Let's start out with our (not so) little one, Celeste. This year has been so amazing watching her grow. From a physical standpoint she was just learning to walk this time last year. Now she dances, throws a karate punch and kick, jumps (from the top of picnic tables...and "sticks" the land like a true gymnast), swims (still with help), and is trying to "tuck and roll." Our biggest surprise (SHOCK!) from a physical standpoint was when she purposely did a swan dive from a first-level step on to a patio. Yes, she threw her entire body on to the patio (similar to the photo below only on wood instead of sand) and then just stood up and kept on running. She is one tough little cookie and a "tom boy" through and through. I have NO IDEA who she gets that from!
Intellectually Celeste is growing as well. She loves to read books and sing. One day I heard her going down the steps saying "sebin, eight, nine" so I started counting with "one" and realized she could already count to five (sometimes with and sometimes without the number 4). Her biggest intellectual accomplishment is something near and dear to my heart...singing and dancing. She follows her big brother's footsteps in enjoying "High School Musical II" and loves to listen to the song "Fabulous." One day I realized not only was she singing the song but she was also doing the choreography as well! The funniest part of this story came in mid-October when we were shopping in Gymboree and I heard her start singing part of the song... "I need, I need...I need, I need...I need FABULOUS!" If only the Gymboree marketing folks could have heard her.
Celeste turned two years old on November 2nd. She received several gifts of dress up clothes and shoes in hope that she will stop wearing my size 10 high heel shoes up and down the stairs and all over the house!
Joshua has had an interesting year. He has performed in one voice recital and three piano recitals this year. He sang "Little People" from Les Miserables and performed wonderfully at all his recitals. He looked so "cool" (today's version of "handsome") in his black suit and red tie! Unfortunately for Joshua his vocal coach is in her second season with the Bach Concert Series at the Kennedy Center and has stopped teaching lessons privately. This summer Joshua was part of a Christian performing arts camp with the Leavening Agency which ended with one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen from a non-professional group of this age. Joshua had a solo, a small acting part and a chance to play the kazoo for a few hundred people!
Joshua turned 8 on January 4th. For his birthday we threw a party with about 30 of his closest friends at his Enshin Karate dojo. After learning a little about the martial art and playing a few games Joshua got to cut the cake with a real Samurai sword! All the children at the party were given the opportunity to break some boards using the techniques they learned at the party. Of course, Joshua's mom & dad had some talents to show as well! :)
Physically, Joshua had quite a year. He has advanced two belt levels in Enshin Karate and will be testing for his yellow senior belt around the time of this publishing. This is over half way to black belt with only green and brown belts to advance to before he becomes a black belt. Joshua also ran the One-mile Kid's Shamrock run and finished with an amazing time of about an 8:30 mile. Pretty good for someone that didn't train! I only wish I could run that fast! :)
Intellectually, Joshua has improved in each of his subjects over the past year in home school. We don't have a "report card" like public/private schools but if we did he would have had all A's. He really gets to challenge himself with school work as a home schooler and is currently on a 6th grade level in math. We have had a few struggles in History but a History buff friend of ours gave us a great idea for learning and we hope that both Joshua...and his teacher...will learn a little more about History this year!
Christian is in his second year of college at Montgomery College - Germantown, Maryland campus. He is currently working toward a degree in Information Technology and hopes to receive his Associates degree in 2008. This semester he is taking a course in speech and we have really noticed an improvement in his communication skills.
We don't get to see Christian as much as we would like but when we do it is always a pleasure. Christian now has his driver's license and has taken on the challenge of driving by himself from his house to our house on several occasions.
He continues to live with his mother in Germantown, MD (still suburbian DC) and really enjoys all types of electronic gaming systems such as Playstation etc.