Monday, June 23, 2014

and now he's 6

I won't go on and on about how fast time goes.  I really won't, I promise.  (But doesn't it?)  Sorry.  Anyway, cut to the chase... Fletcher turned 6 YEARS OLD yesterday.  He had pretty much the best birthday weekend a boy could have.  He went camping with Brian and Rowan and our friends who met them there.  They fished, they went on horseback (pony back) rides, they had campfires, and they came back beyond dirty and mosquito bite ridden.  There was just enough time for a bath yesterday before everyone started coming over for a little party!  We invited family friends over instead of school friends, but luckily there are mostly boys Fletcher's age in our family friends.

I made Fletcher's favorite foods, including his favorite junk food that we never actually buy and keep around the house.  Of course those are his favorites!  So our menu consisted of bacon (yes, just a big plate of bacon), cheddar biscuits, cheese and crackers, mixed nuts, guacamole, pudding, and neon orange colored chips and cheese puffs.  He was in heaven.
Fletcher's only request was for a Lego party.  Legos are really high on his list of awesomeness.  So like I did with a unicorn figure for Rowan's unicorn party, I stuck a Lego piece in his cake and lit some candles.  And then I just did the decorations in red and yellow, and figured that would do the job.  He thought it all looked great!
He particularly loved his cake, although he did ask me why I hadn't written the Lego logo on it.  Let's just say frosting is not my art of choice.  I think despite that he had a great day.  We all celebrated him, and loved on him, and by bedtime he was glowing from all of the attention and love. 
He said it was his best birthday ever.

So here's a little more on Fletcher.  He currently loves all things Lego, but I think his real passion is anatomy.  He is fascinated by the human body and checks out anatomy books from the library every time we go.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you're familiar with his Fletcherisms.  One night he was taking a bath and I asked him if he had washed all over, including his bum.  And he replied, "Yep, got right up into my colon."

He cracks us all up with his Fletcherisms, but some of them are sweet or thoughtful.  He's a gem, this one.  He is by no means perfect, but he has an intense love and compassion for others.  He cried when I explained why we gave a homeless man money while in the city recently, and he spent the ride home brainstorming on how we could build that man a home.

He is cuddly and affectionate, and says the most sincere loving things, like, "You are the best mama in the world.  I love you the MOST."  Although he will quickly add, "But I love everyone in the world the most."  He also gives the best compliments: "Mama, you make the BEST lunches."  "Rowan, you are the BEST drawer I've ever seen."  "Papa, you make the BEST pancakes in the whole WORLD."

Fletcher loves chocolate milk, but doesn't drink juice.  He eats almost all the vegetables, but isn't a big fan of fruit besides apples.  He is most definitely a morning person, and tends to get emotional when he's tired.  He is soft hearted, and easily gets his feelings hurt.  He will always concede to Rowan in a fight just so it can end.  He wants to be friends with EVERYONE, and doesn't understand it when some kids say they don't want to be his friend (boy are they missing out!).

He retains information very well, and is forever curious about the way everything works.  But if you ask him what he did today, he'll tell you that he forgets.  He's beginning to read just a little, and it's so exciting for us!  He loves books, and the fact that he can pick out some of the words is just amazing to him.  Brian has been reading through different series every night, including the Little House on the Prairie series, and Narnia series.  He likes them all.

His favorite color is red.  He still loves trains.  He begs me to get a puppy.  He loves adventures, and scares me with his fearlessness at times.  He loves both set of grandparents and asks often when we will see them next.  He wavers between thinking magic is real or not.  He thinks Dr. Who is the best show ever.  He sometimes refers to himself as "wild boy."  Peeing outside in our bamboo forest is his preferred method of urinating.  He is drawn to water and is a natural at swimming.  He still calls sandwiches "sangwiches" and I never want him to stop.

I could go on forever about this boy of mine.  He has changed the way I see the world.  He's changed us all for the better.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

reading in summer

There is just something about picking up a book when the days are warm and sitting outside reading with a glass of iced tea.  Sounds exactly like what I used to do before I had children.  They're getting to the age where I can do it more and more, but other things in life have gotten in the way.  Like my etsy shop.  But my way around it has been to use Audible.  I'm a member, so I get lower prices on the books to listen to over my choice of electronic device.  Plus the monthly fee includes one book.  It's definitely not as cheap as a library book, but it helps.

I have loved reading as long for as I can remember.  It's probably my favorite way to while away a free hour or two.  Reading is the reason I majored in English Literature.  I figured I'd spend 4 years reading and reading (which I did, but I didn't factor in the amount of time writing papers and essays.  Ugh.).  But it's been a challenge since having Rowan.  Fletcher has always been an independent child, and will play on his own.  I remember when I was pregnant with Rowan, I craved books like a pregnant woman craves food, and devoured them one after another in rapid succession.  Fletcher and I would make twice-weekly trips to library, and I would read at least 3 books a week.  I could not get enough.  And then Rowan happened.  A placid, sleepy baby that let me keep my book habit going as she would drowse and nurse.  But when she got old enough to interact, my book time was over.  She became even more demanding of my attention, and would barely look at toys in favor of interaction with another human.  In other words, she was/is an extrovert, and I had to change my way of mothering after becoming accustomed to mothering my introverted boy.  I tried to sneak in reading, but the only time I'd have was nap time, which I used for chores, and right before bed, where I'd drift off to sleep after just a page or two.

But there was light at the end of the tunnel.  Rowan got old enough to go to school, and hurrah!  I had time to read again!  But then I opened my etsy shop, and that time got eaten up with stitching.  Watching tv shows was a lot easier to do with stitching, but just not as gratifying.  Enter the audiobook!  A life saver.  I still pick up an actual book I can hold in my hands here and there, and I sometimes read a downloaded book on the ipad, too.  But I always have my phone on me, so it's easy to bring out and plug in my earbuds and go.  I still can't really "listen" to the books when Rowan is around, unless she is totally immersed in a movie or art project.  She continues to thrive on constant interaction, and I continue to try and give it to her!  It's rough on an introverted mama, and by the end of the day I feel like I might snap if she asks just one. more. question.  But we all manage, and this summer has been just fine.  The programs at the library have been so stellar, and some days we go twice a day to get into both age groups.  The littles love books, and I can only hope it stays that way.

So I thought I'd share what I've been reading/listening to this summer.  It's been a far cry from 3 to 4 books a week, but it's been enough to fill that summertime longing I feel for books.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell// Life after Life by Kate Atkinson// Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I'd definitely recommend all of them, but I particularly loved Life after Life.  I was so sad when it ended.  So sad. Malcolm Gladwell always makes things like statistics and dry information seem so interesting to me!  David and Goliath felt very similar to his other books, but still interesting enough to recommend.  Wild was probably my least favorite of the books I've read so far, but I still enjoyed it.

And here are my books that are next on my summer reading list.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper// The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt// A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

I've heard great things about Tropper's novel, so I'm excited to dig in.  I've also heard great things about The Goldfinch, but it seems so incredibly dense, that I've put it off.  And I've had a few people recommend thumbing through A Grief Observed to help gain a little perspective on what has been a painful season in my life.  I've shied away from books on grief for the past 6 months, but it might be time to confront it a little.  Maybe.

I have other books on my list, too, but I don't want to overwhelm you!  So if you're a reader, please, PLEASE share with me what you've been reading/ what you're looking forward to reading this summer!  Next month we'll be staying with my parents in their house just a walk from the beach of Lake Michigan, so I have fantasies about laying in warm sand, dipping my toes in icy water, and getting lost in a good book.  But that's a pretty silly fantasy since I'll have a 4 and 6 year old with me!

*I am getting absolutely no compensation from Audible.  I just love it.  That is all.

Monday, June 16, 2014

interview for father's day III

Is Papa your best buddy or your best friend?
Fletcher: Both.

What does Papa look like? 
Fletcher: I don't really know.  

What does Papa do as an Army guy?
Fletcher: Well, um, I don't see him a lot at the Army base, so I don't really know.
What is your favorite thing to do with Papa?
Fletcher: Can I say something I used to do with Papa?  Well, Metra, which I used to ride on with Papa, is my favorite train.  (Metra is a commuter train we used to take into downtown Chicago when we lived outside the city)

If you could go anywhere with Papa where would you go?
Fletcher: I'd go to um, ahh, ummmmmmm, a factory.  No, no, no.  I don't really know.

