The Last Time...

28 August 2015
Remember how I just talked about the end of a season?? Well, here we are at another milestone. Jacob lost his first tooth. This will be the last time one of our children will lose their very first tooth.
He lost it at school and brought it home in a little tooth-shaped box necklace he wore around his neck.

He was so excited and questioned Lauren repeatedly about the amount the Tooth Fairy pays for first teeth vs. smaller teeth vs. bigger teeth.  I don't know if you can see it or not in this picture, but his eyes are two different colors.  It's subtle but his right eye is more blue and his left eye is more green.
We placed his tooth on his nightstand and when he woke up this morning, he found $3.00 and a receipt from the Tooth Fairy, herself.

As he put it, he was quite surprised that he got $3 because Lauren had told him he might only get a few dimes.  He began to wonder what he could buy with that $3 and I suggested he save it to buy something nice.  He said he didn't have any other money and I told him he could have done his chores this week and earned some money.  He said he'd rather just wait and let Nana give him money.  Haha!  Then he told me that he hadn't even known he was supposed to do his chores, that I hadn't told him.  I promised I would mend my ways and make sure he knew in the future. 

So, I mentioned above that this would be the last time we had a first lost tooth.  I guess it's been weighing on my mind after I read the following poem.  I tried to read it to the girls but kept crying too much to finish.  Maybe you can get through it without tears welling up, but I just can't seem to do it.

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
The never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.
One afternoon you will sing 'the wheels on the bus'
and do all the actions,
Then you'll never sing that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your
last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.
The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time
until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them and
when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them
For one last time.
Author unknown

Conversations with the Peanut Gallery

I recently came across a few pages in my notebook and on my iPad with snippets of things that the kids have said over the past year.  I'm a bit behind in sharing them, but I just have to post them.  I sure do love our silly rabbits.  The first images in this post showcase an ongoing summer project.  We have designated one drawer of the coffee table as the official Lego drawer.  Anytime I find a random, wayward Lego, I toss it in the drawer.  It has led to some of the most interesting designs and some of the greatest fights of the summer.
I don't know how many times this summer I have banned the Legos, exclaiming, "You'll never play with them again.  You're done.  I'm done.  Enough.  You cannot fight like this over Legos!!!"

You honestly wouldn't believe how upset these guys get when they feel that someone "stole their Lego."  It's like "Leggo my Eggo" but for Legos.  More like "Leggo my Lego!"  They will chase after each other, screaming as they run around and around and around the couch trying to catch the culprit.  No holds barred.  It's insane.
 Anyway, enough about the Legos, onto the funnies...
Jake was in trouble and had to go sit in his room.  When I walked in, he was singing this song, "I love my mommy, she's so sweet.  My daddy's mean.  He spank-ed me.  I don't like him."  I said, "That's not nice, Buddy.  Daddy loves you.  What happened?"  He told me, "Well, I wanted to feed the dog, but Lauren fed him, and that was my one chance to be nice, so I hit her with a broom."

Jacob:  I've got a girlfriend.  Her name is Juliana.  She asked me to be her girlfriend.
Mom:  You mean her boyfriend?
Jacob:  No!  She asked me to be her girlfriend!!
Mom:  What is Juliana like?
Jacob:  She's nice and pretty and likes rocks.  We've been playing together for a long, long time now and I love her.
Mom:  What about Layla?  I thought she was your girlfriend.
Jacob:  She is.  I love them both the same height.

Anna stitched and sewed a couple of embroidered pillows as Christmas presents.  While she was working on them, I heard her say to Lauren, "Lauren, smell this.  I've been using starch.  I really don't know what it is or what it does but it smells delightful."

Lauren said to me, "Mom, I tried to choose a healthy option at school today.  Which do you think was healthier, the pizza or the chicken nuggets?  Oh, I also had a whole-grain pop tart."

Mom:  Jacob, please go get your pants so I can iron them.
Jacob:  I can't.
Mom:  Well, why not?
Jacob:  Gravity.

Dad:  Hey, girls, this is Steve Perry playing.
Anna:  Who is Steve Perry?
Dad:  He was one of my favorite singers from the 80's.
Anna:  I guess he's not around anymore.
Mom:  He's still alive.
Dad:  He became a recluse for 30 years and just resurfaced to play recently.
Anna:  What's a recluse?
Lauren:  You know.  A recluse.  A brown recluse, like a spider.
Mom:  He didn't turn into a spider, Honey.
Lauren:  Oh, well, you know, brown recluse...the bite could have affected him.  I didn't know.

