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 4 months

Hey Eleanor Beth!!!!

Happy 4 months to you my precious second born baby girl! Time is flying by and you are keeping your mama very busy. Wow, what a game changer you have been in our lives….in the best way possible. Sometimes in life you can’t really know what you’re missing or how badly you might need something (or someone) until they come crying into the world on a cold Monday morning in February. You were born smack dab during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the whole world to lose their minds. You were a scheduled C-Section and due to hospital protocols, your daddy wasn’t going to be able to be in the OR and was going to have to watch your birth via IPAD from the hospital room. But just a few days before you were scheduled to be born, they pulled that requirement and he was able to be right by my side and there when you sounded your first cry. The doctor pulled you out and said “We have a strong one”, but I already knew that! You had been a mover and a shaker inside me the entire pregnancy and you have not stopped since. As a matter of fact, at your 20 week scan, the technicians remarked right away that you were going to be a hard one to take pictures of. During the scan, you were all over the place. You are a very active baby, super alert, always looking around with those big eyes, which by the way are a bizarre color right now. They started out as a dark gray and are just now beginning to get some more color to them. I’m sure you’ll be a brown eyed beauty, but time will tell. They might be hazel, or an lighter shade of brown.

Your hair is dark, and very short! You lost most of your hair in the past few months and were a cute little baldie for a while. Now, it’s beginning to fuzz back out, and it looks like it may have a bit of auburn to it. You have skin as white as cream. My first reaction to you was that I couldn’t believe how white you were! And still are. Your grandy said she wants to call you Snow and asked if that was okay. I told her it was a lot better than tub o’ lard which she had just called you minutes before. You are not a tiny thing anymore. You were just a little sprite when you were born at 6 lbs 12 oz. Everyone remarked about how tiny you were. You looked like a little baby doll with the most perfect head and creamy white skin, sleeping soundly most of the time with your little eyelashes resting on your cheeks, but boy did you catch up quick. I think you’re weighing in around 14 pounds right now, wearing 3-6 months, which is just perfect! Shortly after birth, we discovered that you had a tongue tie so you had that corrected at 3 weeks old. Immediately afterwards, you found your voice and haven’t stopped hollering since. Another nickname you affectionately have been given by me is Yellin’ Ellen. Oh man, you love to talk. You coo, sing, growl, yell, and loudly at that! You are so happy most of the time. You are all smiles to everyone, and you have begun to laugh and giggle. No one can get you to laugh as much as your sister Emma Kate. Sometime all it takes is a look, and your eyes crinkle up and out comes a great giggle.

What are you up to these days? Let’s see. You rolled over a few times from tummy to back and then decided that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and haven’t rolled since. You love to work your legs though and try to stand with help of course, whenever someone is holding you. You suck on your hands all the time and you’re beginning to love that thumb a little too much. The binky is not your favorite and you thrust it right out. You have begun rolling on your side when your on your back. You can hold onto things for a little while before dropping them and are starting to just reach for things some. You love your bath and lying on your changing pad. You can end up nearly across the room when lying on the floor on your back. You arch your back and straighten your legs and scoot backwards a pretty good distance. And you have a remarkable talent of pooping right when it’s time to leave to go somewhere and I’m running late already.

You have many nicknames. So don’t you dare get in trouble with the law, because your aliases will take up most of your rap sheet. Some people call you Eleanor or Ellie or Ella or Ellie B. Grandy wants to call you Snow. A friend of Emma’s wants to call you Little Fawn because your birthmark on your forehead is shaped like a deer head. Sometimes you just go by Baby, and I like to call you Joy. You are the joy in our life, the joy in our hearts, you are bringing Joy to everyone around you and you are filled with Joy. You are heaven sent, little one, there is no doubt that God is playing a hand in this one. You arrived to us after 2 miscarriages and at the ripe old ages of 45 and 47. You are nothing short of a miracle. I may not know your purpose for coming. I may not ever know your reason for joining us, but we are so joyfully blessed to have you and are loving every loud, active second we spend with you!

This was a lot to cover I know. There is probably not many things stronger than mom guilt and I have felt real bad that I haven’t written a letter to you yet, like I did Emma. I wrote each month of her first year and then every year after that on her birthday, up until this year, since I was eleven days shy of birthing you, and I found myself not doing what I’d intended to do. You see, I was the fourth born of four kids and I know what’s it’s like to have an empty baby book. So even though as your mom, I will fail you many times, please don’t ever ever equate my failure with a lack of love for you. You are loved more than you can ever know.

We have an unspoken agreement that you may not be aware of yet. And that, dear one, is that you’ve got to go easy on your old mom. I can’t wait for our fun and adventures and each day I get to spend loving you!

XOXO,

Mommy

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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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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On Your 6th Birthday

My dearest Emma,

You are now six years old.  This year has been a whirlwind.  Heck, your whole life has been a whirlwind. How is it that you were so tiny just a little bit ago? A little bundle. It seems so far away, and at the same time, it feels like yesterday.

