Friday, October 31, 2014

Stud, I mean, Student to the Month, and Halloween preschool

Jackson was the first Student of the Month in his class this year!  What a total 180 from last year.  He's so much more mature and responsible.  What a difference a little time, a fantastic school, and an intuitive teacher makes!

He was so proud to show me his picture and his lanyard with 3 ribbons on it:  Student of the Month, Perfect Attendance, and A/B Honor Roll.  Here he is proudly standing underneath his award with his lanyard on-


Here's a close-up of his picture.


Such an improvement from last year!
Way to go, Jackson!


Austin desperately wants to go to preschool so he can do "homework" like Jackson.  I'm pretty sure he's going to be one of those kids that goes to school with lots of excitement for a few days, then he'll scream and cry because I'm "making" him go to school every day following.  That's what I'm anticipating, anyway.

I came across this fun Halloween themed preschool pack on Pinterest that is 100% geared toward Austin and his abilities.  (It's pinned on my Hocus Pocus Halloween board on Pinterest for those interested).

He loved it and I had a lot of fun with it too.


He finally got to do "homework" just like Jackson!


Halloween 2014

Last year we found out that Harrison was on his way on November 2nd, but a couple weeks leading up to the big surprise I was EXHAUSTED.  We didn't do as much for Halloween as we normally do because I was so tired, and the rest of the holidays were a blur because I was so sick from the pregnancy.  I feel terrible because the boys didn't do all the fun activities that I normally plan and do with them (though I don't think they noticed much difference).  Anyway, I have worked hard to make sure the boys have had LOTS of fun this Halloween.

Last weekend, the weekend before Halloween, I had lots of fun activities planned around the city, but poor little Harrison got sick.  We had to take him to urgent care, so we didn't get out much.  However, I did plan some fun activities at home so the boys could still enjoy some festivities and Harrison could rest.

Activity number 1:  Halloween sugar cookies!
Thanks to grandma Viv for sending the boys some new cookie cutters, we made some delicious sugar cookies (the recipe is from a friend of mine and they are DELICIOUS).

Cutting the cookies from the dough.
Austin really loved this part.


Decorating the cookies!
We had so many cookies, we were able to give them to quite a few neighbors and friends.


Harrison joined the party eventually.
Even though he wasn't feeling well he was in a pretty good mood all weekend.


Activity number 2:  Carving and decorating pumpkins.
For some reason the boys didn't want to paint their pumpkins this year, but they played a much bigger part in helping Jim and me carve our pumpkins.


Did you notice that Harrison had his own pumpkin?!


Next, Halloween week!
Jackson was having some tummy problems and Harrison was (and still is) a little under the weather- dang cold/allergies!  Jim and I decided skip a couple of the activities early in the week and get the boys to bed a little earlier.  I have to say, it's been a nice change of pace having Austin be the healthy child.  Kinda strange for him, but a welcome change.

Wednesday was the Halloween party at the library for Austin (and Harrison).  Btw, Jackson wore a monster or Halloween shirt all week to school, and on Friday he got to wear a costume to school.  And he helped me put together some Halloween goodie bags for his classmates.
Anyway, here we are at the library Halloween party.
(Notice, I'm looking a little haggard.  More often than not I'm without make-up these days, but I'm trying very hard to "be in the picture" no matter how I look, so that my boys have the memories.)


Sidenote:  the (older) boys wanted to be superheroes again this year, but next year Jim and I want to do a family theme costume, so the boys will have no choice in the matter.  Muahahahaha.
And we already have some ideas up our sleeves...
Anyway, the boys were superheroes this year.  Everywhere the boys went as Batman and Robin, someone felt the need to tell us that Batman should be the bigger boy, but actually, Jackson was being an awesome big brother by being Robin because Austin only wanted to be Batman (and we already had Harrison's Superman onesie).  Jackson's just a rad little dude and a fantastic big brother!


Thursday Jackson was having some tummy issues so he stayed home from school (for the first time this year, breaking his perfect attendance.  Sad).  His tummy issues weren't contagious so we asked him if he wanted to go the Science Spectrum to toddler/preschool party and he wanted to go, but the poor guy just moped along for Austin's sake.






