Joy comes in all shapes and sizes. I am constantly reminded of this as each girl in our family contributes joy and happiness in their own unique way. I am so very grateful for their specialness and the way they shine the love and light of God by just being who they are. I’m so blessed. So very thankful.
Parent teacher conferences were this week. Maddie and Whit were so impressive with their Yale and Harvard sweatshirts. They have high aspirations…can’t blame them! Whitney is in advanced honors math, which is so far beyond me that I really can’t help her all that much. They practice logic on levels that I am afraid would take me hours to unravel. . With her outgoing, bubbly personality, strong wit, sense of humor, etc, one would never guess that she is such a math and logic whiz. Grades are super important to her. She is doing phenomenally well her 1st semester of middle school.
Maddie is an extremely strong student across the board. She is getting all A’s at this point, and secretly loves learning. She is a very strong leader according to her teachers. One after the other talked about how she helps others and they depend on her to help interpret into tween language what the teacher just said.
The general consensus on both Maddie and Whit was: They are strong leaders, have strong opinions, are helpful and kind, and hard workers. I am so proud of them.
We had Belle’s conference this week too. Her teacher said that she is the most helpful student in class. She always helps the kids who have special needs. She LOVES them, protects them, and loves to look out for them. She is doing an amazing job at reading, and her strong suit is math. She loves numbers. Belle is also quite an artist. I joke with her all the time that I will write books and she can illustrate them. I honestly can see that happening some day in the future.
One common theme between all three girls is their strong verbal skills. Apparently they have the gift of gab, which they are learning to use in moderation.
I am so thankful for the school district we live in, the schools our girls attend, and the teachers that they have. We are so blessed, and it is so neat for us as parents to sit back and watch them thrive in these environments. Rob and I are saving our pennies for those ivy league schools…and praying for scholarships.
We are wrapping up our summer, the girls really are ready to head back to school. I feel as if this summer was about three weeks too long, as the girls are “bored” with the regular summer fun stuff. They miss their friends, the routine of school, and their minds are sharp and eager to learn all the new stuff their teachers have for them this year. Well, their little minds may be a little dulled by hours of meaningless television and iPod games, but I am sure they will be whipped back into shape in no time.
Miss Maddie will be a teenager in a few weeks, although it is no surprise since we always joke that she was born a teenager. She has a keen fashion sense, an eye for beauty, but most importantly, she has a very tender heart and loves Jesus and the world around her. Maddie went to middle school camp this summer and the Chicago mission trip with GSM, the youth ministry of our church. She was marked by both–each experience really making a difference in her life. I am excited for her as she starts her 7th grade year.
Whitney is starting middle school in two days. She’s excited and nervous as most middle schoolers are when they are not quite sure what to expect. Whitney is a fiery, passionate, full-of-life kid that brings laughter and happiness wherever she goes. She is a true friend to whomever crosses her path, no matter their social standing. Whit told us yesterday that she either wants to be a judge or a marine biologist. Funny thing is that I can completely see her going in either direction. She loves the outdoors and any kind of adventure, but has a strong sense of justice that influences the way she thinks and acts. I know she will be an amazing young woman whatever she chooses to do.
Miss Isabelle is starting first grade this year. She made leaps and bounds her Kindergarten year, and got amazing results on her test scores at the end of the school year. She is fiercely determined to keep up with her big sisters, is witty, intelligent, full of joy and laughter all of the time. Her sense of humor and spirit of joy and creativity keep our house buzzing with life and activity at all hours of the day (and night). She has more energy than anyone in our household. If we could somehow bottle that energy for sale, we’d be millionaires. :) She is also excited and nervous about the school year. One of her best friends, Miah is in the same class as her this year, and she can hardly contain her excitement. She already said she knows they will talk a lot and get in trouble. I am sure their teacher will have her hands full!
Thanks for checking in on us. I hope you had a great summer and are looking forward to a glorious fall. I already see the leaves changing at the tops of the trees and can hardly believe summer is almost over.
About a year ago, Whitney decided on her own that she wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love. A few friends of ours have died of cancer in the past year, so it really brought it to the center of Whitney’s mind. She gets compliments on her amazingly beautiful hair all the time. She has the most beautifully perfect strawberry blonde hair. It’s almost golden and shimmers and shines just like on a shampoo commercial.
I keep thinking about what Amy says to Jo in the book “Little Women” when Jo cuts her hair off so she can raise money for their family. She says, “But Jo! your hair is your one true beauty!” Whitney truly gave the most beautiful gift she could at her 11 year old age, and I am so proud of her. My kids truly inspire me to be a better person.
We dropped Maddie and Whit off at Springhill camp in Evart, Michigan yesterday. They are both so excited. They both literally grew up at Camp Adventure, as Rob and I lead camp with the GCC team in various ways over the years. Last year was Maddie’s first year of camp, and this year is Whitney’s first year. I’m super happy for them, and praying for them every time I think about them.
