Friday, March 27, 2015

He's Kind of a Big Deal

Drew had a pretty thrilling day on Wednesday at school.  Here's the rundown, 1-2-3...

1)  During the month of  March, the second graders have been leading the morning's recitation of the Pledge of Allegience and school motto over the loud speaker.  Yesterday was Drew's day.  Not a bad way to start off the day!

2)  At some point in the day, Drew's entire class trooped down the hallway to be peer-teachers to Reed's class.  The 2nd graders got to pick which kindergartener they wanted to work with, and Drew picked Reed.  This isn't a total surprise as it's not like Drew is one to pick a kid he doesn't know, but warms my Mama heart.  They were together with Reed's class during their writing workshop time, and the boys tell me they wrote about Minecraft.  I'm anxious to read it.

3)  The entire second grade was treated to a lunchtime treat as local young adult mentors from United Way's Young Leaders United and Student United Way joined them at school for Dominos pizza.  After they ate, each student was paired with a mentor to read a book together.  Drew told us a bit about the experience after school - who his partner was (and a fair amount of detail about him), what book they read, how good the pizza was.  He actually shared more about this than he usually shares about his time spent at school, but that could have been the pizza talking (his favorite!).

    As I was making dinner last night, Brad came into the kitchen with his laptop and showed me the home page of the Midland Daily News, and there, big and bright, was my kiddo's face!  Imagine that!  {We found out later, as we received copies of the paper from friends, that the picture is *huge* and centered on the front page!}

    When we told Drew that thee most important news goes on the front page...well, he was feeling pretty good.  ;)    


Also, last Friday night, Drew, alongside five other students, performed a skit in the school's annual talent show.  He was asked by a good buddy of his if he'd like to participate, and although shy and unsure at first, I encouraged him to try something new.  He really likes his friend, Spencer, and so he was able to push his fears aside a bit and agreed.  He and Spencer performed as "Soap Suds" and "Scrub Pad", the resident dogs at camp who kept those kitchen dishes clean.  

It was a short, fun skit, and dare I say, got the biggest laughs of the night.  Better than that, I think Drew really enjoyed himself.   :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ruby at 16 Months

A little bit about Ruby at 16 months...

 Reading Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

Playing with her dolls (!!!)

Drinking my smoothies from a straw

Eating avocados

Wearing beads (she's pretty fancy)

Working on identifying her own body (she has "neck" "tummy" "head" "nose" and "mouth" down)


I'm more than just a little bit excited about Ruby's interest in her dolls.  She likes girl things!!!  I've been saying since the boys were little that I don't know boy toys...and I still don't.  I tend to pick out stuff that I think looks pretty sweet only to have it be rejected after five minutes and never played with again.  I just don't get it.  But give me girl stuff?  I'm in!  Dolls, dress-up, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, princesses, tea parties - yes yes and yes!  Ruby totes her dolls around the house, plays with her Little People house (and can identify the baby, mama, and daddy) and she loves shoes!  If she spies a pair from her perch in the Target shopping cart, she'll point and squeal and once I grab the shoes she'll kinda shake her foot around so I know she wants to try them on.  For real.  Girl likes her shoes.  I'm already daydreaming about her big girl room (heck, I've been daydreaming about a lot since the moment she was born!) and I'm so excited to see where her girly interests will take her.   

Friday, March 13, 2015

Currently {Reed, the Birthday Edition}

eating three breakfasts (a bowl of dry Cheerios with Ruby, eaten together on the living room floor; a "regular" breakfast (currently it's mini pancakes and a waffle) with Drew at the kitchen table; bagged breakfast at school with his classmates)

drinking chocolate milk

wearing a size 13 shoe and size 5/6 tops and bottoms

asking every morning if he still has to wear a coat/hat/mittens to school (sorry Buddy, it's still cold outside)

using his imagination as he always has - creating art, telling stories, playing with toys, and choosing his clothes!

reading at level 12 (level 4 is the benchmark for the end of the school year), and

wowing us every time he opens a book to read (he loves it and does it so, so well!)

completing his kindergarten animal research project on elephants

looking forward to 1st grade (already!)

choosing the xBox (Minecraft) more frequently as his video gaming option

brushing his teeth without complaint now that we use the Disney Magic Timer by Oral-B app

caring for his baby sister in a million wonderful ways (he was born to have a baby sister!) and

helping me out in a million wonderful ways with little favors here and there (especially if it has at all to do with his baby sister!)

continuing to love to help in the kitchen

leaving me little love notes, taped to the computer monitor on my desk

melting my heart with those deep blue eyes and his "I love you Mom, so much"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Celebrating SIX (Part 2)

He is so funny.  He is smart and sweet and kind.  He is passionate.  He is sensitive and moody.  He is creative and imaginative and playful.  He is silly.  He brings fun and light and laughter.  He is a goof.

