Saturday, September 27, 2014

Go Anderson Go

It's been so long since we have updated this blog and there have been so many moments that I've wanted to capture, here, that I want to always remember and know that I will forget.  Well, I am determined to capture this day.  A major milestone was achieved.  Anderson rode a two-wheeler all by himself!   The accompanying videos capture the moment far better than my words will, but I was overwhelmed with pride when he came gliding down the path - Jonathan following behind him.  And when he got off with his big smile and proudly exclaimed, "I did it! I did it!" there were tears in my eyes.  I'm sure that those of you with children in your lives can relate to how momentous this event was, but I have to say I was a caught a little off guard.  I didn't even bring my "good" camera to capture it...thank goodness Jonathan had his phone. 

 I'm now a believer in the balance bike that enabled Anderson to ride with confidence after about ten minutes on his two wheeler at age four (I think I was about 8 riding a bike bought at my Uncle Bernie's bike shop and sailing into the holly bushes bordering the driveway because i couldn't stop).  And I'm incredibly proud of our big boy who kept at it, learned how to fall and get right back up.  But there is another image from the day, one that we did not capture on film, that I hope will always accompany this day in my memory.  It is of Anderson pedaling down the path with Nathan running alongside him cheering, "Go Anderson go!  Go Anderson go!"  I get choked up just thinking about it.  Our boys are "all boy" as they say.  They tackle each other, sit on each other, and pester the snot out of each other, but they also love each other deeply.  Nathan was as proud of his brother's accomplishment as Anderson was of himself and isn't that what it's all about?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Behind the Music

In honor of Anderson's 3rd birthday we began what we intend to be an annual tradition.  Here are the answers to the questions we posed to him.  It should be interesting & entertaining to track how these change and/or stay the same through the years.

How old are you?                                                       “Free”
What makes you happy?                                             Deacon! (stuffed animal)
What is your favorite animal?                                       Deacon – real Deacon (Sassy/Papa's dog) 
What is your favorite thing to eat?                                Oatmeal
What is your least favorite thing to eat?                        Salad or Pepperoni
What is your favorite thing to do?                                Watch something on the lily pad (iPad)
What is your favorite TV show?                                  Super Why & Curious George
What is your favorite movie?                                       The Letter Factory (Leap Frog)
           Where Does the Garbage Go?
What is your favorite color?                                         Blue…and Green
What is your favorite song?                                          ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle 
Who is your best friend?                                              Jack & Drew & Sydney 
What do you & your mom do together?                       Play frisbee
What do you & your dad do together?                         Play soccer ball
What is your favorite sport?                                         Football & baseball
What is your favorite place to go?                                Jack’s house (Charleston)
What is your favorite book?                                         Katy & the Big Snow
What do you want to be when you grow up?                Pilot

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bye-Bye Binky: Learning to Let Go

We had been putting this off for quite a while.  It had dragged on so
long I'm pretty sure it was mom & dad who weren't ready for this change rather than Anderson.  I'm talking about that important milestone - getting rid of the binky (pacifier).  Our reticence was not so much a sentimental hesitation meant to delay the rapid growth of our first born.  It was more about a reluctance to relinquish the magic power of the binky to facilitate a smooth transition to bedtime & re-center an unhinged child.  That binky has done much to soothe the exhausted spirits of these two parents perhaps as much as it has offered comfort to Anderson.  But it was time – yes, perhaps past time.  Anderson recently turned three & we are well aware that most pediatricians recommend banning those suckers at around 18 months.  But, just as children develop at different rates (eating solid food, walking, talking) so, we must remember that as parents we, too, are developing at different rates.  And if there is anything we’ve learned from the parenting journey it is that mom, dad &, of course, the kids need copious amounts of grace as we all stumble through this maze of child rearing.

