A love letter to Lucas, Age 7

by DaniGirl on February 8, 2015 · 0 comments

in Lucas

Lucas, my baby boy, today you are seven years old. Not so much a baby anymore, I guess!

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Lucas, you are warm and affectionate and curious and stubborn and an incredibly talented artist. You love nothing more in life than a blank page and the time to fill it, and I continue to be blown away by your natural artistic ability. Not only do you draw well from your own imagination, but you can mimic just about any style you see and you can easily reproduce posters, book covers and video game boxes. When I recently took up learning to draw myself and found the process rather tedious, you assured me “it’s a great start Mom! It was hard for me when I started, too – just keep practicing.”

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Aside from drawing, you love to play games. Uno, Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, Dungeons and Dragons, mancala – you are always the one most willing to play a game with me. You also love Lego and hexbugs and Sonic the Hedgehog and superheroes, and of course you love video games like Minecraft and Super Mario Bros, just like your big brothers. You’ve discovered watching videos on the tablet, and you’d do that for hours sometimes if we let you.

Two on a swing

You love to play outside, and you are always willing to go for a walk with Bella in the evenings, even when it’s wintry and cold outside. You also love to go on walks in the woods or to feed the chickadees. In the summer, your favourite place in the world is in the swimming pool – diving off the diving board and swimming in the deep end.

Winter walk to feed the chickadees

I have been sad to see you in a different class this year from your friends Owen and Cole, but I think you are finally starting to get comfortable with some new friends. This year you have invited Owen and Cole, along with Matthew, Hudson, Adam, David and Chris, to your birthday party. You insisted on a party at your house, so we turned it into an art and cupcakes party. You, of course, can hardly wait!

Sir Lucas

This year, you started grade one. In just a year, you have gone from reading your first complete book (“If you give a pig a pancake”) to reading dozens and dozens of books. You are reading way above your grade level, but you seem to like math and French in school as well. You have a quick and curious mind, and you absorb new information like a little sponge. You have a bit more of a tendency toward mischief than I’ve seen in your brothers, but I think that may be partly from boredom. I still wonder if I didn’t do you a disservice by not pushing harder to get you skipped ahead a year in Kindergarten.

Catching snowflakes

Your favourite foods are peanut butter, just about any fruit, goldfish, pizza (but with the cheese peeled off), edamame, and tacos. You’re still a bit of a picky eater, but I have confidence that you’ll come around soon. You also love to help, whether it be setting the table, putting away the silverware or acting as my sous chef.

Adventures in PEI

Lucas, you are a delightful little boy who loves to laugh and who brings joy to us every single day. I enjoy our “coffee and newspapers” mornings and silly games like “pee race” more than you can guess. I hope this is your happiest birthday and best year ever.

Birthday cupcake

Happy 7th birthday, my sweet boy. We love you!


For his birthday party this year, Lucas was insistent on an at-home party. Really, I asked. Are you SURE? I am always willing to throw money at an on-location party, partly so someone else will have to deal with the mess and the noise and the chaos, and party because I am just not the most organized person in the world sometimes and planning a party is a lot of work.

But Lucas was sure, and that’s how we ended up with seven very excited six and seven year olds in the house this afternoon for an art-themed birthday party. If you know Lucas, the art theme isn’t much of a surprise. You know what? It was noisy, and it was messy, but it was also a lot of fun. What sweet, funny kids they were.

I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough to keep them occupied, and my clever friend Sarah had suggested all sorts of fun party games to keep the kids busy and engaged. In the end, things went so quickly and so well that we didn’t even have time to play them.

So here’s how to host your own at-home party for seven year old boys without losing your sanity.

Step one: a board game. A Lego board game, to be specific. We picked up a copy of the Lego Creator game after Tristan’s awesome Lego birthday party a few years ago, and the boys played in teams of two.

Lucas' party-2

They loved it, but we ran late and had to hurry a bit toward the end.

Step two: make-yer-own t-shirts. Tristan got a set of fabric markers and a couple of blank t-shirts for his last birthday, and since then the boys have had fun making their own t-shirt designs. I picked up a handful of small plain white tees and bought a new set of fabric markers. I was afraid that boys so young wouldn’t take to it or take more than a couple of minutes before they were bored, but they really got into it.

Lucas' party-4

Of course, I probably should have seen this coming. (Sorry moms!)

Lucas' party-3

Ah, boys.

