Monday, May 29, 2017

7QTs - Tiny Tim, Lots o Water, and Stuffed Animals

As if the first of the last week wasn't wild and crazy enough it ended something like this...


EOY Preschool program... 

R and Tiny Tim M : ) 

I was disappointed I could not find a construction orange colored bow for M. But whatever. This year there was pizza dinner before which made my life generally easier but you know trying to hustle everyone in the door get seated for pizza and then run to the auditorium to save 4 seats while the 4 kids are eating makes for A+ parenting. More on the end of preschool later...


Speaking of Tiny Tim...

I knew M felt pretty terrible the night of the preschool program but nothing alittle Advil can't handle but the next morning was a different story. I have 4 kids in 4 different places. E at school. R with a friend (because no more preschool - hello complicated next month). M with me. A at school (because thank goodness my life isn't that complicated). 

M announced she was ready to leave after about 20 minutes. Then she watched a Daniel Tiger and then slept for 2 hours until it was time to go - yes she must have felt horrible. 

Everytime I'd think she'd be getting better she wouldn't. This was a tough cold to kick and Lee and I were so tired of listening to people COUGH and HACK - fortunately we loaded up E and R on vitamin C and they were spared the fevers but not the coughs. 


Just to make things REALLY interesting because that week was just comically off schedule for us... 

It was uniform fit day at E's (and soon to be R's) school. Fortunately we don't need a whole lot because hello hand me downs but E needed a new jumper (because those get real short real fast) and both E and R needed winter gym clothes because E had worn her little coat out and R deserved a new coat. 

So A decided to be obstinate and show off his full set of lungs in front of a bunch of strangers and even parents of one of the kids in R's class #winning

Then I discover E's been taking selfies #likeaboss while A is acting crazy. Finally it is time to go but then I get talking (shocking) to one just one, but 2 new parents to the school and that drags things out much to everyone's chagrin but ASK ME IF I CARE!!!!!!! Nope sorry, talking is what mama's do.


And when we got home they wanted to play with water guns and the sprinkler... again after this week, I stopped caring because we MADE it through the week

So sprinklers it was

Last time A screamed at the sprinkler but this time it was much more enjoyable. 

Shoot me with the water gun again and I'll knock you out

Somehow keep the water out of the garage was slightly misunderstood... but whatever NOT CARING, NOT CARING


R had tee ball on Saturday - no soccer game was schedule which really ticked E off because we've had rain outs and missed things because of conflicts. But E was the most helpful bat girl after being read the riot act due to some behavior at one of M's soccer games

She really does enjoy tee ball so very much

Baseball ready stance

This game she didn't hit as stronger as she has but she's definitely improving!


Our weekend plans were totally whacked out because M still had a bit of a fever and was pretty lethargic so we nixed the trip to Grammy and Grandpa Joe's and Lee worked until 6 Saturday. Sunday we drove separately to church - which I really don't love but we had to. 

E and R had some things to do so we met Grammy for lunch and then headed 

To the NC State pool for an afternoon tune up with 100 other swim friends. 

E was nervous and R was impatient. I let her wear her swim cap that she really hasn't earned yet because we have got to get this diving off the blocks thing down. 

She looks so grown up here

I found out via her school journal she had a good time so that was gratifying 

R and I headed to Build a Bear to make a birthday present for a special friend. She was so cute to watch and had a million questions. She made a special recording which I waffled on but I'm so glad I let her make one : ) 

She stuffed Baseball Teddy and this Pony.

She made a wish and the teddy was sewn up 

She cleaned him up and got him dressed and that was that. 


This week the rain was my saving grace with sanity. I don't think we even went to the ballpark because it rained almost every day but not enough to mess up Lee's work but just enough to get the fields too wet to play.  (not true, M did have one soccer game Monday but the one Thursday got rained out plus R's tee ball practice Tuesday and E's soccer game and R's tee ball game Thursday) 

So we just played in the rain instead...

Mental note to self don't leave pile of rain soaked clothes and towel in the laundry basket for a week - it will stink and possibly mold?!?!?! Throw immediately washer and wash. 

