My Boys

My Boys

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Disney World: Day 1

 The car ride to Disney World was pretty miserable. We had hoped and planned on the baby sleeping a lot more in the car than he did. Between his whining/fussiness, the older boys needing to go to the bathroom so often ("You do not get to drink water!"), doing homework in the car, and the flat tire we got on the way, we decided the extra money to fly would have been worth it. We drove around 9 hours on Saturday. We stopped for church in DeFuniak, Florida on Sunday morning and arrived around 5pm at Disney World. After unloading the car, we checked out the resort and ate dinner.

The boys excited to begin our week! They had been looking forward to this vacation for over 6 months!

Day 1: Animal Kingdom

We decided to do Animal Kingdom, which seems to be the least popular park, on Labor Day hoping for less crowds. It wasn't bad but still lots of people!

Waiting in line for the Safari ride 

On the Safari jeep

The Lion King show is my favorite show in all of Disney World. Bryson got to participate in it!

Austin taking a nap
(My boys did really well at staying close by. We really emphasized the importance of holding our hands or holding onto the stroller so that no one got lost.)

Riding the Triceratops Spin ride with Bryson, though he's too short to be seen.

We were really bummed that DINOSAUR was under refurbishment as that is one of my favorite rides in Animal Kingdom.

Of course, the most anticipated and favorite ride for my older boys was Mount Everest. Carter was given a card 2 years ago that allowed him to go to the front of the line if he held onto it because he wasn't tall enough last time we went. He held onto the card and knew exactly where it was for those 2 years. He was SO excited to ride it and absolutely loved it. Bryson had a hard time with any ride that he couldn't go on. Caleb and Carter didn't care about anything else in the park except for this ride. They probably rode it a total of 10 times that day between fast passes, rider switch passes, and then riding it several times before we went home.

Tree of Life

Mt. Everest

Tree of Life at night, prior to the lighting

Picture with Minnie and Mickey--my nephew, Gavin, with us

When we got on the bus to go back to the resort, Bryson headed to the back with his Aunt. It wasn't long before he fell asleep...on a stranger's arm. The man was very nice about it.

Exhausting day, but also so fun! Everyone slept well this night. We hoped that trend would continue, but the next two nights the baby struggled some and woke a few times.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Birthday Boy--9 years old

Caleb has never had to go to school on his birthday before; he was not excited that the first day of school this year was on his birthday. It helped that his new Math teacher also had the same birthday so they could commiserate together.

Presents: tennis racket, Wii dance game, candy
Not pictured: the game Operation 

Also as part of his birthday, he and Matt went to an Astros game the Wednesday before his birthday. They got there early to try to get a signature and succeeded. Alex Bregman signed Caleb's baseball! 

 He also caught two foul balls!!!

Caleb is successful at anything he puts his mind to: piano, school, sports, games. He is a natural athlete and picks up any sport very quickly. Due to the Olympics, Caleb really wanted to learn badminton. We decided to buy a set and Caleb has become quite good!

He is also a great big brother--he fights the most with Carter but is so patient with Bryson and Austin. If he sees I'm trying to get something done like dinner or laundry, he generally jumps in and whisks the baby away upstairs to play with him. (It's so nice!)

This summer Caleb and I spent a lot of time playing games together (Carter joined in often) and playing badminton or tennis together. He played baseball and a Frisbee game called Can Jam frequently with Matt as well. Quality time is Caleb's love language.

Caleb is a germaphobe! He is very aware of others' germs telling the boys to wash their hands after they sneeze or cough.

He came with an amazing sweet spirit; he wants to obey because he knows it is right. He has been in the habit of praying morning and night for some time, and recently has started reading his scriptures daily (though I have been pushing him to do that for some time).

We are so lucky to have him as part of our family!

