A Letter: Thirty-six Months

Dear Hadley,
Last week you turned three years old. THREE. I am still in shock how quickly time has flown by. I feel like there is no possible way it could have been that long since I was pregnant with you, since you were born, learning to crawl, taking your first steps and then breaking your leg the next day, speaking in complete (and non-stop) sentences. The list of milestones completed over the course of those 1,095 days is far too numerable to mention. All those thing have happened in the blink of an eye yet are such impactful moments that they have dramatically shaped the person I am today. And I am so grateful for it.
Band-Aid Nose
We let you open a few gifts on the morning of your birthday. Then later in the day, when anyone would ask you if it was your birthday, you would say, “No. I already had my birthday at home.” You thought your birthday was literally opening gifts and didn’t understand that you got to celebrate ALL. DAY. LONG. Silly girl. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to maximize your birthday celebration.
Opening Gifts
We had your birthday party on Saturday… and I am still recovering. I don’t exactly do things half way and I tend to go a little overboard with details. Plus, your birthday is suppose to be all about YOU and I wanted it to be BIG because you are BIG. (You tell me this every day–except on days when you don’t want to be potty trained, in which case you tell me, “Mama, look at how tiny I am!”) So you picked the theme, Tangled (aka Rapunzel), and I ran with it. We had floating lanterns…
Hanging the "floating lights"
Pascal Cupcakes (green is happy, red is angry, and blue is melancholy)…
Pascal Cupcakes
Pascal party blowers where the blower was his little tongue…
Pascal party blower
Flynn Rider and Mother Gothel accompanied our Rapunzel cake as the table centerpiece…
Tangled Centerpiece
A long braid of “hair” (yes, I made it myself, and yes, it took forever) as the centerpiece for the kids table which acted nicely as a barrier to absorb all the spilled drinks from the “fancy glasses” you requested…
The Kids Table
Mini cast-iron frying pan party favors…
Frying Pan Favors
It was pretty awesome and it made you uncontrollably happy. So it was a win on all accounts.
Tangled Party Time
Hadley and her birthday cake
Normally I have a rule that we only have first birthday parties at our house. Once the kiddos are mobile we need to do them anywhere but here. The only reason I allowed us to have a party in our less-than-spacious abode was that we found a way to have the entertainment portion of the party outside of our house. Enter THE TUMBLE BUS.
The Tumble Bus
The Tumble Bus is this fantastic bus that has had all the seats removed and is filled with gymnastics equipment. So you and all your favorite friends were able to jump, swing, bounce, and well, tumble, but not inside my house. Genius. Everyone had a blast so we deemed the birthday a smashing success. So much in fact that Daddy and I enjoyed bottomless mimosas the following morning to celebrate the completion of such success.
Balance Beam
Jumping Girl
Earlier in the month we made our annual trek to the pumpkin patch and you loved it. You loved running though the corn maze holding hands with your best buddy, picking pumpkins straight from the vine, and all the fair-esque attributes like fresh kettle corn, caramel apples, and face painting.
I found my pumpkin!
Sparkly Bat Face
This year you were a monkey for Halloween. The costume was actually left over from when Ana was little (back when we still bought gender neutral costumes in case we ever had a boy) and ever since it came down from the attic in the 2/3T bin, you had your heart set on being a monkey. You were such a trooper at Trick-or-Treating too! You walked the entire time, carrying your own candy bag (shaped, of course, like a bunch of bananas), and when you weren’t too distracted by peoples costumes or decorations, you even remembered to use your manners. There were several times that we would be off the front porch and half way down then driveway when you would suddenly turn and run back to the house and shout “thank you!!” at their closed door. Better late than never!
Our Little Monkey
A couple weeks ago, while we were sitting around the table, doing “homework” (or rather Ana was doing homework while you colored on your dry erase paper) I asked you if you wanted to write your name. We had never tried, but a friend of mine had just posted about her child, who just started preschool, writing his name for the first time and I wondered what you could do. So I wrote your name slowly, in nice bold capital letters, telling you the name of each letter as I wrote it and asked you to write your name. Then you shocked me by actually doing it. I was very proud of you!
Hadley wrote her name!
First time writing her name!
Another momentous thing that happened during the last month is we decided it was time for your “Big Girl Bed.” Or rather you decided that you could just as easily climb in and out over the edges, so we safely removed the front panel to utilize the “toddler bed” portion of your convertible crib. You have been amazing at staying in bed and when you wake up in the morning you slowly open your bedroom door, peek out, and whisper, “I’m all done sleeping. Can I come out now?”
No more bars for Hadley
In her "big bed"
Hiding Under the Covers
While you can be quite silly, you are also very literal. The other day I said to you, “Are you my silly monkey?” And you responded in all seriousness, “No. I’m Hadley.” We then had a little talk about how you can be lots of things at once. Like you can be Hadley, you can be three, and you can also be a silly monkey. Sometimes language can be tricky. But, hang in there, I know you will get the hang of it.
Oh, Hads, you are just such a character and I love every aspect about you. I love how you love to whisper in my ear, anything from “I love you, Mama” to “That noise was just my butt.” I love how your favorite word is “Oh” and you say it after I have answered any questions you have asked me. Most kiddos your age have started the “Why?” phase, but you my dear, still accept everything I say as fact. I love that you call “Big Al’s” “Wreck It Al’s” (like the movie, Wreck It Ralph) and I have no intention of correcting you anytime soon. I love how much you love your sister; you run up to her every day we pick her up from school and you two hug like you haven’t seen each other in a week, rather than just eight hours. I love that the other day you asked your Dad if he was a girl and when we asked why you thought he was a girl you said, “because he has eyelashes and only GIRLS have eyelashes.” I love your innocence, your simplicity, your complexity, and your enthusiasm. I love your snuggles, your cuddles, and your kisses (even if sometimes the only place you will kiss me is on my knee because you are “all out of the other kisses.”) I just love YOU. Happy birthday, baby girl. (And yes, I can still call you “baby” even if you are a “big kid now.”)
Birthday Girl
All my love,


