This really has been the best summer.  I think because Julianna is bigger and more verbal, it was the first one where I really had three fully participating, engaged kids.  We didn’t DO much.  My van is not happy, it’s still running but not fabulously, and we were really on a tight budget, and Marc is working a zillion hours a week with no time off.  But despite that, it was lovely.  And here are the reasons why –

Jessica Mary – at nine years old, she’s as fascinating to me as she was at nine days old.  She’s old enough now to have more control over her emotions, more control over the drama.  She still throws down with her brother, but more and more, I’m seeing a genuine appreciation of him.  She’s so mature with her little sister as well, and has stepped up into this delightful big sister role that I’m so grateful about.  She still curls up with a baby doll, but has Rolling Stone posters on her wall.  She’s into lip gloss and nail polish – but still heads straight to my lap every morning.  This may be my favorite age so far of hers, because she’s this beautiful combination of grown up and little girl.   Having her home this summer has been an absolute gift, and I’m going to miss her more than I can express.

Samuel Earl – at six years old, he’s so grown up that it takes my breath away.  He’s READING.   Really, honest to goodness reading.  And the tears are welling up in my eyes because I’m unspeakably proud of him.  He’s sleeping on the top bunk, picking out his clothes and getting himself dressed every morning.   He’s matured so much in the past three months.  He still snuggles with me to sleep at night, and makes a beeline for my lap every morning, but sleeps alone in his bed every night now.  He’s still shy at times, and while swimming lessons and soccer camp were a bust, this summer, I know that he’ll be able to handle kindgarten a lot better this year.  He had his birthday party the other day, with six little boys over here, and he was so HAPPY.  I’ve never seen him have that much fun in a party setting – but he’s grown up so much.  He’s not afraid of people and chaos anymore.  Having him home this summer has been just fun – he’s a fun kid to have around.  He worships Jessie, and now that she’s relaxing a little bit around him, he’s just lighting up with her.  The two of them will play for hours with blocks and barbies and army guys.  And Julianna – she flat out adores her “Boy.”  I loved having him home with me all summer long, and have to hide how much I’ll miss him during the days once he’s back in school.

And my Julianna Ruth – she’s just freaking awesome.  She’s two and a half, almost, and such a huge part of the family, I can’t imagine how we managed so long without her.  She’s always happy, never cries and even if she does, she’s instantly consoled by picking her up.  She’s pouty and dramatic, and SMART.  I’m maybe going overboard with academic prep with her, but she’s counting up to 12, knows all her colors and shapes, and has a vocabulary that’s outstanding.  She’s still nursing, but less and less, and will move into a big girl bed later on this month.  She’s had the best summer, I think, because she’s had all the attention from her two older siblings, and her heart is going to break when they go back to school without her.  But she’ll get all that lovely one on one time, and as much as I’m going to miss my older two during the day, I’m really looking forward to this time with her.  I had both Jessie and Sam alone when they were this age (because Jess was in school by the time Sam was two).  Some of my favorite memories are of my two year old kids.

I’m not ever going to have a summer with a nine year old, six year old, and two year old again.  And I can’t imagine how this summer could have been any better.

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