Monday, January 11, 2016

3 years old

Dear Tabitha, 
This week you turned THREE! Something even you aren't so sure about ( when people ask you still say 2 first before holding up four fingers and saying 3.) 
That said I think your favorite part of your birthday was your pink donut with sprinkles that you got for your birthday breakfast. This year, almost like clock work, you woke up and realized you loved all things pink and purple and princess. It seems to be in the DNA. Also if it has a poofy skirt that twirls- well all the better. You'll be wearing THAT who cares if the weather or situation do not go with a tutu. You'll make it work. 

While in some ways it may seem clinché it really isnt- as much as you are ALL girl you also hold your own with your older brother's rough and tumble games and you love the song "move it, move it" from Madagascar even more than you love Frozen's let it go... But only by a little ;-) 
And yes, you will burst out in a very loud rendition of "I like to move it,move it!"  Just about at any given moment. You are NOT shy, and you recently have not met a stranger. This year your language abilities really developed, but before they completely took off, you would fill in where your vocabulary hadn't caught up with your enthusiasm by saying "Bugga Bugga" where you did not know what to say. In fact, you'll still do it if you get super excited and you're talking faster than you can think. Who knows where you picked this up! 
However, at this point you are talking beautifully in full sentences. You say a lot of adorable things like your love for things that are "teeny tiny"- which you'll say in a high pitched voice, with your fingers pinched up by your eye. 
And after being potty trained yourself, I've noticed that when your duckies ( back to that in a second) are "talking " they usually discuss needing to go potty in high pitched voices. And yes, you love the little rubber duckies that I have collected over the years and you spent hours lining them up and naming them. It was clear you needed more "girlie" toys since Ransom's action figures weren't going to cut it and you don't seem like a "baby doll" girl. Luckily, when your brother Justice was born he "gave" you a set of tiny princesses with a little mat to play with them on. And basically when you came to visit your new brother in the hospital you were much more into the gift than the brother! Haha! Luckily you've changed your tune and now you like to par his head and coo at him " isn't he the sweetest thing?!" 
Yes, Tabitha, you are officially both a little sister AND a big sister now! I think you are perfectly suited for the rolls- you are both pretty easy to play with, but also I will often not see you for a while and go off to find you happily playing alone somewhere. 
And while there was so much change this year, some things have remained the same- your unending love of your stuffed Elephant "Ellie" ( who has had tail re-attachment surgery and who's rear has gotten very see-through) and your paci (which we have TRIED to regulate to just your bed)... You also have unfortunately continued to scare us half to death- not your fault- but this year we learned in most dramatic fashion that you are allergic to tree nuts. THAT trip to the ER is not one I ever want to repeat, but once again the Lord took care of you and we, as your parents, were again reminded that as much as you are our daughter and we love you- you are loved and cared for by your HEAVENLY Father all the more! 
Tabitha, it has been a joy to watch you grow this last year- and as you gain even more and more of an opinion and will of your own, I pray that you will one day not give up your own opinons too easily and that your strong will, will hold you fast to the will of your Heavenly Father.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2 years old

Today you are two! I have to say that over because I can hardly believe it! Your life has brought us such incredible joy and there is hardly a day that goes by that I don't marvel at what a gift you are to us!

This of course hasn't stopped you from doing some 'terrible twos' practice, but we'll get to that later!

First of all, you have grown so much this year! And you have done so much! You learned to walk around 13 months ( around? seriously! Typical for a second child, right?!) and you started running almost immediately after that! You were highly motivated because it meant you could follow your brother around  much more efficiently which is VERY important to you! You think everything Ransom does is highly fascinating and entertaining. This has made you quite fearless when it comes to trying all new things. In fact, sometimes you'll do things that Ransom doesn't even want to do!

You're fearlessness knows few bounds, in fact, you're great about trying pretty much any food that is put in front of you, at least once. And you actually LIKE most things! You will also climb anything and everything at the park and we have to watch you pretty closely! You also found out you really like the swing! Something your brother would never really get behind!

