Monday, November 17, 2008

Recitation and Tea

This year, we're taking part in a wonderful co-op based on Charlotte Mason's principles of teaching. We meet twice per month, and each time one of the mothers presents a lesson on their chosen topic in a child-friendly way. It's been a lot of fun.

Today, we had our Recitation and Tea presentation. First, each child presented a piece of their choice, and then we had a lovely tea party with all kinds of treats brought in by some of the moms.

The girls each chose to recite one of the Psalms we've been memorizing for school. Emma did Psalm 1, and Abbie did Psalm 134. I'm going to try to post the videos of them. They both did an excellent job. Neither one seemed nervous when we talked about what they were going to do, so we just practiced a lot and I thought everyone was ready to go.

When it came time for Emma to recite, however, she looked at me with huge, terrified eyes and told me she wasn't going to do it! We had a brief, intense, whispered discussion, ending in the compromise that I would stand up with her. I thought she was going to faint, or cry, or throw up; possibly all three of those things. However, in true Emma fashion, she came through with flying colors. She clung to my hand for all she was worth, but once she started speaking, she said her piece perfectly. She didn't even falter when someone's cell phone started ringing. I am so proud of her!

Abbie went up by herself to recite, but you can probably tell from the video that she was quite nervous, too. Her face was very pale. She did a fabulous job too, though. I am proud as can be! Abbie is an amazing kid. First of all, when I told her she needed to select something to recite, we'd just started working on Psalm 134. She looked at it, told me that's what she was going to do, and then proceeded to have it memorized in less than 5 minutes. Also, she's my introvert, and she gets *really* nervous about anything involving being in front of other people. She never complains, though, and somehow knows how to get through it and do what she needs to do to get the job done.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Check out my Halloweenies!

The kids had a great time on Halloween, I think. We ditched school for the day, because we were all so excited that Todd was coming home, and also we were SO over staring at each other, it wasn't worth it. I did take them to Learning Express, where they chose to spend their gift cards from Grammy and Papa on what else but new Webkinz? Isaac got some magnetic gears with his.

I had to do a little work on Isaac's costume, even though we bought it at Target. The elastic in the hood was so tight, it squished his poor little face!

He did not think he should have to wear it.

Once I got it fixed, though, he was cute as could be!

The trick-or-treaters started coming before we even turned on the porch light. I was still finishing up sewing on Abbie's cloak. It wouldn't be Halloween if I wasn't sewing until the girls were walking out the door, you know. Emma got Isaac into his costume, and he toddled around while the girls were getting ready, fully expecting to be included in the plan, whatever it might have been. Needless to say, he was NOT impressed when they left without him!

After a little while dealing with the kids at my door, I decided to put the candy on my porch and take the Snort on a little trick-or-treat adventure of his own. He was so happy to be outside walking like a big boy. We started out next door with Papa Louie, who was visiting from Ohio, and was handing out candy for our neighbor, Dave. He was appropriately adoring of my tiny punkin and spent a lot of time telling me how cute he is. I do love Papa Louie! We went on to a couple more houses, and Isaac was sure each time that we were going inside for a visit, rather than just collecting loot and moving on. It was pretty funny. We ended up sitting and chatting with a couple of neighbors at the 4th stop we made, until the boy was too tired to take any more, and then we headed home. My candy bowl was empty - woo hoo! - so we went inside, turned off the porch light, and went upstairs for a bath.

Todd and the girlies went out with our neighbors, Mike and Terri, who also have 2 girls around Emma & Abbie's age. Todd has a much better time when he can talk to other adults, and the girls, of course, love anything involving friends. Todd got comments on wearing his Redwings jersey again - who knew people would remember what he wore out last year? He wears it as a jacket, but clearly it's a handy excuse for a costume, too.

Here are the girlies in their costumes:

Emma was a traveling princess, and Abbie was the fairy Silver Mist from the Disney fairies. I made Emma's entire costume, and Abbie's cloak.

Here is Emma at the Halloween Parade in our neighborhood:

Here is Abbie with her wings on, which she refused to wear after this one time because they "dig into her pits:"

They got more candy than they will ever be allowed to eat. I believe a good time was had by all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh my goodness!

