Monday, July 29, 2013

Time Keeps on Slipping

Greetings friends and family,

After arriving home from the our 3-month-long vacation at 1:00 AM we woke up in time to go to church.  There was no sense of obligation or thought of "we need to go because we should".  All four Webbs just had a desire to go.  Kendra and I missed being a part of the teams who impact people's lives and all four of us missed our friends that much.  We GET to go to church, we don't HAVE to go to church.

Anyway, after church and lunch we were all kind of zombie-like from the long day of travel and too few hours sleeping.  My work offered a free day of admittance to the Arizona Science Center.   I couldn't pass up the opportunity no matter how tired we were.  Plus it gave Kendra a chance to clean the house and grocery shop to replenish our empty refrigerator.

The day was both hot and rainy so we couldn't do any outdoor activities.  However, they had an outdoor water exhibit.  Layla's favorite attraction was the wheel that scooped up the ball and then rolled down on rails like a roller coaster.

Easton's favorite was the tornado (surprise, surprise) where he threw balls into the top and they swirled down through the hole in the bottom along with the exiting water.  It was like a big toilet, but I didn't want to describe it like that or he would get some bad ideas.

Another area they played in was the wheelchair race.  Each wheelchair had a screen in front of it with a start and finish line.  They were amazed by how difficult it was to push the chairs along the virtual track.  I'm glad they were able to experience the effort required for those in a wheelchair to get around.

Another big hit was the dam building area where a small stream of water trickled into the long trough.  There was a bunch of sand and mud for kids to build a dam and see how the water reacted to the force of gravity and dams.

Easton was as interested in building as he was in tearing it down.  Watching them respond kindly to the other kids made me proud because some of them were not well mannered.  The contrast between which kids were taught and which were not becomes more intense as the twins get older.

We were able to enjoy the planetarium and IMAX movies, but had to choose only one.  Layla is still scared from the "get ready to go into a black hole!" comment last year when we visited the planetarium.  Combine that bias with the title of the 3D IMAX movie, "Tornado Alley" and there was no contest.  Tornadoes it is!

Our goofy glasses made for goofy pictures and we have no problem making silly faces to top it off.  The movie was not frightening or gruesome, but I fielded questions from both sides throughout the entire thing.  Easton wants to build his own tornado intercept tank vehicle and Layla wants to never visit Oklahoma again.

Layla is strong and she knows it.  Two girls were on the other side of this tug-of-war pendulum thing.  She won.

Easton wasn't the least bit interested in the strength training exercise.  He was enamored by the exhibit where you drop a ball down a chute, bounce it off an angled steel platform and send it flying through the movable steel hoops.  He was amazed by how he could turn the crank, adjust the angle, and send the ball cleanly through the hoops.

Outside I got one more selfie with the two of them and the science center in the background.  I hear they have a super expensive, week-long camp in the summer, but for now we'll gladly take the occasional free day of fun inside.

Speaking of super expensive.  I had no idea air conditioners were so expensive to fix and maintain.  We have two units and one of them was broke when we arrived home.  The AC repair man was shocked by how much cat hair was caked on the cold coils in the house.  He asked if we had a family of cats living in our AC unit.  I said, "no, but there was a cat here for over a decade!"  Thanks, Samantha, for clogging the AC.  I'm hoping the cost of repairing everything will lower our monthly AC bill, but the ROI for this expensive event will probably take 15 years to pay off.  The happy part of this painful experience was that we have an emergency fund set up for... emergencies.  Not having AC in Phoenix in the middle of summer is clearly an emergency.  Now we get to rebuild our emergency fund!

Kendra's friend, Susanna, is back in town again.  After being away for a year or two her kids are grown enough play with Easton and Layla.  Layla taught Harley some dance moves.

And Easton taught Colton how to rock the Xbox Kinect river rafting game.

This time of year has a semi-regular routine of me going to work and then swimming with the twins in the evening.  We've been doing this for the last 4 years and it never gets old.

This is our last week at home with the kids before starting Kindergarten next week.  I feel like this is the end of an era even though they went to pre-k for two years.  All day school is a whole new ballgame.  I'm excited for them, but quietly mourning the dramatic shift for the 4 Webbs.  I wish they would stay this age (and I would stay this age) forever.  They still give me hugs and kisses, think I'm a muscle-man hero, and like for me to lay on their bed while singing them to sleep each night.  There's nothing that could ever replace the joy and fulfillment I get from being a Dad of five-year-olds, but I know the only consistent thing in this world is change.  Nobody needs to convince me to "cherish these days when they are young" because I do with all my heart.

