January 7 – Reading

POD_January.7_ReadingHi and Happy Thursday.  Today’s Photo of the Day Challenge is Reading.  Here is a photo from October 2015.  It is of Ian reading the instructions on how to put up his tent that he received as a birthday gift.

He read these instructions with authority as we tried to assemble the tent for a camp out.  What a fun evening that was.  Kirk, Ian, and I slept in the tent one night in the fall.  Very early in the morning, it started raining so we went back inside.  After the rain stopped, we dried the tent before putting it away.

I don’t know about you but I love reading and especially I love seeing Ian read.  He is a great reader and now reads books of his own, books from the school library, and books we check out from the city library.

A few of his recent favorites are The Jedi Academy series and books by Mo Willems.  He now has all three of the Jedi Academy series – two he bought and the other he received as a Christmas gift.  For his birthday, he was given several Elephant and Piggy books.  We both love them.

I too love to read books.  My favorite books are fiction and often about women.  I also like mysteries.  A few favorite authors are Jane Green, Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, and Kristen Higgins.  I have many others as well but cannot remember all of the names.  I love checking out books from the library or buying them at discount bookstores.

I also enjoy some nonfiction stories and items about favorite shows or cities.  My interests are varied.  I sometimes like to read biographies or autobiographies about Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elton John, James Garner, Ricky Martin, Dean Martin, and many others.  I also like  cookbooks, books about traveling, and how others live.  I would be lost without the ability to read.

Reading is so very important in one’s ability to become educated and have a good job.  My prayer is that all children and adults will learn to read and love to read as well.  Many people in my family and a few in Kirk’s family have helped both children and adults learn to read.  It has been exciting to see and hear about too!  May the reading continue.

One of the items on my bucket list is to write a book or two.  I want to write a children’s book with Ian’s help and a historical fiction novel with a strong female character.  I have ideas in my head but I want to find time to actually start working on the ideas, the plots, the characters, and starting doing research.  I will keep you posted on my progress!

A few quotes about reading:

  • “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” — Malcolm X
  • “He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes.” — Barrow
  • “We read to know we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis
  • “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss
  • “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald
  • “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglas

Aren’t these quotes great?  I found them online and like each one for different reasons.  We do learn more and can think about things more deeply when we are reading regularly.  We can learn about ideas and concepts that are different than our own, and can learn how much variety and differences there truly are.

May we have many adventures as we read.  May we remember what a gift it is to be a reader.  May we help others learn to read.

Throwback Thursday – Preschool Fun

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday.  Today’s Throwback Thursday photo is of Ian at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego, California.

This photo was taken in 2010 when he was almost 3 years old.  We went with my parents to see the lighthouse and Cabrillo National Monument.

He had a great time and was fascinated with it all. We bought a few miniature lighthouses, a coloring book, a book, and postcards. And, we took lots of photos.  It was a great day!

In this photo, he was talking to my mom. Soon after he looked up in the top of the lighthouse with my dad and loved it!  He could see for miles and was quite happy.  I love his sweet smile, dimples, and blue eyes.  And, I love that he is on his tippie toes.

Even then he was fun to talk with.  He has always had his own ideas on things and we love that.  In fact, when he was very young, he called a stop sign, an octagon.  We knew then that we had an inquisitive and fun child!  And he has continued to amaze us every year since.

We had a lot of fun adventures while he was a toddler and preschooler.  We traveled to Florida, California, and North Carolina.  We shared many amazing experiences and learning opportunities.  Throughout each place, we read together and learned new things.  It was a precious time for all of us.

Now Ian loves school and is thriving in second grade.  He looks forward to going to school and learning new things.  We are beyond blessed and thankful for that!  He continues to have great ideas and grasps things beyond what we have expected.

This morning I received a call from our vice principal saying that Ian had received an award for going above and beyond.  I am so very proud of him.  He tries to do his best and is excelling.  It is great to hear that he has been awarded for that.  I will give him a big hug when I pick him up.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Memories of a toddler age boy
  • Watching the learning both in preschool and now in school
  • A boy who has always loved books
  • Listening to Ian read a favorite Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems
  • Having Ian explain his Lego creation of Heaven and wanting to know what Heaven looks like
  • Early morning chats before school
  • Ian receiving an award for working hard at school
  • Hearing “I love you Mom” followed by a kiss on the cheek
  • Waffles and sausage for dinner with my parents
  • An upcoming field trip with Ian and his classmates
  • A husband who is a great partner on this amazing journey
  • A father and son who love to spend time together
  • Our upcoming camping trip with Ian’s Cub Scout Pack
  • Ian’s school and all of the amazing teachers and staff
  • Walking home from school in the rain
  • Hand-me-downs from our loved ones
  • My brother and sister and their families
  • Cooking and baking with Ian
  • Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins
  • Family and friends who we love and cherish
  • My parents and in-laws who are wonderful grandparents
  • Mostly good health
  • The love of learning
  • Savoring the small moments

