Spectacular Seven

Last Friday (I’m a week late!) Jamie turned seven.

He is still the most challenging of the two of them but what he takes from me in frustration he gives right back in love and snuggles.

This last year has seen Jamie grow so much in so many ways. He’s finally learning how to express his anxieties so we can work through them. He’s is more willing to listen to us when we try to help him and his frustration level is much lower as a result. That’s not to say that he doesn’t get frustrated. He does. YES, HE DOES. But it’s less often and less intense than it used to be. He’s learning to deescalate.

He’s doing so well with school. Full day school was the answer we all needed. He has an amazing teacher who is kind and understanding and with all that he’s learning, he’s not bored.

He is his own self at all times; Jamie will be Jamie will be Jamie and I just love that about him. It can be frustrating, yes, when we clash, but in the end, knowing that my kid isn’t going to change to please others makes me happy. I know it will serve him well.

I just love having older kids and the more that Jamie leaves those early, dependent years behind him, the more delight I take in him (and Liam!). Babies are great but kids are AWESOME.

So, Happy Birthday, my dear Jamie! You brighten my days with your bear hugs and your snuggles. Never stop being you because you’re pretty great.

Yes, that's a pink cake. That's what he requested so that's what he got.

Yes, that’s a pink cake. That’s what he requested so that’s what he got.

Exciting Eleven

Once again, another birthday has rolled around for Liam and this time he turned eleven. Each year goes so fast! Eleven! Already!

Liam’s love of Star Wars and Legos lives on. He also enjoys video games, rolling around the house on his hoverboard, watching TV, not cleaning his room, and hanging out with his friends. He and Jamie have reached detente (at least most of the time) and play together happily (again, most of the time).

Liam is still a good student. He enjoys math and science but only tolerates English and reading. He gets along with other kids and makes friends with lots of different kids. I love this about him. He’s not afraid to befriend the kid that maybe has a harder time fitting in as well as the kid that is popular.

I’ve said before that I love having big kids and it’s still true. Being eleven is pretty awesome. Liam cracks jokes and helps with his brother and is slowly, but surely, becoming a tiny adult. He still gives hugs (and asks for them in return). I keep expecting that to change but I’ll happily accept them for as long as he’s willing to dole them out.

In short, Liam is a great kid and I’m grateful that I get to be his Mom.

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Fabulous Five

It’s official. There are no more toddlers in this house – only big growing boys who eat everything in the cabinet and ask for more.

Last week, Jamie turned 5. I remember this being a huge milestone for me in regards to Liam. It was like I let go of all the baby stuff and took hold of kid things. It helped that Liam’s language has always been ahead of the curve so at five he was going on fifteen.

Now I pass this milestone again with Jamie and once again, the baby is clearly gone and all that is left is my KID. Honestly, I absolutely adore that. I just love having older kids and I am so excited that Jamie is finally at a point with language where he says hilarious things. He is SO READY to go to kindergarten next year – I don’t know how I’m going to keep him occupied this summer.

Comparing older to younger kids is often an odd thing for me. There are things we let Jamie do that we would NEVER have allowed Liam to do at the same age. Some of that is parental worry with the first child that turned into being more laid back with the second. Jamie gets exposed to a fair bit of TV I wouldn’t have allowed Liam to watch at age 5 – and that’s because he has a 9 year old brother. It’s just too much to try to police that.

In the same breath, there are things Liam did at 5 that Jamie isn’t doing. He still can’t sleep all night without an accident. He still doesn’t dress himself. He knows HOW to do this but he doesn’t. With his stubbornness and temper this is a cross that I’ve chosen NOT to hang myself on. It’s faster and easier to do it myself. He is capable of dealing with his needs in the bathroom without help so he’s fine in school. I figure the rest of it will come in time. No college-aged person allows their Mommy to dress them, after all.

His birthday was really fun. As always, we kept it low-key and just family. Since we weren’t celebrating until the evening, we allowed him to open one gift in the morning to tide him over. That helped take the edge off quite a bit.

In the afternoon, we skyped with my parents so they could wish Jamie a happy birthday. I also let him open his presents from them while we were talking so they got to see that. Technology is pretty awesome sometimes.

Scot’s parents came over in the evening and we did dinner, presents, and cake. Jamie loved all his gifts and he’s been playing with them non-stop since Tuesday. One of his presents was a Plasma Car¬†and this was a HUGE hit. Liam loved it, too (so much so that we got him one just to stop the arguing over Jamie’s). Jamie rode that thing around the house for several days then it finally got warm enough to take them outside. I loaded up the kids and the cars and went to a big empty parking lot so they could ride with abandon.

I think he likes it.

I think he likes it.

Liam is a fan as well.

Liam is a fan as well.

It was a great birthday. I’m ready to experience all the fun that five brings.

Picture Perfect

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, get ready to read a novel. I have a whole bunch of stuff I’ve wanted to share but have been lazy about getting off the camera.

Christmas tree with presents

Christmas tree with presents

Stockings left by Santa

Stockings left by Santa

The destruction after opening presents.

The destruction after opening presents.

Scot got a wookie robe for Christmas.

Scot got a wookie robe for Christmas.

Outside Phipps when we went to see the Winter Flower Show at night.

Outside Phipps when we went to see the Winter Flower Show at night.

Also at the Winter Flower Show. These things changed color.

Also at the Winter Flower Show. These things changed color.

Scot does his best Vanna White.

Scot does his best Vanna White.

Eleanor Grace Rigby Roosevelt-Taylor

Eleanor Grace Rigby Roosevelt-Taylor

My Valentine's nail design

My Valentine’s nail design

I finally got around to making me look like me again. I dyed my hair. Subtle change but I'm back!

