Not that Natalie and James at their ripe ages of 3 and 4 aren't enough, but there is just something completely bittersweet about turning 3.
I can call her my baby.
I can pretend she's my baby.
But she's not a baby.
She's a big sweet kid, with opinions and preferences, likes, dislikes, likes to voice them, and sometimes screams but not always, and loves her veggies (still, my gosh), loves her "pink milk", loves ANYTHING pink and purple or green, loves pretending to be a princess and loves dressing up, and being simply..... a girl.... a girly girl.
Natalie is as girly as it gets.
But she also likes to try to keep up with James, be swung around by her daddy (I'm too chicken to), loves airplanes, helicopters, garbage trucks, dirt, and sand.
She has no problem getting her hands dirty and will sit for hours getting the rest of her dirty.
She now runs and jumps, and giggles, and claps.
She loves bugs and is in my opinion, braver than I... She will be the first to run over to a spider or rollie pollie and well, giggle and clap. LOL
She makes the silliest faces. She makes the most dramatic poses and faces. She lets us know when she's not happy and will say "it's not funny, mommy".
She will tell us when she's scared or hungry or thirsty with her little tiny voice.
She speaks so clearly and we understand just about everything she says.
She is polite (most of the time) and can also be shy.
When there are large crowds of kid near her, she'll stay right around them and if things get rough, she slinks away without worry.
Natalie still completely adores her books, finger painting, drawing, and is a die-hard explorer.
She loves magnets, seashells, the alphabet, and washing her hands.
She still loves bath time, talking about swimming, and splashing in muddy puddles.
She follows James' lead but then will run in front of him and with a smile to shout "can't catch me!"
She is a miracle.
A perfect little being.
I hope that one day she'll understand how much she has made our hearts full of joy.
She has been through more than any of us will ever understand. For so much that she's been through in her 3 years you can see it in her eyes. She is a bright little girl with a world of exploring and fun ahead of her. And I think she knows it.
I love you my dear Natty.
And please tell Daddy that I'm sorry that I can't top his birthday to him from you being born 3 years ago. Pretty much the best gift ever.
I love you Natty and I love you Rick. You are an AMAZINGLY SWEET man who always puts his family first. You are admirable, kind, and always thoughtful. You will one day be rewarded with how hard you've worked for so many years and always know that I believe in you. You only have 1 more year of me playing around with you when I say I'm "robbing the cradle" because dude, seriously..when we're BOTH in our 30s it just doesn't matter.
You and Natalie can be quite the bull (Taurus!) and I love that.
Happy Birthday you two.
(and Rick, please remind me of how tired you look in this photo so you can catch up on your sleep this weekend)