Friday, October 10, 2014

Dear Davis,

You are nine now. This past year you have been funnier and more talkative than ever. In fact, I think God winked at me when he gave me you – with a knowing nod that I can never complain about not having someone ALWAYS willing to talk. Even the high school employee at the paintball place the other day looked worn out after a conversation with you in between games. He wearily looked at me and muttered, "Man this kid has A LOT of questions."

Your hobbies are fishing, biking, baking, Legos, and annoying your brothers.

You have adjusted to the new school without a single problem. You make friends everywhere you go and last week you told me how you had made a concerted effort to include the ‘new kid’ at school. I guess it hasn’t occurred to you that you are also the ‘new kid’.

This year you have accomplished many new feats. During the Spring, you played flag football for the first time and even scored a touchdown as the Center. I think you were more surprised than anyone that they threw the ball to you – AND you caught it.

Then over the Summer, you did Acting Camp – and although it was only a week, you LOVE to tell people you are an actor.  You did ROCK those two lines though!

You were the founding member of a new club on the street – called the cricket-club. To be included you had to eat a cricket and so far there are only two members. Now I am constantly telling you that No! You cannot eat another cricket!

You’ve recently decided that bike tricks are your “thing” and so you require all adults on the street to stop what they are doing and watch your latest trick. I’m not going to lie – they are usually pretty impressive and it only gets slightly annoying after the third time.

But the bike trick I was most proud of was when you spent your afternoon teaching the 6 year old next door how to ride a bike. It’s not often you showcase your patience so this was a sweet surprise. And at the end of the day as she road up and down the street totally unassisted, you were just as proud as she was.

For your birthday, Mimi and Granddad went in together with your Dad and I – and against our better judgment – purchased a Lego set for you.

Not just any Lego set though. The biggest Lego set the Lyle family has ever owned.

One with 1,869 pieces.

One thousand. Eight hundred. Sixty Nine Pieces.

Of which your beloved mom ended up putting together approximately one thousand two hundred and sixty nine of those pieces.

It all happened one day after I lost my cool about the explosion of Legos on your bedroom floor. They had been spread out for one too many days – those minuscule Legos were practically begging – calling out to Blake and Nathan like a beacon - to pick them up and destroy them.

And you know how those sets work, right?

You lose one little Lego and the next thing you know – the doors wont attach to the vehicle. And if the doors can’t attach, the mirrors can’t attach to the doors. Without the mirrors – the Blasters can’t be connected. And in an instant, the $200 Tumbler is just a worthless pile of Legos that may as well be a sand castle.

I knew better. This Lego set was for ages 16 and up but I let you convince me how mature you are.

You are a Lego expert, you said!

And it’s true. You can put a Lego set together in a half an hour. But I think somewhere between the five books of instructions and twenty two bags of Lego pieces you got overwhelmed – and only finished half of it before you quit.

Legos had suddenly become something you procrastinated and I nagged you to finish like it was homework.  

So one day I put off sweeping and dishes and laundry and park time and instead I sat in your floor for SIX AND A HALF HOURS and finished YOUR PROJECT. As I put together every last teeny-weeny-little-bitty Lego, I vowed to never buy you a Lego set out of your age range again.

This year, I planned to write a whole paragraph about how hard headed you are (like me) but that thought got trumped when you fell the other day on your scooter and proved how LITERALLY hard headed you are.

(Side note: son, please never use the term ‘literally’ wrong – see me if you are confused).

Long story short, it was my fault because you had an early dismissal for a doctor’s appointment the day before and I forgot your bike and helmet in the school bike rack. The next morning under duress, you were forced to take your scooter (that you have safely ridden many times before) and no helmet (even though we have plenty of extras). You left for school mad at me – and me mad at you.

Ten minutes later one of your friends was banging on the door yelling that you had been in an accident and you were bleeding out of your head.

The term scared doesn’t do it justice. I was terrified! Only to be relieved when I caught up to you (still mad at me) and saw that you were ALIVE but very scraped up. Luckily there were no cars involved – you had flipped over your scooter and fallen on a sidewalk crack - but you met your match in that sidewalk. And I think you just earned yourself your first scar(s).

Think of it as a conversation piece.

But as headstrong as you sometimes are (figuratively and literally) – I still love your innocence. One of the hit songs on the radio right now is All About the Bass. It’s the type of totally inappropriate song that should cause me to flip the station when it comes on – but I never do, because you sing confidently from the backseat – “I’m all about the Best of the Best – No Trouble” as I smile to myself knowing you won’t always be a {semi} sweet nine year old.

You’re funny and smart and caring and sensitive.

But you’re sort of a like a bread and butter pickle. Mildy sweet, with a bit of an edge.

You still love to get a reaction. (I think I have been writing that for nine years now).

And Blake LOVES to give you one. (Screaming and chasing are an after school norm).

This year we have a new punishment in the Parenting 101 Handbook. When you or Hayden misbehaves, you are sent to run a lap around the block. (Don’t call CPS – its 1/3 of a mile).

Jeff and I figure that if we can’t have well-mannered kids, we might as well have athletic kids that are in shape. A track scholarship would surely offset disobedience.

Let’s just say you’ve run your share of laps. But on the bright side, just be thankful I haven’t figured out a way for you to burn calories on my behalf – because you’d be running a lot more if that were the case.

Oh Davis, I have a feeling you are going to be The Hilarious One someday. The bright, funny, handsome guy that wins people over with charm, a bit of sarcasm, and your quick witted jokes. But right now you are learning the hard way all about timing and tone.

Davis, I love you more than words can describe. More than you will know until you get a child of your own one-day. We have so much in common and as much as I want to fast forward time to see what you use all of your talents to become – I also want time to stand still so you can be my little nine year old spunky boy forever.

YOU ARE the Best of the Best!

Love you,
Mom Mom
(the even one)

p.s. I searched and searched for a video of you that would showcase your personality - and I couldn't land on just one. Please don't ever lose your cute factor! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The One Where I Lose My Mind

I'm just popping in to say Hi and Good Morning!  - or "Ah' Low" and "Ah' Morning", as Nathan would say.

This week is a super duper busy week for us. 

Saturday is the big Destination Imagination competition so we are doing last minute practices and projects to prepare. This year, I'm coaching a team for both Hayden and Davis - and they have been hard at work on their challenges since the end of October.

You have never seen so much epoxy, spray paint, modge podge, hot glue, and duct tape as what is floating around my house at any given moment. At this point, I am starting to get mixed up about which project goes with which team - and I am just ready for Saturday to roll around so we can see them shine. If they win, they go to the State Tournament in Austin and if they lose, I get about 10 hours a week of my time back.

In other words, it's a Win / Win !

All that to say Jeff and I have spent an excessive amount of time deciding what bottle of wine we want to crack open to celebrate on Saturday night - after the 12 hour competition, and then Hayden's football game - that is.

Also, Hayden started flag football and had his first game last Sunday. The good news is that he looks really good. The bad news is that their first game was against what could only be described as a professional team of 10 year olds. That fifty minutes seemed to DRAAAAG by as the Hurricanes got strummed. In the end, it looked more like a basketball score than a football score. 

Davis starts his flag football career tonight. And while there aren't many things I love more than sitting outside and watching football practice (love it!), I may have to sit this one out since it is scheduled to be 44 degrees this evening. Brrrrrrr. 

Good luck Davis! Run fast  in your new cleats!  You're up Jeff!

Blake is going to be playing his first sport this year - t-ball. He he hasn't officially started practicing yet, but I am so excited. I can't wait to see how much he is going to LOVE having his own team - and jersey - and audience....instead of being a spectator at his big brother's games. However, I just found out that parents might be required to participate and run to the bases with the kids. If that's the case - I need to make it official and say...


You are up again Jeff! But you understand right? That would just be embarrassing to have everyone in the stands see my 3 year old beat me to first base. 


Since all of that above wasn't keeping me busy enough, I thought I would add a little more excitement to the mix and decided to click the 'Make Me Move' button on Zillow....just to see what would happen.

