Happy Birthday to Kaylee!!!!!!

I am super late getting this up, but on January 28 at 8:59pm, my baby girl officially turned 5 years old!!!

The day before her birthday, we had a small party. She requested that it be very low key because she didn't want a lot of noise and attention. Laura (who was my doula at Kay's birth) and her family were kind enough to bring gluten-free, vegan cupcakes from Roots. They were delicious! Even Kaylee loved them, and she is SUPER picky.

On her actual birthday, we told Kaylee that she was the birthday princess, and she could do whatever she wanted that day. Big mistake, she immediately named 5 things right off the bat that she still wasn't allowed to do! But she was just kidding, and she had a fun day. She didn't want to do anything special, just hang around.

Even though she had said she didn't want presents, she seemed pretty happy to receive some new books from Laura & family, more new books from our cousins, a princess sticker art set from a family friend, a treasure box her honorary aunt (my best friend), and a few other things. We also gave her a coupon that said the next time we go to the toy store, she can have any toy she wants. She says she plans to use that to get a new sled.

It's funny, sometime during the day, she busted out with, "I thought I would feel different now that I'm 5. But I feel the same, and my voice is the same! I think the bones in my body are a little bigger though." It cracked us up!!

I am always looking at Kaylee and marveling at how grown up she is. She is such an awesome big sister and she always helps me clean and do chores. She's also way too smart for her own good, and has an attitude to match! Which can sometimes that can be a very frustrating combo, hahah.

She has endless energy, and I mean ENDLESS. She loves dancing, jumping on her trampoline, running around outside, and doing crazy stunts that totally freak me out.

Right now, she is not in ballet or swim class anymore because we are about to move, but hopefully we can get her into something active again very soon! I'm thinking gymnastics.

She is so funny, and is always cracking me up with the clever things she says. She has the same goofy sense of humor I do. We love getting silly together, making up weird stories, and doing mad-libs.

Some of her favorite things to do include going to school, playing outside, going to the park, making art, taking care of her dolls and stuffed animals, playing on the computer/iPad, and playing with her sister. When we move, we will be homeschooling, at least for the rest of this year. I think it might be challenging because when she gets bored she gets super hyper, but hopefully I'll find a homeschooling group and some activities for us to go to.

Kay is SO smart and has an amazing vocabulary. She likes to speak properly, and will even correct my grammar. She's starting to sound out words and do simple addition and subtraction. She can write all the letters in the alphabet and is getting pretty good at writing her name. And she's great at puzzles! All of these things were set back by the brain infection she had, so we are so proud that she is already surpassing the skill level she had before the infection!!

I probably already mentioned this, but K LOVES loves playing outside. Whether it's riding her bike, climbing trees, playing soccer, digging for rocks, or whatever. This kid is happiest outdoors! She likes bringing in the rocks she finds, cleaning them off, and collecting them. She says she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. And a musician, and a ballerina... Well, it really changes every time you ask her!

She is a tomboy in many ways, but is still very much a girly girl. She loves accessorizing with headbands, jewelry, etc. She insists on picking out her own clothes, and she is always hounding me to let her wear makeup, lol. A little while ago, she got into my nail polish and got some glitter from her arts and crafts supplies and gave herself a sparkly manicure!

She loves playing dress up, especially with Brynna. They usually play princesses or super heroes. They both adore jewelry. I have no idea where they get it from, not from me! I'm not girly in the slightest, lol.

I miss the days when Kaylee used to be a mommy's girl because now she is super independent (and moody). She still gives the best hugs and cuddles though, when she's in the mood to anyway! I treasure our special "Mommy/Kaylee time" when Brynna is napping or out with Steven.

She adores playing with her dad. She makes no secret that she thinks he's the fun one!

They like building with Legos and blocks, doing arts and crafts, and playing outside together. Kaylee loves to help him in the kitchen and force him to play dress up and salon with her, hahah.

I just love seeing how close she is to her daddy. He is always teaching her things but at the same time letting her imagination lead the way. ♥

Kaylee is such a nurturing big sister, always trying to teach Brynna new things, and keep her from hurting herself. They both like doing everything together if possible, and always get upset if they have to be separated for any reason.

It's been so much fun watching their sister bond develop. I remember when Kaylee first found out I was pregnant, she was so excited. She was always patting and kissing my belly, playing special music for the baby, and telling me she was sure it was a girl and that her name was Brynna. And I remember the moment she first saw newborn Brynna, her face lit up with this instant love.

She never really showed her any jealousy, and wanted to help take care of her baby sister as much as possible. The sound of the baby crying would actually make her cry too. She was SO excited when Brynna was finally able to sit up and then crawl so she could interact more. She'd include her in all her games and tea parties.

When Kaylee was in the hospital with the brain infection and was so weak and miserable, she seemed to suddenly come alive again when she saw Brynna enter the room. It was the first I'd seen her smile in days. She wanted to hop out of her hospital bed and play with Brynna. Then when she was released, they were just so happy to be together again. It was the sweetest thing.

