Saturday, October 30, 2010

An October Easter Egg

Our new chickens started laying! See that cute little green egg? I ate it this morning - delicious!

We've only gotten two so far. One Thursday and one today. We've been told they might get bigger. We'll see. We've been supplementing our homegrown eggs with ones from the store so hopefully their production picks up quickly.

Random Tip No. 1

If your microwave buttons stop working (say "1" and "2" and "minute plus"...maybe some others, too), just wait until you lose power. They'll work just fine when the power comes back on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CD Review: One Hundred Sheep

One Hundred Sheep: Skip Counting Songs from the Gospels, music and lyrics by Roger Nichols

I bought this CD for First Daughter's baptism anniversary present. I wanted something fun related to the faith and was intrigued by the idea of teaching skip counting with music. It's something we've touched on here on the Range, mainly when I count by twos and the kids laugh as if I were playing a trick. First Son can count by tens and fives (sometimes) but I admit it's not something I concentrate on very much. Personally, I still feel like my six, seven, eight and nine multiplication facts are not as strong as the others and I wondered if this CD could help the kids feel more confident than I do. (I want point out my multiplication skills are totally adequate, I just have confidence issues about them.)

So, the morning after she received it, we put the CD in while driving to town and listened...and we've been enjoying it ever since. The songs are children's songs, but Kansas Dad assures me they are not annoying. (I think I've become immune to inane children's music. The only songs I have trouble enjoying are those from the LarryBoy soundtracks because I was in my first trimester with First Daughter when we started listening to a LarryBoy CD non-stop and I still feel a little queasy every time the theme song plays.) Keep in mind, though, that some of the words and phrases can be a little silly.

The songs are drawn from lots of different Gospel stories: Jesus' birth and life, miracles, parables, Zacchaeus's conversion and so on.

My favorite song is Thirty-Three Wonder-filled Years, counting by threes as we sing about Jesus' life.
The child grew in wisdom, in stature, and in favor
with God and with man
such a wonderful behavior.
Now a man and fully given over to the Spirit,
He went abroad to speak of God
to any who would hear it.
For the sixes, the song follows Martha into the kitchen, where she's counting the dirty dishes and Mary sits at Jesus' feet.
Martha, Martha why
are you so upset?
There will always be things to clean
but how often do you get
to be with Me and this is what your sister sees.
In The Fisher of Men Catches a Fisherman, Jesus tells Peter to throw his net over the side of the boat and the catch is counted by sevens. The call of Peter shows clearly in the song:
Throw once more on the other side
and laughing at the thought,
but thinking deep inside himself
it was he who had been caught
by the Master Fisherman
with the friendly plot.
The counting in each song is in the refrain, so it's repeated multiple times. Does it work? Well, it has for my kids! First Son is easily counting by twos and threes now and recognizing even numbers in books as counting by twos. First Daughter is working well on her fives and tens. We're still doing addition and subtraction and won't be teaching multiplication for a while yet, but I think remembering this song (and singing along again) will be a valuable part of our multiplication tables.

One of the things I most appreciate about the CD is that the notes include all the lyrics. Sometimes it's hard to be exactly sure what's being sung on some CDs and the lyrics always help. They also include references for all the stories, which is helpful if you want to quickly look up a parable to read with the kids. Because it follows the Gospels closely, this CD is appropriate for all Christians, not just Catholics.

Please note: I purchased this CD myself and have not received anything for this review.

Second Daughter's Success

After folding some towels earlier today, I found Second Daughter in the living room without socks, pants or diaper. She claimed she wanted to sit on the potty. So she sat on the potty and promptly went to the bathroom! I was shocked but tried to hide my surprise. We cheered for her, of course.

And then I put a new diaper on her. Along with pants. She didn't want them but I told her it was too chilly for pants to be optional. Especially since we're going to choir later.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebrating Baptisms

One thing I really wanted to do this year was somehow celebrate the anniversaries of the kids' baptisms. I am a little leery of adding more treats so soon after their birthdays (especially since First Son has a December birthday), but baptisms seem worth celebrating.

