Thursday, March 17, 2016

She's Sweet Sixteen!

Well, it's official...our NYC girl is now the Sweet 16!  How I am old enough to have a 16-year-old daughter is beyond me...but time doesn't slow down just for me, so we here we are.  Celebrating 16 years of our Hailey Nicole.  And what better way to do this than a walk down picture-memory lane.   

 Out the cute girl came at 1:02pm on St. Patty's Day.  She was a perfect size and absolutely adorable with that head full of hair.  All the grandparents doted on her. Mama was exhausted, but so happy to have a sweet little girl to snuggle :)
 Nina and Poppy Stegs were right there waiting...I am pretty sure Poppy though he was getting a grandson. He had brought a remote control car...which he never gave to her.  Maybe she would like it now to commemorate almost being able to drive (but not being able to afford a vehicle!) :)
 Nina was there too, of course!  She's a bit of a baby hog, but Hailey loved her from the first day!

 Daddy became a pretty good daddy right away...he loved this little girl!
 I loved her much.  I remember fondly that first week of life.  I only had a week off school bc she was born on the first day of my spring break at Calvin, but I took every opportunity to nap with her and just snuggle with her.  She was precious!
 LOL...I will never forget this day.  My mom and I went to was my first time leaving Hailey...she was only 2 months old. I was nursing so I didn't leave anything (or at least much)...she had taken a bottle, but didn't love it.  I think grandma tried to give her water bc she cried.  And I remember her putting her diaper on backwards. This was how we found them when we returned in the recliner. Sweetest thing ever...Hailey sacked out on her with only her shirt and diaper.  But she was in heaven...I think they both were.
 3 months old and as precious as ever.  I used to love to put hats on her...she was my only kid that tolerated it. Even from a young age she was easy-going!
 4.5 months old...soooo darling. She was such a happy baby.  She really was.  All rolls at this point and loved that double chin.  I could even put a clip in her hair by now.  That hair was awesome!
 She loved her exersaucer...she would fall asleep in it regularly...this was her almost asleep...we call this the exersaucer-zone :)
 Almost 8 months old and first snow.  Cute as a button in her snow suit.  And that hair just cracks me up!  She's like a little Gerber baby.
 1st birthday in FL. That's a lot of candles for a one year old...but she was just mesmerized. And notice the real Easter egg in her hand.  She would not let it go.  I did a double take at Celyn behind her bc she looks like Brooke!  I am ashamed to say I never had a 1st bday party for Hailey. We moved right before her 1st birthday and we hardly even celebrated her bday.  I remember getting a very bad crushed cake from Kroger and giving it to her at Nina and Poppy Stegs house (where we were moving to). And this was our celebration in FL.  Thank goodness for family that made a big deal about bdays!
Awww, Pops.  He became an old softy once his Hailey was born and he became a Pops!
 1st birthday in Danville with family.  LOL...she loved cake!
 And the years started to fly by....she was the cutest 2 year old around!
 Hailey was always an old soul at heart...she could have conversations with just about any adult even while in diapers.  This one looks like a very serious conversation...maybe it was about ballet?  I like to think so bc Great-Grandma Fergie loved ballet :)
 She was 2 when she got her first leos for at first sight!  I still remember how she HAD to dance everywhere. She was would have us all laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our cheeks. She just had it in her and she loved to perform. 
 Age three and still dancing...this time in my old recital costume.  She's got the pose down...probably better than I had it in my Sun costume.
She did have a stubborn streak though and took awhile to potty train :)

 She's always had the peace of her father in her...I was grateful for that.  She is always calm and level-headed (not always a Gritz trait :))
 Year 4 was extra special. After trying to give her a sibling for years...we were finally blessed with Shelby.  Hailey was smitten with her little sister.
From day one she was the best example a big sister could be.
 Year to school...and loving it. She always loved learning and reading and being challenged.  Teachers loved her....they all commented on how special she was.
At 5 she moved over to IU and started focusing only on ballet.  It was her passion even at a very young age. 
She was almost 6 when she discovered what it was like to have a brother :)
She was very animated even at 7..."ears have got to be kidding me!" :)
She's always had a crazy streak in her...she hides it tends to bring it out :)
Another sister at age 8...on the day of Nutcracker tryouts, no less!
Her siblings have always looked up to her...especially this one who seems to want to be like her Hays in many ways.
The girl loved to have parties...she loved her friends...I remember this 9th bday horseback-riding party well.  And I rarely made a cake back then. Maybe simpler days were better?!  Somehow Hays survived w/o all the fuss! :)
She learned to adapt at age 9...a totally new school...totally new friends. And she was smart to boot!
 She grew into a beautiful ballerina...(I think this is age 10)
She was stunning on pointe (I think age 11)
 She started a life in NYC at age 12...her home-away from home in the summers.         

 And she welcomed a final sibling at age 12 and 3/4.  I know it was hard for her to leave him and go to NYC this year...they have a special bond.
 She became a beautiful teenager (13)
We started to realize there might be a future for her in NYC...
 Time went by so fast...I lose track of when some of these pics were taken, but I think this is her at age 14...
 And the year we know now...15...such a beauty...and ready for a whole new world of change (though she didn't know it in this pic :))
 One final summer in NYC and a big decision made. She wasn't afraid to follow when that door opened again. She took a leap (haha) and went for it!
 We took a leap too and let her get behind the wheel (haha :))

And now she lives and breaths and dances here.  Surreal.  But her life has always been a bit surreal...anything but ordinary.  I knew the day she was born that she was extraordinary.  I just didn't know how much.  People were always struck by her presence...her maturity...her laid back nature...her old soul.  And now here we are...her 16th birthday...and I cannot tell her enough how proud I am of her. For making the most of life. For taking the good and the bad and making the best of it.  For never complaining, for always rising to challenges, for always being true to herself.  I love this girl...I loved her the moment I found out about her in 1999 and even more the day I set eyes on her 16 years ago...and now evenmoreso on this day of her 16th bday.  So proud of you, Hailey Nicole...and so very blessed by the presence of you in our family...we feel your absence every day as you fulfill your dreams, but you are in our hearts and minds every moment.  Happy Sweet Sixteen, My Daughter!  We love you so very, very much and are so grateful for that day God sent you into our lives oh-so-long-ago!  Hope you have a blessed birthday in your home-away-from-home! :)


Anonymous said...

Happy Sweet 16 Hailey Nicole 💖!
You are an amazing young lady.
We love you.
~Aunt Holly, Uncle Devin, DJ & Angel

Anonymous said...

Happy Sixteenth Birthday Hailey Nicole! This post sure did bring back fond memories of those formative and fun years watching you grow and change!! Awesome times and we were such a proud Nina. and Pops, watching you grow into a beautiful young lady! So many special times during these 16 years Hailey! Your Mom is right, you have amazing insight for a person so young and we admire your maturity and wisdom! It is pure joy watching you dance and express yourself that way! We will always be proud of anything because we know whatever you set your mind to do, it will happen! Enjoy being a city girl!! Just know how much we LOVE you Hailey! Our very special firstborn granddaughter! Nina and Pops