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S: "Tell Me That Story Mommy!"

FC: "Tell Me that Story Mommy!"

1: "Tell Me That Story Mommy!" The stories of the first five years with the most wonderful girl that ever was. We love you Kaleigh Grace McDowell!

3: The Beginning - Kaleigh's Arrival Mommy and Daddy had wanted a little baby for a very long time. We prayed and prayed asking God to send us a sweet little one to love. I went to the doctor and he told me that my tummy was broken so he gave me some special medicine and God used that medicine to fix my tummy. I was so excited the day that Daddy came home and told me that I was pregnant and going to have a sweet baby. You were to be born on January 21, 2006. We cried such happy tears and prayed that God would protect you while you grew in my tummy. My tummy got so big as you grew. We couldn't wait for the day we would go to the doctor and find out if you were a girl or a boy. (Daddy was so sure that you were a girl that he had already started calling you Kaleigh.) The nurse put the ultrasound on the tummy and said, "It's a BOY!". Daddy couldn't believe it! We started working on getting everything ready for a little boy named Aiden Kemper McDowell. We bought boy clothes, blankets, and toys. We prepared the nursery for the little boy we couldn't wait to see. I was so happy to celebrate Christmas that year. I knew that in just a few weeks my little boy would be born. What I didn't know was that the baby would be here sooner than anyone thought! I guess you were just as excited to meet me as I was to meet you! On Christmas morning my tummy started hurting and kept hurting over the next few days. Finally, on December 27th I decided to go to the doctor to see what was wrong. GiGi was so excited that she decided to come along. When we got to the doctor,'s office Dr. Danner said, "It might be time to have this baby, let me check." GiGi called Daddy and told him he should get ready to leave work. Then the doctor said the baby wasn't coming today so I should go home and rest. I called Daddy back and told him he could stay at work, you weren't ready to come out yet. GiGi and Mommy decided to go get something to eat to see if that would help, but the pains just kept getting worse. I decided a warm bath might help, but that didn't work either. GiGi called Daddy at work and told him to hurry home, it was time to have a baby! Daddy got home from work and packed up the car. Mommy, Daddy, and GiGi all drove to the hospital as fast as we could. The doctor checked me out and told me to try to rest. The next

5: morning the doctor came back and told me that it was time to have you. The doctors took Mommy and Daddy to a special room to get you out. After the doctor delivered you, I heard a nurse say, "What a pretty little girl." I looked at Daddy with a questioning look and he said "No, they said what a cute little guy." Daddy went to your bed to meet you and you were a GIRL! The nurse looked at me and said this isn't a boy, this is a baby girl. I was so shocked and so happy. We cried and thanked God for that very special little girl. While the doctor fixed me up, Daddy got to snuggle with you. He was so happy to have his new little girl. After I was all better, the nurse brought me into our room and I told Daddy, 'Give me my baby!" I must have kissed you a thousand times that day. You were so amazing! You had lots of black hair and cute little, chubby cheeks. Because you were a month early, you were a tiny little thing, just 6 lbs., 7 ozs. We couldn't wait to tell everyone that we had a baby girl instead of a baby boy. Everyone came in my hospital room so excited to meet Aiden that they didn't even hear me when I said, "I would like you to meet Kaleigh Grace McDowell." The only person that realized what Mommy said was BaBa. Baba ran out of the room to the gift shop to buy something pink for her little niece. I had to say it again even louder and then everyone realized you were a girl. They all laughed and cheered as they got to meet my new little girl! Over the next few days Mommy and Daddy had so much fun calling all of our friends and family to tell them about our new baby girl. You had so many visitors come to meet you; they all hugged and kissed you. You were such a blessed little girl to have so many people love you so much. But we were the most blessed to finally have what we had wanted for so long, our perfect miracle! Kaleigh Grace McDowell December 28, 2005 6 lbs., 7 ozs. 19" long

6: You were born on December 28, 2005. The day of your birth was such a happy day! | 1 | Your first birthday was so much fun! We had a winter theme and all of your little friends came over for pizza and cake. | 2 | Your second birthday was also at home. I was very pregnant with Collin and prayed he wouldn't come to the party. We had a Little Mermaid theme. | BIRTHDAYS

7: 3 | Your third birthday was the first year we celebrated at Ray's Splash Planet and you were hooked! You have wanted to have it there every year since. We had a rubber duck theme and all of your sweet friends came. We had such a blast! | 4 | For your fourth birthday we were back at Rays' Splash Planet. You had a great flamingo themed party with the cutest cake I had ever seen. You had such a great time swimming with all of your friends. We can't wait to go back for birthday #5!

