A delayed and mostly less than horrible plane ride for Finnley and I, and a long-distance bonding excursion by automobile for Batman and Matt, found us all in "Chicago" to celebrate Finnley's second birthday with family and friends. Surviving another year with a constantly changing mini-person and ringing in the start of the year of "terrific twos" is certainly cause for celebration, don't you think?
Living far from all family and friends really makes rare trips like this something in which to revel. Finnley was surrounded by both sets of her grandparents, her youngest cousins, an aunt and uncle, great aunts and uncles, great-great aunts and uncles, a great grandmother, some second and maybe third cousins...and pretty much everyone in the surrounding area that is related to or loves her. Not to mention there was cake, a variety of silly and simple balloons that floated in the air, and lots and lots of sparkly inviting presents. (everyone knows that sparkly packaging is way more important than the loot inside...so, well done gift-givers. well-done!) Certainly not a bad way to launch yourself into the next year of a wondrous little life. Finnley is one lucky little girl.
Beyond the birthday festivities, Finnley was able to: go out to eat on too-many-to-count occasions, go shopping with her grandma and GG (and even hold her GG's hand), spend quality time with her nanna and granddaddy, go to Brookfield zoo and a fair with her cousins and grandparents, have an Italian dinner outing with her aunt and mommy, and sooooo many other things. It was practically a year's worth of special family adventures all in one week's span. The girl knows how to take full advantage of her time, which is not the least bit surprising...she is 2 now, after all.
The past year has been one of growth, smiles, change, tears, exploration, tantrums, and pure silliness. I have expectations for much of the same for this coming year. Each day that passes with our "baby" girl is an obvious blessing, considering the absolute everything and more we went through to bring her into our lives. She never disappoints. She continually gives back more than she takes. This tiny girl has an expanding and exploding vocabulary, and she is nothing short of a parrot at all times. She walks up stairs without holding a hand, and she is starting to become more confident when going down the stairs solo, too. She can end a meltdown as fast as she can start one. She sometimes potties on the big girl potty. She pretends to read books, using real words mixed with delightful gibberish to tell her unfolding stories. She has had under-table picnics. She has been more places than most 4 year olds. (I think.) She has pet pigs, cows, bunnies, goats, sheep, and chickens. She has ridden a pony and experienced carnival rides with overflowing joy. She loves her "babies" and her dog. Her dexterity is becoming more skilled as she uses crayons, iPads, markers, chalk, iPhones, paint, and anything else she can put her hands on to create, play, and learn. She impresses me and amazes me EVERY day. That is not an embellishment, either. She really does. I look so forward to this next year with my terrific two year old. I know it will go quickly, but I hope to relish every second, just as we have thus far journeying to the present day.
So, without further adieu...Happy Birthday, beautiful Finnley! Your mommy loves you more than you could ever dream up in your most fantastical of fantastic dreams. As you gleefully blew out the candle on your party cake, I want you to know that I made my own wish for you...to be the happiest you that you can be. Today, tomorrow...always.