Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Reading

"I knew you could! And you knew it, too-
That you'd come out on top after all you've been through.
And from here you'll go farther and see brand new sights.
You'll face brand new hills that rise to new heights.

I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit,
But that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?
Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales
That I've learned and relearned in my time on the rails."
I Knew You Could!
Written by Graig Dorfman

So that's the introduction to this very awesome, filled-with-adult-life-lessons new picture book that I picked up for James at the low, low cost of $4! (Thank you Wal-Mart!)
Of course, it's a huge hit with the train theme and all, but the sing-song, Dr. Seuss-style verses tell about overcoming life's obstacles, being a good friend, staying true to yourself and believing in yourself, which made it a huge hit with mommy and daddy!

James is enjoying his summer reading! Not quite sure what he's doing with his arm. We'll say he's waving me over to come read the book with him...

And now that I'm done with my summer grad classes (thank GOD!), I have found some time to do my summer reading (for pleasure!) I finished this book, Eat, Pray Love (maybe you've heard of it?) this week. I can't say it was the most engaging or powerful book I've ever read. The funny thing is, when I was reading about her stay in Italy, all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat. When I was reading about her stay in India, I longed for a quiet space to sit and breathe and listen to my inner thoughts. (dare I say meditate?) And when I was reading about her stay in Bali, well.... I don't remember having much of a reaction at all.

What should I read next before my precious days of summer come to an end?????

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Letter to the Birthday Boy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: James' 3rd Birthday
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Dear James,

What an independent little man you have become! You approach Life with so much gusto and determination like I've never seen before. You are persistent in what you want and demanding when you don't get it quickly (heh-heh...wonder where that comes from!) You have no fear (wonder where that comes from!) when it comes to climbing, jumping, playing, running or heights. However, you do have a fear of eating anything green, which makes getting your daily number of veggies in quite challenging!

Your "little" personality wins over the heart of everyone you meet! You aren't afraid of new people and in fact, have "never met a stranger." For example, I have walked down the halls of your preschool and pass by staff workers who all wave and say "Hi James!" yet you are not in their class and I've never met them before! At other times, you will wave and repeatedly say hello to the homeless person standing by our car at red lights until they wave back (forcing me to hand over any spare change or snacks we have in the car!) I'm seeing a lesson on "stranger danger" is in our near future.

At age three, you love to run, kick, climb and jump! Your energy and endurance would rival a world athlete! You often tell me what a fast runner you are and you are very proud of this fact (who wouldn't be?) You still have a strong love of trains, but that also includes anything with wheels. You are expanding your horizons to include craft items such as crayons, markers, paint and my all-time favorite (not) - play doh!

Your love of classical music is still very apparent, as you still call the guitars on your shirts "violins" and you still prefer to listen and hum along to anything by Beethoven or Bach. Your latest favorite movie is the Disney classic, Fantasia. You actually will cheer during the upbeats and move your arms as if you're conducting the music. I love watching your expressions as they change from concern to excitement, based on the mood of the music.

I love our conversations. Lately, you've been talking a lot about the volcanoes near our house (TECO Energy smoke stacks) and about going on a rocket ship. You haven't figured out where to find a rocket ship yet, but you have informed me that I'm not invited to come with you (thanks a lot!)

You are still set in your bedtime routine. First, you take a nice, hot, bath...complete with plenty of splashing and toy-playing. Then it's off to the bedroom for pajamas and story time. Lately, you love to count anything and everything in the books we read. You love to point at the pictures and label what you see. And, you often ask for the name of something when you don't remember or don't know what it is, which is a good thing. After reading an ever-increasing number of books to/with you, you always, without fail, ask for a hug and a kiss, which I always, without fail give in generous amounts. I cherish and count each one of those hugs and kisses because I am all too aware that one day, you won't ask me anymore. And one day, I won't be around to give them.

Lastly, your daddy and I want you to know how much you are LOVED! We can't wait to see what the future has in store for you and what you will accomplish once you set your mind to it. We love you right up to the moon...... and back!



Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with friends and family! We spent the weekend grilling by the pool, going to pool parties, having pool parties, eating a lot and spending time with family and friends!
One of my new favorite resources for the classroom is Animoto . I was exposed to this dynamic website during one of my summer grad classes (which I'm LOVING actually!) and I wanted to play around with it. So, I made an image slideshow using one of my favorite subjects- James! When I return to the classroom in the fall, I can't wait to incorporate this technology to awaken and inspire my young readers!

One funny story that I have to share with you from this weekend...

During the pool party at Tom and Veronica's house (James' godparents, our good friends, and fellow SCUBA divers) Veronica brought a scuba tank/regulator set into the pool. She planned to let another girl practice breathing scuba (without descending) as her "introduction" into SCUBA. Certain diving agencies start Scuba certifying children as young as 8 years old. We have said that we want to wait until James is 12-14 years old before he gets certified. Well..... we might not be able to wait that long!

As soon as Veronica jumped into the pool with the tank and regulator, James ran up to me and demanded, "Mommy, I want to play that!" Then, he proceeded to jump back into the pool and try to stick the adult regulator into his mouth (because he noticed that this was what the adults were doing with it.) Most adults are very hesitant to stick this large regulator into their mouths and then stick their heads underwater. Not our son! He thought he was doing something very special! Although he didn't actually "dive" and he only breathed in about two breaths on the regulator, I can see that this is something he is definitely interested in! Future family SCUBA vacations, here we come!