Saturday, November 30, 2013


We had reason to celebrate on Thursday; our Thanksgiving holiday was doubly festive. My grandmother, who I always referred to as Gram; who the little people have always referred to as Granny, turned 90.

It was so nice to see her, and in such great spirits. I think she was excited to see everyone... and it was a busy party.

My little people were joined by three other little people... little boys... little boy cousins... little boy cousins who Ellie was happy to give a wide berth all day long. She said she was, "Shy of them." I think it's one thing to hold one's own with two brothers... but add three cousins and there is no chance. So Ellie dined at the adult table. She was delightful. (Meaning: she didn't embarrass her parents.) And the little boys enjoyed their own accommodations, which involved Matchbox cars and talk of video games.

I think about how much Granny has seen in her 90 years. It boggles my mind a little bit to think about how much the world has changed in that amount of time. I'm so thankful that my little people have great-grandparents who can maintain that link to the past. There are so many things to learn from the past. So many things to enjoy about their elders. I know Gavin appreciates those things... the others may be too little. For Benett and Ellie, we talk about the Grandmas and the Grandpas; we visit as often as we're able... I just wish the visits could be more frequent. They'll need those visits, to keep the memories strong enough to grow with them.

It was nice to see my cousins and their little ones. I enjoy that time and it's important for my little people to know their little cousins... even though we don't see them much. It didn't take the kids long to warm up to each other. Before long they were running and playing like fast friends. Miss Ellie was content to color, which seems to be her new favorite activity.

And a party wouldn't be a party without dessert. And I have to admit, pumpkin cake could be a substitute for the traditional birthday cake fare any day! It was delicious... just ask Gavin he 'sampled' each of the dessert options.

This day was like most Thanksgivings in that it involved a bit of work and was over too quickly. We were all ready for a nap by mid-afternoon, Granny especially.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I love to read, but as a young person learning to read, it was frustrating because it didn't come as quickly or as easily as I'd have liked in the beginning. Eventually, I got the hang of things and was introduced to those choose your own ending books. I would read through them making my choices, and then re-read them making a whole new set of choices to see how different the story would be. That process eventually lead to a great love of reading.

Even with reading being something that I enjoy, when I think about teaching my kids to read, it seems like a daunting task. Both Monte and I read to the little people a lot, but when I think about all of the initial memorization work that is required by the end of the first year of school, it seems impossible.

In reality, I know it is possible... I think my disbelief stems more from thinking of my kids in terms of babies and not independent readers. In fact they are... or are becoming so...

We started reading Paddington Bear chapter books with Gavin when he was about to enter into kindergarten. He loved them and we both really looked forward to our time reading together. As he got older, we graduated to other kinds of books and would take turns reading. He reads at a break-neck pace now, which amazes me. I think a part of his success as a reader is his insatiable thirst for information. He has to know it all. (I tell him he's nosy.) It's also why he is such a great speller... Monte and I would spell out conversations to each other, when we didn't want Gavin to know what we were discussing... we did that until he'd tell us what we were spelling.

Now there is Benett. He is starting to show some real interest in reading as well. Like his brother, he too seems to enjoy reading while shirtless. (I hope that is a normal little boy thing...) He loves to be entertained and wants to be a part of the reading process, but his journey will differ from Gavin's.

We read together and have tried a chapter book; Stewart Little. That process was a little long for him... so we backed away from those bigger books and have been spending our time reading things that are manageable for him. He memorizes the words so he can read too. We started with the word "the." Each time it would occur in the text, it would be Benett's job to read that word. He enjoys being able to read along and that process is translating into recognizing the word in other texts. I love seeing his pride as he builds his reading repertoire.

I think we'll take that reading thing and carry it on in our Christmas gift for Benett. I have an idea formulating in my head... with any luck, I'll be able to execute my vision and create a fun little space just for our newest budding reader.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I'm sure it was a steady, gradual pace... but somehow, since the last time I was here, life moved along. As I was looking back, I realized that I didn't have my camera out as much as I'd have liked. I miss having images to reflect back upon. It was a reminder of just how important it is to try and capture the moments.

That being said, I thought maybe a little recap was in order.

We said good-bye to baseball, "enjoyed" a short football season and have now found ourselves with a wrestler in the house. I'm not sure Gavin is practicing his techniques so much as roughhousing. Either way, so far the sport is a good outlet for his seemingly endless supply of energy.

Two birthdays have been celebrated. There are now five and 10-year-old boys in the house. They seem very different from the younger versions of themselves.

Red Velvet cake, his favorite. And according to him, he has a "very sophisticated palette." I guess I agree that his palette and his vocabulary are indeed sophisticated.

Just as his shirt depicts, this child is a meatball. Always has been. I hope he always will be. He turned five just before the start of the school year, being on the bubble, we made the tough decision to not send him to kindergarten. Academically, he's ready. Like every proud mother, I think he's as quick as a whip. 

We just didn't want his young age to catch up with him down the road. There is enough pressure on kids in the school system, without adding an age element to the mix for Benett. 

He's loving preschool and amazes me each day with his inquisitive nature.

Speaking of nature, we introduced a few new gals to the flock. Is it weird that I think they're pretty? I may or may not tell them that. 

He's in fourth grade.
He is a very tall boy.
He can eat his weight in pasta.
He loves to read.
He's sweet and energetic and full of life.
He keeps us all on our toes.

I was a millisecond from capturing something nearly as illusive as Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster... all three of them looking at the camera. At. The. Same. Time. 

I'm convinced that it will never happen.

I'm convinced that for the next several years, if I want a picture of them all smiling and looking at the camera, photoshop will be involved.

Halloween involved a jail bird and two dinosaurs. If you're wondering why I only have a picture of 2/3 of the group, please see the line above.

Last weekend, we had a cookie baking day with Ellie's sweet Godmother, Rosemary. Ellie loves her Godmother... and chocolate spoons... needless to say, she was in heaven all day.

Life certainly did move along while I was on hiatus. Actually, the last year has been filled with change. So many things going on... life does seem like a juggling act sometimes. And like any great act, the show must go on. It may not always be pretty, but it sure is entertaining.