They things they say

Me: Don't put your trains on Norah's head. She doesn't like it.
Jonah: But Norah Jane rhymes with train!
Me: That is true. But you still can't run them on her head.

Watching the Olympics gets more fun as the kids get older...

Lucy: Who is this?
Craig: USA vs. Canada.
Lucy: Oh, so do we hate the Canadas?

Lucy: If there is no USA in a race,  I vote for England because they are the closest to us from in the past, you know, back then we were like them before we fought them.

Jonah: Yay! He knocked down the stick.
Me: Well, in this jump they are trying to NOT knock down the stick.
Jonah: Oh, he's not gonna win then.

Lucy: Are you sure they are running? I think the camera is just moving.
Me: I'm pretty sure they are running fast.
Lucy: Hmm, I'm not so sure.

Jonah, playing trains and peg dolls. Screech! Screech! Ahh!
Me: Can you be a bit quieter? Norah's sleeping and even if she wasn't, that screeching noise isn't very pleasant to my ears.
Jonah: Okay. 
Jonah, as a peg doll: Oh, you like your daddy better than your mommy? Me too!

Hmm, passive-aggressive doll play. How lovely! At least it isn't a  tantrum.

Lucy has been requesting a lot of Scottish folk songs lately, mostly Peter Hollen's Loch Lomond but sometimes The Parting Glass (or maybe that's actually Irish? Don't tell her if it is) and the Brave soundtrack. So when I spotted Celtic Woman at the library I was pretty sure she'd like it. At first she was skeptical because I told her they were Irish and "Well, that's not exactly the same as Scottish mom and I really like Scottish songs the best" but I told her to give it a chance. I turn it on and look back at her and her eyes are wide open before she asked "Can we buy this so we can have it and listen to it all the time and never have to give it back! Like a hundred times!" The cd I got came with a dvd show as well so I thought I'd save that for a "We finished exam week!" treat.

We've all been enjoying Peter Hollen's work, mostly just listening on spotify but during our weekly tea time I'll let them watch some on youtube as well. Jonah's tastes are not quite as refined; his favorite song is Still Alive. I do find it ironic that my screen limited child's favorite request is a youtube star's cover of a video game theme song. He doesn't even know what a video game is! But cake throwing is always fun and the song is quite catchy.


Mother's Daybook - August 18th

Recovering - From camping. Despite our last trip not going so well, we tried again. Apparently we have bad luck because the weather this time was not great either. This particular campsite fills fast so we had to book it way in advance and didn't really have an option to reschedule so we just went for it and figured it we had to leave again, it wouldn't be the end of the world. And there was a bit of rain, some thunder before we even added in the kid's and their vomiting, fever and blood to the mix. But despite it all, we had a fun evening and a good morning playing in the shut-ins. We did did have to go home early because of Jonah's fever and worsening weather but that ended up being good because by that evening, we all realized that something had attacked us the night before. I think it might have been chiggers. The boys got it the worst and we currently have bug bite lotions and potions on every flat surface of this house, or at least it seems that way. So I'm not sure it was a overwhelming success but we survived and made a few good memories.

Reading - All the light and fluffy! I'd been working on Villette for quite a while and finally finished it last week. I was slow to warm up to it but by the end I was very much immersed in the story. And then it ended. The way it ended. I'll try not to spoil it but it was intense. I'm still not over it.  I needed something on the more frivolous end of the scale so I went with Mary Rinehart's The Window at the White Cat. It's one of those good clean cozy mysteries that just hit the spot.  And while I try not to read two books by the same author in a row, I think I'll break that rule (okay, I break it a lot, but I still try to mix things up) and go with The Amazing Interlude. At least until I'm ready to enter back into some of my deeper fiction reads. I've also just started Minds More Awake for a little Charlotte Mason inspiration as we plug away on school. I'm only a few chapters in but so far its been very inspiring. I'm really enjoying how her style is casual and conversational yet she's talking about some big ideas. Perfect for when you need a bit of a pick me up for back-to-school time without a huge brain workout.

Rejoicing - In all the emptiness that back to school brings. Should I feel guilty saying that? But it's so nice to go to parks and play places and not have it be crowded. We went to a creek to play two weeks ago and the parking lot was full and there were kids everywhere. Today we meet some fellow homeschoolers for more creek fun, albeit at a different one but actually closer to the city so more likely to be crowded, and this was the sight that awaited us. Ah, bliss!

The kid's played and then they discovered these big chunks of clay so they all gathered together to dig it up and play in it. The kids didn't all know each other and mine especially are on the shy side but this really brought them all together and it was super cute. We brought some home to play with but now I've got to go research clay because they have all sorts of questions about where it came from and what it is made from. I think it will keep our outdoor time fun (and messy) for the next little while.


