tall tales

from the gallagher five.

a long overdue ode to T8. May 1, 2017

Filed under: Tate,Uncategorized — gallyfam @ 2:11 pm
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i must say this every year when the birthday of our youngest, Tate, rolls around, but it’s true — “I can’t believe my baby is EIGHT!” has it really been eight years since we brought a newborn home from the hospital? while far from a baby (as Tate would beg me to clarify), Tate is the youngest of our three boys and the age of EIGHT suits him quite well.

Tate is in second grade and has had a great school year. Tate is a strong student, a great listener and a compassionate friend. like his brothers, he is strong in math and reading and finds academics in general to be fairly easy. he doesn’t necessarily enjoy being the center of attention and had some small obstacles to overcome this year in that regard (think presentations, readers’ theatre and pretty much anything that required him to get up in front of the whole class). i can certainly understand where he’s coming from — neither Tate nor i share Phil’s affinity for speaking in front of a crowd. in the end, he rose to the challenges and made some great strides this year, and he enjoys all of the other aspects of elementary school.

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our Tate is a hands-on type of guy. he received his own small toolbox for Christmas and has enjoyed taking apart several old household items, like a broken clock, an old camcorder and an old blender. he’s the kind of kid that will keep his favorite parts from inside those gadgets and tuck them away somewhere safe just because they look cool. this week, Phil’s parents are visiting and Tate’s “Papa” was installing a ceiling light for us. Tate was his faithful assistant and insisted on using his tools when he had the specific tool that Papa needed. Tate is also drawn to other gadgets that you might find in a spy/ninja/action movie. case in point: he asked for a grappling hook a couple Christmases ago. he did receive it, but the problem since then has been finding an appropriate (read safe) use for it! so Tate was thrilled when we were able to incorporate his grappling hook in the escape-room style game we invented for his birthday party. amidst a series of clues, riddles, locks, combinations, and hunts, Tate and his buddies had to scale the side of our front porch from the yard (snow) below using Tate’s grappling hook & rope (which Phil had secured above the porch). the delight all over Tate’s face was pretty fun to see, and he accomplished the mission with ease. Tate received two robot-type gifts for his birthday, and his favorite part by far was constructing them and taking one apart, only to re-build it again in a different configuration.

i’ve heard from other parents that their youngest child often seems the most responsible when it comes to household chores. Tate is no different. he often is the first to remember to clear his dishes after dinner, the first to volunteer to empty the dishwasher and works diligently to earn his allowance more often than either of his older brothers. when it comes to brothers, tate seems to get along the most naturally with his oldest brother Silas, our 14 year old. Tate & Lincoln (10 years old) can also play together well, but it does take more intervention on our part. getting along as a sibling-threesome is typically ripe with difficulties, which again, i’m sure is common in families as well as many other areas of life. Tate is capable of keeping up with his brothers now in almost every way — reading, video games, swimming, biking, storytelling, conversation, etc. — a matter of pride, to be sure.

Tate has crazy cool eyes. you can’t tell in the black & white photos, but both eyes have several colors — a mixture of green, blue and a splash of brown, too. his personality is similar — Tate is a good blend of so many characteristics. while he still likes to snuggle at times, he’s also fiercely independent and rarely truly needs either parent to help him out. he enjoys time with friends but also acknowledges when he prefers a quiet day at home. Tate can be shy around adults at times, but he can also be the most outspoken at the dinner table. this week, each of the boys spent a day home from school so that they could have one-on-two time with their grandparents. Tate thoroughly enjoyed his time and didn’t even ask if Phil and I were also going to be around. Tate does have some crazy mood swings. he is quick to get upset if he’s embarrassed or when he feels that he is the victim of an injustice. his tendency to stomp up the stairs reminds me of my childhood in a family with three sisters. fortunately, he cools off pretty quickly, too… let’s just say Tate experiences intense emotions. he rarely forgets to hug and say “I love you” at school drop-off or bedtime. he can get so angry that he simply can’t hear your reasoning for several minutes. he gets embarrassed to the point of tears, and when he’s bored, he’s REALLY bored. ha ha!

