Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fool's Day

Jack piled out of bed at 6:25 this morning and came right into our room. That in itself is odd.

I cracked my eyes and deadpanned: "Good morning! Let's go downstairs and watch TV and eat chocolate on the couch! It's a holiday."

He scrunched his eyes up tight and tried to hide the sparkle of hope and cover up a smile. "You're just tricking me," he said, and went back to his room.

A minute later, I heard a scream and Jack cried out "Daddy, Sam threw up behind the chair!!"

I playfully rushed into his room, to find Sam jumping out from behind the chair shouting "Surprise" as Jack stood coyly, hands on his hips, and said "April Fools Day!"

I think this boy gets it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sam Shaw Turns Three

I got my last hug from a 2 year old last night. Sigh. When Sam woke up this morning, he was at least a foot taller and bullet proof.

Our baby Sam turned Three today. Hard to believe he started out on March 28, 2012 as just this little guy:

Sam has the heart of a warrior, a lion - generous, fearless, and gallant. He is quick to stand and fight but just as quick to stop and care when someone gets hurt. His favorite game du jour is to try to "knock you over," wherein I am to sit patiently on the floor while he backs up 3-4 yards, gets a good running start, and works on his tackling drills. He does this for about 45 minutes before moving on to some other game, and sometimes he yells, sometimes he just grunts, and about 2 out of 3 tries I go tumbling to the carpet. He is a tough little bugger and he really can lay the shoulder in when he wants to. I guess three years of wrestling with siblings twice his size will toughen a guy up.

We've been reading the Narnia books, and finally broke down and watched the first movie last night (we're on the third book). I was a little concerned that it would be too violent or scary for these kids - they are pretty young. But they were totally into it. At at one point during the climactic final battle scene, Sam stood up, punched his fist into the sky and shouted "The Lion DEFEAT the Witch!" Right on, kid.

About 3 months ago, Sam figured out what Super Heroes are. Since then, it has been Batman this and Spiderman that, and "Daddy I want the Super Heroes Cup!!!" at every meal (we only have two). And so it came to pass that this birthday party would be a Super Hero Birthday Party. It helps that we are also in the late stages of mostly successful potty training, and so every day is filled with several small victories, increasingly certain conquests of the porcelain arena.

Sam Shaw, like each of the celebrated Shaw men that have come before him, also selected Yellow Cake With Chocolate Icing as his birthday treat of choice. Despite being baked by Matilda himself, it turned out quite yummy. Somewhat at the gentle urging of Doc, the kids have taken to calling this particular confection "Man Cake." Fitting, I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sissy sings a lullaby

Matilda and I were talking about something as we drove home from lunch when we realized she was singing and the boys were listening.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Big Boy

Six years ago this morning, Jack entered our world, screaming and waving his hands like a crazy little preacher.

Tonight, he streaked across the moonlit yard with a red light-up bow and arrow, screaming and waving his hands like a crazy little indian brave.

Jack has just been tripping through the wickets lately, starting school, writing, nearly reading, chapter books, came home with his first toy shotgun from a weekend with Bud and Nanas. He's as good or better with the remote control than Doc, and its just flat out hard to believe how fast he is growing up.

But he still has this great and amazing sweet side to him, is so caring and quick to share, to reach out to others and open himself up. Jack's big treat for this special occasion was a family trip tot he zoo in Asheboro, something he especially requested, and a trip for which the late January weather worked out just fine. We saw the polar bear, harbor seal, elephants and giraffes.

But most importantly, we got to play on the playground. And only got separated from each other once (me and the littles took the turn towards the giraffes; Doc and J stayed at the elephants, and we were all sorts of messed up for the next hour until we finally crossed paths again).

Aside from the zoo, we didn't make a big deal about a party this year, and kind of quietly decided to just celebrate at home with family. And honestly, that seemed just perfect to him, because he got to pick out his decorations and help make (and frost!) cupcakes, and share the whole hullaballoo with the rest of his family. Which seems to be all that Jack really wants to do in the first place.

