Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Better Late Than Never

January 21, 2013

Dear Mason II,

Happy Seventh and a half Birthday!

Statistics: Weight: 64 lbs. 6oz. Length: 50.5 inches. Clothes: 7-8.

What a wonderful six months it has been since I last wrote to you.

Let’s start by going back to August 2012. When we got home from the beach, we adopted a dog. Curly is a grey/black Labradoodle (born July 31, 2011). She weighs about 58 pounds and is taller than your brother. She has been an interesting addition to the family. You love to chase her through the house, but you get frustrated with her when she knocks over your Lego creations. She is still a puppy so while she is house trained, she is definitley still learning some manners.

In August you went to Wetland Detective Camp at Claude Moore Park, and later in the month you attended a week of Lego Robotics Camp. Both of these were camps you had participated in the year prior and you specifically asked to do them again. I’m not sure you loved Wetland Detective Camp as much the second time around, but you had a blast at Lego Camp.

We also went to the Clarke County Fair for the first time. You loved seeing all the animals: goats, sheep, horses, cows, and chickens. The cows were your favorite and a very nice little girl (younger than you) who belongs to a 4H club told us all about her milk cow, Daisy. You even got to practice milking a cow!

The chicken coop was a shock to you. They featured a huge incubator fileld with eggs. Next to the incubator was a box that contained one day old chicks, then a box with two day old chicks and finally three day old chicks. It was fascinating to see their development. You were fine with all that until we bought eggs when we left. You wouldn’t get near those eggs and you certainly wouldn’t eat one when we got home. I think it was difficult for you to see the life cycle and where our food comes from.

At the end of August you started 1st grade at Countryside Elementary. Your teacher is Ms. Petralia and you are in classroom 13. You love first grade! You are an inquisitive student, and I love seeing you talk with your peers. Your share day is on Fridays so I often get to see you describing something from home to your classmates. After you describe the item you brought from hom you are allowed to choose two friends to ask questions. One morning a little boy said, “Mason, that’s a great Lego.” You replied, “That’s not a question that was a statement. Would someone else like to ask a question?” It was hilarious! I love the way your mind works.

I volunteer on Fridays at school to help a little boy in your class who is struggling with reading. Nana volunteers with the same little boy on Thursdays. He is making great progress. One thing that has really stuck with me is something your teacher said when I first offered to volunteer. I told her that I noticed he was significantly behind in reading and would like to help. She said, “But he’s not your son.” I understand that she must be surrounded by parents who are only interested in helping their own child do better. How sad!

Don’t be that person, Mason. Look at your world and find where help is needed. No matter where it is or who needs that help – jump in with both feet. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt this past Friday when this little boy read a very simple book to me. He read!! This is a little boy who in September couldn’t even identify the letters in his name. He has a lot of folks working hard to help him, and I’m so proud of the progress he has made. Helping this little boy learn to read will have a huge impact on his life. It makes me feel so good knowing that I play some small part in helping him succeed. I urge you to find some way to contribute to someone’s life that can never repay you. Love big and expect nothing in return!

September brought about baseball practice and games. You had such a good time in the fall and again, you had spectactual coaches. Unfortunately, you didn’t seem to love fall baseball. About half way through the season you got hit in the hand twice in two different games. I think you were choking up on the bat too far. After that, you just seemed to lose your interest in the game and in practicing.

It is very difficult for your dad and I to see you give up on things. You don’t seem to be interested in much that requires effort to learn something new or practice to improve your skills. Things like reading and math come very easy to you, which is certainly a blessing. Writing and physical activities are harder, and you are quick to lose interest or have a melt down when we encourage you to continue. I pray this is something that will improve with time. As an adult, you will have a long road ahead of you if you do not have the patience it takes to practice tasks. Focusing only on the things that come easy to you may cause you to miss out on many other fun activities.

