Landon

Landon’s Birthday

I can’t believe we’re nearing April.  2018 seems to be off to a great start for the Dean family.

At the beginning of the month, we found some ways to celebrate Mr. Landon turning 8 years old.  On his actual birthday, he picked his favorite restaurant – Red Robin – for dinner, then we took him out for some family bowling.

It was a late night – the bowling worker told us each game might take 15-20 mins so we signed up for 2 games.  Turns out he was completely wrong and it took us about 1.5 hours to get through 2 games.  (And Dean and I were both sore the next day from so many bowls!) Of course, we made sure there was still time for a cupcake before bed!

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Then, because his birthday was on a Thursday, we spent the weekend making his special birthday cake – RED VELVET – and held a birthday celebration for Landon and his two birthday cousins (the three of them celebrate their birthday within 4 days – I know, crazy right?!)

We hit a local park for some soccer and a game of kickball – then ate some leftover cake from all the birthday celebrations from earlier in the week!

There were no Pinterest decorations or themes.  We didn’t have 30 kids come over.  It was so simple and perfect. Family, fun and beautiful weather.

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What a fun way to celebrate this sweet thing!

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You made me a mom.

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8 years ago today, you made me a mom.  You’ve been the perfect firstborn… a rule follower, easygoing – so pleasant and fun to be around.  You’ve made parenting easy (most of the time).  There are so many things that make me proud of you.

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You work hard in everything you do – whether it’s math problems, long bike rides or learning sports.  You are always 100%.  You like to work at it until you get it perfect. I wish you weren’t so critical of yourself because you are so good at so many things and I hate when you get down on yourself.

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You know when to push back and fight for your opinion and when to let things go. There’s never a fight when I say it’s time to get in bed or ask you to try new foods.  But if you feel really strongly about something, you’ll dig your heels in.  As frustrating as it can be, I secretly like when you stand your ground and fight for your way.  I know that skill will serve you so well later in life.

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At age 8, you are already so good at reading people.  As I get riled up by something, (hypothetically Brooks is still upstairs after 3 requests to get in the car for church), I feel my anger rise up and I start yelling.  Then I feel a gentle rub across my back, and it’s you, trying to calm me.  You know just the buttons to push or words to say to get 5 extra minutes of cuddle time or a few more minutes shooting hoops before dinner.

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I get a little lump in my throat when I think about you turning 8 (…halfway to drivers license status!)

You’re really turning into a young man now.  Your values and moral compass are mostly established and these next years it’s a lot of me letting go of the reins and allowing you start figuring it out on your own.  Seeing you become more independent makes me realize how much my role is changing.  It’s bittersweet because I love your growth but also already miss some of your boy-ish needs.

You’re growing into a strong, well-rounded, amazing young man and I am proud of you every single day.

I love you Landy Pandy, Bubba, Boo, Sweet Thang.

Happy Happy 8th Birthday!

Valentines love for my boys

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Dear Boys (aka my mini Valentines),

Valentine’s is a day to celebrate love.  Or as Brooks put it, “a day where people don’t hate each other”.

I love you guys… a lot.  However, I’m noticing that we’re fast approaching the age where you don’t reciprocate Mom’s love and affection as much as you used to.

I see the way you pull your hand away slightly when I try to hold it in the grocery store.  Cuddles are “just ok” now where they used to be in the top 5 of your favorite things!  You’ve clearly demanded that I not go anywhere NEAR your bus stop (for fear I’d embarrass you to death).  And any lunch dates at school have been nixed.

Little by little, time is slipping away and you’re moving from boyhood into young manhood.  I’m not ready!  I still want the cuddles and handholding. I want to be your #1 Girl (for at least 5-10 more years)! I want you to love being seen with me, even when your friends are around 🙂

It’s funny to look at life and see how it’s changing while you’re in the midst of change.  Of course, so much good is coming from your independence.  But this little piece of it, it breaks my heart.  It’s just the tiniest hint of what it will be like the day you walk out the door for college, or you head down the aisle and we have our mother/son dance.

It’s a reminder that this life will continue to fly by and I have appreciate every minute/milestone/memory I can.

So happy “day where people don’t hate each other”!  I’m going to soak in every single one of these I get with you.

Love, Mom

Big Goals

My kiddo has big goals.  In 2018, my second grader wants to make $100,000 (down from his original $300,000 goal). #weak

And while most 7 year olds want to try harder at activities like tying shoes, learning the rules of soccer or reading chapter books… mine wants to start bodybuilding. 😉

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I’d love to see what the other kids in his class came up with.  I guess Landon’s role models are Hugh Jackman and John Cena? #buffrichguys

Don’t you love to see the answers your kids give to questions like this? It’s so funny to see how their little minds work.

Recap of 2017

Hello blog… it’s been a while.  2017 was a crazy year.

In the summer we spent a ton of the time at the pool watching those boys master things like dolphin dives and backstroke. We also hit the road for our annual trip to visit Dean’s family in Baltimore.  Of course this included an O’s game.

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Brooks graduated Pre-K in the spring and got lost in the exciting world of elementary school this fall. Here is his last week with his cousins and his first day.  Yes, Brooks is definitely the extrovert in our family.
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To celebrate his new status as Kindergartener… we took Brooks on his special “mom-dad-Brooks” trip right before school started.  What can I say, it was a blast – water park, swimming, beach, donuts, ice cream.  We did it all and Brooks got to run the show, picking everything we did.

