Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Isaac, you have been such a joy lately! We came back from vacation in Texas over New Years and there was a huge sense of let-down and disappointment. You were almost impossible to deal with for several days. I prayed and cried and didn't know what to do - thinking ahead to long winter months with my crabby, rebellious child. Then one day you hurt Matthew and came to me crying because YOU FELT BAD. This sense of remorse was new for you - often you acted impusively and hurt people or disobeyed and didn't seem to care, only apologizing because I made you to. But suddenly you were really SORRY and started apologizing to me unprompted for "being bad". I can only attribute it to the work of the Holy Spirit, because you have been so very delightful recently!
Your chores are generally completed promptly and cheerfully (though you usually do still groan for a moment about cleaning the litter box). You respond quickly and eagerly to many of my requests. You don't fight me on everything - rest time has gone from a daily battle to an "okay mom". Thank you Lord!
I think it has helped to dispel the winter blues that you do swimming lessons 2x a week, plus gymnastics and Bible study. It has been nice to get out of the house and for you it is so important to be physical! You really love gymnastics - it is the perfect combination of jumping, climbing and flipping: all the things you do so naturally. It is great to see you enjoy yourself so much!
We have fun each day doing "kindergarten". We read a Bible story, do scripture memory, a poetry book and another read aloud each day. Your memory is very quick and I think I ought to challenge you even more with the memory work - often you have a verse/passage memorized after only two or three days of repetition. Then we work on another "school project" which ranges from penmanship (writing Christmas thank yous) to geography (putting place stickers on a big US map) to math (using cereal to learn odds and evens) to science experiments. It is amazing how much you pick up just by living - you are constantly telling me math problems (ten plus ten plus ten plus ten is forty, Mom) or trying to read parts of books and signs. I was concerned about covering "kindergarten" material so I checked a book on the subject and discovered you are well past kindergarten!
The other major development was over Christmas as you started playing Christmas carols on the piano. You picked one out by ear, then another, then another. You gained so much confidence that this was something you could do! You would always ask me which key to start on, and I would give you the correct answer for the key of C. Then one day I showed you that really you could start wherever you want if you incorporate the black keys. You took off with that concept too, playing lots of songs in lots of keys. Now you are starting to incorporate some simple chording AND sing harmony when I'm singing around the house. I think you definitely have some musical giftings.
Thanks for your hugs, your kisses, your apologies, your humor. I love you to heaven and back infinity times!
You are so thrilled that we are having a baby GIRL! You're always thinking of new variations on "When the baby sister is born, I will . . ." The fill-in-the-blanks range from "change her diaper" to "always have someone who wants to play girl stuff". You are excited to share your room (though you informed me that I ought to paint the crib white since it would be prettier AND we needed a crib skirt) and you love to talk to my tummy and pray for the baby. It is so precious! Yesterday I took you on a "Mommy/Abby date" to the tea shop and you told me "Soon we will have three girls to come to our tea parties."
Ballet lessons started after your fourth birthday and you were so thrilled! You were excited to learn that you will be a pear from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" for your recital, and you invite everyone you can think of to come watch you, "But you don't have to; it's okay if you can't come." However, now that you watch Isaac's gymnastics class every week you have decided that maybe you'd rather do that instead - but I told you we have to stick with ballet through the recital since I already paid for the costume! It's funny because you never want to go to ballet class but then you always come home saying you had a good time.
We also have swimming lessons (2x) and Bible study every week which honestly has really helped this winter go more smoothly. It's nice to have something active to do. You also have been very into crafts - painting a fairy suncatcher, making a cereal necklace, decorating your Valentines box. I showed you how to color carefully in the lines using colored pencils and you and I have colored several "princess pictures" side-by-side. You said you want to be a "coloring artist" when you grow up.
