FOUR!

Sofia is Four!  She is awesome you guys.  She is not like any other person I have ever met.  She is almost definitely going to conquer whatever kind of life goals she sets for herself.  She is a force – a hilarious, defiant, often irrational force.  We love her so much.  Sofia has that thing about her that makes you want to get closer and laugh and possibly give her a big bear hug.

Sofia’s verbal skills are amazingly good, she’s got a tremendous vocabulary, understands the beginning and ending sounds of words and rhymes like a champ – all great pre-reading skills.  On the other hand, she absolutely refuses to learn her letters.  On that topic she will not budge.  I know she’ll get there, but not before she makes the choice herself.  No one will force her into anything!

Sofia is so strong, but in a totally different way than Aiman.  Aiman works really hard.  When he decided he wanted to learn how to climb a rope he got some instruction from Riaz and then took those skills and used technique and finesse to get to the top.  If Sofia decides she wants to climb a rope she grabs the rope and climbs to the top of it.  No lessons, no technique, just brute force.  She really is amazingly unstoppable.  Earlier this year she went back and forth on the monkey bars at the park so many times one day she actually blistered her hands and then busted the blisters open before she finally stopped.  She just loves the physicality of it all.  Her work ethic is not like Aiman’s, but her natural talent is something to behold.

Sofia is the instigator of most of the mischief in our house and if something is covered in stickers or has been drawn all over or is broken, you can be assured that Sofia was likely behind it.  She is an adorable bull in a china shop and even though she knows right from wrong, she can’t help but cause trouble.

Sofia adores her siblings.  Mika started off a little frightened of Sofia’s aggressive form of love and unfortunately gave Sofia quite a few “get the heck off of me” bites early on, Mika only broke the skin once so – yeah me!  Parent of the Year!  As Mika has gotten a little older she and Sofia have figured out how to be friends without physically abusing each other and their relationship is really starting to get cute.  Aiman and Sofia are total partners in crime.  They fight and name call and annoy the heck out of each other, but underneath all that I know that they really love each other.  I can’t even explain the way it makes me feel when I see them all sitting together in the living room conspiring in the way kids do.

Last year I said that Sofia is the spark in our family and I honestly don’t know how to describe her better than that.  She is absolutely the most amazing four year old I know and we love her more every single day.

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A Six Year Old.

Aiman is six!  What can I even say about the little man?  He is just the best.

Aiman has the most awesome disposition.  He’s a sweet and sensitive little guy.  He tries to make sure everyone is happy and is quick to say sorry when he’s done something he shouldn’t.  He’s shy but makes friends easily and doesn’t participate in any of the childhood teasing I sometimes see at his school.  He’s a good kid, through and through.

This year marked the start of real school.  Kindergarten!  Aiman loves his teacher, is diligent about his homework, excels at math and learned to read this year.  It was so amazing to start the year with him knowing all of his sounds but not being able to put them together to him being able to read whole books.  Part of his homework is to write in a journal every day.  Every other page is about how much he likes “baskitball”, but it is so cute to see him sit down every night after dinner and sound out sentences.  His handwriting is really good (way better than his dad’s) and he’s starting to get the hang of some of the weirder words in the English language.  I am so proud of him.

Aiman absolutely adores Mika and there isn’t anyone in the house that can get Mika to laugh like Aiman can.  It’s like she has a special full-belly laugh that she reserves only for him.  Aiman and Sofia’s relationship is a bit more complicated.  On the surface, they are locked in a constant battle of wills, but when no one is looking, I can hear them in their room talking and planning and making forts.  I know that Aiman will always look out for his sisters and it makes me so happy to see how protective he is of them.

Aiman is not a fan of watching sports, but he will play just about anything that is put in front of him.  This year he continued with soccer, started skateboarding, took gymnastics classes and recently started basketball.  He loves anything that involves running fast.  Aiman’s sporting style is awesome.  He is all grit and determination.  He never smiles or fools around during practice, his eyes are on the ball and he is 100% focused on the task at hand.  Someday he is going to make a coach very happy with his work ethic.