October brought the Cub Scout Family Camp Out. When you camped in July you earned a special red bead because it was over 100 degrees. When you camped in October you earned a special blue bead because it was under 32 degrees. In fact, it was in the 20’s. Brrrrr…… Due to the very low temperatures, we decided it would be best if you and dad went on this campout and I stayed home with your brother. I was sure sorry to miss the fun, but I did stop by Saturday night and enjoyed watching all the boys do skits and sing songs around the campfire. Your dad and all the other new parents sang a song about a grey squirrel, which was hilarious. This was also when you heard The Badger Song for the first time. You can now be found singing the Bader Song all the time. (One and all, one and all…. Let’s all do the badger crawl.) You’ve never been a big performer we really enjoy this. Cub Scouts has been great to help bring you out of your shell.

Cub Scouts also sponsored popcorn sales in the month of October. Along with a friend, you sold popcorn at the local Giant grocery store. You were magnificent! I was so afraid that you would be timid and shy, but you were just the opposite. You had no trouble walking up to strangers and asking them if they wanted to support Scouts and buy popcorn. In fact, you sold over $200 worth of popcorn!

November brought about more cold weather and our annual trip to Shrine Mont with our friends from Saint Matt’s. We had a wonderful weekend exploring the moutain and relaxing with friends. You always have such a great time at Shrine Mont – lots of running and playing outside.

Scouting for Food was also held in November, and you and dad spent a cold Saturday morning collecting food donations for the LINK food pantry. In the afternoon, the pack went bowling. You especially enjoyed seeing the back of the alley where the pin setter machines are located.

Mid-November saw Grandma head off to Germany on her first international trip. Uncle Dennis and Aunt Christy asked her to come for almost two months to share in Uncle Dennis’ birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. You sure did miss her. Good thing Nana was around to keep you busy. While Grandma was gone you had a lot of play dates with friends, and then spent Thursday afternoons with Nana. You guys had fun making cookies and shopping for Christmas presents.

December was a whirlwind as we prepared for Christmas. We had lots of fund making Christmas cookies!Your school hosts an annual Christmas bazaar and this was the first year that you really enjoyed choosing gifts for people. The school has a special room where children (only) can go and purchase gifts for parents and family members. You used your allowance to buy daddy a screwdriver and a stuffed dolphin for Christian.  They even helped you wrap your gifts and put tags on them. On other shopping trips, you bought me a fun Peanuts calendar, a necklace and earrings for Nana, and a collection of Snoopy post-it notes for Grandma.

We got a special treat on Christmas Eve morning when our friends, the Peppers, stopped by for a few hours. Christmas Eve was spent at Saint Matthew’s with all of our friends. Christmas day was a quiet day spent at home. We had a lovely time opening gifts in the morning and eating our traditional blueberry, sausage french toast bake. Yum! Remind me to share that recipe with your wife some day. You received many wonderful gifts and you were incredibly kind and gracious when you received things that weren’t Legos. Because as we all know, Legos is really all that matters! J You did receive a number of Lego sets, including the much coveted Ninjago Ultra Sonic Radar set from your dad and I.

Each Christmas you have a special scavenger hunt that so far has always lead you to a part of the Lego Winter Village collection. This year the scavenger hunt was all Bible verses.  It started with a clear ornamnet filled with Legos on the back of the Christmas tree. You did such a great job reading your Bible and deciphering the clues. For example, John 13:10, Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." This led you to the bathtub. The final clue directed you to the laundry room, where you found a Lego set in the washing machine with this verse attached to it, Matthew 13:44.

The other big hit this year for Christmas was the Xbox dad received. You received several cool games and a controller from Nana. I think you spend most of your winter break attached to that thing. I feel like it is a constant worry of mine that you spend too much time in front of a screen. Please forgive me if in 20 years someone discovers that playing hours a day of video games is the key to lifelong happiness.

January took you back to school and our regular routine. I was gone for a week to California to visit my very dear friend, Amy, who lost her husband to cancer in November. Remember when I said Love Big? I meant it. Live absolutely ever day to the fullest. Don’t spend too much time at work. Don’t neglect your family, and make time for your friends. Spend time serving others. Life is short my son. Embrace every moment.

