This move has been quite an adjustment for our herd. Daddy and I have been doing our own adjusting but here's a little update on the lives of my 'new' kids.
Brigham has developed a sense of competition that I've never seen before. He races to school to be the first to finish his workshop, he's determined to be on "purple" every single day (green is ok, blue is great and purple is above and beyond). He has pretty much challenged everyone in his class to try and beat him academically. Most surprising is that he, my son, the one who inherited a love affair with food from his mother, he has willingly been giving up his snack time every day for months in order to have more time to complete some of his work at school. I just found this out the other day and I was completely floored. This boy doesn't just pass up a snack. He just participated in his classes Battle of the Books and loved it. He worked so hard to not just read the books, but study them and have me quiz them down. He's working hard on his handwriting and his math and is just determined to to well. He's also been working hard and has memorized all 13 of his Articles of Faith. He is impatient for his birthday to be baptized and it's killing him that he can't start scouts this summer. He loves building with his legos and really loves playing the wii. Brig will say that he hasn't made any friends here, but every time I pick him up from school he has a group of kids saying goodbye to him. He is well-loved by his primary teachers who spoil him rotten and he completely adores them and loves going to church. He still voluntarily stands by the back door of the chapel and passes out programs and greets people. He started this months before we left Cedar and no-one asked him to, he just really wanted to do it.
Noah is just growing. He's mastered stairs, both up and down. He is always smiling and is a huge tease. He likes to get under my feet when I'm working out and then laughs when he gets moved like he accomplished something big. He loves to play with his cars and trucks and loves to be read to. He still adores his biggest sister but plays well with all the other kids too. He is fascinated with the dog and likes feeding him. He's got 6 big teeth now and they are all crooked thanks to that big thumb in his mouth all the time. He likes to talk and make his "yodle-odle" sounds and he love, love, loves music. Every time a song comes on he will dance and bounce and squeal. He is great at clapping and backward waving and gives great kisses. He loves his bath, still takes 2 naps a day and is not reverent at church.
Leisl loves her preschool class and talks about her friends a lot. She likes to talk to herself when she's playing and she 'reads' stories to herself and her babies. She is saving her pennies to buy a baby doll because she just doesn't have enough of them. She has even been doing extra jobs around the house to earn more money. She loves to color and is very meticulous about it. She likes to be read to and hates when the books are over. She cannot watch a movie without her pillow and her blanket. She's been sick a lot lately and has had a lot of time at home with mom. She is terrified of being left alone. If it's just she and I here in the morning and I go upstairs without her she freaks out! She cries and runs around screaming, "Mom!". It happens if I go to the bathroom and shut the door too or if I go out to the garage. She is very opinionated and likes to be in charge. The other night she decided she needed to be in charge of something. I told her she could be in charge of the clean up after dinner. She stood on her chair and bossed the other kids like crazy and loved every minute of it. She always has to give an answer in Family Home Evening or Family Council. Sometimes it's a relevant answer and sometimes it's just random something but she wants to be heard and acknowledged. She says the funniest prayers too. She prays that she's thankful that Daddy has a beard and then giggles a little. Sometimes her prayers go on forever or they change to a tiny little whisper. She skips off the bus and tells her bus driver and helper that she loves tham. She gives hugs freely to people in our ward. She is a little sweet heart and reminds me of it all the time, "I'm yow little weethot".
Ayvri Bell is ready to go all the time. She has an adventurous spirit and really wants to be out and going and doing all the time. She has energy that never quits and is a little rowdy. She loves to be silly and she loves to sing. She has joined the Science Olympiad group with Kabe and enjoys all the experiments and building and especially having something extra-curricular to do. She has a great attention to detail in her school-work and her teacher raves about her perfectionism. She loves her activity days group and loves friends. She's always asking for playdates and makes friends with everyone. She is a tender heart and still needs to be cuddled now and then. She loves to sit with her Daddy and is a great little reader. She's found a series that she loves, "The Goddess Girls" and I think she's read 14 of them now. She also loves being artsy fartsy. She bought herself a little guitar at a thrift store and wants to learn how to play. She's been working really hard at piano and is making great progress on all her music. She loves to play and has a very artistic musical touch that just comes naturally to her. Every once in a while her sweet little voice becomes a demon voice but for the most part she's very loving. She is working hard to complete her Faith In God requirements and has taken the challenge to read the Book of Mormon this year and works hard to keep up and not fall behind.
Sweet Darla loves school. She is the kindergarten queen and very confident. She's pretty sure she's the smartest 5 year old alive and who am I to tell her differently? She is funny and is a huge tease. She loves to read and has mastered Green Eggs and Ham. She likes to play babies and loves to be in charge. She is a busy kid and loves learning shows like Super Why and Electric Company where she can fill in the blank with all the answers. Darla has decided that she really likes boys and has found a few of the older kids at school to kiss on. We've talked about physical contact and how it's not ok to just chase a boy down and kiss him, but I think she is still doing it as reported by her brother now and then. I guess she comes by that honest from her namesake. She is a firecracker and makes us laugh all the time. She is a sweet girl and has the powers of persuasion when she wants to. She uses her eyes and that sparkle of hers to get pretty much whatever she wants.
This handsome boy is marvelous. Kabe has joined the Science Olympiad, plays percussion in the band, made the Honor Band and is in the chess club. He's racked up over 600 points in the Accelerated Reader program in the last 3 months. He reads constantly and flies through books faster than I ever could. He's also a great helper around the house and can rally his brothers and sisters to the cause when he wants to. He's a very gentle boy and is always trying to help ease the tension or fix a bad situation. He's also developing the gift of honesty for which I'm so proud of him. He still has some insecurities but is gaining confidence. He's very smart and incredibly curious and I'm always impressed with the things that he knows (he always has something to tell me that I've never heard or thought of before). He's fun to be with and has a quick wit. He tends to be a little snarky like me and we're both working on that as well. He's made some good friends, though not any bosom friends like Danny or Gideon or Ryan yet. We're hoping scouting this summer really seals the deal on a few great friendships for him. He loves scouts and enjoyed building a snow cave and then camping overnight in it here in Alaska in January (crazy!). He loves the outdoors and is always willing to humor me when I get the outside bug. He's preparing to receive the priesthood in a few months and has really taken seriously this responsibility. It is amazing to me to watch him develop into a strong young man. I'm just so impressed with him.
Of all the kids Ksenya has changed the most since arriving here. She was getting pretty comfortable at home in Cedar - homeschooling and just pretty much sticking to what was easy and familiar. This move threw her into a realm of change and boy has she run with it! She has conquered her fear about her new 'big' school and has joined the orchestra and made the honors orchestra. She voluntarily (without me knowing) competed in her school and then the district speech competition and then worked on a project with her friends called Agents for Change where she organized a bake sale to raise money for a charity that works to help children who are in child slavery situations. She has jumped into her Young Women's group and has been working like crazy on her Personal Progress. She has started babysitting here and there and is super responsible with her money. She's really been branching out of her comfort zone and has made some really good friends who support her in her standards and help her to be more confident. I love spending time with her and having candid conversations about this new world of teenagerhood. I never thought I'd enjoy talking about pimples but being a mom has really broadened my horizons.
I'm so thankful that God loves us enough to give us challenges - if life were always easy how would we grow? I'm also super thankful that Tyler was brave enough to take this leap of faith with me and bring our family to Alaska. I could never have imagined this twist in our life, but am enjoying it and all the blessings both expected and unexpected that it has brought.