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.

Camera & Corrective Lenses

Camera Lens

It’s been a busy week. With Ella’s birthday just a few days away, we decided that we should take her to get some professional pictures done. Almost every picture she is in has been taken with our cell phones. We had a professional sitting at JC Penney a few days after she was born and even bought a membership for a year so that future sitting fees were free. With Covid, however, we have never been able to go back. So no 3, 6, or 9 month professional pictures were ever taken. Sam and I decided that we had to get some 1 year pictures done.

There is a little photography place about 2 miles down the road from us. The gal actually has a studio in the basement of her house.

Her house is on an area of farmland and probably has some amazing scenery for outdoor pictures. Sam’s cousin Katie made an outfit for these pictures. I snapped a picture of Ella in it before we left. It is really hard for me to believe she is going to be one. She looks so big to me and with this outfit, she almost looks like a toddler.

The photographer got just a couple shots of all of us, a couple shots of Ella with me and Sam. Ella was in a good mood and offered up many smiles. We got some of her walking and sitting and we also got pictures of her eating her birthday cake. It will be a couple weeks before the prints are available for us, and we are looking forward to them. We will get a link that we can send to our friends and relatives who want to purchase pictures from the session.

This week before pictures, she was practicing her posing … this was a wonderful shot I caught of her goofing around with the towel from her bath.

What a ham!

One more good picture I caught this week was with her and the cat. It seems like she is forever chasing the cat around. She likes to pull her tail. Normally, the cat will jump and scram as soon as Ella comes close to her. This week, albeit for just about 3 minutes, Ella walked over to the cat and sat down next to her. She actually was able to pet the cat. I have a feeling that as she get’s older, she and the cat will be close friends….

Corrective Lenses

I was finally able to get into the eye doctor today. I had Lasik surgery years ago. It was the best thing I ever did. What an amazing thing to no longer need glasses. Well, after all this time, I have noticed some issues, so I made the appointment.

Today, the doc told me that I definitely need glasses for seeing distance and for reading. I had a feeling this would be the case. I had a couple options: I could get a pair that I could wear for driving with the bifocals for reading all in one pair, OR I could get two pair of glasses. I chose the later. I can keep the glasses in the car for driving and I can keep the readers on me for reading and work.

I told the doc that the readers I have give me a headache and he said that’s because all the over the counter readers are hit or miss. They don’t line up with everyone’s pupils. He took a tablet and took a picture of my face and showed me how the readers I will get will have the pupils lined up so the head ache will go away.

Years ago, I couldn’t wait to NOT have glasses…..now, I am excited to have them again.