Friday, October 18, 2013

I won't cry Mommy

How did this sweet little boy grow up so fast?  Jacob has been eagerly waiting for his turn to go to "school" just like Ben and Kate.  He was so excited all summer and pretty much potty trained himself overnight once I got around to letting him try so that he could go to school.  I was a little surprised the week before school started when he started telling me that he "felt nervous" for school to start and he began repeatedly requesting that I stay with him.  On the first day that I was suppose to leave him (there is a gradual entry) there were several kids crying.  He looked at them a few times and I silently hoped it wasn't going to ignite anything in him.  Before I left, I took him to the bathroom and while he was sitting on the toilet he looked up at me with his big, blue eyes and without any prompts from me said, "It's okay Mommy.  You can leave.  I won't cry Mommy."  Well maybe he didn't cry, but it sure made me teary eyed!  I gave him a big squeeze and suddenly my little shadow was off to preschool!  They grow up too fast!  

And I promise I didn't plan the matching shirts!  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our weekend with a caterpillar, the BYU rain delay and some Thomas Jefferson!

We'll start with the caterpillar.  Our neighbor Bill found several caterpillars and one day after school gave the kids their very own caterpillar lesson.  He taught them everything they needed to know, let them hold several different ones and even provided them with their very own chrysalis in a jar.  They were fascinated.  Bill turned care over to Kate and specifically told her not to shake the jar, to keep it out of the light and to let it go within a few hours once it turned into a butterfly.  He expected this to happen within 1-2 weeks.  

The first week went great (minus the time I walked into Kate's room and she was sitting on her bed petting the chrysalis) until Kate realized that our trip to the BYU vs. U of Virginia football game in Charlottesville, VA was coming up. "We couldn't just leave her caterpillar home alone. What if it turned into a butterfly while we were gone and died?"  She was right I suppose and so our chrysalis came along for the big trip.  About 30 minutes into our drive David asked me if I was hearing something roll around in the back.  Oops!  I had set down the jar at Jacob's feet when I buckled him in his car seat and had forgotten to secure it.  I managed to get the jar without the kids noticing and David placed it in the cup holder of the driver's door.  Did rolling the jar count as shaking?  

We continued on our drive and actually made pretty good time.  We went an alternate route in order to avoid DC and northern Virginia.  It was a really relaxing and beautiful drive.  We arrived in Charlottesville and unloaded the van into our hotel room.  While we were getting ready for the BYU team fireside David remembered we had left the jar in the van.  He went out to the van and brought it in and placed it on top of the dresser.  It stayed there unharmed for the remainder of our hotel stay. 

We quickly dressed the kids for the fireside and met up with the McDowells for a quick dinner at Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers (suggested to us by our friend Lark Fillmore).  It's fast food, but it was really good.  Of course, Kate spilled her red drink all down her white shirt!  Oh well!  From there we headed to the fireside.  It was packed, to say the least.  We got to our seats and before it even started we had every kid complaining.  Ben was mad we weren't sitting around a campfire.  "I thought this was suppose to be a fireside."  Kate was bored.  Jacob wasn't feeling well (he had a low grade fever...awesome) and Emily was just plain tired.  It was a nightmare!  I ended up taking Jacob and Emily out less than 5 minutes in.  I've sort of blocked out the remainder of the night from my memory but I may or may not remember David attempting to take an extremely deviant Kate out...her flip flop flying in the crowd...and then Mike McDowell bringing it to us in the hallway.  David and I were not happy.  We were "THOSE" people with "THOSE" kids.  We both spent the rest of the fireside in either the hall or the relief society room with Kate, Jacob and Emily (all of which were still not happy).  Ben stayed in with the McDowells.  When the fireside was over we bagged our frozen yogurt plans.  David helped me get to the van and then he took Ben back in the church to at least see some of the players.  Here is a picture of Ben with one of them...don't ask me which one.            

Saturday started off a little better (although I didn't sleep...Emily and Jacob took turns waking up all night long).  David took the bigger kids out and brought back donuts for breakfast.  We took our time getting up and ready before we headed to the BYU tailgate party.  I took these pictures before we left our hotel. 

