July 21, 2006


Amelia, Mia, Miamonster, Mia Bean, Mia Pet (muh muh muh Mia!), Princess Bean, The Bean, Beanie Baby, Zippy, Squizzle, Zippy Bean, Squizzle The Zippy Bean, Squizzlesaurus, Monkey Butt, Beaniac, Beanerschnitzel, Der Beanerschnitzel von Squizzlestein Ė

In a very short while, you will be a year old. This fact alone amazes and scares me. It sounds clichť, but it seems as if you were born only yesterday. But almost a year ago, we were in the hospital. I was wearing scrubs suitable for a person twice my size and your mom was being so brave. We were both scared, but so incredibly happy that we were about to meet you. And then we did. You were this cute, little thing with bright eyes and a shock of jet-black hair. You were breech, and your feet automatically shot up around your ears when they put you down on the table to clean you off. You cried. You were bundled up. And you were handed to me. I took you across the operating room and introduced you to your mom. We just stared, in awe of you. We still do.

Then we realized we had no idea what to do with a baby. Except love you. As it turned out, love and some instincts were enough.

A couple of days after you were born, I came home for an hour or so to take a shower, while you and mommy were still in the hospital. I checked my email and discovered myself in tears. I stayed that way for a few minutes. Iíd posted the news about your birth and here were all these people none of us had ever met welcoming you into the world. Here was my life taking a very welcome but very different turn. The emotions, the outpouring, was and still is overwhelming and wonderful. I tell those people that they rock a lot. I still donít think they understand how much I truly mean it.

Over the past year, youíve learned to hold your head up, sit up, stand up, crawl and take a few tentative steps. You can pick your mom and I out of a lineup, mug for the camera and flirt with strangers. Your hair has turned a light shade of brown, your mouth has filled with teeth, and your eyes have settled on a combination of gray and hazel. You clap and roll around and smile and laugh. When I come home from work, you squeal and barrel your way towards the front door. Itís the best thing ever. Honestly. The best thing in the world. All of these things are.

A year ago, I didnít quite know what to make of this parenting thing. I think I have a better idea now, although I know I still have a lot of learning to do. I do know that there isnít a more rewarding job in the world. As a matter of fact, I can think of nothing Iíd rather be than your dad. I could compose the finest pieces of music, write the greatest novels, solve the problems of the world and the mysteries of the universe but none of these things compare to being your dad. The greatest privilege Iíve had on this earth is meeting you and watching you grow into the little girl you are today. I cherish every minute of it and I look forward to being there for every little step on your journey. Just try not to do it too fast. Thereís no rush.

As it turns out, I wasnít fully aware of the capacity to love a year ago either. I love your mother madly, but loving you, my child, is a little different. I hope you know that I will always love you. Even when you reach that age at which you roll your eyes and say ďdadĒ as if itís a five-syllable word. No matter what, regardless of circumstances, I will always love you, treasure you and do everything in my power to be the best father I can be.

I love you Mia Bean. I love you with all my heart, now and forever.

Love Always,
Your Dad

Posted by Chris at July 21, 2006 07:07 AM

I was thinking not long ago how it's our one year anniversary. Yours, mine and Beth's. You forgot?! No worries, I kinda did, too.

A little over a year ago, I found both you and Beth, and now, I can't even remember how. I was there to watch the home stretch of the belly growth. I was there for the last belly picture. I remember waiting the morning Mia was going to be born, thinking of how she'd have the same birthday as one of my good friends, and eagerly awaiting a name for the child other than "Bean".

She's grown quite a lot in a year. I told James that tomorrow is Mia's birthday, and even he said, "Wow. It went by so fast." I can only imagine how the two of you must feel.

It's been so fun watching Miss Mia grow and change. Thank you for sharing her with us, the loyal Internets. Be sure to tell her that we all wish her a happy birthday.

