To My Ladies…

Family

To My Ladies,

It has been a while since I have written to you. This is not because I do not have much to say but because so much is changing so quickly that I find it hard to keep up. So I thought I would tell you as much as I could at this moment.

To Penny,

You amaze me every day. You seem to know a new word or 10 words each day. Your silliness seems to exponentially grow each day. No matter how tough or exhausting the day is your “Hi Dada!” to greet me when I get home is the best thing in the world. I look forward to chasing you around the house and being extra hyper with you every night. Little do you know that you will be meeting your little sister any day now. I can already tell you are going to be a great big sister- you are caring, sweet, sharing, and your love for food and life is infectious. Wuh wuh!

To Lucy,

You amaze me every day and I cannot wait to meet you. I have been feeling you kick around every night for the last few months, but your Mom is feeling you a lot more. A LOT MORE! How your poor Mom must feel with you using her bladder as a punching bag and her stomach as a trampoline! I can tell you are going to be strong and react strongly to sugar. I keep on thinking about you and your sister Penny, playing together, sharing a bowl of popcorn together, and giggling at secrets in the back seat of the car together. I am sure there will be some arguing too but that is what sisters are for. Wuh Wuh and keep on baking as long as you need to.

To Mel,

You have amazed me since the first day we met and have not stopped every day since. You are two weeks away from Lucy’s due date and have everything ready for her arrival. You seem terribly uncomfortable most of the time yet you always are so happy and seem to glow with love even when Lucy makes you cringe with pain. I find it amazing that you know what is coming yet you seem so ready and strong. Maybe you are ready because Lucy is getting so big! Your strength is inspiring! I love you (Wuh Wuh) and cannot wait to embark on this next adventure!

Love, Dad

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Never Grow Up

Dear Penny,

You are 20 months old, so much closer to 2 than I ever could have thought possible, and yet there is no question that you are growing up into the sweetest, silliest little lady you were always meant to be.

Some of the growing up has been my doing- something I struggle with because I feel guilty for rushing you out of babyhood and into big girl territory, all in preparation for the arrival of your little sister. Still, evicting you from your crib and saying goodbye to diapers hasn’t seemed to phase you at all. I do miss coming into your room and seeing you standing up holding the rails of your crib, the place you rested your sleepy head from the time you were only 2 months old. And the sight of those thighs protruding from that cushy diapered butt… But seeing your face light up when you crawl into your comfy big girl bed at night, surrounded by cuddly stuffed animals, your head nestled on a pillow and your covers pulled up to your chin, is one of my favorite things.

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And so is the vision of you sitting on the potty, your legs dangling over the sides with a book in your lap, and hearing you say “Yay!” and clap your hands when you finally hear the sweet sound of pee tinkling into the pot. There are days when I have to put you back into your bed 10 times before you finally fall asleep, and I have seen your bare butt running away from me before I can get your undies and pants back on more times than I can count. But the way that you have so quickly and easily adapted to these changes has made me more proud of you than I can even say.

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Yet even without me nudging you along, you continue to grow every day. You have such a voracious appetite for knowledge, and pick up on things so quickly. You know all of your colors, most of your shapes, and about half of your letters, and enthusiastically point these things out every chance you get. You also love to play pretend, and the first thing you ask to do every morning and after every nap is to go have “tea” at your little table. Many a stuffed animal has had the pleasure of being your guest at tea time, but you will always shove them aside without a second thought if Mama or Dada wants to join you.

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You can happily sit at the table and color or play with play-dough while we get dinner ready, and like to draw with chalk.

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You love to make up songs (almost all of them to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” although “Happy Baby” is an original), and recently discovered your love for the slide. You still adore books, and i think it’s safe to say your attachment to them won’t be going away anytime soon.