So, we finally began preparations for Anderson to transition to a binky-free lifestyle.  Over the course of a few weeks we talked about it periodically.  We asked him if he was ready.  Jill suggested we make it a fun & memorable experience.  The arrival of a new niece seemed to offer the perfect timing and Anderson embraced the invitation to give his binky to Sydney.  He also seemed to step up to the gentle challenge that his older cousin Jack “doesn’t use a binky anymore.” 

So, here’s how it went down.  The four of us gathered at the dining table for the ceremony.  First, we wrote a letter to Sydney about how much we loved this binky & our hope that it would bring her comfort now.  Then Anderson added some of his favorite color – blue – to the letter.  Next, we read Marianne Richmond’s poignant reminder to parents, If I Could Keep You Little.  I’ll admit that my voice broke a bit as I read the final lines.  “If I could keep you little, I’d keep you close to me.  But then I’d miss you growing into who you’re meant to be!”  After the book, I read a specially commissioned poem for the occasion.

There is a time for every season – a time for winter, a time for spring
A time to sleep, a time to play; a time to listen, a time to sing
A time to sit, a time to run; a time for laughing, a time for crying
A time for burrito wraps, a time for footie jams
A time for chopped food, a time for whole food
A time for strollers, a time for walking
A time for a crib, a time for a big boy bed
A time for car seats, a time for seat belts
And, yes, a time for binky’s, and a time for soothing yourself.

And, then, with no hesitation Anderson dropped his binky into a Ziploc bag.  With our brief ritual complete we loaded up the van for an exciting trip to…the FedEx store, of course.  This was perhaps the biggest motivator for Anderson.  His binky was going to ride on one of those white trucks to the airport, fly in an airplane overnight, and then zoom around in another truck to Sydney’s house in Charleston.  We could even track its progress online on the “lily pad” (iPad).  The very final step, which we are still awaiting at the time of this writing, will be to “face time” with Aunt Brookie & Sidney to verify the binky’s arrival.   

It has been mostly a non-event for Anderson.  There’s been no crying, no tantrums, no begging for binky’s return.  However, Jill & I will confess to a desperate hope that his moratorium on the taking of afternoon naps will prove to be only a temporary adjustment to the loss of his dear binky. 

Of course, this was about more than just getting rid of a small piece of plastic it was about learning to let go, even deciding to let go – and learning to find new, more appropriate ways to self-soothe.  And those are two important lessons that life forces most of us to keep learning well beyond the age of three.  When a toy breaks, we must self-soothe.  When a friend moves away we must let go.  When we don’t make the grade, we must self-soothe.  When a dream shatters, we must let go. 

And there are so many unhealthy ways we attempt to soothe ourselves – a new, shinier relationship, another drink.  And let’s be honest, Jill & I would be glad for our boys to use a binky through their teen years if it might help them avoid huffing household chemicals or binge drinking.  But, of course, the entire process of parenting is an exercise in choosing to let go - learning to trust in something bigger than ourselves.  And so it is by letting go – affirmed through ritual, supported by community, emboldened by hope – that we celebrate, grieve, make meaning, grow, and receive what we need to be fully human, to become a family.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Big Boy Turns Three

New Year, new leaf.  Let's see if we can get a few more blog posts on the family site this year than last.  Shouldn't be that hard since I think we posted maybe twice in 2012.

The year has gotten off to a busy and exciting start.  Following our 5th annual "Start The Year Off Wright" party, we quickly hit some significant milestones.  After one day at home with Daddy (and several months of assistance by his teachers), Anderson said goodbye to diapers and hello to McQueen and SpiderMan underwear.  He even wears them overnight!  You'll have to ask Jonathan for his secret...or better yet, he'll have to write a book about it and then we will have loads of time to blog!!

We are so proud of our big boy and are thrilled to have only one diapered tushie in our house now. 

Mommy dove back into academia this month after more than a decade away. I started graduate school at Vanderbilt's Peabody School.  Yes, I am still working and yes, I think I may be crazy.  I'm very excited about the program, though - a masters program called Leadership and Organizational Performance - and am doing my best to take it one step at a time.  Daddy is a hero managing the kiddos on the weekends I have class and the weeknights I have group meetings.

