Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Big Weekend: Part 2

Remember the Part 1 post a couple of months back? Well here is Part 2 of that weekend. Better late than never. 

My boys also had a big day the Saturday of B's birthday weekend. A while back my Uncle Kenneth (a/k/a Uncle Stinky - and no, he doesn't stink) texted me asking if he could take Grant to Auburn's homecoming. Kenneth took me to my first Auburn football game so I thought it would be super special if he could take Grant to his first as well. I knew how much Professor would appreciate it. However, I was a bit torn because I knew Mac wouldn't understand. He bleeds orange and blue. He would be devastated to know Grant was going and he wasn't. I didn't immediately respond and instead called Rachel to seek some advice. In true RaRa fashion Martha said, "I'm taking the girls so I'll just get an extra ticket and take my Baby Love with me."

So it was done. Both Grant and Mac would have their first Auburn football experience with two of the biggest Auburn fans on the planet. Perfect!

Well almost.

What about Reid?

Initially I planned on letting him hang with us girls but not only did I not want to take away from Bethany I also wanted him to have a special day. Meems to the rescue. And let me tell you, he thought he was big stuff having Mimi all to himself to do whatever his heart desired. Leading up to that day, every time Grant and Mac would talk about going to the game Reid would follow with, "YEAH, but I get to stay with Mimi ALL by myself." :)

It was an early kickoff that day which meant they would all be leaving before the chickens even woke up. Being that I was going to be in Decatur until late Friday night, mom and dad kept the boys for me. It worked out perfect because Kenneth and Rachel and the girls were all headed to mom and dad's Friday as well. They would all be under one roof, ready for Saturday.

I knew Bueller would have the time of his life with his RaRa, GaGa and Mags.
FACE PAINT!! I told him for my first game I got tiger paws
painted on my face. He wanted them too. ;)
And of course he did. He received the whole Auburn football experience with some of his favorite people. What more could a little Auburn fan ask for?

What Grant didn't know before he got to Auburn was that cousin Anna had some connections from her time working as a Tigerette. She worked for the Athletic Department in student recruiting. (I hope I got that right, Anna). Boy did she ever hook him up! He received the AU royal treatment and then some.
In the Heisman room with Stinky
Dyer's {now former} locker
Championship ring
Pre-game press conference :)
In awe of Cam's jersey and Heisman trophy
The official Trooper Towel
National Championship Trophy
New hat and jersey
Meeting up with brother
They both got the jerseys they wanted. Of course.
Spoiled much? :)
The lady who made it all happen
You can read Anna's account of the day here. She was very sweet to keep me posted all throughout the day with lots and lots of picture and text messages. Between Anna, Rachel, my mom and Kenneth I'm surprised my phone wasn't smoking. ;)

While Grant and Mac were living it up in Auburn, Reid was having a big time himself - just he and his Mimi. A movie, a visit to the mall, a train ride, and his favorite:
Build-A-Bear!! All things Auburn was the theme for the day, naturally.

Truth be told this post has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time. I didn't know how I wanted to go about bringing this next part up. Although it had to be because it was such a big part of why the day was so special. I won't really get into specifics other than to say that my aunt and uncle have two little boys in heaven. Anna's two brothers, Joshua (who actually had a twin they lost very early in the pregnancy) and Zachary went to be with Jesus after only a few short hours on this earth. Anna (born on Christmas Eve) is their miracle baby. Kenneth made the comment more than once throughout the day with Grant that, “This is what it would have been like.” It was a very emotional day for everyone, especially Kenneth.

And while I don't understand – because they're two of the most good-hearted, God-fearing people I know and I can't think of two people who would be better suited to raise boys - why he never got the chance to have those days on this earth with his own sons, I'm beyond touched and honored that my son was the one with whom he had his “best day ever in Auburn.” I look forward to the day when Grant is older and I can share with him just what this day meant.

