She’s 6

It’s been hard to find the words to express exactly what this year has meant for me and my oldest baby Sophie, the one with the looooooong legs and the fascinating brain and the crazy sense of humour and the incredible compassion for all living creatures, especially her tired, worn-out, crying mama (there’s nothing that brings a girl to her knees like a 5-year old rubbing your back and telling you it’s going to be okay). She’s turning 6 this week and I’m struggling to pinpoint exactly what made this year different from the year before.

Crazy tall kid. For our family, of course (she's still one of the shortest in her class.)

Crazy tall kid. For our family, of course (she’s still one of the shortest in her class.)

She’s in her second year of school, so that’s not new, but how she’s handling herself there is different since she is in the oldest grade (she’s a Senior Kindergartener now) and her teachers tell me she’s all about helping the younger kids, the Junior Kindergarteners, figure out the rules and talking to them when they’re crying for their parents. It’s such an oldest sister thing, such a me thing, to be a mother hen, that my heart at once is so proud and aches that her childhood is slipping away in the service of others. You give a bit of yourself away every time you reach out to someone, and it’s not a bad thing, but the fact that she’s starting so early makes me worry about whether or not she’ll have anything left for her when she gets older. It took me forever to find that balance – I hope her path is full of as much compassion for herself as it is for others.

“Don’t I look so adorable?” Yes, Sophie. Yes, you do.

She’s still a diva, a fashionista in training, who staunchly believes still that ‘flat pants’, or leggings, the pants that sit flat against her legs, are the only ones that make her look beautiful. She’s stunning. There is nothing that girl can’t put on with her hair and her ridiculous blue eyes and her tiny nose that doesn’t look pretty, but you can’t reason with her. Sophie is only pretty when she’s got her flat pants on. And if she can’t wear those, the tears and gnashing of teeth and stream of self-loathing that follows is irrational, heartbreaking and frustrating as all hell. There are only so many times you can say, “You are gorgeous no matter what you wear.” before it turns into you yelling, “You’re wearing the ugly jeans so just get dressed already!”

So pretty. But only in flat pants!

So pretty. But only in flat pants!

She’s trying so damn hard to recognize letters and print like a pro and read a book unaided. She’s not there yet, but this year the Valentine’s took waaay less time to print and the word recognition is coming faster and more furious, and the pages of her printed letters and numbers have littered our house to the point where I toss them out because there are SO MANY. She’s always bringing home a book she’s made, or showing me that she sees her name or wants to know if the random letters she’s printed say anything. She’s trying SO HARD. I can’t wait for the penny to drop for her, not only because things will get read a lot faster, but also the pride she feels in the tiny steps she’s been taking will turn into a full-blown mind explosion of excitement. I can’t wait.

This face times a MILLION when she finally reads in a stream without stopping.

This face times a MILLION when she finally reads in a stream without stopping.

She’s thoughtful. SO thoughtful. And not just in kindness, but in thinking through everything you say and connecting it to other stuff that has been said or that she’s seen. We’ve been watching Full House on Netflix as a family. Sophie is by far the most interested in it. We were listening to the radio the other day and the radio host was talking about how they have guest DJ’s every week. Sophie immediately stopped colouring and looked at me. “Did he just say D.J.? Like Full House?” And thus began a 10-minute conversation about the difference between Full-House DJ and a radio DJ. Tricky stuff.

Such good sisters...except when they're SCREAMING at each other.

Such good sisters…except when they’re SCREAMING at each other.

