Friday, June 3, 2011

Dear Chloe, Love Mom.

I love you so much, my daughter! Watching you grow up is the most incredible thing ever! So often I find myself looking at you and wondering what you are going to remember about your life, friendships, family and experiences when you are older. I wonder what your cherished memories will be. Sometimes, I even sadly wonder what you'll wish had been different and I renew my conviction to try and erase those. I wonder what you'll carry with you and who it will allow you to become as a grown person. I put so much thought and love and effort into making our experiences together meaningful and poignant. I remember spending so much time with you when you were a toddler, when I didn't work all day. Things are a lot different than that now. While I think you’ve long since adjusted, I still remember having all day with you every day. It makes it hard for me to see you when I get home from work for only a short amount of time, and then again, rushing off in the mornings. By the end of the week we mostly have a collection of “eat your dinner – good night – goodbye - see you after work” and I'm missing you. Sometimes, then when we get to sit and play and connect I study you and I can just swear you grew up a bit even during the course of that one week. Your expressions and antics change and your vocabulary grows. You collect experiences and memories so fast. I remember when I could jot a few notes down each day and log all your developments. Now, I can’t begin to keep up. You grow up so fast; sometimes I think I’m missing it. I put memories in this blog for you to keep and hold. I ask for stories and tid-bits of your life when you are with Grandma or your Dad. I want to keep those for you, too. I have to admit, maybe I write and document your life so I’ll have another way to cherish you, and make sure I’m really not missing it as you grow up.
I’m so proud of you and the child you are. You are so smart and responsible and creative. You are reading so well, every time we read a new book together you impress me. I love it when you draw me pictures, too. I feel like sometimes they are a little window into you. I’m proud of you for your swimming this year! You used to be so careful and worried, you didn’t even like to get a splash on your face. Now you’re jumping in! (With your nose plugged of course!) And with your bike riding! Even though you are nervous sometimes, you are really getting in to it when you get going. You were scared about going on our first ride with your attachment bike, but by the middle, you just loved it! It is so beautiful to me when I see you so brave like that. You are getting quite the green thumb this year, too! You’ve been keeping your pretty pink plant alive so well. (I did kill it while you were away over the hot weekend – I’m sorry about that. :)) This new one will stay alive for sure! You are really good at remembering to check if it needs water. We have been going to the Veggie Patrol and you are getting so comfortable in the gardens, planting seeds and plants and watering them. I’m 31 and just now figuring out how much fun it can be to have plants and gardens. I’m so glad to be sharing that with you.
I’ll close with this: The other day we were dancing around the living room together laughing and playing, then we stood facing each other and played “mirror”. It was so special to me to stand there watching you move and smile and concentrate on our game. When it was my turn to move and your turn to follow you were so intent and trusting while following my lead. I hope, as you grow up, that you’ll always trust my lead, not just when we play a game but in life, too. And I hope that you can continue to look toward me for guidance and support. I’ll always be here, steady and loving you and doing my very very best for you.
I love you more than all the sunlight and all the raindrops.
Love, Mom.

Dear Chloe, Love d.

To my sweet Chloe, I have thought of so many things I want to tell you. There are so many I could write all day. The most important is I love you! You have always been my brightest star. You are growing so fast. Changing every time I see you. You are so funny, so smart and so beautiful. I have had the extreme blessing to see you almost every day of your life.

You and I have had some of the best times together. There is nothing I would rather do than spend time with you. You have had so many different names for me. I have been Grangy, Grams, Grandmama, Gamma and several others. I am currently Grama, no d. Sometimes I am momdadabbauntTgrama. That is my name when you forget where you are or maybe who I am. ‘giggle’. I love playing our silly little games. Miss librarian is pretty funny. You put my glasses way down my nose and then I talk in a funny voice. I love your little giggles! When I go to pick you up at school I watch for you in the pick up line. When I see you sitting on the sidewalk waiting I watch until you see me. As soon as you do, you perk up with a big smile and a happy wave. You love sitting in front of my little fake fireplace when you watch TV. Even if it is 70 degrees in the house you love to have the heat on you. When we watch Dinosaur Train you help me pronounce dinosaur names correctly. I am always amazed at how well you know how to say them.

