Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My one year old

Today is the big celebration for Eleanor's first birthday.  Wednesday was the actual day of her birth, but today we welcome family from out of town and all our friends to share in our joy.  I am so incredibly grateful that Eleanor is a part of my life and my family.  I am honored to be her mommy.  I couldn't imagine a single day without her.  I can't believe it's been a whole year since I met this beautiful girl.  In many ways it feels like yesterday, but mostly it feels like I've known her my whole life.
Eleanor is vibrant, completely full of life.  She gets excited to see people.  She loves to smile and laugh.  Small things are funny to her.  Because of Eleanor, we laugh so much each and every day.  I smile at her from ear to ear, until my jaw tightens.  Most days I think I couldn't smile any harder. 
Eleanor is creative and incredibly smart.  I love watching her learn new things and challenge herself.  She can stack blocks on top of each other and find the correct hole for different shapes.  You can tell she has a methodical sense, and will plan out her actions.  When she knows she has done something well she gets excited.  We will cheer for her and she will join in by clapping or making fun noises.  It is incredibly fun to see her learn and grow.  I can sit here for long periods of time just watching her move and play.  She claps to music in the car and sings along and dances in her carseat.  It is the most amazing thing and I can't help staring at her in the rear-view mirror.  Must keep eyes on the road!
Eleanor isn't walking yet, and she might not have many new "big tricks."  But her development changes each and every day.  Watching her play peek-a-boo is my single most favorite thing in the world.  "Where's the baby? Where did Eleanor go? Peek-a-boo!"  When you start saying these words she knows to play along.  It is amazing!  While my mom was in town visiting she also taught Eleanor a few new tricks.  Like to make an "ahhh" noise when we wave our hand in front of her mouth.  It's hard to describe, and at the risk of sounding non-politically correct, we used to call it as kids "making an Indian noise." Does that help explain it?  She does it when we start tapping our hand in front of her mouth and sometimes will even do it on her own with her hand.  So cute!
Eleanor can be devious.  She already knows right from wrong in many ways.  She knows she isn't allowed to stand in the tub or in her highchair and will give us a backwards glance as she slyly tries to pull up.  When we ask her to sit down or we correct her behavior she shoots us her best disapproving look.  Occasionally I have raised my voice in surprise when she bites or pinches me hard and she will smile up at me or even giggle...these, my friends, are the first signs of toddlerhood.  I know you have all been waiting with your "I told you so" smirks.  Even the best babies are not immune to the "terrible twos" it seems.
At 12 months, Eleanor's days are typically very busy, thanks to my busy schedule.  She spends most of her time with me, but also goes to the babysitter's a few hours a week.  This past month Alex and I enjoyed many evenings out without Eleanor.  These nights meant that she would take a bottle and go to sleep somewhere other than our own home.  But as always, she was perfect.  We would pick her up around 10pm and she would go right back to sleep in her crib once we were home.
We are still nursing two to three times a day, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.  Now that we have reached the one-year mark I think I will make a conscious effort to just nurse morning and night.  She is still a fabulous eater.  Most days she takes three solid meals, sometimes we will squeeze an extra snack or meal in there as well.  And she almost always eats whatever we are having.  The only time we will make her something different is when our dinner is extra, extra spicy or we aren't done cooking when it is time for her to eat.  
Other than a few early wake-ups because of illness, Eleanor sleeps through the night with ease.  She typically goes to bed between seven and eight and sleeps until seven in the morning.  When we set the clocks back last weekend she did great and continued to sleep straight through to the new seven! We are in that awkward stage of naps, trying to switch from two to one.  I think she prefers one nap a day, typically falling asleep around 11:30 and napping for two to three hours.  This works well for me too.  I get so much done during this one nap!
Our big adventures this month include apple picking, visiting the Balloon Fest, Oma coming to visit and celebrating her best friends' first birthdays (Happy Birthday Aubrey and Harper!) And of course celebrating her own birthday!
She loves to play with other kids so much.  She is intrigued by big kids and will just watch them at the play ground or at church.  On her birthday we took her to the park to swing.  We were jumping up down and being completely goofy to get her to smile for the camera (and you wondered how we captured all these amazing photos!) but all she would do was stare at the other kiddos.  I think she is so inquisitive.  
It will be so fun to watch her continue to grow and see how her personality develops.  Will she be shy? Or outgoing? Will she be passionate, caring, loving, cuddly, sweet, energetic, playful?  Will she be a leader, a thinker, artistic, dramatic? Will she ever love to read? 
I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives getting to know each other.  I can't wait to love her each and every day.  My goal is to always be a Christ-like example of unconditional love and understanding.  To be firm and consistent, but loving and faithful.  I want to show her all the beauty in the world, but also help her recognize the need of a Savior because of the evil in this world.  I want to teach compassion and tenderness, and also strength of character and leadership abilities.  I want to be an example of all these things, so I am always and constantly improving and working on my own character.  Being a mom has been such a rewarding journey thus far, but it has also been incredibly challenging.  I want to be the absolute best me I can be, so I can be the best mom I can be.
Because she's worth it.

She is worth every tear shed and difficult decision.  She is worth the four days of labor and the incredibly painful drug-free child birth.  She is worth the sleepless nights and sore nipples (yup, I went there).  Being Eleanor's mommy is worth every ounce of energy exerted.  The joy in her expression and the light in her eyes tells me it is worth it each and every day.  There are many things in my life that drain me of energy, but being her mom fills me up and restores me.  This is by far the coolest job I have ever had (and Girls on the Run is a pretty cool gig--but being a mom sure takes the cake!)
What a journey it has been.  For 365 days (+3) we have snuggled and kissed and squeezed and loved and cared for this amazing and beautiful little girl.  We have held her tight and nurtured her little body from just 6 pounds 8 ounces to a whopping 22 pounds! From 19 1/2 inches to 28 inches tall.  From thick, jet-black hair, to beautiful, whispy, strawberry-blonde locks.  Blues eyes to gray.  Gummy grin to a bright toothy smile.  From a helpless newborn, to a wonderful, independent, entertaining little girl.  

Pip, Ellie Meg, Baby, Favorite, Booga Bear, Honey Bear, Squishy, Nugget = Eleanor Margaret
My favorite little girl in the whole wide world! Thanks for being ours!

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