Posted by: allisonbarton | July 1, 2014

All A Kid Needs

I couldn’t find our sprinkler. I couldn’t find the slip ‘n slide. I couldn’t find the baby pool/slide combination thing that he has probably far outgrown.

He didn’t care.

A hose is all he needed.

June 29, 2014

No one will be surprised to learn that by the end of this little adventure in hose play I was completely soaked.

It was worth it.

June 29, 2014

Posted by: allisonbarton | June 26, 2014

The Surprise We Kept

Zach’s father just celebrated his 60th birthday. To commemorate the amazingness that is turning 60, Zach’s mother decided we should throw a surprise party.

But not just any surprise party. This would be extra special. Amazingly special. We would get family and friends from all over the country in addition to the family and friends that are close. We would have amazing food, a bartender (!), and lots and lots of fun. It would be hosted at our house, under the guise that Zach would make us all cocktails before a fancy dinner out in order to get Zach’s father, called Big D by Alex (and, let’s be honest, everyone else at this point because kids do that), to our place.

Somehow we managed to keep the secret. Somehow, even though Alex knew for months, no one spilled the beans.

Somehow we managed to get almost all of the many people who love Big D to Pittsburgh, staying in hotels, quietly facebooking so no one knew where they were, eating take-out at our house because we couldn’t go out and risk being spotted! Somehow we managed to absolutely shock Big D.

D's 60th Birthday Party

And, yeah, there were many (happy) tears shed.

D's 60th Birthday Party

At one point Alex asked me why people were crying. “Sometimes, people cry when they are happy. They’re happy tears!” I attempted to explain through tears. He looked at me like I was crazy and walked away, only to show up again when cake was served.

It is a funny thing to cry when happy, but I, along with at least ten other people, shed a lot of tears during this party. It made taking pictures a bit difficult at times because everything was so blurry and made me even happier to be the one behind the camera so I could mostly hide my ugly-cry-face.

All of Big D’s siblings were able to make it: three from New England and one flew all the way up from Florida!

D's 60th Birthday Party

Plus their spouses and kids, and kids’ kids!

D's 60th Birthday Party

The outtakes from the family pictures are, by far, my favorite pictures of the day. People who see each other not nearly enough having way too much fun.

D's 60th Birthday Party

And then there’s Alex making this ridiculous face in nearly all of the pictures:

D's 60th Birthday Party

He’s lucky he’s cute and was surrounded by so many people who love him and even more who love his Big D (and therefore have to be nice to him).

It was an amazing day.

D's 60th Birthday Party

We are all lucky to have someone as wonderful as Big D in our life.

Posted by: allisonbarton | June 16, 2014

All Done

Thursday morning I had the pleasure of sleeping in a full two hours later than usual.

It was Alex’s Kindergarten Graduation.

The ceremony was adorable, of course, with each of the three kindergarten classes performing various songs and every child having the opportunity to walk across the stage to collect their diploma.

And of course I was sitting there the whole time thinking, “really? My kid is done with his first year of real school? How can this be?”

It feels like just yesterday we were dealing with a really rough start to the beginning of Kindergarten, full of fear and tears and sadness.

First Day of Kindergarten

Fortunately, things didn’t stay quite so awful as the days progressed. Things got better, though he never reached the point I had really hoped he would: loving it.

Learning is hard when you’re a perfectionist. Practicing new tasks is particularly challenging when the thought of getting it wrong causes extreme anxiety. Throughout this year we really struggled with homework, not because it was hard, per se, but because there was a chance he could do it wrong. There was a chance that the picture he drew wouldn’t look exactly like what it was supposed to. There was a chance that his writing wouldn’t be legible, and a chance that he would sound out a word wrong. We had many nights that included many tears. And many more nights that simply included excessive whining, groaning, frustrated-sighing.

First Day of Kindergarten

But the year went on, and he learned so much despite his insistence that he wasn’t learning anything at all, all day was nothing new, Mom, I don’t want to talk about it.

And then, before I even knew what was happening, it was graduation time. Alex is officially done with Kindergarten, done with his first year of school.

He was, by far, the best dressed at the event.

Kindergarten Graduation

And he was, by far, the best Kindergartener he could be and I cannot wait to see what next year brings.

Kindergarten Graduation

My little first grader.

Posted by: allisonbarton | June 5, 2014

Two Pairs Are Better Than One

May Playin'

Posted by: allisonbarton | April 29, 2014

This Kid, Man

Easter 2014

Too cool for school.

Posted by: allisonbarton | April 24, 2014

Mommy Vacation Guilt

Zach and I recently took an absolutely amazing trip to Turks and Caicos. Every day we were there was a total dream. Perfect, quiet, (nearly) stress free.

To get that stress free environment, we went without Alex. So, we had an entire week away from our little dude. No one to wake us up at ungodly o’clock. No one to ask us for more food because he’s still hungry at every hour of the day. No one to whine about some random fact of life.

It was wonderful.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my kid. Love love love my kid. He is truly the most amazing person in my life. But sometimes? Sometimes a break is nice. Sometimes a break is needed.

I missed my little guy by the end of the week. While we were away, Zach’s parents had him for the weekend and my mother took care of him at our house during the week. We hoped this would give him some semblance of normalcy: sleeping in his bed, eating his normal breakfast, driving the same short distance to school.

The week didn’t end up quite so normal, though. Overnight Tuesday, Alex came down with a stomach bug. Barfing barfing everywhere.

MOMMY GUILT, ACTIVATE.

I wished I could be with him. He was sick, and here I was drinking rum punch, reading books on the beach, and doing whatever I wanted. Alex ended up staying home for the rest of the week, never quite recovering until Friday.

My poor mother.

But. She made it through. Alex made it through. We all made it through.

More Bubbles

On our second night back, I was enjoying being home, back in our bed, when in the wee hours of the morning I heard Alex. I heard him in his room, getting out of bed. Then I heard the door creak open. Then I heard our door creak open.

He was crying, and running towards our bed. “I had a bad dream. It was a nightmare.”

We snuggled and hugged and his breathing slowed down. I asked him what his dream was about and he told me he didn’t want to talk about it. I asked if it was a scary dream, and he told me, “yeah, it was scary, but not, like, monster scary.”

It took the rest of the day, asking him a few additional times, to get him to tell me what his bad dream was about. “I dreamed that you and Daddy were leaving and you were never coming back to me.”

MOMMY GUILT, ACTIVATE.

So. It’s good to be home, and that dream, thank goodness, was a one time dream.

Easter 2014

(But I’m still counting down to the next vacation.)

Posted by: allisonbarton | March 24, 2014

A Style All His Own

Frisbee

Frisbee

Posted by: allisonbarton | March 12, 2014

Chatty Alex

Guess who is a very talkative person?

No one who knows me or has met Alex will be surprised to hear that the answer is Alex. Very, very, talkative, six (and a half!) year old Alex.

You don’t even need to have a kid to understand the phenomenon of incessant chatter that comes with many of them. There are times when, other than the occasional “mm hmm” or “yeah?”, I don’t say a single word for 10, 15, 20, minutes and he’s still talking.

Now, I love that he talks. I love that he has so much to say to me, to Zach, his grandparents, his friends, just about anyone who will listen. I especially love that he’s been complimented on the fact that his conversations are interesting. We have conversations about big words, Doctor Who, how things are made, imagining what the future will be like, Lego Marvel, and sometimes just very detailed descriptions of something that happened recently.

The problem with having a loquacious kid? School.

Kindergarten doesn’t like it when kids are loquacious.

Like many kids, Alex has a really hard time not shouting out answers. He knows the answer, he heard a kid get it wrong, so he must say the answer now. He has a really hard time not sharing the amazing thoughts that are forming in his head. He just wants everyone to know.

And I love that he is so excited about answering questions, and sharing his opinion, and letting everyone know about his experience with what they are learning about that day. I love that he isn’t just sitting there, mind wandering off, just making it through the day. He’s engaged! And that’s great!

But.

He keeps getting in trouble for not waiting his turn to speak. For talking out of turn and disrupting the class. Now, I’m talking about being dropped down one on the color scale of behavior for the day: from green to orange. He’s never dropped again to yellow. He’s never come even close to being red. And this has only happened maybe a dozen times all year. Basically, this is a good kid who talks too much. (Hello, little version of childhood Mommy!)

But! It’s an issue because, well, it’s an issue. He’s one of many children in a small room and interrupting is certainly a problem.

So, we have talked about this. Lots of times. Again and again. And this week has been good so far!

The real issue here is that we don’t want to quell his enthusiasm. And I really hope his teacher understands that.

March 1, 2014

Posted by: allisonbarton | December 29, 2013

Worn Out

Christmas was amazing. It didn’t go exactly as planned, with me diagnosed with strep throat two days prior, and Alex’s grandmother heading to the emergency room on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve celebrations. Then Christmas day, all day, celebrations. Then Christmas part two on Friday. All with strep. All with a sniffly kid (no strep, just a cold). And a sniffly Daddy. And a Super Unhappy Sick Virus Infested Nana.

Still. It was amazing.

But by the end of Christmas Part II, even Alex was ready for a return to normal life:

Christmas Part II (Dec 27th)

I’m sad it’s over, but can’t say that The Kid is wrong. It will be nice to return to our slightly slower paced life.

Posted by: allisonbarton | December 13, 2013

Christmas is Coming

Tree Shopping

The Little Guy couldn’t be more excited. Twelve more sleeps.

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