And of course there were some funnies along the way too. Kenneth emailed me a few days after the game so I would have a record of the day. I hope he doesn't mind that I'm sharing it so I will always have it.
I will remember 11/19/2011 for the rest of my life. Memories were created that made me laugh so hard that I think Grant thought I was crazy.  Thinking back on the memories I tend to get a little choked-up, too.  Anyway, the day started with the ride to Auburn and the questions began. Gee-whiz!!! The questions ranged from my GMC pickup to being a college student/athlete.  We get to Auburn. He did not know about going inside Jordan-Hare to visit the locker room, etc.  Anna was the perfect hostess.  He was treated like a recruit by everyone!  I was treated like yesterday's newspaper.  His eyes lit up when Anna asked him if wanted to go on the field.  So, we walked on the turf of Pat Dye Field!!  He kept saying: "This is awesome." Went back into the locker room.  All he wanted was to see Michael Dyer's locker.  Anna found it and he just stared at Dyer's uniform, pads, helmet, shoes, etc.  Again - awesome.  So after some time he decided he was hungry and wanted to go shopping.  We stop by a Starbuck's where he had "The best hot chocolate, ever!" Then the shopping began.  He's a patient shopper.  $40 must be!!!  He FINALLY found himself a fitted Auburn cap and couple of other things.  Total cost $22.00.  He asked me how much that left I told him $18.00.  He shouted "Only $18.00!"  He just shook his head.  We had breakfast at a local eatery where he had a chocolate chip cookie and a Sprite.  (I quickly realized that Sprite is the beverage of choice)  He did buy an Auburn football and few other things depleting the remaining $18.00.  Mission accomplished, the money was spent.   
The game - Our seats where in the upper deck section 61 row 23 seats 9 and 10.  Why are the sections, rows and sets numbered? A suitable explanation was given.  The word awesome described the view, the Auburn Tigers, the Auburn University Marching Band and the eagle's, Spirit, flight around Jordan-Hare prior to kickoff.  Mid way during the 1st quarter Grant was looking up and behind him.  I asked him what he was looking for and he said the concession stand.  I told him that we had to go down the steps to the concession area.  He was not thrilled.  The steps are kinda steep.  He waited and decided the hunger was too great and would venture down the steep incline.  So, we risked life and limb and travelled down to the concessions for popcorn and Sprite.  We make it back to our seats.  Mid way during the 2nd quarter Grant says:  "Oh, no.  I have to go to bathroom."  Not waiting to travel back down the steps he looks at me and asks:  "Do you have an empty water bottle?"  The gentlemen sitting in front of us doubled over laughing.  I said no so we went back down the steps.  (I think he would have used a water bottle if I had had one)  He enjoyed the halftime show by the AUMB.  Mid way during the 3rd quarter he asked:  "How much longer?"  He wanted to go throw his new football. We stay until the beginning of the 4th quarter.  As we were walking down from the upper deck he said "I have not seen a Dippin' Dot's.  Do they have one here?"  Thus the search began.  As our search is going on I notice the crowd begins to cheer so we run up on the tunnels to see what's going on.  As we're running up the tunnel we're met by a guy that looks like Santa Claus but in regular clothes!!  Long white beard, hair and chubby.  I said "Look Grant it's Santa!"  Grant came to an immediate stop and just gazed at the guy.  The man heard me, winked, and looked at Grant and said: "I guess I'll see you next month."  In a high pitched whisper Grant said "Yes, sir."  I said to Grant "Who knew that Santa was an Auburn fan!"  He said "I guess he was in his regular clothes so he could enjoy the game without being bothered." The people standing around us watching the entire scene unfold and laughed, loudly.  Oh, yes, there is one vendor at Jordan Hare Stadium that sells D-Dots.  A chocolate order was placed.  We found a couple of empty seats and watched  some of the 4th quarter.  I asked him how were the D-Dots.  He said "They're good.....taste like dirt."  He ate 'em.  Goofy kid.  As we're walking back through the campus headed to the truck he says he has to wiz, again.  He looks up says "Bushes, I can go there"  I said "Dude, NO!!  I know of a business we can go to that has a restroom."  Look, I'm a guy too and I know that we think that the world is our urinal but gee.  So, anyway we make it back to truck, get his football and throw it to each other near Toomer's Corner.  Rachel, the rest of the kids, Anna and Brent meet us there, too.  
So many more things I will tell you about that day.  I will say this is the first time that I have been to an Auburn game where the game did not matter.  Spending time with others you love is what's important.  Thanks to you and Chris for letting me spend the day with Grant.  I'll always remember that day. 
Love you more!!!
Kenneth, thank you. I don't think any of us will ever forget that day.

