* Richard scored some great FREE bikes for every member of our family! These are high-quality bikes that just need a couple new tires and some minor tuning - it's really quite fantastic. In one of those weird quirks of life, both Richard and I had our bikes (and my bike trailer) stolen just before we got married, and we haven't owned bikes since then. Family bike rides were a highlight of my life growing up - lots of wonderful memories - and I'm SO excited to be able to finally make some of those memories with our kids. To top it off, I found a mint Schwinn bike trailer at a garage sale for $75, so we're basically set. (If we do a longer trip, Moses will have to ride in the trailer with Judah and we'll need a seat for Clementine, but for short rides he can handle riding by himself.) We are so pumped!!
|Moses has been practicing with training wheels for a while and he's really good.|
|Judah just started on his bike and he's still learning.|
|This was actually the only bike we bought - $8 at a garage sale!|
|The bicycle bell is an important feature.|
* Grace finished the school year at RiverTree with an AMAZING Shakespeare Festival. The 3rd-7th graders performed "Much Ado About Nothing" and the younger kids sang and recited sonnets. It was amazing. It was brilliant. Did I say it was amazing? Grace played the part of Don Pedro, a Prince of Aragon. (If you've seen the movie, which is great, her character is played by Denzel Washington. =]) Several of the girls had to play male roles and they did fantastic. I was so proud of how Grace got into character and really sold the part. She didn't merely recite her lines, she became Don Pedro. It was just an all-around wonderful play! I mean, some of these kids were THIRD graders, memorizing line upon line of Shakespearean English, and the oldest kids were only 13, memorizing up to 90 lines! There were touching scenes, inspiring speeches, hilarious banter, subtle humor... wow. It was just a great finale to the school year.
|Getting her beard and sideburns applied.|
|I present His Grace, Don Pedro of Aragon!|
|The small play-goers, ready for the performance.|
|The girls in Grace's class, all of whom performed with incredible skill!|
- She's a little spitfire! It must come from having 2 older brothers, but she can hold her own physically. She's not scared to get into the mix with her wild and rowdy brothers, nor to engage in a little hair-pulling or pinching, unfortunately. :-/ She can be sweet, but she can be pugnacious too!
- She's a Mama's Girl still! She's definitely the baby of the house, and (although she can be feisty and independent) she loves to cuddle with Mama, be worn in the sling when I'm making dinner, and be rocked and nursed to sleep. She has Papa wrapped around her little finger too. =]
- Clementine loves to be where her sibs are, doing what they're doing. When she's not in the mood for a cuddle with Mama, she's content just to toddle around after her brothers. Especially now that it's [finally!] nice out, I won't hear from her for hours and hours! Playing in the sandbox with Judah, being pushed oh so gently on the swing by Moses, playing Orphanage under Grace's direction, or just running around in the back yard is enough to make her perfectly content.
- She's talking up a storm! My last child said not a word until he was 2, and then it was another 6-8 months before he was coherent. So having a little girl who started saying words at around a year and now has a good 300+ word vocabulary is a bit... strange! She's putting together sentences of 3+ words and adding to her vocabulary every day. It's incredible the words she knows! A couple that have surprised me in the last few weeks:
|Pretending to be a puppy!|
|Hamming it up with Papa|
*Moses turned 5 years old! It's always insane how fast your children grow. I'll never forget hearing him cry and holding him in my arms for the first time, how sweet that was after all the pain of losing Matthias and all the waiting for Moses to arrive. That first year of his life was so incredible, almost magical. I remember feeling in awe most of the time, that we finally had another child in our home and that he was as adorable and funny and sweet as he was. Five years and 2 more children later, it all feels a little more normal, but I do feel amazed at how big Moses has gotten and I LOVE watching him grow into a young man. He's really, really fun, and really, really cute, and smart and charismatic and full of wonderful things that delight a mother's heart.
|The birthday card with the light-up Lightsaber and Star Wars theme music was worth the $8.|
|It's a fishing pole... and it's Star Wars.|
|I can't get over his shaggy, curly hair. Could Not Be Cuter.|
|Seeing your friend's toys is almost as interesting as getting toys yourself!|
* Judah Buddy hasn't had any big adventures or events happen this month, but in typical middle-child fashion, he's had a lot of fun doing what the other kids are doing.
- He went to Grace's play and seemed to like it.
- He had great fun at Moses' birthday party, although the SHARING of the toys might be an ongoing issue...
- He's been Clementine's buddy out-of-doors as well as in. Sometimes they fight, but Clementine dishes it out as much as she takes it, so I have to instruct both of them in greater gentleness. But when they're getting along, Judah is very brotherly-protective and sweet to his little sister.
- He went fishing with Papa and Moses! What little boy doesn't love fishing?
- He learned how to ride a 2-wheeler with training wheels!
- He's not at all squeamish about collecting all kinds of bugs, unlike any of the other kids. He especially likes "Junior Bugs" (June bugs) and "Boxer Brief Bugs" (Box Elder bugs). But he'll collect all kinds of worms, centipedes, spiders and various creepy crawlies. I think he's a budding naturalist.
|This means fun.|
- He loves to show me how fast he can run and how strong he is. He's still so baby-faced and stocky and short-legged! I LOVE how cute he looks when he runs.
|If you're not that good on a bike yet, it's faster to run.|
- He NEEDS to nap basically every day. But many days he has trouble obeying and laying quietly until he falls asleep. This is tough for both of us, but despite what seems like crazy naughtiness on his part, I've found that usually what he needs is not discipline but for me to rock him to sleep. I hadn't done that in many months, but apparently he still needs it, and I love the chance to cuddle my active, big boy for a little while.
- Judah still needs lots of cuddles from Mama even though he tends to have a pretty stoic demeanor. He definitely challenges me the most out of all my kids but I think that's a good thing. It makes me really have to seek God for wisdom to parent him. He doesn't allow me to be nonchalant in my mothering, or lazy or careless. I can be that way with my other kids some of the time and get away with it, but not with Judah. With Judah I have to really pay attention and really be mindful of how I'm speaking to him, how I'm acting, what I say, etc. And most days I have to dig really deep to figure out how to deal with the situations that arise with Judah. One minute you think he hasn't even heard you because he's staring at you totally deadpan, and the next he's an angry, sad, weeping, yelling mess. But like I said, when I'm tempted to think of Judah as my "difficult child", I immediately cross that out from my mind and think of him as the child who's most challenging me to be a better mother. He's just not easy to figure out. There is SO much feeling IN him (but he tends to keep it in) and there's SO much going on in his mind (but again, he doesn't communicate a lot of it) and he just needs a very sensitive, mindful, wise mother. That's a good thing to have to learn to be.
|He's showing me how the brakes work|
So that's kinda what's going on here. Richard's doing some work around the house, mostly yard/landscaping sorts of things, I've been fitting in a little bit of sewing and crafting (about 1% of the ideas and projects I'd LIKE to do!), and once all the kids are in bed, we like to sit on our deck and just feel thankful for our wonderful home and family.
|It won't make you feel any younger, but an occasional hogpile with your kids is a good thing.|
|This is the start of a scrappy quilt for Grace. Stay tuned. It'll probably be done sometime before she leaves for college.|
|I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing this.|