Thursday, January 29, 2015

Picture of the Week - 1/29/2015

Spencer calls him QuinnQuinn
Zane calls him Quinny
Bob calls him Q
He calls himself Q-dog
I call him pretty darn awesome!

Quinn is turning 11 next Monday and with his coming birthday comes a chance for me to take a minute to think about our second boy.  He's had an awesome year.  It hasn't been the most crazy of years.  It hasn't been the most stressful.  The past year hasn't had any drastic ups or downs.  It wasn't full of doctors appointments or therapy or worry.  It was, by all accounts, a pretty normal year.  And that's pretty darn awesome!

Quinn is still a little boy in many ways.  He's still small compared to his peers.  He's only barely 70 pounds soaking wet.  At first glance, you might not even realize he's almost 11 years old, but I challenge you to look a little closer.  Notice the trendy bang flip and the cool glasses.  Take not of the daily appearance of the Under Armour hoodie.  Watch the way he interacts with his friends.  Discover, with a little shock, that many of his friends are girls.  (Did I ever tell you about Halloween trick-or-treating when the group of 4 girls, and no boys, showed up at our door to gather Quinn for a trip around the neighborhood?)  I think if you look closely, you will see all the little ways that Quinn really is growing up.  And it's pretty darn awesome!

Fear not, he has certainly not surrounded himself with only girls.  Quinn is a people magnet.  He loves people and everyone loves him.  I'm pretty sure the Mighty Quinn could make friends at a funeral.  There are many life skills that Q has that will serve him well, but this one is pretty darn awesome!

When Quinn's not off being social, you can find him in one of 2 places.  He's either with Spencer chilling in the basement or he's with the little boys doing any number of things that you might think would be below a big 5th grader.  Not Quinn.  He will happily help keep the little guys company/occupied/happy.  He is still the most helpful of the 4 boys.  He's a part of the Whitlow Elementary Safety Patrol!  I can always count on him when I ask him "Quinn will you _____?"  It's pretty darn awesome!

One of the biggest changes I've seen this year is one that you wouldn't notice by looking at our boy.  You wouldn't really even notice it if you just met him.  To recognize how much Quinn's confidence has grown in the last year, you would need to have spent time with him over the last 10 years.  And you would need to see him on a lacrosse field.  Q changed from a kid with killer speed but a fear to take a shot on goal to a confident leader on his team.  He's probably one of the best teammates you could possibly want on a team.  He's competent, but (usually) humble.  He's funny, but (usually) knows when to pay attention.  He's coachable (pretty much always) and he's reliable.  For Quinn I can say, without a doubt, that playing lacrosse has helped him to become a better kid because he's so much more confident in himself now.  That is most definitely pretty darn awesome!

We will be celebrating Quinn's birthday this weekend with a little slumber party with some of his lacrosse buddies.  It's his very first sleepover party and he's so excited!  I doubt they will get much sleep, but I know they will have a blast.  I wish the Mighty Quinn the happiest of birthdays and will do everything I can to make sure next year is pretty darn awesome!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Picture of the Week - 1/22/2015

Fair warning...  this post will probably come across as braggy.  If you don't want to read my brags, move along...

If you have kids (or have been around kids), I think you will agree that they are full of surprises.  I can't even tell you how many times I have been shocked by something my boys have done or said.  Many times the little surprises aren't really good ones. 

Remember the story about Spencer ripping wallpaper off his nursery walls?  Or the stomach dropping news that Quinn needed open heart surgery?  Did I ever tell you about Zane's ability to become invisible under a bed?  How about the time that Beckett ate dishwasher detergent packets?

And then there are the general parenting surprises that you just don't "get" until you have kids.  It still surprises me how much stuff a baby needs and how quickly that stuff takes over your house.  No one ever told me how quickly the theme song from Dora the Explorer will get stuck in your head.  And I had no idea how inaccurate a toddler boy is in the bathroom. 

There are a million surprises that are funny and heartwarming.  I would say that at least one of the boys does or says something every day that makes me smile.  It could be Quinn pouring a glass of milk for Zane.  Or Spencer dropping to the floor to wrestle.  Or Beckett, without clothes, wrapped in a blanket saying "I'm Batman!" and then opening the blanket, flasher-style, and saying "I'm naked Batman!"  Kids are funny!!

Even with all of these surprises under my belt, I have been caught off guard lately by our oldest.  He's surprised me with his maturity and his dedication.  And I've been completely unprepared for the acknowledgement that he's now more young adult and less little boy - and it has nothing to do with his 5'5", 140+ lb frame. 

Spencer has committed himself to getting physically ready for football try-outs.  If I could capture a little bit of his determination, I no doubt would be able to proudly rock a bikini this summer.  He has changed his eating habits and kicked up his workouts.  He makes himself a salad for lunch every day despite the mocking he receives from his classmates.  He basically guilts me or Bob into meeting him at the gym after school at least 3 days a week and has a personal training session on one of our "off" days.   