Here's to May and school and sports being almost done : ) 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Newfound Reading Buddy

It's that time of life for R. Time to start the reading book - Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The reading book that I did with E sometimes more painfully than other chapters. I started the book with R maybe about a month ago and it has been hit or miss. She hates to be wrong and she prefers guessing the words rather than sounding them out. It's been a little tough.

Somewhere along the lines with E I dug out a stuffed animal Olaf and Olaf was our reading buddy. Olaf read with us only when we did reading book and if, and only if, she finished the chapter she got to take Olaf for the night - otherwise Olaf was stuck with me. He was mine until she finished the book and she just took care of him for that night.

The incentive worked quite well and after about 18 months of on and off reading - we got though the 100 lessons. I think it wasn't until a month into 1st grade that she actually finished book even though by about lesson 75 or 80 kids are pretty good readers.

Anyways.... I had been searching for a Rey plush doll - not a Barbie but something snuggling that could be R's reading buddy. I had been on the hunt since Christmas with no luck. So we had another errand to take care of at Build a Bear and they have My Little Ponies. I don't know exactly where the girls have gotten the scoop on the Ponies but I figured this would be special because we don't have any Ponies and she'd actually be able to make it - for me.

So Rainbow Dash is mine for the next 80 or so chapters of your reading adventure.

Trying not to be too excited - but she is. I think I have much better idea of how I was showing - or not showing - my emotions to my parents growing up - and I'll admit I think R and I are/were tough cases. 

Since Rainbow Dash came to town R is not as easy to give up on the chapter and call it quits - which is awesome because sometimes she'd get hung up on sounding a word out and then just turn in for the night - not now. 

She is pretty cute and I think that R might chose to get Rainbow Dash a friend when she finishes her summer workbook. That was a bear to get through last summer but with a little extra incentive for some serious time and effort - things are a little easier to get done : ) 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cinco de Baby-o

Dear Baby K numero cinco,

In three weeks from now (or sooner, but please please please please please not sooner) you will lay eyes on me, your Papa and your four big sibs who have been patiently awaiting your arrival. Kind of crazy, isn't it. For nine months we've waited for you, we've talked about you, we've been asked a million questions about you, heck we even got a new van just for you.

As I sit and type this at 5:30 on Saturday morning - if I have my way - we'll be on our way to the hospital to see you in 21 days. However, I'm thinking (but not hoping) I won't have my way and I won't be induced. If that's the case you'll be the first ever early baby - so let's not break that trend.

Everyone is super excited to meet you and right under meeting you is knowing your name. Since we have a naming scheme going on people can make some educated guesses about your name and there's lots of mystery and excitement over 'what letter' you will be. Heck, I want to know too. I know of a few baby girls born this year that you will share a name with if you are a girl but I haven't heard the boy one yet but it is fantastic - you won't be disappointed.

I think almost everyone is hoping that your big brother will getting a running mate - someone he can show how to throw a ball and tote a broom around - like a boss - and run after his sisters and terrorize them and think it is HILARIOUS. However, your Papa has been on team girl since day one because A is such a mama's boy it may be tough for him to share the spotlight with a brother. If that's the case you have got an awesome team of three big sisters who will teach you all about dolls, parading around the house in dress up and ballet performances and singing, lots of singing.

So basically you are covered either way. Whoever you are little baby, you are so loved already even though we haven't met you yet.

Let's meet up in 21 days and about 4 hours?

Okay, sounds great.


Your fam

PS - You are stuck with us. Forever and ever so while things may seem a little wild, you'll be fine. You are ours. You will probably teach us so many things because your Papa and I are still trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. We aren't perfect. We'll admit when we are wrong. We just want the best for you. And at the end of every day, we love you - and we always have and always will.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Kindergarten - Ding Round Two

Alternatively titled, I left part of my heart on the playground... 

R starts K is just a few shorts months. There's not nearly the unknown like there was the first time with E but I still don't want to forget that this whole K thing is still very new to R. She hasn't done it before but I have. 

