You Give Me Fever …

Been a crazy week here. Ella wasn’t feeling all that great Monday night and then woke up Tuesday with a 104 temp. We began to alternate the Tylenol/Motrin every four hours and were told that if the fever continued on Wednesday to do a Tele-Med visit. Wednesday morning, the fever was still there, so we did the video visit with the doc, who insisted that we bring her in.

Once we got to the office, the fever had broke, because we had given her Motrin before we left. The doc checked her out and she was diagnosed with another ear infection. We were told when she was born that she may have issues with her ears (There were issues with her newborn hearing tests.). Sam immediately asked about ear tubes. Did you know you have to get 6 ear infections in 12 months before they will even consider putting tubes in? I didn’t.

At any rate, she was sent home with an antibiotic and she’s been doing better. By Saturday, she was like her normal self. I was called off work Friday night, so I was able to get some sleep. Saturday was sunny and hot. We had heard about a splash pad near by and we decided to take Ella there. She loved it!

At first, she was a bit apprehensive, but once she saw other kids running around, she was screaming with joy and running all over the place.

We all got a little sun Saturday. I was hoping to go back there today with her while Sam slept, but she spiked her fever again. I kept her inside most of the day. I made a trip out to Meijer with her to pick up a few things and when I got back she walked right to her stroller. She signed “more” to me, and I knew we had to take a walk. Because it was so sunny, I didn’t want her out there too long, so we did a quick walk around the block.

After her nap, she wanted to go outside. I had filled her pool, and figured she might want to just play in it. She sat in it for a bit, but for the most part, she wandered around the yard, playing on her slide, and “sunbathing”

She’s been on the antibiotic for a few days now. I am hoping that she feels well enough to go to the splash pad tomorrow.

A Morning Spring Walk

I’ve been struggling with a few things lately. I decided to listen to my own advice and take a step back and look around and appreciate the little things. So this past week, I put Ella in her stroller and we took a 2 and a half mile walk around the neighborhood.

She loves going for a walk and it was very beneficial for me as well. The first thing I did was focus on the sounds of spring, which were all around us as I walked!

The Sounds

As I was putting Ella in her stroller, the sounds of the birds singing rang loudly in my ears.

As I listened to them, I could here the songs of different types of birds. One, in particular, reminded me of early mornings in Caseville. I remember walking out of grandma’s trailer and hearing this one particular bird sound. Funny how you can remember that almost 40 years later.

At one point during our walk, the church bells began to chime.

It is not odd to hear the church bells/chimes begin to play hymns during the day. I recognized the hymn as being Blessed Assurance.

The weather was nice, so naturally, some neighbors were out mowing the grass.

This allowed me to experience not only the sounds of the lawnmower, but the smell of fresh cut grass.

There were also plenty of neighbors out working in the garage. I loved walking by and hearing the sounds of a small radio playing from inside the garage.

I remember my dad always had the radio on when we were outside on the weekends. If he was washing the car, working on the yard, painting, cleaning the garage, or fixing something – the radio was always on. I remember many Sundays listening to Casey Kasem and American Top 40 while we helped outside.

The Sights

Along with the sounds of spring, there were plenty of sights, too!

Ella always gets a kick out of the squirrels running up a tree or around a yard.

There are plenty of squirrels in the neighborhood – and many that run around my yard!

The Robin is the Michigan State Bird. We always look for the “first robin of spring.” They are all over now. They were hopping all around the yards and bird feeders we see along our route.

Along the way, we also saw many neighbors out doing yard work.

I truly wish that I had the time and energy to do what some of my neighbors do! I’m lucky if I get the leaves out of the flowerbeds by late summer! It is SO much work! Yet, there are neighbors who line their walkways with tulips, fill their flower beds with every flower imaginable, and have hanging flowers that are beautiful all spring and summer long! We bought hanging plants one year and they died within two weeks. I obviously do not have a green thumb.

Kudos to my neighbors! I love looking at the product of your hard work when I walk.

There is one house I always walk by with Ella. I do it because there is always this old hound dog outside.

The dog is either laying along the fence or up on the back porch. It always looks up when we walk by, but it is old and content to just lay there soaking up the sun. We have no idea what the dog’s name is, but she gets a kick out of seeing that dog on our walk.

Sadly, the dog is really old and I’m not sure how many more walks we will be seeing him/her out there.

