Brady {Six}

 

BradyDear B,

Every year when your birthday rolls around I think that this letter will get easier to write and the truth is that every single year, before I type one word, my mind gets fuzzy and my eyes well with tears because I am truly praying for time to slow down.  Not to mention that life with you is so fun, so all consuming and so dang busy that I am two weeks late on publishing this letter.

Where to start….six years ago you rocked our world and taught us what it means to love with our whole hearts and souls.  Six years later, you have still stolen my heart.  There is this piece of me that is forever holding on to you- my first born, my gentle giant and my bubba.  You are still as easy going as you were in the early days.

You are still my snuggle buddy, the one who needs a hug each night after you take a shower and get ready for bed and the one I sleep with when your daddy is gone.  You are the one who still responds with “and back” each night when I say “I love you to the moon”.

For as naturally athletic as you are, we are seeing just how much you love sports.  From soccer, to baseball, to football and basketball, you are almost always found with a ball in you­­­r hand.  You rarely if ever stop moving.  Even bone tired, you will continue to toss a football in our family room (yes, it will need to stop at some point) with your dad.  You are competitive, wanting to win and spirited when you play.  You don’t get why peers don’t try as hard, run as fast or care as much as you do.  You love your football tracker helmets, football stickers, baseball cards and Rush Zone.  You literally eat, sleep and breathe sports.

You are toothless in the front right now, and your grin literally lights up a room.  Your smile can take away any sadness I carry.  You are genuinely kind, sweet and gentle.  For as big as you are, you are still so gently. You are accommodating to others rarely putting yourself before your friends. You let kids tackle you for no reason even though I know you hate it.  You let your sister go first even though it kills you. You are just good…at your core, you are a good kid.

Kindergarten has been a pretty easy transition. From thriving in the classroom to new friends, you have shown us how adaptable you are.  You hate homework, especially the challenge work, but you know what, you do it.   You love riding the bus.  You love field trips that your enrichment class takes.  You love morning care and the chocolate milk and tolerate after care.

Here’s the tough stuff though…you tend to be a magnet Brady socially. Kids like to play with you and you will play with just about anyone.  You aren’t picky and if you have a preference you rarely make it known.  Maybe it’s because you are big and athletic, silly and the oldest.  Being the oldest also means you can be the leader and other kids will follow. That comes with some huge responsibility.  It’s hard to be you.  Just you. And do what you want to do and think you should do.  To make good choices, the right choice even if it’s the unpopular choice.   It’s hard to choose friends that you like, that you want to play with, and that you think are nice and fun to play with.  It’s hard to say no to ones you don’t want to play with because they aren’t nice to you.   I ask you every morning before part ways,  “What’s the hardest thing to do?” and you always respond, “Be nice to everyone”.  Be a good friend.  Be kind. Be accepting.  Don’t intentionally hurt other people’s feelings.  Love others the way you want to be loved.  Most of all though buddy, remember that we love you.  You. For who you are and what you love. Be Brady.  And I promise, you will be happy.

brady2I love you,

Mom

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We Were Early

{This has been sitting in my drafts from when I didn’t post.}

We were early. We took a seat in the back half.  As I was sitting in the auditorium looking around, I only recognized two familiar faces- a neighbor and a colleague from my own school.  We were all there for the same reason. Dressed differently…some looking like they just stepped out of their offices, others coming from a workout or at least wearing the gear.  We were all here for one reason.

Kindergarten orientation.

How did we get here? How can we possibly be sending our first born to kindergarten when it feels like we just got him out of diapers and his first words were barely uttered? 

The principal, soft spoken yet assuring had a way of stopping my mind from racing and asking the same question over and over again silently in my head, “Will he be okay?”

Logistics, schedules, drop-off, the PTA, and curriculum all talked about yet all I could think about was, “Will he be okay?”

We started taking a tour with other parents. Unfamiliar and large the hallways seemed to wind in a way that didn’t make sense to me.  I felt disoriented.  Connected to none of them, walking in the back of a pack I kept thinking, “Will he be okay?”

I didn’t ask questions like the others. I didn’t talk to new faces.   I didn’t say much at all.  I was trying to take it all in- process what the school, this new place, meant for our family, our lives and our days.  New routines. A drop that does not allow us to get out.  A day that includes morning care, kindergarten, kindergarten enrichment, after school recreation, soccer and more.  And I kept wondering, “Will he be okay?”

