Tuesday, July 22, 2014

He Did It!

We've got a white belt in the house!

We weren't sure how karate class was going to go tonight. When we told Gus he needed to get dressed to go, he said no. I didn't feel like fighting over going, and neither did Steve. However, it only took a few times of telling him to get in gear before he did what was asked.

Today was the best class yet for Gus. He really likes Mr. Burns and was eager to give him the homework sheet from Thursday (Gus had to do various things around the house to earn a good report from us). He listened and didn't sit out at all today, which was wonderful!

Gus was super squirmy and active today. We're hoping that with karate, he'll learn to calm down and focus his energy in other ways. We'll see. I do like that the class is led by men (which is nice because men deal with children differently than women do) and Gus is always around female teachers/coaches. It's a nice change for him to have men in charge and leading the way. The class is almost all boys too, which is also nice for Gus.

The belts for today... would Gus earn his?!?!?

While we were there today, we were approached by Mr. Yu about scheduling our meeting with him. Today was the last day that Steve would be able to come to class for sure, so I asked if we could meet today, and so we were taken to the back office to discuss the pricing of plans. 

We looked at everything and he gave us a sheet to take home with us with all the pricing on it. Steve and I are 99% sure that we'll be enrolling Gus on a full-time basis, but we need to discuss it more this weekend. For now, he's going with his Groupon (16 classes and a uniform for $30) and we're using up as many of those classes as possible before we decide for sure.

We came out of the meeting and had a few minutes to watch the rest of class. It's only a 30 minute class anyway, so the time really goes by quickly. I do like that it's only 30 minutes though because it's just enough time for him to really focus. If it were any longer, I think it'd be hard for Gus to maintain his behavior and attention.

One of the self-defense skills that they learn at this age is all about strangers. Today, Mr. Burns gathered the kids up and they talked about good strangers and bad strangers and the importance of knowing the difference between the two. He shared that if someone ever approaches the kids, they need to yell "NO!!!" and put their arms out to push the person away.:-)

The end of class arrived and it was time for Gus to stand up and get his white belt!! He was so excited and when he finally had it on he said, "This is sooooo cool!!!"  :-D

While we had been in the meeting, Gus earned his second "High Five Award." We are so proud of him and it's exciting to see him starting to enjoy karate!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

They're Growing Up

Every now and again, Hugh will wake up in the middle of the night crying. If I'm still awake and on my computer, I usually go up to see what's going on. If I'm asleep, Steve wakes and goes up. It's not very often that this happens, but when it does and I'm the one that goes up, I get very emotional.

In the still of the darkness, I hold my baby and he snuggles into me and rests his head on my left shoulder. The crying stops immediately and he is instantly comforted by my presence. The enormity of this never fails me, and as I sway back and forth rocking him, my mind always goes back to when he was just a tiny little baby.

While rocking and remembering, I am always brought to tears. I wish I could freeze time. I can't even put to words how painful it is to know that time is fleeting and soon, my boys will be big kids and then teens and then on their own. The thought scares me and makes me incredibly sad. While yes, a part of me loves seeing them grow and develop into their own unique people, it's hard; incredibly, terribly hard.

Gus starts school on August 11th. Less than a month from now, he'll be in school five days a week and gone from 7am-3pm (if not more, due to the bus schedule). The thought of only seeing him for three-four hours a day KILLS me inside. Like, there's part of me that physically hurts when I think about the separation from him.

Yesterday, we took the baby lock off Gus's door. Up until now, since he's in a big boy bed and can get in and out of it freely (meaning, not in a crib anymore). We put a child lock on his inside door so that he couldn't open the door and go exploring, and to keep him safe, since we do have stairs that he could fall down in the dark.

Steve and I talked about it and decided that he was ready for a bit more freedom and responsibility. We explained to him that he is not to go into Hugh's room unless the door is open (we always leave it closed when he's in there). He is not to come downstairs unless it's light outside. We told him he could open it to go potty if he needed.

So far, he's gone in and stayed there. He did wake up dry this morning, so I suspect he went to the potty in the middle of the night, but I'm not 100% sure of this.

To top everything off, today I went through Hugh's closet and his baby clothes. I was okay until some of my favorite outfits of Gus's that Hugh also wore were staring me in the face. Seeing some of these clothes, brought back memories of each boy wearing them, and caused a flood of emotions and ugly crying. 

