Let it not be forgotten that right now
Porter calls Andrew and Will "Sugar" and "Buck" respectively, referring to their horsey names when they give him rides to bed or around the house. He corrected Will's classmates when they referred to him as "Willoughby" at dismissal, "Actually, his name is Buck." And referred to both boys again that way in a very sincere and long dinner prayer.
Porter's hair is way too long
Claire cannot be far behind Porter in weight. Now that he is closing in on 4 years old, I am feeling super motivated to pump up his weight gain. Carnation has been working well.
Will loves carefully going through his graded schoolwork when it comes home in his folder each day. We take about 10 minutes together to analyze every page and praise his achievements. He just moved on to the next level of reading books at school and is thrilled with himself. "I can't believe I am already in Stepping Stones!" Even though he is aware that he is not in the highest reading level, and he considers himself the in third place out of four kids in his reading group, he is totally pleased with his progress. As am I.
Andrew is exceedingly helpful with his younger brothers and sister, especially Claire and Porter. He relishes his role as older sibling and loves to play with Claire in rough and wild ways, which she also loves.
Claire is a thrill seeker. She loves going down slides, being thrown in the air, racing around in laundry baskets at high speed. She is sleeping through the night (mostly) in her own crib. Her routine involves patting her on the back and bum (bongo-style) while singing Frare Jacque. When I mistook her loud breathing for sleep-breathing tonight and stopping singing, she let out a disgruntled "Ugh!" to cue me to resume.
Andrew stays up late, sometimes until 9:45, to talk to me and Brigham. It is so nice to just chat with him over a bowl of ice cream that I don't mind the late hour. He always gets up in the morning on his own and gets totally ready, even if no one else is moving yet.
The boys are obsessed with listening to Top 40 radio. I have checked out some fun books on CD for them, but Porter hates them since they are geared towards older kids and I often cave to the demands for 94.7 FM. I kind of hate that.
Porter continues to have no fear. On Wed during Will's violin lessons at the school, Porter and Andrew passed the time sledding a very steep and windy slope. Porter rode that hill further even than Andrew and looked expert. They had a wonderful time and Claire and I probably had as much fun standing at the huge windows with a few other students watching the boys ride. We all, and I mean *all*, Claire included, laughed many times as the boys crashed or flipped or just the hilarity of Porter's grace. I loved that even the older students knew Porter's name. The smallness of that school really is special.
I think about my dad every day and dream about him every night. I try to not let thoughts that I will not see him again in this life enter into my brain. I think I am still in the stage of letting myself think he is just gone for a while. I can't bear to think that his physical body is in that grave in Quantico. I hate that thought.
I have spent most of this awful, long winter dreaming of our Florida trip. Then I have thoughts that we will all be killed in some horrific car accident on the way to or from our vacation and that all my longing for that week will be drenched in irony. I am pretty sure I am using irony in a very Alanis Morrisette manner, but you get my drift.
Claire is proving to be the easiest baby of the four. She is also entering a jealous stage. She does not like me to hold anyone else. I am crediting her with a vocabulary of 3 words: "Hi!" (first); "Bye!" (second); and "NNNNNNoo!" (third and most common). She doesn't say Hi and Bye much lately, but will wave excitedly (and kick her legs and bounce around) when I tell her to say hi or bye. She says NO! when she wants something I haven't moved fast enough to give to her / shove in her mouth. It is usually about food.
I am perpetually cleaning up and am usually annoyed by the toy and kid clutter, but its only for a little while. Andrew turning 9 at his next birthday is hitting home to me how quickly it is just over with kids. The days are so full and hectic and exhausting, but there just aren't enough of them. I want us to always remember what used to be normal.