Thursday, September 3, 2009

Elijah's Haircut

This is Elijah BEFORE his haircut.
He HATES to have his hair cut. I'm serious! Every time so far that I've taken him, he has sat on my lap with my legs wrapped around his and my arms holding down his while the stylist fights his moving head to cut his hair. There is always hair everywhere and a lot of him AND me. There is also a lot of apologizing to the stylist for his behavior.

So, last time I decided to cut his hair myself. I do the other 2 boys. So I just got out my clippers, sat him in Steven's lap and cut his hair. His was definitely less traumatic for him. He didn't cry nearly as much...but he did have trouble keeping his head still. Needless to say, I didn't do a very good job. But it was cut and I was happy that he looked better than he did before...until it grew out!

The back of his hair was extremely uneven. He wouldn't let me get around his ears so all of that hair was very long. I hated looking at his hair! But I didn't dare take him to get it cut. He protested every time I even mentioned the idea and I didn't want to fight him or put another stylist through that mess.

However, the day came when I decided it just HAD to be done! I couldn't stand it anymore! I bribed him! I told him we would go to Office Depot and play Wheel of Fortune on their computers if he would get his hair cut. He said ok. So I took him to a local kids' haircut place. (Very pricey. But I thought it would help him.) He resisted sitting in the chair at first, but didn't want me to sit with him. So I put him in the chair and he wanted to hug me. Fine, I can do that. And that is how the stylist cut his hair. His head was buried in my chest looking to one side. I hugged him and moved his head to the other side when she was ready. But he didn't cry...not even one little bit! I was so proud of him! He could tell too. Right in the middle he said, "Mommy! I not crying!" And for that, he got 2 lollipops AND a prize from the stylist. This is what he looks like now!

I think we have finally turned a corner as far as haircuts go. Now, if we could just turn a corner with potty training!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well, Steven heard on the radio that Derek Lowe was going to be signing autographs at the new BrandsMart up by the Mall of GA. At first, I hesitated to go thinking that it would be crowded and we would have to wait in line for a really long time and the kids would complain. was crowded. There was a lot of traffic getting into the store. But, when we got there, no one who worked there could tell us where Derek was signing! Can you believe that? We walked around for about 5-10 minutes and asked a few different people, but no one really knew. Finally, we spotted some baseball fans that were holding balls and cards and stuff. They told us where he was signing. We went in and there was no line! Nothing! We just walked right up to where he was! Everyone got a signed card and he even signed Joshua's baseball! I got to shake his hand. I told him it was nice to see him. He said, "It's nice to be seen." LOL Elijah showed Derek Lowe his own imitation of Derek pitching. It was great!
Then I realized I had brought the camera but didn't get a picture. So we went back a second time. Again, walked right in and up to him. In a heartbeat, he got up and posed for a picture with us. He was super nice! And quite taller than I expected. I am so glad that we decided to go. It was originally for the kids, but I think the person it made the greatest impression on!

Joshua gets braces!

This is what Joshua's teeth look like. They aren't terrible, but the orthodontist says that, with his teeth angled back, it could cause problems with his bottom jaw developing properly. Also, his teeth are a bit crowded, so they wanted to make more room in his mouth. (Yes, believe it or not, Joshua's mouth is NOT big enough for his teeth!)

So, they put this expander in his mouth. For the first week, I had to "turn" it which made it push harder and harder to expand his top jaw. It was quite uncomfortable...for both of us. One time I just couldn't do it and we had to go to the orthodontist's office and have them do it.

He wore that for a few months, and now has these...braces! They are just on his front 4 teeth to straighten them out. Everything else he has are still baby teeth anyway. This is "Phase 1". He may need braces again, depending on how his other permanent teeth come in. We'll cross that bridge if and when we get there. For now, he will be wearing these for about 8 months.
Not bad. He got to pick a color. He chose red. When I had braces, you didn't get to pick colors. And it wasn't cool to have braces either. NOBODY had them when I was a kid. (I had mine in 3rd grade too, just like Joshua.) But now, everyone has them, including adults. So he won't get made fun of the way I did. Thank goodness! I can't wait to see how much more beautiful his smile will be. I didn't think it could get any better, but at least his teeth will be straighter!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Six Flags

Last week Steven and I took Joshua and Zach to Six Flags. It was Zach's first time. We had a blast! The kids get free tickets from a reading program at school. So, I bought some tickets for me and Steven, got food vouchers for refillable drinks and popcorn, dropped Elijah off with my sister and headed out to the amusement park.

