Monday, February 23, 2009

Breaking Through

Second Daughter has a tooth! It's just a tiny white speck on her bottom gum. She was quite displeased when I tried to reach in and feel it, so I'm not quite sure, but it's possible that it technically hasn't broken the skin yet.

I tried to zoom in on it for you.

In other news, or non-news as the case may be, she's not really rolling over. Twice she accidentally rolled from her tummy to her back, but nothing since. I'm not really worried, but I have started being a little more diligent about tummy time, which she doesn't much enjoy. I've also started trying to place myself just enough behind her to encourage her to twist to see me while she's lying on her stomach. Other suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Second Daughter Eating a Cheerio

It's not in the video, but she's picking them up herself. She can clear a tray of Cheerios much faster than we can get her baby food ready for her.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Do Not Read This Post If You Are Pregnant

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir by Elizabeth McCracken

It begins, "A child dies in this book: a baby. A baby is stillborn." Kansas Dad couldn't believe I wanted to read this book, but it was a beautiful tribute to the author's pregnancy, baby boy and subsequent pregnancy. We have been blessed and lucky with my three healthy pregnancies and our three healthy children, but my extended family and friends have been touched by stillbirth and miscarriage. I feel I might understand their feelings just a little bit more after reading this book, and I hope I can better respond to such news in the future. I think, if you are the mother of a stillborn baby, you may find this book comforting. meant so much to me to hear it. It happened to me, too, meant: It's not your fault. And You are not a freak of nature. And This does not have to be a secret.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visiting A Thoughtful Spot

We were reading The Tales of Olga Da Polga for our family read-aloud. This book holds a special place in the hearts of the adults here on the Range. It was the first book that inspired a love of reading in Kansas Dad. He checked it out from the library when he was but a young boy and has never been the same. He would never have become the man I was to marry if it weren't for this book. So I was really excited to share it with the kids. They were exited to say "Olga da Polga" but not so much by the story, so I sadly put it aside for a while.

Instead, we've returned to an old favorite,The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, one I'm not sure we've ever finished all the way to the end. I knew immediately I made a good decision when First Son sat intently listening to the first chapter. Then he and First Daughter begged, "One more chapter!" (I gave in once, but I've found their attention dwindles quickly after the first chapter, so we only do one in a sitting.)

I was at a big bookstore a few days ago and saw quite a few collections of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, but most of them did not have Shephard's lovely drawings reproduced very well. I was lucky to receive this beautiful treasury years before I had children and am so thankful to have it now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship? (With Reading)

After reading this post at Afterthoughts, I was debating finding more of the Bob books for First Son (we have the first set), now that we're nearing the end of the first 100 reading lessons. But now I'm not so sure...Yesterday, as I ran around trying to get breakfast cleared and laundry back to some semblance of order after the washing machine fiasco last week, I stumbled over him (almost literally) studiously reading Frog and Toad Are Friends out loud to his sisters. I hadn't even had a chance to read it to him yet, though heard it twice on CD from the library.

At the end, he said to me, "You were right, Mom! If I do my reading lessons, reading is easy!"

I hope I can remember how elated I felt hearing that when I hit my first horrible homeschooling moment.

I want to create a first 100 book list for First Son, too. I think it'll be fun for him to look back on it when he's grown. I'm not going to write down Frog and Toad, though, until he's had a chance to read it to me.

By the way, the CD we had from the library was read by the author. He was wonderful, of course. The Frog and Toad stories are short and funny, just perfect for First Son (and the rest of us). These are the kinds of books I hope to use to fill our days, books that are worthwhile in themselves and just incidentally are early readers. Brandy's post was a great place to start and I'm very thankful!

What She Said...

...about children at church.

Here and here.

It's not as much of a choice for Catholics as it is for others, but that doesn't mean we can't be just as proactive about teaching our children to worship with us rather than just hang out in the pew. A wise mother recommended Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship to me and it's made a great difference in how we relate to First Son during mass. (First Daughter, too, though with her we mostly repeat "Shhh, we don't talk at mass." Over and over and over again. You know, along with, "Don't kick the pew." And "We don't touch the hair of anyone in the pew in front of us." And "Leave the baby alone." But we say that all the time.)

"Window" Shopping

I've had a link to the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog on my sidebar for ages now. It's a great place to find updates on new nursing research and other such topics of interest. Today, Tanya posted about the new spring line and is offering a chance at a gift certificate in exchange for a post and link back. Going into the summer nursing a new little one (who's already growing so quickly!), I would be thrilled to have this beautiful dress! Most of my "nursing" clothes are just regular clothes slightly bigger, but I've found dresses work best if they are actually designed for nursing.

Given the 70 degree weather outside, it's a good day to think about spring.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Real Solid Food

Second Daughter had Cheerios for the first time today. Watching a baby gum Cheerios is one of my absolute favorite things to do!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hazardous to Your Washer's Health

Last week the washing machine stopped working properly. We thought it wasn't spinning like it should because the towels were all wet. The repair man came out yesterday and it worked perfectly for him. Of course. He thought something might be caught in the drain, but the warranty wouldn't cover opening it up to pull it out. Isn't that nice?

So when it stopped draining tonight, Kansas Dad propped it up, took the front panel off and reached in. Ugh. That's love for you, right there.

While nursing may be great for mama's health and baby's health, it is not so great for the washing machine's health. He found two nursing pads stuck in there. (See, I was trying to be good to the environment, too.) Usually we put them in a little bag to wash and dry, but every once in a while one got by us. Twice, apparently. (In case you're wondering, these are the best ones I've tried. But use care when washing.)

I'm ever so glad to have the washing machine back again!

