Friday, April 29, 2011

My Little Man[ipulator]

"My Little Man" is actually short for "My Little Manipulator". Connor Man is a little manipulator. You may think I'm being harsh. I'm not. I'm being honest.

So, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that the only sound Connor Man makes is "eh" and he is 20 months old. The pediatrician is starting to sweat. Parents are starting to give me names of speech therapists. Friends are starting to ask questions. And I continue to remind everyone that my husband, Nathan, only said "eh" until he was 21 1/2 months old and then he started talking up a storm. And since Connor is an exact replica of his daddy, I'm sure the whole speaking thing will be no exception.

But still. Connor Man is a little manipulator. He knows he's ridiculously cute. He knows he makes cashiers, bank tellers, YMCA childcare workers, and babysitters swoon. He knows his hair is awesome. He knows his blue eyes are killer. He knows his dimples are ridiculous. He knows he's a studmuffin. And he uses all of his cuteness plus "eh" to get exactly what he wants.

Like this morning. I took him into Food Lion with me to buy some creamer. Connor looked at the cashier with his big, blue eyes and said "eh", smiled, and showed off his dimples. She immediately "oohed" and "ahhed" over him like he had just quoted the Constitution of the United States, then offered to give him a bunny, chocolate, and jelly beans. For free. I said, "No thanks" to the candy so we only left with creamer and a HUGE blue stuffed bunny rabbit. So, technically, I think we stole that bunny rabbit. Because I don't think cashiers are allowed to give stuff away from their shelves, are they? But she did anyway. All because he's cute and said "eh".

Then later today, we picked Reagan up from school. The teacher opened the car door, Connor showed off his smile and said "eh", and the teacher went on and on about handsome and precious he is and how much he must love his big sister and what a joy he must bring to our family. And I thought, "He said 'eh'. That's it. That's all he did."

He must know something I don't. So I've decided to get dimples drilled into my cheeks, get a perm, point to things all the time, and change my vocabulary to only include "eh" . Then maybe I'll get free stuff too.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter 2011

Happy Easter!

My sweet girl

The best big brother ever taking care of his little sis and baby bro. Love him!

It doesn't get much cuter than a bunny jon jon on a baby boy.


After church, we enjoyed a traditional Easter feast at a Mexican restaurant. Because we're very normal. Don't all families eat queso on Easter?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Break Friday: Gammy and Papa's House!!

On Friday, I drove the kids to Spartanburg to spend the day with Gammy and Papa (my parents). We had so much fun. So much fun that I forgot all about taking pictures. So, in lieu of pictures, I'm choosing to interview Reagan about our time with Gammy and Papa.

Me: What did we do at Gammy and Papa's house on Friday?

Reagan: Easter hunt.

Me: How many eggs did you find?

Reagan: This many (held up 10 fingers) and I won.

Me: Why do you love Gammy and Papa?

Reagan: I just do love them. Just because.

Me: What is your favorite thing to do there?

Reagan: Play Barbies and play dress-up. I like to wear your dress with the bows.

Me: How do you know Gammy and Papa love you?

Reagan: Because everybody loves everybody. Because that's what God wants us to do. God wants everybody to love everybody.

Spring Break Thursday: Surprise Party

On Thursday, I surprised the kids and took them to McDonald's to meet their best buddies for a surprise birthday party! Benton turned 6 in February, Landon turned 6 and Clara turned 4 in April, and Reagan will be 4 in May so we had a little "Happy-Late-Happy-Early-Birthday-To-You" Party with cupcakes and presents.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Break Wednesday: Family Movie Night

On Wednesday night, I cooked breakfast for dinner and we cozied up together in the den to watch "Tangled". We love Family Movie Nights!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Break Tuesday: Build-A-Bear

Tuesday evening, we surprised the kids and took them to Build-A-Bear. This was Reagan and Connor's first trip.
Landon and Reagan were stoked. Connor was mad as fire. See that ball his bear is holding? Connor wanted it.

Reagan chose the pink bear, named her Kitty, and chose the girliest dress she could find.

Landon came here for a friend's birthday party last year, so he just picked out a Darth Vader outfit for his bear, Teddy.

That's the closest Connor got to the bear machine thing all night. He was not impressed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Break Monday: Charles Town Landing

On Monday, we drove down to Charleston and spent the day in Charles Town Landing. It was beautiful, fun, and we learned loads.

Landon loved visiting the boat and pretending to be one of the passengers taking a little snooze.

The cannon was a huge hit with all three kiddos!

Landon thought it would be hilarious to pretend he was being hit by a cannon.

Love this Daddy/Daughter picture!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break Sunday: Picnic in the Park

Nathan and I decided to surprise the kids with something fun each day of Spring Break. On Sunday, we stopped by Taco Bell after church, picked up lunch, and took it to our favorite park, Irmo Town Park. It was a beautiful day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mother of the Year

My friend, Aubrey, recently nominated herself for Mother of the Year. But I'm pretty competitive so I think I'll throw my hat into the ring, too.

Last week, my neighbor rang my doorbell and delivered to me my 19-month-old. She found him wandering around the manhole in her yard. I would have bet two kajillion dollars he was playing in our den. Nope. Manhole. In my neighbor's yard. Near the street.
For the second time this month.

I am awesome.

Anyone want to share their Mother of the Year proudest moments?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Appreciate Your Child's Teacher

I'm often asked to share ideas for good teachers gifts. Teacher Appreciation Week is only a couple of weeks away, so I thought this would be a good time to share a few!

