12 Month Letter to Skylar:

Dear Skylar Joy, You are 12 months old. 1 year. Right in this minute August 8th at 1:46 you are a whole year old. In that moment when you were born my life forever changed. I knew it would, but nothing could have prepared me for just how much you would change my world. I will be forever grateful for you... for all that my life has become. Thank you for giving me so much purpose. For loving me unconditionally (there truly is nothing like experiencing love from a little baby). For helping me see the world again with brand-new-wonder-filled-eyes. Thank you for discovering and learning and showing me your beautiful personality (independent and sweet and expressive and so very curious).

My mind boggles to think of all that has happened during this year. I can hardly believe I'm sitting here typing this note to you, baby girl. Last year I was incredibly exhausted, but seeing your little face, touching your hands... holding you in my arms gave me strength and energy I didn't know I had (even after 40 hours of labor). We had some beautiful moments, dear one, before the hard stuff became reality. But let's not focus on those things -- they are in the past -- they are over and done and you are perfect, none the worse for wear. This year has definitely shown your Daddy and I that you are full of life, so very strong, and beautiful in so many ways.

This whole letter won't be about the last year... but give me a few more moments to think about all it held, baby girl. It started with a tiny little baby girl (7 pounds, 8 ounces worth) who snuggled and cooed and cried and overwhelmed this momma with so many feelings of both love and inadequacy. We moved 6 weeks or so after you were born and, really, considering everything, you did so very well. After that we settled into a new house in a new town in a new state with new neighbors and lots of new routines. We got to know each other, sweet girl, and now we're in a place where we communicate pretty well. I know there's so much more to come for communication (I have a feeling you're going to be a "talker" -- surprise, surprise), but I'm so thankful for where we are now. I love it when you tell me nonsense stories and when you try to say words and when you communicate with gestures. I love that you are learning to communicate all the time!

You say a few new words now... One is: "book" (7/23) well, actually you say "boop," but you're really sure that it's the same as "book." You even enunciate the "p" sound when momma stresses the "k" sound to you. It's the cutest thing. There's a video of this floating around somewhere on facebook or something, but really, I'll remember these moments in my heart forever! You also say "dog" now. This was particularly fun when we visited Steven's dog last weekend (he wasn't there -- Steven and your Daddy were in Seattle visiting Chris). More about the dog later. You also experiment with the word "get" and we think that "mamamama" when said a certain way basically means "food" or "drink" or "give me boobies." Haha. We think that since you usually get these things from me that your go to word for all of them is "Mama".

So the "big news" for this month is that you are walking!!!!!!!!!! You took your first steps the day after your 11 month birthday (7/9). I was sitting in the play-area with you and you were standing there holding a toy and you wanted to come over to me and just walked 3 little steps before falling right into my lap. You did it twice that day (one other time was prompted by me so that Daddy could see). A few days later you took a couple steps away from holding onto the wall and/or the couch but to nothing (in other words you weren't walking to me or your dad 7/12). And that started this whole thing called "walking". Soon after you started taking steps on your own your Daddy helped you walk around and around in a circle. For the first half of the month you walked with help a little bit like you were drunk -- your steps were uncertain and very disjointed. But with practice and help you've been getting better with the walking motion.

By the end of this month your walking has become much more steady and sure. When you had your 1 year photos with Liz last week you walked the most steps in a row thus far! It was somewhere around 10 steps!! You're still not walking everywhere yet, but you're starting to default to walking instead of crawling. You seem determined to walk places and only fall to your knees when you get tired or lose your balance. This is still usually after only 6-10 steps, but you keep getting back up and trying again.

You now give repeated kisses and sometimes with your mouth closed (7/10). The repeated kisses happened after I was gone for 4 hours having a root canal (major ouch) and got back to you clamoring to be held by me. You were so excited to see me! It was very cute. You also started giving Daddy (and sometimes other people) kisses this month (7/16). Your "closed mouth" kisses were pretty short-lived and you're back to the open mouth ones. You also will give kisses without me pointing to my mouth. All I have to do is say "kisses" and you lean in (or sometimes dive) to kiss me. Sometimes you kiss me when I just use the word "kiss" in a sentence. Haha. Oh! and you've now added a "muah" sound when you give kisses (just like the one that usually make when I give you kisses). You are incredibly cute, little one.

You are a pro at going up the stairs now, baby girl. Mommy and Daddy have messed with this "fun" a bit by added a gate at the bottom of the stairs. We still let you climb when we can follow you, but neither of us wants you to get hurt trying to get back down the stairs (or getting upstairs and into things that can harm you). You're still pretty unsure about going down the stairs, but successfully backed down them at least once this month (7/12). I'm sure you'll figure them out in due time. ;)

You have mastered climbing off the couch. You easily push yourself off and onto the floor and don't fall or have any issues getting down. You have also tried this with Mommy and Daddy's bed. It's much higher so you are more careful and uncertain when you do it, but you've pushed yourself off onto the floor a couple times successfully. This is something you Mom isn't thrilled about -- but doesn't surprise me considering how independent you tend to be. At least you're no longer diving off the bed head-first. You've figured out that going feet first is much better! :)

Another first is jumping on your bed! (7/15). Sometimes when you're waiting for us to come get you after you wake up you jump holding onto the side of your crib. The first times you did this we were surprised by how much noise you were making! We checked the video and there you were jumping over and over till you tired yourself out. Usually you're saying "MamamMamMaMa!" in a happy tone. Calling for me -- but not too upset that I haven't come yet. You make me smile so much, little girl.

When we were in VA visiting with Asher and Amanda (and others) you were very thrilled by attention from Steven's dog Chaucer. It started with him licking you/giving you kisses all over while you giggled and squealed. It was so cute! Then for the rest of the weekend you would squeal and giggle when Chaucer would head your direction. Most of the time we were on the couch and you would half-hide behind me like it was a game you were playing with him. I think you see Chaucer as the "tickle monster" because every time he licks or noses you it makes you giggle like you're being tickled. Your interactions with the dog (who is also around a year old) were incredibly cute. Momma tried to show Daddy via video chat, but hopefully you'll show him next weekend when we go back to Virginia for Amanda's birthday.

Speaking of the Virginia trip: You were soooooo good, baby girl. With the exception of one day when you wouldn't nap and one night when we had some trouble sleeping, you slept well, and napped well, and were generally in a very good mood! You were very friendly during this trip and warmed up to people you didn't know quickly -- even guys! It was fun watching you make friends with people. Oh! That reminds me! Tommy taught you to eat popcorn while we were at his house (8/2)! At first you were uncertain about putting it in your mouth, but after some coaxing you dove in and were eating kernel after kernel of popcorn. You also enjoyed watching Tommy play his Ukelele and got into the action and plucked a few strings yourself. When at Steven's house you let Asher watch you while Mommy did things sometimes and you walked all around the room holding onto Aaron's hand (and Will's too! I believe). You also used the lazyboy chair as a thing to "circle" and would walk around and around it -- minimally holding on and practicing your walking. You would pause from time to time to push on the chair to make it "rock" and would giggle at the movement. You rocked your 1 year photos, sweet baby girl... and Mommy's including some favorites at the end of this letter. You also did really well on the trip to and from VA. I'm glad we've figured out car trips -- at least short ones. ;)

A couple weeks ago you learned to throw (7/23). We haven't practiced much since then, but you threw toys back and forth with Daddy. You're not really able to catch yet, but the throwing you're pretty good at. We'll have to practice more with your Daddy soon.

You are very close to cutting 2 more teeth, baby girl, but still have only 6. In fact, you're so close, that your 7th tooth may show sometime today! You have also been working on your molars this month. They're progressing slowly, but your gums in that area on the bottom have been swollen off and on all month. So, basically, you've been teething all month. You've handled it pretty well, though at night you do have a tough time sometimes. We're hoping your teeth will cut soon and give you some relief from the tooth pain! At least for a little while!

You are still eating lots of purees that your momma makes for you, but you are also eating cut up fruits and avocado, baby girl! You're actually doing really well with chunkier solids and we will start transitioning you to more of these foods in the coming month. It's exciting to give you more "big people foods." You are learning to eat from your snack-cup. In fact you learned how to get sweet potato puffs out of the cup on your own while Mommy was driving to Virginia last Thursday. I gave you the cup and you first tried to shake them out and then dump them out holding one corner open and then you figured out that you could put your hand in the cup and pull out what you wanted. You also put the cup in my hand when I reached back to add more to it for you. You're so smart little one. I love watching you problem solve!

