One Year Old – Evelyn Faye

Mom’s First Birthday

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This month has been incredibly emotional for me as I’ve thought of Evelyn’s approaching birthday.

I’ve spent time looking at her birth story, and each monthly update (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

Normally I don’t get emotional while I write.  But I can’t help it this time.  No one warned me about how difficult it is seeing your baby turn one.  My eyes are wet.  My throat is tight.  My heart is achy.

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Why?  Why is watching your baby grow up so emotional?  I’ve tried really hard to figure out WHY I’m feeling this way.

This video sums it up.  (Make sure to turn on the English subtitles.)

Tears.  Every time.  That video makes me weep, haha.

We survived one year together.  Every single day.  We survived me getting strep when Evelyn was only 2 weeks old.  We survived a very dark and difficult 6 weeks of more than just the baby blues; a very heavy PPD.  We survived stitches on Evelyn’s face.  We survived living in an unfinished basement.  We survived 3 ER visits.  We survived 5+ ear infections and ear tube surgery.  But we did more than survive.  We thrived.

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These past 365 days have been the hardest, and the absolute best of my entire life.  I never really considered myself a “nurturer.”  I was afraid to become a mother.  I didn’t know if I ‘had it.’  Being a mum takes a lot of work, but I was amazed at the flood of nurturing feelings and instincts that came, when I put forth effort.  I felt my physical and emotional role as a mother naturally blossom.  I didn’t know ‘what to do,’ or ‘how to be a mom.’  But we have learned and grown together.

By no means am I an expert-mother.  Each day is a new adventure and I’m faced with new challenges.

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I wish I could write the feelings in my heart for the love I have for our beautiful daughter Evelyn Faye Crowder.  It makes me cry when I think about it.  It is a love so strong.  It’s a love that cannot be broken by a thousand armies.  It’s a love that would sacrifice anything and everything, even your own life if necessary.  It is a love more precious than all the diamonds and gems owned by the Queen of England and the Shane Co combined!

This year I have learned:
That my needs do not come first.
It is important to apologize when you make a mistake.  Even to a baby.
Babies are quick to forgive.  And I should be too.
A little patience goes a long way.
Being flexible makes everything a little easier.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
Family is EVERYTHING.

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I feel so blessed in my posterity.  I know there were no mistakes with which baby got sent to Aaron and I.  I know that Evelyn is the right fit in our family.  I know we are the right parents for her.  I know she is the right child for us.  I’m so grateful for this special year Evelyn and I have had together.

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Happy birthday, baby.

Thank you to Valery Bunnell Photography for perfectly capturing Evelyn during her cake smash!

 

Evelyn Faye 11 Months

Evelyn Faye!  You are a verb.  ALWAYS MOVING.

And you are anything but boring.  Your personality is hilarious.  You constantly have us laughing.

You walk.  You run.  You dance.  You climb.  You whistle.  YES, YOU WHISTLE!

You’ve actually been whistling since you were about 8 months.  You discovered it on accident.  Your lips happened to be in that shape, and you breathed, and it made a sound!  You thought it was hilarious.  You’ve randomly done it since then, and we’ve never been able to catch a video of it.  You’re at the point now where we can coax you into whistling, and you know what to do to make the noise.  It’s the funniest thing.  You think so too.  You always smile and laugh after you do it.

You have grown really attached to blankets.  You like to drag them everywhere with you.  It’s not necessarily any particular blanket.  You don’t care which one you have, as long as you have one.

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You also love to rearrange furniture if it’s not too heavy for you.  You push your high chair, the bar stools, the kitchen chairs, the dining room chairs, the coffee table… etc.  Of course, while holding your blankie.

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You’ve discovered boxes, and how cool they are.  And that is wonderful to me.  I feel like there’s nothing more imaginative than playing with a box!

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This past month you had to have ear-tube surgery.  You were getting constant ear infections, and you were so miserable.  The hospital staff was so sweet to you, and you handled everything like a champ.  You did so great during all the prep.  I didn’t expect you to do well.  You didn’t even cry once.

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After the surgery, things immediately improved for you.  You FINALLY were able to start sleeping the whole night consistently.  You could finally eat a whole bottle all at once.  It’s amazing how much your demeanor changed once you weren’t in constant pain anymore.

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You have figured out how to sit and rock in your little rocking chair Grandpa Burton made you.  You love to scoot it around and find the perfect place to sit.

