Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Happy 8th Birthday Maizey Rae

Maizey Rae!
Today you are eight years old.
I love it. And it simultaneously kills me.
Maybe I've said this every year, maybe I haven't; either way, I can barely believe I have been your mom for EIGHT WHOLE YEARS. There have been some very long days, and these years have been very short. That saying is not a lie. I haven't loved every single minute of these years, but I have loved YOU every single minute of them.
You are an absolute gift to our family and we could not feel more blessed to have you in it. You continue to be kind, happy, easy going, friendly, welcoming, curious and fun. You are always up for an adventure. In fact, I couldn't possibly plan enough adventures to appease you. You always want to be going, doing, seeing. You are an absolute extrovert, and I can say in 100% confidence that you got that from me. Right now, since you need me for all of your adventures, it's sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) exhausting, but I really do love it. I am certain your sense of adventure and love of people will take you some amazing places in your life, and I can't wait to witness that.

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You love reading and can often be found a long time after your light should have been out, cuddled in bed reading away. You aren't picky and often surprise me with your choices - Archie comics, magazines, Geronimo Stilton, old Westerns, Little House on The Prairie - you are enthralled with them all. You are also always willing to sit down and read to Jace or Winnie or Henry or Frankie, or really anyone that asks. You don't mind waiting however long it takes for me to get the other kids to bed at night because it means you get more time to read. I absolutely love this.

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You love climbing your tree and giving tree climbing classes to the other kids. You like swinging and biking and looking for cool forest treasures. There are always pieces of bark, rocks, sticks, moss or dirty leaves in your pockets, on your bedroom floor, in the side pocket of the car door, in your backpack.... ok, its always everywhere. Its dirty and makes me crazy. But it brings you joy, so I suppose I should lay off of you, right? Maybe just start cleaning it up better and I will allow it! haha. Anything that you can use your imagination for, you are interested in. You are handy to have around in cases such as, when we are camping and don't have a clothes line - you rig up something using sticks and some vine you find on the forest floor. Thats a skill, taking what you have and making it work for you. That one you got from your dad I guess, because it definitely wasn't me.

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(this was your paddle for the paddle board you guys made out of drift wood)

You are legitimately the best big sister ever. I mean, those kids do not know how good they have it. You share every single thing you have/get, you let them go first, sit where they want (even if you were there first), play with anything they want (even if you had it first), help them when they need it, help them when they dont want it and aren't being nice, make sure they are safe, entertain them.... the list goes on and on. Dad and I are lucky you are such a helpful, kind big sister, there are not enough words to explain how much help it is for us and we are so appreciative of it.
You did so well at school last year, we are so proud of the friend you are and how well you do in class. You practice hard at the work that is sent home (spelling words) and your tests show that. You have seriously messy printing!!! I am always telling you to slow down and write neater, but you would just rather not. Maybe this will be the year that you figure that out, maybe not. :)
You recently started loving fried eggs and raisin english muffins. Your favourite food is still chicken pot pie and request it on a weekly basis. Also still obsessed with sushi. You claim to like sparking water but you make a hilarious face at every sip and get through maybe 4 sips before you are done. We keep telling you its ok not to like it, but for some reason you just really want to. You don't care for milk or yogurt or bananas, but you love banana bread. You eat everything we give you, even if you don't like it! Thanks for that!

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You don't exactly have a favourite song right now, but one of your favourite things to do is listen to a playlist on Spotify called "Chilling on a dirt road" .... You like to get dads old cell phone and a pair of ear buds and sit somewhere quiet and listen to it. You know all the songs and are always singing. Your favourite artist is definitely Luke Bryan so we listen to him a lot.
Tonight at bed time, you saw me get a bit weepy while tucking you in and telling you all the reasons I love being your mom. You just truly, truly, truly make us so happy. We are figuring out together how to navigate this having an older kid and some days it's harder than others, but I think we are doing a pretty good job, all of us together.
Thanks for being so darn awesome. We love you. Really, really love you.
Happy 8th birthday, Missy moo.
Love, Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Happy 2nd Birthay Winnie

Dear Winnie,
Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet girl. It feels incredibly surreal for my last baby to already be two years old. Did I snuggle you enough? (hopefully). Did I get enough videos of you toddling around? (Probably not). Do we have record of your little voice and your first words and steps and moments? (I sure hope so). Two years, lady. I love you more now than I did then, which always seems so impossible, but it's true.
First - please note the date on this, and accept my apology. Don't misunderstand this as a "you're the third child" thing - simply put, October kicked my ass and I honestly feel like I am just now, feeling caught up. This little letter was never far from my mind. Here I am, one month and two days late, to tell you that you are still pretty great and we are so proud of you.
So. What are you doing at two years old?
You are a chatting machine, speaking full sentences and clearly enough that most people can understand you. You rarely stop talking. Also, you whine kind of a lot. Um, please and thank you, stop doing that. 

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oh this sour little face cracks me up

Your gross motor skills are out of this world. You can run fast and with coordination, you can do a full somersault, jump with two feet off the ground, leap like a frog, balance on one foot to put your boots on and climb, slide and swing with the best of them. Its INSANE to watch. I have to say, its impressive. How do we channel this so you stop using me as your personal jungle gym? Just asking!
You love babies. Real and fake. You are so gentle and kind to your "babies" (stuffies) and love to cart them around, talk to them, feed them, put them down for naps and just generally take care of them.
Your favourite tv show is Daniel Tigers Neighbourhood. You know that it comes on as soon as we drop the other kids off at school, and you use that as your personal tv time. It makes for a nice quiet half hour every morning.

