Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Brianna is 5 Years Old!

FIVE years ago today, we welcomed our first child into this world. We could have never imagined the spunky little person she would become and the joy she would bring to our lives. The past five years have gone by so quickly, but we have truly cherished and enjoyed so many incredible moments along the way. 

At five years old, Brianna is wearing size little girl's XS or 5/6. She has recently had a big growth spurt and outgrown all of her 5T clothing. Her shirts all suddenly became too short in the torso seemingly overnight. I don't know her official weight and height stats, but she has her 5 year well check with her pediatrician in about 2 weeks. *Edited to add* Brianna weighs 41 pounds (58th percentile) and is 43 inches tall (59th percentile).

She currently wears a size 10 or 11 shoe. She loves to pick her own clothes, and she always dresses herself. She is actually really good at coordinating her clothing, so I don't generally mind allowing her to pick them out herself. She LOVES to wear dresses and skirts. She brushes her own teeth and often fixes her own hair. She actually does a decent job at fixing her own hair too . . . she's just getting more independent every day.

Brianna is a hearty eater and eats a wide variety of foods. She will actually ask to try new things, and if she doesn't like them then she will often try them a second or third time. Cherry tomatoes are a perfect example of this. She wants to like them so bad and has tried them repeatedly, but she just doesn't care for them. She comes by this honest as I don't like tomatoes, either. She can often out eat me, but she just has so much energy that has to be fueled somehow!

Brianna now sleeps on the top bunk of the bunk beds in the big kid room. We have had no problems with this as far as her falling off or anything. I was pretty nervous about it at first! It generally takes her a while to fall asleep (and always has), so she typically sleeps between about 9:15-9:30pm to 8:00am, even though we try to have her in bed by 8:30pm. She does still nap in the afternoons, although her naps are generally only about an hour long. Somedays, she doesn't nap at all, but she always has quiet time in her bed. She and Momma both need that!

Our girl is a talker, and always has been! She's still very outgoing and will pretty much talk to anyone. Sometimes, she makes me nervous about what may come out of her mouth! She is a naturally funny child . . . without meaning to be or really trying. She's just funny. One day, I said something that excited her and she exclaimed, "Well, hot Clifford!" Lol! I have no idea where she got that! She's just always popping out with hilarious expressions and rhymes and one-liners. A few months ago, we were eating dinner and she had eaten quite a bit of food. She set down her fork and said, "Whew, my tummy is OUTdone!" Another day, she came up to me and said, "Mom, when I'm five years old, I'll be mostly good." Good to know, Brianna, good to know! She also says "Boom!" when she accomplishes something that she's been working hard to finish or achieve. Neither Chris nor I say this, so we don't know where she picked it up, but it amuses us for sure. There are just a few things that she says incorrectly, and I'm not correcting her for as long as possible. One is that she says "pinky tails" instead of "piggy tails", and I think that's just so cute. She has a pretty extensive vocabulary for her age, and it's entertaining to hear big words come out of her mouth (used properly). One day my friend was over, and Brianna told her that a toy was "just generic", haha! She went with Daddy to work one day (for the first time ever) right before the babies were born, and she was BEYOND excited to go. She woke up talking that morning (which is not unusual), but this day she was talking faster and more than usual. She finally said, "I'm so excited that I'm just chatting and chatting and I can't stop!" Girl child is just a hoot!

Since I was pregnant all summer, fall, and part of the winter, Brianna really helped pick up a lot of slack around here. She is almost always very willing to do anything I ask her to do. When I was spending a lot of time sick early on in my pregnancy, mornings were especially difficult. She would get up and come check on me, and oftentimes bring me food or a drink of some sort. She figured out very quickly that these things helped Mommy feel better fast. One day she said, "Mom, so you can have more protein, I brought you one of these granola bars that doesn't taste good (a protein bar, ha!). Then you can have more energy to play with us and stuff." Love her.

As I expressed in Brenson's yearly update, he and Brianna are very close. Again, while I was going through hard times during pregnancy, she would help Brenson get his clothes, get snacks, wash his hands, etc. She really is a great big sister, although she can get carried away with being bossy and little too "mothery" to him. One day, she and I were talking while Bren was playing in the other room. He kind of whimpered a little and she said, "Pause Mom, I have to go take care of my boy!" She is very encouraging to him, and I can often hear her advising him on how to behave to keep himself out of trouble.

We made the difficult decision last summer to not send Brianna to preschool this year. She is a very bright little girl, but we just weren't ready for her to be gone every day to school. I really wanted one more year to spend some quality time at home with her, and I'm very happy with the decision that we made. She wasn't so happy because she wants to go to school SO badly, but soon enough she will be going. Of course, we do go to Miss Shelly's every week, and it's pretty amazing to see how much she's matured over the years that we've been going. She went from the little girl who could not sit still or focus much at all to a great example of a good listener and direction follower for all the other kiddos. It's been very rewarding to see her progress!

Academically, I don't foresee her being behind when she starts Kindergarten in the fall. She knows all her letters and sounds, can count to 100, is sounding out words, reading some sight words, writing her name and most of the other letters of the alphabet, can recite days of the week, months of the year, etc. She does well with sequencing and patterns (although she was quite a bit older than Brenson before she caught on to this), does basic addition and subtraction, and is a great problem solver.

Sometimes, I have a very difficult time relating to how Brianna thinks. She is an outside of the box thinker. She is a mover and when trying to learn new things can often be found jumping up and down, running back and forth, etc. She seems like she doesn't always focus too well, but she really is paying attention. This frustrates me a bit as I don't understand it, but I try hard to accept that her brain just works differently than mine. Sometimes, I'll ask her a question looking for a specific (obvious to me) answer, and she'll give an off-the-wall but still correct answer that's nothing like what I expected. It's very interesting to me to that we think so differently, but I'm trying to appreciate it rather than let it frustrate me. 

