Slide show

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mother ettiquette and Junior Jazz

So Tate signed up to play Junior Jazz basketball on a city recreation team. I was thinking this would be a great introduction to basketball and seeing as we had such a good experience with baseball we thougt Tate would love the new experience. Tate enjoys signing up for soccer, but he's just as interested in the dandelions as the ball so I was pleasantly surprised that he was actually pretty good at basketball. It is really the only sport we watch as a family. Apparently watching the Tar Heels paid off a bit.

He had a basketball game today and apparently some teams take the title "Jr. Jazz" literally. I knew we were in trouble when the other team was there five minutes early warming up doing lay ups. I don't think half the kids on our team knew what a lay up was. The average opponent's height was 6 inches taller than our kids, and I could tell it was going to be ugly.

It was 28 to 0 before we ever scored. My blood started to boil as the parents on the other team kept on cheering and egging on their team to "steal the ball," "block him out," and other such defensive commands. The rule of the league for this age group is that teams can't guard in the back court so it was a wall right across the half court line. All six members of the opposing team stood guard to steal away the ball as soon as our players crossed the line. It wasn't till the third quarter when the score was 34-2 when I could take it no longer and stood up and started to yell from across the court, "Hey coach, how about you let them shoot?" They clearly made their statement. Out of sportsmanship and the fact that they are seven, I didn't think letting them shoot one time before the pirrahanas were let out was too much to expect. I only made it half way through before Jon grabbed my coat and I sat back down. It wasn't that he disagreed, but pointed out that the boys were happy and getting upset would only get them upset. My mother ettiquette obviously needs to improve a bit.

It said it all when it was time for team treats. Our kids went out to the lobby and had a capri sun and sliced apples and oranges. The other team got to pick out a treat sack that was piled in a huge basket and set out at center court for everyone to see. Each treat bag had been carefully packed with a fruit snack, bouncy ball, glow in the dark stick, sheet of stickers and assorted candy with an enormous bow around the top.

Are parents this stupid and competitive everywhere else in the world, or did we happen to get more than our fair share in Utah?

Santa Screw-ups

Merry Christmas everyone. Just ready to head to bed, but thought I would share some of our funny screw ups this year. I really thought we were so prepared and had everything done early...Tate and Cale both asked for one small thing, so Santa had to be creative to fill in the gaps. In the last few days a second request was added to both their lists. Long story short and many details left unsaid, however the three main factors were a crazy "short day" that wasn't so short for Jon at the office and leaving on the 22nd and getting back at 6:00 on the 24 from the cabin, and that Target was closed at 9:30 on Christmas Eve lead to this beauty of a letter:

Dear Tate and Cale,

I have to admit that I was a little worried about you two this year. I checked my naughty and nice list and you both have been such good boys. I remember reading that you are so kind to your sister even though it is hard sometimes. I know you let her go just about everywhere with you. You both have done so well in school that I really wanted you to have a Merry Christmas. I got up to the cabin a little early—it was still dark, but I was in a rush. My last report said you would be home snug in your beds, but I could tell you had been at the cabin and I didn’t know if you would be coming back late. I should have known because there were no cookies and milk, but just in case I decided to leave one of your presents at the cabin because I couldn’t stand the thought of you not having a present on Christmas. I believe it was one of the toys on your list. I was so relieved to find you sound asleep just where I thought you would be. Now boys, I have to tell you that I am 99.99% accurate on Christmas. I wish it was 100%, but as you can imagine it is a bit tricky making all the deliveries even with magic. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell your friends about my cabin mix up. I know I can count on you! Now don’t feel bad. I’m giving you this extra present. I decided on this game because your mom liked it so much when she was little that I thought you would like it too!! Take care Tate and Cale. I am so glad you are such good boys. Work on obeying the first time. I have to work on that too sometimes. Just ask Mrs. Clause. Ho Ho Ho!!!

Merry Christmas!!!


Santa Clause

Jon just informed me I also spelled "Clause" wrong. Good thing spelling isn't Tate's forte! Apparently it isn't mine either. Santa hides the kids stockings. Tess' stocking was a brown paper lunch sack with this inscription: "Tess, tell your mom to get you a stocking next year. Love, Santa" (without the Clause). To make things "fair" and since Tate got a new pair of snow boots we found a good shoe box and some plastic wrapping to wrap up Tate's old snow boots. I think they'll both be super pleased!!

