Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Ups and Downs of This Thing Called School!

Monday, August 18. A day that had been marked on the calendar for some time. A day for Reece to return to Redlands School to enter into Kinder 3. And a day for Chase to enter for the first time as a big school-boy in Kinder 1. Reece handled it all like a pro. He got all of his jitters out last year. Chaser, on the other hand had a bit of a roller coaster morning..... The pics will show it all (am I horrible for snapping pics of tears as well as of smiles?!?)

For months we would occasionally discuss "August" as the time for Chase to begin school. Chase refers to August as "Log" (guess that's how he hears it!). In the past months he would say things such as, "ya, but I don't go to school 'till Log" The whole process of choosing a backpack, a lunchbox...all that fun stuff helped prepare him and he was excited. Until the morning of August 18. He boldly stated "but I am not going to school until Log." Benjy gently stated back to him, "well, is Log" He went back and forth all morning between denying that he was about to participate in anything to do with school, and then calming down and smiling about stuff. Check out this pic below of sincere worry. Poor kid!




After finally getting into the car, and passing out "smiley face" stickers to everyone because it is a happy day (right?!?) we began to sing a little song we would always sing to Reece last year ont he drive to school. This year, Chase got his own verse...."Chase is going to school today, Chase is going to school today, Chase is going to school today...what a happy day!" (you gotta hear the tune with it - it is pretty fun!) When the van full of Mom, Dad, Mimi, and the boys finished singing Chase's verse, Chase declared, "well that's not right because I am NOT going to school today!!!" Poor boy. Even giving him the page of stickers to share with all of his new friends didn't convince him. Reecer hopped out and was ready to go (look how TALL he looks - I think he grew before our very eyes this summer) We had a bit of a process to remove Chaser from the van. Poor parents (who could know how stuff like this can make you feel sick to your stomach!) And a bit of a scene to hand him off to the teacher....



But this is how he came out of the school at the end of the day - a HUGE smile on his face. He had a great day and has loved it ever since. He has a great teacher and we are thankful for that!



So I say, so what if I captured the "first day of school" picture for Chase (above) at the end of it all! I love how easy it is to please my boys. They were thrilled to the moon to receive a cheap ball (with a smiley face of course - I literally took too much time choosing the perfect ball to fit with the theme of the day) on their car seats when they hopped in the van to come home. Both Reece and Chase are such good boys and even after a few weeks into this school routine, I am really missing having them around. Where has the time gone that I have 2 kids in school. We are proud of both of you - keep loving to learn and having so much fun!!!! We love you!

Father, I thank You for my boys. I ask that You would fill their days with fun, friends and happiness. Please protect them as they are away from us for so many hours a week, in the care of other people. Give their teachers kindness and goodness as they instruct and model important life lessons to Reece and Chase and as they foster a love for learning in them. Help my boys to shine their lights in their own little worlds among friends. Be with them as they learn about friendships, disappointments, sharing and discovering. Protect their innocence. Help them to be kind, respectful, and good listeners. Keep them safe! Amen


Quick beach get away

This was few weeks ago...

So after a busy summer, we stole a few days to have some family the beach. Mimi (Benjy's Mom) even joined us!! What a treat. We wanted to do something special before the school routine began. Acapulco is less than 4 hours away so it was a nice little spot to relax without having to drive too far. And relax we did. We found a great hotel that was IDEAL for the boys because the swimming pool was so kid friendly. I had never seen anything like it. And since Reece had just finished swimming lessons, he loved the water. The first day I think we spent 7 hours in or by (which means "in" when you have 3 kids under 5!) the pool. We just relaxed and played and had so much fun. I didn't read a book like I had planned - who am I kidding??!! (again, by a pool with 3 kids under 5!) The timing was perfect for Reece's confidence level in the water. he really advanced! Chase was a maniac - he had spent 3 weeks watching big brother take swimming lessons.....and these two brothers aren't short on a healthy dose of competition! If Reece can swim with a can I (well, sort of - Chase must have drank half of the pool that first day b/c he peed the bed that night and never does that!)....if Reece can put his head under the can I (back to drinking half the pool).....if Reece get the picture! And Pierce wasn't much different - he wanted to jump in off of the edge without us catching him - he would try to scoot away from our arms.

