Friday, August 17, 2012

Graham at Two and a Half



Since Jack has started school, I'm excited to be able to give Graham some one on one attention for the next six weeks or so until the baby arrives! Since he's my middle one, I really won't have much time like this to just be with him alone so I am hoping to really cherish it. I am noticing how grown up he is and it has been awhile since I posted on here about his milestones so it seemed like a good time to update.

Graham has matured greatly over the past six months or so. He really is such a sweet boy and has not at all lived up the the cliche "terrible twos." I would say our most difficult behavioral challenge with him is simply not wanting to share. This probably wouldn't even be much of an issue for a first born since he does well with friends at church and the gym. It is mainly at home with Jack that he gets frustrated with not having his toys all to himself. The boys have recently moved into the same room so that makes it even more difficult to distinguish whose toys are whose so we try to just share everything and that is challenging at times. However, we are working on it and he doesn't hit or anything, but he does break down into tears at times if Jack has something that he wants.

Speaking of tears, Graham is so much more emotional than Jack ever was, which is funny because I would say that Jack is actually more sensitive. They just handle things differently. Whatever emotion Graham is experiencing, he displays it on a grand scale. So when he is happy and excited, his face could light up a room and he is loud and full of laughter. When he is sad, his face just drops so dramatically and he can break down into tears so quickly and easily. It is really heartbreaking to see him sad, although he usually very easy to console and quick to recover. Even his language development reflects his emotional side. Jack had a very big vocabulary at this age but did not use the same words Graham uses. Many of Graham's words have to do with emotion (some of which he got from Thomas the Tank Engine which is why they seem so random). He tells us that he is sad, happy, worried, tired, mad, stern, and cross. He also tells us when he misses someone. Today he said to me, "Mommy, I am stern and I want to tell daddy about it!" Sometimes I think he's just trying to get a laugh but I just find it interesting that he recognizes and labels his emotions so well.

Over the past few months, Graham has experienced many changes and has handled them all well! Not only did he move into a big boy bed, but it is a bunk bed and it's in the same room as Jack. He has done so much better than we expected! I knew that he would be fine in the bed but was worried about him talking too much and keeping Jack awake. He does tend to want to talk and play for awhile but if Randy and I remind him to lay his head down and be quiet a couple of times, that is usually all it takes and they are both asleep within 30 minutes. I am so relieved about this since we wanted them to be very settled in their room long before the baby arrived. That is one thing off the list!

Another change was that we began potty training. Although he was very excited about it and did great with going in the potty, he still had trouble letting us know when he needed to go so we have decided to take a break and try again in a few weeks. I would love to have him potty trained before Reid is here but know that pushing it when they aren't ready usually backfires! We'll give it some more time. He does love his Thomas underwear though!

The most recent change is of course, Jack going off to kindergarten. After we dropped Jack off this morning, Graham said in a pitiful voice, "I want to go to kindergarten too!" Poor little guy definitely misses his big brother but I think he will enjoy the time with mommy and in a couple of weeks he will be starting music school twice a week and I know he will love it!

Some other milestones from the past few months:
- Vocabulary is skyrocketing! He speaks in full sentences and we are amazed by the new phrases he picks up seemingly on a daily basis.
- Ever since he turned two, he has started "helping" with "chores." These are very small things but include carrying his plate to the sink after dinner, getting out his own placemat and putting it away, washing his hands by himself, picking up his toys when he is finished with them, putting his own clothes in the hamper, etc. He really loves his little chores and especially loves the praise that follows after he has completed a task!
- He still loves singing and his current favorites are Somewhere over the Rainbow and Amazing Grace. He also likes singing the prayer song at dinner.
- His prayers have progressed greatly! Previously when I asked him to pray, it would sound something like, "Dear God, sdfasdfkj;sdfjas;dfjskdfjsd, Amen!" Now I'm hearing things like, "Dear God, sdfsfsdfs baby Reid, asdfskdfasdf Daddy at work, sdfasdfsdf Jack school, Amen." It is so sweet to hear him name his cares and concerns when praying.
- He loves books and some new favorites are Chicka-chicka-Boom-Boom, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Veggie Tales Story Bible, and Thomas book, and Good Morning, Good Night. He likes to be read to but is also now liking to "read" the books himself and it is fun to hear him recite them.
- He loves TV. We limit it of course because he could watch it all day! His current favorites are Sesame Street, Curious George, and of course Thomas.
- On a daily basis, his favorite activities include going to the kids club at the gym, going to any playground/park, having playdates with friends, going swimming at BB's, going to the church library to play with the train table, and simply playing at home in his room. If he's in his room, he is almost always playing cars. He likes to race them and just drive them around on the floor. He is also really enjoying play dough lately.

