Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stiring It Up

While Gates has only been on this earth about 19 months, I can already tell you, he likes to stir things up. He's got a strong will, clear opinions, and laser-like focus. These are not common characteristics of little people just trying to master how to walk straight.

We've said he was "feisty" from day one. In fact, when Gates was just a few months old we were sitting in the second row of a packed Catholic church - we're talking 2000 congregants - and I referred to this beautiful, sweet newborn as a "ticking time bomb." Because honestly, that's who he is. Had he woken up and not wanted to be quiet and held at that moment, he would have let everyone know, even at just a few weeks old.

What's cool now, is watching that energy evolve. He's beginning to figure out how to focus the energy and express himself in creative ways - when you have limited words and lots of opinions, the world can be a frustrating place.

The pots in our house are the perfect example of Gates' determination. He loves them. They are loud, heavy, and very inconvenient for me to be used as his toys...He doesn't care. He loves them. Any hour of any day you can find Gates hauling, or re-hauling them out around the house. He then goes and gets kitchen utensils to "stir" the pots. He has also recently decided that the small bottles of baby powder are spices and he's figured out how to shake them into the pot (and everywhere else). He leaves the room, I put the pans away, he returns and takes them all out again, and the cycle continues.

This same determination is seen with his disdain for shoes - though he is finally relenting a bit, but only on his terms. He can often be found outside in the yard, in the snow, without shoes on. He doesn't care. It's his choice and he's exercising his control. You may say, "you're the parent, put shoes on him." That's what I would have said before I met Gates.We're learning that when we treat him as a person - not an un-opinionated toddler, the respect is returned.

This determination, while a bit off-putting to some adults, is pretty cool to watch when channeled correctly. This short video clip is a great example of who he is. We went to a huge, open gym to get out some energy. Gates immediately wanted his own basketball. He took the ball and walked directly under the regulation-height hoop and began to shoot. He stood there for nearly 30 minutes, attempting to make a basket. He wasn't intimidated by the dozens of adults playing around him or the 10' basket above him. He wanted to make a basket...period. The heavy ball hit him in the head and face over and over again, he never stopped, his focus wouldn't let him. Finally the lure of a water break and power bar got him off the court.
Lucky us to have two incredibly fun, kind boys. I love how different they are from each other and how perfectly they play together. I could listen to their laughter together all day, it's the best sound. I've never fit life's "mold" for me and I'm glad I can now support our two boys as they shape their own molds for what they want out of life.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Indoor Entertainment

Brrrrrrrr does not even begin to describe our weather; crazy stinking cold does. So why haven't we blogged if we've been indoors you ask - good question and we don't have an answer. What could four lovers-of-the-outdoors be doing in sub-zero temperatures - another good question and I can answer that one.

My mom, Gates and I have been taking lots of trips to the museums, the local gymnasium, Chuck E Cheese, and the local rec centers -basically ANY PLACE we can run and jump and move. And no, the Smithsonians do not market themselves as "indoor playlands." However, you must admit that they are WAY better and bigger than any fast food playland, and besides, we get to learn stuff as we run by it.

We've also played just about every indoor game on the planet - have you heard of Skunk Bingo or Elefun (both great games). We've built forts. And of course, we've had approximately 10 zillion car races. We've had play dates and made cookies; we've made macaroni crafts and glued puppets. We've made masks and used other items to provide entertainment in the afternoon.

We tried out roller skating night at a local junior high. My dad skated, I wiped out, Gates ran at full speed BETWEEN the other roller skaters, and my mom chased after Gates. I think my mom and I got the most exercise that night. (notice Gates flying by in the picture)

When the weather hits 37 degrees, my mom wraps us up like Eskimos and we head out to the park. For some reason, we've had the parks completely to ourselves - maybe the other kids are out of town? And when it snows - even a dusting - we also head outdoors. Gates, as you may know, has been against shoes since birth. He doesn't dislike them, he abhors them. Why am I including this at this point in my story? Well, because one day he decided to play in the snow for about 10 minutes with NO shoes on! He was super happy, running around, laughing and then all of a sudden - YIKES! I must say, I was impressed that he lasted that long. And since that day, he has hardly objected to his shoes, so maybe the near-frostbite afternoon run was worth it!?!!

One chilly night we had some friends over for a pizza, movie, ice cream sundae night. It was awesome. And I guess if this is what the cold is all about, I don't mind it every once in a while...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This Christmas stuff is pretty magical. We were flying out at 7am Christmas morning, so a few weeks before Christmas, Bodie talked to the big guy in the red suit at the mall. He asked Santa if he could "swing by a day early when you are delivering gifts to the kids in China," and wa-la, our Christmas came early! Impressive Santa, really impressive.

When we ran out to the front room, we noticed some arrows pointing to the downstairs. I'm pretty new to this stuff, so I looked to my big brother for guidance when my parents asked us what we thought they were for. "Oh, those arrows are just to show us where more balloons are; I can see some balloons at the bottom of the stairs." Sure, balloon arrows I thought, that makes sense. Good point Bodie. So we stayed on the main floor and began opening gifts, then played, then opened another gift, then had breakfast - all the while walking over those "balloon pointing arrows."

