Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Collier


This post is way overdue.  But the reason that I have been slacking on posting about my precious boy and his big entrance into his 4th year (that's turning 3, by the way) is probably because of him.  I mean, who wants to sit in front of a computer screen when they can stare at this pretty face in person!!?  

Collier has had a great year and I have absolutely loved watching him grow into a little boy.  We still have a long way to go before I will stop calling him (and treating him like) my baby…(that includes diapers, pacis and his crib!) but it is pretty obvious that he has graduated from toddlerhood and making his way into boyhood.  His increase in vocabulary and fine motor skills has been so fun to witness. 

There is something about him that captures your heart, which must be the why we have survived the moodswings, the stubbornness, and the screams. When he is sweet, man there is nothing sweeter.  And when he wants to give you some love, it's cozy snuggles and precious smiles.  

Best ways to describe Collier at 3 so far:
Beautiful, smart, strong-willed, interesting, cautious, committed, obsessive, gentle, exhausting, perfect.

He has the most adorable little voice and I could sit and listen to him chat (most conversations involve trucks) all day. Some of the notable phrases that he says often:

"That's salwee." (= that's silly)

"Don't say that word!" (= don't say that to me or don't make that face or don't laugh)

"Kay?" (= ok? (says a lot!))

"I don't have to do that."

"It's spicy!" = says about any sugary or flavored drink or something that doesn't taste quite right to him! Only water for this guy!

"Don't check me." (after pooping…could sit in a dirty diaper for hours)

And my all time favorite: "I want to carry you." I carry him a lot.  Way more than I should, but I know it's not forever and one day I won't be carrying him at all, so I'm soaking it up!

Collier has 3 main obsessions that have not wavered since he was very young.  Those are trucks, puzzles and drums.  This kid knows what he likes and can be extremely focused when playing with any of these things.  

If it has wheels, he's all about it.  We read lots of books to Collier, but most of them involve trucks.  And when he's not playing with trucks he's probably watching them on the iPad.  He's never been one to get too interested in watching cartoons, but show him some youtube videos of real-life trucks and he's a happy dude.  When we drive around town, most of the time we spend commenting on the different vehicles on the road.  He is an encyclopedia for all vehicles and knows way more about them (especially construction trucks) than I do.  He loves making his own construction scenes outside using sand, dirt, rocks, or whatever makes the biggest mess.  

When I found an adorable construction worker Halloween costume (complete with tattooed arms!), I knew he would love it!  Because of his obsession with stop signs, I decided to make him his own, and that was his key to happiness on Halloween!
Big sis, unicorn, always watching out for her brother.
There was no doubt in our minds that Collier would be getting some drums for his 3rd birthday.  We looked into getting him a real drum set because all he wants to do is make beats on anything that slightly resembles a drum in our house…trash cans, pots, tabletops.  And then I thought better of it when I remembered just how small our house is and that a 3 year old plus a real drum set could equal my loss of sanity!
We got him a drum mat instead!  He likes it, but still prefers trash cans, pots and tabletops.  
One of my favorite memories.  On his birthday I made him a small drum cake.  One of the presents he received was a new firetruck with a ladder and he decided it needed to be there to tend to the fire on the candle (makes sense).  Here is is screaming because he is waiting for the fireman to get rid of the fire (and meanwhile refusing to blow out the candle).  He's no dummie.
Christmas came just 10 days after his birthday and Santa made his wish come true with a new firetruck.  Poor kid was getting over a stomach bug, so he was not feeling so hot, but the firetruck helped.
The family went on a fun New Year's trip to Kiawah Island with our best friends, The Kneisels.  Here are the cute little "Godbrothers" playing with Collier's new firetruck.
Finally we had a fun snowstorm!  All kids enjoyed playing outside in it this year, especially Collier, since snow is the perfect stuff for his trucks to push around!

About a month after his real birthday I decided to throw a little party for my sweet truck loving boy.  It was so much fun to transform the bakement into a construction zone and to see his face light up when he saw it!
I got some great ideas for this party with some internet searching - here is a fun and easy way to pound "nails" (golf tees) into "wood" (styrofoam).
A little Collier drool helped to blow those candles out!
One of Collier's other favorite things is chocolate!  He couldn't wait to dig into the giant chocolate bunny on Easter morning!


Happy boy at the neighborhood Easter egg hunt!

