you and her. I’ll show you a video of when I told her I was pregnant with you. I’ll let you hear her voice as she called to check on you. But for now, we carry on. That’s the cycle of life. We lose life and we gain new life and it is truly a beautiful thing that we experience while we are here on this earth. It’s not something we ever want to think about, but you will experience losing your mom too. Hopefully it will be a long, long, very long time. Having you at my age does make our time together much shorter, it’s just our reality, but we are going to embrace it, live it up, and relish every day we have together! That’s what we’re doing so far and we will keep on finding the happiness, joy and love on this side of Heaven. I’m so happy you are here. You and your sister keep me going. You both are who I live for, and you occupy my mind and my time during this season of grief.

This month, you gained 2 new teeth on top. You learned how to crawl properly. You began eating table food mostly. Your hair sticks straight up and you kinda remind me of a Fraggle, haha. You’ll have to look that up someday. You give the best expressions ever and you are absolutely the cutest! You have the chunkiest little legs and you are healthy and happy, and I think God for that.

You are still such a busy little girl. A full time job. Full of life. You are not afraid to be heard. You let people know what you need. You are observant and very smart. You are a grabby little thing and your dad said you would make a good pickpocket you are so sneaky and fast about it! You are pulling up and trying to navigate around the furniture, but you are so wobbly someone has to be with you constantly. You do not sleep as you must be afraid you’ll miss out on something. You hurt yourself numerous times a day and you must have the hardest head of anybody around by now. God bless you. You’ve taken 2 really big tumbles and you usually have a bruise on your head or face. You are a bit overambitious, trying new stuff before you are ready. You have learned to point your little finger, click your tongue, and now clap and patty cake. You think it’s great to learn new things and you practice them for several days and then just stop and find something else to do. You absolutely love your bath time and when I lay you down, you kick and kick and kick until your face is covered from the splashes jumping up on you. Outside is one of your favorite activities and you are usually very pleasant when you are outside.

You are just a joy, my little love. You will keep me young that’s for sure. You are here for a reason and a purpose and I can’t wait to see who you grow into. I am looking forward to so many fun adventures with you, my darling. New memories are to be made. I love you more than you could ever know.

Love,

Mama

xoxo

6 month old Eleanor

Dearest Little El–

You are now six months old! What fun you are! You are growing by leaps and bounds too. At your doctor’s appointment, here were your stats: you weighed in at 16 lbs 13 oz. They said that is about the 70th percentile in weight. And you measured 27 inches long. You know what they said? They said you were kind of tall. That you are in the 90th percentile for height. I laughed and asked them if they have seen your parents? I’m really feeling there was an error here somewhere, but I’ve been wrong before. If you turn out tall, it will be an unexpected surprise for sure! Time will tell, and you are uniquely you.

No matter, you are truly perfect in every way and are bringing everyone around you such joy. You went on a trip this month. It was your first really long car ride. You didn’t really love traveling and got awfully tired of your car seat. We went to visit your aunt, uncle and cousins up in Farmington NM. We took a little trip to Durango, CO where you took your first hike in the mountains. You absolutely loved that mountain air and the beauty around you, especially when you got out of the carrier and rode on your dad’s shoulders. You like it when you are bigger than everyone. You do love outside, that’s for sure. Each day we go out and sit in the shade so you can watch the world moving around you. You also made your first visit to the waterpark with your sister and some friends. It was fun to sit in the kiddie pool and let you splash. Next year, I might not be able to keep up. You do enjoy the water and bath time is one of your favorite activities.

What else is new with you? You have 2 pearly whites on the bottom, you are sitting alone, you are scooching backwards when you are on your tummy and turning a full 360 learning to move around. Crawling is right around the corner. You love to stand up so we got you one of those Johnny Jumparoo things that hang in the doorway. You jump and jump and jump in that thing. We also put you in a walker since you love to stand and you jump in that too. You just might be part jackrabbit.