Step three: decorate your own cupcake. I picked up colourful sprinkles, silver dragees, gummy worms, smarties, skittles and gummy frogs at the Bulk Barn and Beloved baked up the most delicious cupcakes ever and frosted them in rainbow hues.

Lucas' party

I was going to put out little bowls to share all the decorations, but then I thought about seven sets of dirty fingers and virus season, and decided to make each kid his own plate with a wee bit of each of the decorations. I am getting smarter with each party, I tell you!

Lucas' party-5

And all that sugar had pretty much exactly the effect you’d expect.

Lucas' party-6

Step four: sing happy birthday, and have fun trying to blow out a sparkler.

Lucas' party-7

Step five: while the kids are opening the presents, stash each boy’s t-shirt in his loot bag with a Kinder egg, a box of mini-pencil crayons and a treat-sized playdough for the easiest! loot! bags! ever!

Lucas' party-8

Step six: hand off sugar-crazed children to their parents and enjoy the relative peace and quiet.

How did we ever think our house was noisy with just three boys in it? šŸ˜‰

In the end, the cost was almost negligible – the most expensive item was the fabric markers, and I got 40% off those with a coupon (and bonus, Lucas can keep using them on future t-shirts.) The t-shirts came to about $15, maybe $20 for cupcake decorations, chips, fruit punch, and about $3 per kid on the loot bags. There were no tears, no breakage, and no cupcakes smeared in to the sofa. And I’m pretty sure my ears will stop ringing any time now.

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A love letter to Lucas, Age 6

by DaniGirl on February 8, 2014 · 2 comments

in Lucas

My dear, sweet Lucas, today you are six! years! old!

Sweet Lucas, you are an adorable kid. You are warm and affectionate and love to share kisses and hugs, not only with your mom and dad, but grandparents and teachers, too. You draw beautiful artwork woven with expressions of “I love you mom” written right into them. I secretly hope you never grow out of the practice!

Lucas in the sunshine

You are a smart, curious boy, Lucas. You ask intriguing questions out of the blue that give me an occasional glimpse into your busy mind. “How do you stick the light to the ceiling?” and “Where does the snow go?” and “How do you see only one thing if you have two eyes?” and my favourite, “Where does the water in your mouth come from?” You are unique among your brothers for both the sheer number and the startling complexity of your inquiries.

"Take a picture of me upside down, Mom!!"

Ah, your brothers. It’s not easy being the third of three boys, but you have found many ways to cope. You will repeat yourself, never escalating your tone or volume, again and again until you are acknowledged to your satisfaction. Being the youngest leaves you in the precarious position of being both wise beyond your years and “the baby” in everyone’s eyes except your own. You’ll forgive me if I hold on to your sweet babyness for just a little while longer, won’t you?

Weekend with the cousins

You started school full days this year, even though you are still in kindergarten. I struggled for quite a while with the idea that you were too advanced for a mixed kindergarten class, and wanted to skip you ahead to Grade 1 this past fall. While I think we made the right decision, I still wonder if you weren’t more than ready for Gr 1 even now. You can read quite well now, recognizing many sight words and sounding out many more complex ones. You can count well past 100 in English and know all your colours and the seasons in French. In fact, I worried you were a little bored in school before the Christmas break, as you became quite resistant to going, but the lure of seeing your best buddies seems to be winning you over again. I still miss your company on my Wednesdays off, though!

First flower of spring!

You are a boy who knows what he likes. Currently, your favourite things are peanut butter, just about any fruit, breakfast for dinner, animals (especially dogs and cats, but you were recently charmed by a hedgehog and you love to browse at the pet store), Minecraft, daddy’s iPad, Playdough, dinosaurs, your Imaginext playsets, Lego, Hexbugs, and anything involving arts or crafts. And video games, of course.

Lazy day

You are still best friends with Owen. In fact, since you two are joined at the hip and even share the same birthday, you’ll be hosting a joint super-hero birthday party this year! Your other friends are Cole and Darrien and Hudson and Matthew and Dante. You are sweetly oblivious to the names of most of the kids in your class, especially the female ones, but you do profess great affection for Mme Spicer, Mrs Innis and Miss Cheryl.

This is totally why I had kids.

Oh my Lucas, how you can draw! You surprise me every day with your creatitity and your ability. Your talent is far beyond your years, and I am truly amazed by your drawings, not to mention the copious amounts of them. Oh the trees we have killed! How many six year olds know about primary and complementary colours, and the ROYGBIV order of the colours in the rainbow? Not only do you love to draw but you are startlingly sophisticated in your creativity.

