What a year! Another trip around the sun baby girl and this may have been the best one yet… You just keep getting better.
This past year has been a big, bold, beautiful year. A year full of new and a year full of progress. It has also been a year of letting go a bit as well. You, our brave, beautiful girl, have proven to us that each person is uniquely made and without a doubt an individual. You have surprised us, tested us, made us smile and absolutely maintained a deep love and sincerity within our family. You are wild and free, sensitive, spontaneous and still our little homebody. And boy oh boy are you so well loved.
There is something so magical in the transition from baby girl to little girl to girl. Conversations with you are filled with so much more magic. Day to day experiences together are filled with so much more collaboration, helpfulness and contribution. Your participation in our lives feels so much more like teammates now and that feels so good. I love seeing you be authentic to yourself and I am so proud that you have such confidence in who you are that you do not waver in what you want and more importantly, what you need.
Girl, you love a good adventure. Hitting the road and seeing some place new is exactly what you love to do. Even if the experience is a staycation at a local resort in which we watch the Michael Jackson Live Vegas show, you like experiences and memories over things (don’t get me wrong, you love to shop and always ask for something, but things don’t impact and stay with you like experiences do). This past year was a year well traveled. You did in fact see the Michael Jackson Live show at the Princess Hotel during our staycation. We then traveled together to New York – you loved the street art, the 9/11 memorial, Central Park, Sponge Bob on Broadway and finding all the food stops on my list. We took a train from New York to Boston where we saw Mama Mia Here We Go Again, found Avery Street and walked the Freedom Trail. Over your October break we traveled to Asheville, NC – drove the Smokey Mountains, learned how to play checkers, went to the Biltmore Estate and Dollywood. We’ve had many smaller adventures throughout our state and right after your ninth birthday you started your biggest adventure yet – one week at sleep away camp. I love your desire to explore and experience – not tied to a tv or technology, but out in the world living seems to be your favorite place to be.
The adventure’s continued with school. This year you moved schools and bloomed so brightly and beautifully as a result. Friendships blossomed in a way only a mom can dream of. You established a circle of friends quickly and looked forward to going to school as a result. Your teacher was wild and active in your learning, sarcastic and carried high expectations of you. All good things in my opinion. You learned so much this year and have continued to grow. School is still a struggle sometimes because the pace is still too quick for you and you are still establishing your learning techniques, but you love school nonetheless. You love the social aspect, art, music, recess and history is your favorite subject. This year projects such as memorizing the world map basics and completing a wax figure museum project in which you were Amelia Earhart made learning so much fun for you. You also attended many school events and joined may school clubs so that “you could become a part of your new school”. Your school’s environment is welcoming and charming and family focused first, all things that made your transition magically wonderful.
Extracurricular activities this past year were light as you transitioned to a new school, new neighborhood and finished up tutoring and identifying your learning challenges. However, you did participate in swimming and took up hip hop dancing. You have requested joining a soccer team and will begin that in the fall. This summer you participated in sports skills camp and cooking classes as well. Where I believe you should have passions and participate in activities outside of school, I also believe that you should define what those are. We are still testing the waters and trying to find that special activity that really brings you to life. As a family we try to stay as active as possible and enjoy playing in the park, swimming, taking the dogs for walks and playing games at home.
Your family is your favorite. We are so lucky to have your love. You love each one of us so deeply and completely. Your sisters are your heroes. They love you with so much enthusiasm and always make time for you the moment they arrive home. James is your chill, calm and constant friend. He is always up for a dance party, lego building hour, soccer in the house kick around and always there as the calm in the storm. I am your constant coach and nurturer. I am here always as your biggest fan, to fix scraped knees and wash dirty hair. I am always down for a good cuddle and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. marathon too.
Your favorites remain tried and true …
Your favorite television show still remains F.R.I.E.N.D.S., however you sure love Hannah Montana, The Flash, Supergirl, Jonas and a laundry list of other shows. Your favorite foods remain chicken (Chick-filA if you’re lucky), eggs and mac & cheese, but you have expanded to breakfast for any meal (french toast or pancakes always), pizza, cheese burgers, cottage cheese and you still dig broccoli and green beans. I swear one of these days you will fall in love with fruits and vegetables. Until then, dessert is your absolute favorite meal of the day (ice cream, cookies, cup cakes, etc). You love your Duke and dream of your very own puppy on the regular. You love to swim, play Uno and Mancala, kick your soccer ball around and dance through the house. You love to craft and create and always love helping in the kitchen.
This year I’ve noticed a true awareness for other people. You care about how other’s are doing, you help others, you care for others, you notice others. When I don’t feel well you take on all my tasks and chores. You ask how I am doing and genuinely care about my feelings. I love seeing this tender kind side of you. You truly are one of a kind. And your snuggles, oh your snuggles… They are simply the best. The way you greet us after any time apart, the way you crawl into laps and snuggle, the way you inch your way into a crook and settle in, the way you sprint into my arms. My heart explodes.
Please stay you! Please stay truer than true to yourself. Please remain kind and caring while growing in your confidence and self esteem. Know that there is nothing you need to be in life, but if you are going to be; be brave, be kind, be you. Love yourself first. Care for yourself always. Pursue that which makes your heart happy and your soul settled. Never apologize for being uniquely you. Know that you can be anything you want to be in this world, but anything you want or want to become takes effort and consistency. Know you are loved just as you are. Know that I am your safe place, even when you think I am against, the secret is I am always for you and I am always looking out for your best interests.
As started last year, it’s time for our 20 questions for the Doodle birthday tradition:
- What are your favorites (color, food, holiday, book, toy, song)?
– french toast
– my birthday
– pillow pet Simba
– all of the songs
- If you could travel anywhere, where would you travel? Why?
I would travel to wherever my family is because I’ll miss them really a lot. But, I’ll always be with them even when we’re apart.
- What was the best part about being eight?
I had a longer time away from getting my shot when I am ten.
- What is the best part about turning nine so far?
I got to spend it with my family before going to camp.
- What do you think you want to be when you grow up? Why?
I want to be mommy. Because she’s awesome.
- What is your favorite thing about our family?
That we always are loved and we always be kind to each other and when we get in fights we make it up to each other.
- What is your favorite activity?
English riding or it would be doing crafts with my mom.
- What do you love most about summer?
That I have no school because it lets me get school supplies and me and mommy love going to get school supplies.
- What is something you are great at?
English riding and crafts.
- What is something you want to become better at?
Being better at not being afraid of heights. When I get too high I get butterflies in my tummy like it’s empty and I was too scared to zip line. I want to zip line.
- What makes a good friend?
A good friend is staying in touch with each other after they move far far away.
- What did you learn this past year that you loved learning?
I liked learning about Amelia Earhart in school. And I loved learning English Riding Star and sewing at camp.
- What are you looking forward to learning this coming school year?
I am looking forward to learning, um, I don’t know.
- What do you want to try this year that you have never done before?
I don’t know.
- What do you dream about?
At camp I dreamt about nothing.
- What quality do you like most about yourself?
That I have a very very good family.
- What do you love about yourself?
I try things that scare me.
- What are you grateful for?
That I could have the best family in the universes.
- What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Funny. Nice. Crafty.
- What are three goals you have for this coming year of your life?
1) To get better at soccer
2) To ride horses more and learn how to vault on a horse
3) I want to get better at multiplication, division and cursive
Happy Birthday my sweetheart, I love you unconditionally!