Showing posts with label Josie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Josie. Show all posts


Snapshots of daily life

I've been fiddling around with my fancy camera (aka not my phone) and tried to get at least one picture of each girl that represented them where they are right now. Of course, when I thought I had a good one, it didn't transfer well on the computer screen, and the shots I thought were too dark or blurry ended up being pretty good. I have a lot to learn! Either way, here is what I got.

Audrey's been focusing harder on her tasks and imaginative play. She quietly plays out different scenarios and conversations during quiet time that can last for over an hour. I hear her soft voice floating up the stairs, not clear enough to understand the actual words, but enough that I can hear the patterns of conversation and role play. Words are not in short supply, though. She can talk endlessly about the smallest details happening around her. She asks questions that she knows the answers to, waiting for affirmation which she rewards with a huge grin. She hates conflict and much prefers to return to her natural happy state, but also likes to reflect on what happened a little longer than necessary. She's a bit of a grudge holder, which seems to be in contrast to her sweet demeanor. She gives hugs and kisses willingly to those she loves. I hope she never loses that ability to love whole heartedly.

Amelia is walking now, just a little here and there, but her motivation is outweighing her actual ability which means she is stumbling and falling, bumping into hard furniture, acquiring bruises and earning a lot of attention. She knows we get excited and looks to us for affirmation. We are happy to cheer her on, but at the same time, slow down, little lady! I'm not ready for her to be a toddler. She is a fine mix of both girls. On one hand, she wants to go and explore like Josie, but on the other hand, she's happy to be held and will give sweet hugs like Audrey. She can be shy around others and will absolutely  not go to them if asked (which I don't mind, stranger danger and all). She will, though, offer big smiles and waves as long as one of us is near or holding her.

As is normal for our dearest oldest, the characteristics usually attached to certain ages happen about six months early. Now that we are in the homestretch towards Josie turning five, it is clear that this age is no exception. She's developed a certain level of sass and girlish teen-like attitude that cannot be blamed on influences around her. Her independence is causing an inner battle to continue to obey and respect what we ask her to do. She wants to please us but also wants to try things her way. She's learned that she can ignore us or pretend that she can't hear us to get out of doing something right away. She tries to sneak away quietly and then runs at full speed once she's out of our reach. It can be exasperating, like when I'm asking her to stay by me while I car is about to drive by and she decides she can make it to our car across the street before the approaching car passes (yes, I almost had a heart attack, and yes, she felt really bad about it and apologized on her own). At the same time, she's asking great questions, retaining what she's hearing, and applying it in her own ways to her life. She's a great little conversationalist and provides endless entertainment if given the time to talk your year off. She's an independent person from me (us) and it's fascinating and delightfully fun to get to know her. Loving Josie is fierce and intense. She's a spitfire, but that's one of the great things about her.


These kids these days

I've never taken such a long break from blogging. I'm determined to keep at it though, because I don't do baby books and I want to remember these sweet girls for how they are right at this moment. How about a little update on each?

Josie Grace is four years and two months old. We are (re: I am) doing preschool at home with her and she's very enthusiastic. See, that's the thing about Josie. She is absolutely full of life. I've never met a girl that loves to laugh as much as her. She finds joy in all kinds of things, and is happy to giggle with whoever is willing. I'm having to train myself to let her laugh full force without jumping in to stop it. When she was younger, there was a point in her laughing where it usually meant she was losing control, doing something she shouldn't, or about to have an accident. You can see why I tense up when I hear it, right? But nowadays, she is usually just having fun and nothing too crazy is going on.

I will say with absolute certainty that this year is easier than last. She pushed the boundaries so much last year; it was taxing on us all. This year, she still pushes back a little because it's part of her nature to do so, but she is much more respectful. She's willing and happy to help about 60% of the time. There is an undercurrent of attitude that I'm really trying to stay on top of, but most of the the time it's her goofiness that wins out.

