Sunday, May 15, 2016

Last catch-up. Hopefully...

The last few months have been really hectic at the Nuffer Nest.  It seems like every day I had 26 hours of stuff to do in a 24 hour period, thus I was constantly getting behind.  BUT school is over now, and I actually have a little bit of free time.  I'm hoping my bits of free time will allow me to keep up on the blog, but I'm aware it's a bit of a lofty goal.  So lets move on with this catch-up-

Austin can read!

Austin is a pretty decent little reader!  He even reads scriptures with us in the evenings with very little help from us.  The school that the big boys attend has a really great program that encourages little readers to read to big readers, so pre-schooler Austin was able to read to Jackson's 2nd grade class!  He did GREAT!  Of course, I cried and the 2nd graders and Austin's teacher were quick to call me out on my tears. 

Austin reading Mo Willems' The Pigeon Takes a Bath

He was so proud of himself!  You can tell in the pictures just how proud he was of himself.
I was a little worried that the 2nd graders would be rude or disrespectful, but they were wonderful!  They even laughed at all the funny moments in the book.  That was probably Austin's favorite part.  He loves to be the class clown.  Jackson's teacher even talked about how hard Austin works at school and encouraged her 2nd graders to be just as hardworking.  I'm such a proud mommy!
Afterward, we took Austin out to celebrate the great job he did reading to big kids with ICE CREAM!
This kid is so cool.
Austin turns 5!
Austin really wanted a Minion party for his 5th birthday, so we minioned up the house!
The door turned into a giant minion-
The front entry-
And some other decorations and the cake-
I had a bakery frost it the way I wanted because I hate working with black icing, and I decorated the rest.  Turned out pretty good.
The birthday boy!  He's my little lovey boy, snuggle bug, and I almost don't recognize my baby anymore.  He's so big!
Maggie and the boys.
Hard to believe she's Jackson's age, so little.
Then it was time to party at Mr. Ghattis!
Eating lunch-
Then it was time to play!
I didn't get any pictures of the birthday boy playing.  What's wrong with me???

Austin is my only child that gets to celebrate his birthday at school because Jackson's birthday falls the week before school starts and Harrison's birthday is in July, so I was excited to make little favors for Austin's friends at school.
Easter 2016
And then it was Easter.  Easter kind of snuck up on me this year, so I didn't do all the little things with the boys that I wanted to, but I was able to make these cute little pompom bunnies with my mom for the boys.  They turned out adorable!

We even found these cute little baskets that were the perfect size.
I was sure my nurturing Austin would love his bunny, and Harrison loves to put things into other things and then take them out over and over and over again, so I was sure he would love his bunny too, but neither boy cared about his bunny.  Jackson, the one child I thought wouldn't care at all about his bunny loves his bunny the most.  He even sleeps with his bunny.
Just goes to show that you never know with kids...
We colored eggs...
And we had a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt.
This is always my favorite egg hunt.
We did a regular egg hunt outside on Easter morning, but I forgot to get pictures.

Then it was time for the Easter bunny to show!
Uncle Brian's Composition Concert

My little brother is so talented!  I don't have a musical bone in my body, but my little brother is super musical.  He had concert last year that featured him playing his tuba and it was fun and impressive, but he just had his composition concert.  This was the concert I was looking forward to.  I'm blown away with what he can do musically.  I can't play a tambourine or a triangle, let alone a real instrument, but the fact that he composed music is amazing to me.  It's phenomenal!  And it was really good music!
I wasn't the only one that was impressed.  Jackson was super impressed.  I don't even think I've told Brian about this yet...  We had a conversation about college a few days later because Jackson asked me if he could go to the same college as Uncle Brian.  He wants to have a concert just like Uncle Brian.  Jackson has always wanted to be a teacher, but his music teacher thinks he's musically inclined, so I've mentioned to him that violin or piano lessons would be a good idea.  He's basically ignored me until Uncle Brian's concert.  Since the concert, Jackson is certain he is going to West Texas A & M University, and that he's going to put on a concert just like Uncle Brian!
His sign reads:  My college is going to be at West Texas A and M.  It is in Canyon
See, Uncle Brian, he doesn't just love Whitney.  He pretty much adores you too.
They do adore Whitney, though.  A lot.
You're amazing, Uncle Brian!
MY graduation.  Finally... 

