Lila Faith: Two Years Old!

March 23, 2017-11Oh Lila, how we love you!

I’m a bit late writing this post for your birthday, but I’m squeaking it in just before your big sister’s birthday and then, next week, the birth of your little brother.  You are such a sweet little caregiver…always carrying around a baby doll and telling us if it cries or needs a new diaper.  You can say your little brother’s name and give my belly sweet kisses.  We have no doubt that you will be an amazing big sister!

Watching you grow and change over the past few months has been so incredibly fun!  You walk, run, jump (“I bounce!”), and love to play hide-and-seek.  Your vocabulary is absolutely amazing and you continue to surprise us with new words every day.  Up until this point, you have been a very laid back little girl but lately….”whoa buddy” (you say that all the time p.s.)!!  You have been full of opinions and ideas and they don’t always line up with Mommy and Daddy’s.  But you wouldn’t be a true two-year-old without those kinds of moments.

Daddy and I made a list of things we want to remember about all the things we love so much about you right now.  We hope you read it back one day and can see how very special and loved you are!

Lila Faith at Two:

  • You love music and singing.  Your favorite songs are “I Got This Feeling (Sunshine In my Pocket)” by Justin Timberlake (which you call “Pock”), “Let it Go” from Frozen, and “Fireball” by Pitbull.
  • You recently started enjoying sitting down for a movie now and then and you love Tangled and Moana and Finding Dory (which you call “Nemo Dory”)
  • Your favorite toys are blocks, Barbies, baby dolls, the trampoline, and anything that you can use your amazing imagination with!  You love to play pretend 🙂
  •   Some of our favorite things you say:  “Watch this!”, “Okay” (in alllll kinds of different voices), “hide & seek”, and “Sorry!”  These sound like pretty normal things to say, but you do them in a very funny and unique way.  Ask us to try and show you how one day!  We are so impressed that you can put together sentences that are pretty long.  It’s so fun knowing what is on your mind now that you can tell us all about it.
  • You are SO smart and can count to 10, know all of your colors, and sign language for tons of different animals- you can say them all now, but just a few months ago you signed them!
  • Your cheeks are still so round and yummy.  We kiss them every day!
  • Sucking your thumb and twirling your hair are still your favorite ways to chill.
  • Your favorite color is PURPLE!
  • Your latest  obsession is sunglasses and you never leave home without them….often times we even find you wearing them indoors!
  • You love to dress yourself!  You also like to undress yourself too!  Sometimes we find you doing really funny things with your clothing (like putting pants on your head!) that makes us laugh.

Lila, we love you SO much and are so very proud of you!  Happy 2nd birthday sweetie pie!

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

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A Letter to Callie on her 5th Birthday in Heaven

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Dear Callie,

Happy birthday sweetie!  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I will never, ever forget the day you were born.  There are a lot of things that I wish I could change about that day and the next, but I know now that God had a different plan for you and I have come to respect that even if I cannot understand it.

We will be making you a cake today and sending you a balloon again (do you get those?) and will sing you “Happy Birthday”.  We promise to do an act of kindness in your name today.  How do you celebrate in Heaven?  I bet it is better than anything I can imagine.

Today, you would have been five here on Earth.  There is something so special about that age.  I would give absolutely ANYTHING to know what you would look like as a sweet little five year old.  When your little sister, Lila, was born, I thought that you girls resembled each other a little bit.  Maybe her face as she grows will give me a hint of yours.  Charlotte looked so different than you, but you share a bond that I don’t even understand.  Even though she is only three, she knows about you and talks about you in a way that makes me 100% sure that you are with her.

You are with all of us.

In my every action and in your daddy’s.

In every breath your sisters (and soon-to-be-born brother) take.

You are with us.

Callie, please know that you are loved and remembered.  I hold you in my heart and send you daily hugs and kisses.  Each night as I go to bed, I always lay on my left side because I see you better that way when I close my eyes.  I see you the way I did 5 years ago, nose-to-nose on your hospital bed.  I can’t fall asleep any other way.

