The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Letter to my Sons on their 5th Birthday!

Dear Chase and Ryder,
Good morning, birthday boy!

Rise and shine you are 5!

Happy 5th birthday! Although the category 5-U still implies you are a baby (and also has me dreading 6) there are very few indicators that you are such.   Mostly over the last year you have grown and matured into these wonderful big kids who, despite any trend on the street, are as ready for Kindergarten as kids who fall at the beginning of the

This school year, Pre-K, with Ms. Liz and Ms. Nadine, was a fantastic year where you simultaneously broadened your knowledge and honed in on the depth of your individual passions.   You both had an opportunity to find your individuality and you slowly began to carve your own paths. The school year was great, with amazing teachers and amazing kids, and concluded with a graduation that tore on my heartstrings.  This summer you are spending your very first summer at Briarwood Day Camp where you are both happier than I even anticipated.  

First day at Briarwood
Your 5th birthday was celebrated at camp, where you brought in a cookie cake for your bunk.  That evening we did our traditional dinner show, at Mt. Fuji, and we all had a blast.  

Your party was a Power Rangers Soccer party with all of your friends, at our house, in the heat.  Everybody really seemed to enjoy themselves.  Ryder spent most of the day dressed as the red Ranger and Chase enjoyed the soccer drills taught by the CRUSA instructor. 

Ever since your actual day you take ever opportunity to tell the whole world that you are now 5.

This was a year of heat waves in the summer and blizzards in the winter.  We had very little of spring and fall.  Sadly, we lost Bubbie Evie this year and telling you was one of the hardest things daddy and I ever had to do as parents.  As the inquisitive boys that you are you asked a lot of questions, and still do months later.  Of course there was mild comic relief when you both wanted to know what I would wear to the funeral.    
The Phillies never made it to the World Series, though they were in the play-offs, and the Flyers, who gave us high hopes, fell short in the play-offs as well.  The Social Network, the movie that is about Facebook, won the Academy Award.

Ryder, as the years pass you become an even greater spirit.  You are impassioned, and loyal, and have a creative point of view on everything.  Your mind is filled with more knowledge than you lead on and you have a limitless imagination that takes you to the world of make believe.  And, back.  Sometimes.  Although you are still thoughtful and introverted you are no longer quiet or shy.  You always have something to say and are much more comfortable in your skin.  
You are well liked and easy to get along with and as a result have many friends.  With that being said, however, you are a boy who chooses your close friends wisely, and sticks with them with the same loyalty and passion as you do most things.  Your best friend, now, is Oren Fuchs, a boy you met in Pre-School and will be with all through out Council Rock.   It will be interesting to see what becomes of your friendship.
You began piano lessons this year which seems to have re-ignited your musical spirit and given you a good amount of self-confidence.  You claim your piano lessons are just a step along the path to guitar lessons, which is true, but you do enjoy playing and will tickle the ivories without being asked.  Of course, the minute I ask you to practice I get pushback.  After just 6 weeks of lessons you performed in a recital, which was amazing.  You did great, and were so very happy and proud of yourself.
Although you opted out of playing organized sports this year, you do enjoy playing sports at home, with daddy, your brothers, and me.  You plan to play soccer and baseball in the upcoming year.
Your love of Superheroes was alive and well for your entire 4th year.  You continued to wear costumes and pretend to be the mighty beings.  Just as 5 was approaching you took on a new love, The Power Rangers, and just as the heroes of the past you have taken on a new identity.  You now ask to be called Jayden (the Red Power Ranger, and the leader!)
Over the last year you have grown (42 ½ inches) and gotten stronger and heavier (40 pounds) and now outweigh Chase by three pounds.  You still have a tendency to wet your bed and have finally agreed to sleep in pull-ups. 
You are creative and artsy and remain to be very good with your hands and continue to use them for all sorts of activities.  One day, not too long ago, you came downstairs and had tied your shoes. 

We had never practiced together nor did I know you were trying (although shoe tying had been talked about) and that was it your shoes were tied.  You can also take apart almost any toy and can manipulate a technological device better than most of us.  You have a profound interest in letters and sounds and have selective reading and writing.  This is evidenced by my constant Facebook status updates.  You will take my phone and update my status to say: “Superman”  “Spiderman”  “Power Rangers Samurai” “Power Rangers Mighty Morphin” and the latest one “Michael Jackson thriller” All of these words are committed to your memory and can be read, written, or typed on command.   All of my Facebook friends are aware of your ability and consistently comment with a “hello Ryder.” I am not yet sure if this selective reading skill is anything beyond a good memory and a strong passion but as you are about to enter Kindergarten I suppose we will find out.  You have, however, sounded out a few words accurately, leading me to believe you are capable of reading more than you let on.  Which is typical Ryder fashion.
Speaking of Ryder fashion.  You have your own unique style and strong opinion about what you wear and how you wear it.  You spent most of the school year wearing your favorite jeans, your high top converse sneakers, a button down shirt, untucked, and a tie.  You love his look and were so devoted to it that your tie became an item to take away if and when you misbehaved.   You looked adorable in this outfit and it was something people talked about.  Your personality and your natural way made this a perfect fit for you.

