Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy FIFTH Birthday, Baby Girls!

Last night, John said "Babe, can you believe that five years ago you were hooked up to a bunch of machines and feeling rotten?"... to which I replied "I do. And I remember spending half the night stressing about what we would name one or both of our babies if we had a boy." We didn't have a boy - we had two tiny baby girls who have spent the last five years challenging us as individuals and as a couple. And on this fifth birthday, all I can say is "thank you". Thank you, Abby and Elise. You have taught us more about ourselves... about priorities... about being selfless and selfish... about exhaustion... about elation... about determination... about pride... about life... about love. I love you more today than I did yesterday.

Abby Rose - You are my gauge, my meter for how our family is doing emotionally. You wear your feelings on your sleeve and when life feels stressful, it shows in your body language, in your words, in your sleep patterns. When life is carefree and peaceful, it shows in your smile, your laughter, and your step. Last year I wrote how much you love babies - that has not changed one bit. Friends with babies can tell you apart from Elise because of the speed with which you run to their little one to touch, squeeze, and hold. Animals have the same effect on you - I think you're often more excited to see Charlie pup in the morning than me. You have a new interest in the kitchen - and not just eating. When I'm cooking, baking, chopping, stirring - "Momma, may I help you please?". You are the cutest assistant ever. Your independence cannot be rivaled but your need for comfort, closeness, and my touch has not lessened. On solid ground, you have no fear - you took off on your bike confidently and with ease. You are often scaling any tree, wall, counter, bag of feed at the farm store that can be found. You have spent countless hours in a purple, velour leotard with a skirt around it. And maybe an apron. And possibly knee-high black boots. And your hair is always down, unless I demand otherwise. You, like your Uncle Travis, love seafood. For your birthday lunch, we had noodles with shrimp at Little Saigon - your choice. You have learned how to wink.

Elise Autumn - Patience. If I could think of a word right now that describes you, it is patience. Best example? When we are getting ready to go somewhere, you always want your hair brushed. You will say "Momma, will you brush my hair?" to which I often reply "In just a minute.". This same exchange may happen zero more times or sixteen more times. Each interaction is as polite and patient as the last. It is rare that you leave the house without a headband or barrette. Last summer, you took your first class where I dropped you off and left - it was traumatic for both of us. This summer, I dropped you and Abby off at the Arts Center for a two hour class one week. You hugged me, kissed me, and marched through the door to make some new friends. I had kleenex in my pocket but never told you. Last year I wrote about how you freak out with bugs - just yesterday, you went and got a kleenex, headed to the living room window, smashed and disposed of a fly. That, my dear child, is growth! In the water, you have no fear - at the lake, you jumped right off the boat and enthusiastically volunteered to go tubing. In the pool, you are underwater doing somersaults and handstands more than you're above water. You love to write - I was still laying in bed the other morning and, from across the hall, you asked me how to spell "apparently". You love "open noodles", the multi-colored shells from The Merc. For your birthday breakfast, we had scones at The Merc - your choice.  You have learned how to snap.

Abby and Elise - over the past year, you have learned how to read and ride a bike. You took a dance class and started piano lessons. We've finished the chapter books Mary Poppins, Stuart Little, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Charlotte's Web, to name a few. Today, you received 6 new chapter books as birthday presents, and you've been reading all. day. long. You know who the president is and that he lives in Washington, DC. You were also heartbroken when you found out that his trip to Lawrence had been canceled. You have both learned how to play Twinkle, Twinkle, and Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano. When one of you is upset, the other one's latest trick is to run to her side and cross your eyes and stick out your tongue. This leads to a fit of giggles, which is amazing. You are both so aware of other children and eager to introduce yourself. You never forget a name. Every Monday morning, we do our weekly shopping together at the Merc. While I'm checking out, you two are over chatting with the ladies who work at the credit union - you know their names and when they're out sick, and I have no doubt that they know a heck of a lot about our life. This year, we start the adventure of school together. I've asked you both, multiple times and individually, if you want to go to school. Both of you reply, every time, "No, Momma, I want to stay home with you." Your wish is my command. Thank you for choosing me to be your first teacher - I know we'll have our ups and downs, but I will do my best to work with you, support you, and love you. More today than I did yesterday. Happy Birthday Abby and Elise!

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