Daily, Letters to Maddy, Madeline

Three

Three!

Three years of giggles, some tears (hers and ours too), lots of hugs, kisses, and plenty of cuddles, a few sleepless nights, lots of lullabyes and Disney sing-a-longs, more princesses than daddy ever thought he could count, lots of game nights, movies, zoo trips, living room dance parties, and countless weekend adventures, and more joy than we could have ever dreamed of. To say this little girl is loved is an understatement. She is loved beyond measure. She is loved beyond words. She is loved all the way to the moon and back times infinity. She is our rainbow, our love, our joy, our giggle, our wonderful, sweet, little Madeline. May three be filled with as much joy and adventure as two. We adore you, baby girl!

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Madeline,

I know that the saying is “terrible twos,” but honestly two was pretty terrific with you.  To watch you grow and learn this year has been such an amazing and wonderful adventure.  I will admit that you have had your fair share of temper tantrums and you have even sat in timeout a time or two (or twenty), but overall two was pretty great.

While two you have mastered potty training.  You started dance class this year and you are doing so well.  You can almost write your name (Maddy) by yourself  You can draw circles. You can draw stick people with lots of details. You can copy most letters, numbers, and shapes fairly well. You know your ABCs. You can count to at least 17 sometimes higher on your own. You are starting to recognize letters and numbers by sight. You know all of  your colors, shapes, and animals (and sounds). You can run, jump, skip, and of course dance. You follow complex directions. You are getting much better with scissors. You love to do arts and crafts. You know the words to lots of songs and love to perform for us. You love to play board games (and are really good too). You are still a really picky eater that often chooses to skip dinner (you’ll eat when you’re hungry has become my motto). You love Disney princesses, Shopkins, and Barbies. You still take good care of your baby dolls, and love to play doctor and dress up. You love to go to the zoo, Paradise Park, Sky Zone (the jumping place), the park, Target (lol), and anywhere that’s fun.  You love to watch the Royals play baseball and cheer for Salvy.

We switched daycares this year and put you in a preschool that is much closer to my office and is much more preschool curriculum based than free-play.  It has been crazy to see how well you have flourished in your new preschool.  You adore your new teachers and have made so many new friends and they all love you too.  It was not a decision we took lightly or one that was easy for us to make, but it has honestly been the best thing for you.  I am so grateful to know that you love your new school and it has made the drop-off in the mornings so much easier.

You have grown and changed so much this last year.  I look back at photos of you from this time last year and I can really see how your little baby face has changed.  Now I look at you and just see this beautiful little girl.  You are so smart, Madeline.  You amaze me daily with the words you say and the things that you know.  It is surreal to be able to have a full (sometimes pretty deep) conversation with you.  I’ve always dreamed of having a little girl that I could have the kind of friendship with that I have with my mom, and it is such a cool thing to see that dream coming true right before my eyes.  I love our little chats after school while we wait for dad to come home from work.  Those are moments that I will always cherish.

To watch you play this year has been so much fun! Your imagination has really taken off. All of your Barbie dolls, all of your Shopkins, all of your stuffed animals and dolls, all of them have elaborate storylines that you act out each time you play.  Some of the stories you come up with are pretty good too.  You love to pretend that you are the momma and that mom and dad are the babies and you are taking care of us.  This is one of your favorite little games to play.  Well, that and you like to play doctor and give us all shots.  That you think is pretty funny.

I will often catch you singing songs from Moana or Frozen while you are coloring or playing with your kitchen toys.  You have such a sweet little voice.  I love to listen to you sing.  If I’m really lucky you will sing and dance too.  You are such a good performer.  You really are talented (and I swear I’m not just saying that because I’m your mom).

You are the most beautiful, talented, sweet, lovable, funny, intelligent, amazing, wonderful, all-around-perfect three year old I know, and I am so grateful that I get to be your momma.

Love you always,

Momma

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Daily, Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters

16 Months

My Dear Madeline,


Today you are 16 months old. Crazy!


You are turning to such an awesome little kid. You are so much fun and we just love spending time with you.


You have really become quite the little momma to your baby doll. We can’t leave the house without it most days. You are quite sweet with her, pretending to feed her, rock her, wrap her up in a blanket, and put her to sleep, unless you are mad, then you are kind of a mean momma and baby tends to get thrown. I’m a little worried for our future grandchildren. ;)


The speed at which you are picking up things these days just amazes me. When you are finished with something you will throw your trash away. You know how to close cabinet doors and are always careful to watch your fingers. You know  where things belong in the house and will help put things away. When we read books I can ask you where something is and you will point to it on the page. You love to pretend and it is just so much fun to play together.


