Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Beth

Mary Elizabeth was born on February 4, 2005. She was our first child, and we were oh so excited. Matt was stationed in Florida at the time, and we had a cute little two bedroom house with a view of the ocean.
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Matt got out of the Army and joined the Coast Guard while I was pregnant with Beth, so we were very much starting over the year she was born. He was stationed on a cutter, and between time at sea and time in training, he was gone nine months the first year of Beth's life. You would think it would be a hard time, but Beth was an incredibly easy baby, and I had such a nice time staying home with her. I made friends with our neighbors, and we had a very happy life of long walks on the beach and cook-outs with friends. When she turned one I drove up to Virginia Beach, VA and had a birthday party for her at my grandma's house. Matt was in training at Yorktown, and so he was able to join us for the party. At that point I was quite pregnant with little Matt as well.
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Just after Beth's first birthday Matt came home to Florida and helped us pack up - the Coast Guard was sending us to a new station in Groton, Connecticut. Moving from the coasts of Florida to New England was quite the change, and little Matt joined our family soon after we arrived. We moved into a little three bedroom house near the Navy base and settled into life as a family of four. Beth continued to have her very happy personality, but she was no longer so easy. By the time Matt was six months old he was her partner in crime, and the two of them spent their days emptying all my drawers and clearing all my bookshelves. I tried to keep them busy with long walks to the park, and trips to the aquarium near our house.
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When Beth was three she attended a preschool on the Coast Guard Academy. She made lots of little friends, and really started to turn from a baby into a little girl. Her favorite things were playing outside and playing with her Thomas trains. She began to take ballet and tap lessons, as well as swim lessons that year. The biggest change in her life of course was the arrival of little sister Carrie, just five days before her third birthday. That same week the Navy decided to tear down the house we were living in, so they moved us into a brand new four bedroom town home a few weeks away. We missed our old house, but the kids quickly made some very good friends at the new place.
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Beth was a cute little preschooler when she turned four. Her favorite things were animals, especially cats, and we got her a little kitten named Eric that year. She loved going to the beach to look for shells and special rocks, and she began a collection jar for all her treasures.
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Beth's fifth year was one of change. First, her little sister Katherine was born. A few months later our long tour in Connecticut finally came to an end. We received orders to the Mississippi, and one very cold day we left New England in route for the balmy gulf coast. I didn't want Beth to have to switch schools in the middle of the year, and so I homeschooled her up until January, and then let her attend public school in Mississippi for the second half of the year. She loved kindergarten, both at home and at school, and did very well.
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When Beth was six we once again picked up to move, this time to the Washington DC area. By this point Beth was quite the big girl. She could ride a bike with no training wheels, she knew how to swim, she was an excellent artist, and she was reading very well. Everywhere we found Beth she either had a book in hand or was midway through a drawing. She was also finally old enough to help me around the house and was really a big help with her younger sisters and brother during the move. We spent the first part of our time in DC as tourists, seeing all the sites, and the kids had a ball. Beth spent the year involved in sports as well, playing baseball, soccer, and cheerleading as the seasons passed.
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Beth's seventh year was a busy one full of school, church, friends, sports, and fun times with family. We went camping, spent a week in Virginia mountains, and even went on a wonderful trip to The Bahamas. Beth finally started to lose her baby teeth and look even more grown up. She continued to love art, reading, and animals. When the weather was decent she and her brother spent several hours a day in the little wooded area behind our house exploring and making forts.
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And now my sweet girl is eight! She requested a breakfast dinner of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes. Her cake was Animal Planet themed, and she had a friend join her for dinner and a sleepover. She is such a nice kid, and so much fun to be around. I look forward to watching her grow into a young lady.
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