Thursday, July 25, 2013

Picture of the Week - 7/25/2013

Sending out a special Happy Birthday to my dad today!  :)
Can you guys believe that July is almost over?  Between all the rain and the lack of sweltering temps, it's hardly felt like summer at all.  Boo!
The boys go back to school 2 weeks from today.  Between now and then we will try to squeeze in some last minute fun for them!  Bob has a few (OK, more than a few) more vacation days than I do so he's working on plans for one-on-one days with all the boys.  He and Zane had a fun day at the Georgia Aquarium this week.  Zane was so excited to get the "only child" treatment!  He wanted to buy gifts for all his brothers at the gift shop and told me all about all the cool stuff he got to see.  He was "very interested" in the jellyfish and the whale sharks and had a great time with the Otters.  Spencer's special day is going to involve 6 flags and roller coasters.  Quinn has chosen a more tame approach to a day with dad and will be doing the movie/bowling thing.  I'm jealous...
In addition to all these last minute special days for the boys, we're also enjoying the start of a new football season.  This year (as I've mentioned before) we chose a different program so Spencer will not be a Wolverine this year.  He's now a Forsyth Paladin.  We're 2 and a half weeks into this season with the team and we continue to be impressed.  The competition is SOOO much better.  The coaching is SOOO much better.  The schedule is SOOO much fuller.  Spencer is NOT able to just show up anymore.  He's going to have to work to play on this team.  He's definitely going to be on the line.  We're thinking Defense, but that could change.  We're not sure if he will start or not - and honestly that doesn't really matter.  I just want him to have fun and to learn to work hard.  So far, he's done just that!  Last night they actually practiced with the sleds.  Another first...  (If it's any indication to the quality and size of this team...  Spence, at 95% for height and weight for kids his age, is about the 4th or 5th tallest kid on the team and there are probably at least 6 or 7 who are heavier.)
Next Friday we'll be traveling to Knoxville for a pre-season tournament.  They will play at least 3 games, maybe 4, on Saturday and Sunday.  Spencer is mostly excited about staying in a hotel room and stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way.  Good to keep things in perspective!
I'm sending a couple of pictures today.  Most of you probably saw the one with all the grands and my parents on Facebook.  I love this picture.  I also thought I'd send along a new picture of Ozzie and Willow.  Oz is a nutball!  They are super entertaining together.  Good times!!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Picture of the Week - 7/18/2013

So we have a coat tree.  We've had it forever.  I don't actually remember when we got it or who got it for us or if we bought it ourselves.  I'm fairly positive we moved it to Georgia.  And I'm fairly sure that it's Amish.  It's been used in our foyer, in a closet, in the basement, etc.  It gets a TON of use because I rarely clear the stuff off it and with 6 people throwing (yes, throwing) coats and jackets and such in the general direction of the coat tree, it's typically overloaded.  I wouldn't say I *love* the coat tree, but it's definitely been a useful piece of furniture for some undetermined, but lengthy, period of time.
That is until Wreck It Beckett came along.  Somehow within months of that child becoming mobile our coat tree, hence undamaged through 3 other boys and years of use, was broken.  Even more amazing was that somehow he managed to pull that thing over and break 2 of the hooks without injuring himself.  He's an impressive child!
So we've been using the crippled coat tree for months.  It was actually kind of ridiculous to see how we attempted to balance a family's worth of crap on 2 hooks (and of course the ever-so-classy solution of just throwing stuff over the top.)  Bob and I decided we should fix the thing up before fall coat season.  So I hit up ebay and bought some new hooks.  I got all fancy and decided to buy 8 hooks instead of 4 so we could install some child-level hooks in an attempt to make Z and B a bit more independent.  (I'll let you know how that goes...)  The hooks I bought were black - mostly because they were significantly less expensive than the pretty nickel coated ones I really wanted.  Maybe someday we will upgrade our coat tree hooks, but for now cheap is good. 
Bob came up with the idea of painting the tree black.  It is oak and, while a beautiful wood, didn't really match anything in our current house.  So I agreed and we bought a can of black spray paint.  We are super fancy, y'all!
At some point on Sunday Bob took the tree into the backyard and painted it black.  Honestly, I didn't think anything of it.  This had turned into his project and I was busy doing other stuff.  Later in the day, after kids and dogs had been in and out of both front and back doors about a million times, Zane asked if he could take Ozzie downstairs.  We said yes, but asked him to let Oz outside when he got down there.  We went on with our business.
10 minutes later Zane came RUNNING into the room.  He exclaimed, "DAD!  There's an X in the backyard!!!"  We heard him, acknowledged, but didn't really comment.  He went on excitedly, undeterred by our lack of enthusiasm, "It's a BLACK X!"  This time we looked at him with a somewhat confused look on our face while thinking "yeah...  ok...  your point...", but saying nothing.  So Zane then got to the point, while doing the little dance he does when he's really amped up about something.  Arms shaking, doing little hops, he asked, "Do you think we should go do some digging?!?!?"
We then burst out laughing.
Zane, bless his little innocent heart, thought that a black X in the middle of the backyard must certainly have been placed there as an indication of buried treasure. 
Have I mentioned lately how much I love being a mom?  :)
May you all find some treasure in your backyard this week.  Just look for the X!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Picture of the Week - 7/11/2013

I've officially reached my tipping point. 
Yep.  I've gone over the edge.  It's true that I've slipped off this little edge plenty of times in the past, but this time, I'm pretty sure there's no recovery. 
I have reached the point of mental chaos where I am no longer able to call any of the living things in my house by their correct name without first going through a list of 3-4 wrong names. 
I blame Ozzie.  Or Beckett.  Or the awesomely crazy combination of moving limbs and paws and voices that I affectionately refer to as my family.  It's their fault.
What used to be a rare slip up of calling for Zane when I really meant Quinn,
or maybe, gasp, mixing up a boy name with a *dog* name, 
or going so brain dead that I was unable to form any coherent words out of my mouth - usually while trying to spit out something important, like, say, car coming "get outta the street!"
has now turned into such a common occurrence that I may just give up and choose some nickname that would work across the board. 
Think the boys would have a problem with me calling them all "dude" for the rest of their lives?  Would that confuse the puppy?
Here's a cute picture I made them all pose for on the 4th of July.  It's kind of rare to have a moment of stillness.  Not often that there's not someone pushing another or biting (both kids and dogs) or pouting or hiding out in the basement or making funny faces or laughing hysterically.  It's these kind of rare moments captured with LUCK (and a quick trigger finger) that make me feel like it's OK to have slipped into the world of "hey you".  It's OK to have blown past my tipping point.  I welcome the fullness that this crazy crew jams into my brain that causes silly little things like names to get pushed to the side.  I'll take the fun and the loud and the crazy over correct (and consistent) ((and timely)) proper names any day.
How 'bout you, Dude???
PS - Speaking of names...  Beckett has started talking up a storm lately.  One of the best words he has right now is his very own name.  He often refers to himself as "Bucky", especially when he's in a hurry and can't be bothered with that pesky ending-T sound.  And you know what, we ADORE the fact that he's calling himself Bucky so much that the whole family is now calling him Bucky.  Not sure if this one will stick, but for now we are having lots of fun with it! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Picture of the Week - 7/4/2013