I have begun knitting in the last couple of years - I've posted a couple of projects here and there. I did try knitting socks this summer, and was delighted to finish one... only to be faced with knitting the other one. It didn't do much for me, I must confess. I've knitted a couple of pairs of baby socks, and those were fun. They were quick to knit up and so cute when they were done! My Norah Jane got one pair that was too big for the Snort, and my Joshua got the other pair that were too small for him. One of these days, I will manage to knit a pair for him that will fit.

My lovely friend Melissa is addicted to knitting socks, and recently told me about a nifty pattern on Knitty called Widdershins, which is a toe-up, gusset-heel pattern that sounds like it would solve some of the inherent issues I've had with knitting socks.

And... I found THIS.

You have to go look. Really. It's so worth your time.

Harry Potter sock yarn! Yes indeedy! I love all the colors, even Draco (and I really hate him). I've been listening to the audio books again, from the beginning, and I'm up to book 6. That's probably why I feel inspired to knit HP socks. I thought about knitting them for other people, but you know, I can't think of anyone who would truly appreciate them and I want them all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I might qualify as a slacker mom this week. With Todd in San Jose, I had thought we'd do lots and lots of school, so that we'd have something to do and be distracted from missing him. Instead, I find myself hiding upstairs a lot playing Safari Scrap on Facebook. I've made them do math and handwriting, we did read a little history, and we even did spelling today. Woo hoo! Tomorrow and Friday, we will be getting out THE LISTS so we make sure we get to everything. I can't ignore school just because I miss my sweetie.

Isaac has been so funny this week. As I watched him in the bath last night, he reached for his bar of soap. I said "No, no!" because I didn't want him to eat it. He didn't pick it up though. He just rubbed it, then rubbed his hands together. He rubbed the soap again, and rubbed his tummy. He was washing himself! It was adorable.

Also, when I unpacked the big box o' diapers and put the extra packages under his crib, he dragged the box over and proceeded to pull them out and put them back into the box for me. Wasn't that nice of him? He's so helpful.

He also likes to play with the dishwasher. If one doesn't pay attention while one has the door open, one might find him standing on said door. He loves to get his little spoons from the silverware basket, and lately has taken to pulling the entire basket out so he has better access to it. He loves to put things into and out of it.

And, wonder of wonders, he's started saying "Mama" all the time! He has been able to say it for a while, just wasn't terribly interested. He is so not a show-off yet. He *can* say lots of things and has several cute tricks - he just won't do them on demand. It's no fun to be able to tell people that he can High 5 when he won't play!

Last week and the week before, the girls took a creative writing class with author Carol Crane. She is such a neat lady! First of all, she is from Michigan, which makes her fabulous from the get-go. Also, she has an amazing way with children. She helps them see how much fun it is to put their words in writing, and really encourages them and makes them feel so good about their work. She spent a lot of time with each of them, and gave them each a book she'd chosen out for them at the end of the class.

I'd wanted Emma to take the class, particularly, because she is my perfectionist who doesn't want to write anything down ever in case she makes a mistake. I hoped that working with Carol would help build her confidence. It really did! She got to write about the things she loves - horses and ballet - and found it to be fun, too. She's been willing to write in her "journal" - one good thing each day. I have to remember to remind them to do that, come to think of it...

Abbie took the class too. Originally I didn't think she would, because it was supposed to be for ages 8 and up, but really, she's the one who loves to write. She's already written a book about a snooty butterfly who got turned back into a caterpillar for being snarky. She *loved* the class, wrote copiously, and was so proud when I typed out her story and poem that she was to read at the presentation. Interestingly, she was quite sad after the readings. She felt that she didn't write as much as some of the others and didn't think Mrs. Crane called on her to read as much as the other kids. I tried to explain that she was one of the youngest in the group, and of course the older kids wrote more! She did excellently for a 7 year old and I'm so proud of her! I am not sure what the sadness was about. Maybe just letdown from the class ending? She did tell me she wished it could be all the time.

We're looking forward to Halloween. Emma's costume is finished and I need to get Abbie's cloak sewn in case it's cold. Isaac's costume is snuggy and warm so he should be good, if Daddy is brave enough to take him out for a bit. We'll see.

All right - I am DETERMINED to make it to bed on the early side tonight so I'm going to sign off. May the force be with you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Audrey gave my blog an award!