Anna is like her mom and loves to read.  She always has a book in her hand and because of this she has quite an extensive vocabulary.  The funny thing, however, is that she knows the meaning of a lot of words from the context of the story, but she's not necessarily heard some of them pronounced.  I get such a kick out of her pronunciations sometimes.  For example:
Instead of Oregon, she said Origin.  Arkansas was pronounced as Ar-Kansas and she says Episcopal as Epi-scope- all.  It's the Notre Dame Cath -(short)e-dral and Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid" is Jah-mah-can.

Jacob (mad at me about something):  Butthead!
Mom:  Jacob!!!!  That is not nice.  You need to apologize to Mommy!
Jacob:  That's not what I meant to say.  My sentence didn't come out right.  I said, "Butthead", but what I meant to say was, "Lovey."

Jacob:  Somebody glittered in our yard!  They can go to jail for that!

Jacob (while checking the temperature on the triops):  It's two cents of high.

Lauren (listening to a Doors song):  Is this a Halloween song?

Jacob (after I dried my hands on a hand towel in the bathroom):  Mommy, that's the same towel I wiped up my throw up with. 

Jacob (as I tried to get him into the tub for a bath):  But, Mommy, I'm not waterproof!

Jacob:  Mommy, did you know today is Warthog Day?  (It was Groundhog Day.)

Lauren:  I don't know what Jake is doing in his room, but he is hitting something that echoes and it keeps waking me up.
Anna:  Yeah, he is so loud and he wakes me up all the time.  (To Jacob) Foghorn!
Jacob:  I am not a frog head.  You're the frog head.
Anna:  I called you a foghorn, not a frog head.
Jacob:  Yeah, well you're a frog head unicorn poop.

Speaking of frogs, one of the school librarians sent Lauren home with five tadpoles.  Lauren babied those tadpoles, loved those tadpoles, and did her best to raise them.  We lost two fairly quickly after bringing them home, but she had three that appeared to be going strong.

We were so excited when they finally started to get their legs.  Ms. O'Connell, the librarian who gave Lauren the tadpoles, told me that she had had a problem with her tadpoles.  As soon as the legs began to develop, they died.  Unfortunately, what appeared to be our two strongest contenders for full frogdom, passed away shortly after this conversation.

The one remaining froglet seemed to "Little Engine" itself along until finally one day, she not only grew her legs, but she dropped her tail and hopped right out of that tank.  We felt like we'd won the lottery.  We had raised a frog!  We named her Lily Pad Kleist and planned to release her that evening when Doug got home from work.  Sadly, however, something happened in those few hours between our triumph and Doug's arrival and we lost Lily as well.  Lauren was devastated.  That evening she asked me for a few pieces of laminating sheets for a project.  I didn't really question what they were for, but the next day I found this at the edge of the woods.
I'm in the middle of reading "Carry On, Warrior" by Glennon Melton and just read a passage that was so perfect for this moment.  When Glennon's son's fish died, and her son asked why God would send us here to Earth where things hurt so much, she replied, "We don't love people and animals because we will have them forever; we love them because loving them changes us, makes us better, healthier, kinder, realer.  Loving people and animals makes us stronger in the right ways and weaker in the right ways.  Even when animals and people die, they leave us better.  So we keep loving, even though we might lose, because loving teaches us and changes us.  And that's what we're here to do.  God sends us here to learn how to be better lovers, and to learn how to be loved, so we'll be prepared for heaven."

I was so touched by Lauren's grief, her emotions, and her love for this small creature.  I have to say her reaction does seem to be an improvement over Jacob's response to his transparent carnival fish which died a week after he came home to us.  Doug placed Intestines (the name of the fish) on a paper towel and then took him to the backyard for a small, impromptu funeral.  For weeks after we buried Intestines, Jacob would randomly say, "Daddy, why did you t'row my fish in the dirt??!!"  Life isn't just about the destination, it's a journey, my friends.