You are slimming down as you move around more and it's definitely bittersweet to see you losing your baby chubs. You are back to fitting into 12 month clothes and even some 9 month old onsies. ;) I love your little face... you're losing some of your baby-look and looking more and more like a little girl. It's adorable and heart-wrenching at the same time! Such mixed emotions your Momma has this month, little one! I love feeling it all... the happy stuff... the sad moments where I know I'll miss you being small... the joyful discoveries and changes... and leaving some of your baby-habits behind. It's all beautiful in its own way.

Well, I'm not sure what else there is to say, my sweet girl... but at the same time I feel like there are so many more things I could write about. You are forever, indelibly, fully, imprinted in my heart. I'm so thankful for you and everything that comes with you -- even the hard stuff. You have helped me stretch, grow, become a better person during this last year. I've made mistakes that's for sure and I'll make more in the future, but I love this life we live together, the three of us. Words can't express how much I love our little family. Your Dad and I are both looking forward to all the next year will bring and we both are excited and a little sad to see you getting so big and growing so much!

I love you so much, baby girl. You are my sunshine. You are the light in my day. You are beautiful and amazing and oh-so-special and unique. I'm so excited to celebrate you today and can't wait to celebrate so many more birthdays in the future.

I love you always and forever.

-Momma

A quick sample of your 1 Year Photos taken by the lovely and incredible Liz Cook Of Sincerely Liz Inc (there will be more of these photos to come!):

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P.s. The tulle skirt & the large flower headband were both custom-made for Skylar by the wonderful and creative Carolyn of Two Sparrows Headbands. I love her work. She has items for baby girls, boys and even for adults!

11 Month Letter:

Dear Skylar Joy, Hey there, pretty girl! You're changing so much every month... and this one is no exception! Your communication with us this month continued to grow and change and get better! You now wave consistently when prompted to say "bye-bye". It's especially cute when you wave goodbye to your daddy when he's about to leave at bedtime. You're telling him "okay, go bye-bye now so I can nurse with Mommy!" You also now communicate with motions. For example: You will point to your head and motion with a toy that you want us to put it on our head like you are. So we'll take it from you and put the toy on our head and you giggle and smile so big! You are more and more interested in telling us about your day and showing us what you want to do and how you want to play. We don't always understand you, but it's been fun trying to decipher what you're communicating.

When you see something new or discover something you say "ohhhhh" with so much wonder. It's incredibly cute. I love hearing you make that sound and watching you learn.

You loved it when your Gram Gram and Pop Pop came to visit. You seemed to know they were special to you pretty quickly. We wonder if it's because of all the video chats you've had with them! You certainly are interacting more and more in those chats. This month you were also away from your Daddy for a while (and in New York visiting with your other grandparents and two of your uncles). We video chatted most days while we were apart from your daddy and you loved seeing him every time. You would smile so big and often clap (you guys clap back and forth a lot as a type of "game"). You also would wave "bye-bye" to your Dad on video chat when it was time to say goodbye.

Speaking of going to New York, you were very good on 4 different flights this month, baby girl (2 each way on the way to New York). On one of the flights back to North Carolina several people in the plane remarked that they didn't know a baby was on board the flight. I was so proud of you in that moment, sweet girl.

You crawled up the stairs for the first time this month (6/23). We're pretty sure you could have done this earlier, but your Mom and Dad were far from encouraging you to start experimenting with the stairs. You cannot go back down the stairs yet (though this is definitely to be expected). It's probably time for us to get a gate and limit your stairs access a bit. We want to keep you safe, little one!

You can turn light-switches on and off with no help now. You like to turn off and on the switch in your room at bedtime. Daddy limits you to doing this a couple times so that you can settle down to reading and relaxing for bed. It's kinda a fun little game you guys play during reading time. :) You also can now close the garage door when we hold you up to push the button.

You started smiling with a "crinkle nose" smile like your Momma this month. You used this smile more than any other expression this month. It was super cute to see myself mirrored in you, but it's funny that you stopped smiling other ways this month and only smiled that way. I'm sure this will change in the coming months, but we'll enjoy it while you're doing it. :)

You kissed me for the first time this month, my sweet girl. You always have your mouth open when you do, but you kiss me when I point to my mouth and say "kisses?" I'm not sure when this started (I didn't keep track of the date), but it warms my heart every time you do it. You are so sweet, baby girl!

You saw the ocean for the first time this month, my little one (7/4). You were not quite sure what to think of the waves at first and I don't think you were super happy about how chilly the water was, but you warmed up to it pretty quickly. Your Dad and your Mom played with you in the water and eventually you started enjoying the ocean just like you do the pool! Sand was a whole different story. You were sitting on a towel under an umbrella and kept looking suspiciously at the sand. We tried putting your hands and feet in the sand and you pulled back like you were scared of it. We think that because it shifted and moved under your feet you thought it wasn't stable enough to crawl on or stand on. Eventually you figured out that sand was at least "okay" to interact with, but it was certainly not something you wanted to have all over you. Your cousins Autumn and Colden were also at the beach when you were. You loved interacting with Autumn and weren't always sure what to make of 6 month old Colden. You also kept looking at him funny when Colden was trying to eat the sand. Your expression was something like "why would you want to EAT that?!?!?" It was pretty cute. You also bumped Colden in the head a few times on different occasions. We're working on teaching you to be gentle, but it's certainly a work in progress. ;) I should also mention that you climbed the beach house stairs while we were there. It feels notable because they are not carpeted and much harder to climb.

The trip to the beach (9+ hours in the car) was not one of your happiest trips, my dear girl. And your Mommy and Daddy will be working on how to make future long car trips better for you. Neither of us wants you to be so upset while traveling again. We're hoping that as you grow up you'll be able to play more effectively with things and maybe watch videos in the car. I guess we'll see what happens. For now 3 hour trips are just fine and we'll limit our travels to that for a few months.

You are SO close to walking, baby girl. You can walk backward with the help of your highchair (it has wheels on the bottom) and while holding on to other chairs you kinda "walk" around them a bit (7/2). You are becoming more independent with things like moving from place to place. You climbed down out of your highchair with very little help this month (7/3). You also stood without having anything to help you stand up (7/6). I'm pretty sure we'll see you walking next month -- before your 1st birthday.

Finally, baby girl, you were very good during a family photo shoot we had with an old friend. We happened to get rained on a bit and you were fascinated by the water as well as by leaves on the trees and so many other things in nature. The photographer did a great job capturing your wonder and excitement at experiencing new things. So, those are the photos I'm sharing for your 11 month pictures. I love you, sweet girl.

Keep growing, learning, and, if you must, getting bigger!

Love Always, Your Momma

(Pictures taken by Anne Ryan Dempsey of Poema Photography)

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10 month letter

(This is late and so will be the 11 month letter, but this is all leading to the epic 12 month (1 year) letter that will be coming up on Skylar's birthday on Thursday! So, here goes...) Dear Skylar Joy,

Lots of new things this month, baby girl... as per usual! You've been learning lots of new ways to interact with us! One big one is clapping. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but you like to clap after we clap and then we clap after you do and you clap again. Back and forth... it's so cute. It's all part of you communicating and having fun with people! Similar to clapping, you also are now "high-fiving" us on command (5/22). It's more like "mid-fiving", but the concept is there.

Another example of this is that now when I reach for something and ask you for it you will give it to me. You understand that I want to take it and you usually put it in my hand. A lot of the time you want to take it back soon after you give it to me... and this is another game we play! :) You also rolled a ball back and forth with your dad this month (5/19).

Your Daddy first "zoomed" you over the yard this month (think holding you facing the ground and zooming you over the ground so you can see it at high-speed). You loooooved it (5/27). Since you enjoyed that so much your Dad has started zooming you over the floor in the house and other places. Every time you open your mouth all excited and make little thrilled/happy noises. This typically makes you happy even if you're starting to get grumpy. I love watching you and your daddy playing, little girl.

Speaking of your Daddy, you fell asleep on your Dad and took a nap on him for the first time since you've been older than a newborn (6/1). You also fell asleep on Daddy during story time one night (5/26) and then another time when you fell asleep and let him put you down for the night (5/28). We'll see if this trend continues... It would be nice for you to go to bed for your Dad too. ;)

While we were at a neighbor's birthday party your nanny from next door started moving her head back and forth while looking at you and you mimicked her as best you could (5/25). Now you do this whenever Mommy or Daddy move their head back and forth. You want to do things just like we do!

You were a bit hit at the birthday party with the kids at the party! All the big kids crawled on the floor with you and hugged you and gave you kisses on your head. One bold little boy kissed you on the mouth. You definitely enjoyed all the attention. It was very sweet watching you interact with the other kids.

You learned to wave this month, little one. It's the cutest little wave, too! When we encourage you to wave you look at us and think and concentrate really hard and then put your hand up and fold your hand in half rapidly to try to move it like we are (5/26). It's so sweet and little... I love watching you learn!

You experienced being in a swing for the first time this month (5/16). I'm not really sure why it's taken this long for us to put you in a swing... but it did. Anyway, you enjoy it! You giggle and love swinging. Soon after the first time we went back to the park with Daddy and he got to push you on the swing. You loved that too.

Finally, baby girl: You are starting to have a bit of a temper when we won't give you what you want (6/4). This first happened when I wouldn't let you have one of the remotes. You seem to be much more aware if we prevent you from doing what you want to do and you don't like that much. I fear we have much more of this coming in the future, but we'll deal with it as it comes, dear girl.

I love you so much, baby girl! Keep growing, learning, becoming you! I look forward to each and every day with you!

Love Always, Your Momma

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My Little Jellybean

This week Skylar Joy turns 1. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. It's crazy. In celebration of Skylar's birthday week I'm going to post every day about her (lofty goal considering I haven't blogged in a while -- but I'm hopeful!). My plan is to blog the final two letters to her and a couple other surprises and finish up with a 1 year letter to her on Thursday.

I'll leave you with a few photos from a recent family photo shoot. These were taken by the lovely and talented Anne Ryan Dempsey of Poema Photography:

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9 Month Letter to Skylar

Dear Skylar Joy, Mommy loves you so very much! I wish this wasn't late! But I do want to celebrate all the milestones you achieved your 9th month of life!

So, here goes... Last month I told you about how you started standing up! It was such a fun new thing for you and you were standing often, baby girl! But you weren't able to get down (you would yell for me when you got tired of standing) and were afraid of letting go to let yourself "fall" on your bottom. Well, on your 9 month birthday (also your mommy's birthday) you finally figured out how to get down from standing!!! This was quite a relief for your Momma! No more "Ma-Ma-Ma-MA!!!" yelling from you to get helped down from standing (though I do have to admit looking over to see you stuck standing up somewhere will be something I miss on some levels... you were so cute stuck and calling for me). Your independent streak took off this month starting with being able to sit-down and get down from standing.

You also said "Da-da" on your Mom's birthday and we were pretty sure you meant your Daddy. We confirmed this a few days later when I was out of the house and you called for your Daddy saying "Da-Da-Da!" (4/10) You're trying to say other various words too. You often repeat words that you think sound interesting. A good example is that you repeat "click-click" ... it sounds more like "kik-kik," but you're trying to say what we say. It's pretty cute. The only other word we're sure you're saying with meaning is "kitteh" (4/16). You say "keh-keh" when you see Harley and you still try to pet her -- though very roughly (we're working on the concept of "gentle," but it's slow going).

In terms of food: You're a pretty good eater. You eat pretty much all the purées that your Mommy makes you. You also have started trying some pieces of fruits and other foods with mixed results. A few "successes" are when you you tried pineapple at Kroger one day while shopping and when Aunt Mary gave you a strawberry (4/10).

You are enjoying story-time with Daddy as part of your bedtime routine. Your Dad likes to read you Winnie the Pooh stories and sometimes reads you stories about animals. During one of those animal stories you recognized a cat illustrated in the book and pointed out "kit-teh" to your Daddy. You showed your Mom when I came in to finish putting you to bed. You're so smart, little one!

One of your most exciting "new things" you've done during your 9th month was standing on your own without holding anything. You did this for the first time on the couch where it's soft. You were standing up holding onto the back cushion and you just pushed off and stood on your own (4/26). Your Daddy saw you do this first and then you did it again so your Mom could see! I'm sure you'll be standing without holding on very soon!

You like to offer your teether and other toys to your Dad and Mom. You do this especially during storytime with your Dad. It's fun to see you sharing so young. Hopefully this will be a trend, baby girl! :)

Other changes include a few more teeth: You have 6 teeth now! And that you are able to help more while getting dressed. You push your arms through sleeves when I say "push" and still love to laugh when clothes are over your face and when you "pop" out of the neck hole.

You are growing so much every day. We cannot wait to see what you discover next.

I love you, baby girl. Always. Forever...

Love, Your Mom

These pictures are from when you tried the strawberry... you were so uncertain but wanting to try it with Aunt Mary's help. You were so very cute!:

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8 Months Young!

Dear Skylar Joy, Hello sweet girl! This month is pretty exciting! First, your "8 month birthday" was on your Mommy's birthday! How cool is that? We were excited to have two things to celebrate that day! Your Mom turned 30 on the 8th, but she largely celebrated her birthday the weekend just before that. You were such a good girl during the festivities! I think about that weekend and how perfectly you behaved with your baby sitter and with all the guests and I am just so proud of you! Thank you for such a lovely "gift" baby girl!

This month has been filled with changes and exploration (as every month has been thus far!). The "big" thing you learned to do this month is stand on your own. It was crazy how quickly you figured out how to pull yourself up to standing. One day you were trying to get to my water bottle up on a chair and couldn't quite make the "leap" to put your hand up and pull yourself up to standing so you could reach it (3/17) and the next day you stood up using another chair to get to my camera gear (3/17). I wasn't expecting you to figure it out so quickly, but once you did you started standing all over the place. The only problem with this development is that you are scared to get DOWN from standing. So... you tend to start babbling "ma-ma-ma-ma" with increasing intensity the longer I let you stand without helping you down. It's cute, baby girl, but someday you will figure out the sitting down from standing thing... Until then I'll keep helping you. ;)

I mentioned that you say "ma-ma-ma," and we can officially say that "mama" is your first word, baby girl! You call for me to help you when you're trying to get down from standing, to come get you when you're up from a nap or at night, and when you're ready to be fed. You're very close to saying other things too... and try out sounds and syllables a lot. At times you make noises like you're trying to say separate words -- like a phrase or sentence. You do this most when you're in the car talking with your travel toys (your owls and your bunny are still major favorites for traveling). Your Dad noticed that you were saying a syllable that sounded like "get" over and over while trying to grab something (4/4). We're not sure what you're really trying to say, but it's obvious that you are continually trying to figure out how to express new words and information to us and your toys.

At the beginning of this month you still did the "arms only" crawl sometimes, but now you're just doing a standard crawl everywhere -- and fast. You can get from one area to another surprisingly quickly! One day this month you crawled right up to the stairs and were trying to get up them (4/4). Of course it was after your Dad and the kitty had just walked up the stairs -- you didn't want to be left behind. We figure it's only a matter of time till you'll be able to climb up the stairs. All of your crawling and adventures are awesome for us to watch. Your Mom and Dad are having to be extra vigilant lately to make sure you don't get into anything that can hurt you, but we both love watching you learn and explore. :)

Speaking of crawling, you crawled into the kitchen for the first time this month and then proceeded to crawl to the bathroom to "find me" while I was in there (of course I was looking out at you to make sure you weren't getting into trouble anyway) (3/13). You used to crawl up to me and then flail about for me to pick you up, but now crawl right up into my lap. In fact you now crawl over any obstacles in your path -- including legs and arms and the cat and toys. You also crawl up to your Mommy and Daddy while we're standing and reach your arm up on our leg to get picked up. It's so cute to see you learning to communicate -- even in non-verbal ways!

You had juice for the first time this month, darling girl (3/19). It was apple juice and you liked it a lot. You also had prune juice (you had some "plumbing issues" for a while and your Mom and Dad were doing all they could to fix the problem). Your first juice was out of a regular cup because you weren't able to get the juice out of the Tommee Tippee cup (it's surprisingly difficult to suck liquid from!). Just a few days later (after we offered you the cup every time and you tried each time) you figured out the Tommee Tippee!! Now you have no problem getting juice and water from it.. This is super helpful, little one, because the Tommee Tippee doesn't spill easily! It will be very useful in the car and such. :)

You are in size 3 diapers now and are wearing 9 month and 12 month clothing. I weeded out a lot of clothes that don't fit you anymore this month... and we're stocking up on 12 month and 18 month clothes at the moment. You're getting so big, my sweet girl!

