Twelve months! A full year has passed since you made your incredibly dramatic, quick, and emotional entry into the world (click here to read the full birth story). You definitely surprised us when you came out a girl! I had convinced myself that I was going to be a queen in a house full of boys. Both your dad and I were elated to add a sweet girl into our family. You are exactly what this family needed.
I don’t think I could come up with enough words to talk about how much we love you, just as I wouldn’t be able to do so with either of your brothers. You are full of energy, laughter, determination, and love. You cuddle and give kisses to just about everyone. You follow your brothers around like a little puppy and are bound and determined to keep up with them, no matter how much bigger they are than you. You walk, climb, crawl, and dance wherever you go. You have music in your heart and will sing along to just about anything.
God knew you were exactly what we needed to heal from our losses. We have seen the goodness that can come out of pain. We have seen the fulfillment of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Because of believing that God had plans for us going through losses we trusted him and were given you. And now we get to share our story, your story, and help others.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. We are so excited to see where the next year takes you!
We made it! Fifty-two weeks of pictures. Fifty-two weeks of watching this tiny girl grow into the beginnings of a little lady. Fifty-two weeks of having to remember to corral everyone in one spot and capture something before another Friday was over. Fifty-two weeks of having three kids. Fifty-two weeks of watching the love between the three siblings blossom and grow. Fifty-two weeks of wondering how we ever lived without this little girl (just like we wondered the same about her brothers). Fifty-two weeks of our love expanding more than we thought it could.
What’s new? She adores baby dolls. Although this really isn’t that new. When we visit a store she loves going down the doll aisle and giving hugs to all the different kinds of babies. Her favorites seem to be the Disney Princess babies. I might need to cave and get her a baby Anna doll from Frozen. She gets so excited every week to see it!
She still has 6 teeth but seems to be working on two more for the bottom. Despite only having a few teeth in the front she still manages to put away quite the variety of food. She loves getting homemade pizza every Friday and munches away on apple slices and crackers like there is no tomorrow. I bet we are looking at at least a two pound weight gain since her nine month appointment.
I took cake smash pictures earlier this week and once I edit those I’ll get some posted. Nana and Grampy are heading up tomorrow to celebrate with us. They even rented a hotel room so we can take the kids swimming. We can’t wait!
We’ve had some fun adventures this week! Last Saturday we took the kids to the Children’s Museum in town and all three had a blast. I think the boys enjoyed the farm/grocery station the most and Mercedes fell in love with the music room. She walked all over banging her tambourine. We have a year pass so we definitely plan on going back soon and hopefully bringing Nana & Grampy and Papa & Grammy when they come to visit. The boys are really looking forward to playing mini golf this summer and I have a feeling it will become the new favorite place.
Mercedes adores getting to play with other kids so she loves being in the nursery at church. She is still working on sharing (what baby actually knows how to share?) so there are lots of tears most weeks when she rips a toy out of another child’s hands… then more tears when we take it away from Mercedes and give it back to the original kid. Now that she’s walking she should probably move up to the toddler room but since we are staffing the infant nursery right now it only seems fair to keep her with us. In March she can move up with the bigger kids… she’s still a baby right now, right?
We finished off our week with a trip to the movies. The LEGO Movie came out today and the boys have literally been counting down the days. Each day in school they mention the date then count how many days until today (Feb 7th). We took all three kids to the 1140 showing counting on the fact that it was a Friday on a school day so attendance should be really low. We were right and there were about twenty people in the theater – perfect! Mercedes slept in my arms through about half of it which was our other hope for going mid morning. She skips her morning nap on Fridays so we can get our grocery shopping done so by lunch time she is pretty well tuckered out. It all fell into place for a great family outing. Parker loved the movie but Jamison is insisting he didn’t. We are pretty sure his reason is that he didn’t get his fruit snacks during the movie (Micah couldn’t reach my purse and I had Mercedes in my arms) and therefore the entire movie was awful. Micah and I both really enjoyed it and definitely think it’s a great family movie.
A couple more words that I’ve forgotten to mention: “cheese” and “teeth.” Both of these sound the way they would if you took out the “ee” in the middle of the word. She knows “teeth” so well that when we get upstairs for a diaper change she immediately starts to flip over on the changing table so she can get her toothbrush out of the medicine cabinet all while chanting “t-th.”
In case you can’t tell, sitting with her brothers to get a picture taken is not high on Mercedes’ list of priorities these days. I managed to take three pictures of them on the bed today before she started screeching to get down. At least one of them was usable! Hopefully her cake smash and one year pictures go better than that! And her face in her solo picture? LOVE IT. She was doing her happy yell at Micah while bouncing on her knees and I happened to catch her in a moment of stillness (not a frequent occurance) and its fantastic.
We have a full blown walker! I told you it wouldn’t be much longer. And of course I don’t have any videos of her really walking yet. Go figure, right? I do have several videos this week of other really cute stuff though :D
In addition to walking 90 % of the time she has also learned how to stand up without the assistance of furniture. She is definitely not a baby anymore and is in full blown toddler mode.
Have I mentioned how much Mercedes adores her brothers lately? Holy buckets she is close to smothering them. They will be sitting on the couch totally minding their own business when she crawls up into their laps and will not stop petting their hair. They usually end up getting upset after a minute or so but now they know how we feel when they sit on our faces and chests when we are chilling on the couch, ha!
