Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Hippie Mini-van

 With the demise of our second vehicle, we found something else that allowed me the freedom to get out of the house with all four of the kids.  I call it my "hippie mini-van". 

Look at the camera, kids!
It's a Madsen Bucket Bike.
You can't tell, but Rhoda's helmet is teal with pink owls, and her outfit (a hand-me-down from Liesl) is teal with a pink owl.  Super cute!!
 It's pretty fun to ride, but I have to always be vigilant and the kids can't wiggle, hug, fight, or pull flowers off of passing bushes. 
Rhoda loves it.  There are seatbelts for all of them. 

There's an assist motor on the front wheel that makes it possible to get going with all of them in it.

 When we move to Georgia, we won't live on a hill, so my kids will ride their own bikes more.  Right now, Liesl's coordination is just not where it needs to be for me to trust her to ride by herself.

Some days, Jay rides it to work.  He likes it pretty well.  It can go pretty fast for a bike.  We'll be getting him his own bike soon so we can ride as a family.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Second Gets Her Own Post

My little Daffodil is always good for a laugh.
  This post is long overdue and far too short to do her justice.

Mira is first and foremost very feminine.  Her favorite color is purple, she loves horses, in all their varieties, and she is a natural little mother.  She is sweet, obedient, bright, and assertive.  Her favorite toys, after her ponies with the nursery she's put together for them, is a kitchen set with food and dishes.  She loves skirts, and it's only recently she's started regularly allowing pants back in her wardrobe (after two years refusing to wear them).  She loves having her hair done and doesn't mind sitting for me (the opposite of Liesl). 

A year ago, I used to swim at the local YMCA.  Rather than go to the nursery, she would prefer to come with me while I swam.  I treasure the memories of her sitting on the bench at the end of my lane, patiently coloring.  Sometimes she had a pony she would play with along the bench, but she was so good to stay put.  Once, she had to potty and went without me.  In the bathroom, as she was sitting on the counter to wash her hands, a staff member yelled at her.  It upset her so much she couldn't swim for her lesson afterward.  I was pretty ticked about that one, but the staff got away.

But that illustrates something else: Mira is really sensitive to anger.  She is very easily upset.  Yes, sometimes I yell, and while Liesl couldn't care less about it, Mira is really affected.  In fact, once I start yelling, I've lost all progress with her.  It's a good lesson for me.  I've learned to treat her a little more cheerily, and that gets pretty good results.  I'm trying to apply that to Liesl, too.

Rhoda is her "little twinner".  Rhoda loves Mira, and Mira always does her best to take care of her.  She is always willing to help, and she'll hold Rhoda as long as her little arms allow.
 Starting on her second birthday, and lasting almost to the age of three, she'd experience a week of high fevers with no symptoms.  One week out of seven she spent in this inexplicable fever (we never figured out what it was despite test after test, although her cousin experienced the same thing).  As a result, she didn't gain much weight at all that year.  At three, the fevers disappeared, thought she was still quite tiny.  However, by the time she turned four, she filled out and grew into an energetic, courageous girl.

She takes care of her stuffed animals and diligently sets up a nursery for them on her bed morning and night.

She watches after others, and she guides her little brother and sister with a gentle hand.  Unless they're doing something she doesn't like, then she gets pretty loud and bossy.
But really, she has the most gentle hands.  I love having her play with my hair because she is so gentle.

Like a little mother, she helps Marshall pose in front of a truck of his favorite color.  She also tucks him into bed.

She is funny, too.  If you're at all familiar with Apple Jack in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series, then you've heard the cute little southern twang Apple Jack has when she speaks.  Mira uses this every day, even though my kids have only seen five episodes and they don't even watch them every week.  She just seems to be good with accents.

She also likes to be funny.  She's our little comedienne, and weirdly, she prefers slapstick.  She frequently hits herself when she tells a joke.  It's odd, but funny.  She also falls down a lot at the end of her silly stories.  She's not out-of-control goofy, just a bit goofy.

