Thursday, June 12, 2014

Big Sister

Jessica loves playing with her little brother. Since she was almost 4 years old when we brought Spencer home, she has not had the "jealous sibling" reaction that some younger kids do. He's more like a live toy/personal baby/playmate to her. And I think by watching Spencer's adoption, she has a better understanding of her own adoption. Here she's holding him at 3 months old:

This session in the rocking chair included pretending Spencer was kicking her & punching her, teaching him to scratch his head and suck his thumb, and trying to hug a floppy, 1 month-old baby, and lots of laughing.

She is a silly one, and she's already saved me dozens of times by entertaining Spencer or popping his pacifier back in.

She will pull him around in his car seat & pile on the toys on him.

His finger-sucking is funny to her. (He is much better about sucking fingers and pacifiers than she was.)

And her latest trick: climbing into his crib to play with him. (We put mittens on him for sleeping so he won't cut himself scratching the cradle-cap rash on his head.)

I love that I have a daughter and a son for holidays and taking to church on Sundays.

Below Jessica poses in February for his Valentine's baby party, and in April in the local library for his legal adoption by phone.

On Memorial Day, 2014:

My mother says babies are the most expensive toys you'll ever have. Might as well get our fun in, like Dave & Jessica playing the "punch your sister" game.

For now, 2 kids fit in the reading chair with a parent.

Jessica is a little mommy, copying me and helping me out.

I spend a lot of time with the kids in this double stroller, walking in our neighborhood. In this picture, Dave and I did a "pi" run (3.14 miles) on Pi Day (3/14/2014), which is also my birthday. It was perfect, because all the runners got pie at the end, and I love pie better than birthday cake. Spencer slept, Jessica grumbled about being cold, I actually ran most of it, and Dave ran/walked the whole thing (good enough with a stroller and a crowd of other people wanting pie.)

I catch them playing funny games: apparently this adventure was "driving with the ballerina". She cracks me up, and I can't wait to see them grow up together and be friends.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Jessica Blessica Turns 4 -- A Year in Pictures

Happy 4th Birthday to our spunky girl Jessica! Here is the highlight reel of her last 12 months. 

Below we took a picture this morning with new Sparkle light-up shoes and kitty shirt before she goes off to Joy School. I love this year's hairstyle with her bangs grown out and her hair trimmed to shoulder-length. And yes, her pants are too short; she sprouted up this year.

For Valentine's she wanted to eat her giant Hershey kiss without getting her hands dirty, and two days later at Spencer's open house she posed with her 7 week-old brother.

We put Jessica in her first activity: preschool swim lessons at the Y. In February, she spent time painting, playing, and sledding in our 8-inch snowfall.

I think she was getting bored, and started sleeping in the rocker, on a pile of pillows on the floor, and on the couch during the Olympics. I love her sleeping face: she's perfectly symmetrical; the dry winter weather gives her rosy cheeks, and her skin is so transparent her eyelids look purple.

She still gets stories with daddy before bed, and we have family night & scripture lessons every Monday. (Below she was dressing up in a "coat of many colors" like Joseph.)

She loves learning about how to take care of her little brother and copy me. The picture on the right is after church.

Jessica was equally excited about the advent of Spencer and Santa. Good thing she was such a solid sleeper: she never woke up when Spencer cried right next to her in the middle of the night at the hotel. She loves playing in the dirt, so at the beach, she preferred to play in the sand rather than look at the view or the marine life.

Since we were saving Dave's vacation days the December adoption, we stayed in Lynchburg for Thanksgiving. We ate dinner with some other families in our church congregation. The next day we went black Friday shopping in the freezing cold, stopping only for donuts and hot chocolate.

I found this skeleton costume, which she loved for Halloween, and so did her friends when it was dress up time.  You go, you ballerina skeleton luau girl!

We made spider Oreo cookies for a neighbor cookie tag game. (Her favorite way to eat an Oreo is to twist it open, lick out the middle, and leave the cookies lying around.) Dave took her to the apple orchard and played on the hay and with the animals.

