Mason Can Ride a Bike!

It happened so fast! Dan and I had tried to get Mason pumped up about taking off his training wheels ever since his fifth birthday in March. We finally took the plunge, but then he resisted practicing and just wanted the training wheels put back on.

One day, Mason came home and said that they were having bike day at school and you can bring your bike in to ride around with your classmates. I said to Mason “Wouldn’t it be so neat if you could ride your bike without training wheels before bike day at school?” He shrugged, and then decided he wanted to give it a try. We tried in the driveway a few times, but nothing much came of it.
I knew if he could just practice balancing then he would be a little more confident. So, that evening I searched on youtube how to teach a kid to ride a bike. I came across a video that suggested removing the pedals. So, I thought I’d give it a try. Dan took them off one weekend and he practiced just taking big long steps on his bike downhill… just to practice balancing. Then Dan left for a business trip, and I asked if he was comfortable putting the pedals back on, and he said he was, and so we did. I wasn’t prepared at all for what happened next, and neither was he. We went down to the cul-de-sac and he almost immediately started pedaling! He surprised himself after three revolutions, and stopped and just turned to look at me shocked. I told him not to move a muscle and I ran back home and grabbed my phone to video it! He did it! I was so proud!!


Mason turns Five!

We had such a great time celebrating our sweet boy! We had his party at a fun indoor trampoline park called Get Air. He and some of his best buddies; Allie S., Allie C., Alex, Kai, Noah and of corse Mason and Sienna enjoyed jumping and celebrating! He told me it was the best birthday party ever, which makes me feel like we’ve done a great job. Not just with selecting the party location, but with raising a kid who is appreciative and thankful to be celebrated.  He asked for a specific Lego City set that was an arctic mining station. He really enjoyed building it with the help of his brother, and has loved playing with it! We also got him some digging supplies since he’s such an outdoorsman and loves any reason to dig and explore in the woods!

 

 

My sweet Mason

 

This new year is moving on well. We’re full force into February, and March is lurking around the corner with Mason’s birthday coming up. Mason will be five soon.  Life just keeps moving on. I can’t complain at all, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll  be a half of a decade old!  Yes, hard to believe for sure, but my baby boy is growing up so fast. I began pre-registration for Kindergarten for him last week, and he has become such a smart kid. I just can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!

I have a few things that I see in him that makes me really excited about his future.  First of all, he’s very self motivated and quite a bit of an independent thinker.  For example, our afternoons go something like this: Mason, Sienna and I get home from preschool, we eat lunch, we admittedly watch a bit of TV, and then Sienna typically takes a nap, although there are days that I let her stay up now that she’s getting older, and then that’s when I see Mason work his magic.  When I move on to catching up on chores, cleaning up lunch, and sometimes, taking a rest myself, Mason takes it upon himself to make his own little lego creations. These things are fantastic creations too. They have special features, and Mason uses adult words like hydraulics, and combustion engines, not really knowing what they really mean, but knowing they sound official.  He’ll also add things like “special blasters” to up the cool factor, of course.

Another thing that intrigues me about Mason is that he, unlike the rest of the members of the family, doesn’t really care as much for technology or screen time.  He’s not one to watch a long show, or sit on his iPad. We typically have to beg and plead on movie night for him to sit with us to watch the whole thing.  He gets bored easily watching a screen, and wants to be building, creating, letting his mind go wild to see what he can do to make pile of bricks turn into something impressive.  One thing he has use his iPad for is inspiration.  He’ll occasionally go to YouTube Kids and use the voice command to watch short clips of lego demonstration videos.  I catch him hitting pause so he can try and mimic what he’s watched with his legos.  All of this has been self directed. Another time, he found an old lego instruction book and built the entire car back, but with different colorful pieces. It took him almost an entire day to find all the pieces from a huge bin of legos that he painstakingly and carefully sifted through to located the correct size the instructions asked for. Again, an idea he came up with.

He is so bright and gifted in so many ways. It’s really been a joy to see how he’s grown. I’ve been reminding myself of these things, and trying my best to be intentional about compliments.  Of course, all kids need praise, but I feel like with Mason’s sensitive personality, he really needs us to do it often.  I’m starting to think it is his love language.  We have to be intentional about giving him the kind of attention that entails positive praise and not the negative attention that he sometimes asks for when he acts out.

In school, we’ve only gotten great reports back from his teachers, but in all honesty, at home Dan and I often struggle parenting Mason when he gets frustrated and angry over what we would see as very trivial things.  He can be sensitive at times or just plain moody.  If he doesn’t keep his moodiness in check, it escalates to full on anger rage in no time.  This is something that we have been working with him on.  As he grows and matures we are hoping that we can guide him in a way that he learns positive ways to cope with big feelings.

With all that being said, because he feels so deeply, he also loves very deeply. It’s not hard to tell that Mason really enjoys feeling secure, affirmed, and enjoys giving hugs and kisses. He’s such a sweet boy and can be very affectionate. When it comes to him making sure we know that he loves us, he does a great job.  This makes me feel like we’re doing something right in that area.

