{letter to Charlie at 1 year}

Dear Charlie,

My sweet boy- We just celebrated your first birthday!  It was a wonderful day filled with family, friends, cake & much much love.  Not exactly the day your mama had planned (a rainstorm changed our plans dramatically), but it was just perfect for you I think.  Funny how those things work out. 

I wish I could remember every detail of your first year, but since that’s impossible I hope your dad and I can always remember the emotions of this year.  Pure joy when the midwife placed you on my stomach and you let out a small but powerful cry, announcing to the world, “I’m here!”  Excitement and exhaustion in the days that followed.  We never wanted to put you down, and you perferred to be held anyway, thankyouverymuch.  Fortunately there were lots of willing grandparents, aunts and uncles around.  And you found their arms to be a perfectly warm and snuggly sleeping spot too.  Wonderment in those early weeks at all the amazing things you could do.  Staring at your perfect fingers & toes, your peaceful sleeping face, your beautiful (and at that time still dark brown) hair… we loved every detail of you and every little thing you did!  You changed so fast, and that amazed us too.  Before we knew it you could do a push-up (ask you daddy about that!), roll over and best of all grin up at us.  The love we felt for you & our growing family was (and still is) overwhelming. 

I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture: we had struggles too.  Exhaustion being the biggest one.  You did not sleep very well, even when you got into a rhythm and gave us a 4-5 hour stretch each night, I often still felt overwhelmed and overtired.  Also you were a very spitty/drooly baby… there was lots of cleaning the floor, changing your bib (or whole outfit depending on the day), and sometimes this was frustrating for your poor mama.  (I was working hard to get you to take that milk!) 

Also I’m not sure if Daddy ever felt this way, but I worried (and sometimes still worry) about being able to do everything that is best for you.  Most of the time I am able to remind myself: you were given to us for a reason, we will help you grow and guide you when you need it, and I know you are helping us to grow as well.  Plus we have wonderful family & friends, they will always be there for you.  But it is a truly awesome responsibility to raise you so I am grateful we have help.  We want you to have strong character; to be loving, generous, respectful and compassionate.  We will try to lead you by example!

I know I have said this before, but you grew so fast.  It seemed one day I was able to leave you on a blanket on the floor with toys, content in the knowledge you couldn’t roll to far, and the next day you were scooting along.  Very shortly after that real crawling then toddling along!  You are very vocal; you have a lot to say about this big world.  We can’t wait to be able to understand more of it!  You spend more and more time playing with your toys, and you are really able to engage now.  You make new discoveries everyday- we can almost see your wheels turning, as you figure things out.  You have the best smiles (which you give freely) and a wonderful laugh (which you save for truly funny things- like when the dog sneezes.  Ha!)

Love you so very much!  I don’t know how we got so lucky, but I am grateful for you everyday.  You bring joy to all of us who are lucky enough to know you!

Love always,

Mama & Daddy

a few of my favorites

The last post of vacation pictures (after 5 sets, I know that’s a lot). But some of these are my absolute faves…
DSCN1569
Boys at the beach.

DSCN1763
sorry Charlie.

DSCN1755

DSCN1753

DSCN1746
Another of those early mornings thanks to Charlie, but the beach was lovely.

DSCN1743
He was waving to the birdies (love this one!)

DSCN1728
A different early morning. Told you there were lots of those.

DSCN1695

DSCN1693

DSCN1691

DSCN1688

DSCN1685
Love this one too! Pointing things out to his Grammy…

DSCN1683
My favorite!

DSCN1682

DSCN1667
Funny picture taken from underwater

DSCN1656
Coffee and the hot tub. I could go for that tomorrow any morning.

DSCN1636
(Doesn’t need any coffee)

DSCN1628

DSCN1608

DSCN1606

DSCN1601

DSCN1589
Loves.

DSCN1588
such a Charlie face

DSCN1587
thumbs up!

DSCN1586
He has the hair. And the suit. Now he’s got the surfer boy moves too.

DSCN1585
And he’s pretty pumped about it.

DSCN1582
Riding the waves.

DSCN1687

DSCN1577

IMG_7300
When I first looked at these, I thought it was his shoe that was making him so happy. (Shoes make me happy.) But then I kept scrolling

IMG_7302
and realized he had some entertainment.

IMG_7320
walk on the beach the last night

IMG_7323

IMG_7333
saying night-night to Nonny

The end.

posed pics.

IMG_7260

IMG_7261
Silly sisters.

IMG_7265
I don’t have a “good” copy of the family photo, just the chaos 🙂 I love our big family

IMG_7267
cousins & Nonny

IMG_7270

IMG_7272
We had the biggest group! That never happens.

IMG_7275

IMG_7281

IMG_7286

IMG_7291

IMG_7294
Charlie was done with photos after this cute face. A Blakely family photo wasn’t in the cards this trip!

you may be tired of vacation pictures…

… but that’s too bad.  Because I still have tons of beach/pool pictures to share.  This year may have been a little rough for my crew, but I still want to be able to look back at all of these (many, many) pictures and remember!

Underwater camera fun:
DSCN1375

DSCN1378

DSCN1404

DSCN1405

DSCN1394

DSCN1411

DSCN1414

DSCN1430
We had a lot of early mornings at the beach (just what every mommy wants on vacation?) Charlie seemed to think he should be up before the sun. So we spent some time in the mornings outside, trying to let other people in the house sleep in. Not sure if it helped, the time we spent inside we were pretty loud.
DSCN1466
Charlie of the jungle.

DSCN1455
And yes, we brought our push toy all the way to FL. Cannot be without it. At least not for an entire week!

DSCN1453

DSCN1476

DSCN1480
Maybe we should be grateful to Charlie… if not for his early wake-up calls, we surely would have missed the quiet calm mornings on the beach.

DSCN1482

DSCN1487

DSCN1496

DSCN1506

Later in the day, the beach is a little more active:
DSCN1532

DSCN1536
What with the cute little boys in their red wagons and all.

DSCN1537

DSCN1540

DSCN1553

DSCN1558

I have one more round of photos from the beach to post soon. Then I’ll move on to some other things we did this summer, I swear.

sand, salt & the sea.

I was going to try to remember what we did each day and include the pictures, but thinking back it was the same things every day.  Pool, beach or both.  So here’s some photos:

DSCN1231

DSCN1235

DSCN1243
Swim suit too big, baby feet in the sand. Not sure there’s anything cuter than that.

DSCN1266
The Gulf is amazing. I love that turquoise green water… very calming.

DSCN1271
two hats!

DSCN1272

DSCN1277

DSCN1286

DSCN1289
More baby toes in the sand. Love those.

DSCN1301
Daddy is a good sand castle builder… he created one in the shape of a sea turtle in about 10 minutes. I couldn’t do that if I had all day!

DSCN1304

DSCN1308
Being a jungle gym for Charlie.

DSCN1319

DSCN1323

DSCN1344
Those curls come out in full force at the beach.

DSCN1354
Out in the water with Grammy, he was so happy!

DSCN1355
splashing away

DSCN1357

DSCN1365

DSCN1368


And a video. He shudders at one point- the water was really salty!