Thursday, August 28, 2008

Education Week 2008

Oh, how I love BYU. It's the most beautiful campus in the world to me. I enjoyed so many fabulous times there as a full-time college student and continue to feel renewed and inspired every time I visit for Education Week.

I truly missed my family--and I think they even missed me a bit--but it was so fun to be with some of my dear friends and make some new ones this year. We spent hours talking and laughing and even crying with each other. There's nothing like a whole week of Ladies' Nights Out to make you feel giddy and young again.



I got some great information, and of course inspiration, to do better as a mother and wife. Can I write off the expenses as "job-related"?

Here are some of my take-home lessons:

  • I will try to "use the least amount of force necessary" to get my kids to comply.

  • I will try not to "escalate" the situation with yelling.

  • I will show increased negotiation skills--that is not a weakness!

  • I will give "second chances"again and again and again; as the Savior does with me.
None of this is really new information, especially to good, kind parents, but it will be helpful at our house if I can do better on these.

Huge THANKS to Dave for taking on the kids during their first full week of school, we all know what that can entail. Love you tons, you're a GREAT Dad!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jake's First Day of Seventh Grade

Yesterday was Jake's first day of school because they have the sixth graders start without the big, mean seventh and eighth graders on the first day. Jake informed me he had earned Thursday off after seven years of hard work at school. If only it worked that way...I may have a day off coming to me.

More classic shots on the front porch.

In honor of the dreaded return to school the weather was cold and rainy. In fact, it was the wettest, dreariest day we've had all year! Nice of Mother Nature to commisserate so well with Jake. He woke up in plenty of time but nearly missed the bus because he took such a long shower!

Jake's favorite teacher so far is Mr. Howard, his math teacher. Mr. Ortiz, his science teacher, seems pretty nice too. Right now Jake's big stess is football. We'll see how it goes and keep you posted.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ben's First Day of Third Grade

Today started out quite cold but then warmed up and then ended very cool. Classic Colorado weather actually. Beautiful blue skies nearly all day. Ben did not seem nervous but he was up before 7am, without his alarm clock, so there may have been a few excited nerves...

Classic shots on the front porch.

Close up of "the hair." Here comes trouble...

Some donut heaven provided by the Senkoffs. Thanks so much!

"No worries. Peace out Mom."

The very back of the bus--we're BIG third graders now!

At the flag raising ceremony with Cutter.

The report when he returned home was "My teacher is hilarious!"
Now for Ben, that is the biggest compliment he could give.
We're so happy that was the initial report. Also, the assigned homework was RJP in the planner.

That stands for Run, Jump, Play. I like her already! Ms. Rexrode, or as the kids are allowed to call her, Rex, may be one of the best answers to our prayers in a long time.
P.S. Ben ate four slices of Tilamook cheddar cheese with a huge pile of crackers immediately after walking through the door. Followed by a gogurt and then a can of chicken noodle soup and a nectarine. Somehow he still managed to eat a slice of calzone for dinner with a can of lemonade. All this between 4 and 5:45pm. He had soccer camp with his team at 6pm. Apparently school makes third graders VERY HUNGRY. Note to Mom: Buy more food!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things About 12-Year-Olds

Specifically, Jake.

As a mother of three children that are rather spread out, I realize that much of their behavior is really just a stage to be enjoyed or endured. Here are some things I enjoy or endure about each of my kids and their various stages...

Things I love about this age:

1. He tells me I'm pretty and that I have beautiful eyes. I think he really means it too.

2. He helps clean--and it really is help. In fact he cleans out my car better than any expensive car wash place.

3. He actually likes to cook--in fact he made lunch all summer for us (when we were home!) and he pulls out recipes to make dinner, when he has the time.

4. He likes to organize things--he just finished sorting through the toy baskets in the loft and all the video games up there.

5. He is fiercely independent. I think he'll be a great leader someday. He certainly isn't going to be bossed around!*

6. He has a song for every occasion. He literally breaks into song whenever we say some key word to set him off. For instance, "You need to apologize to your sister for doing that." Followed by, "It's too late to apologize...."**

Things I don't love about this age:

1. He likes to debate word meanings with everyone, all the time. I think the proper word here is ANNOYING.

2. He likes to say naughty words like "crap" and "sucks" and then debate the merits of them for a 12-year-old to use.

3. *He is fiercely independent. This is not always so charming...

4. **He has a song for every occasion. It's not always funny.

