16 Oct

This is pretty much what we hear from Ben anytime something doesn’t involve screens these days.  “This is bow-ing”, “Bow-ing”, “You’re just trying to make me have a bad day”, “Now I’m having a bad day now”, and so on.  Lest you think Ben’s life is nothing but misery, once he’s cut off he goes into a fit for about 30 seconds then he’s fine.  One of the things you have to give Ben, he doesn’t hold on to stuff for long.

We are fully into another year– Eli’s second grade year, Ben’s last year of preschool before kindergarten and things are going well.  Eli is in advanced math and reading at school and is in line to get tested for the “smart kid” schools although truth be told, we likely will not switch him even if he qualifies. We’ve told him the tests are just to see where he is and that the decision to switch is up to him.  We’ve talked to a lot of parents of kids who either have kids at these schools or who have toured them and they all say the same thing–the kids are stressed.  It’s an insanely competitive environment of the kids of tech people and the kids don’t seem happy.  If Eli does test well, his school can accommodate him to a degree and anything over than that, we will outsource.  Not really willing to risk his emotional development for academic when he’s not particularly a competitive kid and has been very adamant that he wants to stay with his friends.  If we can accommodate his learning satisfactorily without sacrificing anything, I’d rather he’d stay where he is.  Part of his lack of competitiveness is that he’s so used to being automatically good at what he does (barring physical stuff) and he and I have talked a lot about that.  We’ve talked about the importance of him challenging himself in areas he’s had to work to excel.  I think he understands.

Ben is working hard on reading these days.  He’s got all the sounds down and is just working on putting them together.  He’s very into writing lately and will frequently ask us to spell words so he can write them down.  An unfortunate side effect of this is that Eli will often turn this to (for him) great comedic effect as evidenced today by Ben bringing us a sheet of paper that was clearly his repeated attempts to write the word “butt”.  Luckily for Ben, he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of writing words left to right and instead his letters are usually all over the place.  We spent a good while torturing him while he obviously wanted us to say “You wrote ‘butt’!” and then be upset about it.  Instead we just kept reading whatever he wrote which actually was “btt” or “bttu” and it drove him crazy. Then I went and had conversation #45624 with Eli that if Ben goes to preschool and writes the word “butt”, it’s going to be his that’s on the line.

Things have been going well around here.  I’ve entered a half marathon for March.  After Ragnar, I pretty much stopped running entirely and now all my running buddies are off running without me.  It’s a social outlet I’m starting to miss even if I do have to run to be a part of it.  Ragnar was really fantastic in that it solidified some work friendships that had been moving along at a snail’s pace and now several of us spend a lot of time together.  It’s especially nice that they don’t work normal schedules either so now I have friends to hang out with on Wednesdays and Thursdays instead of it just being me and Ben alone all day. They have older kids in school but they are always fine with Ben tagging along and Ben is enjoying hanging out in coffee shops having hot chocolate and a muffin once a week.  Nonetheless, I’ve got to get exercise back in and it seems the only way I’ll do it consistently is if I have a race to train for.  So back on track starting tomorrow.

Our schedule is heavy these days–swim for Eli Wednesday evenings, swim for Ben Thursday mornings, chess club for Eli Tuesday before school, gymnastics for Ben on Wednesday mornings.  Add in to that school, work schedules, homework, and probably someone should cook something at some point and a lot of days feel pretty hectic.  Today was really great though–it was gray and rainy most of the day so every single person in this household has spent the day in their pjs.  We watched the Seahawks game, we played some video games, we worked on spelling “butt”, we practiced our spelling words, we played a few rounds of King of Tokyo (really fun board game Eli discovered at school) and a lot of wrestling.  It was nice to not have a lot to do.