You draw the best pictures for me. I had so many on the refrigerator. I decided to make a book of them. I picked out five of my favorite ones to frame and hang on the wall. You are such a great artist.
You are a real fashion guru too. You put together the cutest outfits. I love your freedom of style. We have spent hundreds of hours in the pool and hot tub. I bought a green bucket thing with wheels on it to carry all the toys and towels to the pool. We call it the ‘carry it chariot’. It even carries you. I can remember the first times we went to the pool. I taught you that you were safe in the water with me and you could trust me. I would never let go of you and now you swim around like a little frog. Used to be that if you got your face wet you had to get out and dry it off. The first time you jumped in over your head you loved it. I bet you did it over and over for ten minutes. You even go to the deep end now. You stand on my shoulders and let me throw you up in the air and splash into the water. You never forget anything. If I tell a story of something we did and I get even the tiniest detail wrong you let me know. There are so many wonderful memories. I can’t wait to make hundreds more with you as you grow. We have a wonderful relationship Chloe. I cherish that. It looks like this summer we will be spending a lot of time together. We are going to the zoo. We will go camping and of course more swimming. I can’t wait to see what adventures we can have! Your Uncle Chris gave you a nic name Chloe Bear. It stuck with me...

I love you Chloe Bear! Grama…no d.

Birthday Parties!

Chloe had a fabulious time turning 6. She had a special day on her birthday. She picked out the perfect outfit! So funny and cute;I'm beginning to really love her sence of style! She started the morning with Abby and went to the donut shop and toy store before school. After school the three of us went to fairhaven and Chloe painted a ceramic dinosaur. Then we went to dinner and she got a free desert because it was her birthday! She was super nice to share with us. She insisted that she didnt like whipped cream until her desert came and was covered with it. She ate all the whipped cream with her finger. While waiting for our dinner to come, she found some new and silly uses for the napkin holders. :) It was a warm day and a beautiful evening by the time we left the restaurant. We had fun making jokes and laughing at each other all the way home. We use funny voices and make up funny stories about when we all first met. Abby mighs say "When I first met your mama: She would laugh like THIS" (insert rediculiously funny sounding laugh) The sunday after her birthday her dad planned for her class from school to come to a birthday party at Jump Around Fun Zone. They had a great time playing and using the chalk board tables. When it came time to sing Josiah stood up and got everyone started.

Chloe was excited to have two birthday parties!! The following week she had a smaller family/friend party with us at Elizabeth park.
It was a nice day at the park and it was green and beautiful with springtime showing. She had three family friends to play on the kid toys with her. Cupcakes to go around. Balloons, gifts and watermellon. By the time we left the park all three of us were ready for a nice dinner together before bedtime. Chloe said just before dinner... "That was the best birthday party EVER!!"
I hope she feels that way after every birthday party she ever has.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview: 6yr old Chloe

I interviewed Chloe and told her that she’d be able to read all her answers when she’s older. I think it will be fun to look back at a glimpse into Chloe’s 6 year old mind.
All italics are quotes from Chloe.

Tell me the 5 best things about you:
1. I’m really good at swimming
2. I like soccer
3. I really good at drawing
4. I think I’m good at summersaults and stuff. Like gymnastics

If you could tell me to only serve you two vegetables ever again, what would they be?
Carrots and Peas

On a scale, how strict are we in our house? In the middle

Who’s your favorite teacher? Mrs. Ostendorff. There’s two eff’s

If you had to pick one of these, which would you pick? Really long nose hairs, hair in your ears, hair above your lip or massively hairy armpits.
I couldn’t. *giggles* I couldn’t’ at all!!!

If you could have a day with me home from work, what would we do? Go on a picnic.
Which one would you want more: -Dinner with everyone at the table and your favorite show on TV – Dinner where everyone took what they wanted to eat and we ate different things – Dinner with the whole family together and no TV on. ??
Together with NO TV ON!

If you were feeling sad, what meal could we make you in order to cheer you up?
Cupcakes, cake and cookies.

What punishment have you gotten that you remember a lot? Taking away my marbles.

How do you think peanut butter is made? Crushed up and melted peanuts.

Why do you think the sky is blue? I don’t know.
(She just couldn’t answer something if she didn’t believe she knew the answer. It’s like it didn’t make sense to her to make something up if you didn’t know)

What do you want to be when you grow up? A scientist, a Vet or a Teacher

Who is your best friend?
Do I have to pick ONE? (nope) Josiah, Jacob, Kylee, Kirsten, Trace – all my friends in my life are my best friends.

What is your favorite subject in school? Math

What makes you the happiest? Sticking cake in my face *giggles* actually, eating cake!

What worries you the most? A wasp. Definitely a wasp.

What makes you the angriest?
A bully. I’ve never seen one but if a bully ever talks to me I’ll probably get mad.

If you had $10,000 how would you spend it?
A very very very very VERY expensive Build-a-Bear!

