Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween: Jack O'Lanterns, Stitches, and a Witch

Everyone who knows me, knows that I have a tendency to be a little cautious and worried when my kids are involved. While other toddlers are climbing the jungle gyms with ease my children (except Darrien, because Darrien has always been an exception to the rule) are holding tightly to railings and waiting for my reassuring smile and hand to lead them to the slide. In fact, Lathaniel just started walking to the slide by himself instead of scooting along on his butt to get there. But with four kids during Halloween time, I guess it proved a little hard to keep everyone safe, even for me. Pumpkin carving, an eight year old who rushes through most things, and a knife equaled a bloody trail that looked like a crime scene, an overreacting mom, and three stitches in Darrien's thumb. But don't worry, Halloween was a huge success! Ashlyn dressed as Hermoine, Darrien was Ghost Face, Emily was a sparkly good witch, and Lathaniel was Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Turtle. Each costume matched their personalities perfectly. And even me, the hater of Halloween, had a good time.

Lathaniel Turned Three

It's hard to believe that three years ago I met the little man who would complete my world. With his blue eyes, he melts my heart. So I wanted to highlight my youngest son, before I blink and he is ready to head off to college.
Lathaniel is a man of few words, but he says "Mom" loud and clear (does anything else really matter?). He can count, follow directions, and identify colors, shapes, and animals. I think I should stop wishing for words. I think he might be the perfect three year old. But don't take my word for it, just look at the pictures (they speak a thousand words or more, you know).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Sports

This is Ashlyn's favorite soccer move. It's tiring running up and down the soccer field.
Lathaniel is happy watching, but can't wait to get in the game.
Ashlyn smiles a lot more when she's off the field.
From that pretty smile, you can't tell Emily whined for almost the whole game.
Darrien is #1 (yes, he got to pick his number).
Uncle Seth acts as Emily's jungle gym as we watch the game.
Logan came to watch, too. It was hot!
Did you know the offensive line was the best place to play? Darrien thinks so because he gets to push people.
Emily in action.

Ashlyn getting in the game.

I think Fall sports are more exhausting for me than for Ashlyn, Darrien, or Emily. Not physically, of course, I mean they're the ones running around and exerting effort, whereas I am sitting and watching, but I feel every emotion they are feeling and more. I'm elated when they try their best and things go well and heart-wrenched when things are tough, but Fall sports are in full swing and we are some very busy Lockards.

We have practice every night of the week. Darrien practices on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for two hours each night. Ashlyn practices for an hour on Wednesday and an hour and a half on Friday. Emily practices only once, on Thursday, but that is quite enough for a group of five six year olds.

Oddly, the boys seem to listen to their coaches better. During Darrien's practice I rarely see a boy goofing off or not doing exactly as the coach asked, of course, if I do he is sent to run immediately. The girls on Ashlyn's team are at that age, the tween years, and are easily distracted by one another. It is quite common to hear one of the coaches remind the girls they are not to talk while the coach is talking. Emily's practice is the most entertaining. Five little girls trying to climb trees, carry each other, and turn cartwheels instead of practicing soccer is adorable, and I have to chuckle when I hear the coach say, "New rule, while at practice there will be no climbing trees." Watching Emily's practice reminds me of why I decided that kindergarten and first grade were not where I would be teaching.

Fall sports will conclude at the end of October and I am both looking forward to the end and dreading it. I hate being so busy six days a week, but I love seeing the kids play sports.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer's End

I am trying to stay positive about the summer vacation coming to an end. I am trying to focus my attention on all the fun and excitement that the new school year will bring. I am trying, but the truth is that vacation escaped me. It flirted with me; a day here or two days there but we didn't get to go steady they way I'd hoped.

So, I will focus my attention on the excitement to follow the start of the new school year. Ashlyn is starting fifth grade with the wonderful teacher she had in fourth grade. Darrien will be in third grade with the same teacher Ashlyn had in third grade. I am interested to see if his first male teacher gets sucked in by his charisma the way all his female teachers always did. Emily will be in first grade with a first year teacher. As a teacher, this makes me a little nervous, but a lot excited.

Sports are getting underway for Darrien, Ashlyn, and Emily. Darrien has already started practicing tackle football. He loves and hates the sport at this point, but I'm sure the love will outweigh the hate at the end of the season (if they win some games because Darrien hates to lose). Ashlyn and Emily start soccer soon. I am very excited to see them run, kick, and demonstrate athleticism I never had.

Lathaniel is almost three and I am excited about him meeting the all important milestone of using the potty like a big boy. We tried unsuccessfully to teach him to use the potty when he turned two and at about two and a half, but I think third time at his third year should be the charm. As the mother of four children, three of which successfully learned to use the potty while they were two, I just keep reminding myself that all my children decide to do things when they are ready. (I need to cling to this so I don't feel like such a big failure, so let me cling.)

Excitement and good times are to be had as we slowly descend into fall and I can't wait. Let the school year begin!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Of McDonald's

I promised myself I would have more time off this summer. I promised it would be relaxing and fun. So, at least I have kept part of my promises. Parts have been relaxing, and my sink full of dishes can attest to that. Parts have been fun, and my kids might agree depending on when you ask them. Unfortunately, I have not worked less. In fact, this has been my busiest work summer yet.