A Letter: Thirty-five Months

Dear Hadley,
Earlier this month you turned thirty-five months old. You are such a sweet little ball of energy that it is so much fun to be around you. I am so happy that I get to keep you at home for another year before I have to share you with the educational system!
Mama I look just like Cinderella!
Not that we don’t keep busy! You recently started gymnastics class and you absolutely love it! You are able to log roll, somersault, tip-toe across the balance beam, flip on the bars and swing on the rings and somehow still have energy to spare! It’s been great having a specific (and safe!) place for you to get all of your wiggles out but I kind of worry that allowing you to perfect your abilities will just encourage you to want to do it more…and I do not need you trying to balance beam across the back of the couch!
Ready for Gymnastics
Ring Master
You have also started taking a lot more interest in school. Since Ana is back into the swing of things, homework is a daily activity in our house and you do NOT want to be left out. When Ana sets up at the table, you settle in right beside her to work on your letters or just practice drawing. You have been particularly focused on filling in your pictures and trying to stay inside the lines when you color.
Drawing Pictures
Writing letters
When homework time is over, you and Ana like to play games on any number of our electronic devices. You are partial to the iPad or iPhones, since the mouse is still hard for you to navigate on your own, but you don’t mind snuggling up next to Ana when she is on the laptop so you can play games with her.
Working with Sister
But your absolute favorite thing right now is puzzles. You are obsessed! We only had a couple different puzzles and I quickly tired of doing the same ones over and over so we made a trip to the dollar store and stocked up on a variety of characters, shapes, and difficulties to end the monotony. (I actually really enjoy puzzles, but there is only so many times you can do the same puzzle before it makes you go crazy.) When we got home you quickly picked a puzzle and wanted me to help you put it together. I had to start dinner and told you once I got it in the oven I would be happy to help you out. When I finally came over to help, you had completed the entire thing. By yourself. And it was your first time doing a puzzle without straight edges. I was beyond impressed. And in the picture below, you can tell that you were pretty proud of yourself too.
Puzzle Princess
You are still something of a hoarder. Anytime you have something, you need to have the complete set and carry them all around together. It can be quite cute, watching you scurrying around with a pile of tiny stuffed animals like a little mother hen with her chicks. But it can also be quite annoying when I’m trying to buckle you into your carseat and I can hardly find you underneath your “entourage.”
Traveling with her Entourage
Part of being a little sister, is getting to tagalong to all of her events and activities. You became quite a pro at being a “sideline sister” this soccer season. You like to cheer on the girls, but you are also happy to play a game on your phone or run around with the other little siblings in the field.
Waiting for Rain
You have fully reached that phase where everything is better if it’s pink, purple, or covered in princesses. History has proven that this won’t last forever, so I am currently embracing all things girly and foofy and we are just going to roll with it. You insist upon only wearing dresses? Fabulous, toss some leggings underneath and we are good to go. You only want to drink from the pink or purple Camelbak? Fine with me. We have three to pick from. You will only watch a movie if there are girls in it? Easy peasy. We may be hard pressed to find any shows with an all male cast. I have been through this all before and you haven’t been able to throw anything at me that I can’t handle.
Cake Pop!
Sticker Obsessed
This age can be tricky. You are stuck in this spot where you and I both have a hard time deciding if you are big or little. If you don’t want to wear underwear/pull-ups, you tell me you are too little. But then in practically in the same breath you say you are too big too wear a bib (when there stops being food in the catcher portion of your bib THEN you will be big enough). I have a hard time with it too. I don’t ever want to rush you into anything before you are ready, but I also don’t want to hold you back either. I figure my job is to present you with the options and when you are ready, we can conquer it at that time. If you want to grow up, be a big kid, and assert your independence, that is fine with me. But if you want to be small, curl up on my lap, and just snuggle, just know that I will never stop you.
Beaded Beauties
All my love,

A Letter: Thirty-four Months

Dear Hadley,
A few days ago you turned thirty-four months old. And with that, it feels like you became this little person. You talk, well, constantly. In complete (if not rambling and never-ending) sentences, no less. You are always throwing out words that two year olds don’t typically use like “actually” and “apparently” and surprising everyone by using them correctly. Maybe some of that comes with having a sassy older sister. But no matter, it makes you a source of constant surprise, entertainment, and comedic relief.
Ice Cream Smile
Lately you have been totally obsessed with puzzles. Anytime we are hanging out at home, you beg me to sit with you on the couch and put together a puzzle. And, of course we have to watch the TV show or movie of whichever character is in the puzzle. It’s a Rapunzel puzzle? Then we watch Tangled. If we then complete the puzzle and move on to a Sofia the First puzzle, we must also switch the show we are watching. Naturally.
Puzzle Girl
We have officially entered the phase of “all princesses, all the time” so it could not be more appropriate that you simply love dress up. And since we happen to have quite an impressive dress up collection, you are constantly oscillating between the popular princesses and parading around the house, leaving a steady trail of glitter in your wake.
Dress Up Time
You are still resistant to potty training. Every once in awhile you will tell me you want to use the potty, and for one glorious day you wore thick cotton training pants and managed to use the potty for the entire day, but for the most part you are really against the whole idea. Earlier this week, on a day I knew we would be home (read: constant potty access) most of the day I asked if you wanted to wear underwear. You said no and insisted on a diaper, but about an hour later you came up to me asking if you could use the potty and wear underwear. I was thrilled, instantly took you up and set you on the potty, then let you pick out your undies. I kept asking if you needed to potty and you kept telling me no. Then we had the following conversation:

