Thursday, December 31, 2015


Dear Ian,

Time seems to be running so much faster as of late.  Just a minute ago, I blinked and you were turning six.  Blink again, and now it's New Year's Eve.  A lot has happened since October, and I'm proud to say that we've been so busy filling the days with fun and memories that I haven't had much time to write.  But here we are now, and I finally have a second to breathe (or I am forgetting at least 400 things I should be doing), so I am going to take that time to write to you.

Bear's First Report Card
The end of October also brought the end of your first nine weeks of school, and that means report cards! You are loving your school, and the academic changes in you are incredible.  You are now reading practically everything you can get your hands on, and your math skills are blowing me out of the water. Your first report card was a really good one, and I am so proud of you.  Your teachers are a great fit for you, and I am so very happy with your progress.  They are bringing out the best in you!  One funny note about school is your Spanish Special Area class.  It is an immersion class, so your teacher only speaks to you in Spanish.  You have admitted to me that it's your least favorite Special Area, because you "don't understand one word of what is going on."  Haha!  It's neat to see how much you're learning, even if you think you don't enjoy it; you have actually spoken to me in Spanish a couple of times.  PE is your favorite special area, and you've have become really good friends with Kyle.  He has introduced you to the world of Pokemon, which is one thing this Mama knows nothing about.  But as usual, you've decided to teach me, so now I am listening to long conversations about weaknesses, hit points and how some are legendary.  I have no idea...

teaching a parent about smells
The end of the nine weeks also brought the end of a themed unit, namely The Five Senses, so you also got to present your first showcase.  These are really neat, and I remember doing them with my class when I was teaching at SAS.  The students create presentations that teach the theme, and the whole school and parents and families are invited to come to the classroom and learn about the theme from you.  Your part of the Five Senses theme was the sense of smell.  Your group created a painting with scented paints, and you explained the different fragrances to the parents and other children that came to view the showcase.  You also had a "smell test" where cotton balls had different fragrances, and people that took the test had to write down the smell on a worksheet you created.  It was a lot of fun to watch you teach and explain the theme and process.
You with your "smell painting"

Fall also brought around your first elementary school portraits, too, and yours is great!  We tried so hard to get your hair to cooperate for picture day, but alas...  You bounced into the car after school that day and
announced that your allotted portrait time came after recess and P.E.  So I just knew we were in for a doozy, and boy was it worth the wait.  They are still super cute, but your hair...  It has a mind of its own.  Maybe one of these days we will bend it to our will.  We ordered portraits for all the grands, and of course we have one in our house.  I can't get over how grown up you look, especially with those missing teeth.  Where in the world did my baby go?

And speaking of looking for my missing baby, we cant mention October and fall without holidays and birthdays!

On your actual birthday - and I will hopefully post about your party in a bit - I picked you up from school, and you and I made our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch.  Grandma and Papa Davis also brought you special pumpkins from Cohocton, but there's something about taking you to pick one out.  I guess it reminds me of all the past years we've done this, and in my minds eye, I can picture little almost one-year-old you toddling around all those pumpkins.  It really shows me how much you've grown.  And here I go getting all sappy again.  Anyway... here you are!  My big six year old and the pumpkin patch:
I am thrilled to say that you even participated in the carving of this year's pumpkins.  You aren't wild about the scooping of the guts, but with the help of those snazzy little carving kits, you really got into it this year, figuratively and literally. 
Here you are creating your design.
Judging by your face, you still aren't wild about the scooping part.  But you did it!
Our finished product!
For Halloween this year, you opted to dress up as Charlie Brown, and after years of costumes like tractors and the solar system, I sure breathed a sigh of relief when you finally made your costuming choice.  This year's costume was a breeze!  We found you a yellow polo shirt and some black shorts, and combined with some yellow socks, brown man-shoes and some felt, we turned you into a pretty adorable Charlie Brown.  We also were lucky in that we had friends trick or treat with us.  Your daddy was in Europe again, so it was nice to have company with which to roam the neighborhood.  Amanda Saltsman, a friend and fellow twirling coach of Mommy's and her family came, and so did the Liedys.  It was a lot of fun, but as usual, you were pretty much done with it after a bit.  We introduced our pals to our Halloween tradition of Chinese food take out before trick or treating, and it was a really fun night.  
 It's my great pumpkin!  

