The Big Kid Conundrum

Friday, April 27, 2012

Last Fall, we made the decision to move from our little house with a big yard, into an apartment so that Archie could go to the best school.

 I was super bummed to be leaving this......




and this.....

But of course we were going to do whatever was best for our kids, and moving was it. I quickly realized that apartment living came with a lot of great benefits. 

We traded all of those things in for this.....

and even better, this....

Built in friends. 

Ace and Archie pretty much know every single young person who lives in our complex. They have become especially close to a group of girls. The "big kids" as they are best known in our home. Ace and Archie both just call them all "friend". I will hear them outside yelling, "hey friend, what are you doing?" or "hey friend, come and play with us!" Pretty much every day for the past few weeks my kids have been playing with the big kids. From the time everyone is home from school, to the time I force them to come in and eat dinner and get ready for bed. The girls are so great with them, and they really love them so much. Ace and Archie are both just in absolute heaven when they are playing with their friends. Plus, it gives me a chance to sit down and not be the entertainer for a while. They thoroughly enjoy entertaining my kids. Win-win. Everyone is happy, right?

I am beginning to wonder though if Ace is starting to think she is much older than she is. She has always acted older than her age....and I always joke that she is three going on seventeen. But there have been moments in the past few weeks where she literally has acted like a teenager.

The other day, Ace and some girls wanted to go around the complex trying to sell things. When I wouldn't let them take any of my food, drinks, or household items to sell, they decided they would draw pictures and try to sell them. So they made about ten pictures and went on to try and make their first sale. It was a success, they sold one to my neighbor for a dollar, and then revealed to him that it was actually "buy one get one free day". He was thrilled.

After that I told Ace that it was really time to come inside and get ready for bed. She begged me to stay with her friends and go and sell some more. I had the pictures all in my hand at this point, and I explained to her that families were eating dinner and getting ready for bed, and it wasn't nice to go knocking on their doors at that time. She said "okay fine, well then can I just hold the pictures." I said sure, handed her the pictures, and she walked outside our door to where her friends were. I heard her say to them, "hey friends, come here I have to tell you something..." I peeked around the corner to see what was going on. She whispered something to both of them and they said "okay" and started walking off. I stepped outside and said "whoa, whoa, where are y'all going?" One of the girls started to say, "she said she wants to go sell....." Ace quickly interrupted her, "I told you not to tell her..." Then she said two words that completely shocked me. She yelled to the girls, "JUST RUN!" and took off sprinting down the stairs, crayon drawings in hand. 

Are you kidding me? Keep in mind this kid is not even four years old. I couldn't help but crack up as silently as possible. It was seriously one of the funniest things I had ever witnessed. Hilarious, and also completely defiant. As I shouted all sorts of threats at her through my suppressed laughter, she continued to make a getaway. I don't remember which threat finally got her to turn around, but she came  back. I started to go into lecture and scold mode and she just looked at me and said, "yeah, yeah mom okay, I'm not going." In a super "cool", like "whatever, Mom" voice. 

 Joey and I are officially questioning the amount of time she is spending with the "big kids". And then there is also the issue of our place having become their headquarters. Many nights we are feeding several more kids than just our own. Which is fine....every once in a while. 

Here they are a couple nights ago eating pizza on our stairs outside.

Sweet baby Ace, stop trying to grow up so fast. 

For your viewing pleasure, I will leave you with a clip of Archie doin his thang while waiting in line at his school festival. If there is music playing, this boy's hips will be moving. 

Lots of Love!

Too Late for an Easter Post?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh well. Time got away from me. Better late than never I guess....

Easter was really quite perfect. Archie and Ace got to meet the Easter Bunny.
It wasn't long ago that they were both deathly afraid of anything in costume...

Now, they are obsessed...
Saturday morning we had Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

And then a big egg hunt!
They each had several egg hunts this Easter. Ace is very methodical and careful in her hunting practices. Not a lot of chaos for her.

Archie didn't know what to think, he did not care too much about gathering eggs yet. Maybe next year!

They got to spend time with Gigi and Papa. My grandparents. It is always so special for my kids to be with them. We are so lucky that we have them around!

Easter morning was exciting. Before Ace could even open her eyes, she asked me, "Did the Easter Bunny come?"
The night before Easter, I was lying in bed trying to think of a new and special tradition we could start for the kids. I had gotten them a bunch of treats for baskets, but I wanted to do something different. They had each already gotten several Easter baskets filled with toys and candy, and I knew they would be getting even more the next day. Not to discount the awesomeness of a good Easter basket. They of course were thrilled with all of their goodies and we are extremely blessed to have so many people who love our kids.

I wanted to try something out with them. Try and see what they would think about giving something away (something that they would really want to keep) on Easter Sunday.

So the Easter Bunny did indeed pay us a visit.....

And left some super exciting streamers on the stairs.....

That led to a note he had left for them...
It said something along the lines of "Hi Ace and Archie! Happy Easter! I have an important mission for you....." And it went on with instructions to go to the park to find a buried treasure.

He left them some gardening gloves and shovels. When we got to the park Ace found a little flag in the ground with their names on it... the first treasure was buried beneath it.