Our first baptism of the school year was First Daughter's on October 1st. We made cinnamon rolls, lit her baptismal candle and prayed for her using the service I found here. I especially liked how each of us blessed her, even Second Daughter!

Of course, we let her blow out the candle.

The sloppy napkin you see in the pictures is her gift. We decided to choose something small and faith related. For First Daughter, we picked One Hundred Sheep: Skip Counting Songs from the Gospels CD, which I hope to review more extensively in the next day or so.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now I See...

In Second Daughter's birthday post, I mentioned the Terrible Twos and how I think the Twos are Terrific. In the past few weeks, I think we've been learning what other families mean. It's possible we blocked the memories from the first couple of times around, but I really think Second Daughter is taking this to a whole new level. I can only imagine how much worse it will be if she learns to open doors before she gets through the worst of this stage. A few examples, for posterity's sake:
  • Climbing the piano and trying to jump off. Over and over again.
  • Climbing onto the top bunk. Over and over again. (At least she's not trying to jump off.)
  • Climbing the bookcase.
  • Climbing in and out of her crib. Over and over again.
  • Removing the safety plugs from the outlets, plugging other things in, removing those and reinserting the safety plugs.
  • Opening the fridge and rearranging the contents.
  • Helping herself to cans from the cupboard.
  • Putting DVDs into the VCR.
  • Climbing onto the piano, trying to plug in the stereo and then trying to stick the CDs in between the CD trays without opening them.
  • Climbing onto the toy kitchen.
  • Climbing onto the dog crate.
  • Undressing herself. Completely. Over and over again.
  • Undressing her baby dolls. Completely. Over and over again.
  • Hooking her toes over the knobs of the changing table so she can climb it.
  • Trying to climb into the co-sleeper with Second Son.
  • Answering question after question with "Yes. No."
  • Insisting that every toy in the house is hers and not to be touched by her big brother or big sister.
  • Biting the erasers off all the pencils. 
  • Putting any coins she finds directly into her mouth.
  • Removing all the books from a shelf one by one, stacking them, then flipping through them (none too carefully, as the stack of disassembled books on my desk can attest) and stacking them in a new pile one by one, which is really cute until someone or anyone walks by and sends a slight breeze against the pile which sends it toppling down resulting in disaster and tears.
  • Climbing over the baby gate that is supposed to keep her out of the office.
  • Attempting to wash her hands in the dog's water dish.
  • Deciding, on a daily basis, that she wants to play piano during Second Son's morning nap.
  • Moving a table so she can reach the diaper bag, unpacking the bag completely and repacking it in her own way.
Oh, but she is an adorable site when she bows down before the Eucharist at Children's Adoration...and then she starts running up and down the aisle.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Down, One to Go

First Son has informed us that he absolutely must see a T. Rex skeleton and a Triceratops skeleton. And it is our duty to provide him these opportunities.

So we visited a local museum on September 25th, taking advantage of Smithsonian's Museum Day. The kids had no idea how close we were to dinosaurs and were properly impressed. They have a T. Rex skeleton and even have casts of the claws and teeth for the kids to handle.

Of course, First Son informed me that the Triceratops was just a skull, so we still need to find a complete skeleton for him. Anyone live near one and want to host us for an extended field trip?

Second Son in Size Two

Earlier I reviewed the Thirsties Duo-Wrap cover. Here's a picture of Second Son in the size two.

I think he's still shy of 17 pounds in this picture (taken yesterday), and the size two fits perfectly with the aplix tabs stacked like this. I know they will work at least up to 30 pounds because Second Daughter was wearing them until a few weeks ago.

Doesn't he look delightfully squishy?

Reading to Second Son

Second Daughter reading to Second Son earlier this month (on Oct. 5th)

 He enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Three Months - Hooray!

Second Son is three months old today! I'd forgotten what a wonderful milestone three months can be. Two weeks ago we had a really rough week. At least, I did. It was the low point. Last week was amazingly better. He's settling down more and doesn't need to be held all the time. He'll sit and watch the kids while we study or play together. I love three months!

