Zach's grandma said it best when she told us, "You have a beautiful family. Kinda loud, but a beautiful family." How right she was! And we sure love our loud, crazy, fun, active, silly, loving, chaotic, beautiful family.
Adelie just finished up her first season of playing soccer. Although she was disappointed that she didn't score a goal, she really enjoyed herself and was always excited about playing. And she's quick to point out that she almost scored a goal.
Adelie improved with her skills as the season progressed. She was not the fastest or most aggressive kid on the field, but she played hard and had a good time.
Her league did not have enough parents volunteer to coach, so I offered to help. I have never played soccer and don't really know the right technique or the rules. Luckily, the kids on our team were 4 and 5. I reminded them not to use their hands and tried to help them remember which goal we were going to, so I feel like I did my job.
Adelie was very sad when her season was over. She enjoyed playing, made some new friends, and it was a good outlet for some of her energy. We are already looking forward to next season!!
I was in a little fender bender yesterday in a parking lot. Everyone was fine, but Adelie was very interested in all the proceedings, asking lots of questions as I exchanged information with the other woman. Last night at dinner, Adelie said, "You exchanged phone numbers with that other woman. What's your number now?"
Her interpretation of exchanging numbers is probably truer to it's actual definition, but it's so amusing to think about the confusion in the world if everyone was truly exchanging numbers all the time.
I love how this girl always gives me a new perspective...and a good laugh.
This morning, the kids were playing Disney. The girls were putting on princess dresses to be princesses that I could come to meet at Disney. Briggs said, "I want to be a princess too!" I told him, "Hey, buddy. You could put on your Buzz Lightyear costume or one of your superhero costumes." He said, "No thanks. I want to be Elsa."
And he was...all morning long. He did decide to later accessorize with some pink fairy wings.
The other day, Briggs was telling me about boys and girls. He told me that Adelie is a girl and Staley is a girl and I'm a girl. I asked him, "What are you?" He replied, "I'm a race car!"
I know just who this little guy is. He's my snuggly, sweet, vehicle-loving, train-playing, princess-dress-wearing, happy, loving, adorable boy. He's my Briggs!
Staley has never lacked for confidence, and I love that about her. She auditions for solos in plays and perseveres whenever she's trying to learn a new skill and faces challenges head on and is always willing to try new things. She has a mind of her own and isn't afraid to follow her own path. She is confident in her abilities with anything she tries. Lately there have been some conversations that really illustrate the self-confidence that Staley has.
The other day, Staley was telling us about a race they did in PE. She said, "I did really good! I was 7th from first." When I asked how many kids were in the race, she said, "I'm not sure, but I was 7th from first and 5th from last."
Staley was talking about playing games in her classroom. She told me, "I'm really good at Connect 4 but no one in my class knows it because I only play with Zoey and she is great at Connect 4 so she mostly wins."
I love Staley's perspective. Instead of thinking that maybe she's just not very good at Connect 4, she deduces that Zoey must be great. Or rather than feeling sad about being closer to the back than the front of the race, she focuses on the fact that she was 7th from first.
The other night, Adelie asked me about what we can pray for. I told her that praying is just talking to God. We can tell him thank you for all the good things we have, we can ask him to help people who are sick or hurt, and we can ask him to help us. Adelie asked what God could help us with so I said we could ask him to help us be kind or be good friends or not be scared of something. Staley piped in and said, "I don't need God to help me with anything." I responded that everyone needs God's help because we all make mistakes or have things that we could be better at. Staley retorted, "Well, I don't need help with any of things you said."
Maybe humility. She could probably use a little help with that.
I know that life and reality will knock Staley down at times. I know that there will be disappointments and discouragement and realizations that she is not as good at certain things. I know there will be parts she doesn't get or teams she doesn't make or awards she doesn't win. I know that she will figure out what she is best at and what she is not. I just hope that she always keeps that self-confidence, that willingness to try, that perseverance. And I hope that she realizes she could use a little help from God along the way.
Staley is at school. Adelie is at pre-school. Briggs is napping. My house is silent.
I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids. I love that I get to be home 3 days every week with my kids. But with 3 young kids, someone always needs something. Always. Someone always has a question or a need or wants to show me something or needs to tell me something. Someone always wants me to be their playmate or needs me to be their referee or requires my assistance to inform them when they are making a bad decision. If I'm trying to accomplish a task, I have "helpers" that sometimes make it not worth trying. Or so many interruptions that it never gets done. I love being a mom, but it's exhausting.
And now I will have 2 afternoons each week. One of them will probably be spent volunteering at the school. But the other one? It will be gloriously silent. I will have 2 hours. Two hours each week where I can do what I want. I have a huge list of things I'm planning to accomplish. Photo books and cleaning out and organizing school papers and planning vacations. I have big aspirations for my 2 hours, so I'm off to enjoy the silence and get some things done!
