And just like that....

...a whole year passes by, and our little girl is one.

To my sweet, sweet Charlotte:

   Today, you are one.  A whole year old!  And what a beautiful, surprising, happy year it has been.  And it has been all of those things because of YOU!  On January 6, 2012, I was home from work with what I thought was the stomach bug all my students had been passing around.  I decided to take little test just to be sure (sorry TMI already...)  and to my SHOCK, I learned that another baby was on the way!  My first reaction, "Whaaaatt?! I'm not ready for another baby!  Collen wasn't even two, yet.  We had planned on having another but definitely not so soon.  

   Once the shock wore off, and time went by, I began to get so excited about our new little one (you!). One of my fears - that you would be a girl.  Why would I be afraid of that, you ask?  Because girls are scary.  Trust me.  I was one, and I look back on my teenage years and wonder how my parents survived it.  But do you know what I LOVE about you being a girl?  Your sweet, tiny voice; your innocence; your beauty; that you will someday be my very best friend.  What scares me - disciplining you and knowing that one day you won't like me very much; one day, you will probably break my heart.  But all of that will be worth it the day you realize everything I (hope to) teach you about this world, life, treating others, making good decisions, being a woman of honor and integrity was because I love you and want the best for you (you will probably learn these things the hard way because by then I'll be too old to "understand" and you'll make your own mistakes only to realize mom wasn't so out of touch after all).  But, all of that is for another day...

So, today you're a whole year old!  The year flew by!  I still find myself staring at you, drinking you in, in disbelief that you're really here.  So much of this year is a blur, but when I let it all slow down, I can remember so many beautiful moments:

You're birthday - September 4, 2012
You share this day with several family members!  Somehow, it has become THE birthday for Glovers. Since I'm part Glover, you count as one of them, too. ;)

You are most definitely a mommy's girl.  From day one, you and I were inseparable.  I would joke with people that I wasn't sure who was more attached - me or you!  

You love your big brother!  You love to watch him play, and he can make you laugh the biggest laughs!  You think he is super cool.  When Collen first met you, he was enamored.  Having a new baby in the house didn't seem to affect him too much.  He has had his jealous moments, for sure, but he has been so good about sharing his time with you.

We love you so, so much!!  It must be fun to be the baby of the family.

You look a lot like Collen.  A LOT.  But, you - like Collen - share features with your big brother, Ayden.  I see him in your smile and when you turn your head a certain way.  Your ears remind me of his.  And that and Ayden have the same nose.  My nose.  Bless your heart.

We've never worried about you standing your ground and taking care of yourself.  You do that quite well.  Too well sometimes because recently you've begun biting.  You bit your brother out of frustration the other day.  We are working on that one....

Always remember that you are beautiful.  You are a daughter of Christ.  He loves you MORE than we do.  Can you believe that??  Sometimes I can't, but I know it's true; and if He loves you more than Mommy's A LOT!

You have, by far, been our easiest baby.  Honestly, you didn't have a choice.  Since day one, you have been laid back and so flexible.  You fit your routine around ours, and you're happy almost all of the time.  I love that you love life, and you love spending time with your family.

You are a lot like your daddy.  You are contemplative, and I can already see the connection between the two of you.  Lean on your daddy, baby girl.  He will be your first hero.  He will be your first love.  He will be your confidant and your sounding board.  Dance with you daddy, and always tell him you love him.  Respect him and know that he has your best interest at heart.  He will always fight for you, encourage you, guide you, and love you.

It is my prayer that you and your brother grow to become the best of friends.  When we're gone, he will be all you have left of us.  The two of you will need to stand together and find strength in one another.  He will always be there for you.  I promise you that.  Even when he might not want to admit it, he loves you and will always love you.

Look at this picture of you and I.  I love it because it's candid.  It's REAL.  Those smiles are not fake.  On the tough days - the days when mommy is being "unreasonable" I want you to look back at this.  You make me THIS happy every second of every day.  You have no idea, none whatsoever, how my heart delights in you and your brothers.  You three are my greatest gifts and accomplishments, and I thank God every single day for the three of you.

Have I mentioned that you are beautiful?

Learn your history.  Your family history.  Your legacy.  Where you come from.  Your roots; your heritage - that's what makes you, YOU.  You have been fortunate to know three of your great grandparents on your mommy's side and one on your daddy's side.  These individuals are the core of our family.  They hold the secrets to a long and happy life.  What's the secret?  I'll go ahead and let you in on it.  LOVE.  Loving each other. Cherishing the present and living in the moment....then never taking those moments for granted.  Love your family and make an effort to know them.  This will make your life richer than you could ever imagine.

I loved dancing with my Daddy.  I loved dancing with my grandfathers.  I loved watching you "dance" with your Great Grandaddy.  You won't remember this moment, but I will never forget it.

Your quiet nature is deceiving.  You tend to stay very quiet that I don't let you out of my sight very often because your quiet nature lends itself to mischief.  You are busy and like to get into anything you can.  You have all these toys, but you're not big on playing with them.  You'd rather steal your brother's crayons and stickers or climb on the furniture.  You're quiet, but your spontaneous.  A combination of both of your parents.  We're in trouble!!

You love life.  And life loves you!  You fill up a room just by being in it.  Your smile is electrifying, and the number one compliment you always receive is about those big, beautiful eyes.

We love you so much Charlotte.  We have been so very blessed to have you in our lives and we pray that we are able to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you!  Happy Birthday sweet baby!!