First Day of School 2016

 Caleb's last year in elementary school as a 4th grader. He's in a portable this year.
Carter is in 1st grade.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Suzuki Book 1 Party

Caleb started taking lessons from a new piano teacher one year ago who taught the Suzuki method alongside reading music. It was a tough adjustment and quite humbling. He was progressing so well and playing challenging songs with his previous teacher that it was difficult to hear his new teacher say that he needed to back-up to square one and concentrate on technique. The first Suzuki book has many easy songs (Mary Had a Little Lamb, London Bridge...) in order to learn ear training and also focus on a specific technique or two in each song. He felt really embarrassed to be playing such basic songs that even Carter could play.

Though he and I both got very frustrated at times, today was pay day. He had his Suzuki Book 1 Party: he played all 17 songs memorized close to perfectly. He nailed the techniques for each song (wrist rolls, proper staccato, repeat note legato, phrasing, sequencing, etc.), he had a great balance between his left hand and right hand (letting the melody sing), and played with wonderful dynamic contrast. 

He felt good about his performance and hopefully will have a better attitude as we begin book 2! :)

Sweet Dog

 A sweet dog adopted our family 2 weeks ago. Matt had left the side gate open after mowing the yards on Saturday, and Sunday morning a mid-sized dog showed up in our backyard and seemed content to stay. We gave her water (she was very thirsty), and then got some dog food from our neighbor. She was so well-trained and obedient that we thought surely the owners were out looking for her. (She had a collar but no identification tag.) Instead of shooing her back out of our yard, Matt thought it would be better to keep her in one spot so that the owners could find her easier.

We reached out through our neighborhood website, but heard nothing the rest of the day. Monday morning came around and I dragged 4 kids to the store just for dog food. Tuesday morning Matt went in late to work so that he could see if she had a chip. No luck. The response from our neighborhood site was plenty of people offering to help with dog supplies, but no one willing to take her off our hands. Most encouraged us to keep her since taking her to the pound would likely result in her death. 

As far as dogs go, she was pretty great. I took her running the 2nd day we had her, and she was able to keep up pretty well on my 3 mile run. Because we weren't sure of bugs/diseases and also due to her shedding, she spent the days on the patio under the ceiling fan. The first night she started barking at 3am; I didn't want to disturb our neighbors so I invited her into the laundry room and she did great the rest of the night.

As I mentioned previously, she was obviously well-trained. She would not come into the house unless invited in. She would sit on command and also did well at lifting her paw at the command "shake." She soaked up any attention we gave her running around the backyard, going for walks, or just sitting next to her and petting her. She only seemed to bark when she needed something or if she was scared.

If we were to get a dog, she is what we would look for! The problem is, we don't want a dog. I grew up with a dog, I worked in a dog kennel in high school, and I love dogs. BUT the reasons we don't want a dog outweigh the reasons why we might want one. A big factor right now is timing. I can tell you that it was not pleasant to be woken up by the dog in the middle of the night 4 of the 5 nights we had her. Sleep is too precious of a commodity with hoping all 4 kids make it through the night without waking us up. Finding someone to watch the dog during vacations is another big reason, and I can't handle a dog who sheds a lot of hair, which unfortunately she did. A clean floor is pretty important to me, and I get grossed out by pet hair all over the floor or collected in corners of the room.

It was a stressful 6 days/5 nights figuring out what to do with the dog. The boys enjoyed having her, and we didn't want them to get too attached. After 3 days of not hearing anything from owners, we then proceeded to reach out to people who might want a dog. We struck gold when one contact worked: Matt's newly married cousin who had permission to buy a dog for her birthday. Things seem to be going well and hopefully continue to do so!

Carter could often be found sitting next to her in the grass just petting her.

Monday, July 11, 2016

4th of July

Austin on the 4th of July

10 months old!
At 10 months old, Austin is pulling himself up to stand. This caused some problems with sleeping for about 4 days, but he's back to falling asleep on his own again.

4 boys in a tub

Carter pulled out his tooth yesterday in the middle of my Sharing Time lesson at church! He raised his hand and said, "Mom, I pulled out my tooth."

Wolf Rank

Caleb earned his Wolf in March, but due to baseball practices, he continued to miss Pack Meetings. So in June's Pack Meeting, Caleb finally received his Wolf award!

We've really enjoyed working on more Wolf belt loops this summer. Making mucus was particularly fun for all the boys!