Friday, March 18, 2011

Firsts

Last night B, who is 5 and in kindergarten, read (and finished) his first "chapter book".

To say that he was excited would be the understatement of the year.

Century, maybe.

He ran through the house yelling "Woo Hoo!  I am so excited!  Woo Hoo!  I am awesome!  Woo Hoo!  I READ A CHAPTER BOOK!"

Repeat process 10 - or 100- times.

Today Steven called me and told me that B wanted to talk to me.

Apparently B had decided that while Steven rode Snidely, and L rode Weston, he would attempt to ride Peanut, our pony. 

B is not a cowboy.

He has no desire to be.

Or so I thought.

Today, coming across the phone line was the voice of a boy that was, once again, over the top with excitement.

"Momma!  Guess what!?!?!  I rode Peanut and he jumped over a log and I DIDN'T FALL OFF!  I STAYED ON!!!!!"

I was laughing and encouraging his excitement.

The volume, and speed, of his words soared.

"CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?!?!?  TWO FIRSTS!  IreadachapterbookANDstayedonPeanutwhenshejumped!  Can you believe it!??!?! I am SO EXCITED!"

Come to find out...excitement is contagious.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Completion

After arriving home from church on Sunday, Steven declared that the day was going to be "technology free".

Of course, this happened to come in handy since the day was also, apparently, "help your dad do chores day".

The kids didn't mind, especially after Steven outlined everyone's duties and how they were very important.  It didn't hurt that he incorporated the kid's favorite pastimes into the days events.

L started out by saddling up and helping Steven drive the cows to the front of our place so that we could worm the cattle and "band" the bull calves.



(If you don't know what banding is, it is probably safe to say that you don't want to.)


(This girl really loves her horse.)


Steven had decided that it would be easiest to use an "H20 Blaster" to launch the de-wormer and de-licer onto the backs of the cattle. 

(H2O blaster is a fancy word for 'water gun'.)

Steven is nothing if not practical.

When we finished "working" the cows, it was time to pick rocks.  We hooked up our tilt trailer to our Polaris Ranger and headed out into the field and to an area that had been recently cleared.  L, of course, drove.  It was another of her "jobs".



Of course, B's job was important, too. 

We filled up a Wal-Mart sack with cookies and drinks and hooked it over the seat of his go-kart and he followed behind the Ranger.  Although we could have all easily fit into the Polaris, this one small detail of letting him drive made the difference between a reluctant, vs. an enthusiastic, rock picker.

As he climbed in he told his daddy, "Let's fire this thing up!".

Oh yes, he also had the important job of chauffering mommy.

We picked rocks and moved them to an area prone to "war-shing" out.  Although we were indeed working, the kids didn't mind.  They were anxious to perform their next duty and splash in the next mud puddle.

I think Daisy was glad we had finally came out of hibernation.

After we finished our 'rock pickin', we headed to the back of the place to load some wood. 

I was still in the passenger seat of the go-kart and I marveled at how well B handled it.

When he was supposed to brake, he gently applied pressure.

When he were climbing a hill, he knew the right amount of gas to give it.

He chose the best route and stayed on course.

I was amazed at how responsible this 5 year old of mine was, not to mention his outstanding driving skills.

After we arrived at the wood pile the kids rushed to get started.  Although there were smaller pieces that would be easy for the kids to handle, each child headed towards the big pieces hoping to out-do the other.


B was unable to lift the stick of wood completely into the trailer.


He looked at me and said, "Well, at least you got a picture..." 

As we finished loading up, B whispered to me, "Hurry!  Let's beat them!".  I ran with him to the go-kart and jumped in.   We took off in a hurry, back the same way we came.

It became apparent that although we were traveling on the same path, the urgency in which we traveled it had escalated.

As we raced down one hill, towards the wet weather stream that ran at the bottom, I thought to myself  that this passage probably wouldn't go as smoothly as the first.

I. Was. Right.

As we approached the stream our speed did not decrease.  As we hit the water a tidal wave reached up the sides and crashed down on us, drenching us and our clothes. 

Still, we did not slow down.

