Thursday, December 26, 2013

Picture of the Week - 12/26/2013

I hope you all had a simply wonderful Christmas!  Ours was chaotic and loud and awesome!  We crammed enough memories into the last 7 days to make anyone's head swim!!!
Today I am feeling incredibly blessed - and maybe a little tired!!
Here's to a safe and happy New Year's Eve.  It will be 2014 when you hear from me again!  WOW!!
Couple of pictures today - the family on Christmas Eve morning and the boys ready for Santa!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Picture of the Week - 12/19/2013

“It’s little moments that make life big.” ~Anonymous
That little gem of a quote popped up on my Mary Engelbreit desk calendar on Tuesday.  Those little desk calendars are kind of a STAPLE in my life.  I’ve had one on my desk for probably the last 7-8 years (maybe longer…) thanks to a neatly wrapped Christmas gift from my mom every year.  (Oh boy, I hope my mom got them again this year!!)  I love Mary’s art and I love love love some of the quotes she uses.  They very often speak to me. 
This quote seemed to ring especially true for me this week.  There were so many fun little moments that have happened over the past couple of weeks.  It’s a little mind boggling to stop and think about how lucky I am to get to have all these fun little moments. 
We are enjoying watching Quinn play basketball for the first time ever.  His team is very recreational, but he’s not bad!  His coach is a grandfather who very CLEARLY loves to coach these kids.  Quinn had a one-on-one session with him last weekend and at the end, he handed us a bag of oranges as a thank you for coming.  He’s probably one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time.  I am so thankful that we “broke” our no winter sports rule.  We never would have met coach Steve if we hadn’t!
There are so many Christmas things going on!  Zane had his program at school this week.  I tried to get good pictures of him, but he was SO excited that he jumped and danced and vibrated the entire time.  He loves his friends.  He loves his teachers.  We all love his school.  That little school (along with taking lots of our money) has helped raise my kids.  I’m not sure I’ll ever find a way to thank them properly. 
The break room at work this week has been a treasure of goodies.  There have been chocolates and cookies and cupcakes and a whole stack of Harry and David stuff.  I've gotten treats from vendors and customers and co-workers.  It's been awesome for my sweet tooth!  (Not so much for my waistband...  but I'll get back on the bandwagon post-holiday fun!  For now... no stress.  Pass the Godiva!)
Thanks to the absence of most of our evening activities, we’ve gotten to spend quite a lot of time with the big boys recently.  We’ve started letting them watch a few of the shows we record.  (Marvel Agents of Shield is a current family favorite.  And of course there are SO many fun holiday specials on TV!)  These relaxing evenings are a great excuse for some cuddling under blankets and some very funny conversations.  The other night we decided to torture the dogs by trying to get them to wear Santa hats.  It was very very funny…  unless you are Willow. 
I love coming home to the house all decorated every day.  I love the primitive Santa that hangs on our front door.  I love the 2 big reindeer and 4 little reindeer that graze in our front yard.  I love our misshapen tree with all the ornaments clumped on a few toddler-height branches.  I love, with all my heart, looking at those 6 stockings hanging from our mantel.  I love knowing that this is US.  This is our family.  This is what love is really all about. 
So today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things with you.  There are way too many options to choose just one picture.  I always say, when in doubt, make a collage!
This weekend we are looking forward to a visit from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Phyllis.  The weather is supposed to be unseasonably warm so we’re going to go DO something.  Not sure what yet…  maybe the zoo…  whatever it is, we will have fun!  I will not let December mid-60s go to waste!
By the time the next picture of the week email finds you all, Christmas 2013 will be history.  I hope that we will all still be a little giddy over the joy that I know is waiting when those 8 little feet come running down the stairs on Christmas morning.  I CAN NOT WAIT!
Merry Christmas!  May you all have a very blessed and happy week!  And may you recognize all your little moments and realize how very big life is!
The Bovenizers

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Picture of the Week - 12/12/2013

First - I want to send out a very Happy Birthday to Bob today!  So very glad he asked me to prom nearly 23 years ago!  He makes my life happy!!
Second - get ready to throw things at me!  I can take it!  My Christmas preparations are 95% done!  I am really really done buying things!  I have almost everything wrapped.  My packages have been shipped.  Cookies are 90% done.  Teacher gifts are ready.  I am READY!  And it feels awesome!
Now I can sit back and relax and enjoy all the craziness of the season - and the boys!  I am so excited about this Christmas.  I haven't been THIS excited for Christmas in a long time!  In additional to all the traditions (brunch at my sister's on Christmas Eve, new jammies for everyone to wear while waiting for Santa, cookie trays that make my mouth water just thinking about, etc.) we also have some extra fun things planned. 
My parents are staying at our place this year for Christmas Eve.  I *love* waking up with them there!  We are taking the boys to see Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts.  I may spend more time watching Zane and Beckett than the actual show.  I can't wait to see their faces!  And I have vowed to get *somewhere* to see lights - lots of lights!  We haven't decided where we want to go yet, but I am going to make this happen this year!  Any locals have suggestions?  We've considered Lake Lanier, Turner Field, Stone Mt, John's Creek, the Botanical Garden, and Hobgood Park.  Choices are awesome...  I just can't decide!  Stay tuned.
Tonight I'm taking Bob out for a birthday dinner at one of our favorite little places - which just happens to be connected to a microbrewery who just happens to be celebrating their 1 year anniversary with a few special beers.  Sometimes the universe just makes sense!  This weekend we get to celebrate December birthdays again at a restaurant that I've been wanting to try when we get together with my parents, sister and Bart for a grown-up dinner!  Yum! 
What fun things do you have planned for the next few weeks? 
I will end with a couple of funny stories courtesy of the boys. 
First Zane's funny - To set this up, remember that Zane is in imagination overdrive phase right now.  He's always playing with his action figures and has some epic storylines.  He regularly fights invisible bad guys all over the house.  He can entertain himself for a LONG time.  Pretty awesome!  On our tree we have a Mickey Mouse ears ornament.  It's pretty big, but definitely not life sized.  One of Zane's favorite things right now is to run around fighting his bad guys and then decide to go into stealth mode.  He drops to his knees, sticks his head under that Ear ornament, puts a goofy look on his face and starts talking in a voice that he firmly believes makes him sound like Mickey Mouse.  He immediately changes from Zane to Mickey - and the bad guys can NEVER find him!  Cracks me up every time!
And one from Spencer - To set this one up, you have to remember that Spencer has the driest, most sarcastic sense of humor you can possibly imagine.  He's funny.  Really funny.  Most of his humor goes straight over the heads of his peers.  Get the idea?  So the other day we had our Christmas Elf (who's name is Tyler) hanging from the light over the kitchen table.  This was one of the more obvious locations that Tyler has landed this year.  He was kind of right in our faces and impossible to ignore.  So Spence and I came into the kitchen from somewhere together.  We were chatting - I have no idea what the topic was - and all was normal.  Spence walked over to the table and said, in the most deadpan voice, "Hey Tyler, creepy as usual." and then just kept on chatting.  LOL  This still makes me laugh because Tyler IS creepy looking!!!
May you all have some fun as you finish up those To Do lists and kick up your feet with some hot tea (or something a bit stronger).  Enjoy these last 13 days before Christmas 2013!!  You will never get these days back!
Here's our annual Santa hat picture.  Another tradition that I love with all my heart! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Picture of the Week - 12/5/2013

