mommy dearest

I'm reading a new book -
Breaking the Good Mom Myth: Every modern mom's guide to getting past perfection, regaining sanity, and raising great kids, by Alyson Schafer.

and here's a blurb (ok, it's really a few paragraphs) I'd like to share to get you (and me) thinking ...

"I don't think it helps matters that our generation is coming into motherhood at a time in parenting history when our culture wholeheartedly believes that children are ever-so-fragile and utterly-dependent. we feel that whatever happens to them is on our shoulders, we have taken on the entire responsibility for how our children's lives evolve, and that's a BIG deal! we're near paralyzed by the fear that we simply can't afford to slip up. we're told that what we do as mothers will forever cast their future. how do you like having that responsibility?

so, what do we do? we take on childrearing with the same driven attitude and perfectionism that our achievement-oriented, competitive culture espouses for seemingly every task these days, from education and careers to driving, cooking, and sure, why not go for your black belt in yoga while we're being ludicrous? "competitive peacefulness." wow - this is a sign of how far off the mark we've come!

parenting has become a competitive pursuit, and it's fuelled by a child-focused culture that has our children on a precious pedestal. we've lifted the childrearing to new heights. this is no longer an intuitive job for the masses. no. it apparently requires resources, research, and skills training to "execute." seems we're now in the business of "people-building" and "unlocking potentials," and frankly, it's starting to look a lot more like project management than parenting, without kids become the measure of our mothering success. yech! the trouble is, our own self-worth is so tied to it all that we can't seem to let go of it, even when we know better. let's face it - deep inside we abide by the belief that if we fail motherhood, it will be our ultimate failure and, alternately, if our children "work out," it's our crowning accomplishment. isn't it? are we courageous enough to admit it?"

wow. well, what do you think about that?
to me it sounds a bit extreme, but that is the kind of world we live in now. you have to be the best of the best, at any job or talent, in order to stand out or move ahead. could parenting be included in the competition?

I would have to agree with that last part, I would feel failure if my kids became unsuccessful in some way. whether it was being homeless and jobless, or just unhappy with their life. at the same time, I know their lives are in God's hands, not mine. God has given me these children to mold; in teaching them I teach myself, yet He holds control ... luckily. it could very well be His will that Sam be homeless - God's glory can be revealed in countless ways, and that's the part I need to focus on.

I tend to get jealous rather than competitive. it's not any better; jealousy can still eat away at you and tear down your confidence. I know a constant disappointment in myself, in any area, will find its way onto my kids ... that's how evil spirits work; a deeply rooted issue of ANY kind inevitably gets passed on. so, realizing my weaknesses, I try to change it.

as silly as it sounds, I think part of my new crafting kick with Sam is because I've gotten jealous of other moms. they're able to do it and enjoy it, but mostly because their child(ren) have a creative outlet that I just wasn't providing. instead of sitting there being envious any longer, now I too am providing it.

creativity shapes a child's mind, and I think children should have some options for expressing themselves. I often think about what Sam will be when he grows up, and I believe stuff like this can make a big difference. so maybe when he's angry, he'll make a violent-looking, abstract painting rather than yelling at someone or punching his fist in the wall. does that even make sense? well, in my mind it does. if for nothing else, we're making memories, right?

anyway, back to the book -
I think as I'm reading it, there will be more good stuff to blog about. I'll keep you posted.

