Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer 2014 Update!

Earlier this month we went on a major road trip!  I’m hoping the kiddos will remember it as fondly as I will.  Over the week of July 4th, we visited Colorado, Jackson Hole, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore.  There is probably not a better trip to take to celebrate America and all it has to offer. 

The Tetons and Yellowstone have some of the most amazing views I have ever seen.  On our first hike of the trip, Eli asked where the exit was.  We told him we didn’t know because none of us has been on the trail before.  He told me that if it was close by, I’d have to come back and pick him up.  Once I told him that wasn’t possible because the area we were in wasn’t accessible by car he told me it was a good thing I had two other kids because he wasn’t going much further.  By the next hike which was twice as long, he realized that he would in fact survive, and was completely focused on the getting to the end which was a boat ride.  He led the way for the second half of the hike.  At times, Brian had to run to keep up with him.  Nothing like the Tetons to teach mind over matter!  On this trip the animals practically performed for us.  We got close ups of elk, antelope, deer, buffalo, and a grizzly bear.  Pawpaw and Brian jumped out of the car with cameras in hand at the slightest mention of bears (crazy)!  Alysa wanted to hike for 20 steps, and would then ask to be put in the carrier we took.  Eli surprised me at Mount Rushmore by listening to the entire audio tour.  If he retains any of what he learned, it is a huge win!  It was an amazing trip.  We got to visit with both sides of the family.  Eli and Jax were a little put out at first that we didn’t spend our entire vacation with cousins.  The kids got over it somewhere along the way and we sealed the deal with their first experience on an alpine slide.  

The kids are in Temple this week visiting Bunny and Granddaddy.  It has been strange to log onto facebook to see what they are up to.  I can tell they are having an amazing time.  Bunny and Granddaddy are going all out.  They have visited a ghost town, made pizza from scratch, and played Minecraft and PvZ Garden Warfare.  I wasn’t surprised when Eli told me on the phone that he is never coming home.  It has been a nice break from Brian and me.  Brian is texturing and painting the bathroom as a nice continuance of the longest do-it-yourself renovation in history.  It is looking good so I have no complaints!

I’m going to mix it up this time and go out of birth order.  Jaxon just had his 7 year old wellness visit.  He is approximately 51 inches tall and 62 pounds.  He is really starting to become a great defender in baseball, soccer, and basketball.  We have been on a few hikes lately and we discovered he is part mountain goat.  He loves exploring and is often the person that will spot a snake or lizard.  He is clearly a middle child.  It is hysterical to watch him when he is bored.  He watches both of his siblings to determine which one he wants to play with and he finds a way to get their attention… usually by hitting them or taking a toy and running.  His favorite song right now is “The Walker” by Fitz & the Tantrums.  

These days when we have a story to tell about one of the kids it is usually about Alysa.  She is approximately 37 inches and 33 pounds.  The clothes I’m buying for next season are the smallest sizes in the girl’s area (crazy for a 2.5 year old).  She also has HUGE feet!  She still entertains us all, including her brothers.  She has her own room, but prefers to sleep in their room.  The boys take pride in teaching her video games.  While playing one recently, something in the game didn’t go the way she wanted it to and she said “Seriously?!”  Brian and I can understand most of what she says and she speaks in full sentences.  She is very sweet.  She loves to help and is actually pretty good at helping with chores.  She watches a lot of Strawberry Shortcake and Disney Junior.  She has conversations with herself in the car asking her invisible audience if they can help her find the moon.  “Is this the moon?  No, that’s a house.  Is this the moon?  Nah, that’s a tree.  Is this the moon?  Yes!  Great Job!”  Alysa loves to sing in the car with her brothers.  She usually asks for Mickey Mouse or “Let It Go” from Frozen when it is her turn to choose.  I've signed her up for dance lessons... oh boy.

