Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.  ~Richard P. Feynman

Saint-Vincent-Church-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Statue of Saint Boniface Wimmer in front of Saint Vincent Church at Saint Vincent College. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in this church… Ryan was the alter boy.

Since I recently wrote about Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be complete without addressing Saint Vincent College.

This past June, for Kyle’s birthday gift I got him, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe!  Actually I got him two different Bricks 4 Kidz sessions, Animal Grossology for the morning session and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session.  The Lego camp lasted a week, from Monday June 24 through Friday, June 28.  Kyle’s birthday is in July, so he was really surprised.

Boniface-Wimmer-Saint-Vincent-College-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Saint Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent College

The first day of Lego Camp, on Monday, I thought it would be neat to hang out with Kyle for lunch.  So I packed us a picnic and we ate on the college grounds.  It was a warm day but really pleasant under the trees.  Afterwords, I thought he might find a tour of the campus interesting.  In my head, I remembered how cool it was when Father Alred gave our sixth grade class a tour of the college when attending Sacred Heart.  He talked about the history, the architecture, the stain glass windows, and so on and so forth.

Well, as it turns out, I remembered the feeling more than the facts.  I must say, I fell short and needed a refresher.  Kyle wasn’t amused at all!  It was at that moment when I thought, I need to revisit Saint Vincent College, in the books.

Ironically, when I was doing research for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University Discovering Greensburg in the Rain  (the sister college of Saint Vincent), at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, I came across a lot of intriguing content on  Saint Vincent College.  I hope you find the history of the college as interesting and almost mind blowing as I do!  Please read to the very end!  I promise it will shock you!

Saint-Vincent-College-Sportman's-Hall-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Sportman’s Hall, built in 1790 by Father Theodore Brouwers- later become Saint Vincent

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

  • Founded in 1846 – Saint Vincent Arch-abbey and College
  • In 1766, before the monks John Fraser, an Indian trader, acquired land on part of which Saint Vincent is now situated
  • February 10, 1766 granted a tract of land along the Forbes Road to John- made in the name of the King George II of Great Britain by Captain William Murray, Commander of Port Pitt.
  • December 3, 1768 John Fraser transferred teh entire parcel of land to James Hunter, a farmer for Five Pounds Lawful Money
  • James Hunter owned the land for 21 years
  • March 12, 1790, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Joseph Hunter “a certain tract of land called ‘Sportsman’s Hall'” – 1st time the name of Sportman’s Hall was given to individual tract of land (name retained for over half a century)
  • Sportman’s Hall was called “the Cradle of Catholicity in western Pennsylvania”
  • April 16, 1790 Joseph transferred the deed to Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M.
  • Father Brouwers died on October 29, 1790.  As per his will his body was laid to rest in a plot overlooking Sportsman’s Hall.  Since 1869 his remains have reposed under a a stone cross in Saint Vincent Cemetery
  • Father Brouwers provided his successor by bequeathing all of his real estate “to a Roman Catholic priest that shall succeed me in this same place, to be entailed to him and to his successors, forever.”
  • In 1787, 6 Catholic families moved from Philadelphia and settle near Greensburg
  • A small log church was erected
  • Sportsman’s Hall stood northeast to the present Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica until 1883 – in 1930s a marker was erected on this site
  • Reverand Michael Galllagher succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor, serving until October 21, 1846 – then Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. was pointed as pastor
  • Boniface Wimmer was a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria

Hence the name Wimmerton for the neighboring housing development

  • Boniface Wimmer received the monastic name of Boniface upon his entry into the monastery, a name with deep significance for German Catholics
  • Saint Boniface was an English monk who in the 18th century brought the Gospel and the Benedictine Rule to the Rhineland, where he established  monasteries and served as bishop of Fulda

He wanted to provide education for the sons of German immigrants and train clergy for the German community in the United States.

