Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear Tyler, You're 23 months old

[note: your birthday is in 2 days, I have had this written but hadn't put any pictures in until now. Expect your birthday post an a couple of days!]

Dear Tyler,
You're 23 months old. That means next month you're going to be 2 years old!! When people ask how old you are, I tell them you're 1. 1 is a lot more of a baby then "almost 2." I want to keep you a baby for as long as possible. I know that when I cut your hair you will look much older so I'm in no rush to do that. You'll always be my baby. I have 3 baby boys and I love it. Each of you take turns coming in my big bed in the mornings when I'm still sleepy. You always do, any time between 5am and 8. It's usually around 7:15 or so and Daddy brings you in so you can beg for "mock." You only nurse for a little while because I only have a couple of sips of milk on each side. There is milk still. I'll cut you off at your birthday. Or after b/c that would be the worst present. You're down to just that morning routine now and if you wake up too early, you fall back asleep. If you wake up later in your bed, Dylan gets you out. I bet you could climb out if you thought about it but I'm not going to teach you. I even keep the railing down so it'll be less of a fall when you try. This morning, Isaac climbed in bed on the other side of me. I covered him up with the covers even though he was dressed for Vacation Bible School already. He stayed and rubbed my arms, you boys sure know how to be sweet. Dylan is sweet in that he worries about you and Isaac. He worries that Isaac forgot his shoes. (But Isaac, the thinking-ahead boy that he is, left his shoes in the car the night before.) Dylan worries that Ivy pulls your hair. (She pulls your shirt too. She mostly does it at Corrie's house, I've only seen it like twice.)

You can say anything that's on your mind. We understand one another and I love that you can process past, present, and future events. You started to fall down the stairs a couple of days ago. Daddy caught your fluffy head after you had fallen backwards and had only hit your back on one stair. I turned the corner from my room to see Daddy's long arm reaching over the side of the stairs from the living room with your scared crying head looking up for me. Daddy had a full water glass in his other hand. It was a miracle that he caught you because you wouldn't have been able to get your hands under you to catch your fall the rest of the way down the stairs to the tile. I sat and held you on the stairs while you gripped my shirt. We went over the fact that you need to be careful on the stairs but Daddy caught you and I was hugging you and you are okay now. We went over that a couple of times, each of us taking turns recounting the events making sure you know that you are okay now but that you need to be careful. You didn't shy away from the stairs because you were able to process the situation. We did kiss your back so it was okay from the time our lips left your skin.
I told you one night when I was rocking you before bed time that the next day you would be playing with your friend Altazara the next day. You were fairly excited to hear that but when I said that I would have to leave you and go to work, you paused. Then you looked at me then said no. After I told you that I would pick you up after you played and ate and napped and played more, you stared me down then replied. Okay. I like when you say okay. Your "okay sounds like "oquay." You sometimes have a slight Q sound in there.

You ask questions to reassure what you already know. Like "Is this bankie mine?" I reply yes and you say "okay" or "mine" with a big simile and you hug it. You say the people you love which always includes Corrie.

When I give you something, you instantly say "Thank you mama." I LOVE that still!

My mom will say this is not meant to be put on the internet b/c it's both private and gross but why stop now? You say "mushy" for when your diaper is wet. You tell me when you pooped. Today I noticed that you started to dirty your diaper so I asked you to stop and was excited that you could go sit on the potty. You said "and call Grandma?" See, it's the same grandma who doesn't think I should be typing this, but she'll be happy to know that we called her before calling Daddy! He really did stop then pee then poo on the potty! We're so excited! I'm not ready to go all in yet. I'm waiting for Ivy. But the fact that he's proud of himself is a start! He's naked now. On the tile. Playing with blueberries and peas. He likes when I open the pea pods for him so he can pick out the peas and save the pods for me to eat.

You play with your bristle blocks then clean them up. And other blocks too.

But you only want to clean up when it's your idea. You refuse to let your brothers clean up the piles you create in the living room some times. Isaac takes that as an excuse to go slip upside down on the couches more. Dylan worries and complains that he can't do what he's told.

