My Boys And Me Make Three

At the end of the day, the only questions I will ask are…Did I love enough? Did I laugh enough? Did I make a difference?

STEM

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If you follow politics at all in Indiana you will have no doubt heard lots about the importance of the STEM subjects to the future of the state.  The STEM subjects include Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and typically the state has lacked in these areas when it comes to recruiting talent.

I think Caden tends to gravitate towards these subjects naturally mostly because he has interest in them and he’s strong in these particular areas at school. Which is why I was so excited when I found this camp that was essentially an introduction to Robotics and Engineering using LEGOs. http://www.firstepcamp.com

Basically the kids spent four days building a robot and programming it to do certain tasks. On the fifth day was a challenge that had the kids completing five tasks with their robot in an hour in a competitive format.

When I asked Caden how camp was going his response thrilled me. “It’s ok Mom but it’s pretty hard and I don’t really understand everything I’m doing.” Perfect! But what I loved about this camp the most wasn’t even what he learned about Engineering and Robotics although that was fabulous it was the other real world skills that he is going to need when he gets any kind of job.  Things like working as a team, problem solving, setting goals and the fact that he now understands what an objective is and can use the word properly thrills me to no end! These are the types of “tools” he’s going to need to compete in the real world. And the fact he can build a robot out of LEGOs won’t hurt either.

A little aside here but I tend to think of Caden as pretty intelligent until he does something somewhat normal for a 7 year old boy. Like today when I found him and his brother taking turns duct taping each other to a pole in the basement. It was all in good fun and they took turns breaking out and then taping up the other.  An Engineer in the making? Maybe not.

Anyway, here is some video from the challenge.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4tP6cHQ-MlK7cWcz-sIuew

I absolutely love the challenge that Caden took on which was getting the robot to follow a path (using a light sensor). You can see their vehicle starts out a little shaky and then really turns up the heat. His fist pumping at the end is truly priceless to me as I can tell he worked hard with his teammates and is really proud of what they were able to do.  Check out the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Now that’s a STEM education!

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3rd Place in the 2nd Grade Spelling Bee

3rd Place in the 2nd Grade Spelling Bee

Me and one fantastic 2nd grade speller! I’m way more proud of him for the way he has handled himself this year and stayed focused on his school work than the fact that he was the 3rd best speller in the 2nd grade today. Way to go Caden! Special thanks to Caden’s fan club who helped me cheer him on! — with Lyndsay Malmloff-Werner and Lynn Hildebrandt at West Clay Elementary School.  Here is a link to a little video. http://youtu.be/dd3OuGxT1Kw  And a couple more photos that showed there were probably close to 125 kids plus adults watching the whole thing. Caden was as cool as could be the whole time!

 

 

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Hangin’ With Hadley

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I’ve had the distinct pleasure of knowing Hadley her entire life. She’s just such a treat. And since I don’t have any girls of my own I very much enjoy some of her mother’s stories about girl stuff. Earlier this Spring Hadley got to come over one day while her mother was at work. Nolan and I were both thrilled and we had tons of fun together. We went to Lion’s Park and played on the swings, we had a little picnic, played outside at home, did chalk on the driveway. At one point, after Caden came home from school, all three of them were pretending their were animals at a pet store.  Hence the turned over laundry baskets. If you look closely you can see a kid under each one!  They did all kinds of fun stuff.  Anyway, thanks to Mary for trusting me and Nolan enough to have her daughter for a whole day. Here are a few photos from our day of fun!

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The PM List

In an attempt to get over a devastating life event there are so many things one can use to dull the pain. And I think I’ve considered them all. I’m sure people like to think they’d choose wise coping methods when faced with an excruciating pain but until you’re faced with it, I don’t know that you really know how you’d react or handle it. I did make the decision early on in this mess that I would hold on to every last strand of my dignity and my decision to go to therapy was probably the smartest move I’ve ever made. Ever.

I like to think I’ve chosen the healthiest route for me. And what works for me is definitely not going to work for someone else. But seven months later I feel like I’ve started to regain my footing, I feel like my grieving is less, I don’t think about what has happened 24/7, and I’ve actually laughed. I’ve truly laughed which to me, there are few things that feel better than a really, really hard laugh. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind where you’re laughing so hard with someone you’re just not quite sure if you’re going to pee your pants or not.

One of the other things I started that has helped me cope is my PM list. That’s short for Post-Michael.  It’s basically a running list of things that I have accomplished on my own since Michael’s rapid departure. Some of the things are silly like taking the boys to a Roller Derby bout or playing real games of BINGO in a real BINGO hall with friends.  Some of them were a little more emotionally challenging like going to a group therapy session and sharing my story or attending Alcoholics Anonymous in support of a friend.

Periodically I like to look at The PM List as it has given me hope, it’s given me confidence and it’s been written proof that I will in fact, at some point, be A-OK.

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The Only Flowers I Need

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I’ve always liked flowers. I love the first flowers of Spring and it’s always a treat when someone special sends you flowers for an occasion or for no real reason at all.  I used to concern myself with what kind of flowers were sent or what color they were. Now I realize it’s so much more  about the gesture of saying to someone you’re special and I want you to have these flowers as a small token of my love for you.