Seriously. I am not ready for these two boys to grow up and I feel this nagging inside me for another baby. Steve is so not in favor of more kids, as he doesn't feel like he has the patience for a baby. I just can't shake it, and it makes me very emotional and upset to think that there won't be another baby in my house. 

I know some people get to a point and they feel content and happy and satisfied with the number of children in their home, and they come to terms with it and enjoy watching their kids grow up. I'm not at that point. In my mind, I feel like there's one more that's missing. It's a feeling that I can't shake, and while it doesn't make any sense, it's there.

To keep me humble and give me a big fat reality check about the stage of parenting that we're in right now, God helped me realize that my boys ARE still young. We went to see Planes Fire & Rescue and Gus was SUPER excited to go. 

We arrived for the 12:45 show and got some popcorn and got settled into our seats. 

We made it to about 1:45 before Hugh got REALLY restless and started screaming during the movie. Not screams like he was upset... I mean shrieks... and every 30 seconds or so, just enough to be SUPER annoying and obnoxious.

I tried to let him walk around a bit, but the, Gus wanted in on the "fun" and the two of them were chasing each other in the dark. I could feel all the eyes from the people in the seats watching and judging me, so I told Steve I was going to take Hugh to the car. At this, Gus decided he wanted to come with me. 

So we ended up leaving the movie before it was even 1/2 way over. 


Not even 10 minutes in the car, and I looked back and saw this sight:

So, we're not ready for movies yet. While part of me was annoyed that we spent a bunch of money for a movie, I feel a little happy to know that I DO still have two small boys that are not quite ready for the big movie theater.

I'm okay with that.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Karate Gus

We headed to karate on Tuesday and we were all excited, well maybe not Hugh, but Gus and I were excited. We talked on the way there, about listening, giving a good effort, and responding with "Yes, Sir!" each time he's asked a question.

We arrived at 3:50 (ten minutes early, as instructed). Gus was taken to the mat, shown to face the flag and bow, and then where to go for checking into class each week. Then he was instructed to sit on the floor and wait for the class to begin.
A quick picture for daddy at home before leaving for class

Sitting with a new friend while waiting

One by one, the other kids arrived and there were like 20 total kids. It was a HUGE class and I was honestly surprised at how many there were. They called each child's name and had them stand, say "Yes, Sir!" and then run to their circle on the floor. And every child followed directions, except for Gus.
This is Mr. Burns

Not THIS Mr. Burns

When Mr. Burns called his name, he just stayed there on the floor.  Mr. Burns asked him if he needed time to get ready and Gus said he did. So Mr. Burns continued with the warm up, while Gus sat there. It totally pissed me off, because I knew Gus was just playing around. However, because they don't know him, they just let him sit.

Every five to ten minutes, Mr. Burns would ask Gus if he was ready, and each time Gus said no. :-/

At Karate Atlanta, they have a parent meeting on the third class to explain the program and costs. Mr. Yu (program director) was coming around to each parent and explaining the meeting and setting up times to meet with him. He totally skipped over me.

Class ended and just as Mr. Burns was wrapping things up, he was able to get Gus to come to him and show him a few moves. It wasn't great, but at least Gus got up at the very end.

So we I left his first class feeling deflated. I was partially embarrassed, partially confused, and partially annoyed with the whole situation. I wish that someone had talked to me ahead of time so I could have told them that Gus can be somewhat stubborn when starting something new. He needs someone to come directly to him and, not exactly "baby him" but sorta. I was confused because when I asked him if he had fun, he said he did. I was annoyed because he just sat there and didn't get anything out of the experience.

I will say that he did have to poop as soon as we arrived, and I think he felt rushed and uncomfortable with me in the little bathroom with him (he usually poops in private). 

So on Wednesday, I sent an email to Mr. Yu to ask him about meeting about the program and shared that Steve would be coming with me on Thursday, and asked if we could meet Thursday. His reply totally caught me off guard. He said they weren't sure if karate was a good fit for Gus yet, and until he participated a few more times, they didn't want to schedule anything.

So when we went to class on Thursday, we had just been at the GA Aquarium all day, and Gus was SO MOODY. He was just overly tired and stimulated, and we had been going since 7am. I was certain that it was going to be another disasterous class.

We arrived and Gus followed all procedures. He sat and waited for class to start and made a few new friends. This class, there were only six kids (not sure what happened to all the others) and it was much better.

Gus initially said he didn't want to participate and I thought, "Here we go again..." but it only took a few minutes and Gus said, "Excuse me, sir... I'd like to help you!" And Mr. Burns was excited for Gus to join the class.

