Family

Abe’s Life: Learning the Ollie

Learning the OllieLook at that teenager up there.

With Abe, we noticed at a very young age that our kid had the athletic streak in him. Being parents who are really into music and art, we of course secretly hoped our son would come out and be one of those 3 year olds that can play the drums, hence the two drum sets our son has had. But alas- he doesn’t really care at all about music, and shows a great amount of enthusiasm towards anything that requires strenuous physical activity. We’ve promised to each other that even if we aren’t necessarily passionate about what our kids end up being passionate about, we’d encourage and support them through it. It’s really incredible to watch a baby grow into a tiny human that has abilities and smarts, whatever they may be. I’m fascinated when we get to be around other children and I watch how they all excel in different things. My hope is that as Abe grows up with his friends, they learn to lift each other up and celebrate their different abilities. I think it starts with us adults modeling that by encouraging each other. 

Abe’s been messing around on a skateboard since he was about 2, maybe a little before. I can’t quite remember how it started- I think someone brought over a skateboard to our house. However or wherever he saw it for the first time, he wanted to do it. I bought him this tiny skateboard from a lady in town for 5 bucks that had butterflies and peace signs on the back. He didn’t care and neither did I; he just wanted something to skate on. He quickly progressed and grew out of that tiny one, so we bought him the next size up, and he also got one from his uncle Shawn and Grandma. We could tell that he was starting to get bored, as toy skateboards aren’t really meant for actual tricks and skating, but for learning and playing around on. So this past Christmas, we bought him a somewhat legit, regular sized skateboard with Ninja Turtles on it (of course). 

For the past 6 months or so, he’s been trying to figure out the ollie. We’ve observed that he gets really pissed and impatient if he doesn’t get something fast, and wants to give up easily. Oh, how the pride hates to fail. Daniel and I have both been that way as well, and there are things we’ve given up on that we wish we hadn’t. So, even though mastering an ollie on a skateboard is something that I could care less about personally, we are trying to encourage and push him to figure it out and accomplish it, no matter how long it takes. You know what is required of us to keep doing that? Patience, friends. LOTS AND LOTS of patience, which we are learning to have.

Learning to OllieWe’ve showed him several youtube tutorials on how to learn the ollie, and thankfully Daniel knows how to do one enough to show him in real life. I had no idea my husband could do a skateboard trick until we had a little boy. If I tried this I think I’d end up breaking both of my feet clean off.

Learning to ollie

Learning to ollieI know it looks like he got it here. The one thing that keeps tripping him up is getting the board off of the ground.

Learning to ollieAs you can see, he’s not a fan of falling. He used to get SO upset when he fell off of anything. I think it was my Pastor, Dale, who told me to celebrate the next time he failed at something to show him that it really is ok. He fell off his bike shortly after that conversation took place and I cheered and told him that it was an awesome fall, and he actually started to laugh. Since then, he’s been a little better about falling and doesn’t throw a tantrum.

He still gives the stink eye though.

Learning to ollieWe’ll make sure to keep you updated when he gets it!

Bloodline

Bloodline

The popular belief these days is to simply embrace your true self. To stop denying who you really are, whatever that looks like- and in the process, only surround yourself with people who affirm it.

Well, I don’t think anyone would want to be around me if I did that.

In sifting through my Evernote folders, I came across a poem I wrote sometime earlier this year. From the looks of it, I was having a really rough day. It must have been the day I saw Sia’s music video for her song Elastic Heart, which would explain the reference in the first part of the poem. I feel somewhat embarrassed for saying this, especially in light of Shia Labeouf’s latest viral explosion (you know, the one where he yells “JUST DO IT” a bunch of times?)… but that music video ripped me open. I remember feeling overwhelmed when it was done, as it left me with tears spilled down my face and bewildered by my reaction. Abram wasn’t home for whatever reason, which thankfully allowed me to deal slowly with whatever was trying to come out over the course of the afternoon. Not that I can’t deal with stuff in front of my son- I often do, for both of our sakes. But sometimes, children don’t afford you the courtesy for long, afternoon bouts of self analyzation.

It all came out in this poem called Bloodline. I’m a little scared to let you see this, as I usually am when I share this side of my writing. But as I came across it, I felt compelled to share, perhaps in thinking on the world and culture we live in. I know I’ve kept it pretty light over the last several weeks, so I’m sorry for jumping from silly pictures of college cafeteria life to this. I only wrote half of it that day, and the other half a few days ago when I decided that it wasn’t finished. The second half is in bold.

BLOODLINE

 

