Eighteen Months

18 Months You are eighteen months today, baby girl, and I can scarcely believe it.

It seems like just yesterday you were a snuggly little bundle nestled against my shoulder or settled in your bouncy seat, contentedly watching the world go by.

Now, those still, snuggly moments come rarely. You are always on the run these days, your perfect little curls bouncing as you go.

You love to be outside, to watch your sister and her neighborhood buddy whizz by on their bicycles, to climb in and out of your play house, to point out the trucks at the school construction site nearby.

You love words and are picking up new ones every day now. You are constantly asking for a "nack" or for your little blue sun "at" to wear outside.

You love Elmo and bears and babies and fruit of all kinds.

You love playing with people's hair and often fall asleep with your little fingers holding on to your own curls.

You love to laugh, to make us laugh. When you taste a particularly delicious food, your whole face lights up in a smile, and you giggle. When we ask you what your name is, you usually say, "Nor-Nor," your word for your little friend Nora. You love how we react to your intentional mistake, the way we say shake our heads and laugh at your antics.

Your love is fierce, baby girl. When you want a hug or a kiss, you come at me full force, throwing yourself at me with abandon. If your dad or your sister is laying on the ground, you love to run and dive on top of them. You don't worry that you won't be caught; you just leap.

As you have from the beginning, you continue to bring all of us so much joy.


Four Years Somewhere between three and four you stopped being a toddler and became a little girl.

I'm not sure when the shift happened exactly, if your toddlerhood faded with the need for diapers and naps and sippy cups, or if you achieved little girl status with your first day of preschool or your first independent scooter ride.

But what is most certainly true is that, somehow, it has happened. You, my Ellie girl, are indeed a little girl, a precious, delightful, insightful little girl.

There is much about you that hasn't changed. You remain curious, imaginative, and thoughtful. You are still tentative in new situations and fiercely and creatively argumentative when trying to get your way. You continue to enjoy building things and making crafts and playing dress-up.

But there are changes too. You don't play with your baby dolls as much, though you can't stop admiring any newborn you see. You're into princesses now, so much so that "Rella" and "El-sa" and "Anna" are among your sister's first words. You are getting more confident every day on your scooter and your bike, speeding around our little court with a broad smile on your face.

I'm beginning to see that you're a homebody like your mommy. As much as you love preschool, you are often reluctant to go, telling me how much you want to stay home with your mommy and your sister. You rarely request to leave the house and go somewhere, but you regularly ask if anyone is coming over or if we can go outside and play with your neighborhood buddy.

You think deeply about things. The other morning, minutes after waking up, you asked me who took care of the first people on Earth. I stopped blow drying my hair and tried to explain that Adam and Eve weren't created as babies, so they were able to take care of their children. After processing that, you asked how there could be more babies since Adam and Eve only had boys.

There is so much I think about these days as I see the world through your eyes. It is daunting to try to answer your questions about God and friendship, to teach you about manners and integrity. Often at night, when I go in your room to check on you before heading to bed myself, I find myself praying for help.

You've told me, Ellie girl, that you can't hear God speak to you, that you don't yet know how to listen for Him in your heart. But I pray that in the year to come, He will become increasingly real to you in a very personal way, just as He did for your four year-old Mommy so many years ago.

Almost Four

Almost Four You've been talking a lot lately about your upcoming birthday, about the fact that you are "almost four."

The other night at dinner, you asked, "How old will Celia be when I turn four?"

"Still one," I replied.

You stopped to consider that for a moment, then asked:  "Is it because Avaleen died that there is a number between Celia and I?"

I understood immediately what you meant.  You are three.  Celia is one.  Avaleen would be two.

"Yes," I said, a soft smile on my lips.  "That's right sweetie."

"If Avaleen were here," you continued, "we could play the three bears.  I would be Papa Bear and Avaleen would be Momma Bear and Celia would be Baby Bear."

"Yes," I said simply.  "That is true."

I did not cry as I might have if we'd had this conversation a year or two ago, when my grief was still more raw.  But I could have.

I felt sad in that moment, wishing that both of your sisters were here, wishing that you could play the three bears together and enjoy decades of adventures as a trio.  But mostly, Ellie girl, I felt proud.

I love how you love your sister, even though you never met her, even though we didn't tell you about her until two years after she died, when we thought you were finally old enough to understand.  Your eyes filled with tears then as you looked at your Daddy and I.  "I want to go to Heaven to see her," you said as we wrapped you in our arms and all cried together.  "I want my sister."