Isn't she the sweetest? Not only did she fix it up all pretty-like with sunflowers, she gave it a prize.

Here are the details of the award: “This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy] "They are all charming blogs, and the majority of them aim to show the marvels of friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate?" Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to eight bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.”

So, here are my nominees:
1. Susan - because she and William are making the world a smaller place by bringing Benaiah home from Ethiopia.
2. Leslie-Jean - because she is nifty cool, and also has brought two girlies home from China.
3. Anj - because she's so much fun.
4. Melissa - because I heart her! And she knits the coolest socks.
5. Sarah - because she can knit anything, work on her doctorate, and STILL homeschool.
6. Jessica - because her blog is an inspiration to homeschoolers.
7. Remudamom - because I love her horses (and my girls do too). And she's FUNNY. And fun.
8. Jill - because she's a hoot!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Creative Writing Class

The girls had a wonderful opportunity over the last two weeks to take a creative writing class with Mrs. Carol Crane, an author for Sleeping Bear Press. She is a lovely woman. She's from Michigan, so that wins her some cool points right off the bat. She also writes wonderful children's books. She was so good with the kids - very encouraging, and knew just how to critique their writing so that they would want to fix it instead of feeling hurt. Anyone who can accomplish that with my girls is a miracle worker in my book!

Carol had each child write a story about themselves, and a poem. If I have time and I remember, I will come back and put them in here for you. They were so cute.

On the last day of class, the girls got to give their presentations. They cracked me up with their choices in outfits for the occasion - pants, athletic socks and their church shoes. Bless them, they are so cute!

Here is Abbie showcasing her unique sense of style:

Emma had a good time reading her stories, too:

And here is a picture of my girlies with Carol. She did a fabulous job with the class.

Abbie was quite disappointed when the class ended. She told me she wished it could be every day. Both girls are looking forward to taking the next round of their creative writing class with Carol in January.

And, just for fun, here is a gratuitous Schmooey picture. He was so funny. Everyone looked forward to seeing him when he came to class!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

El Greco To Velasquez - Or, Fun at the Art Museum with a Toddler

We went on a field trip today to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, to see the El Greco to Velasquez exhibit. The art is from the 1600's in Spain, during the reign of Philip III. It was during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, so the art is very Catholic and mystical. El Greco was known for painting his people tall and thin, almost ethereal.

But I digress. When we got there, I learned that I would not be able to take the stroller in for the baby, nor would they allow me to put him in the backpack. That discovery was a bit disconcerting. It had not occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to contain him in some fashion. (For the record, the museum does have this information posted on their website, and my friend Betsy who organized the trip also told us in her email. I did not read either of these pieces of information. The situation was entirely my fault and I do accept responsibility.) Oh well, I thought, I will just hold his hand, or pick him up when we stop to look at a painting.

When we got to the door, the very nice docent told us that there were lines on the floor that told us how far away we should be from the painting. Lines on the floor? Um - okay. We went in and sure enough, there were lines approximately 18 inches from the paintings. Some of them did have low, stretchy wire barriers around them to enforce the distance rule. Most of the paintings were not covered in glass. I had visions of priceless artwork covered in toddler slobber.

It quickly became apparent that Isaac was not interested in holding my hand. When I would try to grab his, he would flap his hands in the air and move away from me as fast as his little legs would go. When I tried to hold him, he said "NA NA NA NA NA NA!" in a loud, so-not-interested-in-quiet-perusal-of-fine-art tone of voice. He seemed to view the galleries as large, fairly open obstacle courses and took delight in careening around the other patrons, most of whom were older, child-free, and attempting to listen to the audio guide for the exhibit. When I noticed a (very kind) security guard following us, I decided it was probably time for Isaac and I to find something else to do.

Betsy, bless her, took her 2 boys (and her baby who still fits in a sling), my 2 girls, and our friend Neve's 3 boys through the exhibit. Neve and I took Isaac and her 2 little girls out to play in the grass and sunshine in front of the museum. I was delighted to have paid $15 for my ticket to play in the grass. Heh. Actually, I think it worked out to be a good thing. Betsy had done a lot of research about the exbhibit, because she'd presented on it to our co-op the previous week. And, I am not really a museum kinda gal (as you could probably gather from my cluelessness regarding the stroller situation). I did purchase the "book" - which has pictures of the art I missed plus a lot of history. We've enjoyed looking at it and discussing what we learned. Or, what they learned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changing Tradition, and Not for the Better

My girls surprised me today by singing some alternative lyrics to "Jingle Bells." You remember the ones we used to sing, right? The version I learned went like this:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost its wheel
And the Joker got away!