I've been working on TWO masters degrees since Jackson was born.  I almost completed a masters in Education, except for student teaching.  It's a long story, but I don't want to teach public school.  Ever.  So I won't be finishing that degree.  I DID finish the Masters of English degree.  Finally.  It was hard, guys.  Hard.  No semester was as difficult as my last semester.  I wanted to throw in the towel a few times, but I kept going because I kept telling my GED students that they couldn't give up- so how could I??  I made myself physically sick with worry and anxiety over my comps test.  Then, when I turned in my last paper and final I cried.  Uncontrollably. 
I don't know why I cried.  I was happy.  I was ecstatic.  But all I could do was cry.  A very ugly cry.
Anyway, I'm done and I'm so proud of myself!
I didn't care about my high school diploma because I knew I wasn't done.
I didn't want to even walk for my undergrad degree because I knew I wasn't done (but I did because my mom graduated the same day with her undergrad and she asked me to walk with her).
But I wanted to walk for my masters.  I'm so glad I did because it felt complete.
I keep getting asked if I'm going for a PhD.
My answer is:  HELL NO!
I am done.
Here I am on my way to take my comp test.
I was so sick to my stomach, but I smiled through it.  I knew I was almost done!

 And here I am on my way to graduation (luncheon) with Jim.
This was a genuine smile.
Then, just like that, it was all over.  I was soooo glad that ceremony was over.
 It was all over.
My grandpa and me (and a tiny photobomber)-
I wish my grandma was there, but I know she was there with me in spirit.  She was always proud of me.  I miss her so much, but especially on special days.

My mama and me-
Brian and Whitney
And with my family.
I love these fellas!  I say we all sacrificed because Jim was a single dad maaaaaany nights.  Harrison would call for me every night that I was studying.  I heard his little voice and it broke my heart that I couldn't run to him.  Austin would come give me hugs every night, several times a night and tell me how much he missed me.  And Jackson, well, I know he missed me too, but he's not very sappy (like his mama).
Look how big the big boys are- breaks my heart a little and gives me so much joy at the same time because they're such good boys.
Did I mention, I'M DONE!
Teacher gifts!
Usually I do a whole week of little gifts for teacher appreciation week, but this year was CRAZY!  I did manage to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with these little antique bookmarks/paperclips.  They're pretty cute, I even kept a few for myself.  ;)

Then, Jackson informed me last Friday that today (Sunday) is his teacher's birthday.  He also informed me that he wanted to make her something, and not just a lame card.  -his words, not mine.
So, I gave him my Pinterest board labeled "gifts" and let him pick something out.
He picked out a cute little jar filled with chocolates covered in compliments.  I told him it would be a lot of work and that he would do all the work himself since it was his idea, and he assured me he was up for the challenge.  And he did it!  No complaints.  He kept writing compliments even after the jar was filled.  I had to stuff everything in.  Sorry, if things are a bit smooshed, Ms. Blake...
Mrs. Lee, one of Austin's teachers, finalized an adoption last Friday, so I thought a nice gift for her would be fun too, so Austin made something very similar to this for his teacher (I didn't get a picture of his gift)-
We are so grateful for the teachers the boys have this year.  They're wonderful!  I wish we could do more for them, but I'm so glad that my boys have such thoughtful and grateful hearts for their teachers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yet another update...

I can't believe that it's been since before Christmas that I've written a blog post.  Wait, yes, I can believe it.  Life is crazy.  Fun.  Busy.  Chaotic.  It's a lot, but it's my lot.  Anyway, let's start from when I left off- Christmas.

