When Your Brother Makes Your Day Better

Tate came home from school today, in. a. mood. Things seemed okay, and then, well, he found out we were having baked potatoes for dinner. Which was horrible? Even though he likes baked potatoes and was just asking me to make them last week? I had so many questions. He had no answers; just a lot of angst.

He told me there was a thing wrong but he wasn’t going to tell me because it was “his business.” Okay, teenager. Well, that came quickly.

He stormed off and oddly enough went and laid under Derek’s bed for a long time. Der and I just kind of shrugged our shoulders and went about our business. What can you do when someone thinks you’re tormenting them with tubers? Derek read some books, I prepped my horrible potatoes and then D wandered off to find his brother.

Things got really quiet for awhile so after I was done getting dinner ready, I went to look for them. I found them outside in the yard.

Derek demonstrating his impressive somersault skills.Also his skills in general hilarity:Tate finds it very hard to resist his brother. It wasn’t long before all of this ensued:Today happiness was having a brother who loves you no matter what, even when you’re a big weirdo who went and laid under their bed for an hour and who still wants to wrestle you in the grass until your crabbiness can no longer withstand his joy.

I hope they never forget that.

A Quick Update

Oh my goodness, has it really already been a week? Lots of things happening around here, but writing does not seem to be one of them.

The boys are doing well in school. Derek’s had a few teary moments at drop-off, but for the most part seems content. He has a new friend named, Sam, with whom I think he spends the majority of the day.

I asked him what they do and he said, “We just spend all day saying silly stuff to each other, like ‘smelly banana squishy goggly.;” As Sam’s mom said, “Well, this is why we send them to school then, obviously.”

Tate has made some new classroom friends as well. Our conversations focus mostly around recess and lunch. The most interesting parts of the day. He is taking First Grade very seriously and I have to say, things are much quieter and more focused than they were in Kindergarten. Tate seems to feel comfortable with that though and much less anxious than how he started out.

He’s taking a lot of responsibility around the house too. Doing things without being asked, like clearing the table, picking up dog poop in the yard, feeding the pets, practicing the guitar, etc. I think his teacher emphasizes responsibility and it seems to be rubbing off at home too. Yay school!

We are riding our bikes to and from school every day since the weather is nice. Derek can make it up all the hills now with no help, so it makes riding much more efficient. We’ve also been taking family runs where the boys bike and Ryan and I run. The other day Tate decided to run with us and managed to complete the entire 2.5 mile route with no complaints. He is a beast. Derek just wants to bike everywhere. He is so proud of himself.

Between the biking and the running and walking through the neighborhood it feels like we’ve gotten more exercise in the past three weeks than we did in the last year.

The stove/oven is finally fixed which is glorious. I cannot say that this oven is my favorite, but at least it turns on and gets reasonably {though inaccurately} hot. After eating cold sandwiches for weeks the boys are mightily grateful for warm breakfasts and dinners at home. Thankfulness!

And with my days at home it feels like maybe we are on our way to finally getting this place cleaned up. We are having friends over for dinner for the first time this weekend so that’s quite motivating. At least it’s forcing me to shuffle the piles to another location that’s not so visible.

We’re slowly chipping away at projects. We got Sonos for the house which is pretty cool. I don’t understand the technical side of how any of this stuff works, but I love that we have music all over now. Also, we have a family Pandora account, so Ryan has significantly more Taylor Swift in his life now than he would have thought possible.

I found my other lens so here’s a picture of the dining room.


We need something on that wall. I’m thinking something like this picture from Minted. Thoughts? Is it weird to have a steer staring at you while you eat? We agonize over things like this. It takes us years {literal years} to make a decision. I’m hoping to move slightly more quickly this time around.

There’s also a new larger rug on the floor of the living room. The boys and the dog love it. They spend a significant amount of time rolling around on it and jumping back and forth between the couches.

And that’s it! Not super scintillating things, but I find myself very thankful for the everyday, ordinary life things and some calm after the last months of chaos.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Derek I took this morning, showing off his shirt that matches his new orange “lion” shoes.

