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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

UUUGE catch-up!

So it's time for a UUUUGE catch-up (to be said in a bad Donald Trump impression- he never pronounces the "h" in huge).  July was my last entry.  What!?

Starting with August:
We went to the Amarillo Zoo!  It was a fun day trip and we had a great time, but I don't want to load up on just zoo pictures, so here's one with Jim and the boys-
August is also Jackson's birthday!
He turned 7 this year!
He decorated his cake.  Both the boys LOVE to decorate their cake, but ironically, neither one of them really like eating cake.  Heck, Harrison was afraid of his first cake.  They're so weird!
We just had a small celebration.
He's so cute!
Of course, we can't have a birthday in our house without Maggie.
How cute is this picture!?
Maggie is on her tippiest of tippy toes.  She's only 6 months younger than Jackson and she's 2 years older than Austin, but they both tower over her.  She's so little!
Jackson Red Robin for his birthday lunch.
Grandma and Austin-
Daddy and the birthday boy-
And Harrison.  Apparently, he was super excited for Jackson's birthday!
Jackson's did request one special activity for his birthday.
A water balloon fight!  It was soo fun!
I know the first day of school is actually in August, but It's still a September/fall thing to me, so I'm putting it here.
The first day of school!
I was soooo anxious and worried about this school year.  I felt soooo much guilt too.  I put Austin in full-time preschool.  I felt like such a terrible mom!  I felt like I was sending him to the wolves and I didn't do that to Jackson.  Plus, Austin cried and cried when he first went to nursery, and recently started crying when it was time for Primary.  I was just sure he wasn't ready!  But I started a new part-time job and putting him in full-time school was the best option.  The guilt was almost unbearable.  Seriously. 
2 things got me through this time.  First, prayer!  I prayed and prayed that Austin (and Jackson) would have good teachers this year.  Teachers that loved them and worked with their individual strengths.  And second, I knew that Wolffarth was such a GREAT school.  Jackson was loved and every teacher knew his name in the first 6 weeks.  They go out of their way to make students feel welcomed and loved.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Wolffarth Elementary!
So, it was time for the first day.  Austin was super excited!  But I just knew that wouldn't last 10 minutes once he was actually in his classroom.
Here he is.  The first day of preschool (minioned out to the max)-
Sidenote:  Austin looks so much like my Uncle Glenn in the above picture, it's uncanny!
Another sidenote:  I made this blanket for naptime at school.  I think it came out great!
Third sidenote:  I already bought him Mickey Mouse fabric for his blanket, but he changed his mind AFTER I bought it.  I refused to buy more (minion) fabric since he already picked out Mickey Mouse fabric.  However, grandma was suckered saved the day, and bought minion fabric.
This is Austin with his AMAZING teachers.
These wonderful women are answers to my prayers.  They love Austin so much.  Especially Mrs. Lee, this woman is made to teach preschool.  She has so much love for her kiddos that it oozes out of her face, her smile, and her speech.  I love these women!
Austin and Mrs. Lee:
Austin and Mrs. Martinez (plus, a daddy/Jackson/Harrison photo bomb):
Ok, so he made it to class STILL excited.  I helped him get situated and took pictures, and I DIDN'T cry!  Until...
I was just making sure he was ok; basically, waiting for him to cry and fall apart.
But instead, he said, "Ok, mommy, you can go now.  You should leave".
You guys, I am STILL struggling to hold back tears as a write this.
I lost it.  His teacher saw that I was losing it.  I quickly said, "I need to go now", and she very sweetly said, "Yep, it's ok.  It happens all the time".
So, then I expected after a week or so Austin would cry or complain about going to school because in his mind he went to school and that was done now, but he has NEVER complained or cried about going to school.  Rather, he's cried when he's had to stay home for some illness.  He's cried if he thinks he's going to be late or if he thinks he's missing school because it's a weekend, but this little handsome LOVES school.  Loves it.  And a UUUGE weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
Austin is reading and his teacher, Mrs. Martinez, is so proud of him.  She usually doesn't start her preschoolers in a reading program until the end of the year, but since Austin is showing so much potential, she started him in a reading program in the first 6 weeks!
Jackson's first day!  This is old hat for him (and me).
And with his teacher, Mrs. Blake.
This sweet woman has 30 years experience under her belt with 2nd graders.  I'm so grateful for her!
This year Jackson is doing UIL math and he loves it!  Thanks to Mrs. Blake for seeing his aptitude for math!
Here's where the rest of my mommy guilt comes in:  Harrison started daycare.