With E we toured the school like a million three times and one of those times E came. I think we stayed for about 30 minutes and she poked her nose around and I was there with her and that was that. This spring I wanted to afford R the same opportunity but it didn't happen between going to China and doctor appointments and work. It wasn't in the cards.

This year the school offer a 'move up day' for all the grades which was awesome and in my mind fulfilled the tour that I didn't get to take her on. It was arguably better because there were other new kids and they got some time together in the classroom with their teacher for next year. 

I was bummed that parents didn't stay (not like I would have wanted to with M and A during their rest  times) BUT I wanted to see how she did and get some details and stuff - and R is as tight-lipped as they come and she couldn't even dangle a name out for me to hang on to for the rest of eternity. Which is fine - I guess. 

She ate her 'big school' lunch in the van on the way to school after preschool. She ordered the same lunch that E does - PB and honey sandwich, a cheese stick, grapes and 3 Hershey Kisses (that I don't even touch the containers of in my most chocolate craving moments - they are RESERVED for and ONLY for big school lunch). Oh and a Chia + OJ to drink but I don't think she's going to be sold on it for too long. 

My one saving grace was that I was dropping her off right at the transition from lunch to recess and fortunately E was going to be on the playground so we talked that morning about being sure R wasn't feeling left out because she might be nervous. 

And that's how I left her on the playground of big school and she was off and so was I. I'm definitely still not ready for her to be gone in the afternoons and neither is M. M will certainly find her own way next fall and probably get in big trouble for playing with the Legos and Barbies upstairs without any big sister supervision. I'll probably, actually be okay with only have 3 little people at home instead of 4 because new baby will be here in four short weeks. 

I'll still miss her a ton and probably want to go have lunch with her the first week of school - but I'll resist the urge until at least the first month. I won't start drilling her on sight words now even though the box with the laminated color-coded 30 sets are right at my finger tips in the depths of my closet. We'll save those for the fall and savor the summer. I can foresee arguing over the Deneilian letters that drove E crazy the first month of school because she ALREADY KNOWS HOW TO DO her LETTERS. And that k will be killer - even I don't love it. But it's okay. We'll get through. 

You've already picked out what beach towel you want to be your rest towel and you'll probably walk in on the first day wanting to take a million AR quizzes (because you and M already do them - apparently). You'll probably check out those CRAZY Margaret Hillert books that drive me BANANAS - and that will be okay. You will do great in K - I just know it, but that won't make it any easier for me, even though this is my second time around. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

7QTs - Moms, Bling, & Tubes


Last Friday R's class hosted Mothers Day breakfast...

So we got dressed up and had a great time

She got my age spot on

And she said her favorite thing to do with me was play Candyland and I'm quite sure I've never played that with her so maybe she's dropping some hints...

I put the Rice Cream Pie recipe in the class cookbook because I cook pretty much nada and she said that's her favorite thing I cook so it's not really my favorite recipe but helps me remember what my kids like 


We had lots of moms here on Sunday which was awesome but included zero pictures : ( Basically my mom and mother in law are fantastic and I want to be like them when I grow up. Lee cooked up an insane amount of tasty food despite his ridiculous work schedule. 

I'm trying to adopt a new complain-less attitude about pool season - especially this one - but it is really hard when the kids are asking where Papa is and when's Papa going to be home because they literally see him for all of 2.5 seconds on a good day. R has called him in tears several times just to tell him she misses him. 

I feel like this pool season everyone is being stretched like a rubber band and we are just hoping and praying that the tension releases soon... It is one for the record books that's all I can say


M did this puzzle all by herself (and put off rest time) 

Once she was done she requested the classical music be put on and she danced around with the ballerinas. 

A had a nasty fever on Mother's Day plus a cough and drainage from all facial orifices soooooo....

