Friday, May 30, 2008

My baby is growing up too fast!

My baby graduated from Elementary School yesterday! And YES!... I am heart broken. Where did the time go? Sunrise... Sunset... Not only does it mean big changes for him, but for me as well. NO MORE helping out as a room mother, or a teacher's aid, or a PTA officer, or a field trip chaperone. NO MORE making volcanoes, or Star of the Week posters, or helping out at the carnivals, or going to the very hot and long end of the year award assemblies. NO MORE running lunch money over to the secretary, or going to Author's and Book Fairs, or sitting in the hall waiting for SEPs to start, or reading in the hall with students, or helping with the Pentathlon, or Bike Rodeo. NO MORE watching a school Halloween parade, or going to Recorder concerts, or school plays. NO MORE studying for spelling bees, or going to math and science Olympiads, or the end of the year swimming party, or Dare Graduation. NO MORE Reflections award nights, or Star Gazing parties, or Room Mother teas, or Manner Teas, or Amblyopia clinics, OR, OR, OR...the list goes on and on. It is almost endless! All those things and more I have been doing for the past 18 years non-stop and it has now come to an end! I know some of you may think that sounds like a good thing. But not to me! (Well, with the exception of the Spelling Bees!) When I was out running the other day, I ran by his school and he was outside with his buds playing baseball and all I could think is that this is probably the last time this will ever happen. I will never be able to run by again and see him outside playing on that playground. He is growing up! But I don't want him to! I want to keep him little and pure and innocent and unscathed from the world. Something happens when they leave grade school and move into the bigger schools. The innocence is gradually lost and I guess I am just not ready for my baby to already be there! Waaaa!!! I am the baby now!

McKay in his 5th grade graduation hat and his Diploma for earning his B. University Doctorate Degree.

Our grade schools only go through the fifth grade here and so next year he will be in the Intermediate School that is for 6th and 7th graders.

Before graduation on Wednesday, I went and helped with the 5th grade breakfast and year end party at the park. Mmmm...lots of pancakes and fruit for the hungry young-uns.
Don't those look tasty? They were!

They played the Amazing Race for the activity and I helped with one of the stations. McKay is throwing the rings in the center. He did great!

This was a tough game! They had to ring the dowels and the highest anyone got was TWO! I had to change the rules midway or they would all still be there trying!

Some of the cutest girls! I have grown to love them over the years of helping at the school.

Kylee, me, and Robyn.
They said they are going to come and visit me a lot this summer! I hope so!

Just chillin' after the race.

McKay and some of his buds having fun.

(Later in the day at Graduation.)
McKay got to sit on the stand because he earned his Doctorate Degree. He is next to the boy in the orange shirt. I think only twelve earned their doctorates. It is program that requires a lot of extra time doing paper work and then hours in the field you choose. For his Master's he had to do 10 hours. For his Doctorate, 20 hours! He did his 10 hours in Computer Science. He started his own email and I helped him start his own blog! You can check it out here. For his Doctorate he did Landscape Architecture. For those 20 hours he mowed lawns, trimmed bushes, planted a garden, weeded, etc. They can choose how far up they want to go.

Throwing their hats after graduating!

Cooper, McKay, and Carson. The THREE MUSKETEERS. Best buds since birth.

Carson, McKay, Coop, with Parker, the FOURTH Musketeer!

At the awards assembly today...
McKay received the Presidential Academic Award and the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.

The principal presenting awards. McKay is second to the right of him.

His awesome teacher Mrs. Klein!

Last day of Elemenatary School for McKay and all his buds.

I think they are happy to be done!
Being boys!
Video of McKay getting his 5th grade Diploma (strictly for the Grandparents!)

Seth and Taylor signing each other's yearbooks!
Reading what others wrote. They just finished 8th grade!

I will post more photos of today later... my house is currently full of boys (no girls...yet!) and of course they are all starving and waiting for yours truly to feed them.

