On this day, 13 years ago, I became a mother for the second time.
Nellie Mak was in such a hurry to come into the world, that the doctor had to be hauled out of the shower, with shampoo still in his hair. His mother was ever so anxious to hold the new arrival. What a sweet, perfect creature.With the same sort of mohawk he wears today. That baby grew and he grew and he grew. Until he was suddenly 13 years old and the picture of suave. He’s the bow tie boy, courtesy of sister-in-law Kimmalee, etsy designer of the cutest bow ties around!He’s handsome and smartHas a mischievous sense of humor Just like his dad He’s a little GQ at the moment
A little less dramatic than his sisters. An inventor of all things conceivably made of duct tape.He’s a boy who has a strong sense of right and wrong. He likes to follow the rules, and often, quietly bows his head in the restaurant before he eats, when the rest of us are already digging into the fries.
My itsy bitsy baby waby is getting biggy wiggy.
I asked him, “How does it feel to be celebrating the very last day of your childhood?”
He thought about this and then said, “Since it’s the last day of my childhood, dear mother, how about you buy me these basketball socks?” Then he batted his eyes. I caved.
When eldest became a teenager, I had to learn a whole new vocabulary. Some favorites: Whatevs, Delish, Ew, Gorg (gorgeous), Totes (totally), SupAwk (super awkward), OMG!
Just to name a few.
And now there shall be two teens. Whatevs, it’ll be Ew sometimes, but mostly Delish, not SupAwk. Cause he’s, like, Gorg, and OMG! not Ew. Totes.
He just looked at me and said, “When I get home from school tomorrow will you help me set up a Facebook account?”
Totes giving you permission to spy on the boy. Deal?
Love him so, that boy of mine. Happy Birthday, Nellie Mak!
This shall count as a very good Mommy moment; I actually woke up early to COOK instead of throwing toast at them before they went out the door.
Crepes take the cake
12. A significant birthday Boy becomes man? What could we get the boy? Grandma suggested we turn the question around. “Now that you are 12, what are YOU going to do for US?” I thought of Indian warriors, knights, ceremonies. Perhaps he was supposed to kill his first bear. What makes a boy a man?
He started with bonfire and his very own rendition of the Haka.
Respect for our family and our ancestors
We stand on this field, ready for battle
At our backs we feel the might of tradition, remembering to honor family and all ancestors who have gone before
Over our hearts,…we bear the emblem to die for
This challenge is now turned to you. Nelson.
The boy’s recorded haka will be coming soon, to a blog near you.
First we must kiss
My favorite present? A photo book, made from Shutterfly. I have felt great stress over the lack of time and energy there is to make scrapbooks for each child. It became so overwhelming that I just stopped.
There are file folders of collected pictures and momentos since Nelson was born, but no books past his first birthday. A major achievement? One family book each year.
This year I decided to bag the guilt, and make the digital scrapbook. I don’t have digital prints before age 3, but I started there. A tradition is born.
I caught him looking at it several times over the last week.
We went down memory lane, looking at the baby book I carefully put together so many years ago. Carefully picked out paper, photo stickers, pens, scissors…I’m glad I did it, though I can’t bear the thought of making any more by hand.
We were so excited to have a boy
We lived in a dormitory as dorm parents to 12 boys. They thought he was pretty darn cool.
Cope loved her baby brother
Mama loved her little frog
What better gift for a father? More babies! Look how young we look!
I love how simple Shutterfly is. The deals are great and it’s easy to drop pictures in and add text. While we looked at this book, Gregor said, “Amy, you are taking pictures of pictures.”
I know, I can’t help it. I have a serious camera problem. But this is a good problem.
When we ask our boy what he’s going to do for us, this is one of them. His latest duct tape invention: A bag to hold his duct tape. He begged me for weeks to please take him to Joanne Fabrics to get a 18″ zipper. And then he made the duct tape bag with a zipper!
Perhaps there are duct tape college scholarships?
He wanted to have a Hunger Games party. “No,” I said. “You are not going to invite your friends over and pretend to kill each other.” We finally compromised. His wonderful friend made him a wicked cool Hunger Games cake.
And then for TWO AND A HALF HOURS straight, they whacked each other with swimming noodles. The WHOLE time. Great party. Easy party. Girl and Boy party!
Age 12 is a meaningful birthday as Nelson can now pass the sacrament at church, in a white shirt and tie. He will have greater service responsibilities, reaching out and blessing the lives of others. He will sound the trump, proclaiming peace and love to all!