We have scrimped and saved and budgeted every last cent of our income to make a way available that I have been able to stay at home with the boys, so I felt/feel really terrible that Harrison is not going to have me full-time like his brothers did.  Especially since it's not a necessity that I work.  It's nice, but not necessary.  But here's the catch, he's only in daycare for 4 hours ONE day a week.  That's it!  That's a flippin playdate! But I still feel awful about it because he screams when I leave him every morning.  The first 3 weeks he cried almost the whole time he was there.  Talk about mommy guilt!  Last week was the first week that he didn't cry when I left.  He even wanted down from my hold, but only for a few seconds.  His teacher left before Thanksgiving, but we hadn't been back since she left.  His teacher was the only reason he was as comfortable as he was, but last week she wasn't there and he did great!  I'm hopeful he's getting more familiar with daycare as playtime, so it's not so bad.
Anyway, grandma bought the bigger boys minion backpacks for school.  I was just going to use the backpacks from the year before- I already had one for Austin (I thought ahead when I bought them on sale the year before) and Jackson's was still in great shape! But grandma's a sucker a hero, and since the boys wanted minion backpacks, she bought them new minion backpacks.  Because she bought the big boys new backpacks, she felt Harrison needed a backpack for school too since he was starting "school" too.
Here is Harrison with his new (super cute) backpack-
I didn't take pictures of his first day of "school" because, well, it was just heartbreaking- not quite the success story as Austin's was.
This boy loves his "pack-pack"!
September also brought us FALL!
Oh, how I love fall.
Anyway, I cut out the boys' handprints in different fall colors to make a wreath (last year), so I finally got the wreaths put together this year.
I adore them!  So cute!
In October, the college football season is well underway.  We live in Red Raider country and Jim and I pretty much hate it.  We loathe Texas Tech with a passion.  I have been a Tech student, so I have full rights to hate Tech as much as I want!  ;)  But really, we're not fans.
We do, however, LOVE the Oregon Ducks!
Aunt Julie bought the boys jerseys for Christmas last year, and they fit really well this year.
Goooo, Ducks!
October is the perfect time for the pumpkin patch!
We visited two this year- in the same day!  Yes, I'm crazy!
It was a really fun day.  My mom took the day off work and we played in pumpkin patches all day.
Pumpkin Patch #1:
At this patch, we picked out pumpkins to take home-
Just look at this face with his little goof-toofs.  I just want to eat him up!
Pumpkin Patch #2:
We went through a corn maze and a spooky hayride.
This is my favorite pumpkin patch.
Waiting for the hayride, Harrison got his wiggles out and made lots of new friends-
Then, it was time to decorate pumpkins!
Sadly, I somehow missed getting a picture of the finished products.  D'oh!
This year's Halloween pajamas-
Trick-or-treating, anyone?
The big boys helped pass out candy this year-
November brings our family my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Jim's and my anniversary.
We took some family pictures this month too!  I won't post them all because they're in our Christmas card and calendar this year, but this little beauty is my favorite.  Harrison was so grumpy.  I love this!
This month Jim also surprised the boys with lunch at school. 
Austin loves Subway-
And McDonald's for Jackson-
I didn't get too many pictures of Thanksgiving, but here are a few.
Our wall of gratitude.  I love how it turned out!
Harrison eyeing a Thanksgiving treat.  He's so dang cute!
And Jackson as a sad little turkey because he burned his finger helping Jim smoke the turnkey-
This picture cracks me up!
And finally, DECEMBER!
Ah, I've caught up!
First, we decorated the tree!  Ok, so this is a November thing in our house, but I'll just put it here.
Harrison is obsessed with all things Christmas tree.  Anything that has lights, resembles a tree, or has any sort of greenery is a "Tee!" to him.  He points and says, "Tee!  Woah!  Wow! Ooooh!"  It's so incredibly sweet!
Our traditions continue of unwrapping a Christmas book every night.
Harrison gets a turn this year!
And doing some sort of advent leading up to Christ's birth.  This year I switched it up a bit and we're studying Christ's life and making a coordinating ornament each night to decorate the tree in our front entry.  I have enjoyed this so much and it's really brought the spirit of the season into my heart.  The boys really love this advent!  They're doing such a great job with it!
And there's always holiday jammies!
1.  Ugly Christmas Sweater PJs
2.  Red plaid (they're wearing these on the Polar Express this year)
3.  And these adorable PJs with a gnome on them that read, "I'll be gnome for the holidays".
I ask you, does it get any cuter?!
We just visited the church Nativity celebration we do every year-
The boys' Winter Fest at school-
Jackson rocked his Christmas show at school.
Best little narrator around!
And just yesterday, I had a Christmas lunch with Jackson at school-
He has a super long Gene Simmons tongue that creeps me out!
If you made it this far, you made it to the end!
Congratulations (to you and to me for finally catching up on the blog)!