The first time I held our baby girl in my arms while leaning back into Edward's chest, the love I felt was completely overwhelming. She had a fuzzy crown of dark hair and her eyes had that dark non-color that all newborns possess. Her cheeks were round and she had the cutest knobby knees that kicked when she cried. She was a tiny little thing, but I couldn't imagine loving anything more.

My love for her consumed my entire body, filling my soul. It was different than romantic love in a way that I had never anticipated. I felt so protective of her immediately… and so full of hope for the future. Our future. Our little family.

I was amazed that something so tiny could grow up to be big like me. Was I ever this small? Did my parents feel this way when I was born? What an amazing gift we all have within us; the ability to create life from the intimacy between a man and a woman. This is why Edward and I waited until after we were married. This moment right here puts everything into perspective.

The intimacy we share is so private, almost sacred…just like he explained to me in the field all that time ago. Yes, we wanted to be together apart from our wanting to have children one day... but the fact of the matter is, no matter when we got pregnant, we would always have each other to lean on when things got tough. Even though this baby was unexpected, she was never once unwanted. And that is the difference between waiting and not waiting to be together, in my mind.

We knew that a baby could come any time after we became intimate, so we did not start until we were prepared to take that step. We married because we knew we wanted a life as husband and wife…all parts of it. Being parents is now a natural step that we have made together. Always together.

And now we have our little miracle. Little Emma Lynn Masen

~TtB~

After we returned from Chicago, life returned back to normal…but in a way, being in the city had changed us. We decided to stop living how others wanted us to, and started focusing on what made us happy.

Edward choosing to focus on carpentry was a choice that he took a long time to deliberate. He confided in me that he had been thinking about retiring from farming for over a year, but didn't have to courage to disrupt everything when he was not sure if he would be any good at his newly chosen profession.

But after coming back home, with a bank full of money and a new baby on the way…he knew it was time to do something for himself. In only took a few weeks to transform the old shed into his wood shop, and he began focusing his energy on leaning everything he could. He read books, talked and watched the carpenters in town and practiced for hours every day. He bought all the newest tools and has the desire to be great and his passion for it made him an excellent carpenter. He truly is an artist.

The first thing he finished was a little rocking bassinet for our child, still unborn at that time. It was made out of dark stained wood and it is gorgeous. Emma has outgrown it now, but I will keep it for each of my children. It has detailing on the pegs that highlight his skill and make it something truly unique and special. It is so beautiful; I cannot imagine anything else to hold our newborn children while they sleep.

Edward is now making more trips into town to sell his furniture and to buy supplies. He is making things so fast that he is going through his stock of wood quicker than I ever thought possible. He sometimes uses the wood from the trees around our property, but often times he needs something other than oak or pine.

I do not mind these frequent trips because I love spending time with the Whitlock's and the Cullen's. Carlisle and Esme married three days after we arrived in Greenville. She only had to spend three lonely nights away from her betrothed before their union. The ceremony was simple, but it was held in the chapel mid morning and quite a few people attended. Dr. Cullen was respected by all those he had treated and they wanted to support him and his new bride.

There was a small potluck luncheon after the morning ceremony in the courtyard and it was wonderful to see everyone accept Esme into the community without prying. She was shy at first, but her beauty and graciousness won everyone's hearts. And it hard to not feel happy around two people who are clearly in love.

It is also wonderful to see Esme become more confident as the season's change. I can slowly see that the emotional wounds inside her are healing. I honestly think it would be hard for her to remain burdened by the past when she is so happy. Her life is now filled with such love and friendship.

And it turns out that Esme is quite a proficient seamstress and so that is something she and Mary Alice have bonded over. The two couples share evening meals a couple times a week and Edward and I join them when we are in town. We all laugh until our sides hurt and share confidences about the important events in our life. They all take turns holding Emma when we visit, spoiling her rotten…but that is alright with me. They are always making her cute clothes and giving her new toys. She loves the attention, and it warms my heart to see so many people love and care for her.

Emma truly is deeply loved by all those who come into contact with her. She has a loving spirit about her and can always make people smile. Her innocence is captivating and her presence can uplift your soul.

Her hair has continued to lighten to an auburn shade and is now beginning to curl at the ends like my mother's. She has got the cutest dimple high on her right cheekbone and I cannot help but kiss that chubby cheek whenever she smiles. Her eyes started out a gray-blue, but as the months go by they lighten to green, and I think she will soon have eyes just like her Papa.

I love visiting my friends when Edward and I are in town, but I would never want to move away from our home to be closer to town. And I know Edward feels the same. We love our little cabin…love the privacy of the area and the beauty of the forest. There is no other place on earth that we would want to raise our children.

~TtB~

I cannot believe that Emma is already two years old. She is the most precocious child too; so smart for her age. She started speaking faster than I thought was possible, wanting to learn about everything. Edward and I started reading to her every night and she would repeat some of the words we had said. She is the best thing about our life. She exhausts us daily, but I cannot even remember what I did before she was here.