Me: Ok, you need to go sit on the potty now.
You: No, I don’t. I just went.
Me: In the potty?
You: No. I’m wet.
Me: WHAT?!? You can’t just pee in underwear. You have to use the potty.
You: No. I want to be a baby. I want a diaper.
Sigh. So I will try again soon. And pray that you don’t insist on going off to college sporting your Pampers Cruisers.
Big Girl Undies
Oh yeah. I'm cool.
While you can sometimes act (or demand to be treated) like a baby, there are other times when you totally surprise me with your bravery and independence. We were playing in the hotel pool the last time we were in Bend and you wanted to try “swimming” (read: laying across an inflatable pool noodle) all by yourself. So you positioned your body perfectly on the noodle, stepped off the step, and proceeded to kick around the pool. Sure, you were always within arms reach of an adult, but you did it by yourself. Voluntarily. And you kicked ass at it. I was totally blown away with your awesomeness.
Swimming Girl
Water Baby
Your physical prowess extends out of the pool as well. You have started experimenting with what I refer to as “crib gymnastics” where I am constantly finding you in various acrobatic positions, aided by the bars and railings of your crib. You are partial to the headstands, but have been known to sneak in a few somersaults and from the sounds coming from your room when you are suppose to be sleeping, some form of donkey kicks. Needless to say, I have enrolled you in your first gymnastics class and I hope to keep your gymnastics at the GYM.
Crib Headstand
Crib Gymnastics
Reach those toes
A couple weeks ago you were playing in Ana’s room, found one of her pens, and decided to draw all over your body. I was out of the house, but you gave your dad an opportunity to have the “pens are only for paper” talk. We later discovered that you also added some decorations to Ana’s comforter and butterfly throw pillow. I know this is something all kids must do, so I was glad it was relatively minor vandalism, and I pray you got it all out of your system. Just next time you use your body as a canvas try using washable marker, ok?
Body Art
Lately you have this new thing where in an effort to distract me from something you are doing that is less than favorable, you say, “Mama, I just love you.” The other day, you insisted on standing on my bare feet while you were wearing shoes. It did not feel good. I asked you, “Why do you want to stand on my feet? That hurts me.” And you responded, “Mama, I just love you.” Just know that despite your intentionally doing things that hurt me, coloring all over your body, and doing acrobatics in your crib that nearly give me a heart attack, no matter what, Hadley, I just love you too.
Pouty Face
All my love,

A Letter: Thirty-three Months

Dear Hadley,
A few days ago you turned thirty-three months old. I just turned thirty-three myself so for the next few weeks we can both enjoy being thirty-three! Not that I am anywhere near as adorable, inquisitive, or entertaining as you, but I find it amusing just the same.
Hads at the park
I know you are only two (though three is JUST around the corner) but your clothing requirements have become increasingly more high maintenance. Firstly, you insist upon sleeping in pajamas. Not just at night, but during nap time as well. (I actually get this one, because why wouldn’t you sleep in pajamas just because it’s the middle of the day?) But upon waking from your nap, you refuse to put on the clothing you wore that morning. On days when it’s chilly in the morning and hot in the afternoon, it makes sense, but most days I feel like I am just doing laundry to keep up with your four (or five, if you have a special activity, like ballet that requires specific clothing) outfit changes. Man, having a clothing diva can be exhausting!
Ballet in Blue
It’s no secret that we are big soccer fans. Timbers, Thorns, Pilots, we love them all. So it makes sense that you would get excited about soccer as well. One of the basic Timber’s Army cheers has a line, “When I root, I root for the Timbers!” and the other day I heard you singing in the car, “When I root, I root for soccer!” I’m glad our enthusiasm has been contagious.
Sim and his Mini Me
Timbers Fan
You are such a determined little lady that sometimes I forget how little you really are. But you manage to hold your own and continually amaze me with the things you can do when you put your mind to it. If Ana jumps on her bike, you hop on yours. If she digs out her scooter, you drag out yours. You are very active and just love to keep busy!
Scooter Girl
Drink your water!
Last weekend we ended up with a free day so we decided to go to Seaside. As soon as I said “beach” you ran upstairs and grabbed your sand buckets. I wasn’t sure if the weather would allow for actual beach time, but you were so excited that as soon as we realized the day was going to be nice, we made it happen. You love the sand. And the ocean. And running across the sand into the ocean. The sheer joy and shrieks of glee allowed me to put aside my utter loathing of the sand and it’s ability to coat every single surface instantaneously, and just enjoy some time on the beach with my family.
Running from the waves
Speaking of messy fun, the other day I let you play with Play Dough. I mean, really play with Play Dough. All the tools, all the colors, anything you wanted to do, we did it. I even let you play with multiple colors at a time and smoosh them together until they became a lovely vomit color (whatever you do, don’t tell Ana. I never let her play with more than one color at a time). It was fascinating to watch you alternating between being so serious and focused, to giggling as you squished the molding compound between your fingers.
Play Dough Time
I love watching the excitement on your face when you learn something or figure something out. Knowledge is so empowering and I love that you get the satisfaction from it as much as I do. For example, you have always called “balloons” “babloons.” And while that is incredibly adorable and it made me smile every time you said it, it’s not correct. I know you can pronounce it properly, so I worked you with, breaking it down: “Say ‘ba’ now say ‘loon’ and try it all together ‘ba-loon'” until you could say it. When you finally said it, “balloon!” your face lit up, and you started clapping! I think you were more excited than I was. Now every time you say “balloon” both of us beam with pride.
S'More Face
Earlier this month us Bateman girls had the opportunity to spend the week at Girl Scout Camp. Originally I just signed Ana up to go as a camper, but the camp needed more adult volunteers. I said I couldn’t commit to being there for the whole week because I stay home with you. Siblings are allowed to attend the camps “Pixie/Widget” program, but they have to be three years old and potty trained. They said they would make a special exception to their rule if I volunteered to work with the Pixies (3-5 year olds) so you could be with me. I agreed, despite the fact that camp was from 8:30am-3:30pm and you still take naps, but I just made sure that your dad was on stand-by to come pick you up if you had a meltdown. But I never had to call him. You were amazing. You were the youngest camper out there and I could not have been more impressed with your positive attitude. You are such a trooper.
First Day Campers
Heading to Camp
You had a fabulous time at camp. You made friends, did arts and crafts, learned silly songs (that you and Ana still continue to sing every time we are driving in the car), went on nature hikes, made “armpit fudge” in cooking class, and just had an all-around fun time. It was exhausting, but it was totally worth it.
Holding Hands
Holding the prize
Camp Girl
We also made some time in our schedule this month to meet some friends for Oaks Park Chipper Preschool morning. We hadn’t been at all this year and I wasn’t sure how you would do on the rides. Most of the rides the parents can ride with you, but there are several that are just for the little ones. But you loved them all! On one of the rides a little girl sitting next to you started crying and you actually comforted her. Then when the ride was over and you were unbuckled, you reached over and gave her a hug! It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen.
Riding a motorcycle
Pew! Pew!
Hadley, you are such a riot. You are always saying things that crack me up. I swear, I laugh or smile all day long when I am with you. You have such a positive perspective and I just love to see things through your eyes. Your kind heart, your silly nature, and the way you are so expressive of your love toward family and friends make me so proud to be your mama.
Hads and Mama
All my love,