  • Saint Vincent is the 1st Benedictine college in the United States
  • Saint Vincent sits on roughly 200 acres of land
  • First buildings were built by the monks
  • The Benedictine Rule is known for spirituality and practicality
  • By 1855, Saint Vincent was divided into the Seminary, the Classical Department, and the Commercial Department – basic structure of college for next 50 years
  • In 1870, the college was incorporated by the State Legislature of Pennsylvania and given the power to grant degrees in the arts and sciences
  • February 25, 1931 Benedictine Sisters left Germany to go to America, set up residence in Saint Vincent, to earn money to send back to mother house during World War I
  • By 1987, one sister retired and founded Saint Emma’s Retreat House in Greensburg
  • In 1948, there were 19 majors available in the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Business
  • January of 1963 – a fire destroyed part of the campus – no life was lost

On the campus they have a memorial with a rescued bell saved from the bell tower.  The bent and torn metal of the once perfect bell is so surreal yet intriguing.

  • In 1983, Saint Vincent became co-educational

Until that point it was an all male college, sister college to Seton Hill University, which used to be an all female college

  • The college is sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and shares the campus with Saint Vincent Seminary (4-year graduate school of theology), and Saint Vincent Parish
  • Saint Vincent College offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, medicine, engineering government service and church.
  • Saint Vincent College offers Masters degree programs in education and business
  • The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (yes THE  Mr. Rogers!) is a college center
  • Nationally known, students from 24 U.S. states/territories and 20 foreign countries – half of these students are in the top 20% of their high school graduating classes
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School
Saint-Vincent-College-Bell-Tower-Aunt-Heather-Piper-

Bell Tower at Saint Vincent, built in 1871 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Benedictines in the U.S. In 1963, destroyed in a fire

Ok, now for the the really fun and interesting information I stumbled across.  Evidently, the students at Saint Vincent College need or did need to write a senior thesis before graduation.  Using primary resources, they were permitted to write about anything.

One student narrowed his focus to Latrobe and decided to write about the history of Latrobe’s volunteer firer-fighters and the Latrobe fire company.  Nice little topic!

Unbeknownst to him, he was going to stumble upon some really ground breaking news that was overlooked, even by Saint Vincent scholars, even to present day!  When I had lunch with my cousins John and Sherry Business Leader in the Form of a Youngster, in September, I asked John if he ever heard of the news I will reveal to you below.  He didn’t.  Dr. Olczak who also translated books for Saint Vincent College and most certainly was knowledgeable in the history of his Alma Mater, had no idea!

In the 1870’s, the Latrobe Advance, the local paper which is now the Latrobe Bulletin, circulated a story which dealt with a recent incident at Saint Vincent College.  What made the news but never made any other history books regarding the college and was forgotten?

Boniface Wimmer, yes the founder of Saint Vincent monastery and college, made the paper in the form of a small hidden story.  On October 1, 1879, the newspaper reported that the then 70 year old Abbot was nearly assassinated by a “lunatic”.  YEP!  No joke!  Keep in mind at this point in history, Boniface Wimmer was no stranger to the world, especially when concerned with his dedication and progress towards education and as a missionary.  In fact, he was recognized by many as the American Roman Catholic Church leader.  Kind of a big deal!  The paper reported that the mad man tried to assassinate Boniface Wimmer in his monastery room.

The story goes, a stranger was found lurking around, outside the monastery for several days.  On Saturday, September 13, 1879 the stranger gained access to the monastery where Boniface Wimmer resided.  A monk cut him off at the pass and ejected him from the premisses.  A week later the creepy stranger, on Tuesday September 23rd made his way back in the monastery and proceeded towards Brother Nicholas room.  He was the Porter or the gatekeeper of Wimmer.  This crazed stranger struck Brother Nicholas on the head and bolted up the stairs to the Abbot Boniface’s room.  (currently located in Mauer Hall and is used as a guest room) The lunatic took the key and tried to lock himself inside along with Boniface Wimmer.

Quick witted and matching reflexes, even from an aged man, the Abbot noticed this unusual sight and took the would-be assassin off guard before he could lock the door.  There was a tussle between the two men and that’s when Boniface Wimmer received a blow to the head, but not before gaining a hold of the intruders arm and managing to gain the upper hand. The 70 year old Abbot took down his attacker!  Yes!  He wrestled him to the floor!  This just proves, you have nothing to fear with God on your side and when you have complete faith in Him.