A few more...
Tay and buds playing fooze ball...

(the spots are from my lens)

McKay and his buds partying late into the night...

I really wanted to post photos of Bryce and his buds because they made their own tye-died shirts in my backyard, (and they did an amazing job for a bunch of teenage boys!) but they escaped before I could get any shots! Dang!
School is definitely out!!!

Bring on Summer!

A sure sign that summer is here!!!

We're so cool, we make ice-cubes jealous!!!

This is my friend Loranine's new Mini Cooper Convertible! Isn't it cute???

We cruised around town in it and boy did it make it heads turn. A group of boys on their bikes stopped and turned and said, "Oh, wow!" Of course, we are just SURE they were talking about US and not the car! Heh heh!

Me, McKenzie, and Loraine. We are heading to go pick up one of our Young Women girls to take her out to dinner. Our hair had a rather different look by the time we got home. That's what I needed the photos of!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PPP #7

Parenting Pointers Post #7
Help for the Frazzled Mom!

Based on Dr. Glenn I. Latham's book The Power of Positive Parenting

"Behave well. Good parenting is first a matter of teaching, second a matter of modeling, and never a matter of reacting." Dr. Glenn I. Latham

I think most would agree that the most important job we have as adults is to be effective parents. Considering the enormous amount of variables that can affect the outcome and development of our children, it can also be overwhelmingly challenging at times as well. We are not given a manual or a guide book when we bring children into the world. We are most often left on our own to figure it out by relying only on our on the job training. Most of us will end up parenting the same way we were parented. The problem with that is the fact that the world is different now and those methods do not always work in today's world. Good parenting is a skill. It is not something that is inborn in us. Thankfully it is something that can be taught and learned. Thus, the importance of learning scientifically proven methods is vital if we want to be successful parents. Thank heavens Dr. Latham's to the rescue once again! Today's post will focus on the importance of spending one on one time with our children and how that can help significantly with many behavior problems.

When we have more than one child, the demands on our time can make it difficult to even sit down for a meal together let alone spend the one on one time we want with each individual child. But there is probably nothing our children want more. Often times children who are not getting the attention they want from their parents will act out or misbehave because they are assured they will most definitely grab our attention that way! With our busy lifestyles it may seem nearly impossible to squeeze in one on one time with each child, but it will save hours of time later in trying to manage inappropriate behavior. It is an investment with high dividends. It may take some creative time management but it will be worth the sacrifice. Children like to feel special and there is no greater way to achieve that than spending alone time with mom or dad.

It can be something as simple as leaving the dishes in the sink and instead taking a walk with your child. But the most effective way is to set a prescheduled time once a week or once a month with each child and have a "kid date" (what we call them). When we started doing this (years ago, before I had even heard of Dr. Latham), I wanted it to be a set date that the child wouldn't forget so they would make sure we made it happen. I knew full well that it would be harder for me to turn down an eager child even if something came up that interfered. We decided to have the date be the date of their birthday each month. So if they were born on July 22nd, then it would be the 22nd of each month. If it fell on a Sunday or a day that was really impossible to work around then we would reschedule it.
With five children, it was not always easy to always pull it off, but so worth it. At first I was the only one doing the kid dates, but then when my husband had more time, we were able to take turns. Just do what works best depending on schedules. The kid dates can range anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours or more. It always ended up working for us because the kids were the ones that made sure it happened! There was one month I took one of them out twice because they missed theirs the month before and they made sure they were not going to get gypped! It may seem impossible to add one more thing, but when you see the rewards that come as a result, it will take priority over almost everything else. And if you can't do it every month, then do it every other month. We have had times where we stopped completely for a while and then just picked it up again when we could.

