Friday, January 30, 2009

Reading with Daddy

D has a lovely new baby girl :) I know we are all so thankful for baby E and her safe arrival. These events in the lives of friends always send my memory back to my own little ones early days and usually send my fingers clicking through the photo archives. In particular D has a pic of E "reading" with her daddy that brought back so many memories....




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General Announcment!!

Hear ye, hear ye!! The Shower Is Fixed!

Jeremiah, most excellent of husbands, has fiddled with it with his Man Tools and fixed it.

I really don't know what he did, or what was wrong with it, but it's fixed now and with New, Improved water pressure! I suppose there must have been some sort of blockage that slowly reduced the pressure until the whole pipes freezing thing was the last straw. But now it's back, baby :) It helps to be able to take a nice hot shower after a full day of being pooped on by a one and a half year old. Which, by the way, D., is waaaaay worse than being pooped on by a newborn, so enjoy it while you can ;)

Gamer-Daddy


Once again, I'm submitting a post that was written earlier. I think maybe I'm just too tired by Friday to BE funny.

Jeremiah is a Gamer. Perhaps not a Hardcore Gamer, but it definitely goes beyond the casual. Not in time commitment (we have two kids and bills to pay, after all), but definitely in sentiment. Now granted, he is a gamer with flair. A gamer who also happens to be an English Major. His gamer tag involves a quote from The Bard Himself. But a gamer he is, nonetheless. He dare not deny it.

Sofia is a girly girl. Perhaps even the Girliest of Girls. She loves dresses and ruffles and pink things and high-heeled, plastic shoes with Disney Princess pictures on them, and lipstick. Now granted, she has some standards. Poofy, 90's style pants she will not wear. Will. Not. Wear. I know, I've tried. Also square-toed dress shoes. No way.

The Gamer loves the Girl with an undying, immeasurable and self-sacrificing love-- as witnessed in a recent conversation over Mount and Blade:

I like this one, Daddy, this blue dress.

But sweetie, this armour set has a plus 44! Don't you want to have a plus 44 so you don't get killed so easily?

Well, but I really like this blue dress...

Ok

*sigh*

How about this peasant's helmet? You like this?

Why not just her plain hair? It's pretty...

Well, ok how about at least this cap, so she has some protection for her head.

How about these blue stockings, Daddy? Can we buy these for my girl?

Well, why don't we buy those stocking and then she can wear this shorter armor and then her pretty stockings can show...

No. I like the blue dress.

*deep sigh*




Some artistic liberty-taking was necessary in the recounting of this conversation since the old grey mare ain't what she used to be in the memory department.

Go check out other people being funny on Friday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Poor baby

Judah was doing much better and had progressed to solid food by last night, but he has now relapsed and may have an ear infection to boot. J is well and I seem to have escaped it all together. Sofi is just grouchy from all the attention Judah is getting. I need a pedicure or something. Today I at least got my hair washed, but as of yet no makeup, no dryer and no curling iron. I think I may have worn this same pair of jeans for the whole week, but I couldn't swear to that. And don't even get me started on the eyebrows....


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wine and Self-Realization

Tonight I had a moment of self-realization I would like to share with you. And a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon which I believe I will keep to myself. It may or may not have had anything to do with the self-realization. But that's beside the point. Here's what I realized.

I am good at what I do. But I do too many things to do a good job of any of them.

Let me elaborate. I am a good teacher. I relate well to other people. I am chameleon-like in my ability to adapt my teaching style to the needs of the individual students. Really. You should see me. Even my tone of voice and accent switch instantly as one child files out and the next files in. It's kind of scary. I can think up new ways to describe things on the spot. I have even been known to invent exercises to teach a particular posture or technique on the spur of the moment. I make up a song to fit the cadence of the child's name in no time flat. I am good.

But. I lack the time to further my education in teaching and in music-- particularly theory, which is my weakest link. I don't have time to take on more students, advertise for more students and expand my studio.

