3 months

Dear Claire Diana,

3 months!! Man oh man, how time is flying by. I already miss my tiny little newborn, even though you are getting cuter and sweeter with every passing day. You are seriously the cutest little doll of a baby. You are so happy and content, life is good for miss Claire. You are the perfect second child, not minding in the least if you need to just chill in your swing for a little bit while I spend some time with your big sister. Everyone comments on your laid back, good natured spirit and how you are such an easy baby, and you really are! You demand very little attention (although you still get PLENTY of it!) and you always greet everyone with great big, happy smiles.

You love to snuggle constantly. I’m probably creating some bad habits with you because you have NO desire to nap anywhere during the day besides on mommy (thank goodness for all the wraps/carriers/slings I have, otherwise I would get nothing done!) With Leah, by this age I was working hard getting her to nap in a crib, knowing that I was going back to work in a month and she would need to nap in a crib at daycare, but with you, there is no pressure or time line. You are most content to sleep on your mom, and I’m most content just to let you! I’m all about letting you take the lead and just do what you need to do, and I can’t lie and say I don’t love all my snuggle time with you. At night you are sleeping in your rock and play next to our bed from 9 pm to 4 or 5 am before waking up to nurse. Every single morning, after your early morning nursing session, you snuggle down in bed between me and your daddy for another few hours of sleep before getting up for the day. Again, another bad habit? Who cares!

You love to nurse, still eating every 2-3 hours, and you are chubbing up quite nicely. It cracks me up when you happen to catch my eye while you are nursing, and you break away to give me a big, huge happy smile, like you are happily surprised to see me there.

You have rolled over from your tummy to your back one or two times, but you really don’t see the need to expel much physical exercise. When we try and do tummy time, you will lift your head up for a minute or so, working on those core muscle, before deciding to just lie down and rest for some time. You just like to relax, no one can blame you for that! You are my delicious little snuggle bug and I am loving every minute of my days with you!!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

12 Months

Dear Leah Grace,

Happy first birthday!! I cannot believe that you are a year already. This has been the fastest, but also the happiest year, of me and daddy’s life. You have been such a blessing to us, sweet baby girl, and we feel so lucky to have you as our daughter.
This month has been an eventful one for you, our big one year old! You are talking up a storm (“All done!” “Buh-bye” “mama” “dada” and “hi” are still your favorite words/phrases, but you’ve added a few new ones this month too!) and you babble and laugh non-stop. Our favorite new trick of yours is your love of tickling yourself and others, complete with the cutest little “tickle, tickle!” noise I have ever heard! Although you are not walking on your own yet, I know you could do it if you really wanted to. You walk so steadily, holding on to just one of me or daddy’s fingers, and I know that as soon as you have the confidence to take off on your own you will do so without looking back. No hurry, for now we are still enjoying this phase of life when you aren’t always running away from us!
You had your 12 month appointment yesterday and you did so well with your finger prick and shots! I hate hearing you cry, but you recover pretty quickly once you are back in mommy’s arms. You weigh 21 lbs and 15 ozs and you are 30 1/4 inches tall. That puts you in the 70th percentile for weight and the 80th percentile for height. We have a feeling that you will be tall, just like mommy when you grow up! We finally switched you to a new big girl car seat because you were way too tall for your infant seat and you are loving your comfy new ride!
You had a lot of friends and family at your first birthday party last weekend and Grandma Becker, Aunt Lauren and Grandma and Grandpa Buckel all stayed at the house for a little while to spoil and love on you! You are such a lucky girl to have such wonderful family and friends that loves you so much!
Your favorite activity is still going to the beach and playing in the sand and the water. You are such a good little Florida water baby, which is good because we plan spending a lot of time in the water with you! Your favorite food is ANY type of fruit, but you can especially eat cantaloupe and bananas all day, every day. Good luck trying to get you to eat any veggie other than green beans and corn though! You are stubborn, stubborn and you definitely know what you like and dislike!
We love you so incredibly much, our Leah Grace. Thank you for giving us the amazing honor of being your parents. We look forward to spending many more wonderful years with you, sweet girl!
Happy, happy birthday!
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

