I am starting to draft this letter a bit early because it is a big one...you will be a year old on Sunday. A whole year! You have been with us, staring at us, smiling at us, laughing with us, teaching us for a whole year!!! This year has gone by so fast. A year ago we went where we wanted, when we wanted. We ate what we wanted, watched what we wanted, spent money how we wanted and kept busy. The busy part hasn't changed, but you have brought so much responsibility to our lives. A year ago (plus the 9 months you grew inside me, but you know what we mean), God trusted you to us. He delivered you safely into our arms and I still think we were a little shocked that the nurses and doctors let us take you home with us. We brought you home and felt such responsibility, such obligation, such a duty to raise you right. We were excited, but so very, very fearful. You were (and still are) such a perfect, blameless, pure little creature, surely we would mess you up. We are only human, surely we would make mistakes and they would probably be big mistakes. Surely we would ruin you, surely we wouldn't do right by you, surely we would do something that would hinder and harm you. As unintentional as our actions might be, surely we were not worthy to raise such a perfect creature. I can remember thinking to myself, why would anyone, including God, trust me with such a life? This is how you have already taught us so much. We have learned, time and time again, that your love is so perfect for us that it doesn't matter that we are not perfect. You love us despite our shortcomings, despite our imperfections, despite our mistakes. You love us when we are at our worse and at our best both equally. Your love for us is as pure and perfect as our love for you. In fact, your love for us might be even more pure because the only expectation you have for us is that we love you, while we want so much of our own hopes and dreams for you already. You display your love for us in so many ways, they way you smile at us when we get you from your crib in the morning, the way you mimic us, the way you grin when making us laugh, the way you climb into our laps to read a book, the way you reach up for us to hold you, the list goes on and on. I can never thank you enough for your love and my heart swells at how much you mean to us!
As far as the past month we have learned that you are a funny little goober! You act very serious around strangers and pretend to be shy, but as soon as you warm up to them you make sure to ham it up as much as you can. You grin in several different ways and it is so cute to me that you can see teeth with your grin these days (it makes you look like such a big girl). You laugh at everything we do and try to copy us. Our most recent thing is you holding your arms over your head while we all say "Yay!". You also like to clap, wave bye-bye or hi, and to bounce to music. We are trying to get you to blow kisses, but I think you are quite unsure of the point of blowing a kiss so you don't want to do it. You will give Mommy open mouth kisses when she is holding you, it is sweet if a little slobbery! You have learned to sign airplane (which might seem odd, but we live under a flight path into Bush airport so we hear them a lot), you clap to say more, and are working on being more consistent with milk. You like to sit on the floor and read all of your books and you love playing with blocks and stuffed animals. You will push anything, boxes, stools, your highchair, around the floor using it for a walker. Daddy says he saw you take two steps a few weeks ago, but all of your other steps have been holding onto something with at least one hand. You will stand on your own without needing to hold onto anything and you can climb stairs (which Mommy discovered when she found you shrieking for help on the fourth step one day). Your climbing of stairs led to Daddy feeling the need to build your baby gates for the top and bottom of the stairs. We all realize we could purchase them, but Daddy didn't think any were good enough for his little girl.
We had our last nursing session two weeks ago. I had slowly cut you down to only nursing at night and we finally gave that one up one night when Mommy was working an event for Grammy KiKi. You adjusted well to the cup rather than nursing, I think Mommy was sadder than you were! You are drinking three bottles/cups of part pumped milk from the spring with half whole milk. You have adjusted well and it actually seems to hold you over and make you feel fuller. Speaking of the pumped milk, Mommy and you took a lot of your pumped milk to the drop off site for the Mother's Milk Bank to donate to babies in need of it. We donated over 500 ounces of milk and you got a little t-shirt in thanks for sharing your milk! You are eating a bit less these days (we think it is because of the whole milk), but you still love a lot of food. You enjoy raisins and craisins a lot, love bananas, enjoy green beans and peas, and prefer red meat to chicken. We discovered that you LOVE fried calamari recently and ate as much as Mommy and Daddy did. At the church Fall Festival we did splurge and gave you sno-cone bites and Daddy (much to Mommy's dismay) gave you a little taste of cotton candy.
You sleep well through the night, usually 8:30 to 8 or so. Right now you are taking two good naps during the night as well. We try to do something outside of the house every day so you can get some fresh air and don't feel cooped up. We spend a lot of time visiting your grandmothers, your great grandmothers, or friends. If we have nothing else to do we will go wander around Target, the grocery store, or Hobby Lobby. I just like taking you out and hearing everyone ooo and ahhh over you. With the weather getting to be so nice Mommy has been taking you for walks (with the exception of the past week or so since we have both had some nasty sinus crud that is going around). We will walk to the neighboring neighborhood and sometimes we stop at the park so you can watch other children play or you love to swing. I know we have already discussed playtime, but here is some more...You love to look through your books and will bring us books and sit in our lap so we can read to you. You also like to turn the pages yourself and to feel the "touch and feel" books. You will shout out "Puh" every time you see a puppy on the pages of your books. While you entertain yourself with books for a large amount of time, you also like to play music, and with your basket of bath toys.
The past month has been very busy with visiting in College Station, seeing family around Houston, going to Cy-Ridge homecoming where some of Mommy's students made you your very own mum, and just exploring. I still cannot believe that the year went by this fast and I cannot believe how much you have already grown up!!! I hope I am remembering enough! You are such a joy, such a pleasure, and such a happy part of our lives. There is not a day that we don't marvel at everything you do and feel really blessed with your presence in our lives. We cut out cable for the t.v. and hardly have noticed because we try to spend family time with you and love it.
Thank you for the past month and the past year. You surprise us in all that you do and we love you very much. Never forget that we love you today and will love you beyond the point that we have no breath left in our body. Happy Birthday Mac, MacKenzie, Mac-a-doodle, Mac and Cheese, Booger, little girl, baby girl, T-rex, and daughter!
Mommy and Daddy
P.S. I will post about your actual birthday celebrations next week!