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You are constantly adding words to your vocabulary, and communicate pretty effectively. You can tell us “Yeah!” or “No” in answer to questions (“no” being the more popular choice at the moment), and think it’s hilarious to say “No….!” with a mischievous look in your eye and a poorly held back smile as you run away when asked to do something. We try to stay consistent as possible with you and follow through with what we say, but we are usually holding back smiles ourselves at your silly attempts at defiance, especially when we threaten timeout and you go and put yourself into timeout instead. You get very excited about getting dressed in the morning, but not nearly as excited as you get when trying to take off your clothes repeatedly throughout the day. You also can’t get enough of bubbles.

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You are very polite, and always say hi to others when prompted, and often say thank you unprompted. You even say hi to inanimate objects, like foods and colors, but my favorite is when your stroke my ever-growing tummy and say, “Hi baby!” I have also seen you stroke your own tummy and say hi baby, so you definitely don’t understand the concept, but it’s very sweet nonetheless.

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As you continue to learn and grow, I find that I am learning and growing right along with you, and I know your sister is going to learn so much from you as well. Just promise me you won’t try and grow up too fast- I don’t think this Mama could handle it!

Love,

Your Mama

*Photos courtesy of my amazingly talented sister, http://www.amandaseifert.com

Superman

For always greeting us with a cheerful smile and big kiss even after a hard day.

For never making me feel bad when I don’t get to a chore because I chose to sit on the couch during my nap time break instead.

For staying up cleaning until midnight last night because I have been too exhausted with potty training Penny to clean, but was going crazy not having sparkling floors.

For making sure I take my prenatal vitamins and iron supplement every day without fail.

For sleeping next to Penny on her bedroom floor all night so you could be ready to comfort her every time she threw up, and cleaning her mess.

For knocking all of the things off our to do list in preparation for Lucy without a single complaint.

For making us healthy dinners while still keeping Penny entertained every night.

For finding a pizza place that was still open at 11pm on a weeknight when I found myself starving and craving a ham and pineapple pie after said healthy dinner.

For making me get out of the house for some alone time even when I claim that I am too tired or lazy to, because you know that I need it.

For indulging in my binge watching of Gilmore Girls without complaint.

For making Penny laugh in that amazing way she has, and reminding me how much I love her silliness after a long day of cleaning messy fingers, time outs, and wiping little butts.

For not making me feel like a mental person when I start crying for no reason at the drop of a hat.

For telling me I look beautiful when I need to hear it most.

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For all these things and so much more, I thank you. Penny, Lucy, and I really hit the jackpot with you.

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Sometimes it makes me feel sad that I haven’t written much about being pregnant with you. I am already 31 weeks in, and time is flying by at record speed. When I was pregnant with your sister, it felt like I was writing a new post every week, and i couldn’t wait for her to be born. It all went so slowly. I had countless hours to wonder about every detail, analyze every kick and hiccup, and imagine what it would be like to be a mom.

Yet this time around, not only can I not believe how quickly your due date is approaching, but i find myself forgetting how many weeks pregnant I am and having to look it up on the app on my phone. Every Thursday I get a new email telling me how much you weigh and what size fruit you resemble, and it always takes me by surprise. And it’s not because I’m not as excited this pregnancy- that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s because I am so busy being a mom already, and am so fulfilled in that role, that I just don’t have the luxury to sit around for hours on end daydreaming about what it will be like. Now I know.

It is because of that knowing that I am beyond excited to meet you and welcome you into our family. Meeting Penny opened my heart up in ways I could never have imagined, and now it is going to double in size yet again, and I am crying from happiness right now just thinking about what a miracle that is. How I got so lucky I will never know, but I do know that even if I don’t say it all the time, I am thinking it. You never let me forget for long- your strong little kicks when I am reading to your sister on my lap or sitting peacefully in a rare moment of silence always put a smile on my face. You may not understand exactly what is happening when you hear Daddy chasing Penny around the living room and Penny’s squeals of delight at being caught, or my voice singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for the thousandth time to Penny before bed, but I know that you can hear the love and joy in this house, and I hope that you are as excited to come join us as we are to have you.

