Wow-- two whole years have passed since the absolute craziest-- and possibly one of the most wonderful-- Christmases of our lives. There we were, getting out of the hospital on Christmas Eve, the day after her arrival . And we didn't let that stop us from taking part in family activities. Yes, I paid for it in extra soreness and exhaustion in the days after Christmas (boy, did I ever!), but I will always remember how special that Christmas was as we got to watch our brand new precious bundle meet each family member and see them love on our tiny little one who had just barely entered the world. It made the celebration of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, just that much more wonderful as we also celebrated our own daughter's birth.
Two years with this child: two years of experiencing her growing and changing through each new development and phase, two years of seeing our firstborn Emma as a big sister, two years of being parents to two little girls, two years of getting to know, watch, and teach Annabelle in so many different things.
It is funny, because in the two weeks leading up to her birthday, Annabelle has been a HUGE challenge. It's almost as if she knew she was turning two and decided "well, I might as well live up to that whole 'terrible twos' thing." It's been an uphill battle, with countless times of discipline, sometimes for hours at a time, with both of us in tears. It's been a struggle for me to remain consistent-- it's exhausting and discouraging to feel like all you've done is discipline your child, when all you really want to do is be "fun mommy" and spend time cuddling, laughing, and playing. But, the Lord has been gracious in granting me encouragement right when I needed it, whether from the reading I did, a good friend, parents, or my wonderful husband, who is right there to fight the battles with me as a team. And God has already rewarded us-- even after two short weeks, we can see little changes in our Annabelle. She is learning her limits, and how to try to use her words to tell us what she wants instead of fits and screaming. She is showing signs of new obedience that comes from a changed attitude. By God's grace, we are making it through this phase in her life and getting to see our little girl already growing in the Lord.
I certainly don't want to make it sound like she's an awful child and we simply can't enjoy her. You know the little rhyme about the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead? The one who
"when she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid."
I can't help but smile when I hear that, because it really does remind me of Annabelle. Oh yes, she can be quite the challenge at times, but when she isn't, and is behaving and happy-- she's a delight. She can make me smile instantly with her cheesy little laughs and my heart turn to mush with her sweet hugs and cuddles accompanied by "Ah-wuv" (I love). She is funny and easily exciteable, which results in priceless reactions of dancing around and the afore-mentioned laughs, as well as a smile that wrinkles her nose and lights up her face.
I think this last picture perfectly captures the delight of her little personality. This is Annabelle at her best-- this is our little girl. We love her so much, each part of her from her curly blond head to her cute little toes. She is one of our amazing blessings. I am so glad that God chose to give her to us, and pray that we can teach her everything she needs to know so she will give herself completely to Him every day of her life.