Yeah. We'll see.


This morning, Jim finally broke down and sent Jake off to school with a check to give to his karate instructor to pay for his nunchucks and sparring gear.  He brought it home with him, and it was all the rage (Even Parker was smitten with all the red, shiny pieces.  He screamed and pulled - "Miiiiiiine!!!", he said.).  

Right after he tried it all on for me, he said, "Mom!  Now (putting his hands up).  Try to fight me.  And see what happens."


brushin' baby teeth


I refuse to leave anything undone, so I'm bound and determined to finish Parker's 30-Day Challenge no matter how long it takes me.

Yesterday, I scratched one more off of the list - what he looks like brushing his teeth.

B I G is what he looks like to me.  The only thing baby I see is his teeth.  Even his toothbrush is made for big kids because he insists on having a Batman-themed one just like big brother's.

our little karate kid


Since the start of Kindergarten, I've had lots of proud moments, and this past Tuesday was one of them when Jake earned his Best Attitude badge in karate.

Because I want to remember how far he's come...

Our school year last year was a difficult one.  For every one thing he did right academically, he did two things wrong behaviorally in his teachers' eyes (i.e. playing in the bathroom, talking in a "baby voice" during Spanish class).  On his mid-year evaluation, she recommended that he repeat K4 because he lacked the maturity she thought he needed to be successful in Kindergarten, and by the end of the school year, he had lost his confidence in giving answers (It wan't uncommon for him not to answer in fear of being wrong.), he wasn't finishing his assignments, and he even lied about needing to use the bathroom so he could go out to play with another class on the playground instead.  We took his teacher's recommendations seriously (After all, she is trained in her profession while neither Jim nor I are.  And she was with him in a classroom setting all day while we were not.), so we explored other school options, talked to his pediatrician, and talked to his school's administrators.  Upon the recommendation of his principal, he sat down with a second grade teacher for nearly an hour while she quizzed him on letters, shapes, colors, and his writing skills.  Her thoughts afterwards were that she didn't see any reason why he should repeat his current grade, and she even told us to look forward to a great year in Kindergarten.  So we did.

This Summer we wanted to rebuild his confidence and prepare him to move on to a new level of learning, so we set some goals and got started on meeting them the day after the school year ended.  We enrolled him in swimming lessons and took him to a five-week early reading program on Saturdays to keep him used to being in a classroom and stretch his comfort level of being with the some of the same classmates he's had since he was two.  He went from doing everything he could to avoid doing his worksheets in his Summer Bridge book (He would ask me for a snack or something to drink just to prolong getting it done, and he would ask to quit before he ever got started.) to doing them without being asked, to spelling words from memory, to reading short books.  We had a terrific Summer, and I couldn't wait for him to start karate lessons in August (I inquired about them at the start of the Summer.  But when I found out that they were offered at his school - one of the local studios sends an instructor to his school one day per week - I decided to wait until then.). I couldn't wait for him to learn to practice self-control and self-discipline, to focus, to show respect, and to learn to be responsible for his own success.

He's been taking lessons now for almost eight weeks, and the changes he's made have been amazing.  He takes "No" for an answer with much more ease, says yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, and no sir every. time. he's asked a question by an adult - not just at home and school but anywhere we go - and his confidence is off the chain.  His answers are firm and quick, and if he's wrong, he's okay with that.

I mentioned this past week he earned his "Best Attitude" badge.  To do this, he was evaluated for two weeks straight at school and at home on how much respect he showed, how he responded to discipline, if his attitude was a positive one, and if he was obedient to those in authority over him.  He wasn't to complain when asked to do tasks, to use his manners at all times, and to be an encouragement and an example to his sibling and classmates.  I won't go on and on more than I already have.  I'll just say he totally earned it.  He's also earned one stripe towards another belt, and if he earns just one more by then his rank test will be on November 13th.

When I went to watch his lesson on Tuesday, I got a little video of him practicing breaking a practice board.  To earn his orange belt, he'll actually have to break a wooden one.  I love what his instructor, Sensei Micheal, said to his class before they all took turns practicing..."The real test is not whether or not you break the board.  It's about not giving up no matter how many kicks it takes.  Because the secret to breaking a board is believing in yourself."

I love even more what Jake said when he ran over to me after class was over.  Instead of expressing his pride for earning his badge (And yes, he was proud.) he said, "Mom!  Britt earned his first stipe!  Aren't you so happy for him?!"

Buddy, I'm so incredibly proud of you - of who you're becoming - inside and out.  Hiyaaah!

Please Pardon My Progress


Well, a post with a title like this one is way past its due date.  For weeks now, I've been working on redesigning my blog on my own which I've never ever done.  So any time I've sat down at a computer, it's been to search through digital scrapbooking kits, clip art, and paper and to find html code how-to's and veeeery carefully try to manipulate and change things one at a time.

I think now I'm finally at a place where the "big" things are like I like them (the background, the header, the layout of the columns) and the "little" things take me just a second to make them become something different (font color, column widths, spacing, etc.).  My mom (who is officially the birthday girl of the day...Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you endlessly!) has made it known she misses seeing "...the pictures at the top" so I may rethink my header a little if I too can't get used to "...all the white."  I'm loving my little superhero, though.  I'm outnumbered by them in my family; so to me, it's perfectly fitting.

Bring on catching up! 

Long time? No hear.


It feels like longer than just a few days.  No r&r for the weary here, but I'm taking the day off tomorrow from work and from family - just to go shopping or hit up the big red box for a good chick flick and sit on the couch for a few hours.  My rising stress level is crying out for some moments of solitude.  It's times like these when I wish I could be a little more selfish and could feel a little less guilty...I wouldn't reach this point maybe?

I think what constantly weighs on my mind, though, and keeps me pushing forward through meltdowns in restaurants, date nights that come a few times a year, handprints on glass doors, terrible two's, and tears is this...the time that I have in which their minds and eyes and ears and hearts are open to what I want to teach them is so, so limited.  Years will pass, and today will feel like yesterday.  And when they leave our nest, yes, I'll worry.  But I'll know that I used every minute that was available to me to build character that will help them make wise and Godly choices for their lives.  Totally.worth it.

Yesterday afternoon, Jake ditched his bike in our front yard when our neighbor walked over with her son to play with him.  So Parker seized the opportunity to try and take it for a spin.  He pushed and pulled and never could get it off the ground (still too heavy).  I guess he thought if he took a bite out of the handlebars, it would give it the go he needed.

Oh and he replaced his lip injury from last week with a carpet burn on his nose.  Heck yeah!

from our weekend: halloween costume preview


Going Halloween costume shopping this weekend wasn't intentional.  But when in Target...  And he knew exactly what he wanted to be (hasn't changed his mind a single time in over two weeks). 

What I love most about this is that he's giggling so hard drool is coming from his lips.  Not that he needed any more reason to smile other than having his costume a whole three weeks early; but apprarently my rendition of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song is pretty hilarious.

If you remember that dynamic group of four, can you name which one he is? 

(almost) Twenty-One...months, that is.


Today Parker did a number on his bottom lip (He fell in the gym at preschool.).  But I didn't let that stop me from getting him in front of my camera (I consider those milestones too.).  Jim and Jake walked six holes of golf, so it was just the two of us for a little while.

He's just a few days away from turning twenty-one (months).  Between that and Sara Beth's trip down memory lane with her son Kobe, I was inspired to go back through my folders of pictures and look at how much he's grown.  

What amazes me most isn't how his looks have changed (yet he's still very much the same), but how he's become this walking, talking (He's a guy of few words, but his vocabulary is slowly building.) toddler who walks along side me into school each morning, takes and follows directions (Parker, come sit down so Mommy can put your shoes on.), and answers simple questions (usually with a "No."  :) ).  

This week alone he insisted on carrying his own lunchbox, and he's decided that he'd rather me not carry him out to the car when I pick him up (He prefers to walk not just in to preschool all by himself but out too.).  

I know theses days when he stays behind are numbered.  Before I know it, he'll be swinging clubs too.  And some days, I'll shout Hallelujah! (Let's be real.); but the others...I'll be taking lessons so I can hang with my gang.

the Tennessee Aquarium - We're lovin' it!


Writer's block or trying to save our favorite exhibits for last - I'm not sure which is to blame, but I haven't wrapped up our trip to the aquarium. 

We all have our reasons for loving it so much.  

Jim is just tickled that we used our annual family pass that he bought when he was there for work a few months ago at least once.  

Parker walked both buildings from end to end including the "viewing" ledges.  Absolutely nothing could steal his joy.  

Jake touched the backs of every stingray way too many times for my taste.  

And for me it was the otters, the penguins (If it was legal and livable for either of them, my backyard would be their home.  The animal lover in me came out big time, and it was hard to pull away - for all of us really.) and what Jake said to Jim when we got out of the car to go in - "Dad!  Do you know how much I love you for bringing me here?  More than the whooooole world!"