Friday, February 29, 2008

Our First Story Success

We've been checking out some of the suggested books in all the lists (see yesterday's post) and recently hit upon a success. First Son loves David and Goliath by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers. I was a little worried by the number of words on each page (he tends to get impatient), but I tried it anyway because it's probably his favorite Bible story (thanks to VeggieTales, of course). It's out of print, but there are a number of copies on Amazon and probably some elsewhere so we have options if we decide to purchase it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Books of Books

I decided to start looking into some home schooling resources since I might start some real activities with First Son in the fall (his pre-K year).

Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt

This is the book that started it all. I found a bunch of others on the same shelf at the library and was quickly surrounded by books of lists of books. This one doesn't show any research, unlike The Read-Aloud Handbook, but advocates the same actions (reading aloud to kids and as a family). It was primarily focused on the imaginative and spiritual growth of children in the family that reads together. It's Christian, so there is a whole chapter about reading the Bible as a family and isn't afraid to reference religion in every day life in other chapters as well. The book lists were excellent. I loved how many of them were out of print, for the most part. I know it'll help us find tremendous books we would have missed otherwise, but it is hard to get a hold of them if we decide we want to buy them. Luckily, there are tons of options for buying out of print books online. (I was surprised to find a handful that weren't even offered by anyone on Amazon.) I added a ton to our wish lists (which you can find if you know us off-line by searching on Amazon) and will be winnowing through them to either increase the priority (if we want to own them someday) or taking them off. I'm making a note to myself (here!) to check the book out again when I have kids in the 9-12 age bracket. (I love the library!)

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading for Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike
by Esme Raji Codell

This book is huge! So I haven't read the whole thing, but I would love to have this on my bookshelf. Unlike the one above, this one has quick and easy lists for just about anything you can imagine and I think it would be a valuable resource for the home-schooling family (along with the quality public library we have). It also has loads of activities. (The back cover says "hundreds".)

Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature by Elizabeth Wilson

I liked this book's description of each of the books listed, something lacking in the two above. It's also nice, sometimes, to have a solid list of books reinforcing the Christian world view, as all of these books do. It seems most useful for older children (most of the books listed are for those already in school) so I didn't pull too many to add to our list right now. I've decided it's a good one to reference again later when the kids are older. I think I like the topic-based lists in Esme Codell's book above better.

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

If you ever questioned the value of reading aloud, this book will change your mind. You'll also find extensive book lists, which I think included descriptions of each of the books. I can't do a real comparison because I read this so long ago. I intend to buy it eventually to have on hand as a reference, but keep thinking there will be a new edition pretty soon so keep delaying.

Any other recommendations for lists of books for kids?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Eventually I should put away all the DVDs we had out for the mass illness last week.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hair Cut

Kansas Dad says maybe I should find a book on how to cut hair. I think I just need a little more practice.

Speaking of practice, First Son really needs a hair cut as well. I have a shaving set I borrowed from my mom, but before I can use it, I need to clean it. Before I can clean it, I have to call my mom and ask her to tell me again how to clean it. So, I'm sure you can tell, it's going to be a bit longer before I get around to it. (Especially since I'm off to Seattle tomorrow for a business trip. At least everyone is feeling a little better and most of the laundry is done.)

Still Recovering

This is how I found First Son when I went to tell him dinner was ready.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How to Paint

1. Apply paint to hand.
2. Stamp hand on paper (not shown).

Occasionally taste paint to test texture and quality.

For those wondering how we're doing, it's getting better. Not only am I up and functioning a bit today, I have even begun to tackle the mountain of laundry. (A mountain that would be much higher if my brother-in-law and Kansas Dad had not managed a few loads for us this week.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

First Baby Pictures for #3

Well, the sickness has spread. Everyone is still feeling sick and now I've become the worst of all. (It could be that I'm just a wimp, but I prefer to blame the pregnancy.) Kansas Dad is somehow struggling through his own aches and pains to keep the rest of us (especially the kids) reasonably hydrated and entertained. We've all been on the couch watching videos for days now. Milo and Otis have been joined by Cars on a daily basis, surrounded by other Veggie friends.

Kansas Dad did manage to get us all up, dressed and out of the house this morning for my doctor's appointment. He knew seeing the baby on the ultrasound would ease my fears. (I've been sick twice in the past ten days, continuing to drop pounds even though my morning sickness has eased.) He was right, of course, but I've been even more exhausted all day.

On to the pictures!

Here's a picture from our first doctor's visit, baby at about 7 weeks old back in November.

Pretty much just a blob (no offense, baby).

Today, at a bit over 19 weeks old, we received a few better pictures.

Though they don't say much at these visits, what she did say was good (fluid where there should be fluid, etc.). Good job, baby!

No, we didn't find out if baby is a baby brother or a baby sister. It's too much fun to pick out names!

