Even though we made a deal on her last birthday that she’d stay 4 forever, Lily turned 5 last Tuesday. And as hard as it is for me to believe that she’s turned 5, it’s hard for me to be sad about it like many parents. I’m just happy. Happy to watch her grow, happy to help her along the way, and happier to get to call her mine. These past 5 years together we’ve lived it up, and I don’t feel like any time has been wasted. I wouldn’t change a single moment with her. Not one.

On her actually birthday, we went to a half day at preschool where I got to celebrate Lily with her friends. We looked at Lily’s baby pictures, and we sang to her and did crafts. We brought paper unicorn horns for Lily to decorate with her buddies. We spent time with her grandparent’s and aunt, and then we all went out to eat because she wanted to “go to a steakhouse so someone could sing happy birthday to her.” 

Her party on Sunday was even more fun. I loved seeing all of the little kids ride on the parachute and try to bust open the piñata. I made her cake this year for the first time, and it was a big hit. All of the kids sang happy birthday and blew out the candles with Lily, and before we could cut the cake, they all had their fingers and tongues in the cake. The adults opted for cupcakes :) It was a sweet party filled with even sweeter people. 

5 is here, and I’m looking forward to another year of watching her grow and learn and laugh and be great. I want more adventure than ever for her this year, and I want to take her new places, too. I have one special request, though: time, move extra slow this year. 

She’s 5 today, so we’ll play her favorite song extra loud.

"I belong to Lil. Lil belongs to me. She’s my sweetheart."

On the Day before Your 5th Birthday
You woke me up at 4:45 this morning, pleading with me to turn on the television because you’re afraid of the dark. Of course I did because I don’t ever want you to be afraid of anything. You lay there in the semi-dark, squeezing your eyes together and trying to go back to sleep. It didn’t work, so we sat together watching Wonder Pets with the heavy feeling of tired washing over the both of us. 
And as crumby is it is to be woken up at 4:45, it wasn’t all that bad. 
It reminded me of when you were new. 
That first month you’d sleep all day long, only waking to eat. I’d stay in my pajamas and sleep all day with you because you were irresistibly soft and sweet. But at night, we were up, so I had your Daddy install a dim light next to my spot on the bed so we could spend all night staring at each other. I didn’t even bother trying to get you to go to sleep because I loved those hours so much. I can hear the quiet of those early morning now: the fan whirring in the background, the occasional shuffle of your little legs, and sometimes you’d make little cooing noises. Eventually, I’d turn the light off, and turn on the television, and we’d watch CNN or Wonder Pets on mute because I was certain a  newborn would love the Wonder Pets. Finally, with the first morning light coming through the bedroom window, you’d dose off, and I’d slip off for a decaf and a banana-nut muffin. I’d bring my breakfast to bed, and when i was finished I’d snuggle in beside you. We’d sleep until noon, and then we’d do it all again. 
Those moments are as real and fresh with me today as they were nearly 5 years ago. I won’t ever forget them, and I distinctly remembering staring at you and wondering what in the world you’d be like at 5. I actually couldn’t imagine you at 5, but I wondered.
Now I know. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are the biggest helper there ever was. You are kind and compassionate. You are fun. You are the best big sister. You are always hungry for popcorn. You are imaginative. You are into all things girly and frilly. You are emotional. You are resilient. You are passionate. You are loud. You are filled with goodness. You are sweet and gentle. You are one of the best things that ever happened to us. You are my best friend. 
Thank you for waking me up at 4:45 this morning. Wonder Pets is still a really cute show, and those same banana-nut muffins were even better this morning with you. 

On the Day before Your 5th Birthday

You woke me up at 4:45 this morning, pleading with me to turn on the television because you’re afraid of the dark. Of course I did because I don’t ever want you to be afraid of anything. You lay there in the semi-dark, squeezing your eyes together and trying to go back to sleep. It didn’t work, so we sat together watching Wonder Pets with the heavy feeling of tired washing over the both of us. 

And as crumby is it is to be woken up at 4:45, it wasn’t all that bad. 

It reminded me of when you were new. 

That first month you’d sleep all day long, only waking to eat. I’d stay in my pajamas and sleep all day with you because you were irresistibly soft and sweet. But at night, we were up, so I had your Daddy install a dim light next to my spot on the bed so we could spend all night staring at each other. I didn’t even bother trying to get you to go to sleep because I loved those hours so much. I can hear the quiet of those early morning now: the fan whirring in the background, the occasional shuffle of your little legs, and sometimes you’d make little cooing noises. Eventually, I’d turn the light off, and turn on the television, and we’d watch CNN or Wonder Pets on mute because I was certain a  newborn would love the Wonder Pets. Finally, with the first morning light coming through the bedroom window, you’d dose off, and I’d slip off for a decaf and a banana-nut muffin. I’d bring my breakfast to bed, and when i was finished I’d snuggle in beside you. We’d sleep until noon, and then we’d do it all again. 