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Stairs are your favorite thing.  You are lightning fast going up them.  But, you don’t like to come down them.  The concept of going backwards doesn’t jive with you.  You always try to go forward down the stairs.  Luckily we’re always there to catch you.

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You will never snuggle and take naps with me.  Only daddy.  You two are the cutest best friends I’ve ever seen.

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Christmas has been really magical for you.  Even though you don’t understand yet, you are taking in all the magic, and the wonder reflects in your eyes.

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You loved watching daddy hang the Christmas lights outside your window.  I’m pretty certain that you wanted to be out on the roof with him, helping.

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Let’s talk about your hair for a second, Evelyn Faye.  It is out of control!  The back is SO curly.  But after you sleep on it, it gets so nappy and tangly.  We have to put lotion in your hair every day to tame it, otherwise it is all over the place.  You didn’t get it from me or dad.  Both of our hair is straight straight straight.

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Pre-tamed, out of control hair:

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Whenever we take the puppies outside, you always wait by the door.  You love them SO much.  You also love to squish your face against the glass.

You say “doggie” all the time.  You love playing with them.  You love everything about them.  You love when we come home because letting the dogs out of their crate is your favorite.  You learned how to undo the latch all on your own.   (excuse the messy dog-room)

Evelyn, I love you and your daddy so much.  (and your little baby fetus sister too!)  The closer we get to your first birthday, the more emotional I get.  I feel like I’ve known you forever.  You’ve never been a stranger to me.  I KNOW we knew each other before this life.  I love being around you.  I love learning from you.  I have a feeling that you’re going to be constantly teaching me lessons for the rest of my life.  And I am most definitely up for it.

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8, 9, 10 Months

Oh Evelyn. The fact that is has taken 3 months to write a monthly update will tell you how the past 3 months have been.

BUSY.  FAST.

You are growing and changing so fast I can barely keep up with you. Every morning when you wake up, I see a new little girl, and I wonder where my baby went.   You turn more and more into yourself each day.  As fast as your body grows, so does your brain.  I see you learn and discover new things daily, and it surprises me and blows me away how much you know!

8 months Evelyn Faye

8 months Evelyn Faye

You have such a sense of humor.  You laugh at everything.  You make yourself laugh.  You have the sweetest belly laugh, but you also have a sassy little chuckle you do when you crack yourself up.

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If there’s a floor vent around, you’ll be drawn to it like a magnet.  You love the way it sounds when you run your hand up and down the metal.  You’ve also discovered that you can squish things into vents.  Which is becoming a problem.  I found you trying to smash some of your baby food puffs into the vent just this weekend.

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This summer in the basement was extra hard on you, but you handled it like a champion.  Nap times were very difficult.  We would covered-wagon your crib with a black blanket, and as you can see, it was very effective.

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We took you to the Parade of Homes, and you were SO happy.  You loved being packed around in the Ergo.  I think it reminded you of Disneyland :)

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9 months

Evelyn Faye

When you were about 6 months, you had a little bump that grew on your cheek.  At first it looked like baby acne, and so we waited for it to go away.  It didn’t go away, and your great pediatrician had to open it with a scalpel and drain it.  We thought that would do the trick, but after a couple months it never healed all the way, and it came back worse.  It turned out to be a pilomatricoma.  It was a non-cancerous calcium tumor in your cheek, so we had to see the only pediatric dermatologist in the state to get it removed.

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The hardest part for you wasn’t getting it removed, although that WAS hard.  The very hardest part was the stitches.  It took 4 men to hold you still enough for the doctor to stitch you up.

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You are undeniably a daddy’s girl.  You love me pretty good, but nothing compares to when daddy gets home from work.  You are obsessed with him and won’t leave his side.  It is a happiness that I don’t have enough words to explain!

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Evelyn Faye

Evelyn Faye

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You LOVE bath time.  Baths are your happy place.

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Evelyn Faye

Over the summer you started standing and walking holding onto furniture or a walker.  And when you were 9 months, you were taking steps all by yourself!

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Right after we moved into our house, we were just about ready to get you ready for bed, and you were walking back and forth between mommy and daddy.  You tripped and hit your lip so hard on a corner.  Your lip split wide open.  It was gushing blood, and we couldn’t tell how bad it was through all the blood.  So. Much. Blood.  We took a trip to the ER to see if you needed stitches.  Luckily you didn’t.  I was relieved since your first set of stitches was so traumatic.  You did have a very nice battle wound for awhile.

