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In less than a week, my baby girl will turn two.  If anyone locates the last 23 months of my life that I somehow misplaced, please return it as soon as possible.  It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since the first time I laid eyes on that slimy, crying, mishapen-headed little peanut.  Being a father to this little girl has been a whirlwind of emotions and dirty diapers.  A mixing bowl of toys, time-outs, and tiaras.  A love-packed uppercut to the heart strings. 

Despite the increase in the speed of life that takes place when you have kids, I have been able to remember some very special moments in Izzy’s life and even capture some on camera.  When thinking about a post for today, it occurred to me that a tribute to my little munchkin was in order.  So I grabbed a few photos that represent some memorable moments in her life so far and thought I’d share them with you, along with some humorous captions to set the stage of course. 

Love at first sight

I couldn’t very well write a tribute to Iz without including a picture of her arrival.  Since this is a family friendly blog, I skipped the messy part and went with Daddy holding his baby girl for the first time.  I remember this moment vividly for two reasons.  First was the overwhelming love I immediately felt for this little angel in my arms.  Second was the soul-gripping fear that b****-slapped love and quickly made itself at home in my gut.  If you look closely, you can see the “deer in the headlights” look on my face as I try desperately to mask it with joy and smiles. 

The Boys meet The Girl

The hospital says it was two days, but it couldn’t have been more than a minute after Iz took her first breath that we were being ushered out of the safe confines of the maternity ward and into the reality of parenthood.  I remember feeling that I had stolen something when we drove out of the parking lot that day.  Did they really just let us leave with a baby?  How irresponsible!  Arriving home, it occurred to me for the first time that our two dogs, Bailey (yellow) and Cody (black), who had previously ruled the roost, were about to get bumped for the new headliner.

This picture shows the boys curiously examining the new addition.  What it doesn’t show is me, white-knuckling the camera with fear as they sniffed her over.  Thankfully, from this very moment, they have been nothing but great with both of the kids.  Sure, there was the occasional paw to the head, but nothing a little CAT scan couldn’t take care of. 

Ah, the things we do to amuse ourselves

In December of 2009, the Baltimore area was hit with the first of two massive snowstorms that winter.  While we were looking forward to introducing Izzy to her first snow day, the 20+ inches we received were a little too much for her.  After attempting to stand her up in the snow and subsequently losing her as it covered her head, we decided to head in for the day.  Being trapped inside didn’t stop Iz from having fun however as she spent the majority of the afternoon with a mixing bowl on her head and wielding two wooden spoons as if they were drumsticks.  After a face-melting drum solo, it was time for a nap.

"I'm posing as an act little man. When we get home, you're going down!"

After only 15 months of running the show, Iz was about to meet her little brother.  While we were so excited for Jake to enter our lives, we were a bit concerned as to how Izzy would react.  I kept having this recurring dream where I wake up to find Iz standing over me with a plastic golf club.  Despite a rather limited vocabulary, she gives me the following speech:

“Listen up Pops, this is how it’s gonna go down.  You’re gonna get rid of that little bald-headed drooling machine in the other room and things are going to go back to the way they were.  I call the shots and you let me do my thing.  It’s been working to this point so why mess with it.  Capiche?”

I’d wake up in a cold sweat.  Needless to say I was nervous.  Once again however, God smiled upon us and Izzy loved Jake as much as we did from the moment she met the little man.  Today she hugs and kisses him good morning each day and tells us he’s her best friend.  I’ll give you a minute to wipe the tears…better?  Ok.

"Mols, it goes like this...clap clap THEN stomp stomp"

Less than two months after Jake’s arrival was the next big event in our lives; my sister Georgeann’s wedding.  Izzy, Jake, and their cousins David and Molly (shout out to the Niemiec kids!) were all a part of the big day.  Now don’t get me wrong, Georgeann was beautiful in her wedding dress, but come on…look at these two divas!  This picture was taken as they were announced at the reception.  I believe the conversation went something like this:

Molly: “Check it out Iz, I told them I wasn’t coming out without my taggy and well…looks like I won again.”

Izzy: “Well played Mols, well played.  Now let’s go get our drink on!  Waiter…two apple juices over here!” 

Do you really need a caption here?

If you substitute the Easter Bunny for Santa in this picture, you pretty much get the result of our most recent picture-taking extravaganza.  Not much to say here; just look at the faces of everyone involved.  Izzy is obviously not a big fan of the big guy.  Jen is smiling but also saying, “take the da** picture so we can get out of here!”  Jake could care less, just another person holding him.  And Santa, well my guess is he’s counting the minutes before his shift is over.


Finally, this picture was taken yesterday as we prepared to head out for some Easter merriment.  After a trip to church and a nice brunch at home with Jen’s family, it was time for the dreaded “holiday picture”.  I had hoped we would be able to bribe Iz with the promise of one of several candy treats laid out in front of her, but no luck.  I love this picture, not only for the shot of Izzy in mid scream, but for the look on Jake’s face.  Here’s how this conversation went:

Izzy: “If you take this picture, I’m going to scream.  So help me, I’ll do it.  Ok, you asked for it…AHHHHH!!!!”

Jake: “What is with this crazy chick?  Chill out princess…don’t you see all the candy over there.  Slow your roll and that loot is all ours.”

So there you have it, a little tribute in pictures to the life if Izzy.  Sure, we’ve got albums upon albums of pictures of important stuff too like her Baptism or her 1st birthday, but these are a better representation I think of our lives with this little girl.  I am blessed to be her father and can’t wait to celebrate more birthdays with her.  But let’s slow things down a bit please…I mean I’m still putting up signs for these lost 23 months.  Love you Iz!