9: Kaleigh gets a baby brother! We knew we wanted another sweet baby the day you were born. We just loved you so much that we couldn't wait to bring another one home. You were 16 months old when I got pregnant with Collin. You were so excited to meet him! You used to always say, "I so cited to meet baby Caldin!" You picked out a special blanket to bring to the hospital and cover your new baby brother with. You couldn't wait to give it to him The day that he was born Uncle John and Aunt Rachel took you to Monkey Joe's. After you played and took a nap, GiGi and PaPa brought you to the hospital to meet Collin. I could hear you squealing all the way down the hospital hall. You were so excited to see the blue bear with his name on it hanging from my door. You looked for that bear every time you came to visit. Each door you would pass you would say, "Is dat it? No, dat's not it" until you got to our room and you would say, "Dat's it!" The first thing you did when you met Collin was to cover him with his blanket you brought him. Collin had some special gifts for you also: a silly flamingo with crazy hair and 2 little pet shop toys. He had even wrapped those gifts for you. You were such a big girl helping me hold, feed, and change your brother. We were so excited to bring him home to join our family. When we pulled up to our house for the first time with him you were jumping and down in the driveway. Since that very first day you have been an amazing big sister! You have helped Collin learn so many things: ABC's, silly songs, how to dance, and so much more! I am so happy that you will always have each other. I know you will fuss and fight like all siblings do, but I hope you always realize how lucky you are to grow up together. We love you both so much! | "After a girl is grown, her little brothers - now her protectors - seem like big brothers." ~Astrid Alauda

10: Friends You have been busy making friends since day one. I have never seen a little girl that enjoys people as much as you do. We never leave a new place without you telling me you made a new friend! Usually, you don't even know their name but you have already set-up a play date at our house.. God has blessed you with so many great friends in your short, little life. I hope you always treasure your special friendships. Life is so much more fun when you have lots of people to share it with! | Ethan was the first friend you had. He came to meet you when you were only 5 days old.! He used to love to touch your crazy hair. Once you were about 2 years old, you became great buds. The two of you love to sit beside each other at lunch, play on the playground, and act so silly together. Ethan is such a thoughtful boy and loves to bring you great surprises. One of your favorite surprises was the seashell necklace he made for you with a shell he found on the beach. | Jackson came along when you were 5 weeks old. You two spent many hours laying beside each other on play room floors.. You were so close in age that you learned to roll, sit-up, and walk right around the same times. You get so excited because Jackson always has a little treat for you. Jackson has given you lots of silly bands right off of his own wrist. He even asked you to marry him one time and that just made your day!

11: Isabella (Bella) was your first girlfriend and we were thrilled to meet her. I think it may have been love at first sight for the two of you. You both loved all things girly: tu-tus, princesses, hair bows, sparkles, etc. Every time Bella comes over, it only takes about 5 seconds before you have both stripped down and are putting on a beautiful princess costume. Bella definitely added the girly touch you missed out on the first 18 months of your life. | Jack Greene was born when you were 8 months old. You all called him Baby Jack until he was 3 years old, poor little guy. Jack has always been extra sweet to you and such a good sport when it comes to playing all of your princess games. You are constantly looking out the window to see if he is outside so you can run out and join him. | Jack Thomas was born when you were 12 weeks old. You have seen him most of the days you have been alive. The two of you have so much fun together. You both have great imaginations so you play such fun games. Jack is really good at teaching you new things. The latest thing you have learned from him is Kung-Fu. Jack must be a great teacher because you have some amazing moves

