Sunday, February 24, 2008

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

I am not smarter than a fifth grader and our 11 year old OS is proving this. I am always impressed with the range of things my boys learn in school. Do you ever wonder if we were ever taught the things kids are learning these days? Even though I believe Isaac is smarter than me, for a long time Isaac has doubted his own abilities. His grades have been inconsistent and he has been discouraged when report card day arrives. We're talking drama, tears, the works. So after a great deal of thought and prayer, we enrolled our OS in Learning Rx and in just a few weeks, Ike is getting sharper and faster than we could have ever dreamed. Check out this little video clip about what Ike has learned. In under a minute our orange-haired boy can recite all 43 presidents forward and backward. He goes so fast I can barely keep track of him. I'm reasonably confident that the brain training he is doing will transfer to the classroom. Last week he got a 100% on a math test and Ike was positively glowing. Seeing our son with a happy face is a blessing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prince Charming

As Spirit Day drew to a close, it was Dress Up as Your Favorite Hero Day and Aaron decided he wanted to be someone extra special and quite appropriate - Prince Charming. My 13 year old OS has the pretty face and the affable personality but lacked the actual costume. We don't do a lot of dress up in our family of boys but with a little ingenuity, we came up with a pretty cool outfit.

First we went to Staples and got some metallic posterboard. I didn't know they made metallic posterboard so that was quite convenient. We cut a crown design out of the posterboard and I glued a ton of little beads around it. It looked so shimmery and royal. Kind of like real jewels but not really. Check out the artistry...

Then I had some satin gold fabric and against all odds, I made my first pair of satin prince pants. My dumb sewing machine was acting the fool so my wonderful friend Michele let me borrow her top of the line machine. 
It's a $1500 sewing machine and man, that baby can purr. I'm not sure I'm giving it back to her, I seriously loved that machine. I have told my husband that if he really loved me, he would get me that machine. I'll let you know how that's going...I was definately not worthy to even use the foot pedal of this fine piece of machinery, I savored every second and stitch.

After finishing the prince pants, I also made him a fancy slate grey vest complete with gold trim. It was so simple to make but I was really proud of myself! I am totally in the zone when I am doing things for my family. During a quick trip to the Goodwill, I found a nice man's white collared shirt for Aaron - and then the biggest find of all, I bought a pair of women's shoes. He wasn't going to wear them, rather he took one shoe to school as he searched for his lovely Cinderella. 

As luck would have it, I had a scrap of red satin fabric to make a little sash. When we put the costume together, he seriously looked like Prince Charming! Even when he was standing next to his best bud Zack aka Peter Pan. This was a Spirit Day our family won't forget!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sew Special

Over the weekend I made my two oldest boys pajama pants. This week is Spirit Day at their school and each day signifies a different theme. Monday was pajama day so I literally dusted off my sewing machine and very slowly created homemade pjs for my boys. I have a love/hate relationship with sewing. I am not a talented seamstress but really enjoy creating things for my family. It is one of the most discouraging activities I can do but also one of the most rewarding once it's all done and I have a finished product in my hands.  

At midnight on Sunday, I put the finishing touches to the pants. They were wearing them to school seven hours later. Even those the pattern says it's Sew Easy, for me, I think it's Sew Difficult! Several times when I wanted to give up. Like when the bobbin jammed. And when the needle bent. And when the machine wasn't threaded correctly and I thought it was. And when there were about a million threads everywhere. Sewing is a challenge for me and I don't have any natural skill. I can get so discouraged but then I remember James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of mnay kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I felt pride looking upon my work knowing I didn't give up. Nate's pj pants were made of light blue flannel and had little lizards in the pattern. It was left-over material from my nephew Josiah's baby blanket. Even though he's a senior in high school, they looked seriously cute on him. He was adorable. It was worth it. 

Aaron's pj pants were black fleece with colorful teddy bears dancing. They looked comfy and hilarious especially when he brought in a stuffed animal and a blankie to complete the look. One of his teachers fell in love with the pants and that's such a satisfying feeling for me as a mom. Those are the moments when I feel that my perseverance paid off. It was worth the toil and time. The same is true for my faith, I must press on in times of despair and uncertainty. 

If you were to look at the pajama pants you would notice they were not made by a professional seamstress. You don't even have to get up too close to the pants and you'd know a real amateur made them.  Think about something you need to push through and not give up on. Think about something you want to create. I'd love to hear and see the results.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Black Wig Productions, Epic Battle 2

This is what three boys who shall remain nameless decided to do one night while their parents who shall remain nameless enjoyed a dinner with friends. They were supposed to sort the laundry and put it all away - that didn't happen and these three unsupervised boys found something very unusual to do to wile away the time. Don't even try to follow the plot, just enjoy the absolute absurdity of this "production." I'll let their "parents" know what you think (wink, wink).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Special Reception for Nominees

Today we attended a reception for academy nominees at the office of our state congressman David Price. 
As we were walking into the building I was so joyous that my wise husband took Nate to buy a new suit for the event. It hadn't even crossed my mind and I would ahve been kicking myself if Nate would have not had a spiffy suit and a snazzy tie to mark this momentous occasion. My handsome collection of testosterone - oh how I love them!

Each congressman only picks 10 candidates for the respective academies which was something I didn't know. We were so proud that Nate was nominated. While there he met a former classmate he knew in elementary school and they are both candidates for West Point.
When my four men walked in, I felt like the proudest mama in the building. You should have seen them all shaking hands and introducing themselves, even to Congressman Price. Nate got his picture taken with the Congressman next to the American flag. I guess that was a current Congressman meeting a future Congressman with Presidential aspirations. Remember Nate in '28!