Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time for School

Our 3rd grader and 2nd grader all ready for their first day of school. Fall is already in the air here, with cool mornings, hence the reason the boys grabbed hoodies and wore then over their nice school shirts. While the hoodies are stuffed in the back packs in the warm afternoons, so far, these smiles are still on their faces at the end of the day. They like their teachers and being back with friends. It's back to early bedtimes (yeah!) early mornings (ugh), making lunches, homework, and mom attatched to the calendar making sure we don't miss anything!

Here's a little comparison to last year. Oh, how fast they grow. Here's to a great year boys!

Do they ever learn?

Some days I really wonder if all the teaching and training and hours spent trying to help my children do the "right thing" is wasted. I think they look at me while I talk like I am a fat hot air balloon leaking air. They hear me and know when to say "ok, mom" but I wonder if they ever really learn. And it's easy to ask why I even try or feel like I'm failing over and over. And then, in a rare moment, ever so infrequently, they surprise me - like this...

A little background: Several (like 6) weeks ago, Caden attended an all-day event with a friend. We sent Cade with some money to cover the cost of meals. As he arrived home at the end of the day, he was pennyless. In asking him what he purchased...we discovered that his friend's dad had insisted on buying his food and so Cade took the liberty to spend the money we'd sent with him on videogames at one of the restaraunts...$16 dollars worth of videogames!

I set in on one of my "lectures" and explained how disappointed I was and how much trust I'd lost in him. Later that night, Bart repeated his version of the lecture and told Cade that he would have to pay it back. Like usual, the tense moment passes, Cade's off to play and the lesson is forever lost in the black hole of my children's minds. And honestly, as time passed, even Bart and I let it go and forgot about the repayment.

Then last Sunday, (after Caden's birthday had passed where he was given some birthday money from family members) this little "gift" shows up on Bart's desk in the den.

With the note reading...

And inside the bag...

$16 dollars! I was deeply touched and in shock all at once. He had actually HEARD and LISTENED and even GOT IT! The soft side of me wanted to return the money to Cade and tell him how sweet he was and not to worry about it. But I knew that would have undermined his effort to the "right thing". I was proud of him that day and even gave myself a little pat on the back - go mom. If us moms keep trying, they slowly figure it out.
(Slowly is the key word, since I learned from Tyler later that night that Cade let Ty be the "boss for the day" if he contributed $4 of his money to the bag. Oh well, one lesson at a time, right?)
Parenting is one tough job, but the rewards are worth it. I have great kids and I love them to death!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If the going gets rough - get a SUSANNA

I don't know if you call it wimping out or getting smart...but getting a nanny this summer will go down in our book of BEST THINGS EVER!

When I look back to the beginning of summer and think that I ever resisted the idea of a "little" help - I'm just grateful for a wonderful and persistent husband who sometimes knows best.

One of the best parts of our summer was when we got Susanna. She was more than a "little" help - this girl saved me and helped make our summer sunny and bright. She sacrificed 3 mornings of sleep a week to come over for a few hours and be whatever we needed - a ride for someone somewhere, an errand runner, a babysitter (so mom could get away), an extra set of hands on fun outings, a housekeeper, a berry picker, a cookie baker, and a wonderful playmate. My kids absolutely love her and I think she will forever be my hero.
I wish we had taken more pictures. But we will always remember our summer with Susie!
I know she will probably never know what she did for me this summer and just how much she meant...I can only hope that someday when she needs it the most, she will have a Susanna in her life. We love you and we'll miss you Susanna. Good luck at college.

The Scenes of Summer '09

Wolf Badge
Our family attended the Pack Meeting in August (which is a regular occurrence since I am a den leader) where we got to see Caden awarded his Wolf merit badge. Of course there is always a little help from mom when boys earn anything in scouting...but Caden was very good about tracking his achievements and getting his requirements earned. He's off to a good start and graduating up to the Bear Den.

Cade getting his Wolf badge and 3 arrow points from the Cub Master at our outdoor/park Pack Meeting.

Beavers Baseball Game
My parents pulled together a BIG family night for everyone at the ballpark. Papa got a suite and we all enjoyed a little baseball together at the Portland Beavers game in August. The kids loved watching the game from up so high. They were also in heaven with all the food and treats their little bodies could consume.
The mascot "Lucky the Beaver" even made it up to the box for a surprise visit.

Cole and Bo learning from the pros
Lukers has seen more ballgames in his short life than he probably cares to count...and he's still smiling about it!
Family picture time during the 7th inning stretch!

Grammy and Papa with all their grand kids.

Cousins Movie Nights
Whether it was a sleepover or just a babysitting trade-off with the cousins, the night always ended with popcorn and a movie in the dark.
College Football
Go Cougars! We LOVED watching BYU beat Oklahoma over Labor Day weekend for the season opener. It's going to be a good year to be a cougar fan! A perfect way for our sports-a-holic family to spend the day saying goodbye to a great summer and welcome fall.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer Fun at Black Butte

Summer would not be complete without a trip (or two) to Black Butte Ranch. Every year I threaten to just take the kids and go live there all summer long...one of these years, I just might! Grammy and Papa's Black Butte house is our family's FAVORITE place on earth all year long, but summers there are just the BEST!

With endless miles of trails, one of our favorite things to do is go for bike rides. We had to be a little creative in order to get the whole family out for a ride together, but where there is a will, there is a way. I got a good leg workout pulling Bo and Luke behind in the cart. Cole loved riding in the seat on the back of Bart's bike.

Even with our crazy crew, there is plenty of R&R that goes on...relaxing in the hot tub and hanging out on the deck watching the golfers play by.

Spending hot afternoons at the pool are a given.

Caden discovered his love for Italian Sodas (or "Australian Sodas" as he kept accidently calling them) that they sell at the pool cafe.

Bo loved playing in the bubblers and fountains where he could "ninja fight" the water.

Our second trip in August included a few days with friends. We were quite amazed that we were able to schedule it and acutally make it work out, but even more happy to have them join us and share some great times and fun memories.

Ty and his buddy wait underneath the fountain for the big water dump.

A little afternoon guy-time on the putting green at the golf course

You know your friends are great when their teenager lets your 3 year old lick & stick fruit snacks to his face!

As Luke displays...It was so much fun...we came home all wiped out!

It's amazing how a quiet little ranch in Central Oregon can be so much fun. I know the draw for us is more than just fun outdoor activites. It's the family time spent together - just being US. I hope Black Butte will forever have a special meaning to my boys through the years. I love having this place to go to and comparing adventures and pictures year after year. I love everything our summer getaways to Black Butte create for our family.