1. Hope loves to change Ava's diapers. And she does it perfectly. She even puts the sticky parts on in just the right place. Not too loose. Not too tight. She gets such a kick out of being my little helper and she has totally committed herself to the role of big sister. Totally. Committed.
2. She is almost always in the process of putting on a show, dreaming up a show, dressing up for a show, directing a show, making signs to advertise a show, or cleaning up after a show. I have always said that Hope is "the show" in our family. And she certainly is.
3. She is learning to laugh at herself. This is one my favorite things to watch right now. She is starting to realize that some of the things she does, even unintentionally, are just funny. And it cracks her up. She totally gets this from her dad. And I love it because my pride sometimes makes me struggle to laugh at the silly things I do...still. She gets it, though. There is a humility in her that lets her giggle at herself. What a gift! It's the cutest little giggle, too. I have prayed often that her giftedness would be tempered with humility. I think we're off to a good start.
1. Bella insists on calling her little sister BABY Ava. Not Ava. Baby Ava. And she oohs and ahhs over her tiny hands and feet on a daily basis. She sings her songs and comforts her when she cries with a gentle, "It's okay, Baby Ava." and some sweet kisses on her head. She is meant to be a mother. Oh how I pray that she gets to be a mother.
2. She loves to sing. And I mean...LOVES to sing. You can't not even imagine the joy that this brings me. We both sing, at the top of our lungs in the car, and she knows almost all the words! Her favorites right now: Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle, and Swing Low Sweet Chariot. The words to all of these songs are, apparently, interchangeable and so we often hear these beautiful melodies coming from our sweet girl. "Twinkle twinkle little star. For the bible tells me so...." And while she may be a song bird like her mom, she has inherited her love for interpretive dance, like her dad. If she had em, she would work the white gloves like nobody's business.
3. She feels deeply. Bella's heart is so soft. And, not only does she feel deeply but she expresses it well, beyond her years, I think. When she was sick a couple of weeks ago, she couldn't hold the baby. Each time she would ask and I would say no, her eyes would well up with tears and she would say, "Me sad." Then, later on, just to let me know she was over it, she would brighten up and say, "I not sad anymore, Mama." "I'm so glad," I would say, so thankful that she understands her own feelings. While I would hope and pray that I have nurtured this in her, I also know she comes by this naturally, having a birthmom who feels deeply as well. I have a deep sense that, as she gets older, people will desire to share their story with Bella, and find, in return, a woman willing to plunge into the depths with them. What a blessing!
1. I love the way her tiny baby body relaxes against me like I was the safest place in the world. And I love when that is coupled with the sweetest little baby sigh you can imagine.
2. Ava sleeps with her mouth open, which I love for two reasons. The first is that I sleep with my mouth open. We make quite a pair curled up on the couch together. Don't worry....I'll wash our pillow cases more often than the others. The second is that it makes it easier to smell her sweet baby breath. :) One of my most favorite scents.
3. I love how expressive she is already. Already smiling in response to singing or the sound of our voices. Loren was playing the guitar this morning and her eyes lit up, followed by the sweetest smile we have seen so far. She also furrows her little brow when she's not happy. She is so interactive, much more than my other girls were at this age, and we just trip over ourselves trying to each get a reaction out of her. She has such a sweet spirit and her beautiful dark eyes seem wise to me. I pray that she has wisdom, and that it is always accompanied with this gentle spirit. I am so smitten with this little girl!
There is no way I could ever communicate how much I love these girls. It's the good kind of love that helps you understand God's love a little better. The kind that is deep and vulnerable and wild and spilling over. The kind that makes you feel like your heart is gonna explode sometimes. I'm sure I could never fully communicate the depths of it. But that doesn't mean I won't try. And one of my greatest hopes is that my children can fully understand someday, what a gift it is to be their mommy.