my big two year old.


1969192_10103867811426759_821469287_nMy Sweet Eloise Mae,

You turned two on Monday! Who let that happen?! I look at you now and realize my baby is gone. She has been replaced by this beautiful, smart, funny little girl. You are tall, and you have blonde hair. You have one green eye and one blue. You love your blanket (blang-da), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Daddy and Mommy, reading books, and playing pretend. You like to “help” me cook and clean, take care of your baby doll, and build tall towers. You love our friends (frans!) in Chicago. We have intentionally lived in a community of people who love us and love you, and it’s clear you love them too.

You are a thinker, my dear girl. You are not the child that runs wild and uninhibited when we go to the park or when you are with other kids your age. You like to stand back and observe quietly. You watch other kids, sometimes with worry and concern. I joke you are the “little mommy.” When you decide to join in on things you are cautious. You would much rather investigate the nuts and bolts holding the jungle gym together than play on it. You are cautious of people and grown ups. You like to stay with Mom and Dad until you know the outsider is a “fran.” Once you warm up though you are goofy and sweet. You like to show people all your toys and discoveries. You like to giggle and play jokes. Your latest joke: you hide your hand in your sleeve and say, “Oh no!” and we ask where your hand went and you slowly reveal it and crack up. I love your interesting personality. While you look a lot like me, your behavior reminds me of Daddy- which is maybe another reason I love you so much.

The end of last year brought about a lot of changes for our family. Mommy got a new job. I’m still a teacher, but I am teaching in Gigi’s town where Mommy grew up. I drive 100 miles a day, but I like the job a lot. Three days a week, you come with me, and while I’m at work, you play at Gigi’s house. You LOVE playing at Gigi and Papa’s. You have so much fun there. You play with lots of toys, and when the weather is warm, you play in the little pool Gigi sets up for you in the backyard. Two days a week, you go to our friends’ house to play while Mommy and Daddy are at work. The Jenkins love having you. You play with Ruth all day, and sometimes you don’t want to leave you have so much fun.

I love you so much, Eloise. You are an amazing little girl. You have changed so much of our lives in the past 2 years and 9 months. I hope one day you realize what a difference you made in our world, and how important you are. Before you were born, your existence called your father and I to change, and we are so thankful we answered. You are a symbol of God’s grace, little one, in the lives of two people very undeserving of a gift like you. It’s often said that people realize how much their parents love them when they grow up and have children themselves. I hope you grow up and experience the love we have for you with your children, but I hope much sooner than motherhood do you understand the depth at which you are loved because we have intentionally shown you everyday with our words and actions. I hope one day you become a mother and not realize my love for you, but use it as an example because you’ve known it for so long. You are loved, Eloise. We hope you know that truth everyday.

Love forever,



momma’s girl.



Sweet Girl,

So much has changed! Your father and I got married. Eloise, our family’s story is one of God’s beautiful grace. It all fits together like a complicated, marvelous jig-saw puzzle. You brought us all together, but we were meant to be together, which we were in the end, but only because you became. And because we were all loved by Him. It’s amazing. Your dad and I want to write out our love story one day.

You are 17 months old. You have been walking for a couple months now. You’re a pro. You like to walk around dragging your beloved blanket behind you. You are sweet and sassy. You like to cuddle when you’re tired, or don’t feel well. You waddle over to us with books to read and climb into our laps. You love books. I put all your books in a basket, which I put on the floor for you to look through. You pass time picking out book after book, flipping page after page. You love to tickle us and be tickled. You give kisses to Dad, only Dad. 

Things you say often: mama, dada, nana (banana), night-night, doggie, woof-woof, bunny

I’ve been off work all summer with you. It’s been amazing. I really adore you, little one. 



home sick.


My Dear Eloise,

    You and I are stuck at home today. You’re sick. You came down with a fever Sunday night, and it’s stuck on a little longer than we all thought it would. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying my time at home with you.


     You’ve been perfectly content to sit in the window sill for the last hour while I write this and read a book. Occasionally, you’ll beat on the window and shout at a bird or a squirrel that happens by in the courtyard. The poor animals scurry away, entirely surprised by your pounding and giggles. And then you lie in wait for the next unsuspecting victim.

    Quite a bit has changed over the last few months, Loi. Your Mother and I got married. We all live under the same roof now. I am so excited to be in this family, to have your Mother as a partner and to watch you grow up into a woman.

    I also got a new job. I’m in real estate now, so I get to work from home a lot. I wanted to do this so that I could be around more often. It’s really important to me to be wholeheartedly involved in you and your mother’s lives. I didn’t want either of you to have to share me with an office or employees. Now I can build my work around my family, and I think that it’ll be a really positive thing for all of us.

    Well, I need to go make a few calls for work. You just went down for a nap. Hopefully you’re able to sleep off the rest of your fever, and we’ll be back to good as new.

I love you, Ellie.

-Your Dad.

perfect pumpkin.


Dear Eloise,

It has been a while since I’ve written! Having a baby keeps me busy, don’t you know? It’s the best kind of busy though. You are eight months old now! I look at you turning into a little girl and wonder where my tiny newborn went. I just filled up another laundry basket of clothes you’ve grown out of. You are very tall, but petite. You like to sit up and play with toys. You make funny sounds and raspberries. I love trying to make you laugh.