Happy Birthday Berber!!
Goodness!  There are SO many things I love about this time of year!  We put up all our Christmas decorations last weekend after spending a lovely, quiet, restful Thanksgiving.  It was super-de-duper awesome to get to spend some extra time with my crazy kids and with Bob too.  Downtime with the whole family has been sparse over the last few months!
I loved Beckett's reaction to the tree this year.  He loves that tree!  He literally just sat and stared at it for a LONG time after it went up.  Then he decided to get into investigating.  He now finds it entertaining to take off all the bulbs (non-breakable ones that we put at toddler level) and throw them around.  (less than awesome).  He's also very very interested in pulling the strands of lights until he has enough cord to be able to grab a lightbulb and shine it around.  Pretty funny to watch, but the poor tree is suffering.  If he gets any more aggressive in this game it's not going to matter that we kept the breakables up high!
The big boys are counting down the days before their winter break.  They are down to 10 after today.  I love the fact that Spencer still wears a Santa hat around the house regularly.  I keep our Santa hats in an easy to reach basket right on the fireplace hearth.  They get a TON of use this time of year!  I think it's awesome that they remember and are anxious for some of our traditions.  I think it's even more awesome that they are so excited to watch the little guys enjoy the season.  Even things that they normally wouldn't be so interested in (like watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on TV) they energetically participate in because they know that their little brothers are watching their every move.  And it's a RACE every morning to see who can find our Elf.  Pretty sure Spencer is winning even though he's keeping things pretty close to the vest and letting the other boys point him out.  He wanders around the house with his eyes darting around until he spots that crazy elf, but very rarely mentions that he's been spotted. 
And Zane is just plain magical about all of this.  He's helped decorate the tree.  He points out Christmas lights.  He select holiday books to read at night.  He patiently poses for pictures.  He carefully chose his wish list item for Santa's lap.  He's asked questions about how reindeer fly and how Santa gets down the chimney.  He gets the wonder of the season in every possibly way.  And I am once again reminded of how lucky I am to have little boys around so I can really experience the magic of this season again. 
The holidays are so much fun - and this year is going to be the best yet!
Here's a picture of Beckett being ornery.  I love the picture, but it's from Bob's phone (of course) and the quality was pretty bad.  So...  I tried to "save" it by making it look old.  He still looks ornery.  :)
Also sharing a picture of Spencer with the trophy that his football team received when they won the Georgia D1 championship.  Tonight they are off to play the first game of the Born to Compete tournament, which pulls together the winners of all the travel leagues in the area.  We are going into the tournament as the #3 seed and playing the Georgia Thoroughbreds tonight.  If we win we play again on Saturday and the championship game is on Sunday.  Could be a pretty crazy football weekend!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Picture of the Week - 11/28/2013

Happy Thanksgiving!
I saw a quote on Facebook this morning that I just loved...
"It isn't happy people who are thankful, it's thankful people who are happy."  ~ Country Craft House
That quote sums things up nicely for me.  I have so very much to be thankful for that I can't imagine being any happier. 
I hope you all had a fantastic day!  We had a great time visiting with my parents and sister's family and enjoying the wonderful meal my mom put together.  It's always a crazy time when the cousins are all together. 

Tomorrow, we're going to put on some Christmas music and pull out the tree.  I can't wait.  Fun!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Picture of the Week - 11/21/2013

So...  are you guys tired of hearing me talk about football yet?  Too bad!  :)
We are still playing.  Yes, this is without a doubt the longest sports seasons we've ever been involved with.  The tryouts for this team were in April.  The team started practicing in July.  Early July.  And here it is the week before Thanksgiving and we're still practicing 3 times a week.  The biggest difference as the season goes on is that now the generators running the portable lights get cranked up even before practice starts!  Yep...  it's pretty serious!
And it's also pretty fun!
I could talk for hours about this year's football experience.  The goods and the not-so-much and the lessons learned.  It would be boring for everyone except Bob and my dad, so I will spare you most of those details.  What I will share is that the takeaways from this year go well beyond the (significant) improvement in football skills we've seen in Spencer.  And I will admit that this team has taught me a thing or too as well.
You might remember that I had a fear that Spencer, while easily one of the top players on every team he'd been on until this Paladins team, would struggle to keep up.  This has played itself out...  a bit.  This is a D1 team.  For anyone not familiar (and I know that's probably 98% of you out there), D1 is a step up (maybe two steps up...) from a recreational league.  That's why we travel.  The competition is better.  The coaching s BETTER.  The boys playing are more serious.  The skill set is better.  The whole thing is more...  intense.  And Spencer, while a good football player with excellent fundamentals, is not as good as the other kids on the team.  They are bigger* and faster and have played together longer. 
So Spence doesn't get much game time. 
And that is hard...  not gonna lie. 
We went through a few weeks as it became obvious that Spencer's game time was going to be extremely limited, questioning the decision to put him on this team.  The absolute last thing I wanted to do was to discourage him from wanting to play again.  This was a struggle for Bob and I - but as it turns out, it wasn't so much a struggle for Spencer.  He was having fun and learning every week.  He was making friends and enjoying being on a team that was winning.  It's fun to win.
As we approach the end of this season (still a few more weeks to go if we win on Saturday and get into the BIG Born to Compete State championship tournament) we've got a slightly new perspective.  And it's, frankly, a good lesson for lots of things in life.
Spencer is like Rudy.  And the quality of the starters on this team is raised when the bench is strong.  Spencer has gotten what we wanted out of this team.  Good coaching, quality instruction, and a very positive experience.  And he is learning that his job is to help his team win any way he can.  His job just doesn't happen to take place exclusively on Saturdays.  His real work happens 3 nights a week under the lights on a quiet practice field without fans.  His job doesn't come with glory.  He will never be named "player of the week". 
He's also learned that nothing in life is free.  That things you want will not be handed to you.  That if you want something, you need to work at it. 
After many discussions about what he wants to do next year, the jury is still out.  But there is one thing that's certain.  He WILL play football again.  He's having a blast and wants to keep going despite the sweltering summer practices and the frigid fall ones.  He wants to keep going even though his contributions this year have been limited to the scout team.  He wants to keep trying to win a starting position.  He wants to keep being a part of the team.  He wants to keep getting better because he knows that in the long run, that's what's important.  He's got his eye on a spot on the middle school team...  maybe high school.  He's not dwelling on what he's NOT getting to do this year.  He's focused on what he HAS gotten to do. 
And that, folks, makes me one proud mama!
This weekend we're heading to play the Atlanta Vikings for the second time this season in the league championship game.  The Vikings handed the Paladins their only loss of the season so this game is payback time.  The boys are traveling in the Pinecrest Paladins bus (how cool is that) while the parents tailgate from the burbs to downtown Atlanta in a line of decorated cars.  We will cheer our hearts out and win or lose consider this to be an exceptional season.  If the team wins, we will automatically get a spot in the Born to Compete championship tournament where we would play other league champions.  If we lose, we may still get an at large bid to that tourney.  This team is that good... 
So yes, this will go down as a 6 month football season for us!  (And also as one of our better parenting decisions.)  Go Paladins!!
*The fact that there are 8-10 kids on the team that are bigger than Spencer is somewhat comical given he just had his 11 year old check up and is above the 95% in height and weight.  It's just another reminder that these boys are the best in the area and will undoubtedly be playing football for years to come.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Picture of the Week - 11/14/2013

