Another Move

By | Posted August 24, 2013

Posted in Jessica | No Comments »

A week ago, I got the kids up at 6:50 so they could say good-bye to Jessica.  Our sweet girl had just packed her car.  She was on her way to College Station.

This sweet girl has been our neighbor since BH was in my belly, has watched two more babies come and been there for the last one.  She delights in cupcakes like me and loves the kids…and now, she is gone.

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Not too far away, but we don’t get to see her car just sitting in the drive way anymore.  The boys don’t get to run over and see what she’s doing.  I’ve told her I’m going to spot check and make sure her room is clean.

We sent her off in style by having our annual back to school get together.

We’ll miss seeing her sweet face daily, but wish her the best of luck on this chapter.  Study hard, keep your room clean and have a blast!  We love you!

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Moving

By | Posted August 5, 2013

Posted in Baby Hulk, friends | 5 Comments »

About four years ago a mom came up to me during Bodypump to ask if I was Mason’s mom.  Her son and my son were constantly playing together as opposed to side by side in the daycare at Trotter.  They were in the middle room back then, only 2 and forming a bond.  I hadn’t seen my other two children form a friendship that early.  But clearly that’s what it was.  And lucky me, I also found a friend.

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Walter is BH’s bestest friend.  On the first day of school last fall, he called him to talk about their days.  He called him first thing when he lost his first tooth and bright and early on W’s birthday.  He missed not seeing him during the school year, but field trips and time at the YAC helped make up for it.  Every early release day found our families together.

I assumed next year would be the same.

But they are moving tomorrow.

Today BH prayed that they would move to Austin and not like it quite so much and come back home.  I admit I feel the same way.

Not only did my son make a best buddy, but so did I.  A friend who is always positive, who is clear headed and thinks like I do about school.  When we met, her son was in preschool, but we started talking and soon he was out.  We researched homeschooling together, finding poetry, nature ideas and science themes.  We’d trade out books.  The librarian would place my holds under her name at times.  I’d have to say that two years ago with BH was so great partly because I was sharing it with someone else.

This week, she moves and is taking the plunge that we aren’t.  I’m extremely sad that this wonderful family is moving.  I’m a mixture of jealous and excited that she is going to homeschool her wonderful boys.  We’ve discussed curriculum options, and she made a big decision.  I feel like I am as anxious as her about this next step.

Besides the obvious dislike of traditional school/desire to homeschool we shared, she is also a trusted friend who listened and shared.  She encouraged me in spin despite being a front rower, always having a positive word for me.

I’m going to miss this family so much.  Sunshine loves her boys, we used to tease that Sunshine would marry W one day.  Her husband and Snax joke with each other and our 4th graders get along too.  They are only moving to Austin, but already I’m just down about it.  I won’t see her after I drop the boys off on the first day of school..what if I can’t reach her when something at school drives me crazy…who do I tell when I improve my watts in spin?!

Just a phone call and 2 1/2 hours away.

I’m excited for her family.  Sad for me and my boys.

But grateful.  Always grateful for my friend and for my son’s friend.

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Mass With Littles

By | Posted August 1, 2013

Posted in kids, parenting | 2 Comments »

I can count the times I have missed mass on both hands.

I haven’t even missed mass once a year in my lifetime.

I love mass.

Even when I’m being told how to vote.  I don’t like that part, but thus far, I’ve yet to stay away or walk out.

Currently, I have some things that are keeping mass from being the enjoyable experience it’s always been for me.

They’re my kids.

All five of them.

How can an 18 year old bother me at mass?  Not sitting up straight, it gets on my nerves.  Trying to parent the littles, they already have two other people telling them what to do.  Not actively participating, say the damn prayers OUTLOUD.

See?  Parenting doesn’t get easiser just because they are older.

Then the 9 year?  He who pouts if he can’t sit next to me at mass.  He will literally hold up people going into the aisle because he refuses to move so he can sit with me.  He who tries to chit chat with his sister during mass.  The sweet boy who takes Jesus like it’s no big deal.

Then there is the 6 year.  The boy who says he wants to be a priest, but who also gets mad when he doesn’t get to sit next to me during mass.  The one who yawns as loud as possible and tries to sing super high and just a little bit too long so that people turn around and look at him.  On a positive note, he can also tell me what the homily is about better than some adults.