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clearly, i could go on and on about the boy. there is so much to say. what a joy to watch Tate learn & grow and a privilege to be his mom (& dad). while he has two amazing big brothers’ footsteps in which to follow, my hope & prayer is that Tate will be 100% Tate. that he will be fully confident in who he is as he walks through these formative years surrounded by so many of us that love him like crazy.

happy 8th birthday, my son!

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silas, our young man. March 8, 2017

Filed under: Silas — gallyfam @ 8:03 am
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our oldest son, Silas, turned 14 this past January! it always seems to take me longer to post photos and share about our oldest son than the younger two… probably because it’s a bit harder to hang onto Silas long enough to snap a few photos. when he’s not in school, he is most often out galavanting around the neighborhood or around town with his buddies. and, after 14 years of having his photo taken by Mom, at this point, he is only reluctantly putting up with the tradition because he is about as sweet and good-natured as a teenager can be (knock on wood). so, here we are in March, already past Tate’s birthday too, and i’m finally able to post photos and tell you a little about our Silas, the 14-year-old.

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Silas. what a good kid. i mean man. or, young man, let’s say. as always, Silas is a good student. he is smart and uses his time wisely and has never had any issues in school. he is an academic natural — enough so, that we had a conversation in the past half-year about what a valedictorian is and told Silas that for him, it’s an attainable goal. IF he wants to pursue his academics hard-core — he is entering high school next fall. Si is such a social guy, and our community is SO very athletics-driven (while Phil & i aren’t so much), that my guess is that he’ll stick with sports. we do love that he is active and enjoys the camaraderie that team sports provide. and we’d both hate for him to feed his [inherited] perfectionist nature by becoming ultra-competitive with grades, so i don’t see either of us pushing too hard for a top GPA. but, it had to be said. there could be more to life as a teenager than sports. Silas played football again this past fall and loved being on the 8th grade team. i am grateful that he made it through 3 years of football without any major injuries. this spring, he is replacing track with lacrosse, and my guess is that he’ll love it. it will be fun to watch him discover a new sport and to play with so many of his friends.

one of my favorite things about Silas is his creativity. this past year, he and his friends made a few videos of themselves doing fun contests, edited the footage and posted the videos on youtube. they are pretty entertaining — Si’s sense of humor comes shining through the finished products. they also spend a lot of time downtown coming up with creative things to do — creating games to play involving the gondola, “hammocking” under bridges and in the woods, riding the free bus around the county, and hanging out at two different “loaf & jug” gas stations. i’m thankful that he has remained close friends with the other 8th grade guys in the neighborhood and that they’ve added new friends to their group as well. Silas is also creative at home — over the week that the boys had off of school in February, Silas decided to turn one of his favorite games on his phone, “Clash Royale,” into a board game. he and his youngest brother, Tate, spent many hours designing, drawing and coloring an intricate game board and Silas created individual cards for each of the characters in the game.

like every other 14-year-old, Silas has his “teenage” moments. he says all sorts of new words that he has determined are cool to say — “sick” and “woke” are good; “roasted” and “riiiiip” (as in R.I.P.) are bad. all three boys seem to make noise constantly. just try sitting down with our family to play a game of any sort and you’ll see what i mean. at first i thought it was really just Lincoln who couldn’t sit still and Tate who was constantly making noise. now i realize they get it from Silas! he’ll say a phrase or make a certain noise over and over and over until one of us says, “okay, Silas.” and then a few moments later, he’s on to the next repetitive sound. it’s enough to drive any parent insane.  : ) Silas also tells more and more jokes these days. let’s just give him credit by saying some of them are funny…

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Silas has been sharing a bedroom with his brothers ever since Lincoln was a baby — ten years ago. he has been such a good sport about it and such a great big brother. he has asked over the years if we think he will ever get to have his own room. he’s never begged or pleaded and very rarely complains about having to share. so, now that he’ll be going into high school, we have decided to re-arrange our small home to make it work for Silas to have his own room. in our minds, he has most certainly earned his own space — and we’re so excited for him! with this privilege (and growing up in general), will come more responsibility — like setting his own alarm (i usually wake him up in an attempt to let his brothers, whose school begins much later in the morning, sleep in longer), doing his own laundry, more chores around the house, etc.

while there is so much more to say about our firstborn, i’ll just finish by saying: Silas, you are our pride and joy! thank you for being AWESOME. we cannot wait to see all that this next year of your life has in store for you!