First Day of School - Kinda

As I said, we've been doing school most of the summer and today wasn't very different from last week but Lucy was still really excited to be in First Grade! And Jonah was surprisingly happy about "moving up" to Pre-K. He talked about it all day.

We started the day with cinnamon rolls and piles of new school supplies. Lucy was most excited about finally getting a real nature journal and not just paper on a clipboard. First grade is the real deal!

Then we need to some pictures to document. The rain meant we didn't get the best pictures but they'll do.

Norah was too fast. Too fast to be in the pictures, at least facing the camera. Too fast for me to keep her out of them. Cropping to the rescue.

Then it was mostly business as usual but we did get to put our maps and copywork into brand new kitty and puppy folders. Very exciting! Now I'm just trying to figure out how this happened so fast.


10 months!

Dear Norah,

10 months and a toddler in actions and attitude if not in age. You are walking up a storm. Of course, we spent a week at grandma and grandpa's where you teased them by taking one step at a time but no more. Then we came home and daddy got ready for his trip. I just knew you would walk as soon as he left and yep - he left Sunday night and Monday morning you took a good 5-6 steps. I tried all week to get a good video for him but no luck. You little stinker!

But now you are walking all over the place. Even carrying things. And being super proud of yourself. You are also proud of yourself for climbing and getting into trouble. We've  been busy baby proofing cabinets. It' harder to baby proof the trampoline and bay window you love to climb on top of but you know how to get down again so all is well. And you have figured out how to pull out the potty stool and climb on top of the toilet. Lucky we haven't had any issues of toilet seats being left up and bathroom doors being left open at the wrong times. But I have my eye on you! You've started playing hard too. And making big messes. Dirt, sand, mud, water. It's all good to you.

We've done a bit of bedtime adjusting and that's going well. You enjoy the new routine of bath and lotion and stories up until the point where you remember that the next step is supposed to be sleep. Then you start to protest  but two yawns and four minutes of vocal protests later (not crying, just singing and animated "talking" which clearly means "Put me down, you're making me sleepy! It's only 6:30! I want to play"), and you decide that you won't mind lying down and going to sleep after all.

If you combine the teeth you have with the ones Lucy has lost, you'd have one full set!

You started this month with your third tooth just poking through and now have seven so we haven't has a month of great sleep but you make up for your bad sleeping with great traveling. Trips here and there and such a happy baby in the car. You just love to go places and see things.

Speaking of talking, you've added some nice sounds to your vocabulary.  Nothing that consistently means anything but that hasn't stopped me and daddy from prompting you "say mama, MAma" or "DaDa!DADA!" You seem to think this is quite funny as you look at us while pointing at daddy and saying mama or pointing at a random toy and saying dada.

Other things you love - Pat the Bunny, my phone, beans and ground beef (but no other meat), taking books off shelves and most of all playing with the big kids. In fact, one of the few times you are really unhappy is when you get left behind. But that's not too often because they love you too - as long as you aren't eating their legos.


Mother's Daybook - August 5

Waiting - For Craig to come home! He's been away on a business trip since Sunday but by the time you are reading this, he should be a on a plane. I told the kids that they probably wouldn't see him until the morning because I don't trust flights to be on time when little hearts are depending on them but secretly I'm hoping he will make it in time to tuck them in. It's been a good but looonnngg week. We've all missed him. Lucy's been super emotional, Jonah just gets crazy and with the heat and bugs, we've had to stay inside so by bedtime with no outlet and no dad to even climb on in the evenings, his energy has been exploded out of him. My biggest worry about this week is how Norah is used to daddy walking her to sleep and highly preferred him to me at bedtime. That part has actually gone pretty well. But I'm still ready for him to come home.

Excited - For the Olympics! I dragged up the tv from the basement yesterday. The afternoon ended up being a bit of a "If you give a mouse a cookie" situation with me rearranging things and decluttering and going crazy. But in the end, only a few stuffed animals paid the price (Seriously. A pox on your house if you try and give us another stuffed animal!) and now the tv is here and ready for all the sports to begin. And completely coincidentally we read The Beginning of the Armadillo today from The Just So Stories and the accompanying poem "Roll down to Rio" so we looked up Brazil and Rio and the Amazon River on our map. I also grabbed The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales from Around the World from our library's free giveaway shelf a few months ago and noticed it had a Brazilian story so we'll read that during our tea time in preparation for the opening ceremony tonight. We had a small miscommunication that led a certain child to think we were actually attending the Olympics so today's tea time might be a little more elaborate than normal in order to appease those disappointments but nothing a few coconut energy balls can't fix.

