Sunday, October 26, 2014

"You've Got A Friend In Me!"

What started off as, truly, just a sweet series of photos taken at the pumpkin patch, over the weekend, transpired into an adorable story line between two best friends: Jax and Cohen. These two have really developed an amazing bond, like no other I've ever seen in such a young group of boys especially.  

Our family was standing in line for the "cow train", which Cohen and Jax felt they were "too cool" for, and when I turned back to check on them, this is what I found!!!! Two BOYS bound and determined to get up on top of the barrel of hay!!! These two are proof that friendship is a definite necessity of life!

My pastor's boys decided to "remake" our REAL life situation by making a new rendition of our original.  Brotherhood... it provides comedy, memories, and friendship, all at the same time. In their video, Gabe and Jake (on crutches) help "John-John" get to the gallon of milk, at the top of the cabinets.  The easier solution would have just been to store the milk in the fridge. LOL!

I'm trying really HARD to make this a new VIRAL series called "You've Got A Friend In Me".  PLEASE share these cute videos with everyone you know and THEN, send me your series of "You've Got A Friend In Me" photos, so I can upload a NEW flipogram onto our youtube account. The options are endless. LET ME SEE YOUR CREATIVITY NOW!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tyson Willis Bolling ~ 4th Grade ~ Fall Photo & Questionnaire

Today, after school, I interviewed each of my children with a set of 17 questions that I thought would be both thought provoking AND provide some comical answers. I tried to think of questions that my children have never been asked before so that ANY reader, especially a parent, would be easily entertained.  I promise there are no questions like, "What's your favorite color? food? or television show? ENJOY!

Why do you like to be a kid?
Because I get to play outside with my friends and I don’t have to go to work.

What’s the hardest thing about being a kid?
Going to school!

Are you a good friend? How do you know?
Yea. Because I let my friends pick what we’re going to do when we play together.

Who is your best friend and why?
It’s a tie between Josh and Gabe. They are my best friends because they are who I would choose to play with when I have free time.

If you were a teacher and the kids in your class would not listen to you, what would you do?
I would smack them in the face or make them sit out for recess.  (Geez. What a harsh teacher).

What makes a person pretty or handsome?
Their hairstyle.

What do people do on a date?
The girl’s boyfriend treats them to dinner, they talk, and they might go do something fun, like go bowling.  

How do you decide who to marry?
I will decide who to marry based on whether or not they are a Christian.  

What makes a marriage successful?
A married couple goes on dates, they flirt with each other, and live together.  

What do you think mommy and daddy have in common?
You both love each other and you both work out.

How are mommy and daddy different?
Daddy has straight teeth and some of mommy’s teeth are crooked. (Well at least I have teeth.)

What do you think Heaven is like?
In Heaven there is a lot of gold and you praise God all day long.

If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
To go back in time so I could see Jesus in person.

Name two things you’d like our family to do this weekend?
Go to California and go mining for gold.

What does daddy do at work?
He figures out where to put the holes in steel. 

What does mommy do while you are at school?
Mommy goes to the gym.

If you could make ONE rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
My rule would be, there are no rules!

I thought Ty's answers were pretty interesting and somewhat funny!  
Tyson is doing remarkable in fourth grade, so far. Fourth grade is definitely a whole other league of it's own, compared to the last four years. I'm learning a lot too!!! He has started learning about his role as Vice President. Tyson's teacher told me the other day he has such an incredible heart and is very kind to his classmates. Huh? We are talking about Tyson Willis Bolling right?  Hehe.  Ty has had a very tight agenda between school and football.  I am thankful that he has a desire to do it all!!! He has been a big hugger lately, very mushy, which is NOT like him. Report cards come out next week.  I'm hoping and praying for straight A's. This kid always leaves me proud!! I love you bunny!!!

Lilah Ann Bolling ~ Kindergarten ~ Fall Photos & Questionnaire

Why do you like to be a kid?
I like to be a kid because I get to play instead of clean.

What’s the hardest thing about being a kid?
The hardest part about being a kid is when people ask you hard questions and you don't know the answer.

Are you a good friend? How do you know?
Yea. Because my friends think I am fun and kind.

Who is your best friend and why?
Ansley. Because we spend the night at each other's houses.

If you were a teacher and the kids in your class would not listen to you, what would you do?
I would send them to the principal's office.

What makes a person pretty or handsome?
Their smile.

What do people do on a date?
They go out to dinner and kiss. 

How do you decide who to marry?
God's puts my name in a man's brain and then he asks me to marry him.