The last thing I really enjoy seeing when I am out walking is people sitting out on the front porch. I’m not sure why more people don’t do this, but it seems to be more and more rare.

Before Ella, we would sit out on the porch in the morning and drink coffee. That doesn’t happen too much anymore. There is something about sitting out with a hot cup of coffee, my Bible, or a newspaper that is so relaxing. I don’t need a rocking chair, any chair will do.

I guess the only beef I have with sitting on the porch lately is the recent increase in the number of bees and wasps. I’ve walked around the house and looked to see if there are nests, but I can’t seem to find any. I read somewhere that peppermint oil will repel them. Maybe I need to find a way to put that around the porch?

The walk around the neighborhood really helped me relax. Noticing the sights and sounds instead of being lost in thought was a big part of that. I’m looking forward to my next walk …

Ok, Ok, I’ll Write ….

I’m writing under protest.

I still don’t feel up to writing today. My last post was three days ago, and I wish I could say that I am past it. I’m not. I have nothing planned out, which is kind of a “no-no” when you are writing. I am only writing because I am forcing myself to sit here and write.

Ideas?

Do I have things I can write about? Sure. I have a few ideas I just jotted down in my blog notebook. A blogger I follow has been going through the Alphabet and featuring his favorite TV shows. I liked the idea and feel like I might be able to do something with that. Another blogger is featuring an episode by episode review of one show in particular. I might think about doing something like this, too.

A music blogger I like has a weekly post that features their five favorite albums from a certain year, while another features the Top 10 songs from that week in a specific year. Those are easy to do and can be fun at the same time.

I also have some personal things I can blog about. I was recently going back through some of the ideas I have for the project my brother and I are working on about my mom. I’m LONG overdue to work on those.

My Favorite Game Shows? What exactly makes a YouTube “star” a Star? Yeah, I have ideas….. I just don’t feel like writing about them.

I’m Hurting

With all the things going on in my life right now, I should be smiling more! I’ll be the first to admit that. Don’t get my wrong, I am happy. It’s just that right now, there are things I am trying to process.

In the past month, I’ve seen my sons only one day – for breakfast. It seems that he “doesn’t want to come over” anymore. I have given him absolutely no reason whatsoever to not want to come. This is something that I have been fighting for some time. I’m not going into detail about it, especially since I know that my ex has trolls who share things from my blog, my Facebook, and my Instagram with her.

I’ve never understood why some people get so much pleasure in making others miserable. These people spread lies, rumors, and gossip because it brings them joy! Shame on you. You profess to be loving Christians and you get your joy from those things. Hypocrites! The Bible has over 100 verses about gossiping alone! Maybe you should read them!

Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Easier Said Than Done …

Despite the issues above and all that goes with it, I do have a lot to be happy about:

My beautiful wife and I are having another baby. Another miracle! Just the thought makes me happy!

I believe, after much discussion, that we may have decided on a name for our baby boy. It was a lot harder than we thought. Of course, he is not due until October, so there is still the possibility that it can change! LOL

Lesson Learned

I wonder if my daughter has any idea that she teaches me a lesson every day. What lesson? “Find happiness in the little things.”

I need to look amongst the chaos of every day life and find “it.” I need to find that one thing that makes me wonder. What is that one thing that makes me smile? I experience these things daily, but so often over look them.

Watching Sam read a book to Ella. Watching how excited Ella gets when she goes outside.

Little things – Big Happiness.

She see’s beauty in what we see as a weed –

She gets excited to watch and try to catch bubbles –

She is thrilled to pet the new puppy that our neighbor’s brought home –

It truly is the little things …. I guess I just need to focus on them.

Ouchies

Sam always makes Ella’s “Well Visit” appointments for her day off. Yesterday, was her 1 year check up. The appointment was first thing in the morning and since I pass by there on my way home, I met them at the doctor’s office. Sam, who is now entering the second trimester of this pregnancy, was glad to have an extra set of hands at the appointment.

The days of just sitting in the waiting room and looking at the fish in the aquarium are long gone. She’s on the move all the time! Thankfully, they called us back pretty quickly and she got to explore the exam room. The medical assistant came in and did height, weight, vision test, and vitals before the doc came in. We discussed the immunizations that she would be getting and then the doc came in.