I am a good wedding designer (go away, Susi, I'm having a moment here, just let me have it). I have a good eye for color, balance, design. I have tons of ideas. I'm not the hottest on technical expertise, but I can usually jimmy-rig my way out of a jam and get the job done. (duct-tape is my friend...) I am good at taking broad, general ideas and vague notions and sifting them down into workable specifics and organized details. I love working with people and flowers and I loooove weddings.

But. Again, I don't have the time for further education. I don't have the time to advertise for more clients, work on our website or refine our business details so we can actually make money doing what we do.

I'm a good homeschool mom. I enjoy doing it. I love to learn, explore and create. I have tons of ideas for cool ways to teach Sofi stuff. I love my kids-- I love to spend time with them. I super-love watching them learn things. I enjoy researching topics and finding cool facts, pictures, video, and etc (the interwebs are my best friends!).

But. I don't have time to spend hours planning cool projects and taking field trips. My daughter is six and has never done the super-awesome thing where you pour vinegar into the volcano model and watch it errupt. We've studied volcanos, but we skipped that part because it was too messy and time-consuming. I have a toddler in the house, for pete's sake. I'm lucky if I get the laundry done before we run out of clean clothes each week. (which reminds me.... 'scuse me for a sec)

(Okay, cleans are in the dryer. Where was I? Ah yes.)

I'm a pretty good housekeeper, seamstress, home decorator, cook and writer, but none of these things ever get my attention and time in the quantity and quality needed to really produce something great, because I'm always spending all my time trying to keep everything from falling completely apart. I dab at this and poke at that-- the proverbial duck paddling like the devil underneath, just to keep afloat.

So what is the answer? I don't know. I don't even know what the question is. I'm not upset/depressed by this revelation, just pondering it. Wondering if this is the normal way of things for a mother of young children, or if the Lord is asking me to change things. Perhaps He wants me to drop out a few things and focus on attaining exellence in the others. I kind of hope not. I'm rather attached to all these things I do. Perhaps He is satisfied with his jane-of-all-trades-mistress-of-none and I needn't worry, but rather keep on paddling. I don't know. Not yet. Hopefully I'll find out soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ha

I added a new toy. Would you do me the honor of being my follower? :D

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Poopy-free for five, ten, fifteen... never mind.

Judah is sick, sick, sick. He hasn't eaten since Friday night and everything he drinks goes pretty much right through him. Pray if you think of him. We'll be calling the doctor if this keeps up for another day-- unless we see some serious indications of dehydration before then. He's still crying tears and peeing regularly, so we're just laying low and giving him lots of Pedialyte. If anyone has any home remedy suggestions, please, lay 'em on me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sofia Lynne

"Sofia" means "Wisdom"

"Lynne" means "Beautiful Woman"

"A Woman Who's Beauty is that of the Wisdom of Her Lord."

Proverbs 1:20-33
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Judah Eliot

"Judah" means "Praise"

"Eliot" means "The God of My Salvation"


"Praise Be to the God of My Salvation!"


Zechariah 2:10-12


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Monday, January 19, 2009

State of Emergency

(I hope Sue doesn't get mad that I've bent the rules a wee tad bit. I wrote this post as soon as I saw her announcement of this new meme and then I liked it sooo much that I just had to post it right away! But I did write it specifically for Very Funny Fridays on Navel Gazing... so that should cover me. I hope.)

Last weekend it got really cold here. Really Cold. For example, it was -5 degrees (yes, that's a minus sign) when we woke up to find (drumroll, please) that our pipes had frozen. Not burst, but frozen. Only a trickle of water came out of the most energetic faucet. J spent several hours crawling around under the house and we eventually got the water back.

But.

And herein lies the tragedy.

The shower has not recovered.

Sounds of weeping and sobs of anguish emerge from the internets to assault your ear.

It's been days since I had a shower. I've been taking regular baths, mind you, but no shower. Now, I don't know how many of you people reading this are moms, but those of you who are can agree with me on the significance of the roaring hot shower with full-on, conservation-be-damned water pressure to one's daily mood and coping abilities. Can I get an Amen? Thank you.

