Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Hi, Dentist!"

Carter strongly dislikes doctors.  It could be from some trauma from his past.  It could be just something he dislikes.  We may never know why, but the fact remains.

On the day of an appointment  - I wear extra deodorant and plan a Starbucks trip for myself afterwards.

It's ugly, guys.

The ENT, the pediatrician, the optometrist, and the dentist.  Ohhhh, the dentist.

The good thing about screaming his lungs out at the dentist is that his mouth has to be open anyways...so it might as well have noise coming out of it.

We had a dentist appointment on Monday.  It was an early release day, so I spent the afternoon pumping him up.

"Carter! Today we go to the dentist!"
"You will be so brave!"
"You can say 'hi, dentist'!"
"You open your mouth nice and say 'ahhhh'!"
"First dentist, then we'll visit dad!"

This always seems like it will work, until we get into the exam room and he has to climb into the chair. The movement of the chair seems to trigger some anxiety, and then the rest of the visit goes downhill from there.

My mommy instincts told me that having the chair in place before we even walk in the room might help a little bit.  Maybe instead of screaming bloody-murder, he would just cry a little.  Thankfully, our dentist is awesome and agreed to move it into place before Carter's appointment.

Let me set the scene - we get out of the car, and Carter is excited.  Like he always is.  He's saying "Brave! Dentist! DAD!" and all kinds of adorable things.  And my mommy heart is beating so fast, hoping that we can conquer this dentist thing.

We walk in the office and Carter is so happy to be there.  The receptionist says 'hi' to Carter, and he responds with "Hiiiii, Dentist!".  We laugh at this sweet little boy, and take our seats.  The dentist comes out, walks us back, and Carter climbs right into the chair.

"Hiiii, Dentist! Brave!"

So far, so good.

The dentist got busy, hoping to get the majority of his work done before the fit started.

"Carter, can you open your mouth for me?"

"Ahhhhhhhhh"
"Hiiii, Dentist"
"Ahhhhhhhhh"

Every few minutes, he would try to say "Dentist - Dad" while the dentist was working.  He was telling the dentist that first he had to do the whole dentist thing, and then he could visit his dad.  He hasn't quite figured out the fine art of talking while the dentist is working in his mouth, so he used his hands a lot :)  Needless to say, it was pretty cute.

Before I knew it, we were done.  Carter had an exam, a cleaning, and a fluoride treatment.

He didn't even shed a tear.

Six months ago, I had to wrestle him in the chair and when we left, I cried great big tears for our scared little boy.

Monday, he didn't even need me in the room and when we left, I cried great big tears for our brave big boy.

I'm not going to lie, the first days of school have been rough on our Kindergartener.  One particularly difficult night, around 4am, I cried outside his room, praying he would go back to sleep.

Sometimes, I don't know how to be his mommy.  He's so complex.  He's such a mystery.

And then we have a moment like our dentist appointment on Monday, and I realize that I was handpicked to be his mommy.  I don't know why I was picked, but I was.  All I can do is the best that I know how.  Sometimes it will have me crying outside his bedroom door at 4am, and sometimes I'll be throwing a party because he made it through a dentist appointment.

Somedays I'll be hoping he grows up, and other days I'll be begging him to stay small and squishy.  Somedays I'll have no idea what I'm doing, and I'll feel like I'm completely winging this parenthood thing.  Other days, I'll feel equipped and prepared and full of wisdom and strength.

This is being a mommy.

++++++++

Here is our little buddy, after his dentist appointment when we went to visit his daddy.


{No - he doesn't ride with his seatbelt behind him. 
We had just parked, which is his signal to whip that thing off and climb out as fast as he can.}

He's pretty cute, isn't he?

So glad he's ours.  So glad we're his.  So glad to be learning this little mystery, day by day.  It's like opening a new gift every morning.

One Thing I Know For Sure: "BRAVE!".  Carter and Mama, both.

+Kindergarten Note: Things are improving quickly!  Kindergarten is a big change for him, and we are thankful that his team at school is so willing to try new things in order to help him best! His sleep is finally becoming more regular, which makes everyone happy :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Little Kindybeaner.

Well, we did it.


We dropped our little kindergartener off at school.  He didn't even look back.  As soon as we pulled up - we heard ecstatic shouts of "School!! School slide!!" from the back seat.

Can you tell he was ready?


I'm not going to lie.  It's been a long summer.  I had so many plans for him - beaches, projects, goals to meet, parks, picnics, water parks.

But, thanks to the teeny-tiny, yet somehow exhausting baby in my belly, 99.7% of those things did not happen.

