Hurricane Hank

On Saturday Hank had his first flag football game!  Hank loves sports.  If there is a ball in a 200 foot radius he is bouncing, kicking or throwing it.  He couldn't wait to start football.  Hank was excited that his team chose his idea of Red Birds as the their team name.  
His best friend Nick has been reluctant to play sports much to his parents dismay.  However, Hank encouraged Nick to join the team with him.  The boys talked all about the great plays they were going to make.  Nick's parents were afraid the big day would come and he would not take the field.  But he was ready to run!  Nick made the first touchdown for the team!  He also was awarded this weeks character counts medal for listening.  It couldn't have been a better introduction to team sports!
We are very close with Nick's family.  Nick's big sister Brynn made signs for the boys!  I think Hank thought he was an NFL player. :)  His whole family cheered him on as if he was part of the family.  I know Max was bummed to miss the first game but grateful he had such a cheering section.  It was so cute to see the boys playing ball.  Hank was quite the defensive player pulling flags.  The ref had to tell him, "No tackling buddy."  While it was grand to see my little guy playing ball, the best part was seeing Dave's (Nick's Dad) complete joy as he watched Nick tear it up on the field.  He could have floated out of the field.  Dave took to calling Hank, Hurricane Hank.  These two boys of fall are ready to roll and I think their Dad's are even more ready!

Spirit Night!

Last night the kids' school had Spirit Night.  Karlie is on student council this year so she had to be at school 45 minutes before school to prep and then stayed after school to set up.   We stayed the entire time until 8:30 pm.  Poor Karlie had been on school grounds for nearly 13 hours by the time we left.
Hailey worked the face painting station and gave Karlie a very cool Spidey face.  The kids ran around high on snow cones, pizza, and candy!  They jumped, ran obstacle courses, slid, and spun.  It is such a nice community event where all the families get together and the kids run wild.  A new charter school opened this year near us and the school lost quite a few kids to it.  Last night we saw many families that had moved to the new school.  They all commented how much they miss the family feel and warmth of our school.  After 3 years we finally know more people than we don't and feel a part of the school.  It was a fun night watching the kids with all their friends.  When we got home I sent them all to the showers because they were a sweaty, sticky mess.  They were so tired they all slept till 7am, practically a miracle!

Lion Heart

Kaitlin has the heart of a lion.  She loves fiercely and deeply.  Her love is so strong it can crash over her like huge waves.  All of the kids deal with Max traveling differently, but it is undoubtedly the hardest on Kaitlin.  She loves her Daddy.  Most mornings she is up first and has breakfast with Max.  He will make her braised eggs and she will often help pack his lunch.  They chatter back and forth while I pack the kids lunches. 
Max was leaving very early in the morning, so he was saying his goodbyes at bedtime.  I went to tuck Kaitlin in before Max had made his rounds.  Her pillow was soaked with tears as she tried to conceal her emotions.  As soon as I gave her a hug, the flood gates opened and the cries began to pour out of her.  Max came to tuck her in and held her and rubbed her head trying to soother her.  She would not be so easily soothed.  With only the full honesty and rawness of a child she told him through broken sobs how unhappy it made her when he leaves, how much she will miss him in the morning, and how worried she will be while he is gone.  I had to smile, because I too have all those same thoughts, but years of growing up have taught me to try and keep them to myself.  I will cherish the sight of him rocking her as her heart overflowed with love so strong to nearly bring him to tears.  She has the heart of a lion and we are all lucky to feel it roar around us.

Pink Boy

Hank has grown up so much this year.  He has Mrs. H, who Kaitlin had for both Kindergarten and first grade.  She is a terrific teacher and we were so excited Hank got her.  I warned her at the beginning of the year that Hank and Kaitlin are very different children.  Mrs. H adored Kaitlin and cried when she said goodbye to her.  Kaitlin is always a teacher's favorite with her eagerness to please, helpfulness, and hard working attitude.  I cautioned Mrs. H that Hank could be a handful and he was ALL boy.  Sitting down and focusing isn't his strong suit.  I worked with him all summer in his workbook and shuddered at the thought of trying to keep his attention all day.
His class has a behavior system where everyone starts on green each day.  The teacher will have the kids clip up when they are showing exemplary behavior and clip down when they are not behaving well.  The worst being getting on red.  That is a call home.  Then orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink being exceptional.  I think Hank earned pink twice all last year.  Last year his teacher colored in the behavior for the day while as big first graders, they are responsible for coloring in their own behavior.  To my surprise Hank was coming home everyday with blue, purple and pink!  I would grill him about what he did to clip up.  He would say, "sitting with my hands in my lap", or "bubbles in my mouth".  One time he reported that he held the door open for Mrs. Hawkins.  We celebrated and continued the tradition from last year that any Pink day was automatic dessert, even if you didn't eat all your vegetables at dinner.  He was so proud of himself he wrote a sticky note for Dad to see he was on purple. :)
Well, Hank continued to come home and announce that he was Pink Boy yet again.  After nearly a month of pink and purple reports, I began to wonder if Hank was rounding up as he colored in his behavior.  It is all on the honesty system and I am not sure how often Mrs. H checks to see if they are recording the accurate color.  I decided to email her and check.  I told her I would be thrilled if Hank really was getting on Pink every day, but something makes me think that might be a stretch.  When I saw her in the hall she said, "The boy you described and the boy I see are very different children.  He is perfectly behaved and is always raising his hand, has his hands in his lap, ready to learn, and picking up trash.  He is a wonderful little boy and I just love him!"  I said, "Umm, we are talking about Hank, right!?"  So while he might be a rowdy little guy at home, he is a prince at school.  :)  What more can you ask for?  I no longer doubt him when he exclaims, "Pink Boy!"  I am so proud of my little man, although this dessert every night is becoming problematic for our waistlines! 

Playing Like Pirates

 The only thing better than owning your own boat, is having great friends that own a boat!  :)  Our friends recently got a new speed boat and invited us out for a weekend of playing like pirates!
The kids are water babies and took to the lake like fish.
Saguaro Lake has to be one of the most beautiful lakes in America with giant, rocky cliffs and saguaros dotting the landscape.  Thanks to our 100 degree temperatures, the water is like bath water.  It is only 20 minutes from our house.  Close enough to make Max start looking at boats on Craigslist.
 While we anchored to swim and cool off, a Bald Eagle dove in and grabbed a fish out of the water about 100 feet away from us!  It was surreal.  We all started chanting, "America!!!"
 It was so fun to see the kids laughing their heads off as they were tubing (big kid too).  Hank and Karlie kept wanting to go faster and faster.  They wanted to go faster than the Captain was willing to go.  I don't think they realize how much it would hurt to hit the water at 30 mph.
 The kids each got a chance to try water skiing too and found out it was harder than it looks.  Karlie stayed up for the longest.  Hailey liked wake surfing better.  By the second day, she was getting pretty good at it.
Max and I also tried wake surfing for the first time!  Our friends' boat is pretty fancy and has an impressive sound system with speakers off the back.  Being so close behind the boat you can have your favorite play list rocking and chat with everyone.  It is much more gentle than water skiing.  Our friends are so good they can just ride the wave without having to hold the rope.  The boat creates an endless wave and you ride until you get tired.  Everyone but me was goofy foot, so I had to ride backwards, which was a little awkward, but I managed to stay up!  We had an amazing time on the water and are so grateful to our friends for taking us out.  Hopefully it doesn't lead to a new toy for Max. :)