Your 12 Month Birthday Letter!

Dear Carter,

One year ago, your Daddy and I were anxiously awaiting your arrival. We knew our lives were about to change forever. We weren't really sure what to expect, but we knew becoming parents would teach us to grow, learn, and love (and yes, worry) like we never had before.

Looking back, the months have flown by and you've changed so quickly that I have shed tears today just wishing I could relive some of our "early" days and weeks together. And yet, while time has slipped by, it also seems like you've been a part of our family for much longer than twelve months.

Motherhood has been both harder and more joyful than I could have ever imagined. On the days when I just followed you around the house and met your basic needs, I admit that I questioned my purpose. Is this really what I had worked my whole life to do? Did I really finish grad school and seminary to change diapers and talk "baby talk?" Where is my big ministry?

And the Lord clearly showed me...in your grin, in your seemingly comprehending expressions, in your tears... that I am serving a mighty purpose right now. I am loving you and caring for you the best way I know how so that you can grow up in a home that protects you, find support in a family that loves you, and come to know the God that created you. The knowledge I learned in seminary will aid me in teaching you to love Him with all your mind, heart, and strength, and to have a solid theology. The longs days I worked in my career prepared me to handle unexpected changes and trials and to push through hour after hour, even when I am tired. For years, the Lord has been preparing me, in big and small ways, to be your Mother. And I am so thankful for that privilege.

Over the last month, you have changed even more! I have learned now that daily lessons and discoveries are the norm.

You have started WALKING!!! Your first real steps were taken at your birthday party. (I think the sugar from the cake gave you the boldness and courage to do it!) Just a few steps at a time, but you're taking more every day. YAY!! But let's stick to walking for awhile before we try running.

You have become attached to several different items. To start, the dog leash. You carry it around like a security blanket and hold the metal clasp to your cheeks. We almost got you your own for your birthday but decided you'd want this one anyway. (Just for the record, in case your memory fails you down the road...you DO have toys!!)
Your favorite morning ritual is to crawl into our bathroom, open the bottom drawer, and pull out the travel sized contact solution and toothpaste. You'll carry these two items in your hands as you crawl around the rest of the house. I don't understand the appeal, but I am usually just pleased that you're entertained. :)

If you're in the right mood, you love to ham it up. Especially for the camera. One evening, you looked up, posed, and smiled a huge smile every time I said "cheese!" This is your pal Ben who is six days older than you. It's been fun to watch ya'll grow together!
Back to items of attachment....you are fiercely passionate about your paci, and you carry this lamb around with you when you don't have the leash. I'm hoping you learn to like your loveys just as well because they're smaller and easier to transport. :)

Jackson has become much more tolerant of your "petting."
One of your favorite games is to stand at the door and wave hello or goodbye to any visitors. You also like to close doors. You know the doorknobs open the doors because you reach for them, but you're not quite tall enough. (For that, I'm glad!)

You have really developed a love for books, and you'll often sit in my lap for 30 minutes at a time while we read. The only bad thing...we're often reading the SAME book for those 30 minutes! Below are your two favorite books, and you cry at the end and wave them in my face until I start from the beginning again. You smile when I turn certain pages, so I think you have the stories memorized. :)
You have cut three more teeth for a grand total of seven. Unfortunately, you have picked up biting as of late. We're working on that.

You have learned how to go DOWN the stairs. And you have learned to dance! When I sing "shake it like a polaroid picture" from Outkast's song "Hey Ya," you'll shake your arms and fists and say "shaka shaka!" :)

At your one-year appt, your stats were:
Weight 23 lbs (50th percentile)
Length 31 1/4" (90th percentile)

You really seem to understand us now, and you'll respond to certain commands (if you're in the mood to). You can open and close doors, go find a book or particular toy, lie down, give us a hug or kiss, etc. You babble A LOT! And you've actually said quite a few words when repeating me or Daddy. But usually those words only come out once. :)

We are having more and more fun with you as we're able to communicate, interact, and play. We can't wait to see what this next year has in store!

Happy FIRST Birthday, Carter!!


post signature

It's Time to Party!!

Here are some shots from Carter's first birthday party! Because I had our church's women's retreat this past weekend, we had Carter's party on Saturday the 24th. He absolutely loved the attention and celebration! I wasn't sure how he'd react because he can either be very extroverted and outgoing or he can be very shy and clingy. Luckily, this day was one when he wanted to entertain everyone. :)

He loved all of the balloons!

Carter with Aunt Julie and Uncle Stuart
Somehow, Gram Me and Grand Dad escaped all of the pictures!
The party had a monkey theme.And as my mom used to do for my sister and me, I made a cake with a Wilton pan. Here is the monkey cake....I finished icing it at 11:30 pm the night before!! I waited as long as I could before we cut into it. :)
Carter with his party hat. He also had a little prince crown that my cousin, Ashley, lent us from her own boys' birthdays.
Carter with his Mommy and Daddy...eating some fruit and chicken before diving into sugar.His birthday bibHappy Birthday to Carter!The first taste...As you can see, he loved his cake! I made an allergy free cake, and it was pretty tasty! I have a video from my mom's camera of him diving into the cake...it's hilarious! I just have to figure out how to compress it since it's a file not recognized by our computer. But if I don't get it on here, he had fistfuls of cake and was shaking them in delight by the end. He was wired with sugar and continued to squeal, shake his fists with excitement and dance for the rest of the party. :)

Elmo Live was a hit! I got he idea from my friend Emily Giffen's blog. Her son had received one for his first birthday. I think the adults were even more entertained by Elmo than the kids! Just like the talking Christmas bear, Carter loves to stick his hands in Elmo's mouth when it's moving.
Elmo and Monkey. Uncle Ivan did a great job picking out the little monkey for Carter! Carter took it around with him, hugging and kissing it!And of course, paper and ribbons are always the best part. :)
Carter also enjoyed this farm. The lamb is his favorite animal to carry around.
Aunt Courtney and Grand Mary

What do you know? We finally got Uncle Ivan in a picture!!!!!! :)

Papa (my dad) showed Carter how to throw the basketball into the hoop.