He's filled out this outfit quite well compared to his one month picture.

And today...he laughed for the first time!! I wasn't trying to tickle him. I was taking off this shirt and must have caught just the right spot because he laughed out loud. I tried tickling, then, with mixed success. There's nothing like a baby's laughter. Wonderful!

What is it about taking pictures of a baby that draws a crowd?

Like what the girls are wearing?

Designing an Experiment

We're studying chemistry this year and have been trying to do one experiment each week. A few weeks ago (October 7th, to be exact), we actually designed our own experiment with a control and everything! We were having trouble figuring out what to do (First Son really wanted to know why ducks quack, but that didn't seem like something we could pull off) when Kansas Dad suggested baking. Of course, something involving sugar and the oven is perfect for me! (And the kids, too.)

So we read The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry and made some guesses as to what would happen if we made a cake without baking soda.

Here are our ingredients.

We mixed up the batter without baking soda, filled one pan, then added half the baking soda and filled the other pan. Those of you with a true scientific mind will notice immediately that I estimated the batter for the experimental pan (without baking soda, on the left) and badly. That's what happens when we're trying to make sure it gets in the oven before the baby wakes up and interrupts us. I would have offered to do the whole thing again, but First Son didn't seem to mind so we moved on.

Because I did not measure the batter into the pans, you can't take much from the height of the cakes, but you can see the one on the right cracked on the top because the baking soda made it rise.

Of course, the best part is the taste test!

First Son decided they both tasted pretty good. We certainly ate them both!

The Catholic Company Book Review: The Power of the Sacraments

The Power of the Sacraments by Sr. Briege McKenna, O.S.C.

In this little book, Sr. McKenna shares personal stories to illustrate how each of the sacraments can have a real and lasting impact on lives.

It's so easy to neglect the sacraments. Even more so, I find myself taking them for granted, especially the Eucharist. What a blessing it is to receive every Sunday (or even every day, with daily mass) and yet how easy it is to rush through communion concerned with getting the kids down the aisle and back to the pew.

This book offers the kind of encouragement we all need every once in a while to concentrate on the sacraments and to get us out the door and to a priest for reconciliation. She gives some background, but the book would be most useful for someone who already knows what the sacraments are. Each sacrament's chapter is just a few pages long, short enough to read and consider when we find ourselves with just a few moments to spare.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I did not receive any payment for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Power of the Sacraments and be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts while you are there.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Second Son Discovered...His Hands!

They taste interesting.

And he's very pleased about it.

(These pictures are from October I'm almost reporting a current event!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Illini!

Book Review: How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys (Spire Books)How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys (Spire Books) by Rachel Balducci

This is one of the best books I've read! It's quick and easy with lots of laughs. You won't find any amazing intellectual insights, though there are quite a few Truths of the motherly inclination. I love Rachel's writing. (I read her blog, so I can call her by her first name, right?) She's the mother of five boys and one girl (though her littlest one wasn't born until after the book was published). Though her focus in the book is usually on life with boys, there's enough here for any mother to enjoy. (I read parts aloud to Kansas Dad, who laughed along with me, but it's really not the kind of book most dads would pick up on their own.)

Spend some time at Testosterhome. If you like what you read, find a copy of this book. Read a few pages every time you get a little frustrated with your kids. I read through mine quickly because it's an interlibrary loan copy, but I think it could be valuable to have around for those times when a mother needs a quick laugh and a reminder of the good times.

In fact, any family with a two year old should have a copy of this book.


Monday, October 18, 2010

A New Christmas Eve Tradition: Oplatki

I received an email today inviting me to consider a new holiday tradition: oplatki.