Curse the date stamp.  Mira often has a hard time with loud noises, but she did pretty well this night.  I love her olive green eyes.  (I know this post is about Mira, but I love how the ear muffs amplify Rhoda's cheeks.)
Mira is also very bright.  Because Liesl's (albeit minor and temporary) disability (reminder: vision and coordination issues) requires so much of my time, I don't often get time to work one-on-one with Mira.  Despite that, she's still learned to write rather well for a four-year-old, and she's picking up on phonics, reading, and math too.  She can add numbers in her head pretty well!
Boy, do I love that girl!

Note:  For those who think I've been comparing Liesl and Mira, I often point out to them, not their differences, but that they are different.  They don't look alike, they react to things differently, and they have different likes and dislikes.  We are always talking about strengths.  I make it a point to never compare and belittle.  I love that my girls are different, and I encourage them to feel likewise.  Let's hope this turns out confident girls who love who they are, rather than competitive sisters.  I hate competition.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Guess Who's Crawling?

 That's right, this little doll!  Boy do we all adore her.  She's more somber than her older siblings, but she sure does love all the attention they give her.  Today, we were thrilled to watch her struggle to put one knee in front of the other, but she did it! 

Now I have to sweep and vacuum a little more diligently.  I did everything I could to keep her from crawling early, but crawling is very important, and she'll be happier now she can get around.  I now plan on keeping her crawling as long as I can. (Liesl's occupational therapist said that because she only crawled for a month before walking could be why she's not got the core strength she needs now.  Hmm.)

I wish this weren't blurry, but you still get the impression that all three of my older kids are loving this roller coaster.  This is the last time our kids will ride this coaster, as we'll be in Georgia before the fall State Fair.  This same coaster has been the first for all three of my kids.
Like father, like son.

Goofy goings-on

Rhoda loves the piano.  She'll fuss until we let her play it. 

The children, returning my keys and providing a snack while I nursed Rhoda.

Daddy and his babies, minus Me.

Our resident Dragon playing with Baby.

Uh-oh, what happened here?

Oh, that's better.  Who took this picture?  It's hard to get one of her smiling.

Marshall was being mean to the girls, so they put him in time out.  And gave him every toy within reach to keep him occupied.  He loved it!

She LOVES cooking eggs, and is pretty good at it.  She cooks me a mean over-easy fried egg.

Daddy put her on the grass without socks and she wouldn't put her leg down. I have about half a dozen pictures of her holding her leg just like this.  I love those legs!!

I love this face.  This is not  the most flattering picture, but I love those soft curls, those soft cheeks, and that pretty smile.  She says of herself that she likes the gap between her front teeth.  I love that girl's confidence!

Speaking of confidence, she's a generous girl, too.  Liesl LOVES coins, so for her to give us this many out of her stash is some serious generosity.  Translation: "Dear Mom and Dad, I have heard that you don't have enough money so I will help you, I will.  I will give some of my money to you."  (This is a lesson for me to be more careful when I bring up the budget in front of our kids.  We are by no means short on money, but we weren't budgeting, and that's the conversation she overheard.) (Oh, and we were NOT fighting during said conversation.)

One of my favorite things to spot, a Stellar's Jay.  You can't see, but it is a beautiful blue and black.

Oops, he dumped our dumpster.  We all got a good laugh watching this!

Pins and Portraits

 We recently visited a new children's museum, and it had a wall of pins.  Here are our adventures:
The family's hands: (LtoR) Marshall, Liesl, Mira, Rhoda, Mom, Dad.

Liesl makes an impression.

Battle of the impressions.

Rhoda didn't really like this, but I liked the result.  It really got her face pretty well-- I love those round cheeks!  I also like the detail of the wrap.

Me next to my creation.  The other imprint is someone I don't know.
It looks like Jay is throwing the child in the air.  I don't think the top one is any of my children.

The girls put on a play.  Mira looks like the Sorceress.