Which leads us to Snax, the one who says all we do in mass is sit.  Really?  In what Catholic Church do you just sit?  He doesn’t appear to be a fan of kneeling.  Or singing.  Or praying much.  He likes to be held during mass.  Oh and sit next to me.  And when he can’t, well, he pouts too.  Just like the others.

Which leads us to Sunshine.  She is a total mess at church.  Total freaking mess.  She takes off her shoes, has told her brother he is annoying, drops books, switches back and forth between me and Lance.  And in general, acts like a total fool.

Because of the current state of things during mass, I’m trying a new approach of not looking at them during mass.  Seriously, that’s my solution.  What else can I do?  I can’t spend the entire mass shooting dirty looks at the kids.  And sorry people who sit around me, kids make some noise.  My kids don’t make a lot of noise, but they are not robots.  I don’t want to be that parent who nitpicks every single thing they do during mass.  That only gives the kids a negative feeling about mass and puts me on edge the entire time.

Truly, I love this age with kids.  Almost everything they do makes me smile and laugh. Now if I could just get two, three of them to behave during mass, I’d be happy.

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August

By | Posted August 1, 2013

Posted in Summer | 2 Comments »

How is it already August 1st?  I’ve had a post in the draft box since school ended.  The post about the hope for an intentional summer after having made it through the marathon that May was.  The desire to soak up summer and enjoy every second of the kids.  And here we are at August 1st.  And right this second, I feel we have nothing to show for it.

It sounds a bit whiny, I know.

I was talking about this with a friend who felt the same way.  I tried to blame it on the lack of a vacation.  She said it was more than that.  I agree.  However, I have to say taking a family vacation would have made this summer better.  That’s just me.  Lance reminded me we went out of town for Spring Break this year, (pictures I’ve yet to post…), but still, I associate summer with big family trips.

So it’s not the lack of family vacation, but I can’t put my finger on it.

There’s been reading.  But the start we had in June where we read for three hours a day, two of those nestled together on the couch, gone.  These days it’s the kids rushing through books on their own.  Not waiting for me to read with them.

There have been the library trips to see different shows, but Goose is getting just a bit older and sometimes would rather go off on his own that sit with us.  Problem: I don’t let him go off on his own yet, so there’s the fuss because he has to sit with me.  The shows themselves have been okay, some better than others, but there’s been no followup like I want.  Truly, the kids are taking the summer off.

No intentional learning time with me.  And not that I want them doing math facts or stuff like that, I just thought we’d pick a topic and dive into it.

We’re not doing it.  We’re not doing anything much.  We swim, we read, we eat, we play games…and while that should be more than enough, the summer just feels empty.

Which makes me really sad because I only have three weeks and 3 days to spend with the kids before they are forced back into school and homework, something I consider to be a huge waste of time.  One of my dearest friends is taking the plunge and homeschooling.  Talk about jealousy on my part.  We keep talking about curriculum and schedules and things that she wants to make sure and teach the kids, things they weren’t getting at school, things that I also consider important.

But back to our home.  We have three weeks basically to live our intentional summer.  I’m not sure what that means for this year, I just know that I don’t want to end the summer with the feeling I have right now.  It’s not about activities or trips.  It’s about enjoying our time together before someone else has the chance to spend more time with my children than me.  I’m going to mass tomorrow, hopefully, after some prayer, I’ll find some inspiration.

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What I Learned at 42

By | Posted July 23, 2013

Posted in Note To Self | 4 Comments »

Just a few thoughts about what I learned over the past year.

