Category Archives: friends & family

18 months and the next chapter

posts are becoming few and far between, i know. but i’m not quite ready to let this blog die. it’s eli’s life (from creation to now!); it’s his baby book (really, this IS it). i plan on printing it into a book at some point sooner vs. later, but i keep waiting for a cut off point…and i don’t want there to be one. i love, LOVE going back and reading older posts. in the blur of diapers, tears, feedings, errands, books, chores and such, it’s easy to forget about how beautiful life really is. i re-read some of the posts and think “wow, i remember how CRAZY i felt that day!” or i recall the exact feeling i had when eli said or did something for the first time. i don’t think there is any better way for me to remember and capture these beautiful moments than through this blog. i’ve said it before and i will say it again, sometimes the days seem like they last an eternity, but the months and year(s) fly by. yesterday my little nugget was merely a dream in our hearts and now he is 18 months old. so…until that time when i just can’t write any more posts, i will keep up this little blog b/c it makes my heart smile EVERY time i read it. hopefully it makes others smile too.

18 months and counting…

Favorite toys: trains (choo-choo), remote controls (calls them dada), nutcrackers (especially the life size one in our family room), balls of any sort, air planes (still air-phh-phh), curious george (dord as he calls him). the kid is pretty obsessed with all things boy…he’s a hot (beautiful) mess. christmas is going to be a blast this year.

Foods: the kid still loves his food (as shown in his 75% percentile in weight:). some favorites right now include lara bars (i can’t open one without him wanting it…all), avocado, pineapple, cheese, mac & cheese, and most recently, he loves butternut squash soup. he also loves his sweets so we have to reign that in a tad (dada…he can’t have them 3x a day!) — “cooo-kee” as he says.

Activities: we stay pretty busy with the library story hour/play times, regular play dates, swim lessons (just ended last night) and just general play time at home and out/about. i am not as organized as some, but i try to do crafty things with him to keep him occupied and interested. he loves play dough, boxes, markers (not to be confused with crayons…he much prefers things that are permanent), peek-a-boo, spinning in circles, emptying my pantry (big fun to unload lara bars and throw stevia packets on the floor), eating, and BA-KET-BALL. He adores basketball — on tv, in person and playing it. it thrills PK to pieces. we paint, we draw, we dance, we sing…we keep pretty busy these days!

My favorite things: so, so many, but one of my favorite things of all time is bedtime routine. we have a bath and then read books and rock. it melts my heart. then when i place him in the crib, he looks up at me with a face that shows complete joy and content; he is so happy and sleepy. it literally makes my heart burst with joy.

Hard times: we seem to be entering the tantrum mode and boy can he throw them. he does NOT like to not get his way…not sure who he got that from. anyway, it’s incredible. tears, lashing arms, screams…it’s so sad but at the same time it’s also quite funny when you know it’s over something like the pretzel falling on the floor and griff eating it. however, yesterday he was super upset after his nap and i couldn’t figure out the reason…now that does not make me happy. i felt so helpless as i tried to find anything and everything to ease his “pain”. finally he calmed down but it took well over an hour. sleep is still an ongoing struggle in our house too…some days he will snooze or at least stay in his crib happily until 6:30/7. most days it’s more the 5:45 mark when we hear the sounds start. that can make for a long ass day (thank goodness for the ymca and childcare when mommy needs an hour!).

Holiday fun: i have always been a bit of a scrooge when it comes to holidays, but this year has already been a game changer for me. the look in eli’s eyes when he sees the tree lit up is enough to convert me to mrs. claus. we’ve decorated a gingerbread house (he loved that…well he loved eating it), we’ve read tons of holiday books, we’ve gone to the polar express train in bowling green, we’ve visited with santa (twice!) and we have played with our collection of nutcrackers and nativities (the fisher price nativity is awesome by the way. thanks gram!). it’s been a blast. i cannot wait to decorate cookies with him next week and, most of all, see his face light up on christmas morning when he sees ALL the goodies santa has for him (i may have gone a bit overboard).

a certain someone is stirring and ready to get up from his LONG winter nap (2.5 hours!) so i’m off to cuddle and play and using this as a reminder to relax and ENJOY this amazing time of year with my little man as he soaks up every minute of his 2nd christmas.

