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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Picture of the Week - 8/15/2013

How did another Thursday get here so fast?  And how in the world is it possibly the middle of August.  Time...  it does fly!
I don't really have much to write about today.  Things with all the boys are all pretty much status quo. One new thing for the week is lacrosse.  Quinn had his evals last night and we're so excited for the season to start.  There are 2 teams of U11 boys this fall and we've finally been around the program long enough to know all the coaches.  Honestly either team would be awesome.  One team is coached by the Program Director for the boys lax program and the other was one of Spencer's (awesome) coaches from the spring.  It's a rare little league win/win situation!
I saw a lovely picture on Facebook of a good friend of mine with her son celebrating back to school this past week.  (Hi Steph!)  I was kind of shocked to see how big her son, who is 1 day younger than Spencer, looked while standing next to his mom.  When you don't see someone for a long time it's easy to lose track - and perspective.  It dawned on me that it's probably likely that the same thing has happened with me and my very own big boy.  I hardly ever get in front of the camera, but I wanted to get a picture of me with Spencer.  Here we are...  and yes...  he will absolutely be bigger than me in the very near future.  He gets the biggest kick out of that.  Where did the last *nearly* 11 years go!!!
Have a great week everyone!  We'll be celebrating another RAINY Saturday, my nephew Cooper's birthday, and our last football scrimmage before the season starts.  Make it a good one!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Picture of the Week - 8/8/2013

Today is Back to School Day!
I kind of love this time of year.  As much as I love the switch to Summer and the relaxed schedule that we enjoy without school and sports, I really do love the fall.  I like the structure.  I love the idea of a fresh start and new beginnings.  I love watching the boys play their sports.  And I love hearing all about the new stuff they are doing in their classrooms.
I think this is going to be a really excellent year!
All of the boys are now in new rooms with new teachers and new schedules.  How fun!
B was moved to the "Get Set" room on Monday.  For the little guys, this isn't a huge change, but there are some small things that he's had to get used to.  He doesn't get a paci at school anymore.  He doesn't get a sippy cup either.  Can you imagine a room full of nearly 2 year olds drinking from real cups???  The teachers are saints!  He got to move up with lots of his little friends, so I'm sure that's very comforting.  But he's got 2 new teachers and LOTS more structure.  They will start working on potty training in this room too.  Sigh...  my baby's not really a baby anymore. 
I'm so proud of our little blonde boy!  I may have mentioned this before, but he is kind of skipping preschool.  They did a bunch of evals last spring and asked us if we would be OK with him moving to a pre-K room this year.  He's technically too young since he misses the cutoff date by a little under a month.  Of course we said we were fine with that!  So he's learning to write and doing all of those Kindergarten prep things.  (He won't be able to start Kindergarten next year because of his birthday unless we leave him at Goddard for private pre-K.  We'll have to figure that one out... he'll end up with either 2 years of pre-K or 2 years of K.)  His teacher from the summer and a number of his friends all moved to this new room at the same time.  He really loves Ms. Kathy.  He's quickly getting to one of my very favorite stages.  So long "terrible 3's" - we will not miss you!
The Mighty is in 4th grade this year.  I think this is going to be a fantastic year for him.  Personally, I think 4th grade is easier than 3rd - and he did great last year.  He has 2 teachers this year and we know both of them.  Spencer had Miss Hall last year and he had Mrs. Martin for 2nd grade.  I love both of these teachers - especially Mrs. Martin.  She ran into us at open house and vividly described a writing assignment that Spencer did almost 3 years ago.  LOVE her!  Q was over the moon when he learned that several of his good friends from last year are in his class again this year.  (When you go to a school with 6 or 7 classes in each grade, that is never a given!)  He's been giddy with excitement since open house and literally leapt out of bed this morning!
S is "King of the School" this year - aka A Big Bad 5th grader.  He's pretended to be depressed about the end of summer and has said he's not ready to go back to school, but I think he's just saying that to be "cool".  He has 4 different teachers this year, which is pretty good practice for middle school.  His homeroom teacher, Mrs. Stanley, was Quinn's 1st grade teacher.  His Horizons teacher is the same as last year (and the kids will be the same in there too).  And this year the school has started a couple of advanced content classes that he was chosen for as well.  He will have a new teacher for his AC math/science and his all time favorite teacher, Miss Grindle, for AC Language Arts.  When he learned that she was the ELAC teacher he was giddy!  I expect he's going to really love 5th grade!
Here's the traditional back to school picture that everyone takes.  Spencer hates it...  he looks like a doofus every year.  (Which I will really enjoy when putting together a collage for his high school graduation...)  My favorite part of this year's picture is Ozzie in the background.  LOL  That dog is a riot!
Have a great back to school everyone!  For our friends up north, enjoy your last bits of summer! 
BTW - I don't want this to go on forever, but for anyone who doesn't see my Facebook posts, Spencer's football team made it to the championship game in the tournament last weekend.  They were better than anyone expected!  The defense gave up 0 points in the first 3 games - and well under 10 first downs over all 3 games.  The championship game was lost 0-8 due to one bad play.  Spence is the starting right tackle on the D line.  He's thrilled with the position!  He's always loved playing defense!  Quinn's LAX evals are this weekend, so we'll be getting back into the dual practice schedule very soon!  This weekend we also have a football scrimmage down in McDonough.  (McDonough also happens to have an AWESOME quilt store...  may just need to make a detour...)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Picture of the Week - 8/1/2013

