Look out Ichiro

Although the Mariner’s have taken the last two games from the Angels, they look like a team that is in a rebuilding mode.  They could use some help around the field in a few positions.  Here are a couple kids that just might give a few Mariner’s a run for their money out on the ball field.

In the field

Caleb and Rylee playing the infield, ready to make a play to first base.  While on defense, every ball that is put into play goes over to first base.  Each inning the every player gets to hit and advance one base for each at bat.  The last player gets a “home run” clearing the bases.  Both Rylee and Caleb had multiple opportunities to field a ground ball and throw it to first base.  They both did great!

Caleb at bat
Rylee at bat
C and R running the bases

I got to pitch again to the kids and had a great time.  My ERA is through the roof, but that is a good thing!  Rylee and Caleb both seem to be having so much fun.  I am delighted to see how both kiddos adapt so well to the organization of the team sport.  They are even making new friends.  After the game today Caleb asked me where one of the boys who was missing was.  I love it!  I also really enjoy getting to coach my kids and partner with a great organization serving our community.  The kids are having fun and Karissa and I are getting to know the other players parents.  At one point in the game, AGAIN we caught Caleb and Rylee giving each other a congratulatory hug on first base.  The big smiles on these moments as well as seen throughout the whole game make the day so much fun.

Fifteen minute assembly…

…yeah right!

bike

Maybe if you had already done it once or twice, but doing it the first time took probably a total of 120 minutes.  However, now that I have done it, I probably could narrow that time down to 30-45 minutes.  15 minutes?  I don’t think so.  Who comes up with these times anyway?

With all the bike riding that we do in our cul-de-sac and on rides out and about, we figured it was time to get Caleb a bike that actually fit him and his skill set.  The current 14″ bike that he had was long overdue to be replaced.  Not only were the tires practically balled, but because the wheels were so small, even if he was pumping his legs considerably harder and faster than Rylee, he could not keep up with her on her 18″ bike.

So we got him an 18″ bike with 4 pegs for his birthday.  It is actually a freestyle BMX type bike that he might actually learn to do tricks with.  He can stand on the pegs and even rotate his handlebars around 360 degrees.  Out of all of our kids, I can envision him pulling off some of those crazy stunts sometime down the road.  After all, he was the one that was carving sweet turns on his razor scooter before he was 2.  Happy Birthday Caleb, let’s go for a ride!

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Well, it didn't take him too long to figure out what to do with the new pegs. Nice trick pal! So much for "sometime down the road."
Using his "pegs" like his big brother.
Using his "pegs" like his big brother.

Happy Birthday Caleb!

Today has been one of those utterly perfect days.  When Caleb was turning 2 and 3, I planned big parties with too many people.  Now, thank the Lord, I understand my eldest son much better.  Those parties were not fun for him, truly not at all.  He was overwhelmed and doesn’t like being the center of attention.  So we’ve toned it down a lot and he is much happier for it.

Last year we celebrated Caleb’s birthday with snowsuits and hot cocoa but this year was the antithesis with warm sunshine, shorts and burgers on the grass at Seattle Center.  For months Caleb has been talking about going up the Space Needle with his Nana.  So that is what we did to start the day.  Nana and Daddy took the three oldest kids up while Papa, DeeDee, Mama and the babies waited at the bottom.

Then we went to get burgers and took them outside to sit on the grass by the giant fountain in the heart of the city.  We are all a bit pink but my goodness did we enjoy the sun on our faces.  Tears rolled down my sunburned cheeks as I walked behind and watched my children and my oh-so-gorgeous-husband up ahead.  I was overwhelmed with the gifts they each are.  We laughed and smiled so much today that my face hurts.  I thought of a song from high school that said “These are the days, to remember…”.  Indeed they are.  And I’m loving every moment as it comes…puking, dirty diapers and lack of sleep mixed in with the giggles, kind words and faces that melt my heart.  I am well aware that this will quickly pass and they will only grow more indepedent from here on out.

