Monday, May 23, 2011

Bo's Baptism

This past weekend Bo turned 8 and was baptized. My mom and J's parents came up for the festivities, and it was a wonderful, whirlwind weekend. Bo really wanted to get baptized on his birthday, and it was a little bit of fancy footwork to make it happen, but we did. By the way, in our church, kids get baptized when they are 8. I didn't really think about that until my dentist said something about having my hands full with 3 kids and a newborn and I couldn't figure out why he assumed I had a newborn. I said, "Are you calling me fat?"

No I didn't.

Bo had one friend over to play on the Saturday before his birthday. I think his friend had four bowls of ice cream. At one point I found him on the porch with the carton of ice cream and a spoon. I'm glad he felt comfortable... He is a really good kid, actually. His obsession with strawberry ice cream was a little surprising.

So, I'm not sure if I can document it properly, but it really made me laugh when it happened, so I want to try. Bo's friend Isaac brought a card, in lieu of a present. Bo eyed that card from the moment Isaac got there, dying to open it up and see what wonders it held for him. Well, my mom also gave Bo a card, but he had eyes only for Isaac's card, and didn't notice Grandma's card. When he was opening presents, he eagerly grabbed the big white envelope he'd been eying all afternoon. He opened it up and read, "Today is your birthday, you are an amazing and delightful GRANDSON." J and I smiled proudly at his reading skills, Grandma smiled proudly at the perfect card she'd selected, Avee snatched at the money that was slipping from the card, Danyo was shaking presents trying to entice Bo to move past the boring cards faster.... Bo looked pointedly at Isaac, furrowed his brow and said, "What on earth?" Isaac immediately knew Bo's mistake, while the rest of us were still figuring it out. Isaac was laughing, shaking his head, and waving his hands defensively, "That's not from ME!"

I wish I could have gotten Bo's expression on camera, it was priceless. It was like all of his wonderful memories of awesome Isaac flashed through his head and he was going to have to let them go, because an 8 year that calls another 8 year old "Grandson" is just too crazy.

We had Bo's baptism immediately after church, which is not how it's usually done, but in order for it to be on his birthday, that was our only option. I felt like it was very gracious of the people who stayed, to stay. Our church is 3 hours long already. That's a LONG day of being holy, and whatnot. Anyway, we kept saying to Bo, "look at all these people who love and care about you, isn't this awesome?" I miss the days when I got to put the spin on his reality. He responded every time with, "It's because they were already here!" This cracked me up because, well, mostly he was right. :) We have good friends who would have been there no matter what, but he wasn't going to let me call it anything different than it was.

My mom gave a talk and she did an awesome job. At one point she pulled out "treasures" from a bag to make the point about what matters in this life (or rather, what we take with us when we die. Her message was much more eloquent than my synopsis there) She pulled a little cream colored vase with gold trimming out and set it up. She said it was very expensive, and very important. She pulled out a little silver spoon with engraving on it and said she'd had it forever, her initials were on it, etc. I sat there looking at those two things and just couldn't believe my mom had them! I thought, "wow, I never took my mom for a fine china kind of collector---and how have I never seen that little spoon---that's amazing!" I thought of all the twists and turns her life has taken--the moves, the losses, the 9 kids who kept her from ever having anything nice...

And there were other people in the audience who'd never met her that knew this stuff was fake. Alls* I have to say is---that woman is good! She even got me! One of my friend's husband saw her put the vase up on a precarious edge of the podium and got terribly nervous about it falling off. He and I were the two ding-dongs that practically missed the point of her message, getting caught up in the "treasures".

When we got home, as we were all piling out of the car, Bo remarked, "I don't feel any different." I kind of laughed, but my mother-in-law laughed heartily. Perhaps we didn't entirely prepare Bo for the afterward part. Where, you don't really feel much more than wet.