Now just imagine for a moment, if you will (but only a moment, I don't want any of you hyperventilating on my behalf), three days without a shower. Just baths. And I don't mean long luxurious, bubble/salts/fizzy-filled baths with books, poofy towels and soft music. I mean fill-it-up-quick-squat-in-swipe-at-legs-with-razor-(at least the parts that might show)-lather-rinse-repeat kind of bath.

*shudder*

I know. It's baaaad.

And it's made even worse when you consider my history of being raised in the middle of the God-forsaken-boondocks-back-of-nowhere in a house where hot water was a commodity traded amongst five siblings like gold, by parents for whom Water Conservation was second only to the Whole Wheat Flour in sacredity (yes, that's a word). And so baths were not even a fill-up-the-tub affair. We had one of those long rubber hoses that attach to the faucet and water trickles out of the sprayer (hah, that's a joke) thingy at the end. You just squat down in the cold, dry tub and huddle under the thin stream of lukewarm water until you can't take it any longer and call it a day. Hair washing was token, at best. I don't think I shaved past my knees more than once a week. I know, TMI. Sorry.

People of the internets, I tell you truthfully, I did not take a shower in my own house until I married my sweet, sweet J. Truth to tell, I may have married him simply to get my own bathroom with a real, live, showerhead in it. But don't tell him that. He still thinks I married him for his money.

Anyways.

My point is that with a background like that, sending me back to the dark days of no daily shower is like sending a reprieved man back to death row because of a technicality in his appeal (shut up, lawyer people, I know that's not Really Possible, I'm just making a point here). It's cruel and unusual punishment. It's practically water-boarding, only in reverse.

J says we can't afford to call a plumber since he'll probably want to rip out the whole darn thing before he'll even give us an estimate on what it will cost to fix it. I says, perfect time to remodel the bathroom, since we've been planning to do it for-like-ever. J says we don't have the money for that right now. I says, but I'm getting paid for the new semester in three short weeks. J says okay, we'll talk about once we have the money. I says, three weeks without a shower is gonna kill me dead. He laughs, pats me on the back and boots up the laptop.

Can a girl get some sympathy from her internets at least?

Marriage Book Review

I have a new review up at Inspired Bliss! This time I'm talking about one of my favorite marriage books. Jenny M. and Laurie B., in particular, be sure to go and add your voices to the acclaim for this great book!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The No-Cry Nap Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley (review)

Up until now my Baby Sleep Book of Choice has been Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr Marc Weisbluth. Those of you who know me and my path-to-achieve-sleeping-children may be surprised to hear that The No-Cry Nap Solution is now running neck and neck with HSHHC.

My basic judgment of a parenting/child raising book is based on the amount of information it brings to me. Good sound information that I can examine, ruminate over (I love that word, it sounds like a contented cow...) and then make my own decisions regarding implementation of a plan. I don't mind at all disagreeing with an author's basic premise or conclusions if s/he provides me with information that is sound and unbiased.

I believe that Elizabeth Pantley has done just that. Her book presents a wealth of information about the science of sleep. I would even go so far as to say that her book is even more in-depth in this area than HSHHC, although without being too technical for a sleep-deprived mother to understand (Dr Weisbluth tends to be a bit wordy and vague, IMO). This is by far the strongest point of the book.

I also appreciate the manner in which her advice is given. The book is a little like having about 700 girlfriends all sharing "what worked for me" in an easy-to-read format (and without having to pay for lunch or lattes). There's no specific agenda being forced on the reader, the suggestions are as varied as the children being written about. She addresses issues from "Cat-Nappers" to "Completely Refuses To Nap At All" and even has a section at the end dealing with true medical problems. Many of her suggestions are things I've tried and found successful with my own children.

However. I do part ways with Ms Pantley in both her premise and her conclusion First, the basic premise (to the best of my judgment from reading her website and this book) of her organization is that crying is something to be prevented in your child's life. I disagree. I don't like to hear my kids cry-- quite the contrary. But I do believe that sometimes it is simply an expression of a thwarted will. At other times and in other situations, I believe it does far more good for my child to leave him to deal with the cause of his distress and problem-solve on his own than to intervene and solve it for him. At still other times I believe that one child's particular wants ought to take second place to the general well-being of the household at large.

