a fine boy

Last night, you had your first piano recital. You played "Jolly Old Saint Nicolas", and you did great. But the event gave you an overwhelming amount of fear and anxiety. You stressed all day and told me your whole body shook as you waited in your front row seat for your turn. 

Afterward, we all enjoyed a fun hour with our good friends for ice cream. Then it was time for home…

Lately, it's been getting harder and harder for you to fall asleep. The high anxiety throughout the day mixed with fun time and sugary ice cream made it all the worse. 

We have an extensive routine which includes family prayer, Yuki coming to bed with you, me putting all your blankets just so, reading you a story, you reading me a story, cuddling, doing "happy thoughts" together out loud, putting a smilie face on you shirt with eucalyptus essential oil… then when I leave the room, you read to your stuffed animals, listen to a story on your iPad while laying on your tummy in starlight, TRYING to fall asleep. 

This routine begins around 8:50pm. You haven't fallen asleep before 11:30pm in about two weeks. 

It's been hard on you. 
We feel like we've tried everything. 
Last week you even asked me if you could just take some kind of medicine to help you. I laughed, thinking you were joking, and said something about how we don't own drugs like that. You added, in a very serious tone, "Benadryl makes people tired." 
We have never nor are we planning to ever give you a medicinal sleep aid - but that just proved to me you are at your end with this sleeping issue.  

Last night, we started your routine about 30 mins early. You were REALLY tired. 
Before I went to bed, I went into your toy room to set up your Christmas Elves for your morning surprise. You saw from your room that the light was on, and you got up to turn it off, not knowing I was there. Seeing me in the room scared you SO much and triggered so much more anxiety that there was no way you could go back to sleep. 

After some talking and cuddling, and Daddy cuddling and talking, we had you take a shower to try to calm your body and mind. Afterward, I just crawled into bed with you and committed to staying until you fell asleep. This isn't something I would usually do, because we try to avoid crutches. But there was just no way, with all you had going on, a nightmare from the previous night now fresh on your mind, and then the toy room scare. No way. 

So we cuddled in. You wrapped your arms around me and told me how everything would just be fine if you could only have your mommy, always. i know this feeling so well. sometimes i STILL feel that way. Then you started talking in a way I never expected. Not until you were collage age, or older. Maybe even not until you were a parent yourself… 

you thanked me, whole heartedly for BEING THERE FOR YOU, always. You said I was the best Mom in the world. You thanked me for always taking good care of you and for always being there no matter what. I don't remember all the words so much as I remember the pouring out of your heart. It was so sweet and tender.  

I don't do anything I do so you'll take note or thank me for it. I love you this way because you are my Bip-bip. My Nubby Bubbles. My one and only little boy. There is no human I have encountered who has my heart like you do. I am yours. 

But to hear you say thanks the way you did. To hear that you recognize that I have and will do anything for you, at just 10 years old…

You told me a few days ago, "If I could manage my own self I would not have any allergies, (something else I can not remember) and I would be more mature." I remember thinking you were pretty mature to even wish you could control your system like that. But I'd say you got me beat by a landslide in the department of recognition and gratitude. I don't think I appreciated my parents like you do until well after I moved out of their house. 

You're a pretty special guy. 

I know you don't think you're good enough. I know you don't feel adequate. I know you feel like you'll never be "normal" - but I'm watching you kid. I've been watching you every single step of the way. And I promise you, you are Just Fine. You've got what it takes, you're more than enough, and everywhere you fall short, you're Big God is Better. 

You are right about one thing though. You are not normal. You're complex, intricate, brilliant in ways that mess you up for your age but will take you anywhere you want to go when you're older. You're skeptical, wise, and filled with caution. You're passionate, honest, and intensely aware. I have been having the time of my life watching you grow over the past ten years, and you are anything but a normal boy. And I would not change one thing about you. 

You inspire me. 
You make me joyful beyond reason. 
You are my heart and soul. 
Knowing you has made my life so good.
I am yours. 
Always will be.


Always Learning

We have been enjoying our breakfasts and lunches together so much these days. For one, you have been eating SO much better since you decided to stop eating gluten once and for all. Also, we have been having green drinks together every morning with kale, spinach, and apple or pear, and banana or yogurt. They are delicious and SO good for our bodies and minds. 

Our current favorite breakfast is GF Sammi's bread French Toast with cinnamon sugar butter (I mix mine with a little warmed cream cheese. It's AMAZING!!! 