Our doc is amazing. She looked Ella over and asked us what she was and wasn’t doing, told us the things to expect in the months to follow, and mentioned the foods she was now able to eat. The doc was impressed with her babble and at how “advanced” she is. Before leaving, the doc asked Sam when she was due and reminded us that she’d be happy to see our new baby, too.

Then the medical assistant came in to give Ella her shots. She was laying on the exam table and I got down next to her, holding her arms. Everything was fine until that first “poke.” Ella’s face had that surprised/shocked look and the tears began. Immediately, I felt my heart sink and got sick to my stomach. The next “poke” only made her cry more and me feel worse. The band aids went on and I scooped her up in my arms. I held her and tried to comfort her. She then reached for mommy, who calmed her down by simply talking to her.

With my sons, I was always the one who took them to get shots. God, I hated it! I got that same feeling every time they got a shot. I hated seeing them cry. You know you are doing the right thing, but you feel awful. They give you that “Why are you letting them hurt me?” look, and you just feel terrible. It all came back to me today when Ella got her shots.

As a parent, you will do whatever you can to protect your kids and keep them from getting hurt. In some cases, though, that means tears will be shed … by the child…..and the parent.

Nice Lids!

I rarely post two blogs in one day, however, my last post made me think about something – hats. The reason for this is the first line of the song “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Grab your coat and get your hat ….)

I guess I have always appreciated a good hat. I wish that people would dress up like they used to. It seems like there was a time when folks would wear a nice suit and tie and always had a good hat to complete the ensemble. My dad had some pretty cool hats growing up…

My dad and cousin Diane.
My dad and grandpa looking swell! Dig that hat!

When I watch an old movie I always am impressed by the way some of the actors dressed. In the Rat Pack film “Robin and the Seven Hoods,” there is a scene where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby sang a song called “Style.” Frank and Dean are singing about how Bing needs to dress better.

Anyway, there is a line in the song that says, “A hat’s not a hat till it’s tilted.” As I thought more on this, so many of the great actors wore hats and they always tilted them. I love that look! I always wanted to find a hat that I could wear titled and have it make me look good! The fedora seemed to be the choice of many stars ….

Cary Grant was always looking suave –

Cary Grant

Bogey and Cagney knew how to wear a hat!

James Cagney – Humphrey Bogart

Classic Gangster – Edward G. Robinson was almost always wearing a hat….

Edward G. Robinson

Al Pacino looked great in a fedora …

Al Pacino

Harrison Ford brought the fedora back to the screen as Indian Jones..

Even the great Curly Howard from the Three Stooges looks amazing in a hat!

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra often recorded songs with their hats on …

Speaking of Dean Martin, the first line of his song “Bummin’ Around” says, “Got an old slouch hat ….” I wasn’t aware what a slouch hat was. I looked it up online and it was a sort of military hat. Google said, A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. This picture came up.

slouch hat

I thought it was just a floppy hat, like Curly wore in Stooges films.

Curly

…or like Cagney wore ….

Cagney

Come to find out, those hats are called “newsboy hats.” The newsboy cap or newsie cap is a casual-wear cap similar in style to the flat cap. This is the hat that I always wear in the winter. Most people call it my “old man hat.” LOL

My daughter LOVES my hat!!

Wearing Daddy’s hat!

Maybe it is just the nostalgia lover in me, but I wish that I could pull off a nice suit, tie and hat and look as good as so many of the actors from the movies ….

A Busy (and Painful) Weekend

Saturday

Saturday morning, I came home from work and went right to bed. Sam and I had plans to celebrate our anniversary this weekend. Originally, I was going to take her to an amazing Italian place in Troy (about and hour and 15 minutes from our house). After some discussion, we decided that since it was really the only day we had together, and I was going to sleep for part of it, that we should grab dinner somewhere closer. We decided on Outback Steakhouse. Now, Outback was the ONLY chain restaurant we ate at in Florida when we got married. We picked Outback for that reason, and because it was close to a few places we wanted to go to while we were out.

This was the first time we have been out to eat in a restaurant since all the Covid stuff. They did a good job of spreading everyone out. It has been so long since we were out, it was almost awkward. It was nice to have dinner together. It’s really amazing how something so trivial can mean so much. I will never take those little moments for granted….