This isn’t new, but you truly love your hands. You have the cutest mannerisms of holding onto your left thumb or putting your thumb down on a surface and twisting your hand back and forth, you bite the tip of your little thumb, press your little thumbs together, and this isn’t new, but you are practicing your pageant wave. It is so cute how you wave at everything and everyone! Side to side, like a little beauty queen. You reach, grab, hold, and pull on everything. Your hands work hard all day long.

You get really excited for your books and this makes your momma’s heart happy, because I love books too! I am trying to raise you as a reader because the sky is the limit then. You love when I sing Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, one named Jack and one named Jill. Fly away Jack, Fly away Jill. Come back Jack, come back Jill. Sometimes you use your little sweet fingers and fly them away too. You are trying out new foods now. You like dinnertime with the family and are learning how to open up and we are practicing drinking from a glass, which is not going so well I might add. But you’ll get it! You are enjoying pumpkin, squash, and bananas the most for now.

Your hair still stands straight up in a fuzzy little halo and is the most darling, comical thing I’ve ever seen. You are just a doll baby and are a happy girl. You laugh out loud and smile. You have a funny sense of humor and aren’t a bit inhibited in your movements or your voice at all. You like to move and you like to be heard. You talk, yell, and cry loudly. You are a little busy body and you love life while learning and exploring all the things your body can do and the world around you.

You are loved so much. The English language does not hold the words adequate enough to express how loved you are by your family. You are keeping us on our toes and reminding us about fun. Emma said you are discovering goofball island (from the movie Inside Out). It’s a fun place to visit. We needed you to take us there again. It’s good for us. You are good for us. We are so glad you are here!

Much love until next month,

XOXO

Mommy

Eleanor Beth 5 months old!

Dear Ella Beth,

Another month has come and gone and you are still fabulous! Listen kid, time is flying. I will tell you from experience, that most of your life, it will seem like the seconds, hours, months, and even years are passing at a snail’s pace, but when you get to be my age, you better hold on to your hat because there is no holding on to time. It is a beautiful thing actually, and such a gift. Some people say time is a thief. But don’t believe that. It is really how you look at it. Just cherish each moment that you are given, sweet girl. Make memories and recognize that beauty is in the everyday, ordinary doings of life.

We sure are cherishing each moment with you because we know how quickly you grow, and growing you are! You are a bundle of JOY! You smile at practically everyone, and laugh very easily. I have the feeling you already love life and I hope you always will! You are not always sunshine and unicorns, though. You can flip a switch and be as mad as the dickens and we’re usually caught saying “what happened?” There’s also times, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Like when we lay you down and you don’t want to be put down, so you start to cry, and then you see our face and it makes you happy, so you start to laugh and then it’s all very confusing to you. Emotions can be tricky. And you have some big ones already. You also have a very serious face you wear, and it seems like you are always thinking. You are a very observant baby, watching and looking and studying.

You really enjoy outside, and the weather is so nice this summer that we spend a lot of time out there. I take your little bouncer seat out and set it under the oak tree in the backyard. You love to watch the leaves dance in the breeze and you study the shadows jumping around. Some of your other favorite activities are your bath where you splash and play and get a little bit out of control at times, and you love to lay on your changing pad and get your diaper changed. It’s like your happy place.

You’re super cute too! Most people say you look like your daddy. Your eyes are definitely turning brown and your hair is the best! It is fuzzy and super short and you look like a model for a 4 year old’s drawing. The way they just put a bunch of spikes on top of the head for the hair. That’s how you look! You even have about 3 longer hairs right up on top that love to stand at attention. It’s adorable.

This month you found your little piggies and they are so fascinating to you and you learned to roll from back to tummy. But you can’t get yourself back the other way yet. It’s a little bit out of order, but you go ahead and do it your way baby girl! You are wanting to get places on your tummy and your using your legs and pushing off to try to get going. You are practicing sitting up with support and can sometimes last as long as a bull rider, the one who drew the rankest bull out there. All these skills are keeping you busy, but not enough to wear you out. You still think sleep is overrated, and you love to nap for about 30-40 minutes and then you’re ready to go again. We won’t even talk about nighttime sleep. Let’s just say it’s not your favorite. I have to remind myself that “this too shall pass”. That’s good advice about a lot of situations in life, sweet girl, so remember that!