So you stay comfy and cozy in there just a little bit longer, and I will continue to enjoy having the privilege of carrying you until you are ready to venture out into the world, because that, my sweet girl, is when the real fun begins.

Autumn Leaves and Christmas Trees

It’s December 19th, less than a week away from Christmas. The tree has been up since Thanksgiving, yet still provokes an ooh and ahh from Penny every morning when she comes downstairs and sees it lit up in all its’ silver and gold splendor. The presents are all wrapped and resting patiently under the tree. 19 of the 24 holiday advent calendar activities have been done, including drinking cocoa while watching The Polar Express, making handmade holiday cards for loved ones, playing with fake snow, and making a fort in the living room. We have even gone to see the James Island Festival of Lights, definitely our favorite holiday activity so far due to Penny’s unbridled enthusiasm for all of the glowing lights.

All of this, and yet somehow I can’t believe it’s Christmas. The last time I checked, I was writing about spring birthdays and summer trips to the beach, and I was just wrapping my head around the impending arrival of autumn. And then suddenly our trees were turning brilliant shades of amber and our yard was full of leaves, adding to the alluring scent of burning firewood that always seemed to permeate the air. And then it was October 31st, and Penny was acting as hostess to her first toddler Halloween party, donning a not in the least bit scary ghost costume and learning to say “boo!” just in time for her sweet little friends to arrive.

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But perhaps even more shocking than the quickly changing seasons are the changes I am seeing in my little girl. I swear she is saying a new word almost every day, and says each word with such excitement that you can’t help but laugh. Who would have thought that “cheese!” and “eggs!” could bring about such joy? She communicates with us so well now, and understands even more. She loves to mimic our actions, feeding her teddy bear play food and rocking her baby doll, trying to put on clothes, (although she is convinced that pants go on her arms and underwear go around her neck), and especially loves to help us with chores around the house. She likes to spill things on the floor just so she can clean them up with a towel, and always wants to stand on a stool and help when we are preparing dinner.She can run, kick a ball around the house, throw toys for Charlie (not much of a challenge for him at this point but he indulges her all the same), and clap her hands vigorously at the end of every song we sing to her, only to ask for us to sing “more! more!” Contrasting her tendency to run around the house and get in on all the action, her concentration and focus never ceases to amaze me. The other day she spent at least 30 minutes just sitting at her table working on puzzles. It seems like only yesterday she could barely hold a puzzle piece, and now she is putting them in their places (correctly!) in record time.

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Penny’s place in the world has gotten so much bigger, and it has been so much fun experiencing all of these new and magical things through her eyes. With a little girl that is learning and growing this fast, it makes every day feel special. And there is something about the holidays that makes everything feel even more momentous. While I cannot believe that Christmas is only 6 days away, I am so eager to see the look on her face when she comes down those stairs and spots presents under the tree just for her. It was only a year ago that I was thrilled just to be able to sit Penny up on her own in front of her gifts, and now I will get to watch her running toward the tree in her jammies, making gleeful exclamations the whole way there. Not only will she be able to open her presents this year, but she will be able to play with them, and tell us thank you with that sweet smile on her face. We may even request a hug and kiss, and after a mischievous grin she will oblige, throwing an eskimo kiss in too for good measure.

The only thing that will be able to top this Christmas is having two sweet little girls in jammies sitting around our tree next year, and if the passage of time so far is any indication, it is going to be here before we know it.

The Mermaid and the Teddy Bear

The day of our ultrasound appointment had finally arrived. I had been eagerly awaiting this day for weeks, (let’s be honest, months), and yet it had somehow managed to sneak up on me. All of a sudden it was Tuesday and it was almost 1 o’ clock and it was time to go.  My sister came to watch Penny, and Kevin and I headed for the doctor’s office, knowing that in  a few short hours we would finally know the gender of our baby.