12: Karina came into your life when you were 2 years old. You guys become fast friends. You both love to color pictures and write letters to each other. You also like collecting things and hauling your animals around with you everywhere you go. You two are so excited to see each other and so sad when it is time to leave. You always tell me that Karina is one of your "favorites". | Landon was born when you were 18 months old and you loved him right away! When he was a tiny baby you loved to look at him and touch his little nose. Landon is so funny and sweet and is always making you laugh. I think you might love Landon so much because he is wild and crazy like our Collin. | Your most special friend was born February 5, 2008. You fell in love with Collin the first time you saw him and have been an amazing big sister! He loves you so much and wants to say and do everything just like you. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing the two of you together. I love to hear you talk and laugh and squeal with delight whenever you are together. I am so happy that you two will always have each other.

14: Easter | 2006 | 2007 | 2010 | 2008 | 2009

15: Easter is such a special holiday. On Easter we celebrate God's perfect love! Our family celebrates Easter by going to church and then having a special lunch and Easter egg hunt at Uncle John and Aunt Rachel's house. The Easter Bunny also pays us a special visit and leaves you an amazing basket full of goodies. In the days leading up to Easter we dye eggs and find a special dress to wear to church. | "He is risen; he is not here." Mark 16:6

16: Halloween | 2006 | 2008 | 2007 | 2009 | 2010

17: Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold. ~Judith Olney

18: Christmas | Christmas is your favorite holiday! In our house, the Christmas season officially starts as soon as we clear Thanksgiving dinner. We go to the mountains and pick out the most beautiful tree we can find and take it home and dress it up with all of our decorations. We spend the next few weeks watching Christmas movies, listening to carols and baking yummy treats. On Christmas Eve you can't contain your excitement. We put you in your Christmas jammies , get Santa's snack ready and put you to bed. You try to fight your tired eyes and listen for the reindeer, but sleep eventually comes. Mommy and Daddy get up early and get everything ready. We are so excited to call you and Collin down the stairs. Your faces are priceless when you see all of the magic that Christmas has brought. Before we open presents we read the story of the birth of Jesus. After playing with all of our new toys, we go to GiGi and PaPa's house for breakfast and more fun. By the end of the day you are wiped out! I have always loved Christmas but now that I have you and Collin it is so much better. I love getting to experience the magic of it all through the eyes of my little ones. You two are the best present I could ever have and I am so happy that I get to spend all of my holidays with you!

19: 2007 | 2008 | 2005 | 2006 | 2009 | "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14

21: The Beach We love the beach!! You have only been twice but as of last year our beach trips have become an annual event. The first time we went Collin was a tiny newborn and you were two years old. You were so nervous to go near the ocean, and the wind and the sand were not a good pair in your eyes. We mostly played in the pool and looked for seashells up near the dunes. What a difference two years makes. When you were four we visited Anna Maria Island, FL. it was one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. The water was clear and calm and the sand was cool and white. And this time you could not get enough of the ocean. You rode the waves and would dive in head first! We even walked out on some sand bars far out in the ocean and caught some little fish. We spent so much time looking for beautiful shells. We hunted and hunted for sand dollars but would only find broken pieces. On our very last day, we found 2 beautiful , perfect sand dollars. You were so proud! That week was one of the best of my life. I had so much fun with my little family and I loved watching you fall in love with the ocean. I can't wait to go back next year!

22: You were brand new in this picture. Except for a couple of doctors and nurses, you hadn't seen or felt anyone other than mommy and daddy. I love how untouched you were here. | This is my favorite outfit you have ever had. It was pink and said, "The fairest of them all". You always looked precious in it and I put it on you every chance I got I probably still would if I could squeeze you in it. | Look out how chubby and delicious you were! I remember the day I took this picture and I just wanted to eat you up! Even now, you love being naked! | Here you are taking your first steps! I was so excited that I caught them on camera and you were so excited to be mobile. We were so proud of you! | Pictures I love...