Oplatki Christmas wafers, decorated with images like the Nativity, began as a Christmas Eve tradition in Poland. (Hooray for Poland! My grandmother is Polish.) The head of the household (that would be Kansas Dad here on the Range, of course) breaks the bread and distributes it to each member of the family with a kiss and a blessing. It seems like a wonderful way to take a sweet breath after the frenzy of finishing Christmas preparations and a Christmas Eve feast, to recognize the blessings of our family and to pray for each other on one of our most glorious holidays.

For the first year in many years, Kansas Dad and I (and the kids) will be at home in Kansas for the whole of Advent and I have been seeking a few new traditions to explore. This one will be easy for me to prepare (um, open the box!) and will fit nicely with my goal of focusing on our Lord and our family.

I have not received any payment for this blog post, but I will receive a sample of oplatki from The Catholic Company to try this Christmas Eve.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Try Some Rockin' Green

We recently ordered some Hard Rock Rockin' Green to try with our diapers and our towels. I waited a long time to try because it seemed a lot more expensive than what we were buying at the store, but the heavy stuff just didn't seem as clean with our front loader and hard water than when we lived in town. I heard such great things about Rockin' Green we decided to take the plunge. So far, I've been really pleased with how nicely everything smells (and we ordered the unscented!). I'm excited to see how well it holds up over time.

Right now, Knickernappies is giving away some Rockin' Green. Read more about it here and enter to win yourself! (Yes, I am shamelessly plugging this giveaway for extra entries, but at least it's something I've tried and liked.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quote: A Bedside Book of Saints

Aloysius Roche in A Bedside Book Of Saints:
Indeed, it is the undisciplined passion that is weak -- so weak that it is short-lived as a rule. No man is a greater stranger to love than the libertine. "The real thing does not exist," such people say. Certainly it does not and cannot for them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our First Science Experiment

Once again, these pictures were taken in September. We're studying chemistry this year and I thought it appropriate to begin with the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano. To increase the fun, we added some red food coloring and dish soap so it would foam red.

First Daughter poured the baking soda.

First Son poured the vinegar, water, dish soap and red food coloring.


Recording our findings. First Son learned that the baking soda and vinegar combined to make carbon dioxide gas (which we built with our molecular models before heading outside). His understanding of atoms and molecules is still rudimentary, but it's a start.

Some relaxation after a job well done:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I forgot to post the height and weight for First Daughter and First Son. They had appointments back at the end of September.

First Daughter (four years)
Height: 41.25 inches (around 80th percentile)
Weight: 38 pounds (75th percentile)

Second Son (two months)
Height: 25.25 inches (98th percentile)
Weight: 15 pounds, 9 ounces (98th percentile)

She's wearing size five clothes. He can still wear some of his 3-6 month, but we're mainly in the 6-9 month now, especially since it's cool enough I often have to put pants on him and they have to go over the cloth diaper. Most prefolds are not known for their trimness.

Using Number Rods

I had hoped to photograph First Daughter using her Montessori activities this year and did so very well. On Sept 1st. I'm not sure I've taken many pictures since, though we're enjoying quite a few of the activities. Here she is back on September 1st using her number rods. First we lined them all up from smallest to longest and matched the correct number.

Then, because that was really too easy for her, we did some addition.

I think she was hoping for something a bit more exciting that day. We used our spindle box for the first time this week and she loved it. First Son wanted to play with it, too. Then Second Daughter was interested. They used it off and on throughout the day until First Son brought it to me with one of the inserts pulled out. So it only lasted one day. Luckily, it was easily mended and we can bring it out again some day.

The math activities, so far, have all been a bit too easy for her. I am not surprised as she's been following along with the more interesting lessons with First Son's math manipulatives for over a year. She's thoroughly enjoying the sensorial activities, though, and we're still working our way through the sandpaper letters. I'm seeing definite progress there, though we're using lots of letter activities, games and Kumon workbooks so I can't say it's all the Montessori activities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Thirsties Duo-Wrap Covers

I started this review when First Son was five weeks old. He is now over 11 weeks old. Such is life with a newborn.

