A Love Letter To My Daughter on Her Second Birthday

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Dear Hannah,

Happy birthday, baby girl! Or can I even say that anymore? Because two is hardly a baby…no, it’s official: my baby is no longer a baby. And, while part of me is grieving that you’re no longer the tiny infant you used to be, the whole of me is excited for who you are now and who you are becoming.

This has been a year of incredible growth and change for you. This week I was looking back at some photos of you from this past year and I couldn’t believe how much you have grown in 12 short months.

You went from being a tiny bald baby who was just learning how to crawl (and by crawl, I mean that adorable little mermaid scoot that you used to do!) to a bright-eyed toddler in her mis-matched outfit that she picked out for herself, running after her brothers with her pigtails bobbing. You went from tasting your first mashed-up foods to out-eating me at most meals (which is really saying something!). You went from spending 90% of your time getting carried to and fro in your Ergo to an independent little girl who can’t stand to sit still for more than two seconds (which made for a very interesting and exhausting trans-Atlantic flight with you a few months ago). Every day I look at you I see a bit more of the girl you are becoming, and it’s beautiful.

Your personality has grown with you this year, too. You are incredibly caring and your favorite thing to do is dote on your “babies”. Whether it is a doll or an injured brother, you have a tender compassion that helps everyone feel loved and comforted (Sidenote: when yo

And as sweet as you usually are, in the last few months we have also seen your feisty side come out (Hello, hair-pulling and itty-bitty-fingernail pinching!). You are bold and adventurous and definitely able to hold your own. All I can say is, good luck to anyone who messes with you! Between your over-protective father and two big brothers–and your ability to take down a full-grown adult with your “slams”–nobody should ever give you any trouble! I’m also pretty sure that you’re not going to be allowed to date until you’re in your 30’s, but we can have that conversation later.

Besides the personal growth that you’ve done this year, you’ve also experienced so much change–and you’ve handled it all like a champ! On your birthday last year we were living in sunny California and spending our weekends at the beach in Santa Cruz…and this year we’re in Washington, surrounded by family and pine trees and the occasional snowflake. And even when your whole world has changed around you, you’ve carried on: brave, happy, and ready to embrace any adventure that comes your way.

And speaking of adventures, can you even imagine what adventures still lie ahead?! This year, your third year of life, will bring so many new opportunities. This year will bring preschool (WHAT?!), potty training (Which means we will officially be a diaper-free household–sweet Jesus, pinch me if this is real!), our first multi-word conversations, and so much more. Hannah, I just can’t wait! Life with you is so exciting!

Thinking back on how far you’ve come in two short years, I can’t help but be amazed. It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming you into the world, and yet at the same time it feels like you’ve always been a part of our lives. And maybe that’s true. Maybe a piece of my heart has always belonged to you, even before you were born–it just wasn’t until I met you that I knew who that piece belonged to.

Well, Hannah, I am so glad that my heart belongs to you. You bring so much light, laughter, and love to our family, and I still can’t believe that you’re mine. Happy birthday, baby girl. Two down, and many more to go!

Much love,

Mommy

A Birthday Love Note To My Son

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As a mother, I am the first woman who will love my sons. I want to love them well. I want to show them what true, genuine love looks like so they will recognize it when they are older. For now, though, they are still my babies. My babies who are growing and changing every single day. Last week, in fact, my youngest son celebrated his second birthday and I found myself wondering again, “Where does the time go?”.

Since before my boys were even born, I’ve been writing them love letters. Every year on their birthday I write them a special birthday letter to commemorate their special day. Last year I shared Jacob’s first birthday letter and now that another year has passed, it’s time to share birthday letter #2. Happy (belated) birthday, sweet Jacob: may all of your dreams come true!

A Love Letter To My Son On His Second Birthday

July 26, 2014
Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean
You are 2 years old!

Dearest Jacob,

Happy second birthday, Snuggle Bear! This has been one incredible year for you, for all of us. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that you have experienced more in your two short years than many people do in their entire lives! This has been a busy year for our family, to say the least. In fact, right now as I write this letter we are flying over the Atlantic Ocean toward our next adventure. Life never slows down, so I hope you enjoy every minute of it!

This year we were living in Cork, Ireland. We moved from Seattle all the way to Ireland just a few weeks before your your first birthday. I was just thinking about how you have had three birthdays now, and have woken up in a different country on each of your birthdays thus far (born in Seattle, first birthday in Ireland and today, your second birthday, started off in London). I don’t think we’ll be able to keep that trajectory up for much longer, but it is pretty interesting!

We had so many exciting adventures this year in Ireland that it’s hard to even remember them all. We visited castles and cliffs and beaches. We drove tractors and milked cows. We spent countless afternoons watching the animals at Fota Wildlife Park (the giraffes were always your favorite). We visited medieval towns and Viking villages and ancient landmarks. I know that you won’t remember any of this, but you did it and you were there and it was incredible. As you get older I will show you pictures and tell you stories about Ireland. I will remind you of the wonderful friends we had there and the beautiful places we visited together. And, even if my words become your only memories of that time in your life, Ireland will always be a part of your story.

While we were living in Ireland we seized the opportunity to travel through Europe. You were a trooper and a fantastic little traveller! In London you saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and the massive Tower of London. In Paris, you went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gazed into Mona Lisa’s eyes at the Louvre. In Spain you rode on camels and learned how to say “Hola! Adios!”. You saw the world this year, and travel will always be a part of your story.

