Dear Alden: You’re One Year Old!

Dear Alden,

This week you officially turn one! My last baby is leaving behind his babydom and entering the toddler zone. I know I should be sad about this, but you are such the perfect ending to our baby years, that instead of sad I just feel content.

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I do feel bad that this is my first post dedicated to you since I chronicled your birth story, but 2020 has been a YEAR baby boy. With the pandemic, school closures, work and raising four kids, my time was all used up. But I want you to know that I love every second we’ve spent together this year.

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You have been such an angel baby. Don’t tell your siblings this, but you have been by far our easiest, most content baby. From your amazing birth to now, you’ve made life easy for me. You took to nursing well, you slept through the night early on and you generally are just a chill, happy dude. I’d like to take the credit for how sweet you are, but I know in reality it’s just your good-natured temperament.

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Before you were born, my friend has a “psychic party” where the psychic told me you were the oldest soul in our family and that we’d all learn from you. At the time I got chills because your name was already picked out and meant “old, wise friend.” I think this prediction was right too, because you have a mature, almost angelic quality to you.

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Physically you started rolling, then sitting up, then crawling earlier than any of my other babies. You have started taking some steps and love to climb everything. You seem very sure footed and very rarely take a tumble. You are also a very curious little baby who is always creating mischief – usually by dumping out Finny’s dog food and water.

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Due to the pandemic, you have mostly been a “house baby” as I like to say. Your days are spent in the safety and familiarity of our house among your siblings, dog and parents. You love crawling from the playroom to the kitchen and back exploring the toys set out, finding remotes to bang and attempting to break through the gates and up the stairs. You bring so much fun to our home.

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One hard part about your first year was your diagnosis with severe Hemophilia. I noticed when you were four months old that you started getting bad bruises just from rolling over. When I took you to the doctor, they thought I was abusing you and made me take you to the hospital with warnings that CPS may be called on me. That day about broke me.

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Thankfully the hospital workers were kind and very quickly we got your diagnosis. We were all in shock as we have no family history and you have two older brothers without the disease. Recently though we found out that I am a carrier and didn’t know. I felt so much guilt when I found out – like I had given you this awful thing you have to carry for the rest of your life.

Early on though, Daddy and I decided that this disease would not define you. It would be something we dealt with, but not the focus of your life or who you are. Thankfully you were able to get on a new medication called Hemlibra that has dramatically changed the lives of hemophilia patients. Instead of infusions three times a week, you just get one injection every month. And my sweet boy, you’ve been absolutely THRIVING since we started your injections. It’s been such a wonderful blessing.

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I’m so looking forward to this year (and the years to come) to see how you grow and develop into your own special person. I know that nothing will hold you back from doing the things you want in life. I will make sure of that!!

So many people love you baby boy. You bring a special light to our family that I cherish. When you’re in the room it’s pretty much impossible to feel upset. The sweet way you lay your head on my shoulder, when you try to say “doggie!” when you see Finny, the way you wave at daddy, your squeals of delight when you’re around your brothers and the way you light up when you see Lila fill all our hearts. I’m pretty sure you’re everyone’s favorite in this family.

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Thank you for choosing to join our family and for bringing us such joy. Daddy and I love you forever!

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Dear Lila, You’re One Year Old!

Dear Lila,

Happy first birthday!! I cannot believe you are already a year old. Time sure has flown by and you have grown so much in the past year.


This weekend we hosted your first birthday party with Mimi, Gee, Uncle Matt, Aunt Amy, Uncle Mike, Mabel and our friends here in Reno. We had everyone over to our house for desserts and you played in the living room with all your friends. You LOVED your birthday cake and made sure to smear it all over.

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You have changed so much in just the past month and are really starting to become a little toddler vs a baby.

Standing is your latest development. You are perfectly capable of standing for 20-30 seconds at a time, but only do it when you don’t realize you are letting go, like when you start clapping in excitement. Once you realize you aren’t holding on though, down you go.

Climbing is your favorite activity. We got you a little climber for our house and you’ll spend most of your time climbing up the slide and then going down on your stomach. You learned this move from Gymboree.

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You are beginning to verbalize what you want. Your only words so far are “Dada,” “Mama,” and “Doggie,” but you let us know your wishes by extending your arm and grunting in the direction of what you want. Often times it’s our food (which we’re happy to give you).

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Right on cue, you’ve started to let us know when you are NOT happy about something. For example, when it’s time to leave the park, you usually don’t want to go, and you’ll tell us by arching your back and screaming. I try to tell you that I know how you feel and that it’s okay to feel disappointed sometimes and you usually calm down quickly.

You love all sorts of foods including Ethiopian food, sauerkraut, goat cheese, steak and most of all … coconut! Your daddy will cut open a coconut, stick a straw in and you’ll drink all the juice. Then you two will split the coconut flesh (mommy doesn’t like coconut).

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We have so much fun with you. Even on days when you’re fussy and we’re feeling worn out, after you go to bed, Daddy and I always end up sitting together spending our precious free time watching videos and looking at photos of you. You’re always on our mind little bug.

I can’t believe a year ago today you were just a 6 lb, tiny baby resting against my skin and now you are a 20 lb sweet little girl constantly flashing us your smile. You were brand new to the world and to us then, but now you are my best buddy and the center of our universe.

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A year is a short amount of time really, but when I think of how much you’ve become part of our hearts, it feels like forever.