  1. Never go a year without taking a trip with Lance.  Let’s be clear, this is all on me.  I HATE flying so much that it’s starting to affect how often I go places.  It’s come to that.  I hate to admit it, but it’s true.  Before this past year, Lance and I took long weekends twice a year, usually three if you count our anniversary.  It definitely affected us.  We’re a couple, and we have a small troupe that take a lot of time.  All couples need time, and we’re taking it.  
  2. Apple cider vinegar does not solve as many problems as everyone says it does.  I’ve tried it for bloating, canker sores, acid reflux, my mom is drinking it for arthritis….thus far, I have to say it’s not helping.  It’s disgusting without benefits so why bother?
  3.  I am still the best teacher for all my kids.  Didn’t think there was a chance that homeschooling wouldn’t come up…
  4. Yelling never helps any situation.  Not something new, but something I am really working on this year.  Some days are better than others.
  5. I was eating far too much food each day.  It showed and while I haven’t really lost more than 3 pounds, I have confidence I can take better care of myself by watching what  and how much I actually eat.  Most of the time.
  6. Sometimes there are no words, just love and tears to share.  And in that moment, it’s enough.
  7. Nothing is worse than having a stomach virus unless it’s six people having a stomach virus at the same time.
  8. Oh wait…lice is worse.  Lice will change your life.  More than anything else.  Trust me on this.  Trust me.
  9. There’s something about my name: I’ve two good friends one Nikki and another Nicole.  One is my twin in all but college allegiance,  and the other is like me in many ways most especially in that she has four littles and keeps her house pretty damn clean.
  10. Staying mad at someone never helps a situation.  Stepping back from the situation is fine, and often smart.  Sometimes even taking a few days is required, except with your spouse.  Stepping back in that situation is probably a bad thing, thankfully we don’t do that.
  11. Sometimes people do nice things just because, and you accept their generosity.
  12. I completely rely on spellcheck to find my spelling mistakes, which currently sucks because spellcheck on my blog isn’t working.
  13. I am consistent in my beliefs, I like hearing what other people think, but I’m not changing my mind anytime soon.
  14. I can’t stand mess.  And I really can’t stand the saying “pardon the mess, we live here.”  I want a magnet that says, “we live here and clean up after ourselves, all the time.”  It irritates me to no end.  I’m glad I have the gift of cleaning up after myself which sounds really dumb, I know.
  15. Simplicity living is where I want to be.  It’s a slow process considering I have an addiction to children’s picture books, but we’re on our way.
  16. I have a set schedule for most days and detracting from it makes me lose balance.  I am a firm believer in predictability for kids and adults.
  17. I don’t think I could live without my family.  Not even for a minute.
  18. When your child wants to snuggle with you or sleep with you, go for it.  Everyone knows they grow so fast, and thus far, few things are as wonderful as snuggling with your baby, big or small.  It doesn’t last forever.
  19. I’m not always as organized as my OCD mind would like.  I get tired and stash gifts, then forget about them until later, or I like to file articles, just found one on immigration from five years ago stuffed inside the desk.  Clearly, I never filed that one away.  (Great speech by Mattress Mac).  This goes to the clean out every closet idea I’ve been working on all year…
  20. Never, ever, ever get a facial again.  Had one from Urban Retreat, great place.  (Although my last two massages there have sucked, but I digress…)  Have had facials previously without any problem.  This time, red, dry, swollen face and overall bad experience.  Except the wonderful lady who worked with me.  She was sweet and helpful even bringing me product to try and help out.  But still, never again.
  21. Goose is my loudest child ever.  We used to say this house didn’t get loud until Snax was born and we already three boys before that, including one ADHD child.  Then Snax arrived and it was a madhouse, in a good way.  But when it comes down to it, it’s Goose who has no clue what an inside voice is.  This clearly explains all the notes we get about him.
  22. God’s timing is always best.  I rarely understand His timing or why things happen, but in my heart I know it’s best.  It’s called Faith.  It is not always easy, but it’s there.

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43 Things

By | Posted July 22, 2013

Posted in birthday | 9 Comments »

It’s my birthday!  Yay me!  Even at the age of 43, I love my birthday.  No complaining from me about getting older, no “it’s not a big deal” coming out of my mouth.

It’s my day, ALL MINE.  And I want to be pampered and loved on and told just how special I am.

Everyone deserves one day all their own.  Clearly, I embrace mine.

