Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sakura Season

Although I have been so looking forward to our spring break vacation, I was SO SAD when I realized that our sakura trees were going to blossom a good three weeks earlier this year than last.  This is how our trees look now.  They are already pretty, and I wish that I was a better photographer so that I could capture their loveliness.  But this is nothing compared to viewing them in full bloom as they will probably be next week.  We are leaving tomorrow and will miss it!  It's enough to keep me in Japan for spring break next year.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Beaver quote

While I was taking a shower this morning, the following conversation occurred between Beaver and Mike:

"Daddy, do you have to go to work today?"
"No, not today."
"Why do you not have work today?"
"It's Saturday.  That's the day I stay home and play with you!"
"Daddy, you know what else?  Saturday is the day dads let kids do things in the morning that moms don't let kids do."
"Oh, yeah?  Like what?"
"Like watch a little TV!"


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

After 10

I'm sitting in front of the computer breaking my own rule of not eating past 10:00 at night.  But I made banana bread, and I needed to eat a piece before I put it away for the night while the top was still crunchy.  In fact, my original plan was to just eat the top crust, but I was hungry, so I ate the whole piece instead.  Mike goes out of town and I lose all my resolve.

We were out late tonight at a pack meeting for cub scouts.  Bear and the other boys in our den all earned their webelos badges.  Good for them.  And for me and Mike and their parents.

I've been thinking lately about what my children will remember about their childhood.  I suspect that when they think of me, they will remember me sitting in front of the computer.  I'm not proud of that.

I was thinking of my parents, and I have a few nice memories that I wanted to record.  On Valentine's day at my high school, anyone that had flowers sent to the office for them would have their name posted on the office window, and at the end of the day the staff would get on the intercom and announce the names of anyone who still had a valentine to pick up at the office.  I never expected to receive anything, but I often did get flowers from a "secret admirer."  I always figured it was from my parents, and maybe I asked, but they never told.

When I was fourteen years old or so I entered the rodeo queen contest with my best friend Cara.  I was doing it just for fun and because Cara was doing it - I loved Beau, but I knew that he wasn't a rodeo queen horse.  At that point in my life, I had yet to start wearing make-up, and I didn't really know how to begin.  That is certainly not one of my talents.  But rodeo queens must wear make-up, right?  So my mom took me to the Clinique counter at the mall and had them show me how to make up my face, and then she bought all the make-up that they recommended for me.  I remember that it all cost over $100, which seemed like a phenomenal amount of money.  I was shocked that Mom would spend that much money on make-up for me, but it was also a huge boost to my self-worth.  It meant that I was worth $100!  Thanks, Mom.

One specific memory of my dad:  I was in the backyard, and Dad was on his way to change water.  He asked if I wanted to come along to keep him company.  I think he was kind of teasing and fully expected me to say no, and I think that was my normal response.  But on that day, I said yes.  I remember him being a little surprised.  With one arm he held the shovel over his shoulder, and the other arm was draped around my shoulders as we walked together past the barn and out toward the field, and I was happy.

I hope that my kids end up with a few good memories of me not on the computer.  Here's one little fun thing that I do with them, that I learned from my mom.  She used to dump loads of laundry, fresh from the dryer, on top of us if we were sitting on the couch.  They were warm and clean-smelling and it felt so good.  So when I take a warm load of laundry out of the dryer, I call to my littles, "Quick!  Run to the couch!" and they (particularly Beaver, since he's the one usually home) go squealing and running to lay on the couch with huge smiles on their faces so that I can dump the whole load of warm laundry on top of them.  I hope they remember that.

These are some of the thoughts that fly around in my head while I'm eating banana bread in front of the computer after 10:00 at night.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Birthday Madness

Now for the party!

Bear's favorite books and current obsession are/is the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books and Greek mythology.  He had the idea to play capture the flag for his birthday party, and at some point we got the idea to turn it into kind of a Percy Jackson theme.  We invited all the older kids in the neighborhood, plus a few friends from school.  We met at the clubhouse for pizza, and then headed to the park, where Mike had spent the morning using his mad boy scout skills to lash bamboo poles together for the Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter banners I had made.  We distributed foam swords and colored headbands to each of the kids and had them draw a paper from a basket to tell them which mythological god was their parent.  For example: You are a son of Zeus, the Greek god of sky and lightning.  Or, You are a daughter of Bellona, Roman goddess of war and battle strategy.  We had a Greek team (camp half-blood) and a Roman team (camp Jupiter).  I explained the rules, and the madness began.  There was much beating about the head by foam swords and much yelling and running  and shouting and arguing about whether one had actually been tagged and had to go to jail.  I hope the kids all had fun, and I hope that no neighborhood relations were ruined by the experience.  There were certainly a few heated moments which Mike and I tried to diffuse as well as we could.  After the party, a few of the party-goers came home with us for a bit more partying, and by the time we were back to just us, around 5:00pm, I was pretty spent.  I'm happily letting Beaver spend the evening watching TV, and Bear is occupied with the lego technic sets he received as birthday gifts.  I had visions of the cool pictures I would get of the party, but I ended up spending more time refereeing and with my head spinning from the craziness of it all and I didn't get many pictures at all.

You can't see it in the picture, but the banner says Camp Jupiter.  There was another one for Camp Half-Blood.  Mike took a picture of it on his phone, but I haven't loaded it onto the computer yet.

 Our littlest Roman demi-god brandishing his sword.

I can't believe I have a ten-year-old.  I remember being ten.  I thought ten was the perfect age, because you are still young enough to be a kid (I was not a child that looked forward to growing up!), but you were old enough to have a BB gun.  Don't ask me where that logic came from, since I never had, or particularly wanted, a BB gun.  Nevertheless, I specifically remember having that thought at age 10.  I also remember that I considered my parents to be thoroughly adults when I was 10, but surely I'm not so much an adult!  Never mind the fact that I was the same age when Bear was born that my mom was when I was born, so I am in fact currently the same age that she was when I was 10.  I guess I'm still not a child that looks forward to growing up.

Actually, I've stopped dreading getting older.  Dreading it won't change anything, and so far every year seems to be better than the last. I feel much better about myself now than I did 10 years ago, and I wouldn't go back if I could.  My kids, though.....that's a different story.  I hate having them grow up.  A ten-year-old is lots of fun, though, so I'll take mine and enjoy him.  Even when he's shooting foam arrows at me, as he is doing at this very moment.  Here's to another great ten years!

One Decade Old!

Hard to believe it has been TEN years since this delightful boy joined our family!  

Holding up his present from G&G

From Mom & Dad (with Beaver running to join the photo)

"Hey, this is my photo shoot!"

Ready to blow out his candles.

This one is for Grandma, because his freckles show up better.

Bear's birthday was on Thursday.  He requested tacos for dinner, and when Mike got home we had brownies and ice cream and he opened his presents.  His actual birthday was pretty low key.  All the excitement happened today at his party with friends.

Ten years ago we welcomed the cutest baby we had ever laid eyes on into this world.  He is growing up quickly, and is still the joy of our lives.  Bear is bright and curious.  He loves to read and to learn, although he isn't fond of homework!  In spite of not being fond of it, he is very responsible and usually gets his work done with minimal intervention from his parents.  He loves to play with friends and to play on his ipod that he bought off his dad.  He is affectionate and sensitive and easy to laugh with.  We are so glad he is part of our family!