Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Sunday Best Episode 4: Back to Our Little Chapel

This picture was taken a few hours after Mass, and don't look too closely at it. Apparently I must have swiped my hand across my eye at some point in in the day, and smeared mascara right into one of my crow's feet. I didn't even know it until I looked at this photo, so it's a good thing I didn't go anywhere like that.
Shorts: J.Crew via ThredUp; blouse: Old Navy
I'm getting to where I kind of never want to see my summer clothes again. I want it to be fall, I want to put on sweaters and leggings and LAYERS again. But I'm out of luck because it is hotter than blazes here, and fall weather doesn't come until December (although I usually jump the gun on fall clothes sometime in September). I keep digging through my closet again and again to see if there's anything I missed. When I got back here from Massachusetts a couple weeks ago, I discovered that I had, despite eating an ice cream cone every day, lost the last of the baby weight -- and could now wear these aqua shorts. So I've been wearing them a lot. They fit perfectly, but I don't know if they look right on me. They look crooked, but maybe it's me that's crooked .. But they fit! This morning I paired them with this black blouse that I hadn't worn in forever but had been unwilling to get rid of. I'm so glad I didn't get rid of it because it came in handy, and now I realize I really like it. Black and aqua, can't go wrong with that. (I feel like every other thing I own is some variation of aqua/turquoise/teal/mint, and so be it. I love that color family!)

We're back to our little base chapel again for the second week I think, the dead cockroach is finally gone, and the a/c works -- hooray! The singer moved away, and now it's just the organist playing the music and singing. That hasn't been going well. We think the poor lady can either sing OR play the organ, NOT both at the same time. She can't get it together, and the music has been weird. But she is up there and she is giving it her best, and for that I have profound admiration. If I didn't sound like a dying cat when I sing I might volunteer to help her.

I want to meet the new people I've been seeing, but by the time Mass is over, we are too weary to be sociable on the front steps with everyone else. Wrangling Mr. Squirmypants Joey is a workout, and then there's the constant warnings we have to give to five-year-old Timmy for his less than stellar behavior. He still can't find it within himself to behave for one hour a week at Mass.  As a consequence he had to miss out on Ice Age: Collision Course at the base movie theater this afternoon. Then there's been Tim's bad back this weekend, the heat, and it's 11:30 and we're all hungry for lunch. Maybe next week!

For more My Sunday Best, go to A Blog for my Mom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Joey: 8 Months

We moved Joey out of our room as soon as we got home from Massachusetts a little over a week ago. For the first few nights he slept like usual -- dream feed at 10, nurse again around 4, and up for the day a couple hours later. I relished not having to tiptoe around our room in the dark and the luxury of reading a book before going to sleep. He had not been a good roommate! But then he went through a regression, which I've read is common at this stage, even without throwing in travel and changes in sleeping arrangements. I've gotten him back on track now, using the Sleep Lady's techniques as I did with the girls. Last night he slept from 8 until 5:30 this morning. Nice! There will probably be some more ups and downs, but I am doggedly determined when it comes to getting older babies to sleep through the night. What a difference a good night of sleep makes for us all. Worth fighting for, and definitely worth losing sleep over (ironically) in the short term.
Now that school's started I've gotten him on a good schedule during the day. He is up at 6 like the rest of us, then down for his morning nap soon after the other kids leave for school. Then he's up in time for us to take part in Stroller Warriors or a playgroup, or whatever else we have planned. He has a second nap after lunch, and then sometimes a third nap. But he's been fighting that one so I don't know for how much longer. Those first two naps are the important thing. And now I never want to be out and about when he's supposed to be napping. I love having him on a schedule and I don't want to do anything to mess it up. Unfortunately, life interferes sometimes.
He's still not interested in solid food, and that's been typical of my babies up to about a year. He eats a few Cheerios while sitting at the table with us, but drops most of them on the floor. He nurses quite a bit. One new development is that he can drink out of a sippy, usually with help and rather messily by himself. It is so nice now to have an alternate way of feeding him. It came in handy on the long drive back here when he was too distracted to nurse during our stops; and I pumped and gave him the milk in a cup to drink while we were on the road.
He learned to clap his hands while we were in Massachusetts, and started to wave too. Sometimes he pats his cheek too, but we don't know why. He has playful and silly moods that we really enjoy. It's hard not to smother him with love. He laid his head on Timmy's lap today when we were sitting on the floor, and he's been known to give open mouth kisses once in awhile. It is so wonderful when the baby we've been loving on for month after month starts to love on us too.
He is obsessed with doors -- opening and closing them, going through them and turning around and coming back through the other way, stopping at the threshold so he's half in and half out.. Endless fascination. He will pause a nursing session just to go play with the door. It's maddening at times, especially if I know he's hungry.

