Category Archives: jack henry


“Buddy! ¬†Are you so excited that it’s your birthday tomorrow?”

“Yeah!” came his response. Followed a moment later by, “But it’s also a little sad. Because I’ll never be five again. And five was fun.”

Which almost made me cry.


One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

Just like that, baby #3 has joined the ranks of the big school kids.

He’s had a couple of celebrations to mark the occasion. We started with his family party last Saturday, had presents arrive in the mail this week, and then today included saying the Pledge over the intercom at school (seriously, this was a HUGE deal), having birthday treats in his class, then dinner at CPK (his choice, of course) and presents back at home.

About those class birthday treats, and what makes kindergartners great: there’s another little boy in JH’s class with a birthday today. Because his classroom is nut-free due to allergies, we have to be careful to choose snacks that are ok (I’m not complaining; just stating a fact). So it cracked me up that me and the other mom chose Oreos (albeit in 2 different forms) as treats! I need to get to know this other mom, and then if Jack Henry and this little boy are in the same homeroom again, we can coordinate and come up with some amazing birthday treats together! But here’s what’s cool to me: it wasn’t annoying or thunder-stealing for him to share his birthday. It was all the more awesome because there were DOUBLE treats today (the teacher wisely had them eat one and bring one home!). Older kids, and frankly, grown-ups, can learn a lot from kindergartners.


When Luke started preschool and then elementary, it was a typical firstborn, fairly sheltered situation. So when I’d interact with kids in his class that were 2nd or 3rd borns, whose siblings were a few years older, and they were so, I don’t know, savvy, it freaked me out. Made me wonder what in the world was going on in their homes that they knew so much.

And then my thirdborn started growing up. And I started praying a few years ago for grace and mercy from the parents of firstborns who would someday be his classmates. Because he just knows more than he probably should about a lot of things. For instance, at 2, he hollered out at a baseball game that he got hit in the nuts by a ball. Sigh. I’m waiting for a call from school.

But I’m hoping he just knows better by now. Right? RIGHT?


I know that snippets isn’t really my typical birthday style, but I don’t have much new to say from his past birthday posts. Jack Henry is such a delight to have in our family. I’m not sugarcoating reality; he has his trying moments (testing out his scissors on the kitchen table this week, for instance, or constantly irritating his brothers for sport), but overall, he’s just such a joyful, fun person to be around, and I love him for that.

I can’t wait to see what he learns by seven. :)

That’s Brothers for Ya

Several weeks ago, while in Effingham for a family reunion with Matt’s side, the boys were playing in the basement at Matt’s parents’ house. Matt’s cousin, Andy, had gone downstairs for a minute and when he came back up, mentioned that 2 of 3 Diehl boys weren’t bleeding. I laughed and said something like, “That’s good!”, thinking he was joking, so I didn’t go check on the situation.

He wasn’t joking. When Jack Henry came upstairs much later, he had a bloody mark next to his nose.

The boys had been running around with some little horses, and Bennett apparently (accidentally, he claims) ran into Jack Henry’s face with the hoof of a hard plastic horse. It made a little puncture wound.

I called Bennett upstairs to talk about this, and he was like, “What? It was an accident. I took care of it. I got him a wet kleenex to clean up the blood, and he wasn’t really crying that much, so I didn’t get you.”

Score one for older kids: no need to involve Mom when a wet kleenex takes care of the blood.

One of Matt’s other cousins, Becca, is married to a doctor (Bryan), so I asked him to take a look at it. No stitches needed, but he said it would probably heal with a little pucker. And wouldn’t you know it, he was right.

jh face scar

I realize that a close-up picture of the scar at this point would make for a better blog post. However, he’s at school right now, and I don’t have a pic of the scar, so you seeing the location of it is just going to have to do.

So JH now has this still-pink, relatively-fresh puckered scar right next to his nose. On the way to church Sunday morning, he was touching it and said he liked how it felt. I told him, “You know, that scar will be there forever. It won’t always be that pink, but that texture* will stay the same.”

To which smarty-pants Bennett** immediately chimes, “You’re welcome, Jack.”

Me: “What? You’re welcome?”

B: “Yeah. Scars are cool, man. And I gave that one to him.”


here they are in a moment of togetherness that did not involve an injury.  that particular flight of the styrofoam plane was ill-fated, though.

here they are in a moment of togetherness that did not involve an injury. that particular flight of the styrofoam plane was ill-fated, though.

*school tie-in, he’s learning about different textures right now, go me.
**Increasingly becoming really funny, when he’s not busy annoying me or his brothers or injuring someone.

Country Boy.

It’s no secret that I love country music {with approximately a million caveats about what songs I like, none of which make much sense to other people. In general, though, I don’t like country music that’s TOO country, ya know?}.

Naturally, the boys like country music, too. Especially Jack Henry, who has developed this amazingly awesome country accent over the summer.