And now to the focus of this blog - our big boy Anderson turned 3 today!  After much Skowronek/Wright discussion about best construction practices, two bed frames, four new bolts and a borrowed drill (thanks Browns!), Anderson now sleeps in a big boy bed with a very soundly attached headboard and choo choo bedding bought with a wedding gift card to Pottery Barn (thanks Koontz's!).  He LOVES his new bed and the matching chair that he immediately called his "reading chair." 
He had a music-themed birthday party yesterday with all of his grandparents, neighbors, and even a few classmates.  Not a quiet celebration, but full of "musicians" playing inflatable instruments and various noisemakers - each child even got his or her own noisemaker to take home.  Are we not the most thoughtful parents?!  Anderson loved his special drum birthday cake and we were so glad to see so many friends and family that joined in the celebration.

Finally, Anderson received his very own guitar and as you'll see on the video, he seems to be a natural.  Daddy said he got into position with the guitar all on his own, and after a few ill-attempts of trying to tell his father that he needs "that thing" while strumming the guitar, Daddy figured out that he wanted a guitar pick (like he's seen Daddy use).  So, here he is with guitar, pick, and music book playing for his appreciative brother and all of you.  Happy Birthday, dear Anderson!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Tonight, the Wright brothers successfully flew through East Nasvhille.  Daddy built a sound flying machine and Mommy ensured that the boys were properly attired.  Amazingly, Wilbur and Orville wore their hats throughout the flight and had a ball trick or treating.  Wilbur, AKA Anderson, equally enjoyed handing out the candy from the front porch...this year, at least.  Halloween in our neighborhood is a big deal - hundreds of children from far and wide scuttle down our streets.  Hope you all had a good time wherever you are!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ordway Outdoors

It's no secret that my dear husband loves the outdoors.  And although A's tantrums are no fun, I think J derives secret pleasure when our older son's tears come as a result of having to go inside.  So, it's no surprise that J has been eager to take the family camping for some time.  And this past weekend, it happened...and we all survived!
A-camping we will go

If you click on the picture here you'll see an album from our adventure.  We were joined by two other families who were glad to make camping a group activity.  J was in his glory in the week prior to the big event as he made his list, checked it twice, and loaded the van to the gills. 

On Saturday morning we headed to Tim's Ford State Park and found the last three sites grouped together.  J and A began setting up the tent while I did my best to keep the baby from digesting every rock and leaf in sight.  After a futile attempt to put the boys down for their naps in the tent, we loaded them up in the van and went for a drive.

In the meantime, our friends arrived and got set-up.  We all headed out on a hike to the "overlook" where our family took in wildlife of the venomous kind.  Amazingly, I was the first to see Mr. Copperhead warming himself on the path and managed to stay amazingly calm.  When he showed no sign of moving, we decided to walk around him - J armed with a leafy branch to ward off a strike.  Mr. C made no move and was gone when we returned.

Back at the campsite, the kids played on the playground and made the most of the dirt, leaves, and rocks around us.  We made delicious "hobo dinners" and finally, FINALLY enjoyed s'mores.  Although J chose not to deviate from the traditional Hershey's chocolate bars, he did give us the option of milk or dark chocolate...and the dark chocolate gave these fireside favorites the perfect adult touch.  And just so you know, warming the chocolate next to the fire while you toast the marshmallows make for the perfect s'more.  As you'll see - all of the kiddos were very respectful of the fire and big fans of dessert!

Shortly before bedding down for the night, a group of recent college grads rolled into the campground in their NASCAR-quality motor coach, complete with a rooftop deck.  Not surprisingly their party continued long after the quiet time began.

Despite the noise from our revelling neighbors, all of the kids eventually went to sleep and stayed asleep throughout the night.  The grown-ups enjoyed some adult drinks, conversation and a few more s'mores around the remains of the fire before turning in.