Fall and the beginning of winter also brought us a new interest and activity for you.  You still enjoy bowling, and you're still pretty dang good at it, but you decided that you wanted to give soccer a try.   I have to heave a sigh here, because I thought I had done my soccer-field-penance; with both Uncle Gary and Uncle Brian being soccer players, I spent a good share of my time at The Meadows for practice.  Or schools for games.  Or just standing in the front yard as goalie - which I might add, I was not so good at playing.  But because you are my boy, and I would do absolutely anything for you, this is now my Saturday morning:
You are now a member of the Gunners soccer team, and funny enough, your coach is a father of a child I taught last year.  I have their daughter this year as well.  But yeah.  Soccer.  I have re-entered a world of smelly cleats and socks, a car-full of grass and dirt, and I am actually secretly thrilled.  It makes you happy.  And you get to spend time talking soccer with Uncle Gary and Uncle Brian. Uncle Gary even came to one of your practices recently and hacked around with you afterward.  That was kinda neat to watch.  You practice on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and your Grandma Davis - being the professional soccer player taxi that she is - takes you to practice on Tuesdays since I have lessons.  Your first game is coming up soon, and I am SO excited for you.  Need to hop on Amazon and get you some shorts, now that I'm thinking on it, but that can hang on a sec. 

I think that about wraps up the year, except for Christmas, which again, needs its own letter.  And it's going to be a good one.  2015 has been an interesting year, and I can only imagine what this next year will bring.  I'm one lucky mommy that I get to share it all with you.

Love you bunches, Little Bear.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Hands

Dear Ian,

Two hands worth of birthdays.  Wow
 Today is your sixth birthday.  At this very moment, six years ago, I was laying in a hospital bed, holding you and staring at your little face wondering about the person you would become.  Tonight, I looked at your face, less baby and more and more big kid every second, and I had the same thought.

You're well on your way to being grown up.  Your age now takes up two hands worth of fingers!  But more importantly than the number, you're turning in to an amazing boy.  You are funny, smart, and so much your own little person.  There are moments still when I stop and my breath catches because I simply can't believe you're mine.  And I am so proud of the young man into which you are growing.

Today I got to visit your classroom, share a special birthday lunch and snack with you and your classmates and spend some time hanging out in your room. Since it was your birthday, you got to
In the teacher's chair as your friends tell you all about you
sit up in the front of the room in the "teacher chair," and your friends were able to raise their hand and say something complimentary about you.  There were some sweet comments about how you're a good soccer player and how your friends are glad they get to play with you, and then there were some truly heart-touching, to this mom anyway, moments.  One little girl in your class said that she really liked how you try your best at things, and yet another classmate said that they really liked how you helped others who were hurting.  More than one classmate said you were very kind, and a couple mentioned that you were a good friend. 

Your teacher called you kind and thoughtful and willing to play and work with everyone.  She also said that you were a dedicated student and a good role model to the others in your class.  This made my heart feel so full, and it was in that moment, as I stood there trying not to get all teary eyed, that I realized exactly what I hoped and wished for that little tiny baby I held on October 19, 2009.  I saw a world of potential in that new-born face.  Would you grow up to be successful in your work?  Would you one day discover something amazing?  You have the whole world ahead of you.  But I realize now, that more than anything spectacular that I may wish for you, my biggest hope and dream is that you are just a good person.  I want you to be a friend to many and a beacon for others.  I want for you to be confident and happy.  And after hearing what your classmates had to say, and after all I've seen and heard from you during the last six years, I feel like I just might be doing something right.  You're well on your way, and I couldn't be more proud.

Happy birthday to you, my boy.  Words can't express how much I love you, but know that it is with ALL of my heart,
Your Mommy

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lunch Box Notes

Dear Ian,

The sole purpose of this blog is to record and remind you of memories of your childhood and family history.  I've written about crazy family moments, brought back memories of my own childhood and turned this into basically an expanded "baby book" to record your firsts and experiences.

But I'm curious to fast forward and know this: what exactly will YOU remember on your own?  What memories will stick like glue in your head and heart that you will pass on to your own children?  Will it be something I've written about here, or will it be something that I considered maybe a little insignificant yet really made an impression on you?

Our day to day life is filled with little sweet moments; I can't write about all of them, and I won't subject the people that read this blog (isn't THAT a hoot...  other people actually read this stuff!) to all of our sappy minutiae. Will it be one of those little moments that means the most to you?

your lunch for your first day of school.  complete with note...
The other day, you said something to me that made me stop and realize the importance of those little seemingly ordinary moments.  I have a habit of putting little notes in your lunch box.  I've done it since your very first day - yet not every day - of school, and I figured you just looked at it and then tossed it aside.  You know, "that nutty mom" style.  Until one Thursday morning you asked me why I hadn't put one in your lunch in a couple of days.  I honestly didn't know how many days I had gone without your note, but you did.  My last note, according to you, was on Monday.  And here it was three days later.  I said something along the lines of not realizing it, and you responded with, "But I really like it Momma.  It makes me feel your love. You're thinking of me."

