I'd like to suggest that maybe we don't need a time machine, but just time with a 5 or 6-year old. Lately, my time with Cole has been high quality and super good for the soul. I mean, when you're 5, here are the things that you do:
- clothes pin a card to your bike spokes to accomplish a "motor" like sound
- watch a show about dogs that have rescue jobs at lunch. everyday.
- see an empty paper towel roll and figure you should make a replica of your dog out of it.4. have a race to the mailbox.5. use your mom as a step stool to reach the Star Wars book at the library by yourself6. play model trains with a car filled with candy that makes frequent stops7. spontaneous games of hide and seek8. play board games daily9. take many moments to just hug a while10. half days of schoolPerhaps you're feeling a little less stressed just reading this list! You're welcome.
It is hard to put into words how special this time was. Theme parks aren't exactly my idea of an ideal vacation destination (I'm more beach / mountains / interesting city driven). However, I had to see to believe that this is so beyond theme parks. It is truly an "experience." And that's not to say there weren't hiccups here and there (a lost restaurant reservation for 14 that was booked 6 months ago perhaps?). Yet it came together to become our experience - one we will never soon forget.
What I liked most:
- Some of the rides. Seriously. Awesomeness.
- The over-the-top decor, but in tasteful ways.
- The "magical" wristbands (no losing cards, etc.)
- Fast passes.
- How well all the kids did despite TONS of walking and not as much sleep.
- Priority plane boarding thanks to my pilot brother-in-law.
- The dinners!
- The "wow" on the kids' faces.
- Unmatched family time
- Waiting in lines (for busses, food, etc)
- The mass exodus as parks closed
- Cafeteria-style eating (for breakfast & lunch - so over that).
- The "logistics" and how it was kind of like taking a weekend college course
- Coming home.
|First Day - Epcot!|
|Holiday lights + fake snow + shorts = magical|
|The sneaky planners|
|Chosen among a whole grandstand to participate in the motor stunt show!|
|The "wowed" faces|
|Met up with cousins from the Carolinas!|
|Approaching the Castle!|
|She's got this|
|Give him an Oscar for this acting job!|
|Focus. And piece of advice...if you are the one helping Will carve his jack-o-lantern DO NOT stray off the pen marks! DO NOT.|
|Congrats to Paige and Spirit Passion on their first competition.|
|Marking Baby Olivia's first taste of cheer life. I have it on good authority that she was later practicing her heel stretches, so...she's sold!|
No matter how hard you try to really figure out your children and know the motivation behind their decisions, sometimes it’s just impossible. Of course I have examples:
- Will didn’t buy a lunch at school the ENTIRE school year last year. We would encourage him to try pizza day (who doesn’t like pizza day) here and there – not because I long for him to have the nutrition of a school lunch, but more for variety’s sake. One day about 6 weeks ago he decided he’d try to buy a lunch and guess what…hasn’t BROUGHT a lunch since. (And the nagging to bring a lunch has begun as – again – he needs more variety).
- Last year I agonizingly tried to encourage Paige to wear her long, straight hair different ways (because it’s long and straight…capable of many different things), but everyday it was pulled to the side in a barrette. This year, without a word from me, it is up in ponytails, buns, down, in headbands, etc. I’ll never know.
Then there’s this. For two days now after school the kids have been in the basement playing with this track Cole borrowed from Grandpa C. Playing farm…and role playing together. If I could have the recipe for such harmony, I would cook it up everyday!
But instead, I will have to settle for sitting back and waiting for them to surprise me!
All Members of Household home for the night
First fire of the season
Quality homework time
Long baths (instead of “fast showers because it’s late”)
Mix together and let sit for a good 5 hours in the evening or until you smell a roasted marshmallow aroma and hear giggling kids.
Sit back and enjoy.
I haven’t been blogging much lately and for tonight this is it because
a) I might be getting a cold and, therefore, took Benedryl and so my bedtime is in 20 minutes
b) I’m watching Friends, and though I’ve seen this one roughly 30 times, it’s still competing for my attention.
c) We’re just busier than we once were.
So, enjoy these anyway!
|Big plastic containers filled with corn to climb in. Also known as dusty dirty germ bins. FUN!|
|I love this one.|
Have you ever noticed how difficult parenting is? Not the up-at-all-hours, changing diapers, pacifying criers part, but the they-grow-up-and-change-and-you-have-to-also part. What’s worse, is that not only do you have to change your parenting procedures, but often, you have to do the opposite of what you once did. I know. It’s weird. Let’s examine.
- When they’re young, we have to coax them to bed and pray they sleep until the sun comes up. When they’re older, you have to pry them out of bed in the morning and you go to bed before them.
- When they’re young, you have to do tricks to encourage them to eat more. When they are older, you find you have to be their surrogate “full” button.
- Remember when we’d encourage them to say hello to people they are just meeting as they bashfully hid behind our legs? Later, we desperately tell them to avoid talking to strangers, and in some cases, run away!
- But the one I find to be most puzzling and challenging a transition, is that of confidence. As small children, we have one mode: cheerleader. They DID do a great drawing! That IS a good trick! But somewhere along the line we have to switch gears and somehow teach them to be humble, teach them to always want to better themselves – all while riding the perfect balance between being supportive, yet encouraging more out of them.
So now, some cute pictures of the kids – as a reminder of why we bother with this full-time unpaid job of parenting…
It was a full weekend, but fun. We had TGIF at our house Friday night (that stands for if you don’t have plans, let’s get together and just have some laughs after a busy work week…along with some food and drink).
Saturday brought tumbling for Paige and then a trip out to Rich’s parents to see how they’ve settled in. I know the kids LOVED seeing Grandpa back home and Rich was able to finish up some work. We also got to bring home Chip, cousin Kate’s beagle, because his new sister just had surgery and needs some no-play time. The kids. Were. Pumped about this. Since then, no less than 20 times have I heard Cole say, “I can’t believe we have Chip in our house!” He’s a good little pup!
|three kids plus three dogs and open space = fun!|
|Um, like, we don't normally allow this. But, he IS cute. And he DOES look comfy...|
Sunday brought store-front popcorn sales for scouts for Will and Rich, while the rest of us cheered on cousin Riley in the kids triathlon. Then, Paige and I traveled south a ways to support Spirit Cheer in a parade.
|Gotta love the bumpin' cheer music that makes every parade onlooker tap their feet!|
|On the (very rural) way home from the parade THIS was necessary to prove that the corn was indeed taller than her. It also meant I got my pick of music the rest of the way home!|
Being able to close off the night with snuggling in front of a movie finishes up the weekend perfectly.
The end of this week into next week brings big changes that we have been looking forward to.
For the past 2 months, we have been visiting, texting, and, for Rich, spending the night with Rich’s father. A cancer diagnosis and blood clots that led to a stroke has had him in the hospital for this number of weeks, at varying levels of functionality / health.
He has been doing well now but, with ramifications to his left side, changes to his house had to be made. Rich and my dad spent 2 days there widening doors, building ramps and making other modifications. The kids and I joined them Saturday for some cleaning and an attempt at anything we could do to help.
The kids had made this banner to welcome them home. They decorated it with all types of pictures – from things that reminded them of their visits at the hospital (Will’s hospital cafeteria cheeseburger obsession), to things that have to do with the season (football, pumpkin), to race car stickers (as Grandpa is a fan).
He is included in every mealtime prayer and we know that this change will be challenging. We know that it will be different. But we know it will be good to be home.