October 31, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, Noah!

Noah, Noah, precious Noah,

My baby pumpkin.  Today you are turning EIGHT! You are pretty excited about it because for the next 10 days you get to say you are an older number than Scarlett.  You are a big 8 and for a week and a half she still has to say she's 7.  

You've had an awesome year this past year.  You are just killing it at school.  You are becoming what I call "freaky smart".  Last week you looked at a rock and shouted, "Oh my gosh!  Just look at this piece of obsidian!"  I had no idea you even knew all the minerals and gems, but you'd looked them up in your National Geographic magazines and had stored that knowledge away in your giant brain.  You spout out cute little facts about how many teeth sharks have and how tornados are formed and how many continents there are at the most random times.  You are just so excited about learning and it is so much fun to watch the gears turn in your head. 

You are one of the most content children I've ever seen.  As long as you have a lap to curl up in or a big blanket to snuggle with, you are just peachy.  You are still the snuggler of the family.  Many times I'll find you in Sadie's bed all curled up and cozy.  She just adores you.  

This year you were on the swim team again and you also tried your hand at baseball.  You LOVED it!  You joined our local coach pitch team and thought it was just super fun and you can't wait until spring to do it again.  The uniforms gave you fits (darn sensory disorder!) and you stood in the outfield with your hand on the waist band of your pants the whole time but you had the time of your life.  The huge grin you had when you got to cross home plate for the first time is an image I hope flashes before me when I'm an old woman.  Your daddy was so proud he nearly burst.

You like things organized and quiet.  You got your own room for the first time a few months ago and it is far and away the cleanest kid bedroom in our house.  Your books are always neatly on the shelf (except for the 4 or 5 that are always in your bed with you!) and you like to keep things in your room just so.  You said you sleep fantastic now that Miles isn't jumping down to the bottom bunk to play with you all hours of the night.  Daddy and I go up at night to watch you sleep a lot more than is probably healthy.  You sleep perfectly still with your little hands folded up by your face like the baby on the toilet paper package.  It's darling and so peaceful.  I'm glad you love your new room.  It's very grown up and covered in maps and your treasures you've collected.

This year you discovered online gaming and this will forever be the year of Minecraft.  I wish I could count the hours you've spent building worlds on there with Sadie.  It's kind of your thing.  I think you like it because it's quiet.  As loud as it is in this house sometimes, I'm glad you've got a little bit of an escape. 

You spend a lot of time outside, too.  You and your brother and sisters jump on the trampoline so much I'm surprised that you haven't jumped a hole in it. You and the neighbors have been working on building a clubhouse in the woods for almost a year.  It still looks like some random pieces of wood and string and stuff, but you all think it's an oasis.  You and your BFF Grace spend hours doing all kinds of stuff, only you are both so quiet, I haven't figured out exactly what it is you do!  She's been your best friend for years now and kids in your class are starting to tease you all about being boyfriend and girlfriend.  You both groan about the teasing to your respective parents, but to each other, you just keep on being the best companions and partners.   Her mom and I joke that the reason you all are so quiet is that you've been friends so long, you don't need words anymore- kind of like you all have your own silent "twin" language.  Good friends are so special and you all are truly a gift to each other. 

Your sense of humor is my favorite.  You are just hilarious in the wittiest way possible.  You have a deep thinking kind of comeback to most things that keeps me in stitches.  You are quirky and silly and just so goofy.  You just make me a smilier person.  

I'm so proud to be your mom.  You are good and sweet and fiercely devoted and a precious treasure to all- especially me.  You are a mama's boy through and through and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love you to the moon and back!