I get to have LOADS of fun several times a week.  (I am also very punny!)  The following is partly a rant and partly making fun of myself and partly a public service announcement.  It's also entirely about one of my least favorite things so it's very possible this will come across as a giant whine. 
I wanna talk about laundry.  (Fun huh!)  ((Also clothes in general and the bi-yearly seasonal clothes swap that I love so much.))  (((Please sense the extreme sarcasm!)))
There are some things that come with the territory when you become a "grown up".  It's expected that you will, at some point before you move away from home, figure out how to feed yourself and groom yourself.  You become the manager of your calendar and owner of your very own bank account.  You will, PLEASE, figure out how to trim your own nails and tame your own cowlicks.  And along with getting to decide if you want to wear jeans or sweatpants out of the house, you also get to learn how to do laundry. 
Laundry has never really bothered me.  It's one of those chores, much like doing dishes, that is never really done.  It doesn't matter how often I wash and fold and put away, there are always more dirty clothes.  The thing is, I never really thought about the exponential growth of the laundry pile when Bob and I were deciding to have kids.  We talked about moving the guest bedroom.  We talked about getting a safer/bigger car.  We talked about where to store the stock of diapers and how to manage changing schedules.  The thought never crossed my mind that adding a baby is adding more laundry.  Even after we'd been through it 3 times, it STILL didn't dawn on me as I waddled around during Beckett's pregnancy that I was adding ANOTHER pile of dirty clothes to the mix. 
Having a big family means many things.  Two of the things that no one will ever warn you about is the fact that you must have a refrigerator dedicated to gallons of milk and you will forever be up to your knees in laundry. 
I consider myself to be pretty organized.  (I will pause here while I allow my mom time to clean up the drink she just spit on the screen!)  Done?  OK, carrying on...  I am certainly not OCD about MOST things - and just about every closet and drawer in my house could use a good purge.  But my organizational style (stop laughing Berber!) works for us.  I usually know where things are.  We rarely miss events or important things at school or work.  I am usually on time with birthday gifts and stuff like that.  And I can get a crazy household ready and out the door to be on time to just about every activity or event we attend.  Even my laundry process works, for the most part.  Of course we lose socks and the boys sometimes have to wear a t-shirt to bed instead of pjs, but no one leaves the house dirty and they nearly always match.  It's good stuff. 
Until the season changes.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I hate (H.A.T.E) doing the seasonal clothes swap.  Hate it.  It's right up there with the *(#^&*$ time change.  And the fact that these two events regularly happen at the same time just cements them into my mind as things I can not stand.  I have to go through the whole "I can't believe he's too big for that" drama times 4 twice a year.  And it sucks.  And I am HORRIBLE at it!  I admit...  I'm terrible.  (Which is probably why I hate it so much...)
This year I have reached a new low.  After going through Zane's room and packing away all the things he's too big for (sob), I realized that he didn't have very many long sleeve shirts.  Around the same time it dawned on me that Quinn was regularly looking like he'd just come out of the flood and I knew* that he was going to need pants because he wasn't going to be wearing the hand-me-down husky pants from Spencer anytime soon.  So I went shopping.  I bought Z some stuff.  I bought Q some stuff.  And for good measure, I also bought some stuff for Spencer and maybe a shirt or two for Beckett.  Everyone should have some new stuff - right!
*remember that I suck at this...
A few weeks went by as we had a warm spell and everyone went back into t-shirts and shorts for a while.  And then the temps really dropped and I couldn't put off the inevitable any more.  So I set aside a day and started doing the Beckett clothes swap.  Imagine my surprise when I found an ENTIRE BIN of 4T shirts.  Huh...  so that's where they were!  Zane now has enough long sleeve shirts for 3 boys.  I'm embarrassed by his closet. 
In Beckett's room, I packed up summer things and pulled out bins and bins of winter stuff.  I dutifully sorted things to try to sell and things to give away and pitched anything that was stained or torn.  (It's amazing how beat up clothes get after going through 4 boys...  go figure!)  After I was done with Beck's room I had a very big problem on my hands.  He had more pants than I could fit into a drawer, but only had a handful of shirts.  I was missing an entire bin (at least) of 2T shirts.  We have searched the entire house...  can not find them.  I have no little undershirts for him.  I have very few play clothes.  It. Is. So. Weird!
I am terrible at this!
So I licked my wounds a bit and then tackled the big boys' closet.  Where I found, because of course I did, a whole stack of pants for Quinn to wear.  Hmmm...  maybe I'm not as organized as I thought I was.  I am only batting .250 on successfully swapping seasonal clothes for the boys.  Wonder if I can get sent down to the minor league...
Laundry related public service announcement - if you have made it this far, congratulations.  This has been a particularly rambly email...  I wanted to share that when it comes to certain items, some brands are CLEAR winners!  If you have any additions to my list, please share them!  I'm all for tried and true personal recommendations!
1. The best underwear = Fruit of the Loom  (I use Fruit of the Loom for Q and Hanes for S to help keep things separated and the Fruit holds up WAY better for both underwear and undershirts!)
2. The best socks = Gold toe (I get them at Target.  I love that they have stripes on the toes to help me separate sizes because all the boys wear gold toe socks.)
3. The best layering t-shirts/PJ shirts = Lands End Super Ts - these do NOT shrink, do NOT fade and are SO soft!  Worth the extra $
4. The best PJs = toss up between Children's Place and Disney.  They both hold up remarkably well through several kids!
5. The best knock-off Under Amour = BCG at Academy Sports.  It doesn't snag too badly and is about 1/3 the cost!
6. The best laundry aid = Shout Color Catchers - They really work and allow me to throw a load of mixed colors in every day (if I'm not feeling lazy!)
And one final non-laundry related (but potentially California specific) public service announcement - if you should find yourself in a situation where you have a rodent (let's say a raccoon for kicks) in your attic, it's perfectly reasonable to attempt to subdue the animal with a flashlight and a can of Lysol.  (Hi A. M.)
Have a great week everyone!  We have a SUPER busy weekend planned.  A visit to a local BBQ competition, a playoff football game (one and done...  and we're hoping for a win, I think...), a family football party, a visit to Christmas in Central Park (ha, the one in Cumming, not the *famous* one), and a family dinner with my parents and sister's family.  Phew!  So many fun things.  What a fabulous time of year!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Picture of the Week - 11/7/2013

