Saturday, August 3, 2013

Letters to my girls.

In honor of our girls turning one.

Dear Grace & Zoe,

You've both taught me so much in just one year-- and we're only getting started.. It's amazing how much life has changed. Nothing is important as you now; I feel like your arrival has put everything in perspective. Some days as I work in my office, I count down the hours and minutes until I can be home again and see you. Weekends and days off are such a joy. You are so much fun and you fill my soul with such happiness.

While I will worry about you for my entire life - your health, your happiness, your safety - you have taught me to no longer sweat the small stuff. It all pales in comparison to you. One of my colleagues told me, "nothing matters as much [once you have kids]." She was talking about work, but it seems so true in so many aspects.

You are such a blessing in my life. Please know that I will always be here for you and will always love you.

Dear Grace,

I will never forget the moment you were born: the doctor lifting you up so I could see you and your little squished face. You started to cry, due to the shock of it all, and I started to cry, because I couldn't believe how beautiful you were. I had dreamed of becoming a mama for years, but I had no idea what the actual moment of your birth would be like. When they put you and your sister on me, I felt whole for the first time.

You, my darling Grace, are such an amazing, strong, and beautiful girl. You've had such a strong personality from the moment you were born. You always seem to know exactly what you want (or don't want) and you let me and your Mom know. You are certainly your Mom's little buddy. Even when you were small and your tummy hurt, if you slept on her chest, you were a happy camper. I love to watch the two of you interact - you can make each smile so big.

Oh your smile, my Gracie. It's amazing. It lights up the whole room. When you are happy, the whole world knows it. You have had an infectious smile and laugh since you were very small. You are always so determined. You learned to crawl and walk out of sheer will, I think. You have such purpose to your movements and decisions.

You watch everything and take it all in. Even when we hold you, you are looking around the room, as if you're memorizing it. Much like your Mama, you don't like being taken by surprise. You are a creature of home and routine. You love your Moms, of course, and all your grandparents. You have an adorable sideways "shy face," as we call it, that you use as you warm up to family or strangers. When you were small--and even now-- there was a time when you would only be calm if I held you. You are a cuddler and a great hugger. You have so much love in you.

You were named after my grandmother -- your Grandpa's mom, whose first name was Grace. She was one of the sweetest, kindest women I ever met, and I know you have so much of her spirit in you. With your feisty nature and amazing laugh and smile, you also remind me so much sometimes of your Gram's mom. Your great-grandmothers would have loved you so.

You never cease to amaze me - with all that you see and the way you look at the world. You have loved to read since you were small and can spend ages flipping through books. You love to sleep and eat -- though you can be particular about what you eat! You make the best sounds! You make a little noise whenever you are excited (especially if you see a cat!) and another that alerts us to the fact that you are considering something forbidden. You have a noise that lets us know you’re sleepy. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and I hope the world never takes advantage of that.

My dear Grace, you are a total joy to me. I live to make you smile and to snuggle up with you. I have so enjoyed this first year of being your Mama.

Love, Mama

Dear Zoe,

I still remember the doctor telling me that I was having twins and then finding out that we would be having two girls. I never imagined being a Mama to twins, but now I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Oh my Zoe, you have had such personality from the moment you were born. You had your little hand next to your head, as if you were pondering the meaning of life at a mere few hours old. You were awake so much more than your sister, as if you couldn't bear to let the world pass by while you slept. You are such a sweet little girl. You have always been active--even before you were born, I could feel you moving around inside me at all hours. You moved around in your crib when you slept, even at such a young age! You are always turning to sit sideways in a chair, or sticking a hand through the slat in your crib. I swear your little limbs are elastic.

You are such a good natured girl, my dear Zoe, and your smile can cheer up the soul. You are a little ham, who loves to make all of us laugh. If your Mom and I do anything silly, you laugh, and it is such a beautiful sound. When you were small, you had a way of laughing that was perfectly timed - as if you were following along with our conversation and injecting your perfect comedic timing. You have the best expressions; you make a variety of faces, and we have no idea how you learned some of them. It’s amazing!

You are an independent little gal, but you love your Moms so much. You love to hug -- you even hug your stuffed animals. You definitely do your own thing, and sometimes when we tell you no, you just laugh at us. Your Mom and I think you will be trouble when you get older!

You love music and have since you were just tiny. You will listen to anything, from Sesame Street to Alabama to Mark Erelli to the Avett Brothers. You bop your little head and dance away. You've done this ever since you were small. Sometimes I'll see you dancing and realize that somewhere far away there is music playing. I think you'll have a great imagination, as I often find you playing with your toys and jabbering away. I know you're already making up stories, just like your Mama did when she was small.

When your Mom and I found out we were having twin girls, we decided on the name Zoe for you. It was just a beautiful name that we both loved, and it fits you perfectly. Our fun-loving, sweet girl. We think you're an old soul, my dear Zoe, as you sometimes seem wise beyond your ways. When I look at your watchful brown eyes, I know you have some of your Aunt Katrina in you, too, and that makes me happy.

You are an open child, who loves everyone. You love family gatherings and places where you can be the center of attention. You know how to work a crowd, even at age one! You also love dresses and tutus and jewelry. When I hold up a new outfit, you get so excited and clap your hands. Whenver you want more of something, you and your sister flap your hands so excitedly.

Just like your sister, you never fail to amaze me. Your kind heart, your wise eyes, and your amazing ability to go through life so happily. In return, you never fail to make me feel happy. When you toddle over to give me a hug, or grin at me as I walk in the front door, I feel complete. You have no idea how much you give to others with your dear attitude. I hope the world always nurtures that beautiful, kind, and musical spirit of yours, sweet girl. I know your Mom and I will do so for all of our days.

Love, Mama

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our girls are one!

So, somehow, our girls are one. I cannot believe how this year has flown by -- in some ways, it seems like it was very long and in other ways, it seems like it was only moments ago that they were born.

I want to write more about these amazing gals, but for now, some pictures from the big day (July 16th) and their first birthday party the following weekend.

Birthday fun!
Birthday girls

With Mama on the big day
Birthday self-portraits with Mama

Mama & Zoe

Mama & Grace

One year photos!


Birthday party
Birthday party prep

Birthday cake!

Birthday party fun

Birthday party fun

Kate made this amazing video in honor of the girls turning one. I highly recommend it.