Christmas was great.
It was so fun that I didn't get a ton of pictures like I usually do.
We tweaked a tradition we've been doing for years.  We usually read a scripture leading up to Christ's birth, with a correlating song, and a little video, or activity, or something; but this year we read stories of Christ's life and made an ornament representing the story.  It was sooo much fun and the boys learned so much.  They also looked forward to the scriptures and the craft every night- score one for mom!  And bonus, the tree turned out PERFECT!
I didn't think to get a picture of the finished tree, but this picture was taken just a few days before Christmas and you can see our "Christ's life" tree in the background.
The boys also took a ride on the Polar Express!
My mom took most of the pictures and I keep forgetting to get them from her, so I'm lacking pictures again...
But I got a few!
Harrison was so so excited!  He was really excited when he saw elves and they started singing and clapping.  The boy loves to clap!
Most of his evening was spent looking out the window, yelling, "Look!  Look!"

Then, it was time for cookies!
Probably, Austin's favorite part of the entire ride.

Soon, it was time for the big day!
I only got one picture.  It was of the big boys on Christmas Eve.
Their Christmas Eve gift was a Star Wars theme, so the only picture I have is of the big boys in their Star Wars pajamas.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve was a lot of fun.  Jackson has been telling me since Easter (last year) that his favorite holiday is New Year's Eve because he loves popping the balloons and playing.
3 years ago I blew up balloons and put a time on them, and when that time came around on New Year's Eve we played or did whatever was in that balloon.  We only did this one year, and I remember it as a complete disaster!  Each activity was too short or too long for it's given time frame and the boys cried and whined most of the night.  They both hated popping the balloons.  It was just a mess.  But Jackson only has fond memories, and begged me to do this activity again.  So I did.  But I was so worried it was going to be a terrible night.
This year I didn't put a time on the balloons, I only numbered them.  I knew that the last balloon was the count down activity.  This was also the first year that I the boys got to stay up until midnight.  It was going to be a disaster, I was sure of it.
BUT it actually turned out great!
Even though, halfway through the night I got a stomach bug and I felt terrible!  I got it again a week later.  Weird.
Anyway, regardless of my little virus, we made it through all the balloons (though I was stationed on the couch for half of them) and the boys had a ton of fun!
So no shocker here, I didn't get many pictures, but this time I had an excuse- I was sick.
This is how our wall o'fun started out-
We were all ready to par-tay!
And this is what 2 boys who stayed up until midnight for the first time look like...
Hahaha!  This picture makes me laugh!
Harrison is growing up so quickly!
Just look at this handsome tiny person-
I just want to eat him up!
He's sooo independent.  He wants to do everything by himself, and if he can't do it by himself, let the fits begin!
One day he wanted to help daddy carry in some groceries.  I wish you could hear all the grunting he was doing while he helped lift the heavy apple juice containers-

Almost every morning when we arrive at school in the morning, we arrive at the same time as Jackson's good friend Haley.  Harrison adores Haley!  Again, he refuses to do anything unless it's all by himself, so holding my hand as we walk is completely off limits.  However, he LOVES to hold Haley's hand every morning.  We have to pry her hand out of his when she has to go to class.  Literally pry her hand out.

