I have avoided carving pumpkins successfully for my four and a half years as a parent. Yes, I take pride in that. It is a well known fact that we don’t short holidays around here and that the kids get to do crafts, cooking and activities galore, so I am not too concerned about the lack of pumpkin carving in their “up until now” little lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkins. We get them every year for everywhere as you have seen in our front yard hay-stack donned pumpkin patch, the front porch etc. The boys have painted pumpkins every year and this year even fancied one up with anything and everything they could glue to it. It is the actual carving of a jack-o-lantern that has been left out.
Honest? Part of it is the smelly rot factor. I am not doing it long before Halloween because it will start to become that half melted looking pumpkin as it grows strange fuzz and gets taken over by mysterious bugs. Nope. No thank you. The other part is that they couldn’t really do anything in years past to really experience it so I put it off. I had intentions each year and then would logic myself right out of it.
Not this year.
Caden, at four and a half, finally figured out that Halloween means jack-o-lanterns. Thanks to every cartoon and every picture and every storybook perfectly pointing out those perfectly illuminated orange globes on squash it was on. We have gathered pumpkins off and on since October 1st, but picked out some particular carving pumpkins not long ago to set them aside. Last week one was adorned with sequins and pipe cleaners as seen in the oh-so-beautiful result above and this week the other was gutted.
In all little boy dreams they went to school with the promise of pumpkin carving with Mommy when they got home. I don’t know if they were more excited or appalled at their first glimpse of pumpkin insides. To say this was unexpected would definitely be accurate. “Aaaaaahhhhh, Ewwwwwww, Smelly, Yucko, What is That?”
In keeping true to my mission to make this a team effort so that they would really get the idea of all that pumpkin carving glory I scraped down the sides and began the scooping but made sure they got a good feel too. Hesitant. That is what they were. My all boy, bring mommy worms, roll in the dirt sons were quite hesitant when it came to touching pumpkin guts.
One arm in and quickly out. One finger in with a brief touch and back out while running down the driveway. And then, the moment of truth, the full handful. I almost lost them right there.
A quick disposal into our handy trash bag and they were fine to leave me to finish the scraping while they ran about – as if we didn’t know this is how this endeavor would go. At carving time though, they were back in it and full of opinions. “I want triangle eyes!” “I want circle eyes!” ”Nice!” “Funny teeth!” Combining all of their ideas into a simple face was the goal and with stenciled lines, pre-sawing by Mom and supervision they happily contributed to the “sawing”
After hacking away, pulling out pieces and carving a bonus bat on the side for one little man’s dreams their very first jack-o-lantern was carved and ready for a candle two days before Halloween. Prime no-rot time. Take that bugs and fuzz.
I think they are pleased.
A jolly jack-o-lantern indeed.
If you haven’t already assumed so by my regular absence for the last, oh, six months or so, this has been one of the busiest seasons of our lives with no real stop in sight! These past months we have been busy getting the new house in order and busy trying to get the current house in order. We have been busy trying to get appointments checked off and tee ball games attended. But mostly, we have just been busy with each other in those moments in between. With projects a plenty I have really tried to reign in my time with our little family of four to make it count and keep it to us. But then, the photos pile up and the memories fade and with all of the journaling and documenting at some point the stories will come out.
For now though, I am enjoying my little men.
It is almost Halloween time as they remind me.
It is almost house selling time as all of the packing lists remind me.
It is almost Everett’s birthday as he and Caden are sure to remind me.
Which means after that it is almost time for Santa to come they equally remind me.
Remind, remind, remind.
Last week marked the first week of another year of pre-school for our boys which means that it is another time of reflection for us as parents and as a family.
It is funny. School really isn’t that different for us this year. Caden is still going three days a week, and Everett upped his game from two days to three days as well. So, the only real difference is one extra day.
Losing one extra day of alone time with Everett. And yet, watching them go last Tuesday still felt like letting them go for the first time again. The preparation, the excitement, the nerves.
But they were ready to go primarily because of new shoes, new lunchboxes, new…
Back to School.
They love school, so it isn’t the idea of school, it isn’t the days they are away, it is knowing their hearts and praying that their teachers learn and hold their hearts with tenderness too. Each year as we get closer and closer to Kindergarten, I pray harder that my boys will love school and be loved by their school. I searched for a pre-school that would help them learn how to “do school” and we have had such a positive experience at their pre-school socially, academically and emotionally.
As a former teacher I don’t struggle in letting them “go” to school but as a parent in knowing that the warm, loving, controlled bubble they have been molded in, in the years since their birth is slowly fading. Which is a good thing too, but it comes with its own set of challenges and concerns. I read in an article recently that the best you can do as they grow, and get more and more input and examples from this full, busy and not always pleasant world we are raising them to be a part of is to make sure that each day when they walk in the door home from school a warm, safe, loving and consistent environment waits for them. So, as I watch their little friends start to impact their hearts, minds and behaviors more and more I wish for good friends for them like I was fortunate to have, for good mentors and for a safe path. Yes, I know they are still mini men, but setting the tone for the years to come so that they
feel the pull to respect, work hard, be a good friend, and yes…play, be silly, enjoy life.