You now have four teeth up on top and still just the two on the bottom. You were kind of attached to your Wubbanub again for a bit while since those four upper teeth were all coming in at once, but you’ve since forgotten about it again. Unless you are super sleepy and fighting sleep. Then we let you have it and you are asleep within five minutes. I’m convinced it’s magic.


We went to the zoo with Grandma. You were excited to show her the penguins.


This summer has still been really hot. So there hasn’t been as much time spent outside as I had hoped for. When the temperature is near 100 and the heat index is 110 I just can’t keep you out there that long. It’s not fun when the swing and the slide can burn you. Instead we opted for ice cream this last weekend to celebrate you turning 16 months old. You were happy about that decision.

Sweet girl, you are such a joy in our lives.  There were so many days where we weren’t sure if our hearts would ever feel joy again after we lost your brother. Oh, sweet darling, how you have filled our hearts with more joy and love than we ever thought possible. You are a light not just in our lives, but everywhere we go. God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us you. We are so proud of you.


Love Always and Forever,

Your Momma

Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting

15 Months

Sweet Madeline,

  
Here you are, 15 months old!  Time sure is flying by fast.  There are so many days where I wish I could just bottle up these moments with you and save them forever.  Your sweet little giggle and the way you curl into me when I pick you up.  Instead, I take lots of photos and videos and try to write down the memories.  I know that soon enough you will be growing up and not want to take the time to cuddle on the sofa and watch Daniel Tiger, and I will miss these moments so very much.

   

You have finally mastered the whole walking thing and now there is no stopping you.  You’ve been taking a few steps here and there for months now and you loved to walk with us holding onto our hand, but you had yet to really take off.  So imagine our surprise when we were standing in Family Video trying decide on a movie to rent when you let go of my hand and just took off.  You decided you really wanted to go sit in the director’s chair that was in front of us and I clearly wasn’t heading that way fast enough, so you just decided to go there yourself.  You definitely shocked us with that one.  Ever since then you have just been walking everywhere.  You walk, you climb, you are everywhere!

 You LOVE to go to the park and swing.  Unfortunately, this summer has been super lame and it has been nothing but a lot of rain, rain, rain and then 100 heat index days.  It kind of stinks.  We’ve managed to get in a few days at the park, but I am really hoping that the next few months will lead to some better weather and we can go more often, because you just adore it.

  

 You have gotten really good at pretend play lately.  In your latest Citrus Lane box you received a little toy cooking pot and some spoons.  You love to pretend to stir things up and then taste them.  You are really loving your baby doll lately too.  You will cuddle her and rock her and it is just so adorable.

  

 We did a big garage sale this last month.  We sold quite a bit of your sweet little clothes and even some big things like your jumper and bassinet.  It was a little hard to let them go, but we can’t keep everything (and we are still keeping a ton), and we needed the space for all of your bigger kid toys and things that are taking over the house.

  

 We went back to the zoo.  You just absolutely adore the penguins.  It is so cute to watch how excited you get when they swim down close to you.  I think they are my favorite too.  This time you got to ride the carousel for the first time.  I was a bit worried that you might get scared and want off once it started going, but you were all smiles and really enjoyed it.

  
We celebrated Father’s Day.  You and your daddy have such a special bond.  I love to watch you laugh and play together.  You have a really great dad who loves you so much more than you can ever imagine, Madeline.  You are one lucky girl.

  
We of course got to see some fireworks for the Fourth of July.  We did two days of festivities.  On the 4th we had same family and food at our house.  You were had fun watching daddy shoot of fireworks, but I think your favorite were the colored smoke balls.  We helped you hold a sparkler for the first time.  You weren’t quite sure what to think of the whole thing.  Then on the 5th, our church had a big celebration.  You got to have a sno-cone and you got some glow sticks and a neat purple bracelet.  Then it was time to watch the big fireworks show.  You did really good.  You were a bit scared at first, but once you settled in you seemed to like them.  I could here you saying “ohhhh” and pointing at them.  It is such a joy to watch the world through your eyes, Maddy.  Everything is big and new and exciting.

  
In the last month you have begun walking, you are officially off of bottles, you still hate water (even though you look adorable in your swimsuit), you know and can point to your body parts (head, feet, tummy, mouth, nose, eyes, ears, hands), you pick up your toys when asked and put them away, you now have 5 teeth (two on bottom and 3 on top), and you are talking up a storm (mama, dada, hi, hey, hello, dog, baba, all done, good job, good girl, bye, non, yeah, yes, huh, this, here, up, and probably a bunch more I’m forgetting).

