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Saturday, August 31, 2013

4 year old Pax

I'm going to try and sum up my sweet 4 year old at this stage in life. I've said it before but he's just sweet. He's considerate of others. He is normally a peacemaker. He is affectionate. He is sensitive and tenderhearted. He speaks his feelings for others easily. Earlier in the summer while the two of us quietly floated on a raft in a backyard swimming pool, he suddenly spoke out of silence and said, "mommy, I'm so glad that you're my mommy." Just last week he came up with, "I would be so sad if I didn't have y'all." That one nearly made me burst with emotion. He's a thinker and he'll often tell his family, those that are closest to him, all about those thoughts floating around in his head. I am the same exact way with easily sharing my heart with those closest to me. Our personalities are very similar and it makes for a very special relationship.
Pax loves all things super hero, sports and books. He is constantly wanting me to read him book after book after book. If I ever repsond with "no, not right now", he can sometimes get a little dramatic and in a whiney voice say, "but you NEVER read me any books!" Which is a bold face lie. :) He currently has an interest in Ninja Turtles also. It's the newest obsession at our house by the big boys. He has been begging to play baseball for over a year. So he is finally enrolled to play t-ball this fall. I already know he will love the experience of playing a sport. There is no doubt in my mind on that one. He consistently puts great effort into whatever he is doing. So far, as a brand new 4 year old, he is participating in our Kindergarten curriculum with no problems at all. He loves to be involved with our school and so far he is eager to learn.
Pax loves to play games. He received two new games for his birthday. Pop the Pig and I Can Do That - a fun little Dr. Suess game. He loves to sit and play games as a family. Some other favorites are Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O.
This boy normally moves at the pace of a turtle. He is rarely in a hurry for anything. It's one of the pieces of his personality that can drive Jeremy and I crazy. He is just a slow moving fella and not much of anything is going to pick up his pace.
He could easily ride his bike without training wheels if he had the confidence in his ability. I watched his very first attempt at it and he was doing amazing until he realized no one was holding up the bike. At that point he slowly put on the brakes and decided that he wanted his training wheels back on. So he's a little timid. Physically he's ready for it. But mentally he's not. So we will give him some time until he's ready to give it a second shot.
I would say one of Pax's biggest accomplishments this past year was earning the title "big brother". And he immediately looked like he was born for the job. I was so concerned about his adjustment to a new baby in the house after he had held that title for almost a full 4 years. But then Abe came to our family, Pax fell in love with him just like the rest of us. And there's never been a moment of concern. He was ready to be a big brother and he has been an amazing one.
Pax is great eater. He will eat just about anything you put in front of him. Some of his favorites are: cheeseburgers, pizza, pear, kiwi, oranges, pepperoni slices with crackers, green peas, carrots, bell peppers, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, waffles and pancakes. He is a dream eater. Never any bribery. Never any arguments. I always set down a reasonable amount of food in front of him, he eats it all and sometimes asks for more of something. For this boy, meals are never a battle and for that I am so thankful.
Pax is a very sweet and special part of our family. He is a fun and fair brother to both Holden and Abe. And a true gift of a son to Jeremy and I. We love him dearly! We look forward to year number four with this incredible little boy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pax in Pre-K

It will be a fun year of learning in Pre-K at home.

Holden in Kindergarten.

We're off to an exciting year of Kindergarten at home.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pax's 4th birthday

My sweet 4 year old had a fun day. I loved spending the day celebrating him! Pax made most of the decisions for our day today. I asked him Sunday night what he wanted to do on his big day. His answer was "Go to the library and pick out new books!" We do this most every Monday so it's a little amusing that this was his preference today. After the library we met Jeremy for lunch and Pax chose Chick Fil A. Once home again the boys took naps. After naps, we read several of our library books as we waited on Jeremy to return home from work. Then it was dinner, gift opening and an icecream finale. Pax has one of the sweetest personality. So it was joyful for me to watch him own his day. He seemed to enjoy every minute of it. Here are a few pictures from today.
He came down for breakfast to find a gift waiting for him. We let him open Holden's gift to him early this morning.
This boy LOVES super heros. Especially Spider Man and Super Man.
Muffins for breakfast.
All dressed and set for our day of fun.
Time for gifts.
The boy loves books.
So since I have little boys, discussions about bodily fluids and functions happen continually out our house. Daily. No matter how much I try to discourage the topic. Another favorite around here is "underwear". Say that word and the boys will be belly laughing on the floor. So how could I pass up a book called Underpants Thunderpants. Obviously the author raised some little boys.
Pax has been requesting a "real guitar" since Holden received his drum set from us back in May. So tonight as he opened gifts, he first opened some t-shirts and new Ninja Turtle PJ's. I know it wasn't that exciting to him, but he let out a "whoo hoo" just to show some gratitude for the gifts. Jeremy and I could tell the "whoo hoo" was forced and fake. But that's one of the sweet parts of Pax's personality. He would never let you know he was a little disappointed. Then we had him open his books and a Dr. Seuss board game. Nothing terribly exciting yet. Then all of his gifts were open and Jeremy and I started talking outloud as though we had missed a gift. Finally Jeremy retrieved the large wrapped guitar from our bedroom. It was obvious Pax had no idea what it was.
He was really excited.
He immediately held it like he knew exactly what to do. And as he began strumming, he shouted, "Let's rock n roll!" I have no idea where he hears this stuff. But we got a good laugh out of it.
Another fun birthday for a very special boy. A four year post is in the works!

meet the teacher.

