Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Train Day at Preschool - 3/17/14

Drew's little preschool did a unit on transportation in March.  As a fun part event, they had a trackless train come to the preschool to take the kids for a ride.  So fun!

They were kind to let siblings participate, so Owen hopped right in there with Drew's classmates.  He thought he was big stuff!

It was super fun day for both of my littlest boys!  I'm so grateful for the sweet ladies at preschool that plan such fun activities.  What a blessing for these kids to enjoy their first school experience!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Clayton - Version 9.0

My precious, biggest boy turned 9 years old on March 13th!  I can't believe that I have been his mom for almost a decade - that blows my mind!  My goodness, this boy of mine has taught me a lot!  He isn't perfect, by any means, but he is perfect for me!  He has taught me that sometimes it is fun to get sweaty and dirty playing outside.  He has taught me that Legos are, quite possibly, the best toy ever invented.  He has taught me that teaching my own child is both exasperating and rewarding all at the same time.  He has taught me that watching my own child succeed is even more exhilarating than any of my own accomplishments ever were.  He has taught me to laugh at myself, even when my first intuition is embarrassment.  He has taught me that sometimes potty humor really is funny.  ;)  He has taught me that life isn't meant to be perfect, and it is much more enjoyable when you embrace its imperfections.  Most of all, he has taught me that if my Father loves me even more than an earthly parent can love their child, His love must be even deeper and more all-encompassing than I can ever grasp.

A few things about my Clayton at 9:

*  He weighed 65 pounds (55th percentile) at his well check and was 54 inches tall (70th percentile).  His BP was 100/66 and his vision was 20/20 in both eyes.

*  He has 24 teeth - 6 of which are permanent (two on top and four on bottom).

*  He still hates cake and requested a cookie cake for his birthday.

 *  He loves playing baseball!  He is #3 and is playing for the Rangers this Spring (which he is thrilled about!).  After a 2 year hiatus, he is starting to catch up to his peers that have played since tee ball.  We are so proud of Clayton for working hard and not giving up!
*  His nickname at school is Claytonius - all of his classmates called him that.  I think that it stemmed from a project last year on Ancient Rome.  Apparently, it stuck and they still call him Claytonius.  So funny, right?

*  He is the early riser in our family, and is usually up and at 'em by 7:30-7:45.  He immediately gets dressed and starts his day.  He is a morning person, through and through.

*  He is super adventurous and will try anything.  He loves to try weird foods and will ride any ride at an amusement park.  Those traits come straight from his Daddy's DNA.  I am the polar opposite.  ;)
 *  He is super chatty and completely comfortable talking to adults.  He begs to come to our adult Sunday School class on Sunday mornings before going to his own class.  He will talk to our friends with ease, never missing a beat.  This would also be from Wade's genes, not my own.  I was super shy as a child and completely intimidated by adults.  I'm glad that he is a friendly little fella.  :)
*  Clayton loves to read and often has 3-4 books going at a time.  I am not much of a reader, so I am glad that he is.  Readers are leaders, right?  :)

*  Other than allergies and a mild tummy bug, C-man has been super healthy this year.  Praise the Lord!!!  I am so grateful for his continued health!

*  Clayton got his first B on his report card this quarter - an 89 in Math.  Bummer!  It was a good lesson for us both, though.  It turns out that the world doesn't stop if you don't make straight As.  ;)  The grade was actually a pride issue, not an academic issue.  A certain someone decided that he could do his long division test in his head and didn't need to work the problems out on scratch paper.  Hmmm.... that didn't work out so well.  He bombed the test and wasn't ever able to recover.  Lesson learned.  :)

