Friday, March 22, 2013

Grace - Six

Dear Grace,

We have just wrapped up a whole week of celebrating you turning six. 


That's only one year older than 5. Just one bigger number. But something about 6 seems so much more. Six requires 2 hands, and I admit, I'm having a hard time with you turning 6.  Birthdays 1-5 were exciting, but 6 is different. Six is no longer a baby. Not even a little kid. Six is a bona fide big kid. Over the past few days, I've teared up more than once. I hear you reading or see you standing at the kitchen sink washing your hands, and emotion washes over me.  

Sadness because you are no longer that newborn baby that taught me the joy of smelling freshly bathed baby skin. You are no longer that smiling little muffin that toddled her way across our old living room for the first time.  You are not even the tiny girl who insisted on skirts every day for over a year. 

Pride because of the person you are becoming. Grace, you are beautiful inside and out. When I see you playing with classmates regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, or their mental abilities, it reminds me that carefree goodness is alive and well.  You are growing into this little person who is realizing the effects her actions and words have on people.  

You have had a big, big year!  you saw the ocean for the first time, rode a horse for the first time, lost your first tooth, and learned to swim without floaties.  You have shown bravery and tenacity.  Last April, when you broke your arm, you hardly shed any tears.  Not because you weren't in pain, but because you have this ability to show grace in stressful situations.  Even when the doctor told us about the surgery you would need, the anesthesia, and all these things that were foreign and scary to me, an adult, you, the 5 year old didn't waver in your bravery.

Last fall, when you learned to read, it's like this sponge emerged, and it hasn't stopped soaking in all the words it can!  You read every chance you get.  When we're at home, there's often a book in your hand.  When we're in the grocery store, you're reading every aisle sign.  When we're driving down the road, you're reading every sign and billboard.  I am so excited for you because this whole new world has been opened up to you!

When you started kindergarten, you and I began a new phase in our bond.  We get to share a new special time together.  We have such great conversations during the car rides to and from school, and I am so proud getting to walk down the hallways of the school with my daughter.  Those notes you leave on my desk or in my mailbox in the workroom that read "I love you, Mama" simply make my day.

It seems that each week, your jeans get shorter.  I keep telling you to slow down growing, and every time, you give me that same tilt of your head and big grin, reminding me that it's not your fault; God is making you grow. So, we'll keep buying new jeans and try to soak in every moment.

You have so many special qualities, my dear girl.  You are beautiful, and special, and kind.  You are compassionate, funny, and smart. You are my daughter.  My first born.  You are six.

Happy Birthday, Dear Grace.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

On Valentine's Day, I was supposed to be writing a paper on the Ithkuil language (Google it when you're having trouble sleeping).  But instead, I was watching my Love Bugs scamper and squeal their way through our house on a scavenger hunt to find their Valentines.  Instead, I was having pizza by candle light.  Instead, I was thinking about the ones I love.

This One that I love taught me about being a mother.  She keeps me full of pride over her accomplishments and the compassion that is growing in her heart.  This One loves to read, play outside, and dress "fancy".  This One has hands that are capable of much beyond her years.

This One that I love is full of laughter.  She loves to laugh and make others laugh.  This One is my cuddle bug.  She makes my heart swell when she talks about Jesus and proclaims the gospel.  This One loves to play with baby dolls, be read to, and says she loves me a little more than brownies.  Considering her affection for brownies, I'll take that.

This One that I love is thisclose to being spoiled rotten.  He is babied by his sisters, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, and maybe just a little bit by his mama and daddy.  This One loves to rub my face as he falls asleep.  He loves to pinch his sisters' legs when he spies them getting dressed.  He loves big trucks, horses, and playing ball.

And, this One that I love: He is my best friend.  My soul mate.  He and I share this life that is so much more than I could have ever dreamed.  I thank God daily that He chose this One as mine.

Our Top 12 of 2012

1. The Littles' First Trip to the Beach
In April when our family went to Disney World, we spent one day at the beach.  It was the first time 30 little toes had been sunk in sand, the first time 3 little mouths tasted salt water, the first time we got to hear the shrieks of our Littles as they enjoyed the ocean.

