Monday, March 6, 2017

First Daughter's Birthday Post: Ten (and a Half)

First Daughter turned ten last September, which makes this birthday post more of a half-birthday post; she's nearly ten and a half!

For her birthday, she wanted to go ice skating. So she and seven of her friends went ice skating for two hours. Then, because the weather was fantastic, we went to a park for some chocolate angel food cake (soy free, nut free, dairy free, for her friends). High winds kept blowing out her candles, but the girls enjoyed the cake and then (shockingly) run up and down the hill for a while before we headed home.

We celebrated her baptismal anniversary a few days late because we were in Illinois for my cousin's wedding. Sadly, we dropped a bowl that night. I later stepped on a piece of the glass and while hobbling around on my sore foot injured it. Eventually I needed physical therapy, but I'm better now.

Rocky Mountain National Park
First Daughter is intrepid. She loves to hike and climb along with First Son and Kansas Dad, never to be outdone. For her birthday, we gave her a pogo stick. For Christmas, she received taekwondo sparring gear from her grandparents (she's a green belt) and stilts from us and her other grandparents. She's currently saving for in-line skates because she's outgrown her roller skates (the source of her broken arm the summer she was nine, but let's not talk about that).

In addition to taekwondo, First Daughter played soccer last fall and this spring. She and Second Daughter can be on the same team. They travel a bit, but not too far. First Daughter likes to play goalie. She's quick and cheerful on the field.

She's been a bit disappointed that both taekwondo tournaments were at the same time as soccer games. However, she probably won't play soccer this coming fall and we'll get her to that tournament.

Her cooking skills are improving greatly. Kansas Dad is teaching her "breakfast." So far, she's mastered bacon, fried eggs, and scrambled eggs. (She can also make coffee for her dad and tea for her mom.) She's still working on sausage (which we have less often) and pancakes. She's still great at making a batch of muffins, various breads, and cakes. She often makes quick things for lunch and loves to help make dinner (when she's not off at taekwondo or soccer). She makes popcorn, too.

Really, First Daughter is by far the most helpful of our children. She's at a helpful age, but her personality is also one of generosity and cheerfulness that make asking her for assistance almost too easy. Sometimes I remind myself to ask the older brother instead, but even then she may stop what she's doing and bounce into the kitchen demanding the honor of the extra chore.

sneaky girl added her initial to the bread she baked for us
Many of her favorite foods are the same as last year: Kansas Dad's chocolate peanut butter layer cake, chicken enchiladas, chicken noodle soup, yogurt, fruit, and dumplings.

Her favorite games are Agricola, Settlers of Catan, Star Wars Monopoly, Taboo, and Labyrinth. She bought a Kindle Fire with her birthday money and loves it, too.

More than anything, she loves to read. If you can't find her, she's snuggled up somewhere with a pile of books. She still reads the Little House on the Prairie books and the Harry Potter books over and over again. She's just started reading the Anne of Green Gables series and Little Women. She reads anything and everything, though. I have a whole shelf of books from Bethlehem Books and Hillside Education which she'll peruse and read multiple times. She recently read the Mitchells series in a single day, when she was feeling too sick to do her lessons. Unlike some other children, she's as excited or more excited to read a book after I've read it aloud.

First Daughter has become quite the accomplished sewer. She is the house seamstress, repairing all seams and reattaching buttons, even on Kansas Dad's work clothes. She made some lovely sewn ornaments at Christmas, too.
First Daughter as Rey (Second Daughter as Hedwig)
She's also ingenious in gathering random pieces from around the house and the dress-up bin. She cobbled together a bunch of things for her Rey costume at Halloween including an old broomstick covered in black masking tape (one roll has lasted through years of costume uses), toy motorcycle goggles (Second Son's), an old work bag of mine covered in a brown pillowcase (black and brown pillowcases from the thrift store are versatile costume items), a baby doll wrap, and a ragged brown tunic we received at a Jedi birthday party about five years ago that still gets regular use for all sorts of imaginary adventures.

heart dissection
Her favorite school subjects are math (specifically geometry), history, and geography. She loves coloring in the maps for the Holling books. Of all the children, she's the most likely to start her lessons promptly, work her way through them diligently, and finish them every single day. She does get frustrated when things aren't easy for her, but I do think she's getting better about asking for help. Her "worst" school fault is failing to stop at the assigned page. I've lost count of the number of times she's admitted to finishing a book in a single day that was going to be assigned over weeks and weeks.

Her favorite saints are St. Therese of Liseux, St. Bernadette, St. Maria Goretti, and St. Joan of Arc. She dressed as St. Maria Goretti for All Saints last year. Again, she pulled together all she needed from our costume bin except for the lilies and the palms. We picked those up at a floral sale at Hobby Lobby.

Her favorite songs are The Lord of the Dance, Whatsoever You Do to the Least of My People, and Matchmaker, Matchmaker. She loves to sing at Children's Adoration, especially in the Easter and Christmas seasons when they sing all those joyous songs. She often chooses to sing the Hail Mary in Latin for her evening prayer.

Recently, First Daughter volunteered as a mother's helper at a neighbor's house. She goes about once a week for a few hours to do whatever is most helpful. She loves her time there (with five children from 7 down to 2 months) and is learning a lot about babies and toddlers and preschoolers and cleaning and cooking.

This time has been a blessing for First Daughter and (I hope) for the family she visits each week. I wish someone had done something like this for me and I highly recommend sharing your preteens (girls, especially) with mothers of young children.

Someday we will look back and remember our chattering giggling bouncing ten-year-old First Daughter with nostalgia. May she remain as joyful as she is now!

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