Thursday, December 31, 2015

Picture of the Week - 12/31/2015

The last day of 2015!  Wow!

I've got lots of thoughts rumbling around in my head as we get ready to dive into a new year.  I don't know if I have really sorted through all of them just yet.  Right now, I'm feeling a bit like the dogs look in this picture.  

I'm a wee bit bummed that the Holidays are nearly over again for another year.  It's not that they weren't awesome, because they were.  It's more a forced acknowledgement that the number of holiday seasons like this we have left with our crazy little family is limited.  There won't be another one like this one.  And while this is true of EVERY day and EVERY holiday, for some reason it's hitting me a bit harder than usual today. 

Just a little blah about the whole thing. 

I think maybe it's because I've enjoyed the quiet time, the extra snuggles, the family time so much these last few weeks.  I know, in my logical head, that 2016 is going to be a whirlwind.  I know based solely on the number of commitments we have, the responsibilities we have signed up for, the events, activities, travel, work that is coming our way, that the next 12 months will be challenging.  I know that it will fly by.  And I know that I'll be sitting here again next New Year's Eve trying to figure out where the time goes.

Yeah...  it's just a little BLAH.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to be fired up to tackle all that stuff that I know is barreling it's way toward us.  It's not that I don't want to peek around the corner to see what's next.  I do.  I can't wait.  I know there is fun coming.  I know that there are more family moments.  More laughs.  More learning opportunities.  I know 2016 will be awesome - whatever it brings.  Because we will MAKE it awesome! 

So let's do this.  Let's get out of the post-holiday funk and get on with things! 

Here's to a safe Happy New Year!  Here's to another great year!  Here's to 2016!!

PS - We had a houseful of noisy boys last night for a sleepover.  Any chance of making it to midnight tonight evaporated around 2 AM this morning.  So here's to you hearty souls out there celebrating.  Have a drink for us! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Picture of the Week - 12/17/2015

It's a tradition.  The Santa Hat picture. 

This tradition started by accident - as so many of the best traditions do.  I had a son who loved to wear a Santa hat at every opportunity.  I liked to take pictures.  One thing led to another...  and now...  I can't imagine a Christmas going by without a Santa Hat picture. 

And Christmas is almost here!!!  I'm almost SO excited!!!  Bob and I are both coming out of weeks that absolutely kicked our rears at work.  The kind of weeks that DESERVE a break!  But we are almost there!  Tomorrow is the last day of school for the boys.  Today was my last day IN the office this year.  I have to work off and on over the next 2 weeks, but no more driving to Buckhead until 2016.  Woot Woot!

This time next week we will be halfway through a Christmas Eve showing of Star Wars.  Tickets are pre-purchased and we are super excited.  Then we will get to settle in to wait for a visit from the dude wearing the original Santa Hat. 

This really is the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Happy last minute preparation days!  Try to slow down and enjoy.  This time goes WAY too fast!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Picture of the Week - 12/10/2015

Newsy kind of update today.

First update is about Quinn.  He recently tried out for the percussion group in the band.  He had been interested in percussion from the start, but the band director makes the kids start on a different instrument and try out for percussion.  He made it!  He's so excited!  I'm so excited for him!  He's much more a drum kind of guy than a trumpet kind of guy.  

Spencer participated in his first middle school wrestling duel on Sunday.  It's his first wrestling match in around 4 years.  Maybe 5.  He got his first PIN!  Super proud of him.  He lost some matches too and the team came in 5th.  But it was good for him to get out and learn.  And I am pretty sure that he got more coaching in the 7 hours we were at the duel than he did the entire last YEAR he wrestled.  He says wrestling is way harder than football.  
Beckett continues to thrive at the new school.  So cute!  And such a relief!!!  He's also becoming quiet the little chef.  He insists (literally, there is no saying NO to him) on "helping" in the kitchen.  Holiday baking is quite the experience.  He knows just where to pull his chair over and has gotten quite good at cracking eggs without breaking yolks, measure sugar and flour with a measuring cup (including the bit where you level out the cup), and working my mixer.  The other morning Spence was making eggs and Beck insisted on COOKING his own.  I figured - has to learn sometime...  So he cracked is own eggs, mixed them up to make scrambled, and then cooked them.  He nearly did a fantastic job - right up until the very end when he touched the pan.  He burnt his fingers, fussed for a minute, then ate the whole egg.  LOL  He's pretty funny!

