We have been in desperate need of some warmth this winter and finally made the time this past weekend to get out of town and soak up some St. George sun! We did the math and probably made it to St. George 4-5 times last year. It is just so close with such a different climate from our hometown that it makes such a refreshing vacation, even when we can only stay a couple days. My dad was also in town for the weekend, so we took a little hike into the tortoise reserve behind my grandparents’ St. George home and it was just what we needed.

Blake and I were talking about how Evelyn hasn’t had many opportunities to truly explore outside since she learned to walk in September and it got cold in October. We walked around outside a little right when she first learned to walk and have gotten out a few times during the winter or when we went to Arizona, but on this little walk she was able to simply run and roam and she loved it. She was feeling the sand and watching the lizards. She was so excited to walk around without having to hold someone’s hand and then she took a nice long nap after we got home.

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It’s much easier to write when you have a prompt (self-imposed), like “Describe Evelyn at eleven months” or “Explain the photos you are posting from your anniversary trip.” It’s hard to convince yourself that your other, more menial thoughts are still worth publishing for the world to read. But I guess most of my blogging (maybe 99%) is for me; it helps me in a few different ways, like journaling, so I keep posting.

Evelyn has been giving Eskimo kisses to her dad lately. She’ll go back and forth throughout the day asking for Dad, over and over, while he’s gone and of course when he gets home and I walk out of the room she has a small meltdown. The poor girl has three molars cutting and her little teeth take months to come through, so we’ve got a few fussy months ahead of us.

She has been especially cuddly lately, however, and we’re wondering if she knows that in a few short months her life is going to change drastically. That she’ll be sharing mom’s lap and dad’s attention. But I think she is going to love it. I think she is going to enjoy every moment (okay, maybe that’s wishful thinking, but most moments) of being a sister and having a baby around and having a faithful friend who will be by her side for the rest of her life.

I can’t wait.

 

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I’m very behind on this post. But it feels good to be doing this. I enjoy writing these so much.
On Monday, October 24th, Evelyn turned one and time stood still for a minute. As I scrolled through hundreds and hundreds of photos on my computer and phone, there was so much reflecting on the past year. On the moments, on the growth (Evelyn’s, mine, Blake’s), and on all of the indescribable joy. Happiness, and joy, because I think being a parent can cause you to experience these two feelings simultaneously. It’s real and is what this life is ALL about, and deep down inside of us, our souls know that.
It has been the hardest, most exhausting, most fulfilling year of my life. It has been humbling, first and foremost. I have become more aware of where I fall short and how little I can accomplish without the Lord. But it has built my faith and understanding in God’s love for his children and his trust in me. In his constant guidance and in this perfect plan that is the only way I can be with my people for eternity.
It has been challenging, emotionally and physically. There is simply no way to understand the challenges of being a parent until you are required to fill the role. I won’t attempt to elaborate; I don’t want to come across as complaining. The truth is the challenges are so good, though.
But most of all, it has been amazing. To be so loved and needed by someone. To have the privilege of raising such a precious, special daughter of Heavenly Father. One who, in my completely biased opinion, is one of the best. To be fortunate enough to spend my days at home with her, making her smile, helping her up after she falls, holding her and watching her. There is truly no joy that compares to the joy of parenthood and it reminds me why God’s first title is Heavenly Father.

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Little Evelyn weighs 17 lbs and is 28 inches in height. She is 9th percentile for weight, 12th for height, and… wait for it… 66th in head circumference [insert laughing emoji here]. According to the numbers, she’s quite top heavy, but she doesn’t look too disproportionate. And while I know head size is not related to intelligence, Evelyn is a case to convince you otherwise, because she is so smart for her age. After a few of the things that she showed the pediatrician at her 12-month well-check, he looked at me with his jaw dropped. He said they were behaviors he would watch for in a 20-month-old. So who needs height when you have brains!

One thing that really impressed the doctor was Evelyn’s wide vocabulary. I think I mentioned it last month, but she says “Dada”, “Mama”, “hi”, “taggie”, “boo”, “baby”, and now “dog” and “woof woof”. “Dog” is anything from a dog or cat to a bear, to her, and she is obsessed. She walks right up to dogs that we see in person and her voice jumps up three octaves as she squeals and points. She could spend hours watching videos of dogs (and dogs with babies) on YouTube. Ha! So for her birthday, she got a couple stuffed animal dogs and a few books about them. Now Blake is completely right when he says it’s two against one on team ‘we-should-get-a-dog’… Not that I don’t like them. I just often feel like I’m hardly keeping my head above water with one child.

E still loves reading and will sometimes lie on the ground on her stomach with a book in front of her and point at the pictures and babble. I need to get a physical picture of it because it is one of my very favorite mental images of all time. She is also becoming more and more playful. She loves being chased and tickled. Sometimes, after a few minutes of tickling her, she’ll grab my hand and place it her side again and start to smile, waiting for me to tickle again.

