Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Daughter, the Caddy


What will we do when the garden goes in? (Kansas Dad built the square for our square foot garden.)

Family Mini Golf

Fresh Garden Salad

Kansas Dad had to thin out our salad greens a little so we enjoyed some of our produce tonight!

Search for a Good Cause

Use Goodsearch when you're searching online and they make a little donation to the charity of your choice for each search. I've been using it for a while but decided to post about it because Kansas Dad's university is now accepting donations. Let me know if you want to select them but don't know the name of the university.

Just so you know, Kansas Dad does not recommend using it to search for potentially plagiarized phrases. It's just not as robust as Google for stuff like that. I think most of you aren't doing those kinds of searches on a regular basis, though.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sweet Little Book for Baby

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

This lovely book was a gift for Third Baby from dear friends of ours (who are still awaiting a thank you card!) and I just had to write about it, even though we won't know for a while if baby will like it as much as I do. I love the watercolor paintings. The text all rhymes and is made up of only five words repeated in different combinations. I think it's perfect for the littlest ones! I can hardly wait to share it with baby...just a few more months to go!

(Yes, I am saving it for baby. Who knows what condition it would be in if I left it out and about?)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

First Son's Hippo

Planting Is for the Kids

Kansas Dad let First Son and First Daughter play with a bag of old potting soil. They were in heaven.


We even let First Son plant some chives. Sadly, First Daughter tore them out about 30 seconds later and threw them (crumpled) into the grass. So then First Son planted a weed. He was just as happy.

New Words

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no...."

There were a lot of other first words today. It's about time! My favorite was when First Daughter repeated each and every color for me while playing with her markers. She doesn't match up the word and the color without help, but we're just thrilled she's repeating actual words!

And I've always loved to hear little ones say "yellow" and "purple."

I tried to get her to repeat them for the camera, but no luck.

Floors Are Hard

Thursday night, First Daughter woke sometime overnight and proceeded to cry and fuss for well over three hours. We took turns, but Kansas Dad bore the brunt of it, and it was not fun.

So last night, when she started to cry, we first tried to ignore it (thinking perhaps we were just being too easy on her). I'd go in every once in a while to attempt to comfort her, but mostly she just cried. After an hour and a half, I figured that wasn't working (for us, even if it might have eventually for her). So I moved First Son to our bed and settled down on the floor next to her crib with a pillow and blanket for myself. When she cried, I reached in and touched her (if I could find her) and told her I was there, but that it was sleepy time and she needed to stay in her crib.

She eventually went back to sleep (maybe after I was in there half an hour or so), but by that time, I had fallen asleep as well. I woke up five hours later, uncomfortable and sore. At least I managed a couple of more hours in my own bed (heaven!) and am hopeful the "intervention" will have a lasting effect.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Airplane!

First Daughter's new favorite word, which is repeated at greater intensity until eliciting a response from an adult...every time she hears one.

She can hear a lot of airplanes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't Let the Kids Drive the Car!




Driving wasn't really the problem. Stuffing the tape deck full of pennies was a problem. We don't use the tape deck (who has tapes anymore?) but I'm a little nervous they might end up somewhere more important.

At least it wasn't the rental.

Salad Anyone?


The salad greens are doing very well. The thyme survived the winter in this pot, outside. You can see bits of green where Kansas Dad has planted a few other things as well. Hopefully we'll have some good garden produce this year!

Welcome All!

I just noticed my counter went over 1000 sometime today. Cool!

Wasting Gas

This morning, Kansas Dad locked his keys in the car when he stopped for coffee. I grabbed my keys and coat and headed down the street to help him out.

I realized when I arrived that I had not actually brought the keys that would unlock the locked car.

So we got back in the car I drove, drove home again, grabbed the correct keys and returned to the coffee shop.

Where Kansas Dad proceeded to leave the rental car* running (with the only set of keys in the ignition) while we both got out and shut our doors. I looked at him, laughing, and said, "I sure hope these doors don't lock automatically."

They did not, thankfully. We were able to unlock the first car, get the keys for Kansas Dad and proceed to our separate destinations (home to work or school to work) without incident.

