Saturday, May 28, 2016

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

Above picture taken on Memorial Day Weekend, but first to recap a few things that have happened..

You wanted to go see Oma and Opa the same day that Daddy left early to go to a gun shooting competition.  Mommy told you, "We need to clean up the house first."  You replied, "I help."

I explained that we need to pick up all your toys and I had to clean my office.   You said, "I pick up my toys.  Mommy, you help me?"  So, we did that together, cleaning toys from the "man cave," the kitchen and the front room.  I turned on the television for you to watch and you said, "Mommy, you clean your office."

Thanks, sweet son, I needed the reminder.  I worked on the office.  A little while later you came over and said, "Wow, it's clean!  Good job, Mommy!"  Oh my gosh, "Thank you, Gregory."  You are too cute.

A few more pictures from Isaac's birthday party.  Michelle got some close up shots with her good camera of Isaac next to his cake and you are next to Isaac.  I love that you are sitting next to him; you call him your "best buddy."

Are you helping Isaac to blow out his candle?  You told me that you wanted to.

One Sunday at Copelands with Oma and Opa.

You like seeing the musicians.  You make me think of my uncle at times like this.  They were playing a song I recognized that my uncle used to play.

Bottle water fall.

Sweet hugs for Oma

You wanted to sit on the big potty and we were eager to teach you.
When Mommy was pregnant for you, it was determined that we needed a new potty seat.  Daddy bought one that had a "training potty" on it - so cute!  He was ready to potty train you before you had diapers on.  You know how to put the small potty seat down and you can climb up on the big potty without a step.   YES!  (Though you will still use the small potty.  Daddy said he is going to hide it one day soon.)

Tah Dah!  Building blocks

You are Dr. Gregory taking care of Mr. Bug.  Mr. Bug has Gregory's voice.
Mr. Robot has Mommy's voice.  Mr. Bug and Mr. Robot are friends and they play together.  Mr. Bug eats Mac and Cheese and also Peanut butter and jelly!  You gave Mr. Robot (an Octonaut toy) a smiley face sticker so he would have eyes and could smile.

Watching funny cat videos with Daddy.

The last week of school, the last day of public school, we attended your IEP speech meeting.  The lady, Jill (I think that was her name), reviewed the evaluation and determined that you would only need speech therapy once a week for 30 minutes.  The therapist said, "Clearly, from the evaluation, he is very smart."  

Jill asked you a few questions.  At one point, you didn't answer.  I looked at you.  You had an expression of "just who is this person asking me questions and how important is it that I answer them."  I said, "He is sizing you up."  Jill replied, "Yes, I see that!"

Mommy was concerned you might need more speech therapy than just once a week.  The therapist said the first couple of times would just be getting to know you and see how much help you needed and might adjust the schedule from there.  Starting in August, you will go to Airline Park school for the therapy on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 9:00 and from there, to St. Augustine's, for PK3.  Fortunately, Oma and Opa live close to where the speech therapy will be conducted, so they can bring you to school afterwards. 

I'm just relieved to get the ball in motion for speech assistance for you.

On your last full day of school, your teacher sent home a picture book.  This was SO wonderful!  Your teachers took pictures of the kids throughout the school year and then created books for each of the parents.  I love, love, love this.  It makes Mommy feel like she is catching a glimpse into your school year, all the fun you had.  I took pictures of the pictures, so it's not the highest quality but here they are:

Must be around football season

This next picture was for the Halloween door - scream face

Music time

You loved the tee pee tent


Pumpkin patch at school

Christmas train?

February - Mommy bought a cookie cake for your class celebration!
So happy to see these pictures :)

Hunting for Easter eggs at school

100 days in school

This is a recent picture from when the zoo brought animals to your school.
Love this picture of you on the turtle!

Of course Mommy had to do the "last day of school" for you, especially for your first school year!

 Now that PK2 is finished for the year, you are spending more time at Oma and Opa's house while Mommy and Daddy are at work.  In a few weeks, you will be attending Vacation Bible School for half days.  I hope you enjoy it.

Here you are looking at the flowers at Oma and Opa's house.

Showing Mommy that you are a big boy who doesn't need help getting out of the SUV.

Oma and Opa brought you to Home Depot for some shopping.  You walked up the steps and Oma said, "I'm going to take a picture for Mommy and Daddy.  Waive to them."  So sweet!

Hugs for Opa

Project that you did with Oma, letter "M"for Mommy.  The next day, you did letter "D" for Daddy.

Mommy's boss saves the big boxes at the office, so Mommy can bring them home.  Daddy said, "What, do you think.. our son is a cat?"  Sure enough, both you and Tigger went in the box!

Daddy cut a hole in the box.

There's a big toy box in the living room.  Toys that you didn't use that often.  Mommy switches toys out from time to time.  Daddy must have reminded you that toys are in there.  You opened the box and said, "See, Mommy, I told you the toy box was really really full!"

When you put on the fireman's hat, we knew what we had to do.

Off to the fire station where we saw two fire trucks... but no fire fighters!  We called out.  We knocked on doors.  One fire truck had the door wide open, but nobody was there.

You saw a hallway and said, "Guys, what's in here?"

You were thrilled to see the fire fighters' lockers.  You saw one was empty and questioned, "Where is his stuff?"

Before we could stop you, you climbed into the fire truck with the open door.

You even climbed on the back of the fire truck.

You said, "This is down, that is up."  And what did you do?

You moved the other one down - very pleased with yourself!

Then you played a game of chase with Mommy and Daddy trying to catch you as you ran through the locker room.

To top off the day, we went to the snowball stand.  Mommy bought a clear strawberry, but honestly... yucko, it was nasty.  You liked what Daddy bought instead.

Chocolate mustache

Another morning, another knock on Oma and Opa's door.  You told me, "No, I knock on the door!"

