Collin loves to read. As a little baby, he and I laid on the floor together and looked up as I read story after story, poem after poem. I especially enjoyed reading Shel Silverstein, and he especially loved the Sandra Boynton books! Then, as he got older, we re-read and re-read his favorites. He used to climb onto his couch with his favorite books and read to himself. It was adorable then - and it's adorable now.

As he's gotten older, he has continued to read to himself and enjoy story time - at home and at school. He was one of the first kids in his class to master the concept of sitting still to listen at storytime. (Although he does have to remember to be a quiet listener because he often echos the story - I think it's his way of memorizing the lines, the plot and the pages.)

Then in the last six months, he expressed a lot of reading frustration. He felt "stuck." He would pick up the books, not know or remember the words or the full plot, and be unable to use his imagination to carry him through the pages. Wonderously, he bridged that gap in the last two weeks and suddenly is skyrocketing on marvelous adventures in the pages of his tales. What's even more exciting is that he's been "reading" to Owen and explaining to Owen how he can use his imagination when he doesn't remember all the words or picks up a new book. I love it! Collin read Owen a football story last night, and on every page the Cougars ran for a touchdown! It was the highest scoring game against the Dawgs the Cougs ever had! And Owen absorbed every minute of it - laughing when Collin would dramatize the story and cheering with Collin at at the end: "Hurray, Little Cougar, you made the winning score!" It was adorable.

THEN Collin set Owen up and told him to try on his own (and Owen did try - too cute!) and Collin sat on his bed with a book we hadn't read in a while. He looked at it very closely. I listened very closely. And - drum roll please because this is new and exciting and very big - he started sounding out the letters of the words and reading! I quickly drew close to assist and support. I couldn't believe he was putting together the sounds of multiple letters and discovering words! It was totally awesome! He read a few words and went to bed so proud of himself!!

And the first word Collin ever read to himself: T-A-R-Z-A-N. Awesome!


Mt Baker Hike - Lake Ann Trail

We spent a glorious and beautiful morning up on Mt Baker yesterday with Katie, Steve, Natalie, and Sawyer. The hike was perfect ~ about a mile downhill to a blueberry meadow. All three big kids hiked the whole way down to the "blueberry promised land!"
In the pic above, Natalie is showing off the blueberry she'd just popped into her mouth! Owen, Kate and I were the hiking caboose because Owen stopped every couple of steps to pick berries and jump from/over/to rocks!

In the pic above, Kate is getting a juicy blueberry patch on her new pants! (BTW - did I ever tell you that she sits now?! She's growing so fast!)

In the pic below, Owen has blueberry lips!
Collin especially enjoyed the hike. He hiked all the way down and was the only kid to hike back up! Kevin toted Kate, Steve toted Natalie, Katie carried Sawyer, and I piggybacked Owen the mile straight back up. Congratulations, Collin (and thank you!)!
We enjoyed a picnic lunch of salami, cheese, crackers, apples, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
This pic may not be too clear, but if you look closely, Natalie, Owen and Collin are Kings and Queens of the Mountain!
I love this picture with "Dancing Sawyer" in the background:
We picnicked on a creek bed, and after lunch and nearly an hour of berry picking, the kids took off their shoes, waded in the creek, and tossed rocks. Collin and Natalie dug a well in the rocks ~ Collin said he was looking for clams, and Natalie said the well was an oven, and she was baking apple crisps!
Sawyer and Kevin picked berries until they'd filled Sawyer's belly and a 20 ounce water bottle:

In my 20 years, I've never ...

It's 4:30 p.m., and I'm walking into Owen's preschool class to gather my cub when immediately I am flagged down -

Tate: Owen cut his hair with scissors.

Me (with a quick glance towards the teacher and then laser beams on O): What?!
Teacher: In my 20 years in childcare, I've never had a child on my watch cut their hair ... many at home, but never in my class ...
Owen is clearly proud of himself and watching for my reaction. Must hold it together despite the teasing grin growing on his lips.
Me: Owen, what are scissors for?
Owen: For cutting paper!! (But his look says so much more. "Duh, I know, Mom. But you and I both know they hold another purpose!" And the grin gets bigger, teeth now peeking through.)
Me: That's right for cutting paper. Who is the only one allowed to cut your hair with scissors?
Owen: CLARA!
Me: But who cut it today?
Owen: ME!! (Stunning Pause.) Oh, sorry.

Leave it to Owen. Of course, then he just shrugged it off and ran to grab his art of his cubby so he could show me the red spider he'd drawn me - with 29 legs and two huge buggy eyes!

Luckily, Owen cut at an angle in the midst of his shaggy mop, and no one would ever know ... it's just really thinned out in the center of his forehead!