Monday, May 14, 2012

Jeremiah Daniel Gerdes is 4 years old today! It seems like just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms for the very first time, admiring his thick, dark hair and precious little face! Time passes SO quickly! As I'm reflecting on the past year, I am realizing how much Jeremiah has grown and matured in so much areas of his life. It used to be that he had absolutely no interest at all in sitting down and doing any kind of learning activities with me. But ever since he started preschool at Greenbrier Baptist Weekday Preschool this past Fall, he has grown and flourished in all areas of his learning! I am SO proud of him! He now has an excitement for identifying letters and their sounds! At a parent teacher conference earlier this school year, Jeremiah's teacher told me that he is exactly where he should be in all of the areas they cover in preschool. She did mention that he could use some practice tracing letters. So about half-way through the school year, we started doing a "learning time" every afternoon, as soon as we finished lunch/put Josiah down for his nap. During this learning time, Jeremiah traces letters, does sorting activities, plays memory games which help him reinforce his colors and shapes, etc. We have so much fun together, just the two of us! I came up with a little "jingle" to help him learn how to spell his name. To the tune of "All Around the Mulberry Bush," we sing "J-E-R-E-M-I-A-H, my name is Jeremiah." So a few months ago, he started to "sing spell" his name!!!!! I am SO proud of him for being able to do that already! We are now working on writing his name and he is doing a pretty good job with that. We are so thankful for Jeremiah's teacher, Mrs. Atkinson, and all that she has done to foster a love for learning in Jeremiah's heart this year. It's been a blessing to also see him grow spiritually as he learns new Bible verses and stories every week. We have filled up an entire stairwell with Jeremiah's preschool crafts this year. What an amazing first-time preschool experience this has been! Even though we've loved Greenbrier Baptist Weekday Preschool, Jeremiah will be attending a different preschool next year. I just recently enrolled him in the K4 Full-Day program at Atlantic Shores Christian School, where I will be teaching 4th grade in the Fall! We are SO excited! We know this will be a big change and transition for our family, but we also know that God will be there to smooth the way for us. Josiah will be in the staff day care at ASCS, so it will be nice that we can all be in the same building together. On top of every subject being Bible-based, ASCS also offers a wide variety of specials, which Jeremiah will be able to enjoy - Art, Music, PE, Chapel, Outdoor Classroom, Science Lab, Computer, and Spanish! WOW! I am SO excited for Jeremiah, and eventually Josiah, to experience all of these things! I'm even more excited that they will be going to school in a Christian environment. Because it is a private school, the tuition is of course expensive. But because I previously worked there 3 years, I get a rather nice discount, and then after a total of 7 years (so, 4 years from now), my boys will be able to attend for FREE - all the way through 12th grade! What an amazing investment - both educationally and spiritually! God is SO good! Jeremiah and Josiah recently started sharing a room and sleeping in a bunk bed together! They have totally rocked the transition and are sleeping really well, as they both like to snuggle on the bottom bunk together. So sweet! We set up a web cam in their room so that we can hear/see what they are doing at all times. It's so adorable to listen to them giggling together as they fall asleep! Surprisingly, after only about 5 minutes of giggling/playing in their bed, they are fast asleep! SO blessed! Today, on Jeremiah's big day - his 4th birthday - we are starting something brand new - Jeremiah's very first behavior chart. He is SO excited about it! There are 10 positive statements/goals, which he will be trying to accomplish each day: I wake up in my own bed. I get ready for my day with a happy heart. I show love to my brother. I show love to my friends. I listen to adults and follow their directions. I use my manors. I clean up my toys. I try new foods. I honor God through prayer and Bible verses. I get ready for bed with a happy heart. If he has a day where he gets a sticker in every category, he'll get to choose a prize from the prize box. When he gets a total of 50 stickers, he'll earn a date with Mommy or Daddy. At this age, it's tempting to use a lot of negative words, such as "don't, no, stop," etc. We'd really like to try to focus on positive affirmations as much as possible, so we are hoping that by using this chart, Jeremiah will be motivated to work towards positive behaviors. We are excited to see what God has in store for us through this new adventure! Jeremiah Daniel~We are SO very thankful that God brought you into our lives four years ago! You are so precious to us and we love you SOOOOOOOOOOO much! Happy 4th Birthday, buddy!

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