After work, Mommy and Daddy picked you up for your three year wellness visit.  Whoopsi, you are three years and three months, but no shots, so you didn't miss any time medicine wise.

Mommy filled out the questionnaire, which is shorter now that you are older.  Pretty standard questions about if there is anyone smoking in the house, any pools, any guns, if you are saying 5 to 10 word sentences, if you know at least 4 of your colors, if you play make believe (such as being a doctor and then play acting that you are Mr. Bug), etc.  It's interesting to read the questions and know that you are on par with expectations.

When Mommy signed your name for check in, the nurse said, "Gregory is already 3 years old?  I can't believe he is three already!"  Tell me about it.

Then, when we walked into the room, the nurses said, "Look how big he is.  I remember when he was just a baby."  Aw... clearly they remember you, sweet boy.

You weigh 35 pounds.  The doctor said that is slightly higher than the 50 percentile for your age.

Your height is 3 feet and 3.5 inches.  The doctor said this is 75 percentile for your age.  He also commented, "weight to height, he's perfect."  You did so well!  No problems getting on the scale or being measured.

But this was the first time you had your blood pressure taken.  You weren't keen about it.  Right before it stopped, you had your "I'm going to cry" face starting up.  Blood pressure - check!

Our silly family

When the doctor came in, you gave fist bumps and high 5s.  You had no problem with the check up.  But when he looked in your ears, you said it tickled.

When the doctor asked you, "Does your belly button work?"  You said, "Yeah."  The doctor said, "Let's see."  Then he pushed your belly button and made a fart sound.  You cracked up laughing.

That's also when your doctor noticed you had big boy pants on and he made a big deal out of that for you too!  Woo Hoo!

Most days you are skipping a nap, but after the excitement of being with Oma and Opa and then the doctor's appointment and the nice drive back home.... you were out.

Memorial Day weekend.  Today was a full day. 

It started with breakfast at Caffe Latte Da

What is a Saturday morning if you can't go on a Pirate ship playground?

Did you notice that you are standing on the pole?  You climbed up fast before we realized what you did.

I moved closer to make sure I was there to help you climb up.  You said, "No, Mommy.  I don't need help!"

Even Mommy Mermaids like to go on slides!

Back at home, Tigger is waiting for  you.  Tigger wakes you up in the morning with Meows.
He still follows you around.  And you say, "You're so cute."

Going to Oma to pick her up for the project at Michael's.

Wearing red, white and blue, you matched the stars that Oma and Mommy cut out. 
But the glitter glue was a little difficult to get out of the bottle.

After the glue dries, we will string yarn through them in a star garland.

On Friday at work, Mommy mentioned to Joy that we were thinking of going to Jackson Barracks for a visit.  Joy said, "You should have lunch at Rocky & Carlo's and go to the National Cemetery there."

We drove up to the Jackson Barracks, but the guard who lets guests in was at lunch.  We decided to go to lunch first.  You fell asleep on the car ride to Chalmette.

But when Mac n Cheese was mentioned, you woke up quickly.

We decided to go to the National Cemetery.  We spoke to you about how Memorial Day was to honor the men and women that serve our country and those who fight for freedom.  Chalmette National Cemetery is the oldest in-ground cemetery in Louisiana, with an estimated 16,000 buried there.

You picked flowers for the graves

"Mommy, there are too many"

As we drove out of the cemetery, Daddy said, "Thank you Guys."  He left out the one woman that was buried there, which Mommy read about later.  Rosetta from New York dressed herself as a man to join the New York infantry.    Daddy did read that there are a lot of "O'Brien's" in the cemetery. 

After seeing the cemetery, we explained that men and women use machines and special vehicles for their defense.  At Jackson Barracks you were able to get up close to a lot of the vehicles.

Daddy said, "Can I take it home?"

You were making the car sound, as if you were driving

Yes, you were able to get inside!

Perfect timing for the end of our outdoor activities.  We went inside the museum, just as the rain started.

This next picture gives me chills.  The living quarters of a soldier.  I told Daddy that I would be scared if you joined the army.  Daddy said, "I'd be proud.  But yes, I understand."

It's pretty cool that you could get inside of the vehicles.  Most museums have that roped off.

"Bye bye Mommy"

Getting a little tired now.

The rain was coming down pretty hard when we left.  Daddy brought the car around and drove it up, curb service for us.

Daddy and Mommy want you to understand and value life and freedom and the cost.  It's easy to think of these as just "holidays from work" but our parents raised us to value the meaning behind the day.  We want the same for you.  Our land of freedom was given to us by those who believed it was worth their lives.  Our men and women continue to sacrifice so much for freedom.  Send blessings to them, remember them even if you have never met them or don't know their names.  Honor them.

Honor life, sweet son.  Next week family in Maryland will lay to rest a woman who laughed with the fullness of life and loved with a fiercely protective heart.  She and Oma used to spend hours and hours on the phone and this was when long distance was very expensive!  I remember this one time when I was driving Oma and Aunt Willa to a store.  As we pulled out of the parking lot, someone cut me off to get in front.  I said, "Congratulations, you made it to the red light before me, so you get to wait first."  Aunt Willa busted out laughing!  Her joy and understanding of my humor melted the small bit of anger towards the other driver.  Funny the things a person remembers.  It was a small thing, a heartbeat in time, but it was this shared outburst of joy that comes to mind when I think of my aunt.  She was your great-aunt Willa.   She was one of eight children.  She was beautiful and she was loved.  In the picture below, she is holding Hollis... and in heaven, they are holding hands, along with Uncle Billy (top right).  Oma misses all three so very much.  She's there, right in the middle of the picture.  Oma taught us the value of family.  I hope we can share that same value with you.

Love Always,

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