Noah's Birthday Interview

***Every year, I interview each of my kids on their birthday.  Usually, I ask the same questions every year so that I can watch how their answers change (or don't change) from year to year (2013) (2012) (2011)  (2010) (2009).  Sometimes I toss in a few new ones so that I can make sure to catch their little quirks and thoughts! ***

Mom:What do you want to be when you grow up?
Noah: Marine Biologist
Mom:  Still?  You've wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time!  Why do you think that's what you want to do?  (I think you'll be awesome at that!)
Noah: Cause I love animals.  I just think aquariums are funner than zoos cause it seems like a lot of animals at the zoo are just not as much fun.

Mom: Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Noah: Yes!

Mom: Do you want to have kids one day?
Noah:  Yes!
Mom:  How many?
Noah: Four.
Mom:  Why four?
Noah:  So it can be even- two girls and two boys (sound like any family we know?!)

Mom: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Noah:  Well, I don't what my favorite is.
Mom:  Tell me some things about your personality then?
Noah: Well, I'm smart and I love my family and I like video games and I'm sweet.

Mom: What is your favorite thing to do at school?
Noah: When I go to TAG (talented and gifted program) because I get better at math and stuff

Mom: What is your favorite joke?
Noah: Why do elephants never get on the computer?  Answer:  Because they're afraid of the mouse.

Mom: How do you like to spend your free time?
Noah: Playing outside and playing on my kindle.  (Minecraft and Terraria)

Mom: What is your favorite thing about mommy?
Noah:  That you love me and that you are so nice.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about daddy?
Noah:  That he always tries to make me feel better if I am sad.

Mom: Who are your best friends?
Noah: Grace, Cynthia, Brady, Jalynn, Avery, Abby and Sadie is my best friend.

Mom: What is your favorite holiday?
Noah: I like Christmas a lot a lot a lot but I also like Halloween.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about having a brother and sisters?
Noah: I always have somebody that can help me with things.
Mom: What's the worst part about siblings?
Noah: That sometimes they get on my nerves and they are annoying sometimes.

Mom: What do you think that high school will be like?
Noah: Crazy!  Cause there will be so many people and I will have six classes and I might forget where my locker is!

Mom: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Noah: I would go to Hawaii for a week!

Mom: If you could make up your perfect day and do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Noah: I would have every super power in the entire world, stay up all night, have a party, and be on the beach.

Mom:  What is your favorite memory of this last year?
Noah:  When we went to the beach.

Mom:What's one thing you really want to learn how to do?
Noah: Back flips.

Mom:  Why are you so cute?
Noah:  Cause you made me cute!

Current Favorites:
color: red
toy: kindle
movie: Despicable Me 2
TV show: Brain Games on National Geographic Channel
food: chocolate cheesecake
candy: Reese's
book: All the Magic Tree House books
song: This is Amazing Grace (Phil Wickham) Shake it Off (Taylor Swift)  All About that Bass (Meagan Trainer)
sport: swimming
ice cream: chocolate

A look at Noah's last year in pictures...


October 15, 2014

For Posterity (Since God Knows I'm not Keeping Up With Baby Books)

It's been a while since I've updated on all the kids.  Here's a little rundown of each of them (in age order to be fair because, sweet baby Jesus... if I hear it's not fair one more time...)

Somewhere in the middle of her 10th year this year, Sadie turned into a 30 year old woman.  It's like I split in half and she was the other half.  It amazes me how much like me she is.  We have a standing date to watch an hour of TV together, just the two of us, every Tuesday night and we giggle at the same time and the same words fly out of our mouths at the same time and she pretty much has learned how to mimic my every thought and move.  The comments section of her report card says the same thing every year... "Sadie is an old soul"  So old soul-ish in fact, that after a particularly hard day at school she flung her backpack and said, "UGH!  I just wanna eat ice cream and listen to Adele!"

We spent the better part of this last year trying to get to the bottom of some endocrinology/health issues for Sadie.  A couple of weeks ago she got the all clear from the doc and is feeling so much better than she did in the spring.  We are grateful!  It's hard to watch your kiddo feel bad on a daily basis!

