Miss S - Words that characterize this 4.5 year old: spunky, determined, outgoing, and goofy. She loves to laugh and smile and interact. She and JD are always pushing each other to succeed at the next thing. For example, JD was already riding a bike without training wheels (he learned last summer), so within 2 months S learned how to ride a balance bike and then a bike with training wheels for a week or two and then she was determined to get those training wheels off like JD. Now they cruise around the cul-de-sac together. Same with swinging themselves: JD learned and then within a week or two, S picked it right up too. She loves to find bugs in the backyard and to sneak up on birds and to watch Daddy work in the garden.
She also loves to help cook and always has a million questions when we're cooking in the kitchen. It seems like she hasn't had much exposure to simple kitchen processes that I take for granted learning. Once a week a play therapist comes to work with S and she enjoys all of the little games and activities. They have seen great improvement in her in the last year. It's so fun to see her dancing around (especially hip-hop music gets those feet moving) and telling stories with great animation and drama. Such a different experience to have girls in the house now!
|Reading with Mema before bedtime.|
|After day camp for S and JD at Eagle Creek Park.|
Lately he's started eating like a champ--no prompting or prodding. It gives us hope for the rest of the kids someday! Earlier this summer JD wanted a "haircut like Dad" so he got the buzz cut and it sure makes showers easy. He's got quite the farmer tan going already--also tans easily like Dad. Last week Justus turned into a little fish with his Puddle Jumper floaties: figured out he could do it all by himself and was "swimming" all over that pool.
He and S both help with tasks around the house: cleaning up (they all do that), feeding the dog (JD in the morning, S in the evening), emptying the dishwasher, and putting clean clothes away. Usually once or twice a day the kids need a calming down time, so they know the drill: to the couch with a book or two! It helps! One more story for the two of them: I ran two miles the other day and they both biked the whole way with me! I planned to drop them off at home halfway through but they wanted to keep going. It was hot and muggy--about 3/4 of the way through JD said: Oh boy, I'm going to need a shower.
|Very proud of their "tall tower"|
Silas - This little fella is sweet, silly and sometimes quite the stinker. One of his favorite phrases currently: "Don't touch my duff" (meaning "stuff"). Silas has always been a collector but now he carries around a lego container or plastic bucket full of an odd assortment of toys for the entire day and gets quite upset if anyone gets near his "duff." He's my early riser: I get him out of the crib around 5:45am and he heads right to the living room for his bucket of precious toys. Yes, still in the crib. He wouldn't stay in bed but stays in the crib and falls asleep so much faster--win/win. Still loves his blue crochet blanket and it can often be found sitting on top of the bucket of toys to protect everything.
I love having a little companion in the morning. Silas knows that it's mama's time, so he snacks on cheerios or raisins, playing with cars or legos quietly beside me. Sometimes we fight over the end table: I want it for my coffee and he wants to line up his toys. (It's my "pot," Mom.) Around 7 he usually starts saying: "I'm very hungry, Mom" (but "very" sounds more like "wherey") and asks for "yogurt bunny" (yogurt and honey). We do give him the beloved yogurt and honey, but have switched to lactose free milk the rest of the time and it seems to help his tummy issues a little. Silas is our little singer. At the most random times we'll catch him singing: Trust & Obey; Holy, Holy, Holy; Tis So Sweet; or Hallelu, Hallelu. Most of those songs he learned as Bible Study Fellowship last year.
|Playing in the backyard at Grana and Grandpa's house|
Miss A - I haven't quite figured this little one out yet--sometimes outgoing, sometimes shy. Sometimes snuggly, sometimes standoffish. Sometimes plays well by herself, but most of the time just likes to annoy her siblings and follow them around. She is only 5 days younger than Silas, so they truly are artificial twins. When they get into a good "groove" of playing together, it's so adorable. Until she starts bossing him around. A's key phrase in this season: "Me don't want to." Classic two year old. We usually correct her grammar and then proceed to say, "It doesn't matter if you don't want to, sweetie."
Usually every Friday morning is Hair Time. This is a 2-3 hour process: take out previous style, wash hair in the kitchen sink, comb out and then restyle. She sits pretty well (sometimes the end gets a little teary) and all the kiddos enjoy the special PBS watching time. I feel like my fingers are getting a little faster at cornrows and twists. Back in May, I think, we decided to tackle potty-training--mostly just because I was tired of changing diapers on three children every day and she had already been partly trained at the previous home. Within 3-4 days we had a pretty good schedule down--overall, she's done pretty well and it's so nice to just have two in diapers again. Cute things she says: when she first came, she called the refrigerator a "fridger." Any sort of lid she calls a "cap." JD she usually calls "Sadie." And whenever she wants to be held she says, "Will you please carry me?"
|Hair time! Washing in the sink...|
Big D - The nickname doesn't fit so well anymore--this little guy's growth has leveled off and he is now around the 30th percentile (right on track with Miss A, his full-blooded sister). Since he started walking around 13 months, he's thinned out even more and looks so strong and tiny. As a crawler he already climbed onto everything (climbed up the backs of our black leather chairs as high as he could go and bounced on the back) but walking just brought an extra amount of freedom and quickness and he's pretty steady on his feet! D especially loves to escape out the back door and take off into the backyard as fast as he can go. He would play out there all day if I let him: doing laps around the yard, exploring, trying to climb the slide, or playing with the toy mower. One day Bryce found him up in the play set--he climbed up all by himself--and one day I found him in JD's top bunk, but thankfully they were flukes at this point and he hasn't climbed back up either since.
His first clear word was "JD"--I wonder what he hears yelled all day long (mostly because the other kids are calling for him). Next came kind of a moaning/whining version of "Mom/Mommy" since that's also what he hears a lot of. He'll also say Daddy, ball, and dog, and will growl on command. I love it when D snuggles on Bryce's shoulder--he gives good snuggles when he wakes up from a nap. He still naps twice a day, usually for about 2 hours each time and goes down at 7pm with all of the kids and I get him up around 7:30/8am. Can't complain about that schedule! I know we're going to need to drop the morning nap soon with activities for the older kids but it's sure nice right now. He has 5 teeth and half a molar--it seems like his teeth seem to like to come in odd numbers. The big 5 teeth grin (3 on the bottom) is adorable.
D-Man likes to put legos in and out of the bucket, roll a car around and make noises, deliver the dog bones to me, and be loud. Someone asked me recently if, being the youngest of five, he just sits back and observes and takes it all in. Oh no! He wants to be heard and noticed, so at the dinner table his voice is usually the loudest and most insistent. When he learned to sign "more please" that definitely helped cut down on the whining and yelling; now we're working on "all done" and "thank you." He's the only one of our children who has learned to hold his own bottle. For the others, I never taught them since it was coveted snuggle time, but sometimes the fifth child just needs to do his own bottle--sorry little guy. He's a great eater for the most part--loves pizza, olives, yogurt, pb&j sandwiches, most fruit, broccoli, and animal crackers. (His diet is more balanced than that, I promise, but those are the standout favorites--perks of having lots of older siblings.)