Archive for the ‘milestones’ Category

On Monday, Molly and I met our friends Mandy and Devin at the park to catch up.  We haven’t seen each other in months because of work, distance, and the holidays so we were happy to get out of the house Monday afternoon to enjoy a spring-like day.  However, every other mom in Charlotte and the surrounding towns had the same idea because it was packed.  So we ditched the park and trespassed in a nearby neighborhood playground.  Molly spent a good deal of the time at the playground having a temper-tantrum because I wouldn’t let her out of the gate, but she recovered and was able to enjoy the swings and watch the doggies with her bud Devin.  


Tuesday, we visited our favorite doctor for Molly’s 18 month well-visit.  She’s growing like a weed and is right on track with all of her developmental milestones.  She had fun identifying her body parts for Dr. H and chasing a tennis ball around the office.  We even found out MJ has a double ear infection!  It’s her first one – that we know of! – and other than a little trouble at naptime, we never even knew she wasn’t feeling well.  So now she’s on her first antibiotics and hopefully is already feeling much better!

This spring-like weather is certainly making the afternoons a lot easier.  I love that we can spend some time outside after nap.  Yesterday, we saw Jessica and Graham and Sue and Cam at the park and ran into two other moms out for walks on our way back.  There’s just something about sunshine that puts everyone in a great mood!


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No…I didn’t forget MJ’s 18 month day…I just didn’t get around to finishing my letter or taking a picture of her yesterday.

Dearest Molly,

Our life is so much more fun with you in it. I know I’ve said this before, but seriously?  What did we do before you? I love how you look at me and grin when I turn on the music in the afternoons, and most days it doesn’t take much prompting to get you to dance with me. You love to identify your body parts, and are always so proud to add news ones to your list (this month was eyebrow, elbow, back, shoulders, and forehead). Last Monday, you carried your bag into school when Dad walked you in and were SO proud of yourself. So proud, even, that on Sunday at breakfast you wanted to wear your backpack while you were sitting in a highchair.  I just love, love, love your grin when you know you’ve done something to make us happy or proud. {Which you do quite often.}

Your vocabulary is growing exponentially.  I can barely keep up with all of your new words, but you have uttered a few phrases so far, including “Mommy car,” and “Milk peas {please}.”  We started going to My Gym on Saturdays this month and the first time we went, I left crying because you did not want to be there.  Each week has gotten better {yes, we took you back!} and we’ve actually signed up for two more months. You love to brush your teeth, which if you’re anything like me and your aunts, will become a lifelong obsession.

Last night, we went to Aunt Bev’s house for a SuperBowl party and you finally walked away from me long enough to play in Addison’s new playroom with her kitchen and dolls.  You two sure were busy in there and paid no mind to Jackson and Benjamin and the other older kids running around.  You love to play with your dolls now and will let each of them have a turn in the highchair eating and taking stroller rides.  You are finally starting to figure out puzzles, but get so frustrated when the pieces don’t float right into the right spot.  You still enjoy books, but won’t sit still very long to listen to stories like you used to, but that’s ok because I know exploring and talking and running are equally important.

You still won’t eat anything of substance. One day last week, you asked for a “bar” at every meal. Being the crazy mom that I am, I tried to give you a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and you threw it and exclaimed “BAR!”  So, you had your third cereal bar of the day.  Other days it’s Ritz crackers, a banana or some berries, maybe some cheese, and a waffle with syrup.  Every day.  However, I used to eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day – your dad actually got sick of making my lunch at one point because he had made a peanut butter sandwich every school day for three years – so I can’t blame you:  You like what you like and that’s ok.  I just wish you liked something kind of healthy.  You know, like with nutrients or protein.  We will go see Dr. Holladay next week and I know he’ll reassure me that this is just a phase and that you are perfectly healthy.  Until then however, I will continue to be concerned.

But my favorite thing so far? You give hugs and kisses freely and I never tire of you leaning in for a kiss.  When I’m fixing my hair in the morning, you run into the bathroom to hug my leg. If I’m getting clothes out of the dryer, you hug my back. When I leave for work in the morning, you say “buh-bye!” and blow me kisses. I store up each hug and kiss in my heart, knowing that one day you’ll be embarrassed by me; when that happens, I’ll have a stockpile of your toddler love to see me through to the other side.

You’re amazing and we love you so much!

All my love,



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Today is my 30th birthday.

So far, it’s not so bad.  I didn’t have any dread or anxiety leading up to this birthday.  30 certainly isn’t old.  But it isn’t young, either.  I’m at a wonderful place in my life.  I have an adoring, caring husband; a beautiful, healthy daughter; a great number of loyal, fun friends; and steadfast, supportive parents and sisters.  Compared to my 20s, which were fraught with anxiety – graduating from college, going to graduate school, finding my first job, living alone for the first time, meeting my husband, getting married, buying a house, and having a baby – I’m expecting my 30s to be brilliantly calm.  Easy, even.

