Category Archives: jack henry

Simplicity.

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**Major disclaimer: please read this knowing it is my opinion and parenting approach, and not a rip on the way other people choose to approach this as parents. There’s plenty of that elsewhere in other blogs. I just thought that there might be some other moms out there, maybe younger moms especially, who could use some insight and encouragement in this area. That’s it.**

I know I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I’m not much of a birthday party mom. I generally find it stressful, and overwhelming, and not fun. And yes, I know it’s not about me, but when I am all of the above, it doesn’t make for a happy household. That doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate birthdays, or skip parties with friends. It just means that I like to keep things simple.

Part of my issue is how huge, in both numbers of kids invited and expenses, birthday parties have become. I’m simply not interested in keeping up with the Joneses. The potential expense completely overwhelms me, and the excessive amount of planning time to make everything creative and perfect makes me break out in hives. And I’m a creative person. Who adores Pinterest. I think part of my aversion is that all of this effort is put into something that lasts 2 hours.

Now. If crafting up an amazing party is your thing, go for it, sister. If you can afford a fun location, go all out! I don’t think badly of you, and I’m happy you’ve chosen to celebrate your kiddo in that way. Those parties can be really fun!

But if you can’t afford it? Or don’t want to spend that kind of money or time on a party? It’s ok. It really, really is ok to go against the grain. I honestly don’t think it’s going to impact your kids negatively in the long run. In fact, it might even lead to some really great discussions from an early age about family priorities and making hard choices (i.e. you may give your kid the option of an expensive party in lieu of a gift from you if it’s that important to him to have a big party).

We’ve had several small parties at the house, and we’ve also done the pick-three-friends-to-go-to-the-movies route. Each boy has been given the option of one bowling party (or similar expense), but Bennett didn’t even want that, and instead chose to have friends over to the house because that seemed more fun to him. One of B’s friends’ parents take a few kids camping at a local campground for their son’s birthday…super fun, doesn’t break the bank. There are tons of ways to celebrate your kid and his big day without forking over the equivalent of a car payment.

Clearly my kids aren’t grown yet, and this whole topic of how lame their birthday parties were compared to their friends could still lead them to the therapist’s couch. I hope not, but I don’t know. So take what I say with a grain of salt ;)

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Yesterday was Jack Henry’s first friend birthday party (he will be 7 next week!). With a September birthday, he didn’t know enough kids at school last year for us to have one, and having attended two different preschools didn’t allow for a good group of friends to form by the time his birthday came around each year.

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my happy birthday boy!

He invited 6 kids, and 4 were able to come over for a 2-hour party with pizza, homemade Oreo truffle cupcakes, and ice cream. We decorated the kitchen with streamers and a fun banner that my friend Corrie printed for me for Bennett’s last party. A couple of balloons were tied to the mailbox and to JH’s chair at the kitchen table. The kids played with a giant whoopie cushion we have in our basement, played one relay game I’d planned (and weren’t that into it, so I let go of any ideas I had of more organized games), ate, opened gifts, and just played. Jack Henry said it was really fun. The other kids seemed to be having a good time.

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popcorn shoe relay race, found on spoonful.com

ice cream pinterest idea

excellent time-saving idea from pinterest…scoop ice cream into cupcake liners ahead of time, and pull out of the freezer when it’s time to serve dessert!

I’m sure it wasn’t the most earth-shattering day of any of their young lives. But it was a great celebration of my boy. He had fun. I didn’t put us in debt.

Win-win.

Minus One

Last weekend, for the first time ever, Luke went away for the weekend on a church retreat for sixth graders. I have to admit, it was really, really weird to not have him with us… I felt like I was forgetting something all weekend.

However, it was really cool to spend some time with just the two younger boys while Luke was doing all of the Big Kid Things. Because we did not have a crazy overscheduled weekend for once, we had plenty of time to just do what we wanted.

Friday night, after Matt and I took care of the yard work and finishing up our bathroom remodel, we decided to have a bonfire in the cul-de-sac and let the boys have s’mores before dinner. Might’ve been our best decision all weekend.

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Saturday: early breakfast at The Shack (I’m obsessed with their berry granola pancake), a long walk on Grant’s Trail,

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and took some time to hang out at Grant’s Farm.

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It was just so much fun for Matt and me to focus on these 2. And even better, by far, was how they got along with each other. I’ve loooong known that just removing any one of them from the mix for a while totally changes the dynamic, but it’s such a pleasant surprise to see these two getting along.

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By Sunday afternoon we couldn’t wait to have Luke back! He was, of course, exhausted, but full of fun stories. Growing up Catholic, I didn’t have these kinds of experiences, so I’m excited for him that he got to experience something like this with his youth group!

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Things are totally (eyeroll) back to normal now, with B and JH resuming their roles as oil and water. Oh well. It was sure fun while it lasted.

Jack Henry’s New Dream

Toward the end of his baseball season, Jack Henry played catcher in a few games.

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It was adorable.

After the first time, he said he didn’t really like it. But after a few more tries, he was sold on being a catcher.

I went to garage sales one time early this summer, and found a practically-new kids’ catcher’s mitt for five bucks. I bought it simply because we have 3 baseball players in the house, and I thought when someone was doing pitching practice, whoever was catching could use the mitt.

Honestly, I’ve never much wanted any of the boys to be a catcher. It’s the position with so much potential for impact and concussion (which is why I don’t want them playing football, either!), and it’s bad on your knees. However, if any of our kids are built to be catchers, let’s face it, it’s Jack Henry.