They dug and dug...

Until they found an egg...

With a letter inside.

They were to each find and dig up a treasure, but the Easter Bunny made it very clear in his note, that the treasure was not for them to keep, but to give away to someone else. And it was very important that they carry out the mission.

They found their treasures....
It was very exciting!

At first they were on board for giving their treasures away to someone else. Then Ace started trying to tell me, "yeah well, maybe we could try like one person, but if they don't really want it then we can keep it, right?" Haha. I just told her I didn't think that was what the Easter Bunny meant. So she started contemplating people she could give it to.

We got to church and Archie quickly knew who he was giving his treasure to-- Mr. Mark. Mark is an awesome man at our church who Archie just adores. As soon as he spotted him, he shouted, "Mommy, Mark! Mark bunny!!" And he ran as fast as he could to give him the bunny. Mark loved it.

Ace had already decided she wanted to give hers to her sweet friend Campbell. We found her right away and Ace was so proud to give it to her.

In the end, I loved our new tradition, and I think we will continue it. The Easter Bunny did tell them that if they completed the mission, he would be back next year with another one for looks like I don't have much of a choice either way.

But really, my kids are as spoiled as the next. I don't claim to be a mom who doesn't grab that dang Barbie doll in HEB and promise to buy it if we can just have a peaceful shopping trip. I am so that mom. Some days, I feel like bribery is the only thing I have on my side. But I am really trying to get better about it. I want to slay the entitlement beast as early as possible. And hey, if it takes the Easter Bunny teaching them a good life lesson, I will take it. Cause let's face it, If I had told them they needed to give those gifts away to someone else, we would have had some major meltdowns.

But they were so happy, and they really and truly felt good about giving something to someone else. I think sometimes I forget that it actually does feel nice to give. And I guess it can even feel nice to a little kid.

Yes, Archie wore his gardening gloves to church. Much like the helmet, there was no prying those things off of him.

I will leave you with a little clip of Ace and Archie singing in front of "Big Church" on Easter morning.

Lots of Love!

One Year Ago

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Exactly one year ago this week, we were in Bulgaria meeting our son.

I can remember so vividly the feelings that completely took over my entire being as we walked into Archie's orphanage. The only home he had ever known.

This is me wanting to puke from nervousness. Don't worry, I held it together.

We were taken straight into a little office where a doctor read some general information about Archie. We had no idea what she was saying, and my mind was racing way too fast to absorb our translator's words.

Then it was finally time. And when he came running towards us down that hallway, tripping over his own feet, I knew that God had brought us to our son.

Any fears, any doubts were quickly cast away when I looked into his eyes that very first time.

I have never seen as PURE a joy as I saw in Ace as she met her brother and best friend.

She literally jumped up and down the entire time. There was no containing her excitement.
"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy..." Luke 6:23

We couldn't believe this treasure that we had been given. I just kept thinking, "are you kidding me? This incredible, hilarious, smart, indescribably awesome child has been tucked away in this orphanage for his entire seven years of life?"

Such a sweet boy who loved and cared for his friends so very much.

Always wanting to be their protector.

A little ham

And entertainer

As big a goofball as his Daddy.

This week a year ago, was one of the greatest and hardest weeks of our lives. We finally had our son in our arms.

But then we had to leave him.

I explained to him in broken Bulgarian that we would be back soon.

I told him that I loved him so much.

And he told me "la la loo, mama"

So thankful today that I get to hear that sweet voice telling me he loves me and calling me mommy every single day.

Lots of Love!

To-THAI-ly Inappropriate

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The other night Joey, Ace, Archie and I went to eat at one of our very favorite Thai restaurants. We had just come from Academy where Archie got a brand new helmet for T-Ball. His newest prized possession. He wore the helmet in the car on the way to eat, and there was no prying that thing off of his he wore it to dinner. He could not have been any happier.

We had a nice, loud as usual dinner, secluded in a corner so as to not run anyone off. Our helmet headed boy continuously smiled while inhaling his noodles, reminding us between bites that he was indeed wearing a giant blue helmet. (By tapping his head and shouting, "helmet mommy, Archie helmet!!")

As we were walking out of the restaurant, a lady who works there shouted at us,
"Ohhh hahaha, he ride da short bus?!?!?"

Um. Exsqueeze me?

That lady just asked me if Archie rode the short bus. Yes, that just happened.

And just to paint a picture-- the chick wasn't even near us. We were close to the front of the restaurant, and she was towards the back. There were at least 6 tables, filled with people, between where she was and where we were. She had to shout.

I was so caught off guard and shocked. I couldn't even believe those words just came out of someone's mouth. I was confused and weirded out. I don't remember the exact look I gave her, but it was awesomely nasty. I didn't say anything cause I was too busy trying to process what just happened.

Of course, as soon as my foot stepped out that door, I had a million ideas of what to say.

Like-- "No, actually his bus is mid-sized. Thanks for asking."
(Well, that's the only example I will share here. Most would probably consider the other things I wanted to say to be highly inappropriate.)

You go on and rock that helmet, sweet boy.

Lots of Love!