Posted by: Emily at July 21, 2006 07:22 AM

Mia is turning one already? I'd believe 6 or 7 months maybe, but a whole year? Amazing. Happy birthday honey, and thanks Chris, for sharing her with us, it really is a pleasure.

Posted by: Nic at July 21, 2006 07:53 AM

A great big Happy First Birthday to Mia!

She's a lucky little girl to have parents as wonderful and loving as you and Beth.

Have fun at the party tomorrow. I see Beth is starting to stress a bit... :)

Posted by: Alissa at July 21, 2006 08:00 AM

Chris, this is a beautiful post. She is one lucky little girl. You have such a sweet family. Thank you for sharing so much of it here.
I hope you all enjoy tomorrow. One is a huge number! :)

Posted by: Jenn at July 21, 2006 08:08 AM

This is the most beautiful love letter to Mia. Print out a hard copy and tuck it in her baby book. Years from now, she will read it, weep and go over and sit in your lap and kiss and hug you.
The funny thing is. When your kids are born you immediately fall in love with them. For me, 30 years later, I realized, I was falling in love with my daughter all over again, as I saw the beautiful person she has become.
Happy Birthday Mia!
Happy lifetime for you and Beth!
The Cyber Granny,
Dackel Princess

Posted by: Maribeth at July 21, 2006 08:16 AM

Now that I'm done crying...I just want to say thank you for sharing such a special part of your life with the Internetwebosphere. I am only 23, but it gives me such joy to think maybe someday I will be a mom and have such an awesome adventure as you, Beth and the Bean are having. The happiest birthday to Mia and thanks again for everything you share with us, everyday. ^_^

Posted by: Michelle at July 21, 2006 08:18 AM

aww, that's the most awesome thing i think i've ever read on a blog. :')

happy birthday, miabean!! :D

Posted by: Manda at July 21, 2006 08:22 AM

ok i've never commented on here before, but i found you through alfreds mom http://alfredsmom.typepad.com/ and of course your wife beths site pops up, then yours as a link :) i was moved to comment today though, that was such a heartfelt letter to mia, beautifull. i may not have kids, but i'm with michelle who is only 23, i'm only 25, but i hope to have a family just like yours one day, such an inspiration to great parenting :) Happy Birthday Mia, ENJOY :)

Posted by: Jodie at July 21, 2006 08:29 AM

Incredible. This time last year I was sitting here, uploading both of your pages waiting to read the news, green with envy that I still had a little less than two months of a very hot summer to go before I could do the same. Feels like yesterday. It all goes so fast.

Happy birthday, Mia.

Posted by: RSM at July 21, 2006 08:30 AM

Happy almost first birthday sweet Mia! you are one lucky girl to have parents who love you like your mom and dad do.

Posted by: suze at July 21, 2006 08:30 AM

Awww, what an incredibly sweet letter.
Happy Birthday to Mia!
And the dad thing? You have it down pat. Mia is a lucky girl and Beth is a lucky woman.

Posted by: Traci at July 21, 2006 08:32 AM

It's not often that something makes me cry, and this post did. I hope that Mia will someday read it and realize what a special dad she has.

Posted by: Heather at July 21, 2006 08:35 AM

one word- AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, I can't believe its been a year that I have been following the growing up of your little girl... as if you were some faraway friends I don't ever get to see...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIA!! And Cactus-Dad and Fish-Mom!! Congrats! You survived.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 21, 2006 08:39 AM

Why does my morning coffee taste like tears?

Really, I was doing good at holding back the sniffles but just when I thought "I should really stop reading this before I cry" I read this line:

"I could compose the finest pieces of music, write the greatest novels, solve the problems of the world and the mysteries of the universe but none of these things compare to being your dad."

And then I lost it. So true.

Posted by: krystyn at July 21, 2006 08:47 AM

Such a beautiful post! I hope I'm as lucky someday to have a family as wonderful as yours. This would be a great letter to save for a big occasion such as graduation or her wedding day.

