A letter to Nora

Happy first birthday, Nora!!! 
We sang Happy Birthday to you several times today, but the first was in your crib. You were excited to see us when we busted through your door in song, but then you looked confused :).

At one year old, your big personality is shining through. You are a serious little girl with a bit of a silly side that comes out every once in awhile, kind of like me. You remind me of your daddy with your strong will and independence. You are curious, very active, and have a lot to say. Your big toothy smile is the sweetest thing I've seen, and I love your fringy bangs :). God gave you the most beautiful crystal blue eyes, which everyone comments on, and they light up your face and let your beautiful spirit shine through.

Just last week, you started taking your first steps! We thought you might be running by now because you're so strong, but you've been cautious with testing out your balance. Daddy and I have seen you walk halfway across the bonus room, but most often it is several steps and then a little plop :).

You love being outside, and play dates at the park have become a new favorite thing for you and I to do together during the week. Recently, you have noticed your stuffed animals and love to give them hugs. I think it might be time to put some of your "baby" toys away. You're very good at matching some of the toys we have multiples of, like your Oballs and little stuffed elephants, and like to carry them around the room. You can roll a ball back and forth, climb all the way up our steps, and help with getting dressed (on a very good day). 

You LOVE dogs, and say "da" every time we see one on our walks. You also say "cat" and get very excited, though we don't see them as often. You still quack every time you see a duck :). I think you know "mama" and "dada," but you don't say them to get our attention just yet. You can sign "more" and "all done" and "bye-bye" and recognize a few other words (up, brush, ball, teeth, nose, shoes). I know I am probably missing some. This month you've finally learned when we're going to pray and reach out to hold our hands before dinner. 

You love it when Daddy throws you up high in the air, and I always worry that you're going to fall! He gets you giggling the most though, so I just hold my breath and watch! We didn't let you watch any tv for the longest time, but now you watch shows every once in awhile. Daniel Tiger is your favorite, and you like Curious George too. 

Pizza is your favorite food so far (and we have tried a lot of things!) so we made it to celebrate your birthday! You also love grapes, strawberries, pears, eggs, and CHEESE! Maybe we need to work on adding some veggies to that list... You almost always eat whatever is in front of you.

My new good friend Heidi spent her Saturday morning with us last week and took your 1 year photos. You've been spending lots of time with her daughter Hannah :). You love being outside so much but were terribly distracted and really confused with the camera and noises we were making at you, and despite our efforts to get you to laugh and smile, you only flashed us a few grins! I know they will all still turn out beautiful, but I'm glad she captured at least one photo of your pretty smile! 

We're having a party to celebrate YOU on Saturday, and we're all looking forward to it even though you have no idea what is coming :). 

Photography by: Inspired by Grace Photo

I love you, my sweet Nora girl, and am so thankful to be your mommy!

+, Lauren Aiken


Baby Nora: 11 Months

Nora's birthday is tomorrow, and I can hardly believe it. I've been majorly slacking with getting out the real camera to take photos, so all I have this month (really, last month) are a bunch of iPhone pics. Right after Nora turned 11 months, she and I took a trip to Indiana for the Persimmon Festival. Nora saw her first parade (and waved at most of the people walking by), went on a hayride, picked out her first pumpkin, ate persimmon pudding, and loved seeing her family in Indiana :). 

We stopped at our favorite local store Appleacres and snapped a few fall photos. They turned out to be a couple of my favorite photos of her to date! Nora was loving the pumpkins!

So for a quick update on Nora: 

Meal time has been the biggest change this month. Nora is eating everything that we do now, which makes it so simple! She is beginning to show some dislikes, but they are usually random (i.e. one day she will devour an entire banana, and the next day only eat a few bites). Her favorites this month are pears, strawberries, and pizza! We are starting to wean and are down to nursing 4 times a day - morning, after each nap, and before bed.

She hasn't gotten any new teeth (still 4 on top and 3 on the bottom). I'm pretty sure she's gotten quite a bit taller compared to the last few months, so I'm eager to see what her growth is at her 1 year checkup this week. 

Nothing much has changed as far as sleep habits go. On occasion we go through a few days of 2 or 4am wake ups and then back to sleeping through the night again. I'm not sure what that's about, but it happens infrequently enough that it isn't an issue. 

Nora is busy as ever. She is always on the move now, unless we are reading books together or she is eating. She's pretty independent and is content playing on her own for decent stretches of time. We've also been having a lot of play dates lately, and she equally loves her friend time. 

Thank you all for following Nora's first year with us! It has been fun to document her growth and development month by month, even though I've been super late most of the time and have missed a ton of things, I'm sure!

Matt and I are both currently sick, so I'm praying that we feel better tomorrow for Nora's birthday. Our families are coming to visit and celebrate with us this weekend, and we cannot wait to see everyone. Stay tuned for a recap :).

+, Lauren Aiken