The problem with summer work is that it leads to guilt. The guilt leads me to procrastinate about a number of things. And this all leads to the Ashlyn, Darrien, Emily, Lathaniel, and I getting out of the house to do something. Most often this means shopping or eating, since the weather hasn't been all that great. Eating usually means McDonald's because the kids can run around and play. So here I sit In the play area. At least Darrien said, "This is the best day ever!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lathaniel Wades Alone

Lathaniel is very thoughtful. He made sure to take Francesco Bernouli (Cars 2) swimming, too.

Lathaniel hugged the side for most of the afternoon.

Lathaniel can splash it out, but he cannot take it.

Lathaniel shivered almost the entire time, but was the last to get out of the pool.

Emily's Escapades

Do these goggles make me look silly? Yes, Emily felt goggles were indeed necessary despite the fact that she was not putting her face under the water.

Sun-bathing beauty. Don't worry, we slathered on the SPF before attempting this daring stunt.

She did it! She actually put her head under the water.

Ooh, the goggles do come off:)

"Darrien, Don't!"

Darrien just hanging out in the pool (a rare sight). Most of my chaperoning of the pool was spent telling him "Don't ...."

The pool is not for diving or jumping, but Darrien can make the best of it with his daring antics.

It's freezing!

Don't let the smile fool you!

Ashlyn's Aquatic Adventures

Ashlyn must be plotting her next splash move. Who to splash next, Darrien or Emily?

It's quite cold in the pool, so Ashlyn needed to heat up in the sun.

Making waves!

Ashlyn in the midst of a twirl.

Sitting by the Pool

Here I am supervising the kids as they splash and play.

Swimming Pool Fun

After very little consideration while shopping with Ashlyn, Darrien, Emily, and Lathaniel (note that Larry was not with us), I purchased a shallow, but wide above ground pool for the kids. It is as Darrien said, "the best thing you ever bought for the house." I have to admit, it is pretty darn cool. Well, anything that can keep all four kids entertained for a couple of hours is. I am looking forward to many more hot days this summer in my backyard with my children.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Animal Matcher

Lathaniel, my only child who does not speak, proves to me each and every day that he is selectively mute. How could a boy who listens so well to directions and can do any task you ask of him, even more complex tasks, be unable to say anything other than "no", "cheese", "Darrien", and a handful of other words and phrases?

My conclusion is that my little man is just the smart and quiet type. Take tonight for instance. As he was conducting a nonviolent protest against using his potty, I decided to at least do a little animal identification lesson. We started with the frog and turtle in his potty seat. The scene played out like this:

Me: "Lathaniel, touch the frog."

Lathaniel touched the frog.

Me: "Lathaniel, touch the turtle."

Lathaniel touched the turtle.

No hesitation, no mix ups, just a yeah I know this swagger. Now, I know this might not sound very impressive, but here comes my terrible-mother-confession, I've never explicitly taught Lathaniel the names of the animals. Sure we read books with animals and we visited the Woodland Park Zoo last summer, but it was all casual encounters of the animal kind. Still I know, you're not impressed, but he didn't just match those animals, he also matched all the animals on the safari shower curtain (monkey,zebra, giraffe, alligator...).

So, Lathaniel may not be a genius, but he definitely is a sharp little lad, despite my neglecting to actually teach him anything. And, I guess that proves that language is acquired just as Stephen Krashen's research assured me it was.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Darrien's Last Baseball Game

I'm sad to say that Darrien's baseball season has come to an end. Darrien is much improved. This is his third year playing, and I think the hand-eye coordination is finally matching his knowledge of the game.

Yes, that is Darrien picking his nose while in the outfield. The kids play all the positions at some point. Darrien's favorite is the pitcher, but he is not actually pitching at the position, a pitching machine is responsible for that. I believe it is his favorite because the coach for the other team feeds the pitching machine, which means Darrien has someone to talk to the entire time. He also played first base this game and did well.

And yes, that is my son doing some sort of dance on second base. Baseball moves a little slow for seven-year-old boys.

Emily's Kindergarten Celebration

It's official, Emily is done with kindergarten and ready for first grade. Her kinder celebration was amazing! Larry, Lathaniel, Grandma, Grandpa, and I were all there to celebrate her special moment. Emily sangs songs with her class; her teacher, Mrs. Slade, gave a heartfelt goodbye; there was a fabulous slide show of their kinder year; and then each student was given a portfolio demonstrating how much they grew over the last 180 days. (Okay, it was more like 170 because kindergarteners are always getting extra days off.) I am so proud of my Emily!

Ashlyn is part mermaid

There is no mermaid-like tail on this swimming beauty, but I think if she could grow one she would.

June 5th at Howard Amon Park

Darrien was mushroom hunting with Larry, Grandpa, and Grandma, so Ashlyn, Emily, Lathaniel, and I went over to Howard Amon Park for some fun in the sun.