For lunches we have discovered GF Sammi's bread with a little pizza sauce and cheese (plus chopped bell pepper and onion for me) on the Pizzaz until crispy. Delightful, and we can't get enough. 

School has been taking on it's own form, as Homeschool does. We've been selecting and learning one math concept until mastery, and then keeping each mastered concept on a line up of review problems for end of week. We've also changed L.A. to free writing with outlines, while we are diving deeper into full understanding each individual grammar concept, one at a time. I have learned SO much, too! 

Our Bible times have been God led, and sometime happen right in the middle of any subject. I especially love being able to get back to being a leader or guide for you in your walk with God. 

Today, at lunch we were talking about tonight being video game night. You have 12+ tickets saved up, and you were saying that you could turn them in and start two hours early tonight. I suggested that you consider keeping them for tomorrow or Friday when you don't have a free four hour session with us for gaming night. 

You explained to me that you would like to hold off on playing Thursday and Friday because you are starting to form a little bit of an addiction and need to get it taken care of. I told you how proud I am of you recognizing that yourself and having your own desire and know-how to correct it. You said, "well yeah Mom. It's like, you can kind of feel it when that happens. It like sort of hurts in your chest." 

SO STINKING PROUD OF YOU RIGHT NOW. And even of your Dad and myself for teaching you like that so early. To know yourself and to know how to take care of you when it comes to compulsions and addictions is SO huge. Awesome victory for all of us! 

You rock. :) 


Amazing Artwork

We've been having so much fun learning our way through the elements of art.

We've made some really cool stuff together and individually. 

But nothing has compared to what you've been working on the past couple weeks.

Combining the elements of line, shape, color, value, and space 

you worked away, day after day, 

amazing me with your style and eye...

And then today, when you had added the tree 
(which you decided in the last minute to go with three instead of one)

you took as step back and said you would like to add cherry blossoms.

I had no idea what you meant, but it turned out brilliant.

I love this art work. It is my favorite you have ever made. 
And I believe it is your own favorite too. 

You told me that you might paint for a living. 
Then you told me that someday this painting might be worth a lot of money, 
but that you would never sell it. 


Homeschool is So Cool

Our school room is starting to look alive!

With the art work we've created...

and even some of the schoolwork... 

I love to look around and see evidence of our hands on learning 
and progression through our curriculums and lessons.

I like the way your Chemistry curriculum gives us experiments 
in every single lesson.

And you can not get enough.

I LOVE that chemistry can also be learned in our day to day life.

Like the way vinegar and baking soda can clean the glass on the front of the oven.

And I especially appreciate the way that our Math Curriculum
taught you to understand Math on such a greater level
(thank you common core math)

and still continues to keep you moving right along 
with mastery and amazing retention.

Nothing's more fun than seeing a little Leonard and Sheldon
action on our own little dry erase board. :)

Making Our Way

One month in and we're already revamping our homeschool agenda and schedule a little bit. I always try to remember that we are free to do that, and that it can make all the difference in our experience, productivity, and enjoyment of our learning. 

As usual, I had way too much crammed into the plan for this first half of the school year. Unfortunately, our Mini-Courses (electricity, cooking, sewing, woodworking, poetry, body science, etc…) had to be put aside for the year. Fortunately, they will be fun, hands on, continued learning to conquer over the summer together. 

Once all is said and done, without Mini-Courses, we are actually doing about 5+ hours of school a day. And that is surely enough. I had forgotten how much learning goes on outside of the classroom. My memory is being refreshed as we get further into reforming our home, life, and schedule back to the way things used to be. 

I love that you have football, piano lessons, fall fitness, ice-skating, technology, and often even larger art projects during times you would consider "after school". It's amazing to me what you can get done and be included in without tiring or getting bored of learning time. 

While we've also taken out the style of writing class we have been using for years, we didn't just take away from our schedule - we did make room for more of the good stuff too! 

Diving back into the Bible with you has been incredible. Your ability to memorize things is crazy good. And with the many different resources we are drawing from this year in Bible studies, Window on the World, History and even your church group on Sundays, it's been awesome to see how they have all correlated with one another, unplanned, and totally Holy Spirit led. 

We've also incorporated memory work and a great, homemade timeline for History and Bible. 

Lastly, I am loving to learn right next to you all the more this year after spending a year without that unique part of HS, and with the material being two grades up from our last year together. It seems we have our best days when we take it slow, enjoy our time, cuddle and take in short video lessons, listen to music, take a walk outside on a break, snack, and make more spontaneous decisions about our direction. Even though those days take us closer to 4pm than 1pm, I often wonder why we don't always take our time. It seems like on our tightly scheduled days we hurry up to wait. There's nothing in our life we'd rather do than this - so why not savor it and make it last? 