The recovering Porter came to Boniface’s assistance, after gaining his wits about him, and eventually a couple of monks arrived at the scene, hearing yells for help.  They removed the determined stranger from the premises.  No charges, no cops, no finger pointing, nothing.  Now-a-days that would have made front line news and opposing sides would be talking about it and pointing fingers at everyone including the Abbot for days, or weeks, heck months.  Everyone would have someone to blame.

The reason for this situation?  Not an Anti-Catholic message nor a hatred against Saint Vincent nor its Abbot.  The intruder was a Latrobe native who had mental issues and recently escaped from an asylum.  He felt if he killed the Abbot Wimmer he would in turn take his place as the Abbot of Saint Vincent.   At least the mentally disturbed man had goals!

Since this was not recorded anywhere else or brought to the spotlight, how can we know this actually happened? Even though back then the reporters needed to check and verify their sources, so I would be pretty confident they did their due-diligence before including the story in the paper.  Well, I came across documentation of a letter Abbot Wimmer wrote to the Vatican giving them an update on the church and the college.  This was a standard letter, with pleasantries and general day-to-day stuff.  At the conclusion of his letter, yes not as a headline, the butt end, as if just mentioning it in passing or as an afterthought, Abbot Wimmer made note of this incident.  Why didn’t he make it out to be the big deal it was?  Simply, because he was a humble man and didn’t want to upset anyone or have the general population turning on the assailant.   At least that’s my guess.  Or perhaps he didn’t like the negative publicity.  Either way, it was real history.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Happy Birthday Kyle – Marking his 12th Year Journey!

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say  ~J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring

Gigi-&-Kyle-on-his-1st-Bday-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Gigi & Kyle on his 1st Birthday! What a journey it has been… 7/30/02

I was there the minute Kyle was born, ready to help him on his journey and now he is a pre-teenager, hitting the twelve year mark!  Our little man will be in the junior high this year, the big seventh grade.  He has reached another mile marker on the road of life.  I’m going to go out on a limb and speak for Kyle, but I think he had another great birthday.  His usual month long celebration turned into a month-and-a-half long jubilee.  Only Kyle!

Giving Kyle his fist birthday gift of the year, I sent him to Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College for a week, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise!.  That was at the end of June, then not long after, Nicole took Kyle for a week long road trip throughout the New England states during the ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun!’  That Saturday they got back, two Saturday’s ago on July twentieth, we celebrated Kyle’s twelfth birthday.  From what Nicole told me, Kyle laid out his cloths the night before and instructed my sister to be up by 5:00 am so they could get on the road.  He woke up that morning extremely energetic and wanted to get a move on the day to get back.  My guess, he knew he was getting more Legos and he was keeping his eye on the prize.

Kyles-8th-Birthday-Chef-Dato-2008-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle’s 8th Birthday at Chef Dato’s (RIP) at the Tin Lizzy. They had a cooking party of making pizza & pretzels. 2008

Kyle is certainly a leader and a visionary, even on his birthday.  He knew how he wanted it to unfold and he was not shy about giving instructions.  Example, he told my mom that he wanted each of the dogs and my cat to be wearing a balloon.  He wanted balloons at the end of the driveway and he wanted the living-room to be filled with balloons.  He got that idea from me last year.  For his Lego birthday party, besides making a Lego cake, I filled the living-room with balloons so when he woke up that morning, he was walking into an explosion of celebration.  We didn’t quite make it that far this year, but we did strategically place balloons all around the house and on the property.

Last year, I was specifically instructed to make the cake and it was to be a Lego theme, however this year he didn’t seem to be that concerned over the cake.  Instead of going to extremes, everyone agreed on a classic, ice-cream cake from Dairy Queen, since we haven’t had one in a while.  Always a favorite during the summer heat (heck I’d eat ice-cream cake all year long).

Kyle-flys-a-plane-for-9th-Birthday-2010-Aunt-Heather-Piper-

Kyle’s 9th Birthday. I got him flying lessons. Yes he actually flew the Piper plane! 7/2010

When Nicole and Kyle were heading home, he called so many times we lost track.  He wanted to follow-up on the birthday decorating and to ensure the gifts were ready for him when he walked in the door.  He was also giving us his ETA.  What a stinker, always managing and overlooking even the smallest details!