You still talk about her almost every day, and while I struggle to answer the question of how many kids we have, you don't hesitate.  "There are three kids in our family," you say, to me and to strangers alike.

You may never understand what a gift those words are to me, Ellie girl.  They are natural when you say them, absent of the awkwardness I feel when I try to articulate the same thing.  I worry about what people will think, about whether or not Avaleen really "counts" since she died before she was even born, but you have understood from the beginning. She is one of us, and her death leaves a gap.  A missing number between you and Celia.  No Momma Bear for your imaginary play.

You are right, Ellie girl.  There are three kids in our family.  And I'm so glad you are one of them.

15 Months

52 Week 9 You have opinions these days.

You do not like snowsuits, doctor’s offices, ground beef, weaning, or sharing my lap with your sister.  You love breakfast sausage, your two soft baby dolls and fleece blanket, watching videos on my phone, climbing on stools, and trying to keep up with your sister.

You’re saying more words everyday, acquiring a vocabulary with the same fearless tenacity you showed when learning to work.  While Ellie generally waited until she knew a word well to start saying it, you are constantly imitating the sounds we make, unconcerned with whether or not you get them just right.

You are emphatic with your answers, a clear “yah” for an affirmative, a vigorous headshake for a negative.

We all adore your bright smile, your bear hugs, your perfect little curls.  You bring smiles to strangers everywhere we go.

You are growing up so fast, my Celia Bug.  It’s hard to let go of the thought of you as my baby, but it is a great joy to watch you become a little girl.

Some Exciting News

Contract It's official.  I've signed a contract with a little press called Wipf and Stock to publish my book.  I am now Abigail Waldron, author.

It sounds very glamorous and exciting, and it is.  Sort of.

I'm still spending most of my time changing diapers and feeding little people.  And there's still a lot of work to be done before my manuscript deadline of December 2015.

I will keep you posted as things progress, but for now, Abigail Waldron, author, needs to go figure out what we're eating for dinner.

One Year

C One Yer

I've been nostalgic this fall, thinking about last October and November when my belly and ankles were large and my soul was full with the anticipation of meeting you.  It was a sweet time those months, trick-or-treating and snuggly stories with your sister, all the little preparations we were making for you, readying our little corner of the world for you to enter it.

There was excitement, but there was fear and anxiety too.  The brief life of your sister Avaleen had taught us, among many other things, that there was no certainty, that a little life could be moving and kicking one minute and then, inexplicably, still the next.  She should have been turning one last November, but instead of celebrating her first birthday, we were waiting to welcome you, the baby who might not have had existed had she been born as we planned.

And now, my baby girl, you are one.  It's hard to believe how quickly this past year has gone, how much you have grown.  I spent last Christmas with you as a sleepy newborn cuddled against my shoulder, and now I spend my days chasing you off stools and up stairs and pulling your chubby fingers off of the Christmas tree ornaments.

There are many things I could say about you on your first birthday Celia, about the precious gift of your life, but no matter how I start to write it, it always circles back to this one word:  joy, the middle name that has proven such an apt descriptor of you.  You have brought joy to my heart in a way I didn't think I could ever feel again after your sister died.  You have brought joy and laughter to our home, your busy, babbling self filling in the spaces that once felt so empty.  And even on your worst days, when you whine with endless frustration at not being able to keep up with your big sister, when you can't seem to stay out of trouble, I see you smile your beautiful smile, and I can't help but rejoice.

God has been kind to us in you Celia Joy.  We love you more than you will ever know.

Three and a Half

Three and a Half They said it would go fast.  They said the days are long, but the years are short.

I nodded and smiled.  I believed them.  Sort of.

It's just that it seemed you'd never sleep past 5 a.m. or stop spewing piles of spit-up on the floor or sit still long enough to read a full book.

But you did, eventually, do all of these things and so much more.  And now, you're three and a half and off to preschool, a toddler no more.  You are a bright, inquisitive, silly, creative little girl, and I love you so much that my heart feels like it might burst just thinking about it.

We weren't planning on sending you to preschool this year, but a spot opened up last-minute and your Daddy and I felt we were supposed to take it.  I didn't realize until the opportunity was presented to us how much I didn't want to let you go.

I knew you'd love it, that you'd enjoy the teachers and the new friends, the playground time and the crafts.  But I also knew that in sending you, your world would become a little bigger, that there would now be this part of your life I wouldn't get to experience with you and could only hear about from afar.

