Much to Sean’s delight, he did not need to get a shot this time.  He was quite grown up and answered all the doctor’s questions.  Here are this sweet boy’s stats:

Height:  53.25 in (61%)
Weight:  54.6 lbs (17%)

My dearest Jonas,

Today marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11, however, since your birth, I will always be celebrating 9/11 because it’s your birthday.  I foresee in the next couple of years, you will understand how somber 9/11 is for most people, but for now, I’m glad you’re oblivious.

Last year, on your birthday, I was absent and in Taiwan visiting my grandmother.  This year, I’m glad to be here with you and celebrate your birthday.  I asked what you wanted to do, and you said you wanted to go to the skate park, have cupcakes, and eat pizza.  We took you to the skate park this afternoon with your scooter, and you were timid of the big kids.  You didn’t want to go down the bigger ramp because you were afraid they would make fun of you.   Little did you know, the big kids were actually very good kids and wouldn’t laugh at you.  After a few kids cleared, you did go down the ramp, and you were pretty happy.  It made me smile to see you so happy.

I think with each successive year, I’m glad that we decided to wait a year before putting you in school.  It made such a difference when you started kindergarten – you were much more confident.  Mrs. G commented how kind you were with other friends, especially the kids with IEPs.  I could see that the heightened emotional sense helped you to be empathetic to others.  Despite being more confident, you were happy to just play with your friend Brave.  When I asked about recess, sometimes you’d tell me that you didn’t play with other kids.  It made me sad at first, but then when I probed deeper, I realized you just didn’t want to play with other kids and were happy to be by yourself sometimes.  I forget that sometimes you’re an introvert.

At our first parent teacher conference, Mrs. G told us how wonderful you were, which made me smile.  She told me how well you were doing with numbers, and I had figured the tutelage from Sean was the reason.  Mrs. G explained that you were actually good with math, and above your grade level.  By the middle of spring, you were going to first-grade math to be challenged.  You were timid at first, but it helped that Brave was with you.  As for your other academics, reading started to click somewhere between the fall and spring.

You have always been athletic, and you’ve enjoyed doing a lot of sports – flag football, swimming, soccer, and skiing.  Soccer is still your first love, which isn’t surprising (your father’s influence is strong).  Daddy says you are able to see the game well and that you do pretty well.  In skiing, you have started to turn more, and you were able to go down the mountain with us a few times.  You even managed to go down a blue!  The speed didn’t scare you, and when you fell, you just got back up.  I will say, you could learn a little modesty with sports since you always tell us, “I’m the best” at the something.  :)    I do think you are starting to recognize kids that are more talented than you.  :)

I was commenting to daddy the other day that you are my neat kid who loves to follow rules. You like order.  You are the only child who will clean up their room without us asking.  I think you enjoy lining things up and getting things in order, just like me!  You also like rules and following rules.  You have commented to us when things aren’t fair (you like justice) or when your siblings aren’t following the rules.  I think that I’ll feel relieved if this continues when you get to be a teenager.  :)

Sean is your constant companion.  You do a lot together – play sports, play Pokemon, wrestle, video games, and so much more.  I think you are best friends, and I’m glad you do so much together.  You have started riding your scooters to school together, and I love that Sean watches out for you.  Karis has her moments where you enjoy doing things together – make believe play or art, but it frustrates you when she gets into your things.  I see that you are the glue between Sean and Karis, so I hope that you can continue to foster both relationships.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but you’ve moved out of your Cars phase.  Now, you mostly enjoy playing games (chess, King of Tokyo, Roll through the ages), Pokemon, riding your scooter, coloring, and playing sports.  It’s been fun seeing you change your interests.  Despite this, you can still occupy your time quite well during quiet time – I often hear thuds and lots of loud talking.

Despite growing up to be such a big boy, you are my snuggler.  You still come up to me and say “Mama” and want me to hold you and squeeze you.  It reminds me that you aren’t too big yet, and that there is still a place for me in your heart.  I still bring comfort and security, and I’m glad for these moments.  You will get upset if I don’t give you a big hug at night.  I know these days are coming to a closer as you get older, so I try to treasure them as much as I can now.

All this to say, you are growing up to be such a wonderful boy.  I’m so thankful to be your mom and watch you grow!