We met 2 of the 3 kindergarten teachers.  Lovely, warm, clearly cut out to be with little kids.  We had casual conversations with other parents so confident about sending their kids to kindergarten and expressing their child’s excitement with smiles plastered on their faces and all I could think was,

“Will he be okay?”

For over 4 years, my daily commute to school has included him in the backseat. We talk. We laugh. We sing. We dance. We walk in to school together and usually a couple of times a week I get to see him in the middle of my day.

As we sat down to eat dinner after, my husband looked over at me.  Knowing that my mind was racing, consumed by thoughts of fear, anxiety and worry, he stared in to my eyes.  “He’ll be okay”.  So confident that our first born is ready for kindergarten.

I know he’ll be okay.  I know that he is so easy going that he will adapt, adjust and find his way. I know that routines will change and new friends will be found. I just hope he’ll be okay.

Brady edit

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Project 52 Week 12

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Nothing says Brady like pants that are too short because he grows like a weed, a basketball in hand because sports is his life and hair that needs to be cut because it just doesn’t stop growing.

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A Non-Kindergarten Post and Update

{Digging back in the folder of posts I never hit publish on with this one. It is not timely and probably irrelevant to most of you but this me documenting our life}

August 2014

With the anticipation of a new school year and all the posts about kindergarten starting for so many kids there is a different conversation in our house.  Brady, fortunately and unfortunately, does not make the cut-off of September 1st to enter kindergarten since his birthday is October 19th.  And Cate for that matter won’t make the cut-off either since her birthday is September 2nd (GOD HELP US).  Glenn and I both know that this is for the better in the long run.  I have read about all the benefits socially, emotionally, physically and academically.  But none of those things matter right now and it is really hard to make an almost five year old understand at this moment why so many of his friends, namely his two best buddies from daycare, are in kindergarten and he is not.

Some days he is fine with it. Really okay with it because he gets to come to school with mom for one more year and we are filling his afternoons with tennis, baseball, soccer and swimming.  And other days, he wonders why he can’t go to kindergarten and ride the bus.  Yesterday, he asked if they would still come to his birthday party.  And today he asked when he turns five in a month if he would get to go to kindergarten too.

There is so much conversation about kindergarten readiness and I will tell you as a result of daycare, he is ready. He meets every readiness standard already. I won’t bore you with his skills but yes he is so very ready.  So as a result I worry about boredom in Junior Kindergarten at our daycare. I worry about him spending his days with quite a few kids who are so much younger than him even though this will be the story the rest of his life.  I worry about him making good choices when some of the older, positive influences are gone. I worry about the connections to those boys he keenly calls “his best friends”.  How much do we push to maintain those friendships and how do we handle it if those boys, naturally, move on?

And then there are things I don’t worry about.  He plays soccer and tennis with older kids because he can and holds his own. He is being challenged to get better. He gets mad when he someone scores on him and kinetically his coordination is years ahead of his peers. Two of his friends on our block are two years older than him and he does pretty well most days with them.  He’s got some raw athleticism that is helping him bridge the age issues were facing.

I know that this is just the beginning of our journey with Brady and Cate and their ages. The first, the oldest, the choices and the mistakes.  But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that keeping him little for one more year is okay for now even if he thinks “it’s not fair”.

AN UPDATE 6 MONTHS LATER

Brady is fine in Junior Kindergarten, but I would be lying if I told you he is totally happy.  He tells us it’s boring some days.  But there are other days he tells me something he learned that literally blows my mind.  As much as I still believe he is MORE than ready academically, the best thing about another year of preschool is that emotionally he has had some time to grow, to make mostly good but a few bad choices and a year to still be little a bit longer.  5 is emotional.  More emotional than any other age that I can think of so far.  And I think this year, the growth has been there.  Sure, he could have gone to kindergarten, but I think he would have compensated for his immaturity emotionally with athletics and at some point that would stop working. He has new “best friends” and his love for his teachers is what I think keeps him happy and going. So, for now, I fill out the paperwork and worry about kindergarten for next year.

