DEAR RAE : : HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY EDITION

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“Snuggle you?”

The magic words that greeted me this morning as I contemplated the pros and cons of getting out of bed vs. diving deeper into the comfortable stack of blankets keeping me warm. Just what I needed to hear. Few things in life give me as much joy as snuggling with you (although I don’t say “YES!!” as often as I’d like to.).

You received the gold metal in hugging a few weeks ago when you added a tackle element to your bear hugs. You really go the extra mile in all areas of your life. Its inspiring, Babe. Keep it up.

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You are speaking well so now. You still talk a bit like a cave man (“Me. like. you. dress.”), but you have moved swiftly into caveman run-on sentences. I enjoy watching  you figure out the correct way to organize your words. You manage to take your time and rush in the same moment. I’d like this stage to drag on a bit longer, but I’m sure you don’t find it as adorable as I do.

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You have your own sense of style. It is feminine, sparkly, bright, and flowy.

You do anything your sister does. The moment we drop Mae off at school you sadly whisper, “Miss. Mees.”, which translates to, “I miss Mae.” My heart melts every time.

Your favorite princesses are Pocahontas, and Merida.

You say your favorite movie involves one of the above, but if I ask you what you want to watch, 9 times out of 10 its Song of the Sea. The 10th time you choose Paddington. Thankfully you seemed to have reached your limit on Pocahontas and Brave.

You are really interested in clocks, shoes, and drawing on yourself with markers.

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You find fun everywhere you go. Its a contagious trait, beautiful girl. You are the embodiment of sunshine!

We love you dearly sweet sweet Rae.

 

DEAR MAE

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Beautiful Mae,

Your smile is as bright as a summer sun and your soul is as warm as a spring breeze.

You long to see the moon each night, yet are sad when the sun goes down. You see beauty in all things. Beauty I often over look.

You remind me to slow down and observe. You remind me to return to my younger days when I would sit and observe the world in silence. You are such a blessing to 27 year old me.

Mamas are here to guide their children through life, but you are guiding me to a much richer life. One that wandered down a different path when I wasn’t looking. I should never become too busy that I don’t have time to grab a cup of tea, plop down in a rocker, and listen as the wind blows across the tree tops.

I love you. I need you. I want you. I adore you.

DEAR RAE

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My darling.

You are slowly shedding your baby bits and taking on the character of a lady. You spend more and more of your time devoted to quiet independent play, less time causing mayhem, and often pet your sister, give her hugs, and kiss her cheeks softly just because she is there and you love her.

Your sister is your world. Your soul mate. The church to your steeple. You sit like her, brush your teeth like her, hold your spoon like her, run when she runs, and miss her dearly when she is in the next room.

You laugh at your own gibberish, and we can’t help but laugh along. I hope you’re not actually laughing because you just threw away all of the child-proof cups. ( True story example, by the way…)

Your hair is getting long and full. As a result, it is typically a hot mess. Thanks for letting me take the time to tame it. You require a headband each morning after brushing your teeth, and sit perfectly still while I paint your nails. Patience looks good on you Miss Rae. Real real good.

You still request a security blanket when you sleep, and kisses after each application of chap stick. I’m so glad you look as forward to my kisses as I do yours.

Much older Rae, feel free to hunt me down right now and snuggle with me for at least  an hour. This goes for 15 year old Rae, 37 year old Rae, and all the in betweens – okay? I’ll always be up for snuggles with my lovely Rae. (…and then go find your daddy and give him your best bear hug. )

We love you gorgeous Rae.

DEAR MAE & RAE

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Girls,

At the moment you are both running wild through the house hand in hand.

Run-scream-thud-giggle-repeat.

Repetition of your favorite activity. Belly laughs fill every empty nook in the house, and tumbles occur without tears. It is solely because you are together in your defeat. Defeat that happens when your feet took the wheel and your mind couldn’t keep up.

My heart overflows with joy in the presence of you both. Separately you are my world. Together you create more love than I ever thought my heart was capable of handling.

I love you dearly my beautiful daughters.

DEAR RAE

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Mia,

Don’t!

Put that back.

Leave that alone.

What are you doing?

Mia? Where’d you go? Oooooh…go sit in time out.

…Get back in time out.

These are all phrases you hear, and I say, too often. Hopefully I am evening things out with I love yous, and an abundance of kisses.

Tonight I walked into my room to find the floor had been replaced with alphabet cards. The whole family joined forces to find the box they belong with. Later, after you had gone to bed, I found that box in the garbage can, along with the lid to a sippy cup, a mickey mouse bowl from my childhood, and the letter V card.

However, you now kiss on command. Win win win for everyone!

Your favorite person is me! No joke, future Amelia, I really used to be you favorite person.

