Welcome to the jungle: Corin turns 8

Corin loves monkeys and requested a jungle party this year. My brother’s family came for the weekend, which meant lots of great cousin time for the kiddos. March 18 fell on a Sunday, so we got to celebrate on his actual birthday with the family and a few friends from school. We had a great time, and I enjoyed getting to know his friends a little better. They are sweet kids, and I loved seeing how much fun Corin had with them. The day started cloudy and cold, but the sun came out just long enough for the party. It was a great start to a new year of life for the boy who made me a mama.

Also: A huge thank you to all the family who pitched in and helped me pull everything together. I could NOT have gotten it done alone.

 

 

 

 

 

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And kindergarten – check!

Corin’s end-of-school party was today, and in a few hours, he’ll be headed out on his final bus ride as a kindergartner. We weathered all that anxiety last summer, and now he finished the year thriving and confident, a kid in his element with his friends and a teacher he has loved. I’m going to miss kindergarten. Even with the modern change to more academics, it definitely still has that introductory feel. First grade suddenly sounds like real school. Corin is excited about it, but, as usual, I am wishing we could slow things down, just a little.

And so our summer begins, on a cloudy, 67-degree day. We have plenty planned – a week of day camp for Corin in June, swim lessons for both kids, a week of family camp for all of us in July – but there will be some down time, too. I’ve penciled in the building of blanket forts, catching of fireflies, reading of books, watching of movies and roasting of marshmallows over bonfires. I’ll keep you posted.

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The kids played some fun relay games out on the blacktop, but we’ll limit the pictures to this one, since I don’t have permission to share the other kids’ photos. I did meet the much-discussed little girl Corin has identified as his future wife. 

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When Jon asked Corin last night what he would miss most about kindergarten, the answer was immediate: “Miss Davis.”

 

Start your (Mario Kart) engines!

Corin is old enough now to choose his own birthday party themes. I admit to a bit of trepidation on this front, but this year’s choice was manageable and fun, the win-win of kids’ parties. We still stick with mostly family parties, so both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins came to help us celebrate six years of Corin. The weather was COLD for the first official day of spring, but we made the most of our brief time outside and spent the rest of the time playing Mario Kart on the Wii, eating banana cake and ice cream and opening gifts. It was really fun. Seriously, I think my kids’ birthday parties are some of the best times of the year. I love watching them have a blast, and it’s such a great time with family.

But enough chit-chat, and on with the massive photo dump.

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Our newest addition, dad’s guide dog Honor, just home from training school.

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I think they love each other.

Longing, remembered and fulfilled

Last night, I tucked a five-year-old boy into bed for the last time. This morning, I woke a six-year-old up with the birthday song and made him scrambled eggs for breakfast. After he left with daddy to meet the bus, I sat down at this computer and pulled up the journal I kept for more than three years leading up to Corin’s birth. The first entry was dated December 28, 2006. I addressed the journal to our as-yet non-existent child.

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at that journal and remembered what those years of infertility were like. I cried as I read back over the entries and remembered months upon months of delayed hopes and crushing disappointments, the endless prayers of longing and fear and hope and trust.

On July 28, 2009, I wrote:

I find myself feeling almost superstitious as I type this entry, as if by writing out the same hopes and dreams I’ve expressed so many times before, I might chase away the possibility of a different outcome. I’ll admit, I am scared. I have moments where I can hardly breathe for fear of the crushing disappointment that may wait just around the corner. But as I said, I have hope, too. And in those moments when emotions swell, I reach for my only true recourse: prayer. I know God continues to be with us, and I am determined to trust Him with my life – and yours, little one. I plead with Him to let me now be carrying our firstborn child, but I pray that above all, His will is done. What is faith if I only trust Him in smooth waters, when I can see what lies ahead? Faith becomes real in these uncertain moments.

The next morning, I went in to our local clinic for a blood beta pregnancy test. After so many times staring at a tiny window and wishing for a line that never appeared, I was too afraid to test at home before the official blood results. On July 31st, the nurse at the clinic in Maryland (where we had gone for the actual IVF cycle) called with the news that the test was positive. Jon and I jumped with joy and trembled and cried, and then we stopped to say a prayer of gratitude and to ask for God’s protection for the tiny life that was just beginning to form.

Today, I still pray over that life, no longer so tiny. I remember the little butt that was wedged for weeks under my ribs and the tiny hands and feet that rocked my belly, and I marvel to see those parts walking around, pieces of this marvelous, challenging, growing boy. That tiny life we longed and prayed for is my six-year-old son, who throws his arms around me and says he loves me several times a day. I look at him today, and I remember the longing of those years. I remember the baptism by fire of his newborn days, and I remember so many moments of joy and frustration and exhaustion and laughter since. There is no honor in my life – no accomplishment or goal met – that will ever equal the fulfillment of being this boy’s mother. He is my firstborn, the child of those many years of longing, God’s answer to innumerable prayers.

Happy birthday, Corin.

Newborn Corin

A cold day at the zoo, or, happy birthday, Corin

Five years ago today, my son, my precious firstborn, made me a mom, and life has been so rich and full ever since. The pictures pretty much tell the story of how we’ve celebrated his actual birthday. Still to come: his favorite dinner of homemade mac and cheese.

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They really do love each other.

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This photo cracks. me. up.

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Licking the frosting off the chocolate cupcake he picked out at Ivey Cake.

Corin William at 4 years

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Corin at 4:

  • Can talk your ear off, spinning wildly fantastic stories about any subject that has captured his imagination. He is sometimes shy, particularly in new situations, but he is also often friendly and chatty with strangers in the grocery store. He uses a very grown-up vocabulary and syntax, which can sound pretty funny out of the mouth of a pre-schooler. (For example, he uses “certainly” quite regularly.) He speaks clearly but still has a few holdovers from toddler speak, such as “y” sounding like “l” (“lellow”) and “th” sounding like “f” (go “wif” you somewhere). He also has a bit of a southern accent, which is more developmental than regional. He wants you to sit “next of” him at the table.
  • Is a sweet-natured kid who generally remembers his manners and behaves well in public (with the inevitable off day here and there).
  • Tends to be a non-participant in structured group activities like singing along at church or Mother’s Day Out. He prefers to be an observer, and he’ll then sing the songs in their entirety at home.
  • Is usually a good eater, and with some encouragement will eat a wide range of vegetables and fruits, including salad. His favorite foods are haystacks (similar to a taco salad), macaroni and cheese, hardshell bean tacos and enchiladas. (There’s a definite Mexican theme.)
  • LOVES books and will sit quietly and be read to as long as someone is willing. He is able to enjoy simple chapter books. His favorite Bible story is David and Goliath, which gets regular time in his imaginative play.
  • Is fascinated with airplanes, construction vehicles and cars. His transportation-themed toys are in constant rotation.
  • Is beginning to appreciate Legos and the skill of building things. He is pretty adept at following a simple pattern.
  • Has really developed socially and loves to play with other kids. He interacts well with kids who are his age or even quite a bit older. An example: At a playground recently, I lost sight of him for a few minutes and then relocated him learning basic soccer and football skills from a couple of very patient 9- or 10-year-old boys. They were having a great time, and he was chatting away with them.
  • Is becoming more independent all the time. This has never been one of his stronger personality traits – he’d really rather someone else do things for him, if possible – but he is learning to take ownership of simple tasks and will often insist on doing things himself, now. He feeds the fish by himself, dresses himself, cleans up his own toys and occasionally helps feed the dog or set the table for supper. He likes to help cook. He helps with simple yard work tasks like pulling weeds.
  • Can be very bossy! He has very specific ideas of how things should go, and he won’t hesitate to hand out orders like a worksite foreman. He does not like having his carefully-arranged toys messed up by, say, a baby sister on the prowl.
  • Does not respond well to pressure. If he senses a lot of pressure to do or say something specific, he will often shut down. If I want to know how his day at Mother’s Day Out went, I often have to let him tell me in his own time. The details will usually eventually emerge, but pointed questions may get an, “I don’t want to tell you” response. Reverse psychology works wonders at this age.
  • Is a knowledge sponge. He asks lots of “why” and “how” questions, so we’re relying more heavily on Google these days. We recently spent a good hour reading about the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, super sonic flight and the space shuttle.
  • Shows little artistic or musical aptitude yet. His idea of craft time is cutting pieces of paper into small bits or smearing water color paint around on a page until it all looks a murky shade of brown. His singing is…rather bereft of tune. His strengths seem to lie in communication, conceptual and imaginative pursuits and possibly technical or engineering-related skills. We’ll see if that persists.
  • Loves the outdoors and is a great hiker. He has been known to hike at least a couple miles without issue.
  • Is sometimes argumentative and certainly knows how to push the boundaries. He likes to test his parents. He has a rather loose relationship with the truth.
  • Is very attached to his lion lovey. He can sleep without it, but he wouldn’t be happy about it.
  • Still adores his mama and likes to take time in his day to “cuddle on the couch wif you.” Of course, he also loves his daddy and grandparents, and he’s a pretty sweet big brother to Lina. He loves to have her come with me to get him up in the mornings, and sometimes I have to respond to her wails because brother and trying to keep her with him against her will.

He is my heart.

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His most frequent pose.

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“Corin, your hair’s a mess.” “Here, I’ll fix it.”

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“Is that better?”

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Resting, Corin-style

I would like to share an example of how Corin’s nap time – and I use that term extremely loosely – goes these days.

*Loud and long tuneless singing of made-up songs mixed with a few selections he’s learned at church or Mother’s Day Out. Today’s lyrics are along a salvation theme.*

*Loud clapping and cheering*

*Whispered: “That was a good song, wasn’t it? Yes, it was a very good song.*

*Repeat*

This is currently being followed by what sounds like a full re-enactment of the David and Goliath confrontation.

I’m not entirely sure how restful “nap time” is any more.