Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Imagine our surprise to discover this evening that our oldest daughter is now too old to order from the kids menu. Where has the time gone?

Not so long ago Danny and I were at our wits end, trying to figure out just what our little 6 1/2 pound bundle wanted so badly that made her scream all night long. That first night home from the hospital was LONG. And now, suddenly, we have an eleven year old.

She folds laundry. She cooks pancakes and bakes cookies. She asks penetrating questions. She makes homemade bread. She dusts the house and vacuums the stairs. She manages all her own homework. She writes all her own thank you notes. She's reading through the Bible on her own. Where has the time gone?

I knew I had worked myself out of a job when I overheard a conversation in the living room the other day. Emma saw some strange markings and wondered what they were. Eliana told her they were Roman numerals. Before I could make it to the living room to seize the teachable moment, Eliana beat me to it. In one minute flat Emma (age 6) had the system down pat, thanks to a big sister who is really good at explaining things.

Eliana and I made our way downtown this weekend to visit the American Girl store. It was "Addy" day, so we brought Addy along for the adventure. And what an adventure it was! We took 3 trains to get there and 3 trains to get back. If you ever decide to brave downtown Chicago on public transportation, be sure to let me know first. I can tell you from experience how not to do it! Eventually we got there and had a lovely time. Eliana treated us to tea at the American Girl restaurant with her birthday money. What fun! Then we set out on the 2+ hour trek home.

I have always dreaded middle school. It was so rough for me, and kids can be so mean. The other night I was lying in bed when this truth dawned on me: she's ready. Eliana is ready for middle school. Changing classes and managing assignments and navigating conflict and finding solid friends. She's confident and mature, smart and fun. Now that we're here I'm not a bit worried. You go girl!


  1. Happy birthday, Eliana! I have always wanted to go the American Girl place, so you will have to tell me about it next time I see you. Sounds like you and your mom had quite an adventure together. :)

  2. Very fun to read!! I can't believe how fast the past 11 years have gone! So glad you had a special day together! Give her a big, "pick her up and twirl her around" hug for me!

  3. What a special girl! Happy Birthday Eliana :)

    I'm considering using the American Girl series to teach American History next year. Do you think the books are appropriate for Alec or are they too "girly"?

  4. Thanks to all of you for the birthday greetings for Eliana!

    I used the AG books as a supplement to the Sonlight curriculum for kindergarten. We read them all aloud and added each girl to our Sonlight timeline to help put each in context. I do think that they do a good job of introducing kids to historical periods. Are they too girly? Hmm... I would think that a few of them would work well. Addy, Josephina, and Kaya are not too girly for Alec ... but I'm not sure I would do all of them. You can see how he responds to the first set. You might check the Sonlight catalogue online for some great ideas for read alouds. Their book list is amazing, and includes a lot of great boy stories. In addition to that, you could read Kings Mountain (which is historical fiction about a battle not far from where you live!). In other words, I would use the AG books selectively along with other historical fiction to round out Alec's experience. Some of our other favorites are 'Twenty and Ten' and 'Treasures in the Snow' and 'Number the Stars' -- all about WW2.

    Eliana and I just went online and made a list of all the 6th grade Sonlight books for her to read this summer as a supplement to her public school education. We're both totally jazzed, because the curriculum is all about the Eastern Hemisphere, which means she'll be experiencing Africa and Asia through historical fiction. Should be fun!

    Let me know what you decide to do. I'll be curious how it works out. (Easton's all-time favorite website is American Girl because their games are so great. Shhh...) :)


  5. I've heard great things about The Small Woman by Alan Burgess. It's about a British missionary in pre WW2 China, based on a true story. Eliana might like it :)
    I'm going to read some of the American Girl books, as well as some others, this summer to help me determine what to use with Alec. I really like the idea of reading books, both fictional and non-fiction, written during the time period being studied. My favorite college history course did that. However, I think that may be difficult in the elementary grades so I'm looking for well researched and exciting books for children. I'll take a look at the Sonlight catalog. Thanks!