 

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Brady {Four Years}

kids 136copy2.jpglargethumbDear Brady (aka B-man, Brade, Bubba or Buddy),

I can honestly tell you that this has been to date the hardest letter I have ever had to write to you.  I open it up and close it every day some days writing nothing and other days writing so much that I end up deleting for fear of overkill.  Today, four years ago you entered this world as our first child and you have blossomed in to a little boy.  I knew nothing about being a mom and four years later you are still teach me something every day about my responsibility to you.  I catch myself for a split second every time I tell someone what an amazing kid you are because of course everyone thinks their kid is amazing.  But then, I still say it, because you truly are a remarkable little boy.  I ask myself and my people what I did to get such an amazing little boy as my son?

I can honestly tell you there is nothing I would change about you. I love your shy smile when you aren’t completely comfortable with a new person.   I love your deep belly laughs when I tickle your back.  I love the pure patience you show when interacting with your sister and letting her chase you even though it isn’t much of a contest.   I love your silliness when we talk about words like “booty”.  I love your curiosity about Chicago sports, specifically the penalty box and “the beast”.  I love the fact that you require snuggles when you wake up from a nap.  And I love that most nights for the past few months, the pitter patter of your feet come in our room at some point because you just want to sleep close to us.  I love how soundly you sleep when we are close by.

kids 041copy2.jpglargethumb

I can honestly tell you there is no place and no time I would rather be than here with you now. I don’t wish you were still a baby and I don’t want you to get older.  I am truly living in these moments with you and loving you.  Your love for superheroes reminds me that magic exists and heroes are real.  Your imagination gives me hope that there is still an innocence to being little.  And your need for us to still push you on the swing or tuck you in reminds me that you are indeed still so little even though you want to be so big.kids 037copy.jpglargethumbThis past year was a big one. We bit the bullet last November and potty trained you. You did not look back. One weekend later and we ended up being naps and night trained as well. In your true spirit, you blew us away with your ease in doing things.  That’s you nature bud. You are just an easy going, mellow kid who wants to be loved. You continue to be so mild mannered that some days I wonder where that came from.  Maybe from your paw-paw? Not your daddy and I.   You do big kid things like go with your buddy places without us.  ut yet you are tenative to try anything new.   You are an old soul in your ways that you respond yet you are such a little boy in others. Your physical stature leads most to believe you are school age but we know you are right where you are supposed to be.  You are so kind to others that at times it takes my breath away.

This morning when you woke up you asked me, “Mom even though I am big, could you still stay until I fall asleep?”   And the answer is yes, buddy. Always. I will always be here.

Happy Birthday little man!

I love you to the moon and back.

Mama

kids 124copy.jpglargethumb

 

all images via the Lewis Sisters Photography, Bloomington, IL 

 

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4

kids 136copy2.jpglargethumbDear Brady (aka B-man, Brade, or Buddy),

I can honestly tell you that this has been to date the hardest letter I have ever had to write to you.  I open it up and close it every day some days writing nothing and other days writing so much that I end up deleting for fear of overkill.  Today, four years ago you entered this world as our first child and you have blossomed in to a little boy.  I knew nothing about being a mom and four years later you are still teach me something every day about my responsibility to you.  I catch myself for a split second every time I tell someone what an amazing kid you are because of course everyone thinks their kid is amazing.  But then, I still say it, because you truly are a remarkable little boy.  I ask myself and my people what I did to get such an amazing little boy as my son?

I can honestly tell you there is nothing I would change about you. I love your shy smile when you aren’t completely comfortable with a new person.   I love your deep belly laughs when I tickle your back.  I love the pure patience you show when interacting with your sister and letting her chase you even though it isn’t much of a contest.   I love your silliness when we talk about words like “booty”.  I love your curiosity about Chicago sports, specifically the penalty box and “the beast”.  I love the fact that you require snuggles when you wake up from a nap.  And I love that most nights for the past few months, the pitter patter of your feet come in our room at some point because you just want to sleep close to us.  I love how soundly you sleep when we are close by.