A Letter: Thirty-one and Thirty-two Months

Dear Hadley,
Monday you turned thirty-two months old. And since you never miss a beat, you will probably have noticed I never got around to writing your thirty one month letter. I’ll be honest, the month got away from me. We were super busy making sure you had the best possible time, filling every minute with adventures, momentous occasions, and puppy kisses. So I am sure you will find it in your heart to forgive me.
Smiley Girl
Swim Suit Sweetie
Watermelon Girl
Even though it’s summer time, I am doing my best to keep you on your regular routine. You are still taking a ballet class, going to Gymboree, and keeping up with our regular play groups. And man do you look forward to the activities that are geared toward YOU. You love that you have classes to attend, schedules to follow, and places to be. Anytime we drive by the Cedar Hills Rec Center (where you take dance) you always point out the window and shout, “Look! There’s my school!” with pure pride.
Pretty as a princess
Flowers for the ballerina
The big news last month was our new puppy, Lucy. You and Lucy have bonded in a way I never expected. I didn’t think you’d like the fact that you were no longer the baby in the house, but you simply adore her. Maybe it’s that you two are the littlest, maybe it’s that you are both blondes, whatever it is, it’s adorable. You are always looking out for her, playing with her, and even though she will (VERY) quickly be bigger than you, it’s obvious that you guys are best buds.
Blanket Buddies
Picking up Lucy
My Two Blondes
You want to be involved in every aspect of Lucy, from potty training, teaching her to walk on a leash, or even just playing, as you call it, Tug-A-Rope. If Lucy pauses at the door and even starts to utter a wimper, you throw open the sliding glass door, walk her outside (often in your pajamas and without shoes, but whatever) and before I have even slipped on my shoes I hear you cheering, “Good girl, Lucy! Good potty!” I think I owe a lot of her potty training success to your doting behavior. Now if only you would show as much interest in your OWN potty training, that would be impressive.
Learning to Use the Leash
But that isn’t to say that you ALWAYS like Lucy to be around. As with any best friend, you often need time apart. And you are quick to tell Lucy to go away (with your words, or just by pushing her away if it comes to that) if you need some space. We also found out that you don’t deal with watching Lucy eat or seeing her poop. Both events will cause you to instantly start dry heaving, and if we aren’t able to distract you in time, you will vomit. Yeah. We learned that one the hard way.
Pushing Lucy Away
Last month our family went to the Tigard Festival of Balloons. We got up at the crack of dawn to watch the balloons launch in the morning and stuck around to check out a few of the balloons. We waited in the Longest. Line. Ever. but your patience was rewarded because you were able to actually go up in a hot air balloon! It was tethered to the field, so the risk was minimal, but the experience was beyond anything you can imagine. I wasn’t sure how you would react to being that far off the ground, but you just looked around in amazement with the biggest smile plasted across your face. Needless to say it was an amazing day.
Hot Air Balloon Time
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Peeking Over the Edge
Up in the Air
Last week was the 4th of July, which in our house, reaches a level of excitement on par with Christmas. Since the weather was perfect, we were able to go to the beach, play in the sand, jump around in the waves, roast marshmallows, then relax around the campfire as the fireworks explode over the ocean in front of us. Yeah. It’s as perfect as it sounds.
Playing in the Sand
Running through the sand
It’s already been a fun-filled couple months, and the summer is only just beginning. We have many adventures ahead of us, experiences to treasure, milestones to meet, and love to be shared. I am so happy that we are blessed to have the life we do, where we are able to spend so much time together as a family. No matter what is ahead of us, as long as you are by my side, I know everything will be perfect.
Run Like a Mother
All my love,

