To Nellie Rose, 18 Months Old.

Nellie Rose,

My darling girl. It’s been a long time since I’ve written something to you.. I used to do it all the time when I was still pregnant with you. I even wrote you a few letters before you were even conceived, telling you to hurry your little butt up and come to your daddy & me already. Those days of waiting and wanting and wishing seem like a million years ago, and at the same time just like yesterday.

Baby girl. My sweet, amazing, hilarious baby girl. What are you up to lately? The better question is.. What AREN’T you up to lately? You are a blur; in motion more often than not. I feel like I only occasionally catch glimpses of you holding still and the rest of the time you are just a curly-headed whirlwind of activity too busy exploring your world to stop for even a second. I want to freeze the sweet, fleeting moments in time when you lie still against me; those precious seconds that you lean those soft, dark curls against my chest. I breathe deeply and try to memorize you in those brief episodes of stillness because I know all too soon you will be on the move again, my busy little toddler.

You love music. You love to dance. You love the Avengers. Seriously. When your daddy plays the Avengers cartoon show on Netflix you dance by swinging your arms in the air. You point at The Incredible Hulk and shout, “Ulk! Ulk!” You carry around your Thor action figure and say, “Sooooorrrrr.” You say new things every day, each more astonishing than the last. You can sign “more” and “eat”. Your laughter is the sweetest music I’ve ever heard and the quickest way to get it out of you is to tickle under your arms. You begin to laugh; a joyful sound from your gut that fills my heart from top to bottom with happiness.

My Nellie. My daughter. I am so sorry I’ve taken so long to begin to really experience you. I mean really, truly, and fully experience and enjoy you. Mama’s been living in somewhat of a fog, but the fog is lifting and I feel as if I’m really understanding and living what it’s like to be a Mama. I am learning how to take each breath, each moment with you and really let it wash over me as we live it together. You inspire me to be braver, to be more curious, to be more adventurous and to see things with eyes that have been blind for a long time. My child, your existence is a miracle and has breathed new life into me.

You are a very picky eater. You’re too busy to sit down for a meal. It takes something really special for you to sit still long enough to eat. You would rather take your food to go so your adventures don’t have to end. You’ve finally begun saying my name regularly and you say it with gusto. The other day, you came to me and gave me a kiss right on my lips completely unprompted for the first time and such a wave of love crashed over me, I felt as if I might be swept away by the intensity. Sometimes when I’m sitting on the floor you will toddler over to me and kiss me on the arm, then walk away to explore something else.

You love Yo Gabba Gabba. You love Super Why. You love being read to. You love the Adventures of Brer Rabbit and the keyboard at your grandparents’ house. You love watermelon, fruit snacks, and hot dogs. You love a capella music and sing along in the car.

Nellie, my love, I have asked you this before but I must plead with you once more: please slow down. 18 months have passed before me as if in seconds, and I fear before I know it you will be giving me that mischievous smile of yours as you climb the stairs to accept your high school diploma and I will be sitting, proud but disoriented and wondering how in the world those years flew by so quickly. Being your mother is the most wonderful, most frightening, most beautiful and most painful thing that’s ever happened to me. Each moment is bittersweet because each moment is new and a wonder to behold, and yet at the same time when it passes I know it’s gone forever. The baby that you are today is not the baby you will be tomorrow, next week, or next month. You will evolve into someone completely new, just as amazing and just as exciting.

I look forward to all of the moments you have to share with us. To all of the laughter, to all of the memories we have yet to create. If you become a mother yourself one day, my child, then and only then will you understand the beautiful, bittersweet heartache that is Motherhood.

Nellie, you are more loved than you will ever fully realize. Thank you, little girl, for the greatest 18 months of my life so far.

Love, Always,

Your Mama.


You ; 18 Months Old & Full of Mischief



Nellie Rose – 11 Months

Oh, Nellie. My Nellie. As of 4:15 PM today, you are 11 months old. Where has the time gone? Every day you become less of a baby.

Every time I watch you sitting and drinking your milk from your sippy cup, I am in awe. I almost have a toddler.

What have you been up to? Oh lady, what haven’t you been up to? You are crawling on hands and knees (you were just army crawling) now and pulling up on everything. You’ve learned the joys of clapping, and anytime someone yells, “Yaaaay!” you start flailing your arms around and eventually slap your palms together in a victorious clap. Then you look around expectantly, waiting for everyone to join you in your joy.

