Thursday, September 20, 2007

Noah Goes To School

Noah started Preschool last week at Creative Connection. We agonized over our decision to send him to either Pre-K (Monday-Thursday), or Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Since Noah's birthday is August 1st, we decided that he will probably not go to Kindergarten next year. We will most likely wait until he is 6. But, we have not made our final decision yet.

Every day when they come into class, each child finds his name fish on the counter and sticks it to the fishbowl board. Noah wasted no time finding his N-O-A-H, and sticking it up. He's also wearing the nametag he made on the Open House day the week before school started.

Noah's best friend from his class last year is Marcus. He is the only child from their class last year who is also in Noah's class this year. They were dying to play together, so Noah ran right in and began playing with Marcus, after a short pause for enthusiastic hugs.

They love to be silly together! They also play together really well. He has already been to Marcus' house to play once after school. They totally tired each other out.

Noah absolutely loves school. He gets excited every day to go. He never worries about me leaving, he just gives me a quick "'Bye, Mom!" and he's on his way. It has been fun so far to have a couple of mornings on my own to do things I can't do with the kids, and a couple of mornings by myself with him.

A Weekend Trip

We had a lovely trip to Camano Island last weekend, and have yet to have a chance to blog about it. I had the opportunity to do a Spa Class for a group of ladies who belong to a Women's Investment Club on the Eastside. They were having an annual retreat, and thought a Spa Party would be a great diversion. We had immaculate weather for the occassion. It was sunny and about 75 degrees, so we sat out on the huge waterfront deck at the beautiful vacation home of one of the ladies.

This picture is Jacob lounging and doing one of his infamous 'projects' at the Lakehouse where we stayed. You can see the lake and ducks outside. We had lots of rest time while they boys descimated the cottage. It had a spiral staircase down the center, with 3 floors. They loved pedaling the antique sewing machine in the loft, and playing the old organ on the bottom floor.

While I had my Class, the boys went to a State Park with Robb. They played and played for hours in the sun.

Here is Jonah by the proud creation of the afternoon. They built a Crab Mansion at the beach, complete with running water (a natural freshwater waterfall flowing down to the beach). With running water provided, they didn't even have to keep running to the water's edge to fill up buckets. They all worked together, which was fun for Robb to watch.

On Sunday morning, the boys had a ball feeding our leftover cornbread to the ducks at the lake. Is cornbread safe for ducks to eat? They were disappointed that we couldn't ride in the canoe at the Lakehouse because the water level was too low. We told them maybe next time when there has been more rain. When it started to rain before we left on Sunday, they got all excited to tell us that now we can go in the canoe! It took a while to explain how much rain we would need to be able to ride...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Jacob's first Fish! 7 inches long

What a day. Jacob caught his first fish every and boy was he excited. My parents got him a fishing pole for his birthday last week and my dad, Pappa Doug, promised to take him out for the first time. We went over to Bainbridge today since it was going to beautiful out and they went fishing. We were all so thankful that he caught a fish, becuase as we all know, just because you go, doesn't mean you catch anything. He was so excited. Uncle Tom's parents have a stream in their backyard, so they went there and fished with salmon eggs. What a great end to the day. When they got home, they cleaned it, looked at the heart, eyeballs etc (everything a boy would like) and he brought it home to cook it. We haven't cooked it yet. When we got home, he wanted to show his mom first, plus he wanted to have pizza instead (city boy). You may have to look closely, but you can see the fish hanging down from the blue rope. Of course, he thought it was huge, and who am I to tell him differently.

Jacob wanted to name the fish, Douglas, after my dad. He thought it would be fitting since he took him fishing first. As we all know, once you name it, you will never eat it. It will be interesting to see if he wants to eat it. He said he would. We will see if he can really do it.

Meanwhile, my mom and I took the other two munchkins on a bike ride, out to icec ream, and then on a boardwalk hike to the beach. It was such a beautiful day, it was great to be out. I have been hopeful that we would have an Indian summer up here and it looks like over the next week, we will. The reason Rebecca is out of the picture today is because she was away with her sisters and her mom last night in Seattle. They all went over to Seattle for her birthday and got massages, went out to dinner, and stayed in a hotel. They were planning on shopping all day long today and are coming back late tonight. I am sure she would have loved to have been there for Jacob's first fish cleaning, but maybe next time.

We had a great time out at the beach. It was a beautiful day. Of course, we forgot the sun screen because we aren't used to sunny days in the summer....kidding. Noah had a great day log hopping and playing with seaweed. Like always, he submerged both shoes in the water. Dad should always know that this is a given when going to the beach with my kids.

What a great picture with the boys on a log and the ferry in the background. This was the nice picture taken prior to Jonah rolling off the log into the water. Noah soon followed. Noah always likes to do what his brother does, even when it isn't a good decision. I guess we have a lot of work to do on the concept of jumping off a bridge just because someone else does. The other great event at the secluded beach was helping one of the children use the bathroom.....and I don't mean potty-that would have been a breeze. The beach will never be the same again. Just when you think you have done it all as a parent, like throws you a curve ball.

