Monday, December 14, 2009

Eva Meets Santa Claus!

This morning, Eva told me she wanted to see "San Ta Clots". She met him at the Harley shop downtown her first Christmas, when she was 10 months old. She was mildly wary of him but let me hold her in the picture. Last year, her fourth Christmas, we went to the mall and watched Santa talk to kids from a distance of about 15 feet. She was cool with that and when I asked her if she wanted to talk to Santa, too she politely said "No, thank you."

This morning I told her: Sure! Santa is at the mall. We can go see him after nap. So all day was spent talking about going to see Santa. We talked about how he was a nice, happy man, full of love and kindness. We talked about his long white beard, his hat, his red suit. We talked about how Santa brings special presents and that Eva could tell him what she wanted for Christmas. She practiced conversations all day ("Hi Santa. How are you?" "I'm fine, Eva." "Merry Christmas, Santa." "Thank you. Bye-bye. Ho, ho, ho.") She was psyched.
Waiting for our turn to see Santa!
Having second thoughts...
She chattered nervously as we walked through the mall. She heard jingle bells and wanted to run toward the towering Santa display but held fast to my hand. We waited in a short line and watched the girl in front of us bravely sit atop Santa's knee and talk and (sorta) smile for a picture and get a little coloring book. When Santa's lap was empty, he waved a cheery hello to Eva. She waved back but then her feet were cemented to the floor. I took her by the hand, then carried her to greet Santa. I sat on the arm of his chair (noting that it was wide, cushy and sturdy enough for repeated grown up bums to rest on it) and Eva sat on my lap. He was a very friendly and gentle Santa with a real beard and twinkling blue eyes.

What did she tell him she wanted for Christmas? A new book. And peacock feathers. Santa said, "Well, uh, peacock feathers might be a little hard to come by, but I'll put it on my list and see what I can do."

Jerry snapped a few pictures of the three of us. Eva said "Thank you, Santa!" and we were on our way. Overall, a very successful meeting for my generally nervous little girl.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Put a Smile on Your Face

This video of Eva dancing to KT Tunstall's Other Side of the World always makes my heart swell. She had just turned 2 years old; it was only a couple weeks after a 10-day hospital stay, very sick with RSV and pneumonia. She was still a year and a half from walking but being on her bum certainly didn't stop her from exploring her world and enjoying herself. I appreciate the reminder to feel joy for what you have and to follow your heart's longing. Thank you, Eva.
(She signs "music" at the end).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Harvest Time

As the summer slowly slips into fall and all the breezes have chilly whiskers on them, we retreat to the farms and gardens to see Mother Nature's final breaths before her quiet winter sleep.

Eva at BelleWood Acres

Eva, Mommy, and Corn at Hovander Park

A crowd of dahlias

A dahlia ready to pop

Black-eyed Susan

Skeptical turkeys at Hovander Park

The barn at Hovander Park

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Just a quick post to express my gratitude that Eva loves blackberries. There are so few foods that she really LOVES and meal and snack times have always been challenging. So hooray for blackberries!

Today, Eva and I took a "stroller walk" to the grocery store for a few things and she spotted blackberries along the trail. They are quite abundant in our part of the country and the bushes are heavy with berries this time of year. I love the smell of blackberries in the air when out for a late summer stroll. How lucky we are to live here. I parked the stroller and started gingerly plucking blackberries while Eva reminded me "no red ones, mama. Just black". I put a small handful in her lap, maybe 8 or so and went back to picking some for myself. By the time I'd picked 2 or 3, she was chirping behind me, "More, mama? Can I have please more blackberries?" I swear, the longest sentences she puts together are for asking for blackberries. So I put another pile in the hem of her dress, like a little basket for berries. Two or three berries into my picking and she's asking again for more, purple juice smeared down her chin, her fingers dyed purple. She doesn't eat anything with such gusto! Hooray for blackberries! (Though I should add it was the same earlier with raspberries and blueberries. Off the bush and into the mouth).