Mason tried  baseball for the first time in the fall. He said he wanted to try it, and he did okay, but he’s still learning.  He’s also learning to keep a positive attitude even when he’s not very good at something. It’s all just a trial and error as far as sports go at this age.  I don’t want to be that parent that forces our kids into doing things that they don’t want to do.  My only request is that they stay active. I think this is an important part of being a healthy kid!  This year we’ve decided to try him in swim lessons.  He’s had lessons before, but now that he can swim, it’s more working on breaths and technique. He’s been taking classes every Friday.  He’s cried a couple of times (because it’s hard work, and he misses his Mommy…, I know he’s almost FIVE, but he wears his feelings) However, he’s been doing incredibly well at swimming. He’s become super confident and I am beyond proud of his determination!

One thing I have learned as a parent is to be careful of labels. I try not to label Mason as the “sensitive one” or my “builder” of the family. He is multifaceted and still learning, growing, and changing. All we can do as parents is love and encourage him as much as we can, help him to realize his gifts and talents, and help equip him with the tools he needs to be the best he can be. I’m along this journey of mothering him, not making him fit into a predetermined mold.

All the while he’s teaching me, all of my kids are, teaching me the best way they can relate to others, and feel loved and accepted. My kids have been some of my best teachers, and I continue to learn from them!

My oldest started KINDERGARTEN!

This back to school season was a big one for us because Parker started Kindergarten! Parker was super excited to go, but I was a mess. A. MESS! It’s yet another reminder how fast he is growing and how our time is so precious while they’re young. He’s so ready, with him approaching six, he waited as long as possible with the cut-off date being August first (thank goodness!) he had to wait one more year before starting.

So, with me having more jitters that Parker did about him starting this new endeavor, we thought it would be fun to make bracelets together so that he could remember me while he was at school, and so that I would feel comforted when I started feeling sad about him taking such a step in going to big kid school!

Parker's First Day of School

It also helped that he has lots of friends that joined him on the bus, too. I don’t think I would’ve been so accepting of doing the bus if it wasn’t for the fact that there were so many people we knew riding. Also, I heard that it was strongly encouraged because of the super long carpool line during drop-off. It was still really hard for me realizing the fact that I had to just let go of control and trust the driver of the bus, and his teachers and know that God was watching over him through all of it. I wasn’t so sure about the bus on the first day because the windows were so tinted on the new bus models, that I couldn’t even see where Parker went, much less wave to him as they drove away. Not exactly what I had envisioned. I called the bus driver mid-day (I know… I was THAT Mom) but it really helped calm my fears to talk through some of the things that made me nervous (no bus numbers, not seeing my son in the first few rows like he promised, no adult “helper” on the bus to help get the kids seated, etc.).

So far, Parker has loved school and has made lots of friends. That part usually comes easy for him! Maybe a little too easy, actually. There is a neighbor friend that is in his class that he didn’t know well, but they quickly became good buddies. The two of them had to be separated for excessive talking and goofing off in class. It doesn’t surprise me a bit because Parker may be the goofiest out of all the kids and he doesn’t miss an opportunity to make someone laugh or be silly! It’s almost to his detriment. While I love his enthusiasm and positivity, he lacks the self control at this age to harness it and only use during appropriate times like recess, PE or lunch. He’s working on it though, and I am confident that his positive attitude will serve him well as he grows and matures. So, the first few weeks we got a few frowny faces on his behavior chart, but we have since worked through these issues, and I am super proud of his recent efforts of self control and focus in the classroom!

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my boy is growing up. He’s going to be six in a few weeks, and he’s becoming more responsible and his sweet personality shining through. He’s a great helper in the kitchen and he’s doing great learning how to keep up with his chores and duties around the home. I honestly couldn’t be more proud of who my sweet boy, my first born baby is becoming!

 

 

Spring Photos!

I’m still learning about photography, and one of my favorite subjects to practice on is my three sweet kiddos! Here are some recent photos that I took with my Cannon 70D 28mm lens. I had the F stop at about 2.2. The F stop goes to 1.8 but I seem to get a lot of motion blur if I’m not focused enough and when I’m dealing with wiggly kiddos! My ISO is set low at about 100. I’m still learning about shutter speed, so I’m not exactly sure what that was set on. I’ve recently been “practicing” with Manual although I’m more comforable in AV mode simply because I feel I don’t know enough about shutter speed to know what I want to set it at in relation to lighting.

Nevertheless, I had a great time capturing my sweet three in their Easter attire a few days before Easter!

Parker, 5
Mason, 4
Sienna, 2

My first born is FIVE!

This weekend was a great weekend. We celebrated our oldest boy turning five years old! It’s hard to believe that he’s such a big kid now.