Zane has had a pretty quiet couple of weeks.  He's enjoying his downtime and has been filling up his new Kindle with books to read and/or look at pictures.  He's also ALL about Christmas this year.  He wants everything he sees on commercials.  He seeks out the elf every morning.  He talks about Santa and the events that are coming every day.  He's single handedly getting me into the Christmas spirit.  It's hard not to get excited when his enthusiasm is so infectious!  

Last weekend we had a birthday celebration for my mom.  It was completed by a photo session in front of the restaurant with all members of the party wearing ugly Christmas sweaters - mostly borrowed.  Hilarious!  I can't wait to share the results, but I am not going to be ruining any surprises and these gems will be featured on my parent's holiday cards!  Stay tuned!  

This weekend is Bob's birthday!  I've convinced my parents to watch the boys for a bit on Saturday so we can celebrate.  Any bets on what kind of drunken Target purchases we make?  Cause we normally end up at Target buying random things after a couple of glasses of birthday wine.  :)

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Picture of the Week - 12/3/2015

I have so much I want to write about today.  There are so many things going through my head about the holidays, this time of the year, life with middle school boys, work challenges and work/life balance, the tragedies that have happened in the news recently, my to do list.  There's too much in my head.  It leads to poor sleep.  I know I'd feel better if I got it all out, but I just don't have time.  Sigh...  if only time were unlimited.

Instead of all that stuff I will share with you that Beckett started a new school this week.  This is not a decision that we took lightly - and honestly there's still some worry about how this will all work out.  As many of you may already know, we have been at Goddard for a very long time.  We have been very loyal and we had a great experience there.  We have had at least one child there since January of 2008.  And most of the time there were multiples.  At times there were 4.  Loyal indeed...

A few things happened to Beckett over the last few years that kind of bothered us.  Nothing major.  And if he were our first child to go through the program, we probably wouldn't have even noticed.  But we did notice.  And once you notice stuff, it's hard not to see it all over the place.  This was nothing dangerous or harmful to him.  It largely centered around our feeling that he had a bit of a "bad boy" reputation.  Either that or overly sensitive teachers.  I think it's important to note that if Beck were unhappy or in anyway unsafe, this decision would have been easy and we would have moved on long ago.  It was way more subtle than that.  It was really just more a case of not being 100% comfortable.  

Also the traffic to get to Goddard in the morning is pretty awful.  It requires a left hand turn, during rush hour, out of our neighborhood.  It was taking Bob more than 20 minutes round trip to travel about 3 miles - total.  The new place is a right hand turn and way easier to get to in the morning.  While the traffic situation seems small and petty, it contributed to the decision.

So we turned in our notice way back in October and Beck's last day at Goddard was the Friday before Thanksgiving.  He started at the new school on Monday.  And he's been SO happy this week.  As each day passes and we get through another successful drop off/pick up I breathe a little easier.  As the fear of the change diminishes, I am starting to see the unexpected benefits that this change could (and in some ways already has) given Beck.  

This is HIS school.  He's not following any of his brothers.  He's not compared to anyone.  He's owning it Like a Boss!  He's forging his own way and I think this will ultimately be SO good for his self-confidence.  (Not that his self-confidence needs any help...  that child is fearless.)  The change of scenery has allowed him to get away from whatever preconceptions and reputation he had back at the old place.  

It's been a good week for him.  And I look forward to more good weeks.  I'm so pleased with how warmly we have been welcomed into the new school.  

Here's a picture of the boys' visit to see Santa.  We've seen this Santa couple before.  Aren't they cute?  I was so pleased with the big boys and their willingness to play along.  They each walked up to Santa and told him what they wanted.  They cooperated with a nice little family picture.  They are pretty awesome.  And the little boys...  we are smack dab in the middle of Christmas Magic territory with them.  I'm soaking in every day because it's SO much fun!  I love this time of year with kids.  (Even if it does tend to fill my mind up with too much stuff!)

Have a great week everyone!  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Picture of the Week - 11/19/2015

Zane's football team is going to the Lanier Bowl this Saturday.  They get to play for a championship!  

