Monday, July 30, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

The most wonderful place on earth isn't Disney World. The most spiritual place isn't a church. Once upon a time I would have said Camp Sumatanga held both of those titles (I hope you get to experience that one day!). But there is a place that has even Sumatanga beat.

The best place, my favorite place on earth, is sitting in our rocking chair with you snuggled up in my arms. Nothing can ever compare to this. Nothing.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

In the morning you and Mommy and Daddy get to do something very special. We will stand up in front of our family and our church and have you baptized. We get to acknowledge God's love and prevenient grace in your life - did you know it's already there for you even now! Mommy and Daddy will publicly affirm our own faith and commit to teaching you about Jesus and living our faith for you as an example.

Oh how I hope and pray that you grow up loving Him from a young age! And one day after you've made your own decision to love and follow Jesus, you can stand up in front of our family and our church to acknowledge your baptism and confirm that you are committed to serving Christ. But that's still a few years from now.

Until then, little one, just know that God loves you - even more than Mommy and Daddy can. It's hard to imagine a love so big that it makes my love for you seem small, but that's just what God's love is. It's that big and more! Rest in that for now, baby girl.

I love you so much!
Love,
Mommy

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

You are just a few days shy of turning three months old. Three months, and I still have to remind myself that this isn't just a wonderful dream, that you really are here and I really get to be your mommy. I've dreamed this dream for so long, baby girl, that it's hard to believe its true now! I love you, my sweet Ella. You really are my dream come true. :)

Love,
Mommy

Dear Ella . . .

I think we can say you've officially slept through the night now. Until yesterday the longest you slept was just under eight hours - and that was a few weeks ago. The last two nights you've slept for right at nine hours!! Then you eat and go back to sleep for another hour or two. I'm so proud of you! You've also suddenly started taking real naps during the day. This week you've been sleeping for 45 minutes to an hour and a half in the mornings and around two hours in the afternoons.

You've also come to another important milestone this week. You have officially transitioned from the bassinet/pack-n-play in Mommy and Daddy's room (where you've slept since we brought you home from the hospital) to your baby bed in your own bedroom. That was hard on Mommy the first couple of nights. I don't like to be away from you. But your bed is much more comfy, and Mommy and Daddy can get ready in the mornings without waking you up now. You look so tiny in such a big bed though!

I really don't know if it's your age (supposedly 12 weeks is the magic age for consolidating sleep during the day) or if it's your bed or maybe both. I'm so glad you're getting the sleep you need - it's better for both of us, but I have to admit I sure do miss our sweet snuggly feedings in the middle of the night.

You're growing so fast!
I love you!
Love,
Mommy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

Never in my life have I experienced anything that makes me so happy and so sad at the same time as watching you grow. You're changing every day and growing so quickly that sometimes I think I actually see it happening minute by minute.

You give me such joy, sweet one, a different and more tangible joy than I've ever known. It's that intense, overwhelming love, happiness, and pride plus the heartbreaking sorrow of knowing these precious moments are so fleeting - all rolled into one. There's not really any word that fully captures this feeling. The best I can do is say it's mommy-joy. That's what I have. Just pure mommy-joy. :)

I love you!
Love,
Mommy

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

I don't know how but I believe you somehow manage to get more adorable every day!

At 11 weeks you:

• have found your hands (I think this actually happened at 10 weeks) and are pulling anything and everything they touch straight to your mouth were you happily slobber all over it.
• are one big drool bucket. You can even blow bubbles. When you are starting to get hungry I can usually find a nice collection of them sliding down your chin.
• have just started to purposefully reach for things. Last week you began swatting at your singing sunshine that hangs on your play mat. Today you actually grabbed ahold of one of the rings on it!
• are babbling more and more! We have such fun (and funny) conversations! You get so excited and proud of yourself for making your cute little noises - it's just precious!
• love to stand up on Mommy when I hold you on my shoulder. You push off with your legs like you're just dying to reach and stretch yourself over the chair to see what fun things may be on the other side. You get pretty proud of this too!
• like to use your feet to scoot and wiggle around. I found you turned completely perpendicular to where you started in your pack n play after a nap the other day. Yesterday you managed to scoot half way off your play mat on your back. I have a feeling once you're really mobile there will be no stopping you.
• found yourself in the mirror last week. Every time you catch your eye now you grin and squawk and talk to yourself. We have so much fun playing with the "pretty baby in the mirror".
• are such a long-legged-lovebug that you are rapidly outgrowing your "0-3 month" and even some plain old "3 month" size clothes. It's especially noticeable in your little footie pajamas. I've decided to let you wear each one once more (if we can stretch it that long) and then we'll be moving up to the "3-6 month" sized jammies.
• don't show it often (unless Mommy takes too long getting ready to feed you) but your little pout is the cutest I've ever seen! You have this perfect little frowny face (the kind you might see drawn on a stick person) and then you poke your bottom lip out. It's so adorable!
* have an even sweeter smiley face! Your happy little grin just makes me melt. You're such a good-natured, happy little girl.
• are smiley even when you don't feel well. You currently have your first cold. Your little nose is crusty and stopped up. You didn't sleep well last night and you're running a low fever (99.4 according to the forehead checker). It's clear you're not feeling your best, and you've still managed to give me a few sweet little smiles through the night and this morning. You're such a sweetheart. I wish so bad that I could make it all better for you.

