6!

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Dear Bean-
How is it that you’re 6 already? 5 still sounds little-ish. But 6? Six is old. You’re old. How is that possible? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around you being older because you’re still pocket size. You weigh 40 lbs soaking wet, so it’s easy to pick you up and fling you around. While you may not always like to do it, you’re still bit-sized enough to cuddle with ease. Here’s hoping you’ll always be.

5 was an astounding year for you. You rocked Kindergarten! You made new friends and you had a blast. I can count on one hand the amount of times you cried at school- usually because you were tired. This is a huge contrast to pre-K when every day was a sobfest at drop off.  You learned how to *read* this year. So now you read anything and everything you can and that’s awesome. You can’t spell for beans, but you come by that naturally so I don’t judge you.

6 months old

6 months old

You have the same best friend from last year, but you two aren’t exclusive any more. It’s fun to see you expand your horizons beyond Scorch and LT (as awesome as she is). You’re still very quiet when you’re not 100% sure of your setting, but you’re getting bolder and more comfortable speaking up and being noticed outside of our family. It makes me laugh when people tell me how quiet you are though because when I think you of, quiet is one of the last words that comes to mind. You don’t talk nearly as much as your brother (who does?!), but when you do speak up you usually have something important (to you) to say. Mind you, that something important could be to tell us how dumb we are, but that’s just you.

To celebrate your birthday we went to get pedicures and out to dinner while Dad and Scorch were at lacrosse. We had so much fun. Until you didn’t get your way, and then you sobbed. But again, that’s just you. You like to be in control and rain down the fires of hell when you’re not. You’ve gotten a ton better about this as you’ve gotten older which is really nice. You need to learn to bend, little girl, just not too much. There is *nothing* wrong with knowing what you want to pursue even if no one else is on board. Right now there are so many times I wish you’d just go with the flow, but I try to remind myself daily that I don’t want to break you of this because it’ll be a huge asset as you grow.

We leave to go camping later this summer and I can’t wait. Which is odd because last year’s camping trip was flat out the worst trip we’ve ever taken as a family. Dad was sick, the weather was horrible and your behavior was off-the-charts bad. But the joy of family is knowing that even when you are a monster, we still love you. We may not like each other all the time, but we always love each other. And, girlfriend, do I ever love you. You are *everything* I dreamed about when I thought about having a daughter. You’re funny and sweet and loving and sassy and strong. You’re learning how to be a magnificent friend and discovering how much fun learning is. You’ve got your own sense of self when it comes to what you like and what you don’t and you make no apologies for it.

Isn't she lovely?

Isn’t she lovely?

Raising a girl in this world scares me silly. There is so much pressure and so many worries. I know a lot of these things apply to boys too, but with girls it just seems magnified. So please, please keep loving who are you. Remember that your father and I aren’t idiots (most of the time). Know that you’re adored no matter what. Keep being kind to others and yourself. Know that your two feet and your amazing brain is all you need to get where you want to go. You are worthy of love and kindness and all the good things the world has to offer- so expect those things. And when you don’t get them, figure out what went wrong and do better next time. You aren’t perfect and there is always so much to learn so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Wash your face, brush your teeth and use your manners in every situation.

And always, always, always know you’re loved.

Happy birthday, baby girl!

Love,
Mom

(Almost) Finished

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The kitchen is now 97% done and you guys- it’s gorgeous.

As a refresher, here is the old kitchen:

OldKitchen

And now here is the new kitchen complete with countertops and back splash…

Completed Kitchen Web

If loving tiled back splash is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right. *swoon*

We still need to do the flooring and some slightly finishing work around the island, but for the most part it’s done and I really couldn’t be happier.

If anyone local needs a contractor recommendation, I have one for you!

 

Here & Now

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There are a lot of things I love about my house (have you met my pantry?), but there are a lot of things I’m not particularly fond of.  Our porch is one of them.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

It is the highest traffic area in my house and no matter what solid stain we put on it every year, it looks like that by summer. It’s annoying and time consuming and generally a giant pain in the butt.