A Letter: Thirty Months

Dear Hadley,
Last week you turned thirty months old. It’s crazy to think about but now that you are two and a half you are closer to three than to two. I love the clever way your mind works and the silly things you say. You and Ana have been endlessly playing with an empty diaper box to the point that it was literally falling apart. So I finally snuck it out of the living room and into the recycling bin. A day later you noticed it was missing and asked for it. I explained that it was broken but the next time we got a box I would be sure to give it to you. To which you replied, “Mama, can we go to the box store NOW?”
In honor of your half birthday, we decided to do a little baking and whip up some cupcakes. I couldn’t decide between these adorable little Oreo cheesecakes or indulge your whimsical side with these owl cupcakes I saw on Pinterest. I decided the cheesecakes would be more appropriate for the adults and the owls were more suited toward the kiddos… so we made them both. And it was a good thing too, because there is no better way to celebrate being two and a half than with a cupcake in each hand!
Happy Half Birthday Girl
Half Birthday Cupcakes
You are quickly becoming quite the little homemaker. You just love helping me with everything I do. You are my assistant when I’m cooking, you push the buttons on the washing machine and you even love helping me clean. In fact, the other day I took you to the Dollar Tree and said you could pick any one thing you wanted to bring home. We walked up and down every aisle in the store and what did you decide to buy? A monkey scrub brush. Then as soon as we got home you went straight upstairs and started “scrubbing” bathroom floor. (Now before you go and blame my OCD, I am fairly certain you got this notion from Cinderella because I have never in my recollection gotten down on my hands and knees to scrub the bathroom floors!)Helping Mama BakeScrubbing the floors
When you aren’t cooking or cleaning, you are always preparing to embark on an adventure. You grab a bag, fill it with the essentials (usually a few Polly Pocket Princesses, a couple books, and a blanket) and tell me, “Mama, I ready to go!” And now that you know how to open doors I make sure to keep a watchful eye on you so you don’t actually go!Ready for an adventure
While you are a lover of all animals and characters, you certainly have your favorites. Right now you are partial to Care Bears and the Chipmunks. And while we have several of the Beanie Baby sized options of both critters, when you play with them you have to play with ALL OF THEM. You are not happy unless you are carrying around the entire set. As you stagger around the house half-hazardly carrying six chipmunks in your arms you have quickly blurred the lines of “collector” and settled firmly on “hoarder.”Chipmunk Hoarder
We have had a pretty good run of weather lately and so we have been spending a lot of time in our back yard. As a result, you have become quite the trampoline aficionado. (Well, once we set up a stool so you could actually get on and off of it by yourself anyway.) You would bounce all day if we let you. It makes you so happy to run in circles, do somersaults, and just jump with all your heart. I love nothing more than to look out the kitchen window while I’m making dinner to see you bounding across the trampoline, your hair wild with static, and a look of sheer glee plastered across your face.Static Queen
When you aren’t testing your extreme sport abilities, you have recently become quite fond of princesses and dress-up. When you select a movie to watch you like to dress up like that character and act out the scenes along with the characters on the screen. You can twirl and dance with the best of them!
Her Royal HighnessPrincess Cinderella
We recently went to the beach for the weekend and stayed at Grandma Nana’s house. Since it’s not too far away, we generally just go for the day but we decided to extend our mini-vaca to an over-night adventure. Grandma doesn’t have a crib and since you are too big for the Pack-N-Play, we decided to let you try sleeping in her toddler bed. The only “real” bed you’ve ever slept in is a hotel bed with your sister so we weren’t sure how this adventure was going to unfold. Sure enough, you surprised us by being an absolute pro and never got out of bed the entire night. At one point I came in to check on you and you had actually slid out of the bed onto the pillow I had placed on the floor for this very reason. Not wanting to disturb you, I just covered you with a blanket and let you sleep on the floor. But at some point in the night you woke up, realized you had slid out, and just climbed right back into bed. Like I said: PRO.
Sleeping in a toddler bed
While we were at the coast the weather was amazing so we decided to go play on the beach. You’ve been on the beach before (and much to my dismay, sneak off to play in sandboxes every chance you get) but this was your very first time to play in the ocean! You absolutely loved it. It took everything in my power to convince you to walk back to the sand just to let your feet warm up from the freezing cold water. But as soon as you walked back to the warm sand you would turn right back around and bee-line for the ocean.
Riding the skimboard
Running on the beach
In the waves
Hadley, it has been another amazing month with you by my side. We have such similar personalities sometimes I feel like I am watching my own childhood play out. I know that because we are so alike, it is inevitable that eventually we are going to butt heads. But that’s ok. I want you to stand up for what you want, believe in what is important to you, and never let anyone tell you that you are anything less than perfect. Because, Hadley, perfect is just one of your many defining characteristics.
Tulips with Mama
All my love,

A Letter: Twenty-Nine Months

Dear Hadley,
Last week you turned twenty-nine months old. And man are you becoming a character! You have started making the most exaggerated facial expressions. I sometimes find myself just looking over at you and laughing out loud at the different faces you make at me. You also have a variety of voices you still talk in, ranging from very deep and serious, all the way to high pitch and whimsical. I just never know what you are going to do or say next. You always manage to keep me on my toes!

Blue Eyed Blondie
Just Hanging Out
Jumping Bean

The big news of the month was that you got your very first hair cut. I wasn’t really planning to cut your hair, but Ana was begging to cut her hair with such enthusiasm that you asked to cut your hair too. I am a firm believer that it is your hair and so you can do with it what you like (within reason), so I was not about to stop you from getting your hair cut if it was something you really wanted to do. After all, it is just hair. So we headed over to Pigtails and Crewcuts. On the way you said, “I no want to cut my hair. It hurts me.” And it was such a silly thing to hear you say, that Ana and I just started laughing. Then you looked all confused and said, “It not hurt me? It just tickles?” So we reassured you that it would not hurt at all and you were once again excited about the milestone you were about to complete. And the haircut happened without a hitch. You sat perfectly still, mesmerized by whatever Disney movie they had playing, and graciously accepted the Dum Dum they gave you for being so well behaved with a polite “thank you.” I could not have asked for more.

Before the hair cut
(Above is the wispy “before” borderline mullet.)

Hadley's First Hair Cut
New Haircut!

We recently had your Uncle Jesse over to help us paint our master bathroom. You were adamant about helping Uncle Jesse paint. You watched him as he did all the prep work, gathering supplies, and readying the space. He gave you a paint brush to play with and to you, this meant you were just promoted to assistant painter! So when it came time to apply the primer, he marked off a little square of the wall, instructed you to “try to stay in the lines” and let you go to town painting! You were delighted to be his special helper.

Paint Brushes are fun!
Helping Uncle Jesse Paint

Over Spring Break we took a quick trip up to Seattle. It was perfect weather so we seized the opportunity to enjoy being tourists in the beautiful city! We rode the Monorail, walked around Pike Place market, and went to the top of the Space Needle. You loved the monorail and were particularly impressed with the elevator ride up to the top of the Space Needle (though you were a little disgruntled that you didn’t get to push the buttons for the elevator.)

