Is it true?! Could you really be four years old?! I know you have been looking forward to this day for sometime, but I can hardly believe it has arrived. You are always delighted to be one of the gang, so it is perfect that your birthday falls in the midst of our April birthday mayhem. I treasure the excitement with which you approach life and its many joys, great and small. Your smile lights up our lives and any room. You are so quick to make friends, so fun to be around, and your heart is full of love, all of which makes for many memories that I treasure from the past year.
May.....We are out in the evenings together, visiting the quad and riding bikes. You can pedal the trike by yourself now and you are slowly but surely getting the hang of your new strider. You are sweet to let E-Bear use it too! You look great in your pink lady bug helmet that used to belong to G-Bear, mostly because you wear it so well with such confidence. You are confident in so many wonderful ways, Buddy. E-Bear even says of you once, "Buddy Bear is really brave. He makes friends with everyone." So true. You are such a good sport to your little sister, even when she does things like wake you up from a nap or tackle you out of love.
June.....We don't see blue paci any more at night time, although it still makes an occasional appearance for nap time. You love riding on the Mundo in your peanut shell. When the bike falls over once with you in the seat, you are a trooper, never afraid to get back on again. While on our Chicago adventure, you absolutely LOVE Lego Land and are over the moon to get your first Lego set for Pentecost. You get to join your own swimming class for the first time this year at swimming lessons, and while you are hesitant with the cold water you love to sing Gertie the Guppy. On colder days, you aren't so sure that swimming is a good idea :) I love getting to lead your "class" for Catholic Kids Camp, something I did just so that you would get to join in this year as a pre, preschooler. What a joy it was to watch you learn the songs and join in so intently and enthusiastically.
July....You love to play catch, baseball, soccer, really any outdoor sport. You love to look for the Handmaids on the quad and have made great friends with all of them. You are full of imagination, and E-Bear is excited to join in, whether reading books together, dreaming of Legos, shooting arrows or dressing up. You are always ready to share a spoonful of your ice cream with J-Bear. I love your smoothie mustaches at breakfast, you squeals of laughter with your cousins at the cabin, the way you are always inviting all the "guys, guys" to join in with your ideas.
August....At Hilton Head, you love building castles in the sand with J-Bear, boogie boarding in the ocean, swimming in the pool in your floatie, Jedi jousting with Dad, making friends on the see-saw at the park (do you have Wegos?), performing "Mr. Aligator" with your siblings before dinner, and riding horses with your cousins. You discover the bliss of root beer and find a slice of heaven with a golf ball and a root beer, lacking only a "golf stick". Back at home, we enjoy lazy August days in the sandbox, dressing up together, eating picnics on the porch and popsicles on the steps. I love watching you enjoy a good popsicle!
September....You love waving to passers-by while riding on the Mundo to the State Fair! I loved watching you walk hand-in-hand into the Fair with your siblings. You were an eager farm hand, root beer drinker, pronto pup eater, bumper boat rider and sand digger at the Fair. I loved getting to ride the rides with you at the KidWay. We said goodbye to summer at the Cabin with GG, where you slept in a tent with MoMo and Papa and learned to fish off the end of the dock with Cousin B and Uncle S. As school starts again, learning time is always fun with you: real tools hammering into styrofoam, mornings at the Children's museum, painting with shaving cream, Johnny Appleseed hats, and singing songs on our ABC mat with J-Bear are some of my favorite memories from the month. You and I both miss G-Bear and E-Bear during the day, and I am glad that J-Bear and I still have you around for preschool at home.
October....Thanks for being my buddy at morning Mass each morning. I can depend on you to sit in your seat, most of the time ;) You have many friends at Mass, both young and old, and you love to say hello to everyone afterwards. You love watching the angel movie with Dad on the Feast of the Guardian Angels. You are also enjoying one morning each week with MoMo and one with a babysitter while I am away teaching. You always manage to convince everyone to play soccer, basketball or swords downstairs :) While on our California adventure, you are unstoppable in DisneyLand, loving the Cars ride, all the characters and driving a "real" auto with Dad. You never complain on our long car rides through the parks and you are so proud in your real suit at the wedding in Carmel. For Halloween, you are one speedy Ninja Turtle, running from house to house getting candy with your siblings.
November...I loved doing candy math with you and E-Bear after Halloween, watching you recognize your numbers and count out your candy pieces. Thanks for praying for me and helping our family by leading our prayers. You are always so eager to do that and your heart is very tender in prayer. At the cabin for Thanksgiving, you loved hiking in the woods, doing puzzles with the family at the table, watching fireworks, snuggling into the back kids room and shoveling out the cinders for Papa. You were so sad to say good-bye to the cabin for the season. Meanwhile, I haven't seen blue paci in a while. I think he may be gone for good, which means that naps are few and far between these days too.
December....You are always ready to watch a show, and you loved the St. Nicholas movie this year at the beginning of Advent. You are a good brother to E-Bear on his birthday, a great gingerbread house and cookie decorator too. It is hard not to lick fingers when you are making cookies, but you really tried your best. You love listening the the Christmas Cat Chat CD during Advent. You are so excited to open play mobile, duplos and a remote car for Christmas and have a wonderful time playing and sledding with your cousins. You love waking up early with your siblings during break so that you can all join in assembling toys or playing together. I have taken the railing off of your bed since you can get in and out on your own, and you love it.
January....It is hard to say goodbye to your siblings again in the mornings after break. We take to skating, and you are standing and moving on your own now, which is awesome and has required quite a bit of persistence. Still, the snow hill next to the rink is hard to pass up. We have a great time reuniting with our cousins and Nana in North Carolina. You love playing cards with Nana, watching shows with her in her room in the mornings, playing with your cousin's Legos in his room for hours and eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Back at home, we find time for our ABC mat, coloring with chalk in the kitchen, listening to Cat Chat and digging in the snow outside.
February.... You are swimming like a fish at our new swim lessons. You are more eager than ever to follow instructions, you love the warm water, and you are improving by leaps and bounds. By the end of the month, you are jumping in by yourself and almost swimming alone! The new level of activity can be exhausting, and now that you rarely nap, you have been known to fall asleep at the dinner table. You were so bummed not to have a classroom valentine party like your siblings that I gladly hosted a preschool valentine party at our house, with great ovation. You were so excited to decorate your own bag, hand out valentines to your friends, make treats together and tell G-Bear and E-Bear all about it. Your enthusiasm is ever contagious, even on Ash Wednesday, when you couldn't wait to get your ashes and see everyone else's too.
March.... Thank you for helping me with all the shopping for the Family Service Morning. You and J-Bear are the best of friends during the day. E-Bear can't wait to get home from school to eat PB&J with you (you favorite), play Legos or play mobile and dream up another adventure. You two are better friends than ever, and you share a love of everything knights, Star Wars, and Legos. By the end of our trip to Lutsen, you are skiing in a harness all by yourself with Dad! Nana comes to visit, and you love playing Sequence, cards and watching any show I'll permit. You do such a great job adding beans to our basket during Lent and you can't wait for Easter.
April....You love our events of Holy Week, especially getting to wash feet on Holy Thursday. At the Easter Vigil you are a total trooper, decked out in your suit and asleep before the Gospel is read. Easter morning is such a thrill with all the candy and eggs you find. You are always one to thank me after you have enjoyed something, for that I am so grateful. You love waking up early to play cards with your siblings, and you are so excited about everything hockey and Ninja turtles leading up to your birthday. Of course, you love to involve E-Bear in both.
Happy birthday, dear Buddy Bear, happy birthday to you!