Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Second Son is Seven Months!

Second Son had a fabulous day! He slept well last night, was smiling and happy for his monthly picture (cute despite the crazy hair), was content nearly all day, napped through most of choir, laughed throughout dinner...really had a wonderful day other than his bath when he screamed like crazy. That boy does not like the water!

He also had chicken for the first time - his first meat. It was about one part chicken to four parts rice cereal, but he ate a huge bowl of it.

I took pictures this morning with his giraffe. I took pictures this evening, and even a movie, as he was playing with his washcloth and "singing." And I promise, really and truly, some of those will make it on the blog. Just not tonight.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Second Son Sleeps

Recently, Kansas Dad and I reached our limit with Second Son. He wasn't napping well, even if I held him. He wasn't sleeping in his crib at all at night. I would sit on the sofa, holding him, for hours before we went to bed. I watched a lot of Netflix, but nothing was getting done. You know, fun things like paying the bills.

So we decided to take action. As soon as Second Son's cold was a bit better, we prepared. We checked out Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition by Richard Ferber. Kansas Dad bought some wine and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, in preparation for a stressful evening. On Friday, I read a special nighttime story to Second Son (The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, of course), nursed him, then settled him in his crib while he was still awake.

He cried.

We followed the schedule in the book, going in and talking to him briefly. After an hour, he fell asleep. All in all, we considered it fairly easy.

On Saturday, he cried for less than ten minutes.

On Sunday, he cried for about two minutes before falling asleep.

Tonight, no tears at all!

Oh, the joy! The bliss! Wandering the house without a baby in my arms!

I'm nearly too exhausted to take advantage of it, but soon, very soon, I expect to start making a dent in the List of Things That Have Been Left Undone for Two Months. Hopefully I can tackle a good bit of it before he starts teething and stops sleeping again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Tip No. 12

Don't read cloth diaper reviews unless you need to buy more diapers.

Now I really want to try the Duo Fab Fitted and have no excuse to do so...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Second Daughter-isms

Sleep is "beep." She puts her babies in her bed, turns off the lights and announces to us all that her babies are "beeping."

Finger is "ninger." At least once a day, one of her "ningers" needs a band-aid (so she says).

My is "I." Stuck is "tuck." "My tuck! My tuck!" (This cry is usually preceeded by her climbing into the baby's exersaucer.)

Read a Favorite Book Online!

Angel in the WatersOne of my very favorite books can be read online for free! Check it out. I can almost guarantee you'll want a copy for your kids by the time you're done reading. (Read my review here.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Random Tip No. 11

Consider carefully before putting your baby with a cold facing forward in the Baby Bjorn when preparing a meal for the whole family.

He will probably sneeze.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Second Son Plays Peek-A-Boo

Second Son has grown tremendously since I've posted regularly. He's sitting perfectly, only failing backwards when he's upset or excited and tries to kick his legs. He reaches for anything and everything, which makes preparing meals or doing anything while holding him quite challenging. Right now, as I type, he's sitting in the living room surrounded by train tracks, grabbing at the trains the oldest two are running around him. I love how Geo Trax electric trains always entertain little ones. They're fun for the whole family.

One of his new favorite games is Peek-a-Boo. He doesn't just laugh when we hide and say "Peek-a-boo!" He'll hide his face in my shirt while I ask "Where's Baby?" Then he'll lift his head, grinning like crazy, as I say "Peek-a-boo!" Hopefully Kansas Dad and I can manage to get a little video of it soon.

I'm healing and Second Son is learning to calm himself a little, at least early in the day, so things are nearly normal around here. We're almost at full lessons and a reasonably tidy household. Kansas Dad is still making dinner most evenings and we've benefited from a few storms that canceled our outside activities a few weeks in a row. Second Son has had a cold and refused to sleep on his own in the evenings so I've been holding him and watching a lot of Netflix, but he's on the mend. So I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel and hope to get back to posting every now and then again. As much as I enjoy my blog, it's near the bottom of my list of priorities (as it should be). But I miss it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Go Team!

Am I crazy? I just signed First Son up for a basketball team. It's a minimum commitment (two hours one day a week for less than two months) that just happens to be about ten minutes from where we have choir (on the same day and with perfect timing). Since team sports are one of those things hard to teach when the other team members are knee-high, it's a good fit for our homeschool here on the Range. Plus, I actually know how to play basketball.

But what on earth am I going to do with a four year old, a two year old and a baby for two hours while he plays?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Small Successes XXXVII

I haven't participated in Small Successes since last September. I discovered my days went much better if I didn't turn on the computer until after the school day (and usually until after Kansas Dad was home from work), so most of the Small Success fun was over before I was online. (That's still true, but I couldn't resist this week.)

1. I'm not taking antibiotics anymore! I got sick just before New Year's Eve and it's taken a month to beat it, but that's all behind us now.

