Category Archives: parenting

So Far: Summer 2017

Is it weird that even though I haven’t blogged regularly in almost two years, my brain still thinks in terms of blog posts, of story snippets? Always.

So update on the boys since it’s been a while…Luke will be a freshman, Bennett in 7th, Jack Henry in 4th. Yes, I know. They were just babies, providing daily blog fodder with their antics and lispy voices and long eyelashes. Their not being little anymore is a major reason I don’t write here much…they don’t like much being posted to social media, and I’m definitely not going to tell their stories. (But for the record: they have approved this message.)

Parents of older kids know that at some point, you cross this threshold into basically being your kids’ Uber driver because they have very active social lives. The timing of all that works out well because by that point you’re too old and tired to have that much of a social life yourself anyway. (Also for me: back to work this year + I TURN 40 NEXT WEEK + generally bad sleeper = 10pm bedtime at the latest. We’re for real gonna be calling an Uber to pick these kids up late at night.)

Anyway. Lightning quick summer recap:

Luke went on a 9-day trip to the Tetons with a group from his middle school and had the time of his life. This kid will probably end up living near mountains. (Also, he is approximately only one inch shorter than I am.) He hikes and bikes with friends at a state park near us and laughs like a maniac at The Office and looks at Instagram a billion hours a day. His baseball season: ✔️


Bennett: trip to Springfield, MO for college baseball watching with friends, trip to Lake Geneva with his youth group, baseball practice 3 days a week + tournaments 3 out of 4 weekends a month (one tourney to go next weekend and it’s a wrap). I think he still lives here. Based on the amount of food we go through, I’m going with yes.


Also he got stung by a bee yesterday, and it is no joke. No allergic reaction, and he’s been stung lots of times before, but that must have been a serious amount of venom because this picture was 10 hours after the sting (but looks better now):


And my baby who isn’t a baby anymore (guys…he’ll be 10 in a couple of months!) is thankfully able to go with the flow. Jack Henry’s had some time with friends and a basketball camp and Jump Camp, so it’s not like he’s not having fun, but of course, the older boys’ schedules dictate his more than he’d like.

He did get to do something cool last week though. Our school district’s alumni association has a “Granting Dreams” program where students submit ideas of things they’d like to experience, small businesses they’d like to start and need seed money for, etc., and the organization arranges as many as they can. An assignment in JH’s gifted class was submitting a dream to this program…and since this was all completed at school, I didn’t even know about it until I signed paperwork saying it was fine for him to apply. His dream? To work at Krispy Kreme. This was a new one to me, but of course, I signed it. Sure, kid. Dream away.

Of course it got accepted. So last week, I took him there, and it was awesome. They made him a nametag and everything. Showed him how the process works from dough to cooked and on display, and let him make his own dozen donuts to take home.



All I know is that if I’d had this opportunity in elementary school back at home and could have scanned groceries at IGA, I would have been in heaven. (I worked retail briefly when I was about 16-17, so I did finally get to use a scanner, but really I feel like that dream came true for me several years ago when the groceries around here put in the self-checkout lanes.)

Jack Henry baseball season: one more game. Naturally, on my birthday.

Matt and the boys have started biking on trails around here lately, and minus Luke getting poison ivy pretty badly, they’re loving it!


We’re headed to the beach soon, and while the boys are excited because they love the beach as much as we do, the 40-somethings in this house are looking forward to a week of just sitting and reading and enjoying an adult beverage or three. Cheers.

Today. 

The 2 younger boys are at a summer camp for the better part of the day this week Monday through Thursday (cue angels singing), leaving me and Luke to fill our days.  

This morning, I asked him to come with me to drop off the boys, then go for a walk/jog on the levee. Told him we’d go look for some shoes for him after that, then get lunch. He agreed, and he wasn’t even reluctant.

We exercised, shopped the outlet mall, and ate Pie Five for lunch. And it was just so pleasant. 


Not that many years ago, I would’ve told you that the prospect of parenting teenagers, especially boys, freaked me out and seemed completely out of my comfort zone. 

And trust me, there is still plenty to be uncomfortable and awkward about, and moments where his obvious early-teenageness makes me crazy. 

But gosh, I love it when he’s talkative and willing to listen and have a conversation. I’ve warned him before, and reminded him again today, that he has a mom who is not afraid to discuss hard topics, and give him different angles to consider, so that he can form his own opinion. And that I hope it means he knows a) I’m going to bring stuff up that may be awkward and b) it means I’m comfortable with him asking questions, etc. 

Today we talked about current events, particularly about prejudices and stereotypes, and why they’re just not ok. We talked about the difference between ISIS and Islam, and how some people don’t understand that there’s a difference. We talked about LGBTQ issues – how America views the issues, how Christianity does, how I view it all – and the horror of the massacre in Orlando, and how people are trying to use this to further religious/political agendas. We talked about how it’s entirely possible to have a different opinion than your friends, even on heated topics, if you can simply manage to approach each other intelligently and with respect.

I’m sure there were lots of times that he would’ve preferred I stop talking or asking him questions. But he’s not always easy to engage, so I took full advantage of our morning together. And I really feel like these conversations have to happen if we, as a generation of parents, have any chance of putting humans out into the world who do a better job of civilly engaging with each other.