When the kids were little, staining this (and the back porch- same issue, only three times as large!) was The Project of the spring as we could only do it when the kids were sleeping because they’d want to help. And anyone with half a brain knows that “help,” “paint,” and “3 year old” don’t belong in the same sentence.

~*~*~*~*~

My kids finished school this week. Scorch ended a wildly successful 2nd grade year. The year wasn’t without growing pains as he’s had to learn to take on more personal responsibilities and make good decisions (the age old quandary of after-school recess vs homework club tripped him up a few times), but really, he rocked it. I couldn’t be more prouder.  And the Bean? She discovered her love of reading and writing this year as she went through Kindergarten.  She came out of her shell, made a ton of new friends and grew so much!

I seriously can’t believe I have 3rd and 1st graders.

~*~*~*~*~

Tonight was the dreaded night to start staining the decks. We’re doing it later in the year then we normally do and it just can’t wait any more. The Hubs had to work late, so I got a jump start on it. I got a pizza and a movie for the kids and figured that would buy me a good 90 minutes of kid-free time to get this going.

Only the kids didn’t want to stay inside- they wanted to be outside with me.  Of course they did.

I told them they couldn’t help because I was doing the railing (a different coloring then the floor) and I couldn’t afford huge messes. Much to my surprise, they took that news just fine and came outside and played. For 2 hours. Peacefully. They played baseball and kickball and then spent 45 minutes trying to capture moths.

Kiddos_JuneNight2014

There are times I miss having a babies and toddlers around so much that I ache. Then there are nights like tonight where I’m too damn busy being thankful for what we have right here to miss anything.

You’re Out

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This year Scorch had to try out for Little League to see what division he’d play in. If he was deemed ready, he’d get pulled up to the Minors division (roughly ages 8 – 10/11); if not, he’d stay at the Rookies (ages 5 – 8). He didn’t much care either way so he went to tryouts, did his best and called it a day.  We found out a few days later that he made it into the Minors so that is how Scorch became the smallest kid on his team.

The day the Hubs, who was one of the coaches, came home with the uniforms I about died. He pulled out Scorch’s youth small jersey and then he pulled out the adult large jersey. I figured it had to be for one of the coaches- but I figured wrong. That was for one of Scorch’s teammates. *gulp*

Scorch wasn’t the best kid on the team by a long shot. He doesn’t have the bigger kid’s strength, speed or game knowledge. But damned if he didn’t try. He worked hard (most of the time) and just enjoyed the hell out of playing ball.  He, and the rest of his teammates, got better and better as the season went on and it was a blast watching them play.

Back when he was 4 and every game ended in a tie.

Back when he was 4 and every game ended in a tie.

~*~*~

Tonight we found ourselves in the run for the Championship game. Playoffs are double elimination and we’d already lost a game. We started out losing badly, but managed to come back so we were down by 2 in our last at bats. Bases were loaded, 2 outs and Scorch was up.

I couldn’t watch- my heart was in my throat.

2 balls and 2 strikes.

And then Scorch strikes out.

Just like that, the season is over.

~*~*~

Scorch came out of the dugout after the game with his head held high. He thanked his coaches for a great season and said goodbye to his teammates. But on the way back to the car, his chin started to quiver and his eyes filled up. I pulled him aside to let the Bean go ahead and we had a long conversation about the season, how well he tried, how much he improved and how it was Ok to be sad that the season was over and it was even fine to be disappointed about how it ended but that it wasn’t Ok to beat himself up. He listened without saying a word and quietly climbed into the car.

~*~*~

This is Scorch’s first experience with real heartbreak and disappointment. I know in my head that all kids go through this and have to deal with losing sooner or later. I also know it’s good for them- it builds character and makes the kids try even harder next time. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy to see. My mama bear instinct is to wrap my baby up in bubblewrap and let him go on thinking he’s the best around because that’s easier. It’s simpler and it’s safer.  He’s 8 for goodness sake- isn’t that just one step removed from an infant?! But I don’t do that because that doesn’t help him in the long run. I hug him, I love him and I tell him how proud I am of him and that I’m here to talk if wants. And then I let him figure out how to sort through this hard knock himself because I know while it may be the first, it’s won’t be the last.

