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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday James!

Dear James,

Happy 3rd Birthday!  I am truly enjoying watching you grow into a wonderful young boy.  Daily I feel as though you are learning new things and can't wait to show them to the world.  I love how you play so wonderfully with your sister and put up with her oft bossiness.  You are learning some wonderful things from her.  Don't be in a hurry to grow up and do everything that she can do though, it's okay to make your own decisions and follow your own desires.  I know you want to read like she can and do math problems like she does, and that will come with time. 

I am really looking forward to the special time we will get to spend together with Carolyn in school this fall.  I can read to you, we can play cars, do yoga, and you can fully decide what the plans are in the mornings.  We can snuggle in bed, head to the park, work on reading/writing/math, whatever is in your heart that day/minute.  This is when you'll get to make more of a mark about who you are, to make your own decisions.  And I can't wait to see more of your personality emerge.  From what I can see now there's a lot of personality waiting to bust out.

You've had a wonderful 3rd year of life.  I enjoyed listening to you recite your ABCs tonight, completely unprompted.  Watching you ride your bike and spray your water toys was a lot of fun.  The smile on your face was priceless.  I love watching how excited you get about the small things in life from peanut butter and crackers for lunch to a squirt gun to your preschool workbook.  Watching you color with more precision and start to identify letters and such a young age has been great. 

I'm excited to see what the 4th year will bring for you.  Just remember always that I'm here for snuggles and kisses whenever needed.  Thanks for being an amazing, happy little boy.

Love always,

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Time to Enjoy

This past month has been incredibly stressful.  Jon will be starting a new job in the fall, which is awesome.  But the interview process was stressful.  I will not be working FT, and the interview process was beyond stressful.  But I suppose all is well that ends well.  God has a different plan for me, and I think I know just what that is.  With Jon's $14k raise and possibly lower insurance costs, my income will be completely extra.  So I will be cutting back on work, down to 8-10hrs/week and instead focus on our family.  With a lower overall stress load, life should get easier and more enjoyable.  I'm looking forward to having some time to relax while James is at his activities and Carolyn is at school.  I'll get to read a lot of books I suppose!  I'm also looking forward to getting a chance to work on academics with the kids more, as well as not worry about work things being scheduled so we're stuck at home.  James is still a long ways from giving up his nap, so that should give me some time each day to work with Carolyn.

Carolyn is now reading at a 3-4th grade level.  She regularly picks up a chapter book and will read through it.  Of course, she continues to love being read to and we do a ton of that.  She officially has over 600 sight words.  I've been pushing spelling a little more lately because I am running out of notecards, haha!  She also is enjoying the math computer program that we have, came with the workbook I bought her for Christmas.  It's just called Math 1-2, for first to second grade.  I can tell that she's memorized most of the addition facts for 1-5, and she can add or subtract pretty much any number if she has the right manipulatives - counting items, her fingers, or a number line.  It's amazing to see her brain developing so rapidly.  I received a letter from the school that she will indeed be receiving an IPad next year.  I'm excited to see how they will use it to keep her challenged.  Her K teacher is definitely in for a challenge I think.  I'm interested to see what the screening she has at the end of the month will be like.  I really should try and get her to the dentist before then and maybe even the eye doctor.  Will have to see what our insurance covers.  Sign up for summer gymnastics is also next week, so we found out yesterday what level to sign up for.  Carolyn was very happy to hear that she gets to stay in the advanced class.  We'll only do part of the summer, but that means 2x/week starting in the fall.  She seems to be enjoying soccer as well.  So in the fall she'll do gymnastics and soccer, then we'll replace soccer with something else during the winter.  I might let her try ice skating if it fits into our day.

James is doing great and showing interest in learning his letters.  I think he sees how much Carolyn enjoys reading.  He wants to play his "games" often, which is looking at the letter and song stuff on  In the fall I will start more of a formal program with him like I did with Carolyn, starting with getting books for a letter each week.  Maybe I'll try to pick an animal for each letter to get books about as well, he loves to read the books with facts about animals.  He's doing well with numbers and can easily count to 10.  So we'll continue to work on getting to 20 and see how he's doing from there.  I think he'll really enjoy the one-on-one time with me, even if he'll miss Carolyn.  He's already telling people "Carolyn go to kindergarten, I'll be sad".  He continues to enjoy his gymnastics, which we'll continue into the fall.  I'm planning to drive him out to Lake Zurich for soccer as well, since no where else seems to have an outdoor program during the day.  We'll likely just do the fall though and switch to swimming after that.  If finances end up being better than I'm currently anticipating, I might consider letting him do gymnastics, swimming, and soccer.  With story hour that would still leave us 1 morning with nothing.  But for now I'm figuring 2 is probably good.  He'll enjoy the museum and other fun places where we get to spend time together when we're not at home or a park.  It will be interesting to see his personality really take shape once the focus is entirely on him and Carolyn isn't around to boss him around.

Enjoyment continues tomorrow with another trip to Brookfield.  3 adults and 2 children, I think we'll have it all covered!  Supposed to be a gorgeous day.