Friday, May 25, 2012

Making Memories

Dear Ian,

Today was your last day of school for this year at Advent.  And in Crazy Mom fashion, I went all out trying to capture the memories.  If you can recall from earlier, I posted all about your first day and your first week, and it amazes me that here we are capping off this school year.  It went by pretty dang quick.  So, again, since I am nuts, I set out to record this day in history in the best way I know: photos and blog posts.

After getting dressed and having breakfast, I used an idea from Pinterest and photographed you holding a photograph from your first day of school.  Funny enough, you are wearing the same outfit in the photo that I dressed you in for your first day.  People who know me will most certainly think I did this on purpose, but I am swearing on Scouts and Mommy honor that I did not.  This was complete chance, and absolutely hysterical.  Anyhoo.  Out to the front yard we went to have you pose under our tree (that we call Twig, as it has been the same size for the past six years that we have lived here).  You were a trooper and indulged your crazy mom.  Here's the end result posted next to your first photo as well.

I'm so glad you're actually smiling in the May photo.  That first photo looks like you were about to be dragged off to torture chambers unkown.  Your smile, by the way, completely melts my heart. 

Moving on.  Off we went to school for the last time this school year, and like normal, you had a great day.  We took some little treats to your teachers, and I hope they liked them because they ARE a little corny.  But hey, you used their supplies all year, why not replenish them.  Here's your teacher gifts we passed out:

Crayons and markers for the people that helped make your first school year so "colorful."  Yes, your mom is a nut, but what else could you expect. 

Your teachers also did something sweet for you, and I love them!  From Miss Laura and Miss Jayme, you got a little package of sidewalk chalk, and yes, we've already ripped into it and used them in the driveway. 

From Miss Laura and Miss Jordan, you also got sidewalk chalk, but there's an added tub of purple playdoh, which you love!  It makes my heart smile to see how well your teachers know you.  Your favorite color is purple, and they know it, and it was super cute to see that tub of playdoh in your favorite hue.  Even some of their thank you notes were written on purple cards.  That may have been coincidence, but I honestly think they planned it for you.

 Finally, today was also "Report Card Day" for you.  Miss Laura filled out an end of the year evaluation on you, and as I expected, you rocked it up.  Not much has changed from your mid-year evaluation, and that makes me happy.  And as usual, I'm proud of all of the progress you have made this year.  Here's your report card, recorded in true Mommy style. 
 So, now we're headed on to the Three Year Old class.  Sniff.  You're growing up so fast, and I am so proud of you.  I'm also pretty excited for all the neat things in store for you as you move through the classrooms at Advent.  Just don't do it too fast, okay?

I love you very, very much,
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Works of Art #32

Since today is the last day of school, this is the last school-art Works of Art post.  Don't you worry small son, I will continue art with you over the summer.  Scissors, painting, playdoh...   oh the opportunities abound!
I love this purple butterfly you did.   It's currently hanging in your bedroom.
And what butterfly doesn't need a flower to land on?!

 Another pretty butterfly, this time in blue.
 Butterflies start as caterpillars!  See a pattern here?  Your class was learning about caterpillars and butterflies.
 Here's a beautiful golden fish you did in art with Miss Lynn.  It is inspired by the golden fish of artist Paul Klee.
A cute bumblebee!  Bzzz!

You did a great job with your art this bear, Buddy.  I'm so proud, and I cant wait to see next year's art work in comparison.  

I love you bunches!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Speed of Light!

Dear Ian,

Today is Monday.  Today is the beginning of the last week of your first year at school.  Whoa, that sentence is a mess, but it's true:  As of this Friday, you will have completed your first year at Advent and the first year of your "educational career."  Only about 20 more to go.  (Two to three more here at Advent, 13 in elementary, middle and high school, and then about five for your degree.  So maybe a bit more, since you plan on getting your Masters and possibly a PhD, right?) 

Man, oh man have you come a long way since that first week of school where I was convinced that I was going to have to call a therapist for the two of us.  Here's more about that, but like I was saying, you have made such progress this year, with the biggest challenges being that you had new authority figures in your life, and you had to separate from your Mama.  To be honest, we both had that challenge.  But now it's the end of May, you are a confident Little Bear, you have more friends than I think even I have, and you've learned so much in the past eight or so months.

