Teaching Grace Reading

A friend of mine loaned me a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It’s quite incredible. We’re on lesson 22, and Grace has learned how to sound out words and read small one and two sentence “stories.” The pace at which she learns is quite incredible. I was getting frustrated with our early attempts–she has been able to recognize all the letters in the alphabet for 2 years, but didn’t get the concept of “sounding it out.” This book changed that.

Every day, she asks if she can have “Princess Lessons.” She puts on a pretty princess dress and decides which Princess she would like to be. I’m her “teacher” and I “rescue” her from the evil stepmother or wicked queen. Reading unlocks the door to the dungeon!!!!  She loves it, and after her lesson she gets to choose a piece of candy or a sticker. It’s so cool to watch her learn.

I was reading the newspaper at 5 years old, and I’ve been a bit disappointed that she hasn’t caught on to reading as naturally as I’d expected. However, I have no idea what formal instruction I received through daycare and preschool. And I started kindergarten early, in private school.

 Anyways, this curriculum is amazing.


I’m a grammar/spelling diva, so I thought I’d share something I learned. In a recent blog, I posted about Grace lying in bed. I wasn’t sure whether the correct term was “lying” or “laying.” Basically, lay means to put an object somewhere. Lie refers to the practice of reclining. A way to remember this is “lie lies in rec-li-ning.” That’s how I’m going to remember it, anyways!

Here’s an interesting link regarding lie vs. lay.

I rushed around this morning, making oatmeal, fending off our dogs, soothing the kids’ emotional sensitivities. I had Grace dressed and ready for school, myself dressed and wrestled with AJ for about 5 minutes to get his pjs off. Another 5-10 minutes to get his pants and shirt on, and finally he succumbed to the socks and shoes. I went to get Grace. She’s lying in her bed, with a bowl of mac and cheese. (Yes, the dogs ate her oatmeal.  . . .bad dogs!)

 She told me she felt very sick. Too sick to go anywhere. She doesn’t care for Fridays because she’s a “daycare friend” then. She goes to preschool (which is a short day–only 2 hours, instead of almost 3) and then she goes to daycare for 2 hours. She doesn’t like having to be still and rest (they watch a video) when she wants to play. I promised her a trip to the Treehouse Museum if she went nicely to daycare today. I reminded her that if she missed school and daycare, she couldn’t go to Treehouse. She was fine with that. My super clue that she’s really not well.

I suspect she’s very weak and still fighting off this horrible virus thing she and AJ contracted. So much for picking up appliques at the fabric store! Here I am, home with two ill, grumpy, oversensitive children.  I do think they’re on the mend. Grace just came down and told me “I’m so sick. Can you take care of me?”  Sweet girl.

This gives me an opportunity to clean up the living room and knit my new socks. 

What a week.

Cancer Free!

My aunt Gail was diagnosed with breast cancer (her third time fighting this) last year. Chances sounded very slim that she could recover, and she has fought a long, hard battle. After her most recent pet-scan, she was declared “breast cancer free!” Hallelujah!! It’s TRULY a miracle.


Today I was buying a Starbucks gift card to send to my sister, who is a freshman in college. I wanted to encourage her at school and let her know we’re thinking about her.

Somehow that triggered a memory of how encouraging my grandmother was to me. She was so proud of me in college. She tried to call me, but of course I was never in my room. So we devised a system where I would call her collect, and instead of accepting the charge, she would decline and then call me back. She just simply could not lie, so when the collect call would come through, she would say, “Staci? Staci isn’t here. There’s no one here by that name” instead of just saying no. It was so cute.

When I was a teenager and my parents were unfair to me, I would call my grandmother and cry. She always sided with me, to my comfort. She cried with me and would talk about other times she and my grandfather felt my parents were too strict or demanding of me. She was my safety and my comfort. She told me I was her favorite, and I believed her. She made an awesome roast beef with potatoes, and always served canned cranberry sauce with dinner.

I miss her terribly. She said that she wouldn’t die until I was married. She wanted to know that I was taken care of. Well, I moved in with Terry and we had a quiet December 31 wedding with just the pastor I worked for and my parents. We had a large wedding planned for July. My grandma died in April. Technically, I WAS married, even though we hadn’t told her. I just wish she’d made it to the wedding.

She doted on me. And sometimes I look at my children and wish that she could see them. That she could see the joy they bring to me. That she could see how I have matured into a responsible woman from the flighty, silly girl I used to be. I made some disappointing choices, and I feel so badly that I ever distressed or grieved her. I wish I could ask her questions about her childhood, about her family and about how she lived so frugally, saving every last penny. I miss her watching her favorite soap opera: Days of Our Lives. And how she would throw a little bit of Polish into a conversation, such as “chee-ho-bunch” and “t00-tYe” and “juda”.

She came to my high school play and cheered me on. She loved me, and her loss has been incredibly difficult for me. It’s almost 7 years since she died, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.