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!

The little things

When I look at my children, especially around the holidays, I feel like their childhood is going by way too fast!  There are wonderful parts to their growing up, but it leaves me in a weird, somewhat lost position.  I try to notice the little things and appreciate the way they are growing into kind, capable human beings.

  • Lex took care of a bug all on his own the other day.  It was a little winged thing.  Eve shrieked (she’s dramatic), but Lex grabbed a tissue.  When he saw it, he decided to take it outside instead of squishing it.  He got a cup and a stiff paper and took care of the bug.  It took him two tries, but he didn’t stop, didn’t ask for help, and didn’t even think twice about doing the job.
  • Eve went to her first school dance.  I think she was a little nervous, but she wouldn’t admit it.  It was a Halloween dance and costumes got you a discount at the door, so she put her on her Luna Lovegood outfit.  We picked up a few of her friends along the way and they all had a great time.
  • Picking up her friends last night was the first time I’ve had passengers in the back seat of my car in a long time!  It surprised me to think about.  The kids can now stay home alone, so I rarely have both of them with me at the same time.  Usually I’m alone in the car or I have one kid with me in the front seat and the other kid home.  When we go out as a family we always take Alan’s car.  I’ve gone from giant carseats to a largely unused back seat. Weird.
  • Lex’s voice has dropped and Eve had acne and a developing body.
  • Eve is planning a Halloween party on her own (with my $$, of course) and carved a Jack-O-Lantern today, all on her own.
  • They are both basically the same height as me.  The other day Alan was convinced that Lex was taller than me and wanted us to stand back-to-back.  Lex took some convincing.  I don’t think he wants to be taller, or to acknowledge it anyway.  When I talk to them I’m looking straight ahead, and when they hug me we do the “dance” of arms, who goes over, who goes under.

The list goes on.  What happened to these adorable little things?

We used to take walks together, splash in puddles, do craft projects, go everywhere together, read stories, snuggle, make presents for teachers and cookies for classmates, and smile for photos.  We were like the three amigos.  Now it’s like four adults living in one house together.  Not exactly, of course, because they ARE still kids, but they are so independent and self-sufficient and into their own activities.  Eve will spend hours up in her room, sewing or crafting.  Lex will spend hours on Minecraft, then want to talk about it when he turns the computer off. He’s rocking his drums these days.  I can’t wait to see him perform with the jazz band.  She likes to draw and bake. She’s got the holiday enthusiasm that I so adore, but always wants to do things on her own schedule.  She decorated for Halloween this year, all on her own, at 5am on a Saturday morning!

I think the point of this post is that I have amazing children who are all too quickly outgrowing their childhood.  I feel more like an observer and less like one of the team these days.  I guess I need to get my own hobbies now. :/

Or maybe I’ll just lose myself in the blog for awhile, and drag you along too. :)

 
July, 2009

Baby faces.

One year!

Hard to believe, but it’s been one whole year since we bought our house!  Yay!  We celebrated by having a dinner party with our neighbors.  It was fun to get to know them a little better.  I still love our house and every day I’m thankful for this amazing place.  Here’s to many, many more years in this great house!

The weather all day was really weird, but at one point we got a big sun shower that make a triple rainbow!

Pictures never do rainbows justice. The bottom rainbow was a double, then there was another on top. All arching beautifully over the dumpster!

Back to school!

Hey all! First day of school. It went super well! Yay! The kids woke up early and happy. They got themselves ready and out the door early! They both smiled for photos. Yay! :)

Eve deployed masterful delay tactics last night, asking for braids, extra cuddles, lots of love. :)

6th — first year in middle school!

8th — last year in middle school!

All the photos were silly. I had a hard time choosing just one. LOL!

Alan took them to school, even though he was working from home today.  Flooring installers came again, but that story is for another day!  The kids were both happy (or at least willing!) to smile for him in front of the school.

They’re good to their photo lovin’ momma! 

My day started with a weezy run and moved on to a super sweaty library. I spent the morning running around (in a lovely dress and high heels! silly me!) doing tech support, getting the new Spanish teacher up and running, and trying to get the library in order.  I had one class at the very end of the day.  First grade.  We were all hot and tired!  LOL!  Luckily they knew the routine!

