Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jabberwocky Joshua

That's what I call Joshua when he's in bad humor.  Lately that's been a more frequent occurrence and that is uncharacteristic for Joshy.  I suspect a growth spurt is on the horizon because he's also hungry all the time and tired.  He's due for one.  I was just thinking of starting to buy some spring and summer clothes.  He typically tries to outgrow any new clothes before he has had a chance to wear them.
Josh is a bookworm.  There's no way around it.  He always has his nose in a book.  He's on the next to last book in the Sisters Grimm series after only about a week and a half.  He read the first Harry Potter in 2 days.  The second took him 3 days - school cuts into his reading time.  Yesterday, someone suggested  that he'd like the Percy Jackson series.  Read them.  All of them.  He started the series when Matthew was on the second book.  Matthew has only just started the fourth and Joshua finished that series before he started Sisters Grimm.  We actually had to borrow them from the library because his brother wouldn't allow Josh to read his copies before he did.  Josh will read almost anything and has multiple things going on at one time.  Yes.  He's read through almost the entire Grimm series as well as countless comic books, a Lego building dictionary and some picture books all in the span of a week and a half.
Except for the voracious reading thing, Joshy is his Dad all over.  He looks like his Dad, talks like his Dad, quotes movies and books like his Dad and has an amazing ear for music like his Dad.  He is also easy going like his Dad, he falls asleep before I make it downstairs after tucking him in.  His Dad can be asleep downstairs before I make it downstairs after tucking Josh in too.
Very laid back he is....except for the germ thing.  He's a hand washer.  After the round of stomach flu we had last August and his general susceptibility to strep, I get it.  I just want him to make sure his hands are dry and he becomes a hand lotioner too.
He's still bored in school.  The work is too easy for him.  But lately he's seemed happier.  I suspect that his teacher let's him read a lot.  He missed some work when he was absent once.  Josh and I caught up with her before school to try to sort out the missing assignments and get caught up.  She said she wasn't worried about him with that particularly spelling page and just to skip it.  "You'd rather go read, wouldn't you?" she asked him.  That was all the invitation he needed.  He's always been fortunate to have good teachers that see him for the great kid he is and enjoy him.
This weekend is a big one for Josh.  He will make his First Reconciliation on Saturday.  His only disappointment is that he won't also be making his First Holy Eucharist this year.  In our diocese, they split the two and Holy Eucharist doesn't occur until third grade.  It is unfortunate because the curriculum we chose for our religious education homeschooling also prepares him for that sacrament as well.  He would be ready by spring.  He's ready now.  He has the knowledge and the desire, even if he can't pronounce transubstantiation.

So onward with guitar, piano, karate and baseball - books and minecraft - legos and rc cars.  And let this growth spurt be swift and over soon.  In the meantime, "Beware the Jabberwock!"

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Little Matthew

Little Matthew just turned 11.  

Last Friday was his birthday.  We celebrated with blue pancakes with blueberry syrup, the rest of his favorite breakfast foods and finished off with our own individual pints of ice cream.  (Not consumed in one sitting.  The remaining ice cream taunts me from the freezer.)  Then, Saturday we hosted a family party with a Percy Jackson Lightning Thief theme.  Lots of blue food and Greek food.  Our favorite cake lady retired, so we had to bake and decorate the cake ourselves.  I made a blue velvet cake, three layers.  Matt decorated it to look like waves with hard candy lightning on top that he made. You'll have to read the books to understand all the blue.

His presents were noticeably different than previous years.  Socks, underwear, dress shoes and belts, ties, a couple hockey jerseys and books, and a golf bag.  He was happy, having received everything that he asked and hoped for....and more.  He wasn't expecting the jerseys.

Every birthday is bittersweet, but this one looms large.  He's on the cusp.  We feel it - and see it, hear it and deal with it more and more frequently.  I don't remember who first suggested to me that boys are tougher than girls when they are little but much easier when they are teenagers.  If there's truth to that I suppose all I can do is be grateful that I don't have girls.

He would argue otherwise, but he is thriving in middle school.  He's maintaining a solid A in honors math, having been moved up only this year.  All of his grades are great in fact.  He works hard and earned a Distinguished on his last report card.  He's taking a break from piano for the time being, but is already on his fourth book for trumpet.  His teacher seems to think this latest book might last a little longer than a couple months.  He is also on student council and is an altar server.

He loves to serve Mass and frequently checks to make sure that they don't need an extra hand when we arrive at Church and he's not scheduled.  He was able to serve Christmas Eve Mass and often serves on Holy Days.  "My Mom signs me up," he told our pastor.  He neglected to say that he always wants me to sign him up.

