Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Big Day for the Boy

It takes a lot to get Evan really excited, but the dojo did it yesterday:
He has been invited to become a part of the A-Team, which is a coach training program for youth. He will help teach the Mighty Dragons, participate in workshops throughout the year, and assist with dojo service projects. It's a team you don't ask to join; they ask you. Evan is especially excited because you usually have to be 10, but they changed his letter to read 8.

We are so proud of our little ninja. He really does love training, and we see a whole new level of focus in him when he is there. We are also grateful that they saw leadership potential and will nurture that in him. We'll see what's next!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Love Him

They say one way to judge a man's character is to watch the way he treats animals. Well...
I'd say Brad has unlimited patience and love. In case you are wondering, Frosty is, indeed, on his head. She was just purring away, washing her face, and Brad never moved. Love him.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

For the Love

It's May. Teachers, I need you to hear me:

I'm with you. I am one of you. I know you are in the last sprint to that finish line and you are doing your best jig to keep those kids learning and engaged to the bitter end. Solidarity, sisters.

That said, we parents, we are dragging these children to the finish line, too. And frankly, we are dragging ourselves. We used up the very best we had left to give celebrating you last week. We did it gladly because we love you. You love our babies well and manage to teach them how to be good people and squeeze in some math along the way. You are rock stars.

We are out, now, though. So, when our children come home all excited about needing poster board for one more project, we will trek to the store to procure said poster board, but we will curse your name the entire way there. We will stand with our children at the island tea staining said poster board to look like an authentic wanted poster--for the lungs--but we will lack the enthusiasm such a poster might have inspired in September. We will even dutifully help our child burn the edges to look even more authentic, but we are silently burning inside.

Can we all please agree that it's May. Let's just read something fun and play some number games. But no more projects. Please. I'm begging you.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Well...we are officially a booster free house. Somehow my baby boy turned 8 this weekend. 

We started the festivities Friday, and Issa was determined to give the first gift, which she did over breakfast:
 She gave him an art set he's had his eye on!

Evan also decided he wanted no part of a birthday party this year. He really just wanted to have one friend over for a not-birthday party, but he was not upset when John arrived with a gift:
 Those two spent the next several hours building that Lego set and talking Star Wars. Those three kids also ate an entire pound of taco meat. We were impressed!

What Evan really wanted most, though, was for he and John to go to the museum together--just boys. So Saturday morning, they picked up John's dad and headed to Raleigh:
Oh how I love this picture:

Yesterday was his actual birthday, and he had us up bright and early. My lack of coffee is the only explanation for the fact that this is the only picture I took:
 Seriously terrible. We wrapped the spring and mounting hardware for his new heavy bag because there is no way I'm wrapping a 75 pound heavy bag! He spent the morning playing video games and trying out this bad boy from Papa Don:
 He and Daddy went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Two yesterday afternoon before all the festivities caught up with him and the birthday boy took a nap!

We ended the celebrations at Kanki:

Our chef was too happy to oblige Evan with extra fire, and his sister was much thrilled by the gong and birthday song that accompanied his cake.

When we got home, I heard Evan say, "You know, being eight feels pretty good."

I'm so glad, sweet boy. We loved celebrating you...always...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Two Graduates

Last night was a very big night in our house! We had two ninja graduations!

Brad earned his yellow belt last night:
 And Evan earned his solid blue belt. Most of the water techniques were ground tactics last night, so I didn't get any pictures of him testing. But I love this picture where he is being interviewed:
 They asked how it felt how to have Daddy training with him. His response, "Awesome."

After they finished testing, the two of them sat together for the rest of the night:
 But my favorite moments were there glances they exchanged when they received the new belts: pure pride.

We were really excited, too, because Issa didn't have dance last night, so we didn't have to run like crazy to be there to cheer them on:
 I can't explain Evan's addiction to this particular crazy face in pictures:
 And of course we needed the Mr. Bryan picture:
 And all the graduates, featuring two Bowers:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It Matters

It's May--a month known as Hell for any mother with school-aged children. If you are a college professor, it's just a cruel trick. The calendar is jammed with events for all my kids--the two I gave birth to and the 80-something I've adopted--and the school folders are full of requests and things that need signed. I have a steady stream of students needing signatures on all manner of forms. I'm tired of signing.

This year, it's all compacted because I'm getting ready to lead 17 undergraduates in Italy for two weeks smack in the middle of the crazy. I'm trying to get all of the i's dotted and t's crossed before I go and cramming all of the year end reporting into the next two weeks because it's not happening from Italy.

Needless to say, I'm burning the candle at both ends. I was quite literally dragging myself into the office this morning trying to find the energy to at least survive. When I got here, I found a bag of cookies and two of the sweetest thank you notes I have ever received. I would be lying if I said I didn't cry. Those thank yous, they are going to get me through today...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Meet Leo

We added one more Bower to the family:
 Meet Leo! He is the cutest leopard gecko ever:
 He joined our family last Friday night, and we are all pretty smitten:
We had no intention of adding another critter, but one of my students is moving back home and her mother will absolutely not allow a lizard in the house. She was going to return him to the pet store in hopes that they would find him a good home. Instead, he came to live with us.

The kids love watching him hunt his crickets, and I love having a little friend on my kitchen ledge. He really does have a lot of personality, and we are so glad he is with us now!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Curtain Call

This weekend, we wrapped up our dance season at Applause in Winston Salem. We truly couldn't be more proud of our girl and her friends:
 Our Saturday started with jazz:
 I sure do love my dancer:
 From jazz, we transitioned to her solo and I captured my favorite picture of the season:
 Mrs. Lauren A. has challenged Issa to grow so much this year. I love watching the two of them work. She also has Issa wearing weights when she rehearses and boy have we seen a difference:
 I some how missed the lyrical picture, but I grabbed one of tap:
 Sunday, we only had production:
 Our whole dance family:
 And we even were able to sneak in some family time:
 We walked through the park to an incredible gelato place:
 But this girl...she stole the weekend. She danced her way to a platinum and brought both Lauren and I to tears. Everything she has been working towards came out on stage this weekend:
 And look...she smiled a real I'm loving this smile on stage:
 And nailed her double:
 And danced with such joy:
 And strength:
 And power:
 And grace:
 And poise:
 And focus:
 And control:
 And love:
And I sure do love her...