Now, when Kaylee leaves for school, Brynna gets fussy because she misses her. When K gets home, the first thing she wants to do is hug B, and they are just so excited to see eachother. K jumps to cheer B up if she's cranky, and she is always offering to babysit her for me. These days, she'll even ask me if I need to do something while she watches the baby, lol.

Yes, they have their little sibling rivalry spats, and sometimes Kaylee wants to do an activity by herself so she will go to the table for some alone time, but they never stay apart for long. I hope they'll stay close as they grow up, despite the 4 year age difference.

Kaylee has been doing a lot better, but some days are still pretty rough. She still has extreme mood swings sometimes. We need to keep an eye on her because she can be unpredictable at times. For example, she might suddenly get it in her head that she has to "save" Brynna by throwing her off the couch because the couch is burning with fire, then she will either be totally confused as to why she did or else she won't even remember. Sometimes she randomly gets extremely angry. Sometimes she just cries and cries and doesn't know why. The hardest part is she asks us,"Why am I acting this way? Is my brain still sick?" And she's just so upset because she wants to be normal. Whenever we have a good few days, it's really disappointing for her (and us) when she gets worse again. We still have a lot of appointments and tests to do in the near future which will hopefully shed some light on what's still going on and why. But we really try to keep focusing on the positive. When she was in the hospital, we had no idea what was wrong with her and if she'd ever recover. We've come so far since then, and even though it's easy to lose sight of that when we are having a rough day, we are really grateful. (I know I'm EXTREMELY grateful that she's finally sleeping through the night regularly!!!)

Also, since we put her on a gluten free diet, a lot of her issues have improved. She is having less digestive problems, eating more, and gaining weight. (She's never eaten a lot, has always had constipation issues, and has been on the verge of underweight her whole life.) We're not positive if there's a connection to her behavioral issues, but there seems to be. One theory is that since she was unable to eat much, her blood sugar was really low, which affected her behavior negatively. We're also not sure if it's all gluten or just wheat. We are waiting for tests and just passage of time to tell us more. But at least we are slowly figuring out more ways to improve things for her. I really hope things continue to improve because honestly, it adds a whole new level to discipline when you have a kid who's special needs or ill. They get super spoiled from all the special attention, and when they are feeling ok, they walk all over you. Then you feel double the guilt for losing your temper because you know they are going through a lot. Steven and I have had a few really rough nights where we were just so miserable. But we try to give eachother pep talks and remember that we will all get through this and we have to "just keeping swimming."

My sweet girl, I just can't believe you are 5! I have so many conflicting emotions about this, I don't even know what to say or feel.

I know one thing for sure, I am so proud of you! You are so smart, creative, determined, and brave. You've been through more than any 5 year old should have to go through, and your spirit never broke. I may be your parent, but you have taught me so much.

You are such an amazing little girl. When we were at the hospital, you made it your personal little mission to deliver balloons to everyone in your ward. You just spread joy wherever you go. You make everyone you meet smile.

You're an awesome big sister, and Brynna is so lucky to have you. Seeing you teach her things and play with her so patiently makes me happier than anything in the world. I love that she has you to be her role model.

Sometimes you drive me absolutely nuts with your attitude, but I can't complain because I know you get it from me! I'm sorry I'm not always the most patient mom to you. But I know you know I am trying my best and that I love you to pieces!!

I know you are going through a rough time right now and I just hope you know your dad and I are trying everything we know to try and help you. We will never stop trying to help you.

I am so lucky to be your mama. I can't wait to see you continue to grow up. Never forget that I love you, just the way you are, no matter what.

Love, Mommy ♥


Janine Huldie said…
Happy 5th Birthday to Kaylee. Emma will be 5 in July and I seriously am a bit shell shocked how fast time is flying here. Loved seeing all the pictures of your girls as always and their sisterly bond really does remind me of my girls, too!! :)
Bren Lee said…
Happy Birthday Kaylee!
R.F. Dietz said…
I am so so so happy that she has surpassed her intellect post-brain infection. I was so nervous of all the setbacks and the things she would need to relearn and understand again, but dang! Girl is thriving! Her unpredictably will surely keep you on your toes (and freak you out) but you're doing such a great job with her, and I commend you for changing her diet and trying everything/anything to figure things out. You are a phenomenal mom and you'll make a phenomenal homeschooling mom, you are a saint for your patience and it's no wonder Kaylee is a beautiful little girl with a heart of gold and joy to spread. So happy you're back to blogging! MUAH!
Launna said…
Happy, happy birthday to Kaylee :)

Do they ever grow up fast, I cannot believe that my youngest will be 11 in May... wow, time flies :)
Sylvia Phillips said…
Happy Birthday sweet girl! You are an awesome sister and wonderful daughter! I'm praying that you'll feel all better very soon!
Echo A said…
Happy Belated Birthday Kaylee!

You are a gem!

This was beautiful, Cami!
Maria said…
happy birthday to kaylee!! i love all the photos from over the years. your letter to her brought tears to my eyes. she is very blessed to have such a loving, caring family. i'm glad to hear she is doing better and better and will continue to pray.
what a smart girl, reading already!!!!
sending love and wishing you a happy thursday!

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