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21 Wonderful Months

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Time goes so fast. I can’t think of a non-cliche way to say it. Leia, I am in love with watching you  grow, become your own little person, explore the world around you. There are so many fantastic things about you right now.

You’re saying new words everyday, eager to communicate, pointing out the letters “E” and “O” anywhere you see them. My phone is easily unlocked and you know how to find the games (or send texts, ha). You’re fantastic with the matching shapes games – circles, ovals, diamonds, rectangles, pentagons and hexagons. We line up your bath toys on the edge of the tub and you can count to ten. You’re learning more colors, blue and yellow (“lello”) were first, then red, green, pink and orange. You are so, so smart. I’m constantly amazed at how much you understand.

You love snails, it’s adorable. Even if I think they’re a little icky, I’m proud that you’re caring to all living creatures. You squeal with excitement and point out the “neels.” Sometimes you touch them, waiting for me to pick them up and put them back in the grass.

Your favorite cartoon is (still) Bubble Guppies. We watch those guppies every morning while we have breakfast and when we’re getting ready for our day. Sometimes we also watch Sesame Street, or Cat in the Hat. But mostly, it’s Bubble Guppies. I’m grateful it’s not Yo Gabba Gabba or the Fresh Beat Band, thank you very much.

You love corn on the cob, pretzel goldfish, raisins and yogurt. We eat asparagus and artichokes together. You prefer to dip your chicken in sauce – mostly BBQ, sometimes ketchup. Milk? No thanks you say. You’ve been on a cheese hiatus and you’re the rare toddler who doesn’t like more than one or two bites of banana.

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Just like your mom, you love lemons. You'll eat the whole slice (sometimes the skin too!)

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You love to go through my makeup bag, the lip gloss was an especially good find.

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You are kind and gentle with your cousin Johnny.

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I love this picture because I see a little girl who is determined. I've always said I hope my daughter grows up to be the 3 C's: curious, compassionate, and confident.

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The kitties love you. You love the kitties. When you nap, one of them usually ends up on the bed too. They know you'll pour out the whole bag of treats, in return they let you chase and hug them.

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Someday this will be a real car, with wild teenage friends instead of wild animals. That day will come entirely too soon, so I'm enjoying this moment as much as possible.

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The carousel is hands down one of your favorite things in life (trumped only by your love of the swing). This was taken at the Wild Animal Park. After each ride you pick a new animal, and we go around and around (and around, at least six times).

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Nap hair. You have the most beautiful, fine, fluffy, blond, wispy hair. It's always crazy in the morning and after you nap, just like your moms hair.

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Your first pigtails! My hair is in a pony tail or a bun everyday, I've never been a "styled hair" girl. So it's a conscious effort to remember you deserve hair cuteness like this everyday. I'll learn.

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Decorating a cake with your Dad on his birthday, making the same face as you concentrate on your art. I know you share his creative genes, which makes me so happy.

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I hope you always look at the world with wonder.

I love you Leia. You make my life simply beautiful.

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Mother to One

I admire the mom at Costco pushing a cart holding twin babies with two more young children in tow. Kudos to the dad walking down my street with a baby strapped to his chest, a three and five year old beside him and two dogs on a leash. They give me perspective. I see them and think “wow, how do you do it?” Even as a single mom, which has its share of perks and drawbacks, I’m not outnumbered. It’s one on one – Mommy and Leia.

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Then I read this and it struck a deep chord. To The Mother With Only One Child. I first saw it on my Facebook newsfeed but forgot to bookmark it. I spent a good 20 minutes searching key words from memory until I found it again.

To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible.  But who I am now is something more terrible:  the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.

Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.

When I had only one child, she was so heavy.  Now I can see that children are as light as air.  They float past you, nudging against you like balloons as they ascend.

Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life.  Your life is hard; your life will be hard.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right.

Happy Birthday to You

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We made it! Yesterday my daughter turned one. I not only kept a little human alive for 365 days, we created an environment where she is thriving, flourishing. I am a great mom. She is a great baby toddler (gasp!). Life is good.

Happy 1st Birthday to my loving, curious, splendid little Leia Olivia. You are the light of my life. How blessed I am to watch you grow, discover, and experience your life. The future bright it is with possibilities for you, and us. Thank you for all the love you bring into my life. Celebrating your birthday with friends and family was wonderful.

A day filled with capturing balloons, eating cake, chasing friends and being smothered in kisses results in a much needed nap.

Coming soon! Pictures from her Suesstasic party…