As a lover of a good list, I thought I’d list things I want to complete this year.  Here goes:

  1. go to first Friday Mass the entire year
  2. go to confession monthly with the boys
  3. go on date night with Lance each month
  4. spend one on one time with each child
  5. walk Snax into his Kindergarten class on his first day of school
  6. don’t go into a deep depression once Snax leaves me
  7. take a girls weekend
  8. let it go about school expectations for BH and Snax, you know what it is, don’t be disappointed
  9. attend several Longhorn games this year
  10. send a card to each of my godchildren on their Baptism anniversary
  11. read three books a month
  12. complete a DIY spiritual retreat
  13. volunteer with the children
  14. take two long weekends with Lance, one to Chicago
  15. plan a big family vacation
  16. take the kids to the art museum and continue to teach them
  17. take a photography class or read a book on the subject, go manual
  18. take my kids to the dentist, yes, this has to be listed
  19. clean out every single drawer and closet in the house, pretend you are moving
  20. take my kids to the beach
  21. visit two more Civil War national parks
  22. teach my kids the faith
  23. Super Saints…I still have young kids, let’s get going again
  24. see friends more than once a year
  25. go out to new restaurants
  26. read an hour every night with the kids
  27. be room parent for one of the boys, maybe two
  28. clean out my email
  29. cook from my Pinterest boards three times a month
  30. watch every season of Breaking Bad
  31. give up Sweet n Low for good
  32. lose 5 pounds
  33. make it through spin for two hours, at least once this summer and next summer
  34. find a way to spend less money
  35. use ALL of my gift cards from Urban Retreat
  36. be more flexible
  37. take long walks with Sunshine daily
  38. teach my kids to love nature
  39. go to Adoration once a week
  40. start and finish Story of the World year 1 with the boys
  41. Smile more often
  42. Yell less often
  43. Love more, myself and everyone around me

Not bad, if I do say so myself.  I’m sure I’ll think of things I forgot especially considering I have lost this post more than once and couldn’t remember all the wonderful things I had planned for myself.

Happy Birthday to me.  Self, your life is good.  You have God, a husband who adores you and kids who love you and need you.  Your extended family is amazing, you have no drama in your life, you have friends new and old that are there no matter what.  Be grateful, self.  (Seriously, I don’t talk to myself like this!)

God, please bless me and continue to provide the grace I need to fulfill Your plan for me.  St. Mary Magdalene pray for me!

PS: facials…never, ever again.

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My Little Poser

By | Posted July 19, 2013

Posted in Baby Z, pictures | 6 Comments »

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I loved Sunshine’s outfit today and asked if she wanted to take some pictures.  She was hilarious taking pictures, asking if I wanted to take more and just posing nonstop.  I adore her personality.

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 She couldn’t stop herself from being the cutest little girl in the world.

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DSC_9447“All done, Momma”

 

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Daybook~ the heat of summer

By | Posted July 17, 2013

Posted in Daybook, pictures | 7 Comments »

For today:: July 17, 2013

Outside my window:: it rained.  Made for a great day to play games and read.  Not that the boys need much inspiration to read, but they enjoyed snuggling on the couch with books.

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I am wearing:: denim shorts and a Snoopy t-shirt.

I am listening to:: my kids play Spot It!  They love this game and everyone can play.  It does get slightly competitive, but overall, there are no complaints from the kids.

I am thankful:: that birthday week is over.  We have this new gift giving plan in which the kids get: something they want, something they need, something to read and something to wear.  We’ve pretty much done this anyway, but now we aren’t trying to buy more gifts because we don’t think we have enough.  So gift  giving is better, but birthday week is still tiring.  And we don’t even do parties.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if we did.  Thankfully, my kids think doing something with one other family is a party.

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I am grateful for:: a friend who is taking care of my kids so I can use one of my Urban Retreat gift cards.  Did I mention she has four kids of her own?  All around the same age as my kids.  Yes, I’m grateful for friends who go the extra mile.

I am praying for:: Ray, a cure for DMD and a special intention.  Prayers welcome.

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In the kitchen:: too many sweets.  I type this after baking two kinds of cookies and bread today.  But the menus are still planned.  This week, I empty the freezer.  I literally have three things to buy at the grocery store.  Three things.  I will not buy one more thing.  And Costco, I have 4 things.  Not bad!!  Maybe less than 75 on groceries this week!!

Around the house:: cleaning out closets.  You can’t imagine how many gifts I have found.  For someone who is organized, I don’t seem to be these days.

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I am reading:: a lot with the kids.  We have two new favorite picture books: Creepy Carrots and The Day the Crayons Quit.