Talk about mommy guilt.


So - off to school we go.  Carter smiling from ear-to-ear, and Mama smiling almost as much (but, of course, trying to act sad so the other kindergarten moms don't think I'm heartless).  

We line up with his class, his aide takes his hand, and I couldn't feel more at peace.  Carter is in a perfect place.  His team of professionals are amazing.  His teachers have welcomed him with open arms and open hearts.  He has a place in the classroom - mixed right in with his peers.  Right where he belongs.

A few days ago, I got an email from his teachers.  They said something that cut me so deep.

"We are so excited to have Carter in our class!" - and they mean it.

He is included.  He is appreciated for his strengths.  He is a valuable member of their classroom family.

Dropping off my kindergartener didn't draw a single tear from my eyes - but typing this does.  Our little guy.  Included and valued.  What more could we possibly ask for?

Do you know how many people fight for this?  Do you know how many mamas around the country are shedding tears today, because they so desperately want someone in their school to see the value in their special child?!

We are so, so grateful.

++++++++

After dropping Carter off, I headed to the book room to do some alphabetizing.  I knew that getting involved in Carter's school would be easiest if I started right away, instead of waiting until 'next year' or 'later on'.

First day in kindergarten, and I'm alphabetizing books :)

Sidenote: alphabetizing is hard.  It's not a function my brain is used to.  I sang the alphabet 48 times, just to make sure that R came before S.

Around 9:15 is when the real fun began.

Did I mention that Carter's teachers are incredible?  Okay.  Well, they are.  I mentioned to them early in the summer that I'd like to create a book to have them read to the class during the first few weeks, and that I'd like to send one home with each student.

They said I should come in and read it to everyone on the first day.  So I did.


This book was nothing extraordinary - I just filled it with things that Carter could do, just like his classmates, with lots of pictures of Carter being a typical kid.

"Carter loves to jump in puddles.  Do you?"
"Carter loves to eat ice cream.  Do you?
"Carter loves to make treats with his mom. Do you?"

The response was delightful.  "Ohhh! I like to do that!" and "Hey - I do that too!".  Yes, little ones.  You do so many things just like Carter.

You really are more alike than different.

I couldn't help but think about my dear friend, Mae, who told me a long time ago that from the moment I became Carter's mommy, I also became a teacher.  She told me that forever & ever, I would be a teacher.  A teacher to his friends, a teacher to our community, a teacher to the lady in the check out ahead of us, a teacher to his teachers.  I didn't know what she meant until today.

Aha.  I am a teacher. Our little ones (and lots of big ones, too) need to be taught how to include Carter. They need to be taught how to value Carter.  And if I don't teach them, who will?

++++++++

I gave my sweet baby a kiss, and left for the day.  My first day of freedom.


It was a hard day.

Not really.

What?!  I already told you, we were both ready for this day.

Did I miss him?  Yes.  Like crazy.  Did I wonder what he was doing?  Every single minute.  But the break was good, and when he came home I was able to hug him with new & fresh arms, that missed his tugging and climbing so much today.

Our cherished little kindergartener had a treat from his Mimi AND his NaNa after school today, just in case he forgot while he was at school that he's a spoiled rotten only-grandchild.  Well, at least for the next 6 months.

It's amazing how much I have to share with you when I don't have a busy bee running around here.  I think I might be rambling now.

Let's wrap this up.  To kindergarten.  New beginnings, new growth, new friends, new freedoms.

So incredibly grateful.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Ready to rock kindergarten.

"A Little More About Carter" Notes:
I made this booklet using Word.  You can too, you just need to play with it.  Mine is printed 2-up on a 8.5x11 copy paper, front & back.  You'll save yourself many headaches and bad-words if you just do them one sided, trust me.  My wording on the inside is SUPER simple - my hope was that some kids might be able to read it themselves.  It was highly repetitive (I love to.....! Do you? - over & over).  I made a large copy and had it bound - that is what I read to the class today.  It was made heavy-duty, and will be kept in their little classroom library for the kids to revisit throughout the year.

I got the title for my book from this blog post.  She will send you a template for the booklets if you ask nice.  I didn't use her template or any of her wording.  Just her title.  Because it's so much cuter than "All About Carter" :)

And to my friend, Carin - thanks for all the awesome ideas you've given me about how to introduce our kiddos to their classmates & families.  You are an incredible 'teacher' - one who I aspire to be like!  Your passion is what sparked my idea for this book.  I thought of you so much today.

And now you're all wondering who Carin is, right?  Go here.  Just do it.  Go and read and CRY YOUR EYES OUT LIKE A BABY.

