Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shelby Frances 2012

Shelby's 2012 Pre-School Picture
This is by far the best picture Shelby has taken in a couple years and it captures her saucy 3-a-half-year-old personality to a tee! I can't look at this picture without smiling at her little half-smile. Shelby has been walking since the end of summer, but is now starting to initiate it on her own more. She will go short distances between pieces of furniture around our house by herself when she is after something like a particular toy, book, or the iPod. We're actually having to rearrange a few things, so that Shelby can't get to them now that she is into everything within reach. She'll also walk long distances when we are holding one of her hands.

Her favorite toy is still her little wooden piano. We have it sitting on top of the train table and she will stand there and tap away at the piano for over an hour and dance to the music she makes. She is intentional about what she plays and some of it actually sounds pretty good. Trip and I would love to get her a real piano one day and I can see her taking lessons eventually. Shelby has been very into music for a long time and wants it to be playing at all times. She yells for us to turn it on when it stops, "Waaant Mooosic!" and prefers it to have a beat. We are still working on getting her to ask nicely and say please. Her vocabulary improves every day and she can be very demanding and specific about the things she wants, like cookies to eat or wanting to hear Paul Simon. She requests his songs Kodachrome and Graceland several times a day. When she is not playing her piano and bouncing and swaying to music, she is playing with one of her baby dolls or turning pages in her books.

I think that Shelby is going through a growth spurt. She has shot up this fall, and is looking like she'll be tall and skinny like her big brother. She eats constantly and the days when I was worried sick about getting her to chew and swallow anything without choking seem like forever ago.

Shelby has a great sense of humor and absolutely loves to make us laugh with her silliness. She is very good at mimicking people and teases us constantly with her imitations of people's idiosyncrasies. She can yell, "Trip" and sound exactly like me trying to get Trip's attention from a different room and knows how to cough and clear her throat exactly the way Trip does. She thinks its hilarious to shout, "What the heck" and she says "bummer" in a perfect mimic of my Aunt Dearing's voice every time she sees her.

We took away Shelby's pacifier at the beginning of Christmas break, and it feels like she has grown out of being our baby overnight. She is transitioning into being a big-girl, but luckily, she is still the best little snuggler in the world. I absolutely treasure bed time and the couple minutes after she wakes up in the morning because she will snuggle close with her head in the crook of my neck being still and sweet. 

Harding 2012

Harding's Kindergarten School Picture (Fall 2012)
Harding is now 6-years-old. Recently at school, he realized that he could read by himself. He brought his teacher the book he was reading at the time (The Mitten) and proudly read it to her without a hitch. She sent Harding to the principal with the book and a "positive office referral". Harding got to read the book out loud to the principal and she recognized him over the intercom during afternoon announcements. Mrs. McClure informed Trip and me that The Mitten is a 2nd grade book (I realize that I am shamelessly bragging about my child, but this is my blog and I can brag here if I want to). Anyway, Harding is very much into reading on his own right now and since Trip and I are both bookworms ourselves, we could not be happier about this development.

He is also interested in drawing, coloring, and writing notes and he will spend hours sitting at the table working on pictures of superheroes, Star Wars characters, vampires, and scenes from Harry Potter. Speaking of Harry Potter, we just finished reading the first book to him, and watched the movie together as a family last week. Harding absolutely loved it, but I think we will wait another year before reading any more of that series since it is a bit scary.

Harding is also very active physically these days. He's always been fairly uncoordinated, but seems to have figured out to move around in his own body and control it a little better this year. He loves to ride bikes with his neighbor buddies and he is constantly running, jumping, and kicking around the house practicing his ninja moves (complete with sound effects). We signed Harding up for basketball this winter, and he has loved going to practices and learning how to shoot the ball and dribble. He is still figuring it out, but loves every second of being there with his buddies and running around. The games start in January and should be interesting. Harding is pretty laid back and seems to love participating in whatever comes his way. He is still the sweetest older brother I have ever seen. He helps Shelby (and us) in countless ways and delights in making her laugh or snuggling with her on the couch and reading to her. I am starting to see why they say Kindergarten through 4th grade is the golden age of childhood. We are certainly enjoying Harding at this age.