I am just cracking myself up as I write. Maybe I'm just a little punchy. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and hope your Santa is a bit better put together!! To make things "fair" and since Tate got a new pair of snow boots we found a good shoe box and some plastic wrapping to wrap up Tate's old snow boots. I think they'll both be super pleased!!

Christmas Card

Dearest family and friends,

We just passed Jon’s three year anniversary of when he was diagnosed with cancer and I am truly amazed and humbled at the journey we have taken. The road has been a difficult one strewn with many tears, but this time has also been a sweet growing time for our family. Jon has made a full and complete recovery. His recovery has been all that we hoped and prayed it would be. As I think about this miracle in our lives, and give thanks to God, I have to ask myself, so what does happily-ever-after look like?
I am reminded of a perfect moment this summer. We had just enjoyed a beautiful 4th of July evening with our friends, complete with a cook out, freeze tag and kids running with sparklers everywhere. After the sunset we loaded up the children and drove to the park to watch fireworks. We had a spot as close to the fireworks as we could get. As we lay on our backs and looked into the night sky we watched spectacular colors explode in the air above us. I was touching each member of my family in some way and I felt completely happy. I think in life we get a few perfect or nearly perfect moments, but “perfect” only lasts a few seconds.
I believe happily-ever-after is routine chaos at the dinner table. I remember one dinner not too long ago when all I wanted was to have a nice long, intimate conversation with Jon after a semi-crazy day at home with the kids. Getting the kids to be quiet for the blessing on the food seemed almost as big a miracle as Moses parting the Red Sea. Right after the “amen” Tess broke out singing the ABC’s and I beamed inside at how bright she was. Half-way through, Cale started singing his own song to the tune of ABC’s but with different words, the only purpose of which was to annoy his sister. Tess pointed her finger and said in her commanding Queen-of-the-World voice, “Stop it, Cale.” Her authority stopped there, but I seconded her motion and Cale’s singing subsided. If this same scenario had occurred between Tate and Cale three years ago, I’m sure I would have explained to the younger child that the older one had a right to sing too. I am much too tired for that now. Just as the singing came under control Tate decided to liven up the dinner ambience by passing gas with such force that the bench they were sitting on rumbled. Mayhem and giggling broke out all over again. Before Jon and I even had a chance to exchange more than two sentences of adult conversation, he had to run out to a meeting. As I put the kids to bed by myself I was exhausted, but I couldn’t help think about how nice it was to be doing those things by myself because Jon was healthy and able to go to a meeting and not that he was in the hospital or too sick to do so. That was happily-ever-after.
Happily-ever-after is despite a crazy economy being grateful that Jon has a job that he loves and that there is food on the table. What a thrill to see him put on his running shoes or hop on his mountain bike and do the things he loves to do, but couldn’t for a long time. Life is watching from afar Jon playing, wrestling and loving our children.
Happily-ever-after was crying my eyes out when the time came for Tate to go to school, and yet two weeks later when it was Cale’s turn to start kindergarten I couldn’t get him there fast enough. I feel no motherly guilt over this one as it has nothing to do with how much I love either of them. Tate is so kind and is ever the peace maker that when he was gone at school for two weeks before kindergarten started I was able to more fully realize what he adds to our family dynamic. In that amount of time Tess and Cale mastered pushing each others buttons’, and kindergarten was a welcome relief. Life was getting to watch Tate fall in love with baseball and see Jon coach and realize that our son isn’t the most skilled on the team, but he was the happiest kid out there thrilled to be playing and a part of his team.
Happily-ever-after is having your kindergartener think he is king of the elementary school. Cale thinks he is the biggest, smartest and most handsome boy in all of kindergarten. I am just fine with that as there will be plenty of time and opportunities for his self esteem to be smashed into the ground later. We joke that Cale is “Mr. Cool.” When I dropped him off at kindergarten on his first day of school there was no way he was going to give me a hug or kiss goodbye. He graced me with “knucks,” and I was thrilled. Cale is concerned about having his hair lay down just right while Tate puts on his hood and runs professing, “Mom, don’t touch it. I like it that way.” He and Einstein have something in common, I could be mistaken, but I think it’s their hair. Cale would much rather ride his bike two miles to school and up a big hill then be caught dead in a bike trailer with his sister. We used to call Cale “Little Buddy,” but he has since informed us that for obvious reasons his knick-name is inappropriate. He now responds to “Big Buddy.” Life was Cale getting on a really difficult pair of shoes by himself and proclaiming, “Mom, Jesus magic helped me do it.” I had to put my hand on my forehead and wonder where we went wrong!
Happily-ever-after is having a two year old who is as sweet and charming and cute as can be. Unfortunately she has an alter-ego that is equally disastrous. Tess brings spice and color to our lives, mostly in the form of pink. She is a little bundle of joy who has no idea she isn’t as big, smart or fast as her brothers. We most often find her tagging along with her brothers, who are so kind to her (most of the time), and make up the Silcox trio that goes from house to house playing with friends on our street. Life is dealing with the tantrums the best way I know how so later on I will be smothered with hugs, kisses and my favorite, “yove you mom.”
As I thought back on our year with the upmost gratitude and humility, I was reminded that happily-ever-after isn’t the perfect moments, but rather finding joy in the imperfect ones. There is certainly sadness, but there is also so much joy for which I lack words to express. I pray for peace on earth, but realize that the kind of peace I hope for is as impossible as a life of only perfect moments. This year I’ll be content in praying for peace in your hearts and hope in the future.

