I am the mother of a graduate

Last Thursday Zach graduated from Pre-K and I didn’t cry. Who is proud? Me, too! OK, I might have teared up when the director started reading some poem about how we gave them our kids as babies and they are giving them back to us as kids. But I pulled it together. It is just Pre-K after all, I needed to calm down.

Zach’s teachers told him to dress up and he took them very, very seriously. Going so far as to tell me I had to wear a dress and not exercise clothes. He even picked it out and told me I had to wear my fancy shoes. He needed to calm down as well.

We went to Chick-fil-A for a celebratory lunch after and I tried to get a photo of all four of us (plus Liv) but as usual it looks like I was not there. Some stranger just took photos of my family.

The entire ceremony lasted about 7 minutes and I put Alex in charge of videoing the part when he got his diploma. I should have remembered Zach’s first solid food and known how this would go. Ridiculous.

Why does someone always end up shirtless?

Seriously, it is Easter, James.

Easter. Where is your shirt??

Well, anyway, Easter was fun this year. I think I got more excited than the boys about hunting for eggs and might have set my alarm for a tad early. Did you know it is still dark at 6:00 am? Me neither. Well it is, so I just laid there until 6:30 when I could sneak out and hide the eggs. Where was Alex you ask? Passed out like a drunk person (he was not) next to me. He said he would get up, but him being “quiet” is like a moose being quiet and I was not ready to explain why I was carrying a bag full of eggs to Zachary. Wayyyyy too many questions.

When they did wake up they immediately took out the inflatable punching gloves the Easter bunny brought them.

They also received the finest toys Walgreens had to offer. A dino water gun, an Easter skateboard key chain and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that lights up. Oh and some minion eggs the Easter bunny forgot to do and didn’t finish until midnight before Easter. That bunny really needs to work on time management.

Oh, sweet matching shirts with monograms….hidden by giant punching gloves and mohawks. Can you hear my sighing all the way over there?

 Later that morning the Sonderfan/Gallun’s came over for our annual Easter brunch. I love this tradition we started. We all bring food and the kids just play and play, which we means we can chat and chat.

I, of course, tried to get crafty and made cupcakes with green frosting, like my mom used to. I put out all sorts of toppings and let the kids decorate. All was fine, if messy, until Harper put a gum egg in her mouth. This is a photo of her doing just that.

She is so, so proud of herself.

Until Jennifer had to go digging it out making her very angry at Jennifer’s choices.

The morning culminated with the annual smash-the-confetti-eggs-on-Grandpa Bruce’s head. As the boys are getting bigger this tradition is getting a tad more rough. But still amusing.

Quiet a difference from two years ago

Soccer with a runner

Zach’s basketball is over at the YMCA now. Oh, did I not post about that? Because it was marginally better than soccer (at least there were no tears thanks to constant bribing) but it was still a beating. For me. Zach and Alex made out fine, but I am not ready for sports.

After basketball was over, Alex asked when soccer at the Y started and I pretended like I could not hear him. I could not do it again. The eating dinner fast to get Zach and a cranky James to practice, the aforementioned constant bribing to avoid tears and the games where spectators, who shall not be mentioned, shout the entire time “supportive” things from the sidelines.

I mean, I get it, I have boys. Most likely they are going to play sports of some kind. But they are FIVE and TWO, does it have to be now?

Is anyone surprised I am making sports all about me? You guys know me too well.

But you know who is ready? James. This guys seems to have been born running. I think it is a second kid thing, because he, of course, wants to do everything Zach is doing and ever since Zach played soccer last year, James has been very into playing here at the house.

I had heard about an organization called Soccer Shots mentioned in some of my moms group emails. I sent Alex a link to check it out and he signed both boys up right away. They don’t do games, it is just 30-45 minutes (depending on age) of fun with a soccer ball. Perfect.

And you guys, it is great. James loves it. He is super serious and pays strict attention to what his coach says. He does not scream at her or appear unimpressed. Rude.

You will notice we are not close to the players, as some parents are. Most of the kids are first kids and their parents are total hoverers. I like to sit on my stadium mat at the opposite of the field and avoid eye contact while secretly filming his every move. He could be a future soccer star for all I know! I need to have it on video. I hover from afar.

Oh you’re gonna hear him roar

My memories of riding in the car around Denton with my mom are of her playing with her fingernails (exactly as I do now) and listening to the easy listening station broadcasted out of Dallas. Any time I hear Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl or For the Longest Time, I am instantly transported back to that car.

I think the same is going to happen for James, but with Katy Perry. He sings her song, Roar, constantly. Mainly the “ro-ar-ar-ar-ar” part. And it is not quiet. He sings it at his full volume. While it is a very empowering song, I would like him to start learning Dark Horse, just for some variety during our commute.