You can say “dada” and “mama”, and we think that you are trying to say “puff” (meaning your cereal puffs) and maybe even “look” when you point to things you’re interested in. We have a book of nursery rhymes with pictures in them and you can point out “pig” and “cat” every single time. Just the other day, you began taking mommy’s old pink cell phone that we let you play with, holding it up to your head and going, ” ‘Loooo?” or “Heh-ooooo?”. Just today, mommy taught you when you’re asked, “How big is Nellie?” or “How big?” you throw your arms above your head and we declare, “Soooo big!”
You are completely off the bottle now, only drinking out of sippy cups and formula is also a thing of the past… You are drinking whole milk now. You get a bit of whatever we are eating, providing that it’s not spicy.. And still no peanut butter or honey. Your first Christmas is coming up soon and you have some toys wrapped under the tree.

You are so silly. One of your favorite things is when we take your stuffed wolf, Lon Chaney, and make him sniff your butt and go “Shoooo!”. You cackle, and laugh, and crack us up. You’re beginning to give really good hugs, and you like to lean on me and daddy when you’re happy. Your hair is so long, especially your bangs. I know I’m going to have to trim them soon but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet.

Little lady, you’ve been in our lives for almost a full year and sometimes I wonder what I ever did without you. Every day you learn something new, do something funnier, and each morning I can’t wait to see what the day will bring.

Nellie Rose, we love you more than words can express. Happy 11 months, my brilliant daughter.

Nellie Rose – 9 Months Old

My daughter has been outside of my womb as long as she was inside. I was rocking her before naptime the other day, feeling her sprawled out across my lap as she had her bottle and thinking how marvelous, strange, and surreal it was that just a year prior she was inside kicking the crap out of me.

Nellie has changed in so many ways since birth. She’s not really even the same baby. I watch videos of her at 3 days old, a week old, a month old and marvel at the difference. I try and remember what it felt to fall asleep with her on my chest; her entire body fitting from collarbone to belly button, basically. I struggle to hear her wheezy newborn breathing from the depths of my memory.. I attempt to relive the first time I laid eyes on her.

It’s hard sometimes to remember exactly what she felt like, looked like, and smelled like.

Nellie isn’t crawling yet, but she does get around. She scoots, like a wounded solider. She’s showing the beginning signs of stranger and separation anxiety. She babbles and strings syllables together, and can say “da da”. She loves to snack on her cereal puffs and eats baby food several times a day. She’s gotten a few bites of table food; smushed up banana, mashed potato, small pieces of bread. She makes the funniest noises. She laughs, she growls, she screams and shrieks and she blows raspberries constantly. In three months, the sweet little infant that I brought home on a cold January morning will be one year old.

Happy 9 months to the light of my life. The love of my life. The sillest girl I’ve ever known.

My baby, Nellie Rose. I love you from your head to your toes, to the moon and back, with every breath in my body, until the very end of time.

Mommy and Nellie: A Love Story

Oh, My Heart.

Nellie Bug,

Right now it’s 1:44 in the morning. It’s May of 2010, and you’ve been in our lives for over a year. Of course, this time last year you were small. Very, very small. Like, the size of a poppyseed.

You’ve been “on the outside”, in our arms, for 16.5 weeks. It’s been 16.5 weeks since you came into this world naked and wailing, tipped our lives upside down, and changed us forever.

My sweet child, right now your breath is heavy with sleep. I imagine you are dreaming, as you make soft squeaking noises and smile while you doze. I always wonder what you could be dreaming of. Bottles? Your toys? Of your daddy and me?

As I gaze down at you, I cannot help myself. I bend my head down, and nuzzle your cheek with my nose. You sigh, and I melt. I breath in the natural, sweet aroma that you have. I kiss the corner of your lip softly, and my eyes slowly pore over the details of your face. You are a completely different baby than the one we brought home that chilly January afternoon. And in another 16.5 weeks, you will be an entirely different baby than you are this night.

Soon, 16.5 weeks will turn into 16.5 years.

My daughter, I hope that one day you have the desire, and are able, to have children..

Because then – and only then – will you understand the love that is in my heart. I picture you one day doing what I am doing right now; snuggling your sleeping child in the early morning hours and becoming so aware of the swift passage of time. It’s bittersweet, my love… I realize that each passing moment pulls us a little farther apart. One day, you won’t need me to feed you. One day, you won’t need me to dress you, or change your diaper.. One day, you will toddle off and begin your own adventure.

My daughter.. I wish for you to have a life that is full of joy, and love. And I will do my best to help you have one.

You are loved, child, more than you will ever know.

My Daughter.. My World.

