Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ten Years!!

A decade is a lifetime for this boy and yet it is nothing but sleeping and a waking for me.  Nearly 10 years ago I began this blog in an effort to give those who loved us an opportunity to keep up on the development of our firstborn.  Now he's a busy, bright boy, our intiate into parenthood and a joy to have around.

 He was once so little!!

I had my dates all mixed up for our crazy June activities and scheduled an early joint birthday celebration with a friend from our first homeschool coop.  It was awesome though and having an entire day be about Pokémon with his friends was the best thing ever!
The cake was a bit of a flop this year, I had filled the center with Pokémon figurines and with the rush of everything didn't cut the layers right for the strawberry filling so as it defrosted it slowly 'melted' in shape.  Kid like it anyhow but shortcuts don't pay!

On his actual birthday he came home from his swim practice for his annual mango sticky rice breakfast.  After a meeting for a future homeschool coop he had an impromptu playdate with a friend and dinner later that night with just Kent and I.  It was so nice to chat with him without the distractions of all the other children.

As a parent it's rewarding to see them learn and grow, especially as they learn to make good choices for themselves.  When we initially began homeschooling Bud was super excited about the amount of time he had for electronics.  Getting him out to exercise or do other creative activities was such a chore and a daily battlefield.  We reached a point where we decided to teach and model for him what a happy, healthy balanced life should look like and then gently nudge him to make similar choices rather then enforce it.  It took patience and faith but he began to see how much more creative, happy and engaged he was when he limited his own game time.  Whenever he kept his word and only watched one episode we could see him grow in his confidence and pleasure in life.  We will discuss it with him on and off and it makes us smile as he honestly discusses the struggles he has with it and seeks our advice.  It's a different relationship, more mature, than what we have with the others but it helps me catch a glimpse of him as an adult in the future and gives me joy in his growing independence. 
He's taking swim team much more seriously this year, asking to do the extra lesson, working harder rather than just playing with friends at practices, asking to go to more meets, not just the home ones. The other boys have been great at encouraging him and his confidence in hard work is showing.

We also had some struggles with not taking shortcuts and being lazy in our work.  This happened with his online math course, typing lessons, in our cooking lessons as well as in general chores around the house.  With being in school, he got away with his own devised shortcuts and no one pushed him to do his best.  It affected his confidence (without him knowing it) and there were many times thing had to be, "done right, or do it again".  I love that now he really knows the difference and has a real pride in himself as he works at it.  You can see it as he presents his cooked potatoes (all cut the right size and cooked through) or as he achieves a faster speed in typing.  He likes our acknowledgement of his achievement but he doesn't need it as much as before because his work speaks for itself.  It's a mark of a growing child into basic skills he needs in adulthood.

His joy and figuring out something on the electronic playground and being able to teach me about it.

He has really grown to love and engage with his younger siblings which brings me so much happiness.  He developed his own game with Bubby that always has the little man in giggles.  Pumpkin adores him and mimics him in so many things, from Lego building, to puzzles and is willing to play any game Bud develops for her.

While we were out to dinner Kent and I were surprised to hear that his favorite sibling was Bug-love, especially since he is the least affectionate with her.  We play a game called "Other Shoes" which simply means you put yourself into another person's position and seek to understand their feelings.  We did this and without lecturing or saying anything more the following day found him giving the affection to Bug that she craves and seeks.  There's a willingness to change gives me pride and hope for the wonderful young man I know he can be.
Fun with friends in cub scouts and a three legged race.

I love this boy, I love his enthusiasm and his creativity.  He is so affectionate and when he feels that love reciprocated he is willing to do so much more.  I'm grateful to be his mother.  We are so different from each other but he has taught me another perspective on life that has made me more playful and creative.  Happy birthday my firstborn!  May you continue to grow, learn and find joy as you become the remarkable young man I see!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Carlsbad 2

There are times you get a glimpse of your child's personality and no matter how much they grow, that glimpse reoccurs again and again in different ways.  For example, for as long as I can remember, Bud loves to build and to dig.  With all the wonders of Legoland around him, he could have spent the entire day here unearthing their dinosaur bones.  He had a willing, albeit clumsy helper in the form of Pumpkin.