I finally got around to making me look like me again. I dyed my hair. Subtle change but I’m back!

This is how my kids play in the snow.

This is how my kids play in the snow.

This was Liam's birthday cake. I was pretty proud of it. It's festive!

This was Liam’s birthday cake. I was pretty proud of it. It’s festive!

 

Nifty Nine

Here we are on Groundhog’s Day once again and today we celebrate Liam’s ninth birthday.

What an amazing and awesome kid I have, you guys. In his eighth year he earned a black belt, continued to pull in straight A’s at school, became more independent, and had too many other accomplishments to name them all.

He is sensitive and caring. He is sometimes fractious and temperamental. He is smart and loves learning. He’s handsome and outgoing. His classmates voted to give him a “Positive Person” award at school for being helpful and kind.

Can you tell I’m bursting with pride?

He’s starting to turn into a mini-adult and it’s happened so much sooner than I thought it would. Parents have so few years to shape and mold their children into good, caring people. I hope that we’ve taught those things to Liam. I hope we can continue to instill them in him. I hope that we can guide him through the upheavals of the pre-teen and teen years.

For all of his growing maturity, he still likes a good hat, though.

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Happy Birthday to my first baby, the boy who made me a mother. May Year Nine be as magical and wonderful as possible!

Tidbits

1. I have officially completed my Anatomy and Physiology course. I only got 2 wrong on the final and I got a 98% as the final grade. Solid A work. The week leading up to the final was a little hectic for me as I was trying to study and do a thousand other things at the same time, but I got the prep work done and passed so now I get to sit back and relax for a little bit.

In January, I will register for my first cluster of classes toward the medical coding certification. The first cluster of three classes is Healthcare Delivery Systems, Medical Terminology, and Computer Basics in Healthcare.

I suspect these will not be scintillating courses but that’s OK. At least it’s self-paced so I don’t have to sit through in-person lectures.

2. I don’t remember if I talked about this on the blog last year but Liam had some boredom issues at school in second grade, particularly in math. It was too easy for him and he was complaining about going to school because of it. I did speak with his second grade teacher and she said that Liam didn’t have the test scores to qualify for enrichment but that she could gather some extra materials for him to work on if he finished ahead of the class.

Then she didn’t do any of that.

So this year, I spoke to his third grade teacher about the issue. I stressed that I knew he didn’t have the necessary test scores but that he WAS bored in math last year and his biggest complaint was that math was too slow. I really, really like his teacher this year and her response to this was “Well, I don’t really go by test scores, I go by what I see in the classroom.”

Earlier this week, Liam came to me and said “Mom, they finally got the message about math being too slow. I go see Mrs. H once or twice a week for 30 minutes for extra math stuff. It’s just the right amount of challenging.” He seemed really happy about it and I’m happy for him. It is amazing the difference a caring teacher makes.

3. Ellie turned one yesterday. Because the kids wanted to celebrate, I took humiliating pictures of her, baked her doggie birthday cupcakes, and bought her a new bone to chew. So here is my poor dog dressed up for her birthday.

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Dejected, humiliated spaniel.

Dejected, humiliated spaniel.

Peanut butter frosting and a milk bone decoration.

Peanut butter frosting and a milk bone decoration.

 

Fantastic Four

On March 4th Jamie turned 4 years old and it’s possible that I did a little jig of glee in celebration of the end of three. Maybe.

There is so much I want to say about Jamie at age 4. Remember a few months ago when I was worried about his speech? Well, he’s made huge strides since then. He is understandable 80 to 90 percent of the time now. He still needs to work on articulation of particular sounds – k and g are really giving him fits – but he’s *really* talking now. He’s good enough that I can now start to correct grammar instead of just being grateful I can translate gibberish. He’s willing to try saying difficult, multi-syllabic words, too. Behold!

Fear not, he can actually count correctly. In fact, he can count correctly all the way to 15 and he recognizes more numbers than you might expect. This morning at the grocery store he pointed at the aisle number of a neighboring check out and said “Sixteen, Mommy!” He was right. It was 16.

Thanks to his Christmas gift of a Leap Pad (BEST. THING. EVER.) he is learning to recognize and write his letters. He knows how to spell his own name (and recognize it) and he can at least write the “J.”

The other day he drew a picture of me and asked me to write my name on it. So I did. And then he copied it. Then I wrote “Dad” for him and he did the same thing.

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Music is one of Jamie’s favorite things. He’s always making up songs or singing ones he knows. He asks for music in the car and he likes to have a good family boogie on a regular basis. He turns his toys into musical instruments and microphones. Almost every night before bed he wants us to sing The Winnie the Pooh Theme Song.

Using my vacuum attachments to make a mic and stand.

Using my vacuum attachments to make a mic and stand.

His birthday was lovely and he enjoyed all his presents and his cake. Last night when I gave him a slice of cake for dessert, he gave the cover of the cake stand a loving pat and said “I love you, chocolate cake.” Indeed, child. Indeed.

The destruction left after unwrapping presents.

The destruction left after unwrapping presents.

 

Blowing out the candles!

Blowing out the candles!

He’s gotten so much taller over the last year. He’s now wearing some of the clothes that Liam wore in Kindergarten. It makes my brain hurt. It does not seem all that long ago that Liam was in Kindergarten but less than a year from now, I will be registering Jamie for school.

He still has his moments when The Terrifically Terrible Threes peek through but I’ve noticed a definite change in his behavior lately and I’m so glad to see it. I was ready to say goodbye to incessant ¬†power games with him. There is nothing like the advent of rational reasoning.

Four is going to be fantastic, I just know it!