 And it has gone by in the blink of an eye. 

You've learned new songs, courtesy of Miss Jan, and you now actually sing them at school, too!  From Miss Kim, you've learned about different kinds of measuring cups, how to crack an egg, and how to turn your head and not cough on the food you're preparing.  Miss Lynn has introduced you to so many new artists and styles of art this year.  Most of them even I had never heard of, so culturally, you're even ahead of Mommy!  Miss Christene has taught you parables and stories from the Bible, and although you usually give them your own spin, you are understanding God's hand in your world.  Miss Tami in lab has introduced you to the  magical world of science, and to all these teachers, I owe them so much.  But most of all, I am so thankful for your classroom teachers, Miss Laura, Miss Jordan and Miss Jamye.  They made your first year so wonderful.  You've learned to take turns and share, sit quietly and follow rules, at a bare minimum.  Through your awesome teachers, you've also starting to understand that learning is fun and that school is a special place, and for that I am eternally in their debt.  Great teachers make all the difference in the world, and you've gotten off to an amazing start.  

What's really crazy about all of this is that you are only about two or three years from starting big school.  It simply blows me away that in the amount of time it took us to get you from newborn to this point you will be headed off to elementary school.  The past two and half years have simply flown by, so I can't even begin to imagine how fast the next two and half will go.  It makes me want to wrap you up in my arms and hide all the clocks and calendars in our house.  This summer I plan to spend as much time as you and I can tolerate handle being together, and we're going to have a blast.  From visits to the park, Junior Museum (yes, I still call it that.  Native Tallahassean, you know...), Trousdale pool to just hanging here at the house, I am going to make every minute count.  And not just this summer, either.  A mommy's time with her babies as babies is as ephemeral as a humid-free Tallahassee morning.  That's going to be gone come 10am, and I want to make sure I don't miss any opportunity to play with you. 

Anyhoo.  Mommy is getting all mushy again.  So, instead, I'm going to focus on some fun school-year memories.

Here's your very first school portrait ever:

This was taken around September, and to me, you still look like such a baby guy in this portrait.  Now you're a confident little man.  One day I'm going to look at this picture side by side with your graduation photos, and it is going to absolutely kill me. 

Here's your class photos from this year, too!
 Please excuse the quality (or lack there of) of these pictures.  My scanner is still out of commission, so I had to take photos of photos.  
 This is your Monday, Wednesday, Friday class.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on here somewhere that you are technically in two classes.  A spot was sorta created for you, since I am teaching five days and week, and when we enrolled you, the five-day-twos class was already filled.  At first, I was worried about how you would handle being in two different classes where you rotated an assistant teacher and had different friends every other day, but in true Ian fashion, you took it all in stride.  From left to right, there's Miss Laura, Rhiley, Cole, Liam, Spencer, you, Luke, Carson, J.R., Joe, Miss Jordan and Nick.  Missing from your picture is Keelie. 
This is your Tuesday, Thursday class.  Again from left to right there's Miss Jamye, Penelope, Ethan, you, Brooklyn, Marshall, Miranda, Miss Laura, Julia, Daniel and Kaden.  Such a sweet group.  

It's been fun to watch the whole lot of you grow up, and it will be interesting to see how the friendships change and develop as you grow up.  I'm also curious to see who will go to elementary school with you and then even beyond that.  

I still cant believe how fast this year has gone by.  I am really lucky to be teaching at your school; I can occasionally see you from my classroom window, and if you're outside at the same time as my class, you never fail to run to the gate to get a kiss and a hug before going back to play.  Those little peeks into your day mean so much to me, and I am SO glad your teachers are tolerant of your crazy Mama.  We're pretty lucky, little dude.  

So, now we gear up for the summer and then prepare for our next year of school.  Our summer is jammed packed already, and I am really excited to get to spend my days with you again.  Just like when you were really little and only in Mommy's classroom here at home.

