Monday, October 24, 2011

Emma Kate - Three

Dear Emma Kate,

Your third birthday is finally here.  I say finally because it's all you talked about for the last month.  "My buf-day's nevah gonna get he-ah!" you proclaimed more than once.  Time dragged by for you as you waited for your birthday.  Finally is not the word I would use to describe the journey to your birthday from my perspective.  No, from where I sit, these three years feel more like three minutes.

The night you were born was very emotional.  I was excited to meet our second daughter, but I was also unsure.  Unsure how I could possibly love another as much as I loved your sister.  Sure, I had been told how love multiplies, and really, I knew they were right.  But I just wasn't sure how.  What if I couldn't?  And then I met you.  The instant you were laid on my chest, I remember taking in so many things: the sound of your cry, your head full of black hair, your plump cheeks.  But mostly I remember soaking up the feeling of all the uncertainty melting away and being replaced by a love just as strong, just as deep.  My Baby Girl, in 3 years, the memories we've made and the moments we've shared have only made that love intensify.

In these 3 years, you have gone from a passive, quiet baby tagging behind her big sister to a vivacious, funny, mischievous, loving little girl who is no longer content to always tag along.  You, my dear, did not come out of your shell.  You busted out with neon lights and a bull horn.

You love to laugh.  You see humor in every situation, and use it to your advantage when the mischievous side of you comes out.  Just when you are about to get in major trouble, you make a funny face, or serve up an "I love you" in a drawl that would make Scarlett O'Hara jealous.  And, mischief combined with the terrible twos means you have gotten to try out your skills almost daily.

One thing that has remained constant with your personality is your sweetness.  You love to snuggle, tickle noses (eskimo kisses), dish out bear hugs, and more or less be my marsupial.  You love to help me around the house, especially when Grace is at school.

This year, you have grown to love doctor shows - the bloodier, the better.  Your favorite color is still orange, but pink and aqua are climbing the ranks.  Ketchup and french fries are your favorite food.  Sweets are considered a major food group with brownies being your favorite.  You love to read, play with baby dolls, and wear skirts.  Snow White is your favorite princess, and you aspire to be her when you grow up.

Your greatest obsessioin: babies.  Girlfriend, there hasn't been a dirty diaper that has deterred you from sticking close to any baby you know.  You were destined to be a big sister.  The arrival of Reece has confirmed that.  You and Grace both love to help with baths, gather diaper supplies, hold him, and more or less hover over him to be sure not to miss a hiccup or a blink and let me know the nanosecond he starts to cry.  It is the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed.

Now that you are "fwee" you say you are a big girl.  You say that means getting to wear earrings and hold Reece standing up.  We'll start with the earrings for now. :)  Apparently though, being "fwee" is not too big to be held like a baby, as you request daily.  And it is not too big to need your mama's hand when you feel shy.  "Fwee" is definitely not too big for tickling noses.

My big "fwee" year old girl, I hope you continue to laugh through life, and that the laughs outnumber the tears. I hope you meet new experiences head on and know that you can lean on your family whether those experiences turn out just how you expected, or not.  I hope, dear Emma Katherine, that you know how special you are, realize your worth, and settle for nothing less than what you deserve.

Thank you for a terrific three years.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Celebrating 3 - Emma Kate Style

Emma Kate turned a trio of years on October 2.  For her third birthday, Emma Kate had 2 requests: earrings and Snow White.

We made an appointment to have her ears pierced, but went in without any real expectations.  Emma Kate's ears are so sensitive that she cries when the doctor has to look at them, and to clean them, you have to all but pin her down.  She surprised us all though when she sat in my lap like a big girl, and walked away with a few snubs and big girl earrings.

I promise it didn't take long for this pitiful face to start smiling and showing off her earrings.

And then came the Snow White soiree.  Everything was red, blue, and yellow to match Snow White's dress.

I made the invitation while the banner, favor tags, cupcake toppers, and water bottle labels were made by Toadally Cute Products on Etsy.

How cute is the nutrition label?!
 The tables had a burlap table runner, and I made these fabric topiaries using scraps of red, blue, and yellow fabric.

For the dessert table, I played up the apple theme that is so prevalent in Snow White.  Other than cupcakes, we had apple cake balls, apple muffins, apple pies, and brownies.  Ok, the brownies don't go with the apple theme, but they are Emma Kate's favorite sweet treat, so we couldn't have her birthday without them.

So, my apple cake balls don't exactly look like Bakerella's, but they tasted yummy!  That's what counts, right?

It might have something to do with the fact that this is what it looks like when cake balls are being made at my house.

The Birthday Girl got just a wee bit shy when we sang to her.  Buuuuut, she quickly overcame when it was present time.

My sweet birthday girl had a blast.  We are so thankful to all our family that helped her celebrate.

 Princess Emma Kate

 Big Sister dressed up as Ariel for the par-tay.

I don't know if I've ever seen a more excited birthday girl.  She kept proclaiming, "This is MY bufday pawty!" and every day since her birthday, "I'm fwee; I have eah-wings; and I'm a big guhl."

Yes, you are, Princess Emma Kate.  You are my big girl.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reece - 1 month old

Dear Reece,

You turned one month old on September 21, 2011.  If this first month is any indication of how quickly your first year will go, then I don't even want to think about it.  This first month has been challenging at times - namely the times involving sleep deprivation, but it has also been wonderful.  You have fit into our family perfectly, and I can't imagine our family without you.

Precious Reece, you have reminded me what freshly bathed baby skin feels like and how rewarding it feels to provide nourishment and comfort to such an innocent soul.  We are learning what each of your cries means, how you like to be held, and how picky you are about what I eat. :)

This month, you have already had a lot happen!  We came home from the hospital when you were a day old.  The first evening, we had lots of visitors, though I'm not sure how much they got to hold you since they had to compete with your sisters.  That first night, you woke every 3 hours to eat, then fell right back asleep.

Your first car ride, which was home from the hospital was flawless.  You seem to love riding and your curious little eyes seem to try to see all you can.

Your cord fell off at 6 days old, and you got to take your first tub bath.  You weren't quite sure what to think of it, but as long as we let the warm water trickle over you, you were a happy camper.  Of course the big sisters helped with that bath, and pretty much every once since. :)

At one month old, you have pretty much set your own schedule.  You wake about 7:00 each morning, eat about every 3 hours, and are ready for bed at around 8:00 or 8:30 each night.  You are sleeping for about 4 hours at a time at night, so you and I make our trips to the living room twice each night, and though my eyes
are heavy and my body is tired, I cherish these quiet moments shared by just the two of us.

Your arrival has taught us how limitless sibling love is.  I thought by now the enchantment you seemed to hold over your big sisters when you were first born would have surely worn off by now.  But, the reality is that Grace and Emma Kate become more smitten with you by the day.  They are still just as eager to greet you from your naps, hold you, kiss you, and show you off.  They are just as proud of you as Daddy and I are.  I hope one day you will realize how lucky you are to have them as your big sisters.

You are such a good baby.  You love to be snuggled and talked to.  We are all so in love with you, and are so thankful that God blessed us with you.  Happy one month!