I can always tell when I'm in trouble for not getting enough sleep: my throat hurts - a lot.
It's been that way ever since I got mono, and then chronic fatigue syndrome as a freshman in college.
My mom can always hear it in my voice.
"Noelle, your throat sounds like it hurts. Are you not getting enough sleep?"
My throat is killing me tonight - it's been hurting for a few days but tonight it's screaming at me.
And yet this time, this little window of time, is all I have to myself from the minute I wake up in the morning.
Jason and Emily are sleeping soundly - Jason asleep on his side of the bed, and Emily asleep on mine.
Last I checked it was Jason who was holding on to Em's binky.
I'm in her room, with her lamp dimmed and her music playing quietly. Emily's room is the most peaceful room in our home, and I love being in it.
When I'm done here, I will quietly move Emily from my bed to hers, and then spend some time reading.
My dad has just finished writing his third book and he's anxiously awaiting my report and the editing I've done.
My mom texted me tonight and said something along the lines of "You're making your dad crazy with your lack of input so far on his book."
"Has he met my life?" is how I responded to my mom. "You should remind him that I've read less than six books since Emily was born, and he should feel honored that two of those were his."
But after that I promised her that I would finish the book this week.
I've got a busy week ahead of me; my throat may have to wait a few more days for relief.
Our girl loves to be outside.
It doesn't matter what she's doing: playing at the park, going for a walk around the block, going on a bike ride, playing with her cousins, swimming in her pool, drawing with chalk...as long as she's outside she's happy.
When she's at work with me, she waits patiently for someone to open the door and then she makes a mad dash towards it.
Once in a while she'll escape with a big smile on her face.
Today she was more antsy than usual, and within just a few hours, she and I had gone on three walks around the nursery.
There were two customers who came in to my office at different times to say hi to Emily.
She wouldn't have recognized either of them, but the minute they each said, "Hi Emily" she was reaching towards them.
Both guys picked her up and both guys followed wherever she pointed.
Both guys ended up taking Em for a little walk outside.
I don't think there's a person in our world that isn't wrapped around Emily's little finger.
Yesterday at church I had Emily with me in our Sunday School class.
(They have a class for kids Emily's age but a few weeks ago she got hurt and it traumatized her and she hasn't been willing to go back.)
Because Emily is so quiet I feel comfortable letting her walk around the classroom.
At one point Emily walked up to a boy who was sitting next to his mom drawing.
She watched him for a minute and then took his pencil out of his hand and started to scribble on his paper.
The teacher in the front of the room was trying to have a serious discussion, and Em's antics had half of the front part of the room laughing quietly.
That girl...she makes me tired and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Last night after dinner was over my nieces asked me to paint their fingernails for school this week.
Ruthie wanted one hand painted one color, and the other hand painted a different color.
And then on top of the first coat she wanted stripes on one hand and glitter on the other.
Kate wanted one color and then polka dots on top with a different color.
Allie painted her left hand herself but needed help with her right hand.
She wanted black polka dots on top so that her fingernails looked like lady bugs.
Nick, their brother, sat by and watched.
"Noelle, remember when you used to paint my toenails?" he asked.
"Yep, and remember how your dad got mad at me and told me I could never do it again?" I said.
He laughed and said, "I wonder if I could paint my sisters' nails sometime."
I told him that when I was finished with his sisters he could paint my fingernails.
He did a pretty good job.
At one point he said, "You know Noelle, I don't think we've ever just talked. I always just say 'Hi Noelle, Bye Noelle'. I like talking to you."
These little people in my life? I love every last one of them.
And every last one of them loves my little lady.
They are all so gentle and tender with her...especially my Miss Marie (she's the one holding Em in the picture.)
Emily's life will be so full of love - love spilling out of every little corner - and it makes this Mommy's heart grateful.