* This is the rental car we have for a couple of weeks while the damage to the van is being repaired. I'd like to take this opportunity to state that Geico has been wonderful for us. We've had two major claims, both for body work, and have never had the slightest bit of trouble or (so far) any change in rates. Granted, the claims were for hail damage and a fender bender that wasn't our fault, but it's still nice to get good service.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Color of the Sky, by First Daughter

"Bwoo!"

First Daughter's first color word

Let This Be a Lesson to You All

This might seem like a lot of fun.


But when you're done spinning and very dizzy and try to get off the chair by yourself, you might just fall flat on your face. Or rather, your tooth.

Which will be knocked loose and require a trip to the dentist.

Thankfully, all seems to be in good shape. The dentist believes the tooth will tighten up and we're just supposed to keep First Daughter on soft foods and watch for any signs of infection.

First Daughter, I think we're putting a hold on all spinning activities until later this year when the dental insurance kicks in.

And lest you think I'm a less attentive mother than I am, there were two adults supervising the spinning. We just didn't pay enough attention to the climbing down.

Striving for Holiness at Home

Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson

In this book, Peterson offers a look into the spiritual aspects of homemaking - the making of a place of refuge and refreshment for friends and family. I found her book full of insight and inspiration. She explores some of the reasons the daily chores of a household are disdained and responds with scripture and arguments to the contrary. We all know how hard it can be to tackle the laundry, the dishes, the dirty floors, day after day. In this book, we realize the holy work we are doing for our loved ones.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

In considering my own cross-stitching (which I realize is more for beauty than utility):

It is this capacity of handwork to make room for joy, room for grief, room for hope and waiting and process, that makes it so valuable a practice in a world that increasingly has no room for any of these things. Many of us have less and less experience with anything that unfolds over time; we expect everything to be instantaneous and are indignant when our e-mail takes more than two seconds to arrive in its recipients' in-boxes. But life is not instantaneous. It takes time, and handwork can be a way to weave temporality and process back into our lives.

On hospitality:

Hospitality, understood in this way, has less to do with dinner parties than it has to do with feeding hungry people who come to your door or who sit down at your table. It has less to do with beautifully appointed guest rooms complete with terrycloth robes and brand-new bars of soap than it has to do with providing tired people with a clean and comfortable place to sleep. It has to do, in other words, with basic provisions for basic needs--the very needs that the disciplines involved in keeping house exist to serve.

She talked about giving and receiving household help in times of trouble:

It is not always easy either to receive or to give such help, particularly if the occasion is something other than a birth or a death or if the help that is needed goes beyond a casserole or two. It requires a certain vulnerability to admit we need help, a certain humility to accept it, and a life already structured to include time for nurturance if we are to be able to offer it. And yet there are depths of relationship that can be explored only if we are willing to admit our needs to one another and to give and receive help when the opportunities arise.

In summary:

This sacramental quality of home means that a well-kept house is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Faithfully keeping house is a way to remember God's promises of home and actively to anticipate the fulfillment of those promises. It participates in these promises by ministering to humans' basic needs for food and clothing and shelter, and it points beyond these temporal and partial satisfactions to the One who is himself preparing a room and a meal and a garment for each of us...we all need homes in which the housekeeping is good enough, in which basic needs are provided for rather than neglected and in which welcome and care are routinely and cheerfully extended to both members and guests of the household.

What a blessing we can be just by doing the dishes!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Swollen

Well, I'm 28 weeks (as of yesterday) and the swelling has finally kicked in. I guess I should just be glad it took this long.

I struggled to get my engagement ring off this morning and won't put it back on again until a few weeks after Third Baby is born. My feet are swollen, too...another reason to believe I'm having another boy. I was enormously swollen with First Son but hardly at all with First Daughter, even though I was in my third trimester by the end of the summer with her.

I'm happy whether we have a boy or a girl, but I'm not too thrilled about the swelling.

Speaking of side effects of pregnancy, I've also been congested in my right ear for a few weeks now. I'd forgotten that happened before. (I remember it with First Daughter, not so much with First Son.) It really impacts my ability to hear what's going on. Just another way we mothers sacrifice for our children before they're even born. (The hearing should be fine within a few weeks of baby's birth.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is He a Monkey?

Everyone knows:

If it doesn't have a tail, it's not a monkey,
Even if it has a monkey kind of shape.
If it doesn't have a tail, it's not a monkey,
If it doesn't have a tail, it's not a monkey; it's an ape.