And it's taken me FAR too long to get excited about this.

I guess maybe we failed to get overly invested in Zane's football team because we've been through this before.  We took him to practice.  We went to his games.  We supported him and his team.  But I don't think we were as "into" it as we have been with other teams.  Many other teams.  

I've been thinking about why our feelings about this team tended to lean toward quiet ambivalence.  It's certainly not because we care about Zane any less than his brothers.  I think it's about perspective.  

Also - probably a good dose of just being busy to the verge of overwhelmed.  

But perspective...  it's normally a gift.  Maybe this time it stopped us from enjoying this experience as much as we should have/could have.   As parents of a kindergartner playing tackle football, perspective has taught us that this experience should be fun for the boys and really shouldn't be taken TOO seriously by the parents.  Perspective has proven that in 7 years only about a third of these kids will still be playing football.  Perspective has proven that the positions played at K/1 seldom dictate where a boy gets to line up in future years.  Perspective is very powerful!

So we hung back along the sidelines.  We didn't try to "coach" from the bleachers.  We didn't nag Zane about trying to DO better, BE better.  We just asked him if he was having fun.  We celebrated when he celebrated.  We told him we were proud - not of his play, but of the fact that he had learned to never give up.  Even against the "big kid".  (Zane's words.)  Also - we celebrated when he learned how to snap his helmet on by himself.  

Along the way, as the boys moved through the season, it became clear that they were a decent team - but not great.  We've been on better teams.  We've been on many that were worse.  The boys won enough games that they knew winning was better than losing.  But they lost enough to learn those lessons as well.  When we moved into the playoffs, I think we were pretty content with being at the end of a successful season.  Zane had fun.  He said he wanted to play again.  And he improved in nearly every area.  A victory by any measure.

And then they won the first playoff game.  And the boys - and especially OUR boy - were exited.  They were thrilled in fact.  The experience was bigger to them - to Zane - than we had recognized.  Shame on us...  

And then they won the second playoff game.  They beat an undefeated team stacked full of bigger kids who had beaten us so badly the first time we played that I don't think anyone expected to come out of that playoff game with a victory.  They shocked both sidelines.  They never gave up on themselves.  And boy oh boy - they taught me a lesson in the process.

The perspective that had held us back from, somehow, fully committing to this team, now screamed at me that this was a special time.  That the team, our boy, had just learned a lesson about life that can't be overstated.  Perspective finally shouted a wake up call that it was time to engage and show our fair-haired boy that we were in this with him.  That we cared about what was happening.  That win or lose on Saturday, this team has accomplished something that no one will ever be able to take away from them.  

So now we are heading back to the Lanier Bowl.  This will be only the Bovenizer family's second trip to this league's Championship game.  7 years ago this weekend Spencer won the Lanier Bowl with HIS K/1 team.  And after being somewhat ambivalent about this team for the last 4 months, I now find myself super excited for Saturday morning.  I can't wait to cheer this little team on.  I can't wait to hug my boy after the game and tell him how proud I am of him - win or lose.  Go Wolverines!  Beat the Bulldogs!

Here's a picture of Zane's team and a fun throwback to the day Spencer became a champion.  Hoping for a repeat on Saturday - nearly 7 years to the day!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Picture of the Week - 11/12/2015

Greetings from Scotland

I am ready to come home.  This has been a very busy and very productive trip.  I'm not lying when I say that we have accomplished more (probably because we are working like 12 hour days) in the last 3 days than we could have done in a month working remotely.  So it's hard to be too upset about coming over here. 


It's a hard trip.  The time change kills me.  I don't sleep.  I'm not hungry at the right times.  I don't get to talk to the boys because when they are home in the morning I am in meetings and when they get home in the afternoons/evenings I am trying to sleep.  It's hard to be away from home.  It would be harder if I were worried about Bob holding down the fort.  Between him and my parents, I wasn't worried at all.  They probably didn't even notice I was gone.

I'll be happy to head back home tomorrow morning.  There's no place like home!

Here are a couple of pictures I took while wandering around this week.  We are staying in a very different part of Edinburgh than we stayed last time.  Much more central and more interesting.  We are able to walk to the office and dinner, etc.  It's a very interesting city.  There's so much culture and history here.  It's just very different than Atlanta - than America.  