Noah and Jonah having fun jumping around on a log in the forest. The wildlife scatters when they come running on a hike. Birds take flight and the deer scatter quickly

Noah's attempt at looking cool this morning before we left. Noah got to spend the night at Pappa Mark's house all by himself and they had a great time. Noah's two highlights were sleeping in Pappa's bed and eating kashi cereal this morning. He is growing up so fast.

Nice picture at the end of the day of reading to Jacob. We finally got him a bed where we can lay with him to read. I was just about asleep though. I can't do that very long, or I am out. Great end to a great day. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


At right about this time 8 years ago today, Jacob Mark LeRoy entered the world. Who could have known that parenting would bring us both the greatest joy and the most difficult moments of our lives? Anyone who was already a parent, that's who. Why do we feel we must experience these things ourselves when we have been so amply warned? Like all things in life, they are better experienced than observed. So, for those who have observed us and still chosen to go on to have their own families, our heartiest congratulations, and deepest condolences.
Jacob has such a breadth of personality. He fully embraces all of life's ups and downs. He is rarely embarrassed or ashamed. He is the most enthusiastic, and the most easily disappointed. He still has such an adorable naivete, which is not as common in kids his age. It endears him to the adults who understand it, and confuses some children who don't.
A very happy birthday to our Jacob. May this year be your best yet. We love you, Jacobub, Hacob-de-la-noche.
Mommy and Daddy

First Day of School! Big Day!

Today is our first day of school. Jacob started Second Grade with his new teacher, Mrs. Endter. Jonah is our big First Grader now. His new teacher is Mrs. Foss. They are too young still to make up funny names for their teachers, thank goodness. I've often thought that the transition from Kindergarten to First Grade is actually a bigger jump than from preschool into Kindergarten. When kids start Kindergarten, they have most likely been in preschool, and for us, that meant just adding one day, but mostly the same time schedule. But, First Grade is really the whole ball of wax. All day. Every day. So, Jonah's beginning is truly bittersweet for me. Don't get me wrong--he really, really needs this. He has been fairly bored all summer long. He is the least self-entertained of all our children. But, even so, he has been with me at least part if not full-time since birth. This is a big change. But, I know he will do well.

This morning, we had the classic first day of school. I forced the kids to eat a good breakfast. Then, I forced them to wear new clothes. Then, I forced them to pose for a FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL picture. They were compliant with most of my force. But, then I forced them to ride to school with me, not on the bus. This was for several reasons. First, we had to bring cupcakes (to be addressed in next post). Second, we brought Starbucks to Jacob's teacher (Jonah's doesn't like coffee, but we brought her a diet Coke). And, third, Mommy wanted to take them to school on the first day! I am also the PTA Secretary at their school this year, so I got to welcome all of the new Kindergarten parents and give bear cookies to the new kids. So, Noah and I stayed to help out until about 11:30.

I had to give in a little, so the next picture was of their choosing--the silly face picture. If it was up to them, this is what they would all look like. I'm not sure why I feel the need to document for all posterity, their ridiculous, stiff, phony smiles. This is what they were really doing...

Here is Jacob at his new desk. He was happily opening a gift one of his friends had brought him for his birthday. His mom called last night to ask a question, and when I mentioned that his birthday was going to be today, she wanted to make sure Ethan brought him something special for today. It was very sweet.

Robb got to meet the bus this afternoon, but just took a picture of it going by. Then, he hung back and took some more pictures as they walked home.

Jacob came home clad in his layers. When we made him take his sweatshirt off, the back of his shirt had beads of sweat coming through. He also came home without his lunchbox, which he told us without flinching that he had left it on the playground. Duh.

And, this is the after picture. Anyone want to claim that transition into First Grade is no big deal? He was so tired and hungry that he burst into tears when Noah took some of the grapes he was eating. We got him all hydrated and fed, and he was in a much better mood. He gets to sit by one of his cronies, so that was happy. Also, he says he already knew all the kids in his class. Even though there were 3 different Kindergarten classes last year, he spent time in all 3 at different times. Sometimes his teacher said that he could stay for the whole day, so he got to meet the kids in the afternoon class. And, sometimes when he stayed for the whole day, he went to the other teacher's class, so he knew the kids from that class, too. Mr. Cool...

Hot and sweaty, but happy about his class and his teacher. Jacob gets to sit next to Natalie, who is really a good soul mate for him. They get along so well all the time. She's such a sweet girl, and she gets him.