kids 041copy2.jpglargethumb

I can honestly tell you there is no place and no time I would rather be than here with you now. I don’t wish you were still a baby and I don’t want you to get older.  I am truly living in these moments with you and loving you.  Your love for superheroes reminds me that magic exists and heroes are real.  Your imagination gives me hope that there is still an innocence to being little.  And your need for us to still push you on the swing or tuck you in reminds me that you are indeed still so little even though you want to be so big.kids 037copy.jpglargethumbThis past year was a big one. We bit the bullet last November and potty trained you. You did not look back. One weekend later and we ended up being naps and night trained as well. In your true spirit, you blew us away with your ease in doing things.  That’s you nature bud. You are just an easy going, mellow kid who wants to be loved. You continue to be so mild mannered that some days I wonder where that came from.  Maybe from your paw-paw? Not your daddy and I.   You do big kid things like go with your buddy places without us.  ut yet you are tenative to try anything new.   You are an old soul in your ways that you respond yet you are such a little boy in others. Your physical stature leads most to believe you are school age but we know you are right where you are supposed to be.  You are so kind to others that at times it takes my breath away.

This morning when you woke up you asked me, “Mom even though I am big, could you still stay until I fall asleep?”   And the answer is yes, buddy. Always. I will always be here.

Happy Birthday little man!

I love you to the moon and back.

Mama

kids 124copy.jpglargethumb

 

 all images via the Lewis Sisters Photography, Bloomington, IL 

 

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Buds

I’m going to tell you a story about a boy and girl. This boy and this girl met when they were twelve weeks old. They were loved and cared for by a woman who loved them like their own. The took music class together when they were not even a year. Their mamas became fast friends and even share a birthday.

B&B

They separated for awhile at the age of one only to be reunited some six months later at daycare.  They have slept next to each other on cots, played with each for hours on end, chased each other on the playground and had their fair share of tiffs.  They love each other unconditionally like siblings do. They don’t know anything else. They have been together forever. When one is crying the other is quick to console. When one is silly the other follows suit.

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She’s fearless.  He’s timid.

He’s mellow and overly sensitive.  She is full of personality and quick to console.

Today with their friends they celebrated their fourth birthdays together.

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And I stood with her mama and we wondered what the future holds… to Brady and Brooklym Happy Birthday Buds! The best is yet to come but my has it been fun to watch you grow!

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Sometimes…

all you need is some sunshine and a stick….

And yes, it is the end of March and the highs are in the 20’s. So over winter.

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Brady {Pictures}

One afternoon earlier this month, it wasn’t freezing. And Brady had all this energy to burn. He wanted to be outside. We were not sold it was the best idea but he wanted to play with sticks, pretend to dig for dinosaurs and turtle chop with the sticks that were in our yard as a result of the latest storm. 

{On a side note, I thank god after every storm that the DEAD (really dead) tree in our yard did not crash in to our house. It will be removed at the first sight of spring.}
So, I decided instead of being annoyed that it was cold, frustrated about him demanding to be outside and Cate inside I would embrace it and use it as an opportunity to use my camera.  No joke, natural light does wonders when using a camera. I found myself quickly getting to settings that were acceptable. Notice I did not say correct.  And I started pressing the shutter button. Not stopping to look and see what I captured just pressing and hoping I would get some good shots. And I think I did. 
This kid is happy. 
This kid is so kind. 
This kid is so good for my soul. 
This kid is patient and loving and caring and accepting. 
This kid is 3.5 with a soul of someone much older. 
This kid is big and little all in one body.
This kid is all mine. 
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Under The Big Top

Glenn saw a commercial that the circus was in town. I was not excited. He was. Typical. He thought Brady would really love it and but we both agreed it would be a great reward to a good start on potty training.

We asked him if he wanted to go and he said yes to see the clowns.

He told us all week that he wanted to see the clowns with the funny faces.

I was more excited that we were going to get an afternoon with our first born because I think it is important to give him some individual attention and Cate was content to stay with her nana and papa (my in-laws).  So, off we went.

He insisted on holding our hands in to the arena

It was a quick trip from our house.

We bought a sword, two soft drinks, some popcorn, cotton candy and a slushy when all was said and done for $75. Criminal prices I tell you especially if you consider he didn’t even like the cotton candy and the slushy was a nightmare to eat in its clown cup.

But it was worth it.

Using the afterglow app on my iphone

He was mesmerized.  And he danced in his seat. And he watched with anticipation, waiting, smiling and staring.  There were clowns and elephants and lions and tigers and guys on motorcycles on a wire.  That was plenty for him. And for me.

elephants in a terrible picture

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