Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy (belated) Birthday, Children Dear!

We are on the eve of the Holiday season.  There'll be much to blog about.  And though I won't actually write down most of my thoughts and experiences, I'll stress less about it if I get this post out of the way. This post is proof that my children did, indeed, each turn one year older this year.  In spite of what it says next to their pictures on the sidebar.  

Back in January, Abby turned five.  Had I actually blogged about this back then, there would be some sentence here about how i can't believe she's FIVE!!  But now, she's on the cusp of SIX!!  Five feels so young!!! 

For her 5th birthday, she got a big party.  I haven't quite figured out when the kids will and won't get "big" parties, but they know that it's definitely not every year....though i feel so bad about Abby's birthday being right after Christmas that i might just break that rule for her :) Anyway, Abby was pretty excited about her "Rio" themed party. She and her sisters were really into the movie "Rio" at the time...largely because it says their favorite line: "We don't shake our tooshies in Minnesota."  They love any joke about tooshies, or booties, or robots wearing bras like sunglasses. Classy, I know. I tell myself that at least it's better than gross body sounds.  

Anyway, Abby had a few items on her Party Must-Haves list.

Rio Decorations: Check 

 A Limbo Contest: Check

 A "Shake your Tooshie" dance-off: Check

Decorate your own Sand/Ocean cupcake: Check

Pin the Tail on "Blu": Check

And Traditional Birthday Party Gift-giving: Check (you better believe that i offered a wide variety of alternatives to this option, but Abby wanted "all the gifts for me!")

Abby has spent most of her life doing everything she can to make those around her happy, so it's nice when we get a chance to pay her back in kind.

Abby is a complete joy to have around.  She's a peace maker.  She is the one who worries the most when Reid and I fight disagree.  She's also very sensitive (too much so, at times).  She loves to learn and figure things out.  She taught herself to read before Kindergarten.  And on the third day of school she announced "kindergarten is boring.  I already know all the stuff their teaching."  YIKES!  This was my biggest fear!!  But after talking with her teacher, we figured out some ways to keep her attentive and interested, and she is now madly in love with school.  And, more importantly, she's realized that she doesn't already know all the stuff their teaching.  Abby is the calm in this stormy house.  We love her!

For Grace, who turned 7, this was a no-party year.  I still hadn't recovered from the 22 screaming girls at her 6th Birthday "Tangled" party.  So we did something that I suppose I've been dreaming of since I was her age.  My best friend growing up always got to go to Broadway shows with her mom (it might have been 2 shows, but it  felt like always).  Oh, I was so jealous.  And for as long as I can remember I've dreamed of a day when I could take my kids to the theater, and live my childhood dreams through them.  And this year, that dream came true.  Grace's birthday present was 4 tickets to see Wicked.  Her chauffers would be Reid and me.  Her guest? Her sister, Abby. (Eliza wasn't old enough)

In an effort to prepare them for the whole experience, we listened to the music from Wicked non-stop for weeks.  (So glad someone told me to do that!)

The evening was an absolute success.  The girls loved every minute of (the first half of) the show.  By about 9:30 they started to expire.  But they made it the whole way through, and they loved it.  And like so many things at their age, they loved it more and more with each passing day.  They've started making plans to see it again, and are "preparing" Eliza so she can join us next time :)  We got three really bad pictures of that night. I wish that equaled one good one.

Grace is growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like my "mommy blinders" keep me from noticing it as much with the others, but with Grace, I see it nearly every day.  She is turning into such a good, sweet, funny, sensitive, self-conscious, selfless, enjoyable person.  She's my buddy.  We have great conversations.  She's open with me, and asks me all sorts of things that I never would have asked my mom.  I love our open communication, and hope it stays that way.  She's always trying to do what's right.  She loves her family. And we love her!  I am enjoying being her mom, and only look forward to seeing her continue to become who she's going to be.

James turned 1 in June.  He didn't know, didn't care (and probably never will), but we basically did as little as you can for a birthday and still call it a celebration.  We had the neighbor kids over.  I made a cake.  (Well, sort of.  I made a low-sugar variation of carrot cake.)  We sang a song.  That's about it.  Butt he kids loved it. And, more importantly, James loved it.

And he must have loved the ice cream, because clearly it grieved him to eat it...

but he ate every last clump on his tray.  That ability to plow through the pain 'cause it's just soooo good? He gets that from me.

