Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Insights From Buddy and Sambo

The best dinner Sambo's every had.  It just so happened to be the only time his father has cooked... in awhile.  But it made an impact.  

My kids have a strange interest in "juvi."  You know, juvenile detention.  I'm not sure how Buddy first learned about it, but he threatens Sambo from time to time that if he doesn't follow the laws of the land, he will have to go to juvi.  It's sinking in because yesterday Sambo was playing with his cars and I heard him talking about sending some to juvi for not driving nice. 

Additionally, tonight Buddy was trying to convince me that it's all my fault he gets in trouble so much because it's "my choice" to discipline him or not.  I used his interest in juvi to argue my point: that I have a responsibility to teach him to obey.  I have to follow through with consequences otherwise he'll never learn that rules must be obeyed.  A child can either be disciplined by their parents when they are young, or disciplined by the "system" when they are teenagers, and as a result sent to juvi.  I'm not sure if that's good parenting or not, but it made my point and he totally understood.

Are my kids the only kids interested in juvi?

* * *

I was going through some old papers and realized I had a form from Sambo's speech class that he was supposed to fill out with my help and give to G for Father's Day.  We worked on it and surprised daddy when he came home today.  I seriously had to stifle my laughter while I filled it out.  We all laughed until we cried when we read it together with daddy.  Out of the mouth of babes. 

To: Dad 
From: Sambo, age 3 1/2

My dad is as handsome as a: dog.
My dad smells like: poop.
My dad likes to: make dinner.
My dad makes the best: dinner ever me have.
When I am sick my dad:  helps take me to doctor.
When I am sad my dad:  helps me not cry.
I like my dad's: toes and feet.
I love my dad because: he is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Growing Up

I am madly in love with this child.  He is such a huge blessing in my life especially with my high-strung personality.   He is the perfect compliment to me.  I just love him so much.  Since Buddy has been back to school, I've noticed how much Sambo has matured over the summer.  It's hard to tell when Buddy is around all the time because he's the one that does all the talking and pretty much runs the show.  I hate to phrase it like this, but Sambo lives very much in Buddy's shadow.  Not that Sambo minds.  Buddy has a HUGE personality and requires a lot more parenting than Sambo.  Sambo has the perfect personality to fit in wherever he is needed in this family.  He goes with the flow and as long as we treat him like a big boy, he is easy.  He is Buddy's right-hand man.  He is G's best friend.  And he is my comfort.  If only I could find joy in the simple things like he does. 

Sambo headed off for his first day of preschool today.  It's nothing fancy, just a fun co-op with a few friends.  Each mom takes turns teaching and the kids get to be together, play games and do all sorts of crafts.  To say he was ecstatic to be going to school "same as Yoah" (aka his brother), would be the understatement of the year.  He has literally never eaten breakfast so fast.  He was ready and milling around the house with his backpack on before I was ready.  Well, actually it was his brother's backpack from Kindergarten/1st grade because like I mentioned earlier, he wanted to be "same as Yoah."  So while I was upstairs getting ready, he packed his backpack all by himself with his water bottle and his graham cracker snack I had sitting out on the counter.  (I've been trying to teach Buddy to do that for two years!)  After I picked him up from preschool he informed me he loved having his Cheez-its for a snack "same as Yoah."  I said, "Cheez-its?  You took graham crackers."  And then he explained that he did indeed take the graham crackers that I packed, but he also packed himself a separate bag of Cheez-its.  For the record, his brother has NEVER thought to get himself a snack.  And even more interesting, he left no mess.  There were no crumbs, and the box was put back in the cupboard where it belongs.

Not only has Sambo matured emotionally, but he is talking a lot more.  And his reasoning skills have improved the most of all.  He still talks like a baby, so to hear him argue or reason things out like an almost 4-year old is surprising and if I'm being honest, totally adorable.  I'm sure this change has been gradual, but I really am noticing it now that I'm alone with him more.  I'm sure he learned a lot as Buddy's apprentice all summer too, since Buddy can pretty much talk anyone in or out of anything

Here are a few anecdotes to illustrate my point just from this morning:

We went to Safeway and Sambo spent the last half of our shopping trip trying to convince me that he needed to bring his pillow next time so he can get more comfortable in the cart.  The metal cart hurts his head and back when he tries to lay down.

