Monday, June 27, 2011

Not This Year

Last night Big Boy #2 found out that he did NOT make the All-Star baseball team. He was devastated. Frankly, so was I.

There were plenty of reasons why we thought he would make it: He's had a great season this year. He's been pitching and fielding like a champ. When the coaches watched him pitch at the try outs he got five strikes from six throws. Plus, odds were in his favor. The coaches had vetted the kids pretty well and so there weren't a million kids trying out.

Of course there were reasons he wouldn't make it: Top on the list is that he had basketball camp the same week as try outs. (We didn't realize the conflict until too late.) He would play basketball for six hours, only to have about twenty minutes to get himself together before leaving for try outs. By the end of the second day he was out of steam and was struggling to get even basic ground balls. Plus, his batting could be stronger.

But putting it all together, he still thought he had it. So did I.

The coaches said they would call only those who made the team by Sunday night. Do you know how VAGUE that is? (And really, post a list so there can be a definitive answer!) As the night wore on, he saw his chances diminishing. By 8:45pm he was in tears.

So here is the question: When do you let your kids get into a situation where they can fail? I'm not talking about striking out, or getting a poor grade. I mean the kind of thing were they throw themselves into something, hoping against hope to be successful only to find they didn't cut it.

I philosophically disagree with the mushy 'every one's a winner' mentality. I think trophies for showing up are great, but only for the very youngest of kids. I also believe that self-esteem comes from doing hard things, not from being told you are fabulous.

But, my sweet, little, barely ten year old was crushed last night. And I can't help but wonder how this might shape him as a person. BB#2 is naturally upbeat and confident. I want him to continue to be confident, excited and positive about himself as an athlete and as a person. He has the rest of his life to be told that he didn't cut it. Why should he hear that now?

I will admit to shedding a tear or two of my own last night. Not because I care about the team itself, but because I hate to see my child hurting. He was talking about maybe trying out again next year, but what if he were to be cut again? Do I take that chance with him? Arrr! I hate this!

Double Digets

Big Boy #2 turned TEN last week. He is so excited to be in 'double digets' now. Instead of having a big party with a bunch of friends, BB#2 opted for a smaller, longer celebration. So we invited three of his good buddies over for a day of bowling, baseball and a water balloon fight.
The water balloon fight somehow morphed into water kickball, where I would spray whomever had the ball with the hose as they played. They were drenched by the end but loved it!

Dinner was at Red Robbin, complete with shake AND ice cream sundae. Good stuff!

Big Boy #2 at TEN:
LOVES: All sports, but especially baseball and basketball, his Nintento DSi, playing Wii, reading, writing stories, hanging out with his friends, treats (especially Slurpees) adventures, cracking jokes.
HATES: going to bed, weeding, not making as much money as BB#1 does mowing lawns, being worn out, getting bugged by his brothers.
"I don't like sleeping. Sleep is boring."
"Where are there the most desserts? THAT'S where I want to go on my mission."
"I'm collecting scars."
"You learn to be a good ducker (as in ducking) when you come from a family of three boys!"

Here is a letter he wrote to his fifth grade teacher 5/31/11:
"Dear Fith Grade Teacher,
    I am looking forward to being in your class next year.  Here are some things about me.  I love to play sports especially basketball and baseball.  I also love to solve puzzles.  I also love math.  I love adding, subtratcting, multiplying, and dividing.  I love to work with fractions too.  I love reading too.  I love verry challenging books with humor, action, and a author who has a wild imagination.  Right now I am reading the Percy Jackson series.  I love it.  Although my favorite subject is social studies.  I really like studying about old people, wars etc.  I pretty much like everything in scoial studies.  I like writing. I write HUGE stories.  I love topics that you can use your imagination.  I'm looking to do many things in fith grade.  I want to learn new things in every subject.  I also look forward to read more challenging books and write longer stories. 
Big Boy #2"
We love you SOOO much buddy! You are smart, funny, kind, warm and good. You bring such humor and light into our family. I can't imagine not having you in my life. I love you more than words could say!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mesa Verde

Since the historic Mesa Verde ruins were only an hour down the road from Durango, I took the boys to see the park while Diamond was off working to earn this whole little getaway.

It's hard to even comprehend the idea of something being 1,000 years old. When the Caboose asked "Where do they keep theirs cars?" or "How do they get to the store?" I realized I'm not the only one.
The big boys were mostly excited to climb all the ladders.
And loved climbing down into the ceremonial kiva.

