Portrait of a Dad

To most this is just a photo of a dad holding his newborn daughter, but let me tell you, it is so much more. This is a photo of a dad who less than 14 months earlier had held his first born, his son, for the first and last time all at once. It’s a photo of a dad who has been through a tremendous tragedy and yet been an unwavering rock of support for his wife through the loss, another pregnancy, and now the birth of their new daughter. It’s a photo of a dad who is already so in love with and filled with wonder and amazement at this tiny little girl in his arms. It’s a photo of a dad who has just felt his broken heart heal a little bit while looking into his daughter’s big beautiful eyes. Today, that little girl is 3 years old and says daddy is her best friend. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual. ¬†There is a reason this is forever my favorite photo of you two.


I’m not sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have you not just as my husband, but as the father of my children (but you know me, I will try). I remember the day we got married. I thought I loved you such an incredible amount then, but then that day I saw you holding Madeline, our sweet, beautiful, daughter in your arms for the first time it was like falling in love with you all over again. Watching you become a dad has been the most incredible thing to witness. From your willingness to change cloth diapers (thank goodness we are past that!), to watching you patiently let our little Princess try to “make you pretty” with her tiaras and beads. You have become such an amazing dad, and Madeline and I simply adore you. The days where Madeline has gone into full threenager status and is driving me crazy, you know how to talk us both down off of the ledge. We love our family adventures with you, our movie nights, our game nights, and our just be silly nights. You make everyday and everything a little more fun. I am convinced you are the world’s greatest husband, and Madeline knows you are the world’s greatest dad! We just know we are lucky to have the best! We love you bunches!!!

Happy Father’s Day from your two favorite girls!

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16 Months

My Dear Madeline,

Today you are 16 months old. Crazy!

You are turning to such an awesome little kid. You are so much fun and we just love spending time with you.

You have really become quite the little momma to your baby doll. We can’t leave the house without it most days. You are quite sweet with her, pretending to feed her, rock her, wrap her up in a blanket, and put her to sleep, unless you are mad, then you are kind of a mean momma and baby tends to get thrown. I’m a little worried for our future grandchildren. ūüėČ

The speed at which you are picking up things these days just amazes me. When you are finished with something you will throw your trash away. You know how to close cabinet doors and are always careful to watch your fingers. You know  where things belong in the house and will help put things away. When we read books I can ask you where something is and you will point to it on the page. You love to pretend and it is just so much fun to play together.

You now have four teeth up on top and still just the two on the bottom. You were kind of attached to your Wubbanub again for a bit while since those four upper teeth were all coming in at once, but you’ve since forgotten about it again. Unless you are super sleepy and fighting sleep. Then we let you have it and you are asleep within five minutes. I’m convinced it’s magic.

We went to the zoo with Grandma. You were excited to show her the penguins.

This summer has still been really hot. So there hasn’t been as much time spent outside as I had hoped for. When the temperature is near 100 and the heat index is 110 I just can’t keep you out there that long. It’s not fun when the swing and the slide can burn you. Instead we opted for ice cream this last weekend to celebrate you turning 16 months old. You were happy about that decision.

Sweet girl, you are such a joy in our lives. ¬†There were so many days where we weren’t sure if our hearts would ever feel joy again after we lost your brother. Oh, sweet darling, how you have filled our hearts with more joy and love than we ever thought possible. You are a light not just in our lives, but everywhere we go. God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us you. We are so proud of you.

