Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Little Goal-Setter

We were at a friend's birthday party last weekend at Chuck E. Cheese and a dolphin sticker project caught her eye in the prizes.  She noted the "cost": 500 tickets.  Seeing as how we usually leave that place with 90 or so tickets, that's a pretty lofty goal.  But Avery is completely undaunted by larger-than-life challenges, as witnessed by her Girl Scout cookie goal (which she met as I stood by and shook my head in wonder).

So, 500 tickets.  That was the goal.  She believes in herself and sets her eye on the prize.  She stays absolutely optimistic; she never worries or doubts herself.  And her excitement is contagious, so before too long, her goal became our mutual mission.

We ran out of tokens and took our tickets to be counted.  350.  So close, but so far away.  Avery's heart fell momentarily, but she quickly bounced back: "Maybe we can save these and get it next time?"

But then we found a coupon for 10 more tokens.  I doubted 10 tokens would earn us 150 tickets, but I was not about to be the voice of reason in this little girl's dream.

10 tokens later, our total ticket count was 410.  We took our tickets to the counter and I asked if I could pay for the rest of the tickets that we didn't earn.  The lady behind the counter saw Avery's hopeful face and decided that all of Avery's work was worth the dolphin sticker project.  Avery had reached her goal!

Avery is the embodiment of the idea that where there's a will, there's a way.  She makes me so proud as she takes on challenges that are just beyond easy reach and never gives up.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First Birthday!

Q: What more could a birthday girl want than food in excess, people to share laughs with, and sugar aplenty?

A: Doing it two days in a row!

When Mom planned my actual birthday and party, she thought, "What does Reese love more than anything?"  It's an easy answer: food.  And people.  Lots of both.  So, food at Nana's on my birthday, with special visitors Mimi and Gran and then a party at a breakfast buffet and friends to share it with for my party the next day.  It was everything a Birthday Cutie could have hoped for!

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice... that's what I am made of!

Love,  Birthday Girl Reese

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Reese!

There is a look that my older girls give me when they think they are getting away with something.  It's a look that says, "Is this for real?  Could it be this good and still be true?"  Usually they give me a look like this when they find out they get to sleepover at Nana and D's house or when they're eating a huge ice cream cone.

I feel like I've had that look on my face the entire last year.  That look, that, "Is this for real?" feeling... that's how I have felt about having Reese.  I just cannot fathom how bubbly, how easy, how precious she is... she is too good to be true, and yet she's real.

We've said before that Reese is stolen joy.  We didn't know we wanted a third child; we didn't know we were missing a family member.  But once she came into our world, we knew: life could not have been complete without this piece of overflowing joy.  We feel like we're getting away with something too amazing and too blissful to be true, like we've stolen a little piece of heaven.  But she was freely given to us from the Father of Heavenly Lights, and for our part, we are overwhelmingly grateful.

Reese is the easiest baby I've ever met.  She is still a person... she has feelings and needs and desires.  But she has such an easy-going personality and delights in whatever life brings her way.  The lessons most adults spend years trying to learn, Reese was born understanding: it's okay if life isn't all about you; there is fun to be had no matter where you are; being tired or hungry or wet isn't the end of the world... I could go on and on.  Reese has the bubbly joy for life, the deeply inquisitive nature, and the magnetism towards people that any great leader has.  But she also has a quietness, a tenderness and a willingness to relax that any great peacemaker has.  What she becomes in her life is still, appropriately, a question mark, and as she grows, she will change, to be sure.  But the innate gifts God has put in her are beautiful and wonderful to behold.

As she's gotten older, more of her personality has come to life: she's more verbal about excitement, wants and needs.  She likes to show off, to explore and to express herself.  She prefers Mommy above all else, but food will almost always win her over when Mommy isn't available.

Reese at age one is busy, she's constant, she's expressive... but she's still the easiest, most joyful baby I know.  And I am so, so glad for the stolen joy and the borrowed love we've been given.

Reese, you make our family complete.  Happy birthday, Baby Girl.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Fun List

My Mama and I love to make lists.  So, we made a list of fun things we can do this summer.  We started on the first day of summer with painting pottery and are still in the middle of checking things off of our list.

Mama loves the list because it helps us when summer-sibling-stuff starts happening, and on days when it seems like all we want to do is watch tv.  I love it because checking things off of a list is so rewarding (I added a few things after we did them just so I could check them off!), and because I got to go to the "dinosaur butterfly museum" and to Clay's and because there are lots of fun crafts on our list.  Kate loves the list because she got to add "walk to the donut shop" and she loves the experiments, like Cloud Soap.  One thing we all loved was making Fizzy Paint.  Too cool!

There are still plenty of things to do on our list and plenty of days left in summer.  I'm really looking forward to making Cloud Dough, Kate wants to have a game of Balloon Ball, and Mama thinks the Nature Scavenger Hunt sounds fun.  It'll be a toss up to see if the days of summer or the items on our list run out first!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

A dog named Josh

There once was a man.

This man had many, many beautiful girls.

And two small, unmanly wiener dogs.

This man longed for a real dog; a man's dog.  This man wanted a dog to take camping and hunting and   to train (rather than spoil rotten, which is what happened to the two small dogs).

Enter a dog named Josh.

Josh happened into our lives quite by accident.

He's a man's dog, that's for sure.  And such a good dog already.  Loves his kennel.  Is already getting the idea of potty training.  And is so, so lovable.

Josh is named after Gary Paulsen's favorite dog.  Our man read the book, "My Life in Dog Years" aloud to Avery when she was a babe.  And the story that stuck with him the most was the one about Josh, the dog who saved Gary Paulsen's life.  And thus began the longing.  And the inspiration for the namesake.

The original Josh

The day we met Gary Paulsen, author and Iditarod racer

There is some question as to our sanity.  Three kids under the age of 6, a cat, and now three dogs.  But Josh fits into our circus quite well and, while we may be crazy, we're also incredibly blessed.

Our girls came to help pick Josh out.  Ree squealed in ear-splitting tones every time a puppy looked at her. Excitement?  We think so.  Avery wanted a girl dog so bad.  But this is daddy's dog and so a boy it would be.  Kate can't say the "j" sound or the "sh" sound very well, so she prefers to call him "Oscar's brother", which is much easier to say.

We love little Josh.  And I'm pretty sure this is fair play, given the princess games and pink that this man's man is surrounded by.

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