Thursday, January 17, 2019

Wesley is 7

Wesley is 7!!
He is as sweet as sugar, and his birthday was simple and enjoyed by all.
We started the day with waffles
and he marched off to school as happy as could be.
We were planning to meet him at school for lunch
and when he walked into the lunchroom with his birthday crown on he was exploding with joy.

We ate lemon broccoli bowtie pasta and french bread for dinner and then had his cake
(decorated as he requested with a BYU football helmet sculpted out of rice krispie treats)
and he opened presents.
Wesley gives THE. BEST. reactions to gifts. Those faces can't be beat!!

We were cracking up to see his excitement over a Christmas piano book.
I started teaching Wesley piano around the beginning of the summer and he has surprised me by flying through songs and figuring out how to play well beyond his assigned level. The other day he sat down with a Primary songbook and started playing both hands together (!!) and he also started playing the beginning chords of "Praise to the Man" just by ear. He told me he sometimes figures songs out in his head while he's at school. I think music is his natural gift!

Even with that excitement over the piano book, though, he was probably most excited about his remote control car.

Wesley is a pure delight to have in our family.
As a baby, we noticed how he seemed to have an unusual brightness and innocence about him. With his blonde hair, bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and sunshine-y disposition, he seemed to literally exude light.
At 7 years old, he has not lost that sweet innocence and we are grateful for his goodness every day.

-Wesley loves school. He has amazing penmanship and when I asked what the best part of his day was recently, he replied by listing every part of school...he loves it all!

-He is quite the little artist! He has a really distinct style of drawing and effortlessly draws detailed scenes filled with emotion.

-He loves to read and can often be found curled up somewhere reading (or reading in any one of a number of unusual positions, such as standing on his head with his lower body propped up on the couch).

-He is super good at staying on task. He will wake up to his alarm, get totally ready for school, and then come downstairs and begin making his lunch without being asked.

-Wesley loves foods from the bread family. His favorite dinners are avocado pasta and lemon broccoli bowtie pasta and he is ecstatic on the rare occasion I pick up a loaf of french bread--he will eat almost the entire loaf himself!

-He also loves babies. He enjoys playing with Benson and getting him to smile, just as he enjoyed being with Maxwell.

-Wesley is a peacemaker. He is easy to get along with and is a mellow, kind friend.

-He has the most contagious laugh and when he starts giggling he gets all of us going.

We are so grateful to have Wes in our family--I don't know where we would be without him!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I'm Brave

On Friday, Maxwell's finger got pinched in a bench and was bleeding quite a bit.
I was cleaning him up and attempting to soothe his sadness and quiet his cries
when I made the comment, "You're so brave!"
"Yeah!!" he replied.

And then for the next several minutes he kept looking at his finger and declaring adamantly,
"I'm braaaave. I'm braave."
He stood at the top of the stairs and yelled down to Lincoln.
"Lincoln?? LINCOLN??? I'm braave!"
When his brothers got home from school he showed off his bandaged finger and said again,
"I'm brave!"

I was struck by how quickly my comment became a part of his identity.
While I was grateful he immediately internalized my passing comment,
I was also hit with a pang as I remembered times my comments hadn't been quite as positive to my boys.
Although I've always been careful to not give our kids negative labels,
I have said things like,
"Why can't you guys stop fighting?"
"It isn't hard to remember--just put your shoes in the shoe basket when you take them off!"
"They're picky eaters."

And whether I mean to make those things part of their identity or not,
my boys are hearing,
"I always fight with my brother."
"I'm not smart enough to remember to put away my shoes."
"I won't ever like those foods."

Thankfully the positive comments we give far outweigh the negative ones,
but that little incident with Maxwell motivated me to strive even harder to address bad behavior without connecting it to a child's identity--
to say things like,
"You are such a kind person and I really hope you will start showing that kindness to your brother now."
"I know that you'll be able to remember to put away your shoes."
"The boys are good at trying everything I ask them to. I used to not like many foods but I kept trying them and as I got older I began to like a lot!"

