Reflecting on Grace's First Year

Whew! The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind. We celebrated two holidays over the weekend with Grace turning one on Saturday and of course Sunday being Easter. It was a very busy two days for the Keneally family. After writing thank you notes and trying to put my house back together, I am just now getting to sit down and relax with a piece of leftover birthday cake to blog. Does mom life ever slow down? (rhetorical question)

I have been so busy planning Grace's party and crying over the fact that my baby is now one that I haven't had a chance to sit down and reflect on this last year with her. I thought it would be fun to write about all the phases she has gone through and which ones were my favorite. Grace has changed so much from a year ago, as babies do, and each day brought something new.

The newborn stage! Oh my goodness, besides the lack of sleep I think all of us mamas can agree that this is one of the times you cherish forever. Even though I was half awake and recovering through a lot of this stage it will always have a very special place in my heart. The toothless, involuntary smiles as Grace slept always melted my heart. She was seemingly so peaceful as she slept 18 hours of the day. (lucky!) Her little eyes couldn't focus on anything no matter how hard she tried. I remember one morning she had the hiccups and every hiccup her little eyes would cross and I couldn't stop giggling. The newborn smell is to die for! I think I probably stared at her face most of the day those first few weeks. You don't ever want to put them down especially when they are newborns. This stage went the quickest in my opinion. Boy, I sure do miss it!

I loved when Grace started findng her voice. We would put her on the changing table and she would instantly start squeaking and chatting with us. Her voice was so little and she was trying so hard to communicate with us. Her little eyes would light up as she just squeaked and squeaked. Grace only wanted to be really vocal when she was on the changing table. If she was on her play mat for tummy time or laying on her back in the living room she was relatively quiet but as soon as we got into her nursery she was a chatter box! Isn't it funny how every single one of our kids have different quirks? Children are so incredible.

Throughout her entire first year Grace has constantly put things in her mouth. To this day, as soon as she picks something up, no matter what it is, she has to give it the Grace taste test. Leaves. Clothes. Carpets. Toys. You name it, Grace has tried it. I used to stress so much about it but now honestly I just shake my head and if it could be a risk for her I just take it away. I came to the conclusion that there was no possible way I could keep my eyes on her 24/7 and keep everything out of her mouth that doesn't belong.

I would have to say that my favorite time in the first year has been the last two months or so. Her little personality has really started to shine through and it makes me such a proud mama. Michael and I talk about it a lot and we love how much love she has to give for such a little human. Grace is an incredibly sweet one year old. She will be busy playing with her toys and suddenly run over to give you a hug then continue playing. It brings me so much joy every day to watch her continue to grow. She has started giving kisses, dancing to music (especially Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), playing games with her dad and me, and is becoming more independent.

All of these stages she has gone through are so bittersweet. It is incredible to watch her grow but I also hate that my baby isn't really a baby anymore. She can walk, wants to play on her own, feeds herself, and is learning how to communicate. I have been avoiding the T word (toddler) because I am still in denial that she's growing up. That's totally ok, right? I am so excited to see what changes year two will bring!

See you soon, E