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She has been counting the sleeps for this big day, April 29th. It’s an important one because as you know, “Four is really old.” And so my eldest daughter is really old. Her chatter today was several decibels higher and the volume many notches louder as she soaked in the specialness of her fourth birthday. As we are coming to expect from her, her birthday wish was a strawberry cake with ice cream.

From the moment she saw her birthday crown and gift at the breakfast table, Aneliese laughed and bounced through the day. She told Cecily that when she turns three in December that she will laugh the same way because, “it is SO MUCH fun!”

She found flowers to decorate her cake

And oohed and ahhed to make a mama's heart glad after I finished decorating it!

She didn't see when her little sister was pretending to lick it!

And then today as I expected, she slept all afternoon. It is hard work turning four. Aneliese has been precious and delightful in all of her four years, but she has hit an age where she is just really showing who she will be. Our sweet girl is intense and forever keeps us on our toes. She has a insatiable thirst to know, well, just about everything. No conversation goes unheard by her little ears, no question left unasked and a half-hearted response will not be accepted. She is slow to warm to people but loves deeply. She is so very sensitive and so very stubborn. She wants to know how electricity works, figures out that 4+4=8 and 5+5=10, is determined to figure out what bats do in the winter, and loves to be a flower fairy. Her favorite story is when Jesus heals the blind man, she shares our love of music and learns the words after hearing a song once or twice (yikes!). She loves to visit people and hates to say good bye. She is always the mama, the teacher, the doctor, or the boss and I am forever reminded that she is watching me ever so closely. She uses big words, correctly. She likes to wear pajamas all day, she combines the strangest clothing choices and they look good, and she likes to choose all of our clothes as well. She bounces on the trampoline, the couch, the floor. She slides down the banister and constantly needs to be reminded not to swing on the door handles.

Four. That is really, really old. Happy Birthday, sweet Aneliese. I love my big girl!