Friday, December 21, 2012

I Can't Believe This Is My Life


I'm a mother of THREE BOYS.  I'll write the whole story later, but for now, enjoy a picture of our big boys meeting their baby brother for the first time.  Our newest baby boy was born Friday, December 14th and we brought him home Sunday.  His arrival in the midst of national tragedy and mourning reminds me that God is good and miracles still happen.  So many people have called and emailed and texted to tell me (with tears in their eyes) that his arrival has been the only good thing to happen lately.  

It's true.  Raising children and keeping them safe and feeling loved is so incredibly overwhelming.  Nobody has any good news.  It's always more pain and suffering all the time.  And just when we had just about lost all hope, he came.  We got a Christmas miracle for the third time.  I've been trying to hold him as much as possible and enjoy this holiday season for what it is -- a celebration of the first Christmas miracle, Jesus' Birth.  I've been trying to chase away worry and doubt about the future with feelings of peace.  Because I have truly never been this happy in my entire life.  I wish I could bottle this joy up and keep him little forever.  This is such a good life I have.  I'm so thankful. 

Merry Christmas everyone!  We will share lots more details later. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Music Lover


If you read this blog you already know that G is a huge music lover.  He owns more tapes, CD's and songs on iTunes than any other person I know.

Well it turns out, we've groomed Buddy into a music lover as well.  He's always listened to a lot of music since he was a baby, but lately it's become an obsession.  He wanted a radio and an iPod for his birthday.  We got him a cheap clock radio with an iPod jack for his birthday.  G has an old iPod, so we let him borrow that.  He now no longer wants to spend any time with the family.  He loves to sit on his bed and read books or build legos and listen to music.  He is so his father's son!

It's really funny because G and I listen to all sorts of music too and are totally "up" on what's cool and what's not.  We are pretty open-minded to music and listen to quite a variety.  But we must have a tween in the works because he does not appreciate most of "our" music.  I keep wondering when my music became lame.  ?????
  • We put Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" on his playlist and he asked for it to be taken off.  He does not like "old fashioned music" from when we were kids.
  • He can spot an alternative song from the 90's immediately and he does not enjoy it.  I guess it's a right of passage -- being disgusted by music from your parents' generation.  I've tried in vain to get him to appreciate U2, REM, Nirvana, and Cranberries to no avail.   
  • G and I like some country -- mostly some of the more popular stuff like Taylor Swift, Zac Brown, Carrie Underwood, and Brad Paisley.  Buddy does not, and informed me he wishes country "was never invented."  And asked me why whenever he's riding in the car, I keep my finger near the button for the country station.
  • He also hates Christmas music except for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells."
  • He said making him listen to soft rock (which I don't listen to) would be the worst punishment in the world.
  •  He keeps a running list of songs he would like added to his playlist.  And is willing to use his own funds to pay for them.  Lucky for him, his father and mother already have all the popular songs on their playlists.
  • On our roadtrip a few weeks ago we were listening to Les Miserables to get us ready for the movie coming out soon.  (G is also reading the book.)  After a few hours of listening to the soundtrack/listening to Buddy complain, Buddy asked, "Do we have anything else to listen to besides Lame-Miserables?"  We thought that was pretty clever.  Even if he has turned into a smart-a$$.  
  • For some reason iTunes classified Josh Groban as "Pop."  This put him into a tailspin and really freaked him out.  He did not stop talking about this atrocity until we threatened to ground him from his radio if he brought it up again.
  •  G made some classical and church music playlists that he has not yet listened to.  He would rather listen to nothing than listen to classical while doing his homework. This surprises us considering how much he enjoys playing classical music on the piano.  We're hoping he comes around on this issue.  
  • Buddy frequently asks me to help him look up information online about different bands.  He wanted to know how old One Direction and The Wanted are.  In doing some research, we ran across a song by the Wanted that I had never heard before.  He quickly recognized it from "Ice Age 4."  I doubted that could be true, so we looked further into it.  Turns out, he was right.  He heard a song once six months ago and remembered it.  Would you agree that's pretty impressive?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nine Years


Our oldest turned nine a couple weeks ago.  He is such a great kid.  We love him so, so much.  He has given us a ton of parenting experience and really challenged our patience, stamina, and creativity as parents.  But he's got so much charisma and charm, so every day and every experience has been more than worth it.  I can't imagine or even remember life pre-Buddy. 

He wants a pet desperately.  This is his friend's lizard, Spike.  Spike lives in Utah and right before our visit at Thanksgiving he turned up missing.  He was missing for over a week.  Buddy prayed he's be found and he was!  He was SO happy to see him during our visit. 

A bit blurry, but this is his normal craziness.  Turning his eyelids inside out and picking his nose.  No biggie.