Rambling.  Done.  Bye!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear Baby.

To say you are a 'desired child' would be an understatement.

Lots of people who don't even know you love you with a big, crazy, strong love.  And the mommy and daddy who felt you kick and move just might love you the most.

We can't wait to meet you.

:)

Wait - did you think I was talking about Carter?! Well, I could have been.

But I wasn't.

Two very, very 'desired children' for this little Gibson family.

One has been in our home for just about 3 years.
The other has been in our hearts for almost that long.

The first one got here after lots of paperwork and airplane rides and varenyky.
The other will get here after a trip to the hospital.

Because it's in my belly.  Right now.

Surprise :)

Two years of hoping & praying & crying & peeing on sticks.
Two years of envisioning Carter as the Big Brother that he was meant to be.
Two years of waiting.

And finally.

Baby Gibson - coming March 2015.



++++++++

"How do you feel?!?!"
Like I need a nap.  Even though I just got up from a nap.  Although, I'm 13 weeks tomorrow - so the tiredness is letting up a little bit.  Right as our active big brother goes back to school.  Of course!

BUT.  I haven't had a moment of morning sickness.  Believe me, I am crazy thankful.  I'd take major fatigue over major puking any stinkin' day.

"How long have you known?!?!?"
Since June 27th.  And then I waited 8 days to tell Jake, so I could tell him on his 30th birthday.  LONGEST EIGHT DAYS OF MY LIFE.

"Does Carter know?!?!"
Just ask him.  He'll say "Niiiice baby.  Mom baby.  Niiiiice."
Yep.  He knows :)

That's all the important stuff.

We're so, so, so, so excited.  Is this really happening?  Finally?

Finally.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Eeeeeek!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

St. Germain {2014}

It's been eerie-quiet here, I know.
Until I have time to sit and explain, enjoy this Gibson Getaway recap :)

++++++++

This year, our little baby who liked to just sit in the sand and play boats was nowhere to be found.  He was on the move.  Our little baby has turned into our little big boy.

His favorite pastime was walking along our beach, down to the boat, along the dock - all the way to the pontoon boat - and back.

Times 1000.



Also on the week's agenda?

This.


And this.


And so much of this.


Look at this little sunshine boy, doing vacation right.


Don't you envy him? No cares about what's going on in the rest of the world.  No checking devices.  No worrying about the upcoming kindergarten year.  No wondering if Cathy's will have his favorite ice cream flavor.

Because some things aren't worth worrying about.

Actually, most things aren't worth worrying about.  Let's take a cue from Carter.  Just relax, people.  Life is good, vacation or not.



"Poppy, why are you still wearing your socks?!"


And again with the smiles and the laughter and the joy.

Look closely, friends.  These are real smiles.  Not the forced, silly, over-stimulated, sensory meltdown kind.

They're the real deal.  Happy, joyful, sunshine boy.




Gibson Getaway 2014 is in the books.  To say we had fun would be an understatement.

BACK: Jake. Duh. Uncle Tom, Poppy, Patsy, Uncle Ben
FRONT: Me. Duh. Carter. Duh. Auntie M, Mimi
Oh yea - I forgot to mention, the weather stunk.  But I guess since I forgot to mention it, it must not have mattered that much.

Time together, lots of laughs...what's a few clouds and some rain storms?!

Nothin' but a thang.  Is that a saying?  Jake says it.  So it must be.

We've been home for 5 days.  The laundry is done.  The rest of the house is....eh.  Let's just say I'm enjoying my last week of summer with my soon to be kindybeaner.

And let's also say that my weed allergies are kicking my behind.  And my missing vertebrae is forcing me to walk like an old woman.

What?  It's really a thing.

++++++++

Is anyone still reading along here?  Well if you are, I pinkie-promise that you'll want to check back next week.

Really.

One Thing I Know For Sure: "Nobody needs a vacation more than the man who just had one." - Wise, wise words from some guy named Elbert Hubbard.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hi, Vlad!

It never fails. Everywhere we go, Ukraine follows us.

We had the sweetest, kindest waiter tonight (who even let us switch tables) for dinner. His name was Vlad, and his accent gave him away.

When we told him about our connection to Ukraine, all he could say was 'thank you'. He knew full-well that our Carter boy would have no future in Ukraine. And we told him about his future here.

"He's going to school!"
"Really?"
"He plays baseball!"
"No!"
"He couldn't talk when we met him. Now he can."
"Oh my!"

His hairs stood on end (I know this, because he told us). His eyes filled with tears.

"Thank you."

