Thursday, April 26, 2012

Right Now

Right now, we spend a lot of time outside.  The Middle One loves to ride her bike, more than anything else, and she is incredibly good at it.

Right now, she sometimes visits her Daddy's office and turns on the dance music on the piano for an impromptu performance with an audience of one.

Right now, Nana and DD are paramount.

Right now, she still has to work on standing up for herself and making her desires known.  Right now, she has a beautiful sparkle that all too often is outshone with the blazing fires around her.  But in the stillness, or if you look for it, she's got a dazzle that's all her own.

Right now, The Kindergartner still loves her Momma and wants to be near.  She'll sit in the front yard and read her Bible alongside me as I read mine, and I suspect it has as much to do with time together as it does with the activity.

Right now, she still wants me along on field trips, for volunteering opportunities, in the library, at school store.  I'm still exciting and comforting and... welcome.

Right now, she's coming alive.  She writes stories and reads just about anything and composes songs.

Right now, she's different than anyone else; she's fully herself; and she's magnificent.

Right now, The Baby is still a baby... but just barely.  She wiggles and squirms and wants so badly to be a part of the action.

Right now, she an explorer.  She's discovering so many new things.  Right now, birds in the trees are all she needs for entertainment.

Right now, she nestles into me when I get her from her crib, she smiles easily, she babbles and coos and hums.

Right now, she makes us laugh in delight as she peers over the edge of the bath, with her baby bottom bare.

I don't know the specifics of tomorrow, and I don't need to.  Because, right now, they're still really young.  And right now, life is so, so sweet.

Click here for pictures for the week

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rowdy Rebel Camping 2012

We've been camping with Avery's playgroup since 2008, and so it is no surprise that by now our camping trips include a language of their own.  May we present our A-Z dictionary of all things Rowdy Rebel Camping:

Avoidance (n.) - The act of avoiding something, in this case the outdoors.  As in, "Mom, can I pleeeease stay in the cabin?  I don't want to go into the wild!" This request proved ineffective for Avery and she was required to eat dinner at an outdoor picnic table.

Breakfast Crew (n.) - A group of people who hold a special place in our hearts.  Preparing the first meal of the day on an outdoor stove is not something to be taken lightly.

Coffee Ministry (n.) - The blessed ministry responsible for meeting the caffeine intake of every camper on the trip; note: there is a 2 pot minimum.

Distribution of responsibility (n.) - The act of sharing photography responsibilities among all involved parties.  Any camp parent, at any given time, should be prepared to grab the nearest camera and capture the memories for the benefit of all.

Exhaustion (n.) - The result of Late Bedtimes (see L for more information)

Falls (n.) - Otherwise known as trips, slips, or spills, this is a sudden uncontrollable descent.  For a demonstration, contact Abigail.  (Note: the best remedy for a fall, no matter the severity, is a band-aid)

Grumpy (adj.) - A term used to describe the Rowdy Rebel campers around 3 pm on the second day of camping adventure (also a result of Late Bedtimes - refer to L)

Hilarity (n.) - What ensues after hours, gathered 'round the campfire, playing Catch Phrase

iPhone (n.) - A device used to keep men informed of the outside world while 'in the wild'; an iPhone siting is a moment when a man is caught checking the weather, texting, or looking up a map for a hike.  Teasing must follow (see S for Sarcasm for more).

Joint Parenting (n.) - An arrangement in which all parents share equal responsibility for all children involved.

Kid-centered (adj.) - Used to describe the type of weekend camping is; the result is flexible expectations and lots of extra smiles.

Late Bedtime (n.) - The expectation and reality of sleepovers; especially when allowing four children to sleep in the same room.  Addition of Kate guarantees a late bedtime, and removal of her from the room guarantees an early bedtime.

Mascot (n.) - A person or thing that is meant to symbolize a particular event; in the case of Rowdy Rebel Camping 2012, a Roly Poly was chosen.

Nature walk (n.) - A walk on a nature trail, also the perfect opportunity for photos and roly poly hunting.

Oak Thicket Park (n.) - The location of our camping trip this year, boasting bathrooms, refrigerators, and air conditioning all inside the cabin!

Power Plant (n.) - A structure that provides power and shows up in the background of every scenic shot taken at Oak Thicket Park (see O for more).

Quest (n.) - A trip taken in search of something; as in The Quest for Firewood.  This particular quest led to Jerry's General Store, where Jerry offered all of his personal firewood at no charge.

Rowdy Rebels (n.) - The group of friends we've had the privilege of growing up with; represented on this trip by 13 adults, 11 pre-school and older children, 4 toddlers, and 2 infants... yes, 13 adults and 17 children total!

Sarcasm (n.) - The primary language spoken among Rowdy Rebel adults; as in, "It's just a Chris Nichols sort of day."

Tangled (v.) - Twisted.  Also, the state of Cole's fishing pole the majority of the weekend.

Unplanned (adj.) - Describing something unexpected and unprepared for; in this case, a swim session.

Vying (v.) - The act of competing with great effort to achieve something.  Rowdy Rebel Camping 2012 included vying for votes for Cool Mom by Emily (face painting, reading stories...), Emilee (Paula Dean cookies!), Ella (live worms, offering excessive sugar to all children), Kathy (making up hiking stories and songs and the wagon), Audrey (adult Capri Suns, marshmallow stackers, and chocolate covered graham crackers), and Genevieve (the boat which was played on even when parked in the driveway, a tripod for the annual group picture).  A 7-way tie was established.

Wind (n.) - The force which kept the boat docked the duration of the weekend and made fishing a moot point.

Xcited (adj.) - The term used to describe how the we feel about camping 2013. 

