**Okay -- links are all working now (well, minus one for some reason). Check 'em out!**
As I'm sure most of you would agree, every year seems to pass by quicker and quicker as time goes on. I was sure it was only weeks ago where we were ringing in 2009, yet here we are on the cusp of 2010 still wondering how in the world it happened so very quickly!
As has become my tradition, I start each new year with a re-cap of my daughters and how they have changed over the past 365 days, using links to previous blog posts. In preparation for this year's edition, I did notice that I didn't do nearly as much blogging over this past year as there are much fewer links for me to post about. But I will do the best I can with what I have.
Joelle -- my first-born. The love of my life; my mini-me. I love this child more than words can even express. Sometimes she tries to tell me that she loves me more than I love her -- but that's entirely impossible, and one day when she is a mother she will understand.
And she obviously doesn't understand just how much I love her and how ir-replacable she actually is otherwise I wouldn't have this post to bring you back to. Silly girl. There is nobody else in this entire world who could ever take her place, and I sincerely hope that she realizes just how special she is.
Joelle started off the year 2009 as a growing-more-confident-by-the-minute Kindergartener, and is ending the year as a budding Grade 1'er. I won't say that she doesn't still have to build more self-confidence -- as she is still proving to be shy and anxious when she has to stand up in front of her class and even talk to unfamiliar adults -- but she is still steadily progressing and we are very proud of her as we watch her grow more and more sure of herself.
Joelle loves school and has many friends, both boys and girls. I am always happy when she talks about her day and mentions many different kids in her class that she played with or talked to, rather than just a select one or two. She is kind to her friends and also befriends those who may not have an over-abundance of friends themselves. I hope she always includes those who may otherwise feel left out.
She also turned 6 years old in the year 2009, and that has brought about the long-awaited teeth-losing process which technically started back in spring. She conveniently had her 2 front teeth missing for Christmas, which made for a very fitting song she happily performed for me earlier this month (this particular link is refusing to co-operate, so if you want to hear the song go to my December 2009 archives and you will find it there).
Physically Joelle has kept growing at a rapid rate and will often eat more than me at a meal. She is consistently in the 90th percentile for her height, and I am often in awe of her thin, long legs (which look great in her first pair of skinny jeans, by the way!). The other big physical change that happened for Joelle this past year was that she got her beautiful long hair cut to around chin-length. This was a hard adjustment for dear ol' Mom, but thankfully it is growing back and she seems quite adamant that this time she is keeping it long!
In the 'crazy' department, Joelle still brought her goofy behaviour with her into 2009 (and I am quite certain this is a trait that is with us for the long haul). She never ceases to make me laugh with her ideas and the things that she says and I hope she keeps expressing herself in these ways.
Her creativity is something that also continues to grow, and both her kindergarten teacher and grade 1 teacher have commented more than once on her amazing drawing and coloring abilities. I always look forward to seeing the things she brings home from school, or watching her pieces of art take form right before my very eyes here at home.
Joelle still has a very sensitive side which she often bestows on her little sister (when they are not fighting, of course). She also expresses her child-like faith on a regular basis and often gives me reason to pause and reflect on things even without her knowing she is doing that. I can definitely learn a lot from this precious 6 year old girl.
Joelle -- It is so amazing to watch you grow and develop each year. There are some ways that I am excited to see you changing and maturing, and other ways that I am so thankful you are staying the same. I pray that you will always have a zest for life and a love for your family and friends. You definitely bring a lot of joy to my life -- and your Dad's -- and we are so very blessed to be able to call you our daughter.
Malia -- my baby. The other half of my heart. This child has an energy that confounds me, and Les and I often joke that I 'over-baked' her when she was the bun in my oven. :)
Malia kicked off the year 2009 as a child with a bad case of the 'thundering threes' and is leaving the year behind as a much more mature 4-year-old. She will always be a very strong-willed girl prone to temper tantrums, but she is s-l-o-w-l-y learning how to control her emotions.
Malia continued in the pre-school program this year, but is very excited to join her big sister in school (and on the bus!) this coming fall as a kindergartener. That can wait though, as my baby is growing up way too fast!
I love watching my sweet little miss grow up right before my very eyes. It was very exciting this year to witness her progress in her speech, which was probably the biggest change in her as far as school-related things go. Although she is also learning a lot in recognizing numbers, letters and even printing her own name! We are very proud of the accomplishments our little pre-schooler is making and I know she will make an excellent student when 'real' school begins this coming fall.
Malia is one of the zaniest little girls that I know, and she cracks me up on a daily basis. The giggle that exudes out of this girl when she knows she is being silly is truly one of the most amazing sounds on this planet. She can make my mood a much better one just by one of her silly jokes, stories or even her wacky faces.
This year Malia had a few firsts. One of them being the exciting privilege of being a flower girl in my cousin's wedding. She was beautiful, she was calm cool and collected and she was exquisite. A natural, if I do say so myself! She also learned to ride a 2-wheeler a couple of months before her 4th birthday.
Malia is the typical younger sister in that she wants to do e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that her big sister does. From wanting to tag along with Joelle and her friends to waiting to pick a sucker to first see what color Joelle will pick, she is all about being just like her big sis. Sometimes Joelle finds this flattering...other times, not so much. :) I love that she adores her big sister so much, I only hope she soon discovers that she has a mind of her own too!
As wild and crazy as this adorable child is, she is also just as sensitive. This is also often bestowed on her sister, and I just love how much they love each other. Malia also often remembers her friends or other family members in her bedtime prayers when someone has been sick or has had something unfortunate happen to them. I love how she thinks of others and not always of herself.
Malia -- you may have put me through the wringer in your early (and late!) toddler years...and okay, truth be told, you are not entirely 'out of the woods' yet. But you are worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears that I have had to put into raising you. I have really enjoyed the quality mother-daughter time that we have been able to have while Joelle has been in school every day these last few months. I pray that we will always have a close relationship and that you will never doubt how much I love you.
My precious daughters: Here is to a wonderful 2009 and an even more blessed 2010! I love you both very much!