Friday, February 21, 2014

White Knuckle Driving

I've come to my own conclusion about "Minnesota Nice."  I imagine most folks think it has to do with our light-hearted, friendly demeanor.  And although that has much to do with it, I also attribute it to our ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.  You see living where we do, well, people are ALWAYS talking about the weather.   You can be at the bank, at the gas station, in line at the post office, paying for groceries at the market, dropping kids off at school; it doesn't really matter, because the common denominator is the weather.  It is always considered conversation worthy, not dependent at all on who is listening.  As long as one is breathing, then there is always the weather to discuss.

Once again, we are digging out of another winter storm.  As tiring as this season has been, it is also quite beautiful.  Right outside our front window is a snow covered tree, with icicles hanging from the branches. Although I would much prefer looking at the tree in bloom, today it is very calming to look at.  

Surviving this winter season, I believe, has much to do with attitude.  Someone recently told me that this year reminds him of winters from his childhood.  They were not unlike what we are experiencing now.  I think we have just been a bit spoiled in recent years, with mostly mild winters and not much snow.  So one of my keys to survival is to find the "sunshine" in my life each day.

My mom recently celebrated her 75th Birthday.  She came home with an array of gorgeous flowers.  One of the many benefits of living with the birthday girl is that I get to enjoy these beauties with her.

I told Pumpkin, "You have yogurt between your eyes."  Then she did this and said, "I don't see it!"  
Sweet Potato and Gummi participated in a Junior Festival Piano Competition a few weeks ago.  They each had to go into a room by themselves with just a judge, and play two recital pieces by memory.  While waiting his turn, Sweet Potato grabbed my hand and held it.  As he is getting older, these moments are getting farther and further in between.
About a month ago, as we were celebrating Cucumber's birthday, my Brother-in-law cleaned my kitchen.  That definitely brought sunshine to my day!

Now back to the title of this entry. One day last week we received a light dusting of snow.  It wasn't much, but it was enough to make the roads slick.  I was taking the kids to school.  I admit I was driving too fast for the conditions, and as the car in front of me braked, I realized that I was either going to rear-end him, or go in the ditch.  I opted for the ditch.  A curse word escaped from my lips and at that moment, the car in front of me turned, allowing me to slide right past him.  No harm done!  A few moments later, as we were all catching our breath, Sweet Pea asked, "Mommy?  Where did you learn that word?"


Yesterday, the snow began falling by mid-morning, and as the day progressed, so did the size of the snowflakes.  The roads were horrible - icy, snowy and slushy, all at the same time?!?!  I picked the kids up from school, and we began our very slow trek home.  Because it felt like we were sliding all over the road, I wouldn't take my hands off the steering wheel nor my eyes off the road.  Gummi, who was sitting in the front seat, cried, "Mom I have a bloody nose."  I yelled for Honey Bunches to grab my purse and pull out the wad of tissues I had in one of the pockets.  Shortly after, Honey asked, "What the heck kind of tissue is this?"  As I quickly glanced behind me I noticed he was holding a Maxi Pad.  I told him to put that back and grab the "regular" size tissues.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Honey Bunches Turns 10

Honey Bunches at 3, 6, and 12 months

"The eyes are the window to the soul."  I love this quote, especially when I apply it to my wonderful son, Honey Bunches.  He turned 10 on February 6th.

As a baby, Honey's eyes captivated me with their dark - almost black color.  His eyes still capture my heart, with their depth and lashes so long they brush against his glasses.  I've been told more than once that Honey has an old soul.  He is often protective of what lies deep within, but every once in awhile, he allows others a glimpse.

Honey Bunches giving Pumpkin a guitar lesson. 

Honey voluntarily helping Sweet Pea with her reading homework.
Last fall, his 4th grade teacher explained to us that she sees Honey as a boy with many layers.  Her goal for the year; to peel some of those layers away to find the true Honey Bunches.  As a mom, I was truly joyful in hearing that recognition.  In school, he often talks when he shouldn't and spends too much time digging in his desk (when he shouldn't), so to hear that another sees Honey as more than those things, well, it made my heart sing.