Here is Caleb’s birthday letter (trying to do one for each birthday for each kid!):

My dear oldest son,

You are 5 years old today.  I remember so well washing my car the day before your due date desperately hoping to go into labor, so ready to meet you.  It didn’t help much but the Ukranian dinner I went to at church that night surely did.  A few hours later, you were born.   I was determined not to name you until I met you but it became so clear to me that God’s name for you was Caleb that by six months I finally resolved that no other name would suit you.  I prayed then and still do, that you would be a truth teller even when it isn’t popular, that like the Caleb of the Bible you would have courage to do what is right.   With great relief, I rejoiced that you were born full term after your sister had come so early and been so very sick.

Having grown up with sisters, I’ve sometimes felt like I didn’t really ‘get’ you. You are a boy after all.  You are complex.  You are strong.  You are very bright like your Daddy.  You feel deeply.  You have provided me with great challenges and I have learned so much about life because of you.  You changed my heart.  You opened up a part of it I didn’t know about.  Your smiles and hugs are of high value to you and I am always delighted when you share them with me.

You surprise me still with your understanding and comprehension of things.  You bless me with your tenderness towards your siblings.  I love laying in your bed at night telling you stories.  I love watching you share your things with Kyler.  I love watching you  ride your bike, climb the rock wall, swing on the rope and tend to the fire.  You thrive when you have a task to do.  You are on your A-game when you are outside, with lots of wide open spaces and can roam free.  Burning things is likely your favorite activity at present.  You are very careful and responsible with the fire just like your Dad has taught you.

I love knowing you Caleb and am forever grateful for the ways you’ve changed who I am.  Your beautiful blue eyes and long, floppy blond hair are one of my favorite things to look at in all the world.

Happy Birthday sweet boy-you are a treasure.

Mama

God, gojis and grace

Given my very short couple of hours of sleep last night, truly the above are what have sustained me thus far today and I know will be what get us all to dinner/daddy time tonight.  And the fact that my sister is bringing us dinner tonight, that too.

Caleb is fairly frustrated with his lack of mobility. The novelty of the black cast has worn off. However, today was one of our most fun mornings in a really long time. Strange so, me with a screaming baby up most of the night quite tired and Kyler with a bad cold and Rylee with very sore six year old molars coming in and Caleb limping around getting used to his lame foot. I prayed this morning for grace today. I’m learning. Really slowly.

Instead of praying for things to go smoothly and perfectly, they never do anyway, I asked for the right responses. Responses that model love and patience instead of anger and frustration. In fact I think it went something like this….”I know my kids will misbehave and won’t do everything I ask them to, I am not responsible for their bad behavior-but I am responsible for my bad responses.” Today, an extra heap of grace was needed. I asked in the dark hours before the sun came up to somehow be an extension of God’s love despite my seemingly useless condition. I don’t understand how but I am so grateful that he listens and answers when I whisper quiet words or when I shout in desperation. He loved my children well today and I feel as though I had very little to do with it.

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Caleb and Rylee decorating "Gertie"
Rylee hanging her cheerio string for the birds
Rylee hanging her cheerio string for the birds

Caleb looking for a place for his bird string to hang
Caleb looking for a place for his bird string to hang
Rylee with the angel girls
Rylee with the angel girls

I’m not sure which is more funny to me, Caleb’s outfit-Lightening McQueen pajamas in midday, a silk train necktie, a Target bag wrapping his cast or Rylee taking her ‘girls for a walk’ around the culdesac-she sure loves taking care of people, even when they are 3 feet tall and plastic!

As for the goji berries, I am so without sleep that I am trying to take a good amount of vitamins and supplements to try and restore my body despite it all. They really are perky little things even if they taste kind of crummy!

Caleb gets a break

caleb-foot

Yesterday afternoon, Caleb had a little incident in the kitchen where he hurt his foot.  Since neither Karissa or I saw the whole thing, this is what think transpired.  Caleb was standing on one of the kitchen chairs and was leaning back.  When the chair went out from under him, he came tumbling down.  As he fell, his foot went up and slammed the bottom of the kitchen table.  Luckily he did not hurt his head throughout this process.

