Kieran Says What?

Kierran did great this year in speech therapy. People who go periods of time without seeing him compliment him/us on his progress. There are things I love to hear him say like…

Salami = Sa-mali
Love = Lub

Then there are words that make us cringe like skunk.

My MIL called Kierran a raccoon. He called her a raccoon and she called him one back and then he called everyone a raccoon. To up the name calling game my MIL called Kierran a skunk. He replied, “You’re a kunt and you’re a kunt and you’re a kunt.” Pointing to various people. Oh for the love of…. thank goodness we have worksheets for the summer and have been retained for next years speech class. Good grief. S’s and K’s are first on the list!!

The Boy on the Right No Longer Believes

That boy, right there on the right….he became a little less of a young boy last night. He walked up to me in the kitchen and was naming off characters like “Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Unicorns…what other mystical fake creatures that aren’t real are there?” My eyes got big. I know they did because Barrett froze. I smiled and said “Can you go to my room please?” “Why?” he asked. Because your brothers are standing right here!! But I couldn’t say that so I repeated myself. He got teary eyed. Oh yeah son, he comes your first “getting older” talk.

He laid on my bed and I sat down next to him. “So what did you mean by fake mystical not real creatures?” He began crying. I reassured him he wasn’t in trouble I was only curious what his thoughts were. “Is there anything you’d like to ask me?” “Well, I’ve kind of been thinking that the Easter Bunny isn’t real. I mean he’s a bunny, who plants eggs? I know he has chicken friends but I don’t buy it.” LONG PAUSE. Do I really want to do this? Yes, I do. The Easter Bunny thing has bugged me from the beginning. More so than any other. “No, the Easter Bunny isn’t real. It’s a fun game parents like to play with their kids.” “Who made up the Easter Bunny?” “I have no idea honey.” He then recanted EVERY freaking Easter day since he was probably three years old ripping apart any detail he could remember. He began to act scared when he asked “What about the leprechauns?” Ugh! Do I tell the truth? Do I flip the question on him? “That was mom and dad too.” Wiping tears away he asks how we did it so I let him in on all my secrets. I feel awful. He was ready enough to say something out loud but maybe not ready to hear the truth. I think he’s at an age where he’s asking older questions but still thrives in the innocence of childhood fantasy. I knew the Santa question was coming but first he dissected every prank the leprechauns ever played. “How did you put leprechaun pee in the toilet?” “Green dye” “What about the feet prints” “My hand and fingers as toe prints” “All the toys and cereal?” “Me”. More tears. A lot more tears. Here it comes…..”Santa?” I could only shake my head no. FRICK! I can’t remember what that lady on pinterest wrote to her kids when they told her they didn’t believe. Dangit! It was so good!!! I free styled it and did pretty good. Even remembering this my eyes are misty. Ugh, my baby. “What about the time he came to our house?” “Do you remember how Grandpa and Grandma McCumby would always eat Christmas morning breakfast with us? Grandpa played Santa.” “REALLY!?!” He was excited at that thought which made me happy that he has a new memory of his Great Grandfather. He then quizzed me about the videos the boys get which if you’ve never done it and you have believers…DO IT! It’s awesome! https://www.portablenorthpole.com/ I always did the free version and it’s spectacular. I told him about the website which blew his mind.

We talked about being responsible with what we say around the younger boys and especially at school since we don’t know who believes and who doesn’t. He says “I hate being the oldest!” The only thing he seemed to like it being able to help set up stuff for the younger two.  I asked him if he had any questions for me. “Do you believe in anything that some people say isn’t real?” Insert talk about God and Jesus.

The night ended on a good note. We dried our eyes and played charades with everyone. It wasn’t until I tucked him in at night that he cried again. I reassured him that he could always come to me if he ever questioned anything. I would never lie to him.

As I laid in bed I beat myself up a bit. Should I have just pushed it off? Let him continue to question. Did I do the right thing? Scott and I were about the same age when we stopped believing but I don’t remember being so upset. When I was in bed talking to Scott about it I remembered he never asked about the tooth fairy. Do I still have the tooth fairy? OMG and I probably lost Usik our Elf on the Shelf. Bummer.

