Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday, Emily!

Dear Emily,

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. You turn six today and you are so excited about this.  You have been counting down to this day for quite awhile and are eager to embrace your new, older age.  But me, I am ready for you to slow down a little.  The rate at which you seem to be learning, and growing, and just plain becoming takes my breath away.

This past year has brought a lot of change your way. The two most notable and easiest to identify switches are that we moved from Pittsburgh to Grand Rapids and you began going to kindergarten at Ada Christian. I worried a lot about how you would handle these shifts, as you were pretty shy a year ago. But oh, how you have flourished! No longer timid and insecure, you make friends so easily. Your teacher even describes you as one of the friendliest kids in your class! And while leaving behind one set of grandparents and a church that you loved was difficult, you handled it all with grace and aplomb.  Much better than I did, that's for sure!

 During the last several months, you took part in soccer (you were more interested in deciding which team had the prettiest shirts than the score on the field), started ballet lessons (you long to be Clara in the Nutcracker production someday), and made several new friends (who you want to have play dates with every. single. day.).  You learned to read almost any book I give you, and to understand a lot about addition and subtraction.  You love to ask me to give you "plus and minus" questions.  You memorized an entire psalm, learned to ride a bike without training wheels, and will finally jump into the pool without being tormented by the fact that the water is touching your face.

Emily, you bring your dad and I so much joy.  We love the way your face lights up when you figure something out, or after you told a joke, or when we tell you something exciting.  We love the gentle way that you look out for Sophie, teaching her and guiding her (and very rarely antagonizing her).  We love how curious you are, always stopping us when we are reading if you don't recognize or know the meaning of a word.  You think and question and observe, and are just soaking it all in right now.  We love how much you love Jesus, how quick you are to remind us that He's always with us, no matter where we go.  We love that you are sensitive, and can barely get through a Disney movie without tearing up.  We love that you are an encourager, quick to lift others up when they are struggling.  In short, my dear girl, we love you so very much and are thankful beyond words for your presence in our lives.

I hope six is all that you imagine it will be.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Fisher-Price Advent

It is Advent and we again took out the Fisher-Price nativity set for the kids to play with. Mary and Joseph as well as the donkey, camel, and oxen have all been found and are being played with. We even managed to find the wise men in a corner of the basement. But once again, for the third year in a row little baby Jesus cannot be found. 

This year instead of tearing the toy bins apart looking for him I am trying to just get excited for when he does turn up. I can still hear Emily's voice from that exciting moment last Christmas: "Mommy, I found baby Jesus!"

Come thou long expected Jesus, come.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Three Years Old!

Sophie Grace,

You turn three years old today.  When I woke up this morning, I immediately remembered that and tried to process it, but I just kept coming back to "how can my baby, my BABY, be three already"?!  But here we are.  I take some comfort in your remaining mispronunciations (you still can't pronounce the "th" sound, leading to lots of "I'm stirsty" throughout the day), but traces of toddler are also fading fast.

Your imagination is pretty spectacular.  You create games to play and assign roles, but you also love to go off script.  You hate to be bored, and are constantly searching for the next adventure.  When we drop Emily off at ballet on Tuesdays, you and I have a whole hour to ourselves to simply explore.  You love the excitement of finding a new spot each week.

You are very smart, little one, but you are not very intrinsically motivated to learn.  For the longest time I wondered why you were having such a hard time learning your colors, and then - by playing a game on the computer - I realized that you totally knew them, but just thought it was more fun to give the wrong answer.  Only when you got a prize did you start answering correctly.  It's going to be interesting to teach you in class someday! 

You may be tiny, Sophie, but goodness are you ever spunky! You demand to be noticed, and you've got personality in spades.  You have also, by the age of three, become a master manipulator, often telling your father "but mom said I could" when I did no such thing.  Let's hope you learn to use your powers for good, and not evil, or the teenage years are going to be very interesting.

You love to giggle, to be tickled, to help me cook in the kitchen, to do craft projects with your sister, and to play hide and seek.  You adore your gymnastics preschool, and can flip and sommersault with the best of them.  You do not like to wait, and you will often wake up in the morning yelling "MOM!  Come and get me!  Now!  It's morning!".  We're working on teaching you about patience, but this particular personality trait seems to be pretty hard wired, so I'm not sure how successful we are going to be.

This past weekend your Grandma Ruth and your Aunt Elsa were visiting us, so you opened a few early birthday presents.  And your reaction to each present was to gasp, and then ask "Is this for ME?" followed closely by "It's just what I wanted!".  And that, my girl, is exactly how I feel about you.  I am so very blessed to have been given the chance to be your mommy, and you are most definitely just what I have always wanted.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oh, Sophie!

Sophie's had some real gems when it comes to fun conversations this fall.  Here are a few of our favorites! 

She started preschool in September, and when I picked her up after one of the first days I asked her if she missed me.  Her response?  "Don't be silly, mommy.  They have a trampoline here!"

Also, she's been thinking about her vocation a lot, and this is the latest:
"Mommy, when I growed up I want to be a ballerina who fights fires with a truck and lots of water and a dog with polka dots. Is that a great idea?!"

Both girls also enjoying praying before dinner, and here's a sample of what we get: 

Emily: Thank you God for the sun and the rain, for my house, my family, and my school. Thank you for all your many blessings. Please be with our family and friends. Amen.

Sophie: Thanks God for bacon, and um, elephants. Amen.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Oh girls! Glad you can have fun almost anywhere.


I ate this entire bag. All by myself. In less than 3 weeks. Yikes!


A little windy and rainy, but still fun!