And today, he is SIX.

Brad was up early and out the door for an out of town meeting before either of the boys even woke up this morning.  I gave Reed a rousing "Happy Birthday" chorus when he woke up, and gave him a face-ful of kisses.  The gifts were out of sight as we wanted to wait until Brad was home, and thankfully, out of sight out of mind for Reed as he didn't even ask about them.  Brad had just gotten back home when I brought the boys home from school, so gift opening commenced!

Blades, his favorite Rescue Bot.

He was the most excited about the big stack of books he received.  As he flung them across the floor, he exclaimed "I needed these!!!"

He was very excited about the Pokemon sticker book, too.

A hover ball

and Stitch for the Disney Infinity video game.

When it came to choosing where he'd like to go for dinner, he gave it a lot of thought, and decided on "an ice cream shop."  We told him that an ice cream shop for dessert is totally doable, but where would he like to eat?  Any maybe, just maybe, he could choose a place to eat dinner and have ice cream.  He happily decided upon Culver's.  Totally and completely un-coerced.  I promise. 

It turned out better than we expected.  On the second Tuesday of every month, our local Culver's hosts a family night.  Discounts on kids meals, activities for kids, and an appearance by Scoopie are all included.

What can beat this?!

I'm beginning to feel like a broken record - every birthday proclaiming my love and affection for my sweet kids.  It's just that the deep love I feel for them can only be expressed in a handful of ways - because it is just that - so, so deep.  Motherhood is a million times more difficult in a million different ways than I could have ever imagined or been prepared for.  But motherhood is also the greatest adventure, greater than I could have ever hoped for.  So we celebrate Reed today because he is the greatest gift.  We wouldn't be "us" without him, and he is the awesomest kind there is.

I love you so much, Squirt.  You are my heart.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Celebrating SIX (Part 1)

In anticipation of Reed's big day coming up tomorrow, we spent this past Saturday afternoon celebrating him with a 6th birthday party.

<insert Mama confession here>

I was nervous about this party.  It is Reed's first friends-from-school party.  How is this different than his previous birthdays?  In the past, friends and their families have been invited to celebrate with us.  It has been, most usually, friends from church whom we all know, who are invited to our house to party with the birthday boy.  We're all familiar with each other and there are no worries or awkwardness.

When Drew had his first friend party in kindergarten, I had become familiar with Drew's friends (via my spending time weekly volunteering in his classroom) and their moms (a handful of us connected via email and by the time Drew's birthday rolled around in January, I was familiar and comfortable).  Such has not been the case for Reed, for a couple of reasons.  I haven't been able to connect with many parents like I had for Drew's friends, and with the exception of one friend, Reed hasn't really connected closely with his classmates like Drew had.  Reed certainly has friends - he's friends with everyone.  He actually wanted to invite the whole class to his party.  So sweet, but sorry kid.  Ain't gonna happen.
When I forced him to narrow it down to eight, he had a hard time coming up with who he likes best to invite over.  

And then to hand out the invitations to parents that don't know me, and have that awkward "please bring your kid to my house even though you have no idea who I am!" conversation...  oy.  But now that that part is over with, I have connected with a few parents so I'm feeling good about that! :)

Long story short, when it came right down to it, four friends from school RSVP'd yes.  I was nervous as the week passed, as I had only received two RSVPs by Thursday afternoon.  The whole point of us throwing a "party" for our kids is so that they feel special.  Do they need to have a party to feel special?  No.  At least I hope not!  But they are fun for me and they are fun for them and so long as they do feel special and they see how special they are to the people around them - worth it.  So I was worried, especially after Drew had eleven friends over for his birthday, that Reed would feel sad or slighted, or worse, not special.  So I pulled out the reinforcements and, last minute, asked a few special family friends if they would stop over during the party to wish Reed a happy birthday.  Thankfully, a few of them were able to and Reed did, indeed, feel pretty darn special.

The other, more minute, hiccup with this party was the theme (you know how much I like a good theme).  Over the years, the boys have gotten pretty into it, too, and Reed had decided he wanted a "Disney" party.  Nothing like an incredibly vague theme that could include almost anything!  After racking my brain to come up with something, we created a one-of-a-kind Disney party with some of our favorite characters.   