100 things about me

1. I was born in Illinois
2. I hate it when people pronounce the "s" ... it's silent people!
3. I have 1 sister, she is 3 years older
4. my parents are still together
5. as a kid, I remember wanting to be a vet when I grow up
6. the person I've known the longest, I met when I was 4 years old
7. I'm married and have 2 kids
8. I'm right handed
9. I know how to drive a stick-shift, but I don't like to
10. I've been to 8 states
11. I've lived in 4 states
12. I love Jesus
13. I have a major sweet tooth
14. I love to watch movies
15. I hold the Tetris championship title at my house!
16. I enjoy cooking and baking goodies
17. I have few friends
18. I don't like to dress up
19. I have an AA degree, and one day I'll actually finish my BA
20. I used to do a lot of drugs
21.  hubby was my drug dealer for awhile, that's how we met. isn't that romantic?!
22. I don't like to wear jewelry; only my wedding ring and my small white gold hoop earrings
23. I make multiple to-do lists
24. I LOVE clean sheets on my bed.  it's the best feeling!
25. my favorite smell is to walk into a bakery
26. if you rub my head long enough, I will fall asleep
27. a foot rub is nice too!
28. I don't know how to properly put on make-up
29. I consider myself low-maintenance
30. I turned 30 this year, I'm officially an adult
31. I had fake nails once, I absolutely hated it!
32. my biggest pet peeve is when people drag their feet when they walk.  either their shoes are too big, or they just never learned how to walk properly!
33. my favorite color is blue
34. I've never worn a bikini and I've accepted the fact that I never will
35. I respect self-discipline
36. I love to see the sunshine coming through the clouds, so beautiful
37. if I'm on a phone call, I will not answer the call waiting.  I think it's rude
38. one day, I want to see the Roman coliseum and tour the underground chambers
39. another day, I want to see the pyramids in Egypt
40. when I'm sick I want to be babied.  and when you're sick, I want to baby you.
41. I enjoy doing charity work
42. I need to drink more water than I do
43. I love to go out to eat, most anywhere
44. I'm addicted to email
45. I haven't had a paying job in 5 years
46. I can't sleep naked, I always wake up cold in the middle of the night
47. I don't like my hands
48. I'm living in a place I never thought I would again - southern CA
49. I have chapstick everywhere I go, can't seem to live without it
50. I shave my legs only when I have to
51. I love cheese 
52. I love animals, but not bugs
53. I like white wine, but not red
54. I don't eat fish - yuck!
55. I like a clean and organized house
56. I hate doing the dishes
57. I prefer blue ink pens over black
58. I've never broken a bone
59. I have a tattoo and I don't like it anymore
60. I went to school for interior design, but I want to be more of a Martha Stewart type instead
61. I love the feeling of sweatpants after swimming in a pool - oh so cozy!
62. I love campfires
63. I'm part Italian and part German
64. I hate the chore of washing my face and brushing my teeth at night, and sometimes I'll skip it all together
65. I'm jealous of those with the natural gifts of singing and/or dancing
66. my signature scents are: Baby Grace by Philosophy and Beautiful by Estee Lauder 
67. I like to go shoe shopping, but not really clothes shopping
69. I've never gotten a speeding ticket
70. almost went to jail in Mexico - that was scary!  ... long story
71. I want to go on a cruise; hubby can't help but think of Titanic
72. I wish I never have to see a dentist again
73. I love Target
74. I'm scared of the dark
75. technically, I live with 5 boys
76. I worry about my pants zipper being down and/or if there are boogers hanging out of my nose - those are 2 things no one seems to let you know about.
77. I am not on the Starbucks bandwagon
78. I want to play with chimpanzee's for a day
79. I will never go skydiving, ever
80. I hate to be interrupted, no matter what it is I'm saying
81. I'm getting lots of grey hair
82. I believe actions speak louder than words
83. one day I will have my black and silver jaguar ... no car seats allowed, sorry kids!
84. when I can design my own house, I will make sure to have 2 ovens and a warming drawer in my kitchen, heated floors in my bathroom, a fireplace in my bedroom, and grand foyer entrance with storage space.
85. I love Disneyland
86. I think leaders are born AND made
87. bottled water is always yummy
88. I am an ice cream junky
89. I hate to clean bathrooms
90. I've never had fondue, but am so excited to try it
91. I'd rather be cold than hot
92. I used work piercing ears...and got fired for piercing someone underage, oops!
93. I hate when people drive across a parking lot, soooo dangerous
94. my favorite cheap food is Taco Bell
95. toe rings are cute
96. I can curl my tongue, can you?
97. I love to go for walks outside
98. I don't like going to the gym, they all smell
99. I think whoever combined chocolate and peanut butter is a genius!
100. I believe things happen for a reason

fun weekend

this weekend was fun and totally laid back.
I took the boys to Gma/Gpa's house for a sleepover.
there are now a few extra items to bring along, but all and all, it wasn't too bad.

I've decided that I want to be a beach bum.  I could've been there all day!
Gma and Sam

a wave caught them and they both went under just minutes before this.
too bad I didn't have the camera ready for that one!  

Gpa and Eli

Gpa was talking baby jibberish and Eli was lovin' it!
such a kodak moment!

Samuel and Elliott

major resemblance, huh?
I often wonder who they will look like when they get older.
so far they both look like their mama ... so I'm told.
I love these kiddos!