So it brought me to tears when a couple of weekends ago the boys were playing outside and one by one came and found me inside to give me dandelions they had plucked from the front yard. Nolan came in first and presented his single dandelion. “Here Mom this is for you.” I asked if it came with a hug to which he replied, “Umm yes, I think it does.” And gave me a BIG hug complete with a kiss.  A few minutes later Caden came in with a handful of dandelions and presented them to me. When I asked him if they came with a hug, his response was to shrug and then come in with his arms wide open for a big, cuts at your heartstrings, kind of hug.

Man I love those boys! I would do all this heartache over again a million times because they are in my life. And when they do sweet, thoughtful things like give their Mom dandelions it gives me hope that they will grow up to be amazing, thoughtful and kind boyfriends and husbands.

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The Sneaky Things

I tend to think I’ve accepted what has happened until things catch me off guard. Like this video they played at church that included a woman who had been abandoned by her husband. http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/37647/Redeemed

Or a post on a Facebook photo of the boys and me that said “Congrats, You Three!” and my mind saying but there used to be four.

Or this article I read about Runaway Husbands that hit way to close to home. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/runaway-husbands-unfaithful-abandon-wives-warning/story?id=10829180#.UXaIrb9BRGE

I have to believe as time goes on there will be fewer sneaky things or I’ll learn how to react better to them. For now they bring me pain, welled up tears and anger. While I know grieving the loss of my marriage, my hopes and my dreams isn’t an easy or fast process I do wonder when the time will come that when someone asks how I’m doing I’ll be able to look them in the eye and say I’m doing just fine.

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Spring Has Sprung!

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To say it’s been a loooooooong winter would be an understatement for many reasons really. The fact that it has finally gotten warm and sunny and the boys can be outside has helped all of our moods tremendously. And do  you want to know how I know that it’s really Spring? The baseball boys are back at it across the street. There’s just something about men, and even little guys, in baseball hats with music blaring and the crack of a bat. But I digress.

The boys and I have been taking full advantage of springtime.  We spent a lazy Sunday afternoon in the hammock talking, laughing, snuggling and falling out. And then we realized the pole was leaning in a “it’s going to come out of the ground kind of way” so we had to get out until we pour some more cement in the hole and get it secured.

Both boys are playing baseball this year. Nolan is T-ball and Caden is kid pitch.  I tend to think the batting averages might be higher for the 4 year old kids hitting off a tee but we’ll see. Both boys seem to really enjoy the game.  Here is a short video from Nolan’s first practice. He seemed a little shocked he hit the ball. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp5jovrnPhQ

The other big news at our house is the new fort compliments of Grandpa Malmloff. The boys were quite instrumental in the drawing up the of the plans and the building of it. If you’re a female you might have to start campaigning now to be allowed in. Right now it’s No Girls Allowed but for me and Grandma. Apparently the sweat equity we put into building it is paying off!

Spring Break consisted of lots of time with friends, working on the fort, driving Grandpa’s RC cars and a trip to the Children’s Museum for the superhero exhibit and a special Transformers presentation. The boys also got a run in with TJ.

While sometimes the days are long, time keeps right on spinning. And the truth is I wouldn’t want to miss a minute of these wonderful springtime memories with my boys!

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Easter at Home 2013

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Easter this year was a treat. We all made it to 8:15am church, the weather was good enough for an outdoor egg hunt and if I do say so myself the food was fabulous! We had a few family favorites like fruit with Suzanne’s dip and the strawberry jello salad along with a few new favorites including  gouda, bacon mashed potatoes that were to die for. Thanks to my friend Heather Lee for that recipe and a new pear salad that my friend Adriana (the chef) shared her recipe for was also a hit.

Mary and Hadley were able to join us too. It’s kind of funny how the boys just kind of treat her like their sister. And she fits right in helping Nolan and Caden find the last of their 25 eggs after she had found all of hers.

We all heard it and made him say it twice but Kyle has offered to host Easter next year. WIth all his experience cooking apple pancakes, ribs and salmon and it’s bound to be a feast! We’re all in Kyle! Thanks for offering. : )

Michael’s Dad Tom called to check on us and wish us a Happy Easter. We talked with Craig in Gatlinburg, TN and tried to Facetime with Lyndsay Kirke in Tahiti but we didn’t connect.  For as completely different of an Easter as this turned out to be, I really had an enjoyable day and  I think everyone had an enjoyable time.  More photos soon on Caden and Nolan’s running excursion with TJ and Nolan’s new glasses!

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Spring, I’m Begging You!

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My wise Aunt Cheryl mentioned how important it will be to start making my own memories with the boys.  After processing that idea for awhile I had to agree. I can’t hardly look at our old family blog without wanting to slash someone’s tires so I decided an all new approach will be best.  Plus, I’ve hated not archiving and preserving some of the exciting things the boys and I are doing now.

I put out an Easter egg tree for the first time. And frankly with all the snow we’ve had since I put it up it may be the last time ever!  The boys and I decorated Star Wars themed eggs.   We’re having Easter at our house this year which won’t be a huge event but the boys and I are excited to see Wayne, Suzy and Kyle and of course Grandma and Grandpa Malmloff.

We’ve spent lots of time with family and friends (including 4 legged friends) over the last few months and I hosted an all ladies Raclette night complete with lots and lots of wine.

As the boys and I continue on a path that none of us wanted or predicted, I think this blog will help me sort through some of my feelings and frustrations but also help me focus on the happy days of which there are still many. And even though now My Boys And Me Make Three  I can say with confidence, I know in my heart, we’ll be ok.

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