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 Blessing of Play Time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday, I saw a commercial that bugged me.  It was of a toddler holding a cell phone right before a ride in the car.  The child’s mother is setting the phone so it is safe for this kid to use. This is after he almost sent out an old photo of his mother to her entire company.

My first thought is why is a child that age holding his mother’s real and very expensive phone and how did he get access to her e-mail?  My next thought was, why does a child need to be entertained like that in the car?

Whatever happened to looking out the window at the world around us?  Or talking to others in the car? Or listening to music or talk radio? Or just sitting still for a little while? Or playing games of looking for letters and numbers? Or looking for different license plates?  Ian can’t use devices or read in the car since he occasionally gets car sick. (He gets that from me unfortunately.)

This commercial also made me wonder if a child who needs a device of some kind in the car, what does he or she need at home?  Would he or she always have to be entertained?  Would this child know how to play?

One of my favorite things in the world is to see Ian play and entertain himself.  He can play for hours and have a great time.  Perhaps that is unusual, I don’t know.  But it is a beautiful thing to see and a blessing.  (December will be a month of blessings in my postings.  Hope you will enjoy. Now back to the blog.)

He is creative and has a great imagination.  He creates scenarios and activities for his Lego figures, or his stuffed animals, or his toy soldiers.  I love to watch him and to listen.  I listen to his toys talking to each other in different voices and inflections.  This also entertains me as well.

Kirk and I have made a point to be sure that he has regular play time and for that I am very thankful.  Children need to play.  For that matter, so do adults.  We also try to have some down time or play time for us.  Sometimes we all just hang out at home, read, talk, play games, or watch movies.  These are times that I definitely cherish.

My father taught me that work is very important.  But he also taught the importance of vacation, down time or play time, and time to relax.  He was one who has always loved to relax and play.  He is good at it and my siblings and I have followed in his footsteps.  Thanks Dad for that lesson!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Sitting on the floor and playing with Ian
  • Listening to Ian explain his Lego creations
  • Vacations with family
  • Christmas movies
  • Hot chocolate and popcorn
  • Making cookies and cakes with Kirk and Ian
  • Upcoming Christmas break
  • Playing board games with Ian and Kirk
  • Walking on the beach with my dad and family

December is a month of preparation and staying very busy.  I just hope that with all of the activities, appointments, and commitments that we can take time for play and to relax.

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

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

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!!

Childhood Friends

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with one of my best friends from childhood.

We were best friends in elementary school and junior high school and had so much fun together.  Then when we were in 8th grade, she moved away.  That was hard on us but we survived and stayed in touch and are still friends to this day.

When Kirk and I got married, she surprised me and arrived for the wedding and rehearsal dinner the night before.  It was great having her there and meant the world to me.

We talked throughout the afternoon and enjoying hanging out together and it was like no time had passed.  We picked up right where we left off the last time we’d seen each other.

Two years ago was the last time and all of our kids have changed quite a bit in that time.  It was so fun to see them interacting and having such fun together.  It is great that the next generation is having as much fun as we always had together.

I am so happy and blessed that she is still in my life.  It is awesome to have known someone as long and as well as I have known her.

Tammy, thanks so much for your continued friendship!  You are awesome.