I admit that I was a little disappointed when I found out we were having another boy. This really had nothing to do with gender, and I could go on and on about why that is, but it's not really relevant. 

I just didn't want their to be a gender divide in our family. I kind of figured if we had a girl, that Max would be equally close with his big sister and little sister. 

But when you have two girls and them two boys there is this expectation that the girls will be close and the boys will be close. It has already started.  I get lots of comments like, "Another boy, huh? Now he will have someone to play with." 

Well, he already has someone to play with. Two someone's actually.  But, he and Charlotte do play better together than he and Ella right now. I imagine it's an age thing more than anything else. And just like the rest of life, I expect that will change. So we will just see how these sweet friendships grow and develop over the next twenty years. 


Birthday boy.

We had yummy birthday pie and celebrated with the Bean family. Max and 8 year old Preston played together all evening and were so cute.



So, Sprouts sells these lollipops at the register that are so delicious. And at $.16 each, I just can't pass it up. So much so, that when we arrive at Sprouts, Max yells, "lollipops!!"  Paul totally judges me for getting everyone a treat every single time I go to Sprouts. Oh well. 



Max is, of course, changing the fastest out of everyone right now. It all comes with being on the cusp of age two. He has lots of words and speaks in sentances, but usually needs me to translate. Although, I am very pleased at how much his articulation has improved in the last month. We are a little more aware of speech after having Ella in speech for so many years. (Two or three, I think.)

As of two weeks ago his preference was to sleep with a baby and a book. He is our best sleeper so far, by the way, in terms of independence and willingness :)
In the last week he has shifted to wanting a train or two to hold while he falls asleep. Tonight he was distressed because he could only find one train under his crib, so we walked around the house looking for his other train. Paul tried to give him a car. You should have seen the look of distain that was bestowed upon his father for offering such an inferior vehicle. We found the other train and as I write this he is laying happily with his two trains in the crib. Although I do think he might be asleep by now if all he had was a baby and a book. 

He likes to say family prayers, but still relies on us for the words. Occasionally he will say an independent prayer, but even I have no earthly idea what he is saying until he gets to "amen". 

Playtime generally consists of following his sisters around and doing (generally) whatever they say. He is often their puppy, or trained pet of some sort. Sometimes he plays the baby and Charlotte spends lots of time putting him to bed and waking him up again. Sometimes he just plays alone with trains or cars, or with his baby, or other little people. He does some kind of conversational play with little people or animals, but I have no idea what the people/animals are saying to each other. That is the perk of playing alone, no one else needs to know what's going on. 

Animals and animal noises are a favorite topic of conversation. And he is getting pretty good at names and noises. He also like to scare people and is actually pretty good at it. He sneaks up to a corner and waits quietly for a bit and then pops out and yells "Boo!"  Sometimes he just yells "boo" in your face, too. 

He is still 80% compliant when I ask for a kiss. But he has started refusing. It's always sad when that happens. I love it when they are young enough that a kiss always sounds like a great idea. Charlotte and Ella are to the point that they pretty much refuse to kiss me unless it is their idea.

He is shockingly obedient. He loves to play on my phone and will snag it whenever he gets the chance, but will usually turn it off the moment I ask him to. Not normal. But nice. I am certainly not complaining. 

Max wants to be carried around pretty much any time we are going somewhere that is not his idea. I am in the process of forcing him to walk on his own, because there will be another baby to carry before too long. This process has never been a favorite of mine and I am reminded of that frequently now that I'm doing it for the third time. But it is nice that both of his sisters are old enough to hold his hand safely and help him, and sometimes just the idea of holding their hand (instead of mine) and walking into the store is enough to quiet the protests. So that's a unique twist on the process. 



The first thing you notice about Ella is her lack of teeth. She is missing four across the top. It has given her a little lisp , which is (I think) completely darling. But it does not stop her from talking. 

She has reached a point where she loves to talk to anyone, especially strangers. She loves to tell people at the store how old she is and when her birthday is , and how she is on the swim team. Luckily she doesn't know her social security number or my maiden name, or we might be at major risk for identity theft.

Her best friend du jour is Eliza and they are on the swim team together. We are also in the same homeschool group, and most recently, now attend the same church. (Our ward boundaries were recently rearranged.) So they are in the same church class, too. 

The majority of the time she is obedient and eager to help. She is darling with Max and mothers him, which is fun to see. Their relationship is very different from Charlotte and Max's relationship. 

She recently saved up her money and bought an umbrella. Let me clarify, she saved up her money (for weeks) so she could buy her own umbrella. We lucked out that day because it rained like crazy as we were coming out of the store and when we got home, so they got to actually use the umbrella for its intended purpose. I have no idea what the appeal of an umbrella was, but I did help her find a good sale. She has gotten good at saving her money, and I think her next goal is to buy three minutes on one of those crazy trampolines hooked up to a bungee cord. It is seven dollars. 

I don't know if cheapness runs in the Christensen genes, or if it is passed on by children observing their family, but she is already showing signs of it. Here is a conversation that occurred today in the Wendy's parking lot:

(Context, I bought one frosty to share among the four of us.)
Charlotte: When I'm a mom, I am going to buy a Frosty for every kid I have. (In a snotty, angry tone.)
Ella: You mean you are just going to waste all your money buying Frosties for everyone when they don't even need their own. 

Not kidding. 

Ella loves to read and is reading at a second grade level. She often surprises me with the words she reads.  She has progressed a lot this summer, and it will be interesting to see how that plays in to school in the Fall. 



After about six months of giving Charlotte allowance, she is just starting to be interested in it. We probably started allowance too early with her, but we decided to give Ella an allowance, so it made sense to do the same with Charlotte. I imagine for Max we will just have a rule that allowance starts when you turn four. 

Until the last couple of week Charlotte mostly just gave her allowance to Ella. Not kidding. And then Ella would buy things for both of them. (Without prompting.) She's a good kid. So it worked well enough. But Charlotte recently bought this bear at an estate sale with her allowance, and took it home with her as proud as can be, buckling it safely in the car seat. 

Charlotte is also starting to show an interest in letters and writing and words. I have been waiting for this to happen for a while. It stressed me out at first that she didn't seem to care, but I got over it and just waited. I'm glad I did. She has learned her letters quickly and I think she will be ready to try reading on for size when we start school back up in the Fall.

She is very social and will gladly play with anyone available. She and Max are buddies, as well as she and Ella. She also loves her cousin Soren, who is almost three and lives just 10 minutes away from us. She asks to have him over to play regularly. She has other friends from church and other homeschool activities, too. She is not big on independent play, and it bugs her when Ella wants to play alone. Luckily, Max is nearly always willing to be with her.