No, Vlad, thank YOU. Over our awesome dinner (Apple bacon pork chops at Coopers Corner are amazing) we talked about our sweet boy and were reminded of how far he has come. Our little gift, growing and changing before our eyes.

This photo showed up in our email inbox 5 months before meeting Carter.
My, my. How he has changed. 



Be blessed, Vlad.

++++++++

I left him our blog, and I hope he visits. Vlad - if you're here, click '2011' over on the left. And then click 'October' to start reading.

And you, dear reader - if you've never read Carter's story and have a few hours to kill, check it out.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Slava Ukraini.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Life as a Twenty-Something.

Raise your hand if you're 30 or older.

Raise your hand if you cried a little when you met 30.

Okay.  Good.

I'm turning 30 in September...but this post is not about me.


Someone else is turning 30 on Saturday :)

Someone who told me many months ago, when I was lamenting about the big 3-0, that "Thirty is no big deal! I don't know why you're even talking about it!".

Someone who is now wondering how it's even possible that 30 is at his doorstep, wondering how it's even possible that the previous decade went by in a blink, wondering how he can slow down the next decade so that 40 is not ringing the doorbell in what seems like 3.7 seconds.

Since the last decade went by in a flash, let's recap.

Here we are, cute, perky, just about to enter our 20's.  And I'm certain that we were so relieved to finally be a twenty-something and not a teenager.  Because that's so lame.



And now we're engaged, and it seems like life can't get much better.


Then the wedding of our dreams - completely perfect in every way.


Time to add to the fam! Let's get a little sassy & wild Springer and name him Moses.  Four years later, he'll break our hearts into a million pieces.  And we'll wonder if we can ever love a furry friend again.


You graduated after several years of persistence and dedication.  I would have given up.  Well, I did.


Time to add to the fam, again! Let's add a little sassy, wild Ukrainian and name him Carter Benjamin.


Our world stops.
I think our hearts beat for the very first time.
We are parents to the most precious boy.


We do fun stuff.  We go fun places.  We experience new things.  All done hand in hand.

Well, except this. You mostly do this by yourself :)


We figure out this family thing, and for every moment of hurt and error there are 10 moments of joy and excitement.


You continue to be silly, always knowing just how to make me laugh.
{Unless I say "Jake - you're being annoying - knock it off!" - sometimes I'm right about this.  Sometimes not.}


You are the best daddy to this little firecracker.  He loves you so, and the whole world knows it.  You are his favorite person, I'm sure.  And nothing thrills me more.


You love lots of people.  You love lots of kids.  This kid is your birthday buddy :)
{Happy Birthday on Saturday, Anna! We love you!}


You do crazy things.  Sometimes people don't understand you.  They don't see your heart or know your motive.  Sometimes, they just don't get you.  But I do.  And sometimes, we'll just need chalk it up to 'haters gonna hate'.  Fo sho.


We finally made the move to the town we love.  Isn't it great here?  What an awesome place to raise a little Gibson family. {It will be even better when we have grass and a dry yard.  Looking for an excavator in the Valley? I'll tell you who not to use.}


Our twenties.  Gone in a blink.

Well, yours are gone.  I've still got a good 3 months.

:)

The twenties were good, babe.  Hard stuff?  Yep.  Questions, left unanswered?  Sure.  Wishing & wondering?  Of course.  But look how good.

Here's to the next decade.  Our thirties.
Let's not dread it, but walk into it with joy & excitement.


Let's rock this decade.
It's what we do.

Love you.

One Thing I Know For Sure: "Thirty is an attitude. It says you know what you're doing and you've got what it takes to get where you're going. The fact is, you've never been better or smarter or more ready for adventures than you are right now.  So welcome to prime time."


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Carter's First Game.

It's probably a day that men dream of when they're young.  Sort of like little girls dreaming about their wedding day.  

A son's first baseball game.  


Carter's first baseball game might not have been what a younger-Jake had imagined.

Two innings with a seventh inning stretch in between while both teams belt out "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".  Every kid hits, every kid makes it home.

                          

Some kids with wheels.
Some kids with braces.
Some kids who take a long time to work up the gumption to swing the bat.
{Or maybe they just know when the bat swings, their turn is up} :)
Some kids who smile so big you think their cheeks will fall off.
Some tall kids, some short kids.
Some kids who would love nothing more than to run the perimeter of the field.
{That would be our kid}
Some kids who touch each base and count it when they get there ("One!" "Two!" "Three!").
{That would also be our kid}
Some kids who have a huge cheer section.
{What can I say - we are crazy blessed}

A crowd who cheers for every hit - every run - every attempt.  Two awesome coaches, and buddies.  Lots of buddies.