We found the parking garage and were next in line to get our ticket when the lady came out of her booth and set up a blockade directly in front of us.  She didn't say anything to us so I got out of the car and asked if it was full.  She said they weren't sure yet so we could either stay and wait or leave.  We didn't really know where else to go and we were pretty much blocked in by the long line of cars behind us so we waited and waited and waited and waited some more.  She finally moved the sign and let us in.  We walked to the tailgate party where we had lunch.  The kids got their faces painted and each got a balloon.  All sounds great, right?  It was miserably hot outside to say the least!!!  And, it was painfully humid.  I had Emily in the Bjorn making it even hotter.  The line for the balloons was very, very long!  So long, we missed Cosmo's appearance.  After waiting for what seemed like forever, all Jacob wanted was "a little white balloon".  He didn't want the man to shape it into anything.  He didn't even want it blown up all the way.  Awesome!  Kate requested a flower and Ben wanted a cougar.  And you guessed it, 2-3 minutes after we left the balloons Jacob's balloon popped.  He was beyond himself so David did what any good Dad would do for his son (and his own sanity).  He took his keys and cut off a regular old white balloon from the tailgate tent decorations and gave it to Jacob.  Problem solved...for now.  It was fun to run into an old nursing school classmate and play catch up.  Later, a stranger came up to David and asked him if he knew a Jae Behrmann?  David told him he was his brother and the guy said, "I knew it."  He had seen David and thought their resemblance and mannerisms were too great to be a coincidence.  The guy had gone to MBA school with Jae in Texas.         

After the tailgate party, we finally headed to the game.  We found our seats and settled in.  Emily was miserable.  I felt like the world's worst mother for bringing her to the game.  It was so hot and gross.  David bought several cold waters and I just held one to her skin to cool her down.

We were barely surviving the game when someone walked through in front of us and you guessed it, stepped on Jacob's balloon and popped it.  Almost simultaneously, the heat caused some of Kate's flower petals to pop.  There was no more hanging on from there.  And of course, the kid who didn't really care about his balloon had the only remaining perfectly intact cougar balloon.  I told David he could stay with Ben and Kate, but I was taking the other two and leaving.  The first quarter wasn't even over yet.  I remembering wishing I could tell all those BYU students to enjoy those football games while they could.  Things would drastically change someday!  Just as I was about to leave, they called a rain delay in the game.  It hadn't started raining yet, but there was lightning coming.  So, we immediately got up and all headed to the van (a 20 min walk with flying debris).  We were a little turned around since our phones weren't working with the weather.  Literally, just as we arrived at the van it started to downpour.  

We picked up dinner (yes, we had Raising Cane's two nights in a row...why not?) on the way back to the hotel and turned on ESPN.  The weather delay ended up lasting for 2 hours.  Once it was over, David and Ben headed back to the game.  Kate was begging to go back with them.  Kate had been a nightmare all weekend so David didn't really want to take her and I could not blame him.  David's pure brilliance shined through when his bribery of leftover Swedish fish and licorice (if she stayed at the hotel) pulled through with shining colors.  When I finally had things under control with the 3 kids in pajamas and Emily fed, ESPN stopped coverage of the game.  The delay had caused scheduling conflicts and they switched to a different game (even though the announcers had repeatedly been promising to continue coverage in Utah and Virginia).  So, I finally got the kids to sleep and figured out how to get the game feed on my phone.  There was not much time left in the game by this point, but BYU was winning.  But, you guessed it Virginia scored within a minute or two and the game was over.  BYU lost!  Did I really just drive 4 hours for a game that I couldn't even watch on TV?  

It had been such a miserable weekend that David and I almost bagged our plans to stop at Monticello (10 minutes from our hotel) on our way home the next day.  I'm so glad we didn't because it was the saving grace of our entire trip.  Our day started off great when we remembered to pack Kate's chrysalis jar from the hotel.  If only we had remembered to take it out of the van during what ended up to be a 5-6 hour visit at Monticello!  I wonder how hot the van got that day?  I'm pretty sure we fried him.  But, of course we didn't tell Kate.  We do believe in miracles.  

Monticello was really neat, beautiful and I learned a lot.  It was the home of Thomas Jefferson (our 3rd President) and the building you see on the back of the nickel.  Thankfully, it was very kid-friendly.  Ben even told us it was more fun than the football game (which is saying a lot for this kid).  Here are some pictures from the day.          

I took a picture of this quote because Kate is always, always drawing.  Hopefully, Thomas Jefferson was right when he said this.
This is a replica of his bed.  It fits perfectly in between the walls of his office and bedroom.

The gardens and scenery were beautiful.  Their cafeteria is full of "Monticello grown" food.    

This is Thomas Jefferson's grave.  It says, "Here was buried Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence 
Of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom 
And Father of the University of Virginia."
Those were the 3 things he wanted to be remembered most for.  Somehow, I never knew that he died on July 4, 1826.  The 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  I think that is significant.    