While they are gone, Belle and I have lots and lots of time together alone. I told her to make a list of all the things she’d like to do. Here’s her list:
1. Go to Chmeig Chles (go to Charming Charlies)
2. Go to Diseland (Go to Disneyland)
3. Go to the mol (go to the mall)
4. Go to a wadr prc (go to a water park)
5. Go Boleg (go bowling)
6. Go to the prc (go to the park)
7. Have a prte (have a party)
8. Have fun
9. Play in my fout (play in my fort)
As you can see, it’s going to be a busy week! I’m looking forward to hanging out with Belle. She knows how to have fun.
Whitney is in her last few weeks of elementary school. I really can not believe how quickly her elementary school years have flown by. Just “yesterday” I was putting her downstairs on the couch with a warm bottle of milk for her rest time. It was her favorite place to hang out at the time, and she watched the same movie every day for a year. Occasionally she got bored during her rest time and cut a few holes in the couch with scissors. I remember it felt like such a big deal at the time, but now it is just a funny memory. Her excuse was that her hand “slipped” and it was all a very tragic accident.
Another time, she accidentally drew a gigantic smiley face on our wood floor with a Sharpie. Again, huge big deal at the time, now just a funny memory.
All the parents who have babies just learning to toddle or are starting school for the first year, or are marking any of these milestones, I encourage you to live each second with them as deeply as fully as you can. The time you have with your babies goes so, so fast. They won’t always want you to tuck them in at night, make them a warm bottle, or cut holes in your couch on accident.
I spent a long day yesterday with Whitney’s 5th grade class travelling to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We had such a great time. I knew it would be a long day when I signed up, but I was determined to have a great attitude and do all I could to make it a great day for Whit. On the way there, she said to me, “Mom, it’s good we are having some one-on-one time today. We really need it.” Throughout the day, she expressed to me about five times how glad she was that I came along. She was so overwhelmed with happiness at one point, she kissed me full on the mouth in front of her friends.
Spending that day with Whit was such a rewarding experience for her and for me. I am so glad we have so many great memories from her 5th grade field trip to share together.
Hold on to your babies parents. Grandparents, hold on to your grand-babies. You won’t ever have the chance to live this day again.
We had a wonderful day yesterday celebrating Mother’s Day. We went to Amish Acres, ate a ton of food, then had a lot of fun walking around the property, looking at old Amish houses, looking for frogs, and jumping over creeks.
I took this picture of Whitney jumping over the creek. Yep, she made it. She is one of the most fearless, fun people I know.
I thank God every day for my three beautiful girls and the unique fun they each bring to our family.
Every body needs a Whitney. Whitney is a true friend. She is a pillar of strength and conviction. She is a joker, a creative, a Jesus-lover, and a pearl- refined into beauty as the years shape and mold her.
I’ve never seen a more stunning strawberry blonde beauty. Her smile lights up a room and draws life out of the most down and out kids.
We are so glad God gave us a Whitney 11 years ago today, and that He chose two special sisters that bring out the very best (and sometimes worst…but we won’t talk about that on her birthday) of the depths of her preciousness.
Happy Birthday Whitney! We love you so, so much.
If you don’t know Whitney, I hope you know someone like her. Everybody needs a Whitney.
Whitney is just a few weeks shy of 11 years old, and feels perfectly alive on any stage, anywhere. She got to play the Wicked Witch in the 4th/5th grade play Shrek. She had her first performance last night, one this morning, and one tonight. All of the kids in the cast have worked so hard, and did a phenomenal job. We are so proud of our Whitney, the cutest Wicked Witch ever.
Someone asked me the other day to describe my girls. What they are like. Well, that’s both easy and very, very hard. They are the same in a lot of ways, and in other ways, so completely different, it’s amazing they were birthed from the same parents.
They are all extremely creative and funny. They each make me laugh about 5 times a day, which means I am laughing a good 15 times a day, which must bring some overall health benefit.
The girls are all very smart. School comes easy for all of them on most days. We struggle through the hard stuff, but at the end of the day, secretly know that they are way smarter than me. “Go play Angry Birds Mom, while I finish my Math homework”. Ha!
They are all very musical. Yesterday, Belle sat at the computer, playing a game she really likes to play, and made up songs for a solid hour, singing at the top of her lungs. Whitney and I sat in the other room giggling because it was so sweet and cute.
Maddie and Whit have both decided to take up an instrument. Maddie is playing guitar (her guitar teacher said he thanks God every day for Taylor Swift. Because of her, 75% of his students are 10-14 year old girls that want to be her). Whitney is taking piano lessons from Sarah Koutz, and has caught on very fast, and is loving being able to play and figure out musical notes with her mathematical brain (again, I just walk away)
Life with three girls is both challenging and rewarding. I won’t go into their differences today, because, quite frankly, that’s what Rob and I spend a lot of our time sorting through and refereeing. Another day, another post. For now, we are enjoying the new sounds of music in our house. Music and laughter are a great combo.