Zachary’s birthday was last Sunday, December 7th. He has been looking forward to turning 4 for quite some time. For the last year, any time anyone would have a birthday in which they would turn anything over age 3, he would inform us that he was still three with disappointment. So, it was with great anticipation that he starting counting down the days on November 27 — 10 days before his birthday.

I asked him several times what the big deal was about turning 4, and he explained to me that several things would happen when he was 4:
* he would no longer be a baby – though I explained to him that he would always be MY baby, he was pretty insistent on this one. It really threw him when I told him that Scott was still Grandmama’s baby and that Grandmama was still Gran’s baby…

* he would no longer suck his thumb – we have been passively working on getting him to give up this habit. Having been through before with Emily, we knew better than to push too hard until he was ready. He had decided that he would be ready when he was 4. So, on the night of his birthday, we told him to try to only suck his thumb at bedtime. No point in going cold turkey on a 4 year old habit! Well, I have to tell you that he has done so well. He hasn’t sucked his thumb at all since last Monday night. Not even in bed!

* no more dragging his blanket everywhere – he has carried his “blank with fringe” with him everywhere he went for the past 4 years. He still plays with it around the house, but that’s it. No more getting dragged into the car and begging to take it with us wherever we’re going.

* play on the computer – Timo LOVES to play on the computer. Somehow, Zachary has gotten it in his head that he would suddenly know how to play on the computer when he turned 4. I was willing to show him how to play before then, but he really wasn’t interested. Well, this week, he came to me and asked if he could play on the computer. I opened the NOGGIN website for him, showed him which mouse button to click and he was off and running! All our educational games have gotten pretty scratched up through the years. I guess that’s something we should put on his Christmas wish list…

* go to school – I’ve been surprised that he hasn’t asked to go to school this week. Anytime he would tell me that he would be going to school when he was 4, I would remind him that he would after he’d been 4 for a few months. He’ll be going to pre-K in the fall.

There have been other things mentioned, but those are the top 5. Turning 4 was a BIG deal in his mind. So, we started planning the celebration in early November and the celebration really started at Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving, he had a mini-party at Gran & Ol’ Granddad’s house where he got to open his presents from Grandmama & Granddad and Gran & Ol’ Granddad. He was quite excited to get a Ben 10 Alien Creation Chamber and some “dollars” (that he later used to buy a Dora game for his Leapster). We all spent the rest of the weekend making aliens.

We came home from Amarillo on Saturday. The next few days were rather tame as far as celebrating his birthday were concerned. We put up Christmas decorations and continued the countdown to December 7th. Grandmother & Granddaddy arrived on Friday. Their visit was mainly to see the kids (and, I like to believe, to see us), they were also coming to see the new house since they had not been up since we’d moved back to Plainview. We’re hoping that we’ll be in yet another new before too long, but that’s for another post.

Friday evening was spent enjoying spending time with Grandmother and Granddaddy. We left the house once and drove ALL the way to Wayland to see the living nativity before dinner, but that was our only outting. Before bed, I baked a birthday cake to be iced the next day. As he smelled the baking cake, Zachary knew he would soon FINALLY be 4.

Our plan for Saturday was to go to Chuck E. Cheese in Lubbock. We always let the birthday child choose one special meal for their birthday, and that was Zachary’s choice. We had big plans for the 7th, so we went on Saturday. I decorated the cake to look like an Omnitrix (from Ben 10) so we could take it with us. We decided to let him open his gifts before we went. He likes to dress up like the characters in his shows. We had got him some clothes similar to what Ben wears in the show, and we thought it would be fun for him to dress up like Ben to go to Chuck E. Cheese. He was very excited to get his own Leapster (so he doesn’t have to beg Timothy to let him play his anymore), Diego checkers, cards, and “magic ink” coloring book, and his Ben clothes (a green windsuit). We arrived at Chuck E. Cheese around 2:00 and had a great time.

On Sunday, Zachary decided to wear his “Easter suit” to church. We have a “Birthday Champ” ribbon that he wore proudly. He had a great morning telling every one that it was his birthday. Because he’s 4, he now gets to go to worship with the family. We had a great time worshipping together. After church, we went to lunch and then headed home.

Now, for the evening, we had a decision to make. After getting the tickets for his REAL birthday gift, a ride on the Polar Express, we had found out that the Children’s Choir Christmas musical was that night. All the kids were scheduled to sing. The service started at 6 and we had to be at the Polar Express Train Station in Lubbock by 7:45. We probably could have done both, but our time would have been rushed. So, we explained to a tearful Emily (the boys couldn’t have cared less) that we’d be skipping the musical. We arrived at the train station at 7:45, picked up our tickets at will-call, and found our place in line to get on Train Car 1.