What is your favorite food that Papa makes you to eat?
Fletcher: Bacon!

What does Papa do when you cry?
Fletcher: I forgot about that.  I forget what he does.
How does Papa make you happy?
Fletcher: *shrugs* I don't really remember.  I don't know.

What do you love best about Papa?
Fletcher: Everything!

What is your favorite place you've ever gone with Papa?
Fletcher: Everywhere that I go with Papa is my favorite.

What do you love more, Papa or donuts?
Fletcher: Papa!

*Blogger's note here: we found out later in the day that Fletcher was sick with strep, so it was difficult getting the answers out of him.  Poor guy was so lethargic and out of it.
Is Papa your best buddy or your best friend?
Rowan: Best friend.

What does Papa look like? 
Rowan: an Army guy and he goes to work.

What does Papa do as an Army guy?
Rowan: He works.

What is your favorite thing to do with Papa?
Rowan:  Hmmm.  Buy toys!
What is your favorite thing to do with Papa?
Rowan:  Hmmm.  Buy toys!

If you could go anywhere with Papa where would you go?
Rowan:  Hmmm.  To the flower store!
What is your favorite food that Papa makes you to eat?
Rowan: Pancakes!

What does Papa do when you cry?
Rowan: He hugs me.  He kisses me.

What do you love best about Papa?
Rowan:  Is about he puts sprinkles on my cake!
 What is your favorite place you've ever gone with Papa?
Rowan: To Sonic!

What do you love more, Papa or donuts?
Rowan: (long pause, then whispers) Papa.  But I love donuts, too.

you can read last year's interviews here and the year before here

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

onondaga caves

I looked up from stitching for about 24 hours while my good friend, Kelly, and her son, Alex, came for a visit! Alex is the same age as Rowan, and although we don't get to see them as often as we'd like, we manage to get together with the kiddos at least once a year.  And our husbands take all the kids on a camping trip in the summer, while the mamas get an entire weekend to ourselves.  Which is a highlight of the summer for me!  I'm sure it is for Kelly, too.  But this visit will be a highlight of this summer, for certain, even though it was a quick one.

Missouri has a massive amount of caves, and there are quite a few around us.  We hadn't checked out the Onondaga Caves yet, so we thought that would be a fun little day trip with the littles.  It really was pretty great.  The caves were massively majestic, and the hour and a half walking tour was just the right amount of time for the kids.  I was really pleasantly surprised at how they listened to the tour guide, and asked questions.  And despite the tour guide sharply barking at me, "Don't touch the stalactite!" I really enjoyed the caves, too!  For the record, I was NOT touching the stalactite.  And although Rowan touched a couple before I could stop her, she never had the tour guide yell at her.  Not fair.
Kelly took all these pictures, and let me steal her sd card after our little cave trip.
Thank you so much, Kelly, for the great pictures, and the great visit!  Time with friends is just so good for the soul.

Monday, June 2, 2014

tiny dancer

This girl of mine, she's ALL girl.  Except when she's picking up caterpillars and begging to go on camping trips (of course those things are for girls, too; just adhering to old gender stereotypes here like all good mothers should...).  Brian's parents got her a little pink vanity for her birthday, and she really got into getting ready for her dance recital with it!  Her costume was a 4 year old girl's dream, purple velvet with swaths of swirly pink and purple tulle.  And getting up on stage and performing?  Let's just say she wasn't one of the shy ones.  
 That's her on the far left.  One of the littler ones in her class, but not at all hindered by that!
 She really disliked having her bangs disappear back into a high ballerina bun, and pronounced, "I look like a boy."  Ha!  Far from it, little girl, far from it.
I know she might enjoy dance for years to come, or decide to ditch it in a year for judo or karate or whatever.  So I'll enjoy this slice of girly life while I can.  And it all takes me back to when I was a tiny dancer with my friends!
That would be me, on the far right.  The one that looks like Fletcher in braids.  So blessed to say that these two friends that I first became close to in school and dance are still my best friends today.  It's fun to watch your daughter tread familiar ground that you enjoyed so much as a child!  Here's hoping she has sweet memories of these days, too.