You adore your sister. The two of you soar through the house at top running speed, hugging mid-run and toppling to the floor laughing so hard you snort. It. Is. Magical.

Penelope is a mama to you, and a more responsible mama than your actual one, if I’m being honest. She calmly said tonight,

“Amelia, I saw the books in the hallway. It’s a mess…you need to go put your books on the bookshelf. Amelia. What did I say? What did I say about your books? Put ‘em on the bookshelf. C’mon, Mia, let’s go.” –and she calmly walks you hand in hand to the hallway and helps you pick up the books. (Okay, you will put away one book and stand idly by as she picks up the other fourteen) – just like you would with your actual mama! 🙂

Although ‘Difficult’ is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how my day with you will go, perfect, quiet, lovely, generous, helpful, and loving are the thoughts to follow. You have my heart beautiful lady.

You are in bed now and I desperately desire one of your bear hugs. I would sneak in and hold your hand all night if I knew my presence wouldn’t interrupt your sweet dreams.

It may not seem like it, but I really can’t get enough of you, sweet sweet Rae.

I love you SO much.

DEAR MAE

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Mae,

Though you are young, you are a giant. You love with the with a great strength, you dance without fear, and you journey with curiosity, hope and joy in your pocket. Can I be you when I grow up?

You are so clever! Already, at three, your jokes are smart…and you know it. You accompany every joke with the most contagious belly laugh and a smile that just won’t quit. I now know why I would often find my mom starring at us as we did nothing particularly spectacular. There really is nothing in this world better than my two ladies. I could watch you sit perfectly still for hours.  HOURS.

You are really interested in friends (which you call your “kids”), school, swimming, horses, ring-around-the-rosie, weddings (specifically, yours), and traveling to amazing places we study (whether we actually go there or not).

We began reading Daddy’s Action Bible and you sit completely fascinated, and ask questions about everything I say. Your Bible was your favorite book, and had Amelia not ripped it, it would still be our go-to. Thanks for being calm when Amelia is being a stinker. You’re classy lady.

You are such a mama bird that Amelia calls you “Mama.” I am okay with this, and I totally see why she thinks you are her other mama. You’re not bossy, you are genuinely helpful and kind. Your heart makes mine desire to be better.

This year (The year of being four) officially begins the preschool years, the year you may begin dance, and the year we no longer have a hand-me-down supply (good-bye money…hello to seeing what your style is!).

You will be four in the blink of an eye. I am trying so hard not to blink, but my big eyes are drying out. I guess as long as you don’t grow out of wanting to hold my hand, snuggle all hours of the day, and don’t stop giving me obnoxiously long kisses for another year I’ll go ahead and blink, but only once!

I love you more than I could ever say.

You are perfect, darling.

DEAR MAE

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Dear Miss Mae,

You have bloomed into such a big personality in the past few months. You are charming, full of sympathy and joy. You have proudly taken Amelia under your wing, teaching her the proper way to twirl, demonstrating patience when she needs it, and showing her the ropes in the fields of tooth hygiene, dirty dish disposal, and the right way to hold a crayon. She follows you everywhere and copies your every move. I love the way you adore each other.

You now can do everything on your own. Surprisingly, this has filled me with joy, and not sadness as I assumed it would. You brush your teeth and hair, wash your hands, you get your own drinks, you can start and stop the bath water at the right height, and have even taken over washing your sister! You help me each and every day.

You are eager to hand out kisses and have perfected the pucker

Your favorite dress is your purple one with white stripes. A dress with no glitter or flare, and the color is kind of dull, yet you beam when it appears from the dryer. I think your adoration of this dress shows a great deal about your heart. You will nurture and treasure those you meet who are a little less sparkly than others, you inspire me to see the world with better eyes.

Your favorite movie character is Jesse from Toy Story, because, “She is really silly!” I hope you never lose your silly.

Bugs really bother you. Dirt does not.

You really  do not like your face to get wet!

You call your friends your “kids.”

Recently you have become afraid of the dark.

I can’t get enough of the sound of you giggling with your sister as it makes its way through the house. I have never heard a noise more beautiful. I hope I never forget it.

You are my treasure. Too big for a box, but perfect for hugging so tight. Thank you for letting me squeeze you as long as I like. Fuel for my soul.

I love you very much, Mae.

DEAR RAE

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Dear [toddler] Rae,

Two weeks ago you slept for what seemed like three days straight in your cocoon of a crib. You emerged thinner, sporting more chiseled facial features, miraculously less hungry, more understanding, and somehow more independent.

What a strange feeling it is to no longer be a mama to a baby. It is true that, even when you are 78, you will still be my baby, but I can’t help but feel a smidge less needed.

Your hands are getting strong and firm. You are losing your delicious knuckle dimples. In return you have developed a hand holding strength that melts my heart to mush. A fair trade I will happily accept.