You’re doing big things, baby! We love you so much and are so very happy you are here reminding us how precious time is and how BIG love can be!

xoxo,

Mama

Finding Gratitude in Challenging Times

Many years ago, back when I had cable TV and I liked Oprah Winfrey, she had a guest on her show who first introduced me to the idea of a gratitude journal. I can’t remember why I jumped onboard with that, probably the guest said it would change my life and it did. I quickly found a nice little hardbound journal that was given to me as a college graduation gift (I did say it was many years ago) which remained blank, so I began each day to write down 3-5 things I was grateful for. My gratitude journal has been such a meaningful part of my sanity, growth, and getting me through difficult times, that I feel that the practice may benefit you as well.

We are certainly going through difficult times as humankind right now, and if you are feeling any amount of anxiety, worry, fear, or stress, I honestly believe getting a nice journal to begin this process of appreciation will help you get through it. And we will get through it. We ARE getting through it.

I have attempted to keep a gratitude journal throughout my life. Of course, my energy towards it wanes and surges, but I use it as one of my coping methods in the very hard times. I have filled up a few journals with basically lists of goodness in my life.

What has this accomplished for me?
1. It has forced me to look for the silver lining in the midst of the storms of life.
2. It makes me feel better. Instantly my mood improves. We cannot think of two things at once. We are either thinking of something good or something bad, but not both at the same time. Try it. You can only focus on one or the other.
3. It is a blessing to look back over the years and see how far I’ve come, and to remember special times and people.
4. It gets my mind off things I have no control over and helps me revisit how blessed I am.

When you first begin, it’s super easy. We all start with the  big things we can think of. Our family, our health, our religion, etc. And that’s fine. The more days you do it, it forces you to dig deep. You begin to live in a posture of appreciating.  Instead of thinking of general ideas, you begin to get very specific and will find that all day long,  you are appreciating your experiences and the people you are surrounded by.

When I look back over my old journals, I find a menagerie of things. For example, I am grateful that I am in control of my own feelings and thoughts. Or, I am grateful to have the ability to put together a meal without a recipe. For Ashlynn improving in her driving. When I look back into my very first Gratitude Journal in 1998, it says things like I am grateful for $50 my mom gave me to clean the house. Or, the job I applied for today. It is humbling and refreshing to read them all. For being able to visit my 6th grade Sunday school kids. In 2009, I wrote I am grateful for getting the bathroom redone. Free time to read and relax. Having money to tithe.

There are pages and pages filled and I could get lost retracing the steps of my life. But automatically I feel better. I mean right now. Finding those examples for you has caused me to realize how very blessed I am.

I encourage you to try this for yourself. Get yourself a nice journal, something that makes you smile. Journals always make me smile, anyone else? Set aside a time each day that you will write down 3-5 things to appreciate in your life. Do it for 30 days. Watch your life change!

In Philipians 4:8, we are told to think on the good things, y’all.  I would bet it is taught in all religions/spiritual circles in some form or fashion. What better way than to do so in a gratitude journal everyday? So go count your blessings, name them one by one. Leave me a comment if you plan on doing it or already do this. I would love to hear from you.

Here’s my 5 today if you need a tee off:
I am grateful:

  • For sitting outside and feeling the sun on my face and hearing the birdsong.
  • For healthy meals I can prepare and the abundance of food
  • For the promise of new beginnings as I watch spring unfold before my eyes
  • For the ability to work remotely.
  • For the bond of human connection.

 

 

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 8th Birthday

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Another year has come and gone and it’s all I can do to to keep my head from spinning. I can’t help but realize that we only have 10 more to go before you strap on your wings and soar.

I read one of the most profound statements that said something along the lines of, “the greatest tragedy of motherhood is for her to love her children so much, that she must teach them to not need her.” That wasn’t it exactly, but it was very close, albeit, expressed much better than that. But in essence, that’s what we’re doing, you and I. I am trying my best to allow you to grow independent of me. I want that very much for you and at the same time, I don’t want that at all. What a paradox it is.