It was a great day, and Carter loved every minute. Following the party, he crashed and slept for almost 3 hours!

post signature

On your 1st birthday....


Since you won't remember your very first birthday, I wanted to document the day so you could see how we celebrated YOU on January 29th, 2009!!

Daddy and I went into your room this morning and sang Happy Birthday to you. Even though you've now heard it a couple of times, you weren't really sure what to think.
We took this picture of you at exactly 7:30 am, the time you were born.
After your morning nap, we went to the Bluff Park Fire Station to have your carseat turned around. Yay! You LOVE facing forward. I had to be careful to not look back too often, so I tried to hit all the red lights. :)
Then, we met Daddy at Newks in Vestavia to eat lunch. Since we're still not sure how to order allergy free food for you at restaurants, I brought your own lunch. You wore your birthday bib from Gram Me and Grand Dad.

Just like every month of your life thus far, we took a picture of you with your beloved yellow bear. Now, you're twice his length! How you've grown!You played with your basketball goal (who put the lamb there?) which we gave you at your birthday party. Daddy is starting you young so you can learn to play as well as he did!
Then, we surprised you with your other birthday gift....a battery-operated fire truck!! Since you like to be pushed around on your little bus (you haven't quite figured out how to use your legs to move it), we thought we'd give our backs a rest and give you an automobile you can move yourself! You figured out how to push the button to make it go, but you still weren't sure how to hold it down to keep the truck moving. It was a lot of stop and go. We'll have to take it outside where you have more room to "drive."
And finally, since you already had a cake last weekend at your party, we gave you an oreo to cap off your birthday dinner. Aunt JuJu brought them over!

Throughout the day, I kept remembering the different moments of last year when you were born. I was very sentimental, wanting to relive every second! Your daddy and I can't imagine life with out you. Thank you for making this past year the best year of our lives! We love you!

Happy First Birthday, Carter!

post signature

Happy 1st Birthday, Carter!!!

I'm still collecting pictures and notes for Carter's 12-month letter and birthday party post....coming this weekend. :)

In the meantime, Happy Happy Birthday to our sweet son!!
ONE YEAR!!!!! Holy cow!!

post signature


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's crazy that Christmas has already come and gone. What a whirlwind! We spent this year's Christmas in Birmingham, and my parents came from Raleigh to stay with us. Scott's parents live here too, so it was great to be surrounded by family.

We felt so joyful and blessed, particularly on Christmas morning. And I want to thank those of you who reached out to us through comments on our Glory Baby post, or through phone calls and emails, just to let us know you were praying for us. I truly felt your prayers, as my "fog" of sadness lifted very quickly, and I was able to really enjoy Carter's first Christmas. I also felt God's presence very strongly. I am so grateful for all of you who have and continue to pray for complete healing and a 2009 miracle. :)

As you can imagine, with all of our parents and siblings in town, we have no shortage of pictures. :) So I have tried to keep the posted pics to a minimum. Here are some highlights....
Carter in his reindeer outfit smocked by Aunt JuJu
On Christmas morning, everyone (minus Courtney and Ivan) came over to witness Carter's first glimpse of his gifts from Santa.The rocking horse was a hit!

As was his chair. (Although he now likes the chair for climbing purposes. I thought walking came first??I would definitely prefer that!)Carter and DaddyCarter and MommyOh goody! More chew toys. "Look how big I am!" (Carter with Uncle Stu)
Grand Dad watching Carter the cowboy
Later that day, we headed to Gram Me's and Grand Dad's for more gifts!Carter especially loved the talking bear that my mother-in-law had bought him. It reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Carter just stared at the bear at first. Later, he enjoyed trying to clamp its moving mouth shut and also sticking his fingers in the mouth to get munched on. :)

He also loves his new wagon! (And if you're wondering, yes, I did get in trouble with my husband and dad for putting our little guy in tights. But he's still a baby and can wear this, right??) :)Carter and Uncle Stuart (Scott's twin)Carter and Aunt JulieTaking a break for lunch and wearing his new reindeer bib from Gram Me!On Friday, we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family (my parents and Courtney & Ivan). Here is Carter with his Aunt CocoMy parents gave him a little school bus. He hasn't yet figured out how to use his feet to make himself move forward, but he likes all the fun buttons and sounds.

Carter with his Grand Mary at Aunt Coco's and Uncle Ivan's house. We went there for some yummy snacks my sister whipped up. Our family can make meals out of appetizers!
Carter with his Papa

Now on to 2009 and an upcoming special birthday!! Actually, two upcoming special birthdays: Carter's 1st and my 30th! And we're excited about both! For some reason, I have been looking forward to turning 30 for several years. :)

Happy New Year to all of you!

post signature