It's hard to believe another year has come and gone, which means little miss Rylee Michelle Porter, winner of the 2013 Moniteau County First Baby Contest, will soon celebrate her very first birthday.
Rylee, daughter of Brandon and Kaylee Porter, California, will be 1 year old Wednesday, Jan. 1. Her parents have planned a Minnie Mouse-themed party at home with family.
Looking back at the last year, both Brandon and Kaylee agree their lives have changed for the better.
"Having Rylee, we had to grow up and be more responsible," Brandon said. "And we've learned to expect the unexpected."
Watching each of Rylee's "firsts" has been a highlight of the past year.
"Her first word was da-da," Brandon said with a big grin. "It was just out of the blue. She was about six months old."
"She got t her first tooth last month," Kaylee said. "She started crawling at about seven months old."
"Now she can walk clear from the couch to the tv," Brandon said.
"Oh, and she can say a bunch of words," Kaylee said.
Though not quite one year old yet, Rylee has already been to the St. Louis Zoo and to Silver Dollar City.
"We also just took her to Bass Pro in Columbia and she really liked all of the animals," Brandon said. "She got to see Santa for the first time."
"She didn't like him," Kaylee said with a laugh. " The picture of her on Santa's lap is hilarious. She's crying."
Santa isn't alone. Rylee also isn't fond of bathtime.
"She hates baths," Kaylee said.
Rylee has all kinds of favorite things though.
"She loves Minnie Mouse and she likes being independent," Brandon said. "She doesn't want any help."
"She loves to dance and listen to music," Kaylee said. "She loves books and dogs. Her favorite foods are bananas and sweet potatoes. She's very funny; she's a little jokester. She loves attention."
"She's sassy," Brandon said. "And she used to not be afraid of anything, but as she's gotten older, she's a little more timid. Oh, and she's a mama's girl."
Looking ahead, Brandon and Kaylee agree they want to add their family.
"Not until Rylee is potty trained though," Brandon said. "We'll probably wait until she's three."
For now, "I'm just spending all my time with her," Kaylee said. "I want to take advantage of it while it's just Rylee."
Kaylee added, "At first, being a parent was a little scary, but we absolutely love it."
Brandon agrees. "It's good."
Babies are eligible for the 2014 First Baby of Moniteau County Contest when the married parents are Moniteau County residents with an established home. A couple residing with relatives or friends many not enter their baby in the contest.
The date, hour, minute and place of birth, as well as the sex, weight and color of eyes, must be submitted by a licensed physician. The parents' full names and signature of the attending physician must accompany the entry.
Information can be delivered to the Democrat office at 319 S. High Street or mailed to: Baby Contest Editor, P.O. Box 126, California, MO., 65018. Entries must reach the office by 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3. If there is no winner by then, the contest will be extended through each Friday until there is a winner. All gifts must be claimed within 90 days, unless other arrangements are made with the advertiser.