Thursday, December 28, 2006

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

My true love told me to take it easy! So, I am having a wonderfully relaxing day (other than the 4 year old's morning-long temper tantrum, that is - nothing like the bagel cut up when you *really* wanted it big to mess up a 4 year old's day!) I simply love celebrating the 12 days of Christmas. Here at the AAA house we slowly decorate the house during Advent, culminating with the installation of the tree on Christmas Eve. We have munchy fun foods and some late-night coffee for mom and dad to give us energy to go to Midnight Mass.

I *love* Midnight Mass! This year at our Latin Mass parish, it was simply sublime! All our kids were just so good. They knew they had to show Jesus their best behavior as we wished Him Happy Birthday, and they tried so hard! We actually had to encourage the 4 and 6 year to lay down a bit - they tried mightily to stay awake! We came home and put on our brand-new PJs (we *always* get new PJs to open on Christmas Eve!), admired baby Jesus and the Angel and Shepherds that are now tucked into the manger, and then tumbled into bed.

Well, the kids did, at least. Dh and I stayed up a bit later to put some more presents under the tree. Even though we don't "do" the whole Santa Clause thing (we celebrate St. Nicholas's feast Day, and tell the kids from the beginning about the myths associated with St. Nick and Santa Clause), they simply love to pretend. So, we put out some presents on Christmas Eve, and fun is had by all. We then have the occasional surprise present under the tree during the 12 days of Christmas, and then there are always a few more presents for the feast of the Epiphany. The Magi are making their journey through our house, due to arrive at the manger on the Epiphany. At some point this season, our pastor is coming to bless our house and enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus - we are so excited!

I just love celebrating 12 days of Christmas. I love that Advent is truly a time of waiting, and Christmas is a full season, not just one morning! Our faith is so wise, so wonderful!

So, I wanted to update, for the record, a few of our Advent activities now that I have some free moments. During the week before Christmas, we had the pleasure of going to see a children's Nutcracker performance by our local ballet troup. Here is a picture of them as we wait for the show to start:

The boys had never seen a live performance before, and they were absolutely thrilled! They started the show with the battle between the Mouse King and the Toy Soldiers, complete with cannon fire and flash-bangs. It was great! My oldest in particular simply loved it, said it was better than any movie he'd ever seen in the theater, which was definitely high praise. It was just a great experience overall, I'm so glad we took the time to go!

The day after the Nutcracker, we had our big baking day. I love to bake, but with my health issues I really can't indulge all that much, and goodness knows none of us needs to gorge on sweets. So, I do a lot of baking, then send most of it to dh's work with him! He gets brownie points for bringing in treats, and we get to sample Christmas goodies without over-indulging. Of course, the actual baking is the most fun part!

After a busy week of preparation, we decorated our tree on Christmas Eve, went to Midnight Mass, then woke up fairly early on Christmas morning. The boys were thrilled with their gifts,

And, the best present of all - do you remember The Bear? Indeed, as planned, we got N4 a new Morgan for Christmas.

Although there was some confusion about why this new Morgan looked the same, but yet different, ("But mom, this Morgan has two colors!" "Yes, N, the old Morgan used to have two colors, too, but they were loved right off...")
the new Morgan is happily settled into N4's arms on a fairly constant basis, and mom is glad to have a Bear still a part of our family!

And now, on this 4th day of Christmas, mom is getting some much-deserved downtime. I'm going to spend some time deciding what to do with the Amazon gift certificate from my parents, reading a bit, and trying to do more of my knitting. Next week I hope to clean off my desk and get a bit more organized for both the new year, and starting back to school on the 8th. But for the rest of this week, how wonderful to just rest in the Joy of the Season!

Blessings to you and yours this Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

May you have a blessed, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A pre-Christmas funny...

So, today is our great pre-Christmas house cleaning - gotta get the house nice and clean for Jesus' birthday, I tell my kids! It gets slightly more cooperation than usual!