The train ride was wonderful! Zachary enjoyed letting everyone know that it was his birthday. The whole train car sang Happy Birthday to him twice! Everyone enjoyed singing, dancing, listing to the “Polar Express” story, having hot chocolate and cookies, and of course, getting to see Santa and his Elves.

These pictures are from Chuck E. Cheese and the Train Ride.

There has been one interesting development of letting Zachary open his presents before his actual birthday. Any time someone asks him what he got for his birthday, he tells him that he didn’t get anything. He got a Leapster, Ben 10 clothes, Diego checkers, and an Alien Creator when he was 3, but he didn’t get anything when he was 4. Little turkey…



Timothy’s First Day of School

* August 20

Today was Timothy’s first day of Kindergarten.  He is attending the 1/2 day program at Plainview Christian Academy, a private school here in town.   Like most public schools in Texas, Emily doesn’t start until next week.

timkinder1When I took Timothy to school this morning, he went right on in with little more than a hug goodbye.  We had meet the teacher last night and he has the same teachers that Emily had, so we’re pretty familiar with the routine there.  When I picked him at 11:30, he was very upset because he wanted to stay at school like a lot of the other kids at school get to do.  The teacher assured me that was the only time of the day that had been upset.  He had a great day!

timkinder2Since I am working outside of the home now, we considered putting him in the full day program.  Emily attended the 1/2 day program when she was in Kindergarten because she was still 4 when school started, she had never attended a full day program away from mom before then, and I was still home full time.  Timothy has been 5 for 3 1/2 months and attended the full day at Calvary last year because I worked there, so he is technically “ready” to go full days.  But the schedule worked out that he doesn’t have to stay all day and, as we explained to him, the kids at his school lay down for naps in the afternoon.  Timothy hasn’t taken a nap in several years, and I can just imagine how things would go if he were made to lay down at school.  Once we told him about that, he was okay with going half days.  Since either Scott or I will be home in the afternoons, we will be sure to make afternoons lots of fun.


So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen

No matter how you say it, it’s goodbye. Tonight a bunch of the ladies and I from the preschool got together for a night out. They said it was farewell (NOT GOODBYE!) for me and welcome baby for another of the ladies who worked there, but honestly it was just a chance to get together. I hadn’t seen many of these ladies since school got out, so it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up on what everyone had been up to. I am quite proud of the fact that I made it through the evening without crying, despite all the wonderful cards and gifts.

Timothy’s teacher wasn’t able to make it. She’s a very enthusiastic person, so she came up in the conversation several times. The stories about her brought to mind when Scott had asked me if we would ever get the “Robertson” out of Timothy, as we’ve seen many of her mannerisms come across in some of his expessions over the last few weeks. I told the other ladies about Scott saying that, and they remarked that Mrs. Robertson has a lasting effect on her kiddos so it would be a while before it wore off. This year has had an effect on me as well, and I don’t plan on letting it wear off anytime soon.

In preparation for the evening, I got to do something that I never do. I went shopping for a new outfit. And I even got to paint my nails. As I was painting my toenails, Zachary came to see me. Little visits like this are the main reason I usually don’t paint my nails. He came in and, in true three year old fashion, asked me if I was painting my fingernails. I told him I was painting my toenails, and would do my fingernails in a minute. He proceded to try to touch the nails, at which point I reminded him that they were wet. So, he asked if I was going to dry them. Once he understood that I was going to let them dry, he asked me why Emily had painted her nails. As I was explaining to him that sometimes girls like to paint their nails so they can look pretty, he lost interest and told me he was hungry. Yep, he’s a boy alright. Playing with his sister’s Barbies hasn’t messed him up too much.


Hanging with the Boys

Emily has been gone to GA camp since Monday.  She’ll be home this afternoon.  With the exception of times that she has visited grandparents, this is the first time she has been away from home for more than one night.  We went to visit her last night for family night, and she is having a great time. 

I am looking forward to her return.  Her absense has made me realize how much the boys depend on her for entertainment.  They have kept us busy.  On Monday, Timothy decided he wanted his bed to be turned into a bunkbed again.  We had taken it down last Fall because he was having some trouble getting off the bed to go the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Now that he’s older, that shouldn’t be a problem.  So, we put the bed up and rearranged toys to occupy the space that his bed used to have.  We installed some pet nets for stuffed animals in each room and arranged their toys on them. The rest of the day was spent playing with toys we had pulled from the closet to fill the space in their room.  It was a fun day.

On Tuesday, the boys and I went to a local library where Kenny’s Korral had set up a petting zoo.  Kenny’s Korral is Lubbock’s answer to not having a zoo.  Timothy’s class had gone there on a field trip in May, so he was very excited to get to see Kenny and the animals again.  Zachary really liked seeing the animals.  He even fed a goat from his hand. He said it ticked.  An added bonus for Zachary was getting see a friend from school.  The two of them hugged for a long time and even exchanged a couple kisses.  This really disturbed the friend’s older sister, who said she would get in trouble for doing that.  Her babysitter and I told her it’s okay at 3, but not 7.  She seemed okay with that.

