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It was MY idea!

It’s one thing when my mom reminds and nags at me to clean my room or do my house chores, but it’s a totally different thing when I think of it all by my very own self. That’s when I really get a kick of doing it. The other day I got this totally bright idea! You see, we get a little pocket money every time we do a little job around the house, not counting dishes and setting the table of course. But things like sweeping the stairs, the garage, cleaning the toilets, dusting the surfaces, that sort of thing. So we have this chart with the payments of each job. Brother does quite a bit of them because he gets to the jobs first and does all the easier ones. Though I prefer to do one bigger job and get a little more for it in one go. I guess both work and we sort of end up with the same at the end of the week, which is when we get paid.

I think Dad and Mom wanted us to experience what it will be like when we get older. We have to work hard and do a good job if want any pay. Being slack and lazy doesn’t really get us anywhere or anything. Oh yes! I was going to tell you my bright idea. Well, at least my friend and I thought it was. We had the chart in front of us while my friend and I ate breakfast. Oops, I forgot to tell you that she had a sleep over at my place since we really wanted to see each other and also she lives kind of far. But were we glad for that. So the chart, yes! She asked me what it was for and so I explained it to her. And together, in one go, we both yelled out, “Let’s make some money!!!” with bright eyes and a smile beaming across our faces.

It was a very hot day and we did feel like getting an ice-cream. But I didn’t want to use up my pocket money for that. I usually prefer using it on something that keeps a little longer than a snack that is over in a few minutes. So we found all the jobs that weren’t done that we could do. We started with the most expensive ones and then worked our way through the list on all the ones we felt we could manage. We felt exhausted after, but it was even kind of fun. Sure beats doing the jobs alone. Plus we had a real cool (literally “cool”) incentive. We could finally enjoy our delicious cold ice-cream! Yes, the money was gone right away, yes the snack was gone quickly too (for fear of melting), but you can imagine the satisfaction of a clean house that WE had helped to clean and it also kept us from experiencing that awful thing called “boredom”.

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Apple season

Well, it’s not apple season anymore. I knew that! But as you’ll notice, I’m backtracking a bit with my writing here. That’s cause I wrote this even before having my blog idea! But I think they’re worth a share. On top of it, now in winter there’s not too much out of the ordinary things that happen with me. There’s school and it’s cold outside. It’s sometimes snowing and very often minus 0 degrees which makes me feel even more like doing nothing but staying in bed or drinking hot cocoa. But you don’t want to hear about only THAT! So I kind of like reminiscing and thinking back on the good summer or autumn days I’ve had the past year. So if you don’t mind, here it goes:

We’re apple-picking this weekend to help out our friends!” Dad announced. Oh boy! I mean, Oh no!!! But it’s our sacred, special, do what we like weekend day. And for once, we get to sleep in. But apple picking starts at 7:45 in the morning. Brother gives enough complaints about it so that I don’t have to add to it. I like to let him be the loud one sometimes, that way Dad and Mom think that it’s not such a big deal for me. He sort of speaks up and complains enough for the both of us. I woke up at 8:15 and I find myself still in bed. That means the apple picking was just in my dream? Not exactly. I found a note that read “We left earlier cause we wanted to let you sleep in a bit. Give us a call when you’re ready and we’ll come pick you up. Love Dad and Mom.”

I should have slept in till 12:00. Though I’ve actually never ever done that in my life yet. Might be on my bucket list one day. Today would have been a good day to start… but too late now. After getting dressed and having breakfast we gave Mom a call. She came to pick us up and we were put to work. Rows and rows of apple trees. Hundreds, no thousands, no probably millions of apples. Only one apple-picking machine and we didn’t get to use it. So they had a tractor shake out all the apples from the trees and we had to get down on our hands and knees to pick them up from the floor, into buckets, then buckets into the tractor and the tractor into the pickup truck. I’d pick up a few apples and then I’d taste one or two. Brother would pick up a few apples and then he’d go complain to Mom that he was done.

But it didn’t help complaining; it didn’t change Mom and Dad’s minds that we were there for helping and serving because that’s what friends do. “We don’t have to help out, but we GET to help out!” Mom said. “It’s a privilege.” I remember when one of my friends helped me out with my homework, it did feel good. I helped her with her drawing and she was so happy. I guess that’s the feeling you get when you do things for others.

Oh, back to the apple picking, Mom finally said that we had to fill up as many buckets as our age and if we complained, we had to do one extra bucket for every complaint. “Sorry for you!” she told me. “You just had your birthday yesterday.” It’s true. I had to pick up one whole bucket more than I would have had to yesterday. But it was still worth it, cause I’m sure they’ll be a whole lot of extra things I’ll get to do now that I’m 11. Come to think of it, I got to ride on a tractor, for the very first time. How’s that for starting my 12th year? I don’t know how many of my friends can say that. So 11 buckets full later, plus, a ride on a tractor, then a yummy meal, a whole bucket of yummy apples that we could take home to enjoy… not too bad for a day helping out friends. I’m realizing that I always receive something in return when I do something for others. And come to think of it, I didn’t hear my brother say another complaint after that. I think he enjoyed the meal best!

