Celebrating a Year!

A year ago we celebrated the birth of our first child, sweet Emery Jewell.  Her birth has changed our lives in more ways than I could ever describe.  Here's a picture from that day a year ago:

Yesterday we celebrated her first Birthday!  It has been an incredible your to watch her grow and to develop a bond with her that is indescribable.  I have always heard that having a child will change your life in ways that you can not know until it happens and that has been so true.  I cannot describe everything that I have learned and experienced over the past year, but I can tell you that it has been incredible and I look so forward to the years that are to come.

As I consider the love that I have for Emery, I am always reminded of the love of my Heavenly Father.  I cannot begin to describe how much I love Emery and to know that God's love for me is even greater.  I'm overwhelmed by His mercy and His grace in my life.  I'm overwhelmed that despite so many of my flaws and mistakes that God would bless me with such a beautiful and wonderful wife to partner with in raising this precious child.  God has truly blessed me and I'm overwhelmed.

As I wrap up this post, I want to share 2 parenting suggestions from mentors of mine that have been a great blessing over the past year:

1) Pray for/with her every night.  While we have not always been consistent in doing this, these moments before we lay her to bed at night have been some of the most meaningful over the past year.  This is a family tradition that we will continue throughout Emery's life.

2) Take her on a date once a week.  Since Emery was 6 weeks old we have been going to The Egg and I every Saturday.  We allow Mom (Katie) to sleep in while we get away together and then bring Mom breakfast in bed.  This is another family tradition  that will continue for years to come.

I would love to hear any other parenting tips or traditions that you have in your family!