Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dear Marshall....

Sweet Marshall,
Your 6 year old birthday note is far overdue....but here it is, a little late but filled with lots of love...
Happiest birthday to our sweet Marshall.  Your bright eyes and big smile say it all....you are filled with so much LOVE and JOY and you want to spread that everywhere you go. You are the most caring boy.  When someone in our family cannot find something, you are always the first to offer help to find it or if the trinket cannot be found or is broken you are quick to offer up something that you have.  Your heart is pure and filled with so much love.  Watching you at school with your friends you are the same way....each morning you go in with a big smile and greet all your friends.  You are like a little magnet....everyone gravitates towards you, because of your caring nature and willingness to play with everyone.  You made me laugh the other night....when your caring turned into protection mode....Haddie was saying that 2 little boys were not being nice to her, and you said, I will protect you....I will tell them to be nice to you or they have to deal with me.  So quick to keep your sister safe and be her protector....we of course do not want to you to "teach them a lesson" by being rough but of course you are quick to be sure that she is safe.
You have started to learn to read....and now want to read music.  You have told us that you want to learn piano and we are so excited to see how you grow in that area.  Your fine arts and fine motor skills are amazing...the details that are in your drawings and the attention to making all your letters perfect is awesome.  You are a gifted boy in the area of art and writing...I have a feeling that you are taking after some amazing family members that we have that are gifted in this creativity area.   While you like to do art, you have also taken much interest in building with legos.  You have grown to love putting the sets together...and are able to follow the directions and do it all by yourself.  You also like to create new things from the legos---becoming quite the engineer.  We have tried to interest you in riding your bike or some other sports....you really loved soccer and were quite good, but you are very cautious, so riding your bike is not high on your list.  You are quite content to ride behind us in the bike trailer--even though you and Haddie are crammed in there tight!  You did want a Ninja birthday party---and really seemed to like martial arts.  And in swimming, you have taken OFF....once very cautious in this sport, you have become comfortable and have graduated to the big pool.  I so enjoy watching you try new things and am curious where you will find your passion....whatever hobby or sport you choose, I know one thing....you will always be a talented artist and I will always love seeing all the artwork that you create---my collection is growing!
You still love snuggles and cuddles....you are happy to sit by me...or try to fit on my lap and snuggle up and watch a movie, play a game, read a book....you just like to be close enough to get a little love :)  If we let you, you would be content to watch shows on the couch with a notebook in your lap for drawing all day long.  You still love Cars and paw patrol, however legos and monster trucks are moving to the top of the list.  You and Brayden really have a special bond--you guys are stilly boys who have farting contests and do silly, silly things---usually when you should be getting ready for school in the morning or calming down in your bedroom at night.  You love to set up monster jam arenas and race and play lightsabers and legos with him.  And you love sharing a room with him...there is no way that you would want your own room.  With that said, you and Haddie also have a sweet, special bond too---you are the first to offer to watch Barbie with her or play "dad" when she is playing with her babies.  You will join her in belting out Karaoke and dressing up---she is in princess gowns and you in superhero costumes.  You are always so willing to help and have the best, positive attitude.  Some people say that being the middle kiddo is tough.....you though I feel like have figured it out...you really get the best of being both the younger and older brother!
In the area of eating....your favorite foods are still sausage (since your tonsils have been removed you love it) and chicken---but on the bone!  You are a good eater too...for the most part always willing to try new things...or just not up to argue, you eat it up quick and then want to be off to play.  At night you still are teetering between wanting to play in the tub or be a big boy who showers...so we just go with it....but at bedtime when it is time to be tucked in, you want snuggles, hugs and a kiss from mom----you have even waited up in bed for hours (when I have been gone in the evening) for me to return snuggle and kiss you before you go to bed.  Precious!
Marshall I am so proud, blessed, and lucky to be your mommy....you show me how to find JOY in every situation, you teach me how to be patient and kind to everyone, you remind me to slow down and take time to snuggle....you let me sit with you and create things together....I just cannot express how proud I am of you---I pray that your sweet spirit always remains and as you walk through all the paths of life, that you continue to be the Light, just as Jesus lights the way for us.  Happiest Birthday Marshall!!!!  Love you, Mom


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dearest Brayden, my 8 year old

I was working on catching up the Blog over the summer....but I need to pause my catch-up for my special birthday boy....

