Sunday, October 26, 2008

Number One's Big Day!

We've had lots of challenges this season with football. There's been the whining and crying about practices, complaining that his equipment hurts too much, late nights practicing, not enough time for friends, not enough play time, frustration with being unsure of what to do, and anything else you can think of. The King and Number One kind of wanted to throw in the towel. Number One because, well...quitting is easier than working hard. The King was okay with letting him quit because he didn't feel that the kid was getting enough play time. Quitting would certainly have made my life easier, but I wasn't okay with the idea. Just think of the amount of money we'd dumped into this sport. Then, the amount of time and energy we've already poured into it. Plus, I told them from the beginning that playing would be totally up to Number One, but he'd have an obligation to finish it out once he started. I was the bad guy, but I stuck to my guns.

Yesterday it all paid off! He was hesitant about going to the game, and came up with the usual list of complaints to explain why he shouldn't have to go. I wasn't having it. So, off he went. I'll be honest. I was hesitant about him going, too. I just didn't want him to sit and keep the bench warm for the whole game again because I know how discouraging that is to him. I was seceretly hoping for a miracle for this kid.

The first half of the game, he just sat on the bench. I went over there a couple times and asked him if he really wanted to be there and he surprised me with a "yes" answer. So, I'd go back to my seat and just watch and wait. Finally, the second half of the game came. I was beyond stunned to see my baby being put on the front of the defensive line as a tackle!!! Did I mention that he is beyond the smallest kid on his team?? Well, he is.

As soon as he went out there, The King's eyes started to sparkle and his whole demeanor changed. He just really perked up. Then came the play. Number One sprang into action and seemed to remember the advice his dad had given him that morning. "Go for the quarterback and then find the ball". At first we thought maybe he'd done what he was supposed to do by accident. But it happened over and over and over again. By the end of the second half of the game, Number One had heard his name over the loudspeaker four times for being the one to make the tackle!!!! It literally brought tears to the King's eyes to see his boy out there playing his heart out and succeeding.

He was walking taller on the way off the field at the end of the game. There was a fire in his eyes we hadn't seen before. He'd finally proven to himself that he COULD do it. At last my point was made. If you put in the right amount of work and are prepared for the opportunity, it will come. And, when that opportunity comes, more will follow if you make the most of it. There is a new level of confidence in my Number One now. He knows he can do anything. Just think of it!! The absolute smallest kid on the team leading the defensive line and doing the most tackling. It's not the size of your body that matters. It's the amount of heart that is in it.

We couldn't have been more proud of him. It wasn't a matter of him being the best defensive player out there. It was more an issue of him being the best player HE could be. He finally found that in himself. We made sure we told him so, too. After the game, he found his coach and said, "Coach! Did you see me? I got FOUR tackles in a row." The coach responded with a genuine smile and a pat on the helmet. "Boy, if you show up at every practice this week and play your heart out like you did today, I'll make you first string for the next game". This coming game is the last game of the season, so I guess he'll be going out in a blaze of glory.

I didn't mention that we lost the game. We've lost every game so far. I don't think Number One could possibly care less about losing the game. He won the battle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So, I Yold You A Lie, but Not on Purpose

A while back, I told you a lie. At the time, it was the truth. Now, it's not. The lie I told? Well, I told you that we had finally selected a name for this little guy. Then, as time passed, we went back and forth and both decided that we're not really 100% sold on the name we chose.

One little problem with the name we'd chosen was that the middle name wasn't after someone in our family or a close friend, which has always been our tradition. The middle name was a name I've always loved, but parting with tradition was bugging me. Then, last night the King came up with the perfect middle name (at least today it seems perfect. Who knows about tomorrow?). I also still need to speak with a certain family member about the use of the name.

So, we've gone back and forth and back and forth about naming this baby. Finally we have a short list of names. We want YOU to help us name this kid. PLEASE respond to the poll on the right side of my blog. And, of course, leave a comment about names you like or dislike. I can't promise we'll go with the name that's most popular for the rest of the world. With our luck, we'll choose some name that isn't even on the list. But, we do want to hear what you think of the names we've chosen.

Oh! And remember, we like our kids to have a little bit more unique names. Happy choosing!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Want Some Cheap Entertainment? Invite the Missionaries Over.

Every now and then, a particularly good set of missionaries will come through. It's not that they are necessarily spiritual giants, but it's more a matter of them just really being able to "get" the people in their area. That's what kind of guys we have here right now. Actually, the past couple of sets have been pretty good.

These guys are awesome because they don't take themselves too seriously. They always stay well within the missionary "rules" and always leave with some sort of spiritual message, but they're FUN. My kids want to grow up to be missionaries because they really enjoy the ones who are here now. They set great examples for my boys.