Not much new here!  We are done with Lacrosse for another season and still plugging along with football.  We have 2 free weeknights a week now!  This is a significant improvement over zero!  :)  Spencer's team is entering their playoff bracket as the #1 seed, which means we have a bye this weekend.  I'm not sure what we'll do 2 whole days with nothing on the schedule!  The weather this weekend is supposed to be nice and sunny...  so maybe we can do some kind of fun fall family thing!  Stay tuned!
The little boys had their 2 year old and 4 year old checkups today.  They are both healthy and happy!  (Well Zane was not so very pleased with his round of immunizations...)  Surprisingly they are also both around the 75% in both height and weight.  We knew Beck was a little bulldozer, but hadn't realized how big Zane had gotten.  He grew 4 inches and put on 7 lbs in the last year.  Bob is starting to really chomp at the bit to get him onto a sport steam of some sort!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Picture of the Week - 10/31/2013

Happy Halloween everyone! 
We just got done Trick or Treating.  Had a great time!  I love my little Bovengers!
Hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Picture of the Week - 10/24/2013

Wow!  The weather really took a turn toward colder temperatures this week!  We've been busy pulling out long pants and jackets and hoodies like crazy!  I'm not complaining though (even though I really hate being cold) because I love fall!  Our leaves are starting to change colors, the boys like to cuddle up under a blanket with me and dunkin donuts has pumpkin donuts!  Perfect!
There are definitely things I will miss about this summer.  I fear I will never again get to experience (at least daily) chubby legs sticking out of toddler-sized shorts.  BOO!  I will miss those dimply little knees!  To make up for it, I'm going to make Beckett wear footie pajamas every day!  :)
I'll also miss the ease of running outside without shoes and coats.  We are in and out a MILLION times a day, so this extra 3 minutes worth of prep adds up quickly.  To make up for it, I bought the little boys new mittens.  And Beck's have tigers on them.  And he's so so so excited to wear his tiger mittens.  (PS - My kids STILL can't put on gloves to save their lives...  I think being born in the south has made them incapable of understanding that it's ONE FINGER PER HOLE!)
I will most certainly miss the longer days.  It's a drag to drive to work in the dark and return home in the dark.  Upside...  the boys have actually slept past 6am a couple of times now that the sun isn't waking them up.  That's a win!  (Don't even talk to me about the looming time change.  I hate time change with a burning passion!  Yes, even the "good" one in the fall...)
One thing that I won't miss as the weather turns to winter is our fall schedule.  I am looking forward to the end of lacrosse season just so we can have an occasional weeknight meal together without having to rush right back out the door.  We have one more weekend of lacrosse unless the team decides to participate in a post-season tournament.  Given the facts that 1) it's cold, 2) I'm tired, and 3) the team is 1 and ... a bunch, I'm hoping we can call it quits after this weekend.  Football on the other hand...  yeah...  we're still going and likely to play through the first weekend in December if the team plays up to their potential and wins the league playoffs.  For anyone who has forgotten, we started practice in July.  That's a long season...
So here's to caramel apples and pumpkin lattes and orange leaves.  Here's to a warm sweater and heated seats in the car.  Here's to hot chocolate after practice and, yes even, football playoffs.  And especially, here's to footie jammies!  If only we all looked so cute in footie jammies...
Next week I'll share our Halloween costumes for the year.  I'm super excited about them.  The cuteness nearly killed me during our trial run/fitting session!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Picture of the Week - 10/17/2013

