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N, today you are four.

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I know. I can hardly believe it either!

You are a legit kid now. I can still see the ever so small traces of your babyness – the dimples on your knuckles, the slight pudge still in your cheeks, the softness of your still developing kneecaps, the wispy baby hairs that crowd the crown of your forehead – but I think those are things that only a mother notices. You charged head-first into kid-dom this year, and what a wild ride it has been!

Probably the biggest change in your life this year was becoming a big sister.

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From the very first moment, you fell completely in love with Little I. It has been wonderful work for me and Daddy to watch you and help you step into your big sister role.

You love her so sweetly and fiercely. You help her, defend her, play with her, hug and kiss and tackle her endlessly. You treat her as being bigger than she is, and expect more from her than she can currently give, which is frustrating at times (I sometimes feel we are constantly saying “she is still a baby, N!”), but I do pray that you will always encourage her to do and be more, and expect great and wonderful things from her. From the first day, the twinkle in your eye and the smile on your face said “she’s my playmate, my teammate, my friend”, and the joy that gives this momma’s heart can’t be described.

You do this big sister thing well.

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Probably the biggest milestone  you hit this year was becoming fully potty-trained, day and night. Mommy and Daddy thought we were going to be on the diaper-train forever! You had the theory and technique down pat – and had for months! – but were entirely uninterested in the process.

I finally had the bright idea to mention returning the highly-prized but never-worn Hello Kitty undies that had sat unopened in your drawer for months. You’d have thought I’d suggesting killing a kitten. “But MOMMY, they’re MINE!” I calmly replied, “Then wear them! We’re not going to keep things that you don’t wear!” You finally agreed, and the rest is history. I can count the amount of accidents you have had on one hand. You continue to prove with multiple milestones that, once you care enough, once you want something badly enough, you don’t just succeed, you completely take the milestone by the horns and own it. Mommy and Daddy could not be more proud of you!

You’ve also grown height and weight-wise! You are finally over 30 lbs, and you’ve grown at least 2 inches taller if not more. We will find out for sure at your yearly appointment. The height difference was awesome this year because it meant you could finally ride a bunch of the kid rides at the fair!

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You also got face-paint at the fair for the very first time. Olaf from ‘Frozen’, of course.

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Your hair has grown very long. One of your favorite movies is Disney’s ‘Tangled’, and  you’ve determined to never have your hair cut, but instead, you want it ‘to grow all the way down to floor like Rapunzel’. You’re getting there!

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We had our annual visit to the pumpkin patch, where I caught a glimpse of what you’ll look like when you grow older and it nearly stopped my heart. Gorgeous girl!

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You were a fierce and terrible pirate for Halloween. Every request for a picture was greeted with a pirate-y “ARRRRRGH!!”

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You also gained two new aunties this year, Auntie C and Auntie A. We could not be more thrilled that Uncles J & J found their forevers, and that you have two more kind, generous and Godly women in your life who will encourage you, love you, and point you to Jesus as you grow.

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It has not all been fun and games. I believe in my letter to you last year, I mentioned that you do not let Mommy and Daddy passively parent you, and that is definitely still true! You are a feisty firecracker and you have sass in spades, which is sometimes cute, but more often than not gets you in trouble! We have stormed the gates of heaven to battle the folly in your heart – the folly that is born in all our hearts the moment we enter the world. This has often meant battling the folly in our own hearts as we seek to parent you with wisdom and grace, teaching you how to show love and obey out of love rather than fear.  We have certainly failed at least as many times as we’ve succeeded! Thank goodness we serve a God whose grace covers our mistakes. You are quick to turn your heart back to God when we correct you, and your sweet prayers melt my heart. You sharpen us, N, and I can’t thank you or the Lord enough for that.

You have grown in your knowledge of the Lord, and I have seen your empathy, compassion and gentleness expand. You are becoming your own little person right before my eyes and it is my honor to learn you, daughter.

Your snuggles are my favorite. Your imagination brings joy to me. Your astounding vocabulary and sharp mind demand I keep up! I delight in your beauty, inside and out.

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I love you mostest, to the moon and back, N! You are my favorite FOUR year old in the entire world. I am forever and always thankful to the point of tears that God chose me to be your mommy. image11 (2)

We are excited to see you grow over this next year.

Happy Birthday to you, my precious girl!

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