After we ate, we decided to walk through Barnes and Noble. Ella loves books, so we looked through the various kid books and picked up a new book for her. She loves the Jimmy Fallon books (Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, and Everything is Mama), and Sam found one called “This Is Baby” (which she loves just as much!). I picked up a book for me, too. It was my anniversary present from Sam. She had asked what I wanted and I told her to just get me a gift card. Instead, she went with me and I got to pick out what I wanted (More on that in a few).

With baby #2 on the way, we wanted to stop at Target to see what the double strollers looked like. I never in a million years would have guessed that I would be looking at double strollers! Anyway, they only had one there to look at, which I thought was odd. Sam is all about online shopping, but she’d like to at least see the thing before we buy it. Since they didn’t really have any, we decided to look in the toy aisle for a few things. We bumped into one of our sleep teachers, Angie, and her husband there. It’s been forever since I saw her, and we were just talking about finding a day to get together for coffee. They were out getting presents for grandbabies.

The world had changed. Normally, when I run into someone I know I offer a handshake or hug them. Here we were, all wearing masks, and kind of standing our 6 feet apart. We chatted for a while and then we had to get going because we needed to go pick up Ella from Nana’s house. This is where is was crazy awkward for me … I wanted to reach out and shake Dave’s hand and give Angie a hug, but instead it was kind of a “well….ok…..good to see you …. take care…..so long…” thing. It just didn’t seem right walking away like that. I dislike the new “normal!”

Sunday

Sunday was extra busy! We all got up and had chocolate chip pancakes. Afterward, Sam and I compiled the grocery list and I ventured out to Meijer. I always seem to have to go back to an aisle because I either walked right by something OR I didn’t see it on the list until almost the end of the trip. Ella napped while I was shopping and woke up as I was bringing in the groceries.

The weather was just beautiful. I think it was like 65 degrees. We had bought Ella one of those Cozy Coupe cars with the intention of giving it to her for Easter, but decided that the weather was so nice, we should give it to her Sunday. I’m not sure why, but I thought that it literally just snapped together…..it doesn’t. I had to go get my drill, a screwdriver, and a hammer to put it together. At any rate, She really loved it and I got to push her around the neighborhood in it.

We spent the afternoon outside in her car, in the stroller, going down the slide, and running on the trampoline. Eventually, she started to yawn and I knew it was nap time. Once I laid her down, the real work began for me.

Despite my best attempt to tell Sam that the lights on the house were “Easter Lights,” I took down all the Christmas lights. I can’t complain, and I’m glad I finally had good weather to do it. This year I had strung some up high on the front porch, so I had to drag out the ladder to get to them.

Once I had the lights down, I took the totes back to the basement. While down there, like a typical guy, I noticed this huge plastic house that Sam had in the basement so our nieces could play in it. We had talked about bringing it outside and cleaning it up for Ella. So, while Sam slept for work, and Ella napped, I took it partially apart and brought it upstairs. I had measured it and figured I could get it outside no problem. I got it up the stairs, through the basement door and once at the side door – it had to really yank it out! It was SO snug! I was able to get it outside and get it washed and back together!

After I got it back together, I was back inside making dinner, so Sam had something to take to work.

Needless to say, I was in bed early that night!

My phone sent me a notification that night that said my “panoramic” photo was ready to view. I didn’t take any panoramic pictures while we were outside Sunday. However, my camera took two separate pictures and combined the two and put Ella in the picture twice! At first I thought it was weird, but after looking at it, I think it’s pretty cool!

Two for the price of one….

Monday

Another beautiful day, this time 70 degrees. It was windy, but that didn’t stop us from playing outside. More trips around the neighborhood in her car and in her stroller. Then we played in her house. I’m thinking we need to get a chair or something for her to put in there, because she walks in and really doesn’t know what to do in there.

A Good Read

The book I got for my anniversary is called “100 Bible Verses That Made America.” So far I am enjoying it. It is really amazing to see how people of the past used the Bible and the principles to help shape this country. The only issue I have with the book is that every time it quotes a Bible verse, it quotes it from the NIV version. The NIV version wasn’t even around until the 1970’s. To me, it would seem that they would have used the KJV to quote from. Whenever it quotes a verse, I just grab my KJV and read it from there. Still a very interesting and enlightening read.

A Real Pain in the … Back!

