Wesley Turns 7!

This middle child turned 7 on Sunday. SEVEN. 

This guy had his actual day of celebration all planned out. I convinced him to pace out some of the fun, so we still owe him a dinner at Olive Garden. 

We did take him to get the coveted “Birthday Pancake” as seen on TV from IHOP. Turns out those specific pancakes were no longer on the menu, for it was a limited time special that he saw and desired months ago, but all it is really is sprinkles and whipped cream so they made for him anyway. 

HHe actually didn’t eat but one pancake from his kids meal, cause he ate the eggs and bacon. It sure was a lot of food!

We then went to church and after I taught our youth, I came home while the rest of our crew stayed for the second portion of church. Because Wesley’s birthday always seems to get lost in the end of school, our anniversary, and our church VBS, we didn’t decide to celebrate his birthday on his birthday until three days before. For better or for worse, he has had his “theme” in mind for months, so he didn’t have to think about things much. I had heard his plan for some time but hadn’t done anything about it. 

Regardless, we were able to pull off a fun celebration, complete with an anti-gravity “Reese’s” themed cake and cupcakes, family, pizza balls, silly string, and tons of fruit. 


He enjoyed his day, he loved all his gifts, and he’s another year older, just like that! 

 So that’s his day!  

 Side notes: I didn’t take any pictures with our good camera, just my phone, and I regret that. Also, as I’ve typed this on my phone, I’ve had to stop about 34 times thanks to Hazel, so now I suddenly remember why this blog isn’t updated much anymore ūüėĚ).

Growing Up, The Wesley Version

Our middle child is growing up, as most kids tend to do. Of late, he done some new and awesome things that I figured needed to be recorded in digital form!

Wesley just finished his first ever organized sport participation. His first venture into basketball was a fun one for our family. Even though he never even attempted a single shot on goal, he showed a true knowledge grasp of the sport. After a game ended, he would provide commentary that was wise, especially considering this was his first year playing. “Momma, #7 was big, so everyone wanted to pass to him. I always knew he was going to get it, so that was how I stole the ball” or “If you ran fast past Greyson, you could get open and make a good pass” were the type of phrases common from him. He hustled big time, always fighting for the ball but never being mean. He never got comfortable shooting, which was disappointing, but as one of the youngest in the league and also one of the smallest, I could see his reservations. I’m looking forward to what my future baller might be able to accomplish.

 After nearly three full years, Wesley has graduated out of speech services. Thomas and I are very proud of him, for learning how to say words and sounds correctly was at times a big struggle for him. Being such a fantastic and far above grade level reader that sometimes dropped middle sounds or struggled with blends was very frustrating for him. After lots of practice and support, it has been determined by his pathologist that he is improved enough and self corrects enough to  end the extra help.

¬†Recently he’s shown some great focus and concentration in way of building with Keva blocks. Let me just say, these stress me out, and I lose patience quickly. ¬†The boys, however, both have enjoyed building with them at the local children’s museum that their uncles got them a membership to for Christmas. With Wesley having a personality more like mine, I was impressed with his adeptness, and obviously he took some pride in himself as well. ¬†¬†On school picture day, the boy dressed himself with precision and care. He was most certainly one of the best dressed (read likely over-dressed) kiddo in his 1st grade class. ¬†¬†For Valentine’s Day, he crafted his own box for the classroom party, all based off his ideas. Those people on the box are his “puppets” that he creates regularly. He is the founder of an unofficial school “puppet club” where they fold, design, and theoretically sell their puppets. Sometimes the purchase price is a pencil, even though the hope is for a nickel. He’s got classmates working for him and his big buddy Ganies to assemble a great stockpile of puppets for all of mankind, apparently.

The army of clone trooper puppets crafted by the puppet club in the matter of a few days. Send all your nickels now!

