Five.3 and Eight.3

Another busy month has led to another double-post. But it’s well worth it considering all the fun we’ve had in Austin AND San Francisco. Speaking of which, these girls are officially awesome travelers. Long flights and drives, huge delays, nights eating dinner at 9PM and going to bed at 10 or 11 (or 3AM on delayed flight days!) and they seriously just rolled with it. It seems we’re at the dawning of a new era. I occasionally miss my “babies” but there is so much more we can do with these big kids! Speaking of big kids:

Clementine, Five and a Quarter:

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Always moving, always talking, always reading, always singing, always interested in something!  She now literally reads everything. At Trader Joe’s when she read the list of how many bell chimes signify what required response (1 chime – need more cashiers up front!), our cashier turned to her and said, “Nobody has every read that before.” She also brings books (or receives them from others) and reads to her classmates in the morning (during playground timing, before the “clapping” to come in), bringing back memories of pre-K Annabelle. As for the talking and singing, this is old news, but I do love that she insists on singing all of her piano assignments (with feeling, and vibrato) as she practices. As for the moving, this girl gets so many cuts and scrapes these days (big ones like bloody noses!) that we now have a standard question at dinner – did you damage your face today? Last night answer was a cheery “no, I just sprained my ankle.” Luckily she is super tough and almost never fusses over these injuries. We are trying to resist our instinct to put her in a helmet at all times and hoping this just means she’s growing. She DOES look bigger, doesn’t she?

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Annabelle, Eight and a Quarter:

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This girl is going through some kind of 3rd grade renaissance period. It’s amazing! The other day, she said, “You know, I’m bored with kid food like burgers and nuggets and pizza. I want to start eating more adventurous things.” We immediately took her to our favorite Vietnamese place for her first bowl of Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork with vermicelli) and she ate everything down to the leafy herbs! She has also proclaimed that since she joined the third grade, she is suddenly “braver, tougher, with more stamina” than she had in 2nd grade (a whole month ago). We think her new friends are to thank for this, and we’ll take it! We absolutely love the group Annabelle is falling into in 3rd grade, and she has confirmed that she is happier there. We’re so glad the transition was as easy (and wonderful) as we hoped it’d be! And aside from these marked improvements (and willingness to get her hair cut at a grown up salon), she is otherwise the same old kid – constantly writing stories, planning elaborate make-believe games with her sister, and reading reading reading. Her handwriting and Spanish speaking have a little catching up to do, but she got a stellar first report card from 3rd grade that shows she is clearly thriving. We are SO proud of her.

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I’ve been working my tail off lately and traveling a bit more than usual, but these girls have made it easy on me, rarely causing problems (really their only faults are selective listening and terrible cleaning skills) and making my non-working time pure joy.

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Eight.2

What an awesome month this kid has had!

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What you are looking at right there is a THIRD GRADER – a couple weeks ago we worked out the details and skipped Annabelle up a grade on a 3 week trial basis. She wasn’t thrilled about it because of the friend situation, but by Day 2 we could tell it was the right move. Her direct quote: “The stuff we’re learning in third grade is SOOOO MUCH COOLER than second grade stuff!” And there you have it. The 3rd grade teacher who doubted that her Spanish would be strong enough for full immersion no longer has doubts, and she’s still at the top of her class. The best thing is that we really love the kids that she is falling in with (a few she already knew from soccer and the neighborhood) – they seem sweet, bright, and very welcoming (they even made her a welcome sign on her first day!). I’m glad that we raised her up now instead of waiting till the end of the year – it’ll make for a smoother start to 4th grade. Once we come to terms with the fact that we are the parents of a 4th grader, and once her 2nd grade friends stop grabbing and screaming at her to “COME BACK TO SECOND GRADE” whenever they see her:

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While that’s the biggest change in Annabelle’s world this month, she continues on her regular-old awesome path. She still wants to be an inventor, and has had several back-and-forth emails with this Youtube personality failed inventor Simone Giertz, who she thinks is HILARIOUS. She is also reading nonstop, especially some new books that her 3rd grade friends are into, like the Seekers series. Which is appropriate since she wakes up each morning with her hair looking like she slept in a cave:

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Annabelle has also gotten more interested in the presidential campaign lately, looking up the differences in opinions (and what they mean) for Hillary, Bernie and Trump. It’s been hard coming up with right balance of “everyone is entitled to vote for who they think would be best” and “Donald Trump is the devil” – especially since she told us that one of her friend’s parents is voting for him. Drumpf! The most interesting part about this has been having to give minimal definitions of words we didn’t think we’d need to explain to her yet – like abortion. “Hillary and Bernie think that if a woman is accidentally pregnant but doesn’t want to have a baby, she shouldn’t have to.” She responds, “I don’t think they should have to either.” End of story – leaves scene to play on playground.

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Life is always busy for Annabelle – between school and piano and brownies and now an after-school minecraft program and soccer starting up again… but it’s good-busy. There is no doubt that our not-so-litte 8-year-old is flourishing, and growing into exactly the type of sweet, fascinating human we always hoped to have.

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