She is such a great companion while I'm working. She loves toddling around outside while I weed the garden, trying to catch grasshoppers or butterflies nearby. When I milk the cow in the mornings, she is searching the barn for kittens. And when I cook our meals or wash the dishes, she is always right next to me, either playing on the floor or trying to help me with my chores. And I say help very lightly. She can make many tasks much more complicated, but how can she learn if I don't teach her?

She may be my little shadow, but she loves her Papa with her whole heart.

Edward has so much more flexibility with his time now that he doesn't have to spend sunup to sundown in the fields. He spends a few hours in the morning working in his shop, but he always takes time off to eat with us in the afternoons and we try to do something together as a family before he goes back. Sometimes we'll have a picnic, play games, or we'll go swim in our creek or ride the horses. Whatever the weather permits.

It warms my heart so much that he takes the time away from his work to spend time with her. With us. She goes to sleep very early, and so our time together as a family is so valuable. She is growing so fast and we will never be able to get these moments back. We don't want to waste a minute of our lives together and so we take all the opportunities we can to make memories with all of us.

~TtB~

I'm sitting in our living room mending some our ripped work clothes in a rare moment of silence. Emma is perched on the loveseat next to me, completely focused on her difficult task. I gave her some thick yarn to play with earlier, something to keep her occupied so I could get these clothes sewed quickly. She is slowly, carefully wrapping one of her homemade dolls in the colorful string. She is trying to line it up perfectly, and it makes me smile to see her lips pursed in concentration.

After working for a while, I hear Edward's rhythmic steps coming up the porch stairs. He opens the door quickly, looking toward the kitchen before spotting us sitting together near the fireplace.

"And what are my two favorite girls doing today?" He asks happily, moving toward us.

"Papa!" Emma cries, jumping from the seat and running toward him. He reaches down when she gets close and she jumps into his arms. She hugs his neck tightly for a moment and he kisses the top of her head.

"Did you miss me little one?" he asks her.

She nods rapidly before speaking. "Look Papa!" She points to her little doll, and he walks over to where I'm sitting to see her masterpiece.

"Hello," he smiles in greeting. I smile up at him as well and he bends to give me a kiss when I lift my head.

"Hi, back," I whisper near his lips. "You finished with the wardrobe?" I ask when he pulls back.

"Almost. I should finish tonight."

Emma puts her little hand on his cheek and turns it away from me. "Papa, look!" I laugh at her insistence and he smiles at me again before picking up her cocooned doll.

"Well, look at this! Did you do this all by yourself?"

"Uh huh," she answers proudly, bouncing in his arms in excitement.

"This is beautiful," he compliments. "This deserves to be placed somewhere special. Where should we put it?" She looks around the room for a bit, but finally points at the top of the fireplace. He carries her over to the designated spot and lets her set down her mummified toy where she wants.

He kisses her head again when she claps proudly at the display.

"Now, what should we do for fun today?" Edward muses aloud, knowing she will jump in to make her opinion known.

"Ride! Ride, Papa!"

"You want to ride the horses? Again?" She bounces eagerly and grips his hair like a horse's mane. "Alright then…you asked for it!"

He then begins to run and bounce all around the room, weaving through the furniture while she acts like a little cowgirl.

"Go, Papa! Faster!"

This is not a new game they play, but it is always fun to watch. Their laughter makes a perfect duet; her bright giggle and his throaty chuckle make my heart swell in joy.

I never knew such happiness was possible. The love I feel for them swallows me whole sometimes, making me feel totally overwhelmed.

They continue to bounce around the room for a few minutes and then Edward announces that he's hungry for some lunch. Not wanting to be left out, Emma agrees wholeheartedly.

When they approach me to pull me out of the chair, Edward is staring at me with an intense look on his face.

It is only then that I realize I have a tear slowly trickling down my cheek. Even Emma notices and she frowns a little. I wipe it away quickly.

"Mama got owey?"

"No baby," I reply as I step toward them. Edward wraps an arm around me so we are all close together in a family hug "I was just thinking."

"Give Mama sugar?" she asks simply. I smile big and nod, and she turns in Edward's arms and leans toward me to give me a hug around the neck before pulling back to kiss my cheek over and over. "All better?" she asks when she's finished, very proud of herself.

"Yes, Mama's perfect." I kiss her little dimple, before nestling closer to Edward so I can rest my cheek on his broad chest.

"Me too," Edward breathes into my hair.

I hug him tightly and tilt my face toward his and whisper, "I love you."

'Love you too," he answers immediately, bending down to gently kiss me again. We still kiss as much as we used to when we were first married, and I love it. We know exactly what we like and it always makes me feel so close to him.

"Kiss!" Emma squeals and we pull back, laughing at her interruption. "Me, me! Kiss!"

"And we love you too," I tell her.

Edward and I get closer together so Emma is squished in-between us and we each kiss her cheek and she giggles happily in response. We hold her together for a few more seconds before she starts wiggling, ready to get down.

Edward gently sets her on the ground and she starts tugging on Edward's pant, trying to get him to walk toward the door.

"Outside," she declares.

"You want to go outside?" I try to clarify.

"Okay," she answers.