Look! The Space Needle

While we were in Seattle we made time to visit our good friends and meet their newest addition. You had a fun time playing with their oldest daughter, Juniper. It was fun to watch the two of you interact and it was one of the first times I saw you really break away from the parallel play and actually play together with one of your friends. You played dress up, had a tea party, and even watched Ana put on a puppet show.

Tea Party with Juniper

Since we were so close to the only American Girl store in the Pacific Northwest, we had to drive a little further north to really round out our family trip. You quickly befriended a Bitty Baby and carried her around the store. But when you grew tired of lugging around the doll that was almost as big as you, I spotted you sitting off to the side reading a book to your (freshly re-sewn at the Build-a-Bear store) Mama Monkey. As a self-proclaimed book lover, it melted my heart to see you confidently sitting there reading a book. (I also love that it looks like Mama Monkey is legitimately enthralled in whatever story you are reading her.)

Reading to her Mama Monkey

When we got back from Seattle, it was practically Easter! We started off the celebration weekend with an Easter Egg Hunt at Ana’s school. They had divided the hunts into different age categories and you were fully prepared to represent for the “2 & Under” crew. You were very excited about the prospect of gathering as many eggs as possible and you did quite an impressive job considering at the time you didn’t even know they were filled with treats!

2 and Under
Finding Eggs

Then once we hunted the eggs and made some crafty Easter crowns, we went out to the front of the school to enjoy the sunshine and blow some bubbles. I was worried you were going to end up wearing most of the soapy mixture (or spilling it all over the pavement) but you surprised me once again and showed me just what a pro you are at bubble blowing. You would load up the wand, expertly blow some bubbles, then giggled and excitedly chase them around.

Blowing Bubbles

Then it was finally Easter morning! The Easter Bunny hid your Easter baskets but left a trail of clues for you to find them. You were so excited by every single thing that was happening, from discovering the remnants of the chewed carrots left by the Easter Bunny to finding the clues hidden around the house, I couldn’t help but get consumed by your infectious attitude. Everyone in the house was giddy and giggling, just the way Easter morning should be.

Oh! The Easter Bunny ate the carrots!
So excited
Tiny Tools in her Easter basket

You also started your first swimming lessons this month. Daddy is the super trooper who steps up to take you to lessons (and actually gets into the pool with you) and I think it’s great the two of you get a chance to do something together. But Ana and I didn’t want to miss your first lesson so we camped out in the bleachers and watched the entire class, making sure to wave every time you looked up, scanning the crowd for our smiling faces.

So Excited to Swim
Waving from the pool
They Survived the Class

You are also still taking (and loving) ballet class. These days you don’t have any problem with me dropping you off and waiting out in the hall during class. You still periodically ask me if I am going to be outside and when I say, “yes, the class is not for mommies.” you nod knowingly like you are just making sure you understand exactly what is going on.

Ballet Ribbons
Criss Cross Applesauce

If I had to ask you who was your favorite person, I know with all of my heart that Ana is, hands down, your favorite person. Ever. You love her so much I feel like at times it consumes you. That is not to say that you don’t get into each others space and fight from time to time, but more often than not you are always asking, “Mama, where Ana?” and when I tell you, “She’s at school.” you always respond by asking, “We go get her now?” You don’t like to be without her for long so as soon as you wake up from your nap you always ask, “Is Ana home now?!” If it’s a day that Chloe brings her home, you run downstairs and the two of you hug like she has just returned home from war.

Sister Snuggles

As a self-diagnosed OCD mama, I have a great sense of pride at how you are so good at cleaning up, putting things away, and throwing away your own garbage. At our house the kitchen garbage is baby proofed (we keep cleaners in there) so to access a garbage can, you have to go upstairs. You always throw things away in my bathroom (and on your way there walk past TWO garbage cans: one in your bathroom and one in Ana’s room) so I’m always finding little trash surprises like tiny yogurt covered raisin boxes or empty squeeze apple sauces. Every time I discover one of your garbage deposits, it warms my heart.


Hadley, you are such a sweet and wonderful child. You are so silly and bring more smiles to my day than I could attempt to count. The things you say and do always make me laugh and brighten my day. Every morning I can’t wait to see your adorable face and get one of your famous “hug you face” snuggles. Thank you for never failing to make everything around you that much better.

St. Patty's Day
Mama & Hadley

All my love,

A Letter: Twenty-Eight Months

Dear Hadley,
Last week you turned twenty-eight months old. When I think about how little you still are, I am shocked at what a big personality fits inside such a tiny body. You are growing so fast and changing so much each day that I have to remember to sit back and enjoy you as you are today because tomorrow you will be another day older, bigger, and wiser.
Cuddling with Diego
I’m not sure if I have mentioned this yet, but you are totally and completely obsessed with Diego. Every morning you wake up and the first thing you want to do is cuddle on the couch with some hot chocolate and watch “Go, Diego, Go.” I think it says a lot about your personality; you are adventurous, brave, and love animals. And I’m kind of happy that you didn’t go the traditional Dora route (because I logged more than my fair share of Dora when Ana was your age). Rather than being all butterflies, princesses, and fairies, Diego is into extreme sports, exploring the world, and helping animals. I think those are wonderful things to aspire to and so I totally support your Diego habit.
Daddy? There is a bird on you.
Eyeing the bird on Daddy's shoulder
I’m not sure I should admit this, but I am not a fan of “kid music.” I feel like between television theme songs and commercials we are already inundated with enough of the annoyingly-catchy music which when actually sung by children sounds like it belongs in a horror movie. Shudder. Anyway, I digress. I was able to keep this genre from you for quite awhile but last week in a desperate attempt to keep you awake in the car (lest you fall asleep and foil all hopes of a real nap) I plugged in my iPhone and played “Go, Diego, Go Live!” music. Just as I expected, your eyes lit up with delight and you shrieked with contagious glee. The good side? I managed to keep you awake til we got home. However the down side is that now every time we are in the car you tell me, “I no like THIS song. I like Diego…”
Under the table fort

You have become quite the animal hoarder. You are very fond of a particular set of stuffed animals who are lucky enough to be permitted to reside in your crib. You have named the monkeys Dada Monkey, Mama Monkey, and Baby Monkey, and the lone cat in the bunch is called Little Brad. You are constantly trying to carry ALL of them around with you and they are always the first toys brought down to cuddle with you on the couch while you watch Diego.

