Sunday, October 4, 2015

Letter Month Thirty-Six

Dear Charlie,
First off, sorry that this letter is long over due. You and Sissy keep me and Daddy hopping!
You, my precious boy, have been so busy changing from a baby into a boy. It is somewhat surreal to watch it happen before my eyes. I feel privileged to do so. It has been difficult for you and that makes me hurt too.
When you began climbing out of your crib on a regular basis, we decided it was time to transition into a toddler bed. You have always struggled with falling asleep and have never mastered doing it on your own. Being able to easily climb in and out of your bed only made it more challenging. Daddy has the most patience to stay with you, rock you, and help you fall asleep. Some nights it takes a couple of hours and is difficult. Napping wasn't any better until Lovie developed the routine of driving you to the "store" until you fell asleep. You picked up on it pretty quickly and decided you don't want to go to the store! Sitting in the carseat gets you still and helps you fall asleep. You and Daddy logged many miles taking late night drives through Atlanta to get you to sleep. Then, we just put a carseat in the house so that you could sit in it to fall asleep and then we move you to your bed. You don't need it every night, but some nights you do. You have been in limbo with your nap taking one some days and others just refusing to go to sleep. I wish you could give it up, but most of the time when you don't have a nap, you fall asleep around dinner time and it is a nightmare getting you to sleep at bedtime.
Your preference for falling asleep is to be rocked and nursed until you fall asleep. Yep, we have been nursing for three years now! It is getting harder for me, but you still ask to do it and I haven't been able to tell you no. I am ready to stop, but haven't been able to do it yet. It is such sweet time connecting with you and I fear losing that.
You finished out the school year at Buckhead Prep and did so well in your first year of school! You learned so much going from doing everything with the teacher's help to being able to do some of the work like coloring in a stencil on your own. You have learned all your numbers, shapes, and colors very well. You recognize some letters and know some letter sounds.
When the dentist expressed concern about how the paci might be affecting your mouth, we knew it was time to say goodbye to it. You were very attached to it and I was vey worried about how you would sleep without it. You might struggle to fall asleep, but at least you stay asleep all night. We explained that you would be getting a teddy bear, something you wanted for a while, and that you would pay for it with your pacis. The sales person was so nice and helped you count out each one. You never wavered and only asked for it a couple of times. It was hard for you to watch Livy enjoy hers, but you didn't take it from her.
We changed our routine when school finished and I started dropping you and Sissy off in the mornings. It gave you more time with me, which you really desire, and it gives you more time with Sissy everyday. I think it feels good to you to be dropped off with her and for the three of us to be together. It took a few weeks, but we settled into a nice routine and manage to get out the door pretty easily in the morning.
During the summer you started swim lessons and you are doing great. You like the water and have no fear of it, so it made the lessons a lot smoother. You really want to play football, but until you are old enough for that, swimming will do well!
Over the summer we also started potty training. You really are ready for it, but not that interested in it. We continue to move forward trying to be patient with you as you sort out this transition from being a baby into a little boy. When you want to do it, you tell us you need to go and it is great. The problem is, you don't care most of the time and just don't want to sit on the potty! It will happen. It just takes time.
You continue to be a pretty good eater. You like fruit a lot and don't tend to love sweets. You can be adventurous asking to try meats or vegetables being offered. You tend to like to think over new things before you decide to take the leap. If we are patient and let you check things out on your own terms, you are much more willing to try. You don't respond well to be being pushed.
You wear a size 3T clothes and a size 9 shoe. You are not the biggest kid amounts your peers, but you have so much personality! That is proving helpful as you transition to a new school and make new friends. I think you will do just great in Mr. Peter's 3 year old preschool class at St. Benedict's!
You love your sister and your cousin, Livy. You get a little jealous of how much Sissy can do and you definitely envy baby Olivia moving in as the baby of the family. You love them both, but have to be reminded of how important a spot you hold in our life as well. You never have to worry about being loved.
We love you more than we can ever say and our family just wouldn't be the same without you. You make us laugh, you make us proud, and you show us so much love. I am forever grateful to be your momma.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Letter Month Sixty-Six

