Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anniversary weekend trip

This weekend we celebrated our 16th anniversary by heading to the mountains sans children.  A.k.a: the weekend during which we have every conversation we're going to have for the year.

After we dropped off the last 2 kids and headed west on Friday, Pete started to tell me something, and then stopped himself and said, "I love being able to just TALK to you without interruptions!  How long has it been since that happened?  I think it's been a full year."

It is also the weekend each year in which we pack in all of our restaurant eating for the year.

And it was a great time to just hike and explore and meander and relax and enjoy each other.

It seemed fitting that we started out in Boone, a college town, since we both still think we're about that age.  It didn't take us long, however, to realize we are not really that age.  At the restaurant on Friday night, amidst all the other college students, Pete announced it was "way too loud."

I couldn't laugh at my "old" husband too long, though.  When we got to our hotel and unpacked I realized that I forgotten not one essential item, not two, but FOUR rather important things.  We are old.

But that didn't slow us down.  In addition to Boone, we explored Blowing Rock and Valle Crucis, and went on a couple of great hikes.  And we talked and we talked and we talked.

The leaves were already changing up there in the highlands.... even the parking lot of our hotel looked like this:

 I loved having Pete's attention all to myself for 48 hours....  Well, almost all to myself.

All of this was graciously made possible by Dan and Amy, who kept Strider and Rayna for the weekend, and Mom and Dad who kept Colsen and Miles.   All reports from the kids were full of excitement as they regaled their adventures, so I think it was a good time for all 6 of us.  Maybe we need to move this annual tradition to more of a monthly schedule.  :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This week's accomplishments

This week Strider kicked over (yes, kicked) the floor lamp in the living room, and the glass top shattered into a million pieces (making it the second floor lamp he has destroyed in a few short months).

BUT, he also cleaned up the entire thing, all million pieces, all by himself.  So I celebrate that.

This week the kids have destroyed room after room after room in mere seconds, leaving reams of half-drawn-on paper, markers without caps on, and shreds of little things in the wakes behind them.

BUT, a few different times now I have noticed Rayna completely voluntarily straightening things up in the living room.  She puts pillows back on the couch, folds blankets, throws everything in the toy box (even things that don't belong in there.... but I don't really mind).  So I celebrate the fact that I am no longer the only warrior against entropy in this house!

This week the younger boys took it upon themselves to declare Independence from us and stated they would write both a Declaration and a new Constitution which would apply to their own room.

BUT, they then assembled themselves, after some argument into 2 different branches of government, went through the bill-writing and bill-passing/vetoing steps for making laws, and developed this document.

So I celebrate the fact that they recognize neither smoking* nor peeing should be done in one's room.

Significant accomplishments all the way around, I'd say.

*And next week we'll work on spelling.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recent conversations

I spoke at a women's retreat recently and Strider watched me prepare and write up my thoughts ahead of time.  He kept asking me if I was going to have a funny story at the beginning.  When I told him I wasn't, he was quite distraught.  He insisted it was going to go all very badly if I couldn't make them laugh first.  (I felt the same way, but still couldn't just throw in a random funny story for that reason!)

When I arrived home from the retreat, the very first thing Strider said to me was, "So how did it go?  Did you see a whole bunch of blank stares while you were talking?"

So nice to know he has such a high estimation of my speaking abilities.

And speaking of his high estimation of his parents, I also had this conversation with him recently:

Strider:   ARGHHGHGH!  Oh no!!  This is terrible!!!

Me:  What?!  What's wrong??!!

Strider:  Now it's going to rain tomorrow and I won't get to play my football game!

Me:  How do you know that??

Strider:  Because Dad just said it probably WON'T rain, and he's always WRONG!!

I'm thankful to report, though, that while some members of the family have a rather low opinion of some parents, some other members of the family are actually even impressed with other members:

 The other day I told Rayna I was taking her to Madison's Coffee Shop for her first dance class of the year.  She, of course, was overjoyed.  "Madison's Coffee Shop??  Yes!  7878!" she exclaimed.

We have been to this coffee shop a few other times, but the last time we were there was probably about a month ago.  So, Colsen and I were quite impressed when we pulled up to the shop and noticed there was the number 7878 above the door!

Colsen said, "Wow!  She remembered that?  She has a good memory, doesn't she?  What would be a good job for someone like that with a good memory??....  I know!  She could be a Secret Agent!"

I love seeing them appreciate each other.  :)  May it last!

Meanwhile, Miles supplies us with plenty of random topics to talk about..... Just today he was going on and on about how glad he is that he is not water.  "Because then I might have to go in someone's belly and it would be too hot!  Or I might get put in a pot and it's so hot!  Or I might have to go in a toilet.... ewwwww!"