This year I thought about not doing a video, I was thinking he might be getting a little too old for it.  But then I looked through this year’s pictures and decided that he needed at least one more homage to his awesomeness.  Every mother says this but I could not imagine my life without him in it.  He is the most loving, funny, smart and adorably handsome person I know and I am so lucky to be his mom.

Happy birthday Aiman.  You are awesome.  We love you!

 

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Mika is One!

Mika Jane is ONE! I realize that I have hardly posted about little Mika on this blog here, but rest assured she is well loved by the entire Fredericks family unit.

Mika is sweet, loving, cuddly, happy and just plain awesome. When I come home from work she crawls over to the door, lifts herself up on her little knees, raises her arms and waits (not so patiently) for me to give her a snuggle. Once up where she wants to be, she rests her head on my shoulder in what can only be described as a full-body hug. It melts my heart every single time. She is pure love.

Mika still sleeps in bed with us for some portion of the night and she always finds a way to cuddle up as close as possible to her dad. I wake up some mornings to find her snug up against him with her little hand resting on his arm. She loves her daddy so much.

Mika really likes to be held. She is fairly content on her own for long stretches, but when she wants to be picked up, she wants to be picked up like right NOW. She has got a set of lungs on her, but thankfully she is so happy most of the time she only feels the need to let loose every now and then.

She started taking her first tentative steps a few weeks ago.  It is so cute watching her drunk little walk.  She is so proud of her new trick, after taking a few steps, she gets a big toothy grin on her face and makes a little laughing sound. It is the cutest.

Mika is our petite little flower. She is quite tall like her brother and sister but skinny as anything. I am convinced she has a lightning fast metabolism because she eats so much more than Aiman or Sofia ever did. Her nickname around the house is The Little Goat. She will eat anything: curry, rice, any kind of fruit, any kind of vegetable, popcorn, chips, Goldfish, garbage, plastic bags, clothes, shoes — you name it, she will try to eat it.

Mika is super playful. She loves peek-a-boo and paddy cake. She is fairly content to play with all the toys in Aiman and Sofia’s room so long as her siblings are not trying to love her to death (which they try to do often – Mika gets more hugs and kisses than any one year old ever in the history of the world). She loves stacking cups, playing with Mega-Blocks, pulling all the pots and pans out of the kitchen cabinets, and trying to dump out the trash (that’s my favorite game as well!)

Mika comes out firmly on the anti-stranger side of the fence. Mika DOES NOT like strangers talking to her, picking her up, looking in her direction or acknowledging her existence in any way. Once she is used to someone she warms up quite a bit and is her usual loving self, but it takes a bit of time. This is mainly a warning for all the strangers out there – don’t worry, she will grow to like you eventually!

I love how different Aiman, Sofia and Mika are. Aiman is the strong sensitive type, Sofia is out-going and exuberant and Mika is sweet and a little reserved, but really fantastically happy. At least once a day either Riaz or I will mention how totally lucky we are to have 3 such amazingly unique and wonderful children. We are really blessed that sweet Mika came into our lives to round out our family of 5. She couldn’t be more perfect and we love her more than we ever thought possible.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl. We love you!

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Sofia is Three!

Last year I wrote that Sofia is the Boss of our family.  Things have not changed.  If anything she is even more the Boss than she already was, and she was totally THE BOSS before.  Her personality is just so big.  And hilarious.  And awesome.  And … kind of … aggressive!  She is amazing.  Riaz and I always joke that Sofia’s personality matches her hair — a giant not-to-be-contained blonde afro.   She is just completely out-of-control in the best possible way.  We love her so much.

It is so hard to find words to describe Sofia.  She is one-of-a-kind.  She is very smart.  Her vocabulary shocks her dad and me on an almost daily basis.  She is slowly but surely learning her letters, loves to be read to, will play at the park for hours on end, swims like a doggy-paddling fish, is a champ on the scooter, is mastering the “big girl” bike and is generally just a whirling dervish of activity, until about 7:30 at night when she completely passes out.  Even the way she sleeps – with her body taking up as much bed real estate as humanly possible – is no-holds-barred.

Sofia is also a most excellent cuddler, she loves to give big hugs and kisses and would be the happiest girl in the world if I would let her carry her sister around by the neck.  She would give anything to be in charge of Mika and thinks it is the greatest affront that I try to keep a little distance between the baby and Sofia’s aggressive form of love.

