Emily Claire (aka eclaire, emma-swimma, swimmy, swimila, swimmy-do): nine years old

My #1, first born child, my daughter, Emily Claire, turned nine years old today.

When I was formulating my thoughts for this post, there was one photo in particular that came to mind that perfectly sums up my daughter and it's this one:

She's dripping wet (she LOVES the water but she was wet this day from several hours spent at the water exhibits at The Thinkery Children's Museum in Austin, TX), wearing shorts and tennis shoes (her favorite outfit since she's always hot - like me!), standing proudly with a huge smile on her face (she's always smiling!) next to another exhibit where she used her very inventive mind (she loves to create things from nothing) to create a bird (her favorite animal!) out of lights. 

That's my girl!

Emily is in fourth grade this year and her favorite things are math, music class (they are learning to read sheet music and play the recorder this year!), garden, art, and of course, recess so she can be with her friends. She's also a Junior this year in Girl Scouts (her fourth year in the program) and is looking forward to earning a badge for cooking, selling cookies, Exploree, and summer camp. Emily loves after school enrichment classes including theater and Mad Science but truly enjoys wide open afternoons to have play dates with her friends.

Emily is 4ft 4in tall and 58lbs. She wears a size 8 (Gymboree, Gap) or 9-10 (Mini Boden) or 130 (age 7-10yrs at Hanna Andersson) in clothes and a size 2 in shoes. She loves anything leopard print, shirts that are sleeveless, and "never wearing a coat" (that is a direct quote!). Lucky for me, she doesn't care much about clothes and still allows me to purchase them and pick them out each night for her. She has really loved having bangs and a short bob haircut though just in the last couple of months she has decided she wants to grown it all out long again. She has had her retainers for one year now and probably has another 6-8 months to go to finish the first phase of extending her upper palate, drawing back her overbite, and fixing her lower cross bite. She's always been extremely responsible with both her retainers and her glasses - never misplacing them or damaging them. We are super impressed by how much we can trust her to care for her things!

Her favorite color is blue; so much so that we redid her whole room in teal this year! She only wants blue plates, blue clothes, and she always chooses the blue pieces in board games. :) Who doesn't love a girl who knows what she wants???

Emily is still obsessed with Minecraft! She loves to play the card game, play with her Minifigures, and play the video game on XBOX and the iPad. It's something she shares with many of her friends. She also loves Magnatiles (her and her friends will build zoos and shelters for their toys), stuffed animals of all kinds, dressing up, and doing art projects (everything from drawing, sewing, making books, and painting, to origami!). She loves creating her own costumes and couldn't care less about what other people think about how she looks, which I adore!

She has really expanded her food repertoire this year, eager to try new foods and never complaining about being served a healthy, balanced meal. Although, her favorite food right now is meat. Sausages, beef, bacon, salami, ham. She has made herself sick from eating so much breakfast sausage a time or two this year! She also loves sweets and would (and has!) eat until she's physically ill if we let her. She also really enjoys helping in the kitchen and is very curious about what I'm making every night for dinner. She loves to scoop, measure, crack eggs, and be my taste-tester.

I think if Emily could, she would choose to stay home all day, rather than go to school because she's a kid who really needs her freedom. She wants to build and create and be lead to do things out of her own curiosity. Oh, and swimming. It's her absolute favorite thing in the world! She really looks forward to our summers in Texas because that's all we do, all day every day.

Emily wants a dog so bad this year, it's literally all she talks about. She has the breed all picked out (A husky or German shepherd) and a list of names. Since we aren't even considering a dog right now, she has to make do with her friend's pets, our cat, and bird watching from the play room window. She would love a bird, too, they are probably her favorite animal!

Emily is so great with her little brother, always helping him, asking him to play, allowing him to choose things (like which video to watch on a trip), trying to cheer him up, and, of course, bossing him around. It's just a sibling thing, I guess! He does get on her nerves quite a bit - he hits her, doesn't share his cars with her, and often cries when she gets things he doesn't - but she is patient and just puts up with it the best she can. It helps a great deal that she has her own room and can escape to it when she needs to. She truly enjoys having another person around, ready to play. She often asks if we can "be a family of ten". Oh, Lord. haha That's not happening! She will have to settle on having a huge circle of friends instead.

Emily loves to travel and is constantly asking when we can go places. She wants to go to Hawaii, Disneyland, Legoland, Lake Tahoe, and Texas (to see Gram!) this year. She also loves going out to restaurants, museums, zoos, aquariums, and parks, especially with us all on weekends. We almost always let her pick where to eat on Saturdays and she most often chooses Chili's or Spin pizza.

Emily is silly, spunky, creative, easily entertained, happy, pleasing, and rarely any trouble. She will ask to in the backyard nearly every afternoon, just to play alone. She will talk and laugh to herself, making up games I guess. She's just happy to BE! Except when she's tired, hungry, or had a mentally challenging day at school... then, she's a bear! Aren't all girls this age? Sassy, glaring eyes, perhaps even an eye roll when displeased. {sigh} I guess we should brace ourselves for pre-teen hood as it seems to be fast approaching!

We are always so impressed with Emily's many talents, particularly drawing, comic book style. She does it in the car and before bed. Each little book so unique. Yes, I have saved them! She loves making up stories about animals.

She continues to surprise us daily with her loving, gentle nature, eager to please everyone around here. Seeing her eyes light up over not-so-special every day things is what I love most about her. Oh, and when she runs to me and hugs me for no reason at all.


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