Carter gets to play a (short!) game, be in on the action, have fun in the outfield, and still feel like a champ.  

He gets to hear his name announced like he's a pro.  

Well, he basically is.  

:)

Have I told you about Carter's buddy?  You probably know him.  He goes by "Uncle Ben" :)

We are so grateful for The Miracle League.

{And for the Hardee's down the road, which has Carter-approved ice cream for after-game treats}

:)

++++++++

Look at my two favorite boys.


I'd say Carter's first game was better than Jake could have ever imagined.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Play Ball!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Party Hard.

Party Hard.

That was our motto for Carter's birthday weekend.  In years past, we've had the whole clan over for one big party.  And we spent the whole time containing Carter, instead of letting him enjoy his day.

Ridiculous, right?  Right.  So this year: separate, smaller parties.  And one flippin' happy boy.

The morning of his birthday, Jake had an early meeting, so it was just me and this snuggly, smiley, sweet six year old.

  

 

Of course we had cinnamon rolls with frosting and sprinkles and a little melty green candle.  It was a good start to the birthday weekend.

And then.

Carter knew it was his birthday.  He knew we had family coming later.  

Rookie Parent Mistake #1: Telling your kid about exciting stuff that will be happening more than 4 hours in the future.  I think 4 is the magic number here.  We made the mistake of telling him more than 20 hours in advance.  This gave him time to sleep on it.  What were we thinking?!

I don't think I even need to explain this scenario, but I will:

"Carter!  Toys stay inside!" (he was throwing them out the door)
"BIRTHDAY!!"

"Carter...water off!" (he was turning it on, hoping for bath #2)
"BIRTHDAY!!"

"Carter, let's go make your bed...again..." (he was pulling his bedding off and dragging it around)
"BIRRRTHDAAAAYYY!!!!"

You get the idea.  

I survived, and so did he (barely, just barely).  

Finally, everyone was here.  And guess what?  Carter behaved like a little gem.  

My Grannie is the family photographer, as you can see :)
Love when this sweet boy takes a second to rest on his mama's lap.  It doesn't happen too often anymore, so when it does, I'm glad to have a picture.


Sometimes, it's the most random toys.


Carter really impressed me with his gift opening skills.  He was so....mature.  No ripping wildly and jumping from gift to gift.  He gets how this stuff works.

Except for the cards.  They are just a useless barrier between Carter and the goods.

:)

No, I didn't make the cake.  Are you kidding me?!


It's awfully nice to have a cake decorator wannabe in the family!! 

Fun Fact: My Grampie always seems to pop up in the background of Carter's birthday cake pictures.  I love this!
Jake, I'm sorry.  I know it's not your best shot.  But look at our kid!  Let me caption this for everyone else who doesn't live inside Carter's head, like we do:

"Girl! Why are you takin' my pitcher when I'm tryna eat my cake?! Get outta here, girl!"



All good stuff.

++++++

Jump ahead two days and we're at round two.

I did all the food for the first party, and Jake did all the food for this party.

He's a keeper...I know :)

I'm not sure why I have hardly any pictures from this party.  Maybe because I was zonked from the crazy weekend?  I don't know.  But here's what I do have.

Yes, he's in a pool.  It was one of his gifts!  We were really, really hoping he would get one.  Now when people drive by, our kid will be in a pool instead of a big Rubbermaid container.

I wish I was kidding.  What can I say?  We improvise.


Can you tell he liked the truck?  He had to take a nice, close look :)

And then there's this.


You may know that Carter is playing baseball this year.  He is playing on a Miracle League, which means he will have a buddy to help him.  But not just any buddy!  Because he has the best Uncle in the whole world, he'll be running the bases with Uncle Ben by his side.

So, of course, Uncle Ben bought Carter all the baseball stuff he could :) The shirt is his actual jersey.  The pants, cleats, and a mitt are all from Uncle B.

Is that sweet, or is that sweet?

Awww :)

++++++++

That's it.  Birthday Weekend, 6.0.  And now we have a big six year old.  Jake said "Do you feel old enough to be the mom of a six year old?".

NOPE!

Think about this: next year, he'll be seven.  What?!?

And here's something even crazier - in an hour, I'll be leaving to visit him at school for "Popsicles with Parents" - as he finishes his last year in Early Childhood.

Which means next year, it's Kindergarten.  Huh?!?

How did this happen?!

"When are you having more kids. though??".

More on this later.  Maybe.  Or maybe not :)

One Thing I Know For Sure: So proud of our big six year old!


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