|4 Year Old Ella|
For her party over the weekend, we treated our friends and family to our favorite summer pasttime: front yard swimming. (Truly, we'd love for it to be backyard swimming, but our backyard is more suitable as a parking lot, unless you prefer swimming in mud. I don't - especially when the floors are clean. One day - one day - there will be grass back there. I just know it.) She could barely contain her excitement from the time she woke up (at 7:30) until party time. She'd been planning her party for a month and a half and she was ready for everyone to be there at 8.
Four year old Ella finally sleeps through the night consistently (meaning all the time unless she's sick). This started about six months ago and she's been doing it long enough now that I've stopped expecting her to wake up during the night. It's fabulous. In addition to sleeping through the night, she often falls asleep in her own bed by herself while I'm getting Luke to sleep for the night. That just started happening in the last two months. Sometimes she's still awake and I cuddle her, but lots of times she's already asleep when I peek in there.
She has a few chores to do around the house and she gets very upset if she misses the opportunity to do them (because sometimes I forget that they are her chores now and do them first). She is in charge of feeding Georgia and Gypsy, keeping her shoes put away in her shoe rack, and clearing her plate from the table. Sometimes she gives Luke his medicine when he refuses to take it from me. If she finds me folding laundry, she asks to fold the wash rags and socks. She helps me cook and I've taught her how to use a knife (yes, a real one) to cut vegetables. We recently made homemade pizza, and she did 90% of the work, under my direction.
She is still doing gymnastics once a week and she's already talking about playing soccer again in the fall. Just as the spring season was ending, she was really gaining her confidence during the games, so I'm glad she wants to give that another try.
She loves playdates and recently went on her first one without me or Grandmother going along. Her friend from Florida was in town to visit her grandmother and they went to the local petting farm and out to lunch. While I nearly had a coronary about her going without us, she jumped at the chance to play with another little girl without her brother around.
She still loves to teach school and gymnastics and take care of babies but now she also likes to play Barbies and doctor her dolls and stuffed animals. Sometimes she works on their teeth, too. She tells us she wants be a cheerleading dentist when she grows up.
She is infinitely curious about everything from human anatomy to the reason septic tanks are smelly. I'm constantly amazed with what she observes and the questions she asks. She still loves to be read to and now she likes to spell the words that she sees (on flashcards, signs, anywhere, really). She's starting to learn basic addition, though she doesn't know that yet. She loves Sunday school and learning about God and she regularly prays or asks me to pray for our family and/or a whole list of others that she's thinking about.
She has a sweet, sweet heart and she is starting to understand that she has responsibilities as a member of our family. I am amazed at how fast she's changing and I love to watch her grow.
Edited to include a better picture.