My wonderful grandparents and mother-in-law still read this sorely neglected blog, so this post is an update for them.
Thomas has had a busy month. He started swimming lessons again and absolutely loves it. He told me tonight that he might not pass his class (they're learning the butterfly--sheesh!), but I think he wouldn't mind taking it again. While he swims, I sit up in the loft bleachers and watch him gleefully jump up and down as he waits for his turn to dive. He is so much more at home in the water than I have ever been and I love that he has found something active that he enjoys so much.
Chess club started this month as well, and he still has piano and orchestra and scouts. He keeps plenty busy. I'm glad that he is busy because it's also been a tough month friend-wise-- Tom's best friend, Nathaniel, moved to Norway mid-month, and he is kind of at a loss. Unlike Gordon, Tom doesn't have a bunch of neighborhood buddies, and it seems like that awful middle school caste system has slowly started to form in 5th grade. Tom is friendly to everyone and I know that most of the kids in his class like him, but he just doesn't gel with anyone else the way he did with Nathaniel. Right now, I am praying for a good friend for my sweet little guy.
Speaking of scouts, last week our cub scouts had their annual Pinewood Derby. Can I just say that I am not a fan of the derby? Tom hasn't really cared about it either, which means that all three years, we've kind of just thrown together a car at the last minute. This year, Tom made the "Nintendo World Tour" bus-- a silver bus with pictures of Nintendo characters on the side. We all thought it looked pretty cool, but it didn't go very fast and Tom was momentarily disappointed that he lost every race. That is a bummer. Luckily, Reed's Dairy ice cream cures many a Pinewood Derby disappointment.
Earlier this month, a friend of ours took Chris, Tom and Gord up in a little airplane for a short flight around the Snake River Valley. The boys had such a fun time (minus the few minutes of turbulence near Palisades), and it was a really fun memory for them. They started in Idaho Falls and flew North over Rexburg and Ashton and around near the Tetons, then ended up right over our neighborhood on their way home. What a fun adventure!
Gordon has been really busy this month as well. In December, he started practicing with his team for the basketball season and this month they had their first game. Unlike the other sports he has played, Gordon hasn't had quite as easy of a time getting into the game. I think it's a lot harder handling the ball, dribbling, shooting, and passing, and having to struggle a little bit has been really frustrating for him. Luckily, he's getting into it more and Chris has taken him to the church to practice indoors a couple of times. The season lasts through the end of the month, so we'll see how it goes.
Gordon is such a funny thing. I've mentioned before that he and I have our challenges, and it's something I think we'll both have to work on for a long time. Right now we're trying something new-- we're both trying to have "good days" where he practices being obedient and helpful, and I practice not yelling. We agreed that we both have to help each other. It is a lot easier for me to keep my voice calm and positive when Gordon responds to what I am saying the first time, and it is a lot easier for Gordon to be cheerful and helpful when I am in a good mood. Every day we have a good day, Gordon gets a sticker. After 10 stickers, we do something fun together. We started this on January 1st and today, the 31st, we got to do our first something fun. It's a work in progress.
Gord couldn't wait until after our other activities and dinner were finished, so while Tom was at swimming lessons, we went to Wal-Mart, bought a little Lego set and a Valentine candy, and called it good. I would have liked to do something a little more one-on-one fun, but Gordon really could not wait and I could see that a fight was brewing, so Wal-Mart it was. Luckily, Gordon was super excited about his Legos and is already talking about what we're going to do in ten more days.
Neil just loves to play and play. His recent obsession is with the movies "Cars" and "Cars 2", and he loves to play with his little diecast figures from the movies. He takes his Lightening McQueen(s) and his Finn McMissile(s) with him everywhere-- they even sit on the bathroom counter while he uses the facilities.
I gave the two car toys the extra "s" because of this: Neil has two of each. Since he takes them everywhere he goes-- in the van, in Dad's car, in his bedroom, upstairs, downstairs, etc, etc, etc, he also loses them constantly. And the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning is "Where's McQueen? Where's Finn McMissile?" So, when he lost the originals, we picked up a couple more. Then we found the originals (in the van and under my bed, respectively) and now he has two. Can anyone say "spoiled"?
Neil graduated from Nursery (the 18-month - 3 year old class in church) to Sunbeams (the class will all turn 4 this year), and after the third week, his teachers informed me that he is a bit of a bully. Apparently he has thrown crayons, hit and threatened to hit, and stepped on childrens' coloring pages. Neil isn't around kids his age very much, so it's always a shock to me when I hear that he isn't a perfect little angel. Okay, not a total shock, but still.
The last thing I want is for one of my kids to be that child, so every day last week, Chris and I talked about how important it is to be nice, how we shouldn't hit or throw crayons, etc. I think it sunk in-- after church this Sunday, I asked his teachers how he was and they both said that he did great. YAY! The one did mention that he touched her leg, which was bare beneath her slightly over-the-knee skirt, and said, "it's poky." Grimace.
At least we're making progress.
That's it for this update-- it's 10:40 and we have another busy day ahead of us!