After lots of waiting, we found ourselves watching our little one wiggle and squirm on the screen, oohing and ahhing at the tiny hands balled up into fists and the sweet little turned up nose. Before long, we were asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby. Instead of having the technician tell us right then, we showed her the mermaid doll and teddy bear that we had brought with us, and asked her to secretly place one of them into a gift bag we had ready. We had bought the mermaid and teddy bear weeks ago at a quaint baby shop downtown, imagining them fitting in perfectly in our new baby’s Neverland themed nursery.

Minutes later, we were walking out of the building with a gift bag that would soon reveal to us the gender of our baby, and we couldn’t get home fast enough.

Penny had just woken up from her nap, and Uncle Brandon, Nana and Papa arrived soon after. Unable to wait until after dinner, we uncorked some champagne and sparkling cider, sat around the table, and presented Penny with a very special gift.

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Penny took an excruciatingly long time ripping open the tissue paper, and I may have helped her to speed the process along just a bit. So many thoughts went through my head just before the gift was opened. I had imagined this baby so many times already, sometimes as a boy and sometimes as a girl, but the image was always fuzzy. Yet in one fell swoop, as the last of the tissue paper was torn away, the image became clear. I suddenly knew what we were having, and it felt as if a part of me had always known. 

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A sweet little mermaid doll lay nestled in the paper, and we couldn’t wipe the joy from our faces. She was a girl! But of course she was.

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Penny delicately picked the doll up and hugged her to her chest, then gave her a soft kiss on her knitted, upturned mouth. While Penny was elated just to be holding this little doll, it meant so much more to us. It meant we were having a daughter.  It meant another beautiful baby girl to hold in our arms. It meant a sister for Penny. And it meant that we could finally refer to the tiny baby growing inside of me as she, and call her by her name.View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

Lucy Pearl, you have already brought us so much happiness and we cannot wait to meet you.

Two Lines

It was just another hot, sunny Tuesday morning in July. Kevin had been out of town in San Francisco for a couple of days, and Penny and I were planning on rendezvousing with him on Thursday in Detroit, where we would spend the weekend celebrating my sister Amanda and her soon to be husband Brandon’s wedding. Penny was sleeping in past 7, a rare occurrence for her, and I really had to pee, yet lingered by the bathroom sink, carefully reading the instructions on the test. It had only been 2 days since my period should have come. Nothing, really. Way too early to get my hopes up. And yet here I was with the test in my hand, contemplating whether or not I should just go ahead and take it. If it was negative, I told myself, there was no reason to be disappointed. It was still so early, and we had only been sort of trying for about a month. I decided just to go for it.

Heart pounding the whole time, I took the test, then waited the recommended 3 minutes to look at the screen. It was just as torturous as I had remembered. I killed time brushing my teeth, and then finally glanced over at the stick lying face up on the counter. Two lines. I looked again, this time more closely. I must have looked ten more times to be sure. Although faint, there were definitely two lines. Thoughts and feelings immediately washed over me- shock, excitement, giddiness, balanced with a sense of peace and calm, almost as though a part of me had already known what the test had just confirmed for me. After the initial jumping up and down and taking deep breaths stage, I was faced with a dilemma: how would I tell Kevin? And how could I possibly wait until Thursday? Could I really keep this very big secret all to myself until then? Of course I would have to. I had to tell him in person, and I would just have to find a way to do it without letting the rest of my family in on it; they had enough to think about with the upcoming wedding.

