Today's the day! At long last, Zoë finally turned six years old! She's been looking forward to this day for a long time. It was a pretty good day for her but she's disappointed that (a) she has no wiggly teeth yet (she checked each and every one of them this morning), and (b) we won't be starting our new school year tomorrow (though if she really wants to get started I don't have a problem letting her break in a few of her workbooks; the other kids aren't ready to dive back in, however).
We had stake conference in the morning, which was lovely (we watched from home), then we had lunch, and then Zoë got to open her presents.
Zoë was so excited about opening presents that she just about forgot to read. When we made her pause before tearing into things to see who her gift was from she read out, "Unk and Antle Kallen!"
The card read: Auntie K and Uncle Allen."
They sent a set of unicorn books and some new "transgression" lipstick.
Naanii sent a lovely mermaid dress for Zoë (she was very excited about the tag, which had a cute little fox on it (I think)):
Here's a picture of Benjamin anxiously awaiting his birthday and thinking about all the presents he wants:
Miriam picked out a little LEGO Friends cube for Zoë, which she paid for with her hard-earned money (she's been teaching piano lessons for the last little while). Miriam has always loved giving gifts and she's been so excited about spending her own money to get gifts for her siblings. She is such a giving person (I am naturally quite...parsimonious...) so I had to help her set a realistic budget for how much she might want to spend on any given present (so that she can still save up for bigger items that she wants (like a trip to Europe one day)) otherwise she would have blown through everything she has saved in no time. But it's always sweet to watch Miriam take such care to make birthdays and holidays special.
Miriam also gave Zoë a mermaid necklace (that she got from Rachel and which Rachel original got from a school treasure box) and made a beautiful card for Zoë.
Rachel is also a working woman now. She's started a nannying position of sorts. But she's only been paid once and it was too late for her to even consider buying a present for Zoë, so she settled on making Zoë's birthday cake (which is a fine present because in my books acts of service absolutely qualify as gifts).
Both the storybook and the friends cube turn into little play sets that remind me quite a lot of Polly Pockets
(at least the more original-style ones), except that you build the play set yourself. She and Miriam had fun putting them together this afternoon (after Zoë had her piano lesson (with me (because she didn't want piano lessons from Miriam (we tried and it did not
We also got her some new leggings (because all of her leggings have holes in the knees) and this little LED drawing pad:
We've seen people using these at church for years but it's something that always felt a little luxurious, like...just not something we needed to spend money on. But my kids love doodling and we're always running out of paper, so I figured we would get a cheap one (it was all of $10) to try it out. It's pretty cool! You draw on it, a picture shows up, you delete what you drew, and start all over again.
They're kind of like (and just as expensive as) maganadoodles, but actually work a little better. And they're kind of like a whiteboard, but I don't have to stress out about my kids accidentally drawing on their clothes with markers (whiteboard marker stains never come out for me). And they're kind of like paper except that in the end there's no paper to deal with.
Seems like they'd be great for car trips and sacrament meeting and math class and general doodling.
So...we'll probably be getting a few more.
Speaking of doodling, here's a picture Alexander drew for Zoë. It's the two of them holding hands (and I just love how he spelled her name Zëo).
Alexander has been very interested in writing lately. He even insisted on writing his own birthday balloon for Zoë (though I added a bit to it because after he painstakingly wrote out "I LOVE YOU" he said more and I thought Zoë should know that bit as well).
His first balloon says "I LOVE YOU" and "I love to play with you!"
His second ballon says, "I love you but I mean it. I like sharing a room with you."
And his third balloon says, "I love your curly hair and your straight hair, too! You are a good big sister!" (She had curly hair the day we wrote these balloons).
Benjamin's balloons say, "I love you because you are nice and funny" and "Zoë, you are cute!"
Miriam's balloon says, "Zoë, I love how you can imagine anything and how creative you are! You are so cute and so helpful. I love your determination to get things done. Happy Birthday! Love, Miriam."
Rachel's balloon says, "I love how determined, smart, and curious you are. I love hearing you hum, sing, and play the piano. I can't believe you're (almost) 6 already!" (Of course, she is six now, so Rachel better start believing it!)
My balloon says, "I love when Zoë is a good helper and does her chores nicely—and then helps others with theirs! * Zoë is a determined learner. Whether it's reading, biking, swimming, or playing the piano, Zoë works hard! * Zoë is kind. She is good at thinking about how to include Alexander in her big-girl games. * Zoë is creative. She's always drawing or making something! * I love you! Love, Mom"
I also wrote her a poem because nobody did...and that was kind of our thing last year. First a limerick:
Zoë, my little hum-zinger,
Is a very talented singer.
She hums and she sings,
Makes piano keys ring.
Her music makes everyone linger.
(This child hums all the time. We are very fortunate she has a good ear and can carry a tune but...she literally hums all the time. She just always has a song stuck in her head that needs to find its way out, I guess.)
And now an acrostic:
Andrew's balloons say, "I love how Zoë says, 'Good morning!' every day!" and "I love Zoë because she is a great learner and always tries to do her best work."
And, finally, Grandpa's balloon says, "Zoë, I love to see your beautiful smile and your happy face."
There has often been a stool or chair pulled over by Zoë's birthday tree this past week, which I think is evidence that she's been over there reading the kind things everyone had to say to her. I hope she always remembers how much everyone loves her!
She got a video call from Grandpa just as we were sitting down to dinner (she requested spaghetti and meatballs—store-bought, not homemade, because homemade meatballs are "too big" and "too saucy" and she just likes the kind from the store) and just as we were finishing up dinner she got a group video call from all of my siblings and my parents. They sang to her and everything, which was fun! And she took them outside to show them our new banana trees (technically plants, not trees; a neighbour left them out by the curb yesterday with a sign saying, "FREE: plant in full sun," so we lugged them home and planted them in our newly sunnified hillside because...why not?).
It was a good birthday for her, I think...even if it was her second birthday in COVID isolation.
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