Living in Baltimore has given us a wonderful opportunity to explore our American heritage and has made me that much more patriotic and appreciative of our freedoms!  

(Follow-up on the caterpillar:  We convinced Kate that the chrysalis probably wasn't going to ever turn into a butterfly.  She took the news gracefully and decided to return it.  She said her goodbyes and ventured over to Bill's house with Ben.  But, much to my surprise they returned WITH the jar.  Bill googled it and told them that sometimes they hibernate all winter and don't come out until Spring.  Their faith was renewed.  Just as I was about to fess up they told me "if it doesn't come out in the spring it was probably because Ben accidentally dropped the jar on the way to Bills."  I just don't have the heart to fess up and so our fried friend remains in his jar on top of Kate's dresser.  What are the chances it will disappear without being noticed?  To Be Continued)    

Friday, September 27, 2013

First Day of School! August 26, 2013

Where did the summer go?  I'm still not sure!!!  Ben is already in 3rd grade and Kate in 1st!  This is a picture of Ben with his teacher Ms. Berlinger at "sneak a peak at your seat" day.  

Kate got the teacher of her dreams, Miss Baker!  Blond hair.  Blue Eyes.  Even the same initials as Kate, KB.  Kate was in heaven.  She absolutely adored Miss Baker.  She even made Miss Baker a card for their first visit.  Miss Baker immediately hung it on her chalkboard (the blue, red and yellow house in the background).  They were a perfect least until the school added another 1st grade class (3 weeks into the school year) and Kate was one of the lucky (or unlucky) ones that was chosen to be moved to a new class.  When I broke the news to Kate she was HEARTBROKEN!!!  She cried for hours.  She locked herself in her room and didn't come out until she had figured out a plan to tie up one of Miss Baker's students and put their clothes on so she could sneak back into her class.  When she realized that wouldn't work, she broke out singing Taylor Swift's song, "We are never, ever getting back together."  Where and when did she even learn that song?  She was a mess.  What will her teenage years bring?  I emailed the teachers.  I phoned the principal.  No luck.  It was set in stone.  And so, I'm still working on getting an updated picture of Kate and her new teacher Ms. Ritz.  I'm sure in the end Ms. Ritz will be a great teacher (maybe even the best teacher for Kate), but she's going to face an uphill climb from this little blond, blue eyed KB.     

Pictures from the porch and the bus stop on the first day (the day the school bus never came)!  

This is a picture of Ben and his best friend Cooper.  One of my favorite pictures.    

And here is Kate (she is the life of the bus stop too)! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Summer Moments

 Here are some of my favorite pictures from the summer that helped capture our comings and goings!

July 4th:  The calm before the storm.  Jacob freaked out when the fireworks started and David had to take him to the van. 

Lots of cute pictures of the girls all ready for church.

Somewhere in the mix of things, I finally got around to potty training Jacob.  He did amazing.  Once I finally decided to do it, he only had one or two accidents!  He loved those underwear!  

I put Ben to work.  He started earning an allowance and helped me so much with the other 3 kids!  Emily loves her second mother.

We attempted to teach Ben to ride a bike (again)!  His fear of falling keeps getting in the way.  This picture was David's attempt of cheering him up after one of the many times he stormed off.  That little girl in the background begged and pleaded to have a turn without her training wheels on.  David finally gave in (after 1-2 hours of no success with Ben).  She practically rode off into the sunset on her first try.  Ben was NOT happy!  Kate beamed with pride!  Another example of the fact that we all have our unique talents and struggles!  

We spent many hours at the pool with this cute, little angel.  

And literally on the last day of summer Ben finally had the courage to take the swim test I had been encouraging him to take all summer.  He passed without any problems and loved the 10 minutes he had left to jump off the diving board.  He was so proud of his "Gangnam" style jump!  

 The kids enjoyed the 24th of July Pioneer Day Party.  They were suppose to dress like Pioneers.  Kate and Jacob were excited to, but Ben wanted no part.  He told me he would dress like Brigham Young and came upstairs in his BYU basketball outfit.  Worked for me....points for creativity!  

We made our first trip to the Maryland State Fair.  David had a momentary lack in judgment and let Kate pick a trumpet for a prize.  We all regretted it.  It took awhile, but it finally wore off!    


And last but not least, David enjoyed his 34th birthday with some German Chocolate cake.  We attempted to re-create his 7th birthday!