all this time we’ve been keeping track of your lifespan from birth in terms of months, and now we must make the switch to years. the question comes more and more steadily. “how old is she?” you’re making yourself known, baby girl. you are so pleasant and inquisitive and verbal. on the drive to Paia today your voice sounded from the backseat, “do you miss daddy, mama?” and it was so sweet and out of the blue. You said, “I miss him too.” I think he’s your favorite person. when the phone rings, your eyes light up because you know its him. he spent your birthday week with us, spoiling you with books, markers, dresses, thomas the train (your current love) and a red horse. every morning we opened presents and even still, your blue and white stripe bathing suit is special—you scream, “that’s my birthday suit,” whenever you see it.
you still love going to the beach. if we’re hanging at the house for too long, you’ll look up and say, “go to the beach?” with the most expressive, beckoning eyes. you love turtles (honu) and sometimes, in the evening time, right before dark we visit hookipa to watch the turtles come ashore to sleep. you point to the baby turtles and say, “ooooooh the baby,” in a sad voice. you sing all the time. you’ve nearly mastered the a, b, c’s. we love when you say La la la la P. I don’t want you to change, Lorea! When I’m holding you and you want me to listen, you grab my face gently with your two small hands and your nose practically touches mine and you say the words you want me to hear (are we going to Mana? tutu got that for me. what you doing mama?). whatever you do, you don’t want to do it alone. “come on! I wanna show you something” as you lead us to your book shelf or towards the fridge for a snack or outside to play in the grass. we stare in wonder at the beautiful, happy baby girl we have and breathe in every inch of you. we love you beyond measure. we love you like crazy. happy birthday to you.
I remember my first trip to Southeast Asia when I feverishly scooped up every wonderfully exotic tapestry that caught my eye in the endless open-air markets. I stuffed my suitcase full of pillow covers, skirts and dresses that brought me fleeting moments of joy and have since found a home in other’s hands. Elise Vaughn sells her wares under the label, the Brass Razoo, defined as “a non-existent coin of trivial value.” Her goods remind me of the cool, vibrant, hippie mash-up of textures and patterns that one would find in a far-away land. She makes jewelry, leather goods and children’s clothing using reclaimed materials, pieces that otherwise would have been disregarded. She tells us, “each piece is to be a reminder that we all possess potential, value, worth, beauty, and are perfectly unique.” Shop her children’s collection here.
our lives are broken up into seasons and although we live in eternal sunshine, the spring always signifies goodbye with Jason preparing to leave for work. he headed to Texas earlier than usual for pre-season sales. one of the downsides to living on this island is the expense to get off of this island. we decided to fly to Dallas for a quick visit before Lorea turns 2 (and she officially buys her own plane ticket!) and it was a much-needed trip. 6 weeks apart is our absolute max before communication breakdown ensues. add a baby into the mix and its just downright heart-wrenching to not be together and only talk on the phone, sharing the necessary parts of our day, with little time to get to the real stuff. I miss watching her grow with him and she’s growing so fast! she’s so expressive and silly and coy. I feel her love in those tender moments before sleep when she still looks like a baby in my arms, nursing on my chest and looking up at me, her finger touching my face. the way she says night, night is so sweet and innocent.
It must be confusing for a child to feel the physical presence of a parent one day and only hear them through a phone the next. when we arrived at the airport, J was fresh-shaved and clean cut. she held onto me and just looked at him with her doe eyes open wide, her heart lips pursed tightly. she slowly warmed up and once she did, she was busting with wild energy and love for her dada. we explored the city together, taking advantage of the things we lack in our beach community (museums, stylish coffee shops, vintage shopping, really good Mexican food). being together felt so calming and reassuring and right.
*the Design Sponge Dallas city guide led us to some favorite eats + shopping. our must-do with a kiddo in Dallas: the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (go late in the day to avoid troves of children on field trips), The Velvet Taco for some of the most delectable tacos in all the land, Smoke for a romantic foodie-fueled dinner bellied up to the bar (hit up Bar Belmont next door, too), Mudsmith coffee for a woodland hipster scene, and the Gypsy Wagon for the coolest mix of housewares + collectables.
baby girl. last night I felt sad. the rain was coming down hard and me and your papa were sitting in the living room staring at the television. it hit me that you were growing so fast and I can’t do a thing to stop time. this is how life is and I just have to enjoy the ride. j told me to write more so we can remember. I take photos of you all day long so I can remember: the gap between your two front teeth, your pudgy wrists, the way you sleep with your arm stretched across your face, covering your eyes just like your daddy does. your hair is the perfect shade of sun-kissed and the ends curl up when they reach your soft baby neck. you like to pick out your clothes now and you’ve developed an obsession with shoes. you insist on wearing your navy blue shiny boots even though we live in an endless summer.
our sweet Lorea Darling, you’re learning new words every hour of each passing day. we are continually amazed by you. instead of “bike” you say “butts” and instead of “balloon” you say “ba-tune” and its the most tender sound. yesterday you pointed to your wooden camera and said “cam-ra, push”. you call kingsley “bong bong” and when he tries to eat your food in your hand you say “no bong bong.” nite nite time is the sweetest. daddy puts you to bed most nights because you could nurse on mama for hours. when you drink your milk, you lift your head up and say “that one. no, that one.” papa reads you stories in bed and sings you songs. he turns every word into a melody for his baby girl. lately, he imagines a world filled with everyone you know and love and you board the sleepy bus together: Lily, Benson, Tutu, Roxy, Papa, Mimi, Mama, Be Be, Bubby, Manu and on and on. you say there names and your eyes fill with happiness. we love the way you try to count with your fingers. you like to wear glasses and you always put them on upside down. you won’t let us fix them.
we bought you a wooden bed last week and painted it white. it sits in a tiny nook in our bedroom with a strand of paper lanterns that shine over head. I can tell it makes you happy to know its “baby’s bed”. we love you, sweet girl. its an honor to watch you grow.