And because after that email I feel the need to clarify, my boys don't make it a regular occurrence to use a water bottle as a urinal. Obviously sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and my empty Dasani bottles rolling around on my floorboard have come in handy a time or two. That's just one of the advantages of having boys. They do, however, use the outside on a regular basis AT HOME (that's a plus of where we live). We've since had the talk that it's only ok at home. Or the hunting land. Or out back at Mimi and Granddaddy's house. Or at Big Daddy and Grandmama Norton's house. Ok I see where this could get confusing. I'll admit... I'm a bit envious. If only it were that easy for us gals. :)

I think it's safe to say Grant and Mac's first experience with Auburn football was a hit.
And as much fun as Reid had, he will quickly let you know that it's his turn next. ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A little of what we've been up to

I have the greatest sisters and parents ever. Seriously.
On Thursday, thanks to Dawnie, Chris and I got to sneak away to Birmingham for a boat show. You know, because over the summer our boat + a tree...
Yeah. Still makes me so sad to see that picture. :( WAAAH!

Well, one day we'll think we are in the market for another one and the next we'll think better of it. Since we had free tickets to the boat show we thought it would be fun to just go look. Look was all we did. We had a good time. We ate dinner after then made it home in time to tuck the boys in. Many thanks, Snuggie! The boys always love when "Aint" Dawnie picks them up from school.

On Friday, Rachel texted me and said she missed her baby loves and asked what our plans were for the weekend. That's when I jokingly (or not) said, "Why? Do you want them for the weekend?" hehee And so the planning began. Because Martha is Martha, she and the girls drove to my parent's house Friday afternoon, first making a stop by our house to pick up the boys. FOR THE ENTIRE WEEKEND.

RaRa wanted it to be a surprise.
Go ahead and blow that one up so you can see Grant's face :)
M & M - nothing else matters in their world when they're together
I think it's safe to say they were surprised, especially since Maggie FaceTimed Mac as they were getting close just to "say hi on her way home from gymnastics," and kept him on FT until he saw them. Such a fun surprise!

They all kept each other thoroughly entertained (playing, games, the movies) while I was able to relax and enjoy a weekend with my man. It sure was needed, and I'm so very appreciative we were able to have some alone time. We didn't do anything really exciting. Dinner Friday night. Lazy Saturday morning. Did some running around and then went hunting Saturday afternoon. Came home to let the dogs out (we are turning into Big Daddy and Louise). Then dinner again Saturday night. We enjoyed a quiet house and each other. Dreamy.

See? Greatest. family. ever. Thanks to RaRa for making it happen and also to my mom who we can call on a Friday at lunch and say, "Oh, by the way, you're going to have a house full of grands. Today. For the whole weekend." And she says, "Sounds good to me. What time will y'all be here? Be sure to bring church clothes." I hope I'm like that when I'm a Mimi. ;)

As fun as the weekend was and as much as we recognize the need for couple time, I think it goes without saying that we missed our little guys and were very glad to have them back home Sunday.
Granddaddy finished the European mount on Mac's first deer. Dad did a beautiful job as always, and Mac was one happy little hunter to have it on his wall (although the fact that it's a spike makes the horns look sort of evil which creep me out but I've kept that to myself - he just sees his deer, which he should).
Jack the Taxidermist - who we keep telling should go into business - has a couple more he just finished (one for Grant and one for Chris). We can't wait to see them.

