Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Boy Howdy Turns 6

Boy Howdy and his sister talk about who they are going to invite to their birthday parties ALL YEAR LONG. They are constantly meeting children at the park and inviting them to their birthday parties. I don't think much of it, or maybe I try to block it out because I am really lazy when it comes to planning. 

At one point, I did ask Boy Howdy what he wanted to do for his birthday. He said he was having a camping birthday party (meaning he was going on a father-son campout). I totally thought I was off the hook, until he had a friend over one afternoon the week before his birthday and was given the idea of having a soccer or Pokemon themed party. Whoa whoa whoa child. You can't pull this on me with so little time. Thankfully he relented quickly and happily when I told him we didn't have enough time to plan a party but he could have two friends over for a playdate. He opted to invite two boys from school, one of whom used to bully him but turned into a friend (maybe through Boy Howdy's light the world efforts). 

The Sunday before his birthday, he begged to be able to open his presents on Memorial Day, the day before his birthday. He reasoned that this would give him time to be able to open his presents - good rationale child. I told him he could . . . but he had to earn it. He had to be nice the rest of the day, sing two songs in Primary (he HATES singing time), and do two nice things for his sister. He performed the latter two requirements happily, but couldn't quite master being nice for the rest of the day. To make up for his poor choices, he did two more nice things for his sister. He paid her compliments, made her bed, did her dinner chores and gave her a Pokemon card. Ok, I'll allow it.

Monday he opened all of his presents: Pokemon cards he bought with the money from Grandparents Booren, Legos from Grandparents Marler, a new game from his sister, a globe, new bike, and more money from his Aunt Nickie. He was one happy boy.

Afterwards we went to our ward Memorial Day BBQ where he managed to lose one of his new Pokemon cards. Later, we made his cake and had the Jones over for dinner. Somehow between the two families we managed to cobble together a very cohesive and very yummy dinner complete with the sugar explosion that was his cake.

I love this Boy Howdy of mine. In the last year he has learned to read and write, play soccer (via recess), do math, and masterfully negotiate. He likes to squeal and squawk and just overall be odd and silly. When he gets excited, his enthusiasm knows no bounds. He is branching out with his independence as he becomes more capable of doing things on his own, but he is still my very sweet boy who loves to sing songs and cuddle at bedtime, just the two of us. He also LOVES doing ANYTHING with his pops. He just wants time with us and I am so thankful that this is still the case. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Father-Son Campout - Boys

From Matthew's blog
In our church, usually around the time of the yearly Priesthood Commemoration, we have a father's and son's campout at a nearby campsite. I've taken my son twice--I think we were sick last year unfortunately.

This year, however, we were both healthy and ready to go hang out, play with the fire, and get virtually no sleep. I think the older I get the more my body needs my bed to get a proper nights' rest. Anyway, we started off the adventure with canoes. The boy got bored in about one spin around the pond. Seeing as how I have to all the rowing, I can't honestly say I was broken up about that. I think the fact people were catching salamanders out of the pond had something to do with his enthusiasm for dry land.

I'm not huge on touching wet, slimy things. Especially when they wriggle. My son dived right in and probably would have played with the salamanders the entire time had I let him. I'll have to remember to bring hand sanitizer with me next time because I'm pretty sure his hands were disgusting. That's camping right?

After peeling him away from the dock and the wriggling mass, we headed down to the fire. He perked up upon seeing the cheery blaze. He started out timidly poking a stick in here and there, and then it was all I could do to keep him from setting himself on fire. Anything and everything was combustible. He got so dirty he looked like a coal miner--and I'm not joking. I had to get some baby wipes from the car and wipe his face off just to be sure I could identify him in a crowd.
He used my sleeping bag during the night as I'd purchased a new one. At some point, he had moved down into the bottom third of the bag, and I guess woke up and wanted to get out. I heard him say "Ah! I'm stuck!" I got up and pulled him up through the bag to find his pillow. Sleep resumed--for him anyway.

