Sweet Anna Kate,
Happy 3rd birthday! It is hard to believe that our first baby is three years old today (although you would say that you are NOT a baby, but are actually a big girl). It is hard to find the words that would express all the joy that you bring to our family, but I will at least try! We never want to forget all of your sweet and silly personality traits that make you who you are.
~ You are such a happy little girl. You have the greatest facial expressions when you are excited about something, or when you come up with a good idea, or when you are surprised. It's as if your whole face lights up!
~ You LOVE to read. Seriously, we read dozens of books every day. You absolutely love to be read to, but you are also reading now yourself. Last fall we realized that you had learned all of your letter sounds and were starting to put them together on your own. So, I went ahead and had Grandma send me Alpha-Phonics, the book that she used to teach me to read. We jumped right in and you are reading fluently through lesson 70 (which includes one and two-syllable words, all short vowel sounds, and all consonant blends). You are also reading Bob books from the library up through level 3. You also read most of your birthday cards this afternoon (those that didn't write in cursive!).
~ One benefit of you learning to read is that you now will sit and read stories to Caroline. You really love reading Dr. Seuss books to her. The Cat in the Hat, Wacky Wednesday, and Hop on Pop are definite favorites. Caroline absolutely adores you and loves having you read to her.
~ Speaking of your relationship with your sister, you are (almost always) very kind and loving and protective of her. You always refer to her as "Cares" or "Caresy Bears" (unless she takes something of yours and then you call her CAR-O-LINE!). You always watch out for her, whether she is climbing something, or touching something she shouldn't, or grabbing food that she can't eat. In fact, even when you're playing pretend in your kitchen, you always make her food dairy- and egg-free so that she can eat it! (However, you have been known to purposely "put eggs" in something so that you have an excuse not to share with her...)
~ You can almost always be seen carrying a purse. Your favorite items to carry around in your purse are your wallet, cellphone, chapstick. Actually, just the other week you pitched quite a fit in your class at church. It was because you had left your purse somewhere and you wanted your teachers to go and find it, but they didn't know where it was. Anyway, it was really the first tantrum you've ever thrown at church and your teachers were so surprised that they really thought it was rather amusing. You did stop immediately when they threatened to go get Daddy.
~ Now, that incident aside, you absolutely love your classes at church. You are still in Ms. Tammy's Sunday School class and you have now been joined by Caroline. You are the oldest one in the class now (you will go to the 3-4's in September) and I think you enjoy that a little too much. I have a feeling that you boss the toddlers around a little bit! And you always tattle on them when you get home. But you also are a very good listener and you tell us exactly what your lesson was about each week. On Wednesday nights you go to choir, which you love, and then you go to Mrs. Wanda and Mrs. Janis' class. You really have fun in there! They always have some kind of very messy craft and a very yummy treat, so what's not to like? You also just moved up to Children's Worship during the service hour on Sunday mornings. You have a different teacher each week in there. This past Sunday morning as we were praying in the car on the way to church, this is what you prayed: "God, I pray that we would have happy hearts to worship you and I pray that I would get the teachers that I like in my worship class!" Ha!
~ Speaking of praying, you truly are quite the little prayer warrior. The very first thing you think of whenever you hear about someone being sick, or sad, or in need, is to pray for them. You love praying for your church family, for your new baby cousins, and for all the missionaries that you know, "that they would tell lots of people about Jesus."
~ You love family worship time. We still normally read a story out of the Big Picture Story Bible, but you have also started to really enjoy the Jesus Storybook Bible, which contains longer stories. After Bible story time we work on our catechism (you know the first 30 questions) and Bible verses (you know 10 different Scriptures by memory).
~ You are a great sleeper these days! You are usually in bed by 7:45 and then you come to our bed for snuggles in the morning promptly at 7am. You know that you are not supposed to get out of bed until you see a 7 on the clock and you are pretty good at abiding by that! You also take a good 2 hour nap every afternoon.
~ You are so funny about what you have to have in bed to sleep with you. You will not go to sleep if you don't have Molly Monkey, Heidi Ann, Sweet Dreams, Penny the Pig, Curious George, Lamby, Lovey, and Ruby the bunny. Some nights it is a little bit of a hassle (if something goes missing), but it's pretty cute and we know these days won't last forever!
~ You also have to have Daddy pray for you and tell you a story each night before you fall asleep. And they have to start the same way each night or you tell him that he's doing it wrong. The prayer has to start with "Father God, I pray for Anna Kate and for Caroline". The story has to begin with, "Once upon a time there lived a princess by the name of Anna Kate. She lived with her Mommy and her Daddy and her little sister, the baby Caresy Bears." If any of those words is changed, you make him start over.
~ You have quite the imagination. You are constantly playing pretend something. Lately you have been making rows of chairs into a car and you drive places - Walmart, Edventure, the zoo, etc. And you never let anyone ride in your car without buckling up!
~ You still are very good friends with your imaginary rhinos and talk about them on a daily basis. You give them different names that usually rhyme, but the names change.
~ You can count up through 14 and then you mix up the rest of the teen numbers, but we're working on it! You can also add all single digit numbers using your fingers as a guide.
~ You have really started to enjoy board games and puzzles lately. Your favorite games are "Cootie" and the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" board game. Your favorite puzzle is your big Disney princess puzzle.
~ Speaking of princesses, you love to dress up like a princess, wear jewelry, paint your nails, have tea parties, and generally do anything girly. But you also love to run around and play outside in the sandbox and get really dirty!
~ You are an extremely inquisitive child. You always want to know why things are the way they are. And whenever something is out of the ordinary, or breaks what you thought was a universal rule, you are quite concerned. You are always trying to make sense of your little world!
Anna Kate, you light up our life. Thank you for teaching us what it means to live joyfully, to love with abandon, and to have a childlike faith. Happy happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl.
Mommy, Daddy, and Caroline too!