Friday, June 2, 2017


We started off our month with a lot of strawberry desserts, compliments of a strawberry picking outing to Southern Belle Farm.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a day when I could take all four boys, so Rory, Cal and I headed out there one Friday morning.  As usual, we all loved it.  Cal picked seriously, asking, "Is it ready yet?" as he made his way down the aisles.  He continued on until he finally decided to taste one, then the rest he picked went straight into his mouth and I took over filling his bucket.  Rory wanted to be sure he had the biggest and best strawberries in his bucket, so he kept picking until it was full.  

After picking, we enjoyed an awesome strawberry shortcake with strawberry ice cream.  And, Cal also needed a hot dog.  Because he always wants a hot dog these days.

I snuck in two more Museum School expeditions- one two the zoo with Finnan's class and one to the Gwinett Environmental Center with Jude's class.  Here is a picture of Jude and his buddy Wyatt enacting a day in the life a bee.  Wyatt is fanning down Jude during a hot point in the day.

Meanwhile, at Rory and Cal's school, Rory and his friend Jack showed off the marble track that they made all by themselves.

And, we didn't have too much downtime at home this month, but I found this picture of Finnan, Rory and Cal dressed up and having a sword fight that makes me happy for down time this summer.

Cal turned 2.5 last month.  Being physically daring and competent is still his defining characteristic.  You can see by his tree climbing (he moved the stool over there so he could get up) and now swings on our giant tree swing by himself and we just hope he gets his bottom on the swing.  When he doesn't, he just dangles like a little monkey, completely unfazed.  He continues to have no problem heading off into the unknown by himself, whether it is to the sand box in his diaper in the pouring rain or down the street only to be intercepted by a contractor.  

He weighed 31 lbs and was 37.5 inches tall.  He once again won the pediatricians' skinned knee award for the day with an extra bonus for scraps from a recent scooter spill when he was riding with no pants and no shoes.  I did try to reassure the doctor by letting him know he was wearing a helmet.  I do put my foot down there.  

Despite Cal's language improvements sine his last appointment, the doctor still felt like he needed a speech and language evaluation.  We started off with a hearing test, which he passed.  Next, we had an  at home evaluation with a therapist who I met a soccer auction that also happened to live within walking distance and go to our church.  I was a little nervous about how the evaluation would go, but it was really fun to watch the therapist work and discover how much Cal knows.  Cal ended up having very high receptive language skills and though he was below average in his expressive language, he was still in the normal range.  She made such great strides with him just during the evaluation and since then he has been speaking more.  She told us to start making him speak in three word phrases before giving him something, which has also connoted to help his language confidence. He is still not a talker and might not ever be, but it's a relief to see daily progress and to avoid having one more weekly commitment of speech therapy.

I don't know if it is his improved communication, but as many 2.5 year olds are entering into the "terrible," Cal seems to be softening and more of his sweetness is coming out on a regular basis.  Of course he still has tantrums.  Just today, after trying many of my typical negotiation tactics, I literally had to wrestle him into his car seat and he screamed half way to soccer try outs.  On the way home, he sobbed because I kept going the wrong way.  "Noooo, that way, back there, that way..."  However, short of being strapped in the car, behind the driver's seat, not much seems to get in this kid's way and I think we are all in for quite a ride at his side.

Another highlight of our month was that Finnan broke his arm.  The boys had been asking to walk home from school for a while, so earlier in the month, we decided to do a trial run (it is probably 1.5 miles and crosses a busy-ish street).  When I met them at school, Finnan came out saying his arm hurt, but he seemed fine and I was walking the two dogs through a whole bunch of kids, so I said I would look at it home.  When I finally looked at his arm, I knew it didn't look right.  Then, Weggi, who was a nurse looked at it and seemed to know immediately that it was broken.  Thank goodness she was in town, so I was able to take off to the emergency room without the rest of the boys.  Sure enough, one of the bones in his right arm had a hairline fracture and was bowed out.  Apparently, at recess he lost his balance and his arm hit part of the playground equipment.  He didn't tell any one at school.  Overall he seemed pretty embarrassed or maybe even ashamed of his broken arm (the picture tells all).  He was devastated that he missed his end of the year soccer tournament.  Though, he got into his uniform for every practice and game, insisting that he not miss anything.  Luckily (for him), he only had his long arm cast on for two weeks (prior to that they had him in a hard splint for a week) and the day he got it off and went into a brace, his four day soccer try outs started.  He couldn't write for the last couple of weeks of school and had to have a teacher take notes for him during a math standardized test.  Ironically, the only reason he was even on the playground, was that the third grade teachers banned balls at recess two weeks before due to several reasons, one of which was injury concerns.  Finnan never plays on the playground, he only plays ball.  

While Finnan was stuck on the sidelines, Jude had a blast at his end of the year soccer tournament.  His team made it to the final and came in second.  He volunteered to play in goal the whole game and did a great job.  To make it an even better day, it was his 8th birthday (and Mother's Day!).  At his 8 year old well visit, Jude weighed in at 57 lbs and was 51.5 inches.  He continues to be a naturally outgoing, positive kid.  At his end of the year ceremony, he got the "Jolly Rancher" award for always being so happy to be at school.  When the teacher was explaining the award she said, this student is always right with me with a smile, always the first to the carpet with a smile, etc...and all of his classmates shouted, Jude!  

