Oh, My Winnie… eleven months with you

I may be fighting tears as I write this. HOW ON EARTH IS SHE ELEVEN MONTHS OLD? How is this the last “monthly” post I will write for her?

It doesn’t help that this month seemed to hold the most change. Always on the move, our tiny one is not as interested in being held or cuddled, and that breaks this momma’s heart. She will snuggle in before naps and bedtime, and she will occasionally come to us on her own for a genuine hug – the kind where she squeezes with her little hands. While those are my favorite moments on any given day, not having snuggles available 24/7 is a hard adjustment for me, as it seemed to literally happen over night.

She also seemed to discover a new voice this month – our sweet girl who has never been quick to tears has learned that she can yell and almost-cry (not quite a whine) when she’s mad. It’s a new sound that took us all by surprise. I blame the never-ending teething for that one. Speaking of, she cut her third (and meanest) tooth this month, and it is evident by the chewing and grumpiness that more are on the way.

She’s also started to chatter unprompted, and for minutes at a time. It is the cutest thing I have ever heard. She will “read” her books while doing this, and also look right at you and talk, telling you a story you will never understand. It is the best nonsense in the world.

She celebrated her first 4th of July, as well as her papa bear’s birthday, all in one week. However, dada was out of town for 3 full weeks this month, so we really celebrated him any and every day we spent together as a family of three. He has traveled quite a bit in the past, but this was the first time she truly seemed to miss him, snuggling and loving on him whenever he was home. She and I had a big mountain to climb together, as I was a single-parent for the majority of the month. It took its toll on my patience and sanity, but I watched her grow and become more independent through it all.

She visited the famed Ark in Dry Ridge this month – I can’t say that she was entirely impressed, considering she slept through a large part of it. :)  She also spent a large amount of quality time with her grandparents over the course of the month – something I wish could happen even more often than it does.

We had our first big trip this month, traveling to see friends in Kansas City (and to eat really good food, who are we kidding). It was the first time any of them had met our sweet girl, and to say she is well-loved is an understatement. It was so much fun to see our former students, our dear friends, and our pretty-much-family fall for her like we have. We learned that the high-school boys have pretty soft spots in their hearts for her, and the feelings were totally reciprocated – Winnie favored the teenage guys over anyone else while we were there.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month, and that is hard for me to acknowledge. I try to make every effort to be in every moment with her, and to know that this month was spent with Shane gone for the majority, me stressed and exhausted, and our sweet one upset and teething makes me forlorn over something as simple as a busy few weeks. But the closer we get to that one year mark, the slower I beg the days to go, so to see this last month go up in a cloud of bad days brings tears and a heavy heart. I would love to cloak this in positivity and spin it in a way that doesn’t share how hard it really was, but that’s not what I’m doing here. I am here to document her first year, and during her first year, the 11-month was too fast, too difficult, and too full of change. However, that doesn’t change that I am so completely in love with who this baby became over the last month. She’s learned so many new things and new words, and it’s been the greatest gift to get to be a part of the overwhelming and incredible gift that is Winnie.

bribing her with candy for some photos… the best part is she has no idea what candy is or that you can actually eat it; she just loves the wrappers dumping the dish over and over again

this is a much more accurate depcition of how the majority of our time taking photos is spent

seeing dada outside the window the closest she wants to come to walking… she took a tumble a couple of months ago, and since then, will not let go of her papa bear’s hands photos in Kansas

Jimmy and Winnie, month 11

And now, August 3rd, this baby who has changed everything is 11 months old.
The days this month were incredibly long at times, but this month also went by faster than any other. It’s been one of our most emotional as we navigate teething, having to offer each other more grace than ever before. But I think that’s been the beauty of this 11th month… seeing grace and forgiveness in her face and having to offer her the same when all I’ve wanted to do is hide in the bathroom with chocolate. :)  It’s been a test of endurance and of faith, and it’s also been a beautiful showcase of the intensity of our love for her. Oh, my Winnie, you are grace and beauty and are teaching us so much. We love you in the biggest of ways.

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