Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Someone Turned 9 this summer

and it was the boy.  How is it possible that sometimes, even almost 8 years later, simply typing something about my boy makes me pause and question how I got so lucky to get this boy.  The unplanned for miracle in my life. 

Daniel wanted two things for his birthday legos... and... I forget the other thing.  What he got was the legos and a brand new set of golf clubs. 

He is still my little boy.  But, sometimes, sometimes I catch a glimpse of the man waiting to emerge.  It almost always gives me goose bumps.  Daniel is loving, and caring, and alot crazy. 

He is a boy magnet which is a good thing since he lives in a house full of women.  He always finds a group of boys and/or men to hang with. 

Case in point:

His athletic abilities have really rocked up in the last year.  It makes me laugh when I remember that round poly little boy I brought home who walked with a hip swivel and who was about as uncordinated as they come.

Daniel is also a great lover of books and legos.  Daniel had the chance to go to legos engineering camp this summer and he loved that almost as much as football.  Daniel almost always has a book in his hand and reads several grades above his own. 

Sometimes I worry that he is a little hyper.  He certainly adds a certain energy that our home would be sorely lacking without him ( peace would get boring right?).  But, when he bends his head over his legos for several hours and/or reads curled up on the couch I know he is just who he is...

My bouncing 9 year old Son.  I can't imagine life without him.  I wouldn't want to.

My bouncing 9 year old son who almost made me spit my frozen yogurt out the other night when he told me his dream vehicle at the moment is a open air jeep, neon, maybe pink.

Yes, because that won't get him teased when he pulls in at football practice in a few years!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Life Support Maybe?

Yeah, so I'm not so good at breathing life into things apparently.  Who knew?  I debated just letting the blog fade away.  I suspect most of my readers are gone now anyway.  But, it turns out I just can't do it.  I rely on the blog.  Just a few nights ago we had a discussion on the name of Riley's cross country coach - we didn't know what it was - we debated several options - I checked the blog (turned out both of us were wrong). 

So, I'm back if for no other reason than my memory is terrible!

I'll start with what we're doing now.  If I get really crazy I may go backward to what we've done!  I am sort of crazy - who knows.

Anyway,  the bulk of our summer so far has been swim team, swim meet, swim team.  It's not the only activity but the past several weeks its been the biggest.

Here's what we know - Daniel excels at this sport.  He doesn't have the prettiest stroke in the pool but he is wicked fast when he needs to be.  His improvement in diving and in swimming has been fun to watch.  It's not often he bests the big sister so I'm thrilled to see him enjoy his moment in the sun.  (or pool as the case may be).  He has the making of a great swimmer.  Check out that arm span.

Riley did not enjoy the swimming as much as Daniel.  First, and foremost I think, she was alone in her age group.  None of her friends from school swam.  While some of her friends from school are members of the same club they prefer boy watching and tanning to actual swimming.  (Shudder)

Also, secondary to that, Riley did well but she didn't exactly excel at swimming and that is a very bitter pill for her to swallow.  She lives to excel.  She has no interest in second place in anything.  It's long been a concern of mine and I've heard it echoed over and over by teachers who tell me about the pressure she puts on herself. 

It became a weekly mantra in my house that the number of ribbons didn't really matter to me as much if you were doing your personal best.  It is an extremely hard lesson to learn.  I don't believe she is there yet but I think we made progress on that front and she never gave up or refused to swim. She is growing up, just, please, no to the boys and the tanning for now.  I'm not ready.

So, swim is over.  It's not my favorite sport to watch.  Meets are LONG.  I had no idea when it started.  The first meet we went to started at 6pm.  I was sure I would be home before 8.  When they turned the outside lights on at 9:15 I knew I was in trouble.  That first meet, fortunately, was definitely the longest.  Still most swim meet nights I went 14 hours from leaving for work in the morning until I would arrive back at home after the meet.  Long, long, long days. 

Still, I will always do what has to be done to support the duo in their many, many activities.  Even the swimming. 

And, all told, I much prefer the swimming to something like....say..... football.  Football that is another activity the boy seems especially eager to take on.

But that would be a story for another day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Breathing new life into the blog

Signs of spring are beginning to come alive here in our neck of the woods.

It's been a long cold (windy) winter filled with lots and lots of changes around our home. 

We don't always do so well with change..... I've probably mentioned that before.

So we moved Feb. 1st and I will admit that the first month or month and 1/2 I was utterly convinced that I had made the biggest mistake ever.  We didn't like our house that much, we couldn't go outside, and we really, really disliked our new church building.  Sigh, the church thing hasn't really changed.  We really aren't very happy but we keep going and we hope that something changes there.  I feel a little like it's some kind of test and some days I'm entirely sure I'm failing at it.

But, in all other matters we are once again pretty content with our lot in life.  We have learned to love our new bigger piece of turf we call home.  We've been some pretty fabulous places this winter.  And recent more consistent school activities have brought much ride sharing between other similarly located parents which makes me very happy and a lot less stressed out about getting us everywhere we need to go plus we are forming some very deep friendships there which is a wonderful thing.

And my Kids?  My kids are pretty happy to.  And well they should be we've done some incredibly awesome things this winter in between the moving and everything.

First in January we traveled to Utah for the annual ski week with the cousins.  I don't call this a vacation.  With 8 children 9 and under running through the rental condo it is not a vacation for the parents but it is alot of fun most days.

Then in March I suprised the kids with an unexpected twist to our spring plans.  They thought we were spending spring break at my Mom's in Az but I blew their minds away once we arrived in Phoenix and I informed them that we were, in fact, headed to Hawaii for 6 wonderful days of fun.

Hawaii.... sigh.... could I please go back there again?  It was truely a paradise and a much needed balm after our hectic winter.

And I know that all of these plus a few more deserve their own blog post.  Especially the surfing in Hawaii.  I'll hope to get on that very, very soon.

In the meantime, I'm busy color cordinating the summer schedule of activities.  It's going to be crazy.  Which is pretty much normal around here.

But I'm not moving so there is that.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Because of Course We Make the Gingerbread Houses MC

Of course we do!  This summer I was lucky enough to strike up a conversation with the lady at the local farm's market that makes great granola (and mini pies).  She told me that she made gingerbread houses at Christmas time and gave me her card.  I called her in October curious what her houses would cost and found out that she would make them, put them together, and provide all of the candy for $20.  Hmm, that sounded like a great deal because I think I often pay that much for the cardboard box house.  I called my SIL and we decided to make a party out of it.

And that's the story about how it came to be that roughly 7 hours after I got home from my company christmas party (oh my aching head and sore feet) I found myself surrounded by 8 of my favorite little people. 

Riley and Daniel preparing for the cousins arrival.  It was killing them to wait.

Cousins hard at work

Even the parents got involved.  We decided next year we might have to have our own houses it was so much fun!
And here is our completed gingerbread village with the artists themselves.

It was a very fun way to spend our Saturday.  I let Riley and Daniel start eating them the very next day and I found it not only was it a great deal the gingerbread tasted really, really good. (and I'm not really a gingerbread fan so that is saying something). 
This is a tradition we have enjoyed for years and now we hope to continue to enhance it as a family project.  These cousins, they love each other so much and enjoy every minute we get to spend together.
Stay tuned this bunch is about to hit the ski slopes of Utah in a few short week!
MC - I hope you have as much fun with your gingerbread houses as we had with ours.  Next year we think you should think about joining us for our gingerbread extravaganza.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today I

  • Bit my tongue almost in ½ to stop from fussing at Daniel to please be quiet at the breakfast table (Riley and I just prefer quiet in the morning)
  • Packed special “I love you” notes in the lunchboxes
  • Didn’t force Riley to eat something for breakfast
  • Didn’t act like the drill sergeant I usually am most mornings with the “Did you brush your teeth?”, “Did you comb your hair?”  “Did you make your bed?”
  • I didn’t worry so much about dirty dishes in the sink or whether the blinds were up for the day.

Today I

  • Overlooked the unfortunate (in my eyes) headband that in no way keeps the hair out of Riley eyes
  • I played Christmas music on my phone during breakfast and on the way to school
  • I hugged everyone tight before they put on their shoes and coats and got in the car
  • And I think I said I love you 854 times and about as many “Have a great days” as I dropped them off at school.

  • Because somewhere in CT today are parents that don’t get to do those things anymore and I’m going to really try and remember what a privilege it is that I do.  I want to grow up and be that Mom that let her daughter wear that new dress and those new boots to school on Friday just because.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shh! Want to Know our Secret?

Our secret is not our secret anymore I suppose.  We've been absent from the blog for quite awhile doing all of the usual fall things that we love to do and... at the same time making plans for our future.

The Eckman family is on the move once more.  Yes, I, I who said our last move would be our last move has been proven wrong once again.  Quelle suprise there Ha!

I've been quietly looking around for about six months.  We've made a committment to our school of choice and it is obvious that we aren't going to change that.  I am just way excited about how well our school seems to fit us.  It's just part of who we are and, so, if this is who we are than we needed to be closer to it.  It just made sense you know?

So I started looking, and evaluating, and projecting ourselves 5 years down the road, 10 years down the road.. what was the right road?

And then one day I found it.  The right road or, in this case, the right house on the right road. We are leaving behind some people we love alot and we are moving further away from the farm and the family so on paper it doesn't make any sense at all.  In my heart and in my mind during the quiet moments (when I'm not struck dumb by anxiety - oh you know I'm an anxious doubting kind of sort) but in those moments when I allow myself to be silent.. then I know.. this is where we belong.  This is our new road (and our new house).

And we are embracing our new road feet first. 

After all, one of Riley's best friends who happens to live not 1 mile from our new home said it best of all - "This is going to be so awesome!"  I believe it will be.  It just will.  Be still my anxious heart.

Settlement - Jan 3.
Move date - March 20th.  (Just in time for Lacrosse season to swing into gear)

Manheim Township - here we come.

Here's my new kitchen - how sweet is that? Riley and I are itching to get in that kitchen and do some real cooking... and paint the walls... and do some real cooking!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blast From the Past

Because 7 years ago Riley, my Mom, and I flew 1/2 way around the world in search of a princess to join our family but instead found a prince with pink shoes.