Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 28

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 28

You are Lila.  There is no one like you.  I never could have imagined the brilliant combination of your daddy's and my personality (with little tidbits of your aunts and uncles blended in there, too) that you are.  You are more surprising and more perfectly created and more adored than I ever thought you would or could be.  I will never run out of subject matter for things I love about you.  

You are delightful.  
I delight in you.
You are sweet.  
you were sharing your cheerios with me.  so sweet.
but mommy would rather not eat cheerios that have already been in your mouth.
You are wild.  
you're a daredevil.  you're always wanting to be
 teetering dangerously close to a ledge or on top
of tall piece of furniture
You are silly.  
you love being upside down.  flipping you cures the grumpies any day 
You are talkative.
I believe this photo was taken mid-babble
You are beautiful. 
those eyelashes! those cheeks! that whispy hair! that little nose!
You are opinionated.  

clearly you did not want to be snuggled on your daddy's lap

You are fiery.  

it may look like you were hugging our faces, but in actuality you were
 trying to escape

You are smart.  
you love to read.  I find you in this posture multiple times a day.
You are naughty.  
caught in the act of trying to break into yet another cabinet you aren't allowed to play in
You are endearing.  

look closely and you can see a booger hanging out of the right nostril.
what's more endearing than that?

You are persistent.
you kept inching closer and closer to the camera, determined to get
your grimy mitts on that pricey lens
You are wonderful.  
full of wonder
You are Lila.  
sweet Baby Girl
You are mine.  
P.S. TOTALLY forgot to give credit to Jenae Weinbrenner of imijfoto who took all these photos.  Hire her!  She's the best!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 27

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 27

How cute you look carrying around your beloved Lambie and Snuggle.  You hold them close and high up against your cheek and tilt your head toward them.  Sometimes you'll leave the room and come back holding both of them and then just walk around for awhile snuggling them.  I say, "Is that your snuggle?  Is that your lambie?" and you giggle and snuggle them harder.  These are your must-have comfort objects.  The Snuggle (actually it's a fleece burp rag turned snuggly blanket) was a strategic move on my part.  We had six of them (although at the moment, I can only find four) thus we don't need to fear misplacing one.  They are small and easy to carry, soft, and light weight enough that I won't worry about you suffocating when you fall asleep with it over your face (a common occurrence).
sweet little littles.  snugglin' that snuggle.
when I look at your snuggle, I see a fuzzy blanket.
when your daddy looks at it, he sees a cape.
The Lambie, on the other hand, is a different story.  Despite every effort on our parts to force you to love something "hip," you chose a fuzzy lamb as your Velveteen Rabbit.  The first time you picked up that lamb and snuggled it against your cheek, I knew it was all over.  Bye-bye Jellycat.  Bye-bye Sock Monkey.  I don't really mind though because it reminds me (as if I need the reminder) that you are your own independent person.   Also, your Great Grandma (who may love you more than I do if that's even possible) gave you that lamb because "it was just so soft I just couldn't resist buying it for sweet Lila."  So I guess it's fitting that the thing that makes you feel safe was given to you by the kindest, most loving person on this planet.
The sweetest grandma in the world.
I'll fight anyone who thinks they have a sweeter grandma than I do.
Recently, Lambie came home from church covered in pink chalk.  That night I tried a substitute so I could wash it (her? him?).  I bet you can't guess how that went over.  You were not a fan of that plan and Lambie took a bath the next day instead.  Have I mentioned before that I am a sucker?  
who wouldn't be a sucker for this sweet face?
When we put you to bed, you need your Lambie in one arm and your Snuggle in the other. At bedtime tonight I told you to find your Lambie and Snuggle, which you did:  
sleepy baby ready for bed

Then you walked around saying, "Daddy night-night?  Daddy night-night?"  Your first two-word sentence!  But Daddy was at church being a rockstar drummer so he missed out on both this new linguistic milestone and snuggling you.  He was very sad about that.

But that's nothing compared what he missed the other day.  It was the most awesome thing ever.  You went over, picked up your Snuggle and put it over your shoulder.  Then you leaned your cheek down and lifted your shoulder to meet your cheek.  When your shoulder lifted, so did your hand.  All of this happened in a split second as you started walking across the room and what to my wondering eyes should appear?  My toddler, the Awesome Kid herself, living up to her name as she performed the Thriller dance.  I can't believe I didn't get a picture of it.  And magic like that just can't be recreated.

P.S. If you want a fun game, glance back through the last 28 days and see if you can spot the many appearances of Snuggle and Lambie.  Try here, here, here and here for starters. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 26

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 26

You teach me. When I signed up for this parenting thing I had a certain assumption, and with that a little fear, that I was going to be responsible for teaching you everything. First the simple things like surviving, then the more complex like talking and eating with utensils and which bands and movies to like. Then eventually the really hard stuff like driving and algebra and boys and, well, surviving. All dads must feel at the very least a twinge of anxiety about passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience so their kids can become the best possible versions of themselves. It's a lot to consider. The thing I didn't consider, however, was how much you were going to teach me. Already.

I used to love sleeping on Saturday mornings. Granted, not as much as your mom loves sleeping in, but I could get behind not getting up with the sun. Now on weekends I get up as early as I do during the week, if not earlier. When your call for me to rescue you from your oppressive crib wakes me up it usually takes me a few minutes of sitting on the couch and watching you shuffle back and forth across the living room before my brain realizes I'm ready to be out of bed with my eyes open. By that time, though, you've usually "reorganized" the books on your shelf, pulled all the Noah's Ark animals out of one tub and put them in another, then emptied them again all over the floor and demanded that we watch your birthday movie at least three or four times all while carrying around your little red bowl of Cheerios. When you set your mind to finishing a project, nothing can distract you until you finish piling all those toys in the proper bin or scattering all those clothes on the floor where they apparently belong or sliding that chair across the floor to where you just know it's supposed to reside. And then, once completed to your satisfaction but never before, you move on. I see that kind of determination and it makes me want to do everything more intensely. Lesson one.

When I take you to Starbucks every Saturday morning you're not content to just sit and eat breakfast and not take advantage of being out of the house. No, you want to use that opportunity to make friends; something your dad never sought actively. So you march from table to table, smiling up at your adoring new fans and usually saying something like "Aye-yi-yi-blecketch. Noooooo, NO!" while signing please so they know you really want whatever it is you're requesting so earnestly from them. And then they have the nerve to not comply. I have a feeling that someday you're going to have the words to back up that voice, and when you talk people are going to listen. You don't know it yet, but you're helping me find my voice too. Lesson two.

Lila at Starbucks, making sure everyone gets a salutary wave. And don't worry,
I made sure she didn't eat that scrap of Splenda paper that she picked up.

I shot this today. I love tickling you because you giggle and squirm and squeal like it's the best thing that has ever happened to anyone ever. With your laugh and your expressions, you teach me what it is to let joy overtake you. Lesson three.

A few days ago your mom dressed you in your purple Adidas tracksuit (my new favorite) and you went and grabbed your white Adidas kicks and brought them back to her as if to say, "Don't stop now mommy, it's not complete yet." Reverend Run would be so proud. You're only fourteen months old and you have style, plus you seem to know it. Today while mommy was in the dressing room at Banana Republic I watched you in front of the segmented mirror, just taking in the multiple clones of yourself. Vanity or just appreciation, I can't decide. But it's undeniable that you like yourself, and that's something to be admired. Lesson four.

Whose house? Lila's house.
At the end of the day when it's time to sleep you don't mess around. You almost never cry when we put you down for the night. We sing to you and pray for you and tell you we love you and then you crash. Work hard, play hard, sleep hard. That's a rhythm I wish I could get into. Lesson five.

One of my absolute favorite things about who you are and who I see you becoming is the passion you have for everything. Before you came, when I heard others described as "full of life" it never really resonated because I had no appreciation for what that could look like in someone that I love as much as I love you. And now here you are, so full of life and joy and sadness and frustration and desire and ambition and love that I can't believe you've only had a little over a year to develop all of it. I can't wait to see how you use it when you get older. We could either be in for a lot of successes, or a lot of trouble. But whatever happens we'll be so proud of you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 25

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 25

You're so snuggly when you're sick.  You have had a mild case of croup this week.  (However, I will confess that we mapped out the fastest route to Children's Mercy just in case!)  When you are sick, you become 20 times more dramatic than usual.  EVERYTHING is a big deal.  I can't tell you how many times I picked you up off the floor from the heap you had crumpled into because I wouldn't let you play with the poisons under the sink.  The difference between a sicky fit and a healthy fit is all in the response to me picking you up.  When you're healthy you go boneless and try to wriggle your way out of my arms in defiance.  But when you're sick, you wrap your chubby little arms around my neck, lay your head down on my shoulder and wail.  It's so sad.  But I kind of love it.  Because as I've said before, you usually aren't so cuddly.

Today I set up the humidifier in your room and closed us inside so you could breathe the moist air as you played.  I brought in a blanket and pillow and lay on the ground while you climbed on and around me for nearly two hours.  It was awesome.  You kept trying to lie down next to me, but when you would wiggle your little body down on the ground, your face would always end up about a centimeter from my own which you found hilarious.  It was painfully cute.  It felt like we were having a little sleepover - like we were teenage girlfriends giggling and gossiping under the covers.  I almost forgot you were sick...until you coughed and it sounded like a seal had snuck in our house and was demanding a snack.  Poor sicky baby.  What am I doing wrong as a mother that we have been sick soooo much!?  I'm sorry, Baby Girl.  Get better soon!  Until then, I'll snuggle you as much as you want!  

I didn't take any pictures today, so instead here's a video from February 25th of last year.  Look how little!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 24

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 24

You're a genius.  I know all moms think their kid is a genius, but you actually are.  Your dad thinks so too so that proves it.  Today you were whining so I picked you up.  You looked at me pointedly, took your bink out and said, "Digidit-chhh."  See what I mean?  Genius.  No really, because then I realized that your diaper was leaking and I asked, "Do you need your diaper changed?" and you smiled and said again, "Digidit-chhh!"  You were telling me you needed your diaper your own language...which I didn't really understand...but still.  Genius.

Sometimes I think you're smarter than I am.
real smart and real cute

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 23

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 23

You love taking baths.  That wasn't always the case.  But now! Oh what a joy to be able to throw you in that tub and have you entertained for 10 minutes straight! 10 minutes is kind of our max though, because about that time you start trying to stand up in the tub and I have to put an end to all of our wet fun (which is never a popular parenting choice from the peanut gallery).  

Tuesday has become bath day because you always come home from school FILTHY.  So yesterday we were playing in the bath and you weren't very thrilled with me disturbing your play time with the hassle of getting you clean.  So I started singing (which usually entertains you enough to make you forget that you were mad at me) in the style of Beyonce: all the naked babies, all the naked babies, all the naked babies, all the naked babies, put your hands up!  Which I thought was wildly clever and you thought was only mildly entertaining.  

So I brought out the bigger guns.  Your Nana, aka: world's best gift-giver, gave you this super fun bath toy that spurts and spins and spouts water.  You LOVE that thing.  And I love that it distracts you while I suds up your hair and clean the grime from between your fingers. 

some genius person invented that contraption!

It's so fun to see you delight in splashing around and it gets me really excited for bringing you to the pool this summer!

Just for grins (I mean, literal grins), here's a bonus picture from this fall:
your daddy might have had something to do with your hair-do

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 22

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 22

You're so helpful.  Like when you "help" me stuff your diapers (throw them on the floor).  Or when you "help" me feed the doggie (pass Cheerios to her from your high chair).  Or when you "help" me write my blog posts (bang on the keyboard and push the screen closed).  Or when you "help" me do laundry (pull the clean and folded laundry onto the floor and lay on it). 

You were especially helpful yesterday.  

I volunteered to bake cookies for a conference that the Gathering was hosting.  I planned on baking over the weekend while Daddy was home or at least in the evening once a certain someone (you) was in bed.  However, our weekend got over-booked so I was left with Monday afternoon to get the first round prepped and baked.  Hot oven + urgent timeline + necessity for things to turn out yummy + curious toddler = dilemma.  I thought I had my window when you were sitting nicely playing with your puzzles, but the sound of an opening cabinet and cookie sheets snagged your attention.  Which is when you began to "help" me.

After you pulled out a few other pans, you rearranged them a bit and then took a little rest.  I was a little disturbed that my child was laying on my filthy floor with her head on a pizza pan, but then the timer went off and I was glad to have you occupied while I opened the oven to switch out batches.  So maybe you were actually helping me by keeping yourself busy so I could get stuff done!  

Good news is, the cookies turned out great despite the distractions! Thanks for the help, Baby Girl!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 21

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 21

Your name.  I love your name and I love the way you say it - Yi-ya!  I know this might seem a little self-indulgent considering I named you, but there was so much more that went into that process that I can't take credit for.  I truly feel like the Lord named you.   I believe and hope that your name will become your identity as you grow up.  Because your name tells you more than who you are.   It tells you whose you are.  And as a very wise woman says, "You have to know whose you are before you can know who you are."  

Lila, your name means you are mine in Hebrew, and that phrase comes right out of Scripture.  The Lord says through his prophet Isaiah, "Listen to the One who created you.  O Israel, the One who formed you says, 'Do not be afraid, I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name, YOU ARE MINE.'"  

So whose are you?  Who is calling you by name?  The One who formed you.  The One who created you.  The One who ransomed you.  The One who says, "Do not be afraid."  The One King, the One God, the Holy One.  He is the One who claims you as his.  But not as his slave or his servant - as his child.    

I know I can't protect your identity completely.  I know that the world will try to teach you who you are.  Perhaps you will start to believe them when they call you know-it-all or stupid; suck-up or trouble maker; snobby or dorky.  But my hope is that your name will be a reminder to you of your true identity - that above all other labels, you will see yourself as someone who belongs to God - someone he calls his!  

And God must really beam with pride when he calls you his, because I can't begin to tell you how proud I am to call you mine!   

photo credit: Jenae Weinbrenner - imij foto
photo credit: Jenae Weinbrenner - imij foto

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 20

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 20

How much you love the doggie.  Some days I think this might be the only reason the doggie still lives here. Your first word (after mommy and daddy) was "doggie" and continues to be the word most often uttered.  There was some debate early on as to whether you were saying doggie or daddy because they sound awfully alike, but we went ahead and gave your dad the benefit of the doubt and called doggie your third word. 

That dog is your favorite toy.  You jump on her, you pat her, you sit on her, you hug her, you ride her, you bounce on her, you smoosh her head, you play with her paws, you pull her ears.  You pretty much torture that poor animal and she just lets you.  Every once in awhile she'll give me a forlorn look as if to say, "This small creature is at it again, couldn't you do something?"  The closest she's ever come to biting you is a full on lick in the face.  And for her tolerance she is rewarded with more grace than I would give any other pet who eats dead things and throws them up on my furniture.  


You sure do love that dog.  The other day I turned around and you had covered Franny up with your snuggle blanket.  Night-night, Franny.  Good dog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 19

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 19

The fact that I knew you were sick because you were grumpy.  Meaning, it's so out of character for you to be grumpy that I knew something wasn't right.  Meaning, you're such a happy girl and that makes Mommy happy.  But it's okay if you need to be grumpy sometimes, too.  I'll love you just the same.

Today was day 2 of grump-fest.  But today was better than yesterday because Daddy was home today and gave me a break.  Because guess what.  I'm sick, too.  AGAIN.  For real.  This is cold number 4 since October.  Enough already.  

Anyway, you're sicky too so when you woke up you were just a mess and the only thing that made you happy was to watch videos of yourself on daddy's computer.  But you looked so cute sitting on your daddy's lap snuggling your lambie with your hair all messed up.  See? 
poor sicky baby
Tonight when I put you to bed, I prayed for Jesus to heal your little body.  I hate it when you're sick.  I'd suffer through 40 colds a season if it meant you never had to be sick.  Too bad it doesn't work that way.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 18

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 18

How much I love you even when you aren't being all that lovable.  Today was a hard day.  I'm just going to say it.  You threw lots of fits and are perfecting your temper tantrums.  They start with a high pitched squeal of protest, then you go completely limp, then your face turns red, the tears come and you flop onto the floor in a pathetic heap.  The first few rounds I thought it was cute that you were developing a little opinion.  However after the 15th time I left you flopping around on the floor I looked at the clock and realized it was only 10:45am and thought, okay, I'm over this now.  Your life was apparently over because I wouldn't let you do acrobatics off the couch and I was becoming grouchier by the minute.  

The dog didn't do me any favors when she puked all over the couch (she's not supposed to be up there in the first place!) and then again in the kitchen.  At 3:00 I texted your daddy the following message: Dog threw up again.  Come home :(  Good thing Aunt Jess came over to save the day.  She let me take a quick nap (I begged her for 5 more minutes and she obliged, grumbling, "Lila, your mommy is so spoiled.") which probably saved my life.  You cried when she left and you looked at me like, "You let her leave? Are you going to keep ruining my life like this from now on?"  Yes I am.  That's my job as your mommy - to ruin all of your good times.  

Despite the rotten day we had, I couldn't help but kiss your cheeks and hug you and snuggle you and smile at you and tickle you and watch you in amazement and brag about you to your aunt all day long.  And now I'm regretting how eager I was to pass you off to your daddy when he came home.  I'm wishing I hadn't let him put you to bed without me tonight because I missed that last sleepy snuggle.  Please never interpret my grumpy moods for a commentary on how much I love you!  I love you so so much - even when we have terrible horrible no good very bad days.  
The look on your face in this picture says it all

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 17

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 17

Your little (big) diaper butt.  We use cloth diapers most of the time (except when we're traveling or you're sick or teething because I get really tired of rinsing out not-so-solid poopies.  Yucka).  I love cloth diapers because every time I snap a snap on your little Fuzzibunz, I hear "cha-ching!" in my head to signify the $0.12 I just saved.  Plus they're oh so cute and they make your bottom oh so chunky and I find myself singing Sir Mix-a-lot...a lot.  I used to kind of hate that they made your butt so big because I couldn't find pants that fit you right.  But recently I looked over at you crawling under the table to attack the doggie and I thought, "What a cute diaper-y booty!"  
pay no attention to the spot of water or the doggie hair hanging off the right butt cheek
somewhere under all that cloth is a cute little bottom
no pants!