At camp this summer, you have blossomed once again, enjoying the thrills of Day Camp beyond what I even expected. 

Chase, at 5, you seem a bit closer to 40 with your maturity and your verbal skills.  You are a happy, confident boy, who likes to tell stories and share your knowledge with the world.  You are well liked and like everybody and make it a point to make new friends everywhere you go.  Your presence is warm and happy and inviting and it is no wonder people welcome your company.  You are often called the Mayor and have an innate ability to work a room.  You are caring and sensitive and want to make sure everybody is accommodated and happy.
You have become a jock this year.   You love sports of all kind, particularly soccer, and want to play and to learn and get better all of the time.  You are competitive and driven in everything you do and won’t settle for being less than the best.  You will practice anything you are not good at until you are better and will seek out answers to anything you don’t know until you know it.  This is a trait that I envy and hope stays with you forever.
You started Soccer this year and played both in an indoor winter league and an outdoor spring league.   You are really good at Soccer.  You have a lot of natural athletic talent, an ability to stay on the ball, and quick feet.  Although you love to kick and to run and to score you have a fondness for defense and for goalie.   I think you enjoy stopping others from scoring more than you enjoy scoring.
You also love baseball and have a fantastic and quick swing that will allow for good hitting.   We have been working on switch-hitting, which you are getting more and more comfortable with, and it excites you to know you are capable from both sides.  Although last fall you played in an indoor baseball clinic it is not until this upcoming spring that you will play Township baseball.
You enjoy music and telling jokes and laughing out loud.  You still love television and the movies and have also fallen for Power Rangers like your brother.  You have amazing focus and retention and what I believe is a photographic memory.
You have grown to 42 ½ inches and are skinny at only 37 pounds.  But, you are a good eater in that you will try just about anything we offer you. You love onions, and spicy foods, and tomatoes.
You enjoyed school the same way you enjoy everything and are starting to have a real interest in reading and math skills.  It is important to you that you get good reports, that you are well liked, and that you are amongst the best and because of this you are showing signs of being a very good student.  You are charming and kind and silly and bright!

You both love camp.  You love everything about it and come home everyday both happy and tired.  You have learned to swim, love that you play sports all day, love being with other boys, and have a bit of a crush on your Junior Counselor.
You both love the beach and are always happy when we spend our weekends there.
You both love your brother and will always happily help him and include him in most that you do.  You both love each other.  Most.  Although you are two different boys who are starting down individual paths and are able to separate without difficulty, each reunion, whether it is minutes or hours since you parted, is greeted with hugs and smiles.  You complement each other in such amazing ways and though you are each wonderful and interesting and independent alone you are also an amazing package when you are together.

I am not always sure how I have been lucky enough to raise you.  I marvel at you both (all three of you, really) with wonder.  To the world it may seem like daddy and I have done a few things right with you guys, and perhaps we have, but really you make us look good with the wonders that you are.

Every single day, every moment, through the stressful roller coaster of the last year I am grateful for what I have in you, my wonderful sons, and am humbled to think of all that you are and all that you will still become.  Though you are two good-looking boys with soulful eyes and bright smiles, your beauty lies within you.  You are unique and personable and smart and sweet and funny and I could not be more proud of you.

I love you so.

Quincy Beach

Rob has a boat.  A Hobie Cat, and has taken to sailing instead of sun bathing while on the beach.   He is always looking for people to ride the waves with him.    Two weeks ago Todd went out on the boat while the boys and I stayed back and enjoyed the beach.  Aunt Jean and Uncle Lewis joined us for some time and it was great to spend time with them and have them see the boys in their "element!"

Chase has to be active all of the time and must have asked 100 times if I would play soccer with him.  Which I did.  But, with Turner needing me to build castles for him to stomp and Ryder wanting to swim in the water well, I can only do so much at once.    So, Aunt Jean became Chase's latest victim.  She tied on her shoes and played Soccer with the young superstar.

Although the day was great and we all had fun, the day gets marked by the quote from Chase:

"Do you want to kick more or should I teach you strategy?"

Look out Japan, USA Women's team will have a new striker soon in a talented Jean Rothstein if Chase has anything to do with it.

Two Wheelin'

Chase and Ryder can both ride a bike.  A bike that does not have training wheels and has actual pedals.   A true 2 wheeler.  This was a milestone accomplished 2 weeks ago for Chase...

....and today for Ryder

When they boys first got their training-wheeled bikes they loved them.  They rode quickly and mightily whenever they could and were always thrilled to be able to ride full speed down the two hills at the top of our circle.   They rode flawlessly and fearlessly right from the beginning.

Over the winter when, due to freezing temperatures and what seemed to be non-stop snow, the boys asked if we could take off their training wheels.  This seemed like a lofty goal since they hadn't rode a bike in months.  But, we agreed to try when spring came to be.

For reasons I am unsure of we did not ride bikes too often this Spring.  Nor did we much earlier this Summer.   But, if you tell the boys something they won't forget so first opportunity on a bike Chase was all over taking off the training wheels.  I was in favor mostly because the wheels needed tightening and I was not able to do that myself.   Every time they rode I feared the wheels would go flying off and they would either learn to two-wheel on the fly, or land harshly on their face.  Luckily, neither happened.

Two weeks ago we schlepped the bikes to the shore and decided, confidently, "today will be the day!"  Neither Todd nor I were worried about it, we were pretty sure they would get right up and RIDE.   Chase being a naturally confident boy also had no doubts.  He got on the bike, asked for help getting started, and rode off into the sunset.  Literally.  It was dusk in Margate and he was heading for the Bay.
Ryder, who is normally fearless and dangerous, chose to practice more on Turner's balance bike and said "I am not ready yet, I just don't feel the balance!"  I have a tendency to think he chose that road knowing his overly confident brother had just mastered the new skill in only a few seconds and would now spend the next few weeks gloating.  Ryder, thoughtful as he is, likes to give Chase his moment.  So, he waited. And, he practiced on the balance bike while Chase practiced stopping without falling and turning.  He can ride real well but since the bike is still a little big for him stopping is a bit of an issue.

This morning Ryder decided he was ready.  He padded up, took a practice spin on the balance bike then said "get me the yellow bike!"  Chase was extremely encouraging, as he had been all along, and said "Ryder, you can do it.  I know you can!"  Ryder smiled, hopped on the bike, asked for a push and he too was off.

And, now, at just 5, we have boys who don't even realize that they unlocked a little door to freedom.  They don't know yet that the bike can take them places.  I am in no rush to let them in on that secret.  Right now it is just fun to feel the wind in their face.

I love to bike.  I did when I was a kid, I do now.  I am excited for family bike rides.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bend it Like Beckham!

There's a new professional sports team that filters through our TV these days.  The Phillies are always on and still the reigning faves but, apparently, the Philadelphia Union is the new team to watch.  Because Chase has a soccer obsession.

It started off like anything. A four year old boy playing the sport for the first time. Ryder had opted out of the indoor season (and the Spring outdoor season as well) and, instead, chose to start a journey down a musical path.  So, Chase played his first games of soccer alongside some of his Pre-school buddies.  He happened to have a fantastic coach who taught great fundamentals and he happened to have some natural talent.  

And, suddenly, a soccer star was born.

Staying with the ball

Loved being goalie

The Muppets

Abbey, Chase, and Oren

By the time CRUSA's outdoor Spring season began we had a full on soccer junkie.  He wanted to play all of the time!  ALL OF THE TIME!!  He looked forward to practices so that he could learn new drills and he would come home and tell us about them, show us how to do them.  He'd correct us when we would do it wrong.  He would opt out of birthday parties that interfered with soccer for a reason that had me nearly dropping to the floor: 

"if I miss practice I won't learn the new drills and I will be behind everyone else."

All of my years growing up an athlete the thing I lacked the most was the heart.  Although I enjoyed the game and I wanted to win, my heart was never fully dedicated to the sport alone.  This is not necessarily a choice I made, it may just be what you are born with.   Chase was born with the heart to succeed. He is determined and driven to be the very best.  He is very athletic and coordinated and pretty quick on his feet.  It seems my boy has the making of a champion.

I have always pictured my life as a sports mom.  Mostly because it was the life I knew.  I assumed there would be Soccer games and Baseball games and Basketball games.  And, travelling.  And, dirty uniforms and smelly bags.  I pictured this even before I had sons.  And, now, it seems it has come to be.  Spring Weekends consisted of being at the soccer field at 9am. As a slow moving, late to rise family it might as well be 6am. Lucky for us the field is, quite literally, in our backyard.

