Friday, January 15, 2021

Owen is 14 Years Old!!!

My oldest is now 14 years old. What a handsome, fine, young man he is turning into! Honestly...I was terrified of having a teenager

 and Owen has showed me that teenagers can be pretty awesome!

Let's see what Owen's been up to this last year! 

Christmas of 2019 we got Owen this Unspeakable shirt for a guy he liked to follow on Youtube. We've since decided to ban YouTube at our house unless a parent is watching. Our favorite guy to watch together is Mark Rober....he makes learning fun and hilarious! There is so much garbage in the world and it's our job as parents to protect our kids. At first it was hard for them adjust, but now they don't even ask about it. Each of their Kindles are set up with Amazon Freetime so they can play whatever games on that and they have access to Disney+ too. It's really been a very good change in our house. 

Owen showing off all his gift cards from his 13th birthday. For his birthday we had planned for Michael to take him and a few friends to GameWorks on a Thursday night. We had done this for his 10th birthday and he loved it. It's really not all that expensive since Thursday nights you can get unlimited playtime for $10 per person. Michael took Owen, Jack, Jordan, Nate and Mikah down to Seattle only to find out that GameWorks had been completely rented out for a private event. Michael ended up taking the boys to see Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker instead. He also got them all MCD's. Thankfully it wasn't a complete bust! 

Owen heard about the balance a broom challenge and he got our broom to do it. Of course it was on carpet so I'm pretty sure that was cheating! :) 

I think Owen was the most excited about virtual school. He'd been wanting to be homeschooled for the last couple years and this was the closest thing to it. He was also excited because on his last day of public school his team got to celebrate because they won the Jedi competition. Jack and him were both on the same team so it was fun that they both got to celebrate. They got to eat junk food and watch a movie as part of the celebration.

I actually really enjoyed virtual school in the beginning when I was able to dictate more what we did with our time. I thought it would be fun to add in some art lessons so we started watching Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems on YouTube. It was fun getting to learn how to draw Elephant and Piggy. Towards the end of his show he started to talk about things I didn't agree with. It made for some good conversation in our house though. 

Early on with virtual school it wasn't so hard to have a schedule that worked for 4 kids. Once the school decided to have more of a schedule is when my stress level went through the roof. Owen did okay though...he did have one zoom meeting where he could not get my computer audio to work and it was so frustrating for him. He was almost in tears and I was stressed out. That was when I decided we were done! I had had enough and my kids shouldn't be crying over zoom meetings. 

I love this boy and I love that he still tells me he's my personal Love Bug! 

This was the picture that I took when I remembered that I hadn't blogged about the Owen getting glasses at the beginning of the year. He was not to happy to have to get them again since he hadn't worn them for a couple years, but shortly afterwards he actually realized how much it really did help him see. He hasn't complained about them ever since. 

It's so much fun having older boys and getting to play tougher more strategic games with them. Ga-Ga & Pa gave all us adults some money for Christmas 2019 so Michael used his to buy one of his favorite games. It's called Rail's not even in production anymore. He ended up finding it on Ebay for $100. Since it's such an expensive game I decided I would buy a poster frame to put the board in so it wouldn't end up getting damaged. Rail Baron is a lot like Ticket to Ride and Monopoly put together. It usually takes us 3 sessions to finish the game and it's fun. This last time we played over Christmas break Owen ended up winning for the first time. One awesome thing about Owen is he has really learned how to be a good winner and a good loser. He is always quick to say good game and shake your hand. 

In the beginning of virtual school, I felt completely overwhelmed in regards to online resources. I decided to chose just a few and the only one that we've continued to use to this day is Epic. It's a reading app and Owen loves it. Unfortunately they now changed a lot of their content so it's not have to upgrade to the paid version. 

Even though I was already a stay at home mom prior to Covid, my life has completely changed. Since the kids are home all the time now there's no reason they shouldn't contribute with more jobs at home. Normally with the kids being at school, I would take care of removing all their sheets, washing them and putting new ones on. I decided that was something that they should be doing on their own. Owen, who usually hates having to learn new things...especially if they are considered "work" actually really enjoyed learning this new skill. He even went ahead and changed his covered without me instructing him to after he got his weighted blanket for Christmas. 