Of course, there are things I had hoped to accomplish by this point in my life and there are things that I’ve done that I’d never dreamed I would have.  I thought I would have a *really* important job.  Instead, I’m a mother and a wife and part-time college instructor.  I can’t think of three more important jobs, can you?  I’ve always wanted to be tall and skinny, but instead I’ve run a marathon, two half-marathons, carried a baby 42 weeks, labored for 15 hours and then had a c-section.  I always thought my life would be abuzz with friends and family and social events.  And you know what?  It is and I love it.  I know exactly where  – and who – I am.

I don’t love that I have to work out harder, go to bed earlier, and use eye cream on a regular basis.  But hey, those are easy trade-offs for the comfort of knowing I’m loved and in a good place.  So today, {which is a snow day = no class!}, I’m going to treat myself to a Starbucks latte, hang out with my baby girl {er, toddler girl}, go to a playdate, and have dinner with my family.  Oh, and don’t forget a glass of red wine in there somewhere.

I think I’m going to like my 30s.

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Dearest Molly,

What a month!  You continue to amaze me.  Your dad and I can literally see you growing and changing.  We put you to bed and you wake up happy the next morning, with a much rounder face.  Or you reach for a graham cracker and I swear your hand grows with each one.  Over Christmas break, I heard your dad laughing as he dressed you and when you came around the corner, I started laughing too; so we went out that very day and bought you bigger jeans so that your ankles wouldn’t be cold.

You love to go to school and sometimes cry when Renee or I pick you up in the afternoons.  Yesterday, you were covered in marker and your substitute teacher said to me, “Molly is just so much fun!”  I agreed.  Your vocabulary is growing along with your hands and legs.  Some of your favorite words are:  shoe, car, bird, ball, cracker, door, no, and you’re starting to say {or attempt to say} some of the different food words from your kitchen:  banana, watermelon, blueberries and apple.  I love to hear you talk and am ready for you to express more in words instead of just “nos” and other screams.

You are in a bit of a hitting/biting/pushing phase.  I know that it’s completely normal, but it still mortifies me.  And when the hitting is repetitive to one person {like ME!}, it makes me angry.  At the advice of my friend Karen, I’ve started putting you down or walking away from you if you’re hitting me, and you don’t like that one bit.  But you obviously don’t mind it that much, because the behavior hasn’t stopped.  This morning, you ran into the bathroom and hit your head on the door.  You couldn’t decide whether to cry or pretend that it hadn’t happened, so you decided to get mad and push me instead!  I told you “no pushing,” but I was laughing in my head at the connection you made between hitting your head on the door and me standing in front of you.  I’m sure it made perfect sense to you that *I* had somehow made all of that happen!

Constantly in motion

You’ve learned to sign “please” and it knocks me to my knees every time.  You get this grin on your face and look up at me through your eyelashes as you’re signing and in that moment, I’d give you anything you asked for.  You still love to read and I’ll often poke my head in your room while I’m getting ready in the morning to find you on the floor with a pile of books.  But some mornings, it takes me twice as long to dry my hair because you want me to read to you non-stop.  {Always on the mornings we’re running late, too!}  When we read Are You Ticklish?, you knock on the front door of the picture of the house on the last page.  It’s hilarious and I’m not sure where you picked that up, but you sure are proud of yourself!

As a baby, you’d eat anything and everything we attempted to feed you, but as a fierce and feisty toddler, it’s mostly crackers and fruit.  And cookies, of course.  Some days I get lucky and you’ll eat a veggie “chicken” nugget for dinner, but only if it comes with lots of ketchup!  You tell me when you need your diaper changed, and if I don’t do it right away, you take my hand and lead me to the changing table.  You still love to take a bath and think it’s so fun to splash Daddy.

Molly and Allie have a love/hate relationship

Peaches, you’re awesome.  We love you more than words could ever say.

All my love,

Mom {aka “Mimi”}

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In the car ride on the way to the mountains on Sunday, Jim and I had all kinds of interesting conversations.  It’s amazing what you can find to talk about when you’re not sitting in front of your computer, chasing a toddler, checking text messages, or grading papers.  Of course, our most fascinating topic of conversation was sitting (sometimes not quite so) quietly in the back seat.

We recalled those first few weeks of Molly’s life, when we lived in three-hour increments of nursing and sleeping.  We barely remember anything of those days, just that it seemed Molly was either nursing or sleeping.  Every ounce she gained was marveled at and every hour of nighttime sleep was celebrated.  Then, we anxiously  awaited her first smile, cheered her on as she figured out how to roll over, were so proud when she figured out how to sit up and laughed  while she ate solid foods for the first time.  It seemed that so much time passed between milestones and once we (um, I mean MOLLY) mastered one of those anticipated milestones, we were looking forward to the next one.

And then, there’s now.  Now when so many things happen in the course of one day that I can barely keep up with all of the accomplishments.  Peaches went from walking to running in 20 seconds and I swear her vocabulary triples every day.  She now weighs three times what she did when she was born.  How did that happen?!  She’s got a mouthful of teeth, she’s solid on her feet, and there don’t seem to be that many big milestones ahead of us in the near future.  There are, however, millions of tiny accomplishments that I’m watching for, that happen in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to miss one.