Each day for school you listen attentively to our read alouds. You are very good at narrating back the story when I ask you. Then we do some other project - for several weeks we focused on a big map of the US. You really caught on and can identify a lot of states and a lot of things around the country that you would like to see. Other days we do math or science experiments. And we work consistently on phonics - you are very good with short vowel words! Often you "read" to Matthew - it turns out you have almost all of the "baby" books memorized!
Christmas was special this year because I tried to help you and Isaac really understand the "giving" spirit. You guys decorated and sold Christmas cards (pictures of Christmas trees, stockings, and snowmen with the words Merry Christmas)to neighbors and friends. Then you used the money to pick a set of chickens and some soccer balls to order from the World Vision gift catalog.
I definitely see a giving spirit in you overall, Abby. You are very quick to share with your brothers and friends and especially to help Matthew. You are also a great leader, often coming up with ideas to enact in games with Isaac. But you are diplomatic enough to know that he doesn't want to play "baby dolls", so you call it something else instead. You also are the perfect princess of a little girl for your daddy, often rushing upstairs in the morning so you can "have time with Daddy before he has to go to work." I am so grateful to have your sweet heart and sunny spirit around me all day
Monday, February 14, 2011
Matthew, you will be two at the end of this month! I can hardly believe it - it seems that you were just born, and now "Maffew- big boy" as you like to say. You are talking in full sentences at times - and quite clearly too. Most people have no trouble understanding your words. Just in the last day "Pony, pony went to town!" and "My tummy full." You also are quite the singer: "Hoew-lee, Hoew-lee, Hoew-lee, Ward God awlmighty, early moooorning, song shall wise te dee." But there's no mistaking what you're singing because you are almost perfectly on pitch! The minute we get in the van (and many times at home throughout the day) I hear "Music on, music on!"
Everyone seems to agree that you are just impossibly adorable. Between your dimples and your stick-up hair and your funny little trot, your spunk and your willingness to snuggle, there is so much to love! Daddy and I just can't get over you. Unfortunately you've figured out just how sweet you are and it's not uncommon for you to snuggle in for a hug right before it's time for discipline. You are very proficient at emptying the wastebaskets, but often you refuse when I tell you it's time. I give you the direction and you just stand staring at the floor until I move toward you for a spanking. Then you run at me saying "hug, hug, hug" in a mournful voice. Whenever we have you apologize for something, you say sorry to the object instead of to us! For instance, if you throw a toy car, you'll say "Sorry, car!"
You love your siblings dearly. I often see you run to get a ball, then you stand in the living room and say "Isaac catch, Isaac catch, Isaac catch" until Isaac comes to play with you. Abby likes to involve you in her little toy kitchen or play house games. Sometimes you are very cooperative and sometimes you end up causing trouble. Whenever you see something pink or purple you say "Abby" because you know she'd like it. Isaac is green and you tend to favor yellow. In fact you are sometimes upset when you can't get a picture of a yellow object off of the page of a book!
It was a lot of fun to see your excitement at Christmas. You loved the "Kissmas tee" and really got into "open present, open present". Daddy and I gave you a toy coffee maker and toaster - they each entertained you for an hour on Christmas morning. Then for New Years we went to Texas and it was wonderful that you finally WANTED to be with "Gamma B" and your uncles. You were extremely taken with the daddy lion at the zoo in Waco - not surprisingly since he roared and walked right in front of us!
Then January and February began - often the slowest months of the year. But we've had quite a few days nice enough to be outside (though you have quite the stubborn tendency to take off your mittens then cry because of cold hands) so it hasn't been too bad. The bigger kids take swimming lessons twice a week, so you are in the YMCA nursery during that time. It is amazing how well you do - a year ago I couldn't have imagined it. You also go to the nursery during my Bible study and just trot in happily every week!
I thank God for you - your determination and focus and just plain cuteness. I am treasuring these last couple of months with you as my baby. I can't quite bring myself to say no when you want a story or a snuggle or even "Mama, sit" as you pat the floor next to you while building a block tower. I love you so!