Holy Cow Batman! Ethan Recites His First Poem.

Ethan's first day of the 2011-2012 preschool year.

Ethan astounded us today! He recited the poem “Friends” in front of all his friends at preschool. He wasn’t expected to do this, it kind of just happened. Let me take you back a few weeks so you get the whole picture here.

At the start of Ethan’s preschool year, his teacher passed out the poem “Friends” to everyone. New to the curriculum this year is exposing the children to different poems. For the past couple weeks, Laura, and sometimes me, would read the poem to Ethan. He mostly listened but would occasionally recite the first stanza or say the last words of each line. We wanted him to become familiar with the poem and how it flowed, not memorize the entire thing.

Last week while we were visiting Laura’s parents, Laura started to say the poem and, after the first line, Ethan finished the poem. We were a bit shocked since we didn’t know he had the entire poem memorized. Of course we were impressed with how well he had remember the poem and let him know.

Today at preschool, Laura informed his teacher that Ethan really liked the poem and may be able to share it for his class, but don’t be surprised if he pulls the shy guy routine. During class sharing time, the teacher asked Ethan if he’d like to recite it for everyone. From our understanding he stood up and nailed it. Very cool! Here’s the poem.

Friends

By Abbie Farwell Brown

How good to lie a little while
And look up through the tree!
The Sky is like a kind big smile
Bent sweetly over me.

The Sunshine flickers through the lace
Of leaves above my head,
And kisses me upon the face
Like Mother, before bed.

The Wind comes stealing o’er the grass
To whisper pretty things;
And though I cannot see him pass,
I feel his careful wings.

So many gentle Friends are near
Whom one can scarcely see,
A child should never feel a fear,
Wherever he may be.

Why are we happy for Ethan on this great accomplishment for a 4-year old? There are a few reasons.

He showed a lot of confidence to stand up and recite this poem in front of his friends at school. It showed how comfortable he was and we’re glad to see this.

He showed an interest in poetry by listening and reciting the poem. We’ve exposed him to nursury rhymes and he loves them. The past 4 or 5 months he has kept on trying to make words rhyme, even making up his own. It’s great to see how his interests evolve.

Lastly, we’re proud of his ability to memorize the poem, not through flashcards and sit down and study methods, but through basic read aloud as we have time methods. There was no methodical approach here. Him reciting this piece was an extra bonus. We didn’t know he had it in him.

Good job buddy!

A Bedroom Fit for a 4-Year Old

I recently read this article about where children sleep throughout the world. WOW! It just makes me happy we can provide the essentials and a bit extra for our kids. Of course, some of the children in the photos have a lot of extras. I thought we’d share Ethan’s bedroom to show how we live and provide for our 4-year old. It’s not to flaunt but rather to show a different perspective.

We updated his room a couple weeks ago and just finished with most of the finishing touches. The reason for the updates goes like this: Autumn learned to climb out of her crib which meant she was done with the crib and needed a bed, she would get Ethan’s old mattress so Ethan needed a new mattress and we were already planning on getting him new furniture, we found a great bunk bed set but it was to big for his room so he and Autumn switched, and now Ethan has Autumn’s old room (which was actually his first room when we moved in) and Autumn is in Ethan’s old room. Whew! And we did all that in one weekend.

Our approach to his room is simple:  Keep the room simple and functional! The bunk bed allows friends to sleep over and for Autumn to have a bed so she can allow guests to sleep in her bed. Ethan’s only toys are on one shelf. Otherwise, all his toys are in the family room where we spend most our time. Decorate with pictures that have some significance for him. Allow him to grow into it.

The verdict: Ethan loves it! He plays in his room on his “fire rescue boat” more than ever. Enjoy the photos.

Ethan loves his lights at night.
Ethan wakes up from his afternoon nap with a bed full of family!
The train picture comes from Brett's family. Simple closet curtains allows a bit more room for a small space.
His collection of important items. The box was Brett's from his childhood.
Laura and Brett's mom made the valence to match a variety of room colors.
A picture that Ethan painted hangs in his bedroom.
Photos from Ethan's first couple weeks of life has been hanging in his room since his first couple weeks of life.
Ethan can look up at his pictures above since we hung up a piece plastic that allows us to change the photos periodically.
All kids love a bunk bed.
Ethan's only toys in his room fall in line behind Snoopy. Snoopy comes from Uncle Mark's childhood.
Radio Flyer lamp adds a unique boy touch to Ethan's room

Happy 4th Birthday Ethan!

ethan in his sleeping bagFour years ago we welcomed Ethan into this great world. We were living in Eugene, Oregon where Laura was teaching in the Eugene School District and I was entering my second year of graduate school at the University of Oregon. He arrived rather quickly at 7:47pm at Sacred Heart Hospital in downtown Eugene. We weren’t unprepared for him, but we also didn’t know what to expect. He’s our first child.

Four years later (and we know for a lifetime) his sense of wonder, curiosity, and joy continue to make us happy. He loves his sister Autumn, playing and hiking in the outdoors, reading books, and using his imagination. He’s taught us a lot about ourselves and allowed us to look at the world through a different set of lens. We’ve also become better event planners as we try to make every birthday and holiday a memorable one for him.

Today, he’ll have a western theme birthday party complete with cowboy hats, western cake, stick pony races, and more. He’s very excited about having his friends over as they celebrate with him. Have a wonderful day Ethan!

Ethan’s Photo Album (August 2010 – July 2011)

We Celebrate Ethan’s Success

Ethan's Success
Ethan and Ms Teresa
Ethan and Ms. Teresa

Ethan had a wonderful party today to celebrate his first year of preschool. Each child was recognized with a certificate, photo book, and reading book to celebrate their achievements. All the parents and teachers brought an abundance of delicous foods to share. As usual, the format was loose and the kids were able to be themselves and play, play, play. The rain changed our venue from outside at a park to indoors at the preschool but everyone adjusted well.

This year Ethan has grown so much in terms of socializing, independence, confidence, and more. His teachers provided Ethan with a fair share of experiences and guidance for him to explore, learn, and grow. He made some friends, great artwork, and lots of memories. We’re very proud of his success and look forward to his continued love for education.

Congratulations Ethan!
Congratulations Ethan!

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Ethan's Last Day of the Preschool Year
Ethan's Last Day of Preschool (3 years old)

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Ethan's First Day of Preschool
Ethan's First Day of Preschool

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Cousins Duet [Video]

Ethan and Kaitlyn rockin' and rollin'
Ethan and Kaitlyn rockin' and rollin'
Ethan and Kaitlyn rockin' and rollin'

Ethan and Autumn’s cousins, Kaitlyn and Emily, came for a visit this evening. All day Ethan kept asking when his cousins would be here. We started at about 7 hours or so and worked our way down. When they finally arrived he screamed out loud in excitement, threw the front door open, and ran out to greet them. Needless to say they had a great time playing in the dirt, swinging, throwing the ball for Skylee, playing in the dirt, going down the slide, playing in the dirt, and playing in the dirt. There’s a theme going on here.

After their baths Ethan and Kaitlyn sat down for music time. This is the first time both had cousins were able to play in the same “band”. They were very cute and had a lot of fun while performing.