Sunday, September 28, 2014

Once Upon a Time

I asked Jocelyn for a hug the other day.

Her response?

"Not right now. I have to go read a book. THEN I will give you a hug."

Its good to know she listens to "If you do this, THEN you can do this" which frequently comes out of my mouth :)

Since we had just gone to the library the other day, I fully expected her to grab a book from our library bag.

Nope, she chose this one:

She has a fascination with my old Babysitter's Club books. She also likes Christopher Pike teen horror and old Nancy Drew books. Oh, and Sweet Valley High. I've been saving all these books for two reasons. 

1. I can't bear to give away books that I loved growing up
2. I sincerely hoped that my children would want to read them. 

With the exception of Jocelyn getting into them, those books do nothing but collect dust on my shelf. 

As she looked through the pages, she "read" aloud to me.

"Once upon a time... there was a sword. And fighting. And it was funny!"

Funny, but I don't remember Claudia, Kristy, and Mary Anne getting into any sword fights.

All of my kids loved looking at books and being read to as toddlers and preschoolers. Both Jaina and Jayce, however, stopped loving books when they learned to read in Kindergarten. 

Its not until Jaina was in 5th grade did she ever pick up a chapter book and read for pleasure. It isn't her favorite thing to do by any means, but she's really enjoying some of the books she has access to in her 7th grade Honors English Lit class.

 Jayce discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series last year in 3rd grade. He's read them at least 4 times each. Its the only series that he willingly will read for pleasure. He likes other books, but struggles to get through them. He's read the entire Origami Yoda series, 4 books of the Big Nate series, and is working on Book 1 of the Percy Jackson Series. I kinda went overboard during book fair last month and bought him a ton of books that I think he'll like. Now, I just have to get him to open them up and give them a try :)

I'm hoping that Jocelyn's learning to read experience will be different and better. I've got a lot of books waiting for her :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mee Mow the Assassin Cat

The typical two year old has no idea what an assassin is.

Jocelyn is no typical two year old. Thanks to her 12 year old and 9 year old big sister and big brother, she gets exposed to a lot of age inappropriate stuff.

For example, she knows all the words to Katy Perry's "Roar". She knows all the characters from Sponge Bob. She knows the difference between coke and Dr. Pepper (and prefers Dr. Pepper).  She throws down her wii remote and screams "Crap!" when she loses on Super Mario Brothers.

And her absolute favorite show on TV is Adventure Time on Cartoon Network.

Yes, its a cartoon. No, its not really for kids. Brian and I really like it, too, if that gives you any indication of what kind of show it is.

Its about a human named Finn and a dog named Jake. They have all sorts of adventures in the land of Ooo. They usually save princesses from the Ice King. There's also a few vampires and zombies and witches. Its an "anything goes" kind of show.

Jocelyn knows which season her favorite shows are from. "Watch season 2 episode 1 It Came From the Nightosphere, mommy? Where Marceline sings the fry song?"

One of her favorite episodes is in Season 3. Mee Mow vs. Jake. An assassin has been hired to kill WildBerry Princess and its up to Finn and Jake to expose him and protect the princess.

My two year old has never wanted to pretend to be one of the princesses. No, she wants to be Mee Mow, the assassin cat. It figures.

Jaina found this outfit at Costco a few weeks ago and Jocelyn had to have it. "ITS MEE MOW!!!! I wear MEE MOW costume!!"

If you can put aside that she's pretending to be an assassin, she's pretty stinkin' cute.

We've also been checking out books from the library with cats as the main character. Honestly, I'm so glad she's branched out from Minnie Mouse for a bit.

I'm trying to get her to wear the fox outfit from Costco next!

I have the cutest assassin living here :) I just need to sleep with one eye open :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This is 40

My husband and I are big fans of Judd Apatow and his crude sense of humor. We loved the movie "Knocked Up" and were excited to see the sort of sequel "This is 40" when it came out two years ago. Let's not forget how yummy Paul Rudd is, too :)

And yes, it was funny...

 but also not.

 I mean, I think it would have been much funnier if we had watched it twenty years ago. You know... when we were young and idealistic and had no earthly clue that the movie script wasn't pure comedy with unrealistic subject matter.

Instead, I thought it was all too real. Those comedic situations weren't so funny when you knew people that were going through the same exact situation or have experienced those same feelings yourself.

Thank goodness I still have 4 years and 2 months before I reach this milestone :)

Brian turned 40 years old on Sunday. We celebrated in typical Walker style with a character themed party. This year we went with "The Big Bang Theory."