Monkey Hoarder

But just because you like Diego and animals does not mean you aren’t still all girl. You love to accessorize like it’s your job. You spend a lot of the time we are home walking around in high heels and about half of that time you are either sporting a backpack or have a purse dangling off your arm.

Fancy HadleyWalking in high heelsAdmiring your purse

You also love to draw and “do art.” The other day you were drawing on the big dry erase board in Daddy’s office, working on your latest masterpiece. I asked you what you were making and you pointed to your picture and said, “That my eye… That my other eye… That my mouth… And that my scribble.” Good to know you are keeping it real.

Working on your masterpiece
Dry Erase Art Work

I am constantly amazed at what a keen observer you are. You have perfect hearing and pay attention to everything. Just this morning you wanted to pick out a movie for us to watch. After briefly debating Tangled or Puss in Boots (which for some reason you call Buttons in Beeps) we finally decided on Monsters, Inc. You quickly said, “I get it!” then without hesitating for even a second, you pulled open the third drawer of DVDs, reached between Megamind and Monsters vs. Aliens and pulled out the correct DVD case. I know I shouldn’t doubt your borderline savant memory, but I was totally floored.

Into the porthole

You are also all about doctors lately. Whether it’s asking to go to the doctor’s office, pretending to be a doctor with one of our many doctor’s kits, or reenacting recently watched episodes of Doc McStuffins. Around here, we are all doctors, all the time. You are very aware of every single scratch, hang nail, or bruise on any member of our immediate family. You love to examine our “ouches” and “doctor us” then ask, “you feel better?” (Ed. Note: Yikes. Have you ever read a paragraph that said DOCTOR so many times? I feel like I need to add “doctor, doctor, doctor” just to make sure.)

Doctor Hadley

Hadley, I know everyone always says the current phase their child is in is their favorite, and  I am not any different. Every day I marvel at how much I love this stage of development. Everything you say is adorable. Witnessing you go from saying, “It’s me turn!” to correctly declaring, “It’s MY turn!” Watching the way you walk, dance, or even sleep is mesmerizing. Even as you throw a typical two-year old temper tantrum (say that five times fast!) I watch your shockingly blue eyes fill up with tears, and your chin quiver with emotion, I just think about how I want to wrap my arms around you and just hold you close to me. And I plan to do just that…for as long as you will let me.

Hadley in a box
All my love,

A Letter: Twenty-Seven Months

Dear Hadley,
Yesterday you turned twenty-seven months old. It’s funny because sometimes you do things and I have such a hard time believing that you are only two. You seem so mature, well-behaved, and peaceful. For example, yesterday at Stroller Strides all the kiddos were circled up and the majority of the kids (who were actually awake) were either whining, begging for something, or screaming and throwing a fit. I  looked over to see you sitting calmly in your stroller, munching on your snacks, and just watching all the chaos unfold around you. I wanted to scoop you up right then and there and tell you how simply amazing you were, but I’m smart and I know not to mess with a good thing. So I just beamed with private pride and continued with my workout, motivated by your awesomeness.
My Blond Beauty
But then you go ahead and do something that is very two. Very terrible twos. Temper tantrums of such monumental proportions that all I can do is simply step back… breathe… and get my camera to take pictures of you laying prostrate across the floor because I wouldn’t let you climb onto the counter to get your own snack out of the cupboard.
Temper Tantrum Time
Mid Pout
You are one stubborn and determined child. You don’t let much get in your way and that is obvious. I see so much of myself in you and even though at times I get so frustrated with your fight for independence I have to admit that I am secretly very proud of you. It may kill me to have to wait idly by while you climb slowly up the stairs to get your blanket (“I get it MYSELF!”) when I was already standing beside the very blanket you wanted. But I respect it because I probably would have done the exact same thing.
Determined Climber
But it’s not all battles of will or declarations of independence. I love watching you discover and relish the simple things in life. A couple weeks ago you discovered that your jeggings had real pockets and you could put both of your hands in those tiny little pockets. You just walked around with your hands glued to your butt, shouting, “Pockets!” while I hovered close by and prayed you didn’t trip and fall (because we all know you have had more than your fair share of emergency room visits in your short existence). I just love watching you get excited about all the little things we adults take for granted. Like pockets. It just doesn’t get much better than pockets.
Hands in her Pockets
It’s been a slow process, but you are starting to show more of an interest in potty training. You are getting better at telling me when you want to go to the bathroom and I think a lot of that has to do with rewards. We have a jar of M&Ms that are strictly for potty rewards. You get one for trying, two for peeing, and three for pooping. It works when you want it to work. But there are still times when you go into the bathroom, hide behind the door, and fill your diaper. Like I said before, stubborn.
Reading on the potty
But the interest is there. In fact the other day in the car I heard you talking to Minnie Mouse encouraging her to use the potty. I looked back to see that you had opened up your Minnie Mouse flip phone and was letting her use it as a toilet. Clever, my dear. A little gross, but still clever. (I also like that you lifted up Minnie’s dress for her to sit on the potty. I’m just going to pretend that wasn’t an accident.)
Potty training Minnie
I’ve also learned not to be truly surprised by anything you do. As you become more capable of rearranging furniture, placing toys in specific places, or setting up elaborate games that no one will understand but you. Like this. I came into the living room to find you had spread out a blanket on the couch, placed an empty diaper box on the blanket, and climbed inside of it. Why? We will never know. But you wanted it to be that way and so it was.
In a Box
Over the last month you have started taking a ballet class at the Cedar Hills Rec Center. It’s different from the class you were taking before because this teacher prefers NOT to have parent participation. She likes to slowly wean the children from their mothers (or for some, I think it’s the other way around). She lets the parents participate in the first class, then sit off to the side in the second class, and by the third or fourth class the parents are sitting out in the hallway and come back in only when class is over. This has been quite a source of stress for you. Often times we will be driving in the car and out of nowhere you will say, “You no go outside.” to which I respond something like, “No, it’s cold and rainy today. I think we will stay inside.” Then you clarify, frustrated at my inability to instantly know what you are talking about, “At ballet class. You no go outside.” And then I get to explain that the class is for YOU, not for mamas. The mamas get to sit out in the hallway and wait for the girls to finish their class. I was a little shocked that this was bothering you so much. You are normally so independent, refusing even the littlest bit of help, but you really did not want me to go. I was torn between being frustrated (See all the other girls are having fun without their moms being there!) and flattered (You DO still need me!). You would do ok for the majority of the class, but about two thirds of the way through you would get upset and I would have to come back in and sit on the mats in the back of the studio. But this week you finally did it. You had fun through the entire class and I never had to even step back into the room until it was time to sign you out.
Little Ballerina
Your performing isn’t limited just to dance class. You also really like to sing but since you are still learning all the lyrics, you generally just pick one line from the song and sing it over and over. Like in Will.i.am and Britney Spears’ “Scream and Shout” you just repeat “oh wee oh wee oh!” Or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” you chant “never, ever ever, never!”
Talking on the Phone
You are quite the silly little monkey. I never know what is going to come out of your mouth. Anytime I give you grapes I hear you saying “eat like apple” over and over. Then I see you taking little nibbles around the tiny grape and looking thoroughly pleased with yourself.
Krabby Patty Treat
Hadley, you are such a wonderful little girl. I am so proud of all the things you are now able to do. While I love that you are growing up and able to do more things, I also have to make sure I don’t forget to let you be little. I treasure every time you climb up onto my lap to snuggle or read a book. I love the feel of your tiny hand in mine as we walk across the street together. I enjoy kissing your owies and making you feel better. These are just a few of the things that I only get to do for a short time, so I am going to enjoy every one I can get.
Peeking Out of the Car
All my love,