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We leave one of the cupboards un-baby-proofed for you.  It’s the mixing bowl storage.  YOU LOVE IT.  You love stacking them.  You love putting the smaller bowls in the bigger bowls.  You love putting the bowls on your head.  You love the colors.  You love to move them around.  The kitchen is NEVER clean because there are bowls everywhere.  But it makes me so happy to see you learn and discover.  I love seeing your imagination grow.  I would much rather have you play with mixing bowls instead of toys.  That is how creativity is born.  I hope you see the beauty in imagination as you grow up.

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You’ve discovered “people food.”  You always want to eat whatever we are eating.  And you always love it!  You love our vegetables.  You love our chicken.  You love our pasta.  You love our rice.  You love food.  All food.  You aren’t a picky eater.  I decided to give you a mini cupcake to see what you did with it, and to practice for your first birthday :)

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On Fridays we get to hang out with your cousin Dylan.  Sometimes we go to Nicklecade.  He wanted so badly to spend some of his nickles so you could do some rides.  It was so sweet.  He picked a fighter jet for you, because we love airplanes in this family.  You were unsure at first, but after the 3rd time of Dylan wanting you to ride it, you started to have a lot of fun.  Dylan LOVES you.

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One Sunday morning I was painting my nails, and daddy said, “Should we paint Evelyn’s toe nails???”  I said, if you can get her to hold still enough, I’ll do it.  And sure enough, he got you to hold still.  And you had some pretty pink toes!

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10 months Evelyn Faye

One of the most incredibly frustrating things is you WILL NOT hold your own bottle.  You completely refuse.  It’s not a matter of if you can, it’s that you are so stubborn you simply won’t do it.  You can walk, but you won’t hold a bottle.  It’s frustrating.  I see little babies at the store holding their bottles while the mommies shop… and I get very jealous.

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On a cuter note, if we stick our tongue out at you, you’ll do it back.  And it is so funny.  Then you laugh.  You think it’s hilarious.

10 months Evelyn Faye

Evelyn, you are a diamond.  You sparkle and shine and reflect light.  There is something so special about you.  You make everyone around you happy.  You love everyone.  You let anyone hold you and snuggle you.  You make everyone feel loved.  You keep everyone around you laughing.  You always have something cute to do.   You love seeing people laugh.  When people laugh, you laugh.  I hope you always take great care to love people and cheer them up.  I know it will be a blessing to many people in your life!  I love being your mommy.  You and I have the strongest of bonds.  I love you sugar.

7 Months

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What a month.  You never.hold.still.  … ever.20140731-212825

Evelyn, this month you learned to crawl, and our lives have completely changed.  Nothing is safe from you.

You never want to be held or sit still.  It has made church a little rough.  I mean, I can’t really blame her.  I’d rather explore under the pews than listen to high counsel speakers too.

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You are obsessed with the hymn book.  When it’s open, you love to grab and smack it as hard as you can.  We usually get some interesting looks.

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Sometimes I’m not sure why we even bother trying to go since we spend more time in the halls than in the service.

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You’ve hit a major growth spurt this month, length-wise.  A lot of your clothes are still 3 month and 6 months, but your legs are getting so long.  No surprise about that though.

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You’ve started pulling yourself up to stand, so we had to lower your crib stat!  I’ve never seen you look prouder than the first time you did it.  You were so pleased.  I was not.

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You’ve been able to spend so much time with your cousins over at grandma’s house this summer.  Both Molly & Dylan love you SO much.  They love to play with you.  You love the attention.

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

We took you on a house-hunting adventure with us, and you enjoyed exploring and snooping as much as mom & dad.

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This month we got stuck in a ridiculous traffic jam, at which time you decided you were starving and it would be good to let me know by screaming your brains out.  I whipped out my mad mom skills, made a bottle, fed you, AND took a selfie to prove it, all whilst driving.

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Water always makes you the happiest.  It’s the cure-all for your moodiness.  You’re a little sea creature.

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Dance time with Aunt Heidi is also one of your favorite activities.  Your smile goes on for days.

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

Sometimes I get a little sad because I think you don’t look anything like me.  But then I remember we have the same nose, and that’s enough.