Love,
Mommy

Dear Sean,

As a parent, there are times where you think “where has the time gone?”  The last few months, I’ve been thinking about that more and more with you.  I came to the realization that you have spent half of your time with us; nine more years and you’ll be  an adult and ready to leave.  It has been mind blowing to think about how you’re halfway to eighteen.

At the doctor’s office last Friday, I picked up a pamphlet about “Boys and Puberty” while we were waiting for the doctor to come in for your check-up.  I started reading, and it said puberty starts from ages 10-13.  In my mind, I thought we had a few more years, not just one before puberty started.  I don’t think I’m ready for you to change from a boy to a man!

Day to day, I haven’t picked up on how you’re growing and maturing into a big kid, but having to reflect and write this post, it’s more evident to me.  It’s the small things that are adding up.  The PBS kids show you used to enjoy or tolerate, you now call “baby shows” (though we’ve admonished you from using the word “baby” since Karis still likes the shows).  When we picked your new lunch box and backpack, you wanted a plain colored lunchbox instead of one with a character on it.  You’ve also been asking to make more things by yourself (i.e. grilled cheese).  You also started using a butter knife to cut things at dinner.  You’re pretty skilled at using chopsticks too!  :)  All this to say, it wasn’t one moment of transition into a big kid, but rather small things that have added up this year to remind me that you’re growing up.

Academics has always been your strong suit.  Like all of your teachers before, Mrs. P noticed how you were gifted in academics.  You tested high on one of the tests they use for giftedness, and Mrs. P was surprised that you were admitted last year when you started in the spring after our move.  Your dad and I have debated back and forth whether or not to send you to a gifted program, and we’ve decided it’d be better for you stay at our local school.  Mrs. P has challenged you academically by creating an ALP (advanced learning plan), and I believe it’s been advantageous.  With the ALP, you have certainly been stretched outside of your comfort zone, and you’ve needed to learn to persevere.  It’s been quite a challenge for you not to have things come as easily to you; your natural tendency when faced with challenges is to give up and find something easier.  We’ve been thankful that Mrs. P has encouraged perseverance over outcome because that’s what’s more important to us than your giftedness.  I think it’s been a hard lesson for you to learn that not all things will come easily to you nor will you be the best at everything.  I think it’s been humbling for you, but I have seen you grow so much in how you handle that truth.  You are seeing the fruits of your hard labor and finding that delayed gratification of mastery is just as wonderful as instant gratification.  I hope we can continue to encourage your perseverance through a variety of situations, not just academics.

You continue to shine with math, reading, and writing.  You learned how to write cursive this past year, which you’ve enjoyed.  You do enjoy school, oftentimes getting your work done soon after you come home after school.  You bring great works of art home from school, and it’s been fun seeing your creativity.

Socially, you are blossoming.  I didn’t realize how much going to a new school impacted you until our first parent teacher conference with Mrs. P.  She said at the beginning, you still were more reserved and cautious, but you began to open up more late in the fall and spring.  I had taken for granted that things were going well given our PTC last year with Miss J, and how you talked about some of the friends you’d been making at school.  I’m glad that you started to feel at home and have a good group of friends where you can feel like being yourself at school.

Outside of school, we’ve had you in art classes and sports.  I think you’ve enjoyed being with a bunch of boys on your soccer team.  While your strength might not be athletics, I’ve really enjoyed watching your practice and push yourself in soccer, baseball, and swimming.  I will say that you seem to enjoy the individual sports – golf and skiing.  You’ve loved skiing, and through your last lesson in the spring, you’ve really been more aggressive on the slopes and planning out your path.  Your teacher said by the second lesson, you had improved a lot!  I think that skiing might be your sport.  :)

You’ve always enjoyed laughing and joking around, and I think that’s a great personality trait.  I think I struggle with letting you be free in your light-heartedness while trying to tone it down in certain situations where it might not be appropriate.  I hope I will be able to foster your carefree attitude because it’s one of the things that makes you so likable and friendly.  You always have a smile on your face and are eager to tell jokes and make others laugh.  You’ve started to pick up on sarcasm, and you like to use it around adults.