I hate these pictures didn't turn out so well because I love them. Chris was working the dog the other day (oh yeah, we have a lab now too... that's a whole other post in itself - he and I aren't exactly friends - lab puppies are psycho).
Reid was right there with his daddy the whole time and was mimicking everything Chris was doing. Love.

And in case you have forgotten the name of this thing (especially if you live in the south):
It is called the sun. S-U-N, sun. The past couple of days I have thought maybe it was just a figment of my imagination, like a mirage of sorts. But no! It was the real deal. Reid and I thoroughly enjoyed soaking it up while Chris and the other two boys were at baseball.
Turbo wanted Lucy to go with us and at some point it ended up with Reid carrying Lucy while I pushed his bicycle.
Poor Lucy looks like a hot mess in that picture. She has since had a bath. Chris was holding her the other night and said, "You ought to be ashamed for letting your dog look like this." I said, "I KNOW! I cannot believe I've let her get so nasty. I'll bathe her tomorrow."

And then it occurred to me... We have turned into those dog people - the ones I have always made so much fun of. Maybe I should change Lucy's name to Karma. It's fitting in more ways than one. ;)

One last thing...
It's January. And we're wearing flip flops. I could get used to winters like this (minus the bad weather of course - just got word school is closing early today due to inclement weather). I could also get used to putting my feet up. :)

Happy {almost} Friday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Allow me to brag for a moment

The boys' school takes part in the Accelerated Reader program. When Grant was in Kindergarten (which was also the first year Redland Elementary was in existence) students didn't start AR until first grade. It was not implemented in Kindergarten. However, last year all that changed. I guess they realized Kindergarteners are very capable of reading and testing on AR books.

Grant's teacher requires at least one AR test a day. There are some exceptions (i.e., if they don't have a chance to visit the library for a new book or they're reading a chapter book which obviously takes longer than a day to read). But for the most part it's a book a day to read and test on. That's a lot of books. So Mac has spent many afternoons/evenings sitting with Grant and me while we read. He would comment that he couldn't wait for it to be his turn when he would be the one reading a book to me.

Well that time has come. 

Mac brought home his first AR book the other night. I was blown away with how well he read it. Not only did he know his sight words but he was also able to sound others out. He needed help on a few harder words, but for the most part he read the entire book himself. They have to read a book three times before they can test on it, so we read it three (or maybe four) times until he felt he was ready for the test. I signed him up for a test. Bueller commented in the carpool line the next morning that he was "already shaking" about taking the test. :) I told him to do his best - that I knew he would do great.

Guess what? He did! He made a 100 on his very first AR test. He was ecstatic and couldn't get the car door open quick enough that afternoon to tell me all about it.
Grant got my camera and snapped a few pictures while we were reading.
Apparently to him it looked like a Kodak moment.
This one is hilarious to me. It speaks volumes about my mental state as I listen to a new reader trying to finish a book. It's not so much like that now with Grant because he reads fairly smooth, but oh my nerves for this stage in reading. Sweet? Yes! Very! I love that he's excited about reading. He doesn't get it from me that's for sure. Am I proud? Of course! I teared up as he started reading the first few pages, amazed that since August he has gone from just recognizing his letters and knowing a few sounds to reading a book cover to cover. But I'm not the most patient person. It surely isn't easy on the nerves hearing...

Big lion. [PAUSE............................................................................................................]

Big n-ehh-t NET.

Big t-rrrr-ooo-ow-...trrroh.. [looks at me for help - "trouble," I say] TROUBLE.

Big lion. Big net. Big trouble. [And big smile on his face after reading that page.]


Ok I'm sort of kidding. I have learned through the years to enjoy it and not try to rush through that time with my children. It goes by so fast, and I will miss the days they are excited to sit and read with their momma. But I would be lying if I said it didn't try the ol' nerves a bit. That's just who I am. Don't worry, though. I keep it together. No gnashing of teeth or throwing of books just yet. And it's great comical relief when he doesn't recognize the word "as" and tries to sound it out... "asssss." Hilarious.

