Growing Up

I’m exhausted from this working nonsense.  I worked a whole day today, plus karate!  Luckily there were no drum lessons this week.  LOL!  Before bed I wanted to write a quick post about some growing-up observations I had with Lex this afternoon.

In the car on the way to karate I asked if he had any homework today.  He said, “Well, kind of.”  Apparently his ELA teacher gave them an assignment, due Monday, to write three things they want to accomplish this year.  “Basically goals, without calling them goals,” he tells me.  Goal setting is one of his least favorite things.  Right up there with vaccinations and trying new foods. All have left him on the floor, under chairs, in tears.  As I mentally prepared myself for a weekend of goal setting with Lex, he said, “I’m just going to write three down and then forget them.”  Um… ok.  Not really the intended goal, but certainly a suggestion I’ve made in the past in an effort to get him off the floor.  He then went on to tell me the goals he decided to set!  The first one is to get all of his grades up to an A, the second one he couldn’t remember, and the third was to keep his assigned 40-book challenge sheet up to date.  All good goals, I assume.  Then he tells me that he had a B+ in science, but when he checked it today his teacher had a put in a few more grades and he was up to an A again.  Check that goal off the list!  He also told me that he’s sure he’s read at least 40 books already (they are allowed to count books they read over the summer, so yeah, he’s read at least 40!), so he’s going to just write down a bunch of books he knows he’s read and be done with the challenge.  LOL!  Check that goal off the list!  Now he just needs to remember what Goal #2 was.

I realize this is not the intent of goal setting, and I will also confess that I am TERRIBLE at goal setting, but I did notice several points of growth in this conversation, and I shared them with him.  First, he didn’t cry over this assignment!  It didn’t even stop him in his tracks.  Instead of getting hung up on whether or not he could do the goals, he just wrote something down.  He’s a very honest person and in the past the idea of committing to something he didn’t know if he could accomplish really got him stuck.  Today he was able to write them down and move on!  Second, I remember (not so fondly) the days of elementary school when he was assigned to read for 20 minutes a day.  After reading for hours he would then fall apart because he didn’t “do his homework” because he didn’t time himself reading for exactly 20 minutes.  When I tried to tell him that he just read for an hour, he struggled to fill out the stupid form with a start and stop time because it wasn’t, in his mind, an “official” reading for 20 minutes.  Today he has the flexibility to say, “yeah, I read those books in the past, that counts!” and move on!  Awesome!!  Again, maybe not entirely the intent of the assignment, but boy these are big milestones for him!

The icing on the cake came at karate today.  As he’s walking into the dojo he notices that most of the other kids have these red sparring gloves on.  He turns to me and says, “Oh, I forgot, we are going to start doing sparring on Wednesday and I think I need gloves today.”  Umm… ok?!  But guess what, he went in anyway, without the gloves and all was fine.  They offer sparring classes on Friday and Lex hasn’t had any interest at all, though he told me later tonight that he’s kind of interested in sparring, but just doesn’t want to go to karate on Fridays.  :)  So anyway, I was watching the class today and they are wearing these big gloves and mouth guards and I’m thinking this might be the end of karate for Lex.  After class I asked him if he wanted to stop at the office and see about buying the gear.  He said yes!! YES!  He wants to wear those gloves AND is willing to wear a mouth guard.  A MOUTH GUARD!?  Can you believe it?  (He hasn’t actually put it in yet, so we’ll see how that goes.)  He’s even willing to wear the rest of the sparring gear when the class gets to that point.

Of course that means we have to buy all that extra gear, but hey, if he’s willing (and excited!) to wear it, I’ll buy it!

It’s amazing to think back to how stuck he used to get over seemingly the smallest things and how far he has come.  It really gives me faith in his future!  He is a pretty amazing guy!

Karate

Lex had a belt test this week.  He’s now a brown belt!  That’s just one level below black belt!  (However, they way they do it there’s actually a variety of brown/black combinations to get through before you get to the true black belt.)  Sensei is sick so Shidoin Paul ran the test.  He said the nicest things about Lex at the end.  Then he went home and told his wife (whom I work with) how proud he is of Lex.  <3

And because I’m feeling nostalgic these days, check out Lex’s first time in a karate gi and his first belt test.  Eve too, of course.  Oh how I wish she would rejoin!

