Throwback Thursday – A Special Gift

TT.Gifts_3-3-2016Hi and Happy Thursday!  For today’s Throwback Thursday photo, I decided to post one of a gift that I received when I was a kid.  It was a white AM radio.  It had a rotary dial and I think I am looking at the back of it.

I am the one in the middle.  I am between my brother and sister.  You can see how excited I was.  And how excited my brother was.  I love the shapes of our mouths  Too funny!  We were always making faces and silly expressions and still enjoying making them when we get together.

Don’t you just love the 70s clothing and hair?  And furniture?  This photo was taken in our living room.  I remember this couch very well and liked all of the flowers, which were in style then.  Also, the coffee table was lovely and a nice dark brown.

I don’t remember those pants but think the patches are fun.  And it seems to be a turtleneck that I am wearing.  I wasn’t wearing any accessories.  I wear them all of the time now — earrings, rings, bracelets, a watch, and hats and scarves on occasion.

Cindy, Richmond, and I had a great time growing up.  Our parents were generous to us and always made big deals for our birthdays.  This appears to be one of my birthdays, although I don’t remember which one.  The nicely wrapped packages are fun and gift bags weren’t used much back then.

They also disciplined us, taught us to respect our elders, and taught us about the importance of family and life-long friends.  We also learned to have fun on family vacations and enjoyed many after school activities, including our community theater.  I am so thankful to them and my siblings for an amazing childhood.   Not that it was perfect, but my good memories far outweigh the bad ones.

I was blessed with many amazing gifts during both my childhood and since.  My parents started my Snow Village collection, gave me souvenir spoons from various trips, helped pay for chorus trips, camping trips, and many excursions to the beach.  They were and remain extremely generous.  I have albums full of photos of gifts, trips, and amazing memories.  I will always treasure them.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My family
  • Silly faces of my sister, my brother, and me
  • Inside jokes with my siblings
  • Our children’s silly faces
  • My parents who I adore
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Delicious birthday meals and cakes
  • Reversing the numbers
  • Camping trip memories
  • Singing with the family
  • Gifts given from the heart
  • The generous spirit of my loved ones
  • Photo gifts
  • Shared moments and memories
  • Old family memories
  • My hubby and son
  • Ian’s wonderful school
  • My many circles of friends
  • PTO moms and dads
  • Teachers and an amazing staff
  • A hug before bed
  • Chili in the crockpot for dinner
  • An amazing life so far

I wonder what new gifts we will give to each other?  I cannot wait to find out.  I love that we are creative without having to spend a fortune. And I love my friends and family.

Throwback Thursday — Childhood Fun

TT.2-11-2016Hi and Happy Thursday.  Today I have a great picture for Throwback Thursday.  My sister Cindy and I are on the swing set in our backyard.  I am the one upside down.

My sister, my brother, and I loved to play in this back yard.  I don’t remember how I happened to be upside down, but I love that I was.  We had so much fun and made so many memories.  We were able to walk to school since we were so close.

I love how this picture sums up childhood, when life was simple, we had no worries except for when dinner time was, and getting our homework done.  My family also had chores to do around the house and we always had to listen and eat what was served.

Still, it was so carefree.  I only wish my younger self had known to savor each and every moment of being a kid.  Now I look back fondly and wish that I had, but it’s hard to see at the time.  Since life was pretty good, I could have taken things for granted. Our parents helped us to not do that.

I was quite shy as a child, almost painfully so.  Needless to say, I was a late bloomer and took things at my own pace.  Things worked out at the right time for me, but it did take time and I thank my parents for helping me along and helping me to find myself.

I had a real and fun childhood and am so thankful to my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were a part of that.  I also appreciate our pastors, teachers, Camp Fire leaders, Vacation Bible School and Sunday School teachers, and all other adults who helped me to become who I am today.

Now that I am a parent, my husband and I are trying to give Ian the best childhood we can.  That doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that he asks for or giving him all that he wants.  Instead, it means having plenty of time to play, complete his homework, help around the house, enjoy the library, Cub Scouts, having plenty of food, and so much more.

I am aware that some families don’t have that.  We are teaching that to Ian as well and to have him be cognizant of others and be helpful.  We had a food drive last week at school and Ian helped me choose the food and deliver it to school.  And, at Christmas, he chose gifts for a boy on our Angel Tree at church.  He is already learning and I am so grateful.

There are a few things that I think children need to know they are loved and safe:

  • Unconditional love
  • Discipline given in love not anger or hate
  • Routine and consistency
  • Regular and healthy meals
  • Running water that is safe to shower in and drink
  • Parents and other adults who want the best for them
  • Time to play
  • Learning to read
  • Being told I Love You
  • Being read to
  • Being listened to
  • Having family traditions
  • A quality education
  • A safe living environment
  • Knowing they can count on their parents

May we be able to provide this for our children.  If we can’t on our own, may we seek help from others.  And, may we always love them and take care of them.