Eli is the glue that keeps the kids playing and living in harmony.  He loves to teach and play with his siblings.  He is occasionally asks for one more baby.  He is the BEST big brother ever.  He has to sit in between AJ and Jax in the car because he is the only kid that leaves his siblings alone by nature.  Alysa trusts Eli implicitly, but wisely has a healthy skepticism of Jaxon.  Eli is almost 5 foot tall (within an inch) and 115 pounds.  His feet are so big, I can wear his shoes!  His most recent shoes are a men’s size 8.5!  He loves playing video games more than anything.  Once you can pry him away from video games, he really enjoys baseball, swimming, and playing with his friends and siblings.  He is still ridiculously good at understanding technology.  He has surpassed me (at age 8) and I now generally ask him to fix the tvs, ipads, and other gadgets if they aren’t doing what I want them to.  Both boys already find me relatively useless when it comes to technology.  Eli continues to show musical talent.  His favorite song right now is probably “Everything is Awesome” or “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A quick update from least consistent blogger ever!

Eli just turned 8, and has reached a whole new level of maturity.  He requested dinner at Shogun, and he and Jaxon explained to the chef why he shouldn’t start fires and throw eggs at home.  This is the first time his request hasn’t been McDonald’s!  His wish was for Skylander’s SwapForce.  His birthday party plans are finally underway now that baseball, basketball, and soccer are officially over (until December).  Eli improved greatly over the past season.  He has so much strength and is finally learning to use his size to his advantage.  I’ve had so much fun at his games lately!!!  Baseball – he is a consistent hitter, but this season finally started putting some power behind his swings (he does pretty well on defense too).  Soccer – he is becoming a good defender.  Most kids avoid whatever side of the field after he runs at them the first time.  I guess seeing the equivalent of an 8 year old runaway freight train headed at you is a bit unsettling at their age.  Basketball is Eli’s favorite.  He has figured out how to rebound the ball and shoot it over his head so the other kids don’t have a chance at getting the ball.  He had a couple of fun spin moves that were fun to watch as well.   Academically he is doing great!  He reads on a 4th grade level and knows a lot of multiplication already.  He is still really great with his brother and sister.  It is common for friends to comment on how good he is with younger kids.  Late note: on a rare moment alone with Eli, he decided to tell me of the bible story he learned at church… Joseph and the big fish J

Jaxon just completed his soccer season.  We absolutely love the team he is on!  He is very proud of his Most Improved Defender certificate.  At the end of season soccer party, he ended up eating dinner at a table with another family.  The mom and dad commented on how great his manners were.  When I told him how proud I was of his good manners, he responded, “Yah mom, I didn’t burp or fart.”  I’m so proud J  Jaxon surprised us all not long ago.  Eli was playing a game on the ipad and kept asking multiplication questions.  Jaxon answered each question correctly.  When asked, he explained that a child in his 1st grade class had taught him… “Ken from Japanese”.  Jaxon was able to teach Eli multiplication in under 5 minutes from the back of the van.  Amazing!  Jaxon is doing well in school.  His teacher has learned how to he is able to hide and not complete his work.  He had his kindergarten teachers fooled, so I gave a warning to Mrs. Robertson.  So far Jaxon is doing amazing at first grade.  I don't know how many spelling words he has missed this year, but it isn't many.  It is very common for him to come home with a perfect score!  When he finally tires of playing video games with Eli, Jaxon loves playing with Alysa.  Sometimes his enthusiasm becomes too much for her.  Alysa was going through a biting stage for a week or so.  I got such a kick out of watching Jaxon run for his life with AJ chasing after him with her mouth wide open – clearly going in for the attack.  She didn’t have a chance at catching him.  It was quite a sight though.  Wish I could have caught that on video. 