Yikes! (interjection) - The word that is yelled at a snake siting.  The snake in question was easily as thick as an adult arm and 10 feet long, seem slithering across our path and into the woods.

Zen (n.) - A state of peace achieved when all parties accept the chaos and merriment of the weekend and choose to just sit back, relax, and take it all in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy 9 Months, Reese!

This month:

*Reese started doing "tricks", like clapping, playing Pat-A-Cake, waving (sometimes) and giving hugs on command (laying her head on your chest)

*She began pulling up to standing and now stands unassisted for several seconds at a time

*She started the month blowing raspberries and then moved to an inverted kissing sound

*She has one word - only one: "Ut-oh".  Sometimes she'll say "Dada" but not usually on command and it's still debatable if it she knows the significance of the word yet

*She had her second ear infection, and once again we only knew something was wrong when her eyes started gooing.  Such a good baby, even when sick!

*She's up to two bottles a day

*She has 6 teeth - 4 up top and two on bottom

*She weighs 18 pounds 3.5 ounces (37th %tile) and is 28 inches long (64th %tile)

*She impressed the doctor when she stole his tongue depressor and tried to take his pen out of his pocket as he was examining her.  His comment: "Wow.  You really are... 9 months old, aren't you?"  Apparently the nicest way he could think to state how busy and curious our little missy is!

Reese is so close to being a one-year-old and a walker.  We're eating up every giggle, every toothy grin, and every squeal because it's flying by!

Happy 9 months, Reese!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Anecdotal Records About Easter

Avery's Easter:
-As part of Avery's Easter basket, she got a necklace-making kit with letter beads.  She immediately went to work, making necklaces for friends, family... everyone except herself.  When we'd encourage her to make her own necklace before she ran out of letters, she'd tell us, "Later, after I finish Kate's and Amelia's..."  Avery loves to gift others, often at her own expense.  As Amanda said, "Avery is so others-minded that she'd go down on an airplane putting oxygen masks on everyone else and forgetting herself."  We love her giving heart.

Kate's Easter
-At our annual Rowdy Rebels party, we do two egg hunts: one for the younger kids and one for the older kids.  The older egg hunt includes a challenge: get eggs numbered 1-12 and only get one of each number.  I asked Kate if she thought she could do it and she was sure she could.  She was right!  I walked around with her, trying to 'help' her keep count, but she'd have to correct me!  "No, Mom, I already have a 7."  And sure enough, she did.  She knew exactly what she was doing and kept easy pace with her big sister.

-After the egg hunt on Easter Sunday, everyone split up to sort their Easter candy.  Nana brought in a box of Ziploc bags and told the kids they could sort their candy so the flavors didn't run together.  After about 20 minutes of letting the kids sort candy while we cleaned up a bit, I checked on Kate.  She had about 50 bags, each with a few pieces of candy in them.  She had emptied each individual egg into a separate bag.  What was really perplexing was the bags we found, each with 1 single M&M inside of them.

Amelia's Easter
-Amelia (and her family) got to join us for church on Easter, and on the way home, her parents asked her the usual questions: "Did you have fun?  What did you learn?"  Amelia told them that yes, she had, "Fery, fery fun." And that she learned that on the first Easter when the rock was rolled away, Jesus' bottom wasn't there!  His bottom was gone!  Amanda asked, "What about the rest of Jesus?  Was it gone too?"  Amelia responded, "I don't know.  But His bottom was gone!"  As it turns out, the teachers explained that Jesus' body was gone... and Amelia uses 'body' and 'bottom' as synonyms.

Reese's Easter
-Reese is so intent.  She's 9 months going on 5 years in her mind's eye.  She wants to be a part of everything - at church while Jordan was leading worship, she'd do her usual intent look: chin and nose tilted up, eyes serious and focused, taking it all in.  She's not only intent, but she's also busy.  She was occupied playing with a toy in the middle of the living room at Nana's house, and in less than a minute's time, Avery sighed, "Oh Reese!"  She had made her way to the painting easel and was standing, holding on to the wet paintbrushes.  Paint splatters ended up on her, on the wall, on the floor...  She's busy, curious, and even under constant adult supervision is able to get into trouble.

Kyle's Easter
-Kyle's first Easter looked primarily like this: "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Nana and Me

Sometimes I really feel like a middle child.  Squished between two big personalities, I am sometimes too quiet to get the same kind of attention they get.
But don't worry.  My Nana and me have a special thing going.  She knows how important it is to give the middle child a little extra TLC.  She picks me up from school sometimes, and lays next to me and strokes my hair and whispers about the snacks she brought me.  I usually wake up grumpy at school, but when Nana is there, I always wake up with a smile.  

When dessert is being served, sometimes I get overlooked.  I wait patiently while everyone else is served but sometimes it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.  But just when I think I am going to cry because I've been forgotten, my Nana to the rescue!  She sees the look in my eyes and knows what's happening and she helps me speak up for myself like a big (polite) girl.

When I get really tired, or when Avery says she's had enough of me, or when I feel particularly middle-child-ish, I don't know how to say how I feel.  Nana knows how to interpret my signals though.  Like, one night, Mia and Avery were taking a warm bath but I didn't want to get in.  I decided it was too hot and no matter how much Mom tried to reason with me, I was not able to pull it together and get in the tub.  But you know what?  Nana knows how to treat each of her grandkids just like they need.  She helped me decide to take a shower instead and soon the tears were turned to giggles and a special grin that said, "I feel special!"

I know my Nana loves all of her grandbabies so much.  But she loves us uniquely, just how we want to be loved, and it makes me feel like I'm the one and only.

Thank heavens for Nanas.

Kate Middle Kid McClinton