I wonder what new and fun adventure we will have next with Ian?  I cannot wait to find out.  And, I will savor each minute.

Reading With Ian

POD_Sept.25_H.is.for.HatsI saw a great quote yesterday in the hallway at Ian’s school — “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” — Dr. Seuss

That is so true!   I love to read to Ian and now with him.  He is a great reader and loves his books. That makes me really and truly happy!

Ever since he was a toddler and earlier, he has loved reading.  He liked looking at the pictures and hearing us read to him.

I loved having him sit on my lap as we read a story together.  Then as he got older and learned to read, I loved having him cover my mouth and read a page to me.  What special and terrific memories.

Some of our favorite books that make us laugh are by Dr. Seuss.  We love the rhyming, the funny and made-up animals and words, the stories, the messages and morals being taught, and the great pictures as well.

Dr. Seuss had a great respect for children and enjoyed entertaining them.  He taught great life lessons through his stories.  I thank him for hours and hours of entertainment.  And, hope to one day write a children’s book that is half as much fun.  I will certainly do my best.

When Ian was still quite young, we signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Each month from birth to age 5, children receive books at no cost to the family.  We still have all of these books, which are age appropriate.  This amazing gift was treasured by our family.  We were sad when he turned 5 years old and received his last book.

Now, we go to the city library each month or more frequently. We have continued the enjoyment of new books and stories on a regular basis.  We are so very blessed and thankful that Ian is such a great reader and truly loves books. That is a wonderful blessing.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Cuddling with Ian as we read a book
  • A boy who was worried he couldn’t learn to read but stuck with it
  • The monthly gift of reading during his preschool years
  • Listening to Ian read each evening
  • A son who truly loves books

I wonder what book or books we will read tonight before bed?  I cannot wait to find out.  That is one of the best parts of my day!

Throwback Thursday – Reading

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Hi and Happy Thursday!  For today’s Throwback Thursday, I wanted to post a photo of Ian reading a book.  Well, at the age he is in this picture, he was looking at it or doing pre-reading.

He has always loved books and still does.  His 1st grade class at school is working on 20 hours of reading in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  Each hour that Ian reads means he can color in The Cat in The Hat’s Hat on a piece of paper.  So, we are on our way!

I remember when he was first learning to read that he was nervous that he’d never get it.  He worked hard and consistently and now LOVES reading.  In fact, his favorite place to go is our city’s public library.  How great is that?

We read to him when he was a baby, toddler, preschooler, and then he learned to read. We still read to him but enjoy the fact that he can read to us.  One of my favorite things to do is sit with him and listen to him read a book.

I am so very thankful that he enjoys reading as much as I do.  Books have always been part of his life and our home.  My prayer is that all children can learn to read and learn to love it.  I also hope that all adults can read as well.   Literacy is so very important!

I wonder what he will next be reading?  I cannot wait to find out!!!

10 things I love

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI often think of people when I say the word love, but there are some things and activities that I love to do and participate in.  And, some things that I am privileged to have.

Here is a list of 10 of them.  I will be writing another list again soon.