 

our Lincoln turns ten. November 10, 2016

Filed under: Lincoln — gallyfam @ 10:16 pm

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in a world running wild with intense emotion, i figured it was time to throw my hat into the ring.  i’m not here to talk politics, i’m just here to spread a little JOY.  at least, that’s the way these black & white photos of my precious middle son make me feel.  i can’t help but smile when i look at them.

our sweet son, Lincoln, recently turned 10 years old — the much-anticipated double-digit status.  Lincoln is in 4th grade, and as I said, is our middle son, sandwiched between his older brother, Silas, and his little brother, Tate.  our three boys share one bedroom, and I am glad we made that decision as parents.  perhaps they bicker and pick on each other more than they might if they had a bit more space to spread out, but i think they are closer for it.  they have had to learn at early ages how to get along, how to resolve conflict, how to share and work together.  my hope as they grow older is that they will look out for each other and take care of each other, without even realizing they’re doing it.  i hope that it’s second nature.  but i digress…  (wait, maybe i AM talking politics!?  ha!)

back to Lincoln and the boys’ room.  on Lincoln’s bed, you will find several soft and snuggly blankets.  Lincoln is king of the snuggle.  he is a lover, so he instinctively invades your personal space in search of [giving & receiving] affection.  he likes cuddles.  he loves to hug and squeeze and hug some more.  he thrives on closeness.  one of his favorite things EVER is blankets.  the softer the better.  he already had two special, soft blankies on his bed, but that didn’t stop him from spending his birthday money to purchase yet another.  we went to target, and my sweet son picked out the absolutely SOFTEST blanket he could find in the entire store (pictured above).  i admit, it is unbelievably, luxuriously soft.  and then his friend gave him yet another crazy-soft Pikachu throw blanket for his birthday, too.  that’s FOUR snuggly blankets — and Lincoln is in heaven.  his soft, warm, cuddly, cozy, full of joy and delight, happy place.  he’s a touchy-feely, affectionate, soft and sensitive boy, and these blankets perfectly depict his personality.

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i love the photos of Lincoln laughing because his giggle is distinctive.  it is full and strong and infectious.  the boy doesn’t hold back.  his laugh is so full of life and JOY — it is most definitely one of my favorite sounds.  Lincoln jumps right in and embraces his emotions.  when he is mad, you know it.  when he’s disappointed, it’s written all over his face.  when he is excited, you see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.  when he is struck with joy, he giggles.  i’m talking throw-your-head-back, tears-in-his-eyes peals of laughter (see photo below).

one of my favorite things about Lincoln is his compassion and empathy.  all of our boys have it, but today i celebrate these beautiful traits in Lincoln.  the other night, our oldest son, Silas, didn’t feel well.  his stomach was tossing and turning, and yes, eventually it ALL came out.  Silas put on as brave a face as he could, but let’s just say that when the sheer volume forced itself out his nose, he just couldn’t take it, and you didn’t have to be in the room to know that he was both angry and sad.  (in fact, the moment Silas got sick, Phil, Lincoln and Tate promptly left the room!)  while i was helping Si, Phil was helping the younger two boys get ready for bed.  when i came to say “goodnight,” Lincoln was snuggled deeply into his blankets with a look of serious concern on his face and tears in his eyes.  he was worried for his big brother and didn’t want Silas to suffer.  even sadness that is not his own, Lincoln feels vividly.

