Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scouts Year-End BBQ and a Surprise!

9th Pickering Scouts 2012
Jonas and I went to our Scout group's annual year-end BBQ last night. It's always a lot fun. All the kids, parents and leaders really only get together as a whole group a few times a year and this one of those times that we all look forward to. Last night we played with our homemade Whack-a-Mole and giant slingshots and the kids loved it!

A big part of the night are the ceremonies for the youth. Last night, we had three Beavers move up to Cubs, (a very emotional moment for this Beaver Leader, I have to tell you!) eight Cubs moved up to Scouts, and we also presented awards to the sub-groups (Pack "Sixes" and Troop "Patrols") and individual Scouts who had significant achievements this year.

For our Cub Pack, we congratulated the youth for the results of the weekly Inspections. Jonas's Six got the highest team total and several of the Cubs were acknowledged for their personal successes. Guess who lead the Pack with the highest percentage of Inspection success? Jonas!

This is a pretty big deal for him. Every week during Inspection, the Cubs are required to:
  • Wear their uniform correctly - clean shirt, pants, necker, sash, belt and indoor shoes, woggle, shirt tucked in, etc....
  • Have clean paws (hands), claws (finger nails), fur (skin and hair) and fangs (teeth)
  • Have their badges sewn onto their sashes within two meetings of receiving them
  • Bring their 2 books to Inspection
  • Call before the meeting if they are going to be late of absent
Each Cub can earn up to 30 points each meeting, and then we work out the averages. If they miss a meeting, they can't get any more than 5 points and only if they let their Six know before the meeting that they'll be absent. Jonas missed a few meetings but called or e-mailed every time and finished with an average weekly total of 29.89 points!

That is a HUGE accomplishment for this kid. Memory and attention to detail are not his strengths but, in addition to working on a merit badge a month, he was pretty focused on doing his best on Inspection every week. Early in the year we started a system of  using a hook by the front door for his uniform and a backpack for his boots, shoes and other things he needs for our weekly meetings. Reminders from mom, beyond, "Get your uniform on" and "don't forget your backpack", stopped after about Halloween. He's quite honestly achieved this on his own andI have to say, I am one proud mom.

The Cub Motto is "Do Your Best" and he did!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sick Boys and Sad Toys

Jonas came down the flu on Monday and his Lego army was lost without it's General
He started feeling sick just before lunch during our hike to the beach
so we came home so he could be comfortable.
He really wanted to see the Victoria day fireworks but he wasn't up to it

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mom and Son Day Hike

Even though it was cut short because of an upset tummy, Jonas and I had a great hike yesterday morning. We hiked through the local marsh to a beach on Lake Ontario, where we made a yummy campfire lunch. Jonas became ill just before we were ready to eat (he didn't even touch his mac n cheese!) so I quickly scarfed down my meal and packed up so we could head home. The hike out wasn't nearly as nice as the way in.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What Do You Mean I Already Did It?

It turns out that Jonas's dance test was yesterday and he didn't even notice. He got an A. He thought it was just practice. hahhaha! Love that kid!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Jonas has dance test at school tomorrow and he's extremely nervous about it. He is dancing with a group but they have to do it front of the entire school - including the girl he has a crush on. He has been asking all week if he could not go to school on Friday afternoon and tonight he was near tears about it.

Every group picked a song, they all got to make up their own moves, and then their teacher helped them put it all together. His move is called "DynOmite!" and he is really proud of it and has practiced it every day for the last few weeks. It turns out that nobody else in his group thinks it's cool. He, of course, is worried that his crush will have the same reaction.

As someone who has suffered from stage fright my life, I can sympathize. It was easy enough for me to tell him to just try his best and have fun with it. "Fake it until you make it!" has always been my motto when it comes to stuff like this, but it's easier said than done. Put a smile on your face and dance like nobdy is watching is a life skill that he hasn't mastered yet but hopefully, after today, he'll be one step closer to it.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Picture of Mom

I am not photogenic and I hate pictures of myself,
this IS how Jonas sees me so I'm trying to get over myself.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mom's Road Trip Reflections

Jonas and I had a wonderful time this weekend. The simplicity of a camping road trip was perfect. He's such a wonderful kid and he's got a lot on that beautiful mind of his. We talked about school, girls, friends, Scouts, bullying, love, growing up, parents, siblings, death, and anything else that popped into his head. Spending at least 13 hours in the Jeep and two nights in off the grid campsites gave us a chance to talk about all of it without any distractions or time limits.

Whenever we get back from a camping trip, we make a To Do List of stuff that we need for next time. (i.e. equipment that needs fixing, replacing or remembering.) This trip was no exception. Together we made our list and have started working on it so we'll be ready when we go camping with our Scout group in a couple of weeks.

I also spend time relfecting on our trips as a mom, trying to think of ways to make the next one more memorable. Beyond equipment, these things are usually more about the emotions and experiences of the trip. They're the things that the mom I wish I was would have thought of.