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cold days with family

yesterday was one of those nights that i just felt alive. the fall air was cool and brisk. eli and i had a super fun day playing at the ymca (he LOVES the childcare there and mommy loves a little time to sweat alone!), a playdate at the library, an afternoon with my mom (aka, gram) and a cozy evening with family enjoying yummy homemade sweet potato chili, pumpkin (healthy) brownies and laughs with eli. seriously, it was a beautiful and simple day. watching eli “perform” for company last night (gram, cici and d) was simply heart-warming. he laughs, giggles, signs (“more” is his favorite sign for everything) and…he eats…a lot. seriously, i think the kid ate for 30 minutes non-stop last night. where does he put it!?

today, eli spent the day entertaining gram while i worked. based on the photos and videos my mom shared throughout the day and the LONG nap he had, i am 100% certain he (and gram) had an amazing and exhausting day. he could barely keep his little eyes open when i got home.

leaving him for the day really never gets any easier, but knowing he has an AWESOME time without me (sometimes) makes it better. and, he learned a new word…”he haw”.

thanks gram for spending the day with my little love.

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catch up post – fall/vaca/16 months and more

just when i think things will settle down, they seem to get busier. i guess that’s just life…especially life with an active (and getting more active by the day) toddler.

so, here’s a little recap. i really don’t recall where i left off — maybe a month ago when eli turned 15 months?! now, he’s 16 months and while i may have taken a hiatus from blogging, i by no means took a hiatus from doing fun things with eli and/or snapping pics (thank goodness for instagram!).

* fall has been amazing. afterall, it’s my favorite time of year for so many reasons (one being this is when we found out we were pregnant two years ago!). the crisp air, the clean smell, pumpkin everything, soup season, scarves/boots, hot tea…the list could go on. but, now it’s even more fun. watching eli giggle when the leaves crackle under his tiny feet, seeing his eyes light up every time we are at the local pumpkin patch when he sees all the orange “balls”, teaching eli to eat apples fresh from the orchard and watching as he masters the process, putting on our jackets to go on a late afternoon wagon stroll, giving him a spoon to lick after making pumpkin cookies (no eggs so not to worry). it literally makes life feel more brilliant. i have stopped to smell the roses more this fall than ever before thanks to eli’s amazement over everything. he sees a chipmunk and he stops dead in his tracks to gaze and follow it. it’s amazing and i for one needed (and need daily) the reminder to appreciate the little things in life.

* we just returned from a trip north to portland, maine and DC. we visited some of pk’s med school friends in maine and it was divine. not only is portland just as quaint and gorgeous as i imagined, but we had a blast with our friends and their kids. on saturday we took all the kids (7 kids ranging in age from 2-10 and 6 adults) to a corn maze/pumpkin farm and then carried in fresh lobsters for dinner. add in some great wine and hiking and the trip was perfect. eli had a ball playing with all the older kids and i swear made some huge advances thanks to their behaviors (all good!). after four days in portland, we ventured to DC for 5 days where pk had a meeting. eli and i decided to tag along since my aunt and uncle live there too. of course, this happened to be the week that the government was shut down so we weren’t able to hit the zoo and a few other places eli would have enjoyed, but we still had a blast. the national building museum is quite possibly one of the coolest places for kids ever, and the national children’s museum was not far behind. we also strolled to georgetown (a nice hike from downtown) and met up with a college friend of mine for shopping, lunch and cupcakes (of course). and, the icing on the (cup)cake was eli getting to know my aunt judy and uncle jimmy better. they graciously toted eli and me around on monday and tuesday to museums, lunch and dinner while pk was in his meetings. after being on the road and living out of suitcases for 9 days we finally made it home with a house full of colds. pk and i had a minor case of the yucks, but poor eli got the real deal. he’s been down for the count since wednesday and it’s heart breaking. he was SUCH a trooper on the trip — napping, eating, sleeping at random times and places and for the most part going with the flow. i think his little body was just done. so, we’ve spent the past few days holed up inside trying to nurse him back to health. a few firsts for eli — he tried REAL sushi and loved it and lobster. crazy boy…this could get really expensive!

* maybe due to the travels and being around older kids and exposing him to new things, or maybe just due to natural progress, pk and i agree that eli made a lot of strides with his speech and communication while we were gone. he picked up several new words such as “it’s cold”, airplane, apple, banana, as well as becoming completely versed in the sign language symbol for “more”. he’s running now (not just toddling) and will do “touchdown” arms on demand and/or when he sees a football game on tv. it’s adorable. my aunt and uncle were amazed at his little free spirit that is go-go-go-go all the time…until he hits the wall and falls asleep mid bite of pirates booty. what he also seems to have gained is more of a temper. this little man can be fierce. he was with us every day for two weeks (and with me 24/7) living in one room so it has made the separation anxiety come out a little. that combined with his cold has made for some rough napping/sleeping schedule issues.