That simple sentence floored me.  And it touched my heart.  I told you that I was so glad that you liked them, because that was the whole reason I did them; I wanted you to know I was thinking of you.  It's nice to know that someone you love is thinking of you.  And sometimes a note in a lunch box is all you need to help you get through a rough day. 

And then I sat down to lunch that day with the children in my class and found this:
I was so surprised and touched to see my very own lunch box note. My little boy was thinking of me and showing me that he loved me.  And with that little reminder, I was able to finish my day with a smile on my face.  Sometimes you just need to know that someone is thinking of you, and I didn't realize how badly I needed it until I saw your little note.

You never cease to amaze me, and I hope this is one thing you never forget; you were able to surprise your momma and show me how much you love me in such a simple way.  We don't need grand gestures to make amazing memories.  These little ones are the best kind.

Thank you, Little Bear, for thinking of me.  And know that this is one of my favorite memories to date.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Adventures in Sleep-walking: A Story for your Prom Dates

Dear Ian,

As the mother of  a boy, I have learned quite a bit.  I've been challenged to explain "boy parts" with grace and maturity, I've witnessed you pee in your own ear as an infant (which prompted me to learn to change the diaper of a boy baby MUCH faster), and I have cleaned dirt and mud from all parts of your little self.  I've learned to enjoy bathroom humor, put up with the world's smelliest shoes - seriously, I did not know boy feet could smell that badly this early - and countless other adventures. 

I grew up with two younger brothers, I so I'm not completely clueless when it comes to the life and [gross] times of boys.  I just never dealt with boy things as a mom.  And while they can be completely disgusting, they can also be downright hilarious.  

Take last night for example... 

You sleep in a room at the top of our stairs, and since Mommy is paranoid of you falling down the stairs in your sleep, there's a baby gate up there to block the way.  Last night, while sitting on the couch watching football while Daddy was working on the laptop, I thought I heard the baby gate open.  I looked up at the top of the stairs, and there you stood, with the baby gate wide open and your jammie pants around your ankles ready to pee.  Down my stairs.  I think I broke a new world record getting up the stairs in the nick of time to direct you to the toilet, but we made it.  You were mad at me for hollering at you to stop and then redirecting you, but I managed to save the stairs and you from falling.  I am not saving you, however, from this story, because after the fear of having wet stairs or an injured boy, it was really funny.  One of your uncles - and I won't say which - pottied in a trash can in the middle of the night once, and I've heard stories of others doing similar things.  And they are hilarious!   But when it's your kid, it's even funnier.  And it's a story I plan on saving up for just the right moment. 

Love you with all my heart, asleep or awake...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Drop Off

Dear Ian,

Today it happened.  I knew it was coming, but I don't think I was completely prepared for it.  Today you asked me to drop you off at car-drop-off instead of walking you to your classroom.  It wasn't exactly like it was the first time I've ever done it; I drop you off like that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday because those are days I have to break land-speed records to get back to my room so my classroom parents can drop off their kids.  But on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would walk with you to your classroom and drop you off at the door.

But today...  Today you wanted me to leave you so you could walk on your own or with a friend.  I'm not all emotional, but it is a big step for this mom to just leave her baby.  Yes, yes.  You're not a baby.  But your MY baby.  And watching you walk away, with your big ol' backpack, was sorta hard.  You look so small compared to the upper grade kids that attend your school, but you're growing more every day.  And here was just one more step.

 Ready to start your day!

That last picture is a picture of you in my side-view mirror.  I watch you as long as I can, before someone honks their horn at me to get a move-on out of the school drive way.  I cant help it!  I waited years for you, and here you are walking away all independent and stuff.  

I am so proud of you, and you continue to amaze me every day.  I am so lucky to be your mommy.  Pretty soon, though, you'll be asking me to wear dark glasses and to drop you off a block away.  Don't count on it, Little Man.  There's a limit...

Love you bunches,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Report Card Day

Dear Ian,

Technically the title of this post is a misnomer, as your school doesn't do report cards in the traditional sense, but today was our very first parent-teacher conference at School of Arts and Sciences.  And in a way, it was our first actual parent-teacher conference.  That DOES NOT mean in anyway that Advent didn't have them; we did winter and spring conferences to keep track of your progress, but you and I were at the same school.  If your teachers had an issue, it was pretty much open conversation right at that moment.  Sometimes even on the playground, which I really appreciated.  I could see you throughout the day, so I had a general idea of your progress, but with this conference, everything was new.

You spend roughly six and a half hours at kindergarten.  I drop you off at 8:45am, and then I pick you up again (or Grandma Brooks does, on Thursdays) at 3:20.  Then after an hour of time with you, it's time for me to teach lessons, and most of the time, you go to bed before I finish.  That means, from the time I get you up at 7:15 in the morning until the time you go to bed at 7:45pm, I spend exactly 2 and a half hours with you.  And it is positively killing me.  But you, my boy, seem to be thriving.  You love school, and you love learning, and while I miss being able to spy on you from my own classroom, you are growing into an independent little man, and I am so proud of you, even if dropping you off in the car-drop-off line makes me die a little inside.  