About two weeks ago, I was getting out of bed and kind of felt like my back was tight. Over the next few days, I started to feel like it was even in my hip. I’m really not sure what I did to it. It’s been bugging me and kind of annoying. I’ve taken ibuprofen and such, but it has been getting worse. Monday, I pushed Ella in that car around the neighborhood (which meant I was leaning a bit forward to push her). Then I walked another mile or so with her in the stroller. It felt good to get out and walk! I love walking, but by the time I got closer to home, I could feel like my hip was hurting more. Later, I was feeling pain when I sat on the floor to change diapers. When I got up from bed, I could hardly move and the pain was excruciating.

I had to make an appointment with my doc for a refill on my prescriptions, and I plan on asking her about it when I go in. In the meantime, I have to wait until Thursday morning and these are my friend ….

They don’t help a lot, but they do bring some relief. This morning, when I got up, I was tearing up from the pain. I was trying to load the dishwasher and could hardly bend down. Trying to get pants, socks and shoes on only brought about more pain. I’m gonna try to get in to the chiropractor, too. I’m really hoping it is nothing, but I tend to always think the worst.

I’m off to pop some more ibuprofen…..

Thanks for reading!

I STILL Believe in Miracles!

In the past few months, I have had many new followers to this blog. For the benefit of them, here is a brief introduction to where this blog is going.

Prior to 2017, my life was a shambles. I suffered from depression. I was unhappy. I was lost. I was not “me.” Because of years of unhappiness, I didn’t even know who “me” was. Enter my (now) wife Sam. My entire life turned around.

Today is our third wedding anniversary. Over the course of our friendship, courtship, and marriage, my life has done a complete turn around. I have been the happiest I have ever been. She is my true soul mate. This is the first miracle I wanted to focus on. You can read what lead up to our relationship here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/03/16/the-beginnings-of-a-beautiful-friendship/

You can read about how we got engaged here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/03/17/part-ii-the-proposal/

And you can read about our wedding here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/03/18/part-iii-to-the-aisle/

Now that you are all up to speed, I can continue. First, I want to send a message to my wife and then I will share some exciting news.

Happy Anniversary, Sam

Dearest Sam –

Today we celebrate 3 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe it has been that long, and at the same time it doesn’t feel like it has been long at all. I cannot imagine my life without you. Thank you for all you have done for me. You may not think that you have done much, yet, you have done everything. You have never left my side. You have always been a support and have loved me unconditionally. I am so lucky to have you as my wife and partner.

I have loved those special moments that we have been able to share together. Our trips to Nashville, Cleveland, Kentucky, and of course, to Florida. Those memories will forever warm my heart and bring a smile to my face. You have added immense joy, bliss, and happiness to my life. I discovered what true love in our years together. I fall in love with you over and over each and every day.

You are an amazing mom to our sweet baby girl. I love to watch the two of you interact. I love the way you two look at each other. I will never have to worry about whether she will be raised right. I know the bond that you two share now, is one that will grow and last forever! Thank you for not only being special to me, but special to her. We certainly have been blessed with a wonderful family.

The old saying goes, “The destination doesn’t matter, the journey does.” What good is the journey, however, without a wonderful partner? Sam, I look forward to the years ahead with you. I look forward to the journey ahead and the memories we will make in the process. I love you forever!

Keith

Breaking News …

The second miracle was our daughter, Ella. Doctors told me I had a very slim chance (about 4%) of ever having children again. When we found out we were expecting, it was just amazing. You can read about that here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/07/26/i-believe-in-miracles/

You can read about her birth here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2020/02/14/shes-here/

Ella turned one year old in February and is our pride and joy! So rather than me let the cat out of the bag, how about I let Miracle #2 tell you about Miracle #3 …

You read her shirt correctly! Ella is going to be a big sister!!! We are expecting another baby in October and we are just thrilled.

We found out that Sam was pregnant three days before Ella’s birthday. It was the one year anniversary of her going into labor. She was laying in bed and she hadn’t been feeling well. She was uncomfortable and crampy. I had already asked her if she thought she was pregnant and she said she didn’t think so. At some point. she got up to use the restroom, and there was an extra pregnancy test under the sink. She took the test and it almost immediately popped up that she was pregnant. So from the bathroom, she simply yelled to me, “Well….we’re pregnant!” I thought she was messing with me, but she brought out the test and there it was.