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To be fit and happy:: Have been lax about my food app.  And it shows.  With birthdays and special meals, I haven’t been eating well.  But I have been working out.  I am loving spin again and my goal is to spin two hours on my birthday.  Have been taking Pump with one of my favorite people ever, Nikki, and it’s great.  She is such a great instructor.  Now everyone else is judged according to how she teaches.  Not good for them.

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Trying to plan:: some type of trip, even just Austin or Dallas.  I admit it, I don’t do well without an actual vacation.  The kids are fine, but I need it.  I like museums or hiking or… in general, just doing something.  I like exposing the kids to new things and am a firm believer that you can spend time together doing things rather than just hanging out at home where the television is always beckoning.  Am wondering if the Painted Churches sound interesting to them.

I am pondering:: the fact that the kids start school soon.  Way too soon.  It makes me want to puke.

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I am sad:: that a dear friend is packing up and moving to Austin.  The Austin trips that didn’t happen for over a year now?  They happen this year.

One of my favorite things:: the smile on the faces of my birthday boys.  The joy on their face is catching.

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Random, random:: I am a cancer, two of my kids are cancers, my brother is a cancer (sharing a birthday with one of my kids), two good friends are cancers ( incidentally I met these people through my blog!), my FIL is a cancer…cool, right?

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A few plans for the week:: party with friends, library shows, hopefully meet up with a friend and massage and facial!!!

Loving the fact:: that I won a free family membership to the Museum of Fine Arts.  It’s not the Art Institute, (and yes, that comment kind of makes me a bitch) but that’s okay.  I can’t picture my kids in the Art Institute just yet.  Especially Snax who says “all we do at the museum is look”.

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9

By | Posted July 15, 2013

Posted in birthday, Goose | 4 Comments »

Goose,

I can’t believe you are NINE.  NINE!!!   Since the moment you were born I have wanted to stop time and just hold on.  Hold on to holding you for the very first time, hold on to those days when we took several naps together.  Hold on to each new phase~ because with every change that occurred, that new phase was my absolute favorite.  I couldn’t believe it got better than it already was.

I still feel that way.  I love who you are becoming.  And again, I want to stop time and just hold on to you.

Hold on to the sweet, smart, caring boy you are.  The boy who reads nonstop, who shoots hoops all afternoon and is super competitive.

The two things that best describe you are sports and books.  You stay up late watching games with dad.  You always have a team you are rooting for and dad always picks the other one.  It makes games fun for both of you, but boy do you get angry when “your” team loses.  You literally pout if you have to go to sleep before a game ends.  Last bowl season, you knew teams that were playing better than dad did.  And despite the Longhorns dismal year, I have no fear of you turning on them.  In fact, you know the players better than me.  You watch games with me and paced quite a bit with me last season.

I have to say that the best thing is catching you reading in bed.  And it’s almost a nightly thing.  You go through mini flashlights pretty fast because we can’t seem to figure out how to change the batteries and get them working again.  These flashlights have become my go to small gift for you.  Lately, you’re reading Harry Potter.  I didn’t let you read HP until now.  I was too worried that you weren’t ready for the books.  I stand by that decision.  It was hard waiting, but I so enjoy watching you read the books and then watch the movies…You’re on book 6, and I am dying for you to read and find out who dies!  What will you think?  Will you figure it out?

It’s not just Harry Potter, it’s Percy Jackson, it’s Goosebumps~ how you love Goosebumps.  Really, it’s all books that you love.  You still sit and listen when I read picture books, you still have your favorite seasonal books.  And your favorite saint books, and just plain old picture books.  You never tire of where a book takes you.

You are such a great brother.  I hate to say Sunshine has a favorite, but right now, these last couple of months, it’s you.  All you.  She dotes on you because you treat her so well.  She loves playing with you, she calls you by her special name for you, the only one in the family.  Sometimes you get a little frustrated, but it is clear to everyone just how much you love her.

Truly, you are a leader.  So at times, when I see someone take advantage, it bothers me.  I hope you always stay this way, I want leaders, not followers.  Someone who is smart and questions things.

You still love hearing about the church.  You have the new creed completely memorized.  You ask to go to confession.  And you pray.  We pray a healing prayer every single night, you are the one who recites this prayer.  And then you ask how the recipients of the prayer are doing.  You care, you really care and understand that we are a community that prays for other people.

