05/3/16

April in Review

“April is the cruelest month.”  Someone lent me an anthology of poems this month, and therein, I found these words penned by T. S. Elliot.  The entire poem is very long and difficult, and my attention span being what it is, I honestly did not read the whole thing.  I do, however, tend to agree with that first line.

April is a bit of a tease.   I get excited by a day or two of warm weather, and then it snows.  I feel relief that the boys’ hockey season has ended, but then I remember there are still taxes to pay, home school reports to write, and a violin to take to the repair shop.  (It’s funny how the poets never write about taking kids to hockey practice.)  I feel hopeful that blue skies and sunshine will lift my spirits, and then I find myself stuck in the kitchen, overwhelmed by all there is to do and struggling with the tyranny of the urgent.  It was a tough month, at least for me, but enough about that.

My boys continue to learn and grow, and for that I am grateful.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done updates about them, but I am hoping to make it a monthly post.

caterpillar3

Walter turned 18 months old on April 2.  His walking is starting to look more like running, and it is so cute.  His favorite “toys” are the four lids from the kitchen.  He twirls these like tops and watches them over and over.  His favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and we have read it over and over.  He likes to put his finger or my finger in all the holes that the caterpillar eats.  At church, Walter likes to be blessed.  When it is almost his turn, he puts his hand on his head in anticipation.

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Jack is ten, and has been ten for quite some time.  In true middle child fashion, he had a rather quiet April, and so I had to cheat a bit and use some photos from March.  Jack was quite prolific during March, writing stories, drawing pictures, and even recording the events of Holy Week with sidewalk chalk.  During the month of April he started his own blog for the purpose of sharing his stories.  You can read the first chapter of Jonathan Marden: The Boy Who Saved EpicJetMan1780’s Kingdom on Jack’s website, EpicJetMan1780.  (Did I mention, he’s ten?  His subject matter is very ten-year-old-boy!)  Hopefully chapter two of these epic adventures will be coming soon.

thomasbirthday

Thomas is officially a teenager!  He turned thirteen on April 25.  The day itself turned out to be rather low key, but I think thirteen is still a big number for Thomas.  He is working hard at growing up, and we are proud of him.  He spent his birthday day in his basement workshop setting up his computer, which we finally let him move downstairs, and installing a new graphics card.  I’m pretty sure he couldn’t have been much happier.  Aside from his techie aspirations, Thomas has become quite the topic of conversation at church.  Nearly every weekend this  past month people have mentioned Thomas.  They tell me about his contributions at Bible class, comment on his violin music, or thank me for his help with the spring clean-up.  They don’t seem to mind his backwards baseball cap and long hair, and that’s a good thing!

Perhaps April was not so cruel after all.  Despite the weather, and the taxes, and my general disposition, I have three wonderful boys.  They are my sunshine and blue skies, and I might even take them to hockey practice again next season!

 

 

11/17/14

Fourteen Days and Delaware Park: 10/31-11/13

underbridge

Thomas:

  • Scored his first hockey goal of the season.
  • Backed-up my old, dying laptop and set up my new one.  Thanks, Thomas!
  • Was not too old to enjoy our afternoon with friends at the park.

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bluecapewillow2

Jack

  • Went trick-or-treating dressed up as “Everything Man.”
  • Finished watching Liberty’s Kids, and immediately incorporated what he learned in his dramatic play.
  • Was the only child at the playground wearing a blue cape.

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Walter

  • Spent a lot of time hanging out on the kitchen table.
  • Seemed to gain more control of his hands.  His movements may be unconscious, but even so, he bats at his toys and moves his pacifier in the general direction of his mouth.
  • Marked the one month anniversary of his birth.
  • Weighed in at the pediatrician’s office at seven pounds, twelve ounces.
  • Went on his first outing to Delaware Park.

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11/8/14

Fourteen Days: 10/17-10/30

tomandwc

Thomas:

  • Managed to get a turn to hold Walter.
  • Used his newly refurbished video camera to capture footage of the partial solar eclipse.
  • Worked with Dad to record some violin and guitar Christmas arrangements.

jackandwcread

Jack:

  • Went to his first BSS Fiddle Club rehearsal and decided that he liked it.
  • Spent time holding, reading to, and playing with Walter.
  • Was very helpful when we took Walter on his first shopping trip to Wegmans.

wchalloween

Walter:

  • Really ramped up his nursing efforts (leaving Mom with significantly less free time).
  • Seemed to be more alert, spending more and longer times awake.
  • Spent time looking in his mirror, lying on his back kicking, and lying on his tummy moving his head from side to side.
  • Marked the four week anniversary of his birth.
10/26/14

Seven Days: 10/10-10/16

As we work on settling into a new normal here, I am attempting to bring back my “Young Duke Days” series (complete with a new Duke!).  Here’s what the young noblemen have been up to:

tomchess

Thomas:

  • Found an old video camera, fixed it, and started using it.
  • Played chess and went geocaching with Grandpa G.
  • Acquired his first tube of hair gel to keep all that long hair under control.
  • Was extremely helpful around the house.
  • Enjoyed his new baby brother.

jackandwalter

Jack:

  • Enjoyed his time with Grandma and Grandpa G.
  • Continued his current reading interest, the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.
  • Enjoyed watching Liberty’s Kids and learning about the Revolutionary War.
  • Loved on his new baby brother, saying things like, “If he never grew up, and I never grew up, I would hold him forever.”

wcafterbath

Walter:

  • Was baptized into God’s family.
  • Met Grandma and Grandpa G.
  • Had his first at-home bath.
  • Spent time on his back, just looking.  (When he’s particularly focused, he sticks one leg out.)
  • Had a little bit of “tummy time.”
  • Weighed in at the doctor’s office at 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
  • Marked the two week anniversary of his birth.