  1. To laugh.  I have loved laughing for as long as I can remember.  I love to hear Kirk and Ian laugh as well.  Funny TV shows or a funny movie can make me laugh.  Also, jokes and stories from family and friends make me laugh. Earlier today we watched the movie, “Mom’s Night Out.”  It was silly, funny, and I truly enjoyed it.  When I was younger, my sister, two dear friends, and I created a club in which we loved to laugh and often did.  We knew the importance of being silly and for that, I am forever grateful.
  2. Having a garage on a cold and snowy day, or on a day when it’s pouring rain.  I have lived a few places with no garage but instead a parking space. That is fine on a sunny day, but when it’s 8 degrees outside, it is so nice to not have to wait for 5 minutes while the car warms up.  Earlier this week, we enjoyed the benefit of our garage. Our garage truly makes me feel spoiled.
  3. Cub Scouts and sharing that with Ian.  I have several family members who have been in scouting for a while so I was aware of it.  However, being involved has been more than I could have imagined.  Ian has learned a lot, has grown and blossomed, and made some great friends.  The first year the parents are required to be involved and I have really enjoyed it too.  Soon, we will be doing the Pinewood Derby Race.  That will also be lots of fun. The photo is a scouting outing to the bowling alley.
  4. Stories.  I can’t imagine my life without words and stories. I grew up listening to stories created by my grandfather and absolutely loved them.  He was an amazing influence on my love of stories.  He was also a great writer who I have learned a lot from.  I think my writing is similar to his and that makes me smile.  Ian is quite good at making stories up as well.  That makes me super happy.
  5. Writing. This is something else that I cannot imagine not having the opportunity to do.  As I mentioned when I started this blog, I didn’t write at all for about a year after Ian was born.  Then one day, I realized that something was missing.  So I starting writing again and that helped.  My outlet of getting my thoughts and feelings out there was again in business!  I have worked as a writer and now really enjoy blogging and doing other writing.  And, I am working on ideas for a few books.  It is one of my dreams to have a book or two published.
  6. Reading. My life has been so enriched by the love of books and reading.  I also like magazines and newspapers as well.  I am thrilled that Ian too loves to read.  We started him out very young and are so happy that we did.  Now seeing him read and listening to a special story is a great way to spend some special time.  Some of my favorite books as a child were “The Little House on the Prairie” series, “The Secret Garden,” and almost anything by Dr. Seuss.
  7. Watching TV – both current shows and classics.  I am a TV girl for sure.  I like a variety of shows and always watch the news in the morning and evenings.  I am one who follows a few shows very faithfully.  Some of my favorites are “The Good Wife,”  “Madam Secretary,” “Downton Abbey,” “Chicago Fire,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Hot In Cleveland,” “Hart to Hart,” “Scorpion,” and “Mike and Molly.”  I like a wide variety and enjoy tuning in.
  8. Soap Operas and magazine.  Okay, I will admit that along with reading and writing and liking PBS shows, I also like my soaps.  I have been watching “Days Of Our Lives” for years.  This show will celebrate 50 years of being on the air soon and that is cool.  Generations can watch the never-ending saga and drama.  It may be repetitive at times but I still like it.  And, 20 years ago, Mom and I got to visit the studio, so that was a lot of fun.  Now there are four daytime soaps left. I keep up with them in the Soap Opera Digest.
  9. Photography and photo gifts. I love pictures and enjoy capturing special moments. My sister has made me several fabulous photo books — one of the first year of Ian’s life and then from our special vacation spot.  My mother has made several great calendars — the most recent of our childhood home.   I always have my camera at family gatherings and also try to shoot nature and other things that interest me.  And, I love old photos of our family and friends.  It is so fun to look back at my grandparent’s honeymoon dessert photo, my sister and brother and I in our 70s or 80s finest, and a very old photo from childhood of us sitting on Grandpa’s lap for a special story.
  10. Singing and dancing.  Music has always been in my life and I love that.  I love to sing and dance.  Whether it’s the radio, singing hymns at church, or the choir, I love singing.  This season of “American Idol” has some good talent.  I haven’t watched this in a while but have enjoyed the first few audition shows.  For dancing, I like the 80s and 90s dance music the best — “Vogue,” “The Electric Slide,” and “Push It” are some of my faves.  I also like a few by Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, En Vogue, C&C Music Factory, Janet Jackson, and the list goes on.

Some of my listing may seem trivial or silly.  However, I have learned in life to find things that I am happy with and that I like.  And, I love what I love.  I hope that you do as well.  After all, we all have our favorites.  Some are sports fanatics, others like the soaps, some like reality shows, and others like talk radio.

What is on your list?  I would love to hear about some of the things that you love!  Please share them with me and our readers.

Throwback Thursday Blessing

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and happy Throwback Thursday!  It is hard to believe that Christmas is only three weeks from today.  And, I still have much to do.

For today, I chose a photo of Ian taken in 2011.  He is holding his new Super Why doll and wearing the costume.  This is a great superhero in a program on PBS who has the power to read.  He helps with reading, spelling, and figuring out how to change a fairy tale story in order to solve a problem.

