When Max was five months old I started feeling a little queasy. I couldn’t figure out why. Was I still catching up with all the adjustments of having a new baby? Was I not getting enough sleep with all the night-time feedings? Was I just plain sick and unable to kick it? I just felt weird with no real explanations.

So I went to the doctor.

When I told him my symptoms he decided we’d better do an ultrasound. Wanted to make sure there wasn’t something wrong in there.

Turns out there was nothing “wrong” in there.

Nope, far from wrong.

What the “problem” was was that there was a little baby in there…a nine-week old one.

I’m sure I turned white as a sheet when the doctor spilled out the news. Wasn’t I diligently nursing the baby I already had? Wasn’t that birth control?? I was still drinking in my first baby. Dave was still entrenched in the parenting “adjustment” phase. We were about as far away as you can get from the ready-for-another-baby stage.

I remember that drive home from the doctor’s office. I was in complete shock. I remember catching a glimpse of my baby Max in my rear-view mirror. My heart sank as I realized he’d only “get” us to himself for a few more short months. Little did I know how much this baby-on-the-way would complete his world…and all our worlds for that matter.

That night I carefully layed out the news for Dave. As carefully as I explained my day, he still fell on the ground when he heard the “punch line.” Flat out on his back. And it took him a while before he could get up again.

It seems like a funny introduction to what was in store: a perfect little baby girl we named Wellesley Jade (and called her Elle for short). Man oh man are we ever lucky for that little surprise bundle!
So, that sweet little baby turned another year older yesterday.

And as much as I’m stomping mad at her for it, I must admit I just keep liking her even better and better every year…which is saying a heck of a lot since I melted over her the first time I laid eyes on her. Actually, the first time I felt a kick from the inside.

Yeah, the kick was when she really started growing on me.

Before that I was a little irritated with her that she decided to come so quick. But I forgave her as soon as that fluttery kicking started knitting her heart to mine…tighter than I ever imagined possible.

Man, she’s a good girl.

My question is, how did she turn from this:to this:
to this:

to this:
to this:

and to this:all while I blinked my eyes a couple times?

Since it’s our “off year” for parties this year (I do realize I’m going to kick myself next year since I’ll be going crazy with birthday parties all summer…but I’m soaking in the no party thing for now) we had our traditional big family breakfast with presents in the morning:

Made a humongous cake (since the cousins were coming over to celebrate with us too…what was that about no parties??)
And had a big celebration.

Don’t worry, although I’m sure you’re freaking out right now that her hair probably got all singed off after this picture just know that it just looks close…it wasn’t really in reality.

If you’re wondering what the heck we are doing floating a cake in our swimming pool, read here.

Eleven things I love about this girl:

1) She’s empathetic. She knows how people feel by just looking at them. And she’s right there when she senses they need a little boost.

2) Which makes her a good friend. From the time she was little:
to now:she’s surrounded by such great friends. She sure knows how to pick’em. I’m so thankful for them, and their influence on her too. She’s one lucky girl!

3) She is an excellent chef. She can whip up so many good recipes in the kitchen.

4) She is a hard worker. When she sets her mind to in she can do anything from getting straight A’s to being the only one in our family to make her “summer goals.”

5) She has a great sense of humor and a quick wit. She gets the things Dave and I joke around about and dishes stuff right back to us.

6) She is humble.

7) She could eat babies whole right along with me. I love that. As I was going through pictures of her today there are SO many with her snuggling babies. This makes her one heck of a babysitter. I am so lucky to have her around. She’s definitely the “mom #2” around here.

8) She LOVES photography and is getting so good at it.

9) She has a great and unique sense of style.

10) Great smile, crooked teeth or not.

11) Completely dependable. If I ask her sincerely to do something I know it will get done.

We sure love you, babe.

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  1. Happy Birthday to Elle! She is such a beautiful girl…inside and out!!

    Shawni – could you tell me where you got your magazine holder that is hanging in your kitchen…I LOVE it! Thanks!

  2. I loved reading this. It reminded me of my own "sickness" I had when Anna was five months old. The sickness turned out to be Ellie, my own little Elle.

    I hope my girls grow to be like Elle someday. She seems to be above the fighting that so many clusters of sisters have, my girls included. Would love to know how you did that!

  3. I'm 13 months younger than my older brother and it was nice to be "peers". Happy Birthday, Elle (from Ellen who lives not too far from Wellesley).

  4. Happy Birthday to a gorgeous girl, inside and out…love your "baby-loving"…one day, no doubt, you will have many of your own to cuddle on.

  5. Happy Birthday Elle! I miss getting to see her as much since I was released from Activity Days. She really is a great girl!

    BTW, I am just about finished reading the book you and your mom wrote, and I just had to say thanks for sharing all your wisdom and humor (and amazing photography). It seems like each time I pick it up, I end up reading the exact little tidbit I needed to be reminded of that day.

  6. How could we be so lucky to have such a wonderful example of goodness for our oldest granddaughter? Elle, you are the best!!!

    I Love you!

  7. guess who is having another baby and Charlie will have a sibling 11 months apart from him? … GUESS?
    could it possibly be ME?? um, yes.

    i am telling you, we are twins.
    both of us love boston and we have our first two kids within a year.
    face it… we are twins.

  8. I love that picture of her in the red dress with white flowers. She is a very beautiful young lady. I love reading about your birthday traditions and getting good ideas. I love your uplifting and energetic attitude in your posts.

  9. Hey, so you talk a few times lately about Max and Elle being 14 months apart, but I'm not doing the math. They would have been 12 months apart according to this post. Could you help me out? 😀

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