I remember being about 8 or 10 years old and mentioning an Agatha Christie book I was reading to my mom. When she said she couldn’t remember if she’d read that one or not, I was astounded. How could you not know whether or not you’d read a book? Of course now I can’t remember the title of a book a read four weeks ago. But at the time I probably retained details of every book I’d ever read, and that someone else didn’t was shocking.

For the longest time when they were younger, Hallie and Travis seemed to remember EVERYTHING! I’d be amazed at the stuff they’d come up with, thinking that there was no way they could remember what outfit someone was wearing at someone’s second birthday party. But they’d always be right! Continue reading Forgetting

Travis’s second try at piano

Letting Travis take a break from piano after his time with Miss Ann was definitely the right thing to do. It had become miserable for everyone, and clearly the group lessons and the focus on reading music weren’t a good fit for him. After a few months, T was messing around on the piano more often and expressing interest in trying lessons again.

About a month ago he started lessons with Miss Julie, who teaches private Suzuki lessons. She’s Evelyn and Stefan’s teacher and came highly recommended. Her focus is on training by ear first and then working on reading music. This seems a much better fit for the way Travis learns and what he’s interested in. Continue reading Travis’s second try at piano

Hallie’s Book Cover

A few weeks ago I got an email from my friend Marc, a children’s author who’s had several books published. He’s trying to create interest in two new nonfiction projects by inviting children’s illustrators and kids to create covers for his manuscripts that he will display on a website. I shared the idea with Hallie and she was really excited. At the time she had about three weeks until the deadline, and she dove right in to working on her sketch.

She chose a story about the Afghan woman whose photo was featured on National Geographic many years ago, and about the photographer’s search to find her again. Hallie started by sketching the woman’s face from the image that was on the cover of the magazine. Continue reading Hallie’s Book Cover

Slack bedtimes

This summer we’ve gotten really slack about the kids’ bedtime. We’ve let things creep later and later, and rarely are the kids ready for bed in time for our usual 20-30 minute story time. Mark’s been gone more evenings than he’s been home lately, so individual story times have largely fallen by the wayside.

We used to have the kids start bedtime stuff about 7:30/7:45 so they’d be in bed at 8 and we’d have 30 minutes of reading together and manage an 8:30 lights out. Now we’re lucky if they are in bed by 8:30, we do 15 minutes of stories, and let them read to themselves until 9. With Travis generally popping out for another hug and trip to the bathroom, it’s usually 9:15 before he’s down for the night. Continue reading Slack bedtimes

“Mommy, listen to this!”

I can barely remember a time when Hallie wasn’t a reader. She takes such delight in her books, and she is easily captured by witty dialogue or a particularly apt description. Often she doesn’t seem to consider herself a sufficient audience for these gems and needs to share them. Some books I’d swear she’s read twice-through by the time she finishes them because every other paragraph she’ll back up to read something out loud.

I’ve lost track of the number times I’ve heard “Mommy, listen to this!” I love her enthusiasm, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. Especially if I’m reading or concentrating on something myself, or if we’re all in the car and I’m having a conversation with Mark or Travis. When Hallie’s nose is in her book she’s oblivious to everything else. She’ll rarely take time to check the situation around her before blurting out what she wants to share. So she’s often greeted with, “You’re interrupting. Please wait a moment.”

So far making her wait has done nothing to squash her enthusiasm. And this gives me a good insight into what she’s reading if I haven’t read it myself. I’m just glad she loves her books so much!


We’ve developed a problem with roaches. Well, it’s really just one roach. It’s big and ugly. And it keeps appearing in strange places. Oh, and it’s plastic.

For years, Hallie’s watched me and Mark hide various objects from each other–hairbrushes under pillows and in suitcases when Mark goes on trips, the Tuzigoot brochure from our Sedona trip that ended up everywhere from the van’s gas cap compartment to delivered to Mark in the mail. Now Hallie’s gotten in on the action.

