Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Little One

Dear Emerson,

Happy 1st Birthday, little one! Mommy and daddy love you SO very much. We thank God every day for the gift of your life and praise Him that you are wonderfully made. Emerson, we are amazed each and every day as we watch you grow into such a precious little lady. It is simply amazing to us how much you have changed from the first day you entered this world. What an incredible day that was! Though it's hard to imagine, every day we spend with you is just a little better than the last! We are honored and humbled that God would allow us to raise you here on earth. Our prayer for your second year of life is this...that you will grow to know more about our Heavenly Father, that you will continue to develop your personality and interests, that you will continue to develop friendships and relationships, that you find joy in all you do, and that you will feel how much we love you!!!

October 28th, 2006...I never realized this date would mean so much to me. On this day, my whole life changed. On this day, God gave your daddy and I the most incredible gift! The little girl that we had prayed for, hoped for and dreamed about was finally here. You were even more perfect than we could have imagined. Of course you were created in God's image. Getting to meet you was one of the most wonderful days of our lives! I will never forget the moment the doctor laid you on my chest and I got to see your precious face. You were immediately quiet and as we stared at each other, the world stood still. I cherish those first few days so much. I cuddled you, watched your every move, held you, showed you off to our family and friends, studied your tiny little body, watched your daddy love on you, and just breathed you in!

Your first month was just magical to us. It was incredible to have you here and get to know all about you! You certainly amazed us with every little move and every little squeak. Oh, and how beautiful you were! We couldn't tear our eyes away from you. One of the things we loved most was watching you stretch your tiny body about! You would make the funniest little faces and squirm your little body around so sweetly. And anytime we picked you up, your little legs would pull up close to your tummy and you would arch your back so sweetly :o) We also loved to let you sleep on our chests - and you loved it too! So, we spent many hours doing just that! Your daddy and I rarely put you down that first month :o) We were loving getting to know you!

Your second month makes my heart swell. That month, you gave us your first smiles! Words can't really describe how precious that sight was to us. I remember we would lean in so close to your face, give you kisses and watch you move those little lips into a smile. Unreal! Your daddy was best at making you smile and you were always super smily in the mornings. I just fell in love with your sweet face. In fact, you really started becoming very expressive this month. Your facial expressions were just priceless. The one that made daddy and me really giggle was when you would furrow your brow and look at us like you really weren't too sure about us. It was SO cute!

Month three was full of big changes. Most were bittersweet, but it made me start realizing just how quickly you were growing up! This month, you moved from sleeping in the pack 'n play in our bedroom to your own "big girl" bed. It was really hard for me to let you do this, but you were ready. You did SO well and I could tell that you loved having your own space :o). You started sleeping a good 8-9 hours through the night which made us all so happy! This month also brought about the hardest thing I've ever had to do...I started back to work and had to spend two days a week away from my precious baby. You adjusted very well and really enjoyed spending those days with Kennedy. Looking back, those were certainly difficult days for me, but God blessed us all so much throughout. I am so thankful for that time. Oh, and this month, you pretty much ditched the pacifier and found your fingers. You tried a few different fingers for a while and then settled on the first two (and are still going strong)! Very cute!

Your fourth month amazed us! You learned so many new things and changed a ton. We kept telling you to stop growing up so fast, but you really didn't listen. This month, you learned to roll over. I will never forget the look on your daddy's face when you did this for the first time...he was SO proud! I was just amazing to watch you move with such determination. You also started discovering how you could learn about new things by mouthing them. We loved to watch as you would stick everthing in your mouth and react to it :o). This little trick is also probably the reason you got sick for the first time. Those few days were just heart wrenching for daddy and me. We felt so helpless and hated seeing you hurt. Praise God for healing you quickly! One of my favorite memories from this month was your dedication at church. Your daddy and I feel so strongly about raising you in a community of believers and are so thankful that God has allowed us to do so. We promised that day to dedicate ourselves to raising you for the purpose God has created for you. We can't wait to see what God will do through you!

We simpy cannot believe how grown up you became during your fifth month! Little Miss Personality! For one, you were very chatty. We loved hearing all your little sounds and you must have too because you really didn't stop. You liked to tell us all about it :o)! You became SO independent too! You were never much of a cuddle-bug, but this month you really started pushing us away and wanted to comfort yourself. I remember feeling really sad when you refused to be rocked to sleep anymore. Everyone always told us we were so lucky that we could just lie you down and walk away, but I missed cuddling you! So most nights, after you had fallen asleep, I would sneak back into your room, pick you up and rock you while you slept! Sweet memories!

