Eight is Great for Cassie

It’s easier to write these blogs as a list otherwise they would end up very long! I can’t control myself when I’m talking about all the cute and sweet things I don’t ever want to forget about my kids. To keep it real, I also included a few things that drive me bananas but not too many. With that intro, let’s dig right in to share about eight year old Cassie.

1. My seven year olds have (had) braces. They also have lost a lot of teeth already. The early braces thing is a whole process they encourage nowadays where they have a phase one then a phase two after they lose all their teeth. The second phase is supposed to be easier since we did the first one. Cassie had a cross bite so she got the joy of an expander before she had her braces. Man did that kid handle it well. She gets her braces off in a few weeks and she’s so excited but I will say I miss the noise she made to get the food out of her expander. She figured out how to deal with the expander pretty quickly and has been a good sport about the foods she can’t eat. I love that little brace face.

2. When this kid turns 21, I am taking her straight to Vegas. She is seriously the luckiest kid I know. It’s very hard to beat Cassie in any card game at all and it makes it pretty fun to try. She’s not a horrible sport when she loses (yes, she does lose sometimes) and I think it’s because she knows she’s going to come right back and beat us three more times in the future. 

3. One of the most helpful things she does each week is fill my vitamin boxes. Yes, I’m so old that I have a handful of vitamins that need to be put in their little day of the week holder. Every week I count on Cassie to do the job and she’s very precise about it. She has an order of doing smallest to biggest and makes sure to make an extra one so we have one more day until we have to fill again. I like that this is a job only for Cassie.

4. I am not looking forward to seeing what a messy room this girl is going to create. If you look at their dresser, Leah’s side is completely organized with everything in it’s spot then exactly half way across the dresser starts the mess of anything and everything found around the house. It’s such a disaster. She’s very much the type to throw her shoes and backpack down when she steps out the door and hopefully some day she’ll figure out they don’t magically get put where they belong.

5. It warms my heart to see my kids being good friends. This summer our friends came with us to summer camp and one of them was a bit unsure about trying a few things. Cassie encouragingly took her hand and promised to be by her side the whole time. We’ve seen her do that a few times to this friend and she always seems to pair up with her and make sure she’s ok. I love seeing the bond build between friends and I’m glad that Cassie is a good friend. 

6. Similar to how lucky Cassie is, she also has this uncanny ability to locate the geocache we’re hunting for. Leah and I could be looking in the exact same vicinity but Cassie steps right in and picks it up under our noses. We had fun digging into the geocache games this summer and I know there’s a II million more out there we can find! (or Cassie can find for that matter)

7. This girl takes after me with her love of fruit. Unfortunately, that means she also has a few stomach issues that can come from a bit too much fruit… Still doesn’t stop us, though. Summer comes and it’s fruit time for us!

8. I don’t know how to describe this one. It’s something I don’t see a lot of anymore but there was a good spell where Cassie would get into a groove of one of her games, activities, something and she would get super proud and cock her head to the side while she made a clicking noise with her mouth. It’s one of those things that I wish I got on video and will never be able to force her to recreate it.

9. Both girls have been doing gymnastics since the beginning of the year and Cassie is really taking to it. This summer we really enjoyed whenever we could find a nice patch of grass and do some handstands or cartwheels. Her long legs are quite graceful at it and I really am impressed with how good she is with her form.

10. Creative should have been her middle name. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows Cassie that one of her favorite past times is anything creative. I recently reorganized a bit to pull many of her crafting supplies to some shelves front and center so they were easier for her to get to than in the garage. When she has extra time, she’ll be cutting, gluing or creating something wonderful. I was very happy to put her whale picture on my living room wall I created this year.

11. I shared a bit of this story previously but lets say Cassie’s epic monkey meltdown was one to remember. I don’t know if she tantrumed more or if I did…

12. I’m worried this next idiosyncrasy will be one she gets made fun of for so I want her to grow out of it but I also find it so endearing. She started getting into her reading groove at the end of last year and she can rock through a chapter book but she’ll read out loud while she does. We hear whispers of the story coming from the backseat when she’s reading in the car and she really doesn’t know she’s doing it.

13. Cassie is definitely an artist and one of my favorite mediums to see her work with (besides painting) is fimo or gum paste. Fimo is clay and you make little animals with them. We also took a gum paste class at Dawn’s Candy and Cake where we made the same type of animals with gum paste. They came out awesome! When she first started making the, we gave her no help at all- she was just set free with a youtube video and made a magical penguin that is still displayed today.

