To say that this year has gone by quickly would be repeating everyone who has ever had a child, but that fact doesn't make the statement any less true.
You have filled this past year with so much joy for our family. Yes, there were plenty of sleepless nights and sometimes unwarranted concerns, but right now as I think back over the first year that you have been in our family, I can't remember any of that. Ok, well, I do distinctly remember two particular nights, but we don't have to talk about that right now.
Unfortunately, my note-taking skills were not as good this past month to record all the changes and developments that you had. Could it have been that we were packing up the house to come to Russia for the summer? But I do remember a few things that are new:
For one, you enjoyed your first baseball game, where you got your first baseball, which naturally went straight to your mouth, like everything else.
And speaking of your mouth, you have seven teeth now, little girl, with the eighth one nearly here. If that eighth one had come through you would have matched your brother's count on his first birthday. Y'all are just some teethy kids, which makes for adorable smiles, in my opinion.
Those teeth have come in handy since you decided, on your birthday, you no longer like mushed-up table food. You will now only eat "the real thing"; and you have to feed yourself.
You even manage to pick up banana now without smushing it!
Everyone who meets you quickly discovers that you are constant motion. Our Russian friends keep commenting that you are a very active girl, and they are right!
I love watching you crawl around and follow your brother and come find me. I'm thankful that you're learning to entertain yourself some, too.
There were lots of kisses involved in the above interaction, but I could never quite catch them.
Aah, yes, you've discovered phones!
You traveled amazingly well on our way to Russia. You hardly fussed at all, you just wore me out with all your activity, but I'll take that any day over a crying child on an airplane!
You enjoyed our brief stay in Poland. You checked out every inch of our hotel room!
And then you slept quite sweetly.
You've started giving kisses! You blow kisses, too, though usually only to brother. I love it when you pull my face to yours and give me one of your open-mouth, wet kisses. I wouldn't trade them for anything.
And brother kisses you right back!
You love people. You've already entertained many people on the metro here in St. Petersburg, and as long as you can come back to Mama whenever you want, you'll usually go to someone else, at least for a minute or two.
I wish, dear Nadezhda, that I could explain to you the love that I have for you. After 5 years of loving your brother, I should know that such an explanation really isn't possible, but I still wish that I could. I pray every day that you will grow to love the Lord our God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. May you be used by Him even now as a spunky, sweet, smiley, happy, active girl.
Even with props I couldn't get you to be still for very long!
I love you, Nadezhda.
And here's your year in review: