Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday Lexi!

My six year old girl, where do I even begin? Yes, of course it kills me that you are a year older. Six. First grade soon. It makes my stomach drop and a lump jump in my throat. I would be lying if I don't think to myself often that it was just a few short years ago that you were rocking pig tails in all your glory. But, nevertheless, here we are. Six. And what a fantastic six year old you are. Truly. It is so wonderful being your mom, I don't take a minute of it for granted.

You have a great knack for being happy, relishing and rejoicing in the smallest things. Like that number 6 balloon in the photo above. I cannot emphasize how much you loved that thing. So excited that 6 was right around the corner. You just loved putting your face through the whole and making silly faces at us. Or the excitement you had while running at the fun run was just ridiculous. Your whole face was lit up like it was Christmas, sprinting around in circles, waving at Nate and I and laughing the whole way. Your energy and happiness is catching - you bring joy to all of those you touch...but it is in a quiet, subtle way.

For as happy as you are, you also have a quiet, peacefulness about you. You have the ability to play quietly, by yourself for hours - sometimes I feel like I can actually see your imagination turning as your move your little figures around. I know you are having conversations in your head with them - you have such a look of concentration.  For as social as you are, you also love having your alone time, and I love that about you! You love just cuddling up on the couch, usually with your blanket and stuffed animals. You build them nests or little homes, and there goes your imagination again. Your love of stuffed animals is adorable. Every time you've had the opportunity to share at school, you bring a stuffed animal. Every single time. Sometimes I gently remind you that your have other toys, but you won't have it. Beenie boo after beenie boo makes its way into the sharing bag. It absolutely cracks me up! 

You are still quite attached to me. Even when you spent the night at Mimi and Pops hotel and they brought you to school the next morning, you asked me if I could meet you at school to walk you to your classroom. My heart melted. You just want me near you. Again it is this kind of quiet need - it's not even that you need me to play with you. You just like me near you. And I am completely relishing in it as long as it lasts. 

So another year has gone by. You started Kindergarten and learned to ride your bike. If at all possible your disposition became sweeter and kinder and more in tuned to people than ever before. I am so insanely proud of who you are. It is such a joy watching you grow up. So, here is a close up look into your six year old self! Happy birthday baby! 
  • Patient and forward thinking - This is one of my favorite qualities that I've seen emerge in you over the past few months. The first time I saw it was one of those intricate coloring pages that you decided to color. You would work on it a little bit each day until it was finally complete. It took you a little over a week. Your dad could not get over it, the patience you had for a project like that at such a young age. I love that you understand the value of a little at a time, it is going to carry you so far! Another, and completely different example of this was saving candy. A couple of months ago I had a bag of starbursts in our cupboard - I think it was leftover from Valentine's day. So I offered three to each of you for dessert each night. I didn't realize until the following week that you were saving all of the pinks and reds (your favorite) in a bucket in your room. The funny thing is, I wouldn't have ever know they were in there and you could have eaten them whenever you wanted. But one day you came to me and asked, "mom is it okay if I have a starburst?" to which I replied that we didn't have any. At which point you showed me your stash, saying that you kept all of your favorites so that you could eat them later! I'm not really sure what five your old does this. But, talk about forward thinking and self control!!! It is so impressive and exciting to see this innately in you.
  • The Middle - I've always said how much you relish your position as the middle kiddo. Which is such a blessing because I'm hyper-sensitive to the fact that middle children often feel slighted. You are so proud of the fact that you are in the middle, saying that "it is cozy" because you have Declan and Nathan on either side of you. But, I've seen your strength as the middle child reach new heights. You absolutely are the peace keeper in the house. Easily spotting an escalating situation between your brothers and jumping in, usually diverting Nathan with some kind of game. You are a phenomenal sister to both brothers. You are motherly and patient with Nathan. You two have a bond like I've never seen. He adores you. And rightly so. You are able to create games that are fun for both you and him. And you truly enjoy playing with him. Conversely, you and Declan are like peas and carrots. You play everything together, have great respect for one another, and enjoy one another's company. You really are the best of friends. You look to him to show you how to do things, and he enjoys teaching you and is extremely protective of you. Just today when I was dropping you off, someone mentioned to me that he always has his hand on your back when you guys walk together. They are both so lucky to have you. I don't think they'll ever really get how good you are at keeping an even, peaceful flow in our home.
  • Creative - You have become extremely creative since beginning Kindergarten. It is probably because others are showing you how to draw and make things. You are always coming home with fans you made, or games you created on paper that you made during choice time. You drawing has become so much better too. Anytime I make play dough, set out paints or colored pencils you are good to go for hours. Literally. You even have tried a couple of stitch projects in the last couple of months that you really enjoyed. I know I will enjoy watching how your creative side emerges over the years - it is a strong piece of who you are. 
  • Independent - Girl, you need your alone time. You relish in it. You, most of all, enjoy our jammy days where you have all the time in the world to yourself. You play for hours in your room, using your imagination, completely happy to be in your own world. You prefer to sleep by yourself, whereas your brothers would sleep in our bed every night if we let them. You also prefer to learn and figure things out on your own. A perfect example of this is the new big girl scooter you got for your birthday. You rode it around the house, figuring out the turn verses the straight aways, proudly telling me how you figured out if you placed your foot evenly on the sticker (of the footboard) you had the best balance. You told me that you were "just getting comfortable with it, and I am not ready for the great big park yet". I love watching you in your zone, figuring things out.
  • Motivation - You are extremely self motivated...when you want to be. Which is awesome for some many obvious reasons. But it can also be hard too. Because I have not figured out a way to motivate you on my own. If you want to do or achieve something, you will figure out a way. If I want you to do something, I struggle. The chore chart doesn't seem to work to motivate you the way it does your brother. You could take it or leave it. So teaching you certain habits can be challenging. Like putting your clothes i the orange hamper. I've been t trying to get you to do this for years, and to this day I still find myself picking clothes up off your floor! It will be interesting as you get older if I can figure out ways to motivate you or if the ball will always be in your court. Because frankly girl, if you don't want to do something you are as stubborn as can be!! 
  • A thinker - You are always playing games with your mind to help you figure things out. Reciting poems from school that help you understand the difference between even and odd, explaining why addition problem answers are the way they are, telling me about "bossy e's" and such. You pay attention to the details, and then you think about it some more. One day we were reading a book, and you were gliding through words I didn't think you knew. I asked if you had read the book before and you replied no. "Then how do you know these words"? I asked. "I just remember them from other books I've read". It is truly amazing you learn and make sense of things. Anytime I explain something to you, you listen, and then explain it back in your version, making sure you clearly understand. 
  • Great Student - kind of elaborating a little more on the above, you are a great student. You are a rule follower and a good listener. I was really worried about this year, but you have made it through with flying colors. You enjoy school for the most part, although when I volunteer on Thursdays you almost always cry when I leave. I still believe 1/2 day kindergarten would have been a better fit for you. There are days where I feel like you just need a break. It was a big change this year and I am so proud of how you handled it. Luckily a fantastic teacher, great friends, and even their parents who work in the classroom have made it memorable and good. 
  • Humble - Although you are confident, you have a quiet humbleness that is pretty prevalent in your personality. You once told me that a kiddo that sits at your table at school wasn't doing the school work right. I asked if you told him that. You looked so surprised and said, almost defensively "No!". I am so glad you are not a know it all or bossy. And that although you do not understand what being humble is, you are smart enough to know that people don't respond well to bragging or bossiness. 
  • Organized - You LOVE organizing. You organize your stuffed animals in what you call your "nest" every night. And every night you proudly show it to me, describing the little passageways and why you grouped certain stuffed animals together. You organized your birthday presents when you got home from school in the order you wanted to open them - saving the biggest for last of course! When I am at school, you are always the one to clean up the table, on your own accord. It actually surprised me when I noticed this, because even though you love to organize - you are not particularly clean at home. You room is always kind of messy unless I help you clean it up. Which you love. You particularly love the days that I organize all of your toys for you. So I have hope - because although I can't classify you as clean yet, I'm hoping your organizing traits pull though and morph into cleanliness! 
  • Sensitive/Dramatic- Oh yes!! You have not lost your sensitivity. We tread lightly around you my dear, because the tears still flow fast and furious. You can turn on the water works with the best of them. Just recently you got a pretty bad scrape while strawberry picking. Every time I go to change the band-aid you scream absolutely bloody murder and hyperventilate so much you can't breathe. So yes, a little bit of drama. If something upsets you, you have a hard time "pulling it together". Case in point, the fact that you cry every time I leave from volunteering at school. You are also super sensitive to clothing. You can't wear anything that has buttons or is sewn in a way that is not comfortable to you. It kills me- there are so many cute outfits I want to dress you in, but we really stick to the basics and comfort these days. As challenging as your highly sensitive nature can be at times, it is also glorious. I attribute it to the acute awareness you have for others and what is going on around you. You are so dialed into your surroundings, it kind of blows my mind. I don't even have to ask you to help out, you can just sens I need it and will jump in with Nate or whatever my need is. If you see that I am busy and you need help with something, you say "Mom, after you finish with____, can you help me with ____." It is amazing. And as upset you can let yourself become at times, you also, conversely become just as excited and happy at others. A great example of this is the pink six balloon in this photo. When you saw this, you went nuts. You loved that thing until the day it finally sank down to the floor! I love how the smallest thing makes you happy and how the first people you want to share your happiness with is your family.  
  • Cautious with new experiences - Unlike your older brother you are a little more cautious with new experiences. Nothing too extreme, but you don't jump right in with both feet. There are a lot of questions first. And I find it really helps if you know someone. For example, you were so excited to sign up for soccer next Fall, because Evvy and Riley are doing it with you. I don't think you would have wanted to do it if they weren't. Another example is beach camp this summer. You have lots of questions about it, asked at random times. I think you just really like to understand what you are getting into. And again, it helps tremendously that we are doing it with friends. 
  • Gentle and Kind - You truly have such a gentle and kind nature about you. You are not aggressive or competitive, but rather just want to have a good time and want to make sure everyone around you is having fun too. It boggles my mind how you easily play with older kids, and they genuinely want to play with you too (4th and 5th graders), but you also easily will play with younger children too and seem to enjoy yourself. In what seemed the span of just two weeks I literally had three different moms tell me how much their little kids (the younger siblings of your friends or Declan's friends) are obsessed with you. They talk about you and how you are their friend and tell other people about you. I even had one mom tell me that their daughter looks at what you are wearing and tells her mom she wants the same outfit. You certainly resignate with the younger girls. I think it is because you do not treat them like they are younger and you have so much patience with them. Riley's brother Jacob, who has down syndrome is also quite smitten by you and talks about you a lot. Every time he sees you he runs and gives you the biggest hug and yells your name. It is so cute. You really do have a quiet, kind way with people. I absolutely adore this about you. 
  • Health Conscious - Although you don't know it. You are very aware of how certain foods make you feel and easily say no if you think something will give you even the slightest tummy ache. You only drink water, love steak and meat and veggies and fruit. That's not to say you don't love cheetos and pizza! But you do a great job balancing yourself, all on your own accord. 
  •  Things you like- gymnastics, art, reading, little toys, band-aids, your blanket, all stuffed animals (but beenie boos are your favorite) art projects, sewing projects, dancing, little toys, princesses, playing at the park, the pool, peas (you'll eat the he whole can), using a camera, reading, writing, math, unicorns and horses, your brothers, Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, sleeping, Minecraft, your Kindle, Strawberry Shortcake, your thumb, board games, your scooter, bike, skates, and skateboard, Trolls, me (you're are extremely attached to me and I love it), and picking flowers.
Lexi, we love and adore you so much. You bring so much happiness and peace to our home. Happy birthday to our smart, kind, and creative little girl. You make us so proud! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lexi's 6 Year Interview

How old are you turning tomorrow? 6
What is your favorite toy to play with - my new mermaid that I got from Quinn and my princesses are kind of fun too because they are clip on ones and I can change their dresses. 
You like to play board games too, right? - Yay, I like to play Say Anything, The Froggy Game, and Candyland
Who are some of the kids you like to play with? Jade and Zoe ...What about the friends who don't go to your school? Riley, Evvy, and Kylie 
What is your favorite show to watch on TV? - My Little Pony
When are you happiest? - when my brother plays with me and when he draws a card for me...Your brother being Declan? Yes, he is fun to play with.
You've done a lot of activities - soccer, piano, gymnastics, dance - which is your favorite one? Dance. But, I like gymnastics more than dance. 
Will you get married one day? Yes
How many kids will you have? 3, 2 or 3
What would you like to be when you grow up? A photographer like my mommy. (aaaaaawe, she makes me feel so good. ☺)
When are you most proud of yourself? I can't think of it. That's okay, if you think of something you can tell me later. 
What is your favortie color? pink and purple
What is your favorite food ?- cake What is your favorite dinner? Pizza
What is your favorite book? - Piggie and Gerald books
What do you want to learn now that you are 6?  About unicorns
What is your favorite thing about Nathan? - because he loves me
What is your favorite thing about Declan? - because he's nice to me
What is your favorite thing about Daddy? -because he tickles me
What is your favorite thing about Mommy? - because she snuggles up with me  

We had some conversations about her cake and I begin to close up the interview, when she says, "I think I know what I am proud of". I LOVE that she remembers this on her own. 

When are you most proud? When I draw. I make beautiful things and then I think that I am proud of myself. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Happy Easter

We celebrated a super fun, kind of kick back and a little more low key Easter than usual this year. It fell on the last day of the kids Spring break, and landed two days before Lexi's 6th birthday. It's always super close to either Declan or Lexi's birthday. I'm waiting for the year that one of their birthdays lands on Easter. 
This year Adam and I bought the kids one of those foam surf boards from Costco, so I told them I emailed the Easter Bunny headquarters to let them know that we got them kind of a big gift so could he please not bring too many little toys. I'm always nervous to go out on a limb with the lying about holiday figures. But, it seemed to work without any significant questions. Phew. 
We usually do a scavenger hunt where the kids get clues to hunt for small toys and their baskets. Since we didn't get them very many things, we just did a really big egg hunt around our house. Which they LOVED!!! 

Patiently {?} waiting at the top of the stairs for dad. 

And the hunt if on!!

They discovered the surf board which was a HUGE win! Declan even mentioned, "oh I guess the Easter Bunny got your email mom!"

And the first basket is discovered! 

He found the Minecraft book and that was it. He was enraptured in it all morning. 

Nathan found his next! 

And Declan ended up finding Lexi's in the washing machine. 

Pez!!! Always a ridiculously big hit. 

I made them bunny cinnamon rolls (thanks to an idea article Mimi brought me!) for breakfast and then we got ready for an afternoon of fun at Uncle Garrett's and Aunt Amanda's!
This was supposed to be a quick family picture before we left, but we could not get Nathan to look at the camera. Every single picture he is looking at Daddy.  We finally called it, and gave up. We were all cracking up at the goofiness of the situation. 
What a ham! 
Fun with the cousins!! 

And, the final egg hunt!!! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Doheny Days

Last year we were rained out of our trip camp trip to Doheny (which has to be booked 6 months in advance, so there is no re-scheduling). After the crazy rainy winter we had this year, I was so afraid the same thing was going to happen. This year, luck was on our side. And so, we headed up with two of our favorite families, and beach camped for 3 nights. It was a perfect trip. The weather was warm during the day, and cold at night. I was surprised the first night when the sound of raindrops woke me up in the middle of the night - luckily our tent kept us dry - I won't lie, I was kind of wondering if it would.
It was a very different vibe then years past - Nathan was literally a baby last time we camped so the fact that he is walking and talking made it infinitely easier. Also, the Jones' snagged a new camper which was so fun! We relaxed, rode bikes to the Harbor, fished, played in the water, flew kites, and just enjoyed being unplugged (for the most part) for a few days.

We can't wait for next year!!

Ugh - my least favorite part of camping ↓
It was awesome because the kids were at Mimi and Pops hotel the morning I packed the car, so I was a lot less stressed than usual. They came home, we jumped in the car and headed out. Adam met us up there a few hours later. 
Nothing but excitement! 

This is the life!!!
I randomly put videos in this post, doing my best to keep them in order, but who knows!

The best part of camping, hands down - the evenings

Absolutely mesmerized by the fire
This video was from the last night - the kids were playing ghost in the graveyeard for hours. All of them together. It was awesome. Then they went inside and played uno. Again all of them without one single argument or sibling quarrel. . It was a fantastic last night. 

Gracie Jo was telling the kids ghost stories with the lantern  - it was hilarious. They were completely enthralled

Running, tackling, and football

There was a huge concert all day Saturday and well into the night on the campground with Unwritten Law, Offspring, Sum 41, etc. You had to have tickets to attend, but we could hear the music loud and clear. The guys walked over that night to check it out. I tried catching the music on my camera, but the camera picked up the sound of the waves. It was so fun having "live entertainment"  from our glory days! 

Sunglasses helped with the campfire smoke

S'more Love

This kid was in heaven with all the fishing he got to do- he caught a few, but they always broke the line

We rode our bikes around the site and to the Harbor. 

The kiddie pool is perfect this time of year because the water warms up for the kids and keeps them entertained
Loving all the trains that whizzed right past our site

Getting out of the sun for awhile with a little video game time
Love this friendship
8 year old boys being 8 year old boys

These two loved getting their water to drink from the water jug

My other favorite part of camping - morning snuggles in the tent

Declan did not want his picture taken
The gang getting ready to ride off to the Harbor. It was probably a 2 mile ride one way. Nate made it all the way there and half way back before he started complaining. At which point I picked him up (on my roller blades) and skated him back. I'm sure I looked ridiculous. What a mom will do! 

Declan loved bringing his new birthday present to share

big holes = hours of fun

Soooooo excited to fly a kite!!
The water was way too cold for me, but it did not stop these boys! 

Roasting Peeps!!! 'Tis the season ☺
These two. The youngest and the oldest. It amazed me how wonderfully they got along. He called her donut, she called him pickle and then they broke up in a fit of laughter. It was amazing to watch,

Lots of uno games

Decaln and Lexi were so excited to sleep in the trailer with Micah and Kylie the first night

We are so very blessed to have these incredible lifelong friends to share such a cool trip with! We can't wait to do it again next year!! 

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