24 May 2017

Quantitative and Verbal

First day of school!
Today was the last day of school and the girls couldn't be more excited. Kate is happy to have her sisters home to play with, Evelyn has great plans to continue summer school by teaching her sisters, and Claire is ready to draw gobs and gobs of pictures. And Henry? He can keep up with his sisters like a champ.
See shy Claire there in the glasses for 50's day? She won the citizenship award for kindergarten!
Overall, the school year was quite successful. Both the girls got along well with their peers and teachers and were straight A students. In fact, both were awarded the school's citizenship awards during the year, which really doesn't surprise me. If I can catch glimpses of their kindness, obedience, and desire to help others at home, I know it's amplified at school, where they always try their best.
Evelyn was surprised with a little trophy for her citizenship award!
The year was full of all kinds of fun activities but one of my favorites was the school talent show. Since there were a limited number of slots to fill but both wanted to participate, I suggested they create a piece of artwork together. This is what they came up with:
That's better than some artwork I've seen from professional artists!
It's a tad hard to see but the owl family is a representation of our family--mom and dad in front, Claire and Evelyn up above, Henry and Kate in the nest along with the egg representing Zoey. It was really quite a clever piece that shows just how imaginative young minds are.
This would explain why Claire always starts a conversation with, "Mom? Can I tell you something?"
While I'm not a huge fan of standardized testing, it was fun to see the girls' year-end results, which are quite opposite of each other. People always ask what child looks like who but in this case, it's which child thinks like which parent. Claire, with a very high verbal score, seems to think like me...
Maybe that's why Evelyn and Jack get along so well...
...and Evelyn, with a very high quantitative score, thinks like Jack. Guess we have a math mind and a verbal mind.
They still love each other on the last day of school. Yay!
I don't know about other mothers but for the most part, I really enjoy summer break. Sure, there's more noise and more messes and more quarreling but there's also a lot more fun and relaxation. Plus, if anyone starts to get crabby, they get sent outside where nobody stays crabby for long. I'm looking to a nice long break from packing lunches and wondering what all my kids are up to during the day. Hooray for summer break--let the wild and crazy next few months begin!

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22 May 2017

Baby Doll

I seem to have misplaced my baby...
One of these baby dolls is not like the others.

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21 May 2017

Mythical Man

We love that guy!
Jack, our perpetual boy-at-heart, just celebrated his thirty-second birthday!

Okay. It was nearly three weeks ago but in my defense, I was still in the hospital with Zoey and then, I got busy around the house and trying to keep up with the kids, even with all the great help I had. I did my best to prepare and had ordered a few gifts for him but really, the majority of the day was teaching Henry to gently adore his baby sister:
Practicing his kisses. Not bites or headbutts, his other preferred methods of affection.
And making sure Henry didn't get into too much trouble (mostly, if he could find food or be near Zoey, he was alright):
Sneaking one of my french fries.
And when all else failed, cradling Henry so he could catch up on his sleep:
As far as birthdays go, it was pretty un-fantastic on my part but any time I lamented, Jack just laid a hand on my shoulder and thanked me for giving him one of his favorite gifts: a healthy baby. And just like that, without even trying, he made me feel like his special day was really all about me.
I wish I loved hospital beds as much as the kids do.
When we finally made a mad dash out of there, we drove the winding road home in the rain, where Jack had to make his own birthday dinner. His choice? Pizza.

Secretly, he may be the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
And, since I hadn't even had the foresight to get a cake mix, he had to make his own birthday ice cream sandwiches. Probably just as well. Jack doesn't really like cake anyway.
Reminds me of the birthday parties of yore for Evelyn and Claire...
Though Jack's actual birthday wasn't really thrilling, we were all super lucky that he was able to stay home for a week to help out. He was there to meet the girls when they got off the bus:
Kate and Henry tried to fly Jack's kite on a gusty day:
Henry learned the fine art of playing cars:
There was plenty of time spent on the swings:
And when they were done, he tossed the swings up and over to make it easier for me to mow because he's always thinking of me, the kids, and others (and yes, I mowed with a less-than-week-old baby. I like mowing, okay?):
And lucky me! A bath, which is never just a bath when Jack draws it--it's got flowers and candles and fancy salts and fresh smoothies are delivered to my hand.
Of all the things I love about Jack, one of my favorites is that he's present. He's there for the big stuff, sure, but he's there when it just means swinging in the hammock, tucking in the kids, putting away the chickens when I forget, kissing everyone hello and goodbye as he comes and goes.
Sharing his love of hammocks with the kids.
Sometimes, his goodness is so overwhelming that I feel a bit guilty, like I'm the weak link in the chain of our family but every time, Jack reassures me with such kindness that I'm his equal partner and an indispensable member. He is so humble, so sweet, so wise, so patient...the kind of man that's almost mythical these days. Jack's the kind that calls his mother every Sunday evening, willingly serves his friends and neighbors, even if it means cutting into prime relaxation time, who lets his crazy, horse-loving wife (ahem...me) keep a couple of them in the backyard and encourages me to reach for the stars and never forgets to honor my role as wife and mother and woman. He even rescues baby bunnies for crying out loud!
Jack's the kind of guy who rescues baby bunnies.
With all of those gentle qualities, he still knows how to have rough-and-tumble fun and loves trying new things, from becoming a budding cheesemaker to learning how to play the guitar. Every day is an adventure with him and we're all looking forward to many more to come!
Hang on, everyone! Daddy's at the helm!
Happy (very belated) birthday, Jack! We love you!

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18 May 2017

A Boy and His Drill

A boy and his drill.
We went out to wait for the bus to drop off the girls and Henry came out, bringing his drill for a walk.
(This sounds like a fun premise to a really cute children's book...)

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