Merry Christmas and love to all!
Jon, Quinn, Tate, Cale and Tess Silcox

Friday, December 26, 2008


I think it should be a rule that every parent gets at least one perfect Christmas. Perfect is probably not the right word, maybe magical is a better one. I think we had that this year, but to fully appreciate how great this year was, I think it is helpful to go back a few years. If I am honest with myself the most magical Christmas I can think of (before this one) was when Tate was 2 1/2. He got a train table for Christmas and the look of pure joy and ecstasy on his face was just priceless. But as I think about it in my mind the reason why it is so vivid to me is because Jon captured it on video and has made a home movie with that clip in it. I'm sure the next Christmas was just as magical. It was a time of innocence for all of us. It was just our little family of four and there was no way to know cancer was just around the corner. Tate got a fire truck and Cale a garbage truck and Santa could not have picked out finer gifts. I will just have to wait a year or so before that Christmas can be as magical in my memory because it might take Jon that long to make another video! But Christmas two years ago was right after Jon's diagnosis and right before his transplant. It was certainly a sweet and special Christmas, but also a very heavy one. Jon's responses on Christmas morning went something like this..."Oh this is just what I wanted, sheets that are much better than hospital sheets, and I've always dreamed of a hypoallergenic pillow, and these pants are so wonderful I think they will prevent me from getting bed sores!" Last year was I think the worst Christmas we have ever had. There was a lot of stress in the air with Jon trying to buy his practice (leases are important if you want someone to lend you some money), he had undiagnosed pneumonia, he was drugged up on super doses of prednisone, and he started a new medication on Christmas day that he was extremely allergic to and was so sick. It only rubbed salt in the wound to realize that the retail cost of that medicine was $2500--that is $83/teaspoon/day (thank goodness for insurance). To make matters worse, Santa totally missed the boat. I'll never forget Tate trying to be so happy as he is slipping and falling trying to ride his bike in 3 inches of snow. So this year we were shooting for a little something different for Christmas. Jon's Dad and Uncle have been working building a cabin for the last almost 8 years and this is the first year that it is really livable. It is also the first time anyone has attempted to spend 3 days there in the winter time! We had to drive the snow cat in and I followed behind on a snowmobile. We left on the afternoon of the 23rd and got all settled that night. We woke up to a winter wonderland. After breakfast we got all suited up and went sledding till we couldn't walk up any more hills. When that happened, Jon hopped on the snowmobile and towed Tate and I in the toboggan sled all over. It was so fun. We had no phone service and no electricity unless the generator was on so we got to make snow flakes, play Sliders Sorry, make cookies for Santa and drink plenty of cocoa. It was a magical day. My favorite part of Christmas day was before we went downstairs to the Christmas tree. Santa comes in the middle of the night and changes the kids pajamas to Christmas pj's while they are sleeping. This was a new tradition I hadn't heard of till I married Jon. I was a bit skeptical of them waking up, but that hasn't been a problem and my kids are just thrilled about it! They wake up and have on new jammies and it is the beginning of a magical day. Back to my favorite part...We all slept upstairs and when everyone woke up they jumped in our bed, were thrilled about their jammies and that it meant Santa had come. It was a moment filled with childhood anticipation, "Merry Christmases", and "I love yous." That will have to be a part of our Christmas traditions every year. It was just a really sweet day with nothing to do except to play and sled from sun up to sun down. For a little while I thought that maybe you have to go away to a cabin with tons of snow for such a fulfilling Christmas. You can't attempt too hard at creating a perfect Christmas because it becomes too stressful and forced, it just has to happen. After everyone hears how great Christmas was at the cabin, it won't be our turn again for 6-7 years. But then I thought about what was so great about it and it was that it was simple, all done in advance and focused on each other. Just about a week ago we found "THE" house for us and I'm already excited to have Christmas there and start Christmas memories in our new home. I also think that because there was such deep sorrow in our lives for so long, we now have the capacity to feel that much more joy. My heart is overflowing! I am just awed at all of our many blessings, and to have found the right house for us after a year of looking and being patient, it all seems complete.