Daddy and I love you so much, sweet baby! I just don't know what we ever did without you.

Love,
Mommy
Meeting your cousins Taylor and Sarah for the first time
Standing up on Mommy
Happy girl

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

It's still a few weeks away, but I've already been struggling with the thought of having to leave you to go back to work. I've cried my eyes out, had nightmares, you name it. We have a great plan set up for you - you will go to Oma and Papa Oldham's house on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then Grandma will come stay with you on Thursday and Friday. Most Fridays Daddy will be home too. Even knowing you'll be in such good hands hasn't helped my feelings about it though. I'm just so afraid of somebody else (even if it's family) knowing you better than I do or, even worse, you knowing and wanting somebody else more than me. The very thought is almost paralyzing! Besides, how on earth am I supposed to play with, teach, and take care of 700+ other kids when I don't get to do that for my own?

I was talking about all of this to your Grandmommy yesterday and she made a point that I hadn't thought of before. I asked her how on earth am I going to be able to leave you and she said, "Because you love her and you need to make a living for her." She's right. I have to do this because I love you. Our family cannot survive without my paycheck and insurance. It would be selfish of me to try to stay home with you right now with Daddy still working on his doctorate. I love you and your Daddy too much to do that to our family. So I will go back to work because I love you. I'm still not ok with it (I don't know that I will ever be) but I'm trusting that God will give us both the grace to survive.

I love you, baby girl!
Love,
Mommy

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

I love that you're sleeping through the night more and more, but sometimes these middle-of-the-night feedings are the most special times.

I love you, little snuggle bug!
Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

Your Uncle Jonathan asked Olivia to marry him this afternoon! I'm so excited for them and so proud of my little brother. I couldn't ask for a better person to be my sister-in-law and your Aunt. Right now they are planning to get married just after your first birthday next May. What a great time that will be!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dear Ella . . .

Happy 1st Independence Day!

We've been celebrating a little all week. Saturday night we got to watch our neighborhood fireworks show from Mommy and Daddy's bedroom window (you weren't feeling good, so we didn't want to get you out).

Last night you got to see your first orchestra concert and hear Daddy play! We were at the San Angelo Symphony 4th of July pops show outside on the banks of the Concho River. We got to play with Mommy's friend, Emily, and her girls Piper and Keller (their daddy was playing trumpet in the orchestra). The end of the concert was a big fireworks show. You liked the lights but not the loud noises. Some of the bangs scared you and I had to cover your ears (I bet next year you'll enjoy it a whole lot more!). You also got hungry (so did Keller) so Emily and I covered up and nursed you two girls there in the park by the light of the fireworks. I'll never forget it!

Today we're visiting Grandma and Bumpaw for the afternoon. Bumpaw is fixing a special 4th of July dinner and we will have ice cream and watermelon for desert (Well, the rest of us will. You, baby girl, will have milk!). Yummy!

My prayer for you this Independence Day is that you grow up to be proud of your country and our heritage here. Remember that she, like her people, is not perfect but is good at heart. Be a good steward of her people and resources, and live by the old Sumatanga saying, "Let no one say and say to your shame, 'This was a place of beauty 'til you came.'"

Dear Ella . . .

You are 2 months old now and my how you've changed! Here are a few special memories from this past month.

• At your 2 month check up you weighed 11 lbs 12 oz (75-80th percentile), your head measured 15 inches around (90th percentile), and are 23.3 inches long (90th percentile).

• You got 2 shots and an oral vaccine at your check up. You cried real tears (I did a little too) but only for a minute or two.

• You have suddenly "awakened" to your surroundings and can now respond and interact with people and things around you!

• When you lock eyes with me and give me that huge grin of yours I just melt into a big puddle.

• You smile at everyone now and have started babbling, gurgling, and cooing!

• You and I have had some great little "conversations" in the last week or so.

• You are so tall now that I have to wrap you around my side so we fit in our rocker when I nurse you.

• You got to meet all 6 of your living great-grandparents inside of one week! They all love you so much!

• You are a great little traveler! By the end of this week you will have visited Tulsa, OK; Fayette, Hanceville, and Tuscaloosa, AL (by way of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi); San Angelo, TX; and Shreveport, LA. I'm so thankful you handle the car this well! You've got a lot of traveling in your future, little one.

• Your daddy and I love you more and grow closer to you every day (even though I couldn't imagine loving you more than I did the day you were born - love is a pretty amazing thing like that!).

Love always,
Mommy