It's not just going to the gym that is surprising to me.  It's how mature he has been with what he does while there.  He's not hanging with friends and working his way haphazardly around the equipment.  He's doing things the "right" way - alternating muscle groups and cardio.  When on the treadmill, he's pushing himself to be better every time he works out.  He is interval training and regularly runs over 3 miles.  His goal is to make sure that he's not "tired" at the end of conditioning practices. 

If I were reading this I would be like "yeah...  whatever".  And that's why this has been so surprising.  I've never seen him so dedicated to something before.  It's like he's maturing before our very eyes. 

This past Monday was a school holiday.  Spencer and Quinn hung out with the new neighbor boys for most of the day.  They were off doing "boy stuff" - which in itself makes me happy.  They trekked behind the house and over the stream to the field behind our house.  This field is going to be developed into a new subdivision soon so the houses on it are now deserted.  The boys went exploring in and around these houses.  The most surprising thing from this little adventure was this little selfie that showed up in our photo stream.  It struck me as so artistic.  (I know I'm biased, but isn't he handsome!)

Speaking of selfies...  Spencer recently got an Instagram account.  This makes me nervous.  I've heard all the bad stuff that can happen to young people using social media.  So of course one of our rules is that we must always be allowed to follow their accounts to watch what is going on.  To date, Spencer has posted mostly pictures of our pets.  He follows accounts that also post mostly animal pictures.  He has added some sports related accounts too.

Then last Monday I was surprised by Spencer and his Instagram account.  He posted a motivational quote with a picture that I think he found online somewhere.  It was AWESOME.  He even appropriately hashtagged it as #motivationalMonday.  Then he did it again this week.  I don't think he will ever stop amazing me.  And I will never stop feeling blessed to get to raise this young man!

This weekend we have lacrosse evaluations for the big boys.  Next week we have parent meetings for lacrosse and middle school football.  We are gearing up for spring!  And I'm surprisingly excited!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Picture of the Week - 1/15/2015

Today I have a bunch of random things...  really random!

First - how 'bout those Buckeyes?!?!?!?!
This has been a really, really great week to be an Ohio State fan/alumni.  It (I think) is somehow even sweeter living in SEC country as a Buckeye fan.  This has been one of the best football stories I can remember.  Even if you aren't a Buckeye fan, you have to respect the way this team worked together to overcome adversity.  And you have to agree that Urban Meyer is a motivational wizard.  Bob and I leave for our 3rd Buckeye Cruise for Cancer in 34 days.  I can't even imagine how crazy fun it is going to be this year.  It's been more fun than I can describe in the past...  throw in a national championship and I expect the very best kind of bedlam!

Second - January is a blessing
Man I like this time of year (aside from the weather...)  It's so nice to have some down time.  We don't have any evening sport practices and very few weeknight obligations.  It's a great time to take a much needed breather.  I'm soaking it in now because in precious few weeks we will be back to the grind.  Right now we are taking advantage of our gym membership and I am starting new quilting projects with a vengeance.  Next weekend is lacrosse evaluations (have I mentioned that we have 3 boys playing lacrosse this spring???) and that will be followed quickly with our first middle school football meeting and then lacrosse practices start the first week of January.  I'll be enjoying my feet-up, under a blanket, in front of a TV time while I have it!

Third - Speaking of the gym
So we joined a gym in October.  It wasn't really the New Year's Resolution crowd, but I'd hardly say we are regulars.  It's been kind of fun to go though.  I think the thing that is making it different for me this time is Spencer.  He's SO committed to getting into great shape that he's motivating ME not to give up.  I meet him there after work/school and we workout and then head home.  There are many days that I know I would have just gone home if I didn't know he was going to be meeting me there.  It's fun to go with him and I really couldn't be more proud of him.  (PS - He can already curl about twice what I can do and seriously puts me to shame on a treadmill...)

Lastly - Mary Engelbreit calendar
Since we are kind of smack dab in the middle of plain old normal life, I really haven't taken many pictures lately.  I even went through my phone pictures to see if there was anything worth sharing.  The only kind of interesting picture I have on there is of Beckett's face after taking a faceplant on the corner of a bookshelf while jumping on the couch in the toyroom.  He may have needed stitches, but I was out on a business dinner and by the time I got home it was late and the bleeding had stopped, so we chalked it up to another "chicks dig scars" event and went to bed.  This one is going to leave the most interesting Y-shaped mark right under his nose.  But I digress... 

