Wednesday, December 31, 2008

over and out

Hard to believe -- but another year has slipped by, bringing us to the brink of 2009. Last year I did a reflective post on how my girls had changed from the beginning of 2008 to the end. I got a really good response on it, and I decided to make it an annual thing.

(click on the links highlighted in blue if you want to read the previous posts that I am refering to)

This year I am starting with my youngest child; my baby who is far from a baby anymore. Malia began the year 2008 as a just-turned 2-year-old with a feisty personality, a lot of energy and eyes as mischeivious as they come. And she ended the year exactly the same, other than the fact that she turned another year older.

So, moving on to Joelle....no, just kidding! Malia's personality may have stayed the same, but there were many things that happened over the course of the past year where we saw her grow, change and continue to develop -- socially, intellectually and physically.

But to start off with, let me just remind you of a few of my favorite posts that really highlight the aforementioned personality that draws people to her.

This child is innocent, and I want to hold on to that for as long as I possibly can. She may be growing up way too quickly before our eyes, but she is still a baby in the world's eyes. She doesn't know (nor does she need to know) about fashion, body size, 'she likes her more than she likes me' issues, boy trouble, etc. I know she will come face-to-face with all of these issues eventually (and many more) but for now I am happy that she is only 3 years old and can live life naively believing that the most difficult hurdle life will throw at her is when she has to learn to wipe her own bottom instead of having it done for her, or if it's her big sister's turn to pick the morning cartoons.

My little miss Malia is also feisty, as I have mentioned on several ocassions. She is one big ball of crazy, and I pray that one day this personality characteristic will serve her very well. Apparantly I was also a very strong-willed little girl growing up (what goes around comes around, I suppose) and I have to speak from personal experience that -- for me -- it has been a good quality to have. I have used my strong-will to stand firm in my beliefs and have not been swayed by peer pressure and such. A strong will can also go the other way and end up in big-time rebellion...but I pray that she will use this personality trait for good instead!

As feisty as Malia can be, she can also be sweet, as sweet can be (also seen here and here). She has always had a soft and gentle side, being as nurturing as she is challenging. Just like last year, her love for babies is holding strong -- and with a couple of new cousins and friends to dote on, she has been a happy camper in this regard!

Anybody who has ever met Malia (even if it was just once) will know that she is goofy, silly, and a big ol' tease! I love these things about her, and she makes me laugh every day with her antics, facial expressions and the things that come out of her mouth. She has a certain spark that shows so clearly in her eyes that people who have never met her, but have only seen her picture, have commented on that fact.

Other than these personality characteristics that she has been strengthening throughout the year, Malia has had many new experiences as well. In spring we worked on potty-training (an experience that I am happy I will never have to go through again!), she learned how to finally properly ride a tricycle, and she took swimming lessons. I am proud of this girl's determination and the pride she shows in herself when she does something new.

Perhaps the biggest step for this little girl is that she started school. She only goes once a week, but it has been a chance for her to spread her wings and gain a little more independence. And of course it also gives me that precious 2 1/2 hours a week where I have the house to myself!

This child is my heart. This child has my heart. I love you Malia and I look forward to seeing what 2009 will bring as you continue to grow up and learn new things. I am so proud of you!

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Joelle started the year 2008 as a 4-year-old who had just started pre-school and was slowly starting to come out of her shell, and was also slowly starting to put the years of the "terrible two's" and "thundering three's" behind her. She now exits the year as a very grown-up 5-year-old who is in Kindergarten and has exploded out of her shell.

School has definitely played a h-u-g-e role in Joelle's social progress. For most of the year she was still in her first year of pre-school, but in fall she started kindergarten which has, without a doubt, been the biggest change in my little girls' life this year.

She has made a lot of new friends -- both girls and boys -- and aside from one unfortunate incident which broke her little heart (as well as her mama's), she has had only positive things to say about school, her teacher and her friends.