Sam cannot wait to have a playmate.  here's how they play now.

introducing King Samuel

we made a crown today, just because.
I don't have any real glitter, but used sprinkles from my baking goodies. once all the glue on the crown was dry, Sam started to pick of the "glitter" and eat it. so does that mean I buy real glitter for next time, I'm sure that won't taste very good, or maybe that should be the point.  or I could stick with the sugar, because no doubt he'll try to eat it again ... oh Sam!

I'm really starting to enjoy these crafts we make. I found the kids craft book section at the library and found a couple of great ones that focus on recycling your junk to make ... cool new junk! so start collecting you toilet paper rolls for binoculars, water bottles for bird feeders, and your egg cartons for all kinds of stuff! it's fun! note to self: just make sure baby is asleep before you start anything!


today Eli gets his first set of vaccinations. I'm nervous for him ... it's going to hurt, the poor baby! I believe whether or not kids gets vaccinated, God is in control. there are big risks when it's done and big risks when it's not. I honestly haven't done too much research on it; I've going with my 6th sense on this one. it's so controversial now and it's difficult to find the truth among everyone's opinion. Sam received all of his and Eli will too. God protect them.

Eli survived all 5 shots; barely. he cried of course right away and by the time he got the 3rd shot, his whole head was bright red. he did one of those screams that doesn't make any noise at all, which means it must have really hurt. I'm so glad it's done ... although more will come in just 2 more months.
he's growing growing growing! he's 8 weeks old yesterday, and he weighed in at 11 lbs 14 oz and is now 22" long. it so cool to know that my body is still helping him to grow; magic milk. there are times I can literally feel the energy leaving through my boobs. in the doctor's waiting room there was a medical tv show on and it said milk production burns between 200-500 calories per day, which is equal to 1 hour on the bike or 30 laps in the pool ... and who has time for that?! thank you, I'll keep making milk. it's like my super power, I can do it anytime, anywhere.

ponder this

so Eli's other ear is fine. in fact there was nothing there at all. could spit up somehow collect back there? it never did bother him, and there was nothing coming out of his ear, so I don't think it was any kind of discharge or infection. strange.

I'll still wash back there ... but not everyday.

different subject -
I found this in a parenting magazine: 7,000 - the number of children under the age of 11 hospitalized each year after having a reaction to an over-the-counter or prescription cough or cold medicine.
now it does also say the 2/3 took drugs without supervision - duh parents!! - but still, isn't that crazy?! don't be so quick to give your kids medication of any kind.

mother knows best?

I just finished feeding Eli. I was nursing in the livingroom and there is nothing to do but sit there and watch him eat. yes it's sweet to watch, to sit and think about him and the bond that's growing stronger just by him eating ... but I've thought all about that since the beginning, and this time I was just simply bored!
so I'm looking around for something to do, something to read, something to figit with, and I see that cute little earlobe of his. his skin is so soft and I can see little peach-fuzz hair on him. so I start caressing his ear, playing with it, and then I flip it to see the back side ... oh my goodness. I would guess he's like five years old with all the gunk behind his ear; it took me by total surprise!! well, I found something to clean while sitting there.
do you always clean behind your ears? as in literally moving your earlobe to scrub? I don't think I ever do ... but I suppose I'll start!

my mom is a firm believer in bathing your baby everyday, no matter what. even after what I saw, I still won't bathe him everyday - sorry mom. I know you're reading this mom, and I probably won't hear the end of this one, right?! I guess I bathe for odor, and babies don't smell ... aside from those lovely poopy diapers, but then you use wipes to clean them and they're fine. I bathe Eli probably every 3-4 days. Sam on the other hand gets one just about every night; that kid gets gross; dirty and smelly.

check your ears ... and you kids' ears too.
another lesson learned!

each moment

it hit me that I haven't been living in the moment like I thought I was. I want to be able to just relish in everything because, in all honesty, I'm incredibly blessed with the family I have, with the things provided for me, and with the ability to stay home and raise my two boys. but today I 'got the feeling' that something wasn't quite right ... God will do that to me from time to time.