There have been other, well, interesting conversations that I've overheard lately.... such as the one in the car when the boys were trying to inform each other about the distinction between constipation and the Constitution.... but not every conversation must be documented.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mighty Milo

Miles has been such a trooper through the whole broken-arm episode.  We were amazed by how little he cried when he fell and through the whole 6-hour ER visit he barely complained.  He pulled into himself, or as he says, he "squeezed himself" so he could bear the pain calmly.  The doctors were quite amazed that he wasn't freaking out.

But the funny thing was that he handled the cast removal process much less courageously!  Pete took him for the appointment and we knew Miles was scared to see what his arm would look like after the cast came off -- because we had warned him the skin might seem a little funny.  He was convinced it would be purple or green or something else awful (even though we kept reassuring him it wouldn't!).

So the doctor took off the cast and then they had to walk down to a room to x-ray the arm.  All the way down to the room and back, Miles refused to open his eyes.  They had to guide him like a blind man!  Then when he came back to the room to wait for the doctor, he would only do this:

Very zen, but also very irrational.

It took several hours for him to finally feel comfortable with his arm without the cast.  He was quite relieved, actually, when the doctor told him he had to wear a brace for a few more weeks since the bones weren't all the way healed.  When we tried to wash his hand/arm for the first time, he cried and cried and cried -- way more than when he broke it!

But still, we are very proud of our little man.  All month with the cast, he has maintained his independence, finding ways to get dressed, do his school work, etc., all more than we would have required or expected.
All 3 left-handers
 This past Thursday, Pete had to leave very early in the morning, so Miles was the only one awake when he came downstairs a little later.  Somehow he remembered that it was Thursday, then noticed that Pete had forgotten to put out the trash and recycling, so he did that job all by himself - -with a broken arm!  I have no idea how -- or why - -he did it.  Later on when Pete called to tell me he had forgotten to put out the trash, I was so surprised to see it at the curb.  I asked around to see who had done it, and Miles was very matter-of-fact when he told me it was him.

We love our little, strong, independent guy!

Are we ready for some football??

Strider sure is... not sure I am.

Finally, for his third game of the season, I was able to attend and watch him in action.  The first 2 games were "away" and too far for all of us to travel to.  Last week, he had a "pick-6" when he intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown, so we were bummed to miss that.

This week, though, he was chosen to be one of the team captain's, so it was a good game to be present for.  (I read recently on some grammar web site that it's actually OK to end a sentence with a preposition when you're not writing formally.  Since I never write formally, this was very freeing for me!)

Anyway, he had a pretty good game, although the team lost.  During the play I was actively photographing, he caught some sort of kicked ball.... and then promptly got flattened.  The sound made me cringe.... wish that wasn't part of the game.
#17 -- about to catch the ball
#17 -- caught the ball
#17-- about to be flattened
Lining up for another play
 I really hope he doesn't get too hurt this season.  At least he's wearing lots of pads and helmet -- which makes him look so old!

And he's so handsome, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Field Trip: Birds of the Air Edition

A couple weeks ago (I'm so behind!)  Pete took the younger 3 to the Raptor Center for a fun day.  The kids insist the Flight Show was even more amazing than the Falconry exhibition we saw at a castle in Austria, because "the birds flew right over our heads!"  One was actually flying so low that it accidentally nicked Pete's head, so I guess that was exciting.

 Our poor little one with a clipped wing!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Moving into the mobile age

Ok, did I win??  Am I the very last person I know to get a smartphone?  For a long time we've been in what I call the Smartphone Donut:  too poor to get our own phones and too rich to get free ones from Obama.  So Pete and I have shared a puny one, and then I've had a silly pre-paid flip-phone that I used for the rare times that we need a second one.

But when I won our team 200 points at a Young Life fundraiser several months ago because I was the only one in the large room to have a flip-phone, I realized I was taking the "late adopter" status a little too far.

Pete's new position at work gives him a phone for free (!) which means I can now obtain my own as well.  So I jumped on my brother-in-law's family plan (because I think that means he pays for it -- right?)     .

Taking a pic of me while
 I take one of her
Strider then inherited the flip-phone, as well as the responsibility to pay for the minutes.   Rayna, meanwhile, saw her opportunity and quickly pounced on the old phone that Pete and I used to share.  It is no longer connected to any network, of course, but she loves the fact that it has a camera, a calculator, and a calendar that she can input her name into.

 (Now it periodically chimes an alarm and when I go to check on it, it will have the calendar popped up with something like, "Rayna Frn from 3:00-4:00.")

And, she now walks around with it all the time, looking at the screen and muttering to herself, "This is too small.  I need to get a bigger phone.  I NEED a bigger phone!"   (Where did she learn that??)

So I guess we've become mobile with a vengeance.

At least these 2 still need to see their screens from a distance.  :)
(I love that they sit like this together when they watch TV)

 If anyone wants my new number, let me know!