That night was the night the tornadoes ripped through the midwest, tearing up Joplin Missouri. There was something akin to a tornado that came through our town---we had a warning, so a tornado was spotted, but whatever hit here, was mild enough. Monday morning I saw a lot of wind damage up north, by the kids' school, so it was significant enough, but I don't know that it was ever called a tornado.

We went down in the basement and the kids and the grandparents took turns reading from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. J's mom laughs hysterically at every other page, so it was entirely enjoyable for the kids to read with her. J was being a grouch about having to come to the basement, and I was getting weather updates from my friend in Utah. We don't have tv, so aside from checking the path of the storm on the internet, I didn't know what was going on in Iowa.

It was a late night and a wonderful weekend with the grandparents. We are glad to have Bo in our family. Neither of us can believe he's already 8, but I guess that's just how it goes!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Because I Can

Today's post is brought to you by streams of consciousness. I have nothing specific to write, just my old insatiable desire to write. Lucky you!

Bo's birthday is in 2 days. I love his birthday. I love May. I love him. I love remembering the excitement, anticipation, and nervousness, of his arrival. I look at him now and smile---remembering how I wondered so many nights what he'd look like, how he'd be, and now I've gotten to enjoy him for nearly 8 years and he's more amazing and cute than I ever dreamed of! His freckles, his cowlicks, his big-toothed grin, his scowls, his obnoxious noises, his quirks. I love his birthday.

He's getting baptized on Sunday. He's pretty excited and seems to understand the implications of baptism more than I could have at his age. Yesterday he came out of school and casually mentioned he had gotten a skills referral. He got a dozen of those in Kindergarten from random people for ridiculous reasons so we kind of got used to the forms and not really caring. This one said he'd gotten frustrated with a classmate during a game and hit her. TWICE. I was really shocked and disappointed. He was NOT prepared for that reaction from me. I said to him with dismay, "You hit another child?!" He jovially explained, "Mom, I'm getting baptized on Sunday, I have to get all the bad behavior out of me before then." I'd like to thank whichever adult gave him that idea. I remember hearing someone saying it, I didn't think he'd use it!!!

I sternly told him that maybe he didn't really understand what his baptism was about if he thought being naughty up until then was a good idea. He suddenly realized he wasn't going to be able to joke his way out of it, and that I wasn't going to cast the skills form aside, rolling my eyes at the fascist administration of his school. I told him if another child hit Avee at school, I'd be furious. I didn't add because she's the sweetest little girl on the planet and that anyone who'd want to hurt her would just be a plain monster... ahem... anyway.

On the way home I gave him a choice of writing thirty times "I will not put my hands on other people" (an oft-used and much hated punishment from my childhood, obviously it didn't deter me from loving to write) or write a list of 10 things he could do differently than resorting to hitting. He chose the 30 sentences which I suspected he would because it didn't require thought. He ended up writing 10 things though. It's scan worthy.
I got my first semester grades back. Two A's and B. I'm pretty bummed about the B, but I'm almost 99% certain that no one got an A, if I didn't. His tests were ridiculous and that was basically the only reason I got a B. I got a B on both of tests and they were more than a third of our entire grade. I don't typically believe in grading on a curve (although, I'm not morally opposed or anything) but I think if NO ONE in your class gets an A, there's probably a problem with the assessment and it should be modified. Whatever. I'm probably the lowest grade in the class and trying to make myself feel better.

Well, Bo told his entire class I was bringing the best treat ever to school for his birthday. Then informed me of it last night just before bedtime. I had forgotten if he was going to share something with his class, it would have to be today. And I sure as heck didn't intend to bring the best treat ever. So, now I have to go make some cake pops. Apparently if you do it once for Bo, it becomes tradition that must never die.

I pulled him out of school for a week so his teacher doesn't really like me anymore. It's hard for me to navigate my way through life when people don't like me. I'm so used to being adored.


I just found the usb cord for my camera. I'm suddenly remembering tons of things to blog about. There are 405 pictures. I'm going to post every last one of them.