I laugh immediately at her response. She is always doing this to me. I'll ask a question to clarify something she's said and she'll answer like it was my idea. I love it so much.

"Lunch first, little missy!" I sweep her up in my arms and we all walk to the kitchen.

I situate her in the special chair Edward built about a year ago so she can sit up at the table without us worrying about her falling. It is like a little box with holes where her legs can stick out and you push it closely against the table so she can reach her food. Lately, she has been in this phase where she only wants to eat porridge or oatmeal for every meal. She has been learning to eat on her own and it can get really messy, but she's getting better.

She's very determined and that makes her unstoppable.

While I start prepare something for Edward and I, he comes up and holds me from behind, his arms wrapped around my stomach.

"You always smell so good," he mumbles into my hair, leaning down to kiss my neck.

"Mmm," I sigh. "And you always smell like…" I turn my head and sniff his chest. "You smell like… Edward."

"Oh yeah? What does Edward smell like?" He turns me around so now he is caging me in against the counter, his body completely pressing into mine. He's leaning forward with his arms holding his balance on either side of my waist.

"A little bit of sweat, a little sawdust…and a lot of man." I say lowly, teasing him a bit.

"You know, they say sawdust is as aphrodisiac. What do you say about that?" He leans forward, kissing the corner of my mouth.

I scoff at his ridiculousness, jokingly pushing him away when he starts kissing down my neck.

Over his head I check on Emma and grin when I see that she is talking to herself at the table, tapping her spoon against the side of the bowl.

"I thought you said you were hungry," I remind Edward as he persists in rubbing his lips against my skin.

"I'm always hungry," he groans suggestively. I duck under his arm, moving away from his wandering hands so I can actually get some food prepared for us.

"Well, if you finish early tonight, I might let you have dessert before supper." Dessert is obviously not really meaning dessert. But he knows exactly what I'm talking about. This isn't the first time this has happened. It is pretty much everyday.

I hope it never changes.

"Why can't I have dessert right now?" he pleads, not being completely serious…but still testing my resolve.

"Because I'm actually hungry…for food," I explain. "And you promised that little girl a horse ride."

"Horsey!" Emma exclaims from the table, accidently flinging a glop of oatmeal to the floor when she enthusiastically swings her arms around.

"See?" I confirm, looking back at him.

He laughs at her eager reaction and nods at me. I make a plate for each of us with cold meat sandwiches and we sit together at the table and chat while we eat.

Once we are finished we all go out into the barn and Edward saddles River and Rainy so we all can ride down the trails for a little while.

Edward mounts first and then I hand Emma up to him and he places her in front, one arm wrapped around her tiny body and the other holding the reins. I pull up my skirt, put a foot into the stirrup, and then swing up until I'm ready to go as well.

It is a gorgeous day and we lead the horses through a beaten down path through the forest, Edward pointing out different birds and animals along the way, teaching Emma about everything we see.

"Run horsey!" she instructs when we reach an open meadow, flipping River's mane like the reins.

"Hold on tight," Edward tells her and then they are off.

He never goes faster than a canter, but I can hear Emma's squeals of delight as they move away from me. She has always felt at home on a horse, and she loves going fast more than anything. I catch up quickly, slowing down when we reach the edge of the meadow.

After wandering around for about another half hour, we start heading back home. We both have to get some more work done before it gets dark. When we round the corner, coming close to the barn, Edward suddenly turns his head towards me and I know what he's going to say before he says it.

Maybe it is the gleam in his eyes, or maybe it is the expression of love on his face that I know so well.

It is this little game we play often, reaffirming our feelings to one another. One day he asked me the question, and my response came easily. Whenever we are feeling especially happy or content, we ask the question and the other person responds sincerely.

Edward smiles shyly as he rides next to me with our little girl in his lap and asks, "You love me?"

My answer comes easily as I touch my locket through my blouse.

"Forever."

Life is not always easy and we do have bad days…days where we want more privacy…or days when we gripe at each other when we're tired, but we have so many more amazing days. I love being a mother to Emma, but I always remember that I am a wife as well.

Being a mother takes as much time and effort as being a wife; like I know being a father is as much work as being a husband. Our relationship is always progressing and changing and we are continually trying to find the right balance. We are learning to be selfless with each other, knowing when to compromise and when to back off.

As Emma grows, we have to mature and adapt so we can meet her needs as well. I hope to have more children someday soon, but Edward and I need to always remember to spend alone time together to continually strengthen that bond between us.

So many things are different in our life, but there is one thing that will never change.

We will always love each other.

Forever.


Actual End Notes!

This chapter was much shorter in my head, but I couldn't stop myself! I really wanted to show a glimpse into their everyday life, so you could get a snapshot of them as parents.

Emma was based off of my now 4 year old niece and some things Emma said in this epi are actual quotes from her when she was that age…so that was fun to write. It made that character really come to life for me. Maybe they'll have a Daniel next!

I have no plans to write any outtakes or futuretakes at this time, but I may want to revisit these characters in a few months…So let me know if you have anything you want to see, just in case!

Thank you all a billion times. I couldn't have finished this without your support! Hugs and Kisses to everyone!

XOXO 3 Forever.