By the way, it's SO true what they say about a toddler's vocabulary all of a sudden exploding at some point. Nicole has hit that phase, and I hear new words out of her mouth daily. She's always very proud and excited when she figures out a new word, and will repeat it over and over to make sure we hear her say it.
+ She's a happy little social butterfly who loves to follow other kids around and imitate them and babble at them or share things with them.
+ She usually doesn't take a nap anymore (NOOOOOOO!!!!) but she still has "rest time" in her room every afternoon, and she takes it without protest. She will play in there by herself without complaint for up to 2 hours. On some magical, exhausting days she'll fall asleep for a nap... today was one of those days. Being a birthday girl takes a lot of energy, apparently!
+ Bubble baths are heaven.
+ Band-aids are the devil.
+ My dream of having a family of singers is well on it's way because Nicole can definitely carry a recognizable tune. She goes around the house singing the A B C's (some of the letters are correct and identifiable!) or belting the chorus of Let It Go or humming the tune of The Blue Danube. She loves Primary songs and nursery rhymes the most, or songs from the TV shows she watches.
+ She enjoys helping me cook/bake. I let her dump ingredients like flour into the bowl, or sprinkle cheese in the enchiladas.
+ She speaks in short 2/3 word sentences. She'll say things like, "Where it go?!" when looking for something or parade around with Doug's flip flops shouting, "MY shoes!" or ask for a second piece of her Halloween candy by saying "Two cake!" (cake and candy are synonymous to her, apparently) and it's just so fun to understand her better and better. My favorite is when she's trying to comfort Austin by patting him and saying, "I know, baby. I know."
+ One of her favorite foods is homemade pizza with whole wheat crust, covered in bell peppers and onions. She asks for "teeta" (pizza) aaaaaall the time. That was her early birthday dinner of choice last night, of course. She's actually quite the pizza snob; to her, nothing is better than homemade.
+ Other favorite foods: popcorn, clementines, pears, peaches, apples, grapes, Greek yogurt, green beans, ham (the lunch meat variety), and corn. Oh, and let's not forget our family favorite Tuscan Tomato Soup! She would chug that stuff if we let her.
+ She loves reading. When I'm nursing Austin, you'll often find Nicole on the couch next to me with a book for me to read to her.
+ Her current favorite movie is Despicable Me.
+ She has a deep, ever-enduring love for long walks. One favorite walking route is going all the way to the closest park to go down the slides (always on her back, never sitting up) and perhaps catch a glimpse of the horses that are kept on the property right next to the park.
+ Nicole has always been empathetic, but she just hit a SUPER empathetic phase where if a character in a book or movie gets upset or mean, she starts whimpering or full-out crying and asks us if it's going to be okay ("Okay? Okay?") over and over again. Whether it be that fuzzy yellow Seuss creature saying "Stop! You must not hop on pop!" or Miss Hattie scolding Margo, Edith and Agnes for not selling enough cookies, Nicole gets very concerned. Heaven forbid we watch a movie where a character dies. No Lion King for her any time soon...
+ She loves holding her baby brother and goes bursting into his room the moment she hears him wake up from a nap so she can see him. She always gives him a kiss goodnight before she heads off to bed in the evenings. She's a good helper and will find his burp cloths for me, or grab a clean diaper when he needs it. She shares her toys and blankets with him regularly.
+ Asks for frozen peas to eat at breakfast at least twice a week. Another favorite food.
+ Helps with chores such as loading/unloading the dishwasher, sweeping, putting in and taking out laundry, getting the mail, and wiping up spills/messes. I should start having her dust baseboards or something :D hahahaha!
+ Gets very sad when she realizes she's done something to upset Doug or me. She's so sweet and wants to make us happy and proud.
+ Searches the sky frantically whenever she hears a plane or helicopter. She loves the concept of flying (thanks to Peter Pan and that show Jake and the Neverland Pirates).
+ We took the guard rail off her twin bed because she never rolls anymore, so now she's in full-blown "big girl" mode.
Such a sweet girl. I feel like the following moment captures her personality and disposition perfectly: we have a bunch of traditional ball ornaments on our Christmas tree, and we went ahead and put them ALL over the tree, including on the bottom where Nicole can reach. Nicole will walk around the tree and very gently cup each of the ornaments in her tiny hands, never taking them off the branches or being rough. She exclaims, "Ball!" with each one she touches, and then steps back at the end to stare up at the glowing tree. Then she turns to go play elsewhere. She's full of energy and enthusiasm, but knows when to be gentle and draw limits. We love this little toddler of ours with all our might!
Happy birthday, Nicki baby! And here's to many more!