FAVORITE BOOK: The Book with No Pictures & Is There a Dog in This Book?
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Kiwi's" (PeeWee's) Playhouse
FAVORITE FOOD: Quesadillas
FAVORITE COLOR: Pink
FAVORITE MOVIE: Frozen Fever
FAVORITE SONG: Let it Go
BEST FRIEND: Adalae!
WHEN I GROW UP: I will have a lot of jobs. A doctor job, for people and animals. A cowgirl job. And a mommy job.
FAVORITE THING TO PLAY: Elsa and Anna
FAVORITE THING TO DO AT SCHOOL: Be the weather person
FAVORITE TOY: Pet animals (Beanie babies)
FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH MOMMY: Go places
FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH DADDY: Look at cat videos
NOW THAT I AM FOUR, I WANT TO: Reach high things on the shelf, go on the big slide at Chuck-E-Cheese.
Some more Anouk at four facts: she definitely prefers "Anouk" to "Anne;" has jumped on the horse-crazy train about eight years early; is fascinated by baby animals; spends her mornings creating "inventions" out of ribbon and paper clips; says to me at least a dozen times a day, "Can I keep you forever?"; knows six words in French and makes up dozens more; takes regular breaks to shake her sillies out; loves to sing the Amen song from chapel; loves her friends so, so much; is the worlds biggest extrovert, much to the surprise of her introverted mother; is generous to a fault (we have to stop her giving away everything she owns); made me and James promise to go with her when she goes away to college (we readily agreed but won't hold her to it). Basically, she is a ball of equal parts silliness and sweetness and we love her to pieces.
We're continuing our tradition this year of donating to March of Dimes on Anne's birthday. And we hope you will consider doing the same if you can! Just in the four years since A. was born the treatments and prognoses for prematurity have changed so much and it feels awesome to think that we have helped in some small, with our tiny bit of support, to make it that fewer babies and families have to worry about being born too soon. I can't think of a better way to celebrate our girl and to celebrate her life so far.
Lately Anouk has been really interested in family relationships, how we are connected to all of the people in our family. "What is a cousin?" she'll say, or else, "Tell me again how I'm related to Aunt Bonne/Aunt Judy/Uncle Mike?" And so we set off untangling the thread of our family in a way that an almost-four-year-old can understand.
We got My Family Tree and Me at just the right time because it does a lot of this explaining in a really simple way. I love the author's whimsical drawings of both sides of his family (one European, one Japanese) and showing how they came together in him. One side of the book shows the members of his father's family -- and then, when you start from the back and move toward the middle, the book shows the story of his mother's family. The middle is a family portrait, with every member clearly labeled.
Anouk loves this book so much that it makes me wish I had the drawing skills to put together one for our own German/Dutch/English/Irish/Lebanese clan! Although honestly, I'm not sure that the page would be big enough to fit so many people...
Note: I was sent a review copy of this book by the publisher. The opinions in this post are all mine.
The weather has been getting warmer, which means we can get back into hiking, one of our favorite family pastimes. Our old go-to hiking spot ahas long been First Landing State Park, but recently our new favorite place is Newport News Park, which features 30 miles of hiking and biking trails (among many other amenities).
Our favorite kid-friendly trail at the park is definitely the Twin Forts trail, a small .7-mile loop trail that takes you over mostly flat ground by the Lee Hall Reservoir. Not only does it start with a beautiful walk down the wood bridge that takes you over the reservoir, it then leads you past some pretty amazing Civil War fortifications left over from the Battle of Yorktown.
There are longer hikes for older kids -- and some that would be fun for parents, too -- click here for a complete map of trails.