Josie has a bit of a hot temper. She can go from perfectly happy to screaming in the blink of an eye of her shoe won't slip on just right or if a little water spills from the fridge filter. She also recovers quickly and doesn't sulk about it. She's got a crazy good imagination and gets lost in her play, often talking or mostly singing louder and louder with no concept of the people around her. 

One huge side effect of a large imagination is the fears that come with it. It seems like she has something new to be afraid of every day. Currently, she's terrified of the dark and being alone (in the light or darkness). We got her nightlight with an on/off switch that really helps her at night, but it's hard to help with the fear of being alone as sometimes you just can't have someone right by your side. At her age, she isn't descriptive with why she's afraid of something, so I've been really trying to keep potential scary things at bay.

Her fears and imagination mirror my own as a child, which makes it easier for me to deal with. Hubby sometimes gets frustrated and thinks she's making it up to get out of something, but I so clearly remember having ridiculous (but very real to me) fears. We won't be doing much for Halloween and TV shows/movies are even more restricted. We talk out what she's afraid of as much as she allows and I've learned that it's better to over explain something so she's not left with a bunch of questions that lead to more scary unknowns. I wouldn't say she's consumed with fears, but they do jump up out of nowhere and I want her to love this life, not fear it.

Josie is a bit of an instigator still, but most of the time, a word from me is enough to stop it. If it's bad enough, quiet time is usually the answer. Being alone (playing, not as a punishment)  is so good for her and she usually comes back more agreeable and refreshed. She still gives random kisses to us (especially Amelia) but is more elusive with hugs and "I love you's" than she used to be. Audrey is her very best friend most of the time, but when they butt heads it can get ugly. A couple of times, now, Josie has bit Audrey hard enough to leave a bruise. They have been known to kick and hit each other, proving that they are just like every other sibling group out there. Thankfully, most of the time they get along fantastically.

If it isn't already obvious, Josie is my girl. She prefers me 90% of the time and will tell hubby if he's doing something wrong based on how I do it.  You can imagine how much he loves that. I'm so thankful that we don't butt heads often and that I get to spend my days with her.

Audrey Joy is two years ten months old and is still the sweetest little girl. Since she was able to smile, she's been eager to share it with everyone. Her blue eyes are so light and bright and she has perfect curls in her hair. I hope she never hates them. Audrey can be so funny with her two year old behavior. I joke that it's like her body tells her to act like a two year old but it's against her very nature to be having a tantrum. She will scream and fuss or pout for a minute or two (not nearly as long as most two year olds) and then declare, "I'm happy!" with a big smile and moves on without looking back to whatever it was she was mad about. Once in a while, her emotions will be so strong about who knows what and she'll cry way too hard for a ridiculous amount of time. Nothing will help except time and she won't have any clue as to why she's upset. I feel for her at those times. So much emotion building up inside, and she doesn't like it but has to learn how to deal with it. Again, most of the time she declares "I'm happy now!" and it's over, but sometimes she just needs to go to bed and start with a brand new day upon waking.

She can be very shy when around anybody that isn't family, but she's also surprised me with being brave enough to joyfully, loudly share something with someone else. Usually, she'll do this if hubby or I is right there. She'll share a random tidbit that makes no sense to them, but is obviously a big deal to her. It's pretty cute because most of the time the person she's sharing with knows she's usually so shy. She still hides in our shoulders or refuses to answer questions but she's getting better as she gets older. Sometimes, she'll start out excited, like at a park with our friends, but then end up getting more shy as the playdate goes on. She'll then seek me out and hang out by me for the rest of it if she's not in the right mood. It can be frustrating since I know it's better for her to interact with the other kids, but I also know she does try and that sometimes it's just her being a little too young for the others or she's just having an off day.