And when we weren’t out traveling or “adventuring”, as I called it, we had our daily life. The life where we walked David to preschool in the morning and then went running on the trail by the water. The life where we went to the Farmer’s Market and drank hot chocolates. The life where Daddy would come home from work and give you wrestles and helicopter rides. The life where you loved reading books and playing with “colors” and chasing Bota through the back yard. The life where Day-Day was your friend and your mentor and your hero. The life where, in this one short year, you learned how to talk and walk and run and jump and climb and hit your brother back. It’s been a big year for growing and changing and learning. All that you have learned is now a part of your story.

And the story continues. We are traveling across the world again, right back to Seattle where it all began. We are spending a few weeks in Seattle visiting our family and our friends and our favorite places. Then we will move on to the next chapter of your story: California. I don’t know what this next year will bring us, but I’m just happy I get to spend it with you.

This year you have been to so many places, done so many things and experienced so many changes. And, despite all of the changes and crazy adventures we’ve taken you on, you have stayed the same: sweet, cuddly, attentive, curious, gentle. You have a magical way of brightening our days and calming our fears with your sweet smile and your snuggly hugs. I love you more than words can say, Jacob, and I am so glad that I get to be your mom. Happy second birthday, sweetheart, and may God bless you this year and always!

All My Love,
Mommy

A Love Letter To My Baby On His First Birthday

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Today is my baby’s first birthday. How did that happen? I really can’t believe that it’s already been a year–turns out, time moves forward in warp speed when you have two young children. Each day is a balancing act of making memories and basic survival. I’ve mostly got the survival part down now, and I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job in the “making memories” department this year, as well.

When I was pregnant with my first child I started writing him letters. I didn’t know who this baby would be yet, but I already knew that I loved him. I wrote my first “baby love letter” the day I found out I was pregnant–and I continued writing to him throughout my pregnancy. I did the same thing with my second child, and I still write my boys letters periodically. Whenever something important happens I will write my son a letter to let him know what I was thinking and feeling in that moment. I want to capture the memories.

Maybe some day when my boys are much older and I give them these letters, they’ll enjoy seeing what was going on in their crazy mom’s mind as they were growing up. And, even if they don’t appreciate them, I know that I’ll be glad I wrote down my thoughts during this busy time in our life where I usually can’t even remember what I had for breakfast.

I always hand-write the letters–there’s something so much more personal and intimate about a hand-written letter. It shows that I took the time and the care to pull out some nice paper and get sore fingers from gripping the pen. I start by writing the date, location, and age of my son at the top of the page. The rest is just my un-edited thoughts–whatever first comes to my mind get’s put on the page.

So, on this most momentous of days, I had to write a letter to my dear little Jacob (transcription below). Happy birthday, little snuggle bear!

July 26, 2013
Cork, Ireland
You are 1 year old!

Dear Jacob,

Wow–I can’t believe you are already ONE! Where did this year go?! It seems like just yesterday that I met you and held your sweet, tiny body next to mine for the first time. And, yet, here we are a whole year later.

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This has been a truly remarkable year. You have grown and changed so much from that tiny bundle we brought home last July. Now you are crawling all over the place– gotta keep up with your big brother David! you pull up on furniture and even try to climb the stairs. For most of this year you’ve been content to stay where I put you, but now your adventurous side is starting to come out! I hope that as you grow older you are bold to take new risks–and that you learn from your journeys, no matter the outcome.

Ireland Allisons iPhone - 0251Speaking of journeys, this has been quite the year of journeys for you! At 12 months old you’ve already seen more of the world than many people get to see in their lives. We’ve taken you all around the great state of Washington, to Arizona, to California, and even 2 trips to Europe!

About 2 weeks ago we moved to Cork, Ireland. Your dad and I were just talking about how your first memories in life will take place here in Ireland. Your first steps, first conversations, and first friends will all begin in this beautiful place. We know that as you get older you probably won’t remember a lot about our years here in Ireland, but I hope that our time here will lay a strong foundation for your life.

On this very special day, Jacob, I am praying for you and your foundation. My greatest hope and prayer for you is that with each passing day and each passing year you will grow closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. If you’ve got Jesus, you will be set for life. Don’t ever forget that!

I pray that you will always draw close to God–the same way that you draw close to me now whenever you are tired or scared or needing some extra love. God will give you rest, He will protect you, and–most importantly–He will always love you. He is the only one who could ever possible love you more than I do–and that’s a big, big love!

I love you, Jacob Daniel. I love your cuddles, I love your giggles, I love your little snarl nose, I love your laid-back approach to life (I’m learning a bit of this from you already!). I love the way you trill your tongue when you’re upset and the way you bubble your lips when you’re happy. I love your curly hair, your bright blue eyes and your chubby little thighs. I love the way you play with my hair ALL THE TIME (thanks to you, my new–and only–hairstyle is a tight bun). I love the way you watch to learn, the way you imitate those around you, and the way you tolerate–even enjoy–your brother’s antics. You are a very special boy, Jacob, and I love you very much.

Happy first birthday to my sweet little son. May this be just the beginning of many wonderful years to come! Thank you for letting me be your mommy!

Love,
Mama

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Note: If you enjoyed reading this post, check out my most recent letter to Jacob for his second birthday! Read the letter here.