Taken in the NICU, a few days after birth
I can’t believe you are four years old. Where does the time go? This has been such a special year for you, and you have done so many things for the first time. You are growing up so fast and becoming more and more independent every day.
One of the biggest changes for you since your last birthday was that you started preschool. You get to take the school bus to our neighborhood school four mornings a week. You are learning so much I just can’t believe it. You started talking in full sentences and we can finally carry on a conversation with you and I love it. You describe feelings and emotions now and you understand when things are sad, or when you are excited. You are so fun to be with, Andrew. You make everyone around you laugh and smile and you light up the room with your sparkling personality. You always have. Now you just have the words to go with it! We couldn’t be more proud of the little boy that you are.
This year you had many firsts, and traveled to some new places. First, we took you to Chicago to visit your new baby cousin. You went to the circus for the first time. You saw your first movies in the theater (Shrek and Toy Story 3). You discovered a love for popcorn and won’t watch movies without it! You saw Disney on Ice and your first IMAX movie, the Polar Express. In July we took you on your first airplane ride to Disneyworld. This was such a special vacation for all of us. Ga Ga got to come with us and we all made so many lasting memories. You loved the airplane. And meeting all of your favorite characters at Disney was a joy to witness. I just loved watching your face, so full of wonder and excitement the whole time.
You have also fallen in love with trains this year. You have always loved them, but now more than ever. We took you on your first train ride on Amtrak to the Omaha Zoo. You enjoyed it so much. Again, it was most fun for us to watch you and how much you loved every minute of it. You are a good little traveler, much to our delight, and you are so enjoyable to take places because you just have fun everywhere you go.
Taken when you were 3 months old
When I look at you I now see a little boy. You no longer have that baby face or chubby toes that you used to have. You are so grown up. When I think of the biggest change for you this year it would be your independence, and how much you now communicate with us and talk to us. You are funny. You say things that just crack us up all the time and we look at each other and wonder where you heard it! You continue to amaze us with your determination and joyful spirit, which you have always had. You like to make people laugh, just like your Grandpa Bill did!
You will have some challenges to overcome in the coming year. You are about to undergo your third open heart surgery. You haven’t had surgery since you were 7 months old- a baby! You have come such a long way and we are so proud of you. I just know you will be the big boy that you are and fight your way through it. This is where Jesus becomes such a special part of your life, Andrew, because not only is He there for you every minute, when you experience happiness, excitement and fun things…but he is also there when you are scared, and sad and hurting. I am so relieved that you know Jesus and we pray to him every night. You know you can talk to him when you are scared and he will take care of you. I pray that you will always know Jesus and that He gave you to mommy and daddy for a very special reason. He made you just the way you are, with a special heart, to teach so many people so many things, Andrew. And you have. You have taught your mommy and daddy more than you will ever know. You have changed our lives in the best ways, and we could never put into words how much we love you.
January 30, 2007
This year you will also become a big brother for the very first time. We just know that you are going to be so gentle and caring and loving, because that is just the way you are. We know you are going to love your brother or sister so much. I know you will be so helpful to mommy and I can’t wait to see you meet your brother or sister for the first time. I pray that you will always grow up and love each other and be close friends, even though you are separated by four and a half years. You will be the protector, the leader, and your little brother or sister will look up to you.
Andrew, the last four years have been the best years of my life because YOU have been a part of them. You bring more joy to your daddy and me than you will ever know. Happy birthday… even though you are a big boy now, you will always be my little monkey!