Sunday, November 27, 2011

One year

Dearest Baby Julia,

Happy Birthday (late, of course!)

You turned one year old at 9:22 pm on Saturday, November 5. I can't believe we went from this:
to this:

so quickly.

You had a fantastic birthday! We started the celebration with an early party with Meemaw and Pawpaw the weekend before. They came to town and we had presents and cake while they helped Daddy finish some painting work that had been lingering since before you were born.

Meemaw and Pawpaw were camera shy, but here you are with Daddy playing with one of their gifts.

A few days later, Nana came to town. You get so excited when you see her, but it takes you a few minutes to understand that she's actually here and not on Skype!

A serious moment. And the only picture I got with Nana!  A serious oversight!

We had a party at school, which was nice. Your teachers are fantastic.

We also had a party here! The weather was nice, so we had the party outside in the yard. Some of our dearest friends came to celebrate you! Of course we had too much food (Nana and Mama can't cook normal amounts, and it's not a party unless we can feed 50 more people than we actually invite!)

Mommy and Daddy with with balloons (you were napping)

It was really important to me that I bake your birthday cake. So important, in fact, that I made two! One practice, and one for real. It was a six-layer cake, and each layer was a different color of the rainbow.  I think that I wanted to make your cake to prove to myself that, even though I work, I am still here to do things that are important, like make your cake.

Practice Cake

Birthday Cake- brighter colors and yummier frosting!

October was a busy month. You learned how to walk! And boy, can you walk!  You're really cruising now.  You also really came to love books this month.  You pick them out and play with them yourself, pointing out things that you see.  You're close to exploding with language, too- you point and try to say "look" or "that," you bark when you see the dogs, and you babble a lot.  You're also a fantastic eater!  You will try almost anything, and we can actually go to restaurants without bringing a bunch of baby food because you are eating real food.  It's cool!

This month at school you started napping on a cot instead of in a crib, and you started eating snacks at a table and chairs instead of in a highchair.  These things make me feel like you are a BIG kid!

One Saturday in October went to a pumpkin patch with Jill and Asher.

And it was Halloween! You dressed as a bumble bee, and Daddy and I were your beekeepers. You were adorable!

I was terribly busy at work all month- I had my first ever trial on November 15-16, so I was getting ready for that, along with another big hearing on October 27. You spent lots of quality time with Daddy this month!  It killed me to be so stressed out about work and to be away so much, but your Dad really stepped up to the plate.  He was super dad and super husband all month!

The last year has been really incredible for me.  Before a baby is born, especially when it's a first baby for a family, everyone says things like "your life will change completely" and "raising kids is the hardest but most rewarding thing you'll ever do."  And you know on some level that they're right, but there is just no way to know how completely and totally a baby changes things.

Baby, you changed things!  From the second you came into this world, I was a changed person.  My focus changed from me to you in an instant, and it hasn't shifted back, even for a moment.  I could stare at you for hours.  You are the most beautiful, incredible thing I have ever seen!  And I love watching you explore this world.  Your brain works so hard to figure things out, and you are so proud when you get it! 

Physically, I have changed a lot, too.  It was important to me that you come into this world naturally, and you did.  That was hugely empowering for me!  I've never really liked or respected my body before.  But after carrying and delivering you, I felt for the first time like my body was a powerful thing.  I think about my body very differently now.  I've even started running!  (You can thank your Auntie CC for that!)  I never thought I could do it before, but now I know I can, and I enjoy it.  I'm training for a half marathon right now, which I think is crazy.  But I can do it!  I want to be a model of activity and healthier living for you.

Talking on the iPhone.  Hello??

I'm so glad I was able to take off a full three months to be with you when you were born.  There are days when I'm really glad I work, and there are days when I really wish I could be with you all of the time.  You are so happy in day care, which that makes it easier to work.  I know you're with people who love you, playing with other kids and getting lots more stimulation than you'd get at home with me.  I hope that some day you look at me and see that it is important (and possible) to find a vocation you like.  You can be anything you want when you grow up, Julia, and it's ok if it takes you a while to figure out what that is.  It sure took me some time!  I hope you experiment with lots of things until you find the thing that fits you best, whatever that thing may be.

Your Daddy loves you so much, Julia.  And you only have eyes for Daddy! It has been a real joy to watch him blossom as a father.  Now that you're so active, the two of you really have some fun.

And you are the light of my life.  I love our tender moments together.  I am doing my best and try to enjoy every second, but I worry that I'm not a perfect parent.  It's hard to balance teachable moments and unstructured play time, playing old favorites while embracing new ones, and adjusting to all the changes (which happen literally every day!)  I do worry about your sleep, but I know you've been in a trifecta of sleeplessness with teething, illness, and major developments.  You're napping really well and pretty consistently at school, which is good, and you seem to be sleeping better at night these days (except for last night- boo!)

Each day feels like it's on fast-forward, and time seems to be accelerating even more with every passing moment.  I think we're coming to the end of our nursing time in the next month or so.  That's good, because it means you're growing and healthy, but I'll miss our quiet snuggle time.

Each new milestone is bittersweet for the same reason- I'm so happy you are developing, but each development means you're getting older and more independent.  Again, all good things, but the sweetness of the previous phase is hard to let go.  You are definitely not an infant any more, but you're not yet a little kid.  You're right where you should be, and I want to eat you up!

You are an amazing girl, Julia Anrep Jackson!  I'm so glad I get to be your Mommy.  Here's to another great year- you're the best thing that ever happened to me.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey trot

At the Bryan-College Station Turkey Trot 5k. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Videos- making up for lost time

Here are three more videos for your viewing pleasure.

First, from November 12 in the early morning:

Second, walking and talking later that day:

Third, playing with one of her (many) favorite birthday presents on November 14:

Mmmm breakfast

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dinner, and the aftermath

Sorry for the brief hiatus- work has been busy *again*. Here are a couple videos of dinner tonight to make up for it.

Julia fed herself dinner tonight.

And this is what the aftermath looked like.

Nights like this I'm really glad we have doggies!

Watching the world go by

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New favorite picture

This is my new favorite picture of Julia. She looks like such a big girl!