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my hope and prayer for Lincoln this year is that he would continue to embrace his feelings and grow in awareness of them.  i hope that he will express his thoughts and emotions more and more as he allows himself to feel everything that he feels.  that he would trust his instincts, because he so instinctively cares for others.  that he would advocate for himself.  that the artist in him would continue to blossom and thrive.  that he would explore and value and embrace the wonderfully unique and special young man that he is.

i love you, Lincoln boy.  i’m so very proud of you.  our world would be incomplete without your tender heart and your sweet snuggles.  (and may we all approach each other with tender hearts and arms open wide.  amen)

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tate is SEVEN. April 2, 2016

Filed under: Tate — gallyfam @ 11:39 am
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our youngest son, tate, turned SEVEN in march. SEVEN! it’s hard to believe it has already been seven years since he was born, seven years since we were 3rd-time parents of a newborn baby boy. good lord. as much as i love babies, i’m grateful for those seven years. i’m thankful that our youngest is old enough to be in 1st grade, to be independent in so many ways, and to be old enough to keep up with the rest of us. he is a remarkable boy.

tate is the baby of our family, and as such, he is what you might expect — the rough n tough, stick up for himself, “i can do that just the same as you,” ahead-of-his-time kind of kid. he learned to ride his bike faster than his brothers and will catch up to them quickly in his swimming abilities. he is braver than his brothers in many ways. impressively, he is usually the first one of the three to remember to clear his dishes after dinner, and he can perform his bathroom-cleaning duties as well as, or better, than his 9-year-old and 13-year-old brothers. tate will mix himself a cup of gatorade or tea and get his own snacks. like most babies of the family, he likes to joke and tell stories and make the rest of us laugh around the dinner table. he is a funny guy and the life of the party. he also is a bit of an anomaly — tate doesn’t like to be the center of attention at school. he likes to put his head down and work hard and do everything right. he is good at math and reading and does well in school, but he doesn’t like to be in the spotlight in that setting. he doesn’t like going to school with a new haircut, or in costume, because he doesn’t like the attention it could attract. tate was chosen as one of a handful of 1st graders to read his [short] essay in a partial school assembly, and he dreaded it! i was so proud of him for going through with it because i knew just how much he didn’t want to be up in front of that crowd. in fact, earlier in the year, he had opted to make a video at home with his dad instead of making an in-person presentation in his first grade class…

tate is a sweetie-pie. he’s the kid who makes sure to say, “i love you. goodnight!” or “i love you. goodbye!” depending on whether we’re tucking him into bed at night or dropping him off for school in the morning, and waits for us to say it back. actually, he says it twice, to each of us. four times without fail. i’m not sure whether he just has an innate need to express his love for us, if it’s learned behavior, or if it’s some kind of OCD tendency, but he is pretty adamant about it. but what parent would ever complain about their child saying “i love you” too much? certainly not me!

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tate is growing up fast. i’m shocked sometimes by the big-kid things that he says, or the long words he is able to read without hesitation. (or the other day in the car, when he started singing along to the radio-song, and he knew every single word.) there seems to be a subtle & quiet continual thought in the back of my head reminding me that he is growing up. that’s why i’m grateful for those moments when he still needs me. when he gets hurt or is mad (aka furious) at his brothers and i’m able to hold him and comfort him and cheer him up. those moments when a hug or a kiss or a cuddle with mom will make everything better. or when the thing that he really wants to spend his saved-up money on is a stuffed animal. those are the moments when i’m reminded that he is only seven after all. that he still is my baby.

i’m learning something about myself as a mother lately. and maybe it’s just because life is changing for me and for my family, which is another story for another day. but i feel more aware than usual of time passing. i’m more cognizant of time moving forward and each day that is here, then gone. i’m feeling bittersweet about several endings and new beginnings on the horizon. that horizon keeps inching closer and closer. my senses are heightened. and in the midst of all the change, i’m keenly aware of my youngest, my baby boy, growing up, too. and i don’t want to miss it in a sea of distractions. every morning that i bring my boys to elementary school, we hug and say goodbye. “have a great day, we’ll see you after the bus.” lincoln hugs us at the car and runs off to play with friends before the bell. sometimes we walk tate onto the playground and stand around for a bit, sometimes we hug and say our goodbyes at the gate. regardless, i watch my baby boy turn and walk away. i think to myself, “there goes my baby. off to school.” and just like a first-time kindergarten parent, i blink away the tears and head off into my day. and i know what it is. it is a gift of God’s grace that i can wrap tate’s “i love you. goodbye! i love you. goodbye!” around me as i go.