 I gave Reed two options for a cake: either something similar to Drew's cake for his 6th birthday (with a Mickey Mouse on top, of course) or this, a parade of characters marching down the street.

 Activity #1: making Sulley goodie bags.  Kindergarteners are still young enough to be interested in organized activities, although this will likely be the last year for that.  They really just like to play with other kid's toys. :)  Anyway, favorite Disney friend #1 {Sulley from the Monsters movies} showed up here.  And as for the goodies for the goody bags - this party was a great opportunity to use up some leftover party supplies.  Mickey Mouse notepads and stickers from Reed's party last year, beaded necklaces from several parties, and a variey of Disney fruit snacks.  

 Activity #2:  Olaf's {from Frozen} snowball toss.  Rolled up white socks, buckets evenly spaced, and toss.  Easy and fun.

Activity #3:  Pin the eyes on Baymax {of Big Hero 6}.  I penciled the best rendition of Baymax I could muster onto an old piece of foam board, and the boys did the outlining with a black marker.  Cute, right?

 Activity #4:  Lightening McQueen piñata.  And if you don't know who Lightening is, you obviously haven't been reading this blog long enough. ;)  This happens to be the same piñata we used at Drew's 5th party (apparently I hoard) and it was still in great shape to reuse.  I had to attach new pull ribbons and freshen up a bit of the red tissue paper on the under side, but it worked out well.  Until Reed went first and picked the right ribbon!  
So they all pulled together. :)  Inside were the items that went into their goody bags.  (Of note: McQueen has been appropriately trashed.) ;)

Activity #5:  frost Mickey shaped sugar cookies.  Just an added activity to kill some time.

And of course there was plenty of simple playing, too. ;)
(By the way, this is Isabel.  She's Reed's favorite.)

 Cake and ice cream

 and gift opening to finish things up.

{And Mom fail.  I forgot to get a posed picture with all the kids.  Oops.}

At the end of the day, Reed had a great time.  He felt loved and special and WOW how can it be six years already?!?!  Thankful for his friends.  Thankful for this day.  Thankful for Reed.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

He Shoots...

I've been sitting in front of this blank computer screen for no less than 15 minutes, trying to figure out how to preface this post.  I can't seem to articulate the incredible morning we had - Drew had - yesterday.  Or, more accurately, I can't seem to articulate the flood of emotions I felt yesterday morning as I watched my son play basketball.

Here is what Brad shared on Facebook yesterday afternoon.

Proud/Happy Parent post: I actually had an insight in the shower this morning (not far from where I do my best thinking) and I know I'm not the first to think this but it occurred to me that I should have two different emotions as I watch and coach my son in sports. The common one we hear and say is how proud we are and we often say that after they accomplish something and it's not a bad thing really, but I was thinking that after they succeed in something that the emotion should really be happiness, we are happy that they get to experience success. The emotion of pride should really be based solely off their effort.

So anyway, this thinking all happened before Drew's basketball game today and Drew hasn't had a lot of individual success in his sports activities. He hasn't scored a goal in a few seasons of soccer and he hasn't made a basket in one year plus one game of basketball. He really wasn't feeling very excited about playing today (promise of a candy bar can do a lot). So the game started and after a few minutes the ball came to him at the corner of the free throw line and he was pretty open so he turned and shot...and....nothing but net!!! He was so happy, and so was Dad. He then went on to make another basket in the second half to show that it wasn't a fluke I guess.

I'm so proud to be his dad!
 Drew's face after returning to defense after making his first shot.

His second successful shot.

Friends, this was a big deal.  A huge deal.  An incredible accomplishment for our first born.  The mental and emotional obstacles he has to overcome in order to just put himself out there are significant, and to see how his confidence exploded after that first basket...  he was a new kid after that.  He wanted the ball.  He wanted to shoot.  He wanted to try.

So yes, I am happy for his success, and thrilled to see the change in his confidence.

And I am so proud of his willingness and his commitment and his effort, for sure.

But man, I am overjoyed for all that he is and all that he discovered about himself yesterday.  That boy.  He's something. 

As I was perusing through the photos I took at last week's game and yesterday's game, I can see the difference in Drew's confidence in these photographs.

Last week: he participates.  He's there, he plays, he runs, but he's an observer more than anything.  He stays around the perimeter and puts his hands up more often to protect himself from the ball than to play the game.

This week, after that first basket: he was in it. 
{He's #2. Click on photos to view larger.}

 (Arms up to block that shot.)