2. I made granola (from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life with added wheat germ, shredded coconut and dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries; I don't post recipes from cookbooks, but you can find it here), strawberry sour cream muffins (those lovely blueberry sour cream muffins from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks) with some of our strawberries substituted for the blueberries) and banana bread this week. I haven't baked that much in months. (The banana bread is a little questionable since I put bananas straight from the freezer on top of the eggs and froze some of them, then First Daughter flung them around the kitchen when I said she could turn on the mixer, and then I realized as I was about to put it in the pans I forgot the sugar...but they taste fine. Quick breads are very forgiving.)

3. The last bit of our half a steer is the tongue, which is now defrosting in our fridge. We picked a recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book and will give it a try. (It has to brine for five days before we cook it, so it'll be a while yet.)

Of course, just when I thought I'd start to catch up after being sick for a month, Second Son caught a cold from the girls. With three sick kids, thing will still be kind of slow around here. Such is life with kids.

Read more Small Successes at Faith and Family!

Random Tip No. 10

Don't confuse the baby's oatmeal with the mama's cream of wheat at breakfast.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Hand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for ChildrenHand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children by Nathaniel Bluedorn

This slim little book is a treasure-trove of read-aloud ideas. There are many classics you'd expect, but also suggestions of authors and books I'd never encountered. I believe some of these may be out of print, as they were read to Mr. Bluedorn when he was a child, but I intend to try to find them.

I love that an actual description of the books is provided, so it's easy to read through and pick some for a particular child. (I'm saving some of the stories of young girls for when First Daughter is older and less distracted during our read-aloud time.) Mr. Bluedorn even indicates which were his mother's favorites to read aloud with her children. For each book, the time period in which it is set, the geographic location and the publication date are given. A numbered scale also indicates whether a book is best for all ages, those over 10 or those over 13, though parents should of course judge what is best for their own children. A list of the recommended books by subject is included at the end.

I didn't agree with every suggestion, of course. The Reluctant Dragon is listed. (I didn't like how St. George was portrayed, but Brandy at Afterthoughts articulated very well many other concerns with the book.) Also, I personally think Five Little Peppers and How They Grew is insipid and out-dated. We listened to it recently with the kids in the van (mostly without Kansas Dad, to his relief) and though the children seemed to like it, I wanted nothing more than to throw it out the window over and over again. (We did listen to the whole book because there's nothing inherently bad in the plot of the story. I just don't think it's stood the test of time very well. I apologize if it's one of your favorite books. I do remember liking it when I first read it.)

I wish my library had a copy. The inter-library loan copy they found for me came from Spokane. I'm going to suggest they buy one, so I can refer to it in the future. If not, I'll eventually purchase one for our household.

Love Is on the Windshield

Love is scraping your wife's windshield even when you're leaving later than intended.

Perhaps Love Is what's not on the windshield.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why We Have Children, A Link

There was no part of me, as we rushed to the emergency room that night, that wished my daughter gone and my freedom restored. Not the slightest part of me thought I should be happier without her. Instead, I knew with terrible certainty that if this small, fragile, quivering creature against my chest were to leave me, she would take all my joy with her. And no part of me would have preferred that she had never come to be, if she could only be for thirteen months and then be no more. Her thirteen months had made my life worth living.
Read all of it over at Patheos.

HT: Creative Minority Report.

January Book Report

I found keeping a list of the books I've read worked well for me last year. A little paragraph or so on each book helps me to concentrate more while I'm reading and remember it better after I've read it.

I made myself a little goal last year to make a significant dent in my "to read" list. I keep a private wish list on Amazon of the books I'd like to read that was over 15 pages long. At 25 books per page, I was looking at a long list! With some concentrated efforts and by finally giving myself permission to take books off that I was never going to read, I got the list down to just over 11 pages. Hooray!

Last year I wrote book reports once a quarter, but those seemed to get quite long. I think it'll be more manageable if I report by month. So here's January's list.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Some people may be offended by this irreverent book about the end of the world, but I thought it was hilarious and clever. It was a good read for me while I was dealing with an extended illness because it didn't take as much concentration as my library book would have (The Ambassadors).

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry was a funny little book recommended for Christmas. It's sweet and short. I enjoyed it.

The Ambassadors by Henry James. I have no idea how Henry James managed to write more the four hundred pages for the plot of this novel, and sometimes I'm startled that I read them, but I always find myself enjoying his books by the end. More than anything, the book made me want to spend three months lounging around Paris.

We Have a Pope by Karen Congeni (a review for the author)

Those of you who read this blog regularly may realize this is a rather short list for me. Being horribly ill for more than two weeks severely limited my abilities to concentrate. Here's hoping February is a better month!

Oh, Happy Day!

Today, for the first day in 2011, I will not be taking any antibiotics!