Those moments are as real and fresh with me today as they were nearly 5 years ago. I won’t ever forget them, and I distinctly remembering staring at you and wondering what in the world you’d be like at 5. I actually couldn’t imagine you at 5, but I wondered.

Now I know. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are the biggest helper there ever was. You are kind and compassionate. You are fun. You are the best big sister. You are always hungry for popcorn. You are imaginative. You are into all things girly and frilly. You are emotional. You are resilient. You are passionate. You are loud. You are filled with goodness. You are sweet and gentle. You are one of the best things that ever happened to us. You are my best friend. 

Thank you for waking me up at 4:45 this morning. Wonder Pets is still a really cute show, and those same banana-nut muffins were even better this morning with you. 

I wish you didn’t have to go, summer time. 

I wish you didn’t have to go, summer time. 

Hey, Lily. Will you try to remember some of the stuff you do today so you can tell me all about it when I pick you up? || Okay, Mom. I’ll make a list, but I don’t know how to spell much, so how about I write it on my heart? ❤️

Hey, Lily. Will you try to remember some of the stuff you do today so you can tell me all about it when I pick you up? || Okay, Mom. I’ll make a list, but I don’t know how to spell much, so how about I write it on my heart? ❤️

I turned 31 on Friday, and we spent the Labor Day weekend like we do most weekends: at the lake.

I got some sun. I ate too much cake. I ate steak and lobster, and I had my favorite fried Oreos. I played Yahtzee with Tim and Lily, and Lily beat us both. I started a book, and I almost finished that book, too. I swam, and I watched Lily swim without her floaties, and I watched Drew take over the floaties and finally enjoy the lake. I got a brand new lens for my camera.

Family, food, sun, relaxation, books, camera.

At 31, that is what’s important to me.

Oh, you precious girl. You started preschool today. Actually, you’re at preschool right this second. I miss you to pieces, and as unnatural as it feels to leave you, I’m happy for you because I know how you love to be with other kids. I’d love to be selfish and homeschool you and keep you all to myself, but you’ve always been like a flower to me, and I saw you blossom in a way I haven’t before during those weeks at summer camp.

I bet you’re being such a big helper right now. I bet you’ve tried to hold someone’s hand by now and tell them stories about your crazy little brother. I bet that you’ve been smiling the whole time and bet you’ve gone to the potty at least twice by now. I bet you’ve announced that you’re tired at least once and that you did a huge fake yawn to prove it. I bet you’ve twirled a lot, too because you picked out the perfect dress for your first day. I bet you’ve asked your teacher when it’s time to go outside, and I bet when it is time to go outside that you’ll run with all your might to the playground as soon as your feet leave the pavement and hit the grass.

And I’ll bet I’ll spend the rest of this morning stealing glances at the clock until it’s finally time for us to come get you, and I bet that when it’s time, I’ll be the first mom there.

I hope that your first day is going exactly like you deserve it to. Welcome to a new chapter, my love.

We just got back from 5 full days ocean side, and I think the bottom picture of Lily a few minutes before we left the campground is a pretty accurate portrayal of how we all felt and are still feeling about leaving. 

Tim and I don’t need the tropics or exotic locations. We don’t want to travel the world. Give us a week in a camper beside the Atlantic and that’s paradise. 

Home is where you park it. 

There are 3 1/2 years between them. Sometimes it matters, and Lily doesn’t want to play with him as much as he wants to play with her. At almost 5 years old, she asks for privacy often, and I make sure she gets it. 

But other times the 3 1/2 years don’t matter at all, and they play and hold hands and do things together like little friends. He follows her, and he does just about anything she says. He kisses her more than anybody else, and he does it without anybody asking him to. When she falls or cries, he’s often the first one to get to her and kiss her boo-boo.

Sometimes I have to remind her that all he wants to do is play with her. I tell her that she has a built in best friend who thinks she is the best thing ever, so she scoots over and makes room for him or she grabs his hand and includes him in whatever she is doing. 

"Follow me, Drew," she says, and I bet you that he’d follow her anywhere. 

This is Bailey, our foster buddy for the weekend. He fits right in!

This is Bailey, our foster buddy for the weekend. He fits right in!