My bubbly, fearless, tough & beautiful baby girl...
You are 18 months old. I am always blown away by time when I think of you - because in some ways I feel like I have had you in my life my whole life, and in other ways, I can't believe how much different my life is now with you in it. I have heard the quote "having a child is like having your heart walk outside of your body", and it is absolutely true. You, my beautiful little baby, are my heart. When I look at your compact little body, my whole heart just fills with warmth and love... it's such an overwhelming feeling of joy. Your smile (which is getting more teeth by the day), your laughs, screams, and now your ability to communicate with us using words is constantly amazing me. You are feisty, determined, confident, and very social.
Everyday is a little different than the next with you... and this is a constant reminder to me that my time with my little girl is precious. You're growing and changing at an impossible pace. Sometimes I look back at pictures from just the last few months, and I can't believe how much you've changed. Right now, you are working on getting most of your bottom teeth. It looks like they've decided to all come at once, including some molars in the back. You're a little irritable, which is understandable, but once we get a little tylenol on board and find something to help distract you, you are doing pretty well managing it.
Your love of your baby dolls is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. You rock them, feed them 'babas', change their diaper, and push them around in the stroller. It is so sweet how much you love them and spend time kissing them and carrying them around. You also love your collection of Sandra Boynton books and if anyone sits on the floor in our living room, they can expect you to bring them one of your books to read to you. Most of the time you only make it through a few pages of the book, but you love to look at the pictures and point out what you recognize. You'll say "Ball" if you see a ball, or make the noises of whatever animal is pictured. You know what a duck, cow, kitty, horse, owl, sheep, doggie, and pig all say.
You love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and recently will bring me the remote control and point to the tv and say "Minnie" or "Pete" because you want me to turn it on. Recently on a trip to Costco, you saw a giant Minnie Mouse doll across the aisle, and immediately ran up saying "I see Minnie!!" After about 20 hugs and kisses as you were saying "Minnie", you had your daddy completely convinced that you had to have this 5 foot tall Minnie, so she came home with us.
Your favorite possession is your blankey from Gramz. She had them made for you, and because you love them so much, she's gotten 3 of them. They are your comfort and you love to snuggle, chew, and edge them. You know these blankeys from any of your other ones and it's always tough for me to wash them because you don't like to be away from them for too long! But I have to wash them often because they get stinky after a day or two because of how much you chew on them.
Being outside is one of your favorite things. You'll stand by the door and say "outside" when you need some fresh air, and taking walks around the block in your car or radio flyer are always fun. You also just love to walk on your own, and you have absolutely no fear of being far away from me and your daddy. I tell people this, but they don't actually believe me until they go somewhere with us and see how you'll just run off from us to see or explore whatever your heart desires. We spend a lot of time chasing you around, but I try to think of it as a good thing. You have a lot of confidence, independence, and you're not afraid of much. You also LOVE to climb on anything and everything. We enrolled you in your first "tumble time" class this earlier this month because you needed something to help encourage and channel the climbing. You seem to really enjoy it, and daddy and I think it's the cutest thing. Ever. You also love to be around other kids. You seem to really enjoy being around your cousins and going to the gym and playing. Anytime we see other kids, you are immediately attracted to them and want to play.
In the last 3 months, a lot has happened and you've done some traveling with us. We went to Kauai, which you loved because you went down the water slide about 100 times. People couldn't believe how well you did going down the slide, especially because you're so little. You also loved being in the pool, running around on the grass chasing the geese, and connecting with other kids. We also went to Scottsdale, and you loved playing in the water fountains, the zoo, and just running around exploring. You also spent your first ever night away from me while daddy took me on a surprise overnight trip to Napa for our Anniversary. You stayed with Gramz and Pops and had no problem with it. I sure missed you, but I knew you were in good hands.
You take one nap a day for about 90 minutes, more or less. You take 3 bottles a day still, both milk and almond milk. You are a pretty good eater, except when your teeth are bugging you. Right now, you like waffles, yogurt, the fruit and veggie puree packs, dino bites, quesadillas, and mac and cheese. You do pretty well eating veggies when we give them to you, and most whole fruits you will eat right away... especially bananas, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. You weigh about 23 pounds and are about average for height and weight.
You are wearing 18 month clothing and size 4 or 5 shoes. You aren't a huge fan of having clips or ties in your hair, but it's getting long, so I have to figure out how to distract you to get your hair out of your face. You also know how to count to 3! Bath time is a favorite for you as well, and sometimes you'll play in there for 30 or 40 minutes. We love to watch you dance... you do it all the time - to music from commercials on tv, music on our phone, in the bath, anywhere!
One of my favorite things you've been doing lately is saying "I love you". The way you say it is just the cutest thing I have ever heard. You say quite a few things and do pretty well at repeating names we tell you. Your daddy loves when you say "ohh noo", and when you snuggle us. It's hard to remember everything you say, but to name a few: hello, bye bye, nigh night, waffle, shoes, Zeusy, juice, milk, baba, pooh pooh, potty, what's that?, I see...., baby, car, mama, dada, and all done. You also say "eeeewwww" when you see the toilet or something gross. It amazes me how much you understand what we are saying and hear us say something to each other, then respond or react.
You're very playful and scream and laugh when daddy plays with you, chasing you around the house and kicking the ball. You love coming to me when you're tired, sad, snuggly or hurt. You really recognize your family - you know who your cousins are, your aunties, and especially your Gramz and Pops. It makes my heart swell when they come to see you and you get so excited. Pops gets so many kisses and snuggles, and Gramz always knows how to calm you down and comfort you. You say: juju, pop, joe - and you will point to all of the family in pictures when we show them to you and ask you where each person is.
I am overwhelmed by you, my sweet girl. Each day brings its own challenges for me as a mom. Sometimes you test my patience as you are acting like the toddler you are. You aren't always a well-behaved angel, you're not a huge fan of riding in the shopping carts, you are very wiggly when we change your diaper, and you have a temper just like your daddy. But, my goodness, my love for you is endless, and even at the end of a more challenging day, I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to be your mom. You truly bring me so much joy, and I try to keep everything in perspective. These days with you as my vibrant, bubbly toddler are numbered and much too short.
You are a beautiful and sweet child. You love to give hugs and kisses, and sometimes I wish I could just keep you the age you are. Andie, you can do anything your heart desires. As you grow up, change, and develop into the person you are meant to be, I hope you know how much we believe in you. As long as you are kind to others and always try your best, you are successful in our eyes. We want the absolute best for you, and watching you grow each and every day is such a privilege.
These next couple of months are going to bring some huge changes to your life as we welcome your baby brother into our family. I feel him wiggling around in my belly as I write this, and I am filled with excitement to see you as a big sister. You are going to be extremely loving and I have no doubt that you will set a great example for him as you grow up together. I know you are going to love him and I am truly humbled, and so grateful to be able to experience this life with our little family.
I love you. You are so special to me, now and forever!
With daddy in the pool in Kauai. You are quite the fishy!
You love Zeusy and he is so good to you.
Your pre-nap routine... snuggling blankey.
You look so tall in this picture, such a big girl!
It was so much fun taking you to the pumpkin patch this year!
Our little tinkerbell for halloween.