I was caught up in doing something, can't remember what it was now so obviously not too important, and I heard Eli crying. "ok," I thought, "I'll give him a minute," and went back to whatever it was that I was doing. I did that like 3 times before I actually went to him, and of course by then, his face was all red and he was more than upset. the second I saw the look in his face, it broke my heart and I felt incredibly guilty for making anything else a priority.
I feel like a bad mother as I'm writing this ... but the good news is I got the message!
Eli is under 2 months old, still a newborn, still very much in need of his mama. he was inside me so much longer - why wouldn't he still need to be held ALL the time?! and snuggle ALL the time?! and want to nurse ALL day long?!
I was so happy and honored to do that when he was born. 2 months of not sleeping, losing energy, chasing a 3 year old around, while trying to get back into a routine of dinner, cleaning house, storytime, and playdates led me to not make time for what baby really needs, which is a strong bond with mama.
it didn't turn off like a switch, which probably would be easier to just turn back on, but it was slow and almost unrecognizable. of course he's fed, clothed, and comes with me wherever I go, but it's often done without love and more like out of responsibility. I don't EVER want my kids to feel like a burden. I'm sure that comes through my attitude as well as my actions. ok, lesson learned!

a funny twist ...
I got this new understanding mid-day, so I decided to use the snugli frontpack the rest of the evening. like most babies, he loves it! he loves being close to me and hearing my heartbeat again; he doesn't stay awake very long. I don't mind wearing it at all; it surprisingly doesn't hurt my back to wear it and my hands are free to do whatever.
so he's sound asleep and I have to go to the bathroom. well, I can't unload him and put him in his bouncy seat; he'd probably wake up and plus I don't want him to get used to me leaving him like earlier. I tried holding it, ignoring it, but when you gotta go, you gotta go! so I went ... with the snugli attached ... it was interesting to say the least. have you ever tried to do that?! he slept through the whole thing, surprisingly.
now tell me, is that crossing the line? I realize that even though baby is physically out of me, he's still very much dependent on me so it's like we're still attached, but I couldn't decide just how ridiculous it was to go to the bathroom with him on me like that. it must be love!

turns out ...

I'm not a chili fan.  we went to a chili cook-off in Big Bear yesterday.  when we were living in Reno, we went to the rib cook-off and that was soooooo yummy.  you figure you're going to get the best in the area at one of these things, but as it tuns out, I just don't like chili!
oh well, we still had fun.

Sam wanted to try the rock wall.   he's just 3, but he's always been such a climber. I knew he wouldn't make it to the top; it was pretty high.  but he did make it 1/4 of the way up.  he loved it and of course, he wants to go again!

we also went to the lake to dip our toes and throw in some rocks.  luckily we had some cloud cover, so it was a perfect summer day.

fun with paint

here's an interesting idea; a new spin to painting.
put some paint in a bowl, add a bit of water and stir.  you don't want it complete liquid, but the consistency of a thin gravy ... if that makes sense.  then you pour a bit onto the paper in blobs and let the kids blow it with a straw.

not so much a pretty picture, but it's more for the interaction, to see the cause and effect.  Sam likes to be in control as much as possible - all 3 1/2 year olds do, right?  so this was entertaining and fun for him to do.

we used construction paper, but the directions had said to use non-absorbent paper.  probably something more like butcher paper ... which I need to go buy some of that stuff, it's good for so many things.

any straw will do - I stole some from the last place we had fast food for dinner.  :)  but you probably could use the crazy, swirly ones too ... although it might take more effort to blow enough air through to move the paint.

experiment and let me know what you come up with.  enjoy!

7 weeks

from the time I left the hospital until now, has gone by pretty fast.  I think because most of my days are blurry and now they just bleed together.  I've made sure we have no weekly commitments; I'd be late everytime!  I'm really trying to go with the flow, which is difficult for me.  I'm very much a planner and like to be organized.  throughout my house I see utter chaos ... but I know my kids are more important than a sparkling clean bathroom or that thick layer of dust on my dresser.  when I try, I can get us all fed, dressed, and ready to go by 10am.  not too bad, right?
big brother Sam is doing well with the adjustment.  he's very much a loner child, so he's not missing playing with friends ... sadly he doesn't really have any anyway.  he is much more social with adults - our friends and complete strangers alike - and he's always telling people "we have a new baby, his name is Eli (sounds like E-why)."  he's so proud.  I can tell he can't wait until Eli can actually play with him.
I finally got a smile last week.  that's pretty exciting to me; it's a milestone.  I haven't been able to capture a picture of it though, hopefully soon.  any smiling baby is the cutest thing in the world, it's those gums!  and of course I now am talking to him in that high-pitched voice so I can see more of those precious smiles.  "they" say babies are attracted to that high-pitch noise, but it seems people talk that way automatically anyway, not because of what research says.  what do you think?  isn't it funny?
I love my kids ... it's still strange to me that I now have 2.  I never really dreamed or fantasized about being a mommy, it was just one of those things that I knew would happen one day - but that's where I stopped thinking about it.  like my marriage and wedding; I knew I'd get married one day but never had a fairytale wedding planned out beforehand.  is that strange?  I wouldn't call myself a girly girl, as a child or now.  I guess I had better things to do like play school with my stuffed animals!