As if I needed an excuse to take another day off from work (we swung but the office and got some stuff done and A got to play with a keyboard), we went to the pediatrician. And as if I needed one more thing added to the mountain of STUFF going on in the house over the next several months - wrapping up soccer and tee ball teams, pool season, end of year school stuff, swim team, new baby, beach trip, work, school starting, POOL SEASON - get ready for it, ready.... A might need tubes in his ears. Fourth ear infection in a few months will do that so we go back to the doctor in 2.5 weeks and I'm praying that we don't get an ENT referral. 

Honestly, when I heard that I felt like Vinny - from My Cousin Vinny when he's outside of the cabin and he's rattling off everything that is going on and says IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE WE CAN PILE ON TO THE OUTCOME OF THIS CASE?

I think I felt like this 2 summers ago when I was pregnant with A so I am trusting that all the trials and stress and mess will teach me/us something and help me/us learn something and become stronger because seriously, seriously - God must know we are way stronger than I/we think we are because its crazy. I really cannot think past a few days out - and maybe that's the point:

The future is not in our hands. We have no power over it. We can act only today. We have a sentence in our Constitution that says: ‘We will allow the good God to make plans for the future – for yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come and we have only today to make Him known, loved and served.’ So we do not worry about the future. - St. Teresa of Calcutta

In fact that's probably exactly the point. 


This kid...

 M is so mischievous. And I don't even know if that's the right word because she knows exactly what she's doing. I went back to drop something off at her class and that's want I find. She decked out in her run medal and rings and bracelet and come to find out this is somewhat normal for her... and I didn't even know it! She's been stashing her bling in her front 2 pockets of her book bag which I NEVER check. I pretty much let her keep them for the rest of the week rather than rock that boat because it wasn't worth my time for fight and tears...

Also on the same day she tossed a chicken nugget from lunch in the trash can and TRIED to pass it off that she had eaten it... NOPE. That didn't happen. She's training me early for devious doings. 


These kids have been troopers this week... The schedule has been totally whacked out and we haven't been able to go to everything AHG and soccer games because there have been tee ball practice and end of year programs but we've made it through. I think I have said sorry to them more in the last few days than I have in a while - and if you think you are too big to say sorry to your kids you ought to try it - it will humble you to a whole new level and really make you think about screaming to get in the car - or at least that's been my problem. 

They really do love each other. It is awesome having a reader in the house because we used to read to E and R nightly but now it is much more sparse. I asked E to read everyone a book while I cleaned up the kitchen and this is what you get. 

We've traipsed around town this week knocking out some required engagements and attitudes have been pretty good. Toss a bit of a cold in there for everyone and it always gets a bit dicey. But praise the LORD it is Friday and He saw us through. Now if we can just get through next week I think the majority of all sports activities will have wrapped up and that will be 3 million less things on our plate. 


This little kid... 

I have stolen away into his room some nights and snatched him out of bed and rocked him just trying to soak up all the baby I can before he gets his big promotion in less than one month. Some people wonder how you will ever have more room in your heart or more love to give a younger sibling and God always provides. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Fairly OddKids

I couldn't resist... 

7, 3, 1, 5

Cast of Characters: 

Age - 7
Letter - E
Mom's current favorite nickname - Esther
Likes - Reading, soccer, swimming, Legos, American Girl, Barbies, playing outside
Dislikes - Homework, things that are difficult

Age - 3
Letter - M 
Mom's current favorite nickname - Moey
Likes - Playing upstairs with the big sisters, getting up as soon as there is an ounce of sunlight, soccer
Dislikes - Taking rests 

Age - 1
Letter - A
Mom's current favorite nickname - Little Boy
Likes - Bananas, clementines, being outside, toting a broom around, school
Dislikes - Afternoons between the hours of 4-6, not being outside 

Age - 5
Letter - R 
Mom's current favorite nickname - Rebekles
Likes - Playing with sisters, Barbies, swinging really high, using the gymnastics swing, tee ball
Dislikes - When things don't go her way, being corrected

Age - t-minus 5 weeks
Letter - very much decided and of course not telling
Mom's current favorite nickname - baby K #5
Likes - giving mama heartburn - my guess is lots of hair like R, making mama feel a millions years old because of crazy lower back pain, kicking and somersaulting in a very confined space
Dislikes - TBA

Friday, May 12, 2017

To the newly crowned seven year old

Here's to the birthday girl...

