Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cooper's all smiles in front of his birthday cake!

Cooper requested a space shuttle cake. It was as yummy as it looks!

Collin (still wearing birthday cake) spends some time with Grandma Wood.

The neighborhood Halloween party begins with "Elvis" leading the way (the boys to the left of Elvis).

The boys pose with their friend, Emma.

The boys and me showing off their costumes!

Our friend Jay (a.k.a. Elvis), ready to start the neighborhood Halloween parade that kicks off trick-or-treating!

This weekend included two favorites: a birthday topped off with Halloween. It was a busy 48 hours, but full of amazing memories. We had so much that I'm exhausted. So, only photos today, commentary will have to be put on hold until tomorrow (hopefully!).

Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Preparing for a Birthday

Early birthday gift from Memaw and Papa. Cooper was thrilled with his new glow in the dark pajamas.

Tomorrow Cooper turns four. Four! The night before each boy's birthday, I write them a letter filled with the year's memories. (They actually all have a letter written even before they were born.) Along with memories, I recount their uniqueness, and proclaim how deeply we love them. The letter is placed in a sealed envelope, dated on the front. My plan is to give each boy all the letters on their eighteenth birthday.

Tonight I am writing Cooper's letter. Here is a little bit of what I wrote:

Dear Cooper:

Happy Fourth Birthday! Four years flew by so quickly!

Cooper, you're one-of-a-kind! You're endlessly curious, extremely unpredictable, and exceedingly courageous. Mixed together, you get into all kinds of mischief. But, then you break out into a smile. Your fifty-watt smile that radiates from your mouth to your eyes. You twinkle. You giggle. You laugh. You cause as to smile too. We start smiling and then wonder, "What did he do again?"

You make our life rich, fun, funny, and full. We're blessed with four awesome years with our wonderful son, Cooper. We can't wait to see what life has in store for you!

Love, Mom and Dad


Had to share this: Connor told me today that he wants to change his name to "Tron."

Tron, get your homework done.

Tron, quit hitting your brother.

Tron, you're going to miss the bus.

Hmm.....I think we'll stick with Connor.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking the first step

One of today's commitments: eating lunch with Cooper at preschool.

They say the first step in the road to recovery is to admit you have a problem. So today I'm acknowledging I have an issue: I'm an overcommitter, a "no" phobic, suffering under super mom delusions. I'm not content with just raising four spunky little boys, I add and I add, until my dance card is bursting. Then, I watch as things begin to crumble: housework, cooking, personal hygiene, mental health, and on and on.

First, the fractures are purely internal, undetected by the naked eye. Things appear peaceful on the surface. I'm juggling it all while maintaing a permagrin. But the underlying stress begins to boil to the surface, and the outpouring isn't pleasant. It manifests itself in a fussy, tense, quarrelsome mama, with immediate family bearing the brunt of the beast.

Right now, I'm in the midst of my addiction. My plate is overflowing, and cascading down the sides. Unfortunately, I feel like my internal boiling is beginning to scald the kids. Today, I actually caught myself at bedtime shouting, "Just pray already." Even as I said it, I knew something was wrong.

So after November 2nd, when several commitments come to an end, I'm giving myself permission to say "no." I'm resolving to simplify and reduce. I'm ready to go into recovery, and at least I've taken the first step. (Of course, I could always use and accountability partner or two!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not So Quiet Times

One more Disney picture had to share. Snapped at the end of the day, I think it captures pure exhaustion. (l. to rt. Cousin Will, Aunt Heather, Chris and Cooper at his finest)

I was reminiscing this afternoon. My mind raced back a couple of years to a time where we had just one or two children. Every afternoon was nap time...honest-to-goodness, full-fledged, everyone-actually-sleeping nap time. Every day I could count on at least an hour of silent serenity. While the little ones were deep in slumber, I'd have time to whittle down my to do list, return a few calls, and maybe just maybe sneak in a few z's myself.

