Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A couple of things that happened this week.

1. Claire strapped on my garmin and ran over 4 miles without stopping IN OUR YARD.

2. Owen fell off the bleachers at the girls' basketball practice last night and busted the back of his head. When it happened, I scooped him up, saw blood all over my hand, and turned to the dads sitting near me and said, "I need you to look at this and tell me how bad it is. I am not going to look. You need to tell me what to do right now." They looked and said, "You need to go to the ER." That was all I needed to hear. A friend offered to watch the girls for the rest of practice until Spencer could get there from work to pick them up, and I headed to the nearest med stop with a very sad three year old. Owen was an absolute champ once we got there. He got a few staples in the back of the head and two "hollipops", which made everything better. The nurses and doctor were awesome, and they loved Owen of course. They kept saying, "This kid is awesome! He is the best patient! And he is gorgeous!" Today I can't keep him from jumping off all the furniture, so we'll see how it all turns out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Halloween, a birthday sleepover, and one of Penny.

This year we carved a jack-o-lantern...

...and Owen tried to copy its smile...

...and then we dressed up like Laura Ingalls, a vet, and Elmo.

 After trick or treating we went to MeMaw's house where we found the triplets dressed up as rock, paper, and scissors.

(A close up of Laura Ingalls. Or Anne of Green Gables. Depending on the day.)

On Claire's birthday she blew out a candle in pancakes...

...and then later had a sleepover!

(which was crashed by Hillman, of course.)

Dance party!

And Penny on a slide!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

To My Almost 3-Year-Old

Owen! How old are you going to be tomorrow?


You are the coolest almost three year old in this entire house. You've brought nothing but joy to us since the day you were born, and the trend continues.

You have always been an observer. You sit back and take in everything before you decide if you want to be a part of it. I think you are really intuitive and have always understood more than you could communicate. Sometimes I think you wonder why I can't read your mind like you seem to read mine. This morning you weren't feeling well and I kept trying to figure out what was wrong. "Does something hurt? Can you show me?" And you just looked and looked at me without saying a word, as if you were wondering why I couldn't just observe my way into finding out what was wrong.

You ask permission for everything, and then say "okay" or "thank you."
"Mommy, can I take off my socks?"
"Sure, baby."
"Okay. My Thomas ones?"
"Of course."
"Okay thank you."
"Is it okay if I poop in the potty?"
"YES, son!"
"Okay thank you."

You want to know everyone's name. When we are in public all I hear is, "What's that man's name? Who is that? What's her name?"

You are still easygoing. You love to swing, ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, and generally just join in with whatever everyone else is doing. You love to build with magformers and play with train sets. You always want to do your "math" when the girls start school in the morning. You know where Maine is on the map, and what year the Boston Tea Party occurred, and what the main parts of the circulatory system are. I realize all of that is highly impractical for an almost three year old to know, but it's the byproduct of being a younger sibling of Classical Conversations students. You are still really good at dribbling a basketball, and I just found out that your whole life, you have thought that the rocking chair in your room is actually a rocket chair.

You seem to have a natural bent toward music and rhythm. You spend a lot of time playing the drums. Loudly. You sing a lot while you play. You have always been really gentle with the piano, never banging on it but softly pressing the keys. You still love to strum the guitar and make up songs. The other day I overheard you singing, "I love pickles in my heart..." And one day when I told you we needed to go put your clothes on, you began singing to yourself, "Nooooo, I don't waaaaaannnnt tooooooo put my clooooooothes on...." And it actually sounded pretty good.

You've adapted to my constant procrastination by always adding "tomorrow" to the end of your questions. "Mommy, can you make some smoothies tomorrow?" Today you were pulling up your sleeves and you commented when you saw your wrists, "Oh! That's the ankle of my arm!"

You love to give hugs and you are so affectionate. You are quick to say "I love you." You still get scared easily at things that are loud or unexpected.

Every night when I tuck you into bed, I lean over you and whisper, "Have I not commanded you?" and you whisper back, "Have I not commanded you?" and then together we finish the verse..."Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Sometimes you trip up on words like "discouraged" or "courageous" and when you do, you get a frustrated look on your face and whisper, "I can't say it." And I repeat the phrase and you say it again, until you're happy with the way it sounds. You just keep doing that, O-bo. Keep saying the words until they seep down into your soul and you can say them right every time.

Because you are strong and courageous. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are growing in wisdom and stature, you are fun and sweet and tender and yes, strong and courageous.

I love you buddy. Every night when we finish our verse and I kiss your head, I whisper, "You're my Spud." And you say, "Oh. You're my girl."

