How is it possible that you are already two years old? It seems like just yesterday that God brought you into our family, but in many ways it seems like forever. Last year, when we celebrated your first birthday, there was such a cloud of uncertainty hanging over your future. This year we celebrate not only your personal milestones, but the joy that comes with knowing that you are a forever member of our family.
There are always events in life that you can look back on and remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when they happened. We were in the car driving North on the 15 from Sea World towards home when my cell phone rang. It was your mommy. She asked me to tell your brother that we got to keep you. I thought she should tell him herself, so I handed him the phone. His response was, "We DO????" There was such joy on his little face. I then looked to see what you were doing. You were sound asleep. Happy and content, without a care in the world. As if you already knew that God meant what he said in Jeremiah 29:11. So, you see Little Buddy, that event is forever etched into my memory under the category 'I Know Exactly.....'
The week after you left, I flew to 'that other state that you live in' to stay with you, your mommy and brother while your daddy was in Israel. We had a great time. It was so nice to be able to finally fully enjoy you and not worry about any of the legal stuff. You were adorable. Sweet, snuggly and in.to.everything. You were bound and determined to keep up with your brother and irritated when you couldn't. We went on a field trip with The Rock Star's preschool class. We went to watch him play T-ball. We read books and played with toys. The week went way too fast and grandma had to go home.
We next saw you in July. We spent 10 days at the cabin in Lake Tahoe together. Stranger-danger had set in and it took you quite a while to warm up to Grandma and even longer to Grandpa. But, once you did, boy did we have fun. We got to introduce you to the Lake, just like we had your brother a couple of years before. You had no fear, and apparently no thermometer either. You didn't seem to care how cold the water was.
You loved to go on long stroller rides, play at the park and eat. Boy could you eat. We tried to make you your own little area for sleeping. We put sheets around your pack-n-play and tried to make it so that you couldn't see us. Well, you were too smart for that nonsense. You figured out how to peak out and how to pull the whole thing down. You were not going to be excluded from all of the goings on of cabin life. I was able to get some adorable pictures of you on what is hopefully the first of many trips to "The Pumpernickle Family's Heaven on Earth.'
In late August you, your brother and mommy flew down to visit and to go camping over Labor Day. Your daddy was driving down later to join us. I picked you up at the airport. I had already decided that in lieu of your July 'stranger-danger' issues that I would let you come to me. I basically ignored you. Your brother rushed to me and threw himself into my arms. You were toddling around the airport. While I was hugging your brother, I felt a little tap-tap-tap on my leg. I looked down and you were grinning from ear to ear. You let me hug you and we were fast friends from that moment on. Grandpa did the same thing with you when he got home and you warmed right up to him too.
The week before we went camping we went to the beach. The day we chose to go to the beach it was cold. You didn't seem to care. You didn't even seem to mind that you were covered in sand.
We visited Grandpa's work and you sat in the helicopters. Your smile says it all.
That trip was your first camping trip. You seemed to really enjoy it and you had a rite-of-passage as well. You were the youngest of 4 children on the trip. There was a huge pile of rocks in the site next to us. The campground uses them for ground cover, but they are really a magnet for children to climb on. Since the pile was in full view of our campsite, we let all of you climb on it. You would get yourself to the top, sit down, look around and smile huge. It was adorable. After you had sat for a few moments you would look toward our campsite and yell, "Dad, dad!" As if to say, "Hey, look at me. I'm a big kid now." You did it several times and you were so proud of yourself for keeping up. I think we might have even let you try a s'more on that trip. I hope that we will have many, many more camping trips together.
In late October, Grandma flew up to visit you and to go to a Women's Event with your mommy. You were waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator in the airport. What a surprise! I thought you would pick me up curbside, but you and your brother were waiting with smiles on your faces. When I got to the bottom, you both ran into my arms and hugged me. What an amazing welcome. A few days later Grandpa flew in and we got to spend several days together. We went to Jump & Bounce. You, your brother and Grandpa bounced and bounced until poor Grandpa couldn't bounce anymore.
We went to the Airplane Museum. You walked around and looked at all of the airplanes like such a big boy.
We went to the pizza buffet that your brother loves so much and it was obvious that you like it too.
You rough-housed with your Grandpa.
We flew home knowing that we would see each other again right after Christmas.
You drove to our house on December 27th and we celebrated Christmas together. You were so cute with all of the ribbons and bows. You had definitely learned how to open gifts and didn't need much help in that department.
We went to the zoo and visited Grandpa at work while you were here. You love to sit in Grandpa's helicopters just like your brother. We had a lot of snuggle time. We read books and played with duplos. You learned how to get out of the pack-n-play and you had yet another rite-of-passage. You joined your brother and Grandpa and slept in the tent in the family room. You settled right into your sleeping bag and were the last person up the next morning! Hopefully just the first of many, many nights spent sleeping with Grandpa.
We are coming to visit you for your birthday. We can't wait to help you celebrate turning two! You have grown and changed so much in the last year. You are starting to say a few words. The way you say 'Jesus' and 'I love you' melts Grandma's heart. Your giggle is infectious. Your hugs and kisses are delicious. You have gone from toddling to running to climbing mountains and sleeping in tents. You have been introduced to some of our favorite places. We are excited to see which ones you embrace as your own. I hope that you will recognize that the best parts of these experiences are the time spent with family.
This next year will bring many more changes. We hope to be able to carry on conversations with you by your next birthday. It will be fun to watch you as you give your brother a run for his money. The sky is the limit for you dear Matthew! Happy 2nd Birthday! Grandma and Grandpa LOVE you!!