We celebrated a birthday this week. It was decided that we'd have our family + 1 friend gathering on E's actual birthday because her birthday is wedged right between Mother's Day and one of the worst weeks of pool season. Which called for Chik-Fil-A and a cake made by Grammy - per E's request (I convinced her that putting the Lei and R2D2 legos on the cake wouldn't be the best of ideas. 

E - you probably had one of the best birthdays ever and you just don't know it yet. It was simple but awesome. Because you speak up and tell us EXACTLY what you like and dislike you are an easy read. I did manage to pass off a few surprise gift ideas - but each gift you received you have commented about how you really like it or can you believe they make that or that person did SUCH a great job on that present. I'm still not sure if you convinced R to tell you what the kids got you because you are a sneak - just like your mama. Plus you got a bit of money to go to Lego camp and buy some books - which I already owe you change for and I'm sure you won't let me forget!

I don't think you were terribly surprised by your bike. You kind of needed one. You were, however, quite surprised yesterday when the back brakes failed (because they came unclipped) and crashed into one of Papa's trucks - it was either the truck or the brick house so you chose wisely and put a sizable scratch in the truck and did a number to your handlebars but were really no worse for the wear. We got the bike back up and running thanks to a neighbor and you're back to figuring out the handle brakes and gear shifter - which is terribly unfair to have on the right side of the bike when you are left handed. 

So Happy Birthday E. 

You've had quite a year. This year you figured out how to swim and ride a bike on your own. You've got brave enough to pull out your own teeth - but mainly because I told you I gave you 4 freebies and the rest you have to snag. You are such a bookworm - it is kind of crazy. You'll read through a short chapter book in no time. Currently you LOVE Rainbow Fairy books - which I think are beyond silly but what do I know. School comes quite easy for you and you have an awesome class of kids which you probably won't appreciate for awhile. You have taken to year round swimming and soccer so we'll see what you pick to do this year. You finished 1st place in the Rocket Mile a few days ago - something you have wanted to do since last year. You LOVE American Heritage Girls - and hate to miss a single meeting. 

You are a great biggest sister. You can be loud and bossy at times but I'd like to think that goes with the territory and you are learning (like me) that raising your voice doesn't solve problems. You can be super caring and protective to your sisters and brother. You are excited for baby #5 to come and are begging to know what letter the names start with. You wear your emotions on your shirtsleeve so you have amazing highs and meltdowns for lows. You get frustrated very easily so we have to talk you down into reasonably reality often. You are becoming more of a helper and realize there are chores to be done (I'm sure you are going to want to get that Chore Chart going!) You surprised me the other day by taking a load of clothes upstairs WITHOUT me having to ask - it was miraculous. 

So to the loud, left-handed oldest sister - we cannot imagine a better firstborn to lead the way. We are blessed and beyond thankful that God gave you to us. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fun Family Fitness - Ding Round Three

'Twas the Rocket Mile season this past weekend and it happens to be a family tradition - 2015 and 2016...

We picked up our packets in the chilly mist on Saturday at lunch time after a morning of going to the dump, signing up for swim team and making a Sam's run. 


Hopefully I'll be added back to the running ranks next year. 

Papa was signed up to run but thanks to some bizarre pre-race foods choices (pineapple and watermelon) and their effects... well let's just say he didn't race. Probably also didn't help he had worked a 15.25 hr day on Friday and a 11.5 hr day on Saturday.

Anyhow, the girls eventually stopped bugging him about it and I think I'm going to implement a race training program next year... for EVERYONE : ) 

Too bad we didn't name our kids in alphabetical order.... 

This was M's first Rocket Mile. She hears us talk about Rocket Mile Road many mornings because its the last road we are on before E's school. She seemed excited but really had no idea what she was in for. When we lined up with all the other girls (race are broken out into men, women, boys, girls), I could tell she was a bit nervous. 