My kiddos took the bus to DBS after school and I was happy to see them both happy!  Whew!  Eve had art and got to have lunch with her buddy Jonah.  Lex will be doing some advanced math and hoping, hoping, hoping to be in jazz band.  Both were happy and we were all eager to get home to our air conditioned house!

Only 174 more days to go!

5th grade graduation

Eve had her elementary school graduation today and now it’s official — we have two middle schoolers in the house!

Shaking hands with the principal.

Shaking hands with her classroom teacher.

Looking at Facebook just now and seeing all the pictures parents took of their kids, and their kids friends, and all the flowers and smiles, I’m feeling a little lame about our graduation efforts.  However, Eve isn’t making it easy. She has been surly and grumpy and pulling away from people for awhile now, and it just occurred to me while I watched her at graduation, that I think she has a lot more feelings about leaving DBS then she’s letting on.  I think maybe it’s a little bit of denial at work.  Also, she hasn’t been feeling well all week.  She has been super tired, she’s dealing with poison ivy on her feet and a sunburn on her face, and she has the sniffles.  I think she’s ready for a break.  Maybe I’ll get a smiling picture when she starts middle school. For now, I got this.

Go away, mom!

I hope Eve finds herself again this summer so she can start middle school with a more positive attitude.

I got a little teary-eyed during the ceremony today.  I’m going to miss this class.  They aren’t perfect, but they sure are awesome!  I’ve known so many of them since kindergarten (even some from preschool!).  We have been around for birthday parties and playdates and sleepovers.  They are a small, tight-knit group, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to be so separated next year.  It’s going to be hard for me too… but this post isn’t about me.  It was wonderful that for so many of them I was able to say “see ya later” instead of “good-bye” because I know I’ll see them around.

A little celebratory dancing.

For now, while others are having parties, we are celebrating with books and blogs and Minecraft.  Lame, maybe, but it works for us.  :)

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.

11

Oh, this girl.  I can’t believe she’s eleven years old.  It seems so old, yet, after a day with her and her friend I was reminded over and over that she’s still pretty young. That made my heart happy.

She started her day bright and early with the one thing she wanted more than anything else in the world.

A special owl delivery. This owl is looking a little worse for the wear after a few run-ins with Arlo!

 

It’s her letter from Hogwarts!!!

She was squealing with delight!

Alan is in Florida this weekend so we did a video chat with him for morning presents.  Fortunately Mandy had made plans for the day so they were up early too.  Eve didn’t have to wait THAT long to open her presents!

Eleven years old! Eleven years of loving this perfect child.

Google hanging out with Daddy and Aunt Mandy.

Showing daddy her letter to Hogwarts.

Jasmine meets Leo. Jazzy had no interest whatsoever. LOL!

Eve got Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and bravely tried the vomit flavor.

It wasn’t very good. In fact, it was hysterically bad!

She had to get up and walk it off! LOL!

A Ravenclaw banner for her room. I hope the Sorting Hat gets the message! (Thanks Rosy!)

Strorks the Rhinoceros from the Just So Stories. (Thanks Grampy Don and Pat!)

I made scones and we had a nice morning.  I measured Eve on the wall on our new measuring stick.  She’s 5’1″ and growing taller every second!  I eventually was able to round them up (they were pretty wound up!) and got them in the car for a day of adventure.  We picked up Eve’s bestie, put on an awesome audio book, and headed to the trampoline park!

These kids keep me laughing!

Jumping, jumping, jumping…

Crashing!

The SkyZone check-in lady offered us the option to “upgrade” to two hours instead of just one, but I think one was plenty.  They all wanted to leave five minutes before our time was even up!  They were exhausted!  I jumped too, but there are no photos of that. :)  Lex spent a lot of time on the dodge ball “court” and loved it!

Everyone was hungry after all that jumping, so we headed to the OG.

A celebratory Shirley Temple for this little curly-q.

Crazy girls

We are a bread and cheese kinda crowd! Sarah threw in a little shrimp, and I had some salad, but really we just went for the bread sticks and alfredo sauce.

They even sang to her! Nothing compares to the birthday song at the Syracuse OG, but this was fun too. :)

Once we had eaten way more than we should have, we headed to the mall!  Or more precisely, Build-A-Bear!

