Mary McBride

Mary McBride is mother to two Ethiopian daughters and wife to one geek husband. She lives in San Francisco with her sweet little family and one too many cats. Mary writes about adoption, family life, and her inability to resist dessert on her family blog, Finding Magnolia. Follow Finding Magnolia on Twitter and like them on Facebook to stay updated on all of their family adventures.

23 Favorite Photos from Elvie's 23rd Month

Here we are, with just one month before Elvie turns two. As usual, I really can’t believe that another month has gone by already. Babyhood is fleeting, and even more so during the holidays. To add to our level of busyness, we had Elvie’s brace to contend with, so it really felt like the month was over in a snap. Still, when I look back at the photos from the month, I know that’s not exactly true. We squeezed a lot of fun and a lot of good memories into Elvie’s twenty-third month. Here are my favorite photos of the month, from the holidays and beyond.

A Magical Morning with Elvie

Our day-to-day lives can get pretty dull sometimes. The beginning of the year is always busy for us, and some days I feel like I didn’t even really notice what happened; I just made it through. But I know that if I look for magic, I will find some. I just have to take the time; it is always there. Sometimes, though, I feel like magic comes looking for me, creeping up when I least expect it, like… well, like magic.

This past Saturday morning was one of those magical times. My husband and big girl had gone off to soccer, and I put Elvie in her smaller braces for a break, and then we went out for a quick errand down the street. I expected to get the errand done, but I didn’t expect to have the sweetest time with Elvie that I’ve had in awhile. Yet that is exactly what happened. I took a few photos of our magical morning. I love having these photos as a reminder of what is possible when we slow down and enjoy one another.

For Memory's Sake: 20 Baby Clothing Items I'm Keeping for Elvie

I am a sentimental person, and I find that this is even stronger when it comes to things associated with my children. There are so many little things in our lives that conjure up memories of when each of them joined our family, and all the milestones along the way. Because of Elvie’s tough beginnings, I feel like there have been even more milestones to celebrate, and often when I think of those things, I remember what she was wearing. This weekend, I sorted through her clothes to decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to take to consignment. I ended up with a larger pile of “to keep” items than I meant to, but there are just so many special memories from her first eighteen months with us, and I want to remember them all. I managed to whittle my pile down to twenty items that I really can’t part with. I’m putting them away in a keepsake box, with a note explaining why each item was special enough to keep. Here is what I’m keeping, and why.

Why We Make Time for Family Meals

When my husband and I first got married, we talked about what kind of family life we wanted to have. Even though it was just the two of us and our cats that comprised our little family at that point, we knew that the habits we set before we had kids would be easier to keep than if we started them while in the throes of new parenthood. We wanted to value our family life above all else, and one thing that was important to us was to eat meals together.

In particular, we committed to having dinner together every night. It was rare that we had dinner apart, and so when Zinashi came along, it was easy to just continue that trend. When Elvie came home, things were a bit more complicated with her medical needs, but we still put her as close to the table as possible while we were eating. Though she was late to start solids, once she could sit up in her high chair, we had her sit at the table with us. Dinner is a time that is reserved for us to spend together as a family, and we all benefit from it. And in addition to the family time, Elvie has also learned a lot of her table skills just by sitting with us, where she could see everything we were doing.

Elvie's New Year's Resolutions

I am really excited about the coming new year. This has been a very challenging year for us, and while we threw in plenty of fun, I have to admit that there were some pretty big things that happened to Elvie in particular that we are glad are over. Her first big surgery kicked off the year, and she ends it still in a brace, recovering fully from the second big surgery. We will be so happy to usher in 2014 and look forward to all the good things which are to come this year. I’ve been imagining lately what Elvie’s resolutions would be if she were to make some, and I made up a little list, complete with what I imagine her explanations for each one would be. I am confident that she will continue to be a determined delight of a little girl, and I look forward to seeing her light shine this coming year. Here’s her list.

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