Chase took his ball and a run and headed straight out to his team while we follow behind with two more kids, two chairs, a bag of snacks, and my cup of coffee.  And, we would sit, and watch, as 5 year old boys played the game they loved.

So proud of the goal he just scored

The season was successful.   They did not keep score (though Chase will ramble off victories like "13-1" and  "10-2") and there were no goalies but you could see, week after week, each boy improving.   Chase improving.   

I am not a soccer star, I never was, but we are being told by a number of people who seem to know that Chase is very good at soccer.  That we should keep him involved.  Somehow, I don't expect that to be a problem.

A medalist

5 more weeks of Summer than it will all start again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Three Cuties

Turner - 2 1/2 years old!

I want to dedicate this post to Turner. My third born son who, by fault of birth order, is constantly compared to his brothers.  Who, by chance, are twins.  It's a constant "oh, he looks like Chase."  "Oh, he can use his hands like Ryder."  "Wow, he is flirtatious like Chase". "I see he is imaginative like Ryder!". "He looks exactly like Chase.  But, with Ryder's coloring."  This goes on all day.

Even I am guilty.  Perhaps, the most guilty.

Yes, all of the above are true and yes, I have said that Turner grays the line between his brothers' black and white.  But, Turner is Turner all on his own. He need not be compared to anyone to be recognized as the wonder that he is.  

He is, as I call him, my angel for so many reasons. 

Turner is gorgeous. (Biased?  Probably!)   He has thick curls and deep grey eyes that are filled with soul and with joy. He has a one dimpled smile that lights up a room, a universe even, and has anyone who knows him begging to receive one (which is almost always granted!)  His presence in a room is felt like a warmth of a sun ray.
Turner has a personality that is silly, and fun and yet, amazingly sweet and kind and sensitive.  He can throw his head back and laugh out loud to the craziest of things but will rub your back and whisper "don't cry" at the first sign of sadness. He can talk non-stop FOR HOURS and also be charmingly shy around the ladies offering only a batting of the lashes and glance at the dimple. This coy nature is not deemed stand-offish, but rather engaging and winsome, tempting the recipient to pick him up and hug him.  And, he would hug you right back.

Turner seems to know everything there is to know and is keenly aware of what goes on around him. He doesn't miss a beat,  not ever, keeping his less than sharp mother constantly on her toes. He hears every sound and recognizes visual changes and will ask me, "what's that noise?"  "what happened to that picture?"  "why is that a different color?"  In fact, he feels the need to tell you everything he knows and notices.   Everything.  This is why he talks all day long. If a thought is in his head, it is just as quickly shared with anyone that will listen.
He says most things matter-of-factly, pointing out the seemingly obvious until you remember he is two and, suddenly, these facts become enormous pieces of information stored in a little brain that are constantly being regurgitated.

Turner can be counted on to eat a full meal, laugh at my jokes, rub my back if needed, and to curl up on my shoulder when he is tired.  He will tell us he loves us and ask to hold our hands yet has the guts and the strength to bop his brothers in the chest when they think it is fun to try and strong arm him.

Turner is a good boy, a rule follower.  Not so much so where he treads with caution and is scared to push his limits, but just enough so that if you tell him NOT to run through a parking lot, or touch a hot stove, or get out of bed, he won't.  He isn't afraid to disobey, it is more like he knows these certain things will ruin a good time.  And, Turner is all about a good time.

He will initiate a dance party, or spin in circles until he is dizzy, then get up and do it again.  He will repeat a joke or an act that got a laugh, endlessly, as long as his audience continues to laugh.  He loves to sing and does so often and I am inclined to think he may have a musical gene within him.

He shows an enormous amount of maturity for a boy who is 2 1/2 and if it weren't for his diapers I would think I had lost my baby forever.  But, then, he will tantrum.  He will kick his feet and bring on the tears over not getting a smoothie, or an episode of Mickey, and secretly, I welcome it because it is so rare that he let on that he is, still, just a baby.  He still loves his Baybay and other than an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (or the occasional Barney) he has no interest in sitting in front of a television.   He loves books.

Turner is now the age Chase and Ryder were when he was born and this fact sends my mind into a bit of fit as I realize that babyhood is on its way out.

So, yes it is true that Turner is the baby brother.  Yes, it is true he is the singleton to brothers who are twins.  Yes, it will always be that way.  But, I have no worries, I have no doubts that Turner will always be able to forge his own way, his own being.  He will have similarities to each of his brothers.  And, differences too.  But, no matter what Turner will be Turner and after a while he won't be compared to anyone,  Because he defines himself.

Turner, my angel, I love you so.  Happy 2 1/2!