Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Big Helpers

We had to sterilize the Nursery last night after finding a mouse on Sunday. It was lots of work and my two boys jumped right in to help. They sprayed down and wiped the big toys, helped clean the chalkboards and carry all the toys we had sterilized at home into the church from the car. I am cherishing these days when they complain for hugs and to help and to sit in my lap. I am so thankful for their helpful spirits. They made my job a little easier and a lot more fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Secret Delight

Yesterday I took Zeke with me for a quick grocery store run. I let him sit in Joaquin's car seat - one of his favorite things to do. I was driving along lost in thought when I happen to glance at him in the rear view mirror. He had this big grin plastered on his face and I wondered what was going on? I continued to watch him and he was looking around at the world as it passed and smiling with such delight. My heart was brimming with joy as I watched my boy light up at such a simple pleasure. Truly, joy is found in the small things!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lessons Learned

I think it is quite appropriate that this post follows the Karate one, don't you? Do you see that picture? Yes, that one. Look closely, very closely. Do you see those drops on Joaquin's shirt and other clothing? Yes, you're right it's blood. My boy got his first big fat bloody nose, inflicted by another boy while playing at the local Carl's Jr. play ground.

See, Joaquin is a super social boy. I have always thought of this as such a wonderful trait until this event. I guess Athena, yes the goddess from Greek mythology and more recently the Percy Jackson series, was right when she said...Our best trait can also be our "fatal flaw". So, here, let me tell you the story...
Joaquin was playing with a boy about his age but this boy had an older sibling and what must have been a cousin playing also. I think the older boys were about 8 years old. Joaquin is 4 so I didn't like the idea of him playing with the eight year olds especially since I could hear how rough they were playing. I told Joaquin not to play rough that someone was going to get hurt. I looked around the room wondering where the "Mom" of the other boys was thinking she should jump in to and tell them to be careful. I am not an over-protective mom but these boys were really, really rough housing and it was making me nervous. I saw Joaquin trying to play with them but, for the most part they seemed uninterested since he was so young. Well, until they got bored. The older boys began playing with Joaquin and it seemed to be more calm.....oh the wicked calm before the storm. Suddenly there is a wail from Joaquin and then he begins to sob. Now, you have to understand this, Joaquin does NOT usually cry when he gets hurt. In fact, most times I don't even know he has been hurt til I later find the scratch, scrape or bruise. But, in this instant he was sobbing. I knew something had to be pretty wrong. I jumped into the jungle gymn and started climbing up to him. He met me on the way down with blood running from his nose all the way. I got him down and started first aid while asking him What Happened? He informed me that the kid had punched him in the nose. I asked Joaquin what he had done to provoke this and he said he hadn't done anything. The mother rushed over and I told her that one of her boys had just punched him because, well just because. She demanded they come down at once. She began to apologize profusely and told the boy who had punched Joaquin to apologize. I have to say that the most alarming thing of the whole experience was this boy's apology, if you could call it that. He let out a rude and unapologetic "I'm Sorry". His mother immediately told him that wasn't good enough and began to apologize for him. She at this point started gathering her things and the kids to leave all the while continuing to apologize. I finally, looked at her and said, "You, didn't do this". She apologized again and left.

After they were gone I got the details from Joaquin. I guess that the boys were bored and decided Joaquin would be fun. This is how the punch happened. He grabbed Joaquin's hand which somehow he had talked him to balling up into a fist and used it to punch Joaquin, as hard as he could, in his own face. Thank goodness Joaquin was only 4 because the humiliation of what the boy had done could have been worse than the pain of the blow. As it was Joaquin was traumatized by the pain and the fact that someone who he thought was his new friend would be so mean. We gathered our things and left.

Later, after the emotion of the whole experience had worn off, I talked to Joaquin about the importance of noticing when someone is playing roughly or meanly and to stay far away. New lesson to live by: kids who play meanly aren't our friends. But, we also had a discussion about forgiveness and how we should forgive the boy who punched him and to love him even though he was mean.
All in all it was a good growing experience for us both and lessons learned: Not everyone wants to be our friend. We need to love everyone even those who don't want to be our friend BUT it is probably best not to play with them. We most forgive! Oh, and last but not least....Never, ever, return to the Carl's Jr. playground :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Next Karate Kid

We put Joaquin in a couple of summer camps offered through UVU. He took dance and karate. He did well at both. However, when it came time to decide which or if any to continue the karate won hands down. I was so impressed with the instructors and all the things taught. See it isn't just how to break a board with your bare hands or do a round house kick but obedience, kindness, honesty, respect and so many other life skills as well as self-defense techniques. Not to mention that Joaquin L.O.V.E.D it! I felt it was what every parent needed...a little no A LOT of positive peer pressure.
He has received his white belt (the pictures are of him at his white belt test) He has a test for his next belt this month. He is positive that he is THE Karate Kid :) Because well he did break a board with his bare hands.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Best 4th of July ever!

Celebrating the 4th has always been a big tradition in my family.I have fond memories of cook-outs that ended with fireworks and the belting of our favorite patriotic song…"God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. Let me just say that Provo, Utah knows how to celebrate this spectacular holiday. With help from this city I think this holiday has moved in as a close third to Christmas. No, believe it or not Christmas isn't my favorite holiday, although I love it. My F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. is Thanksgiving…it is all about family and being together…but more on that at a more appropriate time…like November J

The fourth of July was Sunday and a counselor in our Bishopric said he loves when the 4th falls on a Sunday because it draws the celebration out for a few extra days. I live in Utah remember J Anywhoo, I completely and totally agree with him so we began our celebration on Friday the 2nd.

Freedom days in Provo begin the week before the 4th and include some of the funnest, family friendly and FREE activities. Friday was the first day of the freedom days in downtown Provo and as per CJane's recommendation we hit the festivities Friday evening before the crowds. This kids loved the bouncey blow-up thingamuhbobs (what are those called?) and we had some super yummy and supper cheap tacos. One of the food booths had homemade potato chips. Had to try them…they were yummy too! Finished the whole shebang off with some gelato a two-fold pleasure for cooling us off and tickling our tastebuds! And we did all of this while listening to some very talented local bands! It was a great kick-off to our celebrations!

Saturday morning we headed for the "Balloon Fest" (picture complements of the site) which begins bright and early at 6am. It is held on Bulldog field where hot air balloons are set-up and take-off. It was amazing to watch, and beautiful, and well worth getting two little ones up at 5:30am. We ended the morning with a hot breakfast. It was decided this is now a family tradition! Later in the day we received visitors – Abuelitos. They came to spend a week with us which included the 4th. Of course this included lots of gifts for the boys….Thanks to Tia Vivi and Abuelos.

Sunday was church and catching up on family news witha surprise ending…our upstairs neighbors invited us to enjoy their fireworks with them. Wonderful family! Wonderful home fireworks show! Wonderful time! Well, with the exception of a little scare with Joaquin. Our neighbors gave him a box of "Pop snappers" and somehow Joaquin thought they were candy and ate one. Gave us all a good scare. I called the poison control center and was relieved to find that he would be fine since it was only 1 that he had eaten. Note to self: tell children what it is exactly that they are getting and it's appropriate uses.

Monday was the Grand Parade which we watched with great pleasure. I still love parades especially the bands! Then the boys rode rides at the carnival and we watched an international dance presentation. Ending what was one of the Best 4th of July celebrations I have ever enjoyed!

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