Friday, October 25, 2013

Dear Arabella,

It seems like last week that I sat down to write your one year letter.  Even moreso, it feels like last month that I was sitting down to tell your birth story.  But realistically, here I sit writing you a letter for your second birthday.

My beautiful Arabella--you are TWO years old today!  They say time flies when you're having fun;  and in your case, I completely agree.  Time is flying can only be because we are having a blast!

You are so full of personality.  You keep me and your daddy giggling all the time.  Those good kind of giggles that make you just happy all the way through--you do that for us.  You're also so intelligent.  Your memory is amazing and your ability to understand what we're asking--and then communicate back to us--is just, wow.

You're pretty much the coolest kid alive.  Ever.  Hands down.  And the most beautiful.

This past year has really been SO much fun!  Getting to watch you grow and learn and figure things out has been so neat.  You change daily (sometimes hourly...) and are constantly surprising us with something new you've picked up on.

Things you are loving right now:

--Mickey Mouse!  Holy moly you love that theatrical rodent and all of his clubhouse friends.  You will sit and watch the show for hours...  But he makes you smile and he doesn't get on my nerves, so all is well :)

--helping your daddy with anything.  Whether it's sitting on his work bench and helping him load ammo, crawling around on the ground and grease to help him work on the cars, or catching slimy fish on the boat.  If he's outside, you better be out there with him!

--Conner the big, brown, Belgian horse.  You met him at the Dixie Stampede when we went up with Aunt Chelle and fell in love!  Now, every horse you see or hear or imagine is Conner :)

--to limbo!  I have got to catch you on video doing this.  Ever since a birthday party last month where they did the limbo, you walk around the house with your back arched as far you can and still walk, saying "I imbo, I imbo" the whole time.  It is absolutely hilarious!

--Your big girl bed!  We made the switch to a toddler bed a few weeks ago, and you absolutely love it!  You still love your sleep (that's my girl) and average 12-13 hours a night.  Usually, if you wake up before noon, you'll still take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon too.  Bed time has become so enjoyable (not that it was really that bad before).  And you're so good that you won't get out of your bed at all until someone comes in there to tell you you're allowed to.

--The moon and stars and airplanes.  One thing you and daddy love to do each night is walk outside together and find all of these up in the sky.  You have such a good eye for those airplanes!  And you get so excited when you find them...and the moon...and the stars...  (daddy even writes to make sure I bring you out to find the moon when he's out of town and can't take you.  it's a pretty special moment with you for him.)

--"Jesus Loves Me".  This has become our "one and only, nothing else will do" bedtime song.  You beg and whimper for it even as you're drifting off to dreamland.  And several times, if you wake in the middle of the night, I hear you begging for "Jees luh me" over the monitor.  You've also started singing parts of it; hearing your tiny voice sing about Jesus and his love is simply beautiful.

--animals!  Last month you were able to go to two different zoos and aquariums (Houston and KC) and the petting zoo at Aunt Chelle's.  I loved getting to see your little face when you found each animal; hearing you talk to them and make their sounds at them; watch your wonderment at getting to touch starfish and stingray, goats and cows.

--you still love music.  Anytime I need you to sleep in the car and you're fighting it, I can simply play our Selah CD and within 1-2 songs, you've usually drifted off (this is the music you slept with as a baby).  You also love to dance and sing, and have started repeating song lyrics and tunes we sing (from Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It, This Little Light of Mine, and Old MacDonald to some of the radio songs that mama listens to in the car and sings all around the house...)

--giving knuckles!  If anyone asks for knuckles, you make your way around the whole group until everyone has fist bumped with you...sometimes you even make them do both hands!  Also, if anyone around you gives someone else knuckles, you definitely find it necessary to get in on that action.

--Uncle Si and Duck Dynasty, haha!  I got you a little shirt to sleep in that has a picture of Si and one of his quotes on it.  You loooove that shirt and if you see it, you want to wear it.  You also get so excited when you see any of the Robertsons on TV--you call them all Uncle Si.  Probably one of the funniest things you've done involved Uncle Si...  We pulling out of a parking lot when you pointed to a couple a ways off getting out of their car, and said, "Ook!  Who's at?"  We were confused because they looked nothing like any of "your people".  It was a middle aged couple, but the man had a long gray ponytail.  When we asked what you were talking about, you pointed back to the same couple and said, "Ook!  It's Uncle Si!"  We still get a good giggle about that one :)

Things I want to remember:

--your giggle.  Aunt Chelle, Aunt Mel, and I all three make this weird little noise when we're trying to stifle a laugh...and you do it too :)  It doesn't matter what kind of day I'm having or what kind of mood I'm in, your laugh melts me.  I never want to forget what it sounds like from year to year.

--the crinkle in your nose.  When you smile or think or are just being silly, you scrunch your little nose up.  And I just think it is the most adorable thing ever.

--the sound of your sweet voice saying "I luh you", especially when you say it first (without us telling you we love you first).

--how squeaky and high pitched your little voice is, especially when you get excited :)

--how when we sit down to eat, you initiate the prayer.  If daddy and I start eating before we say it, you stretch both of your little hands out to grab ours and insist, "Pray!"  Then you bow your head and squinch your little eyes closed until we say Amen...then of course you join in on saying that loud and clear!

--your kisses.  That sweet little pucker of a normal kiss; the silly wiggle of an eskimo kiss; and the precious flutter of a butterfly kiss (always both eyes...)

--you don't just tell people bye anymore...  You've added "later!" to it, along with their name.  You usually won't say it until they're actually leaving you, but you definitely know when someone or something is going bye.   Also, you tell everything bye!  The moon when we have to go inside, the animals at the zoo when we leave their cage, your toys, the house...everything!

--Every. Little. Thing.

My mind is blown when I try to wrap my head around the fact that you're two.  My baby is gone and you have evolved into a full fledged big kid.  You are so much fun!  You are also one of the sweetest little things to ever exist--you show care and concern when you know something is wrong, you use your manners constantly, you share willingly, and you give the absolute best hugs and kisses.  Mama and Daddy have definitely reached the point where it's hard to remember what life was like before it centered around you--and we don't want to imagine what it would ever be like again without you. You, Arabella, are my most treasured gift, and I promise that I will always love you more than you will ever know.  Stay curious and full of life!  You are so precious...and you have changed us for the better.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!  You're my favorite.
love, mama

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