 Jocelyn was asking for a piece of cake as soon as she found out it was even Daddy's birthday. She loves birthdays and feels like we should still be celebrating :)

We had a great turn out at the party. The keg of beer and bottle of tequila were both drained. That's how we measure our party success :)

So, this is what 40 looks like for Brian. Just for comparison, here's what 26 looked like:

I guess 40 isn't so bad :) Right, Brian??? :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tales of a Fourth Grade Kid

He may be labeled The Middle Child, but don't worry... I think its safe to say that he gets plenty of attention around this house.

Its been way too long since I've had a blog post about Jayce. He usually makes the blog when something newsworthy happens or he's really struggling with some aspect of his autism. This time, however, its all good news.

Jayce is thriving in his new school. He has friends, he loves his teacher, HE IS EATING HIS LUNCH EVERY DAY!! Seriously, that last thing is the hugest accomplishment my child has ever had since starting school. (Take a kid with social anxiety and smell sensory issues and put him in a crowded lunch room with a time limit and its no wonder he wasn't eating well)

He was bummed about not making District 2 Honor Chorus. :( But, he is excited about joining the Cyber Club and Running Club at school this year.

And speaking about extracurricular activities....

Jayce is loving his tumbling class still. He's back to being the only boy in the entire class but that doesn't bother him in the least. He can do a cartwheel, pushup, hand stand, round off, and bridge. He's working on going into a back bend from a standing position and also his front limber. Its been an excellent source of core muscle building and a way to burn off extra energy.

He's also coming right along with his piano playing. Since his teacher is our neighbor, its easy to check up on him after lessons. She said she was impressed with his focus, understanding of music theory, and love for playing. I'm loving the fact that I never have to nag him to practice! He's learning a few songs for his upcoming Holiday Recital in November.

And then, of course, there's baseball.

Look at those spiffy new uniforms!!

I feel like we didn't even have a Summer break from baseball! I cannot believe it has started up again already. The team dubbed themselves "The Diamond Kings" this season. Jayce is lucky enough to be with the same coaching team as he was the last 3 seasons :)

We started off the season by having our first game Tuesday night. The same night that a thunderstorm rolled through effectively keeping the 6:00 PM game players off the field for over an hour. Our game was delayed 1 hour and 10 minutes. That means our 9 year old 4th graders (some are 8 year old third graders, too!) were just starting their game after everyone should have been in bed.

Our boys were tired and the other team scored 3 runs on us easily. We only got 1 run in those first few innings.

I was very curious to see how Jayce would do batting that night. See, in practice, he gets hits all the time. Game day, however, is a different story. He gets so nervous. He is so worried about judging whether or not the ball is in his strike zone that he freezes up and doesn't swing.

Jayce has anxiety in other areas as well. Actually, his anxiety was so debilitating this summer to him, that we decided to try anti-anxiety medication. We started off with a small dose of Buspar, then increased it, then decided to try Zoloft instead.

Honestly, its the best thing we've ever done for Jayce. We've been treating him for Tourette's Syndrome and ADHD for the past two years with medicine, but we tried counseling instead for the anxiety. Although Jayce was learning valuable coping skills to try to prevent anxiety attacks, he wasn't very good at implementing them.

So, back to baseball...

Unfortunately, he didn't have a chance to hit the ball the other night. He did get one strike, but all the rest of the pitches were balls. As in, "you'd better duck so this ball doesn't hit you in the face" kind of balls.

Ah, well, that's what you get sometimes with Kid Pitch rec ball.

He walked to first and made it to second on the next hit. Then his team got their third out and changed sides.

The game was dragging. It was late. We were tired. We were losing.

Then, at 10:00 PM, our team got a hit. And another one. And another one. Bases were stolen, errors from the outfield were made, and then next thing you knew....


And then the umpire called the game based on the time limit.


What a way to start the season!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ten on 10 :: September 2014

The point of this project is to find beauty in the ordinary day.

So often I find that my days are just that. Ordinary. There's only so many times I can capture the same picture of the same kids playing with the same toys and eating the same lunch. I really struggled this month to find beauty in the mundane routine that is our lives right now.

Please forgive the lack of pictures of my oldest two. At ages 9 and 12, they aren't the most willing photography subjects. And, quite frankly, they have better things to do. Like practising piano, attending tumbling class, playing baseball, texting, playing video games, and trying to avoid homework. I promise they do exist, despite not having much photographic evidence of it.