homemade jewelry

today we used some old magazines and made necklaces with paper beads.  super easy for us non-crafters, really.
all you do is rip out a colorful page, cut loooooong triangles, roll it up from the base, using a glue-stick, glue at the end, and then thread it on a piece of string.
you can make necklaces or bracelets, for yourself or as a gift.  the materials are easy to find, it's easy to do - even Sam did it by himself once he got the hang of it, and it's a fun way to recycle!
here are all my boys wearing these cool necklaces. what a bunch, huh?  what good sports!


it's 230am and I had to just walk away this time.  sometimes I feel like he hates me, yet he totally needs me.  I'm being used here.
I left him safe in his crib, but then had to walk away.  unfortunately I can hear him on the baby monitor, so it doesn't ease my frustration.
I wonder exactly how long it would take hubby to get up to console him.  I bet he won't.  that makes me mad too.

what's a mom to do?!

I am so incredibly tired.  I'm going on 3 hours of sleep per night and it's definitely caught up with me.  of course there is no napping when baby naps during the day.
a certain 3 1/2 year old makes sure I stay busy with him.
then hubby wants to be "taking care of" too ... NO!  NO!  NO!

can I hide somewhere?
there, I had 10 minutes to myself [sort of] ... it's time to go back.  God help me tonight.


today we made a lion puppet out of a paper plate, construction paper, googely eyes, pipe cleaners, and a stick from outside.  easy!

our creations are cute and fun to make ... but within an hour or so, Sam disassembles, destroys, or hurts it in some way.    it makes me frustrated!  but I guess it is his to destroy, right?  I try hard not to do too much of the work myself, I really want him to create and use that imagination of his.  it can be difficult not to take over.  maybe we should make 2 of everything, 1 for him and 1 for me!

say cheese ... achoo!

I forgot to post pictures!
we never did get a nice one of both of us, oh well.
we had a fun day together anyway.

Sam loves his Papa!

I think this is a great picture of my big boy Sam.  he's growing up, even faster now that he's a big brother.  he's so smart and very funny.  he loves people and loves to talk up a storm, just like his Papa!  I'm anxious to see if Eli will be more like me.

I tried to get one of us, but Matthew had to sneeze.  I [obviously] took the picture anyway.  it was funny ... maybe you had to be there!

love is in the air ... and engraved in the sidewalk.

love you babe.  happy anniversary!
here's to 8 more ... at least!