For two months, Evelyn had three teeth. Her bottom two front teeth, and a top side tooth, which has been lovingly referred to by many as her snaggle tooth. Well, just a day or two after her birthday, a fourth tooth poked through and another is just right around the corner, I swear. She hasn’t been sleeping well, but there is a long list of reasons why infants this age don’t sleep well, even after having slept through the night for months: teething, sleep regression, developing new skills, growth spurt (well maybe not in Evelyn’s case), etc. But it’s fine because she is as a happy and pleasant as they come during the day.

We had a small party for E on her birthday and are so grateful for all the friends and family that came to support us. We love you and love you for loving our daughter. We have been so blessed with some of the best people in our lives.

I’m not going to post monthly updates anymore, though hopefully, I will continue to post about Evelyn because these have become more comprehensive than my journal and I am certain we will love looking back on them.

Thanks for reading and following along!

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Evelyn Grace seems more like a little girl and less like a baby by now. She’s obviously still a baby, but has so few of the typical “baby” characteristics; she can now walk a few steps, stand by herself, and essentially communicate her needs and wants by pointing and signing. She’s my favorite little buddy and it’s so fun to be friends with her. Everyone that knows her, loves her.

E took her first steps on August 30th and since then has been slowly gaining balance and courage. She can stand alone and will walk around the perimeter of any room, opening drawers and cupboards, making all sorts of messes. If she is sufficiently motivated (by a favorite person or stuffed animal), she will walk up to five or six steps. However, she always resorts back to crawling because she is just so fast. While I’m so excited for her to walk, I’m not rushing her.

She still signs “more” and points to what she wants, so it might be time to teach her some new signs. She says “dada”, “mama” (which for a while sounded more like “mamba” but is now officially correctly pronounced), “tag” for her (“taggie”) comfort blanket, and “hi” on occasion, when she sees someone she knows (“Hi, Dad!” most commonly), “boo” when playing peekaboo, and “hello” when she holds a phone up to her ear. None of these words are perfect (except “dada” and “mama”), but they are completely distinguishable and it is SO fun.

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My favorite memory of her from this past month has to be a time when we were reading. Evelyn loves to read. She turns the pages, points at the pictures, touches the textures, etc. I read to her various times a day. Her current favorite book is an Usborne Spanish word book – I am telling you, she could read it for hours. The first few times we read this, I would point to the pictures and say the words, then she learned to point. Well, one day I was folding her laundry in her bedroom while she was looking at her books. We were both sitting on the floor and after a couple minutes, she crawled over to me, searched my body for my hand, grabbed my pointer finger, and pulled me back over to her book and started using it to point at the drawings. She’s been doing this lately with her touchy-feely books too, making me touch the soft rabbit and fuzzy bear and then turning the page. It is so hysterical.

Next month, this little one will turn one. I can’t believe it. This has been the best year of our lives.

I’ve already posted so much about our anniversary trip to San Francisco, so I will try to keep the verbiage brief in this post. More show, less tell. Last year, I planned an anniversary trip to Zermatt Resort without telling Blake the location. This year was his turn and he clearly blew Midway out of the water. Wherever we had gone would have been fun, because he was sending me (slightly misleading) pictures throughout the week leading up to the trip and talking about activity options, etc. He joked that it was Wendover and truthfully had me going on that for a bit. (I’ve never been and apologize if that is a favored vacation spot of any of my readers.) Well, San Francisco is just a little more exciting than Midway and Wendover and Pleasant Grove. Just a little.

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So Friday afternoon, after our plane landed and we got to our hotel (and I was done jumping up and down with excitement about my first time being in SF), we wandered the city, Union Square, and China Town. Blake and I share a camera now and are always joking about taking credit for each other’s photos since it’s so hard for us to tell which ones which person took. Well, Blake took these next two, and they’re beautiful. I just love how the lighting makes the Square look. This was our dinner view, so, yeah…

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Saturday morning we checked out Pier 39 and the Fisherman’s Wharf. We had lunch at Boudin’s, famous for its sourdough factory, and posed for a few photos (shout out to my IG husband).

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Saturday afternoon we wandered the hills in Victorian neighborhoods, stopped by Lombard Street (the windy street in “What’s Up, Doc?”), did some shopping (for chocolate, of course) at Ghiradelli Square, and visited the Golden Gate Bridge. We eventually got a little bit of sun after an overcast morning, which was perfect for all our walking (with a few Uber rides mixed in).

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That night we gave our feet a rest at AT&T Park watching the Giants get creamed by the Braves. I wish any photo could do justice to the view of the bay from that baseball park. All the heart eyes.

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Sunday we attended church and did a little more sightseeing before heading home. I know I always say this type of thing, but Blake and I were truly in need of a vacation together and this was the perfect fit for us. Also, nothing is more romantic than being surprised with such a fun trip. Nothing.