Summer adjustments

At the start of the summer I was so excited to be at home with the kids.  We had no more school, no more work, and all the time in the world to relax and have fun together.  Well, those exciting times lasted about two weeks before reality set in – the kids began to argue, whine, make a mess, and stay up late (which took away from my evening Becca time).   I was talking to Sidney one day when someone asked me, “How is summer, Becca?”.  I answered, “Ugh, the kids keep arguing and driving me crazy.”.  To which Sidney replied, “According to your blog you were really excited to have them home.”  That opened my eyes to the fact that, sadly, our summer honeymoon was over.  I had a few realizations about why this was occurring:

  1.  Miller was being very hard to handle due to the fact that he was having to constantly share me with his siblings.  He and I were inseparable for most of the school year and now we were not the pair that we once were.  Honestly, I was a bit sad about it as well.
  2. The kids were together constantly and were having to get used to their new reality at home.  They were trying to figure out how they each fit into the picture.
  3. Quite frankly, I was getting bored.  We were at home, but what were we really doing all day?  They were swimming, playing, and eating while I was cleaning and doing dishes.  BORING!

I decided that the only way that life was going to be bearable was for me to make some changes.  I began to make the kids help me clean up the house.  There is a Proverb that says, “Many hands make light work.”  Amen!  It only takes fifteen minutes to pick up if everyone helps.  It is also a bit helpful when trash goes into the trashcan and not onto the counter, children.  I also began to spend more time with each child.  If Miller grabbed my hand and led me upstairs to play, then I went.  If Wilson asked me to sword fight, then I took the weapon he handed me and swung it around for ten minutes.  I have been spending quality time with them and it is filling their buckets.  I am still trying to apply the same strategy with Faith, but she doesn’t necessarily ask me to play games or color with her.  She wants time with me out of the house which is more difficult to do, but can be done.  Just yesterday I realized that Faith wants to help me.  In the last few days she helped me put together a lamp, make chicken nuggets, and cook eggs.  She loves to help.  Honestly, if I can get her to do that more often, then I have killed two birds with one stone – help around the house and quality time with my daughter.  :)

I am still a bit bored.  I spend most of my time planning our upcoming Disney trip or looking up home school curriculum.  I can control those things, the future and my children I cannot control. However, things are going much better.  The pendulum has begun to swing the other direction and I am thankful.  I love my kids and I want to enjoy being with them.  Oddly enough, it is sometimes difficult to let go of my own desires and to give the kids what they want – my time and attention. (I say that with a bit of sarcasm and a bit of unfortunate honesty.)  A little bit of attention goes along way….and so does having friends over for them to play with. haha.

Kids Triathlon

The Ballantyne Triathlon was last weekend and the kids rocked it!  I am so proud of all three of them.  Faith came in 4th place out of the 31 girls in her age group, Wilson came in 7th place out of the 36 boys in his age group (he would have placed higher if he hadn’t stopped for water during the run), and Miller assumes that he came in first place out of everyone in the preschool race (they didn’t time the little ones, but he was seriously flying).  You should have seen Wilson jumping off his bike and hustling into the transition area.  He was really racing.  Miller’s little feet were peddling so fast that we ended up buying him a bigger bike the next day because his 12 inch bike wouldn’t allow him to go as fast as he wanted to go.   Faith’s swim was amazing.  I have never seen her swim so well.  Overall, the kids were really trying to do their best, and it showed.

The whole family came out to cheer them on – Steve, Claire and Grandmama Pat were there as well.  Tom was the proud (and anxious) dad.  He loves doing triathlon and is so excited that his kids are sharing in his passion.  I am sure that this event will become another family tradition.  We are always encouraging the kids to eat well and now we are encouraging them to exercise and race well.

Here are some of the best photos from the day.  There are a lot of pictures here….

This is the kids prior to the race.  We had to be there hours early to get their ankle timing bracelets and get their numbers.

I love this picture of Faith.  It is my new favorite.  She was smiling for a photographer.  She just looks so pretty and confident.

Miller is ready to go and showing us his muscles…

Faith coming out of the swim.  Running to the transition area…

Faith coming in from the bike ride….

Wilson crossing the finish line…

My proud finishers….

Faith is imitating Wilson’s pose from their last triathlon.  Too funny…

Miller is sprinting up the hill and heading toward the finish line.  He was really racing. He had to have come in first place if there was one.  He was loving it!

Proud Miller….

There is always one making a silly face….

