Sunday, April 02, 2017

March 2017 - Recap

My darling dollbaby,

You got a part in our church's musical! You have two lines as the Mayor's wife. You reeeeeally wanted a speaking part and you've been praying super hard that the director would give you a part, regardless of how big or small. What impressed me the most, though, is that you also prayed for God to keep you from being grumpy if you didn't get a part, that all you wanted was for the director to make the right decisions - and that if you weren't the best choice for any parts, you wanted to be OK with it. You were just excited to sing and dance with the rest of the kiddos. But you did get a part! And I can't wait to watch you shine as Mrs. Mayor.

The biggest news of your eight-plus years of existence occurred yesterday. YOU LEARNED HOW TO RIDE A BIKE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS! You've been trying for years (literally) to figure out this whole balancing thing. It's confounded you each and every time, and most every bike riding session ended with you in huffs and wails and sighs of epic proportions.

But yesterday. Yesterday. Daddy took you outside to practice again and he came in a few minutes later telling me that you were close. I came outside to see you teetering and tottering down the driveway. I walked back into the house fairly impressed. Not ten minutes later, you ran into the house screeching at me that you just rode down the street and back by yourself. I was all, whaaaaaaaa?

I walked outside and, sure enough, you hopped on your bike and zoomed off down the street as if you've been riding for years and years. Seriously. Once it clicked, it clicked hard and there was no turning back. No wobbling, no hesitation, no nothing. You fell once into the grass when you turned into some loose gravel but that's been it!

I'm so proud of you.

I love how your timing is uniquely you. It may not be typical, but why would it be? Why should it be? You are anything but typical and I love that about you. I pray you'll always be unique, always maintaining your own timing for doing things, always striving to be the best you can be. You are such a treasure, my rad little Boss Rider.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for April 1, 2017:
  • The Coolest Parents in the World Celebrate Their 11th Anniversary
  • Texas Church Bus Crash: Witness Account Highlights Dangers of Texting While Driving
  • Sen. Schumer Says It’s Unlikely Gorsuch Will Reach 60 Votes
  • Chicago Police Make Arrest in Sexual Assault Shown on Facebook
  • BeyoncĂ© Is the Top Pick to Voice Nala in 'Lion King' Movie
  • National Parks Could See Budget Cuts
  • New Images of Tennessee Teen Allegedly Abducted by Teacher Give Hope to Girl's Family

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Months 63 & 64 - Recap

Hello second child,
Whoops. Forgot about Month 63. Well, I mean, I didn't forget about Month 63. We did things, you built Legos, you aggravated your sister, you ate lots of carbs and cheese - it was a good month. But I forgot to document that month on time. Soooo yeah. My bad.

Know what else I forgot? I forgot to check your school bag one Friday in Month 63 that informed me that you were scheduled to be the Start Student for the following week. I didn't check your school bag until five minutes before we left for school the Monday of your Star Student week. I read the letter informing me of this Most Highest Honor in K4 and telling me the necessary supplies (five photos of the aforementioned Star Student and a questionnaire) and was all "Oh SNAP. I stink at momming." I told you how I messed up and you looked positively brokenhearted. But you mustered up all the maturity a five-year-old could muster and told me "It's ok, Mommy. Don't worry about it. I don't have to be a Star Student." And I was all "Oh no way, Jose. You're going to be a Star Student. This was my fault so I'll fix it." And your darling teacher did indeed fix it. You got to be the Star Student for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (you had a dentist appointment on Tuesday) and the entire next week. You were beaming from ear to ear. Your teacher is the cat's pajamas.

You've been doing magic tricks lately. And darn it if your magic tricks aren't some of the cutest things on the planet. Your showmanship is an A+. Your slight-of-hand, however, is a solid D. For your "pick a card, any card" trick, you fan out a stack of cards. We pick a card, look at it, then hand it back to you. Then you (oh-so obviously) put that card on the bottom of the stack. You make a dramatic show of saying abracadabra and waving your magic wand then you pull the bottom-most card while you say "Is this your card?" And, shock-of-all-shocks, it is our card! You're so pleased with your magic trick that you run back to your bedroom to bring out another one.

This trick involves a hat. You bring out your baseball hat turned upside down (so the open end is facing up). You wave your magic wand over the hat and say "I'm going to make a ball appear out of the hat." After a few abracadabras, you turn over the hat and, voila! A ball falls out! Amazing! Stupendous! You love explaining the 'secret' of how there was a ball in the hat THE WHOLE TIME! Who woulda thunk it?! NOBODY, I tell ya.

You've turned the top of your dresser into a one-of-a-kind Lego city. At any one time, it has a church, a school, a jail, a construction site, Batman fighting Spider-Man, and various assortment of cars and boats. It's beyond fantastic. And you're so proud of it.

My momma heart is often at the verge of bursting when it comes to you, sweet boy. You're simply one of a kind.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for March 9, 2017:
  • Texas woman uses social media to give homeless man new lease on life
  • Trump Admin Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths: Officials
  • Fierce Nor'easter Goes Easy on Most Big East Coast Cities
  • Kids Crash Professor's BBC Interview on Live TV
  • Somali pirates demand ransom for oil tanker, EU force says

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

February 2017 - Recap

My sweet princess,
You're in our church's musical, and if there's ever been something that seems tailor-made for my singing-and-dancing-and-twirling-and-flair-for-the-dramatic little peach, it's a musical. To say I'm excited to see the performance is a huge understatement.

I love that you like to talk about things. Recently you've wanted to talk about your dream home. So while we eat dinner, we go around the table and we each say one thing we'd love to have in our dream home. So based on this game I learned this about you: you'd like a big backyard with a swimming pool and a swingset. And you want a big desk in your bedroom full of your pens, pencils, markers, and crayons - all organized into cute little bins and buckets. In case you were curious, Charlie's dream home would also include a pool, but it would be made completely out of Legos. And he, too, would have a big desk, but, again, it would be made completely out of Legos. And one of the drawers in the desk would be filled completely with --- you guessed it --- Legos. Mommy and Daddy both want a big kitchen, I want an actual laundry room, lots of crown moulding, and a giant shower, Daddy wants a big(ger) yard.

I so treasure the time you and I can have our one-on-one time. The older you get, the more important and precious (and perhaps rare) this time will be. I love hearing your thoughts (that you want lots of fun bins and buckets to organize your craft supplies made my heart sing), your story ideas, your original songs, how to handle difficult (but inevitable) situations - I love it all.

You are fascinating, my dear girl, and I pray that one day you and I can spend a lazy afternoon in our pool, talking about everything and nothing, then dry off with towels we got from the dryer located in an actual laundry room, then go eat some yummy snacks in the big kitchen of our dream home. But for right now, I love talking to you while we eat snacks in our not-so-big kitchen, and look out the window and watch the silly squirrels play in our pool-less backyard.

While a giant shower, a big kitchen, and a laundry room would be nice, a dream home is wherever my people are. So my dream home is right here with you three.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for March 1, 2017
  • PricewaterhouseCooper Accountants Behind Oscars Flub Booted From Show
  • Lego Making 'Women of NASA' Figures
  • Two Women Charged in Kim Jong Nam's Death by VX Nerve Agent
  • Oprah Hints at White House Run Against Trump
  • Dow Soars 300 Points, Closes Above 21,000 for the First Time

Thursday, February 02, 2017

January 2017 - Recap

My sweet eight-year-old,
You decided this month that you were going to learn how to roller skate. We went to the local skating rink before Christmas with some friends and you managed to stomp and inch your way around the rink a few times but there was very little actual gliding (in other words, very little actual skating) going on.

So Daddy walked with you up and down the driveway as you slowly got your balance. And once school started back up, you used the incentive of skating afterwards to focus on school (and not daydream about unicorns and rainbows - ahem).

The first day of skating lessons, you and I were a hot mess. You spent more time on your rear than on your feet, despite my attempts at holding you up (#momfail). It happened to be trash day that day and the trash collectors had a good time watching us go (fall) up and down our street. We considered it our good deed for the day.

The second day didn't see much improvement. But by the third day, you insisted I let go of your hand while we were in the driveway. And suddenly it felt like you were 18 and leaving for college.

Never in my eight years of being your momma have I been overly concerned about you getting hurt. I figured a broken arm or a twisted ankle is a part of growing up. In fact, you and I often talk about what color you want your first cast to be. See? I just don't think a broken bone is that big of a deal. Now I don't encourage you to be foolish, but I'm not going to discourage you, for instance, from climbing high on the playground equipment for fear you may fall. I will caution you to watch where you put your feet, but I want you to gain confidence in trusting your body to do the awesome things God created it to do. But for some reason, I wasn't prepared to let you go. I didn't want you to get hurt. I didn't want you to grow up and not need my hand. I didn't want any of that. WHERE DID ALL THESE FEELINGS COME FROM?!