We celebrated with a watermelon cake made by his most magnificent grandmother.
Is that the best cake or what?
We are blessed by those who have come before
And have taught us well – to love and serve
This I believe, is how to have true joy
I think it’s time to eat that cake now.
And then the next morning we had Watermelon Cake Smoothie
Granny Smith Apple
Honey Dew Melon
And hey – there was some leftover Lettuce from dinner
Happy Birthday, Boy!
We love you. And not just because you gave us a Watermelon Cake Smoothie.
This guy’s becoming guyfied, meaning there is no smiling in pictures. That is way uncool.
He has that flip thing going with his hair in front, inspired by “Kato” from The Hunger Games which I just wish would pass since it’s a story about kids killing off the other kids. Passing stage, passing stage…well, get on with it! Can’t we backpedal to something gentler like Bambi?
Me: “How do you like your new teacher?”
Nelson: “Hmmmm….” (he took a minute to mull this over) “Actually, she has potential. She has a nose ring and likes Lord of the Rings.”
I blink. Interesting.
The next day he says, “She is soooo awesome.” Apparently she hung swords across the white board.
Really? That’s all it takes?
I think this teacher must be very, very clever. All she had to do was find that thing…a few words, props. Simple! Effective. And they are now maleable putty in her hands.
I’m mulling the marital lesson in this.
As for the sixth grader. I’m still going to pretend he said, Bambi.
Last week was April vacation for the kids. A whole week with mom!
This is fluffy boy, before his dad got his hands on him. It’s hard to be shaggy around Gregor. He frowns and furrows until finally…”Let’s give you a trim – just a little bit.” Nelson protests and runs away but in the end, his hair gets chopped.
Nelson also wants to gain weight. It’s a boy thing. Actually, I used to drink raw eggs in chocolate milk. I remained a shrimp. Here he drinks Jillian Michaels’ protein powder in a milkshake. Alas, I don’t think we’ve produced any Shaquille O’Neals. Sorry, buddy.
I keep these ducks on my kitchen windowsill. They remind me of my four little ducklings. And spring break.
How to motivate children to be sweet cherubs for an entire week at home? Mom bucks? Each had $5 divided into little 25 cent “bucks” which they had to pay for fighting, being unkind, or talking back. They got into it. Today is payday. I think we both made out.
My children are obsessed with more pets. I received a hundred notes from Brynne requesting a turtle. Sadly, the answer was always the same. No.
We got a baby instead. Cope came home on Friday and said, “Mom, you’re now a grandmother!” This is Robert. It’s for her school reproductive unit. (Didn’t this used to be a HIGH SCHOOL project?) She is paired up with a boy who said she better not make Robert “too preppy.”
She printed out a picture from the internet and said, “doesn’t he look like me?” Robert cannot be left unattended for an entire week. Maybe I’ll get to hold him during track meets. I don’t call him Robert. I call him, “Sugah.”
Sadly, we won’t be welcoming any tomato plants into the family. They all died. When starting seeds you must get “seed starting” soil, not just “potting soil.” I can’t believe I did this. Rookie mistake. I don’t have the energy to start all over. We’ll see what happens if I just start them outside this year.
Since there was no hope for a turtle, Brynne changed tactics and began writing notes about fish. Notice the first girl name is, “Amy.”
She had her friends at school write me notes.
She appealed to daddy with “need” and mom with the checkbook. Interesting.
A beautiful Sunday afternoon prompted a great dandelion project. It took over a hour until all the little holes in the backyard table were filled. Then we ate dinner on it. And swatted the nasty black flies that have hatched. Sometimes it’s real hard to enjoy spring in New Hampshire. Pure torture.
So Brynne got her fish. And she did pay for it.
And since Brynne got a fish, so did Cope and Paige. Brynne paid for Paige’s fish and Cope used her babysitting money. Paige named hers, “Violet,” except she says it wrong every time and calls it, “Violent.” She messes with the water so much the fish has flopped out twice. Violent probably looks at her like Nemo looked at that braces girl…HELP! We’ll see if Violent lasts the week.
Did you know dandelion juice stains? Real. Bad. Who needs clean clothes anyway, when you’ve got great art in the backyard?
Hey, if I were the Great Gatsby, I’d say, “Happy birthday, old sport!”
If I were your mother, I’d say, “Happy birthday, Nellie-Bell!” Because that’s what I’ve been calling you since you were born.