For some reason, Jingle Bells was in my head this morning so I sang the regular words, jingling all the way in a sleigh and all that. The girls serenaded me with this verse:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
Shot a tree and made it pee
In 1983

Now, those words are clearly just wrong. I told them they are not allowed to sing it that way.

I made them change it to 1988 so the rhyme felt right. So there.

Check this out!

Someone on the Well-Trained Mind board posted about this very cool tie chair. Here is a blog post where you can enter to win one - drawing is tomorrow, October 23! I think everyone with small, wiggly children should have one of these. It would make going out to lunch, dinner, etc. so much easier, wouldn't it? And Schmooey would love to use it at home, because it would allow him to sit in a big chair like his sisters. He thinks he's just all that when he gets to sit at the table with them. What a fabulous invention!

Just in case you live locally, and you don't happen to be the lucky winner of the drawing, The Green Pea Nursery in Apex sells them.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And you wonder why I want to move back?

Congratulations, you are 95% Michigan!

Congratulations, when it comes to you and Michigan, you know your stuff! You must drink pop, vacation "up north", and enjoy the many special seasons Michigan has to offer. Maybe you should write your own Michigan quiz!

How Michigan are you?
Take More Quizzes

That last 5% is only because I don't live there anymore!

(Can you tell I'm avoiding school? La, la, la......)

What American Accent Are YOU?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fun with Snails

This week for our nature study, we looked at snails. The girls and I went outside and dug around under rocks and things, and we actually found some! They were very small - you can see the penny on their plate for size reference. Two of them were probably about 1/4" in diameter, and the littlest one maybe slightly more than 1/8".

The girls really got into watching them! We read about them in The Handbook of Nature Study, and we enjoyed seeing them check things out with their eyes and do the things the book described. The tiniest snail had a clear part at the end of its shell, which I believe showed that it was adding onto its home because it was growing.

We put a little slice of very ripe nectarine in with them, because the book said to give them pulpy fruit. They all checked it out, but I'm not sure they ate any of it. One of them seemed to, but then it decided to check out more of the new surroundings.

It was interesting to watch them climb the glass. One of the larger ones crawled right over to the edge of the glass, twisted itself into some amazing contortions, and then attached itself to the side of the glass about 1/4" above the plate. The other "big" snail took a little longer to come out, but when it did, we called it the "adventurous soul," because it climbed right to the top of the glass and then all around inside it. The tiny snail took the longest time to come out, but when it did, it also made a thorough exploration of the glass.

Friday, September 12, 2008

School This Week

We had a great week of school! The girls were MUCH better behaved this week. (It probably helps that I told them I'd get them the new Barbie movie as a prize if they behaved, but still.)

We got math done every day. Woo hoo! We're using Math-U-See this year, and they love it so far. The blocks are a lot of fun. We started with Alpha, which is technically 1st grade math, and we're already on lesson 8 (should be about 1 lesson per week). We were cruising through a lesson a day at first, but we've slowed down a bit now that we've reached math facts and such so we can get in extra practice. My plan is to get through Alpha and Beta this year, and hopefully start on Gamma during the summer.

We also got some grammar done. Emma is doing First Language Lessons 3, and Abbie and I are continuing with First Language Lessons 1/2. They both do well with their work.

We even did some science this week! Last week's science experiment was supposed to involve planting some dried kidney beans. We did it this week on Thursday. Also, this week we started reading about leaves. Our book showed an experiment we tried to replicate. First, we had to choose leaves; Abbie chose sassafras and Emma chose sweet gum (I think):

First, we had to boil the leaves:

Then they had to soak in alcohol, and be kept warm, so we put the bowl of alcohol into another bowl of hot water:

The chlorophyll was supposed to come out of the leaves. It did, a little bit. The leaf in the book turned mostly white. We used a sweet gum leaf, which definitely faded, and a sassafras leaf, which didn't look like it changed at all.