Sometimes growing up is just plain hard.

 

Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father's Day

This weekend was all about family. My mother-in-law was kind enough to spend the weekend with the kids so the Hubs and I could go to my cousin’s amazing wedding. The wedding was spent with my immediate family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Today my parents came up to Scorch’s baseball game and over for dinner to cap off an amazing Father’s Day.

At the wedding, I danced like a fool (as I always do) with my father, my uncles, the Hubs, my brother-in-law and my cousin’s husbands. All fathers. All amazing men. None of them have cured cancer, invented anything that changed the world or ran for president. But they have changed a million diapers. Rocked babies to sleep. Played catch for hours. Given out countless hugs. Been chauffeurs, therapist and cooks. Made beds and cleaned house. Been a task master and the bad guy. Kissed boo-boos and wiped noses. They have shown up and cheered on their kids at games and recitals and plays. They’ve learned new sports and been the coach. Given piggy-back rides over and over. Been tackled and wrestled with.  Hosted tea parties for dolls and learned to braid hair. They’ve been Dad.

Happy, happy Father’s Day to the amazing men who I’ve known from birth and the amazing man I’m married to. Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone very special to be a Dad. Thanks for being that special!

 

The Drama Queen Strikes Again

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95% of the time, Scorch is a really good natured kid. He operates on a pretty even-keel and it takes a lot to make him upset, but when he’s upset he tends to go full scale Drama Queen.  Case in point, this afternoon.

I didn’t pick the kids up from school until 5ish, which is late for us. We had to stop for gas on the way home, then stop at the Verizon wireless store because the replacement phone they sent me for my broken phone is also broken. I’m prepared with snacks and bribes and ready to conquer my errands.

At the gas station, Scorch starts complaining that he’s thirsty and could we please go inside to get water. I’m mentally debating which would be a bigger PITA- getting the kids in and out of the car to get water or dealing with Scorch’s whining- when I open up the side door of the car and find not one, not two, but three unopened bottles of water. Perfect. Issues solved.

But of course it’s not.

This water was “boiling” hot and he wanted cold water. (Which- he’s a liar. The water was cool- he just wanted to go inside and try to get more snacks/candy/juice out of me). So I called his bluff and our exchange went like this:

Me: Dude- just drink the water. There are starving kids in Africa that would love to have this water. (why yes, I am turning into my mother by pulling out the “starving children” guilt trip on my kids).

Scorch: They have water- they don’t need this water! I want cold water.

Me: What water are you talking about? It’s a desert in places in Africa.

Scorch: Duh- mom, the whole continent is surrounded by water!

Me: Scorch, that’s salt water. You can’t drink that. If you drink it, you’ll die.

Scorch: Well, if they are dead, they won’t be thirsty any more like I am!

And that is why I went into the Verizon Wireless store with mascara smudged on my cheeks from laughing so hard. Scorch didn’t mean to be funny and didn’t mean to make light of starving kids- which made us laugh all the harder when I explained to him how very awful/twisted his comment was.

 

 

My Wickedly Crazy Life

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Oh hi…I have a blog. One that I used to post to regularly, even. Then baseball happened.

Scorch got pulled up a division, so he’s going 3 days a week. Bean is playing t-ball so that’s 2 days a week. Most days we’re rolling home after school at 5 pm, then leaving again at 5:30. Things like homework and dinner have fallen completely to the wayside since we don’t get home until after 8 most days. Thank goodness Scorch gets up early to do his work and that both kids love breakfast and PB&J for dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, we really love baseball. The kids love playing it, the Hubs loves coaching it and I enjoy socializing in the stands. Win/win/win.  But, I’m tired.