  
You are just learning and growing so very quickly.  You are an amazingly smart, funny, sweet, and beautiful little girl, and I am the lucky one that gets to be your mom.  So lucky!

  

 Love Always and Forever,

Momma

Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

14 Months

Dear Darling Madeline,

You are 14 months old!  Time just keeps speeding by and you are growing up and changing every day from baby to more toddler despite my futile attempts to hold you and rock you like a little baby.  You look at me and I can just tell what you are thinking, “Mom, I’m too big for this.  Put me down, I’ve got stuff to do.”  I’ve got news for you little one, I will continue to hold you and try and rock you like a little baby until you no longer fit in my arms.

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This last month has been busy like usual. We got to celebrate our 2nd Mother’s Day with you.  I am so glad that I get to be your momma.  It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever right next to being your daddy’s wife.  You both are my world and I love you both so much.

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We had your follow-up doctor’s appointment this last month and of course everything was great. We met with your regular pediatrician who couldn’t understand why the other doctor was worried in the first place.  Silly doctors.

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We actually all 3 got to enjoy a full 3-day weekend over Memorial Day.  That was a nice change of pace.  We really didn’t do anything super exciting, but it was just nice to all be together with no urgent need to be anywhere.

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We did however go to the Farmer’s Market.  We went a lot last year, and that’s the plan for this summer too.  It was pretty chilly out that morning, but you enjoyed your sample of bread and loved looking around at all the people.

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You have perfected the temper tantrum and pout lately.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan.  If you don’t get something you want or if it’s time to leave when you are still playing you throw a HUGE fit.  You cry and throw yourself backwards and basically become a limp, screaming, noodle.  Not fun.  Now your little pouty face however, that is pretty darn cute.  If you are just mildly upset about something you will scrunch your nose up, pucker out your lips and just whine.  It’s so hard not to giggle every time you do it.

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For the most part though you are a pretty chill kid.  You love to sit quietly and play.  You have an amazingly long attention span for a one year old.  I’m always impressed with how long you will play with one toy.  I’m still not sure if you have any favorites, but you do love your Mega Blocks.

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We made our annual trip down to downtown Lee’s Summit for their Downtown Days festival.  You absolutely loved watching the animals at the little petting zoo.  You were a bit startled when the pony stuck his head out of the fence and tried to say hi to you, but then you just smiled and laughed.  I love how fascinated you are by life.  It is truly amazing to see everything again through your pretty brownish-blue eyes.  It was pretty hot out that day so you got your very first ice cream cone.  You dove in face first.  It was pretty funny to watch.  After a couple bites we went with a cup and spoon to finish it off.  Much less messy that way, but probably not nearly as fun.

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Your fourth little tooth is finally peaking its way through.  Eventually you will get all of your teeth…

You have been a dancing fool lately.  You’ve been “dancing” for a while now, but lately it has become pretty much your favorite thing ever.  Every time you hear music of any kind you get to dancing.  You shake your hips and shimmy your shoulders and move your arms.  You totally feel the music and it is just the cutest thing of all time in the history of ever.

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This month we also (finally) installed your big girl car seats in both cars.  No more having to lug that infant seat in and out all the time.  You seem much happier in your new seats with lots more room.  You do pretty well in the car (most the time).  You like to look out the window, wiggle to the radio, and “talk” to me while we drive.

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You love to give kisses and hugs and each kiss you give with a big “MUAH.”

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You shake your head no when you are done with something or to tell me you don’t want any more food.  You love chicken, pasta, meatballs, mashed potatoes, cheese, applesauce, yogurt, green smoothies/juice, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, green beans, goldfish crackers, graham crackers, water, and of course milk.

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You love Sophie and she is slowly starting to warm up to you.

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You love books and blocks and your water/sand table and to color.  You love to push your little walker all around the house, but you still don’t want to let go.  You will pick it up and turn it around when you get to the edge of the room, but you still think you need to hold on.  You’ll get there eventually.  I’m trying to stay patient.

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You are just full of personality and joy.  Everywhere we go you smile and greet the people you pass and I like to think that your little smile brightens their day just a little bit.  You are a ray of sunshine my sweet little rainbow and I am just so blessed that you are mine.

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Love Always and Forever,

Momma

Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting After Loss

13 Months

Dear Madeline,
  
I debated about whether or not I was going to keep writing these monthly letters. For now, I think I will try and keep it up. There is just so much happening with you as you grow and change every day.  

