Back on track

We finally managed to emerge from the blanket of cold/croup/flu that had enveloped our house earlier this month. Then it was a week of mayhem - crazy stuff like things cell phones dying and things catching on fire! I feel like life with two little ones involves a lot of plate juggling and if everything goes well, I can keep them up but these past few weeks, my rhythm got off and one by one they started crashing down. And not just down on the ground but on top of me so that I was left crouching with my hands over my face trying not to get cut.

But last week was great. I got caught up on all the things that I had let slide earlier, we played outside, went to the local nature center to explore and hike, went to storytime, did lots of reading and playing and coloring together and even fitting in a few projects that have been sitting on my to-do list for a while. Of course, that still left little time for blogging but I'd much rather not be blogging because we are off "adventuring" than because I'm too busy wiping runny noses.

Speaking of our rhythm, Craig is back on night shift starting tonight so hopefully the transition goes well. Night shift is not all bad but the transition is. The kids and I do so much better with a routine but I tend to let it slide when Craig is home. So in anticipation of this I finally sat down and did something I'd been meaning to do for almost a year now - a written and visual daily rhythm chart. I'd been putting it off because I wanted to incorporate a weekly rhythm too and make each day be a different activity (Monday = baking, Tuesday = library, etc) but that doesn't really work with Craig's alternating schedules and I'd let perfection be the enemy of productivity for too long. When I finally let perfection go, this was so easy, only took a short amount of time to put together, and Lucy loves looking at it and telling me what's next.

I used watercolors on watercolor paper that I already had - Lucy helped but she worked with only two similar colors (blue and purple; red and orange) at a time so none of it turned out brown. The next day I cut it into strips and labeled them. Lucy decided what we pictures we should draw and I drew them - no making fun of my lack of drawing ability please. She helped me tape them to the side of our refrigerator cabinet.

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You probably can't read it but it goes:

Wake up
Table Time - Memory work including bible verses and house rules followed by one page of a Rod and Staff preschool workbook if she asks - and she always does
Get ready - get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, etc
Jojo naps/Lucy school or activity
Quiet play - I'm often putting down Jonah down for a nap slightly before Lucy
Quiet time - the preschool friendly name for naptime
Family play

So basically she eats, sleeps and plays all day. But even this much of a routine really helps me and I have a general plan for what I want to get done during each of her play times - the first I try and do some chores, the second and fourth play times should be outside if it is nice and I try to play with her some during the second time but quiet play is when I can read or relax without feeling bad about telling her she has to play on her own.

She really wanted to write one herself so I let her write the top and she "wrote" so carefully.  So cute! You probably can't tell but I think the first squiggly is a picture of her face followed by her version of a u, an L and a c. She has been trying to write her name a lot but doesn't want any help from me. Sometimes she asks for me to write it for her to copy but then she gets upset when I do and says she doesn't need it. That is life with Lucy right now - completely adorable and frustrating at the same time!

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I still want to add in a weekly chart and a weather component but baby steps!


And now for something different

I've seen this little meme pop up a couple places and thought it would be fun. I did notice a trend though, with one or two small exceptions everything on this list is something I first saw more than 10 years ago. I rarely watch movies these days. Dramas? Yes. Movies? No. 

Your favorite movie:
While You Were Sleeping. I remember watching that with my mom so many times and several quotes have become part of our family vernacular. 

The last movie you watched:
Breaking Dawn Part 2 - well, that's a bit embarssing :-)

Your favorite action/adventure movie:
The Matrix. I haven't seen it in ages but loved it in high school.

Your favorite horror movie:
I don't do horror movies - at all.

Your favorite drama movie:
Sense and Sensibility (or Pride and Prejudice if you let me count the BBC version as a movie not a mini-series)

Your favorite comedy movie:

A movie that makes you happy:
Return to Me

A movie that makes you sad:
Anne of Green Gables. I never can make it through Matthew's death without sobbing.

A movie that you know practically the whole script of: 
Much Ado about Nothing.

Your favorite director: 
I can't really name very many but I do like several of Nora Ephron's films.

Your favorite movie from your childhood:
The Secret Garden. I haven't seen it in years because I'm not sure if I would be as impresses now as I was back then and I don't want to ruin it.

