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I, you are two today.

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What a year this has been! I became pregnant with Little R just after your first birthday, so I spent most of your second year trying to soak up the last few months of you being my baby and my youngest.

I can hardly believe you’re two. Wasn’t I just holding you close to me, my much prayed-for and longed-for child, when you were born after only 8 minutes of pushing, desperate to greet the world as the sun was rising?

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What joy and light you have brought our family since the moment we knew of you, with that joy and light spilling over and continuing on since the moment we saw your sweet face.

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Did you know that you are the only one of my five babies that I actively prayed for? We gave our family planning to God very soon after Daddy and I were married, and N was our first foray into really trusting God’s plan for us and our living reminder that trusting Him is worth it. I got pregnant with her quickly and her pregnancy was a breeze. About a year after she was born, our hearts were softening toward the idea of a sibling for her. When N was 15 months, I got pregnant and we lost Cormac. 5 months later, I got pregnant again, and we lost Asher. I wrestled with such difficult thoughts. Was there something wrong with my body? Were we not meant to have another child? Would N be an only child? Both your Daddy and I grew up with siblings and we wanted that for N. Three months after losing Asher, your Daddy and I began to pray and pray hard for another baby, a baby we could bring home, a baby we could keep. Little did we know, we were praying for YOU!

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You are our rainbow baby. There are no words for how thankful to God I am for you and that He gave you to us!

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You were a much more active participant in our family traditions this year and it was so fun!

We went to the beach:

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and the tulip fields:

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We celebrated Easter:

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We enjoyed the summer sun down by the lake:

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We went to the fair:

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and the pumpkin patch:

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You were the cutest ladybug for Halloween:

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You didn’t want to see Santa, but loved the Christmas activities at church and at home:

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A lot of growth and development happened for you this year. When you turned one, you weren’t walking yet! Now you RUN everywhere!

Your 2 year old stats are in:

24 lbs, 13 oz

33 inches long

You grew 3.5 inches and gained nearly five pounds this past year! Our doctor was so impressed by how healthy, smart, and verbal you are.

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You are our laid-back, introverted girl. Around 17 months, you began to show skill at entertaining yourself. Although you love playing with N and other little kids, you still, to this day, will sit for loooooong stretches of time flipping through pictures in books or quietly playing with dolls and toys. Your imagination and creativity came online this year, and it’s been such a treat to watch you pretend and create and see you make connections about the world around you.

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Your hair! I could write a love sonnet to your hair. You were born with a full head of it and it just kept on growing! We’ll see if you want it to grow long like sissy does.

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Speaking of you and your sister, it is one of my greatest joys watching you and N together. You are each other’s best friends. You have been so good for N, and she has been so good for you. God knew you needed each other. She is teaching you about sharing, taking turns, kind words, and gentle tones. You are teaching her about patience, inclusiveness, that kindness is the most important and that sisters are one of the best kinds of forever.

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Probably the biggest change you encountered this year occurred just a few months ago, with Little R’s birth.

We weren’t sure how you’d react to a new baby in the home. You were still too little to really understand what was going on, so I did what little I could to prep you and prayed prayed prayed that God would do the rest. Goodness, did he!

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You are SO in love with your brother! You love to hold his hand and kiss his head. You help pat his back to burp him or settle him down, you inform me with a loud whisper when he’s sleeping, and if he’s crying, you immediately say, ‘is okay, Little R! No cry!”

He’ll be your rough and tumble playmate next year and I can hardly wait to see it!

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While you do have a more laid-back view on life, you certainly have opinions and make them known! LOUDLY! We are already dealing with some terrible two behavior that we’re walking through with you. You’re navigating the land of physical boundaries and testing their permanency (yes, we must ALWAYS hold hands in the parking lot, no, we NEVER dash willy-nilly into the street, etc), as well as learning that no really does mean NO, and stop really does mean STOP. You march to the beat of a different drum and you have your own way of seeing things, a picture of how you want things to go in your head. Many meltdowns have been averted if we can help you communicate what you want and how you want it to come about, i.e. “O, you want Daddy to get you the cheese stick, Mommy to just START opening it, and then you finishing opening it the rest of the way? Got it.” =)

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You are still our kid who looooooooves sleep. Other than a wretched stretch when you were teething, you have the most amazing relationship with sleep. I am beyond thankful! I think there may be a transition to a big girl bed in your future. =)

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You also love to sing! You started picking up on songs around 18 months, and Daddy and I have been blown away by how quickly you pick up on songs, how many you have memorized, and how developed your sense of pitch is for your age. We hope you will always love music.

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What a light you are, I. When you get excited, joy shines out of you, rich, uplifting, and contagious! Others cannot help but laugh and be joyful with you. Your sparkly, crinkle-nosed smile melts me, girl.

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You are a treasure, I. Radiant. Effervescent. You think deeply and play hard. You are the snuggliest of snugglers and give the best hugs. You are smart, brave, resilient, gentle, strong, and compassionate. You are silly, quirky, and a mischievous jokester – you LOVE to make others laugh and smile with you. You brighten the day of everyone who interacts with you. You exude light, song, and sweetness. We delight in and rejoice over you, I!

Happy Birthday, darling. I can’t wait to see where God takes you this year!

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