Oliver’s drawings.

I feel like Oliver’s been drawing basically nonstop since he could hold a pencil. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the first thing he does when he wakes up is reach for a paper and pencil, and it’s usually the last thing he puts away at the end of the day too. He fills every spare minute he can with drawing, and I just love his work! He crams so much amazing detail into every drawing he does. Lately he’s been adding a lot of misspelled words, too, which I love. He does his six year old best. 

These are a few of my favourites from the last couple days:

He’s been reading Dog Man all week and he just loves it. He ordered one off Amazon (with his mom’s help of course) and read it in a day, and now he’s reading one of Ben’s. He still reads solely out loud, stumbling along and asking for help when he doesn’t know the word, or just skipping or making up the words.  I just love it. At the end of the book there’s a “how to draw dog man” section and Oliver clearly aced that lesson. I posted one of those pictures on IG and the author of the book left a comment- so cool for Oliver (and me too!).

Those are Oliver’s mock up logos for a BMX shop. He’s a leftie so he occasionally writes his letters in reverse. I told him he may have a career in graphic design/branding.

That little guy at the end of the first line of that comic strip just kills me.

That pose! That’s A.B. Pronounced “Abby”, like “abs”- like a six pack who’s a guy. 

Here’s another picture of “Ab Man” and his “Abby Sidekicks”. I die. (Still working on getting “b”s and “d”s straight when writing.)

The “ab-y sidekicks” are actually just little six packs with arms and legs!! His imagination runs deep, that’s for sure.

And this last picture is just a school project, but I still love it.

I love that the things that make him lucky are 1) his pets 2) his family 3) his home and 4) fruit. Oliver lives for bananas. If we are out of bananas, life is not complete, so it’s only fitting that he drew a bowl of fruit. 

Oliver is starting art classes in a couple of weeks and I’m really excited to see how that goes. He’ll be learning all kinds of new mediums and I’m curious to see if he’ll like them, or if he’ll just want to stick to good old paper and pencil. Either way I really can’t wait to see what he creates.


Ivy draws.

Ivy drew a picture.

And then she said, 

“Awww, that’s baby you, Mom! That’s when you were a baby!”

(I was so cute, right?)

Then her picture took a dark turn…

“And a bad guy is gonna come cut your cute arm off. You will cry.”

Um, should I be concerned here or is this just a side effect of too many brothers? Hopefully the latter.

Oliver draws. And draws. And draws. And says funny things.

It’s 9:45 and I’ve folded two loads of laundry, the third is almost dry, and I’ve cleaned my bedroom AND bathroom, including floors. Not gonna lie, I’m feeling like a champ. So since I’ve been so efficient with my time today, I thought I should squeeze in a blog post before I retire to my sewing studio where a pile more work is waiting for me.

I’ve been wanting to blog about my boyfriend Oliver for awhile. Yeah, I said boyfriend. We’re in love. He tells me all the time. Like I mean probably 100 times a day that kid tells me he loves me. He tells me things like, “I have a crush on you, Mom. I love you the most.” All. the. time. So naturally, he’s my current favorite. (Just kidding other kids I have.)

He had his Christmas concert on Sunday. Although he knew the words and the actions, he flat out refused to do them at the dress rehearsal or on the actual concert morning. “Mom, I’m not doing them. The only action I will do is to smile.” We tried bribes. No go. He knows his own mind, and there is no changing it. He did crack a very teeny smile on stage, and he looked darling despite his resolute non-participation, so it was still a win in my books.

He continues to draw, tirelessly and continuously, every day. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that he probably spends around eight hours a day at the kitchen table churning out drawing after drawing after drawing. Yesterday morning we actually ran right out of paper. Oliver was totally at a loss, wandering around the house in a cloud of confusion, begging me for more paper. He literally goes straight to the table to draw as soon as he wakes up. And we drag him away from the table at bedtime, leaving drawings scattered over the entire table.


His brothers have Pokemon cards, and he doesn’t. So he made his own Pokemon cards.


His drawings are so full of detail and expression, I just love them. He’s only four remember! I just read somewhere that kids don’t have control over a pencil until they’re six. Disagree.





Lately he’s learned to write his name, too, and has started writing books- taping pages together and asking me how to spell things. He’s decided he might be an author when he grows up, because, after all, he’s written two books already.