14. There aren’t many words the girls say wrong anymore but two recent ones Cassie has been corrected on were “M&M” which she said “NMN” and boysenberries which she thought were poison berries. I don’t like correcting them because I find those mistakes super cute and miss the days they couldn’t say ambulance or watermelon. It doesn’t last long and I love these last few incorrect words

15. Here’s one of those that drives me bananas. She simply won’t apologize. Even if something happens that was an accident, we still can’t get an apology out of here. She is the exact opposite of Leah and her sincere apologies and I really hope I can convince her how important it is to apologize in life. 

16. She has a signature style. She’s my stylish kid in general and is definitely the one I ask which shoes or necklace I should wear but she also has a fashion statement she’ll make of putting one pant up so the leggings are hiked to her knee and the other one is down to her ankle. It has been interesting to see how it’s happened over time more and more consistently yet she won’t necessarily admit she does it on purpose, she just owns it and acts like it’s no big deal.

17.For some reason she is much more willing to walk with me on a random afternoon to the store or what not. Leah would much prefer to sit home and read. Sometimes I can convince Leah to come IF I’m going to the library and ONLY the library but Cassie doesn’t really care where I’m going, she’ll just walk. I love walking and being out in the sun so it’s nice when I have a companion to do it with me. 

18. Contrary to Leah’s super straight, tucked in sleeping, Cassie is my crazy sleeper. The kid will wrap herself around the blankets in many ways and could care less what is tucked in, turned sideways, or falling off the bed. As soon as she’s asleep, she’s OUT for the count (unless she sleepwalks which she actually doesn’t do as much anymore… I guess she’s grown out of that. Sniff.) 

19. The hair, oh the hair. I don’t look forward to combing that mop every morning and it’s only getting worse. Last year it was noticed by other “super nice” girls at school that she always wore her hair in a certain way that was apparently not cool (yet it was the only way Dad knew to style her hair). She immediately decided to grow out her hair and hasn’t looked back. She had already committed to growing our her bangs but once we added the rest of the hair the war just got bigger and bigger. She doesn’t do well with tangles or tight hair yet she won’t let us cut it (while Leah happily asks for hers to be cut). The bangs also haven’t completely grown out so they kind of hang in her face and I FIGHT with her like crazy to tuck them behind her ear. It’s not pretty. 

20. If you see Cassie doing something cute in public, don’t mention it. For as confident as she is at home, she can be just as shy in public. The other day she was doing some silly dance in Costco and a lady commented on it after laughing and smiling at her but she immediately went into her shell and was mortified that she brought attention to herself. I know she’s a super sensitive kid and I hope she breaks out of her shell more and more with her confidence in life.

21. I’ll end on the same type of story I ended with for Leah. Her Clue tale revolved around the dagger. She very confidently stated that it was the stabber which killed Colonel Mustard. After we laughed so hard we were crying, she realized she said something wrong and started to call it the dabber (I think that’s because she’s used these markers they call dobbers). Needless to say, Mom and I continued to laugh and that didn’t go over well with Cassie. In many games in the future, the knife is now the stabber.

For reference, previous “special things” blogs are here:
My Cassie Valentine
12 cute things about 2 1/2 year old Cassie
Cassie’s preschool application
40 things about 4 year old Cassie
All about Cassie (around 4 years old)

Leah Thinks Eight is Awesome

First up for one of my special summary blogs is Lefty. Many people don’t know she was the kiddo on the left in my belly and was referred to as such for many months. To this day when I need to keep track of which kid something belongs to, I’ll put it on the left for Leah. I digress, this isn’t about me, it’s about Leah. All about Leah. Let’s jump right in to share some wonderful memories of this girl as an eight year old.

1. I’m pretty sure I have mentioned that Leah is an avid reader but I will emphasize it even more because it’s seriously insane. This kid cannot get enough of books and she devours them when she gets them. One thing that surprises me is that she remembers the storyline of all of them! I could NEVER remember as many stories as she does but her comprehension is outstanding. One thing that annoys me is that she has the tendency to read on her head. Or in any position that looks extremely uncomfortable to be positioned in. It’s not a surprise to hear me say “Leah, turn right side up”. Whackadoo.

