Friday, May 18, 2018

Our Felicity: 6.5 Years

I just can't believe it. She is six and a half years old...

In just a week she'll finish American Kindergarten, although I recently overheard explaining to a friend that she's on a different timeline because she has already finished Tunisian Kindergarten (insert smiley cry face). 
Felicity loves school. She hops out of the car and marches right in like she owns the place. We're so thankful that she has made friends this year. At first she was a little confused at why kids weren't surrounding her, eager to play. It took a few conversations about how to engage others when you're not the only blonde with fair skin from America, but now she's a pro at navigating the playground scene. 

She knew the names of every kid in her class after the first week and comes home everyday telling me all about what everyone said and did that day. At recess she loves to swing (she just learned to pump!) and play tether ball. She also likes to invent games with her friends about vampires and villains (yikes) and "Let's help 'B' (a fellow classmate) know Jesus"...quite the wide range of interests she has! Aye-yi!

Having a mailbox is a new thing for our kids this year, and Felicity LOVES to race to it right after school. She also continues to be very social, especially with adults. The other day I stopped watching the girls for a sec to deal with Ephraim, and to my delight I found them at our sweet neighbor lady's house helping her sweep up her driveway. Felicity is such a good helper and inspires her sister to do the same! 
It makes my heart happy that she still has a deep appreciation for parks and Happy Meals. Watching her swing and sink her teeth into a McDonald's cheeseburger are two things that give me such delight because she understands that these are extras, things not to take for granted...I hope she holds on to this and carries it over to other pieces of her story as it grows. 

There's so much to say, but I definitely can't leave out that Felicity is a hard worker. She gives her best and goes above and beyond most of the time. She's always rehearsing everything she's learning in school whether it's songs from music, reading and math, or P.E. warm-ups! She even had MoMo and me doing high knees and seat kickers in our living room! Her determination in learning to jump rope was amazing to watch. She came home from school one day wanting to learn and kept jumping and jumping until she finally got it a few days later. So proud of her for not giving up!
She is obsessed with drawing and coloring and loves to do drawing contests with anyone willing to face her. Her sweet singing voice melts me, and I love to look in the car mirror to see her dramatic expressions that go along with it. She loves Ryan Stevenson's song "The Gospel"  and insists that Daddy sings it better (in a very sweet way) to every song on the radio that she has heard him sing.
My favorite recent story is when she told me that a boy at school was unkind to her even though he was nice to the other kids. She finally came to the conclusion that he just didn't like her. I loved her gracious spirit when she remarked, "But I decided to just roll with it and be nice to him anyway." A big thank you Jesus moment for Mommy!
Felicity Renee is brave and just watching her navigate all of the transition of of the past few years is a beautiful testimony to many prayers answered and the kindness of our God. He is faithful, and I love watching His story unfold through the life of our Felicity. What a privilege.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Our Little Wonder: Three Years

It's hard to know where to begin when a little life is lived so big that it's just bursting at the seams... 

Moriah is our middle girl, but she loves to live on the edge of extremes. She loves to play at full sound, running, jumping, dancing, giggling, chased and the same time she can sit forever playing alone in her room talking softly to Peppa, princesses, baby dolls, or stuffed animals. Her temper can flare with screaming, vein popping, and exasperated sighs, but she's also the most empathetic member of our family. Countless times I've seen her carry the hurts of Felicity and Ephraim as if they were her own. I continue to marvel at where it all comes from and be thankful for the special work God did in creating Moriah Ann...

Moriah makes us a bit crazy at times. When things transition from loud to quiet too fast, you can almost guarantee she's upstairs changing her wardrobe AGAIN. Her favorites are swimsuits, tights, tutu skirts, and princess dresses. She's very independent and does a great job of dressing herself but gets extremely frustrated if things aren't working out and generally leaves a trail of wardrobe changes behind her. She also started waking up in the night again, and I'm not kidding she always wakes up sounding like a horror film. We're working on that. Age three goals. 