Artist at work

You love your bedtime stories, Lucas. We have recently graduated from board books and simple storybooks to chapter books, and we are currently working our way through Charlotte’s Web. You also love the National Geographic Kids books that Daddy brings home from the library – books about everything from stars and planets to meerkats to dinosaurs, and you and Daddy have discovered the fun of iPad digital books this year. Your preferences are wide-ranging and ecclectic!


We tried to enroll you in skating lessons this past fall, but you were so miserable that we pulled you out after a few weeks. On the other hand, you adore your springtime swim lessons and one of your favourite places in the world is the Manotick pool during the summer. Although the pool closed for the season on Labour Day weekend, you asked regularly if we could go back until there was snow on the ground.

Christmas Tree Quest 2013

Another huge event in your life this year was the arrival of Bella. It was you who seemed most affected by her arrival – you were the easiest for her to catch and nip as a puppy, and your toys were the ones she found and chewed, and you are the only one not tall enough to step over the baby gates that still, to my lasting annoyance, bar the stairs and your room from her. I think it was safe to say that you did not love having a puppy in the house, but you do love her now. Every night, the two of you charge up and down the hallway together, and you’ve learned that if you give her a toy to carry, she doesn’t try to catch your pajamas with her teeth as you play. It’s sweet to see how much she obviously loves you and your brothers, despite the fact that you might occasionally forget to be gentle with each other.

There's a new girl in town!

Lucas, I could go on for pages telling you how much joy you bring to our lives. You are a delightfully affectionate, clever, sweet boy. You charm us, you delight us, and you make us laugh. You’re a wonderful companion and a talented artist and you hold your own ground impressively against two older brothers.

Black and white beauties on the beach

Happy sixth birthday, my adorable Lucas. We love you!!


A love letter to Lucas, Age 5

by DaniGirl on February 8, 2013 · 6 comments

in Lucas

My sweet baby Lucas, you are FIVE years old today!

Snowman fun-5

Lucas, you are growing up waaaaaay too quickly. Not only are you five years old, but you are a clever and advanced for five, so much so that sometimes we forget you’re still wee. And I know for a fact you think you’re a peer to your older brothers, age-gap be damned.

Christmas torture

Lucas, you are a sweet, loving and independent fellow who knows his own mind. Your two favourite things are drawing and jigsaw puzzles, although you like crafts, playdough and video games a lot, too. You go through reams of paper each week, drawing Sonic and puffles and creepers and Willie the cat and whatever else catches your creative fancy. You’re just learning your letters, so what was an independent act is now a joint effort as we spell and you write your captions carefully (and often backwards).


You are half way through your first year at school and you seem to love it. You especially love your teachers, and are disconcerted when there’s a substitute in the classroom. Your mates are Cole and Logan and Rachel and Owen, but your best friend seems to be Meg from daycare. You are impatiently counting the days until full-day kindergarten next year, when you get to go to school all day long like your big brothers, but I love our Wednesday afternoons together and I will deeply miss them when you’re at school all day. You’re a great companion on our afternoon errands, and I am so grateful for the time we have been able to spend together.

Off to school

This year, you will have your first big-boy birthday party at A Gym Tale – a little bit delayed, but you’ve showed your usual patience with even that. You are very excited about the super-hero theme, and have said that for your birthday dinner today you want your favourite meal: breakfast with bacon and eggs, toast and homefries, and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and colourful letters on it.

Boy on a bike

You love music and listening to songs on the iPod. You also love games, online and off, and hold your own playing Uno and Yahtzee and Catan Junior with the family. You don’t have much patience for being babied anymore, even though you still have one foot firmly in preschooler land. Thankfully, you still love Max and Ruby, for example, and Bubble Guppies and Toopy and Binoo, and you still play happily in with your toys in an imaginative world of your own making.

Uno on the porch

You love the library and books of all sorts. This year, we’ve enjoyed discovering the world of Mr Putter and Tabby, and Henry and Mudge, and a slew of Robert Munsch books. And to my amazement, you’ve lately started reading to ME at night, carefully sounding out the words in the first books of the BOB series of books for beginning readers.