Fast forward a few years and a couple of kids, and nap times have become a thing of the past for most of the Wood boys. Now, it's called quiet time, although I think the word "quiet" rings with irony. (Chris has actually coined it "fight time.") Each day, I attempt to put my non-napping boys in quiet time for at least an hour. But, it's just not the same. There are questions, commentary, and bickering that ring throughout the house. Even if they reside in separate rooms, they still manage to communicate (oftentimes harshly) with their siblings.

Each day I grapple with the question, "Is it really worth it?" Maybe wrangling the boys into their rooms with the hope of a little tranquility and productivity has become unattainable. Maybe it's time to break out the white flag and surrender to the fact nap times of the past are just that, a thing of the past.

But, I still have a little fight in me (and a lot of laundry to do). So, I continue with quiet time, accepting the fact times have changed and headphones do wonders.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Magical Moments

We walked through the gates of Magic Kingdom. I glanced down at the kids. They stood wide-eyed, soaking in the scene. Disney's main street was abuzz with dancers, musicians, merchants, and lots and lots of people. A crew of characters broke out in song. Beyond the shops and eateries, lay Cinderella's castle. To borrow a Disney term, it was "magical."

The last six days flew by, and we squeezed every last minute out of it. We hit the rides. We saw the shows. We ate (a little too much of) the yummy treats. We hugged the characters. We did everything you probably did at Disney, but here are some of my favorite memories:

1) Chris and Caleb bonding over roller coasters. They emerged from the rides a little wind blown, but completely giddy.

2) Collin swooning over the characters and character shows. He beamed and swayed when he lay eyes on anything big and fury.

3) The boys experiencing the park with their grandparents (and Aunt/Uncle/Cousin). Those memories are priceless!

4) Chris and I having a "date night" at Epcot (thanks to our sitters, Grandma and Grandpa). Disney is so different (and easier) without four kids in tow.

5) Cooper wearing his "It's my birthday" badge everyday (actual birthday: October 30th). I can't even tell you how many birthday cupcakes and wishes he received over the last several days. He loved every minute of it!

6) Connor sobbing through Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. Afterwards, he announced it was his "funnest and scariest day."

7) Collin and I laying in a hammock, watching the sky turn from blue to orangey-pink amid the palm trees. He lay peacefully by my side and all I could think of was how content we both were.

8) Cooper selected as one of the participating audience members in the Monster's Inc. laughing show. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered into the microphone, "A Dinosaur."

9) My brother and I experiencing Disney as kids together, and now as parents.

10) Sure there were tears and tantrums, but the laughter and memories outweighed it all.

Back to reality.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're Off

Two parents.
Four kids.
Two grandparents.
Two suitcases.
Five backpacks.
Endless amount of excitement!

Disney.....Here we come!

Back to blogging soon!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Case of Separation Anxiety

They've all had it at least once. You think they're cured, and then it rears its ugly head again, or passes on to a sibling. I've yet to find an effective cure. I'm sure one of your children may have had it a time or two. Tis the season for...separation anxiety! The thing with separation anxiety is it can pop up unexpectedly and really without reason. Such was the case today.

Today's victim: Cooper

The morning seemed rosy. I easily maneuvered the two younger boys into the van. The atmosphere in the car was pleasant. Things seemed good. Then we pulled into the preschool parking lot. A wail erupted from the backseat accompanied by pleas to return home.

I snagged Collin out of his car seat, and pried Cooper from his booster. He sobbed by the car. I tried to be positive, the tears continued. I tried to pick him up, he resisted. I tried to enlist his peers as encouragement, he wouldn't budge.

Finally, I had to escort him with force (while holding a now crying Collin) down the stairs of the preschool and into his classroom. (Not the day to wear my new clogs, by the way!)

Once in the classroom, the teacher snagged him from my arms as the sobbing continued.