You still enjoy being in various carriers on your Mommy, but you rarely fall asleep in them now. You usually love to interact with people in stores and typically smile at them. You are sometimes getting shy, though, especially when tired. One interesting turn of events is that you are afraid of men with beards. It's comical how easily you cry if a man with a beard picks you up. We're working on exposing you to more bearded men, but since your Daddy doesn't have one you aren't around them daily. It's important to tell you that you do warm up to guys with beards -- it just takes some time and you're not as friendly for a while around them. You're definitely starting to recognize people you know from strangers. You're much more cautious about who holds you, but are usually okay as long as your Mom or Dad are holding you when you're around new people.

Your grandparents (Mom's parents) visited you for the first time in North Carolina this month (see the photos below with your grandma and Momma!)! While they were visiting your Mom & Dad left you for the first time! You were juuuuust fine while we were out on a date (a late "Valentine's Day" date). We enjoyed spending some time alone just the two of us, but missed you and were glad to be back home with you after a few hours. Now that we've broken the "baby sitting" ice we may have to find other people who can watch you from time to time. :)

You experienced your first Easter this month (3/31)! It really wasn't all that different for you, but you did get a fun Easter package from your Gram-Gram and Pop-Pop. You also got to enjoy some toys from your first Easter Basket that was left on our doorstep by a loving neighbor (anonymously). We're looking forward celebrating with you next year when we can interact more about the true meaning of Easter (and enjoy a good egg hunt as well).

You started teething again hard-core this month, Skylar Joy. It's been difficult to comfort you at times and you haven't slept well at night for a lot of this month (this has been tough on your parents, but we all made it through and are doing better now!). The sleeping issues led to a more strict "bedtime routine" and you now are typically in bed sleeping by 8pm at the latest. This is quite a change from your flexible bedtime previously, but you're definitely needing the structure now. The teething led to two brand-new teeth! You now have 4 teeth in your little mouth: your two bottom front teeth and your two top front teeth. Your Mom forgot to note which day the top two "cut," but it was one of the first few days of April. Even though the teeth have cut you're still teething so it's likely you will have more teeth poking out next month! ;)

We love you so much, baby girl!!!! Keep growing, learning, exploring. We can't wait to see what you're going to do next!

Love Always, Your Momma

Except for the bottom one these pictures were taken by your Dad (edited by me, though):

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This final picture is a preview of the "spring" photos of you and Daddy. I'll be posting the rest on their own in the near future:

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7 Months!

(Quick note: This has been a work in progress for a long time. I didn't anticipate it taking me THIS LONG to post Skylar's 7 month letter! But the visit from my parents and Skylar's recent difficult sleep patterns and sickness have taken their toll. So, it is what it is. Enjoy... and Month 8 will be coming up soon!)

Dear Skylar,

It's hard for me to believe that another month has flown by! Time is passing so quickly, baby girl! You're getting so big! Mostly 9 month clothes are fitting you now (we know from your check-up early this month that you're right around 18 pounds -- though probably more now!). You're also in some 12 month clothes (especially pants).

You had a good check-up with no issues. You're still very healthy, little one... though growing like a weed! After getting back from the doctor's office you were up on all fours, lost your balance and fell on a toy! This resulted in, drum-roll-please, your very first black eye! This isn't something your Mamma was expecting to happen quite so soon... but it was interesting taking you out with your shiner. People everywhere would comment about it... and you got lots of attention while your eye healed. It took a couple weeks, but you eye is completely back to normal now and there's no evidence that you ever had such an epic bruise. I'm thankful that you heal so quickly!

You experienced your very first Valentine's Day, beautiful girl! You modeled a "Happy Valentine's Day" sign to tell those important people in your life how much you care for them on that day! Hehe... you and your Mom had a good time during that photo shoot. You chewed on the slate board and were quick to realize you could "smear" the chalk and play with it. There's pink everywhere on the blankets we used for the photos. :)

This month was your "evolution of the crawl" month. At the beginning of the month you were having trouble getting up into the crawling position (as evidenced by the fact that while trying to do it you fell on a toy and gave yourself a black eye). You would pull yourself up, though, and try so very hard to move forward. This often resulted in you bucking your body in a forward-moving-motion while not actually going anywhere. Fast forward to the end of the month: You're crawling!! It is clumsy sometimes, but you're moving forward -- one awkward movement at a time! You're using your legs and your arms together -- instead of trying to pull yourself with your arms. You crawl better on carpet than on the hardwood floors downstairs, but that's to be expected. BUT you are getting better in that area too! You crawled to me for the first time on the hardwood floor this month (3/6)! Mamma was so proud of you in that moment!

You're learning that even when you don't like something that I'm doing for you, that it might be what you need anyway. The big thing you've seemed to "get" is that when I suck snot out of your nose (ewww!) it's to help you! I noticed this around the middle of the month (2/13). You also seem to understand taking Tylenol when you need it. Before this month you would spit it out, but this month you started sucking from the syringe! This is much easier on your Mom and Dad than trying to force you to take it when you're sick!

You have always enjoyed bath-time, but you're starting to really get into it, baby girl! You love splashing and playing! You're very curious about the water coming from the faucet and try to "grab" it! You also are more independent and try to move around more yourself. Your Mom has to watch you closely or you try to "eat" the water. It's pretty fun watching you explore and learn, though.

You've tried and loved several new foods this month!: carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal cereal! You also ate whole-cooked carrots at Cracker Barrel this month (3/3)! You like pretty much every food we've tried thus far except for avocados. This makes your Mommy somewhat sad, but we'll try them again in the future.

You notice small changes in what your Mom is wearing (and your Dad too). You notice most often when breastfeeding. For example if I'm wearing a ring you try to look at it, and you notice when I change my nail polish (especially if it's a bright color). You also notice Daddy's clothes and when he has or doesn't have his name tag on from work.

Your Mom and Dad realized this month that when you play with your remote toys you use it the way we do -- with your thumbs (noticed 2/21). It's so cute to see you imitating us! You continually make us both smile and laugh. Along the same lines, when I let you hold the nail file I use to shorten your nails (otherwise you scratch your face up a lot!) you try to hold it and use it on your other hand the same way that I do -- back and forth! (At least you try for a little while -- then the file ends up in your mouth, just like everything else!)

You are definitely still teething, little one! And this month you saw the entrance of your 2nd tooth (around 3/6). You now have 2 front teeth on the bottom. You're so cute with your matching teeth! There seems to be no end to the chewing in sight, so there may be more teeth next month!

Another new thing this month is that you move your hand against your mouth to make noises (3/2). You do this most often to get Mommy's attention because you've noticed that it makes me laugh. You are such a silly Bean, and I love that about you!

Favorite toys this month: Anything that's good to chew on (especially your Baby's 1st Toothbrush)! You still love your remote and the grown-up remote that we gave you. You also fell in love with your carseat owl companion (just like your Mom thought you would). In the quest for sleep you've also started sleeping with some cuddly friends. Your first sleep-cuddler was Mumford from your very sweet Aunt Lisamarie! Your Daddy gave him to you one night and cuddling him has helped you sleep some nights! You also sleep with your Lambie (from Grandma and Grandpa B) now and you love both very much!

Well, Skylar Joy, keep growing and learning so fast! Your Mom & Dad are keeping up -- but just barely! Next month let's work on sleeping more at night. Your Mom & Dad would love that! Regardless, we love you so very much and can't wait to see what next month brings.

Love Always & Forever, Your Mamma

Skylar's 6 & 7 Month pictures (taken by me, edited by me):

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6 Months Old!

Dear Skylar Joy, Happy half a year birthday, baby girl! How did you get to be 6 months old!??!?!?! Half a year is a long time! It's so very strange to be excited about how much you're growing and sad about it at the same time! I love all the things you're learning to do... but I hate that you're growing up so quickly!

SO, baby girl... there's lots to write this month (as usual), but first I wanted to talk about the last 6 months. 6 months ago my life (and your dad's) was irreversibly changed when you entered the world at 1:46 on a Wednesday. I saw you and I fell in love. I cried and held you close and loved on you for as long as I could. As I told you way back at the beginning you had to leave my arms for some medical care, but I longed to just hold you and gaze at you forever. A week and a half later we were home with you. Things weren't "perfect" and "sunshinny" all the time (your momma had quite a bit of adjustment to make emotionally, mentally, and healing she needed physically), but every day was beautiful in it's own way. I'm so thankful for the time I've gotten to spend with you -- getting to know you and learning about your likes and dislikes. You keep growing and changing, though, so sometimes I feel like I can barely keep up! You're so amazing to me, baby girl!