Your favorite animated movie:
Toy Story

A movie that you used to hate but now love:
Not sure. Maybe I'm too stubborn to change my mind even when I should.

Your favorite quote from any movie:
Pretty much any of those random quotes from While You Were Sleeping: "Mary Mashed 'Em,"  "Argentina has good beef. Beef and Nazis" or "He's...leaning"

The first movie you saw in theaters:
Beauty and the Beast

The last movie you saw in theaters: 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The only time I've been to a theater since Lucy was born and it was the first time I left Lucy for more than 20 minutes or so. Worth it!

The best movie you saw during the last year:
I can't think of anything new that I've seen this past year other than Twilight. I don't watch many movies. If it was the best movie I've seen in the last year even though I've seen it many times before I'll say Sound of Music or Seven brides for seven brother because Lucy and I have enough both reletively recently.

A movie that disappointed you the most:
ET. My parents made us watch it because "it was amazing" and all us kids were quite underwhelmed. I think it was a "you had to be there" kinda of thing.

Your favorite actor(s): 
If we are talking movie actors (aka - non k-drama) I'd have to go with Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam. Staying true to my period piece first loves. Although I have to say that anytime I'm watching a movie and Steve Zahn appears, I get a bit giddy. He cracks me up. 

Your favorite actress(es):
Julie Andrews, Sandra Bullock or Emma Thompson (can I say that while I hardly even know what movies are in theaters these days, I'm kinda excited about Saving Mr. Banks)

The most overrated movie:
Any standard comedy. They aren't funny. I would ask when people will learn raunchy does not equal humor but I've lost hope they will.

The most underrated movie:
Can't think of one. Leave me a comment with your favorite so I can check it out and see if you're right.

Your favorite character from any movie:
Mr. Knightly from Emma. I named my cat after him. That's a pretty big deal.

Favorite documentary:
 Babies. So cute!

A movie that no one would expect you to love:
The Lethal Weapon Series. 

A movie that is a guilty pleasure:
Twilight series.  I know they aren't good but I can't not like them. 

Favorite classic movie:
I love old movies so this is hard but if you twist my arm I'll say An Affair to Remember.

Movie with the best soundtrack:
O Brother, Where Art Thou. I wasn't the biggest fan of that movie but the soundtrack is pretty different in a completely awesome way if I'm feeling folksy. Or Return to Me if I'm not. I'm always in the mood for some Frank. What was I thinking? Sound of Music, hands down.

A movie that changed your opinion about something:
Secretariat. I used to refuse to watch any movies starring or named after horses. This one wasn't bad. Maybe someday I'll get around to seeing Seabiscuit or National Velvet. Maybe.

Your least favorite movie:
Punch-Drunk Love. Worst movie ever! And I had to endure it with my high school boyfriend and his dad - soooo awkward for everyone. I know what happened, we all thought it was going to be like most adam sandler movies, which I wasn't a big fan of either but was willing to be selfless, but then it wasn't but no one wanted to say anything. And then it ended and we all sat there with more awkwardness until finally bf and I just got up and left the room and everyone could breathe a sign of relief. 

And that's a weird story to end this post with. Oh well, such is life :-)


I've got witnesses!

Another one I forgot! Geez, where is my brain? Wait, don't answer that. 

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Lucy and Jonah's relationship has been...interesting. On Jonah's side - it's all love. He just thinks she the best thing to watch and (try to) play with.

Lucy's not quite as consistent with her affection. And for the longest time if anyone asked her if she liked/loved her brother, she would say, matter of factual  "No, I don't. But maybe when I'm bigger I will." (I think that last statement comes from all our talks about how babies can't do much when they are born, but as they get bigger, they are more fun since you can play with them). Now, I wasn't going to force her to say she loves him, but I did always follow up with some preaching about how we still need to be nice/loving/gently with him no matter what we felt like.

She's only been downright hostile to him 2-3 times because our response was pretty swift. Luckily/unluckily depending on what type of parent you think I am, we did happen to capture one of those few moments on video.

But the last few weeks, she's actually wanted to hug him a few times - which we played up big time!

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And now that he is scooting and trying to play with her and her toys, I'm really pleasantly surprised at how patient she is with him. She's very gently tell him "no, no" and ask me to move him away or even bring one of his toys and try and distract him.