Thank you for sending me little signs lately to bring me comfort.  I wish that it didn’t have to be that way…it should be me comforting you!  But I do appreciate and treasure each gift you have given us and hope with every fiber of my being that I make you proud and that you can feel my love all the way up there in heaven.

We miss you and love you so much!

With all my heart,

Mommy

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Let’s Make Inauguration Day (1/20) a Random Acts of Kindness Day, Shall We?

january-18-2017-2It’s January, once again.

Five years ago on January 27th, our first daughter, Callie was born.  And five years ago on January 28th, she died.

Fast forward to the present and as you can probably see, things here on the blog have been pretty quiet.   I assure you that my life has been anything but quiet.  I never made it blog-official that…guess what?  We are having another baby!  A boy!  (He is our third rainbow to be due in April- fun fact!)  I also didn’t tell you that I took a break from teaching this year to stay home with the girls and focus on photography.  I haven’t written here about any of our ups, downs, and in-betweens.  In fact, I haven’t written (at least here) in 9 months!

Because by the grace of God, I’m busy.

The luckiest kind of busy there is.  I’m a mom.

A mom to two healthy little girls and a little boy on the way.

But I’m also an angel’s mom.  And sometimes I feel really badly that I haven’t sat down lately to use this space in the way that I originally intended- to share my love for her and to share her story so that it may impact others.  Does Callie know that through all the busy, hustle-bustle, that she is still there?  In my mind, in my heart, echoed in my actions?  I hope so.

I also know that it’s ok.  My writing is at its best when I’m feeling it, when my words are bursting out of my heart and have to be heard.  And usually, that’s also when I’m feeling pain and heartbreak.  So, it’s ok- it’s actually a good thing.  My moments of pain and heartbreak are still there- just quicker, faster- and the next thing you know, someone needs a snack.  (Doesn’t someone ALWAYS need a snack?!?)  So it’s a good thing that I haven’t written in a while… it means my heart and arms are full.

But… January.

The memories, the pain… it all bubbles up to the surface again.  Just right there, quivering and shaking right below my skin, like an overfilled balloon, stretched to its breaking point.  The slightest of things can poke holes in my fragile January shell and let the pain escape in jagged bursts that takes my breath away.  The feeling leaves, and my balloon fills back up again, but inevitably something else happens and I pop all over again.

This is how January goes.

I wanted to write today for myself, to have a little relief from the build up.  But I also wanted to ask a favor.

Every year, John and I wear yellow on Callie’s days -her birthday, Jan. 27th and her angel day, the 28th- and we always invite others who feel so moved to join in.  We also like to do random acts of kindness during that time period too (Kindness for Callie) and we love hearing from other people about the nice things you do for others.  It means the world to know that her little life can impact the world in such a meaningful way.

But this year, I thought that maybe we could move it up just a little bit.

Zero percent of me would like to engage in a political discussion, but I do think that we can ALL agree that no matter what you believe in or who you stand behind, that this last election was pretty ugly.  I really can’t think of many aspects of it that showed off the BEST parts of our country.

So let’s make up for that now.

On our nation’s Inauguration Day- January 20th-, I’d love it if you would join me in doing some random acts of kindness (and wearing LOTS of yellow!!) to show the kind of love that our country is really all about.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off a new presidential term than to spread love, kindness, and smiles.  For one day, it would be really awesome to not see a nation divided- red and blue.  How about a country, joined together….in yellow!

My sweet friend and I will be delivering the signature smiley cookies (pictured above) that I give to all of my photography clients to a local women’s shelter on the 20th.

What will you do?

Feel free to spread the word.  🙂

Lila Faith: One Year Old Time Capsule!!!

March 24, 2016

 

I just went back and reread this post from when we first announced that we were expecting Lila.

Ouch.