So, that's our report for the day. Noah has an open house at his school on Friday morning. He is so excited, and it was pretty hard for him today when his brothers got to go and he didn't. He didn't cry or anything, but he was really grumpy when we left school. He said that he didn't want to go shopping for a birthday gift for Jacob. He got a big ol' nap when we got home, and he is in better spirits now. On to our birthday dinner. Thanks for all your prayers for a smooth transition into school.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy birthday Reba(9/13/1974) and Jacob(9/5/1999)

We all gathered at Campanas Pizza on Sunday evening to have a family celebration for Rebecca and Jacob. We had twenty people there including grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was fun to all gather and great to do so at a restaurant, where the clean-up was left for them, not us. We decided to celebrate now because with school starting and there birthdays within a week of one another, it was hard to find a time on the calendar to get together. We had a great time.

Jacob was so excited with all of his gifts, but he really loved the idea of this gift from Aunt Sarah and Uncle Josh. He can build robots with this using the computer. he was beside himself with excitement and said that they were the best gift givers of the whole family--which got a lot of laughs. He is so genuine about his responses. each gift he opened, he was so thankful and truly excited. He even got a stuffed animal from Amanda, Owen and Nancy and he couldn't have been more excited.

If you have seen the blog before, you know that these two are Trouble with a capital T. All we needed was one more little stinker who was covering his eyes, and it would have been complete. I think the two of them were under the table most of the night crawling around, up to no good. Keep an eye on them!

Noah loves his cousin, Amanda, who is starting as a Freshman at Bainbridge High School (fond memories for me). The kids love having her close and we were all so glad she could come to Jacob's birthday--Thanks Amanda for helping out with the kids.

Rebecca's grand-parents, Ron and Pat, came from Graham to be there for Rebecca and Jacob's birthday. It was good to see them and also have them here for such a great family gathering. We have incredible support from them and they always pray for each one of us in the family. We are grateful for them.

Aunt Hannah was a big help in trying to keep Jonah roped in, which can be a big job. He was so excited for all of Jacob's gifts. He knows enough know that whatever Jacob gets, Jonah also gets to play with. Jonah starts 1st grade on Wednesday, and he is most excited about bringing his lunch to school.
It was crazy, but that is our family. We apologized to the waitress in advance and told her that we were the Loud Family. That is why we usually do a barbeque outside because the kids can run and play. This turned out great though and we all had a lot of fun. Rebecca got a night away next Friday with her sisters and mom. They can knit, talk about knitting, look for knitting stores, debate about knitting, all without being mocked. I am sure they are going to do a little shopping also. Today, Monday, the kids and I are hanging out at home, Jacob playing with his toys, and it feels great. It feels good to do nothing sometimes, and today is one of those days. Prayer for the week is for all of the children and teachers going back to school on Wednesday. We pray for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a lot of fun.

Laboring the weekend away!

I know that most people go through Labor Day and have big plans away for the weekend or have multiple barbecue invites. We normally stay around home and end up working in the yard, getting things ready for the fall. I don't really know what that means, but it sure sounds good. On Friday, Rebecca and I spent the whole day cleaning the inside of the house since we have neglected this the past two weeks of summer. We thought it would take a couple hours, but this turned into an all day event with multiple loads of laundry and de-cluttering. We were both exhausted by the end of the day. Rebecca had a Creative Memories party that night (which is why we cleaned), and the boys and I watched a movie over at Papa Mark's house. It was a good end to the day.

Since we had spent the whole days in doors on Friday, we decided to do the same outdoors all day long on Saturday. We mowed, trimmed trees (by the great picture of Rebecca at work), weeded the flower beds, and cleaned out the garage. It was a full day, but it felt great at the end of the day to have it all done. The kids even helped out with weeding the flower beds, which is always helpful. We had the big talk with all the kids on how there are times that we all work together as a family and get chores done. Jonah wanted to be paid for his services that day. There are times when we will give him fifty cents for a job here or there, but today, he wanted a full paycheck. This is what I call a "teachable moment". We had a long conversation about family and what it takes to keep a house going. He understood, but he certainly didn't like it. After we massaged this conversation, he was still on weeding duty along side his brothers. I am sure that if Jonah could describe his feelings more specifically, he would say he feels like he lives in a prison on work detail. I would be willing to give him the orange jump suit, but I fear he would like it too much. After he finished the weeding and picking up of the yard toys, he said, "Hey, that wasn't that bad."

In the meantime, Rebecca finished up cleaning out the garage which took over 3 hours. It looks great now and we can even find things now when needed. We ,of course, have another load for the dump. Jonah offered to go along to the dump in offering his services to help the family out. By the time we got done at 7 p.m., Rebecca was so tired. I reminded her that a month from now, she would be laying on a beach in Maui and that did bring a sort of half smile to her lips. We then had Rebecca's sister Hannah, and Sarah and her husband, Josh, over for dinner. Well, Sarah and Josh actually picked up Thai food-sooooo good. It was also exactly what Rebecca wanted. We did play Yatzee and then crawled into bed. Busy weekend so far, but we definitely got a lot done. Tomorrow and Monday, we are planning on doing more resting and playing. Have a great Labor Day weekend.