Monday, February 13, 2012

My kind of weekend

I love weekends with the right mix of busy and fun. Mom and Dad have been gone so we've had the run of the house.

We started Friday when Maryn went to babysit baby Abby at my friends the Yosts. Conner, Ashlyn and I went over to our friends the Saunders and Audrey (the mom) and I went out to Thai food while the kids hung out and played Wii and watched a movie. Loving Thai food!! We also had a lovely chat that I needed very much.

Saturday started with Tai Chi for me (LOVE!) and then haircuts at my friend Emily's house for Maryn and I. We were off to Sonic for lunch and then dropped Maryn off for another babysitting job. I took the 2 little monkeys home and took a nice little nap after stopping at 7 Little Cupcakes for a dozen. Maryn got home a bit before 4 and we headed out to see the new Muppet movie and got popcorn and drinks. We all thought it was cute and fun. Then I got a text from the Yosts inviting us all over for pizza and games and movies. It was indeed a lovely evening.

Maryn felt sick today and stayed home from church. I sang soprano in choir. Ashlyn got a bloody nose in the middle of the sacrament and we rushed out to tend to it. My lesson on death went well with my extended class that included the next older age group. Came home to some tasty chicken taco soup. And then I had to write a paper and finish some other homework.

Screaming Christmas

James was very unhappy about Grandma's plan to take a group grandkid picture. So everyone else put on a scream face so he wouldn't feel left out. I think the picture makes more sense this way.
Can I just say that in this picture it doesn't look like there are very many of them? But when you let all 13 loose in the seems like far, far more. In that good, chaotic way of course. What would we do without even one of them?

O Christmas Tree

These are pics of Melanie's gorgeous tree I took with my iPhone. 

This ornament is exactly like one I own, and there are only 4 in the world I think. My grandmother made one for me, Mel, Rob and I believe my cousin Jared. It was the first in a grand line of ornaments. There have been far more expensive and exotic ones, but this one is extra special to me.

The BIG Catch(up)

You know..."catch up". As in getting caught up on everything that's happening in our lives. Not to be mistaken for the condiment "catsup". Similar spelling, hardly the same thing. Pressing onward.

My baby is growing up. He has a girlfriend. Yuck. The girl Gabby isn't "yuck" *Warning... randomly inserted side comment* (I like her. She likes musicals, old movies, wears glasses, is an effortless good student and isn't super skinny. I told Paul he's dating the 16 year old version of me... and he said "I thought about that. Except my dad likes her too. Which is weird." To which I replied, "Well your dad liked 16 year old version of me too. He just doesn't like 36 year old version of me.")

I think the whole concept kind of makes my stomach hurt. I remember my dad writing me a letter when I turned 18 and when he wrote out the word "eighteen" with a splatter around it like he had spit it out onto the page against his will because someone had smacked him on the back while he was choking on it. I laughed. But I also remember thinking my dad was overreacting. Now I get it. It wasn't so much about the 18, its about the implications of handing those major decisions over to your kids. You question whether you did everything you needed to and if they absorbed enough of what you were trying to get across to them. There is a lot of power in being permitted to drive, and in having a relationship. When things go wrong, they go really, REALLY irrevocably wrong. These aren't crayon markings on the wall you can paint over...mistakes behind the wheel or in the physical aspect of a relationship have lifelong effects. Its not really about him, because he is a very good kid. I just hope I did my job and he is ready to make those choices as wisely as is possible.

He also just got his report card. Not pretty. But we have an agreement. In a discussion that actually went rather well (I thought), we determined what factors were keeping him from being able to be successful at school. One was the fact that he has no study skills. Since I also do not have study skills I am not the person to help him (I got good grades fairly effortlessly in high school. I have paper writing skillz, but that's hardly applicable here) we are getting outside help. Another was that he wasn't making study a priority and he needed more support and positive reminders in that area from the adults in our house. We agreed that from 4-5 everyday he would be left alone, but that there would be an adult available if he needed help or wanted someone to review. He also asked they everyone stop nagging. We agreed to gently remind him or offer help...but to never make him feel guilty or nag him. The measure will be midterms. He must at least have C's in each class or the following consequences will take hold until the end of the quarter (he chose these consequences based on these items being the things that distracted him the most from studying) Wii and no PHONE (which means no Gabby). However, if he not only meets but surpasses the benchmarks, he will be rewarded. He can receive $5 for every B and $10 for every A.

