Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Terrible Twos....

I admit it. I had forgotten. It has been a while since Claire was two ... and well, she was either easier... or I was so busy with the others that I overlooked some of it.

There is a connection to this boy of mine that is unearthly. It is a powerful and unyielding love that would move mountains. But then, it wouldn't have to. Because he would have already done it. After he threw his cup down the vent, dumped out the dog's water dish, jammed a cheese slice into the VCR player (yep... we still own one), and climbed up onto the kitchen counter. Sigh.

He is busy. He is whiny. He is verbal. He is boundary-pushing. He is HARD. He is two.

Again, there is nothing in the world I wouldn't do for him. But that doesn't mean he's easy. Or that he doesn't wear me out. As my friend Marci said (so wisely) ... "Welcome to the land of the two year old boy... it's been a while since you visited." Indeed. I'm here now ... and afraid I've lost the directions.

There are currently four things that save his life on a daily basis... his nap, moments when he dons a tiara (or other fashion accessory left lying around) and flashes a killer smile, his father coming home from work, and the bond between brothers. Seeing Grayson interact with Cooper tells me all will be well. The bats, the balls, and the bruises is all part of it. Cooper will survive this ... and I will too. I just have to remind Monte to screw down the rest of the air vents.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Claire can tie her shoes ...

and her roller skates!!! Independently. Whoo-hoo!!!

I will take a time out from my celebratory dance to admit to something. I bribed her. Yes I did.

Not only her .. but her older siblings as well. You see, Claire is a bit of a middle child. I apologize if you don't believe in that whole "birth order" thing ... but I've lived it ... and around here ... it's the gospel.

The middle child in Claire manifests itself in a little bit of a confidence problem and a little bit in the "just tell me what to do so I don't have to exert a lot of effort in thinking about it" phenomena. She also really loves to do things on her own time schedule ... which is a bit more of a problem now that an ENTIRE day of Kindergarten fills her dance card five days per week.

Other kids in the class have begun to tie their shoes. She has to ask one of her sibs (or me) to tie her roller skates ... worn every day. It was starting to irk her .. but not enough to really do much about it.

Hence the bribery. She has asked for a pillow pet forever. For. Ever. We bargained. Tie your shoes ... get a pillow pet. Deal signed. Pinky sworn.

We tried. We cried. We gave up.

I realized I had to bring in the big guns. Emma and Grayson. I tried appealing to their Christian sides. Jesus would most certainly want them to help their sister. That worked. For a day.

So I bribed them. Don't judge me. Whoever succeedes in helping their sister tie her shoes ALSO gets a pillow pet. Or the cash it would cost. Minus shipping and handling (yep... Emma asked).

In three short days ... she has learned. It's not fast ... it's not yet automatic. But I no longer have to do it. To me, that's worth a few pillow pets. And you should see my middle child smile.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Muscadines Ya'll!

I'll be you didn't know that scuppernongs are the state fruit of North Carolina. We didn't either.

But there is a lot of talk about grapes down here .. and people have been talking about "pick your own" season for a while now. It started last weekend. You know, when it was 98 in the shade.

I love a good wine -- I mean... grape -- so off we went. We even drug our poor houseguests with us. Friends who sweat together stay together.

The scenery was beautiful. The grapes were tasty. We quickly realized none of us had been taught how to determine ripeness of different grape varieties. No matter, the kids were picking every last one - ripe or not.

We've eaten grapes every day since Saturday. We're going again - once the enamel on my teeth grows back.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thank you Tim and Lori!!!

The other day we got an Edible Arrangment. Quite honestly, it shocked us a bit. For us? Really? Check the names ...again. Anniversary? Nope. Birthday ... um ... Cooper's ... but it seemed doubtful any of his toddler friends would be savvy enough to order this up. What could be the occasional for such a yummy treat?

Turns out, it was a surprise house-warming present from my cousin and his lovely girlfriend. (In fact, the handsome devil is pictured in the last post. He's the guy on the right.) The "bouquet" consisted of chocolate covered fruit. ON STICKS! What could be better to a group of kids... and their parents?

The timing was perfect. We had houseguests from Indiana staying with us ...and they have a toddler who loves "choc-it" ... and I had no dessert planned. It was sooo much fun!

A big thank you to Tim and Lori... you made our day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

He Would Have Loved This Picture ...

My uncle George loved pictures. He was always taking them, organizing them, and emailing them off to people (usually in CD form). This one was a long time coming ... but I know he would have liked it.

In it are three cousins ... one on the west coast ... one on the east coast ... and one smack dab in the middle. We met up in Georgia to celebrate the life of Kevin's dad and our uncle.

There is a lot more to say about George ..but I'm not ready yet.

It just struck me today that he's probably still checking in on my blog ... and I wanted there to be something for him to smile about when he does.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Magic All Around

I tend to take a "practical" view of most things. There are a few things though ... that are magical.

Every time. Undeniably.

As God would have it, two of those things are happening right now in my house.

Cooper is talking. Phrases. Questions. Statements. Not full conversation ... but he is verbal.

It's exhausting. It's miracuolous. When children learn language ... and start to apply it - it just gives me goosebumps. Spoken language is how we relate to each other. Think of the power of what you say and how you say it. Frightening really ... and God gives this power to a toddler. But He does.

Claire is reading ... and writing. Again ... not full conversations ... but she is learning by leaps and bounds. When she goes through her sight words at night, she sometimes asks me why I tear up.

She isn't impressed by the power of reading yet. But I never fail to be. She doesn't know what kinds of worlds will be opened to her by reading... but I do. She may see reading as a chore ...but I know it's a magical gift. Again ... the power ... given to such a tender age.

Is it louder in my house recently? You bet. Do I sometimes get frazzled and forget to consider myself blessed? Oh yes. But it only takes the evening routine to remind me ... those simple flashcards, simple words written on a whiteboard ... and "night-night Mommy" brings me back to the magic. All around me.