Hugs, Kisses and Love,
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Thursday, May 17, 2012


Dear Ian,

Before I start this post, I need to explain the title.  A while back we went on a cruise, and during dinner, the wait staff would dance, sing and what not, and before they did all of their entertainment, the head waiter would call out, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhowtime."  It made your Daddy (and your Uncle Ryan and Uncle Kurt) and Mommy laugh.  So there you have it.  And now, it's shhhhhhhowtime.

The other day your class(es) participated in the End of the Year show at your school.  This show was a combination of songs you had been learning in Dance and Movement with Miss Jan and a chance to show off a collection of the cool art you have been making with Miss Lynn.  Since you are in a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class as well as a Tuesday-Thursday class, you actually got to have two shows and two art displays.  

You, Miss Laura and the MWF ready to take the stage.
I was the only one that was able to make it to your first show, but on Tuesday, your Grandma Davis, Grandma Brooks, Daddy and I all got to go.  You did such a great job!  Miss Laura, Miss Jordan and Miss Jamye made everyone in your class(es) a special shirt to wear.  It's so cute; your little hand-print is turned into an American flag on a light blue shirt.  I cant wait for you to wear it on the 4th of July.  But back to business. 

Your little class(es) filed into the Parish Hall and took your places on individual carpet squares, and then you got to work showing us all the fun songs you have learned.  Compared the the Christmas show, which albeit was your first performance ever, where you sat and admired the view, this time you were a completely different kid.  Almost.  You played your instruments, danced and seemed to really get into it this time.  From balancing bean bags on your head to keeping time with Lumi sticks and a tambourine, you really did a great job! 

You did, however, protest the song Slippery Fish.  Both shows you refused to sing this particular song.  This wasn't new to me; Miss Jan and Miss Laura had both told me about a week before that you never sang Slippery Fish.  I asked, and usually the only answer I got from you was, "I don't want to sing Slippery Fish."  The day of the show, however, I asked again, and you told me that, "...the whale didn't have nice manners."  At the end of Slippery Fish, the whale gives a big burp, and apparently that really bothered you.  Silly man.  But whatever.  For the rest of your songs, you did a really great job. 

Below are a few pictures of you and your class(es) performing:
 Here you are dancing and "getting the rock 'n' roll in your knees, as the song suggested.  This move was totally unexpected from you, and it completely cracked me up! 
 You and Spencer making unicorns with the Lumi Sticks.
 You, Miss Jordan and Spencer tapping your Lumi Sticks on the floor.  This song gets in my head and makes me kind of crazy. 
Lucky you!  You got to play the purple (which is your favorite color) tambourine during the rhythm band song.  YAY!

After the show ended, all the kids and grown ups got to wander around and look at all of the art work on display.  You had some beautiful art, Little Man!  Here are some pictures.

 You, Grandma Davis, Grandma Brooks and Daddy after your show.
 Your art from your Monday-Wednesday-Friday class.
Here you are in front of your art from your Tuesday-Thursday class.  I love that big smile on your face! 

You made me so proud, Baby Bear, with the great job you did on your art and at your show.  But you always make me proud.  Even when you are just playing and being you.  I'm especially proud of when you are just being you, because I think you're pretty special.  

Love you bunches, Super Star,
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Daddy Stories

Dear Ian,

When you are a grown-up man and a Daddy to children of your own, one sure way to make your wifey melt is to sit, snuggled up with your kiddos and tell them made-up stories all your own.  I know from experience. 

You and your Daddy have these special little stories that he makes up just for you, and you absolutely love them.  They are short, fun little stories about simple things like tractors, dragons and swing sets.  Some of the titles are:

Daddy and Ian and the Big Green Tractor
Daddy and Ian and the Small Blue Tractor
Daddy and Ian and the Big Yellow Jelly Bean
Daddy and Ian and the Big Pink Swing Set

There are more, but of course, my old brain is having trouble recalling them. 

It's one of my favorite things to see: you and Daddy all snuggled up, him telling you a story and you listening so attentively.  I like the fact that you have to use your imagination to illustrate his stories.  And the teacher in me likes the fact that you are listening and can retell them, too.  Great comprehension stuff, but that's boring. 