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's been a rough weekend around here. First Daughter continued her illness through Sunday (keeping us home from church) and First Son spiked a fever overnight last night. We even called First Daughter's pediatrician's line last night because her fever was so high and didn't seem to go down even with medication. (He said she'd be fine as long as she was hydrated, so we fed her water with an eyedropper and she was able to get it down.)

Today was a holiday, but we spent most of it on the couch, watching four videos - The Heffalump Movie, Little Joe, Milo and Otis and Cars. (As a side note, Milo and Otis was no bigger a hit with the little ones than I remember it. Both fell asleep, though that wasn't too far off from my goal so I didn't mind.) I started Cars way too late because as the ibuprofen wore off, First Son started to melt down. He was nearly in hysterics and I knew it would calm him down (which it did immediately) until the new dose kicked in. Kansas Dad has caught the cold as well and it's a doozy. I can tell the ibuprofen wears off after about three of the six hours. Both kids have been suffering. (We started double dosing, using overlaps of Tylenol to help avoid the worst of it.)

First Son did manage to convince us to get the new pirate ship, though. I've been avoiding the issue though he's asked for it many times (and announced he was getting it for Valentine's Day) because it's exactly the same ship, just green instead of brown. Today, though, when he was all quiet and pathetic, lying on the futon, he asked "Is it Valentine's Day yet?" When I said it was Valentine's Day last week, his face fell (even more), "I didn't get my pirate ship."

Well, that was it. He won. He had some birthday money left (because he so rarely asks for anything, you'd think I'd have given in long ago) and we arranged for Grammy to stop by the store and use her coupon. She dropped it off tonight and he was properly impressed. Another plus - First Daughter has now inherited the old one and we now have about three sets of pirates so everyone should be happy.

So the kids are both sleeping for at least a little while and the dishes are mostly done, but the rest of the house is a disaster. I just don't have the energy to care. It's amazing how taking care of three sick people all day makes a pile of dirty laundry look like a "good job for tomorrow."


After we finished painting, First Son needed to eat some Valentine's Day candy. Even though First Daughter wasn't feeling well, she insisted on eating some as well. First Son was a little too generous in the sharing. Before I realized it, she had about five little candy hearts in her mouth, two in one hand and one in the other while First Son cheerfully handed her more. Oops. Luckily, she managed to chew them all and swallow them without choking.

After eating nearly the entire box of candy hearts, he announced he needed another piece because "I don't really like these very much." It's not clear if that was the truth or if he thought it was a good line to get another piece. It worked, though, because the candy hearts aren't my favorites and he did feed a lot of them to his sister.

Saturday, February 16, 2008



The number of times First Daughter threw up today: twice in her bedroom, once in the bathroom, twice in our bedroom, once in the kitchen and once in the living room. All within about 30 minutes.

Poor baby. Poor Kansas Dad who cleaned most of the mess. Poor Mama who was in the line of fire...twice. Poor washing machine, harder at work than usual.

By the way, baking soda is the only thing to get the smell out of the carpets. Washing soda works in the laundry.

No More Pull-Ups!

First Son has been wearing big boy underwear to bed for about a week now. So far, we've only had one mishap!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Breakfast Guest

First Daughter shrieked a bit to get her dad's attention and then vigourously signed bird. Sure enough, we had a breakfast guest.

I'm sorry the picture isn't very good. I was adjusting the camera when First Daughter stormed the window and scared the poor thing away. We need to refill the feeder so there's some yummy seeds to welcome him back later!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


These waited ages on my desk for a patch. I think this is the second time he's worn them.

Now they need to wait again.

I'm really going to Sears next time! (Sears offers a wear-out warranty for all children's clothing, including jeans -- if the child wears out the jeans before he/she grows out of them, Sears will replace the product at no extra cost to the customer. I even heard you don't need a receipt if the brand is one only sold at Sears.)

Little Boy Handprints on Futon, in Chalk

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rock Monster in the House

I apologize that it's sideways. I always seem to forget that as I'm filming. Apparently, with our new laptop I can modify these little videos, but the laptop is usually with my husband.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Acrobat in Training

I was busy trying to convince First Daughter to return to the kitchen with her banana chocolate chip muffin (which I just knew she'd use to spread chocolate throughout the house). I heard a noise and turned to see First Son slide his chair from the table, grab the placemat, which slid to the floor (with a plate full of food and a full glass of milk), then follow it with a fantastic flip forward. He landed on his shoulder and neck, which was not fantastic. He's in tears. I'm in tears. (How could I let myself get three feet away from him?) Milk is everywhere (including dripping down First Son's hair, face and ears). First Daughter is wandering in the milk, spreading milk sock prints everywhere.

It was not fun.

And Kansas Dad was busy teaching a class.

I pulled myself together, gave First Son some Tylenol for the aches and pains I knew would stick around, and dropped everyone in the bath. Eventually the floor was clean, the kids were clean and in bed and I was (mostly) composed. But it took hours. If I could change one thing about Kansas Dad's job, it would be night classes. (Though he has a Saturday class in the fall; that might make two things. We'll have to see how it goes.)

