Dear Emmalee 12

Baby girl, you turned one!
You don't even realize how amazing you are and how much you brighten my day.
"Mama" has become your favorite word. It's the first thing you say when I come in the morning to change your diaper. You are so funny. You say "hola" incensantly too. It's just that you are so kind and friendly. 
I don't know how to put into word how much I love you. It's undescribable. 
I love watching you play with your "educational" toys. You are so smart.
The thing I've enjoyed the most to watch is seeing how soft and sweet and cuddly you've become.
The other day mommy had a very painful shot given and mommy was very nervous and she cried. You came over and hugged me and made this "awwww" noice. It was the sweetest thing ever!
You like to hug and cuddle more, but you will only lay your head on daddy's shoulder. 
Eventhough you've mastered walking, you still give me a hug when you reach me. 
I love your big smile with your big rabbit teeth.
I still stare at you with wonderment and amazement at how beautiful and perfect you are.
You love other kids and are not shy at all. When we were waiting on the doctor to check on your baby sister, you made friends with every kid you saw. I'm not used to such innocence and acceptance. No discrimination or prejudice. I truly wish, like Jesus said, I were more like little children, I were more like you.
Your grandma and Uncle Ditto and Aunt Lilly got to really enjoy you this past month. I'm so happy they got to share time with you. Uncle Ditto and Grandma Linda were afraid you were not going to recognize them or like them. You had no problem with grandma because you skype alot with her and immediately knew her. You had some warming up to do with Uncle Ditto, but they both were jealous of your big smile when Aunt Lilly talked to you. I guess you liked her face. She is very pretty. Grandma Linda was a huge help getting you to eat. She made you gain the weight you needed to be back on your normal growth pattern. She was a real champion. You learned to eat yogurt and drink your juice with vitamins, although mommy gave grandma a hard time for getting your outfits dirty really fast. The only thing is that grandma would get you all wind-up and then she would go to bed leaving mommy and daddy to deal with a hyper Emma past 11pm. The good thing is that grandma came for you early in the morning to play with you and allow mom and dad to sleep longer. It was a huge relief. The morning of the new year you had some problem sleeping and barely slept at all. Mom and dad were really tired and sleepy that when we heard grandma was up we didn't wait for her to come for you. We iust let you out to the hall. We had a huge laugh of it when grandma was bugging us for having "kicked" you out of the room. She said you came walking to her with a big smile not realizing your parents had gotten rid of you. I'm sorry baby girl, but we were extremely tired and you kept us up. 
We love you so much. Your grandparents here in Honduras were sad they didn't spend christmas with you, but you got to skype with them. You were really excited to see them when we came back. Everybody loves you so much. I hope you know how loved you are and I hope all of us can show you how loved you are because Christ loved us first and loves you more deeply than any of us can. 

Here is you one year photoshoot
Mischievous look

I hope you liked you're personal cake

Yes, that is for you and you can do with it what you want!


Momma, I am getting dirty and touching this, look!

Yeah, yeah, we all know why you were near, Lanky!

But she doesn't seem to mind Emmalee on top of her after Emmalee allowed her to lick her frosty fingers!

O-ouh! Don't let grandma see this kiss!


Emmalee's First Birthday!

Boy was I looking forward to this day. When I started planning this birthday I was not even pregnant and never did I thought I'd do the cooking for it with a huge belly. It's good that I got alot done with plenty of time. I'm also extremely grateful that I had Adina, Denisse, and Sara's help with the cooking. My girls had fun decorating the cookies. It was all of ours first time using icing on cookies. Getting it to get red was the hardest thing but Denisse did an awesome job. 

I loved the strawberry theme. It was just so much fun and so yummy!
The cupcakes are the traditional hershey perfect chocolate recipe that is just the perfect chocolate treat. I was very pleased with the online buttercream recipe I found. I felt it was a little too sugary and I added some caramel sauce to it that made it taste the way I wanted. My mother-in-law only had a small piping mouth and it was really tiring to do the piping for that many cupcakes.

Those topiaries where fun to make. I really like working with ribbon. It was alot faster to make than the paper topiaries I did for this baby shower.

Emmalee destroyed that cupcake stand so many times we were reconstructing it again minutes away from her birthday. I was glad I had Dela's help and she patched it up again. Unfortunately during the birthday it fell apart and dropped some cupcakes. Good thing we had more than enough. 

Our amateurness is very visible on the cookies but they were very tasty and fun looking. I think we could have done a better job with them but we were so beat from making so many baked goods that we just made them as fast as possible to be done.

Adina was such a champ chocolate coating those red velvet pops. I used cream cheese frosting with the red velvet cake to make the pops. The chocolate was semi sweet giving it a great balance. I loved them. I thought they would be more for the adults, but the kids enjoyed it just as much. I had fun watching the chocolate covered faces of my dear friend Marcela's twin girls.

Strawberry milkshakes were for the kids but the adults took advantage of the remainding ones. It was fun to see Tito drinking one from such a girly container.

This cake is the duncan hines angel strawberry bavarian recipe. Its frosting is whipped frosting with strawberry gelatin. I was very scared of this frosting. It tasted too sweet for me but I made all my helping chefs taste it and they all gave me the green light. My fears that people would like it or not were dissipated when my brother-in-law Javier, one of the toughest men to please, told me he loved it. He doesn't say that unless he means it. 

I loved how the banner looked. 

The centerpieces were small and simple. A basket filled with paper strawberries with a chocolate inside. Thank God that chocolate was enough to prevent the wind from blowing them away.

