Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Simply Mason

This little booger gives us a run for our money. Sweet as pie as an infant, "big boy Mason" has turned out to be slightly more difficult. This kid is very hot then cold, there is not much of an in between. He either loves you or hates you and boy can his looks kill! He can glare at a stranger (or friend!) like you wouldn't believe, it can be slightly embarrassing sometimes. As much as we try to teach him to be polite and smile at people, that is just not what we get in public. Later he reminds us that he is just "shy." I'm not buying it.

As the youngest in out clan, Mason is very much a tag along with his brothers and he is happy to play super heroes with Gavin or Legos with Cameron. He just goes with the flow and I couldn't really tell you what his "thing" is, he's such a chameleon. He does love to read books and could probably do that for hours, but all my boys could. He also tags along with me, running around town and to meetings for church or for work. I don't thinks he loves it, but he's usually pretty good about it.

One thing I really regret is not doing as much with Mason as the rest of the gang. I know with the others I would sit and practice writing with them, or have lots of play dates, and do lots of little projects at home. I'm sad to say this isn't so with Mason. Our days are so busy! He's gone two mornings a week at preschool and the other mornings we're running errands or cleaning and he ends up playing by himself an awful lot. He plays with toys that are too "big" for him and watches movies that we never would've let the other boys watch at this age, simply because we are catering to a mixed group now. I feel sometimes like he is being forced to grow up too fast.

But I am loving the one on one time that we do carve out. Today we sat and drank hot chocolate while playing two preschooler games. That never happens when the big kids are around. I'm ashamed to admit that we did that because I had this post weighing on my mind... But when I do make the time it's so much fun and you can see him glow, enjoying being the center of attention. It's those times that I find myself stopping and trying to take a mental snapshot of the whole picture. What his little voice sounds like, what we talked about, and how he looked at me. Too soon he will be at school all day too and I'll just be left with memories.

Even though he can be a bit of a stinker, it makes the times when he is loving all the more wonderful. Sometimes in the mornings he will crawl in bed with me and put his little hand on my cheek and give me the biggest, fattest kisses. He bats his eyes at me and tells me he loves me and I swoon. I hope I can do a good job of making him feel as special as he truly is. We're ever so lucky to have him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loving One Another

Since Jeremy's been out of town for work, I knew Valentine's day would pull my attention towards the other three, smaller men in my life. A few years ago I made the mistake of picking up a couple of toys for the boys to have on Valentine's morning and unfortunately, they relentlessly remind me each year that they expect this tradition to continue. Luckily, they have cheap taste. Monday night I prepared everything so that the morning would be seamless, however I did not realize the morning would begin at 5:45 am as Cameron went in and woke each of his brothers up to make me some Valentine's. While I appreciated the gesture, letting me sleep until my alarm at 7:15 would have been a more desirable gift. We had heart shaped whole wheat pancakes and the boys all headed off to school with their sacks full of Valentine's to hand out to their classmates and decorated brownies for their teachers. Mason chose Captain America cards with homemade heart shaped crayons, and Gavin chose Green Lantern cards with crayons as well. Cameron went with Star Wars and suckers, and each boy came home with a Halloween's worth of candy. I was thankful that we had planned lots of fresh veggies and fruits to dip in cheese and chocolate fondue for dinner as I hoped it would help even out all of the sugar they had been stuffing their faces with. At least it's just one day. A new tradition we started this year was a visit from the "love bug," a simple paper ladybug who comes to visit before Valentine's day and feeds off of love and service. If you find him on your pillow it means someone has done something nice for you and you must then choose another family member to serve. Anything to foster more kindness between the brothers is welcomed in this household. I enjoyed watching them each prepare to surprise each other and the warm feelings they felt afterwards. This needs to become more commonplace in our home. Thanks little love bug. I am so thankful that my Valentine returns in a few hours, we missed having him be a part in our big day. Lucky for him there is still plenty of love to spare!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Middle Child

If Cameron and Mason were pieces of bread, Gavin would be the peanut butter. He is most definitely stuck in the middle of our family of three boys and life would not be the same without him. Gavin has really blossomed since starting kindergarten. He has grown up so much and matured right before our eyes. Gavin loves school and is actually disappointed when the weekend arrives. School has been good for him, but soon after he started, it was evident that this little boy came with a bit more "spice" than his older brother. In kindergarten they have a color coded system of green, yellow, and red. Green means you behaved all day, yellow means you got in trouble once and red means you continually misbehaved. When Cameron was in kindergarten he was put on yellow one single day and he came home sobbing. Gavin, on the other hand comes home with as many yellows as he does greens, but thankfully he has not yet been put on red. Part of the problem is that Gavin is a big talker and another part is that he is easily distracted and has issues paying attention. We are constantly talking to him about his behavior at school and trying to help him improve, but secretly I kind of adore the fact that he's got a bit of spunk in him. On Sunday Gavin had to bring in a picture of his family to church and talk about how he was named. I explained to him that Gavin was on a short list of names that Jeremy and I both liked, and that Saylor was special because it was a family name. We named him after Jeremy's grandma, Lillian Saylor Lyon. I told Gavin that Grandma Lyon was very kind and giving and also very spirited. I told him that we used her name because we wanted him to have those same qualities. I'd like to think that he has her spunk.