After anxiously awaiting this day since Staley started school several weeks ago, Adelie officially started 4 year old pre-school today. Although she will be going 3 afternoons each week (as opposed to the 2 mornings each week that she went last year), she is going to the same pre-school with the same classroom, same teacher, and some of the same friends as last year.
No first day of school jitters for this little one.
Adelie was excited to have one of her good friends in her class this year.
We all loved Mrs. Ferguson, so we very happy that Adelie was in her class again this year.
I love this girl. I love her confidence. I love her enthusiasm. I love how excited she was to start back to school. I have no doubt that it will be another great year in pre-school...and I love that!
Zach was reading an abridged version of "Black Beauty" to the girls. If you are not familiar with the book, it's a first-person narrative of a horse detailing his life, including his life as a colt, being sold, being ridden, cruel owners, pulling carts, wearing a saddle,... Both girls listened to the whole book. When the book ended, Adelie asked, "Was Black Beauty a horse?" Zach responded, "Yes." Then Adelie laughed and said, "I thought she was a girl." Zach said, "Nope. It's a boy, and it's a horse." After a long pause, Adelie finally said, "Read it again."
It's a little confounding that she missed the fact it was a horse for the entire book and a little amusing to wonder what she must have been picturing.
The end of summer vacation and the start of school marked the major changes that August brought with it. However, the unseasonably beautiful weather and some big highlights made August a fun and full month for our family.
Our month started off with the St. Jude Run, which is the culmination of another year of hard work and planning as Zach is the co-coordinator of the Eureka to Peoria Run. It was an amazing day!! Zach and I both ran the entire 30 mile course, and celebrated a record-high earning for the Eureka team.
The St. Jude Run is a family affair, and we loved having the kids meet us along the course (with Grammie) to cheer us on.
Having my dad run with us for the first half of the day was another highlight. At 68, my dad ran 12 of the first 16 miles. He's amazing!! I love sharing this passion for running with him.
Stopping along the route at the home of a St. Jude patient is always a great reminder of why we run. The added surprise that the patient was someone I know made the moment all the more special.
The St. Jude Run is one of our favorite days of the year. Being a part of something so much bigger than us and seeing so many individuals come together for a common cause is just amazing.
Although the St. Jude Run was a definite highlight of the month, we have squeezed in lots of other fun events and activities along the way as well.
We took two trips to Sugar Grove Nature Center with cousins before school started.
We had never been, and the kids had a blast playing outside, climbing trees, and exploring. We went on a Friday and had such a great time that the kids went back with Zach 4 days later.
Although there were swings and treehouses and creeks and a zip line, Briggs found the diggers and the sand and didn't want to do anything else.
We fit in a last trip to the pool with friends.
This little gal started her first ever soccer season.
Zach and I enjoyed a fun night out at the wedding of a friend of mine from work.
Zach took Briggs to Dozer Days. It was an opportunity for kids to ride in and experience heavy machinery. Briggs loved seeing all the vehicles and sitting in them, but was hesitant about actually riding in or activating some of the equipment.
While Briggs and Daddy went to Dozer Days, we had a girls lunch out.
We went to the Community Bash at Aunt Jill's church, which is always an August highlight.
Face painting, horse rides, bouncy houses, petting zoo, hayrack rides, food, crafts, and spending time with cousins. What's not to love??
There were also emergency vehicles, a helicopter landing, and fireworks. Winner, winner, winner!
(For the record, staying up 2 hours past bedtime to catch the fireworks made for a few tired, cranky, emotional kids the next day. #notwinning)
We enjoyed a trip to Tanner's Orchard with grandparents and cousins while the big kids were in school.
It's so fun living close to family!!
A few recent trips to the zoo, picnics, library outings, and playing at the park have rounded out our month.
August has been fun and packed full of highlights. And with its unseasonably pleasant weather, it's already starting to feel like the beginning of fall. And since fall just happens to be my favorite season, I say...bring it on!!
We've been trying to get Briggs to stop sucking his thumb for a few months now. He rarely sucks his thumb during the day. However, night time and nap time are a different story. We initially did hand socks, which worked well for a few weeks until Briggs got tired of them and would just take them off. We then taught him to tuck his hands under his body for sleeping, which he did dutifully every night as we put him to bed. But recently he fessed up that his tucking only lasted until we left the room. So a few days ago, I introduced "knot hand." I put him in one of Adelie's long-sleeve t-shirts and tied a knot at the end of the right sleeve. This was VERY unpopular the first time I introduced it, resulting in 20 minutes of screaming "I WANT TO SUCK MINE THUMB!!" However, he's since adjusted and now happily puts on his special shirt before nap and bed. Maybe this will be the strategy that works.
At any given time, there are a million little things about my kids that make them unique. They are constantly growing and changing, and I always want to remember the little things about them at each moment in time. Some of their little things are cute, some are frustrating, some are funny, and some are exhausting, but they are all things that are a part of who they are right now.
