...I love the way you groggily wake up from a nap and waddle into the room like a penguin, hair all disheveled, eyes half opened, and immediately whimper a pathetically perfect demand for 'juice.' Always. To the point where I wonder if you really want juice or if it's just become a habit.
...I love the way you grab our finger, our arm, or a piece of our hair and drag us to whatever it is you want us to do - open the pantry for a 'nack,' read a book, or grab Dad's toothbrush from the bathroom vanity. It's as if you get frustrated when talking doesn't seem to do the trick, so you resort to showing us what you want.
...I love how Elmo is the cure for just about everything. Not ready to wake up? Turn on some Elmo. Can't lure you in the house from outside? 'Cruz! Wanna watch Elmo?'
...I love that you love sleeping in your new bed. The transition to your new room and especially your big boy bed has been better than I ever dreamed. It's obvious that you love your big space, evidenced in the numerous positions you choose to fall asleep in! Most of the time, you are either completely backwards or completely sideways!
...I love how you say 'mommy.' You get really into it, drag out the first 'mah' syllable, then point your chin in the air and drop it in to your final 'me.' It's absolutely precious.
...I love your giggle. It's contagious.
...I love your love of books and that you have clear favorites that you could read over and over (and over) again: The Little Dump Truck, How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, and your newest favorite, Teeth Are Not For Biting. You know these books so well, you can read parts of them by yourself (and are hopefully learning from them, too).
...I love that hidden behind that rough and tumble exterior, you are a gentle soul with such a big heart. You love babies, and turn into a mamabee nurturer when we let you hold one. You will be such a sweet big brother someday.
...I love that when you try and grab our noses (a new game Dad taught you), you really try and remove our noses from our face. It hurts, but we put up with it because it makes you giggle.
...I love that you say 'I am Hy-Vee', thanks to the commercial that's always on TV.
...I love all your animal sounds, especially your fish, chicken, and horse. You stick your tongue out back and forth for a fish, yell this perfectly high-pitched 'pah-kaw' for a chicken, and have a very convincing 'neigh' for a horse. Pretty good, my friend.
...I love that when you've done something you know you shouldn't have, you try and backpedal by acting remorseful and sweet.
...I love that sometimes you go to bed on your own, and sometimes you feel like cuddling. I try my hardest to really savor these occasions, which isn't hard to do when you reach up and put your little hand on my cheek and we fall asleep face to face.
...I love saying your prayers with you. They are the same ones I said when I was a little girl. And at the end, when we do our 'God blesses,' you say 'yep' after every single one. We could go on forever this way.
...I love that you still look so cute in just a white onesie.
...I love that you love to dance, and you don't care who's watching. You enter this zone when you hear dance music, and have more rhythm than any two-year-old I've seen.
...I love the way you love your daddy.
...I love how excited you get at certain things - like when Jordan and Kelli's car pulls up in the driveway, or we drive up to a park, or you think Grandma has left, only to realize she is going with us to Main Street but took her own car instead. You grin so big and almost shake because you are that excited.
...I love the way your 'no' sounds so determined, and your 'yeah' sounds so indisputable.
...I love that you're a fearless daredevil, although it sometimes makes me very nervous.
...I love your zest for life, for the smiles you put on the faces you meet, and for bringing out the very best in your Dad and I.
I love you, sweet boy, and will always remember this summer with you. It was a perfect balance of quiet and busy, and we had so many adventures together. From story hour at the library and muffin tin Mondays, to traveling in an airplane across the country to Lake Tahoe, we grew closer as a family and did our best to make the most of each day. I will remember the details, peeking in at your tan little body asleep in the middle of our bed after a long afternoon at the pool, playing under the shade trees at the park, and holding you close as you slept through the 4th of July fireworks at Beed's Lake.
I have no idea what next summer will bring for our little family of three, but I look forward to seeing what's next in God's plan. And while there's sure to be adventure, and there's sure to be change, I am content knowing that this summer will forever be ours to look back on and cherish. This easy, carefree, sweet little summer with you.