Curious George does not have a tail. So is he a monkey or an ape?

First Son insists he is a monkey, but is obviously at a loss to explain why we should believe this since he doesn't have a tail. I've suggested he lost his tail somehow and am hoping First Son will come up with a story to explain it. I'll keep you posted.

Update: Apparently, we're not the only ones wondering.

And the Yellow Ones, Too

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Home Haircut

Kansas Dad and I cut First Son's hair tonight. We had to bribe him with ice cream to keep him in the chair (and coax him back each of the three times he decided he was all done and ran away), but overall I think it was a success. No one was hurt. There were no actual tears or tantrums. We saved some money and we learned a little bit. (Next time we'll keep it a little longer.)

First Daughter insisted in being in the picture, too.


Comfort


First Daughter ran to Paw Paw for comforting today for the first time!

By the way, it wasn't clear to anyone why she was upset. I'm guessing the lack of a good night's sleep had something to do with it.

First Son's Alphabet

I had no idea he could write his alphabet, but First Son wrote the letters A through J for Kansas Dad tonight without any prompting and with remarkably good results. He wiped the MagnaDoodle clean before I could get a picture, but I just might invest in some handwriting paper to see what other letters he's learned at preschool. (I'd been debating about a handwriting program and was going to put it off longer because he hadn't shown any interest -- but I guess I hadn't asked the right questions!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our New Reading Corner


Quickly discovered.

First Bubble


I watched First Daughter blow her first bubbles today. I don't have a picture of any successful attempt, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Mowing

The kids were very excited to "help" Kansas Dad mow some weeds today. He got the mower out just for them and let them help him push it around, even though it wasn't very comfortable for his back and didn't even do that much good since it needs a little cleaning before our first real mow.

Of course, we don't really have any grass, so it's just useful for keeping the seedlings at bay.



Friday, April 18, 2008

An Introduction to Charlotte Mason

For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

I think this book is an excellent overview of Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education, one I happen to like even more as I learn more about it.

A group of schools, the Parents' National Education Union schools (PNEU) were developed based on Charlotte Mason's philosophy, resources and teaching methods. I love the motto for the schools, "I am, I can, I ought, I will." In brief, each child is a unique "creature made to have a relationship with God" (I am). They are taught "I believe in myself in a balanced, realistic way" (I can). Children must learn "What is right?" (I ought) and then be given the skills and habits to "choose what is right" (I will, author's emphasis).

I liked one quote in particular, regarding the philosophy of education as a whole:

It does not mean that adults think of a child as a blank sheet of paper on which they imprint their ideas, impressions, and knowledge. Neither does it mean leaving the child unattended like a weed growing in a sidewalk. It is a balanced understanding of education as the provision of possibilities for a person to build relationships with a vast number of things and thoughts.

It seems like an ideal education - a minimal amount of focus on school books and skills (but with maximum expectations of diligence and eventual success), with an emphasis on always challenging the individual child without rushing or slowing down to match the rates of others, and lots of time to explore the world and science in action with nature walks and experimentation. What's not to love?

I'm already considering ways to incorporate this philosophy in our preschool homeschooling in the fall. So far I'm thinking lots of reading together and community outings (nature walks, science museums, art museums, and maybe even some neighborly visits to a nursing home). The opportunities for integration of learning and play are exciting for me (and align very well with some other reading I've done lately). I'm also looking forward to having lots of fun! (I'm sure First Son would agree, if he had any idea what's in store.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just One of Those Days

We had a flat tire yesterday. Kansas Dad had to change it before he could come home from work. He took it in today and it's too mangled to fix, so we had to pay for a new one.

First Daughter came home sick from day care. We thought it was the usual congestion causing her to throw up, but she threw up on average once every 90 minutes. So it seems to be a stomach bug.

I was very tired of cleaning clothes, baby girl, myself, floor and carpets by the time Kansas Dad got home from getting the new tire so I asked to be the one heading out to pick up First Son.

Two blocks down the road, I was hit in a three car fender bender. I was the first car, which apparently means our insurance won't have to pay (and I'm keeping my fingers crossed the insurance premiums won't go up). It was my first ever accident and I was very upset to add this special experience to my day. I'm thankful, though, no one was hurt, especially since two of the drivers involved were pregnant women.