¬†The amount of love and concern Wesley has for his little sister is quite incredible. As he grows older, you can tell he feels a sense of responsibility to her. He wants to make her laugh when she is sad, help her learn how to do tasks, even ones that are above her capabilities. He just adores her, and honestly the feeling is pretty mutual back at him (and Daniel too of course!)¬†¬†So, there you go. A tiny update on the growing middle child. See, here’s proof they don’t always get forgotten ūüėĚ

He Fought the Foam Roller…..and the Foam Roller Won

Wednesday we went out to eat to celebrate Thomas’s birthday. It isn’t until next week, but the kiddos and I have plans to go out of town to visit a friend in Florida for “spring” break, so an early celebration was the plan. When we got home, the boys were taking turns helping Thomas build his birthday present, a new Lego set. While one sat at the table with Daddy, the other hung out in the living room. I was prepping to nurse Hazel and put her in bed. As I went to walk into our bedroom to change into comfy clothes, I saw Wesley playing on a foam roller that I had left in the living room. And since some people have asked me, “what’s a foam roller?” I present to you the object of Wesley’s demise, put next to a baby’s board book to show its non-intimidating scale: IMG_4861 Note that it is smaller¬†in height than the board book , maybe about 3 inches off the ground. Foam rollers are good for rolling out sore muscles from a run or a workout. I was using this the other day because I had read an article on how it helps your posture when you do certain exercises, and as a person with a hunchback tendency, I was wanting to give it a try. Afterwards, I did not take it back to the garage. I told Wesley, “Please do not play on that son; it is not a toy!” as I walked away. Less than a minute later, I hear Wesley say, “Daddy, I want to go to bed. Now.” Thomas asked why, to which Wesley replied, “I just do. I want to go to bed.” Thomas said it was okay, and Wesley headed to put up his shoes. As he walked by, I asked him if he was okay, and he immediately said, “Yes, but I just want to go to bed.” My momma radar went off. I squatted down and said “Wesley, if you hurt yourself on the thing Momma told you not to be on, you need to tell me. You will not get in trouble.” His voice began to crack a little as he told me yes, his arm hurt. Thomas began assessing, in full nurse mode. Wesley could do most of the things he asked him to do. Everywhere Thomas touched Wesley said it mostly didn’t hurt. He begged again to go to bed. I tried to get him to choose a pain scale face, but he refused. We allowed him to go to his room. After he walked away, Thomas and I shared “that look” with one another, the one that says “everything isn’t okay.” I asked Thomas to go back upstairs to check more. As Thomas ascended the stairs, the wailing from Wesley started. He didn’t want to move his arm. He would not pick it up off the bed. He said it hurt so much. He would not put it in a scarf, as a make shift sling. He didn’t want to sit in Momma’s lap. He just cried big tears that soaked his pillow. My suspicion was that he had rolled on the roller, as I had seen him doing, arms on it, arms extended out, and that perhaps he had at least hyperextended it, if not broke it. He couldn’t remember exactly what he was doing when he hurt it, but I know he wasn’t standing on it and jumping. That said, he had fallen less than three inches. We decided¬†to take him to the ER. Thomas said he would go alone, but I didn’t want to stay away from my baby boy during this time, so we called up some friends, Michael and Kelley, and they agreed to watch Hazel and Daniel while we went to get things x-rayed. On the way, Thomas told me where he suspected it was broken (which turns out, he was right!). As we journeyed the interstate, we were traveling in rain, which was planned to convert to snow and ice as the hours passed. Jokingly I said ¬†“Well, we sure know how to do it big…..broken arm in an ice storm!” Thomas chimed in with, “We could have taken an ambulance!” Next, we both said “Or a helicopter!” and followed it up with a few chuckles. By now¬†Wesley had ceased crying and had actually fallen asleep.

After this point, he never cried again! At the ER, Thomas was checked-in and sent back with Wesley before I could even park and get inside. Turns out, when “ice storm” is called for, no one really goes to the ER for those minor things, such as a sore throat and cough, that tend to clog up the efficiency. As we waited and Wesley watched cartoons on the TV, a nice and unsuspecting lady came to get our insurance information. As we rattled off Socials and phone numbers, she asked, “Can I please have the name and phone number of a person outside of the house that can be contacted if needed?” At this point, I put my head down and started to cry, for my instincts had led me to start saying my mom’s name. Thomas rubbed my back and explained to the poor lady how my mom would have been our response but that she recently passed away, and that this moment had taken me off guard. She apologized profusely, while I reassured her it was okay and there was no way should could have know.