And you're not going to believe what happens when you do that.

People call you and try to make you move!

And want you to show them your house that day.

There is not much on the market in our area so while we haven't officially listed the house, we have seen A LOT of interest. It's clear that it's a sellers market, which is great until you go and look for a replacement house. 

I have shown the house twice now and at some point I even told Jeff this news. After he mentioned he was going to come home for lunch, I informed him there might be people looking at the house at that point. 

To which he replied, WHAT THA WHAT?!

I figure if we can sell it for my overstated asking price without a realtor, he'll get on board. Plus it makes it a whole lot easier to negotiate when you aren't even quite sure you want to move. :)

In fairness, he knew I had clicked the 'Make Me Move' button on Zillow, but neither of us had any idea anything would happen since it wasn't listed through a realtor / MLS. 

So here is how it usually goes down: 
The person calls and asks to see the house (ALWAYS on a preschool day). 
I rush home and spend 2 hours "picking up" the house and making beds and doing hiding dishes. 
The people show up and get the tour from me.
I'm literally out of breath from last minute RUN/cleaning.
They leave. 
I open my computer to look for houses in the area we want to move (West Frisco / Prosper).
I find nothing.
And then I'm all 'oh crud...I hope those people don't really want to buy our house.'

Anyway, that's us in a nutshell this week. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

The White Stuff

It's official. Nathan has entered that age where everything he does is cute. 

When I walked in to the room, the whole table was dancing - 
with the exception of Hayden, who was crying he was laughing so hard. 

I think we can all agree that he 
got his groove {and his love for Oreos} from his Mamma! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dear Nathan,

You are two years old today.

The craziest part about this is that I want to simultaneously say 'how is that even possible?' and  'it seems like you've been a part of this family forever'.

You are the most easy going baby big boy in the world!

Take note: I said easy GOING, not EASY.

Big Difference.

You are totally go-with-the-flow and always up for the whatever adventure the day holds - looking up at us with those big blue eyes waiting to be drug along to the next sporting event of one of your older brothers.

Nap times are flexible. Eating times are flexible. You potty trained yourself. You can be held by anyone.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Not so fast.

You have single-handedly turned the baby safety industry on it's head. Baby Proofing Executives everywhere need to go back to their drawing board and figure out new ways to keep you out of stuff.

"Pffff, plugs and doorknobs? That's all you've got?" you scoff!


"How about you try to baby-proof the top of a kitchen table? Or the knife compartment in the dish washer? Then we can talk about safety!"

Sure, the spankings you get sting for a minute - but the adrenaline rush you must get from dumping out a brand-new bowl of dog food into the water bowl - or filling up a pitcher of water and pouring it in my closet - or getting toilet paper wet in the potty and throwing it onto the walls and ceiling- must make it all worth it.

So to celebrate this year, we did what we've done the past two years - we all got deathly sick. Around here, we prefer to stay well for 11 months out of the year - and then knock out ALL OF THE illnesses in one single month. And that month just so happens to be your birth month.

Happy Birthday Buddy! Pass The Germs!

This year, it was just like when you were born on that cold February day two years ago. Hayden had just gotten over strep, and Blake was diagnosed with RSV and the flu and a terrible rash....because Davis doesn't wash his hands enough. OBVIOUSLY.

The day before you were born, I just felt off so I went to the hospital to get checked out.

In hindsight, I think it was more of me just wanting a break from all the sickness in the house - than so-called mother's intuition.  But God was watching over you - even before you had graced us with your presence. He introduced us four weeks early because UNBEKNOWNST TO ME, my water had broken.

See, stuff like that happens when you are busy doing life. Your water breaks and you have absolutely NO IDEA.

Your whole birth was such a blur. In fact, I was in such a state of delirium that at one point a nurse came into give me medicine and asked me to verify my name and birthday and I literally had to cheat and look at my wristband for the answer.

True story.

I guess if I'm being honest, it would be fair to admit that your whole first year was a blur. When you turned one, I realized I had forgotten to order your birth certificate. You know, you're the fourth kid - so small details like a BIRTH CERTIFICATE tend to get overlooked.