On the other hand, MoMo definitely keeps us all laughing. Her crazy, frozen, serious/somewhat disturbed with a bit of silly faces when she hears her favorite songs in the car have us rolling, and she has taken to dancing in a swimsuit on our ottoman every morning. "Mommy, can I have "Lights Shine Bright?" Her moves are a unique slow-Mo arm sequence with intense faces followed by supper fast punching arms. Gets me every time. 

No one will ever forget her grand entrance to the living room at Christmas proudly carrying the removable section of her potty chair and announcing her great accomplishment. She says the funniest things like "Look Mommy, I got screw drivas under my pillow. Wanna see 'em?!" and things we're still trying to undersand like "tamation is yuck. we have to clean it" and "let's go to the chocari baseball game" What is tamation and chocari? No idea, but she sure knows. 

A few other things can't be left out like Moriah's obsession with sweets and impersonations of Elmo and Cookie Monster. Her favorite foods are "Thai" which is anything with rice, chicken and red sauce and Tunisian cous cous. Every once in a while she surprises us with a Tunisian word and still wants a Tunisian story. She's a charmer for sure and seems to have a thing with older men. We are terrified! She adores her classes at church and all of the teachers and little friends that come with them. Chocolate eggs at Easter (almost a year ago), the crazy fireworks we saw on the 4th of July, open gym and Day Camp at Bloomingdale Church all made a lasting impression on her and come up pretty regularly in conversation. All things physical like summersaults and climbing seem to come naturally and without a hint of fear. And we've all fallen in love with the things she says:

tank tang/ chicken
tanakits/gymnastics swimmin' suit
green beams
swimmin' cool
You got armpips?
What you got?
What you say?
mash-a-tabowls/ mashed potatoes
I love you, sweetie.
Oh you so cute!
Oh my crash!
nuggle/granola bar

When I first coined her our Little Wonder, I had no idea how true to her it would be. As we leave year 3, I find myself on the edge of my seat excited and just a little terrified for what's in store for year four. No doubt some crazy, fun, hilarious, times ahead with just the right splash of sweet to keep us all under the spell that is Moriah.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Little Prince: One Year

Ephraim Daniel you have been such a sweet presence in our family during this first year of your little life. There is a calmness that comes with that oh so serious piece of your personality. It has been such a gift and pure grace in a year of so many changes. In twelve months you've lived in four homes and traveled more miles than many go in a lifetime. You have been easy going and steady through it all. 

I am amazed by your persistence and determination and wonder how what is now a full focus army crawl toward a gadget, wire, cabinet, vent, bowl of water, etc. will look as God grows you in days to come. You haven't quite caught on to the word "no" and have to be removed physically over and over from the places you go that are off limits. This same spirit allows for some intense ring stacking and block building. Once you put your mind to something, you are a force to be reckoned with...

So many gifts to hold on to from this year...swimming on your tummy in the tub, your little newborn cry that sounded more like a goose than a man cub, your Dracula phase when all you had were the top two vampire teeth, how you relish the sister and daddy chorus of "nigh-night HONEY" each night before bed, your first word was Ma-Ma and block (blah) was a close second, your awkward bald ring around the back of your head stage, pulling up all of the vents over and over, your raspy early voice that eventually led to a big Bubba Roar!, army crawling like a boss and learning to crawl super fast on knees and hands at 11 months, rocking to music and standing at the piano whenever daddy plays, that sniffing crinkly nose smile that actually shows your top teeth, standing at the window to see the wide world outside or play peek-a-boo with the curtains, eating so much all day everyday, imitating my humming sound affects at one year old, making your sisters crack up laughing on a road trip at 8 months old, your giggle when I realize it's a fake cry and do my best imitation of you, and that stank face when you are many other things I wish I would have written down, but I'm grateful to have treasured them up in my heart. God has filled it so full with serious love for you our serious boy.

Once Upon a Time...

January 4, 2017

2 weeks old

1 month and still a bit shell shocked...

2 months

3 months and SO serious...

4 months

5 months and it's hard to keep a straight face with dino toes...

6 months strong...

7 months with so much to ponder...

8 months...finally caught a smile!

9 months

10 months

11 months

12 months

A whole lot of love...

...ONE handsome, sweet Little Prince...