Me and my Wilson…


 

Fourth of July

I usually try to avoid anything that has to do with crowds of people, hot weather, and inevitably complaining children.  A perfect example of an event like this, that qualifies in every category, is the 4th of July.  The last time that we took the kids to see the fireworks in Charlotte was three years ago when it rained and the fireworks were delayed by an hour.  After that I swore I would not go and see fireworks unless I absolutely had to go.  Well,  the time had arrived.  The kids are old enough and aware enough to know what they are missing out on – fireworks.

We awoke Monday morning and began to plan our day, which was to included fireworks.  It turns out that Charlotte has a huge fireworks show downtown next to the baseball stadium in Romare Beardon Park.  We decided that we would brave the heat and the crowds in order to give the kids a proper 4th of July.  When my grandmother got wind that we were heading downtown, she jumped at the chance to join us.  (Unlike me, she loves to get out and see what the crowds are doing.)

First, we ate a late steak lunch at my parents’ house.  Then the six of us drove uptown to Romare Beardon Park with our waters, a blanket, chairs, and our Uno game (can’t leave home without it).  The one thing that we forgot to bring was snacks.  Oops.  After an hour or so the kids were asking for food.  (Didn’t we just eat lunch?!?!?)  Tom convinced me to go and seek out some food for the kids.  There were a lot of food trucks there but I was too cheap to buy food for five people at a food truck, especially when half of it probably wouldn’t get eaten.  I decided that the 7-11 was a better fit for our family.  Who doesn’t like peanut butter crackers and chips? Faith and I walked over the 7-11 at the corner, and low-and-behold, there was a line to get INTO the 7-11.  I was shocked but not entirely surprised.    Everyone else was hungry, impatient and cheap as well. So, we waited in line and eventually came out of the small store with $15 worth of snacks, bananas, sparkling water, and ice cream sandwiches.  Everything that we needed in order to make it until dark.  After the trip to the 7-11, I was actually in a better mood and could relax a little knowing that the kids would no longer be begging me for snacks and ice cream.  Everyone was placated.

Thankfully, the fireworks more than met our expectations.  The fireworks show was the longest one I have EVER seen in my life.  It was so long that people began to leave when there was a long pause in the action.  We all thought it was over, but then a few minutes later it started up again.  I couldn’t believe how many fireworks were shot up into the air that night.  We even began guessing how much money was spent by the city on that thirty minutes of entertainment.  It was an amazing fireworks display.

Because our trip was such a success, I think that we may brave it again next year.  However, next year I plan to bring a cooler full of food, drink, snacks, and maybe even a mixed drink or two.

Faith and I got to spend some time together buying food and laying on the blanket….

Mom of the year with the ice cream sandwiches…..

The boys played Uno while we were waiting for the sun to go down.  I am SO thankful that we brought the game with us….

Grandmama had the joy of sitting with Miller during the fireworks. He walked over and climbed up into her lap during the long show. She loved every minute of it….

Florida

As usual, my trip to Florida with Sidney and the kids was fabulous.  The drive down was long, but the kids did a great job playing in the car, watching movies and entertaining themselves.  This was our third trip to Deland, Florida to visit Tom and Yibbit Shelton (Sidney’s parents and my second set of parents) at their house.  They are amazing hosts.  They feed us well, give the kids ice cream, make lots of cookies before we get there, let Sidney and I sleep in each morning, and provide lots of entertaining adult conversation for me and Sidney.  I had more adult conversation in those five days than I have had in months.  I loved it!!  I am also very thankful that Tom and Yibbit treat my kids like their own grandchildren.  It must be somewhat difficult to have five kids running around the house, three of which are not blood related to them.  I am touched that they are amazingly kind, giving, and patient with my three children.  Yibbit even had a wet sand fight with all five kids in the ocean.  Eventually I had to go and save her because I knew that my boys would fight to the death.  :)

We spent two days at the beach, one day lazing around the ranch and swimming in the pool, cooked hot dogs over an open fire, ate marshmallows, drank wine each evening, and enjoyed each others’ company.  I can’t wait to go back next year.  (The kids asked numerous times if we would keep doing this until they were in high school.  I hope so.)

I fought to get this picture taken.  Worth the effort…

Wilson buried…

Yibbit burying the kids.  Eventually she dumped buckets of water on their heads….

A bit of Mommy and Wilson time….

Faith…

The car ride down to Florida.  Totally entertaining….