Posted by: Beth in StL at July 21, 2006 08:55 AM

Holy cow. I can't believe it's been a year.

Thanks for sharing with us Chris. Now I'm gonna go cry at the fact that mine is turning 2.

Posted by: Stacey at July 21, 2006 08:55 AM

*weepy* Why couldn't you have been my dad?!!

Posted by: Betty at July 21, 2006 09:02 AM

Well, that was potentially life-altering. Thanks for sharing your feelings. It really was hopeful to read that. Happy birthday, Mia.

Posted by: martin at July 21, 2006 09:13 AM

beautiful sentiments for a beautiful little girl!

Happy 1st Birthday Mia!

Posted by: Lisa at July 21, 2006 09:18 AM

Hey, congrats - you managed to go a year without breaking her :) My daughter just turned two recently. Time flies.

I've always said, "you don't know how much you can love someone until you have a child"

And I thought I was the only one who used "monkey butt" as a nickname (although, if my wife is around, I tried to use "Monkey-do".

Posted by: Kaz at July 21, 2006 09:18 AM

*****Happy First Birthday MIA*****
May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
Chris and beth - Mia could't have picked better parents, may you all have a wonderful 1st Birthday together!

Posted by: JENNIFER at July 21, 2006 09:20 AM

Okay, excuse me while I go find some Kleenex to wipe away these tears.

Beautiful post. I hope someday if I get to the point of having a kid, the guy I pick to have the kid with is as nuts about the kid as you are about Mia (also it would help if he were nuts about me, too). Congrats to you and Beth!

And like I said in a comment to Beth's blog, it's been about a year since I started reading your blog and her blog! It's been nice :)

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at July 21, 2006 09:24 AM

Happy, happy, happy birthday to Mia! If only every little girl could be so lucky as to have a father like you.

Posted by: Jen at July 21, 2006 09:24 AM

The happiest of first birthdays to Mia! It's been an adventure, this first year, reading about your growth together as this funny, wonderful little family. Mia is blessed to have such loving, present parents - especially ones who call her Squizzlesaurus. That is truly very special. ;)

Posted by: samantha at July 21, 2006 09:32 AM

Happy Birthday Mia!

Posted by: E :) at July 21, 2006 09:48 AM

Happy Birthday, Mia!

Thanks, Cactus-Fish family, for sharing your lives with us. It's been wonderful.


Posted by: Shash at July 21, 2006 09:59 AM

*sniff* Look at you, making us all cry, first thing in the morning...

That's a great letter, Chris. I admire your ability to be so articulate about your love for your family, and willingness to share it with us.

Happy 1st birthday, Mia. We're looking forward to watching you grow more next year. Go easy on your mom and dad, OK?

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at July 21, 2006 09:59 AM

A great Happy First Birthday to Mia!
She is adorable!

Posted by: Sonia at July 21, 2006 10:20 AM

wow way to make me cry too, jerk.

what a wonderful post. it's been absolutely awesome watching mia grow this much in one year and i'm pretty sure all of us will be tuned in as long as you let us :)

by the way - i love the picture in the bottom left-hand corner, mia looks adorable as always but beth's smile is so genuine.

Posted by: kate at July 21, 2006 10:26 AM

Happy Birth Day Mia. And congrats to you Chris and Beth for making it through the first year. :)

Posted by: Bill at July 21, 2006 10:40 AM

Knock it off already. It's too sweet and wonderful...(I swear you only do this 'cause you think it's fun to make the women-folk cry.)

Posted by: Ginny at July 21, 2006 10:45 AM

Most excellent post!

Posted by: Dolly at July 21, 2006 11:04 AM

Hey, haven't you mom taught you not to make other people cry? Damn it, Chris. First thing on Friday morning...and in the office too. Thank goodness no one's here to see me... ;~)

Happy Birthday, MiaMonster!