I pulled myself together and walked over to a one-way glass window. I watched as the tears transformed into smiles as he bopped around the room. He happily played with his peers, and all the goodies in the classroom. What a performance he put on for his mother!

When I returned at pick up, you guessed it, he didn't want to leave. I'm betting you've been there too!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Outdoor Aspirations

Today the weather gave an encore performance; perfect temps continued for yet another day! As a result, the six of us ventured onto a nature trail. We've always aspired to be a more outdoorsy sort of family; but over the last seven years the thought of hauling diapers, strollers, and little ones along the trails have been enough to keep it at just that, an aspiration. With Collin nearing two, we decided to give it a go: two parents with four kids in tow.

The first thirty minutes were excruciating. Caleb was disagreeable (to put it mildly). Chris said Caleb would be a real asset for the United States if they ever needed to wear down terrorist. He certainly wore us down. But in typical Caleb fashion, at some point, he's done. He instantly transforms into pleasant Caleb, providing lively, interesting discourse and witty banter.

Once his mood softened, so went the temperament of the group. It was fun. The boys enjoyed snagging katydids and wooly caterpillars. They placed bare toes in the water, while searching earnestly for aquatic creatures. They picked up sticks, rocks and acorns, clutching their new "find" for a time and then tossing it off the path.

At the end of our trail, I spotted a park ranger. I inquired about the length of the trail. He responded: two miles. I was shocked. We had been walking for about an hour and a half, and we all were pretty exhausted (although Chris reminded me that we were carrying a child for most of that time)!

I think we're still at the point where exploring the Great Outdoors is best done from the comforts of our car. Some day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Touching Tadpoles

Connor with one of his "finds."

Today was fall at its finest: splendid temperatures mixed with breathtaking, multicolored foliage. It was a day to be outside, so we headed to Eagle Creek Park. First stop: the nature center.

The boys were absolutely giddy when they discovered just what was housed within the confines of the nature center: reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Even better, several of their new found friends could be man-handled and explored.

The biggest hit was the tadpole, open-faced aquarium with a sign plastered above the case, "Touch." Touch they did (maybe a little too hard at some points). The four boys huddled above the case, desperately trying to snag a tadpole or two. Once a juvenile amphibian lay clutched between their fingers, they wanted to cradle and snuggle their new found pet. I hovered over the boys reminded them of the rules: no squeezing, and tadpoles remain in the water.

After a while, the little boys lost interest. I instructed all the boys to wash their hands. The boys filed into the men's room. From outside the door, I heard rumblings about Cooper having a tadpole in his pocket. I was shouting into the restroom, "Cooper, please say you don't have a frog in your pocket. Cooper, do you have a frog in there?" Pretty soon, an audience had developed around the restroom door, as laughter ensued.

Cooper finally exited the restroom sans tadpole. Hopefully, it was just a nasty rumor, and no tadpole found a home in a commode.

As we were leaving, the park ranger said, "Lady, you should come every weekend. Your family is hysterical." Then, he followed, "You know I'm laughing with you, right?"

No, I think he was actually laughing at us, but it was pretty funny.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Waking Up Wrong

The boys and their friends participating in "races" on the driveway.

Connor and his friend, Annabel, having a blast in the leaf pile!

I was standing among the neighbor kids, as my boys pranced around the perimeter of the group. My eighth year old neighbor watched my sons, and then said to me, "Now I see why you're stressed out all the time." I had to laugh; so much wisdom for someone so young! At least for this morning, she was right; I was definitely stressed!

Today was pajama day at Connor's school. As a parent to kids in three schools, it seems like it's always a day: pajama day, orange day, silly hat day, Colts blue day, funny sock day (Are blue argyle socks considered funny?). These days require a lot of work for us parents: preselecting the right outfit, and then ensuring that child actually makes it to school with the proper wardrobe.