(and yes, I know I skipped 2:30. I was in car line to pick up Jayce and forgot my camera)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Those Eyes :: I Heart Faces Submission

Photo Challenge Submission

 I know, its been forever and a day since I've entered an I Heart Faces photo challenge. I faithfully look over all the image submissions every month, but struggle to find one of my own images that meets the criteria and my standards for entry.

This month's theme is "Beautiful Eyes" and I knew exactly what picture I would choose. It may be several years old, but it is still one of my favorite pictures of Jayce ever. A print of this goes in a frame every Fall.

The story behind it is simple. I wanted to get pictures of Jaina and Jayce playing in the Fall leaves. As per usual at that age, they weren't cooperating. Jayce picked up a leaf to show me and I was standing way too close to him and not paying a bit of attention to composition. What resulted was a happy accident with my automatic focus on my camera :)

All three of my children get complimented on their unique eyes, but none more than Jayce. His eyes are "Chameleon Eyes" which change color depending on which shirt he wears. If you stare keep down in them, you won't know color to describe them. "Brown? Green? Hazel? Blue?" Its all in there.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Summer's Last Hurrah!

Just because the calendar has flipped to a Fall Season month doesn't mean that the weather has actually cooperated yet. Its been hotter than blazes these past two weeks with temperatures well into the 90's. Yes, I know I live in the South and we should expect such numbers but we've been spoiled this Summer. We've actually had a quite pleasant Summer with very mild temperatures and a lot of rain.

So, I guess we can deal with a few weeks of heat without complaining. Soon it will be jacket weather and we'll start complaining about how "cold" it is when the temperature dips down into the 50's :) BRR!!!

Our neighbors like to turn on their sprinkler system and let my kids play in them, too. We all wish our neighborhood had a pool! Yet, sprinklers can be fun, too!

Jaina's not been interested in pictures lately, unless she is jumping, tumbling, or doing a hand stand. 

So then all the girls had the great idea that they were going to jump all together. Except that they couldn't do anything "all together" :) Jocelyn was always the last one to jump!

Our best attempt:

Afterwards, we dried off by sitting on the hot driveway while eating chips and oranges. 

It was sure fun to remind ourselves that we still have a few weeks of Summer left (Technically).

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

But I was hungry!

Brian has been grocery shopping on Sundays since the beginning of time. Or, at least since he's been out on his own and responsible for his own food.

I joined him on his trips when we started dating, mainly just to tag along. I found it amusing to see him buy the same items week in and week out. Brian is definitely a creature of habit.

Soon, he was helping me out of his tiny two-seater convertible on Sundays as we I leisurely strolled waddled behind him, very pregnant with Jaina.

Then we added the baby carrier to the cart and going on the "baby and diaper aisle" was a must.

We tried to figure out where to put a 3 year old AND a baby carrier in the cart when Jayce arrived. Ironically, we had less room in the cart for food, yet we needed more room for more food than ever before.

I wised up some by the time Jocelyn came around. Rear facing infant car seats aren't really supposed to go up on top of the cart like so many parents (including me) usually put them. I wore our third child in a maya wrap ring sling or in a mei tai baby asian style soft carrier for our grocery trips.

You would think that a family that is used to shopping together every week for the past 13 years had this shopping thing down pat.

Ha! Totally not.

My big kids push each other out of the cart (Don't even ask how a 9 and 12 year old still even fit riding in the cart), my husband likes to smack them on the head with the grocery list, the toddler whines that she wants to go home and eat cookies the entire time we are there, and I try to discipline all FOUR family members while making sure things get crossed off the list and not forgotten.

And don't forget that we live in a relatively small town so chances are, we are going to run into 2-3 families that want to stop and catch up with us.

Jocelyn has been also known to throw random things in the cart. She gets away with it, too, since I'm usually yelling at Jaina, Jayce, or Brian to "seriously, just stop! This is a grocery store, not a playground! Leave each other alone! No, you can't have that. No! We already have some at home. No, you can't get that. You didn't eat the last box we got!"

Last Sunday, I left Brian and Jocelyn in the produce section while I went back to the meat department to pick up a package of chicken breasts we had forgotten. I came back to this:

"Jocelyn, what are you eating?", I ask.

"Its a 'mato, mommy."

"Where did you get it, Jocelyn?"

"Right here at the store."

I turned to Brian and said, "Seriously?"

He shrugged.

I'm trying not to think about the pesticides my 2 year old consumed from an unwashed roma tomato.

Let's see what the next shopping trip entails :)