Your favorite thing right now is Pokemon, which is great with the new Pokemon Go game (which we don’t have or let you play).  You are happy to play Pokemon on the Raspberry Pi emulator that your dad installed.  You check out Pokemon comics, collect cards, and talk about Pokemon.  With the success of Pokemon Go, you’ve actually been able to carry on very intelligent conversations with some millennials we know since the game is a throwback to their childhood.  It is a strange juxtaposition seeing you talk about Pokemon with adults twice your age.  :)

Jonas has been your constant companion.  You two talk about Pokemon, ride your scooters, wrestle, and play chess.  You often comment on how you wish you were an only child and didn’t have to share your things, however, I think that you’d be quite lonely without Jonas and Karis (more so Jonas).  Your grandmother warned me how much wrestling your dad and Uncle E did as children, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much it happens!  With Karis, you tend to have less patience with her.  There are times, however, you can be sweet and help her in current situations.  When the timing and mood is right, you do play with her.  I’m curious to see as she gets older, if you will start taking the role of “protective” older brother.

With our relationship with you as parents, you are starting to push back a little bit more like a teenager.  You groan, grunt, and sigh when you don’t get your way.  You are a great kid, and you still listen despite disagreeing (or being angry) with our decisions.  We do give you freedom to express your displeasure, and I hope that we are fostering a relationship where you feel open to tell us how you feel and start discussions rather than battles of wills.  You aren’t quite a teenager yet (which I’m thankful!) because you still let us kiss you, hug you, and hold your hand.  It doesn’t happen often, but you aren’t embarrassed by it yet.

You are growing up fast, my sweet boy; changing so much in such a short period of time.  I’ll always love you and be grateful for you!

Love,

Mommy

 

Dearest Karis,

Happy belated 5th birthday sweet girl!  The year has flown by!  You have officially exited the toddler years and now we are embarking into the “big kid” years.  It’s been fun to watch your growth this year, and I’m excited to see what the Lord will do next year.

Speaking of the Lord, it’s been fun to hear you talk about church and God.  During the school year, our family went to “two services” as you would say; one for Sunday school, and the other for worship.  During worship service, you’d stay with us until we were done singing.  You liked to be held during the singing.  You noticed that others would raise their hands to worship the Lord, and you started doing the same.  You like music, and you often moved around in my arms and sang.  After Sunday school, you sometimes talked about Jesus and God.  It’s been neat to see how you are learning about God.

You’ve traveled quite a bit this year, and I don’t it’s more than normal.  We went to Rhode Island last year to see daddy’s extended family.  You loved going to the beach, and you spent hours playing in the water and sand.  All you needed was your bucket and shovel.  We also went back to the Midwest in the fall to visit our old friends.  You were hesitant at first to see some people, but I believe the people and atmosphere jogged your memory.  In the winter, we spent time with my family, and you enjoyed seeing “Jio Jio” and his girlfriend.  In the winter, we also had some time to go up into the mountains; our first time as “locals”.  You went skiing, and I think you enjoyed the time with the teachers and other kids more than the skiing.

With regards to school, you began a new pre-school this year with four teachers in your class.  You loved school, so going to school wasn’t a problem!  It’s been neat to see how you’ve really grown academically!  You’ve learned how to control your emotions better, and when you do have a meltdown, you’ve learned how to calm down more quickly.  You learned your colors, shapes, numbers, and some letters.  I was impressed when one day you told me you were going to write “mom” and you wrote “MMO”.  It’s been neat to see you blossom at school.

It’s been evident how much you are learning and absorbing the past year.  Your vocabulary has increased significantly.  You use more complex sentence structures.  The speak about topics in a lot more detail.  Physically, you learned how to float briefly on your back.  You learned more balance through your tumbling class, and you started to do pizza stops once in awhile with skiing.  In your fine motor skills, you have improved your writing and cutting.

You have always been a people person, and it’s been fun to seeing how you’ve had different opportunities to interact with people.  I have put you in school, swim lessons, ski lessons, soccer, art, Sunday school, and tumbling.  In all of these activities, you liked to talk to me about your “friends”.  With your growth, I think your brothers enjoy playing with you more.  The amount of time that they willingly interact with you has continued to grow.  Jonas has spent quite a bit of time playing pretend play.  When you both are in good moods, you can play for at least an hour.  Sean does play with you sometimes, though at times he gets frustrated with you.  I think it’s because you desperately want to play with him, but are unable to do so at the level that Sean would tolerate.  I’m hoping this year, there will be a turning point.

