Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

February 9th we celebrated Addise's third birthday. It was a weekend, actually, including a day at Disney (using our expiring annual passes...sob), presents, making strawberry cupcakes with homemade frosting, reading Dr. Seuss' "Happy Birthday to You!" and lots and lots of kisses.

Addise is like none other. Everyone who knows her in real life has stories and facial expressions and flamboyant words describing our daughter. She is more LIFE in her little (?) body than most anyone I've ever met in my entire life. Brian and I often swap stories after we've tucked her into bed at night. Sometimes the stories are merely non-verbals of head shaking, stifled giggles, and utter speechlessness. Brian and I are constantly remarking at her unfair beauty. She may be the most gorgeous little girl I've ever set my eyes on. We love her with intensity and beauty and (at times) exasperation. Perhaps we love her that way because she is all of those things and more.

This was a big year for our girl. She's grown in every way and way too fast at that. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how about a dozen or so? Images to capture her transformation...

The first time we laid eyes on our girl. She was 6 months old.
Those eyes. Those lips. Those rolls. Those eyebrows. It's still too much to contain.
Addise was home for 3 weeks before we celebrated her 1st birthday!
This was also her first taste of sugar.

Her 2nd Birthday.

It's too bad she doesn't have a personality :)
Learning to be a GREAT big sister. Yes, she's very charming. 
Double true! To say she is dramatic is very undramatic.
"Only the girls." I savor the moments when it's just us girls together.
She still LOVES to snuggle and cuddle with me. Some of my favorite "asks" from Addise are: "Mama, rock you? Mama hold me? Mama I sit on your lap?"
Words impede my ability to say how crazy I am about this one...
She is the best (and worst!) parts of me and teaches me daily what it's like to
with passion
and joy
and energy
and love
and strength
and humor
and attitude
and tenacity
and tenderness
and persistence
and vulnerability
and expectation
and belief
and goodness.
Parenting Addise requires our best and we joyfully give it to her.
Did I mention that she's a great big sister!??!
Beach sand + a billion curls = no bueno
It felt like we were potty training her ALL of this past year.
Finally, she's got it. Mostly. Only during the day; not at night. Victory?
Me: Addise, can mommy take your picture?
Addise: CHEESE! 

She's a little fish. And kinda loves the camera.
Looking much too grown up.
Dr. Seuss character?
Bath times are favorites. Maybe because they're a little more rare these days. Oops.
To say she adores her daddy is an understatement.
This picture captures one moment in a series of about 5 minutes where she teased him to kiss him. But instead of kissing him, she kept licking his face.
Her giggle is infamous and contagious in our home.
Playing at Disney. One of our favorite things to do as a family!
At her 3 year doctor appointment. She's in the 90% for height and weight.
She's 39 inches tall and 37 pounds.
Apparently she can also read upside down. Genius child.
She got the baby doll for Christmas and the outfit for her birthday.
She's learning to play with her babies and accessorize. :) 

There ya have it. Our girl. Grateful God chose her to be ours. I'll close with the promise of hope we gave her when we dedicated her at our church.

Jeremiah 31:17:

"They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone."

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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.