Tiny fingers, all five of them, wrap around my one.
You’re holding my hand already.You’re holding my heart.
Your tiny body rests against my chest. It’s unreal. The entire length of you fits entirely on one section of me.
You are so small. You grow bigger every day. You are growing too fast. Please stay little for just a while longer?
I see my life flashing before my eyes.Your first tiny footsteps. I blink, and you’re walking.
Potty training. I blink, and you’re a big girl now!
The first day of school.
Fears of cooties.
Band-Aids and boo-boo kisses.
Middle school. Junior high. High school.
Heartbreak from a boy (or a girl).
College? Marriage? Grandkids?
In a flash, it will be here. The first 6 weeks have already zipped past me faster than I can blink.
Will I remember all these precious moments when you no longer need me like you do now? Will I remember the way your warm, tiny body felt as it rested against mine? The sound of your breathing in and out; the smell of your freshly shampooed hair. When you are declaring your independence from me, even when you say you hate me I will remember my tiny naked baby laying on the table, smiling at me and waiting for me to change her diaper.

The image of you being pulled from my body will forever be burned into my memory. The day that you no longer were just for me and your daddy; the day we welcomed you to this world and had to share you with everyone else. When you stamp your feet and tell me you hate me, I will close my eyes and remember the first time I held you. When you looked at me with perfect trust and innocence.
I have tears running down my cheeks as I write. Why? Overwhelming emotion? Love.. Happiness. And sadness for the days that I anticipate being behind me.. Which is silly, because I am living in those days. I need to cherish them; love each and every second. Soak it in because one day soon they WILL be behind me. Gone forever; living only in my memory.

I love it when you smile. Did you know that when you sneeze you smile? When you cry, you stick out your lower lip and I can’t help but laugh. I take your tears away. When I see them, I wipe them off your pudgy little cheek and tell you that I’m taking them for you. I will always take your tears for you no matter how big you get. Even when you’re grown.. If you need me to, I will take your tears for you.
You are so very precious to me. When I think about all we’ve gone through to come this far, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. There are so many things that could have gone wrong, but they didn’t and we’re so lucky. You are beautiful and perfect; healthy and happy. You are safe and you are loved. You are wanted.. You have always been wanted. From the second I knew you were there to the moment I first laid eyes on you, you were wanted.

You turned my world upside down, little girl. You filled my heart with a love that overwhelms me and takes me by surprise every day. Your radiant smile, the way you look when you sleep, your sweet little coos and noises fill me with a joy I never knew existed. Having you sleeping on my chest, feeling yours rise and fall with each breath fills me with a sense of complete and utter peace and calm.
My child, you are a miracle to me. I love you now. I will love you forever.

You are my world.You at 5 weeks, sleeping against my chest.

To Nellie Rose: On Her Due Date

Dear Nellie,

Hey there baby girl. It’s your mommy. I am just writing to let you know that you are officially due today! I know I’ve been saying that you can come out for about 2 weeks, but now I mean it. Really. Come out! Your daddy and I are so anxious and eager to meet you. To hold you.. To give you so much love! I can’t wait to see what your little face looks like.. The color of your hair and eyes.. To smell your sweet baby smell. I am so excited that the each day that passes brings us a little closer to the day we get to hold you. I know that patience isn’t the best of my virtues. I’m just so ready to have you in my arms, little girl.

It’s a long road we’ve been down together, baby. I’m going to miss feeling you in my belly (right this very second, you have the hiccups!) but the moments that are yet to be make me feel so excited and full of anticipation. I promise you will like it on the outside. Your parents are pretty awesome, and we love you so much. There are a LOT of other people who want to meet you, too! Everyone is just waiting, Nellie…. Waiting for you. You’re so special.

Okay, sweetie. I’ve said my peace. If I have to be a little more patient, I guess that’s okay… Just know that if you don’t come out on your own soon, we’re going to have to come and get you! So.. Come out! Your day is here!