* a few of his current favorite things at 16 months: sidewalk chalk, books (and more books…the little ones and big ones…he loves them all), keys (specifically likes to his the trunk open button — that’s fun, pirates booty (he’s going to be a pirate for halloween thanks to the discovery that eli will be quiet and behave on a plane, in restaurant, etc. if we feed him mounds of pirates booty), still loves cheese and avocado. he loves to watch football games and gets excited at the proper times. he LOVES steering wheels.

overall, i just can’t say enough how blessed our little family is. without going in to too much detail (maybe later), i am simply embracing everything our little man has brought to our family and trying hard to minimize the “what if’s” and “should we” that so often can consume me. for now, life is pretty damn close to perfect…whatever perfect may be. 🙂

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the latest via pics

so much has been going on in our world. we’ve been soaking up the end of summer and starting to partake in fall as well. clearly i’ve slacked on the blogging of recent, so rather than write a novel i am simply posting pictures of what we’ve been up to with a laundry list of our adventures.

* play date to jackson’s orchard (with eli’s fist boy/ girl smooch!). i am so sad miss cherry is moving soon because she and eli have become good buddies.

* trip to the state fair! cows, junk food, ferris wheel, the works. it was so fun to watch eli soak it up like a sponge. and, i am so, so glad the fair is only once a year. two words – people watching.

* another trip to Jackson’s with new friends — and the end of peach season (cue the tears). eli sat in the wagon amongst the peaches saying “ball…ball…ball”. he was so excited to be in a wagon FULL of balls! and, he actually ate a peach whole — no peeling/cubing, he bit right in. my little boy is growing up far too fast.

* pool time and birthday parties – eli has been a hit at the pool with his older girlfriends and is quite the social butterfly with his birthday party schedule these days!

* football! tis the season! we visited aunt lala and uncle jp on saturday then took eli tailgating for the uk/western game on saturday (in a million degrees – hence the reason we didn’t stay long or go to the game). he was a trooper. then, on sunday, we traveled to louisville for the opening UL football game. eli did great. well, “great” might be an overstatment but the overall experience was pretty good. it’s just MUCH different from last year when he was content in the bjorn and/or napping/breastfeeding the entire game. he’s a bit more mobile these days making things a little more challenging. i think eli and i spent a total of 4 minutes in our seats yesterday. maybe 5. the game was smack dab during his nap but there was clearly far too much going on for him to snooze. after 20 minutes of me trying to lull him to sleep in my arms, i finally accepted the fact that 1) pk wasn’t going to be willing to leave during the first quarter, 2) eli wasn’t going to nap and 3) we were going to have to make the best of it. we lucked out and found a gaggle of 7-8 year old boys who LOVED eli. they had a ball (literally and figuratively) and played with him for over an hour in the club section (side note: we would NOT be going to games if we weren’t in that section!). my fingers are crossed they are at EVERY game this year. i might seriously offer to buy these boys snacks if they will play with eli during the games (of course i was standing there the whole time watching but it was nice to have him entertained!). we finally left at the end of the 3rd quarter and he was asleep in the car before we could even pull out of the parking lot. tired boy.

* today, for the final day of the summer season, we went to the pool to soak up the last bit of sun. and tonight, after our full weekend (and few weeks), i couldn’t help but rock him to sleep and hold him for nearly an hour while he snoozed on me. my little boy, our little boy, is growing up so fast. my to-do list seems to grow every day because i just can’t help but absorb my time with eli. he’s just so amazing. i know “mommy time” is much-needed and necessary (and i enjoy it) but i would be lying if i said that i have a hard time leaving EVERY SINGLE TIME i walk out the door. whether it’s for one hour or twelve, i hate being away from him.

well, my short recap has now turned into a small novel, so i’ll end on a high note with pictures of our little stud.