But still, she insisted she didn't love him. So when we had some friends over for dinner a couple days ago and someone asked her what she thought about Jonah, I was expecting the same  response she normally gives but she actually said "Yes, I do. I love him." It was so touching. At least until she continued..."But I still don't really like him. When he's bigger, I'll like him."

At least it's progress. I'll take it.


Girls and Boys

Ack! I thought I published this last month so the pictures are old, but better late than never?

My kids are so stereotypical it cracks me up. Lucy is a such a little mother.  She loves to take care of things, wrapping them in blankets, hugging them, reading to them. This makes sense when we are talking about her dolls or stuffed animals but she doesn't stop there. Laundry hampers, rolls of paper, stools, they all deserve love and affection in her eyes.

Here's a video of her hugging things after we were gone for a few days. Keep in mind that this is our dungeon-y basement so this is mostly stuff we've stuck down there for storage and not her most treasured possessions.

And here she is "reading" to our laundry hamper. I moved it in there while I was moping the bathroom floor but she wouldn't let me move it out for several hours lest it be lonely in the bathroom by itself. I finally convinced her that the woolies bin would keep it company and she gave in. Silly girl!

Jonah on the other hand is all boy. I fully expected him to love balls, cars and all things construction themed but I didn't expect it to be this early. 

When the cat's away the sisters asleep, the mice the baby will play and I let him choose whatever toys he wants. When given the chance he pretty much always goes over to her train set and picks out the trains and cars. It's not like can even make them move yet! He just knows he's a boy I guess. 

My sister's asleep...

so I get to play with her toys...

of course, I grabbed the things with wheels.

How do boys learn that so early?


Jonah @ 7 months

Dear Jonah,

You've had a rough month but still managed to learn a few new tricks amidst the cold and the croup.

You learned to crawl and are can get around really fast.

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 But now you prefer to be at least somewhat upright.

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You pull up on all sorts of things and can even climb up steps. Here's you trying to climb into the sandbox. You can get all the way up and reach the sand if you let your feet hang a bit.

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You trying to climb over/plow through a wall of blankets.

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You looking at some laundry...right before you tried to climb into the basket.

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You've begun to babble. I love it. It's always the same "adadada" but the inflections vary like you're having a real conversation with us - which of course you are! You've started working with foods but more for fun and chewing than swallowing. You're finding swallowing a bit difficult. You don't seem to care but the gagging is too much for mama's nerves.

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The one plus side to you being sick was that it slowed you down a bit and I got a little more cuddling from you than I normally do.

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I can normally only get you to cuddle when we nurse. Here you are sharing your fingers with me. You really like to make sure I have something to suck on too. You're very insistent at times.

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You are normally such a happy guy that at first it was a challenge to keep you happy when you don't feel good but between the three of us, we've found a few ways. You love peek-a-boo, especially with Lucy. You love "this little piggie" and being tickled (although not so much by Lucy, her tickles tend to get a bit scratchy). But you love taking baths in the big tub with her - and all the new toys you have access to. But of course, no bath is complete until you try to climb out.

You really love to explore (and climb!) outside. So far this month you've eaten several dandelions, a leaf and two chunks of dirt. Between those things and your cold, you should have a great immune system!

You're such a boy and I love you!


Where is that imaginative and helpful red head when you need her?

Apparently we like to share in this house, especially when it comes to germs. I managed to get by with just a half day of feeling blah but everyone else has been fighting a nasty cold all week. Jojo has been hit the worst with his evolving into croup.

We've never dealt with croup before and I'm not really a fan. Lots of steamy showers and front porch pacing have helped but it is hard to watch your little guy struggle. He just want to lie down, nurse and fall asleep but when he tries, he starts to hyperventilate. I thought we were doing better for a few days but last night it came back with a vengeance. Poor baby. That's all for now, be back soon. I hope.


Mammology for Minis

Our local area has a lot of neat, often free, activities and I'm really excited now that Lucy is getting old enough for us to take advantage of them. Two weeks ago we went to a "Mammology for Mini's" class.  Technically it was for 3-6 year olds but they didn't ask for ID so we snuck in :-)

It was really impressed by it. It started with circle time where she talked about the traits mammals have, showed different pictures of mammals and let the kids touch some furs.