Pajamas were the center of this morning's feud. From the moment Connor woke up he wanted to borrow Caleb's pajamas. Caleb wasn't budging. The next 45 minutes were filled with cajoling, weeping, squabbling, and threatening. In the end, Connor finally caved, and ended up wearing his own Batman pajamas.

I ushered the boys all in the car to take Caleb to school. Connor sat in his Batman pajamas with tears streaming down his cheeks and his face crinkled up. Caleb looked cantankerous as he buried his head in a book. The other boys appeared shell-shocked from the morning's activities.

I was barely awake, and already fuming, as the bickering resonating in the car. Wishing to fill the van with happier noises, I flipped on a book on tape. An Encyclopedia Brown mystery began to unfold from the dashboard. Slowly the feuding began to diminish. The boys sat mesmerized as they listened to the junior detective tackle Idaville's latest case.

After taking a few swigs of my (lukewarm) Diet Coke, and finally sitting in silence, my stress level began to diminish.

Wow, what a morning!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Celebrating a New Birthday

Left: The boys latest obsession: jumping into a pile of leaves from the swing set (neighbor boy demonstrating). Good thing Dad's an ER Doctor!

Right: Liam and the boys eating dinner. (If Claudia, my dietician friend, is reading this - notice Liam is eating asparagus!)

I'm enjoying cuddle time with Collin.

"I'm in labor," my friend Claudia announced over the phone.

In a wave of shock and excitement, I replied, "Really, Labor!" I continued, "Don't you have another month to go?" as if the baby clearly had no consideration for Claudia's time.

"Can you come retrieve Liam? He's going crazy," Claudia continued.

Of course I'd get Liam. Would anyone really want to be in labor with their rambunctious four year-old son running around?

I rushed over to the hospital. Once in the room, I noticed Liam running in circles, pushing buttons, and jumping on furniture. I scooped up Liam, planted a hug on Claudia, and wished her the best.

Liam spent the next eight hours in our home. He really was an asset to the day. The novelty of a new face in the house provided hours of entertainment for the boys, and curbed the fighting significantly. (I did have to reprimand the boys for questioning Liam on why exactly he'd be happy to have a new sister when brothers are so much better.)

Around bedtime, I returned Liam to the hospital to deliver him to his night shift babysitter: his grandpa. Connor accompanied me on the ride.

As we left the hospital, Connor and I walked hand in hand. I was a little emotional thinking about Claudia and what a monumental day it was for their family, and how happy I was that we got to experience just a piece of her new daughter's birthday. I recounted to Connor how I felt when he was born. Then I told him I couldn't believe almost six years had passed since that wonderful day.

"Connor, you've got to promise me you won't grow up too soon," I uttered.

Connor smiled and whispered, "I'll try."

I guess I'll try to let him.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Nutty Day

"I'm bored!".... A common phrase thrown out by my brood of boys. They utter these words while sitting in a house packed full of toys, books and puzzle. Sigh. So, it always surprises me, on a day like today, when a totally pedestrian object keeps them enthralled for hours. Today's coveted object: acorns.

Cooper and Connor discovered a slew of acorns scattered beneath a neighbor's oak tree. They quickly scooped up handfuls of the nuts, corralling them into a plastic bucket. With smiles plastered on their faces, they returned with their bucket full of treasures, emptying the contents onto our plastic picnic table.

I could see their minds racing: All these goodies, where do we start? It didn't take long for the acorns to land the staring role in about any and every kind of imaginary play. First, the acorns were colored and adhered to paper and box lids. Then, the acorns were used as props for their squirrel and rabbit traps. Their elaborate traps included all the essentials: plastic lids, tree branches, and deck chairs (all the objects squirrels and rabbits adore!). Finally, the acorns were used in their war. They transformed into army men with the acorns serving as their artillery.

I sat on the deck relaxing, finally! The whole time I kept thinking, "Acorns, really?"

