For the letter "J", I bought a bunch of jelly beans and the kids sorted them and then made graphs to count and compare the colors. Jed is a big-time sorter (rather than coloring, in primary class he prefers to sort the crayons) and this activity was right up his alley. All the kids did better than I expected, and remarkably, as per my instructions, they didn't eat a single jelly bean.
She loves to eat as much as her mother, and she loves sweets as much as her father, a deadly and darling combination. At the announcement of an impending meal or snack, she comes running from the far reaches of the house, giggling and shouting "Hooray! YAY! YAAAAAY!", hands waving joyously in the air. She frantically scrambles into her seat, more exultant shouting, much banging of the tray, hollering and pointing, etc. etc. Can you imagine anything more fulfilling to feeding someone so astonishingly enthusiastic and appreciative? I come up with treats just so I can watch her jump up and down, wave her hands, and shout hooray!
Yesterday, we sat at the kitchen table together, eating pink pudding. Nobody else in the family loves homemade pudding like I do, and here at last I found my bosom pudding-mate right here in my very own home. We sat at the table, two matching girls, each with a spoon in hand, eating from the same bowl while we watched a little TV show. With every bite, Zoe giggled and looked over up at me with a toothy, pudding-cheeked grin. I grinned back, probably nearly as pudding-cheeked and certainly just as thrilled. Just us girls, sittin' at the table, enjoying being together.
Of course eventually Jed showed up, declared that he LOVED pudding (though he had always turned his nose up at it before), shoved Zoe to the side and shouted that he wanted a DIFF-RENT show and well, the moment ended. But for a short, glorious 30 minutes, it was me and my little best girly.
I'm finally starting to experience the joy of having a daughter, a little female soul-mate and friend. I was surprised at how much I thoroughly deep-down enjoyed that time with just Zoe, and surprised as well at how many memories of my childhood it brought back, of me and my mommy curled up on the couch, eating some tasty treat and watching some silly TV show and just enjoying being together. Rockford Files and Top Ramen, anyone?
For his birthday, I got Jed a hand-me-down big-boy with training wheels. ("A brand new shiny blue bike of my own!" he regularly exclaims and I don't bother to correct him that it is in fact a rather worn, slightly dirty but perfectly serviceable bike for a little boy :) This week the weather has been gorgeous, in the 60s or so nearly every day, and so we've been taking the bike out every afternoon. I push Zoe on the trike and Jed practices riding up and down the street. He has improved immensely even after just a few day's practice. I will say he takes after his mother's talent and fairly regular tumbles into the neighbor's bushes and lawn, but he always laughs and picks it up and gets right back on. That's my boy.
Zoe did not approve of my plan to stop pushing her so I could use the camera, and thus this is as good as I could get of her.
I think Jed has memorized every nursery rhyme in existence. He loves books, songs, stories, chants, anything that has that cadence and rhyming. All day long, you can peek in on him and you'll hear him singing his little rhymes to himself. My favorite part is that he often rearranges the rhymes, or makes up his own lines and verses to match the original song. Here is one he sang at breakfast this morning:
Lofty mountains soaring The little boy is snoring He went to bed And bumped his head And woke up that snowy morning.
He even makes sure the rhythm and rhyme stays correct. Now, I may be biased, but that seems seriously awesome for a barely-turned-four-year-old.
Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, quite contrarily, How does your garden grow?
At first I was confused by the "grow" because it seemed like he missed a rhyme. Then I realized he was rhyming "grow" with "boat." The next time around he sang the second line "Row, row row your shoat."
While we're on the Jed topic, last night he ate a gigantic man-sized hamburger, an entire cut up apple (or more), half an orange, and a handful of grapes for dinner. Then he had bath time. Then I found him back at the table eating more fruit and rice. Sheesh! His belly was so full it stuck out about a foot and we all had a good time chasing him around and kissing it. Meanwhile, away from the table, he tripped over his own feet and landed flat on his face about 10 times, which drove his father nuts.
Michael (the coordinated one): Seriously, what is wrong with that kid? Me (the coordinationally impaired one): What do you mean? Michael: He can't even walk without falling over? Me: Yeah, so? It's your fault! You married the gene pool! Michael: (looking irritated) Well your father didn't warn me about THIS.
My poor son is just repeating my own disastrously uncoordinated childhood. Sorry Jed! Growth Spurt! Things will get better in your mid-20s, promise!
Last week, I had the brilliant idea to have Jed's birthday party directly following preschool, which I thought would be so convenient. I planned to have pigs in blankets, fruit with yogurt dip, and cupcakes, which would be easy. I planned to blow up a few balloons and call it a party. Everything would be easy and perfect.
About the time I had Jed's 6 sweet little friends and their 7,952 family members gathered around my tiny dining room table, a half gallon of koolaid splattered across my carpet, walls, and ceiling, four children crying, one bleeding, two needing fresh clothing, numerous others clamoring that they were STARVING (at 11:something AM) and several dozen others (it seemed) running and screaming, the walls started closing in around me and I decided we will probably never have another birthday party because family parties are the BEST!
(This is, I might add, no one who attended the party's fault, it was just the perfect storm of too many kids cooped up inside for too long, gathered in far too small a space.)
Fortunately, Jed had the BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER and he ran rosy-cheeked and joyful the entire time, so I suppose it was all worth it. Thank goodness the other two have summer birthdays. We have a nice big yard. Now I just need the weather to warm up enough to clean my carpet, and I need to dig out a ladder so I can get that orange spot off the ceiling.
Michael made this sweet little bed for our Zoe Ann. Isn't it amazing!?!Sweet, sturdy, graceful, it looks just like the darling little girl who will sleep in it.
She climbed right in and pretended to sleep.
I'm so proud of my husband, he has so many talents in so many areas. Even in the midst of so many other responsibilities - at work, at home, at church, at school -- he finds time to make special keepsakes for our children to treasure for many years to come. I know this is one way he shows his children that he loves them.
The four greatest years of my life. How I love my sweet, clever, silly little boy. This year he has changed from a toddler to a full-fledged stinky, happy, busy little man-child. And I love him even more! Happy Birthday, Jed!
Jed, Me, Mom and Eric all have birthdays at the end of January/beginning of February. So instead of coming out for Christmas, my family came out for BIRTHDAY WEEK! Jed and I started the tradition of birthday crowns this year. Somehow wearing a crown makes the event so much more special. You may be wondering "Why is everyone wearing their pajamas at this party?" Well, Granny ended up getting an upset stomach Saturday night when the party was originally planned to occur. We had plans for Sunday evening, and Dad and Eric were leaving Monday afternoon. So, naturally, we had a breakfast party before church. That's right, folks, German Chocolate Dirtpile Cake for breakfast. I know, I know, you all wish you were part of our family. Eric is such an attractive man. But this is the best we could do. He doesn't make it easy on the camera man. Mom is laying bets that the photo above ends up being his facebook profile.
Below, you can see the massive Dirt Pile Cake, adorned with roads and machinery and an assortment of motor vehicles. Also, you may notice that the helicopter's rotor is melting. Whoops! I got a little enthusiastic with the candles. When Jed saw the photo below, he cooed and said "Oohhhhh, Zoe loves her Granny!" It's true, she does! Here are the two namesakes getting in a snuggle.