Dear Sarah Graves,
First off, sorry that this letter is long overdue. You and Charlie keep us busy!
Five years old is a wonderful age for you! You have become so much more mature, a lot more easy going, and you are aware of other people's feelings. It is fun to talk with you and hear how you interpret situations and see the world. You like for things to be fair and you are generous. You will share what you have with your brother or a friend and it is sweet to see.
In February you took the big step to take classes preparing for your first communion and you made your first communion. You were earnest and sincere about it, which made me feel proud. You also ate the host and dipped it in the chalice, which made me proud because I know how worried you were that you wouldn't like the way it tasted. I can only believe that God was with you as you took it the first time and gave you the courage and conviction to see it through.
 You graduated from pre-k, which was a big milestone for you. You were very proud to perform at the graduation ceremony. At the end of the school year you said goodbye to Little Apron and the wonderful teachers and friends you have there. I was sad to see the change in our routine and felt lonely going into the office without you each morning.
You spent the summer going to camp at Bulkhead Prep where you worked hard on handwriting, math, and early reading skills. You were a little disappointed in how much work there was there, but once you settled in, you did well and learned tons! I was so impressed when a skirt of Lovie's reminded you of an Andy Warhol painting and you went on to accurately describe his style of art.
You made the very difficult change to give up your paci. We expected it to be very difficult, but when it was time to do it, you did it and never looked back. We went to the American Girl Doll store and you bought the girl of the year doll, Grace, with your pacis. You had been wanting Grace since you first saw her at the beginning of the year and you were thrilled to get her! Since then, you have been very focused on American Girl dolls and all their accessories.
We started reading the Grace series of books and you quickly decided you like chapter books (no pictures) and we quickly read all three about Grace. I relished reading those books with you at bedtime. That is the time of day I look forward to the most, cuddled up with you in your bed enjoying the story we are reading and looking forward to reading more the next night.
You continued taking swim lessons all summer and you made a lot of improvement. You mostly have freestyle down and you are definitely water safe. As much as I wanted to see you continue on with swimming, gymnastics is your passion and what you are fixated on right now. You traded in your dance shoes and decided to take part in the church choir, which I think will be good for you. One of your career aspirations is being a rock star - that is along with being a mommy and a nurse!
Back in January we started a feeding routine known as Division of Responsibility. This method advocates that meals are served family style, we have at least 2 foods at every meal that you consider safe to eat, and dessert is served with the meal. The division of responsibility comes in because Daddy and I decide when food is served and what is served. You get to decide whether you are going to eat and how much. The goal was to make mealtime a pleasant time and take the anxiety out of it. I think we have been successful with that. You haven't been on as many food jags and you look forward to family mealtime and actually feel disappointed when we don't sit down together. Your food choices haven't changed and are limited to yogurt, yogurt smoothies, and carb foods that lean toward the sweet. However, we are sticking with this and hoping that showing you balanced meals will lead you to one day try some of the meats, fruits, and vegetables offered.
You wear a size 5 clothes and a size 11/12 shoes. You have a great smile, love to make up cheesy jokes, are fixated on YouTube videos, narrate your life like you are making a video, love your brother, are made crazy by your brother, and are an all around sweet girl. I really enjoy spending time with you and feel so lucky to be your momma.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Haircuts and Smiles

Ready for school with a few minutes to spare and I snapped a cute picture of these two.
They both had fresh haircuts and were pleased with how they look!

