One, Five, Eight, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen

Here we are again.  Time for the yearly update.  I try to do this between Libby and Jackson's birthdays every year...and I'm just in under the wire- Jackson's birthday is in two days!

Speaking of Jackson, he is nearly fifteen and seems to be getting taller every day.  He has really joined my team in so many ways, helping me with chores, cooking, cleaning, watching little kids, and getting his schoolwork done without needing reminders.  It is life changing for me and I am grateful and relieved to have someone making my life easier around here.  Jackson is still into everything technology, he is enjoying his Chemistry class, is taking driver's ed, and tackling Geometry too.  When not doing school he is enjoying playing guitar at youth group and helping in the A/V booth at church.  Everyone loves Jackson and he is an extremely tolerant big brother and friend.

Here is Libby.  Libby turned twelve this summer.  She is still drawing, writing, and creating enough for a dozen twelve year olds.  Just yesterday she created lego sets and drawn instructions for both her sisters.  This week she read a book in one night- as I was falling asleep I heard her brushing her teeth a few minutes before midnight and I knew she had stayed up reading in the bathroom (the only place where she can turn on a light) to finish.  Libby continues to enjoy her baby sister Violet and they are excellent room mates.  Libby is tackling two virtual school classes and taking piano, gymnastics, and archery this fall.  I am always telling her siblings how lucky they are to have her for a big sister.

Cash Alley, age 10.  Ten!  I can't believe it.  What happened to my squishy marshmallow baby?  He's in there, just a little taller. What can I say about Cash?  Here's a Cash story...During the hurricane he stayed with a friend one night.  When we went to pick him up, the dad of the family came out and asked if Cash could stay longer, while Cash looked out the front window, watching us and smiling his Cash smile, waiting to see what we would say.  That is Cash.  Figuring out how to charm people and also figuring out how to get what he wants.  He continues to read a ton, lately he's been into Peanuts cartoons.  He is taking archery and piano as well.  He is very gifted at music, but doesn't like to practice.  It's frustrating to me, but I hated piano practice too when I was a kid.  Jimmy often urges him to play drums with he and Jackson in the garage.  He is very good for a kid who has never had a lesson!  Lately he has been getting his school work done quickly so he can go on errands and jobs with Jimmy.  That's a win-win for me!

Here is Penelope, at age 8, with her first yearly photo where she has front teeth since she was three years old!  They finally came in this year, and while it was a sad day, she is still our Pip and her teeth haven't changed her personality.  She is still full of spunk and life and enthusiasm for anything and everything.  She is often seen playing Lego Friends, Minecraft, or watching My Little Pony.  She is still in gymnastics, and has moved up quickly.  She is taking archery too, and her teacher called her out the first day in front of everyone and told them to watch out for her, that she was a good shot! This week she and Juliet started a cleaning business.  The sign reads: "Puliet'sJobCom.  Do It With Love.  We're in Town!  We dust! We srub! We mop! We wipe! We clean!" They are trying to save up for a huge Lego Friends set.  Penelope is fun, fun, fun.

Juliet is five and has started kindergarten.  She is super smart and always saying something witty that shows her sense of humor.  She came to me this summer, when I challenged her to read on her own during rest time one day, and said, "Mom! I read INSIDE my body!"  She meant that she read in her head, without saying the words out loud.  This was a great moment for me.  Not only is it wonderful when your child can read, it is even more wonderful when you're their teacher and so that means that's one less thing you have to teach them!  Juliet is rarely sad or upset, she is often found sleeping late...she stays up later than a five year old probably should, but it's hard to get her to bed ahead of her older sister.  Juliet is taking gymnastics too, and enjoys drawing and creating at her kindergarten kid table.  We all enjoy her a lot!

Violet.  Violet is 23 months- almost two years old.  It has been so hard to say goodbye to pregnancy and baby land.  But what a wonderful baby to go out on.  Violet brings everyone in the house joy and happiness, just watching her this last year learn how to walk and talk and discover so much has been a ton of fun.  Violet loves books, singing, and dancing.  She is very opinionated about her clothes, does not like to sit in her high chair, and is my pickiest eater.  What kind of child does not like blueberries, strawberries, oranges, peaches, peas...? She absolutely loves bananas though, so she eats at least one a day.  Violet is very aware of what's going on in the house, and today she answered me in a complete sentence when I asked her where her bowl of yogurt was.  "Jovie ate it."  This was because I allowed her to eat at the coffee table since she does not like the high chair.  She does get away with a lot, but that's her lot.  She is the baby.  Our baby.  And we all love her so much.

Thank you to our loving God for another happy healthy year!  Much love from the J Train!!

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