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Well. After the season ended, and Jack Henry made his announcement that he was going to be a catcher, that mitt became his. It’s been on his hand for hours and hours during the last 3 weeks, including the times his brothers have taken out into the side yard to teach him some basic catching skills. Luke and Bennett were surprisingly patient and gave some really good instruction…it was a summer parenting high for me to watch :).

The glove had obviously not been oiled or broken in very well by its previous owner, so the other day I found this note on the counter for Matt.

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I just don’t want to forget the sweet little-boy writing, the passion behind this big ambition, and the time he’s already spending trying to get better. Maybe he won’t end up loving being a catcher, but for now, it’s his dream. And I’m loving being able to watch it.

Telling Time.

Sunday night, after the last of the boys’ baseball games was officially rained out, we hopped in the van to go get frozen custard.

Jack Henry grabbed this book on his way out the door:

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It’s a handmade quiet book that my mom’s beloved sister, my Aunt Dee, made for me when I was really little. It has all sorts of fun little activities, and my boys have all enjoyed it, too, as preschoolers. I thought they’d outgrown it for the most part until the other night, when Jack Henry pointed out the clock page.

JH asked if we’d teach him to tell time, so on the 15-minute drive, we taught him the hour and minute hand, and how to count by 5’s around the clock. Then he wanted me to give him times to put on the clock with its moveable hands, so I did.

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Matt decided to complicate it a bit and taught him quarter after and to and half past the hour…I thought that was too hard for him, but he got it!

It just made me so happy to know that this book is still being used and teaching another generation!

Thank you, Aunt Dee!

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End of the Year 2014

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that the one year all three of my boys were in the same school building is already over.

The last several weeks have flown by in an absolute blur, and even though it’s the end of elementary school for Luke, I haven’t really been too sappy about it. He is SO READY for middle school, and I can see that. I’m excited for what next year has in store for him. Plus, I still have so many years in our elementary school that it doesn’t feel like too much of an end.

Jack Henry has been dreading the end of school. He couldn’t even make it down that rungs of his bunkbed ladder this morning before the tears started flowing. His teacher is an absolute gem, and he just hates to leave her.

Bennett has also had a fantastic teacher, one that Luke had for two years, and we like her so much we’re going to her wedding this summer! If I’m being honest, though, Bennett has been a bit of a stinker the last few weeks, and I am anxious to get him home and on our schedule. He just wants to be a baseball player, man. Sigh.

All of that to say, I’ve been doing fine. Barely any tears. Mainly just really, really excited for summer to be here. Pool. Baseball games. No crazy-early mornings. No lunch packing.

And then, this morning on my voicemail, a choked-up message from Jack Henry at school. I was actually in the school building for a couple of hours doing some work, but didn’t get the message until later. He had forgotten his yearbook; could I bring it up to school?

I ran home to get it, and had to fight back tears when I walked into the kindergarten pod. All four kindergarten classes were out in the pod having a dance party to the Frozen soundtrack. It was loud and fun and so full of joy. Kindergarten is such a happy place, and I just hate that it’s over.

However, I am so ready for a break in routine. Bring on summer!

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 29

I’ve got to think this is the last installment of this series. I kinda thought the last one would be, but I have one more little-kid quote that I want to remember!

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Jack Henry always still says that he’s “usual to” something. Instead of “used to” something.

For example: this morning he was pouring the newly-opened giant carton of goldfish crackers into a couple of large plastic storage containers, and then he was filling a couple of the smaller, snack-sized containers to be taken to school. When he went from pouring into the big ones to pouring into the small ones, he didn’t quite adjust the pouring rate correctly, and overflowed the little container.

His response: “Oh, I was usual to pouring into the big bowl! That’s why these spilled.”

Not correcting it. It’ll be gone soon, I’m sure.

For a fun blast from the past, these old posts cracked me!

One, Two, Three

Toothless Twins

The dental drama chez Diehl continues…

Luke has not lost a tooth in several years. He lost his front eight, and we’ve been waiting for his canines and molars to loosen up. Particularly because as soon as they are out, his orthodontia can begin. A couple of weeks ago, his lower left canine started to loosen. By midweek this week, it was really painful when something bumped into it.

Today, I finally convinced him to go ahead and pull it. He did, relieved to have it out for two reasons: one, it had been so long since he lost a tooth that he had forgotten how it felt, and two, now he could eat again without pain.

Jack Henry has had a really loose front bottom tooth for the last couple of weeks that he has let get to the point of dangling. So gross. I have been joking for the last several days that maybe both boys would lose a tooth on the same day. So when Luke pulled his today, Jack Henry wanted me to pull his.

On the first try, I got it out. He rinsed his mouth in the sink, and we went to sit down because he was feeling a little lightheaded. We sat with an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel on the bleeding spot for a couple of minutes. In an effort to get him out of the mindset that this wasn’t very fun, I suggested he go watch his brother play Minecraft.

Jack Henry agreed and pulled up a chair to the computer. I went into the kitchen to do something, and a minute later, I heard him walk into the bathroom. I don’t know why, but I followed him in there, just in time to catch him before he hit the floor.

Totally fainted. Just like his brother. It’s less scary for me than it used to be, but it’s really weird to see your kid with his eyes rolled back in his head and not responding correctly.

He fully came around after a couple of minutes and drank some juice and laid on the couch to recover.

I seriously CANNOT believe that we have a second kid who does this. I totally blame Matt.

Here are the toothless twins, and let me just say that Bennett is thrilled to not be in this club tonight.

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