Once they made it to Derry, Kyle called and said, in the most distraught voice, “We’re in Derry!  Oooh,  I think we have another hour to go!”  I think my sister was teasing him a bit, because Derry is only about fifteen minutes away.  Although I will admit when Kyle has his mind set on a goal within his reach, he is one focused bugger!

It was a fun day, he didn’t want to do anything except build his Legos.  Naturally, since he’s on his The Lord of the Rings kick, he got The Lord of the Rings The Tower of Orthanc, which stands a couple of feet tall; and he got The Lord of the Rings The Council of Elrond; and to top it off for a little variety he got the Galaxy Squad Galactic Titan.  I should say he was all set!  Mom had the gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper.  She asked me if she should get birthday themed paper and I said, “Na, he doesn’t care, as long as they’re wrapped.”  Yes, Kyle has even told us that all gifts must be wrapped!  Once I asked him, “Don’t you think you are getting too old for that?”  His response, “Umm No!”  Point taken, enough said.

After we did the traditional lighting of the birthday candles, and belted out the birthday song, we did force Kyle to give us the condensed version of his road trip with his Aunt Nikki before we lost him to the Legos.  Seeing Kyle so happy, truly makes us all happy!  He had a great trip and came back to a perfect birthday, hanging with the family and building Legos!

Happy Birthday Kyle!  I hope your day is filled with birthday fun and you have another great journey all year!

Aunt-Nikki-&-Kyles-Week-of-Fun-2013-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Nicole & Kyle leaving to embark on their journey of ‘Aunt Nikki & Kyle’s Week of Fun!’ 7/13/2013

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise

You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.  ~Brigham Young

kyles-2nd-day-of-Lego-Camp-Bricks-4-Kidz-Aunt-Heather-Piper-6-25-13

Kyle’s 2nd day of Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College – Bricks 4 Kidz Program 6/25/13

Most people celebrate their birthday the day of their actual birth, or sometime close.  Others take a week or so in preparation and to celebrate the anniversary of their birth.  I really do neither, I’ve never been much of a birthday person.  Seriously, I could care less about my birthday, except it also happens to be my parents wedding anniversary (I was born six years after they were hitched).  Going out to eat, or birthday cakes and such never appealed to me.  Well, cake certainly peeks my interest, but not the celebration.  Yes, as a child I loved to get presents, but it wasn’t like it is today.  Even back then, I remember asking mom to stop the birthday parties.  Just not a big fan.

Kyle on the other hand is a big supporter of birthday celebrations, specifically his own.  Literally, from December 26th up until his day of birth, July 30th, he is preparing, scheming and throwing hints left and right.  Keep in mind, Easter falls between this time and he gets more gifts, not to mention his report card money that tends to go toward more Legos.  But his birthday, day, opens his eyes and fills his head with possibilities like no other.

Keeping with tradition, I never get Kyle toys or video games, basically what he asks for.  Nope!  I get him unconventional gifts.  They are items that I believe give him skills, introduces him to thinking differently, gives him life long knowledge or interests and helps him to grow as a person.  Others, mostly my parents and my sister get him the items that make his childhood bucket list of desirables.  (Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Flying Back to Kyle’s Ninth Birthday, Family Time Through an ipod Touch, Happy Birthday Kyle- 10 Years Old!)  I’ve mentioned it in the past about buying him piano lessons, swimming lessons, flying lessons, books etc.  So what to do for his twelfth birthday?

Starting to mill around ideas in my head back in May, which is when Kyle started to throw out hints, I really had no clue.  I’ve been known to give him a saving bond, again another practical gift to force him to save for the near future, but I really wasn’t sure.  Then, thanks to a family friend, Lori Planinsek Rodgers, she gave me the perfect idea!  Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp!

She mentioned it while we were at the 24th Annual Planinsek Fishing Derby, Gone Fishing!.  At the time I just thought it might be something fun Kyle would enjoy, so I mentioned it to him.  Naturally, anything with Legos causes the kid to jump out of his skin.  Well, that is until he found out he doesn’t get to keep the Legos he builds.  Too bad!  Looking online into the programs, the light came on in my head and bingo, his birthday present was established.