Cooper has a birthday coming up in a few weeks and I've been struggling with gift ideas. I think I may have just discovered a winner (and cheap too!).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Really Happens

Memaw celebrated her birthday with the boys at Pumpkinfest. They had a ball in the corn kernel play box!

I helped out in the boys' Sunday school class today. It's always interesting to see first hand what actually happens in the classroom. Most weeks, I don't have a clue about the activities within that hour.

Today, I assisted with word searches, passed out crayons, and enforced the "no touching your neighbor" rule during story time. Mostly, I was in charge of Brayden: a severely autistic little guy with a tendency to wander (out of the classroom mostly), and engage in an assortment of other unconventional activities. So, Brayden and I discussed farm animals and played with tape. I kept an eye on him as he circled the room, eyeing the door.

Brayden wasn't the only little one with some challenges. As someone in the know, I could peg several other spectrum or attention deficit kiddos. Lesson and song time tended to be particularly challenging for these fellows. They squirmed, fidgeted, paced, and wandered.

We were in the midst of song time, when one of these fellows eyed me desperately, practically pleading with me to let him roam. I gave him a song list and asked if he could read. He shook his head "no." Connor was sitting on my lap. He grabbed the song list and asked the little boy if he could help him find the song. Quickly Connor flipped the pages, landing on "Be Thou My Vision." I saw Connor nestle up to this little boy and hold his song sheet near his lap. The little guy couldn't read, so I guess the song sheet meant little. But, he calmed and allowed Connor to belt out the words as he soaked in the hymn.

My heart swelled and my eyes teared. I heard a choir of sweet little voices singing, "High king of heaven, my treasure thou art," while Connor huddled next to his new found friend.

Today I learned about what happens at Sunday School. God's love is not only taught, sometimes it's seen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Evening Out

My good friends from left to right: Ali, me, Cara and Ashley going to a barn party.
Me hugging my sweet friend, Cara.

Too tired to write tonight, but wanted to share two pictures from the adult evening (no kids!). Good report from the sitter!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

From the Mouth of Babes

Caleb in penguin gear at the Children's Museum.

Two of the boys got flagged for potential speech issues this week. So, I've been navigating through the world of speech therapists and school services.

Since then, I've attempted to to pay more attention to their words. I've noticed just how much of my day is occupied with listening to the boys' words:

first words
articulated words
potty talk words
kind words
disrespectful words
intelligible words
big words
smart words
mean words
silly words
angry words

I've seen statistics that say men speak a third less words than women in the average day. If I'm this busy monitoring male words, my friends with daughters must never get a break!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Creek Stomping

The weather was beautiful and Chris had a day off work. A perfect day for a stroll along the nature trail. My friend told me about a certain section of the trail known for its frogs. The boys could hardly contain their excitement.

We pinpointed the location, and deviated off the trail. A few feet from the trail stood a shallow stream flanked by a rocky shore. The boys shed shirts, socks and shoes and began in ernest to search for frogs. In no time, the boys discovered a slew of spring peepers. I think, for the boys, the fun is in the hunt: dashing, bending, pouncing, and jerking in a desperate act to capture just one.

Two boys successfully snagged a frog (Caleb and Cooper). They cradled their new found pet, stroking its moist skin, examining every crevice. After a few minutes, we reminded the boys about our "catch and release" policy. So, with a despondent look, they cast the (now petrified) frog back into the water.

In between frogs, the boys found low trees to climb, and swung on exposed roots. Finally, Chris grabbed some stones and attempted to teach the boys the art of skipping stones. He informed them of the secret: 1) select smooth stones, and 2) toss side-armed. Chris propelled his stone across the water as it glided across the surface plunking just once. The boys repeated with overhead tosses that landed in a big, heavy plop.

After about an hour, Caleb said to his brothers, "Isn't it time for TV?"

The other three boys quickly rounded up their clothing and headed back in the direction of the car.

I guess nature can't compete with TV, but at least it did for an hour!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Goodies

My attempt at fall photography!

