My dearest TODDLER, Raelee.

You are 1.  I can’t believe it.  I honestly feel like I gave birth to you, blinked and now you are running around the house giggling and terrorizing your sister.  People always say this:  It goes by so fast, especially after the first one.  And they are so right.  And I didn’t really believe them.  It’s just one of those cliche things people say.  But they are all so right.

I can’t believe a year ago you came into our lives.  I was so nervous about it.  I thought there was no way I could possibly love you like I love Kellen.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved you already–once I saw that 2nd pink line there was no going back.  But when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time…it’s just so different.  The heart explodes with love.  And then it keeps overflowing every day after.  I just couldn’t imagine there was more room in my heart.  People said that was normal, and not to worry–I would love you both more everyday.  And they were so right…again 🙂  I look at you now and can’t believe I ever doubted.  It makes my heart hurt when I think about how much I love you.  How many smiles you put on my face throughout the day–even when it is a challenging one.  There are quite a few of those with two toddlers 🙂  You and your sister make me work hard, but I love this time.  I love being your mommy.  Your number 1 person in your life.  I love how much you need me and how much you love me, without even knowing what love is.  You love your daddy and get so excited when he comes home from work, but nothing beats being in my arms.  Well, except when you want to play 🙂

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I think you are going to be the super funny and mischievous sister between you and Kellen.  You are a little stinker!  If I get home you get so excited to see me and pitter patter as fast as you can to get to me and then about a foot in front of me when I’m all ready with my arms out to scoop you up, you turn the other way with a little grin and a giggle!  You think it is so funny 🙂  You laugh all the time.  We just have to make a silly noise or make a silly face, and you give us the most amazing belly laughs.  Sometimes you just laugh for no reason.  And you love to laugh along with your sister, even if you don’t know what she is laughing at.  One of my favorite things in this world is to watch you to laugh and play together 🙂

Update:  7/30/14–I forgot to talk about how you love to go up to something that you know you probably shouldn’t touch and get really close and point at it and then shyly put your hands on your belly with this silly little grin on your face.  You look at us with the same grin as if you are saying, “I know I’m not supposed to touch, but I really want to.  You won’t get mad, will you??”  So cute!

You are a chunky monkey–we haven’t had your 1 year appointment at the doctor yet, but I’m guessing you are about 23lbs and we did measure you on the wall ruler and you are 28.5″ tall.  You are wearing 12-18 month clothing and up until 11 months you were right on track for clothes.  When you turned 6 months you were in 6-9m, when you turned 9m you were in 9-12m, etc.  I kept squeezing you into your 9-12m clothing in complete denial that you needed to go up a size.  I think I could have started putting you in 12-18m around 10.5m.  You just had a huge growth spurt after your 9m appointment.  I’ll update later with your 1 year stats.

Update:  7/30/14–we had your 1 year appointment last week and everything looks perfect.  No concerns and you took your shots like a champ 🙂  You are 22lbs 8oz (68th percentile), 29.5″ tall (54th percentile) and have an 18.25″ head (80th percentile). 

At 10 months you were 20lbs and at 11 months you were 21.9lbs.  These are estimates because my baby scale broke 😦  So we did it where Dad held you and stood on our scale and then he weighed himself without you to find the difference.

You have 12 teeth!  You handled your molars pretty well.  Especially since they were all coming in at once!  Now we are waiting for the canines, which were horrible with Kellen.  And then your 2 year molars in about a year.  So we are on the home stretch 🙂  You still have your birthmark under your lip, but it seems like the center of it is starting to get more skin colored instead of red, so maybe it is starting to go away?  But it doesn’t really matter to us–we love it 🙂  And quite a few people have actually said that they think it is really cute.  I’m sure you won’t like it as a teenager, so hopefully it will be gone before then :p

You sleep so good!  A much better sleeper than your sister.  You nap pretty consistently for at least 1.5hrs but 2hrs is average.  If we keep you happily occupied and give you snacks, you usually can make it until noon or even 1pm before needing a nap.  Those days you only nap once.  But most days you can nap around 10am and then 3 or 4pm.  You are in bed most nights by 8pm and sleep until about 7am (7:20am seems to be average).  You are starting to finally love your crib to where when you wake up, you will sit in there and play for a bit.  There are a few friends in there–the seahorse that plays lullabies always gets turned on when we put you in the crib and then you turn it on yourself a couple times per night (mostly accidentally).  And then there is a unicorn that has a light on it’s back and projects stars onto the walls and ceiling.  You love to push the button a bunch when you are playing in there.  And then there is a small doll and a small teddy bear.  You don’t seem to care too much about them though.  You also have over 10 pacis in there–mom wants to make sure you can find one 🙂  And I’m glad they are in there because you love to drop them through the slats onto the floor.  So far you have always left yourself a couple.  I like to break the paci around 12 months usually, but we have trips coming up this summer and Grandpa and Karen are watching you gals a couple weekends while we go to weddings, so we will take it away after our last trip, which is Labor Day weekend.  You only use them in your crib or if you get really crabby and sleepy in the car.

