Old soul…

Bennett is an old soul. And he has big ears…he’s always listening. He’s listening to the conversation about carpool but he’s also listening to the conversation about the economy. When Steve and I are discussing something, we often don’t even know he’s in the room, but you better believe he’s listening. He asks questions about what’s going on in the world around and he retains so much. He’ll pull out facts on topics we didn’t even know he was aware of!

Specifically he’s taken a liking to our conversations about articles in the Wall Street Journal. It was just a year ago when we were watching the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. Every day the WSJ had articles outlining what was being discussed and we discussed them as a family. Later in the week Bennett was riding in the car with a friend and the mom was listening to the radio where she was being discussed. Bennett asked if they were discussing ACB and the mom was taken back. Bennett then spouted off what he had read that morning concerning the hearing. The mom was floored. She told us later her son had no idea who ACB was or why the hearings were even important – let alone any details surrounding the hearings. But Bennett knew – because he is always listening and has taken an interest in the daily paper (which we joke about, because Steve is one of the few people I know that still gets a physical daily paper!)

The new joke for Bennett became, “Well, I was reading in the Wall Street Journal…”

Just last week I walked into the playroom where a football game was on TV and I found him, feet up, just browsing the paper for anything interesting. Is he 10 or 50?

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The purge…

I’ve been in a purging mood lately. Sometimes I’m great at it and it’s easy for me to let go of things – other times, it’s harder for me. The thoughts that run through my mind, “I may need this”, “This is something I’m emotionally tied to”, “I paid good money for this”…often cloud my judgement on whether I should keep something or not.

I love the book Essentialism and I’m re-reading it right now and I read something the other night that I couldn’t help but underline twice, “The killer question: “If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?” I love that idea as I’m on a purging spree. And the truth is, most of the times I wouldn’t rebuy it. Which of course begs the question, then why am I hanging on to it.

My purging has been contagious and I found Steve combing through his own closet to fill a trash bag for donations. He came to me and revealed he was finally ready to part with something he’s had for so many years: A hat.

Not just any hat, but a hat that was given to him when we were first married and working at the resort in Zion National Park. Some executive had come up from Las Vegas and took a liking to Steve as he managed the recreation center. He gave him this hat from his company and it wasn’t that the hat was anything special but Steve wore it…for years…and years. And then it became a work hat and it become more disgusting each week he put it on his head. For years, I have purchased new hats for him so he could retire this beloved thing. But he wasn’t ready to part with it until now.

I know from my own experience, getting rid of things can be difficult. I know this was no small feat. But he did it – he ceremoniously tossed that thing in the trash can after many years of love (and sweat!).

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Birthday boy…

We have another teenager in the house!

Hunter is likable on every level. When he was younger, he was mischievous and I worried what lay in store for us with him as a teenager. And now that he’s a teenager – I happy to report he no longer trips little boys at church or goes to the bathroom where ever he feels like in the house. We’ve made so many great strides!

Here’ s a few things we love about our new teenager:

He really plays with his little brothers – and they love him for it. He makes up games for them and teaches them sports. Bennett doesn’t always appreciate his help, but someday he will!

He is a music lover. When he is surfing on the boat, he needs good tunes to keep the board moving.

He has surrounded himself with some great friends and they are thick as thieves – and the circle just keeps getting larger. It’s started out with 4 buddies, and over time it’s just grown to a much larger number. Which is a bonus when you go to junior high and you have friends in every class.

He is a Green Bay Packers fan through and through. He was born in Wisconsin and he is a cheesehead at his core.

Although tough on the outside, he’s got a tender heart and he’s great at looking out for the under dog and loving them.

He’s athletic and loves to be active. When he was little (we’re talking two years old) Steve was worried his hand eye coordination was going to limit his ability to play sports. 🙂 Luckily, he didn’t lack ability, he was just two years old! He plays soccer, tennis, flag football and basketball and he does just fine! On top of that he loves long boarding and wake surfing.

He loves to wear hats and he’s got plenty to go around. And yet every birthday/Christmas he’s asking for more hats.