I always let them choose what we do. We've done things ranging from going to a fish pond and skipping rocks to going over to our church and playing one on one basketball, or going bowling or mini-golfing, to just going and getting something to eat and window shopping. I say window shopping because I had to make the rule that on kid dates I wouldn't buy them anything. I knew it would set a precedence for the others and they would just turn into shopping trips for things they wanted. We could look, but not buy. Sometimes when they were younger we just went to the park and played on the jungle gym or swings. You can go bug collecting or to a movie. It will be different with each child depending on their age. One of my favorite ones was when I took one of them to play on a huge sand mountain we have near our home at the gravel pit. Now they are getting older, we usually just go out to eat at Subway or somewhere and just talk and then usually hit a pawn shop or a store to look at video games. When we are short on time we have sometimes just gone for a ride and got a drink and talked. Talking is huge when you have all sons. That is not something most of them do much of! I have noticed they open up much more when we are driving and they are eating or drinking something!

It gets much harder when they become teens because they are so busy, but teens need it just as much as younger ones, if not more. I have found I have to be available when they have a desire to talk or do something. The main thing is to just do your best and to not feel guilty if you can't do it perfectly or as you always plan. I have been feeling a little guilty just writing this post because we are in a lull right now and haven't been doing it for a while. Time to get back to it! Just do your best and always remember it's the many little things you do with your child - playing a board game, watching a video together, popping popcorn - that leaves the biggest impact.

As always...good luck, and as Dr. Latham used to say:

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Memory of...


Memorial Day was never more to me than just a day off of school and work, a three day weekend, or the sign that school was almost out and summer was near. Growing up I remember going to the cemeteries and taking flowers (always peonies) to set on the graves of those who had passed on. But it has taken on a whole new meaning in the past two years and a half years for me. Since losing our son Tyson, it has become a day of many mixed emotions. It is a day to remember. Remembering is a good thing. Even though at times it can come with a little bit of pain, and some days a whole lot of it. But the ability to remember is a great gift. I treasure each and every memory I have of that boy. What if I didn't have that? That would be tough. When I remember all the great moments we shared and his upbeat and comical personality, and that signature smile of his, I am overcome with joy. Sometimes remembering can also be painful. When I remember how much he suffered and endured, and how he did it with the most amazing dignity and strength, the sorrow creeps in. Sometimes the only thing I can remember is how much I miss him. Each and every day I remember how much I love him.♥ Remembering those who have passed on blesses us with the ability to treasure those moments even more because it makes us realize that life really is short and we must cherish each and every second of each and every moment we have been so abundantly blessed with. So on this day as you remember those you loved that have passed on, and those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms, also remember that there are no guarantees in this life and so be sure to hold tight to those you do have near. ♥ Life is a gift... Cherish it...


I couldn't find just the right thing for Tyson's grave this year. I knew what I wanted, but couldn't find it. So I did what any crazy would do, and made my own. I knew it had to be tropical and hawaiian-ish and so I went and bought lots of things that fit that description and then brought out the big gun(s)... every women's favorite tool...the GLUE GUN!

I really had no clear vision of what I was creating, so I just added a little more glue here and there and...


I added a card and his photo and it fit the bill...

McKay checking things out on Sunday

Looking nice... The black thing on the right is just my SIL's skirt ( in case you thought it was a black flag or something gothic! Well, we are in the cemetery afterall!☺)
These shots were taken yesterday. I will post more photos of today later...when we return!

These were taken today...
Just checking things out. It rained nearly ALL day today.

All I can say is..."Boys Will Be Boys"

Maybe someday I can use these as blackmail... :D

Yes, definitely!

We are now at the cemetery where my grandparents and my cousin Shelley who just passed away last month, are buried. This is near where I grew up.

My grandparents grave.

My mom and dad showed up while we were there.

Back to the cemetery in our town. All the lilacs are a rarity for Memorial Day. They are in full bloom surrounding the cemetery this year because we had such a late spring. It is really quite a sight to see all those lilacs and all the beautiful flowers everywhere on the graves.

~Tyson's ~
Still no headstone. I ordered it but the granite came back wrong. Long story maybe for another post.
Happy Memorial Day All!


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