As we talk she’s sitting next to me on the couch chewing a toenail off her toe as she answers me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Turning 6!!

I'm sure I'll be saying this for the rest of my life: I just can't believe my eyes watching Chloe grow up! Sometimes I sit back and watch her move and talk and... exist. She is such her own little person now. Her face is changing, her voice is changing. It's funny to hear her use slang words and expressions.

6 already? Tomorrow is her birthday. She's got her first loose tooth.

She tells me if she had one wish in the whole world she would be born as a human but she could turn in to anything she wanted. And if she could have her room any way she wanted it would be: "Very very VERY clean with a pet unicorn inside of it. Like a real live unicorn."

Best Friends

When we moved in to our house last october, Chloe was excited to find out that a little girl her age lived next door! I was happy to find out that it was the family of a co-worker of mine.
Chloe and Kylee both have very strong personalities, so it can be amusing to see them try and work through their play time. Most of the time though, they have a lot of fun playing pet shops, polly pocket, or stuffed animals in Chloe's room, or barbies at Kylees. Chloe rides to school with Kylee in the mornings and plays next door after school. Sometimes they play in our yard and I get to capture some fun photos! It has been a pretty wet spring so far, so these days seem to be limited. When it's nice out, I try to encourage them to play outside as much as possible.

It's funny, sometimes on nice days, Abby and I are dying to get outside, and Chloe would rather be inside by herself. I give her tons of invitations and sometimes it takes a while for her to decided she wants to come outside. Last weekend or so, I was digging up some plants and reorganizing one of our flower beds, Abby was mowing the lawn and Chloe finally decided to come outside and start digging with me and playing with a couple long roots that I'd pulled out of the ground. I didn't get any photos of the afternoon, but it was really fun. No matter what else is going on, of course she would always rather play outside with some of her neighborhood friends. When she has an open afternoon, she asks me to go see if so-n-so can play. After a few minutes, if that friend wasnt home she'll turn up and ask if she can go check if someone else is home. And so it goes until she finds a playmate, or she settles on hanging out with her boring ol' moms.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chloe Writes!

Chloe has been bringing home these adorable pages from school where she writes sentences and draws pictures to go with them. I absolutely love getting these! It is so cute to see how she sounds out words and does her best to illustrate. She always makes the eye colors right on the people she draws, too.

"The mom bird laid an egg. The egg hatched. The baby bird flew"

"I get dressed. I brush my teeth. I get in the car."

"The mom unicorn laid more eggs"

"I love my family" (Abby, Chloe, Me)

"I'm picking flowers for my mom. I love my mom."

Okay, so why wouldn't I just love them? I love being Chloes mom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Riding Bike and Piper Puppy

Chloe just recently decided she was brave enough to ride her bike!! She's been on it before a few times, but this time, she got excited and has been asking to ride a lot. At first she was extremely careful and had to have all her pads on (as with times past). But this time! her attitude was so positive!

Instead of saying "I can't, I'm too scared!" she's saying "I can do this! This is fun!" We went around the Cul de sac a few times and she practiced stopping and starting.

Then she was brave enough to go on a ride on the trail with us. We took our new puppy Piper with us! tangent: Chloe just LOVES piper. Sometimes Piper loves Chloe a little too much and is too rough with her. They are ironing out the kinks, though. Chloe is learning to assert herself to Piper to get her to listen, and as Piper gets older, shes listening better and better. Chloe sais that Piper is basically like her little sister. She is always careful to put her shoes away and close her bedroom door so Piper doesn't get at her things. I'm really looking forward to watching the two of them grow up together. So: when we went on that first ride on the trail, Piper was learning to walk on a leash and Chloe was learning to ride her bike. This time, Chloe even rode without her pads on and just her helmet! A few times I pushed her down a little hill or something and she said "Mom! You are gonna freak me OUT!" I just said "Okay! be freaked out for a second, it will get better!". It seemed to help her a lot that I promised I'd be there and she could let her self be a little scared and then she'd say "That was AWESOME!" I hope to build as many of these instances as possible so she can start to notice that it's okay to be nervous or scared and push through it. I love to see her when she challenges herself.

