Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Jane Louise!

Dear Janie Boo,

You're four years old!  FOUR!  Can you believe it?!  Daddy and I can't.

4 years ago, we were watching the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver from our hospital room with you

and now you're a big preschooler!

Preschool Christmas sing-along
Now, we get to watch the Olympics with you and your 2 little brothers!  

I love so many things about you.  

You are so friendly and outgoing, and you want to make friends wherever we go--the neighborhood park, grocery store, library, and most recently, with all of the subcontractors doing work on the house before we move.  

You are very sensitive to other people's feelings, and you are always the first to offer a hug, a tissue, or wipe away tears.  A few months ago, Walt hurt himself, and he was very upset.  You grabbed a tissue and dabbed his tears.  "Here, buddy.  It's okay.  Blow."  

You are quite the little mother to Baby Harry, too.  You love to tell me what you think he needs--a bottle, a diaper, a toy, some snuggling, and you're always the first volunteer to do it all.  Sometimes, I wonder how your big heart fits into your tiny body! 

Helping Harry eat some rice cereal
You always want to know what's happening and what we are doing next.  Like your mama, you like knowing the plan, and you agree that the anticipation of an event is half the fun.  

You love little surprises like picnics in the family room, donuts on Daddy's post-call mornings, or unexpected visits to your favorite places.  More than that, you like doing the surprising.  When you hear Daddy come home, you get such a kick out of hiding and either waiting for him to find you or jumping out when you think he least expects it. 

On the days when you take only a catnap, I love our new tradition of "quiet reading time."  You snuggle up right next to me on the couch, and we read our stories next to each other.  

You and Monty are inseparable buddies these days, and I love how much you two love each other.  On the days when you go to preschool or take your nap, your reunions afterward are so precious.  I am so proud of you for teaching anxious Monty how to be a happy dog in our home.  

If you could have it your way, our life would be a musical.  Well, I suppose yours already is because you sing all day about anything and everything!  You pluck away on the piano keys, making up your own songs.  I hear you singing in the bathroom, while you're getting dressed, when you greet Harry in the morning with a lullaby, or when you're dancing around in one of your princess costumes or tutus.  My girl, I love your ZEST for life.

Just a princess bouncing on a trampoline
One of my favorite things about you is how easy it is for you to laugh--especially at yourself.  

Laughing when I pointed out that you had put your pants on backwards.
You have taught me to stop taking myself so seriously and refocus my priorities.  

You are so innocently open to people and experiences, and it's such a joy to watch you take in the world around you.  

Fearless on your first day of preschool
You're so great at expressing how you are processing everything as it happens--what you're hearing, thinking, smelling, feeling, touching, seeing.  I imagine your preschool teacher will tell me and Daddy at conferences that she needs to redirect you back to the task at hand because you are so curious and focused on whatever has your attention.  Don't tell her, but I love your curiosity and intense focus on the task at hand.

One of my favorite parts of being your mama is watching your faith develop.  I love how good you are about asking all of us to join you in prayer.  If you stub your toe, you're the first to say, "Let's pray!  Dear God, please help my toe to feel better.  I love you.  Amen."  Or, you'll ask us to pray for you through tears.  "Mommy, can you please pray for my toe?"  

Advent 2011
One year ago on your birthday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy.  Can you even imagine the Church without Pope Francis at the helm right now?  I'll think about that moment every year on your birthday.  It taught me that we usually have absolutely no idea what God has in store for us, but we must have faith that they are "plans for good" (Jeremiah 29:11).  

So, my dear, I want you to know that I don't know exactly what God has in store for you, but I know that they are plans for good.  You are such a precious blessing to our family, and I am so proud of the little lady you are becoming.  I am so honored that God entrusted you to our family, Janie Boo.  I pray that you will continue to learn to know, love, and serve Him, and I pray that our domestic church will continue to reveal His Love to you through every member of our family.

We love you so much, sweetie!  Happy 4th Birthday!  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!  


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