Thursday, January 28, 2016

35 days

FIVE WEEKS.   35 days from today, this kid comes home.  He is the glue and the Chi of our family and 2 years is a long time to be missing someone so important. The #greatwhitehope will be home soon. #lithuaniaexpress

Exactly 5 weeks from today, a mere 35 days, my brother will return home from his two year mission in Lithuania.  He has finally started to hint, just a little, in his letters that he will in fact be coming home.  He has received notice from the "U" that they are waiting for him to return.  He is the topic, or falls into nearly every conversation my boys and I have with each other.

I think I've posted this statement before, but according to my mom (and I wholeheartedly agree), this brother of mine is the "glue" that keeps our family together.  Well, when the glue is gone for two years, things don't really fall apart, but sometimes, the hole that is left in his place feels really big.  Too big to fill up any other way.  I've been an emotional mess lately - not worth mentioning really, but I think that in several aspects of my life, the word "Basket-case" is written in bold letters across my forehead.  One night, a week or so ago, after unloading yet another basket-case full of worry onto my husband before we fell asleep (perfect timing, right?) he said to me, that I need my brother home.  That I'm done missing him and I just need him back, where I can see him and talk to him every day.

I know that I miss him more now, on the cusp of his return, that I did when he left.  In my mind, I can see him coming down the escalator at the airport, doing his little fake yell/scream with his hands waving in the air, dropping his stuff and charging for my mom, then my dad, then if he goes in sister age order, me.  But I'm sure that the kids will attack him first.  It's so exciting to think about and talk about, and shed the happiest little tears about.

So close.  Closer every single day.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Elliott is NINE!


Happy Birthday, Elliott!

Let me start by saying that I thought EIGHT, was your best year ever, but NINE?  Holy cow, it's going to be huge.  As I think about the last year, I really can only think about how much I loved you being eight.  In your eighth year, you and I became friends again.  We didn't fight as much, or yell at each other like we used to.  You like to talk to me, you like to show me the things that you've drawn, or made, or built in Mine Craft.  You ask me really hard science questions in the car.  And, if I'm really lucky, you'll sit next to me on the couch, on purpose, and sort of try to sneakily lay your head on my shoulder.  That, my boy, makes my day.

Eight was also the year of texting!  Heaven help us that you bought your own ipod and can text Grandma and Dad whenever you feel like it.  And, with the fit bit and accompanying app you got for Christmas, you can text me, too.

You are growing up so fast.  You are getting so mature.  You are smart and talented and have a lot of friends and kids that look up to you.  You have great hair, do your homework, are a terrible speller, and make your bed every day without me having to remind you.  You survived a butt-head baseball coach in the spring, had a great fall soccer season and you even, all on your own, decided to join the band and have become quite a good trombone player.

I love to have your help in the kitchen, and with your brothers.  It made me so happy a couple of weeks ago when the car died and I had to go and rescue dad,  that I knew I could trust you to be in charge at home, just you and the boys.  I was only gone 20 minutes, but that was a big deal and I was so proud of you for being in charge.  Though there are occasional lapses in thinking, you are so responsible and careful.  Your dad and I always tell you that, because, like us, you are the first born, there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders to blaze the trail for your brothers, do the most jobs in the house, and to be an example.  Elliott, you do all those things and more.  We are lucky to be your parents, and your brothers are lucky to have you.

You earned your Wolf in cub scouts months ago and were so excited to start with the bear group this week.  You are always whistling lately.  Let's face it, it can be a bit annoying, but at least you whistle good tunes.  You will only wear skinny jeans.  It's your thing now.  The best skinny jeans also happen to be the most expensive - we can no longer buy you clothes at kid stores - they now must come from the Gap.  For such a skinny kid, there never seems to be enough food for you to eat, and eat you do - some days all day long.  You love your grandmas, and any time you can hang out with grandparents far trumps time with mom and dad, especially if said grandma time is without your parents.  And, like your dad, just in the last few months or so, you are passionate about music and the Wombats is your new favorite band, like your dad.

It's fun to watch you get nervous.  When you get nervous, you talk.  You talk A LOT!  You plot and plan and repeat things over and over again.  Grandma and I were talking a little while ago and think that when that #1 uncle of yours appears at the airport in a few short weeks you might just melt into a puddle of goo and we will have to mop you up and put you back together.  I cannot wait for your best buddy to get home and see how grown up you are.  You will blow Willie's mind.