Since this premise rules out the possibility of allowing the child to Cry It Out (I'm betting most of you know what I mean by this), Ms Pantley has concluded that a parent's role therefore is to provide a child with the environment and aids that that particular child "needs" in order that the child get an adequate amount of sleep. I, on the other hand, think there is a third option (kind of a mixture of the two mentioned above) that will be better for the child in the end run. That is, to teach him to sleep in a fairly average environment, with a minimum of aids and special circumstances. I've done this in various ways that I won't get into atm. (But I'll post about it later if anyone's interested.)

That being said, I do think that there are times when the basic need for sleep in the short-term tends to cloud one's vision of the long-term goal of an independent and solid sleeper. That's where this book could be quite helpful and aside from those two disagreements I found the book to be informative, easy to read and full of useful tips and stories. I would recommend it to any new mom or mother of problem-sleepers with the caveat stated above.


And I'd slip them Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child a few months later when they've had a little more sleep ;)

A Tale of a Boy, a Book, and a Basketball

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Wanna-Be Gourmet Chef Nearly Burns House Down In Freak Naan Baking Incident

I know most of you know about my love/hate relationship with Naan. Tonight I decided to once again give it whirl.





(the flames were much higher when I first pulled it out of the oven-- I just didn't want to leave four-inch high fire in my kitchen while I ran for the camera)



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Now I officially don't care how much flack the local Indian place gives us when we order "just Naan? That's all? It really tastes much better with an entree. How about some Beef Keema?" I will just smile and nod and say it's a matter of the safety of my children.

It's just about the children.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year for school

I'm doing some cool stuff this year for school. I love new semesters! It's like getting a second chance :) For starters, in science we are doing some study of health/nutrition/body systems. I want to start formally teaching Sofi about healthy eating and exercise and why they are so important. Here's our first cool project; an Activities Wheel that we spin each morning to choose our exercise activity for the day. Judah helped hammer it into the door. One day I may be able to catch him on film do kicks, leg-lifts and side steps, with his hands on his hips as he "works out" along with us :)

From Blog 1-6-09


From Blog 1-6-09


From Blog 1-6-09

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Myth-- Busted!

Photographic proof that J does not leave the kitchen cleaner than I do after cooking the children pancakes, eggs and bacon while letting me sleep in.





I know, I know. Priorities. He's making breakfast, I'm sleeping... But people, it's a matter of principle here! My good name was besmirched! But it is now cleared. I can rest easy in my late-Saturday-morning-lazy-bed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

TGIF?

This morning it took me 45 min to eat my bowl of oatmeal. 45 min. And I don't even really like oatmeal that much.

Normally it takes me about 15 min to eat breakfast, but multiply that by a potty-training toddler, a husband rushing out the door late to work and a whiny anonymous other child who hates oatmeal as much as I do and you get a 45 min bowl of cereal. I microwaved it three times. I microwaved my coffee five times. I finally finished eating, standing up in the the kitchen, hiding out in the corner by the microwave, ignoring shouts of "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! Pooppotty???"

The kids I babysit will be here in 15 min. I haven't had a shower yet-- still in my pjs.

Anyone know where I can go to get a refund on a non-functioning Friday??

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Did I tell you?

I'm a "real" blogger now. I have been asked to review a book! Elizabeth Pantley, the author of the No-Cry Solution books emailed me and asked me to review her newest book, just out this month, The No-Cry Nap Solution. Of course I said yes! :) Very exciting. I haven't finished reading it yet, though, so come back in a few days to read the review. It seems good so far, any of you read her other books and liked/dis-liked them? There's one called The No-Cry Discipline Solution that I must admit makes me rather skeptical, but I will reserve judgment for now...

I'm doing some more painting these days... Or rather, I did some more painting yesterday. It's kind of weird to visit our house. Each time you're here some very small thing will likely have changed just ever-so-slightly, giving you the surreal feeling of actually living in a science experiment on brain activity and familiar surroundings, or something.