We can hardly keep this child in books.  She's devouring them one after another.  We love a lot of the same books and it's so much fun to have conversations about A Wrinkle In Time and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

I'm also finding that 10 is when the kids start to get angsty and dramatic.  When I go visit at school it's like a hive of drama surrounding those 5th grade girls. I feel like I have to remind her daily that people are crazy, hormones suck and that people need forgiveness and grace and to ask for those things from others when she's been a weirdo as well.  I've learned that due to the sucky nature of hormones that this phrase has to be repeated a lot because the hormones prevent it's absorption into the brain.  For real.  I'm also learning that the older my kids get the more I LOVE being around them.  I think I'm definitely an older kid kind of mom.

Our neighbor moved some horses in to the field beside out house and so now Sadie spends the afternoons giving the horses carrots and petting them and making up scenarios where these are her own horses and she runs a barn.  There's just something about girls and horses.  I love it.  I could totally see her as a grown up sitting in the barn with a horse and a book and being the happiest woman alive after a long day of being a chemist or something.

She's currently obsessed with all things Robin Hood, archery, a clubhouse she's building in the woods and some computer game called Terraria that I can't even begin to understand. She started playing in the school band this year.  She borrowed her GranMary's flute, but isn't quite sold on the band so far.
 Who is this grown up looking kid and what did she do with my little girl????

I absolutely want to freeze Noah at this age for the rest of his life.  Seven is my favorite.  He's so smart it almost scares me.  And yet- he is still just the perfect little boy age.  He is such a mama's boy.  He needs at least a half hour of uninterrupted snuggle time each day.  Full on melt into you snuggle time.  Physical touch is his love language and so when the weather is nice, we get our snuggles in on the hammock.  He loves to talk about all kind of things- mostly places he wants to travel and animals.  Those are his two big things right now.  He reads his animal encyclopedia religiously and jumps for joy when the Jr. National Geographic arrives in the mail every month.  Like his daddy, he studies maps and atlases and says things like ,"I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy visiting New York very soon."

Like all the other 7 year old I know, he loves Minecraft and could probably spend all day in some sort of virtual world building things if we let him.  He and his big sister are also glued to the Food Network these days.  Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman are riveting entertainment for them.  He's barreling through the Magic Tree House series of books and wants to be a scientist for Halloween.

We went to an amusement park this summer and Noah wanted to ride every roller coaster.  To be so timid about so many things, he sure does have an adrenaline junkie streak in him.  Lucky for him, his BFF, Grace, moved down the street at the beginning of the summer and he and Grace have pretty much worn a path through the asphalt going back and forth.  Noah spends a lot of time on the trampoline and was the first one of the kids to figure out how to do a flip and a cartwheel.  He was super proud.

There are just a million times a week where Kamron and I look at each other and smile at how cute Noah is at this stage.  It's like he's trapped in the middle of being little and being a big kid and it's awesome to watch him do big kid stuff but still be sweet and loving like a little kid.  He reminds me a lot to slow down and try to enjoy things with his constant, "Can you sit down for a little bit so I can get in your lap" cuteness.

He got a haircut and lost an upstairs tooth and turned into a grown man in the span of about 15 minutes.

Scarlett has only been speaking English for two years now, but this child writes like a dream.  Writing is her Thing.  (And oh my gosh- for a writer mama it's soooooo exciting!)  Writing for her is not only an outlet but also how she's working to build connections.  Sometimes talking to people and coming up with the right things to say in the moment are really hard.  But with writing she can take her time and plan and she creates some of the most beautiful stories.  She also shows love through her writing.  It's really hard for her to tell us that she loves us or how she's feeling, but she writes it all down and presents it to us with the biggest grin on her face.  It's beautiful.

When Noah had a bad day, Scarlett went out in the driveway and collected some rocks she thought he would like and wrote him a little note to cheer him up.  Precious. 