  
The actual day of your birthday we went and did one year photos. You were so not interested. 

  
There was a 20 degree temperature drop from the time we left our house to when we arrived at the garden where we were doing photos. I felt so awful, because clearly you were cold and you didn’t like all of the attention you were getting from everyone that walked by. 

  
Thankfully, it wasn’t a complete loss and there were a lot of really cute shots. Including some cute “cake smash” photos where you totally can’t even tell that you were crying the entire time. :(  I’m so sorry we tortured you just for some photos. I promise the rest of the day was spent playing with toys and cuddling. 

  
Unfortunately, the day after your birthday was your one year check up. We didn’t get to see your regular doctor and the one we did see was a little concerned with just how tiny you really are. They ordered lab work which meant that you had to have some blood drawn. You did much better than I did. You didn’t even cry one bit. You just stared at them very carefully while I held you on my lap. You were so brave. Of course, we later found out that all your test results came back perfect so no worries. You are just our little peanut. 

  
We came home and you rested while I finished getting things ready for your big party! 

  
For your first birthday we decided to go with a Somewhere Over the Rainbow theme. The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie when I was little, you are our rainbow baby, and the first song I ever sang to you was Somewhere Over the Rainbow as you were laying on my chest just about an hour after you were born. This theme seemed perfect. 

  
It was so much fun to come up with all of the decorations and foods. I was so glad that so many friends and family were able to be there to help us celebrate you. 

 

I made you a little Dorothy themed tutu and you even had your own pair of ruby slippers! Your dad has already been warned about how much fun I had planning this party and that I expect to make them bigger and better each year. :)  
 You seemed like you had a fun time and you made quite the birthday haul.   

This last month you also had your first major “boo boo.” You fell down at daycare and hit your face on the corner of the table. Again, you were so brave and barely even cried. Which is good, because I’m pretty sure I cried enough for you. You were left with a swollen cheek, a small cut, and your first (and hopefully last) black eye. 

  
We are very used to having people ohh and ahh over you in the stores because you are quite adorable, but walking around with a baby with a black eye was something else entirely. I really wanted to carry around a sign that said, “she is learning to walk and fell down at daycare. I swear we didn’t push her.”  Thankfully, after a couple weeks it was pretty much all faded away and healed up. 

  
We got to celebrate your cousin, Mason’s 3rd birthday. You had fun playing with all the balloons.

We took you to the zoo for the first time. 

  
We had a lot of fun. I think your favorite were the birds and the penguins. You would point at the animals and smile and talk or laugh at them. I can’t wait to go again. 

  

You also cut your third tooth. Slowly, but surely those teeth are coming in. Since you now have a tooth on top in addition to your two bottom teeth, you are getting much better at taking bites of food which means you are getting more things whole and not always cut into tiny pieces. 

  

You occasionally will give the sign for milk. Which is pretty exciting. You are saying more and more words: mama, dada, baba, dug dug (dog), hi, yeah, huh, and many more that you will echo back to us.  We are working on ditching the bottle, but it is a work in progress. You will drink out of straw cups and your new Camelbak bottle, but still no regular sippy cups. Which is fine. 

 
For awhile there you were super close to walking, but then you fell and you seem to have gotten a bit apprehensive about letting go now. It’s okay. I know you’ll be running soon enough. For now, I’ll take the extra cuddles. 

 

You are silly and fun and I am so proud of you everyday. The way you are starting to really figure out how everything works, the way you dance every time you hear any music, the way you always give kisses with a big “muah”. Everything you do is amazing. You are such a sweet little girl and I am one very lucky momma. 

  
Love always,

Your momma.  

Daily, Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting After Loss

12 Months – One Year!

My Lovely Little Madeline,

  
Today, my sweet girl, you are one whole year old!  That’s 12 months, 365.242 days, 8,765.81 hours, or 525,949 minutes that you have filled our lives and hearts with so much joy, love, grace, and beauty.  You have filled my heart to overflowing, my darling girl.  
 
  
 
As usual, this last month has been amazing and full of so many fun things.  
 
  
You got to meet the Easter Bunny for the first time.  You weren’t a fan. 
 
   

 
We got to see even more of your photos used by Hallmark and Hallmark Baby.  
 
  
You’ve learned to blow kisses, which seriously is the cutest thing ever.  
 
  
You say “huh” and shake your head “no” a lot.  So far we still think it’s pretty funny.  
 