To end the day on a "high" note, First Daughter's last effort was on our bed -- our new bed with new sheets and no extras. I immediately threw them in the wash, but everything wasn't quite dry when exhausted Kansas Dad and Mom wanted to go to bed, so we're going to sleep on the futon in the living room. Now that I think about it, we really will need to invest in a second set of sheets before baby #3 arrives. Babies tend to make messes like that a lot...

I'm going to bed now. It'll all be better in the morning...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Managing Our Budget

We recently rewrote our budget to push our savings for a home to a new level. (This is the first time since we've been married that it made sense to even consider a home -- and in New York and Boston, even saving for a home was a bit of a joke at our income levels.) Anyway, this new budget was a drastic cut from our old one and I was having trouble making it work.

At just the right time, my friend Tiffany recommended a wonderful resource - Money Saving Mom. It's a fantastic blog that does all the hard work of finding the best deals for me. All I have to do is follow the links for the coupons and head to the store! With her help, I've not only stayed within budget for the month (so far), I'm running about 20% under budget! We haven't even had to give up the organic milk and eggs or all the local meats.

I've been thinking and reading a lot of the vocation to facilitate a smoothly running home, so you'll probably see more posts on these kinds of topics and books coming up. Of course, I expect it all to crumble (for a little while) when baby #3 is born. Those few weeks after a birth, it's enough of a challenge just to make sure everyone is fed and clothed!

In the meantime, I've added Money Saving Mom to my resources and encourage you to check it out! (Thanks, Tiffany!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tulips Blooming

We kept expecting it every day because we could see the little petals all tightly closed and they're finally here!



There are a few that came up a bit later. We think those are the yellow ones I picked. I love yellow!

Christmas in April


We thought it was finally warm enough to justify putting together the wagon the kids received for Christmas (from Grammy and Paw Paw - thanks!). Kansas Dad was out on the porch hammering away last night. He was pleased to hear the exclamations of delight from First Son and First Daughter this morning. The promptly climbed in for a test "sit" in the living room. (They insisted on a walk with Grammy later in the day.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Importance of Play

I was supposed to fly home today, but am stuck in New York another night as American tries to fix all their planes. The only bright spot is that I got a little extra time to read and finished this great book.

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D.


I loved this book! It provides evidence (from real studies!) that the academic focus of preschools (and some parents) does not provide any academic benefit for kids (and may even cause some problems later on). Evidence like this is essential for maintaining our priorities in early education as the push for skills at earlier ages and testing for those skills reaches into the preschools and kindergartens. My own state is considering lowering the age of required attendance (currently 7) and providing full-day kindergarten. I think providing preschool and full-day kindergarten could be of great benefit, if the curriculum and activities follow the model of this book. It's a legitimate fear, though, that "teaching to the test" could reach even to these early grades. This book identifies ways that playing provides a better foundation for the tests, skill development and later learning than any worksheets or drills ever could.

Especially applicable for me is the authors' mantra for parents: "Reflect, Resist, and Re-Center." We don't participate in a lot of classes and activities, mainly because it's an expense we can't afford right now. It's still a struggle, though, to remember the activities we do together (like reading every day) are providing the very experiences our children need to succeed so we don't have to feel guilty or even disappointed we can't participate in the myriad of classes available, even for four year old children.

I have been grappling with finding a preschool curriculum to follow next year. The more books like this I find, though, the more inclined I am to just make one up, combining good books, nature walks, playing with blocks and involving the kids in everyday tasks like measuring and pouring. I'm beginning to realize my search for a "curriculum" is more a search for a structure for me, a plan so I don't have to worry if I'm hitting all the right targets...but perhaps I should leave that for another post.

I'm encouraging Kansas Dad to read through the book and have high hopes he will because of the "Discovering Hidden Skills" sections. Here he can find all the little experiments he always wanted to do on our kids, like Piaget, but with greater assurance of avoiding any harm. Personally, I liked the end of each chapter, "Bringing the Lessons Home." I think you could get a good grasp of the material covered in the book with just those few pages for each chapter, though I do recommend reading it in its entirety.

