Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ty's first soccer practice

Sporting his Nike (breathable) shorts, his Nike shin guards and his Nike cleats, Ty showed up at his first ever soccer practice looking like a hundred bucks.  In reality his garage sale purchased gear cost about... $8.   Nobody tell Ty.  I want him to look back at these pictures and say, "What?  Am I wearing name brand clothing?  Wow.  They did love me!" 

Ty, rest assured the clothes are not the sacrifice.  The sacrifice is the THREE days a week this commitment is going to require.  We are all loading up, driving over, lugging equipment, entertaining brother so that you can play four-year-old style soccer.  Let's just say it's not real competitive.  It's pretty much a play date at an inconvenient time that costs money.  But yes, we love you.  That's why we are doing it.

The first practice was interesting.  We were the first ones there.  20 minutes early.  We can't ever seem to be anywhere on time.  Either early or late.  Just like this morning at school.  We were shooting for 7:45.  We walked in at 7:30.  

Ty met a teammate right off the bat. 

"Mom!!  A boy told me his name!  His name's Tennessee!"

"Are you sure?  Is it 'Timothy?'"

"No.  It's TEN-NES-SEEEE!"

"Oh.  Ok.  Great."

You can't argue with this kid.

The coaches daughter (bless her heart) peed her pants on the first drill but couldn't go home because mom was the coach.  She cried or hung on mom's leg for most of the practice.  I tried to get her to "help" me with Brady, but that only lasted so long.

The boys on the team protested if they were asked to kick a pink ball during a drill.   One resourceful girl didn't bring a ball so she confiscated Austin's.  That boy's no fool.  He knew he'd been taken.  Every chance he got he would run onto the field and try to steal it back.  Finally I convinced him to "give" the girl his ball for the night.  Once he had done that, he was at peace with the situation.  Dad showed up halfway through bringing sonic burgers.  What a guy.

Over all, it was a good time.  Watching four-year-old's play soccer, not many things are more entertaining.  And most importantly, Ty had a good time.

 This is what he told his dad:

"I've got lots of new friends!  Even one who kept saying: "Hey!!  That's MY ball!"


Monday, August 20, 2012

Jack's first day of school

You remember when you were little and had to go get vaccinated at the doctor's office?  Your mom would try to prep you for what was coming while at the same time try not to freak you out.  But once the word "shot" was mentioned it was over. There's really no way to sugar coat it.  Your mother has basically just said: "You are going to get stabbed by a piece of sharp metal, injected with small amounts of live viruses.  It will be painful, it will be bloody you will cry and I will be standing by  holding the coats of the ones who do this to you"

You are fearful.  You try to protest.  You fake a fever.  She doesn't buy it.  There's nothing you can do.  It's coming.  The needle is coming. 

The worst moment of the whole ordeal is when they ask you to "Hop up on the table."  They wipe your arm with the alcohol pad.  There is nothing left to do but panic.  So you wiggle, you cry.  Your mother holds you down. 


Before you know it, it's over.  And you can relax.  It turns out, it wasn't really that bad.  Now you get an awesome Garfield bandaid and maybe a sticker.

Putting your firstborn in school is pretty much exactly like getting a shot.  Except the process was about a year and a half long for me.  Without going into tons of detail, we began asking God what to do about Jack's school when he was four about to turn five.  Although Jack seemed plenty capable of entering kindergarten last year, we felt it would benefit him in the long run if we waited one more year.  I can't tell you how much he's grown and matured in the last year.  As of today, I'm so glad we had him wait.

Here are the beginning of the day pictures:

Jack, you cannot blame the goofiness of these pictures on my inability to dress you.  It was all you man.

He was smiling as we headed out to the van at 7:30.  The brothers and I walked him to his class. His teacher met us at the door and gave Jack some directions.  We waved goodbye and told him we'd be back later.  I dropped off a confident excited young man.   Nobody cried.

Ty and Austie and I ate Little Debbie donuts in the parking lot (our try-not-to-be-sad treat).  Then we went home and had a really nice day.  It was strange not having a big boy around.  I felt like I'd gone back in time to when I only had three and my oldest was 4.  It was weird.  We did chores, played outside, watched an episode of Mighty Machines and then met friends at the park.   We came home, everyone fell asleep.  The alarm told us to wake up and go get Jack. 

It was over.  Whew.  We had made it.  It turns out, it wasn't really that bad. 