Month six was so much fun! Your daddy had been waiting so long to help feed you and now was his chance! You started eating some baby food this month and loved it right away! We started out with some baby cereal and loved to watch you eat. You would always try to help by grabbing the spoon and putting your hands in your mouth. This was certainly a messy process, but we enjoyed every second of it! You also found your toes this month and it was possibly the cutest thing we had ever seen. We always marvel at your flexibility and giggle when you suck those toes :o). We knew the day would come and it arrived this started rolling onto your tummy to sleep! After all the warnings we had learned about this, it was a little hard to rest easily at first. You, on the other hand, were sleeping like a rock! I like to think this is one way you are like your mommy, you are a tummy sleeper :o)! Oh, and your half-birthday came at the end of this month. We couldn't believe you are already six months old! Time sure flies...

Your seventh month was also full of changes! The best part was that I finished working and started getting to stay home with you! We had so much fun during our days and were so thankful for our time together :o). We also got to celebrate our first Mother's day, which was so special! I feel incredibly blessed to be your mommy! Then, you started sitting up all by yourself. We were sure that things got a lot more exciting for you now that you had a new view! We couldn't believe how grown up this seemed to make you and were excited for you. The saddest change of this month for me was that you decided to stop nursing. This was really hard for me because I had wanted to nurse you for a full year, but looking back, it worked out just fine. You were just showing us a little more of that independance :o)

During your eighth month, we really began to realize how fearless you are! You loved playing rough, hanging upside down, being thrown high in the air and never seemed very cautious. Daddy especially loved your "wild side"! You became super interested in people this month and would stare all the time! We thought it was adorable! You and daddy got to celebrate your first Father's day and I know he was so very proud on that day! You are certainly a daddy's girl and have that man all wrapped up :o). This month, you also became very interested in watching daddy and I eat, so we started giving you some finger foods. We were amazed at how quickly you caught on and loved eating "big people" food. From that day on, you always wanted to have something in front of you to eat while daddy and I fed you your baby food. We are so proud of what a good little eater you are! You have always eaten pretty much anything we put in front of you...veggies, meat, fruit, anything! Way to go!

You just seemed so grown up to us during your ninth month. We think it was because you became so mobile and independent as you started crawling. This also meant tons of new surprises for all of us. So many times, we would ask..."Emmy, what do you have in your mouth?" or say "No, ma'am." to keep you safe. I bet you wished we would just vacuum already and not give you so many temptations! My favorite thing you did this month was that you started imitating a lot of what we do. It was precious to watch you bang on the floor, "talk" on the phone or shake a toy just like we did! You are so sweet! Oh, and the kisses! We loved getting your kisses, no matter how they came...slimy, slobbery or just plain sweet, we can never get enough of your kisses!

Month ten was certainly one of my favorites because you started talking! Hearing that first word, "ball", was like music to my ears! We were so proud of you and so excited that you were starting to communicate with us through words. How exciting! You also started pointing to everything and we could tell you were trying so hard to learn new words. It was precious! This month, you had your first trip away from me and daddy when we went away for our anniversary. You were super and barely noticed we were gone :o). We, on the other hand, had a hard time not thinking of you every little second! This month brought even more independence as you learned to climb the stairs. So long were the days of daddy and I carrying you up to your playroom, you wanted to do it all by yourself!

You became such a ham during your eleventh month! Daddy taught you how to "fake" laugh and now you do it all the time! Even when you don't really think we are all that funny, you will give us a fake laugh out of pity. Thanks, sweetie-pie! Along with that sweet laugh came a little more attitude this month. In fact, you actually threw your first real fit! Daddy and I were so used to you being nothing but an angel that we were shocked to see you act this way. We knew we were about to start experiencing a whole new part of parenting! The exciting news of this month is that you finally grew some teeth! Three to be exact. We had been waiting so long and were worried it would mean several sleepless nights, but you were such a trooper. It didn't seem to bother you at all. And my favorite thing you started doing this month was playing "uh-oh". Although it gets a little tiresome to continually pick up the things you drop, it's worth it to hear you say "uh-oooooh" :o).

This past month leading up to your birthday has truly been such a joy! We love to watch you as you are learning new things and often think you must be "the smartest baby ever"! You are such a little sponge right now and it cracks us up to hear you make your little animal sounds, watch you find your body parts and hear all the words you are saying. God has given you so many gifts, little girl, and we can't wait to see how He will use them as you grow! One thing I am LOVING right now is that you have slowly started to become a little more cuddly. You will actually lay your head on my shoulder for a little while, let me scratch your back and even give a big hug! We can't get enough! You are full of surprises and amaze us with everything you do. You are really becoming such an incredible little girl!

We truly can't fathom that you are now our one-year-old little girl! This year has flown by and has become our favorite year as a family! You make us proud to be your mommy and daddy and we are so very thankful for you, Emerson! God has blessed us beyond measure with your life!

We Love You,
Mommy and Daddy