Scarlett is loving the routine of school.  Some kids really thrive on routine and she's one of them.  She needs to know what's going to happen every minute of every day- so the act of going to school is fantastic!  She's beginning to realize that she's going to be here for the long haul and so she's starting to make some great friends and has even gotten invited to a birthday party or two.  She and Miles continue to be partners in crime and the love that those two have for each other is fierce.

The main thing she's into right now is playing school.  The biggest desire of her heart is to be a teacher.  She will make a fabulous teacher.  She lines up her dolls in front of the whiteboard (or Miles if she can make him sit still long enough) and she does less than, greater than or equal to math problems over and over and over.  She's made a behavior chart like the one she does at school for her dolls and sometimes I find "notes home from Ms. Terry" to the doll's parents about how the dolls were mean to each other or didn't finish their work.  Sometimes the dolls are good and she rewards them with extra recess.  She likes having total control over her classroom and her own little dream world to escape to.

Scarlett needed our dog in her life.  She wasn't super big on animals but our dog is now her best buddy.  She talks to Maggie constantly and they are so good together.   I can just watch her relax and see her worries melt away when she's with our dog.

** People often see "our story" and think that it's very unicorn-y and that Scarlett just fell into our family after a disruption and all was perfect after that.  I just wanted to say a quick word.  This is not true.  Long ago, I decided that her privacy on these matters was super important to us.  Her issues (though they are plentiful as one would expect) are not for the world to judge right now. So in the space we've carved out on social media, we are making a choice to share the successes and the joy.  I know that's not real life. But in her unique situation with multiple families involved, it just felt like the right thing to do to protect the privacy of all involved.***

We celebrated Scarlett being in our family for one whole year by going on a family ropes/obstacle course adventure.

Oh, Miles.  Still the comic relief and spark in our family.  He's always been the happy-go-lucky-go-with-the-flow kid but lately he's starting to show some real passion towards things... mainly football.  Child is obsessed.  Every night he's begging daddy to throw the ball with him.  He got a notebook and he and daddy wrote out plays and he goes out daily and practices running his routes.  He can run so fast.  He's been able to beat all the rest of us at running since he was four.  So now at 6, he smokes us.  And muscles?  Oh my word.  Muscles for days.  We aren't quite sure what happened but one morning he work up and he was covered in muscles that he is soooooooo proud of.  I think they popped up because he's never been still for one second in his life so all of life is a constant work out for him.

 Muscle confidence? Check!

He never sleeps.  We put him in bed and although he stays in his room, he wanders around, pulls books off the shelf to look at the pictures, does push-ups, sorts through his toys, until he just crashes.  Then, in a couple of hours he wakes up and repeats the process.  The lack of sleep doesn't seem to bother him because when I wake him up for school he smiles the most giant smile and says, "YES!  Time for morning!"  There's not much that gets him down.  Everyone just loves him.  Twice this summer people mistakenly called him a girl (the long hair trips some people up) and he got his feelings hurt.  That's the only time I can remember him ever being down for longer than 6 seconds.  It led to a couple of conversations about if he wanted to cut his hair that ended with him saying, "NAW MAN!  MY HAIR IS AWESOME!"

One of the biggest things for Miles in recent months is that he was discharged from the special ed program at school. Y'all, this was huge!  Miles started early intervention when he first got home almost 5 years ago.  Then when he turned three he went into the public school system and started getting services there.  Started at the bottom 7% across all areas of testing that the school put him through.  And now?  NOW HE'S ALL CAUGHT UP!  He still asks question like "how long are we going to be on vacation?"  And I'll say, "one week".  And then he'll say, "Oh, okay.  So a day?"  Just whatever.  He's reading and writing a little and trying so hard!  We are so proud!

There are some seasons of life that I can't wait to get through.  This?  This is not one of them.  The days are long sometimes but it feels like we have our feet underneath us (finally!) and can just enjoy the ride for a minute.  I'm telling you- this older kid but not "too older kid" thing is fabulous!

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