We collected all our laundry, stripped our beds, and all the dirty stuff got thrown over this railing we have along the stairs that lead to our basement, where our laundry room is. I told the kids to move the dirty clothes and linens from the stairs to the laundry room for me, and went to work cleaning our master bedroom. A little while later, A2 appears, and this is the conversation that ensued:

(A2) "Mom! Mom! We've got trouble. That thing is stuck!"

(me) "What thing?"

(A2) "You know, that thing? It's stuck!"

(me) "Um, no, I don't - what thing do you mean?"

(A2) "That - that thing, " and he touches his chest, pulling on his shirt, just under the neckline, "that thing you wear, mom, here, you know?"

(me, laughing hysterically as it dawns on me...) "You mean my *bra*??"

(A2) "Oh. Yeah!"

(me, slightly panicked with visions of my bra draped from the light fixture or something...) "Where is it stuck, Alex?"

(A2 bends down and points to the floor) "Here! I don't how it got stuck, mom!"

(me) "Oh! Well, it has hooks, and they're stuck to the carpet loops."

(A2, eyes wide with a terrified disbelief) "Hooks? It has hooks??"

By this time, dh and I are doubled over with laughter! I'm still giggling!

Sometimes it just hits me - I live in house filled with *men*!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Christmas pictures that made it...

Or almost made it, onto our Christmas cards this year. The runner up:

And the winner is:

I think my guys are awfully handsome! :-)

Christmas card pictures that didn't make the cut...

Silly, silly boys!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Officially Christmas break here!

Horray! We finished up the last bits of what I wanted to finish up before Christmas today, so we are officially taking a break. Well, we'll still be reading, and next week I have some great ideas for making our own Christmas ornaments, but any "formal" schooling is done for awhile.

We tend to school year round here, so we have fairly regular 2-4 week breaks. I find my children really need to have "brain breaks" in order to fully assimilate new concepts. In fact, J1 definitely seems to have hit one of his "walls". He finished up his Saxon 5/4 math book today. He so totally understands all the math concepts he's learned the last few months. But his scores are on the low side, because he's really been struggling with neatness, attention to detail, and diligence. (This issue extends past math, and he has been having particular trouble with - get this! Dotting his "i's" and crossing his "t's"!) I think in a whole lot of ways, that is a maturity issue, more than any sort of willfullness or even any lack on J1's part. We've talked to him a lot about strategies to use to assist him in being careful and accurate in his work, but at this point I think the best thing we can do is just let him take a break. We'll see how he does after we start back in January. I also suspect that part of his troubles could be that he is simply bored. After much thought and consideration, we are letting him skip Saxon 6/5, and I'll be ordering Saxon 7/6 for him to start after the Epiphany. J1 has done this before. He completed almost 3 years of Singapore math by the time he was 8 (technically end of 2nd grade), and then he hit a wall. He couldn't "get" long division, no matter how much we tried. Since he was already ahead, it was an easy decision for me to simply back off for awhile. He did no formal math at all for about 8 months, and then in the middle of "3rd" grade, he started Saxon 5/4. We've finished in about a year, long division is no longer a problem at all, and he's flown through all the other concepts introduced. I believe he's ready to move ahead a year. He'll probably run into a wall again in a year or two, and we'll take a break for awhile. That's what works for us!

Speaking of what works for us, things haven't gone so well for my middle two. I don't worry about S3 so much, as he just turned 6 and technically is only "kindegarten" this year. But I've been really pondering, and praying, about A2. He is just such a different duck, he really is. He has the most interesting take on life. To give you an idea of what I'm taking about, here are some A2-isms.

(referring to a semi-truck without a trailer) "Look at the truck! It doesn't have its box!"

"Should I take it to the table room?" (meaning, the dining room)

"I'm afraid of deep heights!"

and, perhaps the most famous A2ism of all...when referring to a friend's new baby girl,

"Mom! He's a lady baby!

