Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Glimpse Into Our Future

Last week while dining out at McAlisters, we had a glimpse into our future. 

We choose McAlisters frequently, because #1. Sweet Tea and #2. 99 cent kids meals! For the first time though, our typically slow eater Jackson wolfed down his pizza in about 5 minutes and immediately asked for more. Thankfully, as I mentioned, kids meals are just 99 cents, so he got a second one. And ate 3/4 of that one too! If he can eat two kids meals at age 7, how much will he (and his brothers!) be eating when he's 10...14...18? Yikes.

During the same meal, Andrew announced that he needed to go to the bathroom. Because of course he did, because he does this during every.single.meal. Without hesitation, Jackson said, "I'll take him." and hopped up, put his arm around his brother and led him to the bathroom, leaving Justin and I to continue eating our meal while still hot! So maybe having a big kid isn't all bad!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dapper Drew

Andrew loves wrestling, dirt and sticks. He's loud, tough and has seemingly endless energy. His normal uniform is athletic shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers. But when it's time to get dressed up, he wants to go all out! I would be happy if he wore a polo shirt and combed his hair for church, but recently he has decided that he wants to look handsome. He asks to wear a tie!

And doesn't he clean up nice? 

You may remember that he asked for the bow tie and suspenders for his Christmas concert. Swoon!

Not only does he want to wear the tie, but he also stands in front of the bathroom mirror and combs his hair until it's just right!

I love it because it's such a contrast to his normal persona. Our rough-and-tumble boy has a softer side! And, of course, he is undeniably handsome. =)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Benjamin is 21 Months

Benjamin is 21 months! Just a quarter of a year from TWO!

While he seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, our busy busy busy boy is actually apparently shrinking! We took him to the doctor last week after dealing with a mysteriously super cranky boy for several days. No symptoms of any illness, just terribly irritable and restless. The doctor couldn't find any sign of illness, but his weight check (26.8 lbs) indicated he has actually lost a couple of ounces since his 18 month appointment! I think we can blame the weight loss on several days of diminished appetite, and a little busy body who never stops and burns every calorie he eats. He loves cheese, fruit of any kind, yogurt, hot dogs, and cereal bars.

Potty training is just around the corner. He wants to sit on the potty each night before bath and has pee peed in the potty a few times. He gets super excited for his brothers when he sees them going to the potty. Thankfully Jackson and Andrew are good sports about their personal cheering section when they do their business!

Ben is weird about shoes. He loves to find shoes in the house and put them on, no matter whose they are. Stay tuned, as I have a cute post coming up dedicated to this habit. But when it comes to his own shoes, he is quick to take them off. For several months, he has taken off his shoes and socks every time he gets in the car, but he has now taken to hurtling them across the car. Last week, he even managed to hit me in the back of the head with one, which is kind of amazing given that he's still rear facing and sits directly behind me. I'm ready to duct tape those suckers to his feet! We must always allot an extra minute or two into our schedule to allow time to hunt down the shoes and socks in the van and get them back on his feet. Speaking of throwing things, his favorite toy is any kind of ball and he enjoys playing catch with his dad. Except he can't really catch, so it's more like fetch. LOL.

He talks about everything....many things discernible, but still lots of jabbering that we can't always make out. His favorite subject to talk about is still animals, but he's started noticing vehicles lately too and gets excited when he sees a bus or fire truck. He knows the names of all of his teachers and all of his friends in his class.

He still loves books but has strong opinions about which book to read. We pretty much just keep a huge stack next to the rocking chair so we can go through each option one by one as he says "no!" with a vigorous shake of the head and shoves the vile book aside. We repeat until we uncover the chosen one, and are rewarded with a huge smile and a happy "uh huh!" There's no predictability to what he will choose, a book that is hastily discarded one day will be happily selected the next! What can I say, I guess he likes variety and he knows what he wants!

The only thing bad about Ben is how quickly he is growing! My wish is to hold on tightly to these last remnants of babyhood, but unfortunately he has different ideas. Why snuggle when there are so many things to explore?  Why let daddy help you when you can do it yourself? Why let mommy carry you when you can run? He impresses us every day with the big, new independent things he can do, and we are doing our best to keep up!

We love you precious Benny boy!

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Jackson learned how to play chess this year at school during his enrichment time. He enjoyed it so much that he asked for a chess board for his birthday and Grammy and Pop delivered!

Neither his dad nor I have ever played chess so we are quickly trying to learn!

Chess has a bit of a learning curve, and Jackson is relishing in beating us every time!

This is the face of a boy who just captured my king in about 8 moves. I didn't even see it coming, but he did. He was giggling as he set me up!

Can someone please tutor me in chess? Or maybe better yet, hang out with a super cute chess playing 7 year old and give him some real competition? =)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ben Loves Queso

Don't you just love how babies can get away with doing all of the things that you just wish were socially acceptable for you to do? 

Exhibit A: Benjamin and queso:

You know you've thought about it..."Can I just pick this stuff up and drink it?"

"Well, maybe if nobody is looking..."

"Oh what the heck!"