 I made the strawberry bags in June. The little girls looked so pretty with their strawberry bags carrying them like purses. 

This cutie pie enjoyed her first free pass to sweets. Mom has been very restrictive with sugar.. 

I love her green shoes!

Of course mommy blew the candle, but she was so into it!

And in Honduras, the piƱata can't miss! 

Happy new year!

I've been silent for some time on this blog wondering if I should share what has been in my heart.
You see, here I like to be brutally honest. I don't like to write to be politically correct or sound mature and wise. I like to write to bare my heart. But I've been wondering if I want what's on my heart known.
I am not one to hide what is on my heart, but I dread ever hurting with my written words, especially words left on the never-forgetting internet.

My writing silence has began since my second pregnancy has evolved.
I took vacations this winter and I could swear I doubled in size.
This second pregnancy has been hard to share. Not because I don't want it, but because I feel so different with it. I don't know if this feeling different has to do with the fact I'm less scared this time around or if it's because it doesn't have the "new" factor.
I would hate my other children to feel I love them any less because I'm not freaking out in my pregnancies like I was with Emmalee.
I haven't figured out yet why I feel so different.
Sometimes I think it's because I don't fear my world would end if I lost this child because I would have Emmalee to live for.
But when thoughts like that come to my mind I worry if my heart is in the right place. Does this mean that if I lost Emmalee my world would end? Isn't God my reason to live and the number 1 in my heart? And how would my relationship with Him be if I lost my family?
And I think I would be able to survive losing a child but I search for Kaylee's movements every hour of everyday and every waking moment. I even wake up just to seek her.
Am I so desperately seeking God?

The words in the Bible "Jealous is his name for He is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14) makes me tremble. I love God. I want nothing else but to teach my children to love Him wholeheartedly. Will I be able to teach them that If I don't live it?
Do I love God more than my family? I am even scared of mentioning it for fear of having it put to the test. I read the book of Job and can't even fathom his trials. I say my world wouldn't end if I lost a child yet Kaylee and Emmalee are on my mind constantly.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3. This is my favorite passage from the book of Isaiah. When I first read it when I was reading the Bible for the very first time, it caught my eye because it said that his thought stayed on the Lord continuouly. My thought stays constantly on God but to ask Him to keep my daughters safe.

I've noticed a change in my relationship with Emmalee. As a first time mom who is very fearful, my relationship with Emmalee was about making sure nothing bad happened to her. Now I'm alot more chill and instead of worrying so much I get to enjoy her more. I let her fall down and pick herself up. I let her get down from the bed and watch her be so careful when doing so. I love how she is so careful with the entrance step to the house and she steps it so well. I get to laugh more and learn more from her and with her.
The other day while I was heating my lunch at work I had this mental picture of her baring her teeth in a big grin and that brought the silliest smile to my face. A student passed by and gave me this weird look like if saying "you look crazy smiling to yourself like that."
My thoughts of her are not wondering if she is fine, if she is getting enough nap time, enough solid foods from her caregivers. I rest more confidently in God's care of her and just wonder what new thing she is going to show me today. As of lately, she cracks me and my husband up with all the new things she does that are so unexpected and cute.
I think I need to go back to that kind of relationship with God.
Enough with going to God just to intercede for my family. Enough with being afraid and forgetting Who is my Shepherd that guides me through the valley of death.
I want my heart to say: "The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. This is my God and I will praise Him. He is my father and I will extol Him." Exodus 15:2
I want my heart to say "great is the Lord and greatly to be praised"(1 chron 16:25). Or my heart say "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You." (Psalm 63:3) Where is that heart that longed to come to the presence of the Lord to gaze on His beauty and adore Him for His undeserving love? Where is that heart that longed for fellowship with Him?
During christmas I was thinking alot in baby Jesus. People take John 3:16 lightly because they've heard it so many times. I was analyzing it. "He gave His only begotten son." In the Spanish version it says "firstborn Child." I pondered and pondered in those words as I watched my only begotten and firstborn child sleep. How terrible ordeal it must have been to God to give His Child. And to give Him to a world that denies and despises Him. I would never. Do we realize in that verse how a great a sacrifice He made, how great a love He showed? And I remember the day Emmalee came into this world with the whole hospital's nursery just for herself and then think of baby Jesus in that manger. My Lord and Saviour in a lowly manger!
During winter vacation we were able to visit our local church in Panama. I loved the christmas service. The pastor was comparing Jesus being born into that filthy manger as a metaphor of Him coming to dwell in our sinful, filthy hearts. Great is Him and greatly to be praise indeed!
The world is scary. It truly scares me. It scares me what it can do to my family, to my husband, to my girls. Life is unrelenting and cruel, but God is good and just. Yes, jealous is His name, but so is love. He wants my love and gives me unimaginable love in return.
I am blessed beyond measure with this second pregnancy. My heart knows it even if my wallet doesn't. Children are God's blessing and I am not going to let any circumstance or person tell me otherwise. I'm not going to let any hardship that might come steal the blessing that is to have children. I will forget about how heavy my body is. I will rejoice in the fact that my body is able to contain so much love and show it on my humongous belly. I rejoice that God saw it fit to give me another child. I will rest in the fact that He will be my strength when handling two babies at once. I will give thanks and praise His goodness for giving me such a loving and caring husband to live each day at a time. I give thanks he gave me a loving mother who still looks over me. I give thanks he gave me a wonderful family-in-love that is serviceable and kind. And I won't forget of the God Who loves me with a steadfast love that is unconditional in spite of myself.
I hope I can share my heart here more often and it is a heart transformed by God's heart. Happy new year!