For reference, the words he is singing are:

…fighter, dancing through the fire
’cause I am a champion
and you’re gonna hear me roar.
Ro-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar!

Just in case that is not crystal clear.

Owls vs. Owls

This weekend once our schedule was wide open, thanks to the vomit in my car, Alex noticed that Rice was playing a 6pm home game. We had such a good time last year, we thought it would be a good Saturday night activity. So we decided to head up there to have dinner at the game. This might not be a normal thought to for any other college game, but the Rice stadium has Chick-fil-a, Papa John’s, Prince’s hamburgers, Marble Slab AND beer. It is like a picnic you pay to get into.
I went into the 3T box and pulled out the jersey I got Zach last year which fit James just fine. That one is not skinny. But that meant that Zach didn’t have one. I went to Academy during nap time in search but had no luck. So I did what any normal person would do and made one. 
I used an undershirt Zach threw into my bag at Target, some left over iron on paper from the Koman shirts, and my fancy new cutting tool. This is totally, totally normal. The scale is way off, which bothers me to no end, but given my last lesson in controlling….I let it go. And Zach was just happy to have a shirt to match his brother’s.
I snuck in some juice boxes for the boys and the gate checkers could have cared less. Oh and this is about 30 minutes into the game. It has started, don’t be confused.

 Slightly better representation on this side.

The beauty of a Rice game? You can just lay down on the ground if you don’t feel well because your parents have taken you to a Rice game with a stomach bug.

James spent the entire game asking where the owl was. The entire game. Luckily the Rice Owls were playing the Florida Atlantic Owls so there was an owl on each side.

Alex took them down front to get closer to the players and the owl. Unfortunately the owl thought James was friendly (his mistake) and tried to hug him. James freaked out. Which I actually think is rational considering a man-sized stuffed owl with wings was coming towards him.

They also have a “Kidzone” at the stadium with a bounce house, face painting and shaved ice. Seriously, this is just like a fancy picnic. Both the boys got to make their own shaved ice flavors. James was a big fan of his. Once he couldn’t reach it with his mouth I suggested he drink it. Why, I don’t know. It was already their bedtime.

But he would take a sip, lick his lips and say, “Delicious” with his little lisp. He took it very, very seriously.

I might be getting famous any second

You guys I was on the news. I know, I am going to be famous any minute. It is about time the media discovers my electric personality and biting wit. Except that is not what has happened. Instead, like the microphone whore I am, I was interviewed by the local NBC affiliate at the local YMCA after I had just finished running.

I really should have said no. I should have listened to the rational voice inside me and said, no, tiny blond woman with tons of makeup on, I do not wish to be interviewed right now. Instead I said, sure and reached for the microphone. No joke. I tried to take it out of her tiny, manicured hand.

Tiny blond was doing a story on a local restaurant that has a no child under 8 after 7pm policy and local mom’s thoughts on that. She also brought up an overseas airline’s new option of a child-free row. I talked for about 2 minutes on these topics (I am in support of both) and gave some nice soundbites such as  “I don’t want to eat with my children either.” and “if my husband and I want to go to a nice restaurant we want to enjoy our food – you can’t do that with kids.” I can’t imagine why those were not used.

The only sentence they used was this one:

“I think if there’s a special section where people can go and they don’t want to be disturbed, I think that’s more power to them,” said mom Kinsey Wall.

Have I ever been more eloquent?

Mortifying. 

Seriously, why can’t I help myself around a mic/camera? I am totally the lady in her house coat talking to the camera about the apartment fire next door. No makeup, looking the fool and just happy to be on camera.
You can see my red, red face and ponytail bobbing around in the clip below. 
Mortifying, but I figured you all would like a laugh this Monday morning. You are welcome, and you can find me near any news truck in town, ready to make a comment.

She really should have asked me

The other day a mom in my moms group posted a message with her suggestions for going to the Houston Rodeo. She said she went with her two girls (mistake 1), tried to walk from our neighborhood (mistake 2) and went in the afternoon (mistake 3). Since I happen to know this mom all I could think was that I wish she had asked me. She literally did everything wrong.What? I am not one to mince words, it is the truth.

Now I am not saying I know everything – but I do know more. More about things like dealing with two children at the rodeo and how she really should have taken the light rail. Let me show you how it is done.

1. Ride the Houston Light Rail
There is a park and ride at the end of the line which is about 1/2 a mile from the rodeo. And it costs $3. You pay your $3 to park and $1.75 (for adults only) to ride one stop to the Rodeo. You will get dropped off at the front door and your children will be super excited to ride the train. Well, your 4 year old will be excited. James was not impressed.