Drinking - All the tea, all the time. Yes, I know. August is a weird time to increase your hot beverage intake but my mil gave us a keurig while we were visiting (or maybe Craig found one in the basement and begged for it. Same difference :-). He's not an everyday coffee drinker but he does like it occasionally. I think coffee is gross so I was kinda meh about it thinking it would just take up space on our counter. But I actually really like the hot water feature. It shouldn't make that much of a difference because it's not really hard to put my kettle on the stove and turn on the burner but this is easier and new and fun so it's been happening a lot. And after braving Target back to school shopping with all three, I treated myself to a box of chai lattes. Once Craig's home I'll start saving them for when I have a special mommy pick-me up but I've been savoring one a day while Craig's gone. Because any day that I'm on mommy duty from 5am to 8pm with a couple night nursings added in is a special mommy moment kinda day. (Oh, didn't I mention. Norah's new daddy-less bedtime routine is working great and she's going to bed really easily at a early time and sleeping pretty well - she's just getting up at 5am all rested and energetic and ready to play with me! It's delightful!).

Preparing - For back to school! Now, we did't really take the summer off, just the month of May and a few weeks here and there while we traveled. And we are smack dab in the middle of a term. I was planning on waiting until we finished that term and took a few weeks off for local adventures (nature center trips! Botanical garden! Art museum if I'm really brave? Uhm, we shall see) and then move kids up to their new grades and have a fun back to school day when we restarted. But that probably won't be until the end of September and this is the first year that Lucy has noticed that everyone else is getting ready to go to "real building school" so we might have our first day earlier. It will be at the beginning of a random week of school but that's okay I guess. Pictures and new school supplies are fun no matter when they happen. The majority of Lucy's friends are homeschooled too and I don't think she thinks she's missing out but every once in a while she'll stop and ask me "If I was in real building school, would I still be working? Or would I be home playing yet?" which always makes me laugh. It's like she's just checking in to make sure this homeschool thing is still working for her.

Organizing - As I said above, all I had to do was bring the tv up. But once I got out the duster to dust it off, I dusted everything and then suddenly I was crazy mommy. I guess Lucy isn't the only one having those the back to school, start everything fresh desires. I loved the Konmari book but the one part I have to laugh at is her idea that "tidying" is a one time thing. Not if you have kids. I'm like the little boy with his finger in the dam. Maintence isn't throwing away socks when they get holes and calling it good. Maintence is taking all the puzzles out of the puzzle cabinet and spending over an hour putting them back where they go and getting rid of the ones that have lost pieces and putting up the ones that the big kids have outgrown but the littlest isn't ready for so that Jonah doesn't melt into a pile of preschool joy when he tries to get a puzzle out and they all fall on him. It's a big process. And it never stops. I I did stop, I'm pretty sure my house would explode within the year. Yesterday I gathered all the sticks and rocks from the places Jonah likes to store them and had him take a whole bin outside. I should have counted but it was probably close to 50 items - and that doesn't even count the "extra special pretty ones" that are still on our nature table. At least he has a good supply for the pretend restaurant they have out back now.

But this time is a bit different. I seem to be more into visually decluttering. The baskets and decor items on the piano weren't really in the way or bothering anyone but now that they are gone, my eyes feel better. Same with the large plant in the corner of the kitchen (also, it's now in a place where the baby can't play in it's dirt as easily). And I feel better. I just realized I did a bit decluttering last year when Craig was gone. Perhaps it isn't the nesting instinct that spurs this on, maybe it's just Craig being gone. I don't know but he's probably happy he missed it.

Watching - Bible shows. Well, what did you think the kids were doing while I was decluttering? Actually, it was the other way around. I bribed encouraged the kids to play with Norah while I exercised by saying that afterwards they could watch a show. I recently remembered that I have access to RightNow Media and it has tons of veggie tales and other bible shows. We tried both What's in the Bible and VeggieTales last year and neither kid was a fan. Which made me sad because I am. But I thought we could try again and this time Lucy got it and thought it was hilarious (and Jonah likes whatever she likes) and having them occupied meant I was free to get things accomplished. She liked What's in the Bible best and has already asked to watch the second and both kids thought Josh and the Big Wall was delightful.

They also know that when Daddy is gone that if they are ready for bed when I came back from putting Norah to sleep, we can watch a show together and we are working our way through Edwardian Farm. It's a different kind of excitement than Bible stories told with vegetables and slushies but nevertheless we were all quite on the edge of our seats that first episode to see if Peter and Alex's attempt to turn limestone into quick lime for their fields was going to work or if their 18 hours of shoveling was for not - and I'm not gonna tell you what happened. If you want to know, you're just gonna have to watch it yourself.