His birthday interview:
Mom:  How do you like being 9?
Clayton:  It's fun.  I feel a little bit older, I guess.
M:  How tall are you?
C:  I'm 56 inches.
M:  How much do you weigh?
C:  I weigh 67.2.
M:  Who are your best friends?
C:  Inside my family or outside?  Because if it is inside, it is my two brothers.
M:  What about outside?
C:  Hmm...  Probably Aaron.  And off of my baseball team, LC and John Marc.  Also, Ben.
M:  What is your favorite thing to do?
C:  I like going to dinner places, and when we all just hang out.  I like going places with my friends.
M:  Not baseball???
C:  Oh yeah!  Baseball!  I like archery too.
M:  What is your favorite color?
C:   Red.
M:  What is your favorite food?
C:  Pizza.
M:  What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
C:  I like it when we go on vacation.  I'm hoping that, this Summer, we get to go to Destin again.
M:  What do you like to do in Destin?
C:  I like to boogie board, and I am hoping that this year Dad will let me learn how to surf.
M:  What was your favorite thing to play with?
C:  My Ripstic and my bike.
M:  What do you want to be when you grow up?
C:  I've got a whole list of things, but I'm going to cut it down short.  A fireman...  An astronaut... A racecar driver... Or a stuntman.
M:  What makes you happy?
C:  Like I said, when I hang out with my family.
M:  What makes you sad?
C:  When Sydney died...
M:  What is your favorite show on TV?
C:  Kickin' It, Duck Dynasty, Arthur...
M:  What is your favorite book (besides the Bible)?
C:  The Percy Jackson series... The Hardy Boys - the outcome of those are awesome.
M:  What do you like to learn about, what is your favorite subject at school?
C:  Recess and lunch.
M:  Come on... What do you like to learn about?
C:  Middle Ages History and Literature.  I love Literature.
M:  If you could meet anyone in History, who would you choose?
C:  Oh, that's simple, Babe Ruth.  Also, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and King Tut.
M:  What is your favorite sport?
C:  Baseball.
M:  What position do you play?
C:  I mostly prefer pitcher, catcher, 2nd, and short.  I don't like outfield.
M:  How many teeth have you lost?
C:  Still 6.  I haven't lost any this year.
M:  What was your favorite part of your birthday?
C:  Probably going to Cracker Barrel.
M:  Who was your teacher this year?
C:  Mrs. Hargrove - she's also my favorite teacher.
M:  What is your favorite treat to eat?
C:  Cinnamon pizza

My Dear Clayton,

Happy Birthday, my Darling Boy!  I am so proud of the kid you have become!  You are kind, funny, smart, handsome, and passionate about Jesus.  I love you just the way that you are!

Physically, you are strong, fast, and energetic.  You decided to play baseball this year, and you are improving week by week.  You try hard and act like you really want to stick with it.  I have learned that sports are a great outlet for boys, so I am glad that you have found one that you love.  I hope that you will continue to encourage your teammates and persevere, even when you aren't the best player on the team.  That matters more to Daddy and I than your batting average or which position you play.

Academically, you are very bright.  You learn concepts quickly and continue to make great grades.  You love History and do very well in Math and Grammar.  You still struggle a bit with handwriting, but I've learned to let that go a bit.  I've let go of the reigns some this semester, and it has made our homeschool days so much more pleasant!  I've had to learn that you need to take ownership of your work and become more independent with your studies.   I go over your lessons with you and give you your assignments, then I walk away.  Gone are the days of me hovering over you and watching you write every letter and number.  It has been great for both of us!  Sure, there are days that you stare at the wall for 4 hours before getting your act together and finishing your work, but that is part of growing up.  My prayer is that you will learn to work as if unto the Lord and not unto man (Colossians 3:23).  I want you to care about school - I can't do that for you.  Part of raising older kids is giving them the tools and then letting them go.  You are teaching me this day by day.  Watching you suffer natural consequences is hard, but I am learning that is best.  I hope that these little consequences when you are little, will prevent bigger consequences when you are bigger.  Lord, let it be so!

