Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dear Arabella,

You, precious little sweet, are FOUR years old!

This year has been so much fun because you have been learning so much.  You have full conversations, your imagination is unbelievable, you reason through problems, you make and understand jokes, you ask questions, and have to know how everything works.  It's truly been amazing to watch you develop!

However, this year also brought on the phase we deemed the "threenager"... Because you also learned to argue, to assert independence and your own opinion, to be stubborn, to have major melt downs and mood swings.  In other words, you acted like a teenager in a three year old body!  And oh, the level of interest that brought to this family dynamic.

Arabella, in the middle of all of that, you are still just as cute as they come.  Not a single day goes by without your daddy and I telling you at least one how unbelievably beautiful you are.  We just sit and stare often.

You are also so, so sweet.  You want to share what you have with everyone you meet.  If someone is upset, you want to make them smile.  You give hugs and kisses just because you want to.  You just love people so well.

Music is still one of your absolute favorites.  You've learned the words and can carry the tunes to so many songs, and will do your best to sing along even if you don't know it.  I just love hearing you sing in that sweet, high-pitched voice.  

My favorite though is to hear you sing "Jesus songs" along with the radio.  Your precious voice sings "Hosanna" and "There is Power in the Name of Jesus" and "10,000 Reasons"...But your favorite (and you know all the words!) is "Fix My Eyes"!  We love to turn it up loud in the car and dance and sing it together!  Instant mood lifter.  Your prayers have also developed into well thought out dialogue based on what's actually going on in your own life--you always end with "make good choices" :)

You are such a good big sister to Kaplan!  Granted you drag him around and take his toys, but that's what older siblings are for.  You also make him laugh and feed him and take care of him.  You two love to snuggle and wrestle and play.  You both have absolute joy all over your faces when you see each other!  You're favorite nickname for him is Kap and your name was his first word :)

Daddy's little helper is an understatement.  He's had to work a lot this year, so your time with him has been extra special.  Going fishing and riding in the Bronco are your absolute favorite!  But you'll do just about anything as long as it's with him. 

We have gotten to travel quite a bit this year and make so many memories.  A few trips to Branson and Aunt Chelle's, two Major League baseball games, a huge pumpkin patch in Houston, several trips to Pineville with the Sassers, multiple zoos, and Lafayette for Disney on Ice just to name a few.  You're not scared to try new things, go new places, or spend time away from mom and dad.  Just so big.

You are a tad obsessed with costumes, my princess.  Usually when you come out of your room in the mornings, you're already dressed up!  Your favorites are Anna and Elsa, but you also love Sofia, Doc McStuffins, and Cinderella.

Arabella, you are quite possibly the most grateful child I have ever met.  When you receive any gift, big or small, you are genuinely grateful.  You say thank you over and over, give a super sweet hug, and sincerely appreciate the kindness.  It's overwhelming and humbling.  I pray you never lose that gift...true gratitude is the key to true joy.  

You're learning how to write all of your letters and spell words and names.  You're doing a great job and I still get so impressed each and every time you write something.  Watching your little brain grow is just incredible!

I am so excited to see how much more you grow and learn and change this next year.  Our relationship is so special to me, and I can only pray that I treat you with grace each day.  Your daddy and I are whole-heartedly obsessed with who you are and always will be.  Keep enjoying life and finding giggles every single day.  Arabella, you are my treasured gift, and I promise that I will always love you more than you will ever know.

Happy birthday, my love!

xoxo, mama

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dear Kaplan,

My precious little hunky chunk--you are ONE year old!  I cannot believe a whole year has passed since you rounded out our little family.

You were 9 pounds and 13 ounces of pure perfection (my doctor didn't believe me when I told him you were going to be a biggun...mama knows best).  We were all three instantly in love with you.

You are so laid back and easy going.  You've always been a good sleeper (hallelujah!) and you really only get upset when you're hungry.  It took us a long time to get you to laugh out loud, because like your daddy and your Papa, you have a pretty serious looking "happy face".

My little Kaplan, you are such a snuggle bug.  You love to be loved on and will snuggle in for a hug in the sweetest little way--you usually do this when I get you out of your bed and when I'm about to put you in your carseat (you know it's harder for me to put you down in that seat when you're loving on me!)

You have been a pretty big mama's boy since day one.  Daddy was working so much for the first half of this year that it took you two a while to warm up to each other.  But here in these last couple of months, you have become big time buds.  Not to mention, you are such a mini-me of your daddy.  You look exactly like him and share SO many of his personality traits.  There has not been a single day go by that at least one person hasn't told me how much you look like your daddy or refers to you as "mini-Hunter".  

And that sister of have loved each other every single second.

Speaking of Arabella, you are such a trooper.  She tends to think of you as her favorite toy, dragging you around the house, dressing you up in all kinds of accessories, taking things away from you, laying on top of you...putting you through the ringer!  You will fuss when you've had enough, but for the most part you just go with the flow and let her do her thing.  Your eyes light up when you see her, especially first thing in the morning.  Makes my mama heart melt.

As of now, you have 9 teeth and humongous gums with some more on the way.  You are trying to toddle about (taking about 7-10 steps at a time); but you are such a quick crawler and you know that's still your fastest method of transportation, so it usually wins out.  You can say Bella, mama, dad, wa-wa-wa (Juannie), look, hi/hey, and you shake your head no.  And you've already had your first real haircut--not just a trim--because that beautiful hair you were born with got too long!  You've also already been to six states and flown on a plane, you little traveler, you.

Our favorite nickname for you is "Flappin' Kaplan" because you flap your arms like a wild man all the time.  It makes us laugh every single time!  You also kick your right leg over and over, especially when you're excited.

You love singing (in church, when Juannie hits the high notes, you can't get over to her fast enough!) and will try to join in.  You love to read books and are mesmerized by all the pictures.  You love Bible class and are starting to participate and soak it all in.  You love being outside and crawling around in the grass and swinging.  If Bella or daddy goes outside without you, you pull the curtain on the back door aside and just watch and jabber until they come back in.  And most of all, you love to eat.  Your best friend is whoever has the food :)

You have mastered the game of peek a boo, from leaning around furniture or someone's shoulder to covering up with a blanket to popping up and down behind a church pew.  So fun!  And while we're talking about church are such the little escape artist!  You crawl under the pews and through people's legs before we can even realize you're going.  We've had to snatch you up halfway down the aisle several times...

Kaplan, your laugh is very contagious.  It took us so long to get a real one...we cherish them so much!  Your first belly laugh at something instead of from being tickled was of course at Arabella.  I love how much you make each other laugh.

You are so incredibly curious.   You have no fear and explore any new place.  You climb and dig, open every cabinet you can reach, put every thing you touch in your mouth...I can't let you out of sight because I guarantee you're getting into something!  I am constantly digging things out of your mouth.  Keeps us on our toes.  But goodness, you're cute.

Kaplan Paul, you have added a whole 'nother level of love to our family.  It is so much fun to see little pieces of who we are come out in you.   You are just such a cool kid.  I hope you never lose your pleasant, laid back way of handling life.  

Your daddy and I will fight for you, protect you, teach you, and love you every single day of our lives.  You will always be our precious, perfect son; our second baby; our beautiful, blessed gift.

From here... a year

Happy birthday, sweet boy!  I love you more than you will ever know.

xoxo, mama