So, since the last update we have had Mr. B’s birthday.
Yes, Brooks is 7 years old. His party was a Henry
Hugglemonster thing. That is a show on Disney Junior
that Brooks really likes. Doc McStuffins is still in there
but she is falling back.
And he invited kids from his class at school. It was his
first real friend party, complete with swimming. It was a
good time and he got some neat stuff.
And good grief! That boy has grown!
I added the yearly
comparisons here so have a look and go ahead, say "Dang!".
Brooks is now in the First Grade now. It’s a bit different, of course but he
has adjusted very well. He is in a class that doesn’t have many of the kids
from his kindergarten class but he made new friends. It’s a lot of the same
things as before with an added wrinkle. Brooks now has homework and he
HATES it. I mean hates it. I know this because almost without fail he
complains to endless points about it. But hey, we all had to do it and yes, we
all hated it.
He likes school and his teachers. He has the usual classes; math, reading and
such. He’s getting to be very good at reading. It is so cool to watch him
reading a story or something and it’s really cool because he can use either
hand when reading. I don’t know about you but I would think that would be
really hard. Seems that one would be better but he can flat use either one.
He gets the chance to do this because when he is reading his homework he will
complain and flop and roll around, using whichever hand happens to be closer
to the paper. I know it’s not the best way to do it but it just looks so weird
that he can lay flat on his back and read a story lying on the floor.
Griffin is also in the band. He had originally wanted to play the trumpet but,
for reasons known only to his teacher, Griffin was assigned the trombone. He
wasn’t originally thrilled with that choice. He had thought that maybe playing
the trumpet could help him do something like bugling in Boy Scouts. The way
he was told was, he did very well in testing on the trumpet and OK on the
trombone and the French horn. My only guess is that no one else did that great
on the trombone or not enough did well so, needing someone on that instrument,
Griffin got the honor. Honestly, the whole test was silly. It was basically
blowing in a mouthpiece. I know you blow differently in each but that’s just
goofy.
But he has taken the trombone and we can hear him getting better each week.
Griffin started with Computer Literacy, which was basically typing. Since
then he has dropped that and moved to PE. Melisa and I are glad about that
because the boy needs to exercise.
The rest of his classes are accelerated and he does “OK” on the whole. We
were very proud of him because on his first official report card he received
all As and Bs. As an added bonus he got several prizes from the school.
Hopefully that will push him to do even better next semester.
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Griffin has, of course, moved to Middle School. He seems to enjoy it for the
most part. Sure, he has times that aren’t the best, particularly homework.
Good grief that boy has homework every day. Now, admittedly sometimes that
is because he doesn’t always finish up in class but we look at his stuff and,
honestly, that stuff is hard to understand. I have always considered myself to
be good in math but the stuff he brings home is just plain weird. I have always
thought that the goal of education was to learn how to do things. So many time
I look at something and I know the answer but, with the way math has changed
since I was in school , half the time I have no idea what to do. I guess I should
feel smarter because I try to learn the “correct” way to do things in an
effort to understand and help Griffin but dang! That stuff is just stupid
sometimes.
And, of course, Brooks is doing his weeks at CVI. He really does look forward to
going each week and doing the cool stuff. He gets to work in the kitchen and do other
general life skill stuff. Melisa, however, gets kind of bored. She ends up sitting all
alone for hours while the other parents do other things. Thank goodness for Angry
Birds!
Brooks, as you know, has started Cub Scouts. He has a good time, in general. He does
seem to fall asleep every week, though. It’s funny, we’ll be sitting there preparing
for a meeting and the next thing you know his head is back with his mouth hanging
open or he is head forward with drool pouring out. But when he wakes up he has a
good time. And, I was so proud of him because, at his first official meeting he earned
his very first rank, his Bobcat badge.
He’s made some friends and been to a birthday party and, the other week he
participated in his very first official Scout race, the Raingutter Regatta. He didn’t
win but I think he had a good time.
Good morning and welcome to December! So many thing have gone on since the last update so let’s get started.

When we last saw each other it was summer and the boys were getting ready for school. Well, school has been going on for 3
months now and so far everything seems to be going well. Both boys are in completely new environments.
The R.A., Melisa, Griffin and Brooks Fraker
"All About Us"
Oh yeah, we went on vacation, too. It has been so long since my last update I almost forgot.
For the past several years we had gone to Oak Island. This time we wanted to try going back to the St. George/Florida
Panhandle area. We hadn’t been in around 9 years and wanted to try it again.
We ended up in Cape San Blas, just east of Apalachicola. The house was nice but it was kind of away from everything.
Secluded is fine but a store close by would have been nice.
The beach was nice and we had good weather the whole time. We did the usual sandcastles and wave riding……until! Yes, we had
sharks.
Nothing big but maybe 2 feet. They were young but, you know what, they still have teeth. It was funny when I saw the first
one (yes, first). We were all 4 in the water (GG was there but not swimming) and off to my right while facing the beach I saw
him. Very bright blue with a white underside swimming toward us. I think I mostly calmly said everyone out of the water. No
one else saw him, of course but if I had to guess on looks alone I would say it was a Mako. He wasn’t pointy enough to be a
blue shark.
Well, the next day we were in the water again and, sure enough, about
5 – 7 feet beyond us was another shark. This one was below the
surface more but he looked brown or dark grey, also around 2 feet. I
followed him for a while from the beach when I finally lost sight.
Over the entire trip I ended up seeing 4 sharks. I had never seen a
shark at the beach before, other than a dead one on shore at Folly
Beach.
I would say the trip in general was fun but based on the food
availability and the remoteness we probably won’t be back there for a
while. We did look at St. George and I always loved it but it was just
way too grown up. It looked a lot like Myrtle Beach but cost a lot
more.
Brooks had his Thanksgiving program the other night. He and the other kids got on the stage and sang their 3 songs. I want to
say he sounded really good but it was just a bit tough to pick his voice out. I will say he looked like he was having fun. He got
to stand with Lilly, who helped him out a lot. She is very understanding of him because he gets up very close sometimes when
talking.
It was a cute program and fun to watch and listen to.
Let’s see….Halloween! We did another year with the boys trick-or-treating at the Cumbies. Brooks was a vampire this year and
looked good. Griffin went as a character from a video game, Steve from Minecraft. Basically, he wore a big pixilated head.
Honestly, we didn’t stay out very long. It started to rain just a bit then it would stop but nothing terrible. Griffin was really
worried it would ruin his head but it did fine.
It’s funny, the “treats” you get now days is really not great. I remember the days of chocolate and such. Now it seems like a lot
of candy that no one ever buys other than for Halloween. Of course there were no apples, either, so let’s not go crazy on
reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
And, of course, we know what comes the day after Halloween. Yes, All saints Day.
Brooks even says that when asked at Scouts  about holidays. I have never heard a child
say that, much less even know what it is but he certainly did.
But another name for All Saints Day is, of course, R.A. and Melisa’s anniversary. 16
years this time around. An amazing 16 years that I feel blessed every day to have had
as well as the many more ahead. I am a very, very lucky man and I know it and am
thankful for every day with Melisa.

Well, I sat around on this just long enough for Thanksgiving to happen. Good times and
good food. Melisa did her usual outstanding lunch of turkey, dressing and other good
things. Yes, she keeps the weight on me. I guess I could have married a bad cook but
she's probably be ugly, too so I got the best of all.
And, of course, now the tree is up and the decorations are out. Christmas is coming
fast. The year is almost done so maybe we;ll talk before then, Till then, Happy
Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!