11 months

IMG_0294 IMG_0317 IMG_0320 IMG_0325 IMG_0337 IMG_0341 IMG_0342Dear Leah Grace,

Today you are 11 months old. 11 months! That means that there are only 30 short days until you turn 1 year old. 30 days until you go from being my little baby to being my big and happy toddler. I am both dreading your birthday and counting down the days. Although I am so excited to celebrate the absolute joy that you brought us the day you came into our lives, I’m also sad to see you grow so quickly. It’s like I just blinked once and you aged from my skinny, wrinkly newborn into this chubby, happy girl.
You are diving headfirst into your oncoming toddler phase, that’s for sure. I feel like you have learned so much in the past month! You can now say “mama” “dada” “all done” “high five” “bye-bye” “hi” “yeah” and, my favorite, “booby.” (You pull that one out quite loudly when you want to nurse NOW. I might soon regret teaching you that one…)You are a girl on the move! Although you aren’t walking yet, you crawl like crazy, pull yourself up on anything and everything, and will even stand unassisted for a few seconds before falling back onto your bum. You love walking while holding onto our hands (this was a big change from just last month!) or using your walker toy, or while pushing around your high chair and stroller. I’m sure you will be walking on your own in no time!
See that smile up there? You really are always that happy.  You are just such a GOOD baby, and everyone tells us that. Your teachers call you their “star student” because you are just such an easy going gal. Although you prefer mommy and daddy, you will still happily go to pretty much anyone with a smile and a “hi!” You know you’re cute and you think you can get away with pretty much anything (and let’s be honest, you kind of do…) You enjoy shaking your head no to any questions we ask (especially, “Leah, can I have a smooch?” But you will eventually and begrudgingly give me a kiss) and you have started to be a little naughty by hitting when you get mad. But then when we say “Leah, no!” you immediately start to cry and cuddle and then no one can stay mad at you for more than a second.
You are still a stellar sleeper, both at night and during your naps, and you eat pretty much everything. Big news this month; you (finally!) sprouted 2 bottom teeth so you are able to be more adventurous with your eating now. Your current favorites are nectarines, apple slices, goldfish and corn. Your hair is continuing to grow, blonde and wavy, and mommy is enjoying putting pretty clips in your wispy hair.
You are such a joy, our sweet Leah Grace, and, like always, we look forward to seeing what this next month brings!

All our love,
Mommy and Daddy

10 months!

IMG_0186 IMG_0205 IMG_0208 IMG_0209 IMG_0218Dear Leah Grace,

You hit the double digits today…10 months! Crazy to think that in only 2 short months you will be one year old. You are getting so big! This month has brought a lot of changes for you and I see little snapshots of how you will be as a toddler on a daily basis. (And oh boy are you going to be one feisty and outgoing kid!….)

You crawl like crazy now, but will go back to your army scoot if you feel the need to get somewhere extra speedy (you can scootch across the floor lightning fast!) You pull yourself up on everything and will even walk around the coffee table while holding on. However, you still HATE walking when mommy or daddy stand you up and hold onto your hands! You will amuse us with a few short steps, but will then either lift both legs up into an air sitting position, or cry until we pick you up. You’d rather be carried and that’s okay with me! Mommy is in NO hurry to have you walking.

Although you still have no teeth you are becoming very adventurous with foods . You still love strawberries the most and you will yell and yell if you see someone eating one without sharing. You also LOVE cheesy scrambled eggs and corn. It’s fun coming up with meals for you to try, although you’ll be able to eat so much more once those teeth finally decide to make an appearance! (Although, with nursing still 3-4 times a day mama is not opposed to you being toothless!)

You learn fast and it’s crazy to see your little mind working away. A few weeks ago you started pointing to body parts on mommy’s face while nursing; nose…eyes…mouth..and I would say the names over and over again while you pointed. The nose is definitely your favorite and it only took you a few days to learn the word and now anytime we ask where our nose is you will happily point it out!

This month daddy and I have started seeing you play more independently and with purpose. What are you thinking when you play? We would love to know! You babble away to yourself, pointing and waving at things only you can see and you occasionally break into laughter while “talking” with your baby dolls. I hope this is only the beginning of a beautiful imagination. You also LOVE reading your books and pushing every toy back and forth across the floor like it’s a toy car.