Pops takes Charlie to get their haircut together and it is a sweet outing for them. Charlie tells Pops some crazy stories and shares some of his little boy philosophy. After the haircut, Pops takes him for a much anticipated ice cream! Charlie picks superman flavor every time. Sweet memories that I hope Charlie will always have.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Show & Tell

Charlie has show and tell on Fridays. There is a theme for each week and during car/truck week he picked this Reese's candy truck. It was Aaron's when he was little and I thought it was so sweet that he picked the truck that was Daddy's.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kindergarten Kid

We are now over a month into the school year and I think Sarah Graves is settling in. Kindergarten has been an adjustment for her. There have been lots of changes being at a new school, making new friends, lots of new rules to follow, and having new teachers. She likes her teachers, but they have high expectations for the kids and she has had to work to meet them.
I can tell she is learning a lot! Her reading has already made huge strides and she is working hard to master new concepts like using a calendar. Her Spanish vocabulary is improving, too!
The hardest part has been learning to listen, stay on task, and follow directions. Sarah Graves tends to get fidgety when it's time to sit and she often wants to rush through her work to do what she wants to do. Her class uses super sticks as a positive rewards system for the kids. You get super sticks when you help someone, are kind, go above and beyond, etc. She has been really motivated to earn more super sticks and be able to have enough to go to the treasure box at the end of the week. There are different levels of treasure depending on how many super sticks you have. She really wants one of the bigger prizes and she has been diligently working to get more super sticks each day! I love seeing how motivated she is to do well. 
She recently had a great day and earned 4 super sticks. I was so excited for her and kept talking about how good she must feel having such a great day and she said, "I only did it to make you, my teachers, and Lovie happy." I wish that she had wanted it just for herself, but it was sweet that she recognized that she could do something to make others happy. She then mentioned that she had filled my bucket by doing that. The classes all read a book at the beginning of the year about doing nice things to fill up someone else's bucket. She and Charlie like to make note of when they have done something to fill my bucket and I in turn tell them how they fill my bucket. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dinner at Copeland's

We finished off Jeanne's birthday celebration with dinner at Copeland's, one of everybody's favorite places!

We had such a fun day! It was great being together and having fun!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Apple Picking!

We decided to give apple picking a try this year. The orchards are not just for picking apples, they have little festival like setups with food, activities, and you can pick some apples.
We think these two are a couple of good apples!

They love the bouncing pillow. This place didn't let grownups get on it...I was disappointed!

The cow train was a big hit!

There were lots of play areas with some inventive equipment like these horses made out of old tires.

Of course, hanging out with Lovie is always fun!

Charlie's favorite thing was the wagon ride! He was so excited to do it and loved that we were pulled by a tractor and on the other side he could see a wagon pulled by a mule, but the tractor won!

We did pick some apples to make a pie. Georgia is not really as far north as you would need to be for crisp apples.

Livy likes being snuggled up with her momma.

There was so much to do at these orchards! They even had a putt putt course!

This silly boy turned into a lion!

We really enjoyed all there was to do there. I didn't get pictures of the pig races, milking the cow, or touring the moonshine museum (ha!), but those were all fun too!

Picnic at the Falls

For Aunt Nay's birthday we headed up to Amicalola Falls for a picnic before we went apple picking!

The weather was gorgeous! It was the first cool day with sunshine and blue skies! Perfect for a birthday day trip.
Nay and Livy

My big girl was so sweet posing for pictures.

Charlie napped through most of our picnic, but surprised us all by waking up in a wonderful mood.

We so badly wanted pictures of all three of them wearing their apple shirts, but we just couldn't get Livy into the idea of taking pictures and getting a shot of all three looking was more than we could manage!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dinner with New Friends

We had a really fun dinner with new friends on Labor Day! Several families were invited for dinner and it was so nice because our kids are all similar ages. Sarah Graves, Ava, and Aurelia are all in kindergarten, and Charlie and Logan are in preschool. Luca is in pre-k, but they got along great!
It was fun getting to know the other parents as well.

Bear Crawl

Sissy taught Charlie how to bear crawl down the stairs!
He is a funny boy! We are still working on potty training, but some days are better than others.
Recently, after a poop accident, he was laying on the changing table getting cleaned up when he asked, "what color is that poop?" Mom told him it was a dark brown and he said, "oh, I thought it might be white because I ate a lot of bananas at school today."