2.  Emma Kate's Idol Came to Life
It's no secret Emma Kate has had a fascination with Snow White since she first heard of princesses.  So, when she learned we were going to Disney World, her number 1 goal became talking to the "real" Snow White.  The look of awe on EK's face when Snow White put her arm around her was well worth the dehydration that nearly occurred as a result of waiting in line.

3. Grace's Broken Arm
When Grace fell on her arm at tumbling and barely made a whimper, I thought, okay, let's get that baby iced, wrapped, and rested.  When we got home and I could see the angle her elbow jutted out, I thought, a broken arm, that's okay.  Not our first rodeo.  When the ER doc told us we needed to transfer to a children's hospital because it would need surgery, I felt my first streak of panic.  My baby was going to need surgery??  Anesthesia??  But, Grace handled it like a pro.  She barely shed a tear throughout the entire process.  As long as she was informed of what was happening at each step in the process, she was able to deep breathe her way through.  And, when she woke up with an arm plastered in pink sparkles, she smiled and wanted to know if she could get to school in time for the Earth Day parade.  I am so proud of this brave girl that I get to call my daughter.  Someone needs to remind her she's only 5 though and tell her to stop growing so fast.

4.  Reece Learned to Walk
At a mere 10 months old, our Baby Boy took off, and hasn't slowed down since!

5.  Littles 1 and 2 Learned to Swim
Grace and Emma Kate have always loved the water.  Swimming without floaties came fairly easy last summer through swim lessons.  Ms. Myra taught them how to blow bubbles so that water wouldn't get up their noses, swim, dive, and be safe in the water.

6.  Daisy and Toby
It's no secret that I am not an animal person.  It's not that I dislike them, it's just that I don't really get into them.  But, a friend giving us 2 itty bitty cutie pie kittens changed that.  Grace came up with their names - Daisy and Toby.  The girls love them with a capital L.O.V.E.  And, Reece is intrigued, but only on his own terms.  Apparently, we are animal people after all.

7.  Grace Started Kindergarten
One of my favorite parts of being a teacher - getting to take my daughter with me to school every day.

8.  Reece Turned a Year Old
How did this happen??

9.  Emma Kate Started Preschool
Finally her turn!  Emma Kate has been waiting to start school ever since Grace got her first back pack.  She goes 2 mornings a week to a Mother's Morning Out Preschool, and loves every second!

10.  Grace Learned to Read
She knew all her letters, etc. when kindergarten started, and could tell you the first sound in words, but she now just picks up books and runs with it!  I am so excited that this new world has been opened up to her!

11.  Halloween
We had our very own Wizard of Oz cast for Halloween this year.

12.  Christmas
Once again, we had a magical Christmas getting together with family, spoiling each other with presents and food, and most importantly - celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Emma Kate's Birthday Interview - Four

What is your favorite color?  Pink

What is your favorite toy?  My Snow White doll

What is your favorite fruit?  Brownies (Whatever, we'll revisit the food groups later)

What is your favorite tv show?  Dr shows and Fresh Beat Band

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Cheese Sandwich

What is your favorite outfit?  Cheerleader shorts and tank top

What is your favorite game?  Candy Land

What is your favorite snack?  Brownies

What is your favorite animal?  Cats

What is your favorite song?  "Set Fire to the Rain"

What is your favorite book?  Is Your Mama a Llama?

Who is your best friend?  "Gwace"

What is your favorite cereal?  Lucky Charms, but just the marshmallows

What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Swim

What is your favorite drink?  Milk

What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas

What do you take to bed at night?  Nothing

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Cinnamon rolls

What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Spaghetti

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A mama

Emma Kate - Four

October 2, 2012

Dear Emma Kate,

Oh, my precious, cuddly, Emma Katherine.  You did it!  You reached "fow-uh" years old!  You had your princess party that was pink, and purple, and sparkly, and included all your favorite things: Snow White, spaghetti, brownies, and presents.  I was so proud when you remembered to say thank you to your guests.  That is just one way that you are mature for your age.  Now, don't get me wrong, you love to pitch a good fit, and you can hold your own in a whining contest.  But, during those times, I have to remind myself that it's normal four year old behavior, or maybe I just pray it's normal.

