Tuesday, August 15, 2017

5 Years of Gracie & Pre-K Graduation!

Ok, so it’s more like 5 ½ years of Gracie as we are now halfway to Bubba’s 6th birthday and consequently, this is a very long post as it was previously a draft that I’ve been adding to for months! That and I just really feel like I haven’t written about my first baby love in forever. So, now it’s all here. All the details about who this sweet girl is as a 5 year old + her 5th birthday and birthday party + preschool graduation (cue tears) + about a million pictures of the amazing in-between stuff. It’s all here for me to look back on when she’s 17 and driving me crazy, ha!

So, take a quick bathroom break and grab a snack… I’ll wait… ;)
I’m not sure why, but for some reason, 5 feels like it’s our gal’s last year of being my baby and when age 6 rolls around, she’s going to somehow morph overnight into a big girl and head off to college. The thought of her even being 6 makes me want to burst into tears! Really, it does. We’ve all heard the phrase, babies don’t keep, but it isn’t until you’re parent that you truly grasp just how devastatingly true it is. Our kiddos reach milestones and go through so many phases each year as they grow, and even with those days (or weeks) that make us want to pull our hair out, the time flies and we’re left missing each special moment of their development that’s passed. I really do feel like we were just planning our gal’s 3rd birthday trip to Disneyland, which was such a special birthday for all of us, and yet that was nearly 3 years ago. It’s crazy, but here’s the funny thing – as heartbreaking as it is to watch Grace grow so fast, we’ve absolutely loved experiencing every single age and all her little phases of development. It's just when I think she can’t get any more amazing, that she grows, she changes, becomes hilarious and says more off the wall stuff that has us in stitches!

Gracie is such a good kid. It’s that simple. She’s smart and beautiful and all that good stuff, but really, she’s just so darn good. She listens intently to the things we say and listens so well to her teachers. She is so very in tune with the feelings of others and can pick up on the slightest change in demeanor, which often results in her checking in with those she cares about to see if they’re okay. She is friendly and as we were told by literally every one of her preschool teachers, she has the ability to connect with all the students in her class. By the end of her 3rd year of prek, she had developed strong friendships with the quiet kids in class, as well as the kids who were “popular” and made a point to always include the two students who struggled with some developmental delays in her last year of preschool. I can’t count the number of times other parent volunteers made it a point to tell us just how kind they observed Grace being and what a good kid she is and for Georgia and I, that’s just about the best compliment you could give us about one of our kiddos.

Our Bubba is full of energy, like 24/7 and her zest for life transcends all types of situations. Now, I will say that having a kid who doesn’t stop going a mile a minute until bedtime, can leave you feeling like you need to remove her batteries every now and then, lol. Still, I would prefer she be like this than any other way! I love that she gets soooo excited for the little things. We will get the same super happy reaction from Gracie whether we tell her that we’re going out for frozen yogurt, or that we’re going on vacation to Disneyland. She loves surprises and they don’t have to be big surprises. Little notes in her lunchbox, a movie rental from Redbox, a $1 pack of stickers. Every little thing makes her so darn happy and I hope she always stays this way!

The Bean also feels all the feels, and this is something that we have to keep in mind when communicating with her. She doesn’t like shouting (who does) and will be quick to correct Georgia and I if we’re bickering with one another. She’s been known to ask us to apologize to each other following even the smallest of disagreements. “Mommy, tell Mama you’re sorry. Now Mama, you tell Mommy you’re sorry” has been said by our sweet girl more than a few times. If she’s misbehaved in any way, we try to keep this in mind because yelling at her in the heat of the moment does absolutely nothing to help. Gracie needs discussion, explanations and most importantly, she needs to feel that her voice is being heard. And while we aren’t perfect in doing this all the time, we try to and I feel this is why she has such strong emotional intelligence for someone her age. The Bean is a passionate little person and we started to notice around age 3 ½ that when we would lose our cool and yell, she would yell too. We noticed that anytime she lost her temper and began melting into a puddle, it was always in response to us doing the exact same thing to her first... Funny how kids model the behavior of those around them and hold a mirror up to us, their parents, even when we don’t want to acknowledge that we could be more patient and communicate better.

Seeing our bub’s as a big sister has been the most amazing experience. Even more heart-warming than we imagined. There is no limit to her goofiness when trying to get a smile from Will and now that she knows he’s ticklish, the tickling has become a daily occurrence. She is our little helper who is constantly running from one room to another to get us what we need for her little bro. We do get some complaints from her now and then, usually when she’s tired after school and doesn’t want to fetch things, but that’s understandable. We’ve been trying not to rely on her too much as she is Will’s sister, not his nanny! Ha! I have a good friend (who also has a 5-year gap between kids) who told me that one regret she had after bringing home her second little one, was that she was too hard on her oldest and wishes she would have been more understanding and mindful of his feelings and needs. That conversation stuck with me and it’s one of the reasons we put Grace in big sister classes at the hospital. It’s why we take her on special Moms + Gracie dates and try our best to give her our undivided attention each evening, even if some nights it’s just bath time visits with one of her Mamas.

