Saturday, January 28, 2012

13. Do your own work. No matter the outcome, you can proud of your effort.

“A fisherman does not bait his hook with food he
likes. He uses food the fish likes. So with boys.”

“The sport in Scouting is to find the good in every
boy and develop it.”


At Christmas time, your boy scout pack gave you a Pinewood Derby car to prepare for the upcoming Pinewood Derby competition.

Sweet Daddy and I love to model and nurture the both of you through projects, but we do not do projects for you. When you walk away from an English paper, a Science backboard, or a pinewood derby car - it will be yours. 

The mere fact that you began and finished a project is your prize. You can stand proud of what YOU have accomplished. 

Sweet Daddy stood alongside you throughout your pinewood derby car project. He gave suggestions, provided feedback, and used the big saw to cut out your design. 

But, you, my dear Bubbe, you made your pinewood derby car. You filed down the rough edges. You sanded them fine. You primed and painted your car. You taped it and painted a stripe. You picked out decorative stickers and weights. You put them on. 

When you wanted to add headlights, Daddy taught you to use the drill. And you, added your own headlights.

When we left for the derby competition we had a long talk about how we weren't sure how your car would race. But no matter how the competition ended, Sweet Daddy and I were immensely proud of you for the car you made!

And, you won first place for speed in your pack.

Sweet Daddy and I were pleasantly surprised and so very happy for you!

Do your own work. No matter the outcome, you can proud of your effort.

12. Be passionate. Find something you love and give it everything.

The other sports are just sports.  Baseball is a love.  ~Bryant Gumbel, 1981

Before Sweet Daddy, I hated sports. I didn't like them in person. I liked them even in less on television. Grown men chasing a ball.
Then, I married your Sweet Daddy. And learned to tolerate, even appreciate sports. While I still didn't consider a full Sunday afternoon of football games to be entertaining or stimulating - I could appreciate the joy it brought him. And read a good book quietly. 

But then, came you. My sweet Buddha Bear. 

Who has loved every ball he every set his eyes on. Who has always wanted to throw things the farthest he could, Jump the highest he could, and be the Busiest he could.

I knew from your first season of t-ball the year you were 4 years old that you were going to love baseball.

For you, my Bubbe, are a ruler follower. You like an orderly world. 

Baseball is a game with an umpire on the field at all times. Baseball has rules. 

Three strikes, you're out. Always. 

And you did - you loved your first baseball season.

Then, you developed a love for all baseball. Games on the television. High school baseball games. College level baseball games. Minor League Baseball Games. Major League baseball games.

During a baseball game - you won't even get up to go to the bathroom until every last inning is over. You don't want to miss a moment.

You would play baseball from the moment you wake up until you fall out asleep.

You love baseball. 

And because you love baseball, I love baseball. There is no where I would rather be than watching you play baseball (or even watching you watch baseball!). 

You play baseball with a passion that is amazing. The highest compliment your Sweet Daddy and I have ever received about you playing baseball is that you are a "coachable kid" -  you love to learn, you try your best, you give it everything.

You are passionate.

Be passionate. Find something you love and give it everything.

11. Create great masterpieces.


Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.  ~Pablo Picasso

I love how artistic you both are. 

How your stretch your paper and pencil mother farther - drag me into uncharted, art territory. 

I love how I can give you both the same art "assignment" and how vastly different your projects will look. 

I love Pumpkin never wants hers to look like the sample.

And, how Bubbe always wants his to look exactly like the example.

I love how neither of you hold back - you dig right in, excitingly beginning new projects.
Create great masterpieces.

10. Make Mistakes. Mistakes are the beginning of real discoveries!


He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
This week we built a lego volcano. As it was our first volcano, I think we did well. You two took turns building - one step at a time.

After it was built, we placed it in the sink and hoped it would explode.

While our volcano did erupt, it also leaked all along the bottom and oozed. We knew we had a mistake in our construction.

Through our mistake, we learned a lot about volcano construction - and my lego building skills!

The thing about mistakes is that they are inevitable.  As humans we are not perfect. As God's children, we are all sinners.