2. Bring a wagon and snacks
Do not waste your time thinking any child is going to walk. Zach is lazier than most when it comes to walking but even so, it is a big place and you want to be able to toss them in there and get a move on. James did not want to get out of the wagon. He preferred I feed him crackers while he observed the whole spectacle  And refuse to wear a hat.

3. Go in the morning
It opens at 9 and we were there at 9:30. All the school kids are there in the afternoon plus all those part-time kids/moms. Beat them to the punch and go in the morning. Eat lunch there and you are home to put this pleasant guy down. See  how thrilled he is to be riding the carousel?

4. Once it does get hot around 11 get inside to the AgVenture
I love this area. It smells horrible but man do the boys love it. All the animals are kept in here and you can see baby pigs, cows, chicks hatching and giant longhorns. This year we wandered back into the cow pens and it was fascinating. Fascinating. These tiny boys and girls are leading calves that were 4 times their size like they are walking Norman. Such a different world.

The one mistake I made was to take both my children. And Alex too. Both boys, oh I am sorry, all three boys, want to do different things and I felt like we were always waiting on someone (which I just find annoying). So if I can next time I will take them one on one. We live so close it is worth it.

Also worth it: your husband racing your son down the slide. Please disregard me missing the first part because I am obsessed with my not impressed baby.

And seriously people, I know A LOT all you have to do is ask. Even if you don’t I am most likely going to tell you anyway. So it is best if you can just save us both some time.

Slightly Dangerous

James and Zach are getting better and better about playing together. Which is very beneficial to me needing alone time. They realized that Zach pushing James on the myriad of push toys we have could be super fun. My favorite part of the video is James waving at me before they get to the kitchen.

 
This usually lasts for 2 minutes until one of them runs into a wall and starts crying. No pun intended.

Like a fool

I recently realized James was totally playing me in the evenings. It all started a few weeks we got rid of the bottle (still not when I was supposed to but he is my baby and I don’t care). I went through our usual routine of reading books, lights out, sippy cup, pacifier (shhh) and then down. He was a perfect Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. I laid him down awake and he peacefully drifted off to sleep.

I thought I was amazing for months.

Then all of a sudden that little thing would start to rage the second I left the room. I, of course, thought he was sick/teething/had to poo/was being murdered and ran to check on him. The second I would pick him up to rock him he wanted to get down. I just put him back in bed but we all know I would then cave and go back in there and in there and in there.

Such a first-time mom move.

It took Lauren telling me that my child is trying to control me. HSHHC also confirmed in a passage about  child that would rage at his parents until they walked into the room. Oh stubborn mini-Kinsey, I should have recognized it. He is in that phase where he has finally realized things are going on around him and he is not the least bit pleased to be missing it. Not at all.

James, you are the second child. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice – nice try, but I am on to your stubborn ways. Two can play at that and I have had much more practice ignoring things I don’t like than you.

In case you thought James’ crying was soft and sweet I submit this video into evidence of my torture. It was from a few month ago before he was walking, and I really think he has only gotten louder.

My baby James

I finally finished our 2011 photo album, yes that is right, 2011, anyway and I noticed how many, many, many posts about Zachary I had. I chronicled everything that child did. Poor James. I think all the same things, about how he is so precious, how I love his walk with his butt and belly stuck out and how he “talks” all the time. However, his talking is second to his shrieking. That child shrieks at me all day. Well, for the 4 hours we are together, he is shrieking.

And even though I think all those things I can’t seem to find the energy to blog about them. And since I have boys they are barely going to care, but I do. So in that vein and with my love of lists, here are the top 10 things I love about my baby James right now:

1. His “run”. It is so awesome, he totally looks like a fat man. He ducks his head, swings his arms and off he goes. Precious.

2. His “words”. He is starting say more and more things. There are still very few that you can actually understand, save “Mama”, “Dada”, “bye”, “crackers” and “snack”. That is right, two of his favorite most used words are “cracker” and  “snack”. He yells them at me most mornings and evenings. He also yells, “Nuuuuu” for Norman and “aaaaakkk” for Zach. Again, no one really knows this unless both are close by.

3. His lack of hair. I adore that still mostly bald head. With his big eyes it makes him look more like a baby to me. Which I enjoy.

4.  Seeing him and Zachary play. James is still highly interested in whatever Zach is doing. No one can make him laugh like Zach can. James is (naturally) the aggressor in all situations so it is very normal for him to throw himself on Zach and start wrestling. He laughs and laughs as Zach pins him and vice versa. It never lasts long before someone is in trouble, but it is a blissful few minutes.

5. How fat he still is. That baby is enormous. I mean not really, he is like 50% but carrying around 25 lbs is no easy feet. But I love it. He is still so round and chubby with those cheeks. That chub let’s him get away with a lot.

I captured this video for my friend Laura who gave Zach this lion zoo set. James roaring like a lion makes my day.