2012, January through June

I was so surprised at how many people came up to me (or called my mother!) to ask why we didn’t send a Christmas letter this year. I had lots of reasons: the boys are bigger and the things they do aren’t as funny anymore, I had writer’s block, we were saving paper. In the end, I just ran out of time. (Read: I was lazy.)  

I did take boatloads of photos this year and spent forever uploading them to Photobucket, so I felt obligated to use them in a post somehow. Thus, I present this post (brought to you in 2 parts), subtitled The Year-in-Review for Family Members and Close Friends Who are Bored Silly Right Now and Looking for a Way to Kill a Few Minutes.

Looking back on 2012, I think it’s safe to say one thing for us:  it flew by. Even some of the more tedious parts of it zipped by without us even blinking twice.

Tucker played basketball for the first time and loved it…though truth be known, he was most excited about getting a medal at the end of the season.

Jack played team basketball for the first time, too. We learned that he is one scrappy, tough, fast little hoopster. It’s more about the size of the fight in the dog than the size of the dog in the fight, you know. We continue to be so proud of his “coachability”–the characteristic more than one coach has used to describe Jack.

The best home art project this year, completed by the boys with the assistance of the uber-talented, artsy Ms. Emily. Jack began taking art lessons with Ms. Emily about a month after he turned 2. We knew then that she was a gem. And her art teaching skills are impeccable, as you’ll see further down this post…

Pokemon vs. views of the ocean. Pokemon wins. Mom is sad and resolves to enforce screen time. Said enforcement rarely ever materializes. Mom is even sadder at her lack of resolve, but sometimes (like on 6 hour drives or on an airplane) rules are made to be broken. It’s a vicious cycle of electronics.

We spent President’s Weekend at Amelia with Russ’s parents. Nothing kicks the mid-winter doldrums to the side like a weekend on the coast.

Thomas and friends were our constant companions, at least through the first half of the year. Leaving Theo’s backpack full of tracks and trains somewhere was a recipe for confusion and delay.

Sweet Mama B shines through my boys in their love of Extreme Seasonal Decoration. Theo unboxed and set up Mama B’s Easter Tree all by himself. I remember this crazy thing from growing up and am so happy to have it around our house to help pump up the pre-Easter pastels. Nothing says “most important celebration of one’s faith” like a bright pink tree with tiny chicks, eggs and bunnies hanging from it.

Theo is always on the move. Always. The faster the wheels, the better.

Those red Hunter rainboots were a splurge but worth every single penny. Theo wore them daily, regardless of the weather. It’s hard to get much cuter than a 3 year old in rainboots.

First day of March. First time in 2012 that the temperature hit 70. Boys begging for the slip-n-slide already. 

Back to the Bahamas for Spring Break.

Dance moves have been perfected by all the boys this year. Nightly dance parties at the Herako-Casa are a given. Some of our favorite tunes of the year (disclaimer: these are the boys’ favorite songs, not necessarily ours. The things we do for love, right?):

“Moose on the Loose” by Ozomatli

“Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

“We are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

“More Moles” by Caspar Babypants

We are clearly straddling the line between true children’s music and ‘Tweener stuff (already?!?), like Justin BeaVer and Selena Gomez. Times, they are a’changing, indeed.

Springtime brings baseball. Baseball brings joy to Jack and Laura, big time. Jack caught a few flyballs at 3rd this year and showed he has catcher-blood in his veins by making several outs at the plate, even while being plowed over by boys twice his size. That’s our tough guy.

Here’s our other tough guy, climbing the walls at our pediatrician’s office. I was climbing the walls in the other corner seeing as this visit was the 2nd time in the same day that we’d been in there.

Remember me saying Theo loved wheels? He outgrew his tricycle by late March, so I hauled up the Tiger bike (a little 15-inch hand-me-down training bike we’ve had since Jack was 3) and was going to let him have it after I reattached the training wheels. Theo wanted to give it a whirl sans training wheels, so I said, “what the heck.” He hopped on and took off peddling by himself. No wobbles, no falls. At 3 years, 7 months old.

Meanwhile, Tucker perfected his own new stunt: the headstand. Tucker spends half his time this way now.

Pensive Theo awaits a slice of pizza with “mayor-a-nayer-a”. We had a year of food drama, with 2/3 of our boys holding fast as neck-and-neck leaders of the Picky Eater Club. Theo’s favorite foods? Chocolate, rice, waffles with butter. Jack’s staples? Peanut butter & honey sandwiches and chicken.

Tucker, on the other hand, is on his way to being a culinarian. He ate asparagus, Thai food, Chinese food, Mexican food and baked potatoes this year. The child will try anything. He’s part goat, for sure, but it sure makes life in the kitchen a bit more, um, palatable.