So, what else about our Bubba at 5 ½ years old? This girl of ours is so dang smart and funny! She has grown into this super witty and somewhat sarcastic little person who has us cracking up all the time. Some of the things that come out of her mouth make Georgia and I stop in our tracks and laugh out loud. Sayings things like, “Mom, you’re the bomb.com!” and “ok, got it!” said anytime we’re both getting on her case for something, or “Oh yeah, oh yeah!” often accompanied by a little dance when she’s excited about something and the funny phrases don’t end there. Girlfriend is a sponge and has the memory of an elephant, which we have to be mindful of when making promises or plans as a family. Her last year of preschool ended with her teachers once again telling us that she performed at the top of her class, with a performance portfolio to prove it! Her preschool graduation had us in tears and was just the most precious and proudest moment we’ve experienced as the Mamas of this amazing girl of ours – but I’ll save that for the end.

|| Here’s a bit more about sister bear at 5 1/2 ||

Grace LOVES:

 * All things girly! Makeup, dresses, princess everything, bows, jewelry, nail polish and cha-cha heels. We mustn’t forget the cha-cha heels!

 * Bath time and just being in water in general. She looks forward to swim school every week because, even though practice is only 45 minutes, she’s in water and that rules! She LOVES going to the lake and baths now often drag on for over an hour. She sings in there. She plays house, makes “potions” and pretends to be a cook in there. Like me, it’s her happy place.

 * School and every other environment that allows her to be social, like soccer practice. I swear, our gal could make friends with a tree. I’m not sure if it’s because she was an only child for 5 years, or because it’s just her personality, but she will approach and try and make friends with anyone. This is one of the things I love most about her!

Her special little treasures, like her rock collection and pink camera. Grace is a rock hound and has been since she was tiny. She insists we save all the special stones she comes across, which doesn’t always align with my desire to keep things clean and tidy in her room! She loves using her pink camera to take pictures of the things she finds interesting and she’s really good at it too!  

Books! Girlfriend can never have too many books! When brother came along and I went through her collection to separate out the “baby books” and you would have thought she lost a limb. It took some time for her to share and she eventually did come around, but I still find some of her baby books back on her bookshelf every now and then. Her favorite book is one that was Georgia’s as a kid, that I originally thought was much too advanced for her. Each chapter of the book highlights animals from different continents and she is absolutely obsessed with it.

 * Singing and dancing! Grace has this hilarious hula dance that she does that has us in stitches anytime it’s performed. She’s either dancing or singing most days and is obsessed with the karaoke machine her Nani gave her for her 5th birthday. She adores Moana and every song in the movie soundtrack. Thankfully, we like them too because we get to hear them often. Like, all the time.

 * Her BIG family! Gracie adores her family and has a hard time when she doesn’t get to see her grandparents on a weekly basis. I love this because growing up I wasn’t close with my grandmother who lived just a few blocks away, and the grandparents I was close with lived in the Ozarks, which was so sad for me. Grace has a special room in both grandparents’ homes full of her favorite things and Papa, Gaga and Nani are basically her best friends in the world.

 * Stuffed buddies! The love our gal has for her stuffed animals drives me crazy, if I’m just being honest, lol! They seem to multiply monthly and I’ve run out of places to house them all. Still, they are all special, real life friends for Grace and she knows each of their names and notices if one goes missing… Most mornings she will come to our room with her arms full of stuffed buddies. She absolutely loves them.

|| Gracie’s 5th Birthday Party ||

You guys are going to be so proud of me when you read this – Gracie’s 5th birthday party was planned and executed in just 48 hours. There were no Pinterest inspiration boards. I didn’t spend months obsessing over handmade decorations and there were no over the top expensive invitations sent out. G was just 3 weeks from delivery, our home was in crazy baby-prep mode and all Grace really cared about was having a Moana cake and a new dress so – voilà! We made it happen! Georgia and I decided that we were going to just go for it and planned her party on a Friday for that Sunday. We picked up some balloons, ordered a cake, ran to the Disney Store for a Moana dress and invited immediate family and Gracie had a blast! The party was at a Chucky Cheese and following 3 hours of playing and eating pizza and cake, we treated everyone to movie tickets to see Moana in the theater. We didn’t stress out my very pregnant wife, we saved probably around $300-$500 (compared to what we normally spend on birthday extravaganzas) and Grace said the day was, “the best ever”!  #momwin

|| Preschool Graduation ||

Now for the best part – Preschool Graduation! Yes, it’s true. 3 years of Preschool have come and gone in a flash and it makes me teary just thinking about it! I remember when I got the call telling me that our favorite Preschool that had zero openings had a cancelation and Grace was in! I didn’t know at the time that this would be the beginning of a the most wonderful 3 years. We had no idea that she would meet the best of friends or that we would become close friends with the most amazing mom squad ever! When I think of how much she evolved and grew during her years at the co-op, I’m left feeling so very grateful! The teachers were amazing. The fellow parents were welcoming and loving to our family (the only two mom family in the entire school). The curriculum put Grace in a position to do her absolute best in Kindergarten and I really think our experience there made G and I better parents.

Graduation was a BIG deal and the entire family was there to celebrate Gracie’s first of many graduations! The kiddos wore the most adorable caps and gowns. They put on a performance for all of us that they had worked on for months that had us all in tears and at the end, they each took turns sliding down the big red slide one last time as they collected their completion certificates. It was just the most precious event and will be a memory that I carry in my heart forever.

Our sweet love. We couldn’t be more proud to be your mamas and we can’t wait to see all the amazing adventures Kindergarten has in store for you!

With love, Mama

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