2. The amount of empathy and compassion this kid has is off the charts. Most of the time that’s good but other times there is a situation happening that doesn’t involve her and she instantly wants to make everyone happy so she’ll start hugging you or clinging so you won’t be mad. That doesn’t always work out too well so we’ve talked a lot about the fact that she doesn’t have to make everyone happy. She does give extremely sincere apologies, though. When she has does something wrong it’s crushing to her and she really feels it and makes sure you know she’s sorry.

3. It makes me so happy to have a kid that is a total dare devil. The only thing I’ve heard her mention she’s not interested in doing is trapeze like I did a few years ago. There have been a few rollercoasters she wasn’t as thrilled about but she still did them like she’s done many a things. 

4. Along the lines of #1, the amount of books around the house is massive. Unfortunately Leah doesn’t have a knack of finding bookmarks to put IN these books when she’s not reading them. She leaves open books everywhere and will even use books as bookmarks for her books.

5. What does that mean? This is the question she would ask a million times a day about anything and everything under the sun. When reading books with her (especially American Girl books, I answer this question constantly. I love her inquisitive nature and really do love answering her questions.

6. I’m doing it. I’m raising a planner. She is very concerned about the time, how long we have for a parking spot, when the next activity starts, There is a constant desire to watch the clock and from a planning Mom’s perspective, it’s adorable. 

7. When I went to Ireland Cory played some Journey for the girls for some reason. Leah ended up connecting with Don’t Stop Believing and will even make up dances to it. I do have to admit it sounds weird to hear her singing about a smoky room and the smell of wine and sweet perfume but it’s awesome when she says “Just a city boy, born and raised in NORTH Detroit” for her Dad.

8. Similar to #2 and the empathy bar raiser, she’s also the ultimate peacekeeper. You can count on her to either back down or work something out if there is a conflict. Sure, the girls still fight and yes, she has unreasonable moments but there are so many times she pulls out her peacekeeper persona and will negotiate with the best of them.

9. Recently I think this kid has become a much pickier eater. I can’t keep track of the latest thing she doesn’t like. Some days I’ll hear things like “I like strawberries but only when we pick them fresh from the farm”. Sometimes she’ll even eat something she doesn’t like (mango is an example) and say “I don’t like mango but that was great!” Whenever we get a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks she will remove the egg and only eat the meat and bread. This past weekend we were at Starbucks where they apparently have special weekend food options. She got a bacon swiss quiche and wouldn’t stop raving about how good it was. She also said it tasted like potatoes then we put together the fact that she didn’t know it was egg. She was basically shocked then embarrassed but will now try quiche again. YAY!

10. Something I can say Leah is not, is graceful. She can definitely be coordinated at sports (I still have a bizillion baseball videos to share) but there are times that she doesn’t realize her size. If she’ll run up to you, it’s like an 80 pound freight train who thinks she’s a kids toy. She’ll also attempt something like a handstand but not understand how far she is from the ground or how hard it will hurt when she flops backwards to the ground. She still does it and hasn’t hurt herself too bad, yet.

11. Often this trait can be good and bad at the same time. The kid rarely forgets. I will want her to forget a promise, a “maybe later” or something mentioned in passing and she won’t. I can also count on her to always remember things such as “next time we’re at Trader Joe’s, we need soy sauce”. I love that she’ll always remember. 

12. It’s finally happened. The girls are different sizes and I blame Leah for being a good milk drinker. She’s surpassing size Large clothes and it’s crazy. How did it happen so fast? 

13. Because of the fact that they’re wearing different sizes and just growing like absolute weeds, I often tell them what horrible children they are because they won’t listen to this one command: stop growing. Both girls like to measure themselves against me to see how tall they are. Sadly, they are both almost past my chin. Yes, they are THAT tall. I have a feeling they will be outgrowing me around age 12. Too soon.  

14. Leah loves her stuffed animals but she loves even more to make nonsensical names for them. Right now her two favorite animals are “doo doo” and “choo choo”. These are for her duck and hot chocolate scented bear. She’s so affectionate to her animals and really does love them well.

15. I have an old memory that was never shared but we still giggle about. One day in preschool the girls went to a petting farm and fed baby goats. Leah came up to Cory at the end of the day and immediately said (in sweet preschool voice) “I ate goat”. Now whenever we’re preparing to feed an animal of any sort, we’ll tell Leah, “I ate goat”.