This was a picture he drew of “a guy thinking about falling in love”:


The other day Oliver told me that he wants more kids in our family. Just one more. I told him that we don’t have room in our car for more kids. He said we could just take the truck AND the car if we go places. I said that would cost too much money for gas, and what would we name the new kid, anyway? He said Joe if it’s a boy. And what if it’s a girl, Oliver? If it’s a girl, we’ll name her Sweetheart, he said.

Oliver, you and your drawings and the sweet, funny things you say, you really do have my heart.

PicMonkey Collage


The children draw.

And draw, and draw, and draw. Our table has been strewn with papers and markers for over four years, it seems. I fantasize about having a work station for them in the basement, but for now I’m not really complaining about the fact that ALL of my kids LOVE drawing and literally spend hours of each day churning out amazing artwork. There are much worse pastimes for young children, I’m sure. Drawing is quiet and doesn’t require parental involvement, so besides the mess of papers, pencil crayons, markers, and crayons, it’s pretty much the best ever.

I feel like the kids have taken their picture quality up a notch lately, and I’m loving the latest creations.

Seth’s pictures continue to include a lot of weaponry and armor, good guys/bad guys/guys with super powers, etc. but he’s also including some humor in his drawings lately. Toilet humor, of course, but humor it is. I’m a fan.


That last drawing started as a pair of eyes I had drawn. We did lots of those for awhile. I drew eyes and the kids made them into weird things. It was fun.

Ben’s latest artwork had me pretty much dying. Apparently he was paying closer attention to that show on animal planet than I realized…


Why yes that is a nursing mom and baby animal about to be eaten by a giant something or other. I’m just really praying no nipples show up in any of his school artwork. And clearly we need to discuss the anatomical differences between mammals and reptiles.


What is even happening here?? I also love this picture he drew yesterday:


I helped him figure out how to spell a lot of the words, but wow is his printing ever neat. Just like his dad, this one!

He also started signing his name Benji, which melts my heart. One of my stipulations when picking his name was that I had to be able to call him Benji. I’m glad he’s calling himself that now too.


Oliver’s drawings are FILLED with detail. He draws and draws till every little space if filled up, both sides, usually spinning an elaborate story while he draws.


He’s starting to write his name too, although he only ever wants to write it “however I want” which always includes many, many O’s, I’s, and L’s, but never any other letters. Sometimes his name includes as many as 20 letters, but only those three. Thankfully we have a year and a half until kindergarten.


These are only a fraction of the amazing drawings we have laying around the house. 95% of them make their way into the recycling bin, but I do save my favorites. Some of them make it into their “keep forever” boxes, and a lot of them get photographed and make their way into photobooks. I love looking back at all of them and seeing how their style has changed and evolved. Hoping Ben’s anatomically correct drawings don’t evolve too much, though…

Ben designs a hoodie.

Like two years ago I pinned this awesome t-shirt tutorial by Petit A Petit and Family, with great intentions of making one for my kids. But unlike most things I’ve pinned, I actually made it! Yes, it took years, but hey, it got done.

Ben drew me a picture, and I made it into a hoodie.


I made the shirt part of the hoodie using the Tee for Two pattern by Patterns by Figgy. I could not find a link to that pattern- maybe they don’t sell it anymore? It’s also found in the book Sewing for Boys. I used the size 6/7 and just kind of widened everything so it would fit more like a sweatshirt and less like a skinny tee. I’m not a pattern drafter or anything, though, so I ended up with a super wide neck at the end of it all. Next time I try a trick like that I’ll make sure I stay away from all neck parts. I was a little at a loss what to do. I tried using some super stretchy ribbing and just making the sweatshirt fit into the neckband but after two tries, I realized it was not going to happen. It just left the sweatshirt with too many puckers, plus I didn’t like the color of ribbing I had anyway, so I had to come up with a plan B. Thankfully I had an old grey hoodie hanging out in my sewing stash and with a little cutting and a little sewing, the cuffs and hood got a new life. The neck still ended up being wider than I wanted; I should have overlapped the hood a bit more in the front, but it works, and Ben loves it, so I’m happy. I’m actually very happy with the overall fit of the hoodie. It’s not too big or baggy, but has just enough room to be the right amount of cozy and comfy. Just what I wanted.