He's a busy kid with all that and karate twice a week.  He's trying to decide on whether he wants to play baseball this spring.  That would mean a temporary hiatus from karate and a couple months of insane scheduling, meal plans, laundry and sitting at practices and games from the cold wet of April until the hot days of June.  From blanket knitting to sunblock.  I have decidedly mixed feelings.

Oh.  And apparently he's popular with the girls.  He can list all of the girls who have crushes on him.  He has not purchased any of them cupcakes, unlike some of his friends.  One, he doesn't have any money in his lunch account.  Two - and this he knows and obediently repeats - he's not allowed to date until he's 16.

We bought him a special book for his birthday.

And yes, when I say that statement I recall the oft repeated line from Big Bang Theory, "Sheldon, read the book we bought you."

11 is bittersweet indeed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Big Matt

Big Matt, not to be confused with Little Matt or Matthew, goes to work and does work things, then comes home and does Dad things.  He patiently plugs away at those household projects that he's so good at, that I have no idea how to do and I add to the list on the fridge.  He recently ripped out the third of four bedroom of carpet since moving into this house.  His biggest accomplishment recently has been installing pot lights in the family room.  Two sets.  They are dimmable.  They look like they've always been there.  They're pretty awesome.  Little Matthew helped.  I'm not sure with what exactly, but he helped.

I don't understand his job well enough to know what he's doing.  But I do know he's doing awesome. They recently opened up an office for some departments closer to our house.  He's there a couple days a week, which makes for a quick commute to and from work.  It's also next to the grocery store, which comes in handy when the boys go through a gallon of milk in a couple of days versus the week I had anticipated.

He has a trainer for his bike downstairs and is pedaling away while I work on laundry or do my pt stretches.  The trainer seems to be something that he and Little Matthew are sharing for the time being.  I don't know how complicated the on/off process is for the bikes, but so far no one has hinted at needing a second.  He's also resurrected some of his models.  A little bit here and a little bit there - kind of like my cross stitch.  Eventually the project has to be finished?

Most evenings he drives the kids to their things and helps the boys with their math homework, helps me wrestle them to bed (yes.  at nearly 11 and 8, we still have to wrestle them into bed) then we both fall into exhausted heaps on the couch.  I'll leave you to guess who falls asleep first.

Monday, February 2, 2015


February seems a better time to start a Resolution.  The holidays are over.  They have been packed up and put away.  Routines are re-established.  We're on as normal a schedule and routine as ever a family with kids can be on.

Last year, I resolved to knit Matt a sweater.  I started it by February and restarted it a few times before March.  It was finished in time for Christmas with time off over the summer and a few other knitting projects completed along the way.  I liked resolving to finish a project like that, rather than lose weight or change some habit.  It was much more tangible.  It also didn't reek of predestined failure or frustration.  I didn't start sweating until December when I was still plugging away at the sleeves.  But in the end, it was knit, washed and blocked by Christmas morning.

This year I have at least one project I plan to finish.  One I hope to start.  One I plan to at least work on.  However, I would also like to resolve to keep up with this blog a bit better than I have been.  Removing myself from Facebook was a great decision, but it has made it much more difficult for friends and family to keep tabs on us.  Or at least the boys.

So to play catch up....what I've been up to

I started my job as a literacy aide at the elementary school in August.  I do love the work.  It keeps me busy and it is nice to dress up a little and go somewhere with purpose everyday.  It has certainly been much busier since the initial month and a half of assessments.  It has been even busier since the mid-year assessments were completed.  About half my kids tested out of the Title 1 program, leaving me with some new kids to get to know and work with.  One of my teachers flipped things around a bit to focus on other skills because that group did so well with the work we had been doing.  There's been a lot of looking for activities, planning lessons, printing, copying, laminating and adding to my growing file of stuff.

I finished Matt's sweater.  It was a big task.  That man is tall and has what feels like unusually long arms when you are knitting with worst weight yarn on size 10 needs and it is nothing but ribbing for the entire length.  There were also princess costumes sewn, snowmen assembled and a couple new wreaths hot glued and painted.

Seeking happy reads lately, I've been slowly re-reading Little Women.  I also read My Sisters the Saints and am right now reading 33 Days to Morning Glory.

Christmas was wonderful all around.  One of the most special gifts I received was the handmade purse that Joshua gave me.  He sewed it all himself with only supervision and some direction from Dad.  The most appreciated gift has been the rice cooker.  Every time I pull it out the men cheer, "No more burnt rice!"  I'd take offense, but it's the truth.

Next time, Big Matt.