Dearest Brayden,
Happy 8th Birthday buddy!  Today I had you crawl (jump) onto my lap just so I could tell you some of the things you did as a baby....and wow, you hardly can fit on my lap!  How did this happen???  I once read that moms always are waiting and marking down each of their child's firsts...first word, first time the baby rolls over, first step, etc... but we don't realize when it might be the last of something, and I think that God keeps us from knowing this, because as I write this, I tear up at the fact that you are almost too big to be held on my lap---but I can smile because watching you grow has been amazing!!!  And honestly, you will NEVER be too old to snuggle!!!  So I will continue to do that daily!
As an 8 year old in 2nd grade, you are SUPER fun!!!!  You love playing games---currently your favorite is Sushi Go, but we play all sorts of card games (I even taught you one of my favorites, 4 corners, which you aren't sold on yet, but I will keep working on you) as well as board games.  You have also taken a big interest in Pokemon cards...which I am sorry---I totally do not get, but boy how you love to look at them and organize them.  Now, you have also gotten into sports cards---I am not sure who is more excited about this--you or daddy, but regardless you love organizing and looking through them as well.  One day you and daddy even alphabetized them!  It is cool to watch you two bond over something that he loved doing as kid :)
You are all boy.....you love playing football, basketball, and swimming----which I must say is your strong suit.  You are an amazing swimmer---I loved watching you swim each morning this summer and when it came race day, you were confident and pushed hard....even winning a big ribbon at the Interpark Meet.  Although this year swim team was not was you choose....I know that swimming will always be something that you enjoy and maybe in years to come, you will choose this as your sport.  This year, it has been fun watching you play football though.  Although, I wanted to wrap you in bubble wrap (even though it is flag) and you said "NO WAY, Football is about getting tackled", it has been enjoyable cheering for you on the sideline and watching you learn techniques but most of all learning to work with your team!  We are also cheering you on at St Peter basketball this fall....and you are so excited for Upward to start in January.  You love watching sports games with daddy, and knowing the score and who is playing who....this has been such a cool thing to watch you and daddy get into sports and I know that he is loving that some your interests are quite similar.
At school, your teachers continue to tell me that you are polite and a good listener.  I also have seen first-hand you being a good friend, and finding new friends to play with on the playground, while keeping your good buddies close.  Every year before school starts, we talk about taking a moment and really looking around to see if there is someone who is alone and needs a friend---and if you do find that person, to sit by them, play with them, make them feel accepted.  And Brayden, you do a great job of this.  Your heart is big and you are a great friend.  Right now, you and your buddies are writing Captain Underpants books---a small collection---and last night we had you read us the book you wrote---it basically can be summed up that Captain Underpants was flying, found Miss Underpants, gave her a ring and they had a baby----it was innocent and hilarious all at once (I wish I could insert the pictures for giggles) but I love that you are so creative!!!!  Some other things that you love at school currently---art class, gym, gaga ball, lunch and recess---sounds like a pretty typical kiddo.  You have come along way with reading and math---you much prefer math, but we are working on finding some books that really hook you in.  Currently we are reading Dogman....and it is definitely a silly book.  Writing has also come along way, we have been working with the OT and you are making great strides in that area.  I know that with practice it will become a less daunting task.
For an 8 year old, you are still a pretty picky eater.  If given the choice you would have pizza and mac and cheese every day.  We are working on broadening your likings....all in time.  You like to play the iPad---Subway Surfer is your game of choice for now, before it was an NBA game.  We also have the Wii...which you and Marshall play occasionally....but really you are less likely to choose technology and more likely to go outside, try to skateboard, shoot hoops and ride your bike.   You still enjoy snuggling with mom (which you even wrote down on a sheet at school as a favorite).  You have decided that when you get older you are not getting married and are living with all your guy friends in a house---you will all eat a lot of pizza and play a lot of games...clearly, I am pretty confident this will change.  Currently, your job choice to be a NBA player....so for your birthday we are headed to a Bulls game.  You are a great brother---you and Marshall are enjoying playing Monster Truck currently and lots of legos.  And although Haddie can get on your nerves, she sure does love her big brother and you like helping her with her gymnastic moves---which usually entails flipping/jumping over your body.
We are so proud of you Brayden.  Being our first baby is probably not an easy job---I once read that the first baby is kinda like the first pancake you make (burnt around the edges and gooey in the middle) since you are our first baby, we are learning as we are going.  However, you are proof that this statement is not always true.  You are an amazing boy---kind to others, sensitive, a good listener, excellent friend, super snuggler, sports driven---and even though you might not be the strongest or fastest kid on the field/court you try your best---and that is all we can ask of you!  God gave us such a blessing on the day that you were born----I love being your mom and even though I get sad that you cannot fit on my lap....watching you grow each day makes me smile.  I would be remised if I didnt't mention, that your sense of humor is growing at an alarming rate----you become more witty and funny each day---and sometimes bring me to tears with laughter.  I love love love your quick wit!!!
Happy Birthday Brayden!  I pray that God continues to watch over you, keep you safe, and guide you in the right direction.  I know that God is in your heart, you tell me bible stories and refer to Him quite often, so I pray that your love for Him continues to grow and strengthen as years go on.  I am so proud of you....and I cannot wait to see what this new year brings to us!!!
Much Love, Your Mommy