When Second Daughter was a newborn, we borrowed covers, so I purchased some new covers before Second Son was born. I was excited to try the Thirsties Duo Wrap covers, designed to cover baby from newborn to toddler with just two sizes. (We used the sized trusty Thirsties covers for Second Daughter in the medium size when she was younger.) I ordered a few in size two to try with Second Daughter and six in size one for the baby. I picked ocean blue and meadow before he was born thinking they'd be acceptable for a boy or a girl. (I still think they are.)

They worked wonderfully from the very first day! The size one covers are estimated to fit babies 0-9 months, 6-18 pounds. Our little man was 10 pounds 1 ounce when he was born and they fit perfectly snapped down to the smallest size over his Kissaluvs (size 0).

Here he is!

Very quickly we were snapping them a bit bigger and here, by 5 weeks 2 days, we've unsnapped them all the way. We continued to use the covers over larger fitted diapers and premium prefolds (in the premium size) until he was nearly sixteen pounds (that would be this week), when we moved on to larger covers.

I don't think these covers ever leaked onto his clothes. That's right. Not one single blow-out! They never left red marks on his beautiful chubby thighs and they have held up well in use and washing. (I had a small problem with one of the size two covers. I think my dryer attacked it. Now we line dry all our pail liners and covers to avoid further injury.)

I do wish I'd gotten more of my money's worth in terms of length of use. I had read online that many other babies outgrew the covers around 16 pounds; I just hadn't anticipated our baby reaching that weight before three months! (I don't think I can blame Thirsties for that.)

The size two covers, though, are now working wonderfully on him. With Second Daughter mostly using her Knickernappies, and finally grown into the few 2G ones we have, I think we can spare them for him. He's still a little shy of 16 pounds, I think, but I've snapped them down to the smallest size and velcro the tabs right on top of one another. (I would take a picture to show you, but then it would be another six or seven weeks before I could post this review.) I ordered mine just before Cloth Diaper Outlet had the snap version available, but I think I'm glad because I might be able to fit these on him a little earlier than the snap ones would fit. (Anyone try those out yet?)

I did not receive any remuneration for this review and I paid for the diaper covers. I am an affiliate with Cloth Diaper Outlet and would receive a small payment if you follow the links above and make a purchase. I've always been pleased with the support and products at Cloth Diaper Outlet so I have no qualms recommending them!

Quote: The Year and Our Children

Mary Reed Newland in The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season:
The one expenditure necessary for families who would grow in the love and knowledge of the Church is books. These sometimes seem to be entirely out of reach, until we reassess our values and compare how much we spend to feed the bodies, which will one day be dust, and how little to feed the minds, which will live forever. It is worth sacrificing to buy the books.

Good News and Bad News

The good news: We no longer have a skunk living under our porch.

The bad news: It discharged when Kansas Dad killed it, so now our front yard smells like skunk. It's getting into the house a bit and we can't open the windows to air it out because it's even worse outside. Ugh.

So you may want to avoid visiting our house for a day or two.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sleeping Second Son

Look at that belly! This was taken on Sept. 26th, when he was two months and three days old.

Second Son Two Month Pictures

So I'm a little behind on pictures and have a feeling that will be the case for at least a few months to come. They just aren't a very high priority, though I love them.

I took these pictures on September 23rd, when Second Son was exactly two months old.

He looks so sweet! (I should have taken at least one of him crying.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good Morning to You, Too!

Our dog found what's been making noises under our porch the past few nights.

A skunk.

Yeah, he got sprayed.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not That I Need Them...

Cloth Diaper Outlet is five years old and is giving away a 3-pack of Happy Heiny OneSize cloth diapers in your choice of colors or prints!

How cute they are!

I get a few extra entries myself in the drawing by posting about the giveaway (yay for me) but I have never been disappointed in the service I've received as a customer at Cloth Diaper Outlet so I'm happy to share the news. I encourage you to keep them in mind for all your cloth diapering needs! (And let me know if you enter and win because that would be almost as cool as winning them myself!)