While she can be shy, she can also be fearless. She will jump into situations full force that we never thought she'd be up for. I wouldn't be surprised if she's the girl bungee jumping and jumping out of planes. She just gets excited for things that would be scary to others. She also seems to be more athletic than one would expect (if they know who her mom is - ha!). She has perfect form with somersaults, and could catch a ball much quicker than I expected when we taught her how. Her coordination has always been on point, but I didn't expect it to affect her athletically as well. We'll see if that turns into anything.

Audrey can be silly, too, but most of the time she follows with what everyone around her is doing. She is talking just as much as Josie and can be loud and chatty at home even though that doesn't show up outside of home. Her phrases are adorable, as most two year olds' are, and we are constantly hiding smiles or laughs because of what she says. I have to be careful to avoid embarrassing her because she'll clam right up if she senses that she did something too silly. For example, she has a sweet way of complimenting those around her about the strangest things. She'll tell someone, "I like your shoes!" even if they are just old flip flops, or she'll tell me, "I like your Elsa braid!" when my hair is in a plain ponytail. She is just so great at making others feel special! I don't want to squelch that, so I try to just say, "oh thank you, Audrey!" and move on. It's just my favorite thing.

Amelia just turned seven  months old, so I'll do a detailed update on her soon.


Josie turns four (all the parties)

Josie girl is four years old! Her birthday weekend was spent celebrating her life with all the family. Hubby and I really want the emphasis of birthdays to be on that more than parties with friends, presents, and material things in general (fancy cakes, party supplies, location). We still do parties, although mostly it's just our small families, to keep it simple, and we still do presents but we try hard to keep them purposeful (one or two instead of a bunch of little presents). We felt like this weekend was a good example of that! (disclaimer: I've noticed that each family that we know and love celebrates a little differently, and having big parties with friends, fancy cake, presents, etc is great and a lot of fun! Just not for us.)

On Saturday, Josie and cousin Dean celebrated with the Deyles. The kids played a little in a kiddie pool but the weather was rainy and not all that warm, so eventually they came back inside. We ate a great meal, enjoyed cake, opened presents, and snuck back outside to play a little more before going home.

The next morning, Josie came running out of her room (so sweet how excited she was) and gave us the biggest grin and hugs when she saw us in the kitchen. Daddy was making her pancakes, her choice for breakfast. I think once she saw him doing that, she realized that all of her sweet four year old dreams were coming true. (She picked mac n cheese for lunch and spaghetti for dinner. Love this age where their requests are easy.)

After church, my parents and sister joined us for the afternoon to continue celebrating. We made a purple cake (again, her request) by mixing vanilla cake mix and grape soda pop. It was strange and wouldn't come out of the pan in one piece, so we ended up making a trifle cake with whipped cream in between each layer. I made the frosting runny by adding more milk so that it could be poured over the top of it, and surprisingly it tasted pretty good. Good enough, in fact, that there was none left at the end of the night. 

I got out my Canon camera and took a few pictures of her in her favorite dress (purple, flowers, twirly, of course it was her favorite). It was so sunny that I couldn't avoid shadows, but I do love seeing her giggly, sweet spirit in each shot.

Audrey wins "best sister award" for sure. She was so excited for Josie to have all of this attention. When asked, she would quickly say that it was Josie's birthday, not hers. She shouted in glee while Jo opened presents and happily clapped and sang along while we sang "Happy Birthday." I wonder how many years she'll be this supportive (and not a little jealous)?

Both girls put on their share of chalk make up before we took pictures

Holding the card she got from great Grandpa Lekang
I know I said that we don't want the emphasis to be on gifts, and it truly wasn't, but it should be noted that I don't think we could have gotten better gifts for her. Each gift was so very personalized, and she has loved all of them pretty equally since. Hubby and I got her a kid sized guitar, castle blocks, and a little royal family doll set to go with it. My parents got her a speaker that she can use to listen to her favorite music. It has a mini SD card that we reload with what she wants and she can carry it around inside or out while being in control of it. The quality is decent so it doesn't drive me crazy.