FLL 2018 – Our final competition

This is Lex’s final year in FIRST Lego League.  The program runs through 8th grade, then they are able to move on to FIRST Robotics (no Legos, lots of machining and Java programming).

I coached again this year and we again had three teams, with 27 kids total.  We went to the state competition on Sunday.  It was the usual big, crazy, busy, 12hr day.  We had a blast.  This year the teams brought home two trophies too!  Green team earned one for their research and Red team (the team Lex was on) won one for their innovate robot design. Lex was pretty instrumental in that.  I was happy for him to have that accomplishment on his final year.

The robot design presentation where they show their robot, their code, and their favorite missions.

Project presentation. Red team chose to figure out an innovative way to feed people in space.

A very happy Red team (with two equally happy tag-along little brothers).

I’m happy with how well the season went, how organized we were at the tech center, how many kids had a great time, how well Lex connected with another kid on the team, and overall how we’ve grown the FLL team in Hartford.  I’ll miss it next year… but not enough to coach again! LOL!

Now, if you want an awwwww moment, check out little Lex at his first FLL competition.  <3 <3

Hi

Hi all! It’s December!  I’m sitting at drum lessons, listening to Lex practice his Jazz Band piece.  It’s pretty cool.  On Monday he auditioned for a District Band program, which is basically just a weekend of middle school kids jamming together.  It’s pretty selective, but he’s good and he auditioned on three different instruments (timpani, snare drum, and bells), so he’s feeling pretty good about things.  We’re hoping to hear the results soon.  Not that we really need more things to fill our days.

We are wrapping up the final week of Lego League, and (hopefully) our final year with it.  Lex ages out of it next year and I’ve already made the announcement that I won’t be coaching if he’s not participating.  I’ve basically taken over the program though (I have a bad habit of doing that!), so I’m hoping I can slip out without too much disruption.

The usual holiday parties have set in, plus field trips, concerts, and plays (that we’ll be in the audience for), but whenever I start to feel too stressed, I just remind myself of last fall and feel grateful for all I’m NOT doing this year!

I put up the advent boxes again, but this year the cat is taking them down for me every night.  Not helpful!  Eve has been putting them all back up each morning.

My favorite reindeer.

The advent boxes are looking a little worn. Number one is even missing a top. This might be their last appearance… though when I mentioned that to Lex, he got sad.

Eve is helpful.  She’s growing right up, but still a very silly, Harry Potter series obsessed child.  She has a crush on Draco Malfoy and wants to own all of the Harry Potter merchandise that exists in this world.  She might be a little materialistic.  :)

A friend asked the other day if we are hosting a cookie party again this year.  I said, “uhh…., honestly, it hasn’t even crossed my mind.”  :/  It would be fun, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I haven’t even made any cookies yet!  We put up some decorations last weekend, and we’ll get a tree this weekend. Maybe that will kick start the holiday spirit. :)  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my own little drummer boy right here.

Razzamatazz

The middle school held their first ever talent show this month.  Jazz band played the opening number, with Lex on bongos.  It was fun watching the jazz band and realizing I know about half the kids in it.

The evening continued with music, dance, and even a few magic tricks. It was everything you would expect from a middle school talent show.  I was amazed with the bravery these kids had.  Kids were up there, alone on stage, singing their hearts out.  It was awesome.

I only took pictures of my own kid though. :)

 

HPAC

Another year of the Hartford Performing Arts Camp has come and gone, and this time Eve got to go too!  Yay!  The theme was Where The Wild Things Are and they did a great job turning the sweet book into a musical show.

Lex on the glockenspiel.

Eve in the chorus. She’s the one with the light blue headband/ears.

We had the worst luck with seating this year, somehow managing to frequently be on the wrong side of the speakers from the kids.

The only picture I was able to get of them both together. Lex on the drum and Eve as a “wild thing” sneaking in front.

Eve’s friend and fellow DBS kid played Max. She was great at it! Here she is (in red shorts) arriving on the island of the Wild Things.