I know. I'm terrible.

My hat's off to teachers. It takes a special person.

Now on to Grant. Yesterday was 2nd Grade Honors Day. The Kindergarten class doesn't participate in Honors Day because they don't receive letter grades yet. However, Mac's teacher allowed him to accompany me to Grant's ceremony. Our little Professor received recognition for all A's the first two nine weeks (this nine weeks he had 100s in every subject except one and that was a 99), outstanding conduct, and an AR award for having 50 or more AR points so far this year. Most of their books are worth 0.5 points, so in order for a student to have at least 50 points they would have to read at least 100 books - a job well done!
Receiving his awards for all A's and good conduct
Stopping for a quick pic after walking off stage
Receiving his AR award
A quick pic with little bro
Another with mom
And one more with Ms. T
Too bad there's not a picture of me receiving my award for Mother of the Year. Not only did I forget my camera I also forgot it was awards day. As in I completely forgot all about it until we pulled in the carpool line and I saw all the parents parking and going inside. Grant and Mac both have baseball on Tuesdays and Thursdays so they were dressed in sweatpants and t-shirts to be ready to go to ball after school. I kicked it in high gear, made a flying trip to drop Reid off at preschool then back home to grab Grant a change of clothes. I made it in the nick of time. Who schedules something like this the day after a long holiday weekend anyway??? Don't they know I have CRS disease? hehee Never mind no one else forgot. 

SO very proud of my guys. They're following in their Sissy's footsteps who continues to do very well in school herself.

I can only imagine what next year will be like when they're ALL in school.

Speaking of Sissy...
Unbeknownst to me she checked out of school early Friday. It's a bit scary how good she was able to pull off calling me at 3 p.m. telling me she was just getting on the road. A few minutes later Reid came running in the kitchen saying, "Sissy's here! Sissy's here!" I barely got the words, "No she's not. She just le...," out of my mouth when in she walked. What a sweet surprise! We had a wonderful, lazy weekend full of popcorn, movie watching, eating, coffee drinking and being complete couch potatoes while the guys hunted.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes if you put a little note in their lunchbox...

I used to do this every day for Bethany. She never ate in the cafeteria, so every morning I fixed her lunch and wrote a note on her napkin. The notes almost always had something to do with "marvelous" on Mondays, "terrific" on Tuesdays, "wonderful" on Wednesdays, Thursdays I mixed it up, and of course Friday was "fabulous" or "fantastic." The boys are like Sissy and rarely eat in the cafeteria (not that I blame them). Pizza is the only thing they'll eat. I don't write a note every day for the boys, but it's a fun surprise when I do. Mac loves leaving me little notes which I take to mean he probably appreciates them in return. He's just learning to read so I have to keep his notes short and simple - limited to words I know he'll be able to read.

A couple of days ago I took Mac's lunchbox out of his backpack to pack it again for the next day. When I opened it this is what I found:
So you see, sometimes if you put a little note in their lunchbox, you might just get one back.
Sweet, sweet boy.

Oh, and since his note was on the same napkin, here's hoping the reason he didn't use that one was for the sake of sentimental value and that he got another one from the lunchroom to actually use. :)

Have a Fantastic Friday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our mini session with kai

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had a mini photo session with my friend, Kelli, at Kelli Alfreds Images, LLC before Christmas. I originally scheduled a full session but some little boy had to go and break his foot thus resulting in a cast. I didn't really want our pictures to include Mac's bright orange cast. By the time the cast was off all she had left was a mini session so we had to take what we could get.

I didn't get a Christmas card out last year. I was determined this year. It's so hard for me to get "the" picture on my own, so I decided going this route would be a good idea. I'm so glad I did. I came away with some great shots of my loves and was able to get cards sent out - my favorite one yet.

Many thanks, Kelli. :)