Grandpa and Grandma Deyle got her a basket for her bike (she keeps trying to sneak toys out to the garage to put in it) and her her Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Greg got her a Frozen purse and a felt princess board book. Auntie Lara got her a couple of the little Legos sets (a first for our house) and the girls sit and play with them for hours when baby sister is sleeping. She also got her kinetic sand, but I quickly put that away for a rainy day (or all of winter). It was a quiet week in our house with all of these fun toys to play with! I think the reason their attention spans lasted longer with these toys is because they all encouraged a lot of imaginative play.  Seriously, if we have to have more toys (we have so many already), thats exactly what I'd prefer we get. And obviously Josie loves them too.

For now, you can find Josie sitting quietly in her room listening to music (for hours, its a little unnerving when I don't hear anything else for so long... I expect a huge mess in there but am always pleasantly surprised when she's listening to music instead of destroying her room)...

or she also likes to sit in the living room, listening to music, while she builds castles over and over again. Sometimes Audrey helps, but most of the time it's just her and her little brain working hard.

I hope to post a more descriptive post of what Josie is like these days soon. For now, though, I want to just say that four year olds are much much much easier and more fun to be around than three year olds. :) 


She's a dancer

She did it! After an entire semester of her avoiding dance while still going to dance class, she got on stage and did her very best. To say we are proud of her would be an understatement for sure.

Josie's always liked the idea of dance. She loves tutu's, she loves to listen to classical music (ballet music as she calls it), she loves to look at pictures of "princess ballerinas," and she really likes to watch others dance. You'd think all of that together would lead to her loving dance class, but it just didn't click. 

Each week, I'd basically drag her to class, tell her we're committed until the end of the recital, and wait in the waiting area hoping she wouldn't come out crying. She only ever came out once, the week her dance teacher was gone and there was someone she didn't know, but she never fully participated and definitely didn't seem to enjoy it.

When I say she didn't participate, I mean she would run around, turn the lights on and off much to the dismay of the teacher, sit on the side, watch the other kids, or put her tap shoes on (with the other kids, at the right time) and stomp around. Most of it is partly because she is just young. She doesn't understand a classroom setting like that, and didn't seem to find any reason to follow along. She's strong willed, that one. 

But another part of me didn't think it was all age related. She didn't enjoy it, plain and simple. I also realized that it would be hard to get her to dance once we had the baby, so I decided that we would be done after the recital. I just wanted her to get through the recital.

this face...

She loved wearing make up (much to her daddy's horror), and I'm pretty sure she was all about the lipstick, hence this face:

Watching the other kids, absolutely enthralled with their performances:

The night before the recital, I spent some time with her rehearsing her dance (I had a video of the other kids dancing to their recital song earlier in the year) and then left her to watch the video 20+ times since that's what she really wanted to do.

I am not sure if she just knew the dance from watching all year, or from watching the night before, but she got on the stage at the dress rehearsal and did her best, watching "Anna" (one of the older girls who was dressed as Anna and led them through their routine) and the other kids around her. There didn't seem to be any  fear of being in front of so many people, bright lights, and a huge stage. Who is this child??

I cried, you guys. I cried. She was so happy to be performing on stage and gave it her all. The performance also went well, although she didn't quite dance as much as she did during the recital. The best part of all was right at the end, while they were all holding hands and walking out. Josie was the last one (I held my breath as the girl next to reached for her hand... but she didn't object) and as everyone clapped, she turned, smiled, and gave a little wave. The star of the show, everyone. 

But in all seriousness, I was and am proud of her for overcoming her dislike or fear of the class itself and for going in the classroom every week even when she didn't want to. All of these little obstacles in life build character and it's fun to see her developing into such an awesome little person. I can't wait to see who she becomes (with all of that strong-willed, stage loving personality).

She found the dress up photo both area and as always, it was a crowd pleaser, at least for this little lady.