...how Adelie is still my messiest eater. The table, chair, and floor around her seat are always covered in food. She inevitably ends up spilling her milk, getting food in her hair, and sporting a fair amount of food on her face after every meal. It's not uncommon for me to be wiping yogurt off her forehead or brushing pasta sauce out of her hair.
A typical Adelie breakfast
...how Staley is so ready to be more and more independent and grown up. She wants to play outside by herself and go into public restrooms without me and ride her bike further down the sidewalk and help me coach Adelie's soccer team and make meals by herself and use the hairdryer. She loves when I ask her to be in charge of her siblings while I shower. Some of it is so nice, and some of it I'm just not ready for.
...how Briggs can now get himself onto the potty. It's quite an ordeal. He will take off his pants and underwear, push the stepstool over to the toilet, and climb on. He will then proceed to use about half a roll of toilet paper, or as much as he can get done before I catch him and make him stop. The increasing independence is nice. The increasing toilet paper bill is not.
...how all three of my kids deal with disappointment in different ways. If I tell them 'no' to something they want to do (or when I tell them to do something they don't want to do), Staley will tirelessly argue with me and try to convince me to change my mind. Adelie will often cry, or she will put her hands on her hips, stomp her foot, and sassily say, "FINE!" Briggs will generally throw himself down in a screaming, crying fit. My favorite is when we get all 3 at the same time.
...how Adelie is now super-picky about not having her food touch on her plate at mealtimes. Sometimes she'll even put her fruit or part of her meal on the table instead of her plate to avoid them getting mixed together. (Probably doesn't help the neatness factor with her eating.)
...how Staley wants to go running with me. We've gone together several times and she can usually run for about a mile with only a few short walk breaks.
...how Briggs still has lots of cute little sayings. We always have pancakes after church on Sunday. We have pure maple syrup, regular syrup, and powdered sugar on the table with our pancakes. Briggs likes the pure maple syrup, but he calls it "powdered maple syrup." If I ask him something that he doesn't want to do, he will often take a page out of Adelie's book and sassily say, "Fine!" as he stomps off to do it.
...how right now Adelie thinks she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, Staley wants to be a movie star, and Briggs wants to be a fireman.
...how Briggs freaks out if his food is too hot (or even slightly more than warm). Screaming, crying, and repetitively demanding that I blow on his food is not my favorite part of a meal.
...how Adelie prefers to be barefoot, and takes off her sandals or shoes the first chance she gets including at the playground or in the car and always, always, always as soon as she walks in the door.
...how Staley is still picky about how her clothes feel. She now insists on wearing a cami under any shirt that has an applique or a zipper, or stitching that she can feel. Although the picking out clothes/getting dressed drama has decreased significantly, her sensitivity is still there.
...how Briggs still loves to carry around tiny things. He always has something in his hands wherever we go, whether it's a small car or stuffed animal or plastic dinosaur. One of his favorite activities is putting small puff balls from our craft supply box into any of his cars or vehicles that have doors or windows that they will fit in.
...how all 3 kids have so much fun playing together. Staley and Adelie love to play Barbies and figurines, playing together for hours at a time. Adelie and Briggs have a game called Mommy Poo, Baby Poo which involves Magna Tiles and cars/trucks and sometimes stuffed animals. I'm not really sure what the game entails, but they always have a great time together.
I know many of these little things are phases that will soon be gone. And although I won't miss all of them, I don't want to forget them either. It's the little things that make our days memorable.
I purchased a photo package at a silent auction a few months ago. I didn't read the fine print, and after winning the item, I realized that the amount that I won for the package wouldn't go very far. I decided to forego attempting family pictures and just did some kid pictures.
The photographer worked well with the kids and got some great shots of them. My kids still aren't the easiest to photograph all together, but it does seem to be getting slightly easier.
Briggs is still my child who smiles the easiest and is always game to get his picture taken.
I love this picture of Adelie. Such a happy, fun, pure-Adelie expression.
Staley looks so grown up in this picture. It makes me happy and sad, all at the same time.
My little stair steps.
And this was my favorite!!
I was initially disappointed about the photo package and the limited amount of photographs that it would allow me to purchase. However, I was so pleased with the outcome. I may not be able to afford to display many of these pictures in my house, but I love that they can live here for me to enjoy.
Although we've been trying to break him of the habit for quite some time, Briggs still occasionally sucks his thumb. Usually when we put him down for bed at night, he tucks both arms under his body and then we'll cover him up with his blanket. The other night I was putting him to bed. He stuck his thumb in his mouth, and I told him "Tuck your hands under, buddy. You don't need your thumb." He immediately took his thumb out of his mouth and tucked his hands under his body while I covered him up. Then he said, "I will suck mine thumb after you close the door."