What a year this has been for you.  Your sass has been brought to the forefront.  I think it's safe to say that no one will run over you.  I just know in my heart of hearts though, that trait will pay off in the long run.  My mama's heart wants to believe that when you are in fourth grade, or seventh, or tenth, that your sass will see you through to stand up to peer pressure and make good choices.

This year, you went to the beach for the first time, attended your first cheer camp, learned how to swim without floaties, and started preschool!  You are soaking in all you can learn at school, and even love to read along with Grace as she practices her kindergarten reading.  You love school and want to know why you can't go every day like Grace.  You love pink, sleeping in my bed, Adele, flip flops, and lip gloss.

Your best friend is your sister.  You two fight hard and love hard.  You aren't quite yourself when she's not around.   And, you are protector of your brother.  You make sure he doesn't climb where he isn't supposed to and make sure I thoroughly apply his diaper cream.

Precious Girl, you are one of a kind.  You know how to push my buttons - the ones that make me growl and the ones that make me melt.  You are opinionated, hilarious, and an awesome little helper.  You love to help in the kitchen cooking and doing dishes.  You are a super washcloth folder and diaper getter.  You are the spitting image of your daddy.  Your capable little hands amaze me.  Your not so quiet singing voice is music to my ears. Your smile can light up a room. Your laugh is infectious.

I hope you love being four and all the experiences this year brings to you.  I hope you never change, that you never stop being "you".

I love you a bushel and a peck,

Reece - ONE

August 21, 2012

Dear Reece,

This morning, as I greeted you with a "Happy Birthday, Baby Boy", it seemed surreal.  365 days ago, you joined us.  365 days doesn't even seem possible.  365 minutes, maybe.  365 blinks, more likely.  But 365 days?  Surreal.

365 days ago, I didn't know how much I would enjoy having a little boy.  365 days ago, I had never bought out toy trucks to adorn our family room.  I had never picked out a bib reading "Little Man".  365 days ago, I didn't know, couldn't have dreamed how incomplete our family was without our baby boy.

I suppose this whirlwind year is only fitting after the way you came into the world.  It seems that starting with your 3 week early entrance that you have been itching to go places, get things done.  You have gone from still little peanut to a busy, moving and shaking little boy.  Once you figured out how to crawl, it was only a matter of weeks before you began pulling up, cruising, walking, climbing, and running!

You are adding words to your vocabulary almost daily.  At 12 months, you can say Mama (swoon), bite, bye bye, baby, dada, ball, nurse (nuh), and hey.  You make truck noises, dog sounds, and horse sounds.  You love animals, balls, bugs, being outside, and anything that goes!

You are funny; you love to dance (and have quite a few moves) and are oh so mischievous!  We often find you in the trash, playing in the toilet, eating bugs or dirt, climbing on anything and everything, and squealing as you get caught.

You also love to eat.  There is nothing that we know of that you do not like to eat - and lots of it! Your favorites are biscuits and gravy, potatoes, and ice cream.  You are Daddy's buddy as soon as he walks in the door after work because he takes you to the kitchen for a snack.

You have spent 365 days learning, growing, and changing.  We have spent 365 days becoming more smitten with you.  Your sisters love you like you are their own baby.  They want to hold you, even though you don't sit as still for them as you used to, tickle you, and play with you.  And, I can practically see their hearts swell when you "give them love".

Daily, I thank God for you; thank Him for choosing me to be your mama.  You are a precious little boy who has brought so much to our family.  Just a mere 365 days ago, we were singing "Little Boy Blue" to you in my tummy.  This weekend, as we sing a different song to you, what once was a blind love for this little being we had yet to see, yet to know, is now love and adoration for our son, our little brother. What a fast, busy, hard, wonderful, blissful year this has been.  I can't wait to see what your next year has in store for us!

Happy first birthday, Baby Boy.