This Crazy Kiddo

 photo IMG_2254_zpskj5owtsy.jpg

Lydia turned six at the end of May. She had been counting down to her birthday for over three months. Several days each week she would update us on what she wanted to do for her birthday, who she wanted to have over, and what presents she wanted to receive. When the birthday weekend finally arrived, we had a lot of birthday and start-of-summer fun. We took her to a toy store to pick out a toy to buy with her birthday money, got ice cream and pizza, and spent much of her actual birthday at the playground. She constantly reminded us to sing and say “Happy Birthday” and begged me to make her a “birthday balloon” (a balloon with a smiley face drawn on it). She got pink roses from Dan and went on her second-ever Daddy-daughter-birthday date.

 photo IMG_2262_zps4fnlv3nm.jpg
 photo IMG_2259_zpsc1gbu1qu.jpg
 photo IMG_2239_zpstpeshnyn.jpg

Lydia has also been asking regularly if it’s warm enough to play in the sprinkler or go to a pool. Since the first day of spring, it’s been hard to keep socks or shoes on her feet, not to mention a coat. She loves playing “house” outside and is so proud that this year she’s big enough to climb into our tree house all by herself.

 photo IMG_2252_zpssj431t9t.jpg

Lydia loves to play pretend, dance, and snuggle. She is always dressing up as a bride or asking to “play princess” with Dan, which is not exactly his favorite game. 😉 She loves any hands-on activities and anything “special”. Bridal showers, weddings, holidays, birthdays, and get-togethers are sure to put her on her best behavior because she’s just so happy. When she learns it’s a significant day, for any reason, she’ll wonder why we aren’t celebrating more. For example, she asked why we weren’t having a fancy breakfast or a special dessert for groundhog’s day.

 photo jumping_zpsytmq9r2t.jpg

Kindergarten was a breeze for Lydia. Thankfully (for me) she picks up on things really fast. Really, the best way to teach Lydia is to not teach her but let her watch others do the task. When she gets it in her head that she wants to try, she usually can succeed. This has worked well with laundry, cleaning up after meals, serving food, and even math lessons. I can get her to learn a lot more by doing a lesson half myself and letting her do the other half, than if I explain a concept to her and ask her to do the assignment alone.

 photo IMG_2217_zpsn4gswuwq.jpg

Gift-giving might be Lydia’s top love language. She loves to make “gifts” for people – homemade construction paper cards, simple cross-stitch pictures, cut out pieces of paper, and bouquets of flowers (dandelions or violets, usually) picked from our yard. She also loves receiving gifts. When she was struggling to do her reading lessons with a cheerful attitude, we discovered small prizes work wonders to get her motivated. And now that our library has started their summer reading program, Lydia has been reading at least a book a day to win her prizes, when it was always a struggle to do a page or two in her reading lesson book.

 photo IMG_2164_zpsw1ygzxbk.jpg
 photo IMG_2157_zpsevjd6n5r.jpg

She’s always been our most verbal child, so it’s no surprise that Lydia is almost always talking. If we had the patience and knowledge to answer all of her questions, she would be a genius. On ANY topic, Lydia can rattle off 5 questions without taking a break. Usually her trains of questions come to an halt whenever Mom or Dad have to ask for a break so we can focus on something or give attention to someone else. Lydia also has a very good memory. She has memorized over 100 Bible verses (with desserts as the most effective incentive). The other day we were listening to our daily news radio program during breakfast and one of their regular promo segments started playing. She recited the 30 second promo pretty well right on top of the program.

 photo IMG_2249_zpshudcdzud.jpg

This year is Lydia’s turn to accompany me to our church Ladies’ Retreat for a Mommy-Daugther date and she’s pretty thrilled. She’s been looking forward to her turn ever since I took Abby last year. Her memory is pretty incredible in that way too. For example, about nine months ago we took Lydia to a dentist appointment. They told her that she would earn a stuffed animal prize if she could stop sucking her thumb for 30 days. She stopped that very day. Last month I took her again and she got her prize. The next day I found her sucking her thumb after eight months without it! Dan and I had to explain that the point was to stop altogether, not just stop for eight months to earn her prize and then start again.

 photo IMG_2209_zps8gw9et8o.jpg

Some of my most precious memories of Lydia lately have been our one-on-one times together. Sometimes Lydia will snuggle up next to me during nap time and play with my hair while she listens to an audio book. Occasionally Lydia helps me cook dinner, peeling carrots or stirring vegetables as they cook (that’s her favorite because she feels so grown up working at the stove). I try to remember to give her snuggles, hugs, and tickles whenever my hands are free because my hands are so often full, I’ll go days without a Lydia hug if I’m not intensional. (Don’t worry about her being deprived though, Dan picks up the slack. Lydia is quite gifted at sneaking into his lap whether he says it’s ok or not!)

 photo IMG_2145_zps4wolkpvo.jpg

Little Man, Big Moves

 photo IMG_20151130_192157707_zpsi3iljtjk.jpg

Three quarters of a year, already! Paul is getting so big, so fast. During the past month he hit half a billion milestones and is cuter than ever.

