Caleb has been growing. It happens so gradually that I hardly notice until his pant legs no longer cover his ankles, I have to raise my hand higher to ruffle his hair. He's nine now. Wow. I love this boy with all my heart. Love his quirks, his intelligence, his sense of right. I love his shy smile. His helpfulness, his determination. Even if he does develop a little attitude when it comes to having his picture taken.
Here he is eating crepes, his favorite breakfast.
Here he is blowing candles out on his actual birthday.
Here are some pictures from his birthday party.
These cake pops are now adorning my thighs. They are so good!
Tug of war!
Here's Dallin eating a cookie on a string. He's climbed on the column in order to reach it better.
Caleb's favorite game was Capture the Flag, which got a little intense when Mitch joined in.
Water balloons, then squirt guns. One boy said, "Now this is what I call fun!"
After blowing out candles on the cake.
Those boys had a ton of energy, and they had a great time. Happy birthday, Caleb!
There are six more weeks until school gets out for the summer. Woo-hoo!, right? Summer is the time for lazy days, swimming in the pool, no stressful structure, no schoolwork, right? Well...yeah, to an extent. Kids need freedom and the time to just do what they want to do. Explore, create, play. That said, I believe a little structure helps keep kids from getting bored, keeps us in a comfortable, loose routine, and keeps their brains sharp. Influenced by my amazing friend, Jill, I have tried to be a little more proactive the past few years about planning for the summer and being prepared with activities, challenges, incentives and rewards. It makes summertime even greater! Here's what poured out of my brain onto my paper when I was brainstorming about what I want to do with my kids this summer.
It will work like this. The kids will do a small amount of math, music, reading, and writing each day. They'll do their chores. Later we will do an extra activity or challenge, most of which will be short and fun, or broken into steps we will work at on different days. Sometimes the activity will take the place of their other work. Weekends will be more free, and we'll break things up with trips and outings. Some days we won't do anything at all but hang out in the pool.
This may be too structured and restrictive to many people, but I love to have ideas at my fingertips. It helps me to feel more in control. And an incentive program really works! It teaches how to set and achieve goals, learn stuff, and have fun while they're at it.
Now that I have a basic outline, next I will choose and overarching theme, assemble supplies for projects, and perfect an incentive program (prizes!).
Do you have any great ideas for summertime? I would love to hear them.
Dallin: Do you know what's weird that friends do sometimes?
Dallin: They copy each other.
Dallin: Like one person says, "I like pears." And the other person says, "I don't." And the first person says, "Oh, actually I don't either."
Me: Did that happen today at school, Dallin?
Dallin: Yeah. At school my friend said, "I like bacon." And I said, "I don't." And then he said, "Oh, actually I don't like bacon." Then some other friends said, "What? Bacon? We love bacon!"
Me: What did your friend say then?
Dallin: He said, "I don't." but he actually does.
Brandt's new favorite thing is trains, or "choo-choo"s.
Some days he will carry a train car in each hand for every possible moment of the day. For example, he'll reluctantly set one down to put an arm through his sleeve, seatbelt, or other tight-fitting space. He'll weigh his options and set down the least favorite of the two in order to be able to eat with one hand. He'll let them fall from his grasp while sleeping (recently I went to check on him during his nap and he was asleep against the side of his crib, a four-car train strung out in a neat line beside him). The past few days it seems like the fervor has faded a little, but he's upstairs now playing trains with his brothers, who before this haven't touched them for months.
Look at that snuggle bug cocooned in his blankets. Brandt loves blankets. Specifically three, collectively called "gee-kee. " These three blankets must be present in his bed if he is expected to sleep. Upon wakening he gathers them up in his arms and insists we carry them with him downstairs. Should one fall to the floor, we must stop and retrieve the "gee-kee" before moving on. He will, however, trade them for a sippy-cup full of chocolate milk.