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my granny

this weekend was sad. and happy.

saturday morning i awoke to a phone call letting me know my granny passed away during the night. it was unexpected, yet expected. if that makes sense. it has still yet to really sink in, but my heart has been really heavy for the past few days. tomorrow we will head to lexington for the memorial service which will be more of a celebration of life…a very full and beautiful life. a “celebration” is definitely what granny would have wanted. and, for those of you who knew granny, she was pretty set in her ways and usually got what she wanted:).

you see, granny was a very interesting and intriguing lady. and we had a very interesting relationship. she was my mom’s stepmom. sadly, i never met my mom’s mom as she passed away of leukemia when my mom was in her early 20’s. the thought of that makes my heart stop as i cannot imagine losing my mom. ever. (that’s a whole other post that i will hopefully get to sooner vs. later). granny was the only grandmother i knew on my mom’s side. people always smiled when we told them about granny…she was one of a kind. even at the age of 83 she was still quite the lady. she was a musician, singer, piano player, golfer, dancer. she took regular cruises, gardened, dined out. she enjoyed life. a lot. isn’t that all any of us can hope for? i have so many memories of spending time at her awesome home in lexington — i always loved the room we slept in that was in the dormers upstairs and overlooked tates creek. i thought it was SO cool hearing the cars zoom by at night (something we didn’t hear in our secluded house in corbin). i always think of granny when i think of christmas and parties. she thoroughly enjoyed company.

but beyond all of this, the thing i will most remember about granny (and will take away as a life lesson), was her amazing sense of self. granny knew exactly who she was. she enjoyed life. she knew what she wanted. she didn’t seem to be bothered by the opinions of others and shared hers quite freely (if granny didn’t like something — you knew it! for instance, my wedding day hair style or my furry vest a few christmas’s ago). there is something to be said for this sort of real, open, honest manner of living. and, as an over-people-pleaser, i think i could benefit from incorporating some of this approach to life.

my heart is heavy for myself as i will miss granny and her wise cracks at christmas (usually after a couple straight vodkas). my heart is heavy for eli as he will never really know his granny. my heart is heavy for my mom as this is the second time in her life she has had to say goodbye to a “mother” figure. granny told my mom recently that even though my mom and her brother were not “her” kids…the grandkids and great-grandkids were hers. that makes my heart smile. regardless of the hard times granny may have given me, i know it was all out of love and i will miss her dearly.

tomorrow, in her honor, i plan on wearing something a little eccentric just to make her smile as she watches down on the service (she always had a crack about my attire/style).

and, the “happy” part of this sad time is that granny led an amazing, full life and she passed away in her sleep peacefully. that’s really all any of us could ever hope for – for loved ones and ourselves.

much love granny. much love.

**

ROBINSON Ann Huddleston, 83, widow of James H. Robinson, Jr, died Sat, June 22, 2013. Born in Lexington, she was the daughter of the late Harvey and Nora Eads Huddleston. A graduate of the UK college of Fine Arts, College of Music, she was also on the music faculty at UK. Ann was the first accompanist with the Lexington Singers, later becoming accompanist emeritus. She sang with the Lexington Singers, served as choir director with various churches in Lexington, played the organ with Milward Funeral Directors and acted in various theatre productions. She was an avid UK basketball fan and enjoyed traveling. She is survived by her children, James H. (Judith Helm) Robinson, III, Chevy Chase, MD and Jane Ann (Carmel) Wallace, Lexington; grandchildren, Patrick (Jackie) Wallace, Atlanta, GA and Meredith (Patrick) Klapheke, Glasgow, KY; great grandchildren, Alex Wallace and Eli Klapheke; and her special friend, Ambrose Sanchez. A memorial service will be 1:30pm Tue at Anchor Baptist Church. Memorials may be made to the Lexington Singers or UK School of Music.

granny

granny

the birthday boy

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mama and eli

mama and eli

our sweet family

our sweet family

party time

party time

party time

party time

playing with one of 1000 balls at my party. i ate a chunk out of it shortly after this was taken.

playing with one of 1000 balls at my party. i ate a chunk out of it shortly after this was taken.

yummy!!

yummy!!

i got this people.

i got this people.

this. is. good. stuff.

this. is. good. stuff.


favors. s'more trail mix. it's crack.

favors. s’more trail mix. it’s crack.

i think this is a good thing.

i think this is a good thing.