I must admit, I very much enjoyed roller coasters as a kid. Not once did it ever occur to me that they were not safe or that anything could happen to me. Now, in my old age, I have to admit that it was ALL I was thinking about as I sat next to Zach on the MindBender. (I told my sister where my will was located when I dropped off Elijah.) Here I am, on a ride I've been on many times before, seeing it in a whole new light. Zach, who just turned 6 and is just tall enough to ride these types of rides, sat next to me with giddy excitement. I sat there, holding his hands, and explaining to him that he needed to push his head back against the seat so that he wouldn't flop around and could enjoy the ride more. He said "Okay Mommy" and we were off. The coaster started up the hill very slowly. As we ascended, he was watching the other coasters around the park. We got to the top and virtually stopped (Steven's LEAST favorite part) before heading around the curve to the first loop. We started going faster. All I could do was hold Zach's hand, make sure our lap belt was tight, and pray that God would watch out for us. As we got faster and faster, I was yelling at Zach to hold his head back. Then we started down. Before I knew it we were upside down and whipping around. I was 15 again, but still very aware that my 6 year old was next to me and this was his first ride. We hit the abrupt stop at the end. I was still holding Zach's hand. We pull back under the canopy and get off. I'm thinking that was too much for Zach and that he wouldn't want to do it again. (We had already done the Mine Train and Scream Machine and he liked those. But this one went upside down.) We are walking thru the exit and I asked Zach if he liked it. He looked at me, smiled, and started jumping up and down. "Let's do it again, Mommy! Let's do it again!" We rode it at least 2 more times that day.

What a great day it was! I love Elijah, but it was nice to spend some time with just my 2 older boys without worrying about Elijah's diaper or his whining. I could finally focus on my quickly growing oldest boys with whom I could have an almost adult type conversation. We walked around the park riding rides, drinking Coke, lemonade, Powerade, Sprite and eating bowl after bowl of popcorn. We rode the Mine Train, Scream Machine, Mind Bender, Shake Rattle N Roll, Log Jamboree, Wiley Coyote ride, something like the swings, Monster Mansion, and probably a few more that I can't remember. And, as afraid as I was that Zach would have trouble on the roller coasters, the ride that frightened him the most was....Monster Mansion. Yes, I'm serious. Something about the dark part with scary and unexpected noises. I cracked up laughing when he told me that!

I did, however, discover that I am not as young as I used to be. I still enjoy roller coasters, but I can't take it all day long like I could when I was a kid. I'm just really glad that I was able to enjoy that with my kids. From my memories, my parents didn't ride with us. My mom would ride the Gasp (once I think...and now I'm dating myself) and she rode the Scream Machine once, but never again. We got Daddy on FreeFall (once only!) and the Mind Bender, but that was it. Oh wait! They did ride the log ride. Anyway, I had fun as a kid and I had fun this time. I hope that is a summer tradition that we can continue. I assume Elijah will get a free ticket once he gets to school too. Then the ever dreaded situation of....who's going to ride by themselves?????

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Team of the Night - Peachtree Ridge Blue Lions

Joshua's All Star team party was held at the Gwinnett Braves game on Tuesday, June 30. It was great! They get to watch the game from the "Team of the Night" Deck and are provided food. It's a great place to sit and watch the game. It's down the 3rd base side and in the shade. All the kids on the team got certificates for participating in the All Star tournament.

In addition to the deck, they get to go down to the field before the game and get autographs from the players. Joshua loved that! Steven, Zach and Elijah went and sat in the stands while he did that. Elijah, having memorized the entire Gwinnett Braves line up by number, helped tell the team who each player was. Reid Gorecki was quite impressed with my 3 year old and gave him a high five. (Reid would later hit a pinch hit grand slam to tie the game. I think Elijah brought him good luck!) Here, Joshua is getting an autograph from Jordan Shafer, former centerfielder for Atlanta who was sent down due to an injured wrist. (I've talked to him several times. He's quite a nice person.)

The kids also got to run out on the field with the players during the National Anthem. Joshua, having played catcher some during the tourney, went out to the catcher's spot with Clint Sammons. He and Corey (here with Coach John) got to yell "Play Ball" into the mic before the game. What a great experience! (Thanks Chad for the info!)

Thankfully, my co-worker who works the Team of the Night Deck switched with me so I was working the deck this day and got to see it all! I wouldn't have missed it for anything! It was so cool! Thanks Coach John for making this possible!
I brought Steven and the boys to work with me early that day and game them a quick tour of the stadium. (The rest of the team came by bus.) Nothing much, just places they wouldn't normally see. Then I got to watch the game very near them. What a great game it was too!
The GBraves were down 7-1 in the 7th inning, so the rest of the team decided they were ready to go. We said bye to them and my family stayed to watch the game. And are glad we did! Reid Gorecki came up and hit a pinch hit grand slam to tie the game! Then Jordan Shafer hit a home run (very next batter) to put us ahead. The GBraves ended up winning the game 8-7. It was awesome! Steven called Coach Mike and told them what they had missed. He wasn't very happy. That is why you NEVER leave a game early. You never know what might happen!
A great time was had by all! As the other kids on the team were running up and down the stairs and around the stadium and goofing off on the deck, I'm proud to say that my kids, yes all 3 of them, sat and watched the ENTIRE game. Joshua and Zach even kept score!
Afterwards, they waited at the player's parking lot and got some more autographs. It was a perfect day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"The I Believe Bunny" by Tish Rabe, Illustrated by Frank Endersby

"The I Believe Bunny" is a cute story for children ages 2-5 about a bunny who finds himself in a position to help out mouse, but isn't confident that he can do it. Bunny was afraid but knew he had to help. So he prayed to God and asked Him to help give Bunny strength. And He did!

This is a sweet story of prayer and faith. Though I agree with the moral and lesson of this book, I was not taken with the story. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful and the lines all rhyme, but I feel the author was really stretching to make a connection between Bunny and faith. I read it with no real feelings welling up inside. I could, quite frankly, take it or leave it. However, let me stress again, that the lesson of faith is very clear and would come across to any child. Though not the best story around, it could very easily be used as a teaching tool of faith.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zach's 6th Birthday!

Zach has turned 6! I just can't believe it! Where has the time gone?

As is custom, I asked Zach what he wanted to do for his birthday. (Remember, last year he wanted to see the White House.) This year, the Red Sox were in town playing our own Atlanta Braves, so he wanted to go to the game. (For those of you who don't know, the Red Sox are our OTHER favorite team, besides the Braves.) So we got tickets to the Yankees AND the Red Sox games...all in one week. (By the time the week was over, Steven and the kids had been to 1 Yankees game, 2 Red Sox games and a Gwinnett Braves game! Whew!

Elijah is showing everyone the big screen in center field. Zach and Joshua are enjoying keeping score in the game. (That is SO cool that my kids like to keep score!) And we got this big tomahawk outside the stadium for free!

We got to the game early enough to see the Red Sox taking some batting practice and warming up. We saw Jonathan Papelbon, Dice K and Kevin Youkilis...

And we saw John Smoltz!

We sat in down the right field line so we could get a good look at David Ortiz, aka Big Papi! We also got to see Dustin Pedroia...

Jeff Francouer and JD Drew!

Amazingly enough, the Red Sox fans were louder than the Braves fans. We enjoyed cheering for both. I think we ended up cheering more for the Red Sox, but it's all good. We had a great time!

St. Simons Island

Every year, Edward Jones has a Summer Regional meeting at a beach somewhere nearby. This year it was at St. Simons Island at the King and Prince Resort. We don't get to the beach often, so the kids and I decided to tag along with Steven.

It was a very nice resort. This is the view from our 4th floor balcony. Yes, the 4th floor. It wasn't so bad though. There were stairs and an elevator. Joshua and Zach would take the stairs and race us to see if they could beat the elevator. They usually beat us going up, but we would tie on the way down.
This is the view down the beach...when there was beach. It was gorgeous! But, as you can see, there are rocks lining the back side. We realized quickly that those mean high tide comes in very high. This picture was taken at low tide. At high tide, there is NO beach. Nothing! We would sit on the rocks and watch the waves roll in. The stairs down to the beach would be covered in water. It was pretty, but I wouldn't let the kids get in.

This year was MUCH better than last year! Elijah didn't want to have anything to do with water or sand last time. This time, as you can see, he is on the beach! He even let the waves come up over his feet....with his sandals on, of course. He enjoyed playing in the sand too. We made castle shapes and fish and dug big holes. All the boys enjoyed that!

Joshua and Zach had no problem with the water. They particularly enjoyed jumping the waves as they came in. They aren't big ocean swimmers (like Mom) because they can't see the bottom. But they had fun. One time Zach kicked his BRAND NEW Spiderman beach ball into the ocean and the current started taking it out. He got very upset. Mom became an ocean swimmer very fast. It took a while, but I finally got it. It had gone out very far before I could stop it. Needless to say, I deflated the beach ball for the rest of the trip.

There was also a little pool about 1 foot deep. (We played in the pool at high tide.) And Elijah got in! It was great! (Thanks for the picture, Kelly!) He usually screams and cries about it. But this time he WANTED to put on his bathing suit and WANTED to get in the pool. So we did. He had fun throwing balls and running around after his brothers. After a while, the older boys wanted to go to the bigger pool. Elijah did that without fussing too. By the end, he was pretend swimming and even jumping in from the side! (With me holding his hands, of course.) I was so thankful.

Last year's beach vacation was a disaster! This one was VERY pleasant. I just wish it could have lasted longer!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joshua - The All Star

Joshua and his team stand at attention for the National Anthem.

It's been a rough week. However, life doesn't stop...for anyone or anything. We started the weekend very early, around 7am, getting everyone ready to head out to Loganville. Yes, Loganville. Joshua's All Star tournament started and his game was first, 10 am. We needed to be there by 9am which meant we had to leave here by 8:15. Wouldn't you know that THIS would be the morning all the kids would want to sleep in!

After a nice LONG drive down Sugarloaf Pkwy, we made it to Bay Creek Park in Grayson. We dropped Joshua off at the batting cages and took the other boys to the playground. They are such troopers to hang around and play while Joshua plays. And they do let us watch the game! Thankfully, at this park, the playground was RIGHT next to the field we were playing on! PTL!
The game started at 10am. I was a bit angry, I admit, to see that Joshua was still on the bench when the game began. He wasn't starting. But I trust his coaches and knew that he would get his time later. It was a pretty easy top of the 1st. Our pitcher, Logan, got everyone out. No baserunners. We scored 1 in the bottom of the 1st. We go to the 2nd up 1-0. I was glad to see Joshua's sweet face out in left field. In baseball ready position, legs apart and knees bent with his glove poised, he was ready for action. Again, an easy inning with no runs scoring. Joshua got up to bat in the bottom of the 2nd with bases loaded and 2 outs. Unfortunately, he struck out. I hurt for him. I know he's nervous. This is a lot of pressure for an 8 year old. But he took it in stride.
He came out in the 3rd inning to catch. He did great! He ended up catching the rest of the game! In the 4th inning, he got to bat again and got an RBI single up the 1st base line. He would later score a run! The Blue Lions would win the game 11-2! Yay! We get a bye tomorrow and play on Monday night at 8pm.

I am so proud of all my kids, of course. But today I was especially proud of Joshua. He didn't complain that he didn't start in the game. He did what he was told, when he was told, where he was told. I am mostly proud of him because, when he wasn't batting, he was in the dugout standing against the fence cheering for his teammates. He was always in the game, paying attention, being supportive. (Not all the other kids were.) What a great child (excuse me, young man) God has blessed us with!

To their credit, Zach and Elijah did great too. They played on the playground the ENTIRE time without complaining so we could watch the game.
Thanks to all 3 of my guys! I'm proud to be your mom!

Friday, June 12, 2009

After several days of mourning, planning, paying respects, seeing family and friends, explaining death to my kids, comforting my husband and dealing with all the other junk life throws at you, it's time to get back to life as usual. Janet's memorial service was yesterday afternoon. It was quite lovely (Naomi!). Close to 400 people showed up to pay their respects and say one last goodbye to their friend, mentor, teacher, aunt, sister-in-law, mother-in-law. We thank everyone who came and those who have sent flowers and cards. Seeing how many people were touched by Janet Julian has really been a remarkable thing. Now...back to normal life.
Normal? Will life ever be "normal" again? What is normal? I was getting ready this morning, back to the usual grind of what a Friday morning brings (volunteering at church, getting ready for work, etc.) and started thinking. I actually started feeling a little guilty. I'm just no near as upset and I think I should be, or thought I would be. Maybe I'm in "take care" mode and making sure that my husband and kids get through this and I'll grieve later. Maybe I'm in shock still and it just hasn't hit me yet. Or maybe, since I've been through this many times before, I've just turned myself off. My grandparents died when I was younger. Then I lost my mom and dad to cancer. Then my other grandparents. Then Steven and I had severe marital issues. I'm starting to think that, subconciously, I've just turned myself off so that I don't feel anything anymore because it just hurts too much. I just won't allow myself time to really think about it because I just can't stand all the pain that this life has brought. I know God never said it would be easy and there would be trials, but come on! Sometimes it seems more than I can take! Thankfully, God has gotten me through each hardship, as He promised. But I do think that I am a harder, more guarded person because of it. And I fear that my kids and my husband suffer the consequences of that.
But this is not about me. Steven still hasn't grieved the way I think he needs to. Being the good man that he is, he is concerned with getting back to work to provide for his family. He concerned about his dad, as we all are, and wants to take care of him too. I want to make sure they are both ok. I'm not quite sure how to do that except to be here. I will give hugs and listen when need be. That's all I can do. I pray that God gives me the strength and compassion to do that. I pray that Steven and Dave (Mark, Kent and Janna as well) will be comforted by the Holy Spirit and work through their grief. Someone asked me if you ever get over it. I had to tell them no. The pain of losing a parent or spouse never really goes away. You just learn to live with it. Lord, help us learn the best way to live with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Losing a Legend

Janet Marshall Julian, loving wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and friend, passed away suddenly this morning. We are all in shock right now, but dealing well. God is good and comforting always. It helps to know that Janet is now with her Lord Jesus and partying with Him and her parents (and mine). That made my kids smile.

In this age of technology, word of her passing spread very quickly. The outpouring of love from friends and family all over the world via email, Facebook, etc has been tremendous. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. Having taught for 30 years in this area, it's hard to find someone who DOESN'T know Janet and who HASN'T been touched by her. Just last night, while I was working at Gwinnett Stadium, I met a man whose son just graduated and had Janet as a teacher. I also have friends from my job at Perimeter Church who know her or have married people that were her students. (We always say the Julians are the center of the universe. Just about everyone knows them!) What a blessing to hear how Janet has touched so many lives.

For me, she was a mom. Having lost my mom to cancer 8 years ago, Janet was the only mother figure I had left. I am one of 4 daughters-in-law, but she always made me feel special. Not a visit went by that she didn't tell me that she knew she couldn't replace my mom, but wanted to be a mom to me. I appreciated that. It helped me through a lot of difficult times.

To my kids, she was Grammy. Giver of money for good report cards and player of Sorry Sliders or Mr. Mouth or Dominoes. They loved going to her house. They cried when I told them the news. Zach, my 5 (soon to be 6) year old was the most hurt. After many tears, he turned to me and said, "Now I only have one grandparent left." (Amazing how smart kids are!) Joshua has been concerned about Grandaddy, wanting to make sure he is ok. (He is so compassionate!) And Elijah, noticing my tears, asked me what was wrong. When I told him I was sad, he came over and hugged my leg and said, "I so sorry, Mommy. I so sorry." Their energy and joy have helped today.