Well, after he limped the rest of the day we figured we should take a trip to the E.R. to get some xrays taken of Caleb’s foot.  It is official – he has a small fracture on his right foot.  Apparently he is too small for crutches or a boot, so some ace bandage and rest for three-four weeks and he should be as good as new.  It should be an interesting month keeping Caleb off his foot.  We will be calling our Dr. tomorrow to see if there are any options that will help him keep his injury in mind.  If you think of him over the next few weeks, pray that he can choose to stay off his foot.  Most of you know Caleb and the idea of him not jumping, running, or dancing around for a month is not too plausible.  We will see how this goes.

By the way, the Dr. at the ER was the best I have ever experienced with kids in the ER.  Unfortunately we have actually had more experience in the ER than we would like.  This is Caleb’s third trip to the ER. She was great with Caleb…had him laughing the whole time.  All it took was for her to ask him if his “foot” (pointing to his hand) hurt when she was trying to see where the foot hurt.  Thanks Doc for taking extra care to make it a bit easier on Caleb!

-Chris

To be young again

I’m not sure when we start to feel things like cold differently but I remember not caring about being freezing when I was little and now, I’m a wimp.  Yesterday while making dinner, holding Audrey and talking to my sister briefly on the phone, I saw Caleb walk out onto the deck.  He said he wanted to throw some snowballs at me through the slider.  Noticing he was completely without clothes except some Nascar underwear, I figured he’d come back in.  I’m a big fan of reality doing the teaching instead of me whenever possible.  He started piling up snow on the deck.  Completely un-bothered by the lack of clothes.  In 40 degree cold.

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Fast forward a few minutes, Rylee and Kyler (dressed) are out with him, he runs in and says “Wow, my hands are cold, I need some gloves!”  I’m smiling, thinking really, is that all?  He gets gloves and mismatched shoes while he’s in, hops right back outside.  I am giggling watching all that skin and little buns that say “Nascar” scurry around my deck outside.  Rylee decides everyone needs hats, it is cold after all.  So she comes in and gets them all one….sun hats at first then a fleece one for Caleb.  I won’t tell you how long he was deliriously happy to play out there, lest you judge me and my mothering ways!  Just be amused with me, it really was too fun.  It was my first big smile and laugh of the whole day and exactly what I needed.

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-Karissa

Naked trees and hummus

Here is the scoop on the last few days here:

Rylee read her first book by herself-so exciting! Here she is sounding out a BOB first reader book.

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Rylee and Audrey took their first bath together

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We did patterns today with foam shapes, I love that with the instructions “see what kind of pattern you can make with your shapes” they both did totally different things….and Caleb’s more turned out to be a collage

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I am attempting a dairy free day, we made hummus together for lunch it was so fun. The kids never will eat store bought hummus. So imagine my shock when they devoured it at the park today when we drove to meet Daddy for a walk. We ran out of crackers to dip in it, Caleb suggested a spoon, if only we’d had one.

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A sweet nose kiss from my second born…who informed us that though the trees were nearly naked “they aren’t quite naked, that one has on a hat and underwear”

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Rylee enjoying her favorite thing in the world-Audrey (who is, by the way, wearing a size 6 diaper because I forgot the diaper bag, had to use an old washcloth in the car for a baby wipe and could only scrounge up a Kyler-sized diaper in the parking lot while everyone waited for us)

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Christmas card photo? Maybe, if I hadn’t changed the exposure level on the camera earlier today for indoor photos and forgot to change it, leaving this one a tad overexposed, bummer.

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The B Hunt

Let me first explain that this week is “L” week for school. Last week was “B” week. We start the week by going on a hunt for everything that starts with the letter of the week and make a list that we add to all week.

Caleb stumbled into my room groggy and still waking up. First thing out of his mouth?

“Mom, we’re on a B hunt and we forgot to add Tree and Levi to the list”.

I’m about as out of it as Caleb, Audrey is getting up a lot in the night all the sudden and wow was it hard to even open my eyes today after punishing my exhausted self by staying up till midnight canning more applesauce before the apples went bad. Caffeine IV drip anyone?