Showing posts with label Clarice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clarice. Show all posts

A Third Birthday Letter To Clarice



My Sweet Clarice,

Darling, amidst all the paperwork and packing and moving, you quietly turned three years old a couple weeks ago.

We celebrated your birthday by taking a trip to the zoo as a family.  We asked you which animals you wanted to see and you said "E-wah-fants!"  Your voice is the cutest thing right now, high-pitched with a lisp.



Your hair is just as curly and delightful as it's ever been.  You are more active right now, so the curls don't stay in perfect formation.  They fluff and fly as you run around, and form the perfect frame for your sweet little face.  I've been intentionally telling you lately how pretty your curls are, and your blue eyes light up every time.

Your favorite food is definitely "choc-wat".  You went out with grandma for your birthday lunch a few weeks ago, and she told me that when she gave you a hot fudge sundae, you took a bite, sighed, and declared "Choc-wat is the BEST!"  You are a girl after my own heart, darling!



You are still very attached to one particular bear, your pink "first birthday" bear.  I've bought a couple replacements and backups for your bear, because it would be so sad if you lost it.  You call it "Baby", and carry it with you everywhere - and you are delighted whenever you get the chance to treat it like a real baby, by putting it in a stroller or strapping it onto yourself like a baby carrier.  You found the backup a couple weeks ago, dubbed it "Other Baby", and now you carry around both of them.  You came downstairs in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago, scared because of a bad dream, and you were clutching a "baby" in each arm, their heads tucked under your chin.  It was so impossibly adorable, I couldn't even stop myself from chuckling.  You act happy and sheepish whenever I tell you that you are a good little mama to your "babies".

When I think about you at this age, I think of a little girl with big feelings. When you are happy, your smile is so huge it takes up your whole face, and I dare anyone not to smile back.  When you are sad, the whole world is ending, and your blue eyes drown in tears.



Whether you are so happy you might burst, or sad enough to get my shirt all wet, when I pick you up to give you a hug your little arms wrap around my neck.  It's hard to want to put you down.  I walked past the mirror when I was carrying you the other day and realized how tiny you still are.



You are such a joy to me, darling, and the one I can always count on for a smile or a snuggle.  You light up all my days.  You have grown so much in the last year.  You have become such a wonderful big sister.  You have started talking more and more.  Your personality has become even more fun, if that were possible.  But you are still my sweet baby girl, willing to cuddle on my lap and dragging around your teddy bear.  I can't wait to see how you grow over this next year, but I also hope it doesn't happen too fast.  I know I'll want these days back.  I'm loving life with you so much right now, at three.

Love You More, Baby Girl.

-Mama


And Just Like That, She's Two



My Dear Clarice,

What a year it has been, Darling!  Your first birthday party seems so long ago, but at the same time your second birthday snuck up on me.  You have grown so much in a year!  And now you are two.  As I type that I picture how you draw out the word "two" when we ask how old you are, how your lips form this cute little "o", and you cross your eyes a little as you look at your hand to hold up three or four fingers.  

You walked shortly after your first birthday last year, but you were content for months to just say your ten favorite words, including "daddy", "mama", and "bebe" - your name for that pink bear that GG got you for your first birthday.  I should probably note here that Bebe comes everywhere with us, and you really do consider it your baby.  You tuck it under blankets for naps, you've tried to feed it a bottle, and you cradle it in your arms and rock it.  I have to wash it every other week at least, and it will probably be falling apart soon.  I have no doubt my future includes many patches of Bebe.



You also went through this funny stage where you kissed everyone with Bebe, but my favorite right now is when I am about to leave to run errands by myself, and you run up with your arms in the air, and say "hug!" and "kess!", your little lips puckering.  I bend down to kiss you, you say "mwah!" with your little arms wrapped tightly around my neck and you lift your feet off the ground.  You're so light that it doesn't even hurt having you swing from my neck for a few seconds.

You've really started talking just in the last couple months, and now that you've started you try to say everything.  You are constantly copying what everyone says, and sometimes you'll jabber sentences and crack me up.  Even though you just started talking, you can really hold your own in a conversation.  You say the cutest things sometimes, and I need to remember to write them down more in your memory book.