Sofia’s best friend in the whole world is her big brother.  Whenever Aiman agrees to play with her, she jumps up from whatever she is doing with a peppy “OK Aiman” and runs off to play whatever game he has concocted.  They are getting SO.MUCH.BETTER. at playing with each other without it ending in tears and I absolutely love seeing the close bond they have.  Having three kids so close together is definitely hard work, but seeing the relationships grow that will hopefully endure throughout their lives makes it worth it.  They are really lucky to have each other.

I don’t know what else I can say you guys.  Sofia is the spark in our family.  She keeps everything light and happy and hilarious.  She is the best middle child anyone could ask for and we are thankful every day that we get to call her ours.

Happy Birthday Sofia!  We love you!

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Aiman is Five!

What a year this has been. Aiman started school, became a brother for the second time, travelled to the other side of the world, learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, started soccer and generally became an even more awesome kid than he already was (and he was pretty awesome to begin with).

Making Aiman’s video for this post has been unnervingly emotional. He has changed so much this year! I think because it was such a whirlwind year with babies, and traveling and generally trying to keep our heads above water, I almost didn’t realize just how grown-up he has gotten. Sorting through pictures in chronological order really brought home what this year has meant for Aiman and our family. Aiman went from a shaggy-haired little moppet to a full-fledged kid – an independent, elementary school-going, soccer playing, almost reading, lego building kid. It has been a big year!

With all of the growing up Aiman did this year, he is still just the sweetest, most sensitive, caring little guy I have ever met. Aiman is pretty shy and is slow to warm up to new people, but once you are in … you are in for life. He LOVES his friends and his teachers and most especially his new baby sister who he would carry around the house all day if we let him. The thing I love the most about Aiman (and there are a lot of things I love) is his ability to genuinely empathize with people. He seems to know when Riaz or I are down and he makes an extra effort to give us a hug or tell us how much he loves us. Riaz told me that just a few days ago, Aiman told him what a good dad he was. I just think that is so incredibly sweet. Maybe every single five year old on the planet gives lots of hugs and tells his/her parents how awesome they are, but I choose to think that Aiman just has a real special little soul (if I can get so New Agey on you!)

Now that I have waxed poetic about Aiman’s sweet nature, I have to spend a little time on the superficial. Woo doggy, my kid is CUTE! Like seriously cute. As in his Pre-K teacher told me the other day that in her 27 years of teaching she has never had such a good looking kid. I know this is super braggy and not at all modest like I should be, and I’m sorry, but he is just so handsome!

He is also very sporty.   Aiman has soccer every Saturday and he loves it. He also is a big fan of challenging Sofia to living room running races, he pretty much always wins, but sometimes he lets her catch up so they can tie. It is incredibly adorable. He will be embarrassed by this in 10 years, but he also loves to dance. It is the cutest most aggressive b-boy style dancing I have ever seen, and I have no idea where he picked it up, but man the kid definitely has the music in him. He runs, jumps, swims, tumbles, monkey climbs and just goes crazy with the best of them and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.

Whenever I write these birthday posts I always struggle with how inadequate they are to convey the sheer awesomeness of the little guy. We are really so completely lucky to him in our lives.

Happy Birthday Aiman! We love you!

For a trip down memory lane …

Aiman at 4 Months

Aiman at 6 Months

Aiman at 1 Year

Aiman at 2 Years

Aiman at 3 Years

Aiman at 4 Years

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Paleo Diet (Kind of)

Before we left for Australia Riaz and I were eating a kind of modified paleo diet. We were definitely not strict about it and we probably were doing all kinds of things “wrong,” but we both felt pretty awesome. Our diet mainly consisted of cutting out processed sugar, gluten, rice, potatoes, beans and dairy (wow – sounds restrictive when I write it out, but I swear it was not bad at all). A regular meal would be chicken or fish, a green salad, some other kind of veggies and then more veggies and maybe a sweet potato. So our diet was basically chicken, vegetables and fruit. I know it sounds boring, but I was making 3 or 4 different vegetable dishes each night and it really kept things from getting dull. Plus … I’ll say it again … we felt GREAT.

