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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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!

 

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!

 

come & gone. October 13, 2014

Filed under: Lincoln,Silas,Tate — gallyfam @ 3:16 pm
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some of these things have come & gone…  i had hoped to blog about them closer to when they actually happened, but then life took over…  here are some photos anyway.  enjoy!  more to come… (i say that every time, don’t i?!)

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silas has already completed his 1st quarter of 6th grade at the middle school. here he was with dad on his first day!

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silas & mom on day #1.

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catching the bus to the middle school on the first day… at 7:03am. yikes!

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here is lincoln and a few friends (typical lincoln — he has LOTS of friends at school!) on his first day of 2nd grade!

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tate’s 1st day of kindergarten… which he absolutely LOVES!

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and yes, fall sports are already officially over… here is a typical sight on the field during one of tate’s early-season games. tate is on the right. got to love 4 & 5 year old soccer! (phil bravely stepped up to coach.)

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and lincoln, the experienced 2nd grade soccer star. he had a great season, improved a lot, and he also got to have dad as his coach!  three cheers for a great fall of soccer & football!

 

re-arranging… September 15, 2014

Filed under: Lincoln,Silas,Tate — gallyfam @ 6:36 am
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i used to LOVE re-arranging (and re-organizing, now that i think of it…) my bedroom when i was younger.  for whatever reason, it gave me such a KICK to make things feel fresh & new.  if you know me, you know that hasn’t changed — hurrah for something that has NOT changed!  ha ha!

anyway, this summer, we made quite a few changes in our home.  lots of the changes were just some re-arranging, with some fresh paint thrown in there.  others were some major projects that i can’t take any credit for, except for the dreaming/scheming of what i wanted the end product to look like.  phil’s dad made my visions come to fruition.

we promised the boys a move to the [slightly] larger bedroom upstairs this summer.  granted, they are all three still sharing a bedroom, and probably will be for quite some time.  BUT, it’s a new and larger space, and we all really like the outcome.  here are some before & afters — their “old” bedroom and their “new” bedroom, in what used to be the guestroom/playroom…

BEFORE: bunkbed in the old green-striped room.

BEFORE: Bunkbed in the old green-striped room.

BEFORE: Silas' bed in the old room.

BEFORE: Silas’ bed in the old room.

BEFORE: Dressers.

BEFORE: Dressers.

AFTER: Chevron accent wall I painted in the old guestroom/soon-to-be boys' bedroom.

AFTER: Chevron accent wall I painted in the old guestroom/soon-to-be boys’ bedroom.

AFTER: Tate's bed in the far corner.

AFTER: Tate’s bed in the far corner.  Silas’ bed is just inside the room, to the right.

AFTER: Silas' bed & door to the room.  Phil's dad made these semi-loft beds for the boys from scratch.

AFTER: Silas’ bed & door to the room. Phil’s dad made these semi-loft beds for the boys from scratch.

AFTER: Lincoln's bed, on the opposite wall from Tate's.  We did away with dressers & opted for these drawers that fit under each of their beds instead.

AFTER: Lincoln’s bed, on the opposite wall from Tate’s. We did away with dressers & opted for these drawers that fit under each of their beds instead.

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AFTER Part 2: New bedding on Silas’ bed and some more re-arranging…

AFTER Part 2:  After Tate fell off his bed and bit through his lip (yeah...), we pushed his & Lincoln's beds together.

AFTER Part 2: After Tate fell off his bed and bit through his lip (yeah…), we pushed his & Lincoln’s beds together.  Lincoln’s new orange bedding, too.

AFTER Part 2: Looking in from the door... Added a chair for a reading corner, where Tate's bed used to be!

AFTER Part 2: Looking in from the door… Added a chair for a reading corner, where Tate’s bed used to be!

 

changes… September 10, 2014

Filed under: Tate — gallyfam @ 4:20 pm
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i tried to write a blog post a day or two ago concerning all the many changes we are currently experiencing as a family.  it quickly became a rambling tirade of the whats and whys behind all the changes and transitions.  bleeeeck.  i just can’t handle it.  i couldn’t finish it.  it’s too much to try to fully capture or explain what we’re experiencing during this major transitionary moment in our lives.  i decided to scrap it.  instead, i thought i’d post single photos that represent some of those changes.  maybe i’ll have it in me to describe which specific change is represented by the photo, if it’s not fairly obvious by the content of the photo itself.  maybe.  (i just got home from substitute teaching a class of 24 first-graders, so you can understand my lack of motivation, and my desire to curl up and rest in some quiet, quiet place…)

without further ado…  here’s the first photo.

 

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our sweet son, tate, and my amazing husband in the background!

here is our youngest son, tate, who started kindergarten this year.  this is him, lined up and MORE than ready to go in, on the very first day.  i’ve already referenced this major change for our family in a previous post.  BUT, it’s clearly a big one for tate, for us as parents and for our whole family.  it’s actually kinda the instigator of most of the rest of the life changes we are currently in the middle of making… which i will get to slowly but surely.

so far, tate is LOVING kindergarten.  he has Ms. Wendy as a teacher — the same kindergarten teacher that both of his big brothers had as well.  she. is. amazing.  we are one lucky family and tate is one lucky kid.  he also gets to have his good friend, jude, in his class and his big brother, lincoln, to look up to and see at lunch & recess, etc.  we love the boys’ elementary school and we ADORE the teachers.  i’m so grateful that this particular change has gone so smoothly.  tate is a natural!

 

a new era. August 23, 2014

Filed under: Lincoln,Silas,Tate — gallyfam @ 9:12 am
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this is tate’s first kindergarten assignment that he brought home.  i love his little name that he wrote out at the top.  and, i love his drawing, too — his prediction, of course, is 100% BOY, just like tate.  this piece of paper marks the beginning of a new era for us — all three of our boys are officially in school.  it is a strange sensation to be sure.  one that i haven’t grown accustomed to in the slightest — granted, they’ve only all been in school for two days so far…

i post this photo in an effort to jumpstart my blogging.  i’d really like to post more regularly now that the boys are all in school, while we navigate the first months of this new life stage for us Gallaghers.  so, i hope to be back real soon.  in the meantime, here’s a first-day-of-school photo for you to enjoy!  thanks for reading.  : )

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lincoln (2nd grade), tate (Kindergarten), silas (6th grade)