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Archive for August, 2008

A hard decision

It’s not the decision that’s hard…it’s carrying it out.

Payton bit Grady today. Grady’s face is a mess. He has two points where Payton’s teeth punctured his cheek & then a jagged cut where the teeth scraped along his face.

A few months ago, Grady had the same wound on his other cheek. Adam & I had gone downstairs to the basement to put Christmas decorations away. All of a sudden we heard Grady howl. It was one of those cries where you know something is really wrong. We raced upstairs & his face was cut up & bloody. It looked like a stab wound, so we thought maybe he got ahold of a kitchen knife or a pair of scissors. We have locks on those drawers, but we couldn’t think of what else could make those kind of cuts. We looked all around, however, but there were no sharp objects out.

The next morning when I looked more closely at Grady’s cuts, I told Adam, “They look like bite marks. Do you think Payton bit Grady?” It was hard to admit, but that seemed the logical explanation. But, we didn’t really know for sure & we didn’t want to make any decisions based on a suspicion.

Today, though, was different. Garrett had already gotten on the bus for school. I went to the kitchen to fix Ava & Grady’s lunch, when I heard that familiar cry from Grady. I quickly turned around & Grady ran to me holding his cheek, as blood trickled down his face. Payton was backed in a corner & barking. Ava started crying, saying that Payton bit Grady.

So, now we know for sure.

And, as hard as it is to say, we can’t keep Payton.

We’ve had him almost nine years. He was Adam’s & my first purchase after we were married. We love Payton. I had little birthday parties for him every year. (I get him a piece of chicken & put a candle in it. I know, I know…I’m nuts). But, we can’t knowingly put our kids in a situation where one of them could get hurt. Payton was never the same after I had kids. And the more I had, the more territorial he became. I feel horrible about this whole thing. Payton most likely bit Grady because he was scared. Grady put his face by Payton’s because he wanted him to lick him. Neither of them understand.

I don’t want him put to sleep. He’d be a wonderful pet for an elderly couple or someone who doesn’t have kids. We’ve called the humane society & apparently they don’t take animals whose owners have to give them up. So, today we’re exploring our options.

This is a real sad time for us. I know he’s a dog, but he is part of our family.

Christmas Eve, 2001

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That’s my boy

Garrett loves his Thomas the Train robe. He got it for his birthday a year ago. He calls it his jacket & he wears it to bed all the time.

Of my kids, Garrett is the one who makes me really laugh. He says the funniest things & he’s such a free-spirited little boy. Have you ever watched him run? Garrett doesn’t really run – he gallops!

Yesterday, I was putting him on the bus for school. As I was buckling him in, he said, “Mommy, I need a hug & a kiss.” Now, when Garrett hugs, he likes to press his cheek to your cheek. Then he’ll say, “This way..”, and he’ll press his other cheek to your other cheek. I had just finished “hugging” him & planting a kiss on his forehead. Before I uttered a word, he raised his fist, pointed to the door of the bus and said, “Now, go!” Even the bus driver busted out laughing!

That’s Garrett…in one moment he’s very sweet & tender, and in the next, he’s all impish & mischievous.

I was incredibly restless last night & didn’t sleep too well. I think I actually made an audible groan when Adam’s alarm went off this morning! The last thing I felt like doing was getting out of bed.

But alas, arise I must…

So, I made my way downstairs. Garrett came down a few minutes later. You know Garrett’s up when you hear the CRASH. That’s because he throws Buzz Lightyear, Pooh Bear & his cup down the stairs first. He walked in as I was preparing my breakfast (which means I put a PopTart in the toaster & pressed a button). I had on my pink polka-dot robe, glasses, no makeup & my hair was completely disheveled. I was leaning against the counter, eyes half-closed, just as the toaster popped. I mentally ran through my “To Do” list, when all of a sudden, Garrett wandered over to me, put his arms around my leg, looked up and said,

“Mommy looks like a princess.”

I looked down at him as tears filled my eyes. I felt like crap when I woke up & he instantly brightened my day.

I picked him up & hugged him tight. After a moment, he pulled away & looked at me with his bangs hanging in his eyes. I placed my forehead right against his, looked at him & said, “Garrett, you make Mommy so very happy.”

He smiled at me…

He moved in closer…

and then he took my PopTart.

“Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature of a boy.”
— Author Unknown

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Perfect Play

We used to play tag all the time growing up – classic tag, freeze tag, hide and go seek tag, tv tag, icecube tag…

I have to admit, I miss those days!

Saturday evening, I watched a group of kids, including my own, play tag in our backyard. There were boys & girls alike, with ages ranging from 3 to 14. It was so cool to watch them play together!

The kids played a version of tag called, “Cherry Bomb.” I’ll tell you right now, I don’t get it. It started out like your basic hide and go seek tag. The person who was “It,” would count to 20, while the others hid. “It” then had find the kids & tag them (okay, I got all of that). So, at one point “It” was chasing the others, when all of sudden, kids started randomly jumping off the swingset, exclaiming “cherry bomb!” Then even “It” started doing it! It made no sense, but the kids had a blast.