It was such a surprise to both of us! Naturally, we are very excited. Sam had her ultrasound at the OB today. Because of Covid, only the patient is allowed in the office. I had planned on sleeping a bit, then getting up and going to the doc with her, but when we found out that she was the only one allowed in, Sam told me to make sure I slept before work. She texted me this afternoon saying that all went well. Baby’s heartbeat was 174 and the Due Date is October 14th. She also texted me the ultrasound picture.

Just like Ella, the baby moved around a lot during the ultrasound, so it was hard to get a good picture.

Willa Cather once said, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” There is GREAT love in our family….and the miracles continue!

A Brief Personal Observation

While the last couple months or so have been full of wonderful events and happy memories, there is something that is bothering me. I have found that it has always helped to write about things when they bug me, so I am going to just throw a few thoughts out there to get them off my chest (in a round about way).

I’ve been able to really shut a lot of this out of my mind. I have been good about staying focused on the things that I can control and ignoring (in a sense) the things that I cannot control. I have put the negatives away (as much as possible) and tried to enjoy the positives. Every now and then, something happens and things “bubble over” and can make you break down. That happened today.

I was hurt today. Ok, I’ve been hurt quite a few times in the past few months. Let me say, that’s ok. I get it. I understand why and the catalyst behind it. I understand the way things are twisted and turned to make things seem like something they are not. Today, all the stuff just kind of hit me.

Today, as I held my one year old daughter before work. I looked into her eyes as she sat on my lap. She smiled as I put my hat on her head. She giggled as I sat with her. In that moment, I was reminded that this beautiful little girl has an unlimited amount of unconditional love for her daddy. I am perfect in her sight. I make her laugh. I am silly. I will be there to hold her when she hurts herself. I’m her hero. I’m her daddy and she loves me unconditionally.

As she grows, and there are rules to follow and disagreements, I know dad might make her angry. I hope that she will understand that those things are there to keep her safe and because I love her. I pray that she will never ever get to the point where she doesn’t want to see me or not be a part of my life anymore. That is a pain that is unbearable. It hurts terribly.

I don’t even know how to mend that fence. It’s kind of like the Biblical story of the prodigal son. I guess I just continue to love them and hope that one day the “prodigal sons” will return. One thing is for sure, my unconditional love for my children will never cease.

Camera & Corrective Lenses Part 2

Camera Lens

We got back the photos from our “First Birthday/Cake Smash” session and they are so good! The photographer caught some really fantastic shots. There are so many good ones, it will be hard to decide which ones to get printed. She wanted to get some pictures of Ella walking, so we’d stand he close to the back drop and she’d walk forward. One of the photos of her walking looks like she is a model on a catwalk! Check out the sassy “pose” she gave us:

My Sassy Girl!

Sam always has the cutest things for her to wear. For the cake smash, she had a pink tutu, a crown, and a string of pearls. Prior to getting into the cake, the photographer was able to catch some wonderful pictures of her in the outfit.

She looks like she is hula dancing …

Now we just gotta sit down and pic the ones to print.

Corrective Lenses

My glasses arrived. I guess I didn’t realize just how bad I needed them to drive. I guess distance was an issue, too, and I didn’t know. When I put them on and was driving to work, I didn’t really notice a difference, until I looked at the road without them on. It was crazy just how blurry the signs were. I’m glad I got them.

My reading glasses will take a bit to get used to. They are not just magnifiers, like the ones you get in the store. It’s a bit weird still. I have to figure out the right distance to read things at. Eventually, I’ll get it right.

Today, I was trying to read the label of something, so I put the readers on. Ella stood in front of me and got this terrified look on her face. I knew it must have been the glasses that were freaking her out, so I lifted them up and said, “It’s ok. It’s just daddy.” All of a sudden she just broke into this horrible cry. I felt so bad. I have heard that things like glasses, hats, and things will make you look like another person to toddlers, but I never really had it happen before. I guess when she’s around I will squint and do my best to read what I need to.

Happy 1st Birthday, Ella

My wife made the observation that last night we laid our 11 month old daughter down to bed for the last time. She woke up a one year old! She’s no longer our baby. She’s our toddler! My wife also noted that today she realized the truth in the old saying “The days are long, but the years are short.” It is hard to believe that it has been a year, already!

I posted this picture on Facebook today, and it is truly amazing to see how much she has changed and grown in a year.