He is not a fluent reader, not by a long shot, though he has such a stunning number of sight words he manages quite well. Phonics seems very difficult and completely meaningless, but he readily reads words like "Godzilla" and "Killer Jellyfish" (though he often mistakes simpler words, like "on" and "in"). In addition, lately I've caught him reading Japanese Kanji. I had 2 1/2 years of Japanese in college, and though I remember very little, I do remember how to read kanji. A2 has a deep, abiding love of all things related to Godzilla, and loves to look stuff up about the Japanese monster movies using Google. He also likes to watch Godzilla movies in Japanese, with English subtitles. The other day, something came up on some TV show we were watching that was in Japanese kanji, and Alex read it instantly (I can't at all remember exactly, but it was just some little comment, like, "Oh look, 'godutaku'!") - it took me a minute to realize what he had done, I thought he was talking non-sense. Then it hit me - oh my goodness, he just read that Japanese kanji perfectly! How did that happen??? He can't read English, but he can read Japanese??

All of which has really led me on some soul-searching, and lots of research. I've been reading up on Montessori, wondering if that approach would help him (yes and no, IMO - the method as a whole, not so much, but definitely some of the activities). I read more on "classical education", like "The Latin Centered Curriculum" and "The Well-Trained Mind" (is a useful reference for J1, wouldn't really help A2 at this point, at least). I've read some of Charlotte Mason's works on-line (interesting, definitely).

I've come to some very few conclusions. No one "method" seems to fit my family. I have such aggressively unique children! And, well, I guess that applies to me and my dh, too! The boys, though they all *look* alike, are not at all alike, mentally, emotionally, personality-wise (with the possible exception of the oldest and youngest, who do seem to be cut from the same cloth - J1 says they're "misplaced twins", because they look so much alike, and in many ways *are* so much alike!). I just don't have "one size fits all" children. Not in the slightest. Through much trial and error, I've discovered my own "system" of what works for my oldest. Bits and pieces of various curricula, a focus on good books, pushing far ahead in some subjects, grade level or even a bit below in some areas. Binders and checklists, that works for him. I actually asked J1 earlier this week, that if we didn't "force" him to do any kind of schoolwork, he could choose what he wanted to do, then what would he do? He went into a virtual panic, stammering that he didn't know, and really, could he just keep doing what he was doing? But - what is working for J1 isn't working at all for A2. Of course, when J1 was A2's age, I hadn't yet developed the "system" that is working so well for J1 right now. So, now I need to find what is going to work for A2. I've done some interesting reading on "visual-spatial learners", and truly, A2 shares about 85% of the traits of a visual spatial learner. I loved this article at this same blog: "How can you learn if you can't read?" So much of what I have read here and here also helps me understand A2 better. And I find myself really glad for these next few weeks off. I have so much to synthesize, so much to process and ponder as I try to figure out what is going to work for my dear A2.

I am just so very, very thankful that we are able to homeschool. More than any of my children, A2's beautiful, unique spirit would be absolutely crushed in traditional school. I'm somewhat intimidated about how to help A2 learn. I sense that even if - *especially* if, as I suspect, I ultimately end up somewhere on the "unschooling" side of the spectrum, it is going to be a LOT more work for me. Strewing, and collaborative learning...I can already feel myself being stretched, as a mother, and as a person. I love that!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Our Advent so far (or, a study in imperfection...)

Well, in the early Advent season, I've managed to run myself completely ragged. Not exactly sure how it happened, but needless to say, it's gotta stop. We're settling in at home, as much as possible, for the duration of the Advent/Christmas season.

As I've been super-busy, I've had SO MANY thoughts running through my head. I hardly even know where to start! Well, let me re-cap the last week or two, and go from there.

We had a good St. Nicholas Day, even though we didn't vinish our icon project. We painted our wood mounting boards a nice antique gold color,

and even painted ourselves a bit! But alas, we didn't finish our icons on St. Nicholas' feast day - in fact, we've gotten no farther than painting the mounting boards! But, I love this idea so much, I am determined we will finish this before Christmas. I told you we weren't crafty! But gosh, we are trying out some new experiences this Advent, and I'm so greatful for the trying!