Otherwise, he is a faithful seminary attendant, secretary on the seminary council, first assistant to Bishop in the Priest's quorum, and enjoys going out with missionaries as often as he can.


Maryn also got her grade card it was considerably better news then Paul's card. Straight A's! She worked very hard for those grades, and will be thus rewarded for her efforts. She really wants a pair of  "Sperry's". These are shoes that cost more then I spend a week on groceries. But when I get my income tax return, we may just splurge a little :)
This is what Sperry's look like. I don't get it.

She also keeps busy with Cadet Strings every Thursday. She has decided she wants to be an Orchestra Teacher when she grows up. She takes orchestra part time and choir part time at school. We just went to her 2nd choir concert. She will also be helping as a cast member for the junior high play, "Aladdin".  She has recently started babysitting. For Christmas, I got her some cards made (see below) that she finally started handing out to people form church. She's been pretty successful! This week she had 2 jobs that earned her $45! She really wants an iPod touch, and I told her she had to earn it if she wanted it. I think she's making some good headway!

Something she doesn't like are the "growth and development" talks at school. This was the conversation we had about it:

Maryn: "Mom! I HATE growth and development! In 4th grade they showed us the movie with pancakes, and no one ate pancakes for a long time. And they gave us the goody bags and everyone was excited but they weren't really goody bags. Why would they do that? Then in 5th grade it was cartoon people drawn out to show us what they were talking about. What's next?"

Me: "Maybe the next step is actual real naked people in the movie."

Maryn (Cries out and wraps her arms across her chest and starts rocking on her heels); " NO! Rocking back and forth in the corner. Rocking back and forth in the corner..."

Conner is a good kid...when he is medicated. Last week he went a day without and it combined with a day he felt quite sick. The result was an absolute meltdown. Let it be said that I do not miss these occurring on a regular basis (as they use to). But it kind of threw me off and since I am unaccustomed to dealing with them, it exhausted me.

His report card was quite good actually. All A's and B's. His biggest challenge is learning his multiplication facts. He was very much fighting it, so I got resourceful. This is parent code-word for "I bribed my child with candy". We do flashcards and he gets one M&M for every one he gets right. I don't think he got the concept right away though. The first time we were supposed to practice, I got out the allotment of candies and then the cards and tried to explain. He was mad. "But I don't want to learn! I just want the M&M's!" The resulting fit led me to throw the M&M's outside into the snow (which of course did not STOP the fit even a little but it made a statement). He has since been considerably more cooperative.

When mom was subbing at Fort Meig's the other Day, another teacher stopped her and told her about a 3rd grader who was always smiling like he enjoyed life so much. She figured out it was her (mom's) grandson, Conner. He is a pretty happy kid.
This is Conner in his "superhero" outfit.

Today was the Pinewood Derby. Considering how little care we actually gave to the car, he did really well! He didn't place overall, but he did place first in our pack and came in 2nd in most of his races. Here is a picture of his car (the "Pigmobile") and the little awards he got.

It was crazy hair day last Friday. So this is how we did her hair.

Which was good, because Saturday her hair changed. I decided I would be clever and try and trim the girls hair myself. It was the beginning and ending of my career as a  hairdresser. The adventure ended with me calling my friend Emily on Saturday night at 8 p.m. and crying "Help!" into the phone. We ended up cutting off a good 5 inches or so, but I really like this length better for her. Its cute, plus it doesn't get as tangled.

She also had her first sleepover at her friend Shevali's house and had a great time. She is also student of the month for February for her class! She thought that was pretty great.

She, Maryn and I also did something kind of special on Friday. Since the boys were both gone, we decided to go get mani-pedis together. It was fun :) They had a very child inappropriate movie on at the nail salon, and one of the nail techs offered to change it to something more kid friendly which I gratefully accepted. The funny thing is, the movie they changed it to, everyone else really liked and laughed and laughed. It was kind of funny. But everyone kept commenting on how cute she was. Its true...looks can be very deceiving.
This is probably more true to character. Attacking her brother.