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.
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!