Saturday is Beckett's 2nd birthday.  And I've been stressed out about this birthday email for weeks.  This time it wasn't putting together the collage that had me worried.  Beck is a natural in front of the camera and I would be hard pressed to find a bad picture of him.  The thing I'm struggling with is the words.  There are just no words that I will ever be able to string together to describe Bucky.  Words will simply not do him justice.
I stopped to think about how my mellow, laid back baby has changed into a crazy, full of life toddler over the last 12 months and I was filled with a combination of amazement and pride - and fear.  You think I'm kidding...  Beckett has done things (and now says) things that leave me slack jawed.  After 3 big brothers there shouldn't be anything a new child can do to shock us, but he does.  Time after time after time.  A few recent examples:
- I had to tell him the other day to stop using Willow's tail as a rudder
- We *still* have cabinet locks on every cabinet in the kitchen because he refuses to stay out of them
- After playing with Zane in the toyroom for a while, they both came out with blue specked teeth.  Bob asked Zane if he was chewing on a crayon, which he vehemently denied.  So Bob asked Beck the same question and he looked his dad in the eye, said "Yep" and grinned a devilish grin 
- There have been more than a few times we've had to race onto a football or lacrosse field this fall chasing after a streaking (luckily clothed) toddler
- He will not, however, no matter how much we yell at him, leave his shoes on in the car
- He. Does. Not. Sit. Still.  EVER
- He loves anyone who will talk to him and will give perfect strangers a high five or a hug or his friends
- There is no fear of anything in him.  He doesn't fear heights, being upside down, water, or loud noises.  And I'm not sure he feels pain.
Beckett thinks he's 4 years old.  Or maybe 6.  He has more confidence than the typical 2 year old and really believes that if his brothers are doing something, anything, then he can do it too.  He colors and runs.  He throws balls and plays with cars.  He sits on a big chair and uses a big fork.  He insists on squeezing out his own ketchup.  He is a mimic of everything he sees and hears.  He is a sponge!
One of the big changes in the last 6 months or so is Beckett's vocabulary.  He talks all the time.  Loudly.  And if he's saying something and you aren't listening, he will say it over and over and over again.  Bob and I have been blessed with early talkers and Beck is no exception.  He knows more words than I can count and uses them in sentences and paragraphs and stories.  He's very communicative.  I love listening to his take on certain words, like Bocker for Spencer and of course Bucky for Beckett.  He sings, which is the most adorable thing EVER.  He knows his ABCs and some numbers.  He will tell you what sound any animal makes.
Even with all the changes, he is still one of the happiest little dudes I have ever been around.  He always has always, from the time he could work his little cheek muscles, had a smile on his face.  You can wake him from a dead sleep and he will simply sit up and say "Hi!". 
I know I have mentioned this before, but God really knows what he's doing when he matches up squishy newborn babies with their parents.  He somehow knew that Bucky would take a special kind of family.  He's not for the faint of heart.  Without some prior "breaking in" he might just have broken us!  But in God's knowing way, Beck was the perfect fit for our family.  Our grand finale. 
I know we are going to have some very high highs and some potentially very low lows with Beckett this year.  I know he's going to hit the terrible 2/3's early because he has done everything early.  And given his ability to shock me, I'm sure some of the things we are about to encounter with sweet Bucky will be impressive.  But I also know that at the end of the day, he will wrap those chubby little arms around my neck and insist on a hug and a kiss.  And for all the times I look at that little brown-eyed, blonde-haired boy and shake my head in disbelief, I will thank God for sharing him with us.  For he is grand indeed!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Picture of the Week - 10/10/2013

We are fully into FALL down here and loving every minute of it.  The weather is so so so nice!  Bright and sunny and warm without humidity.  Beautiful.  October is my favorite month in Georgia and this one is not letting me down!
This past weekend we made the annual trip to Burt's Pumpkin Farm.  I love this tradition.  We've gone every year since Spencer was 1.  We've been there when it's been super hot and freezing cold.  Bob and I were reminiscing about the first time we took Zane.  It was so cold that we had him wrapped in multiple blankets inside a baby carrier inside my coat!  But he went!  This year we got there early before the crowds and the boys had a blast.  Beckett walked around like he owned the place.  Zane was super pleasant.  The big boys were cooperative and ultra-focused on finding just the right pumpkin for their jack-o-lantern.  We even got Berber and Pappy to go with us - the DAY before Berber's knee replacement. 
Speaking of Berber...  thanks so much for all the prayers and well-wishes.  She came through the surgery with flying colors and is now back home rehabbing.  Beck and I went to see her last night and she looks great!  
I used the colors of Spencer's football team in this year's pumpkin collage.  Partly because they are great fall colors, but partly because they have a HUGE HUGE HUGE game coming up this weekend.  I haven't been this excited about a youth football game in a LONG time.  We are playing a rival team from just down the road.  Both teams are undefeated and sit atop the league rankings.  Spencer's team is also ranked #4 in the state by the youth sports media organization, Born to Compete.  (The Born to Compete organization is a big deal down here!)  We recently found out that Born to Compete is going to make this game their "Game of the Week"!  The parents are organizing noise makers and signs and extra people to cheer.  I have obtained knight costumes for my little boys so they can root on the Paladins in style!  AND it's going to be 80 degrees and sunny.  Sounds pretty perfect!  Let's hope we can bring home a big win!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Picture of the Week - 10/3/2013

The name Zane means God is Gracious or God's Gift - depending on where you look.  When we were pregnant 4+ years ago, I looked up the name and was pleased that the meaning was something pleasant, but didn't really give it much thought.  I knew I wanted the name Zane.  I loved it from the first time I heard it a few years prior.  There was no doubt in my mind that if we were having a boy, his name would be Zane.  I liked the name because it is unique without being weird.  It is easy to pronounce and spell.  It is strong and sounds awesome with our last name.  I loved the beauty of the name Zane and really could have cared less what some website listed as the origin or meaning behind it.
And then we got to know this special little boy we named Zane.  As the years go by, we are getting to know more and more about who he is.  And he is strong and beautiful and unique. 
Zane celebrated his 4th birthday this past Sunday.  He spent the whole day telling all his brothers that he's a "big boy now".  He was so very proud.  I had this ongoing game I was playing with him prior to his big day.  I kept telling him that he wasn't allowed to have his birthday because I didn't want him to grow up.  The first time I told him that, he was pretty mad.  I had to explain to him that I didn't want him to grow up because I always wanted him to give me hugs and kisses and I always wanted him to love me.  Every time after that first explanation when I would tell him he wasn't allowed to grow up, he would giggle like crazy and then assure me that he would still love me when he grows up.  On Sunday, when he announced that he was now a big boy, he was also quick to reassure me that he did, indeed, still love me!  Phew!
I'll tell anyone who asks that my least favorite of the pre-school phases are the newborn phase (cuddly, but boring and hard) and 3 year olds (not cuddly, but hard and harder).  Zane did nothing to change my mind about either of those phases.
As the 3rd child (after a 5 and a half year break) he was a shock to the system as a newborn.  As a 3 year old he was a grey-hair inducing challenge!  He often had Bob and I questioning our parenting skills - and our sanity!  He didn't sleep through the night, didn't eat what we cooked, didn't want to do things on our timeline, and always always always wanted things the way HE wanted them.   
Zane has a way of getting what he wants - almost every time.  He's strong-willing and insistent and opinionated.  (Sounds lovely, doesn't it!)  Luckily for him, he's got a couple of big brothers (and maybe a couple of parents) who are pretty willing to bend to his will consistently.  While this has led to a bit of the spoiled (OK, I may be underemphasizing...) it has also resulted in a child who is self-assured and confident.  He's a little leader.  He can almost instantaneously read a room and know how to work it.  I can see a very successful future as a suave salesman in his future.  His pre-K teacher has admitted that she's nearly incapable of disciplining him because when he's doing something bad and she brings it to his attention he always turns on the charm and shoots her a lady-killer grin.  She told us that he's "so darn cute that I usually have to turn my head to keep him from seeing me smiling."  Yeah...  I totally get what she means.
I don't know if it's the messy mop of blonde curls he has atop his head or those striking blue-grey eyes, but I'm constantly catching myself thinking "my goodness, he's a beautiful child".  I know that sounds conceited or braggy or at least one of those things that all moms say, but for me...  it's just Zane.  I love my other boys and would stand Beckett up toe to toe with anyone in a cuteness contest, but Zane...  Zane is our pretty child.  
The interesting thing about raising a pretty boy with 3 other brothers is that I don't think he knows how pretty he is.  In his mind, he's one of the gang.  So he runs and plays and sweats and gets dirty.  He is more coordinated than a newly 4 year old should be.  He has been exposed to sports since before could walk and knows his way around every single one of our local parks and playgrounds.  He loves to be outside and is itching to get to do all the things he watches Spencer and Quinn do.  I know we've mentioned it before, but it's going to be so VERY much fun to watch this child don a uniform and start playing sports. 
One of the other things that makes Zane special and different is his imagination.  I think the reward for surviving a 3 year old is getting to witness the 4 year old on the other side.  He has really come out of the hard tantrum-filled days and started the blossom that I know from experience will continue for the next couple of years.  He's like a sponge...  He notices everything.  He remembers everything.  He's starting to write and can spell his name.  He knows the name of our street.  And his imagination...  wow!  He has the benefit of being surrounded by ready playmates nearly 24x7, but he's also perfectly happy to play alone with some action figures or cars or plastic animals.  He makes up stories and acts out all kinds of dramas.  He's so very comfortable in his own skin and mind that he can easily slip in and out of the real world.  I love to watch him play.  He's fascinating!
I know that the hardest part of Zane's young childhood is over.  I know that the next couple of years are probably the easiest ones we will have with him.  I know, thanks to his big brothers, that he will be compliant and eager to please.  He will want to learn and will not yet be afraid of trying new things.  I know that he will still be young enough to want to hug and cuddle, but old enough to start taking some of the care-taking burdens on himself.  I fully expect to enjoy this child in every way imaginable because I know how quickly this magical stage passes.  Before long he will be a smelly tweener with interests that are not nearly as mom/home centric.  So while I have his attention, I intend to soak in as much Zane as I can.
And every day I will thank God for his Gracious Gift.  I don't know what we did to deserve Zane, but I will forever be thankful to be his mom.  Here's to a fantastic year of being FOUR!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Picture of the Week - 9/26/2013