We all dote on him like crazy. The kids miss him so much while they're at school, and they can't wait to get their hands on him when they get home, particularly Annie who's the little mama. I love the way his eyes light up when he sees them. I'm so grateful for this baby boy who brings us so much joy.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why Are We Such Meanies? {In Defense of Toy Minimalism}

Delaney is holding a tiny stuffed animal in her hands with a plaintive look on her face. "It's only $5. Pleeaase, I'll pay you back." Those big brown eyes pull on anyone's heartstrings. She is still so simple in her likes, just a little child at nine years of age. She has so many stuffed animals, but this one is special. And it's only $5, so what's the big deal? It's so easy to say yes to these kinds of things and so hard to say no, even though our attempts to teach her to prioritize her wants through a weekly allowance have thus far resulted in scenarios like these. What's wrong with letting her have all the things? All the cute, cuddly little things she wants? Better that than the iPad she always talks about saving up for (with the money she can't wait to spend on stuffed animals).

Where do I start with all the reasons I should be a monster and tell her no? This is something that's been on my mind lately and thought I would try to organize my thoughts and share them here. This goes to the heart of what kind of people we are attempting to bring them up to be.

We want them to be grateful. When it comes to the kids, I use the expression "Easy come, easy go" a lot. It is well known that whenever things are easy to come by, you take them for granted. That's why if you give one of our kids a dollar for performing a small chore, we're likely to find it in the couch cushions later. It's the reason why game pieces are scattered to the four corners of the house and not picked up and put away. Gratitude is one of the hardest things to instill in our kids. When you expect things, when they know there will always be more, there's no need to keep track of them or put them in a safe place. They are fortunate enough that they have never had to do without anything, which is great. But somehow we have to try to raise them to be grateful and appreciative.

What are some ways we try to do this? Making sure they say "Thank you." Not giving them the thing they happen to want at the moment. By telling them no, or telling them maybe for Christmas or a birthday; or maybe they can save their allowance and buy it themselves. Delayed gratification. I struggle with this myself on a daily basis. My favorite blogs are always telling me about what clothing item or accessory will complete my wardrobe. There's a skin cream that's going to lift years off my haggard, sleep-deprived face. Anytime I walk through Target or TJ Maxx, I see the displays and think, 'I need that. OK, maybe I don't need it but I could really use it..' It is so hard to not be greedy. I have to walk on by, and I have to let them see me doing that. Even if it's on clearance! Is it a great deal if you have no business buying it in the first place? No, it's not.

We want them to be generous. It is more blessed to give than to receive. This concept comes more readily to some of us than to others. If Annie has a few dollars to spend, she looks for something she can share with Delaney and Timmy. It makes us so proud and we are always sure to tell her so. We want to raise generous kids who will become generous adults. Again it's up to us as parents to set the example. A portion of every paycheck is allotted to the church and to whatever other charities we feel moved to give to. We can always work on being more generous. As Mom always says, "God will never be outdone in generosity." In order to teach our kids generosity, they put some of their allowance into the "giving jar", some in the "saving jar", and the rest is theirs to do with whatever they want. We would love to see our kids who are not as naturally inclined toward generosity to learn the joy that comes from choosing to give.

Saying no to Delaney when she asks to borrow $5 to buy a stuffed animal is not going to help her learn generosity; but saying yes will probably feed into the selfishness that we're trying to discourage.

We want them to learn that having too many things is excessive and wasteful.