crazy 8's

yesterday was our 8 year wedding anniversary. wow! I can't decide if it feels longer or shorter ... probably longer since we've been through so much. I feel accomplished in a way; it's great when you can actually learn from your mistakes and get on with your life. our marriage is probably our greatest testimony, a true miracle of what only God can do.
I'll be skipping some of the details and give you the shortened version - sorry!
we started out like all the others, with high expectations of each other. for our first 5 years, we were constantly expecting too much and assuming everything. we didn't communicate, and it literally tore us apart. we each felt perfectly justified and so neither one of us would change. we were perfect in our own eyes. and oh boy, the words that left our mouths! it was nasty, it was completely inappropriate and disrespectful, it was abuse. it did more than scar, it made gaping wounds in our hearts and brought complete distrust between us. he got short-tempered and angry, I got resentful and heartbroken, crying non-stop.
by our 6th year of marriage we split up, not once but twice. after the second time, we were ready to sign divorce papers. only two reasons why we didn't; no money to do it but more importantly, we had Sam. I did lots individual counseling, we tried couples counseling, nothing was working. our hearts were so hard and numb. the only thing I could cling to was I knew in my heart of hearts that God would not have given us Sam if our marriage was going to fail ... even though this happens to couples all the time. everything else about us was up in the air, but this is the one thing I KNEW. this year was VERY difficult, everything was so volatile and that made it scary.
it's not so ironic that during this time we were not in church at all. I started attending before hubby did, but eventually he came too. our church at the time (zion worship center) was able to help us tremendously. we got connected with great people who genuinely wanted nothing more than to see our marriage healed; more than we did!! over time we realize how far, far, far, far, far God was from the center of our relationship. as much as we would say we believe in Him and His Word, we never actually applied it to our marriage. duh, right? God went to work on us, as individuals, and then as a couple. we were able to take responsibility for our part in the abuse. our hearts were healed and we were able to forgive each other. truly amazing.
this time last year was exciting, we were able to renew our wedding vows to each other on our 7th anniversary. we figured as dead as our marriage was, we needed to start over in every way. I wish I had some pictures of that night to post. we took pictures, but they're just not digital.
the way I see it, God has used Sam to save us. our problems didn't come out into the light until we became parents that first time. I used to feel just awful about the possible effects this would have on Sam in the future; how much would he really remember? but since God gave me Hebrews 1:14, specifically about Sam (I think I posted about that before), I'm at total peace about it. I believe Sam was our angel, literally here to save us. so in our 7th year, or sometimes I think of it as the new and improved 1st year, I became pregnant with baby #2. we had fallen in love again and God blessed us with Eli.
I am more than happy to say we haven't gone back to our old ways. we put in a lot of effort to be a team, to talk it out, and to be responsible everyday. we've incorporated prayer into our marriage and that alone has helped incredibly.

and to the girls who know the details ...
Morgan, have I ever really thanked you for all you did for me? THANK YOU!!!! you are an incredible woman of God and I was blessed to have you as my mommy. :) you were always looking out for me, making sure I stayed on the path God was lighting up for me. it's no coincidence we got connected. I truly value what you have done for me, and it's something I will never forget. I hope I can pass on the same blessing to someone else someday.
and to Laura, thank you for being you. you're very sincere and honest, and I always felt your compassion. there are many things you said to me that came at the perfect time, just ingrained in my mind forever. it's no coincidence we got connected either. I appreciate every hug and prayer from the both of you. I love you girls, you helped me change my life forever.

July 4th

Happy 4th of July!

One day, I would looooove to be in Washington DC for the 4th. I would think they have THE best fireworks show in the country. anyone reading ever been?

Hubby and I originally wanted to get married on the 4th. how cool would that be to have fireworks on your anniversary every year?! we also wanted to get married outside and there was no way to reserve the park on a national holiday. we were married on the 8th, so close enough! I'll [hopefully] post some pictures next week, celebrating 8 crazy years together!

our circus clown

like I said before, I'm trying to be crafty and creative with Sam. I will try to post most of our projects, the good ones anyway.

Sam originally asked ME if he could have stilts, which I think is kind of funny. it started with a book - we were reading stories before bed one night, and we had a book about the circus. inside Sam became fascinated with the really tall man juggling and asked if he could be that tall too. so I explained as best I could the 'magic' behind it, and that just made him want it more. I think he actually figured out that anyone could do it. I'm so glad he didn't want to learn how to juggle!

so instead of huge wooden stilts the circus would use, we used 28oz cans and string. I got the recipe from; just type stilts in the search box.
we painted them this morning and once they were dry, I added the string. the bottom of the can, which is now our top, still has a lip to it so that means he can't do it bare-footed, but I don't think he cares much.
I think the recipe also recommends those plastic coffee cans, so you can screw the top back onto it. he's been walking around with these things for an hour or so, ever since I added the string. *warning: using metal cans on a tile floor is loud and sort of annoying, but it does make him smile! and he's learning balance and coordination; by doing stuff like this, he hopefully will not take after his clumsy mother!

I think it's awesome how a book opened his mind up to this new possibility. I myself am not much of a reader; I'll read my bible and parenting magazines, but that's about it.
we are going to the library every week for story time and to check out books. we also joined the reading program this summer too, so we're reading a lot lately.

even with babies just learning to play and pick stuff up, it's usually the simplest things that entertain them the most. books for Sam's age are not complicated, they're still very simple. not only are kids' minds sponges, but we've reached the age where his imagination begins to come out and shine. that's really neat to watch. I guess it's time to get in touch with mine too!