Love Always and Forever,

Your Momma

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10 Months

Dear Sweet Madeline,

Today you are 10 months old!  You are only two months away from turning 1 whole year old.   That is just so crazy to me.  These last 10 months have flown by.  You have brought such a beautiful little light into our lives and we are just over the moon in love with you.
This last month has been a lot of sickness and cold.¬† You came down with your first stomach flu and it was miserable.¬† You couldn’t keep anything down for 3 days and still refused to eat much for a couple more days after that.
It really messed your little tummy up and we had to end up putting Karo syrup in your bottles just to get you to be able to go to the bathroom (embarrassing I know, but it’s true).¬† With all of that, you dropped some weight and caused the doctor and mommy and daddy to worry a little.¬† You are already on the small side, so you didn’t have a lot to lose before we started to worry.
Thankfully, your tummy seems much better now and you are back to your happy self and most importantly you are back to eating very well.
You basically will eat anything.¬† You love your bottles.¬† You love your purees.¬† You love applesauce.¬† You love yogurt.¬† You love waffles.¬† You love puffs and yogurt melts.¬† You love basically anything that is on mommy’s plate.¬† We are feeding you more and more “regular” food and you love it.
You like it when I give you whatever it is that I’m eating (pasta, meatballs, scrambled eggs, bread of any kind, carrots, green beans, banana, baked potato, avocado, chicken…basically anything and everything).¬† We let you at least taste most everything these days except we are still staying away from sugar.¬† That’s probably why, after you had that first bottle that had Karo syrup in it, you acted like you were on a sugar high.¬† From no sugar to syrup in your milk kind of made you a little excited.
Somewhere in the middle of all of the sickness, you also (finally) got your first tooth.  One day, I was sitting and playing with you and you grabbed my hand and started to chew on my finger, like you often do, but this time it hurt.  I took a look and sure enough, a little tooth had popped up.  You look so cute with your little one toothed grin.
Your personality is really shining these days.  You no longer seem like this tiny little baby but rather a sweet, funny, ornery, sassy, smart little girl.  It is so fun to see the person you are becoming.
You are growing up so fast and you are getting so smart.  You repeat several words back to us now and will usually wave when you see us for the first time.
You are working really hard on this standing and walking thing.¬† I have this strange feeling this one of these days you are just going to get up and start walking like it’s no big deal.
You have this really intense way of concentrating on things.¬† It’s like I can actually see your mind working as you try and figure out how things work.
You love to crawl all over the place and unless you are just super tired, it is difficult to hold you these days because you just want to be moving.¬† You’ve got places to go and toys to find.
You have discovered your toy bin that we keep in the living room.  Now when we put you down, it is usually the first thing that you crawl over to and you proceed to take every toy out until it is empty.
You are wearing 6 month clothes (I told you that you were little) and can occasionally still fit into a 3-6 month outfit.  You weigh 16 pounds.
Your favorite word is still “dad.” ¬†Whenever you see daddy you will look right at him and just say “dad.” ¬†You’ve got him wrapped around your little finger. ¬†I’m pretty sure you could ask him for the moon and he would try to figure out a way to get it for you.
I’m pretty smitten with you too. ¬†You are my mini-me and I just love to make you smile and giggle.
You are our sweet baby girl and we continue to just be amazed by you each and every day.  We love you, princess!
Love Always and Forever,
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Nine Months

Dear Madeline,


Today you are 9 months old!  How on earth did that happen?  3/4 of a year have gone by in the blink of an eye.


The biggest thing this last month was celebrating your first Christmas. ¬†You will learn soon that your momma loves traditions. ¬†We started our Christmas traditions with your visit to see Santa last month and decorating the tree. ¬†This month we drove through the Plaza and looked at the pretty lights, we baked and decorated Christmas cookies (I even let you have a super tiny bite), we read Christmas books, watched Christmas movies, we did a lot of shopping and wrapping, and Christmas Eve we opened up a special Christmas package of new pajamas, Madeline’s Christmas book, and a movie. ¬†We made handprint ornaments and took lots of photos. ¬†Christmas morning momma made French Toast Casserole just like I’ve done every year since mommy and daddy have been married. ¬†You ate it up. ¬†I think you like it just as much as your daddy. ¬†Of course there were lots and lots of presents. ¬†You were super spoiled.



We also welcomed in a whole new year! ¬†I can’t believe that in 3 short months we will celebrating your first birthday! ¬†Momma has got to get planning.

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You started a new daycare this last month.  You love Ms. Melissa and seem to be doing really well (nap time aside Рand even that is getting better).


It is so fun to watch your personality develop.  You are sweet and cuddly.  You are funny and love to laugh.  You are so very smart and seem to really focus in on things to try and figure out new toys and the things around you.


You officially know what mama and dada mean and you will often say them to us when you want our attention.  When daddy comes home in the evenings you will look at him, smile, and say dada dada dada.  It is just absolutely precious.


You are really working on walking. ¬†You can crawl, we’ve seen you do it several times, but you would much rather stand up and try to walk. ¬†You have figured out how to pull yourself up to standing. ¬†I’m not sure I’m quite ready for you to be getting so big so fast. ¬†Your favorite thing about your new walker though is the phone. ¬†You love to “call” all of your little baby friends.


