Birthday Interview: Year 7

[Find previous years here.]

Me: “Hey Gwenie, how old are you now?”

Gwen:  7 

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen: Kolten and Carter M.

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: Lots of things! Going to Chucky E Cheese, eating pizza, movies... so many!

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen: Blue and green 

Me: “Do you have a favorite food?”

Gwen: A few: junk, chicken nuggets and french fries, pizza, Chinese.

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with mommy and daddy?”

Gwen: A million things!

Me: “What is your favorite toy?”

Gwen: Everything I have!

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen:  Almost everything. 

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen: Having my birthday!

Me: “What is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen: When you yell at me or get upset at me.

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen:  Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Shrek, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Big Hero 6... and so many I can't think of right now. 

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen:  Odd Squad, PJ Masks, Wild Kratts, and Jake [Jake and the Neverland Pirates], Lion Guard, and Princess Elena 

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen:  I don't know, SO many! 

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen:  Math, science, nature... all different kinds of stuff. 

Me: “What are you excited about for your birthday?”

Gwen:  Going to Chuck E Cheese with Kolten! And eating pizza.

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen:  Almost everywhere. 

Me: “What is your teacher's name?”

Gwen:  Miss Mramor 

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen:  No, I don't really have a favorite... except maybe lollipops, ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, popsicles...

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen:  Almost all of them. 

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen: Frozen, Rock and Roll [All Night] and Kiss songs, Funky Nassau [from Blues Brothers 2000]

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen:  Any summer clothes and winter clothes. 

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen: Cape Cod and going on other adventures!

Me: "I'm super excited for that stuff too! Thanks baby!"


Seven Years

Dear Gwenie,
Yesterday you turned 7 years old. Its so hard to believe that I've been a mom for 7 years! I can hardly remember that little baby that first stole my heart, but I still amazed every day by how grown up you're getting.

This year was all about continuing to settle into our Colorado, and making our place here. You've made so many great friends, and you are more and more comfortable with this as our home.

Not to say there aren't hard days. You mentioned tearfully recently that you are starting to forget things about Pennsylvania. I'll bring up a person and it will be hard for you to remember them. It always makes you sad when that happens, but I just try to remind you that we are making new, wonderful memories daily.

(You also told me that you forget what I look like with brown hair, and only remember me with blue, which is a source of amusement for both of us!)

One way we made some amazing memories this past year was with travel. National parks, visits with friends, and a big trip back to the East Coast to make some new memories there. It's the best gift I could have received as a parent to be blessed with a daughter who is always willing to hop in the car with me and GO.

Gwen, you are fire and sass, dirt and noise. Vivacious, opinionated, and loud, you definitely don't keep it to yourself when we do something you don't like. You often need a bit of a reminder that just because as parents we sometimes have to say "No" to things, it doesn't mean we're being "rude!" or "mean!"

There is another side to you too though, one that is a little reserved and maybe a bit shy. One that is loving, attentive, and fiercely loyal. I'm so grateful that you're still happy to hold my hand as we walk to school, climb in bed for snuggles in the mornings, and I always get a kiss goodbye (even at school). 

You tell me I'm your best friend, and before bed each night you love to tell me I'm "the best Mommy [you] ever had", Daddy and Daisy are also the best Daddy/Daisy Dog (respectively) you ever had.

Its adorably sweet and heartwarming... and a good thing to hold on to during your cranky moments! :-)

You are so creative now: constantly singing songs which either you make up or your recent favorites from the radio, drawing pictures, and writing notes to us.

You are still so family centered, always wanting to be around one or all of us, but are so independent at the same time. You'll play happily in your room for hours, but want to take Daisy with you. You get yourself dress and ready in the morning without prompting or fuss, but only after exuberant morning hugs.

You are still into Legos and Superheros of all kind, love Harry Potter (we just finished reading all of the books!), Star Wars, and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. You set up elaborate toy landscapes in the living room with huge, epic stories to go with.

You love playing dress-up as your favorite heroes... either already established ones or ones that you've made up on your own, a mish-mash of hero qualities and costumes.

You are still doing swim lessons, up to the intermediate swim group, and your breaststroke is better then anyone else in this family! You're learning to dive off of the side of the pool, and have a deep love of the water.

Your only problem in graduating to the next level of lessons is endurance! Your slight frame just doesn't have a lot of extra reserves and you need to keep working to build up. One more round at this level though, and we'll be moving you on!

Speaking of slight frame, (unofficially since your 7 year appt isn't until next week) you're about 3' 11" tall now and 39 lbs. You are all arms, legs, big blue eyes and loonnngg blonde hair (its about to your tush now!). You haven't lost any teeth yet (much to your chagrin!), but you do have two adult teeth coming in at the bottom... we call them your shark teeth! We just keep wiggling away, and hopefully those baby teeth will be out soon.

One of your absolute favorite things is reading, and that growth has really come from school. We've always read to you and with you, so reading has always been a part of your life, but you have grown in leaps and bounds this year! First grade has been an amazing year for you overall, and I'm absolutely in love with your school and amazing teacher (as are you!).

