13 Days of Awesome!!

Sometimes, the best ideas are not ones we create ourselves, but ones we steal (or borrow, if you will) from others. We are grateful to our good friends, the Clemmies, for sharing with us their pretty fabulous way of celebrating a child reaching the rather momentous milestone of becoming a teenager. And so I give you…

13 DAYS OF AWESOME!!

13 Days of Awesome refers to 13 events scheduled at various times on the calendar leading up to the 13th birthday of the child whom is being celebrated. They could be consecutive days leading up to and ending with the actual birthday of the child, but in our case we’ve chosen to stretch it all out a bit given that we are about to enter the holiday season. Admittedly, we did not grab ahold of this tradition when Abigail became a teen (and yes, this oversight has already been expressed to me by my dear daughter) but I always say better late than never.

And so tonight we kicked off our 13 days of celebration for Mr. Jonathan, who, in late December will officially become a teenager!!

Now….those of you young folks who are hard at work calculating when best to try for a baby, come close while I whisper a special secret in your ear, ok?? Listen carefully to what I have to tell you: The most inconvenient week in all the calendar year to celebrate a birthday is the week between Christmas and New Years. Since no one thought to share this little tidbit with us back when we were doing our family planning, our firstborn son’s birthday falls smack dab in between these two wildly popular holidays. Our hope this year is to wrap up this boy’s birthday revelry a full two weeks before the date of his birthday…with the intent that our celebration of Jonathan will hopefully feel a bit more purposeful than it’s ever felt before.

Earlier this evening, we took a family trip out to the Ballpark in Arlington where we were treated to a wonderful concert by Switchfoot. Wow, what a great show, and what a cool band. It was one of the more fun concerts I’ve ever been to — fabulous music, and lots of singing from everyone (including the audience!). My kids love Switchfoot, and I have always been ok with their music, but (for me, at least) there is something hugely significant about seeing someone perform in person as opposed to listening to their music on the radio. That, and the fact that lead singer Jon Foreman shared perhaps my all-time favorite quote ever (by CS Lewis) early in the show, and I was hooked.

Concerts don’t make for amazing photo-opps, but here are a few pics just the same. Per his wishes, I don’t take too many photos these days of my almost-teen, so I was glad he willingly posed for a few this evening.

Pre-concert stop at Steak and Shake to fuel up:

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 Gratuitous and fuzzy concert pic:

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 Happy kids:

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New T-shirt:

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A little surgery

Last week, Jay was kind enough to take the children to their piano lesson for me, since I was at a dr’s appointment. While I was still waiting for things to wrap up with the appointment, an employee from the front desk area popped in to tell me that my husband had been trying to contact me for some time, but wasn’t getting any answer on my cell phone…and oh by the way, he was taking our son to the emergency room. And then there was something about an injured arm…that was all. Which was not nearly enough information for this Momma.

A trip to the ER is never good, but it seems even worse when you are the parent who doesn’t know what is going on, and with which one of your children? After a bit of panic over what might be happening, my first thought was, “I have three sons-which one’s turn is it for an ER trip?”. After all, two of the sons were supposed to be at their piano lesson by now. How many people have been seriously injured at a piano lesson?

Well, suffice to say we have a new rule at our house: no playing in the tree outside Mr. Q’s house before piano lessons begin. It turns out they’d arrived early for their lessons and while they waited for it to be time to go in, Jonathan was swinging in the tree like a monkey. All was well until he attempted what would have been a very impressive dismount, had it not been for the fact that he slipped, and plummeted to the ground. Where he then began screaming in pain and clutching his arm. Jay told me later that it was fairly obvious the arm was broken…that near the wrist, the point of most pain, he could see that the bone angled oddly.

I met them at the emergency room, where our boy who is normally tough as nails, was clearly in a lot of pain, and none too happy about it.

Little brother provided encouragement in the form of helping his brother watch movies on Daddy’s Ipad while they waited for the x-rays to come back.

The verdict was indeed a break, all the way through the radius. Jonathan received a splint from a very nice EMT, and we were told to follow up with an orthopedist later in the week.

Turns out there are lots of orthopedists in the Dallas area, but among our friends, there was one doctor whose expertise with pediatrics stood out, and we visited with him late in the week. We entered his office in rather high spirits: Jonathan and I both thought we were going to walk out of there in a couple hours with a cool camouflage, maybe even waterproof cast.  Instead we received the rather disheartening news that due to the angle of the two pieces of broken bone, Jonathan was going to need to return the following week for surgery in order to properly set the break before they would even consider applying a cast.

To say that this announcement was not happily received is perhaps a bit of an understatement.

And so, tomorrow, our boy will undergo surgery. He is apprehensive about the procedure, and would really like to fast forward to the recovery part of all this so that he can concentrate on figuring out how many signatures he can possibly fit on an arm cast. And me? Well, after the call from the friendly employee who works in the financial portion of the orthopedist’s office, I’m reeling at how expensive it can be to play in trees. And counseling my children that perhaps they ought to strongly consider a career in medicine!

Hair Cuts Again!