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You and food are best friends. You love to eat almost everything, with the exception of a lot of meat. Its very easy to feed you.
You formerly were a very good listener, but you have recently adopted a few bad habits from Maizey and Jace, so occasionally, your listening skills take a hit. It's definitely something we work on a lot.
You are still sleeping in your crib, even though you do know how to climb out. Most mornings you quietly play until someone comes to tell you that you are allowed to get up, at which time you climb out yourself. Sadly, last night, you decided you can get out whenever you want and chose 1:00am and 3:00am to do so. Tomorrow, your crib will be turned into a toddler bed and I would be lying if I said that it didn't make me (a little) sad. The end of the crib is definitely the final end to the baby stage. *wipes a single tear from my cheek*
You are working on potty training. You do very well, most days. Other days - your little stubborn side kicks in and my GOD you are stubborn. We will keep patiently and diligently working, but you are truly doing amazing at it.

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taking her baby for a walk

You have the cutest little sense of humor and try to make us laugh, which is always fun to watch. You also love to copy the other kids, saying what they say after they say it. One of our favourite things to do as a family is listen to music together on Youtube, each of us taking our turn to pick a song. Without fail, after every song, Jace exclaims "MY TURN", even if it is not his turn. You picked this habit up, and always yell "MY TURN" ... it gets a good laugh out of us. We always let you choose your song by looking at the cover photo for the song. You for sure know your favourites, Saltwater Gospel by Eli Young Band, Always Be by Tim McGraw and May We All by Florida Georgia Line (which, no joke, has the saddest music video of all time). You ADORABLY announce before a lot of songs "I wuv this song. I really wuv this song" .... which is straight out of  my mouth. I am glad you picked up that saying rather than one of my other choice phrases. haha
You are free and easy with your love - you snuggle, give hugs and kisses, say "I wuv you" and gently hold hands all the time.

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Winnie the pooper, we sure do love you. Dad and I quietly said to eachother just last night, while watching you and Maizey and Jace laugh and play together, that we can barely believe this is our life...that we created THIS. Three kids that actually really love one another and like to be together, with of course, the usual sibling bullshit thrown in there.
You are without a doubt, the absolute best addition we could have added.
You are so so so loved.
I can't wait to see what this next year brings for you and for us.
We love you baby girl. My hope for you is that you always feel it.
Happy second birthday.
xoxox
Love, Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Happy Fifth Birthday, Jace!

Dear My Best Buddy,
Happy Happy 5th Birthday, my friend.
Five seems like a lot of years. I possibly say this about every age, but seriously, how have you been alive for five years?
This last year has held some of the absolute best moments with you. You have gone from a complete spaz to a reasonable little person that I can have a discussion with and we can finally agree on an acceptable outcome. You have certainly learned to use nice and calm words and you scream at me and Dad a whole lot less. The amount of relief I feel over this cannot be put into words. There were a lot of days where I was not sure how you and I were going to make it out on the other side of this.... but here we are and I am so grateful.

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Starting Kindergarten has been one of the proudest and best things you have done. You were so completely ready to go and I was so happy for you. I know for sure that some of your new coping skills have been learned at school. You willingly get ready every morning, you happily ride your bike (almost) every morning with very little complaining and you simply smile, wave and walk into class. It is so amazing to see you thriving in that environment, and I love leaving you without feeling like I need to worry about you at all. I am so proud of you.
You love fruit and vegetables. You would be happy to eat a place of each for every meal. It is so easy to feed you. In fact, your favourite meal right now is spinach salad. Um, I have no idea how this happened, but I will not argue!

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Your favourite songs are "You Look Like I Need A Drink" and "Humble and Kind" and "7 Years Old" . You always want to stay in the truck to listen to the end of whatever song is playing. I also like doing that, so I always oblige.
You are still a major tv fan. Its tough to get you to walk away from it, so we kind of have to super limit you. You love PJ Masks and The Lion Guard... actually, you love pretty much every show on Disney Junior. When you aren't watching those shows you love to play some version of them with Maizey. The two of you could play Lion Guard for hours. Its fantastic to see your imagination emerging.

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 If this doesn't get you right in the heart, I don't know what will. My goodness. This slays me.

Over the last year you have become a lot less lazy and lot more willing to try hard things. Formerly, if it felt like you would have to put in even a little bit of effort, you absolutely would not try. Like, riding a two wheeler for example. You totally did it last summer, but occasionally you would stumble, so you quit trying altogether. This spring, you climbed on and rode away. I am so glad!
You also cannot be tricked into doing things you don't want to do. The age old trick of  "I bet you can't even *whatever whatever* anyways...." doesn't work. You just shrug and say "you're right, I can't". It's terribly frustrating to tell you the truth. Sometimes I just want you to be helpful. My hope is this will also evolve over time and one day I will just realize that suddenly, my years of harping at you will have paid off and you are super helpful. Lets see how that goes! haha.
I hear from your teachers that you are a really good friend. You are kind and helpful and nice to be around. I love hearing that so much. I see you interacting on the playground and know it is true.
You really love helping me bake, reading books by yourself and playing games. I try to make sure we do all of those things often.

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I love your absolutely genuine smile and your really adorable dimples. I love giving you big hugs that last a super long time and I love hearing your giggle that comes straight from your guts. Its so infectious. You add so much laughter and fun to our family. You also make me border on crazy, but the truth is, without you, my days would be too quiet. I love you so much, my friend. I can't wait to see what this next year brings for us.
Happy 5th birthday Budski. You seem like a grown up now.

Love,
Mom and Dad.