AJ is such a girly-girl.  I’m not quite sure what we are going to do with her.  She loves to get dressed, put on shoes, and put bows in her hair.  When we traveled to Houston, we stopped at a Burger King.  The kids were passing around a crown, and once AJ put it on I called her a queen.  She shook her head no.  Her daddy called her a princess and she said “princess” with the biggest smile on her face.  She is already interested in potty training.  We’ve been slowly introducing the idea.  I’m guessing by the next time I remember to blog she will have been potty trained for months!  She is living up to her name.  She brings Joy to everyone.  I keep waiting for her brothers to get mad at her for getting into their things, but she manages to charm most everyone she comes across.  She just learned how to climb out of her crib (just shy of her 2nd birthday) because Eli would always get her out upon her request.  She loves playing with the ipad, legos, soccer ball, basketball, putting on chap stick, and anything else she can get her hands on.  A while back I was running through the house gathering the things I needed to leave for work.  I noticed her running along behind me also grabbing things.  I realized once I got to the door that she had prepared herself to come with me to work.  She had a small lunch bag that she was carrying as a purse, a small toy, and a snack.  She often says things that make us smile: So happy, NOT happy, aw man, awesome, so funny, and she finally starting calling Jaxon by name (until now she called both brothers Li-Li)!!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Updates, Disney, and Krissy's Wedding!

I suck at this.  I get way too distracted with life!  Last night the boys wanted me to tell them funny stories from when they were really little and I realized just how bad I’ve been at this!

Here is a quick update:

Eli – he is still crazy smart.  His teacher literally cannot tell me what reading level he is on because it is higher than they will allow her to test.  His math and spelling skills are practically better than mine.  The first grade spelling words for this week are (apple, table, purple, circle, turtle, title, happen, begin, certain and the challenge words are comfortable, possible, fantastic, stubborn, and cancel).  Eli is doing really well in baseball and basketball.  He is also still the tallest kid around (maybe 54 inches or so) and weighs in at 100 pounds! 

Jaxon – This kid is our wild child.  Jax doesn’t ever stay still… ever!  He loves playing with everything and everyone.  His energy level is ridiculous.  He is going through a lovely phase of meltdowns.  We hope this phase ends soon.  Like his big brother, he doing very well in school.  I’ll find out exactly how well he is doing next week, but his reading and math are both above grade level.  Brian and I have gotten a kick out of Jaxon this year because he has had his first brush with young love.  Clara is a girl in his class.  She is happy to play with the boys (Skylanders, Zombies, or whatever).  She really is a great choice for his first girlfriend.  They want to get married, but know they have to wait until they are grown up.  Jaxon thinks he wants to have a house next door to Eli’s house.  Eli is going to be a chemist and Jaxon will be a police officer (or ninja) and a chef so he can make food for everyone.  They would like to keep AJ and Brian and I close by, but we weren’t specifically placed in the neighborhood plan J 

Alysa – AJ is our ragamuffin.  She hates having her hair pulled back so it is usually in her face until she wipes it away with her usually messy/sticky hands.  She loves her brothers every bit as much as they love her.  I am beyond thankful for the bond they have.  I tell the kids when they are fighting that they are the best gift I ever gave them.  They will always have a best friend and someone to lean on.  I think even at a young age they understand.  It doesn’t keep them from fighting, but it helps.  Alysa is really expressive. She can get her point across to anyone.  She can say some small sentences, she can eat with a fork and spoon, she is starting to jump, and is ready to do anything her brothers do.  At her 18 month appointment she was 33 inches (85th percentile) and 25 lbs (70th percentile).  She is ridiculously adorable, but has some diva tendencies. 

The kids LOVE music!  All 3 of them were singing at the top of their lungs in the car yesterday.  The boys love Crazy Frog, I’ll Make a Man Out of You, and Real in Rio.  Alysa is a big fan of Old MacDonald (E-I-O Mommy!) and Wheels on the Bus.  I’ve worked briefly with the boys on the piano.  I hope to do more of that this summer. 

We are really proud of their eating habits.  Like any kids they love junk food, but they know when we go out and eat, they must order healthy food.  I can’t tell you how many times friends, family, and restaurant employees have commented on the boys ordering broccoli or AJ stealing green beans off someone’s plate.

A couple of weeks ago we had our first family road trip (longer than a quick drive to Houston).  We drove to Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, and back again.  The kids were amazing.  The boys had maps of the United States.  They were able to see where we were and where we were going.  The counted the states we drove through.  We debated for a long time about flying or driving, but I really think the kids learned a lot.  Jaxon LOVED sidewalk art in Savannah!  We stopped in just in time to see the Annual Sidewalk Art Festival.  Eli really liked the “Old Man’s Beard” Moss on the trees.   

