I blinked, and my used-to-be baby has grown into a crazy-but-cute big boy.
I'm not sure how this is true, but alas, I am thankful to be celebrating yet another milestone with my precious blondie. And today's milestone is a big one. That's right, folks, Braxton is officially two years old today!
TWO! YEARS! OLD!
This past month has been jam-packed with to-do lists, errands, organizing + reorganizing, family gatherings, etc., and this little one has handled it all like a champ. There were a few days when nap time wasn't on the schedule (much to my demise, of course), and it never affected him until the day after. Now, that next day was a real doozy if we had back-to-back days of no nap, but thankfully that only happened once (Christmas Eve + Christmas Day). Even when he was a little on the grumpy side, his sweetness was still there. He's always extra snuggly when he's sleepy, so this was just an opportunity to for me to scoop him up and let his little head press into my chest.
Those snuggly moments will always be my favorite.
Two years ago today, you made me a mama. For months and months I looked forward to holding you in my arms and holding you close to me and kissing your cheeks, and I was so happy when that day came. I don't remember much about the day itself, mainly only what was captured in pictures, and even though it's been two years, it still makes me pretty sad to think about all the memories that I was there for but can't recall. Jesus has been so sweet to me since that day, though, gently teaching me that it's okay to bring my brokenness to Him, that I can trust Him to heal my heart. I think it will always hurt in a way when I think about that day, and those months that followed, but He's always reminding me that His love for me is certain even when circumstances are not.
I look forward to the day that you learn that His heart is the same for you.
I have tried to be very intentional about savoring every moment with you, even the seemingly unimportant and insignificant ones like the one we're in as I type this: snuggled up under a blanket on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn at our disposal while Beauty and the Beast entertains us (again). That's right, kiddo. You love what your Mommy does! Be still my heart. I love it when you hug my legs, look up at me, and ask to watch it. We don't watch much TV, but I think you've figured out that I have sweet spot for this movie. And, to make things even cuter, you always ask me to dance during the ballroom scene. Again, be still my heart. The first time you did it, I instantly turned into a puddle! It sure is a gift being loved by you, little one.
Your second Christmas was a big hit this year, and you still haven't broken in all your new things. With your birthday being upon us, you, daddy, and I are going to do some cleaning this weekend and see what we can gift to other kiddos who may not have many toys to play with. Your grandparents + aunts + uncles (and more) loaded you down with some fun things last month, so it's definitely time to do some purging (hopefully you won't be too mad at us, but even if you are - it's happening). I would list your favorite toys from Christmas, but that list would be long soooo I'll spare you. Just know that you LOVE them ALL!
Daddy and I took you hiking on New Years Eve at Paris Mountain to North Lake, and that was the final hike of your second year. I tallied up the grand total of all the hikes you've been on since your first birthday, and it blew me away. Are you ready for this, sir? You went on forty-two hikes in 2016. FORTY-TWO! That's almost one hike per week, and that's incredible. I don't know if we will beat that total this year, but we will surely do our best. Daddy and I only carry you on long trails now, because you love exploring on your own two feet. You're practically a professional at this point, and I am so proud of you! I hope one day you read this and are pretty proud of yourself, too.
You smile like a model, talk like a champ, run around like a wild animal when you get really excited, love to help us clean up and do chores, pout when you don't get your way, smile the biggest, most breath-taking smile (cheeeeeeeeeeese) I've ever seen, eat like a teenager (LAWD!), sleep hard and long, enjoy being the center of attention, hum while brushing your teeth, and love when your daddy gets home after work. You have recently started calling out "Oh, Mommy..." in the mornings and after naps to let me know that you're ready to get out of your crib, and sometimes I let you repeat yourself fifty times because it's so darn cute. I hope I never forget the sound of your voice, little one. The innocence, the tone, just all of it. I especially love hearing you say (and sing!) your prayers, because it's as if heaven meets earth every single time you do.
We've got a full day of activities planned for us today, and then your grandparents + aunts + uncles are coming over for an intimate birthday dinner before your big birthday bash on Saturday. We are so excited to be celebrating this day in our new house - everyone is actually going to fit without being crammed. It'll be a miracle! The menu is all prepared, your cake is baked and iced and ready to be eaten, and I just know you are going to love having everyone in one place so you can show off for the whole gang. I've almost completely finished preparations for your big party this weekend, but we will have to run an errand or two today to help close out this season of last-minute crafting (please forgive me, dude - this whole moving and getting situated thing has not been for the faint of heart). Even with time not being on my side, I have so loved doing this for you! I think I always will.
My prayer for you as you close out one year of your life and launch into a new one is that you would delight to do what it right. People keep telling me about this little thing called the "terrible twos," and I've been coming hard against that little epidemic with prayer. I'm praying for your daddy and me along with that, too, because it is a high responsibility to rightly teach you how to do what is right. We want you to learn by example as we lead by example, especially when "do as I say not as I do" is what we feel like telling you. You're won't be a little boy forever, sweet boy, and we've got big plans to help you become a man who does a whole lot of good. All three of us will have to lean on grace this year as we mess up and try again, but I'm thankful that we'll be doing it together.
I don't know what kind of obstacles we will face and blessings we will receive as a family this year, but we are expectant and confident that this will be our best year yet. We can't wait to watch you continue to grow, and we are thankful for the opportunity to grow alongside of you.
You will never know how much we love you, but we will always spend our days giving you glimpses of all the space you take up in our hearts. Our most precious gift you are, dear son.
Happy, happy birthday to the coolest, funniest, smartest, wittiest, most smiley TWO YEAR-OLD in our world. We love you sooooooooo much!