Dear Evie On Your 1st Birthday

Dearest Evelyn,

You turned one just over a week ago. This letter is late, I know. I will start by apologizing for all the late blog posts and the lack of pictures and posts devoted to just you. I tried my best to capture your every moment but it is just not possible when you are a momma to three little ones. Maybe one day you will get to understand the incredible joys and difficult heartaches that go in to being a mommy.

Always know that I love you. My love will always follow you. Wherever you are. Wherever you go. Just like the book says. Know and feel that I love you.

You were our beautiful surprise and I am so thankful that you came when you did. Your timing was perfect. I can’t imagine having waited any longer! You have completed our family. What would I do without your infectious smile or the sparkle in your eyes? Now it’s been a whole year since you came in to my arms and I’m begging time to slow down. I know that you are my last baby and I don’t want to let this time go!

You are already on the move. You started walking so early and have not stopped. You will go places, I’m sure of it. I can’t wait to see where. You love to explore and are constantly walking around the house. Such a busy little monkey. You are usually carrying some sort of bowl or cup and are putting things in and out of it. I don’t get it but hey, you are a baby. I love watching you play in your little foam tinker bell chair. It is your favourite place to sit, aside from my arms of course, though you don’t sit much.

You are such a Momma’s girl right now. I am cherishing that. I have a feeling you might have a pretty special connection with your Daddy though, after we get through this nursing season of our lives. You adore your big sisters, most of the time. You want to keep up with them so badly. They adore you right back and do almost anything to keep you happy. I can’t wait to see your relationship with them grow.

Evie, you have blessed us more than you will ever know. I can’t wait to see where you go in life, to walk beside you as you grow, and to love the beautiful woman you will become. I am already proud of you.

I will miss this first year of your life, your baby scent and your pudgy rolls. You are such a gift. Happy Birthday Angel! I am so thankful to be your Momma.

Love Mommy

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My Baby is 1!

Wow, where did the time go? My baby is growing up and I’m not completely on board with that! She is such a perfect little end to our family. I feel complete… though there is something at the back of my mind that still thinks of adopting one more 🙂

This year has gone by so fast and we were so blessed in it. I was reminiscing about Evie’s birth the other day and remembering how crazy and incredible it was. Labor with her was so much easier than with Livi. It progressed much faster than expected and in the end she was nearly born in the car on the highway! I had hoped it would be quieter and everyone would make it to see her be born but the way it turned out was pretty epic. I distinctly remember the nurses eyes when I came out of the elevator. 3 minutes later Evelyn came in to this world. She was pudgy and bruised from her quick decent but still one the most beautiful things I have had the privilege of seeing.

She was a very easy infant who nursed like a champ. Being able to nurse her for a year still feels like one of my best accomplishments. I was so scared I couldn’t do it again. I’m not sure how much longer it will last now that we are past the year mark but I will follow her lead on that. I feel like it may be starting to end because I’m not producing as much as she would need to continue and have weaned her from night nursing for my own sanity. I’m happy with whatever happens from here on.

 Good morning birthday girl! Waking up on her birthday!

This past month held a lot of development for Evie, as usual. We tackled sleep training her which was very hard. I didn’t have to sleep train either of her sisters. They both loved sleep! It was new territory for us. We pushed through the first two days which were the worst and now she is going to sleep much better and sleeping through the night without nursing. This makes for a much happier baby these days and is life changing for me!

Evelyn has 10 teeth now, her four front, top and bottom, and a set of molars, top and bottom. Teething has not been fun for her, or us. She has started talking a bit more with “mama, dada, done, and uh oh” She is definitely a not a talker. She doesn’t have to be. There are four people who know exactly what she wants when she just points or gives a little whine. It will come though 🙂 She is also a pro at walking now. She barely even crawls anymore. I love seeing it. She is too little to be walking as well as she does and is starting to tackle climbing now!

Evie still hates baths, or at least the part where she has to get her head wet. She screams, a lot. I hope she out grows this one day. Maybe we need to take her swimming more. She is an attention lover and between me and her sisters, she gets a lot of it. I’m hoping she gets a little more independent soon. I’m tired of the whining when she can’t see me! She is fits very well as the baby of the family and has the personality for it.

This month we celebrated her first Christmas! I really enjoyed having a baby who was a little engaged in it. She liked opening the gifts with her sisters and really liked the super annoying remote toy they got for her.  Although we were away with Jon’s extended family for Christmas on her actual birthday, we did have a small family birthday party for her on Jan 1. My sister made an amazing cake as usual and I loved watching her devour her first birthday cupcake. She was covered in pink icing!

Stats… Evie is a beautiful 23.5 pound one year old. Her eyes sparkle and squint when she smiles. She has a toothy, open mouth grin. Her laugh is very grown up and Livi remains the only one who can make her laugh until she can’t breath. I’m actually jealous and in love with that fact. 

As per family tradition, did a birthday photo shoot! I had big plans for this one and had bought her adorable outfit a few months earlier. I am not a great photographer and my camera has bee dropped one to many times, so they did not turn out as great as I had hoped but I am happy. The short strand of pearls she is wearing around her neck are real and were a gift from my Grandfather to my Grandma. I think Evie wears them well 🙂

Happy Birthday Evelyn Jane! You are precious and adored. I am so thankful for you and am so blessed to be your mommy. 