Don't think for one second that there's anything typical about coming to our house for the missionaries. Honestly, I think they come here for the cheap entertainment and easy laughs. That's okay. We have them over for the cheap entertainment and easy laughs, so I guess you could say it's a trade-off. Since these guys have been here, all of the following things have happened:

*The Beast joined them at the dinner table with absolutely nothing on his bottom half.

*Number One has used the word "crap" at least 5 times.

*Number One has demonstrated the art of hand the dinner table.

*Pretty has launched her dinner far enough to land on a missionary's clothes.

*Snort has displayed the art of explosive pooping.

*Sword fights using foam swords have ensued on countless occasions.

*A simple family prayer followed by a spiritual thought has morphed into a three-ring circus.

*Number One has learned to play Marco Polo with a towel over his head. I'm not sure how he could breathe during that one.

There has been more. For therapeutic reasons, I try to put it out of my memory. My children's antics will be the death of me one of these days. Anyway, these are great guys. They have been real troopers in putting up with my kids. I'm hoping that coming to my house has in some way been a form of birth control for them later. I'm not counting on it, though. These guys are gluttons for punishment, which I can only assume is the reason they keep coming back.

Traditionally, when a missionary gets transferred, we take them to Chili's for molten chocolate cake. Elder McDaniels is moving on today, so he should have had his Chili's last night. Well, the truth is money is tight right now. So, I made my own moltens at the house and we had them over. I have to say it was waaaaaay more fun, and my baking skills are freaking GOOD!

Here are a lot of pictures from the grand event.

Enjoying a most delicious home-made version of molten chocolate cake.

Number One demonstrates his well-developed hand farting skills. The missionaries' laughter just encourages this great behavior.

They all are very good at showing some level of interest while my children talk their ears off.

Pretty felt the need to take on the roll of family dog while she attacked Elder McDaniel's feet under the table.

Elder Barnes is just sure it's so funny to watch my kid wander around blindly trying to catch him. Well, he's right. It's hilarious to watch. How does the kid breathe, though?

We stripped Pretty's clothes before giving her ice cream. Later, she wanted to climb all over the missionaries. They freak out when kids try to sit in their laps, by the way. It's funny to watch.

Pretty managed to launch her ice cream onto Elder McNamara's pant leg. Classy.

Elders McDaniel and McNamara thought they'd be safe inside the supergate. Man were they wrong. That just maded them easier targets.

Another proud Marco Polo moment.

Some lovely family pics. taken by Elder Barnes.

Elder McDaniels waving good-bye. He gets transferred today. Hopefully someone will warn the new guy about us before he comes over for his first visit.

All joking aside, these are great missionaries. As the mother of many boys, I have to say that their own mothers should be proud.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What IS That Puddle?

This happened a few days ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing it. Enjoy it anyway.

Number One had football practice this past Tuesday, but the weather was a little too cold for Snort to be outside. I told the King one of us had to go with Number One, and one of us would have to stay home with the other three. He decided to stay home with the other three.

I called about half way through the practice to check and see how things were going. Usually, within and hour, they have the King all but bound and gagged. Not so this time. He assured me that all was going well, and he had it under control. I was impressed as I knew that the evening hours tend to be the "witching hours" in our house. It's when things get a little bit chaotic to say the least. So, I sat back and just enjoyed the practice.

About 45 minutes later, my phone rang and the King said, "We're here in the parking lot. We'll just wait for you here." I was surprised by the sudden change, and asked what happened. This is the explanation he gave:

"Pretty took the Beast's hearing aid out of his ear again, and threw it under the desk. He was freaking out so I crawled under there to get the aid. Before I knew it, my pants were soaked. I came out and asked Beast if he'd had a drink in the computer room. He told me no because Mommy doesn't allow drinks in the computer room. I asked him if he knew what was all wet under the desk. He shook his head yes. So, I told him to tell me what it was. He replied, 'I really had to go to the bathroom, but I didn't want the computer to turn off, so I just peed under the desk'. At that point, I took my wet pants and the three of them, loaded them into the van, and came here."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Of course, I required the Beast to help with the clean up. But, he just looked so straight faced when he gave me the same explanation. It was like he was saying, "Hey! I followed rules. No drinks in there, but you never said no pee in there." Off to imagine what he's likely to dream up next so I can tell him it's not allowed before it ever happens.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So Glad His Priorities Are Straight

Number One has been having fire safety week at school. For homework, he had to make an emergency escape plan. We live in a one-story with LOTS of windows, so it was an easy thing to do. This is conversation we had:
Me: Number One, when you're escaping in a fire, can you think of anything in your room you should take with you?
Him: My cleats?
Me: No! Think again.
Him: My football cup? (referring to his favorite athletic supporter)
Me: No, something that can't be replaced with money. Think about it.
Him: (after thinking so hard you could see smoke coming out his ears) Should I go out and get the dogs?
Me: NO! Seriously, Number One, you can't think of ONE thing in your room that really should go with you???
Him: What??
Me: SNORT!!! If you have to escape in a fire, you take him with you if you can!!!
Him: (Sighs in frustration) He's really heavy, Mom!

