Sunday, July 3, 2011

Six Month Letter

Dear Clara,

And with that, you're officially 6 months old. I can't believe I'm writing that. It feels as though you've been a part of our family and our lives forever. It's hard to remember what it was like with 'just' 3 of us. I do remember that it was easier, A LOT easier, but the amount of love that you've added to our family, our little unit is immeasurable.
You never fail to make us smile. Your cries are infrequent, but when you do, you jet out your lower lip and make us all pout with you. It's adorable.
You're such a happy baby. Easy going. You only really fuss when something is seriously wrong. You're a pleasure to be around, and you're adaptable to each person as you meet them.
We baptized you this month, Clara. You did so well, no tears, no naps, but a lot of love.
Aunt Laura had deemed herself your Fairy Godmother and Uncle Andy is your Godfather. We know they'll watch out for you. We know Uncle Andy will be vital to ensuring Dad's 'No Dating Until You're 30' policy stays intact. He'll arrest anyone that asks you out on a date. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I love your little personality. You love to smile, to laugh, to make us laugh. Your favorite activity is to watch your sister. I know sooner rather than later, you'll be following her around. But for now, you watch.
With your big brown eyes. I wanted you to have brown eyes. It looks like they're headed in that direction. They make me smile almost as much as your hair.
:) You love to jump, jump, jump in your jumpy. You could play in that thing all day if we'd let you! You're so very strong, my dear. Daddy is already calling you his little soccer player.
There's that hair! I fully expected it to fall out, but it's held on. Often times, I think it looks like a little toupee. I can only imagine how it will look when it's long and curly!
Sigh, half a year old. What will I ever do with you? How can I keep you small, loving, non-mobile and non-verbal? Just like with your sister, I cherish these moments, because I know they'll soon be gone. I've been packing up your newborn and 3 month clothes slowly as it's the last time I'll ever pack up clothes that tiny. The last time I'll wash them. I'll continue to cheer your developmental milestones, but I'll also mourn the months as they go by. I'll do my best to document, for you, for me but I'm honestly struggling to keep up. You're growing so very fast!
I love you, Peanut. You'll always be my peanut. Thank you for being you.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jenna.

Dear Jenna,

First off, let me apologize for not getting a 'Happy 2nd Birthday' letter written for you. When you turned 2, I was in a difficult position. I had just been laid off, had no job and was newly pregnant. I didn't want to divulge that information on the internet and didn't end up getting the letter done. That being said, I thought you changed a lot from 1-2, the difference between 2-3 is amazing.

You didn't grow up so much in regard to your features, but your hair grew and grew. Your smile and eyes still have the same sense of wonder, the same sparkle. But your mannerisms, your flair for life, your bossy toddlerhood truly emerged.
You're a clear leader. You'd be a dictator if we'd let you. You have an opinion. One that we hear whether we want to or not. Sometimes, that's a good thing....
Other times, well, it's difficult for all involved. You went from using toddler words and sucking your thumb to well, still sucking your thumb but speaking in sentences.
And dress up. Oh, the dress up. If we let you dress up, we had to prepare ourselves for the end of the day when it was time to take the dress up clothes OFF. Tantrum city. But seeing you in your princess goods with your shoes on the wrong feet was worth it every time.
Because you're beautiful.
And you make us laugh. A lot.
We moved you into a big girl bed in the fall of 2010. You picked out the bedding all by yourself and were so very pleased with your pink princess bedding. The transition went a lot smoother than your Dad and I anticipated, and we got a little sniffly when we realized you really are growing up faster than we'd like.
Your speech blows us away. Speaking in full sentences. Repeating ANYTHING you hear, in context, up to a few weeks after you heard it. You're smart, big girl. Brilliant even. It keeps us on our toes and it forces us to try to stay one step ahead. We aren't always able to keep up.
Our family of 3. Not for much longer :)
This year you were so excited for the holidays. You remembered last year, but this year you really understood that if we went trick or treating, you would get CANDY. You also loved to dress up in your costume, which resulted in tears each and every day we asked you to take it off.
Which leads me to the day I bribed you for a nap. Because we're trying to stay one step ahead of you, I told you you could try on my wedding dress, but only if you took a nap. A GOOD nap. One that would let Mommy rest as I was pregnant and tired that day. And you did. You were SO VERY EXCITED to try on my wedding dress, even though you couldn't move in it. I have fond memories of dressing up in my Mom's wedding dress. It's the primary reason behind me holding on to my dress, for you, for your sister to play dress up.
Those blue eyes. You will forever have both your Dad and I wrapped around your finger with a glance in our direction. As for boys, you won't be permitted to date until you're 30, per your Dad's rules. Keep those eyes away from the boys.
More dresses. We can no longer go shopping for you while you tag along. Now you have an opinion. You have to pick out the outfit. If we pick something you don't like, well, we don't purchase it. You have to pick out your outfit. Gone are the days of dressing you up as I pleased. Now we must coordinate around YOU. One would think you were a teenager or something.
And then you became a big sister. You love your sister so very much. Sometimes too much, especially in the beginning. You wanted to hold her, love her, SQUEEZE her.
I was so proud of your transition into sisterhood. You are very protective of YOUR baby sister, Clara Jane. You let anyone that glances in her direction know her name and that she's yours. You never asked to send her back. You knew she was part of our family and you welcomed her with open arms, ready to squeeze her. And love her and squeeze her some more.
We still try to get one on one play time with you, however. You don't seem to need it, but I think your Dad and I like the one on one time with you for us. It's good to remember that you were here for all that time without Clara, and even though it's hard to remember those days since she fell into our lives so seamlessly, it's fun to spend time walking, talking and playing with you as a big girl.