In prayers, you say "How Foh-ee..... AMEN!" You're saying "Heavenly Father" but it sorta sounds like "our Father." You repeat the beginning and ending a couple of times and give a laugh and cheezy proud smile. Sometimes you sit reverently and keep your arms folded. Your arms aren't that long so you grab one forearm. In church, you've said "amen" and "all done" and "toys now" when the closing prayer lasts too long. There are snickers from the row behind us :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Flavor Run

Steven signed himself and me up for a 5K and told me about it on my birthday. Bonus: the race was on our anniversary! So that would mean that we were spending our 11th anniversary running! He conned my mom into signing herself and Dylan and Isaac up for the 1 mile race. Don came too and guess what, it was his 1st race!! He walked with Tyler but cut out after the first color station since they had enough flavored corn starch! Plus he felt a little guilty finishing when he wasn't official. It wasn't timed or anything though, just a fun race where the 1 mile and the 5K start and end with one another. 
Steven and I don't get enough photos of the two of us together so we tried to get one before we were sweaty and color-fied. Don kept photo bombing us though, he was excited to be there!
 The color pouches they passed out as severance for not letting us through the gates for way too long (miss communication between the race people and the fair grounds gate guards) delighted the boys. Dylan asked for a direct hit and Isaac couldn't believe he got to do it!
 But then Steven through the blueberry right into Isaac's eyes when Isaac wasn't expecting a hit. That dry powder doesn't necessarily sting, but it is scratchy/dry/blinding/eye-watering/uncomfortable for a long time. (I later got a direct hit with the blueberry myself by a flavor fairy.)
 Once we waited in lines and got our race packets and numbers and color packs we took a picture and were ready for some fun!
 Aw, this will make our 50th wedding anniversary slide show. It's just the two of us, team "Fruity Fegers."
 This is the team "Fruity Family."
The announcer had us try to do a color "wave" of color. Not that many people still had packets left.
 A little note about my new jogging stroller. One day I was pushing Tyler in a normal Graco single stroller, better than an umbrella one for sure, but not one that a car seat can click in or anything. The straps are missing. I got it from Shannon McNeill when I was pregnant with Dylan. Anyway, an observant mother noticed how rediculous I looked and asked if I wanted her jogger. I said that I'd have to ask my husband so she left it out on her front porch for me to come back and get it if I wanted. She was moving and her daughters were too old for it. How thoughtful!! Her garage was full of boxes so I know she was telling the truth. I exchanged a thank you note for it and it was much better to run with it!
Happy Anniversary to us!!!!!!!
We missed the first wave, so here we are waiting for the next one. 
 They threw out more flavor packets and i caught these sunglasses too!
We did another wave.

 And we're off! We started together, at the same pace actually. We had written Steven's phone number on the boys' arms b/c we were worried they'd get lost. They didn't.

 The fairy forest, some shade!

 Tyler was busy cleaning himself and his shoes with napkins after he had eaten fruit which had been provided by Whole Foods.

 We finished the 5K!! We walked a lot of it. Steven poured water on himself so he looked like he was wearing kool-aid.
An awesome anniversary run with our family.
 Oh yea, this was team "Fruity grand-Father"
 Oh yea, we painted fruit on some white shirts the night before. I bought a pack of 5 shirts knowing it was the average size of my 3 boys.
 We changed into our race Tshirts. Don even got one since they accidentally handed me two - I let Don exchange the extra one for his size.
This just accentuates his little tan lines and curls and how he is trying to clean up and my obsession for wanting him to stay a baby. He's almost 2 so I should probably end the baby bum pictures at that time. This is a good one to end on. (That word is not the best word with which to end that sentence though.)
 My mom gave her medal to a kid who asked where she got hers. She's the best.
 Tyler is a little monkey see, monkey do. He climbed with the others at Chick-Fil-A where my parents treated us to lunch as we got stared down for our smurf faces.
 We jumped in the pool which didn't take much color off. But it felt so good!
 Tyler's hair dripped blue drops for a while.
 We showered off but while I was scrubbing the top half of myself, Tyler started falling asleep in the tub. So I had to get him out and take him to bed before getting back in to scrub my legs and feet. He was swaying and his eye lids were so heavy in that warm water. He plays 'til he drops.
I'll blog our anniversary evening later I hope, but it was a good one!
Thank you Steven and Mom and Don and kids for making our day so fun!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

1st Day of Kindergarten: He's ready, I'm not ~ Seminole child photographer

This is a copy of my blog post here.
Isaac is my middle child. No task intimidates him. He's a "one-upper" and puts his imagination to good use. He is affectionate, playful, competitive, thoughtful, and self sufficient. He can already read and write and is not afraid of a little arithmetic. He likes to memorize verses before his older brother does. He's more than ready to start Kindergarten.
 He and his big brother will be spending the evenings doing homework pretty soon while their little brother will be playing the role of the scheming homework-eating family puppy dog.
We did our own version of preschool and I quite loved having Isaac home with me. And I was spoiled with the summer vacation having all 3 of my boys taking me on tree-climbing adventures. They wrote to pen pals and read books to stay sharp. I would sometimes come down the stairs to see the boys reading on their own!