You want to be so big. We have a measuring chart hanging in our house and sometimes you check to see if you’ve grown everyday. You got your first big girl haircut, cutting your  waist long hair up around your shoulders. You just lost your first tooth, and already have another one a’wigglin’.  You want your ears pierced so badly, but your daddy is hesitant, so we’re putting you off a while longer. Just slow down a bit, kiddo. It goes so fast. We have time. We have time. There’s one thing, though. You still let me hold you. Every morning, you sit in my lap and let the sleep fade away in the dark morning. I love it so much.

You are the smartest kid. I am constantly amazed at your reasoning. You are sensitive and logical, also a bit melodramatic at times.  I might add you have a tad bit of a little temper. It’s not a good thing to have. Learn to control it and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of trouble down the road. You are witty and funny. You love a good joke and you think practical jokes are the funniest! We often find our bathroom toiletries all rearranged or your dad will find something you’ve stuck in his boot. You act silly and dance around the house unashamedly moving and grooving.

You are a pure joy. We have so many laughs and so many good times together. My favorite is when you say “I love you so much! You’re the best mommy in the world.” You have no idea how much I love you, Emma. You’re the best girl in the whole wide world!

XOXO,

Mama

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2 Years Old

Emma Kate Darling,

Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

Oh I hope you know how much you are loved. But I’m sure you don’t. Of all the thousands upon thousands of words I have to use, there aren’t enough to convey it.

And not to boast or anything, (well maybe just a little), but you love your mommy right back. I mean a whole lot. Me and you? We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Or milk and cookies. Like hot chocolate and marshmallows or strawberries and cream. The two are better than one. Of the two years of your life, so far we have only been away from one another for a few hours at a time. 24/7 that’s me and you.

I keep thinking back to this day two years ago when you came screaming and crying into our world. People said my life would never be the same, and boy is that the truth. It is all the more enjoyable because of you.

So what does a 2 year old like you like? Right now, you really love Cinderella and you sing a lot. You pick up items to use as your microphone, and sing into it. You like to play dress up in your plastic, clompy heels and have tea parties with your daddy. You really love the playground and don’t like leaving once we’re done. There’s so many other things. Your dogs: Drew, Grace and Ozzie, your chickens, and your new fish Snowman. You make sure we wait for you to get your purse and put it on your shoulder when we take out the trash. You like to drive your daddy’s truck, so for Christmas you received a pink Barbie jeep but you barely push it to make it go one inch, then stop it.

People think you are timid and shy, but I think you are cautious. And that is a smart thing to be. You like to stay close to your people when we’re in a new place or around a lot of people and you don’t really talk to strangers or even look them in the eye. And that’s just fine for now. There’s not an impulsive bone in your body. You are an observer and a thinker. You wait and watch rather than jumping right in. And even though others might think they can boss you around, you know how to stand up for yourself. You have a strong voice and an opinion and you aren’t afraid to use it. Some of your favorite things to say right now sound very oppositional if you know what I mean.

But you also say so many sweet, kind things too. You are learning your manners very well and say thank you so much, please, excuse me and you tell people bless you when they sneeze. You say “I love you much” and if we’re really lucky we get hugs and kisses. You like to give long kisses until we start to laugh and our teeth bump. You give love pats and like to snuggle up in bed. You have a tender little heart at times and are learning compassion. You crawled into my lap and placed your hands on my face and asked me what’s wrong the other day when I was frustrated with something. Just last night you made me laugh when you fell upon the ground with your head resting on your forearms repeating, “It’s no use. It’s no use.” (learned from Cinderella) when you didn’t get your way. It is very obvious that you are a result of your environment and your daddy and I are trying our very best to show you the right way and give you strong examples to follow.

Of course books are still one of your favorite things but you’re pretty fond of movies as well. We take a weekly outing to the library for a story time and we take a weekly outing to a play group where you have lots of friends. Right now we’re working on learning to share and not be a Bossy Bessie!

Of course you’re smart. You have been from day one when you looked at us with those big alert eyes and understood everything we said to you. You are a talker with a big vocabulary, but you get a little frustrated at times when we don’t know what you’re trying to tell us. You have things memorized already like songs and the previews to Cinderella. You found this Youtube video months ago called egg surprise that you watch over and over and can recite verbatim. You are fully potty trained right now and are showing your independence with wanting to dress yourself and put your shoes and socks on.

You are a small, petite child. And healthy!!! Fortunately, we haven’t had to see a doctor in quite some time, so by our calculations you are about 32 inches tall and weigh about 22.5 pounds. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made and uniquely you. There is no one else like you sweet Emma. I must say I believe I won the jackpot with you.

Two years ago, you came into our world and settled right into our hearts. I have a very special place for you in mine. You will always be my little baby no matter how old or tall or heavy you grow and my desire is for you to have the best possible childhood available to you. I want you to know you are loved. I want you to remember good times with your family. I want you to understand that spending time with you is more important to us than spending money on you. I want you to be kind and generous and compassionate to others. I hope you read this letter when you’re sixteen and you think I hate you. I want you to know that always and forever our love for you is full, unlimited, and unconditional. That nothing you could/would/should ever do will change that. Ever. You are my joy, my love, my sunshine, my hope, my wealth, my legacy.

You are my love.

Happy Birthday, cupcake.

XOXO,

MomMEE ( how you say it, with emphasis on the second syllable)

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