By the end of first grade you're supposed to have reached level 16... you are currently at level 20 with 3 months to go. You read to us ever chance you get, and we still read to you every night before bed.

You are loving math, too, and find social studies fascinating. While there are some nights when you just don't want to, most nights homework gets done easily, with no complaints, and with enthusiasm for getting it done well. Fingers crossed this keeps up!

You just started a little bit of speech therapy this week, to work on your R sounds, and you just think it is so much fun. It didn't bother you in the slightest, and I'm so glad that your teacher was on top of getting this done, and that your school has great services readily available.

This year you've discovered a real love for hockey. You could care less for most other sports, but you find hockey to be fun, especially when the Avalanche win. You are an Avs fan through and through!

Thankfully both your Dad and I are more then happy to hit up a hockey game with you anytime we can!

This year you've really started to figure out what it means to be yourself. You've realized that you don't always fit into "gender norms" and that sometimes it can be lonely when friends like different things. That can be hard sometimes, but I'm so proud of how true you always are to yourself.

Gwenie, there have been challenges this past year, and we've had our disagreements, but there's been so much love too. That's one thing we can both count on, no matter what happens I will always love you more then you could ever know. No matter what happens outside our four walls, you will always fit perfectly with me. And no matter what, you're the best Gwen I ever had...

Love you baby!


Day in the Life

Its so crazy to me to think on how life has evolved and changed since our move to Colorado. The routine we found in the first few weeks here, is not the routine of 6 months later, or of a year post-move, or of now. Her school's schedule changed, my work routine has changed. Its fun to look back on, to see what our days looked like at this point.

Gwen's schedule is much more consistent then mine (though she has her varieties of specials at school each week - rotating between gym, art, music, library, STEM, etc). She wakes up between 7:00 - 7:40, with the later being a really tired day and the former much more typical. I get up when she does. She gets herself dressed and brushes her teeth while either Trav or I get her some breakfast (he leaves between 6:50 - 7:20 depending on how busy his day looks). She get to watch one cartoon while eating her breakfast, then she pays or reads until 8:25 when its time to get ready to get out the door at 8:30. I use that time to get dressed and ready, and eat some breakfast as well; sometimes I check some emails if I have the time. I walk her to school unless its too cold. Depending on the temperature, she either goes straight into class, or they line up and wait for the bell to ring (8:50?). I walk back home then.

Mondays I get ready to teach my 11:15 yoga class, making myself some tea to bring along, reviewing my class notes. I check emails and facebook, maybe work on a blog post. Wednesday and Fridays I take class at 12:15 with one of my favorite teachers. I often come home and jot down some notes about a pose I want to include in an upcoming class, or a transition I loved. I straighten up the apartment, vacuum or clean the bathrooms. Sometimes on Mondays, I meet SaraMarie for coffee; sometimes (on rotating days) Trav and I meet for a date lunch. Tuesday and Thursday are my freer days: I write yoga classes, run errands, grocery shop, do laundry. I answer inquiry emails as they arise, and update my work website regularly.

Gwen gets out of school at 3:30, and baring something really unusual, I'm there to pick her up (on foot, unless its really miserable out). We walk to our apartment's main office to check the mail, chatting about her day on the way. Then we head home and get her set up to do homework. While she works, I empty her backpack and pack her lunch for the next day (answering occasional requests for help). She eats a snack while working, normally whatever she didn't get to finish at lunch. On Mondays and Wednesday, she finishes homework and we get ready for swim lessons. I take her to swim, and Trav comes home to get dinner ready and waiting for us when we get home. These are shower nights, so we eat, get her washed, then right in bed.

The other days, she watches a video after homework, and zones out for a bit. Then she plays or reads while I cook dinner and straighten up the kitchen. Trav comes home while I'm finishing up dinner prep (unless its a really busy day, then he joins us just after we sit down). Dinner is a family affair, something that hasn't changed since Gwen was little. Other then the occasional night out, we eat together and talk about our days. Its a great time to reconnect a little. After dinner Gwen gets to play and read a bit more, then straight up her toys, and at 7:30 she heads in to get ready for bed. She says goodnight to Trav and Daisy, who head out for a walk, and I take her into bed where we read until 8:00. Then we say goodnight, and Gwen goes to sleep.

The rest of the night Trav and I talk, and watch a show or two. I do more emailing/facebooking/blogging. We turn off the TV at 10, but which time Trav is normally asleep on the couch. On good nights, one of us takes the dog out then and we get ready to be in bed by 10:30. That doesn't always happen though... I'm a night owl and often just don't feel tired then (though I know I'll feel it in the morning)! I might play on my phone or read for another hour or so before heading to bed myself.

Our weekends are always different with the exception of the "yoga bookends" (I like to take a Saturday morning class, and I teach a Sunday evening class), and our regular desire to sleep in! We try to have as many lazy ones as we do busy one, though we often have runs of one or the other. 

I have some on-call days for the local birth center thrown in there, I sub yoga classes a few times a month, sometimes a doula client meeting or on-call. But that, for the most part, is what life looks like right now. It will be interesting to see what life looks like 6 months from now!