As you’ve interacted with me, I notice you are a snuggly girl who likes to be close.  Often, you ask me or your daddy to “sit next to me”.  You love hugs, sitting in people’s laps, being held, and wrestling.  You want to be independent and helpful, and you often ask if you can help me in the kitchen.  You like using the food processor, mixing, and adding measured ingredients into a bowl.  I look forward to the years we have together to make delicious food in the kitchen!

Your favorite activities are playing in sand/dirt, sitting on the swing, cutting paper, doing any kind of art, reading books, pretend play (mostly with cooking and shopping), dancing, and swimming.  You don’t love being outside, but you don’t hate it either.  I think you like being where the people are, so if most people are inside, you’d rather be inside.

You are a beautiful girl, and I’m such a lucky mom to have a sweet girl like yourself in my life!

Love,
Mommy

 

Karis had her 5 year check up today.  Karis looks pretty lanky when you look at her, but she’s actually quite proportional.  She did a great job talking with the doctor.  At one point, she said, “I’m done talking.  I don’t want to talk anymore”.  She had one shot, and she didn’t cry.  :)  The doctor says she looks great!  She was surprised that Karis goes to bed at 6:30, but she definitely needs her sleep (especially since she’s getting up at 6!).

Here are her stats:
Weight:  44.4 lbs (78%)
Height:   44 in (86%)

Last week, we went to both boys conferences.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten that Sean was supposed to be there for his conference, and I scheduled for a time after his bedtime.  I apologized to Sean and told him that I’d tell Mrs. P about my blunder.

Despite Sean’s absence, we had a good time talking about Sean.  Mrs. P said that she feels that Sean is more comfortable now in class because he has a good group of friends.  She said at the beginning of the year, he was more cautious and still feeling his way out among the group.  This took me by surprise given that Sean’s always been very outgoing and friendly; I had just assumed that he’d fit right in.  Taking a step back, I can see how it must still be hard for Sean since he’s only been at the school for one year, and many of the kids have probably been together since kindergarten.  Despite the initial shock, I’m glad to hear that Sean is feeling more comfortable.

This comfort has also led him to be a little bit more “chatty”.  He gets focused on what he’s doing that he stops paying attention to his surroundings.  Mrs. P said it was normal, and her own son does this as well.  When Sean does finally pay attention, he feels bad.  It is certainly something we see with Sean at home, and it will be great to continue to challenge him to be more aware of his surroundings.

Other than the talking, Mrs. P said that Sean is doing well.  He’s well-liked by his classmates, and he’s kind, which is wonderful for us to hear.  He is also enjoying his Advanced Learning Plan, and being challenged.  Mrs. P said she’s so glad to have Sean in her class and how he’s a wonderful addition.

Last week, we had parent teacher conferences for the boys.  It’s always exciting for us to hear how the kids are doing in school; they are certainly different at school than they are at home!

We had Jonas’ conference first.  Mrs. G just beamed while she talked about Jonas.  She told us that Jonas was doing amazing in math, which we knew from our last conference.  She is having to find new ways to challenge him while not frustrating him.  She spoke on how he not only understands math, but can articulate what he’s thinking very well, especially given his age.  She tries to “trick” him to keep him on his feet, but he often learns the “trick” quickly, so Mrs. G has to think of a new one.  Mrs. G is going to send Jonas to the 1st grade class for math to give him more of a challenge.

Mrs. G said that Jonas’ reading is taking off.  Something has clicked, and he is just taking off reading.  He knows almost all of his sight words for first grade already!  Mrs. G was so excited to talk about how it’s finally clicking with Jonas.  We’re excited for Jonas that it’s clicking with him as well.

The thing that made me most proud was hearing about how kind Jonas is at school.  Mrs. G said that there are two special needs children in their class; one, in particular, is difficult to interact with.  Mrs. G said Jonas is always so patient and kind with this child and tries to include him.  I was a little surprised to see this sensitive side of Jonas.  I think deep down, I’ve always known Jonas is sensitive, but I had not often seen express this with others.  Mrs. G said that Jonas is such a great friend to others and a good leader.