Beautiful Spring weather meant an impromptu picnic at Freedom Park on a Saturday morning.
I am so thankful for the love these two kiddos have for each other.  And mostly, I am so proud of my girl and impressed by her patience and kind heart that she shows Collier every day.  Collier requires more patience than most.  He loves his sister but he is not always so nice to her.  She is ALWAYS nice to him and goes out of her way to make him happy and to protect him.  My parents might say they had a similar experience with their kids.  And I was the Collier.
Isabelle loves to read to Collier before bed. And he loves it just as much!
Sibling snuggles
One of those mornings at the playground over Spring Break when my heart could just burst with love and happiness!  They were 2 peas in a pod the whole week.  I'm a crazy mama, but I honestly didn't want them to go back to school.

Bathtime giggles.


One of Collier's favorite activities is to "have a band."  He mostly plays the drum, but occasionally switches to other instruments.  Isabelle is always enlisted as his vocalist.
My boy and his truck.  
He's got my heart!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Isabelle

This school year marked a big transition for us.  It's one of those moments in your child's life that you don't quite realize is such a big deal until you're there.  And I'm sure in a few years I'll look back and say, "I thought that was a big deal? Ha!"  

Isabelle started kindergarten.

A year ago all I really thought about kindergarten was that it's just the next stage of school that every child encounters.  Some of us parents do have to make a decision about whether or not to send our child to kindergarten.  I was one of those parents since Isabelle is a July baby and it would be a feasible option to hold her back a year.  I waited for there to be a reason to and there just didn't seem to be one, so I just figured we'd send her along with the rest of her little neighborhood buddies who are close in age.  She is a rule follower and a teacher's dream.  She is shy but she loves making new friends and I didn't believe her quiet nature would be a reason to keep her in preschool longer.  And amazingly, she's TALL!  I keep waiting for her growth to slow down just a bit, but unlike her mom and dad (who were always the shortest in our class), Isabelle is one of the tallest in her class!  So, for many reasons we decided that she should be fully prepared for kindergarten this year.  

Her first day:

But this whole kindergarten thing is not for the faint of heart.  I'm not a complete fool…as the day approached I realized there would be some sadness and tears.  I knew that a transition from 3.5 hours of school 4 days a week to 8 hours of school 5 days a week would probably take a tole on her little body.  So I was prepared for her behavior to change.

I was an emotional wreck!  I survived day 1 just fine.  I don't even think I cried.  I was just so proud of the way Isabelle walked confidently into her classroom and hugged me goodbye.  And I was SO excited to pick her up…

Here she is walking out of school on the first day!

But the weeks after that day were filled with so much anxiety and sadness!  I had a pit in my stomach each morning and it was the greatest relief when I got to see her smiling face at the end of the day.  I started to regret sending her off to kindergarten so soon, wishing that my kids could be in school together for one more year. I even thought as far away as college and realized that she would be leaving the nest that much earlier.  I could have had one more year with my 2 kids at home!  I worried that she wasn't quite up to speed academically as some of the other kids.  And then I got REALLY worried when her teacher still didn't know her name on day 10 (!!??!!).  My little wallflower - the quiet, obedient child.  The one that doesn't get noticed?

Well, mama bear came out and I made sure that child of mine got noticed.  On the third week of school I confronted the teacher about not knowing her name (she was literally asking to be reminded of her name when she greeted her at the door each morning!) and also relayed the information to the principal.  This was not ok!

Her teacher made some noticeable changes, and eventually I decided that the only thing that mattered this year is that Isabelle is happy and learning.  And she was.  I needed to let go and trust.  That's what kindergarten (and so much of parenting) is all about…but it is SOOO hard!  Especially when you're a control freak like me!

But there's a few things I've learned about this girl of mine in the past 5 years that puts my mind at ease while learning to let go.

My Isabelle has a heart of gold.  She is kind and thoughtful.  She loves being around people and she is energized by social circumstances.   She is committed to her friends and eager to make more.  She is a sweet friend and will go out of her way to help others.  She is IN LOVE with her family and most of all her cousins.  She is the most patient big sister a kid could ask for.  She loves to make her brother happy and she puts up with a whole lot of little brother annoyances!  She is not a "social climber," drawn towards all types of people and especially younger kids (and obsessed with animals!).  She is my pride and joy!

My girl is of course not without high drama and emotional roller coasters.  But that just reminds me that she's fully alive!

I would do ANYTHING for her!

Litchfield sandcastles

Bunny cousins and besties

Dancing with her cousins is her happy place.



Best friend snuggles with Emmie.

Loves that crazy dog.

Obsessed with little cousin Jamison!

Singing with her drummer.


Always up for a playdate!


Isabelle and her best friends from 4s class.
About to eat cake!


Loves to create.
Always smiling.  
(well almost)
Artist!
Best friend to brother.
Adventure seeker.