Friday, June 3, 2016

Parenting Prowess

So you know those days when as a parent you wonder if you are just irrevocably screwing up your kids (okay, most days)?  I often wonder, "Am I doing ANYTHING right?!?"  So I had a little moment of assurance the other week.  A quick background....our bishop at church issued a challenge to all the youth (ages 12-18) to start the Book of Mormon from the beginning and finish it in 3 months, by the time school starts in the fall.  Although I knew it would be hard, I was excited to get the challenge.  I am not "officially" a youth (a few years past my prime there) but I am a leader of the youth, so figured I would take on the challenge.  Tyler qualifies too, so I though I'd bring in Eric and Jacob as well.  We had a family meeting about it that night and Eric, Tyler and I are going to try to finish in three months, Jacob's goal is to finish by the end of the year.  I was doing great the first week, but Tyler....not so much.  He was already falling behind!  That doesn't bode well.  But at church I saw Jacob reading his Book of Mormon and picked up the bookmark that the bishop handed out as a reading chart to keep us on track.  Jake had already made it through his chapters for the week!  As if I didn't feel proud enough I happened to turn it over and saw he had written this, of his own accord, on the back....

 My heart just melted.  What a sweet kid.  So I had at least one hour of the day when I didn't feel like my kids are going to be doomed to be in therapy the rest of their lives.  Good job Jacob!

On another happy note, Eric and I were able to sneak away for our FIRST vacation away from the kids for more than one night.  And even the one nighters have been few and far between!  We found a steal on plane tickets to San Francisco so took a quick 3 night trip out there...well it ended up being 2 1/2 nights since our flight was delayed until 1 am getting out there!  Ugh, there is not much worse than sitting at the airport in the middle of the night (when all the stores and eateries are CLOSED, mind you) hour after hour.  But we finally made it out and to our hotel.  Phew!  One of the days we rented bikes and biked through the wharf and across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.  It was so fun.  It was a bonus too because we ate a huge lunch at a delicious restaurant and didn't have to feel too guilty since we had biked so far!

 We also went to a Giants baseball game, drove around while, walked and explored, and ate lots of yummy sourdough bread.  It was such a nice get away.  We really had a good time, and it was great to take a break from stresses at home!  We appreciate the people who helped watch our kids.  We had to truck them off to 3 different houses--1 for each day.  Apparently our children are so undesirable no one can stand them longer than a day.  Yikes!  But at least me and Eric had fun!

I remember middle school years being a time of "finding out who I am" and all that mumbo jumbo, figuring out my interests, hobbies, etc.  Well Tyler has hit his stride.  When in San Diego you may remember we went to a Padres game..after that Tyler was all baseball.  Keep in mind he has not played baseball in YEARS.  He hated it---afraid of the ball.  But we get home from San Diego and he wants to join a baseball league (FYI we live in THE most competitive baseball city in america I am convinced).  Eric and I gently persuaded him that these kids have played since birth, year round and he played T ball when he was 6.  Eric encouraged him to play some pick up games with friends instead and just have fun with it--so he took that to heart!  He has watched the sandlot repeatedly, rides his bike around the neighborhood with a backpack filled with balls and a bat, his baseball cap on, his converse under his rolled up jeans.  He looks like a kids straight out of the movie!  I love that he is taking initiative to do this, he cracks me up.  He hasn't had too much luck finding boys to play--life is busy--but he keeps trying!

Jacob had his tenth birthday!  I've got 2 kids in the double digits now!  We had a little family party and he also took a bunch of his friends from his soccer team to a BYU mens soccer game.  They had a blast!  He hates cake so we made homemade ice cream sandwiches--your choice of cookie and ice cream (based on the Baked Bear from San Diego).  It was so fun, he has such a great group of friends.  Jacob is just the sweetest kid.  Yes, sometimes he can get under your skin with all his annoying weird noises he feels the need to make, but he is always so sweet.  I've never met a kid more willing to help--almost without fail when we ask him to do something he just goes and does it without complaint.  He loves to snuggle with me and I love it!  He's whip smart too--catches on to everything super fast, especially math and science.  Did I mention before he invented a new way to multiply double digit numbers?  His teacher showed me and said he tested it and it works!  He loves Geology and has a HUGE rock collection and loves every one--he remembers where he got them and the story behind each one.  He is so much fun to be around and we all just love him a ton.  And I think he gets handsomer every year!

Tyler has been hanging out with his friends more and more.  I guess that is just how it goes now that he's almost 13.  The last day of school he had an airsoft gun war with a big group of friends.  They got pretty into it--as you can see from the camo face paint!  They played from 3 p.m. until 10:30 that night!  Tyler had a blast and I couldn't help but laugh at his warpaint.

For Memorial Day we actually did something patriotic.  We went to the Spanish Fork Cemetery for a Memorial Day program--and Great Grandpa Swenson was the guest speaker!  Grandpa is one of the few remaining WW2 veterans around.  He was a paratrooper during the war (yup, he jumped out of planes!).  He had some great stories to tell and did a great job. It was good for us to remember why everyone gets the day off--to remember those who have sacrificed so that we can have such a great life.  I think people today forget and take for granted so much.  We have become self-centered, narcissistic and self-gratifying and overly sensitive.  I am glad my kids were able to go with us to the program and see all the veterans, and even see their dad walk up when they honored the army (he didn't want to but we all made him).  I hope we can always remember what others gave so we could have so much.

Maggie has a dance recital coming up....I won't give away too many details yet but here she is in costume (she's supposed to be a lobster).  She told me she thinks she looks like a mayor.
 Every so often my mom takes the kids for a while to have "Grandma time".  They look forward to this like nobody's business.  In fact I think they would rather do that than go to Disneyland.  If they know they are going they drive me crazy all week asking, "is it Friday yet?"  Well, today was Jacob and Joey's day (Jake likes to have Joey come along as a playmate--I told you he was sweet).  Grandma sent some pictures.  Man I'd be excited too for splashpad, park and snow cones!

Joey had his end of the year preschool program last week.  I can't believe how much he is growing.  He doesn't look like a little kid anymore!  He actually let me comb his hair for the program, which he does not take lightly.  My big boy graduating preschool!  Now ALL my kids will be in real school!  

 Joey and his teacher, Marilyn.  Joey cracks me up.  He is all boy for sure--dirt spit and endless energy.   He has done so well this year learning his letters and reading.  He's definitely ready for kindergarten (and so am I)!