Ian has always loved books, which is a wonderful blessing.  So Super Why was the perfect superhero.  Ian’s cousin, Aiden, wore this outfit before he did, thanks to my sister.

Now that Ian can read by himself, he almost always has a book in his hand.  One of his favorite places to go in is the city library.  He can check out books on his own.  We go regularly and spend hours there.

I too love books.  I love to read them and hope to write one some day.  Ian and I have a few ideas for a children’s book or two.  That should be fun!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Ian’s love of books and reading
  • Super Why who helps with the power to read
  • A boy who is excited to have lunch with his mom
  • Morning cuddles
  • Pumpkin spice lattes
  • The light of the Christmas tree
  • Evenings together on the couch
  • Anticipation of the season
  • Christmas music and decorations
  • Continued blessings
  • My family and friends

I wonder what new superhero Ian will like?!  No one can be as cool as Super Why (at least in my opinion), but we’ll see!

Homework and Quizzes

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA“Mom, first grade is hard work,” Ian told me yesterday afternoon.  He said that as he was finishing his homework.  “Yes it is Ian,” I said, nodding in agreement.

“I don’t like this homework, Mom,” he added.  “Ian, I understand, but you can do it and you are a smart boy.”  He seemed to like hearing that. “And, your job is to learn and part of that job is homework,” I explained.

Homework.  I remember it well from my days in school.  Some days the backpack was very heavy.  Speaking of backpacks, while we were eating dinner, Ian asked me, “Mom, did they have backpacks when you were in school?”  I told him, “Yes there were backpacks.”

He also informed me that a boy said he wouldn’t be doing his homework.  I told Ian that wasn’t a choice for him.  He will be doing the homework that is given to him.  I also said that boy will more than likely get in trouble with his teacher if he doesn’t do it.  “Ian, your homework helps you with learning and is part of your grade,” I told him. He seemed to get that.

So the routine of homework each night begins.  It is taking some getting used to but I know that he will get used to it.  We just need a few weeks to adjust to this new routine. The nice thing is that his teacher is primarily giving homework from Monday night to Thursday night, so we will have a break on the weekend.  At least for now.  We will certainly do our best to enjoy that!

This week, he has one book to read each evening.  A piece of paper comes with the book, for the student to initial, a parent to initial, how the book was read (by self, with parent, or by parent), and how long it took to read it.  We read his book for school and were done very quickly.

Before he read the book from class, he spent 45 minutes reading a chapter book, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  He had picked this out at the school library.  I helped him sound out words, but a lot of them he did guessing on. Clearly he loves to read and is doing very well with that.

I have to say I am very proud of him and love to hear him read.  It is an amazing gift that we started back when he was a baby and we signed him up for Imagination Library.  That is a program that is fantastic and provides books to children from birth to 5 years old, at no cost to the family. It was a great way to instill the love of reading.  We also regularly went to the library and have been reading to him ever since.

The thing that is new is the word study or spelling.  Each week, we will receive a list of words to work on with our child.  Then on Friday, there will be a quiz.  This week the quiz is a day early, on Thursday, so there isn’t as much time to prepare.  He is familiar with all of the words so he should do fine.  This afternoon, we will do a practice quiz.

Each evening we have been practicing and that so far seems to be working well. After school, he gets his snack and has a short break, and then right to the practice/homework time.  I told him we have to do that before time to play.  He may complain some but is understanding this is the way it will be done.

I wonder how the rest of our first week of real homework will go?  I think it will be fine.

Mommy, I Can’t Quit Reading

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIan recently learned to read and loves it. One day while we were in the car, he told me, “Mommy, I just can’t quit reading.”  I said, “That is great Ian.”  He then grinned from ear to ear.

Last year before kindergarten started, he was worried that he wouldn’t learn to read.  “I just can’t do it Mommy,” he said in frustration.  I told him that he would learn and eventually be able to read.  Now, he can and it’s fantastic.

On the first day of school, his teacher said that “by the time the school year is over, your children will be reading.”  On that day I wondered if that could happen.  Today, I am glad to say that it did.

Ian has always liked books and reading.  This picture, from when he was about 3 years old, shows a book that he liked at that time — a Sesame Street book.  And, from his birth to age 5, we had him enrolled in Imagination Library.  Each month a new book came in the mail.  Such a wonderful program. Students graduate out of it at age 5.

