I write this with blurred vision from the tears in my eyes. My sweet girl, you are no longer an infant but officially a toddler! I’m a ball of emotions – joyful, sad, proud, disbelieving, grateful. Last night your dad and I scrolled through all your baby videos, laughing and shaking our heads in awe at how much you have changed in the past year.
I looked back at my first ultrasound when you were just a tiny gummy bear and remembered my excitement upon seeing the pregnancy test results. Then I saw your hospital picture, and I still vividly remember specific details of my labor and your incredibly powerful birth. Now I scan my memory of our first year together, and I can picture your tiny newborn toes and smell your scent; I remember exactly how your body heat on my chest felt all those times I let you nap on me; I recall the exact moment you had your first blow out, when you got sick, and your first giggle. I picture the peaceful night time feedings and the feeling of exhaustion and purpose. It’s crazy how many memories over the past 365 days flash through my mind within just a few minutes. These are some of the most simple yet deeply impactful memories of my lifetime.
I am constantly in awe of your emerging personality. You are spunky, joyful, fiercely demanding, independent, strong-willed, intelligent, and goofy. I think you got the best qualities of both me and daddy, inside and out. I love that you do things on your own time and let me know what you want. I love your open-mouthed, slobbery kisses. I love nursing you and snuggling. I love that you smack when you eat something really tasty. I love how you shout at every dog we pass in the neighborhood until they come over to check you out. I love how you dance and clap to music and how you try to give Alexa commands even though you can’t say any real words yet. Most of all, I love you.
I have so many hopes for you, Amaya. I hope you always look at the world with wonder and curiosity. I hope you find joy in the little moments. I hope you embody compassion and empathy because you are surrounded by it. I hope you feel safe and secure in your being and in our home. I hope you approach life’s challenges with grace and determination. I hope you never feel alone because you know in your core how much you are loved.
Thank you for choosing me as your mommy and allowing me the honor of witnessing you every day. You are my greatest gift.
I love you through and through,
You Like: laying on pillows, playing with remotes, eating cheese/carbs/eggs, slapping your belly in front of the mirror, kissing your bear, hollering at dogs, Christmas lights, pillow forts, kisses from Olivia, standing and holding onto Terri, spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, playing with (and sometimes eating) grass and leaves
You Dislike: being left alone, sitting in your high chair when food isn’t ready, taking your 2nd nap
Stats: Weight – 17 lbs 11 oz; Height – 27.5 in ; Head – 70% ; Weight-for-Length – 35%
- Taking your true first steps! 13 in a row so far!
- Dancing to music
- Sharing your bear (but wanting it back)
- Squatting and standing
- Tearing up your food
- Playing hide and seek
- Shaking your head no
- Bringing over a book for us to read
- Helping around the house (throwing away your diaper in the pail!)
- Understanding no or rather “nah ah ah!” (and imitating us lol)
- Watching Amaya clap and dance with excitement to your favorite song Hurricane – Dillon Francis
- Thanksgiving in Houston and seeing so much family
- Quality time with both sets of grandparents
- Your first haircut
- Watching kids play basketball (I really think you love sports)
- Your first time in a swing!
- Play dates with Cody, Camila, and Alex
- Parker’s birthday and your first cupcake (and the lack of nap that resulted)
- The way you kick your feet in excitement when you get in your stroller
- Your first steps!
Mantra: Hold space. You’ll figure it out!
Getting Laid Off
I’ve been a basket case for several weeks now and couldn’t really put it into words until now. I got laid off at the end of October. It was unexpected and really shocked me. While I know at a surface level I’ll be fine, it’s been up and down. My confidence was shaky at best, and I had anxiety over providing for my family. I started the job hunt so fast that I didn’t take time to grieve and reflect and ended up feeling overwhelmed. I felt guilt over having Amaya in daycare but knew I couldn’t apply for jobs or interview while taking care of her. During this time, several people including my former manager, HR person, and close friends, built me up and helped me re-discover my confidence and feel proud about what I’ve accomplished in my career. It allowed me to present myself genuinely and have authentic conversations while interviewing. It led me to understand and advocate for my worth with confidence. It led me to landing my dream job at an incredible company, all before my severance was up. I am happy to share that I’ll be starting at Indeed as a Product Marketing Manager on Dec 18! Many thanks to Courtney, Sarah, Charlotte, Mark, Greta, Audrey, Mike, John, Ladi, and anyone else I left off that helped build me up. Super thanks to Andy who continues to be my biggest champion. And thank you to everyone for the words of encouragement and prayers. Onward and upward!
I am so lucky to have made it to the 1 year mark exclusively breastfeeding! I never ever EVER imagined I would love breastfeeding so much. After over 2 months of pain and then all the challenges of engorgement, pumping, supply, stress, bottles, etc., I am proud of my body (and my mind/emotions) for surviving and thriving this past year. Now that we’ve reached this mark, I’m starting to transition Amaya to cow’s milk and weaning off the pump. However, I plan to keep breastfeeding as long as she’ll let me. I’ve come to cherish our snuggles and quiet time, and I’m not ready to let it go just yet. I know Amaya always has her own plans and timeline, so I’m hanging on for the ride!
Amaya is starting her transition to the toddler room at daycare the same day I start my new job. Talk about big changes for us both! I bounce back and forth between anxiety and excitement for her. I know she’s outgrown the infant room, and I definitely know she’ll be walking confidently (and probably running) within her first few weeks in the new class. But I also know this transition might be challenging. She’s starting to have separation anxiety at drop off and will have to transition to 1 nap a day on a mat (no more crib!). However, Amaya has always proven to adapt, and all the fear and worry is just me. I’m confident in her and cheering her on, while cheering myself on too!
A few weeks ago, I received news that turned my world upside down: my cousin Allie had lymphoma. To say I’m shocked is an understatement. I’m still processing. So many thoughts ran through my head, and I’ve had many breakdowns. But every time I talk to her, she’s positive, thoughtful, and very matter of fact…so Allie. My Matron of Grace, to this day still embodies this word in all her actions. She has given me perspective to not sweat the little things and to savor every moment. Her strength and optimism have gotten her through round 1 of chemo while 22 weeks pregnant. She’s the embodiment of a loving wife, adoring mom, and loyal friend. While I know I am allowed to feel all my feelings and process all the changes happening in my life, I know that focusing on gratitude is the key to resilience. I am grateful for each and every moment and know this life is a gift. I am cheering you on Allie! Your spirit and strength amidst adversity is inspiring. I am proud Amaya can look up to you. Thank you everyone for your prayers, thoughts, and love.
“It is the hard days – the times that challenge you to your very core – that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Thank you to everyone who encouraged me, cried with me, gave me advice, held Amaya, held me, cleaned my house, dropped off food, and texted me non stop to get me (and Andy and Amaya) through this year. We didn’t just survive, we thrived. We couldn’t have done it without our village. I am beyond grateful to each of you.