Tuesday, September 8, 2015

4 Year Letters to Jack, Luke, and Wendy

Dear, Jackie,

You are still my snuggly little guy, and my very favorite thing to do with you is tuck you in at nap time. For some reason, that is your cuddliest, sweetest time of day. We say a little prayer and sing a little song, and you use your little baby voice, and tell me you love me. I know that these days are coming to a close, but for now I am relishing every moment.

Your keen mind is always at work. Every little detail of whatever you are engaged in gets your undivided attention, and you occupy a large portion of your time in quiet play by yourself. This does not mean, however, that you do not have the necessary social skills. You are so much fun! This past year has brought you into the spotlight with all of your brothers and sisters. It has become clear that you are the life of the party when you want to be. Your laugh is loud and infectious, and your goofy humor is well received by all. There isn't a sibling with whom you do not get along, and everyone loves playing with you. The love you have for others is palpable.

There is something very methodical about your play. You still love your cars, and spend a large portion of your day arranging and rearranging them. Lining them up according to color, and finding how best to fit them into certain spaces. Besides cars, you love building forts, coloring, and reading. Your favorite book right now is Ocean by the Smithsonian Institute. You love the pictures of volcanoes. But whatever you do, you are constantly thinking and problem-solving.

This year has brought out a little bit of fight in you. Up until now, you have been extremely easy going, but you realized this year that you don't always have to like...or take...circumstances as they are. So you are currently working on exploring appropriate boundaries and learning when it's OK to challenge and when you really just ought to follow the rules. ;) There is also a tendency to put off doing something to the very last second. If we are cleaning, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom. If you need to come to the dinner table, you just need to do "one more thing." When you aren't happy with things, you let us know! Your tantrums are loud, and intense, but once you have calmed down you are quickly back to your good natured self.

One of the little traits that I just adore about you is that you sing everything. You sing yourself to sleep, you sing the songs you are learning in Primary at church over and over, and you make up little songs as you play by yourself. It is so precious to sit and listen to you serenade us, quite unaware of the show you are putting on.

You have blessed our lives, Jack, and we are so grateful for your presence in our family. Your personality adds such a wonderful balance to the mix. You are extremely smart, creative, funny, thoughtful, careful, and loving. Every day I learn from you and am amazed at all you know and all you are. I love you immensely. Happy Birthday, Jackie Boy!


Dear Lukie,

I love having you around. This last year has revealed so much more of your personality, and I am so thankful for that! For the first couple of years, I struggled a little, feeling like I couldn't quite get a grasp on who you are. As a mom, that can be a difficult place to be. But as you have come into yourself a bit more this past year, I feel like we are bonding more than ever, and I know and understand you now. :)

While the other people in our family tend to be combinations of personality types, you are all choleric (from Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer.) Basically that means that you are a go-getter who thinks that you can get anything done all by yourself. If a have a REAL purpose and task to complete, you are happy and if not, watch out! It is highly likely that something from the refrigerator will end up on the carpet, or that bottle of soda you hadn't finished will suddenly be...well...finished, or you may possibly find something broken.

You don't care for toys, and if you are found playing with them it will either be with cars (as long as you have other siblings playing too), or dressing up as a fireman. Building forts are a top pick right about now as it involves constructing and...DEconstructing! You will listen to picture books when we read aloud as a family at night, but otherwise sitting and listening to me read is not nearly purposeful enough for you. I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate reading into your day so that you can be active and productive while listening without being disruptive to others. We'll get there! So because I can't simply hand you a toy or a marker when you start to get fidgety, I have to keep you occupied with jobs around the house. You are the only one to whom I can say, "Do you want a job?" and my question is met with an enthusiastic, "Can I clean the potty?!?!" Indeed, scrubbing the toilet is your favorite thing to do. I will be totally honest here and say that you are the main reason Daddy and I are considering a move to the country. We just don't have enough jobs to keep you occupied around our tiny suburban home. You need a farm animal to care for and some wood to chop! Haha!

I see so many wonderful qualities in you, Luke. You are independent, driven, purposeful, and not afraid of hard work. You are also tender and sweet, and you have a wonderful little sense of humor. I look forward to being able to work side by side with you around the house as I teach you how to do those things that fulfill your little spirit. I have no doubt that one day you will be teaching ME the things you have learned how to do all by yourself. Thank you for your love and example. Happy Birthday, Lukie Boy!!


Dear Wendy Jane,

What a little lady you are turning out to be. There is no doubt about it, you are the nurturer of the family. And you are also all the things I never was as a little girl! You love animals and babies, and you want to take care of everything. You love soft, tender, beautiful things. I love that about you. :) There are a few neighbors who walk their dogs by our court every day and seeing their pets is the highlight of your day. It is only a matter of time before we will have to give in and get a pet of our own. But I admit, we are waiting until the last possible second!

Your relationship with "Wivia" (Olivia) has continued to grow and strengthen over this past year. You just love your big sister so much...sometimes a little more than she would like. ;) For instance, if you had your choice, you would fall asleep laying beside her every night. Liv, however, has different ideas and isn't incredibly fond of sharing her bed. This has been a point of contention, but the past couple of months have been a little better. Other than that, the two of you get along superbly. Both of you enjoy drawing, dancing, and singing and one will often find you both engaged in those activities together.

Despite all that is feminine about you, there is a stubborn, hard streak that comes out every now and then. Generally when you are playing with your brothers. Let it be known...you can hold your own with your wild and physical brothers! They don't dare touch a toy you might even be considering picking up without knowing that you will bring the wrath. To say that you can go from zero to sixty in 2 seconds would be an understatement. You are the queen of all out tantrums. We are working on learning how to calm down, but more importantly, we are learning how to stay calm in the first place. It's a tough thing to do in a large family, and you are very protective of your time and your things.

I believe that you have naturally come up with a way to combat these negative confrontations by pulling away from the group play periodically throughout the day. You have developed a LOVE of books, and can often be found sitting with a pile of them just perusing the pages. In fact, your love of books has brought about a complete lack of naps. That's right. In the last month, you've probably fallen asleep once during nap time. The upside is that you can read quietly by yourself for a good hour in your room. So I'm gonna ride that until you tell me otherwise.

You are such a beautiful little girl outside and in. I enjoy spending time with you, and watching you turn into a wonderful little person. You have blessed our lives,and we are so thankful for you. Happy Birthday, Janie!!


To All of You:

Happy 4th Birthday!! I can not believe that 4 years have passed since you entered the world and our family. You have gone from little bitty babies that were small enough for me to carry all three of you at once, to strong, enthusiastic, smart, loving, and energetic children.  You have undoubtedly brought joy and love to our family in abundance, and for all the chaos of these first few years, we are so very thankful for each of you. The dust is beginning to settle, and our family is forming a culture and routine that will provide us with wonderful memories over the years.

We started homeschooling this year, and I am filled with gratitude that the Lord prepared all of us with the right philosophy and method for our family. And I am grateful for the perfect timing. While I think it was important to our journey as a family for Charlie and Liv to have a (however brief) experience in public school, I am at peace with the fact that you will not have the public school experience. For our family it is the right path, and I think we have all enjoyed these past 6 months as we have made adjustments and worked together to find a rhythm that works for us. I have personally been filled with so much joy as I watch you being able to work and learn side by side your siblings.

Our family is full of special, wonderful people, and it is a true blessing to Daddy and I to be able to watch you grow into the beautiful spirits that you are. We love you are dearly and look forward to this next year with you!

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