I lasted one day. On Wednesday, while sitting down to lunch with Penny, I caved. It was just too big, and I couldn’t keep it from him any longer. I rationalized that it was better this way- we would have time to process the information and talk about it without being surrounded by people rushing around in a hectic flurry to get ready for the wedding. So, after typing out a text message to Kevin and debating over and over whether or not to send it, I finally just hit send. My phone rang what felt like mere seconds later, and I had a very shocked and elated husband up the other end. I couldn’t see his face or hug him, but I knew that both of us had huge smiles on our faces that we couldn’t contain.

photo

The months since then have been a whirlwind of sharing news, doctors appointments, nausea, exhaustion, and excited talks about plans for our future as a family of 4. The time has flown by, and I suddenly find myself 19 weeks pregnant, only days away from finding out the gender of our baby, who we currently refer to as our little peanut. In exactly 9 more days, we will be able to call this child by his or her name, and it feels too good to be true.

Truth be told, this pregnancy has been harder on me than the last one. Not physically- I remember being nauseous and exhausted during the first trimester with Penny as well. Rather, It’s been harder emotionally. Perhaps last time I just took my pregnancy for granted, assuming everything would turn out fine, but this time I feel so much more paranoid that something will go wrong. I think it’s because now I know just how much I am going to love this baby, how insanely all consuming having this child will be in the most wonderful way possible. I thought I knew last time, but I couldn’t. And now I do, which makes it more exciting but also so much scarier.

It doesn’t help that we had a little scare a few weeks back, when Penny was sick with hand foot mouth disease, and I found myself sick as well. I had to have blood drawn to see if I had in fact had the virus, because apparently it can cause complications with the fetus if a mother gets the virus this early on in the pregnancy. I was told I would have to wait 2 to 3 days for the results of the blood test, and in the meantime I foolishly read up on what the complications could be on the internet. They weren’t good- words like stillborn and miscarriage and anemia popped out on the screen, and I immediately felt like I was going to pass out. I spent the next couple of days trying not to think about it, because when I did, I convinced myself that of course I had the virus. And so, when I got the call from my midwife telling me that I was immune and there was nothing to worry about, I started crying, I was so relieved.

The weight that was lifted after hearing that news was huge, but I couldn’t help but feel worried. It all felt so fragile this time around. I even started to become nervous when I wasn’t sure I had felt the baby move yet. In the back of my mind there continued to be this feeling of doom. And then yesterday morning, lying in bed with Kevin and Penny, it all turned around. Kevin reached down to kiss my belly and say good morning to our peanut, and then Penny did the same. Suddenly I felt a little flutter. And another. And another. And I couldn’t help but smile and feel content to be in that perfect moment with my sweet family.

I have felt my baby’s tiny movements several times since that morning, and it is the most wonderful and reassuring feeling in the world. All is well, everything is as it should be, and the end of March will be here before we know it.

Dear Penny

Dear Penny,

How is it possible that the last post I wrote to you was about your birthday? You are only 3 months older than the sweet little lady in pink who delicately ate her birthday cupcake, yet you are a completely different kid. Perhaps because you have started walking. They say once a child starts walking, the world opens up in a whole new way. I look at you now, wanting things and going after them with gusto, becoming irrationally upset when you can’t get those things your heart so deeply desires, expressing your feelings so much more strongly, and I am in awe at this person you have become. It is both a challenge and a joy to be your mother at this stage in your life, and I am grateful everyday that I am experiencing it all through you.

There are far too many things to love and marvel at these days, so I will simply list my favorite Penny things.

1. Stuffed animals are your weakness. You love your fuzzy bunny and elephant with a burning passion, and welcome  encounters with any other furry creature that finds himself in your path. Poor bunny has been dropped into the street and flung from the car seat too many times to count, but your alarmed cries, followed by your tight hugs and kisses once he is safely back in your arms, make it all worth it.

2. You say “mmm!” after almost every bite at meal times, and when you are all done, you wave both hands to do the all done sign, and urgently hum the words “all done.” You also love kid food, like peanut butter and jelly and mac n’ cheese. Shocking, right? And I was going to raise you on vegetables and healthy proteins, and you were going to love it. Except you refuse to eat almost all vegetables. And most proteins. You love fruit, carbs, and anything involving cheese. I hope it is a phase, but I can’t say that I blame you if it is not.