All I could do was laugh....and be thankful that I hadn't pulled out my camera to capture the moment.  The shoulder strap that was hanging out the pocket of my coat was splattered generously with mud.

Still, I kept laughing.

Seeing B's joy and knowing that L and Steven were experiencing the same as they raced behind us fed my laughter.

That....and knowing that we WERE winning.

We made our way back to the house.....with the majority of the afternoon behind us. 

And it felt good.

No one raced inside.
 
We had forgotten about the cookies and drinks.



We stood around and watched the chickens.

We talked about recent events.

We laughed about the day.

No one had complained about the work that had needed to be done and that together we had completed.

Maybe that was because together we also felt more complete.


Monday, March 07, 2011

X's and O's

I was waiting by the door as the bus pulled around our circle drive. I love seeing the their faces as L and B jump off the bottom step and run towards the house.



I opened the storm door and hollered out, "Hey guys! How was your day?!"



They rushed past me in a hurry to get inside, not stopping to fling their shoes and boots off their feet. Both voices started telling me about bits and pieces of their day.



B's voice was the loudest as I heard him say, "I almost got an X out."



You see, in kindergarten, each child is given a slip of paper daily with their name on it, as well as clip art respective to each month. The parent is to sign the slip of paper and return it to the teacher the next day. If the child has misbehaved that day, they get their clip art crossed out or "an X out" so that the parent knows there was an issue and to "encourage" the child to do better.



B had never received "an X out" but had apparently almost gotten one that day.



I asked him what had happened.



He told me that he was talking when he shouldn't have.



(It was at this point I started having flashbacks of my time in grade school and the amount of time spent standing by the wall at recess watching all the other kids play. Doing time for the crime of talking..... So unfair and unjust.)



I asked B how he had avoided the dreaded "X out"? He told me that he had cried all day and that instead of getting "an X out" he had sacrificed 5 minutes of recess.



(Cue more flashbacks...)



I wondered out loud why he would rather miss recess than have "an X out"? I explained that although I would have NEVER gotten in trouble for talking in class, he wasn't going to be in trouble for a one time occurrence. I would have just reminded him to follow the rules and listen to instructions and always be on his best behavior.



(Alright, so I left out the part about having "never" gotten in to trouble.)



(I am pretty sure he already knew.)



After our talk, he went on his way, seemingly unscarred from the days events.



It was Saturday evening before other details were revealed to me........



As we were finishing up our meal at Fazoli's with Aunt Sissy, I was talking to Sarah about B and L and their week. I brought up that he had apparently gotten out of having an "X out".



It was at this time that L filled us on her side of the story revealing that she had found her brother out in the hallway crying, apparently on his way to get a tissue.



She comforted him and sent him back to class.



We laughed at B's distress over an X. Apparently encouraged by our light-heartedness, it was then that he fed us a few, previously forgotten, details:



I am unsure if it was asked, or if the teacher offered it, but he was given the option of losing 5 minutes of recess.....contingent on a class vote.



Yes. A class vote.



Oh, the drama my son creates.



(I don't know where he gets that from either!)



The class unanimously voted that B should be able to trade the "X" for recess time.



Then....and I am using B's words......"comes the dumb part".



The whole class gave B a hug.





I don't know about B, but from my perspective, it seems like it would have been much easier to have received a lecture on "best behavior" and to have heard how his mother NEVER got into trouble, than it would be to cry "all day", lose 5 minutes of recess and endure hugs from each classmate.....



But, then again, what do I know?



I never even had the option of "an X out".

Hmpfh!


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nothing to blop about

The other night my parents, as well as Sarah and Jason, came over for a weanie roast.

We ended up watching old home videos that my mom had shot almost 20 years ago.

During one video I ended up trying to explain to my dad who someone was by, what seemed like, retracing their family tree.

I actually don't know this person that well, but in a small town, everyone is connected.

Finally realization set in and he said, "Oh. Yeah! I talked to her awhile back. She reads some of your blops."

I think he meant "blogs".

Although, I am certain that the majority of the time what I write seems more like a "blop".