Posted by: oakley at July 21, 2006 11:06 AM

Ah, since Beth said she was too busy with the party craziness, I thought I was safe. SAFE I tell ya. But this was truly beautiful Chris. Hang on to this one to show the Bean later. Maybe when she hits only the 3 syllable "DAAAAAAAAD" phase, as my 12 yr-old has recently entered. I only get the three syllable "Mooooom -uh" and the eye-rolls and seriously huffing sighs, but if you wait much longer than that stage, the impact may not be as good.

okay, tissue time.

Posted by: cristin at July 21, 2006 11:11 AM

Making women cry at the coffeeshop is so uncool, dude. I should have saved it, because I was already tearing up at the email notification...

Posted by: Jen at July 21, 2006 11:21 AM

I needed to read that--my daughter is home for the summer as she is preparing to enter her sophomore year of college. SHE'S MAKING US CRAZY! (Well, Chris, she knows everything and she's able to make her own decisions now.)

Your beautiful post transported me back 19 years to a time when I made many of the same declarations to my pretty, sweet Erin-Bear-with-the-rosebud-lips.

Yes, Mia is a lucky little girl to have such a great daddy as you. But more importantly, you presented such a lovely testiment to the deep, deep love parents have for their children that survives inspite of the terrible twos, the pre-adolesence, the tweens, the teens, the college rebellion, etc.

I needed this reminder as much about my daughter as I did about how much my own parents love me.

Posted by: kristen at July 21, 2006 11:25 AM

Happy Birthday, Mia!

Chris, please to stop making me cry at work. Thanks. :)

Posted by: Julie at July 21, 2006 11:29 AM

She's a beautiful little girl, and will only become more so with wonderful parents like yourselves. That post was really sweet and very touching(i look like a racoon now,makeup running cause of tears:S).I hope one day she can read it and see how much her daddy loved her right from the start.
*Happy Birthday Mia*

Posted by: Linda at July 21, 2006 11:39 AM

I am NOT supposed to cry on Friday's! You are terrible!

That is a beautiful letter. Happy birthday to the beautiful, enchanting Mia.

Posted by: meghan at July 21, 2006 11:44 AM

I am NOT supposed to cry on Fridays! You are terrible!

That is a beautiful letter. Happy birthday to the beautiful, enchanting Mia.

Posted by: meghan at July 21, 2006 11:44 AM

Like Sparklepants said - it's been about a year, then, since she found you and came home freaking out about these blogs she'd read, and OMG I just had to read them, too. Terrifying how time passes. Moments like this, I always get that song stuck in my head - Sunrise, sunset, and all that.

She can't be a year old already. Her hair can't have settled into light brown. We can't be past the mohawk. I demand a reversal of time.

You're a blessed guy, kiddo. Congratulations! And of course, to Mia as well. Happy First Birthday! We love you guys.

Posted by: ku nkiko at July 21, 2006 12:00 PM

Dude, that's not cool. It's a bit early for the crying. You'll hear it 500 times today, and more tomorrow, but congrats, daddio. It's been an honor to follow you in your first year of daddydome.

(And how the hell do you do that cool picture collage thing?)

Posted by: mr lady at July 21, 2006 12:12 PM

Wow, has it really been that long. It has been a pleasure to watch her, and Beth and yourself, through this adventure we call parenting.
She is truely a lucky girl to have you both as parents, trust me on this, my parents have no sense of humor, NONE.

Anyway happy birthday Mia

Posted by: Jeff A at July 21, 2006 12:13 PM

thanks for the friday morning tear-jerker. sheesh.

Posted by: b. at July 21, 2006 12:16 PM

Awwww, so sweet Chris. I know exactly how you feel. Children are such wonderful blessings that bring so much to our lives.

Happy Birthday Mia... You're so very beautiful!!!

