Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A few firsts

When I was growing up going to the movies was a big deal. I have a very vague memory of going to see Snow White with my parents and Amy so I must have been three. But I can tell you every movie I saw through to high school. My most memorable was when I was 10 and my mom surprised us and took us to see E.T. It was summer and we were playing outside and she called us in and surprised us. I just wanted to go out and play and remember her saying it was a movie about an alien and that did not appeal to me. But it turned out to be one of my favorite movies and I loved it (thanks mom!) So all this to say that things have changed for kids today (I sound like I'm 100 years old). Really, though. A new animated movie comes out about every other month and the typical age to start going to movies is three and it isn't a rare occurrence, it's a typical activity for kids. But Tate and I both love movies and wanted to wait until the boys were a little older. We recently started to watch some of the Disney movies at home on Family Friday nights. The boys loved Monsters Inc. and laughed a lot. We went back and forth, but thought they would really enjoy Monsters University.
We didn't want to get our hopes up that they would love it too, but they did. Auntie Kerry and Auntie Nancy came along making it even more special for all of us. After it was over Peyton turned to me and asked if we could go to the movies again some time.
One of my other favorite moments was Peyton eating popcorn. He does not share my love for popcorn. But that's because he never had movie popcorn. He leaned over during the movie and said "I think I like popcorn like this. Mommy next time you buy popcorn can you buy this kind?"
I got to have Brett on my lap for the movie and although I don't know how much of the screen he can see he listened intently and laughed at all the funny spots. He really seemed to enjoy it. Jackson was sidled up to Tate eating popcorn by the fist full.
When telling people they went to their first movie most asked if they liked it. They said "yes, and we were really quiet." And they were!

Jackson and Peyton giving their tickets.

Brett turning in his movie ticket.

Before the movies with Tate, me, Brett, Auntie Kerry, Peyton, Jackson and Auntie Nancy - the Monsters University signs were already gone so we posed with Turbo the snail.

Brett enjoying his popcorn.

Peyton, Jackson and Tate just after the lights went down.

Last Friday we went to our first downtown car show. They hold them every week during the summer and we've talked about it for years, but finally did it. The boys seemed to enjoy checking out the cars, but did not like that we asked them not to touch the cars - they're so shiny it's hard not to. It was Mustang night and we met Uncle David and his brother Jimmy, Uncle Dan, Aunt Gina, Karissa and Frankie. We didn't stay long since it starts close to bed time, but it was a fun way to spend a Family Friday night.
Jackson was fascinated by the drive-in speaker on this car. It was actually playing music and he couldn't help, but lean in and listen.
Jackson and Peyton.
Brett found a Mustang that matched his wheels.

Fourth of July 2013

Jackson, Brett and Peyton

Brett                                               Peyton                                           Jackson
We've avoided parades up until this point because Brett has extremely acute hearing and some sounds really bother him. But this past year he has been doing listening therapy and has been much less bothered by noise. So we decided to give the parade in Brookfield, where I grew up and my sister Amy lives, a try. The boys had a ball!

Squatting on the curb with cousins Caroline and Sophie and Auntie Kerry.

Jackson taking a break in the shade to enjoy a piece of his parade candy.

Peyton and Brett dance to one of the bands.

We continued our tradition of hosting a BBQ and walking to the park across the street to watch the fireworks. We enjoyed time with friends and family and even had a few more families join us this year!
They were all able to stay up for the fireworks, but were begging to go to bed as soon as the fireworks were over.
The boys made patriotic pies with Auntie Kerry for the BBQ.

Jackson and his cherry pie.

Peyton trying to sneak a taste of his strawberry pie.

Brett proud of his blueberry pie.

Lots of bike, big wheel and scooter riding all afternoon. Peyton gives Sophie a lift.

Peyton, Oliver and Jackson hanging out in the yard. The boys played baseball and football for hours with Frankie (background).

Preschool ends, summer begins

It feels like just yesterday I was a bundle of nerves putting Brett on the bus for the first time. Like I just had Jackson clinging to me, wiping away tears when the school bell scared him as he went into the classroom on his first day of preschool.  I can still see the big smile and even bigger backpack on Peyton as he turned around and gave me an animated wave before disappearing behind the classroom door.
But, we are heading into a new chapter. The boys are kindergartners now.
They couldn't be more excited. I found myself dealing with mixed emotions and realized I was not just sad that this stage was over, but that it was over all at once. While many of my friends will have several preschool graduations with their various aged children, I do it once and it's done. There is some sadness to the finality of that for me and I guess I better get used to it. But it just hit me like a ton of bricks.

Jackson and Peyton had a little graduation ceremony at their school and there was Peyton (right) with that same giant smile so giddy he skipped up onto the stage.

Jackson (left) took it a little more seriously, I thought, proud he is big enough to be a kindergartner. That is until he made his diploma into a telescope. On Jackson's left is Jason their "best friend" from school.

Me, Peyton, Jackson and Tate
Jackson and Peyton and again with their friend Oliver from Sunday School, who also was in a different class in their preschool.
Brett getting a hit during his classroom t-ball game - go Highland Huskies!