We've been trying our best to read some Advent books, like The Miracle of St. Nicholas, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, and trying to do more crafty things, like our St. Nicholas icon, and mom has several other plans in the works right now...and, finally, I'm going to settle in and take some time for prayer and reflection this season...

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Monday of Advent

Today was a good day here at the AAA house. We had a perfectly lovely morning. We did just a little bit of formal schoolwork (some math and handwriting), then the boys went to play outside. Yes, yes, we live in the South. No snow here, and almost certainly no white Christmas (the only day that this born and bred northerner misses the snow! :-) It *was* cold today here, though. The boys are still in their fall jackets, but they asked for their hats and gloves when they were playing outside. And there was much excitement when the boys found - ice!!

When everyone came in, I greeted them with "Candy Cane Tea" and a special treat of leftover Halloween candy I had hidden away for just such an emergency. Then, we read "A Country Angel Christmas", which the boys loved.

Not the best picture, unfortunately, but I refuse to complain about the wonderful light we get in this house, even if it makes taking pictures in our dining room challenging! After our story, we talked about some of the other things we'd be doing this Advent, we put up a few more Christmas lights, and I made chicken soup and biscuits for dinner.

I let N4 play with the leftover biscuit dough, and I had so much fun watching him play that I snapped a couple pictures...

After dinner I made some cinnamon streusal bread for dh to take to our priests when he goes to visit them tomorrow. Of course I made a double batch so we can have some, too! We're all really looking forward to St. Nicholas's feast day on Wednesday, and tomorrow we have some preparations to do. We need to spray paint our wooden mounting boards so that they dries in time for the St. Nicholas icons we're going to make on Wednesday. We'll also make some of these cookies to leave out for St. Nick tomorrow night. Oh, and I must remind dh to stop on the way home and get some carrots for St. Nick's horses - the boys just love that part!

Blessings to you and yours as we celebrate this joyous season!

Happy Advent!!

Well, the AAA Christmas season has officially begun with this first week in Advent. In honor of Advent, I've changed my background color to purple.

Yesterday after church, we spent time getting out some of our decorations. We decorated our mantle,

I'm still looking for a purple candle for the center. On Christmas Day we'll put red, green, and white candles up. The ceramic figures on the mantle are very special to me as my grandmother made them when I was a child. The date on the snowman is 1977!

We also put up our Advent calendar and our Advent wreath,

And put up a festive scene for my kitchen window (though it needs a bit more work, I think, it's still nice to look at!)

Finally, the most important part of our day - we put up our manger.

Notice in our manger that only the Shepherd and sheep are there, and they're not in the manger, just close by. Joseph, Mary, and the Donkey are travelling to Bethlehem - every day one of the boys will get to decide where to move them. On Christmas Eve, they'll arrive at the manger. After we get back from Midnight mass, the angel and baby Jesus will be there, and the sheep and shepherd will be close by, adoring the Infant Lord. At that point, the 3 Wise Men will start travelling to the manger, and they'll arrive on Epiphany, of course. I love using the manger scene to physically demonstrate the Christmas story, it makes us so meaningful to the children (and to me, too!)

There have been so many wonderful posts in my little corner of the blogosphere lately. Check out this humor post at Among Women (I am so glad I'm not the only one with these feelings!), this post of family Advent Devotions at A Gypsy Caravan, and the post up at Every Waking Hour, that has great ideas and links for those of us who have tumultuous life circumstances, or find ourselves getting drained and discouraged by the holidays. And this poignent post up at Real Learning is not to be missed. What if this was our last Christmas? How would we want to celebrate? What would we want our children to remember?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Odds and Ends...

On this eve of the first Sunday of Advent, I thought I'd pull together some thoughts about how our school year is going so far.

