Letters to Declan: Two Years Old

Note: During Declan's first year, I published monthly letters (and adorable photos) to him on the blog. You can read those here

Dear Declan,

Happy 2nd birthday! I am unbelievably proud of the clever, happy, and inquisitive toddler you are growing into. You have changed in countless ways over the past twelve months since my last letter to you. Forgive me for not keeping up with the monthly tradition; I can barely keep up with you in real time these days, let alone on the internet, too.

At two years old, you are exceeding my expectations for developmental milestones. You speak in full sentences and love to express your opinion on everything. You know shapes (including hexagon - thank your father for that, not me), animals, colors, and even some letters and numbers. You love "counting", saying your A-B-Cs, and singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Old McDonald", which definitely helps on long car rides.

You love playing outside, sometimes even insisting on going into the backyard in your bare feet and pajamas right after waking up. I don't let you, because most of the time I'm still in my pajamas, too. As the weather has slowly thawed to above-freezing, we've ventured out to the park to climb stairs, slide down slides, and say hi to the geese and ducks swimming in the ponds at Loose Park. You climb ladders fearlessly and even learned how to catapult like a gymnast from the travel crib during a recent trip to Gigi's house - that definitely made naptime interesting...

Trains and puzzles are your favorite toys right now. We have train-themed-everything, and I have to be careful to avoid stepping on track pieces with my bare feet. And Gigi thought she made a mistake at Christmas by buying you a set of 12-piece puzzles. Well, you figured it out, patiently piecing together pictures of a school bus, fire truck, train, and race car. I wonder a bit why you have to love something with so many pieces, but as long as you're happy, I'm happy.

You're still going to "school" (aka: daycare) two days a week. One day, I dropped you off in your classroom after a long weekend. You seemed a bit hesitant and hung back from the other kids. But they ran over and hugged you, and you hugged back, and soon you were laughing and playing with them. I love that you have friends of your own already.

We have settled into a routine as a family and become more rooted in our lives in Kansas City. Life here feels as normal as it can get, and you are surrounded by people who absolutely adore you and are cheering you on in every step. I'm so thankful to have more time with you in this season, to figure out who you are becoming and how I can help you be all that God made you to be.

You're my favorite little guy, and I love you. Happy birthday.