Have you guys heard about the Broadway play “Hamilton”?  It’s kind of hard to avoid hearing about it. It’s pretty much the most acclaimed Broadway musical in about a million years.  They have a soundtrack to it and a friend kept telling me I needed to listen to it so he loaned me the CDs.  I played them one day in the car and figured the kids would ask to turn it off about 20 seconds in but they are ADDICTED.  It’s a musical about Alexander Hamilton and the founding of the country.  It’s jam packed with rap and hip hop and it’s just a delight to listen to.  It’s also started a lot of really fascinating conversations with the kids about how America came to be America.  In the last month, we’ve had a lot of talks about King George, Marquis de Lafayette, Aaron Burr, and the reasons why they wanted independence from England in the first place.  I admit I’ve had to do a LOT of googling to brush up on my history but it’s really amazing that a musical is making the kids so interested in history.  It’s also pretty cute to hear Ben walking around the house shouting “HERE COMES THE GENERAL!” (from a song about George Washington).

For a small taste, here’s “Guns and Ships” which the boys (and I) are just in love with the last few days:

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve posted on here I can’t figure out how to upload a link.  Let me figure this out….Guns and Ships

Ok, there we go.

Video catch up.  Man, I do not take nearly as many videos as I used to.  Mostly that’s because whenever the kids see me recording they automatically start acting like fools thereby ruining whatever nice moment I was hoping to capture.  However, I’m going to rewrite history and tell myself that it’s because I was being mindful and enjoying the moment instead of playing with my phone…


Time for waffles!

Older brothers. Sheesh.

Andy and Eli are terrible.

Ben getting the hang of the balance bike

Ben writing his name!

Look at that.  It no longer embeds a video still of the YouTube.  These are the things you learn when you update once a year.

As everyone knows, the Pac NW Smiths are descending upon Louisiana for Christmas.  We will be there for a nice healthy stay (a little longer than “after 3 days, guests or fish go bad” for my dad) but not so long that I think we will exhaust anyone.  We will fly down Dec. 20th and fly back Dec. 29th.  It will be nice for all of us to be in the same place for the holiday.  It’s kind of a banner year in that Andy and I are both off for both holidays!  I realize due to scheduling it’s unlikely to happen again for another 5-7 years so I’m going to enjoy it.

Ben’s got another cold.  He’s definitely the more cold prone of the two–Eli rarely got sick and when he did it was more of an actual illness (usually fever) requiring time off whereas Ben usually just gets about every cold going around.  I wasn’t too surprised by this one (he finished his last one about a month ago) since at the Cub Scout meeting Tuesday he pretty much spent the whole time trying to blow up a balloon, spitting it out of his mouth when he tried to blow it up, having it hit the floor, then putting it right back in.  I took the first two away and then at some point you just have to accept that kids will build resistance.  The silver lining is that for all of his colds, he never really feels badly.  He will be hacky and snotty as all get out but energetic and insisting he feels fine.

He’s moved into Mountain Room at Small Faces and seems to be enjoying it.  He’ll be starting kindergarten next year at North Beach with Eli if everything goes well.  The housing market in Seattle is kind of insane right now–it’s definitely a seller’s market and even rental housing is seeing astronomical increases.  We are hoping our landlords don’t decide to cash in on this but we are making plans in case they do.  I’m inclined to think they won’t since they have generally been happy with us and also like stable renters but it’s a bit nerve-wracking not knowing what might happen.  Their school is so fantastic that I hate the idea of having to switch.  Oh well, it will all work out in the end.

Here’s where I say lots of hopeful things about posting more often but as always, I will do my best.  We are definitely looking forward to the next month–for Halloween, Eli is going as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Ben is going as a skeleton (same costume as last year, love that kid).  I have to work Halloween night but Andy will be off which is good balance as he’s had to work the last few.  Then Eli has his birthday and his party the next day at Playdate Seattle which should be a lot of fun.  They have what is basically a two story habitrail for kids which they love playing in and there are a ton of big screen TVs for the grown ups to watch football.  I think everyone will have a great time.

Have a wonderful fall.


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