Posted by: at July 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Grrrr... I forgot my name again. Someone just slap me or something. I blame the lack of sleep I've had. Drew's 2 and a half and I still don't get more then 5 straight hours of sleep a night... and that's a really good night. On average it's more like 3 for me.

Awwww, so sweet Chris. I know exactly how you feel. Children are such wonderful blessings that bring so much to our lives.

Happy Birthday Mia... You're so very beautiful!!!

Posted by: Tammy at July 21, 2006 12:32 PM

There. You've gone and done it.
Now, I'm, covered with tears. Happy tears. Beguiling tears. Being -in-awe tears.
You've brought backing the yearning of wanting a child...but only for this brief moment does my heart ache.

You are blessed with The Bean and Beth. You go Guy!

Anni :-)

Posted by: Anni at July 21, 2006 12:59 PM

Stop making the internet cry. Some of us are at work. :P Beautiful and moving. Mia is very lucky.

Posted by: verucaamish at July 21, 2006 12:59 PM

I can't believe it has been a year already. What a lovely post. And that photo of Mia in the duck with Pooh Bear? Might be the cutest baby picture I have ever seen.

Posted by: bad penguin at July 21, 2006 01:20 PM

Its been a year?!?! Happy First Birthday Miss Mia!

Posted by: christina at July 21, 2006 01:29 PM

Oh no, I'm going to cry too!

Happy birthday Mia!

Posted by: Katherine at July 21, 2006 01:31 PM

Okay, okay. You made my heart move slightly toward 'Favorable' on the Baby-Readiness scale...

Posted by: Liz at July 21, 2006 01:55 PM

Happy Birthday to Mia...

I love this -- the writing and the photos.

Posted by: mamatulip at July 21, 2006 02:15 PM

What a sweet post and an adorable photo collage. Mia's lucky to have two wonderful parents like you and Beth!

Posted by: Liberal Banana at July 21, 2006 02:21 PM

I can't believe it's already been a year! That's so fantastic!

Posted by: Queen of Ass at July 21, 2006 02:37 PM

Awww. Happy birthday to Mia. :)

Posted by: Martha at July 21, 2006 02:44 PM

Happy Birthday, Mia!

Posted by: Chag at July 21, 2006 02:47 PM

What a fast and exciting year. I'm so glad that you both have continued to make time to blog. Mia is such a cutie, I'm glad you share her with the world.

That was a very touching letter.

Posted by: Lisa at July 21, 2006 02:48 PM

Chris...you rock the Dad thing! Mia and Beth are two lucky ladies.

Happy Birthday to Mia!

Posted by: Vicky at July 21, 2006 02:52 PM

The whole Internet's loves the Mia Bean!

Posted by: PoeticaL at July 21, 2006 03:11 PM

Happy 1st Birthday. What a special day for all of you.

Don't forget - chocolate makes the best pictures.

Posted by: ann adams at July 21, 2006 03:33 PM


Commence choking up.

Commence getting knocked up RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: melati at July 21, 2006 03:36 PM

OMG Chris, you made me tear up and I'm wearing my glasses. I can't see! :)

Well I hope Mia has a beautiful and lovely first birthday this weekend. You and Beth are so lucky to have her and each other. Really, you seem like extraordinary people and I love reading about your lives. Congrats on your first year of fatherhood....may you enjoy MANY MANY MANY more!


Posted by: Kate at July 21, 2006 03:43 PM

I still can't believe I have been reading your site most of Miss. Mia's life. Beautiful post Chris.

Happy 1st birthday to Mia Morgan Cactus-Fish.

Posted by: Melissa at July 21, 2006 03:56 PM

Chris, I've loved being able to watch Mia's journey through yours and Beth's eyes. You guys are inspiring parents. :)

Posted by: susannah at July 21, 2006 05:01 PM

Such a sweet entry, written by such a great dad!

Posted by: Kestrel at July 21, 2006 05:28 PM


Happy Birthday, Mia! Happy Birthday, Mia's parents!