Happy 4th of July!!
And a very Happy Birthday to my sister!
I hope you guys don't mind if I take a minute this week to send the most heartfelt thank you I can muster to my parents.  Those of you who know my mom and dad (and that's most of you reading this), know that they are pretty awesome.  They are regularly doing stuff for us and, more importantly, with us that makes me feel so very blessed.  The most recent thing...  takes the cake.
You all know that they went away with Spencer on a trip and got back this time last week.  What you might not realize is the whole "back story".  You see, several years ago they came up with this crazy idea to do something special for each of their "grands".  They decided that on or around the 10th birthday each of the kids would get to go on a trip with Berber and Pappy.  A trip of the child's choosing.  A trip that matched the interests and individual desires of each of the kids.  A trip without parents.  Without siblings.  A chance to be the center of attention.  This trip, in other words, was a chance for each of the grandkids to feel special. 
When we first started talking about this wild idea, I thought it was brilliant.  10 year olds are pretty awesome.  They can tie their own shoes and feed themselves.  They have a sense of humor.  They have a personality.  This is WAY different than traveling with a preschooler.  (Way easier!)  And 10 is not yet (at least in my limited experience) to the point where they would rather be with friends than family.  10 isn't 16.  10 year olds still have an ability to revert back to wanting to be taken care of like a little kid (from time to time) and don't mind hanging out with the family (provided something cool is going on).  10 years olds are old enough to remember these trips for the rest of their lives.
These 10 year old trips are, in my opinion, one of the best ideas EVER!
Spencer happens to be the oldest of the grands on my side.  So he got to go through the whole process of choosing a trip - and then taking it - first.  And boy oh boy, this trip did not disappoint!  He worked within some guiderails (no European extravaganzas) and chose a Tauck Bridges tour called Cowboy Country.  They went to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Cody, and Mt. Rushmore.  They stayed in lodges and on ranches.  They fished and hiked and went horseback riding.  They saw bear and buffalo and bald eagles and a fox and some moose.  They learned about the geology and the wildlife and the history of the area.  They ate game and tried new foods.  They rode on airplanes and busses and river rafts.  They met people from all over the country and made new friends. 
I got a chance to relive all of this through some very beautiful pictures of some very beautiful country. 
And more interestingly, I have gotten to hear all about this trip from Spencer.  Not in a sit-down-and-spill-all-details-of-the-trip-at-once way.  That's not Spencer's style.  Instead, he has talked about this trip off and on for more than a week.  It's fascinating to hear about the things that HE found fascinating.  It's very revealing to see this trip through his memory.  And what I've seen through his stories makes me more thankful that he had this opportunity than I have been for anything in a very long time.  This was a very special trip for him.  Maybe the trip of a lifetime.
And not just because of the awesome scenery or the friendship he made with a boy from Texas.  This was a chance that he would never have gotten, under any other circumstances I can fathom, to bond with my parents.  He spent 8 days building relationships with two of the most important people in my life.  These relationships will be the thing that outlives the memories of huckleberry pancakes and steaming geysers.  These special bonds that he built are the reason I am so very thankful that my parents came up with this wild and crazy idea for 10 year old trips all those years ago.  These bonds are truly priceless.  And if you don't believe me, I will share a little thing that I witnessed the other day while having dinner with my parents at our house.  My dad was at the head of the table and Spence sat beside him.  At one point I looked over to see Spencer's finger hooked around my dad's finger on the table.  Spencer - the guy who no longer lets me give him kisses goodbye and really shows very little emotion on a regular basis - practically holding hands with my dad - the guy who never shows emotion.  I just about burst into tears right then and there.
And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has realized just how special this trip was.  The night that Spencer returned home was pretty chaotic.  Quinn (and Ozzie) ran to the car to greet him.  Zane wrapped around a leg.  Beck launched himself at Spence as soon as he sat down.  There were lots of hugs and laughs as Spencer and my parents shared some highlights of their time away.  We emptied his suitcase so he could distribute the little gifts he had brought home for his brothers and show me his souvenirs.  It was all fun and games and laughs - until it was time to go to sleep.  As the house quieted down, Spencer started crying.  He cried and cried.  Big tear rolling down his face as his bottom lip trembled and he visibly tried to pull himself together.  Around the lump in my own throat, I attempted to soothe him and figure out what was wrong.  It turns out that he was, quite simply, sad that the trip was over.  His time away was THAT much fun and meant THAT much to him.  It WAS the trip of a lifetime.  He was sad that it was over. 
So I want to say thank you to my parents.  Thank you for taking the time and effort out of your busy lives to do this trip.  Thank you for making it so much fun.  Thank you for giving my Spencer memories that will last a lifetime.  Thank you for being you!  I love you!
(now rest up...  cause Quinn's cruise is a short 8 months away and that child will keep you hopping!)
 Have a very safe and Happy 4th everyone!