Monday, December 7, 2015

Boys Trip to Oregon

This past weekend, AJ and Jason took off on a boy’s trip to Oregon. I was so excited for them! Jason’s mom and step-dad live there and they had not seen each other in 5+ years.  First they spent some time with Jason’s mom and Ron. They went to dinner, hung out and caught up. Then, Friday, Donna made this elaborate breakfast for them all. AJ said they got him a new stuffed bear – he named it Indiana Jones- and The Grinch that Stole Christmas book. I know AJ had a good time seeing them.

Then, Friday night, they headed to Astoria where Paul and Janis live. I haven’t ever been there, but I hear they live in an amazing log cabin home. They saw deer on the front law and AJ said he even fed one apples! They went to a Maritime museum, did a project in the workshop and just hung out.

The last time Donna and Ron or Paul and Janis saw AJ, he was probably 2 or younger, so AJ did not remember them, but before the trip, we showed him a lot of pictures and he knew of them.  I was so happy for them all. Now, I’m happy to have them back J

Friday, December 4, 2015

He Calls Me "Mama"

Jason and AJ are in Oregon on a boys trip visiting Jason's family- more on that in another post. Last night, AJ and I were texting before he went to bed (after we talked on the phone for a while)... This text makes my heart just explode with love and happiness. I've probably read it 100 times so far. I love him so very much.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Fall 2015 Update

As usual, we’ve had a very busy, but fun Fall. We already had our first snow day, which was exciting!  AJ was studying the Oregon Trail in class and we’ve really been focusing a lot of our time on math too.  His teacher told me he needed to work more on subtraction so that is what we’re doing flash cards almost daily- and its working! I am so proud of him J

For Thanksgiving this year, we had a HUGE dinner with friends and family. Jason cooked 2 turkeys and we also had Honey Baked Ham (Yum!) We had a total of 20 people including my mom. I was happy she decided to fly out and join us.

Since my mom was here, we took advantage of her spending time with AJ and Jason and I went to the Bronco /Patriots game. It was WONDERFUL to spend time just the two of us; talking, laughing and cheering for the Broncos. (They WON!)

Here are some pictures:

Snow Angels!

Such a beautiful snow day

That's a lot of snow!

Pioneer Day!

His "Family"- the Smiths
AJ teaching Grandma Pokemon

Frying the turkey 
The "kids" table

AJ with his best buddy, Riley

Joy and I
Sledding- it was COLD!

AJ and Grandma

At the Bronco Game!

It snowed the ENTIRE game- BURRR

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Washington, D.C!

To celebrate Jason’s 40th birthday, the 3 of us took a really fun trip to DC! Honestly, when I asked Jason where he wanted me to take him for his birthday, I was thinking it would be more like a couples trip to Chicago, NY, San Francisco or something, so when he said he wanted us all to go to DC, I was surprised. It didn’t really seem like a 40th birthday destination. But, I knew it would be a good time. And it turns out, it was better than I expected!

We flew out on Tuesday morning and with the time change, didn’t get there till late afternoon. We checked into our hotel room, walked a few blocks to the White House to get a quick look, and then found a place for dinner. We were tired, but excited. For some reason, we all didn’t wake up until about 9:30 every single morning! Maybe it was the time change, or just being relaxed, but it was weird. Great, but weird! Wednesday, when we finally got up and moving, we walked to Washington Monument (or Momument like AJ calls it as a joke) and then to the Air and Space Museum. This place was so cool! We were there all day checking things out. AJ decided he was going to make a journal so he took a ton of pictures of things and we’ll put them in his journal.

First Stop.. White House!

Washington Memorial

Air and Space Museum

A friend of mine recommended this amazing restaurant, Old Ebbit Grill, so we went there for dinner that night. We had oysters to start and as you can see from the picture, AJ wasn’t a huge fan.  But the place was super cool and fun. Then we went home and passed out. We were exhausted from all the walking. (6 miles on day 1).

Old Ebbitt Grill

Not a fan of oysters...

Day 2, we once again didn’t get up and out of bed till after 9am. That day, we walked to the Washington Memorial, Korean Memorial, World War II Memorial, then to the Capitol building for a tour. That was a ton of fun, but SO MUCH WALKING. (10 miles on day 2) We went to dinner at our hotel and everyone passed out early.  

At the Lincoln Memorial

Writing in his journal
At the Capitol

Day 3, we went to the American History Museum for a few hours- super cool place too! Then, we walked over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. We read that it’s better to go there than The Mint, however we got there too late to do a tour. Kind of a bummer. After that, we walked back to the White House (a lot of back and forth walking!) and took pictures from the other side. (6 miles on day 3)

American History Museum

This is what ALL that walking will get ya!
Bureau of Engraving and Printing

AJ's selfie.. pretty good I think!

At the White House!