s'more cupcakes. no words. s’more cupcakes. no words.
wow. it’s here. i cannot believe i am writing this post right now as it still seems surreal that i have a child, much less a one-year old little boy. two years ago i never dreamed i would be celebrating my child’s first birthday on june 11, 2012. never. i was near a point of devastation thinking we would never have a family. but, our hopes, wishes and tears turned in to a reality that is simply beautiful. words cannot describe the emotions i have as we celebrate eli’s first birthday. i think my sister-in-law, amanda, said it best when she said, “congrats on making it through the first year (which is equal parts uncertainty, confidence, laughter and sleeplessness). His birthdays are also a birthing of your motherhood. The bond keeps growing as you keep trying to learn and respect the uniqueness of who Eli is and will be.” this is so true and i cherish these times — the good/bad/easy/hard.

enough of the sappiness for now though…we have a party to discuss.

this weekend, we celebrated the big ONE in a big way. we had a backyard full of friends and family — lots of kids, bbq, s’more cupcakes, a big giraffe bounce house (adults love this too!), balls, bubbly (not to be confused with bubbles for the kids — we had those too), cake smashing (eli was a PRO – pics and details below) and laughter. it was perfection. and, most important, eli had an absolute blast. seriously, the kid is a natural politician/entertainer. he simply LOVES people. the party lasted well past the 3-5pm schedule which was just what i hoped for; a sign of a good party and people having fun if you ask me!

some of the highlights:

eli LOVED the bouncy house. pk, eli and i got in it with him prior to people arriving to test it out. his laughter was contagious. he had a ball! that deep belly laugh of his was in full force (which is quite possibly my favorite noise ever)

eli most certainly made us proud with the cake smashing. i made him a cake to destroy…and he sure did just that! he dove in with both hands and enjoyed every taste (pretty sure he ate 1/3 of a cake for dinner).

eli bounced from person to person. he played with family, friends and other kids and never once had a moment of bad mood/crying. that’s pretty darn amazing if you ask me!

it meant so much to us that so many people came and celebrated such a momentous occasion for our family. i know that being one is ALWAYS a big deal to everyone. but, as pk and i were bouncy in the jump-jump after everyone left (yes, we did act like 12 year olds), we agreed that we think (“think” being the key word here — don’t want to offend anyone) that this birthday means even a bit more to us. after all, eli is our miracle baby. forever.

happy birthday my sweet love. happy birthday.

(back tomorrow with the 12 month laundry list of what he’s loving/hating/doing now!

a letter to eli from daddy

a letter to eli from daddy on your first birthday.

eli and daddy

eli and daddy

Little man- you came into the world at 9:12. I think the doctor missed it by a minute. I say that only because of who you are, who you were named for and how hard it was to get to that day. You see, you were named for daddy’s best friend Mark Hindy. Mark died on 9/11/2001 in a terrorist attack that re-wrote history and there have been too many “coincidences” in your first year for me not to think that you were actually born at 9:11. From the commemorative bottle of makers MARK we bought for you that was randomly plucked by someone else from a box and was #911/8400 (mark wore #84 in high school football) to the outstanding year that the cards have had with you in attendance at many of these events (mark was a closet uofl fan, wink wink), all of these were better with you.

You have made me a better person this year. You have helped me grow up (I did not say mature) more than in any year before. Ultimately you have changed the way I look at life because I want to spend as much time with you as I can.

I will echo what your mother said in that we won’t be friends for many years to come, but I hope that one day we will. At the time I do them, some things will make you mad and you will wonder why. I hope to teach you and guide you not just by words but also by actions. I want you to look with honor and pride at your dad and say, “he loves me, and I love him.” And I want to always look at you and know that I did everything I could to make the right decisions for you and your mom.

Happy first birthday MEK. I love you more than any daddy before.pk.

a letter to eli from mama

the night before

the night before

day 1

day 1

eli,

for the past few weeks i have been drafting a letter to you in my head for your 1st birthday. there are so many things i want to share with you and teach you that it’s almost paralyzing trying to figure out how and where to start. i hope with all my heart that i am a good mama to you. i am trying so hard, but i am far from perfect. i get so angry with myself when i let little things get in the way of enjoying you and embracing the beauty in the chaos we call life. i will try harder, for you. and, i will keep writing about it in hopes that one day down the road we can read this letter together (and this blog journaling your life) and smile, laugh and cry.

at 9:12am on june 11, 2012, my life changed. forever. every decision i made from that moment forward started with you. it was the most beautiful moment in my life. i always wondered if had the motherly instinct. i actually worried that i wouldn’t. but then i saw your face, touched your skin and looked in to you eyes. and it’s as though the motherly instinct suddenly flooded my body. i now understand when people say they love something so much it hurts and that they would do anything for their child. i get it. i would do anything and everything for you.