Clearly Ben loves a good photo shoot.

Did you notice? Ben lost his first tooth a couple of weeks ago! That’s big stuff, people.


I may have to put Ben to work as a fashion designer more often, I think. This was such a fun sewing project, and I’d love to make one for Seth, but I’m intimidated by his ultra-detailed tiny drawings of dragons and warriors and various weapons. Oliver’s drawings would be perfect (and simple!) on a shirt, so I might have to get on that for summer. Maybe I’ll try a muscle tee or something.

Ben as a six year old.

Ben turned six on Saturday.


We celebrated his birthday with a couple friends at The Lego Movie on half-price Tuesday, because that’s how we roll. He requested a rainbow birthday cake (I’m starting to curse the rainbow cake. But at the same time, I still love it). For his birthday this year he asked for Lego, anything ninja turtles, and new clothes. He got all of those things, lucky child.




On his actual birthday we went to the museum and McDonald’s, per his instructions. Ben’s pretty low-key about his birthday celebrations, and I appreciate that. Last year he only wanted his grandparents, and this year, just a couple friends.

Ben as a six year old, well, he’s great. I’m really so proud of him; he’s come such a long way. Barely a year ago I probably would have described him as almost painfully shy, almost afraid to speak to someone he didn’t know very well. I would never describe him that way now. I’m so happy to see the confidence he’s gained. He’s made so many friends at school, and even told me that one of his friends described him as the class clown. He was pretty pleased with that, and honestly, I’m not really surprised by that. Ben’s always been a little entertainer here at home; he loves goofing off and making people laugh. I can remember Ben trying to be funny on purpose way back when he was just one or two. I think Neil and I called the whole class clown thing way back then. Still, he takes school seriously. He loves bringing home new home reading books, and he loves studying his sight words. He seems to be picking it all up really quickly. At the last parent teacher interviews his teacher called him a model student and said he was very bright and very neat. She’s right- Ben has much neater printing than Seth will ever have, I’m sure.

Ben’s a good brother, too. Okay he and Seth are not getting along that well these days, that’s true, but Ben get’s along very well with Oliver, and Ivy just adores him. Every night Ivy begs to “Seep Mun!” (sleep Ben!). She loves cuddling him in his bed. (Yes, this could also be a ploy by a genius two year old to avoid bedtime, and yes, it works a lot of the time. It’s just so cute.) He plays so well with Oliver and tries hard to include Ivy, and he takes good care of both of them if they’re hurt or need help.

He’s got style, my six year old Ben. He loves clothes (hence the request for new clothes for his birthday). I’m sure Seth has never even noticed what clothes are in his drawer or what they look like, he just pulls out what’s on top and puts it on. Ben, on the other hand, carefully (and slooooowly) picks out each days outfit. Occasionally he will come to me for my opinion, asking me which pants would look better with which shirt, but usually he makes his decisions solo. He often saves his favorite shirts for school days or Sunday school. But even though he loves looking handsome, he also loves his sweat pants, flannel jammies, and housecoat. He loves being cozy.

Ben can bust a move. I tell you, he’s got rhythm. He often has us almost falling over at the dance moves he comes up with, but he always makes it work. I hope one day I can convince him to try some kind of hip hop class or something, because I know he’d love it. He just seems to respond to music. He knows so many random song lyrics, and I love hearing him sing them. It always cracks me up when he wanders into the kitchen singing something like, “I came in like a wreeeeccccking ball” or “You left me, on the streets of Mexico…”
He’s always got a tune on his lips, and I love it.

Like all good Moran kids, he spends countless hours drawing, churning out picture after picture, always gifted to one of us, often signed from Ben. I don’t think he ever keeps a picture for himself, and the stack I have from him to me grows high on my dresser. I love this one he drew of me as a princess, and I love this giraffe he drew for Oliver. Giraffe’s are Oliver’s favorite, so Ben drew him one, because that’s the kind of thing Ben does.



He really is so sweet, our Benji. He has always had a soft and sensitive heart; a good, kind, nature. We’re really so lucky to have him.


P.S. I can hardly believe it, but I started blogging just before Ben turned two. Can you believe how much kids change? I miss Ben’s cheeks. They’re de-chubbing.