Since I knew we would have a rainy spring I decided to buy each of the kids their own diamond painting. They had seen me and Ella working on hers and were always asking to help with it. Of course Ella didn't want them too. Naturally, this was one of those instances of where you want something and then once you have it you realize you didn't really want it after all. So instead I have been able to work on Owen's cat picture more than he has. I'm not mad though! :) 

I love being busy and I love to build and create things. I thought this would be a perfect time to teach the kids about tools. I taught all the kids about safety...using gloves, ear plus and safety glasses. I also taught them how to measure things. Once we were done with that the 3 younger ones weren't so interested, but Owen sure was. He stuck with me and helped me finish building an end table. 

This little end table fit so perfectly next to our love seat. We actually ended up making 5 total. A friend from church saw them when I blogged about it and she asked me to make one for her and her mom. Then later she asked if I would make 2 more for a friend of hers. They aren't really anything fancy, but they definitely serve a nice purpose. 

I love working with my sweet boy! 

Owen is our fire loving boy! He has always been fascinated by fire. He absolutely loves to have a fire in the fire pit! 

My sweet guys! 

All these boys love their Daddy. They love playing games with him whether it's a board game or a computer game. 

My sweet Owen and Ella can have their moments of frustration with each other, but they can also have good times. In fact they do the best sitting next to each other in the van. If someone else sits next to Owen it usually ends up going badly! 

Another game Owen loves is another one of Michael's favorite games from childhood....The Farming Game. It was actually invented by a rancher right here in Washington State. Owen is always asking to play it either late at night or on a school night. It is definitely more like Rail Baron in that it takes quite a long time to play. 

This year I feel like Owen's relationships with his brothers have really improved. Even though Jack and him don't necessarily like the same things, they've been able to find common ground and get along better. Owen has even been much more patient with Zeke this year so that's been nice as well. 

As a special thank you to Owen, my friend who bought 2 of the end tables gave me a gift card to Cold Stone to take Owen on a special date. The day we went was really nice so we sat outside and enjoyed our sweet treat! 

Owen has also gotten better at being a good helper and not complaining about it so much. For Mother's Day weekend, my wish was to build a new garden space with the help of all the kids. Owen was a terrific helper! 

Even though he is maturing, Owen still loves a good park! 

He's also always up for a good race with his younger brothers! 

Last day of 7th grade and also the last day of public school! Yahoo! I had him take off his glasses for the picture because there was so much glare coming off them. 

Happy 4th of July means blowing up hot dogs I guess! 

During 4th of July, Owen was adamant about using one of the smoke bombs for his volcano. I kept putting him off and then I finally relented. I wish I had done it was so amazing! Sometime I think that things aren't going to work or they are going to take all this extra effort, but I need to be more willing to let my kids take the reigns on their ideas. 

With the volcano incident fresh in my mind, I let Owen try melting chocolate in an ice cream cone over the fire pit. I was sure it wasn't going to work and lo and behold it worked great! He loved it!

Owen has definitely gotten better at being willing to try new foods and enjoy them. His appetite is still not up to par with other teenagers, but I know it'll get there one day. 

Owen loves playing team games, but unfortunately sometimes he comes up with way too many rules for the games. I have to remind him it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to explain the game. Thankfully the last time he had to explain a game it was really fast! 

The older two boys havea gotten better at not taking themselves so seriously. It's been fun to be a witness to them messing around with each other all in good fun. 

This boy of mine is so great at being goofy just like his Mama. He and I get each other so we always know how to get a laugh out of the other one! 

Owen is so patient when it comes to fishing. I have no idea how he stands there all day. He really enjoys being in nature with a purpose. Even if he'd never actually eat a fish if he caught one. 

I love his happy face in this picture!!! 

This year Owen really started wearing sunglasses on a regular basis. Thankfully his eyes aren't so bad that he needs prescriptions ones just yet. 

This was hands down one of my favorite memories from our trip to Wyoming. I love road trips so a road trip on a road trip was double the fun! Pa just told me the other night that Devil's Tower was actually the first National Monument in America! 

