Sunday, February 15, 2009

Objects of my Affection

Seeing as yesterday was Valentine's Day and I haven't really posted anything too personal lately, I thought I'd share some things about my family and why I love them so much these days. (Not that I don't love them on other days, but I'm trying to be particularly observant about WHY they are so great to me every day.)

I snapped this picture of Tyler the other night before bedtime. We're pretty death on the witching hour of bedtime since it means it's time for just the two of us to . . . well, watch TV and play on the computer. But a lot of nights after we read scriptures (church history for families right now) and say prayers he'll "race" the kids to bed. On this night they did it a little formal and what you can't see (except from Caylee's expression) is that he has a hold on the girls jammies so they don't smoke their brothers. He's a fun dad like that to think about racing WITH the kids. I'm also very blessed that Tyler's a leader when it comes to scriptures and prayers. Oh how I'm grateful he plays that role . . . I tend to get so caught up in finishing the dishes and picking up stuff that a lot of nights I'd end up passing on the whole routine just to get the kids in bed. But Tyler is good to initiate.

And, without giving too much information, Tyler is an initiator of "other" activities, too. I have never doubted his love for me and he's good at telling me and showing me how much he loves me. I told him last night while we watched the other couples dancing at the church valentine's dance how much I would love him to surprise me and enroll the two of us in dance classes (ya know, a little rumba, some fox trot, and a little swingy-dingy . . . just wait til Dancing with the Stars comes on . . . then I'll really have the fever for it.) You can all imagine the eye-rolling, but one year, down the road he'll pull out that big gun and surprise me and I'll know how much it means since he'll be hating every minute of it. What a guy!

I want to note, too, that Tyler is a hard-worker. We deep cleaned our house all day yesterday and as much as I like to win the "I've done so much more than you" contest, he really did a lot around the house AND then went outside to blow out some of our gnarly landscaping. Not only will he do a lot around the house and for the kids, he goes to work EVERYDAY where he is stressed and frustrated and stuck in an office (a little bit of hell for those of you who know Tyler.) I really appreciate him.

Brock is such an easy boy to love, when I don't want to strangle him. I think I'll have my hands full since he spent the first two years of his life being the "baby" of our family. More and more, though, I see him becoming more independent and, while it makes me a little sad, I am proud he wants to be more like Brevin and his sisters and not so much like the real baby, Briggs. Brock loves to be out and about; loves preschool and watching Tom and Jerry. His best friends are his cousins (Ellie, Caitlyn, Zoee) and any of Brevin's friends. Recently, Mackenzie has taken Brock with her when hanging out with the neighborhood kids because they think he's cool and fun. Brock just does his own thing and really doesn't regard much else. That does get a little hard when "his thing" is whacking his brother for no reason or taking his sisters' stuff only to tease them. Brock regularly says some REALLY funny stuff. At the beginning of the year, during a money meeting at FHE we were talking about living in a budget and cutting back our spending with the kids. After Mackenzie offered that the kids could do more cleaning so we wouldn't have to pay the cleaning lady, Brock said, "Ooohhhh, I would not like that at all. Dat would be a very, very bad idea Kenzie." I thought it was so funny that he would be that tuned in to our conversation and be so adamant about his opinion (which I totally backed him on!) Brock likes to play with Brevin and help with Briggs (see above pic). He likes to cuddle with me (YAY!) and play tennis and go camping with his dad. I love him to bits and pieces.

Briggs is the blessing I never knew I needed. A real tender mercy from the Lord. He's 9 months now and just the past few days has started to crawl forward. Before that he'd do a combination roll/sit/backward slide thing to get him where he wanted. I love his cheesy little grin and the way he'll snuggle his head into my chest when he's tired. I am so grateful that he's been a good boy at the gym the past 6 weeks NEVER crying or pooping so they have to call me from my workout. He is a content baby (which I prayed for), yet opinionated (which I brace for.) He really only fusses when he is hungry or when everyone walks out of a room leaving him alone. (I think he will get over that once he realizes he can now crawl after us.) He's discovering cupboards and the treasures within which means I'll be updating the child-proofing shortly. Briggs is a good sleeper; has been from early on, and that alone makes me love him SOOO deeply. His hair is starting to fill in (dark . . . of course . . . I'll never have a white blondie!) and I know that his baby phase will be over so soon. How could I not just eat him up with his four-tooth grin? It's really pretty amazing that I don't.

My Caylee bug is all fire and ice. If there's anything to sum up Caylee it would be that she's passionate. She is either LO-VING you or HATING you and either way she'll end up wanting to "hold you." Caylee is very funny and tries really hard to be super grown up. She still loves playing with dollhouses and Polly Pockets, but also knows all about Zack Efron and Hollywood's "it" girls. I love Caylee's creativity and clever-ness. I love that she sings loudly and shakes her bootie whenEVER there is music on. She's easy going enough not to be too fussy about her clothes and hair-do's, but girly-girl enough to care. While I wish Caylee's attention span was a little longer, she seems to be doing well in school and makes friends easily. Every time an opportunity arises, Caylee will beat Kenzie at introducing herself to random kids and adults at the park, McDonalds, church, anywhere really. She has plenty of "it's not fair moments" these days, but mostly she's super grateful for anything she gets/has (especially playdates at her Aunt Erin's or Aunt Mindie's!) She loves family and I'm always impressed with how her nightly prayers have evolved from the rote to sincere and involved ones. She's a gem.