2016 UPDATE: I totally thought I published this!! Well we made our way through Christmas and he played along well. A little too well. I think he has forced this event out of his mind because he acted like we never had this conversation. WEIRD

Camp

Barrett, my oldest, started camp this week. It’s a day camp. I’m not sure I can handle more at this time. He was up very late the night before unable to sleep. He was more excited then the first day of school! If school instructed with BB guns, bow and arrows, horse rides and all the other camp activities he’d be a full time, life time student.

As we drove to the camp yesterday morning I found my mind reeling with scenarios to warn him about and random pieces of advice. In the end I kept my mouth shut and warned him of the usual; manners, listening, following rules… He annoyed me to a point of murder while we registered him and got his paper work in order. “Can I just go? Are we done yet? Hurry up mom!” He’s lucky there were witnesses once again. His behavior did make it easier to push him off to camp. He might have done it on purpose. I met his camp counselor Gummy Bear (I don’t understand it but it makes perfect sense to Barrett so I just go with it) and Barrett ran off and found a hula hoop to show off his mad hooping skills. The counselor was authentically impressed. Well played Barrett!

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At that moment I realized he was his own person. No longer connected to me full time. He is making his own decisions and boss of himself when I or Scott are not around. He makes his own friends not just the kids I place in front of him. He’s…A BIG BOY! That feeling is a slight relief of pressure but brings about a whole new fear. All these “what if’s” start playing themselves out in my head. I know that in the future my fears will change as he ages and enters different stages of development. That doesn’t make me feel better. I left him amongst fellow campers and pulled a whiny 4 year old “I’ll miss Barrett” and a back arching toddler who wanted to walk through the parking lot back to the car. Quickly I dropped Barrett from my concerns and focused on keeping the other two alive.

When Barrett’s first day concluded I was there with bells and whistles to pick him up. I was excited to hear about his first day at camp. The next scene played out like an old western film.

“The sheriff traveled to the town over to collect her convict. She knew he frequented the area and knew she’d find him amongst his own kind. A simple flash of her badge and the town elders backed out of her way. They knew of her reputation and knew she was there to collect what was hers. As the elders dispersed wanting nothing to do with what was going to happen next the sheriff locked eyes with her soon to be prisoner. His eyes shown brightly through his blue rimmed glasses that were shaded by his camo hat. Dirt smudges covered his face, arms and legs. He might be needing a dip in the ‘ole whiskey barrel before slop time. Through the shade of a large pine tree she could see the gleam of excitement riddled with something she rarely saw. Defiance. Or was is an air of confidence? It reminded her of a man preparing himself for battle. With a can in hand he slowly approached the sheriff. Backpack slung over one shoulder he stopped two feet from the sheriff. The Good The Bad and The Ugly whistled though the yard as the boy planted both feet firmly into place.

“What’s that in your hand?” the sheriff asked nodding slightly to the object in his right hand.
“It’s a soda and I get to have as many as I want. And for snack guess what I had?”
“What”
“SKITTLES! BLAHAHHAAHHAHAH” the parolee laughed diabolically. Knowing the sheriff couldn’t take what he had already consumed. He was escorted to the sheriff’s vehicle and transported back to prison.

Rebel

(Aunt Vicki, I was not driving)

This morning he discussed his plans of Gatorade and Starbursts. I guilt tripped him into pretzels instead. I doubt he’ll follow through. LORD help me! Going to camp is better then going to a grandparents house if he gets sodas and candy for his two snacks a day! So to make it clear to all my kids I’ve given up, Merrick got to have 3 sips and Kierran even got one. Addicts they all are. Sugar ADDICTS I SAY! On a positive note he’s proven to me that he is still in need of me. He is not ready to make his own decisions about proper snacks so I have a bit more educating to do. Not ready to sever the umbilical cord completely I smile and drive him home.

ASTAR Trip

For the last 4 years Scott has participated in the Alaska State Trooper Adventure Relay (ASTAR) which travel across the state roughly 500+ miles in support of the charity Wish Upon A North Star. That charity gives wishes to very sick children here in the state of Alaska. http://wishuponthenorthstar.com

For the last two years our family has tagged along on the adventure. This year I didn’t think we were going to make the trip because of trailer issues. We couldn’t get our hands on one to borrow. Gratefully one day after we were suppose to leave the camper we were going to borrow originally became available again. A HUGE THANK YOU to Kristina Howard and Mr and Mrs Jernstrom! Within 3 hours we were on the road headed out on a 10 hour drive from Fairbanks to Seward.