Have a great week everyone!

Clock tower at night

Same clock tower during the day

I think that's a museum in the background of that cute sign

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Picture of the Week - 11/5/2015

For some reason, this has felt like the LONGEST week ever.  I blame time change.  I really hate time change.

I won't bore you with all the stuff that has landed on our "to do" list in the past 7 days.  I think it's sufficient to just say that it's too much.  I don't like to feel behind - and I do in just about every area right now.  

One day at a time.

Quinn got braces today.  He's also got a cold which I am praying isn't the flu and is on day 2 at home.  He's way more miserable than he looks in this picture that Bob took on their way home.  (Notice the rain on the window?  Yeah...  we haven't seen the sun down here in nearly a week.  It's depressing!)

This weekend we have a football tournament game, which could be Zane's last game as a kindergartner.  If they win, he will play in the championship game - The Lanier Bowl - the weekend before Thanksgiving.  If they lose, they are done.

Speaking of done, Quinn's lacrosse team lost their tournament game last night.  This game was supposed to happen last weekend, but we got somewhere around 4 inches of rain - so no lacrosse.  It was kind of a weird and anti-climatic end to the season because Quinn was home sick.  So Bob was there coaching, but the rest of us just got updates via text.  Odd...

I'm heading back to Scotland on Saturday for the week.  Preparing for that trip is a large contributing factor to the "to do" list.  Also it's supposed to be cold and rainy there too.  Blah!

Have a great week everyone!  

UPDATE - As I was writing this I got a text that Spencer has been sent home from school sick.  Uh oh...  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Picture of the Week - 10/29/2015

Short update today as we move through the final week of October.  

It's hard to believe, but our hectic schedule is about to take a breather.  Now that football is over for Spencer, we are a 2 sport family at the moment.  And both Zane's football team and Quinn's lacrosse team are going into tournament play this weekend.  It could be the end of both seasons...  but likely one or both will have a final week to practice/play.  

We will have a short break and then move into wrestling (Spencer) and basketball (Quinn) the second week of November.  The little guys are taking the winter off.  :)  

Here's a fun picture from Zane's practice this week.  It was wet and rainy  - and the boys had a blast!

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!  

PS - Happy Anniversary to my parents today!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Picture of the Week - 10/22/2015

Greetings from Vegas

For anyone who's been reading for a while, you already know this is not my favorite place.  Maybe it's because, like this customer conference trip, the vast majority of trips out here have been for work.  On the bright side, it's always nice when I score a good view from my hotel room.  I much prefer the mountain view over a view of the strip.  This trip we are up at Red Rock Resort - which is a good bit away from the strip - and the views are outstanding.  It's been good to meet customers and I would say it's been a productive trip, but it's been a very hard week to be away from home.

Spencer's football team lost on Tuesday night.  Honestly, no one thought they would lose.  It was a shock.  And I'm sad that I didn't get to see the last game of the year.  He's done with football for 7th grade - and already looking forward to 8th grade.  Still...  it's weird to be done with something that he spent SO many hours on each week.  

And on the same day, Zane lost his first tooth.  My dad took Zane to football practice that night for Bob and the tooth got knocked out when putting on his helmet.  I think it was a relief for Zane because he was scared it would hurt.  I hope we didn't scar my dad too much.

Here's a picture of Zane missing a tooth.  (Selfishly I really can't wait until he looses the top teeth.  Is there anything cuter than a little boy missing his front teeth???)

And also a picture of Zane with our Tooth Fairy pirate/treasure chest.  Funny story about this little guy - who used to belong to the big boys.  We used to put the Tooth Pirate right next to the pillow of the lucky boy who lost a tooth.  This caused much stress to the Tooth Fairy who was always worried about waking up the lucky boy.

After a bit of practice, the Tooth Fairy suggested that maybe it would be better to place the Tooth Pirate on the dresser across the room from the sweet sleeping boys.  This caused a tiny bit less stress for the Tooth Fairy, but it was still VERY stressful.  