Although you still love everyone, you are definitely beginning to show preference for mommy and daddy and I think you are also starting to realize that you have your daddy wrapped around your little finger. The other day when you were naughty and mommy told you “No!” you threw a little fit, crawled to the door and cried “Dada! Dada!” like you wanted him to come and rescue you. It made mommy laugh. You also will shake your head no to pretty much any question we ask you, but you haven’t seemed to figure out how to nod yes yet.

You are turning into such a beautiful girl, Leah, both inside and out, and we are so excited to continue to watch you learn and grow.

We love you!
Mommy and Daddy

9 months

IMG_0122 IMG_0130 IMG_0133 IMG_0141Dear Leah Grace,

Today you are 9 months old. Which means that you have officially been out in the world for as long as you were growing inside me. It doesn’t feel the same though. My pregnancy felt so long, especially at the end, when everyday I was longing to see your sweet face and kiss your chubby cheeks. However, these past 9 months with you have flown by. I feel like I blinked my eyes and suddenly in place of my tiny newborn I had this big, beautiful girl.

You are such a sweet heart, Leah Grace. You carry around a smile and a wave for every one you meet and it’s crazy to think how you have no idea just how happy you make people. The other day while grocery shopping with mommy, you smiled and blew a kiss to the older man standing behind us in line. The man broke into the hugest grin and said to me, “Well, that just made my whole day.” And it’s true, your gorgeous smiles really do light up the world. I hope you continue to smile at the small things, for those are the things that truly matter.

You had your 9 month appointment today. You are currently 29 1/4 inches long and 20 lbs even. What a tall girl! You are dropping in the percentile for weight, but your height continues to stay in the 90th percentile. Looks like you’re going to be our tall and skinny girl! Although you didn’t receive any shots at this appointment (mommy was so relieved!) this was the first time you cried with the doctor. You did not want him to straighten your legs and you scrunched your face up, locked your knees, and screamed! The doctor laughed at your strong will and strength and so did I! Happily, all was made right in the world when you were given back to mommy. You even gave your sweet doctor a few waves and smiles to show that all was forgiven.

You LOVE food. Daddy and I laughed so hard tonight when we watched your determination that came with trying to pick up pieces of strawberries off your tray. You only got frustrated once, when those slippery pieces kept falling out of your chubby little fists, but then you went right back to diligently picking up the pieces, slipping them into your mouth, and clapping exuberantly in celebration once you succeeded. Our favorite nickname for you is Chou Chou (where do these nicknames even come from?) and daddy and I laughed when he came back from visiting our good friends in Haiti where he learned that “chou” means cabbage in Creole. So, you are our little “cabbage cabbage.”

You love your baby, scooting around the house (usually following mommy and daddy) and any music (especially “The Wheels on the Bus”). I love watching your personality continue to emerge because you have such a sweet yet feisty spirit. You are an absolute joy and pleasure to be around, baby girl, and mommy and daddy continue to fall deeper in love with you every day.

We love you.
Mommy and Daddy

8 Months

IMG_0035IMG_0017

"Fancy meeting you here, baby.."

“Fancy meeting you here, baby..”

 

How big is Leah? Sooo big!!

How big is Leah? Sooo big!!

IMG_0034 IMG_0041

And she's done.

And she’s done.

Dear Leah Grace,

8 months….I can barely believe it! You are definitely turning into a big girl..you are officially no longer momma’s little baby. Just taking this months pictures was a project and SO much different than last month! You are a girl on the move and you have little time for sitting and posing for pictures. Mommy did her best to distract you with your favorite toys, but you thought you would attempt to launch yourself off the rocking chair, rather than sit nicely and pose for pictures. Who has time for that?

There have been some crazy changes this month! Just a few weeks ago you were still figuring out this whole scootching business, but you have since mastered the art of the army crawl. And man are you fast. The other day I left you playing in your room and walked into the kitchen to quickly grab something. Little did I know, you were right behind me and when I turned back, there you were. You had scootched out of your room, down the hall, around the kitchen table and you were quickly making your way into the kitchen. You are a speedy one, and you don’t like to be left behind!

I love watching you learn. Your brain is like a little sponge and you are soaking up everything you see. I see you watching daddy whistle and you try so hard to mimic him and make the same noise. You wrinkle your little lips and blow and blow and it melts my heart. You might not have that trick down yet, but you have mastered many others. You love blowing kisses, waving bye-bye and throwing your hands over your head every time mommy asks, “How big is Leah?” You also know what I mean when I say, “Leah, give mommy a smooch” and you will lovingly turn your face towards me with your mouth wide open, waiting for a big kiss on your smushy lips.