 Isaac gets out books that he knows he can read at first of course. But he's quick to try to sound out other words with me as well. He thrives in a learning environment.
 He is ready for Kindergarten to start. I am not.

Behind the scenes:

  • I took these at Heritage Village in Seminole/Largo, Florida in an old one room school house.
  • I got the idea from my cousin Lacey with A Cherry On Top Photography when her daughter was going into Kindergarten last year. She's amazing and that session is all over Pinterest now! 
  • My friend Alicia with That's A Pretty Picture came with me to take pictures of her Kindergartener too. Her daughter is so happy!! 
  • There were volunteers then other people coming in and out of the normally vacant old school house which made Isaac nervous. 
  • This was a really short session because over the summer, camps come tour the historic buildings so we used the room between groups. 
  • I did not remember that the windows are mostly covered in there so I had to push my camera to its limits since I do not use flashes. I think it gives some of the images an old texture to them so I'm okay experimenting on my own boys.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vacation: Day 4 (posted by Steven)

Saturday, June 15th:  Today's first adventure was a snorkel trip on the reef.  We had to check-in at the marina by 8:30am.  Tiffany & Tyler stayed at the hotel again.  Tiffany likes snorkeling, but gets sea sick, so she did not mind staying behind with the baby.  Barbie did not want to go snorkeling either, so she also hung out at our hotel with Tiffany & Tyler.

First, here are some photos of the snorkel trip.  Andre & Dylan were snorkel buddies, Isaac was with me, Malia with Darren, and Noah with Corrie.  The snorkel trip was divided into two reefs.  Here is a photo on the way out to the first reef.  We saw some fish jumping out of the water that looked like skipping rocks. They were fast and jumped far, which almost made they look like they were flying.  One of the guides told us they were ballyhoo.
Here is Isaac.  Before our trip, he and Dylan practiced snorkeling skills in our pool, but I was worried that he might freak out in deep water with fish and possibly sharks.  I actually had no reason to worry though; Isaac did very well and loved snorkeling.
 Dylan did well also and loved it. Here is Dylan with Uncle Andre:
Steven with the two brave boys:
Some nurse sharks:
We saw lots of these blue parrot fish.  They were much bigger than this one looks in the photo:
This photo of Malia was the last photo that Darren took with the camera that he borrowed from Vicki Crew.  He apparently went deeper than the camera was made for:
While we were snorkeling, Tiffany, Barbie, and Tyler enjoyed the hotel.  Barbie brought running shoes for Tiffany because she accidentally only brought 1 shoe on the trip.  Barbie was so nice that she watched Tyler while Tiffany went on a run.  She ran all the way along the south border of Key West to the museum, saw lots of iguanas along the way, got a museum brochure to prove she went that far, and came back. That ended up being one of Tiffany's highlights of the trip.

Here is Barbie's view from the hammock:
After snorkeling, Barbie picked us all up from the marina and we headed to lunch at a place called Amigos. While everyone else was at lunch, Tiffany snuck off to Publix to arrange a surprise Father's Day dessert party for later that night.  We then went to an amazing indoor butterfly garden that was across from the Crew's hotel:
Looking at butterflies, or figuring out if they can jump across?
There were many signs reminding us not to touch the flowers or the butterflies, but this was inevitable.  Malia was reprimanded shortly afterwards:
 I wonder where Tyler learned this:
After the butterfly garden, it was back to our hotel pool.  We were able to have some good quality swimming practice with Tyler:
  This photo was taken moments before Tyler pooed in the pool:
  Luckily, the hotel had a second pool:
And now it's time for a story that we will never forget.  Shortly after we switched to the 2nd pool, the Crews showed up at our hotel.  After swimming for a while, Darren asked the kids if they wanted to go jump off the end of the pier that extended out for our hotel's beach into the ocean.  Malia, Noah, and Dylan went with Darren.  Isaac wanted to stay in the pool, so I stayed with him.  After swimming for about 5-10 minutes, Isaac changed his mind and decided that he wanted to go find crabs on the rocks.  As Isaac and I headed out towards the rocks, I told Isaac that we should join Darren and the other kids for a while.  So we headed towards the pier.  The pier was about 15-20 yards long.  It wasn't made for jumping off.  Instead, it had steps at the end so people could go down in the ocean and swim.  As we approached the pier, I noticed that Darren and the kids had actually swam out to some wooden pylons that were further out in the ocean.  You really can't tell how far it was in the photo below, but I'm guessing it was at least another 40 yards out into the ocean.  The pylons had some steel beams across them so it looked as though they were in the middle of building a platform out there.  Isaac initially agreed to go out to the pylons with me.  As he was going down the steps into the water, he dropped his fin and it went somewhere under the pier.  Meanwhile, Tiffany walked out to the pier with Tyler.  In this first photo, you can see me with Isaac (with 1 fin) heading out to meet up with Darren and the other kids.
When we got about half way there, the water got deeper and the bottom turned from nice sand to grass/seaweed.  Isaac changed his mind and wanted to go back, so I took him back to Tiffany.  I told Tiffany that I was going to swim out there with the rest of them.
Once I got to the pylons, I looked up and immediately saw Darren, Noah and Malia.  I expected to see Dylan pop out of the water or come from behind a pylon at any second, but after about 10 seconds, I asked Darren, "Where's Dylan?"  Darren said that Dylan swam back in.  I thought to myself that that was not possible, because he would have swam right by me on the way back, but just to make sure I yelled back to Tiffany, "Is Dylan back there?"  When Tiffany shook her head no, I thought the worst.  Darren and I started to look around.  A guy was nearby with his son who was about 13 years old.  The boy said, "that looks like a little kid way out there."  At first, I was in disbelief.  Dylan was so far out into open water that I could barely see him.  We first tried yelling to him, but it was useless.  He was too far out to hear anything.  Tiffany also tried yelling from the pier to tell him to float.  I threw my hat and sunglasses up towards Darren and started to swim after Dylan.  I knew I had to get to Dylan fast.  I didn't know how long he had been out there and I couldn't tell if he was struggling, but he was so far out, I knew he had to be tired.  At first, I was a bit conflicted as to be the best way to get to him.  I knew I could swim much faster with my head down in the water, but I also knew that if he started sinking, I would need to know exactly where he went under to save him.  So I decided to stick with my lifeguard training and I swam like Tarzan to him. I slowed down occasionally to try to yell to him, but Dylan couldn't hear me.
One of the craziest parts of this story is that while Tiffany was yelling (and crying) standing at the end of the pier, she snapped the photo below.  She then stopped taking photos because she didn't want this to be her last memory of Dylan.  The photo doesn't exactly show how far away Dylan was because you can't see the pylons where he started, but it does give us an idea.  In the middle of the photo, there is a tiny dark spec.  That spec is Dylan.  There is a paddle-boarder by the white buoy, but he was facing the other direction and could not hear us yelling.  On the far right, that is me swimming as fast as I can towards Dylan.  I was worried that I was going to be so tired by the time I reached him, that if he was lifeless, I would have too hard a time bringing him back in.
This is the exact same picture with Dylan and myself circled. 
Again, this is the same picture just cropped in so you can see Dylan's dot-of-a-head. 
 And cropped in even closer because it was hard to see.
When I finally reached Dylan, he was tired and scared, but he was okay.  I told him to float on his back, so I could swim him back in.  I put my arm under his arm and across his chest and I could feel his heart pounding.  He was wearing fins, but he was also swimming while holding his snorkel in one of his hands.  He did not have a life jacket on.  As we swam back in, I asked him what happened.  He said that when he decided to swim back in, he looked up through his goggles, saw a pier in the distance, and started to swim towards it.  In the photo above, you can see the end of a different pier on the far left.  Dylan said that he didn't see the correct pier, because his goggles acted like blinders.  After I got Dylan back to Tiffany at the correct pier, I swam back out to Darren to get my hat and sunglasses.  Darren said sorry.  Part of me was mad, but I was so relieved that Dylan was okay and exhausted from the swim that I didn't strangle Darren for not having Dylan wait for him or at least watch Dylan swim in.  Tiffany later told me that she felt completely helpless watching this from the pier.  She was with Tyler so she couldn't jump in and help. 

After the ordeal of almost losing Dylan in the ocean, we cleaned up and went to dinner.  It was a long hot walk to dinner along the boardwalks of the marina.  Here are some photos from after dinner.

Since the next day was Father's Day, Tiffany surprised the men with an extravaganza of our favorite desserts.  There was Publix key lime pie, birthday cake, and napoleons.   

End of Day 4.