Third grade was your hardest year at school and still, you excelled.  You are so good at math, it makes me so proud.  Your dad, the one who helps with math, is so amazed at all you can do.  And it’s cool, you can multiply double digits in your head.  No trouble at all.   Funny story about this year, you have to take some dumb standardized test.  The teachers at school totally stressed your class out, no clue since they constantly remind us you are doing 4th grade work.  So you took your math test and finished fast. Faster than anyone else, doing problems in less than a minute.  The teacher was a bit concerned, had a chat with me about asking you to slow down and so on.  You missed one problem.  One stinking problem, and she was so worried.  Okay, so was I.  Can you try a bit harder to take your time, even on something that might be easy?!

You love music and have a pretty good voice.  I’d like to say you have great taste in music, but sadly your taste has taken a downhill turn.  You tell me not to change the station most days as if you were in control of the radio.  You love chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and pumpkin bread.  You enjoy helping me make cookies and like cookie dough about as much as me.  Your cake for your birthday was pumpkin bread.  For your birthday, you had a very specific menu planned: eggs for breakfast, Double Dave’s for lunch, pizza rolls and cornbread pancakes for dinner.  It was quite the day for you.  You were spoiled, and we loved it.

Goose, I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of you recently.  You were the cutest boy, your face so innocent and full of wonder.  I love that little face of yours.  It does make me sad to think of how fast time flies.  I remember every single thing we’ve done, especially the reading.  Silly story to admit, now when I read to you, you pull my gray hairs.  I’ve enjoyed the field trips this year, the games, the books and the plays.  Enjoyed it all.  But mostly, I enjoy the time we spend together.  When I sent you to school, I knew what I would miss the most, and it’s our time.  I still miss that dearly because it can’t be made up.  Instead, I have to cherish the time we can spend together.  And I do.

Happy Birthday, my sweet and amazing boy.  The boy who still sleeps with Snoopy, the boy who can’t go to sleep without his trusted friend.  I love you so very much.  And while I want to stop time, I have to admit, I love watching you in each stage.  You are a wonderful boy.  May God continue to bless you.  Mary and all the Saints, pray for my boy.

 

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On Turning 5

By | Posted July 11, 2013

Posted in birthday, Snax | 8 Comments »

Snax,

Tonight I attempted to put a four year old to sleep.  It’s 10:44 pm, and you’re still wide awake.  I have left your room several times saying, “Good night 4 year old, next time I see you, you will be 5.”  That just doesn’t seem to be your plan tonight.  And that says a lot about who you are, a child with his own plan, a kid who marches to his own set of rules.

At this very moment in the last hour of being four, you are milking it for all it’s worth.  And why not, FOUR has been a wonderful year for you.

Just wonderful.

Kid, we knew it early on, but you are our funniest child.  And definitely our most clever child.  And the most inquisitive.  And definitely the silliest.  And the sneakiest.  And you have the biggest twinkle in your eye.

I never tire of seeing that twinkle.  Ever.  Sure, I get a bit worried about what might come out of your mouth next, what you might be up to, but that twinkle is such a part of who you are, I never want it to fade.  Sometimes, you get a wild look in your eyes, like when you are running or chasing your brother.  It’s hilarious especially when matched with your loud voice.  But at night, when we’re snuggling or during the day when it was just me and you, there it was: the twinkle, that look that always showed me the wheels were constantly turning.

I can’t imagine being inside your head.  Seriously.  You ask more questions than any child I have raised, and three came before you.  The topics vary, but a small sampling from tonight: why do we have bones, why can’t we just be pumped up, do you blow smoke (cigarettes), can I have some of my cake now, what is 20 plus 20, what is 40 plus 40, what is 80 plus 80, what is 160 plus 160, what is 320 plus 320, what is 640 plus 640, what is 1280 plus 1280, why do you know so much, do you think we will see Mason’s friend John because we haven’t seen him in a long time, what do you think God looks like, why is Mason crying…

That was a small sampling.  It lasted less than four minutes.  You question like that all. day. long.  literally. every. single. day.