As a whole, the boys had a fabulous first week. Caden is a school champ. He never has any issues adjusting to a new class, new teacher or new friends. My shy guy turned social bee. He is loving the new responsibilities and priviliges of his official pre-kindergarten class; a locker, getting to check out books in the library, eating in the gym (instead of in the classroom) and of course, no nap. He received rave reviews from his teacher about what a great kid he is, so thoughtful, well-mannered, hard-worker, good listener and kind friend. Talk about some key compliments your parent heart wants to hear!
Everett, my tough, risk-taking child is a puddle when it comes to school. He just does not handle change well. We were so surprised that he was so sad to go to his new class because they are Caden’s teachers from last year who he loves! The poor little guy just gets a bit worried. He is always happyand pick-up and excited to tell me about the great day he had but the first two daysof drop off were sad for him. He still goes in, and he still gives hugs and kisses goodbye, but while he has crocodile tears pooling on his teacher’s lap as she snuggles him.
The last day of the week though, I told him that he couldn’t be sad because he had to help his friends if they were feeling sad. If his friends were sad he could give them a hug and tell them “It’s okay, we are going to have a fun day!” Bless his heart, the sweet child looked at me at drop off, went in his room a little teary, walked back out, (his friends were sad), looked at me square in the eye and took the biggest breath held up his hand for a kiss and marched back in tear free to help his friends.
I love hearing about their days, and they do spill all the details and I love getting to further work with them on the things they are doing at school to match up with our home “school”. With a real “Farewell to Summer” Labor Day weekend behind us we soaked up family time, the independent stage they are getting to and the tiny moments that they just need us and still seem just that, tiny.
Back to School.
Which means I might actually be back to catching up.
But lets not get hasty.
Oh, Hello There
Let Me Introduce Myself
MIA is by first name, yes, all initials.
Busy is my Middle Name.
Who has time for a last name?
There have been visitors, there has been a computer meltdown of the summer, there is currently a computer rebuild/reorganize in progress, there is a new house being built, there is a current house being sorted and packed, there are new undertakings, there are overdue tasks, and oh yes, there are two beautiful boys growing up way too fast and are getting all of my focused attention for all of the parks, pools, projects, playtimes, walks, rescue missions and outings they can stand.
Give me sixteen more years, and then I will catch you up on all of the fun we have had while I simultaneously mourn an empty nest. Premature empty nest syndrome.
On a drizzly Saturday morning while the rest of the neighborhood was snug in their beds we decided to get a little paint crazy not knowing what was about to hit.
We walked. We tapped. We slapped.
They spread quickly. Plague style.
Quick, someone call the doctor. We are all down with purple polka-dot-itis.
(and orange nose apparently)
Warning: They are often accompanied with side effects of giggling, silly faces and crispy hair. Best Treatment: Warm Bubble Bath and a Brillo Pad.
To My Boys on Father’s Day
Do you see that man there? Yes, the one you are currently pummeling in the trampoline while demanding he pretend to be a monster, The Champ, or Mr. Todd from Peter Rabbit. The one you are endlessly tackling in the grass, and the one you have already enlisted to show you what to do with every ball you find? As you know, that man is your Daddy.
- him making you feel safe
- him being down to play the very second he walks in the door
- the fact that he is going to walk in that door each night
- us having a door for him to walk through at all because of the hard work away from home and us that he does each and every day.
What you don’t know yet is that not all littles such as yourselves are this lucky.
Your Daddy fills his roles of husband, father and provider until our cup runneth over. Which means, no, my water cup isn’t spilling boys but that he does so to…ummm…kid terms…infinity. Yup. Infinity.
He is a great supporter of each of your growing minds and always will be, I can say that with confidence. So, never be hesitant to go to him for help, or to ask him to teach you and show you the way when it is beyond Lego structures and the proper stance for peeing like a Big Boy.
He is a caretaker and nurturer of your heart in a way only a man can balance concern and strength. He knows when a snuggle is in order or a firm high-five distraction to any “owy” that comes our way. He is tender to your soul while showing you what worries can be conquered and what manners matter most to be a gentlemen just like him. So, never let your mind tell you that Daddies aren’t for matters of the heart, because he is, so you can go to him with any affliction in love, frustration in friendship or despair in sadness especially when it is beyond you pushing each other, someone taking your snack, and a lost toy.
He is the teacher of your body’s capabilities as he fills you up with certainty in what you are brave enough to try while I am squeezing my eyes shut while turned around so you can’t see my fear. I try, I really do. He encourages your curiosities in your own strength and balance while shaping your form in stance, swing and focus. So, whether you choose golf, baseball, basketball, soccer or gymnastics…er…maybe you will have to come to me for the latter, listen to his tips, try his strategies and go for it with all your might because he will always be in your corner, on your side and part of your team. Always.
