Gotcha Day – 9th Anniversary

I reminisce every year when I do our annual Gotcha Day posting. Looking back at all the stair photo comparisons, it’s hard to believe that this is the same child. He is turning into a Tween and his legs look a mile long in

Loja de insumos e suprimentos para impressoras Bassi Suprimentos Toner hp p1102w Conheça nossa loja virtual, trabalhamos com todas as marcas de cartuchos e toners confiáveis!!

the photo this year. Looks aren’t deceiving – we have been through 3 sizes of pants in the last 6-8 months keeping up with his growth spurts.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what his future will be like this time next year when he has started Middle school. I am so worried about the transition but he can’t wait. That’s my boy, fearless and ready to meet the world head on! I’m so proud of my little man!

9th Gotcha Day stairs

Gotcha Day – 8 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 7 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 6 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 5 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 5th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years already since a scared little boy and a couple of scared parents instantly became a family. For those of you that might be new to our blog, we celebrate Gotcha Day each year with a few traditions; a cake (there are 5 candles but 2 are blended together in the photo)…

a few presents…

and a comparison stairwell photo.

It’s always shocking to look at the stair photo and see how much he has changed. Below are the links to the past stair photos if you missed them the first time around or if you just want to see them again. 🙂

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

No Trouble At All

Trouble board gameRemember the old board game Trouble with the “pop-o-matic” die-rolling bubble in the middle?

Dede bought Liam this game for his birthday back in April and we’ve been playing a couple or three times per week as time permits.

Initially of course, he moved his pegs (painfully) slowly around the board, stopping at every hole and often losing count. It was all new to him, so his plays were random and not goal-oriented. Honestly, it was a bit of a chore to get through a game.

But now…

Now, he jumps his pegs in increments around the board rather than 1 hole at a time. He’s always looking ahead to what his next optimal dice roll should be to land on another player’s peg, and putting some genuine critical thought into which piece is the best to move depending on each roll of the die. And of course, he’s talking trash to intimidate the other players along the way!

Sure, we’ve always been big believers in playing analog (not electronic) games and encouraging tactile activities, so ok, maybe this is nothing truly miraculous and shouldn’t come as such a great surprise to me, but it’s just such an unexpected thrill when you actually see firsthand how much this has boosted his math and decision-making skills. You can practically see synapses forming, his dexterity improving, and of course, the big confidence boost he gets when he wins.

All that, from playing a simple little board game. Genius!

There may not necessarily be anything wrong with digital games—Liam sure loves to play Angry Birds and Cut the Rope on the iPad—but I believe huddling around the table, playing a physical board game has to potential to be so much more enriching. It’s a shared experience with all sorts of social, practical, and cognitive lessons lurking just out of sight. It’s fascinating to watch as your child develops new skills and masters new concepts. And it’s just fun!

This makes me nostalgic for the days when all of us cousins would play board games at Pampaw or Uncle Truett’s during holidays. And it reminds me of Rich schooling me on Monopoly.

So, now it’s your turn… Are there board games that you’d recommend for those with young children? What were some of your all-time favorite board games?

Kinder Class of 2012

kindeergarten graduation photoLiam has officially graduated from Kindergarten!

It’s been a long year of learning for all of us. We had no idea how difficult the transition from daycare Pre-K to public elementary school Kindergarten was going to be.

Apparently life in Pre-K, even though it seemed well-structured, was still mostly about playing and doing things on your own schedule. So going to a class setting where all activities are highly-structured took a bit of a toll on our guy. We thought all hope was lost for the first few months, but after the Christmas break things worked out and he adjusted to the routine and even won a citizenship award by the end of the year. We’re so proud of our little guy and still totally amazed that he can now read books on his own.

I’m glad Summer is finally here and we can all relax and enjoy the next few months before first grade starts!

Gotcha Day – 4 Year Anniversary

We celebrated Liam’s 4th Gotcha Day by going out to Rosa’s for dinner. I’m guessing he picked Rosa’s because he LOVES their chocolate cake. On the way home, we stopped by Donna’s house to take our annual stairway comparison photo (see below) that shows Liam in 2008 on his way out of the baby home compared to today. It’s a reminder to me every year of how much he has changed and how fast he is growing up.

We got off to a rough start this year with Kindergarten but since the Christmas break things have been going great at school and his after school child care. They informed me today that he has been picked to be the Star of the Month at the child care because he did so well in January and his Kindergarten teacher gave him a reward for his good behavior. I’m so happy that he is finally adjusting to all the changes he had this year.

Most of all, I think he has learned the most important thing in life…that chocolate will always put a smile on your face!

