Who will you meet in this blog? Plenty of people!
Little Bear is my four-year-old niece, and she's usually the star of the show. She's the reason I named this blog "Slow Down, Gym Shoe!"... because I'm always saying that to her! Little Bear is always running and talking and laughing and playing and screaming. Well, except when she's sleeping! She loves her big brother and baby sister with all her heart, and she loves animals and nature. When she grows up, she wants to be "A whole bunch of things with animals," including a vet, a zoo keeper, a breeder of animals, and an animal rescuer like Dora the Explorer! Little Bear is also alarmingly smart.
Pufferfish is a ten-month-old bundle of joy! Sheloves to cuddle and play, and is always smiling and giggling. She thinks she's a big kid, and tries really hard to keep up with her big brother and sister. In fact, she can crawl almost as fast as they can run! Pufferfish loves to climb on things, get swung and tossed around, listen to music, and play with anything that she's not supposed to play with. She's a great baby and she lights up my life!
Monkeyboy is eleven, and too cool for words. Its so bizarre to see this kid, who I still picture as a toddler with chocolate-milk stains on his face, walking to school with his friends and having girlfriends and stuff. So weird! Monkeyboy is an awesome boy though. He takes really good care of his little sisters, and even lets Little Bear tag along with him to his friends' houses. (Honestly, how many eleven-year-olds do you know who are willing to do that?) Monkeyboy is an old soul who is really sensitive about other people's feelings and experiences, even though he doesn't always show it. He loves to draw, and he's really good at it!
Diana is the mom of all of these great kids. She's an awesome mom who has really helped the kids develop their strong and unique personalities. She's always trying to make life as fun for them as possible, while still teaching them to be responsible and make good choices. Its a tough job, but somebody has to do it! Diana is also my best friend in the whole entire world.
Jimmy is the dad of Pufferfish, and a stand-in dad to the other kids. He's well-known for making sure nobody in the household goes hungry even for a moment, and for doing the driving on any long or difficult trips we go on. For instance, he sometimes drives us to places in the city, where Diana and me hate to drive, and once he drove us all the way to Michigan for a vacation!
Finally there's me, Nicki, aka Angel, aka Nee-nee. I'm not actually blood-related to any of these people, although I call the kids my nephew and nieces. I'm just a psuedo-adopted family member who hangs around a lot! I'm 28 years old and have had a pretty crazy life. I also have ADHD, depression and anxiety, which has made life even weirder for me! For the past few years I've been trying to go through school to be a special education teacher, all the while holding a whole bunch of stupid jobs that made me miserable and aggravated my crazy mental problems. Then Diana and Jimmy asked me if I'd watch their two youngest kids three days a week, instead! So now, instead of a job, I spend my days with them. Its a different kind of life, but I'm much happier now!