DEAR RAE

_MG_6510

Dear Rae,

You are 15 months old now. You have gained inches and lost pounds in the last few months. You have learned that screaming for what you want will get you nowhere and kisses get you everywhere. Kisses help everything and I am so glad this is the month you’ve figured that out. I received twelve in a row yesterday! Twelve!!

You have a new found interest in sunglasses. I am thrilled and even more eager for spring, when we have reason to wear them!

Every morning we wake up to the sound of you singing. Your Daddy and I adore this wake-up call, however, most days I think Penelope wishes you wouldn’t sing quite so loudly.

Your habits of moving everything in the house to a new far off, sometimes secret location drive me nuts, but you are nothing short of perfect. I would tell you to ignore what Mommy says when she is cranky and flat out tired of putting your mess away, but you seem to have ignoring me under control.

You still have trouble differentiating toys / small trash from food. Keeping me on my toes, for sure. Feel free to out grow this at any time. How about today?

When you happen upon your sister after going five minutes without seeing her face you literally scream for joy! Most mornings you breeze right past me, grab your coat and sunglasses, then wait by the door in the hopes Daddy will take you to work with him. Every time my rump hits the floor you sprint over to me, give me a big bear hug, turn around and sit on my lap so we can snuggle. I am inspired by your enthusiasm for the people you love.

Anytime you see your daddy or I grabbing food to cook you begin crying in the hopes that we will feed you. You continue crying until food is in your mouth, even if it takes forty minutes for us to get supper on the table. You did not inherit my lungs. However, you did inherit my monkey hair, which looks adorable on you. 😉

At this point in your life you are called by many names in a day – Amelia, Mia, Trouble, Stinker, Mila, “Uugggghhhhh!” and Raaaaaaae!!!! I am sure you will out grow most of these. Which is your favorite? I prefer Amelia, obviously, but I can’t help but smile at the nicknames you’ve acquired.

We love you little nugget, (Oh, look! Another one!)

Mama

DEAR MAE

_MG_5168

My beautiful baby,

You steal my heart daily. I yearn for your delicate voice when we are apart. The gentleness you carry about you is inspiring, the way you seem to flutter and float from place to place, never raising your voice except when you are joyful. Going the extra mile to say “Yes you may,” when most would’ve simply said yes. Nothing but love is in your soul. I pray you will carry that with you as you grow.

You have been taking Amelia under your wing lately. You are eager to show her the ropes of being a big girl. You and you alone have taught her how to color, how to build a proper Lego castle, and, most recently, how to do simple chores. Curiously, your chores…

You are a great sister P.

Your favorite thing lately is Maple. She is your happy place. I love finding that you have locked yourself in the laundry room with her, just to watch her sleep. Your heart is huge and growing by the minute. I pray someday God will bless you with children of your own in whatever form He sees fit. You have so much love to give. Never bottle it up. I’ve seen how brightly you can shine. How raw your love can be. Share it. Share it without bias.

Ninety-nine percent of your clothes are way too small for you now. When did you sneak a growth spurt past us? Your dresses are now shirts. Your pants are now capris. They only make you look that much bigger.

I love you so much.

You dance as though you feel the music in your soul. Oh how I wish I could feel that freedom.

You began singing this week. Television theme songs, songs as they appear in your favorite princess movies, even Kirk Franklin’s soulful music – loud, proud and with your eyes shut so tight. No doubt in my mind that the Lord feels your passion, my love. You make up your own songs and sing books instead of ‘reading’ them (This I believe is Daddy’s doing!)

Lately you have been asking for board games and hot chocolate with marshmallows. I would give you the moon, Mae. You need only ask.

We will no doubt fight in the future. Probably a lot. None of it matters P. Not really. You are loved with the fiercest undying passion. Never forget this. This is what matters. This is as true as the Lord Himself. As much as I could ever love you, He loves you so much more.

When you need advice, sweet girl, go to Him first. He will have any answer you seek. I will always be here for comfort in your times of need. A shoulder to cry on. A bear hug will always be waiting. I will always have time to snuggle, even when you are fifty-seven and suddenly and desperately need your Mommy.

You will have best friends in your life. I’d like you to know, should you ever find yourself without one, I’ll be here. Never judging only loving you with everything I’ve got.

Oh my shiny Penny,

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

DEAR RAE

January_5

My darling teething Rae,

I suppose I should start this letter / / update by telling future Rae about your teething experience. The Lord has been kind enough to cover my ears, and calm my frustrations so that I may remember that you are but a wee lady in the swarm of screams and tears. Helpless beauty. Your pain makes me feel helpless. So helpless. He reminds me to take advantage of these times when snuggling cures all ailments. He has certainly heard many a thank you for the invention of teething tablets, and will sure hear plenty more by the time this feat is over. This is my first experience with painful teething as a parent. We’ll get through this together Rae. No doubt bloody, sweaty, and crawling to the finish line, but Lord willing, we can do it!