That's the best way I know how to put it. Things have gotten a little out of control, and not just in the stuffed animal category. Tim and I are always asking each other, as children of the '70s and '80s, did WE ever have this much stuff? It seems that everywhere we turn, crap is being thrust at our kids. We can't leave a birthday party without a swag bag full of dollar store toys. It might only be a dollar, but it's such a waste of a dollar. It will end up in my trash can or under their beds within hours. After a dental checkup the kids pick little plastic lizards or little guys on motorcycles, to go put in the little bag with their toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Why? Even their teachers are in on the conspiracy. My kids in primary grades are rewarded for their behavior with a trip to the treasure box at the end of the day/week. Some will say, "That's better than candy that will rot their teeth." But why does the treasure box need to exist? Can't a verbal "Great job!" and note to your mom about what a good student you are be its own reward? What's the point of all this garbage? Why is it necessary to say "Good job!" or "Thanks for coming!" or "Way to sit in a chair while we look at your teeth!" with MORE STUFF?

My kids love it. The girls, especially, like to keep everything they get from everywhere. Their room, without our constant vigilance, quickly becomes full of what can only be characterized as debris. Tim likens them to little birds who are trying to build a nest. We find little bits of stuffing from inside things. Little scraps of paper. Stickers. Strings. Feathers. Fabric. Broken toys. Almost all of it is too big to be sucked up by a vacuum and they don't play with any of it. We don't even know where most of it comes from. When told to clean up, they might pick it up and put it in a basket, but it wouldn't occur to them to just throw it away. They seem to enjoy wallowing in it.

Some would argue that as long as it's in their own space, I should just close the door and not worry about it. But these are not the standards we want to raise them to have. Even nesting birds have a specific place and a purpose for all their little scraps, and that brings me to my next point:

We need order in our lives (and hope they will want it for themselves one day).

We have a bigger than normal family. More of us means more stuff, but it doesn't need to mean too much, and not all over. Everything has a place and everything needs to be in its place. If we have a container for widgets that's full, that means we don't need any more widgets. (And we don't need a bigger container either!)  If I give the girls a cute bin for the corner of the room for the purpose of holding stuffed animals, what does that mean? If it's full, they get no more unless they want to get rid of one or two. It does not mean the overflow goes on their beds and under their beds. If I designate a hanging shoe organizer for all her itty-bitty stuffies, what does that mean? Once all the little compartments are full she doesn't get any more unless she wants to throw away or donate one or two. There IS a such thing as enough. We require our kids to make their beds and keep their rooms picked up and things put away. If you have to clear a path from the door to your bed or to your closet, that is no way to live. While they are under our roof, they will not live that way. I hope they never do. Over the years we've learned that it's more manageable getting them to clean up when they have a minimum of toys and knicknacks.

Again, Tim and I lead by example. A big black trash bag sits outside the door to the garage, and as I'm going about my day, if I see something that we no longer need, that someone else can benefit from, it goes in the bag. I have no qualms about throwing things away if I determine that no one can benefit from them. Once in awhile, Tim has trouble closing his t-shirt drawer and realizes maybe he doesn't need 55 shirts and he can part with a few. I might decide a cute pair of sandals I wore in 2005 is probably not coming back, but if it does, I still don't need it. Maybe I'll scrutinize a piece of decor that I've been saving for the right house, and realize that I really don't like it anymore. We fill up one bag a month, I'd estimate.

Tim and I come under fire from time to time for the infamous appliance box full of toys and stuffed animals that got "lost in the move." Here's what happened: Once we'd unpacked most of the house and saw how much we already had, and how much the kids already had, we did not want to open this box. This box contained almost all the stuff that was in the kids' playroom in NC. We have no dedicated playroom here. We let it sit in the garage for a couple weeks while we deliberated. Finally, before either of us could open the box and change our minds, Tim put it in the back of his truck and took it to the Salvation Army. The kids asked about that box for awhile and I admit to feeling a little guilty. But do I regret that these things are not filling up every corner of the kids' rooms when it's already so hard to get them to clean up? Nope.

We want them to be responsible with money. 

As I already mentioned, they divide their allowance into savings, giving and spending. They earn their allowance by performing a few specific chores a week and just being helpful in general. When Tim sits them down to give them their allowance he asks them how much of the determined amount THEY think they've earned, and lots of hemming and hawing follows. Sometimes their allowance is docked, or maybe some of what would have been allocated for spending is put into giving based on the conclusion they come to about their performance in a given week. (This is all Tim by the way; I have no energy for this.)

Tim is a financial expert. Unlike me he is a born saver. Pre-Tim I was never in debt, but I was never goal-oriented in my saving and investing the way he is and pretty much always was. It took me a little while to come around to his way of doing things (i.e., recording our spending by category into Quicken and not spending in a way that hurts our longterm goals.) Before we merged our finances, I was lazy and shortsighted when it came to money. I wasn't bouncing any checks or carrying any credit card debt, and I figured that was good enough. But now I get it. We have to be managing his income, we have to know where it all goes, and we have to save for our future and our kids'.

Tim is trying to pass his ways onto them, but not with a whole lot of success. In a moment of weakness recently, I gave in to Delaney's request to borrow, but we've since decided her borrowing days are over. I hope that if we keep modeling responsibility with money, and keep enforcing our rules, eventually they will learn.

In conclusion..

I hope it's clear by now to my handful of dear readers that our intent is not to be mean parents or to turn our house into a boot camp. To be honest, I don't always know if we're doing the right thing. I'm nagged by guilt and worry sometimes. If Delaney winds up on an episode of Hoarders, it's going to be because of us. I hesitate to use the term "minimalist" because a quick Google of minimalism will tell you we're nowhere near that extreme; but I've heard people describe us using that term. Honestly, I can proudly own whatever degree of minimalism we embrace. But our ways have drawn criticism from family members, and some of it is probably deserved. Here we are trying to teach our children gratitude, but we must seem very ungrateful ourselves at times as we continuously purge our home of things, many of which were gifts from loved ones at one time or another. I have made, and will continue to make every effort to ensure our kids have space to keep the things they use, enjoy and cherish no matter how much we need to downsize at our next duty station (more on that later). And I never want to be a grinch when it comes to birthdays or Christmas.* I love watching them open presents, and am not just scheming about how quickly I can make them disappear.

How well do we uphold our lofty standards? Not always well. I fail time and time again. I've said yes to Delaney more times than I want to admit, and maybe told her no when I shouldn't have. Maybe I've gotten rid of some things that I shouldn't have, in moments of frustration (but nobody misses them). If you were to walk into my house right now, you would not see only clear, shiny surfaces and everything put away. Far from it. We're not perfect in this or in any area of life. We just do the best we can, and praise God these are the kind of problems we have and not how are we going to pay the bills or put food on the table.

It feels good to get that off my chest! Happy Sunday and New School Year Eve.

* I brought up the idea to Tim that maybe the next time we do a big birthday party for any of the kids, we can do a book swap like one of my friends in North Carolina did; or perhaps pick a charity for guests to donate to in lieu of gifts. But I would want the kids on board with that idea, and not force them to.

Friday, August 12, 2016

20 Questions for Timmy at Age 5

1. Who is your favorite person in the world? You.

2. What is your favorite color? Dark blue.

3. What is your favorite show? Paw Patrol.
4. What is your favorite outfit? Um.. My jet shirt. What else? My black running pants.

5. What is your favorite sport? Basketball.

6. What is your favorite song? Cruise (by Florida Georgia Line)
7. What is your favorite cereal? Dinosaur oatmeal.

8. Who is your best friend? Riley.

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A military policeman. Don't pull me over and search my car with dogs, OK? I'm gonna search you..
10. What is your favorite book? The Paw Patrol library book.

11. What are you really good at? Basketball.

12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation? New York City.
13. What is your best memory? The cruise with Grandma and Grandpa.

14. What would you buy if you had a thousand dollars? You know, a big box of cars.

15. What is your favorite vegetable? Apples.
16. If you could have a wish, what would it be? To go to Disneyland.

17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Monster mint.

18. Who is your biggest hero? Daddy.
19. What do you like to do with your friends? Play soccer.

20. What do you hope to do before your next birthday? I don't really know.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summertime and the Living's Easy

Several months ago we decided that the kids and I would spend all of July and some of August in Massachusetts. My parents-in-law were suffering from too much peace and quiet in their house, and needed help eating all their food. I wanted to avoid being stuck in the air conditioning for weeks at a time with three bored kids and a baby.

Tim drove us up right at the end of June, and stayed with us a couple days before he had to go back to work. At about four weeks into our six-week stay, there's no doubt we made the right decision coming here. This change of scenery is exactly what we all needed, and since Tim Sr and Carolyn are both retired, they've been helping me a ton with the kids. The Big Three are too busy to be in my hair. They've been going to a half-day summer camp the majority of weekday mornings in July. They swim in the pool out back with no need for me to be there since we have plenty of lifeguards in the family. They go on bike rides with their grandpa. They go on a lot of outings with or without me along, depending on how I'm feeling on a particular day or how well I think Joey can handle it. It takes all the pressure off me. I can't stop sharing pictures on Instagram and Facebook of the beautiful places we've been going and the fun things we've been doing. We are incredibly blessed to be able to give our family such great memories.

But as I suspect is true in everyone's life, there's a side to the story that the nice pictures don't show. It has been very hard to discipline a headstrong and meltdown-prone five-year-old without his father to help. He has really been testing his limits. And it is hard to effectively parent him or any of the other kids when I'm running on maybe a few scattered hours of sleep because the seven-month-old has decided he hates sleep. I have been weary and sad at times. It's tough, too, being separated from Tim all these weeks, and to not have him be a part of all these good (and bad?) times. But we knew going into this that was the price we'd have to pay. We keep agreeing again and again it's all worth it. Besides, he's been traveling so much we'd only be seeing him a few days at a time in South Carolina.
There are events every week at the town common.Here we are at a concert by the Navy Northeast Rock Band.
Teaching Grandma how to play Uno on a rainy afternoon.
Goofy cousins
There's this place that is has a picnic ground on a lake AND a waterslide park. We spent a whole day here and had a blast. Timmy was old enough this time to go down the slides by himself, and he finally worked up the nerve toward the end. He went down the scariest slide! I wish I had pictures, but I had gone down first and was waiting for him at the bottom. There's an opportunity for the park to make a fortune selling pics of people coming down the slides. In the picture above, Joey is being held by his auntie Kathy, and that's her older daughter Sofia smiling at him.
Auntie Sam got him to go to sleep a couple times while we were there. He's warming up to his female relatives in spite of himself. There are too many of them and they wore him down.
Birthday party for Delaney and Timmy at Davis Farmland. Delaney's BFF Norah, who used to live next door to us in SC, got to come and sleep over with us that night.
We went on a short hike at Purgatory Chasm one day, but I seem to be missing all the pictures I took with my phone. They must have gotten lost somehow, between uploading a bunch of pictures to Google Drive, and then deleting them off my phone. That was really something. My kids were really unsure of themselves at first, because any hiking they've done up until this point has been on smooth, even surfaces. There are no hills in the south. Here, they had to climb up and down rocks! I thought I'd have to turn around with Timmy 20 seconds into the trail because he was petrified (no pun intended, haha). I really enjoyed watching their confidence grow every time they made it over an obstacle. That's an experience every kid ought to have -- many times. The same could be said for me too! One time, Delaney and Sofia cheered me on as I climbed up a rock that looked too tall and too sheer. I haven't done much climbing of anything since my Marine Corps days, and I'm out of shape. But they wanted me to do it so I did it, and had a nice skinned shin to show for it. Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives.
I've been informed that they don't normally do all this stuff in summertime. They have a lot of lazy days and sometimes go two weeks without seeing one another (gasp!) They've been planning all these excursions because we're here. I feel very special. Here we are right before we left for Lake Quinsigamond.
The morning after a cousins' sleepover, they all spent time outside with the next door neighbor, Diane, along with her grandson and her dog. Diane once raised baby eagle chicks herself and helped bring back bald eagles from the brink of extinction in New England. She wrote a book about it, and told them stories and showed them pictures. Needless to say, Delaney was utterly captivated and is now in possession of her own signed copy. Oh, and she let them feed the fish in her pond. A morning at summer camp can't compete with that!
Eight more days until Tim returns, and three days after that we begin the two-day drive back to SC. A week later it's back to school, and the kids can annoy their friends with stories that start with, "This one time in Massachusetts.." They think it's perpetual summer break here!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Joey: 7 Months

It's been kind of a whirlwind of a month, and here I am a week behind on Joey's update! I don't like that, but the busyness has been a nice change of pace, even if I do feel like I'm losing my mind sometimes, or about to drop from exhaustion. We're having such a fun visit with Tim's side of the family in Massachusetts, and doing all the things we only dream about in sleepy Beaufort, SC. Even just being outdoors in the middle of the day and not burning up in the heat and being bitten by bugs is priceless.
So what is new with Joey..?

He has progressed from crawling to pulling up on anyone and anything he can -- oftentimes it's my legs as I'm standing at the kitchen sink. The thing he's having trouble with is getting back down. Sometimes he just falls on his padded butt and that's fine. Other times he is shocked to feel the back of his head hitting the floor. I feel really bad for him then. I do hope he masters how to get back down soon.
He is still not eating any solids besides one oyster cracker a couple weeks ago that the kids are always reminding me about: "He doesn't eat foods." "But he ate that one oyster cracker!"  I offer him things from my plate now and again, and he will mouth it, chew it, break it up into bits and slobber copiously. But he doesn't ingest any of it. We give him Cheerios on his tray just to keep him busy, and when I lift him out of the chair, I find those soggy Cheerios stuck to him and the chair.
He's going through a lot of separation anxiety, especially now that we're staying with Tim's parents and he's seeing all these faces that he's not used to coming and going, and hearing everyone's noise. It can be a little overwhelming. He likes the quiet, and he likes having me to himself. I keep hoping with every time the family's around he gets a little more inoculated to the hubbub, but that is yet to be the case. Sometimes he has trouble going to sleep at night and keeps waking up and crying, needing reassurance that I haven't disappeared.
Oh, and a funny thing we've discovered -- he is afraid of women but usually not men. Why that is, I have no idea since he's such a mama's boy and definitely prefers me to his father. But here when surrounded by family members male and female, he shows a clear preference for males. He goes readily to his grandpa, but is still scared of his grandma. He shrinks from his aunties or grudgingly allows them to hold him. Tim's sister Karen's fiance Matt, whom he's only seen a handful of times, is his favorite of all. I don't even think Matt's comfortable with this. They're like, "You take him, Matt, he likes you." Matt looks like he's afraid to move or he'll break Joey, and he's probably thinking, 'How did I get to be the one?' I've theorized that the reason he's more comfortable around men is because the women approach him with big toothy smiles and that scares him. But then yesterday he met a male family friend for the second time ever, and he had a big toothy grin too, and Joey smiled back at him. It is a mystery.
He's still never taken a bottle, but I've been trying different sippy cups with not much success. I've tried a soft spout, a straw, and something new, a cup that works just like a cup but doesn't spill. Carolyn brought it home and I was surprised that such a thing existed. (I'm pretty sure I didn't have that option when the other kids were babies.) I had been filling the different cups with water, and he was taking a drink or two but wasn't really interested. Yesterday I put my milk in the cup that works like a cup, and he drank it eagerly. He spilled probably half of it down the front of his shirt, but it's progress! It can be really hard to get him to nurse sometimes when we're out and about and he's distracted by whatever's going on. It would be much easier to give him a cup at those times.

