Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The First Day of School

This year I got to experience the First Day of School for the first time.  I decided to revel in it.  Shopping for the list of supplies was a blast-- how I love new crayons and fresh bottles of glue!  I always stock up on this stuff at this time of year for homeschool, but it's different when you're checking things off the school list, putting your kid's name on them with a Sharpie, and loading them into a new backpack.  Shopping for new clothes was enjoyable too, and I couldn't help but give in to the girls' pleas for a special new First Day of School outfit. 

And then it was time to line them all up for The Picture.  And I realized that I always dreamed about doing this.   This was one of the things I looked forward to about being a mom.  I never expected I would homeschool.  And when I did, even though I knew that what I was doing was best for my kids it's surprising how painful it can be to give up little things like the fun of the first day of school. 

But this year I got to take this picture.  Who knows?  It may be the only year I do (we'll cross those bridges when we come to them.)  And if it is, I will feel okay because taking this picture was strangely healing for me.  And I will post on Facebook "back to homeschool" pictures where ALL the kids are in their bathrobes (and not just Bean)... why didn't I do that before? 

So, off we went to school as soon as this picture was taken.  It is a seven minute walk.  The mood inside the school was so festive and fun.  The halls were full of parents with cameras and kids with carefully combed hair.  Wall and desk decorations greeted each child personally:  Rabbit was so excited to point out the little doggy on the wall with her name on it.  The teachers were all laughing and everyone were greeting old friends.  It was one of the happiest things I have ever experienced.  Truly. 

And then I got to come home with Bean and review Latin and go over spelling words.  It was so quiet and easy to just have one child to teach.  And it was so wonderful to have control over what we were learning and tailor it to meet Bean's needs.  It made me remember how much I really do love homeschooling. 

But I also really love the first day of school.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Baby Boy Clothes

I saved a plastic tub full of baby boy clothes all these years because I knew that someday I would have another baby boy.  It's been so fun to dress Prince Charming in my favorite outfits from Bean and Fish. 

One of them is the ducky shirt.  This is one of the only things I bought new for Bean.  We were so very poor when he was a baby and we had plenty of baby clothes from hand-me-downs and gifts.  But then I was in a store one day and saw that Carter's had introduced a new line called "Ducky."  I loved it so much I had to buy something from it.  I watched and waited a long time for the very best sale and then bought one shirt with the adorable ducky on it because that was all I could afford.  It was probably six or seven precious dollars.  I felt kinda guilty because we didn't need it, but I enjoyed it so much.  And now it still looks adorable all these years later on Prince Charming. 


But the most adorable thing in the whole world for baby boys is overalls.  It just doesn't get any better than that.  I just pulled out the 6-9 months clothes for Prince Charming and it includes several pairs of overalls, all of which Bean and Fish wore.  I love this blue, green and white plaid pair.  Good times and good memories....
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's Football Season Again!

I am excited for football this year.  I kinda missed it last year, when Bean didn't participate.  I was pregnant and we were busy and he didn't really want to.  He'd had a hard time his second season (2011) because we'd unknowingly played him up a year and he was a little intimidated by the bigger kids.  So he wasn't chomping at the bit to get back in pads.  I kind of thought we might be done with football, which wasn't a huge deal to me because we never really were football people to begin with.  (To read about his previous football experiences, go here and here.) 

But then we moved.  I looked into the football league in our new town because I look into everything.  And I started to have that feeling again... that feeling that got us into football in the first place... that feeling that this was something Bean really needed to do. 

I talked to him and told him that, unlike Oklahoma, kids don't play tackle here until 5th grade.  So he would have a definite edge in experience.  He's also grown tremendously in size in the last couple of years.  He was a pretty big kid for his age before, but now he's huge.  This is the first time he has had to have a stripe on his helmet... that means he's above a certain weight cut-off and is not allowed to touch the ball during a game. 

He's doing great.  His coaches told me that when we came walking across the field for his first practice, not sure which group was our team, they saw him and how big he was and they said to each other, "we hope that kid is ours!"  And then when they found out how much experience, strength, and agility he had they were pretty thrilled.  They have him on both the offensive and defensive lines because they like what he can do.  That means that, unlike his last season, he's going to get a ton of playing time during games! 

As a parent, I am always seeking for ways to help my kids feel smart and successful so that they can build their confidence.  I love seeing Bean's happy grin when I pick him up from practice.  He's totally loving football this year and so am I. 

