7 quick takes Friday (Vol. 14)

— 1 —
You know summer has started when it’s time for your library’s summer reading program. Because our boys have two aunts who are librarians, we start tracking our books on the first day of the program. We hit the magic number—eight books—to earn our prizes this week, so we stopped by Aunt Treasa’s library one evening on our way home.
You might think reading the books would be the hard part, but the real challenge is deciding which of the fantastic prizes to take home. The plastic fish clapper? The heart-shaped slinky? The set of Go Fish cards? Be still my heart.
Daniel quickly settled on a flashing necklace.

Leo, however, had to consider his options carefully. He finally found some plastic dinosaur digging claws—obviously not the technical term—and decided they would be perfect for the beach. We thanked Aunt Treasa, collected our summer reading T-shirts, and headed for the door.

But as Leo started toward the turnstile, he was hit with regret.
He didn’t want a plastic dinosaur claw. What he desperately needed was the dinosaur excavation kit. So we went back and traded for the kit.

I didn’t fully appreciate how amazing the kit was until the dust from the dinosaur dig had covered our dining room and the project had just begun. It is quite a prize. We have a long way to go before we release the dinosaur skeleton, and I think we’ll need to get a new vacuum and have the vents cleaned when the excavation is complete.
When we put our house on the market, maybe we can mention that it’s also the site of a paleontological dig.
— 2 —
Leo brought a pinwheel home from school this week.
“It’s beautiful!” I said. “How did you make it?”
“I can’t tell you,” Leo said.
“You can’t?”
“The teacher used something I can’t tell you about.”
That didn’t sound good.
“You can tell me,” I said. “What did the teacher do?”
“She used a hot glue—and here’s the word you won’t like, Mama—gun.”
I didn’t know what to say.
— 3 —
Looking for a Father’s Day gift? The boys and I have a sure-fire solution: stomp rockets. They cost about $15, a father is never too old or too young to enjoy them, and the children will like them, too. We gave John a stomp rocket last Father’s Day and it was by far the best gift we’ve ever given him.
We’ve used it at parks, Fort McHenry, and even at the beach, always with great success. In fact, whenever we are driving, Daniel will point out the window—often at vast well-manicured lawns by multi-million-dollar homes in Baltimore’s Greenspring Valley—and say, “That looks like a good place for stomp rockets.” And he’s right.

Now if we could just think of what to give Baba for this Father’s Day. Any suggestions? Leo says we should give him a real Saturn V rocket.
— 4 —
Last week after I mentioned that Leo would be graduating from Pre-K, I told a friend that my first graduation had been from high school. 
I was wrong. Although I have no memory of it, I apparently did have a kindergarten graduation at St. Pius X. There are photos—just not any that my mother can find. And she has spent most of the past week looking.
You’d think the lost (or never taken) photos might upset me—as the allegedly overlooked third of six children—but I’m actually amused. It will just be another chapter in my long-awaited memoir of my childhood, The Last Sprite.
I’d like to explain the title someday, but it would require more space than a quick take allows.
— 5 —
Catholic Charities, our home study agency, held its annual picnic on Sunday at Kinder Farm Park. We love connecting with families we only see once or twice a year, meeting new families, and wearing ourselves out climbing and running and trying to catch butterflies and visiting the farm animals.

As our boys get older, I don’t know that they will enjoy the outing as much, but at this age it is perfect.

On the playground, a father told me he remembered me from a panel I served on for Catholic Charities about the challenges of raising siblings. I was a little surprised since that was at least 18 months ago. The stories of what we went through as a family when Daniel was newly home must have been memorable. It reminded me yet again of how far our boys have come on their journey together.
— 6 —
This week I thought we would try something new. How about a question of the week?
This week’s question is a big one in our household because we haven’t let our boys—who are 3 and 5—watch the original Star Wars movies yet. But Star Wars is apparently quite popular with his age group, and Leo has started asking when he will be able to watch it. I think we have a few years to go.
But I am curious. What do you feel is an appropriate age for a child to watch Star Wars? And I mean the original ones, beginning with Episode IV. You can vote here.
— 7 —
My boys don’t usually like Mama’s country music, but this one makes Daniel dance around the kitchen. Happy Friday!
Read more quick takes at Jen’s blog.

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