I am thankful we got to relax and laugh and enjoy each other so much. What a great time we had!

I am going to post some of my favorite pics from the many I took on this trip (in no particular order) - I should have put them in a slideshow but I don't wanna take the scroll down and enjoy!

















It is time for a haircut...

This was a few weeks ago....

We thought little Pierce was ready to be introduced to the scissors. He didn't mind it at all - no tears shed (the only one of my boys to not do so)....maybe because of all the entertaining that was going on by big brothers, etc.. - he did great!

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"Here's the new me!"
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Friday, August 15, 2008

From Casa #7 to Casa #32

I just wanted to let all of you know that the next time you pop in for a visit, we will be in Casa #32 instead of #7! Today is the final day of our adventure in this home. We began the "moving" process yesterday and made quite a bit of progress, thanks to many friends - especially the AIM students! The distance between houses is about half a block so we are using arms and legs to move it all instead of a moving truck! In an effort to reinforce the concept of "family as a team" I put the 2 older boy to work - with the help of their little wagon for the bigger stuff. As a result, I got some of the biggest smiles from them....

Reece - pushing his Little Tikes picnic table - by himself. He returns to the house with the greatest look of accomplishment and says, "whew - that was tough work. One of our neighbors came and asked me if I wanted some help, but I told her, "no thanks"....because, Mom, she was a really short lady!" :)

Chase - I assigned him the task of carrying the little kitchen stools over - one by one. I got the greatest giggle out of watching him from the kitchen window. He would get about three steps, set it down, and rest on it...then take about three more. We are talking slow progress. Apparently, he doesn't have as much pride because he was quick to surrender to the help offered by the same neighbor lady!

We spent some good time last night, remembering all the memories from this home. I am amazed at what kids can remember!!! We've had lots of firsts here, made lots of new friends, and shared important family moments together behind these walls. We thanked God together for what He has brought us through in this place - both good and bad.

Well, I better get moving! Lots yet to do in this day! But please, come and visit....we would love to have you!

I am a bit behind on posting some great pics of recent weeks, including Pierce's first haircut and our family get-away to the beach. Please stay we await new internet service so no promises of when all of that will come together here in Mexico!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What we are missing....?

Our lives are busy right now as we try to juggle a visit from Mimi (Benjy's mom), packing and moving to a different house by Friday, and getting stuff ready and 2 little boys prepared for school (which starts Monday!)

Amidst all of the fun and craziness, there is an ache in my heart for what our lives are missing. Mid-August (the 15th-ish) was the expected arrival date of our fourth little one into our family. It is hard to miss someone so important. It makes me sad. It makes me wonder. It makes me question. Had things turned out differently, I am certain that we would already be holding him or her (I think "boy") in our arms since all of my boys have arrived earlier than their due dates. In every way I wish that were true. We wanted to hold him. I would have loved to see how this little one would light up our lives and change us so much. How he would have stolen the hearts of his parents and his big brothers. But for some unknown reason, we don't have that opportunity...and that is hard. It is hard to explain the feelings. It is hard to express my thoughts. I know that although this little one was not given much time at all to grow and experience life in our family, he has still changed us and made us better. I believe that won't stop happening - the things I have learned from loss are so important and valuable - just a little more difficult....and they don't just teach in the moment of loss, they continue on teaching and reminding, months later as life continues on.

Sweet little one, please know that we are especially missing you these days. You are not and will never be forgotten. You are a part of our hearts. A part of our family. You are missed. Thank you for touching our lives so significantly. We love you and are thankful for the hope we have to meet you someday!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Chase & Tough Life Lessons


Chase. Adorably cute. 3 1/2 years old. A true boy. Mischievious. Lives life to the fullest. Wants to be his own boss. Can find trouble almost anywhere. Can be stubborn. Can also be so sweet. I completely love him...even though he can challenge that love at times!