Add in a kitchen remodel and well, you get even more craziness.  The upshot is that our kitchen remodel went so very much more smoothly then I had hoped. We bought our kitchen through Lowes and while they were wonderful during the design and buying process, they basically disappeared once the contract was signed. Thankfully our contractor went above and beyond to make this as painless as possible. I can’t say enough good things about the contractor and his crew.

Here was our kitchen before.

OldKitchen

It was small and cramped with next to no storage space. The cabinets were cheaply made and the white laminate was peeling off. The cabinets over the fridge were basically inaccessible because they sat so far back.  What you don’t see in this picture is all the stuff that normally sits on my counters because there is no other space for it. Bread, medicines, fruit and mail cluttered our counter tops because there was literally no space to store it all. I loved it because it was wide open- to the left is our dining room and I’m standing in the thresh hold to our living room. But something had to change.

So, here’s our new kitchen. We’re waiting on the counter tops to be edged, so that isn’t installed yet, nor is the backsplash. The cabinet handles are on order so those will go on soon. And the new flooring? Well- that was the one snafu we hit but that should be in within a month. But the rest of the kitchen, I *love*.  We have storage space for everything! I can see what’s in my cabinets and access it all. I’d marry my pantry if it was legal.  Once the counter tops go on, they’ll hide the outlets on the island so they aren’t as visible.

NewKitchen

It’s so much more functional and well worth the dust and disorganization we lived through last week! I cannot wait to see everything completed.

So, here’s to 2 more weeks of baseball! You know, before lacrosse and 4 different camps start for the kids. At this rate, I’m pretty sure life will slow down when I’m 50.

 

 

 

Restoring Order

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The Hubs was out of town last week for work. It was the first time he’s traveled in a really long time and you know what I discovered? That I turn into a sloth when he’s not around. A slovenly sloth. Dishes? Eh, they’ll wait. Laundry? We have enough clean clothes. Bedtime for me? A mere suggestion. Cooking? Why bother- kids love cereal!

Mind you, the kids and I did just fine. I managed to juggle working, kids, sports, animals and other random events just fine. It was just the other stuff that fell through the cracks.  The worst though was my schedule. I stayed up way too late every night. I watched the Veronica Mars movie (love!), read 3 books (2 out of the 3 were fantastic), watched 7 DVR’d episodes of Bones and basically acted like I didn’t have to get up early the next day. Which I didn’t since I was used to getting up at 4:55 am when the Hubs was home and could sleep into 6:45 with him gone (can’t leave to work out in the morning when I’m flying solo).

Thankfully the Hubs got home in time to restore some order to our lives. Now we’re back to our regularly scheduled activities like cooking, cleaning and going to bed on time….

Until next week when our kitchen remodel (and all the chaos that goes with that) begins. Considering the bathroom remodel almost killed me, this should be fun. Say a prayer for my sanity!

Eight

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Dear Scorch-

Happy, happy 8th birthday, baby boy! I’ve said it every year and I’m sure I’ll keep saying it- I cannot believe you’re another year older. 8. Eight is huge. Eight is a kid. Not a toddler. Not a pre-schooler. Not a kindergartener. Not even a little boy. You’re a KID. You sweat and you stink and you have more wise remarks then I have hairs on my head. And you’re awesome.

When I describe you to other people, I usually call you a puppy dog. You’re just So Happy To Be Here, where ever here is. School? Love it. Baseball? Love it. Home? Love it. Car ride? Love it. You very rarely grumble and you’re always up for anything. If you do get it in a snit, you’re over it in no time. You love to see your friends but you’re happy to meet new people too.

This year was a great one for you. You rocked it out in 1st grade and you slid right into 2nd grade without any fuss. This year has been the year of Taking Responsibility. You’re learned the hard way (*cough*afewtimes*cough*) that you are in charge of you- your homework, your notebooks, your viola, and your stuff. We try very hard to help you stay organized but at the end of the day, it’s on you. Some days are better then others, but you’re learning.