He’s very aware of his surroundings and observant. As we’re teaching Hallie to drive, we’re teaching her the roads that she needs to be familiar with. Tonight we were driving to Steve’s brother’s house and although we’ve driven it an hundred times, Hallie was unsure as to what road she needed to turn on. Without skipping a beat Hunter named the street. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what the street name was, we just always turn on it. As we got to the street, I was surprised to see Hunter was right. At some point on one of our drives he recognized the street name.

He’s a great lawn boy. He’s been mowing our lawn for years. Our neighbor noticed his good work and hired him to do his lawn and Steve’s dad also picks him and Bennett up almost every week to do yard work at his house. In Arizona, it’s a painfully hot job – but it’s a great way to earn money at a young age.

Hunter is affectionate with words and touch. Every night he’ll come give me a hug before bed and if I’m every dropping him off somewhere he says, “I love you” before shutting the door. Even when I drop him off at soccer and all his buddies are with him. It melts my mama heart.

The older he gets, the more I enjoy his sweet natured, but joking personality.

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Late night convos and karaoke…

When I was pregnant with my first child – I so badly wished for it to be a boy – Steve wanted a girl. I don’t know why – or the logic behind my thinking – but my mind was made up. My oldest sibling was a brother, Steve’s oldest sibling was also a brother and they both seem to be the protective type and that was appealing. Although girls can be cute toddlers, I heard horror stories of teenage girls and I was nervous.

And here I sit 16 years later wondering how I got so lucky. She is far from the dramatic teenager I assumed she would be. I would take 10 teenage girls just like her!

She was the perfect start to our family. She’s helpful. She’s compassionate. She’s low maintenance. Although at this stage, I’m pretty sure I want to hang out with her more than she wants to hang out with me – she’s great at appeasing me. She gives me late night conversations and car karaoke – what more could a mom ask for?

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Wednesday early release…

Here’s a random thought because it’s Wednesday!

Last year, during our first COVID school year, our district decided they were going to give an early release every Wednesday for the entire school for teacher training and improvement. Obviously it was successful enough that they decided to do it again this year. So every Wednesday, my kids get out two hours early. I don’t mind this at all…but I had to wonder, why Wednesday? Why not Friday??

I don’t typically ask these questions to be annoying – I really want to know how things work. Why is it being done a certain way – and can it be done any better.

So during curriculum night the teacher brought up our Wednesday early release and I couldn’t help but ask the question: Why not Friday? She was quick to respond, “Well, that wouldn’t be fair to the teachers if the kids got off early on Fridays and teachers didn’t.” Her response caught me off guard for a minute because it wasn’t what I was expecting to hear – I made eye contact with another parent across the room who was equally surprised. It came across as a very selfish statement and I know she didn’t mean it as such.

But the reality is the teachers are working a full week regardless of what day the early release is on because they are supposed to be on campus for the duration of the “improvement” time. It’s not teacher vs student making sure their time in the classroom is equal. Oddly enough, I asked another teacher about the same subject and she made a somewhat similar observation that the teachers would want to be off early on Friday as well. Interesting.

I have no say in a decision such as this at the school, but it doesn’t change the fact that I tend to analyze policies and procedures in trying to understand the why (because it’s much easier to support and not question when you understand the why).

I’ve come to realize, I don’t think it has anything to do with trying to keep it fair for teachers (despite both teachers telling me this was the case) – I think it has everything to do with keeping kids in school on Fridays. My guess is, if it was an early out every Friday, parents would be much more likely to pull their kids from school for the 1/2 day to enjoy a longer weekend. Right? That would be a struggle every Friday – I know I would be tempted by it! But Wednesday?! Who’s pulling their kid from school for a full Wednesday off?

To be clear, I have no idea what the reason is, and it sounds like the teachers aren’t quite sure either. But if I was sitting on a committee discussing this (and I am on different committees for the school where we discuss improvements), that would be the conclusion I would come to. And then I would make sure everyone knows the why. Because I can’t count how many parents I’ve discussed this very topic with and every one has been left wondering, why Wednesday?

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