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

You got a bug bite on your cheek that got infected and turned into a big cyst.  The doctor had to drain it with a scalpel.  It was the saddest thing.  It took 3 nurses to hold you down.

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Your night time sleeping has improved so much.  We don’t have to swaddle you or blindfold you at night (naps are another story).

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We’ve turned a corner with the dogs, especially Buster.  When you go to sleep (at night AND naps) Buster will go to the side of your crib and beg and whine until we put him in there with you.  Then he just snuggles up to you.

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

Evelyn Faye 7 month baby

 

Evelyn, sometimes being your mum is a challenge.  Sometimes I feel like giving up.  It’s really hard.  Some mornings when you’re up bright and early, and I’m exhausted beyond belief, I beg to Heavenly Father to give me the strength to make it through the day and not take my struggles out on you.  It’s those days that you make me laugh the most, that you smile the most, and that you make me proud the most.  I love you sugar drop.  Thanks for keeping me humble (and active!).

 

6 Months

On June 23rd we celebrated Evelyn’s half birthday.
I’m not really sure where the time has gone.  I remember marveling that she was 6 WEEKS.  There are days where I feel this ache in my heart for my snuggly newborn baby.  But most days I get really excited watching her grow and progress.  She gets more and more fun with each sunrise.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

I feel like we have seen the fasted changes in growth during this past month.  The most major one, sitting up.

Evelyn Faye 6 monthsThe month was really fast-paced for our family.  We sold our house, packed & moved, then went on vacation.  I could tell that all the extra chaos put a little extra stress on Evelyn.  She was a little crankier than usual the week following the move.  As we are getting back into routine, her temperament is greatly improving.

I get jealous when I hear about how good my friends’ babies sleep at night.  Most babies of this age are pretty much sleeping through the night.  With all the chaos and new places in the past month, it has really made nights a rough time.  We are working really really hard to get her back to peaceful slumbers.  But for now I can say I’m extra grateful that she is an excellent napper!

Evelyn Faye 6 months

Evelyn has changed so much physically in the last month.  She is looking more and more like herself.  She’s growing tall.  She is almost in the 80th% for height.  Not that we’re really surprised by that.  It’s hard to tell since she doesn’t really like to hold her legs straight out for more than .47 of a second.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

As my mother-in-law told me, “You won’t know what to do when you actually have a normal baby!”  When Evelyn is awake, she is moving 100% of the time.  She is the wiggliest child on this planet.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

Another surprising fact about the babe, she LOVES to wear her sunglasses.  And every time she wears them, I get asked/told, “How do you get her to keep those on? My baby would NEVER have worn sunglasses!”  I don’t know.  My best guess is she realizes they actually keep her light blue eyes from hurting in the sun.  But who really knows.  All we know is that she is adorable.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

I talked about this in the Disneyland post, but Evelyn loves being carried around in the Ergo.  She loves to see what is going on around her.  She never gets fussy when she’s in the carrier.  She’s one happy clam.

Evelyn Faye 6 months A new thing Evelyn has started doing is feeing peoples’ faces.  It’s her way of greeting someone and learning about them.  It reminds me of Hook.  There you are Peter!  Sometimes we’ll bring Evelyn in our bed with us for snuggles at night, and even in her sleep she’ll reach up to feel the face of which person is holding her.  It’s quite precious.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

Evelyn Faye has the most ticklish face.  Especially when a daddy with whiskers gives kisses.  She will giggle without fail.

When we were on vacation, we learned that Evelyn loved playing with the steering wheel.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

We also learned that she has pretty bad road rage.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

If something makes a crinkle noise, then it is Evelyn’s favorite toy.  This includes: packages of wipes, water bottles, a bag of M&Ms, the paper on the doctor table.

Evelyn Faye 6 months

Evelyn Faye 6 months

We’ve taken her swimming several times.  She is a water baby!  She loves to kick her legs and splash and splash.  She especially loves when she splashes herself in the face.  I don’t pretend to understand her logic.  I just know my heart explodes when I see her smiling and having fun.Evelyn Faye 6 months

Evelyn Faye’s personality is blossoming like an untended zucchini patch, in leaps and bounds.  She’s growing and changing so fast that I am out of breath trying to keep up with her.  I blink and she does something new.  Being a mother is the hardest job I’ve had.  I’m more tired than I know how to say.  But I am also more happy than I’ve ever been in my life.