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Me with no friends

I’m backtracking here, to a few months back. You’ll see why in just a minute. Hint: swimming! No, not something we do right now in the dead of winter. Brrr!! Just makes me cold thinking about it. Well, that day parents had been invited for an afternoon coffee. They had the option of their friends coming over to our place or us going to the friend’s place. Both my brother and I yelled “Their place!” You see, they have a swimming pool and that’s something we don’t have. It was a warm autumn day so I took my bathing suit just in case.

But my parent’s friends have no one my age. My brother was happy cause he had a friend but the only girl there is 17 and she doesn’t really bother paying much attention to me. That’s kind of what big teens do, I guess. I may not want to have to play with someone half my age either.

But that meant I’d have to either sit in in my parents’ conversations or else just sit bored and do nothing. I brought all the projects I wanted to do – a swimming suit, that is. But… they were in the middle of emptying out their pool. No luck for me today!

Parents’ conversations were kind of interesting… for a little while. I could choose to sit with my dad and hear their manly conversations, you know all those business or tech talks. Or I could sit in on the mom’s side of things…. kids and kitchen and home and all that. I settled for Mom’s talk even though it got way too boring when they talked about kids and schooling. It’s my weekend after all. Please spare me from school details for this one day! I thought.

Later we went for a walk and I got to do all sorts of fun things. We went to a forest with jumping or hopping things along the way. Then some climbing and swinging frames. Then more and more talking again. I borrowed my Mom’s phone for a bit but with no internet there wasn’t much to do. Mom doesn’t keep games on her phone, in case one of her kids has some spare time with nothing else to do. But that would never happen, right? I looked at her photos and videos 3 times each. I took a few photos of my own but I don’t know what I’m going to use them for anyway. I guess next time I should come a little better prepared when I know I’ll be surrounded by adults who just like to talk. I might need some projects to keep me busy. I should have at least brought my handy dandy notebook that I can write and doodle whatever I want on. Maybe I’ll write a book about what to do when you have no one your age to hang out with and there is really nothing at all to do. Hey, that’s even an idea to keep me busy next time this happens. I’ll keep you posted about the next time I’m surrounded by just “parents” around.

By the way, what do YOU do when you’re bored? What are some of YOUR just YOU projects?

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Vacation adventures (or not)

I’ve had 4 friends sleep over at my place this vacation. And here I thought that I didn’t do anything for vacations! But it’s kind of different, I was trying to explain to Mom. You see, I wanted to go somewhere new and far and explore new adventures, maybe visit a new city or a new country. All my friends go far for vacations. This time of year is skiing season. We only do sledding. Mom said that having friends over was kind of its own adventure. I guess that’s another way to look at it.

Well, we did do some stuff that we don’t get to do every day maybe. We made a tent in my room, we made things from dough, we had water play, we played soccer with my brother, we drew and colored, we filmed a music video or two with my doodads of messes that we didn’t have to clean. Mom was okay to clean up after us whenever we did some of the cooking for her. So I was glad for that.

Though, because we didn’t care about how much mess we made, she was not so happy. She said it took her longer to clean up after us than it was for her to cook. Well, what else did we do? Oh yes, we recorded a song and a drama, we ate good food, we did more baking and cooking, so therefore had to do a bit of the cleaning this time.

Oh well, cleaning is really not my thing. It’s probably the one thing that bothers me about home. When I go to my friend’s house, I don’t have to clean or pick up anything. But at my house, my mom’s always behind me making sure I put away my dishes, pick up my clothes, put my shoes on the shelf. I get tired of that sometimes. It even makes me angry. Can’t my mom leave me alone for once? Can’t I get a real vacation for a change? Vacations from having to do any kind of cleaning at all?

The other family night we played a question game. One question said: “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” Well, I definitely knew mine. It would be to have a magic wand that I could zap my room with and it would be clean and tidy. Or touch my dish and it would automatically put itself in the dishwasher, then the dishwasher could tell on its own when it was full and turn itself on. And my bed… it would make itself as soon as I got out of it. Now wouldn’t be that something!

But… God doesn’t zap me with a wand to make me do something. He gently invites me to do the right thing. Then it’s up to me to decide. I guess I do kind of like that free choice better.

And, what would be your one top wish?

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My prep routine

I put on my beautiful dress on and all set for church. No, but wait! One more very important thing I can’t forget. My make-up case, the one that’s in a book and that I can practice on the girls’ faces in the book. But I cheated a little cause I usually practice on myself instead. Why would I want to use up the make up for those papers anyway? How sad to waste those beautiful colors when I can make myself look beautiful instead. Mom says that beauty comes from within. It’s a character thing, not just with the clothes that you wear and the make up that you put on. She says I’m just beautiful as I am. Only grown ups sometimes need a little make up to give them a little more color and shine. But does that mean that I’m more beautiful on the inside than Mom is or than older women are? I don’t get it.