You make a classic ordinary game of peek-a-boo an e x t r e m e game of peek-a-boo. No doubt your favorite past time. You tuck your self as far as you can behind the fridge or the behind a wall and then lunge yourself into view squealing “Dun nun nah” to the tune of “There she is!” 

Your go-to dance move used to be bobbing up and down whilst swaying your arms. Yesterday you improved upon that masterpiece. You now walk about in a circle or, my personal favorite, a sort of march. You march to the beat (bravo for that, white girl!) in a straight line, swiftly turn about face and march back to point A. You b e a m when you dance. You push the limits of how much smile your tiny face can hold. Never hide that smile.

You have discovered a new laugh, which you put on repeat as if trying to perfect it. I do have to say, I am more fond of this giggle, much easier on the ears than your high-pitched scream that usually indicates you are experiencing a moment of joy.

You have begun saying words!! Sort of. 😉

bah bah / / dadda : : Bye Bye (while waving)

mah mah : : Mommy

mamamamamama…. : : Grandma

dah : : Maple (I believe this is really you saying ‘that thing’, referring to Maple)

dadda : : Daddy

duh dun :  : Thank you (said to the tune of thank you)

mo mo : : more (you wave both hands frantically for this, and I only hear you say it for food)

I am often busy doing dishes or cleaning up baby tornado aftermath. For this I am sorry. Sunday you and I, just you and I, played in your new room exploring old toys as new ones. You tried hats on me, I tried necklaces on you. You filled with glee as I rocked you on your plastic pony. We cooked a pot of plastic pineapple, an egg and a wooden puzzle piece. It was delicious. Lets do that again soon, okay?

I love you sweet baby girl,

Mama

DEAR MAE & RAE

IMG_2710

Dear Darling Beauties,

Oh how you fill my heart. Nothing brightens my day faster than watching the two of you talking amongst one another, playing softly in the distance, or playing a game of follow the leader, your giggles filling every nook of our home.

Penelope, you hug your sister’s neck so very tight. The tighter the hug the more love it holds, right? I get it. However, Amelia does not.

I love the way you adore her.

Amelia, you will follow your sister to the ends of the earth without any hesitation. She is without a doubt your favorite person.

You are bold. You hold nothing back. You make your feelings known, good or bad. You melt our hearts with a flash of your smile, and lucky for us, you smile at just about everything.

I can tell already, the two of you will be a force to be reckoned with. An unbreakable bond will keep you two together through whatever life throws at you. You are forgiving of one another.

When Amelia gives you an open mouth kiss, Penelope, you take it with a giggle. When you see that Mia doesn’t have a toy, you offer up your favorite.

I love you two with such a fierce undying love. I am tempted to wake you up from a nap, as I often do, I miss you so much. I long to hold you.

You are more than welcome to grow taller and grow older, but please never outgrow each other.

Oh, and Amelia, please stop throwing food on the floor.

Love, Mama.

DEAR RAE: : BIRTHDAY EDITION!

_MG_1139

Dear sweet Miss Rae,

Tomorrow you are turning one.  I know, oh how I know, I will blink and you will be sixteen, I’ll blink again and we will be celebrating your fiftieth. Those days will mean so so much to your Daddy and I. An arrow (of joy!) piercing our hearts just as sharply as it does today.

This particular milestone of yours is special in its own way.

We lost Jack two years and one month from this very day.  I can’t help but to see Jack in you. I wonder, as I watch you play, how much the two of you are alike. I know the Lord has a plan. How blessed we are to know you are in ours.

We will have our time with Jack. Time that was not meant to be spent here. I don’t know what we would do without you. You are part of my soul. I hope and plea with the Lord that I will cherish you properly each day and let you know your worth.

You are my heart. You know how to make me feel as though I can conquer the world with just a glance. Just a grin. Just a simple nuzzle.

You are significant.

You are a tease, making sure only to acknowledge Mama’s neck bending attempts to get even the teensiest of smooches from you. When you do decide to humor my pleas, you plant big open mouth kisses right on my lips, stretch an enormous grin upon your face, and close your performance with a round of applause for yourself.

I pray someday you will see yourself as I see you.

You are loved Rae. Loved with the deepest, heaviest love my human heart can offer. You and Penelope p u s h me to break the boundaries of this love each day.

You have wind in your sails.

You will surely be a force to be reckoned with.

You are a mover and a shaker.

