Happy 1st birthday! I cannot believe it has been a year. It seems like yesterday that you were born, but it seems like and eternity that you have been my baby girl. This has been a time of great reflection for me. I remember when I brought you and Charlie home. You were so small. I could put both of you and a pillow, side by side, and put my arm around you both. We would take a nap that way everyday. Such precious moments those were.
But there have been so many precious moments recently, too. You are growing so fast and learning so much! As I've said in previous letters, you are a talker. You have this game you like to play. The "Repeat Game." Sometimes it's with motions and sometimes it's with words or sounds. Mostly, you nod your head and say, "yeah." Then whomever you are playing with is expected to do the same in return. This goes on and on for...well...forever if we let it. This might be your favorite past time. :) There have also been some new words lately, "nap" or "ap" and "mama" being the most recent. You can now both sign and say "nap", and it has been very helpful in getting you to bed on time!
Besides talking, you are also working on walking. During the past week or so, you have started walking with a push toy or holding on to someone's hands. Cruising on furniture and then letting go and trying to stand on your own are things you attempt every now and then. But you do most of your standing when the TV is on. I will turn on Nick Jr. for you every now then when I have some cleaning to do or dinner to make. You LOVE the shows with music. Wonder Pets seems to be your favorite, and Daddy and I now go around the house singing all the songs in that show. :) The music is such an attraction to you that when our cell phones ring, you start to dance. That's why we got you your very own CD player and two children's CDs for your first birthday. We hope you like them. :)
The other things I have noticed about you lately, in no particular order, are that you love macaroni...just like your Mommy! Your hair is soooo long! We can really get some great pigtails out of it if you let us. But that isn't your favorite thing to sit still for. You have really started enjoying giving kisses and waving good-bye and hello. We usually know when you and Charlie are up from your nap because we can hear you both jumping in your cribs and laughing at each other. After a whole year, it seems the two of you finally care a little bit that the other is there. Your interactions are more frequent and generally friendly and loving. It's a joy to watch you together. And finally, you have the greatest laugh, and you laugh all the time! There is so much that is funny to you and we can see your joy in so many things. It's contagious and I love it!
You are still an observer. You watch, and watch, and take it all in. But it is obvious that you are learning. You listen when we speak and you watch when we do things. Inevitably, you are doing or saying what you watched a day or two later. Our new house has really helped with that as you are now free to roam, explore and practice these things.
What a pleasure it is to watch you grow. You are so much fun Livy! And your loving spirit shines through everyday. We love you so, so much. Thank you for making this year beautiful and happy for your Daddy and me. Happy Birthday Livy-lu!
A switch has been flicked in my mind today, and suddenly you are so much older than you were yesterday. One whole year of life. Happy first birthday!
Besides that mental switch in my head, you really have been doing a lot of growing lately. You're walking with a push toy super well, trying to climb onto the couch and our shoulders when we hold you, standing on your own for several seconds and even bending over to pick up a toy on the ground and then standing up again! One day you just decided you could do all of those things, and you did them! I will not be surprised if you are walking on your own very soon. Your body is so big and wide and you have always been so strong that I think that is helping you with all of these things. You have also figured out how to throw a ball, and you laugh so hard when you throw it to us.
Signing is something you are using more regularly now. You sign "all done" when you are done eating, which Daddy and I love because you don't have to throw your cup or your plate anymore to let us know. :) Another very exciting thing that has stopped is spitting up! We did it! We made it through a year of constant spitting up and now we see the light at the end of the tunnel. It isn't completely gone, but it's a rare occurrence. I'm actually thinking about storing most of the burp cloths and bibs!
What I've noticed about you lately is your love of books. Being read to or looking at books by yourself is something you really enjoy. Mandarin oranges are also something you love. In fact, if they are on your plate, nothing else will be eaten until the oranges are gone and you've had a second serving of them. You have these great little curls in the hair behind your ears because it grows faster there than anywhere else. This is a trait you have inherited from your Daddy.
As always, Charlie, you are so tender and loving. You are the cuddly one, and though you can crawl and play and keep up with your sister, you love a little one on one attention.Periodically throughout the day you will come to me for a kiss, a hug, and a little cuddle before you go back to playing. I love those moments so much Charlie. And I love you. Happy Birthday Charlie Bear!
To Both of You:
I'm not sure it is possible to convey the emotions I have on this day. As I look back, our lives look nothing like they did this time last year. So much has changed. But the two of you have made this year (even with all of its ups and downs) the best year of my life. Loving you and watching you grow has given me so much joy. I cannot adequately express in words what I feel in my heart. Both of you and your Daddy are my world. The major thing I have learned this year, the thing that you have taught me, is how true the Plan of Happiness is. How true the sealing ordinance is. Because Daddy and I were sealed in the temple, the two of you are sealed to us. We will never be apart. We will have each other for eternity. And I promise to continue working to achieve that. I pray that I have been and will continue to be the mother the Lord wants me to be, and the mother you need me to be. I love you both. Kisses my Lovies!
Pictures will be posted as soon as I get them. My camera decided it didn't want to attend the birthday party. Time to buy a new one!