A bit about Advent, first. I owe such a debt of gratitude to all the wonderful families of the 4 Real Learning blogs. I have learned SO MUCH! Gotten so many ideas my head is spinning, and I've fought the urge to get completely overwhelmed. I'm trying my best to take the ideas that I think will work for us this year, file the rest away for the future, and realize that the goal of all of this is to bring my children closer to Our Lord. Stressing out, giving into a virtual homeschool "keeping up with the Joneses" inclination - this simply would not do, and would be far, far from what these wonderful ladies intended when they share their thoughts with the rest of us. So I am vowing today to relax, enjoy the anticipation of Advent, give myself over to prayer and the penitential aspects of the season - all while doing my best to bring the season alive for my children. I will post later on what we're doing (or depending on time, what we have done, lol!) It is a point of pride in our family that we make no Christmas preparations - no decorating, no blogging, nothing at all, until Advent starts officially! Then, and only then, does our Christmas season begin! :-)

Let me recap some of our school year so far, since I'm fairly behind in the "record keeping" aspect of this blog.

J1 is having a good year. He will finish Saxon 5/4 by Christmas, the way we had hoped, and I need to order Saxon 6/5 for when we start back to school after the Epiphany. Saxon seems to be a really good fit for J1 at this point in time. We don't do every single problem, I let him do odds one day, evens the next, in the "mixed practice" section, as long as he shows improvement and mastery of the concepts. Occasionally, we fight carelessness, and we have had several talks about how important neatness, attention to detail, and diligence is as you get into higher level maths. J1 has actually made great strides in the last few weeks, I'm very proud of him! We've also just about finished our unit on the Human Body, and it has gone well. We haven't done as many experiments as I had hoped, but J1 has still learned a ton, so I'm satisfied with our progress. We will start a unit on nutrition after the Christmas season, followed by a unit on survival skills in the spring. We're all really excited about that one! History is going well, though not quite as exciting as I'd hoped. We're studying the Civil War, and as we live in the South, we're surrounded by this history. I thought we'd do more field trips, but it just hasn't happened. I am glad that we will be going through two more cycles of American History so we can catch more of the local history!

I've decided to drop spelling this year. J1 has aced every single spelling test we've taken so far, and at this point I don't feel it's something we need to focus on. I'm trying to stop any unneccessary "busy work", and right now, this year, spelling falls into that category. We'll include spelling in some of the other work we're doing. Grammar is not going well at all. The work-book approach of CHC's materials just isn't sinking in with J1. We're working on finding mistakes in sentences, in capitalization, commas, quotations, and ending punctuation. It's just not going well. I suspect it's the "attention to detail" issues that I believe are common in young boys. So, after the Christmas season, we'll do something different to study grammar. I'm thinking more copywork and dictation. We'll see - I'll keep you posted on what I decide!

We've also done some great work on our "life skills". Most recently, J1 learned to make oatmeal. It's great, because now most mornings he can make a nutritious breakfast for all of us, and I have one less thing to do in the mornings - always good for this confirmed night owl! :-) So far J1 knows how to make oatmeal, toast, and sandwhiches of all kind. Next on the list is mac and cheese and scrambled eggs. We've worked on bathroom cleaning techniques with all 4 boys, and all 4 boys are getting really good at unloading the dishwasher. Finally, J1 and I did a really fun exercise where we took the grocery store inserts from the Sunday paper, and J1 was tasked with creating a 3 day menu plan and showing how much everything would cost. It was challenging for him, but a great real-life math demonstration!

Finally, we're not happy with our Latin program. I had heard such great things about "Latina Christiana", and we liked Prima Latina just fine last year. But we are just *not* getting Latina Christiana. J1 needs more details, more quickly. LC moves very slowly, and yet at times throws in a concept or vocabulary that isn't covered for several more chapters - how are we supposed to know it if it hasn't been covered yet? It's maddening, really, and we've both had enough. Our Latin study is important to all of us, so I want to do it right. I'm looking at other programs to switch to. Most likely at this point is "New Missal Latin" from Kolbe Academy. Since we're attending a Latin Mass Parish (one that's faithful to Rome!!), this might be a good fit for us. Anyone have any experience with this book? I also got dh and I "Learn Latin", so we can learn more Latin ourselves, in the hope that we'll be better teachers - and also enjoy learning it, too!