The other day you were not feeling particularly well.  It was cold outside, but you were determined to follow your big siblings outside to get me some wood for the fireplace.  A minute or two later you were on the porch, the last three inches of your pants soaking wet, and you were crying.

I got you dried out, but you wouldn't really stop the crying; after getting your big siblings settled back inside and cleaning up the kitchen, I checked on you, scooped you up, and climbed onto Gwen's bed to sit with you and calm you down.  Less than five minutes later the crying was reduced to a few shuddering breaths, and you were fast asleep.  You had your little arm wrapped around me, and your head resting on my shoulder.

I wasn't about to move, Baby Girl, because you were an almost-two-year-old.  I know from experience that almost-two-year-olds don't fall asleep on their mama's shoulder very often anymore.  I held you and snuggled you for a good hour and a half while your siblings played in the next room.  Taking in you little eyelashes, and your perfect pink lips, and your wild curls, and your even breathing.  And I guess I'm writing that here, because I know it might have been the last time you will fall asleep on me like that.  We have so many exciting firsts ahead, and so many lasts too that will probably slip by unnoticed.  But I'm holding on to this one, this sweet memory in my heart of my baby, snuggled up next to me and breathing against my skin.  



Now on to the glorious two's, Darling!  I can't wait to see what your third year holds.  I love you more than I could ever say.

-Mama



Woodland Tea Party (First Birthday Party!)





At the end of September we had Clarice's first birthday party!  I have probably been planning and mulling over this party more than most of the other ones I've thrown, and I picked my theme months ago when I ordered our gorgeous invitations.  Despite all my mental planning, I didn't actually buy anything else until a week before her party, but I am happy with the way it turned out!































Details

Tissue paper flowers: I made them from a kit that I got on clearance at Joann's - they were so easy!  You could easily make them without a kit, and maybe one of these days I'll do a post (or find one already written) to show you how.

String of balloons: The best idea I ever got from Pinterest.

Lemon drops and tea cups: The tea cups I have had for a while - whenever I find a pretty on in an antique shop I snag it, so they were perfect for my "tea party" vision.

Rose-shaped dessert mints: My mom made these for Clarice's party with an old family recipe!  They fit in perfectly with all the decor.  Thanks, Mom!

Tea pot: I've been wanting one anyway, so when I saw this Pioneer Woman tea pot at Walmart, I figured this was the perfect excuse to buy it!

Milk bottles with chalkboard tags:  I bought some extra milk bottles, because these are my favorite cups for the kids - if they leave them around the house, they kind of look decorative!  I added some chalkboard tags with these little cut-outs that I found at Hobby Lobby for $3.

Chalkboard: My attempt at hand-lettering!  Don't laugh.

Water bottles: I got some scrapbook paper that looked like aspen tree bark to replace the water bottle labels, and I taped them on with pretty washi tape.  The mint-colored tub I already had (Hobby Lobby).

Punch: Cranberry juice and Squirt.  It's simple and very good.

White cabinet: Can you believe I won that in an Instagram giveaway?  It was very exciting.

Small "dot" banner: Minted!

"Happy Birthday Clarice" banner: Minted!

"Sips" and "Treats" table signs: Minted!

Cupcake toppers: You guessed it - also part of the Minted party kit I received earlier this year!

Cupcakes: I made those, strawberry cake mix, store-bought strawberry frosting.  Keeping it simple.

Jello Popcorn: See recipe here, minus the peanuts.

White chocolate leaves: I made those with Almond Bark chocolate and some leaf molds.

Flowers and Aspen tree candle holder: Hobby Lobby.  I just loved the candle holders when I saw them, and it was very convenient since I could use them for Clarice's party too!

THE CAKE:  All caps, because I am so proud of it!  My sister made this cake - isn't she amazing?  All I told her was that I wanted an "aspen tree stump", and the cake turned out better than I even imagined!

Glitter candle: I saw it on another Instagram account, and when I tried to find it again later to look at her DIY, I couldn't find it!  So I just winged it and used Elmer's glue and glitter to cover a "1" candle.  It worked out nicely.

Banner cake topper: I got the little triangle cutouts at Hobby Lobby and strung them between two paper straws that I already had.

Clarice's birthday dress: I found it on Taylor Joelle last year, and it just happened to work perfectly as her party dress!