I will close with a few quotes about childhood.  May we as parents enjoy it with our children.

  • “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
  • “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” ~ John Betjeman
  • “Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.” ~ Robert Brault
  • “It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” ~ Tom Robbins

Big Boy Stuff

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERALast night, Ian showed me what a big boy he truly is.  Almost a year ago, we went to see “The Lego Movie” at the movie theater.  We left midway through it since Ian didn’t like it anymore.  He was too young, I think.  This is after all, a PG movie and he was six years old.

Fast forward to a 7-year-old boy.  We watched “The Lego Movie” at home on a lazy Friday evening.  He watched the entire movie and loved it.  We laughed and had a great time.  Such a fun story.  Only one very short part bothered him but he stuck with it.

Needless to say I was quite proud of my big boy.  No longer a baby or a little boy, but someone who is growing up.  It sure happened fast too.

Our son has a tender heart and I truly and deeply love that about him. Because of that, we have always let him tell us when he was ready to watch something.  It was great to see last night that he was finally ready for this movie.

He loves Lego and plays with them a lot.  When he receives a new set, he spends hours pouring over the directions and puts the elements together to form a fire truck, boat, camper, space ship, or many other things.  Days or a week later, he creates new items of his own.  He has gotten very talented and it is wonderful to watch his mind at work. Or should I say his mind at play?

The photo was taken at a convention in spring 2014. He was concentrating and very into it.  Lego had a booth, which was directly across from our booth.  Ian was beyond thrilled and went over a few times to build.

Each day, I hear a lot about Lego from Ian.  He explains his build, what it does, and shows me.  He also loves to read books about Lego and tells me about the items that interest him.  It is wonderful to see his imagination at work. He also likes to ask me what kinds of Lego elements and sets there were when I was little.  Not nearly as many as now, that’s for sure.

I wonder what the next thing will be that our big boy does that amazes and impresses us?  I don’t know but I cannot wait to discover it with him.

The Messiness of Childhood

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday.  Today’s Five Minute Friday word is Mess.  As the mother of a 6 1/2-year-old, I am only too familiar with messes and that is totally fine with me.

On your mark, get set, go!

When Ian was about 3 years old, he drew permanent marker on his legs.  Talk about a mess.  Here is a photo from when he did that.  Thankfully it didn’t get on the furniture, his clothing or the carpet.  For that we are blessed.

Afer doing this, I think he knew he was in trouble and never repeated this activity, but he still makes plenty of messes while using magic markers and painting.

Since then, I have been asking him, when we make a mess, what do we do?  “We clean it up Mommy.”  We decided early on that he understands that messes will be made and that you clean them up and move on.  Not that you purposely try to make them, but we realize mistakes happen and things get spilled.

More recently, he makes messes in his room while playing with his Legos.  The entire box of them are all over the floor while he creates a new MiniFigure, shape, building, or vehicle.  Or while reading, books end up all over the place.

And, we regularly have a messy kitchen especially when he helps me cook.  There are crumbs everywhere, mixes on the counter, sauces on top of the stove, and drops of milk that have to be cleaned up.  All of this mess leads to lots of cleaning and laundry.

But, you know what, I’d have it no other way!  A fun childhood includes messes, don’t you think?

Now STOP!  Times Up.  My that time went really fast today and I wasn’t finished.  So, I decided to add a few messy moments of Ian’s childhood as well as the cleaning up:

  • Spending hours playing and covering all of the floor space in a room
  • Eating spaghetti and getting the sauce all over his face and clothes
  • Licking sticky fingers from a dripping ice cream cone on a hot day
  • Digging in the dirt
  • Stomping in puddles after a few rainy days
  • Walking in the mud and getting his clothes covered
  • Washing off sandy feet after a fun day at the beach
  • Cleaning an apron that he wears while helping cook dinner
  • Washing his legs covered with that permanent marker – took a lot of baths to come off

I wonder what new messes will we make today?  I am sure that they will be fun and can always be cleaned up later!  Have a great weekend.

For the Five Minute Friday rules and to read other thoughts on Mess, please see http://lisajobaker.com/2014/05/five-minute-friday-mess/

February 4 – Childhood

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Tuesday!  Today’s photo challenge is Childhood. We have tons of photos that I could use, so it was a tough decision.  I have been taking photos ever since Ian was born, and have a few when he was growing in my tummy (as I have told him). He loves to hear all about that and see all of his pictures.

This photo is a sweet one from a few years ago.  He is sitting still at the beach and looks like he is studying something or pondering what he wants to do next.  I love the calmness on his face.  He had his hands as fists and looks like he is ready to head off on a new adventure.  Having him sit still for very long is a rare thing indeed.

Since my hubby and I waited until we were older to have our son, I feel like I am enjoying childhood all over again.  It is such fun to see life and experience things through Ian’s eyes.  He has a zest for life that I love and am inspired and awed by.