Today's conference only made me more proud.

The first things out of Ms. Tricia's mouth were, "Ian is a great student.  He's a good kid and a good listener.  He follows directions well."  All of the academic stuff came after (and you are doing fantastically by the way), but I held on to those little words like you would savor the taste of something sweet.  Because they were words that touched my heart and relieved my mind.  The transition to kindergarten from a mommy-infiltrated Advent was a big one, and you seem to have conquered it.  And you're doing so with your typical Ian grace and kindness and sweetness.

I didn't have many concerns as far as your academics go; you're out-smarting me most of the time as it is.  But knowing that you are well behaved, kind and a good person means more to mean that any "A" or percentile ranking.

But I do expect good grades, Mister.
I love you,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Brain Power #1

Dear Ian,

So back when you were at home with me, and then once you started going to Advent, I titled letters where I posted your projects "Works of Art."  Well, now you're still doing some art work, but your classroom projects are becoming more and more school-work-like, and I felt that the old title didn't really fit anymore.  Hence, the new "Brain Power" titles!  Yaaaaay...  Mommy needs sleep, but I digress.

Here in these letters, I will post photos and snippets of your classroom assignments and projects so we can track them and see how you progress throughout the year.

We're about a month in to the school year, and I think you're starting to get the hang of this whole Kindergarten thing.  Since you're in a multi-age class, you occasionally get the opportunity to do first grade work, and this thrills you to no end.  I am so very proud of the papers that come home, but I think what makes me the happiest is seeing your little face with great big smile on it when I pick you up at the end of your day.  You're happy to be in school, and that makes me so glad and relieved.

But back to the point of this letter.  Here is some work you've brought home over the past few weeks or so...
This one seems pretty self explanatory.  This piece of work is all about your first day at SAS.  The top left picture, of you meeting your school family, is a picture of your new friend, Kyle.  Apparently Kyle (and Beckett) have my phone number, too, as you have been passing it out to people with the promise of playdates.  Top right, something you learned that day was in P.E. when you learned how to run faster by going in a straight line.  The bottom left picture is a picture of your work during "choice time."  You worked with these neat manipulative thingies.  The bottom right picture is blank because you told your teacher that you had too much to put there, so you would just tell me instead. Haha!
This is a letter you wrote to me in your Family Art and Message journal. These journals are books that will travel back and forth from school to home.  You write me a letter, and then I am supposed to read it and write back.  This is your first entry to me!  It says, "Have a good day, love Ian to Karen."  You told me you had to underline the words you weren't sure how to spell, but I got the idea!  Of course I wrote back, and you took it to school and read it.  I really love these journals.  In a way, they are kind of like this blog!
Here is a self portrait that you drew before your Parent Night event.  Your assignment was to draw a portrait of yourself and then write a sentence about what you to to help around the house.  Your sentence says that you "dust the house."  You actually do help with this chore, and I love your phonetic spelling of house.  It makes my heart happy to see you learning to read and spell; mommy's thing is language and words, so watching your literacy develop thrills me to to end
 Here's the first homework assignment you had to complete.  Your job was to create a scrapbook page that was all about your family for a classroom scrapbook.  I helped you print the pictures - you chose them from Google images - and then you cut them out and glued them down.  All I did was help you write "Brooks Family" and our names.  I think you did a great job!  You were a little less than ecstatic about having to do homework, but once you got started, you enjoyed this work.
Your theme, so far, for this semester has been all about Communities.  You made a great book all about different community helpers, and it turned out really great!
This adorable community helper is a baker, and he had a special sorting mission for you.  Your assignment for this, besides creating the baker, was to create some cookies and then sort them on the bakers tray.  The words above the tray say, "I sorted by color."  You also drew an elaborate oven behind the baker, I see.
And now we move on to math...  Thankfully this is still math that I can help with!  Great number writing, Bear!  And you got a blue smiley on this work!
For this job, you had to count the items, write the number and then circle the smallest number.  Another job well done!
And now we're starting to get to reach the limits of Mommy's math skills.  Thankfully this still has pictures, so I am ok, but Algebra...  Because that's what this is, you know, and Algebra makes Mommy queasy.  You were SO excited about this assignment; this was your First Grade work.  Your smile when you told me about this made my heart so happy.  And look at that work!  Great job, Little Buddy!!

You make me so proud, and I get a little teary eyed when I think about how happy you are to go to school now (it was touch and go there for a bit at the beginning) and how much you are learning.

Keep up the good work.