Almost there…..

Love my sweet family….

Fireflies and Lemonade Stands

One of the kids’ favorite things to do in the summer is to have a lemonade stand. They could sit for hours on the corner and wait for customers to buy a lemonade.  This year, instead of lemonade, they sold sweet tea (I didn’t have any lemonade).  Everyone loves sweet tea.  It is much easier to make and is super cheap.  I think that it will be our new product to sell.

Because we live on a cul-de-sac, the kids moved their stand up to the corner where there is more chance for business.  Amazingly, they made $22!  Yes, $22.  We have very generous neighbors at the new house.  One person gave them a $5.00 bill and someone else gave them a $10.00.  I don’t know who these people are but they have motivated my children to have a lemonade stand every day.   I told  the kids that they could only have a stand on Friday afternoons because novelty wears off when neighbors see them out there everyday trying to make money.  Here is a picture of them with Faith’s friend, Kelsey….

Another fun summer activity is catching fireflies each evening.  Our front yard (and the neighbors yard) is full of them.  Firefly catching only happens during June and only for about 30 minutes each day.  We are motivated to catch them as long as we can and as many as we can.  I think Wilson had four in his hands at one time.  After catching them, the boys let the fireflies climb all over them.  It is amazing how God created these fantastic little insects that glow and then He made them slow fliers so that they would be easy to catch.  God was really thinking ahead and was giving us a wonderful gift all at the same time.

Wilson has one on his arm….

The boys hunting in the neighbors yard.  They rarely have shirts on, if you haven’t noticed already….. 

Swimming Pool Bliss

Summer is officially here!  Not only are the kids out of school, but it is already 95 degrees and very humid.  Thankfully, we have a swimming pool in the back yard.  It is getting more use than I thought it would.  The pool isn’t overly large, but it is big enough for three small children to play in and stay entertained.  Sometimes the kids jump in and out within ten minutes, but most of the time they stay in for an hour playing on the giant Orca whale that Tom bought or kicking around on the boogie boards.

Another nice feature near the pool is the shade that our house provides in the afternoons.  I can sit outside and watch the kids swim without burning up or needing to get into the pool.  It has been great!!  Tom and I have been enjoying sitting outside and watching the kids swim.  The pool has drastically increased our time spent outdoors.  Even when it is 99 degrees outside, we have something to do outside without burning up.  Of course, I have only been in it twice.  The first time it was freezing cold and I jumped out immediately.   I stayed in the second time a bit longer but it was still a bit cold for my taste.  The great thing about kids is that they don’t care how cold it is – it is always worth it to get into a pool.  (This has made me feel a bit old, to be honest.)  I look forward to swimming in it more often after the water temperature increases to 80 degrees.  But for now, I will watch the kids enjoy themselves in their new backyard and summer entertainment.  img_7825.jpg

End of year

I am so proud of Faith and Wilson. They finished out the school year in amazing ways. They both got awards in various areas and proved that they could excel in being both a student and a friend.

Wilson received an award for media and PE (not surprising). In his kindergarten class, his teacher gave him the “Bubbly personality” award. She described him as being a friend to everyone and skilled at bringing others into the group and making them feel comfortable.  Wilson is such a sweet little boy with such a big heart. He is rough and tough on the outside, but inside he truly cares for others and is a friend to all.  I saw this first hand when I went to school to have lunch with him one day.  Wilson could invite one friend to sit with us and he chose a little boy that he had said many times that he didn’t particularly like. I was surprised by his choice. Later on I asked Wilson why he chose this little boy to eat with us and he said, “because he doesn’t usually get chosen and I wanted him to get a chance to sit with a friend at lunch”.  That is my little Wilson.

Here he is all ready for his kindergarten graduation and with his fabulous teacher, Mrs Fields.

Faith received two awards. One was for Art, again, not surprising.  The other award was the Fruit of the Spirit award for Goodness. I loved her teacher’s description for the award, “You model His goodness by doing things God’s was instead of the way everyone else might do them.”  Faith sometimes told me about how the kids at school would say something mean or tease another child. One day she said, “I would never laugh at someone like they do.”  That is why she won this award. :)

It was difficult for Faith to switch schools this year, but she did it with style and confidence. I am very proud of her success.

Here she is with her teacher, Mrs. Vandergrift…..

Our family had a great experience at Metrolina Christian Academy.  The kids enjoyed the school year and they learned a good deal both academically and spiritually.  I am very proud of them both.