Happy Birthday, Hope!! Today you turned two. TWO!! I just can't believe it. It seems like yesterday I had my first glimpse of your beautiful... breathtaking... perfect little face.
Nothing has changed! I could stare at your sweet face all day - and often do!
Getting to know you over the last two years has been one of the great joys of my life, Hope.
Life with you is always entertaining. You are definitely two! And by that I mean you're asserting your independence, curious to try everything and exploring your emotions which sometimes explode all over at unique times.
You are still in LOVE with your brother... and your Daddy! Every morning when I go into your room the first words out of your mouth are "Brian?" - and I tell you he's at school - "Daddy?" - and I tell you he's at work. And then I hold my breath and hope you don't look bummed out that you're left with me. Ha!
Brian is equally in love with YOU! He has taught you so many things - how to color with crayons, play tag, build blocks, and he's even trying to teach you how to read! He has told us he wants to be a teacher. If that happens in the future, you can absolutely say you were his first student!!
I love the relationship the two of you are building. Brian is so patient with you (90% of the time) and loves when you're around.
Over the past few weeks you've been adding a lot of new words to your vocabulary. Between speech and basic sign language, you have no trouble getting your needs met!
I wouldn't say that you're mischievous - because that implies intent to be naughty. I think you just like to try things - and then it occurs to you that it might not have been a good idea...
...which prompts you to auto-correct yourself. If I'm in another room and I hear, "HOPE! NO, NO!" that means I will catch you in the act doing something you've realized you shouldn't be doing. Like pulling berries off of my staircase garland. When I round the corner and see you with your hand on a berry, you look at me and sheepishly say, "Sorry, Mom."
If I'm in another room and I hear, "Uh oh." - that generally means I should round the corner with a vacuum. Ha ha!
You are such a fun little girl, Hope! You have such an interesting mixture of interests. You LOVE cars at the moment... baby dolls... books... balls... building with blocks... and making music with instruments.
You're also really good at puzzles! I think we have one smart little cookie!
Speaking of which - you were 100% bribed with cookies during this photo shoot. I will do whatever it takes these days to get cute pictures like these:
Look at those eyelashes!
We had your family birthday party yesterday and you had so much fun!! Granny was here, of course. You must mention Granny's name about 30 times a day. You love her so much!
And it's not a party if Aunt Bean and her family aren't here! She's another one of your favorites and I often hear "Call Bean?" throughout the day. You AND Brian were happy to see Aunt Bean, Uncle Jim, and your cousins Shannon, Brendan and Claire.
Brian was SO excited for your special day and LOVED picking out presents for you. One day, when you're both older, I can't wait to tell you stories about how much thought and effort Brian put into picking out gifts for you... or drawing pictures... or really anything when it comes to you! He has such a huge heart for you, Hope, and it is such a gift to ME to witness his love.
He picked out a puppy that barks and sits up and you LOVED it. It was the first thing you asked for when you came downstairs this morning. He also got you a carry case filled with little board books.
Granny gave you a play mat that has a little town printed on it - perfect for you to drive your cars around! She also got you a gorgeous Christmas cardigan. You'll be styling at the Christmas party this year!
Aunt Bean and the family know how much you love "Baby Einstein," so they gave you a little book that came with a music player!
You were instantly obsessed.
Brian had fun "helping" you open all of your gifts, including your first Duplo Lego set from Aunt Lisa and Uncle Mike and your cousins!
And Aunt Meg, Uncle Greg and your cousins sent a Zoo Train which occupied you for quite a while today.
Animals + any type of vehicle = the perfect gift for Hope.
Finally, we gave you a fun race track with cars. You AND Brian have had a lot of fun with that!
We also surprised you with an "ephant" as you call it when you came down for breakfast.
Daddy is a sucker for big stuffed animals (who isn't, really?)...
...and couldn't leave Brian out of the fun!
The party was a lot of fun and you had such a great time dancing and talking and playing with everyone.
But let's be honest. Parties are just ways to kill time until they bring the cake out!!!!!! It is ALL about the cake - and this one, picked out by Brian, did not disappoint.
You may have stuck your finger into the icing. I'll never tell...
"Happy Birthday to you, Hopi Doo!"
We are grateful to all of our family and friends that helped us celebrate our little girl.
I say all the time that hope arrives just when you need it the most. And that was definitely true for us. This little girl brought light into our life at a very dark time. And watching her grow into her own little self is such a privilege.
I should mention that we had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! It was relaxing and fun. It was also the first time I let Hope "have at it" with crayons and markers without me over her shoulder making sure the markers didn't go up her nose or on the wall!! She did a great job making some Thanksgiving art with Brian.
Brian even helped her make her first "hand turkey!"
I love that he is involved in so many of her "firsts."
And I'm grateful that I have this journal to document them all.
I'm just grateful... period.