For instance. Yesterday I painted two doorways in our dining room. The baseboards are still blue (blech), the window is still blue, but the two doorways are now icy yellow.
(Yes, there is such a color as "icy yellow", and no it has nothing to do with a certain joke about blind men, snow and dogs.) Can you see how that might be a bit disorienting?

In the last three months (since Thanksgiving) our furniture has been rearranged three times. I'm not talking about shifting an occasional table a few inches, either, I'm talking major overhaul here. As in, whoah! when did that couch show up in the middle of the room facing in the opposite direction from last week? I think most of our friends probably have bruised shins.

Last week friends came over to find that about ten pictures that had been
leaning against the wall on top of my bookshelves (for years) were now actually hanging on the wall above the bookshelf. Aaack! Brrrr, creepy...

Sometimes in all the shifting interesting combinations of furniture and knick-knackery occur momentarily and then fade quietly away. I managed to capture one such elusive (not!) moment on camera recently:

From Blog 1-6-09

No, unfortunately you're not seeing things. That is indeed our networking/DSL equiptment sitting on top of our not-yet-hooked-up woodstove. And every single person who comes in makes a highly entertaining and original remark about you do know plastic is flameable, right? or, hope you don't forget to take that off before you light the fire!

Tomorrow I intend to scrape the yucky glue residue off the living room entryway floor. It's leftover from a carpet runner we sticky-taped to the floor. Let's see if I can get someone to stumble and fall when their feet unexpectedly
don't stick to the floor...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things.

It's kind of hard to get back into our schedule. I've gotten used to drifting from one task to the next and my psyche is currently resisting the return to a strict routine. So I've declared a Low Expectations Week around here. This entails a difficult shift in perception for me since I tend to weigh my value as a person based on how much I accomplish in a day. I know, talk about setting yourself up for failure! Especially with two kids...

But anyway. Basically, I'm trying to get one or two school subjects (primarily music) done each day. Try to be exercised and showered by the time the kids get up from naps. Try to have dinner ready and the house reasonably tidy by the time Jeremiah gets home. Like I said, low, low expectations.

I am still allowing myself to binge on projects, however. A carryover from the pre-Christmas frenzy to finish gifts in enough time to wrap them before Christmas morning. I'm on a bag kick right now. Check out these awesome patterns I found. I also bought this fabric, which arrived yesterday and was so inspiring that I promptly turned it into this last night before bed. (it's reversible!)

From Blog 1-6-09
From Blog 1-6-09


I think I'm actually going to keep it. It was going to be a gift for a friend, but... What can I say? I've fallen in love with it!


I'm still hoping to figure out what to do with my front door curtains before going back into full-time school.

From Blog 1-6-09


Yes, that's blue masking tape holding them up. I didn't want to do anything permanent until I decided exactly what I wanted to do with them. At least it matches the walls... I can't decide exactly what to do with it, but those pieces are hand embroidered by my great-grandmother, so they need to be on display

From Blog 1-6-09


And I finally framed and hung the print from our beach trip last summer. Isn't it cute??

From Blog 1-6-09


So all in all, it won't be a completely unproductive week, I guess. Perhaps my sense of self-worth will survive.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh well,

Now you all know I can't dance. Can't dance, but am willing to make a complete fool of myself in front of God and everybody to wish a family member a happy birthday. And who wouldn't want a friend like that?

Am I right? Am I right?

Yes, I am.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

From J: Happy Birthday, Mom








(J borrowing the blog tonight to wish his mom happy birthday)

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Forshey Rose Bowl 2009

(or why our children will never understand the game of football)


"Fvvveeetbaaaall???"



Judah packs quite a punch-- not even Daddy can withstand the force of his tackle!



He can throw, too! And Sofi demonstrates that she has fully inherited her mother's tactics for conflict avoidance.



So she just decides to invent a new game, more suited to her skills.





And then, of course, you have to come in after a while and warm up with some...

We love Kapla Blocks!

Sofi likes to build tall towers with them....




And Judah likes to knock them down!!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Baby Cage Match

It's the Fight of the Century, Ladies and Gents!!!



Two babies enter,



Only One baby will leave!!



Who will be crowned the new Baby Champion??!!



WATCH AND BE AMAZED!!!!!!!!!!