What a joy this year has been with you! You are becoming such a fun, and FUNNY, little guy! This morning, I was looking through some photos from this time last year, and things have changed dramatically. Last year, you woke up in a crib. This year, you woke up in your big boy bed. Last year, you were in diapers. This year, you are in underwear. And not only that, but you basically taught yourself how to use the potty. Something I am eternally grateful to you for!
Your interests this past year have been, well, cars. Cars, cars, and more cars. And trains. Toward the end of the year, you branched out into building train tracks and race tracks. Sometimes you simply play with your cars in the doll house. You tuck them in and give them baths. And just over the past couple of weeks, you have gravitated to the Magna-tiles, and are enjoying building "schools" with them. Schools...and race tracks. Haha!Secondary interests include "making dinner on the grill" and coloring. Despite the extreme love of cars, you really do enjoy a lot of different things, which I think will serve you well.
Physically, you are becoming more thick and muscular; no longer the chubby baby you used to be. You have been practicing kicking a ball, and are becoming quite good at it. You love to run, and when you do, you bring your shoulders up to your ears, which only serves to make you look even thicker than you are. But it makes me laugh. This summer, you taught yourself to swing unassisted, and you enjoyed climbing and doing tricks worthy of "Mom! Watch!"
Your language is coming along nicely, and you have a great vocabulary. Somehow, you learned all of your colors, and can count to 5. Several times you have put ideas together in very mature ways, and I look forward to watching you learn.
Along with this learning, comes some pushing of the limits, and asserting of your independence. This can be a challenging dance between child and parent. While it tries my patience, I am also enjoying seeing you step out and lead yourself. It's a fulfilling thing to watch as a parent.
Kindness and caring are innate characteristics of yours. It truly bothers you when someone else is sad or hurt. And I think that it hurts your heart, more than your body, when someone hurts YOU. Even when the toddler in you comes out and you yell or hit, you seem to understand immediately what you did wrong. And that it affected someone else negatively. You are quick to say, "I'm sorry" and give a hug to the wronged person.
Jackie, when I need a snuggle, I know to come to you. From day one, you have been a fantastic snuggler. I love to sit and hold you, and kiss you, and hug you. And there are many times during the day when I need that. :) I love you so, so very much. And I am thankful every day that the Lord sent you to us.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Jackie Boy!
Dear Luke Wilson,
You have been a tricky two year old. But you know what? That says more about my weaknesses than yours. :) There is nothing safe in this house because you will deconstruct it in some way. Or if you aren't deconstructing, you are investigating things like knives, medicine, and what happens when you (repeatedly) climb the fence and run away. ALL. SUMMER. LONG. As a parent, it is terrifying. But I know that all these things are really just amazing assets that, once safety rules are learned, will help you create and think in innovative ways. Yes, my house is a mere shell of what it used to be when we bought it. Yes, I have considered installing bullet proof cabinets at the very top of our ceilings to store our...EVERYTHING. We have no pictures on the walls, unless you count the crayon marks. Our furniture and carpet is stained with all manner of food, liquids, and who-knows-what. But I have come to this conclusion: it that's how it must be until you learn how to explore safely, then so be it. Because your exploration will teach you great things and take you great places.
Your interests are pretty much listed above. While you play with toys, they don't hold as much of a draw for you as for other children. You are a mover. Learning comes mainly through manipulating the world around you. You are definitely sensory oriented, and water is a favorite of yours. You also LOVE playing with your siblings. Whatever they are doing, you will gladly join in.
Of all of my children, you are the most independent. While you are not yet potty trained, I will often see you coming out of the bathroom having gone, flushed, and washed your hands without even alerting me of your need to go! You can put on your shoes, and get yourself dressed. There really isn't much that you won't first try to do yourself. As long as it's safe, I love this about you.
Tucking you in at bedtime is such a sweet experience for me. It is the only time during the day when you are calm and we are able to talk a bit. Your prayers bring the Spirit to our house, and you were the first to begin praying on your own. While you still need help every now and then, listing the things for which you are thankful is no problem at all. A couple nights ago, you thanked Heavenly Father for " Mommy, Daddy, Jackie, Lukie, Wendy, Livy, Charlie, Bob and Dee's house (our neighbors), Munny (your Bunny), bed, church, and Jesus." Grandparents are often included, as are things that happened during the day. It is nice to see that side of you at the end of a long day. Inside that active body, there is a sweet and sensitive spirit.
There is so much you add to this family that I cherish. I am so excited for the life you have ahead of you, but I want to soak up every moment of this time. I can not believe that you are already 3 years old. The rest is coming so quickly, but I know that taking this journey with you is going to be a wonderful ride! I love you dearly, Lukie.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Lukie!
Dear Wendy Jane,
You seem to be developing special relationships with Luke and Livy. Liv ("yivy" as you call her), especially. She cares for you in a mothering kind of way, and you love to be cuddled by her. I can already tell that you look up to her, and I've seen the beginnings of "I want to be just like her!" Thankfully, you have an excellent role model in that department. :) But when Liv is gone, Grammy and I have noticed several occasions where you and Luke are just enjoying each other's company. I will say, though, that you have taken to calling Jack and Luke, "my boys," which is just the sweetest term of endearment you could have picked.
Then there's Yaya, the dolly we bought you for your first Christmas. When you are feeling sad, tired, angry, or any negative emotion at all, she is the first thing you want. You took her outside this summer and lost her for several days. Daddy and I had to track the doll down online and buy a new one. When we gave her to you, it was clear that this was not the real Yaya. The REAL Yaya only had one leg, and her body was long devoid of stuffing. But we were able to convince you that I had fixed her up and washed her off. Later, we found the original Yaya in our neighbor's yard. So every now and then, Yaya randomly looses her leg and some stuffing. Ironically, it generally coincides with those times when we have a very hard time finding her. ;)
An artistic side has come out in you lately too. You like to color with Livy, and on an app on our computer. But music is really where it's at for you. In the car, you will scream until you get it. (Need to work on that, BTW. ;) ) At bedtime, you would have us sing the whole night if you could. Right now, your favorites are Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. You know them well enough that you can sing along now. And you know what? You have some natural talent. For a three year old, you are pretty good at matching pitch.
As a 2 year old, you definitely had some typical toddler behaviors. EVERYTHING was yours, and in this family, there is very little that actually belongs to one person. So that could be tricky. And when someone takes whatever item you feel you should have, you scream and run at them in what I can only imagine is horribly terrifying for them! And yes, you will hit, kick, and bite if necessary. While these behaviors aren't ok, I feel confident that you will be able to hold your own with your lively siblings! On the flip-side, the tiniest little boo boo you incur requires ice, band-aides, kisses, hugs and love, and some good old fashioned "poor Wendy!"s. Nothing will heal correctly without the proper amount of frowns from those attending to you.
You are full of sweetness, happiness, and love. It has been a pleasure getting closer to you this past year. And while I know that there are other wonderful secrets hiding just beneath your surface, and I look forward to unearthing them as you grow. I am grateful to have you as my daughter. You add such joy to our family. I love you to the moon and back.
Happy Birthday, Wendy Lady!
To the three of you:
Thank you for loving me, teaching me, and growing with me this year. It's not been easy, but it's been rewarding. You are all precious to me, and our family has been hugely blessed by each of you. While the world may assume that because you came as a package deal, that you are similar people, it is simply not true. You are so very different, and yet your love for each other is palpable. You are very special people, and your Daddy and I hope and pray that we can be the parents you need us to be in order to help you grow into your talents. If we can do that together, and with the Lord, you are going to impact this world in amazing ways. You already have. You have changed my heart. <3 br="" nbsp="">3>