Monday, February 11, 2008


First Son returned to the dentist today. Perhaps he matured just the right amount or perhaps it helped for him to watch me have my teeth cleaned last week, but he was an angel. The dentist was able to polish and floss for the first time!

Today at lunch, a bird joined the family and munched on the seeds from the feeder outside our window for the first time. The kids loved it and I missed it because I was at a training all day.

When she was supposed to be falling asleep (in my arms as I rocked her), First Daughter sang to herself (the Rock Monster song, of course) and then pretended to snore. Perhaps she thought pretending would make falling asleep easier.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Baby's Turn to Eat

First Daughter has taken to buckling Baby into her seat and feeding him. (We have to make sure to remove any real foods that are messy from her reach, because apparently, that's the kind of thing Baby most likes to eat.)

First Son has named Baby after my nephew, who apparently made a grand impression when we met him at Christmas.

A Winter Day Outside

I think we inspired First Daughter to say "bubbles" (brubru)!

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Success Story

Today, for the first time in five days, no one at our house threw up.

In the Old Days

First Son, as First Daughter colors on some newspaper, "When I was little, we didn't have any paper."*

* Editor's Note: Lest you think we were seriously poor, we have provided our son with ample access to paper throughout his life. At the very least, he could have pulled a book off any one of many shelves and helped himslf.

Is it Time for Lunch or Time for Nap?

Both, of course!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Prayers for Home Life

Out of the Depths I Call to You: A Book of Prayers for the Married Jewish Woman, edited and translated by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, written in 1786 for Mrs. Yehudit Kutscher Coen by her future husband.

As I'm not Jewish, there are many prayers in this book that aren't really applicable to my life, but there were some sweet moments, thinking of how women have prayed for the same things generation after generation. Mostly I loved the ones focused on pregnancy, childbirth and nursing (not too surprising). As a lullaby I mentioned earlier, many of these prayers ask for God to help the child live a godly life and to follow Him and His ways.

I also love asking for bizarre books through interlibrary loan. It took them months to find this one for me and I'm so glad they did!

The Perfect Holiday Diet

You can eat anything you want and you won't gain weight. In fact, you'll lose weight. What's the trick?

You don't want to eat anything.

It's the first trimester diet!

I was going to post this with a cool picture of Baby, but really the poor dear looks like a blob, so we'll wait for a better one in a couple of weeks. I wanted to post this a few weeks ago, too, closer to the holidays, but I kept putting it off because certain important people hadn't heard the news yet. (I know, there are important people who hadn't heard the news until this post, but you don't work with me. I do apologize for my inability to email and call everyone. I wish I could talk to you all in person!)

Now the word is out, I can tell you about my doctor's visit this morning. First Son came along because we didn't want to send him to school after the sickness last night. He kept saying he didn't want to hear the heartbeat, but he was very impressed when he did.

Later tonight he said to me, "Mama, you have a baby in your tummy!"

"Yes, I do."

"I have a baby in my tummy, too."

"No sweetie, only mommies can have babies in their tummies."

"Oh. Okay."

Oh, before I forget, Baby is due to make an outside appearance sometime in mid-July.

First Son Masters the Mouse

He's at the computer next to me happily clicking through the Veggie Pirate movie website. First Daughter is asking for food, as always (as long as she's not at the table, that is).

First Son is Sick

At 3 am this morning we hear First Son calling urgently from his room, scared and upset, "Daddy! Daddy!" I was immediately suspicious. Before we shook the sleep away, First Daughter started to cry, so we both went in. Sure enough, First Son had gotten sick all over (bed, pillow, stuffed animals, pajamas, blanket, everything). I brought First Daughter to bed with me while Kansas Dad took care of the mess. I felt a little sad that First Son was the sick one and she got to snuggle with me, but she couldn't be expected to sleep in her crib with the light on and all the commotion.

It took a long time for everyone to be clean, dry and back to sleep. On a bright note, First Son seems to be feeling better (though still not eating) and is already watching a favorite video while I work.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my husband?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Three Prescriptions for a Rash?

That seems a little excessive, though they all made sense when I was talking to the doctor. It seems First Daughter has developed a yeast infection which we originally thought was a bad diaper rash.

So we are under strict instructions to not give a bath every day and lotion her top to bottom as often as we can.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Adding Insult to Injury

Not only did the Patriots lose, but First Daughter got sick in the car on the way home. Kansas Dad got her all clean and ready for bed. Then, while rocking her to sleep, she threw up again, all over him. So we had to clean her up a second time and he had to change his own clothes before he could start all over. It was after ten when the kids went to bed.

Party Play

Grammy was well-stocked with games and toys for today's Super Bowl Party.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

New Growth

I received a bulb for Christmas and tonight we watched it bloom while we ate dinner. It was a refreshing promise of spring and will grace our table with a heavy scent for weeks to come.

Cozy and Warm