Before the pre-season scrimmage:

Playing defensive tackle on a very muddy field:

In the thick of it:

After the scrimmage... now I'm trying to get the mud out of his pants!

Football season is fun for the whole family!
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Fun Footsteps to Follow

I love watching Prince Charming with his older brothers.  They play with him a lot and they all really enjoy each other.  I came upon this scene a day or two after we'd moved... the boys' bedroom stuff was still in the living room and Fish had nowhere else to play with his beloved Legos.  He thought it would be fun to show baby brother the ropes.  I was concerned about making sure Baby didn't try to eat any Legos so I removed him from the scene very shortly, but first I took this picture because it was so cute. 

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Friday, August 23, 2013

One More Picture I Love

I forgot to put this picture in the post last night.  Bean is becoming quite the magnet for little children.  Here he is with his tiny cousin, who snuggled right up to him within about a half an hour of meeting him.

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Five Ice Cream Cones

It's easy to put five kids in line for a photo when they're all absorbed in eating ice cream cones.

The sixth kid doesn't want to sit still because he doesn't have an ice cream cone. 

And once he notices the very interesting items his siblings are schlurping up...

...he decides he needs to find out more.

Oh, I know too many reasons why ice cream is so bad for you, but I just love watching kids eat ice cream cones...
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A Visit to the Barn

One thing we always do when we go to Utah is visit a wonderful woman who, ages ago, was my high school English teacher, and since then has been my good friend.  She has horses, donkeys, and miniature horses and she loves for kids to come visit them.  This is a real highlight of the trip for my kids, or I should say, most of my kids.  (Every year someone is afraid of the horses and doesn't love being there, but it's always been a different someone depending on ages/stages.)  This year the most remarkable thing about our barn visit was watching the Rabbit intereact with the animals.  She just walked in there and took charge of them.  She wasn't afraid of anything and she bossed those horses and donkeys around like she'd been doing it her whole life.  The best thing was when Bean was riding the horse and the Rabbit was leading them around on the lead rope.  "C'mon Bean, kick the horse so it will walk and I'll lead it this way."  She was just as happy leading Bean around as she was riding the horses herself. 

Peanut absolutely loved the animals, but she was terrified of them at the same time.  She mostly stayed outside the corral and screamed if they came near her when she was standing on the ground.  But she liked it when we put her up on the donkey and since then has been talking about "riding my horsie" a lot.  I predict her next visit to the barn will be fabulous. 

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Photos to Remember

Here are a bunch of photos from our trip that make me happy. It was so good to see my loved ones again.  These kinds of trips are always worth the time, money, and hassle.  Before the trip I always think "I really don't need to do this" and then when I get there I always realize that these trips are priceless. 

We stayed several nights with the Badger's sister and her family.  They have such a lovely home, and they were so kind to open it up to us. 

Okay, so my father-in-law keeps bees.  Is that not the coolest thing ever?  

Blurry, but precious: Grandma enjoying Rabbit, Prince Charming, and Roo:

Prince Charming on the Kashan rug that my parents have had since they bought it in the Middle East eons ago.  I practically grew up on this rug.  We had family prayer on it every night and I have all the patterns deeply engrained in my brain.  

Roo in a Spanish dancer costume from Aunt Crocodile's incredible dress-up closet:

Bean's first trip to the Temple-- he went with me, Grandpa, and two cousins.  It was glorious. 

We had a brief but delightful visit with my dear aunt and a cousin I have not seen for several years who has a children the same ages as Peanut and Prince Charming.   We encouraged our daughters to be friends and it worked.  Meanwhile, the boys played Wii on the big screen TV...  

Rabbit and Roo down by the river in my aunt's backyard:

Playing dominoes with Grandma in the dining room-- another wonderful memory for the kids.  

Prince Charming meets his same-age cousin who is twice his size.  He thought he made a great climbing apparatus: 

But I do think they liked each other:

A couple of pictures of me with my very lovely sisters-in-law...

Sunday evening in the yard at the Burrow (the Badger's parents' house)... I have a bunch of pictures of Sunday family backyard gatherings over the last 14 years and there's always a picture like this, with people on the lawn chairs under the trees...

And a picture like this, where a bunch of people are standing in the yard talking and keeping an eye on the babies:

Grandpa Badger and Prince Charming:

He likes his grandparents.  See?

Roo bonding with a same-age cousin:

The magical yard at the Burrow...

And my mother-in-law's gorgeous garden.  It gets prettier every year. 

There's just nothing like family.   And nothing like coming home. 
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