Things About 8-Year-Olds

Specifically Ben.

Things I love about this age:

1. He loves to give his Mom hugs.

2. He still wants to be tucked in every night.

3. He likes Jake and Jake's friends.

4. He likes to have playdates with friends every single day.*

5. He was insanely curious about "Hooters" restaurant until he went there with Papa Mertz and Grandma Bertha. Now he thinks it's lame.

6. He thinks it's gross when his parents kiss.**

7. He LOVES so many things it's easy to always find him something he will love...Cars, sports, games, food, friends, fruit, Rachel, Jake, dessert...the list is nearly endless. He has a lust for life.

Things I don't love about this age:

1. He never wants to shower. (Luckily he doesn't have bad BO yet.)

2. He never seems to get enough sleep. He's too busy keeping up with Jake, Dave and anyone else he thinks he can have fun with...

3. He CAN NOT, under any circumstances, lose gracefully. He is the WORST sport I have ever met when it comes to board games. It's a real bummer.

4. *He wants to have playdates with friends every single day. Enough already.

5. **He thinks it's gross when his parents kiss. Like we're so lovey-dovey anyway. Jeez.

Things About 3-Year-Olds

Specifically Rachel.

Things I love about this age:

1. She loves to cuddle.

2. She looks cute even with her bangs cut too short. (Stupid hairstylist.)

3. She loves to "help" with anything and everything.* "Where's my stool?"

4. She says nearly everthing is her "favorite" or she loves it "the most" or it's "perfect".

5. She will agree to go to bed "for a little while" at bedtime.

6. She tells me, with arms outstretched, "I love you THIS much!" several times a day.

Things I don't love about this age:

1. She asks "Why" whenever possible, which is nearly 2,000 times a day. Does she even know what that means or is it just fun to hear me talk?!..."Because blah, blah, blah..."

2. She will only wear dresses, which turns out is partly endearing once I resign myself to not being in charge anymore.

3. She insists on repeating naughty words like "sucks" and "crap". JACOB THOMAS! Arggh!

4. *Loves to "help" with anything and everything. Blast that darn stool!

5. She is giving up naps totally and yet not going to bed earlier. I CAN'T take it. I really am losing it a bit...

As I review these lists it occurs to me that some of the things on them may not be age-appropriate stages as much as personality traits. Let's hope all the not so pleasant things will change with time and the things I love will remain the same.

I know this will not be the case, but maybe I will enjoy it ALL a bit more knowing that time changes nearly everything...Childhood is indeed fleeting, even the loooong, lazy days of summer.

Welcome, fall. Be kind to us with all the changes you promise to bring.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Birthday Party Fun

Rachel has been to two birthday parties in the past week and I caught a couple of photos to capture the fun.

Avy, from church, turned two. She's so petite.

Anne, from next door, turned four. The bouncy castle was a huge hit.

P.S.-Both parties sent invitations through email and it's a good thing because I haven't checked my snail mail in nearly a week! This must be a new generation thing. I like it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Love Geography?

After taking sooooo long to recover from having my wisdom teeth out, I'm proud to say I am back! I took a quiz naming all the states in the US and I kicked butt. I can't believe I can remember all those states from fifth grade. I just might be smarter than a fifth grader (just don't ask me to name the capitals!). Take the test and see how many states you know under pressure...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Boy Scout Camp 2008

Jake went to "Camp A" (as it is referred to by the scouting families in the know) for a week in July. July 21st-26th to be exact.

I was worried about how filthy he would get on the trip for good reason. Here is a picture of him kissing Rachel hello and she is saying, "oh, you stink, Jake!" We missed him so much but maybe not as much as he missed us.

He left at 5:30am on Monday morning and on Monday night at 8pm I received a text message reading "Its bad here its not fun. is dad comeing. Love you" Well, needless to say, that did not make me feel better about sending him off for a week!

I could not get a hold of him by phone so I texted back what I thought would be an encouraging message and broke it to him that Dave would not be coming up.

The next night we got a message from him on our answering machine sounding a bit pathetic, but again he was out of reach to return the call. Shortly after that, his cell phone ran out of juice and he managed to "work it out". Maybe the no cell phones rule is a good one?

He returned home on Saturday having been awarded the "Best Camper" award by his fellow troop mates and having earned three merit badges and started two more. We're so happy it turned out to be a "mostly good" experience--our prayers were answered yet again on Jake's behalf. You make us so proud Jake! I love that you do so many things that are tough.