In honour of Mother's Day, here's what I came up with from this trip.
  • Take the opportunities to spend quality time to make memories as they come along. We had the chance to visit GG and we took it. We also worked in a camping trip. We could have stayed with family, gotten a hotel room or just made it a day trip. Jonas asked if we could camp and I thought "Why not?!" Why not indeed!
  • Let the child lead the way. Not only did he suggest camping and create our meal plan, he also wanted to really rough it so we did. Again, I thought "Why not?!" We didn't quite go "Survivorman" but took some big steps towards getting him closer to that goal.
  • Hide the Nintendo DS again so he can't find it next time either  ;)
  • He didn't get to use his knife or try using the ax and he was disappointed about that. Next time we'll either bring our own firewood (in case the park woodlot is closed) or leave lots of time before sundown to set up camp. That way we'll spend less time gathering wood and more time exploring the woods or working on our bushcraft skills together beside the fire. Gathering wood is an important skill to master but skills development pales in comparison to kid development.
  • Bring our poles so we can go fishing. He really wanted to cook a fresh caught trout over the fire. How cool would that be!
  • Stop for icecream. Put the schedule and To Do List aside more often and do something spontaneous and fun!  We did stop for a  flock of turkeys, a yard sale and to poke around a gift store but we missed out on icecream and that's a shame.
  • Bring more batteries for the camera so Jonas can take as many pictures as he wants along the way.
Self portrait
I'm really glad we took this trip. I hope it'll be a cherished memory for him. I know it will be for me. Happy Mother's Day!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom and Son Camping Trip

Jonas and I hit the road this weekend to go visit my Grandma Symonds.

Teddy came too, of course.

Yes, mom knows how to use an ax

Jonas practicing his budding firecraft skills. He did a great job!
Survivalist meets Practicalist - camping in the rain
Mildred, my travailing companion
Boiling water for hot chocolate
Despite the fact that everything was wet, we had a couple of great campfires that kept us warm all night long
Ferris and Bon Echo Provincial Parks  + one amazing kid = one great Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Painful Lessons

I had one of "those" parenting moments yesterday. It was one of those moments when you're just not sure what to do.  Jonas was playing in the park with the neighborhood kids and they were picking on him. It started with them mimicking the way he speaks. He came in crying, regrouped and went out to try again. It kept getting worse, until he finally got so mad that he decided to take a shovel to the park "to show them how it feels." OIY!

I kept the back door and my ears open. stopped the shovel strategy, and gave him a huge hug when he came in. I told him that I used to get picked on too. I even had my own bully. Her name was Laurie and I never did figure out why she chose me as her target. I told him that my parents used to tell me to try and ignore them - sticks and stones and all that. I also told him that that advice never made me feel any better. I comiserated with him over the fact that other people can be really mean sometimes. I asked him what he thought would happened if he hit someone with that shovel and whether he thought that would make him feel better or worse, etc.... (Doing the right thing was a bit of a theme for me this weekend, but that's another blog.) I was at a loss about what else to say to him.

For the most part, I try to stay out of the neighbourhood kid's social-political scene. I grew up believing that we can't change other people, we can only change ourselves, so my focus has been on helping Jonas learn how to deal with his feelings. When one of the other kids came over to say that he "know(s) why Jonas (is) upset..." I told him that I knew why as well, that I heard the whole thing and would probably feel the same way Jonas did if that happened to me.

I didn't know what else to say to them either. I REALLY wanted to help them understand what they were doing but they aren't my kids, they aren't my nephews, they aren't my Scouts and they're not even his schoolmates. They're effectively strangers, other people's kids, who my kid can choose to play with or not. He so desperately wants to be friends with them but he ends up in tears every single time he plays with them.

Learning tolerance is tough. "Normal" kids have a hard time learning tolerance for people who are different, and our kids need to learn to tolerate that learning curve. The whole thing is painful for everyone, mom included.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Checking In!

Life just takes on a life of it's own sometimes, doesn't it? Even though it's been busy, life is good here!  Here's a look at some of what we've been up to lately. Cheers!

Jonas is doing well in school.
He's been on a good roll since our meeting a few weeks ago.

He started learning the recorder last week and he's thrilled about that.
(Mom and Dad, not so much. LOL!)

She's been living with her mom this year but she's just started an exciting new chapter of her life - 
She moved into her first apartment on May 1st!

April, May and June are very busy months for Scouts.

In addition to our weekly meetings and badge work,
it seems like we have events every Saturday and Sunday as well.

Here we are planting trees in the Rouge Valley as part of Earth Day.

We had another, albeit smaller, litter of kittens in April.
Meeting "Addy" and "Snowy" who are both looking for forver families!

We're in the midst of our 8th annual leaky pipe mystery.

Something in the upstairs bathroom leaks into the kitchen, annually, every Spring.
Every time, Steve rips open the ceiling and that magically solves the problem.
Not this time though. This time we think we've found the problem. 
This weekend wil hopefully be the last time we have to rip open the ceiling!

I've been fighting another lung infection the last couple of months.
Work has gotten a lot busier for me lately too - but I keep my gear ready.
I'm hoping to be able to sneak out a little more often to hike the local trails.
JONAS's 1st KUB KAR - Final
He didn't win any awards for speed or design but....
finishing in the middle of the Pack was a great experience for him.
We're very proud of him.
MY 1st KUB KAR - Final
Our group had a conflict with the tree planting event above so.....
I didn't get to compete this year.
It was a fun learning experience though.