Time is a treasure with a measure and the Bible says, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."  I'm OK with that.  It's confirmation that the things I value in life and give my time to are well-chosen.

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home to Phoenix!

Greetings friends and family,

I'm mourning the shift back to normal life because I only see Kendra and kids for a couple of hours each evening.  The twins walk into our room each morning and cuddle up next to me in bed.  Ever since I started back to work the first question they ask, after saying "Can you fix me some breakfast?", is whether today is a work day for me.  When I tell them it is a work day they sigh and moan and pout their lips.  Sure makes it hard to leave for work in the morning!

I'll wrap up the last bits of our travel adventures through a review of the last day in Sacramento.  Easton expressed interest to see the old powerhouse and Layla wanted to pick fresh blackberries down by the river.  The three of us took Oupa and Uncle Casey along for a trip to accomplish both.  Easton was going to grab the cluster of berries, but the thorn poked his thumb.  That's why Oupa is holding, Layla is smiling, and Easton is cringing.

The berries are in full bloom this time of year.  Last year I took them here for a nature walk and checking out the powerhouse.  Casey joined us this year.  His height and long arms were a huge benefit to get those hard to reach berries.  We ended up with a big basket full for Ouma.

Casey knows this area like the back of his hand since he's been swimming, hiking, and riding here since he was a boy.  We walked by a rock cliff, which Casey called "party rock".  On the way back the twins requested a few minutes to hang out on party rock.  Wish granted.

It's difficult to see the scenery, but the wooden bridge, forest-like coverage, and river flowing in the background made for a nice photo opportunity with Uncle Casey.  Layla looks like a young lady.  Sweet Jesus, when did that happen?  i just can't match my view of my little baby girl with the idea she is so grown up.  I'll come around.

During the entire hike and berry picking Easton's conversations were focused on his desire to see the powerhouse and learn more about how it functioned.  Oupa gave us a guided tour including how the water flowed and each component's function.  Easton was amazed as you would expect from him.  His curiosity of electricity and all things related to science never cease.

We packed up the Pilot and hit the road in the early afternoon.  Thanks to Kendra and Oupa's expert packing skills we were able to bring home almost everything.  Neill and Jenny came over to say good-bye and we had a powerful time of prayer and emotional connection.  Sometimes just getting the right people in the room makes all the difference in the world.

We hit the road right on schedule and arrived home in a record-setting time.  Eleven hours from door to door.  The twins peed when we stopped for gas or food and never requested an in-between pee break.  We ate before leaving and drove the Pilot like we stole it.  Jenny gave each of us a "Sees Candies" lollipop.  For those who know Jenny this was a huge love gift.  Neill said he doesn't even get those from her.  Jenny said the lollipops would keep the twins quiet and occupied for a while.  She didn't take into account Easton's way of thinking.  He started sucking on it and making whistling noises and slurping noises and smacking noises.  He showed us how his tongue and cheeks and lips worked to produce all kinds of sounds.  And he described for us in great detail how smooth his cheek was from the candy coating the inside of his mouth.  I love the way his mind thinks.

The 4 Webbs arrived home at midnight and slept like angels in our own beds.  It's been 90 days since we've all slept in our beds for a whole week.  It takes a while to re-adjust, but we are all excited to in our own house with our own bed and our own toys and everything else we've come to know as normal life.

So many awesome memories were made that will last all four of us a lifetime.  There are very few things I would change about our travels and adventures.  living a life without regrets is an admirable goal.

See you soon.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Homeward Bound

Greetings friends and family,

Summer in Sacramento is almost over.  This week flew by extra fast because I spent full days at work M-F (almost) and evenings with the family and late night workouts at the gym.  I've been pumping weights like a madman at California Family Fitness.  There is something extra motivational about being around a bunch of serious body builders.  I'm over 150 lbs. for the first time in several years!  That may not seem like a big deal, but for a guy who's been working out in a gym since the sixth grade it's great to see progress.

When I asked Ouma to contribute her thoughts to the blog she said, "I promise I will cry after you leave and you can quote me!"  and that's it.

Being at work all week means I have to depend on Kendra to take pictures.  Would you like to see more blog posts?  Great!  tell her to take more pictures.  Thanks.