James continues to bring so much happiness to our home.  He's constantly learning new things (albeit at a much different rate than his siblings) and loves the cheers he gets from his sisters every time he does ....oh, just about anything.  At least 2 times a day, someone will say "Isn't James so cute?  i'm so glad he's in our family."  From the moment he was born I've been wishing him to stay my baby for as long as possible.  And you might say that wish came true.  The kid is 17 months old and still ain't walking...which has been good for me, because now I want him to grow up!  I'm anxious for these few little steps he's been taking this week to become more regular.  And I'm more aware than ever that even as he turns into a toddler and a little boy--he's still my baby!!!  Always will be!  Oh, I love that little boy!

Eliza turned four in August.  And she got her very first birthday party!  (This is where you pick up the phone to report me.  I know, I'm terrible!)  She really wanted a beach party, so I kindly obliged.  (Well, okay, I wanted a party that didn't cost a lot of money, wasn't at our house, and allowed for as many or as few peeps as we wanted.  And the beach fit that bill.  When I suggested it to her she was, of course, elated.)  Now, our beach here at Cherry Creek reservoir might not compare to some of the beaches in Hawaii, but compared to Utah Lake--the only beach I knew growing up--it's amazing!  We had pizza, ice cream cones, gifts, and mostly just played in the water.  It turned out to be one of the best parties ever....largely because I wasn't a crazy person all stressed out before OR after the event!  

Eliza must have loved it, because she talked about it all the time for the following weeks. :)

Eliza is such a sweet girl.  She's good at saying sorry.  She's the most likely one to thank me for a meal I've cooked--without being prompted.  She's plays with James like a playmate, rather than a babysitter, which I absolutely love.  She loves to help out in the kitchen (stirring, sifting, measuring, etc)  and with laundry (loading, sorting, folding, matching).  She still takes a nap (though it has to be with me) about 1-2 times a week.  And when she does nap she still goes to bed easily at night!  Miraculous, i tell you!!  She loves to color, write notes, and eat around the clock.  The second I clean up a big ole breakfast she tells me she's hungry.  So we have second breakfast.  Then brunch.  Then lunch.  I'm not kidding.  She's like a hobbit. Minus the hairy feet

I love this little girl, and I've been worrying about her lots lately.  I see her struggling to find her place in this home.  I think she feels lost.  She's got her older (practically twin) sisters, who enjoy the same everything: reading the same chapter books, talking about math, and knock-knock jokes, etc and her little baby brother who is barely starting to walk and talk and isn't as much of a playmate as she needs.  She's been acting out quite a bit lately.  Reid's noticed it, too.  And I'm not sure what to do.  I think some might call this "Middle child syndrome."  Does anyone have any suggestions for this dilemma?  She does get quite a bit of one-on-one time with me (9 hours/week, to be exact).  But perhaps I could be doing more with this time?  we mostly read, do puzzles, take naps, watch PBS, and other "quiet" time activities.  I really would love any advice about how to help her not feel, or more importantly not get lost in this family.  I love her so much and want her to feel how loved she is!!

Though it's not possible, I think she'd do well with more time with Reid.  What makes me think that?  Well, about 5-6 times each day she asks me to remind her "how many more days until Saturday when Daddy doesn't have to go in to work?!?"  She looks forward to her weekends with him all week long.  Last Saturday, after having spent all morning with Reid, she was sitting next to him on the couch.  He was watching football.  She was watching him.  After a few moments she asked, "Daddy can we play another game?"  Reid replied that he'd like a few minutes of "Daddy time" to watch this football game.  She pondered on that and, realizing this football things was keeping her from having even more time with her favorite person in the world, she exasperated, "Why was football even invented?"  Before Reid could attempt an answer she was moving on to the bigger question: "And why was work even invented?" And before I could even giggle at how her cute mind was questioning the necessary existence of any obstacle that keeps her from her dad, she proclaimed, "And why was GOLF even invented??!?!?!"  Eliza truly cannot get enough of that man.  And Reid just eats it up.  As he should.

So, there you have it.  Four birthdays.  Seventeen years of life celebrated.  All wrapped up in one little post. 

Now I've got to clean this house for the in-laws who are arriving today!  Happy Thanksgiving!!