Dear Eli,

Holy cow, I can’t believe you’re 5 years old today!  This year has been an amazing adventure full of laughter and fighting and fierceness.  You are, without a doubt, one of the most joyful people I know.

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You feel joy with every fiber of your being, and it’s the type of joy that infects everyone around you. Of course, you’re also one of the most fierce people I know…

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but strangely enough, it has a similar effect. I guess what I’m saying is, Eli, is that you bring joy to people…period. Even in your fiercest, craziest moments…

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even when you’re crazy upset because things aren’t going your way….

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you make me, and everyone around you, smile and laugh.

To be honest, there hasn’t been a lot of changes in year 4 for you – no new people living with us, no major transitions, and that seems to suit you just fine.

I mean, we did dress up pretty epic for Halloween.

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But overall there were a lot of normal, routine days.

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Well, one tiny change.  We did get a new cat, Theodore.

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You picked him out, and I think he’s pretty much your cat as much as anyone’s.

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We went to McDonald’s yesterday with Benjamin, Lily, and David, and hung out in the play place for a while.  You lasted about 10 minutes, then asked if you could come visit with me so you could experience some “peace and quiet, finally!”

You’re a lot like your Daddy in that way.

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I know I didn’t get to mention it in the last letter, but at the end of last year you got to experience snow for the first time!

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You love going on adventures with us. Whether it’s around the block or 12 hours away, you don’t mind the journey and the destination always excites you.

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You guys met me in Frisco, Texas after a work conference and we went to the National Video Game Museum. I’m not sure who had more fun – you and Benjamin, or me and Daddy!!!

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You even got to play old school, in an old school room, with old school decor!

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One of the highlights of the year was our trip to Orange Beach, Alabama. We went to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels and toured the historical museum. We had a LOT of fun!

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Us in front of a real Blue Angel jet!

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Nanny Lynn and her boys!

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Your friendship with Aedan continues to grow – while he’s closer to Benjamin in age, I feel like you and him share more interests than him and Benjamin – so it will be interesting to see how your friendships mature over the next few years.

Aedan, teaching you how to make curly noodles:

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You went to Coffee with a Cop with me, and not only did you love being cute and dotted on, you also got to sit on a real live Police Motorcycle, which you still talk about to this day.

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We’re so lucky to have family nearby – even Nanny Lynn, who lives a few hours away, comes to visit often. You always look forward to these visits. We so often see kids who aren’t interested in hanging out with their relatives, but you ADORE visits from them, or going to visit them. You had a sleepover with Aunt Tina and Uncle Scott earlier this year, and one planned with Nanny Lynn soon.

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We’ve tried to get you interested in Taekwondo or piano, like your brother, but so far you haven’t shown enough maturity and/or interest to really find your “thing” that you do. You’re only (just now) 5 years old, so we’re not in a hurry.

But Benjamin tried to teach you piano:

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And you went to practice with Benjamin and Daddy at Taekwondo, but you were more interested in hitting the punching bag than learning any real martial arts.

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I don’t really think I can articulate how much you are, at your core, a warrior of some kind.

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I don’t know what kind; but I hope whatever kind you are it’s good.

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Because… you are fierce.

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You are mighty.

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You are tough.

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You’re good at utilizing your available resources.

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You’re steadfast.

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And you’re honorable.

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Happy, happy, happy birthday to one who brings me such joy.  I can’t wait to see how this year goes for my warrior prince.

Love always,

Mama

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