I love being your girl, Owen. Happy birthday to you!

Monday, November 6, 2017

To My Almost 8-Year-Old

Oh my Claire Bear.

Tomorrow you will be eight years old and that's not even reasonable, because you were only born yesterday and you have always been forty so for you to be eight doesn't make any sense at all. And it also is preposterous that you come up to my shoulder when you stand. But here you are, up at my shoulder and a night away from eight years old.

At eight years old you can jump rope like a champ (forward, backward, one foot, two feet) because one day you set your mind to become great at it and so you did. That's kind of how you work. You just set your mind to something, commit yourself 100%, and master it.

You continue to make moral judgments which seem way beyond your years. We were reading a book about Robin Hood which sparked a discussion on taxes and how rulers/governments can use tax money for good or can use it irresponsibly. You busted out with, "Our government must not use all that tax money for the good of the people. I mean, what do they do with that seven cents off every dollar???" You have such a seriousness about you, an intensity that I sometimes don't know what to do with but that I love and admire. It was placed in you by design and I am so excited to see how the Designer plans to use it for good in your life and for His glory.

For the first time in 8 years, I now have some freedom to go running even when your daddy is not home. You are more than willing to take care of your brother and sister while I run up and down and up and down and up and down the street right in front of our house. I pay you by the mile, so you are very motivated to keep the peace as long as possible as you make more money the longer I go.

While AK and Owen are content to play with magformers or little people for hours, you either want to be interacting with me or working toward a goal. Some of that may have to do with age, but I do think it's part of your personality too - to be goal-oriented or to be around people. You will play outside for an hour in order to be able to eat a pack of gummies. You will clean the whole house if you get paid a penny for every 10 items that you pick up and put away. Speaking of money, you now have saved up over a hundred dollars in your "piggy bank" which is really a shoe box. You are a saver, not a spender, for sure.

You are good at drawing, you have really nice pitch when you sing, and you are learning to play both piano and violin. You have a massive vocabulary and still love listening to stories, whether it's audio books or me reading aloud. You ended up having a great soccer season even though we signed you up without your blessing, and you told me that you were never going to smile or come inside of a building again when you found out. You stuck with it and, as we had silently predicted, by the end of the season you were not only becoming a really good soccer player, but you also were really starting to love it.

You listen to Adventures in Odyssey radio drama every day and love to tell me about all the latest happenings. You are great at relating facts and details but struggle to express your emotions sometimes. I sense that there is so much more going on under the surface than you allow to be seen. I feel that your heart is like "deep waters", and I oh how I pray for the understanding to draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5)

On nights when your Daddy is playing tennis or is at a meeting, you often stay up after the littles go to bed and sit with me on the couch to watch The Voice on television. I treasure those moments with you. And not just because you scratch my back the whole time so I won't tell you it's time to go to bed. But I do treasure that too.

You are strong, beautiful, tender, driven, and noble. You have a strong sense of right and wrong. You think before you act and you can read people (especially me) like a book. You are strong-willed and would probably make a pretty great trial lawyer. You are little and big, and different from anyone else I know. You are perfectly you.

Claire, I knew I loved you from before you were born, but the older you get, the more in awe I am at the Creator's handiwork in your life. Happy birthday, my sweet almost eight-year-old. Here's to another awesome year.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Daddy wrestling, plus 2 things from AK.

It started with Daddy bench-pressing Averi Kate...

...and quickly turned into a very intense daddy-wrestling match.


In other important news...

AK put an altoid in her mouth and said, "Whew! These really spice your nose up."

And also,

AK put a label on the oven with my name on it and said, "There. Now if someone breaks into our house they'll know not to use your oven."

Whew. Glad I don't have to worry about a thief using my oven without permission.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

GA National Fair

 Well, it was 100 degrees on the heat index this week so of course that meant that it was time for the fair. I actually made a commitment not to complain about the weather so that's all I'll say about that.

Day1 - Petting the rabbits...

Petting the unicorn (of course)...

Riding in a carriage...

Watching Robinson's racing pigs...

Feeding cows and goats...

Feeding the birds...

(AK kept catching birds and then giving them away to kids who didn't have one on their stick...)

There was this thing, which I'm still not sure exactly what it was. It jumped out of the corner to surprise the girls...

  And I didn't get a picture but Owen was absolutely petrified of it. He basically did a box jump onto a bench to get away from it as he screamed in terror.

Day 2 - Ready for the wild animal show...

Ride day!

And AK's wildest dream came true as she rode her first horse.

And what fair would be complete without a transformer?

Till next sweltering October!