The Catholic Company Book Review: Little Acts of Grace 2

Little Acts of Grace 2 by Rosemarie Gortler and Donna Piscitelli, illustrated by Mimi Sternhagen

I was thrilled to see this book offered through the reviewer program at The Catholic Company because the children and I very much enjoyed Little Acts of Grace.

I was not disappointed.

In this little book, the authors have used the idea of Jesus as our best friend to explain why we should want to attend mass and participate while we are there, how we should pray and how our love of Jesus leads us to care for our family, friends and even people we don't know. I'm not usually one to encourage the children to think of Jesus as a "best friend," mainly because I hate to treat him with too familiar an attitude. There is no question, however, that our Lord is the most constant of friends and that many of the saints certainly wrote of him as if he were a dear friend.

My children love our parish, Sunday catechism classes and our priest, but we hear weekly protests that they do not like mass. With this book, we can explain how attending mass is like visiting a close friend and how pleased he is to see us each week.

This is not a book to make light of mass, however. In "Joining the Celebration:"
Mass is meant to be a joyful hour -- especially when we think about what is really happening at Mass! The love of our Best Friend, Jesus, is being remembered. But being joyful is not the same thing as being playful.
Ah, you see, they are encouraging an attitude of adoration!

I even learned something new myself. In "Holy Holy Holy:"
In the language of Jesus' time, there were no words to show if something was good, better, or best. So people would repeat a word to show its importance. For example, the word "Holy" means something sacred. If something was especially sacred, it was called "holy, holy." But a thing that was considered the most holy of all was called "holy, holy, holy."
The pictures show families of different ethnicities worshiping together, which is wonderful. King David is also shown with dark skin. Here on the Range, we talk about the colors of people's skin so I always appreciate a book's illustrations when they allow us to mention race. The friendly mouse from the first book is here as well. First Daughter will like to find it in each picture.

This book would be a welcome addition to any family library frequented by young children. First Daughter has already looked at all the pictures and I'll be adding it in to our Friday preschool readings.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I did not receive compensation for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Little Acts of Grace 2 and be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts while you are there.

A Satisfying Day

This morning did not start very well. I discovered Second Daughter had undressed herself sometime during the night and then gone back to sleep with expected results for a 26 month old not even close to potty training. Of course, Second Son cried the whole time I was cleaning her up and covering the bunk bed ladder with cardboard (so Second Daughter would not climb up every time she walked into the room and thought to herself, "Oh! We have bunk beds. I should totally be up there right now!").

Things got back on track, though, and we ended up with a lovely day. We finished all of our lessons, even catching up a little on history and catechism. We enjoyed choir as always and I had dinner well on the way when Kansas Dad got home. I needed a day like today.

Some funny stories from the day:

We played outside for a little while in the gorgeous sunny fall weather. I suggested marching around the house and First Son insisted we do so seven times while he hummed music from one of the Jericho videos. I joked to First Daughter, "I hope our house doesn't fall down!"

She replied, quite seriously, "No, we won't yell at the end."

Later, I read one of the fables from Aesop's Fables for Children: Includes a Read-and-Listen CD (Read and Listen) to First Son. In the fable, a man and a lion are walking together and arguing which is greater, man or lion when they come upon a statue. It shows a man conquering a lion so the man uses it as further proof for his argument. The lion says it would be a different statue if a lion had made it.

First Son narrated the story. I then asked (out of curiosity, not worrying too much if he really understood the moral), "What do you think the statue would look like if a lion had made it?"

He answered, without hesitating, "Wobbly."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quote: You Can Understand the Bible

Peter Kreeft in You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible:
The perennial temptation is to creep under the angel's flaming sword, to try to create a heaven on earth. The two most popular forms of this are the Oriental form of ignoring real physical evils by creating a mystical inner paradise through yoga and mediation, and the Western form of ignoring real spiritual evils by building a technological heaven on earth. Both are doomed to failure, of course, the failure is the greatest not when it is obvious, and leads to repentance, but when the failure is masked by apparent success. The thorns and thistles are sent to jolt us awake and remind us of our necessities, of where we are, of the battlefield. Since the peace we are seeking comes from God alone, "Woe to those who cry 'Peace! Peace!' when there is no peace" (Jer 6:14).