Daddy and his friends playing D and D last summer.
I am pretty sure, though, that Daddy has an ulterior motive in these stories.  You see, one of Daddy's favorite hobbies is getting together with his friends and playing Dungeons and Dragons.  It's this dice rolling, math doing, story telling game of geeks (although I love them dearly, those boys are geeky), and it makes up a big part of your Daddy's childhood and now even his grown-up-hood.  Some of the people he plays with have been part of his D and D group since Daddy was a teenager.  Uncle Kurt and Uncle Ryan play too, and they have been playing with Daddy since they were only a few years older than you.  I know that Daddy cant wait until the day that the two of you roll up a character for you and you join in the fun.

And no, I don't mind that at all.  You see, at first, when Daddy and I were dating and he told me about all this, I had reservations.  To be totally honest, I thought he was a little nuts.  But then, as I watched sessions (after session, after session), I got to realize just how COMPLEX and cerebral these little gatherings were.  First there's the math:  dice of all size, shape and range rule D and D.  Each roll represents something, and you have to add, multiply and Lord know what else to understand and play this little game.  Mommy is terrified of the math part, so moving right along.  Then there's the language and literacy component of D and D.  As a Dungeon Master (did I REALLY just type that?), or guide of the group if you will, you have to paint a rich description of what each player is doing and what they see.  Your vocabulary has to be enormous and imaginative in order for the whole "world" of the game to exist.  As a player, you have to understand these words, comprehend their meaning and then use them to act out your part of the puzzle.  What some might consider nerdiness is actually mental Olympics.

You at your first D and D session in your "First Level Human" onesie

And there are worse things for you to be doing with your time.  Look at the group that Daddy plays with:  There's Mike, for whom English is really his second language DM'ing the thing, and he's a dad to two girls, a computer guru and helped his family run a business.  Then Uncle Kurt and Uncle Ryan who both work with computers; Uncle Kurt is a second tier support person for Hayes Technical Support and Engineering, and Uncle Ryan writes code and is VP at Paul Consulting.  Seth is now an honor graduate from law school at UVA and a former policeman.  John is the Head of the Pediatric ER at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and Jeff is an archeologist and all-around ancient civilizations master.  And Daddy.  Daddy is a brilliant code writer and VP at his work.  See?  They may play a "geek game," but these guys are all incredibly smart, and even socially with-it.  They are all happily married, most with kids of their own, successful and happy. 

I'm sure Daddy is going to read this and correct all my thoughts on D and D, but this is how I see it.  And I am actually looking forward to you joining in all of this.  One day, I hope to have another bunch of boys crowded around in my living room, eating pizza, drinking Mountain Dew and delved in a rich world of fantasy and math. And with these Daddy Stories, it's already starting.

I love my geek boys,

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Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm a MOMMY!

Dear Ian,

I understand that the title of this post is a little redundant, since here I am writing a post to you, my son.  Of course I'm a mommy; I wouldn't be writing to my baby bear if I wasn't.  But you need to know that this is still an amazing thing to me, even after two and a half years.

I know I have mentioned it before, but I wasn't expecting to have you.  A doctor told me just before Daddy and I got married that I would never have you.  But look at us now!  Here we are, at the eve of my third ever Mother's Day weekend!  I am so happy to have you in my life, and I am thrilled every day to be your Mommy.  Yes, even the challenging days are precious to me (and to Daddy).  We are one lucky little family.

Last year on Mother's Day, you and I made a piece of hand-print art to commemorate the holiday.  This year, since you're in school and you make all kinds of art every day, I got a surprise Mother's Day gift.  You made a special plate for me!  It's so neat!  It's your art on the plate, and you also made me two lovely cards to go with it.  My gift was carefully wrapped in purple tissue paper, which is your favorite color.  I wanted to wait until this Sunday to open it, but you were very excited about it and had to help me open it as soon as we got home.  Then you wanted to have your snack on it after nap.  I have a feeling that my Mother's Day plate is going to be your new favorite plate to eat on.  I'm not bothered by that, though.  It's your special plate, too. 