When I talk about him, I call him Joey; but when I'm addressing him, I find myself calling him Joe. I don't know why. All my other kids I call something ending in -y. But then there's my Joe and all the things that rhyme with it. Uh-oh, Joe! No, no, Joe! Say it ain't so, Joe! See how much more fun that is.
We had some rough nights of sleep here as he adjusted to staying in a new place. One night he was up every hour just about, and I was like the walking dead the next day. Currently it's not so bad. He goes down for the night around 7:30 or 8, and I usually dream feed him at 10 before I go to bed. Then he wakes up to nurse around 4 most mornings, then back to sleep until ONLY 5:45 or so, and that's the killer. Then I might pawn him off on Tim Sr who is up at that time. If he wakes up closer to 6, Annie hears him and comes to get him. I very much appreciate the help because I'd do just about anything for another hour of sleep. During the day he typically takes a morning nap a couple hours after he's up for the day; and an early afternoon nap. Sometimes he takes a short late afternoon nap too. It's starting to look like a routine.

Right before we left to come here, I took him to the doctor and he tipped the scale at 17 pounds 3 oz. I forget his height, but he was something like 70th percentile for height and maybe 50th for weight.

As I type this he's on the floor next to me, trying to reach the fan cord that I put up out of his reach. Oh, Joe -- you're nothing but trouble but I love you so!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

20 Questions for Delaney at Age 9

1. Who is your favorite person in the world? Daddy.

2. What is your favorite color? Blue.

3. What is your favorite TV show? (Thinks for awhile) Does it have to be a TV show? (I tell her no.) The Secret Life of Pets.
4. What is your favorite outfit? I'll wear anything. (Clothes that are comfy seem to be her favorite. Lately she's been wearing the cotton bike shorts that I got for them to wear under play dresses, with almost any top. As I asked her these questions she was wearing tie-dye blue and white bike shorts with a navy and red Red Sox tank top. She is an individual.)

5. What is your favorite sport? Football.

6. What is your favorite song? (She has to think about it.) Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day. (Luke Bryan for the win!)
7. What is your favorite cereal? Kashi Heart 2 Heart. (Of course it's the uber-expensive cereal that pretends to be healthy but is really just a denser version of Cheerios with extra sugar! That's a favorite of mine too!)

8. Who is your best friend? Norah.

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet.
10. What's your favorite book? (Again, no obvious answer comes to mind. Delaney is ALWAYS reading something, and she likes a lot of books.) Max.

11. What are you really good at? Putting my tongue on my nose.

12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation? Massachusetts. (How nice, since that's where we happen to be spending our entire July and the first part of August.)
13. What is your best memory? When we were in North Carolina, jumping into the snow off that little playground thingamajiggy we had.

14. What would you buy if you had a thousand dollars? A thousand doggies. (I tell her that I think doggies cost more than a dollar.) A lot of doggies then.

15. What is your favorite vegetable? Corn.
16. If you could have a wish, what would it be? To have a doggy. (Years ago, somehow, someway, Delaney extracted a promise from us that she'll get a dog when she's 10. And we never promise these kids anything. They get 'We'll always love you', and that's pretty much it. Maybe we didn't use the word 'promise', but at some point we said, "You'll get a dog when you're 10." Back when 10 seemed so far away. Back when we assumed she'd forget everything we told her anyway. Hahaha. Delaney has been counting down the years. We're going to make good on the dog promise, but she knows that it will probably need to wait until AFTER we move and get settled into a new house next summer, so at least end of July or August. Then we have to pick the perfect dog for our family that we aren't going to instantly regret, and that will probably take some time. Delaney has researched and chosen Australian cattle dog as the breed that is the best fit for our family. I also wouldn't be opposed to rescuing a mutt. But it had better be a good mutt. I'm going to have to brace myself for a lot of dog talk as the one-year countdown begins and the anticipation builds!)

For the record, I like dogs too, but I know from past experience that the wrong dog can really make for some bad days. The one who barks all the time. The one who poops or pees in the house. The one who destroys the furniture. The one who's always trying to chew on me. The one who's trying to escape and harass other people and their dogs. The one who needs more attention than a baby, and I already have one of those. I know there are also many good dogs out there that I've also seen for myself. I want to make sure we get one of the good ones!

17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate.

18. Who is your biggest hero? Daddy.

19. What do you like to do with your friends? Play with doggies!

20. What do you hope to do before your next birthday? Get a doggy.