My husband and I are so glad that we waited one more year before sending Jonas to kindergarten.  It has made a big difference for him, and he’s definitely more comfortable!  When we told Jonas about having him go into 1st grade for math, we assumed we would face resistance.  Instead, Jonas said to us, “Yeah, I can at least try it and see if I like it”.  He’s growing up to be such a big boy!

It’s been over four months since I posted last; I haven’t been doing a good job updating the blog to tell you what our kids have been doing.  I will say, I’ve been sending an e-mail update to my friends and family of what’s been going on in our household.  I won’t resort to reposting 16 e-mails, so don’t worry.  :)

Before I update, I think the reason why I don’t post as much is because there has been a shift in our household.  Two of my three kids are in school most of the day (Jonas is in kindergarten part-time), and Karis is in school most mornings.  My time with the kids at home has dropped dramatically, so I don’t see much of their day to day lives.  Life has gotten busier in managing more logistics of things as opposed to chasing little toddlers around.  The kids milestones are more subtle than their formative years, and it’s not until I make their birthday posts that I am reminded of how much they’ve changed.

I’ll start with Jonas because I think that middle children should feel special and be first (more than just their birthdays).  What a difference a year makes for Jonas going into school.  He is more confident this year, and I see how he’s more comfortable being in kindergarten.  I’m glad that we didn’t push him to go last year; he wasn’t emotionally ready to be in school.  Jonas is doing well; his strength is math.  He gets along with his peers.  He has a few friends he likes to play with and he’s pretty comfortable playing with both boys and girls.  Jonas has really enjoyed playing sports throughout this year.  He loved playing soccer in the fall and he’s been enjoying skiing so far in the winter.  Jonas is very athletic and he has an internal drive to play sports.  As soon as my husband steps in the door from work, Jonas is already asking, “Dad, let’s play football (or soccer)”.  Jonas is quite the confident little boy (sometimes a little too much so!) and I’m glad that he thinks he can do anything he wants right now.  Jonas has also mellowed quite considerably since his toddler time (when I look at Karis I’m reminded of Jonas’ fiery spirit).  He can get quite angry at times, but he’s able to express himself better when he’s upset.

Sean is growing up a lot more than I realize.  He likes to participate in adult conversation and really tries to understand the flow of information.  He has a lot of interests and he likes learning facts about things he’s interested in.  He continues to be a bright boy doing exceptionally well in school.  He is quite creative and expresses himself very well in writing and in art.  His mind seems to be a sponge and I can see all the wheels turning in his head as he learns more and expresses himself.  He is at the age where he’s reading more chapter books, and reading books above his grade level.  He immerses himself with the things that he loves, oftentimes sharing what he’s reading or learning.  Sometimes, it’s out of context so we, as parents, have to learn to be patient and ask questions.  One thing I love seeing in Sean is how he is confident of being Sean.  He is happy with the way that he is and he is so good-natured and friendly.  I’ve had to stop and remind myself of how wonderful he is; he’s such a good boy that my expectations are too high for how old he is.  He’s really a fantastic kid, and I enjoy watching him grow at school and at home.

Karis has grown a lot in her own ways.  She has surprised me numerous times over the last few months.  She’s started to dress herself, take herself to the bathroom, speak in longer sentences, express how she’s feeling, and following more directions.  All of these things I thought were in the distant future, but she’s certainly learning how to do more things.  I do think the work done at school as well as home has helped reduce the number of meltdowns and tantrums she’s been having.  She is able to tell us why she’s upset and control herself better.  This is huge for her, and I’m proud that she is able to use her words.  She’s also really improved in her conversations with people.  You can follow her thoughts and she’s usually stays on topic quite well.  Through our conversations, I’ve realized that Karis actually has a great memory once I’m able to understand the context of her stories.  She continues to be a sweet girl who loves being around people.

Well, that’s our kids in a nutshell.  I hope to be back in shorter than 4 months!🙂

This is long overdue, so I’m back-posting Jonas’ 6 year checkup.  Jonas did great at the checkup.  He’s not too scared of shots, but he was relieved to find out he doesn’t need shots until he’s about 9 years old.  I must admit, I thought Jonas would be in a higher percentile for his height, but he’s still tall!