Socially, you are a cheerful fella with lots of friends.  You have always gotten along well with girls, but you are learning that girls your age can be dramatic.  This is only the beginning, my Dear.  ;)  I've tried to help you nurture male friendships this year.  We have talked about having a Paul (older, Godly man that can disciple you), a Timothy (younger boy that you can disciple and help with his walk), and a Barnabas (boy your own age that can encourage you in your walk) in your life.  I hope that you realize how important male friendships are - they will keep you out of a world of trouble, my son.  

After lots of prayer, Daddy and I have decided to move you to another school next year.  It was a hard decision, but we believe it is best for our family.  You are less than thrilled with our choice, mostly because it means leaving behind the friends that you have had since Kindergarten.  I know that is hard.  I also know that you will make new friends quickly and will bloom where you are planted.  It is going to be great, just you wait and see!

Emotionally, you are stubborn and strong willed.  I get it.  I'm those things, too.  It takes a lot to get to you, which is good and bad.  You aren't easily bothered by people being ugly (good), but it takes a steep punishment to get to your heart (bad).  You rarely cry or get angry, and love to make people laugh.  You are cheerful and always have a smile on your face (sometimes it is a mischievous smile, but a smile nonetheless...).  :)  We are working on not being prideful and being exceptionally respectful to adults.  You are making great progress, and I love your heart.  You are making more good choices than bad these days, which is wonderful to watch.  One of my friends told me recently that she hopes that her baby boy grows up to be like you.  What a wonderful compliment!  I love that people think so highly of you, sweet Boy!

Spiritually, we talk a lot about representing Him well.  You are an ambassador for Christ - the salt and light to this world.  You serve an amazing God, and I want you to shine bright to all that are around you.  Your name is written in the Book of Life, and the Spirit is with you.  I hope that you will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).  That is my deepest prayer for you, Clayton.  To be a humble servant of the Lord that trusts in His plan for your life.  Never stray from Him, Dear One.  Hold tightly to Him, as if your very life depends on it.  Because, here's the deal:  it does!

I am crazy about you, Clayton.  Sometimes literally crazy, sometimes figuratively.  ;)  I know that you are capable of so much - you are an amazing child!  That is why I am so disappointed when you make bad choices.  I can only hope that you learn from your mistakes - when you know better, you do better.  Jesus, Others, then Yourself - that is how you find true JOY.  I hope that your 9th year is a wonderful one!  Let's finish this first decade strong!  

I love you to the moon and back,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tricycle Speedway - 3/9/14

During their transportation unit at preschool, the kids learned about bike safety and the necessity of helmets.  That made the Nurse in me very happy!  As a fun event, the kids got to participate in the "Tricycle Speedway."  The kids brought their helmets and bike to school to practice what they had learned.  It was a super fun day for all of the kiddos!

Drew decided to bring his Big Wheel to school, because he was convinced that it would be faster than his bike.  He was determined to win the race!  Drew is usually my easy going, passive little guy.  But, apparently, he has a competitive streak!  He was cutting some tight corners and making sure to stick to the inside lane.  Apparently, he has watched too much Nascar with his Daddy.  Ha! 

The Tricycle Speedway was a fun day for my boy!  :)

Fondue Rendezvous 2014 - 3/8/14

On March 8th, we got together with my roommates from A&M to have our annual Fondue Rendezvous.  It was a super fun (and delicious!) night, as usual.  It truly is one of my favorite nights of the year - I look forward to it for weeks.  :)

Katie and Wes were kind to host us again this year.  They are the fondue pros, for sure!  Even with a new baby on the way, they opened their home and spoiled us all rotten with a wonderful meal.  Such a sweet couple they are...

This is a little heavy, but I have been thinking a lot lately about suffering and the peaks/valleys of life...  Looking at my own life, I can see how the Lord is always gracious to provide tremendous joy after the really hard seasons.  I can recall so many examples of really dark times where I felt like I was suffocating in sorrow, but then the difficult season ends and God blesses me in some amazing way.  These sweet girls are a prime example!

