Half a Decade

June 23, 2014


This guy: five.  Incredible and not, at the same time.  As is my custom these days, this post is woefully belated. We celebrated his half-a-decade on Mother’s Day.  It seems our lot to share that festive weekend most years. Quite appropriate, I’d say, since this young man is the one who made me a mother.

The picture above was taken by my sister and is a very accurate reflection of his personality.  Not much gets this boy down and he’s basically full of merriment and wonder and conversation from sun up to sun down.  The scab on his cheek reflects his home gymnastics escapades, of which there are many.  The Navy t-shirt was a gift from Uncle Sam, who graciously led the kids and their cousins on a rowdy tour of his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy, in honor of Silas’ birthday.

Our boy is patriotic and military-loving to his core.  He’d probably tell you that his favorite color, red, is followed closely in his estimation by white and blue; for the U.S. flag, of course.  And his favorite songs are “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” and… “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Silas loves to learn, truly, and to share information with others.  We’ve begun our homeschool kindergarten this summer, and I’m hoping he can make the leap into reading in the not-too-distant future.  All the stereotypes of boys and school are true, it seems: this guy looks for any opportunity to slip under the table or out the back door the minute I’m not hovering over his work with him.  He rocks in his chair and has little interest in coloring…though his interest in that sphere is growing and so is his ability to draw more realistically.  And he loves “science activities” and “science experiences” as he alternately calls experiments.  Particularly the kind that involve mixing water and flour and putting the concoction in the freezer to see what happens.

As many kids this age are, I’m sure, he’s a curious blend of independent and dependent.  Melts into a puddle if he’s been left “all alone” on the second floor of the house, but perfectly content to speed away from us on his bike headed to whichever neighborhood playground suits his fancy that day.

He’s great with his little sister, making sure she doesn’t do the things she’s not allowed to and giving her spontaneous hugs & kisses.  {Both boys call her “Baby” and it’ll be funny to see how long that nickname holds.}  And he’s super competitive with Asher, making for some challenging days.  They can play baseball and Duplos and “water play” for eons without a peep; or an entire day can be spent with tattle-taling (?) and verbal sparring and time-outs on the couch.  But then I’ll catch a peek of them trying to walk arms-around-each-others-shoulder and calling each other “Broth” and I just about die from the sweetness.

He’s a hard-worker, that one.  Well, when he wants to!  He loves to shop-vac, and to water the garden, and to wash the car and the dishes, and to fold laundry (and iron dish towels!).  And if someone has a leaf blower we could borrow…that boy’s day is made!

Silas loves God and we’re hoping and praying that his head knowledge of the Bible will continue to permeate his heart and guide his actions.  That he would grow in compassion and kindness and generosity and self-sacrifice daily.

Happy fifth birthday, Silas Alexander!


She’s One!

April 2, 2014

It happened two weeks ago but…life.  So, here’s a quick peek at our newest toddler!

DSC_0080No, really, isn’t she the cutest?


She’s been our earliest in the mobility department (excepting her actual birth, haha!).  First steps at 11.5 months, with serious choosing-walking-over-crawling firmed up a week after her birthday. She’s an explorer and a climber.

Her words include “oh-oh” when she drops something intentionally,  a breathy “hiiiii” when she sees you or peeks around a corner, “Dadadadada” whenever she spies Aaron, “Maaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaa” in tears from the crib, “Ssssssssss” for Silas, “Shh” for Asher, and lots of mimicking sounds.

Generally in a good mood, she’s always elated to see her brothers.  She loves them to pieces and they feel the same way towards her.  I foresee lots of wrestling and fort-building in the future.  Adeline is still a Mama’s girl (nursery settings are finally manageable but she cries the minute I walk in, assuring me I was missed), but she’s strongly attached to Dad and loves to cuddle with him and her blankie.

She weaned in the last week or so, and without a fuss.  Sigh.  But it was becoming a battle with biting as her weapon and, well, that thick creamy cow’s milk just tastes so good.  I’m enjoying the new freedom and Aaron can now put her to bed.

Adeline enjoyed a cake at her cousin Liam’s birthday party to celebrate turning one.  And then her parents promptly left her with family as they rushed Asher to Urgent Care to get stitches in his forehead.  Oh, that boy…

We love our little girl!  Happy belated birthday, Adeline Elizabeth!

The Eagle Has Landed

February 2, 2014

A HUGE congratulations to Michael A. Clement on his achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout!

DSC_0130Father dearest, Eagle Sam, Eagle Michael, Life Scout Thomas, Mother dearest.

DSC_0052State Del. Cathy Vitale presenting a citation.  Enormous crucifix as backdrop and conversation starter.

DSC_0124Sam and Liam.  The young boys were having a blast; so many young men to look up to (literally) and aspire to be like.  It helped that there was a soda bar and a huge sheet cake at the event; always a good time.


A tie tack for Pa.


The Eagle medal for Michael.  Ma received a pin, but we don’t have the photos to prove it.


Cookie cakes as my contributions to the vittles.  Boy Scout slogan and motto, respectively.

Good work, Michael!  You put in many years of hard work to achieve this, and everyone is very proud of you.  Enjoy the rest of that sub sandwich!


