Sunday, October 5, 2014

Birthday Blessing

Today, our dear Wonder Boy turns 13 years old! I have been sitting here trying to come up with the words to capture all that is going through my heart and mind, but I just can't seem to find the right words.

So ... for now, at least, I will borrow these words - from an anonymous source on the web - with a few modifications of my own - in the form of this birthday blessing for Wonder Boy:

Happy Birthday! You're now thirteen,
It's such a special age,
Choices and plans, what will you be,
A doctor, an engineer or sage?

It's quite okay if you don't know,
It's more important to live each day,
Take each challenge one step at a time,
Learn and enjoy, your work and play.

Live each moment, do all things well,
What's inside you, are things that last.
At home, at school, wherever you are,
we are so very thankful you're growing fast.

Happy Birthday Wonder Boy! and many thanks,
You've been blessed in many ways,
We pray He bless you all through your years,
And guide and guard you all your days.

Today we have enjoyed a family-focused day, which is what Wonder Boy requested. We slept in. He opened gifts. We had great food. Watched fun movies. Played games - inside and out. And just did our best to make this day last as long as possible.

Happy Birthday Wonder Boy! We love you more than you will ever know!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 13

Well here we are ... on the final day before our dear Wonder Boy becomes a teenager. I cant' believe this day has come so quickly. We've had a fun and full day. And we are looking forward to tomorrow's celebrations.

But first, we got back on track today and grabbed this snap of the day at today's soccer game:

We had some GREAT soccer weather today and the Boy and his team battled hard against a very strong opponent. They didn't come away with a win, but we saw them playing better as a team than last week. I believe they will continue to grow and develop as a team. There is a lot of talent there. But they have only had 3 practices together so far. And to see how much they have gelled already is very promising for the rest of the season and beyond.

For our look back today, we only look back a few months:

Late last spring, Wonder Dad traveled to an out-of-town conference and brought back a "pyraminx" - which is a triangular prism Rubik's "cube." And with that one puzzle, Wonder Boy become obsessed! He worked tirelessly until he could solve any mix-up. And then he moved on to making patterns (& solving them). Not long after that, he invested in a traditional Rubik's cube. And he has done the same with it - worked and worked at solving it, until no mix-up is too complicated, and then moved on to creating patterns. Maybe we should call him "Kid Cube" instead of Wonder Boy.

Whatever we call him, this kid - soon to be teen - is a lot of fun! And I know there are plenty who cringe at the thought of living with a teenager. But Wonder Boy doesn't inspire that kind of fear (not yet, anyway). And besides, family is family - even when hormones are raging. After all ... Wonder Dad didn't hide from me when pregnant with Wonder Boy all those years ago. And surely teen hormone swings can't compare with pregnancy mood swings!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 12

I should hang my head in shame as I come to tell you that there is no snap of Wonder Boy on day 12 of our countdown to teen-dom. But the reason there is no photo is that all three of us came home weary from the long week today, settled down on the couch together and spent the evening just enjoying being together as a family. We watched a movie, cuddled under a blanket, had a nice meal together and just relaxed.

Tomorrow is a busy day that will include a soccer game, errands, and some much needed cleaning before we begin our last minute birthday preps. So while I should hang my head ... I am not. This is just what our family needs today and so that is just how it will have to be.

I *do*, however, have a look back to share with you.

Here you see Wonder Boy a year ago today doing one of the things he loves the most in this world - knocking out a tune on his keyboard. That smile you see on his face ... it seems to ALWAYS be there when he is making music. And you can count on there being a smile on my face and Wonder Dad's face as well. We love having all this music in our home. It's a true treat!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 11

O.M.G. ... it's day #11 of this "13 to 13" project!

Again today Wonder Boy was super psyched about our featured photo of the day:

This was SUPPOSED to be another installment of pictures about how much music plays a leading role in Wonder Boy's world (see the trusty iPod in his hand?).

But when I see this image, despite the tell tale white ear buds, what I see is his expression. Can't you just hear him saying "Really, Mom? Really?"? We hear this ALL THE TIME! It's usually followed by an eye roll or a deep sigh, but that look is SO QUINTESSENTIALLY Wonder Boy that it brings a smile to my face. THIS is the look of my very-soon-to-be-teenage son.

But back to the music ... you cannot just assume what music Wonder Boy will have queued up on his iPod. One day it will be Elgar's Enigma Variations and the next day it will be KC and the Sunshine Band. This morning, however, it was "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede, as featured in one of the Boy's favorite movies from this summer - Guardians of the Galaxy.

