Another day, another birthday... but not just any birthday.  Today is the 2nd birthday of my sweet niece, Maxine Lou.  

I have learned that children can be angels - as long as their parents aren't around.  Which, is usually the case with my nieces and nephews - LB included.  However, it is hard for me to ever picture this angelic face ever act out!  She is always so sweet. 

Her and I have a special bond - at least I think so.  In order to save on daycare costs and to have our trusted family watch our kids my sister, brother-in- law, and I did a lot of trading.  All 3 of us had different work schedules so odds were one of us was always off.  So, I was blessed to have this sweet girl in my house 2 or 3 days a week and LB would go over to their house a couple days a week as well. So, we all became very close.  I have to admit, it wasn't a fair trade.  LB can be a stinker AND he had total mom attachment issues.  So I think he was a lot to take on.  Which, was not the case with Max.  

Maxine is happy.  She is alittle like a chameleon.  She can blend in anywhere and be completely content. LB, Max, and I would have so much fun.  We would walk to the park, swim, dance, play at the farm, ect. It gave LB a sense of what it was like to have a sibling - which was good.  It pushed him to have to share both toys and his mommy.  That, of course, always went smoothly and there was never any hitting, screaming, or crying... ever ;)  Maxine was there when LB said his first word.  We were around to see Max go from crawling to walking to running.  I got to know my adorable niece and also got to know my sister and brother-in-law on a different level as well.  They are great parents.  They have a real partnership.  And, even though I am the older sister, they have been teaching me.  I see what they have and I have set my standards higher because of it. They may not see it everyday in each other, but to us looking in - what they have is unique and special.  Maxine (and now a new little brother too) are blessed for experiencing something so beautiful. 

Here's to the not-so-terrible two's.  Stay just as you are.  Happy Birthday we all love you!  

To see more photos of Maxine's big blue eyes and beautiful smile click here, here, here, and here.