Learning to Read

learn

verb \ˈlərn\

1 a (1) :  to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience

It is a great joy to watch the kids learn and Molly has been learning a lot lately. Most importantly, learning to read. As with learning nearly all thing for the first time, it has come with its moments of enlightenment and joy, as well as the other side of the process of learning, great challenge and frustration.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing her learn to read, especially at this time when it has given Molly a whole new world of communication and discovery. It seems to have come rather suddenly. Just a couple of months ago she could she could identify a few words and put them to use, but in general words were not much use to her. Now, it seems nearly out of the blue, she can readily read and comprehend much of what is common around us. The world of reading is expanding rapidly and has caught me by surprise a few times, bringing a little smile to my face to see the discoveries she is having. No longer is she naïve to something that we are surrounded by most of us take for granted – written words. It opens a whole new way for her to be entertained, learn, and communicate, just as I am doing now.

Now that she is learning to read, she can learn to do anything. I am eager to see what else she will learn and discover with reading.

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Superheros

Superheros start their day with a good breakfast.

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A Pile Of Leaves

A pile of leaves is all that you need.

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The First Day of School That Wasn’t

Today was supposed to be the Molly’s first day of first grade. She woke early and in high spirits and was quickly dressed in the outfit that she had picked for the big day. Not too long later I called the kids to the table for breakfast. Molly came to the table, took one look at the French toast, said “I don’t feel good”, and laid down on the couch. Trina and I looked at each other with the same though of “Uh. Oh.” We knew that she wasn’t fooling since Leighton had woke us at 3:00 a.m. sick to his stomach only two nights ago.

At one point she thought she felt well enough to go to school, and then it got real. That sealed the deal and she stayed home.

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Trina helped her switch to some comfortable princess pajamas and she settled into the basement to have an all day “Jessie” marathon on Netflix. Late in the morning she requested that I make mac & cheese for lunch; so I did. When it was ready, she made it to the top of the top of the stairs and reported “Daddy, I don’t feel good. I can’t eat.” That definitely isn’t her style.

Her voice sounds bright and sharp and she was up for a short while to draw some pictures of our family, only to get knocked back down. This little ambitious and energetic girl stayed on the couch all but a few moments all day. I’ll bet she is quickly back on her feet since she doesn’t like to be held down.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

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Caught

We always love to watch our kids sleep. They look so peaceful.

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And then there is the moment that you are caught. It is almost just as priceless.

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A good soaking.

It’s clear that Oscar and Daisy don’t feel that a good soaking is the best way to handle the heat.
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The Slip and Slide

Trina hooked the kids up with a slip and slide. Next was pure fun.
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A Sunny Night at Safeco Field

We were recently treated to a sunny and warm Saturday evening at Safeco Field. Everyone

was all smiles to be out and about in their short sleeves and catching some sun. It’s even better when you can do that on your mom’s shoulders on the way to the game.

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We arrived well before the start of the game to be sure we could get the Felix  Hernandez bobblehead doll, a treasure for any Mariners schwag collector. Arriving two hours before the first pitch also allowed us to watch batting practice and hopefully get a ball.

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Although it doesn’t carry the excitement of the game, I think that the kids enjoyed watching batting practice as well. There is a lot going on, the players are close, and balls coming your way.150418 mariners game 031

 

I also had the opportunity to teach them about waiting patiently and being nice. There were a few kids and parents that were definitely setting the example of how not to act. They likely spoiled it for everyone in our area and I talked to them about what kind of kid you would give a ball to if they were a player. They understood and waited patiently for a long time. They didn’t get a ball but certainly enjoyed it.

150418 mariners game 033 We were also fortunate that not only was it King Felix bobblehead night, the King himself was pitching. It was incredible to see him get a standing ovation when he walked from the bullpen to the dugout before the game. He is one of the games best and the crowd appreciates it and acknowledges it.

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Sun and baseball. I think we have a fan of both, as long as Leighton has his shades on.

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The nights when King Felix pitches brings extra excitement to the game as well. The Mariners have also created the “King’s Court” section in the left field corner. What started as one small section in the stadium has grown substantially, even spreading to all three decks late last summer. Felix pitched a gem, just like he almost always does.

I am eager to take the kids to more games, and even more eager to fully teach them the game.

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The Grand Adventure

We feel fortunate that St. Edwards State Park is only a mile from the house we can take Molly and Leighton on a grand adventure.

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This adventure began with a fun walk down the North Trail. Leighton was prepared to catch any bugs that came our way.

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There are some enormous trees that are hollow in the middle.  These are absolutely irresistible for any kid.

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After almost a mile, we found our way to the beach on Lake Washington and get to enjoy a sunny day at the beach, even if it isn’t warm enough for short sleeves yet.

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A couple of mallards provided the lunch time entertainment.

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After a lunch of PB&J and apples it was time to hike up the South Canyon Trail.  I always enjoy this beautiful little canyon.

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The walk up the canon provided much more fun than we expected and became the most exciting part of the adventure.  Little Leighton started out thoroughly enjoying hiding and surprising us.

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And then he decided he needed to run. Fast.

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And he didn’t stop. He was hard to keep up with.

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Eventually he did get tired and needed carried for about 100 feet.

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And then he ran up the trail some more.

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Until he found a stick to drag. A REAL BIG stick.

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He drug that log for about 100 yards before putting it down in exchange for a smaller stick with lots of moss on it.  The mossy stick lasted for about 15 seconds, when beating on the ground caused it to shed the moss.

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And then it was back to dragging the log.

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Eventually Leighton had enough of dragging the log and traded that for a much longer, but skinnier stick.

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The new long and skinny stick proved more manageable and fun.

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The long and skinny stick made it all the way to the playground where Molly was waiting.  She had been playing there for quite a while since she didn’t get distracted by sticks of all sizes.

150301 St. Edwards 171After plenty of running, jumping, climbing castles, swinging, and sliding, we ran to the Grotto. The Grotto is one of Molly’s favorite places. This is where the silly came out. Not long later the silly was changing to the opposite and we had to leave before hunger and fatigue made the kids morph like a wet gremlin.

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Molly 6 Years Old

Six years old. All 45 inches and 47 pounds of her.

Six feels like a real milestone. A milestone of being a big kid. A kid that is in school. A real school. I didn’t expect that feeling until next year when she will be in first grade. Full-day kindergarten feels like real school, especially last night when she read me a book that she wrote at school. The book has complete sentences that she wrote and read to me.  I was blown away.

As I reflect on these six years, all I can think of is how incredible it has been to be a part of  her journey and how eager I am to see what the future brings. At this age, the proportion that we influence her begins to diminish (although no less important), while her contribution to shaping her story grows, which is simultaneously gratifying and frightening.

I am grateful to be a main character in her story, and treasure the time and role that I have to help guide her in composing the next the chapters of her life. As with all great stories I am eager to see what happens on the next page.

Happy sixth birthday Molly (A.K.A Sweet Girl, Lady Bug, Molly Bug, Molly Moose, Molly Mouse, Sissy, and the other fun names we give you).

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