Speaking of singing, Honey sings every, single day. He'll ask me to turn the radio off and then serenades us to and from school.  His siblings don't always appreciate it, but I love it.  He sings with feeling and shows no fear in showing it.  I was a bit under the weather a few weeks ago, and as I lied on the sofa, Honey stroked my hair and asked, "do you want me to sing to you Mom?"

When asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, Honey needed some time to think about it.  He came back with, "people can just make a donation to a charity instead of buying me presents."  I promise, I did not coach him to say that!

A few days later, as we were listening to the radio, Honey heard a promo for the TobyMac concert coming to the Twin Cities.  He tried to win tickets by calling into the radio station, but he couldn't get through. With help from an Auntie, we were able to buy two tickets to that concert.

Monkey created a scavenger hunt for Honey. With each clue, he received a puzzle piece.  At the end of the hunt, he put all the pieces together to reveal his gift.

Honey Bunches before the TobyMac concert.
In addition to the concert, Honey also received tickets to The Lego's Movie, he went to a Timber Wolves game with his cousin, and he opened up a new blanket, socks, and a box of cereal.

For his birthday supper, he chose chicken enchiladas, rice and white cake with chocolate frosting.

Honey Bunches, I am so proud of the person you are, and how you are developing the gifts and talents God has given you.  You are smart, witty, funny and talented.  I love how you would rather tear something apart and rebuild it, than to read the instructions.  I love that you wander into the kitchen each night and ask if you can help me with supper.  I love that you sing, play guitar, and have dreams of being in your own band someday.  I love that you would rather build with Lego's, read a book or play a game, than watch T.V.  You are a true treasure to our family and Dad and I are blessed beyond measure, that God chose us to be your parents.  I love you Honey, now and forever!

The mandatory "birthday picture in the corner."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cucumber Is 7

This little Cucumber turned seven years old on January 10th.  The morning of her birthday, she was awake before I came into her room, ready to announce that "today is my special day!"  Since we were not planning on celebrating her birthday for at least another week, I attempted to satisfy a few of her requested whims.  She asked for oatmeal for breakfast, with an extra sprinkle of brown sugar.  She "pretty pleased" me into buying chocolate cupcakes with whipped, white frosting and colorful sprinkles to share with her classmates.

 She wanted to cash in a non-uniform pass on the exact day of her birthday, but since it was a Mass day, she had to wait until the following Monday.

For supper we had pepperoni pizza, and her cake of choice was chocolate with chocolate frosting.

Her gifts included Lucky Charms, a Paracord Bracelet Kit, underwear, the lovely white jacket (shown above), a monkey, Shrek, and a headband (the last 3 items were re-gifted from her little sisters).

On another day with extended family, we celebrated once more.  Her requested meal was grilled ribs, steak and rice.  Monkey claims that she is "a true Chamorro!"

To top it all off, Cucumber had an Oreo Blizzard ice-cream cake.  She also received a Rainbow Loom Kit, a giant tub of cheeseballs and socks.

There are many reasons I love this little girl.  She is confident, funny and quirky.  Many of the phrases that roll off her tongue remind me of someone who is beyond their years.  We were having a conversation one day and were interrupted by one of the Love Bugs.  Once the commotion passed, Cucumber said, "O.k. Mom, as you were saying."

She greatly dislikes to clean her room and is as stubborn as anyone I know.  She can outlast all of her siblings in any sort of stand-off.

She can quote movies, tell jokes and put on an impromptu play.

When I look at Cucumber, I see someone who portrays certain characteristics that I wish I had as a kid.  I was so reserved and shy, but Cucumber, well, she has the determination to conquer the world.

These past seven years have been a thrill, watching this child develop into herself and having a heart for Jesus.

Cucumber, I love you more than you'll probably ever know.  You are a true treasure to our family and to all those who know and love you.  Happy Birthday Sweets!