Monday, June 30, 2014

The Big Four Point Five

Dear Em,
This morning I peeked into your room & found you awake with your light on. You had piled & posed half of your dolls & stuffed animals on your rocking chair. You told me that you were taking family photos. I watched you in awe. It's just so amazing to me that you are mine....that you are ours, mine & Daddy's. 

I pulled you in for some snuggles & watched you beam when I told you that today you turn four and a half. That half is very important at your age. Then I asked you about some of your favorite things at this moment.

Favorite food: Olives.
Favorite thing to do: Spend time with my family.
Favorite thing to play: Barbies with Nonnie.
Outside or inside: Outside.
Favorite thing to do outside: Swing on the swings.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A Unicorn Ballerina Princess.
Favorite book: Bitty Baby.
Favorite song: Let it Go.
Favorite color: Gold.
Favorite TV show: Sofia the First
Favorite movie: Frozen.

Some things have changed (oh, how the movie Frozen has taken over our lives over the past 6 months), but so many have stayed the same. I love that spending time with family is your favorite thing. I was shocked to learn that your favorite colors pink & purple have been replaced by gold. A few weeks ago, a family friend introduced you to the table of elements. You were enchanted by the sparkle & shine of gold, & that was it. You had a new favorite color & very expensive taste.

You are still a bouncy, giggly, smart, twirling, headstrong, creative, energized, bubbly, dancing, glittery, bounding, loving, imaginative, sweet, amazing little four year old (four and a half now). You have such a love of learning (I'm so thankful to this year's teachers for that). At our most recent parent teacher conference, I was in awe of the difference of your writing in just a few short months. Instead of just rainbow writing, you often your practice sounding out a word & writing the letters on your own. I'm so proud of your hard work & thrilled that you enjoy writing & sounding out letters. You're still such a little learning sponge, & your eyes sparkle when you present me your papers filled with words & pictures.

While you've always been quite verbal, we've been working on learning about how our word choices & tones matter. You're trying to understand why it's OK to call a crayon fat but not a person. You're leaning that even when the words you use are fine, a tone can completely change the meaning of your words. You're working to remember to use your "manners words." It's hard sometimes to talk to a four year old who is giving me major attitude, & we have battled it out these past six months. But I've noticed a simple, "Em, try it again" after you've said something rude or nasty is all the reminder you need to remember that words matter before trying your sentence again in a "more appropriate way" (yes, you now use the word appropriate & it's hilarious).

Physically, you're our little dare devil, ready to try things way before Daddy & I are ready for you to try them. You were gifted your bike six months ago. At first you were frustrated when you couldn't pedal perfectly, but you were determined. I can't believe how swiftly you ride now, beaming with pride when you make it up a hill all on your own.

You also started dance for the first time six months ago. All of the classes were behind closed doors, & I didn't know what to expect. We were all absolutely dazzled by your first dance recital. Although you won't be taking dance again until the winter, we still get the pleasure of seeing your arabesques & spins at home.

Swimming is another area that you've worked your body in new ways. I almost had a heart attack when I heard that you walked into the pool & swam to the ladder without a swimmer. I guess it was just your way of telling us that you were ready to start swimming on your own. You've taken swim classes over the last few weeks, & it's been so fun for me to watch you learn. You insist to your teacher that you can do things "on my own!" Although, it led to you sinking under water a few times, I was also impressed to see you, in fact, do some of the swimming on your own. I'm looking forward to continuing to practice swimming & back floats together this summer and beyond.

We celebrated your aunt Andrea's wedding in May, & you were the flower girl. Gosh, what a difference a couple years make. Sure, you shed some tears before the ceremony (you were woken from a nap, & that's never a good thing), but you pulled it together. You were the most adorable little flower girl, & I couldn't have been more proud of you. You had the maturity to know that it was Andrea's special day & it wasn't all about you. I watched people's faces light up when you were near, & loved seeing you dance the night away.

We celebrated your 4.5 birthday with your little friends last Saturday. I will enjoy recapping the party over the next few weeks, because it was totally & absolutely you- all pinks & purples & dancing & princesses & sparkles. You are the girly little girl I swore I would never raise, & yet you are the most beautiful & fierce & bright & lovable & strong girly little girl I've ever known. I guess that's what happens when you let a little girl be who she is instead of who you think she should truly get to watch her shine.

I love you so, my little 4.5 year old,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Our First Couches

Dear Em,
Daddy & I dated for almost five years before we moved in together. Before that, we lived in dorms & dorm apartments. When we moved into our first apartment together, I was ready to be an adult in a REAL apartment.

We didn't start with much furniture. Actually, we started with a futon & a big screen TV (the TV was your Daddy's first large purchase after getting his first job out of college). I loved picking out items & decorating that first apartment. We didn't have a lot of money. We were just out of college & grad school & saving for our wedding. I tried to find great deals & filled our home with DIY projects.

It was a proud moment when we bought our first couch set. It was my first big girl purchase for our apartment. At times our apartment didn't seem like much of an adult apartment. We had a Foosball & beer pong table where a dining room table should have been, but I loved that apartment & I loved those couches. They were nice looking but comfy for fun get-togethers with friends.

They were perfect for snuggling.

Did I mention they were comfy?

When we moved into our house, we got an even more adult set of leather couches. Our first couches moved down to mantown (as did our beer pong table & RedSox/Patriots decor), & even you enjoyed some fun couch time.

We had the couches for over eight years, eight years of amazing memories. Recently we bought new couches for our living room, & it just made sense to move our leather couches into mantown. Which means our first couches were moved to the curb. Literally. Your Uncle Jared brought them to the curb in the middle of the night with a sign that said "FREE," & before the end of the next day our couches were gone. 