I know I’ve come out a bit different

But I’ve still got the same blood running through my veins
Which is why I know most of my bad thoughts aren’t whispers from the devil
But darkness inside of my own DNA
Maybe the reason that caged dance
Bothered me
Is because I’ve been at war with myself since
The day I was made
And try as I might to allow the clean blood to take over
Some days I can’t help but be stuck in the reign.
 _________
The reign of family history. 
History flowing deep inside of me.
I can feel it trying to slowly blot me out
Like the moon eclipses the sun.
 _________
Curses aren’t just incantations in fables
But as real as unmarked tombstones
They are forever like the lines on the palms of my hand
Sins that are buried with bones.
 _________
I feel the serpent creep slowly, subtly inching towards my brain
Wanting to sink into the right lobe and then the left
Start wars that are only fought in vain…
 _________
Not. Me.
My answer is no, even though parts of me want to give in.
 _________
It fights to take over, it wants every inch of my inside
But curses can end, for so long they can only try
To consume a child, and sometimes they win
But if I fight back…
If I fight back against what was started within…
 _________
Then maybe. Maybe the Reign of Family History will finally, and with great anticipation and with triumphant celebration and with blood-marked justification…
 _________
Come. To an end.
 _________
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest name I know…
 _________
I do know You
But You’ve known me far before the star stuff exploded
You’ve known about my bloodline
You were inside of my history
 _________
You wept when our children wept
Because of the things that were stolen
Your righteousness burned with white flames
As you watched father’s sins birth more sin
 _________
There are things you’ve allowed to happen
And my heart still asks the why questions
But You…
 _________
You knew me. 
You knew I was coming.
And you decided to put a fight in me.
 _________
I’m not special.
The divide created from the moment Eve decided to try and take your place
was in my heart when it started beating.
 _________
So this fight, this freedom uprising
I cannot take credit.
I know in my blood the foul potential
And all I’ve got as weapons are truth and grace.
 _________
Grace… greater than ALL of my sin
You knew me, You know me, You know where I’m headed…
 _________
You win. 

Abe’s Life: Scrubbing Floors and Saving For A Pet Turtle

Money Box

Something I’ve had the pleasure of discovering recently is that Abe REALLY likes to clean. And before you think I’m bragging, let me clarify: Abe likes chores that make him feel important and utilized, but he HATES cleaning up after his own self. This kid has literally rolled from my room to his, having a melt down over me asking him to clean his room. But when I ask him if he’d like to help me clean the bathroom, or if he wants to learn how to do laundry, you’d think I asked him if he’d like to go live in Disney World. The kid’s excitement over cleaning the toilet is super weird and not one I can relate to, but I’m totes gonna capitalize on this passion of his for as long as possible.

I wish I would have captured him cleaning the floor of the bathroom last week in his underwear via photo, because it was so absurd and hilarious. He was holding himself up by both feet and one arm, like an soldier in boot camp holding up a one handed push up, while scrubbing the floor with a rag using his other hand. He actually asked me to leave the bathroom so that he could make sure every spot of the floor was scrubbed, and told me he call me when it was dry. You guys- THAT FLOOR SPARKLED. I don’t get it.

Completely separate from his passion for cleaning, though, is his growing desire for more and more stuff. I’ve observed that the more stuff this kid acquires, the more stressed out he gets over who’s touching or using what, and the more control he feels he needs to have over all of his things. The little dude’s gotten stingy with his junk, and it stresses him out so bad. Sounds like most of America.

Not only does this make me reflect on my own heart and the things I want and hold dear, but it’s also got me wondering how to help him realize that more stuff does not equal happiness. I think that just comes with many conversations (you know, where your treasure is is where your heart lies also) and leading by example.

I’ve also noticed that he doesn’t understand the value of anything, because he’s never had to provide the means to obtain the stuff he has. He seriously thinks that if he breaks our flat screen tv, we can just hop in the car and drive to the store he doesn’t like (Wal-Mart) and buy a new one. HA.

So, Daniel and I have realized that it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned lesson in teaching monetary value and how to work for what you want. Hopefully, in doing so, we don’t create an arrogant little b-hole who thinks that he’s better than others because he works hard and buys his stuff. PARENTING IS HARD.

We’ll figure out the balance.

So, back to the cleaning. Since he enjoys chore-ing so much, we’ve set up a chart of weekly chores he can do along with his daily task of feeding Titan. If he completes these tasks each week, he’ll receive an allowance. We will then teach him how to save for the things he wants. And beyond saving, we want him to learn how to research what he wants to buy so that he can find the best product for the best price. I’m hoping that in doing this, it will rub off on us and maybe Daniel and I can get our act together when it comes to saving (we suck at it- can’t even lie).

I wanted Abe to have a specific place for him to save his money, a little bank if you will. So we picked up a wooden treasure box from Michaels, with a 40% off coupon (because I just cannot pay full price for anything at Michaels). I told him he could paint it however he’d like, and it would be his alone to store the allowance we give him and save for the pet turtle and roller blades he wants to buy (he is just the most 90’s child sometimes).

Money Box

That little fuzzy thing on his arm makes me laugh. He loves a tiny creature.

Money Box

This was actually really sweet, to watch him quietly paint his new bank… and yes, that is a gigantic jar of pastel colored gum balls, courtesy of my mother.

Money Box

P.S. that’s dried chocolate all over his face. He sucked down a tube of M&M minis while I drudged through Wal-Mart for toilet paper and mouth wash. Yes, sometimes I bribe my kid with candy so that we can make it through a store.

Abe's Money Box

When he was done, I asked him if he wanted to paint his name on the front, which of course he did. I know it looks like a disaster to everyone else, but it’s the cutest thing in the world to me.

So, we’ll let you know how this works out. There’s a bunch of different ways to teach your kids the things you want them to learn, but I think the one thing we have to remember is that regardless of the method (i.e. chores and allowances), lots of conversations are a good thing and necessary. I’m sure we’ll mess it up and we’ll probably have to back track and re-teach some things as we discover flaws, but I’m glad we can all three figure these things out together.

And, I bet you can guess what he’s going to name his pet turtle when he finally gets one (hint: he likes pizza, he wears a purple mask and he’s the smart one of the bunch)