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I am so proud to be your mommy. Thank you for all you’ve taught me this past year.

Love you forever little bug,



Dear Lila: You’re Nine Months Old!

Dear Lila AKA Bitty, Bug, Buggy and Boo Boo,

Yesterday you turned nine months old, and I have to say I love you at this age so much. You are able to be more independent with your crawling and climbing, but also still need your mommy and daddy a lot. I have a feeling your development is about to take off, so for now I am relishing your last “pre-mobile” months.

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Here’s what you’re up to right now…

You are working really hard at your crawling and pulling up on stuff. The other day at Gymboree, you crawled up a pretty steep slide inch by inch grunting as you went along. You made it to the top and looked so pleased with yourself. It makes me laugh though because when you are climbing, you dig your two big toes in for leverage and don’t use any other part of your foot. You must have strong toes!

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Speaking of Gymboree, I’m pretty sure it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you because as soon as we walk in you start flapping your arms and squealing with glee. Throughout the class you are crawling all over the place, interacting with the other kids and of course, chewing on everything you can get your hands on.


You really enjoy eating, but want to do everything yourself. No being fed by mommy or daddy! I’m not surprised as you’ve always been an independent one. We started doing Baby Led Weaning with you, which allows you to feed yourself chunks of soft food vs being spoon-fed purees.


We also got you your own little table to eat at so you have more freedom. I wasn’t sure how this would work out, but so far it’s going great and you’ll sit at your table and eat and eat and eat for 20 minutes or more. When you’re all done, you simply push your table away. Your favorite foods right now include any meats, cheese and blueberries.

Here you are eating outside on our deck, which I fashioned into your own little play space.


You’re really into your books lately. Especially “10 Little Ladybugs” and “Pat the Bunny.” You will crawl over to your books, pull one out and play with it on the floor for 45 minutes or more. When your dad or I read to you in your chair, it’s one of the few times you’ll sit still long enough for a snuggle or two.


Daddy and I pretty much live to hear your giggles and will do anything we can do get a belly laugh out of you. This weekend we played a game of “human fooseball” and gave you some belly blows, both of which cracked you up.

While we have to work a little to get a laugh out of you, you make us laugh all the time. The other day I took you to a playdate and there was a power wheels tractor there. It’s meant for a much older kid, but after you kept crawling over to it, I decided to let you sit in it.

Well, you had another idea altogether. You stood up, lifted your bottom off the seat, grabbed the handle bars and pressed the button to drive the tractor forward! Me and all the other moms were laughing so hard at you because the whole time you had a completely stoic, serious face on, like you meant business. I wish I had a picture or video of that moment.

Everyone comments on how pretty your eyes are. They are a deep, bright blue. Almost the color of blue jeans. Since you’re getting close to a year, I’m hoping those baby blues stick around and don’t change. You are going to break some hearts with those eyes I suspect.

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Lila, you bring so much joy and happiness to our lives. One flash of your smile will make my whole day. I feel so lucky to get to spend my time with you. There’s truly no place else I’d rather be.

Love you to pieces,



Dear Lila – You’re Two Weeks!

Dear Lila,

Can you believe your first two weeks of life have come and gone? Today we took you to the doctor for your two week check up and you gained ANOTHER 10 ounces – 20 total since leaving the hospital. I was so proud of how well you’re doing. The doctor said I must be making “milk of gold.”

It’s hard to fathom how much our life has already changed since you’ve joined us. I can hardly even remember what our life was like before you. I know it involved more sleep, but otherwise it was void of all the joy you bring to us every day. You really have weaved yourself into every inch of our lives in such a short period of time, and it has been the most wonderful change I could have imagined.

Mimi is here helping take care of you while I recover and every day she marvels at what a good baby you are. You are very chill. Not much crying or fussing. Lots of nursing and sleeping. And lots of funny faces that make us all giggle.

You have had three baths so far and have enjoyed them all immensely. It’s the drying off part you could do without. You are quite a loud baby – lots of snorting, grunting and sighing. You like laying on your side best, but tolerate tummy time and back laying time really well. You LOVE to show off your sucking reflex and have already found your thumb.

Basically you are just so easy to love.

It melts my heart to see your daddy with you. Before you were born, he was a little nervous about having a girl. Just because he was worried he wouldn’t be “sensitive” enough to relate to a girl. I knew better though. He’s already putty in your hand! He loves to give you kisses, snooze with you on his chest and attend to your every whim. In fact, just a few days after you were born, he turned to me and said “I think I changed my mind. I want all girls now. She’s just sooo sweet.”

I can’t blame him though. I am totally smitten with you too. My favorite time is snuggling you after you get done nursing. You have such a funny face on and are in a total milk coma. Although breastfeeding is time consuming and at times uncomfortable, I am happy that I am the only one who can help you grow and thrive in that way.

The only really hard part about this whole newborn period is the realization that you won’t be my little baby for long. We were at a party last night for the mom’s group here in Incline Village and next to me was a three month old baby boy. He looked SO big next to you and my heart broke in half thinking about how quickly you’re going to grow and change this year.

Of course I am so excited to watch you get bigger, to see your first gummy smile and help you develop, but I will miss this period when you need me so much and are so tiny and snuggly. But I guess time is both a friend and foe. One thing I know motherhood will teach me is how to truly savor each moment.

So, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing tonight. Snuggling you close to me, taking lots of photos and reflecting on how blessed I am to be your mommy.