Dearest daughter, fifteen years ago today you entered the world, and we saw face to face the "you" we had already come to love. How we dreamed of you, prayed for you, planned for you!
From the very first you were an incredible joy to us. We used to say that baby admiration took so much time! As most new parents, we thought every single thing you did was fascinating, wonderful, and advanced (and of course, it was!) ;-)
Don't daddy and I look young? Yet at the time we felt like such "old" first time parents. Most of our peers had had their first babies years before. You were God's gift to us in His perfect time. :-)
You were such a smiley, happy baby. Here you are at 9 months. Look at those cheeks! They were irresistible.
And at one year. So bright eyed and ready for the world!
As you know, Aunt Sally's son N was your first friend. We used to do things together all the time!
When you were one, we took a cross country trip, meeting with my side of the family for a week of camping. You had new experiences every day, and it was super fun! You even did well traveling in the car for such a long distance. We were so happy that your aunts and uncles got to know you better, and that you were able to play with your cousins and begin your life-long relationship with them.
Grandpa *almost* taught you how to walk on this trip! You were so close!
Back home, we started you early on our now customary summer trips to the cottage. This was daddy's second Father's Day. You made him a happy daddy. :0)
When you were 15 months old you learned to walk, with a hairbrush clasped in your hand! I was really happy you weren't an early walker. Life changed forever when you learned to walk!
One week after you turned 2, you became a big sister. I love this picture of you and your brother G! Despite how this picture appears, you were a wonderful big sister and doted on your baby brother. As soon as he was sleeping through the night, you and he began sharing a room. We had two cribs on opposite walls, with two dressers side by side between them. Most mornings after you woke up, you would climb up onto the closest dresser, crawl across them both, and lower yourself down into your brother's crib. I would find you together giggling and chatting away in baby talk! Even though we normally discouraged climbing on furniture, I could not bring myself to put a stop to this sweet morning ritual.
Because we are slightly crazy, when your brother G was just two months old, we took another cross country trip, this time all the way to Yosemite, CA! We camped there for a week, again meeting up with family, and we had such a wonderful time. That was the trip where baby G slept in a laundry basket on a thick foam "mattress" that we had made, which I know you've heard stories about. Check out daddy's hair in this pic! Pretty wild, huh?
We did lots of activities and field trips with other homeschoolers. Here you are (second from right) at a one room schoolhouse! This was back when I could still dress you however I wanted. :-)
It wasn't long before your love of horses became a passion. I loved seeing you doing "big girl" things, knowing that you were becoming more independent and learning to do things without me. Which is at it should be. I still love seeing you grow beyond me. I never want to hold you back.
When you were seven, Little Man was born. Oh, how you loved him!!
To make room for Little Man in the nursery, we moved son C in with you for a while. You were super excited to have a room-mate. I still love that about you ~ though you love your own space, you are willing and happy to share your room whenever we need it.
Here you are at age 8, going to a Mother-Daughter tea with me. Again, I could coerce you into wearing hats back then! You were (and are) a delight to be with. Spending time with you is one of my very favorite things to do.
On your 9th birthday ~ you got your soccer chair! We've sure used that a lot, haven't we?? You and your brother G both played soccer for the first time that year. It was the beginning of our family's love of soccer!
And now you and your tree are both 15! As you have always been, you continue to be a JOY to us just by being you. We are so thankful that you belong to Jesus, and that your heart's desire is to live for Him. We see His grace so evidenced in your life, and are proud and humbled to be your parents. We know that God is working in your life to make you the woman He wants you to be, and it is sometimes a hard thing, but a beautiful thing to watch. How we love you!
Happy, happy birthday dear daughter. May you always know how precious you are!