We toured both Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace. I wanted to check out the Balcony House, but one of the park rangers said that would work only if the Caboose would stay RIGHT next to me. HA! Hardly! (Although, he really did do a good job of staying safely closeby.)
It is such a unique site to see something so very, very old in the US. So much of the history of this country is young, like the United States itself. It's cool to see something a little older.

Rocky Mountain High

We just got back from a bit of a tour of Colorado. Diamond had business in both Glenwood Springs and Durango, and since the boys are out of school we decided to come along.

After our night in Glenwood Springs, we took the Million Dollar Highway through Oary and Silverton. The vistas were some of the most amazing I've seen in the entire world. Absolutely stunning!

Of course the camera doesn't do it any kind of justice, but there were countless places to pull over and snap some shots.

While we were driving along, we noticed this exceptionally large waterfall, maybe six feet across. So we pulled over to get a closer look. There was a little pool of water off to the side and the boys braved getting close enough to put their feet in. But the water was coming so fast and so strong that they quickly wanted to move up and away from the falls.

Along the way we stopped for a few hours in Silverton and wandered around the little mountain town, throwing rocks in a stream and hiking up part of a mountain. But the boys favorite part was riding in an old fashioned elevator. Super cool!

The Caboose, Diamond and Big Boy #2 playing in the stream.

Big Boy #2 combing for rocks to throw into the stream.

What a beautiful way to spend a day!

My mountain man!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Preschool Grad!

My last child had officially passed from preschool into the ranks of an elementary school student. Hard to believe. My babyyyyyy!!!

His little school did a full program, complete with marching in to Pomp and Circumstance and handing out 'diplomas'.
When we first signed the Caboose up for the five hour, three times a week preschool, I was literally nauseous at the thought of having him away from me for so long. It seemed like I was putting my kid in daycare so I could do my calling: NOT OK. Once I got released, preschool did, in fact, became my daycare. I was worked the whole time he was in school, Tuesday and Thursday teaching class and then Wednesday I would spend prepping. It actually worked out perfectly. Plus, he LOVED going to school. Looking back, I couldn't have planned it all better.

I love that my mom is close by and can come to these kinds of events!
The Caboose's teachers were great: Ms. Sally and Ms. Barb. They had great things to say about our little Caboose. He learned a lot that year, including some great beginning reading skills.
With preschool now in the books, I thought a little review was in order.

The Caboose on the first day of preschool with his friends from church. There were FIVE little boys all from church in that preschool class - about 1/3 of the entire class! It was great to see those boys become buddies.
The Halloween party at preschool. The Caboose was Captain America in the back row.
The Christmas program. The Caboose is in the back, right side.
The Caboose, the flesh-nosed reindeer (sung)
The Caboose liked recess and art the best, then snack and lunch next. He looked forward to each day. It was great fun for him!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Visit from Grandma & Grandpa

Last month we were able to have Diamond's parents over for a visit. It was great fun to celebrate Mother's Day with Diamond's mom. Here she is with the boys, right before church. (Um, yes, I do believe that Big Boy #1 is taller than Grandma now!)

Of course, Mother's Day wouldn't be the same without my giant Mrs. Field's cookie slathered in fudgy frosting! (Deliver to me in bed no less!) Diamond asked once if I wouldn't rather have some flowers or something. Umm, nooo.
Before the grandparents left, we managed to get them to play some back yard baseball.
Even Grandpa got a hit in!
It was a wonderful weekend. Thanks for coming!

Blog Book

I did it! I finally turned my blog into a book and I couldn't be happier with the results!

My friend recommended The final project is about the size and heft of a college textbook. It turned out to be 420 pages with pictures on the front and back covers. The best part is that the site downloaded all my text and photos from my blog and then I was able to totally manipulate both the text and images. I could make the images as large as 8x10 (full page) or as little as I wished. I did spend a significant amount of time working through how I wanted everything to print, but I am really happy with the final product, so I think it was worth the effort. The print quality is excellent.

I will say that once in the process the whole thing crashed on me. Luckily, I had a backup copy, but it doesn't let you save to an outside source. It was pretty easy to use and although it would freeze on me sometimes, I learned how to avoid that pretty quickly. One feature I really loved was the search and replace. I was able to take out all the "Big Boy #1"s and replace them with my kids actual names. Although it was kinda funny how it took Vern out of the middle of some words, like oVERNight. Oh well.

I'm just thrilled that I have a hard copy of my blog. It cost about $100 for the whole thing and I figure that since I haven't printed actual pictures over the last three years, it's a bargain. Yes, I've been doing this for three years, and now I have a permanent copy of all those memories. Yea!