I couldn’t believe he granted me permission to share this with the world, since he’s recently become pretty private about what information is public (I always get permission from the boys before posting something). I told him I’d happily just record this for our family to have, but he said he was fine with it!

Cracks me up. Take a listen. I love that he gets about 80% of the lyrics right.

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 28

It’s been forever since I’ve had a post like this (February, I checked), but I have 2 quick lines from Jack Henry’s mouth that needed to be recorded…

1. This morning, as with nearly every school morning, I had to wake him and his brothers at 6:20* **. He rolled over and said, “How can it be morning already?” I’ve also so far this school year heard when waking him, “Well, that was fast.” and “Did I actually sleep a whole night? That felt like a nap!” He’s having a great start to kindergarten, but I think it’s fair to say it’s wearing him out. And he goes to bed by 8 most nights, sometimes 7:30. Exhausting.


2. At breakfast, we were talking about what kind of food we’ll have at his birthday party with our family this Saturday. He was describing some chips he wanted me to buy but couldn’t remember the name. His description? “They’re yellow, and they look like hammocks.” Oh, you mean Fritos? “YES!!! FRITOS!” So I’m getting him Fritos, even though I think they smell like feet.

*so they can poke around for 25 minutes getting ready, then head downstairs for breakfast, helping make lunches/cleaning up the kitchen, and out the door by 7:15 with their dad. Early starts are rough, but I like it better than if we were a 9am start like some elementaries in our district!

**Nevermind that on Saturday, he was up at 5:45 on his own.

Homework and Small Miracles

Today after school was a fairly typical day…pick up the kids, come home for a snack, quick ortho appointment for Luke (no braces yet – probably still a year away), and then home for homework, dinner, showers, family viewing of last week’s “Great Food Truck Race,” etc.

However, for the first time, all 3 kids had homework this evening. And all of them needed some degree of help from me. AND, I had several things that needed to get done before I could even start dinner. I kinda feel like I thrive on this chaos, though, so this doesn’t freak me out, and my kids are old enough to help with things so here’s how it went down:

-tell Luke to start his homework
-help Jack Henry get started on his milestones project, and while he’s working…
-fill out Bennett’s field trip paperwork, and oh yeah, Mom? Will you please go with me on this one?
-Sidenote: pray for me as I ride the bus to the Botanical Gardens with 3rd graders (if I get picked to go)
-ask B if he’d please at least start unloading the dishwasher while I help Luke with science homework (shoot me now – levers and fulcrums. I hate.)
-check in with JH, who’s doing fine and dandy on his project
-watch in amazement as B asks if he should also just go ahead and load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, since he’s finished unloading it completely (YES.)
-work through Order of Operations math homework with Luke (which I actually enjoy, probably because this is about the hardest math that I understand)
-realize, while working with Luke, that B and JH are playing quietly together. This is newsworthy, because they are often not besties. THEN realize that no, they AREN’T playing, Jack Henry is quizzing Bennett on his spelling words list.



I wish I could figure out what made this amazingness happen so I could replicate it, but we all know that’s pointless, so I’m just enjoying this today, and bracing for the normal that will likely be back tomorrow.

PS…If you haven’t read Jen Hatmaker’s “Hope for Spicy Families” get on over there and do that now. I love my spicy family!

The Truck Mailbox

When we bought this house, Jack Henry was 2 1/2.

For reference, he looked and sounded like this a couple of months after we moved in.

Be still my heart.

As we grew accustomed to our new routes from our house to and from Target, Lowes, the grocery, etc., it became apparent that we would be using one route particularly often. And on this route is a house with a mailbox that gets one’s attention…Jack Henry immediately named it “the truck mailbox” and every.single.time. we went that way, he hollered out “truck mailbox!” as we passed by.


For a while, if he missed spotting it, he’d be upset that he didn’t see it. This was important stuff to a 2 year old. And slightly annoying to his brothers.

Over the years, of course, there’s been much less spotting of the truck mailbox as we drive down this road. Every once in a while, he’ll still call it out, but it’s usually in a joking manner now.

Yesterday, as just he and I headed home from the boys’ ballpark for the 1300th time this summer (I exaggerate only slightly), he pointed out the mailbox and then said, “Really, I’m getting too old for that.”

I said something to the effect of, “Aww, really? I don’t think you’ll ever be too old to remember how much you loved it when you were little.”

He replied, “Sometimes, when we pass it, I’ll still say ‘truck mailbox!’ just for your memories, ok?”

And then, when we got home, he told me he was drawing me a picture. He spent probably 30 minutes working on it, and then he presented it to me as a gift.

jh truck mailbox drawing

It’s our whole family (plus his stuffed dog, Waffle, of course) in the minivan, driving past the truck mailbox, with him calling it out. “So you won’t forget,” he told me.


Sending this kiddo to full-day kindergarten tomorrow. Lump in my throat all day today.