Buddy has so many talents it's actually unfair!  Here are a few:
  • He is an amazing and loyal friend.  Everybody loves him.  But what's even better, in my opinion, is that he loves everybody.  He treats everyone well:  from his grandparents to babies, from his brother to his friends' parents, from his piano teacher to the crossing guards at school.  He compliments freely and is so kind.  Apparently he told one of the crossing guards today that he is sorry she has to stand out in the cold and rain every morning.  Now mind you, we drive to school so he has never once used her assistance crossing the street.  But he noticed her out there and felt sorry for her and told her so.
  • He has the patience of Job.  He puts up with his brother (who can be rather annoying).  If I'm being fair, he also puts up with me and my crankiness and impatience.  Thank goodness for his patience because I have none!  He knows that about me, but he still likes me.
  • He is still an avid reader.  His great example has rubbed off on his brother, who will also be an avid reader, I'm sure. 
  • His piano teacher tells him every week she wishes she had 10 piano students just like him.  She also told him that he has learned more in 11 months than most kids do in a few years.  He is a very hard worker and practices diligently every single day.  
  • He is an excellent communicator.  He says just what he means and isn't afraid to share his feelings.  He also writes really well and has been writing some really imaginative and detailed stories lately.
  • He draws well.  He especially loves to draw dinosaurs.
  • He is great at science and easily memorizes and remembers facts about animals in particular.  Pretty much every subject at school comes easily.  He has been learning a lot about geography and is fascinated by countries lately.  And he started learning basic geometry at school and keeps using different geometry phrases or concepts in regular conversation.  Yesterday he told me he loves me like a ray
  • He has a very quick wit and says funny things daily.  Hourly actually.  
  • He has a strict moral compass and keeps us all in line.  He doesn't allow bad words, or any inappropriate-anything in our home or in his life. 
  • He loves music and knows lyrics and artists to a ton of music.  He is so much like his father in that way. 
  • He knows how to engage a baby and keep their attention for hours.  All the young cousins love him.  All the babies at church love him.
  • His incredible good looks.  I'm not kidding we are in serious trouble about this.

We broke down and got him the Lego set he really, really wanted for his Birthday.  He also got a nasty gummy snake, a book from Sambo, and a radio with an iPod connector for his room.  He has not stopped borrowing our iPods since. 

Buddy has grown up so much lately.  He has been wanting more privacy.  He loves to sit in his room and listen to music.  It's so strange to see this happening because he's never been one to want to be alone.  He has also been trying really hard to overcome some of his weaknesses.  He does not give up and is really wants to be his best self.  He has been working really hard on learning to be responsible and has surprised us recently with how mature he is getting.  We never thought the day would come when he would remember what day it is.  But it's happening!  He has also been trying to manage his anxiety and has done such a good job lately.  We are really proud of how he does not give up.  It's really awesome being the parent of an older child.  


We had a party with his friends to celebrate his birthday.  He wanted to watch a movie and play a few games, have pizza and ice cream sundaes.  He made his friend list and agreed his brother could also invite two friends.  Then he chose his movie.  The trouble was, the movie he chose was PG-13 and he knew one of his friends can't watch PG-13 movies.  So after wringing his hands about how to handle it, he decided to choose another movie.  He didn't make a big deal about it, or even try to justify to his friend that the PG-13 movie is totally "appropriate."  He respected his friend and made a decision that would make everyone feel comfortable.  I was really proud, especially because I'm not sure I would have been as sensitive as he was.


So at the party we played a balloon game, ate donuts off a string, played a couple other simple games, and watched "Jumanji."  We had 12 boys in total, including my two.  They were so fun and funny but boy howdy were they loud and there was quite a bit of rough-housing going on.  I'm totally fine with rough-housing -- but the noise volume. Oh man alive.  I'm not even kidding.  Next time I have a party with boys I'm wearing earplugs.  My ears were still ringing the next day.  But they had fun, and that was the point. 

All the boys eating pizza.  


We're halfway to raising Buddy to adulthood.  That is so crazy!!!!  A year ago I was super sad about how fast he was growing up, but now that he's dabbling in independence, I am starting to get really excited about his future.  (Having a built-in babysitter!  YES!!!!!)  He was the WORLD'S most hyper toddler. I never thought we'd survive that stage (that stretched on for 7 years).  But I can see all that energy being put to great use lately and it's just so exciting.  He really does have a bright future.  I am so thankful he is my boy.  I am so lucky. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Polar Express


My parents took us and my brother's family on the Polar Express to the North Pole for a Christmas present.  They planned everything and we just showed up which was so nice!  Plus my parents had gift bags full of treats for all of us to enjoy on the ride.  I'm not sure who had more fun, me, or the kids!  I would highly recommend this activity.  It put me right into the Christmas spirit. The only thing that would have made it better was to have my sister and her family with us. 



We took a 90-minute train ride and the entire experience was just like the book.  They even read the book on the train and my dad had brought a copy, so we could read along.  At the halfway point, they slowed the train as we passed through the North Pole so we could see Santa waving and so we could see his reindeer grazing.  As we rode by Santa, Buddy said, "I sure feel sorry for that poor guy standing out there in the cold and rain."  Ironically, we had just finished reading the book -- the entire point being that we have to keep believing.  I literally couldn't stop laughing for awhile.  As excited as Buddy was to be having this experience, he couldn't get past the logic (per usual).


All the cousins love Buddy.  I love this picture.  

In addition, the conductor punched their golden tickets, elves walked the aisles of the train, they passed out hot chocolate and a cookie.  Santa visited with each child and gave them a magic bell.  It was really cool. 

Another highlight was when Sambo told the Elf he wanted a "ballerina" and Legos for Christmas.  We all laughed and laughed and teased him a little.  (Don't worry, he knows we love him and accept him, and support him no matter what he likes.)  When I started asking questions (because if Santa is going to learn about the ballerina, Santa better deliver) we felt sort of sheepish when we realized he  had actually said "Battle Arena."


Even Buddy sat on Santa's lap! 

Then after the train ride we went to dinner.  After dinner G went to the counter and tried to buy two gourmet donuts.  But the cashier gave them to him for FREE.  Are you kidding me?  I love donuts and a free donut is just about the best thing ever. And it turns out the donut was the best I've ever had in my life.