Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Years of Mommyhood

     I had extremely mixed emotions yesterday.  10 years ago I was holding my sweet first born son, Jackson Graham.  It's kind of scary to think about how naive Jeremy and I were, and we were going to be responsible for a living, breathing PERSON!  The first blessing of our 4 is growing like a weed.  Just this week I noticed how small all of his clothes are looking on him.  I went to brush his hair one morning (one thing I still can't manage to tame) and he was up to my shoulders.  Like, overnight!  Poor Jackson has had that difficult task of breaking us in as parents.  I can think of a million things that we should have done differently, and I'm sure he could tell you a million more.  I don't know how one child can be so much like me, and still so much like his dad.  Like me he is stubborn, compassionate, intimidated by a crowd, sarcastic to a fault, and loves a good book.  Like Jeremy he is funny, persuasive, intelligent, and knows how to lead.  He has my love of writing, but has his dad's bad handwriting.  Thank goodness for computers!  He has my perfectionist tendencies, in that if he tries something once and it doesn't work out he is immediately frustrated.  Something it looks like we will both be praying about and working on throughout our lives!  He has an adventurous outlook, and will try most anything.  I don't know who he gets that from, but I admire that in him.  He is a wonderful big brother and easily the leader of all the other kids.  They love him to pieces and always want his opinion on things.  He loves for us all to be together and play games or watch movies, just like his dad.  I hope he keeps that family oriented mindset as he grows up.
     Pop and Nana always take the birthday person out to dinner, so Jackson picked Buffalo Wild Wings and we met them, Carley, and Grandma there.  Then we met up with the cousins back at Nana's house for cookie cake and ice cream sundaes.  I think he had a wonderful 10th birthday.  I'm sure he wants to write a little about it, so I'll leave the details to him.  Happy Birthday Jackson!

I love how in all our family pictures we're having to literally
hold the kids in place so they don't make a run for it!

This is the face he makes while we sing Happy Birthday!

All the kids (minus Prentiss)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy SURPRISE Birthday!

     For as long as I can remember, Jackson has wanted a surprise party.  Since he turns the big 1-0 this year we attempted it.  Before we sold our house we had been tossing around ideas, but the one Jackson always came back to was laser tag.  When our house sold so quickly I knew I had the perfect excuse about moving his party back a few weeks.  I told him with all the packing/moving/unpacking/building that was about to take place we may have to put a hold on laser tag until the first or second week in March.  I could tell he was disappointed, but he said that would be alright.  I called The Next Level in Tuscumbia and booked the laser tag for last night from 8-10 p.m., which was a blessing in disguise.  I had wanted the 5-7 p.m. party slot, but it was already booked so I had to take the later one.  Since we didn't get home from the wrestling tournament until almost 6 p.m., I had just enough time to stall Jackson and get everything over to the party place.  Everything I had been collecting for the party I had hidden at mom's house, so I flew over there and mom, Mia, and I loaded up our cars.  Our awesome cake was being delivered to us, and I was so excited to see it.  Heather did an amazing job, and everyone loved it.  I wondered if the party would still be a surprise since so many of Jackson's friends knew about it.  I sent invites to all the boys in his class, along with a few other friends, so I thought one of them would probably tell, but he seemed to be genuinely surprised when he walked in.  Jeremy called right before they pulled up so all of his friends hid and yelled SURPRISE when he came in.  He looked stunned, so I took it that he didn't know about the party.  They wasted no time in getting a lesson on how the laser guns worked.  Everyone got a gun and a glow stick and took off running.  The lights went out, the music, fog, and lasers came on, and the whole place was wild.  When the boys finally were worn out we sang Happy Birthday to Jackson and he blew out his candles.  They filled up on junk food and opened presents.  That's about when the sugar kicked in and they all went crazy again.  We still had a few minutes left so the guy blew up the bouncy slide for them and they played until time to go home.  It was around 11 p.m. by the time we got pj's on and everyone settled into bed.  The kids fell asleep with their glow necklaces and light up balloons hooked to the bunk bed as a night light.  I know Jackson had a great time, and I still can't believe he will be 10 in a couple of days!

Heather's amazing creation for our party!

I loved the little laser tag guys hiding out with their guns.

Jackson walking into his party

Very surprised it seems!

 Laser tag briefing

Mia decides to give it a try

Trying to blow them all out as I lit them

I see this look often.  Can't wait til the teen years!