And yes, I’m all warm and fuzzy about parenting right now. But give it an hour…his brothers are about to blow in here like a hurricane, and then it’s the supper/baseball game/baseball practice evening frenzy that is regular life (which I love, don’t get me wrong).

Just thankful for the one-on-one we got today 🙂

Dear Bennett’s Future Wife,

A few weeks ago, I caught him like this.


He had accidentally smashed part of a cracker on the floor, and he cleaned it up himself. Without me asking him to.

I just want you to know that I worked hard to instill something like this in him, and it appears that it may have at least partially sunk in. I’m not celebrating just yet, but I want you to know that he knows this.

He’s the best kind of adventure, this one. Prepare yourself, whoever you are. I’m already praying for you.

Love,

His mom

He’s Mine. 

Oh hi friends. I know. Long time, no blog.

It’s a combination of things: if I’m writing right now it’s book/proposal/query related. Also, the boys still do things that I want to remember, but they’re generally getting too old to regularly be blogged about.

But honestly, I still think in terms of blog posts a lot of the time. When I saw this reading log on the counter a couple of weeks ago, I snapped a picture because I knew I needed to record it here. I laughed because Jack Henry’s comment here is so totally me. (Also, please note: he is occasionally critical of the sloppiness of my signature.)

my comment – his teacher’s – JH’s

I especially love seeing this little bit of me in him because his brain works so very differently than mine. Here’s an illustration of that:

Jack Henry asked for a strategy game called QBitz Extreme for his birthday. Matt’s sisters bought it for him, and he’s really good at it.

He wanted me to give it a try, and not knowing exactly what it was, I said sure. Teach me how to play.

Basically, there is a pattern on a card that you are to replicate with small cubes. Let’s just say that spacial-relationship-type thinking is not my strong suit. (However, I can read a map pretty well, so there’s that.)

He gave me an easy one to start, and I was able to solve it. But, I could tell he was watching me do it, and he knew it was hard for me. The second one he gave me was a little harder, and I swear he was looking at me the whole time like I was adorably dumb (though he was not in the least condescending…that’s so not in his nature).

As I frustratingly finished the second card, I decided this was a great opportunity to talk about multiple intelligences, and how some people are stronger in some areas than others, and vice versa.

And then I recommended that all math questions from here on out be directed to Dad, and that I would handle reading-and-writing-type questions. I think the boys were all “yeah, we already knew that” but at least they were nice about it.

he’s the cutest.

Winning the Day. 

Luke made it into the geography bee at school this week by passing a written test. 

The bee was today, and he made it to the 7th round. Each kid got 2 misses. Luke missed in the 6th and 7th rounds. 

But check out this awesomeness: I asked last week if I was allowed to come watch. Him: “I don’t think parents do that.”

So today, I was waiting in parking lot by around 4:20, in case he was done early from the 4:30 pick up time he’d given me. 4:30 came and went. His assistant principal called me at 4:40 to tell me he was still in, and that I could come to the commons to watch. 

Where EVERYONE’S parents were watching. 

Sigh. 

There are moments, few and far between, but they exist, when I miss the time that actually winning the day involved things like:

I fed all 3 kids 3 meals plus 2 snacks today! (Mom of the year!)

They all got baths! (Go me!)

And everyone just went to bed without putting up a fight! (Let’s celebrate with wine!)

Luke 100% acted like he didn’t care that I wasn’t there, but I still feel bad.  Now I know. (But seriously. Geography bee participant? Is this kid even mine? Are there more geography bees in my future?)

So Unpredictable. 

Scene: my living room, Luke and Matt sitting on the couch watching TV. 8:45pm. Jack Henry is asleep, Bennett is upstairs knocking out his pre-bedtime chin-ups/push-ups (yes, I’m serious, that child…), and I have just thrown in a load of laundry. Which contains the shirt that Jack Henry needs to wear on his field trip tomorrow. Naturally. 

I announce that I am taking over the living room to watch Gilmore girls while I iron. Luke kind of groans about turning the channel, and I gleefully reply that anyone who would like to do the ironing can choose what’s on TV. I jokingly ask if he’d like to learn a life skill. 

AND HE SAYS YES. 

What is my life? 

(So I gave him a lesson in shirt ironing. Which is hilarious because I’m awful at ironing; like no grown woman should be this bad. Whatever. Now I’m the second-worst ironer in this house because Luke would definitely leave more wrinkles than me at this point. But hooray for life skills teaching!)

Cheers! Because there’s no way I’m ironing and not having a glass of wine. Plus now it’s time for Lorelei and Rory and Stars Hollow. 

Ladders. 

Y’all. The imaginary Boymom Guide* did not tell me about how many times I’d have to climb a ladder** and rescue frisbees and balls from the gutter. It’s like my part time job now. 

So attention, moms of darling baby boys, don’t say I didn’t warn you: this is your future. 

 

I do not recommend making it look like it’s fun, lest they try to throw more stuff up there.

 
*hm. Maybe this is a book I should write?

**easiest ladder to use is not quite tall enough, so I have to climb up to the top a lot. I know. I always make a kid hold the ladder steady for me, but last time, when I went to fold it up, I accidentally pinched Bennett’s finger in the hinge. And because I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, I kept closing the ladder. Cue all the awful feelings.