Kyles-Lego-going-to-Lego-Camp-at-SVC-Aunt-Heather-Piper-6-27-13

Yes, another Lego even while at Lego camp – Bricks 4 Kidz at Saint Vincent College. That was his report card money courtesy of his Aunt Nikki 6/27/13

This gift accomplished more than just his gift.  Kyle always loved going to daycare (Come and Play) every summer.  He truly looked forward to hanging out with his friends and playing.  The kids not only played, but the daycare ladies  would make them bring books to read and they would have to go outside and run around and do some schoolwork.  Kyle’s days were very planned, very organized and very structured.  All the qualities that make for an enjoyable day for Kyle, truly!  Well, this summer Kyle didn’t go to daycare.  He was seriously bummed and bored!  I wish he was sent at least a couple of days a week, but nope, his summer consisted of hanging by himself at home.  That’s when I thought to send him to camp.  Granted the kid takes more vacations then any other child I know, but it still stinks to sit at home by yourself, not being mentally or physically challenged and being socially deprived.

Originally, I was going to sign him up for the third week in July, bringing it closer to his birthday, but alas that week was the ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun’.  No good!  So I had to work backwards deciding on the week of June 24th through June 28th, last week.

Signing Kyle up for Animal Grossology in the am session (8:30-11:30) and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session (1:00-4:00) at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, all I could think of was how excited he was going to be.

Kyle-Lego-Certificate-Aunt-Heather-Piper-6-28-13

Kyle received 2 certificates for finishing his Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College. Animal Grossology & Space Adventure- Star Wars 6/28/13

Keeping the Lego camp a secret, I alerted the rest of the family and I made arrangements for us both to stay at my parents house all week, which made my parents really happy.  They were looking forward to his Lego camp too for two reasons.  One, to spend the week with Kyle and two, to share in his excitement, knowing how much he loves to build Legos and being challenged.

Leading up to the birthday present surprise, I started to prod Kyle a bit, although he never really took the bait.  Probably because he knew his gift from me wasn’t exactly what he wanted.  I did tell him he was getting his gift early and it involved animals and space.  That sparked one of our dashboard silly conversations Laughing About Nothing…Dog in Space.  Throughout Kyle’s short life, you would think he would learn to trust me.  Our activities are never items he’s thought about or thinks are fun, but he can never deny he loves the gifts I get him.

One of the hints I slipped him, was that he was going to college and it was an educational gift.  He politely smiled and gave me a grunt.  Then he said, “I can’t go to college, I’m not old enough.”  Love that kid!  I told him he’s going and he better pay attention!  I could tell he didn’t know whether to take me seriously or not.  Sometimes I can be such an instigator.

Sunday night, the eve before Kyle was going to partake in his Lego camp adventure, I told him where he was going.  His eyes lit up and excitement shot over his entire body, leaving his mouth ALL night!  To be honest, I was trilled at his enthusiasm but it was getting late and I was tired.  He kept speculating on  what he was going build and what he was going to do.  He commented, how much he loved animals and told me how much he knows about animals.  Then he went into his dissertation on space and Star Wars.  It was a long night until the sandman knocked Kyle out.

Kyle-helps-at-Lego-Camp-SVC-6-24-13-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle his a great little guy! Check him out helping another, at the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College! 6/24/13

The next morning and all week he was up early, got himself his breakfast and got dressed, all without incident.  The first day was a bit rough, especially at lunch.  I packed us a lunch and thought we could picnic at Saint Vincent College and then walk around a bit.  I wanted to share with Kyle, some of what I remembered Father Alred teaching us about the buildings and the history when I was in the sixth grade at Sacred Heart.  (I found out that I remember very little and need to research the college again to bring back what I knew.)  Kyle was very quiet and almost blasé about his morning and kind of complained about his lunch.  Then, he didn’t want to walk around, didn’t want to sit, didn’t really care to go back.  I was in complete shock and let’s face it, irritated.  Only because I thought Kyle didn’t appreciate this opportunity.  Keep in mind it was pretty hot and humid out.

I dropped Kyle off for his afternoon class and then picked him up at 4:00.  Same attitude, same almost lethargic demeanor.  At this point, I thought Kyle was getting sick or maybe he was tried from getting to bed so late and waking up pretty early.  That is until the next day brought me my answers.