You can see that the alcohol did get a little green, though. So, we got some results and I think the girls thought it was interesting.

We've been having a little trouble with history. We're using Living Books Curriculum which is a Charlotte Mason-based curriculum. Charlotte Mason advocated living books (see how tricky that is - Living Books Curriculum uses living books). I got this definition of a living book from Simply Charlotte Mason:

What is a “living book”?

Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.” They can be contrasted to dry writing, like what is found in most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically lists informational facts in summary form.

We're supposed to be studying Ancient Egypt and the Revolutionary War. However, as we began to dig into our books, we were confused. For example, our book on the Revolutionary War jumps right in to Taxation Without Representation. There is no background information on the colonies or what was going on. It was frustrating and I could not explain it well.

After talking it over with the girls, we decided that we would like to study American history from the beginning. I came to the conclusion that we needed a history "spine" book, one that will present an overall picture of both our world history and our American history. I have several books that will work, and we started out with A Child's History of the World by Hillyer. It's a wonderful book. We read about Egypt and we read about the Vikings and Columbus. I have some other books that I'll be pulling in, as well. Even though I was frustrated at first, now I feel empowered as a teacher to make changes that will make the curriculum work better for us, and it's a good feeling.

We didn't start spelling yet. We're adding that in next week. We also need to add in art and music. We will be using All About Spelling again this year, which we LOVE. For art, we have Artistic Pursuits (K-3 book 1), and I'm really excited about it. For music and composer study, we will use The Story of the Orchestra, along with Themes to Remember from Classical Magic. Todd looked at Themes to Remember and thinks it is very cool. We also have Story of the Orchestra, which comes with a nifty CD - I think they will go well together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gnomes for Ethiopia - again!

Here is a picture of a completed gnome. Isn't it cute?

After I posted asking for volunteers on the Well-Trained Mind board, I got lots of questions. I've tried to answer everything concisely for you.

1. Knit a gnome (or two)! The pattern I've been using is here. There is also a top-down pattern here.

2. Yarn: We'd prefer natural fibers, but we will take what we can get. This is a great scrap yarn project!

3. Since the gnomes are going to lovely chocolate-colored children, the faces should be tan or brown.

4. NO BELLS. These are for babies and the bells are a choking hazard.

4. My friends will tentatively travel around October 24. Please mail completed gnomes by October 17, to be sure they get here in time.

5. If you don't like sewing all those pieces together, either try the top-down pattern or send your pieces to me. Please send pieces by October 10 so I'll be sure to have time to put them together!

You can email me through the blog and I'll send you my address. I'm really excited that so many people are going to knit gnomes! Thank you!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Baby food or not: What to do, what to do....

I went to Target today and bought some baby food, because they had it on pretty good sale. We usually get boxes of the stuff at BJ's, but I do like to give the Snort a little more variety than 3 kinds of veggies (2 orange kinds), 3 kinds of fruits, and then the little "dinners" he likes so well, which are orange veggies and meat of some kind.

When my grocery bill came out to be $115, and I'd mostly bought baby food, I nearly fainted! I probably did go a little overboard, but we go through it pretty quickly and I thought it might be the last time we needed to buy it.

After thinking about it though, I am going to return it. I feel like Schmooey doesn't feed himself enough that I can let him just have finger food, but my sister assures me that if I stop giving him baby food, he will figure it out soon enough. I'll still give him cereal, yogurt, and applesauce. Additionally, he will usually eat some of our dinner, whether it's just cut up into tiny pieces, or put through the food processor so I can give it to him with a spoon.

I suppose my great debate has been whether or not I want to wean him. On the one hand, he still seems so tiny (perhaps a 30 lb 1-year-old does not seem tiny to YOU, but when he's not standing next to anyone else's 1-year-old I can pretend). On the other hand, he occasionally bites me. Hard. He's drawn blood. I have a strong sense of self-preservation, and I have to tell you, each time he's done that I go through the weaning debate! If I take away baby food, he's going to nurse more.

I finally decided I'm OK with that, though. I don't really want him to wean. He's my last baby and I am happy to keep him that way for as long as possible. He's too busy to cuddle most of the time, so our nursing time is ever so precious to me.

