Zoe is my natural athlete. She is such a jumper that her brother has nicknamed her "Kangaroo" because she's been jumping since before she could walk. Sometimes she has to get up from the dinner table just to jump ten or twenty times before she can sit down again and finish her meal. She has so much energy!
Nothing makes Zoe happier than running. As soon as she sets out she gets a giant giggly smile and can't stop laughing with joy. She LOVES to run! She can (and has) run for more than a mile without trouble. Her gait is so beautiful, so smooth and lithe; she looks like a little gazelle. I hope she never stops.
Jed has taken charge of the chicken chores this year. This isn't an easy job for him, especially during the cold winter months, but he has been remarkably diligent for a little guy. Sometimes he complains, but whenever we go outside he always loves talking to the chickens and spending the time outside.
We haven't had an easy run of it this past winter, with almost half our chickens dying in various gruesome manners, but Jed's been a tough cookie and hasn't even winced helping clean up and deal with the aftermath.
I feel tending the chickens teaches some of the greatest lessons a child could learn, and is the primary reasons why I want chickens. Daily work is required. It isn't fun, but it is rewarding collecting the eggs and seeing the flock grow. During hard times, he comes face to face with the realities of death and the natural cycle of life. Realizing his actions have real, lasting, permanent consequences for these helpless animals has opened his eyes. I know if he can learn to understand these lessons now, he will be stronger facing challenges as a teen and an adult.
This past week we had the rainiest day in recorded Evansville history. The previous total rain in 24 hours record was 2.89 inches. We handily smashed that by geting 4.97 inches. It poured and poured and poured and lightninged and thundered for 30 hours straight, for a total of 6 inches of rain. Craziness!
We did get a short break about 18 hours in, and the kids wasted no time in donning their boots and heading out to the newly-formed lake in the backyard.
I wish I had a photo of them in their "boat." I thought it a little ridiculous when they planned to float out in the overturned turtle shell to our little sandbox, but they proved me wrong because it totally worked! Zoe and Zane both sailed out in their little boat, spinning happily with the plastic baseball bat as an oar. These kids are awesome.
The second full night of explosive thunder and lightning wasn't kind to the kids' sleep. Michael and I couldn't sleep either. It was an incessant roar of waterfall off the roof, punctuated by blinding flashes and bombs going off in the front yard. This is how we finally got Zoe to sleep.
Yes, that is ear protection for Michael's rifle, and it works perfectly to protect little girls from nature's artillery.
One of my favorite things about Zoe is how much she loves creepie-crawlies. She's always running to me with a wiggly worm or chirping cricket or some tiny creature clasped in her moist little hand. Last summer she had a cricket collection, which she captured all by herself (at age 3!) I shamelessly encourage her gross bug habit, since I myself worked for an entomologist raising weevils and moths back in the day. We are women who love bugs and creeping things.
Worms are generally her favorite, though. After our big rainstorm this past week (6 inches of rain in 30 hours) we had worms by the handful available, and Zoe Ann was in heaven.
She gently stretched them out on the pavement to compare their lengths.
I am sorry to report that often the worms do not survive her tender attentions. I chalk their deaths up as a sacrifice to science, since I'm quite sure we'll have an accomplished entomologist on our hands someday.
Baby brother wants in on the photo action. "HI DAD!"
Margaret Wise Brown collection we’ve borrowed from the library. She read haltingly and with occasional prompting about all the little animals in the snow... so sweet and lovely. She is a precious girl. She is like a soft wiggly snuggly little kitten right now and I can’t get enough of it. Jed says she is more like a kangaroo because she jumps all the time.
Jed compares himself to a goat, which is pretty much just about right. “Like a sheep, but stronger.” I might add “And also insanely stubborn.” That boy has a mind of his own. He is so sweet and easy and teachable in daily living, but when it comes to something where he has a differing opinion, wooeee do those heels dig in hard. He is NOT GOING TO BUDGE once he’s made his mind up.
And Zane is Mommy’s Boy! “Mommy Mommy Me!” Much to his daddy’s consternation. He is also my “Happy hoppy boy Me!” Happy all the time! “Car car.... GO!” Running and roaring and giggling at the world. An absolute ball of boyish delight. Snuggly. Into everything. Must be in the middle and in the way at all times. Messy. Goes potty once or twice a day. Eats like a piggy and a picky little piggy at times, too. Sleeps beautifully and almost always in his Big Boy Bed. Kisses my owies and hands me items at the dinner table. Eager to be a part of everything. Shouts math quizzes at the whiteboard while scribbling madly: “FOUR! ONE! TREE FOUR! E-L-O!” The translation is simple “I AM A BIG BOY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AND I CAN DO IT, TOO!” When you sing “Winnie the...” he can’t stop himself from sweetly popping out “Pooh!” on those pink round lips, and follow it with a sheepish grin. At the end he sings “..silly ol’ ba-yow!” and it slays me every time. Unbearable cuteness!
It's been a long, long winter for the Stanfills. Last Saturday the weather dared to leave "frigid" and tread into the realm of "bearably mild". So we grabbed our jackets and the whole family headed out for a spontaneous trip to the playground! And what fun we had!
Jed’s 7th birthday. My little babe, grown into a sweet, happy, kind-natured boy. Full of goodness. Sincere and serious, silly and full of fun. Stubborn, yet soft natured and always wanting to do what was right. He is so precious. His eyes are still full of love. It makes me so happy. I enjoy so much seeing my tiny child grow into the smallest semblance of a man. We had a little party for some of his friends. Too many, more than Mom wanted, but he had a list a mile long so we settled on as many as we could fit around the table AND the card table. We had our traditional PanCAKE Birthday Breakfast, where everyone gets a candle to light as many times as they like, and pancake toppings out of every child's fantasies: syrup, whipping cream, strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles to layer and devour to their heart's content. One funny boy announced this was the greatest birthday party EVER as he dug into his fifth mounded plate of goodness. Ah, boys are so easy to please!
Then sardines, which involved so much giggling I thought they were going to toss their pancakes before they were found all huddled behind the trash can in the kitchen.
And finally hot potato gift opening.
Simple and perfect. Jed was absolutely glowing and thanked me twenty times for "the party with everything I ever wanted, Mom!" Turns out 7 year old boys are pretty great.
Recently, Jed has shown in a lot of interest in sewing. We started with hand sewing, he made some super cute handmade pillows but his stitches are rather loose. Not surprising, Jed is always frustrated because his motor skills can't keep up with his brain.
Then I decided he probably was up to using the sewing machine. So last week I got out some fabric and we practiced sewing along the lines. He is really amazingly good. He is very precise, just like his daddy. Ever since then, he has been sewing self-designed Christmas gifts like a mad man. They are turning out really darling, he is so proud of himself. It is fun to see him develop a new talent. He is going to be a sewing boy, just like his Uncle Eric and his daddy.
Zane takes after his big brother. When ever it's quiet for a little while, I find him hidden away in a quiet spot, perusing a book.
He looks at books like this for hours and it is intensely charming. So different from Zoe, who only recently has been able to hold still long enough to listen to a book, let alone lay around looking at one herself! My boys are my readers, for sure.