So, with the benefit of experience, the Tooth Fairy has now instructed the Little Boys that the appropriate waiting place for a Tooth Pirate with a tooth in his chest was OUTSIDE the bedroom on the table in the hall.  The Tooth Fairy is much less stressed now.  :)

Have a great weekend!  I can't wait to get home tonight.  I need some hugs from all my boys.  We have Zane's last regular season football game on Saturday and then 3 lacrosse games with VERY friendly schedules.  I love love love when the boys play in the same place in back to back games.  Makes for such a fun day.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Picture of the Week - 10/15/2015

Beckett will turn 4 years old on Monday.

4 years old!

He's really and truly not a baby anymore.  He's not even a toddler.  He's a full blown preschool BOY.  And while he's had the attitude of a child much more advanced than his age, his body has now caught up.  He's lost all that chubby baby fat.  His little legs are stretched out.  His hand dimples...  gone.  

It's hard for me to believe that Beck has been around for 4 years already.  I suppose this is a sign of my reluctance to acknowledge how fast time is going.  I don't want to believe that it's mid-October.  I can't comprehend that the current school year is already 1/4 over.  How is it even possible that my BABY is 4?

On the flip side of that, can't easily recall a time when Beckett wasn't part of our family.  He so completely filled up all the spaces in our family that needed filling up that it just seems like he's always been here.  We didn't even realize we were missing something until he completed us.  

Maybe it's the great big personality that comes packaged up in the littlest Bovy boy that makes him so hard to forget.  Maybe it's the way he completely lights up a room with that dimpled smile.  Or the way he needs to touch and snuggle and love.  Or the fearless approach he takes with everything from leaping around the furniture to playing sports and wrestling with his brothers.  Maybe it's just that he's really adorable.  

I'm not sure exactly what makes Beckett so special, but I know without a shadow of a doubt how lucky we are to get to call him ours.  They say that the baby of a family is often a free-spirited risk-taker who loves to take on a role of entertainer.  I see all of these things in our last born.  He's easily the most entertaining of all our boys.  I think he benefits from the fact that there's no needy baby vying for our attention and time.  We are constantly dragging him from one event to another, but while at these games and practices and concerts HE is the focus in the stands.  While his big brothers are doing their thing, he gets to hang out with the grown ups and gets first dibs on all the goodies in the snack bag.  

Beckett knows he's loved - and he knows he's cute.  That combo is kind of lethal when you are trying to discipline.  He is stubborn and hard-headed and can be difficult to get under control.  He doesn't care about getting in trouble and rarely reacts to a stern word.  He's too busy marching to his own beat and doing his own thing.  He's definitely not the rule follower that I see in a couple of his big brothers.  I think God really knew what he was doing to save Beckett for last.  We need all the parenting practice we can get to handle this boy.

And while I think our parenting has benefitted from having older boys, I know for certain that Beck benefits in countless ways from having a house full of role models and playmates, coaches and antagonists, cuddlers and sparring partners, teachers and helpers.  Beckett is better because he has brothers.  I hope someday he realizes just how lucky he is.

Because I already know how lucky we are to get to experience life with Bucky.  He pushes us all to the edge and in the process has made our lives bigger - and better.

My birthday wish for Beck is that he has a year full of fun and laughs and love.  I wish him the happiest of happy birthdays.  Here's to FOUR little man!  Let's have a ball!

This weekend we have a full slate of football games and lacrosse games - 1 football, 4 lacrosse, and a BIRTHDAY party!  The Buckeye's were kind enough to schedule a night game for us so we don't even have to miss that.  It's going to be a great weekend!

Tuesday night Spencer's football team is playing in the first round of the playoffs for the Forsyth Middle School championship.  They are going in as a #2 seed with a 7-1 record.  I'm super bummed because I will be traveling next week (conference in Vegas) and will miss the game.  So everyone say a little prayer that they make it through round 1 so I can watch the championship game on the 27th.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Picture of the Week - 10/8/2015

It is no secret that I love our annual trip to Burt's Pumpkin Farm.  I think we've now been there 12 years straight.  It's also no secret that one of the main reasons I love this trip is that everyone involved understands that getting some updated photos while we are there is a very high priority.  It's important to me!  And thankfully I have a good little family who humors me and goes with the flow - that includes Berber and Pappy too!