The rest of the day was spent running some errands and more playing.  We had considered going to see Emily, but decided it would be better to go on family night so she wouldn’t be one of the few kids without parents there.

On Wednesday, we went swimming.  The boys had been begging to go, so we finally consented.  We knew we had to leave town by 4 to go see Emily, so we decided to go to the pool as soon as it opened at 12.  We were the first ones there.  Scott was quite proud that he was the first person in the water that day.  We swam for a couple hours, then decided to head home for lunch and then off to see Emily.  We were at camp for about an hour and a half before heading home.  It was wonderful getting to see Emily and hear about all the fun she’s had.  When it was time for her to go to worship, we tearfully said goodbye and headed home.  When we got home, we changed the bedding in Sneakers cage and gave him fresh food.  We put him in his ball and let him run around the first floor of the house for a while.  He moves fast!

That has been our week with only two kids.  It’s been a little quieter and a lot less exciting without Emily.  She’ll be home in just a few hours, so I better get some things done so I can spend some quality time with her.  I am sure she will have lots of camp stories to share.


They Learned

School ended for the boys and me yesterday. Scott has greatly anticipated this event. He’s been out of school for three weeks, and has been home alone a lot since then. He’s kept himself busy with the kids’ end of year things and playing catch up on some work things he needed to do, but he told me that he’s been a bit lonely. Now he has someone to hang out with again. Awww….

I am ready for summer. This year was a big change from my previous jobs in Parent’s Day Out. As the director, I never truly understood the work of the teacher. Now I do. If things go as planned, I will not be in a classroom fulltime next year. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it immensely, but there are things I will not miss. In the last 9 months, I have given a hand in potty training 14 children (3 were already trained when they came to me), I have gently held kids down until they fell asleep at naptime (or at least until they looked like they were asleep), I have wiped countless noses and other body parts, kissed booboos, consoled kids who missed their mommy, dog, dad, grandma,…, pulled kids off of monkey bars, tables, shelves, and other children, put kids in time out only to find them doing the same thing the minute they get out of time out, and swept up animal crackers, raisins, hot dog pieces, smushed up peanut butter sandwiches and so on…. I even got slapped in the face and spit at a time or two. There have been days when I never wanted to see a three year old again, and then I took one home with me. Thus, the hope for an assignment change next year.

And, I have fallen in love. There were days that I would go determined to remain in the foul mood I arrived in, and a child would cheer me up in spite of it. Those 17 kids touched my life. There are things I will truly miss. All those things I listed before made it hard, but they managed to creep into my heart. I got daily hugs and requests to be held (even from the kid that slapped and spit), was told I was beautiful, received artwork made at home especially for me, invitations to play with dinosaurs, babies, cars, books, puzzles (and even to come to their house to play those things there), and was admired for my drawing ability (which I really don’t have any of!). By the end of the year, they stopped showing me what they got out of their nose. They had learned where to get the tissues and how to wash their hands. They learned to throw away the paper towel instead of sticking it in the drain or just throwing it on the floor. They got better at keeping their food on the table and to throw it away when they were done at lunch. They didn’t leave my room knowing all their letters, colors, shapes, and numbers, but I think they are ready to learn those things from their next teacher. They are moving on to other things, and I am too. They probably won’t remember me years down the road, but I will always remember them.
One of my younger kids had a tendency to use the entire bottle of soap when she washed her hands. She pumped and pumped until she had washed not only her hands, but her arms, face, and clothes. I reminded her day after day to only use one pump. Near the end of the year, she’d stand on the stool and would get one pump of soap on her hands. Then she’d exclaim proudly that she only got one pump. She said it with such fanfare that she generally would throw her hands in the air and the soap would fall off. She was so proud of herself. I was proud of her too.
At the end of every day, the school janitor would come by to change the trash bags. As the kids would get up from nap, they would stand at the door and watch for him to come down the hall. Then, four of them would rush over to the trash can and carefully walk it to the door so he could have it. They would then wait patiently until he was done replacing the bag and would then carry it back to it’s proper place. The janitor got a big kick of it.
Almost every day of lunch, I had a water bottle that I would add some lemonade powder from one of those to go packs. I had the same conversation every day as I made the lemonade.

Mrs. Lori, what you put in your water?
It’s lemonade.
Why you do that?
Because I like lemonade.
(By this time I have added the powder. I put the lid back on and start shaking the bottle.)
You shaking it?
Yes I am so it will get mixed in.