I'm grateful for the continual opportunities I'm given to learn and change.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Talmage's Birthday Party

As I mentioned before, we decided on a "wilderness survival" theme for Talmage's birthday party.
I had such a blast putting it together!
We kept things pretty simple, but all the boys seemed to enjoy the activities.

Planned activities:
-making bows and arrows out of wire hangers, string, and wooden dowels
-target practice with bows and arrows
-decorating drawstring backpacks
(these were later filled with water, trail mix, bows and arrows, and birdfeeders for the boys to take home)
-plant and bug identification challenge
-obstacle course relay race
-making peanut butter/pinecone bird feeders
-disgusting food challenge

I was most looking forward to the disgusting food challenge...
what 8-10 year old boy doesn't enjoy showing bravado by gulping down disgusting things??
Sadly, as I was bidding the last guest good-bye, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to do it!!
I was so busy keeping the party going that it totally slipped my mind.
I was super disappointed.

The boys seemed to really enjoy themselves, however,
even without sardines in their mouths.
I was kept busy enough during the party that I didn't have much of a chance to take pictures!
But here are a few highlights:

We had Talmage's birthday dinner a couple of days previously, on his birthday, as a family.
He requested cheeseburgers, chocolate bran muffins, honeycrisp apples, and a BeyBlade stadium cake.
Are you familiar with BeyBlades? They are super fun tops that you wind up and then launch into a stadium and they battle each other with different abilities.
I was looking for ideas online, so the kids were looking with me and I explained that ours wouldn't look as good as the pictures I was looking at.
I was decorating his on his birthday after the wasp incident
and I was kicking myself for ever beginning to make birthday cakes that look like something.
Seriously, it takes all day and it destroys my kitchen and it seldom tastes as good as my regular cakes and I am almost never happy with the end result.
But then the boys came in to take a look.
I was met with a chorus of "Woooowww, Mom, that is incredible!!" "I bet if you put that on a cake decorating website everyone would think it was fondant!" "You got the frosting so smooth!" "That is amazing!!"
It was all so sweet, but I think I would have preferred a chorus of
"You know, we don't care if our cakes look like a non-edible object."
Even with all the little-boy encouragement,
that tradition might soon go out the window.
Here is a picture of his very mediocre cake:

9-year-old Talmage:

-is a great helper around the house and is especially good at helping Maxwell and keeping him happy with piggy back rides, making up games to play with him, and keeping him safe.

-loves studying non-fiction and memorizing facts with his near-photographic memory. He got a book of 5,000 awesome facts for Christmas and has been reciting random facts to me since then.

-is always up for trying something new, whether it's a food, an activity, or something else.

-is still a voracious reader and excels in his school work. I'm grateful for extra school programs and awesome teachers who want to challenge his brilliant mind and not accept less than what he is capable of.

-loves Scouts.

-is always thinking critically and asking "why." One day he told me he thought a watermelon sounds hollow when it's ripe because the sound waves travel more quickly through something that is juicy since it has more liquid in it. He is always coming up with things like that.

-loves creating and is constantly making cool creations out of paper, cardboard, tape, wooden skewers, etc. The latest was his own board game called "Divers vs. Sharks."

-thinks he wants to be a mechanical engineer when he grows up.

-just got the school character quality award for "self-discipline," because when his peers are talking at inappropriate times or speaking crudely he refrains from joining in. I was so grateful to hear that! He can be trusted to make good choices even (probably especially) when we're not around.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Catching Up

The holidays are over,
we've returned from our trip to Utah,
birthday season has passed,
I finished writing an 80+ page book for Sam for our 10th anniversary,
I finished President Nelson's Book of Mormon challenge,
my baby is sleeping through the night and taking consistent naps
(or at least, he was before our trip...),
and I am finally feeling like I can take a breath.

Blogging hasn't been a high priority for quite some time,
but I do want to record events that took place during my absence,
so I'll be playing catch-up for a while.

Feel free to tune out for a few weeks if that doesn't strike your fancy!
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