Overall, Graham continues to be extremely energetic and full of life. He does not slow down willingly! He can run away from you so fast that you won't even know it happened so I always have to have my eye directly on him. He is rambunctious and could be described as "all boy" because when he's outside, he likes to play in dirt, jump in puddles, and put leaves and wood chips all over the slide. He loves people and always tells us the names of his friends from church and other places. After playing with a friend at the park the other day, he repeatedly said, "I want to be with Luke!" the rest of the day. He just thrives on making people smile and laugh. I am so in love with this little guy and can't wait to see what he does next!

First Day of School

Jack's first day of school was a huge success! Although he was a bit nervous the previous day, on Thursday he woke up full of excitement and did not seem nervous or scared at all! He ran right into school and was sitting and coloring with his friends cheerfully when we left. I was a bit teary eyed leaving him but was so thankful that he was happy. I wasn't able to pick him up since I had to fly to Colorado for my sweet cousin's memorial service, but I got to hear all about his day when I arrived home around 5pm. He told me that kindergarten was even more fun than pre-k, which is high praise since he LOVED pre-k! He enjoyed playing with his friends, going to P.E., playing outside at recess, doing circle time and centers, singing songs, and learning about God. He could hardly contain his joy and couldn't wait to go back to school the next day. I am so very thankful for our wonderful school and all his teachers and am so glad that he had such a good experience to kick off the school year!







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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kindergarten

“The kindergarten children are confident in spirit, infinite in resources, and eager to learn. Everything is still possible.” -Robert Fulghum

I can't believe that the time has come for me to send my first precious BABY off to kindergarten. It is such a bittersweet time for me because although I absolutely love the school we have chosen, am impressed by his teacher, and know that he is smart, sociable, secure, and confident enough of a child to embrace this new experience, I am still just experiencing that grief that comes with having to "let go" of my sweet child and send him out into the world on his own for a bit.

Last night was parent orientation. Randy and I were extremely impressed with the new headmaster and were excited by the new things that are happening at Crossings via the PTF and Booster club. We enjoyed watching the cheerleaders perform and chatting with other parents, some familiar, some still strangers who will become our friends this year. We were thrilled to finally know who Jack's teacher is and were happy to find out that she is a sweet young lady, fresh out of college and excited for this new adventure. I know Jack will be loved on every day in her class! We left a bit overwhelmed thinking about all the to do's: order lunches, label everything he owns, buy a spirit shirt, double check that carpool map, read the handbook, etc.

Then this morning was student orientation. Jack has been a bit nervous about school so I was very excited for him to finally be able to see his class and meet his teacher. His apprehension really surprised me as I know I have never seen him as nervous as he was when we walked into that classroom. Typically Jack is very outgoing and has never met a stranger but he clung to my hand so tight that it made me want to cry. Fortunately, as his teacher read him a poem (at which time I DID cry, luckily I don't think she noticed...) and he looked around the room, checked out his cubby, saw all the new books, and finally met a new friend (Jacob), he slowly became more at ease and toward the end of our visit he was looking like he owned the place, laughing and playing with Jacob. I am very thankful for Jacob! Jack's favorite thing about the classroom is that there is a water fountain. He also really liked the big tent and is very proud to have his own cubby, which even has a special place to put Sally each day!