Three is Nice

January 24, 2014


This guy.  He’s had a rough past two months (a longer story for another day) with his shattered elbow, botched surgery,  bone infection, nine day hospital stay, and PICC line for at-home IV administration.  But he turned three last week!  And boy did we live it up.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother, he asked for a firetruck cake.  He chose chocolate for the inside and got, as is the custom, pink on the outside.  We had pepperoni pizza (with the pepperonis removed, of course!  but don’t you dare try to order just plain cheese…it’s different somehow).  He got fabulous books and trucks and slippers as gifts.

Then it was off to the aquarium via the MARC train on the weekend.  We had waffled on whether to shell out the big bucks on the aquarium but when we got to the Inner Harbor (via taxi!  how cosmopolitan!  and why is it legal to go sans car seats?!) and felt the winter winds whipping our hair and frosting our noses in below freezing temps, we pulled out our wallets and said “tickets for 5!” faster than…well…something fast.



IMG_2630It was a wonderful time.  We chose to forgo a birthday party this year for a variety of reasons: Asher’s health (trying to stay clear of viruses!), the weather (poor winter babies — it’s so hard to have a birthday party exclusively indoors), and his personality (too much attention and he kind of shuts down).  He’s a family boy, this middle child of ours, and he loves nothing better than to be with his parents and sibs.  So a family outing was just the ticket!

This old blog here was kinda dying, but when I look back on the posts I’ve written for my boys’ birthdays, I’ve been so glad I took the time to record their little personalities and idiosyncrasies.  Hence today’s post.

So, without further ado, to my second son:

Asher, we’re so thankful we had such an insane past few months with your health because, despite the setbacks and fears and outright frustrations, we’ve gotten to know you so much better than ever before.  Those eight nights and nine days (yes, we counted!) you and your Dad spent in the hospital together were such a time a bonding and trust-building.  Your vocabulary skyrocketed as you learned to communicate with doctors and nurses and your parents like never before (“Are you going to do anything to me?”).  You watched Despicable Me more times than we ever imagined possible, yet you still can’t pronounce the title  (“Spick-uh-da Me”).

Your pain tolerance is out of this world.  You had Motrin a handful of times, and always at the nurse’s initiation, not because of complaints.  You are so conscientious of your cast (now splint!) and PICC line, and all our fears of bringing a preschooler home with such things vanished when we saw how you took care of them and alerted us to any problems.  Your attention to detail is amazing, as you remind us of the steps we need to take when we flush the PICC line (“white then blue!”  “wipe the top AND sides”).

You now love to be read to.  Sure, you can’t always make it through a long book, but you now ask to be read to multiple times a day.  And I’m just gonna say it: you are an out and out control freak.  I’d venture to say more than the average preschooler.  You want to know the order of the day, and consistently make demands (“and after breakfast, you can read a book and then after that book can you read another book and then can we watch a show?  And then another show?  Just two shows…just two little shows…and one more?”)  Heck, I won’t even be finished reading something before you’ve hopped off the couch to grab the next book and you won’t rest until I’ve answered in the affirmative that that book will, in fact, be the next book read.  I’m not sure this is all making sense in writing, but you are an insistent, fixated young man.

You and Silas play together so well these days.  I’ll be all set to move us on to the next activity for the day (say, getting dressed or something else equally exciting) but then I’ll overhear the imaginary play you two are engaged in (with you holding your own!), and I just can’t bring myself to interrupt.  So I tiptoe away so as not to break the spell.  You love to make everything (trains, trucks, stuffed animals, kitchen utensils) into families: a mother, father, and kids with baby falsetto voices.  It’s hilarious.  There are also about 25 stuffed animals and both of your little sister’s baby dolls in your bed.  You’re a cuddly fellow.

I’ve enjoyed your enthusiasm in jumping right into home school with your brother.  At your age, Silas couldn’t be bothered with worksheets and such, but you love that kind of thing.  You’re doing quite well with your colors and shapes, and you’ve definitely got the letter “A” figured out.  You always want to participate in the work, never choosing the option to just stay in the family room playing.

Food is a major battle these days.  Dinner, to be exact.  You always walk into the kitchen and ask what’s for dinner and immediately pronounce “I don’t like that.”  Pancakes and pizza, the only meals that meet with your approval.  Sigh.

You are looking forward to taking swimming lessons and dance classes soon, and we can’t wait to sign you up.  You have a natural grace when you move through the house, and you can’t help but sway when you hear a passing beat.  I do think you could be a great dancer if it interests you.

My favorite thing that you are saying these days is “I love you, too, Mom” out of nowhere and usually accompanied by a hug around the legs.

We love you, too, Asher.  Happy birthday!

Here Comes the Bride

October 8, 2013

This past weekend, my sister-in-law and I hosted a bridal shower for our newest future sister-in-law, Nhi.  It was a family shower, and it was wonderful to catch up with relatives from the far-flung regions of Alexandria, Beltsville, Fredericksburg, King George, and the like.  Really, it’s shameful how infrequently we get together!

I only managed to snap a few photos on my phone.  But look at that cake!  Thanks to Whitney for the delicious dessert that had even our “light eaters” finishing their pieces.

shower 2My contribution: the chalkboard sign and the lunch items.

shower 3shower 1Looking forward to the wedding in December!  Southern California here we come!