We had breakfast the next morning put on by the Stake Presidency. They did fabulously. Then we did a service project, and came home. It was a good trip. My son is a good camper and exemplifies all that it means to be a dirt-loving, salamander-grabbing, pyromania-cal, little boy.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Father-Son Campout - Girls

Cheeks was so sad that she couldn't go camping with her father and brother. I thought there might be some other little girls equally sad so I organized an ice cream party for the mothers and daughters left behind. We had about nine women and their daughters over for a few hours Friday night. Cheeks was so dirty from playing outside but the only way I could convince her to bathe was to entice her with wearing a party dress afterwards.

About ten minutes prior to 6:30 (the start of the event), I had Cheeks take up her post by the front door to watch for guests. At one point she got a bit frustrated no one was coming so she opened the door and shouted to the neighborhood, "Hey, anyone want to come to our ice cream shocial?"

After a few women and their daughters arrived I asked if anyone wanted a tour. When we started, I noticed Cheeks had already taken her friends on one of their own. So glad my daughter is learning how to be a good host.

Overall a lovely evening, though as I put Cheeks to bed, several hours past her normal bedtime, she commented that people stayed too long and I should have kicked them out earlier. Sorry child.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Meals on Wheels Saves Lives

Today Cheeks and I had a uniquely remarkable experience. In November she and I started volunteering with Meals on Wheels. I felt Heavenly Father wanted to use our last year together doing something more meaningful than her watching me exercise and having an extra playdate per week. So we started driving meals to home-bound senior citizens. I wanted Cheeks to play a significant part in our service and I'm pretty sure she is the best part of our delivery.

In our training, we were told that if the person doesn't answer the door we should try to open it and make sure everything is ok. Today I learned why.

We have a client on our route who is an extremely sweet woman, adores Cheeks and is very grateful for any service she receives. She, however, recently had surgery on her back and moves very slowly; so for her to take a while to answer the door is normal. Today we knocked several times, I also tried calling her - but there was no answer. I decided to try the door, assuming it would be locked. It wasn't and when I called in she answered that she was in deed home and I could come in.

I found her in her bathroom. She was lying on the ground wedged in between the toilet and the shower. She said she had been there for almost two days, having fell Monday night and unable to move, eat, take medication, or anything else since. She was mortally ashamed at the state I found her in and wanted help, but didn't want people to see her as she was. I promised that no one would be judging her and that I would not be leaving until she was off the ground. Sadly, I was unaware of the gravity of her situation. I had planned on calling our church's missionaries (the same boys who I had called to help her with her lawn) to help her get up. Thankfully, instead I called the Meals on Wheels office who had more of the presence of mind to call 911.

The paramedics who arrived understood, more than me, the help she desperately needed and helped her into their ambulance to be taken immediately to the hospital.

I am so thankful I didn't leave with a note on her door saying "Sorry we missed you." I am so thankful that in my daughter's prayer tonight she included a plea to her Heavenly Father that Miss Kathy's doctors would know how to help her feel better. And I am so thankful for the service that Meals on Wheels provides - that today, quite literally, saved this woman's life. I am forever changed by the my experience today and so thankful I got to play my small part in helping this sweet woman.

If you are looking for a service opportunity for yourself or for you and your children, please consider this very important option.

Side note - Cheeks' new ambition in life is to one day get old and have meals delivered to her.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cheeks has a recital

I believe I mentioned that Cheeks has started taking ballet. She still loves it, although her teacher is planning on offering a children's tap class at the end of the summer and I have convinced my very energetic daughter that tap might be more fun for her.

Every time we pass the ballet studio, she calls out to it to offer her salutations. This weekend she had her first dance recital. I'm pretty sure she loved just about every minute of it, especially when she got to be on stage. Last Halloween she forbade me from putting make up on her when she dressed up as a butterfly. She also rarely let's me do ANYTHING with her hair. But because it was required for dance she was surprisingly compliant about all the fuss.