But no worries. We got it ordered. You are official now.

Happy 2nd Birthday Buster Brown! I love the way you give bear hugs. I love how you have the best manners in the family. I love how you jump up and down in your crib - always so excited to start your day. I love that you love my cooking and are the first to the dinner table. I love how much you adore your big brothers. I love that God finally decided to use some of my genes in the making of Baby #4.

I love you more than words can describe!


Friday, February 14, 2014

{The Blogs I Never Posted} Video Games & The Experiment


I am not exactly sure what I intended to write when I saved this picture into my drafts blog 3+ years ago. I think it was something about how when the kids lost their electronics "privileges", they would often prefer to sit idle watching their brother play.

Those were the days of the Nintendo DS.
Then came the Nintendo DS-XL.
Then the Nintendo 3DS.
Then the generation of the present - the Nintendo 3DS-XL.

Between that, and all of the Skylanders / Skylanders Giants / Skylanders Swap Force non-sense, I decided that I was never going to introduce the little guys to Video Games.

They would be my experiment, I declared to anyone that would listen.

To see if they would grow up to be Rocket Scientists because they never wasted their time on the ever changing video console landscape.

And then Santa went and brought the kids an X-Box One for Christmas, 2013. 

This wouldn't be a problem except that the Xbox One is so technologically advanced that you just talk to it to turn it on.

"Xbox Turn On" you say, and it responds.

Herein lies the problem.

Blake Talks.

And as a result, he has picked up most of the phrases used to direct the Xbox from his older brothers (including XBOX TURN OFF! - which he saves for when they make him mad).

I say most of because the console requires you to be very exact with the phrasing or it won't respond.

While Blake only knows a couple of the commands, he's hard headed enough to keep talking to the XBox until it responds (meaning until he happens to say the right words in the right order).

Xbox Turn On! (this one is an actual command, and always works for him- but then it gets a little trickier)

XBox Should you let me play Lego?

XBox Should you?

Xbox Turn to Lego!!?

Xbox Get to Legos!!?


XBox Play Legos!

XBox Go Home! (this is another actual command)

...And on and on and on....until something he says finally starts the game. The whole thing is very entertaining to watch. All that to say - so much for THAT no-video-game-experiment! 

Sidenote: We set the system up in our bedroom because of all of the other things it offers (RedBox, Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, etc). But I have to say, the whole thing sort of freaks me out a bit - like I'm being watched. Jeff and Hayden are set up as user profiles - and the "amazing technology" now recognizes them when they walk into the room --- even if we are just watching TV. A little thing will pop on the TV and say Hi Jeff!

Things that make you go Hmmm. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy {Early} Valentine's Day!

square canvas + stapled b&w Fabric (found here) + red buttons (found here)

I skimped on the kids'  class Valentine cards this year so I could do a fun mantel project instead. 

And this morning I didn't have a single regret as I 
handed over a stack of tiny Monsters University cards 
"To: My Friend, From: Nathan"

I hope everyone has a  Happy Valentine's Day! 

Jeff and I have a standing couch date on Friday nights, 
but this week I am looking forward to it more than ever! 

We have had the world's hardest two weeks ever - 
battling every germ that has ever floated around Plano. 

Strep? Check!
Flu? Check!
Tummy Bug? Check!

Throw up in a bucket, in the car, in the toilet, in the sink, in the bed, in a towel.

I'm even to blame. 
At one point I took the trash to the dump because we missed trash pick up day - 
and the rancid smell made me pull over a throw up. 

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!
Here's hoping you and yours don't catch the tummy bug! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

{The Blogs I Never Posted} That Time When Jeff Was A Coach

We were half way through the basketball season and our record was 0 and 4.

We’d made 8 points total - unless you excluded those 2 that were taken away because of a foul, and those other 2 that were scored by the opposing team.

So yea, it was going well.

Actually, considering all things, it really was a good season.

Our team was the last team put together and most had never dribbled a ball all the way up the court, much less played an entire game.

We were playing teams that had played together for years. They were running plays and stealing balls while our team was learning the difference between basketball and tackle football and other small which goal to throw the ball into.