I continue to struggle mightily with teaching my younger kids. I just have so much trouble teaching multiple children, it's so hard to divide my time! I think we're doing OK. A2 will know his addition and subtractions facts by the end of the year, and probably start learning multiplication, too. He is reading, though he struggles, and isn't at all fluent. We are making progress, but I wish I spent more time helping him. We're slowly - veerrrryyy slowly - learning handwriting, too. Did I mention that progress is slow? ;-) He has developed a real love for learning about animals, and he's fascinated with the knights and swords of medieval history. I think, as usual, we're learning way more than I think we are! But I'm starting to make it a point to really focus on him. S3 and N4 are hungry to learn, and I hate to put them off - but there are only so many hours in the day, and A2 needs my attention more than they do at this moment.

S3 is reading better than A2 right now - though he also isn't what I consider "fluent". N4 is doing all sorts of wonderful, age-appropriate activites, like play-dough and pattern blocks, helping mom and playing with his brothers.

We're really working on cutting back - drastically - on our TV viewing. Dh is behind me - in fact, he brought it up! The kids are complaining bitterly, but I think that it is all going to come together, and I'm very excited! Those of you who know me know how I hate the TV!

So, now that it's officiall Advent, we will start our Christmas preparations. Schoolwork will be cut back to the minimum - handwriting, math, reading and religion. Then I have any Advent activites planned, which I'll detail later. We'll work until Dec. 22, then take off completely until January 8th, after the Epiphany. I love our Christmas break, the way we lighten our load during Advent and take an entire couple of weeks off for Christmas. It's always good to get started back fresh into our normal routines in January.

Blessings to you and yours as we begin our Advent Season of preparation, waiting, and hope!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ode to a Bear

It's over. It's really, finally over. And it has been perhaps the most bittersweet moment of my mom-life so far.

Morgan the Bear, the constant companion, best imaginary friend ever, super-hero supreme - is no longer N4's special companion.

Morgan the Bear is so named because our dear friend had a baby girl named Morgan about a year and a half ago, and N4 was so entranced with the tiny babe that his bear friend became christened Morgan, too. (This caused for much confusion when talking with said dear friend! :-)

Morgan was a baby gift from our next door neighbors when N4 was born. It was fairly innocuous at the time. A cute, soft, Ty Pluffie little bear. In N4's early years, this bear was just one of a handful of stuffed animals that would occasionally be played with - he was nothing special, not for quite some time. I don't even really remember exactly when the bear became Important. It was sometime right around the time we moved to Georgia, about 2 1/2 years ago now, so N4 was between 18 and 24 months. As N4 approached the age of 3, however, the bear suddenly needed a Name, and after some research into his origins (ie, trolling the Ty website for hours, looking for a picture that matched this bear), he became Blueberry, the official Ty name. A few months later, he became Morgan, as described above. In this magical time of N's 4th year, Morgan became the most special, the most loved, the most Important Bear Friend in our AAA universe - perhaps even in the entire history of the world, so fierce was N4's devotion. None of my other kids have had special friends of this sort, but N4 had enough love for all of them!

We began to notice that every single picture we took included Morgan. Like last year, when we decorated our tree, and I took a picture of my guys - Morgan is there - can you see him in N4's right hand?

Last year for Christmas he got some other Ty Pluffies, because he thought Morgan needed some bear friends.

Here is a picture of N4 sleeping with all his bears:

As the months went on, Morgan began to transform into something other than just a bear. He became the object of N4's imagination, the superhero to end all superheros. Morgan could do anything. Fight Dinosaurs and Godzilla monsters? Morgan won every time!