3. You adore animals, your pets most of all. Is there anything better than the high pitched squeal of delight you make when Charlie licks your feet, or gently takes a treat from your plump outstretched hand? You don’t say many words yet, but you can tell us what a doggy says (woof woof!), a kitty (meow!), a cow (sort of sounds like moo!), a sheep (baa! although sometimes you insist a sheep says meow!), and a duck (quack!) about a thousand times a day.

4. You amaze me with how much you understand. You can follow so many directions, and know when we are going to go up stairs, or take a bath, or get ready for a nap, or get our shoes on to go somewhere. You really have been paying attention, and remind me and your dad daily that we need to be careful what we do and say around you, as you are quite the copy cat!

5. You look adorable when you walk. With your stomach pushed out to lead the way and your legs taking quick little steps to keep up with your desire to get places quickly, you are constantly shocking me with how speedily you can get around.

6. You still adore books. As if watching you bring me books to read wasn’t enough to warm my heart, you now hand me a book and then climb into my lap, reclining comfortably against my chest in anticipation of hearing another story that you have likely heard countless times before. Your favorites are “Too Pickley,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Duck and Goose,” and “Barnyard Dance.”

7. Every time music begins to play, you wave your arms back and forth and hum a noise that sounds like the word “dancing!” You will continue to do this until I have acknowledged that yes, you are indeed dancing.

8. You think everything is “Ca ca.” Once, when you picked up a piece of gravel and tried to put it into your mouth, I told you “no, don’t put that in your mouth, that’s ca ca.” I’m not sure why I used that word instead of the more conventional “yucky,” but it stuck. Now you bring me around 200 “ca ca” things a day and loudly exclaim that they are in fact “ca ca,” from bits of lint on the ground to dirt from outside to daddy’s stinky shoes. It is by far your favorite and most used word, and I will continue to chuckle every time you say it.

9. You care very deeply about doing things correctly the first time. That is a nice way of saying you get terribly frustrated when you try to do something once, like close a door that has objects in the way, and it doesn’t work out the way you had planned. While slightly ridiculous, I have to hold back a smile when you come up to me, red faced with fat tears running down your check, because you can’t fit a toy into a container that is too small.

10. You get super excited when daddy gets home from work or Nana and Papa come to visit. When I tell you one of them is here to see you, you book it toward the front door, huffing and puffing with anticipation. You repeatedly open and close both hands to say hello, raise both arms into the air to be picked up, and almost always give kisses when asked. And believe me, you are asked A LOT.

11. Your favorite game is peek a boo. When I say, “Penny, where are you?” in my sing song voice, I can hear you start to giggle before you pop out from your hiding place. Your favorite person to play peek a boo with, though, is the cute baby in the mirror. You also love to say hi to cute baby, laugh at her while she brushes her (two) teeth, and show her how fantastic you look in your latest ensemble.

I was going to keep it to 10 favorite things, but 11 was hard enough.

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Thank you for being the sweet, smart, silly girl that you are! I love you more than you know.

Come One, Come All

I woke up early to sun streaming through the window. The previous day, it had called for rain, so I quickly checked the updated weather report on my phone. Even with the forecast showing a 40 percent chance of rain later in the afternoon, I was still optimistic, and shot out of bed, eager to get started. I had been planning this day for weeks, yet there was so much left to do. Desserts to make, games to set up, banners to hang. And a birthday girl to kiss good morning to! Luckily, there were lots of people around to help, and we were off and running in no time.

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With Daddy and Papa setting up carnival games, Aunt Amanda and Andy blowing up balloons, Lindsay assembling strawberry shortcakes into tiny mason jars, Nana wiping down tables and me whirling about, completing tasks halfway before abandoning them for something else I suddenly remembered to do, it was 4 o’ clock before I knew it, and guests would be arriving any moment.