Awesome Outfits

Chloe definately has her own sense of style! She always chooses her own clothes, and I learned my lesson than to try and sway her. It feels good for her to have such a sense of herself in that way, and sometimes it's just downright amusing:

Junk food and Marbles

We don't eat a lot of treats at home. Mealtime, is usually very healthy, and can be pretty serious business. Sometimes, though.... you just gotta let loose! Every once in a while when Chloe earns a treat, she gets a REALLY BIG treat. This is a bowl of rocky road ice cream, with sprinkles AND three big marshmallows! wow! I think she got this for eating a huge mound of broccoli with her dinner. :) We all laugh at the crazy idea of eating such a big treat, but it's fun. You better believe Chloe isn't the only one who ate her broccoli and had a bowl of ice cream!!
Another time we let loose was when we all ate cookie dough and kale chips for dinner! (following a late lunch)

I used to think that I'd be the kind of mom that never allowed for sugar or treats. But, I think if we completely said no to any junk food at all, we'd would never have the chance to teach Chloe how to eat responsibly. I eat junk food, and I stay healthy, so it stands to reason she can, too. I can tell when it's getting a little out of hand with Chloe. She sometimes starts to ask for candy or treats all day or after every snack or meal. It's a balance that's hard to keep with a 5 year old. It's easy to want to use candy to motivate good behavior every time. Sometimes I just insist she listen. No reward but a happy mom. I also try to reward good behavior in other tangible ways.
Recently, we began the "marble" system. Chloe has a collection of marbles I put in a bowl. Every time she does something positive like having a good attitude or reaction to something, or saying something thoughtful or nice, showing her manners, offering to help... pretty much anything I can think of that is a good action from her, I say "you just earned a marble" or two or three, depending. She earned 5 whole marbles for being so very brave getting on her bike and wanting to learn to ride it. She's really struggled with the bike thing, and I was very proud of her for facing her worries like she did. Each time she empties the bowl of marbles and fills up her glass she gets to choose between a small treat or a dollar. Its pretty funny to me the times she chooses a small treat. I don't think she realizes yet, that a dollar can buy way more than what shes getting. She's learning how to count her money and save her money up for something she wants. Lately she's been saying she wants another build-a-bear. She already has three, so I told her I wouldn't buy her another one. If she wants to save up her money and buy herself one, I would be fine with that. So sometimes, she's asking if we can go to the store so she can see how much different things cost. She hasnt bought anything for herself yet, I imagine it will be pretty empowering for her, though. She can also loose marbles for negative behavior or attitude.
So far, the marble thing is working fabuliously! I'm sure it will fizzle out and we'll have to come up with something else, but for now it's good. Maybe we can just start making the rewards bigger as she gets older. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter 2011

Here is Chloe with her little easter bucket she got from my mom. It was filled with peeps and a new pair of sparkly pink shoes and goofy socks. We went to an easter egg hunt that wasn't planned very well. There were not nearly enough eggs for the kids that came and it was not very well organized at all. Chloe ended up getting one egg. She seemed really bummed, but started feeling a lot better about it when she realized that a lot of kids were going home with nothing. She was a pretty good sport. This little pose she does with her hands is funny. When she seems shy or something she does a kangaroo thing. I remember her doing it as far back as her first day of kindergarden and probabally before. She recently began swimming lessons and I saw her using her hands like this while she was walking to where her instructor told them to go. I think it's pretty cute.
Chloe had 4 visits from the easter bunny! One at her dads house, one at her grandmas house, one at home with us, and one at Kris and John's house. Here she is opening the eggs in her easter bucket at home. Chloe is still working on being grateful for her gifts, so later in the day she drew a nice thank you card for the easter bunny.

These cute bunny ears came as a gift from Kris. Chloe was so excited going to bed before easter she was putting on a show for me. These were her various bunny poses.

Chloe, Abby and I dyed easter eggs together. We each made an egg for the other two of us. They all turned out very pretty! We experimented in dunking in different colors and using a white crayon. In these pictures she is hugging the eggs that Abby and I made for her. Abby thoughtfully used the egg holder to dunk her eggs while Chloe and I used our fingers and stained our skin and nails. Chloe did a great job of layering the colors and getting very dark and vivid shades. She was patient to wait while a layer dried before she added another layer of color. Later that day we had a family movie afternoon, bath time (to play with her new bath toys from the easter bunny) and a fun easter egg hunt around the dining room and living room. It was a low key and relaxing easter day around our house.