Your favorite food is still yogurt and you eat it most mornings for breakfast. ¬†You are wearing 6 month clothes. ¬†You finally like your jumper, but you still hate bath time. ¬†You love to read books and music is your favorite thing. ¬†You will tap your little foot to the beat and you will “dance” (bounce) to the music. ¬†Sometimes you will even sing along (yell and babble). ¬†You are still a very cuddly baby, but you also love to sit and play. ¬†You get very excited when we put you in your highchair, you love to eat.


You still love our dog, Sophie, but she still won’t come close enough for you to pet her. ¬†Instead you will watch her and laugh and laugh. ¬†You find her moodiness hilarious.¬†You are just such a happy baby and it is so fun to watch you explore the world around you.


You are our squish, our little bit, our bitty girl, our baby bear, our love, and you are our world.  We simply adore you, sweet girl.


Love You Always and Forever,


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2014 – In Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Had a beautiful little baby girl.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

This is easy, since I never really make any new year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Umm…yeah. ¬†I did. ¬†My niece, Patty did too. ¬†And a whole lot of friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I don’t think so. ¬†Patrick’s grandma died in July, but I actually had never met her.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More sleep.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 9, 2014 – Madeline’s birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Madeline – I’m starting to sense a theme with my answers…

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m not sure. ¬†I’m sure there were lots of little failures along the way, but nothing really stands out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Can I be lame and say it was something for Madeline? ¬†I’m not really sure we bought much of anything else of any significance. ¬†We bought a lot of cloth diapers, cute clothes, hair bows, and toys.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Patrick’s – I’ve loved him from the very beginning, but seeing the way he is with Madeline just makes me fall even more in love with him. ¬†He is a great friend, a wonderful husband, an amazing dad, and just the very best man I could ever ask for.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh so many who I am too kind to name here.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Uhh…Madeline. ¬†See no. 11.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Madeline.  Can I just make that my answer to everything?  No, really, watching Madeline grow and change.  Seeing her smile for the first time.  Hearing her giggle.  Hearing her say mama and dada.  Honestly, just every little thing that she does brings so much joy.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

American Authors – Best Day of My Life – I know this technically came out in 2013, but it was the song that was playing in the car when we were driving to the hospital to have Madeline.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

‚Äďhappier or sadder?

happier – we had a baby.

‚Äďthinner or fatter?

thinner РI was pregnant this time last year so that was an easy one.

‚Äďricher or poorer?

poorer – we had a baby.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I would have found more time to just relax and enjoy the moments.  I think I spent too much time stressed about one thing or another when I should have just been relaxing with my husband and our daughter.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas at our house (our 4th Christmas in our house Рcrazy).  Patrick and I enjoyed watching Madeline open her presents (and some of ours).  I made our traditional Christmas breakfast of French Toast Casserole and bacon and then my mom came over and had breakfast with us.  That afternoon my sister and her family came over for lunch and more presents.  Madeline was spoiled to pieces and we all enjoyed seeing Christmas through her eyes.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

With my precious daughter, Madeline, and over and over again with Patrick.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so. ¬†I really don’t “hate” anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

I think the only books I’ve read have had illustrations. ¬†I need to get back to reading again, but I am not finding a lot of down time these days.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m not sure. ¬†I feel like I just listened to a lot of pop music this year. ¬†Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Ed Sheeran.

26. What did you want and get?

A healthy, happy baby.

27. What did you want and not get?

A time machine.

27a. What did you not want and not get?

Pre-eclampsia. Thank God!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

lol – We really didn’t see that many movies this year. ¬†I liked the Lego Movie.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 10 days way from having Madeline. ¬†We didn’t do too much. ¬†We went out to breakfast at Le Peep, which has become a tradition. ¬†We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I’m not sure there really is anything. ¬†Overall, it was a good year.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

If it fit, I wore it. ¬†I was either pregnant or nursing most of the year, so there wasn’t a whole lot of “fashion” happening this year.

32. What kept you sane?

Patrick.  Most definitely, Patrick.  He always knows how to talk me down off of the ledge.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ugh.  I hate politics.  Pass.

35. Who did you miss?

Joshua.  Always, Joshua.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Madeline.  Duh.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

I learned that there is light even in the darkest of times.  I learned that hope is a beautiful thing.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound”

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This little girl right here is the very best gift I could have ever asked for.  In her 37 weeks out (plus 38 weeks in) she has filled so many of the empty and broken places in my heart.

Her laugh is the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard and the way she will giggle and smile when I kiss her cheeks completely melts me.

I adore the way she cuddles in close when I pick her up. ¬†I love how she gives kisses and says “mama.”

She is absolutely the best gift.