The two younger guys had pediatrician appointments this afternoon. In general, they received good reports: growing like weeds, developing on target. (Although I did walk out with a recommendation to visit a speech therapist and a dermatologist, sigh!)

Each visit, Dr. Mazurek throws out some parenting advice. This time, her parenting nugget: "Limit sweets to two or three times a week." I gasped. Believe me, no one took this advice harder than me. I'm a sweet addict. I'd rather run twenty miles a day then give up cookies. So as much as I love Dr. Mazurek and trust her advice, there are some things I (and probably the kids) will probably not heed.

The best thing about sweets is that you can mark the season by which bake good you offer. When fall enters, think pumpkin goodies! And, I have my all time favorite pumpkin dessert. I actually made it this morning to bring to my friend, Melinda's house. Everyone absolutely loved it. The best part is when you bake it, the aroma of fall streams through your house. It's heavenly (and SO easy)!

Here is the recipe for anyone interested:

Pumpkin Crisp

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 (18.25 oz) pkg. butter-flavored yellow cake mix
1 c. chopped pecans (I actually never add the pecans.)
1 c. butter, melted
whipped cream (melted)
ground nutmeg (optional)

Stir together first 5 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture; sprinkle evenly with pecans. Drizzle butter evenly over pecans.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 1 hour and 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.

Hope you enjoy. Whip up a warm mug of apple cider, gaze at the multi-colored leaves and breathe in fall!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Picture Day

The boys posing for our Christmas card picture! (my amateur snapshot)

Chris is FINALLY home tonight. I'm not going to write much so we can squeeze in all those conversations we've been meaning to have.

The day's big event: the annual Christmas card photography session. Our church friend, Elizabeth Mendenhall took our family's picture. She took it last year too, and was brave enough to return for another year. (Her pictures are beautiful!)

She asked tonight, "What do you expect from the picture? All the boys smiling?"

Chris and I giggled. I replied, "If they're just looking in the general vicinity of the camera I'm happy."

It actually went pretty well, and afterwards Elizabeth even commented about how much easier our photography session went this year compared to last year. She said, "Posing for pictures gets easier as they go older."

So true, and that just doesn't go for picture taking, now does it?

(Picture of Connor devouring ice cream. We did bribe the kids with ice cream for smiles and cooperation! It worked!!!)


Thanks to those who called or commented on yesterday's post. It definitely was a rough weekend. Today, I was so glad to be able to squeeze Caleb (and myself) into a psychology appointment with Dr. Manees. I really do love her! I was also blessed by Caleb's two wonderful second grade teachers. They sent me two emails and we talked twice on the phone. I'm in awe of how seriously they take their jobs and how deeply they love their students!

I was also glad that Chris had a day off work. We've had an opportunity to converse about everything and give Caleb a little more TLC.

Thank you, thank you. I love you all!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One funny and one serious post

Collin getting his haircut today.

Lately, the boys have been extremely cooperative and eager to attend church. I was thrilled thinking they couldn't wait to soak in the Word. After a couple of weeks, I began to realize that their excitement for church was directly related to the date they discovered donut trays sporadically displayed throughout the building.

Today, church was again met with excitement. As they entered Sunday School, no donuts were detected. I could see disappointment on their faces, but I think they were holding out hope that the donuts would arrive just in time for the next service.

After Sunday School, I escorted the boys out of the building. We passed by each location where donuts were usually served with no success. Finally, we arrived at the last location. This particular spot ALWAYS had donuts, it was a sure thing.

The boys ran to the buffet table. Immediately their excitement turned to disappointment. I heard Caleb say, "Oh no." I (with my mom) looked at the table. Where two large trays of donut holes usually sit, lay mounds and mounds slices! The boys were crushed. I could see their little minds working, "Couldn't you have at least served bagels? Oranges, really?" With heads hung low and empty bellies, they exited the church.