Weight:  45.2 lbs (47%)
Height:  47 inches (79%)

Dear Jonas,

Happy be-lated sweet birthday Jonas!  I apologize for the delay in the post.  I was traveling in Asia, and when I returned, I was tired from traveling so I forgot to write this post.  It completely slipped my mind, so I hope that you can forgive me!

In this last year, I think that you officially became a big boy in my eyes.  In this past year, you’ve become more independent – bathing yourself, getting food for yourself (mostly breakfast and snacks), brushing teeth, getting dressed, and so much more.  You have gone from the follower in class to the leader.  You have shown the other kids what to do in pre-school.  It’s so neat to see how you’ve grown so much in this past year.  You’ve also stepped outside of your comfort zone and grown in leaps and bounds.

With regards to school, you started your last year at pre-school.  You became the leader, as I said, in your class.  You show the kids how you are to behave, and I believe that Mrs. K and Mrs. J were grateful to have you in the class for this very reason.  At school, you were still shy, but you made more friends and was happy to run around.  In the spring, when we moved, we tried kindergarten.  It was a rough transition, being new and going to school all day.  I will say, by the third day, you were much better, but we knew you weren’t quite ready.  We enrolled you in pre-school with your sister, and you had a hard time saying goodbye.  By the second day, however, you were having fun.  The kids welcomed you with open arms, and it made me smile hearing the kids call out your name at school.

Speaking of school, you love math.  Letters and stories are fine, but your true love is math.  I thought at first your adeptness at numbers was due to Sean quizzing you all the time.  As time passed, I knew that you just loved numbers.  You can count well over 300, and you can do addition; not just single digits, but some double digits as well.  You truly have a gift for numbers.

You are still my introverted little boy, and I think in many ways, I’m drawn to you because I’m so extroverted.  You are like your father in this way.  You can play quietly by yourself for a long period of time – coloring, imagining with toys, playing outside, etc.  I think the mornings where you have time to yourself was a quiet respite for you.  You still like things that are in your routine and predictable.  In many ways, moving was a challenge for you as we started a new school, visited new churches, and got used to being at home.  Despite the change in routine, you thrived and did much better than you would have the year before.  I was so proud of you to see how you have started to accept things outside of your comfort zone.  Another thing that I noticed about your personality is that you like things in order.  You are a lot like me, liking having your space clean.  You often clean your room after quiet time.  When we started doing dishes earlier this year, you did it happily.

One thing that you love is sports.  I don’t think that you can get enough of sports.  This past year, you’ve done swimming, golfing, soccer, baseball, and skiing.  Given your body type and love of sports, you’ve done well in each area of sport.  So far, you say that soccer is your favorite, though you do love playing football in the backyard with Sean and dad.  You love watching sports on tv, and you watch with intensity.

One thing I am most proud about this year is how you went skiing at Spring Break.  I knew you were going to have a hard time with the kids in ski school.  However, i knew if I could just get you on the slopes you’d love skiing.  I enrolled you with your sister, and you had a hard time letting go.  Karis was consoling you, but you still had a hard time.  Luckily, the first day you went, you befriended an instructor who was able to take you for a private lesson!  You went from the bunny hill to the mountain at the end of the day.  You started out timidly, but by the end you enjoyed going down the mountain.  Subsequent days, you had to have a new teacher and new kids, but you cried less and had a great time!  Now, you’re looking forward to ski season again!

Your relationship with your siblings has grown with fondness.  You and Sean are often doing numerous things together at home – playing fort, wrestling, sports, etc.  It’s a love/hate relationship, which is common between brothers.  It’s nice to see the mutual love between the two of you; you both call for each other to go outside and play.  It’s really sweet to see.  It’s also nice to see how you are growing confident in yourself; you do say no to your brother.  You want to do your own thing, and you feel fine doing something by yourself.  You have come to love your sister and play with her more.  You truly are the glue between the siblings.  You often ask her to color with you or do pretend play.  She loves it.  I sometimes find you two playing by yourselves nicely.  I hope that this will continue as you get older.

Your interests now has shifted mostly into sports.  You still love your Cars, but not as much as you used to.  You have started building Legos, which is something that you enjoy.  You really like Minions, and that’s your new infatuation.

I love you my sweet Jonas.  You are becoming quite the big boy!  I’m so excited to see what new things you’ll be doing this coming year!  I’m so happy to be your mom!

Love,
Mom

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