I decided to share this picture of my desk at work (the clean parts) because I love love love the Mary Engelbreit day calendar from this past Monday.  If you can't read it, it says "We are a noisy and blessed little family" by Mary E Turner.  I feel this way often.  My house is very loud and pretty messy.  My boys are kind of crazy and our kitchen frequently resembles a zoo.  But I couldn't feel more blessed to be living this life Bob and I have built.  It's exactly the way it should be and I am thankful for that every single day.  Aside from the saying, the picture is almost a drawing of our family.  If you replace the little flute-playing girl with a large tooting dog, it IS our house!!! 

PS - In the background you can see another Mary Engelbreit picture that I have taped to my monitor so I see it ALL the time.  It's a Winston Churchill quote that says "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."  So very true...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Picture of the Week - 1/8/2015

Greetings from the frozen tundra version of the Picture of the Week

Yes...  I know it's way worse in many other places than it is here.  But my van hit 9 degrees on the way to work this morning.  My thinned out, wussified blood can't take it!  Bright side (at least down here) is that it will be back to nearly 60 by this time next week...  so I suppose I should look on the bright side and view the cold snap as an excuse to wear my favorite sweaters (which conveniently hide the extra weight I gained eating Christmas cookies) and see my little guys in hat (which is pretty darn adorable!)

I don't know that I've taken a single picture since last week.  I take it back, I have taken some pictures of our animals snuggled up in blankets because they are cute, but I seriously doubt you want to see that. 

We have spent the week trying to get back into the swing of a routine.  I think the week following a long, relaxing, wonderful holiday break has GOT to be the longest week ever.  How is it possible that it's only Thursday morning?  Why oh why did my boss schedule a 2 day roadmap planning meeting for today and tomorrow.  2 days in a room with the same group of people will not make the time go faster...

And then there's the excitement of being a Buckeye fan right now!  Wow!  How much fun was that game last week?!?!?!  It was SO much fun.  It's even more fun to be down here in the middle of SEC country and able to witness the free fall of the "best conference in football" following their rather dismal bowl outcomes.  Pretty funny...  we still occasionally hear casual football fans (like the radio personality on the local country station) lamenting the fact that there's no SEC team in the championship game.  It's pretty funny.

I thought I'd re-share this picture of my boys in support of the Buckeyes.  You all know what we will be doing Monday night!  Go Bucks!  Beat the Ducks!!

Have a great week everyone!  Stay warm and wear cute hats!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Picture of the Week - 1/1/2015

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year's Eve.  We didn't make it to midnight - and I refuse to feel bad about that!  In fact, when the little boys came into our room at 6ish this morning, going to bed on our normal schedule seemed like a pretty darn good idea!  :)

Today is a football kind of day for us.  We are currently bouncing between 3 different games and anxiously anticipating the Ohio State game tonight.  Fun!

Funny story about this picture - and specifically this tree.  The tree in the background of this picture is from my office.  It's the same way the trees at the office were decorated last year.  They are all decked out in red and silver and remind me of the Buckeyes.  Last year I wanted to take everyone down to get our picture taken in front of it, but we could never make that happen.  It disappointed me for a long time.  This year I vowed that if they used the same color scheme I would make sure we got pictures.

So one evening a few weeks ago we packed everyone up, grabbed a tripod and set out to make this happen.  The boys were remarkably cooperative.  We got the shots and headed out to dinner.  It was a great night.  It wasn't until I got back home that I realized that we covered up the entire tree and you can't really even tell it's decorated in scarlet and silver.  LOL  We could have been in front of ANY tree.  Oh well...  I still love the picture.

So are you making a resolution this year?  I've thought about it and could easily state any of the typical goals - lose weight, get in better shape, spend less, be present for the boys, etc. etc. etc.  They all apply...  but I hate stuff like that.  Yes, I want to get back into working out.  Yes, I want to reduce debt.  Yes, I want to put the phone down and play with the boys in real life more.  But I still think it's kind of silly to wait for a certain date on the calendar to reach for a better version of me.  I will do all those things - or at least try - but I don't think of them so much as resolutions as much as just the right things to do.

Anyway, I did decide on a "resolution" this year.  It is to celebrate more.  I'm not talking about big holidays or birthdays.  I want to celebrate little things.  Maybe a good test score or scoring a goal in a game.  Maybe making a team or graduating from Kindergarten.  Maybe we should celebrate when the little boys clean their toy room or the big boys do something special to help each other.  I want to celebrate the small things because there is SO much to be thankful for.  We are so blessed.  I want the boys to recognize that I feel like they are worth celebrating - all the time.

I won't be baking cakes every week or buying presents, but I want to make a little bigger deal out of the special things that happen.  I saw an idea a while ago where there was a special plate that was used to celebrate these little occasions.  The special plate was brought out and one person got to use it whenever the situation warranted.  I want a special plate.  Anyone know where I can get one?  Nothing too fancy - must be dishwasher proof.

Who's with me?  Anyone else want to vow to celebrate the little things in life?  There are SO many!

Have a great New Year's Day - and many wishes for a healthy and happy 2015!

And Go Bucks!!