"Yep. Worth it!"

Me too, Benny, me too!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Reptile Day

Our library hosted Reptile Day last weekend, so of course we had to go! 

Check out these bearded dragons! They are real (I doubted it, but saw them breathing)!

Surprisingly, our little reptile loving Andrew needed a little coaxing but eventually warmed up with fearless Jackson taking the lead.

Even Benjamin enjoyed checking out the scaly creatures.

Jackson couldn't get enough. He would have stayed all day! And Andrew eventually remembered how much he liked them too!

We left with a very heavy bag of new library books too, so I would call that a successful event! Well done, library!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

We got to celebrate daddy last weekend! 
Aren't I a lucky lady to be surrounded by all this handsomeness every day?!
Justin equally loves french toast and waffles so I found a recipe for french toast waffles and they turned out really well! The big boys helped me with the egg cracking and stirring, while Ben helped by contentedly watching an episode of Elmo! They were all excited to finally wake him up and show him all of the gifts they made for him.

Andrew's "All About My Daddy" page went like this:

My Daddy's name is Justin but I call him Daddy. His favorite thing to do is trim the grass. For fun he likes to play in my baby pool. His favorite food is crawfish. His favorite drink is tea. I love it when my daddy goes to Jumping World. My favorite thing about my daddy is he swims.

After breakfast we went to church and then came home for lunch and afternoon naps for everyone. I made his favorite Lemon Chicken Ring for dinner,  and after the boys insisted daddy needed a Father's Day Treat. So we went to Spoons, you know, for dad of course.

Daddy still has to share his ice cream, even on Father's Day.

But he didn't mind because that's the kind of dad he is. He takes care of all of us so well. Did you know that Justin does the dishes every night? This is after he does the cooking at least half the time. He also changes diapers, brushes teeth, packs lunches, drops off/picks up kids from school, and remembers when it's splash/chapel/field trip/show and tell day. He snuggles, reads bedtime stories, and whispers I love yous after the lights go out. Every single day. We only get to celebrate him one day a year, but we are so incredibly lucky and blessed that he is ours every day. We love you, Justin!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jackson is 7!

The handsome blue-eyed boy who made us parents is 7! As our oldest, every day with Jackson is a new adventure and each stage a new challenge. Just about the time we think we've got the hang of it, he moves on! As far as stages go, 6 was a pretty awesome year, so 7 has a lot to live up to!

Jackson loves to be outdoors. He has an explorer's heart and is constantly finding something new to discover and critters to collect. When I send him in the backyard to play, odds are good that I will find him collecting roly polys or lizards and creating a habitat for them to live in. He loves going on adventures as a family, whether that be a hunt for a new geocache in town, or exploring a cave. He has absolutely loved Cub Scouts this year--it's such a good fit for him.

1st grade rocked! Thanks in large part to an amazing teacher who really "got" him, he seemed to really hit his stride academically. He actually looked forward to going to school each day which was such a relief to me, though he was pretty happy to be done with homework for the summer! It may not be his favorite subject but he has become a super reader, thanks in large part to the 500 books he read in first grade! He equally enjoys fiction and non-fiction books. He loves science because it lets him discover the answers to all of his many questions. His memory continues to amaze us, and he makes the most amazing connections. I know everyone thinks their kid is smart, but holy cow this kid is sharp!

He's beginning to be so independent. He's learned how to make some simple meals for himself like sandwiches and quesadillas (in the microwave) and revels in doing so. He can pack his own lunch (with a little guidance that no, you may not pack 7 pieces of candy in your lunch), so I'm looking forward to letting him mostly take over that task. 

He is so so so silly. He loves nothing more than to make people laugh and (much to my dismay) aspires to be the class clown.  The biggest compliment that he can give someone is to say that they are so funny. He loves to tell jokes and has some pretty good ones! Like most boys, there's nothing funnier than a well-timed fart joke, and he's been honing his armpit sound effects. We have a lot of conversations about the appropriateness of time and place. =)

Jackson is also as headstrong as they come. He is a planner (gee, I wonder who he got that from?) and has very specific ways he wants something done and on his own timeline. If you try to rush him or change his plans,  he will let you know in a hurry that you're cramping his style. Lately, he has been practicing how to roll his eyes. Oh lordy, pray for us!

He loves playing games. I'm delighted that he is moving into the stage where the games we can play together are actually fun and challenging for adults too! He plays a mean game of Uno, and he's becoming quite the little chess master. He got a ton of games for his birthday and we've been having fun learning them all together. He is looking forward to joining the Chess Club next year at school. He is also awesome at Legos.

He still lets me hold his hand in the parking lot most of the time, his eyes still light up when he sees me when I pick him up from school, and he still loves to snuggle at bedtime. He's still my little boy...for now. I'm savoring each of these moments because I know they are numbered. 

As for favorites, here they are in his own words with his annual birthday interview...