This year our trip was looking kind of iffy!  I normally look at our family calendar for the month of October with my fingers crossed looking for a decent weekend day where we don't have anything scheduled.  There aren't any of those this year.  (ACK!)  We don't have a single Saturday or Sunday without at least 1 event until Halloween  and that's just too late for a trip to Burts.  

So I went with plan B.  We would go up there during the boys' fall break.  I had a couple of days off and we figured that would be a great time for a little trip up into the mountains.  For all the planning I do, there's still one thing I can't control - the weather.  As we neared our planned Burt's day, the weather was looking very bleak.  Cloudy, rainy, generally gross.  If this wasn't such an important tradition to me, we probably would have bailed and gone out to Publix to buy some pumpkins for our Jack-o-Lanterns.  

Thankfully my dad convinced us to give it a shot last Thursday and I'm SO glad we did!  We drove through nasty mist almost all the way there, but while at the farm the weather was actually pretty nice.  We even saw a peek of sun!  

And I got my pictures!  A whole bunch of them!  Going on a weekday has set a new bar because we had the place completely to ourselves.  It was awesome!  And the boys were awesome!  And the resulting pictures - awesome!

We started with some traditional pumpkin pictures - with the giant pumpkins as our backdrop/props.

I love this ornery face!

Beckett 2015

Zane 2015

Quinn 2015

Spencer 2015

And then we moved on to the group pictures.  I always use this as an opportunity to try for an updated family picture.  I think easily 75% of the family pictures I have are from Burts.  

Bovenizers 2015

Berber and Pappy with the boys

My boys!!!

After getting the required group pictures we normally let the boys run off some steam.  They always love roaming around the pumpkin patch.  This year there was a contest to see who could find the most expensive pumpkin.  I think the winner found one that was $110 bucks - but I can't remember who found it.  There are usually more casual, candid pictures while we are just hanging out.

Berber and Pappy

Little dudes - love this one!

Spencer was hanging out by the tree being mischievous, but I still managed to get a good picture of my handsome teenager.  You can't fake smile wrinkles like that!

After a while we decided to take a hay ride.  In what I would call serendipity, we happened to be up there on the first day of hayrides for 2015.  So we got one of the very first rides of the whole season.  So much fun - even if I was pulling hay out of my back pockets for days.



Little guys! 



Our annual trip did not disappoint!  I already can't wait until next year - when you can bet we'll be visiting Burt's on a weekday again!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Picture of the Week - 10/1/2015

Wow!  Sometimes this Mom stuff still catches me by surprise.  Sometimes when I force myself to take a look around - really look - my breathe catches.  In the very best way...

Somehow, many years ago, I committed myself to making a photo collage in celebration of each of our boys for their birthdays.  Sometimes, I wonder what I was thinking.  It's a bit like committing to sitting down and writing a weekly update message about our crazy little life.  It's a responsibility now.  It sometimes feels a little like a chore.  It's a stressor.  And I procrastinate.  I wait until the last minute for every birthday.  I don't wait because I don't want to do this.  I wait because it's hard.  I want these collages to be special.  I know they take time - a lot of time.  And I know they tend to leave me, well, tender.   

I can't get started on this job without being mentally ready because, despite the fact that I drag my feet to start the process, it always leaves me feeling fuller.  Feeling thankful.  Feeling like a Mom.  A raw Mom, celebrating another milestone I will never get to do again.  It's both gratifying and satisfying to look at a year's worth of memories - captured in photographs - and to spend a few minutes thinking about each moment.  Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed at how blessed I am to be witness to the things I get to reflect on as I plow through picture after picture of special memories.

Zane's collage.  Goodness.  You guys, tears.  Real big ones.  This was such a special year for Zane.  And every picture I looked at made me remember something about him or reminded me of some highlight of our year.  Some of these happened on vacations.  Some are from on random nights during the chaos of our week.  Smiling pictures with Beck's arm around his shoulder.  The beam of pride when he found out he was wearing the same uniform number as Spencer.  Pure joy with a Disney water slide behind him.  His first day of Kindergarten.  His first football practice.  The annual pumpkin patch picture.  A trip to the construction zone.  Hanging out with his brothers. 

