Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Grief

There are moments as a parent that break one's heart. Like sitting beside your kids after decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music and enjoying the lights, sipping hot cocoa.... and having your daughter burst into tears because she misses her cat so much. "He should be here. He didn't even get to see the Christmas tree." What do you say to that? I wish I could make the pain go away, I wish I had a mommy magic wand. I miss Bandit too, sometimes a lot. There are animals that come and go from your life, and then there are those ones that have a special spirit that captures your heart and Bandit was such an animal.

Just as sad, I know his brother Garfield still misses him terribly. They were so close, always sleeping together, playing, or snuggling. And Bandit was such a neat freak that he always groomed Garfield (who apparently didn't keep himself to high enough standards for Bandit). Garfield will actually let the dogs groom him these days, and he has gotten a lot clingier since Bandit died. It must be hard not to even understand where he went.

I know that holidays are often hard for anyone who is grieving a loss, even if it happened many months ago. I guess I shouldn't have been broadsided by this one but I didn't even see it coming. I hope someday the pain will lessen for her, and for all of us. It maybe seems silly when so many people have lost loved ones to be grieving so for a cat, but he was a good guy and I miss him too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Fun From the Kiddos

Mackenzie pretty much keeps me laughing on a daily basis. The other day I took him with me on a run to Costco. While I prowled around the edges picking up foodstuffs, he headed into the center to the games/toys/books/video games sections. Later when we reunited, he told me that several older adults had approached him and asked his advice on buying video games for their grandchildren and that he helped them make good choices that will result in happy grandkids on Christmas morning. Then he quipped: "My new job: teenage video game consultant to the elderly".

He's also been impressing me lately with his computing acumen. He set up a website for me for a recent project, has been programming all kinds of nifty things (including his own screen-time timer that reminds the user that it's time to take a break for the sake of their eyes) and on the robotics team he wrote a line-following program that allows the robot to navigate by using the light sensor to detect when its over a black line and follow that line to its destination. The code includes sub-routines, calibration, decision statements and loops. His coding skills are leaps and bounds above where they were a year or two ago.

And speaking of Amazed with a capital A (for Asa), she called me into the living room this morning to show me that not only did she learn the piano part for Apologize by One Republic but that now she can play it and sing at the same time. For those of you who play the piano, you know this is quite a difficult skill to acquire. So let's see, she learned to play the piano with a keyboard class last spring. By the end of class she's playing with two hands, now she's playing something like this AND singing. She just blows me way the heck away. I'll have to get her on video when she feels like she's got it polished up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Life With the Pun-Meister

Over the lunch table today, Mackenzie is commenting on Asa's tendency to only eat the middles of her grilled cheese sandwiches:

"Oh great, my sister is the Anti-Crust!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Knew?

Who knew that teenage boys are every bit as hormonal and emotional as, say, an 8-months pregnant woman? One who hasn't slept in three days and has no chocolate in the house. Certainly not I, but I'm learning fast. Those of you with older boys can kindly stop laughing now.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Benefits of Raising Self-Sufficient Kids

This week I got to find out exactly how well I've been raising the kids to do things for themselves. Yes, I devised a little test for them, called breaking my hand, to force them to show me their self-sufficiency skills. Seriously, I did break my hand (just a little break in one finger bone) in karate class this week, so I'm all splinted up for a few weeks. By the next morning, they were blessing me with their abilities to not only fend for themselves, but take care of me as well. From Asa cooking me eggs for breakfast and taking care of the chickens to Mackenzie walking both dogs and helping me tie my shoes, the roles were definitely a reverse from a few years ago when I did all of these things for them.

It's just one more reminder that when we give our kids the ability to learn these skills like cooking (even with a hot skillet) in a safe environment, that by the time they're a decade old they can take on almost any task in the house. I know that a few generations ago, these things would be taken for granted. There was so much work to be done (gardening, tending the cows, churning the butter, gathering the eggs, hand-washing the laundry) that everyone had to pitch in. But these days our kids are often so busy with activities that sometimes it's just easier to do the household work ourselves instead of taking the (sometimes much messier and more lengthy) route of helping them learn to do it. The first time a kid folds laundry or cooks an egg, it's likely to involve so much more time and energy from you to help them than it would be to just do it yourself, but in the long run we do them (and ourselves) a big favor by having the time and the patience to help them learn these skills.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

October Fun

October is over and Halloween has come and gone. It's been full of visits to pumpkin patches, Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, harvesting fall fruits, carving pumpkins, and the joy of a new puppy. Here's a few pictures from our October: