Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Note to parent...

Well-check appointments, scheduled with your child's pediatrician, are supposed to occur on or near your child's birthday every year. This way, the doctors get a good idea of how your little ones are growing and developing, and it gives them an opportunity to respond to any of your general questions or concerns.  With that said...

Completely forgetting your child's 4 year-old well-check is not a good idea.  

Yep.  That's right.  It occurred to me yesterday as we drove home from Grandmom and Pop's house-- I completely forgot to arrange a well-check appointment for Big Man 3 months ago after he turned four.  Fortunately, the office had an available appt this morning, and since Chris was home, he volunteered to take our little guy in for his check-up.

Now... this is where my negligence as a parent is completely overshadowed by my Big Man's extreme bravery & courage: 4 shots... no tears... no complaints... no tantrums or terrors.  Just silence and a willing acceptance of his situation (followed, of course, by looks of absolute amazement on both Chris's face and those of the 2 nurses administering said vaccinations).  So. very. cool.

Oh, and on another note-- the doctor tested both Big Man's vision and hearing and learned that he does not have selective hearing. Nope.  He hears just fine.  How 'bout that?!

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks, Dave & Wilma, for edible teef!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas day, here & there

This year, Chris (that's Hubby) really wanted to spend Christmas morning in our own home. So after a lovely Christmas Eve church service, the kiddos climbed in to their own beds and fell fast asleep, dreaming all the while of goodies they'd find beneath the tree the following morning. Chris and I, however, did not crawl in to bed at an early hour. No, we stayed up late wrapping presents (none had been wrapped before this point) and practically tore the house apart as we searched in vain for a gift we were sure we'd purchased.

In the wee hours, we finally dragged our exhausted bodies to bed, but were met with a surprising treat on Christmas morning-- the boys slept until 8:00! We couldn't believe it! Boys sleeping until 8?? Whoever heard of such a thing? I remember rising before the sun on Christmas morning when I was young. One year, Dave and I even crept through the upstairs (while mom & dad slept) and changed all the clocks so that dad would think it was later than it really was... I don't know if he bought in to our trick, but I do remember him climbing out of bed while we giggled like mad at our own clever ruse :) Fortunately, my crew has not yet devised plans such as that one!

Anyhoo... 8 am rolled around and the boys were ready to open presents. Once Chris brewed a pot a coffee and Lollipop roused from her slumber, the boys flew down the stairs and the gift-opening- extravaganza began. We had a grand time, and the best part of all (if you were to ask the boys)-- they knew round 2 was coming later in the day once we arrived at Grandmom and Pop's house!
So, Christmas here~

And Christmas there~

A picture-perfect day, all the way around!

'Twas the night before Christmas

...and all through the house,
the natives were restless
(including my spouse!).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas,
from our home to yours~

"Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying,
"I am the light of the world;
he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness,
but shall have the light of life."

John 8:12

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

7 smiles, sort of

Every time we get together with Leslie and her crew, we attempt to get a group photo... all of the cousins in one place at one time. We've been collecting photos of the kids together over the years, and now that we're up to 7 between our two families, the job of catching a great shot has turned into quite a challenge. On most occasions, we're just lucky to keep all 7 seated long enough to click the camera!

This past Sunday was no exception. After a lovely evening at their church Christmas musical (the girls did a wonderful job!) and potluck dinner, we all returned to our house for the kids' gift exchange and a few more minutes of play. Before parting ways for the night, Les and I both caught a few snapshots of the gang on the sofa-- they're all there, and I think each child even smiled at one point or another (though alas, never all at once!).

Mosby didn't care too much for all the hub-bub... he slept through the whole thing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One more try

OK. Hopefully this video will work :)

Earlier this morning I attempted to upload a short YouTube
video that Hubby shared with me over the weekend (his boss
had passed it through the office on Friday), but lo and behold...
that clip is no longer available for some reason or another.
Fortunately, the men's chorus recorded their version of "The
Twelve Days of Christmas" at another venue and that video
is accessible.

So, here it is... a version like no other. It's good fun, I think!
Of course, as I mentioned in my earlier post (which I've since
deleted), I'm a sucker for a quality a cappella tune as it is.
Toss in a bit of the '80s influence, as these fellows did, and
the deal will surely be sealed! Enjoy~

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our family photo

So I finally accepted the fact that Christmas really was coming. In order to adequately prepare, though, a few things needed to get done in advance. At the top of my list... Christmas cards (which I'm just now getting in the mail, for goodness sake). I honestly can't remember if we even sent any out last year-- how bad is that??-- so this year, I figured we'd need a current family photo for those who enjoy seeing how the children have grown (hopefully they'll ignore the extra pounds Hubby and I are still toting around). So, nothing fancy, nothing out-of-this-world... just a picture that included all 6 of us, and if we could all manage to look relatively happy, that would be a nice bonus! Of course, the mere thought of a photography session did not thrill my 4 men, but thankfully, they played along once I promised it wouldn't take long.

Thanks to Pops & Grandmom, we eventually succeeded in producing a keeper. For everyone's cooperation, though, we still ended up with some real "winners"... those few that just didn't make the cut~

Unfortunately-- try as I might-- I just couldn't get this last one to rotate. I figured that for the sake of my post, though, I'd include it; it's just too good to leave out :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A weekend in Annapolis

I can't believe it's taken me this long to write about Bub's big swim meet in Annapolis!  We've been home for 5 days and I'm just now finding the time to upload my photos and collect my thoughts... yikes!  (As a quick aside, a couple weeks ago I read in an online devotion that "activity is the virus of December," and wow, how true it is.  No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to avoid the fray.  As Leslie reminded me the other day, tons of extra activities are vying for our attention this time of year, but none are ever removed from our schedule in the process.  So, my before-Christmas Day-arrives to-do-list continues to run a mile long, and the merry-go-round I'm riding simply refuses to slow down.  I'm told it will... eventually.  Until then, I guess I'll just hold on by my fingernails and survive on caffeine!)

So, back to the reason for this post... last weekend Bub competed in a very prestigious swim meet at the Naval Academy.  Teams gathered from all over the mid-Atlantic states, and one even traveled south from Toronto.  The level of competition was greater than any Bub's ever experienced, but was he dismayed or intimidated or scared, even just a tiny bit?  Nope.  Nada.  Goose eggs.  For three solid days he raced and he raced and he gave everything he had, and you know what?  

I am very, very proud of that big guy~

As for the results... Bub almost made it to the finals in 2 events, the 50 yd freestyle and the 50 yd butterfly.  [He came in 9th in 1 race (out of 50 or so) and 10th in the other.  Unfortunately, only the 8 fastest proceed on to the finals.]  He also dropped some serious time in several of his events (including that 50 fly), and in 2 of them he swam fast enough to receive an "A" time.  And what's so magical about those "A" times?  They qualify him to swim at the Age-Group Championships this March! (I think he has 5 so far.)

All in all, it was a fantabulous weekend! Grandmom & Pops drove up with us on Friday (the boys loved hotel life), Granmoggie & Poppa journeyed in from S. Dakota, Leslie and her girls came up on Saturday, and cousin Beth joined our ranks on Saturday, along with Francie & Betty Stuart.  I think Bub had the largest cheering section there! 

Here's a glimpse of the pool during warm-ups:
 And this is Coach Bob.  He's the best-- he always has a final word for Bub before each race, and he always has some positive feedback afterwards.
Ever cool, ever confident... Bub on deck.

And as seen here, one of the weekend's many highlights: meeting & watching Olympic medalist Katie Hoff (below in black) race each day.
Needless to say, we all came home exhausted, but boy oh boy, was it worth it!  Bub rocked all weekend long and displayed the true heart of a champion~

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A horse, of course

For weeks now, Big Man's preschool class has been diligently preparing for the production of their Christmas play, "Who's Coming to Our House?" Earlier this month, the teachers assigned each child a part, and Big Man ended up with the role of a stable horse.  Since that time, he's been reciting his line over and over and over again on a fairly regular basis, and though he's known the words for ages now, none of us actually expected him to say those words during the show. (Last spring, during his end-of-the-year program, Big man completely froze.  He didn't utter a single word or sing a single note.  Not one.)

So, this morning... we all anxiously awaited Big Man's moment to shine, and when his turn finally came... he delivered his line with all the gusto a 4 year-old can muster-- "I will nose the door ajar."  I nearly cried!  What a wonderful surprise and what a fabulous treat, and what a great way to usher in Christmas week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Music to my ears

Any parent with children of decorating-the-tree age knows that inevitably, all the ornaments end up on the bottom fourth of the tree, and all of them are situated-- smack-dab-- on the front. None on the sides, none on the back... just whack, right there... actually touching each other, they're so close. Some are even sharing the same, worn-out branch~

With that in mind...

Imagine my delight when, this morning, Noh-man comes downstairs, walks over to the Christmas tree, and asks, "Mom, do you think we should spread out some of these ornaments that are all squished together?"

aahhhh... just what this very-orderly, symmetrically-minded mother's been longing to hear. It's like sweet, sweet, music :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When boys pick the ornaments...

Over the years, my idea of the picture-perfect Christmas tree has changed drastically. Until recently, in fact, I might have described my ideal tree like this: it would likely be 7.5-8 feet tall (or even taller if possible); it would be real-- not artificial-- with short needles; and it would emit the most lovely aroma, my whole house would smell of pine. Beautiful glass ornaments would hang from its branches-- balls, in shades of red & green, along with intricately chiseled icicles, each 6 inches long. Monogrammed crystal ornaments with beveled edges would be placed in strategic spots, one for each member of the family. And then, tailored red bows, bright white lights, and treasures & heirlooms from ages past would grace its branches. Not to be outdone, though, by my children's handmade beauties, and then the shiny silver star on top.

Now, however, with four little ones anxiously awaiting Christmas morning, our tree has come to reflect a different sort of look. Oh, there are a few of the above components, but for the most part, there's this...

and this...
and this...
and this...
and our newest addition, this beauty...
...because that's what they love.

And truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way~

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

(Not quite) Wordless Wednesday

How hard. can it possibly. be.
to get two little ones to smile at the same time?

Evidently, it's nearly impossible.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Faster and faster every time

The highlight of the weekend, however, had nothing to do with the complex; it had everything to do with our racing machine... once again he proved that perseverance and determination really do pay off.  
  • In 5 of his 6 races, Noh-man dropped time (almost 4.5 seconds in his 100 freestyle!)
  • In 3 of those events, he took first place, and in the other 3, he came in second 
  • And those boys that beat him to the finish line, they were 8; Noh was the fastest 7 year-old in the water.
As always, it was a real joy to watch our boy compete.  Noh-man loves swimming and takes his racing very seriously.  He gives it everything he's got and is a real sport, both in and out of the water... he truly is a winner in every imaginable way~

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rocket ships, revisited

Just yesterday Big Man brought home his beautifully colored Thanksgiving placement (a few days late since he missed the last school day before the holiday), and lo and behold, another fill-in-the blank project... "I am thankful for______"

And just as I predicted, "Mommy" was not written in that blank.

Nope. Once again I lost out to... rocket ships.

At least he's consistent :)

An opportunity to serve

Every month, our home school co-op sponsors a service project of some sort, designed to minister to our local community in one way or another. I try to take advantage of these opportunities because they reinforce a valuable lesson we're always trying to teach at home... life isn't all about us.

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
Galatians 5:13

So yesterday, while Big Man was at preschool, the rest of us took part in this month's project. A group of 50+ children (with their moms) gathered at a local church to wrap presents and make ornaments for a local homeless shelter. Each family contributed an assortment of small gifts and each child arrived with wrapping supplies in hand, excited to bless others this holiday season.

Families come in and out of the shelter throughout the winter months, and their children deserve a merry Christmas, too. Amazingly, we wrapped an entire truck load of presents, and the children made oodles of ornaments to grace the shelter tree... punched tin ornaments, candy cane reindeer, popsicle stick trees, pipe cleaner wreaths, and many, many others.

Over these past several days, I've been reminded, over and over and over again... we are so blessed.
I'm very thankful for this chance to work alongside my oldest two as we contribute what we can, and therefore... hopefully... make someone else's Christmas a little more special.