Several years back, Jay started cutting our boys’ hair at home in order to save some buckos.

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He even cuts his own now, what a cool guy!

A year and a half ago, I featured Josiah’s first haircut with the flobee….remember this entry??

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Eighteen months later, the poor boy has very little additional hair, but yesterday after Jay finished cuts on both Josiah and Jonathan it struck me that they look a lot alike with their twinkie haircuts…

Here they are post early-morning hair cuts:

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Happy Birthday, Jonathan!!

In keeping with birthday tradition, Jonathan enjoyed the breakfast of his choice this morning. Here he is with his pancakes and bacon (and doing his best “Home Alone” face).

It was especially fun to have Uncle Andrew and Cousin Isaac here today for breakfast too! Happy eight years, Jonathan!!

Separated at birth?

Tricia posted a sweet entry about home schooling Jonathan recently. Here’s the picture she used of Jonathan.

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Is it just me, or is there a striking resemblance to a slightly better known character from Christmas past?

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My Precocious Pupil

So….we are loving our Singapore math curriculum. To better prepare for our year, I spent the summer months working with the two older children on a review of third and first grade, respectively. If you have not used Singapore math from the beginning, jumping in midway, especially if you are wanting to begin “on level”, present challenges. It is an excellent math program, but it requires mental conception and thought that other curriculums, even highly rated ones, do not.  Our school had suggested the summer work, and I am glad we did it; it has made the transition into this year much easier.

Mostly easy, I should say. When one is working with a little boy whose brain likes to skip ahead, there are some challenges, as I saw today.  This morning, Jonathan and I began a unit on “Subtraction With Renaming”, that is, borrowing ten ones from the tens place to stick in the ones place, borrowing ten tens from the hundreds place to stick in the tens place, and so on. We looked at our first problem:

92 – 68 = ?

And before I could even say anything, my child did the subtraction in his head. Brilliant, but you still have to learn this renaming “thing”, Jonathan.

So, I began explaining the concept that since we cannot take 8 from 2, we must “borrow” ten ones from the 3 in the next place over. And Jonathan stops me once again, this time with an almost incredulous-sounding, “But Mom, you don’t need to rename the 2 at all!! Don’t you know: 2 minus 8 is negative 6?!?”

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Eerily Amazing..or perhaps better named: Maybe He Won’t Be Too Hard to Home School

Tonight after I’d tucked Jonathan and Nicolas into bed (they share a room) I went back in to quickly drop off a toy or something and came upon a most interesting scene.

The room was dark as it should be, but Jonathan was sitting up in bed talking; actually as I was soon to learn, he was telling a story, which his little brother (also sitting up in his bed) was listening to with rapt attention. Arranged in front of Jonathan were various Webkins and stuffed animals who normally occupy his bed and he was moving one of the stuffed things while having it say, “I am a Hebrew.  And I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

This made me stop my hasty exit from the room long enough to ask what in the world he was talking about. Surely this was no ordinary “stuffed animal bedtime story”.

“Oh, he’s telling me the story of Jonah, Mom.” Nicolas offered.  Telling the story indeed; it sounded to me like my son was narrating the account verbatim from the text which I knew he had read to himself just the day before while we sat in church during the sermon. Very intrigued by this point I grabbed the nearest Bible I could find and stealthily planted myself just outside the room to listen. Jonathan was only in the first chapter of the Book of Jonah, so I figured this could take a while, and I certainly didn’t want to miss it.

For the next several minutes I skimmed over the story while listening to my little boy go over each part of all four chapters in amazingly accurate detail.  Ok, so he left out most of Jonah’s prayer from inside the belly of the fish, as well as the three verse decree to the people of Ninevah in the third chapter, but he did all of the first and fourth chapters in a verse by verse paraphrase, using much of the original Biblical language. Near the end of the book he did get mixed up, and knowing I was listening nearby called out, “Hey Mom – what is it again God said to Jonah there?”

I read verse 8 of the fourth chapter and he answered, “No, that’s not quite right. Are you reading from the New King James Version? You should be on page 624 in that Bible.”

At which point I almost dropped my teeth out of my mouth. He even knew the page number that verse was on. Oh how very,very freaky. But I calmly opened his red NKJV Bible and turned obediently to page 624 and read verse 8 again. This time with the proper wording apparently, because he thanked me and happily went on and finished his bedtime story for Nicolas.

Which begs the question: how many little boys have a seven year old brother who at bedtime will narrate an entire book of the Bible to them like that after reading it the day before in church? I am overwhelmingly astounded at this. I don’t even have a proper, tidy ending for this blog entry because I am just too astounded. All I can say is “Wow!”

The older shall get served by the younger

Jonathan, almost crying: “Dad, I don’t want to play chess anymore. Nicolas won’t play easier.”

That’s Jonathan, the 7 year old intellectual prodigy, referring to Nicolas, the 5 year old boy who until recently tried hard to give the impression he had cotton fluff between his ears.

Editor’s note: see comments for title credits.

Overheard at our supper table this evening…

“I’m sorry Mom, but I just cannot ABIDE refried beans!”

~courtesy of Jonathan