As I sat there watching a game of tag, I knew I was witnessing something unique. How often do you see kids with that age span playing together? Not just playing as in “occupying common space,” but really playing with each other? Seriously, the oldest kid was an 8th grader and the youngest was a preschooler.

I couldn’t help but think of it as a model for how church should be.

I loved watching the kids play. The little ones were such a hoot! They’d run around screaming with delight – they were just excited to be playing! Sure, they didn’t have a clear grasp on how the game worked, but that’s what the big kids were there for. They helped them along by explaining the rules & showing them the boundaries.

There were definitely times when the big kids concentrated on tagging each other – they are after all on the same level. But, in the next moment, one of the big kids would take a little one by the hand & help them find a hiding place. They could have looked at those little ones & said, “You’re not old enough to play.”

But they didn’t.

Ever watch a big kid play tag with a little one? Notice how they’ll never run quite as fast as they could, and eventually they’ll let the little one tag them. And then watch how that little one lights up! It would be so easy for the big kid to outrun the little one & laugh at the fact that no matter hard the little kid may try; they’re just too young to run fast enough or move quick enough.

But they don’t.

They know if they did, then eventually that little one would become frustrated & give up. They’d throw their arms up, fall to the ground & declare they don’t want to play anymore because the joy of the game is gone.

Saturday night, I watched my kids look up with admiration to those big kids who played with them. They relied on them to model the game. And one day, my kids are going to teach someone younger than them how to play…because someone invested in them first.

Those big kids got it. They remembered what is was like to be that little kid.

I admire those big kids so much.

Everyone plays – and when they do, they all enjoy the game.

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Garrett’s First Day

Today, is Garrett’s first day of school. Wow – lots of excitement in the Newton house this week, huh?!

Garrett & I are having a bit of a war over his backpack.

Laat year, he had a “Little Einsteins” backpack.

I’ve taken my son to Walmart, Target & just about any other store I can think of to find him a backpack.

He wants none of the backpacks we see in the store.

Garrett Adam David wants to bring this to school instead…

This is what Garrett calls, “his bag.”

Yep, that’s right – it’s a cooler.

He keeps his toys & DVDs in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found half a sandwich in there too.

He wants to use the cooler as his backpack.

Believe me, if I thought the school would allow it, I’d let him use it. But, the bag has to be certain dimensions, and unfortunately, the cooler doesn’t make the cut (I can’t get his folder in there…yes, I tried!).

We’ve been going back and forth over this.

Yesterday, I pulled out his “Little Einsteins” backpack & he showed an interest in it. We even got him to bring it to orientation.

So, hopefully, when he gets on the bus today, he will be coolerless!

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Small Favor

Hey,

I have a request for all my Facebook friends out there.

I need 10 people to confirm that I am the author of my blog. Why? I have absolutely no idea – you’d think my vote alone would suffice!

Anyway, if you have a Facebook account & can take a minute to “vote,” then I’d appreciate it.

Thanks!!

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Kindergarten Report

Ava had a great first day!

We’ve been watching “Finding Nemo” recently & both Ava & Garrett were running around the house yelling, “First day of school! First day of school!”, Nemo-style this morning. Ava kept asking me how many more minutes until school all morning. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her she had to wait almost 300 minutes!

We all walked her to school this afternoon. I have found my new exercise routine. I tell you, pushing my boys in the double stroller is tough – they’re heavy!

Ava stopped and picked flowers for her teacher on our way to school. Her teacher was delighted with her bouquet of dandelions & clover and was sure to tell Ava so. I love when teacher’s recognize how important those little things are to a 5 year old.

Ava was fine when we left. She’s always had a bit of an independent streak in her, so I figured she would be (btw – Adam & I did okay too). We were only allowed to stay with her in the gymnasium. The teacher walked the kids to their actual classroom. There was one little girl who was crying when her mom left, so Ava & another girl held her hand. They made a cute trio.

Ava was pretty talkative on our walk back from school. She likes her teacher & the girl she sits next too. She can’t remember the girl’s name, but she thinks she’s nice. (uh-oh…she may take after me in that department!). She is still disappointed that she is not eating lunch at school or taking a nap there. Ava hasn’t taken a nap for almost three years now. However, in her Strawberry Shortcake book, the kids eat lunch & take naps at school. So, she figured she’d do the same. I keep reminding her that she’ll bring her lunch next year. As far as napping goes, I assured her if she ever wanted to pretend her bedroom was the classroom & take a nap, then I’m all for it. She wasn’t as hip on the idea. I guess the classroom has a certain allure that her bedroom doesn’t…;)

She was excited to see the neighborhood kids all walking home at the same time. It did rain a bit on the way home & I, being the ever prepared mommy, forgot the umbrella. However, my next-door neighbor, who is much more on top of things, shared her umbrella with us. You’ll notice in the pictures below, I am holding an umbrella. That was from our walk to school & I can’t take credit for it. Adam was the prepared one!

Adam, can you believe she’s in kindergarten now? I swear, I still clearly remember reading my positive pregnancy test. I can’t believe how quickly she’s growing

Here are some pics from the day:

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In honor of Ava’s first day…

All I Really Need To Know
I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

– an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

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