On Sunday morning, the men-folk prepared a delicious breakfast of oatmeal, pancakes, and frittatas and then we packed up and headed back home stopping through Lynchburg on our way.  A good time was had by all and we hope to make this at least an annual adventure.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

It has been nearly a year since my last post - how in the world did that happen? I've thought about capturing events and memorable non-events in this space so often over the last twelve months, but as the time ticked by it seemed more and more daunting to "catch up" here.
So, in order to "just do it" I've decided to save the catching up for later posts and instead start writing about now.

My now is quite peaceful actually. Surprising since it comes at the end of another day-long car trip with our expanded family. J and I are so blessed to have such amazing travelers in our boys.

This is the 2nd road trip as a family (our first was at the beginning of June to NC that I will hopefully document soon) and our first hotel stay. We are heading to Charleston for a long visit with my family and decided to break up the journey with an overnight in Greenville, SC. As I write in our hotel room at The Phoenix - an old, nicely kept, and barely occupied hotel - I am serenaded by the ocean sounds of A's Sleep Sheep and the pop, pop, pop of 4th of July fireworks a few miles down the road in Downtown. N sleeps soundly in his Moses basket, arms up in the Touchdown position, on the other side of the bed. He'll likely be down for another hour or so before asking for a final meal and then settling in for the night. As friends and relatives have heard me say, this boy has a set of lungs on him during the daytime, but at night, he found a way very quickly to sleep so soundly. He even wakes at night very quietly - an incredible gift to his parents, weary of his pterydactyl-like cries during the day. (You have gotten so much better over the last few weeks, though, honey)

J sits in a chair beside me reading. He is off of school for the summer and still chooses free reading books related to his studies - a telltale sign that the path he is on is indeed the perfect one for him.

This being the first time in a long time that we have slept in the same room as A, who is now 17 months old and much more aware of things at bedtime, we have minimal lights on and are speaking in whispers. So far so good.

A is a Wright road tripping veteran and even with his toddler-sized energy and attention span, he continues to amaze us with his ability to stay mostly happy in the car. The downside to these trips is the lack of physical exertion due to being strapped into a car seat for hours on end - yes, we do take breaks and a big THANK YOU to Truett Cathy for his Chick Fil A restaurants with indoor playards, reasonable kids meals, and amazingly helpful staff who are more than willing to help a momma juggling an infant in a carseat, a diaper bag for two, a wallet, and beverages. We do our best to give A chances to stretch his legs a little, but still, there's no way to work out all of that energy. So, when we arrived at the hotel, he was busy busy playing with the hotel stationary, mommy's nursing pillow, the hotel shampoo and conditioner (some yummy Bath and Body Works flavors, I might add), the hotel phone (Mommy unplugged it in order to avoid some unintended "incedentals"), and anything else he could get his hands on. He would walk around with the shampoo and conditioner and then hand one of them to you with such joy on his face you'd get a tear in your eye. But, best not try to take it from him :) He also found climbing and sitting on the ottoman good fun . . . we managed to let him do this by himself without injury and were as pleased as he was when he maneuvered himself down on his belly, feet first. Our boy grows up by the day.

We began this journey by bidding farewell to Wawa (J's mother) who flew back to NC after spending a wonderful and eventful week with us. As she said this morning, she came to Nashville with three grandsons and left with four - J's sister gave birth to a baby boy (her second son) on Saturday morning. Wawa drove from our house to IN for a quick visit with her older daughter, son-in-law and grandson and just hours after she left to return to Nashville, C went into labor! Talk about timing! Mom and baby were doing wonderfully at last report.
In the week that transpired since we returned from our trip to NC and prepared for this current venture, we've packed a lot in, including beginning demolition on the back of our home for our renovation, taking advantage of Nashville's summer Musicians' Corner series, and attending the incredible U2 360 concert (this will likely warrant its own post, but suffice it to say that it was quite an entertaining spectacle).

But now...all is quiet except for the sporadic bursts of sound and light from the holiday celebrations outside and I am content.