Tomorrow is Spencer's 11th birthday. 
For some reason the cusp of 11 feels more monumental than the eve of 10.  I think this is a little weird...  we've been in double digits for 364 days.  What's so special about 11? 
I think for me it's a combination of things.  One is the fact that he's in 5th grade now.  I distinctly remember 5th grade.  It was a big deal.  Maybe Spencer's 5th grade experience isn't quite as dramatic as mine was.  He's still in the elementary school - and didn't have to move "up to the top of the hill" to a new school.  But still...  5th grade is when I started to take note of boys, made some deep and lasting friendships and really started to figure out who I was and what I was interested in.  I can't help but assume that Spencer will have some of these very same things happen to him this year. 
And as thrilled as I am to watch, I am equally horrified by the prospect that he's growing up - very quickly.
The things that Spence is doing, both in school and out of school, these days fill me with pride.  He's a good kid.  Not a perfect kid, but he's solid - in just about every way I can imagine. 
Spencer has always been bright and what I've figured out with this first born of ours is that the farther he moves into his academic career, the more distance he's putting between his abilities and those of some of the others in his peer group.  I credit the programs that are offered by his school.  And I consider him very lucky to be able to participate.  He's been involved with the gifted program, Horizons, for several years now.  And some of the things they do are just SO cool.  Last night he was spouting off a bunch of geographical facts that I sure didn't know.  He said he's getting interested in geography because that's what Horizons is focused on right now.  Pretty neat that they are able to tap into interests that would likely otherwise go unfound.  A new thing for him this year is advanced content classes.  Spence is doing AC for both math and ELA.  What that means is that he's given opportunities to push himself along with a bunch of other similarly abled students.  It's tough, but also (I believe) more interesting for him than a more regularly paced class.  The teachers have more time to do fun and interesting things because they rarely need to cover new information more than once.  These classes are doing things like individual research on the Civil War and following a Fantasy Football team.  Schoolwork is integrated with homework and activities all kind of bleed together.  I think it's like the 5th grade version of Kindergarten - where the kids are learning and don't even realize it because they are having so much fun.
The other major time commitment (which you are all painfully aware of from reading every week) that Bovy has tackled, literally, is sports.  This season it's football.  In the spring it will be lacrosse.  I can't tell you how much I love the fact that the boys are involved in sports.  It's not always easy, but the lessons they are learning are so important.  Teamwork.  Practice.  Hard work.  How to handle victory - and defeat.  Rejection and Disappointment.  Pride without being conceited.  Yes, I'm sure we could figure out another way to get some of these fundamentals.  Maybe scouts or other academic teams or some other hobby, but for us, sports is a valuable learning tool.  Watching Spencer play is something that could be very frustrating.  He's not a super star.  He will likely never be a super star.  He isn't the fastest.  He's no longer the biggest.  He isn't, yet, willing to put in the extra time needed to raise to the top of the proverbial batting order.  But you know what, despite all of that he NEVER gives up.  And that is maybe the most important life-lesson I could hope for him to learn.  I like this story...  at the end of every practice the football team runs.  I'm not talking about a lap...  they run sprints - and a LOT of them.  Spencer isn't a runner.  He hates running.  So when they start the first sprint, he is almost always last to finish.  Then they go again.  And again.  And again.  And sure enough, each time they run Spencer finishes ahead of another boy.  By the end of their sprints there are usually 4 or 5 boys who are finishing behind him.  He's not fast, but he is steady.  And he never gives up.  I'm pretty sure that lesson will serve him well regardless of the tasks he tackles over the course of his life.
The final piece of the Spencer puzzle is the time he spends at home.  As our oldest, he has had to teach Bob and I how to parent.  It's pretty hard to imagine an easier introduction for us.  He's not a troublemaker.  He listens.  He hates to break rules.  He likes to talk back, but rarely rebels.  He has paved the way for his brothers in just about every way possible.  Spencer has always been a fantastic big brother.  I really couldn't ask for anything more from him in this role.  He's a playmate for Quinn.  He's kind and gentle with Zane and Beckett.  He's still willing to roll around on the ground wrestling and playing.  He has also stepped, willingly, into the role of protector.  We talk about this often.  I want him (actually all the boys) to know that we expect him to protect anything smaller than himself.  That means he needs to look out for his little brothers, the dogs, the younger kids on the bus, etc.  Someday I expect them to be protective of the other females in their lives.  Spencer is growing into this role beautifully.  I can sometimes catch glimpses of the man he's going to be (the husband, the father, the leader) and my heart just about bursts. 
As much as I'd like to clasp my hands over my eyes and avoid the blatant truth that my oldest baby is growing up, I will resist.  I will watch with wide eyes.  I will try to guide, while staying out of the way as much as possible.  I will thrill at his successes and cringe at his defeats.  I will strive to always be supportive and help to guide Spencer to be the very best man he can be.  And I really feel like this year - this 11th year - is going to be GREAT!
Tomorrow we are letting Spencer stay home, as we usually do for birthdays, and we are going to enjoy a beautiful day in the North Georgia Mountains.  We are going on a North Georgia Canopy tour.  Bob and Spencer and I will be going zip lining and rappelling and sky hiking.  I'm so excited to spend a day like that with him!
And I can't end without mentioning that Sunday is Zane's birthday too!  I will save my Zane birthday collage for next week.  He's so excited to be turning 4.  We are taking cupcakes for his friends at school and having a little family birthday celebration for both boys on Sunday.  Fun!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Picture of the Week - 9/19/2013

