Dearest Bean,

You have celebrated another birthday and you have done so much this year.

  • You (loudly) exclaimed that Daddy was buying moonshine glasses, while he was shopping for canning jars. Now we know that you watch ‘Moonshiners’ with daddy.
  • snow15We went snow tubing. You learned that going backwards is horrible, forwards is awesome.
  • Since you were in Kindergarten last year, you got to experience snow days. You loved them, Daddy and I liked it less because we had to stay home with you. OK – I liked it more than Daddy did, since making a snowman was fun for me. This year, you learned how to actually do the building instead of just directing me what to do.
  • Early in the year, you learned how to roller skate. You had a ball, but there was a lot of time spent falling, so you wanted to keep going, but complained about your bottom hurting. Thankfully things got better for you through the year.
  • You convinced me that Valentine’s Day is a better holiday than I ever gave it credit for. You said that it was like Thanksgiving – a day for love, a day for thanks. Both are needed.

  • Your love of science continues and this year you have played with your very own microscope and we’ve done a lot of experiments. My favorite was when we played with dry ice and bubbles.
  • For Easter, you got your annual treasure hunt to find the eggs. Daddy and I were impressed at how well you did on the hunt with some of the hard places the Easter Bunny found. Although, we did lose one plastic egg outside. It is unclear if a critter stole it or we just forgot where it was. Let this serve as notice if rotten candy is found next year.
  • You got a razor scooter and we put some miles on it. One of your favorite things to do was to take walk/scooter rides on the Monticello Trail. I was so impressed at how well you did it and I am grateful that we have such a great place to walk together.
  • meadFor Spring Break, you and I went on a trip with Grandma, your Aunt and cousins to Arizona. We went to the Grand Canyon, and around the four corners area. I believe you had the time of your life with your cousins. There were over 1,000 pictures taken, but this one shows your favorite part of the trip – playing in the mud and water of Lake Mead. OK, that or the “eat ice cream everyday” policy.
  • You got to experience a right of passage – Summer Camp. You went to a local day camp where you left every morning excited to go, then returned each day exhausted, filthy and excited to do it all again. You got to ride horses every week, go swimming every day. You even learned to actually swim. Like good enough for the lifeguards at public pools to let you go off the diving board whenever you wanted to. This made my heart stop a little, but you loved every minute of it.
  • We had a lot of family come visit this year. My side of the family came to visit and we had a ball touring the town and you had a ball playing hide and seek with your cousins. Then Daddy’s aunt and cousin came and you had even more fun playing with them. I am so happy for you that you have so much family all over the country that loves you. I love that we have so much “chosen family” in our friends who love you as much as family does.
  • Our family also went to Myrtle Beach this summer. This year, with your newly sharpened swimming skills, you spent many hours in the hotel pool. Also, you really enjoyed going in the ocean and playing in the waves with me. OK – I was psyched about that part, Daddy was less thrilled. Also, while there, you learned how to play mini-golf and gave Daddy a run for his money and beat him a time or two. We went to a couple of shows, a couple of aquariums and you made friends with Tux (our friend’s dog). You showed that you are a big enough kid to do a lot of fun things with us on road trips, so I see more of those in the future.
  • About 1/2 way through the year, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. You were an amazing trooper through all of that and I am glad that you were old enough and had enough of a science knowledge for us to give you a scientific explanation of what was wrong and what the team of doctors were going to do to fix it. When I ran a race that raised money for breast cancer care and research, you made me the best sign EVER, and I cried when I ran by you.
  • You learned to read. This is great news because I want the best for you. But I will say that it has made it harder for Daddy and I to keep surprises from you, as we used to spell them or write them down. Now, you read our texts and all the lists we write. I am proud that you are now among the literate.
  • This year a family of foxes moved into a part of our property and would stop for us to ooh and ahh a few times a week.
  • Because I have cancer, I got chemo. With the chemo came the common side effect of hair loss. One of my favorite memories of the year is when you and Grandma helped cut my hair and shave my head. You got to try out a Mohawk on my head and hair horns. You giggled and had a ball – which made me feel so much better at a time when I was having a breakdown about my hair loss.
  • This year you discovered your mad skillz and love for climbing trees. We have one tree that when we drive by it, you often ask “can I climb the tree?” How can I say no?
  • bikeYou learned to love riding your bike and finally learned to ride without training wheels! This was among the proudest moments Daddy and I had for you because you showed such determination and perseverance in learning.
  • Because you have learned to read and write, you were able to write an amazing letter to Santa, asking for a desk, pencils and books. Then, because you are so awesome and wanted to use your new desk, on Christmas morning, you wrote thank you notes to everyone.

You are an amazing kid and we love you more than I can say. As you grow and learn (and stop with the newly found attitude issues), we will be there to watch and love you.

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