Brett on his last day of school.

Brett with Mr. Chris his bus driver. He loved being on his bus. Mr. Chris would decorate the inside for holidays and said Brett would fuss at him if he forgot to turn music on each day.
So by the second week in June when Brett wrapped up we were on to summer break.
Peyton with his first day of summer sun pancake.

We have a tradition once school's out for summer we head to the library and sign up for summer reading. It is one of my favorite memories of my childhood and so we use it to mark our official start to summer. This year the boys could write their names on their folders and sign ups all by themselves. After that we head across the parking lot to our local independent bookstore. The boys each get to pick out one summer read to buy. I thought we would be there all day because none of them could decide - I loved it! Jackson chose a super hero book, Brett a story about a dinosaur going to school and Peyton picked a non-fiction book highlighting some of the all star players in MLB.

Then it's across the railroad tracks to the local ice cream shop. 

Peyton loves cherry ice cream - just like Great Grammy always did.

Jackson went with Superman ice cream - no surprise there.

Brett doesn't love the cold of ice cream, but shared a strawberry shake with me and ate all the whipped cream.
The boys again attended Vacation Bible School at our church. They loved it. It's a long week of high energy singing, dancing and fun and they are exhausted by Friday, but so bummed when it ends. This years theme was Kingdom Rock and they made the sanctuary look like a drawbridge of a castle. So fun. Brett's Sunday School teacher's teenage daughter was his buddy this year and all three boys adored her. They keep asking me when they will get to be with Tricia again!

On June 24 just before 10 p.m. we woke the boys because we thought the Chicago Blackhawks might win the Stanley Cup - and they did!!! - we didn't want them to miss it. Brett is not pictured because he was not happy to be awake. He sat with me for a minute to see the win and then put his head down and told me he wanted to go back to bed.

Enjoying some cotton candy and popcorn at their cousin's half birthday party. The theme was the county fair with lots of yummy snacks and fun games.

The boys are playing T-ball again this summer. This year it is still instructional, but they divide the kids into teams and do half instruction and spend the second half being instructed during a game setting. Brett has a park district aid named Kelsey helping him. They were very excited to get a hat and "jersey" this year.

Brett is on the gray sharks.

Peyton is on the white tigers.

Jackson is on the gray sharks with Brett. He really was more excited than the picture shows.
I just love this picture. Brett was helping me water the roses and Peyton just jumped in for a drink from the hose - this picture just says summer to me. I hope you are all enjoying a great one!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kentucky vacation

We typically go to Tennessee to visit family, but it was a special birthday for Aunt Delta and several of Tate's cousins planned a surprise family gathering to celebrate. We headed to a state park in Kentucky and had a blast. It rained a lot, but we had fun anyway. We were able to meet some of Tate's cousin's grandchildren who are close in age to the boys and they had a blast playing together. When we arrived some of the other aunts and uncles from Tennessee joined us and we knocked on the door to Aunt Delta's cabin. I think we really surprised her! We celebrated all of the boys' birthdays too. When they lit all of the almost 80 candles the smoke set off the alarm and Peyton went dashing outside. When I got out there he was standing by a tree and was very upset and crying. He was so bothered that none of the other family members ran out to the tree. It is part of our home safety plan to get out if there is a fire and meet at the tree and Peyton didn't understand why nobody else followed the rules. Once he calmed down it made for a lot of laughs.

The boys slept on the floor of our cabin. One night Brett woke up around 2 a.m. repeating the same thing over and over and laughing. I had no idea what he was saying and kept telling him to go to sleep. Finally I was so tired I just scooped him into bed. In the morning I was folding the blankets on the floor and realized that the rainstorm had flooded a part of the floor - including part of the blanket Brett had been sleeping on. I asked him if that was what he was trying to tell me and he shouted "Yaaaah!"

Chilling with the older "cousins"

Playing with Cole.

It was pretty rainy so the Tennessee aunts and cousin Terri decided to take the boys to Walmart to pick out their own birthday gifts. The boys - and the aunts - had so much fun shopping and selecting. It was great because it gave them something to play with indoors too! Thank you for being so generous Aunt Delta, Aunt Juanita, Aunt Thelma and Uncle Burt and Cousin Terry and Walt!

Hanging out in the cabins.

Hanging out on the cabin deck.
Between any raindrops the boys begged for the older cousins to play baseball. They played a TON of baseball and were in their glory.

At the cabin outside and inside with Grandma, Auntie Rhonda and Granddad.

When it was time to leave the boys were so upset. They were having so much fun and Jackson kept crying and saying he didn't want to ever leave his cabin.

Peyton wiped away his tears to console his brother.

Metropolis, Illinois was on our drive home so we took a bit of a detour to see the home of Superman. You'll have to look under the statue for the boys pretending to be the man of steel.

(above) Peyton and Jackson with Daddy and (below) Brett playing checkers with Daddy at one of our favorite vacation meal stops - Cracker Barrel.