I stole these questions from Parker’s Four year old blog post last year. The answers are all different!
1. Who’s your favorite action figure? Darth Vader and Luke Sywalker

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? Construction Worker or Firefighter

4. Where are you going to work? At work (with his hands gestured upwards as if to say “duh”)

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Lego Star Wars

6. What’s your favorite book? The books from the library about baseball

7. What’s your favorite toy? Millinium Falcon

8. Who’s your best friend? Walker and Sawyer, Gavin and Mason and Baily (a girl at school who Parker says is SO BEAUTIFUL) and Logan, and Campen

9. What’s your favorite song? Darth Vader March

10. What’s your favorite food? Sandwiches and cinnamon raisen bagels

The weekend started off great with Parker celebrating his birthday at school on Friday and getting to bring home “Lambie” the class mascot. Parker loved that and really had a great time bringing Lambie everywhere he went all weekend.

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Saturday, party time! The friends arrived on Saturday morning. My brother and nephew Gavin got in the evening before. Gavin is almost eleven, but Parker just ADORES him! Gavin is such a good sport too with all the little kids! I made super easy Star Wars Jedi robes inspired from this post I saw on Pinterest:http://www.birthdayinabox.com/activity-guides/star-wars-party-craft-make-a-jedi-robe.html word to the wise though. Just measure your child for the Jedi/padawan robe before buying the fabric. I went by the 6×2 measurement and it was WAY too big, and had a TON of fabric left over. Super easy and no sew, which was great! I also made little pool noodle light sabers inspired by the taped up noodles on this blog:http://www.cleanandscentsible.com/2013/05/star-wars-party-ideas.html The kids LOVED them, and they had their own personalized noodles with their initials on the bottom to keep track of them.

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This year we had the parents drop off the kids. We did it this way for several reasons. First of all, they’re old enough. They’re all around five, almost five, or older. They really don’t need their parents at a party. Last year when we had Parker’s Super hero party, there were several parents mingling and not watching their kids. No fault of theirs… that’s just what happens at a party, but I just found it harder to keep tabs on the kids with more adults believe it or not. Another reason was that we would be watching a Lego Star Wars movie in the theater room, and it would just get too crowded with all the adults there. The party was a bit long with the movie, games, and lunch so I thought it would be more convenient for the parents not to have to tie up half their Saturday at a birthday party. It ended up working out great with just the kids there. Dan and my brother were both a big help with getting the food ready and setting up the games, as well as helping watch the kids, so that made it easier. Nine little boys and one 2 year old little girl made for a busy morning!

So, it was a big hit! As the kids arrived, we played outside for a little bit (practicing their Jedi light saber skills) and each kid got their jedi/padawan robe. Shortly there after, we went down to the basement with popcorn and drinks in tow and watched Lego Star Wars and a short clip of young Anakin Skywalker flying a little ship in a race. The kids LOVED it.IMG_9960

After that, we went upstairs to the playroom where I had decked the room out in balloons hanging from streamers. I told the kids that it was a “jedi training course” and they just loved it! They waited for the music to come on, which was the Star Wars opening song and the Darth Vader march. Not one kid was shy during this. The were all laughing and hitting balloons. It didn’t take long before they were all knocked down, and then they started hitting the balloons on the floor. Lots of fun with soft materials so no one can get hurt!

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Then we took the cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader outside where everyone got to practice their batting skills by hitting a balloon with their light saber to hit Darth Vader. Super fun! It was a little windy though, so I needed a helper to hold Darth Vader up so he didn’t fall down.

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Dan was busy cooking hotdogs on the grill while we were playing outside. The weather was perfect and the kids had a lot of fun, and ran off a lot of energy! They all came in shortly afterwards and enjoyed a nice hotdog lunch, and then of course there was cake and ice-cream, and singing to my five year old big boy! The cake was from a local bakery called The Crafty Cakery. They did a fantastic job and it was exactly what Parker wanted for the party. Parker loved it! It tasted really good as well, which made everyone happy.  This was a different place than where we got Dan’s cake because the Baker’s man is further away, and admittedly the cake wasn’t as great the last time we had it. We liked trying a new place, and will certainly go with them again!fivebirthday05

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fivebirthday04Afterwards, the kids played some more and the parents trickled in to pick up their kids. They each left with a Jedi Knight Certificate that I found and printed off from here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264093965624328053/ the boys really enjoyed having a certificate for the “Jedi training” they did! So much fun!  Parker got a badge that said Jedi Master on it, and he just LOVED it!

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Every year I say I’m not going to overdo it for parties, but I seem to get carried away with making sure my kids have a great birthday experience. This year was no different, but I also felt like it was a big age. Five is huge! An official kid! Plus, the party decor and ideas for a Star Wars party is just too fun to pass up! I had a great time putting on this party for him, and Parker had a blast having his best buddies over to celebrate with him!

That evening we went on a little mother-son date to dinner and  a movie. We had a great time, and it was a great way to end the day of celebrating our big boy! IMG_9977