22 Birthday Questions

1.       How old are you? – Seven

2.       What did you want for your birthday? – A whole list - chess,  a nerf gun, Hungry Hungry Hippo

3.       What is your favorite color? – red, blue, and black

4.       What is your favorite subject at school? – Science

5.       What is your least favorite center at school? –  Reading or Math

6.       What do you like to do with your family? --Go to Jumping World or go swimming

7.       What is your favorite book? – The Gingerbread Baby

8.       What is your favorite tv show? – Odd Squad or Wild Kratts 

9.       What is your favorite movie? -- The Chronicles of Narnia

10.       Where is your favorite place to go? – If I need to get out all my energy, Jumping World. If I need to build up my swimming muscles or need to dive, I would go to my neighborhood swimming pool. If I wanted to play outside, I would go to a park. And if it was too hot outside I would want to go inside and look at a screen and junk my brain. If I could go on vacation anywhere I would go to the beach or the Natural Bridge Caverns.

11.       What makes you happy? --  When I get what I want.

12.   What makes you sad? -- When someone tries to beat me up. But since I know my self-defenses now, they are the ones in trouble!

13.   Who is your best friend? -- Well I have three best friends from each separate school I went to, so that would be Jake Hobbs, Caleb and Kegan.

14.   What is your favorite food? -- Pizza

15.   What is your favorite toy? – all the weapons

16.   What song do you love to sing? -- Kids Bop. Whip & Nae Nae, Cool Kids, and others.

17.   What are you really good at? – I'm on of the best Lego people in the family. I bet when I'm a little bit older I will get good at my skateboard. 

18.   What is your favorite restaurant? – Texas Roadhouse,  Double Daves or Red Lobster

19.   What does your mom do for a job? – She's the director for New Student & Family Programs. She welcomes the new Aggies, talks on stage and teach them about agriculture.

20.   What does your dad do for a job? – He works at TTI. He works on the road and cars. Sometimes they have a car crash to see what they can learn about.

21.   What do you think about before you fall asleep? – Waking up in the morning and Daddy saying "I think you're old enough to play with all the weapons again."

22.   What do you want to be when you grow up? – That's really hard because I'm still thinking. But I think I would like to be a Principal so I can make all of my own rules and boss the kids around.
Is there anything else you want to tell us? What do you call something brown and sticky? -- a stick!

Oh precious boy, I hope you always know how treasured, adored, and unconditionally loved you are! We are so proud to be your parents and love learning alongside you! I know 7 is going to be an amazing year, kiddo!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Jackson!

We said farewell to Jackson the six year old on the eve of his birthday.

Of course, he wasn't at all sad, but for mom the birthday eve is always a bit bittersweet. He insisted on keeping the mood light though and wouldn't let me get the least bit sentimental with him.

The newly minted 7 year old was up and dressed in record time! Birthday donuts were waiting!

For once he didn't poke around eating his breakfast either! Too bad I can't have a present waiting for him every day he's on time!

First up, something he didn't explicitly ask for, but was delighted to see! Harry Potter! I don't know who's more excited about this..him or me...but I certainly can't wait to read it with him!

And the #1 thing on his wish list! A skateboard! Don't you just love the look on their face when you know you nailed it?

Then he was off for his last day of Cub Scout Day Camp with birthday cake oreos in his backpack to share with all of his friends at lunch time. He had an awesome time all week shooting BB guns, doing archery, playing on Monkey Island and all sorts of other activities that resulted in him coming home absolutely filthy every day. In other words: Best Week Ever! Since Friday was the last day, they had an Open House time at the end for parents to see the last flag ceremony and such.

Additional proof that Cub Scout Camp was awesome: one completely worn out boy on the drive to our first stop in his birthday Day of Fun.

The cat nap was all he needed though to perk up in time for our movie date!

I on the otherhand...well, let's just say those luxury loungers were pretty darn comfy and Captain Underpants didn't exactly hold my attention. Jackson of course loved it and laughed heartily throughout the whole silly movie.

Next stop: Snowcones!

At one point during our snow cone eating, Jackson was zoning out, staring into space. I said, "Earth to Jackson!" When I had his attention again, I asked, just out of curiosity, "Jackson,  what do you think about when you zone out like that?" He replied, "Oh, lots of things. Potty words that make me laugh, jokes, roller coasters, baseball, candy, playing tricks on people. Fun stuff like that!"

So there you go folks, a window into the mind of a 7 year old boy!

We headed home from there so Pigpen could take a shower before dinner. He gave us a scare when he slipped getting out of the shower and cut his head open. For a few minutes, I thought we were going to be spending his birthday evening at the ER getting stitches, but it thankfully stopped bleeding after a few minutes.

Jackson's pick for his birthday dinner was Red Lobster. He heard his dad and I talk about eating lobster and he loves crawfish, so he decided he wanted lobster for his birthday dinner. Well, ok then! He and Andrew enjoyed checking out the lobsters in the tank before heading to our seats.

Happy kid with his birthday lobster! He ate all of his lobster and most of Ben's shrimp too!

The highlight of the dinner though was not the lobster he ate, but the lobster he got to pet when the manager brought out a big one for the boys to touch!

Yes, it's safe to say he had a great birthday!