When I went to pick her up from school this afternoon, Molly was sitting on top of the jungle gym (it was secure on all sides, but she had obviously either climbed the steps or walked up a slide to get there).  All by herself.  And she couldn’t have looked more on top of the world.  I love watching her realize that she is capable of doing something and I can’t wait to see everything she will accomplish.

I am already so immensely proud of her, just for being.

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Dearest Peaches,

Today you are 15 months old!  We celebrated by having a yard sale on the coldest morning of the fall so far.  You were a trooper, hanging out with your dad, Nana, and me!

At dinner, your dad and I were talking about all of the new things you’ve learned this month and we just kept adding to the list.  I had to write everything down on the back of a receipt so I could remember!  You are communicating with us so much now with words, signs, and your body language.  I love it when I know what you’re trying to tell me and I sometimes get as frustrated as you when I don’t know what you’re telling me!  You are still shy and quiet around strangers or in big crowds, but you’ve got quite the feisty personality with us.  You like to stomp your feet when you’re mad or excited and your facial expressions are so animated.

You can sign for “more” and “milk” and the other day, you signed “thank you” for the first time.  I was so excited, but you haven’t done it again so we’ll keep working on it.  Your favorite words are “shoes” and “car,” although you also know “purple,” “mama,” “yeah,” “keys,”  “leaf,” “cracker,” and “balloon.”  And every time you hear the train (which is often, since we live a stone’s throw from the railroad tracks) you say, “Teeeee!”   You are a very picky eater – crackers, yogurt and fruit are your favorites right now and you can smell a vegetable or piece of meat no matter how hard I work to disguise it!

When I ask you for a hug, you will run over to me and give me a hug.  You will sometimes blow kisses and you’ve started to love on your baby dolls.  You can identify your nose, eyes, ears, and hair, as well as every one else’s nose, eyes, and ears!  You don’t like to ride in your car seat or stroller but you love your new wagon.  You still love to play with the toilet paper and Allie’s water bowls, so we have to stay one stop ahead of you and remember to put those things away!   You totally understand what we tell you.  If we say we’re going to change your diaper, you walk to your room.  If we tell you to pick out a book, you go to a book basket.  Just tonight, you threw a picture frame off of the table and when I asked you pick it up, you did and handed it right to me.


I don't have time for this Mom; there are places to go!


You are *so* much fun!   Every day, we can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next and you constantly make us laugh.  We try hard to give you some room to let you make mistakes and figure things out, but it’s so tempting to jump right in and help you when you can’t figure your way out of a situation.  Every night I pray that you will be a happy, caring, and independent girl.  So far, my prayers have been answered.

We love you so much!

All our love,

Mama and Daddy

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Dearest Molly,

I’ve been telling people for weeks now that you’re almost 14 months old; it wasn’t until I saw the BabyCenter email update in my inbox just now with the subject “Your 14-month-old: Week 1” that I realized you were really, truly 14 months old.  How did that happen?  Where did the last 2 months go?  You just turned one, for crying out loud, and I think from now until you’re two I will not acknowledge each month that you are, in fact, getting closer to two.  If I just say “one” instead of 14 months, or 16 months, or 20 months, then I can pretend for a little bit that you are not changing every day.  I know I’ve written this somewhere before, but each morning you are bigger than you were when we put you to bed.  Each afternoon, you learned three new things at school.  Every night, you walk a little further than you did the evening before.

It’s awesome to watch you grow and change this way.  My heart bursts with pride every single time I look at you.

You assert your blossoming independence in a variety of ways:  refusal to ride in the stroller, be held, or buckle up in your car seat; laughing and then walking in the opposite direction when we say it’s time for bed; throwing toys and cups that we hand you and then picking the same items up on your own.  You still won’t eat meat, which really just befuddles me, and you love all things fruit.  You bring me books to read, which completely melts my heart, and you still like to snuggle in to the space beneath my chin when you will let me cuddle with you at night.  It takes you a while to warm up to friends and strangers alike, but once you’re comfortable, you are such a sweet, silly girl.  You love to play outside and you love your shoes.  We have to put your shoes on your feet as soon as you wake up in the morning, otherwise you walk around the house carrying them, shouting “Shoes!  Shoes!  Shoes!  Shoes!” until we put them on your feet.  Every once in a while, if we can not put them on you right away, you will sit down and try to put them on yourself and that just cracks me up.

I cannot imagine our life without you.  You bring so much joy and noise and messiness and laughter to our home.  You are beautiful and funny and sweet, and even if I told you a million times a day that I love you, it wouldn’t be enough.

I love you, my sweet Peach.

All my love,


p.s. You know I was just kidding; I’ll still acknowledge each month (as long as I remember to, that is!)

p.p.s.  Want to see the outtakes of the 14 month pictures?  Look below.  It’s hard to take pictures of toddlers.

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