Headband: I bought it from this shop.

So there you go!  A year's worth of mental planning, and now it's over.  It's a little sad really - where did the last year go?  HOW IS MY BABY ONE?!   It's cliche, but it really does go by too fast.









A Dozen Months



Well, my littlest baby is a year old.

While the last year sometimes seems like a really long year, at the same time it feel like my little darling should still be a tiny baby.  But she's not anymore, she's a vibrant, active one year old girl!

The last month feels like an explosion of personality for my girl.  Well, she's always had a lot of personality, but this month she has been making her loves and hates a little more known.  Her biggest love still seems to be me, which is still such a satisfying feeling.  She stretches out and reaches for me every time I walk into the room, and she lays her little head on my shoulder and gives a shy smile, like she's reminding everyone that this is where she belongs, tucked in her mama's arms.  It's the cutest thing.

Even though she is still very much attached to me, she also has gotten a lot more independent and brave this month.  She has been pulling up on furniture left and right, and on the evening after her first birthday party she pushed her little bum into the air and then straightened to a standing position, which she held for a good three seconds.  She hasn't gone much longer than that yet, but I am still impressed that she managed to get herself into a standing position without even holding onto anything.



Another favorite this month is "dancing".  I'll hold her hands and do a little dance to get her started, and then she takes off, bending at the waste and swinging her little hips back and forth.  Sometimes she'll rotate at the waist too, like a miniature version of the twist, all with the funniest little concentrating grin on her face.  Then when someone praises her on her dance skills she scrunches her nose and laughs or lets out her signature screech.

Clarice officially gave me her first kiss at her birthday party.  I kissed her little cheek, and she pressed her little lips together and said "mmmm", and I could tell she was trying to give a little kiss back. It was precious.  She has also started blowing kisses by flinging her little arm out and saying "mmmm". She is a sweet baby!



Her absolute favorite toys right now are a pink bear and fabric dolly that she got for her birthday.  When she received both of those presents her face just lit up, and she even gave the dolly a big, open-mouthed kiss.  She loves toys with faces, but these two are her loveys.  She goes to sleep much better when we tuck them in next to her, but most often whenever lay her down and then show them to her she will grab the bear and dolly by the necks and snuggle them both right under her chin, with closed eyes and a happy little smile on her face.

She is in size 4 diapers, and 12 month clothes.  Her feet are tiny, and fit into 6 month shoes still.

She has become so vocal, screeching, yes (my favorite is when she sits on the floor, rotates at the waist and waves her arms while screeching - trying to let us know she's happy, I presume, because she does it with a big smile on her face); but she also tries to say actual words now.  She says "da" for "dad", "mamama" for me, "hi", "hello" (sounds like "hewo"), "da" for dog, and "ha-ee" for "Harvey.  She has started trying to say the kids' names, and she even parroted back the tone (even though the actual words were unintelligible) of "I love you".  Which I probably don't even have to tell you, is too cute for words.

Her hair has started curling in the back and her eyes are beautifully blue.  She adores her brothers and sister, and the feeling is mutual.  She knows just how to melt her daddy's heart. She laughs like she means it, she smiles with every muscle in her face.  She's happy almost all the time, and sometimes she still falls asleep in my arms.

I just love that girl so.



---

My Sweet Clarice,

Where has the year gone?  Every day with you is just a happy adventure.  You bring so much joy to me, my darling.  In one short year I can't imagine what it was even like without you; you have swept into every corner and made everything brighter with your own brand of sunshine.  You were meant to be mine.  I love you, Happy Girl.  Please keep your enthusiasm and sunshine forever.

Love you always,

Mama


A Birthday Letter



My Sweet Clarice,

Yesterday last year, I woke up and rolled myself out of bed.  I had slept in - your daddy fed your brothers and sister breakfast while I laid under the covers, the little kicks coming from my belly finally dragging me out of sleep.  

I went upstairs just as one of the kids dropped a bowl of cereal.  I sighed, because it was almost impossible to get up and down off the floor anymore with a watermelon belly.  I grabbed a towel and worked myself down to my knees, and I just cried.  It wasn't about the cereal.

It was because I wanted you.  

