Friday, September 20, 2013

Royalty of the Week

Mason was chosen as Royalty of the Week in his class this week!
It was easy to spot him in the carpool line this week because his crown was just a shining!  I thought he was only going to wear it on Monday, but he wore it to and from school every day!  I asked him if he continued to wear it while he was in class, and he said yes.  He also said that he forgot to take it off before going to lunch on Monday, and everyone asked him if it was his birthday, and that "got on his nerves."  He was so proud!  Mason was the third Royalty of the Week that Mrs. B has chosen this year.  He was actually the first "King" chosen, as the first two students were "Queens."

He got to tell the class all about himself, his likes and dislikes, his favorites, things he's good at, what he wants to be when he grows up.  Which, by the way, much to my dismay is now a professional baseball player.  I'm not sure why I expected him to pursue the career in dentistry that he's talked about ever since he was four years old.  I mean, it's not like he's going off to college tomorrow, and we need to apply for dental school.  But still.  I had high hopes.  Our conversation last week went something like this:

Mason:  Mom, the people who play baseball on TV . . . do they have to get a job?
Me:  Well, no.  That is their job.  They get paid to play baseball.
Mason:  They do?
Me:  Yep.

The next day he came to me with another question:

Mason:  Mom, do baseball players have to get a job during the time they don't play baseball?
Me:  Nope.  Well, I guess they could if they wanted to.  But I'll bet most of them don't.  They make a lot of money playing baseball so they don't have to get another job.
Mason:  So all they do is play baseball?
Me:  Pretty much.

I should've known at that point that something was up.  So this week when he proudly announced that he wants to be a professional baseball player, last week's conversations made sense.

He also got to choose three "special items" to take to school one day to show his class.  He didn't necessarily choose the "special items" that I would've chosen for him, but he did pretty good.  And then I had to write a letter to him and send it to school in a sealed envelop for Mrs. B to read to the class.  Being the over achiever that I am, I made a book for him.  I wrote a poem with each stanza given its own page.  And I printed a picture of him for each page.  I really wasn't sure what he would think about it, and I didn't really expect him to say anything about it.  But one of the first things he told me after school was that Mrs. B really liked the book I made.  So I asked him what he thought about it.  He said it was good and then he told me what his favorite pages were and how the kids in his class really loved the picture of him holding the shark.  I didn't expect to get that much out of him so it really made me feel good.

Other than that, this was a rough week for us.  Well, I guess more for me than anyone else.  There are going to be good days, and there are going to be hard days.  This was a hard week.  It's only September.  We have been in 3rd grade for six weeks and two days. It seems like a lifetime!  I don't even want to think about how much time we have left!  I just don't know how we're going to make it.  It really doesn't seem possible.

Homework was hard this week.  We spent two hours on homework on Monday and Thursday nights.  Tuesday and Wednesday nights weren't much better.  Last night resulted in tears.  Lots of tears.  Trying to make it to Mason's Monday and Wednesday therapy appointments on time is a nightmare.  School is dismissing later and later each day now.  I have to get in the carpool line between 2:30 and 2:40 so I can be at the beginning of the line.  Even at that, I'm usually the tenth or so vehicle in line.  And then Ellie and I have to sit there in the stinking hot until 3:25.  It's ridiculous how long it takes for that line to move, and then we have only an hour to get to Baton Rouge for Mason's first therapy appointment at 4:30.  That drive to Baton Rouge should only take 30 minutes at the very most.  But both days this week we pulled up in the parking lot at 4:28 because traffic has been so bad trying to get over the bridge.  By the time we get home, it's 6:15.  Everyone is hungry so we eat.  We can't start on homework until 6:45 or later, by which time Mason has already been in school all day with therapy besides, and he is done.  And I don't blame him!

This upcoming week isn't going to be any better.  He has a book report due.  He's already finished the book.  He actually just finished reading his very first chapter book from cover to cover, which was a tremendous accomplishment for him.  It took nearly the whole month, but he did it!  Writing this report is not going to be easy.  It's something else we have to do on top of the other homework he already has.  I can't imagine how long it's going to take each night to get all of this done.

I don't know what to do.  I just can't see us (mainly me) continuing on like this for the long haul.  I am so exhausted that my eyes hurt, and I can barely think straight.  Really.  I cannot.  Yesterday I folded Seth's dirty clothes instead of washing them first!  True story!  Of course, part of that is because Ellie took the dirty clothes pile that was on the floor in the laundry room waiting to be washed and put it in the dryer.  But still.  All of these long hard nights at the table doing homework are really getting to me.  I feel like Mason's only memories of me are going to be sitting at that table doing homework.  I really hate those memories.  I really hate all of it.  I've thought so often lately about quitting therapy.  I don't know if it's helping.  I guess it is.  Surely it is.  But I don't know.  Mason got his progress report last week, and he really did well.  His GPA is currently above what is required for his school, but I don't know how long it will stay that way.  It seems like the last couple of weeks have gotten harder.  I just wish I knew how much therapy has to do with his grades and how much its contributing to his improvement in reading.  But I don't suppose there's really any way to know.

Hannah Kate, on the other hand, had her first reading test last week.  She made a 100 on it.  School is so easy for her right now.  As a matter of fact, I really think she's a bit bored with it.  She's already beginning to read, and she can already write simple sentences without any help.  Of course, I am obviously thrilled for her and super proud.  But I am sad, too.  I am sad for Mason.  It is so hard for him!  And it just doesn't seem fair.  He doesn't know the difference though.  He doesn't know that it's easy for other kids.  I worry about him a lot.  I worry about him because I just wish he could have fun sometimes.  I wish we didn't have to go to therapy.  I wish homework didn't take two hours.  I wish it was easier for him.

When I wrote his book this week, I told him on the last page that he is royalty EVERYDAY because he is a child of the King, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I told him to never forget that.

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  
~2 Corinthians 4:16-17   

Monday, September 09, 2013

'Tis the Season

During the short time in between our Georgia and beach trips this summer . . . which reminds me now that I never posted our beach pictures . . . my sweet friend Marissa took some photographs of Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie.  How can you not just eat them up with a spoon?!
In the midst of all the craziness of a new school year, a new routine, a crazy busy schedule, a 3rd grader, a kindergartner and an almost 14-month old on the run, I sort of "forgot" that it's nearly my favorite time of year.  You know . . . the weather gets a lil cooler (okay, so maybe that happens somewhere north of here), the leaves are those gorgeous shades of gold and orange and red and yellow (well, that happens somewhere else, too), the boots and leggings come back out (now that does happen here), pumpkins dot the doorsteps, the kitchen smells of cinnamon and spice goodness . . . But I've come to the conclusion that I probably don't have a favorite season anymore.  As long as I'm with these three little ones, it's my favorite day!
So, yes, I suppose we've settled into our "new normal" for this school year.  Mondays and Wednesdays are pretty much the same.  Ellie and I sit in the carpool line for 45 minutes waiting on the big ones (because if I don't get at the beginning of the line, I can hardly make it to Baton Rouge on time for Mason's therapy appointments).  If we arrive early enough, we play on the playground for a bit, and we try to do as much homework as possible.  On Mondays Mason has speech and educational therapies, and on Wednesdays he has occupational and educational therapies.  We don't get home until after 6:00, and we still have to eat, finish homework and take baths.  So by the time we do that, it's bedtime or later.  Ellie and I sit in carpool again on Tuesdays, but we take Hannah Kate to dance.  It's more of the same.  We don't get home until after 6:00, and you know what happens from there.  So Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are long, busy days.  I am so very proud of all three for being so patient and understanding and maintaining a positive attitude.
Speaking of Mason, I am so proud of him!  He is off to a great start in 3rd grade!  He's absolutely loving math right now, especially since they've begun multiplication.  Another favorite is PE.  He does such a great job watching out for his little sister at school.  He always lets me know each day when he saw her and what she was doing.
Mason is currently making a lot of progress in reading.  It's slow, but it's progress.  I can tell such a big difference from this time last year.  There are still some things we have got to work on.  I just can't say enough about his therapists.  They really are our friends on this journey.  All three of them work so well with Mason and his personality and his interests.  And Mason's teacher this year is one of the best we could've asked for.  We're simply taking it day-by-day, but I'm so excited to see how much he is going to grow this year, how much he is going to learn this year.
And this is my favorite picture of Mason . . . melt my heart!
This is Mason's personality perfectly!  At this point, Marissa was shooting Ellie's one-year pictures.  We were so busy trying to get Ellie to respond that we really weren't paying attention to the two big kids.  We turned around and found this one hanging upside down in a tree so she took a quick picture of him.  Silly boy!
And my big girl . . . well, saying that she loves kindergarten is most definitely an understatement!  Let's see . . . she wants to go to school on Saturdays, she didn't care for the Labor Day holiday, everything at school is "awesome" and her usual Sunday afternoon comment is, "I can't wait until tomorrow!"  One day I'll stop asking why.  I get the same answer every week . . . "because I get to go to school!"  The only thing she complains about is homework.  And not because she has homework but because she doesn't have enough homework!  Yes, you read that correctly.  I'm sure a good Momma would "make up" some additional homework to supplement.  I am not that Momma!
I just love this picture because you can see those sweet freckles on her beautiful, fair-skinned face.  I miss this girl by my side everyday.  But just seeing her enthusiasm for each new day, her joy with new discoveries, her passion to learn new things makes it easier.  Just a little. 
Somewhere along the way, somehow, she grew up.  I can not believe she is almost six years old!  She and I are so alike in so many ways.  She is a perfectionist, loves to dress up, likes pretty things, sings in the shower and when I'm blow drying her hair, eats salads and vegetables.
This girl.
And this one!
Ellie was not the most cooperative baby for her 1-year pictures.  As a matter of fact, she was in a pretty bad mood compared to her usual self.  At the time, she wasn't quite walking yet, but she was standing and steady on her feet.  She absolutely refused to stand at all for any of her pictures.  And it wasn't too long before the tears came.  But Marissa did such a great job, as usual.
Not only is Ellie walking now but she's doing a pretty good job at running, especially when she has something she isn't supposed to have and then it becomes a game of chase. She's a rather picky eater.  I can always count on her to eat breakfast, but there are some days she doesn't eat anything else.  It seems like she's going to be a lot like her brother in that regard.  She's a really good sleeper.  She sleeps all night, and she takes two-, three- and sometimes four-hour naps.  It's hard to do that though on therapy and dance days.  She's smitten with her big brother and is learning how to play with her big sister.  Or, rather, big sister is learning how to play with her.  Hannah Kate recently changed her mind about wanting to share a bedroom with Ellie and even began keeping the door to her room closed so Ellie can't go in there.  Well, Hannah Kate doesn't know it, but Ellie played in her room all morning today!  
Ellie's favorite toys are those that play music and baby dolls.  She carries dolls around, she pushes them in the stroller.  She also likes to have a purse on her arm.  She loves shoes, especially my shoes or Mason's or Hannah Kate's.
And here are the tears.  You can just barely see those two tiny bottom teeth.  She still has four teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom.
These are three of my most favorite people ever!  The blessing that they are to me is indescribable!
 Oh.  And one more thing.  It's that time of year again!  
Two Thursdays ago was the first college football games of the season.  The North Carolina-South Carolina game was on while we were eating supper.  The conversation went something like this:

Mason: Which team do you want to win, Dad?
Seth: South Carolina.
Mason: Why?
Seth: Because they're in the SEC.  But they're gonna play Momma's team in a couple of weeks.
Mason (in between a mouthful of whatever it was we were eating for supper and in the most obnoxious voice ever): YOU MEAN THE WEANIE DOGS?!?
Hannah Kate (can hardly stand herself and belts out immediately on the heels of Mason): YOU MEAN THE POODLE DOGS?!?

And then the three littlest ones (because Seth knows better) are doubling over in raucous hysterics.  I guess Ellie couldn't help herself because Mason and Hannah Kate were being so ridiculous.  Yeah, you know they had to hear that somewhere.  And I have a feeling I know where.

I guess we'll just see what happens on September 28 when we play the kitty cats!

'Tis the season!