Whoa, whoa, whoa. I am just getting used to you being 4. Let's not move on to 5 quite so quickly ;) Honestly, I'm not terribly surprised you are already looking forward to the next milestone. I think you were no more than 3 and 1/4 and you were telling us you'd soon be 4. It's part of this age and your personality - always looking forward to what's next. Savor, my girl. Just savor.
A couple days before you turned 4, we got to celebrate with the Swift family for Uncle Josh's birthday! You were on a birthday high knowing yours was next ;)
You and cousin Claire being silly billies! You love your cousin!
A Glimpse of you at 4:
- You still ADORE animals. You want a dog oh so badly! I had never taken you into a pet store... but one day about 9 months ago, as we drove past a PetCo, you shouted, "Mom, can I please get a pet, please!!" You're smart. You saw their logo and just knew... that's a pet place. Every time we drive by now, you ask for a pet. And most any time we see a dog... you ask for a dog (eehem, that can be a few times a day). You were thrilled to receive a fish (from Mimi and Baba) and a butterfly (from Auntie Kara) for your birthday. The fish has been named Ariel (though you've never seen that movie) and the butterfly is Katie. Love that. You are thrilled to feed your fish each day and are so proud to be responsible for that.
- Your imagination is NON-STOP! I adore this part of you, Harper. At any given moment you transform into character and you are never short of characters for Bentley, Dada and Mama to be. This trasformation can happen ANY where too: in the car, the store, at the dinner table, jumping on the trampoline, in the bath tub, etc. I have to be on my toes, as to know who you are at the given moment! The current favorite imaginary episode involves you playing either a doggie, kitty, fox or baby, Bentley is always your sidekick, and Mama is either Mother Gothel from Rapunzel or Hook from Peter Pan and most always, I'm supposed to chase you through a forrest and capture you. By the end of me trying to find you, chase you, and capture you... you most always tell me that I have to change my heart and be kind. I often will ask you to tell me how to be kind. And you always end with, "and you need Jesus in your heart." So sweet.
- You are the best big sister the world could ever find! You are wonderful at including your brother in almost everything you do. Like any older sibling, you sometimes want your "big girl" space to do your thing. But mostly, you include your brother - with kindness and generosity too. You love to sing to him before he goes to bed and are quite offended if he forgets to give you a goodnight kiss and hug (the same goes with him too ;). Tonight was a perfect example of your tenderness towards your brother: as we were heading to bed, Bentley was pretty sad that daddy wasn't home for the goodnight routine. He sat in the middle of the stairwell, laid his head down and started crying :( You came down the stairs with me to get him. As I picked him up, you reached out and hugged him with me and said, "Oh, it's ok Bentley. Don't cry. I'm so sorry you miss your daddy." You have such a sensitive and nurturing spirit about you when it comes to your brother's well-being.
- You are the world's best 4 year old problem solver... or should I say negotiator? If you want to do something, get something, or accomplish something in any way... you figure out very clever ways to do it... usually within seconds of a obstacle being posed. You can also talk your brother into almost anything at this point. Recently, you dad and I started watching a show about a lawyer who is called the "closer"... he's very reminiscent of your daddy... hmmm. Maybe that's where you get it? We should call you our Four Year Old Closer ;)
- You also have an amazing sense of humor! You always are able to find something positive about a situation and continue to shock your dad and I at how you get our adult (but not too adult-ish) humor. You love laughing and love when others join you ;)
- More and more you show us tiny signs that you might have some tomboy in you. You are extremely physical. You love running, climbing, jumping, dancing - ALL the time. Your favorite game is chase. You love your gymnastics class, riding your bike or scooter, playing soccer and street hockey. The trend your daddy hates, has been very consistent now: wherever we go, you make friends with the boys. Not because of anything your daddy is afraid of, but because they don't intimidate you and you easily keep up with them. In fact, sometimes they seem better suited for you at this age than some little girls, because of the physicality level you like to maintain during the day. I just wonder what you'll be like in junior high and high school...
- You love preschool! Even though some of our drop-offs would have me thinking otherwise (tears, tears), every time I come to get you you are beaming with delight. And last week, I got to come help out for a couple hours because it was your birthday... and let me tell you, you were in your element - creative learning, friends, activities, etc. I am loving seeing you learn! You have become more and more of a book lover than ever. And you are determined to always follow each word I read with your finger. You love writing your name and telling me you'll read such and such for me ;) Last week when we had to fill out your school "all about me" birthday banner... you were determined to write out the entire thing (I ended up letting you do your name and birth date).
- The thing that continues to stand out most to us about you, and has since you were teeny tiny, is your HEART. Your heart it gold. You love other people. They matter to you so much. You are extremely perceptive of other's emotions. This year of 3 has offered us a chance to see your heart bloom even more. This past Christmas was the first year you were full of concern for the sick children at the hospital... you were the most involved you've ever been in our Christmas tradition of supporting a family at the hospital. Almost a year ago, you began asking me about all the homeless people who stand on corners or on freeway entrances. When I told you they were people who needed help - maybe they were sick or had no family or had lost their job - you were heart-broken for them. You started spotting the "people with signs" a mile away. It wasn't long before I knew we HAD to do something about it. I took you and Bentley to Costco and we picked out granola bars of different sorts to have in our car at all times. If I'm perfectly honest, this made me uncomfortable at first. I have never known exactly what to do with all the people with signs. My heart has felt compassion, but my flesh has told me to not bother or pretend they're not there... You opened my eyes on so many levels this year, my girl. You taught me the importance of letting others know that you SEE them... that they MATTER... no matter their story. You have been fearless, Harper. You have insisted you be the one to roll down your window and hand the bar to each person. You've only been shy once that I can remember. You smile and say hi and even answer extra questions from them if the light is red for a minute. Some have been chatty with you, some have teared up when they see your sweet face, they all smile when they see a little girl reaching out to them. We have continued this wherever we go. You know which of the street corners or freeway ramps usually have someone in need. This has been one of the most beautiful parts we've seen in you as you approached 4. Never ever lose that heart God has put inside of you.
The day before your birthday, we met your friends Lucy and Sadie and their mommy, Jillian, at McDonald's for an ice cream-play-date-treat! What fun we had with them ;)
Your actual birthday began with daddy taking you to breakfast, just the two of you, at 7am. When I told you where you were going and you needed to get dressed, you exclaimed that little girls need to wear a princess dress on a date! You chose your Belle dress for your breakfast date with daddy.
I took you and Bentley to the Children's museum for the morning and we had a blast. My favorite part is watching you guys paint your own face. Always a work of art and oh so cute!
My two favorite tiny people!
After an afternoon of lounging, painting your OWN nails and hanging out with Mimi for a little bit...
We made homemade pizzas by your request! We had so much fun letting you guys roll out the dough, put on the sauce and all the toppings. You guys love cooking and remained beyond focused through each step. Let me tell you, they were each a work of art!
I can tell you that a lot of raw pizza dough was eaten and a lot of fingers were licked in the process. Yum!
After dinner, we opened presents and then made ice cream sundaes - a total treat! You were in heaven with the mouth of sweet teeth you have ;)
After dessert and a bath to de-sticky you, you thought you were going to bed... but daddy and mommy surprised you by letting you guys stay up for a family movie featuring Happy Feet 2! It was a late and memorable evening of fun and laughs. We love you so much our sweet 4 year old!