He spent the two hours after preschool recounting the whole experience.  I could not believe the details he shared.  He shared nothing about what they learned, but what everyone ate for snack, and who got in trouble for what reasons.  (Just like his brother always does when he comes home...)

I heard a ruckus going on in his room and it sounded like he was getting into his dresser.  A few minutes later he came downstairs with new shorts on, and upon examination, new underwear too.  I asked him what was going on and he told me he peed his pants.  This is a very rare occurrence, but it does happen when he wants attention.  So I gave him a very stern "no" and put him timeout where he'd be getting NO attention.  Then I went upstairs to find his wet underwear.  Low and behold, his underwear and shorts were totally dry.  So I pulled him out of timeout to find out what was going on.  And he confessed that he just wanted to wear his Buzz Lightyear underwear, so he pretended to pee his pants.

He told me that when I'm a kid and he's the parent, he's going to go to his friend Connor's house anytime he wants.

Apparently at preschool a kid wrote on the couch with crayon (the teacher's son, luckily).  Well, Sambo got mad at me shortly after coming home and wrote on our couch.  I put him in timeout and when he came out I could tell he was really sorry.  Time passed, and after lunch I saw him taking a towel and trying to rub the crayon off.  I explained that crayon doesn't come off and he ruined the couch and I was really mad that he does stuff like that.  He batted his big brown eyes at me and said, "You said when making me yunch you not mad at me anymore."  Adorable. 

He pronounces toy "foy," so we were working on that today.  All of a sudden he covered his eyes and said, "No talk so loud at me!"  I must have been yelling in his face.  Poor thing!  But he was able to finally get the correct pronunciation!

And the best of all:  While we were at Safeway, a dad with a baby in a front carrier walked by and Sambo made reference to them.  I always try to convince him he's my baby, so I asked him, "Where's my baby?"  He said, "You not have one.  Heavenly Father say babies too expensive."  I literally laughed out loud there in the checkout line.  I asked him who taught him that, but he said nobody.  At first.  I asked him if daddy taught him that, and he meekly said, "Yes."

Daddy is busted.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Summit

The beginning of our hike.

This summer G had a meeting in Bend, so we all tagged along for the weekend.  Saturday after G's meeting we decided to visit Smith Rock, famous for it's gorgeous scenery and amazing rock climbing.  We planned to take a short little hike to look for mountain climbers.  We thought the boys would enjoy watching them.  It was hot -- around 90 degrees -- and there was signage at the entrance reminding hikers to pack water.  We weren't planning on really "hiking," but at the last minute I returned to the car to get a couple more water bottles so we'd each have one.  Boy am I glad I did!  As it was, we still had to seriously ration our water and could have used quite a bit more. 

Taking a water break

After we got started with our hike, we were enjoying ourselves so much we decided to complete a loop.  We knew it was just over 3 miles, but we didn't realize how hot and strenuous it would be.  The loop -- with plenty of stops for water and a break to wade in the river -- took us four hours.  The middle had steep switchbacks.  And the end was steep downhill with a dangerous cliff to the side, which really scared me.  I was really stressed making sure the boys stayed safe considering one of our boys walks on the wild side and the other one is only three years old.

But we made it safe and sound and we actually had a really great time.  It was a really fun bonding experience for our family.  There is something about working hard as a family that builds character and creates memories.  (I'm sounding suspiciously like my parents here.)
Another break.  Notice how red-faced and sweaty the boys are. 
I already knew this, but I enjoyed seeing how strong and brave our boys are.  Buddy was wearing flip flops because he forgot to pack his socks.  He didn't seem to mind.  And the kids had very little sleep the night before: going to bed at 10:30 and getting up at 6:30 with the sun in their eyes.  They had swam already that morning for two hours at the pool.  But as I've assumed for years: nothing exhausts Buddy.  In fact, not only did he not complain, but he actually begged us to go faster and any chance he got, he scurried up and down the rocks on the side of the trail like a little jackrabbit.  He took at least twice as many steps as the rest of us.  At one point Buddy was scrambling around (looking for rattlesnakes) and started to slide off the trail.  He slid a few feet and luckily his fall was arrested by a sagebrush.  It was actually pretty scary, especially since I had seen a similar story on the news earlier that week of a boy not quite so fortunate.

 The summit!  The famous "monkey face" rock in the to the left.

