Bear and Bug are again at the farm again.  This time, just to play, as wheat harvest is over.   In the old days, they may have written a letter home to share their adventures.  Something like this…

Hello Mommy, Hello Our Mike,
Here we are at Gramma Grampas
Our days are very entertaining
They say we’ll have a lot of fun when it stops raining.

What?  You’ve heard this one?  Ok, well since it’s not 1950, I simply call every once in awhile to check in on them and see what they’re doing.  Last night was no exception.  I called and Bear answered the phone.  I asked him about whether or not he’s been having any fun, and whether or not he was practicing for his black belt test, and whether or not he was getting along with his sister.  He answered everything honestly and we had a very good discussion.  I asked if his sister was around and he stopped suddenly and said, “Oh, Mom, one more thing…I need you to buy me new underwear and new swimsuits.  It seems that Dad hasn’t done that since I turned 8.  My boys are starting to suffocate.”  [stunned silence] “Mom, are  you there?”  “Oh, yes dear, ok, I’ll try to do that before you get home.  What kind of underwear do you prefer now, boxers or briefs”  “Which ones are the loose ones”  Ok, you get the idea, right?  We discussed the merits of each type of underwear in depth.  Then the netting in swimsuits.  Then we decided that when he got home he’d throw away everything that was too small and I would supply him with a couple of different types, so he could scientifically determine whether he was, indeed a boxers or briefs sort of man. At this point in the coversation, I think I’d been pushed to the very brink.  “Son, I’ve had a much longer than anticipated and frankly desired conversation with you about your balls and your undergarment, is your sister around?”  “Oh….ermmm…yeah….uh, that was awkward, huh Mom.”  We both laughed and off he went to find his sister.  She was too busy making walkie-talkies make farting noises to really talk to me. 

Dang, I miss those kids.

Yesterday I took the kids to Bear’s end of season baseball party at Dairy Queen.  It wasn’t easy with the laundry list of things we had to do: pick up our pottery from last week, feed the dogs, get Bear to Tae Kwon Do, get Mommy’s nails done, shower and get in bed by 9 or 9:30 AT THE LATEST.  However, I did consider it important.  The last game was a bummer of a loss, the boys left tired, frustrated and fighting.  I really wanted to give Bear a chance to remember how much he loved playing and he really did like his teammates.  Also maybe give Bug one more chance to drive me crazy with how much she hates her brother’s baseball games and is it time to go yet and “Mom, order me the BIG sundae” followed almost immediately by, “this is cold, I’m done now”.  Oh yeah, this was going to be fun.

By the time we got there, only a few kids were there.  My kids ordered.  Bear wanted a  4th of July Ice Cream cake, because they were 50% off, he settled for a strawberry, marshmallow, hot fudge sundae in a chocolate dipped waffle bowl.  (My stomach crawled into the back of my throat as well, but he ate EVERY. LAST BITE.)  Bug, she ordered a LARGE double fudge something something blizzard…which when I translated for the Dairy Queen lady, came out small. (Oops, my bad) Bug was saddened, but moved on nonetheless. 

As we sat with the coaches and the team, the head coach asked each boy what their favorite part of the season was.  One counted his total number of strikeouts, one said he loved playing catcher, several of them said they loved the nine-inning game that lasted until 11 pm. (I, on the other hand, did NOT.)  When it came around to Bear, I expect him to say something about stealing bases, particularly home.  But he did not.  He loved his double play.  (Ah, yes, a great memory I had forgotten.)  But that’s when his coach said something I’ll not soon forget.  See, Bear loves baseball, but he’s not the hero on the team.  In fact, sometimes I feel like he’s sort of overlooked because he’s NOT a pitcher, or one of the best hitters, or a fast runner.  But his coach said, “You’re one of the only 11 year old I know who’s ever gotten two double plays in such a short season.” 

The smile didn’t leave his face for hours. He has already said he’d play again next year for this same coach.  It was an incredible outing, if even the slightest bit inconvenient.