On our way to Orlando, we stopped off at Daytona Beach.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  The boys loved the ocean and playing in the sand.  AJ wasn’t a big fan of the cold water or the sticky sand. 

We all had a stomach bug attack us in Orlando and so we were only able to spend one day at Disney.  On one of our off days in Orlando we went out to eat.  The boys went outside the restaurant to play.  They started chasing lizards and had a run in with this cactus.  It has teeny tiny thorns.  I spent at least 30 minutes digging them out of the boys hands.

Brian will tell you now that he had a great time at Disney and he would like to go back when AJ is a bit older.  I wish I would have taken a video of him bellyaching!  His main concern was AJ was a bit young to participate in much of the stuff we were doing.  She wasn’t a happy camper for a lot of the day.  The best part of the visit to Disney for Brian and I was Space Mountain.  Brian took Jaxon first and I took Eli right after (thank you Fast Pass system).  The boys were so excited to go on the ride, but ended up being scared out of their minds.  Brian and I had a couple of chuckles at their expense.  The boys really loved Peter Pan’s flight and Splash Mountain.  After I took Jaxon on Splash Mountain, he told me his legs were shaking.  I asked if he was scared and he told me his legs were scared J  I got that on video! 

After Orlando, we traveled to Miami for Aunt Krissy’s second wedding.  Jax still asks why some people get married twice (extra confusing because Kristin married the same man at both weddings).  The wedding was beautiful!  The plan was for Eli to carry a pillow down the aisle and for Jaxon to hold AJ’s hand and get her up the aisle.  I knew the chances of Jax and AJ making it up the aisle were about 1%.  Sure enough, AJ made it maybe 4 steps up the boardwalk before falling down and crying.  I tried to get Jax to make it to the front, but he felt he was supposed to stay with his sister.  1 out of 3 made it…  People did get quite a kick out of all the kids though.  The kids had a great time in the kid’s area for the rest of the night.  We had them come eat with the adults and they couldn’t wait to get back to the fun kid’s room. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alysa is here!!! - Written months ago!

I found a draft of a post that I was working on shortly after AJ was born.  I don't even remember writing this, but thought I'd post it.  Better late than never!

This weekend was completely wild and full of twists and turns! I woke up to contractions (and the room spinning) at 4:30 am on 11/11/11. During the day my blood pressure crashed, I lost all energy, got energy back, was given pitocin to help get contractions get stronger, the epidural somehow went wacky right at the last minute (after having it all day), lost all feeling in my entire body and energy, vomited through some of the pushing stage, and finally had a baby... that was the very mild brief version. The real version is going to be sold to Hollywood and used in some kind of comedy or drama depending on what swing you want to give it.
Alysa was given a 9.9 APGAR score. Then quickly started having trouble breathing. She was born at 8:38 pm, and was sent to NICU around 2 am. It was explained to us that Alysa's problem iis a bit different from what Jaxon's problem was. He was breathing very hard and not able to maintain good vitals. Alysa was always able to maintain good vitals, but was working a bit harder than they wanted her to. I think the different NICU doctors each felt differently about her being serious enough to be in NICU. Regardless, she was in NICU for 3 days and never needed much treatment. 

I'm so bad at this!

It has been MONTHS since I posted anything!  In my defense, it has been completely crazy at our house.  There is not a day of the week that doesn't have something going on.  There is rarely a week where there isn't something special going on (birthdays, weddings, etc.).  Okay... where to start?!

Eli just celebrated his half birthday!  At 6.5 he is still larger than any kid in his grade.  He has played 2 seasons of basketball, and continues to play soccer and modified tball.  He is getting better at sports with each season.  We have noticed that he is really good when he gets fired up and not so great when he doesn't pay attention.  Brian and I just had the end of year conference with his teacher.  She said he is doing really great in school.  He has a lot of friends and is very high academically.  She gave us things to work on and when she mentioned multiplication I almost passed out.  I asked if that was Kinder or 1st grade work these days and she said it wasn't, but that was next for him academically.  The kid is really smart.

Jaxon has his graduation from Grammy's Kindergarden tomorrow.  It is really difficult to remember that he is only 4.  Jax is on a 1st grade level in math, reading, and writing.  We had his 5th birthday party early so his school friends could attend.  We invited his classmates and his soccer team.  There were 29 kids there. It was crazy fun!  Jaxon is playing tball and soccer... sort of.  He is really coordinated, but we are working on getting him to be aggressive.  He can play aggressively for just a tiny bit before he falls back into his old habits.  Jaxon loves to help all the time.  He will fold laundry, help with AJ, and pick up toys.  His latest interest is ninjas.  He keeps his ninja swords on his bed post and I have instructions to come find him if there are bad guys near. 

Alysa just had her 6 month appointment.  She is doing really great.  She is 75% in
height and 60% in weight.  She is a LOT smaller than her brothers at the same age.  AJ is advanced enough in movement that it is not wise to lay her on the floor and walk away for any period of time.  That girl is quick!!!!  She prefers the green veggies when eating food.  I was so excited to give her bananas the first time and she acted like it was the worst thing in the world... that was a shock because she puts absolutely everything in her mouth.  Bananas have to taste better than 99% of the stuff that she grabs and tries to eat.  Brian and I are amazed at how easy going she is.  She really doesn't kick up too much fuss about anything unless she is hungry.  Thank goodness we had an easy baby this time around. 

All the kids love to be around each other.  The boys LOVE their sister and she loves them back.  They all entertain each other.  The boys are still incredibly close even though they attend different schools and their interests are starting to be different (Eli in video games and Jax the busy body).  Most mornings Brian and I wake up and find them sleeping in the same bed (they are still afraid of the dark).  They are just like puppies!  I can tell AJ is anxious to get in the mix.  She loves rolling around next to her brothers.  It really is amazing to watch all of them together. 

The kids are about to get out of school, and our crazy summer will begin.  We have 3 family weddings (Lindsey in DC, Christian in Waco, and Preston in Cincy).  We also have a family vacation planned and Aunt Krissy is coming in for it!!!!  Time is flying by so fast.  Each night Brian and I have to discuss what the plans are for the following day and how we are going to get all the bodies to the right locations on time or somewhat close to on time.  At this point it is unclear when any of us are going to get any sleep.  Who needs sleep as long as we are having fun right?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Update!

I have been terrible about posting mainly because there is not enough hours in the day. I'm not even sure where I left off or where I should start.

Jaxon is doing great in Grammy's kindergarten class! He is already reading very well. He loves playing a game with his flash cards. For a while we were rock stars at home work and reading, but the past couple of weeks have been beyond hectic. We are past one of the big hurdles so now I think we can get back to it. I'm so proud of him though. He is almost a year younger than the rest of his class and he is rocking along!

Eli is also doing great in school. I'm very pleased with Mrs. Fromhold, his teacher. He is continuing to learn and progress. We've noticed a difference in his reading and writing in the past 2 months. Honestly, he is blowing me away with how smart he is. We think he has also grown an inch or two in the past couple of months. It is a good thing he is smart because everyone assumes he is much older than he actually is.

Eli also pulled his own tooth a few weeks ago. He has now lost 4. Jaxon is quite jealous and can't wait for the toothfairy to visit him.

The boys were ring bearers in Uncle Aaron's wedding this weekend. They were amazing! It was really stressful (and I felt terrible getting onto them) before the wedding. They were running, crawling, climbing, and exploring just like the little boys that they are, but unfortunately they were wearing tuxes that cost $180 each to rent for one day. There was NO WAY I was going to let them destroy, damage, stain, or scuff their tuxes or shoes. Once it was time for them to walk up the aisle, they did so perfectly! They also sat through the whole ceremony reading books and drawing pictures. Basically, I couldn't have asked for better behavior from them. They had a great time on the dance floor at the reception. Thanks to all the cousins who were out there with them!!!