In retrospect, maybe he had gotten all the partying out of his system the weekend before down at Camp Sparty, which apparently was one long continuous spree of TV, cough drops, and shopping. Just as it should be at the grandparents house.


While I was writing this, Jack now six years and 14 hours old, wandered out of his room and into ours. "What are you doing," said Doc. No response. Then he wanders back into his room and stands in the middle of the floor. Doc follows him, asks the question again: "Its a Ninja Turtle thing, Mom," he says, before climbing back into bed.

Crazy kid.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A day of Firsts

Today was the first day of kindergarten for our eldest and the first day of the final class-step for Caroline at daycare. We've been talking it up for weeks, thinking this would be a tough transition for everyone.  J, sis, and Sam have been the Three Amigos their entire lives. They wake, eat, school, bathe, play, and sleep together. I was expecting the split to be on par with the breakup of The Beatles.  Especially after I announced Caroline would be changing rooms to have a single instead of sharing with her oldest brother and was promptly confronted with a pleading Caroline *and* Jack asking to "stay together until we turn 15." 

So we had a weekend of special treats, Costco trips to pick out fun lunch snacks, ceremonious packing of bookbags and snack totes, and even new clothes to help all feel special on this momentous day.  I even found Jack completely dressed for school around 11pm the night before because "I just wanted to be sure there was enough time in the morning to get everything done."  

I fully anticipated this morning to be heavy and full.  I could not have been more surprised.

All babes woke happy and helpful.  Jack kept to his promise and got (re)dressed, washed, bed-made, and fed on his own without direction. Caroline happily got dressed and Sam didn't empty the contents of his snackbag on the floor for a quick crunchy dance with the dog. 

We all walked hand in hand to the patio door at school.  Jackson gave hugs and flew through the school doors without a second look.  And the Littles let. him. go.  There was no crying or screaming or whining or clinging.  Angels didn't come down from the heavens with trumpets and trees didn't catch fire.  We almost even forgot to get out of our camera at all. 

I thought I would be overwhelmed with emotion.  I thought I would tear up and linger too long and have a hard time driving away.  But, just like so many other times in this parenting adventure when I have been proven utterly wrong (see potty training), I didn't.  I've been dropping Jack off at "school" since he was 8wks old so maybe that's why today didn't feel so momentous.  Or maybe it was the distracting chaos that still clung to each of my hands after I lost site of him through the double doors.  Or maybe it was how ready and calm he was to start this next chapter in his life.  Or maybe, and more likely, it just hasn't hit me yet.  Time has a funny way of lulling one into a distracted daze.  Maybe that isn't a bad thing.  Maybe that's the way we Mommas cope.

March on into the adventurous wonderful world, my sweet little ones.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just the Two of Us

I got to go fishing this morning with my big bud Jackson. At one point he sidled up to me and said "hey, bud!" I said "Bud? Like Bud and Nana?" "No, silly - bud like best friend, bud," and grinned his silly sweet grin. Love this guy, and it is so fun to watch him grow up.

After fishing (a neighbor's birthday party at a local pond), we headed over to run some errands and get haircuts. Doc and the littles ended up on the other side of town for lunch, so Jack and I popped over to Five Guys for lunch. Now, Matilda is one who appreciates a good burger. Jack, on the other hand, was very focused on coloring.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Game Time

We finally made it out to a Hoppers game this year - caught a rain-delay double-header against the Lakewood Blueclaws. After an hour on the playground, we headed up to the Firm's box with the Duncans. 


The Hoppers won both games, but are currently two games back to the Hagerstown Suns in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League. 

Jack ended up with a foul ball, tipped off the glass in the box seats, caught by one of the older patrons and handed down to the next generation.

Besides the Seventh Inning Stretch and the Chicken Dance, I think the Rainbow Magic Dippin' Dots were the guys' favorite part.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Finally Four

My little girl is _dying_ to grow up. I have never seen someone more  excited to turn four - the anticipation for the last month has been palpable. Every day, she asks - "How many more days?" We started counting about 21 days out.