Sam’s Facebook post really nailed it on the head:

“Ella, you are so strong willed. You are mischievous. You are bold and fearless. You are not afraid of new things or new people. It is even safe to say that you are boisterous and loud. You are already speaking up a storm. You are inquisitive. The only time you are quiet and still is when you are observing or are asleep. You are always alert – your eyes don’t stop moving and your head turns at every new noise. All it takes is watching someone do something and you are right there to copy it and do it by yourself. Ella, Keep being you! Because that is who we love dearly!”

One thing Sam and I chuckled about today was how easy the “monthly” pictures of Ella used to be to take. We could just lay her in the crib and snap a few. She is SO busy now, it is hard to get her to sit still for them! We were able to nab a couple this morning before heading out to celebrate.

Love her oufit – Miss One-Derful!

One of the hardest things to deal with over the past year has been Covid. Because of it, we spent most of our time at home. So many people STILL haven’t had the chance to meet Ella. Quarantine babies (and kids in general) have really had it difficult. The malls may be open, but the playscapes are closed. Playgrounds at the parks have been closed. Many of the interactive stuff at children’s museums are closed. There was NO WHERE to take her except on walks through the neighborhood and occasionally playing outside.

We decided to take her to the Sea Life Aquarium about an hour from us. Legoland is also there, but we figured we’d do something that didn’t require too much “touching.” We were the first in line and got to walk through the aquarium and look at all the cool fish and sea life. She really enjoyed it. There were a lot of fish to observe and the lighting inside was very cool. There was even a place where she could reach in and touch some of the sea life. It took about a half hour to go through, and she really loved it.

We walked the mall for a little bit after the aquarium visit and remembered that they have a Build A Bear there. For your birthday, you get to chose a bear and you pay whatever your age is. She she picked a bear, picked a heart to put in the bear, and walked out with a new stuffed friend for just $1.00! I have a feeling we’ll go back and get a birthday outfit for the bear in the future. For now, she seems pretty content with her new buddy.

Later this afternoon, our plans changed a bit. We were going to have cake here at the house, but we ended up going to Sam’s mom and dad’s for pizza and cake. Yes, I got emotional as I took pictures and everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” I think we all hoped that she would just rip into her cake, but she was rather reserved. She picked frosting off and ate that mostly. Someone eventually gave her a spoon and I think she ate a little cake, but it was mostly frosting. By the time she was done, she had as much frosting on her as the cake did.

It really was a perfect day.

So now, before I close, I need to say something to my baby girl:

My sweet Ella Bella –

Today, you turned one year old. Mommy and I have enjoyed every second of your life. We have watched you grow up so fast! It really seems like yesterday that we were waiting for you to arrive. Now, you are walking and saying words. In the past year, you have brought us so much joy and happiness.

I’m sure that you think daddy’s phone is always ready to take pictures of you, and you’re probably right. You very well may be the baby with the most pictures on Facebook! You have been a bright light in a very dark and scary time, sweetheart. A pandemic, political nonsense, violence, and hatred were prominent throughout the world during your first year. However, your smiling face brought smiles to so many people. I guess daddy thought I might be overdoing it with all the pictures of you I kept posting. You have no idea how many people have told me how YOU helped them get through these tough times! Your smile brought smiles. Thanks to social media, people you have never even met are watching you grow up, and smiling at the new things you are doing. You are loved by more people than you can imagine!! There is something extra special and magical about you. Your personality is one that brings happiness to everyone.

You are our miracle baby. There will never be enough words for me to tell you just how much I love you. I only wish that everyone could experience the joy that I feel when I walk into the house after work and you see me and scream with delight that “daddy is home!” I wish everyone would experience the thrill that I get when you wake up and I walk into your room to get you and you smile at me as you reach for me to pick you up.

Mommy and I were going back through pictures of you over the past year, and it is amazing to see how fast you have grown. With each picture, we relieved special moments and milestones. We laughed and cried. We thanked God for sending you to us. A year’s worth of memories and this is only the beginning. There will be many more milestones. There will be countless new things for you to learn. You will continue to be an amazing little girl. Mommy and daddy will be there every step of the way, cheering you on in whatever you do! We will help you accomplish what your heart desires.

We have so much to celebrate today, and there will be much more to celebrate in the future. Thank you for being my little love bug. Thank you for making daddy feel so loved. YOU are special and I love you so very much.

Happy First Birthday, Ella. May God continue to bless you today and always.

Love you forever –

Daddy.