In the last few months Gavin has a new aspiration for his future- he wants to be an author and illustrator. One thing for sure about this little guy is that when he gets his heart set on something he does not do it halfway. In every bit of his free time you will find him writing a book and drawing pictures. He wakes up early in the morning to write and as soon as his homework is finished he sets off to color. We have had to limit his paper usage because he goes through it like water. I hope we can foster and cultivate these dreams of his.

One of my favorite qualities of Gavin's is his inability to be dishonest. He will come home from school and rattle off a list of the things he did wrong all day, just so I know. If he gets mad at one of his brothers and pushes or hits them, he is usually the first one to come up and tell me exactly what he did. He is quick to recognize his wrong-doings and always promises to do better. He is really great with both of his brothers, just not at the same time. He can play for hours with Cameron, or with Mason, but if you get them all mixed in together it's a mess. And Gavin's a bit bossy when it comes to playtime- he wants you to play what he wants to play.

Gavin just started winter swim team with Cameron on Monday and he is enjoying his time in the water. My little string bean always complains that the water is so cold, but with the right motivation he grins and bears it. Gavs is by far the best eater out of our three. He will try anything and my dinners that gross Cameron and Mason out, find Gavin asking for seconds. He always thanks me for dinner and compliments my cooking. That definitely puts him in the running to become my favorite.

I love that the littlest things completely delight Gavin. He was the one that was thrilled with every small trinket in his stocking for Christmas and who jumped up and down with joy last week when he saw I had gotten him an old beat up desk for his bedroom. A piece of paper is worth more than a dollar in his currency and we take full advantage of that fact.

This little guy is getting less little each day. He is growing up too fast and I find that time is slipping through my fingers. I hope I can hold on to this last bit of little boy that I have left. He makes my heart swell with pride.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We're alive and well

My sister called me this morning to check on me to make sure I was ok. She was concerned about me because I haven't blogged in two weeks. I guess I'd better post something in case the rest of you have been worried too! Truth is, January is always a pretty mundane month for our family and we are thoroughly enjoying it! I've been wanting to do an update on the kids anyways and have had these pictures I never posted from our Christmas card photo shoot.

Cameron continues to be our sweetest boy. He is very helpful and tries hard to make us proud. He likes to cook and he got a cool kids cookbook for Christmas that he has used to make dinner a couple of times. He is really enjoying taking piano lessons and will be participating in the school talent show next month playing part of the Star Wars theme. He is very excited and nervous. Cameron is also loving Cub Scouts and passed off two more belt loops this month. I think scouts is his favorite activity of all, a place where he can be all boy and learn some really cool "boy" stuff. Cameron is doing great in school. He got his first report card with actual letter grades a few months ago and he got straight A's. He gets his next one at the end of this week and we expect it will be just as awesome. He really enjoys math, but detests reading and writing. We have been working on some reward systems at home to help him have a desire to read more than what is required and I'm trying to get him exciting, age appropriate books. He seems to like the Magic Treehouse series, does anyone have any other suggestions?

As sweet as our darling first born is, he has started to have a bit of an attitude that must be part of this growing up thing. There has been some stomping and slammed doors, but so far that has always been followed up with genuine tears and apologies. He really cares about people and has a tender heart. A while back I told him a story about a baby bunny that someone had brought into work that they found in their yard on a very rainy day. It seems the nest had been flooded and all the other babies drowned but this one was saved just in time. The next day at breakfast he had tears streaming down his face and when I asked him what was wrong, he told me that he just couldn't stop thinking about that baby bunny, all alone without any family. He continued to bring it up for days and weeks later. Recently we watched this little movie a few weeks ago as a family and I was shocked that by the end Cameron was wiping away a tear. I am so thankful that he has such compassion, what an incredible gift to have.

Cameron has never been a real big talker. I have always had to dig to find out details about his day at school and about his friends there. For a while I worried he didn't have many friends until I came into school for his birthday and was able to observe him in that environment. I was surprised to find out that he is actually incredibly social and seemed to be everyone's friend. His teacher informed me that he is really quite a ham in class and often makes everybody laugh and is well liked.

Cameron is still very much into Legos, and that is what he does when he first wakes up in the morning before he is allowed out of his room (7:30 am). He loves to build all kinds of different structures and hates to take them apart to build new things. He has also gotten into Pokemon cards along with some other boys in his class and trades them all the time. I still have yet to understand the fascination or the "game" associated with them. Most of all, like most boys his age, Cameron enjoys video games. Now that he has an ipod we have had to keep a close eye on how much screen time he is getting. Luckily we have been able to find several educational games that he actually enjoys playing and we don't feel so guilty letting him play. We've learned that we have to keep that thing under lock and key though because having it in his room is too much of a temptation- especially during his reading time :) It really is great motivation though for getting him to do what we'd like him to.

I really couldn't be prouder of this kid who is growing into such a great young man. I know we can be awfully hard on him because he is our oldest, but luckily he is very forgiving of our mistakes. I know we only have a few more years before he thinks he knows it all and we know nothing, so we are enjoying every moment and wishing this age would last forever. He makes this such a happy journey.