She ate probably a pint or more on our stroll today. I picked another couple cups and took them home. Later this evening, she came to me at the other end of the house and put a blackberry in my mouth. Presuming (correctly) that she must have dragged her stool to the kitchen counter to reach the bowl of blackberries, I went to check that there weren't blackberries squished into the carpet. Nothing in the carpet (that I saw anyway. I'll probably find that next week when the berry starts to mold and the stain is good and set). There were, however, purple fingerprints on the counter near the bowl and down the front of the dishwasher--and all over her face and fingers and some on her jammie pants. When I asked her if they were good she just giggled and held her fingers up for me to wash: "blackberries! Yummy!"

Indeed, my sweet girl.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tappy Shoes

I may have lost my mind, but I got Eva a pair of tap shoes. She loves to dance and is especially fascinated (obsessed?) with tap dancing. Her obsession is focused primarily on Heather, Irish dancer extraordinaire from Maggie's Fury. (Heather is lovingly featured in many of Eva's original compositions). So now Eva has "tappy shoes" just like her. Look out, Heather!

The Musical Genius at Work

Eva's just so musical she can hardly help herself. Here she is playing her tambourine like a bodhran (an Irish frame drum that looks like her tambourine--without the jingles--is bigger and usually played with a stick). She sings original compositions and plays her bodhran (pronounced boe'-rhan). Quite entertaining!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

If it's not's crrrrap!

We enjoyed a wonderful day at the Scottish Highland Games in Ferndale yesterday. Our friend's band, Maggie's Fury played a few sets and Eva was thrilled (and tireless) to dance and sing and clap with the band in her official Maggie's Fury t-shirt and kilt. We all enjoyed the bagpipe and drum bands. Eva couldn't get enough of the BAGPIPES! and DRUMS! Jerry and I took turns wandering around listening to the bands practice before performing for the judges. In fact, "BAGPIPES!" was the last thing she said to us last night and the first thing she said upon waking up this morning. Since her first Highland Games at age 16 months, she has LOVED bagpipes, which is great for me because I do, too.

Dancing with Heather and Colin to Maggie's Fury

Taking a bow between songs. Eva really hammed it up for the audience and periodically took a break to sit in a chair in the front row and chat with whoever was next to her.

My goodies: a leather cuff and wooden bead bracelet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Rooster Song

This is what happens when I say "Say cheese!"

And then I explain that "say cheese" means to smile!

Here is a little video I took this evening of Eva playing her recorder and singing a little song. At the end she says "rooster". I guess that was the rooster song. Enjoy!

Eva's Library Picks

We go to our wonderful Downtown (Bellingham) children's library regularly for fresh reading materials. Eva is old enough now to thoughtfully pick out which books she wants to take home, go to the counter and up the stool, hand the books to the library staff and say "these books, please". Sometimes, she tells me she's done with the library by haphazardly yanking books off those easy-to-reach shelves while I scramble behind her trying to re-order her chaos and try to slow her down. On our last trip to the library, we came home with five books. That evening, we pored over our new pile of books and I found that TWO of them made me cry as I read them. OK, I'm not generally one of those cry-at-the-commercials weepy sorts of people, but I do have a soft spot for a sweet children's book--especially one (or TWO) that my daughter thoughtfully picked out just for us.

The first book is called A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance by Jeannine Atkins. It is a beautiful story about a little girl and her family gathering to assemble a quilt square for her gay uncle who died from AIDS (this is a children's book, probably good for mid-grade school age). The family, including her uncle's partner, talk about the uncle as they assemble this quilt square made from pieces of his clothes, to be included in the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Oh jeez. Kleenex, please. (The library system has only one copy of this book, and it's at my house till June 14. Sorry!)