Not So Much Fun

This morning, I have a dentist's appointment. I had asked Grammy if she could watch the kids mainly because I didn't think I could adequately control Second Daughter from the confines of the dentist's chair. I gave the older two a choice: come with me to the appointment or stay and play at Grammy's house.

First Daughter considered for a while, "They both sound like fun."

Surprised, I responded, "You know, you wouldn't be getting your teeth cleaned. You'd just be watching Mommy get my teeth cleaned."

"Oh, I guess I'd rather play with Grammy then."

Now that's a girl who loves going to the dentist.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Still More to Learn, but a Good Start

Today, First Son's teacher was a little late to his PSR class. A friend, as she was dropping off her daughter, teasingly asked the class, "What's the first commandment?"

First Son answered immediately, "Honor thy father and thy mother!"

No, that's the fifth, but at least it is one of the commandments.

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Daughter Is Four

First Daughter turned four over a week ago. I've been here the whole time, but it's hard to believe it's really been four years.

She needs a size five in pants because the fours are much too small, but I can hardly believe it. How could she have grown so tall? (She looks remarkably like one of her cousins in Illinois in this picture.)

She requested T. Rex cookies for her birthday. Because no one here likes sugar cookies that much, I made chocolate chip cookie bars in a 12 x 17 pan and used cookie cutters. They were such a hit we'll be making pan cookies and cutting them up like this again. (For those loath to munch the cookie bits left over from the pan, save them in the freezer to sprinkle on ice cream for chocolate chip cookie sundaes.)

She loves clothes. She's always asking for new clothes, but she just means "new-to-me." She is perfectly satisfied with whatever she gets: hand-me-downs are just as good as designer labels. In fact, she loved opening the box of winter clothes we packed away last spring. They didn't really fit her anymore, but she tried them all on anyway and asked each time if she could put it in her room despite the pant legs and shirt sleeves that stopped an inch or two above where they were meant to be.

She loves shoes. For her birthday, she asked for "flashy" shoes (ones that light up when she jumps) and flip-flops. Kansas Dad found some flashy shoes for her, but they are a little big. When did stores stop carrying half sizes? (We have flip-flops already for next summer.)

Her favorite games are "Dora and Diego" or "Jack and Annie" - a brother, a back pack and an imagination. She'll settle for playing "Mama and Baby" with Second Daughter during lessons, though.

She loves just about everything First Son loves, so dinosaurs are near the top of her list. This post is about First Daughter, but First Son drew this wonderful card for her birthday.

She is currently enamored with dot-to-dots and sometimes mazes. She will sit with her brother and "work" for hours.

She loves to paint. She asks to paint almost every day. When she paints, she covers her sheet with paint until it nearly tears apart. We had an "art" party for her birthday, with plenty of painting by all the kids.

I wish I loved to let her paint.

She is signed up in the kindergarten class at our monthly faith formation club and in the Sunday School class at our parish, both of which are really preschool / kindergarten. She loves being in a class, even though First Son is not with her.

At choir, she wants to be next to First Son. Always. He knows this and tries to stay near her.

She had her birthday pancake with blueberries - a pancake as big as her head.

She does not like mashed potatoes. This is notable because First Son does. She loves yogurt. This is notable because First Son does not. Her favorite candy is Pez, though she likes just about anything sweet. (First Son does not like Pez, either.)

We are working together on learning her letters. She can already count to 100 and write "R." She cannot read, but she loves pulling out First Son's chapter books and flipping through them, even leaving a bookmark to save her place.

She loves to help me cook or bake, most of all when we use the stand mixer. More than that, she loves to taste what we're making and all the ingredients we use. I would never have guessed how many times a girl could taste flour or vanilla, but she is apparently not unique in this desire as Second Daughter tastes just as often.

 Happy birthday, my love, and may God continue to bless us through you!