*Sigh* I'm so glad he's got his priorities straight.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And We've Discovered Human Food

Snort has had a lot of trouble with eating. With his reflux, he had to have weighted feeds for a long time, which meant adding rice cereal to his formula. He gags when you offer him real food (and, no, it's not my cooking. It's baby food.) until he throws up. On top of that, we spent months with keeping him upright and unable to move so the reflux would stay under control, but then he fell behind with gross motor stuff. So, I basically had a little sumo wrestler on my hands. A big fat adorable guy in a diaper.

I decided to have ECI get him a nutritionist who came in to observe him. We did some testing and know that it's not anything wrong with his ability to swallow without throwing up. It's a sensory problem. Oddly, he likes to eat shoes, paper, and pencils. Apparently he thought he'd be born a puppy and never got the memo that he is, indeed, a human baby. I'd tell him, but I hate to burst his bubble.

Anyway, she decided that he needed things he could chew, that had mild flavors, and that would dissolve in his mouth or that he couldn't bite off in the first place. Her suggestions: Puffed Cheetoes, mild beef jerky, and baby biter bisuits. The King was jealous. No nutritionist has ever suggested those things to him before.

It worked!!!!! He LOVED them. We've even moved on to really thrilling things like animal crackers. I know. Real thrill seekers here. I took a bunch a pictures, but didn't realize how cute they were until I looked at them this morning. I just had to share. (I think the fact that he's totally cross-eyed without his glasses just adds to the cuteness of it all.)

Hmmm...Let me just check this stuff out.

Yeah, this thing is edible.

Wait! What do we have here?


Seriously, I'm in LOVE!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Um, Not Sure That's a Big Money Maker

Number One has discovered money, and he likes it. A lot. He's always trying to come up with some money making scheme. I wouldn't be surprised to see him with some piece of junk on an infomercial someday.

The other day, we were all in the van driving home from something. I can't remember what we were coming home from because it's all a great big blur. Anyway, totally out of the blue, Number One announces "Mom, I'd lick a cow's butt for ten million dollars. I told Seth that, too."

To be honest, I'm not sure that cow butt licking is really that profitable of a profession, and I really have no clue how that popped into his head. All I can do is hope that he'll have some sort of different aspirations by the time he finishes the third grade. I can't say I'm counting on much, though.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We Can't Always be the Best at Everything

Number One has been struggling with football. I can't say I'm surprised. He's about the smallest kid in his grade, unless you count the one kid smaller than him that has some sort of growth defect. He's not a really fast runner, either. And, he's a thinker. He can't just make a play on the field because he's so busy thinking about which is the most strategic move. So, he doesn't get much play time. Instead, he sits on the bench. A lot. And that frustrates him.

I chatted with him about his frustrations last night at the King's request. (It's frustrating for the King, too, because he was never an athlete, either). What it came down to is that "it's hard". This is a new concept for Number One. He's always been really good at everything he tried within the first one or two times of trying it. School, making friends, playing the piano, art, and so much more have always just come to him with little or no effort. This whole concept of having to work harder than everyone else just to be half as good as them is new to him, and he doesn't like it.

As we talked, I pointed out that not everyone just "gets it" like he does at school. They have to really work hard to get grades that aren't as good as his are. Athletes who are excellent in their chosen sports didn't just wake up that way. We even talked about people who are Olympians. They are the best in their country, but come nowhere close to being the best in the world. In most cases, there will always be someone who is better at us in something. And that is okay.

Number One is ready to throw in the towel with football. The King is bugged by it, too. I'm not willing to let either one of them quit. Number One has an obligation to his team. After the season ends, he can choose if he wants to stay with it or not. His argument is that he's just not the best player on the team. He's the bench warmer on the team. I wanted to find just the right words for him but just couldn't. Then, I went and visited the MOFia board last night, and noticed a quote in Nettie's signature line. This is what it said:

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. -Henry Van Dyke

It hit me like a ton of bricks. This is the point I've been trying to help Number One understand. It doesn't matter how well you do it as long as you're doing your best. I think I'll be printing that quote out on some fun sporty paper and putting a little frame on it for Number One today while he's at school. I'll hang it above his bed.