“Dada” is still your favorite word to say, but this month you finally did say “mama!” You know what mama means and you use it to get what you want (and it works!) Although you say “dada” all the time, you reserve pulling out the “mama” until you are upset and need me to come rescue you. Then, you will look at me with your sweet, round eyes and say, “mamama!” You know I can’t resist that. But it’s okay…I’ll always be here, ready to rescue you from whatever may be.

You LOVE to eat and your favorite is whatever mommy and daddy are currently enjoying. Although you will eat your entire oatmeal and veggie dinner (with a baby biscuit for dessert!) you will still want whatever we are eating for dinner. Mashed potatoes, tomato soup, pasta sauce, rice, pizza….whatever it is, as long as mommy and daddy are enjoying it, you will too. You don’t want to miss out on anything good!

Leah, mommy and daddy are so proud of you already. Is it crazy to be proud of an 8 month old’s accomplishments? I’m not sure, but I am sure that we will be feeling this sense of pride towards you a lot in the coming years. You are smart and kind and we couldn’t love you more, our beautiful girl.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

 

7 Months

IMG_1297 IMG_1307 IMG_1312 IMG_1315 IMG_1316Dear Leah Grace,
It’s official; you have now passed over to the other side, closer to a year than you are to birth. 7 months…it sounds so old, like you’re basically a year already. Can’t you stay my funny, chubby baby forever?
You are SUCH a funny girl and you love to laugh. If anyone around you starts laughing, you break into hysterical giggles, looking around at everyone to show that you didn’t miss out on the joke. Daddy and I think you love being the center of attention, which, let’s be honest, you usually are.
I feel like you have grown up so much this past month. Although you aren’t crawling yet, you are so ready to be on the move! When I hold you sometimes you wiggle around, wanting so badly to get where you want to go. You love playing on the floor with all your toys and you are getting very good at rolling and scooting to get where you want to go. You are such an active girl and I know that one of these days you are just going to take off crawling and never look back. Your favorite toys are your babies and your blocks. Put them together; banging baby’s head with a block, and you’ve found your favorite activity. We got you a jumperoo this past month and you love it. We play music and you smile and jump, jump, jump. However, if mommy or daddy leave the room for even a moment you decide playing in your jumperoo is not so fun after all.
We finally turned the corner on eating!! You now eat 1-2 meals a day and, for the most part, you love it. Although you are definitely more of a fruit girl than a veggie girl (but so is your mom so I don’t blame you). Your favorite foods at the moment are sweet potatoes, pears and apples. You also LOVE to eat anything anyone else is eating. Mommy’s kale smoothie, grandma’s orange slices, a grapefruit, pizza crust, ice cream…you name it, if someone else is eating it, you want a try. You figured out how to use a straw the other day when you were playing with mommy’s water and you got the shock of your life when ice cold water suddenly shot into your mouth. It was one of those moments we wished we caught on video, your face was so funny. But after getting over your shock you quite enjoyed sucking up water with a straw and letting it dribble down your chin.
We had your Aunt Lauren and then your grandma and grandpa stay with us for a whole week and you loved spending time with all your visitors. It warmed my heart to see you cuddle with Aunt Lauren, play with grandma and listen to grandpa read you a story before bed. What a lucky girl you are to have family who loves you so much!! You also met grandma and grandpa’s little doggy Cooper and you quickly became buddies, laughing every time he brought you his toy to play.
You are “talking” up a storm, usually quite passionately, trying to express just how much you have to tell us. You say “dada” and you now know it refers to your daddy. You light up when he walks into the room and start to babble “dadadada!” It’s cute and all, but let’s work on “mama” this month, deal?
Time sure is flying by, but mommy and daddy love you more and more every day. Every night, as I nurse you to sleep, I am repeatedly reminded how blessed we are to have you in our lives. When you were born I thought it would be impossible to love you anymore than I did at that very moment, and yet, I find myself falling more and more in love with you every day.
We love you, our smiley, social 7 month old girl!
Love,
Mommy and Daddy