The past 12 months have been really awesome for Zane - and with him.  I kind of knew they would be.  I love 5 year olds.  I love just about everything about the transition from preschooler to school age.  There's an increase in confidence.  An emergence of personality.  A new ability to reason and understand that leads to meaningful conversation.  And all of this is delightfully mixed with the play of childhood.  Imagination now matches with a big, wide vocabulary, and results in a magical outcome. 

Zane didn't disappoint my 5 year old expectations in any way - and I think he managed to surpass even my wildest dreams.  He's blossoming.  And I'm so glad we get to watch. 

As we kick off another year with our 3rd little boy, I look forward to seeing how he will continue to build on his growing interests in sports.  He really considers himself both a lacrosse player and a football player now.  He looks to his big brothers and models his behavior after what they do.  He struggles to be as big and tough and strong as they are - and I know he'll get there.  I'm starting to get a glimpse of how driven he can be.  He's got a stubborn, hard headed streak in him that will serve him well if we can harness it constructively.

I'm also very excited to see Zane work his way through Kindergarten.  He's starting on his educational journey and having so much fun while doing it.  I don't worry about how he'll do in school.  He's ridiculously, sorta scarily, bright.  It's not just that he knows "stuff" - because he still doesn't know THAT much stuff, comparatively.  His mind works in some crazy fast ways.  He remembers everything.  Everything.  He remembers stuff that I didn't even notice.  He recalls information and uses it appropriately and craftily.  And he mixes this crazy good memory with a vivid imagination and ability to transport himself into many different varieties of made up worlds.  He fights with swords and guns.  He wrestles with his brothers while acting out elaborate story lines about fighting bad guys or monsters or aliens.  He pulls out all his knights and has battles.  Or he pulls out all the super heroes and fights off villains.  He's kind of amazing. 

And yet, he is still just a baby, really.  He still doesn't know how to handle himself when he is angry.  He has a temper - a big one - and very little ability to get himself under control when things go sideways.  And normally when he spirals he does so because someone has hurt his feelings.  At the end of the day, he's pretty tenderhearted.  And he wants to please - everyone.  If he thinks someone is upset with him, he totally loses his cool.  I know it's a maturation thing and someday he will handle these feelings with grace.  For now, I just try to help him get back on firm ground when he feels out of control. 

I will miss the day when Zane stops sleeping under a mountain of stuffed animals and blankets.  I'll miss the times that he crawls into my lap while he wakes up.  I'll even miss the fits he throws when we sit down to a dinner that he "hates".  I will miss 5 year old Zane.  But I can't wait to get to know the 6 year old version.  I can't wait to see what kinds of awesomeness he gets into over the coming year.  I can't wait to sit down in around 12 months and cry again over all the memories I know we will make. 

I wish the happiest of birthdays to our blue eyed beauty.  May he fill his year with smiles and laughter and joy.  I know he'll fill mine with all three.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Picture of the Week - 9/24/2015

This time next week I will be the mom of a teenager.  (Also a 6 year old kindergartner, but that's for next week's discussion.)

I know lots of moms - and probably dads - who get a little nostalgic about this milestone, but I am not sad about it.  I'm excited and proud and eager to see what's next.  

Maybe it's because Spencer, at 8'8.5" and about 150 lbs is kind of a man-child already.  From the back, he certainly doesn't look like a 7th grader.  He wears a 34x32 pant and a size 11 shoe.  I don't know if he's done growing.  I kind of hope he's not.  I'd love for him to get to 6 foot, but genetics may dictate that he's where he will be and if that's the case, then looking at him at nearly 13 is going to be remarkably similar to looking at him at 18 or 25 or 40.  It's become increasingly easy to see him in a large number of roles coming his way - driving a car, dating, going to college (gulp), as a dad...  yep...  he's more man now than kid.  Or at the very least young adult...

Maybe it's because Spence is our oldest.  I know that I have other little guys behind him that still let me cuddle them and carry them up the stairs.  I imagine this will be a different conversation in 9 years as Beckett nears 13.  I don't mean this to imply that watching Bovy go through this milestone event and enter the teenage years isn't special - because it certainly is!  But I don't view this as a sad event.  It's more of another notch in the belt.  It's the continuation of a transition from boy to man.  He's not done yet...  but he's well on his way and that's worth celebrating!

