My mom called me last week after I failed to reply to any of her emails. She thought I dropped off the face of the earth. I didn't. We are just adjusting to a new level of busyness with the start of soccer season. Soren and Anders are both playing this year and between the two of them they have four separate practices a week (all at dinner time, I might add - BOO!). Besides that they are busy with homeschool park days and co-op stuff, individual classes like a sculpting thingy they are doing this week, beach days, Cub Scouts, swimming, getting tan, fighting with each other, playing with each other, creating, designing, imagining, etc. Karsten thinks he's a big boy, so he does all that stuff, too, minus the soccer (though I believe he really would think himself capable if allowed). Oskar is just busy being the cutest little menace there ever was. We can't get enough of his curls, though we could do without the wielding of sticks, tearing of books (none of yours, Dad, they are all up high!), swishing of toothbrushes in poopy-clogged toilets (yes, this really happened, and it was Anders' toothbrush if you were wondering), climbing of tables and chairs, and just general up-to-no-goodness.
Dan has his own new level of busyness with one colleague moving and another leaving on maternity leave. Then, in a couple of months, his practice group leader will also be out on maternity leave after she has her twin baby girls! Needless to say, things are getting pretty crazy for him. But, it's good. We can't complain about having too much work when there are those who would love to have that problem over having no work at all. We are blessed.
I am busy keeping up with everything going on in that first paragraph. Plus, we just started a new chore program in our house so that the boys can earn their keep. It has been tough, but I see the potential for greatness here. It's tough because my boys are not used to having to work this hard and, for one in particular (ahem, Soren), there is a lot of delaying and bemoaning and pleading and negotiating going on before the work actually gets done . . . six hours later (no joke). But it's great because they are learning that in our family, there is no such thing as a free ride. One of the things Soren asks frequently in that poor-me whine of his is, "but why do I have to do it?" My response? Because you were born into this family and you will contribute to its successful day-to-day functioning. We are Bagles; WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. It's that simple. I refuse to raise the kind of kids I see so often these days: entitled, lazy, and full of attitude. I am not mean about it, but chores are a fact of life. I only wish I didn't wait so long to be fully committed to a chore program as I think by catching him younger I might have avoided much of the issues Soren has with working. He has had the luxury thus far in his young life of moving slowly throughout his day, without much prodding or pulling in any direction. And while I appreciate the creativity he was able to nurture and display through such a hands-off approach, I am realizing now that a bit more balance was probably in order. Work first, then play. That's what I was always taught and I think it's a good lesson to live by. Unfortunately, Soren has now just combined the two and plays while he works, daydreaming and being easily and frequently distracted, so that it takes him forever to finish. Oh well, he will learn. It will come. I am hopeful and excited about the future consistent cleanliness of our home and the helpful, hard-working men my boys will become because they grew up working hard in the home. Hooray for chores. :D
Here are some more pictures of our lives in the last month or so, including Independence Day, scenes around the house, Primary Pioneer Day activity, Cub Scout pack meeting, swimming, making cookies, park days, and soccer (click to enlarge any picture):