Notes from the Road

1. I picked the nastiest gas station on earth to stop at for fuel/bathroom break in Chattanooga. Ick.

2. Two “Way to Go, America” moments:
A. Did you know you can buy Georgia state lottery tickets the second you cross the state line? Literally at the state rest area welcome center.
B. This. Really? REALly? (Say that in your best Seth Myers voice.)


3. Our children’s ability to sleep in the van has suddenly gone to crap. Actually, I’ll exempt Bennett, who just in general needs more sleep than the others, and has napped a couple of times. There is no genetic or environmental explanation for this, as their father and I can both easily doze in the car.

4. One of my favorite quotes from the trip came from Jack Henry: “Sometimes I say bad words in my head.” I immediately leaned over to Matt and whispered, “Sometimes I say bad words in my head, too.” I think this came on the heels of a conversation about damn vs dam. Matt and I now wish we had asked what words he was thinking; trying to be good parents, we’ve chosen not to bring this up again, but trust me, we want to.

5. Dear South Carolina,
Sorry for all the sand we filched. I hope there’s some left, because our van is full of it.

6. One last fun vacation-y night in Nashville (wait til you hear what exciting thing we’re doing!) and then it’s all over. It’s normal to cry at the end of vacation, right? Because I always do. Also, school starts in 2.5 weeks, my baby is going to kindergarten, and my kids watched Toy Story 3 in the van today, and I just can’t even handle listening to that movie.

7. It’s lovely today.


Lesson #1

It’s a big day over here…Jack Henry is getting his first shoe-tying lesson!

Even more exciting? I’m not the teacher!

Somewhere along the way, when it was time for Bennett to learn, Luke stepped in a saved the day, teaching B how to tie without me having to do much of anything. Score! So this time, I just assigned it to Luke and Bennett right off the bat…this is why we have kids, right?


Jack Henry’s first lesson today ended a bit early in tears (I’m not surprised…shoe-tying is hard, and he’s easily frustrated), but I stepped in where Luke left off and JH had a little bit of success.


He knows the basics now, at least, and can keep practicing over the summer. I’m thinking he’ll have it down by school in August!

Which is wishful thinking, given the pouty look on his face right now.


The boys have been going to VBS this week – every day, 9-12. Naturally, today, the 4th day, Jack Henry breaks down in tears before going because he’s worried that I won’t pick him up.


Of course, I assured him that I’ll be back…I always come back, even if I’m not the first mom there.

Then, I was there to pick him up at 12:02, and a couple of kids had already left (not nearly all of them), and JH was crying in his classroom. Because he thought I might not be coming.

When we piled in the van to head home, I assured him again that I’ll always be coming for him, and then asked his brothers individually if I’d ever just left one of them somewhere. Luke answered, “Jack Henry, I’ve been going to school for 7 years, and Mom has never left me anywhere.” Score.

And then in a flash, as I turned to Bennett to have him reassure JH, I remembered: I DID forget him one time at preschool (recounted here). In my head: oh crap oh crap oh crap please please please Bennett do NOT remember this.

You can imagine my relief when Bennett said, “She’s never left me anywhere, either!” (which, frankly, is a miracle, because if any of you have been reading long enough to remember what Bennett was like a toddler/preschooler {one story for illustration purposes}, you know that I was tempted to leave him somewhere more than once).

I really feel like Jack Henry is experiencing a little anxiety over the impending start of kindergarten in the fall (he’s also been a little weepy the last few weeks at Sunday School, which has never happened before). This makes me a little nervous, of course, but I’m hoping he’ll just get it out of his system now.

Learn to Type

My boys have always been impressed by ability to type and not look at the keys…which makes my typing skills sound way more impressive than they really are. (In fact, my lack of secretary-level typing skills nearly cost me a job 10 years ago!)

But like most people my age, I had to take a typing class in high school, where I learned on an actual typewriter how to type.

I’ve long lamented that typing isn’t taught in elementary schools. I can remember back as far as 10 years ago being frustrated by this. I was working with a 4th-grade teacher who had a grant-funded classroom in which each child had his/her own computer. However, the kids were never taught to type correctly. So all of their time was spent hunting and pecking. I’m sorry, but this is just the height of illogical thinking to me.

(And yes, I know, curriculum demands means there’s not time for it…that’s a discussion for another time.)

Now that my kids are at the age where they sometimes type things, it’s even more annoying to me that they’re not going to receive proper instruction in this area. I’d been thinking about trying to find a way to teach them this summer when my friend Kelli sent me to this website: BBC Dance Mat Typing.

Bookmark it, Pin it, whatever…save this site for your kids!

Yes, it’s a little goofy, but even Luke doesn’t mind it, because it’s really teaching him to type! Bennett and Jack Henry saw him doing it, and now they’ve already started, too.

Each little lesson takes about 10 minutes, and it’s walking them through learning the keys without looking. I’m so excited to see where they’ll be at the end of the summer!