Your very best friend is still "Ellie" the elephant and "paci". The two very much go hand in hand and I know its going to be trouble trying to break you of your paci habit! But for now, you are often seen carry around Ellie pressed to your check and sucking on paci, happy as can be.  But as much as you love Ellie you have found room in your heart for other animals too and your crib is comically overflowing with other stuffed animals that have been adopted into your fold. And just as we did with Ransom, we have tried removing one or two of these animals on the sly-but you always notice and call for them. You also know if one of them is not yours. Just yesterday you called from your room during nap time and when I went in to check on you, you handed me one of Ransom's stuffed animals that had gotten into your bed and said, "Bubba!" you were then happy to go to sleep knowing the little guy had returned to its rightful home.

Speaking of sleep. You are an AWESOME sleeper! I know I've said it one pretty much every one of your letters but its worth repeating as many times as it is true. THANK YOU for being such a good sleeper! This isn't to say we haven't had our fair share of sleepless nights and that you haven't started asking for more and more bedtime stories at the end of the day, but for the most part you seem to truly enjoy sleeping.

One of my favorite times with you this year has been our time when Ransom is at school in the mornings. He is there for 3 hours and we enjoy our alone time together! Our current schedule is the two of us dropping him off and then heading to the park where you chill in the jogging stroller ( with Ellie and paci of course) and a snack, at the end of my runs I let you out of the stroller and you run along the park trails and enjoy the morning. We both get some good solid therapy from that hour! In fact, we noticed that during December when we were visiting family, you would get kind of grumpy and clinging from 9-10am every morning! All you really wanted was a snack and to sit in someones lap. I suppose its your replacement for the morning nap, and I will never complain about a slowed down cuddle time! ( most of the time I won't complain! hehe!).

The last 4 months we've been going to speech therapy two times a week. You were not very motivated to talk really at all, and while your daddy and I were not worried at all, you were just unmotivated enough that the pediatricians recommended speech therapy so we've taken good advantage of the free medical care from the military, yet again. This time it comes in the form of 30 minutes of fun undivided attention playing with toys and "talking" to your speech therapist "Miss Kelly". Her name is one of the first names outside of our immediate family that you've learned. If that says anything for the love that you hold for your times together.

The other name you learned quickly was "La-La" which stood for our neighbor "Miss Liz".  She, who when we first met her had a prickly protective layer a mile thick, has melted under you and your brothers influence. I am not certain but I have a feeling that the way you run to her shouting La-La every day when she comes out to feed the neighborhood cats ( yup, she's that neighbor), is quite possibly the best part of her day. Tabitha, I hope that "La-La" is just one of many many people that you will bring light to in the years to come, and as you get older may that light that you share be the True and perfect Light of Christ.

Of course, you also bounded with Miss Liz because you too love cats. Your love runs very very deep when it comes to cats. All animals, really, but DEFINITELY cats. Which you call "meow-meow"s. You run at them with arms outstretched yelling "meow-meow"....for some reason they do not share your love for them in return, to your great despair and constant wonder. One of your favorite movies is most definitely the Aristocats ( which you, of course, call "meow-meow" but just like every other little girl of your generation, you love Frozen too.). Luckily you are incredibly chill and don't seem to mind too much when you end up having to watch Cars or Planes: Fire and Rescue with your brother instead.  Your brother has a pretty heavy influence on you and your play.You love to wear his clothes, sometimes ALL his clothes at once ( ah-la Joey, which one day you'll get that reference)

 You can easily be found wearing a Spiderman costume putting your "babies" to bed, or wearing a superman cape and making dinner in your play kitchen. This is good because all good mom's are super heroes ;-)

One of your other favorite things to do is to color and draw, it looks like you're going to be left-handed, which brings your Mommy lots and lots of joy. Hold on to that one, daughter. What you SHOULDN'T keep up is the continual scribbling on Mommies prayer journals and bible. I'm way over that particular trait.

But, honestly, I treasure even your ill-placed scribbles and the way you dramatically cover your eyes and throw your head down when you get caught or get in trouble. I treasure all of you, my sweet daughter and I am grateful for every day with you. You are truly our gift from heaven and I hope that as your parents we are able to live up to the honor it is to know you and know your special story. A story that has already begun and which we know will only get better and better.

