Five years.

Seriously? One day, your birthday will maybe not come as a complete and utter shock to me. Okay, maybe not. This year, you've grown in so many ways.

We moved into a new house a few months after your 4th birthday. Here, in this house that we call home, you've learned to ride a bike (with training wheels). You've learned to put yourself to sleep. You've learned to ride a scooter. You're learning to roller skate. You helped your dad build a video game console in the garage. You love to play like you are riding your bike to Whole Foods to get snacks for us. You helped us decorate for Christmas this year. You wrote a "welcome home sister" sign to hang in our hallway.

You started preschool this year. You have flourished in your time there. You are such a sweet friend and I've never heard anything but praise about your interactions with other kiddos there. You're readying yourself for Kindergarten. You can write almost anything. You're starting to read...sounding out words and recognizing simple ones. It blows our minds when you read words to us.

You are able to do simple life-skill tasks for yourself. You are pretty self-reliable in the bathroom, though you still need help with washing your hair. You can brush your teeth, go potty, and wash your body without much help. You can put a clip or headband in your hair, though you still prefer to have wild, crazy and free hair.

You're quite the fashionista. You know how to put outfits together, and sometimes it's difficult to talk you into a more practical choice so we let you get away with pairing mismatched patterns, fancy dresses with cowgirl boots, and sometimes weather-defying outfits. We love your style. Sometimes, you pick our outfits...and help us become "stylish." You are the first to point out someone's fashion. 

You love to're in your fifth month of swim lessons. You took your first "survival test" this summer. I was eight or nine months pregnant when you tested. It was slightly terrifying for me. I couldn't believe your ear-to-ear grin after your coach picked you up and threw you in the deep end (!) of the Olympic-size your clothes and shoes. You went under, and came up and immediately went into your "back-float"....with the biggest smile on your face. Your teacher and all the other coaches in the pool started cheering for you. Your coach jumped in and together, you guys swam to the edge of the pool and had a good time jumping off of the diving platforms. Now you are working on your streamline, and your favorite move is "monkey-airplane-rocket." 

You started ballet (again). We tried last year, but you were SO painfully shy. However, since we moved to Mar Vista, we drive past a dance school every day on our way home from Preschool. At first, I asked if you'd like to try again. You quickly answered with a "no!" But then, as time went by, you started talking about it more and more. Finally, a few weeks ago, you asked us to take you there for a dance class. We tried it and you LOVED it. You stayed in the classroom for the whole hour. You loved everything about it. You played, but you paid attention and learned a lot during the first class. You can't wait to go back. 

Happy birthday, baby girl. (You hate when I call you "Baby." But I do it, regardless...because I kind of love when you say "Mooooom. I'm not a BABY!")