I was so excited when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time.  She came out red-faced and screaming, and I knew in that moment that she would be a stubborn, passionate little pistol.  I couldn’t have been happier as I kissed her chubby cheeks and counted her tiny fingers and toes, marveling at how I could possibly love someone so much that I’d never even met before.  That was yesterday.

Today she turned three…

How in the world did that happen?

Madison is still red-faced, although most of the time she’s screaming with laughter and delight.  And just as I predicted, she’s a stubborn, passionate little pistol.  I thought I loved her more than anything on the day she was born, but my love for her has grown as much as she has.  My heart literally hurts when I think of life without her.

She drives me absolutely bonkers some days.  Like I said:  Stubborn.  Little.  Pistol.

But she’s feisty, this one.  Feisty, willful, outgoing, and extremely funny.

She’s our sweet and sour pork, our favorite little dish.

Maddy has us wrapped around her perfect little fingers.  And she was born with the instinctual knowledge of how to weasel exactly what she wants from us while we do nothing more than beam with pride.  It’s not until later that it dawns on us and we realize that she did it again…  This was one of those moments:

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He swore that no matter what, he was not going to wear one of those dorky balloon hats.  No matter what, insisted the big tough Army vet that was constantly shot at and disarming roadside bombs in Iraq for sixteen months.

And yet here he sits.  Grinning, no less.  :)  Because of four little words from the mouth of our babe: “Daddy, you hat too!”

Can you blame him, though?  I mean, seriously.  Could you say no to that smile?

I love this kid…

You’re growing up, my beautiful baby girl.  I fell in love with your daddy when I was barely more than a child, and dreamed about the day that you would make your appearance and complete our family.

You’ve done all that and more, my rosy-cheeked little angel.  I love you so much, and I can’t wait to see who you’ll become.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!!  You’re our best present ever!!