Happy fifth birthday, sweetheart! Every time Daddy and Mommy (and Nathanael!) talk about you, we just can’t help but smile. You have such a sweet and tender spirit. You are compassionate and sensitive. You are full of color and depth and are our cuddler and charmer.
This last year has been a year full of significant maturing, as you moved into the yellow room at Kindergarten with all of the other “big kids” preparing for school. You diligently and proudly learned how to write your nickname and are currently working on the full version which is no small task! You and Daddy bond nightly in learning the English alphabet using your flashcards. Along with the shift to the yellow room, your value on friendships has increased. You have “friends” both at church and at Kindergarten, and you are excited to spend time with them. You have a special cousin-like relationship with our godson Richard, and the two of you frequently request time together. You love when he stays overnight and sleeps in your bed! You had your first sleep-overs this last year with Alyssa (Nathanael’s friend Elliott’s sister); Mom and Nathanael joined in on the fun as well.
In addition to friends, your relationships with extended family have deepened this last year. Auntie Carrie’s visit last summer increased your adoration for her as she joined us in a plethora of fun outdoor activities, including berry picking in “Far-away Park.” It didn’t hurt that many of them involved chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream! Time with Grandpa and Grandma when they have visited remains a highlight; last November’s trip to Hallstatt and sliding in the salt mines was definitely memorable! We had lots of special time with Opa and Oma and Andrew and Angie around Christmas last year, and you especially bonded with Oma and Auntie Angie while baking in the kitchen! You and cousin Des really hit it off this last year, playing really well together, and we’re excited to watch your relationship grow. Additionally, your reading skype times with both sets of grandparents have been special times of connecting for you.
You deeply value family and adore your place in our family of four. When either parent returns home from being absent for a time, you display sheer delight and pleasure in welcoming us home. You love when we walk hand-in-hand and frequently join Nathanael in chanting “family hands, family hands.” Your brother is “my Nafanael” and has that extra special big brother place in your heart. Although three years younger, you try your best to keep up with him and join him in every single activity. As a family, we returned to our vacation spot in Side, Turkey, last summer, and you loved having almost two weeks to be together as just a family. You really took to the water this time – both the beach and the pools – and became more confident on your own, and you adored the Kids’ Program, even singing and dancing on stage (as long as Nathanael was right there with you) and making friends as well.
Although much of your time is spent doing whatever Nathanael wants to do, you also have your own favorite activities. You can spend hours working on art projects. You love your Schere (scissors), and you are known to make any surface into an art board (chairs, walls, tables..) for your creativity. You enjoy clothes (choosing your daily colorful and creative outfits) and adore playing dress-up; you were so excited when Krishana brought you dresses and shoes and jewelry last fall! You love listening to music, singing, and playing the piano. You often simply stretch out your arms and dance, and we adore that about you. You like to play “Kindergarten” at home, have tea parties, bake cookies or cakes, play doctor with your baby dolls and Winnie, and have your nails painted. You love being at home, and you almost daily protest when it’s time for you to have your “quiet time” and play alone (although you often lose yourself in creative and imaginative play once you get your protests out). You graduated to a bigger bike in April, to which you quickly and effortlessly adapted. You love to ride and ride well and cautiously, only having issues when you get distracted along the way.
You are our flexible girl, going with the flow, not in any hurry, subtle and crafty in getting away with things, and always wishing you were three years older. You can well articulate key emotions, such as sadness, fear, anger, joy, and excitement, and you feel them all deeply. You continue to love hugging and cuddling. You have an adorable sing-song-like statement you say when you spill something or have an accident – “It’s okay.” You are coming to terms well with human imperfections. You seem to understand and believe in the love of God for you and others, and you even seem to have a good grasp of the basics of the Gospel message of grace through faith in Jesus. You regularly tell us that you want to wait to make a decision for Jesus, and we admire your determination to make the decision truly for yourself. We pray that the way we live out love and grace will continue to point you to God’s love for you shown through Jesus’ death on the cross.
We love and adore you, dear sweet Evangeline Elif. You are God’s wonderful creation, and you display His Glory in beautiful ways! We are so thankful to have you in our lives and as an important part of our family.
Your mommy and daddy
A week before your birthday, showing off your flower pot and coins