Dec 26 2009

Christmas 2009

As I write this, the boys are up trying to figure out which presents are theirs, and Gracie is having a bottle with mommy, who is desperately trying to sleep. (I would have giving Gracie the bottle, but she wanted mommy.) It’s Christmas morning in the Cerniglia house, and it’s been quite a year. We lost papa, we bought a house, Jude started kindergarten, I got promoted, we went to Disney World, and Gracie started to talk. So much good, and a little bit of sad.

Jude has adjusted well to kindergarten. He enjoys his new friends, so much so that sometimes he ends up talking to them during class, which can be a problem. He has begun to learn how to read, working on both “site words” and phonics. School seems to wear him out a lot more than pre-school. There’s no nap, and sometimes I think he could still use one. Often times, he gets plain ridiculous at around 7 pm, and it’s all we can do to get to bedtime. Jude’s very perceptive, sometimes surprisingly so, and he asks a lot of questions (this is a good thing), and has a big heart.

The fact that Noah now goes to pre-school himself, and that he’s in the older of the two groups has contributed to his becoming a bit more independent and confident. He certainly loves being at school. I think it’s safe to say that he brings home more creations than any other student. Sometimes, these are not even items that he has created, rather ones that he has begged one of the teachers to make for him. He’s very quick, picking up on things at times when he appears to not be paying attention. He likes to jump and play, and he can be very dramatic, especially when there is something that he wants.

The boys get along very well. The fact that they are now separated for the majority of the day has been good for both of them, but their closeness is apparent when they come home. They play together a lot, often times concocting some sort of fantastical situation for which they must create the characters, plot and (of course) the sound effects. They had their first experience with outdoor soccer this year, as we moved Fredericksburg soccer (what we had always called it, anyway) up to the high school. They had a great time. A typical performance might include Jude critiquing players technique and Noah diving to covering up the ball when he was unable to retrieve it in the traditional way.

Gracie has become exceptionally verbal. I don’t know if it’s me, or because she’s my kid and my perception is skewed, but she can talk. The babysitter has started to teach her (informally) some dutch. I don’t know if this is a contributing factor, but I think her ability to communicate is top notch. She actually told Angie, while in the doctor’s office that she “whats to go home” (she’s no dummy). This was at 16 months. She gets around real good as well. Stairs are not an issue, other than for mommy and daddy who still are not comfortable with her motoring up and down them “for fun”. Her favorite things? Horses, bags, and babies, and small electronic devices. The most amazing thing, for me, about Gracie is how often she wants “daddy”. Yes, that makes me feel good…

Angie has had a good year as well. Work is work, some days are better than others, and the hours are long. She enjoys spending time with the kids and likes finally having a house. Some nights we even get to have dinner together. The fact that we are expecting our fourth child in June means that she’s tired a lot. This doesn’t stop her from sometimes turning off the light after the midnight hour due to her desire to “just finish this chapter” in some book that she’s reading on her Kindle. As an aside, that Kindle is definitely the best gift that she almost returned, but that I made her try (if you can follow that).

My year was dominated by house renovations and a new job. We tore out all of the flooring in the house after we completed the sale, and I spent the summer putting in bamboo and tile floors. I had a lot of help from a couple of former soccer players, and a classmate from high school. As it stands right now, we’re probably 95% of the way done. There are still some loose ends, but I plan on getting to ‘em sometime this winter. I’ve put the Ph.D. program on hold ‘till the summer, as I still need to do exams and the dissertation. I’ve started working on an alternative Principal certification through Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) Educational Service Center. I’ve also been moved from the Dean of Students, as position that I held for just over a year, to a supervisory role. This means that I have longer hours and my contract is for 240 days rather than the 180 or so typical of a teacher’s salary.

Angie and I are blessed in so many ways, most notably by the love and support of our extended family. Both of our parents help whenever needed. With both of us working and three (soon to be four) kids, our lives as we know them would not be possible without their help. Dad picks Jude up every day from school, and takes him around half the time. Mom watched the boys at school sometimes during soccer season. Dorothy and Joe make room for the kids whenever we ask. Our siblings, Charles and Laurie, Dave and Kristi, help as well. We are indebted to Josh and Laryssa, who were kind enough to take our entire family to Disney World with them. What a trip. We are blessed with healthy children, who are naturally curious and like to learn. We have a house in the woods and are able to pay our bills. We hope all of you feel as blessed and full of love as we do this Holiday season.

Peace.