This month seems to be all about communication. You're not talking yet (at least not really), but you seem to be communicating better and better (which I suppose is to be expected, but is rather fun for your Dad & I to experience). You consistently "ask" to feed by making a face -- especially with your dad. You also now get excited, grin and sometimes giggle when mommy makes the "eat" face to you. When I'm not sure if you're hungry I make the face and you make it pretty obvious if you're interested in eating. I also know that once I make the face you will be expecting to eat SOON. You do not do well with delays, baby girl... I wonder who you take after with that??!!? (your dear mom, of course!)

You are now including "da-da-da-da-da" in the sounds you make. This is in addition to the continued "ma-ma-ma" and "ba-ba-ba" sounds you were previously making. Daddy LOVES that you're saying "Da-Da" and encourages you to say it! It's so cute listening to you repeat after him!

Other ways you now interact with us include: Loving for us to put your feet on our faces. I know it sounds odd, and we discovered it by accident, but it typically cracks you up! The first time we did it you laughed the most (1/12), but most of the time it still makes you laugh when we plant your feet on our faces. You also totally get "peek-a-boo" now and love it. You laugh so much when Daddy or I play peek-a-boo with you!

You are very interested in food that we're eating. You now tend to ask to be fed more frequently when WE are eating. It makes us think that you understand that WE are getting to eat and you are upset that you are not eating too. This fascination will hopefully come in handy as you start eating "big people foods". Speaking of "big people food" you have enjoyed your first "meal" that's not breastmilk this month! Momma steamed some veggies for you to try and we started with purple potatoes (1/31). Your Dad and I enjoyed watching you try to suck and "chew" at the food... You also get this really peculiar look on your face when trying a new texture (or when drinking cold water). It's so funny... It almost looks like you don't want to eat it, but you plow ahead through the uncertainty and keep making it obvious to us that you want more. So far so good! Next month's update will probably be more about food!

Okay, back to communication: you have started talking to your stuffed animals and toys. Your Daddy noticed this first one day while you were in your crib (you don't sleep there yet, but we do put you in there from time to time while doing something -- just to keep you out of trouble). Your crib is filled with stuffed animals and toys -- including a giant stuffed bear your Gram Gram & Pop Pop gave you when you were born. Your dad found you one day pulling your bear's head down to your level and talking to him (2/3). You were having a conversation with him just like you do with your Daddy when he comes home from work at night. It was so cute! You have since started talking with the bunny rattle you have attached to your carseat and your Mommy has heard you talking with your bear and other stuffed animals on a few other occasions too.

Other firsts:

You sat up from lounging in the Boppy all on your own! You stayed that way for a while before falling over (1/11). Later in the month you were able to sit up without using your hands to steady you and stayed sitting up for at least a minute (2/1).

You had your first "ride" on your daddy's shoulders this month. You also rode on my shoulders later that day, but you were most excited by being way up high on Daddy's. You tend to have a great time with your Daddy and that makes me so very happy, baby girl!

This month you have chosen to stop sleeping on your back. I say "chosen" because as soon as I put you down on your back you flip onto your stomach to sleep. Usually it's within a minute and even if I put you back onto your back you will just flip onto your stomach again. This makes Mommy really happy that we've already discontinued swaddling completely and you now sleep in a sleep "sack" that keeps your arms completely free. So, while things still say "back is best" you have a little mind of your own -- as per usual -- and I guess it's tummy sleeping from now on.

Your favorite toys this month are: REMOTES. All of them, but especially the remote that lights up. We bought you a toy remote for Christmas (we had Christmas as a family on your 6 month birthday, baby girl) and you like that toy alright, but you still prefer the ones that Mommy & Daddy use (go figure).

You are beautiful and growing every day, my darling daughter! I cannot wait to see what you discover tomorrow!

I love you always & forever, Mommy

Ps. You attended your first Super Bowl party this month as well... and here are a few pictures Aunt Mary took while we were there (2/3):

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(You were so very interested in your brand-new-socks that you were playing with them and trying to get them off and into your mouth while on Aunt Mary's lap... Silly bean, you're so cute!)

5 Months Old!

Dear Skylar, It's been quite a month! Many highs and a few lows, but ultimately it was a good month with you, my love. It's hard to know where to start, but here goes...

You have learned to love the bouncy seat this month. You don't always want to be in it for super long, but you've figured it out and can now jump as much as you want! You also have learned to turn the bouncer around to see one way or the other and can do it quickly at will! Since you're pretty savvy with the bouncer now Mommy sometimes puts you in there when she's taking a shower or trying to get chores done. Your Dad likes to sit on the ground when you're in the bouncer. He talks with you and plays with you while you jump. One thing you don't like is being in the bouncer for a long time by yourself. You are very social and much happier when someone is interacting with you -- even when you are playing. You remind me of myself very strongly sometimes, baby girl.

Speaking of jumping, it's still one of your favorite ways to interact and play with your Daddy. He holds you and you jump on his lap. You've gotten really strong and can jump for a very long time without getting tired! You also don't like to jump slowly and usually jump at a very quick pace! It's so fun to watch you jump!

You're not eating foods yet, but often show interest in our food and what we're drinking. You sometimes drink water out of our glasses -- especially out at restaurants. You also suck water from my Nathan water bottle and we were able to get you to drink from a straw (12/17)! Lately we think you're wanting the water because it's cold and feels good on your teething gums, but in general you seem curious about what Mommy & Daddy are doing when we eat and drink. Food is probably coming in the next month or so. We'll see... it's a big step, but one you seem increasingly ready for!

You are turning over all the time now, baby girl... and you use it to help you get around and see things in your world. If you want to move from one toy to another on your playyard you "roll to it". You also have used this to roll around the living room/kitchen nook area. You're sooooo close to crawling, but rolling helps you get around for now.

Speaking of crawling: You may not be doing much with forward motion yet, but you can turn in circles. You turned all the way around several times on the office floor with Mommy & Daddy cheering you on! You still do this to a lesser degree to "get around" downstairs when left to your own devices. Mommy is having to watch you much closer to make sure you don't get into anything that you shouldn't. When you're really crawling we're going to have to keep a much closer eye on you -- at least until we can get some gated areas for you to play in.

Some of your other "firsts" this month are:

You experienced your very first Christmas, sweet girl!! You are still too little to really grasp much of what is going on, but you did enjoy the attention you got while opening presents. You're not quite old enough to really "open" them yourself, but you did try. You have enjoyed the lights and colors of the season. I have loved watching your eyes sparkle as you take it all in.

Your first tooth has peeked out of your gums. It's still not all the way up, but you "cut" your first tooth a few days after Christmas. You actually seem to deal with the pain pretty well, but do get somewhat whiny and needy when your mouth hurts. You also have the typical "symptoms" of drooling and chewing on everything when teething.

Crying when something is taken away from you! Before this month you didn't seem to care if we took a toy away or put something down that you were playing with, but now you whine or cry when we take something away that you're not finished enjoying. The first time you complained was when we put away the iPad.

You now grab for toys and other items with purpose. You can control your hands so much better and tend to grasp toys instead of just flinging your arms out to try and "catch" something with your hands. You also lean towards toys that you want. You seem to understand that you have choices and can pick which toy you would like to play with at that specific moment. You can definitely see better and understand objects better this month.

On Dec 18th you shook a rattle for the first time. You shook it after Daddy showed you how -- it is so neat watching him teach you things. I know this is just the beginning! You continued to shake rattles and other toys throughout the month as you learned that you could make noises yourself!

You first enjoyed looking at the world upside-down this month. You were on your daddy's lap on the stairs by the office. You leaned all the way back in his lap and were so excited to see the world in a whole new way! (I need to add pictures of this at some point!). You have continued to do this out throughout this month. It's a whole new perspective that excites you!

On Christmas Eve you cried and yelled because you were being left out of what was going on in the room next to you. You are very social and you continue to show us that as you grow!