Jack, oh yes, he also had a good day.  He was eager to tell us about the science lab, about the discipline procedures, about the kid who broke the rules and about lunch.  Let me tell you about his lunch...

To preface this, I want to remind you of the effort that went into making sure everything was just so for this special day.  It wasn't just Jack's reputation on the line here.  This was my chance to make a good first impression at this school.  His lunch, first off, needed to contain food.  I broke the sabbath by grocery shopping on Sunday to make this possible.  Second, it needed to be healthy.  Surely spinach and carrots would do the trick. (Who do I need to see about getting my gold star?)  Third, it needed to be filling.  I layered a generous portion of turkey on his sandwich.  Fourth, not messy.  He wore a white shirt.  See also my concern from yesterday involving ketchup.  I did not put any ketchup or mustard on the sandwich just a very tiny amount of dressing.

I pretty much nailed lunch.  You can understand then, why one of my questions on the way home was:

Me: "Jack, did you like lunch time?"

Jack (grins): "uh-huh."

Me: "Did you like the cafeteria?"

Jack: "Yes!  It had a place where you could get in line and wait and get a hamburger and french fries and something I didn't like and something else that looked like..."  (You could see his little brain trying to figure out how to describe this dish.  He gave up and moved on.)  "...and they would ask you what you wanted."

Now I'm grinning.  It was so fun to get to hear him tell of his experiences.  Since I couldn't be there with him, this was the next best thing.

Me: "Oh, cool.  Did you eat all the lunch I sent you?"

Jack:  "Yes, and a hamburger."

Me: "What?"

Jack: "Well, when I got in there, the line was so long.  It was all the way to the door.  But after I got done eating there were only two people in line so I got in line and got a hamburger."

Me: "Really?... Did they ask you for money?"

Jack:  "No."

Me: "What did you tell them?"

Jack:  "I told them that I only had two things* in my lunch and that I was still hungry so they gave me a tray.

Thanks Jack.  Thanks for that.

Sure enough, I opened his folder and there was a note from his teacher.

Tomorrow we are sending money to pay his tab.  And we discussed saving hot lunch for special days or days when we don't have any food in the house.

Jack's first day artwork: 

So there ya have it.  And just so you know.  I'm attributing everyone's good day to the fact that several people prayed for us.  Today had a totally different feeling than yesterday and think it had something to do with hope.

*That was a lie.  He had four things in his lunch.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

School starting.

I don't want to talk about it.

I don't even want to think about it.

So don't bring it up.  Ok?

I'd intended to write a humorous post about all the silly, sentimental, over the top things I was doing to make sure Jack's first day of Kindergarten was a success.  Things like making him homemade granola bars full of protein for his morning snack --empty calories will leave him hungry.  Or the way I planned out his hair cut schedule --hair cut two weeks before school started (just in case it was a bad one, it would have time to grow in.)  Or me forcing him to learn how and practice buttoning and unbuttoning his shorts.  Mike has told me stories about some weird kid in Kindergarten who peed with his pants around his ankles. I didn't want Jack to be the weird kid.  Or the trip down to Little Rock (with four preschoolers) to shop at the Container Store to find the perfect lunch box accessories.  Or the three shopping trips to make sure Jack had clothes that would look good.   Do you realize how much pressure there is to dress a child for his first day of kindergarten????  There will be 129 pictures taken and they WILL live forever.  Yes, if you called her right now, your mom could put her finger on your first day of school picture.  And when you saw it you'd look at it and laugh and say --you know what you'd say, you'd say:  "I can't believe my mom dressed me in that!"   Shame on you!  She did the best she could.  Don't mock!  Because of you I'm feeling all kinds of pressure over here!  (sorry, didn't mean to take it out on you.)

Anyway.  That was the post I was going to write.

But I'm not in the mood. 

I'm just a wee bit emotional about my baby growing up, my little friend moving on, my helper not being here. 

Five years I invested my entire being into this little one, work, frustration, disappointment then... results! 

Now I have a boy in my house who is one to be proud of.  I could list you a million reasons why I'm so proud of Jack.  I'll just give you one. Tonight, Ty fell out of the hammock.  He cried and cried.  He complained of a hurt back. After we had done our best to meet all of his hypocondratic needs, Jack sat there on the couch next to him and rubbed Ty's sore back.  He values the little ones in our home.
Our babies feel cherished because of the way Jack gets on the floor, smiles and talks baby talk to them.
They benefit.