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tate, you are no longer a baby. but you will always be my baby. you will always be mine. what a gift you are to dad & me. we have been given the privilege and the joy of watching you grow up. and of being loved by you. we love you right back!

 

our teenage Silas. March 5, 2016

Filed under: Silas,Uncategorized — gallyfam @ 4:44 pm
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well, once again, i realize that it’s been ridiculously long since i’ve posted.  also, it’s taken me way too long since silas’ actual birthday to take (& therefore post) these pictures.  we celebrated tate’s 7th birthday yesterday, which was the final kick-in-the-pants.  enough is enough.  here are my black & white portraits of silas, and some of si & his brothers, too.  instead of writing a post about the teenager himself, i thought i’d share the letter that i wrote to him for his big “NOT Mitzvah” celebration.  we gathered over 20 letters to silas, from friends and family near and far.  it was a special night of celebrating the wonderful young man that silas is and giving him good advice for becoming a man in our world.  so, without further ado…

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dear Silas,

happy 13th birthday, my son, my Si-Boy!  as we celebrate YOU tonight, Silas, i am filled with emotion…  it is bittersweet to say good-bye to your childhood while we anticipate all of the exciting adventures awaiting you in adulthood.  the first 13 years of your life have truly flown by and i cherish all of the special memories we have made and moments we have had together.  in my mind, you have had an exceptional childhood — not because of anything Dad or I have done, but because YOU have always been one amazing boy.  tonight YOU get all of the credit for the smart, thoughtful, kind, loyal, funny, and compassionate young man that you have become.  when i think of you, Silas, my heart bursts with pride.  i am SO very proud of you.

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tonight marks your rite of passage as you enter manhood.  i must say, i cannot wait to watch you and walk alongside of you in this journey, this new chapter of your story.  whether it’s navigating high school, girlfriends, driving, facial hair, first jobs, college or sports, i know that you will do a spectacular job, and we will always be here to cheer you on.  we will be here to give hugs, high fives, advice, prayers and help when you need it.  my hopes for you as you enter your teenage years are these:

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**like your parents, you are a perfectionist. i hope that you will work hard, but that you’ll also let yourself off the hook every now & then and call it quits at “good enough.”

**i hope that you will continue to have the confidence to always be your true self — the unique individual that God has designed you to be.

**i hope that you will have the courage to make wise choices, regardless of what others choose to do.  where you lead, i believe others will follow.

my prayer for you tonight is the same prayer that i have prayed for you and your brothers at countless bedtimes over the years — that you would become everything that God dreams for you to be.  and also this, that you would have the eyes to see and the ears to hear God’s presence in your life and his voice speaking to you.  He will help you write a one-of-a-kind story with your life!

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i love you, my teenage son.  you will always be in my heart and I will always be here for you.

love ALWAYS.

mom

 

 

one sweet nine-year-old. November 29, 2015

Filed under: Lincoln — gallyfam @ 9:30 pm

so, this blog seems to have become a place where i blog about each of our boys after their birthdays. aaaaand, nothing else in between. let’s just put it out there — if you’ve spoken with us this year, you know we Gallaghers are in the middle of a very FULL year, to say the least. it’s my hope that in the future i’ll be able to return to blogging here on a more frequent & consistent basis. however, for now, i’m going to settle for birthdays and let myself off the hook with a deep sigh of “good enough.” okay. end of disclaimer.

our lincoln-boy turned 9 in october. we’re in that phase of life where you notice little subtleties that reveal the undeniable fact of your children growing older. lincoln is looking, acting and talking more & more like a young man and less & less like the little boy he used to be. his mannerisms, the stories he tells, and even his vocabulary (phil will tell you that lincoln uses the word “technically” ALL the time — some times even correctly) point to a boy who is growing up. he’s now 9 years old. his final year of the single digits.

we were catching up with some old friends the other day and the story came up of lincoln’s ski accident at the end of last winter. because lincoln walked away unscathed, i tend not to think about it much, especially 6 months after the fact. but, re-telling the story to friends who hadn’t heard it, remembering how he had fallen and twisted one of his legs a full 180 degrees so that it was actually completely backwards as he lay there on the ski slope… remembering being on the receiving end of that awful & terrifying phone call and the immediate rush of adrenaline it ignited… remembering how small and fragile lincoln looked in that emergency room bed with an IV in his arm, a brace on his leg, and a look of fear in his eyes… re-living those moments with our friends reminded me of the GIFT that is lincoln and the scare of losing him. how truly and deeply grateful i am that he was unharmed and miraculously walked away from the trauma with only a headache and a sore leg.