Imagine my surprise, then, when everybody (well, almost everybody–Jack wouldn’t touch it) slurped down a pot of “Mayor-a-nayer-a soup” (pasta fagioli) that I made last week. Full of vegetables like beans, tomatoes and celery! All large and visible, not pulverized into an invisible puree of glop! I caught a glimpse of what a normal family could look like!

Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day at Trinity was a huge success, even if it did take me an entire package of glue gun sticks to whip up Tuck’s costume. Here we have Harry Potter and Phillip Rainsford, III (from The Candymakers).

Our favorite reads this year:

Jack’s top 5:

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series

Rick Riordan’s Olympians series

Tucker’s favorites:

The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith (a retelling of the Old Testament, smiting and all, in Legos)

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Theo’s best:

Splat the Cat books

Clifford the Big Red Dog books

Go, Dog Go! by Dr. Seuss

Laura’s favorites:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Giver series by Lois Lowry (yes, one of the last folks on the planet to read these)

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

Jack discovers the wonders of baseball cards. Mom re-discovers the wonders of baseball cards. Many a spring night were spent lying in Jack’s bed, digging through the old shoebox of cards from my childhood (and my dad’s and uncles’ childhoods). Thurman Munson? Phil Niekro? Johnny Bench? Jack has a new cache of heroes now.

Our often quiet Jack has a speaking role in the 2nd grade play at Trinity. He’s a Lorax (one of several), but he said his lines clearly and loudly in front of the entire school. So proud of him. The neon orange costume, however? Ouch.

We’ve always known Tucker is pretty amazing. Here he shows the loot he won from The Claw Game at Taco-Mac–IN ONE DAY. Most folks go their entire lives without ever beating The Claw. Not Tuck. Twice in one day. That takes skills, folks. Skills and a whole lot of quarters handed over to you from your Popster.

Proof of Ms. Emily’s fantastic art teaching abilities: Jack has a watercolor chosen to be on display for the entire school year at Trinity!

Tucker’s huge heart has no boundaries. He adopted one of the hatched chicks from his kindergarten class only for us to discover after we got home that the chick had a deformed foot. Thank goodness for friends with farms; Tuck’s chick went to live with a very caring farmer who set up a special coop just for her. If you listen closely, you can probably hear Peggy clucking and chirping and screeching right now; sister had some lungs on her.

Tucker and Mom on Worldwide Hyperemesis Awareness Day. He is a tough guy, indeed, on so many levels.

Our greatest picture of 2012:

Jack turned 8 in May and celebrated with a “Paleontology in your Pajamas” party. It was just as wild as it sounds.

We spent Memorial Day at the Ford Plantation where a snafu in our hotel room led us to spend the weekend in an adorable little cottage on the grounds. The boys had just gotten wands from Ollivander’s wand shop (via Russ) and they spent the evenings walking around the front yard casting spells on one another. You can’t make this up, people.

School’s out! No more uniforms! Tucker takes it up a notch on Day 1 of summer break with the ever-classic tuxedo shirt.

Our Montessori days have come to an end. Jack and Tucker came to Theo’s year-end celebration and instantly reverted to their Montessori ways, pulling lessons off the shelf and getting down to work.

Our little entrepreneur. Tucker’s first money-making adventure of the summer: selling bird calls. Again, we can’t make this stuff up.

From bird calls to a bird’s nest: Jack’s hair still grows into an uncontrollable floppy mess in no time flat. Here his bird nest is aided by the high altitude on the top of Stone Mountain during our first family climb.

We said farewell to one of Jack’s best friends, Arin, who moved to Iowa over the summer. We were all so sad to see such a wonderful family move so far away. We’ve kept in touch, though, most notably on the phone–a truly hilarious series of half-hour discussions of what’s going on in math class and what the new games to play on the playground are.

Tucker still sleepwalks.

Theo loves spaghetti, but realizes that spaghetti from La Tavola is even better than Mom’s spaghetti.

2012 was the year of fireworks, thanks to our favorite neighbor, Mr. Brian. Move over, Smokey Bear.

Our newest family member:  Digger. After a 3-hour period of intense observation of all rodents at PetsMart, a wise employee finally came over to inform us that this little guy was the non-biter. Ten minutes later, he was ours. He has lived up to his name–both as a non-biter and as a Digger. We had no idea a little critter like this gerbil could be such a joy.

Tucker’s 2nd money-making project of the summer? Selling Gerbil Art. He had no takers, though we have no idea how anyone could turn down this little guy…

Tropical storm Beryl did a number on Amelia Island. After being cooped up for a few days, we finally could get back out on the beach–with the monster-sized (for the Atlantic) waves.

Buckley-Dog still loves the beach.

And with that, we’ve floated halfway through the year…

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