We enjoyed spending some of the night with our good friends the Moore's; a night out without our eight children is always a great treat!
Saturday morning Adam took the boys and went fishing so Ava Jane and I went and got donuts at Krispy Kreme. We rarely have just she and I moments so I enjoyed our morning together. This little Razorback cheerleader has my whole entire heart!
I got to attend Peyton's fourth grade field trip to the Plantation Agriculture Museum down in Scott, Arkansas where they learned about how cotton is grown, harvested, seeded, and formed into so many everyday household items that we all use. If was a really interesting tour and I would highly recommend this as a fun learning experience thats not too far from Little Rock, being just about 30 minutes away.
These boys make me smile big! I enjoyed tagging along on this history lesson.
In almost ten years of parenting, I experienced my first case of bullying this past week and I must say it was gut wrenching to watch and experience. It didn't happen in a scary place, a secluded restroom or even out on the school playground, which is where I often assume bullying takes place. No, this happened at what was supposed to have been a fun costume party for a second grader in Lawson's class. It started out all fun, complete with a popcorn machine, icee maker, fortune teller and bonfire. What could've been such an innocent, cute party turned out to be what Lawson now claims as "the worst party ever". I was visiting with a group of Momma's when I decided I should go check on him. He and some of the boys had gone to jump on the trampoline which was hidden behind a bunch of trees. As I rounded the corner I heard crying and immediately several bigger boys ran off toward the house. Lawson proceeded to tell me that they had been making fun of his little friend and he was standing up for Michael when the big boys pulled his clip-on pirate earring off his earlobe and kicked him so hard in the stomach that he could hardly breath. Lawson was filled with frustration and anger, he was mad, hurt and mostly shocked at the unkind treatment he had just received. As his mother, I tried to calm him down and tell him how proud I was that he had stuck up for his little buddy. We hugged in the tree-line while he composed himself then we rejoined the carnival-style fun. Not twenty-five minutes later as the field behind the house became pitch black and the kids were playing chase, I saw Lawson come walking up toward the driveway again in tears. He claimed that this time all the big boys along with several of the second grade boys were chasing him and calling him "Pirate boy" even after he'd told them his name was Lawson. There was pushing and shoving, more pulling off of the pirate earring and his striped headband. He said they would not stop picking on him. With tears streaming down his face we quickly said our goodbye and walked to the car. He was filled with anger and mad at how the party had gone. In his emotional state I tried hard to recall every verse and biblical truth that I could think of. Thankfully God's word just started to flow out of my mouth and I was able to explain that "vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay" and that it also tells us "to be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another." Before I even started the car I validated Lawson's feelings. I told him that I completely understood that he wanted to be mean (in return) to those boys and that "getting back at them next week at school" was a natural response to their harsh behavior towards him, but that God calls us to higher standards, to un-natural reactions. Lawson is only seven years old, his view of the world is still such an ideal place, but that night, he experienced the fallen state in which we live every.single.day. No matter if our kids are at school, on the playground, on a playdate, are in our own homes or at a party; we as parents must be vigilant to watch our children, to correct wrong behavior (even if it's the behavior of other children) and to teach our kids the proper response even when it hurts. It is situations like this one that produces character in our kids, so for that I am grateful, but it is certainly not pretty, nor enjoyable to watch or experience. I am hopeful now that he's experienced first hand, how it feels, that he will be much more sensitive in the way he treats others he comes in contact with in the future. Is he not the most adorable pirate you have ever seen?
The past few days the kids have been out of school for parent teacher conferences so Adam took some time off work too which was really nice. We didn't plan a ton of stuff, and honestly, that was such a blessing. Life has been busy and a bit overwhelming on all fronts for us lately, so to have a little reprieve was a true gift. All the conferences for our kids went well, each of their teachers had many compliments and encouraging comments to make about our boys, their behavior and their attitudes. One thing that Adam and I had to get a quick lesson on was the new way in which they are teaching division in fourth grade. Instead of carrying down with an arrow (like we learned to do years ago) now they add zeros in place of the carry down arrows and work at the problem according to the tens and hundreds place value. I now understand more of how they are teaching the kids, though I struggle with why they are teaching them this way and if it really does, more easily, help the kids understand what they are doing. I guess only time will tell! Here's one example that his teacher showed us...makes total sense huh?!
We took the kids to go see Stork one afternoon, which was a really cute movie. It has some pretty funny lines that literally had people laughing out loud in the audience. The kids loved it and so did the adults so that was a winwin!
The other thing we did was take the kids to Bass Pro Shop, Adam describes it like Disney World. With the way they arrange their store, it makes you want, or feel like you need, one of almost everything! The boys enjoyed looking at the ATV's, boats and life sized stuffed animals Handling the 20 gauge shotgun (that Adam was inquiring about for them to hunt with), as well as seeing all the fish swimming around in the aquarium were just a few of the highlights. From start to finish, Bass Pro Shop gives each patron a fun experience that, for us, ended with candy and carmel corn for all!
Life has for sure been full; it's been fast paced and filled with both good and bad--hard days at home, tough days at work, challenging homework moments and making fun memories with family. Like I've said before, life is not always bad or always good. Like a railroad track, with its parallel rails, the pleasant and the ugly things of life seem to coincide and for that I am so grateful.