Ben and Miduk at the bowling alley
Wes and Miduk with their Gingerbread houses
Decorating Gingerbread houses in our garage!
Kasey, Kaitlyn, Miduk, Christian and Wes
Miduk loves Kaitlyn! She is always very sweet to him. :)
Mitchell and Miduk at the bowling alley
Miduk had a great time bowling with Ben and Mitchell!
We have the best neighbors ever! This past weekend our neighbor Ben planned a "guys night out" for Miduk. Ben and his friend Mitchell picked Miduk up on Friday night and took him bowling with them for a couple of hours. Is that great or what? I don't know many high school boys that would even think of doing that! Miduk came home all happy-clappy with a little spring in his step. :) And a big smile on his face! You just have to know how that made his day.... Lately I have sensed that Miduk has been bored. Maybe bored isn't the right word. Unsettled maybe? We have been busy doing things, going places, watching movies, all kinds of holiday activities, people have given him legos and things to play with - but I think what's been missing are his friends back home. He sees Kasey going out and Wes staying out late, and although they include him from time to time in their activities, he does stay home quite a bit with Shelby and I and does his own thing (usually playing video games or watching DVDs). Well as fun as Shelby and I are, (HA!) we are not 17 years old nor do we have the energy of a 17 year old, and we are most definitely not the fun that Miduk is looking for! Last week was a really tough week. Shelby was not home from Monday thru Friday, Kasey worked most days after school until 7:00pm, and all Miduk had was me. And Sugar. That is a LONG day trying to keep a teenager entertained! He is like the Energizer Bunny! Stays up late, gets up early, and just goes and goes and goes... We played cards,made Christmas candy, spent way too much time on youtube, watched movies, rode around on the go-go scooter, looked at Christmas lights, etc etc - and I was exhausted because I am not used to planning my day around someone else. Don't get me wrong, I am truly enjoying Miduk - but in a way it's like having a young child around again who is dependent on me for a lot of things. For instance, we want him to let us know if he is going outside to play in the front yard. Yes I realize he is 16 years old but I feel like I need to know where he is at all times! So when he went across the street and knocked on our neighbors' door to see if Ben could play without telling us where he was going, that was a bit unsettling. I don't leave him home alone, and I also don't feel comfortable going to bed at night with Miduk upstairs playing video games or watching a movie on TV. I know that's weird, but I don't know if he will stay up til 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and that's something I never allowed my own children to do! So we have been telling Miduk that it's bedtime around 11:00pm when we go to bed, but he doesn't like going to bed that early. "Oh, Mom!" is what I hear and I can almost catch the eyes starting to roll. Typical teenager! My compromise is that he can stay up in his room and read or write in his journal or do something quietly but no TV or video. (I know, I know!) Now that Wes is home from college for the next 3 weeks and Kasey is out of school for Christmas vacation, I'm sure I will relax on the whole bedtime thing. This parenting thing is hard! Not that I didn't already know that, but we are sort of past all this with our kids and can trust them to follow the house rules and can go to sleep at night without waiting up for them. So short story long, I have been asking Miduk what he does back home every evening between dinnertime and bedtime and he told me he plays Playstation with his brother Besli. Usually until midnight or later, according to Miduk. And watches TV with his family, or plays hide-and-seek outside with his friends. He especially misses his best friend Donna (a boy named Donna!). Miduk says he and Donna play everyday after Donna gets home from school. They ride bikes everywhere, climb trees and steal fruit from the fields (pomegranates!) We had considered getting him a bicycle for Christmas, but again I'm just not sure I feel comfortable with him riding around the neighborhood and me not knowing where he is. I just can't do it. We decided we will get a new bike for Miduk when he returns to Indonesia instead. (shh, don't tell!) This morning I let him call his Mom again but her phone was out of service so we called Besli instead and he talked and talked and even put Sugar on the phone and had her howling for Besli. Too funny! Yesterday Wes took Miduk to Bass Pro and they did the shooting gallery and walked around. Miduk says Bass Pro is his favorite store! Then later on they made Gingerbread houses, then Kasey took Miduk to see a giant live oak tree that is completely covered in white lights, then Miduk hung out with Kasey and some of her friends for a little while. Surely this is more than he does back home! Miduk occasionally leaves notes for Kasey to find on her lightswitch at night - usually it says goodnight Kasey, sometimes it says I love you. We've had a little chat about how brothers and sisters show love for one another b/c we thought he was developing a crush on Kasey and maybe hugging on her just a bit too much; and he has been much better and less touchy with her ever since. So anyway, I've learned that teenagers are teenagers no matter where they come from.....except this teenager has yet to sleep in! :) He is up with the sun if not before...I don't know how he does it!