The neat thing about this plate is that it actually is the first in a series!  Advent does these plates every year for Mother's Day, so I will get to see your art progress for the next few years we are at Advent.  And we'll have a little collection by the time you go to elementary school (sniff!).  To add to the coolness of this whole thing, we even have the plate that Daddy made in 1983 when he was at Advent!  Grandma Brooks gave it to us, and now it's so very special to have them stacked together in our plate cabinet.  Makes me smile!

Here's a couple of photos of the cards that you made me that went with my special Mother's Day gift:

These are lovely cards, little man.  They are made out of tissue paper and glue, and it looks like you really took your time to make them special.  Thank you!

I love these special touches that your school does to make Moms feel special on Mother's Day, but the best part of my Mother's Day is having you and Daddy in my life.  I am one lucky Mommy!

I love you Bear,

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Works of Art # 31

Once again we have a back-log of art, so let's get to it:

 Here's a beautiful stained-glass cross that you made around Easter time.  It's so pretty.  We have it hanging in your bedroom window, and the light shines through it.  So nice!

 Here's a fabulous shapes collage.

Ooooh, Monet!  You made this in art class with Miss Lynn.  It is inspired by Monet's pond and his waterlily painting.

Fabulous leaf prints.  Inspired by Henri Rousso.

More leaf printing.

This was made with toy cars driven through paint.  So cool!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Live-in Help

Dear Ian,

I don't know if I'll get congratulated or castigated for this post, but I am thrilled to announce that you do chores.  Heck yes!

Tonight, sweet boy, you graduated to being able to do yet another household chore to help pay for your room and board here at the Mom and Dad Inn.  It's Wednesday, so today was trash-gathering day, and while I cooked your dinner, I told you to go get the trash cans from the front bathroom and from the bathroom in my and Daddy's room.  And you did!  Awesome!!  Add that to the dusting and vacuuming that you already do, and you are becoming a contributing member of this house!  (Please forgive all of the exclamation points, but this really makes me happy.)

My favorite child development expert, John Rosemond, says that children should start helping with household chores as soon as they can, and I totally agree.  He states that children build a sense of community and family commitment when they are part of the day to day running of a house.  Again, I think he's spot on, and then there's the added bonus of getting a little extra help around here, too.  I think, like the good doctor does, that giving you jobs to do helps you feel like you're a part of what goes on around here, helps you build responsibility, and it enhances the very valuable lesson that you have to take care of your things and keep them nice.  And a house is a very big and expensive thing to take care of and keep nice.

I am also of the opinion that you will not get paid for your chores.  At least not until you're older and actually need to make and save money for things you want or need.  As of now, you will do your chores simply because you live here and they need to be done.  You're a part of the house,  you help make it messy (and LORD you do a good job at that), so therefore, you should help clean it up.  Later on, you, Daddy and I will sit down and negotiate a fair market value for the work you do and from there we'll figure out a way to compensate you.  But until then, free room and board sounds like a good reward.

Now before you get all bent out of shape about how Mom is making you do ALL the work around here, I'd like to take this time to let you know that you actually ENJOY doing chores.  Yes son, at this age, you're actually asking to help out around the house.  I make the vacuum cleaner hose shorter, and you happily clean the front hallway.  You don't do any other rooms in the house, largely because the carpet attachment requires a little more work, and then there's the fact that you vacuum like a bull in a china shop.  You also love to dust; we have these Swiffer dusters on a little magic wand, and you love to do the TV stand.  Right now we have to follow along behind you when you aren't looking and get the spots you miss, but like they say: practice makes perfect.  You will also occasionally help unload your dishes out of the dishwasher, and now we can add taking the trash out to your repertoire.

I'm super excited that you enjoy being a helper and that you do actually HELP when given a job, but in the grand scheme of things, this is just another sign of how you are growing up.  It was only a few months ago that I did all of these things by myself (or Daddy did them.  He helps out, too) while you were a little smiley bundle laying in one spot on the floor.  It amazes me how far you've come in such a short period of time.  But I have to admit, this was a milestone I was really looking forward to, Baby Bear!

Thanks for all of your help.
Hugs and Kisses,
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