Over the past six months I have had the continued privilege of watching you grow. You help put dishes away in the morning. You empty the recycling bin at night. You set the table for dinner each evening, but only after I get out the silverware. You insist that you don’t know which utensils to use. You sit down to do your required 30 minutes of reading, and I don’t see you again for two hours because you loved the book so much you had to read the entire thing. Yes, the entire book! But you cry and pout and stomp when asked to write two sentences for homework. You love broccoli and hate rice. You pretend to be a Jedi fighting the evil Sith for hours, but you won’t touch your bicycle. You are such a wonderful little collection of opposites.

I love my dear, sweet, wonderful boy.


P.S. Your tics have disappeared except when under stressful situations, like at the doctor’s office.


March 13, 2012

Dear Christian,

Happy Two and a Half Year Birthday!

Thirty month statistics: Weight: 33 lbs. (92%)  Length: 34 inches. (36%) Head circumference 20 inches (92%) Diaper Size:6 Clothes: 24 months – 2T.

Christmas was great this year! You received a Busy Town play set. Your cousin Harry also received one, and it has been a standing favorite. Mr Frumble in his pickle car and Henrietta Hippo in the pencil car are frequently zooming around the track. You also received a balance bike, an outdoor log cabin play house and a photo book of your first two years. You love that book – even though I put the pages in the wrong order. Seriously, what is wrong with my brain? I put your first haircut in 2010 instead of 2011 when it really happened. You go from being this tiny baby to 18 months old in the turn of one page. Oh well, you still love it and that’s all that matters.

You love all books, but you certainly love that Christmas photo album. It is a standing favorite at bedtime each night. You are especially opinionated about which books we read. Thomas this. No, not that Thomas! This Thomas! Easter and potty books are also enjoyed, but you’ve made no progress on the real life potty.

I think your sleep patterns are pretty much the same as they were at Christmas. You sleep each evening from about 8pm-7am. Naps are great – when you take them. I think twice a week or so you just don’t nap at all, but the other days you sleep for two hours at a time.

In an effort to be completely opposite from your brother, you are a sports fanatic! You love to be outside and want to constantly play baseball. As we drive down the road,  you point out the kids playing sports on the side of the road. “Mo, Mo play basketball! Mo, Mo play soccer!” You also love to watch basketball with Nana on the computer.

Since January, we’ve continued your Bridge to Discovery class. You love it! Some days you enjoy playing cars and other days you gravitate to the craft project. You made an adorable Easter basekt the other day with just one egg and one piece of grass glued on it. The little girls in class made huge messy papers filled with grass and eggs and stickers – and there was your minimalist basket. Always be yourself! Don’t conform!

Since the Peppers moved to Sterling, we have frequent play dates with Abigail and now also Henry. Well, Henry doesn’t do much since he’s only two months old. You and Abigail, however, have a fabulous time. We usually bring apples and Peppers provide the pretzels for snack time. You love those gluten free pretzels they have at their house. Oh, and they also introduced us to a super delicious snack – frozen banana ice cream. It’s just frozen bananas mashed in the blender, but WOW – they are amazing! Everyone loves them.

Earlier I mentioned how much you love the Busy Town play set. You also continue to love the Magna-Tiles. These things are great! We build tunnels and run trains through them. We build towers too. Sometimes Curly knocks them over and that frustrates you. You are also becoming quite the chef. Aunt Christy and Uncle Dennis sent you a set of vegetables and fruits for Christmas that are connected with velcro so you can pretend to slice them. You love them! You make soup for all of us! Maybe you’ll be a chef some day?

Well my sweet boy, you are a full on two year old. You are happy and playful one minute, giving orders the next and fully melting down the next. There are lots of smiles and giggles and we love you so much. I can’t wait for Spring and some more outdoor activities for us!!


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