It is in mistakes that we learn not only about life and the world around us, but also about ourselves. It is in our mistakes that we become vulnerable. It is in our mistakes that we are humbled. 

Make mistakes. Mistakes are the beginning of real discoveries.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

9. Be adventurous.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Monday we spent the day at Snow Mountain. 
The five of us (us plus the Nana) climbed into the family raft on Avalanche Alley. I will confess to being a tad bit nervous. Just beyond our raft in the picture, is a drop off. Then you go flying down the man made snow straight to the bottom of the mountain. Where you are greeted by a lovely employee who says "Welcome to the bottom!" real chipper like!

On the first time down, Pumpkin had her eyes closed and held onto Nana. Let's just say I don't think she was trying to keep the Nana in the raft! 

But she went - because Pumpkin is at heart an adventurer. Adventurers have all kinds of life experiences that others never will.

Be adventurous.

8. Appreciate your mother's old school favorites.

Old School - Jello Pudding

"Jello Pudding - you can't be a kid without it." - Bill Cosby

Last year I introduced you to The Cosby Show. Circa 1980's. Classic family television. 

And now, one year later - we are on season 6, episode 4 of the Cosby show. We have enjoyed many fabulous family evenings, huddled up together in the living room, reliving some of the best television from my childhood.

We watched as Theo learned all about the importance of education through a monopoly money lesson from Cliff. We laughed as Vanessa tried to start her own music group and Claire lost it when she saw the band's choice of outfits. We had a great family discussion about the dangers of teenage alcohol use and peer pressure when Denise picked Vanessa up from a friend's house after she had been drinking. Sweet Daddy and I have giggled as Cliff is sure the children are never leaving home!

Always remember that while the newest media is fun, there's something to be said about classic books, television, board games, and movies.

Appreciate your mother's old school favorites - they just might be your favorite too!

7. Think like a scientist.

Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
This school year we have been focusing on learning the Scientific Method. We have learned these steps:
Title of Experiment
My favorite step to do with Bubbe is to make our hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess - you take into consideration everything you know about the pieces of the experiment (what materials you are using, what steps you will take, what your objective or initial question is), and you guess what the outcome of the experiment might be.
Bubbe puts on his best "thinker face" and really concentrates before making his hypothesis. He doesn't just willy nilly guess - no way! 

Science experiments teach us to try new things, to be willing to go out on a limb and guess. I hope you always think like a scientist.

6. Use BIG Words.

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
Sweet Daddy loved to read Pumpkin when she was a toddler. However, Pumpkin went through this amazingly lengthy "I only want to read princess stories" phase.
Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Snow White. More Cinderella.

Sweet Daddy brought home Cinderella stories from all over the world. He read them all to Pumpkin. 

She loved them all. 

Sweet Daddy was getting bored with the princess fixation.So, next he taught her about the key elements of a story. At two, she could tell you the rising action, climax, and falling action of all her favorite stories. Next, Sweet Daddy moved onto teaching her about the essential characters. 

During this time, Pumpkin was attending preschool at our local Methodist church and had the sweetest teacher ever, Ms. Kim.

I picked up Pumpkin one day and Ms. Kim brought her personally to me in the carpool lane. She explained that she had read Cinderella to the children that day and that Pumpkin was really trying to explain to her something about the story and she just didn't understand what she was saying. 

I asked Pumpkin what she wanted to tell Ms. Kim about Cinderella.

"Mommy - I tried to tell Ms. Kim that Cinderella is the protangonist and that her stepmother is the antagonist."

Big words. 

Always use your big words - not to be showy or condescending, but because that is who you are.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

5. Work together. It brings out the best in you both.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

 Watching the two of you play with legos is really inspirational. You spend most of your days in a healthy mix of loving each other and playing together, and .....arguing.

But when you build with legos, (most of the time) you create masterpieces. Entire towns. Elaborate stories. Creative  cities.

Work together. It brings out the best in you both. 

