Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dear Evelyn, Today you are four!

Dear Evelyn,

Today you are four. FOUR!!! How did this happen? Some days feel like forever and then suddenly you are four. You have grown so much this past year and you continue to amaze me. You are my little friend and you want to help me with EVERYTHING, which is wonderful, some of the time (you will understand that better once you have children). You enjoy cooking, reading books, doing puzzles, playing with your friends, talking with your grandparents, playing with your grandparents, going to dance class, playing with Matilda, and you even enjoy unloading the dishwasher and doing laundry with me. It is so much fun to see all of the things your are learning and enjoying doing. You are always happy to go and play with your friends and always sad when it is time to go back home. You do not like saying goodbye, refuse to tell people bye most of the time.

Every morning your enjoy coming out of your room and telling me and Isä that you are awake and that you slept good. You tell each of us individually because you tell me in english and Isä in finish. The next words out of your mouth is that you are hungry. Your language has improved and increased tremendously this year. You still have speech therapy each week and you look forward to your time with Riikka. Your Isä reads to you in the morning while you eat breakfast and he has worked hard to only speak finish to you. You enjoy your story time together and some days you explain to me what the book is about that he read to you. You are always kind to explain to me what you are doing or talking about in finish. When you play, you talk to yourself in both english and finish, which is adorable and a little confusing for your friends when they play with you.

You are strong minded and obedient. These are two qualities that I hope will bless you in your life. You will also make a great leader one day. While it seems that you enjoy "bossing" people around, most of the time you are informing them of the rules or repeating to them what I told you to do. Everyone should obey their mommies and you will gladly help to make sure that happens. Sometimes this can be frustrating but I know that you will be someone that others can depend on to get a job done and to do it the correct way.

While you have been mostly healthy this year, you did end up in the hospital twice. One time was because you broke your arm. That was a sad and somewhat horrible day, but granny came to visit and help us feel better. You also got a flu bug after breaking your arm which was not fun but we survived, because you are a survivor. You did not let the cast on your arm slow you down. You actually were trying to color and write with that hand. Nothing is going to stop you when you set your mind to something. The second time you were in the hospital was after Matilda was born and everyone got a horrible stomach bug. It took you seven days before you started to eat and you had to spend two nights in the hospital so that you could get hydrated. Even though you were so sick you did not cry or complain much. We were lucky and granny was already visiting so that way mommy and Isä could help you feel better.

This year you learned how to pray and for awhile you wanted to say every single prayer. It was such a joy to see you growing up in this way. Now your willingness to pray is based on how you are feeling at the moment. Just last week, while we were on our evening walk, you decided that you wanted to say a prayer by yourself and then you said three prayers. It was the first time you had ever prayed by yourself. It was adorable and I am so thankful for your sweet spirit. You started primary in January and you love going to primary. Isä went with you for the first few weeks and now you go all by yourself.

Becoming a big sister was a huge highlight for you this year. You love Matilda and you love being a sister. I think I could count on one hand the amount of times you have told me do something for you instead of Matilda. You are understanding of Matilda's needs and that sometimes you must wait your turn.

I love you Evelyn and I hope you will always know that. So much has changed this year for both you and me. I think I struggled more with all the time I needed to spend with Matilda instead of it being me and you. You are the oldest, so you have a unique position of having 3.5 years of just you and me. We did everything together. We still do everything together and we are now lucky to have Matilda joining us for the fun times.

Thank you for joining our family four years ago. Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for showing me the strengthen I did not know I possessed. Thank you for your kind and loving heart. Thank you for loving me, even when I hurt your feelings and thank you for being so forgiving.

As usual, your life is busy. You celebrated your 3rd birthday in Germany. Last August, your Aunt Sarah got married so we were in Florida and we came home long enough to do laundry and pack before heading to Italy. Other than short trips to Helsinki we have stayed home because mommy was very pregnant and then Matilda arrived. No worries though...we are headed to Germany in 2.5 weeks.

And now for all the pictures.... it is always so hard to choose which pictures to add.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dear Evelyn, Today you are three!