For example....

Last week the neighbor comes over to kindly inform us that Chase was driving his hot wheels cars on the hood of his....BMW!!! (of course, he would just have to pick the classiest car out there to use as his driving track!) There were 6 or 7 obvious scratches, in a nice round race track formation! The neighbor was nice, but Benjy, being the good man he is took responsibility for our son and offered to pay him out. Little did we expect we'd be shelling out $100 bucks for the damages (sand and re-paint job)!!!

So....Chase received the well-deserved spanking from his Dad...took the long walk to the neighbors to 'fess up and apologize....and is now doing "odd jobs" to earn money to pay to the neighbor (obviously not $100 - he is only 3....but we are thinking $5 - $10 to teach him a lesson....thus far he has earned....$1.50....and IF he is doing what he is supposed to be doing right now, that amount will grow little by little)!

It was a moment I will never forget because of the look on his little face....I sat down to talk to him about his consequences. I referred back to a "Timmy bedtime story" I had told the boys a while back. Timmy had kicked a soccer ball over the fence and it broke the window. Being the responsible boy he is, Timmy owned up and paid for it.

So I asked Chase if he remembered what Timmy did when he broke the window with the ball. Chase - quickly and humbly replied (as if he knew where I was headed...) "Timmy paid to fix the window"

Me - "Right. And so who do you think should pay for this man's red car?"

Chase - "Daddy?"

Me - "wrong answer"

Chase - a little more hesitantly "Mommy?"

me - "wrong again" (but trying to not smile)

Chase - with a sigh "Chase"...... and then with a voice of despair and very sad eyes "but, but I don't know how to pay for cars!!"

me - giving him a hug but firmly reassuring him "oh, sweetheart, you are going to learn. Believe me, I will teach you how"

Friday, August 01, 2008

From Tears to Triumph


Okay, so I will admit that the title of this post may be a little dramatic...but nevertheless an accurate representation of the dramatic improvement we have witnessed in Reece and his love for swimming. We decided it was high time for the boy to overcome his fear of water so we enrolled him in a few weeks of swimming classes. We wanted to take advantage of the reduced summer prices and we liked that he would go for 1 hour a day for nearly 3 weeks. Reece was excited too...until the first day of classes began. He cried and did NOT want to enter the pool with his group of kids. A little force never hurt anyone, right? Well, the next day was reduced to a Mommy son wrestling match on the bed, trying to get his swimsuit on! (give me some credit, this was after an hour or so of patient convincing and time was running out...I was still patient, just once again, a little more forceful!) All of my friends told me to give it time, in 1 week he would be doing great. I didn't believe them! But...they were so right.


Although we paid for him to be in a group course...they assigned him to a private teacher who is incredible with kids who are afraid of the water. He slowly gained Reece's trust (and we gained a private class for a group rate - whooo-hoooo!) and now he is loving it! Reece has conquered his fear and is having so much fun learning new things. He has made lots of new friends wth the pool staff - they all come around to "high 5" him! It's cute. The videos below will show him during this last week of swimming lessons - just a week and a half after starting.

And his parents....well, we are proud. I am sure we look like idiots to the rest of the Mexican parents who are in the stands, reading a book or calmly watching their child swim laps. Us...we look just a little different - cheering his every move and capturing much of his advancement on camera! Way to go Reece - you have come a long way from those first days when you boldly told me to cancel all of the classes because you weren't going!!!!!! Reece's Daddy is already envisioning him on the swim team and competing in races....I guess we will just have to see. I already doubted once and was proven wrong so I will just have to see!

Don't feel bad if you don't want to watch the following videos - they are short - but may be of most interest to proud grandparents and aunts/uncles.