Friday, April 16, 2010

Baseball, Books, Buffets, and Nerf Bullets

Some of our Saturday's are filled with rest, especially when certain MS symptoms show themselves. Some Saturdays are filled with family fun. Still others are productive days where we get things done around the house.

It's a rare Saturday when we are able to have family fun AND be productive.

Saturday, April 10, 2010, was fortunately one of those Saturdays where we had some fun family time in the morning, and still had some productive time in the afternoon. It was a wonderful day, and the boys enjoyed it a lot.

We started the day with a first--we went to Lowe's for a kids building workshop. They provide kits and aprons for each child, and let them use tools. After the kit is built the children get patches to sew on their aprons and a certificate. Tyler now wants to go back every time there is a clinic, and I think it's as much for the patches as the building projects!

April 10 was a perfect kit for our boys--they built a miniature baseball game, complete with ball, that they could then play after it was built! Both boys were very excited to get started.

They opened the kit and sorted out the pieces, then started going over the directions. This is Tyler's special area--following directions--and Shawn loves to follow his brother.
With some help from Daddy and the Lowe's workshop leader, the boys built their baseball games.

Lowe's Kids Workshop 4/10/10: Baseball Game from DigiLaura on Vimeo.

Once the games were built, it was time to play with them!

After our baseball building fun, we headed for some books. We needed new stories for bedtime, so we went to the Fayetteville library. The boys and I renewed our cards (and paid some fines), while HoneyBear got a new card. Tyler went for the digital card catalog to find books for a research project, while Shawn was drawn to the computers, from which we had to drag him away when it was time to leave.
After much deliberation, HoneyBear chose 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for our next family read. I'm not sure if our current musical about diving under the sea had any influence, but it was a good choice.

After leaving the library, it was time for lunch. The cafe I was hoping for had closed since the last time we were there, which was admittedly a while ago, but we were able to drive by the Razorback baseball stadium in our lunch quest. Since we had spent the morning building a miniature baseball game, seeing the actual baseball stadium seemed appropriate. With my lunch choice no longer available, we decided upon a favorite of the boys, especially the big boy--Chinese! Somehow this has become a common theme, though HoneyBear would say we don't go there enough. We do go enough, apparently, that the owners and several of the wait staff know us, making the boys happy.

After a full morning, we made it home. With pretty weather and a desperate need to get some cleaning done, we opened up the garage and became productive in the afternoon. The boys enjoyed this process, since we found several stored toys that hadn't yet been used, as well as some that had gotten buried. The favorite of the afternoon was a Nerf tag set, though Shawn struggled a bit playing by the rules!

Nerf Tag from DigiLaura on Vimeo.

Our fun and productive day was a great mix, and created memories for the boys and us. Hopefully we'll be able to repeat the formula soon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do We Already Have a Pre-Teen?

Some things really surprise me. Fortunately, a lot of surprises are good things. Particularly as a pessimist---ahem...realist---surprising outcomes are often a very good thing. Expecting to have to replace the starter in my car and only needing a battery is a good surprise. A card or gift from my hubby that I find in my car is a good surprise (hint, hint...).

Having my sweet little boy, who is only 9 years old, suddenly act like a rebellious teenager, however, is not such a good surprise.

This week is testing week for Tyler. THE testing week. The tests that determine how the school and district is ranked and rated. The tests that he should have no problem doing well on, but still require concentration.

Testing week does not mean he gets away without doing homework or chores, however. It does mean an earlier bedtime.

With testing week upon us, Monday night we saw a side of Tyler that we wish we hadn't. First, he chose to not do his homework. We have been having some struggles with math homework this year. He is consistently not doing his math practice exercises, so he is behind on his multiplication and division facts. This is unacceptable in our house, and he knows it, but the math facts are not fun, so the sheets get forgotten at school. I even bought him a game for his Nintendo DS for Math, but it's not as much fun as his other games.

His homework was to redo questions he missed on his math test, all of which went back to the basic math facts. Not only had he not done them after school, but he did not do any of his work, instead getting on the computer and later on his DS. I asked him about the test just before bedtime, so that he suddenly remembered he had to redo it and get a parent's signature for bonus points.

Instead of gathering to read a book chapter or two before bed, we all gathered in the boys' room to go over the missed problems. Forty-five minutes later, he finally got it corrected. With testing continuing the next day, staying up that far past bedtime was problematic, so we skipped our reading. We hurried to get them into bed and tucked in, and went about our evening.

An hour later I discovered a problem.

At about 9:45 I went back to my room to go to the bathroom. Hearing a noise from the boys' room, I prepared myself to get Shawn back into bed. This is a regular occurrence, unfortunately. I was quite surprised to find Shawn sound asleep and looking quite angelic. This was a good surprise.

I was also surprised to see Tyler in his glasses, even though I thought I remembered him putting them on his bedside table. I was even more surprised to move his covers and discover something unexpected. His DS, which was supposed to stay in the other room at night, had somehow gotten into his bed. It had somehow been turned on. It had somehow been in the middle of play. My child had somehow done all this in order to play games. To top it off, he excused himself by saying he just has a problem stopping playing the games.

Fortunately for him, it's quite easy for us as parents to help him with this problem. In his words, he is now "banned" from the DS. He is also not to be on the computer at Grandma's house after school, since that time is supposed to be used on homework. I would be surprised if he were to do something like this again anytime soon.

I hope that this is the only surprise of this type I have from him. Of course, as a realist, I know that I'm likely to be in for some other situations as he gets older.

Hopefully he'll surprise me and his teenage years will be wonderful. Because I think we have already started the process.

I think we now have a pre-teen.