Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Odds and Ends

You probably aren't interested in any of the following details of life at the C House, but I'd like to document several of the things I've been thinking about.

One of Buddy's favorite authors is Graham Salisbury, the author of the "Calvin Coconut" series.  It's a series about a boy and his adventures in Hawaii.  We knew that Graham Salisbury was a local author, but I learned today he is the father of a guy in our ward!  And he even gave Buddy a shout-out today on Facebook.  This has been very exciting news at our house today.

Before I go to sleep I always check on the boys and give them some snuggles.  (Does every parent do that?)  Last night I found Sambo asleep with a book and flashlight in his hands.  He's totally the type of kid that would do something like that, but he's also the type of kid that sneaks the flashlight then turns it off and goes to sleep when he gets tired a few minutes later.  And by the way, I LOVE having book-loving kids.

Buddy got a haircut today for the first time in a long time.  It's hard to squeeze a haircut in when he's been busy skiing every Saturday all winter.  And really the only other convenient day to take him is Monday and the lady who cuts his hair doesn't work that day.  It was like shearing a sheep.  There was an impressive pile of fuzzy white wool on the floor when she was done. He looks like a totally different person now. 

Buddy started getting freckles last summer.  But this summer they are appearing like crazy.  I love them. That's all.

And to add to his darling looks, he still has only lost two teeth.  And none are loose.  If things don't change by his next dentist appointment in the fall, the dentist will have to look into what's going on.  I hope that doesn't have to happen.

Sambo is such a bossy little son-of-a-gun.  I taught preschool today and it amazes me how he organizes everybody not necessarily in a way that would benefit him, but in a way that seems to him to be the "right way."  I know that makes no sense, but basically he tells people what to do but he's not really the type that's trying to get anything out of it.  We also teach him in Primary and I'm sorry, but both of my kids are dang smart.

Yesterday Sambo had a friend over.  His parents have been trying to motivate him to take his training wheels off for a few months now, but he has been totally against that idea.  The boys were outside playing in our fabulous 85-degree weather and the friend decided he would give Sambo's bike a shot without the training wheels.  Sambo held the bike up for him and tried to help him steady it.  The friend tried to peddle and Sambo tried his darnedest to hold it up and run along side.  They were not successful since Sambo wasn't strong enough to really be of assistance.  But even still, it was pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life.  Well, it turns out that was just what the friend needed.  His dad texted us last night to say he mastered his bike last night.  And today at preschool it was the first thing he told me.  "I learned to ride my bike!  And I totally rocked it!"
This little boy is mine.  All mine. 

Sambo's "love language" is touch.  He has been hugging everybody like crazy lately.  He'll run up to his loved ones and give us a big hug.  He also tells me several times a day, "I like you, mom."

And today Sambo fiddled with the Tivo remote long enough to figure out how to record "Deadliest Catch." He had stumbled upon it and was instantly intrigued.  He has never been taught to use the remote before, but I was telling him to get in the car so we could get Buddy from school and he just couldn't for the life of him drag himself away from the coolest show he had ever seen in his life.  So rather than miss the show he quickly learned to use the remote.  He waited all afternoon to watch it (being drug from one errand and after-school activity to the next), talking about the new cool "boat show" nonstop.  Finally this evening we turned it on and a few minutes into it, he got too scared and we had to choose a different show.  Such a typical Sambo story.

I die over his freckles.  

Yesterday we were driving and saw a lady walking down the road with a sundress and parasol.  It was a little over the top and Buddy asked if she was doing that because she thought she was pretty and was trying to get attention.  We discussed that for a bit.  I then asked if he thought I was pretty.  He said, "Dad does, but I'd say you are just so-so."  It was almost as funny as the time he told my sister she has "a big nose but it looks good on [her] face."

It dawned on me tonight that Buddy (age 8.5) is still using the same hooded bath towel he's been using since he was born.  Now that I think about it, that's a little strange.  But it still works and fits, so why not?

