He’s two years old! (back in May)

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I love pinching his super soft cheeks and the way he smiles and gallops through the house instead of running.

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I love how seriously he studies things and thinks about things.

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He picks a favorite toy or two to carry around each day, like D2 and 3P0. A little red tank car. A stacking block with a picture of a cherry ice cream cone. A baby potato spud with a pair of too-big blue shoes. A baby hippo. A “Dawf” (Darth Vader) angry bird. A Lego storm trooper helmet (inserted over his thumb). Or whatever else has caught his fancy that day.

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I love his incredible awareness of our routines and what his brothers do, and how he wants to do the same things.

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He has intense eyebrows that make him look much older than he really is.

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I love his stomach and how it leads him to the counter long before a meal is finished being prepared, hoping for a tasty preview of what’s to come.

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I love how much he loves “moodies!”

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And how positively and unbelievably adorable he is.

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He is so happy and has a wonderful sense of humor and love for life.

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I love the way he repeats the words of a prayer in a high pitched voice with constantly rising intonation, like he’s singing. And how he always wants to include a blessing for Daddy, even if Daddy is home.

And I love his first independent prayer that he started saying for every meal, “Bwess Daddy come home. Amen!” And if it doesn’t work the first time, he’ll say it again and again. He even folds his hands, bows his head and closes his eyes.  It’s gotten shorter over time to “Bwess Daddy. Amen!” and now “Bwess. Amen!”  We  joke that soon it’ll just be, “Amen!”

And he was so cute today in church when he prayed for the Sacrament water all on his own, “Bwess Daddy, water. Amen!”

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He knows I can’t catch him right now, so he races off when it’s time to change his diaper or go to bed. And boy, he gets mad when I ask Boots to help me catch him. (And you better believe Boots loves it!)

And he cracks us up with the word, “No.” When he first learned it, it became the pat answer to EVERYTHING.

“Do you want to go outside?” “NO!”

“Do you want to stay inside?” “NO!”

“Do you want ice cream?” “NO!” (But then he’d pause, reconsider and then give a definitive nod.)

Eventually, he toned down a little, but he still loves the power of throwing around a strong, “No!” And just recently he finally started saying, “Es,” in addition to nodding. (It used to be tricky in the car when he’d only do a silent nod and the boys would have to tell me because I couldn’t see it.)

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I love the way his brothers talk to him, include him and share with him.

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I love the way he says his brothers’ names (“Dawse” and “Gock”) and how he always wants to name them in pictures or videos.

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He loves his silly brothers and Daddy. (Me, too!)

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He wanted a D2 cake, but I didn’t really write “Potatoes” on it.

He is mellow and easygoing, quite content to just wander off and play with his kitchen or stack blocks with the clubhouse.

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I love when we say something like, “It’s time for dinner,” and he exclaims, “Oh!” like we just cleared up something he’s been wondering for years.

Or when he grudgingly admits (in a defeated, drawn-out voice), “oday,” when he finally agrees to do something (like fold his hands for a time-out) and it’s really asking a lot.

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I’m amazed at how determined he can be! His newest habit is to climb on top of the counter after what he wants if Mommy or Daddy take too long to give it to him.

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He loves our alone time after morning naps and I love it, too. He’s so intelligent and has an incredible memory, bringing up stories and events that happened weeks ago. Or remembering exactly how you did something the first time and wanting to do it exactly the same way again.

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I love how snuggly he is and how he always wants his Mommy when he gets hurt, hugging my neck and putting his head on my shoulder until he feels better. I love our chair time together reading books before naps and bed, and how he always wants me to “pop” out the recliner. Then he points to characters and objects in his favorite Disney or Winnie books and I dutifully name each and every one, often in a specific order.

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He loves all the Winnie-the-Pooh characters, calls Mickey Mouse “Minnie” and gets soooo excited when it’s his turn to pick what we watch. He loves to pick “Pooh” or “Minnie” or Aladdin (which he calls “Boo” for Abu). He is a crack-up when he acts like Donald Duck or Tigger. He tells the cutest stories with sound effects, facial expressions and gestures. And he wants to hold a remote control just like his brothers. (Fortunately, he doesn’t care if it actually works. He just wants to hold one.)

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Happy birthday, sweet little man! We love you with all our hearts.

San Juan Island

My best friend and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary this week. My parents were in town and they graciously watched our three Jedi Knights, an Ewok puppy and 14 chickens while Charming and I took a day to ourselves. (Thank you!!)

We enjoyed a sunny day trip to San Juan Island and fell in love with the gorgeous farmland and sweeping views of the water. I saved Charming when I saw a bee in his hair while he was driving. And he saved me when the bee flew onto my shoulder and he whacked it off with a water bottle. Then he made me laugh so hard when he sang banjo music as the soundtrack to our little adventure.

Someday, I am going to write a historical romance novel set in this magical slice of heaven, with a Cousin Vinnie from Brooklyn who makes authentic New York subs that I can still taste.

And someday, Charming is going to buy a farm there. And pile up all of his rocks right in the middle of the field, just like an islander.

Happy Anniversary, My Love! You’re the best decision I ever made.

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Someone turned six…

… And we had such a fantastic day celebrating with him!

Rebel troops, Jedi Knights and Princess Leias helped us defeat Darth Vader, destroy the Death Star (our first attempt at a pinata!) and eat R2-D2 while Star Wars music played and chaos rang out merrily.

Happy Birthday, Brother! You are such a treasure. Thank you for coming to our family! We love you with all our hearts.

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I know

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I know that God’s plan is perfect.

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I know His spirit children are meant to come to earth in tiny bodies.

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I know they are meant to be adored.

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And cherished.

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And protected.

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I know they are meant to grow.

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And become very round.

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And chubby.

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I know they are meant to pull off their socks.

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Two feet at a time.

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I know they are meant to laugh.

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And feel the love of their families.

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I know they are meant to delight their parents with incredible hair.

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And sprout endearing vampire teeth.

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And light up with joy at the little things.

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I know they are meant to be expressive.

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And charming.

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I know they are meant to climb the growth charts at the doctor’s office.

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I know they are meant to become big brothers.

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With absolute adoration.

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And overflowing enthusiasm.

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And I know…

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that eventually…

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… my little baby is meant to turn two.

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But it still hurts my heart.

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And it still makes me cry.