Now, you might be wondering what happened to Bug during all of this.  Believe it or not, she sat quietly at the table, ate her entire blizzard (there’s first time for everything, apparently.)  The only time she spoke up, it was to share a bit of a story from their latest trip to Kansas.  My little sheltered princess told a tale that went a little something like this:

When we were in Kansas on the farm, we saw a rattle snake.  Dad was on one 4 wheeler and he
backed up and ran over the head several times until it was good and dead.  Then Bear and I went on the other four wheeler to find sticks.  We came back and poked at its head until it fell off.  The we worked on the rattler. 

*Shudder*  Well, I guess she can’t ALWAYS be a princess. 

Intentional Happiness

July 1, 2010

This week, Bug and Bear are off on a grand adventure.  They’re harvesting wheat at their grandparent’s house.  This is a tough week for me every year, as even talking to them gets difficult because harvest is an 18 hour a day job.  This year is no exception…but last night, I caught them waiting to empty the semi at the grain elevator.  We had a glorious talk, even if it was interrupted by dropped cell phone coverage half a dozen times. 

Bear was ecstatic (!!!) that he drove the grain cart that the combine unloaded into.  His dad told him early on that that would be his job this year.  He was so nervous before they left.  He just knew that he would fail. But when I talked to him, I could tell how excited he was that he had done it and well.

Bug, well she’s not driving stuff, but she’s writing stories while riding in the tractor/combine/semi, etc all day.  She was wound up excited (!!!) when I talked to her last night.  She had a ton of stories to tell me about and a bazillion questions about what I had been up to. 

Being away from them is tough, but now that they are older, we have real conversations over the phone while they are gone.  They’re so expressive and excited about their time on the farm.  The adventures and opportunities that await them in that world are something most kids never get to experience.  So this year, I choose to be happy about them being away.  I choose to be happy about the experiences they are having.  And I especially choose to be happy that from hundreds of miles away, I can feel their joy, their love and their excitement for life.

Intentional Happiness

Momalom !!! Bad Mommy Moments !!!

Wordless Wednesday

June 30, 2010
I miss these sweet little faces when they’re away.
Come home soon, kids.
Love, Mom
We like our bike
It’s made for three
Our Mike sits up in back you see
We like our Mike
and this is why

Mike does all the work when the hill gets high….*

It’s been a tough couple of weeks around our house.  It’s baseball, tae kwon do AND dance recital time. We’ve had tae kwon do three nights a week, baseball practice and baseball games.  We had pictures for dance.  Usually, this is a lot of work, but not a problem because I can manage work/life balance pretty well.  This year, however, I had my company’s largest customer meeting, in New Orleans, during this time.  I had presentations to create, presentations to review and all the prep work for being away from the office for three days. 

Despite all these extra things, this year,has been better….better because we have our Mike. And when the hills of responsibility and duty have gotten high, he’s pushed us all up them.Thank you, Mike.  We all appreciate who you are and what you’ve done for us. 

We love you.

* From Dr Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Easter Veggies

April 5, 2010

Family holiday dinners are always a bit of a challenge, because inevitably, we have to fight over vegetables.  Ordinarily, I focus on fixing veggies that my kids eat.  Because really, I don’t have time for MORE drama…and honestly, they love some good, healthy veggies, so I don’t worry.  But holidays mean that Papa will be there, and papa likes mashed potatoes and peas for every holiday, well except maybe the 4th of July, but I bet he would not pass them up then either.  He likes mashed potatoes and peas together, no gravy, peas.  We have no idea how it started, but it’s become a family tradition.  (One that borders on being VERY difficult to explain to newcomers.) My son, he does not eat mashed potatoes and peas, not together, not separately.
Bear will eat broccoli ANY TIME, ANY WHERE, to the point of having claimed to dream about it at 3 years old.
Bear will eat sweet potatos.  Despite being “not much of a potato guy”, sweet potatos are good because they taste more like carrots than potatoes.
But, Bear, he does NOT like peas.  He’ll cut them in half, feed them to the dog, hide them in a napkin, ANYTHING to not eat peas.