Word to each of your mothers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Footage

Today I woke Avee up for the day (the only child I have to do that with) and reminded her tonight was our girl's night and sleep over. Her face beamed. All that means is, no brothers, and she gets to sleep with me, and that is pure joy. Tonight is the fathers and sons camp out. J's excited to have willing participants to camp with, Bo is beside himself with excitement, and Danyo just knows "it's not today". He's going to be thrilled when he learns it IS today.

So, Avee is an absolute delight. She's funny, charming, smart, obedient, helpful, and just all around wonderful. I'm a little embarrassed to admit, that for some time now, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe it won't drop for another 8 years. Maybe it won't drop at all. But J and I are in heaven with this darling little, practically perfect, girl.

Then I was looking for an old picture and found some old footage of Avee. And I remembered...

I've paid my dues. That girl was a PIECE OF WORK in her toddler years and even as a baby. I'm earning my reward of surviving those years. It's funny to look back and see her that way. And I know I got a kick out of it at times, but I know it was more hard than anything else. She was always, and I mean ALWAYS--one step ahead of me. I found a video that proved it.

She's probably almost three here:

Obviously I was aware of the showdown that would ensue because I don't typically pull out the camera when my kids are disobeying me. I have always loved, and will continue to love, how kids think they are being sneaky, right in front of your face. Danyo will come steal candy out of my school bag, then hold the candy away from his body, right in front of me, and dash out of the room. As though, the candy made a quicker exit, so I didn't see it. I say, "Danyo, put the candy back" and he responds, "You didn't see the candy!" I love that. Enough that most of the time he gets to keep the candy. Hmmmm, maybe that's why he's such a toot!

I successfully finished my first semester of grad school. It was a lot of work--ahem---for J. That dude worked practically 24/7 without breaking a sweat. He's awesome. April pretty much kicked my butt school wise. Group projects should burn in hell for eternity. I was either the slacker or the anal one, and really, my description shouldn't vary that much in a group. We got perfect scores on all of them though, so I think that means I'm perfect just the way I am.

I love being back in school. I love "redefining" myself in that role. I was a student for so long, I didn't know who I could be when I finished. Now I feel like I've been "Mom" for so long, it's hard not to reach over and work on a stain on my classmate's jacket when the lecture gets boring.

I don't really make very good first impressions. I don't know why either. I always know that eventually people will like me, but that lapse of time between first impression and when they discover I'm awesomer than an ice cream sandwich, can sometimes be painful and excruciatingly long for me. It's nice to be married to someone who says, "Hang in there, they'll get it." He's probably speaking from experience. Dang.

School's out soon. I can't wait. I've reached the stage in life where I'm sick of packing lunches, keeping a strict schedule, driving to school, etc, but in 3 months I'll be sick of my kids and so excited for school to start. This summer we have swim lessons, kids university, two road trips, and visitors to Iowa, ALL planned so far. It's gonna be an awesome summer.

By way of documenting our lives, right now Bo is obsessed with the presidents. His favorites are Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Theodore Roosevelt. He hates Woodrow Wilson. He knows all these random facts about them and gets really annoyed that I don't keep up with him. Just to show him who's boss, I ask him to give me three methods of intervention for an identified patient in a family counseling setting.

Avee has gotten into video games with J. It's pretty cute. She still works him like a.... I don't know. I can't think of any thing that has that much power over another---just by existing. Danyo has gotten a little better about his mouthiness and losing his temper. He gets lost in the shuffle a lot. He's so easy-going, it's easily done. He loves his stuffed animals, a dog named Kipper, a dog named Nixon, a nameless elephant and a pink Care Bear. And his blanket, made by my friend Rebecca. They are his soul mates. His best friend is this hysterical little girl named Emma and they can play together nonstop without one single fight. It's my favorite part of the day, listening to them talk. They are also quite naughty together at times. Jumping on beds, opening the garage door over and over, spilling entire cans of cashews and running from the scene of the crime.

I have to go.
Word to your mothers.