Monday, December 13, 2010


today, at 7:31pm, bella is turning one. i know everyone says it. but i can't believe how fast it went. really. seriously. fast. 

we celebrated over the weekend with a bird themed birthday party.

we asked guests to, instead of bringing bella gifts, bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to toys for tots. of course, some people still brought bella gifts. but we collected an entire box to donate in bella's name. my hope is that we continue to do this for years to come and that bella will embrace it as well when she is old enough to make the decision. 

all of bella's grandparents were here. mommy and daddy's friends all came, and bella's buddy, logan was her most favorite guest. she hugged him and kissed him and fought over the car with him. she loves him. 

and without further ado, here is her one year letter:
dear bella,

one year ago, this moment, i didn't know what you looked like. i didn't know what your voice sounded like. i didn't know what color hair or eyes you had. but i knew that in a few short hours, i would learn all of that. and so much more. 

you started out wide awake and aware, taking in the world around you with as much enthusiasm as a tiny human can. you seemed beyond your time and, even at the ripe old age of two days, you were already able to hold your head up and were constantly looking at things with great focus.

as you grew, your personality began to shine through even more. you had an undeniable ability to make people smile and laugh. everywhere you went, people were enamored with you and would constantly stop mommy to tell me how beautiful you were. they still do. and you bat your eyelashes, and smile. 

at 2 months, mommy, yaya and aunt brooke took you to disney world. you loved the rides and especially lit up at the three caballeros at epcot's mexico in the world showcase. that was one of mommy's favorite cartoons when she was little, and it made me excited to see you enjoying it. 

at 4 months, you started to sit up on your own. daddy had just gotten back from haiti, and you were eager to show off your new talents. you could scoot around and already were getting into trouble.     

you started crawling right around 5 months, on mommy's birthday. 

the next few months were full of mommy chasing you around. over the summer, you spent most of your time in your bathing suit because you loved the pool. which pleases mommy more than you will know. 

at 9 months, 3 days, you took your first steps. and by 9 1/2 weeks, you were walking on your own. 

now, you are one year old. you smile and laugh, you talk and babble, and dance. you are a bright light. you are your daddy's girl. when he comes into the room, you run, full speed ahead, into his arms. 

you know your mind and you are determined. you go for exactly what you want and only ask for help when you are sure you can't do it on your own. you play without fear. and you see no reason why you can't do anything. 

bella, my hope for you is that you keep that independence, unhindered by insecurity or inability, for the rest of your life. 

so many people will try to tell you that you can't do something, for one reason or another. but you can. you can do anything. i hope that i can be an example for you, and that daddy will be an encourager throughout your life, empowering you to make decisions and stand up for what is right. 

i also hope you are a compassionate person. that, no matter what state you are in, you know that you have something to give, and that you give it, freely. 

but mostly, more than anything, i hope that you are happy. that you find joy, true joy. and that it is a joy that is lasting and is good. 


for posterity, we'll go through the obligatory list of "tricks":
-you say "tuck tuck" when it's bed time, "momma", "dadda", "yaya", "doo" (duke), "lala" (lola), "up", "duwn" (down), "yay me!" (yaya taught you this, this weekend), and you say "pee" (please) and "day doo" (thank you) when mommy says it first. 
-you sign "more" and "food" and are getting close to signing "milk" and "done". we are working on "please" and "thank you".
-you do "touch down" and give high fives, and your newest "trick" is hugging and kissing. you even pucker up your lips. 
-you sleep almost completely through the night, waking once usually with a wet diaper. sometimes, you still wake up twice, and mommy likes to think it's because you miss me. 
-you LOVE your lola. you run up to her and lay on top of her, hug her, kiss her and wrestle with her. and she loves you and just lets you flop around on top of her. 
-you share your food and your toys, though, usually after you take it out of your mouth......still, you are a sweet girl. 


mary ann said...

Justine, you have the cutest blog on earth. Bar none. Your letter to Bella is a lovely treasure. Your mommy's heart is an even bigger tresaure to Bella.
Your creatvity for Bella's Bday party and the "Toys for Tots" giving is sweetly inmeasurable. You are instilling in Bella what so many of us love about you--genuine care for others.
I have heard Happiness comes from outside circumstances but Joy comes from the inside-within our hearts. Justine,as Bella's mommy, your sweet girl is sure to know Joy all her life.

Flying Giggles and Lollipops said...

Happy Birthday Belle. What an adorable themed party, I love the Toys 4 Tots idea. And best of all, the precious post to your daughter, one to treasure!

The Shaffers said...

I couldnt help but shed a few tears while reading this.. Bella is truley loved by so many and she has the brightest smile that melts everyone whos sees it.. Happy Birthday sweet Bella!

torie said...

Happy belated first b day!!! What a beauty you are!

Justine said...

thanks everyone! =)