We are entering the birthday zone!  We have 3 birthdays in the next 4 weeks...  ouch!  I am in utter denial that my boys are all growing up so fast.  The birthday zone is making me feel old!
Before I start putting together birthday collages (which always make me feel a little nostalgic), I thought I'd share this picture of Quinn.  He and I were goofing around one day last week at football practice.  That child makes me happy - simple as that! 
This weekend we get to keep the family together for both lacrosse and football.  I love when our schedule allows us to do it all without having to divide and conquer!  Have a great weekend everyone - and happy Fall y'all!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Picture of the Week - 9/12/2013

I worked from home yesterday.  Which really isn't news worthy.  I don't work from home regularly, but it does happen from time to time.  In hindsight, it was a pretty well-timed (albeit completely coincidental) work from home day. 
I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  No reason really.  And when I stop to think about all of the other people going through legitimate issues, I'm a little embarrassed to even admit that sometimes I get into a funk.  (Tell me this happens to everyone...  right???)  We have a busy schedule and sometimes the days run together and there never seems to be enough time to do anything the way I'd like to do it.  From time to time, it feels like we're just getting by. Throw in a week of nasty head colds and annoying coughing and screwed up sleep and I end up in a funk. 
And then something, usually something completely random, reminds me that I am blessed and I need to get over myself and be thankful. 
And I am!
Yesterday I worked from home because Bob had to go into the office and someone needed to cover afterschool and a vet appointment.  And spending a day alone in my quiet house was just what I needed.  And the fact that it was also the 12th anniversary of 9/11 was like a sign from God.  Things happen for a reason.  Timing is not chance. 
I took the dogs outside after lunch and I took a break from work and the computer. I sat in the sun.  For 10 minutes or so, I had nothing to do and no distractions.  I sat and I enjoyed my little spot on the earth.  I scratched a couple of dog heads.  And I thought about all the reasons I should be grateful.  I have health and a happy marriage and a handful of very marvelous kids.  I have a good job and a comfortable life.  We have friends and family who care about us and are always there to help.  My little backyard, with the grass that needs cut and the overgrown shrubs and the fence that could really use some paint, was the perfect reminder for me.  The warm sun and a comfortable chair were bonus. 
Next time I get in a funk maybe I'll schedule a preemptive work from home day. 
This weekend we are looking forward to a visit from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Phyllis.  We've got our first lacrosse game and another football game.  And the weather is forecasted to be decidedly UN-FUNK worthy!  Enjoy it!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Picture of the Week - 9/5/2013

Two pictures for you this week - and not very many words. 
Bob and I are still in the recovery period from head colds that wrecked our long weekend.  Sad...  I had hopes for 3 days with no plans...  alas, most of the weekend was spent trying to survive the boys. 
Things are looking up now though!  Today we have decent weather and a lacrosse practice on the NEWLY turfed field.  I love lacrosse practices because even though they start at a very difficult (for anyone with a job) time of 5:30, they are over by 7.  That means we can load up little boys and dogs and spend an evening together.  (As opposed to football nights where we have to divide and conquer so the little dudes can get to bed on time.) 
We also have our first regular season football game this weekend.  I'm excited and nervous and very anxious to see how things go.  Spencer has been having a good time with this team - and has already learned a TON.  I think he's going to get to start - or at least get some serious playing time - but they move kids (and especially Spencer) around during practice so much that it's kind of hard to tell.  I think he's starting D line and back-up O line, but who knows... 
Speaking of football...  lots of you probably already saw the picture I took of the boys doing O-H-I-O.  I sense a new football season tradition in the making...  I wanted to share it here for anyone not on Facebook. 
Here's a new picture of Ozzie and Willow too.  Oz has now lost almost all his baby teeth (thank goodness!) and has started to mellow.  We're working on training with him and he's starting to be less of a pain... slowly!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Picture of the Week - 8/29/2013

I'm feeling a little brain dead today!  Just finished a couple of days of sales meetings - including presentations and the need to drive inside the perimeter - gasp!  I'm tired! 
What a FINE time for a long weekend!  (Funny how life works out that way, isn't it?)
Last night I took Zane with me to Quinn's lacrosse practice.  I decided to take my camera.  My intention had been to get some pictures of Quinn playing, but we were on a weird field and there wasn't a good place to stand and we couldn't really see very well and there just happened to be 2 other boys wearing nearly the identical grey & orange shorts and ...  excuses.  I only took one picture of Quinn.  And it was pretty bad.  BOO! 
I figured that while I had Z to myself, I should try to get a few new pictures of him.  Partly because I felt the need to use the camera hanging off my shoulder and partly because I love the way his eyes look in the shirt he happened to be wearing.  (Aside...  without this weekly email, I never would have even grabbed the camera.  Pressure to have something to share every week is sometimes a good thing!  So thanks for reading!)  The results are some of my favorite recent pictures of Zane.  I don't know what it is about his eyes...  maybe it's because I'm used to looking into my own brown eyes and the brown eyes of nearly everyone else around me.  I'm fascinated by blue eyes in general - and by Zane's special blue-grey version in particular!  (BTW - the picture on the right is from right when we arrived.  The others are after running around and sweating!  That boy sweats a TON - just like his biggest brother!)
Have a happy and restful Labor Day weekend!  We actually have a quiet few days.  We're planning on some yard work, some college football, some beer, and some fun times with the boys!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Picture of the Week - 8/22/2013

