Tuesday, August 26, 2008


All of the rain we have had in the last few days have left us with a very soggy and muddy backyard. Yesterday evening the boys had a great time playing together in the mud, climbing up the slide then sliding down really fast because it was wet and jumping on the trampoline. Even though supper was ready, they were playing so well I did not want to interrupt them. When they finally came in they were so muddy, they went straight to the tub. At supper, Max ate two helpings of spaghetti, then sat in my lap and ate my spaghetti, then Rod's, and then mine again. That baby was hungry! He even ate some of the bread, which he never does. Considering the day before all he ate was goldfish. a cookie, and a few candy corn, I guess he was making up for lost time. That seems to be a pattern for him, going a day or so without really eating and then eating like a champ.

Our dinner table conversation with Briggs consisted of him telling us how much he loves eating lunch at school and how cool the lunch trays are. He even ate vegetable lasagna the other day and thought it was great. As I was thinking about how well he has achieved this huge milestone of going to real school, I couldn't help but think about my own experience with the lunchroom in public school, which offers a stark contrast.

I will never forget my first day at Selma Street Elementary School. My teacher was very old and she raised her voice a lot. I had never been through a cafeteria line before and when I got to the milk, I realized that I would have to drink the milk, from the carton, with no ice. Yuck! I couldn't drink milk without ice and the carton made it taste even worse. Believe it or not, this traumatized me and I brought my lunch to school not only the rest of first grade, but I think until sometime in high school.

I am so glad that Briggs does not have my spirit of timidity, instead he sees new things as an adventure and a challenge. He definitely inherited Rod's optimistic view of life, like this afternoon when he hit himself in the mouth with the Wii controller and through tears exclaimed, "If my tooth falls out, at least the tooth fairy will come."

At bedtime, we started reading The Velveteen Rabbit. We are going to read a little every night until we finish it. I wasn't sure if he would really like it since there are not pictures on every page, but he held Rusty close and wanted me to keep reading. Afterward, I snuggled him until he went to sleep.

I'm learning to embrace the mud. It was a good day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


About twice a week or so when I come home from work I will walk through the garage and as I approach the dark stairwell, I am admittedly startled by a voice in the darkness decrying something to this effect: "BEHOLD!!! The Arc T-3 Missile Blaster 3000, built to carry both droids and Jedi, it has two laser blasters and anti-something missiles, R-2's and R-4's can fly it and it can carry 3 light sabers..." The speech is actually pretty impressive in it's detail, seems to roll on for at least a full minute, and has an uncanny commercial quality tone to it. After I get over being told to "BEHOLD" anything from a voice in the darkness, I flip on the stairwell light to find good 'ol Briggs standing there proud as a peacock displaying the latest in his Lego Star Wars creativity construct. I'm not sure if I prefer the days when he meets me at the stairs (with the lights on) waiting for me to catch him as he surprisingly pounces from the 5th row or if I prefer creeping around the corner to try to prevent being too alarmed by commercial pushing 5 year olds...either way, I do kind of enjoy it :-).

I feel like I need to do a Max update. He is still of course kind of limited in the scope of how big his stories are going to be, I mean obviously he isn't quite going to be trying to astound me with new ships he's built just yet, but he is growing up at an alarming rate. Let's see... Lately he's gotten a lot better about the nursery at church or the gym, even going so far as to walk in on his own now and wave bye (not always, but getting better). Speaking of waving, we think he's got a bit of a politician in him. He's constantly running up to people now and babbling nonsense to them in a jovial sort of way, waving hi and bye to them, and everyone seems to love it. He's gotten to the point to where he likes to have someone play pretend with him, Cars, Larry Boy, etc. He walks around a good bit singing part of the Larry Boy theme song "Raaarrrry Boyyyy..." then he'll pause for you to complete the verse, it's very cute coming from him. If he has the Samurai Veggie Tale toys, he's constantly saying "HAAIII YA!", it's from the cartoon. If he gets a hold of some of the Star Wars toys, he'll run around doing the laser blaster sound "pew-pew-pew" (how do you write a laser sound? you get the point). He LOVES to go outside, we've got some toys setup on the back porch which he enjoys to get out and play with, cooking, building, little people (the toys), and if you're with him, he likes to swing, slide, and play in the trampoline. Which by the way, he surprised us by doing a pretty good jump in this week. He can get maybe a half a foot of air by hopping around, not bad in our books. In summary, both boys are doing great and growing up so much. I'm very proud of them in so many ways, they have their moments obviously but they love each other and us very much (there's not many better moments than our "family hugs", they're very out going, and I think pretty well behaved when no one is watching...(don't fall for the sly smile Max throws at ya...)

Meeting Tonight in Dave's Sheep Barn

Subtitle: You're in the big time now
This past spring, being new to Birmingham, Rod and I checked into baseball and soccer for Briggs. We decided on baseball (tee ball) since he had never played it before and because soccer was, ...well let me explain.

I went to the registration for soccer to get some information. When I was informed how much it would cost, I balked at the amount, telling the man that it was nearly four times as much as it was in Dothan, to which he replied, "well, you're in the big time now."

Over the last few months Rod and I have used this phrase as the punchline to many jokes.

This fall we have had the choice of football, coach pitch baseball or soccer. Football for kindergartners requires three practices a week with games every Saturday for 14 weeks. Did I mention the playoffs and Superbowl at Lambeau Field? Since Briggs would be coming in as a rookie and probably not drafted until the fourth round, we decided to wait on football, at least until he passes the 50 pound mark. (Impressive how much I know about football isn't it?)

As for baseball, Rod did not think that Briggs was ready for coach pitch, so that left us with soccer. I registered and signed Rod up to (somewhat begrudgingly) assist with coaching. He made it clear that he did not want to be the main coach (again).

A couple of weeks went by and the other night I got a phone call from the soccer club asking if Rod would be willing to be the head coach for Briggs' team because no one else would do it. He stated that they would have to get some teenagers if Rod refused. So after discussing it with Rod, it was agreed that he would coach (again). The man was very excited and informed us that there would be a meeting in the loft of "Dave's sheep barn tonight" to discuss details about the season.

Welcome to the big time. It conducts its meetings in livestock shelters.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mom, I got lost today

Well, today was the day Briggs had to walk to class by himself. Since his classroom is so far from the entrance, I offered to walk him in one more day, but he stated that he knew the way, ("I know, I know, turn at the gym.") followed by, "Mom, I don't need you." So, I dropped him off in car line, which I will write more about later, and decided not to go in and check to make sure he made it to class since he seemed pretty confident. Max screamed as soon as Briggs got out of the car and continued almost the whole way home. I guess I am not the only one who wanted to walk him in. When I picked him up it was raining and we got busy and I forgot to ask him if he made it to his class alright. While we were eating dinner, he nonchalantly stated, "Mom, I got lost today. Actually there were two of us and we were in the middle of nowhere." After asking a teacher, he and the little girl found their way to their classroom. He doesn't want me to walk him in tomorrow either.

Now about car line, you can call me an overprotective parent if you like, but car line at his school borders on insanity. Let me explain. There are two lanes of cars and rather than a teacher helping children get in their cars one at a time, they take about 5 cars in each lane and bring out the children that belong in those cars. A whistle is blown and the children are turned loose to find their car. Kids are running amouck everywhere trying to find their car. There always seems to be one that can't find their car and that car ends up having to pull up off to the side to get their kid. Then another whistle is blown and all ten cars leave so the next ten can get their kids.

I do not pretend to know what is going on here. Do they think this saves time? Do they like to live on the edge? Is this school filled with teachers who bungee jump and sky dive in their spare time? Why do they have to include my child in such thrill seeking? I know car line is a big deal, but I have been involved in car line at two other schools and I have never seen it done this way. It just seems a little dangerous to have all those kids darting between cars, not really knowing where their car is.

Having said that, car line is the only thing that I have not liked about his school. We had Parent Night tonight and the teacher told us all about what to expect and it is very exciting. She seems like a great teacher and I overheard her say to one of the parents that while she is not allowed to pray with the students, she and other teachers meet in her room every morning to pray for the students. How awesome is that! The room mom for the class goes to our church. This is such an answered prayer for me and helps to put me at ease about sending him to public school.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Off to School

The day has finally arrived. The day I have dreaded for quite some time now. The day I personally can't live down, having made my own mother stay in the car crying while my older cousin walked me in to my first day of kindergarten. (Sorry, mom) Briggs woke up this morning, ate chocolatey chocolate chip muffins (his favorite) and got dressed. As he was putting on his belt, he asked his dad "where are we going?" Did I miss something here......
"Oh yea" was his reply when his dad reminded him that he was going to school. I'm not really sure how it could have slipped his mind, as we have gone over his car rider number, his teacher's name, etc a million times in the last few days.

We got to school at 7:45 and the traffic was crazy. We found a parking space and walked in to the school to his classroom. I did not see any children crying, however, there were mothers crying everywhere. This did not help my brave face I had carefully applied this morning along with my makeup. I was fine until we turned to go.

How do you let go of a child that you grew in your own body and birthed with pain and anguish (well, there would have been if not for the epidural) to go out into the world alone, when everything in you is screaming to hold on with both hands? My heart felt like it was going to explode, I was surely having a panic attack. I guess this is where the rubber meets the road. If I can trust God with my eternity, I know I have to trust Him to take care of my child. He gave him to me anyway and now, in a way, I have to give him back. Hey, at least I am not like the mother who asked the teacher if she could just hang out in the classroom all day today. I would never do anything like that. I am going to get some binoculars and park near his classroom window and watch him from there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Spy With My Little Eye

This will just be one of those verbal posts, just a father-son moment I wanted to capture for posterity's sake. Briggs and I were going to play golf this afternoon, had another great time together btw, and on the way there we were playing "I spy". On about Briggs' fourth turn he says "I spy with my little eye somethiiiiiing brown." There's not a lot that is brown in my car so I'm guessing dirt, shoes, leather, and I'm wrong on about 5 guesses. I give up and he says "it was your head dad! well, really, all of you...". I guess I've got my summer tan kicking pretty hard. We both had a big laugh out of it, it was cute and funny. You never know what your kids are seeing and thinking. He often asks about the differences between himself, me, Max, and Leslie. I always tell him that that is just how God made us, that we're all wonderfully different, I think he's pretty cool with that because it obviously provides him and us with some entertaining moments.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Where have the last five years gone? It seems just yesterday that my (Leslie) sweet little Briggs was playing in his daddy's sock drawer, chewing on "Blue's" paw, and talking one hundred miles an hour in a language no one could understand. And wasn't it just last night that I was reading "Good Night Sweet Butterflies" over and over to get him to sleep. Time goes by too fast and now I am supposed to let him go to school and walk himself down two long hallways to his classroom by the fourth day. I must send him off to navigate the lunchroom all by himself without helping him to get his tray, choose his food, or get to his seat. I already asked Rod if we could just wait until next year to send him. Of course he said no. All of this I have to face while not letting Briggs see me cry.
While part of me is panicked and sad, the other part of me is excited at all of the new things he is going to be learning and all of the new discoveries that he will make. Briggs is one child who loves to learn new things and he is going to have a blast. His teacher seems very sweet and the school is a great school. Today we signed him up to play soccer and this time he will play with 6 and 7 year olds, so I hope he will learn a lot and enjoy it.
Lastly, when I think of Briggs growing up and how much I love him, I can't help but think of 1John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God." The concept of God's love took on a whole new meaning for me when I had children. That God would call himself our Father is great news! It means that just like my earthly daddy, He will always love me and I will always be His child. If I have a personal relationship with Him, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me any more or less. Yes, He is a just God and I deserved punishment for my sin. But Jesus took that punishment with Him to the cross and reconciled me to God so that He can be my Father and lavish His love on me.
Thank you God, for reminding me of this today, I needed it.