A few X-rays later, the doctor came in to deliver the news, as we suspected, of a broken bone. We asked some questions that yielded us a “Are you two in the medical profession?” Thomas said, “Yes, I am an Nurse Practitioner” and I just added “No, but I suppose I am just a person who breaks a lot of bones!” ¬†What we didn’t suspect was that they wanted to keep him overnight and perform surgery first thing in the morning! Being that we were in one car, kiddos separated from parents, with the winter weather in progress, it was a bit problematic. Since I am still a milk maker for the baby and Thomas is more medical, we opted for him to stay and for me to go. I drove home easily in the weather, even at 11PM, but ice was forming on the door handles and the gas pump that I had to use to fill up my tank. We all settled in for sleep at home and hospital.

This morning, I awoke to this: IMG_4851

What isn’t covered in the snow is actually covered in ice. I don’t really have the confidence to drive my mini-van with my two other kiddos in this. Thomas has a Land Rover, which would travel nicely, plus he feels comfortable in this mess, but he was at the hospital, watching Wesley get prepped for surgery….without a way home! The TV newscasters were begging and urging people to stay home. Visuals of the interstate were pretty nasty. I then began operation “find someone brave enough to drive and kind enough to do it.”Turns out I didn’t have to look too far! Our friends Randy and Tracy, who have been such blessings to us before, especially after my accident, offered.

Wesley’s surgery lasted less than an hour. The pin in his arm was needed because the break was a “floating break,” which would serve to have issues in healing correctly if just casted. The surgery was considered quite simple and very common, so we felt comfortable with the process. The pin is partially internal and partially external in one small place, so at removal time, they will just pull it out. The thought of that hurts my stomach more than the fact he broke his arm. IMG_4855

IMG_4854He chose a camo cast! When they had told him at the ER that he was going to get IMG_4856one, he initially wanted black. I asked if he even knew what a cast was, and he replied¬†with a hearty “YES!” “Is it soft? Does it come off?” I questioned, to which he replied again with a hearty “Yes!” Poor fella. He was in for a bit of a wake up call when he awoke with a cast from fingers to right near shoulder on his right arm. By the way, he is right handed. Thomas said everything went super smoothly. It was very hard to be away from him while he had SURGERY! But I knew it was the facts of how things had to be. He was in good hands at one of the best hospitals around, not to mention being with that amazing hubby of mine! Around 10:30 AM Thomas updated people and said: “We are on our way home. We have one broken humerus (at the elbow), one pin, a camouflage cast, and 2 fresh cherry icees for himself and his brother. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.” They were delivered home by our friends by noon! IMG_4857 So, in one week we go for an initial follow up appointment. In 2-3 weeks, he will go to have the pin removed, at which point he will be re-casted for another 2-3 weeks, depending on healing. He is not suppose to get the cast wet, so we are planning to borrow from a cousin¬†a waterproof cast cover for bathing¬†and such.

As of now, our plan is to still go to Florida for our visit. This momma needs some sunshine, beach time, friend time, and hopefully some sanity saving adventures.

I just can’t believe how fast it all happened and how smoothly it went, all things considered. I have never thought differently, but this is just another one of the many circumstances that have happened in the past few years where I am reminded of how stinkin’ blessed I am to have some of the very best friends, church family, and real family. It is just amazing. Tons of texts, lots of calls, messages of all sorts have been sent to check on him. So many are concerned for us. When our senior pastor called to check in, we discussed how wonderful being a part of a body of believers is for your well-being, in good times and in bad. Thanks so much for every prayer, all the offers, the kiddo watching, and ESPECIALLY the driving to Nashville in the ice and snow! Thomas and I, as well as one very special, precious and extremely tough 5 year old are very grateful.