I know you guys all think we are raising 4 boys.  You are all wrong. 
We are raising 3 boys and a Bucky!
It is clear that 1) God knows what he's doing when matching up kids and parents and 2) he's got a good sense of humor because Beckett is not for the weak of heart.  Our 4th boy is a handful... and a half!  I'm sure God saw Bob and I with all our boy-raising confidence and got a chuckle out of the fact that he was still able to teach us a thing or two!  If Beck had been a first born, it's very possible he'd be an only child.  But as fate has it, he's the very best youngest Bovy boy we could ever ask for!
The biggest "issue"* with Beck is that he doesn't recognize the fact that he's not even 2.  He thinks he's 4 - or maybe 6.  He does stuff that the big boys do without a second thought.  He has a bad case of "I wanna be like you-oooo-oooh".  Somehow he skipped from a sweet, laid back, calm, go-with-the-flow infant all the way to a crazy BOY.  He has no concept of the idea of a timid toddler!  He refuses to be baby'd.  He's a BOY! 
* - I call this an issue, but it's really not...  I love the fact that he's confident and outgoing!
There have been several things happen recently that have made me stop as abruptly as a 2x4 to the forehead.  Things he's done or said or even a look he's thrown my way that have made me realize that he's really not a baby any more. 
  • We have totally given up on highchairs in restaurants.  It's not worth the fight to get him into one and he is quite adept at getting back out of it anyway. Similarly, when placed into a car seat he can somehow manage to get both arms out of the straps (no matter how tightly we strap him down) AND I can't remember the last time he made it through a car seat ride with both shoes on.  The first thing he does is strip off a shoe or two AND the accompanying socks.
  • Speaking of food, we had grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner the other day and Bucky ate his soup with a spoon and hardly spilled a drop.  I was totally impressed!  I happened to mention to Zane, who was also going to town on tomato soup (which I, frankly, find a little odd...) that if he was careful he could pick up his bowl and drink it.  Zane didn't take me up on the suggestion, but as I turned my head I saw that Beck had his bowl between his chubby little palms and was about to take a "dink".  I said "not you!" and he just laughed at me, maniacally, and continued drinking from his soup bowl as if he were 12 years old.  Anyone who has heard his maniacal laugh knows just what I'm talking about!  Until Beck I'd never heard a small child with an evil-villain worthy laugh!
  • My nephew, Cooper, had a birthday party last weekend.  This was a party for his friends and he is in Kindergarten so most of the kids there were 5ish or older.  There were a couple of younger kids there, but not many.  Bucky was in the middle of everything.  He wanted to do everything the big kids were doing.  And he got totally pissed when the organizers wouldn't let him have a turn on the rope swing!  My favorite memory of the afternoon was watching him stand in line with 20+ other kids listening to the instructions the party coordinator was giving the group.  At the end, as she was about to let the party into the next party room, she asked if they were excited.  My youngest, literally jumped up and down with glee.  So cute.
  • It's not all fun and games when you have a toddler with 3 big brothers.  I think it's safe to say that Beck is tougher with other kids than, say, a first born who has no need to "fight" for attention - or toys - or food.  Throw in Beckett's need to protect himself from a couple of dogs and you have one rough and tumble kid who's definitely not afraid to stand up for himself.  We picked him up from school the other day and had to sign 3 different incident reports.  Seems sweet little Beck was in a biting mood and bit 3 kids that day.  (I feel the need to point out that this is the first time he's bit someone AND the regular teachers weren't in the room that day to help manage all the toddler drama.)  Reports were hurriedly signed and we hustled out of the school.  Upon further inspection when we got home, it was hard to get too upset...  he bit one kid for trying to take away a toy he was playing with first.  The second got it for climbing on him.  And #3 was dumb enough to try to take food away from him. 
  • The last time we visited one of our favorite restaurants (mostly because they are attached to a lovely little microbrewery) we got to sit outside.  There are many reasons this is a little odd, not the least of which is that it was August in Hotlanta, but I refuse to dwell on the craptastic weather we have had this summer.  Anyway...  outside this little place they have a few tables.  Along the tables there is a sidewalk with a raised, concrete, knee wall and beside the little wall is a railing.  This wall is a favorite for smallish kids to walk on.  It gives me heart failure...  On this particular visit Bucky repeatedly pulled himself up onto this wall, grabbed hold of the railing and jumped.  (For anyone unclear, he's not tall enough to reach the ground when hanging from the railing.)  DARE DEVIL.  He would get up, grab the railing, jump off and swing back and forth before dropping to the ground to start all over.  He giggled the entire time.  (I mentally reviewed our surrounding for items that could work in a first aid situation.)  If you are at all the squeamish type, never take Beckett to a playground!
  • And he's NOT shy.  We have been taking Ozzie to a local dog park.  It's really fun to let him off leash and watch him run!  He can really fly!  The last time we went it was a family affair - we even took Willow!  Beckett decided that playing in the water fountain they have set up for the dogs was the best thing ever.  He got to chat with all the other dog owners.  He got to get soaking wet.  And he got to spend time away from parental supervision (we could still see him...  most of the time) while interacting with all the thirsty dogs.  And there was mud!  Lots and lots of mud!  It may have been his best day ever.
So the name Bucky...  I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but Beckett says his own name as "Bucky".  As an aside, I LOVE listening to him talk right now.  I love the way he mispronounces stuff - like he calls Spencer "Bocker".  I really need to record him talking.  I never did that with any of the other boys and I regret that!  (By the way, he can say the T sound and the S sound in other words, so I am not worried about his speech and for now I'm just loving the way he talks!) 
The name Bucky has kind of stuck.  Zane calls him "my Bucky".  My dad loves the name Bucky and is convinced that it's going to stick around like Bovy has stuck to Spencer.  I have to admit that when reviewing different names and trying to imagine nicknames that might come out, we never thought Beck would end up getting called Bucky.  I will also share that I have *specifically* ruled out using the name Buck or Buckeye several times for any dog names because of the obvious rhymes that could result.  And yet, here we are with a CHILD who we willingly call Bucky - and Buck - and even Bucket.  What can I say...  it just fits him!
Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob's sister this week as she is going through a very rough time.  Hang in there Karen!  Much love coming your way from Georgia.