Whitney is this adorable and wonderful person that is dating my brother.  She's is so great!  I love her!  But more than I love her, my children love her.  Especially Jackson, but we'll get to that later.
But here's a quick picture of Whitney and Jackson-
  Brian and Whitney spent a lot of time with us around Christmas, which just made my boys love her more.  A couple weeks ago, Jackson had a writing assignment at school to write a letter to someone.  He chose to write Whitney.
How cute is this letter?!
It reads:  Dear Witney,
I miss you so much. 
Come to my house soon. 
I love you so much. 
PS I wrote this at school.
PPS This is a letter
PPPS This is me text messaging you this letter.
Sincerely, Jackson
He sent this picture of his letter to Whitney from his iPad.
I never expected Whitney's super sweet reply-
It reads:  Dear Jackson,
I miss you, buddy!
I'll try to come visit you soon, but school is going to make visiting hard.
I love you very much too.
PS I wrote this at my desk
PPS This is also a letter
PPPS This is a text message of this letter
Sincerely, Whitney.
I mean, come on!  Does it get any sweeter than that!?
She is so wonderful!
And this is why my children (and I (and my brother)) love her so.
Jackson's Date
A sweet friend of mine, who is a phenomenal mother (to triplets, plus 4 more), recently posted on Facebook a picture of one of her sons with a little tidbit that she learned about him by going on individual mommy/son date.
I spend quality time with all my children, but I have yet to plan" a mommy/son date with each of them, so I took my friend's great example to heart, and I started planning mommy/son dates with each of my boys monthly.
January was Jackson's date.
I took him to his first UIL competition, number sense, which he BEASTED!  He didn't just win, I was being polite on fb, he won by a landslide!  The closest student to his score was 30+ points away!  He killed it!
His sweet UIL teacher brought him lunch one day, and his classroom teacher gave him a new book for his UIL accomplishment.  Have I mentioned how much I love his school?!
Anyway, after his UIL competition, we went out for ice cream and French fries.  He needed French fries, apparently.
On our date, I learned that he wants to marry Whitney, "if she's not dead by then".
I learned that he wants 6 children.
(although, now it's 10 children who will all be born on his birthday)
And that he wants to be a teacher so he can work with his 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Camacho.
I couldn't love this boy more if I tried.
Haircuts:  doom doom doom
Haircuts are a dreaded event in our house.
Austin has always screamed like a mad man when it's time to cut his hair.
I truly believe that he thinks a little piece of his soul is being taken with each snip of the scissors.  Nothing else would explain his crazy when it comes to haircuts.
 But this time, something magical happened...
Austin didn't cry!
It was also Harrison's first "real" haircut at a salon.
It was super shaggy, but it's hard to tell because his hair is so white, it's almost invisible.
He did cry, but it wasn't that bad.
Here's an after a few days afterward-
I need to get a picture of Austin's and Jackson's cuts because they actually got styled this time.
They're so so cute!
A House of Sickies!
A couple weeks ago, everyone decided to get sick, except me.  Phew!
The big boys got strep (Jim included), and Harrison had severe ear and sinus infections with pink eye.  It was awesome...
This just shows that all boys want mommy when they're sick.  Even Jackson, who rarely wants to touch anyone.  Ever.
Austin and Jackson resting.

Poor Harrison was really sick. 
2 weeks and few antibiotic shots later, he's finally well.
His doctor wanted to see him every 3 days.
It was rough.  For everyone.
But today, everyone is WELL AND HEALTHY!
And, to be honest, we've had a really healthy winter.  Hardly any sickies at all.
I think the big boys finally developed an immune system.
I have several friends with children who wear glasses.  They're all so adorable!
I don't wish my terrible vision on anyone, but I'm a little giddy that Jackson is wearing glasses.  He's soooo dang cute in them!
He LOVES them!  He picked out two pairs all by himself.  He kept looking for deals- he is definitely my child.

Next up, Austin's date!
He was so patient when Jackson got to go on a date with mommy and he didn't get to go.  When it was finally his turn, he was ecstatic!
I took him to PetSmart to see some animals.  We want to eventually rescue a dog, but my children are deathly afraid of dogs and puppies.  Anyway, Austin is the most frightened, so I thought looking at other pets might warm him up to the idea.
He was afraid of all the puppies on leashes, but he didn't freak out or cry, he just stood behind me or as far away from the dogs that he could be.
He loved the fish!
He loved them so much, I was conned into getting a new fish for Austin.
Meet Fishy-Fishy Fish-
He's orange.  Austin's favorite color, at the moment.
Fishy-Fishy is doing well and STILL alive as I write this blog!
Next, it was time for ice cream!
Austin chose Dairy Queen, or "DQ" as he calls it.  He's never been to DQ, and it's not a place we eat at.  Ever.  So, I'm not quite sure where his affinity for DQ comes from, but that's where we went.

I learned that Austin's best friend at school is named Farrian (pronounced like Brian, but with an F).