A couple of the cute stories from the wedding weekend:
- Jaxon - After the ceremony, Jaxon asked if he was married too.
- Eli - Eli started crying late Saturday night, and when Brian asked what was wrong, Eli asked Brian if he missed his brother. After a bit of discussion we realized that after Aaron got married, he went away. I think Eli thought that he wasn't coming back (and I'm wondering if he thought he might lose Jaxon that way). Once we explained that we would see him soon, he calmed down. He is also working through what dying actually means. A couple of weeks ago he was quite distraught because he didn't want to die ever.... even as an old man. I told a bit about heaven, and it wasn't working so eventually I caved and told him that there are video games and ice cream in heaven. His next questions were, "how do I get there?" and "who will take me there?".

The other big news that I can finally talk about is Kristin is engaged. There is another family wedding in the works! I'm very excited because this one will likely be in MIAMI!!! Anthony (Kristin's fiance) and his parents are already settling into the family quite nicely. They are all really sweet and put up with our chaos like professionals. If this past weekend didn't send them away in fear, nothing will! In all seriousness, I'm very happy for Kristin and Anthony. Congratulations to you both!

Alysa is doing well. I've had a couple of sonograms over the past couple of months because she continues to grow quickly and was breech for a while. I didn't know it, but when they are breech it HURTS! I went to the doctor thinking something was wrong because it was way too early in pregnancy to feel the way I was feeling. Thankfully, that problem resolved itself quickly. Now we are just keeping an eye on her size (which is probably just over 7lbs now and I'm 36 weeks today) and my platelets. So far so good. We have an induction date set which is nice because I can set my mind to getting to that date. My last Zumba class was last Tuesday. I can't wait to get back to it. I hate treadmills. I'm thankful I only have to deal with them for 3 weeks. I need to pack the hospital bag and start setting up her swing, packnplay, and miscellaneous other items around the house.

We have had some really sweet friends get the most adorable outfits and blankets for Alysa. A few of my coworkers even did a small luncheon for me complete with chocolate cupcakes! Seriously, I'm spoiled! I love that even though she is a 3rd child I can tell her that people were excited about her arrival just like when I had Eli and Jaxon.

This weekend we are having a party for Eli. I feel bad for him because I know it is a weekend where everyone is crazy busy, and the party is on Sunday. I hope enough kids show up to make it fun for him. I know he is very excited about it. I would have put it on the following weekend, but that is getting close to Alysa's arrival. As much as I want kids to come, I want to be there myself!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Year of Kindergarten!

Eli has been going to school on some level since he was 2. Today he officially starts Kindergarten. For a mom that has had her kids in some kind of school (even Plano schools) for years now, I was surprisingly emotional.

Eli did great! He walked quietly into the room and headed straight for his locker without prompting. After he had his backpack in the locker, the teacher asked him to go back and get his lunch box and put it in a basket. He silently complied. All the parents and students were extremely quiet. I sat him down at a table to color. After we took a thousand photos and a video we left quietly. I’m pretty sure Eli even told us to leave once or twice!

I must say I’ve been spoiled. Up to this point I really didn’t care if school went perfect as long as Eli enjoyed it. His years at Beaty were relatively enjoyable. I always felt he was safe and happy there. I didn’t have any qualms taking him to my mom’s kindergarten class. I’ve seen her teach for years and know exactly what to expect. This morning was different. I dropped him off to a class that I want him to enjoy and be successful in. I think Mrs. Fromhold will be a great teacher and the kids look really sweet, but I’m still nervous.

Jaxon was quite upset that he didn’t get to go to school today. He had his backpack and was ready. He starts in a week which he feels is SOOOO long from now. Eli was measured a couple of times recently and he is officially 51.5 inches or over 4’3”. Another update and potentially weepy day for me next Monday as Jaxon starts mom’s kindergarten class. This pregnancy is turning me into a wuss!!!