Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Cambria: a birthday letter for my one year old.

Dear Cambria,

Oh, my heart.

This past week, I have been soaking up your cuddles, preparing for today, your birthday. One morning, you woke up at 5:15, and your brother slept in until 8:00, so we had some time together in the living room before the sun came up. I lit a candle, poured some hot coffee, and put on the album that I listened to a year ago when I was in labor awaiting your arrival. I watched you crawl around exploring books, cars, a cardboard box, and your dog. Every few minutes, you would climb up on me for a cuddle. I held you in my arms and danced with you, thinking back on the first year of your life. In that moment, there was nowhere else I’d rather be than slow dancing with my almost one year old daughter at dawn.

You and I, we earned this first birthday celebration. We worked hard together this past year. We loved hard, we cried hard, we experienced great joy and sadness together. This first year of your life, you and I were so intertwined and connected, that sometimes you were barely your own person, at times just an extension of me. Now that you are turning one, you are becoming your own self, and it so beautiful to watch you take steps away from me to explore your world, and yet, still come crawling back to nuzzle yourself into my neck.

You were not the easiest baby, and yet, I have a ridiculous, head over heels, unconditional love for you. I have realized that a mother's love must be one of the most powerful forces on the planet, because here is this creature that literally sucks the life out of you and wakes you up multiple times a night for an entire year, and yet, I am still utterly obsessed with you. I hope that this sets a foundation for the rest of your life. There is nothing you could do to make me love you less. No matter what happens, I will still whole heartedly love you for all the days of our lives. My love will be a constant that you can rely on forever. That is the power of a mother's love.

With that said, when I think about what I want for you throughout your life, I want you to know your power and your strength and your bravery.

Dream big, but also be prepared that your dreams will change and evolve, as will you, and through every season, I hope that you know you are strong and brave and that you seek out and find joy.

At one year old, you:
  • Have seven teeth.
  • Say da da (your first word), dog, hi, uh-oh, mama (sparingly), and babble a lot.
  • Your smile lights up a room and our lives.
  • You love music, water, cardboard boxes, exploring, and getting into anything that's not a toy.
  • You love to be outside.
  • You love to get dirty.
  • You love to clap and wave hi and bye.
  • You love to cuddle.
  • Your favorite person is Everett, and watching you two together is my favorite thing in life these days.
  • You have taken eleven steps, but you still prefer to crawl. 

You have quite the adventure ahead of you, this adventure called life. I am grateful that I get to be a part of your story.

Live it up, girl.


(photos from a day last week when we picked up our library books and headed to the park for some reading time and a picnic)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Playing together.

I set Everett up with some crayons and paper, in hopes that he would be entertained long enough for me to clean the floor, when I was interrupted by giggles and gleeful shrieks. Every time I try to clean, I am interrupted, but at least this time it was by smiles and laughter. I quickly gave up on cleaning to observe the sibling love fest that was happening on our dining room floor. Having a clean house is highly overrated anyway, especially with a three year old, an almost one year old, and a dog. A clean house lasts for approximately 27 seconds.

We have entered a new stage of life where my kids actually play together. We always knew we were going to have more than one kid. It was just a given for us and never something we thought too much about. I always thought that the greatest gift I could give them is each other, but I didn't realize I was also giving myself an incredible gift in observing their sibling relationship develop. Witnessing their friendship unfold is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. Of course, there are a lot of "don't sit on your sister," "don't take her toy," "don't push her," etc. But, they play and laugh and have fun together, and it is really beautiful to watch. 
She copies everything he does:
Those big, brown eyes melt me:
Another time when my cleaning was interrupted with a "Mama, can you stop cleaning? Come look at Cambria and me! We're playing peek-a-boo!" Okay, Everett, twist my arm. Of course I will stop cleaning!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The flowers come after the rain.

The flowers come after the rain. I love how nature teaches us life lessons in such a beautiful way, even in San Diego where we supposedly don’t have seasons. Last spring, our family kept seeking out the wildflowers, because they were the best spring flowers we had ever seen in our local canyons, after the record amounts of rain our city experienced throughout the winter. I revisited these photos this week of a family hike we took from our house, and felt a reassurance that life is meant to be lived in seasons, and that truly, the beauty and abundance comes after the storms. For nature, for humans. We need the rain to get to the flowers. We get to appreciate the beauty of the flowers only after experiencing the storms. The tallest and most vibrant flowers come after the biggest storms, but there they stand, strong and abundant and wild.