Lime Kiln Trail 2012

Of all the boys, I think you loved our cruise this past fall the best. Six months later, you still mention it randomly and out of the blue every now and then: “I miss the boat Mommy. When can we go on another cruise?” You also very much miss our “Manotick pool” this long winter, but after October or November you at least stopped asking about it weekly. You also started swimming lessons this year, and of course you loved them.

Apple picking 2012 (11 of 11)

You are a sweet and loveable boy, Lucas. You are generous with your hugs and kisses, and you seem to be slowly overcoming your deep shyness with strangers. You battle fiercely with your brothers on occasion, especially Simon, and you are a relentless snitch! You are also loquacious and imaginative, and have a wonderful appreciation for a good knock-knock joke.

"Mom, take a picture of us cuz we're cute!"

My sweet Lucas, you bring joy and sunshine into our lives every single day. I still can’t quite believe you’re not a toddler in diapers any more – wasn’t that just yesterday? You’re growing into a fine young boy and we are very proud of you.


Happy birthday, my darling Lucas!! We love you!


I thought I had it all under control. Clearly, I did not.

Poor Lucas, poster boy for the third child, has reached the ripe old age of five and has never had a birthday party. Knowing this, we started making plans to ensure he actually got one this year in December, even though his birthday is February 8. A good six weeks in advance, we called and booked a party room and worked out a guest list. It was a lock.

Last Friday I was supposed to get the invitations, but I forgot them on my desk at work. Annoyed with myself, I figured two weeks less two days would still be plenty of notice. That Monday afternoon I sat down and wrote out all the invitations, confirmed the guest list with Lucas and stuffed them into his backpack to be distributed the next day at school. That’s when I found the invitation FOR Lucas, from a classmate.

For the same day.

For the same place.

For the very next time slot.

Yeah. Four straight hours of birthday party might be a little much for your average four year old to bear, don’t you think?

Luckily, I recognized the RSVP name as a mom who is also on the school council with me. I felt comfortable enough to call her and cross-check against her invitee list against mine, hoping there wouldn’t be too much duplication. The girls were no problem, he hadn’t wanted to invite any girls (Lucas takes after Simon in this regard; his bestie is a girl) but he had invited every boy in the class. Heartbroken for Lucas, I called to reschedule the party and the soonest time slot I could get was 10 days after his birthday. So much for planning.

Really, that was nothing more than circumstance and bad luck (although I can’t help castigating myself for not getting those invites out earlier!!) but I really can’t blame anyone but myself for what happened with Simon’s party.

Knowing the boys were desperate for their own handheld devices, we gave Tristan and Simon a choice this year – a big party and a little gift or a little party and an iPod Touch. Neither one hesitated to choose the iPod, of course. So we told them they could have three or four friends over in lieu of a party, and we’d have an extended sort of play date with cupcakes and birthday presents. (And then I scored the iPods at half off during a refurb sale after Christmas. Win-win!!)

So I picked up some invitations and wrote out three five (I am such a softie) and Simon sent them off to his friends last week. It was only earlier this week that I realized what I had done, or more specifically what I had NOT done. I hadn’t made a note, mental or otherwise, of what time we had put on the invitations.

“Um, Simon?”

“Yes Mommy?”

“Do you remember what time we put on the invitations for the party on Saturday?”

“Um, no?”


I mean, it wasn’t a big deal. We would be home anyway. I was pretty sure I’d said 1:00, or maybe it was 1:30. It might have been 2:00. Probably not as late as 3:00, right? Hmmm. The only challenge would be coordinating the arrival of the grandparents, who wanted to appear in time for cupcakes but not endure two hours of a houseful of kids hepped up on birthday energy. I figured I’d just call them when kids started showing up and tell them to show up in an hour.

But, it was bugging me, so I casually approached one of the moms today at school pick-up.

“Hey, how are ya? Warm out today, eh?” I said, and we chatted briefly about the unseasonable warmth. “So, I um, have a kind of a favour to ask. Do you, um, happen to remember what time I put on the invitation for Simon’s party?” She thought it was hilarious and confirmed that it was, in fact, for 1:30.

I thought THAT was one of my finer parenting moments, until the phone rang earlier this evening.

Ring ring.

Me: “Hello?”

Child’s voice: “Um, hi. Is this Simon’s mom?”

Me: “Yep, that’s me! Did you want to talk to Simon?”

Child: “Um, actually, no. I was calling to talk to you.”

Me, mildly surprised: “Oh, okay then. What’s up?”

Child: “Well, Simon said you forgot what time the party is, and we thought that it might be important that you know, you know? So I checked the invitation, and it says 1:30. Just so, you know, you, um, know. Okay?”

