Monday, January 28, 2013

Uncle Sam is Home!

My brother Sam returned home from his LDS mission in San Antonio, TX  over New Years.  As all returned missionaries do, he had an awesome burning testimony, lots of humility, and lots of love for the Savior and for His Work, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

We only got to be with him all of 48 hours before he headed away to start college.  I am so grateful for his faithful missionary service, especially because I have boys who I hope serve a mission for our church some day.  My boys idolize their uncles, talk about how cool they are, and want to dress like them, act like them, and be like them.  I'm grateful for the awesome example Sam has been because I know my boys want to be just like him.  Same goes with all of my brothers, all 7 of them.

So proud of you Sam!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boys "Fun" Camp

Taylor and Mason plan to attend Scout Camp this coming Summer.  The cost is $200 each, and we've told the boys that it's their responsibility to earn the money. 

Over Christmas Break, my boys decided to hold two days of "Boys Fun Camp" for all boys between the ages of 4 and 8.  The cost was $5 per boy per day. I helped them by thinking through different activities, crafts, snack, "attention grabbers", etc.  But when it actually came time to entertain the boys, Taylor and Mason did it all on their own, and I was pretty impressed.

The first Friday, we had 15 boys show up for two and a half hours.  Taylor and Mason directed them in some stretches (counting out loud just like you see football teams do),then they had some competitions on the trampoline, then some relay races, then a craft, then a snack, then kickball at the neighborhood park.  No one got hurt, thank goodness, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

The second Friday, 10 boys showed up for two and a half hours.  Taylor and Mason started with a few relay races, then taught the boys about bike safety, played Red light, Green light, then a craft and snack.  Then they all headed to the culd-e-sac which was coned off for some bike races.  All of the boys brought either a bike or a scooter.  They weaved through cones, practiced going/stopping at green/red lights (made out of construction paper and Popsicle sticks), and had a few team races.

I watched through the kitchen window a lot of the time and was impressed with a few things.  First, Taylor and Mason always gave really clear directions before proceeding to the next activity, then made sure each of the boys understood exactly what was expected of them.  For example, instead of saying "OK, now we're going to go ride bikes, so go get your bikes", (which would have been an absolute disaster with 10 little boys), Taylor had all the boys sit down and then waited until all were paying attention.  Then he said, "First, we're going to go into the garage, find your helmets and bikes, then wait for further instruction".  Then, after that task was completed, he said, "Now, I want you to ride down into the culd-e-sac and sit down right under Parker's tree in front of his house".  Then, after that was accomplished, Taylor and Mason proceeded to tell the boys what games they were going to play.  I checked outside a few times, and all 10 boys were eagerly waiting their turn in line to ride through the cones, practice stopping at a red "light", etc.  I was surprised to see how organized things went.

We have some darling little boys in our neighborhood, and I'm grateful for their parents who entrusted their little boys in my big boys' care. 

Overall, after all expenses were paid (craft materials, snack) Taylor and Mason earned about a third of their way towards Scout Camp.  And better yet, they had a great learning experience that will some day benefit them as they try to entertain their very own little boys. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No More Passies!

She has graduated from the pacifier, finally!  With all my other babies, I helped them put away childish things, i.e. pacifiers, bottles, etc. . . shortly after they turned one year old.  And for good reason too, because usually there was another "baby" on the way and the current baby needed to grow up and become a big girl/boy. 

But Kate is still our baby, now heading towards 3 years old.  So she still sleeps in a crib, because no one else has booted her out.  And up until two weeks ago, she was still totally and completely addicted to her "passies".  This past six months, we've tried to keep them in her crib and let her use them only for  bedtimes.  But frequently, she'd somehow get ahold of them and hide in the corner while sucking away.  Comfort.  Pure comfort!

As I was christmas shopping at Target one day and going through the toy section, Kate noticed a princess baby doll and wanted to hold it.  Without thinking, I said, "You can have that princess baby when you're ready to give up your passies". 

So for the next few weeks, she would frequently ask me about going to the store and giving the store worker her passie so she could get the princess baby.  We talked about it with the kids, and they each visited about it with Kate. 

Finally, when she said she was ready, we found all the pacifiers in the house and drove to Target.  While in the store, she kept putting them into her mouth, then I would remind her that she was a big girl and that she shouldn't put them in her mouth. She'd pull it out and say, "I'm just kissing it bye bye" and would give it kisses.  So funny!

We found the baby she wanted, went to the counter, and while Abby distracted Kate, I explained what was going on to the store clerk and paid for the baby.  Then Kate came up and stood on the counter, kissed her passies one more time, then very solomnly, almost tearful, she handed them to the clerk as the clerk called her a big girl and handed the baby to her.  Sounds funny, but it was a little emotional for me.  I could tell that it pulled at Kate's emotions.

Since then, we've had a few rough nights.  But I felt like Kate was old enough and aware enough to remember the experience and reason with me.  "Remember Kate, you gave your passies to the store worker at Target. So now you can snuggle with your princess baby instead of your passies."

Now she's a big girl.  But still, my baby.