Just read after your kids are in bed so you can play Pirates and Castles or help build a city before dinner.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And the Sickness Continues

I got a call on the cell phone that First Son was sick at school and needed to come home. Of course, I'm in New York, so they tried to contact every one else on their list (Kansas Dad being in class and therefore understandably difficult to reach). Finally, Grammy was able to get away and picked up the kids early. Poor Kansas Dad. I'm out of town for five days and everyone gets sick -- on the days when they should be at school! Thank goodness for Grammy!

By the way, Kansas Dad is great taking care of the kids, but he's focused on them and not on the camera -- so no pictures for the week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trouble on the Homefront

I'm in New York and just heard from Kansas Dad that First Daughter was sick at day care today. He had to pick her up, and because his back up caregiver is in New York, he took her back to school with him.

He just took her to class this afternoon. At one point while he was lecturing, he realized she'd been coloring on the wall with a dry erase marker. Thank goodness they've already given him the contract for next year!

We offered to pay for the clean up.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Off to New York

Well, I'm heading to the airport this morning for a business trip to New York while Kansas Dad is preparing for his flight home from New York (after turning in the official copy of his dissertation).

When I explained to First Son that I was going to New York, he asked, "Will you be a doctor, too, Mama?"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Art and Engineering


First Daughter was more interested in taking the markers out and putting them back in than any art itself.


Another Rough Day

It's probably a misperception, but things always seem hardest when Kansas Dad isn't around (and for him when I'm out of town). This morning, First Daughter cried from 1 am to 4 am. She kept asking for her Daddy and pointing to our bedroom. I think she just missed him. So do I, baby girl, so do I.

After church (where the kids were reasonably well-behaved), we went to Grammy and Paw Paw's house, as usual. First Daughter cried a bit after she'd been in the crib for her nap for a few minutes and I went down to discover she'd thrown up. So she had a bath instead of a nap and poor Grammy had to clean up a messy crib. (I bet she thought those days were behind her long ago.)

I took First Daughter home early in the hopes I'd get her to nap there. We stopped at the drugstore on the way and she fell asleep in the cart! Poor thing. She did end up with a fairly good nap, though, which was a blessing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Toilets Are Dad's Job

Tonight was not fun. We managed to clog up the toilet and it overflowed, flooding the bathroom. I spent two hours trying to unplug it (in between getting the kids ready for bed without a bath or brushing their teeth) before giving in and asking Kansas Dad to call in the reinforcements (his father). It didn't take him long, but he used a snake or something to clean it out. He finally got it working a little while after the kids went to sleep.

Then I had to clean the mess...wash towels, mop floors, scrub the bathtub...everything.

Most of all I regret being short with First Son and First Daughter while I was trying to contain the mess. Poor First Son didn't even get a proper night-time story. Thankfully, he didn't seem as upset as I feel.

Too Much Radio

First Son recited a jingle from an advertisement for a local fast food restaurant at dinner tonight. (Yes, really locally-owned, so it's my choice for the few times we eat fast food.)

When I asked where he heard it, he replied with the call letters for the country music radio station Kansas Dad likes.

I've heard of too much TV, but is there such a thing as too much radio?

Another Day, Another Visit to the Children's Museum



Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Person's a Person, No Matter How Small

When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today edited by Elaine Cooper

I won't write much about this book because I didn't finish it. I didn't finish it, though, because it was too good! That's right. I found it so insightful and thought-provoking I didn't have time to finish it before it had to go back to interlibrary loan. I'm definitely going to buy it, though. This is my first introduction to Charlotte Mason's philosophy, but it seems to fit with what I envision for my children as I homeschool, so I'll be reading more about it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Success with Shoes

I have the hardest time finding shoes. I have large feet and sometimes I need a wide, but sometimes I don't. I've basically given up shopping for shoes in brick and mortar stores. They almost never have my size, certainly not in the shoes I like.

So I've been putting off finding new black shoes, but I absolutely hated my old black shoes. The more I wore them, the more I hated them. They were a half size too big and too flat and too boring. (I bought them a little big when I was pregnant with my daughter, expecting my feet to swell, which they did not.) My mom finally convinced me to take the plunge for new shoes by sending me a few "hints" from Shoebuy.com.

It took about 7 pairs of shoes to find them, but I have now what could possibly be the best pair of black shoes I have ever owned. I love them! You may not know this about me, but I am a shoe person. Every time I think about these shoes in my closet, I smile, and I am ecstatic they arrived in time for my trip to New York next week when I can wear them every day.

