Katie is Five

Yesterday, Katie turned five years old, or as she puts it, a whole hand. She is such an amazing little girl and has such an amazing heart. We are so incredibly proud of her. She had very definite ideas about how she wanted to use her birthday.

She insisted on bringing doughnuts for her Sunday school class and for her brother’s Sunday school class. We also bought doughnuts for the family. She served each member of the family their doughnut and made sure that everyone had their favorite kind. We brought enough doughnuts for everyone and she offered the leftovers to the Coffee Hour coordinator, so there were extra snacks at Coffee hour.

We gave her the option of skipping church after Sunday school, but she desperately wanted to go to church so she could take Communion. She had taken full communion for the first time the previous Sunday and was eager to do it again. There is nothing quite like watching her wafer getting dipped in the Communion wine and her mouth opening like a baby bird’s to take in the Body and Blood of Christ. And then, she wanted to pray when she got back to the pew. Now the thing about this is that our pews are not built for someone like Katie. She wants to use a kneeler like everyone else, but man it is a struggle for her to reach the top of the pew. But she stretches and she does it.

After church, we went to coffee hour and then we left to go to lunch. Katie was determined to go to Red Robin. She’d been singing the Red Robin song for the last few days in case we weren’t clear where she wanted to go for lunch. She had her favorite macaroni and cheese and carrots with ranch dressing (yes, she chooses the carrots over the french fries). She was startled and pleased to discover that she got a free sundae for dessert and they SANG to her.

Katie opens presents very differently from Ben. He rips everything open and immediately begins playing. Katie opens one at a time and checks out her presents carefully. Well, I should say that’s usually how she opens her presents. This year there were two intriguing big packages and she was very hopeful that Daddy had come through for her with her request for “PityPons” (PinyPons). When she opened the tow and go car, her mind was blown, and then to find the whole winter scene afterward, woah. She had the best birthday AND she got a new Lalaloopsy doll who is perfect for her: Bea Spells-A-Lot (perfect for the child who has taken to practicing her spelling with crackers). She got her absolute favorite book (we’ve checked it out from the library so many times she was confused when I put this one on her shelf last night): Red Knit Cap Girl.

For dinner she had her favorite: Red Coconut Curry Stir-Fry from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. After dinner, she had her Belle cake from Publix and blew out the candle. This is the point in the day that gets to me. She cried because I couldn’t have any of her cake. She didn’t want to have cake if Mama couldn’t have cake.

Once we got her dolls settled, we read her new book and she settled in for a good night’s sleep.

Oh, one other thing, I did her interview from Your Birthday Book. At five, they have me as this question: What are your thoughts about God?

Katie’s Answer: Him helping me and Him doing the things I really need Him to do.

That’s my girl and that’s her heart.

Peyton Turns Eight

The happiest dog in the world, Peyton, turned eight years old on November 12. She earned the title of happiest dog in the world when her groomer informed us that Peyton is the happiest dog she has ever met, and I honestly believe that to be true. Peyton is the sweetest, happiest, craziest dog you could ever hope to meet.

She loves her family, she loves her chair, she loves to eat, and she loves Sam. And not necessarily in that order.

This year Peyton has given us three big scares. First, we caught her limping and discovered she had very nearly sliced her paw pad in half. Some salve and a couple of Rimadyl later and she was back to normal. Please note, when I saw caught her limping, I mean she was walking completely normally if she knew you were watching her but would favor her sore foot if she thought no one could see her. And then she ate approximately three pounds of food just to prove she can. I was terrified she was going to bloat. Two vet visits and an x-ray later we discovered she has packed her tummy so full of food, there was no room for air, so no room for bloat. Thank goodness. Then, because that wasn’t enough, we started finding blood all over the house. Some detective work led us to Peyton. An exam and special diet later, she was back to normal. There is never a dull moment with Miss “Go Big or Go Home” in the house.

Peyton’s biggest challenge this year has been adjusting to Sam’s changing status. There are days when Sam is her old self and she and Peyton get along about as they always did (read not super well), and then there are the days when Sam isn’t feeling well and needs some support and she emotionally leans on Peyton (she could lean on her physically, too) I have no doubt that Peyton would prop her up if Sam needed her to.

The most remarkable thing about Peyton is how steady she is. Nothing really freaks her out. Nothing rattles her. If she gets bothered, she retreats to her kennel and waits out whatever the issue is. She doesn’t bark, but she makes up for that by snoring loud enough to wake the dead. And she is devoted to Sam. She was the first one to figure out that Sam is night blind and she absolutely will not allow us to let Sam out at night by herself. She camps by the “let out” door and keeps herself in between Sam and the door (no matter how urgent Sam’s need might be) until she is in her muzzle and ready to go out too. When Sam was having a series of bad days, Peyton was right outside the gate that separates them (mostly for Sam’s protection now) and stayed there. She escorted Sam in and out and stayed with her as much as she could.

Peyton is a different one of a kind than Sam, but she is definitely the right one of a kind to fit with Sam.

Normally, this is where I would put a picture of the birthday girl, but those who know Peyton, know her nickname is “the streak.” So far, I’ve taken 30 shots and not one of them has come out. Here’s hoping that when we try again in the next day or so, she will be more cooperative.

And Now We Are Six

Dear Ben:

Since it’s your birthday, I won’t make you tell me where that title comes from, but I’ll give you a hint (A.A. Milne). It’s been both my honor and my privilege to be your mother for the last six years. You have grown by leaps and bounds in the last year, and you’re still my favorite boy (we won’t tell your cousin, E).

You are obsessed with Legos and art. You would be perfectly happy in a house filled to the brim with art supplies and Lego blocks. You can, and do, spend hours creating the most amazing things. Yesterday, you made me a beautiful red dinosaur. You use your art to show us how you feel and what you know and what you want to know more about. You are also passionate about music. The African drum may end up being the best gift anyone ever gave you even if it might cause me a nervous breakdown.

We’ve started a new tradition for your birthday. Dad is home. We’ve baked a cake, and we’re pretty much having a chilled day as a family for your day. Right now, y’all are playing MarioKart on the Wii while I type this up. We did your interview this morning for your birthday book:

It’s interesting to see how your answers have changed since last year and what answers are the same. You picked your cake. Oddly, it’s a the Chocolate Malteser Cake from Nigella Lawson’s Feasts:

I think this is odd because you picked it because you think it’s your dad’s favorite cake. It’s not his favorite cake at all, but we’ll let you play that out and hopefully you’ll enjoy it. In a few minutes you’ll be eating lunch and then opening family presents. We’re hoping that if you have all afternoon to play with them you might sleep tonight.

Some big things you’ve learned this year: reading; playing video games; building with Legos; art; basic math; some basic cooking; tball and basketball; and you’ve almost mastered swimming.

Some goals you’ve set: you’re planning to try soccer and coach-pitch softball. Once you’ve done that, you claim that you’re going to choose your team sport and that will be that. You want to pass the swim test so that you can try the slides at the Y. You want to be able to read Magic Treehouse books on your own. You want to do more science and more projects. You want to help Katie get ready for Vacation Bible School next summer.

You are a challenging kid, make no mistake. You have issues that we need to work on. The tantrums and the eye rolls being two of the biggies. You’re very bright and that often works to your disadvantage because you can figure out how to do things that you can’t quite figure out the consequences of (think eggs), so you end up in trouble even though you were creative in getting there.

You’re growing and changing every day and I love every fiber of your being.

Happy sixth birthday, little man. I hope it is as fantastic as you are.

Love, Mom