You're such a ham. You LOVE the camera. It works out well as I'm a shutterbug.
I keep trying to step out of my comfort zone and allow you to help me bake. This was another thing I used to do with Grandma when I was little. I have fond memories of baking with her. As far as letting you bake with me, we do, on occasion, when I'm ready to clean up the big mess. But you LOVE licking the mixer almost as much as I do :) You get the mixer wand and I get the spatula. We make a great team.

Your relationship with Daddy makes me swoon. I love to see the two of you together, I love to see him teach you, I love to see you learn. It's really awesome.

Big girl, you really are awesome. So intelligent. So beautiful. You make each and everyday a challenge. I remind myself often to love you as you are today because as I already know, time flies by. I can't believe you're *3*!
Happy birthday, big girl. You'll start preschool this next year. I've realized how quickly the time has gone by, and how little time I have left before you're in 'real' school. You're growing up before our eyes and I cheer the developmental leaps you're making at the same time I mourn the toddlerhood you're trying to leave behind. Can I keep you like this forever?
I love you very much, Bean.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Five Month Letter

Dear Clara,

Peanut, you're growing by leaps and bounds. Suddenly, you've decided staying petite is for the birds, and you're growing, growing, growing! We recently had your check up and you were just shy of 14 pounds. You're still on the small side, but catching up to the average very quickly.

You, my dear, are quite the chatterbox. You like to 'yell' at your sister in particular, to get her attention and to try to get her to talk to you. You absolutely adore her and that makes me so very happy. You're currently working on bringing in your bottom two teeth and you again have shown us that you are very different from your sister in that you'll fuss a bit, but if we give you something to chew on (even if only our wrist), you're a happy camper.
We recently brought your jumper home and you are a VERY happy girl. You love to jump and jump and jump the day away. Your legs are getting strong. Dr. Covin (your pediatrician) had you standing (supported) and was trying to encourage you to take a step. I scolded him and told him we're not ready for a mobile baby! You have, however, figured out how to maneuver around on your belly... you kind of scoot and kick and pull and suddenly you're 180 degrees from where we put you down and 2 feet away from the original location. I refuse to believe you're going to be crawling in a few short months. That doesn't stop you from trying.
You don't fuss often, but when you do, it's mighty cute. I still haven't gotten 'the' lip on film, but I had to snap this one before rescuing you because you are just too darn cute.
Pop Pop (Daddy's Grandpa) came out to visit along with your Great Aunt Reenie and Great Uncle Harold. They were so very excited to meet you! Aunt Reenie said you look a lot like her daughter (Daddy's cousin), Jeanine. Lots of curly hair and the O family skin tone. I'm so happy you had the opportunity to meet Pop Pop as I don't know that he'll be able to visit California again.
Clara, you're fun. You make coming home my favorite part of the day, just to see your big smile and watch you jump, jump, jump! But what I love even more than that is watching you make your sister giggle, who in turn makes you giggle and then the giggle fits spread to your Daddy & I, too. Life is good.
I love you so much. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being our happy easy baby. Thank you for only being 5 months old today. Now, you can stop growing, ok? Wait. I take that back. I am looking forward to seeing your personality continue to emerge, I know I've met you and I already know you, but I look forward to one day have the conversations I'm having with your older sister, with you. Just don't grow too fast, ok?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Four Month Letter

Dear Clara,

And suddenly, you're 4 months old. You've absolutely moved beyond the infant/sleepy/fussy/QUIET phase. In previous letters, I mentioned you being the 'quiet observer'. Peanut, that's no longer the case. You have officially discovered your voice, my dear and you use it often! You sound like a baby dinosaur with your screeches. It's adorable and you can have your Dad and I laughing hysterically within minutes.

You are a happy baby. As long as you're fed, and changed, you're quite content. I had to spend a night in the hospital this month and it absolutely broke my heart. I was away from you for more hours than I care to count. I had to give you formula because I didn't have enough milk stored and I was on medications that prevented me from feeding you. The formula made you smell different. You were a trooper and good for Daddy and Grandma while I was away. You were good to me and allowed me to rest to get better. I am better now, but I hope to never forget the torment of being apart, even if only a short period of time.
You adore your sister. She loves you, too, and I really hope you and she are able to have the relationship that continues like in the photo below for the rest of your lives. If not, I've taken the liberty of having that photo mounted on canvas so I can forever remember your relationship together at this age. You adore her, she can't get enough of you and we have to remind her to be gentle. You've NEVER complained or whined when she talks to you, sticks her fingers in your mouth (or eye, or nose, or grabs your hand, or hugs you firmly).
I love your hair. Your super curly wild and crazy hair. And your lips. Grandma thinks you got them from her, but I really think they're Daddy's lips. I just can't get enough. When you get upset, you jet your lip out and it's SO very sad. We can't help but scoop you up and rescue you as we chuckle at your perfect pouty lip.
You're beautiful, a joy to be around. You make life so much fun.
We had Easter at our house this year, you enjoyed soaking up all the attention in the bunny hat that Aunt Heidi and Uncle Mike got for you :)
We had a tea party/dress up party to watch the Royal Wedding. We had a great time and although I know you won't remember it, hopefully you'll be able to look back on these pictures as your first dress up party.
Clara, I'm at a difficult crossroad... I LOVE seeing you grow up, seeing your personality emerge, your voice babble. I love watching you work on rolling (you can do it, but you have to WANT to do it, and there's lots of talking involved in the process) I love seeing you get your baby fat (finally!) I love interacting with you. At the same time, I morn the sleepy snuggly infant you once were. I pout as I pack up your newborn clothes, and my maternity clothes. I know that you'll never be THIS small again. Ever. So I try to take everything one day at a time. Soak up your infant smell, your infant squeaks & snores. I know one day, before I'm ready, you'll be a toddler but for now, I'm enjoying you as a 4 month old.

I love you, Peanut.