First Day Pre-K & First Grade

Today I sent both my boys off for a full day of school. Be still my heart. I walked back into my empty house and I think both Emma and I almost fell over from the anxiety. What will we do without the children? Where are the children?

Well, I went and sat down. I think Emma is still wondering.

Both the boys were up early this morning and thus tired. Which I think contributed to the fact that by about an hour into our morning, there were tears about going to school all day, going to first grade, going to school at all.

Luckily we got it together long enough for me to get some school pictures:

Those are the nice ones. The majority of them looked like these:

Ryan had to miss taking the boys to school because of a last minute conference call {work puts such a damper on family time}, but we did get this picture of the three boys before we left.

We were at school almost an hour early because I needed to put up signs and deliver some things for PTA. I know, I know. We are all so tired of hearing about PTA. Well, I’m sorry to say friends, PTA is here to stay. At least for this year.

Tate and Derek did seem to relax getting to walk around the school before anyone else got there. Tate got to meet his teacher and Derek got to remind himself that the Pre-K classroom looks exactly the same as it did when he saw it last week at Open House.

And he had an orange cubby, which is perfect. Lion color.

School was pretty chaotic since there wasn’t an early back to school night this year. That meant there was not only the madness of parents dropping off kids for the first time, but also the chaos of said parents trying to sort all of our massive bags of school supplies into separate bins.

Thank goodness I had all Tate’s crayons individually marked in case one got lost. {My friend Sara, was like, “I will buy extra boxes of crayons just to be relieved from the duty of individually marking 24 individual crayons on top of two boxes of markers!” Amen, sister. Those would pretty much be the best dollars spent in my life too.}

Tate finally made it to his desk though:

I was happy for him. I know he was nervous but there were a lot of familiar faces in that classroom.

I was anxious all day. We were there ten minutes early to pick up Derek. I was just waiting and waiting to see how it went. He spotted us through the window and gave us a big wave. He had a super day.

Tate came out of his classroom and looked at us completely deadpan even though we were waving and smiling at him like crazed parade goers. I think he was just so exhausted he could hardly think. But he reported that he thinks his teacher is both very nice and “creative.” I could not get out of him any reason why he thinks she is creative, but hey, I’m all for nice, creative teachers. Good job.

After school we came home and Tate rebounded after a good snack, debrief with Ryan and some football in the yard. Derek ate a ton too and then wandered around intermittently playing football and listening to an old phone message from Ryan he found on my old iPhone.

I guess we all relax in our own ways.

All in all, a successful first day. Here’s to a great year for two outstanding guys!

Last of the Summer Photos

This was the last week of summer.

School starts tomorrow and I’ve been up to my eyeballs in PTA stuff among all the rest of the things. I jokingly said that Ryan and the husband of the PTA president are probably going to start an Anti-PTA because of all the time this is taking. Ryan looked like he was seriously considering it.

In between we’ve been taking lots of bike rides and yesterday I got new running shoes. Because we are going to start running. If you know me, you know that despite being a participant of high school cross-country for four years, I do not enjoy this thing you call, running. At all. But now I have cool new shoes, so, at least there’s that.

The boys both have cleats for football. Derek loves his so much that he hugs them. They are kept safe and special in their box in his closet. Also, they have regular every day shoes coming. I remember a day long ago when I spent our dollars on shoes not athletically or kid related.

I’m afraid that day has passed.

We ended up going to the coast on Monday and Tuesday and it was fun. It was great to see our friends and let the kids play. The beach was beautiful. It was a nice 24 hours.

Ryan said to make sure and let you know that this is the ball flying toward me after Tate hit it, not Tate swinging at it wildly and missing when it was three feet away from him. Important distinction.

The rest of Labor Day weekend we’ve just spent bumming around together. The boys watched the first Gopher game {thank goodness we got Directv in time!} and just enjoying being together before school and sports and all the great, but time-consuming activities take over.

There’s also been a lot of this:

It’s been a crazy summer, with the moving and the house and being so unsettled, but there have been a lot of great moments, times we will treasure and the chance to enjoy one another as a family.

And now, well, now it is time for school!