I dropped a ball down the stairs and went to retrieve it. As I did, Bodie shouted, "Wait, I can see a toy down there," and raced down in front of me. He found a three-level car garage that Santa had left - it was awesome. So we began to play with the garage. My parents stood on the other side of the room asking, "Who is that for?" We ignored them and kept playing so they asked again. After about five minutes, we both finally looked up and saw a big card that said, "For Gates." Bodie was crushed; I was psyched.
Then he yelled with a smile, "But Santa wouldn't bring just one gift!" and he finally noticed was about five feet from us - we never even looked up. My parents thought it was hilarious. Santa is a bit crazy because he gave my brother a seven foot race track. Clearly he didn't see the size of our house.
Christmas morning we hopped on a plane and headed to Utah for two weeks of fun. Luckily Bodie prayed for snow and boy did his prayer work. They had the biggest snowfall so far this year, starting on Christmas day! We spent Christmas day at my Uncle Rick and Aunt Margo's house. A Lybbert family tradition is to have wacky things on your plate at Christmas breakfast - this year it was bad teeth. I felt oddly comfortable with this group of crazies, but chose to pass on inserting the false teeth for the photo. (may I suggest you click on this photo to enlarge it, I guarantee laughs, especially if you do a close up on my dad and grandma!)
We filled the trip with sledding, skiing, ice skating, friends, and family - does it get any better than that? No skiing for me this year; so I did a lot of socializing in the lodge. We spent a few days out at Last Chance where we usually water ski in the summer. This visit we got to ice skate on the frozen lake and it looks like Bodie has finally mastered the sport!

Two other highlights were movie nights and dinner with the StJeor's and dinner with the Cook/McQueen family (they got a new brother!)

Lucky us to have such awesome cousins, friends, and family.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dear Helmet Companies...

Dear Helmet Companies,
We would like a sponsorship. We promise to actively and positively promote your products. Helmets are an essential staple in our house and have saved our brains from (additional) damage multiple times. Regardless of the season, we are successful at smashing our heads into something and would appreciate free replacement products so we can continue to afford brain protection while having fun.

Summer fun was momentarily halted by a encounter with a metal guard rail (see Brakes post) and most recently, Bodie met a boulder - yes a boulder - head on while snow skiing. Once again, the trusty helmet prevented life-altering head trauma. The boulder roughed the helmet up a bit, taking a chunk out of the front and requiring a replacement (like I said, we could REALLY use a sponsorship).

Bodie's goggles, however, were no match for the boulder and shattered on impact. In almost 40 years of skiing, I have never seen anyone shatter a pair of goggles. And as we went to get replacements in the shop at the resort - a resort where thousands of people ski every day - they too were amazed at the damage done to the goggles...especially by a five year old. Nice work Bodie.

And as for the question you're probably asking about Bodie, he's fine. He was pretty freaked out immediately after, but then said, "I'm okay, let's go," and we skied the rest of the run. He had two large, matching bruises on his thighs and one on his arm with a small scratch on his head where the helmet piece broke off. He was actually pretty psyched afterwards because his replacement goggles have a band with pictures of the Angry Birds on it - so he feels like he got an upgrade. As for me, a dozen more gray hairs and even more gratitude - he continues to beat the odds and he does it with a smile.

So if you know a helmet company that is looking for a spokesperson, we'd be happy to apply - I think the relationship would be mutually beneficial.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sights from the Season

So my mom decided to do one Christmas activity every day during the month of December. With 24 days before Christmas, this allowed us to enjoy so many of the cool activities that only happen once a year. Even better was all of the fabulous friends who joined us for our adventures.

Our buddy Jackson joined us to visit the trains and lighthouses at the Botanical Gardens, visits with Santa, our friend Liam invited Bodie over to build a gingerbread ski chalet (clearly his mom is awesome!), we went caroling with almost two dozen friends (Gates rode along in our wagon
with a look of confusion as we belted out songs to random strangers), a few hundred of our favorite people filled our home with Christmas cheer at our annual brunch, the notorious Salvation Army bell ringing...twice!, Zoo Lights, the Smithsonian's Discovery Theatre, a visit to the National Christmas tree, and the list goes on and on. Here's are some more of the highlights in pictures....

Some of the more than 350 Christmas cookies just before they were gobbled up at our brunch and Gates perched among the brunch's preparations.
Breakfast with Santa and Lori, Karim, and Noah 
Baking cookies and the decorating cookies with Abigail
Intensely decorating gingerbread houses
 Sneaking into the Keenan's house to make them breakfast
Attending the Smithsonian's Discovery Theatre and visiting the National Christmas Tree
So many reasons to be merry (and grateful). Our Christmas blog post will be up shortly, stay tuned...