A #5 Stars Wars Party

Welsey requested a Star Wars party this year. The boys are pretty obsessed these days. All I hear is “That happened to Anakin with a scrape.” “Bobo Fett wasn’t afraid then” (yes, Bobo….they say it wrong). “Darth Vader has a red light saber” and just about anything and everything in between. They’ve helped to get their cousin, Cason, hooked on Star Wars, and his poor parents don’t know anything about it. We are contemplating arranging classes for Cason’s dad on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that he can learn some things form Thomas. Then, Cason won’t have to hear “You’ll have to ask Thomas, son. We just don’t know” anymore from his parents. Basically, it is serious stuff around the V Family home. Star Wars shall not be taken lightly. We’ve done our best to follow the important parenting obligations noted in this Star Wars PSA¬†we discovered through my friend Jennifer. Take heed to that Jar-Jar portion though folks. We didn’t intervene with Wesley soon enough, I must admits.¬†DSC_0013

 

Anyway, when Wesley finally decided on this theme, it wasn’t much of a surprise, since our house is full of paraphernalia, I knew decorating would be super easy. ¬†Grab the Darth Vader costume from the dress up bin, snag the Star Wars banks, display some material, and decor is a perfect fit.

 

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I did purchase the disposable table wear at Party City on half-off. I suppose some people think Star Wars isn’t cool and the products earned a discount? Maybe it’s because in the not too distant future the new movies will be out? Who knows, really. I am just pleased that the clearance worked in my favor.DSC_0005

 

After seeing some super neat looking cookies on Pinterest, I asked an old friend of mine to¬†recreate them in a sugar cookie version. We settled on a price of “you make me some cookies, I’ll give you some of my Thirty-One items” and the result was in my favor, I do believe. Thank goodness for talented friends! Yes, my friend Liz really did make those. Yes, they look totally awesome. Yes, they tasted delicious. And if you don’t know what they represent, you have failed at life. Maybe you should attend the classes with Cason’s dad.¬†DSC_0011

 

 

Along with the amazing cookies, I decided to add a cake. In my mind, after I baked it up, I was going to develop the Death Star. It was a grand and ambitious goal my friends. I made the yummy cream cheese icing and tinted it the right color. I geared up pipe lines onto the cake, in order to make it resemble the ship. Then, I realized that I am no cake decorator. I looked at it and decided just put the glass lid on the cake stand. I asked Thomas if it looked ridiculous due to the now somewhat disgusting looking color of the icing (which was never really a great match from the start, to be honest) and he said it was fine. The next morning, Welsey said, “I know what you did Momma. You made me the Death Star!” Turns out, I succeeded after all, even if I didn’t really do much.

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I also blew up some balloons and strung them across our opening between the living room and kitchen areas. I printed out Storm Troopers and made the birthday banner that I had hoped for in my mind. It was super easy and looked pretty good too, if I may say so myself.

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The cousins played light sabers outside, we sang happy birthday, Wesley opened his gifts, and we chowed down on some pizza too.

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All in all, it was a fun little event for our birthday boy. I am amazed what this little guy can do—how he can switch from rough and tough to soft and sweet. He can read pretty well, but he will not really let you know it. He loves art and drawing, coloring each and every day, often multiple times a day. Don’t mess with his sister, or there will be a price to pay. For that matter, don’t mess with his momma either. He’s loyal to the end, once he decides you’re worth it. His heart is big, and he shares and does the right thing, even when you would least expect it. I can’t believe all that he has to offer the world, even at a young age. I’m proud of you, sweet Wesley……May the Force be with you.

 

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(and a secret picture I took, which blesses my heart—–daddy with son, working on the Lego box we got him)

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Breakfast with Santa

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This morning when Thomas was on his way to a day of work at his practice, we had him drop us off a the local Methodist church to participate in “Breakfast with Santa.” At point of drop-off, we didn’t have a ride home, but we live in a small community where we have some deep roots, so I told him “don’t worry about us; we’ll find a way home.” (ahhhh, the life of a woman with no car that still is on a driving restriction due to her black out, wreck, surgery, wired jaw, etc…..)

We were the first ones there that weren’t helping cook the food, but some friends of ours had their kiddos already there playing, so my boys joined in on the fun.

The food was yummy, and between the three of us, we managed to have a taste of everything offered. Seeing people from the community that I know but don’t attend church with or see regularly was nice.

For a little craft, they had a set-up for making reindeer food (oats, sugar, and glitter). The food is suppose to be sprinkled on the front lawn on Christmas Eve. The boys also were able to bring home some goodies, such as bookmarks, a small nativity scene, a baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, ornaments, and candy canes.