Christmas 2013

Wow, Christmas week was busy for us this year! Despite all my best efforts to be overly prepared. Kids just make it chaotic. I love Christmas though. Chaos and all. It is a beautiful time of year. I prepared early this year and tried not to be so uptight about the little things. I’m learning to let go. It is hard, but worth it. So very worth it.

In the last days of school for the girls I got to volunteer in Sofie’s classroom for their Christmas party. It was a lot of fun and I think Sofie really enjoyed having me. I was in charge of the gingerbread man station so I did have the best table 🙂 I stopped in on Livi’s party when Sofie’s was done and she was having a blast. I had helped in her Halloween party so I’m trying my best to keep it fair!

Our first Christmas was with Jon’s immediate family. It was a delicious ham dinner and presents under the Christmas tree. It was Evelyn’s first Christmas celebration which made it extra special. I had hoped she would have come out by Christmas last year but at least she was out by the new year!
Checking out the tree with Gramma.

Crazy grandkids!
Reading with Uncle Jeremy.
I think I have started a new Christmas eve tradition, via Pinterest. I put together a gift bag filled with matching pajama’s, hot chocolate, popcorn and a movie that they got to open on Christmas Eve afternoon. Plans changed a bit though and the older two put on their matching pj’s and we headed out to the big theatre to see Sofie’s first big theatre movie. We had gone to the little theatre a few months ago but I thought she was ready for the big one this time. She did amazing by the way. about half way through she spent about 15 minutes facing me on my lap but then she was recharged and finished the film in her own seat! I was so proud of her!

After a much to late church service, Livi was very careful to leave out cookies and milk for Santa and not forget apples and carrots for the reindeer.

The girls were all so engaged and excited on Christmas morning. Sofie understood that Santa had brought some presents and Evie was happy through most of it too. 9 am is her nap time and Sofie didn’t wake up until after 8 so she was pushed a little bit.

I was so proud of my big girls. They did not immediately look for and ask for their presents. They first made sure that Evie got to open her present before them. They enjoyed helping her of course. The amazing thing is that it was completely Livi’s idea. We had not mentioned anything about letting other’s go first. She wanted to make sure Evie opened the first gift all on her own. She makes me proud every day. 

I loved seeing Sofie so engaged in Christmas this year. 

Ready for her nap!
Adoring sister.
My matching Christmas angels. I love being that mom that gets them matching pjs!
Our final Christmas celebration was this past weekend. Every two years Jon’s extended family has a big three day get together somewhere. It is a lot of family all at once but it works… usually. This year was the hardest year for us by far. Three kids between 1 and 5 years old don’t make anything easy, generally. There were 43 people in two great rooms together most of the weekend. The two great rooms in the lodge where bright and echoey. It was a sensory nightmare for me, let alone Sofie. I nearly crumpled the second day watching Sofie’s entire body nearly collapse from sensory overload… and no one understood or “got it”. Evie had a cold. Livi was fighting it. Evie has also never slept in another bed other than at home except for once when she was 6 months old. The family was also not used to little kids running around. Cords and electronics where left in their reach numerous times and unsuitable activities were planned at times that were NOT at all kid and nap time friendly. 

Although we did leave one night early, spending time with a family like this is priceless. My extended family would never do something like this. It makes for some amazing memories and relationships that would not form otherwise. 

Us grandkids also got to be educated on some of the family business this year. We were also given the opportunity to decide where to give a large some of money for charitable donations. This was a pretty amazing experience for me. From 25 people we had about 20 suggestions of where to give them money. Lots of great recommendations, all of which had a special meaning to the person suggesting it. We each had less than a minute to let the group know about our charity and why they should get them money before we cast some votes to see which charities could be eliminated. I was one of the last to make my suggestion. Mine was a little different since no tax receipt would be included for the company. I didn’t suggest a registered charity but instead a person for her adoption of a little boy with DS from Bulgaria. She is also going in to this with no kids of her own yet and no partner. 
(A little back story on this soon to be mom, Heather. She is the oldest daughter of the Keno family. The Keno’s are the family that introduced Jon to people with special needs and have adopted 5 children with  special needs themselves. 4 from the Ministry, 3 with Down Syndrome, and 1 of those with DS was an international adoption from Bulgaria just before us. They prepared Jon for my world and influenced our decision and ability to adopt greatly! Now Heather is on the same journey and we get to be a part of it!)
I was SO humbled by what happened next. With only my short explanation of why I thought Heather should get some money, it was unanimous that she would be getting some of it! I LOVED watching all Jon’s cousins cast their votes. The only question was how much. We unanimously agreed in a short 30ish minutes that Heather would be getting 50% of our donation and the other 50% was divided between 5 other charities, some very big well known ones and some smaller ones that the cousins have personally volunteered at. I had tears in my eyes. I was so honoured to have been able to let them know about this adoption and see them all jump on board whole heartedly to support something that is so dear to my heart. It was VERY cool to see and be a part of. Something I’ll never forget. 
All in all this was a fabulous Christmas! I look forward to it being a little easier next year and learning to let more go in future years. It is happening and I’m loving it. I’m so much more relaxed! Merry Christmas to all and we hope you have a beautiful, joy filled, imperfect new year.