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

10 & 11 month old Eleanor

Hey there my sweet Ellie Belle,

Happy 11 months my little darling daughter! I’m combining these last 2 months since I didn’t get an opportunity to write to you last month. Life is busy and you, my dear, keep me hopping! I honestly don’t know how the time gets away where I can’t even find time to blog, but it sure does. Mostly the days are spent fixing you something to eat, fighting you to stay in your high chair, cleaning you, the high chair, and the floor after feeding you, watching every move you make so you don’t hurt yourself, picking up the cat food and water so you don’t spill them, then putting them back down because the cat is meowing about them being put up, holding you while you sleep because you won’t sleep more than 30 minutes by yourself, picking up all the tupperware and various items you’ve dragged out of the cabinets so you can drag them out again, and then I fix you something to eat because it’s already time again, fight you to stay in your high chair, clean you, the high chair, and the floor….you see the pattern don’t you? Rinse and repeat.

You are a fun loving little blast of a baby. You are very curious, very smart, and very much on the move. You began walking already! You took your first real steps at 10 months and 3 weeks after taking a couple here and there. But girl, you are accident prone. You truly need to learn cause and effect (and fast) so we can be spared many bumps, bruises, and tears. I can tell already, you’re the kid who is going to be on the top of the jungle gym and in the trees. I was a tree climber too and spent many of my best days stretching my imagination in the branches of some beloved trees.

I started taking you to the chiropractor to see if it would improve your sleep, so that’s a new experience for you. We began sleep training at the end of December and that’s a new experience for me. It’s not terrible, it’s not great, but we’ve got to get some sleep around here and your mama is at her wit’s end about it. You’re getting the hang of it. I’m the one who needs to be patient with you and not expect overnight miracles.

You really are so fun! If it wasn’t for you, somedays I wonder if we would even laugh, but you are constantly cracking us up with your antics, faces, babbling, and overall cuteness. You are a people person, and we just don’t know how to deal with that since the other 3 of us really aren’t haha. But you love people. You interact with strangers in the stores when out and about. If someone isn’t paying attention to you, you do the cutest head tilt their direction and make sure they look your way. Then you give them the cutest toothy grin. You crinkle your eyes up and you get a little nose crinkle too. You have a little dimple in your right cheek. You are just adorable. And that’s the truth!

And smart! You watch everyone and everything they are doing. You can take lids off markers, unscrew lids off bottles, you understand everything we are saying even if you can’t tell us yet, and you copy behavior (good and bad). You are very vocal, yelling and telling us stories all day long. You make all the sounds except the m, I swear it. I don’t think you’ll ever say mama. Ha! I know there’ll come a day when I wish you’d stop saying mama when you’re driving me nuts. But we’re not there yet, so go ahead and get it out.

You’re my little buddy, my joy, my playmate. We have so much fun playing, dancing, singing, and loving each other. I will love you always and forever, as long as I’m drawing breath. Always know that. Never forget it.

XOXO,

Mama

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

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