For eight years you have been the light of my life, the sun my world revolves around. “They”, you know who they are…..the so called experts…..say it isn’t healthy to make your child the center of your universe, but I can’t see how knowing you are the Big Kahuna in my life could be bad for you. You are my greatest work. Like Charlotte when she referred to her egg sac, My Magnum Opus. You, quite possibly, could be my purpose on this earth. When I think of my purpose, I imagine I should do something outstanding. Something that could impact mankind. It’s very possible that you are my something outstanding. You are to me, anyway.

I often remember our past. The last few years that have gone by in a blink. It is fun to watch videos of us and see photos and remember the feelings of fun and curiosity and growth that enveloped that time.

I often think of our future together. The trips we’ll take and the experiences we are to share. I hope we always have a strong relationship and that you can come to me for anything knowing I will always love you, no matter what.

I try very hard to just be present in our present. This is all we have. I find myself getting through “tasks” just to move on to the next “task”, when I should be relishing our moments.

At eight years old, here’s how you are: you are nice to be around, simply put. You have a great wit to you.  You are generally always in a good mood. You are not demanding or pouty in any way. You are curious beyond anything I’ve ever known and I have been exposed to more random, useless facts because of you. Your dad and I call you Cliff Clavin (look it up) and just shake our heads with your sudden announcements of “Did you know………”. You love learning, like you always have, and you are very interested in maps and places, as well as science. As long as the science doesn’t involve the body. Anything bodily gives you the willies and causes some sort of physical discomfort for you to read or hear about it.  You must get it from your Grandy, who can’t stand anything gross. Or maybe from me a little bit too, as I’ve nearly fainted at the sight of blood before. It’s actually quite hilarious how just reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Body makes your hips hurt. I’ve known all along that you weren’t possibly cut out for a career in medicine, when as a toddler you used to gag at the smell of your own poop!

You are mostly quiet still– unless you’re around your parents–an observer of people and things, who doesn’t like the spotlight or to be the center of attention. You still enjoy dance and gymnastics, but you’re not afraid to stay at home and do nothing either. You are fiercely independent, but never rude. You are truly the greatest kid. Your dad and I say it often. “She’s such a great kid.” I’m super proud of you and always will be. May you be surrounded by goodness and love and guidance all the days, my dear sweet child. You are loved.

Love,

Mama
XOXO

 

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Ordinary, yet precious


Life is made of moments. Many are magical. Most are merely mundane.

Ordinary life. But within every second of mundane and ordinary, lies the power. The power to be present. The power to choose your words carefully. The opportunity to connect with others. The opportunity to love, show love, and be love. All we really have is this moment.

Life is made of moments. Some day, the moments will only be memories. Time is precious and people are precious and that’s really all we need to know. Treat both as such.

Be Careful Little Eyes

I weigh myself daily. I record my weight in a journal everyday. This is before I have a sip of water or a cup of coffee. This is right after I’ve gone to the bathroom to ensure I weigh as little as possible. This is before I read my daily affirmation on my calendar. This is before I wake my daughter for school. This is my routine. Everyday.

I’ve never thought much about this, until I found a little blue sticky note, where in pencil in a child’s hand my daughter had recorded her weight twice. My seven year old. My heart sank with the realization that my seven year old is concerned about her weight. But in today’s society, it wouldn’t be unheard of. In a home where her mother is weight conscious, it’s not a bit surprising either. If we don’t think for one second our kids are watching our every move, we are fools. We are being watched, listened to, and even more important to note, we are being imitated.

I chart my weight in order to stay on top of it because if I don’t, it can easily get out of control. Would I like to lose weight? Sure would. But I try to be very careful what I say around my kid that is weight related. When I was a kid, my mom always said she was fat. So I thought she was fat, because kids have this trusting tendency to believe everything grownups tell them. Right or wrong. When I see pictures of my mom from my childhood (very few), she is not fat at all. She’s just regular. An average mom who thought she was fat. So I get that, I really do. I don’t want to pass that one on. So I am cautious to not speak of myself as fat or turn my nose up at myself in the mirror with a  big UGH.