Me, dying: “That is very considerate of you sir. We will look forward to seeing you on Saturday.”

One of my finer moments indeed.

Moral of the story: do not, under any circumstances, hire me as a party planner.


Flashback faves: BOB books

by DaniGirl on January 29, 2013 · 0 comments

in Books, Lucas

Almost six years ago, I wrote this sponsored blog post for MotherTalk books, which eventually became Mom Central Canada. Tristan was five and a half at the time, and I still remember how he gobbled up the BOB books for beginning readers. Last week, we dusted them off for a-week-shy-of-five-years-old Lucas, and watched the same delight sparkle in his eyes as he read them to me. (The original blog post was sponsored, but I’m sharing again because you have a little one who knows most of the alphabet and the sounds they make, these books really are terrific!)


I have a confession to make. I didn’t read a single book in the boxed set I’m supposed to be reviewing today for my stop on MotherTalk’s Bob Books blog tour. In fact, I had them read to me – by Tristan, my five year old son.

(pause for gasps of delight and surprise)

Yep, it’s true. Neither one of us imagined he could read a whole sentence, let alone an entire book, and yet by the end of the first day, HE had read to ME not one, not two, not even four, but FIVE books of the twelve book boxed set. And they say boys tend to have trouble with reading!

BOB booksThe Bob Books are designed for beginning readers. Each book in the set of 12 introduces a few new letters and increasingly complex sentence structures. The letters seem to roughly follow the same introduction schedule as the Jolly Phonics program they’ve been using at Tristan’s school – first M and S and A, then D and B, then G and H, etc. Book one starts with simple constructions like “Mat sat.” By the fifth book, he was sounding out full sentences like, “Dot and Mit sit on a mat.” A little thin on plot, maybe, and they lacked character development. But it was really something to watch Tristan sound out new words and assimilate familiar ones with only a little bit of coaching from me, and the look in his eyes as he realized he was actually reading was truly a great moment in my parenting career. His attention span is a little sketchy sometimes, so I was delighted when we finished one book and then another and he continued to ask me if we could keep reading. It was his idea to continue through the box, not mine, and he was eager to continue reading books to Beloved the next night at bedtime, too.

It was also a good way for me to see where we might have to do a little more work. He was having trouble distinguishing between a lower case “n” and “h” for a bit, and confusing his “b” and “d” (I’ll give it a bit before I start to panic about dyslexia, which does run rather rampant though my family.) Like his mother, he wants to be able to rush ahead without actually reading the letters themselves, and I had to keep reminding him to slow down and read the words and not just guess based on the picture. “Trust the letters,” I told him. “The pictures can be tricky, but the letters will always tell you the truth.” I was really astonished at how quickly he assimilated entire words. By the end of the fifth book, he didn’t have to stop to sound out “the” or “and” or “is”.

I was really impressed by the first set of Bob books, and was pleased to see that there are four additional sets we can work through. (You can read more about them on the official Bob Books website.) Might be a good way for me to invest the $20 gift certificate I’ll be getting for this MotherTalk sponsored review!


Wordless Wednesday – Lucas’s first day of school

12 September 2012 Lucas

I thought I’d have more to say, but I don’t eve know where to start. After four and a half years of sharing my Wednesdays with Lucas, I’ve just come home to an empty house after dropping him off at his first day of school. I miss him. Is it 11:30 yet?

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“But I don’t want a curly-haired teacher!”

24 August 2012 Ah, me boys

We’re at the dinner table (how many of my posts start out like this? I adore our family dinners!) and discussing the kindergarten teachers at the school. Lucas begins junior kindergarten this year – I’m not ready! Between being on the school council and picking the boys up at the school, I know most of […]

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A love letter to Lucas, Age 4

8 February 2012 Lucas

My sweet Lucas, today you are FOUR years old! In the last few weeks and months, so many of our family and friends have commented on how much you’ve grown up recently. You’ve lost your pudgy toddler stance and are now growing long and lean like your oldest brother. Your face is still sweetly soft, […]

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Liveblogging the move to a big-boy bed

1 March 2011 Lucas

So I had this idea that I would live-blog Lucas’s move to a big-boy bed. I mean, this is the last time I get to do this, right? After nine years of faithful and nearly constant service (save for a quick break from 2006 through 2008) this crib has logged near-constant use. I even sat […]

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