What makes a marriage successful?
Go on lots of dates and kiss.

What do you think mommy and daddy have in common?
They have the same eyebrows.

How are mommy and daddy different?
Daddy poops long and mommy poops short.

What do you think Heaven is like?
Heaven is a short place and you get to give hugs to Jesus whenever you want to.

If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
I would ask God for a puppy because I want a puppy really bad.

Name two things you’d like our family to do this weekend?
I would like to play a game and go bowling.

What does daddy do at work?
Daddy looks at the computers and builds stores.

What does mommy do while you are at school?
Mommy Cleans.

If you could make ONE rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
My rule would be that no one could say dirty words.
Lilah is hands down the biggest social butterfly I know.  I wouldn't doubt it if she has her own fan club at school. One day she came home and said, "MOM!!!!! You have got to stop dressing me so pretty because all the boys think I'm cute and keep wanting to hug and kiss me." UH- hello!!!!!! This is kindergarten. Who'da thought I'd have to be concerned about that already? Liley loves Miss Dixon tremendously.  She's been begging to be a car rider lately. Lilah is doing well in school academically, that I can see.  One thing is for sure... she's a typical kid that loathes homework. I love her more and more and more and more as she continues to get older.  She is a ton of fun and is always keeping me on my toes!!!!

Jaxon Reid Bolling ~ Kindergarten ~ Fall Photo & Questionnaire

Why do you like to be a kid?
I like to be a kid because I get to play.

What’s the hardest thing about being a kid?
Having to keep my room clean.

Are you a good friend? How do you know?
Yea. Because my friends like to play with me and also because I am good at building lego sets.

Who is your best friend and why?
Cohen. Because he likes to play with me.

If you were a teacher and the kids in your class would not listen to you, what would you do?
Drop their apple.

What makes a person pretty or handsome?
The outfit that they choose to wear.

What do people do on a date?
They go out to dinner and then to a football game. (Typical dream date for a boy of all ages.)

How do you decide who to marry?
God finds the right girl for me and gives me a ring to give her.

What makes a marriage successful?
The wife cooks dinner.  The husband sits and waits for it.

What do you think mommy and daddy have in common?
You both have the same necklace.  (I'm assuming he's referring to our cross necklaces.)

How are mommy and daddy different?
Mommy wears lipstick and daddy doesn't.

What do you think Heaven is like?
Heaven has a lot of gold and when you get there you see Jesus' bloody body.

If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
I would ask God to give me His love.

Name two things you’d like our family to do this weekend?
I would like to go to the beach and the Great Wolf Lodge.

What does daddy do at work?
Daddy makes dollar bills and puts the steel on the truck.

What does mommy do while you are at school?
Mommy shops.

If you could make ONE rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
My rule would be for everyone to believe in God.
Oh my heart...that's what he is. Just look at the above photo and it just makes you want to smile back.  Jax is probably every mother's dream child. He is beyond helpful. He has such a sensitive and kind spirit. Three words describe his positive attributes: Heart of Gold. Two words describe is negative attributes: Cry Baby. We are working on breaking him of crying about everything, but after 5 1/2 years, he still isn't broken. In school, my guess is that he's a shy guy. At recess, he enjoys sitting out and watching his big brother, Ty, play with his classmates. Sniff, sniff.  Jax is too bashful to ask friends to play with him, so he finds joy watching Ty play instead.  His latest loves are everything JETS, drawing, and legos. He will make the perfect husband one day!! She'll have to fight for him though because I am NOT giving him up to just anyone OR easy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fourth Grade Serenades The Entire Bus!

On the way back, from the Washington, DC field trip, the students were able to watch several movies. One of the movies was "Frozen".  "Ahhhhhhhh! NO!!!!!!" screamed all of the boys.  LOL! I, as well as the other parents, thought the bus ride back was going to be fairly quiet and that the students would have been wiped out. THINK AGAIN!!!! They were so punchy that, during the movie Frozen, they serenaded the entire bus.
Can you hear my son and the other wild boys trying to over power their female, classmates' beautiful singing.

Being A Football Player & A Christian Manifest Similar Qualities!

Both football and Christianity require perseverance...
Self denial.
 Hard Work.
 Dedication and...
Respect for authority!

The main difference...not all football contains Christ, but Ty's team does!!!! ALL of the coaches take turns praying before and after EVERY SINGLE practice and game - with the entire team!