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We arrived in Seward at 3 am. We were to be up and ready by 9 am. So began the treacherous battle of sleep schedules. I threw in the towel and Kierran slept with Scott and I the first night and everyone but Scott and I were very perky at 7:30am.  The members of FLEAT (Fairbanks Law Enforcement Adventure Team) were happy to see us which made the memory of the rough night not so bad.

When the first leg of the relay took off on their run we went to the Seward SeaLife Center. What a cool place to visit! http://www.alaskasealife.org

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After the SeaLife Center we took off down the road for Scott’s first leg of the race. We dropped him off somewhere outside of Seward and he ran for some time. Then we picked him up and all drove up to Alyeska to park the camper. Scott caught a ride back down the Sterling Highway only to bike back to the Alyeska Resort. The kids and I made good use of our free time at a great local park.

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There wasn’t much use putting the kids to bed at a good hour that night because all the other kids in our party were still up and running around and when Scott would finally roll in around 12 am there is no being quiet in a camper. So this was our first midnight bedtime. I let the older two wait for their dad and ride their bikes in with him to the end of that leg.

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The next morning we had a little time to hang out while others hiked and biked. After lunch a quick sewer dump, gas fill up and water refill we were off to Mirror Lake. By this time my kids had adopted themselves into the Lindhag family. Barrett and Merrick were smitten with Caden and Kaylee and Kaylee was smitten with Kierran. Gratefully Jeremy and Dianna (mom and dad) weren’t bothered by my kids and actually found Merrick entertaining rather then burdensome. My two boarded the Lindhag RV outside Anchorage and drove around with them for a while. Before getting car sick Merrick pulled a famous Merrick stunt.

“My mom wouldn’t mind if you gave me a popsicle.” he says to Dianna
“Oh, would you like a popsicle?” she so kindly responds
“Why yes I would! Thank you for asking”

That turd! Before leaving my side I gave them both a talk about being polite and not asking for things because I packed them snacks in case they were hungry. He finds loop holes whatever the situation. Jeremy and Dianna found him hilarious and got rather concerned when he grew gravely quiet and rested his head on the table. I’m so grateful he didn’t get sick in their camper. Oh the smell! I had him ride with us the rest of the trip for fear he’d puke riding sideways or backwards in the camper. He was upset but enjoyed not having a sick belly.

Our next few stops were Mirror Lake, Byers Lake and a few stops in between. I can’t remember the names of the places we stopped but I CAN tell you what transpired at each stop. There was the dead fish event, the bike wipe out, kids all asleep pull off…

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This is the dead fish event. The kids found a dead fish and the parents were able to talk the kids out of grabbing it. Well Merrick caught me in a moment of confusion and I said “Sure. Grab it.” He didn’t hesitate. He had fun and a few others were interested in the fish too. Have you ever yelled this at your child across a parking lot…

“Merrick, share the dead fish! If someone wants to hold the dead fish you let them!”

No? I have. I even caught him moving the mouth up and down making him talk. Pick you battles right?

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We stopped at the most beautiful golf course to pick Scott up from a bike ride. The hills of thick green grass was amazing and the sky was so blue and the temp was nice and warm.

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These were taken at the Susitna River. We camped out over night there with the Lindhag family. Most other caught up to us around midnight or 1am.

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A random pull out I don’t remember the name of but I remember it as chalk pull out.

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This is my FAVORITE part of the trip. For the FIRST time in Merrick’s life minus infancy he fell asleep in the truck and I was able to move him into the camper without waking THEN I was able to move him back into the truck after a few hours STILL ASLEEP! I took photos because I was amazed!

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Matt Soden and Eric Hoffman

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Scott and Eric Jewkes riding into Ester weight station

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The boys running in to FPD parking lot to the finish line!

Nicole Lockwood and I made paper plate awards for the kids and handed them out. They were cute and I think the kids deserved some recognition after a grueling 4 days. We decided the kids group is call FIT (FLEAT In Training)

FLEAT donated $11,000 to Wish Upon A North Star this year. Isn’t that great!! After everyone ate we hosted a “Screw Cleaning Out The RV” party. Most everyone showed up and we all had a great time reliving the race, joking, teasing, celebrating a 40th birthday and learning to fold fitted sheets. It was such a great trip! I’m excited for next year.