One of those moments

So Brenna has really latched onto Pokemon. Parker loves it too, but at this age she still prefers less “noisy” shows like Clifford and Daniel Tiger. Brenna likes those too, but Pokemon is, coequally speaking, her jam. She loves all the cartoons, she loves all the adventure, and the friends doing things together, but mostly she loves the pokemon themselves. And let’s admit it, these little things are made to be cute and cool and sell toys. And booooy howdy does it work.

Add to that recipe a bunch of references that adults get in the episode titles like “Forest Grumps, “The Apple Corp,” or “One Trick Phony” and it’s no wonder it’s made its way into popular culture getting referenced nearly everywhere.

Brenna likes to play with her Pokemon cards, which we call “doing math.” We’ll say “Charizard has 100 health points. If Pikachu uses Thundershock and takes away 20 points, how many are left?” We talk about how we can ignore the zeros on the end to simplify what we’re looking at, and essentially what I’m asking is “If you have 10 apple and I take 2, how many do you have?” But we’re doing it a way that interests her far more than apples. And she’s getting pretty good. The idea of subtracting rather than adding confused her at first, as did the concept of zero, but she’s pretty good at it now with some prompting. Let me repeat this: My 4 year old asks to do math. That’s exciting.

But here’s where I had a moment… Last night Brenna was playing Pokemon on Meg’s 3DS. That itself is pretty impressive considering it’s a game for kids 7+. But Meg was showing her how to save the game. She showed her how to navigate the menu, and asked Brenna, “What’s that word?” Brenna looked and sounded it out, “Buh… Aah… G… BAG!” I looked over and realized Brenna just read, completely unassisted. She knows the word “bag,” and sounded out the letters, associated it and read it. I saw the gears turn. A bit later, “what’s that word?” “SAVE!” I admit, I teared up a bit… she’s growing up. She’s reading. I mean, not well and I’m not handing her War and Peace or anything, but she’s reading, and she’s eager to read. And yes, Meg and I are a big part of that, and certainly her school and teachers are a huge part of that. But Pokemon is encouraging her to use these skills on something she finds interesting.

Anyway, so the upshot of all this seemingly never ending Pokemon marathon of toys, tv, video games, and cards is that it’s actually teaching lessons about friendship, overcoming challenges, winning and losing with grace (which we need a lot of work on), and is reinforcing Brenna’s math and reading skills.

And I couldn’t be a prouder “Pokemon trainer” if I was Ash Ketchum himself.

See ya next time with a short one about Halloween!

Advertisements

Happy 3rd birthday, Parker

Well, today’s the day. About 3 hours ago Parker “officially” turned 3 (at 6:29 pm). She’s grown so much!

We had a gathering of friends and family at 7 Oaks Park on Sunday to kick things off. Lots of her friends came by, and lots of Meg and my friends came by with their kids, and of course in town family. It was a beautiful day, and the kids got to run around and play to burn off some of that pizza and cake and soda.

party cake

And then today I took off work to spend a special day with her on her birthday. Unfortunately Meg couldn’t get off work, but that’s because she’s taking the girls to the beach in a week, so I think Parker will forgive her. 😉

I planned to start the day at EdVenture, but I learned as we prepared to leave that they’re not open on Monday. Blah. So we went to Monkey Joes instead, and Parker had an absolute blast. I’m really sorry that MJs is closing on November 2, because it’s a really fun place for kids to play. Oh well, there will be other things. Maybe that trampoline park!

Then it was birthday lunch at Wendy’s and a nap, followed by a trip to Riverbanks Zoo and back to 7 Oaks Park to slide.

birds tortoise us smile

At home we had our regular dinner, and a special cupcake for Parks and sang happy birthday again. Lots of phone calls, lots of love.

cupcake

Thank you all for giving our fairy princess a very special day.

fairycastle

xoxo,

-Travis.

We’re still here….

So go back and read my first post. I wondered about the fate of this blog, “…like most blogs, will it simply fade away when we get too busy or tired to keep it going?”

Well.. with two active kids, two cats, a dog (hey, we got a dog!), and jobs, etc… guess what’s been happening this last year+?

The thing is, I see a lot of people each week. I give verbal updates. Meg posts to Facebook. I still upload photos to Flickr. This blog became somewhat redundant because it’s so easy to post a photo to social media, say “we’re having a great time doing ” and move on.

But somehow I feel like that might be cheating a bit. I honestly feel really bad about posting so much for Brenna in the early blog days when we had more time (and less fancy phones and Facebook), and so little for Parker’s updates because of the speed of life and moving to other formats. Parker is about to turn 3, and she was a year and a half the last time I said something. The blog also gave me a chance to talk about things that weren’t just highlights, but other “day in the life” things like the dead HVAC or dead TV. It gave me time to organize my thoughts on occasion, and made me open up in ways I normally don’t.

So I guess I miss it, and what I meant it to represent – slices of life from our family as it grows and changes. And instead of sitting around missing it, I think I’m going to give it another shot. At least until I feel I find a way to bring it to a natural conclusion, and not just abandon it.

I’ll try to keep them short, and more frequent. If anyone is still there, hello again. If not, then this is a weird exercise in talking to myself.