Ivan has become very excited about letters in the past month or so. I am so glad for the sudden interest.

As you can see…he is still figuring out the left to right thing but Kris and I were tickled that he used some of his play time last Saturday to arrange his Pick-Up-Sticks in the letters of his name.

He’s been excited about identifying numbers and adding and subtracting as well. I love the way he describes the number 8. “ya know…that letter that looks like two threes stuck together but one is turned around?” Yeah…he has a ways to go, but he’s fun to travel with.


Ivan began the summer with the observation that he likes curls. He has noticed how Aron’s hair curls and he admires it. He asked me if his hair would curl and it does, but only selectively. I told him that it had to be long enough to begin with.

This was enough for him to beg me to allow him to grow his hair out so it would curl like Aron’s. I assured him it would not be the same and I knew I was in for a lot of scruffy days but I allowed it. His hair is a totally different texture than Owen or Aron and when it is uncombed it really looks crazy, but it is such a beautiful blond and his bright eyes make up for a lot. I hope.

Anyway…I took a few pictures this weekend right after a nap. We have since trimmed it a bit.

I still allowed him to wear it a little long and the stylist at the barber shop styled it nicely for him yesterday. I think he was adorable.

He still is for that matter.

Stuff Ivan Says

The following quips and quotes are copied directly from my facebook posts over the past several months. Ivan has been my favorite subject as he is at an age of unbelievable insight. Enjoy!

February 23, 2010: In response to my constant begging for him to always stay little, Ivan (4) told me the other day that if I kiss him on the cheek, he’ll stop growing. My pleasure!

March 13, 2010: Ivan (4): “Mom, to God we’re small as mice, but not you. To God, you’re like a cat…or something…a dog?”

March 29, 2010: Yesterday on the way to church Ivan (4) started talking about the trees and how much he likes them. He ended his little observation with this gem: “…when I grow up, I’m going to hug those trees.” Oh Dear!

March 31, 2010: We had a babysitter last night and Ivan (4) told her (among other things) that I let him sleep without underwear. Why this is even something he wanted to do, I don’t know, but thankfully, she didn’t fall for it.

April 1, 2010: This morning I told the boys we are meeting some friends from FL tomorrow. The dad and mom are Chris and Christy. After explaining all the details of our plans, Ivan sat quietly for a minute then piped up with “I’m going to get mixed up with that mom and dad.” He meant their names, but I pictured him having some sort of confrontation with them and it made me laugh.

April 9, 2010: Ivan was not pleased when he found out all the eggs from Easter were boiled. Still thinking I was doing this to irritate him he told me, “if you boil any more of my Easter eggs, I’m going to move to another house.”

April 16, 2010: Owen and Ivan were playing with play money and I heard Ivan say…”It’s magic money.” Owen asked how it is magic and Ivan replied, “It disappears!” *** So that’s what’s been happening. I haven’t been spending too much…I’ve been using magic money. Mystery solved.

April 23, 2010: Ivan (4): “Mommy, now I know that God is bigger than the sun, because God can bright the whole world and the sun can’t!”

April 24, 2010: Mere moments after telling me that he didn’t like any girls but me, Ivan saw a high school girl in her prom dress and announced: “When I get big, I’m going to get one like that.”

April 26, 2010: After a brief conversation about my high school years where I admitted that my friends and I used to go around looking for boys, Ivan said in a very satisfactory tone: “And now, you found me.”

May 11, 2010: Me: “Ivan, what do you want for lunch?” Ivan: “Macaroni and cheese!” Me: “We don’t have any.” Ivan: “Okay…what are the chooses?”

May 11, 2010: Must be I have boys: On the way home from picking Owen (6) up from school Ivan (4) says, “You know I’m smarter than you Owen,” followed closely by Aron (2), “Well I’m bigger than you Ivan!”

May 11, 2010: Ivan (4) just told Kris: “Owen just had a dream that was almost against the law.”

May 12, 2010: Ivan was upset with me for putting the flower he picked for me near the window where bad guys would break in and steal it. I told him bad guys don’t steal flowers. He said, “Oh…yeah…bad GIRLS steal flowers.”