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(Side story: Dean lost his wedding ring at the water park and someone found and turned it in at the end of the day.  Talk about a miracle!)

We also took a mini vacay in September with Dean’s brother and his family.  The kids loved all the cousin time and we had a great long weekend.

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In the fall, the kids played baseball again. Both of their teams did really good. Brooks played rookie machine pitch and loved playing catcher and started getting a few hits each game by end of the season.  Landon played machine pitch for the second season in a row and his team lost in the championship game.  Landon also hit his first (in the park) home run.

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With school starting, we got into our groove in September and October. I even got to chaperone Landon’s field trip to Panther stadium.  But then, we got to Halloween and it was a rapid blur until Christmas.

We also had a few visits from the toothfairy… look at this smile (or lack of smile with that big gap in front 😉 )

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That brings us to the holidays.  For Thanksgiving we went to Asheville with my dad’s entire family (including my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins kids). There were about 50 of us! My mom coordinated a great weekend where we had plenty of family time, but also time to do whatever everyone was most interested in…. great since there were so man of us.  We did the Polar Express with my sister, brother and cousin who has kids.  We also hit the Biltmore House to see it all gussied up for the holidays. I’ve always wanted to do that, and it was great to visit it again – the first time I saw it was the day Dean proposed about 10 years ago.

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(While every other kid told Santa what they wanted out loud, Brooks insisted on whispering in Santa’s ear because he wanted to ask for Pokemon cards which is something mom banned from our house the second half of 2017 – too much fighting, leaving them all over, and not doing chores, homework, etc. because they were busy trading. The boy is ballsy – isn’t he 🙂 )

One thing that was nice this year is that we tried to take a step back and not force so much at the holidays.  We still did all kinds of fun activities like building gingerbread houses, visiting Santa, lots of Christmas movies and hot chocolate, driving to see Christmas lights in nearby neighborhoods, but I feel like we are often traveling or trying to fit in other extras and we really took a lot of that out and it was just Dean and I with our boys.  Another really special thing at Christmas this year is when we went to the Christmas Eve service, Landon raised his hand and committed his life to Jesus. That was the biggest highlight of the holiday for me.  I definitely cried when he said his prayer.

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So that was our 2017 in a single blog post (from where I cut off last Spring.)  Of course, I missed so many of the details of each month like weekends away with friends/family and special cousin activities throughout the year, but I think the highlights cover it pretty well 🙂

Landon turns 7: Cooking Party

Landon and his cousin, Harleigh, are three days apart.  They were born in the same hospital, side by side in the nursery, just down the hall from each other from the start.  They’ve been in the same preschool together and now are in the same elementary school.

While they haven’t been assigned the same teacher for K or 1st grade, they still try to find each other during lunch, recess and other times to say hi.

Plus, we are regularly doing family dinners, so the cousins get to hang out a lot.

Since we’ve started seeing more “gender separation” over the course of the past year (i.e. Harleigh wanting to do more girly activities with the girl cousins and Landon wanting to roughhouse with the boy cousins), we weren’t sure if they would still want to do a combined party – as they’ve done for every other party in their life.  We thought she might want a pedicure party and he’d want a superhero party or something.

We asked and they insisted on a joint party together and wanted to do a cooking class.  And it was awesome, because they each got to invite some of their classmates – who also know each other thru school – and everyone had a great time.

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The class was great – they did individual pizzas and molten chocolate cakes.  And to take home, they made slime/flubber.  The instructors did a great job keeping their audience engaged and also made it very interactive.  For example, if they needed 4 cups of flour, they did it in 1/2 c increments so 8 people got to do flour. So everyone got to pour, mix, add a lot of things!

If you’re in Charlotte and looking for a fun cooking experience for a kids party, Flour Power was great!

Landon Robert is 7.

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This sweet thang turns 7 today. He is the perfect firstborn.  Easy going. Responsible. Fun. Hardworking. Adorable.

There are so many things I love about this boy.  I love how his role as older brother as really evolved over the past year.  He really cares about his brother and is fiercely protective of him.

Landon, Brooks and I were on a recent bike ride and several times something happened where Brooks fell behind, fell off his bike, got stuck in the middle of a big hill and this boy just turned into super brother, quickly finding out what was wrong and helping his little brother out.  He hopped off his bike, grabbed B’s bike and walked it up the hill, then went back down and got his own bike.  There are examples like this all the time of how sweet his is taking care of Brooks.

I love how he gets along with everyone.  He is loved by so many in his class. The teachers tell me he gets along with everyone.  He’s a natural peacemaker and avoids conflict.

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He is just all-around awesome. He works hard no matter if it’s reading, helping in the yard, working on his sports skills or doing a chore like cleaning the playroom or putting dishes away.

I am so proud of who this boy is and what he stands for.  He is joy, love, kindness and tenderness all wrapped in one. I get choked up just thinking about the fact that I’m already about halfway through my parenting job.  I can’t believe he’s been my baby for 7 years already.  It’s flying by.

Happy birthday to my sweet Landon Robert.  You are the awesome-est young man and I’m so proud of who you are and what you bring to our family.  I can’t wait to smother you with kisses (while I still kinda can) and love on you all day.  I love you (times a million bajillion)!

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