We had to head home on Saturday, but we all felt like we got everything done and saw all we wanted to see in the 3 days we were there. It was really a super fun, family trip. AJ was excellent the entire time, didn’t complain (much) about all the walking and we had perfect fall weather. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2nd Grade Homework! (Proud Mama)

AJ has homework 4 days a week and it can take us up to an hour to get it done. Yes, I said us. I typically do homework with AJ while Jason makes dinner- it's a good system. Because I do homework with AJ I feel very invested in it and I want him ace his tests SO BADLY. 
Each night, he has reading, spelling and math. And then we add a little more math these days because he needs to get a little quicker on his "100 math facts". (100 addition problems that he has to get done in 5 minutes). 
We got a bunch of tests back on Friday and I finally found out how he's done- to say I was THRILLED and PROUD of AJ would be a major understatement. He ROCKED these tests! Check it out:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bad Words

AJ has always been fascinated with bad words. He doesn’t say them- but he will call you out every single time you say one. I’ll never forget when he was really young and my mom and I used to spell out S-T-U-P-I-D because we didn’t want him to hear the word. Well, not too long after, he started saying “P-I-D”. To this day, he says that only if he heard the word and wants to tell me about it. He never uses it negatively and never the real word. For years, if he hears any word (stupid, damn, crap or anything worse) he will just look at me like “did you hear that?!” He has trained me to look at him when someone says a bad word!
So now, he’s in 2nd grade and we all know that means he will start hearing those words more often and likely say some of them when I’m not around. He watches videos online and I know they have bad words. He will tell me every time when he hears one. We have this exact conversation many times a week:
                AJ: “Mom, there was a bad word”
                Me: “what word?”
                AJ: “what beavers make”
                Me: “ok, thanks for telling me”
                AJ: “yep, I won’t say it”

The other day I was thinking about it and I realized that if he is going to hear the words, then I want him to know- from me- what they mean. I don’t want him learning from his friends what they think it means. Plus, I thought if we talked about it, maybe it would take the “excitement” out of saying the words?

One night a few weeks ago I was lying with AJ in his bed and I asked him if he would like to talk about bad words. That we were in a “circle of trust” and he could not get in trouble during this conversation. He could say anything, any word and not be in trouble. The only catch was, he could not go to school and talk to other friends about it or say the words to them. He agreed and we talked.
I asked him what words he hears and what he thinks the words mean. He asked me about the “B” word is. I explained to him what the “B” word actually is and how what it really means is a female dog (he laughed). I then made it VERY clear that he should never- even when he gets older- say that to or about a girl. He asked me about “crap” and “damn” and I explained what they meant and told him he could use other words that sounded better but meant the same thing. I also told him that one day he would be able to say those words- just not in 2nd grade. He has friends who can say “stupid” or “oh my god” or “crap” and I think there are times he wants to be allowed to. And honestly- part of me thinks “why not?” But, then I think about how I feel about the kids who come to my house and say those words when playing with AJ. I don’t want some other mother thinking about AJ that way. It’s just not necessary and it is so ugly. There is a very popular song on the radio right now called “Shut up and Dance with me” and I told him recently he can say it when the song is on. But he really doesn’t! It doesn’t feel right to him. Finally, he did ask me about the “F” word. I didn’t explain the literal meaning of that word, but I told him that some people say that and it means many things. It could be like “darn” or “crap” and that it’s not a word kids need to use. I tried to be very clear that there are other words he can use that will mean the same thing. However, I know, as an adult sometimes saying crap isn’t quite as gratifying as saying “F!” (I didn’t tell him that!)

I hope this conversation made him realize he can talk to me. We can talk about things that aren’t comfortable and he won’t be in trouble. I’ve told him many times- if he just comes to me, he will not be punished. If he lies or I hear he’s saying these things when I’m not around, he will be. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tying Shoes

I never really thought about teaching someone to tie shoes until AJ was in Kindergarten and it became part of his "homework". I will admit, we tried a few times, but he never really got it and we bought him Velcro shoes and moved on. Then, first grade came and I thought about it again. Still we didn't work on it too much because I knew a lot of other kids in his grade didn't know how to do it. (I know... I am LAZY!)

Well, now he's in 2nd grade and I have to admit I got him some really cute Vans Velcro shoes for school. I figured they are easy and the right color and AJ will think they are cool. And he did, until he wore them for about a week and tongue started to bother him. So, we had a discussion about how he really is old enough now and should know how to tie his shoes. He agreed and right there and then we plopped on the kitchen floor and started to practice.

At first I was showing him the "2 bunny ear" approach. It wasn't working. So, almost on his own, he started doing it the other way (not sure what that is called? 1 bunny ear?) And he did it, but he struggled to make the bunny ear the right size. When he made it too big, the loop didn't stay. He got frustrated, but he tried a few times.

So, I went out and bought him some new Sketchers. They are super light and look like running shoes. He loves them and he was determined to tie them. And that's just what he did. The first day he asked for a little help and it took him some extra time. But by day 2, he was tying them without any issues and even learned the double knot.

It's the little thing :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Second Grade!

Wow, I cannot believe how fast this summer went! They seem to go faster every year. I remember last year, about 2 weeks before the start of school I really just was not feeling ready. Then, everyday I became a little more ok with the idea. It's the same this year too. I was not ready, but now I'm feeling like getting into a routine again isn't such a bad thing. AJ has been having the best time playing with friends and staying up late, but it's time to get back to reality.

We had back to school night last night. We got to meet his new teacher, Ms. Brown. She's new to the school so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I spoke to Mrs. Hayden about her and she assured me that we would have a great year. I felt so much better hearing that!

Today AJ told me he was scared and nervous, but you'd never know it. He was happy to get dressed and ready to go. I think he also missed the routine and seeing his school friends. I found out that he will have science everyday, and when I told him, he was pretty excited. He loves science!

I can't wait to pick him and see how his day went.

Goofy 2nd grade pic!

1st day selfie

He was sorta over pictures...
He REALLY didn't want his pic taken anymore!
Comparison of 1st grade and 2nd grade