Tonight starts football playoffs: the first and probably the last playoff game of the season.  Sadly, I am not there.  I am unable to attend because Lilah and Jax's bed time take precedent over every other night time event possible. Nothing could beat last year's football season record (undefeated). This year, new coaches + new players = new end results. Either way, Darren stands firm in the joy he finds both on the practice field and on the game field. He says, 
"Coaching is by far the biggest and best way I have been able to minister the gospel to others!"  
The end of football season is bitter-sweet.  Sweet: by this time of year, I am ready to have my husband back and a complete family unit.  Bitter: Darren and Nick's friendship grows exponentially during football season.  Their friendship is so strong and it's sad to see their 4-5 day a week bond dwindle down to only when we can gather together in our spare time.  Tyson also tends to get very bored and boredom can sometimes turn into disciplinary issues.  This only can mean one thing....BASKETBALL SEASON is around the corner. Such is life with athletic boys and a husband who loves to be involved in his children's lives and the community. I couldn't be more proud to have a son and a husband with drive.

*Photos taken by Coach Scott Wolk. LOVE THEM!*

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marble Jar (Part 2)

Back in 2011, I did a post on a Marble Jar experiment that I chose to use, to help create "order" in our home.  Here's an excerpt from that post, if you don't desire to read or re-read the entire post.  
One thing I decided to try and improve on, in our home, was order.  Not order in the cleansly sense. I'm pretty sure I've had that talent since I was at least 8 years old, but rather order with my children.  Let me put it more positively... better management or increased harmony amongst them. I thrive off of structure. I like calmness. I desire guidelines, control, and peace in our home. Don't we all? With children, it's possible, but the odds are against me with 3 little depraved souls.
It's insane to look back, almost 4 years ago, and see that I actually tried this experiement when my twins were barely 2. Needless to say, it didn't last long. Duh... 2 year olds don't really have an attention span or a drive for something like an incentive program. NOW, fast forward 4 years, from that post, and guess what?!?!?!?! I decided to pull old tricks back out. Sometimes... ORDER, peace, and harmony still DO NOT exist in our home. What?!?!?! You mean you haven't perfected that Kristin? NO! And when someone does they will be the richest man/woman alive if they can figure out a way to bottle that potion. Tyson shows his "love" by picking on the twins. Yes! That's his excuse for sticking wet fingers in his brother's ear or flicking his sister in the head for no good reason. I call it bullying and sin. Jax is picking up on Tyson's "love" and doing the same occasionally, although he has such a sweet heart that I think it kills him to act that way. And Lilah, well, let's just say she's half Italian and she loves to talk  argue with her hands (oh you know, scratch, pinch, and pull shirts, instead of just saying what's on her mind.). But more so than that even, the reality is... my children are still TOTALLY DEPRAVED, UNSAVED SINNERS. Until their lives are fully submissive to Christ, the personalities of our children will prevent complete harmony in this home. BUT...I will do all that I can to HELP create as much harmony as possible.  I waited a few months to see if the marble jar experiment would work, this time, and it has.  We are on month 3 and it's going strong!

The idea behind the marble jar is this: each child gets a clear glass (or plastic) jar.  Every time a child does something they're supposed to, without being asked, OR above and beyond the realms of what's expected of them, then they receive a marble in their jar. If any form of disobedience occurs, a marble is removed (in addition to any other forms of discipline that needs to take place, such as a spanking).  I have taken this a step further. If an offense is made against a sibling, by another sibling, then a marble will be removed from the offender's jar and put into the victim's jar.  Some examples of "good works/deeds" are clearing your plate after eating, using manners, vacuuming up your crumbs without being asked, and doing chores. A reward of $5.00 is given, to each child, every time their jar accumulates 30 marbles. Thirty marbles DOES NOT seem like a lot, but marbles get removed WAY more than marbles get earned.  When I revisited this idea, I rewarded the FIRST child to reach 30 marbles with $10 (which by the way surprise there) and it took 24 days to earn 30 marbles. 

Let's role play:

Tyson licks his finger, puts it in Jax's ear, Jax gets upset, and instead of retaliating, he comes and discusses it with me. Response: Ty removes a marble from his jar and places it in Jax's jar.  

A NEW addition to this marble jar is as follows: if a sibling sees another sibling doing a kind deed for them, they can remove a marble from their own jar and "pay" their sibling a sign of gratitude with a marble they have previously earned.  

More role playing:

Jax is heading upstairs for the night.  Jax grabs his own shoes, on the way up the stairs, to put them away in his closet, and notices that Tyson also has a pair of shoes sitting on the steps.  Jax brings Tyson's shoes upstairs and places them where they belong. If I notice Jax's kind deed, Jax receives a marble. If Ty notices, he can choose to just say thank you OR he can choose to "pay" Jax a marble, as a sign of his appreciation.