This boy has been at it again. His duct tape business is thriving.
Nellie has this rap called, I hate your cat, I love my dog.
A new duct tape vest with sword holders
He actually SOLD these at school under his new brand, MNel. I personally like, NellieMak. He sold these duct-tape wallets for $7.50 EACH! But he was mad that one boy only had $6.50 on him, so he had to take it. I’m expecting a call from the school telling me it’s a school crime to buy, sell, or trade on school grounds.
He also makes really good Star Wars pancakes
And a wicked good fire
This weekend he made finger gloves out of duct tape and then told me about two boys who had to make a duct tape boat to float in while sharks circled.
1) The shamrock shake is not that gross. It’s actually kindof…good? We had it last night after Nelson’s 3rd place finish at his very last pine wood derby – wahoo! The kids were thrilled with the whipped cream and cherry on top, even though they had to share. As for me? It just goes to show that it’s good to try new things because the husband likes it. And vice versa, of course! Boy I’ve got plans.
2) The second thing I learned is actually something I already knew, but must have buried way down deep in my subconscious. It’s this: The infant car seat is the most awkward, uncomfortable contraption ever, to try and carry. Totally unfair. It’s a great invention. It does its job. It keeps that precious baby safe and cozy. But. Trying to walk with that thing either banging against your shin, calf, hips, or abs is totally horrible.
I’ve been watching a 5-month-old for two days and I was reminded how much I hate that car seat. I count this as a blessing. For it has reminded me that there are some things I just don’t miss…like walking anywhere with that car seat. And while we’re at it, I don’t miss buckling and unbuckling it either. Although it takes only 30 seconds, the thought of buckling, unbuckling, walking into a store, putting it on the cart and making delightful baby noises to keep baby and another child entertained, then buckling it back into the car? It makes me need a nap. I think I’d rather not go to the store.
It reminds me of when someone would say, “Why didn’t you just run that last errand while you were already in Concord?” Are you kidding me! Let’s talk about that car seat!
This baby is super super easy. She smells so good, smiles and coos. She’s also sleeping right now, which is good since she doesn’t sleep through the night yet…we bonded as she slept on my chest last night. A sweet experience on the the one hand, walking zombie on the other.
Having a baby in the house reminded me why lots of kids is easier than one! Good thing I had helpers to feed baby while I made a sandwich for breakfast, tried to squeeze in a load of laundry, load the dishwasher, and attempted to comb my hair.
I think this experience was God’s way of saying, “See? Your life is good just the way it is.” And so it is. We should enjoy the stage of life we are in. Every last moment. And then enjoy the next one.
But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about that car seat. Nelson is right on it. He’s the inventor of the family. Since he was a little boy he always wanted to play with aluminum foil, rubber bands, paper clips…odd things. And then he would make something.
Edison’s mother encouraged her son to fiddle. He had a whole workshop of bits, piece, parts…junk. I’ve decided I must be more like that. Let him fiddle away.
This is a seed catcher. Made out of toilet paper and a skewer. It flies through the sky catching…seeds. Don’t ask me!
He recently made a shoe he could actually wear, out of duct tape. He was going for Star Wars boots. If you’re ever wondering what to get Nelson, think duct tape. He just loves, loves, loves, that stuff.
Often, I don’t even ask him what he’s doing. This was one of those times. My special craft glue and dirt. He was making some sort of really hard ball. Probably to chuck at his sisters. Or a Harry Potter snitch. I’m not sure. Even though it ruined the plate and got dirt and glue all over the kitchen floor and counters (before he was banished outside), I didn’t yell at him.
Because he’s on his way to a big invention…starting with that car seat that is so horribly awkward to carry. My back is still hurting. Won’t we all be so grateful? Yes, Mamas, I got your back.
Last year was a hard year for the boy’s varsity basketball team. There are so many factors at a prep school. Do you go out and recruit? Do you play everyone in your league or only those you can be competitive with? Today they play Brewster, at Brewster, a prep school ranked in the Top Ten of the nation! G trudged to school. It’s hard to compete.
Yet off he goes, season after season, to coach another game. Because there are lessons to be learned from sport. And sometimes they win.
Many teams they play have a staff of three, four, or five coaches. We always have two. It’s our winning dynamic duo.
These pictures were taken before Christmas break. It was a game they had to win.
It came down to the last seconds.
A time out was called. What’s the play going to be?
One of my favorite moments of every game is looking across the gym and seeing Art take a break from the kitchen, to watch the game. We then have a breakdown analysis in the dining hall afterwards.