I have tears in my eyes thinking back on how much I struggled emotionally at the beginning of her pregnancy.  I feel so GUILTY!  If I could go back in time, I would show myself a video of this infinitely sweet little girl sucking her thumb (with one finger always hooked over top!) and laughing at the silly noises I make.  Back then, I couldn’t see past the next day.  I couldn’t imagine what could be.  Even if I had tried to imagine, I would not have been able to dream up such an amazing baby.  Everyone told me that even though it felt like there would not be enough space in my heart for another baby, to just wait.  “You’ll see!” they said.

They were right.  

I look into those big brown eyes and feel such a strong love that it is breathtaking.  She leans into me, sucks her thumb, and I brush her soft, sweet hair out of her eyes, and kiss the top of her fluffy little head.  She melts me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever share the words of these blog posts with my girls.  I’ve written so candidly that I’m afraid that they won’t understand.  That they will question my love for them.

But it is *because* of my love for them that I write.

One day, many years from now, Lila might be feeling that same anxiety, the same fears about opening up her heart another time for another child.  Wondering if she has what it takes.

And I’ll be there to say, “Yes, you do.”

And I’ll be right.

(Aren’t moms always right?)

March 09, 2016-2

March 09, 2016

 

Lila’s 12 Month Time Capsule (photos very randomly thrown in here! haha)

-Lila’s ‘talking’ has begun to sound very much like that Swedish Chef muppet.  I cannot duplicate it and it’s 100% adorable.

-Although Lila has not started walking (or standing!) yet, she absolutely LOVES climbing stairs.  She gets really excited to go up the stairs right next to her big sis.  I’m not worried about her lack of walking.  She has proven time and again that she will do things when she is good and ready to.  And I am in NO RUSH to be chasing her around as she gets into everything.

March 23, 2016-2

March 23, 2016

-Usually, Lila is very even-keeled but lately she has started to show a bit of a jealous streak.  If mommy is holding Charlotte, she wants to be held too!  I feel like a rock star, but Daddy feels kind of left out.  I know it won’t be long before they hate my guts and worship him instead so I am enjoying it for now.

March 19, 2016

-I love watching Lila delicately use her fingers to grasp small objects.  She really has a knack for fine motor activities!

March 22, 2016

 

-Lila’s new obsession is her banana tooth brush given to her by a dear, sweet friend in a basket full of yellow sunshiny things.  She screams and cries when we try to take it away.

March 12, 2016

-As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Lila’s thumb sucking really tugs at my heartstrings.  It’s such a sweet act and I love snuggling with her when she sucks on her sweet little thumb.  The only downside for now is that she gets a pretty gnarly drool rash from constantly spreading slobber all over her chin, lips, and nose.  Also, since she HATES having her nails clipped, she can often be found with little scratches on her nose as a result of the little finger hook she does while thumb sucking.March 02, 2016

-Lila had her first Easter this month.  She got bath toys, baby food, and sippy cups from the Easter Bunny and looked so sweet all dressed up for church and Easter brunch!

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-On Lila’s first birthday (March 23rd), we went to visit the cherry blossoms in DC and had an idyllic kind of day, playing outside and taking in the sights.  Later that day, we had a cake smash for her.  Let me tell you, this girl WENT TO TOWN!  We were sure she was going to be sick from eating so much cake, but she handled it just fine and was very mad at us from taking the (pulverized, smashed to bits) cake away from her at the end.

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-Finally, we celebrated her birthday that weekend with a small family/friends party with a ladybug theme.  It was super sweet and we all had a great time 🙂  (Side note: although I am a professional photographer I am comically bad at taking party photos when it is my own family.  I always feel really weird getting my huge camera out and feel like it gets in the way!  I would much rather just sit back and enjoy the party.  I need to start hiring someone!!)

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I feel a little bad that I am posting this sooooo late, but both of the girls (along with the rest of life!) have kept us pretty busy lately.  That’s the way it goes sometimes!

Kisses to my sweet baby girl in honor of her first birthday!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Lilas first year

 

Lila Faith: 11 Month Time Capsule

I am almost a week behind posting this which makes me sad because that means Lila is already one week closer to her first birthday!  I’m excited for her big day, but feeling very nostalgic.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were anxiously awaiting her arrival.  She has grown up so fast and is such a joy!