A big first for you this month was seeing (and touching) snow! While in NY around Christmastime it snowed! You were quite interested in the cold white stuff and while you won't remember it, we enjoyed introducing you to snow for the first time! :)

At the end of this month you got sick. You actually were having trouble breathing and because of that we ended up at a pediatric ER with you. A few days before your "5 month birthday" you were being treated for Croup. Watching you struggle to breathe was super hard for me, but I do have to tell you how proud I am of you! You continue to be my little fighter! Even when it was difficult you worked hard to breathe and get all the oxygen you needed! Your oxygen levels never dipped below 97% and because of that you were never in danger of any lasting negative effects from being sick. You also still greeted people who came in the room and tried to smile at times -- even when you were obviously miserable.

While sick (especially in the hospital) you never wanted to be out of my arms. Your constant need for me was tough sometimes, but at the same time I was so glad to be able to offer you comfort and give you a safe place in my arms. I will never forget some of those sweet cuddle moments in the hospital when I knew I was giving you everything you needed and sleeping on me was helping you feel better.

You are much better now! And your Mom & Dad are both super thankful for that! I could go the rest of my life without seeing you in pain again and it would be just fine with me! (I know that's not realistic, but I'm your Momma -- so I will try to make it so!)

Favorite Toys this month: You still love your taggie and hanging rattle while traveling. In addition to these you've started loving your playyard a lot lately. You also are fascinated by your crinkly winged ladybug toy! Another fave for you right now is playing with the "Little Gems" game on Mommy's iPad. You love that you can "throw" the shapes on the screen. You are enjoying toys that make noise a lot. One favorite is a musical toy that your Aunt Lynne gave you for Christmas! It's a great distraction for you when you're upset about your mouth hurting.

I can't wait to see what you learn and are excited about next month, baby girl! Keep growing, keep learning, keep becoming you!

Love Always & Forever,

Momma

Snowy Day Pictures (featuring photos by this momma):

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4 Months!

Dear Skylar Joy, You are 4 months old today! You're growing rapidly, little one. We're not sure how much you weigh yet (your 4 month check-up is next week), but I'm willing to bet it's 15 pounds or more. You're already in 6 month clothes and will probably be in 6-9 and 9 month clothes pretty soon!

It seems like every day you are learning something new, trying to touch a new item, or getting better at a motion you learned yesterday. My precocious little girl, you are always curious, and always touching and exploring your world. Mommy & Daddy have loved introducing you to many new toys this month.

The firsts for this month are very broad! Momma will try to list them all, but they are many! You are learning so quickly, baby girl!

Okay... This month Mommy noticed (while stopped at a McDonalds on the way to Virginia) that you smiled when I kissed you! Previous to this you didn't seem to understand (or know what it meant) when I kissed you. But in that McDonalds you first seemed to realize that it's a good thing! And something to smile about! This warmed my heart and made me so very happy. Ever since kissing you usually elicits a smile or a giggle.

This month you had your first looooong road trip (the first of many I'm sure). We drove from our old place in Virginia to Ohio for the week of Thanksgiving (and then all the way back to NC the Sunday after Thanksgiving). You rocked the trip, little one! We stopped 3 times on the way there and twice on the way back! Impressive! You were easily entertained in the car and slept most of the way there and back. Thank you for being such a good little traveler!

This month you started wanting to pull yourself up with your stomach muscles. When you do this it looks sort of like "baby crunches" and you can't get all the way up to a sitting position without help. Daddy has loved helping you do this, though, and you guys often practice this move. You started doing this the most while at Pop Pop & Gram Gram's in Ohio for the week of Thanksgiving. As part of the "crunches" you're learning more about your feet & I'm pretty sure you know they're yours. You grab your feet often and pull your socks off a lot. You also hold your legs or feet back for me when I'm changing you! You do this fairly consistently. It's so cute. It makes me laugh. Thank you for being so helpful, little one!

I mentioned we've been trying out new toys and items with you... well, one of them is your play-yard. It's basically a mat with hanging toys. You actually used it for the first time right before we flew to NY, but it's been used quite a bit this month and you've really gotten the hang of playing in it. A new item you started using this month is a bouncy swing that hangs in a doorway. You tried this out for the first time while in Ohio. You're still getting the hang of it, but you can bounce pretty well and seem to enjoy it! You don't like to stay in the bouncer seat for very long right now, but Mommy & Daddy are hoping that will change as your legs get stronger. :)

While in Ohio you also started teething for the first time. You still don't have any teeth, but we can see (and feel) some under the surface and you were chewing on anything and everything (including fingers) while we were visiting family in Ohio. You also were having trouble sleeping -- we think from the pain -- and we found creative ways to give you some Tylenol at bedtime. That seemed to help. Your teething has backed off some since we got home, but you still have some incredibly drooly days paired with lots of chewing. No teeth yet, but we're guessing you'll probably have some soon.

A lot of new things happened while we were in Ohio! You also drank from a tiny little cup while Mommy and Daddy were visiting friends. It was just a bit of water, but we tried it out after you were interested in Mommy's cup. You definitely drank water and swallowed it from the cup. It was so very cute. You started getting more interested in toys and interacting with us and the toys. You're still not really into being by yourself with toys -- but this isn't surprising considering how much you like attention. One of your favorite "games" while in Ohio was pulling magnets off the refrigerator with Pop Pop. It was neat to see how quickly you figured out how to "play" and you learned to grab just the right way to knock off the smiley magnets -- often in one swipe.

Another first was turning onto your side. But you didn't stop there! You turned all the way over several times in one day while in your "play-yard" on the living room floor. You also turned over a week or so later upstairs on your changing mat. I missed seeing you actually turning over each time because you did it right after I started to work on something. Silly girl! You're not turning over all the time, but you definitely can do it on purpose when you want to.

You are pretty social, baby girl, and seem happier when out and about with people. You still love being held and interacting with people. Being in Ohio with tons of family was a huge treat for you. It's been interesting getting back to "normal" with just Mommy & Daddy, but not too terrible... you just like a lot of attention!

One of Mommy & Daddy's joys this month was watching you work to "figure things out". You get this very serious look on your face and use your hands to try and grasp/touch things. Playing is very serious business and we love watching you! It's incredibly cute to see you care so much about what you're doing and we both love seeing you figure things out and explore.

You seem to have gotten over being easily startled and scared by things. At least you don't scream much anymore if you do get scared. It still happens -- but really rarely. This is a relief for both of your parents! When you scream in fear or pain it's hard on both of us! Fortunately you've never been too terrible about it anyway -- but it being more rare is definitely a good thing!

Your speech is getting almost like real words. One thing you say over and over is the sound "ma." You say "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma...." Over and over! We're thinking maybe "momma" or "mommy" will be your first word, but who knows if we'll even know you're saying it for real!?! ;-)

Another special moment I have tucked in my heart is the first time you put your elbows up on my chest while I was wearing you and stared at me until I looked down at you. It was *so* cute for you to do that and your expression was adorable! You do this from time to time in the Mei Tai (a loaner from the baby wearing group -- but we like it so much we'll likely get one of our own sometime soon!) and I love it every time. Speaking of the Mei Tai carrier, we did a successful "back carry" a couple days ago and 2 other times since then! You don't really seem to know what to think, but will sleep and chill in that carry for a while. Usually until you're ready for more interaction or until you want to be fed. It's really useful for me because I can get more done when I'm wearing you like that! & I'm so proud of my big girl being able to be on my back and relax there!

The final "Mei Tai" memory for this letter happened just a couple nights ago. We were out with the neighbors and I started nursing you at the table (you were hungry and letting me KNOW it!). Well, I was talking particularly loudly at one point and you stopped eating, pulled back, and waited for me to look down at you. You GLARED at me with the angriest look I've seen yet because I was being loud while you were eating. You kept this expression for a good 20-30 seconds until your parents laughing (Daddy had joined me by then) finally made you smile and then giggle. You definitely wear your emotions on your face, Skylar Joy. Just like your Momma.

As I typed the last half of this note you've been sitting in my lap. This is yet another new thing for you! You sit and watch TV with daddy & sit with me while I'm on the computer. The very first show you ever watched was a MythBuster's episode with your Dad. You loved the movements and all the colors. You also have started to love on the kitteh! You pet Harley for the first time this month. I love you two becoming friends! It's so cute & Harley is patient with your tugging -- to a point. We'll keep working on being gentle with the kitteh!

Some of your favorite toys this month were: your pink taggie made by Lora of Tater Tots! The soft penguin your Gram Gram got you while in Ohio, Your "first doll" who has very yummy feet, and the rattle attached to your car seat (it is the ONLY thing that will keep you from crying when you've become impatient with being in your carseat). I can't wait to see what your favorites will be next month!