Meanwhile, Bug is a ride junkie!  She loves the thrill of it, she may say,"I left my stomach behind" with stoicism but she giggles with delight as she recalls the sense of falling and the rush of the tilting rollercoaster.  On this day Kent and I took turns riding every thrill seeking ride as much as possible. You can catch her and Kent in the very last cart.

Pumpkin roaring like a newly born dinosaur!

The other big hit was the driving test - at least for the oldest two.  They got on over 6 times and actually got better at it as they went.  A few moms and I on the side laughed at their driving on the wrong side of the road, making jokes as to what the real thing will look like not too long from now.
Driving boats was not anymore successful, at least from Bug's expression!

Bubby tried it too.  He did figure out the gas but I think he was too startled with it and approaching the limit of his ablity to cope with the unfamiliar.  Pumpkin had a better time of it but once was enough for her.

Bubby needed tons of his calming activities so he did lots of stacking and sorting and enjoyed his climbing of stairs and inclines.

The aquarium was nice, much quieter than the small one they have here in phoenix.  It was calming for everyone who was feeling the fatigue of play.  The obtaining of stamps along the way kept Pumpkin busy as she was determined to do it herself! Of course Bug HAD to pet everything over and over!  She kept looking for ways to spend her money she had earned.  She's not into Legos much, the candy was too expensive (especially when we went to a grocery store later and she bought a ton to share with her siblings) and the jewelry didn't appeal.  She discovered  that donated money to the aquarium goes to helping rescue injured sea life and it hit home to her animal loving soul.  She promptly put in $2 and said she would have no regret, that somewhere, some 'cutie' living being needed it more than she!

Bug remarked that this pair of cuttle fish looked like dancers with their rippling skirts.

Another farmer's market where we purchase loquats, a Japanese plum.  They were really good and Bud got a kick out of what he saw when he bit into it.  (bathroom humor appeals to all boys!) Lucious greens, still 'living' with their roots attached, unique mushrooms which we bought and fried in butter to go with our eggs in the morning.

The following day we found an area where you could build your own cars and race them against others.  Pumpkin is like a miniature version of Bud and started with a minimalist edition of her car that became more 'girly' as she sought out some pink and purple blocks.  Bud raced a few times and was please his car won some of the races.  Bubby and Bug were with me on the other side, he was upt to his usual sorting and she attempted an artistic building that didn't survive a major earthquake.

The years go by entirely too fast so I decided to re-enact some pictures I remember years ago.  These are of Bug 6 years ago and now.

She's grown up so much and turned into such a beautiful young lady!
Pumpkin thought that if BBF is doing it, it must be cool!  "Pitcher, Mama, pitcher!!!"
Living things make Bug happy.  She's gotten over her fascination with pill bugs but Pumpkin hasn't.  She moved on to slugs and thankfully California has plenty of those.

There's a great playground there that all of us happily played in for over an hour and a half.  Pumpkin had made a friend with a little boy by bringing him Legos as he was building.  They wouldn't leave each other but Pumpkin was nearly a year younger and had a hard time keeping up with him.  Bubby ran up and down the ramps, Bud found a group of boys his age to play tag with and Bug collected snails and snail shells.  The following video has got to be one of my favorites.  I love how Pumpkin engages Bubby, how he is fully present and running to catch me. 
THESE, these are the moments that fill me with joy!

On our final day we went into San Diego to the Mormon Battalion Museum.  I had been before with a friend of mine which worked out well since Bubby wasn't going to sit through anything.  We wandered the Victorian park across the street while the kids had fun panning for gold and learning more about our history. 

While there we stopped in Balbo park in the Spanish Village - the art center of the area.  Bud found a museum devoted to gems that actually has a club with weekly activities.  For only $10 a year kids can come and learn and use their machines to cut, polish rocks for jewelry.  The homeschooler in me wished we were closer because something like this would feed his soul!  They have some amazing art classes and pottery classes for adults and kids so perhaps in the future we will find a way to make it a part of our schedule.

  A last minute stop at the beach was a must. 

It was a such a fun way to spend a week as a family.  I know everyone says life is made of little moments, but sometimes these big ones are pretty awesome too!  Love my family, love these kiddos and I'm so grateful we are blessed to make such fun memories!