Back to School

25 August 2015
At church on Sunday, our pastor sang, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" in reference to the kids going back to school.  Am I just weird, because honestly, I don't feel excited about it at all.  To me, it is the end of another summer, another season of their lives.  This means they're a little bit older, and a little bit closer to growing up and leaving our home.

Please understand that I understand that this is just part of life and I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that they're healthy and happy and moving forward with their lives just as they should.  I guess I just feel a little sorry for myself because my face time with them goes from all day to just a few quick hours in the morning and in the evening.  They're changing so fast with each passing day and I don't want to miss a second.

I mean, Anna is a 7th grader.  7th grade, people.  That's 5 years from heading off to college.  Deep breath.  Steady on, girl.  I think I need a tissue.

Lauren is in 5th grade.  Right now, she and her age group are the head of the school.  They're almost done with this elementary thing.  Middle school is right around the corner.

And, here is our baby.  1st grade.  I can't even...I just need a moment.
I love them all so much and am so grateful for them each and every day.  I hope they have an amazing year.

Annapolis and the Paca House

03 August 2015
After Jacob and I dropped Lauren off at camp, we had the entire day to spend exploring Annapolis. On our very first day, we parked down by Ego Alley and walked up the hill to the State House.

I've always wanted to visit the Charles Carroll House and the William Paca House.  As the Carroll House is only open on the weekends, we decided to knock the Paca House off of our list.

There is a huge, old mulberry tree outside the home.

We had a super interesting tour with one of the caretakers, but weren't allowed to take photos inside.   Afterwards, we leisurely wandered through the gardens.  Well, as leisurely as you can wander with a 6-year old who has decided that he MUST go the bathroom right now, even though you just passed the bathroom and asked if he needed to go and were told, "NO, definitely not!" in a most resounding manner.
So, in reality, we raced through the garden and snapped what photos we could.

Then we dashed back up the stairs and made a frantic run to the bathroom, where he then said, "I don't think I have to go anymore."  The end.

Summer Camps

03 August-07 August
This summer Lauren attended an "Emergency Vet Camp" with Club Scientific at the Key School in Annapolis.  I must say that I was super impressed.  It was a legitimate science camp.  They learned about cell theory, using microscopes, animal anatomy, bacteria and parasites, and dissected a sheep heart, crawfish, and owl pellets.  One day they made dog treats.  Lauren's was in the shape of a sheep.

Among other things it contained oats, sugar, flour, cornmeal and peanut butter.

Deuce gave it the sniff of approval.

Lauren took some cute pictures while in camp, but I can't seem the get the darned things off of Jake's iPod.  If I can finally get to them, I'll update this post.

While I drove one direction with Lauren, Doug took Anna in the opposite direction to a drama camp at the Port Tobacco Players Theater in La Plata.  This year the performance was Honk, Jr. and Anna was chosen as the bullfrog.  She really, really, really wanted to be the cat but was happy with her role once all was said and done.  This was  a teen camp and Anna was the youngest of the bunch.  I think she was also only taller than one other person.  Haha!  There were two performances, one for family on Friday and one for paying customers on Saturday.  I was in Annapolis with Lauren on Friday and so I went to the Saturday show.  Unfortunately, they didn't allow us to take any pictures and so these are from the Port Tobacco Player's Shutterfly site.  Anna is in the front row, third from the left.

Here she is singing, "Someone's gonna love ya..." to the Ugly Duckling.

She had a great time and learned a lot.  We were proud of not only her performance, but that of the entire cast.  They put the whole show together in 5 days, performing on the 5th day.  There was some serious talent there!

Historic St. Mary's City

01 August 2015
Apparently, some parts of Historic St. Mary's City are free, while others require a ticket.  After paying $25 to get into the Point Lookout State Park, we opted to only view the free areas today.  We're very financially minded, you see. :)

It was a beautiful day.  I would have loved to have been on the water.  It just so happened that it was also the day of the Governor's Cup Yacht Race and so the waterways were busy.

If you're interested in seeing more of St. Mary's City, you can view my post here from our visit with Lauren's school.

I'm thinking one of these just might come in handy at the house.  Hmmm, Christmas gift perhaps?

We wandered from the old State House to the church next door where some construction was taking place.  We tried to avoid the cones and walked through the cemetery where we found some interesting headstones.

We also found the most idyllic spot to while away an afternoon.  There was lovely shade and a perfect breeze blowing.

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