I love you #1 son.  Forever and ever.  Even if you wipe boogers on the wall.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Camera

I had a really nice camera about three years ago.  A baby broke it.

I bought a less nice replacement camera off of KSL.  It went on a grand adventure to the California Redwoods, among other things.  At the end of the summer and again in the fall (let's face it, real camera's dont' get used very often these days),  I realized that their were internal dust spots as well as lack of functionality, manual focus wasn't working properly, the mirrors were causing the viewfinder and screen views to be blurry.  The camera was broken.

Three cameras in two years.  I started looking online, researching for the upgrade for my camera, figured out what would be a good upgrade/replacement and started watching prices.  I'm a pentax girls after exhausting research years ago, and, well, Pentax cameras don't go on sale very often.  So, I gave up.  Phone camera it is!

Last week, Ross informed me that Elliott's jr. jazz team would not be doing team pictures because some team members were out of town.  He asked if I could take the picture.  I told him that I would love to, but it would have to be with my phone, because I don't have a working digital SLR.

He asked me if I wanted to buy a new camera.

I told him that jr. jazz was a pretty lame reason to buy a new camera.

We both were looking on Amazon at the same time, and found a pretty good deal on a body only, of the camera I'd been eyeing since October.

I bought it.

I took pictures and played with it all weekend, learning the settings and functions and video components.

It's nice to have a real camera again.

One of my new year's resolutions is to get out and take "real" pictures with a "real" camera.  I guess now I better keep that resolution.







Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Mighty QUINN :: leaving his mom in the dust

Blew me off like, "your mom goes to college!" (Note: first time I've been home alone in 9 years)

Milestones.  There are so many firsts with a child, aren't there.  Some we photograph.  Some we lock in our memory.  Every single detail captured.  The smells, the conversations, the clothing, the feelings.  We try to remember everything before it just becomes a dot, a speck of dust in the grand scheme of our lives.  As a mom to three growing boys, I do my best to try and back off and let them live, while still taking as many pictures as I can, and capturing as much in my cruddy memory as possible.

Well, today was the day.  Today, my little buddy started preschool.  Everyone knows that this little boy has me wrapped around his finger, but I truly enjoy his company and like having someone with me every day.  But, he too must grow up and growing up he is, too fast if I may say so myself.

To say that I was nervous, is a gross understatement.  This boy of mine, he's nervous, like me.  He likes to stay home, with me.  He's never had a babysitter except for his grandparents.  He isn't the most brave in social situations.  But, I've been trying to avoid projecting my hangups onto him and just trusting him, that he can do it.

He went to sunbeams on Sunday after never staying in nursery for his entire life.  It was shocking and wonderful.  Ross and I were all smiles, all day.

Tuesday, we went to meet his teacher, meet the other kids, and do a mock one hour session of school.  He did great, but didn't stray too far from my side.  And, when we talked about going to school on Thursday by himself, he told me that he wasn't going to do it.  I've been nervous for days.

Today however, was the day.  We talked about school all morning and ironically, the episode of Wonder Pets he watched in the morning was about a puffer fish that didn't want to leave his mom to go to school.  When we had about 40 minutes before it was time to leave however, it was game on.  He got ready, found his bag, his jacket, his gloves, got his shoes on, went to the bathroom without a bribe and said, "Come on, Mom!  Let's go!"

We got to school 15 minutes early.  We did a mock run of the bathroom, just in case he needed to go at school.  I gave him the same talk I give the big boys before I drop them off every day: be good, be kind to everyone, don't pee your pants!  As soon as the teacher opened the door Quinn ran in, followed instructions by hanging up his coat and his school bag, and sat down to play with toys.  I stood there, like a dork, and realized it was time for me to go.  I had him give me a high 5, and I was out the door, back in my car.

I called Ross.  I started to cry.  My baby, in every single way, was now, officially a big boy and as happy and joyful as it made me, I was desperately sad.  I sat in the car for 5 minutes or so, just to make sure he didn't come running back out to me, and then I left.


I made sure to get back to school with plenty of time to pick him up.  When the door was opened, he saw me, smiled from ear to ear and ran out the door.  I had to send him back in to get all of his stuff and as I put his jacket on in the hall he said, so proud, "Mom, I did it.  I went by myself and I did it!"

Yes little buddy, you did.

you may have done it for a slurpee and a doughnut, but you did it and I couldn't be prouder.


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