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Like I shared earlier, you are a chunky monkey!  Well, to us you are since Kellen was such a peanut until about 18m.  I love your chubby belly and your rolls on your legs!  I love when you are thinking hard and exploring an object and you have a little double chin as you look down at it.  You pretty much eat everything!  If we are eating something, even if you just got done with a big meal, you want to eat too!  You will always take a snack and will just walk around with a snack cup as happy as a clam.  For breakfast you get yogurt in a pouch and cut up watermelon.  Then we either give you Cheerios, pancakes or bread.  You love blueberries and can eat a box in one sitting no problem–but it makes you poop a lot so we try to cut back 🙂  You love meat too!  Which we also aren’t used to since Kellen was never really a fan and we still have a hard time getting her to eat it.  I buy nitrate free organic turkey lunchmeat and you eat 2-3 slices at a time.  You love love grapes too.  Peas are hit or miss, but most other veggies you gobble up when we give them to you.  You really like broccoli.   And of course, I can give you and Kellen the same snack, even in the same color snack cups, and you always want each others’ snack.  Silly sisters :p

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You are a pretty fast walker.  One of your dad and I’s favorite thing you do is when you are acting goofy and you just run around the house aimlessly giggling.  Especially if we run with you or if Kellen does.  You’ll run and throw yourself into your chair or up against the wall and think it is just so funny. You are starting to try to walk up stairs while holding on to something instead of just crawling.  We haven’t really worked on going down yet.  You jump on the trampoline really well!  Your feet don’t quite leave the surface yet, but you are getting there.  We will get you into gymnastics in January when you are 18m old more than likely and I’m sure you will be jumping shortly after if you haven’t started already.  You love swimming.  You splash like crazy!  And you are pretty good at torpedo dives while sitting on the side of the pool.  You are recently starting to do the motions to some of the songs–like Hokey Pokey and Wheels on the Bus.

Update:  7/30/14–you have really started dancing the last few weeks.  Either when Dad, Kellen or I sing, or when you hear music on a toy, the TV or the radio.  You spin in circles and bob your head side to side 🙂  You’ve always been a “hand dancer” as I call it.  The first thing that starts to dance is your hands 🙂

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I’ve gotten your hair into little piggies!  I think they are adorable 🙂  You have to be really interested in watching something for me to do them though.  So I usually do them when you are in the high chair eating something yummy and watching TV.  Speaking of TV, you watch a little when Kellen watches, but you don’t seem to have a favorite show or anything.  You do enjoy BabyFirst TV the most though, but Kellen usually wants Disney Jr. on so you don’t get too much say.  We got you your own chair like Kellen got for her first birthday too.  You love it 🙂

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You love playing with Kellen’s Little People and Mickey Mouse figurines.  You like putting things in boxes and taking them out again.  You like stacking blocks.  And you love your baby doll.  It actually was Kellen’s baby but she never really liked her much–but she is one of the first things you get when we come downstairs in the morning.  You even put her in the doll stroller and push her around and you think it is the greatest thing 🙂  You love getting in the Cozy Coupe car.  You haven’t quite figured out how to drive it yet–you can move it backwards.  You are finally starting to enjoy books!  You will sit in our lap with certain ones, but others you push away and get bored.  But you like flipping through the pages faster than we can read them.  You have been able to blow through the toy flutes we have for a while!  I think it is pretty impressive 🙂  You do too–I can tell since you get a big smile on your face any time you get them to make the toot noise.  You love playing outside and we just got a swing set that we put the baby swing on.  You and Kellen would stay out there forever swinging I think 🙂  The second we go outside, you go straight to the bubble machine and demand that we turn it on….then you walk away, lol.  You love playing is the water table and just splash like crazy!  And of course drink as much water as you can–ew!  You have been able to throw a ball for a couple months and just recently you started kicking them too.  Not so much with an actual kicking motion, but more purposefully getting them to roll by walking through them 🙂  You like to scribble already too since you love to do whatever Kellen is doing.