Mom says it takes work to be beautiful, so I’m getting to work on this make-up practice. Maybe by the time I’m allowed to wear it every day, I will have mastered the art. It is like an artist, having to choose from this whole palette of colors, making sure no colors clash. I remember the first time I put on make up. I thought I looked beautiful but now thinking back about it, I think I looked more scary than anything. Yes, I’ve been practicing, you see. Well, mainly on my friends. Oh, my poor friends. I think when they got home, their moms must have told them to go straight to the bathroom to wash it all off.

Oh, yes, back to my getting ready for church now. After pretty clothes, make-up, the most important thing, I am told, is my inside beauty (like I said before). I’m sure I have more to learn on that one. I don’t quite grasp the whole thing yet. But I shoot up a little prayer to God, “I’ve worked hard to be beautiful on the outside, but only You can make me beautiful on the inside. Please give me lots of inside beauty for today as I meet all my friends at church. I want them to see that it’s your beauty that matters most of all. Amen.”

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It Finally Happened!

Yes! Finally! It happened! My birthday! This once a year special occasion. Only this time I had to wait 2 months before we found just the right time to do it with my friends and family. Dad and Mom were very busy and the other times that I wanted to do it, like during vacations, my friends were not around or some other friends had planned their birthdays first. I did get to have 2 birthdays this month but not my own, ha. Well, so it was finally happening! I had hoped and planned for a wonderful, amazing and exciting time.

But then it happened…. and I didn’t feel any different afterwards. Mom and I spent 2 days planning and setting it up, going shopping, decorating, cooking, baking, etc. I know she really tried her bed to make it special for me. And she took lots of her time for it. And I helped her too, cause it was fun for me. But I just didn’t think that it would be all over with so so quickly.

All my friends came, made their pizzas and ate them just like that. I had planned to make a big fancy Italian pizza restaurant thing where they could create their own pizzas. I had done that like 4 years ago with my friends when I turned 7 and it was the funnest birthday ever. But this time it wasn’t the same. Maybe I expected too much? Maybe my friends were too old for that? Or cooking wasn’t special anymore for them because they could do it at home when they want to? I don’t know.

I was kind of disappointed. But well, if I didn’t try it, I wouldn’t have known. I don’t think I’ll plan that again. My friends just wanted to hang out in my room, jump on my very clean white sheets (Yikes!) or play with my birthday presents they just gave me, mixing up the slime and sparkles, which I had wanted to do by my very own self. But… they are my friends and well…. I guess they have that sort of thing about them that they can do in my room of their free accord… because we’re friends.

I didn’t feel too good about it but I was a bit shy to tell them not to jump on my bed. Mom had planned all these fun games and activities to go along the pizza birthday event, but they just wanted to hang out. I didn’t push for the games, even though I really looked forward to them, doing them WITH my friends. But I was worried that if we did them, they may not like them or maybe would not want to be friends with me anymore after. I don’t really know what I was thinking. And why is  it so hard to try to please everyone?

You know what, I’m glad that no matter what I do, even when I make mistakes or say or do the wrong things sometimes, God, my very best friend, still loves me to the full.

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What Gift Should I Give?

I’ve been waiting to get some birthday invitations. We’ve moved here over a year ago and still none. I think I’ve beat everyone on that one. Even though I have some nice friends, I guess it takes a while before they start inviting you to their parties. I don’t blame then too much cause I haven’t invited any for mine yet either. Come to think of it, I haven’t even planned mine yet. I have a few ideas but I’ve got to talk it over with Mom since she’ll most likely have to help me with it, a whole lot!

But just this last week, in one chunk of time, I’ve gotten two invitations, from two very good friends, one from school and one from church. One at the beginning of the week, oh my, it’s TODAY, actually today… and the other at the end of the week with a sleep-over. I can’t wait, I’m so excited. But just one small problem. I have no gift yet! It’s happening in only a few short hours and I’ve got to be all pretty and permed and with the best gift of all. But I really don’t know what to get them. What do you get someone who you don’t really know so well yet? Before we moved, I could tell right away what my other friends would have liked. I knew what they were into and all that stuff that you know about your friends.

I just got it now! Being invited to their birthday and seeing what the other friends get might give me a good idea of what they like. But well, that will be too late to get them anything, won’t it? I’m just going to hop into the car, with Dad, cause he has to go do some business anyway, and maybe he’ll be able to do a shop stop for me, well for my friends. He’ll have to be willing to pay for whatever I buy too. Usually Mom takes care of all that stuff, with a little help from me. But she gotta stay home today in case the post man comes by to drop off something important. That’s the time that I really appreciate Mom. She does a lot of those gift things for me. She makes the packages all pretty and fancy. She helps pick just the right gifts even if she doesn’t know what the friends are into, she makes it beautiful enough to please anyone. I want to be just like that when I grow up. She knows how to cheer up others with her taste for decor and art.