Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Singing a tune, Ian is 12!

My first born is now officially 12.  It's crazy to think we've kept a kid alive for 12 years. I remember bringing him home from the hospital like it was yesterday.  Next thing you know, they become 12 years old.

Right now, Ian feels like the whole world has a cell phone but him.  EVERY single friend and classmate is mobiley connected but Ian.  Ha!  I don't think its quite that bad, but yes, it seems like this is the year kids have gotten phones.  Jeff and I aren't quite ready yet for Ian to join his peers.  We've had an extra 'spare' phone that we let Ian use from time to time if we need to stay in touch with him.  But as Ian is very aware this is not HIS cell phone.  We are about to enter uncharted territory as Ian is getting a phone as a graduation present from Jeff and me at the end of June.  This is a big time in his life as Ian finishes 6th grade and starts middle school next Fall.  We don't normally see Ian anxious, but the idea of middle school has him concerned.  I know he will do go great.  He is so friendly, outgoing and engaging.  I have no doubt in my mind that Ian will find his niche in middle school and have a great experience.

Besides the transition to middle school, Ian will be in full Bar Mitzvah training and preparation mode this coming year.  It's going to be a big year for him as he heads to 13.  

Ian continued to explore his love of acting and performing by participating in a theatre group on Saturdays.  From 9:00am to 1:00pm every Saturday the kids worked on a play.  It's really cool to see Ian's enthusiasm in learning his lines, the songs, the choreography and getting to the end result of performing in front of an audience.  Ian is thrilled he has a part that gives him 21 lines for the Spring production of Mulan, Jr.

Ian also continued with his Boys on the Trail running program through his school.  It met twice a week and is designed to get the kids to run a 5k.  He enjoyed it very much and I love that it gets him outside for fresh air and exercise.

Unfortunately his musical instrument of choice the saxophone has not brought Ian as much joy this year as it had last year.  Ian is pretty much counting down until the school year is over and he doesn't have to play it ever again.  It's a bit disappointing because its fun to listen to him practice, but it's been a long time since I've heard him play. 

Most days Ian sings to himself a wide variety of Broadway musical soundtracks.  He sings just loud enough that we all can hear it and the song gets stuck in our head.  I am certain that Ian doesn't even realize he is singing and it's done unconsciously.  Of course, Sam has major issues with this and yells all the time "STOP IAN!!  IT'S ANNOYING.  I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE".

Ian kept an open mind and looked beyond his fear of heights to tackle zip lining, a ropes obstacle course among the tree tops, and indoor sky diving.  I am so proud of him that he did not let fear get in his way of trying something new.  It paid off as he had a blast and would now do all of these activities again and again and again. 

Ian is more connected than ever to his relatives and can't get enough of them.  He really wanted to go down to Orlando and see everyone.  Ian decided he'd be ok to fly down on his own, as an unaccompanied minor.  It was a dream come true that he got all this one-on-one time with his grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousin.  We may just have to do this again next year.

I wish for Ian a year of much happiness and the ability for him to do his own thing, not because everyone around him is doing it.  May he make good choices and enjoy this time being 12.  Daddy and I love you so very much.

The return of braces!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Samantha is 9! How fine!

My little girl is growing up. Samantha is independent, spunkier than ever, spirited, and funny.  Samantha keeps us on our toes. She can be warm and loving one minute, and yelling and demanding the next.  Fortunately it's only with her parents and brother that we see the more challenging side of Sam.  To everyone else she is charming, agreeable and happy.  Her 3rd grade teacher absolutely loves her and can't stop telling me how funny she is.

If Samantha wants to do something, she will give it her all; whether it be a project for school, getting dressed for an outing, or reading a book she is interested in. Samantha will surprise us and show us what she is truly capable of.  However, if Samantha has no desire to do something, there is no amount of motivation or encouragement you can give her to get it done. It's like pulling teeth and the task will be met with much strife.  We realized this school year the best way to tackle a big project is to break it into little manageable pieces.  It keeps Sam from getting overwhelmed and hopefully the meltdowns at bay.

Jeff is excellent at keeping us in check when it seems like I've gotten carried away with scheduling and wanting to do it all.  He is able to reign me in and thus, potential future meltdowns are at a minimum.  I truly feel we've gotten a better handle on how much Sam can manage and what may put her over the edge.  Actually, let me correct that last statement.  Jeff has a better handle.  I am still a work in progress.  A really great example of this in action is when we had the opportunity to schedule two Broadway musicals in the same day for an upcoming trip to New York.  I felt if we made sure to have a nap or some major downtime in between the two shows we could do it all and not have to chose. "Go BIG or go home" is my motto in NY -- well, pretty much anywhere. :)   Jeff, however, was the voice of reason and said this was going to be difficult for Sam to sit thru and be well behaved -- which is key among an audience of theatre-goers especially when paying those high ticket prices.  Overall, this has been a good year for setting Sam up for success and not failure.  Plus, having Lucy has been a big blessing in keeping her emotional outbursts less of an explosion. 

This past year Samantha decided to continue her horseback riding lessons.  It's truly awesome to see her shine and see all her 'moods' disappear as she rides.  The confidence, self-esteem and the skills she is learning to control her horse is priceless.  Sam also participated in Girls Run for Fun through her school's extracurricular program in the Fall and again in the Spring.  It's a great activity that meets twice a week and gets the girls to be able to run a 5k.  Additionally Sam ran in the Cherry Blossom Kid's fun run at the beginning of April.  I am so proud of her for wanting to do this.

Samantha is going away to camp for entire month this Summer and can't wait to get going.  Unlike her brother the amount of time she will be gone is not too long and she doesn't need me to write her daily or send packages in the mail.  Sam's got this and it's one step closer to her living on her own. :)

There is one area that I feel Samantha would do amazing in and really excel...acting!   If Samantha entered the theatre program Ian is in, I have no doubt she would become a star.  Let her put all that drama she has in her to good use. Unfortunately, I've had no luck convincing her to give acting a try.

A few weeks ago I took Sam by herself down to Orlando with me for my sister's baby shower.  We had a great time and I loved traveling with her.  From Thursday afternoon to Monday afternoon, I had a very loveable, happy go-lucky Samantha and it was delightful.   It was the best and I wish all our days could be like this.

I wish for Samantha a very happy birthday and a fantastic 9th year.  May her reasons to smile outnumber her reasons to yell.  May her days be filled with sunny skies and an endless number of cute outfits to wear, where the decision on what to wear doesn't involve me. Daddy and I love you so very much! 

First day of third grade!

Sam started her eighth year getting her ears pierced!