Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dear Matilda, Today you are ONE!!!!

Dear Matilda,

Today you are one!. You have reached the milestone of your first birthday and we are so happy about it. We had prayed and hoped that you would join our family one day and I feel so blessed that I have the privilege of being your mom. This year has been full of so many new experiences for us. You of course were experiencing everything for the first time and in many ways I had "first" child experiences with you. Breastfeeding was horrible for the first two months, but we stayed strong and now it is so easy for both of us. You came into the world during the darkest part of the year (we only have a few hours of light per day in Finland in December) and we struggled to sleep and eat, but over time we adjusted and you have brought so much joy to our family.

Probably my favorite thing about you becoming a part of our family is how much you and Evelyn love each other. You are always excited to see her and she is excited to see you. I hope and pray that this love and enjoyment of each others company will continue throughout your life. You do drive each other crazy because you take toys from one another and since you are younger you do not play the same way, but you love being together.

While the first year is full of exciting milestones for many children, you happen to be part of a family who does a good amount of traveling so there feels like I have so much to share. Isä was home for the first month after you were born. Christmas was during this month so you were snuggled and kissed on by family. The day after Isä went to work Granny showed up to spend 5 weeks with us. It was wonderful. You were spoiled and held constantly. Grandpa came during that time also which just meant more holding and rocking. This created a small problem for me once granny and grandpa left and Isä was at work....you refused to sleep without being held. It was a rough two days and then I did the Finnish thing and put you in the stroller on the front porch for your nap... I was so nervous...and you slept for 3 hours!!!! You have napped on the porch or at least in the stroller since that day.

At 4 months old you were ready to be a part of everything your sister and I were doing so I had to use multiple blankets to help you sit up in the highchair so you could see what was going on. You have not slowed down since then. You ate your first cereal and started eating some fruits and vegetables.

At five months we went to Germany which was your first plane ride which you did pretty well on. You also rode your first amusement park ride and got attention constantly by all the family we were with.

At six months you started to crawl, you barely did any of the scooting across the floor. You were so ready to be moving and getting to whatever Evelyn was doing. Granny also came to visit us during this time. You turned seven months old while granny was visiting you and spoiling you with all the hugs and kisses you could handle, plus a few toys you could try to eat. After Granny left to go back home you got to go on an adventure to Sweden with Iso Iskä, Iso Äippa, me, Evelyn, and Isä. We were going back to see where Isä and mommy had served their missions and met for the first time. We got to sleep on a boat, visit many other places, and you ate pizza for the first time. We also spent a lot of time outside because the weather was nice in Finland and you would crawl all over the yard trying to eat plants and grass.

At eight months we went to Italy with Isä family. You got to play in the sand and you enjoyed it immensely. You of course wanted to eat it and us adults spent most of the time trying to keep you from ingesting too much sand. You also liked crawling in the water. You tried ice cream for the first time and wanted more. You also ate lasagne for the first time and pasta has continued to be a favorite food of yours. The plane ride home from Italy was not good at all!!! Which made me nervous about our trip to Houston for Thanksgiving.

The next 2-3 months were full of you growing and growing. I now understand why people say that babies go through clothes so fast. I was constantly rotating through clothes during the first 8 months. Then you slowed down a little, but your activity picked up. You were all over the place and you and Evelyn were playing together more and more. You started to eat more of our food at the table because you wanted to know what we were eating. At 10.5 months you decided to try walking and you never looked back. Sometimes you would go back to crawling because you needed to get to something right away, but you have pretty much walked constantly since you started.

At eleven months we traveled to Texas to visit mommy's family. We were nervous but the traveling went well. We got very lucky and ended up with a seat for you on the long flight so you slept. In Texas you missed playing with your sister because she was so busy with her cousins but you got plenty of attention from granny, grandpa, and everyone else who was around. During this month you started to understand more of what we say to you. One morning I told you to go wake up grandpa and you got up off the floor in the kitchen and started to walk towards his bedroom. It is so much fun to watch as you learn and understand new things. We also celebrated your birthday with family over Thanksgiving. At first you were not so sure about the cake but once you knew you could destroy it and eat it, you went for it.