This first class is called the "Tiny Tigers" and they're all white belts. He actually doesn't get his belt until he's earned it... and we're told it's the third or fourth class. Because his first class was horrible, I don't know if they counted it or not. I know when we left class on Thursday, Mr. Burn's said something about getting his belt next week, so we'll see.

Gus was on fire! He was such a great listener and doing all that was being asked, that he earned his first "High Five Award!" He gets one each time he does something outstanding and after five, he turns them back in for a special stripe on his belt!!

Gus finished the class with the rest of his peers and at the end, he even went up to Mr. Burns and thanked him. It was really sweet.

Mr. Yu came over to me and said that he wants to see Gus participate in one more class, and then we'll set up our meeting. I told him that we only have the two classes next week to work with, because they're on a modified schedule (5pm class instead of 4pm) and Steve will be able to join us. Otherwise, Steve will not be able to come.

I am most impressed with how great Mr. Burns is with the kids. He is so hands-on and patient and really good with kids. Gus was very comfortable with him and warmed up to him immediately. I love that he was given "homework" for the week. He has to practice some moves and then there's a whole check list that he has to complete in order to be ready for his belt. 

I love that karate is not just about being respectful twice a week for 30 minutes each time-- it's all encompassing and they expect him to listen at home, do chores, and be respectful at all times. I really like the values and core components.

I'll be sure to post how he does next week and you'll see pictures of him earning his belt if/when he earns it!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Exploring North Georgia

Every now and then, I'll get a wild hair up my rear that makes me want to go do something or explore areas that I've yet to explore. Mid-June, I had one of these moments and the desire to explore North Georgia was set on fire.

My friend Lesley went to Tennessee and North Carolina on a vacation and was telling me about her trip. She mentioned that they went to "Goats on the Roof" on their way to NC. I had no idea what she was talking about and then she sent me some pictures. I immediately wanted to go and knew that Gus would love it.

I asked a few friends if they wanted to go with me, and they said they did, but on the day we were slated to go, two of the three backed out. Thankfully, we were still able to go and meet my friend Rachel with her daughter Sara (Hugh's bff) and then her sister was in town, so she and her daughter came too.

We met at GOTR and it was quite the hike. My GPS said 1.5 hours, but it ended up being two. By the time we arrived, Hugh had had enough of being in the car. I had asked Steve to make him forward facing for the trip, and I'm glad I did, because he was at least able to face forward while traveling such a distance.

GOTR was awesome. It's exactly what it sounds like. A place on the side of the road, in the middle of the North Georgia mountains, with goats on the roof. Here are my pictures:

Hugh and Sara

You can pedal a bike to send up a cup to the roof. In the cup, we bought an ice cream cone that was filled with goat food. Gus was very excited to send up some food to the goats on the roof!

Across the way, there was another way to send food to the goats-- a line attached and you pulled the line and it sent the bucket over and dumped it out for the goats.

After we had lunch, we decided that since we were already in North Georgia, we'd drive over to Cleveland and hit up Babyland General. You know me, I can't pass up a chance to go to Babyland General, so we agreed to follow Rachel and we headed to the home of Cabbage Patch Kids.

It was about an hour from Tiger, GA to Cleveland, GA, but the drive was all back roads, and it seemed a lot faster than the drive up. When we arrived at BLG, it was very dark and I was sure it was going to start raining.

He was less excited this time than he was the last time we came and he stood in the box

Hugh was excited though!

Gus loved playing with the dolls and the hair station

He especially enjoyed a push-pop on the porch while sitting in a rocking chair and watching the storm roll in

I wore Hugh thinking that he'd fall asleep (it was after his usual naptime) but he didn't sleep until we got in the car

The clouds were dark, but there was a break that was small, and lit and looked like Heaven opening up!

We had a great time exploring North Georgia, but it taught me something very valuable. At the current age that Hugh is (18 months), he cannot handle being in the car for more than 2-4 hours at a time. He was losing his mind as we headed to Tiger and then the whole time we drove to Cleveland, he was crying. 

As a result of his tears and misery, I told Steve that I think our trip to Michigan and Indiana needed to be pushed back. When Gus was 18 months, we moved from NC to GA and it was a rough ride. I remember him being too antsy to travel long distances, and Hugh was miserable the whole time. I can't do that to him, and it wouldn't be fun for anyone in the car either.

We decided that we're not going to head north this summer, and instead we'll just see about going up next year. I'm sad to miss seeing friends and family, but it's what's best for our family.