Letters to Sunday | 14 months (our longest letter yet)

Letters to Sunday

My precious little one,

Oh how lovely you are. I have started telling you this daily. "You are beautiful. You are smart. You are going to do amazing things." You understand almost everything we say now, why not tell you how amazing you are any chance we get? I hope you always know that you are loved, that you are worthy, and that God has a plan for your life.

You are so affectionate, sweet girl. I love it. We love it. You give kisses galore and stop whatever you are doing every few minutes to climb in someone's arms to top off your cup of affection. After a 3 second embrace you hop back up and return to your activity, often delivering a thank you kiss. Daddy sings a little diddy, "Daddy LOVES kisses from the bay-beee!" And your face just shines! So much sweet joy.

I know I've mentioned this before, but, thanks to you I finally have someone to call silly pet names and my list for you is never-ending: sugar bear, sweet baby, honey baby, smoofaloogaroo. Okay I just made that last one up but it's totally representative of all the ridiculous things that come out of my mouth when I am racking my brain for a new cutesy name to call you. You love it. You love affection: verbal, physical, emotional.

Letters to Sunday

You also still absolutely adore the great outdoors. You and your daddy both… you inspire me so much. You never complain if you're too cold, so Daddy takes you out hiking with him as often as he can. But we have to constantly check your temperature! One time you guys went hiking without me and somewhere along the way you lost a mitten. Daddy had no idea and apparently neither did you because you didn't attempt to communicate the problem with him. But your poor little hand! It knew! It was pink and purple for a little-too-long. Of course the human body is amazing and everything was okay after a little while. But even through all of that, not a peep of complaint from you!

Speaking of complaints. You're still teething. Oh, teething. It's basically this constant thing going on that I am always forgetting about. You are pretty good about handling the pain from teething, but your body typically tries to let me know what's happening. Runny nose, watery eyes… I honestly forget about the teething escapade quite a bit. That's where your nanny, Allison, steps in. She remembers all these little baby things and helps me remember to check your mouth. Low and behold you've got some molars coming in already and every now and then you stop and ask to nurse at the most random times. That's when I know for sure it's your teeth that are bothering you. Poor thing.

Yes, we are still breastfeeding. Girl… I think you would breastfeed until you are 10 years old if I let you. Daddy and I went on our first overnight trip away from you and we were gone for almost two full days. Of course the second you saw me come up the stairs you asked to nurse! Mommy = nursing. It has always been that way, I'm expecting it to not always BE that way. :) At this point we only share that quiet time at home before night-night (naps and bedtime). You seem to have gotten the hang of our new normal and I am grateful it unfolded how I always hoped it would. I hope to nurse you until you are at least two years old - the recommended amount of time - but I am glad we've narrowed this time down to just at home, in the quiet of our own space. (Although, I'll admit, those teeth and your relaxed latch make it slightly challenging for me to enjoy the thought of you nursing for another 10 months… but the cuddles are too sweet not to keep going for so long!)

You love your nanny Allison and her son, Aiden. When they come in the front door you squeal with delight and 99% of the time you would rather be in Allison's arms than Mama's (except that 1% of time when you would prefer to nurse). I can't tell you how comforting it is to know you feel safe in her arms. Aiden helps teach you to share and also to fight your own battles. He has also taught you this cute cry that you do when you are tired (I'll have to get it on video for you!) and other sweet baby things. I love the relatinship you have with both of them and I feel so safe leaving you in their company. They are moving in a few months and you probably won't cry about it as much as I will. I hope I will always be able to tell you of the sweet adventures you shared with them.

You are building a stronger relationship with the puppies. Hawkeye has always been so interested in you and kind of obnoxiously affectionate towards you while Traveller has always sweetly avoided you. However, it seems you appreciate Traveller playing hard-to-get and you are drawn to her more often than Hawkeye. It's pretty cool how she understand so well that you are our baby and she has to make smart decisions around you. Your daddy and I are greatly enjoying watching the relationships between the three of you develop over time. It's such a unique bond.

Food. I can't decide if it is a good or a bad thing that you have inspired me to stop and rethink our diets. Okay, it's a very good thing. At this time, though, I have been trying to learn a healthy balance in my personal relationship with food. This is proving to be a challenge for me and unfortunately you have been along for the ride. We waver between days full of nutrition-packed-meals and days of empty-nutrient meals (and an emotionally defeated mama). Treats are okay, every once in a while. The problem is that if I gave you a treat every time I wanted to, and so did your grandma, and your Thia, and your daddy… well… when would you ever eat well? I'll save the rest of my dieting diatribe for another post. In the meantime, I want to document some of your favorites. You absolutely love sweet potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. Lately you have passed on all meats, which confuses me because you used to love them. You drink milk and water and you do appreciate a sip of my freshly juiced fruits and veggies every now and then. If bread, chips, blueberries or bananas are in sight you will not eat anything else. And so begins our days of fit throwing and toddler-ness.

You are an expert communicator. Using grunts, squeals, pointing and sign language, we communicate fairly successfully. In addition, you do say Daddy, Mama, Bye, No, Yeah, All-Done, Night-Night and a handful of other requested words (as in, I say "Can you say _____??" And you do. :)) Of course we are consistently trying to teach politeness and good manners. This is probably our biggest challenge. But, you're a toddler and we have many years of required consistency before Daddy and I will likely see the fruits of that labor.

You experienced your first plane right at the start of 2013. Me, you, Grandmommie and Aunt Jacqulyn all flew to New Orleans together. The trip was quite a doozy, but you faired well on the plane thanks to a lot of nursing treats. :) Typically you are such a great little travel buddy. You enjoy riding in your carseat, and you really seem to do just fine when your routine is thrown off a bit. But, this trip proved to be too much after a week of being out of your own environment already (due to the holidays). Of course we learned a lot and I hope future trips only continue to improve from here on out. :)

Sunday… we love you so. We love the personality of yours that shines through more each day. We are always talking about "how much fun this age is." Each new day, new discovery, new lesson and bits of personality shining through… it all brings such fullness to our lives. You inspire us to be better people, have a happier marriage, and keep our focus on what's important in life. Thank you, baby.

We love you so.

Love, Mama

Discovery | #lifewithsunday

In the past week two people I know have been diagnosed with cancer. Two healthy, strong, living-life-to-the-fullest people. In the past six months that number adds up to like, 6. Ugh... that's a lot. Cancer is a mean beast. And I pretty much hate it. So what do I do?

I turn my eyes to my daughter. Yesterday, we went to the park to celebrate the gorgeous weather. I watched her explore, discover and observe. I wanted to just be that mom holding her hand as she went down the slide and introducing her to new things… but I was so inspired by her I kept picking up my camera and pulling out my phone to snap pictures and take videos. The look on her face… the awe and wonder. It is just beautiful. I love it. I love her… I love the experiences I gain by watching her grow.

Sunday, baby... your favorite thing in the entire world (aside from nursing) is being outside and people watching. Doing both at the same time is heaven for you. I was almost brought to tears yesterday watching you discover people, colors, patterns, textures... personalities and interactions. It is the most touching thing, watching you learn. It brings me so much joy. Joy, despite the hard things swirling around us right now. You are this little light of mine. xoxo. I will always love you. Love, Mama

I am grateful for distractions. For beauty amongst the pain. For joy interwoven into the reality of living in a fallen world.