A few new signs have made their way into her vocabulary over the last couple weeks and I don’t think I’ve mentioned them. She can now sign “more,” “mom,” “dad,” and “hat.” Mom and Dad are hit or miss but “dad” definitely gets used more often than mom. Apparently since I’m with her all the time she figures she doesn’t need to learn what to call me ;)
I’m starting to pull ideas together for her one year pictures. I think I’ll attempt those next weekend but we will see. It will all depend on what else we have going on and if she can get rid of this cold she’s dealing with right now. Her poor nose is so raw from wiping it constantly!
I’m disappointed in the solo weekly picture this week (she was moving so fast and I didn’t check my settings first so she’s out of focus) so I’m including two pictures of the group this week. I’m also including two because I really love the picture of her trying to escape but I also wanted a picture with all of their faces (it doesn’t happen often). So you get two this week!
Only two weeks left of weekly pictures! I always come to the end of these years with mixed feelings. I’m glad to be done because it can get to be a hassle to remember a picture every single week (especially since Fridays are our shopping day so it’s always hectic and then those weeks that we travel are even crazier) but the end also means that the baby is no longer a baby and that is hard to swallow sometimes! But I’m incredibly thankful that I was given this idea by a family member so many years ago and that we’ve been able to document each baby’s first year in weekly pictures. I know it will always be something we treasure and love to look back on.
Mercedes is getting so close to walking full time! She is getting a little more daring when it comes to where she walks. She used to only walk if we put her on her feet and told her to walk to one of us. Now she is attempting to walk between pieces of furniture without prompting. She still falls after several steps but she is figuring out what those legs of hers can do! Here is a video from last Sunday of her showing off her improving skill.
It won’t be long now!
Grammy and Papa were supposed to come visit this weekend and celebrate her birthday but the predicted blizzard kept them away. Boo. It’s a good thing because the weather is nasty outside but it’s no less disappointing. We are enjoying the caramel rolls I made for the visit and will probably have to add a few extra minutes on the treadmill to work off each
roll bite. Ha! Now we are looking forward to her actual birthday weekend when Grampy and Nana will be in town and hoping Grammy and Papa will be able to make a trip up soon after.
It’s amazing what sponges kids are at this age. Another week of learning so much I’m not sure I can keep up again.
- She learned to climb off the couch carefully. This happened after she leaned to far over the back and flipped over only to get stuck between the couch and the wall. She hasn’t tried that again!
- She learned how to say “ball” (bah) and occasionally signs it as well.
- She developed a fascination with balloons at the birthday party and started saying “balloon” (also bah).
- Says “baby” (bay)
- Says “puff” (puh)
- Signs “cracker”
- She can now go down stairs backwards by herself. We went to the birthday party for one of the girls I watch during the week and Mercedes was able to figure it out with a little help from us.
We are super lucky this weekend because Micah has been given a 5 day weekend! Campus was closed on Thursday due to a blizzard, he always has Fridays off, then Saturday and Sunday like normal, and Monday is MLK day. Yay for lots of Micah time! It’s going to be weird to send him back to work on Tuesday but at least it’s only a three day work week and then he’s home for another three days. We love extra time with him even though it means he has that much less time to get stuff done at work.
Next weekend Grammy and Papa are coming to visit. It feels like it has been so long since we last saw them but in reality it will have been just about a month since they were here for Christmas. So much has happened between then and now that it seems like months not just weeks that have passed. It will be a short visit but we are still looking forward to time with them.
You are becoming such an adventurous young lady! You have figured out how to climb up and down stairs and couches plus you have attempted shelves and coffee tables as well. The boys come yelling anytime you start your ascent which means there is a lot of extra yelling these days. You also love to make a mad dash for the stairs if we ever make the mistake of taking down the gate or leaving the door to the front hallway open. You think it’s hilarious when this happens and giggle the whole way there.
Speaking of giggling, no one makes you giggle like your brothers. They are simply your favorite goofballs. They love to tickle you, play peek-a-boo, and make silly noises just to hear you squeal with delight. There are definitely times when you annoy them to no end but a large majority of the time they just can’t get enough of you.
You are getting so much more confident on two feet and are figuring out how excited we get when you walk. You usually make it from point A to point B without trouble… but sometimes silly things like toys, your own socks, or another kid gets in your way and you fall down. You are even picking up a bit of coordination with your falls and not just crashing to the ground. Instead you are anticipating some of the falls and lowering yourself to the ground gracefully. You did not get this skill from your mother.
A few new words and signs have found their way into your vocabulary this month and although to an outsider (and sometimes to us) your few verbal words all sound the same, we can usually tell the difference. “Bah,” “boh,” “buh,” and “bay” all have distinct meanings (ball, balloon, book, and baby) and you say them with lots of enthusiasm as though they are the most important words in the world.
Your comprehension is getting so much better as well. I can ask you to go find a certain type of toy and you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you pick up something from the carpet that the vacuum cleaner missed and I ask you to bring it to me you follow directions. Now if you would stop throwing all that stuff on the floor in the first place we would be all set!
We love you baby girl and can’t wait to celebrate your birthday in just one short month!