Well, little girl, this letter is long enough! I'm sure I could go on for several more paragraphs about all the things changing, but I won't. These are the big things -- the things I will forever remember about this time in your life.

I love you, baby girl. Always & Forever!

-Momma

Some of my favorite pictures from this month:

   

2 Months Old (10/9/2012)

[Originally Posted on Facebook 10/19/ 2012] Skylar Joy,

This month has been filled with changes and growth. Your 2 month check-up at the doctor showed you are 12 pounds and 7 ounces. You're 23 inches long. You're in the 87th percentile for weight and the 75th for length! You're such a big girl! And so very strong. The doctor and nurses were surprised by how well you hold your head up and move your head around. Mommy wasn't surprised since I've watched you do that for a long time, but it was cool to hear others oooh and ahhh over you!

Here are your first this month, baby girl:

This month you started showing Daddy and Mommy that you are hungry by moving your mouth and tongue -- instead of just crying to eat. You still cry if we wait too long to feed you, but you've definitely started communicating more with us.

You slept longer than 5 hours for the first time this month! You actually slept for 7 hours two nights in a row while we were in a hotel room for our house closing. You surprised both Mommy and Daddy by sleeping for so long.

You smile consistently now and always smile "hello" to your Daddy when he gets home at night. You have little cooing conversations with your Dad to tell him what's going on. I love watching you two interact. It warms my heart so much. You talk to Mommy now too! It's usually while you are breastfeeding.

You laughed in your sleep a few times during this past month. You also have giggled a couple times when interacting with Mommy and Daddy. You're not consistently laughing yet, but so very close to it! The first time you giggled Daddy was around and you giggled at Mommy first and then Daddy when he came over to see you. Your timing was pretty perfect, little girl! Good job!

This month has had some ups and downs, but you've relaxed a lot, sweet girl. I think The stress of moving and everything that was going on took a toll on you. You were pretty fussy for a while, but have settled into a much more calm pattern.

Recently I noticed that you seem to be able to see much better. You watch the world from the safety of the Moby carrier. You also seem to be seeing much more from the carseat in the car. You look outside and watch the lights and everything passing by and are entertained by it. This is a huge relief to me because hearing and watching you cry in the car was really rough for me!

Another "first" for this month is you learning to fall asleep without having to be nursed or rocked soundly to sleep. When Mommy puts you down for a nap or at night you usually open your eyes and wake up some, but consistently you have fallen back asleep on your own without having to be picked up. I'm so very proud of you!

One new change that's very hard for your Mommy is that you are crying tears now. When you cry your eyes fill up and tears spill down your little chubby cheeks. It breaks my heart to see your tears, but I know this is just another way that you are growing and changing. Another thing that was tough for me was that you had your first cold this month, baby girl! You were very needy along with your cold symptoms. For several days the only way you would nap during the day was in the Moby. Mommy held you close and helped you feel better using the Kangaroo technique of skin-to-skin contact in the Moby. You're all the way better now and I'm so glad!

Recently you have found your lips and tongue. You smack your lips and brush them against my arm, my shoulder, my chest and you blow bubbles with your drool. (Oh, yeah, lots drool is another new thing. But that could be partially from your cold.) You play with your tongue and try pushing it against things. You often lick Mommy's shirt or chest (depending on how you're in the Moby) and pretty much lick anything that comes close to your mouth. It's cute and gross at the same time. But we love that you're growing and learning about your environment, baby girl.

Keep growing little bean -- but not too fast. Mommy wants you to be little and in her arms for a long time!

I love you. Always. Forever.

-Momma

1 Month Old Already! (9/8/2012)

[Originally Posted on Facebook 9/21/2012] Skylar Joy,

You are one month old, baby girl. And what a month it's been! From the first time I laid eyes on you I loved you, but this month has taught me so much about what the word "love" really means. My heart is full and my eyes teary as I type this. I already cannot imagine my life without you in it. I cannot really describe how much I love you, but I will try: It's a whole lot, a bunch, a bushel, to the moon and back a bazillion times. It's a lot, little jellybean. More than a lot... and more than I can say -- but I know it's just the beginning!

I can hardly believe that you're one month old! So much has happened and you have grown so much! At your last check-up you were in the 75th percentile for height and weight. You weighed 9 pounds and 11 ounces. Breast-milk is doing your body good, little girl! I'm so glad you're growing, but my heart also longs for you to stay little as long as possible.

Since my last note you had a lot of firsts... You slept overnight somewhere other than your home for the very first time. The next day you had your first shopping trip with Mommy! And you did really well! Everyone loved peeking at you in the Moby carrier and thought you were so cute and sweet! I loved showing you off!

You now grab things consistently and really strongly. A good example of this is: my hair. You grab and do not want to let go and it usually takes me a while to get my hair out of your grasp. Even though it hurts some, I love seeing this example of how strong you are!

Daddy built your swing for you this week and you love it. You watch the Betty Boop poster on the wall while you swing and seem oh-so-entertained by it. I think it's her eyes that make you so enthralled. When you're somewhat fussy you tend to fall asleep in the swing and Daddy and I are really thankful for that!

Some of your newborn clothes officially stopped fitting this week. And that makes me a bit sad! Some of them were so very cute! But I guess 9 pounds is pushing the newborn baby clothing limit! I'm so glad you're growing -- but don't grow too fast, okay!?!?!

You met your uncle Luke this week and were really good when he held you. You also started talking and smiling at Grandma B this week! We are quite certain you are smiling for REAL now and it has made us all really happy (your mom, your dad, your grandparents... people on the facebook, all of us!) Daddy and Mommy now do things to try to make you smile and what a fun game that has become!

You slept in bed with Daddy and Mommy for the first time this month. It was while Mommy was dosing and Daddy was sleeping. You were so cute and cuddly that I couldn't resist letting you join us. We both got up and you stayed asleep for quite a while in the bed by yourself.

During a dinner out with friends I discovered that I could calm you by singing to you while you were in the Moby. This discovery made my heart warm and I loved that my voice could do such a thing. So I sang to you over and over and over the same tones and you calmed and eventually slept.

You also had your first all-day-event out of the house for a movie marathon. You slept on me for a lot of it, but really, I was surprised by how well you did. You had your fussy moments, but even the explosions from the many superhero movies didn't wake you typically. And I enjoyed the snuggle time we had during the movies.

Thinking back over this last month it's really hard to believe that not that long ago I was struggling to bring you into this world. Those moments of pain were so difficult, baby girl, but I would do them all again to have you in my life... to hold you close and smell your head and to have the chance to love you. I am so thankful that you are healthy and growing. After all we've been through that gift is amazing in it's simplicity.

I love you, little one, more than I could have ever imagined. Keep growing, keep learning, keep becoming you! I can't wait to know you better. You are beautiful and special already, my lovely little girl!

Loving you Always, Your Momma

Three Weeks & Growing (8/29)

[Originally Posted on Facebook 8/31/2012] Dear Skylar,

You are 3 weeks old today! It's been a big week in your life, little girl... lots of firsts and new things. You had your newborn photoshoot. It was the day after a tough day for your Mommy and we weren't sure how you would do. You were absolutely perfect! Mommy & Daddy were so proud of you and loved spending time with you while Liz (photographer & friend) captured fun moments for us! We will cherish those photos forever! You went out to your first dinner with mommy and daddy and friends this week! And you rocked it! You also attended your first Mommy-baby function by going to the Motherhood Cafe with mommy on Monday. Speaking of Monday you had your weight checked on Monday and you're still gaining -- just like you should be! You were 8 pounds, 11 ounces! I am so proud of you!

You had your first bath this week. At first you didn't seem to know what to think of it, but you seemed to generally be fine with the water and even maybe enjoy it a little. I had fun splashing in the water with you & we certainly confused the kitteh with our adventure (she could not figure out why you were in the special tub in the regular tub). :)

You also went on you very first road trip. You slept and were a happy baby for the whole trip... (excluding the very very end -- the lights and stopping/going weren't a happy thing for you). We loved having you with us traveling and can't wait to go on more road trips with you, baby girl.

Another first for this week: You attended trivia with us on Wednesday night! You were so good and everyone loved seeing you and your "I was born awesome" onsie (it's barely fitting you -- so I'm trying to use it often since it's so true! *smiles*). I wasn't sure how you would be that late at night, but we both think you were great at trivia and it didn''t seem to have disrupted you much!

