Happy Birthday to you! I am excited that you are one years old today. When you came over this morning you did your normal routine. You find me wherever I am whether it is in the office, my bedroom, even the bathroom! Then you grab my leg and start making funny noises.
You have had such a full year. You are learning to handle the rough stuff from your sister, but your mommy and daddy protect you from too much. Kaylee loves you so much and she smiles and laughs every time she looks at you. Actually, you make everybody smile and laugh!
I wanted one picture of you and me when you were one, so when Nana came to church to visit, I asked her to take this picture. My favorite time of quiet when I am holding you close. I love you so much and am so happy to be your grandpa. We have many adventures waiting for us…
We had quite a Grandpa Day on Friday. First, we went to your preschool, Christ Lutheran in Santa Clarita. Grandpa is so happy you have such a great school! I met your teachers, your friends, and a whole bunch of animals. It was a special day because Wildlife Learning Center brought several furry and fun guests. You saw an alligator, hedgehog, porcupine, chinchilla, bunny, fox, servel cat, hissing cockroach, and a snake! Then they took out the surprise….a huge snake bigger than Grandpa is tall!
Sure enough, you were brave enough to pet the snake…Something my daughter, your mommy would never do! But, touching the big cockroach? No, thank you.
Then we left and were driving back down to our house when you said, “Grandpa, let’s go to the Zoo!”
The zoo it was. We had our usual full day at the zoo. Petting the goats, looking at the Halloween decorations and I had my usual, watching you go back and forth back and forth as you always do. Playing wherever you find yourself. Where do you get all that energy? I had my fitbit watch on and I put in over five miles in our excursions. But, you don’t just walk in a straight line. You have to take a hundred breaks walking around trees, tightroping on curbs, and splashing (it rained) in puddles all along the way.
Here is what we are going to do next time. I am going to put the fitbit around your ankle and then see how many miles you walk compared to me when we are traveling to the same places!
When we go to the zoo, you always tell me you don’t like snakes and lizards, but you want to see them anyway and on Friday, you petted a snake again. But, when it comes time to brush the goats and see the Shetland pony, you remember you put your hand through the fence by the pony and he nipped at you. So, now you decide to tell me why you are going to see the pony again.
It’s interesting that you use a new phrase when you are telling me why you are not afraid. Normally you say, “I’m not afraid because God protects me.”
This time it is different.
“I’m not afraid because God saves me.”
I’m glad you are coming more and more into a deeper relationship with God who adores you, protects you, and yes, saves you.
O, by the way…the name of Jesus in the Hebrew language that he used for prayer is- “Yeshua.”
This means “God saves!” Yeshua….Jesus…we are not afraid….
Your mommy is back teaching school and so Nana and Grandpa get to be with you every week day! It is so much fun for Grandpa, because there are extra times I can be with you and watch you grow. You are rio much fun because you like to do everything. I call you easy-going and full of joy and wonder.
It is a challenge being a baby sister, though. Kaylee has a hard time letting you play with her toys. Your mommy has a good rule to follow. Kaylee can’t take a toy away from you without replacing it with another toy to play with. That seems to work much better…
Kaylee is in preschool two days a week, so you get extra Nana time. I notice that hierarchy when it comes from quieting after you are upset. If mommy or daddy is around, you want them. Then Nana is next in line. Then me. Nana likes to tease me by holding you and then saying, “Do you want to go to Grandpa?” You get a real big smile on your face, reach over for me, and then you turn and hug Nana tight, instead!
Well, mommy is off for summer now, so Friday was our last Grandpa Day for awhile. We will still do stuff together, but not our normal routine.
Our last zoo trip was memorable because you decided to face two of your fears head on! You pet a snake and a skink! A skink looks like a lizard with two heads. The zoo volunteers were giving these hands-on experiences and you decided to take advantage of this without Grandpa spurring you on.
Then, since this was a special day, you had your face painted with a tiger motif. To top it all off, Grandpa got stung in the thumb but a bee…
It was so much fun to be with you at a time I didn’t know you would be there. Uncle David and I went to see your Uncle Matt play lacrosse at his high school. Grandma was there with Aunt Kelly and Sam, Aunt Kim, and then, what a surprise, you and your sister with your mommy and daddy!
It was a real kick seeing you getting passed around like a little package to everyone who was there in the stands. Then, when it was my turn, I was really excited to hold you because I didn’t bring a jacket and you were my mini-warmer!
You and Grandpa went on our first hike in the woods. This is a creek bed where the Los Angeles River actually begins. I had so much fun teaching you about woods, paths, trails, and fields. This wooded area is right below high rocky hills and so we had the chance to talk about Jesus living in an area just like this in Nazareth. He would have hiked and played in the woods, too!
I knew if I gave you a walking stick you would pick it up instantly by watching Grandpa with his stick. Then a man came by with a hiking stick, too, and you said, “Him has a stick like me.”
You found many small pebbles you wanted to choose special for mommy, daddy, nana, grandma, and aunts and uncles. By the time you were done your little pockets were full and you had to put them in Grandpa’s pack!
I knew you would be interested in going on a hike, I just didn’t know how far to take you. There are some pretty step parts of the trail. Well, you did it. We hiked over three miles! Of course we do that at the zoo, as well, so I should’t be surprised.