The second story, which I highly recommend to my many friends who parent a child with special needs, is called Ruby In Her Own Time by Jonathan Emmett. This tender story is about a family of ducks and their littlest duck, Ruby. She hatches last, is small and doesn't do what her siblings are doing. Her parents ask "Will she ever...?" and, of course, the answer is "yes, in her own time." Aaah. More Kleenex, please. What a gentle reminder to relax; that Eva will do many her own time. (The library system has several copies of this book).

This reading experience with Eva was so beautiful (for lack of a shinier, more energetically glowing word) and reminded me that 1) my girl is a perfect, radiant little being; 2) I am so SO blessed to get to spend my life with her; 3) the universe will provide for me what I need, when I need it and I'd better pay attention because it might be in the form of a children's book (or two).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eva Reads Her First Word!

Yes, you read that correctly. Eva read her first word this evening (that I'm aware of anyway. She has a way of "yeah, I've done this FOREVER. What's the big deal" about her sometimes). We were reading stories before bed and I said "What's this word?" like I often do but she's never answered before. I point to each letter. "c. a. r.", she says. "Right!" I said, "what's that word say?" "CAR!" Oh my gosh. Yes, it DID say "car"! Holy cow!

Mind you, this exciting event hasn't come out of nowhere. She has always loved books and preferred looking at words over pictures (going way back to a few months old). During all the pre-preschool assessments and much to my annoyance, I had to prove it to a school official that she knew 18 letters just before she turned three. Eva has known all the letters for several months now and many letter sounds. She's been able to identify store names on the building and on top of receipts for a couple years now. We read to her. We point to the words as we read them. We have her read each letter in a word, going left to right. I've had a suspicion that she could read some words for awhile but have always explained it away.

Back in February of this year, I had a conference with Eva's preschool teacher. She told me that the woman who teaches the resource room came to the classroom for a visit one day (she doesn't usually work with the littlest kids) and she and the teacher got to talking about Eva and how she knows all her letters and really seems to absorb everything around her. Eva did a few tests in the resource room and, to everyone's joy, she scored at a kindergarten level for pre-reading skills! So the teachers started Eva on a reading program, the beginnings of which consist of matching like pictures, with other pictures as distraction. Then moving on to matching simple letter combinations, which gradually get more complex, to see if she can sort through the visual stimuli. The next step is a Reading Mastery Program with chunks of words (it stresses learning to identify the whole word, as opposed to spelling it out). So in addition to reading at home like we do, pointing out words, having her read the letters to us, we also started to label things in the house (bed, couch, table, etc.) so she could get used to seeing the words attached to things she's familiar with.

I am so grateful for wonderful teachers and staff who recognize that Eva can handle more challenges and not dismissing her desire to learn until she's "older".

What Eva taught me: to not think I know what she is capable of; to not think "oh, well that skill is for older kids, not her"; to set high standards and beam with pride when she meets them.

My little girl, 4 years, 2 months and 20 days read her first word. Car. It's music to my ears.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Toy For Mommy

I know it's been awhile since I posted and I know some of you, dear Readers, have been asking for new posts. So here is a pictorial post with Eva as my ever-agreeable subject. I recently bought a big beautiful digital SLR Nikon that I am in love with. These photos were taken with it. Enjoy!

I just love the way the late afternoon sunlight was making her eye(s) shine.

Singin' and swingin' at Hovander Homestead Park.

At Hovander. We're watching the turkeys about 15 feet away. She kept being silly and calling them "white peacocks"!

Out for a walk with Mommy on the trail by our house. A new favorite special mommy/daughter past time.

Sometimes, she just gets closer, closer, closerclosercloser!

Whee! Airplane rides from Daddy!! (I'm laying on the floor, looking up).

There's something to her expression that came through here that is very mature. I see a glimpse of what she'll look like when she's 14 or so.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eva's Big Oh-Four

(Eva dancing in her new tutu)

So it's taken me two weeks, but I'm finally posting some pics from Eva's 4th birthday party. We had a great party with a lot of our dear friends and family. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to everyone for coming to celebrate Eva's life with us; for your kind gifts and for your generous donations to the Whatcom Humane Society. We took a collection of animal food and treats and some money to the Whatcom Humane Society. Eva was very excited to gather presents for the animals. This was the first birthday that she really knew what was going on and I'm glad we were able to incorporate the idea of giving to those who are in need.

