Sweet, sweet Sunday,
What can I say? I know I'm biased, but, you're basically perfect. This past year has been amazing. You've grown from a crawling baby to a walking, talking, generous, affectionate and loving little girl. I struggle writing these letters these days because I feel like I sound like a broken record. "I love you" "You're the best" "You're amazing" "You're so beautiful!" I could go on. Instead, I thought I'd approach this letter a little differently this time.
Happy 2nd Birthday, precious. Here are some of my favorite things about you and our time together in recent months:
Each morning when you wake up, it's your chore to let the dogs out of their crate and then outside. You do so with eagerness and pride. Soon after, you pick up their little food bowls, trek them into the pantry, spend about 3-5 minutes filling each bowl (about 3-4 scoops for each one) and then you carry them back one at a time to the food station. Along the way you talk to the dogs, telling them to move please, or stop eating the food because "not yet!" Sometimes you need me to step in and referee... they do get a little excited about food. But I can't tell you how much my heart swells with pride as I observe you take on this task with enthusiasm. You just LOVE having your very own chores. And honestly, it's kind of hilarious how Traveller has to surrender to loving and appreciating you - since you're the one who feeds her now.
Whenever you ask to be picked up, or I swoop in and pick you up, often I will say "Snuggle snuggle!" And you, sweet girl, follow suit. You wrap your arms tight around my neck, saying "Knuckle knuckles!!" You squeeze your little face against mine and giggle!! We do this probably 5 times a day. I love love LOVE it!
"Dago Tigo" - Daniel Tiger. Your favorite. To be honest, it's my favorite kid's show, too. You do love Elmo and you love to see him on TV, but nothing beats Daniel Tiger these days. We sing the little songs they teach throughout our days. "When you wait, you can play, sing or imagine anything...!" You giggle when I sing along to the show. Hopefully you'll sing the little songs someday soon, too!
"Only paper!" You love to color, but you are not a fan of crayons. So we have washable markers and you've really been into mama's highlighters lately. Each time I give you paper and a writing tool, we both reiterate the one rule: "Only paper." You're getting it! Every now and then the marker will slip off the paper and onto the table and you'll say "Uh oh. Mama. Only paper!" Haha. I love that I can trust you with these things and trust you even further to tattle on yourself. I wonder how much longer that will last?
"Your daddy looooves you!" You love your daddy so much, and you just light up his whole world. Every day when he comes home you are at the top of the stairs waiting for him. "Daddy!!!" Sometimes you'll even pull out the desperate cry as if you just realized you missed 14 hours of time with him in your life. He swoops you up and says "Aww baby!" It's the sweetest thing. You two have a routine. He picks you up, you snuggle, and then he says "want to watch daddy pack for tomorrow?" You say yes and promptly sit on the bed as he winds down and prepares for another day of work. Then he jumps on you and you two wrestle together for a good 5-10 minutes. You usually try to get me in on the action, but I'm kind of a party pooper so that never really works. Honestly, I'm just exhausted by then. We all are. You are usually in bed within 30 minutes of daddy arriving home... and that last 30 minutes is packed full of love and laughs between you two!
Veggies are for the birds! You are kind of a fruitarian. I could dwell on the fact that you seem to not have a super balanced diet, or I could just make myself feel better by thinking of all the health nuts I know who really are pure fruitarians. Things could be worse, I suppose. You do love sweets (which primarily come to you in the form of fruit), bread (though you've been denying it lately - so that's exciting!), and a general variety of healthy foods. But not veggies. And not a whole lot of meat, either. You get your protein through eggs, yogurt, and nuts! I am grateful, though, that you will try just about anything. I do get a little kick out of it when I make you try something and then you immediately say "more!" No pride issues just yet. Love it!
Potty Training. I probably shouldn't even mention it in this letter, but I'm going to. When you wake up this morning we will begin Day 2 of official potty training. Things are going surprisingly well. And that's all I will say about that. Mama and Daddy are SO proud of you... we kind of wanted to shout from the rooftops last night about your progress. It's funny how life changes after you have kids. I'll update on this one later. :)
Mrs. Ashley, Emmie and "Baaabeeey Naaate." A few months ago we switched child care locations and you quickly fell in love with being at Mrs. Ashley's house. It wasn't the second or third time before you were off playing and you'd say "Bye bye mama!" from across the room! I seriously struggle with just wanting to stay and play WITH you. You have so much fun and when I hear about your day later, I am super grateful for the environments you have in your life. You have so many places where you feel safe, loved, and free to be yourself. Mrs. Ashley's house is just one of these wonderful places and it's been a joy to take you there twice a week.
Loving. Yes, I'm beating a dead horse here. But I'm kind of afraid you will be my most affectionate child ever, so I am letting myself dwell (and ENJOY it): You are so loving, honey. Affectionate, snuggly, kind, generous, and just crazy SWEET. You love to hug and kiss your friends, you play and interact so well with others, and you are the most charming little girl in the presence of strangers. You talk to people as we scoot through the grocery store, saying "Hi. HI!" to them. They pause and laugh, they can't help but to smile back. And while I act like it's no big deal, I am secretly squealing inside because you KILL me with how stinking sweet and cute you are! I'm so proud. :)
We are entering a season of slow work for mama, which means more at-home time together. The winter months are here and soon I will be seeking ways to fill our days with structured activity and mini trips to keep you from getting cabin fever. (Okay, me too.) I am truly looking forward to spending the next few months with you. Hanging out, playing, laughing together and learning together. I enjoy your presence so much and it's a gift from God to be able to spend so much time with you.
This birthday was a little harder on my heart than your first birthday. This past year with you has definitely been my favorite year so far. Of course I want you to stay little forever. I'm a little sad that by this time next year, you'll be bigger and louder and maybe your opinions will be stronger and not align so well with mine. We shall see. So far, with each new phase, our time together has only grown sweeter. I hope that continues for us.
I love you so much, sweet girl. Words can't even express.
All images in this post taken by Visions by Heather.