But again, none of these things are glaringly new or crazy insane. We’ve had a relatively quiet year here with Sophie. She’s gone to school, made new friends, is often at our neighbour’s house to play with another girl her age, and generally we just manage her fashion meltdowns and lippy-ness (her wit and smarts get her into trouble more often than not). And the more I think about it, about the year that was for her and me and us, I kind of feel like I cheated her. I’m so focused on Lillian and the war that we are waging right now and getting her ready for school and I am trying to keep Isaac from killing himself since we’ve firmly landed in the climb-everything-and-conquer-it stage, that I’m really not handling Sophie much at all. Really, the only things that Sophie and I do together are get up, read, get dropped off at school, get picked up from school, and then negotiate our way to dinner and then bedtime. It’s so…removed and hands-off. I don’t worry about her going pee or poop everywhere anymore. Generally when she climbs things it has zero impact (unless it’s a fire hydrant…then a nice, blood-spouting hole appears in her chin). And her temper tantrums are usually dramatic friendship woes (that are normally fabricated by her) or rages against the disgusting pants that flair on the way down and don’t hug her legs.

All grown up. *sob*

All grown up. *sob*

I was told when I had her, 6 years ago, that the time will fly quickly. That one day she won’t need me as much and I’ll miss the time when she does. And in truth, I can’t believe it’s been 6 years. I can’t believe she’ll be 6. But, I’m so busy being needed by Lillian and Isaac that I’ve missed missing her needing me as much. It makes me want to grab her and really relish in her independence and her sauciness and her laughter and her crazy thinking. And it makes me worry that maybe I’ve failed her. Maybe in not being there for her, even if she doesn’t need me, I’m making her feel unloved or like she’s drifting away from us.

Not too old to sit in a foam chair and watch a  movie with her siblings.

Not too old to sit in a foam chair wearing fairy wings to watch a movie with her siblings.

But then yesterday she curled up with me to watch DJ hang out with Kimmy Gibler, and I loved the feel of her weight and warmth and her hand and arm crooked through mine. And today, when we walked across the parking lot of a doctor’s office, she grabbed for my hand without me even asking, just as I was debating whether or not I should ask her since we’ve been walking independently across streets on the way to school now for months.

Wearing new birthday flat pants, shirt and purse. STYLIN'. She says she's "fancy." I can not argue.

Wearing new birthday flat pants, shirt and purse. STYLIN’. She says she’s “fancy.” I can not argue.

And then, just like that, all is right in the world again.

To my eldest, my tallest (for now), my sauciest – happy happy birthday, my love. 🙂 I’m excited to see what this year brings us and how far you’ll go, even if it is further away from me.

Love, Mama

~ Julia

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Trying to stop the madness AND plan a wedding!

When a woman prepares for the the birth of their child, they call it nesting. Setting up the nursery, stocking up the closet with clothes, and generally preparing to welcome their bundle of joy.

As I sit here and write, I wonder if there is the equivalent term for a woman who is planning their wedding?

I only ask as I am slowly sinking into the tulle, colours, dresses, and lace. I am preparing for the big day and I am slowly going crazy. Cody and I want our guests not to have to worry – we both are not froufrou people – however when we discuss the wedding, we have two VERY different views.

The discussion of music and entertainment was brought up. I asked Cody if he knew any DJ’s. I love the feeling a good DJ gives a wedding or event – they feed off your energy, play requests and just help with the atmosphere. When I asked him, Cody’s response was not a shock (he is pretty easygoing) – make a good playlist full of songs we love, plug an iPod into a dock, and the party will be  rocking all night long

I calmly folded my hands, swallowed the laugh I wanted to burst out in, and muffled the “ARE YOU KIDDING?” I explained my point of view, and asked Cody if he could take on the finding of an affordable DJ.  I get where he is coming from, but when he said that I heard a list of things to be done.

  • Need to get an iPod dock loud enough to play for every one to hear
  • Need to make playlist, a good playlist, full of songs that everyone will like
  • Need to remember the iPod dock and iPod on the day of the wedding aside from all the other things I will have to remember
  • What if someone wants to request a song? You stop the music, and then there is that awkward quiet?

My first response was a little dramatic, and not needed at all – to the love of my life and simplest Cody, it’s less expensive and easier than finding a DJ.  To me it is one more thing to do.

I have noticed a pattern – this is my response to a lot of planning details. When something does not go my way, I simply want to scream and throw a tantrum. I fear that the Bridezilla is coming out in me and I am trying OH SO HARD to muffle her! Tell her to calm down! CALM DOWN!