We benefit.

Now I have to send him away?!?! 

We prayed about homeschooling.  God said no.  Even though I know God knows all the factors concerning this decision and is working our story out for His glory, I am tempted to make it all about me.  I put words in God's mouth and tell myself things like:  "God doesn't want you to home school because He knows you couldn't hack it.  You wouldn't be disciplined enough, strong enough, patient enough... good enough."

Isn't it interesting that when we begin to make things about us we either end up prideful or discouraged?

We have the option to trust or to worry:  "What if Jack gets lost?"  "What if he talks at the wrong time, gets chastised by the teacher and his feelings get hurt?"  "What if he gets rejected by a classmate?"  "What if he gets ketchup on his face at lunch and doesn't know it and someone laughs at him?"  --note to self, no condiments in the lunch for the first six weeks*

Or.  I can trust.

Just trust.
(Wow, my to do list got a lot shorter.)  I can trust that I have tried to be faithful to my calling as a parent, that I have taught him sufficiently and that God, his true father, will take even better care of him than I have.

I'll leave it at that.

I won't post the picture I took looking out my kitchen window at my three little boys playing in the backyard.  I won't talk about how much I'll miss him.  I won't talk about how much Ty will miss him.   Scratch that, yes I will.  This is how addicted Ty is to Jack.  Today Jack was in the bathroom.  He'd been in there long enough according to Ty.  So Ty went over, laid down on the floor, propped his feet up on the door and talked to Jack while he was ... um... taking care of business.  Not ten minutes can Ty be away from his big brother (heaven help him tomorrow!)

I'll take some of the 129 pictures and post a few on here tomorrow.  We are going to try to not be too bored or sad.  We've got plans to play at the park. 
We'll make it.
I think.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tractor Tractor

"Mom!  Tractor Tractor Tractor!"  says Austin.

This is our favorite song from the boys favorite album.  We cannot get enough of it.   We've already watched it twice, now the boys are waiting while I quickly type to watch it again.  It is TOTALLY a boy album.  There is a song about a tiger biting off someones head and a song about eating beans and a song about bears (my favorite).

So to keep a riot from occurring right here in my living room, I will end this. 

Go to iTunes and buy the whole album: 

Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies
by Andrew Peterson

Monday, August 13, 2012

Brady's 6 month stats

According to the nurse airman first class, Brady is:

18 lbs. 14 oz.
26.7 inches tall
has a head size of 44 cm.

All pretty much between the 50-75 percent range. 

So he's lookin' good.

He holds his head up great, flips over both ways.  Smiles all the time.  If I leave him on the floor in a room, more than likely he will be 3-5 feet away from where I put him and usually facing a totally different direction.

He loves cords.  They are his favorite toy.  His preferred cord is the one that runs along the living room wall by the TV.  It's a phone cord I think, and has lots of slack. 

Don't worry his mom hates cords and tries to preserve (read ruin) his life by keeping them away from him.

Some of the more interesting things about Brady....

He sleeps in the nursery on Sunday morning (I know!  who does this???)  And he loves it; probably because they rock him the whole time.

He flinches when his brothers come near.

He kicks his feet constantly.  I'm thinking about buying a boat and strapping him to the back where the motor should go.  We'd fly across the water. 

Brady likes to jump in his "Johnny-jump-up".  I think he's addicted.  After 30 minutes or so (that's a LONG time to be jumping.  Think about it.  Can you jump for 30 minutes straight?)  he becomes tired.  But does he stop jumping?  Nope.  He just whines and whimpers, calling for me to come get him.  I walk over and he jumps all the higher and whines all the louder.  I think he's saying:  "Help!  I can't stop myself from jumping!!!"

So I save him.

All that leg work prepared him for what came next.  The walker!  Most babies get in it and can only go backward at first.  This boy?  No.  I've never seen him go backward.  He just goes forward.  And when he goes.  He RUNS.  2032 Olympics?  You'll probably see him representing Texas, I mean the USA in the 5000 meter race.

Oh yes.  The boy is sleeping. through. the night.  You read that right.  At 5 months Brady is sleeping 12 hours.  No one hate me.  It's my first child who has done this before nine months of age.  And in case you are going to credit me with this accomplishment, let me tell you:  I had nothing to do with it.  He just started sleeping and not waking up.  That was it.  On my part there was no training nor exorbitant amounts of will power necessary.  It was all Brady.  This has propelled him to the number one slot on the favorite child competition.