As I dropped him off for his morning session, I spoke to the one teacher to see how Kyle was doing.  She informed me that the room was really hot and evidently since it was an old building, putting the air conditioning on cool meant they were turning on the heater!  Yikes!  Kyle was sitting in not only a hot room, but it was being heated too!  No wonder he was so miserable.  The kid HATES being hot.  Not that I can blame him.

Kyle-at-Lego-Camp-SVC-Aunt-Heather-Piper-6-26-13

Kyle loved the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College! 6/26/13

By the time I picked Kyle up for lunch on Tuesday, it was like he did a one eighty!  He was ecstatic, energetic and completely excited to tell me about his day and what he built!  I was so happy I didn’t make a mistake with the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp.  I did not!  It was a hit, now that the temperature in the room was bearable.

What a great week!  Everyday, Kyle and I ate breakfast together; then I dropped him off for his morning class; picked him up for lunch, which we made and ate together; dropped him off for his afternoon session and then picked him up when his day was done.  Actually, everyday except Friday, mom picked him up for me since I was getting the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt ready for the following day.  (For my company Thrill of the Hunt)  That was the start of the Dog Gone Irony!

Kyle had a GREAT time!  He not only got to feed his addiction of  building Legos, but he fed the brain too with animal knowledge and space talk.  As much as Kyle won’t admit to it, he loves to learn and discover new things and experiences, much like the rest of my family.  Lori, who introduced me to the Bricks 4 Kidz Program, messaged me this:

I see you’ve been busy dog hunting the past couple days, but I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to see any of the videos posted for Bricks 4 Kidz! Looks like Kyle loved the programs! His teacher brought their entire class (5 or 6 kids) up to our class to show us how Kyle put a motor on the kangaroo (which wasn’t in the plans) and made it move – WHAT A GENIUS! I was proud of him and he’s not even mine!

Kyle surprises me all the time and makes me proud too!  He is a bright young man, that will no doubt shine in his future endeavors, whatever they may be.

He was an absolute jewel the entire week!  Seriously, the happiest and most non-argumentative child.  Everyday he came home and practiced his piano and read in his book.  Then he would watch some of his Lord of the Rings movies, watched a little TV or played with one of his many Legos.  He never complained about dinner and ate some of his veggies.  He even showered every night with little resistance and brushed his teeth without being asked, morning and night.  He was in a routine of structure, family, and good eating habits.  Believe it or not, it made the world of difference on his attitude.

I highly recommend the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego camp or any of the offered classes!  The teachers are really great to deal with, they have such a positive attitude and the benefits the children receive are priceless.  I’m not just talking about learning to build, but the socialization, the structure, the added knowledge and the attention are so good for the kids.  Kyle was looking into other Lego classes and wants me to sign him up for more.  If he can fit it into his busy schedule, I totally will!

Thanks Lori!  You saved my birthday gift dilemma and brought so much more to one little boy than you can imagine!  You really are a true teacher through and through.

Below is a video I took of Kyle.  I creeped into the classroom, while he was still playing with his creation of the day.  The kid was in complete glory!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Family Cooking Raises Healthy Lego Building Kids

I think careful cooking is love, don’t you?  The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.  ~Julia Child

Kyle-Legofest-Pittsburgh-2012-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle hanging with the Star Wars Boba Fett or Janko Fett at LegoKidsFest 2012 in Pittsburgh

My family is like many who enjoy cooking and cooking together.  We really don’t eat out a lot, hence the congregation in the kitchen when hunger pains arrive.  Seriously, we don’t even really eat fast food.  In fact, the only fast food joints I support when I am in a pinch, or if the graving takes is Chick-fil-a, their service and friendly demeanor is always awesome and contagious, not to mention I love their chicken; or SubWay, when I need serious food and I want to control what is put on my sandwich; or Panera, when I’m looking for better tasting quality food, quickly; or Jioio’s when I want my thin, slightly sweet crust pizza; or any other pizza joint for that matter.  Every now-and-again I will make my appearance at a 5 Guys Burger & Fries or a Sonic or a Dairy Queen, but again that’s rare.  Nope, eating out is a rarity not a daily choice.  I was raised that way, and so I continue to keep the tradition.