 

over this past summer, lincoln became a voracious reader. it might have been the beautiful new library in breckenridge & its summer reading program, our family’s annual “summer challenge” or perhaps lincoln’s innate need for alone time, but he began reading at every turn. he would read and re-read many books — especially the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Big Nate series. for his birthday, he received the first two books from the Treasure Hunters series, and he read them both in a short few days. i love his growing love for reading, for stories, for adventure. i love watching him get lost in a good book — another sign of growing up, if you ask me.

for his birthday, lincoln had a slumber party and invited five friends. it was a classic birthday celebration in the Konkler tradition. we tie-dyed t-shirts, played blackout bingo with blank bingo cards to be filled in with facts about lincoln, and we played “night” games. whereas growing up in the Konkler home, we loved to play sardines, it was all “murder in the dark” for lincoln’s party — and the boys ate it up. apparently several of the boys even wrote about it in their 3rd grade class the following week, much to my embarrassment when we found out about it at conferences! “Murder in the Dark? Well, it’s not quite what you think. Slitting throats? Well, yes, BUT, it’s not as bad as it sounds…” oh boy!

 

because of his older brother, lincoln tends to want to be & act older than he is. actually, “murder in the dark” is a game we learned from three 20-something guys, so there’s that, too. but he is always trying to keep up with his 12-year-old brother and his friends. in most ways, he does pretty well, too. thankfully, he’s reached the year at school where he is one of the “older” students — as a 3rd grader, he eats with the 4th & 5th grade students. he gets to participate in choir for the first time. also, he is very excited to try basketball for the first time come january! both activities that he watched his big brother do, and FINALLY, it’s lincoln’s turn to be a big kid! it is FUN to watch him experiences these new privileges.

who is this lincoln boy? he is true to the lincoln we’ve always known him to be. he’s a lover, a feeler, an empathetic, affectionate boy with strong emotions. he laughs hard and cries hard (oh, you should’ve heard him sob when he shattered the screen of the new iPod touch he received for his birthday… ON his birthday!). he likes to hug and snuggle and he still comes to sit or stand by me, just to be close. while he’s begun giving hugs at the car this year at school drop-off (as opposed to on the playground in front of his friends), he still wants that hug and would never step foot towards school without it! lincoln is a good & loyal friend to many, with a sensitivity and compassion for others. he has a precious affinity towards younger children and babies. he’s a smarty-pants in school and good at math, art, reading and writing. he typically makes good choices and readily admits to the poor ones. he continues to play with his dice nearly everyday and enjoys this creative, independent play and downtime. he bites his fingernails and TOEnails religiously, gets bloody noses frequently, and likes to repeat funny stories a time or two too many.

 

who is lincoln? lincoln is our sweet son with a huge heart. we wouldn’t trade him for anyone else. happy birthday, mr. 9!  we love you!!

 

 

t turns six! March 12, 2015

Filed under: Tate — gallyfam @ 3:21 pm
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tate.  taters.  T.  T-T.  T-man.  so many nicknames for one special guy.

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we recently celebrated tate’s 6th birthday.  our baby, our youngest, is SIX!  was it really already six years ago that he was born?  his birth story brings to mind a late-night helicopter ride to denver (oh boy!), a tiny infant boy with mohawk hair, a champion of a husband who drove back & forth between our home in breckenridge and the hospital in denver with two young boys in tow, and a wonderful mother who flew in earlier than planned to spend a couple nights in the hospital with me, relieving said [exhausted] champion husband.  i should say, “was that ONLY six years ago?”  it feels like a lifetime.

