Tag Archives: Christmas

Reading Olympics

My eldest daughter is a reader.   She comes by it quite naturally.  She’s spent the last six years of her life being read to and watching us read.   I’m trusting that her baby sister will join in the love of books as she gets older.   If not, she’s going to have a rough time getting our attention when all three of us have our noses in books.

The first grader’s school runs a contest all year called Reading Olympics.    To participate you just fill out a calendar each month with how much you read each day.    I’m worried that this year the people who keep track aren’t going to believe that we filled it in properly.    The six-year-old discovered Diary of  Wimpy Kid at the library.   She can’t put it down.   I read part of it with her.  We were giggling quite hysterically.   I told her if she got any ideas or picked up attitude we were shelving Greg Hefley.   I figure I survived reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and didn’t turn out too bad.

She received a set of several more of them for Christmas along with a couple of Baby Mouse books.  After she opened her first book on Christmas morning she promptly started reading.   We had to tell her to put the book down to open her next gift.  She reminds me of me. Really the whole point of this blog was to share this photo.    Add a pair of glasses and you have me thirty years ago.



My first grader and I have many similarities.  We are both fiercely protective and amazingly proud big sisters.   We both don’t shy away from a microphone.   We are both learning to stand up for the under dog and love the bully into submission.

There are some ways that my daughter is nothing like me.  Ways that I am very proud of her.  Ways that she’s a lot like her dad.

She’s way tougher than I ever was at her age.   She can do the entire monkey bar circuit at school.   She beat a third grader at tether ball.    I never beat a kid at tether ball.   I think the third graders would still beat me.   In fact….I’m pretty sure my first grader could beat me.   I asked her how she accomplished this feat.   She says that a friend told her the secret tip.   According to the first grade girls you wind up the ball, fling it behind your back and then throw it as hard as you can.

She loves science.   For Christmas we got her a Snap Circuit set (very cool…check it out here).    She can now explain resisters, circuits and the path that electricity follows.    I even understood what she was talking about.   She and her dad have been spending at least an hour a day since Christmas building simple machines.  They just completed a cool art spinning motor.    I love girls who love science.   I love dads that hang out with their daughters.

My baby girl and I are sitting in front of the fire while the two scientists putter in the other room.    I’m blogging.   Shocker I know.   It’s because my sister-in-law and my sister ganged up on me today and told me it was time.   They are probably right.   The baby next to me is celebrating the fact that she has a new skill.  She knows how to roll over.    Life is about to get very interesting.   Wonder who she’ll turn out to be like.




Filed under Books, Family, Uncategorized

Good News of Great Joy


We had quite a Christmas.   We found out Christmas Eve that my sister-in-law is having a baby in April.  A little girl.   I love nieces and nephews.   How fun to have cousins the same age.  On that side of the family we’re pairing them up nicely.  On my side, my daughter is still the only grandchild.

Then Christmas morning we announced we were having a baby via all forms of communication;  text, email, video, phone and t-shirt.   All day long we received notes of good cheer.   We have a video of the whole event.   My daughter and I keep watching it again.   I keep crying.   It’s the joy that is overflowing.

My sister spun into gift overdrive and wrapped up a baby quilt for our new little one.   It’s a sock monkey quilt.   She bought it several years ago at one of our Rwanda fundraisers.  It’s darling. I remember when she bought it.   It was a silent auction.   She kept going back and biding the quilt up.   She passed her budget and kept bidding.  When she won we cheered.  I assumed she bought it to save for her own baby.  When I opened the gift and saw the red and blue and brown quilt blocks laying there I cried.

I spent the entire month of December stressing about my baby sister for two primary reasons.    The first is that I knew she wants to have a baby too and I really didn’t want to hurt her on Christmas by announcing happy news while they were still waiting.   It’s hard to balance joy and tears.   Celebration and patience.   The second reason is that as her older sister, I’ve worried and coddled and cared and cheered and babied her for her entire life.  It’s habit.

I have a secret.   I didn’t need to worry.    God loves my baby sister more than I do.   He has an amazing plan for her life.    And in this particular case, His plan is joy overflowing.     I have something in common with the angels who announced the birth of Jesus Christ.    I’m heralding good news of great joy.

Michelle and Ben are having a baby.     She’s due in August.




Filed under Family

All the friendly beasts

We spent last Saturday at an impromptu Christmas party at my grandmother’s care facility.    Keep in mind my grandmother is 92, has Alzheimer’s and that my five-year old was attending.    This is a picture of my grandma.   She’s darling.     Frankly all six of the residents are cute.

This is a picture of the caretakers’ teenage daughter.  She’s amazingly talented.  She sings.  She plays the piano, the violin and she’s learning to play the harp.  She’s also kind to the patients who live in her home.

This is the harp teacher.  He was also asked to be the entertainment at the party.    I liked the scarf.  It made me grin.     He was leading caroling.   Mind you, none of the residents really sing along.  There was one other family visiting who didn’t really seem cheerful.   I think they were shocked by how their family member had declined.    They don’t visit very often.   Anyway, they weren’t singing.    This left my daughter, my mother, my father and me.      The leader started with “All the friendly beasts”.   Seriously?   What about Silent Night?    Jingle Bells?   Nope, he moved onto O Holy Night including the French and German verses and, I kid you not, a verse in Pig Latin.

This is a photo of the song lyrics.  Very small print.   I was taken back to the last time I had to sing aloud, in Rwanda….not a pleasant experience….funny….painful.

This is my father.  He’s a good sport.  His strong tenor was carrying us all.

This is the caretakers’ son.  He has a crush on my daughter.   Every time we visit he shows up with toys and songs and tries to impress her.    This time he had a three week old puppy he let her hold.   She was in love.   With the puppy.    He was pretty pleased with himself.   Neither one of them was singing.   They were trying to feed the dog Christmas cookies and Orange Juice.

This is a picture of my mother.    She’s trying not to laugh.

I was just smiling.   I liked the residents, I am grateful for the caretakers.   I was overwhelmed with gratitude for family and puppies.   It was a ball.   I even sang along.


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Filed under Family