The fall semester of my sophomore year at A&M was so terrible.  I hated my major (Chemistry), and knew that I didn't want to follow the career path that I was on.  I was petrified that my parents would be disappointed that I didn't want to be a doctor.  On top of that, a friendship that I was heavily invested in completely ended.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I didn't have a single girl friendship.  I was devastated and so very heart broken.

I decided to change my major that semester to Community Health and get my pre-reqs for Nursing school.  My parents completely supported my decision, which made me feel like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  Then, when we got back from Christmas break, Halie and Cindy (two of my friends from childhood, that I hadn't really connected with much at A&M) invited me to have dinner with them and two of their friends from their dorm.  Little did I know, this was an interview of sorts to see if we could all get along as roommates.  Luckily, we had a wonderful evening together, and they asked me to live with them the following year.  And the rest, as they say, is history...  ;)

Halie, Cindy, Katie, Traci, and (later) Laura were the Lord's provision for me.  He knew that I needed Godly women in my life, and He gave me just that.  I went from having one friend that totally deserted me, to having five friends that still love me even 15 years later.  He is so good!

We missed our 6th member of 2521 - Cindy!  She is so fun, and would have made the night even more special.  Love you, Thia!  I adore these girls more than they will ever know!  They are so precious to me, and I love our time together.  Thanks, Katie & Wes, for hosting our fun night! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Clayton's 9th Birthday Party - 3/7/14

I can't believe my baby boy is NINE years old!  That completely blows my mind.  Double digits next year... that may do me in.  I am glad that I have a year to psyche myself up for that one!  :) 

This year, Clayton wanted a baseball themed birthday party.  I did some googling and found a birthday package through the TCU baseball team.  It seemed like super fun party and was quite economical, so we jumped on it.  I'm so glad that we did, because it was a great party!

Clayton got to invite 5 of his buddies to come to the game.  They were a fun group of boys!
My three little baseball players.  
I couldn't resist buying the size XXS baseball pants for Owen.  Oh my... cuteness overload! 
I will keep those forever!
My boys consider Maggie & Sadie to be their cousins, and that thrills me to no end.  The Hunts are family to us, for sure.  They were kind to come out to Lupton Stadium to celebrate our boy!
Seriously.  How did that tiny 7 pound 4 ounce bundle wrapped in receiving blankets turn into this huge grown up boy???  I can't even comprehend it.
Me and my boys - they are my heart.
I asked Owie to smile and I got this.  Silly boy!
Owen photo bombed this Hunt sister pic.  He says, "Sadie is my best friend" approximately 487 times a day.  ;)

The highlight of the party for my boy was that he got to throw out the first pitch.  He was soooooo excited!  The TCU representative introduced Clayton to one of the pitchers before the game started.
The birthday boy warming up on the pitchers mound.

The First Pitch
I know that this picture is grainy, but I had to include it.  My boy was grinning from ear to ear when the TCU coach congratulated him and told him that he threw a nice pitch.  So proud!
All of the kids got to go on the field for the national anthem.

C got to keep the commemorative ball from his pitch.
They had a great covered patio with picnic tables where we watched the game and ate pizza during the first two innings.  The cheerleaders came up to see the kids.
Owen wanted to meet the cheerleaders too.  :)
Morgan and Makinley are so sweet with the little kids!  Owen adores them - can you tell???
I think that these two look soooo much alike!  They could pass for siblings, for sure.
After the second inning, the kids got to run the bases.  Clayton got to lead with the flag.

They put a birthday greeting on the scoreboard for Clayton.
As a part of the package, TCU also provided cupcakes and party favors (a TCU backpack stuffed with TCU baseball cards and other goodies!).  It was so nice - all we had to do was show up.  This party will be recycled - it was awesome!