You are a one woman stampede.

You are a snuggle monster for a mere 2.7 seconds at a time. [I’ll take it.] For that 2.7 seconds you give it your all. Nuzzles, squeezie hugs, back pats, all sprinkled with a softly spoken, “Mama.”

We adore you Mia, Happy Birthday!

DEAR MAE : : BIRTHDAY EDITION!

DSC_0799 (2)
Dear sweet sweet Mae,
Today is your third birthday!
I could say these three years have flown by but it would not be true. It has been a full & beautiful three years. Full of giggles, and oh so many smiles.Three years of hearing your sweet delicate voice. Three years full of you. Perfect little you. Life would be so much less with out you…and quite frankly no fun at all!
We love you so much.
You declare, “Oh my! I love it!” when you come across something you adore, and “Dis be awesome!” when we are taking you on an adventure to somewhere new. You bring joy to each and every moment.
You run with a kind of bounce. While it is adorable beyond words at age three I can imagine running in such a manner would be embarrassing at say, age sixteen, but I hope you hold on to it as long as you can.
You turn away from any sad or scary parts in movies. You feel such deep compassion for characters in trouble, characters in pain, characters you conclude really just, in the end, “miss their Daddy.” You make us better.
You will one day want to grow up to be like Daddy and I, but I hope with all of my being that we grow up to be like you dear sweet shiny penny.
I am blessed –so blessed!- to be able to stay home with you. To see every moment of your life. I try to soak up all that I can. Some days I get distracted. Frustrated. “Cranky.” These days you are sure to show me what is important. You and Amelia are all I need to distract me. Dishes can wait until you’re asleep, right? You bet your tiny hiney they can, and thanks to you, they will.
Snuggling with you beats rock, paper, and scissors. Every time.
You love sparkles and bright red lips. You gasp at the beauty of Mama’s costume jewelry. Given your way, every lady would wear a dress every day. You dance like you mean it. You do everything with your entire heart. I wish I could love like you. You make me believe I could.
Thank you, darling Ploppy, for letting me hug you as tight as I can, kiss you as many times as I wish, and stare at you as long as I desire.
Happy birthday Penelope.
I love you.

Dear Mae

DSC_9125
Ah, Miss Mae,
You have been such a help to Mama and Daddy this week! You sand better than a Craftsman and avoid trays of paint like naptime at Grandma’s! A remodeling Mama’s dream!
Since buying our home, you have learned to hold your tiny hiney on the potty independently. My well rested arms thank you kindly.
You are eager to refresh Amelia’s Puff supply and round up a crinkle toy or two when Mama and Daddy are busy fixin’ up the house.
Thanks for being awesome!
Mama.

Dear Rae

DSC_8033b
Miss Amelia.
You are growing so fast. You are a second child, which for Mama and Daddy means time with you will fly by much quicker than with Penelope. You are also advancing faster than she did, which is not helping my mama heart cope. You are a joy to watch though!
This past week you have learned to hold your own bottle, sit up, and today you went from lying on your belly to sitting upright all on your own! You now say “Dada,” and feed yourself puff snacks. As much as I document your life, I feel as though you are advancing too quickly, leaving me unable soak up memories of your milestones. I am so proud of you. You are so smart. You are beautiful. You are a love of my life. You make me a better person. I am so blessed to know you and share my life with you.
We love you Mia!

Dear Rae

DSC_7082ag
A-Rae,
Yesterday evening, as I was editing photos, I glanced up and saw that you had stopped playing with your crinkle block and were now wearing a grin aimed at right at me. You were so happy. I couldn’t help but snatch you up and hold you tight.
I love you. 
You sat on my lap and snacked on banana puffs. Watching you figure out how to chew is so much fun. After each puff is successfully dissolved you suck your bottom lip in, just to make sure no piece had tried to run off. It is adorable.
I sang Phil Collin’s, “You’ll Be In My Heart,” to you as it played behind us. You joined in and made me so happy. I love to hear you sing.
You are a treat I have the pleasure of enjoying each and every day.
I love you.

Dear Mae

DSC_6795a
Dear Miss Mae,
I pray when you are fourteen, thirty-five…fifty, I can remember how it felt as you wrapped you slender, delicate arms so tight around my neck while we danced around the living room as the sun was rising over the trees this morning. How, after a tight squeeze, you gently pat me on my back, only to ease your way into a smooch covered in the most innocent kind of love. You are a beauty.
You have some new cooler than cool dance moves. Moves that resemble a new born colt learning to walk. I’m convinced very few things in life could make me happier than experiencing you innocently and joyfully discover rhythm. You are already a better dancer than your Mama. 🙂