Jillian turned 7 on the 15th of this month and that weekend, we had a little party with just our family. The kids were on spring break the week for her birthday so our party for all her friends is going to be this coming up Saturday, the 24th. I was not thinking ahead enough to plan to have her invitations ready for the class before spring break. Too much going on. Now that Lowell has weekends off though, we were able to pack up and head off to the zoo together and also to Tempe for a barbque with one of Lowell's old co-workers. The kids were excited because they've never been to a barbque. Such a grown-up experience! I didn't know anyone and there weren't any other kids, but, as always, ours were totally well-behaved and had a blast playing on the lawn in the back yard. Before we left home, we had cupcakes and gave Boogie her presents. Nathan gave her a big stuffed duck and Chloe got her a TinkerBell Barbie and a wallet. Lowell and I got a big Littlest Pet Shop play house. Jillian and her daddy... We still talk about how she used to say "Tick-o-me" begging Lowell to tickle her, over and over again. She couldn't get enough of it.
Nathan and Chloe are at stages where I can see their burgeoning personalities. I know Nathan is an animal lover, sensitive, thoughtful, smart and competitive. He's really good at socceer, loves to draw, write stories and act and has a tendency to be passive-aggressive. Chloe, I can already tell, is talented at all things athletic as well as with art. She loves music but can't sing a note and is a blossoming photographer. She loves to run and is really fast too. She is honest, sensitive, caring, a great "little mom" for Wyatt, and can be a little bratty. She has a really hard time when she isn't successful at something.
Jillian, on the other hand, hasn't quite grown into her identity yet... She is still testing the water to find out who she wants to be. She's definitely smart, but the "smart" role in the family might seem like its already taken. She's goofy and silly, but so is Chloe. She's creative and imaginative. But they all are... She doesn't love athletics like the other kids do but she does love to read and draw. She likes to play board games and watch movies. She is a "social butterfly" and loves to visit with her friends from school; she often hangs out the car window yelling "goodbye" to her friends as we leave the school parking lot. She has a very unique fashion sense and loves to create her own style. I've given up trying to teach her what matches and what doesn't because she has her own concept of what goes together - who am I to judge?? :)
For example, this is Boog in the zoo gift shop modeling some very attractive sunglasses we found. She didn't really like the lines in the middle of the glasses but loved the color! These glasses also came in yellow - and almost nothing is better than yellow in the mind of my little Boog. Unless its yellow with sparkles and glitter and sequins. Or Hello Kitty. Or Hello Kitty with sparkles and glitter and, well you get the point. Almost anything is better with glitter, according to Jillie. Last weekend we had to make a model of one of the planets. Jillian choose Saturn. We got a styrofoam ball, painted it all up and then had to get creative to make the rings because she didn't want them to touch the planet... (We used bent paperclips and pipe cleaners. Turned out okay.) Once the rings were on, she wanted to add the letters "SATURN" to the rings - but not just any letters, they needed to be sparkly. And then, she reasoned, the rings themselves need to be sparkly as well because they are, after all, made of ice. And ice is sparkly. Impressive.
In that one argument, she was able to use logic and show her knowledge of ice as well as her newly acquired information about Saturn. She was proud of herself, you could tell. I sensed a slippery-slope however and put the kibosh on the sparkles. We bought sparkly letter stickers so she could have some bling but so that Saturn didn't turn out looking like a Barbie planet. Everyone was happy.
In the zoo gift shop, Nathan also came across a bald eagle with a 10 foot wing span and a $125 price tag. He was in love. The gift shop was a veritable "giraffe paradise" and I was almost breathless with giddiness, but our time to shop was short and our money shorter. :) We left without buying anything but the kids were anxious to tell each other what they had learned. Because of our short time at the zoo, we split up - Jillian and Wyatt with me, and Nathan and Chloe with Lowell. Jilly and I saw the giraffes (of course), babboons (seen here), zebras, lions, tigers, (no bears), African dogs, a huge tortise, ostriches, camels (being ridden), a rhino, flamingos, monkeys and antelope. Splitting up wasn't my idea and I wasn't sure it was the best way to spend her birthday, but it turned out they had a lot more to talk about since they hadn't been together. Part of the fun was sharing their experiences with each other and trying to describe what they saw and learned. Good idea Daddy.
It was a busy day full of new experiences and lots of laughter to celebrate my beautiful 7 year old daughter. I am blessed by your presence in my life, Boog. I love being your mom and watching as you grow into the beautiful young lady you are becomming. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you and I pray that I can continue encouraging you to become that precious person you are - independent, spunky, creative, beautiful, sweet, smart ----- YOU.