1. Email your child's teacher and include specific reasons you appreciate her. Copy the email to the principal. All too often, principals only hear complaints, so it is a great way to let the principal know how much you value the teacher.

2. Frame a photograph of your child and the teacher. Write a note of appreciation on the back.

3. Bring her lunch from a real restaurant.

4. Attach a gift card from Barnes and Noble to a bag of chocolate.

5. Interview your child about what he loves about his teacher. Write out his responses and send it to school. Send a copy to the principal.

6. Donate a book to the classroom. Write a thoughtful inscription inside the cover.

7. Hug your child's teacher, look her in the eyes, and say "thank you for loving my child."

8. Make a basket filled with her favorite candy.

9. Take several pictures of the teacher teaching, reading, and playing with the students (on the playground, during math, in work stations, etc.) Print out the photographs and put them in an album.

10. Request a meeting with the assistant principal or principal. Name specific ways in which your family has felt loved, known, and valued as a result of your child's teacher.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writer's Block

I'm stuck. I'm in a writer's rut. And I'm not happy about it. Neither is Landon.

In the past, if I got writer's block, I could rely on a great Connor well-visit update. I'm good at those. But Connor man is 19 months old. So no well-visit for him again until he turns two. In August.

Help. Give me some ideas.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This is what six looks like.

Today that sweet stud turned 6. There are so many things about him that make me feel completely honored to be his mommy.
He's hilarious. He's a risk-taker. He's independent. He's a thinker. He's bold. He's fun. He's opinionated. He's active. He's brave. He's smart.

Huge memories of this past year that I never want to let go of are:

1. He got glasses and patches. And he handled that big change and responsibility like a trooper. I can count on one hand the number of times he's complained about having to wear his glasses. As you can see from the pictures above, I'm much too nervous to let him wear them while he's very active (i.e. playing basketball or out in the snow!!) but he takes great care of his glasses and has never once left them at school. I love that his bold personality has helped handle moments when other children have asked questions about his new lenses.

2. He started kindergarten. When I ask him to name his best friends he lists everyone in his class. I love his friendliness and that he's not needy or clingy. I love the ways he has grown as a reader this year. I love watching him read to Reagan and Connor. His favorite books right now are anything by Mo Willems, the Junie B. Jones books, and books with real pictures of animals. Last night around 9:45pm, Nathan heard a noise upstairs. He checked in Landon's room and heard his precious voice reading books aloud to himself. Although his bedtime is 8:00, we let it slide. :)

3. He takes great pride in being the "man of the house" when Nathan is working late or has a meeting. He helps me cook dinner, give the kids baths, and tuck the little ones in. And the next morning, he loves to tell his daddy what all he did to be the "man of the house." He likes to take care of his mommy and I love that!

4. He wrote a story two weeks ago called "God": "I know about God. Do you know about God? No one can be God." Short. Sweet. To the point. And true.

5. We went to Disneyworld this year and he was finally tall enough to ride all the rides (except Rock 'n Roller Coaster b/c it goes upside down). I love his courage. I am a big baby when it comes to roller coasters but I try very hard not to let my fears keep my children from encouraging them to try new things. Thankfully, Landon loves roller coasters and is scared of almost nothing. It was great to watch he and his daddy have a ball in Disneyworld riding so many rides together.

I'm so glad I'm your mommy. I love your giggle, your freckles, your decisiveness, your love of chocolate, your hugs, your cool walk, the way you run to me when you get off the school bus, the way you play defense in basketball, and your sense of humor. I love our Tickle Zone game, the way you eat potato chips, watching you jump on the trampoline, and how gentle you are with Connor. I pray that this year you will continue to question, love, read, write, explore, hug, run, snuggle, and give. You are remarkably and wonderfully made. I love you a bajillion, million, trillion percent.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gorgeous Girls of God

Each Sunday from 9:15-10:15 is one of my favorite times of the week.

One of my best friends, Susan, and I teach a Sunday School class for 2nd and 3rd grade girls.

We have the girls for one hour each Sunday. One hour is a teensy, tiny amount. When Susan and I became teachers we immediately created a vision for our class.

Our vision is:
1. Build relationships.
2. Go deep.

That's all.

To achieve our vision, we knew we had to say "no" to A LOT of things so that we could focus on what really matters.

We have said "no" to:
- crafts (we have done 1 craft all year....a Christmas gift for our families)
- lengthy/meaningless games (we play games....we just don't let them rule us)
- worksheets
- doing every.single.thing. the lesson plan recommends

It's not that we think the stuff above is awful. It's not. Some of it is good stuff. Crafts are fun. Long games are fun. But we only have an hour. And that stuff doesn't match our vision as effectively as the things we've said "yes" to.

We have said "yes" to:
- LOTS and LOTS of talk and discussion among the girls (Learning is social after all)
- digging into the Bible, referring to it, breaking it down, analyzing it
- LOADS of reflection (both out loud and in our reflection journals)
- lots of smiles, hugs, and laughter

When you walk into our class it's amazing the quality of conversation the girls are having. Their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ is growing. They love one another deeply. They ask thoughtful questions. They reflect.

And I would be lying if I said it's because Susan and I are just that fantastic. We're not. Not at all. It's simply because we committed to the girls to go deep and to buid relationships. That's all. Saying "no" to several things gave time for the "yeses". The "yeses" that really matter when you only have an hour.

And those "yeses" are paying off.