23: I love this picture of you. You were being so silly this day. I was trying to straighten up my bedroom and I lost sight of you. I went looking and found you in your bathroom covered in toilet paper. You had torn off every last piece. Look at the empty roller in the back of the picture. I could not stop laughing at you. I thought it was especially funny because GiGi said I used to do the same thing! | This was the first morning we all spent at home. You were so proud to be a big sister and loved touching and looking at Collin. I am so proud of how much you love each other. | Here I am getting ready to take you to your first day of preschool. I remember thinking how big you had gotten but looking back at this picture you look so little. I was so excited for all of the fun you were going to have but I still cried a little when I dropped you off. I wasn't used to spending my day without you.

24: Here is a picture of you and sweet Maw. You two were great friends and shared a great love of jewelry. We had so much fun visiting her in the mountains. | I love this picture of you. You have always loved the water and would live in a bathing suit if I would let you. You were definitely rocking that bikini! | Daddy was so excited to get you your first real football jersey. Unfortunately Uncle John has tricked you into loving the Redskins but we are definitely working on that.

25: You an Collin loved watching the giant pelicans swoop in to catch some fish. You two are such good buds and had so much fun together in Florida. | We had such much fun playing on the beach this day. Collin and Daddy went back for naps and we stayed out all afternoon. We played in the water, searched for shells, and caught little tiny fish. I can't wait to go back. | This picture is just so you! It completely captures your sassyness, beauty, and zest for life, all things I love about you!

26: Dear Kaleigh, I can't believe you are five years old. This time with you has flown by so quickly. You are such a joy to me and I feel so blessed that I get to spend my days being your mom. Nothing could have prepared me for how much I love you. When I was trying to get pregnant with you, I had a wonderful dream that I had a baby girl with a head full of dark hair and beautiful blue eyes. I woke up crying because I couldn't imagine that dream would come true. It did come true. I remember the moment the doctor showed me to you; it was the best moment of my life. I fell hard and fast for you. You had tons of hair and deep blue eyes. You looked just like the baby in my dream. I know now that dream was God's promise to me. I learned to be a mommy from you. You taught me patience, unconditional love, and how to be selfless. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher than you. You have grown into such an amazing little girl that lives life with such passion. I love your kind spirit, your determination, your confidence, and your affection. I love the sound of your sweet voice, the feel of your little hand in mind, and the smell of your cheek when you wake up in the morning. You are my little side-kick that likes to go everywhere with me. We are pedicure partners, my beach buddies, and best friends. You have spent the last five years proving our ultrasound technician wrong. You are definitely NOT a boy. You love pink, princesses, diamonds, dance, and anything else related to a fairy tale. But you do love to get dirty, pick up spiders, and try your best to keep up with the neighborhood boys. It amazes me all of the things you have done in just five short years. You have learned to talk, walk, count, and spell. You have played soccer, learned to swim, and become a ballerina. Soon you will be starting kindergarten and learning so much more. Being your mom has been my biggest challenge and my greatest accomplishment. I pray every night that I am the kind of mommy that you deserve and that God wants me to be. I hope that you see how much I love you and that I want nothing but the best for you. These last five years have been the best years I have ever had. I am so honored that I get to help guide you on this amazing journey. I can't wait to see the wonderful plans that God has in store for you sweet Kaleigh. I will love you forever and always my little miracle baby. Love, Mommy

28: Boo Boo, I can’t believe you’re turning five years old. It seems like yesterday when you came into this world as my (surprise!) baby girl. I was the first one to hold you when you were born, and I’ve been madly in love ever since. I didn’t think it was possible to love another woman as much as I do your mommy, but you taught me a new kind of love that I never knew existed. Mommy always laughs at me because I used to be such a tough, emotionless dude, but since you came along, the mere thought of anything daddy-daughter related can turn me into a mushy tub of goo instantly. I'm so proud of the kind, sweet little girl you are becoming, and although it tears me up a little each day to think about you getting older, I love watching you grow. You have such a carefree, independent spirit, and I pray that you always do. I love you with all my heart, DaDa

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