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!
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!
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!
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!