Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday to you, E-Bear!

Dearest E-Bear,

You are five years old!  How is it possible that five years ago we were awaiting your arrival with bated breath?  E-Bear, you are now a shining light in our lives, a leader in our family, and a kind-hearted brother and friend.  This past year has been filled with many special memories.  These are a few of my favorites:

January:  You began your fifth year by learning how to ice skate.  I loved watching your persistence from the sidelines of your skating lessons.  At first you could barely stand up, and by the end you were scooting with confidence across the ice!  We spent many of the long winter days making puppet shows, play dough animals and reading stories on the couch.  You always have a great costume in mind for playtime...pteranodons with our fairy wings, pirates with bandanas, making rocketships out of mailing much so that Buddy Bear wants to be just like you in all he does.

February:  It is hard to scold you and G-Bear from making so much noise during rest time, even though I am tired with my big belly and trying to sleep myself.  You love playing make-believe together in your room while Buddy Bear sleeps.  No napping in your room!  Lents starts early this year, and we enjoy reading our "Jesus Stories" in the afternoon together.  Your favorite weekly activity is taking McDonalds lunch to GGs house.  When we venture outside, I marvel at the size of your big red coat and your big fleece hat -- you are swimming in them, so much so that it is hard to get in your carseat buckles by yourself.  I know you'll be grown into them soon, though.

March:  I am studying hard for my board exam, so each week you get a little extra time with our friend Miss Katie.  You love playing monster with her and Buddy Bear, building block towers, making snowmen in our yard and coloring pictures. At school, you have made so many good friends.  You are always looking forward to school days with Mrs. Rogers.  We have a wonderful Easter celebration as a family, and your favorites parts were "cross sandwiches" on Good Friday and making crowns of thorns out of play dough.  Nana makes a special visit and you get your first set of LEGOS!  The love affair has begun :)

April: We celebrated opening day at the baseball stadium by wearing our snow pants and snow coats! It was so cold that there could have been snow on the field!  But that didn't stop you from cheering on "Mr. Josh" and "Papa's Team" of Twins players.  You loved making cake pops with G-Bear on her birthday and celebrating her big day. The two of you are two peas in a pod.  You love to play with your Legos during rest time.  Even though you often get frustrated (it can be so hard for little hands!), your persistence amazes me.  You love to follow the instructions and become more independent everyday.

May: Baby J-Bear came home on the first day, and you love her from the first moment.  You are such a proud, loving brother, always ready to hold, hug and entertain "Baby JJ."  For Mother's Day you helped make and color paper flowers for all the moms at brunch, and Auntie Sharon still has hers on her cabinets. As spring arrived, you helped me cut the lawn with your scissors, helped Papa plant pansies, and toasted said a charming good-bye to Mrs. Rogers on your last day of preschool.  Buddy Bear was so excited to give you a big hug after you got your certificate!

June: Summer arrived and you braved cold mornings in the pool with "Gertie the Guppie" at swimming lessons.  You've always been a selective eater, but you definitely decided that your taco tastebuds had grown in after Dad made them one night for dinner (I think you ate 4 tacos).  When you weren't able to go to VBS with G-Bear, we read the stories and sang the songs together so that you would know every word when she got home.  You have such an impressive memory, always amazing me with what you remember.

July: We enjoyed Fourth of July with GG at her cabin.  You played with cousins Brett and Patty, bravely rode the jet ski, fished off the end of the dock, and slept out in the tent with Papa!  The next week you headed off to Sports Camp with G-Bear, loving every minute of it.  We headed to Rockport to visit your cousins, where you loved playing with Cousin H, playing at the beach, and climbing at the playgrounds.  You were especially impressed by Plymouth Plantation.  While badminton was frustrating, you sure loved trying to hit the shuttlecock!

August:  You've almost finished your pre-K summer workbook by the time August arrives.  You worked really hard on it every afternoon during learning time.  You're listening more closely now when we read Little House on the Prairie books, and you enjoy pretending to be Pa or Almonzo.  When we head to Hilton Head, you had a blast chumming with your cousins, riding in the bike cart, and burying Papa in the sand on the beach. Back at home you loved taking a dance class with G-Bear and eating protopups at the State Fair.  You couldn't wait to choose your Midway rides: the bouncy cars and flying glider were your favorites.

September:  You took one last ride on Papa's boat at the cabin before we headed back home for school.  You were so excited for school to start, especially since this year you knew the routine.  Your two favorite buddies are in your class, which makes for fun afternoons at school.  You got invited to your first friend birthday party -- a Karate class party.  You wiggle less during our mornings at Mass and always look forward to our after Mass treats and mornings at Trader Joe's.  You can hardly wait for the County Fair weekend and look forward to mornings with Miss Mary when I am teaching my class.

October:  You and Buddy Bear are better buddies than ever.  You like to play in the sandbox together, play knights fighting the dragon together, and wrestling on the floor.  Your favorite time of the day remains the afternoon when G-Bear returns home from school.  You can already write so well, and you are starting to sound out words.  You love numbers and the challenge of trying to add them together.  You still love building with your Legos during rest time.  This year for Halloween, you choose to be a black bat and make your own mask.  Halloween night is so fun, as you race from house to house and count your candy with G-Bear and Buddy Bear.  

November:   You are my big helper with J-Bear, as you are always able to keep her occupied, interested and laughing.  No one makes her laugh harder than you do.  You are such a good helper around the house, clearing dishes, putting away the laundry, making your bed, cleaning up toys and setting the table.  When you get frustrated with life, I've noticed how quickly you pull yourself together these days.  You're getting bigger by the day, hitting a growth spurt both physically and mentally.  You enjoy our family story nights celebrating family members and can't wait to travel to Chicago for a friend's wedding.  You are a real trooper on long car rides!

December:  You can't wait for your Lego birthday, because you are really hoping for some new Legos for your birthday.  You continue to have so much fun at school, as a leader and good friend to all your classmates.  You never bat an eye when I drop you off, and you are always thrilled to have me pick you up.  Leading up to your birthday, you were super excited to have an outing with MoMo to get a treat.  As Christmas approaches, you like to blow out our nightly Advent candles, read our Jesse Tree stories, and wear Dad's Santa hat.  Your artwork on our Christmas cards is impressive.  Your attention to detail, both in memory and in practice, continues to amaze me.

E-Bear, we are so thankful for the strength of your spirit and the sensitivity of your soul.  You are thoughtful toward Buddy Bear, remain best buddies with G-Bear, and are a loving protector for J-Bear.  We are so thankful for the ways we see you growing spiritually, physically, emotionally and pray for your continued growth in the coming year!  Dad and I love you so much.

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