Monday, December 12, 2011

Charlie and Liv's 3 Year Letters

Dear Olivia,

This has been such a big year for you and Charlie. There have been so many changes, and then many more changes after that! Your life looks very different today than it did this time last year. But you have been absolutely amazing through everything. My bed rest and hospitalization, and now being a big just adapted so very well to all of it. You are so loving and careful with your new baby siblings. When they are crying, you will either give them a pacifier or let me know they need my attention if you can't do anything about it yourself. It is so sweet to watch you with them. :)

Another big change that came about this year was potty-training! We tried it last February, but even though you were interested, you just weren't physically ready to do it. So we put that on hold and once I was finally able to help out, it didn't take you too long to get it down. There were accidents to be sure, but it was a much easier process once we could put you in underwear instead of pull-ups and you were a little older. We still do pull-ups at nap and at night, but I'm alright with that. It is so helpful during the day to have you using the potty. Everyone is so proud of you for that!

You are just beginning to have an interest in dressing yourself, which would be absolutely fantastic! We have some work to do there, but you will get it soon enough.

It has been so fun to watch you start to play in an imaginative way. You love to dress up in your princess costumes and build castles with Charlie (who was "Karlay" forever, but is now "Chooly"). You love to celebrate birthdays by making a cake, so Daddy and I bought you a play birthday cake for your birthday this year. You have had so much fun baking, decorating and cutting it up. Charlie has really enjoyed this as well, and it's so neat to watch you two work together on this project. The two of you also like to play pirates and go fishing together.

You have also developed a great love of Church. You ask me all the time if we are going to church today, and while you are there, you really enjoy yourself. I have to thank your wonderful Nursery leaders for that. They do a wonderful job, and their's is such an important calling. I am so grateful that they have provided this wonderful foundation for you and Charlie. But at the beginning of the year, you will move up to Primary. You will be a Sunbeam! I can't even believe it. That just feels so very grown up to me. You also love to pray, and some of your prayers have been so sweet lately. But when you get stuck and aren't sure what to say, you have an old standby. "Thank you for the food. Thank you for the food. Thank you for the food." This is especially hilarious when there isn't any food to bless!

In every letter I make mention of your more dramatic side. It can't be helped, it is such a big part of who you are. For one thing, you are LOUD. You really can't help it. Your normal voice is just big. Should you ever do theater, you will have no problem projecting! Over the summer you were constantly practicing different emotions or actions. You would whip out your angry face, then your sad face, then your surprised or happy face. Sometimes you would just "fall asleep" right in the middle of whatever you were doing! MooMoo was here during that phase, and she played right along with you. It was so sweet to watch you two together. She just got the biggest kick out of you and truly enjoyed who you are.

Physically, you are just beautiful. And you are starting to look like a little gymnast or a dancer. We'll have to get you into something like that soon. I think you would really enjoy it. You are always dancing around and you've taught yourself to do a somersault. One day, you came home from Miss Jen's (your new babysitter) and you just did one. Quite impressive.! :)

You love to give hugs and kisses, and it's practically impossible to get out of your room at night because you always want just one more "BIIIIIG hug and kiss." But I have to say, I'm alright with that. Snuggling with you is such a wonderful thing to do. When I'm tucking you in, I'll lay down next to you for a minute and just listen to what you have to say. You've started to caress my face while you are talking to me, and I kinda like it. :) It's our little quiet time together at the end of our crazy, loud days.

Having you as a daughter is more than I could have ever hoped for. You are funny, expressive, outgoing, loving, kind, and so many other amazing things. Watching you grow is a joy, and being in your company is wonderful. Thank you for all you bring to our family Livy. I love you. Mwah!

Dear Charlie,

I can't believe I am writing your 3 year letter. 3 just sounds so old to me! Especially in comparison to your new brothers and sister. Luke looks so much like you, that I almost feel as though I'm caring for your 3 month old and 3 year old self at the same time. But I'm not. You are 3 years old. And what a 3rd year this has been. You and Liv have been through a lot for such young people. The biggest change is the addition of the triplets. But you have been an amazing big brother. You always want to give the babies hugs and kisses before bed at night, and like Liv, you will give them a pacy when they cry. You both also love "helping" me change diapers and get the babies dressed. You are just as caring with Olivia and tend to exhibit behavior that is typical for a big brother. Very protective and loving.

My bed rest and hospitalization were a little rough for you, though. At least when it came to potty training. You were successfully potty trained in February, but once I went on bed rest, you regressed. It was a difficult summer in that respect, but shortly before I came home you got a handle on it again and it hasn't been a problem since. Still, we use pull-ups for bedtimes, but that will come with time.

I feel like you have changed a lot this year. The boy in you is really beginning to show. You naturally gravitate toward cars, trains, balls and other typically boyish toys. The newest addition to this boyish behavior is the use of potty words. Oh wow. I kinda can't wait for this phase to pass! And Daddy is especially bothered by it at the dinner table, which seems to be the time you like to use them most. :)

Since Halloween, you have also been enthralled with all things scary, especially monsters. You like to turn the lights off in our hallway and in your room and look for the monster. What's interesting is that you do have a small but genuine fear of the dark and these monsters, but you just can't get enough of them. You make up stories about them. It seems that you are conquering those fears through play. As much as you have a cautious personality, you are equally as brave at facing your fears. For the longest time, you were frightened of the gift shop attached to Der Dutchman because of a Buckeye mannequin you saw once. But this year you overcame that fear by continuing to visit the store and confront it. Now you enjoy the "Buckeye Store" and ask to go frequently.