 

06/28/14

Fourteen Days: 6/6-6/20

thomascrayons

Thomas:

  • Took the lead in getting ready for KidBiz.  (See photo, above.)  On the day of the market, he did a great job playing his violin and talking with customers.
  • Played solo and with Jack for the Twin Cities Community Outreach 25th Anniversary Dinner.  He took charge of the performance, and exuded a lot of confidence, both for this event and for KidBiz.
  • Had a great hockey game with two assists and one shot on goal.
  • Continued to work on electronics projects.  In fact, this seemed to be a higher priority for him than computer time.

jackcrayons

Jack:

  • Partnered with Thomas for a successful day at KidBiz.  He helped with crayon production and selling, and he played his cello.
  • Acquired a new-to-him stuffed animal at KidBiz.  We think it is an Alaskan husky.  He named it Pouncer (because it pounces on people), and dramatic play ensued.
  • Played solo and with Thomas for the TCCO Anniversary Dinner.  It’s not everyday they get to play in front of the mayor of North Tonawanda.
  • Had three hockey games and scored his first goal of the season.
  • Stood in front of the computer listening to the music when Pandora brought up a song played by Yo-Yo Ma.  He also told the librarian, that yes, he would recommend that her nephew learn to play the cello.  (This from a boy who claims that cello is one of his least favorite things.)
  • Decided that “Mr. Aker” would be the good name for a character in a story.  We are encouraging him to pursue his writing ideas.
06/7/14

Fourteen Days: 5/23-6/5

tombracesoff

Thomas:

  • Got his braces off.
  • Joined the Fiddle Club at BSS.  He said his first rehearsal was fun.
  • Declared that the baby “ought to learn about electronics.”
  • Worked with Dad to move the said electronics down to a table in the basement and spent many hours there.  Now all the lights, beeps, and buzzes are out of the office!

 

jackdamesrocket

Jack:

  • Was excited about my ultrasound.  When I arrived home, he met me at the door and said, “Well?”
  • Played catch with Dad out back.  He has a good left-handed throwing arm.  Dad called him “Pepper.”  (He’s pretty good at catching too.)
  • Told me that reading is his fourth favorite thing  – after hockey, Minecraft, and riding his bike.
  • Helped me gather flowers in the Pokey Woods meadow.

 

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Baby:

  • Had his first pictures taken at nineteen weeks gestation, and we found out that they were indeed HIS pictures.
  • Did not hold very still for his portrait session.  No wonder I’m already feeling kicks!

 

05/24/14

Fourteen Days: 5/9-5/22

tomplatform Thomas:

  • Cleaned out the backyard pond and got his pump up and running.
  • Voluntarily learned to cut the grass and has been doing a good job.
  • Played well in the first games of the spring hockey league, including two assists.
  • Programmed his Arduino board to play “Lightly Row.”
  • Began reading Getting Started in Electronics with Dad.  Then he and Dad worked on some projects together.
  • Spent a lot of time working on electronics independently.  This involved many lights, beeps, and buzzes.
  • Nailed down the platform for the tree house in the Pokey Woods.

 

jackspringleague

Jack:

  • Voluntarily gave Thomas one of his gluten free cookies.
  • Hummed “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” while illustrating his Easter story.
  • Was a sweetheart on Mother’s Day and gave the baby (and Mom) a hug.
  • Played “Minuet I” by Bach beautifully at the BSS spring recital.
  • Picked up some books on tsunamis at the library.  He started reading I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011, in the car and finished it by the end of the night.
  • Passed his breathing test at the allergist with flying colors.  He also found out that he is officially 48 inches tall.  No more booster / car seats for him!
  • Went through a bit of PS3 Hockey withdrawal.  (Nicer weather means less screen time.)
  • Played well in the first games of the spring hockey league, including one assist.  He is a bit dismayed about the Memorial Day break.  He prayed for patience to wait until his next game on June 4th!

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05/8/14

Seven Days: 5/3-5/8

tomsawing

Thomas:

  • Did more work in the Pokey Woods.
  • Played with Miss Klansee’s orchestra in the last rep class concert of the year.
  • Had a good conversation with Miss Klansee about the different sections of “Gavotte” by Martini.
  • Was his regular helpful self.

jackclearing

Jack:

  • Helped clear sticks in the Pokey Woods.
  • Played “Minuet III” by Bach with all the correct bowings and shifts.  (It’s a tricky piece!)
  • Had two hockey practices in one day and worked hard for both of them.
  • Probably watched too many hockey videos.
  • Had a discussion about natural disasters and was relieved to learn that a tsunami cannot reach western New York.

05/8/14

Seven Days: 4/25-5/1

Now that the malaise of the first trimester is past, I’m trying to get back to my blogging.  One thing I’ve been wanting to add is a weekly review of what my kids have been doing.  I got this idea from Erin at Bluebirdbaby, but I can hardly call my series “Project 52” since I’m starting at the end of April!

tombirthday

Thomas:

  • Celebrated his eleventh birthday.
  • Received an Arduino board, and started learning how to program it.
  • Started the first piece in Suzuki Violin Book III.
  • Cut down saplings in the Pokey Woods.
  • Impressed us all with his Minecraft hockey arena.

 

jacktree

Jack:

  • Enjoyed spending time with Grandma and Grandpa G.
  • Climbed a tree in the Pokey Woods.
  • Had his first spring hockey practice.
  • Spent most of his free time playing, drawing, or talking about hockey!