I wanted to share the above funny story, but this second post is for my own therapy. Caleb has been doing wonderfully for the last six plus months (with the occasional minor hiccup). I was again in that "He'll grow out of it" mode. I think I was even beginning to get a little smug in my parenting abilities. Of course, that's always when I'm humbled.

Caleb had a day that was a typical Caleb day one year ago. I received two negative reports on his behavior both with the same sentiments, "He couldn't calm down." Of course, it's funny when you talk to Caleb. He tells me everything went great and seems a little puzzled that anyone indicated a problem.

At the end of the night, when only Caleb was still awake, I knelt by his bed. He was laying underneath his sheets staring at the ceiling. I broached the subject of his day's behavior. He didn't want to talk about it. I pushed him to speak. He didn't have anything to say, and couldn't expand on his state of mind or the afternoon's events.

My hand was holding his, and I started to cry. I heard him say "go" repeatedly. I noticed as he was chanting "go," he was clutching my hand at the same time. It was as if he really didn't want me to leave, and I guess deep down I really didn't want to go. Then, a few tears were streaming down his face, forming a puddle on the sheets. We stayed like that for a few minutes: neither one of us talking, clutching hands, crying in tandem. Finally, I exited the room in silence.

He never did tell me what's wrong, and I think that's the thing that bothers me the most. It's the lack of understanding. I birthed him, I've known him almost every day of his life, I know him better than almost anyone, but I really don't know him at all.

I just don't understand.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Soccer

The soccer team celebrating their last game (Caleb second from left).

Collin ready to cheer on the Irish.
(ND shirt a garage sale find from yesterday!)

Caleb had his last soccer game of the season. My mom and I huddled (it was chilly!) on the sidelines, cheering and encouraging in tandem. Caleb trotted along in the general vicinity of the ball. He even completed some kicks, maneuvering the ball in close proximity to the goal. During one of those kicks, my mom said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if he made a goal in his last game. It would be like his Rudy moment."

The wheels in my head started to spin. I could visualize the blog in my head: asperger's child comes back from nearly quitting the team to making the winning goal. It would be a tearjerker with a happy ending.

Alas, Caleb exited the field today without scoring a goal during the game (nor at any time during the entire season). My success story was demolished.

With a little more thought, I realized Caleb had his Rudy moments. For Caleb, success came in the form of: participating in all team practices and games, (sometimes) cheering on his teammates, celebrating team successes, and following the coaches. His moments weren't grandiose and obvious to the masses, but to me they were huge.

We got our happy ending, and a tearjerker too.


They say, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, I think it takes a village to ferry four children to all their Saturday activities. Fortunately, today I enlisted the help of some "villagers" (my mother and grandmother). With six hands (and Chris for a small portion of the day), we worked as a team, shuffling kids between sports fields and birthday parties. Words cannot even express how grateful I am for their assistance! My sanity remained intact thanks to my wonderful mother and grandmother!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday night fun

Cooper at his friend Bryn's Build a Bear party.

It's Friday! TGIF. The weekends are greeted with much enthusiasm at our house. The boys relish a little more time in their pajamas, a little less time in the car, and lots of time playing...just playing (o.k. I love it too!).

For the last year, we've fallen into a Friday night routine. Exactly at 5 p.m., movie night commences at the Wood household. The boys quickly exchange their school clothes for pajamas and rush around the TV. They select a favorite animated or silly kid movie. Then, they snag their places on the couch and settle in to be entertained.

Movie night is always accompanied by a pizza dinner. Cheese pizza is the favorite. Half way through the movie, slices are delivered and devoured within minutes. Frequently, buttery popcorn accompanies the pizza as an accessory to the movie. After their bellies are full, they snuggle under blankets, and giggle along with the dialogue.

I relish those evenings too. I teeter between snuggling with the boys and attempted to get a few things done around the house.

Friday nights hold fond memories for me: giggles, snuggles, relaxation, but mostly time with family.