(the words in pink are links to previous posts that give more detail about what I'm talking about...please click on them to read more)
I'll start with my first born; my darling Joelle. Just look at this face. I see a maturity in those beautiful eyes that is way beyond her short 4 years. I love this girl more than is even possible to measure and I have been so proud of her over the past 12 months as I have watched her blossom into who she is today.
Joelle entered the year 2007 as a 3-year-old still in her "terrible-two's" (which maybe should be re-labeled as
Joelle has a wonderfully bubbly personality that many people do not have the privilege of seeing since she is also quite shy. But when she is in her comfort zone...you never know what you're going to get with this crazy girl! Making funny faces, dancing like only a white girl can (or can't!), telling silly knock-knock jokes, playing pranks on her daddy...and the list goes on. She is definitely discovering new ways to kick back and have a good time!
Joelle has shown growth this year by being a bit more independant. She voluntarily wanted to enroll in our church's VBS program this summer and in pre-school this fall where she knew nobody else in her class. She also no longer cries when I drop her off in Sunday School.
Joelle has grown in responsibility too. I have always thought her to be more responsibile than most kids her age, and I continue to think that way. She turns off her bedroom light when she leaves the room, always coughs/sneezes into her arm (and reminds others to do the same when she catches them coughing into their hands), properly washes her hands and is very honest and trustworthy.
I have also witnessed many kind and compassionate moments from my little lady. From offering to donate some of her own toys into the shoebox kits we put together for underprivileged kids at Christmas time to befriending her extremely shy new neighbour girl to forgiving Malia again and again (and again!) when she pulled out handful after handful of her beautiful blonde curly locks. Learning how to share is also something Joelle is s-l-o-w-l-y starting to improve in. In fact, just this morning when Malia snatched up Joelle's prized stuffed Kitty (who is actually a puppy)...Joelle's first reaction was "Hey!! Mom -- Malia took my..." and then she suddently stopped tattling on her little sister, smiled at her instead and said "Oh -- I forgot. I need to share more."
Joelle is also growing in her thirst for knowledge. She is constantly asking questions. And not just the annoying "why?" after everything we say. She actually wants detailed explanations of things. Some things we can still brush aside and make her forget about what she's asking about (if it's something too mature or personal to answer), but otherwise we try and answer her the best we can. Some questions are hard, such as: "How can God do things sometimes with just his words?" Hmmm...good question, Joelle!
I am extremely privileged to be the mother to this kind, funny, smart, responsible, loving young girl. I am excited at the ways she has grown this past year and I look forward to watching her continue to blossom into the woman God intends her to be.
Moving right along to my little miss Malia...have I ever mentioned how much I love this feisty child? While I see maturity in Joelle's eyes, I see twice the amount of mischief in Malia's eyes. This one's gonna be trouble!!
Malia entered the year 2007 as a one-year-old who had only started walking a week ago and she is leaving this year as a quick-moving 2-year-old...she really is fast; sometimes it's hard to catch her!!
Malia is blessed with a special charm. She can drive you completely crazy one minute, and have you melting into a puddle the next. Sometimes it's hard to make sure she doesn't get whatever she wants, since one look into those adorable brown eyes makes you want to give her the world!
Malia has grown and changed in different ways than Joelle this year. She is at a much different stage than her big sister, and most of her changes are things she has learned to do: like climbing stairs on her feet rather than crawling up and down, learning her ABC's, counting to 10 (and higher sometimes) and singing songs. She has learned to speak in full sentences, can sing our mealtime prayers, no longer uses a booster seat and is starting to learn to brush her own teeth and wash her hands (still with some help to make sure it is done properly). And, of course, she has successfully given up her precious "soo-soo."
I think one of my favorite things about Malia that she has learned this year is her singing. We will often have kid's music playing in the van and her and Joelle belt away to the tunes. Malia's voice is so sweet and she puts her whole heart and soul into it.
Malia, despite her wild energy and precociousness, proves to be an extremely gentle child. This has been made obvious anytime she comes in contact with a baby. She pushes all other things aside and devotes her whole attention on the tiny bundle of joy, smothering the baby with hugs and kisses and requests to "hold it, hold it." Her kind spirit also gets bestowed on animals.
Malia is also learning manners. "Please," "thank-you" and "you're welcome" are all words that easily flow from her lips at the appropriate times. "Sorry" is a tougher one...but I think we all struggle more with that one!
God has blessed me beyond measure when he entrusted Malia to my care. It has been fun to watch Malia grow from a baby to a toddler this year, and now we get to watch her grow from a toddler to a young girl and I look forward to what that all entails (and maybe -- just maybe -- she will grow out of her "terrible two's" a little sooner than Joelle...hey, I said m-a-y-b-e!)