All my love, Mommy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

One Year

Dear Tabitha,

This morning I woke up early...waiting to hear your little morning sounds. You've had a REALLY rough cold this last week, one that turned into your first ear infection- and it's made sleep slightly allusive. You've slept between me and Daddy almost every night- usually in your favorite position... Head pressed up against one of our checks. You were usually very considerate, choosing one parent for one half of the night, choosing the other for the other half. No playing favorites, everyone perfectly sleep deprived.
Lucky for you, your birthday was already looming before me and I was feeling the nostalgia so strongly already that you couldn't PAY ME to not have you snuggled up next to me those nights. I will treasure your littleness. I will treasure your baby sounds. I will treasure your baby rolls and baby cheeks. They will soon be gone and I will miss them.

Today you turned one. One year ago we welcomed you, our miracle baby who had overcome so much to be full term, to have a perfectly beating heart, to be healthy in every way we could have dreamed or hoped. The ten months we fought it out for that birth taught me an immeasurable amount. In fact, Im still in the process of writing it, and one day I hope you will get to read a somewhat accurate and well put together report of that season of our families lives. But today, I want to talk about this past year with you. It may not have been as dramatic as those first 10 months ( thankfully!) but they've done their part to continue to teach me much.

For one thing, for a perfectly healthy baby we spent two separate times in the NICU. ( see: That time you had jaundice. See: That time you fell out for you carseat and had to be under observation for 24 hrs.).

And this year we also see one of your very first friends go to heaven at the age of 12.

These events among many other normal every day events have taught me to hopefully hold you closer, forgive a little more of myself and even your imperfections because these days we have together are short. They are also so very very precious. And you my little daughter are SUCH a joy!

This month you continued to grow and learn. You say "bye" "Mama" and "Daddy" and a whole bunch of grunts for your brother's name. You also know the signs for "finished" and "please" and "bye" and "hi" which are really important when your 11 months old and you want something really really badly.

You still haven't learned to walk but you basically will grab ANYONE who has fingers and hold on with a deathgrib in the hopes that they will take pity and walk around with you. And along with some awesome walking toys you got for Christmas and your birthday, you may just beat your brother in the walking game yet ( lucky for you, he was 14 months old before HE walked! haha! So no pressure! You've got time on your side!)

Speaking of Christmas, you celebrated your very first Christmas this month! We spent four days in Nacogdoches enjoying our family. You were so sweet and easy as always, and I think you genuinely had a good time watching your brother and your bigger cousins rip into things! I'm sure you'll give them a run for their money next year.

We decided that even though it meant doing a turn around trip of only 6 days at home before heading back, we wanted to spend your birthday in Nacogdoches as well. Mommy and Daddy wanted to pay special honor to some of the many people that were so kind and generous to us during Mommy's time in Houston.
Let me tell you, you ROCKED your party. Having only had about 25 minute nap, you were happy being passed from person to person, opening presents and staying engaged with all the people that were crowded around! I hope this is just the first of many parties that you dominate!
Just remember what your great-grandmother use to say, "If you're nervous at a party and don't know what to do...then just find the person in the room that looks lonely and in need of someone to love them, and go talk to them. You will do two things, you won't be nervous  anymore but you also help someone else feel less alone.
But, for right now you are just one, and you have no worries other than where the next cracker is going to come from. And for that I am so thankful. You, my dear, bring so much joy to our family, to our hearts. I thank God that I have yet another blessed year ahead to look forward to with you.

Thank you for laughing SO hard at the Peek a boo Moo books, thank you for loving puppets and all stuffed animals and talking to them all with such animation. Thank you for lighting up when your brother enters your line of sight and working you hardest to get into his business...even if it does cause a WHOLE lot of drama. Thank you for crawling as fast as your little legs will carry you and then shoving your head up against your Daddy whenever he comes home from work, thanks for almost never crying when you wake up from a nap but instead just chilling with your Elephant and bear. Thanks for patting us on the back when when give you hugs, and doing the same when you hug your stuffed animals. Thank you for being so chill about just about everything.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

11 months old

Dear Tabitha,

Today I took your 11 month old picture on the laundry room floor-it had the best lighting and it also seemed fitting because you seem drawn to the laundry room for some reason. If I can't find you, I always look there first...and there you usually are, pulled up on the washing machine, looking in...not sure what the big deal is, but thank goodness you can't climb yet, or I'd have to start checking for babies before turning on the laundry! ha!