We can start off with the one area where our Little Man is not winning our hearts: his sleep habits. Getting up three times a night is usual, four isn’t unheard of, and there’s a rumor that he got up five times in one night (but who can think clearly enough to count THAT high in the middle of the night?). We’re working on this (and someone may be moving out of Mommy and Daddy’s room a little earlier than his sisters). Moving on.

 photo IMG_20151208_132745369_zpsxdxlu1lt.jpg

Paul is so cute. And he’s doing new things. All in the same week, he started sitting up, army crawling, clapping, and babbling. We have definitely heard him say, “baba” and “mama”. Dan claims he has also heard “dada”, but that hasn’t been confirmed. 😉 We just love it when he talks to us. His laugh is contagious. And boy, can he get around! It has conveniently worked out this year that our baby became mobile within a week of our setting up the Christmas tree, so that makes for some exciting times. His sisters do a great job watching him when we ask, playing with him occasionally, and warning us if he tries to pull the tree down or chew the lights.

 photo IMG_20151207_164429375_zpsucm6dgru.jpg

Paul has started to enjoy his solid foods more this month too. He, for a while, would glue his lips shut when we tried to feed him. We recently figured out that he will eagerly eat up his food as long as he gets to be the one to feed himself. So meal times are a little messier now, but everyone is a little happier. And we aren’t too concerned that most of his food ends up on the floor since he’s still gaining weight like a champ: nineteen pounds exactly at nine months old.

 photo IMG_20151209_132511941_zps1pdvwzcy.jpg

Paul still loves Mom and Dad, but isn’t afraid to go with others either. Mostly he just wants attention and the chance to move around. Even when he’s being held or sitting, his arms never stop waving and his feet never stop wiggling. But my favorite is when Dan has him in the other room at Bible study, church, or even at home and Paul starts to get tired. If I come into his line of vision he’ll stop fussing and watch me, and if I step away he’ll start crying. Then I come back, scoop him up and watch him grin, happy to be back in Mommy’s arms.

 photo IMG_20151210_090337_zps6qibfnfm.jpg

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 1 Month

 photo closeup_zps3dcf0a77.jpg

This month Lydia has been as cute, fun, and helpful as ever. A couple of nights ago she helped me peel cucumbers and spin salad. The only problem is teaching her not to get into my spices! On multiple occasions I have glanced over at her toy kitchen to catch her pouring garlic or mustard powder all over the floor and kitchen, getting a little bit into a toy pot or pan.

We’ve come to a bit of a stand-still when it comes to memorizing Bible verses. I tried to tackle all of Psalm 23 and, while I’m sure Lydia knows it all, her attention span isn’t long enough to sing it all at once. (Same with the books of the New Testament. She gets about halfway through and then sees something more interesting and forgets where she was).

 photo flipflops_zps37e15374.jpg

Every morning, the first thing I hear is Lydia calling for Daddy. Daddy is always at work when Lydia gets up, but that doesn’t stop her from calling for him every single day. Once she’s up, and getting dressed, she asks me if she can wear shorts, or as she has frequently called them, “the short pants”. Nana got her some flip flops during our trip North and she almost never takes them off. She’s learning her “left and right” right now and usually puts them on the wrong feet once before having to switch them.

 photo takingoffshoes_zps5bbf4a83.jpg

I started running again this week and Lydia loves to “share” the double stroller with Abby. It’s pretty adorable to look down while I’m jogging and see Lydia holding Abby’s hand. Once I finish my run, I let Lydia get out to jog a lap with me around our cul-de-sac. Between the running and learning to ride a tricycle this month, Lydia is becoming quite the active little toddler.

 photo running_zpse76b91e4.jpg

She’s getting to the age where she often says cute and funny “Lydi-isms”. Last night we were sitting at dinner talking about boys and girls. Lydia pointed out that she and Mommy are girls, but Daddy is a boy. She told us that Abby is a “little girl”. Then I asked her, “Lydia, do you know what a grown up boy is called.” She confidently answered, “A pig.” We decided to stick with “boy” and “girl” for now.

Later, on the way home from Bible study Lydia started negotiating with Dan. She likes to watch a little baseball before she goes to bed at night. She also likes to snack on dates and crackers. So the conversation went something like this:

Lydia: When I get home, I want a date and two crackers and maybe some baseball.
Dan: Hm…how about one date and some baseball?
Lydia: One date, one cracker, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?
Dan: One date, baseball, and some water.
Lydia: One date, one cracker, water, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?

In the end, she got everything but the cracker.

 photo content_zpsf6c9a647.jpg

She sure is a sweet little helper, but very independent too. She is very particular and I never cease to be thankful that I get to be the one with her all day, learning how she thinks and works. At the same time, I get a lot of joy out of watching her play with others too. A few weeks ago marked a big milestone when we started letting Lydia go with the “big kids” during our Bible study. If it wasn’t a highlight of the week before, it sure is now. She comes home full of stories about Mr. Daniel, Daniella, and her little friend, Addy. And still, I’m happy that I get to be the one to snuggle up with her in the morning, talk about the day ahead, and read to her from her story Bible.

 photo withmommy_zpsdf0cbe9d.jpg