Joelle has also grown a lot more confident, and she can now look adults in the eye when they talk to her. She no longer hides behind my legs if someone compliments her on her hair, or asks her about school. She may not always answer every time -- but she is definitely progressing. She is also at the point where I can tease her in front of other people and she doesn't run crying from the room. Or someone can laugh at something funny that she said and she doesn't get upset about it. I love that about her!

I have enjoyed watching Joelle's imagination continue to grow. I love her creativity and her love of crafts, coloring and drawing. I'm always wondering how she is going to express herself next.

Joelle is getting to the age where she is starting to ask more questions about life. So far I have been able to dodge most of the 'nitty-gritty' stuff, but Les and I do our best to be as honest with the girls as we can -- as long as it is age-appropriate, that is.

This special girl continues to make us laugh on a regular basis with the things she comes up with (usually without knowing just how humerous she actually is). My oldest child is also determined, wise and incredibly sweet.

She has also continued to show her nurturing & compassionate side, and this is the most obvious when she is around her little cousin, Max. This little guy is just over a year old and has acquired the skill of walking quite handily, yet Joelle often insists on holding him and carrying him around even if he's not too keen on it. :) She is just so full of love for this little guy and wants to show him that by always wanting to be near him and holding him. I love that nurturing quality in her...and I am also tickled pink that she still shows affection to her dear ol' Mom even in public.

Joelle has been getting involved in some extra-cirricular activities which have stretched her and opened her eyes to things that she had no previous knowledge of. These things consisted of swimming, soccer and ballet. She has done really well at all of these things and when she showed signs of not wanting to participate to her fullest on one particular occasion, I got to use that as an opportunity to teach her about seeing her commitments through and giving it her all.

Joelle is still more responsible than most kids her age (at least in my humble opinion), and while she definitely has a goofy side to her, I would say she is more serious than her little sister. She is sensitive, reflective, and very soft-hearted. She is learning more and more how to control her emotions before letting them go wild -- although we still have some work to do in this area -- and she has a memory like her mother (well, like the memory I used to have...before having kids!).

This beloved child is a part of me, and I am a part of her. I see myself in her in countless ways; she is my mini-me. A gift sent to me straight from heaven. A gift I am thankful for every day of my life. I know there are great things in store for this child, and I want to be there every step of the way as I watch these things take place in her life.

And that, my friends, is another year. The year 2008 is over...and out!

9 comments:

Amanda said...

You have two very beautiful special girls; enjoy every minute watching them change and grow.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!

ValleyGirl said...

Isn't it amazing how much they actually DO change, even though we don't notice it day-to-day?! I couldn't believe the difference between now and pictures taken a year ago.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!!

Betty said...

Wow Andrea...very well written! You have a way with words. Things I would like to say or would have liked to have said about my children growing up, but I wouldn't have found the words like that.
Your little girls are very fortunate to have a mommy who loves them so very much. Have a great year in helping them through 2009.

andrea said...

very sweet! isn't it amazing how much our kiddos change in a year! they are really blessed to have your love and support and encouragement! and great pictures too! they are both so adorable!

Margo said...

Beautiful. Next time you have a hard mommy day, go back and read this blog and be reminded of how wonderful your precious girls are.

Kelly said...

That is a beautiful tribute the your girls! It sounds like they have done amazing things this year and I'm sure will continue to do amazing things in 2009. Enjoy watching them and I'll be right here with you, holding the tissues as we watch our little girls grow up before our eyes!

Pam said...

Happy New Year Andrea! I'm so glad that I get to be a part of your family in this small, bloggy way. I'm wishing you and your family the best year yet- here is hoping 2009 brings you even more blessings, love, and happiness!

Pamela said...

What a wonderful tribute to your girls! It is amazing how they grow up right before our eyes. All of a sudden they are a few months away from starting JUNIOR HIGH *ack!* Enjoy the year ahead as you watch and share in their changes and growth again in 2009. Happy New Year!

Kathy and Carl said...

I love this post. What a great way to reflect on how the girls have grown and changed. Definitely something VERY special they can read later on about how much their mom and dad love and appreciate them. I can't wait to see how this year turns out!