Steven is with his dad working out details. There is always so much to do when a loved one dies. It's almost like your body turns on the auto pilot and you go into "get things done" mode. (I've been there twice.) The problem with it is....what happens after all the services are over, everyone has said their goodbyes and friends and family go back to their daily lives? I love my husband dearly and am saddened for him at the loss of his mother. But I hurt more for Dave and the loss of his life companion. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in August. After being with someone day in and day out for so long, how do you go on without them? I thought the same thing when my mom died. I just can't imagine. Losing a parent is VERY hard. But losing a spouse has got to be 100 times harder, at least. I tear up and get a knot in my throat just typing this out now. Please keep the entire Julian family in your prayers, but especially Dave.

Janet, we love you. We will miss you. We are glad that we know where you are and who you are with. We look forward to seeing you again someday soon. Thank you for raising 3 great sons and 1 great daughter. Thank you for being a fantastic grammy to my kids (and the 9 others). You will always hold a special place in our hearts!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pool Day!

No pictures, sorry. But what a fun day we had at the pool! The boys have been waiting anxiously since school got out. But, with all the rain and stuff, it hasn't been warm enough. Today was the PERFECT day to head out to the pool. Steven played in the water with Joshua and Zach while I played with Elijah on the side. He STILL does NOT like getting in the water. Plus, it was a bit cold for him anyway. His job was to throw back into the water whatever the other boys threw out. He loved it! Before we knew it, we had been there almost 3 hours!

Joshua has started his All-Star practices, 5 days/week. They had a scrimmage game on Saturday. He was the only pitcher on his to that DID NOT give up 5 runs! He gave up one and struck out the others. Way to go! He has to go back to the orthodontist this week to remove his spacers and get an expander. Then, in 2 weeks, braces. But only on his top 4 front teeth. Nothing major, at least not yet. We'll see when this is over.

Zach is still as happy-go-lucky as ever. He's pretty easy going. He likes to play with Joshua and Elijah and will pretty much take whichever one is available. If neither, he'll ask to go to the neighbor's house. That's cool with me. They have 3 little boys too, just the ages of Zach and Elijah. He actually misses school, but is enjoying being home.

Elijah has really become quite the Gwinnett Braves fan. (Hmm...I wonder why? :) He got a pack of their baseball cards and now, after going thru them MANY times, knows just about every one by heart. He COULD be their next announcer. He's quite good at it. This past week Steven and the boys got to come to their first G-Braves game. They loved it! So much so that they didn't want to leave their seats to come see Mommy at work or get a tour of the stadium! I guess I'll have to do that some other time BEFORE the game starts. I'm just glad they enjoyed it. Now they've done something I haven't yet...sat and watched a game! Maybe one day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

School Field Day

The kids had Field Day at school recently. MUCH different from what I remember Field Day as, but they enjoyed it. Zach helped out a bunch in the tug-of-war.

And he loves to play Castle Ball. He's a pretty good shot too.

Joshua enjoyed playing on the inflatables.

They got to move around to different stations. Tug-of-war, inflatables, relay races, water balloon toss. It was a lot of fun!

And Elijah got to come with me and enjoy it too!

Zach - the next Pele???

We had Zach try soccer this year because Tball, as much as he enjoys baseball, just wasn't holding his interest. He really seemed to enjoy soccer. He played their last game of the season this past week. He got a hat trick and ended up scoring about 9 goals this season. 4 in one game once. He says he can't wait to play again, this time with goalies! They recently had a party and got trophies. He was so excited! What a cutie!

Zach with some of his teammates at the party.

Look at Zach kicking that ball. He's a natural. Well....maybe not. But he sure had fun!

Joshua Julian - All Star and next pitching great!


Joshua plays a lot of 1st and 3rd base. He's not a great runner, but loves getting on base. And, this year, he had a 13 game hitting streak!

But his FAVORITE thing is pitching. He could be the next Jonathan Papelbon! Right now his team is in the middle of a tournament. They won on Wednesday. They play on Sunday for a chance to get into the Championship game.