The next great debate: Church nursery, or no church nursery? Stay tuned for late breaking developments.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gnomes for Ethiopia!

My very good friend Susan (and the rest of her family) are adopting a beautiful baby boy from Ethiopia. He will get to come home sometime in November, we think.

In the meantime, Susan and I are trying to knit a bunch of little gnomes for her to take with her. She'd like to be able to give one to the families they travel with, and we'd like to be able to send one for each child at the orphanage - around 100 gnomes in all, I believe.

We've been using this pattern at Knit Witts, and Cream & Sugar yarn (natural fibers and inexpensive). However, you could use scrap yarn - we aren't picky. We've been making the faces either tan or brown, because they will be going to lovely chocolate-colored babies.

I would love to enlist some other folks to knit a gnome or two. They really take very little time. Please let me know if you'd be willing!

They will tentatively travel around October 24th, so you'd want to mail them to me by October 17th, just to be sure they get here on time. And, if you get the pieces knitted but don't want to sew them together, send them to me a week or so earlier and I will sew them up for you.

Monday, September 01, 2008

First Day Of School

Our first day of school today was a bit of a bust. I did not get up early - got to bed late, baby was up in the night, no alarm because it was Labor Day, you know. By the time I got a shower and was ready to roll, it was nearly 11 am.

We did have fun with math - we started Math-U-See this morning, and the girls loved using the blocks. Additionally, we started with a level that is below where they probably are, so that we can get used to the method. It's easy for them, and they like that. I'm hoping it will build Emma's confidence with math.

As we finished up math, it was lunch time. That was fine; we had sandwiches all around, and I read from our first read-aloud for the quarter, Where's Inky by Sam Campbell. You can read it online here, if you're interested. It's about a porcupine, and we like it so far!

When I tried to move the girls on to other things, though, school went downhill quickly. Emma could not seem to stop herself from complaining about every. little. thing. I reached a point that I had a nearly overwhelming urge to smack her, so I sent both girls to take a nap. That seemed to revive them somewhat, but then I needed a nap to fend off a rather bad headache. At this point, it's dinner time, so we're going to call it a day. I don't think I can take any more. Tomorrow, we will get an earlier start, some good exercise, and I will set some pretty clear expectations on behavior. I know the first 3 weeks will be rough as we get back into the swing of things, but I hope they can be better than today. I don't intend to battle with them all year like this, that's for sure.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Year In Review

Hard to believe, isn't it, that Isaac turns 1 year old today? I can't believe it, myself. A year ago today I was on some really good drugs, recovering from a c-section, holding this tiny punkin in my arms.

Of course, the nurses tried to tell me that he really was not tiny, being 9 lbs and all. But, he was tiny to me. I mean, look how wee he is in that car seat!

One month old - already holding his head up pretty well and looking around:

Two months old - already starting to fill in that car seat (and not too thrilled with the situation, either):

My sister-in-law, Jennifer, took pictures of my most adorable nephew Christopher in his car seat carrier every month so we could see how much he'd grown. I thought that was a fantastic idea. As you can see, I made it to 2 months. Wahoo!

3 months - such a serious face! I am pretty sure his expression is translated as "Woman, why are you over there when I am over here? Don't you know I should be attached to you at this time of day?"

We had his first formal pictures taken at 3 months. Wasn't he the most beautiful thing?

At four months, I made him lay in the fall leaves with his sisters. He looks happy in the picture, but that lasted for about 3 seconds. Good thing I snapped the picture at the right moment, eh?

He was 5 months old at Christmas time. He was the first baby I had who was still small enough at Christmas to fit into one of those cute little "Baby's First Christmas" outfits, so of course I put him in one, hat and all!

At 6 months, he already fit into his new duds that Grammy gave him for Christmas. The puppy hat made this little outfit, don't you think?

He learned to sit up around 7 months, and he sure did love a bath. Still does, actually. My sister-in-law, Jennifer, gave us this inflatable bath tub, and it was perfect for a boy who still tipped over every now and again.

He discovered the wonder of modern technology that is the balloon at 8 months old. We were in Michigan, and someone let him have one after my niece's confirmation. I must confess that I had not let him play with balloons prior to this, for fear of choking hazards. He had so much fun, though, that we get balloons a lot from the grocery store and let him play to his little heart's content (carefully supervised, of course).