And as much as I've longed for your independence, for you to need me a little less, as much as I'm glad you no longer cry when I say goodbye, the honest truth is that it is also hard to watch you growing up, for I know that growing up is a series of leavings, of separations, of steps you'll take on your own in this wide, crazy world.

Ten Months

10 months You know your name.

You turn your head toward me when I say it, pausing momentarily from whatever piece of mischief you are up to at the moment:  climbing the hardwood staircase, shoving some dirty scrap or crumb from the floor into your chubby cheeks.

You smile, and your whole face beams.

What are you doing?  I say.  And I smile too, because really, there isn't another option.

You, my Celia Bug, are a joy.  A crazy, busy, exhausting joy, but a joy nonetheless.

You were a calmer, more content infant than your sister, and I expected that you'd be slower than she was to crawl and to walk.  But you've surprised me.  You took your first steps last week, almost as if you knew she walked at ten months and you were determined to do it sooner.

And you did, baby girl, you did it.

The funny thing is that while you're only just learning to walk, you think you can run.  You often push off of one piece of furniture toward another, moving your little feet as fast as you possibly can, diving toward something your hands can grab, hoping you'll stay standing, but not really caring if you fall.  It's all about the thrill for you, I think, the speed, the rush.

It's unfamiliar to me, the way you move.  I am, in all things, slow, measured, wanting to be in control.  Your sister too tends toward caution until she's confident she's mastered a skill.

But you, my sweet girl, just go for it, full speed ahead, come what may.  I love that about you, look forward to seeing how that aspect of your personality will unfold as you grow.

I think often of those prayers I prayed for you before you were even conceived, that you would be a fighter.  That you are Celia:  tenacious, adventurous, reckless even.

But what I didn't expect when I prayed those prayers was that you would also be pure delight, that somehow even your most determined pursuits would be infused with contagious joy.

Eight Months

You are coming into your own, Celia Joy.  You are still full of smiles, but new skills and opinions are surfacing every day.

On vacation last week, I rocked you to sleep one afternoon, your damp forehead nestled against my shoulder.  I looked at you in the mirror and saw suddenly how big you have become, how your face has matured, how your frame has stretched.  Your babyhood is fleeting Celia, slipping away from us daily, and it is both sad and exciting.

You're on the edge of mobility.  You've been sitting without support for weeks now.  You can roll and scoot your way backwards across the floor.  Every day, your ability to stand while holding on to the ottoman or play table increases.  You can even pull yourself from sitting to standing in your crib and take wobbly steps across the floor when I hold on to both of your pudgy little hands.

But you want more.  I can see it in your searching eyes, hear it in your frustrated cries.  You want to be able to do it all yourself, and I see in you echoes of your big sister's determination, her all-consuming desire to "go-go."

You're eating more solid foods now.  You love applesauce, sweet potatoes, and avocado and can pop frozen peas and sweet potato puffs into your mouth with ease.  You love gulping water from the sippy cup you can hold yourself.

You can clap and wave, and you're playing with sounds.  You especially love saying "da-da," and I think you might know what it means.  I've only heard you say "ma-ma" once, which makes me a bit sad, until you are in your crib at 5:30 a.m. saying "da-da" and I get to roll over and tell your Daddy you are calling for him.

Your demeanor is still pleasant, characterized by joy, but you are no longer passively watching the world go by.  You are finding your voice, pulling and grabbing your way into the world, into the little universe of our family.  We will miss your sweet, snuggly days, but we look forward to knowing more of you, to the ways our family will grow through the gift of your emerging personality.

Three Plus Two Months

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder.   You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel."  -James 4:1-2


For months, everyone's been telling me that three is a harder age than two.  Still, the intensity with which you are willing to battle over the smallest of things continues to surprise me.  This morning, it was the long-sleeve Ravens shirt you were determined to wear, even though it's supposed to approach 90 degrees this afternoon.

"I want to be cold," you wailed, even after I suggested a compromise:  you could put the long-sleeve shirt on top of a short-sleeve one until you got too hot.

A few times recently, at the height of your distress over losing a battle of the wills, you've stubbornly declared, "I want God to take the whole world apart," as if to say that if you can't have your way, the entirety of creation might as well be destroyed.

It's made me smile to hear you say that, even in the midst of my frustration and, yes, anger with your outbursts.  It's an apt way to describe it, that desperate desire for control we all feel from time to time.  Sometimes, it really does seem like if we can't have things our way, the world should just come to an end.