This is how we will normally find Brevin first thing in the morning . . . and later in the afternoon . . . and before bedtime. He loves video games and may be our first (and at this point, only) gamer. Since Tyler and I can't really relate to his passion for Lego Star Wars or Super Mario, we often give in to his game time and let him play. If we don't "allow" him to play, we'll find him behind some close door getting his "SuperMario" on. Brevin is a little sneaky and impatient, a combination that means he'll just find his own way to do what he wants when he wants. He's very smart and does not like being bossed around. I find that he does a lot of the bossing (which is embarrassing to listen to him play with others sometimes!) and he's kinda moody/broody. BUT, he's my one kid who'll tell me a million times a day how much he loves me. He's always good to play with Caylee AND Brock AND anyone else who wants to play with him. He loves playdates, but also loves being at home in his PJs (playing with DS, I'm sure.) I love Brevin because he is persistent and forgiving with me (like when I forget to get him breakfast and he keeps reminding me and then when I apologize for forgetting, he says, "It's okay, Mom, I forgive you or forgetting to feed me.") And I'm grateful that our middle child is opinionated and willing to share his opinion, like when he puts stipulations on playing outside: "I'll play outside only if I get the green bike" or "I'll play T-ball with you, Dad, only if it's not windy." Brev still sleeps with his Lambchop and could eat burritos everyday. He likes anything on Cartoon Network to watch, but especially Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While I think Brevin is one of my more complicated kids, I wouldn't want to be without him. Who'd give me the crusty when I embarrass him by being too silly? He's ma boy!

And last, but not least, is my dear, sweet Kenzie. There's a paradox of being the first child of a first child. While I understand how hard it is to blaze the trail, I am not very easy on Mackenzie. I can't believe she'll soon be 10 (that's a double digit number people!) and how much more mature she is EVERY day. I'm caught off guard if she has a momentary breakkdown or a particularly child-like moment, but then she uses a rationale that is so much older. Last night, when we got home from the dance, Kenzie said, "Mom will you snuggle with me for a minute," which was so child-like, and then she reminded me, "because it is Valentine's day and everything." So, I wrapped my arms around her and she folded her long, lanky self around my middle and we watched "Friday Night Lights." And I loved that she asked questions; she always does. She has a great curiosity and she has gathered some pretty right-on perceptions about things at an early age. She's musically talented, playing the piano, violin, and guitar. She told me the other day, most earnestly, "Mom, I really want to grow up to be an actress." Mackenzie strives to be morally right and actually cried last night when she got home and had missed a day of house-cleaning because she felt bad she hadn't done her part. (I do think she was probably a little tired.) I love that Kenzie will be tolerant of my stressing . . . I think she gets me. And I think it's great that she's a list girl. I love that she goes to bed at night and reads for another 2 hours . . . have I mentioned she has the most Accelerated Reader points in her whole school? And when she's done reading at night she starts making plans. While her getting out of bed 2-3 times a night to talk about her plans gets annoying, I get her too! I hope, more than anything, that Mackenzie will be a good friend, to her family and friends. I am blessed that she's our first-born.
So, this year, they are my Valentines. They are the ones I work for and live for and love with. While they make me cry, they make me laugh and smile more often. I'm a lucky girl, fer sher!


Angela said...

WOW, what a great post. You have such a way with words and I love how you took the time to explain why you love each and every one of your kids individually. This post makes me feel guilty for not posting more often, I guess I need to get on the ball. It was fun to see you at the dance last night and get a fun picture of the "group". Happy Belated Valentine's Day.

sherry said...

You really do have CUTE kids Sarah!

MollyE said...

I LOVED reading about all of your kids. You are such a great, fun, super-duper MOM! You inspire me to be better and have more FUN. Love ya!

Kathy said...

Sweet post!! I loved reading about
your family. Gwen sat on my lap and insisted that I scroll up and down several times and tell her the names of her "friends." She especially liked the picture with the daddy.

The Fatman said...

OK so I am totally bugged by your post and let me tell you why. I have been using you and Erin and John as my constant mind birth control. I go to your guys houses and when I leave I am like yep I do not need kids ever in my life especially when I can just come over all of your houses and get my fill. Then I read a post like this and it messes up my whole mind set. Thanks!! Happy Valentines!!

Beth said...

It's hard to tell who's luckier...the kids or you and Tyler!

Erin said...

Ummm, I do not think you should be talking about Tyler pulling out his big gun...and dancing...on Valentine's.

Erin said...

Oh yeah...And I pretty much adore your kids too. A lot. They make me laugh, & crack me up with their answers when Uncle Kevin is trying to get them to divulge family secrets. :-)