Pinning the nose on the reindeer at Miss Shelly's and loving the blindfold (exactly opposite of her brother):

She wrote Thank You! and her name on all the thank you cards we sent out for Christmas gifts this year (which was quite a few). I thought she did a really great job!

Brianna is a book lover and will sit and look at a book for a pretty long span of time. She can get very out of control quickly with running, jumping, spinning, tumbling, etc, so we use books as a way to wind her down. She also loves to "read" the books out loud to Bren, and does a pretty good job (mostly reciting them from memory). She's been very disappointed that we haven't been making it to Library Story Time lately, but hopefully soon we'll be back in the swing of things. Also notice in this photo that she's wearing a nightgown. She has several nightgowns and prefers them over any other kind of pjs (mainly so she can dance and spin in them). She also loves to have her hair put up in curlers so that she has bouncy curls the next day :-). 

Coloring, drawing, writing, and painting are all favorite activities.

Just like Brenson, she's a big fan of the magnet toys we have.

She also enjoys puzzles, although this is a fairly recent development. She is so proud of herself that she can do them completely independently now.

Working hard . . .

Notice how she's slowly invading Bren's space? She knows no boundaries, so we often have to remind her (especially during mealtimes) to give those around her a little space. If you sit next to her in a booth at a restaurant, she will creep closer and closer until she nearly shoves you off of the bench. Physical touch and affection are extremely important to her, so she can smother others pretty easily.

All finished! Brianna was missing a piece to her puzzle, but we found it not too long after this photo was taken.

She will sit for well over an hour and create with play-doh. She's very creative with her building and crafting.

 And when she's finished, she's GREAT about helping clean up the mess. She has a helping heart and truly enjoys being a helper.

She's generally up for just about any type of craft. Painting snow is always a big hit!

Like I said above, she loves to help. She has chores which include helping set the table for dinner (and she loves to help cook, too), taking her clothes to the hamper, cleaning up her toys, helping empty the dishwasher, using the hand vac to clean up the kitchen floor, helping dust, helping fold and put away clean clothes, helping switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and making her bed (pictured below). She's also up for helping do just about anything else we ask her to (and, after working very diligently with her on this, she has gotten very good at following directions). 

Brianna is one of those kids that you will pretty much always find dressed up when she's at home. Notice that in so many of these photos, she's wearing some sort of dress-up item or accessory. She LOVES real life play, so scenes like this are very common in our house:

One day, we went on a playdate to a place called Imagistation. They had all kinds of real life play areas and dress-up clothes. It was a dream-come-true for Brianna!

Playing the mail carrier:

Girl-child knows how to accessorize and does it well! Ha!

Modeling the Elsa dress she received for Christmas:

And the Anna dress . . . right down to the shoes!

Since the day we told her that our family was growing, Bri has been incredibly excited to be a BIG sister to twins (and two sisters!). She adores our twin BFFs, Caroline and Julia, and it's always so cute to watch her with them. She is quite "mothery" with them (no surprise), but when she's around them you can tell that she's trying really hard to be a good example of a "big" kid. She is always very helpful to the adults when we're all together, and it has helped me not be so worried about how she'd do when the babies arrived. 

Her BFF is definitely her cousin, Chloe Jo. Although they don't always get along perfectly, these two love each other so much! Brianna really looks up to CJ, and gets silly with excitement EVERY time she sees her (which is several times a week as we go to church together). Speaking of church, Brianna loves Bible class and singing during church. She actually just loves singing in general and does it pretty much all of the time. She will make up really cute songs . . . sometimes silly and sometimes about Jesus, God, or the Bible. She still does well with memorizing scripture and Bible facts, and we pray that she always loves and seeks The Word. 

My girly-girl enjoys going with me to get her hair done, and she also loves having her finger and toenails painted. She pretends to put on makeup with my brushes, and of course always has to be wearing jewelry. This day, Miss Stephanie let Bri sit under the dryer to warm up (it was super cold outside), and Bri thought she was pretty big stuff!

However, she will also dig her hands in and get dirty while playing or working outside. She is not at all afraid of bugs or dirt or grass or playing rough. Because of this, she can be very hard on clothes! 

A few weekends before the babies were born, we put the stroller and carseats together just to see how it all worked. Brianna was elated when we buckled two of her Cabbage Patch Kids in the carseats and let her push them around. Of course, she acted like the wild child she is and ended up hitting the house, the van, ME, and various other things with this beast of a stroller. Always getting carried away and acting a little too wild, that one. 

The closer it came to time for the babies to arrive, the more we found Brianna playing like she was a Mom to twins girls. She carried these dolls everywhere for a while, called them Brooke and Brecklyn, fed them bottles, changed their diapers and clothes, put them in the swing, rock-n-play, and bouncy seats, swaddled them up, fixed their hair, etc. It was really cute to watch her in action!

She and Bren would also play often that she was pregnant. Dr. Brenson would deliver her baby (or sometimes, babies). Here he is taking her blood pressure.

And, listening to the baby's heartbeat.

Proud Momma right after delivery!

And of course, since they had seen me get shots all throughout my pregnancy, they had to get/give a shot. I love how she's taking it so seriously.

Other favorites of Brianna's right now include Barbies, My Little Ponies, and Disney Princesses. She also loves to be outside and draw with sidewalk chalk, swing, run, and play soccer. She's a very social girl and got really tired of being stuck inside during January when I was huge pregnant, the weather was cold, and we all were passing sickness back and forth. 

Happy birthday to our spunky girl who keeps us on our toes, but also brings an incredible amount of love, light, and joy to our lives. We couldn't imagine our family without her!

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