Thankfully, even though Jack didn't previously know anyone in his class, he has many other friends in the other kindergarten classes, so he will see them at recess and in chapel. He will also have some of the same specials teachers from last year, for P.E., music, computers, library, etc. This is not a new place for him and there will be lots of familiar faces!

I am a little surprised at how emotional I've been today. In some ways, I am absolutely ready to send Jack off to school! He just thrives in school and I love his excitement for learning and making friends. Also, I am looking forward to having some time to focus on Graham. With him being my middle child, this next month or so will be our only chance to have some really good one on one time on a daily basis. I want to cherish that time with him before the baby comes. But in other ways, I just can't imagine sending him off all day every day to be in someone else's care. It is just one of those milestones that you can never really prepare yourself for fully. I have spent almost all day every day with this little guy for five and a half years. He (along with his daddy and brothers) is my whole world! I will miss him so much. Not to mention the pain that I feel thinking that he may be in any way uncomfortable or scared at first. It's tough being a mommy and letting your little one grow up!

I'm hoping to get up early tomorrow to spend more time than usual in prayer. I need to thank God for the blessing of this school. Randy and I are confident that God wants Jack at Crossings this year in Mrs. Ferguson's class. I know He has plans to use Jack for His kingdom and that this experience is part of what will prepare him for that. I am so thankful that he will be in a place where the adults around him know the Truth and will model the love of Christ. I can't imagine sending him anywhere else and pray that he (and I) will remember how blessed we are and will feel God's peace throughout tomorrow and the entire year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ring Bearer

Jack had the honor and priviledge of being the ring bearer in Uncle Kenny's wedding last weekend! He had so much fun with flower girl and new cousin, Hailey, and they both did a great job and looked super cute! Hopefully at some point, I'll have some pictures of everyone else but for now, here are the two cutest members of the wedding party:







When we weren't taking part in wedding festivities, Jack got to swim at our cool hotel pool, Leapin' Louie's Lagoon!

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The Stingers

Well, it's been a hot July so several games have been cancelled, but here are some pics from one that we got to play. Jack did great! He got two great hits and got the ball several times in the field as well. We've had so much fun this season!






Hare Family Reunion

During the second week of July, we were so blessed to spend time with my dad's family, many of whom I had not seen in about 15 years!! The occasion for getting together was that my cousin David, his wife Stacey, and their four children are heading to Cameroon, Africa within the next year to begin their lives as missionaries doing Bible translation. They will be gone for four years at a time and then home for a year so before they head out, they are making the rounds to see family and friends in different parts of the country. We are so excited for them and are thankful for their faithfulness to God's will in their lives. During this trip we were able to see my other cousins, Melissa (and husband Oleg and daughter Emma) and Heather, and my Uncle Mike (dad's twin) and Aunt Colleen. It was so sweet to spend time with cousins that I haven't seen since childhood. We spent every Thanksgiving break together growing up so I have so many fond memories with them! It was a blessing to meet their spouses and children as well.

While they were here, we enjoyed spending time swimming in the pool, having great meals together, and one day we all went on an outing to the OKC zoo. It was HOT outside but it was lots of fun especially for the kids. Here are some pictures from the week:

The kiddos minus Graham (who wasn't cooperating) and Emma (who was sleeping): Zoey, Jack, Kaden, Elias, and Makyra.


The kids love the "little pool!" Mom, Melissa, Colleen, and Dad with the kiddos.


Emma and Graham


Kaden and Jack taking pictures with my phone


Me and Stacey with Makyra


Me, Dad, his aunt Sandy and his cousin John


Oleg with Emma- she was a great little swimmer!


Dave, Stacey, and Melissa


You can't tell from the picture but this was a crazy game of keep away! I believe the participants were Mike, Randy, Oleg, Stacey, Dave, Heather, and sometimes Jack. :)