Aside from the crazy, as you could tell I have started the planning and the excitement in my stomach is building! Every chance I get I talk about our wedding and it sends my heart aflutter! (I had it checked, it’s just a feeling, my heart is fine MOM!)

We have some of the big things taken care of, including our BEAUTIFUL venue! A friend’s family home has a beautiful barn on the property. We are so lucky that they offered it to us to hold our nuptials, and we are forever thankful to Cindy and Dave!

Our Beautiful Venue <3

Our beautiful venue ❤

Our wedding planning, if anything, has shown me so far how loved Cody and I are! My oldest sister and one of the most amazing women I know, Julia, is designing and creating our invitations! I love her I love her I love her! Below is a a little glimpse of what she has started to plan for us. SHE IS CREATIVE!

A Little sneak peak!

A little sneak peak!

I am also channeling my creative side and finding unique ways of bringing some country chic into our wedding – if you didn’t get the theme we were going for!

Some Decor Options!

Some decor options!

I promise to post more photos and keep you updated on my crazy! I know I am not alone in the crazy – but someone has to let their freak flag fly!

~ Jacqui

Perfecting the art of car dancing

I hate road trips – there I said it! Everyone is all “let’s go on a road trip!” And I am over here by myself smiling and nodding my head along with the plan…when really I want to scream, NOOOOOOOOO!

However, if we must make a voyage, there are some must-haves for a long car ride: comfy clothes, snacks, coffee/water… and tunes – GOOD tunes! When ever we make the trip to visit our dad, I seem to always be the DJ for the car, which is made up of myself, sometimes Cody if he can get the time off work/hunting, Toni and Mike.

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I tend to lean towards the 90’s, 00’s or pop/hip-hop genre because they are crowd pleasing and danceable, which is the best way to pass the time. But car dancing isn’t easy – it’s mainly hand gestures and arm movements with some head nods that are completely laughable if you are viewing them from a passing auto. If you too would like to become a pro at car dancing, then there are four main techniques you must master:

The hand pump
Much different from its cousin “the fist pump,” this movement is more car friendly! The fist pump requires unlimited space above ones head, whereas the hand pump is more of an up and down motion, with an open palm facing down. This move can be used for pop, hip-hop and R&B. I would not recommend this for rock and roll, as the biker to your right is currently looking at you as you are pumping up and down to Ozzy’s Crazy Train – you sir are the one who will need to be put on the crazy train if you don’t cut it out!

The hand pump

The hand pump… ignore Toni… she didn’t get the memo…

Two-handed seat shimmy
This is a move that takes some control and can only be mastered by the most seasoned car dancers! It can be used for most genres, but again be mindful of your surroundings! This move uses two hands and hip gyrating. Be sure if you are in the backseat you have at least one seat between you and the other passengers. For your viewing pleasure, an instructional video has been provided.

Head down groove
Step one: Let down your hair!
Step two: Close your eyes.
Step three: Raise your arms and loosen your shoulders.
Step four (the most important): Feeeeel the music!

This move requires confidence, you can’t be afraid of what others think of you! The cars passing you will think that medical attention is required, but do not fret! Just let the notes shower over you as you and the music become one.
No, but seriously, this one is the best for slower EDM and Bryan Adams songs. Shake your head and let your hair wash over your face.

All smiles while car dancing - CONFIDENCE

All smiles while car dancing – CONFIDENCE

For the final move…..

The air banjo
This is not to be confused with the air guitar, which is played at the hip, but rather played up on at the breastal region! The strumming is more aggressive, and faster. This is not a move for drivers, as both hands are required – safety first, smart ass! I find the best genre for this is country. I mean come on…. banjo…country…they kinda go hand in hand! Don’t worry if you missed arm day this week, as the the workout you get from this will be more than enough to tide you over.

There you have it – combine these moves and before you know it that three hour car ride will have come and gone in no time! Just let it hang and groove it along! You will become a pro – now if only I could figure out a way to make money off of it…

~ Jacqui