We had an ice-skating birthday party for Kenna at the end of February when she turned 9, a fun celebration with friends and cousins. While many remark about how much Kenna looks like Charis did at this age, their personalities are very different. Kenna is definitely a girly tomboy: you are likely to find her outside digging up and collecting worms for her dirt-filled birdhouse container, with toenail polish on the nails of her muddy feet. She loves to dress up but hates to shower (although a good long soak in the tub is always a treat). She plays hard and works capably, although her bedroom is more likely to be a disaster zone than to reflect the organizational skills of her big sister. She loves, loves, LOVES to read, and it doesn't bother her in the least to do schoolwork "later" when she'd rather finish the current book in her hands. Her math skills are coming along nicely after some struggles, and while she knows/feels she is "behind" (finishing up the Beta book instead of Gamma this year), she works steadily and is understanding the concepts well. Her sloppy handwriting is something she has a desire to change, so she is working more in earnest on learning cursive and practicing on various pieces of scrap paper. While the language arts writing assignments have never been her favorite, she has discovered that typing out a creative story can actually be fun...so last week's assignment is still a work in progress as she adds a little each day to her Story Starter. Kenna is a social being, thriving when she gets to play with friends or attend anything remotely social. She loves her siblings fiercely and carries Rhema around like a pro. Her current career choice is to be a missionary in Fiji...and I wouldn't put it past her to make that happen!
Having received a number of art supplies for his recent 7th birthday (celebrated fireman style!), Lucan describes himself very seriously as an ARTIST. Some days it is an effort to pry him from the table and convince him that he really would enjoy going outside to run around! He has always loved working on his own little projects at the table by himself (yet with a constant stream of chatter about what he is creating to anyone who will even pretend to listen), and since he is not a typical rough-and-tumble boy, he usually responds to my requests for outside play time with reluctance...until he comes up with a creative play scenario that has him narrating his actions and traversing the yard in his own neverland. He and Zaden are--usually--best buddies in these scenarios. Lucan is very passionate about Jesus and wants to tell others about God's love for us. Almost every day he says something that reflects his tender heart, whether talking about being a missionary or praying for our sponsored kids in Africa. His prayers are wide-sweeping as he asks the Lord for there to be no more fighting or wars (before playing good-guys-fighting-bad-guys, lol). This post I left on Facebook awhile ago still makes me laugh:
Lucan has been showing such a tender heart to share the good news of salvation through Jesus with others. This sweetness does, however, end in a good giggle at times, as this conversation shows...you'll have to imagine my responses for brevity's sake.
"Mommy, when I grow up, I want to tell people in South America about Jesus. When I am 19, I will tell people in Peru. After I walk to all the cities, then I will go to Brazil. I will be 20 then. And then I will go to Argentina. I think I will be 24 then. And then I will tell people in Chile about Jesus when I am 25."
After listening to Lucan tell about his planned route, I ask him if he will learn Spanish.
"Yes. Most people in South America speak Spanish. And most people in Brazil speak Portuguese."
Pause. "Um, never mind."
"Mommy, do people in Canada speak English?"
While he loves to run around with his siblings and friends, Zaden is still a cuddler and usually prefers to sit on Ted's or my lap in church instead of joining the kids when they leave for their class. Though we are trying to remind him that sucking his thumb means it's (nap) bedtime, he still pops his thumb in his mouth when he's tired or feeling shy. I'm trying not to make a huge deal out of it; simply making him aware that big boys don't suck their thumbs (and if he's sucking his thumb, then it clearly means he needs a nap!) seems at least a step in the right direction. I'm enjoying this last year of not having to do much of anything "school-ish" with Zaden, although he sometimes REALLY wants to work on some kind of workbook, anything to make him feel like he's doing school also. We are lazily learning to write letters and finishing up random workbooks when we feel like it, and he sometimes listens in on Kenna's reading and almost always listens in on Lucan's reading. He is an AWANA Cubbies graduate now--hard to believe he will be a Sparkie next year! He is a passionate little boy, and by "passionate" I mean "still prone to insanely ridiculous temper tantrums." (He had a meltdown Sunday morning because Ted gave him the plate he asked for. Sigh.) He is also an excellent tattle-tale, which may or may not be helpful, depending on which sibling he feels the need to report about. I am trying to capitalize on his desire to help in the kitchen, even though having one little helper usually means I end up with 4 or 6 extra hands to keep gainfully occupied. As cute as he is, Zaden probably often feels overlooked, with two cute baby sibs that need a lot of supervision and all his older sibs engaged in schoolwork that Mom needs to oversee. There are times when lesson plans need to rest awhile so I can snuggle and read with my thumb-sucking boy!