This month you've done a lot of growing per usual. Though I feel like it was a little less tangible but there nonetheless.
You're "talking" a lot- pointing at things and jabbering on very insistently and I really wish you spoke english or we spoke Baby because I know you've got a lot to say.
If anything the major change this month is that you've become just a little bit less laid back-in a good way...instead of being content to stay in one place, play with just the toys in front of you, you have become quite the explorer. You're into everything. Particularly anything your brother is doing. This has created a lot of conflict, but hey, I figure it was coming...might as well start dealing with it now ( I guess. sigh). You are also into the destroyer phase. This is mostly the "I must take all of this out of that" compulsion. Books on a shelf? THEY MUST ALL COME OFF! Shoes in a basket?! THEY MUST ALL COME OUT!!!
This leads to the fact that while we started a little discipline last month, you've gone full blown into learning about consequences. You definitely understand "Tabitha no!" and you usually stop what you're doing and turn and give this super winning smile. "Like no need to do anything else!"
But of course, even though you are adorable we follow through because we want you to be adorable later too when you're not so little.

This month your mommy and daddy had a pretty big development too. We left you for the very first time for an overnight trip. And it wasn't just any overnight trip! We left you in the good hands of Papa and Spicy and went to New York City! No quick drive home if anything went wrong! Mommy felt very brave, but of course, you were in good hands and you had a good time without us.

You had your very first Thanksgiving, we had a house full of people including Uncle Joshua and Navigator guy named Matt. You loved having the extra attention and especially liked how Matt would walk around with you letting you hold onto his fingers and practice your walking skills.
You will definitely be walking before we know it! But don't do it too soon,ok? You're still my little baby and I feel like we still have several months of baby ahead of us. Thankfully. This year has gone by entirely too fast.

Much love,
Your Mommy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

10 months old

Dear Tabitha,

I struggle to believe that this has only been a MONTH of your life since your last letter! You have done so much! And grown so much! How could it possibly fit into just one month....

However, without further ado, you started this month by finally popping out those top 3 teeth you were working so hard on ( there is still one working its way in...). That was a huge relief I'm sure! How awful to get three in at once! And yet you were still such a happy sweet baby, you'd hardly think it hurt at all!

A few days later while playing on the floor in the living room while Mommy chatted with our friend Deb, you decided to wave. At first we weren't sure if it was on purpose, but you waved over and over again when we would wave at you and you've officially mastered the skill!

THEN you learned how to crawl. At first it was just a few inches here or there, but by the end of the month you were crawling perfectly all over any given room! You aren't particularly adventurous, which may be why it took you a little while to get started. Maybe you just didn't see any reason to crawl places?! But now that you realize that you crawl to places where you can pull up and stand, there is no stopping you! ( apparently that is the biggest reason to crawl! Get thee to a chair, or the fireplace, or a person's leg! This girl just wants to stand!) We also have a couple of balloons that were left by your babysitter last week and you love chasing after them...they always seem to stay JUST out of reach which you find particularly infuriating/fun.

And like I mentioned pulling up on things and standing is by FAR your favorite thing to do. I think you could really care less about crawling, you'd much rather just stand tall and look around. I think you're going to be a walker before we know it!

Of course, we were so excited by your crawling and clapped and cheered so much, that you decided that clapping might also be something you could do, and so you added that to your list of accomplishments as well! Whew! You were one busy busy bee!
You'd think this would mean you would take incredibly awesome long naps to recover from all that learning and moving, but no. You're not a very good napper and often they last only around 45 minutes. No matter what your Mommy does she can NOT get your morning nap to extend any longer. Luckily we can sometimes get you to go back to sleep during your afternoon nap and sleep a little longer, but for the most part your napping skills are rather lacking. Luckily you are so sweet and good natured its not like youre ultra cranky from the lack of sleep!

The other big news from this month is that you are completely weened. Its crazy to think that we'd only added one bottle to your schedule last month, but by taking away the other middle feeding ( so that you only had Mommy feedings in the morning and at night) my supply dropped considerably and it became apparent that you were just going through the motions and waiting patiently for the bottle to come at the end. Honestly it was sad and even though it was a whole 2 months later than with your brother, I still felt like it was too early for you to be all bottles! But, you also worked so well with me ( by taking what I did have for a few weeks) that stopping all together was much easier and much less "cold turkey" thanks for helping a Momma out! We first took away the middle feedings ( after each nap) then took away the night feeding and then the morning feeding was gone in just a few days after that. *sigh* My baby is growing up!