We encourage you to donate to the Whatcom Humane Society (click here)or to your local humane society. It really is a wonderful thing to see a child give so freely. We should all learn (re-learn) to be more generous and compassionate.

(5 minutes before party time, Eva was still in a diaper and Peacock Lady dress, dancing around the living room with balloons and singing "Hap Burrrday to EVA!")

(The deck was shakin' when the kids got dancing fever. Thank goodness the weather was good so they could run around outside and play on the swing set!)

(Eva blew her candle out by herself this year! She didn't touch the cupcake, though...maybe next year.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunny San Diego

The three of us and Jerry's parents spent a long weekend at a gorgeous resort in San Diego. It felt sooooo good to be in the warm sunshine and to go outside with just a t-shirt on! We went to Sea World two of the days. Eva loved to see all the animals (and run around and play with other kids). If you ask her, she'll sign whale and tell you that the whales go "big spwash!!" She told me as soon as we got into Sea World that she wanted to see starfish. Though she loved the orca whales, dolphins and all the fish, her favorite thing to see were the starfish.

Eva and her Papa splashing in puddles.

Jerry, Eva and Papa doing "1, 2, 3, whee!" There was a LOT of this game on the trip. To the point where two people couldn't hold her hands without her kicking her knees up and dangling from our arms.

Quick-moving kid in a tunnel at Sea World.

Eva loved being able to run around and play with other kids.

A very friendly older girl helped Eva touch a beloved starfish! Oh, it was so exciting! And yes, she actually touched it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Uno, dos, tres...PINATA!

Eva's preschool class, kindergarten, first and second grades have been rehearsing a musical called "We All Celebrate". All the kids sing a few songs together and each grade sings a song or two on their own. Unfortunately, Eva (and Jerry and I and his parents) will be in San Diego the night of the performance! Her teachers said that she has so thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsals and being with the big kids. She does love music.

I went to a rehearsal today and took this video. They're singing "Uno, dos, tres, pinata!" The kids are encouraged to dance while they sing. Eva is, of course, the little cutie in the green sweater. (Thank you, Abby for the beautiful sweater!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Peacock Lady, continued

An update on the Peacock Lady post: In the video, the singer wears a big, dark blue cape that she theatrically flips around during her number. Eva asked for a Peacock Lady dress, so I put a blue blanket around her shoulders and fastened it with a twix-it clip. (It looks like a superhero cape, if a child were so inclined to think of it as such. To Eva, it's a Peacock Lady Dress).

So now, wearing her blue cape, she walks around the living room, flipping the sides out dramatically and sings the Peacock Lady song as she does in the video I posted earlier. Even when the Violin Show isn't on, she'll do this. It's so dang cute I almost cry. Of course, she's a camera-shy performer so I'll have to be sneaky to get this on video--and I MUST because it is so cute.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's a...

This video is for our dear friends, Lynn and Carole. Thank you so much for the gift. Eva loves it (clearly)!

Holiday Joys

Happy New Year, everyone!

We three spent nine days with family in the south Sound. It was so wonderful to get out of town, away from domestic responsibilities and work and relax with family and friends. We're glad to be home now--sorta--and getting back into our routine--sorta--in time for school and work next week.

We hope you had a great holiday, too!

Eva's favorite presents included (but are not limited to) a kid's digital camera (seen here backward)...

...and bongos!

Eva loves to play the piano at my mom's house. This video was a sneaky attempt to capture her musical genius. If she saw me with the camera, she'd stop playing and yell at me. So I put the camera on the edge of the counter, pushed the button and stepped back. Next time, I'll get another angle so you can see her more clearly, but this was better than nothing!