Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy 6th Birthday, Riley!

Dear Riley,

Yet another year has flown by and while you are still the same caring, inquisitive little girl, you have grown so much. You've physically grown recently as demonstrated by your suddenly too short pants and your desire to eat ALL THE TIME. But more than that, you've shown me that you are your own person with your own thoughts and ways of doing things. You're Jesse and you're me, but you are just so you.


You've reached some big milestones this year. You transitioned from preschool to kindergarten, and you've lost 3 of your bottom teeth.

Your interests:

You continue to love to read, but now that you're in kindergarten we've seen you flourish in other areas as well. We just got your report card back and were surprised that you scored higher in math than reading. Not that we didn't think you had the math skills, but reading has been your thing. In fact, your teacher has come up with other reading tasks for you while the other kids are learning their sight words. I don't want to sound all braggy and have this go to your head, but I love that you are so into reading and love our time reading together at night. Just recently you've shown a lot of interest in chapter books such as the one we're reading now, The Tale of Despereaux.

You also love to draw pictures and sometimes make crafty items, but mostly just drawing. We have a regular changing art gallery in our house and think nothing of all the pictures that are normally taped to the walls or that are on the fridge.

Music is a great interest of yours. You LOVE to sing and some days it seems all you do is sing from morning to night. Mostly, you make up random songs, but sometimes we'll hear you sing along with your favorite artists like Adele and apparently Taylor Swift. You know the songs on your dad's iShuffle and will immediately make a specific song request when we get in the truck. Favorites tend to be songs from Beirut and TV on the Radio.

You are a big fan of your beloved Kindle where you watch cartoons and play games. You watch a variety of shows that always seem to be changing. You discovered the Care Bears earlier this year, but recently you've been watching My Little Pony and Peg Plus Cat. You spend more time than I like with the Kindle, but you are always good about asking before you use it. Speaking of media, we've brought you to a couple movies this year and you enjoyed it except for how loud they were. You just went to see Kung Fu Panda 3 with your dad and now that's your current big area of interest.

You still love princesses, but aren't quite as into them as last year. Your interests have varied a bit more and include everything from learning about the human body to carrying the cat around the house.

What you don't like so much:

As I read back on last years letter, I realized that much of it was the same... trying new foods, the unknown, loud noises, and yet it's less so this year. You made a big leap this year with embracing fireworks although I wouldn't say that you love the noise part of it, but it's a big improvement. You were doing better with food, but then recently decided that you no longer liked rice, tortillas and soy nut butter and jelly sandwiches. I guess I don't blame you since you've been eating those items over and over. One day, I trust that your food likes will expand as they did for me.

Speaking of food:

Even though you recently cut out a couple of your favorites there are still plenty of things you seem to like. You're a big fan of buttered noodles and on the growth front, you will pretty much eat any shape of noodle (unlike once upon a time). Other items that we can count on are cheese sticks, apples, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, cereal, milk, and treats of course. Oh, and you seem to have a never ending love for Jimmy John's slim 5 which you refer to as Jimmy John Jones. We've tried making these at home and, until recently, you wanted nothing to do with the homemade versions. Luckily this has changed... at least for the moment.


I've already mentioned your love for reading, but will talk a little more about it. You have quite the book collection, plus we often go to the library, you bring home a book each week from media day at school, and you bring home a book from the book in the bag program at your school. You are working your way through the book levels and are on 12, which is late 1st grade. Your teacher also introduced you to an app for reading which you will readily do at school, when allowed, and on your Kindle at home.

You've become braver with your writing as well. Kindergarten has helped you better understand which letters to capitalize and, I think, has encouraged you to spell words out without constantly asking us how to spell it. I've seen you become more confident about this over the year and you really light up when you get a word spelled correctly.


This is an area that you aren't too picky about. You are still comfortable with me picking out your clothes and occasionally have a request, but most of the time don't seem to care. You prefer to not wear jeans, instead opting for cotton leggings. I don't blame you one bit as I'm all about comfort, myself. You've recently become smitten with a fleece pullover because it's sooooo soft and comfy. Again, we are on the same page, girlfriend.

She did pick out this outfit

How you are sleeping:

Typically, bedtime is 7:30, but that's really when we leave you in your room. You are allowed to stay up reading until 9:00, but I think you more often fall asleep at 8:00. We thought naps were a thing of the past when you were three, but you will still take 2+ hour naps on the weekend. We don't really care if you miss a nap since you don't take them during the week, but it does seem to help. You put up more of a fight about 'rest time' since you don't have this at school, but you fall asleep almost every time. At night, you always sleep through the night and call out to us at 6:01. I'm not sure when you actually wake, but I'm guessing it's before 6:00 since you are almost always on the dot on your wake up call out. Occasionally, you let us sleep until 6:30, but that's rare.

Who are your friends:

Since you started kindergarten you've had a change in friends. You are still friends with Amelia, Sarah, and Sylvia from preschool and we often have play dates with them, but now you have a few new friends in the mix. When you first started school you quickly became friends with Peyton and Anthony, but that seems to have waned a bit. You still talk a bit about Mason from the bus (so many boy friends at the beginning of the year). You sometimes talk about Polly as you knew her from preschool and more and more I hear about Cassidy and Laney. I checked in with your teacher one day and she assured me that even though you are quiet, you are playing with the other kids and making friends. Time will tell who you end up having longer friendships with.

Thoughts about your family:

I'm pretty sure you think your family is the bees knees... you love us all and we love you. Of course, dad and I are your favorites, but you also adore your grandparents big time. I think you are a little unsure around my dad as he's not fun and warm and fuzzy like your other grandparents, but you enjoy going to his house for a visit. This may or may not have something to do with the stash of pretzels he has and the piano you get to play with, but I'd like to think you like to visit him too. You get to spend a night at grandma Suzie and Grandpa Michael's house from time to time and you love, love, love that... as do we.

Where you have traveled:

Traveling is so fun with you now. You often share that you want to go on vacation or stay at a hotel and I think you'd like to live on vacation if you could. Me too, kiddo. This year our big trip was to the Black Hills in June. We had so much fun and we already look forward to heading back out that way in the future. We didn't travel anywhere in July, but our Luxembourg family came for a visit so it felt like another vacation. In September, we visited the North Shore which we haven't been to in a couple years and we found a new favorite place to stay. We will definitely have many more trips that way.

Other activities:

This year you took dancing classes and loved it, but decided to take a break. We started you in swim classes and you were initially reluctant, but now absolutely love it. You've even indicated that you want to grow up to be a swim teacher. We've suggested other activities, but you always turn them down and express that you want to continue with swimming.

Your personality:

You can still be a little timid in social situations, but we find that once you warm up and see other kids doing things on their own you tend to jump in as well. You're a quiet one at school and in larger situations which doesn't surprise me much. Like mother, like daughter... and probably like father as well. You are super silly and often feel all the feels. Awareness of sadness has been a big thing this year and you struggle with it from time to time, but overall you are a happy girl.

Kiddo, monkey butt, pumpkin head... you really are the best and I'm so happy to be your mom. As my mom always said to me, I love you with all my heart. And so much more, if that's possible.


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