May 14, 2010: Ivan was given an old TV remote to play with and was telling me what the buttons are for. “If you press the green one you can watch green shows…if you press the red one you get ketchup.”

May 18, 2010: Ivan just brought me a Mrs. Potato head decked out in orange feet, big red lips, a monstrous oval red nose, blue glasses and a flowery visor and said, “It’s you mom! You CAN keep that! And wherever you go…you can take it with you. It’s just because I love you.”

June 5, 2010: Ivan wanted to know if the little packages on the tables were mints and when I opened them up and they were he said, “Yep, they are cements.” Owen couldn’t stop laughing long enough to eat his.

June 10, 2010: Ivan (4) was supposed to be napping today but somehow through the aid of his big brother he managed to make a silly band trade with the neighbor boy. He announced to me as he was getting out of his bed that he won’t be putting this one in his mouth because said neighbor boy was wearing it. Then he topped it with this…: “Mom, everyone has a different smell.”

July 12, 2010: Ivan prayed aloud for his brothers and cousins at bedtime tonight as he loves to do. Tonight he added this: “and God please make me a superhero when I get big. Amen.”

More About Ivan

(on Aron liking peanut butter and jelly) “That’s good because we’re eating it.”

(on death and dying) “When I get to be as old as Reubmommy (his great-grandmother who passed away in September at 95), I AM going to die.”

(on things that look like hockey sticks) “This looks like a snow hitter.”

Ivan is becoming more and more the clever one among the boys. He is sarcastic at times, he quietly creates humor and sits back to watch us react. He is quiet in his observations and loud in his expressions. He is the more serious of the three, and yet the one we have to watch closely for mischief.

I always enjoy listening to him play. He uses stuffed animals as characters and he and Aron both will make voices and emotions for each one. Creating stories and scenarios where they can interact with the characters they create.

Ivan is becoming interested in numbers and letters more and more of late. He has been stubbornly against me teaching him these things in the past, but has since realized their importance and wants to understand the sounds and values.

He is adaptable between his brothers. Being the middle child he plays well with both Owen and Aron but usually makes the choice to play with Owen when they are all three together. What still amazes me is how well he plays alone. He is never lonely or bored, as he is most satisfied to have toys and situations completely subject to his ideals.

His love of puzzles and games is still strong and we are often surprised by what he is able to build or create. He hears and sees the details in things and I enjoy getting his take on a song or a picture. He may not care about the grand subject of the material, but he will tell me that the smallest character or note is having a good time.

Happy Birthday Big Guy!

What a week. Yes, we had thanksgiving, but almost outshining one of my favorite days of the year was the constant awareness of Ivan’s 4th birthday. With family arriving for the week, but leaving just before the big day, we planned to celebrate Ivan’s birthday early so that everyone could be there.

His birthday was Sunday the 29th…but we had his party the Wednesday night before. We did not invite his 4 year old friends. This time of year is busy and adding a 4 year old’s birthday party the day before Thanksgiving is not something I wanted to do to our friends. Ivan is not a crowd loving sort of guy anyway…he is experience driven and often tells me of the adventures he will have when he gets big. The latest is his announcement that he wants to go scuba diving. I love it.

Ivan has a love for trains and we have often driven to the train station after dropping Owen off at school just to watch the commuter train come into the station, slow down, blow it’s horn and head to Lebanon while we wave at the conductor. He has asked us countless times for a chance to ride the train and there is never a really good or practical opportunity to take him.

For his birthday I did a little research and there is a passenger train that makes a trip from Nashville to Watertown and back for a pretty hefty price. It’s an entertainment package and I’m sure it’s worth it, but not something I want to ask all of our family to pay for. Finally, I realized I was over thinking this idea. A trip on the commuter train from Mt. Juliet to Nashville would be just as (if not more) exciting for Ivan than the passenger train. So that’s what we did. Dad met us downtown at the restaurant, Joe’s Crab Shack, while we walked there from the train station downtown. After some very slow service but pretty good food, we rushed back to the station and made the last train back to Mt. Juliet. Ivan LOVED it! He was so excited and surprised and just perfectly happy and almost smug in his delight in where he was. Even at the restaurant, he seemed to have a very keen sense of his own importance while we all ate dinner together. This is very unlike Ivan.