Buddy spent the entire time looking for wildlife.  At one point he caught a lizard which latched onto his finger and bit him.  We weren't sure if it was dangerous  or not, and it wasn't letting go on it's own, so we shouted for Buddy pull it off and drop it.  He was mad at us the rest of the time for making him lose his "pet" lizard. 

Sambo did fabulous as well.  He didn't complain either.  The closest he came to whining was informing us "This is a really bad idea!" or that he didn't "want to come here ever again!" anytime the walk would get especially steep.  But he is a trooper and made it the entire way without being carried.

One thing about this hike was how beautiful the rocks and scenery were all along the way.  It made the hike especially rewarding that around each switchback was another gorgeous view.

On the car ride home Buddy took a poll, asking by the show of hands, who was proud of themselves.  We all raised our hands.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Read This

I wish I was the kind of person that could write like this.  Please make reading this article a priority.  I'm really glad I ran across this today, especially since these are ideas that have been spinning around in my head for a couple of weeks now.  Profound. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Achieving Summer Goals

If you don't like bragging posts, don't read on.  We have very little to brag about -- and quite frankly, very little good news lately, so I'm going for the gusto with this post.  

My family is the coolest.  Seriously.  We met our reading goal of reading 10,000 pages this summer.  The official page count was:  10,283 pages between the three of us from June through August.  I hope you are as proud as we are! 

G is a speed reader and Buddy is an exceptional reader.  I've never been much of a reader, although I've always liked it alright.  Plus I have some weird thing where my eyes don't track properly so I read really slowly, which is annoying and in the past has been a turnoff to me reading anything long.  However, my sister and mom are always telling me about great books and Buddy is so enthusiastic... I decided I needed to rise to the good reading I was always encouraging Buddy to do.  In the last couple of years I've been reading as much as possible, but this summer we ramped it up to a whole new level.  It was so exciting to talk about our respective books with each other as a family and to choose reading over TV, housework, or even sleep.  I hope we've all officially established a life-long habit of reading good books. 

Our reward is going to a fun pizza place as a family to eat and play games.  That will be scheduled soon.  Plus we'll also take the kids to pick out a new book, which is a huge thrill for Buddy. 

Unfortunately, I'm the only one that kept track of the books I read.  Next year we'll be better about that.  Still, we covered a lot of ground between the three of us and can make all sorts of book recommendations now!  Here are the dets:

G won (surprise, surprise):
3943 pages read
Completed 10 books with 2 more in progress.

Buddy came in second:
3328 pages read
Completed 17 books with 2 more in progress.

I came in third:
3012 pages read
Completed 9 books with 3 more in progress.

And in case anyone cares, G also won our $20 prize for all three months for our other summer challenge.  (He bought Rockband 3, Rockband songs, and a laminator with his prize money.)  Him winning really makes me mad, so I'm never doing that contest with him again.  Although, I have to say focusing our time and energies this summer on exercise, service, scriptures, learning, reading, and work was a brilliant idea if I do say so myself.  It gave purpose to each day and and helped us focus on things that really matter to us as a family.  We hope to keep up the good habits we established as we start a new school year, particularly our habit of doing service every day for someone outside our family. 

Today the boys and I went to Oaks Park, an amusement park in Portland, to reward Buddy for good behavior, as part of a new discipline program we started.  We had such a good time.  Both kids are brave and LOVE the exhileration of adrenaline, so they both loved it.  The weather was perfect and the kids were having fun, so we stayed all day.  Buddy was a little too small to ride all the biggest rides and Sambo was a little too small to ride the big kid rides, but they still had fun.  Buddy was still able to ride some of the "intermediate" rides, like the Octopus, that old school ride with the cages, and his favorite, The Eruption.  The boys both loved the rollercoaster best.  Buddy is counting down the days now until he can he is tall enough to ride everything!

We got our pass to the amusement park for doing the summer reading program through the library.  The ride bracelet allowed the boys to rollerskate as well.  We only had 20 minutes to rollerskate before it closed, but they both had a lot of fun.  True to each boys personalities, Sambo cried and was unwilling to try after he fell down a few minutes into starting.  But once he regained his motivation, he did amazing, considering he was the smallest child I saw there.  And Buddy struggled to stay up, but never once stopped trying.  By the end of the 20 minutes he was dripping with sweat and was so sad the time was up.  It was absolutely hilarious watching them.  I couldn't stop laughing!