I also learned that Austin thinks girls are gross and weird, and he doesn't like them.  At all.
See the lady behind Austin with the beautiful gray hair?  That's what my hair will look like when I'm gray.  I'm digging it.  Her hair looks just like my hair now, except the color.
Anyway, back to this little handsome- our date was so fun, but it ended kinda badly...
We got home and Austin was excited to introduce Fishy-Fishy to everyone (and show him around the house because that's the polite thing to do), but then he vomited eh.vah.ree.where.
He was acting a little strangely all day and I wondered if he was coming down with something...
You can see in the ice cream pictures that his eyes were a little sickly.
And he didn't finish his ice cream- highly unlike my this sweet boy.
Good news:  he only vomited that once and he was good to go the next day!
And then Harrison had a seizure...
One of the three scariest days of my life.  Austin was the cause of the first two.  I think Jackson is now my favorite child- he has yet to terrify me.
His seizure was happened while he was asleep.
He didn't want to wake when the paramedics wanted me to wake him.
In fact, it took two paramedics and me to wake him.  This scared the poo out of me!
They said it was totally normal after a seizure.  He had a 102+ fever, so they assured me that the fever was the cause of the seizure and to take him into his regular doctor as soon as possible.
We did, but she was concerned that he was acting "so off".  He was throwing 1-2 hour tantrums and nothing calmed him.  He wouldn't look at any of us in the eyes, like he was in a trance.
The hospital did a CT scan which came back completely clear of any brain abnormalities, so the seizure was definitely febrile.
I pray that I never have to see another seizure ever again in my life, but if I do, I feel empowered (slightly) by a little more knowledge about seizures and how to handle them.
He was a total champ at the hospital AND during his CT scan.  He didn't have to be sedated!

While we're on the subject of things that make me uncomfortable...
I found this note in Jackson's backpack after he said he got a "prize" at school (a few glass pebbles)
This is sweet and innocent, right?
Well, as I'm cleaning out Jackson's backpack, a few minutes after I found this note, I found 2 more notes wrapped together that had NOT been opened.
One of them was a picture of a yellow haired boy saving a little girl and the caption read, "You're my superhero".  Still innocent, right...
The third note said, "I really really like you and if you ask me to be your girlfriend, I will say YES!"
"No no no no no no no no!" ran through my head instantly.
I thought, maybe I'm overreacting, so I'm going to talk to his teacher.  As soon as she read the note, her face understood my concern, and she informed me that a few little girls "like" Jackson and they have had several conversations, as a class, that there are no girlfriend and boyfriends, only FRIENDS.
She did assure me that when little girls say, "You're my boyfriend" to Jackson, he always responds with, "No, you're my friend".  This made me feel better, but, my goodness, he's in 2nd grade!?
He's always had little girls as friends.  Never little boys.  Never.  But he's so young that I haven't thought anything of it.
I hope and pray he continues to remind his little friends, that they are only FRIENDS.
Oy vay.
For the record, the other two notes were thrown away before Jackson ever saw them.
And then it was... Valentine's Day!
You all know I LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentine's Day, but this year I was just so tired physically and mentally from Harrison's seizure that I didn't do all the fun stuff I normally do.  Jim was great, and gave me beautiful flowers and candy, and the boys gave me jewelry, but I just wasn't feeling it this year.  Thankfully, I had thought ahead, and I already had Jim's and the boys' gifts ready to go.  Jim didn't get a sweet letter like I normally write, but hopefully he knows I still love him more than I did when we started this big adventure almost 10 years ago.
The Friday before Valentine's Day was the preschool parent's lunch, so I got to eat lunch with Austin!
Last Friday was also the big boys' Valentine's parties!
They were dressed in their Valentine's best-
This year I gave Jim a Star Wars t-shirt.  Harrison was super impressed with this shirt
He even pointed to all the characters by name!
We're nearing the end, people!
This month Austin was awarded Student of the Month!
This little guy has impressed me with his love for school.
He truly loves school!
I was sure it would be the exact opposite for him, but he has shocked us all!

He is so handsome!  And so smart!
This morning his teachers told me that he read a book to the class yesterday and lead the class in a discussion about the book, all by himself.
His teacher said when she was ready to take over again, she said, "Ok, Austin, thank you, you can have a seat now".  And he said, "Um, wait just a minute, I have to answer one more question" because there was one more student with their hand up.
My children amaze me and make me laugh every day!
I'm so grateful for my Austin bomb.
I'm so grateful for my family.