Checking Out Books

I've been perusing my copy of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike, which I now have for my very own. Somehow, I missed the website she runs back when I first checked the book out of the library. It's called PlanetEsme and has many of the lists of books included in the real book. It also includes a blog that just might be a great way to hear about new books worth reading.

To make my paper book an even better resource for me, I'm jotting down notes (in pencil, of course) in the subject lists with others I've discovered that we particularly like, especially for books that are available at our local library. I usually only write in cookbooks, but this seemed like a good way to remember these books when I finally get around to requesting books by theme for some actual schoolwork or activities.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Philosophy and Life

Another Sort of Learning: Selected Contrary Essays on How Finally to Acquire an Education While Still in College or Anywhere Else: Containing Some Belated Advice about How to Employ Your Leisure Time When Ultimate Questions Remain Perplexing in Spite of Your Highest Earned Academic Degree, Together with Sundry Book Lists Nowhere Else in Captivity to Be Found by James V. Schall

I hadn't planned on reviewing this book for a couple of reasons. 1) It's philosphy and politics, areas in which I feel myself inadequate. 2) To do it justice, I'd really have to write a review of each of the essays and 21 seemed like quite a large number. But I decided to mention it at least briefly because it was really a wonderful thought-provoking book. Here, James Schall is encouraging us to delve deeply into what is (his words). Why are we alive? What can we know about life and living that will make our life more meaningful? They seem like overwhelming questions, and often they are, but spending some time contemplating them can deepen our appreciation for our world and the one to come.

Perhaps most importantly, Professor Schall piques our interest in various topics and then points us to some books he has found most engaging. If you've ever wanted to delve into the worlds of Plato or St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas, you'll find many a resource in these pages. Personally, one of the ways I measure the value of a book is by the number of other books to which it leads me. By that measure, this book is one of the best.

Now, because I am perpetually tired (and therefore unlikely to be less tired tomorrow or in the near future when I might return to this post) and because it is late, I leave you with a few unqualified quotes. You'll have to check the book out yourself if they interest you.

Indeed, the most dangerous theories about today are undoubtedly those that see in the state, that is, in the collection of human beings, however defined, the ultimate end to which all else should be directed. This collectivity, however defined, is largely what substitutes for God in our world. Such a polity or collectivity will not merely decide who can belong to it, but will even decide what a human being is. Those who do not fit our political definitions will be excluded or eliminated. (page 202, On Devotion)

Let me conclude very simply. If the lessons of the world that we learn by living our lives suggest that this world is not enough, that some radical disorder exists in our society as well as in our hearts, we need something akin to prayer and fasting, no matter what our public or professional or academic status might be. I do not mean this to be a pious exhortation; even less do I wish to suggest that our job or duty or service is what opennes to the Lord is all about. This latter notion that religion is political action is probably the most subtle of the modern tempations, made no less so by the fact that what we do is indeed valuable, as well as by the fact that so many religious people in particular seem to succumb to it. (page 214, On Prayer and Fasting for Bureaucrats)

Interesting fact: My husband had to request this book through interlibrary loan, but by the time I was ready to read it, our library had purchased a copy. Maybe they thought once Kansas Dad requested it, everyone would feel the need to read it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

House Boat

Out here on the Range, everything has more than one use.

It turns out to be a very exciting boat...the slightlest shift in weight can cause a massive rocking. Quite enjoyable to the toddler and preschool crowd, of course.

Long Long Day

I had a very busy working day tonight, so busy I couldn't even spare 15 minutes for a reading lesson with First Son (who was very understanding even though he's been so excited by the lessons recently). In fact, I still have a bit of work waiting for me on the other computer.

Then, just before Kansas Dad was heading out for a lecture, we realized the washing machine really and truly wasn't spinning as it should. So, I started to call around (since it's under warranty, being less than a year old) and so far I haven't found anyone willing to come all the way out to the Range. Eventually we'll get someone, but the hamper full of dirty diapers is going to have to just sit there for a while. Ugh. (Kansas Dad is picking up some disposables on the way home.) Not to mention all the other dirty clothes...Come to think of it, appliances haven't had a good week out here.

First Daughter is still crying from her crib for Pete's a Pizza, which is missing for the moment.

On a happier note, Second Daughter loves peas, really loves them. She gobbled up all that we had and then ate a bunch of rice cereal I mixed in the same bowl so it just tasted a little bit like mushed peas.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nature Vs. Nurture

My sweet boy doesn't even know what a gun is. He found this bent and broken toy golf club, though, and immediately starting stalking everything in the house with his "shooter."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No More Spilled Salt

Maybe I just need more practice, but it always seemed like I was spilling salt when I was measuring out a half teaspoon or a teaspoon. With all the baking I do around here, I felt like it was adding up. (Sometimes, I would even pour over a measuring cup and then pour the spilled salt back in, but I always felt a little silly doing that.)

Finally, I just poured a bunch of salt into a little jar. Now I can scoop out my teaspoon without spilling any.

I feel much better now, don't you?

Head over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Where She Sleeps

Second Daughter doesn't nap well in her co-sleeper. Currently, she only naps well if I hold her, which is inconvenient. Since she is starting to sleep better at night, I'm guessing the problem is the light in the room during the day. Our long-term solution is curtains, made my yours truly. Our short-term solution is under consideration. (With First Daughter we put aluminum foil over all the windows. Very effective, but not very aesthetically pleasing.)

Yesterday we took Second Daughter with us to a college basketball game. (It seems I've often now writing today of things we did yesterday when I'd really rather write yesterday of things we did today.) She loved it. She watched the women running back and forth and even cheered in her own way for the whole first half.

Then she got sleepy and a little grumpy. Now, she doesn't sleep in a quiet room with her lullaby music playing, but she fell asleep (and stayed asleep) at the game, complete with cheering and buzzers.

I'm not really sure what to make of that.