We were pleasantly surprised with how well Hayden had kept his head in the game vs. his baseball days.

He was fast and seemed to think it was more of a track meet than a basketball game. If he would have ever figured out how to take a ball down the court with him, he would have been in pretty good shape since he was the first one down the court 9 times out of 10.

Hayden played very close attention to the game when he was on the court. If someone shot the ball, he wouldn’t take his eyes off the ball.

(Not for rebound purposes, but so that he would know when he should start sprinting to the other end of the court.)

Also, if one of his team members happened to catch it, he knew to mimic what the rest of his team is doing…which was to chirp “Pass! Pass! Pass!” like a bunch of baby birdies.

That was about the extent of our “plays” in 7U Basketball.

If you happened to catch the ball (read: get hit in the head with it), you had three options:

1) Shoot it! (regardless of your proximity to the goal)

2) Pass it to one of your chirping teammates! (or a teammate on the opposite team if they seem nice enough)

3) Take a knee and down the ball! (this usually ends in a wrestling match)

***Update: Hayden's basketball career was short lived. It was just one season when he was 7, much to Jeff's dismay...but watch out Johnny Football - he's moved on to bigger and better things!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Maid Day

Every other Friday our house is professionally cleaned.

This means that every other Thursday I run around like a chicken with its head cut off - cleaning the house....cleaner than it has been in the prior 13 days.

So good, in fact, that I often question why we pay for this service.

And every other week, we come to the same conclusion.

The maids force us to clean - and as a bonus - they cleans the toilets.

Except last Thursday, I didn't go through that train of thought because I totally forgot they were coming.

That's not true. I remembered they were coming, but I decided to text them and cancel.

Then I forgot to text them.

So, the next morning when the doorbell rang at 9:00 a.m. I answered the door, exchanged a friendly Good Morning (and a What The Heck?!?! under my breathand began my mad frenzy to pickup the house so that their mopping and dusting wouldn't go unnoticed among all the Legos.

And the Little People.

And Thomas and all of his Friends.

Typically, when they arrive every other Friday morning, we are either already out of the house - or we exchange pleasantries in passing and I load the kids up in the car and take them to meet a friend for a playdate or head to the gym.

Blake, who has never met a stranger, took this as his cue to distract the maids - probably so they wouldn't know that all this time we really weren't as put-together as it may have appeared.

"Hi Maids!" he said in a cheerful voice, following them up the stairs.

"Sooooo, Maids. It's cold outside, right?"

This is where I should stop and mention that we have 3 maids...they're sisters...but I only know one of them is named Irma and I am not entirely sure which one. I think I knew the other names and who was who at some point, but the whole thing is kind of like that Friends episode when Chandler can't tell the difference between Joey's sisters.

Now it has been too long and it feels really rude to ask.

So, I'm running around like crazy shoveling toys into boxes and Blake is now following around the one particular maid delegated to cleaning the upstairs (she drew the short straw) bombarding her with questions.

Mix that with his Could-You / Should-You semantics issue and this is what ensues:

"Hi Maids!"

"Maid, THANK YOU for cleaning up my mommy's trash!" he said, still following them.

"Maid, should you clean my room now?"

"Blake! Leave her alone!" I snapped.

"But SHOULD she?!"

"She's cleaning other things right now, and she will get to your room soon."

"Maid, should you clean the bathroom next?"

The whole thing was very embarrassing, and excluding duct tape over Blake's mouth, I really didn't know how to stop it. I didn't want to leave without making a valiant effort to pick up - and at the same time I wasn't even sure how much "Maid" understood of what Blake was saying, since English is her second language.

Only later did Jeff tell me how I should have handled the situation by telling Blake to call her by her name and that if he didn't know her name, he should ask her.

In other words, do as I say, not as I do. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Things That Are Contagious - Part 2

In addition to the never ending line of germs that are brought home on a daily basis (my immune system is on overdrive at this point!), there is also a unique dialect that is often transferred from one person to the next.

The person most responsible for creating new Lyle catchphrases is definitely Blake. 