there are no certainties in life. it’s hard. there will be temptations. there will be times we disagree. there will be times you will not like me (and vice versa!). i will be your mother, not your friend. i will be hard on you (and you will be on me!). but, i will love you through and through. that is certain. i will support you and love you unconditionally. always. this i promise.

your first year has flown by far too fast and while i miss the tiny little baby i brought home a year ago, i am simply in awe at how much i love each new “phase”. watching you learn and grow is simply beautiful. you laugh now. you smile. you talk (uh-oh spaghetti-o), you climb, you cruise, you chow down, you make (and love) messes. you are the life of the party.

you have brought so much joy and happiness to our family. and, at the end of the day, i remind myself that nothing else really matters. we tried for years to have you and you are everything and more than we could ever have wished for. we have you…our happy, healthy little boy. you complete us.

i don’t want to wish time away as it already goes by far too quickly, but i am excited for each new day with you.

much love to you. forever.

love,

mama

a note from cici on your 1st birthday

a note for eli from his cici:

JUNE 11, 2012 – such a special day
Our hearts were filled to overflowing with your safe and healthy arrival
Your sweet smile and personality give all who know you great joy.

Love you to the moon, Eli! CiCi

cici and eli

cici and eli

a letter from gram on your 1st birthday

To Eli on his 1st birthday (from gram):

Dear Eli,

​From the moment we learned you were coming, we loved you. We were so excited and couldn’t wait to meet you. June 11, 2012 was an unbelievably happy day for Poppy and me. We got to see your beautiful face, hold you, and marvel at the miracle that is Mark Eliot Klapheke, our baby Eli. Poppy brought his stethoscope so he could check you out!

​I was honored to get to be there when your Mom and Dad brought you home from the hospital. None of us could stop smiling. Our joy was contagious with lots of family and friends celebrating your birth. Your extended family was ecstatic that you had arrived safely; a happy, healthy baby boy. You couldn’t begin to know then how much you were loved, but must have felt it in the security of your parents’ arms. You are truly a blessing to your family.

​You loved being outside! Your Mom would take you out and sit on the porch talking and singing to you. You were such a peaceful baby, unhappy only when you needed something. We would all sit and stare at you and marvel at how perfect you were.

​There have been so many changes in a year! As you grew, you were even more fun. You loved, and still do, watching your world. We loved watching you as you became aware of the world around you and began to explore it. First you explored with your eyes, ears, and mouth, then hands, and now by crawling everywhere to see what was happening around you. Looking out your windows delighted you. When someone pulled in your driveway, your Mom would stand you up at the window so you could see. You would get so excited! I loved watching you watch men work in your yard. They, in turn, enjoyed watching you watch them! Outside was still your favorite place. Going for walks or to the park or to the library brought forth that beautiful Eli smile. Poppy and I love seeing your eyes light up and your smile erupt when we facetime with you. Seeing you in person is even better! We love it when you come to visit us or we come to your house. You are so much fun to be around! Books and music are favorites for you and your hugs can’t be matched. Watching you discover something new and concentrate on something is fascinating to us.

​As much fun as this first year has been, your life is going to be more and more exciting. You have such wonderful experiences ahead of you. As you grow and try new things, I hope you always remember to be thankful for the small things you encounter. You loved the simple joy of the breeze on your face when you were a baby. I hope you continue to enjoy the world around you.

​Your Mom and I often talk about a “Mother Book” with instructions and information for Moms. Here is a bit of advice from the “Gram book” for you.

Remember to do your best at whatever you do, both little things and big.

Be proud of the effort you put into a task.

You will be well-served if you do.

Be kind to everyone.

Respect girls and women. Treat them as you would want the women who are special to you, your Mom, grandmothers and aunts, to be treated.

Respect yourself.

Take care of your body — you will have it for a long time!

Be of good character. It is many times hard to do the right thing, but living with yourself when you do the wrong thing isn’t easy. My father (your great-grandfather) often said that when he was tempted to do something that wasn’t right, he reminded himself that he had to look in the mirror each day, and needed to be happy with what he saw.

Trust your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

Have compassion for other people.

You were lucky to be born into the family you have. Everyone isn’t as lucky.

Especially remember that you are well-loved. Your family will always be there for you. Never hesitate to go to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for support and advice. Hug them all often.

​​​​​​​Love,
​​​​​​​​Gram

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gram and eli

gram and eli