Lately - as I'm sure you've noticed - my posts have long gaps between them. I have a recipe for my world class excuse that I'm happy to share with you.
One part laziness.
Two parts busy children who run me straight to bed early each night.
One healthy dose of grief which, to be honest, has a strong connection to my writing.
Mix that together - add some "writing would make me miss Dancing with the Stars" or insert any mind numbing TV show in its place - and you have my decadent excuse.
I was talking to my Aunt today about my blog and explaining to her this very struggle. When I started writing, I never expected it would turn into THIS. I also never expected that Gavin would die, but that's a whole other blog post. Throughout his life, every day was filled with a new milestone or therapy or fun adventures or scary medical issues or alternative treatments... I could go on and on and on. But that's the point. I would sit down at the end of the day and know exactly what I was writing about! Now our lives are... I guess there's no other word for it than "typical." Brian's in school all day and Hope is a toddler and when I sit down at the end of the day I think, "Does anyone really want to hear that Hope has a new cup or that Brian and I did an art project after school or we made brownies and fancied them up with a bag of chocolate chips which was a big mistake?" I typically answer that with, "Wait... where's the remote?"
But then... there's the guilt. I don't want Hope to grow up and see the huge gaps in HER little life when I have Gavin and Brian's life together chronicled, in detail, for years. But on the other hand... how grateful I am that I have Gavin and Brian's life together chronicled, in detail, for years. Brian and Hope will absolutely be able to read all about Gavin and understand his story when they're older.
Anywhoo..... that's what's on my mind.
So, since I haven't written in a bit, I have a "dump" of information to catch up on. Here we go... try to keep up!! Ha!
Brian had his final soccer game and said goodbye to his coaches, Joe and Kevin.
I had to talk him into soccer - he really wasn't interested. I finally convinced him when I listed his friends that had signed up. In hindsight, I should have just led with that information - it was an instant yes when he heard who would be there!
He started off the season knowing very little about the game - and he ended up being really good! I mean, there were a few times that he forgot which goal was their team's - but that's just a small technicality.
The coaches were positive and encouraging and really came down to the kids levels. Coach Kevin would give personal pep talks to the kids and sneak a teaching moment in at the same time, which Brian responded well to.
Our little guy is on the shy side so I was always shocked to see him out on the field going after the ball. He really got in there and gave it his all!! And once we started using the inhaler for his "Exercise Induced Asthma," he was much more comfortable running up and down the field during the game.
We missed picture day (so bummed to miss those adorable little trading cards!) so I took my own picture after the final game. Brian was excited that they used HIS ball for the last game!
After the game, the whole team went to a restaurant for pizza, cupcakes and an award ceremony. The coach gave a personal speech to each child before giving them their trophy. Brian got the award for being the "best listener" on the team - because he took feedback well and improved a lot from the beginning to the end of the season. Brian, with cupcake icing all over his mouth, was grinning from ear to ear.
I don't quite understand the controversy about trophies at this age. Brian and his friends are ALL about the trophies - and it was something he was really looking forward to. I see it as a visual reminder on the shelf in his room about the time he resisted trying something new - tried it anyway - ended up having a lot of fun - learned that he was actually really good - and found a sport that he really loves! I don't see anything wrong with that. I hope when he looks at his trophy he remembers all of that - and feels pride.
I was especially proud of Brian at his final game because he was up super late the night before! He had his first Cub Scout camping trip!!
He and Ed joined Brian's pack on a "Night at the Museum" overnight. They had educational activities, toured the museum and watched "The Lorax" before setting up their air mattresses among the animals and dinosaur eggs. They had such a great time! We are really enjoying the Cub Scout experience so far.
While Ed and Brian were away, Hope and I had a little "girl's night!" The first thing she did was steal her brother's cup which is her goal every single day. This time (don't tell Brian) I didn't take it away.
She walked around like such a big shot all night!
I love spending time with this happy little girl. It's pretty rare that she's a grump!
After breaking her arm a couple weeks ago (dancing!), my Mom is doing GREAT. She'll be getting a hard cast very soon and, if all goes well, she should be cast free before Christmas! She has had such a great attitude about this temporary setback. She's a warrior!
Our new home has no shortage of beautiful, huge, old trees. Coincidentally, our yard is now filled with beautiful, huge leaves. A LOT of leaves. Want an idea of how MANY leaves? Our first time bagging mulched leaves from JUST the front yard filled 32 large trash bags. But the good news?
EPIC LEAF PILES!!
You can even SWIM through them!
We love how they look - and watching them fall like soft snow in our peaceful yard is one of my favorite things to do.
I spend my days at home with Hope and we are never bored! She loves to walk around carrying a "purse" and filling it with toys, books and her snacks - after she dumps them out of her snack cup.
We spend time outside on the driveway where she loves to push her stroller, get dirty, play with chalk and bubbles and play on the playground.
We play in her miniature playroom in the basement reading books and cooking in the "kitchen" and doing puzzles.
We lay around and practice "mothering" her dolls, practicing animal sounds and watching her recent favorite DVDs that were also Gavin's favorites - "Baby Signing Time."
Hope follows me happily everywhere I go in the house... and easily finds something to do or get into. When she is doing something that she probably thinks is naughty, you'll hear her saying "HOPE! No, No! HOPE! No, No!" That's usually my cue that I should peek around the corner to catch her emptying out a drawer, creating a tissue box explosion or dumping her snack cup. But be warned - if you hear her say "Uh oh" - it's likely too late. The damage is done so you should approach with caution... and a vacuum. She is the funniest little girl - we laugh a lot during the day!
While we're busying playing all day, Brian is having fun at school! Every day he comes home with a big smile and tells me something he learned, what he played at recess and with whom, what he did that was nice, etc. We are so happy with our choice of school for Brian. And we are even MORE excited that they just received the Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award! The Principal of Saint Norbert School, Mrs. Hennessy, and some of the teachers - including Brian's, Mrs. Korom - travelled to Washington, DC to be honored by the Department of Education. Schools that are chosen for the Blue Ribbon are those that perform at high academic levels.
That Friday, they had a day filled with celebrations. Each child brought in two boxes of cereal - one was put aside to donate to a local food pantry and the other was put on a "breakfast bar of champions" for all the kids to share as a snack!
The kids could skip their uniforms and dress down - and they were all given matching "Blue Ribbon" tee shirts! This is the entire school...
And they ended the day with a performance by a local circus act called "The Give and Take Jugglers." The parents and siblings were invited, too! It was such a cute performance - completely tailored to the children and very interactive!
They even had an aerial artist who performed on a rope and silks. This was all in the school gym!
We're grateful to be sending Brian (and one day, Hope) to a school that knows how to work hard... and play hard. And the gift they have is that the two are often combined and the kids don't even realize it! That, to me, is the sign of an excellent school.
Finally, I had a rare day out this past weekend! My friend, Claire, and I went to see author and blogger Glennon Melton from Momastery talk! She had a speaking engagement at a nearby church. It was Claire's first time hearing Glennon and she really enjoyed it. If you've never seen her, definitely watch her website for dates in your area - you won't regret it.
She's hilarious -
and real -
and touching -
Her words are changing people. And her people are changing the world.
I'm honored to count her as a friend.
Thank you, as always, for caring about our little family.