May....Riding your iBert "froggy seat" for the first times. You love to say "beep, beep" froggy with me each time you hop in. No bows in your hair, thank you, you love to pull them out. Furniture walking, wiggles at church, one nap time rather than two, blazing a trail in your kneekers, pushing the shopping cart, exploring our house and reminding me all the ways that we need to re-childproof. Life with you is exhausting and exciting at the beginning of your second year. You and Buddy Bear are best buds. He is so fortunate to have an energetic sis like you, always up for anything that he can dream up.
June....You are waving to all of us whenever we leave, saying "bye!" at bedtime, happily sleeping through the night and always happy to see blankie and paci in your bed for naps. It is hard to sit quietly during Mass these days, because you are so eager to walk. By the end of the month, you have decided it's time! Daddy gets to watch you get up and walk for the first time in the Cathedral during a feast day Mass. You are a treat, always teaching us lessons and reminding us about what is truly important.
July....You toddled around the deck with me during big kids swimming lessons, improving your walking in kneekers while your sibs improved at swimming. You love sleeping in the bathroom in the little cabin and Papa's pontoon, but would prefer to go without your lifejacket. You were a trooper at Catholic Kids Camp, along for the ride on my hip and by my side in the little kid class. You are always up for a lick of ice cream from your generous sibs -- you recognize the icy treat by now. Singing Happy Birthday to GG and helping to blow out her candles...pointing to airplanes in the sky, reading Brown Bear and Pat the Bunny....watching you give Daddy a kiss....snuggling with G-Bear as she reads you a story or watching you delight in morning smoothies...these are a few of my summer favorites with you.
August....Whether wading in the water with Nana, digging in the sand with Buddy Bear or sitting under an umbrella with your cousins, you loved the beach in Hilton Head. You love to be one of the crew, on the bikes, performing Mr. Alligator with your siblings, or playing at the playground with the cousins. Back at home, I have trouble keeping you busy long enough to get anything done! You are constantly, relentlessly exploring your world: I often find you climbing onto a table, getting stuck up on the piano bench, or unpacking the cabinets. You are always happy to show me your conquests, less desiring of my intervention.
September....Riding the tractor with G-Bear's help at the State Fair, watching the Midway excitement from the safety of Daddy's arms, playing in the sand at the natural playspace and enjoying a treat on the bus home from the State Fair, you enjoyed it all. We get you a sleeping tent for an upcoming trip, and you happily take to it like a fish to water. At the cabin with GG, you continue to cement a loving relationship with each other. You are a trip with a pony on top of your head, eating corn on the cob and getting your licker ready for a DQ ice cream cone. After G-Bear and E-Bear head to school, you enjoy focused time with Buddy Bear, ever eager to engage him in play.
October....You love the book aisle when we go shopping together, always eager to plop down on the floor with a carefully chosen book. On our CA adventure you are a true trooper: sleeping on buses, planes, long car trips, in the backpack and in your cute red tent. As long as we have paci and blankie, you are good to go. You are excited for all that Disney can dish out: watching parades, sitting through performance, smiling for every picture and character introduction and enjoying all the rides. Every once in a while you will sleep in the backpack, but you never once let me take you back for a nap! You are a belle of the ball for Cousin B's wedding, delighted to be so elegantly dressed. For Halloween, you were the cutest pumpkin: sitting down to reach treats to your bucket, thanking treat-givers with a cheerful "bye!", and enjoying lollypop treats after a night of hard work.
November....Mondays and Wednesdays, you are always delighted to welcome MoMo or our babysitter friend for a morning of play. You never fuss as I run out the door to teach. You love to play "Where is J-Bear?" with us these days, as you are a willing performer. You are good at asserting your needs, such as "more," and adorable with your 'eeeeeeeeeesse' pleases. I am thankful that you are a willing napper, easy to wake up, and eager to play with your brother and sister when they get home from school. When the snow starts to fly, you love to hop in your snowsuit, but walking in the snow in boots is a challenge. You will sit in the snow on the sidelines for a bit, but soon you are frustrated to not be one of the crew. You want so badly to be able to shovel like a pro. At the cabin for Thanksgiving, you love to ride on the sled behind Daddy, and eat spice cake by the spoonful.
December....This year, we can count on you to respect the Christmas tree. You loved making cookies with our neighbor during Advent, but it is hard to keep you from eating them! These days, you love your baby doll, blowing out candles, ripping open presents, climbing up to the big kids' dinner table, and doing anything without my help.
January....On our ice skating outings, you would love to be able to skate by yourself than rely on parents. Riding between our legs or sitting on the skating sled don't quite satisfy you. So, we'll settle for many indoor activities instead, including scribbling with chalk with Buddy Bear, dressing up in the playroom, or clandestinely sneaking time with your paci in your room. Your vocabulary is rapidly expanding, and you finally add "NO" to your arsenal, to your great pleasure.
February....You love your spoon and fork and use both quite well. You are also quite a speedy eater these days, not one to sit around in your highchair. Once you announce "all done", you are ready to be let out! In restaurants, one of us usually gets to walk around with you after that, while at home you are eager to bring us books and toys while we finish our meal. At the swimming pool, while your siblings take lessons, you and I walk the deck. I must have walked miles with you around the pool over the winter, but I was always thankful (and exhausted) to make it through that time together. You love crafts, like coloring and play dough, and like to see any picture that is taken. You embrace our Lenten activities with gusto, eager to put lot of beans in the basket :)
March....On longer days home, you love to watch a "show" with Buddy Bear. Your favorites are Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street, and just like your older brother you get very excited when I agree to turn on the TV. No matter what you are doing, you will stop, rush to the basement stairs and scoot down the stairs on your bum with shrieks of delight. The days are cold, and I love to have you snuggle your head into my coat when you are cold and I carry you. In the morning, it is a delight to look into your room (our closet), see you at the side of your crib with your mussed hair, a paci in your mouth, pink blankie in your hand and hear your happy "hi, mommy!" You aren't yet skiing in Lutsen, but you will watch at the bottom of the hill, eagerly ride the gondola and eat lunch with me in the chalet, and throw rocks into the lake from shore.
April....We can count on you for full sentences now. Your siblings are GiGi, GaGa, and Eeha. You want to know where everyone is at all times: "Mommy, Daddy a go?" (where did Daddy go?) or "Gi Gi? Ga Ga?" You love tickles but are good at saying "peese stop" when you are ready for a break. You love to make spy glasses and often say 'I see you!' when you are spying. You are thrilled to eat your weight in candy on Easter morning. Now that jellybeans fill our Easter basket, I often catch you climbing on the buffet to sample a few. After a few reprimands, you are careful to show me that you know the drill: "No bean, mommy, no bean," you will reassure me. For G-Bear's Frozen birthday, you love to sing "Let It Go" with your sister, and you eagerly point out "Anna and Elsa" by name. As the weather warms, you are always excited to ride your trike, wear your helmet, play in the sandbox, all good things.
J-Bear, I am so thankful for the way that you keep all of us young, reminding us of the importance of the simple joys in life. You share your joyful giggle and laugh with us so readily, and your joy is contagious. You are smart, a sweet hugger and kisser, and are always concerned if a sibling is sad or hurt. You impress me with your ability to wait your turn, apologize when you are reprimanded, and share with others. You hate timeouts and, even if reluctant, so often make the choice to follow my instructions by the time I count to three. You are growing by leaps and bounds everyday. Daddy and I are so proud of you, pray for your growth in faith and love, and we can't wait to watch you shine in the coming year as a big sister.
Happy Birthday, dear J-Bear, happy birthday to you!