There is so much that needs to be done around this house AND so much that the kids LOVE to save up for or "want".  SO... this marble system is a great way to NOT only promote kindness in our home, but also a desire to help out.  Even IF initially, they are doing things just to earn marbles, so be it.  AT LEAST, they are getting in the habit of considering others more important then themselves (Philippians 2:3).  Darren even uses it to receive help.  Often times I hear, "Who wants to put a trash bag in the trash can for Daddy and get a marble?"  Sometimes I hear crickets and other times all three kids run to daddy's rescue.

As I said in the marble jar post, back in 2011, my hope is this
I am hoping this marble jar system will help train our children to desire to be obedient and kind UNTIL the Lord changes their heart for good. What will start out as a "habbit" of doing good, will hopefully turn into a heart that desires to be obedient for the Lord. We will revisit this system from time to time to make sure it's the best decision for our family. For now, it seems to be working much better this time. My children LOVE incentives and rewards. Some people pay their children to do chores. I "pay" my children, in marbles, for various things and then eventually they can exchange it for real money!
From a Christian stand point, ONE problem with this system is that it almost can create an attitude of "good works" get you to Heaven. However, Darren and I remind the kids daily that good works do NOT get you into Heaven.  

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8

Finally, there is ONLY ONE RULE to this incentive program and that is, "You may NOT tell me you did some kind deed, in hopes of gaining a marble." In other words, do not ask for a marble.

Supplies Needed:
Glass or Plastic Jars: I bought mine at the Dollar Tree.  Last time, I allowed the kids to decorate their jars, but this time, I desired for the jars to blend in with my kitchen decor.
Marbles or Pebbles: I chose marbles for Lilah and rocks for the boys.
As I'm looking at these photos and thinking about the newest addition to our marble jar experiment, I realize now, it would be cool to have one more variety of colored marbles (basically each child should have their own color). As the kids "pay" each other or as marbles are removed from ONE jar and added to another, the jars will disclose HOW the marbles were awarded. Note to self... 
A counter space or designated area to store the jars! I would make certain that the jars are visible to their eyes, but BEWARE, little, untrustworthy children may try to sneak marbles/pebbles into their own jars when they haven't earned them! If I see that happen, the jar gets emptied completely.
It's NO surprise who's marble jar is ALMOST filled up, for the second time, in three months!
2nd place...
3rd place... I think I am harder on him! LOL! He's older therefore expectations are higher.
PS.  When I look back at older posts, I am so embarrassed.  My writing skills and posting skills are definitely NOT where they are today! LOL! I guess over time everyone should be improving, not digressing.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fort Lewis, Fourth Graders, Travel To Washington, DC.