You continue to get annoyed by the car seat when you're first strapped in (you don't like it when we tighten the straps properly , but you LOVE being in the Moby carrier on Mommy! It makes me so happy when you snuggle against me and go to sleep. Some of my favorite moments with you this week were while I was wearing you. You are so cute sleeping and cuddling with me & you always seem to want to have your hand peeking out of the carrier and this makes others smile (me included). I love how much others love you and enjoy seeing you and holding you!

Your little arms and legs are filling out and you have some chubby rolls happening. I love seeing your chubby cheeks every morning and your inadvertent smiles from time to time. Your accidental expressions are great -- I can't wait to see you smile on purpose! You are so cute!

I am slowly learning what your cries mean, little girl... and we're figuring each other out. Daddy learned this week that if he cries at you -- interrupting your crying -- you stop and look at him perplexed and uncertain. We also discovered that making a "shushing" noise right in your ear makes you stop your crying or fussing almost instantly. It's short-lived, but works! Lots of learning and loving has been happening and we both cannot wait to see what happens next, baby girl!

Mommy loves you so very much. I love our times together and am thankful for our moments -- the sweet ones and the difficult ones. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!

Love Always, Your Momma

 

Photos by Liz Cook of Sincerely, Liz: Photography www.sincerelylizphoto.com

Two Weeks Old! (8/22)

[Originally Posted on Facebook 8/23/2012] Dear Skylar,

This is your momma... the one that's been up at all hours with you and trying to figure out what you want and need all the time. The one that's tired.... but still loves you so very much.

These last two weeks have been amazing, challenging, incredible, and, at times, exhausting. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world... I'm getting to know you, baby girl... and that is special and incredible -- even when it's difficult.

This week we had quite a few firsts: First car ride, first nght at home, first major throw-up (only one though, thankfully), first major diaper blow-out (ewww!), first time being "worn" by Mommy in the Moby carrier (and you love it), first time out and about in the carrier, first doctor's visit (all is well -- you're growing so fast!), first professional picture taken (at the hospital), first "family photo" in our kitchen, and first meeting with the kitteh (Harley Quinn is still trying to figure out what to do with you & if you're safe to be around).

I love it when you smile in your sleep, sweet girl. It's so cute. And I love your smell, your touch, your pretty face. I love being close to you. Wearing you on me has been some of the sweetest moments this week (I'm wearing you as I type this). I'm so thankful that I have the wrap and I plan to wear you often. I love your big dark gray-blue eyes. I love your little hands and your little feet and your little toes. I love all of you more and more every day.

The tender moments... I lock them away in my heart to hold them forever with me. I love you, baby girl. More than I could have ever imagined.

From the first time I saw you I knew that you’d be mine And from the first glance you gave My world it slowed, you stopped the time

And in that moment I could see all of the things that we would be You were the girl I was waiting for...

Like the beauty of the sun you light my life so I can see You make me laugh and show me how, just how good this life can be And in our moments filled with joy, is where I live, where I am free Lay in my arms, I’ll hold you tight, just like you like, continually

And I am, over-whelmed, by you Am, over come with joy You’ve, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do Where would I go, or be, without you

There’s something in your smile that gives me strength to carry on And there something in your words that lingers even when your gone Oh I’ve dreamt, that a time like this would come, fulfill my life...

I could sing a thousand songs about you still that would not do There’s a million tiny things that make the things that you do, you I wouldn’t trade our time together, wouldn’t trade for anything Cause nothing else here in the world can bring the happiness you bring

And I am, over-whelmed, by you Am, over come with joy You’ve, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do Where would I go, or be, without you...

I can only imagine what we have in store for the coming week! I can't wait to enjoy it with you.

Much love always, Your Momma

Dear Skylar Joy,

[1 Week Letter, Originally Posted on Facebook 8/16] Somehow yesterday came and went without me realizing you were one week old, little girl! It's okay... we spent some special moments together & I'll hold them forever in my heart just like the other moments we've had this week.

This week with you is one I will never forget. You scared your mommy & daddy a few times, but ultimately this week I fell in love... I fell in love with your smile... I fell in love with your crazy hand and arm movements (and I thought back to how you felt safe in my womb making those same movements & our connection was even more complete)... I fell in love with your soft skin & tender hair... Fell in love with your crazy expressions and your milk-drunk face after nursing. I fell deeply and irreversibly in love with you, baby girl... and I'm so thankful I've had the time to spend with you. I wouldn't change or give up one second of it for anything in the world.

This week you showed us over and over how stubborn you are. From your demands to eat as soon as possible when you're hungry to your strong grip and your intense desire to have your arms free... you are stubborn and strong. And you are beautiful, little Skylar... So very beautiful. I love you, baby. I don't wanna miss one moment of you and discovering you! I cannot wait to bring you home.

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing Watch you smile while you are sleeping While you're far away and dreaming I could spend my life in this sweet surrender I could stay lost in this moment forever Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure

Don't wanna close my eyes, I don't wanna fall asleep 'Cause I'd miss you baby and I don't wanna miss a thing 'Cause even when I dream of you the sweetest dream would never do I'd still miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing

Lying close to you feeling your heart beating And I'm wondering what you're dreaming Wondering if it's me you're seeing Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we're together I just wanna stay with you in this moment forever, forever and ever

I don't wanna miss one smile, I don't wanna miss one kiss I just wanna be with you, right here with you, just like this I just want to hold you close, feel your heart so close to mine And just stay here in this moment for all the rest of time

Don't wanna close my eyes, don't wanna fall asleep 'Cause I'd miss you baby and I don't wanna miss a thing 'Cause even when I dream of you the sweetest dream would never do I'd still miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing. Love Aways & Forever, Your Momma

3 Months Old!

Dear Skylar, It's your Mommy again! There's lots to tell you! Let's start with your medical victories: You had your first immunization shots and you rocked them! You had a little bit of a fever in the days following, but nothing terrible. Sleeping on mom and extra cuddles helped you get back to your normal self. You were so good in the doctor's office and really didn't even cry that much. I'm so proud of you, my brave girl!

You also had another cold this month, but handled it better than the first. This time you and Mommy were sick and your Dad didn't get the cold at all! We're both hoping that we'll be done with sickness for a while!

You discovered your hands this month, baby girl. You can't get enough of touching things with them. You also realized that you can bring your hands to your mouth and touch your own face with them. Watching you discover this was so fun and sweet. You also really like to put your fingers and hands in your mouth. At the beginning you would "capture" your left hand with your right and push it into your mouth. Now, a few weeks later, you can just move either hand into your mouth without much difficulty. You have grown so much even in just the last couple weeks!

Recently you touched your Daddy's face to feel the roughness of his 5 O'clock shadow! You were so interested in the way his face felts. It was really cute. You also grabbed Daddy's nose and laughed after you did! Watching you explore your world is so much fun!!

You are on the brink of really discovering your feet. It's so very close -- but I think you still don't really know that your feet are part of you! You definitely know your feet are there, though! And you try to touch them and play with them! It's so cute! You almost toppled out of your swing while reaching for your feet. Sometimes you scare your me a bit with your new abilities -- I'm not always ready for you being able to move so differently! But I'm so glad to see you changing and growing, little one!

You laugh every day now, sweet girl! Daddy and Mommy love it! We both do things to get you to laugh and delight in your giggling. Your smile and your laughs light up our world!

You've been standing up on your Daddy's lap with help for a long time (Mom forgot to mention when you first did it -- but thinks it was somewhere around 6 weeks old!). You now stand on your Daddy's lap all the time and often on your Mom's lap. You love exercising your legs and giggle as you stand -- excited that you were able to raise yourself up with help! It's so cute. You're not standing on your own yet, but Mommy & Daddy can't help but think you'll be doing it soon. I guess we'll see!

The final "first" for this month was flying!! You flew with your Mommy and were perfect! No fussing or being upset. You made me so proud, little one. People hate flying with babies, but no one heard a peep out of you! Good job!

I cannot wait to see what comes next, dear one. I love you so very much.

Here are a few pictures taken ON your "3 month birthday" by your Mommy's long time friend Nancy Noble Barnes:

(Mommy will have to do a whole post featuring more pictures from Nancy. There are so many great pictures to share! They're beautiful!)

Love always & forever,

Momma