Six-year update (a little late)

August 3rd, 2015

Things have been so busy here lately (so much for a summer break!) that I let late June – and July! – come and go without acknowledging a milestone. Avery is six now, and an update is in order… (Note that I’ll probably stop doing this eventually. But since I did one for Zoe when she was six, and – well, fair’s fair.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to sum up Avery these days. The truth is that I can use similar words - sweet, silly, funny, happy - to describe her as I did last year. But what makes her a bit complex these days is that she has pretty different public and private personas. At home and at camp, and certainly in new settings, she comes across as a little reserved and serious. (I’ve heard the word “shy” and the term “slow to warm up” in regards to her more times than I can count.) At home, though, she is larger than life: bouncing up and down the halls, singing, dancing, acting completely silly. (I often tell people that she’s our wild child, while Zoe is our more laid-back, serious one.) She loves hamming it up, so much so that Q and I call her our little diva. And though she may be hesitant to, say, raise her hand in school, at home she comes across as a natural-born performer.

Speaking of school, she wrapped up a successful year of kindergarten just says before her birthday. She loved her teacher -  a grandmotherly type who has been teaching kindergarten for more than 30 years and has an amazing way with kids – and she developed strong friendships, especially with two little girls. She seemed to like the work she did in class, with her teachers reporting that she has “a strong desire to do well in her work” and that “her confidence and ability to work independently have grown tremendously throughout the year.” We have noticed at home that she tends to get frustrated if she doesn’t “get it” (be it a math concept or a new word while reading) right away – so we always try to do a little confidence boosting. (And in regards to reading, she is interestingly at about the same spot as Zoe was when she turned six: perfecting “sight words” and getting through easy-reader books.)

In terms of her likes, they’re similar to things I’ve reported here in the past: She likes doing “dramatic play” (school, camp, doctor’s office – you name it, she and her sister have acted it out), playing with her (many) stuffies, and drawing. She also recently got into Barbie dolls (something her sister has always been lukewarm about), and she has also taken a recent interest in two things Zoe really does like: LEGOS and Harry Potter. (Avery has now watched all of the movies; despite my initial concern about the material, she loves them and hasn’t gotten scared over any parts. It’s just a matter of time before Zoe starts reading the books to her, or, eventually that Avery reads them herself!) As mentioned above, she has two very close girlfriends (and they’re very silly when they get together), but it seems to me that Zoe is her best playmate. They don’t always get along, but they have a very solid friendship.

I’ve mentioned this here before, too, but Avery has an incredibly soft and sweet side. She is the first person to comfort me if I’m feeling or looking sad (“Can I get you a glass of water? Do you want to lay down?” she asked me when I recently started crying about something I can’t now remember), and she routinely climbs into bed with us in the morning just to snuggle and whisper in my ear, “I love you.” She also often dishes out compliments about my work outfits: “Oh, you look so pretty/fancy!” she’ll say. (I wonder if fashion is in her future, as she always notices if I’m wearing new shoes, or a bracelet she hasn’t seen before, for example.)

One of my hands-down favorite things about Avery remains her ability to (literally) stop and smell the roses. I’ve said it before, but she’s always admiring flowers or leaves or puffy white clouds in the sky; she’s quick to point out how pretty something is. As cliché as it sounds, she inspires me to slow down and take joy in the small, beautiful things in life. I don’t always have success, but she keeps on teaching me!


Again, from Madison

August 1st, 2015

And lastly, one of my favorite photos from our trip. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.


Summery days in Madison, part III

July 31st, 2015

Two other highlights from our trip to Wisconsin: hanging out with Cousins Tanner and Brook at the pool, and visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo!



Summery days in Madison, part II

July 30th, 2015

A trip to Madison isn’t complete without a trip to the water, and we celebrated my birthday last week by dining out and boating on Lake Mendota, then showing the girls Monona Terrace (where Q and I got married) and enjoying ice cream at the Union. At one point Zoe said to me, “You know how earlier I was singing ‘Best Day of My Life’? Well, I think today actually IS the best day of my life.”


Summery days in Madison

July 28th, 2015

We spent most of last week in sunny and warm Madison. Here are some pics…


Friday night fun

July 26th, 2015

We recently started a new Friday night tradition: After swim class we head to a make-your-own-pizza place at the mall (and sometimes to do a bit of shopping, too). We were joined by friends the other evening, and it was a very girlie affair!


A sweet note

July 24th, 2015

Out of the blue one day Zoe handed me this piece of paper. This part in particular jumped out at me and made my day/week/year:

She works hard; that’s how I like it. She never, ever forgets to love me and Avery.


Back to the zoo

July 22nd, 2015

Now that camp is over, the girls wanted to take me to the zoo and show me some of the stuff they learned. And so we headed there on Monday – and we did and saw tons.



Zoo camp

July 21st, 2015

The girls spent the last three weeks at zoo camp, where they learned tons about animals, as well as conservation issues. (Zoe treated me and Q to a lecture one evening on climate change and how polar bears are being affected.) In the photos below, Avery is petting an American alligator and playing a water-themed game, while Zoe is getting to know the rubber boa and picking kale from the zoo’s garden to feed the animals.


Day at Gilroy Gardens

July 20th, 2015

As readers know, we love amusements parks. We hadn’t been to Gilroy Gardens yet this season, so we headed there on Saturday…


Secret get-away

July 19th, 2015

Last weekend, with the temperature nice and high, friends took us to a “secret beach” in nearby Pacifica. It was somewhat surreal to have the sand and surf to ourselves – the only thing that would have made it better in my book was a fruity cocktail!


The power of cheese

July 18th, 2015

The other afternoon, while snacking, Zoe called out from the kitchen to ask if she could another slice of cheese. When I told her yes, she ran past me and sang out. “Thanks, Mommy, you’re the best!” Then she stopped and clarified: “I mean, not just for the cheese, but other reasons, too.”



Day at the Exploratorium

July 17th, 2015

The girls’ babysitter is interning this summer at the Exploratorium, and we went to see her and, well, explore the place last weekend. And since it’s located on a gorgeous spot on the Bay, we had to spend time (and take photos) outdoors, too!


Selfie at the baseball game

July 15th, 2015

Q and the girls were all smiles at the Giants game the other afternoon…


A look back at second grade

July 14th, 2015

Summer time often means clean-up time and while going through a pile of old papers the other day, I came across something Zoe had written about the second grade. Since Harry Potter isn’t among the books she referenced as reading, I’m going to guess this is from the first semester of the school year (i.e. her pre-Harry days). She wrote:

At school, I love reading, writing and my friends like Shayna and Zachary. I like math, and I’m good at it and it’s very fun. At recess I play a game called “bad guys vs. good guys.” Me and Zachary made it up together. Shayna and Halle started to play after we started it. Sometimes Halle or Shayna don’t play because they’re doing something else at recess.

At SSR (“super silent reading”) I like to read Magic Bone and the Fairy Magic series. Sometimes at SSR, I do turtle walking or gardening or book return. But most of all at SSR I like reading, reading and reading.

At “body break” I like to walk for awhile. I do it for awhile and keep going till my body break is over. At math I like to work in my math log, in my math workbook and in my math textbook.

Hopefully third grade will be as much fun for her!