Ever since it was announced, at "Back-To-School" night, we have been anticipating the field trip to Washington, DC.  I had no idea what to expect, but it NEVER dawned on me that departing, from the school at 7 am, meant departing your home at 6:30 am. OUCH!!!!! I was able to get the twins to bed, the night before, at normal time (7:30 pm), but Darren and Ty were out late due to a pre-scheduled football game. I think those two were in bed by 10:00 pm and of course I stayed up until 12:30 am, trying to get everything together.  
We arrived at the school, on time, even after stopping at Starbucks and Hardees for some caffeine.  We spotted our buses right away!  This really sealed the deal.  We were told that buses would NOT wait on late comers.
The first hour, the teachers made a rule that the over head televisions and lights were NOT permitted to be used.  THANK YOU STAFF for thinking of us grown-ups.  The students were allowed to rest, read, or play any electronics that they brought from home.  Ty was punished, the first hour, from electronics, but as soon as that hour was up, he wasted NO time using his iPod to entertain himself.  I thought I would blog or read, but I wound up sitting next to one of Ty's classmate's moms, Joanna Smith, and we chatted non-stop and laughed the entire way there.  It made our bus ride short and fun.  Joanna is ALSO a neighbor of mine, so it was like going on a road trip with a friend.  
The below: Another shot of the "crazies" I had to chaperone during this field trip (minus Kaiden).  Can you tell Ty was, already, OVER me taking pictures?  LOL! Dream on buddy!!!
During our travels, we stopped ONCE to allow the children to stretch their legs and use the bathroom.  If they needed to use the bathroom, any other time, the bus had a porta potty!
I bribed Brendan and Ty, with a "rest area ahead" surprise, if they would allow me to take a serious/smiling photo of the two of them together.  I think it worked!!! Don't you?
As soon as we arrived, we gathered all of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders together, for a group photo, in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Then we ate lunch.
The boys posed for a photo in front of, but very far from, the Washington Monument. Can you tell who the comedian of the group is (far right)?
I love my little man when he smiles!!!
We spotted a police officer "texting and horsing" around! Tough job! Hehe.
After lunch, the boys wanted to run up all 58 steps to see Abraham Lincoln.  Of course everything to a 9 year old is a race.  I can't recall who won.  LOL! I am sure if you ask them they would remember.  
I believe MUCH laughter ensued, in the photo below, because JAY dropped his dessert beyond the chain and sign which read, "Do not go beyond this point!" Leave it to 5 boys to accidentally NOT follow the rules.
After the Lincoln Memorial, we allowed the boys to tour the Washington War Memorial.  Sadly, I don't think these boys' maturity level was fully prepared to walk this area. They were just being really goofy and loud in this section. Both Tonya, the other chaperone, and I tried to remind them that they are there representing Fort Lewis Elementary School.  At times, that seemed to help them regroup, but it slipped their minds very quickly. Some were worse than others, but anytime 5 boys get together it's almost a hopeless cause. LOL! We were definitely out numbered and they had so much energy after being stuck on a bus for 4 hours. Regardless of their interest, I always enjoy touring this section though. It's an amazing reminder of exactly how many people have died while fighting for our Country!
Getting closer and closer to the Washington Monument.
Eventually, we walked a tad closer to the Washington Monument and I was able to capture a great photo of it, using my long lens.
Once we made it to the Washington Monument, I tried my best to capture the boys' pretending to pick it up with their "strong" muscles.  See Jay below?
 Then, off to the World War II Memorial!
There's Mr. Comedian again holding on to New York really tight! What a hoot!
We didn't tour the U.S. Capitol Building or the outside of the White House, although we gave the boys the option to. We took a "vote" and it was unanimous. They chose to tour the museums instead.  I still made certain to take a photo of the Capitol Building.  It appears to be under construction. The White House's roof was visible to our eyes, but in order to see it up close and personal, we would have had to walk a lot further.  
The boys chose to tour the National Museum of American History. They toured this museum rather quickly.  Their appreciation for Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers, Mohammed Ali's Boxing Gloves, and the First Apple Computer didn't seem to impress them. One of the boys even said, "So what...Ruby Red Slippers!" Sigh... The museum shows America's triumphs and tragedies and most importantly, this museum shows everyone, What makes America, America!!!! Real stories, real stuff!
The only photos I took, in this museum, were of electronics and how they have improved over the years.  The staff was REALLLY strict on what you could take pictures of and what you could NOT take pictures of! The boys were really wild in this museum, so I had to focus on keeping up with them! 
The next museum the boys chose to visit was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. This museum showcases over 275 animals. I wish I had had more time to tour this Museum. It was incredible!!  The boys were more  concerned with finding a souvenir, to bring home, that their true appreciation for this museum was not there.  This was our LAST exhibit before heading back home!!!
 The only photos I took, in this museum, were of the owls because I love owls!!!
For the fourth graders, this was quite an eventful trip!  We got a ton accomplished in a small time period (3 hours).  Overall, I think it was a wonderful experience.  I do think that this trip MIGHT have been better saved and rewarded to an older group of children, such as middle or high schoolers. I just do not think boys, especially at this age, are mature enough to appreciate the history of the United States.

Our dinner venue was the Golden Corral.  As I always say, there is a FIRST time for everything. The kids LOVED this place, but if I have a say so, there will NOT be a second time, in my life, that I will eat here. Haha.  
Be on the look tomorrow, for video footage, of the students, on the bus, on the way back! They were all sooooo punchy! They entertained all of the grown-ups by serenading us during their viewing of the movie Frozen! I will do my best to document/post Lilah and Jaxon's trip to the zoo, with their daddy, maybe tomorrow.  

Needless to say, the day after the fieldtrip, I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck. LOL!  I was so happy to send my kids to school and enjoy some peace and quiet. Mrs. Klimaitis, their principal, was very generous by allow the children to come to school at their leisure. No one was counted tardy, no matter how late they arrived.  My children arrived by 9:30 am!

There are still several photos, captured by my cell phone, which I have yet to upload, but for now, feel free to view ALL of the photos I captured, with my camera, below, by double clicking on the Picasa photo album! ENJOY!