But yesterday, at Easter dinner, I told him no strawberry shortcake for dessert if he didn’t eat three spoonfuls of peas.  He cut some in half, he made jokes about hiding them, which started a lengthy conversation between he and I about all sorts of random food facts.  At the first pause in the banter, Bear looked up at me and said, “I don’t like it when you distract me with conversation….”  I had a questioning look on my face.  He pointed to his plate.  “I was so caught up in our conversation, I finished my peas.” 

HA!  I win again!

Happy Easter

April 5, 2010
You may not be able to tell, but we had an amazing day!  Our day started at 5:30 in the morning with a sunrise service complete with U2 cover band. 
We hunted Easter Eggs…
We shared our Easter gifts…
We spent the day together as a family. 
And it was AWESOME.

Ok, son, SERIOUSLY? 
Last night, at bedtime, he shares the fact that he has signed up for the “show what you know” fair.  It’s like a science fair, for all people, even the non-sciency ones. He’s building a volcano.  This is how it went down.

Him: I signed up for the Show What You Know Fair.
Me:  Cool.  What do you know?
Him: I know how to build a volcano and then make it erupt.
Me: Super cool.  How do you know how to do that.
Him:  The 4H lady came to school…and what she didn’t tell me Google will.
Me: Ok. 
Him:  Here’s the list of stuff that I need.
Me: *taking the list that’s as long as my arm* When do you need to have this stuff?
Him:  Well the fair is on Friday night.
Me: *mouth hanging open* Uh…
Him: *staring back innocently*
Me: When are you going to build said volcano?
Him: I don’t know.  Wednesday or Thursday?
Me: You mean the two days we have two tae kwon do classes, your tae kwon do calisthenics, and baseball practice…not to mention your sister’s dance class and any other homework you might have.
Him:  Yep, I guess so.
Me: *shakes head* *walks away muttering something about being his fathers son*

So…while he’s searching Google for volcano instructions, I’ll be searching for cloning instructions.  If there are two of me and two of him…we stand a chance.

I left work early Friday for a nap before taking the kids to the ball. Because, Mom being sick, is NO excuse to miss the elementary school ball. I learned a lot about my kids that night.

Bug wanted nothing more than to go to the ball. When I asked what she was going to wear, she had it all figured out. She wanted her hair done and her make up done. It was an opportunity to be a princess. She wanted to find her bffs and dance and sing the night away. Bear on the other hand was apprehensive. At school when they’d had “dancing” in gym class, he found it very awkward to dance with a girl. So he couldn’t see what the big deal was. But he said he would go, simply because everyone else was going to be there, also.

What actually happened that night, was awesome. We all dressed up to go. We had to park quite a distance from the school and it was cold and icy. Bear stayed close to me and helped make sure I didn’t slip in my stilettos on the ice. For 11, he was strong, thoughtful and an amazing “date”. Bug, who is typically the whiner, was so excited she barely noticed the cold, icy walk. But did point out any areas of ice she noticed to her brother and I, so that we would be safe. As soon as we walked in the door, we bought them raffle tickets and they raced to show me their artwork that was hanging on the wall. I asked them if we could please get a family picture taken…and they happily agreed. They helped each other find their friends. They checked in with me frequently to make sure that I knew where they were and who they were with. They were happy, respectful and most importantly….they were kids. It was such a joy to watch them just be in their element. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to watch them interact with their peers, their teachers and other adults, but I soaked up every moment of this one.

We chatted excitedly all the way home. We all got directly into our jammies and I told them that they could come hang out in my bed, to read, if they wanted, but that due to my illness, it was time for me to go to bed. My son came in about 10 minutes later, with a glass of water for me, and he pulled the covers up around me and then sang this……

“Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur. Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr.”

If you don’t watch Big Bang Theory, it won’t make any sense. But if you do, you know it was the sweetest, most loving moment an 11 year old boy can muster for his sick mom. And one, in all my years, I’ll never forget.

Wordless Wednesday

February 18, 2010

*Note: This was taken with a phone, at night, in low light. Photographically it sucks…but these are my loves and I love this picture despite that.