First Day of Kindergarten

Today was the BIG DAY—Liam’s first day of Kindergarten. It’s a day I’ve been dreading for awhile now. Maybe it’s because I equate starting public school to my baby growing up. But Liam has been excited all summer at the thought of going to his big school.

First Day of Kinder

Click here (or the photo above) to view a few pictures from the first day.


We walked him into school this morning and stayed until the bell rang for class to begin. He waved goodbye and was ready to begin the day. I’m very thankful that I was not one of the parents that I saw in the hallways that had their children clinging to them in tears. I don’t think I could’ve handled that.

According to Liam, in the end, it was an awesome day and he can’t wait to go back again tomorrow!

Accustomed to Violence

There’s been a surge of articles in parenting magazines, blogs, and news coverage about bullying lately. Children are being tormented in America’s schools and online—sometimes to the point of committing suicide. It’s hard to believe that something I had been so totally unaware of is such a huge problem, yet the media has declared bullying to be a national epidemic.
Biff Tannen bullies Marty McFly
There’s some contention about just how severe this has become; some experts insist that bullying is no more prevalent now than it was back when little boys yanked little girls’ pigtails and that the media’s portrayal is unrealistic and excessive, making behaviors that might simply be cruel into something more criminal. Maybe physical bullying has taken a backseat to psychological or emotional bullying, but even if the media has blown this out of proportion, there’s no denying that bullying is a credible and increasing problem.

As a parent, I’m thankful for all of the efforts to shed some light on this problem and I fully support both punishing bullies and helping kids learn to better cope with pressure-filled situations. But maybe we should put forth as much effort looking at some of the root causes. I believe a big contributing factor is how acclimated we’ve become to violence.

Horrific, explicit, oppressive violence is now an accepted part of our everyday lives.

Remember the movie Robocop about a terminally-wounded Detroit cop who returns to the police force as a powerful cyborg? What you may not recall is that the 1987 movie was initially given an X rating by the MPAA due to its graphic violence. Right, the movie was rated “X” not because of explicit sexual content, but for its shockingly-violent imagery. To appease the requirements of the ratings board, writer/director Paul Verhoeven pulled back on the significant blood & gore in 3 scenes so the movie could be released with an “R” rating instead.

Yet compared to what we routinely see on TV, movies, and video games now, the uncut version of that movie is tame by today’s standards. Within a 20 year span, what was shocking and socially repulsive has become acceptable, commonplace entertainment. Movies have become gleefully gruesome and morbidity is now mainstream. Consider the “Saw” series that let us watch as people are brutally murdered in twisted, torturous manners. Compare the likes of a Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris martial arts movie to that of the endless barrage of bloody carnage shown in contemporary movies like “Kill Bill.”

Likewise, TV shows even feature a stunning degree of graphic violence. Procedural cop shows like C.S.I. are far more realistically gruesome than that X-rated version of Robocop. Even when the violence isn’t necessarily visually graphic, there’s still some extremely negative behaviors at play. Consider that toddlers now watch wrestling on TV, which was strictly the guilty pleasure of Dads when we were kids—much to the disapproval of most Moms.

And where playing video games in our teen years meant shooting squiggly blips to make pixelated aliens disappear, now video gamers are immersed in battles where they fire super-realistic weapons at convincingly-real, three-dimensional opponents who yowl in agony when hit, spurt blood, limp, and finally collapse in a nauseating mass on the ground when they’ve sustained too much damage. (Until recently, this is the sort of thing that only soldiers would have to endure—and sometimes suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.) Other video games reward players for beating up women, stealing cars, pistol-whipping passers-by, and inflicting varying degrees of terrible carnage on, well, anything that moves. According to some estimates, by the time typical American children reach the age of 18, they’ve already seen 200,000 acts of violence and 40,000 murders on some sort of screen.

We’ve allowed our society as a whole to become fully engulfed, acclimated, and accustomed to horrendous, gratuitous violence as a normal component of daily life. Perversely, our society actually savors and glorifies extreme cruelty and destructiveness! And as we’ve become numb and indifferent to negativity and violence, bullying has escalated to epidemic proportions. Surely, that’s no coincidence.

The Tooth Fairy is Headed Our Way

One of Liam’s bottom front teeth has been loose for a few weeks now. I decided yesterday that I better get to the craft store and figure out something cool for him to put the tooth in for the Tooth Fairy. I found this Melissa & Doug Wooden Treasure Chest and we went to work on painting & decorating it this morning and we were both pleased with the finished product:

Tooth Fairy Box

Tooth Fairy Box Inside

We finished it just in the nick of time! Not 2 hours later, Liam came in the room holding his tooth. I’m not 100% convinced it was coincidence that it “fell” out as soon as the box was finished, but either way, the Tooth Fairy will be paying us a visit tonight for the first time!

Liam's first lost tooth