Round Two - Birthday Party Time

When we woke up this morning, you crawled into my bed
and asked me to go for a walk with you outside. 
You wanted to test out how your knee was feeling in preparation
for tonight's big football game - against another undefeated team.

It was a nice, cool, quick walk. 
And you decided your knee was feeling alright.
(You've been having a lot of growing pains)

Uncle came over around 10, just as I was heading out 
the door for some last minute shopping. 
He joined you and your Dad for some gaming.

Then it was time for partying! 
We had Papa Murphy's Pizzas, and cakes! 

Uncle treated this Birthday somewhat like Christmas,
excusing his pile o' presents with a story about how 
he doesn't have kids, and he has to spoil someone.
Plus he really still likes to play with toys. :)

You enjoyed opening all your gifts from him.
There were posters for your gaming area, 
a minecraft movie maker (which you are in love with)
extra movie maker figures,
and a remote control airplane!!!

The two of you did everything in your power to fly this plane, 
though it was too windy out to really enjoy it yet.

It was another fun celebration of your birthday.
Happy 10th, my sweet little one. 


Fall Fitness

This year we are doing Fall Fitness for the second time. 
The first year, I think you were five years old. 
It wasn't quite for us at that time. 

While I love the outdoors, I'm not a "fitness" kind of person - 
I'm more of a woodsy, chopping, burning, car fixing, woodworking, 
fishing, gardening, taking a WALK, playing with the dogs, kind of person. 
I've never been someone who wants to go outdoors to participate in sporty activity.

So when Tad, the director of Fall Fitness, took one look at me and said,
"You look sporty. How would you like to lead in coaching one of our groups?"
I could not for the life of me figure out why and how my head was nodding up and down
and my lips were forming the word "yes". 

But I checked with God, because I do NOT like to say yes to anything. 
Especially without great deliberation and certainly without checking with Him.
And He was gently moving me along with the nodding and the yes-ing.
And so I went (but not without a little inner grumbling)

Two hours later I was wrapping our first Friday of what I already knew
would be a game changer for me. 
I have the 3rd thru 5th grade group.
We play football, kickball, capture the flag, baseball, 
and sometimes even hula-hooping for fun.

I love leading and being with these kids.
I would have never thought it was for me, 
but I'm so grateful for Tad's encouragement
and God's lead. 


Your Tenth Birthday

Last night you crawled between us and snapped your 
last photograph as a nine year old.

Within about 6 hours you turned TEN! 

You, of course, had the day off of school, 
and Daddy had taken the day off of work to enjoy the celebration with you.
We started with Festival donuts for breakfast, EARLY, per your request. 

We went to see the movie of your choice, Hotel Transylvania 2. 

We had the theater to ourselves at 9:30am.

And of course, you got to have the drink of your dreams (9am).

After the movies we went to your favorite restaurant, Moe's.
Then home again home again, for what else would you ask for… 
an afternoon of gaming!!!

It was a great day, and we can't believe you are 10! 
You're excited to be out of the single digits. 
You told me a couple of times this week how you will 
never be out of the double digits unless you reach 100 years old. 
You also told me that you feel like ten sounds SO much older.


Ice Skating

I think we may have found another homeschool group activity,
and possibly your winter sport to begin after football season. 

A few years ago you expressed an interest in taking ice lessons.
This year you have enjoyed rollerblading, 
so I decided we would join in on the free-skating opportunity 
offered by our local homeschool group. 

You loved it. We both actually had a great time.
During the once a week scheduled hour and a half, 
you have the option of free-skating with friends or taking lessons.

For now, we will skate together with the other kids. 
But when football is up, you might choose to take lessons for awhile,
and I'll sit in the warm room and watch you - 
maybe get to know some of the other moms. 

Whatever we decide, this will surely always give us a great 
reason to catch some yummy ice cream on our way back home. 


Mama Time

Tonight, I forgot about Ezekiel's football practice.
It was a pleasant surprise when Greg showed up early for him
and left me home alone for some unexpected time to myself.

I decided to enjoy the outdoors while we still can.

I took my camera, Bible Study, and journaling outdoors, 
along with an icy drink and my Apple...

We hung out, read, took in the wildlife, and the few new
fall flowers blooming on the deck garden. 

It was sweet and beautiful. 

Just like my girl.