Tooth Fairy Visit #1

Well, I guess Chloe didn't inherit my no-cavity baby teeth. Her first few "real" visits to the dentist turned up some decay. She's been a champ at her visits, and now has one "robot" tooth. They decided to wiggle out one of her other teeth instead of filling it. So, Chloe got a visit from the TOOTH FAIRY. I'm not sure who was more excited, me or her!!! She didn't get to keep the tooth from the dentists office (something I LOVED doing as a kid) so we used a small white bead as a substitute. We figured the tooth fairy would be able to figure out what had happened. She's a pretty smart lady! :)

We couldn't decide at first where to put her "tooth". It might have gotten lost under the pillow, and it had to be someplace the tooth fairy could find it. So, I quick crocheted a little tooth sachel and we hung it on the doorknob of her bedroom. In the morning, Chloe found two shiny half dollars in her bag. She thought they were quarters at first and was so excited to find out that she'd gotten a whole dollar!! This year - Chloe got a visit from the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny on the same night! She was super excited getting ready for bed hamming it up for my camera.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden Class

We signed Chloe up for a childrens garden class. It's every saturday between now and October. We went to her first class this weekend and she got to learn about the parts of a seed. Chloe is holding her two bean seeds they passed out to demonstrate.

When the teacher asked if anyone wanted to say the names of the seed parts outloud, Chloe raised her hand. I was very proud of her for deciding to speak out to the whole group. She remembered all three parts of the seed. Each child got to plant a plant. Chloe got to plant a strawberry plant. She borrowed some gloves from a friendly mom and did a good job handling the plant gently and digging a good hole. After the hands-on planting, they had story time.

It was a beautiful day out. The class was at the childrens garden at Hovander Homestead park. Afterward we walked over to the bird section of the park and said hi to the roosters, geese, ducks, and turkeys.

The turkeys were very social, displaying their feathers and following us around. They loved the camera! I'm not sure, but I suspect that they were actually feeling threatened and were trying to chase us away, but the fence kept us safe. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chloe Quotes

Mike: We're gonna play for a few minutes and then we're gonna clean up the house. (she wasn't listening so I asked her to repeat what I said) Chloe: When we're done playing, you're going to clean up while I watch a show. Points for cleverness anyway.
(Standing in ~18" snow that's up to her crotch) Chloe: It's a snowtastic day!
At the toy store looking at stuffed germs and bugs.
Chloe: What's this?
Mike: A maggot. Fly larva.
Chloe: Awesome!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quotes of the week

"The moon is out already. Maybe it wants to say hi to it's friend the sun. "

While looking in her lunch box at grandma's house:
"I want to eat.... WHAT?? Oh... why did she give me corn? I don't (mumble mumble)... OK. If she would have given me peas or carrots I would eat a LOT more. well..."

This morning when I left the house with Chloe, she had on her waterproof boots and she stepped down into the "snow" and it was all slush.
She said "Wow! That's like... part water and part snow."
I said "Yea, it's called slush. Cool, huh?"
Then we got into the van to leave.
Half way to my moms house she blurted out:
"I really like walking in the SLUCK."
(I'm stull giggling about this one.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Leggings and new snack

Chloe is spending the day with Grandma.

She says:

"Chloe wanted leggings. I did not have we cut the feet off a pair of tights. Perfect! She loves em! Singing and dancing! We are having a great morning. She had toast with raspberry jam. Once she tried it, she liked it. "

Monday, January 3, 2011

She picks what she wears...

We were getting ready for my work Christmas party. I went in to Chloe's room to try and pursuade her to choose something I'd like her to wear to the party. (She has a few things that I think are absolutely adorable on her, that just aren't her favorite.) After a short conversation, I found myself walking out of her room mumbling and complaining about how she never lets me pick her clothes. I remember saying "C'mon, Chloe... this is just so pretty on you... please?"

As I arrived back in my closet to get myself ready.... as I was choosing for myself what I was going to wear... and what I felt most comfortable with... my words to her were ringing in my ears. I'd put pressure on her to do and be how *I* saw her. I was basically telling her that how she saw herself wasn't pretty or good enough for me. I felt horrible.

Chloe was in there getting ready. She was putting on party clothes she felt most comfortable with, and she knew that I didn't completely approve. That was not okay with me.

I talked to Abby for a minute about it, and went right back in to Chloes room and asked if I could talk to her for a minute. I sat on her floor and I said:

"Chloe honey, I'm sorry I talked to you the way I did. I love you just the way you are. You are fun and beautiful and I really love your personality and how you choose things. I think any party clothes you wear tonight will be just right."
She melted in to me, and stuck her lip out a bit and said quietly.

"Thank you, mommy. That really helps, I love you, too."

I could tell she was touched and all the tension and insecurity I'd instilled in her melted away. I really hope that over time, I catch myself whenever I get on the wrong foot. All I ever want to do is build her up.

As it turns out, she was adorable, and her party outfit was absolutely perfect for the party. She was comfortable and confident the whole night.