Gabriel turns 3!

My trip to Asheville for Gabriel’s birthday was wonderful – what a delightful four days! It’s fun to watch how he’s grown and matured, and to be part of the changes that are taking place in his life. One thing is constant: his focus on vehicles of all sorts. At home and at his new school, trains are a major focus. I’m always blown away by how contemplative he is. If only we could know what’s on his mind ...

On Friday, when we took him for the first time to visit Asheville Academy, his new school, the trains were – not surprisingly – a big attraction.

Another draw was the kitchen in the area where the little-ones play house.

These play areas are in the room called the Library, and I could tell from the white-boards that the teacher uses the time she has with the older children doing more library-like activities. She also spent individual time with the three-year-olds on learning letters. Also in this Library, Gabriel had his first experience with a desktop computer and a mouse. Mommy helped him learn.

In the Science Lab, Gabriel had his first experience of sitting at a table with a bunch of children waiting his turn. I was amazed at how well he did! The “experiment” this day was making green clouds – wetting a wad of tissues with green-colored water – and then squeezing them to make green rain.

After we visited school Gabriel went to daycare, and when Allison and I went to pick him up later in the day we had a wonderful surprise – a helicopter was stringing electric lines not far from Barbara’s house. Of course we stopped and watched for a while...

All the activity in the Becker-Luibel kitchen that evening was about making ready for Gabriel’s party. Mommy and Mama did an awesome job making pirate cupcakes!

On Saturday we started the birthday festivities. The party was at a wonderful playroom called Health Adventure – which Gabriel calls “Happy Venture!” In addition to the fact that he loves to go there, it was a wonderful venue for his pirate party because one feature is a pirate ship. Here, he’s steering the ship:

Health Adventure is full of activities, and the pirate ship is a prime physical attraction. The kids needed to climb a ladder to get to the steering deck:

Exiting via the plank was also fun!

There were lots of gravity set-ups – including this one, where he needed a boost from Grandma to put the ball in the shoot.

And of course, he found his way to the kitchen ...

In the party room, the kids got a big dose of pirate gear. Most of the littlest ones didn’t really appreciate the eye patch, so we were lucky to get this shot:

It was hard waiting until we got home for Mama to set up Gabriel’s new tool bench. The goggles were a big attraction at first, but soon the drill was a favorite toy.

Somehow we got in a nap before leaving for dinner at Cedric’s, where Melissa was providing the evening’s music. Gabriel’s treasured new harmonica came in handy. Thank you, Ryan!

On birthday Sunday, of course, there were more presents!

Mama helped set up the new trains.

The LeapPad (a junior-sized iPad) was a big hit and included special learning games for letters and numbers.

We ended the day with birthday dinner at the Stone Bowl, where stainless steel chopsticks are wonderful for eating Korean pancake (also wonderful!).

It was a long day – but a happy one!

Gabriel’s adjustment to being three continues. Allison and I took him to school on Monday morning  and, perhaps, stayed too long. He cried when we left ... but Al tells me he has not cried since. Some days he says he doesn’t want to go to school, but then when they arrive at Asheville Academy he says, “I’m so 'cited!” I’m guessing he will soon be potty-trained – we noticed after taking him to visit that Friday that his interest in using the potty at home picked up, and I think he must have noticed the other kids lining up at potty time.

He knew I was returning to Washington on Monday after taking him to school, but even so he asked where I was when Stephanie picked him up at the end of the day. He seemed to accept the explanation that I had to go home to take care of Grandpa. But since then he has told Allison at least once, “I’m going to Grandma’s house tomorrow.” I think he’s even old enough now to know what my house looks like – and he associates others in the family with their milieus. When he last spoke with Gram El, he mentioned something about going to the beach ...

And we’ll do plenty of that at Thanksgiving if the weather’s good.

Be good ‘til then, sweet boy ...


Asheville pictures

Your pictures from Asheville are very good.  Looks to me like the new camera was a success.  I'm glad.   And I loved seeing the pictures.  Not as good as being there, but... 

Also heard from Mom that Bob got into the Johns Hopkins drug trial and will consequently get some special attention (more frequent scans, she said.) That's great.