We know how society is affecting our young children, especially girls, with its supermodels, photoshopped pictures and airbrushed glossy magazine covers. That’s all true.  My mind was put at ease when I learned that my daughter is tracking her weight because she is wanting to gain weight so she can outgrow her booster seat. Isn’t that just like a kid, trying to grow up before their time?

But this sticky note put a lot of thoughts in motion for me. It gave me an opportunity to  pause a moment and look hard at myself. My words. My actions. Our kids are living in the world we create for them. What are they seeing? What are they hearing? What are they imitating?

Do they see us lash out at the people we profess to love the most after a hard day at work? Do they see us lose our temper and hear us curse? Do they see our frustrations and road rage? Do they hear us complain about everything….the service, they traffic, the wait, the co-workers, the teachers, the bills. Do they listen to us gossiping with friends and making fun of others? Do they see us give money to the man with the cardboard sign? Do they hear us apologize when we’re wrong, and sometimes, we are. Do they hear us compliment a stranger’s shoes or see us drop what we’re doing to a lend a helping hand? Do they see us staring at our phone at every red light or line we wait in? Do they see us praising God, even in hard times, and down on our knees in prayer?

This little blue sticky note in my child’s handwriting was a huge Note to Self. It reminded me of how powerful my influence is on those around me. Not just kids, but most importantly kids. Most importantly this one kid. Remember I said she was sleeping when I do my weighing and charting? Well, not every time obviously. There are times she’s watching. And listening. And imitating.

So are others.

Never underestimate the power you have. You can have such an important impact on others. You may not think your words and actions are making a difference, but they are. You make a difference. Make sure it’s a good one.

Cheers to 7 Years

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Happy 7th birthday, my precious darling child! When you were born, I got a lot of advice.  I didn’t ask for it, by the way, but sometimes people just like to give it. One of the most common things I heard was “Don’t blink. They grow up so fast.” I’m sure I’ve already given this advice out to new moms and if I haven’t, I’m sure I will. It is the God honest truth. There is nothing truer in this world than how fast time flies. How in the world has seven years passed already?

It makes me sad sometimes. You’re infancy, toddlerhood, and now half of your childhood is just a memory. Well cherished.  You are a ray of sunshine everyday to me. Rod Stewart (I know you’ve never heard of him, and I should change that) says, “You fill my heart with gladness. You take aways all my sadness. You ease my troubles, that’s what you do).

This birthday, you asked for a glitter water bottle, pink hair extensions, a doll from Hobby Lobby named Emma “who looks just like me!” and a Rubix cube. You lost your third tooth this week. It’s a top one and you look so funny. Sorry kid, but you do. You were so excited to lose it before you turned seven. And your toothless grin makes me smile! You are a little prankster and you love to trick me and your dad. Of course, we never fall for it, but we act like we do. You’ll get this someday when you’re playing dumb for your kids, too. You love to play games. You give the best squeezes. Right now you are over the moon about llamas! You want everything llama themed, from your toothbrush to your bedroom.  So naturally, we had a llama birthday party! You wanted to go to the Plaza and have them sing happy birthday, so we managed that too! You truly don’t ask for much, and you are just happy and content no matter what.

51223912_10219215884014754_175594532396597248_nYou love your family and gymnastics so much! You really are passionate about that. You set goals for yourself, and you are hoping to get first place at one of your gymnastics meets. I’m proud of you for striving, but please always know it is not what you do that matters. You matter, already. No matter what you do or don’t do. You are loved, you are adored, you are worthy, you are deserving. You don’t ever, ever, ever have to earn love. You are loved. You are love. We will always love you. I know you’re going to grow so fast. I cherish the days I have with you. I try to see the world through your eyes. It’s hard, because grown ups have lost that childlike joy, imagination, and wonder. But you keep it alive in our house. Even when we’re tired and don’t want to play or imagine, you make us and it’s good for us. You love to wrestle with your dad and you love to snuggle with your mom. You are our gift. I mean that. I don’t know where we would be without you, but it would never be as grand and wonderful as where we are today. May you always know how much you’re loved and may you love life, always!

I love you more than you can ever understand,

XOXO
Mama

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