Thursday, October 19, 2017

Picture of the Week - 10/19/2017

Happy 6th Birthday to Beckett!!!

It's kind of impossible to believe that Beckett is 6.  He still seems like a wee baby in my mind, but 6 year olds aren't babies - and he is definitely not wee...  Somehow, in the chaos of the day-to-day, he grew up.  He's a BOY now.  And a pretty awesome one at that.  

When I think about how to describe Beckett the word that first comes to mind is FEARLESS.  He is not afraid of anything.  He doesn't back away form work, people, or new situations.  Possibly the only thing he's afraid of is vegetables.  He is a very confident child - which has pros and cons for sure!  He's not timid - ever.  

Beck has gone through some pretty significant changes this year.  He changed schools, groups at church, started jiu jitsu, and joined a football team.  He goes into these situations as if they are nothing new.  Sometimes he is a bit quiet at the beginning, but I wouldn't call him shy.  I think it takes him a minute to assess the situations.  I think, in a way, he's figuring out the pecking order of the new group.  It's possible he's seeking out all the weaknesses in the group!  HA!

The downside of a kid who's not afraid of anything is that he really doesn't care if he's breaking rules because he's not worried about any repercussions.  This makes our youngest more than a little ornery on occasion.  He has had more discipline notes from his teacher in 9 weeks than some of his brothers have had in years.  (I do remind myself from time to time that Quinn was almost exactly the same...  and he's now a really good listener!)  At Jiu Jitsu, when he misbehaves Sensai Sean makes him do "wall sits".  I figure by the time he's 7 the kid will have ridiculously strong thigh muscles!

Speaking of strength, this is one of the things I find pretty fascinating about Bucky.  He's really, really strong.  Like stronger than you would expect a 6 year old to be.  He's also easily got the best coordination of any of our boys.  He climbs fences, rides bikes and scooters, runs and plays and wrestles.  He's a very physical kid.  I suppose growing up with a house full of brothers, who are all active, he was bound to be physical.  The fact that he seems to have some natural abilities in this area is going to make him really fun to watch in the coming years.  

Beckett definitely benefits from being the baby of the family.  I admit that he's got Bob and me wrapped around his finger.  He has a way about him, if you know him you understand, to get what he wants.  This works on his brothers too.  He's got great relationships with all 3 of the older boys.  He idolizes Spencer.  He loves Quinn's kind and caring ways.  He is Zane's best friend and playmate.  It is one of my biggest pleasures in life to watch the interactions between those boys.  I hope someday Beckett realizes how lucky he is to hold his special place in our family.

I know Beck will have a fantastic year.  He's got so many cool things in front of him now that he's got many of those big transitions behind him.  Now we can just sit back and enjoy watching him learn and play - and love.  I am so excited about spending the next year with our spunky little Bucky.  I am so blessed to get to be his mom.  

Happy Birthday Beckett!  

Today I am wrapping up another trip away from home.  It's been a bit of a rough month!  I'm actually sending this from a Delta plane somewhere over Arizona on the way back from Las Vegas.  When I get home we have parent teacher conferences and then get to watch Spencer play in his last football game as a 9th grader.  His team is undefeated and they are playing for the 9th grade county championship.  I can't believe his football season is already over.  It seems like it just started.  (Monday he starts wrestling practice...  and the merry-go-round keeps going.)

This weekend we have more football games, more lacrosse games, and a trip to play "family paintball" to celebrate Beckett's birthday.  The paintball place Spencer went to has a special option for little kids - and it just happens that you have to be 6 to do it.  Bucky was so excited to find out that he was old enough!  

Next week I'm off to Orlando, but just for 1 night.  Then I think (hope/pray) that I'm home for a while!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Picture of the Week - 10/12/2017

Happy middle of October-that-still-feels-like-August!

I was in Kansas City this week for a conference.  It was an exhausting conference, if I'm being honest.  There weren't enough people there, so the poor 3 of us they sent spent FAR too long standing in the booth and spoke to FAR too many people.  I would love to crawl in bed and hibernate for about 12 hours.  

Instead, we are doing the divide-and-conquer four way tango tonight.  I've got Quinn at a Band concert.  Bob is watching Spencer's game and the Little boys are getting dropped off/picked up for their football practices (in different places because, well...  that's how this fall rolls.)

I thought I'd share these hilarious (at least to me) pictures that Bob sent me while I was gone.  Apparently Zane taught himself how to raise one eyebrow from watching something on YouTube and is super proud of the new party trick.  LOL  They sure brought a much needed smile to my face when I got them!

Spencer's last regular season football game is tonight.  This weekend Zane has a bye-week, so only 1 football game, 1 HS lacrosse game, 1 youth lacrosse clinic and 2 U15 lacrosse games.  Oh and I have car pool duty for church.  Piece of cake...  I'm off to Vegas next week for User Group.  This one requires more preparation than this week, but should also include more sitting!  Never thought I'd be so excited for a chair!  :)

Have a great week everyone - and if you have some fall temperatures, send them this way!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Picture of the Week - 10/5/2017

Happy fall!!!

Today there are lots of pictures and not many words!  Here are some of my favorites from our trip to Burt's Pumpkin Farm last week.  


