Landon

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.

swim

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.
kinder

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.

kinder trip

(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.

vacay

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.

fallball

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 😉 )

tooth

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.

tgiv

(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.

xmas.jpg

 

santa
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 🙂

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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.

L bday 7lbday72

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.

lrd7

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.

fall leaves L

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)!

rock3

 

Parenting battle: Leaders vs. Followers

On a recent run, I had a realization about my parenting. (I think most of my realizations in life come on runs. I think that’s where God likes to talk to me.)  Lately, I’ve noticed my firstborn is really starting to “follow the crowd” at school.  He’s skipping out on participation and theme days because all of his friends aren’t participating.  This same boy who just a few months ago loved to do all the “extra” activities has now decided that he’s too cool to participate because his friends don’t want to.

I’ve tried to reason with him that it’s actually great practice to stand up and do what you do, even if your friends don’t think it’s a “cool” choice.  After all, the battles he’s facing now with peer pressure are nothing compared to what he’ll face in the next 5-10 years.  I want to set him up for success in life by being able to confidently make his own choices, even if no one else is making that same choice.  The ol’ “if your friends are jumping off a bridge” conundrum.

My realization came less with how things are going with Landon (my firstborn), but more with how I’m handling my secondborn – Brooks.  Brooks is the epitome of “leader” – that boy doesn’t follow any crowd.  When everyone else is playing a game, he’s completely content to go do something else he wants to do.  He has this cool confidence with his choices.  And the challenge is trying to “break him” of always doing things his way.

I realize that I have to be more careful with what I’m teaching him.  He’s a leader and outside of the box thinker, and I don’t want him to learn to “be part of the crowd”.  It’s really the balance of pushing him to lead but also helping him recognize times when he needs to follow (i.e. when the class is working on an assignment is not the best time to ‘do his own thing’).

I admire Brooksie’s confidence and the way he doesn’t do the same thing that everyone else does.  But with that means he’s going to defy my directions more often and push harder to do things his way.

Alternately, while Landon is a rule follower and often very quick to obey anything I ask him to do, I’ve also found he’s quick to follow the guidance of his friends.

Thus my parenting struggle, pushing one to disobey the rules a little more and gain more of his own voice, while finding small ways to keep my independent spirit in line so he isn’t always trying to run his own show and he knows when he it’s time to comply.

Two sons.  Complete opposites.  Parenting challenge.

 

Missing the lasts.

It’s hard to know when the “lasts” will occur with my kids.  Some things are on a calendar – like the last time they’ll be part of the preschool Christmas pageant (this Friday) or the last First Day of School (we still have a ways to go for that one).

But some lasts you can’t estimate.  When is the last time they’ll ask me to come tuck them into bed, or the last time they’ll sneak into my bed on cold mornings and snuggle between Dean and I.

With those kinds of lasts, you go about your day and then like a bolt of lightning it hits you – when was the last time ___(insert moment)__ happened.  You rack your brain to remember the last time it happened… when they last asked you for help with their shoelaces or zipping a jacket.  As my boys grow and become more independent, I often find myself thinking about little things I love and how much longer I’ll get to have them.

  • believing in Santa at Christmas
  • giving mom kisses and holding her hand
  • checking their teeth after brushing
  • getting excited to put up Christmas decor
  • unsolicited hugs from Brooks – he just comes up at random moments with arms wide open
  • asking to watch a cooking show with mom
  • packing their lunches
  • sweet, innocent prayers together
  • wanting to go on bike rides with mom
  • sleeping with their special blankies

There are so many sweet Landon-isms and Brooks-isms that have already passed.  Landon no longer says “valinna” (instead of vanilla) and no longer carries Chubby around everywhere.  Brooks stopped kicking stuffed animals out of his bed and his dino obsession is waning.

And it leaves me wondering what will be next to go.  I hope it’s not holding mom’s hand!

Halloween recap: stick ’em up!

My kids are obsessed with police.  Brooks has been asking since the spring for REAL metal handcuffs.  Not plastic ones like kids have but police ones so he can “lock people up”.

When he had to answer the question and draw a picture of where he’d go if he could drive, he picked the police station.

If we’re out driving and he’s having a hard time getting his last buckle snapped, he’ll say “mom, don’t drive yet, I don’t want the police to take me to jail for not having my buckle on.”

My boys are constantly playing jail and bad guys.  And I can’t tell you how many “things” have become police objects.  Paper clips bent into little metal guns.  The collar from a stuffed animal turning into cuffs.

You can imagine how excited they were the day before Halloween when I pulled out their new costumes.  They had no idea I’d bought them cop outfits:

These sweet boys can arrest me any day of the week.