Today, The Brightest Soul I Know Turns 9

What do you do when your youngest child suddenly turns nine? You celebrate, you buy XBox games, and you cry a little inside. Today, the brightest soul I know turns nine!

What do you do when your youngest child, the youngest of six, suddenly turns nine? You celebrate, you buy XBox games, and you cry a little inside. Today, the brightest soul I know turns 9!

My Bubby, my baby, the last of a lineage, turns nine today and as proud as I am of this brilliant and funny boy of mine, I can’t help being a little melancholy. Watching him grow and become the wonderful person he is has been a life-altering experience for me. He, quite literally, amazes me every single day with his wealth of knowledge, his beautiful sense of humor, and his obvious lack of common sense.

He can pass a STAAR test with ease at grade levels well above his own, he can spout random facts (that his teachers and I often have to Google to verify) about ancient Egyptians or sea creatures, yet when you point to something “over there” that you need, he can’t figure out where that is. And don’t even get me started on his “punny” sense of humor. He’s such a little old man wrapped in such a beautiful package and I love him to pieces.

the brightest soul i know turns 9 today

But he’s growing up on me…way too fast…and I’d love for time to stop for just a bit so I can just enjoy his little self just a little bit longer. Yes, he’ll always be my baby and I believe that “huggy time” will always be a thing, but his independence is starting to shine, which I encourage, and that’s a little hard on this doting momma.

Enough of my whining though. Time to celebrate the brightest soul I know. He’d give you the shirt off his back, he’d gladly give you his last dollar (but probably not his last XBox game), and he’s always there to lift anyone up when they’re down. He’s as perfect as I’d hoped he’d be nine years and eight months ago when I found out about him, and he’ll do amazing things in this world. Watch him, you’ll see!

So, today, Zachary Alexander Gossett turns nine years old. He’s growing into a fine, caring, productive human being and I couldn’t be more proud of my little man. Thank you, Bub, for making my life complete and allowing me to be your mom. I love you more than the world is big, more than the sky is blue. Enjoy your last year in the single digits and always remember, enjoy being a kid for as long as you can. It all goes by in a flash! You’re doing a really phenomenal job at this life thing and I’m oh-so proud to be your mommy!

On Raising 2 Kids on Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

For what it’s worth, I’m just a mom raising 2 kids on opposite ends of the spectrum and the struggle is real. Every day life poses challenges that only other moms on this rollercoaster can understand!

For what it's worth, I'm just a mom raising 2 kids on opposite ends of the spectrum and the struggle is real. Every day life poses challenges that only other moms on this rollercoaster can understand!

I’m raising two kids on opposite ends of the spectrum and it’s weird, y’all. So weird and challenging. By spectrum, I’m not talking the autistic spectrum that some of my friends (man, those mommas are superheroes in my book!) have to deal with; I’m talking spectrum as it’s defined in Webster, just in general.

Spectrum: 

Used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points.

Two extreme or opposite points? Yes, that’s my Kylee (Bug) and Zachary (Bubby) to the millionth power. They are at opposite points in everything…eating habits, vocabulary, scholastic skills, social skills, clothing preferences, futuristic goals…you name it, one is red, the other is violet…just like the opposite ends of the rainbow spectrum.

As a mom, the daily struggle is so real, it’s exhausting. How do you address their differences without hurting the other? How do you teach them academically without confusing one or losing the other’s interest? How do you cut up with one’s friends, while realizing the other doesn’t really have any? How do you celebrate one’s grades without making the other feel less? How can you tell one to finish the food on their plate while you tell the the other (the picky one) that you’ll get them something else because you completely understand?

How do you balance it all, knowing you love them both equally, but knowing that, although they share the same DNA, their makeup is so completely, utterly different on so many levels?

HOW?

I know you’re going to tell me that every child/person is different, and you’re completely right. I have six children of my own, and although they are all unique in their own way, no two people/children in my life have ever been more dissimilar than the two I’m raising right now. And yet, thankfully, they love each other, as they should. But they’re so different.

Kylee loves all food except for shrimp, bananas, ribs, and American cheese. Zach eats no food other than peanut butter and honey sandwiches, chicken patties (no nuggets), cereal, pizza (not homemade, and the gooey cheese of good pizza grosses him out), and spaghetti (only mine).

Zach has the vocabulary of an intelligent 40 year old; Kylee struggles to understand what he’s talking about on a daily basis.

Kylee struggles with school, standardized testing (don’t get me started), getting along with teachers and authority figures in general, and homework. Zach is a straight A student who is off the chart on standardized tests (like he brings additional funds into the school with a handful of others), is a teachers’ pet, and comes home and willingly does his homework daily, even before playing his beloved video games…all on his own.

Kylee has a more active social life than I did at the age of 21, while Zach struggles socially because no one his age seems to understand him, nor share his interests (that one really breaks my heart!).

Kylee loves wild, bright clothing while Zach prefers plaids and khakis, or plaid with plaid (even better).

Kylee wants to swim with the dolphins when she grows up (that’s a cool aspiration, I must admit), while Zach aspires to be a game developer (totally cool as well, my kids are pretty bad ass) or an engineer.