We can do it, big team.
The seconds tick by. The score stays the same, but anticipation rises. I feel myself saying, Come on, please, please, please. I’m not sure who I say this too. Does God really have a favorite sport teams?
The final buzzer goes off…and we win the game! The crowd goes crazy. The high will last a few hours. Until the next game, when we lose. We sure love the winners. We particularly like the underdog, who comes from behind, beats the odds, and pulls it all out. This is that team this year.
The obligatory handshake. I love that Coach G. most often coaches the tallest kids in school.
Basketball is all in the family. This is the year my son is really getting the game. He better, his shoes cost enough to take me for a nice dinner! When I protested, I remembered when I first got my first pair of good shoes for track in 6th grade. I couldn’t stop staring at them. I was sure I was unstoppable in them. Do you find, that a shoe, a most desired item of clothing can inspire your child?
Fifth graders on the bench. Looking more grown up every day.
Skinny like his mama, intense like his dad, competitive like them both. I still yell, “Go Nellie!” and he hasn’t told me to stop. There are months of basketball left to watch. I find myself excited to cheer and root for the underdogs – my boys.
Post-edit note: G’s team did play a top ten team in the nation yesterday, but Brewster Academy is not just top ten. They are ranked NUMBER ONE in the nation, with five of their players already signed to Division I schools. First we’re watching them on ESPN, and then we’re in their gym getting whooped by 40. You know what? Our boys made us proud. They never let up and the coach in this house came home with a smile on his face. And a box of pizza.
It’s a Saturday morning. That means we are gearing up to watch this boy play the great game.
Soccer, of course!
He’s getting more and more confident and as those muscles get bigger, I hope he finds joy on the field the way I have. He loves to head the ball and doesn’t flinch when it comes flying at him (there are some big differences between coaching a girl’s team and boy’s at this level!). This morning he made a shot and almost got it in. If he could get one goal in this season he would be so happy.
“Mom, watch!” He YouTubed front and back flips and can’t stop himself. Never mind that he’s got some neck issues! Thanks YouTube.
There was a giant rainbow around the sun. What does that mean? Hot, muggy, and buggy weather? That’s what we’ve got.
Fall is just beginning…soccer, soccer, and more soccer. Add some flips, apples, car pools, and that thing called school. The leaves are just starting to pop. It’s a great time of year to live in New England. Let the fun begin…
Many moons ago, Cope made a deal with her Uncle Seth: Straight A’s for the year and he would fly her to San Diego. We decided to double the fun and give Nelson a similar deal for his last term of school. Apparently the deal was motivating enough and both kids earned a trip.
We decided to fly them out of Salt Lake so they wouldn’t miss any precious car time with their family. Plus, it was cheaper and there were no plane switches. They were so excited!
They left a week after we arrived in South Jordan. Since Cope had turned 12, she was not considered an “unaccompanied minor.” This meant she had no escort or special attendant to make sure she knew where she was going. Nelson? Because he was with a 12 year old, he was considered an accompanied minor. Isn’t that a little crazy? They let Gregor and I take a boarding pass to make sure they boarded the plane and then – See ya! Off they went, on their own, to California.
We had them look at the delay and arrival boards, point out where the baggage claim was, gave the “no talking to strangers,” and “stay together” speech. I had this sudden image of saying good-bye for college and missions and had to fight the tears. I am quite ridiculous. I can cry at the drop of a hat.
Hey kids. We’ll miss you. They were gone 4 days and we did miss them!
Seth and Vince took good care of them, spoiling them rotten, letting them stay up too late drinking soda and eating donut holes. They swam in the warm Pacific Ocean, went out to dinner, went to the close-out sales at Borders, and forgot to brush their teeth. Yes, they thought life was pretty good.
They went to Sea World and met that famous killer whale.
I let Cope take my camera and she took many pictures at San Diego Zoo. She did not lose the camera, only her ipod (very sad).
After they went to the zoo, Seth introduced them to the movie, Jurassic Park. Cope was terrified and couldn’t watch. Nelson was transfixed and worked his way to the third installment.
We were so happy to have our kiddies back and their cousins were just as anxious – taking turns with the dishes and trampoline just wasn’t the same without them! They arrived back in Salt Lake and found the baggage claim just fine. They said the plane was great – coke and hot chocolate the whole way there and back. Oh dear. Thanks for a great trip, Seth and Vince…here’s to good grades with big rewards!