Friday, July 15, 2011

Faith is Eight

I love spending time with my grandkids...lots of time. It takes a great deal of energy and I'm usually exhausted after they leave or when I return home, but it is worth it...every time.
I'm still getting to know them and I'd like you to know them, too.

This post is about Faith. She turned eight in May and will go to a new school in Georgia in August. Third grade. How can that be? She was just a baby a couple of years ago.

Faith has a lot of energy. She loves to try new things...she wants to figure them out, do well at them. She is competitive...loves to win, but she also gets pleasure in just learning how to do it and do it well. This summer one of the things was learning to kayak on her own. We had a pastor donate a solo kayak and her Uncle Paul spent about 30-40 minutes teaching her how to stop, to turn corners, and to guide the kayak where you want it to go. She spent a good deal of time practicing.

She daring...going down the BIG slides at Water Parks since she was three, doing flips off the diving board, and flying off the high dive without any hesitation. At Christmas she took one day of lessons and the second day spent the day with Opa going down green runs, and even a blue run.

Her eyes were full of wonder and excitement as we went up in the hot air balloon recently...not a bit of fear and worry.

Faith laughs easily.

She loves to read.

She also loves soccer and does well playing.

Faith has been doing puzzles since she was about two, I think. She can figure them out and see how things fit. By the time I have the edge pieces sorted for her, she has the edge finished. She sticks with it ~ doesn't quit. Sometimes she gets frustrated when she can't figure something out ~ like the game of CLUE. We played many times this summer and she never won once, but she was willing to listen to tips and ideas on how to figure out who, what, and where. She wanted to learn...she kept asking to play.

Over Christmas I heard her say that someone told her she was too young for Yahtzee. I said, "Faith, you would love Yahtzee. You can learn!" And before I knew it, she was beating me.

Faith is a generous person. I often bring or have on hand a craft the girls can work on. This trip she had just completed one project with Perler Beads when she came up with the idea of making something for her new friend in Georgia, a neighbor. Before long, she was also making some for his brother and sister.

But, she is also frugil. Saving money is another thing Faith does faithfully. She just opened her own savings account and has over $130.00 in it already. But, I've also see her offer to buy a stuffed animal for Avery as well as herself on a trip to the Dells a couple years ago. Money hard earned, but she was willing to share.

There's lots more, but I'll stop for now. I'm sure I'll share more over time as she grows and develops and matures. But for now...what a girl!

Don't you just love her already?

Avery at Five

One of the first things you see, hear, learn about Avery is ~ she LOVES hot pink. Much of what is wears is hot pink. I took her shopping for a "first day of school" outfit and all she would look at is hot pink...shorts, tops, dresses, skirts, swimsuits...doesn't pink.

The girl knows what she likes (and doesn't like) food, clothes, activities. She has no trouble expressing her opinion. This spring she tried organized UPWARD soccer. Not so much. We got to see her play when we were in VA in May. She holds back, is hesitant to get in there and kick the ball. No aggressive. Yet, one afternoon at practice her coach put her in charge of a series of sprints across the field. She was the only girl. She said, "GO" and was off and running. I got pictures of her...out in front of all the boys, smiling from ear to ear, running like a deer.

For a long time Avery had a coy little smile. She was quiet, but you knew the wheels were turning. She often let Faith run the show. Not so much any more. She's more willing to speak up and speak her mind.

Avery can be a bit determined. In a little different way than Faith. More of a stubbornness. Maybe it comes with being a second/middle child.

Avery loves to play card games and board games....over and over.

She loves to have a notebook nearby to draw pictures, make mazes, record things.

At this point in her life, Avery is NOT a neatnik. Will be interesting to see how she keeps her room now that the girls have their own rooms. They have a Jack and Jill bathroom and Faith is not real happy about that. I think as she grows, she will like being neat and will do better organizing. It's in her genes.

In August Avery will start kindergarten. She will get on the bus with Faith in the morning and head off to school. She's a little nervous about it but I think she will do just fine. She may hold back a bit at first, but before you know it she'll be in charge.

Avery loves to play games and do activities on the web and would do it for long periods of time if you let her...content in her own little world, working her way through the websites so easily. It's a whole new generation.

She loves her brother and her sister.

Have you noticed, she also loves to strike cute little poses when I take her picture?

She is fun to be around. You would enjoy her!