You say words, Amelia! Words! You say just about every word with an echo, and I can’t help but chuckle.

“Bir bir!” – Bird – your favorite animal right now.

“Buh buh”- (Penelope)

“Hu hu” – Hot hot, for the stove.

“DUMMMMM – DOH!!!” (Dumbo)

“Pur pur” –Purple

“Beh beh” – Baby

“Maaaaaay – buuuuul” – Maple

I have a feeling you will develop a southern accent like you sister. It would seem Mama’s old accent comes out when I raise my voice. This would mean I need to yell less, oops. I find very few things to be cuter than a little lady with a southern drawl. Maybe I’ll just stick to yelling sweet things, and softly say things like the ever occurring, “Amelia don’t eat out of the trash can!!” or “Don’t draw on your sister!”

You will now snuggle for a solid ten seconds before wiggling out of my grasp! This is an increase of at least five seconds. You have also improved your kisses!! They are strong, abundant, and perfectly puckered.

You still rip pages in books. Your favorite books are Penelope’s Bible and her devotional book – also her favorites. She cries every time you posses them. You tear a page every time you posses them.

You go to the potty and place the seat on correctly when you have to go, and this house rarely sees a wet diaper. You amaze me.

You now have regular chores. Everyday you unload your dishes from the dish washer, help pick up toys, and wipe the table. Such a big helper!

Your favorite game to play with Penelope is “Who can scream the loudest?” it is always followed by from-the-gut-giggles. The best kind.

Penelope enjoys creating, building, and collecting. You enjoying destroying it. All of it.

Grandma Penny says you are not a stinker, but for the record – you’re a stinker.

My favorite stinker.

I adore you Miss Rae,

Mama

DEAR MAE & RAE

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Penelope, you wake up every morning at 7:00 sharp. You walk into our room, snuggle for a bit, then walk back to the kitchen and grab a pouch of fruit snacks. You take it back to your room, and crawl into Amelia’s crib. From there you giggle, talk to one another, and share that pouch of fruit snacks. I sometimes sneak out of bed, just to sit outside your room and listen to your ‘conversations’ and giggles. No better way to start my day than with snuggles and an ear full of giggles from the two of you!

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You dance to every song that flows through the room. Every little tune. You both have some of the smoothest moves I’ve ever seen.

Penelope, you sing along to every song. You try so hard to get the words right. You have such a precious voice. My heart aches at its beauty. At its innocence. Amelia has begun to follow your example. She loves you so much. Her words are gobbledy-gook right now, but she holds a tune so well. You encourage each other. Love without judgment. Love at its purest.

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The Lord has blessed us greatly with the beautiful souls he has given you both. We love you more than I could ever put into words. I try, but the emotions and the raw moments of peace watching the two of you each day cannot be written down. I pray someday you will know this feeling.

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There will be a day when you won’t have me to turn to anymore. I know, God willing, you will have each other. You will hold the advice of the other up high. You will have your own special embrace. An embrace that lingers a bit longer than the rest.

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You would follow each other anywhere. You console each other. You make each other laugh. You frustrate each other on occasion. You pick out socks together. You snuggle and read together. Penelope enjoys her cereal in a bowl, Amelia prefers hers in a puddle on the floor. Penelope dances like a ballerina, Amelia dances like a cowboy. You don’t notice the differences. I like that about you. Whether you grow up to enjoy the same things, or have completely different personalities, I know you will love each other. You will be inseparable.

I love you.

Mama.

DEAR MAE

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Dear Mae,

You have become a storyteller. Your enthusiastic imagination tells of monsters in the garden who will join us for snack time, and snakes who take naps on the porch after eating apples. Dining room tables turn into caves, and little girls into bears. [Creativity you undoubtedly got from your daddy.] I could watch you tell a story for hours. You use every limb and facial expression. Your stories fill me with joy and I find it hard to stop smiling, well after the story is over.

An inch taller than you were on your birthday, you are almost to big to carry. Thankfully, you haven’t outgrown the ability to enjoy a good cuddle!

You are seasoned in the art of dance, and I envy your skills. You can shimmy and shake with the best of ‘em, P. Twirling, jumping, bouncing, frolicking, clapping, and swaying – you are a joy to watch. You have also begun singing! I have looked forward to this milestone for so long! You sing to every song you hear. You know which songs you like, and make sure to let us know not to change your ‘favorite’ song. (side note to future P, every song is your favorite song)

You are learning to write your alphabet, and are a whiz at it. I thought I would be pulling my hair out at the task of teaching the concept of letters and writing to a three year old, but you have been kind to your Mama!

Thanks for letting me snuggle with you at nap time, and kiss your perty face as much as I want!

I’d follow you anywhere my love.

Mama