When we returned to the house his birthday cake and gifts were waiting. I had made him a pretty simple but theme aligned train cake. He enjoyed it very much even though it wasn’t what he asked for.

What he asked for was basically a repeat of what we did for his birthday last year. Like I said, Ivan is experience driven. He loved our quiet little family party last year, with his requested little round blue cake with a “3” on it in sprinkles. His “straight” balloons and some round balloons and his brothers. That’s all he asked for this year, so I was delighted to add some surprise to it for him.

However, last Sunday being his actual birthday, we asked him on the way home from church if there is anything special he wanted to do today and he asked to paint. No problem. Then he asked if he could please have some birthday cake. The train cake had been eaten but I had a couple of square cakes (leftover batter from the train cakes) that I could pull out in a pinch. Apparently I was already in a pinch just days later. He requested the yellow cake over the chocolate and told Kris that he wanted a “4” cake. So after naps we held another small family party just for Ivan’s whims and he has met his quota of birthday experiences for the year. He still asked for another train ride this afternoon and I’m sure that we’ll be hearing that request for some time.

Owen and Ivan talking to Uncle Kevin.

He was able to talk to his uncle Kevin for a few minutes before we ate cake and just before bedtime Grandma and Granddaddy called to wish him a happy birthday too. While talking to Grandma we overheard him describing some of the Christmas decorating that has been going on around the house. Kris and I laughed when we heard him describe the boy’s Christmas stockings “…and we have bags shaped like socks.”

I love four. It is probably my favorite age for little boys and I’m excited to see what Ivan will do with it.


Ivan has been the little bug lover in our family. He picks up worms and carefully watches over ants and lady bugs with growing interest. The week of Thanksgiving when the family went downtown to walk around, Ivan met a little ladybug friend and I snapped a few pictures I thought were worth sharing. He spent quite a bit of time just enjoying having contact with this little friend and it was pretty fun for me to watch too.

Toast Conductor

We have a toaster oven and I’ve been using it for toast for some time. When we recently had the kitchen painted I put it away for a while to make more room on the counter top. Our boys are not too familiar with a regular toaster so it was a bit of a novelty when I used it. I’m not sure where it came from, but Ivan’s surprised response was, “Oh, you have a toast conductor.”

Planting Trees

Ivan and Owen have both been fascinated by seeds and the prospect of growing more apples by planting the little seeds inside them. I don’t know how many times we have begun the process of sprouting seeds only to neglect them and have to begin again.

I have been buying whole grain bread for the boys for some time and recently the brand I like to purchase was not on the shelf. There was another whole grain selection so I got it and to the chagrin of Owen, it was full of whole grains. There were little flakes and seeds that made the bread course and less than desirable in his opinion. Ivan loved it though. I didn’t realize why until I saw him pulling the seeds out of the bread and saving them.

He finally spoke up and told me that he is going to plant these seeds so we can grow a sandwich tree.

I love it.


I have tried to keep up with the fun things the boys do, but it’s impossible to save it all. Sometimes I blog but don’t have pictures, sometimes I have pictures but never have time to write it out. Sometimes they do things that I think are just precious but I don’t think anyone else will understand, so I just try to treasure it in my own mind.

I came across these photos this morning and thought I’d share them here. I’ll save this on his blog as well. It’s nothing that incredible or even all that funny but it says something about Ivan to me and I want it preserved.

I found him napping this way the other day. He often makes a bed for his little kitty or whichever stuffed animal he chooses to sleep with. Usually he’ll wrap them in a blanket or lay them as comfortably as he can on a pillow and then cover them up with a blanket of some kind. This time, he somehow found it comforting, for himself and the kitty I suppose, to let the kitty nap inside his shirt. I never know what the process is that pushes Ivan to do the things he does. There are often strange but ordered piles of toys here and there, that have some meaning or significance to him. He talks very well, but doesn’t always explain himself or express his train of thought well, so sometimes I understand and sometimes his ways remain a mystery. This one seems pretty simple to me.