This year has also brought about a lot of self-help skills. You can now dress yourself on your own. Little by little you have worked on this skill and just a few days ago you dressed yourself from head to toe without help. There are still plenty of occassions when you do need a little assistance, but I can pretty much ask you to go get dressed and you can do it. Note that I said you CAN do it. We still have to work on doing it EVERY time I ask. :) And when you do need a little extra help, you get very frustrated with the fact that you can't do it by yourself. In addition to dressing yourself, you have learned how to use the controller for the TV, which is nice sometimes and not so nice at other times! And you also like to brush your teeth on your own. I have to do a "once over", but you do fairly well. We've also began having family clean up after dinner. You and Liv put your dishes in the sink and throw away your napkins. Then I hand you each a wipe and you clean your chairs and help wipe the table. Though both of you enjoy this, you are more meticulous about getting everything clean...I wonder where you got that from? ;)

We have to be careful to give you warnings before an activity change because you HAVE to finish what you are doing before moving on to something else. This can result in a few tantrums, but you are getting better at transitioning and so are Daddy and I. You just need your time, and that's okay. When you are playing, it's especially difficult to get you to switch gears. You get so engrossed in playing pirates, fishing, building castles, cutting birthday cake, or any variety of things. This morning you woke up and immediately went to cut pieces of our pretend birthday cake. I couldn't get you to the bathroom until you had cut a slice for everyone!

You still enjoy your books and we now read one to each of you at bed time because our opportunities to read during the day are diminished since the triplets arrived. At nap time, I let you pick two books to take with you to bed and that usually helps calm you down and put you to sleep.

Like I mentioned in Olivia's letter, you also have a love for church. Again, your experience in Nursery has been a wonderful one and I am sure that you will be ready for Primary in a couple weeks. Though you don't usually like to say the prayer yourself, you have gotten fairly good at sitting quietly...most of the time. And when you do offer a prayer it is always very sweet. How wonderful it is to have an insight into the things you are thankful for and care about.

Charlie, you are such a pleasure to be with. You are so smart. Sometimes the things you say surprise us. You know things we had no idea you could know. You are sensitive, loving, gentle and caring. I love to listen to the stories you make up at bed time. I may not always understand the plots, but you do! And I love when you are able to calm down and give me a giant hug and kiss before I leave the room. You are able to give Daddy and I so much simply by being the wonderful person that you are. You are a fabulous little man and I love you dearly.

To both of you:

The two of you are each other's best friend. You have such a close relationship. Having this twin bond is such a special blessing that both of you have. As most siblings do, you get into many arguments throughout a day, but for the most part, you play well together. Even after an altercation (yes, there is hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, pinching and generally yelling at each other) there is an attempt to make the other feel better with a hug and an apology. And then, just like nothing had happened, you're back to playing. The two of you are such wonderful people and your Daddy and I are so blessed to have you in our family.

You have both been wonderful this year, when it would have been perfectly understandable for you not to be. A part of me always wants to apologize for having left you this summer. I missed being there with you every day. But I can tell you this. As difficult as this year may have been for our family, we have been richly blessed with the opportunity to have Jack, Luke and Wendy. I know that as you all grow up together, you will form bonds and relationships that will be invaluable to you. You will love each other, support each other, and laugh with each other. It is something that I did not get to experience in my life, and though I am quite alright with that, I am excited for all of you. Daddy and I can never express just how much we love you. It is eternal. As is our family. And for that, I am grateful.



To Charlie and Olivia,

Daddy here. I just wanted to say a quick word about what happened this Summer. When Mommy went into the hospital for a few months something very special happened; I got to be a stay at home Dad for the Summer. This was a TREMENDOUS blessing because I got to wake up every morning and be with you guys. Moo Moo helped out more than words can say as well.

During this time the three of us became very close to each other. We played old games and made up new ones. We went on many fun adventures and did lots of new things. We ate new foods and saw new places together. It was so special and I could tell that you guys were enjoying yourselves. Another thing that I learned was that our Heavenly Father sent your Mother and I some very VERY special children. I wish I could explain to you in words that you could plainly understand how much I cherished every minute of the time we had together during those few months. The responsibility of caring for you is something that has been divinely given to your Mother and I...and we strive hard every day to be worthy of having you.

I want to tell you that I love you. I would do anything to protect you and keep you safe from the world and it's buffetings...but what is protect me from it too. You both teach me lessons that I can't teach myself. You bring me closer to Christ every time you look into my eyes. When I see you smile at me I begin to understand a little bit what Heaven might feel like. And nothing opens up my heart more than when I hear you say "I love you, Daddy." So you see, Charlie and Olivia...this Summer wasn't so much about me taking care of you, but you taking care of Daddy's heart while Mommy couldn't. Thank you so much. Thank you.




nancy said...

ok, this time i'm really going to do it - buy stock in kleenex.

desertdeb said...

Priceless. Absolutely priceless. I stand all amazed, over and over and over. For whatever this mother's blessing is worth, I pray for your health, your happiness, and your continued joy and boundless love and laughter, now and throughout all eternity. You are blessed and we are blessed to have you in our lives-each of you.

stacey erin said...

Hugs and kisses through all my happy tears. I love you both, and I wish I had more time to spend with all those beautiful Bowman babes. It has been so wonderful for me to be able to follow you on all your adventures, whether it be through your blog or on facebook. You are in my heart everyday - and the kids are up on my wall at work! :)

Happy 3rd Birthday, Charlie and Livy! You are growing up so fast, and it is clear what wonderful little people you are becoming. I can't wait until I can see you again. With love and BIG HUGS, Stacey


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