Maybe this doesn't seem like a huge change because Spencer has always been an old soul.  He's always had a sense of humor beyond his years - and an intellect to match.  The fact that he's man-handling the advanced coursework he's taking this year, while also spending upwards of 14 hours a week in football-related activities, eases my mind that he's going to be just fine as he transitions to the teenage years.  He has some good teachers this year, maybe some great ones!  He also has some who are kind of quacky and have some expectations that are not exactly in line with what Spence feels is best.  He's learning to deal with the good and the bad and to, when appropriate, just shut his mouth and do the weird stuff that's asked of him.  He's starting to figure out what he likes and what he wants to do - or maybe it's more accurate to say he's figuring out what he doesn't want to do.  When I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he still tells me that it's silly for a 12 year old to answer that question.  I can't disagree with that.  He does talk, frequently, of going to a military academy and serving his country.  Bob and I are very supportive of this, but in no way pushing the idea.  He loves the idea of the discipline and the service and the prestige and, in his very practical brain, the idea that it's a free education with perks along the way.  Given how goal-oriented Spencer can be, the fact that he has this as an idea in his head means I wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves seriously discussing this as an option over the coming years.

Maybe I am not sad about this 13th birthday because I am too busy dealing with feelings of pride and contentment.  Spencer has matured to the point that he listens (when he wants to) and seems to value our opinions (about some things).  I've seen him take input and feedback and put it into use.  I mentioned to him once that I was impressed with the kids who look me in the eye when I talk to them while I serve them during the weekly football spaghetti dinners or help out as water girl during the football games.  The kids who look you in the eye, I told him, come across as confident and respectful.  I have seen him on countless occasions since that conversation looking other adults directly in the eyes while thanking or chatting or asking a question.  It makes me very happy that he seems to value the same traits in himself that I want him to have - and that he's willing to work at making himself better.  If I could only convince him that living like a slob and leaving dirty clothes all over the place is inappropriate we would be rocking and rolling!

Maybe I don't pine for the little boy because I really love the role model that our oldest has become.  The little brothers have always idolized Spence, but recently it's become even more pronounced.  I think it's because they really don't get to spend much time together.  Their schedules just don't overlap very much - so they don't have enough time to get sick of each other.  When Spence is around, he's a jungle gym, a teacher, a disciplinarian, a playmate, and a mentor.  He works with the little boys on their football stances and shares wisdom with them about when to be tough and how to be a good team mate.  After a particularly hard football practice one night, Zane came home with bumps and bruises and was asleep before Spence got home.  The VERY first thing Zane asked when he woke up was if we had told Spencer how tough he was during the previous night's practice.  Those little boys value Spencer's opinion of them even more than mine!  Outside of sports, Bovy is the most perfect role model for a student that I could ever ask for.  There is a new, and pretty awesome, competition going on in our house around grades between Spencer and Quinn.  They are pushing each other to be better and the little boys watch and listen and take it all in.  I don't have to push them...  they have a built in network of motivation.  I just sit back and encourage where I can and let everyone know I love them and couldn't be more proud of my little bunch of boys.  It really warms my heart to know that together they are going to be better than they ever would be on their own.

Maybe I just don't have time to be nostalgic because of the insanely busy schedule we are working our way through this fall season.  I was talking to Zane a week or so ago about his birthday, which is just around the corner too, and when I told him his birthday was less than 2 weeks away I nearly expired right there in the middle of the kitchen.  Time flies when you don't have a chance to stop and think.  That's a good thing sometimes, but also kind of dangerous!  It's important, for me, to seek out a few minutes here and there to focus on quality over quantity.  Luckily for me, Spencer operates in this fashion and very often will sit and talk while he eats dinner (well after the rest of the family due to schedule constraints) and he comes in for a good night cuddle/snuggle/chat nearly every night before he goes to bed.  Some of my favorite moments with him happen on the way home from practice or while he downs half a gallon of milk, glass after glass, while I make him a snack or post-game meal.  I don't long for the child that Spencer was, because I quite like the young adult that he has become.

This is going to be a great year!  I wish Spencer a very happy birthday and can't wait to see all the great things he will accomplish as a TEENAGER!