You insisted I let go of you and I flat out told you no.

You: Momma, let go!
Me: No way, man! You're not ready to skate on your own!
You: Of course I am! I'm never gonna learn if you keep holding my hand!
Me: I don't have plans to go to the ER today, so I'm not letting your hand go. Sorry.
You: But I won't fall! And even if I do, we've already talked about it - I'm getting a purple cast. It's not that big of a deal, right?
Me: [super annoyed that you used my words against me] Fine.

I let go and you proceed to almost fall about 200 times. And you actually fell about 5 times. And each time I felt my heart leave my body and slam on the ground right beside your fanny.

Fast forward just three short days later and you can skate up the street and back again all by yourself (meaning without holding my hand - I'm still walking beside you). You're slow going and you've got the benefit of the rough asphalt to keep you from going too fast, but you're skating. I'm so proud of you. Seeing your focused face, seeing your determination when each time you fell down you immediately popped back up, and seeing the joy when you figured it out was such an awesome experience for me.

My reaction completely surprised me, and although my heart has finally returned to a normal rhythm, I imagine there will be many more times for my heart to jump out of my chest. But please know my hand is always available for you. You may not need it (or even want it) but it will never not be here for you to hold.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for February 2, 2017
  • Democrats Fuming Over Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Backed Him in 2006
  • Lady Gaga says her Super Bowl concert is 'for everyone'
  • Police Use Backhoe to Breach Prison, End Standoff; 1 Dead
  • Protests, Violence Prompt UC Berkeley to Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos Event
  • Donald and Ivanka Trump Make Unannounced Trip to Honor Fallen SEAL

Monday, January 09, 2017

Month 62 - Recap

My sweet master builder,
Like I wrote in Natalie's recap, Daddy and I mixed up Christmas this year for you and Natalie. Instead of letting you two rip open all of your presents within 20 minutes and then find yourselves overwhelmingly surrounded by toys, we insisted that you two play with each toy after you open it. It prevented you from being overwhelmed ("I don't know what to play with FIRST!!! Waaaaaa!!!") and it allowed Christmas to last all day (and to even extend to the next day).

You got some cool books and toys but your big gift was a cool Lego police station (that your awesome mom found for 50% off). You usually put together Lego sets and then immediately disassemble them and make your own creations out of the pieces. My Type-A brain shudders every time you do this but I'm learning to just look away when Chuckzilla comes to destroy something. And honestly, the things you create with a pile of random pieces blows me away. I pretty much need an instruction sheet to build anything more intricate than a MiniFigure but you can build the most amazing things from just your imagination. You're quite the master builder indeed. I've asked if you'd just prefer a big bucket of Legos instead of sets since you never keep the sets together but you insist you like the sets better. Color me confused.

Anywho, we bought you the Lego police station and I assumed two things:
  1. You'd need a LOT of help since it's a pretty giant set
  2. You'd (we'd) build it and then immediately tear it apart to build one of your creations
I was wrong on both accounts. Well, kind of wrong. You put together about 80% of it yourself. You have a hard time following each instruction and sometimes would prefer to just skip to step 10, having ignored step 4 and 8. But by the time step 11 would come around, you'd get all frustrated because some piece wouldn't fit because of the critical pieces you left out in the steps 4 and 8. So we had to help you a few times by retracing your steps and making sure you included all the pieces. But we had to help you a lot less than we were expecting.

You had the entire set built in three days and you kept it perfectly assembled for almost three weeks. This is a new Charlie Bear Record. Then, a few days ago, you decided that a tornado passed through the town and destroyed the police station. You haven't tried to build anything with the pieces yet, choosing instead to leave the mayhem just as it is. Good times.

These are indeed good times. YOU are a good time, my angel bear. I'm so tickled to be your momma.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for January 9, 2017:
  • President-Elect Trump Lashes Out at Meryl Streep After Golden Globes Speech
  • Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting Suspect Heads to Court
  • Wilkes Barre Faces Heroin Scourge Turning it into the Most Unhappy Place in America
  • Subway Strike Brings London to Standstill, Strands Millions
  • The U.S. Dropped an Average of 3 Bombs Per Hour Last Year
  • TV news report prompts viewers' Amazon Echo devices to order unwanted dollhouses

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016 - Year End Review

Why hello there, my mature grown-up girl (your words, not mine). You never cease to amaze me with what comes out of your mouth and I've been tickled endlessly these past eight years (well, these past six years - you hardly said a word your first two years. But I think you've more than made up for it.)

Here are your mature, grown-up Top 10 Lists!

10 Things You Love
  1. Gymnastics
  2. Wrestling with Charlie
  3. Being tickled
  4. Singing
  5. Drawing/coloring/painting
  6. Pink and/or purple and/or sparkly clothes
  7. Swimming
  8. Traveling. You love new cities.
  9. Church
  10. Quality time (I do believe I've found your love language)
10 Things You Don't Love
  1. Emptying the dishwasher (I often have to explain to you that in life, we don't only get to do that which we like to do)
  2. Naps (A DNA test may be in order)
  3. Humid weather (A DNA test isn't at all necessary)
  4. Only a few foods (namely beans, cooked carrots, cumin) 
  5. Bees/wasps/yellow jackets
  6. Learning something new (New concepts introduce the opportunity for you to get things wrong! A fate worse than death!)
  7. Automatic flushing toilets
  8. Not being involved in every conversation. It seems to cause you physical pain.
  9. Being corrected. (Ahhh, humility. 'Tis a tough thing to teach a precocious one.)
  10. Disappointing people
10 Things You're Good At
  1. Math
  2. Doing cartwheels and handstands
  3. Making rubber band bracelets
  4. Handwriting (makes my lettering-loving heart so happy)
  5. Following directions
  6. Being encouraging
  7. Being funny. Your wit is razor-sharp.
  8. Making cards for people
  9. Being friendly and an include-r. Please, oh please, keep this up.
  10. Singing. We need to work on your volume control, but you can definitely carry a tune in a bucket.
10 Things You're Not Good At
  1. Sleeping in (you're a great sleeper but you're not a good sleeper-in-er)
  2. Sitting still ... you fidget, you stir, you flip, you flop, you spend so much time trying to get comfortable that I'll be old and gray by the time you find the perfect position.
  3. Focusing while I read to you during school. I'll read out of your history or science book, look over to you, and can practically see the daydreams floating above your head. Rainbow unicorns are fantastic but I'm pretty sure they weren't present while Washington crossed the Delaware or while scientists were naming the parts of the flower.
  4. SPEAKING IN A NORMAL VOLUME.
  5. Acting. Pretending to be asleep, trying to act natural when you're playing a joke on someone, maintaining a poker face when we play a game - none of these are things in which you excel.
  6. Not interrupting. You so want to be included in every conversation - even if the conversation is adult-y and boring and doesn't involve you in the slightest - so you interject any chance you get (or any chance you take) with a question or a comment, related or unrelated. 
  7. Rinsing all the conditioner out of your hair. Granted your hair is impossibly thick, but still. You often come out of the shower with your hair still feeling like a gooey slimeball.
  8. Keeping the dramatic tone to an acceptable level. Lawsy mercy.
  9. Doing a flip on the trampoline. And the fact that Charlie CAN do a flip on the trampoline goes over like a lead balloon. It infuriates you that he can do something that you can't.
  10. Quantum physics. *sigh*
My heart skips a beat or two when I think about how you're halfway to 16. 

You've changed a lot this year. You've lost a few teeth and grew some new ones, so your smile has changed dramatically since you turned seven. Your hair has gotten a lot longer (and, therefore, a lot more tangly) and you've gotten a few inches taller.

You and Charlie have become so close this year. You two still squabble over silly things and I still have to play referee, but my time spent repairing hurt feelings has gotten less and less and you two have gotten better and better at working things out on your own. You and Charlie can spend hours lost in your imaginative world of police officers, unicorns, shipwrecks, and world travel. It's so fun listening to you guys play. It's, um, slightly less fun when both of you come to me with pouty faces because Charlie won't play exactly the way you tell him to, but c'est la vie. 

This has been a pretty emotional year. Lots of things have made you cry, lots of things have made you upset, and lots of things have made you stomp around the house and huff Big Bad Wolf-sized huffs. And on the flip side, lots of things have made you squeal, lots of things have made you jump up and down, and lots of things have made you laugh great big belly laughs.

It ain't easy being a girl, sweet love, and I can't tell you I'll always have the right answer or the wisest advice, but I will tell you this: you are not alone. I understand big feelings because I feel them, too. Big feelings are tough, baffling, and exhausting. Big feelings can also be beautiful. But above all, big feelings can remind us that the Lord is with us. Because when we feel all the things and don't know how to process them, He is there to calm our storm. He is there to carry us through the storm. Feelings aren't reliable as facts, but boy, are they good at pointing to our need to spend some time with our Father. 

I pray that you'll find comfort in praying through these feelings with God. He's the safest One to turn to; He loves you like nobody else in the world ever has or ever will. It's an honor to teach you how to process these big feelings and an even bigger honor to see you building a relationship with Him. 

You are the answer to so many of my prayers, my angel girl. Being a mom is awesome. Being your mom? Well that's a privilege that's beyond compare. I like growing up right alongside you.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

December 2016 - Recap

My sweet baby,
I'm still trying to process that you turn eight today, so if some of this recap is scatterbrained, you'll understand why.

Daddy and I changed things up for Christmas this year. I have a dear friend whose children make Christmas last all day because they play with each toy as they open it - as opposed to the "open a present up, toss it to the side, open another one up, toss it to the side, repeat ad nauseam" method that you (and many, I assume) kids take on Christmas morning. That causes all the presents to be opened in 20 minutes, then you're surrounded by a bunch of toys and you don't know what to play with first. And this often triggers meltdowns, bad attitudes, and poor behavior - not the kind of things I want to have on Christmas morning. 

So Daddy and I decided that you and Charlie would play with each toy as you opened it. At first you two looked very confused but once we explained how easy the day would go by doing things this way - and how you could possibly be opening presents up until dinner! - you were both on board. And Christmas morning turned out to be a dream! It was peaceful and joy-filled and thankful-filled. There was no sense of urgency, no sense of panic, and nobody got overwhelmed or grouchy. In fact, you two took so long opening presents that you still had one left to open on the 26th! A Christmas miracle!

We took a quick, impromptu trip to New Orleans between Christmas and New Years. We haven't been in years and it's one of our favorite cities, particularly because it's where Daddy went to college (and because of the beignets). It was such a short, busy trip but we all had such a good time. We ate some wonderful food (see above: beignets), road the street car, and saw a great dance troupe perform a show on the way to dinner. In fact, you got to perform with the dance troupe! They asked for kid volunteers and you shot your hand up as high as you could reach. You're such your daddy's girl. (While Charlie buried himself safely in Daddy's arms - he's such my child). You did a cute little dance with a few other kid volunteers and you got paid $20 for your work!

You sweetly offered to split your money with Charlie so you could both get some New Orleans souvenirs. You picked out a pretty, handpainted, purple wooden monkey with a coiled wire to place a picture in it. And Charlie picked out an alligator head. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for January 1, 2017:
  • New Year's massacre at Istanbul nightclub leaves at least 39 dead
  • Vandal changes iconic LA sign to 'Hollyweed'
  • President-Elect Trump calls Russia's Putin 'Very Smart'
  • Hundreds Attend Light Saber Walk to Honor Carrie Fisher
  • Queen, 90, Misses New Year Church Service Due to Heavy Cold

Friday, December 09, 2016

Month 61 - Recap

My darling boy,
You've prayed the sweetest prayers this month. I'm not sure if you've learned them at school or what - I need to ask your teacher about them. But when we do our family prayers before bed, yours have gone something like this:
"Dear God,  
Thank You for this day and thank You for Your love. (This is usually the standard prayer intro that you and Natalie use.) Please be with the widows and orphans and help the orphans all find mommies and daddies. And help those who are lost be found. And help those who are sick feel better. And please help our Christmas presents to be fun. Amen."
My sweet five-year-old is praying for widows and orphans, are you kidding me? My weepy Momma heart is a MESS.

Know what's also a mess? Your room. Know what's also a mess? Your ability (inability?) to share. But I digress. 

You had your Christmas program at preschool today. After all the kids loaded up on the risers on the stage, I could see you scan the audience looking for us. Once you found us your face broke into your huge Charlie Bear Grin. Then you tried to play it super cool by winking at me. Seriously. You winked at me. Then you gave me a little smirk. There you go making my Momma heart into another mess. Your special part in the program was playing the green handbell during Joy to the World. That song has never sounded cuter.

Just because my momma heart has been a mess this month doesn't mean it isn't pleased as punch with you and the young man you're growing up to be. My momma heart is full. Now go clean your room.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

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Headlines for December 9, 2016:
  • Obama orders probe of Democrat email hacks that rocked election
  • 4 Homegrown Zika Cases Found in Texas
  • Hero-Astronaut John Glenn to Lie in State in Ohio
  • Giraffes Could Face 'Silent Extinction,' Conservationists Warn
  • 'Will & Grace' star hints at reboot: 'There is a very good chance'