I like that the Boy's music tastes are all over the place. Wonder Dad and I both have rather ... eclectic ... taste in music as well. Maybe it's a dominant gene.

Today's look back is from this same date in 2012, just a quick snap before school on picture day.

It's funny - I love the playful grin on the Boy's face, but what really catches my eye is just a tiny little detail - the para-cord bracelet on his right wrist. That summer, Wonder Boy learned how to make them at camp and then, on his own time, took it to the next level with elaborate patterns and custom color combinations. I still have the bracelets he made for me - Wonder Dad has his too and we both wear them whenever possible. Because who knows when you might just need to tie something down? Right?!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 10

I'm having a little panic attack at the fact that this project has hit double digits. On the one hand, I have been able to feature 10 sweet flashback photos and 10 up-to-date snaps of Wonder Boy. But on the OTHER hand, that means there is only 3 days left until my guy turns into a TEENAGER! AAARRRGGGHHH!

I think I'm going to live in denial and just ignore that for now (we'll all be better off if I do) ...

So ... back to business ... today's featured snap is a fun one! See!

So far, this project has been entirely for my benefit. Wonder Boy has begrudgingly allowed me my snap each day. Sometimes my request has been granted among exasperated sighs and exaggerated eye rolls, but it's been granted none-the-less. And I have been thankful. What you see in those snaps is my Boy, exactly as he is at this point in his life. The REAL Wonder Boy, not some overly nostalgic version that I cook up in my head. And that is SO true for this photo.

You see this photo is ALL Wonder Boy's doing. He came up with the idea, the pose, all of it. OK. I added the processing - kind of an "acid wash" for PhotoShop - but I think it goes with the attitude he was showing off. Wonder Boy styled the wrap around shades (which are actually just those flimsy things the eye doctor gives you after they dilate your pupils) and donned his head phones, parked himself in his computer chair, crossed his arms, and instructed me to snap away. This is his "DJ look," he tells me. And I just LOVE IT!

I also love that he's in his TAMU Engineering t-shirt. Today is "College Gear Day" at his school. And I think he's geared up quite well. Maybe one day he'll be an Aggie Engineer. Until then, he's still my favorite engineer!

Our flashback snap for today is another favorite of mine, taken on his first day of 4th grade in 2011.

That was a fun school year. It was his last year at the neighborhood elementary school. And by that time, he and his classmates probably felt like they owned the place. He had a confidence and a swagger that we hadn't seen before, when it came to gearing up for the new school year. That confidence has followed him through Intermediate School and even on into Middle School. I hope we continue to see that grow in him each and every school year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 9

For today, we get to see Wonder Boy acting as Leader of the Pack:

Wonder Mutt has boundless energy. And Wonder Boy has stepped up to take a leadership role in the pack when it comes to helping drain some of that excess energy. The Mutt is often at his most boisterous in the mornings before the heat saps even the most enthusiastic of hearts. So once the Boy is packed and ready for school, he will often take the furry family members outside for a little rope time.

Wonder Mutt is seriously athletic and can easily jump as high as Wonder Dad's head, but this is the Puppy Princess's favorite game in the world! She may not have the hops that the Mutt has, but she makes up for it in sheer determination. And once they have their teeth on the rope, it can take a while for Wonder Boy to wrestle it back away from them. It's good exercise for ALL THREE of them!

For our flashback today, we are only going back a few years to 2010 when a nearly 9 year old Wonder Boy was enjoying a summer of Muay Thai kickboxing lessons:

By this time, Wonder Boy had several years of karate and judo under his belt. But he really thrived under the instruction of Coach B. His hands were fast, his kicks came with surprising power for such a small guy, and he just soaked up all that Coach B could pass on. We were sad when Coach B moved on to other endeavors, but Wonder Boy learned his lessons well and still carries them with him today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Project 13 to 13: Day 8

It's Day 8 of this little project and today Wonder Boy let me snap a photo that is SO ABSOLUTELY Wonder Boy ...

Of course, it's hard to say "no" to mom and her camera when you're asleep.

For those that don't know ... Wonder Boy isn't what you would call a "morning person." In fact, from Day 1 the Boy had his days and nights backward. He wanted to be up at night, cooing and playing when we most wanted to be asleep. It took almost 3 years to get him on a good sleep pattern, but to this day, he is much more alive later in the day than early.

Looking back to 2009, we see the Boy with his puppy princess:

Not much has changed between these two since 2009. Wonder Boy adores his sweet puppy girl. She seems to thinks of him as a litter mate, just another puppy in the pack. They play and cuddle and otherwise really seem to enjoy one another. I hope they have many more years together!