 

YouTube-in

Hi guys!  Some of you may know that Eve started a YouTube channel awhile back.  It’s super (not) exciting, but she loves it!  This week Lex decided to start a channel as well to show off some of his Minecraft creations.  It makes me sad that most of their creative juices are going into the computer these days.   I miss having cool kid work around the house (and also at the same time I don’t miss it at all), but it’s neat to see what they are coming up with digitally.  Eve is still finding her voice online with some videos about DYI stuff, some about video games, and some about Harry Potter.  She’s been “colabbing” with her buddy sometimes too.  Lex has one video posted so far about a Rube Goldberg-style Minecraft device, and he has lots of cool things already built in Minecraft that he’s hoping to record over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested, check them out: Thunderpool and Legoman1342

 

Lex’s birthday adventure

I’m a little late with this post (by a week or so) but we still had fun and I want to share.

Alan got tickets to see Solo (Star Wars) and we spent a fun day playing laser tag, going to the movies, and eating too many breadsticks at the Olive Garden.  Eve didn’t want to see the movie and I didn’t want to play laser tag, but we both endured and even had a little fun. :)  The boys had a blast!

Laser tag makes me squimmish as a parent and teacher, but we played and I survived. The other three LOVE it.

We ate LOTS of popcorn. :)

Eve managed to stay on this moving wall for the entire three minutes. I couldn’t stay on it at all

We got home exhausted and happy.  In fact, both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home!  They haven’t done that in a long time.

The next day Eve tied all the balloons to the cat. Just because.

Lex got some birthday money and was excited to spend it all on Legos!

How many Legos does one teenager need?!

Not birthday related, but last night Lex ROCKED his spring concert!  He had parents and grandparents and kids and everyone coming up to him after the show to comment on his drumming.  He gets so into it.  So enthusiastic.  I love it!

Lex playing the timpinis.

I’m so proud of this guy.  He is kind and caring and fun and funny and a total rockstar!

Happy 13th Lex!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby boy is a teenager today! At what age does it become believable? At what age do you forget their actual birth day, forget what they are like as tiny babies, forget the sweet baby head and tiny fingers? I hope never! I love the growing boy I have now just as much. He’s kind and funny and smart and silly and still loves his momma! Always happy for a hug and still says “I love you” when we part.

He didn’t want much for his birthday this year. Just the usual books and Legos. I offered him a party or a weekend trip, but he said no thanks. He did take me up on my offer of a piano! :) That’s really a present for all of us though. We ordered it several weeks ago and it’s on back order. I hope it comes soon. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t have a birthday without presents on the table (and he sweetly reminded me of the tradition and asked if he would still get little presents even though the piano was expensive), so I got 13 presents, wrapped them all in the same paper, and numbered them. Just for fun.

We also got 13 balloons, wrote sweet notes on them, and left them in the family room for him to see when he woke up this morning. My original plan was to put them in his room, but reconsidered when I realized the fan would blow them around and it would probably be scary.

He said it was wonderful walking into a room full of compliments. :)

We had breakfast and presents, then it was off to school and work — for them! I got to skip work on this beautiful day and take Arlo for a visit to a dog trainer. It was a very nice experience and a lovely place. More on that later. Now, presents!

Back home I decorated the cake and then we headed out to friend’s house for a visit. Eve and her son are both auditioning for Matilda next month and wanted to rehearse together. Really it was an hour of bouncing on their trampoline and five minutes of rehearsing (while still on the trampoline). Lex and her daughter are chess pals and were happy to fit in a few games. He won one and lost one. He said they’ll have a play-off match at school on Tuesday. :)

By this point it was dinner time and if you know this family at all you know that Lex’s preferred place for birthday dinner (and any dinner) is Panera Bread! Alan met us over there and proceeded to be so silly he had both kids in tears. Dads are good at that. :) Then home for cake and more presents!

Now it’s 9pm and the boys are happily Minecrafting. Eve is in bed waiting for me to turn off her light. I am full of cake and love and peace. Tomorrow we will go see the new Star Wars movie (the boys are excited and the girls are along for the ride) and get dinner at the Olive Garden. Sunday we have an invite to a BBQ, but I’m secretly hoping it rains so I have an excuse to stay home and read the paper and drink tea all day. :)

PS. I measured him on the wall this evening.  62 1/4″.  He still has Eve beat by an inch and I still have them both beat!  For now.