Dear my sweet Alyssa,
Today is your very first birthday. This year has gone faster than I ever thought possible. It seems like yesterday that you were the tiny "blueberry" growing in my belly. That you made me crave Chick-fil-A cookies and cream milkshakes everyday. That we were debating what to name you (even though I knew I would name you Alyssa the second I got the positive sign on the pregnancy test). That I was miserable from the painful, uncomfortable, non-sleeping, swollen pregnancy I had with you. That we went from barely dilated at our doctor's appointment one afternoon to having a baby without an epidural the very next morning.
During my pregnancy with you, I often wondered what you would look like. What you would be like. And shamefully, how my heart could love two babies equally. But everything came so easily when you were born. You were beautiful. Sweet. And just perfect. There was no question if I could love you as equally as Keira. My heart grew that day. And I was capable of loving more than I ever had. Our family felt complete the moment we met you. And everything felt so perfect. My heart could not have been happier.
You were such an easy baby. You loved to sleep. I nursed you for 6 months and enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed the nighttime feedings. The getting up 2-3 times a night. The nursing and changing, the rocking you back to sleep and the tucking you back in the bassinet. It was easy, and I actually missed it when you started sleeping through the night. You were a great co-sleeper for awhile...such a joy to snuggle with.
Until very recently, you have been very calm and laid back. Easily entertained and almost lazy. You go with the flow. Rarely making a fuss. It's never a stress to take you anywhere. You behave in a shopping cart or in a restaurant, in the car or in the stroller. Unless you're hungry or very tired you are generally content. Although lately you require a toy in the car, preferably the Dora guitar, and it can make for a miserable ride if you drop it. You have come out of your shell a bit over the past couple of months...becoming more verbal and mobile, a little silly and sometimes a bit wild...but you are still so very sweet. You give the absolute best hugs, have the most kissable cheeks, and are just so loving. I look forward to your morning hugs and spending every minute with you that I can. You aren't always easy to hold anymore, as you would rather be army crawling across the floor to get into something that you're not supposed to, but I sure do love holding you whenever I can.
Your Daddy and I have always put you to bed, together. No matter what TV show is on or what we have going on, tucking you in is most important. Its our chance to hug you and kiss you and tell you how much we love you. Even if I'm 9:30 getting home from work, your Daddy is still holding you until I'm there to help tuck you in. It's something we never want to miss. Your Daddy usually feeds you your bottle, rocks you to sleep, holds you awhile, and then we do a quick pass over so I can get a few hugs and snuggles before we tuck you in. I always hold you before we lay you down, and your Daddy is always right there to tuck you in so perfectly.
Often times, if big sister is up before you, she is the one who runs straight to your room and wakes you up. Giving me no chance to stop her. She jumps in your bed and you girls play and laugh and just enjoy your morning time together. But then there are lots of mornings that Keira sleeps. Giving you your rest. On those mornings, I love how you lounge around in your bed for sometimes 20 minutes or so. You never fuss for us to come get you. Instead we hear you sweetly cooing and quietly entertaining yourself. Peeking your little head up. But putting it back down and laying on your side. Drifting back to sleep off and on. As if you are just too sleepy to sit up just yet. I find myself just staring at your monitor, at how adorable you are. And those sleepy eyes could not be more precious. Once you are up and awake and waiting for me to come get you, usually very quietly and patiently, you look at me with those sleepy eyes and give me the biggest smile and all is good with the world at that moment. I cherish each and every morning with you. Then there's the weekends that your Daddy gets to be the one to peek his head in at you, get that first sweet morning hug, and he always gets either a squeal from you or just a look of pure excitement and usually some giggles. Like you are so excited that he is home to have this morning time with you. It melts my heart.
Although not too much has changed since your 11 months, here are a few things about you...
-You still army crawl everywhere but are getting much better at crawling normally. You walk along furniture and walk very well when we hold your hands...when you're in the mood. And just within the past week or two, you have really started walking very well with your walk-behind toys. I don't think it will be long before we hear the sound of those little feet.
-You are still into many things you're not supposed to be...night lights, dog food, banging the computer, trash cans, plugs, crayons, and putting anything and everything in your mouth. We use "No" with you often, but you look at us like yeah right.
-You are throwing your fair share of fits these days. Whenever we take something from you or take something out of your mouth, we get a fit-throwing scream. But you quickly get over it.
-Your favorite toys are the Disney Princess piano vanity that you can stand up to, look in the mirror, and play music. The Dora guitar. And the play kitchen. They are all Keira's toys. That's what's nice about having a big sister. Cool toys.
-You are very sensitive and easily offended...sorry, you got that from your Momma.
-You have a bit of a silly side. You love peek-a-boo, putting things on your head, and overall making us laugh. We love that side of your personality. You smile and giggle over everything. Finding excitement in the smallest things.
-You love your baba but refuse to hold the bottle yourself. We're not looking forward to taking it from you.
-You are into self-feeding. Preferring everything you eat to be something you can feed yourself. Making for very very messy mealtimes.
-Your favorite food is ice cream and yogurt...and all your junky snack foods like puffs, mum-mums, and rice cups...you also love bread, bananas, applesauce, pasta, and you love spoonfuls of the sweet milk left in our cereal bowls...you say "Mmmm" every time.
-You have two bottom teeth and two growing in on the top.
-You love bath time. Splashing in the water and laughing at your silly sister.
-You can be very rough on who ever is holding you...you pinch, grab, and pull hair terribly.
-You say "Momma," "Dada," "Dog," "Baba," "Wa Wa," "Hi"...and other untranslatable jibberish.
-You love music and start dancing as soon as you hear a song that's appealing to you.
-You adore your big sister. Keira is often your entertainment. You laugh together, play together, watch cartoons together, she helps feed you, she kisses you goodnight, she makes you giggle in the backseat of the truck, she blames most everything on you, she tries picking you up or laying on top of you, and sometimes drags you across the floor. You sometimes get annoyed with her or throw a fit when she takes something from you, but overall you adore everything she does.
-You love Cooper. You laugh just looking at him. You love his kisses and his big floppy ears. You're starting to crawl on top of him, pull on him, and torture him, just like Keira always did at that age. Poor Cooper.
-You wave, point, cluck, sort of blow kisses, and you blow air through your lips to make a funny sound. You always make a face that looks as if you're going to whistle and make a "W" sound. And when your Daddy asks you to chew your food good, you chew very fast and with the biggest smile. You can be so silly.
-I have to say you are a bit spoiled. You know what you want and you usually get it. But that's okay.
A look back on your first year...
As sad as it is that you are already one. As emotional as I am over this milestone. I enjoy every age. Every phase that you go through. It's fun watching you grow. Watching you learn. And seeing your little personality blossom. You give us so many reasons to smile every day, every moment that we're with you. I can't imagine our life without you. You complete our family, and we look forward to every day that we have with you. We are so very thankful that God has blessed us with you. You are such a sweet joy. We pray that we can be the absolute best parents possible to you. We love you with all of our hearts!
Happy 1st Birthday Alyssa Nickole!
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