1. Gracie appeared on this blog for the first time on April 1, 2005. This is what I wrote about her:
"Over the past month, Gracie's personality has really started to develop. While she can still go from quiet to hysterical in less than 3 seconds if someone even so much as looks at her wrong, she is currently perfecting a new talent: the full body smile. We don't really remember this with Maddie; though Maddie was, in fact, a very happy and smile-y baby, Gracie seems to be taking the smile to a new level of complexity. She doesn't just smile with her face—she wiggles her arms, waggles her legs, and lights up brighter than anything we've ever seen. It is this smile that she chooses to bestow upon us most often; usually we only have to ask for "big smiles" with our own silly grins and she obliges immediately. There is nothing coy or reserved about the full body smile. She seems to be comfortable turning it on for anyone that asks. Photographs don't really do it justice. We just hope she decides to continue doing it."
She "mindfully uses the accessory wall," as Tim Gunn would say; she thinks through her outfits and puts together combinations of things that would never, ever work alone. For instance, in this picture she's wearing a Gymboree sweater that Maddie wore when she was 4, and an ex-dress from Bridget's closet that became too small for Bridget to wear after the first washing; Gracie claimed it as her new shirt. Worn together? Adorable.
She loves, loves, loves kindergarten. Kindergarten loves her right back. I took in one of her favorite treats to share with friends today—chocolate chip cookie lollipops—and not only did she gleefully pass them out to everyone in her class, but asked for permission to deliver one to her music teacher, P.E. teacher, art teacher, the main office secretaries, the building resource teacher, and the librarian. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. And to think there was a time where Matt and I worried about how she would manage in kindergarten.
She jumps at the opportunity to participate in charitable giving drives. During both the Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives at school, she insisted on taking in three cans each day and occasionally waited by the cupboard until I pulled them out for her to take in her backpack. On the last day of the Christmas food drive, I had to convince her that one was enough because the rest was earmarked for our own family dinners this past week. As for the mitten tree... she was nearly in tears on the way to Target on Sunday because she had forgotten to pull the money from her piggy monkey bank to pay for them herself. She does not want for much, but somehow she's beginning to develop an understanding of how others experience it.
That she received an art award first in her formal schooling says it all: art lights her way. She draws all the time at home, and her folder comes home from school with all sorts of interesting little drawings in it, too. She's currently in a phase of scientific realism in her drawing:
Yep. It's what you think it is. I didn't scan the dinosaur eating carrion one, which is exactly what she said when she finished it—look Mama, I drew a dinosaur eating carrion! (uhm, who taught my sweet little baby Gracie the word carrion, anyway?) We can't wait to see what she comes up with anytime she puts pencils to paper.
She loves owls, dinosaurs, and pigs. She requested mostly owl things for her birthday, plus something to do with dinosaurs, which made birthday shopping very easy. Though she was scared to death of the preview for The Owls of Ga'Hoole in the theater, she was super-excited to open the books (which Maddie and Bridget got her).
Her reading is coming along slowly but surely; her writing, on the other hand, is exploding. She couldn't wait to sit down with the new blank journal that Aunt Katherine, Uncle Ben, and Juliette got her for her birthday. The first thing she wrote? I love my birthday on December 14.
9. She spent a little time with Maddie while the rest of the house had quiet time this weekend and they organized her room into separate exhibits just like a museum:
(that's Clementine with clementines)
There were also wombat, ladybug, flower, and Christmas decoration exhibits. She is always up to something in that room of hers.
We're pretty sure if she was Chinese, there's a good chance she'd have been shipped off to gymnastics boarding school by now. Thankfully, she's all ours instead (and a soon-to-be-member of the Banana Split Club at the gym!).
Happy Birthday, Gracie-Grace.