You've become such a big boy. A year ago you couldn't even walk, and now you're running, jumping and climbing on everything. It happened so slowly over the year, but when I think back it's amazing how much you've changed. You're even starting to talk! You've mastered saying "more milk," and it's AWESOME. Not only do you get what you want, but I know what you want, without a lot of pantomiming and questions. I'm so excited to hear all the other things you'll say.
It's been fun getting to know you better over the last year. You like to copy whatever Ben does, but you're definitely your own person. You're fairly quiet a lot, but when you have something to say it comes BURSTING out of you. There have been many peaceful car rides suddenly interrupted by a blast of noise from you. You also like to observe a situation before you go diving in, but once you decide to join, you're in there. You'll mix it up, even with older kids. But if you're not interested, you're perfectly content to play by yourself, as well.
One of the most striking pieces of your personality is your empathy and gentleness. Toddlers aren't known for possessing those qualities, but in you they shine through. It obviously disturbs you when another child is crying. You want to go over and help comfort. You're also (for the most part) very gentle with the cats. They like you better than Ben because you pet them nicely and rarely pull their tails or yank them off the couch by their fur. I think it's because you just love animals. Ever since you were very young you've been fascinated by them. You point out birds and squirrels constantly. You want to visit every dog who comes to the park. You love the zoo. If you become a veterinarian or a zoologist or an animal trainer I will not be surprised at all.
Like all children (especially toddlers), you have those moments that drive parents crazy. You pulled every tissue out of a brand new box. For some reason you've decided you don't want to wear a coat EVER. A few weeks ago, when Daddy was gone on business, you woke up at 5:30am every morning. And you throw toys around like it's going out of style. Which it is. Stop it. But for the most part, you're a very lovable guy. You're smiley and affectionate and you like to dance and your gorgeous blue eyes don't hurt, either.
You've had many adventures this year. You took your first plane ride to Phoenix to visit Oma and Opa. You went to the beach for the first time. You rode rides at Six Flags. You visited all our relatives up in Iowa. And just a couple weeks ago you got a brand new baby cousin. You love Taylor! You pat him and give him kisses and you love to hold him. You're not the baby anymore, and I think you'll be a great big cousin.
I'm so happy you're in our family. You're my favorite Sam.
I love you,