Thomas and I have struggled with how to implement the concept of Santa Claus, Jolly ol’ St. Nick, or whatever you like to call him, since we had children. Thomas was devastated at the knowledge of his parents being the gift-givers when he discovered a price tag on a gift and his whole holiday world crumbled. I didn’t really get phased by the knowledge but really wanted to respect Thomas’s memory and emotions from his experience, so I was okay with whichever path we chose. Even though we don’t traditionally celebrate Santa as many families do, we don’t ignore him and his splendor and goodness in the historical sense. Recently I read this short and to the point article that I think establishes how we like to incorporate the big man in the red suit into our holiday season and family journey. We also have an Elf on the Shelf, which the kids know is a “game mommy and daddy play” in order to help us all have fun this holiday.

So, based off that premise of Santa, we had a fun Saturday outing, when we would normally be car-less and stuck at home all day while the hubby worked. We easily found a ride home, and I was pleased with the day, along with the boys.

And, as far as non-mall, doing this for free Santas go, I think the Methodist church pulled off one of the best I have ever seen, not to mention a great Mrs. Claus. They obviously were blessed with a well-suited members of their congregation this holiday season! :O)

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Happy Halloween 2013

A bit formidable weather was forecast for Halloween evening, so Halloween was changed.

Yeah, that is a bit weird to just change Halloween, but alas that is what our city did. They moved it from Thursday to Friday. We decided to be hardcore and keep with Halloween on Halloween.

This year, my kiddos prolonged and delayed costume choosing. For weeks they change their minds 100 times. Finally, I began to get the same answer from Daniel, but it was something that just made no sense costume wise: “Spooky Man” or “Cooky Man,” I can’t really recall. I just knew I had no clue what that looked like. Finally, the day of Halloween, costumes were chosen and arranged very last minute. We ended up with a vampire and an old man. Both were extremely happy with their choice (initially old man had some dental issues, but those were quickly left behind at home).

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For a special dinner, we went to Outback because they were offering free kid meals. Before we arrived to eat, we managed to squeeze in our first trick-or-treating spot and picked up Grandma to go with us.

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While in the car, I snapped a few more good ones of the trick-or-treaters:

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My brother Damien, completely last minute,¬† joined us for dinner. He convinced me to order a filet cooked medium, since it would be the most chewable thing for me to consume, and I have to say it was beyond magnificent. Truly so very good!¬† So, in case you are wondering, my jaw can tolerate steak, should it happen to be a filet. I’ll just sing a little praise though that he paid for dinner, hence the official ordering of the filet (thanks bro!).

Outback had yummy food for all actually, and since the kiddos were free, they managed to convince us to allow them to have a “creepy crawler shake” which was a special just for Halloween. We, on a night created for consumption of sugar, made them share. They inhaled it and had no issues with eating the gummy worms off the top or with sucking it down within such close proximity of one another. It was actually incredibly cute to see them drink it up so swiftly, while in costumes.

shake boysWhen we got home, even though the weather was gusty with winds and eventually torrential rain and tornado warnings later at night, there was a period of decent calm, and we hit the streets for trick-or-treating, cause Halloween is Halloween and that day worked best for life and our kinda crazy schedules. We only hit about 8 houses, and each family was super excited to see us but also very surprised because we were the first ones all night. Some of our neighbors were even opening their bags of candy for the first time and gave us way more than they should have out of sheer pleasure of seeing their first trick-or-treater. Most even told us to come back tomorrow, for the new official night, but we’ve got more than our needed allotment of candy, so we’ll just stay in tomorrow and carve our pumpkin that we didn’t get to tonight.

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I hope that you enjoyed your Halloween, should you have celebrated it hardcore on the true night like us. If you bumped it up or back, I still wish you the same :o)

(side note: Wesley looks like he has a tremendous amount more than Daniel, and actually he does have more. Daniel walked all of his Reese’s Peanut Butter cups over to his brother and said he didn’t want them or like them, while simultaneously dumping them into Wesley’s pile. I was astounded. I mean, if I am going to pick something out of those piles, I would choose just that. Who wants a stupid Starburst? Turns out that was the one candy both boys chose as their piece to eat tonight before taking showers/baths and heading to bed. Baby girl and I ate two small Reese’s, cause it just so happens those are pretty edible with a bit of lingering jaw issues :o)