seven

Little Bear,

You are both very small and very strong. At your 6 month doctor appointment, the doctor couldn’t stop exclaiming about how much you move already. We took you on a carousel and while your cousins took seats in the carts, we went for it and put you on one of the moving horses. You loved it. 

We got to celebrate our first Thanksgiving with you, made even more special because we were in the house I grew up in and you got to meet my extended family.

You’ve tried all manner of new foods and you don’t turn your nose up every time it’s not cereal. In a manner of seconds, you can find the one tiny piece of paper on the floor, crawl over to it, and try to stuff it in your mouth. (Including one time that you crawled under my chair at dinner, peeled a sticker off, and then ate it.)

I can’t believe you’re closer to a year old than you are a newborn. Your dad keeps reminding me that you’re going to grow up and it’s so hard for me to believe. I can’t wait for you to play by yourself and, in the same moment, I love your clingy cries for me to hold you. (Even if those cries often sound like you’re saying, “Dada.”)

I am so excited to celebrate your first Christmas. You’re my very favorite girl and I can’t believe we every had life without you.

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six

Little bear, 

Every time I’ve seen someone post a 6 month picture, it says something about time flying. When you were weeks old and we were feeding you every three hours, that seemed impossible. The days felt endless, then all of a sudden you were a month… then three… now six.

This month, you tried some new foods – apples, butternut squash. We can’t just set you on the floor anymore because you move around the room. You’ve had a runny nose all month and chew on everything (including feet, the cat, and cups. so many cups). I heard your giggle for the first time in the swing, you got your first fall snow, and we went to the mountains for elk bugles.

We celebrated your first Halloween with Boo on Briggs and a party with your daycare friends. We went to the pumpkin patch and you went on a hayride. You went to your first friend birthday party and wedding number 5.

You can sit up for a bit at a time and I subjected you and your dad to a lot of Yankees playoff baseball. We entered you to win the Gerber baby contest (haven’t heard, but we’re hoping!) and sleep training has been a bear, but it seems to be paying off after 2 weeks of not sleeping. 

I can’t believe we’ve been sleep deprived and nursing and changing diapers (some with real poop!) for half a year. And in the middle of it all, we are so thankful we’ve gotten to see your sweet smile every morning and kiss your sweet cheeks every night for six months. 

I can’t believe we ever had life without you and we love you more than you could imagine.

five

Little Girl,

Today, you are 5 months old. 5 months seems both too short and too long to describe our lives with you. 

You have done a lot of firsts this month. First day at daycare. First boat ride. First cereal. First real food. First night in your big bed. First football game. First cold.

You are getting to be a much more efficient scooter – less face, more arms. You have a great grip and like to hold everything, including your own bottle. You have a little bunny that is your favorite. And you can roll to both sides now.

You’re allergic to cows, an allergy which we are literally praying that you grow out of. We’re trying to teach you to “pet the Kitty” (not grab the Kitty, or put him in your mouth) and to “let go, please” when you grab glasses, tiny strands of hair, shirts, your diaper mat, and, well, basically anything.

You are also so happy. You smile at everyone. Even these last few days when you have been sick – which must be so confusing for your little mind and body – you smile and flail your arms and legs with excitement.

You are such a sweet girl and we have been so grateful for your sweet, easy-going spirit. We can’t wait to see what month five brings.

We love you, Everly Alice, with our whole heart.

overwhelmed

Baby girl, 

You have been to 4 weddings, a goodbye party, a youth group party, a week long camp, several days at the office, a retreat, and plenty of coffee meetings. Today, however, is the first day that I’ve seen you get overwhelmed. There were so many people new to both of us and you napped poorly all day and you were tired and it was just too much for your little brain. 

We sat for a little while in the quiet of the car and I didn’t even sing or talk to you like usual. You played with your frog until you feel asleep with so much new information to process.

I love you when you’re sad. Even if I don’t understand your sadness, I’ll do my best to at least feel it with you. You’re my sweet, little girl and I love you so much.

four

Little Bear, 

Your 4 month letter is a day late. We have spent the last month watching you face scoot, trying to find a day care, and putting your hair in pony tails.

You do this combination of pushing with your legs, pulling with your arms (while one hand is in your mouth), and mushing your face into the ground. It results in you moving – albeit inefficiently. You’ve gone all the way across the big bed, all around your play mat, and the length of your blanket.

This month you also started grabbing things and putting them in your mouth. You also love blanket rides around the kitchen. You’re a chatty little girl when you’re happy or sad. And you even occasionally wake up happy these days.

You sleep on your belly and poop on your jammies almost every night. You burp loudly like your aunts and fart like an adult. 