Thursday night was Trunk or Treat for our ward.
Notice Jackson isn't Robin in this picture?  The muscles were to big and he didn't like how they irritated his neck, so he chose to wear a very small, very cheap dress-up Ironman costume.  The important thing is he was comfortable, so let the musical costumes commence!


Musical costumes round 2 was all for Harrison!  This is Harrison, I mean, Superman, taking a little nap before Trunk or Treat- notice his Superman costume-


And here is Harrison in his new costume, "Pooperman" (cleverly named by Dee Brown) because right after we got to Trunk or Treat Harrison pooped ALL OVER himself, his costume, and grandma (which was kind of funny.  Sorry, Grandma).  Then while my mom and I tried to clean him up we got poop all over his changing pad and our car.  Yeah, it was lovely.  I, mother of the year, did not bring a change of clothes to Trunk or Treat, so here is his "new" costume- his sweater, a diaper, and a blanket that I kept wrapped around him to keep him warm.  Introducing Pooperman!


And here is our AWARD WINNING car at Trunk or Treat-


Yeah... we threw these decorations together about 15 minutes before we left for Trunk or Treat because I forgot we needed to decorate our car.  So thumbs up to us for our quick decision making and decorating skills!
Here's Jim proudly showcasing our "Spookiest Car" Trophy.
Yeah, Trophy is capitalized.  It's that important.


Here's a closer look at The Trophy because I know you're jealous.


It was a long day and night, Harrison screamed the whole ride home until clonked out just about a minute before we parked in the driveway.  My little Pooperman was pooped.


And finally, it's HALLOWEEN!
We decided to nix the Heritage Halloween because Jim's life was threatened if he didn't take the boys by his work to go Trick or Treating, but really the ladies in the office just wanted to meet Harrison because he hadn't been to daddy's work yet.
The boys got more candy at daddy's work than they did all week long.  It was ridiculous.  Seriously.
Then we ate a little dinner and crashed a friends Trunk or Treat at her ward.

I didn't get pictures of the boys at Trunk or Treat #2, but here we are leaving-


Notice that the musical costumes continued.  Jackson chose to be the Hulk this time.  
BUT Harrison did NOT poop all over his costume this time!  Score!


Halloween 2014 is officially over, but the candy lives on.  ...and on and on and on and on.
The boys wearing their Halloween jammies for the last time this All Hallows Eve-


Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Patience

Recently, I have been contemplating getting a job and starting my career.  A little back story:  I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom (if I ever became a mom at all).  I planned to go to graduate school to become a literature professor or I would go to law school and practice family law.  I chose to teach because I didn't think I could handle divorce case after divorce case or seeing innocent children hanging in the balance.  Frankly, I never thought I would get married, and I didn't get married until I was 28 years old.  I planned on teaching during the school year (after I finished graduate school) and traveling to all the faraway places I longed to go, starting with Italy, in the summers.  I was excited about my plans!  Inevitably, I met Jim in March of 2007 and we were married in November of that same year.  And then, SURPRISE, Jackson was due exactly 9 months from the day we were married.  I have often said that everything happened exactly like it was supposed to those two years (and every other year, for that matter), but it was a total and complete life change that I never planned- and I'm a planner.  There were times, in the beginning, when I questioned my choices, but then I looked at Jim and our beautiful baby boy and my heart was overfilled with joy and gratitude.  I couldn't love either of them more than I already did (though, I swear that today I do love them even more!).

Anyway, I couldn't fathom leaving my brand new baby boy with someone else while I worked, so I poured my heart out to Jim about my fears and concerns.  We were so poor (because every thing happened so fast, neither of us were prepared, we planned on being students still); I didn't think there was any way for me to stay home.  Some how, with our Heavenly Father's help and A LOT of sacrifice, I have been home with our boys each day of their lives.  As grateful as I am to be able to say those words, I still long to start my own career, and recently it's been getting the better of me.  We are still VERY budgeted and finances are tight, and I just think of how much easier it would be if I went back to work.  And possibly, how much happier I would be starting my career, something I have worked hard to eventually do, because, well, the grass is always greener... right?  Recently, I've seen friends buy beautiful dream homes while we still rent and sit in limbo about where we'll actually end up once we're done with school (which has taken so much longer than expected because we started a family so quickly).  I've seen friends (other mommy friends) flourishing in their careers and doing so well, and I admit the bug of jealousy has been eating away at me.  I am NOT a jealous person, not at all.  When I do feel jealous, I immediately think, what can I do to get what I desire?  What can I do to better myself?  So, I think that's why this "want" I have to start a career is really getting to me.  It would be so much easier on us financially if I started working.  I would feel even more fulfilled if I started my career (finally).  I COULD have it all!  But then I realize that Harrison deserves just as much of me as his brothers got.  And I can't imagine missing any of his firsts.  So, for now, I will put off my career a little longer and we will continue to budget our finances.  Our dream home will be there in a few years.  We'll find "our place" soon enough because our THREE boys are worth it, and because my time will come.  I will teach.  I will have it all.  Eventually.

