On this, your 4th birthday, I wanted to take a moment to write down a little bit about what you love right now, before you move on to your next, new loves.
You love Hello Kitty, Dora, monkeys, and the color pink, and often all at the same time.
You love purple if pink is not an option.
You love tea parties, with real tea and china cups with saucers. And a cookie. I sometimes think the cookie is the real reason for the tea party.
You love to play dolls, doctor, school, cooking and dress-up.
You love to sing out loud, and dance, dance, dance (even when there is no music- my favorite.)
You love to sing "You Are My Sunshine", "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider", "ABC", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", and "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. I don't know how that last one got in there.
You love making art whether it is with crayons, markers, paint, chalk, pencils, playdough or anything else you might come across.
You love to be loud.
You love carrots, raisins, grapes, bananas, pepperoni pizza, black olives, celery, broccoli, pasta with cheese, salami sandwiches, chicken, ham, donuts with sprinkles, bacon, apples, milk, water, hot cocoa, toast with a "mama egg"- aka over-easy, crackers, Tillamook cheddar cheese, tacos, pickles, and trying new foods, even when you spit them back out and declare "I don't think I like this kind of food."
You love babies, new people and your family. And you love to tell everyone that your "best friends" are the younger sisters of Ben's friends.
You love anything Ben is doing, anything Dad is doing, anything Mom is doing, not doing what you should be doing and doing what you should not be doing. You are a doer.
You love to go places. You always ask if we can go to "one more stop".
You love to come up with new reasons that you don't need sleep.
You love books. We go to the library at least once a week and four books quickly multiply to a dozen.
You are a loving, kind, spunky, spirited, funny and unique girl and my wish for you is a year filled with love and laughter and discovery and joy.
You are my sunshine. Even when the sun is already shining.
I came across an illustration of this quote in a magazine today and it stopped me in my tracks. There are so many reasons that I needed these words today, and I have a feeling this quote is going to be hanging on the wall for a long time.
Every night before bed Emma has me singing 3 versions of the "Itsy-Bitsy" spider song that she has been singing at her preschool. The first version is the regular, itsy version. Next we sing about the "medium" spider. And we finish our song fest with the "Big" spider.
I think the spider in this web that was on my rose bush is the spider from the third version of the song.
And I almost walked right through it's web today.
And if I had I think I would have been singing something of the four-letter variety.
A look at you, in photos, from birth to age 10, and a letter from your mom.
I truly feel as though it was only yesterday that I was first holding you in my arms, not ten years ago. That day is one of my most beautiful and vivid memories, bringing another person into the world is an amazing, life-changing event, and meeting you for the first time has changed my life for the better in so many ways.
As a child I loved my family, books, music, dolls, riding my bike, and playing with my friends. From an early age I was drawn to playing "mom", at parties I would round up all the children younger than me and play games, read, or just take care of them. As I grew older my loves turned to things like going to dances, participating in school activities, spending more time with my friends, and of course, boys, and during that time my thoughts of becoming a mom were put away. Until I met your dad. Between the time we met, became friends, dated, then married, I knew that I had found the person that I wanted to have my family with. And just a few short years after we wed you came along and made me a mom.
Because of you I realize the advice I was given by other moms before you were born, like the many moms who would tell me that time flies by in a blink of an eye, or the mom who said you can never hold your baby too much because one day they will be too big to hold, or the mom who told me how she couldn't believe how much love her heart could hold until she held her firstborn in her arms, were not just words but the honest truth. That sleep would become a precious commodity. That while your heart grows so does your passion for protecting your child from the smallest to the biggest of harms and heartbreaks. That your heart also learns that you can't protect your child from everything, but that your can be there for them, to wipe away their tears, offer your ear, and an open heart so that they know they can talk to you about the bad as well as the good. That your house will never be really clean. That each stage in your child's development brings something even better than the last. Did I mention that sleep deprivation thing? I can't remember, I haven't slept much in the past ten years.
Ben, you bring so much joy to our family with your funny jokes, your shy smile, your daily hugs, your capacity to love our family, including your little sister, especially when what she is doing really irritates you, your passion for reading and learning, your Lego creations, your infectious laugh, your "Human Beans" comic strips, and your easy going nature.
And on today, your 10th birthday, while you are making a wish as you blow out the candles on your cake, I will be making a wish in my heart too, a wish for you to continue to grow and change and love and learn, to find what makes you happy and passionate so that you can live your life to the fullest.
Oh, and that every once in awhile you will pick up your phone and call your mom.
I wanted to share a Halloween card I made for a challenge over at Crop Chocolate, using products I purchased from their site. The challenge this month was to use stitching on your project, I chose to faux stitch using both a black and a white pen. The pumpkin on this card was inpired by a folk art pillow that my parents purchased for me last year. Earlier this year I purchased a basic sewing machine to use for projects such as this one but I have yet to use it in crafting (but I have a set of curtains that are not dragging the floor anymore and Emma is the proud owner of a small purse made from an old pair of jeans!)
And if you are looking to add to your craft stash Crop Chocolate is a several deal a day site that purchases products from different scrapbook maunufacturers and sells them at a deep discount. When you purchase something from them you have the option of adding a package of "Hot Chocolate" to your order (HC is a mystery grab bag of products )for $2.49- I have yet to receive a bag of HC that was worth less than $20.00 retail. They are an amazing company with the best customer service I've ever dealt with and a genuinly nice staff.
Because of the demise of the small, local scrapbook stores in our area I often find myself shopping online for procucts that I am in search of, and most of the bigger online stores tend to either forget to pack items, send damaged goods, or take weeks to get product shipped to you. I have never had this be the case when dealing with Crop Chocolate, and with less money in my pocket these days to spend on supplies I plan on continuing to spend where I receive excellent customer service.
At the beginning of September (yes, I realize it is now the beginning of October) my dad, Steve, and his friend Cary, and co-author of the book, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon: A Field Guide, took our family and some friends on a nature walk where the kids and adults alike were able to observe, as well as catch and release, several species of dragonflies and damselflies. The trail we walked on was near the freeway and behind an industrial area, but the preservation and restoration of the area made you almost forget that you weren't miles from civilization.
And being surrounded by all that natural beauty, as well as the magical feeling of having a dragonfly rest briefly on your hand, made for an unforgettable morning.