This Crazy Kiddo

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Lydia turned six at the end of May. She had been counting down to her birthday for over three months. Several days each week she would update us on what she wanted to do for her birthday, who she wanted to have over, and what presents she wanted to receive. When the birthday weekend finally arrived, we had a lot of birthday and start-of-summer fun. We took her to a toy store to pick out a toy to buy with her birthday money, got ice cream and pizza, and spent much of her actual birthday at the playground. She constantly reminded us to sing and say “Happy Birthday” and begged me to make her a “birthday balloon” (a balloon with a smiley face drawn on it). She got pink roses from Dan and went on her second-ever Daddy-daughter-birthday date.

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Lydia has also been asking regularly if it’s warm enough to play in the sprinkler or go to a pool. Since the first day of spring, it’s been hard to keep socks or shoes on her feet, not to mention a coat. She loves playing “house” outside and is so proud that this year she’s big enough to climb into our tree house all by herself.

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Lydia loves to play pretend, dance, and snuggle. She is always dressing up as a bride or asking to “play princess” with Dan, which is not exactly his favorite game. 😉 She loves any hands-on activities and anything “special”. Bridal showers, weddings, holidays, birthdays, and get-togethers are sure to put her on her best behavior because she’s just so happy. When she learns it’s a significant day, for any reason, she’ll wonder why we aren’t celebrating more. For example, she asked why we weren’t having a fancy breakfast or a special dessert for groundhog’s day.

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Kindergarten was a breeze for Lydia. Thankfully (for me) she picks up on things really fast. Really, the best way to teach Lydia is to not teach her but let her watch others do the task. When she gets it in her head that she wants to try, she usually can succeed. This has worked well with laundry, cleaning up after meals, serving food, and even math lessons. I can get her to learn a lot more by doing a lesson half myself and letting her do the other half, than if I explain a concept to her and ask her to do the assignment alone.

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Gift-giving might be Lydia’s top love language. She loves to make “gifts” for people – homemade construction paper cards, simple cross-stitch pictures, cut out pieces of paper, and bouquets of flowers (dandelions or violets, usually) picked from our yard. She also loves receiving gifts. When she was struggling to do her reading lessons with a cheerful attitude, we discovered small prizes work wonders to get her motivated. And now that our library has started their summer reading program, Lydia has been reading at least a book a day to win her prizes, when it was always a struggle to do a page or two in her reading lesson book.

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She’s always been our most verbal child, so it’s no surprise that Lydia is almost always talking. If we had the patience and knowledge to answer all of her questions, she would be a genius. On ANY topic, Lydia can rattle off 5 questions without taking a break. Usually her trains of questions come to an halt whenever Mom or Dad have to ask for a break so we can focus on something or give attention to someone else. Lydia also has a very good memory. She has memorized over 100 Bible verses (with desserts as the most effective incentive). The other day we were listening to our daily news radio program during breakfast and one of their regular promo segments started playing. She recited the 30 second promo pretty well right on top of the program.

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This year is Lydia’s turn to accompany me to our church Ladies’ Retreat for a Mommy-Daugther date and she’s pretty thrilled. She’s been looking forward to her turn ever since I took Abby last year. Her memory is pretty incredible in that way too. For example, about nine months ago we took Lydia to a dentist appointment. They told her that she would earn a stuffed animal prize if she could stop sucking her thumb for 30 days. She stopped that very day. Last month I took her again and she got her prize. The next day I found her sucking her thumb after eight months without it! Dan and I had to explain that the point was to stop altogether, not just stop for eight months to earn her prize and then start again.

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Some of my most precious memories of Lydia lately have been our one-on-one times together. Sometimes Lydia will snuggle up next to me during nap time and play with my hair while she listens to an audio book. Occasionally Lydia helps me cook dinner, peeling carrots or stirring vegetables as they cook (that’s her favorite because she feels so grown up working at the stove). I try to remember to give her snuggles, hugs, and tickles whenever my hands are free because my hands are so often full, I’ll go days without a Lydia hug if I’m not intensional. (Don’t worry about her being deprived though, Dan picks up the slack. Lydia is quite gifted at sneaking into his lap whether he says it’s ok or not!)

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Taylor Christmas Letter 2015

Well, my friends, it is finally that time.  The time of year for your favorite blog post and mine.  The blog post written by yours truly, Mr. Christmas Moose.  (in case you are new to our family’s Christmas letter, you may read my short bio here).