To be young and able to live in the moment is so awesome.  Children know how to do this.  It is just part of them.  The innocence is also a true gift.  Thinking the best of people and loving unconditionally is a treasure that I get to see in action each day.

I am truly blessed and honored to have this sweet little person in my life.  I look forward to many more years of a great childhood full of fun and adventure.

Here are few quotes about childhood:

  • “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”  ~Elizabeth Lawrence
  • “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.”  ~John Betjeman
  • “Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Childhood is the fiery furnace in which we are melted down to essentials and that essential shaped for good.” ~Katherine Anne Porter
  • “If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”  ~Tom Stoppard
  • “There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life that he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”  ~Mark Twain
  • “If we could all see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything!” — Unknown

Throwback Thursday – Ian’s First Christmas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday. Today I decided to share several photo for Throwback Thursday.  They are of Ian’s first Christmas.  He was nearly 3 months old when these were taken.

I love his smile and he seemed so happy in his Santa hat.  We were having fun looking at each other.  That is my face in the top right.  When he was born, he was just under 10 pounds so he had grown quite a bit already.

He was posed by the tree with a place mat on his tummy. He constantly had his hands in his mouth when he was this age or his pacifier, paci, as we called it.  Now he’s 6 years old, tall for his age, and full of fun and energy.  It is amazing to think this is the 6th Christmas we have celebrated with Ian.  Each one has been special in its own way.

Early on, he just enjoyed smiling at people and looking at all of the lights and ornaments.  Then, he was happy with the gifts that we picked for him and played with them.  In recent years, he has been asking for items that he wants to receive.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly that changes?

Now, this year he has been curious about Advent (the season preparing for Christ’s arrival), is enjoying his Advent calendar, and knows what the meaning of Christmas is and why we celebrate it.  He is also discovering what we celebrate. At school, he has been learning about different traditions around the world.  You can see in my blog from yesterday that he gets it.  I am so proud of him for that.

I just can’t believe all of the changes in the last 6 years.  Here are a few more photos from his 1st Christmas.  Mr. Smiley was actually cooperating. I am ready to take a lot of new photos this year of him and the wonder of Christmas morning.

I wonder what his favorite part will be this year?  I can’t wait to find out.  I wonder how many happy tears I will have.  I imagine quite a few.

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Thursday Tunes — Ian’s Songs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had planned to write about a different topic today, but then I started thinking of some recent songs that Ian has made up and knew I had to write about my son.

This first picture is on his 2nd birthday when he received his first toy guitar.  He was so excited at this gift!  He had fun all day with the guitar!  That year he also got a toy violin and two more toy guitars.

Since he was three years old, Ian has been coming up with his own songs.  His first was Oatmeal since he ate a lot of it at the time.  As you might imagine, the entire song is the word Oatmeal.

Although it is repetitive, I absolutely love it and love to hear him sing!  A friend of mine recorded it on video as he sang it and played a pretend guitar.  It is so great!!!

Ian loves music and is recognizing songs that we hear on the radio and CDs.

Recently, he has been singing the words of Footloose, Love is a Battlefield, as well as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song.  Can you tell his mother likes 80s music?

A week or so ago, VH-1 Classic aired concert footage of a Bon Jovi tour.  They are one of my favorite groups!  Ian also seemed to enjoy watching them and especially liked the special microphone that Richie Sambora uses at the beginning of Livin’ On A Prayer.

“Mommy, I like that wwhhaa-whhaa sound.  That is cool,” Ian told me.  “I think so too,” I told him.  “Did you notice how that special mic is in his mouth Ian?”  “YEAH!!!!!,” he said.

I love that Ian is noticing words and the different tunes of music!  He likes all kinds — including some classical.  He has mentioned that a song on Little Einstein’s is also played by the ice cream truck.  I told him he is right.

Ian_with_guitarThis week he has made up a new song and it is absolutely priceless.  It is Jesus Was Born Before the Zeros.  Isn’t that a great title?!

He played his keyboard as well as our piano with the words to this song.  Again, there aren’t many, but it is fantastic and I beamed as he sang it!

Another recent song is My Name is Ian James Cates where he tells his name and a few things about himself.  He moves around like a real rock star does.  It is so fun to watch!

He loves music as much as my husband and I do.  That makes us happy and very proud!  Here he is trying out a real guitar when he was 2 1/2.  You can see it is nearly bigger than him.

I see piano lessons and maybe violin and/or guitar lessons in his future.  If he practices, I think that he will really get good at the music.  And, hopefully he will learn more about how to write music and play it correctly.

I look forward to nurturing this talent.  I love that he has such fun with music and definitely want that to continue.

I wonder what his future with music holds?  Whether a vocation or hobby, I know that it will always be a part of his life.

I so look forward to seeing him grow and mature – both as a young man and a musician, in whatever form that is meant to take!  Rock on Ian!!