My favorite lines from the boys:
Cale: We are divvying up costumes and parts for acting out the Nativity and Cale says, "Can I be Yoda?" To give us the benefit of the doubt, one of the shepherd costumes was Cale's yoda costume. I can only hope he was referring to the costume and not the character!!

Tate: The water situation is a bit tricky and so if you are a boy you do outside what you can. So his grandma asked him if he was whizzing straight so he didn't pee on the generator. He replied "Yeah, unless I wag it."... Complete with actions. Oh boy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Animal Similes

The other day Tate brought home a special red back pack that had an extra writing assignment. On the bottom half of the page they were supposed to write ...My brother is a (insert animal) because ... and do a simile for each member of the family. On the top half of the page they are supposed to illustrate their family. I'm excited about this and can't wait to see what he comes up with. Each kid in his class has a turn taking the back pack home and so the book is a compilation of the all of the students in Tate's class. I am thumbing through and reading the other children's responses. For example there were quite a few that went like this, "My mom is like a butterfly because she is so pretty." They were all really sweet. Here is what Tate come's up with...

My sister is like a fly because she bugs me. My brother is like a skunk because he toots a lot. My Dad is like a lion because he roars. My mom is like a little squirrel because she likes to sleep a lot. I am like a gerbil because I like to play gerbils.

All in all very complimentary I would say. Brother tooting. Little sister bugging him. Jon roaring...I'm hoping his teacher is imagining games with Jon on the floor wrestling the boys, not coming home from work and yelling at everyone. Then there is the line about me and I have to ask myself why sleeping would be the first thing he would think of. Certainly my beauty would be overwhelming! Oh yes, I think every Friday night I tell the boys I will pay them fifty cents if they won't wake us up in the morning and will play with Tess when she gets up. It is the best fifty cents I spend the entire week! And when Tate wakes up early and I don't want to get up, I make him snuggle with me and talk to me. This sounds nice and cozy and it is, but it also postpones the inevitable of having to drag myself out of bed for at least 4 more minutes. I guess I can see where he is coming from, but I did have hopes of a beautiful butterfly simile!

Stiches and "There goes China!"

Tess has a fascination with shoes. She loves to put other people's shoes on and generally it isn't a problem. However, one day she was putting on Cale's shoes and trying to go up the hardwood stairs when she tripped and hit the under part of her chin directly on the stair. It was bleeding profusely and my immediate thought was she needed stiches. Jon was at work, but thankfully he wasn't treating patients and could come home and better access the situation. He confirmed she would need stiches. Where did I first think to take her? Dave. Dave went to dental school with Jon, but his residency was in a different specialty. I have kind of wondered about Jon and Dave that it is crazy that people actually take them seriously. I look at them and just see them as Jon and Dave. It is beyond me that people actually call them doctor. Thinking about it kind of makes me snicker. I move to exhibit A to make my point...

So yes, when I think about them I think...trouble? China? And then again, where was the first place I thought to take Tess when she split open her chin. I think I kind of forget that they are very competent and highly trained in their specialities. Although I'll never be able to call either one of them doctor, I can now see why their patients do take them seriously!

PS Jon waited one day to long to take out Tess' three stiches. She pulled them out on her own during her nap. One day they were there. The other they were gone! She is one tough cookie!

Variation to "I am a Child of God"

Every night we have a bedtime ritual. After books, brushing teeth etc, whoever is putting the boys to bed will sing with them "I am a Child of God." Tonight was no different except the new ending Cale created. He wasn't trying to be funny, it is just what came out. The ending will be more effective if you sing the words in your head if you know them...

I am a Child of God.

And he has sent me here.

Has given me an earthly home

with parents kind and dear.


Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.

Help me find the way.

Oh what fun it is to ride in one horse open sleigh!

Jon and I died laughing. Yes, Jingle Bells is his favorite Christmas song, but he could not have made a better rhyme if he tried!!