I'm trying to remember this Ellie-girl, when our battles arise, that though it feels like you and I are at odds, like I simply need to win, the truth is that we are both fighting the same thing:  the cravings of hearts that want to control.  You want to wear sparkly black shoes and white socks with jean shorts, to eat chocolate for lunch.  I want peace, quiet, order.

I can delude myself into thinking that my desires are more valid and therefore more important.   Perhaps they are.  I've had about 30 extra years to refine them.  But the deeper truth is this:  we are both desperate sinners, and we both in desperate need of a Savior.

If you being three can teach us both this, it will be a good year indeed.

Six Months

You smile.  A lot.  You smile when I come into your room after a nap, a big grin lighting up your whole face when you see me.  You smile when someone says hello to you, then shyly bury your face in my shoulder.  You smile at your sister, eyes tracking her while she spins and sings and dances.

The other day, your Daddy said to me:  "I hope she's okay.  She just smiles so much!"  And I laughed because he's always the one telling me that I find crazy things to worry about.

You are more than okay, baby girl.  You are a beautiful, babbling, bouncing source of joy in our lives.

You regularly start my mornings at 5:30 a.m.  You eat and sleep on your own terms, making it impossible for me to plan my day and difficult for us to leave the house.  You can't crawl yet or sit for more than a few seconds, but you're no longer to content to rest in a bouncy seat for long periods of time.  You want to be held, carried, played with.  And thanks to your GI issues, I'm still eating more quinoa than I'd ever imagined possible.

You do not make my life easy, my Celia, but you do make me smile.  Your demeanor is characterized by joy, and your joy is contagious.

Four Months

I wrote last month about what a delightful baby you were.

And you are delightful still.  Your smile.  Your cheeks.  The way you snuggle into my shoulder when you're pretending to be shy.

But the past month has been a harder one.  You're so excited about your newly acquired rolling skills that you often wake yourself up to practice them in the middle of the night.  You are no longer quite so content to sit in a bouncy seat or lie on the floor; you are ready to go further than your tiny muscles will allow.  And even though I'm no longer eating much of anything, your GI issues have continued and even regressed.

I am tired.  I miss chocolate.  My arms and back ache from carrying you.

But, sweet Celia, the simple truth remains:  I'm so glad you're here.

Three Years

Once, I worried I would never be able to have a child.  In fact, in the long year before I got pregnant with you, I was convinced you would never exist.  Your Daddy wasn't concerned, but I, ever the pessimist, was sure that something in my body was not right, that a baby would never come.

But here you are my Ellie girl, full of chatter and wiggles and endless ideas.

You are three today, and I can scarcely believe it.  The baby we prayed for all those months is growing up into an observant, joyful, precocious little girl, a girl who loves dancing and puzzles, dress up and baby dolls, building and coloring, a girl who says delightful things like "Would you care for some of this, Mommy?" and "I'll see what I can do, Daddy."  Sometimes, I look at you and at your sister, and I feel quite simply, overcome with gratitude.

You see Ellie, ever since I was your age myself, I've wanted to be a mommy.  I've wanted to have a home full of life and laughter.  I've wanted to spend my days at libraries and playgrounds.  I've wanted to make ants on a log and paper dolls and to play house.  Even as I went to college and pursued a career, I wanted most of all to be a mommy.  I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

And now, finally, I am a mommy.  For the past three years, I've had the fearful, wonderful privilege of being your almost constant companion, your diaper-changer and lunch-maker, your ouchy-healer and cuddle-giver.  I've felt more tired and more powerless than I'd ever imagined, but I've also known more joy than you will ever understand, until, perhaps, the day you have a baby of your own.

I want you to know Ellie how grateful I am for these first three years of your life.  Your name means "God has answered," and you, my child, have been an answer to prayer - not only the prayers prayed by your Daddy and I in the year we waited for a baby, but also to the often unspoken yearnings of a little girl's heart and to the whispered longings of young, single woman.

Ellie, I still struggle sometimes to believe that God is good.  It is easy for me to see all the hard and broken places in life, to get stuck there, wondering where He is in the pain and the darkness.  But today sweet girl, as we celebrate three years of you, I see His goodness all over you.  I see it when you smile at the pleasure of speaking your latest "silly word."  I see it in the pitter-patter of your feet running to greet me when I come home from an errand or meeting.  I see it in your tender affection for your baby sister.  Most of all, I see it in the simple reality of your presence here with us, a sweet fulfillment of my heart's desire, a generous gift from a God who is indeed, good.