I wanted to feel your squishy little body snuggled against my chest.  I wanted to see your dainty little lashes brushing your cheeks as you slept.  I wanted to feel your slight breath against my collar bone.  I wanted your impossibly tiny hand wrapped around my finger.



I know the Lord must have seen me that morning, because 12 hours later I was in labor, and 7 hours after that, you were born.  It was the same feeling that you might get if you've been awake for 24 hours and you finally lay down in your warm bed.  It was the same feeling you get when you've been hiking all day and then get into a bathtub of hot water, or when you've been gone on a trip for a week and then you pull into your own driveway.

You were here.  And holding you in my arms was everything I had hoped for.  

I love you, Sweet Baby.  Thank you for reminding me of that feeling, Darling; then and over the last year of watching you grow and now.  Of how good it feels to be home.

Love you always,

Mama




Always My Baby




We are on the countdown to Clarice's first birthday, and I laid in bed last night thinking, How did this happen? Where did the last year go?  Clarice still seems so little to me, but she is growing so much!

Her little personality just keeps singing through more and more, and it cracks me up.  She's my little firecracker.  When she is unhappy, you know it, and when she is happy, you know it.  She screeches either way, and you have to look at her face to see whether she's happy or mad.  Most of the time it's happy though, and I love her little grin!  She has the sweetest smile, but when she is really amused by something she'll grin and scrunch her eyes - it almost looks like a grimace, but it's just her expression to show she's excited.



She is suddenly much more mobile, and she's been crawling and climbing on everything.  She's figured out how to crawl on her hands and knees, and she pulls up with furniture onto her feet now.  The first time I came in her room and found her standing, she scrunched her face and bounced up and down, so proud of herself.

Her hair has definitely started filling in, and she has little blond curls at the back of her head.  I love them so much, and hope they stick around for a while.  Her eyes are still bright blue, and I love seeing how different colors bring them out.



Clarice has four little teeth.  I have a feeling more will be popping through soon, but for now I love the four she has, the way they shine when she smiles.  She puts them to good use too, and she dug right into a full peach at the peach festival - I looked down and suddenly there was a two-tooth bite out of one of the peaches in our bag, so we let her have at it!



The other day I was swinging her at the park, and her little hands were white-knuckling the sides of the swing.  She looked up and gave me a face somewhere between afraid and excited, and it cracked me up.  Do you remember that movie, Chicken Run?  Her little afraid face made her face look just like that, barely smiling eyes and a little horizontal oval of a mouth with four little teeth in the middle.  It cracked me up and made me want to scoop her right up, but she decided the swing was fun and laughed then, so we continued on with it.  I do believe she's a fan now.



We stopped nursing last month.  I knew I would wean her sometime around one year, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized didn't need that kind of emotion to deal with when I would already be handling a bittersweet first birthday.  She had been nursing less and my supply was decreasing, and one day after church I was nursing her in her room and she fell asleep.  I was sitting there, praying about when to stop, and I just got this feeling like this would be a good time.  I didn't want to not remember her last time nursing; I didn't want it to peeter off without my noticing, until I was left wondering what happened.  So I memorized every little feature, her sweet little eyelashes and arms wrapped around me, and then I laid her down, closed the door to her room, and cried a little.  It was a good decision though.  I have the sweet memories to hold, and we are both enjoying a little more freedom.  She still falls asleep in my arms when I give her a bottle.



---

My Sweet Clarice,

I know you are getting bigger, but you still just seems like this little thing to me.  Your feet are still tiny, and I just have this mental picture of you as my tiny baby - but you're really not.  You're almost one.  As with all of you kids, I'm hanging on to every little bit of babyness in you that I can.  I love it when you snuggle with me, or fall asleep in my arms, or reach up your hands for me to pick you up.  I love the way you sit on my hip, or rub your eyes when you're tired.  I love the way you still hesitate when you crawl on your hands and knees.  I love the way you bury your little face against my chest when you are scared or hurt.  I'm hanging on to all of these evidences that you are still my itty bitty baby, because someday soon I'll turn around and realize you've become a toddler.  And I'll be sad then, but not too sad because you'll give me joy in every season - and because you should know, darling, that you'll always be my baby.  I love you more than words.

-Mama
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