Mia and Parker enjoying refreshments


Counting his $$$

Everett running away with the legos

Shoals Youth Wrestling

     Yesterday was Jackson's first wrestling tournament.  Jerry and Debbie were here for the weekend so they got to go with us.  Nana kept Everett and Mia for us, which was a huge lifesave considering we were there for about 6 hours, not including 2 hours in the car.  Jackson had to be in Huntsville at 11:45 and his age group was scheduled to begin at 12:30.  We got there right on time, but the K-2nd graders were running an hour and a half behind schedule due to computer issues that morning.  I don't think Jackson was quite prepared for what he saw when he walked into the gym.  There were over 600 kids there and they had 6 mats set up for competition.  He found some buddies and we found a seat in the bleachers with some friends.  We really had no idea what to expect since this was our first time to ever be at a tournament, but we quickly found out that this was probably the biggest one we would attend all season.  Most of these kids had been training since age 4, and some even before that.  Jackson's weight class finally began and he was very nervous about his match.  They have a giant projected chart on the wall that tells who wrestles on which mat and when.  It was chaotic, to say the least, trying to keep up with who was supposed to be where.  They wrestle 3 rounds, 1 minute each.  There is a point system, but don't ask me anything about it because I have no idea.  If they lose, they drop to the bottom bracket and wrestle again.  2 losses and they're done.  Jackson was very intimidated (and not one to be the aggressor) and he got pinned before the first minute in that first match.  His coaches were extremely encouraging, and told him to shake it off and to be glad he had his first match out of the way.  They also told him to put it behind him and put his mind on his next match.  He had a very good attitude about it, and watched his friends wrestle while he waited for his name to come up on the board again.  He had a very tough opponent the next time around, but he did a lot better.  He got pinned again this time, but was much improved over the first match.  I was very proud that he wasn't too discouraged.  He told us he's ready to get back to it next week.  They have tournaments for the next 5 or 6 weekends in a row, so there are lots of opportunities for improvement.  We finally left for home around 5:30, so it made for a long day, especially since we still had the hour long drive home, and BIG plans for that night!

Jackson and Hunter just hanging out before their class is called

The view from the top

Parker and Hayden played together for hours!

Watching the Class 2's finish up


First match

Getting some pointers from one of the coaches

2nd match

Jackson and Dawson after an exhausting day

Thursday, February 23, 2012


     After all the packing, moving, unpacking, repacking (less space for our junk than I thought in this rental, ha!), we are all here and functioning in the rental house.  We officially moved last Friday, but last night was the first night we were all home by 4 p.m. and had no plans for the evening.  So, we decided it would be a good pizza/movie night.  Not just any pizza night, but make your own pizza night.  We had all the ingredients, and I found personal sized 3 pack crusts at the grocery.  Just enough for us!  Everyone put their own pie together and 20 minutes later, the mouthwatering masterpieces were ready to be consumed. 

After that we promptly got into our pj's and watched Zookeeper, for which we also had appropriate refreshments! 

We don't indulge like this often, but I was so happy we were all together (finally) that I couldn't help but spoil them. 
     I was going to post pictures of the new place, but we still have a few boxes here and there, so I'll refrain until it's photo-worthy.  It's by far the nicest rental we've ever been in, complete with a dishwasher and garbage disposal, which rank high on my "most used appliances" list.  A new addition to our family is a bunk bed.  Everett sleeps so good by himself that we hated to throw him in a room with another kid, so the big 3 are all in one room for these next few months.  Jeremy got a good deal on an older bunk bed from a guy at work, and the kids are loving it!  We also have Parker's toddler bed in this room, so they're playing musical beds every night.  We have yet to let Parker sleep on the top since he's such a wiggler.  I have no doubt he would be on the floor the very first night!  He still falls out of his own bed, and it has a much longer bar than the bunk does.  The best part is that I can take the ladder off in the mornings, so Everett can't climb up anytime he wants.  Another thing we've never had in a rental is a fenced back yard.  It's so nice to just open the door and let the kids run wild, especially with the nice weather we're having lately.  So we are getting more settled everyday, and thankfully so because we have a big weekend coming up.  Jackson has his very first wrestling tournament in Huntsville Saturday, and that night there's a HUGE SURPRISE happening.  At least I hope it will still be a surprise.  I guess it depends on how many 10 year old boys can keep their traps shut!