Dear Evelyn,

Somedays it feels like we are moving so slow but then I realize you have now been in our lives for three years. Three crazy and wonderful years. Today we are in Germany with family so I wrote this post a few days ago. There are so many things I want to tell you. I want you to know how amazing you are. You have such a strong spirit and personality which has helped you through the many trials you have already faced in your short life. You bring joy to so many people's lives. This year has been awesome to watch you grow. You had surgery back in September and since that surgery you have grown up so quickly. I wish I would have known how uncomfortable you were because I would have asked the doctors to do the surgery sooner. Please know that I love you and your Isä and I try hard to do what is best for you and as soon as we realized that you needed that surgery we had the doctors do it. Within two weeks you were already eating better and becoming more active. It has been wonderful to see the progress you have made since then.

As I looked through photos of the last year I noticed a few themes; animals, rides, cooking, crafts, ducks, and traveling. You are one busy little girl. Since your last birthday we have visited multiple zoos and animal parks and we have taken you to small amusement parks and let you ride every single carousel we see. Actually, your grandparents take you on the carousel because they love to see how you light up when you ride it. You are always asking if you can cook with me and you help me in the kitchen a lot. You are so willing to help clean up also, which will be wonderful once you are a little older and your cleaning doesn't create a larger mess. Stickers, glue, and paint are your favorite things to do. We try to do crafts frequently and you always enjoy it.

After your surgery in September you started to talk and it was so nice to hear, now you dictate your entire day to me ALL DAY LONG. We didn't know when you would start to talking so we try to be patient with you new found joy of hearing yourself. You know who speaks Finnish and who speaks English and you address them accordingly. Many times you will mix words up and create your own language. Sometimes when you are speaking in one language and you do not know a specific word, you switch to the other language.  It is so cute to watch and listen to you communicate, even though I am translating most of the time. You struggle with many sounds and some letters you just leave out completely. You still have speech therapy a few times a month and we are slowly working on the sounds you are missing.

Your eating has improved immensely. I believe this is due to the exercises from speech therapy which have strengthened the muscles in your mouth and the fact that you talk so much now, so your muscles are constantly being strengthened. Pasta and potatoes would be your favorite. Most mornings I make you buttered toast with an egg and you eat part of a banana. This just started within the last month and it has been so awesome to see how much more you are eating. One thing that has improved your eating, is I read to you while you eat breakfast. You enjoy this routine and as soon as you sit at the table you ask me to start reading. Other foods you like are strawberries, chicken, beef with sauce, rice, cream cheese, avocado, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, dip for your veggies, muffins (or cupcakes as you call them), bread, chips, and ice cream. Milk and water are the only beverages you drink. Another change we made to your diet after your surgery was you no longer drink normal cows milk. You drink a supplement type of milk for toddlers that includes a good amount of vitamins and minerals, while giving you less protein. We have to monitor your daily protein intake because of your poor kidney function.

Books and puzzles. You cannot get enough of puzzles. You are already doing 50 piece puzzles by yourself. It is the only time you are quiet. You sit at your little table and do puzzle after puzzle. Books are another favorite part of your day. We have so many books and yet I feel like we go through all of them every two to three days!

We go to music group once a week and you have enjoyed that a lot. We started going in February this year and you were a little shy the first few times, but now you participate fully. I have started playing music when we get in the car so now you ask for it as soon as you are buckled into your car seat. You have a few musical instruments and you enjoy pulling them all out and asking your Isä and I to play music with you.

Isä is still in school and I think it will be sad for both of us once he has to start working. You enjoy him being home and all the time you get to spend with him. You also love the time you get to spend with your grandparents on both sides of the family. Many days you will take the phone away from me so that you can talk to Granny and I don't interupt.

You have made some friends in the neighborhood and you really enjoy playing with them. You actually think any kid you see is your friend and luckily you are cute enough and small so they are willing to play with you for a little while. You do have some specific friends that you ask for by name and are always happy to see them.

This year has been so much fun watching you grow and learn. You personality is blossoming and while we struggle sometimes, I love to see your determination and I know it will take you far in life.  You are also a extremely polite child. You remember to say thank you without being told almost all of the time. You say excuse me and bless you. I am sure there are so many more things I could write to you but I most importantly I want you to know that I love you. I love that we get to spend every day together. I love that you get excited when I walk through the door (from the rare occasion I leave). I love that you want me to be a part of everything in your life. I know this stage will not last forever and I am so grateful that I get to spend it with you. I am so blessed to be your mother. You teach me so much about myself and the world. Thank you for being a part of our family and I look forward to this next year and all our big adventures.

Picture time! So you travel A LOT kiddo!! Since your last birthday, you have been to Italy, Texas, Florida, and we are currently in Germany. This does not include all the small little trips around Finland.