There is just something about the way he says new phrases so confidently that leads everyone in the house to make fun of him for a day or two -- and then join him and start repeating the phases unconsciously by Day 3. 

If you have been around Blake within the last month, you've heard him shout, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' BOUT!" with a growl in his voice. 

If you haven't, here's a video - but just know this video doesn't do it justice, because as Blake knows - it's all about the timing. Nathan's also picked up on this, although it sounds more like a single word than a catchphrase"TAS-I-TAK-BOUT". (In this video, Nathan also says "What the Heck?" at the end).

Close Enough. 

Blake also starts every sentence with 'Soooo'. 

This is probably the one I am most guilty of copying and using in my day-to-day conversations now. I literally have to go back and edit all of my blogs and take out about 15 "so's" before I hit publish.

Then there's the more controversial words that little brothers have the tendency to pick up from big brothers. 

FART, for example. 

I hate this word. The boys know this. 

Blake loves this word, but he also knows at age three to tailor his "boy talk" in front of me. 

"That was a Big Fart!" he'll boast, and then his eyes will dart to me across the room and he'll correct himself without prompting "I mean it was a little toot, Mom."

Last month, he also picked up the phrase, "What Tha?!?" when referring to anything, EVERYTHING that he was excited / confused / happy about.

This led to the following conversation one night at dinner: 

Mom: New Rule!
No one is allowed to say 'What Tha?!?' anymore. 
You can say 'What the heck?!' or you can say 'Holy Macaroni' if something surprises you. 
Blake: What Tha?!?
Can I say Holy Macaroni and Cheese instead?
Mom: Yes.

Then, for the following three weeks, every time he would have a desire to say it, he would instead launch a whole recap of that New Rule.

Blake: What the Heck Mom!
Can I say that?
I can say 'What the Heck', right?
But I can't say 'What Tha' Right?
But I can say 'Holy Macaroni and Cheese'! 
Sooooooo, now that he has the whole house walking around saying 'Holy Macaroni and Cheese' -'What The Heck', he's over it.

He's moved on.

Somewhere along the line he has gotten 'Should you' and 'Could you' mixed up, which actually makes for some very funny requests.

Should you make me a cup of milk?
Should we watch Thomas the Train now? 
Should we NOT take a nap today?
Should you find the iPad for me? 
Should we go to the park?

It's actually brilliant on Blake's part, because it turns a simple request into more of a recommendation than a demand. Like we are just two adults brainstorming the plans for the day.

It was so cute for the first couple of days - but the cuteness is wearing off when it is combined with his hard head. He doesn't take No for an answer.

Blake: Should you make me a cup of milk?
Mom: No, not right now buddy. You can have some milk at lunchtime. 
Blake: But SHOULD you make me some? (with extra emphasis on the SHOULD)

I have to constantly remind myself that he is just experimenting with his words, rather than taking a jab at my mothering abilities. 

Then 7:30 p.m. rolls around. 
The day finally winds down and the kids are tucked away in bed.
I slide into my clock jammies, put on my fuzzy socks and turn to Jeff and say,
"Soooo....should you turn on the Bachelor for me?"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Things That Are Contagious - Part 1

This was going to be the title of my post - but it wasn't going to be about cooties. It was going to be about Blake's unique dialect - and the fact that it is spreading through the family like wildfire.

And then wouldn't you know it, before I could click publish, I got a call from the school nurse saying that Hayden was running a fever and needed to come home. On a day when the little boys are at Mothers Day Out, no less.

Does he have no decency at all?

Kidding! Kidding! Hayden's doing fine now.

He's bundled up in blankets on the couch with his Ham Sandwich, Sprite, and Cheetos all within arms reach. He's watching Finding Bigfoot and I'm sure he'll be on the road to recovery soon.

"Ugh! Davis really needs to start washing his hands better!" he rolled his eyes and said, in an effort to explain how he got sick.

Keep in mind,  Davis isn't sick but the little brother is always a good target when you are looking to blame someone for something....and Hayden's convinced Davis is solely responsible for bringing all germs into the house.