Your current schedule looks like this-but only because we just had the dreaded daylight I'll just tell you what it USE to be until two days ago when society dictated we make a big change ( boo!)

7:30-wake up ( 8 oz bottle)
10am-first nap ( 8 oz bottle)
2-pm second nap (8oz bottle)
7pm- bedtime ( 6oz bottle)

You also are eating more finger foods and much less baby food, but I've noticed that your appetite has decreased a little bit the last few weeks, maybe because you are finally getting enough milk again? Not sure exactly...but you still seem happy and chunky! You usually eat bananas cut into tiny pieces and cheerios for breakfast. For lunch you have one serving of babyfood ( usually spinach/sweet potato or corn/chicken) and some puffs and for dinner you have peas/carrots finger food or some beans chopped in half or other "real" foods that you can pick up.
You love baby yogurt and yogurt bits. You also like cheerios, bread, puffs and any other grain you can get your hands like most fruits but like apple sauce, fruit squeezes and bananas the best.

As I said before you are such a laid back baby! On the first day of daylights savings we met Daddy's cousin John about 45 minutes away for dinner at 6pm ( which felt like 7pm to you! Which is your BEDTIME!) and then had to stay up until 8pm ( which felt like 9pm!) and you were a perfect angel! You would never know how tired you were! You just whimpered on the way home and had a pretty rough day napping the next day because you were overly tired, but even then you were sweet...and only a mommy would know that your whimpers and periodic little cries were not normal at all!! Thank you for being so laid back and reminding me that sometimes its ok to do things a little different and reap just a few consequences.
I was so stuck to the schedule with your brother, mostly because that's the only way he was remotely happy, I sometimes forget that that is not the only way! Thanks for making this mommy just a tinnnnny bit more chill ;-)

Love you sweet girl!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nine Months

Dear Sweet Girl,

I feel like you've grown up so much this past month and it makes me so sad! How can you be nine months old already?! You're still my little baby!

Alas you've been very busy this month making strides to rid yourself of the baby title. First of all, on September 10th you started pulling up all on your own, and you looooved it! It is still by far your favorite thing to do, and on the 16th you took it a step up and stood unadded for a good 5 seconds straight. I think your longest record is currently around 15 seconds so its not like you're just a full on stander-upper ( that's a word, right?) but you're making some big progress. That being said you've also made some strides in the crawling department too! You can officially go backwards and you spend a lot of time on all fours rocking back and forth and babbling loudly at whatever it is that you really really want. One day, little one, one day.

This month we went to Nacogdoches for a few days for Uncle Ryan's cookoff competition and you cried when anyone other than your Mommy tried to hold you. Uncool daughter. Especially since this month you showed and great interest/love for dogs of all shapes and sizes. I'll have you know that dogs are FAR more likely to bite you than the sweet ladies at the Burger really need to work on those intuitive skills. Looking back however, once again we visited Nacogdoches right in the middle of a major learning bender on your part and you just have a harder time with people during those times. Just two weeks later we went to Cleburne, TX to visit some other family and you went from person to person without any trouble at all! Come on, kid! Let's get consistent!

However, if there was a person I wouldn't mind hanging out in my lap for hours and hours and days on end, it would definitely be you! You're so fun and sweet and I love watching you learn. Probably because you have the constant entertainment of your brother, this month was really the first time you watched Baby Einstein. On our last two road trips you got kind of bored so we rigged up a slide show of baby pictures of Ransom and your cousin Kilsyth on the first road trip ( which you fully enjoyed) and on the second road trip I was prepared with Baby Einstein, and. you. loved. it. You would babble and talk SO loudly any time any of the puppets came on and you would get fairly upset when the video would end. I swear you watched that thing three times in a row during our five hours in the car.

You probably wont get many chances to watch Baby Einstein unless on a trip, but don't worry, you have a lot of fun playing on the rug in the kitchen while Mommy cooks, on the floor in the living room watching your brother run around and play and in Ransom's room where you try to scoot to as many corners of the room as possible to create the largest amount of mess. Your favorite thing is to pull things out of buckets or baskets or cups...really anything that can be taken apart, you're all over it.