In the evening, you, Dad, and I like to hang out. Dad and I cook dinner while you nap. Then we wake you up to feed you and play with you before bed. You love playing with Dad. We are working on getting you to crawl, but you seem way more interested in learning to stand and walk. You like to stand up holding our hands while you stomp your feet.

On the weekends, I love playing with you. Today we went the the park for a little fall photo shoot- today is probably one of the last warm days of the year. I had a lot of fun taking your picture. You were tired though, so it was hard to get a smile out of you. You also kept trying to stuff leaves in your mouth, so that was a challenge. But I got a lot of great shots of you! You really are so cute. I can’t wait to show them to you when you’re older.

I love you, Little Pumpkin.

Love and kisses,



back to work.


Dear Eloise,

As I put you to bed tonight, I couldn’t help but get choked up knowing this marks the end of our summer together. I go back to work in the morning. Tomorrow we start a new kind of day with new routines. Dad and I are excited that you will be in loving hands when we can’t be with you at work. I know I will miss you all day. I’ve loved spending so much time with you. I’m looking forward to my fall break in October.

I swear you get bigger every day. Your adorable grin just melts my heart. Every morning when I come get you out of bed you smile and giggle upon seeing me. You’re just amazing. You like to stand (with help) and suck on your toes. You can almost sit up on your own, and you’ll be crawling before we know it. I’m just crazy about you, little one. Also, you’re beautiful.

Well, I’m going to go peek in on you and marvel at you before I go to bed. I love you so much.


summa time.


Baby Girl,

This is you lookin’ cool in your shades today on our way to Daddy.

Lots of exciting things have been happening! A couple weeks ago, you had your first sleep over with Gigi and Grandpa while Dad and I went to Uncle Brantley and Aunt Jen’s wedding. “Uncle” Brantley is actually Dad’s best friend, and he married Jen. They love you very much, and even though they aren’t a part of our biological family, we hope they will be like family to you. While we were away, Gigi and Grandpa had fun having you stay with them.

Dad also had his first Father’s Day (thanks to you!) last weekend. I’m looking forward to the day when I can help you make presents for Dad out of macaroni and popsickle sticks. We all went to Uncle Mitch and Aunt Carolyn’s for a BBQ together. You and Aunt Carolyn had fun playing together. You were so comfortable that you fell right asleep on her. You also spit up in her hair… but she was a good sport. Good thing you’re so cute.

Our summer break together started this week! It’s been so fun to stay home with you (until the late afternoon when Dad and I shuttle you around so I can go to class). The first few days this week, I’d wake you up from your morning nap and you’d look at me like, “You’re still here!” I’d like to think you enjoy having me home. I love spending more time with you. We usually have lazy mornings that involve us laying on my bed playing together while I sip my coffee. We read stories, and sometimes we go on a walk if it isn’t too hot out. You hang out with Dad in the evenings until I get home from class.

You smile more and more everyday. You can hold your head up well, and you are starting to push up with your arms. You’ll be crawling before we know it! Here’s something you’ll enjoy us talking about when you’re a teenager: You are also very pleased with your ability to spit all over yourself. You make a raspberry and just cover your chin with slobber. You really think this is fun because you get the biggest grin on your face each time. Every item of clothing you have is soaked with a ring of drool around the collar. Whatever makes you happy, girl. You babble all the time- with me when we play, in the car to the radio, and by yourself in your crib (I listen to you on the baby monitor). You just amaze me tiny one!

Well, Little Lady, I love you like crazy.


growing pains.


Dear Eloise,

Well, you were 10 weeks old as of last night. I feel like you get bigger every morning I go to greet your little cries.I just reorganized all your clothes this morning and packed up the “newborn” sized things. You’ve outgrown all of it.

This week you had to get your shots. Just like Mommy- needles aren’t your thing. You were certainly not happy and neither was I. I didn’t like seeing you in pain, and I didn’t like waiting 3 hours at an unorganized doctor’s office to see you in pain even more. I rushed out of work to get there by 3:10, and we didn’t leave until about 6:00. You were probably more of a trooper than I was though.

Sleeping Beauty at 9 weeks

I have been back at work for four weeks now. I miss you like crazy during the day. You have a number of wonderful people who watch you during the week depending on the day. You are in good hands.

I’m excited for our summer together, but I will be finishing my Master’s degree too. My thought is that if I work hard and make sacrifices now, it will make our life easier together later on. I’ll spend evenings at class and analyzing research now so I can spend them at dance recitals or school plays in a few years. I’d much rather spend every hour of this summer with you, but I’ll have to put some time towards my thesis too unfortunately.

You have started smiling so much lately. You coo a lot too. We have these nonsensical conversations where we just coo at each other. I’d like to think you’re already brilliant. You are still a very serious and thoughtful baby, but I’ve been so excited to see more of your personality. Right now you are sleeping your swing. I’m going to miss you tonight- you’ll be sleeping at Daddy’s.

Well, I love you a million more times the number of stars in the sky.