I'm getting awfully reliant on the happy meal deal our local McDonald's does on Tuesday nights.  Tuesdays are really busy and unless I have leftovers or something easy lined up ahead of time, I never have time to make dinner.  My kids aren't complaining about this, of course.

We sorted all our Legos by color several weeks ago.  Since we did that our kids have played with Legos or Bioncles exclusively.  They literally have not touched a single other toy.

Buddy is a few pages away from finishing the Book of Mormon for the first time.  It's really inspiring to watch him go through the process for the first time (of many) of growing his testimony.

One of my most favorite people is moving.  I'm so unbelievably tired of my dearest friends moving.

I was in charge of a stake Activity Day on Saturday. It was a colossal disaster.  That's a whole bunch of months and hours of my life I'll never get back...

I'm .3 pounds away from a weight-loss goal I made for myself.  I bought a pair of shoes to motivate myself and they seemed to have done the trick.  I haven't really changed anything in my diet.  I have plenty of bad habits, but I mostly eat well.  Plus I've noticed over the years my diet really doesn't affect my weight as long as I'm reasonable.  However, I totally changed up my workout routine.  I started going to the gym four days a week (when at all possible) instead of three.  And I've been keeping my heartrate really low doing cardio three of those days and doing pilates the other day.  So it's been more exercise at a much lower impact.  I've lost 7 pounds, but the sad thing is the only way I could think to do it was to stop doing weights.  So unfortunately my weight-loss is mostly muscle loss.  And in case you are wondering, no my clothes don't fit any differently besides my quads being a ton smaller and a slightly smaller muffin-top.  But I'm close to earning my shoes and that's the main thing I care about.  And I'm working really hard to fix an elevated heartrate problem I've been struggling with for years.  And I've made a little progress in that regard too.

Why is it socially acceptable to wear workout clothes in public?  But if I were to wear my PJ's all day (even at home) I'm considered lazy, sick, or depressed.  I'm interested in starting a movement to change that.  Because I'm a HUGE fan of wearing pajamas all day.

The sun was hot and bright.  We aren't used to it, so neither of the kids could keep their eyes open.  Here they are planting their trees.

You might know I'm a tree lover (note:  not a tree hugger).  I love the Oregon rain because Oregon rain makes lots of beautiful trees.  Buddy is an environmentalist, so together we decided it would be a great idea to plant some trees for Earth Day this year.  I've always wanted to do that, plus it would help him earn a belt loop for Cub Scouts.  Well, unfortunately I was totally stressed and crazy busy the day of our town's tree planting, although I had it on my calendar for a month in advance.  Plus it was raining, so I decided to cut my losses for the day and skip it.  Buddy and I were so disappointed.  But we had to swing by the library that day and low and behold they had a few trees people could take to plant.  So we did!  The kids and I had so much fun planting them and talking about how important trees are to the environment.  Buddy takes this topic so seriously, it's hilarious.

Pointing to his newly planted tree.

Sunday was the first truly hot day of the year, so after church I shouted up the stairs to Sambo to make sure he put on a short-sleeved shirt.  I started to remind him where he could find them in his dresser.  In a huff he replied, "I know what I'm doing!"  It was so typical of him.  He's an extremely responsible kid and really doesn't need to be micromanaged (like his brother).  So ever since then I've asked him probably a thousand times if he knows what he's doing.  He isn't old enough to get sarcasm, but he emphatically tells me that yes, he does know what he's doing.

P.S.  I think my kids are cool.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Good Day

 This is how the kids spent the 8 hours of General Conference.  They listened better than we did actually.  At one point Buddy even gave us a lecture about how we "probably don't even feel good* because you have your eyes closed and aren't even listening."  (*referencing how good we feel when we feel the spirit during conference.)

We had a marvelous Spring Break. I think I mention in every other post that I can't stand the school year rat race (or the waking up early part of school). I LIVE for breaks from school. And to think I've got approximately 20 more years of this rat race. Now that's depressing! So back to the pleasant thoughts...