The spectrum is covered in my house, but it’s so very rough.

Praising Kylee’s eating habits while not making Zachary feel like he’s less because he’s picky like his mom…is a struggle.

Fostering Zachary’s love of words while not trying to lose Kylee in conversation…is a struggle.

Hanging Zach’s straight A report cards and test scores on the refrigerator while trying to explain to Kylee that she IS enough and she’s raised her grades by 2, 3, 7, 10 points (she tries hard most of the time, y’all!) is the hugest struggle of all (but I do continue to encourage her and her report cards are hung right next to his for the record!).

Allowing Kylee to have her friends spend the night, or accepting another sleepover invite, while I hear from Zach’s teacher that he is struggling socially is both invigorating (that she’s so popular) and heartbreaking (because he’s so funny and it’s not his fault that other “kids” don’t get him) all at the same time.

For what it's worth, I'm just a mom raising 2 kids on opposite ends of the spectrum and the struggle is real. Every day life poses challenges that only other moms on this rollercoaster can understand!

This all might sound superficial to you in light of today’s tumultuous times, unless of course you are the parent (and I know you’re out there) of two kids on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I don’t know if I’m asking for help, or just venting. I just know I’m exhausted and I want them, both of them, to always feel like they’re enough (they are so enough) in this world and it’s an exhausting challenge on a daily basis to raise such opposing personalities in the same space, at the same time.

I love them both, equally, and I hope they always know that. I love how they love each other no matter how much they fight and I hope that they’ll always support and love one another, despite their opposing sides of the universe.

One day, although they’ll always be horrifically different humans, I hope they lean in and help each other to fit in better in the areas they don’t belong. One day, I hope they notice that I was always in their corners and that I struggled to foster their differences, no matter how real that struggle was. I hope that they, some day, read this and know that, no matter what, I tried…I always tried…to raise two kids on two opposite ends of the spectrum as fairly, and as lovingly, as I possibly could! They’re both important in their own right. I love them both, differently and equally, despite their differences.

I hope they know I know they’re amazing, both of them. Their similarities, and their differences, make them the beautiful people that they are now, that they will always be. Only a mom can see this, you know?

Are you raising two (or more) children on opposite ends of the spectrum? If so, please tell me how you deal with it because it’s rough, y’all, and I just want to do the best that I can for the little humans that I’m raising now…on opposite ends of the spectrum.

We’re Going to Surf with Santa and Visit SpongeBob at ICE LAND!

Thanks to Schlitterbahn, Moody Gardens, and US Family Guide, we’ll be surfing with Santa at Schlitterbahn and visiting SpongeBob at Moody Gardens ICE LAND this weekend. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. #BahnHoliday #MGIceLand

Schlitterbahn Galveston, Moody Gardens Galveston, ICE LAND, winter events in Galveston

Do you remember over the summer when we had the Bubby dubbed, “best day ever” at Schlitterbahn Galveston? Well, guess what? Dudes, we’re going back for some holiday fun. That’s right, a water park in the wintertime, because our island is cool like that. Santa is inviting kids to a very different kind of holiday party – Holiday Splash at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island. During the park’s Holiday Splash, which takes place weekends and select dates from November 28, 2014 through January 4, 2015, Santa is giving surf lessons to kids on the Boogie Bahn (I’m pocket sized, I’m going to try to slip in the line too). Kids can also make holiday ornaments, swim in an artificial snow storm, and enjoy a sprinkle of holiday cheer.

Schlitterbahn Galveston Holiday Splash, winter activities in Galveston, Christmas in Galveston

Wait. What? That’s not enough to entice you to want to come join us? Don’t worry, there’s more! When you’re done playing in the “snow” and surfing with Santa, you’ll want to grab your parka and head over to Moody Garden’s ICE LAND Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants!

Moody Garden ICE LAND, winter activities in Galveston

Now through January 4, 2015, you can visit this Winter Wonderland (since we really don’t see snow here in southeast Texas) and your kids will be thrilled. I know mine are going to be! A skilled team of 31 internationally-acclaimed professional ice carvers from Harbin, China dove into 900 tons of ice (wow, that’s a lot of ice) and transformed them into majestic marvels featuring holiday scenes with the beloved Bikini Bottom inhabitants from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. Chilled and held at a temperature of 9 degrees (oh my frigid bones…but they provide you with parkas, so it’s OK), you can witness these works of art as Galveston makes its holiday transformation into a Winter Wonder Island.

We loved Schlitterbahn Galveston this summer and we can’t wait to go back and visit Moody Gardens this weekend to enjoy some holiday cheer. Plus, Santa and SpongeBob in one place is pretty much pure heaven on earth for my little ones (and me). If you’re visiting Galveston anytime soon, this is one spot you won’t want to pass up. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by. We’d love to see you! I’ll be back next week to share our weekend of fun.

In the meantime, you might want to follow along on Facebook and Twitter to find out all of the other cool stuff that Schlitterbahn Galveston and Moody Gardens have to offer all year long. I love living on this island and I hope you’ll come join us this weekend!