Saturday, February 28, 2009

[day 59 ... february 28]

Niall decided last night to keep himself busy (always appreciated :-) by making paper. He wadded up several post-it notes and submerged them in water, then tore them up once they were squishy and patted them together to make a new piece of paper. I weighed in to suggest that he let the new paper dry on the heater vent rather than on a wet washcloth on the table (I like my wood table as it is, not warped with water!).
This morning he was thrilled to find his new paper dry and looking like, well, paper. A little thick and a little concave - but definitely paper.

Now Niall is all enthused about having us separate our recycling into paper and non-paper so he can repurpose the paper into new paper. Hmm...not sure how this is going to scale. Maybe his enthusiasm will shift before I have to help figure it out. :-)

Cory immediately wanted to try his hand at it too, but Niall wasn't feeling in a teaching mood so perhaps another day.

[day 58 ... february 27]

Cory seems to have caught the musical bug and has been writing "songs" lately - first on paper, and here on the mini-Magna Doodle on the frig. So far they consist of neatly-formed scribble lines but who knows what music or lyrics they sprang from inside him.

Really, I wonder if there is some musical connection in his head as he writes, or if he's simply making the connection that people can create music from a written line just as they can create spoken words from written words. I expect the latter, but it makes you wonder just what is happening as the gears turn in those little heads with all that learning and figuring out going on in there.

He asked me the other day: "Did you know how to talk when you didn't know all the words yet?" I had just explained the meaning of a word to him that I'd said, and he seemed a bit puzzled that here he thought he could speak English but then why didn't he just know all the words at once? It exactly parallels his recent intense focus on sounding out words, learning letter sounds, and sight-reading short, familiar words. If he can read some of the words now, why don't the other groups of letters make sense yet? So close... And he'll get there soon. :-)

[day 57 ... february 26]

Just in the past few months, Cory has started playing for long stretches by himself in his room: building with Legos or Duplos or Playmobile, creating extended imaginary stories and interplay between various heroes and villans. It's very cool.

It's so fascinating to me to see these kinds of leaps forward that kids take, to remember glimpses of them from my other boys when they were going through the same developmental stages. Bittersweet with my youngest, of course, since he'll be the last through each step. But that's also a good thing, as I appear to be getting too old and cranky to keep doing this with the levels of grace and humor that these busy young people need and deserve.

As Dory (in Finding Nemo) says, "Just keep swimming, keep swimming." And we do! But not with the kind of energy and reserves that were there once.

[day 56 ... february 25]

More snow today! Quite a surprise when we got up to 2-3 inches on the ground. The roads were clear, happily enough, but school started two hours late so there was time to play outside a bit before we headed off.

Better yet, the boys were all well enough to go to school! With the weeks of illnesses we've had here (round and round and round), that's saying something.

[day 55 ... february 24]

The older three boys have a set of framed photos of their first year that hang in the upstairs hallway, but my poor fourth child has had to wait until now (almost 5!) for his mom to get organized and gather, print, and frame his first year photos.

But at last his own framed set is now up on the wall, from a picture with Grandma (as in all the boys' sets) when he was just a few days old to a shot of him with his happy grin wearing his favorite orange sweatshirt, just beginning to get hair at a year old.

Here is the upstairs hallway with all the boys' baby picture sets, and a few other photo collages as well. I love having family photos around the house but most are from many years ago (picture Kellen and Tynor even younger than Niall and Cory are now!) I'm slowly getting some new ones up. For now, I'm happy to have Cory's baby years represented, at last. He is too. :-)

[day 54 ... february 23]

This captures the state of the boys' rooms pretty clearly. Can you spot which is youngest on up to oldest? Hint: you can see less and less of the floor the older the child is.

This is not due to lack of parental effort, I assure you. But in the grand scheme of priorities, nagging boys to pick up clothes, recycle newspapers, throw away package wrappers, etc. just doesn't make it to the top of the list very often. And although I've been known to dig out truly aggregious pigsties on occasion, I'm buried in too much else to get to it very often. And it's not appreciated at all when I make the effort, so there's that too.

[day 53 ... february 22]

Niall's morning cocoa is a long-standing tradition that is sorely missed if we (horrors!) run out of milk or somehow forget to make sure it happens. For a long time, I made his cocoa in a sipper cup for him to have on the way to school, and often he'd have another one at night. I think that evolved from his evening bottle of warm milk, that turned into a sipper cup of warm milk, and then switched to cocoa at some point.

Now he relies on this "comfort drink" to give him a warm, yummy start to the day. I often wonder if it will evolve again to a morning latte when he's older or if he'll remain addicted to hot cocoa (like his mom).

[day 52 ... february 21]

The weather was so Spring-like today, we headed outdoors to plant a few primroses in the pots outside the front steps and set to work on clearing away more of the winter branches clutter.
Cory especially liked riding back in the wheelbarrow after I dumped a load of branches. He misses the wheelbarrow rides with Grandpa Fred that he got quite often at Sue's.
Tynor sawed up more limbs into manageable pieces that we can haul away or perhaps burn in the backyard. Some of the branches are so big, we can cut up the main parts into firewood for camping. That would be at least a small silver lining for all this debris everywhere.