Build-A-Bear is a funny place, but Eve loves it.

Sarah got the Eevee Pokemon and Eve got a cat and named it Sarah. They both got matching Pokemon outfits for their stuffies.

We did a lap around the mall and the kids all griped about the stores.  We passed Victoria’s Secret and PINK and the kids were uncomfortable and made comments about how awkward the stores were.  One even said, “There are children around for goodness sake!”  We passed a few other stores with underwear models and the kids kept commenting on how unnecessary and inappropriate they were.  Good kids!  Then we stopped at a toy store.  On the way out the girls noticed a Motherhood Maternity store nearby and started making the same comments about awkwardness.  I tried to defend that store, saying pregnant women need clothes too.  They didn’t get it.  I asked which was more awkward for them, VS or MM?  They couldn’t decide.  I said, “Maybe they should be closer together because if you start wearing clothes from Victoria’s Secret you’ll probably need the maternity clothes soon after.”  Totally just making a joke. Their reactions were PRICELESS!  Huh? Heads cocked, noses crunched, eyes confused. “Why?” they asked.  I burst out laughing and walked away.  I wish I had a camera for those looks.  I texted Sarah’s mom about it to give her a heads up about possible topics that may come up later, but when we dropped Sarah off it came up within minutes!  Lisa asked how was the mall and the girls immediately started talking about all the inappropriate stores and displays.  LOL!  Still little girls.  Even at Claire’s they commented on the ridiculousness of the little makeup compacts and double mirrors.  “Who needs two mirrors?!” said Eve.  “Who even needs one in their bag?” added Sarah!  :)

We got back in the car for a quiet ride home.  And sweaty.  Turns out I have to get the AC fixed in my car!  It was sunny and in the 50’s today, so the car felt like an oven.  Not complaining though!!

We dropped Sarah off to have dinner with her mom. It’s her mom’s birthday today too. Wasn’t it nice of her to share her daughter with us for the day?!  Then we headed home. The plan was to dye Easter eggs and watch Coco with dinner.  Instead we all checked out into our own things.  (Minecraft, Harry Potter audio book, and Facebook — I’ll let you guess who did what!)

Daddy gave her the moon. More specifically, a 3D printed very detailed replica of the moon. It’s pretty cool.

I love this picture. The shiny above her head is a reflection off the new cats ears she got at Claires.

This one is her favorite. Also a little evil-villany.

Tomorrow is Easter and we have a low-key day planned.  I’m hoping to sleep late and read the Sunday paper.  The kids are hoping to dye Easter eggs, then hide them.  :)  I have little baskets planned for them, but nothing too exciting.  We’ve invited a friend over for dinner, which will probably be pizza.  I should do some homework and lesson planning in there too.  But now, wine and laundry!

Happy Birthday to Miss Eeveecat!  May she forever be wild and free. <3 <3

Parsee Cake (this one’s for you, Grampy Don!)

Eve has been in a treat making mood lately. She baked and decorated sugar cookies a few times, and yesterday she made some Jell-O. Seeing the Jell-O reminded Alan of a cake his dad created and his mom used to make for him every year for his birthday. She taught me and I took over the tradition for many years until he decided he wanted Birthday Cookies instead. Well, today, on our last day of February vacation, this happened.

She got pretty loopy at the end! I can’t imagine why?! :) She made the cake almost all on her own, with just my guidance and minor help. It came out great! I love how proud she looks. <3

The Johnson Family Bank

Based on the book The First National Bank of Dad (which we have heard about, but have not actually read), Alan and I decided to offer the kids the option to put their money in the “bank” and earn some interest.  It’s something Alan and I have discussed in the past, but just brought it up with the kids today.  Their “save” envelopes were getting pretty full, so I suggested we deposit the money into their 529 College Savings accounts, which then lead to further discussions of banking, which led to this:

I may be breaking some space/time continuum by posting a Snap of a screenshot onto a blog!

The kids both agreed that their “save” money should go towards college, and they both liked the idea of earning interest.  Alan said “When you are ready to start a family bank account, you can create a spreadsheet in Google Docs and share it with me and mom.”  Both kids immediately grabbed their computers!  :)  I guess they were ready!  We’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully it doesn’t break the ACTUAL Johnson family bank account!