All my love,

Dear Nellie Rose

Dear baby Nellie,

I had a really horrible dream last night, little girl. I’m not going to go into details here, because I don’t care to relive it again but it involved us never getting to meet you alive. It was terrible and I woke up sobbing. I woke your daddy up from crying and he held me until I calmed down, rubbing my belly and assuring me you were fine. When he asked what the dream was about, I could barely even speak the words because they were so terrible. As if to reassure me, you squirmed and kicked a few times. “See?” daddy said, “She’s fine, baby. She’s fine.”
I am sure this will be just the first of many hysterical episodes I have in regards to you. I recently expressed fear and concern to some women I talk to online about losing you at this stage, and how I don’t know what I would do or how I’d function. Not after carrying you for so long, feeling you move and seeing your little face. They told me to try and keep faith that you’ll be okay, but to be prepared for a lifetime of similar worries. They said you have to take it one day, one step at a time… Many of them have babies who are 5-6 months old and still worry about them. They check to make sure they’re breathing when they sleep. I suppose this is what motherhood is all about, isn’t it baby girl?
We are getting so very close to meeting you. Daddy and I had a discussion about when we think you’ll get here. He says the 10th of January. I said it would be lovely for you to come on that day, because that is the day your great-grandpa Ralph and (late) great-grandma Nellie got married. I think it would be special for her namesake to be born on her wedding anniversary. I said I think you’ll come on the 15th of January. Mommy’s birthday is on the 9th, so we could very well share the same birthday, my sweet little girl.
Of course, you could surprise the hell out of both of us and make your appearance next week. But you won’t, will you? You will wait until you are full-term, which will be December 27th. You can come anytime after that and I can breathe easier knowing that you won’t have to spend time in the NICU.
I just wanted to say that I love you, Nellie Rose. That dream really shook me up but it was just a dream. I want you to know that I’ve loved every second of this pregnancy. Every kick, every squirm.. Every time I feel you it’s a reminder that I’m never, ever alone and that you are with me. I know that you will leave my body and become your own little entity. One day, you won’t want to cuddle with me or even hold my hand. There will come a time when you probably won’t be able to stand being around me (hello, teenagers!) but to me, you will always be this sweet little being that resided in my body for over half a year of my life. Nothing can change that, nothing ever will.
I love you, baby girl.
P.S. You have the hiccups right now. It’s such a sweet feeling, I have tears in my eyes because I’m so grateful to feel them.

My Little Mystery

Nellie Rose,

Last night as I was waiting on clothes to be dry, I was on the computer browsing around. Your daddy was snoozing soundly in bed behind me, and you were rolling and moving. I glanced at the picture we have of you on the desktop before my windows loaded, and couldn’t help but smile. I looked down at my round belly and saw it moving. I watched you shift, roll, and move and wondered what you were up to. I found myself wondering what you were thinking, what you were doing… We saw you about a week ago in amazing clarity and as I sat quietly gazing down at my stomach I found myself in awe at the fact that you are still such a mystery to me. At any given moment, you could be smiling or yawning; sticking your tongue out like you did during our ultrasound or sleeping soundly. Do you play with your umbilical cord? Do you dream of me? Because I dream of you. I know that you have a sweet little nose (from your daddy) and a dimple in your chin, like me. I feel like I have somewhat of a better insight into your personality from watching you in 3d…. But you’re still such a mystery to me, little girl. What will your hair look like? Will it be dark and curly, like mine? Or will you inherit your daddy’s lighter hair? Are you going to have his beautiful blue eyes or my brown ones? Will you like music? Or movies? What sort of things will you enjoy doing?
You’ve been with me for the better part of half a year, and yet we’ve never met face to face. My heart is filled with so much love for a tiny little person who I only know by their movements, kicks, and brief glances over a digital screen. Who knew such love could exist? And you know what the crazy thing is, baby girl? I know that I haven’t felt anything yet. Not by a longshot. Because meeting you, holding you and watching you sleep is going to be a whole ‘nother experience. Watching you grow and raising you into an amazing young woman is going to be such a wonderful journey. I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time last night, running my hands over the curve of my belly and feeling you move in return. I wonder if these memories will be so vivid twenty years from now when you are grown. Time flies by so quickly.. How will I ever get enough of you?
You’re my little mystery. Soon you will be in my arms and I will be able to get to know you better. But for now, I will be content seeing you make my stomach move and dream about you.
Right now, as I type, you have the hiccups. You get them almost every single day. Some mommies think it’s annoying, but I absolutely love it.
I love you so much, Nellie Rose.

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To My Girl

Nellie Rose,

Thank you, baby girl.

Thank you for staying with me, for being with me and letting me be your mommy. I know that a tomorrow together isn’t promised for us, so for right now in this very moment.. Thank you for being my daughter.

Thank you for the morning sickness, for the acne and for the aches and pains. Thank you for your little kicks, squirms, and rolls. Thank you for smiling at me during your ultrasound, yawning and for those little hiccups I felt last night.

I love you more than words can say. I know in my heart I will meet you “on the outside”. I know that I will hold you, kiss your sweet face, sing you to sleep and feed you. You and I are meant to be together, kiddo. I feel it in my bones.

But just in case someone somewhere has other plans, I just wanted to let you know that you are my world and I love you more than is humanly possible to describe.