“The Gingerbreadman and Santa”

Seth came home from school the other day with his first self-published short story. I really loved it. Seth does not enjoy writing, not yet, anyway. Every week he comes home with a little journal of what he did at school that week. He did this in grade one too, and I have to sign it or write a little note back to his note, that sort of thing. I swear, he’s written the exact same thing every single entry. For two years. I’m so bored of reading it and signing it, because it’s SO boring. He complains about it too, and just can’t seem to think how to expand his thoughts farther than “I had math. We went to computer class. We had assembly.” Etc. Etc.
Anyway, I was so pleased to read his short story, with detail and expression and humor everything else a good short story (written by a seven year old) should have.

So here’s his story, just as he wrote it:

“The Gingerbreadman and Santa”


Santa was at an igloo about to eat a gingerbreadman when all of a sudden the gingerbreadman spoke and he said “Santa don’t eat me.” When the gingerbreadman spoke, Santa fainted. Santa woke up a minute later and remembered that he had to deliver the presents. Then the gingerbreadman spoke again and said “Can I come with you.” Then Santa said “Yes you can come with me.” Then the gingerbreadman quickly hoped out of the igloo and climbed the sides of the igloo and then hopped into Santa’s sleigh. Then they flew to a nearby barn. The gingerbreadman jumped out of Santas sleigh and saw a snowman. The gingerbreadman crept a little closer then the snowman said “Hi my name is Frosty the snowman what is yours?” When Frosty the snowman said that the gingerbreadman ran around the barn twenty-seven times. Then he stoped and thought for a minute. He looked to the side and he saw Frosty the snowman and at that very second he fainted. Then half a minute later he woke up because he felt some snow fall over him. He looked up and saw Santa’s sleigh fly above him to the house across the street. So the gingerbreadman got up and walked across the street. But he did not know that Frosty the snowman was following him. The gingerbreadman thought that something was following him but he thought that it was just a deer, moose, or bunny.


So he looked back to see Frosty the snowman. When he saw Frosty the snowman he was scared so much he ran to the house and climbed up the house and jumped into Santa’s sleigh. He got in just in time to see Santa pop out of the chimney. Then the gingerbreadman fell asleep. Then he woke up and hour later and said “Santa can I live with you.” Santa said “Yes you can.” So the gingerbreadman and Santa got out at the North Pole in front of the house. Santa went in the house and started making a little bed. So the gingerbreadman wen it. Santa and a bunch of elves yelled “Merry Christmas”. The End.

I realize that probably you’re not as amused by this story as I am, being that I am the author’s mother, but I just wanted to share it. I know I don’t write much about what the older kids are up to, and it’s probably because they’re busy doing their own things most of the time, and they need so much less of me than the babies do. Seth’s at school full time and when he’s home he’s often in his room playing lego or sitting on the couch reading. He barely needs me anymore, which is weird, because he’s only seven. The other morning we found him in bed with a balled up kleenex in his nose. He had a nose bleed in the night and took care of it all by himself. (He told me this was because Neil told him never to wake us up, to which I replied of course he can wake us up if he has a problem he needs help with, but I’m also wondering why Neil hasn’t given this firm instruction to the other kids…) But even though he’s so independent, he still knows that I at least need to feel needed by him, and so every once and awhile he spontaneously finds me just to give me a hug. He likes to climb in for a cuddle in the mornings too, and I really do love his quick little hugs and kisses. He continues to be such a sweet big brother, especially to Ivy. Lately he doesn’t want to do much without her, and it seriously melts my heart. Their relationship reminds me a lot of me and my baby brother a million years ago. I love having kids close in age, but there’s something so special about that almost six year age gap too. I’m very proud of the boy Seth is, and every day he makes me prouder. Even if I’m also a little sad at how big he’s getting. Do you know he’s read over 500 chapters or short books since the middle of September?? Only a few other kids are at 300, and no one else has made it to 400. Needless to say, I’m a proud mama. Also, his brain. I was talking about how many muffins I made the other day, 5 dozen, and Seth was just wandering by, then paused for a minute, then said, “So, 60?” HOW DID HE DO THAT? I don’t even know my 12 times tables, and I know they haven’t started learning multiplication in school yet. So, his brain. It’s amazing. I love his brain. And his sweet heart.