On a separate note, our friends Rachel and Landon are in the process of adopting a baby.  Check out their blog to enter a fun giveaway (today through Sunday) that helps them raise the funds to bring their baby home!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 16

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 16

Our bedtime routine.  After you're zipped into your sleep sack, we give you your bink, your snuggle blanket and your little lambie.  Then we cuddle with you for a few minutes and do our quick little routine:

We sing the Beatles' song I Will.  I've been singing this to you since you were a resident of my belly.  I'll love you forever and forever; love you with all my heart.  I'll love you whenever we're together; love you when we're apart.  As I sing, I look up at the sweet artwork hanging above your bed that our friend Cari made for you.  And I can't help but smile when I sing the last line of the song - for the things you do endear you to me - because more often than not, you do something cute or silly right on cue as I am singing that line.  Maybe you intuitively know what I'm singing, or maybe I'm just looking for it.  Either way, those just-before-bed quirks are so sweet to me.
Click here to read about all the lovely little nuances
Cari snuck into this piece that made it unique to Lila.

Next we say your scripture to you.  I hope that by whispering these words to you each night, they dig deep roots in your heart so that when you are older and facing deep waters, rivers of difficulty and fires of oppression you will remember them and have hope and faith in the goodness of a Savior who has called you by name - you are mine.

Then we give you kisses in between these four lines:
I love you. *kiss*
Jesus loves you. *kiss*
I'm so proud of you. *kiss*
I'm so glad I'm your mommy/daddy. *kiss*
I can't take credit for coming up with those words.  Your Pop used to say them to me at bedtime when I was little.  They aren't just words.  They are true words.  I mean them and as I say them, I think about how true they are and the things that happened that day to make them true.

Finally, we lay you down in bed, I sweep your hair out of your eyes and tell you to have a good sleep.

Most nights that's all you need.  You are so tuckered out from playing hard all day that you fall right to sleep.  Of course, tonight you fought it and cried for 20 minutes, then started blowing raspberries and babbling until I finally went in to make sure you weren't poopy.  As I was changing your diaper, you just talked and talked to me as though it weren't 45 minutes past your bedtime.  I'm such a sucker.  I gave you another bottle and cuddled you some more before I put you back in bed.  I told myself it was because you have been teething and it's made you a little needier than usual.  In truth, though, I was grateful for an excuse to have a few extra minutes with you.  

I love you.  Jesus loves you.  I'm so proud of you.  I'm so glad I'm your mommy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 15

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 15

Your laugh.  Oh geez.  It's just the best.  It makes me want to curl up and die.  You know, in a good way.  Your dad and I do the stupidest things to make you laugh.  We make total fools of ourselves.  All I have to say is, "Worth it!" 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 14

28 Things to Love about Lila
Day 14

You love to imitate. Wow, kiddo. You're so lucky to have a mom who loves so well. I don't know how anyone is supposed to write a follow up to the most wonderful things that have ever been said about him, but your dad's going to give it a shot.

Since you were a few weeks old and really started to move your head around and gaze at the happenings around you, we've had a sense that you were into learning. In fact that was your mom's question every time you focused in on something or someone and it seemed like you left us for just a moment or two; "Lila, what are you learning?" So it shouldn't surprise me that when you hear a new sound or word, or I make a face when we're playing that you are eager repeat it, albeit with your own flair. Though I tell you almost daily that you simply must stop growing, I see glimmers of your future self that I am absolutely taken with, and seeing you learn new things is something that I will never grow tired of.

A few weeks ago I was feeding you breakfast (which is the first thing I do on Saturday mornings, just before putting you on my lap to watch the Muppet Show and going to John's Spaceage to share an applesauce donut. I LOVE Saturdays) and you paused mid-chew, staring up at me with much expectation, as if to challenge me to do something worth your attention. So I smiled and responded with an exaggerated blink. You considered my response for a moment, finished chewing, then opened your mouth and blinked back twice. Touché. Now it's almost a routine part of mealtime that you look up at me and blink and I blink back. It may not sound like much, but it looks like this:

And that's freaking adorable.

The second thing you did probably wasn't imitation per se, but it was on my birthday so I'm going to assume you were trying to be like me. For about sixty seconds I thought you wanted to be a drummer. Jason Hamilton may be a prophet.

I can't wait to find out what you're going to learn next. Happy Valentine's Day, Little Love.