So...where to start? How about with a picture.
There they are, the four best things about Mother's Day. Every day is new. Every day is chaotically beautiful. Well, most days. ;)
The last time I posted, it was freezing cold out and Silas was 4 months old. Now he is 6 months old, but it is still freezing cold. In May. But not quite as freezing cold as it was the day we went to the Ice Castles at the Mall of America, courtesy of a fun Groupon.
The kids loved climbing through frozen tunnels, navigating through icy mazes, and admiring the cool sculptures along the way. I remember the ice castles from my childhood being much more impressive, but to them, it was the BEST. EVER.
This was the first time in three years that we dyed Easter eggs again as a family, and it was so much fun. Everybody got creative, but none more than JP, who was busy trying different techniques and ideas several hours after the kids were done and had moved on to other things. Ha!
One day, as I was sewing up an old teddy bear that had been torn, Rae asked if I would teach her how to sew. I showed her the simple surging stitch I was using and let her try it. She loved it and asked if she could sew something else. I got her a couple scraps of fabric, a needle and some thread, and got her started on making a blanket for her doll. After that, JP taught her a basting stitch, and she made a pillow for her doll, too. Finally, Rae decided she wanted to make Ruby a bag to keep all of her little toys in. With only a little bit of instruction, she hand sewed this wonderful bag for Ruby, complete with a pocket -- because Ruby loves pockets.
I'm so proud of Rae's initiative and for her kind thought to make something so special and practical for her sister. The other day she was climbing a tree and ripped her dress. She came inside, got a needle and thread, and sewed the darn thing up! Amazing.
My Rae Rae is becoming such a young lady. She barely has any "little" girl left in her at all.
This photo was taken before she lost all of her teeth. She currently has a big gap right in front, and has lost six teeth in all. This week will be her last week of Kindergarten. We had fun with the unit studies, but most of the school work was far too simple for her. She is hungry to learn, so we are going to run with it over the summer and keep learning fun. If you ask her, she will tell you her favorite part of school is science projects.
Rae and Ruby with their volcano science project
Rae recently finished her first year in AWANA Sparks, and raised $70 for a young girl in Columbia during a verse-a-thon in which she memorized 10 verses. She's memorized much more than that over the course of the AWANA year, and her teachers comment on how well she retains them.
Tomorrow will be her last day of Level 2 swimming lessons; she already passed the test to move on to Level 3. She is so proud of herself, and so am I. Bring on summer and the pool!
Rae also learned how to shoot a bow and arrow after receiving one as a very cool gift from Grandma Harpel. And she is quite the shot! She likes to pretend she is Merida from Disney's Brave.
Ruby Ann, my tip-toe princess. She is really blossoming lately.
Things that used to make her nervous, she is now more willing to try. Like climbing, for example. She's become quite the little tree climber, whereas even as recent as last fall she would have been hesitant to try. She's also willing to play outside by herself now (with Gideon, the dog, on watch), which she never did last fall.
You can usually find Ruby tip-toeing around the house with at least a dozen very, very small toys tucked in her pockets, in a purse, or in some sort of small box. She loves these little toys and heaps up large collections of them. Then she sits down and goes through her pile of tiny things, playing with each one individually and then creating stories to act out with them.
With just a couple weeks of Pre-School left to go, Ruby has made incredible leaps and bounds in school this year. She is retaining information so much more, and her writing is getting better and better. The way she writes her name warms my heart, especially since 40% of the time she gets the "b" backwards and ends up spelling her name "Rudy." We've started calling her Rudy as a nickname as a result. :)
Ruby finished her second year in AWANA Cubbies and will be a Spark with Rae next fall. Her favorite part is the music, and when she dances, she puts her whole heart and body into it!
Ruby is also finishing "Little Swimmers" for the second time. She passed the first time, but can't start Level 1 until she is five years old.
Johnye Rose -- My firecracker, always keeping me on my toes.
I see so much of myself in her. I see the way she wants so badly to be big like her sisters, but she's trapped in this 2-year-old body that just doesn't do the things they can do. She wants to write her name, and tries very valiantly. She wants to climb and run fast and play all the make-believe games her big sisters will let her. She loves to dress up in dresses, headbands, and princess heels, and she has a fondness for stuffed beanie bears, all of which have names. Granted, most of them are named Shaka. But a few others have unique names. She hates that I still make her nap, but sleeps long and hard. It kills her to watch her sisters in swimming lessons from the bleachers, but she finds ways to entertain herself by swinging from railings and jumping off of benches. She wants to be the boss, but she's too small. Maybe someday she won't be the smallest. That will be interesting. :)
(see the way she looks at them to see what they are doing?)
Silas bring more and more joy to our lives every day. He is the sweetest, happiest boy -- and he's growing up so fast.
He already has two bottom teeth and just started sitting up on his own. Everything is going into his mouth, and he loves, loves, LOVES to jump. He only fusses when he's getting tired, and he loves to roughhouse with his big sisters. He and Rae have an especially unique bond. She loves to play with him and carry him around everywhere she goes. He gets the biggest smile on his face every time she walks in the room, and nobody can make him belly laugh and chortle the way she can.
No curls yet, but JP and I both maintain it's too early to tell!