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After going upstairs to get Penny up from her nap, putting her into her pink gingham party dress and bow, and coming back downstairs, I heard the unmistakable sounds of heavy rain pouring down. I could control a lot of things, like having the dessert table set up just so, but I couldn’t control the weather, and tried not to be disappointed. Like a typical summer day in South Carolina, however, the rain came out of no where but let up just as quickly, and we were able to enjoy the outdoors once again.

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Penny was pleasantly surprised to see the familiar faces of all the friends and family she loved so much, and enjoyed being passed around for kisses and cheek pinches. She feasted on fried chicken and corn on the cob, and soon it was time to blow out her very first birthday candle.

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With Penny waiting patiently in her high chair surrounded by smiling faces singing “Happy Birthday,” I slowly walked over with her cupcake, a lone flickering candle stuck into the pink frosting, holding back tears all the while. After I presented her with her cupcake, helped her blow out the candle and cheered, we all watched to see what Penny would do.

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View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

In true Penny fashion, she took her time assessing the situation. After looking up with a surprised smile at Dad and me, as if to say, “am I really allowed to eat this entire thing?!” she very delicately stuck her pointer finger into the cream cheese frosting and brought it to her lips. Taking it a step further, she bent forward, and without picking the cupcake up, she licked the top of the frosting like a little lizard. After lots of laughter, I decided to help her out a bit and peeled the paper wrapping off, then broke the cupcake up into pieces so she could dig in. And dig in she did!

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View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

 

View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

Following dessert were presents and more play time, and before we knew it, all of Penny’s guests were gone. She went to bed happy and content, a belly full of cupcake and a smile on her face.

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After the remnants of the party had been cleared away and the sun had set, we headed outside and lit one glowing lantern to commemorate Penny’s first year of life. We watched it float up into the night sky, getting smaller and smaller until it was nearly indistinguishable from the stars. Much like the day itself, the year had passed by so quickly, yet was full to bursting with so many wonderful moments and memories.

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I imagine this is how we will feel with every passing year- sad that it has come to an end so fast but grateful for all that it brought us.

A Beach Story

She was skeptical at first. Mom and Dad had packed the car with everything they could possibly need, and they were clearly brimming with excitement. According to them, it had been far too long since they had been to the beach, and they couldn’t wait to introduce her once again to the sandy shore.

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Before long, they seemed to have arrived at their destination. The car was in park, the gear was unpacked, and her soft pink baby skin was covered in a thick layer of sunscreen. They followed the path trodden by many before them, all in pursuit of the same thing. Up a small hill, down again, and there is was: the crashing, white-capped waves of the ocean.

 

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Content at first to sit on her beach blanket and play with familiar toys, she soon began to venture beyond the confines of her blanket, eager to feel the sand between her fingers and discover its’ curious texture. Before long she was off, crawling like a hermit crab across the vast sand while panting with excitement, stopping only to inspect rocks and sea shells that found themselves in her path.

 

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 View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

Still, there were more things to be discovered, and so Dad whisked her away toward the beckoning waves of the deep blue sea.

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Out here, the sand was dark and mucky. The water warm and salty. Sweeping in out of nowhere and retreating again just as quickly, it foamed wonderfully around her toes.

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With one hand in Mom’s and one hand in Dad’s, she bravely traversed across the shoreline, lifting each foot tentatively at first, but gaining confidence with every step.

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View More: http://amandagerlingphoto.pass.us/love-on-the-seaside

Mom’s floppy beach hat escaped with the wind only once, but she was much too enamored with the ocean to notice. Even when Mom and Dad brought her back to dry sand, the water continued to call to her. Time after time, she would bolt back toward the water, crawling with abandon into the sea, only to be saved once again.

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As the sun set behind the dunes and Mom and Dad brushed sand from her knees, she couldn’t wipe the silly grin from her face. There was no question- Penny had fallen in love with the sea shore that day.

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Photos by the very talented Amanda Gerling Photography