We went to the ocean when he was about 8 months old, and he LOVED it. He didn't want to eat sand, until Emma brought him a bucket with lots of pebbles mixed it. He had a ball playing at the beach.

9 Months - LOVE that wrinkled nose! He made this face at everyone and everything for a while. It was so cute.

He was still not crawling at 10 months, but figured out how to stand himself up. I really thought he might go straight to walking.

My 11 months, though, he'd figured out that crawling thing. I shortened my Swiffer broom for him, and he seemed to take right to cleaning the floor for me.

I also gave him a wooden spoon, which turned into a Mighty Stick with which he conquered the evil black pot!

You know, when Emma was a little over 1, I gave her a pot and wooden spoon, because that's what "the book" said to do. She turned the pot over and stood in it. I'm not sure what she did with the spoon. Isaac took that spoon and STABBED that pot until it was good and dead.

Also, as soon as he learned to crawl, he ceased and desisted with laying down for a nap and going right to sleep, angel baby that he was. He would pop right back up and start cruising in his crib, chattering away. He would eventually fall asleep, though.

Doesn't that look uncomfortable? It just tickles me that he can lean straight forward and fall asleep from a sitting position. Silly boy.

All that was one short month ago. Now, he's a very grown up 1-year-old. Here he is, the birthday boy in the tub with frosting on his nose.

A phrase I've heard a lot lately is, "The days are long, but the years are short." I've known that for a long time, but it speaks directly to my heart when it comes to my boy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And on a really fun note...

A virtual friend from the Well-Trained Mind Boards posted this fun site! Head on over and make yourself some sparkly words at Glitter Your Way. Come on, you know you want to!

Road Trip! (Or Not)

Earlier, Todd and I loaded the children into the minivan (named Ariel Mermaid, in case you know about cars and names) and headed off toward Target (10% coupon and everything) to see if we could find a bike for me. It's what I requested for my birthday, along with one of those nifty bike trailers for the boy, and helmets for us both. The girlies really love to ride their bikes, and it's hard for me to keep up on foot, pushing a stroller. I know, I know, I'm usually cheetah-like, but for some reason, this is beyond me.

Abbie kindly shared a Cheez-It with her brother as we were pulling out of the driveway, and as we rounded the first corner, he gagged and spit up a little. Well, it was really more than spitting up but the damage wasn't catastrophic - his overalls could come off and he could shop in his onesie - so we continued. However, before we reached the next block, he'd managed to expel copious amounts of breastmilk and snot (still has the runny nose from his cold) all over himself and his car seat. There was no saving the trip, so Todd drove around the block - we didn't even make it as far as the Catholic church two blocks away - and came home.

Ah, well. Who am I to rail against such a clear message from the powers-that-be, that we did not need to go shopping this evening? Chances are we avoided being contaminated with the bubonic plague, or something equally heinous. It was worth a shot, though. Maybe tomorrow. (Note to self: Boy and Cheez-Its do not mix.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Post-vacation drama

You know, when you come home from vacation, there is laundry to be done. This is especially true when your infant decides to vomit on you the night you get home, because he doesn't feel like taking any medicine to help his teeth feel better. Even more so when he does it another time or two on subsequent days for good measure.

I threw a load in on Saturday morning, thinking I was washing the ick out of the clothes. Sunday, I changed it over from the washer to the dryer. "Hmmm," I thought, "these clothes are practically dry. I didn't remember this washer spinning them out like that." However, it's a new washer, and I had been gone for 2 weeks. What do I know? I thought the clothes had a certain... je ne sais quois about them; they didn't smell particularly fresh, but I thought perhaps they were on their way to mildewing. I threw a fabric softener sheet in with them.

I took out a pair of the Snort's pajamas from the dryer tonight, because he's either spit up or yakked on all the sleepwear he owns. As I was putting it on him, I noticed some schmutz on the sleeve. Looking more closely, I saw that the dirt on the knees (from crawling at my parents' house - he hasn't worn them on my floors yet) was still there. The lightbulb finally went on: the clothes were not clean! I must have forgotten to actually run the washer.