Friday night Matthew, Boy Howdy and I went to watch the full recital. She kept saying she was too excited and she was going to try hard to be better for her Saturday show. I don't know how I feel about her chiding herself for her exuberance, but it was definitely evident when she danced. This little girl exuded pure joy and enthusiasm while she performed. It was wonderful to behold. I'm thankful I got to see my daughter in this new element of hers.

Top picture: Her with some of her class mates after the recital in their "popcorn" costumes.
Bottom picture left: Her at home getting her hair and makeup done.
Center picture: Her in the "fun room" waiting for her turn to dance.
Right picture: Her and her best friend G (dressed up as cotton candy). They aren't in the same class but still loved being together at the recital.

Left picture - Her professional recital photo.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cheeks Eats Shooshi

Shooshi, that's what my daughter calls sushi. I don't try to correct her, shooshi is pretty cute as is her random love of it. I think it's because it looks like an appetizer and this girl would ALWAYS much prefer to snack than to eat a full meal. She also loves crab, or at least since she tried it at Christmas time, and I think in her mind, crab and sushi go together. West Salem recently opened up it's own sushi restaurant and I have been promising to take her. After waiting and waiting and waiting, she finally got the object of her desire.

They didn't provide any children's chopsticks and I didn't bother asking. Cheeks was perfectly content figuring out her own work around. She added lots of soy sauce made a big mess but this girl with her crab shooshi was in heaven. I got the veggie roll.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Tender Mercies

I am often amazed at how Heavenly Father wants to bless us, even with the mundane things in our lives, just to let us know that He is intimately aware of us and wants us to know we are loved.

Today I had two wonderful examples of just that.

After listening to all the lovely gifts my darling friends were getting for their mothers and children's teachers I began to feel woefully inadequate. I do try to show love in other ways, but gifts are just not my forte.

Anyway, feeling kind of low, I dropped Cheeks off at preschool and had a couple of hours to get errands accomplished. I was on my way to Lowes to buy trim for the bookcases we are installing, and I felt the Spirit direct me to stop and get my oil changed. It was more than due, but I just didn't want to - it seems they always find something extra that needs done, taking at least an hour. But I felt the Holy Ghost's insistence so I pulled over and stopped.

I was the only one there and did have another errand I could do while they were busy with my car. I dropped my package at the post office, and while walking back to the service station I remembered the basil I needed for dinner that night. Check. After that was accomplished I remembered my annual mother's day pedicure appointment I needed to schedule. Check. Four errands accomplished in one. And even better, I probably wouldn't have remembered the last two had I not walked by their stores. Finally, the oil change was completed by the time I returned (18 minutes after arriving). I still had PLENTY of time to get to Lowes, drop off some diapers for a friend who just had a baby and have some quiet time at home before picking up Cheeks from preschool. I keenly felt my Heavenly Father's love watching out for his struggling daughter.

Later this afternoon, Matthew and I were working on putting together the children's climbing dome Christmas present. It was taking a lot of time from both of us so Matthew suggested getting BBQ take out instead of cooking dinner. I left to get the food forgetting my wallet at home. I didn't realize my error until I drove the 10 minutes to the restaurant. Not wanting to take another 20 minutes just to get my wallet, I went in hoping to order before going home for the money.

When I got inside I saw a member of our ward and his daughter. Bless his kind heart, he agreed to pay for my dinner with my promise that I would pay him back later that night (which I promptly did). What a heaven-sent tender mercy. The aforementioned BBQ place is amazing, but not very quick to deliver on their orders. I still didn't arrive home until 45 minutes after I left, but because of this man's kindness and Heavenly Father's love it was 45 minutes an not over an hour.

It's the little things. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who watches out for his children and I'm thankful my heart was open to witness the tender mercies He so beautifully bestowed on me today.

P.S. The climbing dome is a success!