Holden starts Kindergarten this week. And check out his cool teacher.
That's right. We are homeschooling. I do not yet know for how long...if we'll do this for one year, through the elementary years or even through high school. Jeremy and I feel comfortable to committing to one year at a time and going from there. So for this year, we will be schooling it up around the kitchen table. Pax is eager to participate and I have no problem with him naturally getting a head start on things as we do this as a family.
I realize now that there is a lot of competition academically and it starts before kids ever get in school. I find it completely ridiculous yet I still struggle to not get sucked into it all. Back in my elementary years, we didn't begin to learn to read until 2nd grade and now it is expected so much earlier. I'm trying to surround myself with those moms that are a good reminder to me of why we are really choosing to homeschool. Which has very little to do with academics. And I'm trying to block out the hundreds of voices that make it all a competition for whose kid has the highest IQ.
I realized this weekend that Holden is reading very well. Because of his love for reading and books, this summer Jeremy started going through a reading lesson book that had been recommended to us. They are now halfway through the book and Holden has picked up on the skill of reading quite nicely. I don't think this is us being pulled into the academic competition. But instead, offering him a skill that we knew he would love and would open up so many doors to learning, imagination and entertainment. And obviously, it has become very natural for him. I'm very proud of him for his work in learning to read.
I feel like most often through parenting Jeremy and I are constantly having to evaluate the norm for our cultural and society. Then compare that norm to what is in God's word. And then determine what is best for our family. So far Santa and our means to educate our children have redirected us from the cultural norm. Both are personal decisions that I don't believe have a right or wrong answer. But sometimes you just know what is right for your family. And right now, we just know that this is the right direction for us at this time. I'm pretty sure no one ever would have pegged me to homeschool. Of all people. Not I. Years ago I never would have imagined myself to go this route. Then in 2008, we had a sweet baby boy and everything changed. In many ways I feel inadequate for this job. But God has been confirming often to me that we are right where we need to do be. And that for now, our children should be home with us. Inadequate as I may be, He is not. So I'm confident he'll use me, as messed up as I am, to teach and train my boys this year. And you know, I am so excited to begin the adventure. Anxious. A little nervous. But excited to be doing exactly what God is asking of me.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pax is turning 4.

Tomorrow my sweet, little Pax turns four. Four. It's hard to believe. Four years ago, I had absolutely no clue that God was about to completely surprise us with a second child. What an enormous blessing that surprise has grown into! He is a sweet, little love. And we had fun celebrating him on Saturday with a baseball themed birthday party and an inflatable water slide. Baseball was his request and we had to do something to cool off this August birthday, so we rented the slide. The kids loved it. And if the adults got too hot, they could stand in the splash zone to cool off.
Pax's birthmom, M, and her family joined us at the party this year. So that made it extra special. It's always nice when M can see Pax in his element and at his home. You definitely get to see a little more of who Pax is when he is in his comfort zone. So here are way too many pictures from the day between our camera and my dad's camera.
The baseball setup. When Pax saw his cupcakes on Saturday morning he claimed "This is going to be the best birthday ever!" Obviously it doesn't take much to impress this guy because my cake decorating skills are a little lacking.
Us with the birthday boy. He couldn't take his eyes off of the slide.
Testing it out before all the friends arrived.
Cupcake time!
Gifts. He was spoiled by friends and family.
Little Abers finally woke and decided to join the fun.
Some sweet pictures of these two. Pax is bright and always thinking. He is beginning to grasp many things about his adoption story. It's amazing and sometimes gut wrenching to walk him through his journey. It's an incredible story filled with love from many people. He is very, very loved! Adoption can be hard and heart breaking, but special and amazing too. You have to consider and address both sides and never dismiss the loss that is involved. We are learning as we walk this road with each of our boys.
But moments like these caught with my camera are true treasures. We love this girl! She is part of us.
It was a happy, full and fun party day for our little guy. He soaked up every moment and had a ball.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What we've been up to lately...

Training Abe in the ways of this household. We let him chew on the Chick Fil A books.
Spending some time outside. I love seeing my 3 little boys all in a row.
Making myself stop to notice priceless moments like these.
A visit from our Colorado cousins.
These two only 6 weeks apart in age.
A Sunday afternoon at the movies.
A family day at the circus.
Helping out in the kitchen. We baked gluten free, dairy free, rice free, coconut free, almond free, peanut free (you name, it was free of it) pancakes. And they tasted exactly as they sound. But we've been making these for months and for some reason my boys think they are the biggest treat with a drizzle of maple syrup. The boy that fights me on veggies will eat pancakes that taste like cardboard. :)
Some days are wonderful. And some are just plain hard and exhausting. But I look at these pictures and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be in these shoes. To have this life with this family God has created for me.