We regularly go the library.  When he turned 6 years old, we got him his own card.  So, he can check out 6 books at a time.  He enjoys taking the time to pick them.  Then he comes home, picks one, sits on the couch or lies down on the floor, and pours over them.  He often reads them aloud and asks Kirk or me for help as he needs it.

The fact he can see words everywhere is wonderful, and even better that he can read them and likes it.  I loved hearing, “I can’t quit reading.” I just hope that he will love reading for a long time.  Since books have always been around for him, I think that he will enjoy them for many years to come.

A few quotes about reading:

  • “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” — Ernest Hemingway
  • “If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” — Sherman Alexie
  • “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates
  • “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” — Lemony Snicket
  • “Be awesome! Be a book nut!” — Dr. Seuss
  • “Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” — Louisa May Alcott
  • “I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to books.” — Gary Paulsen
  • “Reading brings us unknown friends.” — Honoré de Balzac
  • “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” — Stephen King
  • “Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.” — Vladimir Nabokov

I wonder what new books Ian will want to read?  I can’t wait to find out.  Have a great day!

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Wednesday!  Hope you are having a great one so far.  This photo is of a younger Ian reading a book.  He still likes books as much now as he did then.  Now he really likes Lego books, books from the library, his items from the Imagination Library, and several wonderful books by Dr. Seuss.

Last night before he went to bed, we read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Thus the title for my blog today.  “Mommy, did you know that this book was written by a man named Theodor?” he asked me.  “Yes, Ian, you are exactly right.  His real name is Thedor Seuss Geisel,” I responded.

Then we took turns reading the pages.  As I turned each page, he put his hand over my mouth so he could read.  This made me so happy since he so much wanted to help read the story out loud,  He did a great job too!  He knew almost all of the words and sounded out those he didn’t.

Here are a few of the pages that he read,

  • “Yes, some are red.  And some are blue.  Some are old and some are new.  Some are sad.  And some are glad.”
  • “We see them come.  We see them go.  Some are fast. And some are slow.”
  • “Bump! Bump! Bump! Did you ever ride a Wump? We have a Wump with just one hump.”
  • “Hello there, Ned. How do you do? Tell me, tell me what is new? How are things in your little bed? What is new? Please tell me, Ned.”
  • “The moon was out and we saw some sheep.  We saw some sheep take a walk in their sleep.”
  • “Did you ever fly a kite in bed? Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?”

Those are just part of what he read.  A few of the pages made him laugh (including that last bullet) and he commented several times on the rhyming words.  Reading the book this way took longer than normal, but was so worth it.

My favorite lines/pages of this book are, “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere” and “Oh me! Oh my! Oh me! Oh my! What a lot of funny things go by.”  I love the idea of encouraging kids to see the fun and funny things in life.  After all, there are certainly many of them.

I love so many of the Dr. Seuss books and think he is a genius in his writing.  His rhymes and made up characters are loved by me and by Ian.  They truly span the ages.  Isn’t that awesome?!  My dream would be to write like this amazingly gifted man did.  Some of our favorites are The Sleep Book, Horton Hatches The Egg, Horton Hears A Who, Fox in Socks, If I Ran The Zoo, and The Sneetches and Other Stories.

Thank you Dr. Seuss for writing such fun and engaging words for us to enjoy!  You truly had an amazing gift of drawing in young readers and keeping them interested!  He also taught children important lessons through the stories.  At Ian’s school, they recently studied him and he enjoyed that a lot.

I wonder what book we will read at bedtime tonight?  I also wonder what books Ian will read throughout the day?  I look forward to finding out and am thrilled that he loves reading as much as I do!!!!

August 11 — I Love Doing This!

POD_August 11_I.love.doing.this!Hi and Happy Sunday.

Today is another lazy and rainy Sunday.  Time to read, eat a few good meals with family, rest, and watch television,

The photo challenge for today is I Love Doing This!  I have a ton of stuff that I could choose for this since I love doing so many things.

My picture shows a keyboard and my journal for my love of writing.  The books are for my love of reading.  These are two of my most favorite things to do.

I also like to spend time with family and friends, cook in my kitchen with my son and husband, watch movies, listen to music and dance, sing, take walks, watch the ocean, walk in the sand, color, play with my son, do word finds, enjoy a sunset, and hang out at the beach.

There are so many other things that I could list, but  instead I think I’ll get back to doing them.  How about you?

What things do you love to do?  I’d love to hear some ideas.  Hope you have a great rest of the day and weekend!