This morning, as I was paying bills, I ran across this message.  It reminded me that my Heavenly Father knows my heart and hears my prayers even when I don't think to voice them.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jackson


Jackson.
My first born.
He's a stud!
He's intelligent.
Empathetic.
Helpful.
Very independent.
A perfectionist.
Funny.
Wide eyed.
Curious.
Did I mention what a stud he is??

Today is picture day.  I was going to just put him in a button-up and sweater, but he begged and begged for a bow tie.  I told him we should change it up a bit because the last two years he's worn a bow tie for school pictures.  To which he informed me that he LOVES bow ties because he's worn them his whole life.  Not quite true, but if the boy wants a bow tie because he's a bow tie boy, then I had to let him wear a bow tie again.  So I put the boy in a button-up and sweater WITH a bow tie, but he said, and I quote, "Mom, I don't want to wear this sweater because I look so much cuter without the sweater, and I HAVE TO look cute for picture day."  He's definitely his mama's child.


But the reason for this post is because of last Friday.
He got his first report card with REAL grades.
Let me preface by saying, I did NOT cry this year when I dropped him off at school.  I didn't even want to cry- I wasn't holding back tears, he was just going to school.  I was proud of myself!  I'm totally getting this mom-thing down!
But then he got his first report card with REAL grades last Friday.
I don't know why, but I just cried and cried.  Seeing number grades on my baby's report card just hit me like a ton of bricks.
My baby is too small for real grades.
I was just singing "The Wheels On The Bus" while he splashed in the tub.
I was just snapping pictures while he gummed his first teething cookie.
And I was just laughing at him throw his tiny arms in the air because someone said "touchdown!"
That was just yesterday, right!?
For some reason, seeing the number grades on his report card made me realize he's not a baby anymore.
He'll always be MY baby, but he's no longer a baby.
Ugh, I have tears as I write this.
Oh, how I love my little stud, my first born baby boy!

I realized last Friday that I still think of Jackson like this-


And I probably will forever.

PS- I also learned last Friday that he not only got all "A's", but he's also Student of the 1st six weeks, and he had perfect attendance.  This school is such a better fit for him!

The many faces of Harrison (Halloween edition)

It's October, which means it's time for Halloween!  Harrison's FIRST Halloween.  Sure, he doesn't care, but since he is DEFINITELY our last baby I can't help but to buy all the "first" outfits- so I bought him a "My First Halloween" outfit-


He was a little ham this day, so I took advantage...

just relaxin'


Gimme a hug!


Don't you just want to squeeze him!?

And then I had to get skeleton pajamas...


because his brothers had skeleton pajamas.


They are still enamored by their little brother.  Truly.
I had to keep asking them to look at me because they want to do is stare at Harrison.  Still.


And one more, just because.


So, of course, I had to get him a pumpkin shirt because his brothers had one of those too.
Harrison was LOVING the brother time!


Then I ran across this little "batty for daddy" number, and I just couldn't resist.


And I can't just get a "batty for daddy" shirt when I found a "batty for mommy" shirt too.
(he wouldn't pay any attention to me even though I assured him his shirts said he was "batty" for me)


And then there was a cute little pumpkin bib that I found for less than a $1 before he was born...


That's all the Halloween attire I bought, I promise!
But... I love his little round belly in this orange shirt.  It's a little round pumpkin belly!


Yeah... I was swindled and hoodwinked by the makers of children's clothing this year.
But he is my last...
And he's sooooooo cute...
Worth it!