In the last week or so, any time I pick the boy up he stretches his neck as far as it will go.  Trying to see what's around him.  He'll turn left, then right, then twist his body around, then look back over his shoulder.  I don't know what he's looking for.  I mean, I'm right here.  What else does he want?  I've wondered if he's not searching for something he wants, but scanning for danger.  By danger I mean brothers.  They like to... attack him.  I think it's done in love, but no matter to Brady, he interprets their hugs as choke holds.  So I guess you could say his newest trick is being aware of his surroundings.  Cool trick for a 6 month old.  Reminds me of Jason Bourne. 

This is him practicing a move:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Maybe it's time.

With the other two boys I began potty training immediately following their second birthday. It worked out both times that Mike deployed right around that time. Mike was gone. We had nothing to do. Might as well sit on the floor in the bathroom and read books. Why not?

Austin turned two in May. Every time the thought of potty training has entered my mind, I immediately distract myself with something more pleasant, like cleaning the kitchen, or painting trim, or scraping dried spaghetti sauce off the table with my fingernail. The thought of all the money we could save not buying diapers hasn't affected me a bit. Not a bit.

And here's why:

With four children, all I can think about when I consider potty training is the huge logistical nightmare it will be when we are out in public. My hands will be full with a baby, a diaper bag, a stroller, a purse, Ty, and whatever else. At the most inconvenient time Austin will say: "Potty!" You and I both know that the restrooms will be at the opposite end of the store, that Ty's blood sugar will be low, that the stroller won't fit into the stall, that the toilet will be nasty, that Austin will touch everything, that my purse will be unzipped and my phone fall in the toilet, that Jack will refuse to go into the ladies room, that Brady will be hungry and Ty will play peek-a-boo with Austin who will then fall into (or off of) the toilet. Oh and I won't have remembered to bring any spare underwear. Because I never do. I just don't get excited about details like that.  It's almost like I enjoy not being prepared.

I'm stressed just typing all of that. dang. I need to write more blog posts about how the gentle breeze makes the leaves above my head dance as I gaze up at them from my hammock... then writing wouldn't make me so tense.

Back to potty training. You know. You know that scenario is not total fabrication. It could happen. It pretty much has, with just a few variations.

The other night Mike took Austin upstairs to get him ready for bed.  They are up there for a little bit then hollers for me to come see.

I ran up. He was right. The sight was worth doing a flight of stairs.

After taking off Austin's diaper Mike asked him if he wanted to try and go potty. --Mike has this thing about boys learning to use the toilet like a man. Meaning pee standing up; (I consider this phase three out of four of potty training.)

Mike stood behind Austin, put him on the stool, pointed him in the right direction and waited. Austin groaned and grunted a couple times, but no pee-pee. They waited a little longer, then Mike felt it was time to transfer him to the shower before something went awry. Mike has a rather healthy fear of naked children, and his spidey sense had just gone off when he began to smell something nasty. Best thing would be to get this child into a controlled environment.

But it was too late. Mike looked back at the toilet and there, on the stool was, well, a stool.

Pooping on near the toilet on his first day?

That's epic.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Webster boy

Jack likes words.  He likes to understand them. 

He learned the word "Epic" at church --I'm assuming from his peers.

It's one of those fad words that the young generation will not associate with it's original meaning.  When I think of "epic" I think of Homer, the Odyssey and Mrs. Greiner.

Mike and I are officially old.  We're still saying, "Sweet!" and "Tha' Bomb" and "Cool Beans"

We're too old for "Yolo" and "Epic," "Wicked cool," "Fail" and even "Stoked".  I can't say those words without giggling.  I know I'm in my 30s. 

The other day in the car Jack asked me: "Mom?  Do you know what 'epic' means?"

 I opened my mouth, ready to respond with: "Yes, it's a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero."

But before I could say anything Jack says: "It means 'totally awesome,' like: "That was epic."

"Oh.  Cool beans."  I replied.  (Just kidding, I didn't.)

Then yesterday, I guess he'd been pondering the word even more, he tells me:

 "Mom.  When something is epic it is something you like to see, but it's hard to do ...like the Olympics.  The Olympics are epic."