We can’t believe how much we love you. You’re our favorite girl and we can’t picture life before or without you. 

Right now you’re sleeping snuggled on my shoulder and I couldn’t be happier or more thankful.

traveler

Everly, 

You are such a sweet little baby. Today you were so fussy all afternoon, but right now we’re listening to Spotify while you eat and I’m thinking about the last week of your life. 

We went to camp – a 6 hour car ride away – 5 days of crazy, loud, no routine days. Your Uncle Brian put you to bed each night in a hotel room while your mom finished her responsibilities and your dad cared for 30 seventh grade boys. You rode in a pack all day or got passed to students (carefully!) and basically had people in your face 24/7.

Then we took our first flight together to Portland for your Aunt Morgan and Uncle Sam’s wedding. Another no schedule, new place, more people few days. 

Of course, now that we’re home, all your regular sitters are out of town so off to work I hauled you. All week long. Another no schedule, not at home nap.

You’re exhausted, but you still give out your sweet, toothless smiles and talk to anyone who wants to talk to you. 

We prayed for you and you have been such a gift. So beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined. I love your snuggly smallness even though we have dragged you to the ends of the world. 

I love you, little girl.

three

Little girl, 

Your second month was a big one. You hold up your head and roll over. You want to crawl so badly! You still have all your hair and have grown out of almost all of your newborn things. You had your first little virus and your mom felt like a mama bear for the first time.

It was an early start to your 3rd month. It’s been the busiest couple of weeks for your dad and me and you have slept the worst. 

Last night, though, your terrible sleep had me awake at just the right time. You see, little girl, you’re at camp. In New Mexico. With 300 kids. One of this kids needed help at 1:44am. Exactly when you were finishing your late night snack. 

It’s the first night of 4 here, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t counting them all down. We have no idea what we’re doing and this week is reminding us how much we need God. As I texted with the mom of the student who needed something in the wee hours of the morning, I realized I’ll need faith no matter how you turn out or what age you are. 

And I don’t mean the generic “I need faith” sort of thing. I mean the, “I’m drowning and it’s my only lifeline” sort of faith. Whether you’re a great kid with a disease or a tough kid who makes bold, bad decisions, or just a 3 month old at a summer camp, we’d all be lost without Jesus. It’s the only thing keeping us above the waves.

You are such a good baby. I love you with my whole heart, Everly Alice.

two

Little Girl, 

Today you’re two months old. Today, we also packed you and all your junk up for the first time to dog sit for two weeks. I wrestled your pack and play/bed to the ground and back up again. You woke up for the first time at church. Your dad helped you stand up and move one leg at a time like you were walking. I wanted to get you on Ellen. 

We’re “those” parents who get excited to see pictures of when you were smaller and marvel at how much you’ve changed (hello, that’s every first time parent). You’re a pretty good sleeper at night and a terrible napper. We’ve taken our first trips to the library, ice cream shops and a hipster coffee shop – you know, all the important, educational places.

Your best friends are your uncles – John, Trav, Jovan, and Brian – (none of whom are your actual uncles), your aunts (the real blood related ones and all the pseudo ones who love you), Ruthie, and Claire. 
You’ve been to 2 weddings and will go to at least 2 more before you even turn 1 year old. And you’ve decided your favorite way to be walked around is facing out, looking at the world. 

Right now, you are sleeping in my lap with your arms splayed every which way and I am trying to remember all the sweet things I can because I know our time with you is going to come fast and furious. 

You are so loved, sweet girl. I hope you always know.

tonight

Honey Bear, 

Tonight you were wide awake – not even a walk shut you off and moving ALWAYS seems to be a power switch, so we rocked you and held you close and swaddled you tight and played music. And we did it. It convinced you that sleep time is now. 

Now we’re sitting in bed and I’m thinking of all the things we hope for you as you grow up.

We have so many prayers for you. I hope you are strong and brave. I hope you fight for other people. I hope you’re protected, but not too safe. I hope you’re passionate and kind. I hope you find a man someday like your dad – not because you need a man, but because your dad is so good and our lives are so much better because of him. I hope you love Jesus and find him early in your life to be the only thing that is always true and trustworthy. 

We also hope you love either the Broncos or the Giants and for sure hate the Patriots, Cowboys, and Raiders. Your dad is even okay with you being a Yankees fan (they’re really good this year, little girl). I hope you aren’t allergic to dairy or gluten because ice cream and brownies. I hope you are left-handed and I can’t wait until I can braid your hair.

I hope you love to run and play. I hope you have lots of friends and are wise about the good ones. I hope you never get your heart broken, but when you do, that you learn from it. 

I hope you know how much you are loved because it is so much. I love you with my whole heart, Everly Alice.