Posted by: candace at July 21, 2006 06:15 PM

What a sweet way to celebrate this milestone.

Posted by: wordgirl at July 21, 2006 06:59 PM

Happy 1st Birthday to Mia!

It's gone so fast, must be even more so for you. Have fun at the party tomorrow!

Posted by: Adi at July 21, 2006 09:01 PM

Has it been a year already? Wow. Time is flying by.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at July 21, 2006 09:07 PM

I hope you save this (among many other things you've written) for Mia. Because I cannot tell you what I would give to hear or read ANY of those lovely things you've said to Mia in this post.
And from a DAD no less? She will treasure it forever.
Very lovely.
Happy Birthday to Mia, whom I assume is partied out by now.

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at July 21, 2006 11:03 PM

Now you got me crying....Joey will be one next week, and I'm feeling all of these things--it's all so overwhelming....Happy Birthday to Mia...and you and Beth... :)

Posted by: haley-o at July 21, 2006 11:54 PM

Just awwww :)

Posted by: Venting Mama at July 22, 2006 02:35 AM

Happy birthday, wee one! (*wipes eyes*)

Posted by: Kristina at July 22, 2006 02:38 AM

Happy Birthday, little bean. One is such a wonderful age.

Posted by: cas at July 22, 2006 10:18 AM

Congratulations on your first year as a daddy, Chris!

Posted by: Stephanie at July 22, 2006 03:02 PM

Oh, Happy Birthday. When she out grows you; write me we'll talk.

Posted by: chantel at July 22, 2006 03:13 PM

Your daughter is beautiful!

The first birthday makes your heart swell up. Last week we too had the balloons, cake and the intense emotions.

The first wondrous year brings so many changes and developments. It really is like no other. It is completely overwhelming to think of that little baby that made her grand appearance only a year ago.

Hope her special day is wonderful!

Posted by: something blue at July 22, 2006 04:28 PM

OH mY God. We MUST find a way to stop them from growing up!!!! AHHH! Happy birthday Mia! Wow.

Posted by: alfredsmom at July 22, 2006 04:59 PM

Beautiful post Chris! Mia is one lucky little girl to have parents that loves her as much as you and your wife do!

Happy First Birthday Mia!!

Posted by: Colleen at July 22, 2006 06:18 PM

Awww...happy birthday to Mia!

(We just celebrated one year, too)

Posted by: Izzy at July 22, 2006 06:31 PM

I'm exhausted (again) from scrolling down to comment...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIA! Congratulations on scoring such grear parents!

Posted by: CroutonBoy at July 22, 2006 09:42 PM

A year already?! Time really goes too fast. Happy birthday to the beautiful birthday princess!

Posted by: VirgoJen at July 23, 2006 12:01 AM

Aw, that is so nice to read. Happy birthday, Mia!! She's gorgeous!!! :)

Posted by: LittleMissAnthropic at July 23, 2006 09:55 AM

So much love in those comments, what a lucky little girl Mia is.

I have watched you grow too, as awesome as you were--you are smoke'n hot now. Why because a good man who loves his wife and child the way you do, is a rarity. I'm so glad to know that there's others out there living life and loving the way I do, it's what I want for everyone.

Happy Birthday, beautiful, beautiful, baby girl. BTW your love for Mia will grow even deeper, sometimes I look at my son who is eight now, and I still catch my breath at how beautiful he is and how much love my heart can hold for him.

Posted by: Michele at July 23, 2006 12:00 PM

What a beautiful post! I wish her the happiest of birthdays.

Posted by: Caryn at July 23, 2006 11:34 PM

What a beautiful post! It made me think back to when my 4 children were babies. Each and everyone of them has special memories, and the string of nicknames too. :) Okay now I'm all emotional!

Posted by: MrsJoseGoldbloom at July 23, 2006 11:40 PM

So cute!! That is so sweet!

Posted by: Jaime at July 25, 2006 06:44 PM