Three Months

Your middle name is Joy.  We chose it in faith that your birth, almost exactly one year after your sister's due date, would be a joyful, redemptive occasion, that after the painful experience of losing one child, we might be able again to taste the joy of holding a healthy baby in our arms.

I expected that bringing you home would be joyful and healing and beautiful, and it has been all of these things.  I am very aware of just how precious your little life is, of the miracle of your steady breaths while you sleep, of your warm body in my arms.

What I didn't expect was how much your middle name would suit you, not only because you came after what was lost, but also because of you and who God made you to be.

You have been a delightful baby, Celia Joy.  In spite of some gastrointestional issues that I know often make you uncomfortable, your demeanor is characterized by peace, contentment, and yes, joy.  You do not demand attention, but respond to it with a smile that makes your still-blue eyes sparkle.  You are quiet by nature, but you coo eagerly when I have a moment to sit and talk to you.

I am still learning to know you, watching as your personality begins to unfold.  But I want you to know this my baby girl:  these first three months of your life have been a great joy.  They've been joyful in part because your life is a gift after a great loss, but mostly, they've been joyful simply because of you.

Two and Three-Quarters

Two and three-quarters.  That's precisely how old you were when your baby sister arrived, after many long months of anticipating her arrival.

I'd worried about your adjustment, about how you'd handle sharing my attention after two and three-quarters years of demanding most of it.

But from the beginning of Celia's life, you embraced her with joy and understood that she belonged with us. I will never forget coming home from the hospital with Celia snuggled in her car seat, walking my still tender body gingerly toward the front door, and seeing your colorful "Welcome Home Celia" sign and your face plastered against the glass, beaming.

You've had your moments of adjustment for sure, but they've been brief and uncharacteristic.  Mostly, you've loved your sister.  You've loved her not just in the typical toddler fashion - the plentiful smothering hugs and sloppy kisses - but you've also loved her with maturity and grace, learning to entertain yourself more as I take care of her, trying to understand what makes her sad and how you can help to fix it.

You are two and three-quarters my Ellie girl, but you are a little mother, a nurterer, a life-giver.  Watching you become a big sister has been one of my greatest joys.

Where I Am

When people see me these days, with a toddler and baby in tow, they usually ask how we're doing, how our adjustment to being a family of four is going. 

My answer is always the same, "We're doing really well.  Celia's a really chill baby, and Ellie's adjustment has been smooth."  
And I mean it.  To be honest, these first almost-three months as a family of four have been better than I could have imagined.  
Celia is a peaceful baby, generally content unless she's tired or hungry, problems I can understand and easily solve.  Pop her little pink pacifier in her mouth, and she snuggles herself right to sleep.  Set her down on her play mat, and she'll entertain herself quietly for half an hour.  Put her to bed at night, and she generally wakes up 8-12 hours later.
Ellie adores her sister and has risen to the occasion of sharing my attention with surprising grace and patience.  She has her moments for sure, but her overwhelming response has been one of love.  
I know I am blessed.  With her reflux issues and general fussiness, Ellie was a challenging enough baby that I fully appreciate what a blessing Celia's temperament is.  And I have good friends whose toddlers struggled to adjust to their baby siblings.  I've seen how exhausting and difficult that road can be.  
All that to say, I'm very grateful, grateful not only for the relative ease of these transition months, but also for the two sweet, healthy girls I get to spend my days with.  Last night, after bouncing an unusually fussy Celia to sleep and then joining CJ to sing "Amazing Grace" to our tucked-into-bed Ellie, my eyes brimmed with tears.  
My girls are here.  Unlike my Avaleen, I get to hug them and hold them and dance with them and make them smoothies and play Tinkertoys and dress up with them.  Their lives are beautiful, amazing gifts, and I still really can't believe they've been given to us.  
Don't get me wrong.  Being a mom of two kids is hard.  The days are long, and juggling the needs of two little people doesn't leave much time for anything else.  My back aches each night from all of the carrying and lifting and bouncing.  Celia's had some gastrointestional issues that have required me to cut not only dairy, but many of my other favorite foods from my diet.  And when Ellie skipped her nap three days in a row last week, I thought I might go crazy without those treasured moments of silence.  The introvert in me is struggling to find the places of solitude, rest, and reflection I need to feel like myself, to truly connect to God and to others.
Those are real challenges, and each one of them has left me in tears on at least one occasion.  But mostly, I just feel blessed.  Tired, overwhelmed, and disconnected from my heart, but blessed.  I prayed for these girls; God answered; and it is a sweet, sweet thing.