And that’s fine.  You are curious, and you want answers.  I like that about you.  Sure, it gets tiring at times, but I wouldn’t trade your need to know answers to every little thing for all the money in the world.  I want you to always question things.  Even though I know at some point the questions you will ask will make me nervous or upset me or cause worry.  It’s okay, smart people question things.

And boy are you smart.  You could say that your father and I often wondered how this year might work out with you as my student.  More like we worried.  I had read enough books on homeschooling to focus on the “better late than early” line of thought.  First, it really does make so much sense, but second, I knew better than to force anything with you.  And so we went slow.  Patterns, me reading to you, coloring, learning numbers, cutting, true pre-school stuff.  You could sit still for over an hour of me reading to you.  And you wanted it.  It was like your mind was begging for food, and of course, books are food.

And then it happened…In January, you said you wanted to read.

Read!!!  And for the past six months there has not been a sound that has made me happier than listening to you read.  You still read out loud, and it is so good.  You rarely miss words, and you underatnd the story.  We went from Bob books and Starfall, to the few early readers I owned, and now you pick your own books at the library.  You loved Splat the Cat, Marley and Stuart Little books.  But now you read whatever you get your hands on; I got a meaty picture book about basketball and there you were sitting on the couch just reading by yourself.  And that’s how I know you’re just like the other boys, I find you reading even when you don’t have to be reading.  I just can’t get enough of the sound of your vioce.

You still want to hear me read to you.  You get pouty and mad when I don’t have time to read at night these days.  You don’t understand that I’m substituting daytime reading for night reading.  Your favorite books this year had to be: Thunder Birds and Looking at Lincoln.  I’m excited to share the new books I got for your birthday.  They are new ones, but I think you’re going to enjoy them.

Snax, you are such a good brother.  Sure, you tangle with the boys, and I’ve found you pushing your sister at times, but overall, you are such a great brother.  Watching you explain something to Sunshine is so sweet, you bend your body to her level and talk right in her face raising your voice a bit to sound nicer.  I wonder what she’ll do without you next year.  You are excited about school for one reason: recess with your brothers.  Me, I’m slightly worried about all the calls I’m going to get due to fighting between you guys on the playground.

I’m proud of a lot of things about you Snax, but probably most of all is your love for God.  With the amount of questions you ask, I know what’s coming in my future from you, but for now, your questions are all about love.  Well, and how to defeat the devil: with alligators or guns?  I catch you reading the children’s Bible daily.  And you love stories of the Saints.  You can answer tons of questions about God, Jesus and the Church in general.

You also love Mary, as in the Mother of Jesus, and often let me know that she is indeed a much better mother than I am.  You are right.  Even when your brothers tell me I’m the best mom, you don’t let the illusion stand.  “Mary was better, she never yelled.”  And her son was Jesus, so there’s that.  Amen.

Other than snuggling on the couch while Sunshine napped and reading to you, my favorite thing this year was Audubon and Storytime with Miss Natalie.  You loved Audubon and learning about nature.  You still play with the crafts you made there.  And Miss Natalie~ Bible Storytime was a huge hit.  You loved her and always had a shy smile on your face when saying hello and goodbye.  Every week you would ask on the drive out there, what are we talking about today?  What are we learning about?  Again, that mind always working and wanting to know.

Snax, you are such a sweet, stubborn, sneaky little boy.  I always want you to be your own person, the person who wears a Christmas sweater in the middle of July or costumes just because or a sports coat with shorts…always be yourself and don’t conform to what others want.

I just remembered my favorite thing about you this year: it’s when you come into my room in the mornings to snuggle.  First, you snuggle so well, that alone is near perfect to me.  But the best is when you walk into the room and I’m already out of bed.  You scream or grunt loudly, run from the room and slam your door.  I’d like to say I worry you will wake someone up, but I can’t.  I love that you want to snuggle with me so badly, that you get that upset and run from the room.  You don’t always show emotion, so I know I’m lucky that you always tell me how much you love me and that you are upset when you don’t have mommy time.

Kid, I love you so much, way, way more than you will ever know.  I thank God for you daily, I pray for you daily, I love watching who you are becoming, I love hearing the things that come out of your mouth.  I just love you for the perfect gift you are to me.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy with the twinkle in your eye.  God Bless you always.  Mary, St. Sebastian and all the Saints, pray for my boy!

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