DSC_1035

You want to do well at everything. Even though you have 5 homework passes to use that gets you out of work, you never want to use them even if it means getting up at 6 am to finish work from the night before. But you’re not a perfectionist which is both nice and really frustrating. This is the first year you’ve gotten a few bad grades because you just rushed and didn’t pay attention to directions and you were both stricken and amused over the fact that the world didn’t end when you got your first 68% on a test.

This year you got pulled up to the next level in baseball. This means you’re playing with kids that are literally double your size- kids in 5th grade. Some of them wear an adult large jersey. You, bud, wear a youth small. I was (am) a basket case about this. You? You are just happy to be there. You try your hardest, you work hard and you have a freaking blast playing! You’ve completely held your own across the board and it’s so much fun to watch. You don’t get mad, you don’t get frustrated, you just do your best and never stop smiling. I see some of the older kids and while I’m sure they are awesome, they don’t seem to have your enthusiasm. Please, please, please- don’t ever lose that enthusiasm.

Scorch_aug2013

~*~*~
Last night, you were super upset because one of your hermit crabs may/may not be dying (who knows with them). So to cheer you up, I told you about the night you were born.

Your dad and I went to the movies that night to see Mission Impossible 2 and on our way there we drove over some roads that were torn to shreds by construction. It was an incredibly bumpy ride and we joked that if that didn’t bring on labor, nothing would. After the movie we got a late dinner and came home. I went into in bed a little after midnight and when I rolled over, I felt this POP and I knew immediately that my water broke. You have never seen such a large woman move so quickly as I vaulted out of bed and ran to the bathroom because you see, my water didn’t break gently- it broke with gusto and was getting everywhere.

I yelled for your dad that it was time. And he yelled back “Time for what?”  Which made me laugh and laugh which made my water come out faster. When your father finally caught up with what was happening, he came leaping up the stairs and immediately slid on the water on the floor and almost did a complete split. Which made me laugh harder. Once I stopped giggling, I got cleaned up and grabbed our bags while your father vacuumed. Why? I don’t know- but he did the same thing the night I went into labor with your sister.

On the ride up to hospital we talked quietly as my contractions picked up about who we thought you may be. We tried and waited and prayed for your for almost 3 years. We spent all this time trying to get (and stay) pregnant that it wasn’t until then that it actually dawned on me that there would be a baby at the end of this car ride. We didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl or what we’d name you- but none of that mattered. You’d be ours.

Labor and delivery were as picture perfect as they come. You came out crying at 9:52 am with a shock of dark hair. A boy. My baby boy. You were perfect.

BabyScorch

~*~*~
And you still are. You’re everything we hoped for, dreamed for and prayed over. I continue to wish you everything I did last year. Those are things I’ll always wish for you. But this year I’m adding in that I hope you never stop viewing life like a puppy. May you always be excited for everything life hands you and may you always be happy to be where you are.

Happy birthday, bubs. We couldn’t love you more if we tried.

Love,
Mommy

This Will Never Change

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As my kids get older, I try really hard not to cross that line. I don’t want to embarrass them, nor do I ever want the words I share here to haunt them as they grow.

But some stories are just too good not to share. (warning: slightly crude language ahead).

I was putting things away in the bathroom while Scorch was taking his shower. Once Scorch knew I was in the room, he started talking. Or, more specifically, asking questions. I kid you not- not a word of this is made up or embellished.

Mom- what happens if your balls pop?

You mean your testicles?

Yeah- those. What happens if they pop?

Well, why in the word would they pop?

Let’s say I was playing with them and they just popped- what would happen?

We’d have to go to the hospital I would imagine.

Do they have pee in them? I guess they have pee in them and the pee would go all through my body.

Maybe, buddy- I don’t know. (We have still not had The Talk so if he wants to think they have pee in them, they have pee in them.)

I bet it would hurt, wouldn’t it?

I think so! The question is, why are you playing with them so hard you’re afraid they’ll pop?

I don’t play with them that hard- and I don’t want them to pop. They’re awesome- like always having a toy attached to me.

And then I walked out of the room because I couldn’t talk through my laughing.