Rarely do we get time alone, one on one, with our kids.
This weekend, I got that. With my oldest. The one I sometimes forget needs it just as much as the others.
He had a basketball tournament in D.C. Daddy couldn't go. Cameron had baseball games all weekend. So, I left Bella here and made the trip alone with just him.
We left early Friday morning. Jackson slept most of the trip, as usual. We hit traffic just outside D.C., and I began to get a little nervous. I didn't want him to be late to the first game. Then, my GPS got us lost, and Jackson began to get nervous.
Fortunately, we made the first game. Just in time.
We went 2-0 that first day. Jackson had 5 points. The boys were in a great mood. Jackson was hustling. I hadn't seen him play that hard yet.
Meanwhile, Josh was back at home going crazy. I had to text him updates every few minutes. And then, my phone died.
We were traveling back to our hotel when I realized we were on Pennsylvania Ave. "The White House is somewhere around here, Jack." He wanted to do a drive by. He hasn't been to D.C. since he was 5. So, we decided to drive around the city. Big mistake. In the end, it was worth it. We had fun. But I realized quickly that Pennsylvania Ave. was a lot longer than I thought, and not a straight shot either. And driving in downtown. I wasn't ready. The taxi drivers were scaring me. It took us 10 minutes just to get around one block. Craziness. I was missing Virginia Beach. Still, it was fun. Except I didn't get a picture of the White House. Oh well. I got this.
Our hotel was NICE. It was in a sweet part of town, too. We decided to walk to a local seafood place Jackson had seen on the drive in. He loves seafood, and even though we live in Virginia Beach, we don't eat it very often. Seafood for a family of 5 is just not cheap.
After we settled into our room, and I took a few pictures of him in the hotel room (because well, he's just so damned cute), we headed out on the town. Of course, he brought along his basketball.
And then a window selfie. I love these!
The restaurant, Local Seafood (literally the name), was a little more than we bargained for. We might have been a little underdressed. But, to my surprise, as soon as we entered, Jackson removed his hat. I was so proud. I never said anything, but smiled to myself. I'm doing something right.
But then there was that stupid basketball.
He opens the menu and says, "ooooh, Mom, I want the crab cakes," a pause and then "Mom, the crab cakes are $30! Is this place expensive?" Well, yes, it was. But it was worth it. And he couldn't stop saying how good the crab cakes were. Oh, and the free bread was a huge hit.
The rest of the night went a little something like this.
I took full advantage.
He did have his friend Cameron hang out with us in the hotel room for a few hours. They had a blast. They went down to the snack bar late for candy and ice cream. They made videos of themselves rapping. They laughed a lot. My heart was full.
Day two was single elimination. It was a Sunday. And we had a 3 1/2 hour drive home. I had to be at work the next day. So, I wasn't excited about our first game starting at 1:30. But I did relish in the fact that Jack & I got to sleep in. He's like me when it comes to sleeping. I had to wake him up at 10.
He chose a yogurt parfait for breakfast. He didn't want to eat a heavy meal before the game, and he said they had the yogurts at school and he loves them.
We won the first game, but it was a battle. There was some tension amongst the parents and the refs. I hate those kind of games.
This is what he did in between games. I kept to myself; he wanted to hang with his friends. I was ok with it.
The second game was hard, and it didn't end well. You could see they were getting discouraged. I was ready to head back home, so I didn't mind it as much. To make it worse, Jackson lost his basketball.
The ride home was relaxing. Jackson slept, again. But I know, despite the loss, he had a great time with his friends. And me. Memories were made. Can't wait to do it again.
You hit your first kid pitch home run, over the fence.
I was standing in the stands watching, with my video camera, of course. First a ball, then a strike. Then, you looked right over at me. You knew right where I was. I nodded my head in encouragement. You stepped back up to the plate. The next hit sailed over the fence in center field. You took your time strutting around the bases. The players on the other team all high-fived you as you passed. Your teammates were waiting to congratulate you at home plate. What a moment coming off the week of your ninth birthday.
I went over to the dugout to congratulate you right afterwards. I asked you, "Did you look at me right before you hit that ball?" You smiled that brace face, gap-toothed grin and said "Yes, and you went like this" and nodded your head. I like to think that was our moment. Mommy and son. With just a nod of my head, I was saying, "You got this, kid." Maybe, you even thought, just before hitting that ball, "this one is for you, Mom". At least that's the story I'll remember.
When I pick you up from school, you are in the best mood. You are very talkative and love to tell me all about your day.
"Today, when we went outside, we saw a snapping turtle!" You say it funny, because a few weeks ago, you got your pallet expander. You've done very well getting used to it. I forget you even have it. Except, of course, when I have to turn it every night. You've even had to remind me a night or two. And keeping it clean. The first day at school, you told me you "rinsed" it 4 times. The teacher even mentioned how responsible you were with it at school. I think, personally, you like having responsibilities. And that is something I will gladly encourage.
"I picked flowers today for Ms. Crichton. But they died. Because she didn't see them on her desk until later. And they probably needed water".
Then, tonight, as we are getting out of the car, I spy you picking some weeds. Proudly, you hand them to me. "I picked you some flowers," you say, "Are you going to put them in soil and water?" But of course! I bring them inside and put them on the kitchen counter, because my hands are full, and I promise to put them in water.
You look in the cabinet for a "short cup" and I watch you put the flowers in a glass with water. After a bit, you grab another glass (a shot glass) because the smaller flowers won't stand up straight. Then I see you setting them up on a ledge near a window, opening the blinds so they can get sunlight.
You have many moods.
When you are happy, you are sweet, talkative, and goofy. You are helpful, eager to please. You offer to clean up or do something where you feel useful. You like to hug on me. Usually, morning is your favorite time of the day. On the weekends, you will wake up by yourself (you are usually the first to rise), make cereal, and watch your favorite tv shows.
When you are bored, you are obnoxious and don't listen well. You pick on Jackson until you get in trouble. Then you resort to playing with Bella. Which eventually gets you yelled at for making too much noise, making a mess, or breaking something. Sometimes you try to show off, which doesn't end well for you either.
When you are angry or frustrated, you can be defiant, prideful and stubborn. And try to pretend like you don't care about anything. But eventually you will break down and cry. Because you do care. A lot.
About two months ago, I drove you to school after you'd missed the bus. You asked why I couldn't drive you to school every day. I saw no reason why I couldn't. I had time before work. It would give you a few more minutes in the morning to get ready, so you're not so rushed. And most importantly, it gave us a few quiet minutes alone in the car. So, we decided to make it the new morning routine.
You are always in a good mood in the morning. Some days you wake up on your own and make your cereal. And since I've started taking you, you listen better in the morning and get ready without being told over and over. You've even been coming into my bathroom to brush your teeth while I'm getting ready. You ask me to fix your hair with the "spiker" glue. And then you have to hair spray it. A friend of yours told me that you are always bragging at school that you're having a "good hair day". And your teacher has complimented you several times on your sense of style.
We have a good conversation in the car. Sometimes we just listen to the music. We talk about the plan for that evening. If you have a game or practice. If you can have a friend over.
In the evenings, since it's been cold outside, you prefer to hang out downstairs on the couch and watch reruns of Full House. You never spend time in your room, except to sleep. And occasionally, you'll get on the playstation and play Minecraft while you face time with Kaleb. You get your homework done every night at afterschool. You're pretty responsible and mature for your age, no doubt.
Most of the images I capture of you are playing baseball. Or just playing. You don't like to pose too much for pictures. I think you do it just to be stubborn sometimes. Not because it embarrasses you or because you don't like to be in pictures. You'll take them for anyone else but your own mom. So I have to try to sneak them in when I can, when you're not looking.
Baseball has been slow this season. We've missed a lot of games due to rain. We had a good time in Rocky Mt with the Cannons, but you were hard on yourself and your heart wasn't in it. When you or your team are not doing well, you shut down and become discouraged easily.
You are definitely your own person, and I admire that about you. You look up to your big brother, even though I doubt you would ever admit that. He is the one you most want to be like. The other night in the car, we were talking about basketball season, and Jackson made a comment that you should move up and play on their team because "he's good enough to play with us". It was such a sweet thing for Jackson to say (and he meant it when he said it) but to see the look of pride on your face that your big brother thinks you're a good basketball player, good enough to play with the big boys and on his team? It really made me realize how much his thoughts matter to you.
It wasn't High Point. That's for sure. The hotel was way smaller. It wasn't even a hotel, but a "Microtel". The weather was way colder and wet. There was no conference room. And we lost. A lot. But it was the same great group of kids and siblings and parents. And there were jello shooters.
There was a home run derby. Cameron even came In second out of 20 boys!
There was music. We made new friends. We created our own conference room (in the hallway, in the lobby, and then finally in the front yard).
And Lexi ("Lucy") Grace was there. And no one could resist her.
Jack even taught her how to hold a basketball.
Oh yeah, and we played baseball. We were 1-3 this weekend. Definitely have room to grow.
We also got to play in a real stadium.
And in the end, despite the losses, new memories were made.
"Sometimes, it's not about the journey or the destination, but about the people you meet along the way." -author unknown
My name is Kaci. I am a working mom of 3. Wife to Josh. Mom to Jackson, Cameron & Isabella. My life is dinner, homework, baseball, basketball, grocery lists, laundry, wine, video games, and bath time. I started this blog because I am passionate about photography and journaling, and because I wanted a place to write it all down, to rememeber little details so easily forgotten in the mad rush that is the life of a family of 5. Through my photos and words, I endeavor to capture our story.