Nan is ONE!

Nan Louise,

One year ago today I woke up knowing you would be in my arms by the end of it. Our pregnancy together had been good, but at the end I was feeling it and oh-so-ready to just have you on the outside with us. A year and nine months ago, we were saying goodbye to your Great Nini Pat, and the proof of your existence as a faint pink line the day we buried her was like sweet, sweet rain on parched land and a reminder that "The Lord gives and takes away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." And a little over two years ago, Nanny Lou, I would have told anyone that I was done having babies. I am oh so very thankful God changed my heart, because you were always supposed to be a part of this family. 

Our labor was induced, which was a new experience for me, but it went just as quickly as my previous labors and within no time there you were, a warm ball on my chest and that freckle on your head endearing me to you forever. We were both a little battered and bruised after that delivery, but one thing never faltered-- my heart in its fierce love for you. Sure, there were times that were a lot more complicated and chaotic after you joined our crew. There were times in those early weeks when I cried hot tears out of sheer exhaustion and being overwhelmed. But somehow your sweet little body in my arms, from the beginning, reminded me of this amazing grace that has been extended to me. And while Blythe made me a mom, and Becks made me a different kind of mom, you showed up and I learned how to be a mom who clings to grace. You taught me, even early, how to let go and relax and how to lean into grace in my days saturated with three girls.

While life got more complicated when you arrived on the scene, somehow it also became so much more simple.

Let me just say this, Nan: You are a spitfire. And I mean that in the best way possible. From the moment you started "talking", you have let your presence be known. And when you started crawling? Forget it. You want to be in the middle-- and I mean the very middle-- of whatever your sisters are doing. If they are at the table drawing, you pull up to it and start grabbing and tossing markers as fast as you can. If they are building blocks you go and sit right smack dab in the middle of the floor between them... after promptly knocking down whatever tower was previously in that location. If they are playing the piano, you have to pull up and hit the keys too. In the sandbox? On the trampoline? You better be too. And if anyone is eating anywhere in your near vicinity you scream-talk until it is clearly made known that you need some food too.

You love music, and being outside, and watching your sisters, and taking walks, and bath time, and eating. You give adorable kisses, leaning over and just waiting until we notice you puckering up. You clap with your left hand always coming down on your right. You are pulling up to stand now in the middle of the room and then you just giggle and smile like you know you should start taking steps but you just don't want to yet. You've taken a couple of "zombie steps" but you aren't full on walking yet. You absolutely light up when Blythe comes in the room, and you do for Becks as well, but you must know you're going to have to stand your ground a little bit more with that one because you get a little more feisty with her.

Your most often repeated words are "Dada" and "Thank You" [tan tu]. It's adorable. Also adorable? Your four teeth. You are as bald as can be, but what hair is present is pretty decidedly strawberry in tint. I will be oh- so-sad when your little freckle is covered with hair, but will be excited when you get visible eyebrows! :) You are long and lean and will catch up to Becks in no time in the height department. You have a raspy little voice that is the best, and if your dad says your name even remotely in a reprimanding tone you burst into tears.

Nan, Nan Louise, Nanny Lou. I've enjoyed your first year of life more than I thought I would, if I'm being honest. Those infant months are hard for me. But you nursed like a champ, slept pretty great, and have just been so darn adorable I couldn't help but enjoy myself. We weaned around ten and a half months, which you hardly batted an eye over, and it's safe to say we're in the zone that I just love. I know the year ahead will be filled with firsts, and I know that in a year I will look back at these pictures and your little baby face will seem so small. So I am determined that we relish this year together.

Oh Nan, you are the sweet song that I really didn't think I was going to sing after we had Becks. But I can't imagine our days without your little melody in it. Your dad and I both say that we fell in love with and attached with you the quickest. You've just always been so easy to love. And like I wrote to you in your 5 month letter: Yes, our lives are busier. Loading the van to go somewhere is harder. Bedtime is much more complicated. Keeping track of all the fingernails and toenails that need to be clipped is nearly impossible. BUT. My heart has expanded in ways it couldn't have without you. God has sustained me and grown me in ways I couldn't have without you.

We began praying for you from the moment we started dreaming about the possibility of having a third. And when we found out you were going to be another little girl for us to love, I could not have been more excited [to be honest, I secretly hoped you were another girl], and we started praying four specific things over you: We prayed that you would be faithful in your relationship with God and others, and that you would always be attentive to the person in front of you-- that they would feel you have nothing more important on the agenda than being with them [this attentiveness trait was one of our favorite things about your namesake]. We also pray that you would be someone who walks in great humility, not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. And Nan, we pray you are generous with tangibles and intangibles in a way that points to the generosity of our Heavenly Father.

I wonder often what your little life will become. What will your passions be and who will your friends become. I wonder what hobbies will grab your attention and what books will keep you turning their pages. But more than anything I wonder when you will come to know the love of our Savior. This is my ultimate prayer over you: that you would know Him early and deeply and let Him guide your life all your days.

Just so you know, Nan, your dad and I will fail you over and over, time and time again. But we will ask for your forgiveness. We will keep returning to the foot of the cross and find new grace for the next moment. And we pray that when it is our turn to release you into this world, that you will know Jesus because we were walking with Him.

Nanny Lou, may you always be as sweet as you are right now. I will end this the same way I ended your sisters' first year letters, as the words are just as true and deep for you:

We love you so very, very much. When your days seem dark and troubled, when it seems like we are fighting you for no reason, may you always remember that we're in your corner. When we fight in a dressing room about what you can wear, may you remember that your modesty and your beauty are precious gifts we are trying to protect for you. When we set curfews that you don't like and say, "Nothing good happens after midnight," may you remember that we are trying our best to create a safe place for you. When you don't get a brand new car when you turn 16, and you don't get a cell phone as soon as you want, may you remember that we are trying to show you the importance of true value, and trying to teach you needs vs. wants. When you leave for college and the world seems bigger and scarier than you ever thought it could, remember that you're always our daughter, we will always love you, and we will leave the light on for you any time you want to crawl back into your bed at home. When you leave us for good, and go out into the world on your own, may you have learned the love of Jesus, and know He is always near you.

Happy first birthday, Nan Louise! There is nothing you can ever do that will make us stop loving you.

Nan's birth story HERE
Story behind her name HERE
The first letter I wrote Nan on the day I found out I was pregnant HERE

And just for fun: 

Blythe at one year
Becks at one year
side note: this skirt is one of a handful of items I bought in a store [as opposed to second hand or hand-me-downs from cousins]. It proved to be a very wise investment ;)