Rory also finished his soccer season strong.  (Thanks to Finnan for this very off-centered picture.) Atticus loves coaching this group of kids year after year.  They have so much fun and are noticeably getting better.

Finnan's team was the last to finish up this year and they won their end of the year tournament!

I also started off my marathon of weekends away with a girls' trip to Asheville. A lot of great company, shopping, and eating with my very dear friends.

While I was away, Atticus took Greg and the boys to the second Atlanta United game of our season ticket share.  Atlanta United won, making them 2-0 for the games we have gone to!

The boys also had their last exhibit night while I was in Asheville.  Atticus sent me these snippets.

After only a couple of days of being home from Asheville, my parents came into town to watch the boys so Atticus and I could goto New Haven for our 15 year college reunion.  I'll admit I was not super excited about going, but I was really glad I did.  It was nice to catch up with people, even if I wasn't close to them in college and I loved seeing the campus again.  It is so beautiful and just being there seems to give you the sense of possibility.  Before heading up to New Haven we spent one day and one night in New York.  We stayed in Tribeca and although it was raining and cold the day we were there, we still ventured out to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  Both were amazingly done- incredibly moving and designed. 

And here we are half way through a run at Yale (something we did not do a single time together while  we lived there), in front of the brand new residential colleges.

My mom sent me these pictures while I was gone.  Apparently the played endless games of Sorry.  Finnan spent a lot of time trying to draw with his left hand.  They went to the Decatur Arts Festival and the boys got macramé dragons (not goldfish!) and of course played a lot of baseball, even with a broken arm.  The kids had a blast and it seemed like Weggi and Paw Paw did too :).

This month, Atticus and I also managed to sneak in a morning date of the 5 mile Cherokee Trial around Stone Mountain Park, something we have had on our list for quite a while.

Today was Rory and Cal's official last day of school.  Here they are pictured with their amazing teachers, Jesse and Robin.  We are so thankful for these two amazingly kind and loving women in our lives.  

And I have been busy thinking about (can't really say planning) and packing for our first family road trip.  Sunday at 4AM, we will start our journey to Acadia National Park in Maine!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Washington D.C. and the River Farm

Recently, our weekends have been logistically chanllenging.  But, despite my weekly anxiety about getting everyone where they need to be, it always seems to work out, thanks to help from team mates, Aunt Cae Cae and Uncle Frank and babysitters.  Our Easter weekend was no different, but with help from Paw Paw and Honey and a lot of aunts and uncles, we had an amazing long weekend in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.  

A couple of months ago, we were planning a low key Easter at home, when I heard from my high school friend, Catherine that she would be getting married in D.C. on April 15th.  I immediately knew I was going.  My best friends from high school had been on my mind a lot recently and I hadn't seen them in years (some of them since my wedding, almost 12 years ago).  I mentioned the wedding to Honey and she miraculously concocted a whole weekend in the area for our family.  We flew into D.C. Thursday night and Paw Paw Byron picked up Rory and Cal and took them to the River Farm.  Atticus, Finnan, Jude and I stayed at Aunt Julie and Uncle Andy's house in D.C. The four of us spent Saturday exploring he monuments and museums of the National Mall.   It was a gorgeous day and we walked the mall for about 9 hours.  Weggi had gotten Finnan and Jude a D.C. guide book that was set up like a scavenger hunt, so whenever we started to get tired, Finnan would rally us so that we could answer more clues.

Friday night, Aunt Julie and Uncle Andy invited Finnan and Jude to a dinner party at there house, giving Atticus and I the opportunity to go out for dinner with my high school friends.  Then, Saturday, Atticus drove Finnan and Jude to the River Farm so I could spend the day with my friends. It was such a treat to see these women.  I was smiling for days after the weekend.  

Meanwhile, over at the River Farm, my kids were having a blast.  All of Atticus' siblings ended up coming up for the weekend and, as usual, the cousins immediately connected.  Jude and Maddie are quite a pair and Rory and Miller quickly became inseparable as well.  They had a beach day with some second cousins, lots of fishing time with Uncle Loren, four wheeler time with Uncle Lyle and even a woodworking session with Uncle Dan.  

I was nervous leaving Cal.  But, his grandparents, aunts and uncles took very good care of him.  Honey and Paw Paw had cots for Rory and Cal set up in their room and barricaded the door so that Cal could not escape.  One night, Honey said she heard Cal turning the door knob (he had cleared away the barricade).  Another night, Paw Paw caught him heading downstairs in the middle of the night.  Cal ended up in bed with them most of the weekend to keep him asleep and safe!

On Easter morning, Atticus and I woke up early and headed out to the River Farm.  We found the gang at church.  As soon as we got out of our car, we heard Cal's voice outside of church, being monitored by Lyle.  After church, we tried to get a picture of everyone together.  Guess who did not cooperate?

After Cal escaped from Finnan's arms he made a run for it followed by Lyle.  Ultimately, Atticus was able to calm him down.

For Easter dinner, we went to Great Grandmother Schuster's house for a large pot luck and Easter Egg hunt.  I can't believe we did not get a picture of all of the family that gathered.  It was great to catch up with family and the kids loved the extensive Easter egg hunt.