This guy is pretty great too. ¬†ūüėČ

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There Should Be More


All my life I was raised to be grateful for what I had. This was especially true at Christmas. I may not have always gotten every gift that I had on my wish list, but my mom worked hard to ensure that my Christmas was always magical.

I know we live in a society that is always seeking more and I certainly don’t want to raise my daughter thinking that more gifts is what makes Christmas special. I want to teach her what is truly important about this season: Jesus, family, and love.

That being said, this year I can’t help but wish for more.

There should be one more stocking hung with care.

There should be one more pair of Christmas PJs carefully picked to match baby sister’s.

There should be cars and trucks and blocks wrapped in pretty paper with blue bows.

There should be more laughter and noise filling our house.

There should be more little foot steps running down the hall.

There should be more beautiful chaos, more excited voices, more bright eyes all aglow.

There should be more sticky fingers covered in icing and sprinkles as we decorate cookies.

There should be more sweater vests and bow ties.

There should be more.

I am so grateful beyond measure for our Madeline, but there should be more.

There should be Joshua.

So for those with aching hearts, missing your child, your parent, your grandparent, your spouse, your friend, I give you permission to wish for more this year. Be grateful for your blessings, but it is okay to acknowledge that your greatest wish is just one more moment with that missing piece of your heart.

I pray you all have a beautiful and peaceful Christmas and that 2015 is full of many blessings and joy.


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Eight Months

Dear Madeline,


Today you are 8 months old!  Time seems to be flying right on by.  This last month, like all the others before, was so much fun with you.


You have mastered the art of the happy scream. ¬†You are so loud now when we take you out that it’s not just your chubby little cheeks that draw attention, but your loud little squeals too.


We celebrated you first Thanksgiving last month. ¬†Can you guess what I’m most thankful for? ¬†I cooked a big Thanksgiving meal and your Grandma Hoffman, Aunt Cathy, Uncle Jeff, and cousin Kelsey came over to eat and celebrate with us. ¬†I even let you taste a little bit of sweet potato, mashed potatoes, turkey, and green beans. ¬†You were not a big fan of the mashed potatoes.


Your newest “trick” is babbling something that sounds exactly like you are saying “I love you.” ¬†Maddy bear, have I told you that you can have a pony yet, because seriously, it is the most adorable thing ever! ¬†I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what you are trying to say since you hear it about a million times a day. ¬†You also give kisses on command now (at least to me) which melts your momma’s heart every time. ¬†They are just the sweetest thing ever.


You love to practice “walking” while holding our hands. ¬†You are still pretty wobbly, but it is quite cute to watch you try. ¬†You always have the biggest smile on your face. ¬†You are just so proud of yourself.


You also got to meet Santa Clause for the first time. ¬†I’m not sure you were his biggest fan though. ¬†You did fine until he turned you around to face him and you realized that you did not recognize that face. ¬†I quickly picked you up (after snapping a photo, of course).


Every where we go, people stop and talk to you.  You are a charmer for sure.


Currently your favorite foods are yogurt, Cream of Wheat, and bananas. ¬†You also love your little “puffs.” ¬†You are getting very good at picking up your food and feeding yourself which makes giving you small bites of the food we are eating much easier and a lot of fun.


You still are not a fan of crawling, but you are very good at standing up and will try to take a couple steps while holding on to the coffee table. ¬†It’s very hit or miss, but you are getting there.


We put up our Christmas tree and you got your first two ornaments. ¬†The Dumbo ornament plays “Baby Mine” which I adore since that is what I often sing to you when you are sad. ¬†You stop crying, look at me, and smile.


It has been a busy month for you baby girl.  You are such a good little baby and I am just so proud of you.


Love You Always and Forever,


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Just Barely

I’m barely hanging on.

I know this. ¬†It’s been like this for months. ¬†The weather got cold and suddenly it felt like February 22nd all over again. ¬†I feel like I’m stuck in my own awful version of Groundhog Day. ¬†Reliving those moments over and over again every time I’m alone for a minute.

I cry in the shower. ¬†I sob in the car. ¬†I just can’t shut my mind off no matter how hard I try to refocus.

I am so thankful for our beautiful daughter, but that doesn’t change the fact that I miss our son with every breath I take.

I’m sure its the rapidly approaching winter and the holidays that it brings with it that have worn me down.

Thanksgiving 2 years ago was the day we announced that we were having a boy. This Christmas has me acutely aware of what we are missing.

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