Thursday, October 12, 2017

June 2017

The last day of first grade!!!!!  Summer is here!!!




We celebrated with an all school chapel and then headed off to the park with lots of friends...of course we ended the day with ice cream!





Flipping with happiness for SUMMER


We had dinner with Gus T at Chili's  He was hilarious and kept stealing Brayden's hat to put on Haddie....and Haddie could not get enough of him







We headed to Nashville for an adult get-a-way to CMA Fest!  It was a blast.  We saw so many great artists---some in bars, some at the big stage, a couple at a small HGTV venue and Blake Shelton even made a surprise appearance at a bar!!!!










For father's day we decided to get crazy, we painted daddy a grilling place and of course we painted something for each of us too!









Happy Father's Day!!


We headed to Willow Creek Church for Dad's Fest.  We were able to see Tom Ricketts speak and then enjoyed a big fest with food trucks, slides, root beer floats and more.  Aaron and Brayden even got to play in the biggest game of catch to break a Guiness Book Record!!












We went to the "drive-in" at Palatine Library to see Sing!  We made our own cars while we were there and then enjoyed watching the movie sitting in them while eating popcorn






We went to the Volo Car Museum and it was a BLAST!  We spent the majority of the day there and saw so many cool cars...here are just a few of the cool rides we saw...














And then that evening, we headed to the drive in to see Cars 3 and Mater even stopped by!



We took a trip to Brookfield Zoo--we were able to explore the exhibit Dragons and visited the family area where the kids and Aaron fed birds













We always end the day on the carousel





Brayden joined a summer swim team, Frontier Flyers.  It was awesome watching him become a stronger swimmer over the summer and best of all, he LOVED every minute of it...and even ended up with some blue 1st place ribbons!

 






She scooted while Brayden swam



And Marshall played Tball (and flirted with the coaches)


Sleeping with her brother



Haddie and Marshall did a gymnastics class...they both did well and Haddie is doing one this fall too



We were able to see Minions 3 with some sweet friends 




And spent lots of time swimming and slip-and-sliding


Marshall's soccer wrapped up




A Trip to Pirate's Cove...Brayden is almost out grown it, which makes me so sad...it truly is a fun, special place!