Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Paprika!

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Dear Paprika,

When you were born, I could not fathom how I got so lucky to have you in my life. You have always been a miracle to me. I loved to watch you breathe, in awe that you actually were breathing and so scared that in an instant you might be taken away from me.

You made me a mother, and five years ago today I learned what it is like to have my heart live outside my body. Because that's where it's lived ever since you were born.

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When you get upset, you still have the same fussy face that you did when you were four weeks old.

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And you still know how to make us laugh.

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A lot.

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I can't imagine you were ever this small.

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But when you're sleeping, I still see the same little girl I did way back when...

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my pefect little snuggly-girl!

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One!

Here you are when you turned one! You were not a fan of the cake. Back then I didn't know to order you a chocolate cake (yours was vanilla). I would never make that mistake now. See, I am learning some things over time!

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You have always been a fan of accessorizing. Hats were big with you!

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And butterfly wings, too!

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When you were 13 months you learned to walk, and ever since then you've been blazing your own path.

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But it's good to know that you enjoy the same things we do...

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so hopefully you'll never go too far away!

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The "Tin Man" was your first friend. You would always ask me, "Why is he crying? Why is he sad?" and then wipe away his tears and give him presents. You haven't changed at all- you still comfort all those around you and can't stand to see anyone hurting.

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Two!

Here you are on your second birthday! We went to the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Ave. in Chicago with Daddy and your Auntie Ann. We ordered you a big slice of chocolate cake...see, we did learn some things that second year! ;-)

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You started to get really interested in painting when you turned two.

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Painting on everything - paper, the walls, and even yourself. Nothing was safe when you had a paintbrush in your hands! That just made bathtime more colorful...

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I was sad a lot that year when you were two. We went on a lot of adventures together, just you and me...and you always knew how to brighten my spirits.

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The one place I knew we could always have fun was Disneyland. I took you just about every week that year (even when I was so very pregnant I could barely walk!) Thankfully, you liked to ride the carousel a lot!

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When you were 2 1/2, you overcame your fear of the sand and learned to love the ocean. You have never looked back!

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When you were two, you held your baby sister in your arms for the first time.

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It was love at first sight!

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THREE!

For your third birthday, we stayed home and had a Princess Party (me, Daddy, and Ginger were your guests). Three was the year of everything Princess...maybe it had something to do with all those trips to Disneyland! :-)

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You started preschool, which you loved mostly. More than anything, you loved being at home with us...

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And being a great big sister...

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When you were three, we went to every park and every museum and every fun place known to man (at least in the Los Angeles area).

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We lived in a townhouse with no backyard, and you needed to get out...so we did! I am so glad we did.

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When you were three, we packed up our townhouse and moved to the beach house where we live now. You got a backyard and an ocean all in one move!

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FOUR!

Here you are at your fourth birthday party! We invited two of your friends to come and have cake with you. Third year in a row we picked chocolate cake - that is one thing you don't waver on...your love of all things chocolate!

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Even though you're getting bigger, you still love to climb onto your daddy's shoulders...

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and play butterfly girl at the beach!

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Now you run into the ocean whenever you can. Fearless...

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When you were four, we raised butterflies a bunch of times! This was our first batch of Monarch butterflies. You were so sad to see them go. You wanted them to stay and be your friends forever.

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It is so amazing watching you grow up...

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just when I think you can't possibly get any sweeter...

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you do!

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I can't imagine my life without you in it.

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You changed me for the better, and not a day goes by that I don't fall on my knees so thankful for having you in my life.

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And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. We're all smitten with you!

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Watching you grow up has been the greatest gift. I just wish it wasn't going by so quickly.

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Happy 5th Birthday, Sweetie Bear. I love watching you soar!

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11 comments:

Devon said...

best. post. ever.

i'm in tears.

she is such a gift, such a joy and such a sweet spirit. i am so thankful i know her.

wishing you all the best in this next year sweet girl...and for her mama, wishing you peace as you watch her grow and soar her wings!

love you!

Sheila said...

Practically Perfect In Every Way!
Happy Birthday Sweet Pea :}
(sniff,sniff) guess it's contagious Erika

Stephanie said...

I have never met you or your kids as you know, but you made me tear up just because it was such a sweet post. My girls are the same ages (as you know) and so Josie will be 5 in a couple weeks and I might steal your idea for a blog post. Happy birthday to your little girl and you!

Angela said...

Erika - I've been reading your blog for many months now and this post is so sweet. Your ability to see the great moments in life, and to photograph them so well, is inspiring! You have created such a nice life for yourself and your family and reading along is an adventure. Keep up the good work :)

Happy Birthday Paprika!

Angela (http://alohayinzmangia.blogspot.com)

Erin said...

Just BEAUTIFUL Erika. The pictures and your words - so special! What a sweet girl and what a gift this post will be to her in years to come. I am so happy that the two of you have each other. Hope you have a fabulous time celebrating!

Stunningly Sweet said...

Beautiful! I agree-best post ever!

THAT'S Interesting said...

Happy birthday, baby girl! This was such a beautiful post to read, Erika. Thank you for sharing.

emily

mum2abby said...

Beautiful.....happy birthday paprika!!!!!!!!

Elizabeth said...

Crying tears of joy. What an appropriately wonderful tribute to a truly tremendous little girl. There has never been a child more loved that sweet Paprika! Sending our love to the birthday girl. <3

siri said...

Seriously Erika...now I'm in tears as well. Can you even believe that our little babies are 5??? Cade is on his way in 2 days and I too am so thankful for every moment. This also reminds me that we've been in eachother's lives for almost 6 years now, and for that I'm thankful.
xoxoxo
siri

RB said...

happy birthday darling girl