Introducing Celia Joy

Celia Joy Waldron

November 26, 2013
8 pounds, 10 ounces
21.75 inches
Her name means "heavenly."  We chose it because we'd prayed she'd be a fighter, strong enough to survive to birth, a life-long fighter for heavenly joy in her own soul and in the souls of others.  We chose it too because we trusted her life would be a source of heaven-sent joy to our family, a gift especially precious after the loss of her sister Avaleen last year.
She's here now, almost two months old already, and I don't know how else to say it except that she fits.  She fits snuggled under my chin, fast asleep in the middle of the night.  She fits nestled in her Daddy's arms, peacefully watching the world go by.  She fits on her sister's lap, the perfect size for eager little arms to embrace.  She fits in all of our hearts, fills in some of the spaces Avaleen left behind.  She fits in this crazy little entity that is our family, already a calm and peaceful presence in our busy, noisy lives.  
She belongs with us, and we're ever so grateful she's here.

Life Right Now

My brain swirls with things to do:  meals I want to freeze, piles of clutter to tackle, Pinterest projects I want to make for the girls' new rooms.  CJ says I am creating projects, orders me to stop and relax and rest.

And then there is this book I am writing, so many more interviews to transcribe and chapters to draft. My goal is to have most of the rough draft done before the baby arrives.  I know I won't have much time after.

It all seems so important.  I wake up each morning hardly knowing where to begin, watch my to-do list getting a bit longer each day.  There are only seven weeks left, maybe fewer.

In a rare moment of quiet, I read Matthew 6:31-33:  "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

And I know, in the moment I read this, that I am to write, to leave meals unfrozen, rooms undecorated, clutter in piles.  I am to write because God has asked me to, because that is to be my priority right now.  When this baby is born, God will provide ways for us all to eat and function even if I am unable to prepare in advance the way I'd like.

This seems like a small thing, an easy step of obedience, but it is not.  My soul wars against being told to choose the uncertain value of writing over the seemimgly certain value of plans and preparations.  I'd love to be a full-time nester, not a full-time mother and a part-time writer.

But my calling is clear.  God has spoken.  I know there is joy in obedience, as hard as that obedience might be.  Lord help me.

Two and a Half

If you'd asked me last week what I thought of you being almost two and a half, I would have said it wasn't my favorite age.  We were in the thick of it then, this thing called discipline, particularly with your responses when you didn't get your way:  throwing, hitting, running away.  When prompted, you would tell me that you were sorry, but I wondered if you really meant it, especially when we were right back in the same predicament just twenty minutes later.

But this week something happened, and suddenly you're all about making good choices and saying please when you need something and generally being a content and pleasant child.  Not a perfect child, but a different child.  I can't explain the shift, but I'm grateful for it, for however long it may last.  It's allowed me to stop focusing so much on where you fall short, but instead to see and remember what a delight you are to me at this age.

I love your ever-expanding vocabulary and the sentences that roll off your tongue with such confidence. "Ellie," I say.  "Do you want to take any of your new library books upstairs to read before bedtime?"

"I'm okay with what is already up there," you reply immediately, walking toward the stairs, and your Daddy and I look at each other and laugh.

I love your love of reading, your expanding attention span for longer books.  I love that several times a day you request to "cuddle" on the couch with me and read, that my library card is getting more use than it has since I was a child myself.

I love all the little things we get to do together, just you and I, in these special last few months before Baby Sister makes her appearance:  walks to the playground, ballet class, and craft time.  You love to help me with everything:  putting groceries in the cart, washing dishes, making dinner.  You can't wait to help take care of Baby Sister.

You'll be an amazing big sister I know.  But I treasure these days with just you.  Happy two and a half, my sweet girl.

Family News

I am pregnant.

It's such a simple sentence, but writing it feels to me both exhilerating and scary, much like my hesitant jumps off the high dive when I was ten.

You see, the link between pregnancy and having a baby has been severed in my experience, and I am still finding it difficult to reestablish the connection.  Telling the world is one way to choose to celebrate this life, to rejoice in this child who is right now very much alive, making her presence known with gentle flips and kicks while I write.  I battle fear of losing this baby every day, probably will until she is safely in my arms, but I don't want to be consumed by that fear.

So I'm telling you all:  I am pregnant, twenty weeks.  It's another little girl.  We are delighted and terrified, grateful and hopeful.