And then when the big day came, she took it all in with a heaping measure of pride, like she had accomplished something really noteworthy. She puffs up a bit, then calm explains to any newcomer (or oldtimer) that she is in fact now FOUR YEARS OLD.

Hard to believe, baby girl. Hard to believe.

We started out the big day with some new "jewelry" and a Krispy Kreme donut date with Dadddy.

Then a cupcake party at school, and then home to celebrate with family.

Doc whipped out an amazing Unicorn Cake that was the star of dinner - in fact, I am pretty sure most of the kids skipped the real meal and went straight for dessert. Everynow and then Doc and Matilda relax a little bit..

Present opening was a blast, topped off by the little princess' very first bike, in pink and purple just as we ad been directed. 

[More pics to follow]

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blueberry Picking and Weed Pulling and Family

Sunday after the Fourth, we ventured down to Thomasville, NC to GiGi's farm, to go blueberry hunting. We found a bunch!

This is always such a fun outing, and we need to do it more. GiGi led all the kids around with their buckets, showing them how to pick (and eat!) the ripe ones and leave the others to mature a little bit more. Doc and Matilda quickly gravitated to pulling weeds and grapevines from the blueberry plants.

This property in Thomasville is such a wonderful place. It isn't very large, and it doesn't have expansive views or big fields or fancy features. But it is our families, and it has a big old barn that is full of dusty cobwebs and the creaks of childhood adventure. And it has scuppernong vines, and orchard trees, and rows upon rows of blueberry bushes that were planted long ago by Doc's grandaddy.

It is a special place that just speaks of the timelessness of family, and of tradition, and of nurturing and stewarding the wonders of the land. It is someplace where you want to take your grandkids one day and then show them old pictures of their parents Jack, Caroline and Sam once doing the exact same thing.

This is a place you can teach the next generation about values, and family, and nature, to teach by doing and by example rather than having to speak explicitly of such things without some sort of concrete example. I feel the same way about the property in Spartanburg off of Kelly Rd, with the red dirt roads and the pines and the creek bottom and swamp. And the creeks and marshes on the backside of IOP and Pawleys. And the mountains and rivers and waterfalls around Saluda NC. And all the other little places of nature that we can go, and live, and learn by doing rather than by talking. Those are things you can't buy for kids, things they can't "learn" in school. Those are the parts of life that family is for, that family is supposed to teach. Hopefully the parts of life that make them better people, better citizens, better parents one day.

After about an hour of picking, all the kids ended up eating much of the blueberry yield and playing "fort" in the vans, exploring the barn and the woods, and generally just having a grand old time in the out of doors.

Gigi had the foresight and wisdom to bring a cooler full of ice and a portable shaved ice machine, so we all got to enjoy Orange Gatorade-flavored shaved ice treats at the end of the morning. At this point, Doc and I had about 6 cubic yards of weeds and grapevine pulled, and so this was a welcome and rewarding treat.

Thanks Gigi! We can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day

Happy Fourth Of July to Everyone!

This is one of my favorite holidays. And it is so much fun to be able to introduce these young'uns to the joys of freedomBBQ, fireworks, and the Red White and Blue.

We all got to dress up in our favorite patriotic digs on Thursday, got to skip work / school on Friday, fired up the grill, played with sparklers, and watched the fireworks from the top of a UNCG parking deck on Friday night. We had a great time hanging out with 75% of the Garrisons on Saturday, and spent the better part of Sunday picking blueberries with GiGi. What more could we ask for to celebrate our freedom?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day / Hanging Rock Redux

Five years to the day, in our "annual" father's day hiking celebration, our intrepid cohort of five summitted the peak of Hanging Rock State Park.

I was scared to death the whole time that someone was going to see a bee and then run over the edge, but everyone did great. With the exception of Sam (who rode in style on Doc's back) everyone made it all the way to the top and back under their own power.