E and R were seasoned pros and wanted to be at the front of the line but ended up with a group of friends from school (love our school!). I knew E would be fine. R was and is my joker. I'm never quite sure what she'll do so I told her she could run as much as she wanted and if she needed anything she could talk to a volunteer in a bright green shirt OR she could always wait for me and M. 

The race started and M and I started at the caboose and never gave up that title. She held my pinky and we ran for a bit and walked for a lot. I thought I saw E (because the race is a big rectangle down city streets you can see runners when you cross a cross-street). I had my eye on R who was not terribly far ahead of me and M for most of the race. The group she was with took off at the end though. 

M and I chatted. She desperately wanted to splash in the puddles on the sidewalk but I told her that probably wasn't a good idea. We talked about the stop light colors and I tried to convince her to run if it was green light - that was not successful. 

We got to the very last turn and everyone realized that the caboose had arrived and M SOAKED IT UP. I mean if you had several hundred people cheering for you - that's how you finish a race. YAY!

She did it and I knew she could and all she wanted was her own bottle of water. I was just glad I hadn't signed up for the women's race and planned to walk with M because I ain't trying to have bebe K#5 early!

I had to. I JUST HAD TO... (2015 the 3 yr old finishing : )

That's the short version of the post so the rest is going to get complicated and reflective so watch out. 

Now, E being nearly 7 (but not yet) was at the top of her age group. She finished 4th last year and knew there would be a good chance that's she'd place in the top three and get a medal. Which is exactly what happened. She took off about 40 seconds from her time from last year and won the 6 and under age group. She had practiced at school (thank you PE) and she had practiced at home. YAY!

R finished all by herself and added a few minutes to her time from last year (probably because I wasn't there to give her company and encourage her to run). Totally fine. Proud of her for doing it on her own. YAY!

I figured M would likely finish within the allotted 20 minute time frame. Seeing her have her moment when everyone was cheering for her was awesome. Not as awesome as it was with R the first year we did it because I wasn't sure R was going to finish. It was a different kind of feeling this time. M totally soaked up the moment and fed off the people cheering for her. (Whereas R had the same cheers but never picked up her pace or seemed fazed but the crowd - that's just how she is)

Anyhow, here is where my parenting heart was pulled into 3 pieces... 

Before the girls awards were given out, the man said he had a special award for the only 3 yr old who finished... Guess who that was. Miss Running Queen herself. 

My heart sunk and was happy at the same time. 
I knew E would be getting a medal and here M was with one too which means... you guessed it R was left out. 

The year R was 3 and raced we left before the awards (and who knows if she would have even gotten a medal in the first place because it was kind of an on the spot thing).

I think it was a quintessential middle child moment - R being the middle girl. 

I could tell she was bummed. Big sister with a medal and little sister with a medal and middle sister with nada. When we got to the van I pulled her aside and looked her in the eyes and said 'You don't need a medal for me to be proud of you'. And that's when the tears started. 

It's such a bizarre dynamic of wanting to be super excited for E for finishing first and M for finishing but not making too big of a deal about it out of fear of hurting R's feelings. It's like I had to have different conversations with each kid. I don't know it was so weird and I'm still reflecting on it two days later and probably will for some time. It's one of those moments that makes you think and think and think because it's such a quandary. And I'm sure one day I'll look back and be grateful for this because surely it will make me a better parent and understanding person. 

When we got home we walked in the door and R announced - 'that it was good you got medals'. 

More parenting heartstrings pulled. 

That night in the shower I cried for R. Not because she didn't get a medal but because she's a great kid that's got a huge shadow of a big sister to live under. But really she doesn't live under that shadow at all - unless we put her under it and we really try are best not to. Rs a totally different kid and we love her for that. She marches to the beat of HER own drum. She cuts her bread in half a different way than the rest of us - AND THAT'S OKAY. She want to play tee ball instead of soccer. Great. She's got a huge heart and sometimes I just don't see it because she is not as expressive as the other girls but this year, on this day, on this occasion - her big heart shined through.