16. I am pretty sure Leah has figured out my love language is “acts of service”.because there will be a random morning I can’t find her and wonder if she’s hiding in her room reading but then I find her cleaning the bathroom. It’s always the bathroom, too. She has done it to Cory’s as well and that impresses me greatly because I won’t even do that! 

17. I don’t remember what we were talking about but I was describing something or someone that was Canadian. I explained that things from Canada were Canadian. She immediately responded “like bacon” and I said bacon is everywhere but she quickly said, “You know, Canadian bacon”. Touché’, Leah.

18. These next two go together well because there are two fairy tales that relate to Leah. The first one is Princess and the Pea. I’m pretty sure I could put a pea in her bed and she would find it. She requires her sheets to be soft, her blankets to be tucked in properly, the pillow softness to be exact and wrinkles to be straightened out. It’s made for a super fun bedtime routine… 

19. Her desire for perfection doesn’t remain only in her bed. This is why she has earned other nicknames centered around Goldilocks such as Leahlocks, Goldleahlocks, etc. This is because everything has to be juuuuussssstttt right. This is temperatures, clothes, food, liquid, sounds, and so much more. It’s not a surprise to hear her complain about something or another and strive to get it just to her liking. Watch out future husband, this one isn’t easy to please!

20. Every single night we get one request from her. She doesn’t like to go to sleep with her blanket on but needs it pulled up before we go to bed so she wakes up with a cozy blanket on. The request is to have her blanket half way up, or all the way up, or something different than what it is when she goes to bed. We basically do the same thing every night and just tuck her in (like we also do for Cassie). She simply makes a big deal about it. Every. Single. Night.

21. For this last one I have a funny story to tell for both girls. We’ve played the game Clue at my parents house the past few times we’ve visited. Each time Leah makes her guess for the lead pipe she’ll read it with a long “e” so it’s leeeeeeed pipe. I often wonder how many words she reads and doesn’t know the pronunciations for or pronounces them like another word. The lead pipe is a good example and it always gives Grammy and I a chuckle.

For reference, previous “special things” blogs are here:
My Leah Valentine
20 things about 2 year old Leah
Leah’s preschool application
12 cute things about 2 1/2 year old Leah
40 things about 4 year olds (Leah’s 20)
All about Leah (also 4 years old)

Eight Year Old Children of God

Yes, my kids are officially eight. It’s so hard to believe. Look how they’ve grown!

I’m working on two special posts about each kid and their fun idiosyncrasies at this age. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share the yearly animal pictures from the birthday to show how they’ve grown through the years. (Previous blogs linked to at the bottom of this post except for the illusive 2014 which I CANNOT locate anywhere)

To share them, I thought I’d use this song that has been stuck in my head all week. It feels like a perfect song for many reasons. These two are a constant reminder to me that we’re all children of God. And they’re still children. It really has gone by so fast but they are still only eight and have some precious childhood years left. I plan to take advantage of every second of them. The other reason this song is appropriate is that it’s easy for me to be afraid right now. I don’t handle uncertainty well and I don’t know where I’m going to land. I do know it will work out the way that it shouldn’t and it’s not something I should fret about constantly. I am no longer a slave to fear and my fears have been drowned in perfect love. That makes me feel good.

Spending a beautiful birthday afternoon with these two and finishing the day with “Insane Sundaes” from Vivo 53 also makes me feel very good. Both depict my children of God pretty well, so here we go.


You unravel me with a melody

You surround me with a song

Of deliverance from my enemies

‘Til all my fears are gone


I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb

You have chosen me


Love has called my name

I’ve been born again

Into your family

Your blood flows through my veins


I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God


I am surrounded

By the arms of the father

I am surrounded

By songs of deliverance


We’ve been liberated

From our bondage

We’re the sons and the daughters

Let us sing our freedom


You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

My fears were drowned in perfect love


You rescued me

And I could stand and sing

I am a child of God


You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

You drowned my fears in perfect love


You rescued me

And I will stand and sing

I am a child of God


Yes, I am

I am a child of God

I am a child of God


Yes, I am

I am a child of God

Full of faith


Yes, I am a child of God

I am a child of God


I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

2015 ~ 2013 ~ 2012  ~ 2011 leah ~ 2011 cassie ~ 2011 spring
2010 ~ 2010 spring ~ 2009 winter ~ 2009 birthday