(This picture taken by Alma! Isn't it pretty?)
(Photo credit: Lyddie - she has a good eye for pictures already)
I would apologize for the exorbitant number of pictures in this post but I can't even bring myself to apologize because I think they are so enjoyable! Capturing the beauty around sure isn't hard with all these little beauties underfoot and I couldn't figure out which not to include... so, picture overload.
Rosie learned how to clap today and her chubby little hands banging together is precious. She loves to be outside and does a funny little excited panting when she sees a chicken nearby in the yard. Still no interest in standing independently or taking steps but I know enough to trust that she will do everything in her own time. She is cutting several teeth, and finally the top two in the front have made an appearance. That puts her tooth count up to a whopping five. I am still glad we chose the middle name "Joy" because it is the most perfect name for this beautiful baby who brings me joy, joy upon joy. I can't believe the goodness of God to me, at times, for the gift of these children in my life.
Millie is just beautiful in a soft chubby two year old (oof, almost three year old!) way, with her long blonde eyelashes that brush her cheek and her coy smile and the eruption of excited giggle when something really tickles her. She is unconcerned with the opinion of others and is determined that she is always right, no matter how obviously wrong she might be. Early every morning around 3 am she creeps to my side of the bed and cuddles down into my arms with her baby dolls. Eventually, when I send her back to her bed she quietly acquiesces even if she has only stayed for two minutes, although I love to keep her close with her head cradled in my arm and her back curved against my stomach. These days will be over too soon and I will miss them, and so I treasure them.
Alma's beauty is similarly soft and delicate, but with the opposite coloring. Huckleberry eyes framed by delicate black lashes, deeply pink cheeks, a smile that is both impish and sweet, and the most fantastic pout I've ever seen. She started calling Jesse "daddy" earlier this week; no prompting from us whatsoever but she just started with a question in her eyes and I replied that she could call him that or Uncle Jesse, whichever she wanted was fine. She settled on Daddy for the most part and isn't shy about it. "Daddy!!" she yells excitedly with Lyddie and Millie when his car pulls up to the gate. I am occasionally "mom" but usually "Sarah," which I expect since her mom is in her life. She is growing quickly accustomed to our days and the routine no longer seems to be a challenge for her. She verbally reviews the rhythm of the day with me a couple times through the day and that seems to satisfy her. Even bedtime and rest times have not been a battle as they were during weekend visits the past few months and over the first few days she was with us last week. I spend a lot of time rocking all the girls these days in the rocking chair, grabbing special moments at bedtimes, rest times, throughout the day. We also all dance a lot, especially to the Frozen soundtrack, our current Spotify favorite.
Lyddie, my Lyddie, is getting big and has finally outgrown even her favorite 3T ballerina pajamas, which I realized tonight with a pang of dismay, though I knew it was coming soon. Could she slow down the growth for me so I can treasure it up just that much more? I told her today she is my little strawberry girl with her red hair and the dusting of freckles on the bridge of her nose that remind me of strawberry seeds and she thought that was funny. I have been reading Winnie-the-Pooh to her while the other girls are resting in the afternoon and we really enjoy that time together, as well as the time we sit at her little white table, my legs all bent up funny on the little stool, as she forms letters with her pencil and words with her lips. I am using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons which uses the DISTAR approach to reading instruction. I really like it. Like, I keep wanting to tell Jesse yet another reason I realized why I like it and another reason and another. For one, it is all contained right in the book, so there are no unwieldy materials to figure out what to do with as you go. And the method for teaching the letters is using phonics and doesn't even use the "letter name" at this point, which I also really like (so "A" is just called "ahhh" for now even though she already knows all the letter names). There are several other reasons I like it besides. It is obvious to me why it is recommended by Ambleside schools since it seems to embody the kind of quick short drill lesson Charlotte Mason recommended for this kind of teaching. Lyddie has started sounding out basic words and that gives me a thrill of excitement to see her figure it out, but again that wistfulness crowds in with the flash of memory of 15 month old Lyddie sitting on my knee reading sing-song board books on the floor in her bright little bedroom.
Slow down, slow down. I guess I can't make them, but I myself keep slowing down and taking it in as I can. It is too easy to lose an entire day to chores and work and forget to really pay attention to what is around me and settle in to rest in His provision and goodness for the moment. But God really is good, isn't He? Good in every moment, the easy, the hard, the painful, the stressful, the peaceful, the hopeful, the despairing - He is good through it all and worthy of my trust and praise and honor.