Update:  7/30/14–I forgot to say last time that you really enjoy playing with things on wheels.  Whether it is the train table or cars or just any toy that rolls around.  And you make a “brrrrmmmm” noise when you push and pull them around 🙂

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You say quite a few words–Dada was your first but we didn’t really count it because you never used it towards him.  You just said “dadadadadada” while you babbled.  But now you don’t say either Dada or Mama!  You say Ball, Cat, Up, Bye-bye, Book, Duck, Bear, Blueberries, Uh-oh (about 4956 times per day at least :p)–some of them are very clear but others are not as clear to the average person, but I know it is what you are saying.  For body parts, you will grab your toes, ears and head when we ask where they are.  I think you point to mouth, but you point to your mouth for nose too, so I’m not counting it yet 😉  You let us know pretty well what you want in other ways.  You say, “ahhh” when you want a drink, move your mouth open and shut when you are done like you are quietly mouthing “done” and you smack your lips when you want to eat–whether it is food in your high chair, or nursing.  You still nurse–usually when you wake in the morning and before bed and sometimes after 1 of your naps.  I don’t see you wanting to stop anytime soon–at least not before bed.  One time you got a hold of Kellen’s sippy of milk a few months ago and you sipped on it and seemed to like it, so we thought you would be great transitioning after you turned 1.  But so far, you will only take a couple sips and then want nothing to do with it.  One night I had a photo session so your dad put you to bed.  I don’t want to offer you bottles any more, and you haven’t had one in months, so I told him to offer you a sippy of milk.  You took two sips, threw it down and then walked around upstairs smacking your lips.  I felt bad after he told me that, but I guess you went to bed fine and you slept like normal, so you are fine going down without.  I’m not planning on weaning you though until at the earliest January of next year.  Unless you self-wean of course.  Breastfeeding kind of messes up my cycles, so when we start thinking about trying for another baby, I will want to wean so I can track my cycles for a bit.  Hopefully it won’t be hard when we get to that point.

Update:  7/30/14–You say sooo many more words in the past few weeks.  You say “there” when you hand us something, “What’s that?!?” while pointing at anything you see, “out” when you want to go outside, “shoes” when you go and get them if we don’t let you outside right away 🙂  And I’m sure there are more!  I just can’t think of them all right now. 

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We took you to the Spring Game at Autzen this year and it went really well.  You and Kellen both did great 🙂  You liked crawling around the seats and even tried a pickle–and liked it!

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For Mother’s Day, I asked your dad for a photo shoot of me with you girls.  I’m always behind the camera and do not have many good photos of us together.  I love how they came out!  On actual Mother’s Day Dad made me a yummy breakfast and we had fun at the park 🙂

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For the Fourth of July we went camping!  We went to Honeyman State Park in Florence and had a great time!  You slept pretty well in the trailer, ran through Kellen and Tyler throwing Pop-Its saying “Up, Up, Up,” (they were saying “pop pop” so I think you thought you were saying the same thing).  And you absolutely loved the beach!  You were running around like crazy, eating sand, and even enjoyed getting your feet wet (which Kellen still doesn’t!).

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We are having your birthday party this Sunday!  With your birthday being right before the 4th of July, we knew we would run into scheduling conflicts.  I don’t think we will ever plan your parties during the weekend of the Fourth since so many people will have other plans.  This year we couldn’t do it the weekend before because it was your dad’s weekend to work, so the weekend after it is!  I decided on a Raelee in ONE-derland Very Merry Unbirthday Tea Party (Alice in Wonderland tea party) theme 🙂  I love how everything is coming together and I did the most adorable photo shoot with you so I would have a picture for your invitations.

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The backdrop I got to also use for a photo booth at the birthday party.  I’ll share those pictures probably on my photography blog so I can pin them and be a little more anonymous 🙂  Here are more from the photo shoot.

Some pictures from 10 months:

And from 11 months:

We had a lot of fun at your one year photo session.  We went out to Delta Pond for your patriotic setup 🙂  Oh my gawd, I love that romper!  And I absolutely love the white dress you wore in the studio.  I’ve never put a full length dress on a baby/toddler and I have to say, I loved how it looked.  You LOVED your cake!  You had a grand ol’ time stomping your feet in it 🙂  We did the session the day before your birthday because your dad was off so he helped me with the cake smash part and then occupied Kellen while we did the other parts.  On your actual birthday we hosted playgroup at Amazon Park and got cupcakes for everyone.

We love you so much Raelee.  We can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Here’s the One Year Movie I made for you 🙂

Love,

Mama

xoxox

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