Your Daddy chose to be your full time Daddy the moment we knew you were on your way. He is and always has been the very opposite of any stereotype in regards to what a man’s role is in the home and with his children. Diaper changes? Absolutely. Late nights? Up walking and bouncing you. Stomach bug clean-up duty? On it. Meal makings? It’s Daddy Dinner night. From snuggles to sillies, punishment to playtime, tackling to teaching your Daddy has already been instrumental in a 100% hands on, focused purposeful manner that all mini men such as yourselves should be privy to. Oh yeah, and he goes to work away from home each and every day, up and at ‘em bright and early to provide for your life, home, and health. Since you are so lucky, and you are so loved, that is why among the celebrating we took another picture this year, just like in the years behind us, of why you love your Daddy. In your own words, you made his morning with your updated reasons that adorn his bathroom counter as his daily reminder of your love.
So remember boys, that man is your Daddy, he is a keeper so you better give him your love and tell him about your love for him on more than just Father’s Day.
He’s Earned It.
Now Being Shared With Mama Kat to Further Celebrate a Fabulous Father
Take Me Out to the Ball Game,
Take Me Out to Nonna and Pa Pa’s
Sit me Down with my Camera and Wine
I will Watch You All Night and Be Fine
For it’s click, click, click of the shutter
As I Soak Up Each Bit of this Night!
Because it is just, one, two or a few more years left
Before we won’t see this little sight.
Surprise! We’re Moving!
And By Moving, I Mean Building.
So….Surprise, We are Moving in Eight Months!
We have been signed and sold for a few weeks and are officially off to the races picking everything from flooring to faucets, switches to sod so that we can break ground here in the next month. The boys were super excited and then super disappointed when we went back to out normal home…without a new home. This is such a positive focus for us right now that we are taking joy in the timing we did pick and getting to spend hours upon hours making decisions and thinking about our future in this home.
With many pictures, updates and postings on the horizon of this process…
For now, we bought a “whole lotta” mud. Just the way the boys like it.
We definitely can’t predict the weather here, the season’s stretch and bend every year and so do our wardrobes as we can never fully pack away a season until it hits 110 and doesn’t stop for 40 days.
That being said, you can predict bluebonnets. Rain or shine, come spring, at somepoint, somewhere they bloom, and boy are they blue. Whilemy husband insists that they are just a weed, he even saw this year that it isn’t them alone but in abundance that is so stunning.
The boys kept asking to play in the blue flowers so we made a couple stops throughout their relatively short blooming times to take advantage of a country spring and a Texas tradition. You saw our first little outing which was a bit of a location scouting stop but I haven’t yet shared our perfectly cloudy boys in blue afternoon and now that we are heading full force into summer why not relive a cooler afternoon?
Why don’t we wrap up all of this bunny hopping so we can get on with daily life?
As tradition would have it the Easter Bunny loves our boys so much that he delivers baskets to our house but scatters eggs for hunting at Nonna and Pa Pa’s! So, we loaded up their Easter baskets, because who could leave those behind, threw in their egg hunting buckets and over the river and through the freeways we went.
I personally love that we get to spread out the fun and share in the Easter Bunny love with Nonna and Pa Pa. Given that we had already had three school hunts (combined) and one birthday party egg hunt I wasn’t sure if they would be over it. What an “adult” question right? Small children, being over the idea of hunting for hidden colorful treats that a magical bunny left for them? Yeah, right.
Can we go yet?
For the first time, they were more interested in finding the eggs when we got there than taking their usual barstool seats among the snacks. Tear, they are growing up. I take it that their previous egg hunts in the week leading to Easter were actually just a practical warm up to the main event – and they’ re off!
Over the rocks and through the garden, passed Nonna’s fountain we go…
Eggs, eggs, and eggs everywhere!
Much to their racing delight.
Last year, Everett was determined to carry his bucket around despite it making him wobble under the weight with each step. This year, he was more interested in racing after the eggs and running them back to his bucket, forgetting where he had put it. Well, that and trying to open each and every one as he found it of course. Caden was unstoppable. He needed absolutely no guidance (until the very end when there were only a couple left) as he carefully balanced his tower of eggs in his basket. “I’m winning Mommy, I’m winning.” Go figure his competitiveness finally shows up over Easter eggs.
Everett only needed some subtle direction at times to keep him on track or to try to get him to drop his handful of eggs into his bucket so he could continue. He was more interested in finding and retrieving the challenging ones (our little daredevil) like the playhouse, perched on chairs than just grabbing as many as possible.
There is something quite precious about watching your bow tie and suspender clad sons carry on about their childhood business of egg hunting, belly sliding, mud crawling, knee scraping life. I found the evidence of the hunt in the form of muddy knees and smudges shirts the perfect portrayal of a hunt well done.
Somehow, just like last year Everett managed to get himself in a precarious position or two in order to meet those challenges head on.
To say that it was a successful Easter morning is an extreme understatement. Extreme. They felt very loved on by all of us and thoroughly enjoyed all of their hidden Easter finds. As always we were able to enjoy purposeful conversation with Nonna and Pa Pa while the boys frolicked about with full bellies, and maybe, just maybe, full baskets. Happy Easter to all, and to all a good morning.