A Letter: Twenty-Six Months

Dear Hadley,

Last week you turned twenty-six months old. And man, are you sure coming into your own. You are quite the character. Constantly making us burst out laughing (or have to bite our tongues when you say or do something naughty that is nevertheless equally hilarious). You will repeat just about anything we say, but there is just something hilarious hearing it come from your tiny mouth.
My Hadley Ballerina

You have two different “voices” you like to speak in. One is this high, schrill volume that you generally reserve for moments of sheer excitement. Like anytime you see Ana (“My Sissy Poo!”) or when it was time to open presents (“Open presents? YEAHHHH!”). The other is this totally unexpected deep baritone that you use to sound authoritative (“Ana, eat you broccoli!”) or express sadness/anger (“I do it MYSELF.”).

Opening giftsLittle Chef

In all your constant chatting, you have become quite the manners aficionado.  In fact, you sometimes border on being the Manners Police! A couple weeks ago I just finished loading groceries into my car and a man offered to take my cart back to the store. After I said “thank you” he simply nodded in response. But you gave him a stern look and shouted, “Say ‘you welcome!'” Thank you my dear. At least I know you always have my back.

Ready to hit the slopes

Admitting your child is getting bigger is a hard thing thing to do. Which is why when we went on our vacation to Eagle Crest over Christmas vacation we brought the Pack N Play to use as your bed. It wasn’t until we put you in it the first night that we really noticed just how HUGE you are now. You took up every single inch of that portable crib. You only lasted part of the night in that tiny cramped space and spent the rest of the week sleeping on the air mattress with Ana. I guess we should probably accept that fact that you aren’t the tiny baby you once were.

Too Big for this Crib
Sleeping Bags

If I had to pick one word to describe you right now, it would have to be independent. You want to do everything by yourself. From climbing into your car seat to decorating cookies to putting on your own socks, I am constantly hearing you say, “I do it!” You have the most determined look on your face and, while it may take you a little longer, you can usually get it done in the end. You are stubborn and determined and I admire your drive to be soself-sufficient.

Decorating Cookies Taking pictures

Like your father, you are very easily excited. The simple sight of snow and you can go from being in a bad mood to being on top of the world. We have been to the mountain a few times in the last month and each time we get high enough in elevation to see snow accumulation it’s all I can do to keep you from hyperventilating as you chant, “Snow. Snow! SNOW!!” while watching it fall outside your car window.

Too cool for snowAll Bundled UpAre you looking at ME?!

You have started doing this thing (not quite sure I can even call it a phase) where everything you see you assign a family position. Large things are Daddy. Very tiny things are Hadley. Things in between vary between being Mama or Sissy/Ana. For example if you see three bears of varying sizes the largest is the Daddy Bear, the middle is the Mama Bear, and the littlest is the Hadley Bear (Not Baby Bear. HADLEY BEAR. I only made that mistake once.) But it’s not always living things either. Sometimes you find random things and you pick them up and say, “This rock a Hadley rock.” Basically I think it means you equate your name with meaning something is small.

Little MamaSideways Glance

As you watch Ana and all her artistic interests you have started wanting to test your crafty abilities as well. We started you small with crayons and coloring books, then dry erase markers on a white board, and have recently ventured into the magic that is Crayola Color Wonder. I am a big fan of the fact that the “paint” only works on the magic paper so the mess is nice and contained. See? You can be creative and express yourself without destroying my house in the process!

Painting a picture
Little Artist

Hadley, you are such a joyful presence. I just love being around you because you never fail to brighten my mood. I never know what you are going to say or do and you constantly catch me off guard. Your vocabulary, as well as your physical and mental abilities, are growing with such ferocity that I’m afraid if I blink you’ll be completing your college applications before I even realize what is happening. Thank you for being so amazing and for always keeping me on my toes!

New Christmas Jammies
Me and my fancy ladies
All my love,