Now at twelve months you are walking very well and finding your voice. You are not saying any words yet but you know how to yell to get our attention. You are full of so much life and joy. I am so happy that you are a part of our family and that I get to be your mommy. I am excited and look forward to seeing you grow and learn.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dear Evelyn, Today you are four!

Dear Evelyn,

Today you are four. FOUR!!! How did this happen? Some days feel like forever and then suddenly you are four. You have grown so much this past year and you continue to amaze me. You are my little friend and you want to help me with EVERYTHING, which is wonderful, some of the time (you will understand that better once you have children). You enjoy cooking, reading books, doing puzzles, playing with your friends, talking with your grandparents, playing with your grandparents, going to dance class, playing with Matilda, and you even enjoy unloading the dishwasher and doing laundry with me. It is so much fun to see all of the things your are learning and enjoying doing. You are always happy to go and play with your friends and always sad when it is time to go back home. You do not like saying goodbye, actually....you refuse to tell people bye most of the time.

Every morning you enjoy coming out of your room and telling me and Isä that you are awake and that you slept good. You tell each of us individually because you tell me in english and Isä in finish. The next words out of your mouth is that you are hungry. Your language has improved and increased tremendously this year. You still have speech therapy each week and you look forward to your time with Riikka. Your Isä reads to you in the morning while you eat breakfast and he has worked hard to only speak finish to you. You enjoy your story time together and some days you explain to me what the book is about that he read to you. You are always kind to explain to me what you are doing or talking about in finish. When you play, you talk to yourself in both english and finish, which is adorable and a little confusing for your friends when they play with you.

You are strong minded and obedient. These are two qualities that I hope will bless you in your life. You will also make a great leader one day. While it seems that you enjoy "bossing" people around, most of the time you are informing them of the rules or repeating to them what I told you to do. Everyone should obey their mommies and you will gladly help to make sure that happens. Sometimes this can be frustrating but I know that you will be someone that others can depend on to get a job done and to do it the correct way.

While you have been mostly healthy this year, you did end up in the hospital twice. One time was because you broke your arm. That was a sad and somewhat horrible day, but granny came to visit and help us feel better. You also got a flu bug after breaking your arm which was not fun but we survived, because you are a survivor. You did not let the cast on your arm slow you down. You actually were trying to color and write with that hand. Nothing is going to stop you when you set your mind to something. The second time you were in the hospital was after Matilda was born and everyone got a horrible stomach bug. It took you seven days before you started to eat and you had to spend two nights in the hospital so that you could get hydrated. Even though you were so sick you did not cry or complain much. We were lucky and granny was already visiting so that way mommy and Isä could help you feel better.

This year you learned how to pray and for awhile you wanted to say every single prayer. It was such a joy to see you growing up in this way. Now your willingness to pray is based on how you are feeling at the moment. Just last week, while we were on our evening walk, you decided that you wanted to say a prayer by yourself and then you said three prayers. It was the first time you had ever prayed by yourself. It was adorable and I am so thankful for your sweet spirit. You started primary in January and you love going to primary. Isä went with you for the first few weeks and now you go all by yourself.

Becoming a big sister was a huge highlight for you this year. You love Matilda and you love being a sister. I think I could count on one hand the amount of times you have told me do something for you instead of Matilda. You are understanding of Matilda's needs and that sometimes you must wait your turn.

I love you Evelyn and I hope you will always know that. So much has changed this year for both you and me. I think I struggled more with all the time I needed to spend with Matilda instead of it being me and you. You are the oldest, so you have a unique position of having 3.5 years of just you and me. We did everything together. We still do everything together and we are now lucky to have Matilda joining us for the fun times.

Thank you for joining our family four years ago. Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for showing me the strengthen I did not know I possessed. Thank you for your kind and loving heart. Thank you for loving me, even when I hurt your feelings and thank you for being so forgiving.

As usual, your life is busy. You celebrated your 3rd birthday in Germany. Last August, your Aunt Sarah got married so we were in Florida and we came home long enough to do laundry and pack before heading to Italy. Other than short trips to Helsinki we have stayed home because mommy was very pregnant and then Matilda arrived. No worries though...we are headed to Germany in 2.5 weeks.

And now for all the pictures.... it is always so hard to choose which pictures to add.