I’ve said it before and the same still holds true, I enjoy cooking, especially with Kyle!  No matter if we are talking about breakfast, lunch, dinner or a simple snack, cooking together always makes it more fun!  Kyle really likes being in the kitchen, but he prefers to develop his food with the assistance of others.  Not that I can blame him, cooking together is way more fun and sometimes exciting when we start experimenting with ingredients.

In the past, cooking was a way for me to reinforce Kyle’s reading and his math by making him read the recipes to me and forcing him to figure out the measurements himself.  (Inner Conflict, Egg Sandwich Spectacular, Healthy Smoothie Sunday) Not to mention it was a great way to introduce him to different dishes, expanding his pallet and to teach him about the health benefits of specific foods, or lack there of in some cases.  Yes, I don’t always make the healthiest of dishes, but at least I am aware of what goes into the items I consume.

Kyle-&-Pap-Mentor-Deer-Hunting-10-2012 Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle & his pappy getting ready to mentor deer hunt. We eat a lot of deer meat throughout the year. 2012

Same goes for Kyle.  I have always stressed the importance of eating healthy, however I have also demonstrated the moments of weakness and giving in to temptation.  When I splurge and steer clear of nutritious foods and swap them with junk food, I am also aware of how much I consume and how often.  Not to mention I have always lived by example to burn off the food through various exercise.  I’m not saying I am the poster child for physical fitness, but I do try and make a conscientious effort to demonstrate good healthy behaviors to Kyle.  I’m not saying he completely listens to me, but I know the information is being stored up in his cranium cavity…somewhere.  It’s my job to guide him in the right direction, even if I’m pushing him up a very steep hill.

This week has been wonderful, spending every day with Kyle.  For his birthday, I bought him two Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camps at Saint Vincent College.  He’s been going all week with a morning session and an afternoon session, allowing us to hang out together for lunch.

Kyle-at-IHOP-Aunt-Heather-Piper

A rare treat at IHOP. Kyle wanted caramel hot chocolate. He was reading the Hunger Games while enjoying his dessert drink! c. 2011

All week we’ve been doing breakfast, lunch and dinner together!  And you what?  He has been eating healthier.  I’ve seen his improvement over these few short days.  When we cook together and eat together, Kyle is making better choices with his nutrition.  Plus, having the right foods on hand is a big part of it.

Everyday, he gets to help pick out what he wants for lunch and every day we make the meal together!  Like I said he loves being in the kitchen, helping to prepare the food, cut, stir and flip.  When we’re done, he is truly proud of what he’s made and knows I approve of his eating choices.  This situation just makes everyone happy!

Speaking of happy, Kyle has been seriously energetic and upbeat!  Keep in mind he’s been building Lego’s every morning and night, and this week, one of his rewards for his great report card came in the mail, in the form of another Lego.  So those certainly can sway a child’s attitude, but it also has to do with what is digesting in his gut.  When y0u eat right, you feel right!

Example, Kyle used to like vegetables when he was little.  Then all of a sudden he refuses to eat them, even though I know he doesn’t hate certain veggies.  One day this week, Kyle and I made a huge salad, per both of our suggestions.  He helped me chop up the salad stuff including the carrots and mushrooms.  More importantly, he was excited to make the salad large enough so his Gigi and pappy would have some for dinner.  He not only ate one salad for lunch, but he ate two and then one for dinner!  Granted it was coated in French dressing (low fat), but it wasn’t covered in cheese and no croutons made their appearance.  Just good old fashioned vegetables.  He LOVED the salad and was proud of what he made and his choice for consumption.

I am still amazed over what a difference a few days make, when choosing to eat correctly!  Granted, he does eat pretty good on the weekends, but a lot of the time, that’s our cheat days, which unfortunately is just a continuation of Kyle’s normal week.

Sometimes Kyle tells me what he’s had during the week, and although it sounds fine, the food items he eats are all processed crap.  Full of fat, sodium, not to mention the extra junk they throw into food bought off the shelves that alter our natural body’s chemistry.

The more I learn, the more I’ll continue to teach Kyle and try to live by example.  After all, it’s my job to fight for his health as much as it is for his spiritual well-being and his brain development.

Wander what he wants to eat for lunch today?  I can’t wait to pick him up!

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments
%d bloggers like this: