P’s First Camping Trip

Back in May, Preston and Brian were invited by our neighbor-friends for an overnight “camping” trip in the courtyard of Christ Methodist. Preston was so excited and couldn’t wait to go! From what I hear, Preston and Tyler slept great (although the dad’s didn’t) and Caroline had fun playing with them until it was time to go home. They also stayed up the latest of all the kids, playing in the gym and on the playground until almost 11 p.m.! It was a free event, and highly recommend if they do one again! Thanks for the invite Brasfield family!

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Blue blankie needed a good washing after this trip!

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Funny Little Boy

Preston has reached an all-time high in hilarious comments lately. His verbal skills are blossoming and he is able to articulate so well. There are so many things I love about the age of 3 and the funny dialogue is probably at the top of the list. I find myself wishing I had a video camera running at all times to record his sweet little boy voice, and his sayings. He talks all the time.

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If anything, it shows me what a sponge small children are. I even hear my intonation in his words. He will say “Seriously, I loved it.” He uses “seriously” every now and then and it makes me smile every time. Mostly, he will repeat things he has heard, like when I say “Yes, you can have that.” He says “Say yes sir, mommy.” Or he’ll ask me a question or say something to me, and if I didn’t hear him or respond, he’ll say “Excuse me, mommy, but I was talking to you!” with a very stern sound. I know this is the foundation of speech, but man does he sound disrespectful at times. he can’t comprehend yet how his words sound, or how you only say “Yes sir” to grownups and not little kids. He’ll get it one day, but it makes us snicker from time to time.

The flip side of that is that he is becoming better at expressing his emotions. He frequently tells us how he is feeling, and we like to talk about our feelings. I am determined to have sensitive and thoughtful children who are never afraid to tell me how they feel (good or bad), and the earlier we can foster that, the better. Even if he may not understand it, I talk to him about seeing “shades of gray” and “walking in someone else’s shoes”. A recent example: He was saying his prayers and mentioned several of his friends, but left one out. I said “What about ____?” He said, “I don’t want to pray for him, because he pushed me last week.” I asked what happened, and we talked about it. I told him that ____ should have been the first friend he named to pray for, and that they can still be friends and that ___ is still a good person and maybe was just having a bad day. P told me when he got to school Monday, that he was going to hug him and play with him. I could not have been more proud of P for putting all of that together, and I also had a moment of “Whoa. I’m really a parent, aren’t I?” that felt strange.

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He has also been all. about. Brian. He wakes up in the middle of the night begging for Brian to get in bed with him (another pro of Preston sleeping in a full size bed). He wants Brian all the time. They had a Dad’s night at school recently with  a pirate theme. Brian went all out and dressed P in a pretty intuitive costume from stuff he found around the house.

Preston wanted a mustache painted on him at the party. He was obsessed with it and every 2 minutes kept asking “Is my mustache still there?” In the bath tub that night, he begged to not wash off his mustache. We had to and he was not happy about it. The next morning at 6 a.m., he came in our room after just waking up and said “Is my mustache still there?”

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Brian competed recently in a cook-off. He and his childhood friends do it every year. Last year, B placed 2nd in the “anything but” category and 2nd in the ribs competition. This year, he teamed up with cousin Matt and while everyone agreed that they would have won the “anything but” competition, they turned it in “30 seconds past time” – boo! In the ribs, they got 2nd. I brought the kids up there since Preston was asking ALL DAY if he could go see Daddy, so we headed to Robert’s to see them.

Preston could not eat enough ribs – he loved them! Brian’s dad was up there hanging out too. It was a fun afternoon! Preston was running around like crazy with all of Brian’s friends, throwing footballs, being thrown in the air, etc. He had the time of his life. After we got home, he asked if he could go to Robert’s house tomorrow.

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We are so thankful for the nice weather we’ve been having. P has been able to play outside a lot and that has just been good for his overall mood. He seems to be the only member of our family who is not crippled by allergies, which is interesting because usually it bothers him. We went to our church fish fry Friday night and afterwards, let P play on the playground there. He can climb anything!

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What a blessing little boys are!

What I’ve Learned As a Mom for 3 Years

Since I use this blog to document our family life together, I want to remember this lesson and share it with my mom friends who check in on our family blog occasionally.

Some women are born to be mothers. I know lots of women like this and find them amazing. While my husband and family might disagree with me, I never considered myself “born to be a mom.” I distinctly remember telling my parents in high school, “If I never get married or have kids, I will be perfectly fine with that. I don’t define my worth or success in that, and will find happiness in my life regardless. I just wanted you to know that.” I am sure it is not what they wanted to hear (or maybe my independence made them proud), but it is true. That is of course, until I fell in love with Brian and desperately wanted to have children with him and parent together. When Brian had THE lunch with my dad where he explained that he wanted to marry me, apparently they spent the majority of the luncheon talking about my faults – specifically, my impatience, strong will, etc. There are no two men that love me more and know me better. When they both told me this, I whole-heartedly agreed and confirmed that I was glad Brian knew what he was signing up for. 😉 After all, he does love those traits in me for a variety of reasons. In fact, he has come to rely on those traits in some ways.

Becoming a mother has not been a natural road for me. My former boss, who is a mom I have always admired, explained to me when I was pregnant with Preston that “you will learn more about yourself than you can ever imagine.” So true. God has worked hard over the last three years to shape our hearts for this thing called parenting. We are a work in progress, but we are getting it. As my child grows and becomes more aware of the world and more desperate for guidance, I am starting to fully understand the magnitude of my example to my child.

Lately, we have been experiencing some rockier moments as parents. Trying to help our 3-year-old figure out the ways of the world is no small feat for him (is it easy for anyone?). Remember those traits I mentioned in myself earlier? Well, apparently, those traits can be passed on. In meetings with teachers and others, the one statement they all say is “He has really good parents. He is going to turn out all right. You are doing everything right.” Really? Are we really? Man, are we trying hard. At least you notice.

As Brian and I work to parent by example, we have instituted some rules in our home. If we are kind at all times, then our children will know kindness. Kindness/respect to adults is different than kindness/innocence to a child. We try our hardest to hold all adult conversations (anything regarding work, personal life conflicts, gossip, sarcasm, funny stories – the stuff of our friendship and marriage) until after 8:30 p.m. when children are fast asleep. Did we used to do this? No. Is it exhausting to have to be so thoughtful? Yes. We are required to have more self-awareness & respect for one another at ALL times – we have no choice if we want our children to turn out as good people. I find myself constantly talking through “grays” – never take things at face value, always step in someone else’s shoes (just because that’s how YOU would want things, doesn’t mean that’s how YOUR FRIEND wants it). Are we offering him the chance to make diverse friends with diverse backgrounds? Are we teaching him patience and compassion? This is the stuff of parenting. Some days I want to go back to when he was 18 months old and the hardest part of parenting was making sure he sat on his bottom in the bath tub. 😉

There is a blog that I love to read that speaks so eloquently of the struggles and triumphs of parenthood. She once said “We fail and we nail it, over and over again every day.” I can’t think of a better sentiment. I visited my mom at lunch today at her school. She is a middle school teacher. We were eating when I noticed a 6th grade girl, crying at the lunch table with a small group of girls. My mom said “Friend drama.” I think my heart stopped beating. I immediately envisioned Margo in that position and instantly got knots in my stomach. I’ve been there. I know she will be there one day. Whether they are in 6th grade or they are 3 years old, at home or at school, life can be tough and some days, the hand you are dealt isn’t the easiest.

I say this because, will it get easier one day? Moments will be easier, moments will be harder. It know it will get different, but when you become a parent, you are a parent forever. My children are loved so deeply by Brian and me. My hope is that over time, with lots of work, certain faults will subside and we’ll become better versions of ourselves and our children will be better for it.

I say all this, because I’m amazed at how I am not alone in my struggles. After confiding in my two best friends from high school, who are also moms, they immediately confided in me about their parenting insecurities, life struggles, etc. The practical person in me knows that we all struggle. At a recent wedding we attended, the priest said “marriage was not created by God to make you happy.” I thought the same could be applied to parenting. He said “marriage is about helping the person you chose to spend your life with get to heaven.” Again, when applied to parenting, that is the best we can do.