Tonight Spencer is back in action on the football field.  He's only got 3 more games left this season.  Crazy how fast things move!  Zane and Beck both have games on Saturday and Spencer is in a HS lacrosse game too.  It's truly a divide-and-conquer kind of weekend!  Next week I'm off on business travel (to Kansas City) for the first time in over a month.  Man it's been nice to be home!  I'm not looking forward to the trip.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Picture of the Week - 9/28/2017

Tomorrow is Zane's 8th birthday!  

I have really enjoyed getting to know this handsome blonde dude this year.  He's developing his own little personality and it's pretty amazing to watch.  I think he tends to surprise us more than the big boys have.  Just when I think I've got him figured out, he shares another quirk all his own.

Zane is a thinker.  He thinks everything through.  And then some.  I would say that being a thinker first (as opposed to action first) is a good thing about 90% of the time.  

One thing that he's far better at than his older brothers is imaginative play with action figures.  He's always played well with action sets.  The storylines and games he plays are complex and intricate - and you better believe there are rules involved.  Do not break the rules.  Rule breakage leads to a bad scene!

I think one of the areas that Zane struggles most with is related to the fact that he thinks through situations and feels like he's got the best plan forward.  This is awesome - and should keep him out of lots of trouble - but it also makes dealing with change very difficult.  He still has problems when unexpected things happen or he's surprised by some reaction.  He's much better at these things than he used to be - and maturity will continue to help I'm sure.

Speaking of maturity, Zane's sense of humor has gotten so much funnier this year!  He's got a quick wit and is very dry.  Some of the stuff he says is just plain funny!  I was trying to take a picture of something a few weeks ago and I couldn't find a place to take the picture with a decent backdrop.  I tried to use the table, but the table was REALLY dirty (like 4 boys live here dirty) so I made a comment about not being able to find a clean spot to use.  Zane looked a me and said, "You should just take a picture of the table and say 'boys'."  He was completely deadpan serious.  It cracked me up for days.

In sports, being a thinker first has both pros and cons.  On the con side, he tends to come across as overly cautious when he's learning something new.  I actually remember thinking this about Spencer too.  Like our oldest, Zane seems hesitant to try new things until he's sure he can master them.  Like riding a bike...  he used training wheels far longer than he probably needed them, but wouldn't let us take them off until Beck took his off. 

There are also lots of times when being a thinker is a benefit in sports.  On the football field, he does what he's told to do, pretty much every time.  He doesn't forget.  He doesn't flake.  He just does his job.  He's not flashy in any way, but he's very reliable.  And that makes him an asset on just about every team.  In Jiu Jitsu, he watches - like a hawk - the more experienced kids in the group.  Sensei has to remind him regularly that he should be focused on his group.  But then when he does get a chance to try the more advanced stuff, he picks up the techniques super quickly because he's watched and learned over the previous sessions.  

Knowing that Zane analyzes things and "lives" in his head leads to people making assumptions about him.  Bob and I have done it ourselves, so trust me, I know it's easy to do.  He's a really bright kid.  I think he's likely the most intellectually gifted of our boys.  We let him play sports and expose him to athletic activities, but never really had very high expectations of what he would accomplish.  Shame on us...  We've consistently underestimated this area of his abilities.  I suppose we get to continue to learn from our kids and need reminders that we certainly don't know it all!  The biggest surprise this year has happened with Jiu Jitsu.  We signed the little boys up for classes over the summer to try it out since we didn't have anything else going on.  Zane has fallen in love with the sport.  As in, he looks forward to going every time.  We knew he'd DO it.  We didn't think he'd LIKE it.  And we never expected he'd LOVE it.  

I think part of the reason he likes it so much is because he gets to do it with Beckett.  Those 2 boys have the best relationship!  I love it.  They argue occasionally.  Sometimes things get ugly.  But I would say that the vast majority of the time they are more friends than foes.  Jiu Jitsu is something those two get to do together that the big boys don't do.  They are learning things that they know Spencer and Quinn don't know.  And I think it's made them love the sport - and respect each other - more because it's special for them. Someday they won't have to share a room and they won't ride the same bus to school and they will have different friends and (maybe) different interests, but for now, they are kind of the textbook description of BROTHERS.

I'm excited to see what's in store for Zane this year.  He's probably going to get braces.  He's going to finish this football season, move up to U9 in lacrosse, start another football season and do WHO KNOWS WHAT in Jiu Jitsu.  He's learning more and more at school and enjoying all of it.  I'm sure he will continue to mentor the little guy that looks up to him daily while also modeling himself on what he sees in his big brothers.  In some ways I think Zane's position in our family is the luckiest one of all the boys - and also possibly the trickiest.  He's sandwiched in between all kinds of awesome.  If he didn't have a strong personality, it would be possible for him to get overlooked and lost in the shuffle.  Luckily for Zane - and really for all of us - he's a pretty awesome dude.  Smart.  Funny.  Handsome.  And all ours to enjoy and love!  

I wish the happiest of birthdays to our sweet Zane.  I can't wait to have an 8 year old in the house again!

We are finishing up fall break tomorrow and looking forward to a really nice, relaxing weekend - and birthday cake!  Today we went on the annual Burt's Pumpkin Farm trip (look for pictures soon) and tomorrow we are updating our family portraits.  It's been a lovely, low stress week!  On Monday we hit the ground running for 3 straight weeks of all out crazy chaos.  Then fall sports start wrapping up and we start gearing up for the holidays.  Goodness...  where has this year gone???