Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Early Year Review

     It’s hard to believe February is coming to a close. It seems as if we just rang in the new year. The last two months have been very full for our family. And although I have not posted in awhile, it is not due to a lack of material. Bug (“B” has asked me to refer to him as such) has been exposed to numerous exciting (and one sad) learning opportunities recently. I thought I would take a moment to briefly sum up our 2012 experiences thus far. 

Annual Family Ski Trip

Bug in Ski School
     We began the year with our annual family ski trip. This was our third year in a row visiting beautiful Breckenridge, CO. Bug had been asking to return to Breck at least twice a month since our February 2011 trip and he was thrilled when our winter vacation finally began. Not only was he excited to spend an uninterrupted week with Mommy, Daddy and Big Brother (18 yrs old), but he was also finally ready to hit the slopes for his very first ski lesson. Our little Bug was a bit apprehensive  about beginning his one day at Ski School, but by the end of the afternoon he had requested a second day. 

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science
     While in Breckenridge we also enjoyed a few days of play at The Mountain Top Children’s Museum, lots of window shopping, exploring the local toy store, paint-your-own pottery at Ready Paint Fire where Bug painted a small monkey, and some really yummy food. We rounded out the trip with a fun-filled day of education in Denver, Co. Bug loved visiting The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and having dinner at the restaurant in Bass Pro Shop surrounded with fish and various wildlife memorabilia.

Bug’s 4th Birthday

Georgia Aquarium
     Bug turned 4 in mid-January and we celebrated with a day at the Georgia Aquarium as we have each year on his birthday. He loves walking through the huge galleries and asking questions about all of the animals we see. I always find it amazing how he remembers so much of what he comes across. He enjoys telling Daddy and I the names of the fish species, where they live and what they like to eat. His brain really is like a sponge, soaking up all sorts of fun and useful information.

     Not only did Bug have an educational birthday excursion to the aquarium, but he also learned quite a bit at the space themed birthday party he requested. We decorated Grandma and Grandpa’s house with planet and moon posters I purchased at the education supply store and various other space toys and books. Bug even made a space mobile from a Kiwi Crate craft box he got as a Christmas gift. We hung the mobile as a centerpiece above the food table so all of the guests could admire his artwork. The party was a wonderful success, and most importantly, Bug enjoyed the day!

     While visiting family in Kentucky for the birthday party, Bug had a few other fun surprises. Bug traveled to space himself aboard a space shuttle simulator at  The Challenger Learning Center @ Shawnee, located at the high school where Grandpa teaches. He was able to join a middle school class field trip as they learned about the workings of a real shuttle mission. During our time at the center Bug exclaimed “going to school looks like fun!” Grandma and Grandpa also treated Bug and I to an afternoon at the Louisville Science Center. Let me tell you, one afternoon was nowhere close to long enough. We could spend an entire week at the exciting hands-on educational facility. Bug’s favorite exhibits included a huge guitar display and a water play exhibit for preschoolers. We will definitely be visiting the Science Center during future trips.

Valentine’s Day

Bug's Valentine Breakfast
     Bug LOVED Valentine’s Day this year! We celebrated the love filled season with numerous crafts at home and throughout the community. We read tons of Valentine’s themed books and enjoyed story time at our local library. Bug enjoyed picking out small gifts for Daddy and Big Brother and decorating our home. But, he seemed most excited by the Valentine themed food we enjoyed together. I just LOVE my little Bug!


A Sad Day For Our Family

      Most of our “learning time” with Bug is pure fun, but as I’ve said many times before, anytime is learning time. This sentiment holds true even in the worst of circumstances. Although it was a lesson we wished we would not have to teach for quite some time, last week we had the unfortunate task of explaining death to our little one. Bug’s great–grandmother (and she was a GREAT grandmother) passed away rather unexpectedly. Daddy and I took great care in how we would proceed in telling Bug the sad news.

     After Daddy did a bit of online research, and I pulled myself together enough, we sat Bug down and explained the information in simple truths. We began the conversation by saying that we had received very bad news during the early morning hours and that Grammie had died. As I spoke, I started to tear up and we explained that it was a sad thing, but it was absolutely okay for Bug to feel whatever feelings he felt. We explained that Grammie had a very serious disease (Cancer) that made parts of her body stop working. And, without these parts working she was not able to live any longer. We also stressed that Grammie’s disease was not something that anyone could catch from her, and that Bug, nor anyone he knows, has this serious disease inside them now. Daddy and I made sure he understood that none of us were in danger of dying soon.  

     We followed Bug’s lead in how to proceed with the conversation, and soon realized he was not interested (or ready) to talk about Grammie at the moment. Over the next few days we answered the few questions he had as truthfully and as simply as possible. I was surprised with as few questions as he asked and as little as he seemed to want to talk about death, how very empathetic and caring he was during the funeral and proceeding events. Bug sat quietly in my lap, hugging me when he thought I needed it throughout the funeral. At one point he even stood up next to my mother in her wheelchair and quietly held her hand as my father did a reading. Towards the end of the service Bug asked what the casket was, and I tried to explain that Grammie’s body was in it. He simply stated that this was, “because it doesn’t work anymore and she doesn’t need it.”

     I was so VERY PROUD of Bug’s wonderful behavior and his caring nature towards everyone during that very hard day. Daddy and I are happy that we were straight forward with him from the beginning, and looking back I can’t imagine how we could have improved upon the situation. I do hope that none of your children have to learn this lesson at an early age, but if they do I hope our story may bring you a small bit of help.

Enjoying The Aquarium Together

     As you can tell, the first two months of 2012 have been rather full for us. Sometime in February Bug began his first season playing baseball too! We have had many wonderful experiences and learned something new from every challenge. Bug is such a curious little boy and I can’t wait to see what else we learn together during the rest of the year. Happy Learning to you and your little ones! Make every moment count!

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