So, I went to take the dirty clothes out of the dryer and put the clean ones in that I'd washed earlier today into the washer. Lo and behold, the second load was still dirty too! I know I ran the washer today. I decided not to panic, and went in to see if Todd was actually sleeping. He was. I pondered waking him for a moment, but really, what was he going to do at this time of night?

So I went back to the washer to see if I could pray over it or something to convince it to work. It's brand new. It can't have issues yet. And then - another lightbulb went on. Could Todd have shut the water off before we went on vacation?!?

I tell you, there are no flies on me (whatever that means). I checked the shutoff valves and did indeed need to turn the water back on. I did, and my clothes are merrily washing away even as I type. PHEW!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy To Be Home

We got back from Michigan this evening after two very long days of driving. We had a lot of fun seeing family but WOW is it nice to be home.

I didn't think we would be able to do the trip home in only two days, honestly. We'd planned on spending 3 days to get home, so that the baby wouldn't be overwhelmed in the car. Todd, however, had different ideas. He informed me a day or two before we needed to leave that he thought we should try to do it in two. I didn't think it was a very good idea, but he assures me that I've blocked from my memory the horrors of the 3rd day of travel. Long story short, we made it in two days and no one had to die.

After "the cottage," we went to the Shauver grandparents' house on Lake Superior. The Snort immediately came down with a cold, and refused to eat unless it was "Momma Chow," which ended any sleep progress we'd made. We had a couple of days to hang out and play in the lake before more cousins arrived. My sister and her husband came with their 4 children, ages 3 and under (7 month old twins). I have to tell you that 7 children in the house was a lot! A lot of chaos, a lot of noise, and a lot of FUN.

We got to go blueberry picking, play in the lake, take the boat to the "secret island" (a bay on Grand Island off Munising Bay on Lake Superior, part of the Pictured Rocks National Park), and play with cousins. The girlies went fishing with my folks on a small lake (Deer Lake) where they catch lots of small fish - Emma caught a 12-13" small mouth bass on her little Barbie pole! - and they stayed at the camp (the cabin we all bought) with my two older nieces. We also saw a VERY COOL concert by a group called Song of the Lakes - they were commissioned to write music to Paddle to the Sea! It was wonderful. They are going to make a CD of the music, this fall I think.

We did see something amazing: a bald eagle fishing in the bay in front of my parents' house! I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but here they are. He would get right down into the water, and we thought there was something wrong at first, but he was just fishing:

I have never seen an eagle fish before!

He did finally catch something:

And then he flew away. Pretty cool, eh?

The nice thing about going to the U.P. in August is that Lake Superior is as warm as it's going to get. One day, there were big waves in the bay, so I convinced my family that we should go swimming. Emma said, "I'm risking my life to do this!" as we went down and got in the water. Silly girl. I have a lot of good feelings about being up north, but one of my specific memories is going out and playing in the waves like this. The air was cold, but the water felt warm (after a minute or two) and it was SO much fun. The girls really enjoyed themselves, and Emma stayed in the water with Todd for a long time after Abbie and I decided we were cold and went in.

Isaac liked Lake Superior, too. It was interesting - when I tried to hold him and walk into the lake, and maybe dip his toes, he cried and did not like it at all. My dad took him down, though, and put his feet down on the sand, and let Isaac decide to walk into the lake on his own power, and he thought that was fabulous. He waded right in, pretty deep in the water for a little guy:

And even sat down to play in the sand and water with Grandma:

He also learned to climb stairs while we were there, and he thinks he's hot stuff now. He also discovered that he can walk if only someone will hold his fingers. If you let him get ahold of yours, be prepared to get up and go, because he does NOT take "no" for an answer! I remember doing this with the girlies. My back hurt a lot for a very long time. I am so grateful to have the girls, who are at much better heights than I am, to walk him around. And around. And around and around and around...

The girlies really enjoyed playing with their cousins. Here is Emma sitting with Faithy and Norah Jane, watching tv:

And both girlies hanging out with the twins:

And, of course, all the grandparents, great and regular versions, were glad to have the kids there. We managed to get them all in a photo:

That's one for the record books, folks. It was pretty amazing to get everyone looking in almost the same direction at once for that picture.

I always feel a little homesick for Michigan when we get back. That will probably hit later. For now, it's nice to be back in my own bed and have the Snort in his own bed. One can only hope he will go back to sleeping now that we're home.