In Australia we fell off our diet … hard. We are now attempting to get back on to our pre-Australia diet. It’s been pretty difficult. I don’t want to go all crunchy on you folks, but I seriously think you can be addicted to sugar and gluten. I remember it being hard to cut them out before, but once I’d made it through the first week I felt fine, it was easier then because I was on maternity leave and could completely control what I had access too since I basically wasn’t leaving the house! I’m trying to kick the habit again, but it’s harder with the Coffee Bean across the street. Those damn carbs call to me.

We have recently put ourselves on a fairly strict financial budget (in other words, no more mid-day lattes!), which is helping me control my Coffee Bean carb urges, but I still sometimes dream about butter croissants.

This time around we are still keeping most sugar, gluten and dairy off the menu, but we are eating lentils (because they are cheap and easy to prepare in bulk), brown rice and the occasional potato. Since being put on the budget to end all budgets I have kept pretty well to the diet (so for about 2 weeks) and I really do feel better for it. Riaz is also a big fan and especially loves when I cook big pots of food on the weekend that he can re-heat all week.

I am mainly putting this out to the world to give me some accountability. I don’t want to fall off the gluten-free wagon again! Here’s hoping I can stick to it even after winning the lottery and transitioning to the life of leisure I know I am destined for!

Posted in She Cooks, Us | 3 Comments

Over-Committed

Woo … I’ve got a lot of knitting to catch you up on.  I have started a million projects and finished two of them.  I need help.  Also, I’ve recently decided I need to take up quilting even though I don’t have: 1) a sewing machine; 2) the space; and 3) any sewing skills whatsoever.  Not that I’m going to let that stop me.  Stay tuned for further unnecessary crafting.

First up is the shawl/wrap I have been working on for my mother-in-law.  I REALLY wanted to finish this before we went to Australia.  And then I REALLY wanted to finish it before her birthday in January.  And then I just wanted to finish it before we came home.  Care to wager whether I actually did?

Chevrons!

Chevrons!

 

I presented the half-finished project to my mother-in-law as her “gift,” but it was rather anti-climactic.  I feel bad I didn’t finish it but, in my defense, Australia was not a big relaxing vacation.  We had plans with family/friends ALL THE TIME.  Plus, you know, we had three kids to take care of.   It was really hard to get anything done.

I'm a sucker for babies on knits

I’m a sucker for babies on knits

Ah well, I truly love this pattern and this yarn.  I think it is the first time I’ve done a good job picking the right yarn to go with the pattern I was knitting.  I’ve knit a little over 30 inches of the 60 inch wrap.  It takes me about an hour and a half to get through 1 repetition and 1 repetition equals maybe 1 -1 ½ inches so I’m looking at another 45 hours or so to get this done (geez that seems like a lot when I write it out!)

I also just finished a simple but cute baby blanket for my good friend at work who is expecting Baby No. 3 at the end of April.  The pattern I chose is very basic, but I needed it after the serious brain power required of the lacy wrap.  I tried to spice things up a bit with some striping cuteness and I really like how it turned out.  I presented the blanket to my co-worker yesterday and she seemed happy, so it was a win.

Stripes

Stripes

I’m also making this sweater for Aiman.  I ran out of the yarn I needed for the blanket and while it was on order, I started up something for the little guy.  He has been begging me for a hand knit for some time, so this seemed like a good opportunity to cast on.  When I told him the sweater was for him, he clapped his hands together, squealed and said “Yea!”  and then my heart grew three sizes and it was Roast Beast for everyone!  Gah I love that kid.

I also knit up a quick little hat for my hair dresser who had a baby around the same time Mika was born.  I love her.  We actually went to high school together and she is a sweetheart, and the babies of sweethearts get hats.  I was racing to get this thing done before my hair cut a few weeks back and forgot to take a picture, but take my word when I say it was cute and quick and easy (my three favorite things!)  I should also mention that my new hair is also cute and quick and easy.  I am a short hair convert!

That’s it for this week.  Joining up with the Yarn Along.

Posted in She's Crafty | 2 Comments