Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Declan at Four

Dec Man. What do I say about the last year with you?  Last summer you were really sick. I was really scared. It all worked out in the end, but I have to say, in the darkest days I did not know if I would be writing this letter this year. But here we are!!!

You started school this year. You strolled into RKNS like you owned the place. I guess you *have* been going there to drop off and pick up your sister since before you could walk, so it shouldn't have surprised me that you were so comfortable from day one. 
First day of nursery school
RKNS Christmas Concert 2013
  You've always been so quiet and laid-back. I didn't realize how much you were in your big sister's shadow until this year when you burst out on your own. I'm so proud of you when your teacher tells me what a good boy you are. You are smart and funny and well-behaved. Now that your big sister is in school full-time, you take your role as big brother to Ruby very seriously. The two of you are getting to be such good buddies and are always getting into something together. I love to see that you are good friends with both your sisters. Someday your siblings will be an important support to you, your connection to our family, your best friends. I love to see the beginnings of those relationships now.

3 Raine Circus

Last summer, in the midst of your Very Scary Virus, we received a report from your physiotherapist that said you had the gross motor skills of a 20 month old. While we didn't exactly agree with her assessment, we could see that some movements just weren't easy for you. You worked hard at gymnastics, baseball, swimming lessons, bike riding, and playing outside. This winter you started skating lessons and Cross Fit. You have come a long way!! Daddy made you a rink and you have loved playing hockey outside. You are really fast with your one-foot push - Grampy calls you "One Wheel Drive" - and your shot is kind of amazing. Cross Fit has also been so good for you. When you started, you couldn't really bend your knees and now you can do amazing, deep squats. Way to go, buddy.

So many hours out on the rink, playing hockey with Dad
The playstructure is no match for you now.

You are a natural little fish and have been flying through swimming lessons. You ask me almost everyday when summer is coming so you can swim in our pool. I can't wait to see the big adventures you'll have outside this summer!

Goodbye Salamander, hello Sunfish!
This year for your birthday you had a fun friend party with your sisters, cousins, friends from town, and friends from your class. It was great to see you have a special day with your buddies.

Birthday party at Gym Kids

You are the most responsible member of our family, including the adults. You keep close tabs on your clean clothes supply and give me warnings such as "Uh, Mama, you should do some laundry because I only have 2 pairs of clean gitchies left. And maybe you should do it today because if you forget then I'll only have 1." Every request we make of you is met with a cheerful "Awight!" and the thump of your little feet scurrying off to do what was asked.

You are Grampy's little partner in crime. Grandpa Raine is your special buddy, but since Grampy moved to town you know who to go for when you want a treat or a McDonald's craving hits you. You are also Daddy's little spy, though, and Grampy can't sneak over here and borrow anything from Daddy's tool shed without you giving a full report when Dad gets home from work.

Your cousin Landon is your best friend. The two of you are like brothers when you get together, which is so special, especially since Rylan went to be an angel. 

Dec, you are a great kid. You had to grow up fast when Ruby was born before you could even walk, and I wonder if that's what has made you an old soul. You've always been easy going, mellow, and quiet. But more importantly, you are kind, and generous, and sensitive to how other people feel. You are a unique combination of mischievous little boy and seasoned old man, all rolled into one. But I'm glad that you're not too big to crawl into my lap with your blanky, at least for another year. 


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013 was amazing. With the kids being 2.5, 3.5 and 5.5, they were totally into it this year. They were an adorable combination of understanding the bigger meaning of Christmas while still being totally fascinated by the magic of the season.

Gumdrop returned (for a much shorter visit - Mommy was smarter this year) and we had lots of fun finding him every morning. 

 We visited Santa - Ruby ran right up and crawled in his lap, Declan cautiously stayed back by my side until he figured out he needed to speak directly to the big guy to put in his order for a new sled. And Talia surprised everyone by not asking for the Furby that already had her name on it; but for a yo-yo.

We had a fun pre-Christmas celebration with Rainer's sister & and her family. They live waaaaaaaaaay to far away and we were so happy they were able to come for Christmas this year!

We had McQueen Christmas with Christmas Eve at Uncle Kent & Auntie Chantal's house and Christmas Day at our house. McQueen Christmas was bittersweet for us; we were so thankful to see all the kids together and having so much fun - but Rylan was on our minds and in our hearts. We all really missed him. So unfair, I wished that we could have bought him a big, noisy, annoying gift for his first Christmas, instead of making a donation in his name. :( Sigh.

However, we still had 3 little darlings who helped us have a wonderful Christmas in the end. Can't wait to do it all again next year!

First Day of School 2013

September 2013 meant 2 firsts on the same day - Talia started full-time Maternelle (which is the fancy-pants french-immersion word for kindergarten) and Declan started Nursery School at RKNS. As luck would have it, both of these firsts occurred on the same day in 2 different locations - but we made it work. :)

Our first introduction to Ecole St. Adolphe School was actually a few days before school started. The school had a "meet the teacher" night where we went to drop off her school supplies, said a quick hello to Mme. Clifford, and then had a BBQ in the school yard. It was a great start to the school year, and made the actual first morning a lot quicker, which was perfect for our double-first-day problem.

Talia was very excited to go to school. She was pretty sure she was going to come home on the first day completely fluent in french, which was hilarious. She knew all the kids except for 2 or 3. Thanks to her awesome nursery school, she was totally ready for school and really excited to be a big kid. She had a great first day and was so proud to wear her school shirt home.

Declan was also thrilled to start RKNS. He'd been going to RKNS for drop-off/pick-up of the big girls as long as he could remember - Talia started when he was 18 months so literally, half his life - so he was totally comfortable. He strolled right in like he owned the place, found his name, reluctantly posed for some pictures, looked at the kids who were crying like they were nuts, and got down to business.

And yes, this blog post is ridiculously late, but the benefit of that is that I can tell you this: their enthusiasm for school has continued. Declan loves his almost all-male school and is learning how to be a rough & tumble boy. Talia is like a little sponge and amazes us everyday with the extent of her french vocabulary. So far school has been fun and easy for them - hope it stays that way in the years to come!