Make a wish!
Clayton said several times, "This is the best party EVER!"  It was a great way to celebrate our little ball player getting another year older!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Medieval Times Field Trip

Last Thursday, I took Clayton on a field trip to Medieval Times.  I got a sitter for the littles, so it was just Clayton and I.  We had so much fun together!  At his school, all of the field trips are parent initiated and parent organized.  I was so glad that my friend, Kristin, planned such a fun event for us.  Clayton was excited to spend some time with his buddies outside of school.  :)

 All of the students & siblings that attended

The knights threw carnations to all of the little girls first.  After all of the girls had gotten a flower, the blue knight threw one to Clayton.  That sweet boy hopped right out of his seat and brought it to his Mama.  My little chivalrous knight...  Love that boy!
Such a fun field trip for our little group of 3rd graders!

Upward Basketball 2014

This January & February Clayton played Upward Basketball for the 3rd year in a row.  He really enjoyed the season!  I think that the Upward organization (and our church, specifically!) does a great job with their sports programs.  This season, Clayton was #12 on the Wildcats team.  His main coach was a teenager that is in our youth group.  Clayton thought that Coach David was really cool.  After one game, he told me a story about their halftime pep talk.  In that particular game, they were behind by 10 points at halftime.  Coach David offered to buy them each a box of Fruit by the Foot if they would come back and win the game.  They didn't win, but they played extra hard for that half.  Ha!  I guess that Coach David is young enough that he remembers what motivates little boys.  ;)

Clayton worked really hard and scored a lot of goals throughout the season.  In one game, he made 4 baskets!  Even more importantly, he was a great sport and got the Christ-like star twice.  We are so proud of our boy!

Valentine's Day 2014

It's no secret that I love Valentine's Day.  Our romantic celebrations have kind of evolved into a fun family night over the years, and I look forward to celebrating with all four of my guys.  This year, we had the best of both worlds, though.  We did all of the fun kid stuff before Valentine's Day.  We made homemade Valentines, and I went to the boys' class parties on the Wednesday before Valentine's.  On the night before Valentine's Day, we had our fun Red & Pink Dinner.  Then on the actual day, Wade took me out for a romantic dinner.  It was 3 full days of celebrating, and I loved every minute.  :)

Drew decided to make chocolate play-doh for his school Valentines.  We packaged them with the recipe and a heart cookie cutter.  I thought it turned out pretty cute.

 C-Man picked out store bought sports Valentines with a pencil sharpener and an eraser.  He did concede to letting me put them in a cellophane bag with red baker's twine to gussy them up a bit.  ;)
 Clayton wanted a football themed Valentine box, so we made one.  Thank you, Pinterest!
Clayton's class had a pizza party and made cards for the nearby nursing home.  Those kids were so quiet and worked so hard for almost the entire hour.  This is a such a sweet group of kids - they really put a lot of thought into their cards.
Drew's party was super fun too - they mostly just consumed as much sugar as possible in a 20 minute time period.  Ha!  There were two little girls that actually dumped Fun Dip on their apples and ate them before any of the adults could stop them.  ;)
 Drew was so proud of his Valentines for his classmates and his teacher.
 On Thursday we had our annual Pink & Red Dinner.  I love decorating a fancy table for my loves!
 We got the boys a few little gifts - a superhero belt, Disney Infinity characters, and some small Lego sets.

My Hubby steamed lobster and grilled salmon.  Yum-O!  I made heart shaped pasta with sauce and salad with heart shaped carrots and radishes.  Drew was a lobster eating machine!  He ate all of his serving plus most of his brothers'.  Apparently, he has a sophisticated palate.  ;)
 We had chocolate fondue for dessert.
 Wade & I never exchange gifts for Valentine's, so I was super surprised when he gave me a bracelet that he bought me in Dubai.  It is gorgeous - such a sweet surprise!
Wade took me to Resto Gastro Bistro in Dallas for our Valentine's Day dinner.  It was a really cool place, and the food was delicious!  We had the best night just eating and talking about the future.  I loved having him all to myself.  It was the perfect end to an extended Valentine's Day week.  ;)