Happy 7th, Dear Daughter

My dearest firstborn, happy 7th birthday to you!

This has been a year of many firsts. Your first real chapter book. Your first lost tooth. You can do cartwheels pretty well now. And the no handed ones that always give me a panic attack! Not to mention you worked so hard at school and at activities like swimming that you’re getting quite good at (you have a pretty decent butterfly!). You have blossomed in your role as big sister and your brother loves nothing more than to follow you around.
I hope you always remain as carefree as you were when I took this photo. But there were some firsts of self consciousness I saw creeping in this year too. For the first time you said you were worried someone would make fun of the JoJo cup you like to drink out of. You stand in front of the mirror, wet down your hair and try to brush out your beautiful curls so your hair is straight like your friends. For the first time you told me that you wished God didn’t make you as sensitive as you are.
My dear, big 7 year old you are perfect in every way that God created you. My heart breaks a little bit as you grow older not just because you are becoming more independent and less of a little girl with each year…but because I know that before long you’ll be tugging at your swimsuit in the mirror wondering how you measure up. There is no measure dear one – you were made to be exactly how you are and my love for you literally makes my heart feel as if it will burst.
For now, I love watching you carelessly twirl around until you are dizzy with tiny glimpses of your baby cheeks still visible here and there. And I treasure knowing that we have a little more time with you as our little girl.
Happy birthday dearest daughter. You are our everything. ❤

the same but different

I was watching my kids play in the summer rain last week. They were both excited to get out into it. We’ve had a big heatwave in Michigan; and even though it was a humid and muggy day, the rain was welcome.

S ran out and was jumping, laughing and spinning in circles. C strolled out with an umbrella and took it all in. Watching S, looking up, sticking his hand out.

They were both enjoying, but in their own way. And it was a reminder to me of how there is more than one way to do something (or enjoy it). S wanted to get drenched and feel it up close. C wanted to feel it – but in his own, guarded way.

It’s a bit ironic because their personalities are actually the opposite – S is more guarded, whereas C just jumps right in without a care in the world.

So it was fun to watch. And oh to be a kid again!

ice cream before dinner

Today, we had ice cream BEFORE dinner.

Yes, I know it probably ruined their appetite.

Yes, I know it will be harder to say “no” to a before dinner treat the next time because “we did it last time.”

But you know what? We had a GREAT day together. They got along. They left the play place when I said it was time to go. And my goodness it was NINETY degrees today!

So yeah…we had ice cream before dinner (I did too)!

hope in the face of grief

Our neighborhood was shaken by a loss of a fellow mom nearly 7 months ago. It was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever been a part of. Not just because she was a friend of mine, lived two doors down and our kids played together all the time – but because it was (and still is) one of the most tragic things I’ve seen a family deal with.

But in the midst of it all, something small but good has happened that signifies HOPE. Our neighborhood has banded together.

People invite the father and two small kids over for dinner multiple times a week.

Neighbors set up a weekend playdate schedule so the dad and kids would have something planned to do every Saturday morning.

People shoveled walkways. Helped repair swingsets. Brought trash cans back up the driveway.

And much more.

It made my husband, who doesn’t typically show much emotion, cry as he told someone “I now know that if something ever happened to me, this neighborhood would help take care of my wife and kids.”

We are grateful to have stumbled upon this village that is now a part of our intertwined lives over the past 4 years since we moved here. But the sense of hope that I’ve now seen goes much further than that, and I’m grateful to witness it.

I see you my little

I can literally see you growing before my eyes.

Lately you’ve been into Rainbow Looms. You sit and make these bracelets and can’t wait to show them off. Your level of concentration at this newfound hobby is something I haven’t witnessed in you before.

The other day one of your friends was sad.  For the first time, I felt that you were really, really affected by the fact that she was hurt. That you couldn’t make her feel better. And so you wrote her a letter and asked me to walk it across the street to give to her mom.

Today we were at a friend’s house for a pool party. Daddy asked if he could come swim and play with you. You said not now – I’m playing with my friends, but you can come watch. And I saw a slight pang in your daddy’s eyes. “A short window,” he said to someone.  “You only get a short window.”

You are becoming fiercely independent. And I grow more and more proud of you every day. Not just at how hard you worked in first grade this year, but at the person, the real person you are becoming.

I see you, my almost 7 year old, and at the same time I feel you slipping away. I know you will fly on your own someday my little…I’m just grateful I have you here under my wing for a bit longer.

picky eater tested spinach muffins

I wanted to share a picky eater muffin recipe that was shared with me!  The only change I made is that I added chocolate chips. These muffins have an entire 6 oz box of spinach and NO added sugars (you use honey!).  My kids devour them!

Recipe is from Super Healthy Kids and you can find it here! They don’t last long in my house.

and first grade was done

S came off the bus the last day of school and gave me a silly look that said “you had better not spray me with that silly string!” A few of us moms had cans ready to spray the kids when they got off the bus. I had warned them my daughter, who doesn’t do well with surprises, may not like it, so we knew to skip her.

But then she ran right past me and into the house. I chatted with a couple of the other kids, gave some last day of school hugs, and then followed her in. I found her sobbing in her room.

“I’m sorry you’re sad honey. Are you sad because you’re going to miss all your class friends? I know it won’t be the same but we can set up playdates!”

She told me, “a little, but I’m really going to miss my teacher and I really love Ms. W.”

And I got it. I cried after school every year until about 6th grade. I had all the feels she did. Big feelings.  I told her about the time I kissed the wall of my school because I was going to miss it so much. So I let her cry, let her talk about Ms. W, and then we talked about all the fun stuff we would do this summer.

Before long she was excited to empty out her backpack and show me all the notebooks and binders she brought home.

And just like that first grade is done.  I feel like it was just a few months ago that she was born. But here she is, turning seven in August.  Time to make that summer bucket list.