She found a plastic roach in the kids’ toys and started leaving it places around the house. Now she and Mark are in a furious roach exchange, leaving it in the oatmeal container (yum!), her violin case, the coffee pot, and who knows where else. Hallie LOVES this game, and when she’s been the hider she’ll burst out of her room in the morning asking “Did he find it?” before so much as a “Good morning!”

Both Hallie and Mark are starting to take this pretty seriously. I told Hallie she was going to have to up the ante on her hiding places if she really wanted to surprise him. Right now the roach is Mark’s to hide. I can’t wait to see where it ends up next!

Our 2010 Sedona Trip

Some posts seem likely to be so long that I make notes for them and never to get back to them. That’s been the case with the one about our Sedona, AZ, trip of nearly a year and a half ago. Since I’m in catch up mode, I guess I’d better pull together what I’ve got while I can still remember any of it!

First of all, it was a wonderful trip. The landscape was stunning, and I never got used to having all that beauty and such a different environment all around us. While we took a day trip to the Grand Canyon and enjoyed our ride on the Grand Canyon railroad, surprisingly that wasn’t the highlight for me. My favorite thing was the day hikes and picnics we took and just being outside in such an amazing place. Early in the trip Gum and Gup took H and T for the afternoon and Mark and I got to hike up to Cathedral Rock. What amazing pictures we got up there! That’s still one of my favorite memories of the trip. Continue reading Our 2010 Sedona Trip

Travis’s sports

Yet another catch-up post, this time about Travis’s sports. Last fall Travis played another season of soccer at the Salvation Army. Our friend John Eason, who’s coached both of the kids on several teams, was his coach. Coach John’s son is an amazing athlete and there were a few other ringers on the team. When Travis got possession of the ball he was much more likely to have it stolen from him by one of his teammates than by an oppenent. Coach Eason was a pretty aggressive coach, and Travis’s team was undefeated. There was one other team in the league that would have given them a run for their money, and I think beaten them, but there were so many teams that those two never played each other. Continue reading Travis’s sports

Comments from Travis’s counselor

Travis is doing a camp this week at Raleigh’s science museum. The theme is “Extreme Environments.” When I picked him up on the second day of camp, his counselor came over to the car. This is a man with a Masters in education, and he’s definitely excited about science. He started by saying that next summer he’s teaching a Concoctions and Chemistry camp that he thinks Travis would really love.

Mr. Edwin went on and on about how Travis was helping out with things, and how bright and well-spoken he was, and how much he knows. He commented that Travis was very comfortable speaking in front of his peers and that he was arranging for Travis to have a little time to tell his classmates some of the things he knows. He ended by saying that I probably already knew all of this. I told him I did, but that I was delighted to hear it from someone else and that Travis was really enjoying the camp.

Given the nature of the carpool line, I didn’t have time to warn Mr. Edwin that many of the things Travis “knows” might be a bit suspect, given that Travis’s source is often his own imagination or conclusions drawn from minimal evidence or knowledge. I’ll have to trust that Mr. Edwin can figure that out and correct or instruct accordingly. It should be interesting to hear how that goes!

Dynamite season for the Dynamos

This spring Hallie played her second season of CASL soccer with Dynamos. We really loved the girls and their families and her coach, and we felt lucky to have her on such a nice team after a disappointing first season with CASL.

During Hallie’s first season, the Dynamos got trounced almost every game, but everyone had a good time and Hallie definitely improved. For the spring season, her team was moved down a bracket. They were more evenly matched, and they ended up going undefeated until the last game. Unfortunately, they got badly beaten by a team whose coach was a holy terror. We were all annoyed at his bellowing and bullying and disappointed to see the Dynamos lose to that kind of nonsense. I wasn’t sure whether Hallie was more upset about losing or about losing to that attitude. I think more the latter, actually. Continue reading Dynamite season for the Dynamos