Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh, how lovely is the evening...

This evening I took the boys to Gabriela's annual Lantern Walk.  The children made lanterns throughout the week.  Tonight, they walked along a lantern-lit path, holding lanterns, and singing a song.  After the walk, we all sat around a fire, listened to a story and sang songs.  I have been singing one of the songs over and over in my head since we have gotten home: "Oh, how lovely is the evening..."  It really was a lovely evening.  It was one of those moments when I looked at my three kids along with all of their friends and felt overwhelmed with love and thanks.  Oh, how lovely.

Unfortunately, this is not how evenings have been around my house the last couple of weeks.  No matter how wonderful our day might go, it has seemed that around 6:00 pm there is an explosion of energy and chaos in our house.  No one seems to be able to sit still for dinner or listen to simple instructions.  By the end of these nights, I just feel overwhelmed.  Period.  So, that has been my excuse for not blogging.  But tonight, I will catch up, starting with a few back in October.

1. Jude's visit to Florida: Jude had a week off of Gabriela's in early October.  At that time he was still having a bit of trouble getting used to life without Finnan around the house all the time, so I thought a trip to Florida to visit my parents would be a special treat for him.  My parents were thrilled to compile.

2. Halloween: This year I had a bat, lion and monkey.  Atticus' parents came to visit and we walked around the block with other neighbors who all came out around the same time.  Small groups had planned to go out together, but it turned into one large mass of kids and parents.  It was so much fun to see all of these kids who have grown up in the neighborhood together and the tiny ones who are all just becoming friends.  It was a very sweet night.

3. Soccer: Soccer probably deserves several posts.  Atticus coached both Jude's team, The Flying Tigers, and Finnan's team, The Explorers.  They both had great years.  I was shocked by how much Jude improved.  He really focused on soccer this fall and you could tell.  Really, every child on the Flying Tigers improved.  It was such a great group of kids who all really loved soccer.  They loved practicing together so much that they always wanted to keep playing.

Finnan played on The Museum School team.  The Explorers also had a good team and it was fun to get to know some of the other kindergartners and their parents.  Finnan remained intense about soccer this season.  I can confidently say that he practiced every single day this fall.  He also helped out at all of the Flying Tigers practices and games.  One of the things that demonstrates Finnan's love for the game is how intensely he will even watch the games.  Even during times when all of his other team mates would be goofing off, he would be sitting on the sidelines following every play.  He would even do this during Jude's games, but instead of sitting, he would run down the sidelines following every play up close.  I do have one specific story I want to tell (as told to me by Atticus).  During one practice the kids played several different games and I guess Finnan had won a couple of them.  Then he didn't win.  He came in second.  He broke down during practice.  Atticus then took him aside, explaining why this is not ok behavior, etc.  Apparently at some point during this discussion Atticus said, "You're always going to have to keep practicing and learning from others.  You're not the best six year old soccer player."  Finnan gave him a look, to which Atticus responded, "Do you think you are the best six year old soccer player?"  Finnan: "Yes." Oh my.  The funny thing is that we put him in sports to increase his confidence.  Apparently, now we need to work on toning it down.

Rory is also developing a love for soccer.  This season he has learned several "drills."  During practices, he would often line up with the kids and follow along.  It was pretty cute to see him lined up with all of the older kids with one foot on the ball waiting to find out what to do next.

3. Finnan loves the Saints: Finnan has become emotionally attached to the New Orlean Saints. On more than one occasion tears have been shed over plays or games.  It's a little bit funny, but truthfully, I find it worrisome.  This child's emotions need to be reigned in.  

4. Jude came home with earrings: Jude is the only older boy at playgroup.  So it is Jude with about 7 or 8 girls every day at Gabriela's. He has been doing great and he loves it, but I occasionally hear him grumble about what he calls "girl games."  He'll complain, "They only want to play girl games.  They never want to play any boy games."  So on one such night, Atticus gave him a pep talk about how he could get the girls to play a boy game.  They even rehashed it in the morning before he went to Gabriela's.  When I went to pick him up, he was wearing earrings.  I had to laugh.  He did not get to play a boy game on that day.  He has, however, become well versed on the construction of fairy houses and acting in the role of king.  He is also being well trained in the art of the hair-brushing circle.  As excited as he was about the hair brushing circle at the beginning of the year ("Mom, it feels so good!"), he did recently ask me to tell Gabriela he did not want to do it.  That day she gave him a "boat" to sand.  

5. Jude can ride a two-wheeler!: Last week, Jude started riding a two-wheeler.  We did the balance bike method with him, and he was off on his first try.  I have two links to videos: Jude rides a two-wheeler for the first time and Jude rides a two-wheeler interview.  

6. Jude and Rory: It had been a transition for the whole family with Finnan going to school, but it has been fun seeing Jude and Rory becoming closer.  

7. Fire pit: We were kind of bummed that we never made it camping this fall.  Somehow we didn't have a free weekend until last weekend.  Then it rained Friday, so we cancelled the trip.  We lit the backyard fire pit and went hiking (see #8) as a substitute.

8. Hiking at Sweetwater Creek State Park: We had a fun day hiking at Sweetwater Creek state Park this past weekend.  We were amazed by what a good hiker Rory has become.  (Every Monday at Gabriela's is hiking day and she takes all the children on about a one mile hike.  Apparently, the first few weeks she would carry the little ones on and off, but after that they have been walking the whole time.  Yes, Gabriela and Jesse (her helper and our backyard neighbor) are incredible.)  He successfully walked about a mile but then did start breaking down.  We got a little too confident and took the long hike home...not really realizing it was quite so long and that it was past Rory's nap time...but despite his protests, he still walked almost all of it.

9. Rory walking up steps:  I only mention this because I don't remember noticing this progression with my other children.  With Rory, it is hard to miss.  He has been so clearly watching me walk up the stairs.  He knows there is a difference in how I walk up, with one foot on each step, compared to him, having two feet on each step.  Well, he watches every time and every time he tries to walk up my way.  And tonight, he went up all the stairs like me.