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and now he’s SIX.  he has had six years to develop a personality and grow into the big boy that he is.  he certainly is his own little man.  he’s 100%, unabashedly TATE.  he is sweet and tender and loud and shy and ornery and gets angry and stubborn and silly and hyper and isn’t afraid to throw some fists!  he says, “guess what?” more times than we can count.  he is less concerned with germs and his brothers taking his stuff than he used to be (thank goodness), but he always wants a real, hands-around-the-neck, tight hug at bedtime and prayers for good dreams.  one of my absolutely most favorite things about tate is that he has recently begun proclaiming “i love you, mom” and “i love you, dad” at bedtime and at school drop-off and whenever else we say goodbye to each other.  melts my heart everytime.

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tate has never known life without brothers.  while he can handle playing alone — for a little while, at least — he certainly enjoys spending time with his brothers.  on the morning of his birthday, we started the celebration with our traditional early breakfast-in-bed and singing and candles and chocolate chip scone (actually, butterscotch scone at t’s request) and gifts.  after opening all of the gifts, tate’s first impulse was that he wanted to start playing with his new lego & bionicle sets WITH his brothers.  silas had to leave for middle school, but tate & lincoln dove right in.  tate likes to play with his 8-year-old brother and his 12-year-old brother equally, and he can keep up with either of them.  in some ways, tate isn’t the one tagging along.  he is the one taking care of the other two.  a few nights ago, phil and i were both woken out of an unusually deep sleep by an unnatural & terrible noise.  it was tate, yelling and screaming and shouting, loudly and wildly, coming down the stairs…  “MOM!  MOM!  Lincoln’s THROWING up!!!”  he was less scared by the incident than he was scared for lincoln.  he seems to have a care-giving nature that is always looking out for and taking care of his brothers, even though he’s the youngest.  only after we had taken care of lincoln, cleaned him up and settled him down again in the other room (and after our hearts had stopped thrashing in our chests), was tate able to lie back down and go back to sleep.  in the midst of it all, phil and i looked at each other, our adrenaline pumping, that knowing look in our eyes — in awe at the wonder that is TATE — and we were able to laugh, at 4:30 in the morning.

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being our youngest, tate is naturally the last in the family to go to kindergarten.  we are thankful that tate has been able to have the same wonderfully amazing and special kindergarten teacher as both his big brothers, ms. wendy.  she has been the beloved teacher for hundreds of students over the many years that she has taught at breckenridge elementary.  she is loving and kind and patient and has the heart of a saint.  on tate’s birthday, when we brought cupcakes in to share with the class, she took the time to show us the latest of tate’s school work.  it was a test of sorts where the students individually tried to correct spelling and backward letters, etc. in a sentence she had written for them with many intentional mistakes.  this was an exercise that they had recently been doing together as a class, but on that particular day, ms. wendy wanted to see how each of them was catching on individually.  she was so excited by tate’s work that she had to show it to us — he had corrected every single mistake (almost every letter needed a correction of some kind!) and he re-wrote the sentence 100% correctly on the lines below.  he was the only one in his class to do it perfectly!  (the funny part was the reason why ms. wendy was so tickled by his success.  it was because tate didn’t know his whole alphabet when he started kindergarten — ms. wendy told us — maybe only half-kidding — that she thought he was the neglected baby of the family!)  i do NOT mean to imply that tate is the smartest in the class or anything like that!  but, apparently, he has spent the year learning and growing and rapidly catching up to the rest of his class.  : )  it was neat to see him doing so well in class.  and, as far as his standing in the family goes, it seems he is stubbornly refusing to be overlooked or left in the dust by his two smarty-pants older brothers.

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we found out last week that tate shares a birthday with dr. seuss!  so, in the words of the wise man himself…

tate,  “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

we wouldn’t trade you for ANYone else.  we are so proud of WHO you are and WHO you will become.  may you always be true to who you are meant to be, tate.  we cannot wait to watch & see just who that is.  and we’re so grateful for a glimpse of that man by who we see before us today.  we love you, birthday boy!

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!