In the practical department, this month we replaced a Mommy feeding with a Bottle feeding. I was definitely not ready for it, but if Daddy and Mommy are going to take a trip to NYC in November then we had to start teaching you about the bottle now. You took to it great and are very cute holding on to the bottle for yourself. I think you actually like having the freedom to take the bottle in and out of your mouth and lounge while eating.
Your feedings are now as follows:
7am-wake up/Mommy feeding
9:30-nap time
2:30-Mommy feeding
7pm-bedtime/mommy feeding

Any day now you will be cutting FOUR new teeth on the top and I can't wait for them to pop through and allow you to eat even more yummy things ( you definitely like solid food more than baby food!)

Baby girl, may I never forget what a gift you are to this world and to our family. I am so grateful for every day I get with you!
Love, your Mommy

Friday, September 6, 2013

Eight months

Whaaaat?!  How are you already eight months old? It snuck up on me so quickly that I literally missed it ( it was yesterday)! And I would say that one day won't make much difference, but in the last 24 hours your front 2 bottom teeth FINALLY broke the surface! Hallelujah! I was really starting to think you were going to be the toothless wonder forever!
It's a good thing those teeth came in because you've definitely been not your happy go lucky self. But when you have a bad day no one would ever really notice. You're still incredibly sweet and easy to get along with.  There was just far more drooling and your loud "talking" which is half way a fuss, half way a babble.

The only thing that will kinda get you worked up is for someone OTHER than your Mama to hold you while I'm still in the room. That's right. The stranger danger or more like the "other people dislike"  is back. I'd blame your teething but, really? I feel like you've had waaaay too much of this behavior!

But back to the positive things about you from this month-  you dropped your third nap with very little fanfare. I'm not going to compare you to a certain brother of yours, but lets just say that I was preparing myself for major drama and it was NOT. The only big thing is that you need to go to bed even earlier ( sometimes as early as 6:30) for you to not get over tired  so that you will to get a good nights sleep....but other than that you have taken the changes in strides.

This month as I mentioned you've become far more vocal and you talk a lot when you're playing. You love chewing on anything you can get your hands on and nontoy items are your favorite. Mom's phone is by FAR your favorite thing to try and get your hands on. You're still pretty happy being stationary but you will reach for things that are far away and will do your best to stretch both arms and legs out as far as they will go without leaving your current location to reach something...we've explained that crawling would help in this area, but you have yet to take us up on that suggestion.

You're still enjoying pretty much every food we put in front of you and you're enjoying the practice of putting food into your mouth. You're pretty good at it actually, though your chair and the floor would beg to disagree. Luckily you have a puppy/brother who really likes your puffs and will eat all the ones that you drop.

This month I finally dropped your dreamfeed, basically a feeding at around 10:30 at night where I would wake you up, feed you and put you right back to sleep. Basically I should have gotten rid of it months ago but you were just so cute and cuddly and it was just so convenient that I kept it for way longer. Once again it was no biggie and you haven't seemed to have any reaction one way or the other. As with most things, I had a much harder time pre-worrying about it than actually going through with the process. You'd think I'd learn my lesson from you and start being much more laid back!
But since this is how I am, and one day I'll want to remember: here is your current schedule:

Wake up and eat: 7am
Have breakfast: 8am
Go down for your first nap: 9 or 9:30
Wake up and eat: 10:30
Have lunch: 12
Go down for second nap: 1pm
Wake up and eat: between 2pm and 2:30
Dinner: 5pm
Bath and last feeding: 6:30
Bedtime: 7pm

Of course as I write that those times will often vary from day to day which doesn't seem to bother you too much. A shorter nap here, a longer nap go with the flow and we flow rut along with you.
Thanks for continuing to laugh and learn and remind us every day of God's great blessing to us through your little life. This month marked the year anniversary of the surgery that helped to save your life. We went out and sent balloons up into the sky in honor of your sister Priscilla who was lucky enough to go first to heaven. In doing so she gave you an even greater chance of survival. In a way she gave her life for you and I hope that we will all learn from that and live each of our days to the fullest knowing that ALL of our lives were made possible because Jesus died for all of us. We love you so much baby girl and are grateful for ever miracle that brought you to us.
Love, Mommy