It has been a sweet, happy, wonderful, and always eventful year in the Taylor home.  We started the year trying to lie low and take it easy, as Justine was pregnant with Baby #3 and everyone was urging him to stay put for a few more months.  Fur Rondy came and went and I was packed away in my hibernation box along with the stockings and ornaments.  I was so excited to meet the new little Taylor that I had a hard time falling asleep!  But fall asleep, I did, until just a few weeks ago when I woke up to meet the adorable Little Man.

Paul Moose…er…I mean…Kerry Taylor was born on March 16.  You can read all about that here.  He was quite the Little Man from birth and has stollen everybody’s hearts, but especially the Mommy’s as she still frequently cuddles him close singing her Little Man song.

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Paul, aka, Little Man, Big Guy, and the Rascal of the house, has already surpased his sisters in: number of days in Mommy’s belly, size at birth, age to crawl and sit up, and number of times helping Dad fix the boiler. Looks like he might have picked up on some of that Taylor competitive spirit.

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In April, the Taylor family said a sad goodbye to Dan’s Grampa Dexter as he passed away and is now in heaven with Jesus. Of course, they are thinking of and missing him extra this Christmas season.

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Spring was a whirlwind taking care of the new baby, but soon summer arrived and with it, Lydia (or Lidnacious, Lydster, or Munchkin Number One) turned four.

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She memorialized her fifth year as a human by swallowing a nail during one of the Taylor’s trips up North and spending the entire afternoon in the Emergency Room.  I don’t really blame her as she’s just a little tyke still and even Moose Calves have been known to eat strange things.
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It doesn’t take many weeks out of your hibernation box to realize that Lydia is a fireball. She loves glitter and dresses, dancing and wrestling (with Daddy), giggling and laughing and singing. She never stops talking until the moment she’s asleep, unless you cave in and read her a book. But even then she’ll interupt with fifteen million questions and comments. She’s quirky and energetic and loves to snuggle with a passion that cannot be satisfied. Ya gotta love the kid!

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OH! And I almost forgot, but the Biggest Kiddo is learning. She knows all the letters of the alphabet now (if you round up) and will soon be learning to read. Soon she’ll be writing her own blog posts at the rate she’s going! Here’s a sampling of her handiwork:

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This summer the Taylors took their first real family vacation up North. It’s beautiful up there…the water, the forests, the trees, the perfect Moose homes…but I’m digressing. They loved their vacation and proved to the world that Abby is indeed the second child by spoiling her with treats Lydia wasn’t allowed to touch until…well…this year.

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The family time was priceless. But, no, they didn’t take Christmas Moose. (I know you were all wondering) They didn’t even say goodbye. Sometimes I think they might forget I’m in there (in my box under the stairs, visitors are welcome). Ah well, maybe next year. Anyway, vacation:

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Dan and Justine celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary this year, and I must say, they must love each other more than ever because there have probably been more date nights this year than the previous four combined. Not that anyone is counting (I think Justine might be).

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Dan started a new job as a quality engineer this summer and the family has made quite the transition to switch to his early mornings. But they love having him home earlier in the afternoons too. There was plenty of baseball this year (not enough, according to the Men in the house), plenty of home repair (far too much, according to the Men in the house), and lots of time wrestling and running around outside. As for Justine, well, she’s always on the verge of being overwhelmed by her Munchkins and the Rascal, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Dan keeps her in check as far as her priorities (spend more time with the Moose), doing too much (but please, do dust the fireplace mantel where the Moose sits!), and getting plenty of fresh air (feel free to bring the Moose along).

As summer ended, Abby (Abigus, Abster, and Munchkin Number Two, sometimes also referred to as Goobmaster for her ability to maintain a runny nose for WEEKS on end) turned two.

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Abby is the epitome of sweetness and a child of extremes. She is either the happiest kid on earth, madder than you would believe, passed-out-exhausted, or sicker than a dog. But mostly she is just sweeter than sugar with plenty of hugs and kisses to share.

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Fall sure seemed short this year for the Taylors, just chugging along at their respective tasks. Before anyone knew what hit them, it was time for Gobbles (my friend, the ceramic Turkey) to go back in his box and me to come out of mine. Since that celebratory day, the lights have been strung and Christmas carols play daily. This year Justine even attempted Christmas cookies, failed her third attempt to healthify her favorite toffee bars, and roasted chestnuts in the oven.  Talk about festive.

We are in full swing of celebrating the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, on behalf of the Taylors, I would like to wish you a blessed Christmas.  May you know more of the love and grace of God in the year to come.

Sincerely,

C. Moose.

PS – If you want to stop by for a visit, I’ll be out until Fur Rondy. And if you’re in the area, you should check it out! I hear there’s a little Taylor Rascal who just may be making an appearance.

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