This is a perfect example showing how Jessica loves to do her own thing: below I dressed Jessica up summery and sweet for a day of Joy School, but by the end of the day she and her friend have changed it for the pirate hippy look. She always gets an A for imagination.

Here's Jessica at her lowest (crying when the she stuck the baby toilet seat around her neck in the bath tub; which I had to cut off), and at her best (when she learned to draw faces, she drew them everywhere.)

In August we heard from the new baby's birthmom that she was expecting a boy, (yes!) We celebrated with "mice cream", and Jessica and I went the next day to buy some baby boy clothes. That month we also laid out 50 feet of plastic sheeting on our steep front lawn for a giant slip-n-slide. Add a little baby shampoo and some friends, and it's a fun summer diversion.

When Dave left for his annual work training week in Texas, I decided Jessica and I were going to have the funnest week possible. She did bungee jumping at the mall, cosmic bowling with friends, got a free meal out for summer reading, play dates with friends, painted a bird house, and shopped with me. (During one trip she climbed into this storage ottoman, and I suggested it was just the right size for a kid's coffin--great, since she loves playing dead.)

To celebrate Independence Day, we drove to the other side of town to Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's summer home. Jessica got to ride a pony, dress in period clothes, play with old wooden toys, and the cutest thing ever: drill with Revolutionary war reenactors. I loved the period music, lace making, and formal dancing demonstration, and Dave & I both liked the silversmithing & blacksmithing.

At the end of the month, I organized a family night near July 24 in honor of Pioneer Day. Several families traveled through a short forest trail. We "buried" and "cried" over a dead doll, churned butter, played stick pull, heard stories, carved names, hauled people with "broken" limbs, "shot" animals (rubber band guns and stuffed animals), waded through "rivers" (ice cold kiddie pools) and ended with fried scones & watching Legacy. It was fun.

On our first overnight trip to Shenandoah National Park, we did three hikes, including Blackrock, pictured here. Jessica acted invincible with her new tennis shoes. She loved that we randomly camped next to a family with another little girl named Jessica, and has never forgotten me showing and hearing her first cat bird, (a shy gray ground bird whose song sounds like a meow.)

Dave & the other dads at church all took their kids to a minor league baseball game here in Lynchburg. Someone retrieved a foul ball and gave it to her.

Jessica & I drove an hour one day to a lake beach, and Dave brings home extra dry ice from work projects to show us how to make instant ice cream.

When my parents came to visit, we toured Natural Bridge, a beautiful stone arch, a butterfly room, and a wax museum. She posed under the arch like so. Dave frequently plays with her when he comes home from work and I'm cooking dinner; I think this fuzzy rainbow yarn kept her busy for hours.

Jessica's bedroom is loosely a woodsy theme, what with all the Virginia forests here, and her love of animals. She also loves gardening; here she holds our first produce of the season: French breakfast radishes, which are not more mild that regular radishes, but look cool.

In May, my mom's mother passed away. Jessica and I flew to Utah for the funeral and a week's stay. I learned so much from her & will miss her so much, but I am grateful I still have my Grandpa Bosen.

One day we visited my dad at work for lunch at the Church office building, where he is a natural resources manager. Nothing is more cheering than the gorgeous spring flowers on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Jessica helped me paint this sign for Dave's 36th birthday BBQ. And she took this random picture of me during a shopping trip in Walmart. I keep her occupied in stores with phone apps like Baby Dress Up and Doctor X. But when that gets boring she switches over to the camera...

Here Jessica is eating "glass" noodles (clear bean noodles) in an asian dinner, and she samples flatbread & veggies for our Jerusalem dinner, our sit-on-the-floor Good Friday meal. When she's hungry & food is out, she has no restraint in helping herself.

Of course she loved dying Easter eggs and enjoying a formal Easter Sunday dinner with friends. It's good to be three and an only child. She is full of imagination and independence and silliness and love. She talked our ears off, and was full of questions and little kid curiosity (read: mischief), and we love her a million billion. Happy fourth birthday, pumpkin!