I was glad not to have to store couches we didn't have room for, but it was a little bitter sweet. I just hope someone out there is enjoying our first adult couches as much as we did.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Princess Birthday Party: The Theme

Dear Em,
* This the first post of 4 posts recapping an adorable 4.5 Princess Birthday Party. See also Princess Birthday Party: The InvitesPrincess Birthday Party: The Venue, & Princess Birthday Party: the Food. *
This past weekend we had your 4.5 birthday party (For those who are reading this & are new to the blog, since your birthday is in the middle of Christmas & New Years Day & we're typically traveling, we celebrate your birthday just as family on your actual birthday. Then in June we throw a party for you & your little friends to celebrate your half birthday). You & your little friends had an absolute blast, & I loved every moment of the celebration. It was my favorite birthday party yet.

It started with the theme. Daddy & I talked about what kind of party we should have this year. Ultimately, we decided on a theme that is all you: a Princes Party. You love everything about princesses. Princess shows & stories are your favorite, & you're constantly twirling around in princess costumes. It's actually pretty funny, because I swore I would never raise a frilly, little, princessy girl. And yet, here you are, & I couldn't imagine raising a more amazing child.

So, we gave you your dream & invited you & your little friends to be princesses for an afternoon. I'm so glad we did. This is just a little preview of the cuteness.

For the next few Wednesdays, I'll be recapping your super fun, super sweet princess party. Stay tuned...

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ready for a Snow Day

Dear Em,
This is how you looked, running into my room a couple weeks ago...

"I'm READY for a snow day," you proclaimed with excitement.

I know that we had a rough winter & a chilly spring, but I'm really hoping you don't get your snow day for a while. It is finally summer, after all. Then again, it's New England. So, who knows.

I love you so,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Falling Asleep In My Arms Days

Dear Em,
In the early hours of morning you came to me whimpering because your head hurt. I scooped you up in my arms & laid you down next to me in my bed. I closed my eyes & rested, all the while listening to the sound of you breathing as you lay snuggled in next to me. 

I'm not sure if it was your stillness or the slow, deep rhythm of your breathing, but I suddenly noticed that you had fallen asleep in my arms. This NEVER happens. Happily, I soaked in every second of this precious moment. I took in the smell of your hair. I listened to the sounds of your breathing. I enjoyed every second of your little girl snuggles, all the while thinking about how I haven't had a moment like that since you were a baby.

It was a hard thing to slip out of bed while you continued to sleep & get ready for work, but I have hope. Maybe your fall asleep in my arms days are not tally over. Maybe.

I love you so,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Jayme & Julie

Dear Em,
This is my best friend Jayme & I...& the silly guy dressed up like a Hooters girl is our friend Glen.

Thirteen years, four graduations, two weddings, multiple jobs, multiple moves, & three kids later here Jayme & I are now.

She is now Aunt Jayme to you & I am Aunt Julie to her two littles. We started as friends, but she & her family have become more like family. I truly felt like I had come home to family during our most recent trip, & it felt really amazing. You fit right in, playing princesses with Uncle Bill, making messes with Uncle Steve, studying elements with Papi Z, & rocking with Mama Z.

I've been so incredibly blessed in this lifetime, & one of the things I am most thankful for is the friendship/sisterhood I've found in Jayme (people have asked us so many times if we're sisters, we decided on the last trip to just respond "yes"). To have a best friend who supports me, who talks me off the ledge sometimes, who will pick up right where we left off no matter how much time has passed, who tells me I'm doing OK when I feel like I'm the worst, who makes me laugh, who loves my family like her own, whose family has become my family, who loves me for me...I pray that you will find friendship like this in your lifetime.

I'm so very thankful that you will grow up knowing that our Ohio family loves you.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tarzan & Jane & Baby D too

Dear Em,
Yesterday I recapped our Ohio adventure, but I wanted to talk a little bit more about what a joy it was to watch you play with T & baby D. To be able to spend time with my best friend while watching our littles love each heart was so full.

Let me start by saying that you are a girls girl. You are never as happy as when you have little girls to play with. You are in your element playing baby, barbies, & dress up. Sure, you'll play with little boys too, but mostly you enjoy spending your moments with your girlfriends...except when it comes to T & Baby D. You fondly tell everyone that they are your cousins, & I smile at the idea that our dear friends have become our family.

While we only get to see T twice a year, we try to talk on the phone and on face time frequently. I never talk to him without him asking, "where's Emma?" The two of you were so excited to be together at last. You jumped in right away by reading each other books.

Really, the two of you were happy doing almost anything as long as you were doing it together.

Except for when you two were ready to kill each other (sharing was a little bit of a big deal), there was so much love going on.

Although baby D is still a newborn & not very mobile, you two did your best to include him in the fun. Honestly, I couldn't have been more proud of what a big girl you were, Em. When baby D cried, you jumped right in to do your best to soothe him. You told Nonnie that baby D "is a really good baby...when he's not crying." Ha!

On one of the nights we were in Ohio, we hung out in the backyard. You & T had kind of your own date night (don't tell Daddy). You grilled for dinner, went for a drive, roasted some marshmallows, & then headed for "the wilderness" (some trees on the side of the yard). You two had sticks in your hands, & you told me you were Tarzan & Jane, exploring the wilderness. I smiled as I watched you from across the yard & felt like my heart might burst. I love the way you two love each other.

I can't wait to see what adventures lay ahead for Tarzan & Jane & baby D too.

I love you so,
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