Chess Set

He moved his chess set to the middle of the dining room table.
He makes moves as he passes

I love the way his mind clicks.

Winter Camp

The boys went to Bible Memory Winter Camp.
Can't you tell?
This is my photo evidence.
Every year they create a pine derby car for a race.
They were both looking forward to this.
Sam had an overnight camp at SJG complex with grades 5-8
and Joe spent all day at Harvest Community in Washington all day Sat grades 2-4.
DH dropped them both off on Saturday and he text me..
well they didn't need me. Boo.
And you might be surprised that the colorful car is Sam's Color Racer
and Joe's is all black The LRC (Limousine Race Car) - love their creativity.

And the second photos is Joe's plans for his car...he was ready for the camp this year!
His win/loss chances were 50% LOVE IT.

But, alas, after I posted these photos showed up in my email from the camp directors.  Love these seeds planted in their hearts!

Simple Chore Chart

Our latest working chore chart.
We had been working on this concept for a while.
And typically I would want it to be way cuter, but both boys had items in mind
they wanted to work towards..so we just went with a simple plan
it is has been working like a charm.
It's a learning process for me...
it is hard to not just go ahead and do it and/or redo it. 

And hearing the boys ask what they can help with
and seeing this in the bedroom...

Quite a budget planner Sam is...

They tear off their chore, add their name and place it in my bowl.
Simple and effective!

This goofball was excited about payday.

Keeping it simple makes it easy to add a new chore and
include more options during the summer or breaks when school is not in session.
Boys also have other responsibilities that they do everyday - morning routine, making beds, feeding pets, etc.. in the past as they were learning this, they earned money for doing this routine every day. 
They have been {by pre teen standards| successful at this for some time.
Earning money for additional chores seems to work for our family right now!

Loogootee Mathletes

Sam joined the math bowl team this year. 
They had practice twice a week.
He looked forward to every one and loved that his friend Luke was in the group.

We travelled to Paoli for the competition.

They competed in groups of 3.  Tons of  questions about probability, they had 45-60 seconds to complete. Parents decided we could have completed SOME of them with pencil and paper AND more time.  It was rewarding watching them work together.  In the end, we fell short and got 2nd.

Joe and Ryder were both in the stands.  They paid attention to a BIT of the competition.

My grandparents George and Marie had 3 great grands in the competition...
they would be proud.
Ella, Sam and Ava. 

And a trip to Sam's lead to DH buying this way to big package of gummy treats...
they were a perfect surprise for Sam after the completion. 
We each wrote a message to him on top.
He was all smiles.


The mom I want to be.

A video surfaced of the 1990 Semi State Game
and Will shared that he found mom in the crowd.
Morgan was able to still shot the video and share the picture on our group text.
It was day full of tears for me.
Every last glimpse of our parents is so cherished.

And I was struck with an overwhelming thought when I saw this photo.

I want to be this mom.

I want to be the mom that is present.

My mom was there for everything.
{She did an awesome job filling both parental roles,
reminding us often of what our dad would have thought.}
My mom was not only there physically but emotionally as well.

She cheered us on,
was aware when we needed an extra push academically or athletically.
She asked questions,
questions that kept us on track and got in our business.
She worked hard to provide,
and give us our hearts desire without spoiling us to a fault.
She taught us to rely on God,
and the importance of relying on Him.
She taught us how to work,
how to keep a home and be loyal to a job.
She encouraged us to pursue hard things,
to try for a scholarship or go to college out of state even though it had to break her heart.
She was very tidy,
our house had a lot of things but she knew where everything was.
She was always the first one up,
and often the last to go to bed  I had no idea how hard she worked until now.
She was very intentional,
her words were honest and wise.

This is the mom I want to be.
The one that is present.

February Baseball.

A warm winter weekend meant it  was time for some Bomber baseball.
It was upper 60s but no sunshine, so mama wore her sweatshirt!
We played a scrimmage game with Barr Reeve.
Enjoyed hearing the crack of the bat once again.

Joe had a great hit to start off, but then he struck out both other at bats...
he played 2nd, left field and took a turn at pitcher.  His pitching was really good,
needs to work a bit on fielding after he pitches.
That is a lot to remember and coordinate..it will come around!
They looked pretty good for their first outing, looking forward to a full season
of Bomber baseball.

About our 11 year old.

This boy never ceases to amaze us.
He has a unique view on life.
Refreshing at best, nearly always positive
{unless we are taking away something he enjoys}.

While little brother would go out for lunch (from school) every single day,
 this one...not so much.  It is his only recess time you know,
and he sits with his buddies at lunch. 
But, he agreed today.
We talked ISTEP and math bowl, and a new Mario Chess Set he is wanting.
We talked basketball and summer plans
and a museum near Yellowstone that his class is skyping right now.

This time with this 11 year old going on a teenager is so very valuable.

He is mostly quiet but when he talks we listen
he has great questions, love helping him figure out this thing called life.

He has been loving his new shelves that DH built.
He loves arranging and rearranging his favorite treasures.

He had very hard questions about the election.
He watches much on Channel 1 at school, he enjoyed discussing it with DH and I.
He had opinions and that matters, I want to encourage him in this!

He has been reading the bible a lot in church and although that is hard to photograph,
 I want to remember that. He enjoys Sunday School, especially the material that looks like a comic book.  He asked about baptism the other night, we answered
opened it up for when he is ready - he said not quite, but he is thinking about it on his own.
There is no better reward than that.

He had a great time at Escape for a buddy's birthday.

Laughed when I got these pics.
He said that guy was scary at first, but then he talked to us and was pretty cool (LOL)

Feel asleep with his Angry Birds blanket from Aunt Christine, still a favorite years later.

Can be found most of the time without his shirt...
and can get comfortable anywhere in this house.
It is his, you know.

He spends much time at his new desk, purchased a lego set
with his birthday money and had it put together a hour later.

He has worked hard at learning his bible verses for Bible Memory Camp this summer.
He learned this page and recited them last Sunday.
16 verses all at one time.  He does that twice. 
He is VERY efficient at it, when he get over the fact that he has to do it.

And this, can still be found in the red room surrounded by Lego's
if he is given longer than one hour at home. 
His brother joins every single time he can, they can play Lego's for hours.

Raising an 11 year old is everything I thought it would be
and then some.
He is developing his personality,
he is gaining confidence every day, and challenges his parents every day.
He loves with all of his heart, if he has let you in there.
This is one special 11 year old, so proud that God has chosen us to raise him.

5th grade tourney win.

5th grade Tourney Win.
This is what we returned home for...
well worth it.

Proud smiles, hard earned trophy.  Great job, boys.

A Weekend Away.

DH and I spent a weekend away in January.
This meme came up a couple of days before we left.
Thought it was funny and fitting.

The Conrad never disappoints.

DHub's and I chose Shula's for Friday night and even though it was a couple blocks from
our hotel we walked there completely thru indoor tunnels.  It was COLD outside
so that was welcome surprise.

The view from our table was great.

We enjoyed the meal as part of Devour Downtown..and how about this view on our walk back.

The Conrad is full of live plants/ bouquets like this, and art
(but I was not digging the art this year)

View from our room.

And dessert from Shula's back in the room.

Saturday was spent in meetings, great yearly update and motiving guest speaker.

Saturday night we enjoyed a meal in the hotel with coworkers, it was delicious.

And why not order steak for breakfast on Sunday? Why not.

Once again, NBA players in our hotel!  This time we didn't get to meet any.

We returned home midday to watch some basketball and Sunday afternoon baseball practice.
Great refreshing time, and know our boys were at their favorite, Noah and Blake's,
we enjoyed our whole time away!