I've been thinking about sharing a bunch lately.  Sharing...  such a simple concept.  But really, without sharing life would be so much worse.
I may put too much emphasis on sharing.  Maybe...  (Can you really??)  I am sure there are people out there who think I overshare.  Tell you all too many details.  Spend too much time writing emails every Thursday.  I happen to think that I am enriched as much as anyone who chooses to read these weekly messages by simply sharing my thoughts and feelings.  Honestly, just spending some time thinking about some of the things I write (and share) makes me a better person.  (corny, but true...)
Sharing, obviously, is also something that can be SUPER obvious.  As a mom to a few boys who have already been through the "share your toys" lessons and a couple more who are just getting to those stages, I know how hard it can be to give up a piece of candy you really love or take a turn with a favorite toy.  And I know anyone out there with kids has probably gotten kind of sick of playing the role of referee. 
There are certainly a million different places that you can look for tips on how to help your kids turn into unselfish adults who don't mind sharing their possessions.  This is not one of those places.  Because believe me when I tell you that I have no idea how my kids got so good at sharing, but I am proud as a peacock that they are!  I don't feel like we have done anything special to help form this part of their personalities.  I certainly encourage the behavior that we want to see - and I'm sure their teachers do the same while they are at school, but they are turning out so much better than I could ever take credit for!
Maybe they have picked up the idea that sharing is OK from watching the people around them.  I know Bob and I don't do as much as we probably could and certainly not as much as others do, but we try.  We buy fundraiser stuff from the rival football team.  We donate regularly to charity - even if it is just clothes and toys we don't need any more.  We try to help out where we can with our time and talents.  The other day Bob went to football practice and carried 2 chairs from the van to the field.  I found this curious.  He does, after all, have only one butt.  I actually questioned him about this in a way that probably made him a bit defensive.  (As only a wife could do!)  His response was, simply, he had an extra chair in the van and there's always someone who doesn't have one.  On that particular night, the mom of the team's quarterback (someone we happen to have made friends with 6 years ago) was pleasantly surprised to have a place to sit even after discovering that her chair had been left at home.
Just a little bit of extra effort and a good intention made her day.  Just a little bit of extra effort!
I've noticed recently that my boys are actually really good at sharing, particularly with each other.  And this fact makes me SO proud! 
A week or so ago Spencer came out of daycare with these two little finger puppets.  (He got to go to the treasure box for filling up his reading log, which honestly is not something he needs any kind of motivation to do anyway!)  When Beckett saw these finger puppets, he immediately wanted one.  When Zane saw them, he did too.  Spencer didn't give it a second thought before he put a little plastic monster puppet on the finger of each of his little brothers.  He never saw those little puppets again.  They were not only shared, but given up freely!
Of course sharing food and treats is something that happens all the time, but even Beckett gets into the action.  When he gets into the "snackin' closet" and comes out with fruit snacks, he never has just one packet.  He always has one for Zane too.  Always!
Quinn is more giving of his time than his stuff.  He tends to keep his stuff pretty close to the vest, but his time is there for the taking from anyone who asks.  He will let Beckett sit beside him while he's playing games.  He will lay in a darkened toy room watching shows with Zane.  He will take Ozzie outside.  He never complains when we ask him to help.  He's easy and agreeable and tends to be way more thoughtful than I think 9 year old boys are expected to be.  He makes himself chocolate milk as a snack before bed every night.  On many nights he surprises me with a nice glass of cold water, just because he thought I might be thirsty. 
And Zane - who is also understood to be the most spoiled of our boys - seems to somehow inherently know that he should take care of others.  On his special Daddy-one-on-one trip to the aquarium he got to visit the gift shop.  This would be the highlight of the trip for most kids, right!  It would almost seem acceptable if he had thrown a fit and been greedy asking for this or that or the other thing - just because it was HIS special day.  But he didn't do that.  Instead he walked around looking for gifts for his brothers.  He picked out stuff that they would like.  It wasn't until Bob explained to our fair-haired little guy that he didn't need to get anything for his brothers, that he narrowed down on a small stuff turtle that he thought he'd like for himself.  And he has treasured that new friend ever since.
There are little moments all the time.  Some of them are so subtle that they don't even really register.  It's really not until I stop and REALLY watch and replay in my mind some of the things that I see, that I can recognize that there are some really awesome things happening in our family.  My boys are starting to figure out that sharing with others (especially their brothers) is pretty cool.  They are starting to understand that taking care of other people is OK - and can be kind of fun. 
Here's a picture of the dogs sharing a toy.  I'm not sure their motives are quite as pure as the boys, but it's fun to watch anyway.  A houseful of stuff to play with and they choose the same thing...  typical!
This weekend we are off to Knoxville to play in our first football tournament.  I have no idea what to expect (other than some really smelly laundry!)  We leave tomorrow and will have dinner with the team after weigh-ins for the players.  Then we will play on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  If they happen to win all 3 games, then we will play again on Sunday afternoon.  I'm excited to see how they do.  I'm excited to take a mini vacation - kind of.  And you know that I'll share the whole experience with you next week!  :)