This year Buddy spent 4 days of spring break with my mom. He'd come home every day for a few hours so she could work, but otherwise was spoiled by her all day. They went for donuts several times for breakfast, went to the Lorax in 3D, looked at nature, worked in the yard, watched movies at home, went out for lunch every day, worked on scouts, made treats, and she bought him a bioncle he has been coveting for a few months. He was in heaven and even told me several times when he'd come home each day that he wished I was as nice as grandma. (I informed him that if he treated her like he treats me, she wouldn't be as nice. I know from firsthand experience. And I also informed him that when I'm a grandma I fully intend to be as nice as she is!)

While Buddy was away, Sambo and I went to a bouncehouse and played lots and lots of games together. He loves to do "homework" and crafts so we worked on those for hours, plus read lots of books. When Buddy came back home we went to indoor jungle gyms three times, plus the science museum and out to dinner with friends. Then we enjoyed our favorite weekend of the year, listening to General Conference**. Plus the leprechaun reprised for April Fool's day -- because for some reason drawing goatees on kids while they sleep never gets old.  It was a week from my dreams. I was happy and well rested, the kids were entertained, and I got to spend time with my boys without the rush of getting here or there.
And... the leprechaun is back.

So needless to say, I was dreading today. (School was off yesterday too.) Plus track started tonight and Buddy has been dreading it's start since it ended last summer. It was this exact time last year that things totally unraveled for Buddy at school.  I'm not sure if it's possible to will yourself a fever. But three times in the past two weeks Buddy has gotten mysterious headaches and fevers on days he hasn't wanted to do something stressful. As soon as I give in and let him stay home from school, the fever amazingly goes away and he's fine the rest of the day.  So G and I braced ourselves last night for a hard day and week.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Buddy's teacher at the school today and she stopped me to tell me the following story, which Buddy then also shared with me when I picked him up from school. He told me he wrote a story about his spring break. According to him all the kids wrote half a page but he wrote four. He was so excited about what he wrote, he decided to read it to the class, which he has NEVER done. He told me, “I made the choice. I am going to work on this talent instead of worrying about it. It wasn’t that bad and my teacher said I had a long story so I must have had fun over spring break! AND... At the end of the day she told me I had a great day. I've had a lot of good days, but she doesn't always tell me that, so that's how I know I had a really good one today.”

Over break Buddy and I had talked about talents and facing fears, etc. Let me rephrase that.  We've talked about this ad nauseum for years.  But I approached it a little differently over the break and something clicked.  Tonight he calmly went to track and had a great time, which never really happened last year.  Tonight he was the most pleasant he's been in a long time.  He was so proud of himself.  And G and I were able to talk about a bunch of other important things with him before bed.  He had some wonderful insights about the types of things he'd like to teach his kids and the things we've taught him that have really mattered to him including:  having a healthy body, being nice to his brother, doing service, and telling the truth. 

I'm stunned and so incredibly happy.   I have to write this all out so I can come back and read it next time I'm exhausted by parenting.  Some of this hard work is paying off!  Thank goodness for blogs to record it and share it.  Because some things are just so exciting you have to shout them from the rooftops. 

And then there's Sambo.  He was a perfect angel all of spring break. I never had to discipline him one single time.  For some odd reason, he's perfect for me and terrible for everyone else.  Sigh.  Today was a really busy day and I had to drag him from one thing to the next and he wasn't nearly as good as he was last week -- when I was playing games with him and teaching him to read.  Go figure.  Anyway, after I learned that he hadn't been very good at preschool, I tried to ask him about it, and in true Sambo fashion he didn't listen to a word I said.  Instead, he immediately defended himself saying, "At least I did my service!"

Very little I try to tell these kids sinks in.  But if I had to choose one thing for them to do well at, I guess service would be it.  But being nice to their teachers would be a close second.  (We will continue to work on that.)

**My General Conference weekend would have been much more enjoyable if someone had told me you can buy clear thread and sew patches onto a scout shirt with a sewing machine.  I never in my wildest imagination would have thought of that idea.  And if I had thought about it, I could have saved myself 8 hours of hand-sewing and some seriously sore fingers.  Oh well, at least I did my service.  Thank you very much.