Tuesday, April 30, 2013

seven times around the sun

has it really been seven years since the spring that tiny noah was born?  aaron and i joke that we are the ones who have grown up since then!  we look back and realize how little we knew about parenting.  we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but no experience and not much information.  we may not have had the best parenting strategies, the most stable routines, or the most elaborate organic meals.  but we did our best to make our little boy feel comfortable, safe, loved and to have fun, learn and explore at every opportunity.  i think we did okay!  and our tiny white-haired boy has grown into an amazing seven-year-old.

here's a fun reminder of noah's seven times around the sun:

noah turns one!
noah turns two!
noah turns three!
noah turns four!
noah turns five!
noah turns six!
noah turns seven!

noah has had such a wonderful year this year in first grade at his new school.  his teacher is amazing and really seems to appreciate noah's inquisitiveness, sense of humor and quirkiness.  he has had a lot of fun with projects like writing "how-to" books, building a covered wagon for his pioneer unit, making cardboard robot creations for arts week, drawing at every opportunity, and studying his family tree for the genealogy unit.

noah loves geography and is better than me at identifying places around the world.  for his birthday he got the game, "the scrambled states of america" and remains undefeated!

noah has aaron's natural understanding of numbers, and they love to play math games together.  it won't be long before noah's math skills exceed mine and i won't be able to check his homework anymore!

he has taken off with reading this year and would stay up late into the night reading in bed if we let him.  we have to remember to tell him it's time for light's out!  he is enjoying the "magic tree house" series, the "clementine" books, the "homer price" books, the "stink" series, and of course lots and lots of nonfiction, especially fact books, geography, space, dinosaurs and of course, vehicles!  often i'll ask noah to read to isla and/or ezra, and they love spending this time with their big brother.

noah seems to have lots of fun with ezra right now, but is more off and on in his relationship with isla.  they have more competition and lots of arguments about "fairness."  i was reading on the wonderful blog, the parenting passageway about the seven-year-change, and she says these kinds of things are very common in the seven-year-old.  we will continue to work on the importance of kindness, helping others without needing something in return, and contributing to the family in a meaningful way (without whining!).

noah has been enjoying sports a bit more this year, and is more and more comfortable in his body.  he is having lots of fun with soccer and rock climbing right now.

of course his favorite pastime is still building with legos!  he builds his sets over and over, and continues to come up with cool creations.  he is looking forward to doing another lego robotics camp this summer.

noah has such a wonderful sense of humor and loves to tell us jokes.  he understands puns and irony, which makes it fun for me.  i love hanging out with him, reading with him, and playing games with him.  what a fun, smart and creative big boy!  noah barnes, we all love you so much.  we hope your seventh year is full of joy.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

ezra's first birthday

i can't believe it's been a year already since the sunny spring afternoon that this little boy joined our family and our home.

he was so very new then!!  so cold and curled up, and with just a hint of the dimples and red hair and big smile and agile body and wildly fun personality that were to come.

it's amazing how seamlessly a new person can be blended into an existing family mix.  it's like he's always been here.  and yet, as he grows, we adapt how we live to fit his needs.  mostly this is done without complaining.  legos are now played behind closed doors.  gates are built to keep him away from craft supplies.  block towers are built just for him to crash down.  hands, big and little, are reached down for him to hold.  little bits of snacks are snuck into his sticky fingers.  board books are read to him.  balls are gently rolled his way.

and now, with sister and brother and grandparents and godparents and friends, we sing to him and celebrate him, this sweet little boy who has been with us for a whole year.  

we are incredibly grateful for his toothy grin, his rosy cheeks, his red curls, his lightening-quick getaways, his sweet snuggles, his open-mouthed kisses, his shy waves, funny growls, his ravenous fruit-munching, his happy bath-splashing, his proud walking with his truck, his delight in the outdoors, his comfort in his home and with his family... and everything else about this little wonder of a boy.

we love you so very much, ezra august bandstra.  happy first birthday!

(more birthday photos here.)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

easter highlights

* overhearing isla playing her ukelele in her room and singing, "christ the lord is risen today, alleluia!"

* reading in church for the first time in nine years of going to st. paul's.  the reading was my favorite passage from the easter vigil service: isaiah's valley of dry bones prophesy!

* isla entering the sanctuary before the alleluia at the easter vigil, wearing her purse full of bells--walking so slowly, trying not to let her purse and her bells jangle until the right time.  and then, at the right time, jangling like mad mad with her little friend sophia!

* mailing lots of easter cards (in time!) with some fun translucent window egg crafts tucked inside.

* finally hanging the "alleluia" banner i've been "working" on for two years.  i started this project two lents ago with the intention of finishing it for last easter.  i intended to blanket stitch a pretty lime green embroidery floss around each triangle... but i only finished one and a half.  then, on a bike ride up to carrie's house last year the whole project fell out of my bike basket and into the mud.  i finally did my best to clean off the mud, but it still shows a bit.  and i resigned myself that this year, i would hang the banner whether it was finished or not, so i just strung the letters together and hung it on easter.  someday i may finish the blanket stitching, but i think it is pretty despite its muddy half-finished state.

* a fun early morning egg hunt in our yard, as is our tradition, but with some untraditional egg-hiding spots.

* an unseasonably warm easter sunday, which we spent outside the entire day at john and jess's eating delicious food and having fun with the family.  we did not sunblock adequately, though, and poor isla's cheeks were super red the next day!

* all the kids looking lovely on sunday morning in their new easter clothes.  of course, i forgot to get a good picture of all three together.  of course, ezzie did his best to get grass stains all over the new linen easter pants i made for him.  but this does mean he was doing some happy crawling in warm grass, so that is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

ideas for spring break

we are on spring break this week.  on monday we brainstormed some ideas, and noah made this list.  the second item says "craft," which i think noah crossed out because isla already did it.  i don't think he realized she meant it as a continuous item, not a one-time thing.

we've had unseasonably warm weather so we've spent lots of time outside so far.  on monday we went kite-flying and had a picnic at the park by aaron's work.  and aaron and the kids have spent each evening in the yard digging in the dirt, leveling the side yard for a new play structure!  ezra has watched them, strapped into his stroller, desperate to break out and crawl around in the dirt.  poor guy.  i'm just not ready for that kind of chaos yet.

this afternoon we're off to perch and play, to meet up with some of noah's old classmates from gardenview.  it's a great indoor play area with really good coffee.

tomorrow, playdates.  then off to grandma's house for the weekend.  spring break sure is great!