The last couple days, one of the little boys brought some Sunny Delight in a sports bottle. At lunch, he started shaking his juice and said “Look Lori, I shake my bottle like you!” Luckily, the lid was on. That wasn’t the case for all the kids who started shaking their drinks.
I am so glad I listened when God told me to apply for a job when I was checking out preschools around town. That’s just three stories. I could spend all day writing stories about the year, but that wouldn’t make Scott and the boys very happy. There are things to be done around here!


Come What May

We’ve survived Day One without Scott. We got out and braved the cold to go eat, go grocery shopping, and go buy presents for the various parties we’ll be attending.

Here are the highlights thus far:
1. First we went to the bank to deposit some birthday money and Easter money that we received. (THANKS!) Then I remembered that I wanted to return the movie that Scott and I had rented Wednesday night (Beowulf). If we return it the next day we get a $2 credit. I didn’t want to miss out on that. Hasting’s is between our house and the bank, but I remembered too late so we had to come back home to get the DVD and grabbed a pizza hut coupon. I left the kids in the Trailblazer while I ran in to get those things. When I came back, Zachary informed me what presents Scott was going to buying for them in San Antonio. Zachary wants a train and he wants Timothy to have a Lightning McQueen car. I told them we’ll let Daddy pick out whatever souvenirs he wants to bring them.

2. Then we went to Pizza Hut. I had a coupon for $2 off a large pizza with up to three toppings. I gave the coupon to the waitress and let each of the kids pick a topping. They chose pepperoni (Zachary), Ham (Emily), and Beef (Timothy). The waitress left for a moment and then came back to ask which crust we wanted. After a few minutes, she came back and presented us with a large cheese pizza. She said when she had come back to ask about the crust, the topping had been cleared out of the computer. Our real pizza was in the oven. She said she’d box it up for us to take home. The cheese pizza (which we ate about half) would be free, as would our “real” pizza. Cool. We got out there for the price of three sodas and 5 breadsticks, but went home with 1 1/2 large pizzas. The kids have already told me that they do not want pizza for every meal this weekend. 🙂

3. Then we went to Wal-Mart to get presents for the parties and to buy some food to get us through the weekend. I wanted easy things that I knew that they would eat. I made both boys ride in the cart, so that outing went fairly smoothly. Unfortnately, I had left my cell phone in the Trailblazer so we missed Scott’s call when he arrived at his hotel. We got to talk to him later, so all is good there!

4. Finally, a quick trip to drop the movie off at Hasting’s and back home. This is where Emily took the instructions from Scott to be helpful very seriously. She decided we needed to go ahead and make her lunch for this morning and get her school bag packed. These are things we should do every evening, but we don’t. So, we did that and it was 8:00. We put our pajamas on and decided to watch the results show of American Idol (Zachary calls it Mecanical — sounds like Meccan Icol). I don’t want to spoil for anyone who is watching and hasn’t seen it, but I was pretty pleased with the results. As soon as it was over, Emily informed the boys that it was time for bed. I told her she didn’t have to do EVERYTHING, as I am here and can still be the mom. Oh well, we got everyone in bed without much incident. I went to bed pretty quickly after they did.

5. The night went without incident. Scott’s alarm woke me up a little earlier than I would have liked, but that’s okay. I have a sore throat and a cough. I am hoping that it goes away soon. There is too much going on tomorrow for me to be sick! Anyway, I got Emily up and she got dressed quickly. The boys got up and we had Trix for breakfast. Timothy refused to eat with the “Bee movie” spoon that we got out of box of cereal. That was a bit annoying, but he was happy with the grown up spoon I gave him instead. Emily is now gone to school (she actually made it on time!) and the boys are watching noggin. I need to get them dressed now so Timothy will get to school on time.

I promised the kids we’d rent movies tonight and watch them as we eat pizza and TV dinners. We’ll see how the day goes!



This is going to be a fun weekend for me. I am really starting to get excited about it all.

Tonight, Scott and I are going to attend a Winter Gala at Wayland. The Gala is free and there is a sorority providing free childcare, so all we’ll be out is the price of gas to get to Plainview and back. Not too shabby. I am really looking forward to spending the evening with Scott. It has been too long.

Tomorrow, Emily and I have a date. One of our New Year’s resolutions was for two people in our family to go on a date each month. We’ve worked out a pretty good schedule. Scott and I will go on a date in February, April, June, August, October, & December. Our church has two monthly Parent’s Night Out events, so we’ll be able to get in on one of those for childcare. This month is mine and Emily’s turn, Scott and Timothy will go do something fun in March, Zachary and I are up in May, Emily and Scott in July, Timothy and I in August, and finally Zachary and Scott in December. I hope we can keep with it all year. Surely we can find time once a month to do something fun.

Anyway, Emily and I have decided to do something that only the two of us can do. Something girly. Tomorrow morning, we are going to get manicures and then going for lunch at a tea room. After that, we may go wander the mall or something. We’ll just see where the day takes us. I can’t wait!

Have a fun weekend!