February 24, 2016

For the first time, Lila didn’t lay still for her monthly photo.  I was actually thrilled!  She’s always been so laid back and just chilled out for her photos so it was fun to see her be active and playful 🙂  I love this one!

Things for Lila’s time capsule:

-Lila loves to move!  She crawls anywhere and everywhere and pulls up easily to stand now.  She loves exploring- especially in the play kitchen.  Banging spoons inside of pots is her favorite pasttime.

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-These cheeks.  Period.

February 02, 2016

-“Daddy” is an official word for her now.  Lila is a daddy’s girl and says his name whenever she sees him or hears him from a distance.

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-Her first Valentine’s Day was filled with love!  The ‘lovebird’ brought her red pouches of baby food and a cute shirt to match her big sis.

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-Lila is now officially in 12 month clothing!  She has really caught up in size and is getting bigger every minute.

 

Playing dress up with big sis

Playing dress up with big sis

-She has a mouthful of teeth and her fave foods right now are deli turkey, avocado, and BANANAS.  She might be part-monkey.

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-When she is sleepy, she does this crazy thing where she flings herself backwards forcefully- you have to really watch her or else she will fling herself right out of your arms.  Fun times.  😉

February 03, 2016-2

-Lila was sick this past month with some high fevers.  She is normally to busy watching everyone else to snuggle, so although we didn’t want her to be sick, we did enjoy the cuddles while they lasted.

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-She loves sticking her tongue out and making all kinds of babbly, fun noises with it.January 31, 2016-3

 

We love this little girl so much!  Her first birthday will be here before we know it!

Callie’s 4th Birthday in Heaven: Nothing Gold Can Stay

January 27, 2016-2

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost
How we wish you could have stayed, but we are so grateful for the short time you were here.  Look at all that has bloomed because of you, sweet girl.
Happy 4th birthday sweetie.  We have candles ready.
We love you.  We miss you so much Callie!

January 27, 2016

Lila Faith: 10 Month Time Capsule

January 23, 2016-2

Lila turned 10 months old yesterday!  This month has been a very busy one for her and she reached many milestones all at one time like she was trying to cross them all off the list!

Lila’s Time Capsule:

January 10, 2016 January 10, 2016-2-Lila has a great appetite.  She has picked up on eating finger foods quickly this month.  Now in addition to her favorites of mashed peas and squash, she also enjoys bananas, pancakes, strawberries, blueberries, and of course PUFFS!

-We have been introducing sign language to Lila when she is eating and she has started copying us when we say “All done!” or “More”.  She has even self-initiated them on occasion!  It’s really neat to see her communicate in a new way!  🙂

January 12, 2016

-When she is feeling playful, Lila likes to clap ever so gently.  It’s adorable.

-She also loves to wave hello and good-bye to people…including herself in the mirror!

January 13, 2016

-Lila’s babbling has increased a bit.  I use the term babbling very loosely because I wouldn’t say she is a chatterbox, but when she does talk it is in the softest, sweetest, breathy little voice.  She says bababa and dadadada (this one is generally in reference to the dogs!).

-On the day she turned 10 months, we got slammed with a giant blizzard so Lila got a real doozy of a first snow.  Let’s just say she was not a fan.

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-She did much better the next day when the winds and snow had stopped.  Strapped into the Ergo with Mommy, she went to her first block party at the ice bar our neighbors carved out of a snow bank.

-Lila is really good at crawling now and we are having to watch her closely so she doesn’t get into any trouble 😉

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-She’s also begun pulling up to a standing position and loves to play at her activity table.

-Lila loves to play with a big pile of toys surrounding her!

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-Lila has three teeth on the bottom and her two top teeth are poking through this month.

January 11, 2016

January 24, 2016-2

-Lately, she has shown a growing in interest in books and especially likes books that are interactive with flaps or fuzzy parts to touch.

-Even her laugh is laid back.  She has a slow little ”ha ha, ha ha” when she thinks something is funny.  Best word for it is a baby chuckle.

January 05, 2016

We just love her to pieces!!