Anywho, the living room is continually covered with toys and games.  Luckily Ouma and Oupa are cool about it.  The living room floor also serves as the Uno game table.  Easton and Layla are Uno ninjas.  They can legitimately beat anyone and everyone in the family.  Seeing the four of them playing together on the floor provides a good visual description of what it means to be involved with, interested in, and impactful for the twins.

Another regularly occurring activity is book reading.  The twins raided the local library a few weeks ago.  They get book time almost every day by one or more of us.  Easton's favorite book is "The Disaster of the Hindenburg: The Last Flight of the Greatest Airship Ever Built".  I wish I were kidding, but that boy is so passionate about anything that flies (or floats) through the air.

The twins have a quirky interest in acting like cats.  I have no idea why.  We don't have a cat because I'm allergic to them.  Yet here they are meowing around the house, pretending to lick themselves, and getting bandaged by Ouma.  Not sure why they want their name on the bandage, but here is Fluff and Fluffy.

Last night Kendra and Layla had a sleep over at Megan and Isabella's house.  That left Easton to hang out with us. We chowed down on Chick-Fil-A and made paper airplanes at home.  For bath time I sat beside the tub talking while he did his scrub-a-dub thing.  He doesn't often like to be photographed, but he asked if I wanted to take a picture of him like this with his head poking out of the shower door.

I took off work early to have a golf outing with Oupa and Niell. While planning for the round we arranged for Easton to play a few holes with us.  He rode with us in the cart and putted on the greens.  I consider this to be Easton's first official golf game because he played in real time with the big boys.

The thing he liked most about the outing was riding in the cart with Neill and me.

I knew we couldn't keep up with the flow of the game if Easton played the entire 18 so Ouma came back around to pick him up.  Ted played with us to round out the foursome.  We were hot and sweaty, but it sure beat working in the office!  Great time with these guys who have been such great mentors and teachers for me.

All good things must come to an end including the longest, most incredible vacation in the history of my life.  Being here is Sacramento was like being on vacation even though I worked the past two weeks.  I had occasional dates with Kendra, mornings to sleep in, and peace of mind knowing the twins were cared for at home no matter where I was.  It was nice to have the freedom to just pick up and go somewhere without regard for whether Kendra is available or not.  I don't know many people who love spending four weeks living with their in-laws, but I sure do.  

This is also like a vacation for what is NOT present:  people and ministry.  Everyone needs a break and we don't get much of that back in Phoenix.  We have visitors in our house almost every day.  We mentor or "be a friend" to people every single day without fail.  Those are not bad things, but it sure is pleasant to have a break from them while we're here.  Part of what we do in Sacramento is get recharged like a battery so when we get back to Phoenix we can jump back in and help as many people as possible.  I will miss being here very much!

All of that vacation-style living comes to a grinding halt as we load up the battle wagon and head back to home sweet home.  I look forward to:

Sleeping in my oh-so-comfy king-sized bed 
Desktop computer with ergo keyboard for blogging, no more finger cramps
The pool is five steps from the back door
Same temperature, but without the humidity
My friends (Kendra has many here...  I have one)
My own car
79 cent Frosters at Circle K
Mountain biking trails.  Oh wait... I don't have a bike.  yet.
182 GB of music to play throughout the house

These are just a few things that come to mind when I think about getting back to normal life.  Starting in two weeks our family will be bound by the school calendar for the next 12 years.  Not looking forward to those limitations, but the only thing constant is change so here we go!

See  you soon.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Fireworks and Oakland

Hello friends and family,

Riding a bicycle without training wheels is a rite of passage for most kids.  A neighbor kid and my friend's kid, who are the same age as the twins, are winning trophies riding bmx bikes on dirt tracks.  Easton and Layla are not even able to ride without training wheels.  The comparison is between kids on opposite ends of the spectrum.  I wish the twins were able to ride two-wheeled so we could go for rides together.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't create a bit of envy inside me, but I'm not losing any sleep over it.  For all the wonderful aspects of who Easton and Layla are and their many talents, bike riding is just not one of them.  yet.

Mom and Dad bought them 16 inch bikes with hopes of getting them on two wheels.  Since the first day we arrived almost four weeks ago we've been planting seeds of how fun it is to ride without training wheels.  They've been apathetic for the most part, but Dad convinced them a few times to give it a try.  they worked on balance and then a short push from Dad to me.

Once they realized it doesn't hurt to fall in the grass then they were much more willing to pedal a few times.  Learning to ride a bike is a process, I know.  I doubt they'll be fully functional to ride by the time we get home, but at least they've been exposed to it.  One thing is clear; their 12 inch bikes at home are entirely too tiny to ever ride again.  Craigslist, here I come!

Ouma bought a hammock for the backyard with two anchor points on each end.  That prevents it from spinning around and dumping the occupant on the ground.  The twins had some cuddle time reading books and watching the squirrels.  I haven't found the way to express to them how lucky they are to sit rest comfortably outside while the temperature at our house in Phoenix is a toasty 108 degrees.  We come to Ouma and Oupa's house for family time.  We choose THIS time of year to escape the heat.  These two kiddos are happy to hang out with our Sacramento friends and family for extended vacation.

Uncle Casey wasn't able to join us for the neighborhood block party Independence Day celebration.  We saved back a box of California approved fireworks for a special time with him.  The twins were able to light the fireworks, which is a different experience than simply watching the big kids of the neighborhood set them off.  We did some silly dancing around the big fountains and holding our ears for the loud whistlers.  I'm glad Casey was able to spend the evening with us and it was worth keeping the kids up past their bedtime so we could all enjoy the fireworks together.

My last Daddy date with Layla was such a big success that Easton picked up on the magnitude of fun.  He's been patiently waiting his turn for boy's time together.  Oupa had the idea of going to an Oakland A's baseball game.  I agreed it would be a great experience for us so he set it up.  On Sunday we were backsliders who skipped out on church.  At least we made the most of it.  From 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM we spent the entire day hanging out together.  Here's the prize picture from our time together.

We drove to the bay area with Easton knowing we were going to his first MLB game ever.  What he didn't know is that we planned to take the BART mass transit system for the final leg of our journey to the stadium.  When he figured out were going to ride a train his interest in the day grew even more.

Being from the middle of suburbia Easton's only been on a light rail a couple of times.  Some people dread the daily commute and ride on mass transit, but for this boy it was a real treat.

We had the whole train to ourselves because we started at the very end of the line.  Easton was able to run around the car and take our pictures.

The number of the steps we took between the car and stadium was measured in miles, but I gladly welcomed the outdoor strolls in the slightly breezy and cool afternoon.  Our seats were out in center field with a good view the plate.  I'm pretty sure we could see the strike zone better than the umpire at home plate.  I found the next picture intriguing because of the resemblance of their profiles.  He's not quite as dark skinned, but sure looks like a family match to me!

I took a panoramic picture of our seats.  Not sure if it will come out as well here on the blog, here's the view including the tall guy who sat in front of Easton with the big straw hat. :)

We ate lunch and snacks all the way through the third inning.  Easton lasted another four innings before needing a bathroom break and some exercise.  I took him into the team shop with the hope of finding a hat that fit him and he likes.  bingo!  He set his eyes on this one and now he's officially an A's fan.

One of Easton's game highlights was when the crowd did the wave.  The wave made the rounds three times.  I held Easton up over my head for the first two then I captured this short video clip of the last time around.

I was hopeful Easton would make it through all nine innings.  He did.  What I failed to consider was the possibility of extra innings due to a tie ball game.  With no reason to leave early and Easton patiently enjoying our time together Oupa and I agreed to stay for the ending.  I'm really glad we did because the A's won with a walk off.  Our celebration picture followed the high-fives and cheering.

As we gathered up our things to leave the stadium I noticed a kid-sized glove stuck in the chairs next to us.  The group of people who sat there left several innings ago so I commandeered the glove and gave it to Easton as a souvenir.  In hindsight, I should have given it to lost and found, but occasionally I make bad choices as well.  confession is good for the soul.  making good choices is better because it makes confession unnecessary.  Such is life.

The train ride, stop at In-N-Out, and drive home were as enjoyable as the rest of the day.  Easton claimed this was "the best day ever", which is a good benchmark of success.  He mentioned how awesome our boy's time was on several occasions since then.  His recognition of our efforts and genuine bonding time together made the whole day worthwhile.

P.S. don't allow a five year old to wear a white shirt on a day-long adventure with snow cones and hot dogs.  Lesson learned...

Layla spent the day with Ouma and Kendra, but I don't think there are any pictures from their relaxing time together.  I'll check with the boss and recount their day as best I can.

See you soon!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

VBS Week

Greetings friends and family,

The vacation in Sacramento continues as I go to work during the days and the rest of the family relishes the last bits of summer fun.  Everybody knows what starting school means except Layla and Easton.  They have no idea or way to comprehend the incredible change coming their way in just a few short weeks.  Their first day of school will be the beginning of a 18 year (or so) journey towards being educated.

I wrote about divergent thinking some time ago, but have not come up with any ways of directing Easton and Layla's path away from the inevitable "down side" of current education methods.

As sad as I am to write it, there is no way I can guide the twins to improve their divergent thinking while at the same time succeeding in today's educational system and tomorrows workplace.  Our country simply doesn't value divergent thinkers.  as long as that is true, then they will never make a living doing those things which require the skill set.  I hope I'm wrong about a few things I see coming in the future and this is one of them.  I hope I'm wrong that our nation is cranking out zombified convergent thinkers who believe the goal is to all reach the same conclusion for the problems they will face.

We can instill in them a sense of responsibility, character, integrity, morals, consideration, and such.  So that's what we do.  The twins are old enough to take care of their own morning routine and that includes making their own bed, every morning.  Here's Easton showing off his skill without being told!  Yes, it IS possible to set expectation high enough to be challenging, yet realistic.  "Make your bed" is one of those.  The only issue with developing this skill is that they expect US to make our bed too.  Such observant children...

I haven't given up hope on parenting or education or teaching, just the idea of attempting to maintain their divergent thinking muscles in the midst of public educations daily attempts to squash them.

An example of our continued focus on education is Vacation Bible School.  The most important aspect is teaching them about who God is so they know who they are in Him.  Nothing will help them through life more than this relatively simple understanding.  If God is love and they know God, then they know love.  It really is that simple.

Kendra took a few pictures on the way out the door.  I was already at work this morning so I'm putting a few different ones up here because I liked them so much.  Each day I would come home to a double-dose earful of how great VBS was.  I know Easton's expression was not descriptive of how he feels about VBS.

This next one is more like their personalities though.  Layla busting a dance move and Easton holding nice and still for the camera.

Easton is stepping into the big brother role more each day.  I vow to never make him feel responsible for Layla's well-being.  It's not right to put anyone on a child's shoulders as a burden to be responsible for them.  As their Dad I am responsible.  however, when they are away from us at school where Daddy isn't allowed then they know to take care of each other as best they can.  I told Easton he is expected to help Layla and be there for her when she needs him.  he can certainly do that.

The last week was my first full week of work.  Every day at the job then every evening spent working out or spending time with friends and family until 11:00.  Saturday morning arrived and I was super tired.  Guess who wasn't?  Yep, Easton the early riser.  that's probably his Native American name, "he who rises early" or something like that.  Anyway, I woke up when he did and we snuck out of the house for breakfast so the rest of the family could sleep in.

We agreed on the Waffle Barn and had a fun time hanging out together.  I took some pictures and he was intent on taking some silly ones because lately I've given them the freedom to take happy pictures and then a few silly ones.  We smashed our faces together and this was the first time I felt him push back.  on anything.  He's been very docile his whole life, shying away from conflict and avoiding all confrontation.  I don't rough him up at all.  ever.  but we do "rough house" with wrestling around and playing tag.

This day was different.  As we were face to face I made a little bear growl noise and pushed against him.  He strengthened his neck and growled back at him!  We were giggling and growling and pushing our foreheads with a tug-of-war effect.  I snapped this picture.

Then realized the other two families in our section of the restaurant were smiling watching our friendly (loud) banter.  I've been waiting for this stage in his life to toughen him up through teaching him to engage without running away.  He'll never be a violent person because he has such a loving heart, but I want him to confidently know he doesn't have to be afraid of anything or anyone.

Our trip this year to Sacramento amounts to several weeks worth of time spent here.  We usually shoot for at least one evening out with Neill and Jenny, two of our most valued mentors.  Their daughter, Aimee, watched the twins while we went with them and our parents for a dinner evening out.

As soon as she came in the door they went straight for the books and the then the chair.  Aimee is such a good sport and gladly cared for them while we went out on the town.

by "on the town" I mean up the hill to El Dorado Hills.  Kendra found a highly acclaimed restaurant called Sellands where we tried gourmet dishes and conversed about life, love, and serving others.  We always take their gift of time with us very seriously because we realize how sparse it is and how thinly spread they are between traveling and teaching here at home.  I'm most thankful for how they believe in us as worthwhile to input  into our lives.  I know they see our potential and desire to help others.

The weekend was a blur, and I still haven't made it to bed before 11:30 one time this week because we were too busy having fun.  Lots of pictures to sort and stories to tell even as this thing called "work" starts again bright and early tomorrow.  Work is sounding less foreign everyday, but I'm already looking forward to my next sabbatical in 1682 days.  Time to start saving and planning!

See you soon.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Mother Load

Greetings friends and family,

I discovered quickly how few picture-worthy moments happen during a normal working-stiff work week.  Even so, we had a good weekend and transition back into our "normal" life where Daddy is gone 8-5 (or so) and Mommy is hanging with the twins.  The exception is that Easton and Layla are attending Vacation Bible School this week in the mornings.  This will be their 3rd annual VBS week at the same church with the same friends.

Easton was given a few Lego gifts over the past year and the two of us worked together by following the instructions to create what the pictures showed.  Unlike recipes and baking, what the box shows is exactly what you get!  One reason i like legos more than cooking.  Anyway, I've been on the lookout for a bulk sale of Legos on Craigslist for several months because they are incredibly expensive to buy one set at a time from Target.  I happened to check the Sacramento edition of Craigslist and saw an interesting Lego ad.  The picture showed three tubs and it was advertised at $50.  I called to offer $40 and he accepted.  I instructed Easton to get his shoes on to go for a ride.  The seller showed me the tubs, I gave him $40, and we were back home in a flash.

The tubs weighed 56 lbs.  That's an insane amount of Legos and toys for just $40.  Easton posed on top of our treasure with an eager smile to dive in.

I spent the next two evenings sorting out the extra toys and matchbox cars to produce a clean slate of Legos for us to start building.  Easton is most excited about the Star Wars related Legos and instruction manuals buried in the tubs.  Time to get started building!

Ever since I sold my bike I've been longing to ride anything anywhere.  My leg muscles are atrophied and endurance is suffering, but life is made up of more than just hobbies and selfish ambition.  Even so, I was so desperate for some exercise and ride time that I rode Mom's bike with Dad.  This beauty with the pink pin stripes and  upright riding position rode surprisingly well and comfortably.

but this is how I felt riding it.

Beggars can't be choosers though!  I was sweatin' and smilin' the whole time.  Felt good to be back on the pedals.

I've been working on my wardrobe to prepare for the speaking and teaching Kendra and I will do starting next quarter.  Men's Wearhouse is usually overpriced, but I found this perfectly fitting sport coat for a mere $35.  I really enjoying finding deals in case you didn't know that about me.  Got that from the Webb side of the family!

Why was I at the Men's Wearhouse?  Oupa, Easton, and I were fitted for tuxedos for Logan's wedding.  Easton tried on his ring bearer suit, which looked very spiffy on him.  Can't wait to see him in the full outfit on the wedding day!

I sat like a deer in headlights the other evening after realizing the twins are less than four weeks away from their first day of Kindergarten.  There are some characteristics such as their communication skills, intelligence, and friendliness that make me think, "they are absolutely ready to take on full-time school."  However there are other aspects that give me cause for concern.  For Layla it is her "leaking" where she gets so involved in whatever is happening that she forgets to go to the bathroom and pees in her pants.  it doesn't happen often, but that seems like something that Kindergarteners shouldn't do.  Easton hasn't had any problem in the potty training realm for months.  The other concerning factor is their fascination with butts.  They poke butts, sniff butts, joke about toots and cross butt-related boundaries like a couple of rebels.  I have no idea why, but it's disturbing.  Maybe it's curiosity or a normal stage of five year olds? Whatever the case, I'm fairly certain schools look down on kids touching each other's butts.  It just has to stop.

I'm at my limit with their behavior and we will be taking drastic measures over the next few days, up to and including throwing away prized toys and princess dresses.

Another concern I have is how wrapped up they are in caring what other people think.  They are tending to want to blend into the crowd of kids and be like everybody else.  I'm doing my best to get their minds reprogrammed back to last year when they lived as who they were made to be and not what the world wants them to be.  I know they'll be fine and this is my instruction to them this week.

I want them to stand out by being outstanding.  That doesn't mean "known for embarrassing mishaps", but rather "known by their obedience and character".  We'll see!  The real test of whether we have successfully parented is about to begin.

See you soon!