4. Celebrate. Always. Even the little things. Especially the little things.

The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything.” - Julian of Norwich

Today, January 4th, is your half - birthday.
We wake as we do every day, me singing to you:

Good morning sunshine
Good morning to you
Good morning pumpkin
Your mama loves you

We rejoice in the gift that you are. We make a half birthday cake. We sing you to. We celebrate .

Celebrate always. Even the little things. Especially the little things. 

Like half-birthdays.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

3. Never lose the enthusiasm for learning new things. Be curious.


“Anyone can memorize facts and figures, the key is to just venture into the unknown let your curiosity take hold.” – the man in the yellow hat

My favorite children’s book character is Curious George. We have enjoyed many Curious George books together. 

Life for Curious George is messy and complicated, confusing and new, and there is always room for a good giggle – just like life outside picture books (and life with you, my sweet Bubbe).

Never lose the enthusiasm for learning new things. Stretch. Grow. Investigate. Ask. Question. Question everything. 

Even if there are days it makes your mother crazy.  She loves you for it! 

2. Be patient with purchases. Research. Wait 24 hours. Then, buy. You'll make less impulse purchases.


Patience is the companion of wisdom.  ~St. Augustine
It's so hard to wait when you receive money or a gift card. Immediately you think of 8 things you can't live without - even though you were just 30 seconds ago, happily.

Bubbe researched. Read up on different options. Originally really was leaning toward a toy purchase. But then, remembered. Our goal this year is to spend more time outside.

Research. Wait 24 hours. Then, buy.

You'll be happier with your purchases - and spend less money too!

1. Stick with it, even if you don't want to. It will be worth it. You will look fabulous!


Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pumpkin sewed her first fashion piece - a hot pink skirt. It was challenging. She did not quit. She was persistent. She continued until it was finished.
And looked positively adorable wearing it!

Dear Children,

Dear Children,

As we enter another New Year together, I am full of hope. Perhaps this will be the year that I'll be the mother I want to be?

Each year I want to be the kind of mother that produces something. Journals. Scrapbooks. Portfolios. Something to show you for how we've enjoyed this journey together. 

Well, we've met - so you already know I'm probably not going to be the kind of mother this year that remembers to write in your journal daily. Or weekly. Let's face it, some years not yearly.

I"m probably not going to be the kind of mother this year who keeps up with your scrapbooks. Or finishes the ones I started the year you were born that are in rubbermaid tubs in our basement. Even if I bought adorable lego paper to put the all the pictures of your creations on.

I'm probably not going to be the kind of mother this year that makes weekly entries into your homeschool year book. Or portfolio. Even though we did make those really cute covers the first week of school. In those super durable binders that were going to be great.

As much as I want to be, I'm probably not going to be the kind of mother this year who keeps up with your artwork and creations in any kind of order. Yes, I adore everything you've ever made for me. No, I probably can not find the salt clay statue of 2005.

Because kiddos, I'm the kind of mother who likes to sit on the couch and watch the two of you create a fabulous legoland. I'm the kind of mother who sits on the front porch to watch Xman throw at his net over and over again. I'm the kind of mother who takes the time to teach you to pancakes or muffins, or to use the new toaster, or how to make a muffin tin lunch. I'm a "thinker mommy" and often a "doer mommy" as you two like to say.

I'm the kind of mother who gets lost in loving you. Watching you grow. Learning from you. And let's be honest with each other, resting from watching you, learning from you and keep up with you both.

And so, I've learned - that means that you are all I have to show for how much I've loved and enjoyed you. There are no full journals for you to read. There are no scrapbooks for you to flip through. There are no school portfolios that chronicle our amazing journey. Perhaps if facebook exists, one day you can read the "timeline" of some of our adventures, but I'm thinking you nor I should count on that record keeping system.

What I hope there are - is memories.

Because my sweet darlings, I spend my days making memories with you. Those don't fit on journal pages, in scrapbooks or inside portfolios.

Those, my darlings are in my heart. And I hope they are in your hearts too!

This year, however, I will try to chronicle one memory a day here. One picture. One quote. One thought. One lesson I want you to remember.

Just in case the memories in our heart get fuzzy.

With love,

Mama (or if you are super tired, I'm still "Mommy")