In addition to loving my shoes, I just have to say I was very pleased with the Ebates.com / Shoebuy.com combination. I got 8% credited to my Ebates account for every pair of shoes I ordered (when items are returned, the credit is removed, though it takes a while). Shoebuy gave me a discount for signing up on their website as a "member" (which is free). Ebates listed a 10% off coupon good on all shoes in every order. Shipping was free both ways so I could return all the others with just a trip to the UPS store. Searching on the Shoebuy site was easy and, in general, I found the shoes to be less expensive than Zappos.

So I recommend Ebates (sign up here so I get credit for the reference) and Shoebuy.

{sigh} I love my shoes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why We Don't Use Names

I've had a few friends ask through the comments what fears we had that led to our switch to this blog with no names. I decided to answer with a whole post because I do think it's an important discussion, though I'm not sure there's a substantial threat.

I had three main reasons for starting this secret identity blog.

1. Privacy

Kansas Dad is a professor at a local university. Now, if I were a student today, one of the first things I'd do is Google each of my professors. Though I doubt any of his students would seek us out to harm us, I thought it would be better for Kansas Dad if he was able to decide what was appropriate to share with his students, rather than everything I post be common knowledge on campus.

I also read a blog about current naming trends (an occupational hazard of the mother-still-in-childbearing-years). A recent post linked back to one from years ago that hit a nerve with me. Though I didn't read it until after I started the new blog, I think it's relevant. Basically, everything I've put on the blog is out there for the world to find. Maybe First Son doesn't want his high school girlfriend to be able to search for him online and find the blog of his baby years. I could delete it, of course, but if you know me (as most of you do), I wouldn't. It's all I have! The baby book is nothing compared to the record on the blog, especially for First Daughter who has so many more pictures and even videos of her first year than First Son did on the original blog. So by hiding the names, my children only have to share the address with those they want to read it...unless they ask me to send an email for them since the blog address is part of my signature.

2. Identity Theft

I'd like to think we protect our children well from identity thefts. We store their Social Security cards at the bank's lock box and shred just about everything with a name on it, but I know there are people out there more resourceful at finding what they want than I am at hiding it. If someone did manage to get a hold of pertinent information, the blog is a treasure trove of security question answers (mother's maiden name, pet names, etc.). Now, hiding their names on the blog doesn't protect us very well from the people who know us (where I think I read most of the threat lies), but at least I can protect them from being found online by people searching for them by name.

3. Local "Threats"

Now we get to the meat of the matter. All the above reasons were bouncing around in my head but I wasn't concerned enough to change anything. I thought it would be a hassle to switch to a new blog. I liked using our name in the blog name. I was dragging my feet because it didn't seem important enough to take the time.

Then my mother-in-law started to notice the same car hanging out at a local site of interest my children visited (with her) on a regular basis. He wasn't doing anything illegal, but she was unnerved, and so was I. Anyone who read our blog would quickly be able to discern our regular haunts and could easily stake us out, awaiting us each day. While I am flattered by those who come each day to read our blog (and sorry it's not always up to date for you, though I'm trying to be better), the potential for the same behavior in real life was unsettling. Suddenly, it seemed very possible for someone to become a little too interested in us from the blog and seek us out in real life.

My family switched our habits a bit and I haven't heard about this particular man recently. For all I know, he was an undercover officer who did me a great service by prompting my switch to a new blog. Most likely, he was a perfectly innocent person who just happened to be around for some reason unknown to us. With the new blog, I feel safer from this kind of potential threat. Though it was probably never a great threat, it's been a simple easy change I could make to protect my children. There are so many things I can't protect them from, it's nice to make a little effort when I can.

Lest you think I'm against meeting anyone in real life, I want to make sure a few of you know you'd always be welcome in my humble home. Please send an email if you'll be in Kansas and we'll work something out. Of course, this goes for all our friends and family from years and homes past, but it's also an invitation to those of you who have been so open on your own blogs, ones I visit daily and love: Danielle, Suzanne, Jennie, Rachel, and Brandy. I suppose it's unlikely any of them read this post, but just in case...

It has just struck me that this is a long serious post for April Fool's Day. Well, I'm not much on practical jokes (playing end or receiving end), so I guess it's ok for me to be serious today.