Owen loved going to the Axe House and throwing Shurikens!

Owen also discovered his love for weighted blankets on the trip to Wyoming! He hasn't started the full on teenager sleeping half the day away thing, but he is the slowest one to get out of bed. 

Owen's always up for a nice swim! 

He very much enjoyed our day at the lake this summer with friends! He wanted to go back one more time during the summer, but it just didn't work out...we were so busy the month of August. I'm hoping that next summer we'll be able to go again! 

In August, the kids had to take their diagnostic testing for A.C.E. since we joined Lighthouse Christian Academy. It was a lot of work, but the kids did great. Don't let the look fool you he did great! 

Owen has actually ventured outside his box of reading the same books over and over. Ms. Kim told us about this series and Owen has now read them all. He's also gotten into Artemis Fowl books too. 

Owen loves nature...he could be at the beach all day long. 

First day of 8th grade and first day of official homeschooling! 

I can not believe that he'll be in high school next year. We are official at the halfway point in our school year so he only has 4.5 years left! 

Owen has done so great with adjusting to homeschooling. I would say the only thing he does not like, but has gotten to the point where he just deals using the dictionary. 

Introducing the boys to golf in September was so fun! They
 have told us that Oasis in Ephrata has to be a yearly camping trip destination. 

 loves to read and there are times when the younger kids will be outside playing while he's content to just sit on the couch and continue reading. Thankfully if we go somewhere he's totally up for it. He has very much enjoyed jumping around on the trampoline so that's good. 

Art isn't something that Owen just does, but when the opportunity arises he'll take the time to do it. He has a very creative imagination. He's actually written a couple comic books. They are so funny and the pictures he's draws are really good. 

Owen said he's not giving up on Halloween anytime soon. 

Being creative with playmags! 

Look at this handsome young man! 

Right around the beginning of December, Pastor Tim asked if my boys would be willing to do some Scripture readings for Sundays service. Both the boys said yes. I was going to try record them at home, but then I just decided to go to church and have Pastor Brian record them instead. Owen read from Luke chapter 2. At first Pastor said he could read it from the NIV, but the kids Scripture memory verse for the month of December was Luke chapter 2 and they were memorizing it in the KJV which to me is the way the Christmas Story should be read. So he said Owen could read it from that translation instead.   

I love that he still gets super excited about gifts! 

And snow just blows his mind! 

Owen Michael....I just can't believe that you're 14 years old! You are double the amount of time we spent dealing with infertility! That's crazy to me! God is so good! God is so faithful! You are a walking representation of his goodness and faithfulness!

This year during Christmas I kept thinking that we are only going to have so many more Christmases with all you kiddos home. There are only so many more memories to be made with all my babies under one roof. I didn't let it get me all sad and sappy, but it did make me stop and enjoy certain times just a little bit more. 

You are only 2 years away from driving for goodness sake. 4 years away from being an official adult! 

I'm so proud of the young man you are growing up to be. You have such a good head on your shoulders. You have a huge passion for justice and boy do I understand are just like your Mama in that way. It can be very hard for your to extend grace to others, but it is something that we've been working on. I love that your PACE's have memory verses in them and that you also learn another larger passage of Scripture each month. I want all you kids to have God's words in your heart....they will never return void. 

You have become so much more confident in yourself this last year. I was very surprised when you said you'd be willing to read the Scripture verses for church. That is not something you would have done in the past. 

Owen your passions right now include....reading, computer games, LEGO, Forged in Fire and your cat! Charlie is so loved by you and you are so loved by Charlie. You are the only person that he will actually groom. He loves to lick your whole face! We are always saying that he's accepted you as part of his clan....either that or your face is really dirty! ;) 

Owen Michael...Daddy and I are so proud of you sweet boy! You are truly a joy and we are so blessed to be your parents. I don't know the path that God has set out before you, but I do know that with Him by your side you'll never go wrong. Follow Him, trust Him, lean on Him, love Him and know that no matter where you are, no matter what you've done....He'll never leave your or forsake you. Owen, God loves you...even more than your Mama and that's hard to understand. You are my precious, sweet boy! 

Happy 14th Birthday O!