  
 
We celebrated your first St. Patrick’s Day and your second Easter.  
 
  
We even let you “help” dye eggs and you loved finding the “hidden” eggs on Easter morning.  
 
  
 
You are still not quite walking.  Though you are just so close.  You are so fast when cruising along the furniture and you will even let go and take a couple small steps while making your way from the table to the couch, but you always grab right back on.  You can do it, you just aren’t convinced quite yet.
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One of the funniest things you have been doing this last month is dancing.  You have always loved music.  I used to be able to make you stop crying instantly just by playing Katy Perry’s song Roar.  Now, you have learned to “dance.”  Your current favorite song is Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.   Every time you hear it, you stop whatever you are doing and start bouncing to the beat.  It is just so cute!
 
  

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Your personality is really shining these days.  We are getting to see little glimpses of the big kid that you going to become and it is so much fun.  
 
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You have the sweetest smile I have ever seen, and you absolutely love to share that smile with others and wave at everyone you see. We can’t get through the store without you charming your way into the hearts of all of your fellow shoppers.  People love to stop and talk to you and tell you how pretty you are.  You eat it up.  You turn on the charm and smile and “talk” with them.  For a baby who has brought the sunshine back into our lives, it is amazing to see you shine that amazing light on others too.  
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You are our rainbow, our sunshine, our sweetheart, our love, our bitty girl, our squishy cheek princess, our darling daughter, and our whole world.  
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In some ways it is so hard to believe that it has been an entire year since you first entered our world, but in so many others I feel like my soul has known you forever.  
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You have brought the joy and the color back into our lives, and we are just so blessed to call you our sweet little girl.
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You continue to surprise and amaze me on a daily basis.  I am so excited to start this new journey with you into toddlerhood.  It’s going to be amazing.
 
Love Always and Forever,
 
Your Momma
 
P.S.  You may now officially be a toddler, but you will always and forever be my baby girl.  
Daily, Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting After Loss

11 Months

My Dear Sweet Madeline,

Today you are eleven months old.  You are growing up so very fast.  We are just completely mesmerized by you.  
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You have such a sweet personality.
 
You are an incredibly happy little girl and I think it is because you know how very loved you truly are. 
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This last month has been one big month of new and exciting things for you.
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We celebrated your first Valentine’s Day.  You really are my little sweetheart.
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You got your second tooth.  I wasn’t super convinced about the amber necklace you wear to help with teething pain, but so far you’ve got two teeth in and have never even fussed about it.  
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You pull up on everything and will even let go from time to time.  I’m just waiting for you to take off walking any day now.  You have learned to clap your hands and say “hi.”  You are pretty hit or miss with the talking thing, but we have heard “dog”, “all done”, and “hey.”  
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You love to play and have become obsessed with your shape sorting blocks.  I’m pretty sure they are your favorite toy ever.
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We took you to the park for the first time yesterday and you got to swing like a big kid.  You LOVED it.  Mommy and daddy both took turns take you down the slide too.  You had so much fun and I am so glad that the weather is starting to get warmer so that we can take lots of trips to the park.
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Mommy also taught you how to give high-fives.  It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.  Now if someone says “gimme five” you reach up and slap their hand.  You have also started to pretend.  You like to play like you are picking things up and handing/feeding them to us.  You are just amazing.
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One of the most exciting things this last month has been getting to see your sweet face grace Hallmark Baby’s emails.  It was such a fun surprise to open my email and see your pretty blue eyes staring back at me.  We are just so proud of you and love that we had the opportunity to “show you off” to the world and hopefully you were able to brighten someone’s day with your sweet baby smile.  
This last month also gave us the chance to put on your snowsuit and get you out in the snow.  You weren’t too sure about it, but it sure made for some cute photos.  
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We also remembered your big brother, Joshua on his birthday this last month.  I so wish that would have had the chance to grow up with him.  I’m sure you two would be causing all kinds of trouble and becoming best friends by now.  Getting to watch you grow up this last year has been so beautiful and you are such an amazing little person that sometimes it makes me sad that I didn’t get to see your big brother do those amazing things too.  I never want you to feel like you are living in his shadow, but knowing how awesome you are makes me realize how awesome he would have been too.  
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You are such a sweet baby girl.  You are just so much fun and as sad as I am about how quickly you are growing up (why can’t I keep you a tiny baby for just a little bit longer?) I am so excited to see the little girl that you are becoming.  You are smart.  You are quick.  You are simply amazing.  
 
Love Always and Forever,
 
Your Momma