And, over the last year, every single picture we took included Morgan:

the school projects,

the field trips,

every picture we took of N4, Morgan was always there. Morgan went everywhere with us, and where N4 was, there was Morgan.

Sometimes, we even had to take special pictures of Morgan.

A few months ago, the affection for Morgan intensified. Now, not only was Morgan in every picture, but in every picture N4 was Loving Morgan.

Throughout this time, N4's imagination revolved around his friend. Morgan had a cute, squeeky little voice. He often responded to things, in positive and negative manners, more than N4 did. Morgan could transform into amazing different superheroes. There was "Ice Morgan" and "Fire Morgan" and "MechaMorgan" and, one memorable morning, there was even "CoffeeMorgan"! Morgan was such a fascinating window into N4's growing mind! Plus, there were "Morgan Movies", like "Morgan vs. Godzilla", and "Morgan Destroys the City" and "Morgan Saves the World." There were Morgan Games, Morgan TV shows, Morgan books, Morgan this, Morgan that. It was all about the Bear.

Around N4's 4th birthday, though, we began to notice a change. Morgan was still in the pictures, but not in N4's hands!

And then, suddenly, we began to get pictures of N4 without Morgan at all!

About a month ago, we started noticing that sometimes Morgan was forgotten. The night I stepped into the living room, saw Morgan on the floor, and realized N4 was sound asleep in the other room, I knew it was the beginning of the end. A couple weeks ago, we were halfway down the block on the way to church before N4 remembered - and wanted - Morgan. Last week, J1 stepped on Morgan on the way out of the pew at church - Morgan had fallen down on the kneeler, and N4 walked out without him, with nary a backward glance.

Still, I was unprepared for yesterday. I thought I had more time!

N4 said to me, "Well, Morgan's all chocolatey and pen-ny (as in written on) and (something I couldn't make out - I think he meant too soft), so I need a new Morgan." I have been so afraid that we would lose Morgan, since we are starting to forget him places, and he IS very, very well-worn, so I thought I'd seize the opporunity, and I said, "Yes, I do think it's time for a new Morgan". And N4 looks at me, and says, "Should I throw this Morgan in the trash?"


I told him that we would put him up somewhere and keep him forever. He said, ok, and then went into descriptions of how he would get a *new* Morgan. A little bit later, he was telling S3 about it, and then he looked up at me and said, "I think I'm going to put Morgan in the trash." S3's eyes got wide, filled with tears, and he stepped forward to physically block the trash can while he cried, "No!!!" (we're all pretty attached to N4 being attached to Morgan, if you know what I mean). I quickly told N4 that I would keep him. And then - he just gave him to me! And walked away, without a care. He hasn't asked for him ever since. Now he says that mom has a Morgan, and he's going to get a new Morgan. But how will the aliens in the Morgan Games know which is the right one, he wonders?

So, we'll get him a new Morgan, a new Blueberry Ty Pluffie. But - it won't be the same. I know that it will never again be the same.

And I know it's just a bear. But really, it's more than that. It's my baby growing up. It especially tugs at my heart right now, with all the uncertainty surrounding my health, my miscarriage history - we might not be able to have more babies, only God knows right now. So this might very well be the last vestige of babyhood that we have in our house, ever. And I'm not ready to give it up yet!

But N4 is. And that's what matters. That's what being a parent is all about, really. Letting your kids grow up, teaching them to grow up. Letting them be and become who God has made them to be. And I love that, I do. I love raising these boys of mine, and I love watching them grow up, changing and maturing and becoming such wonderful people.

But today? Today I cry as I write this tribute post to a silly little bear who now sits, rather forlornly, on my desk shelf.

Someday soon I'll carefully put N4 away. We'll get a new Blueberry Pluffie for Christmas. Dh thinks we should get two. One to give to N4, and one to pack away with the Real Morgan, so that when N4 has kids someday we can give it to him, and maybe our grandkids will love Bears, too.

Who knows? Maybe Morgan will live again someday!