Ryan at 18 Months

Ryan comes next in line at 18 months. He has miles of smiles. Just smile at him or point a camera his way and he'll oblige. Right from the start. It was amazing. It's been a blessing to Gary and Aimee as he is the youngest and 4 years younger than Avery.

I think for a long time each and every one of his needs was met for him by one of his sisters. He had it made. It helped that he was so easy going and happy. And, of course, there were the smiles.

He was so proud of himself when he learned to walk. He would just giggle as he took faltering steps. Great fun. Easy to be around.

Ryan loves animals and seems to be fearless around them. He has been around animals at Meadow Farm and Maymont Park in Richmond. This trip we went to Lambs Farm in Libertyville, IL. He just sticks his hand out to them, puts his fingers to their mouths, pets them, chases after them, and even brushes their fur. Ever smiling! A delight to watch.

He loved the train and the old fashioned carousel at Lambs Farm as well.

You know when he's a little tired ~ his thumb goes in his mouth and his other hand grabs his ear. It's cute and he's happy. What can I say?

He's still pretty young and I don't feel like I know too much about him yet. I know he makes me smile!

I sure do love him! You will too.

Anders Nearly Three

Anders is all boy...rough and tumble, loves ball games of all kinds (soccer, basketball, football, baseball), and now golf. He has all the equipment and loves to drag it all out of the garage and do it all.

He likes to go on walks...we count basketball hoops as we go. He knows where every one is any direction we go in their twisty-windy neighborhood.

He loves going to the park...any park. He is daring as he climbs, jumps, slides, and swings.

Anders loves his little brother and smothers him with hugs and kisses.

Anders loves Haiku ~ their Black Lab. The dog has always been quite gentle and patient with this busy, bustling booming little boy.

He also has a sweet and tender side. One of the first days we were there in March, he looked up from the stroller and said, "I'm so glad you came, Oma." Just about made me weep. I replay that moment in my mind often. Maybe he'll be a romantic!

Last week we went to Rockford, IL to see my Dad. After lunch together we went to a pool party at my uncle's home. Several times Anders got out of the water and walked over to Great Grandpa and struck up a conversation with him. It was so sweet...and my Dad reacted in kind. Got some cute photos of the two of them, head to head.

Anders will be three in August. He's smart as a whip (where did that saying come from?). He has 2 teachers for parents and they have spent a lot of time reading to him, patiently taking him to website to learn his letters, sounds, and numbers long before he turned two. He has some great toys that teach him things, too.

I find him easy to be around. Active. Fun. Independent. Energetic. Curious.

Quite a guy. You'll like him.

Cade Turns One

Cade celebrated his first birthday the week we were together. He was so cute. At first he liked the look of his mini-cake. His hands went up like he was going to attack...maybe he thought is was mud. When he actually had it in his hands he changed his mind and let out a scream of distaste. When he put it in his mouth, he changed his mind again. He's a cutie.

But you hardly know he is around. He smiles...a lot. He's happy...a lot. She screams...a little. He also takes lots of naps, so he isn't around a lot. So, I don't know him too well at all...yet.

I felt really badly after we had been together at Christmas. There were hardly any pictures of Cade ~ a few of his carrier with him inside, protected from the cold of Colorado.

He definately has a look of Ekedahl about him...his hair line and coulick loooks just like Jim's at a young age. His eyes are huge but they squint when he has a broad smile. He's a cutie.

He's starting to get around crawling. His Uncle Paul taught us all how to teach a little one to crawl...put out a trail of Cheerios. He finally had a real reason to go!

He gets along with anyone, goes with the flow, sleeps almost anywhere (except in the car).

Watch for more on this little cutie!
Another grand adventure has been in the making for quite some time. For years Faith has wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride ~ and we have been waiting for Avery to be tall enough to join us. We finally went over by Madison, Wi on July 4th! Some day Anders, Ryan, and Cade will go with Opa!

It was a gorgeous evening and we had a great ride. Andy and Aimee were with the chase car and enjoyed seeing us go up, up and away!

Faith and Avery went with Oma and Opa for a couple of days on the White Iris. They enjoyed every minute...posing on the deck, taking turns at the wheel. using the head, eating lunch on the water, sleeping in their own little berth. At one point Avery said, "Oma, I don't want you to ever leave would have to sell your boat." Great fun!