Then we went for a hike. Of course, it had snowed two days before so the hike was not as long as it might have been but we did see some deer tracks.

Next up was station time. One station had pictures to color and animal and track stamps.
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Another was sand and life size tracks. Lucy didn't want to do it herself but she picked out a track for Daddy.
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My favorite was the animal pelts. We felt them and looked at the matching picture. This one was the beaver and we could feel how thick it was to keep the beaver warm in the cold water.

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Opposums. Fascinating but ugly. Our state's department of Conservation puts out a kid's magazine and last month's was all about opposums so I feel like I know all about them know. Then to top off our opposum experience, Craig just discovered that our compost pile invader is a opposum. I'm not sure if I like that because it means we are helping out a poor pitiful creature or if I'm grossed out because we are feeding what is basically a giant marsupial rat. Perhaps I'll just try not to think about it at all.

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Fox. Very pretty and I do believe Lucy's favorite.

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Bear. But not Winnie-the-Pooh.

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A skeleton. She said she thought it looked like a horse but we found out it was a fox.

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The last station (which was actually the first she did, but my pictures are not in order and I'm too lazy to mess with them :-) was probably her favorite. She sorted through a bin of animal puppets, dividing them into mammals and not mammals.

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I was pretty impressed by the program and by how much she retained. They really only stressed a few points but repeated them several times in different ways and between those and the hands-on portions, she knows a lot about mammals and loves to talk about them now!


Charlotte Mason was a genius.

I normally write my posts a week or two in advance. Now that Jonah is so very very mobile, I can't turn my back for a second let alone sit in the living room while he's playing and try to write something.
You may have noticed that my editing is getting worse and worse. And now it's official, I'm out of pre-written posts. So for the foreseeable future, all writings are going to be "live." It reminds me of certain k-dramas where you can tell that they didn't pre-record enough episodes. The editing gets a bit rough, they throw in more flashbacks and in really bad cases, the actors start to get bags under their eyes. Well, I've got bags under my eyes!

He's already crawled over to a door, put his fingers in the hinge side and pushed it closed with his other hand all in the matter of seconds.

 And now that this is happening, the injuries have increased.

I have to be within a few feet of him because who knows when he'll let go and face plant. At one point this morning, he had three red spots on his face - from three different bumps/falls. Luckily, it's spring time so after about 10 times through the fall/cry/comfort/put down/repeat cycle this morning plus a tantrum (because that walker wagon used to be MINE!), I packed us all up and we went outside.

I've tried to make outdoor time a priority before but Mason's recommendations of 4-6 hrs a day always seemed like overkill. 1-2 was as much as I could do and that was on a really good day

. But today, we were outside for over 5 hours. And it was great! We ate lunch and dinner outside, only coming in for a nap and to grab some laundry to take out to hang on the line. We played in the sandbox, blew bubbles, read poems, did some pretending (Lucy - she was a lion), ate some grass (Jojo) and did not pick up a single toy (mama!). There are a lot less pull-up possibilities which makes watching Jojo much much easier. He eventually figured out I was the best climbing choice. That's not too bad since it keeps him close but most of the time he was happily crawling around me while Lucy was running around the yard doing her own thing which means I could actually sit and relax.

Another benefit, we picked up before we went out and since we weren't inside, the house stayed clean so even though I didn't do anything other than dishes and laundry, I don't feel like a slacker. I'm not sure if we'll manage 5 hours every day but I'll certainly try.


3 years of Matzah




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Other families take pictures in front of the christmas tree each year, or on the porch the first day of school, apparently I take pictures of us making Matzah. It wasn't really intentionally but now I guess it will have to be.
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And these are the last Easter pictures, I promise. Lucy's basket contained a few items to help us with our nature walks - binoculars and a bug viewing kit. We explained that the binoculars were for viewing things from far away and the kit was for magnifying things up close. So she found a rock, put in on the floor and backed waaaayyy up to look through her binoculars :-)

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And Jonah's gift, a big box of Duplo, was very intentionally for two reasons. 1) We needed more Duplo so it was a good excuse and 2) Lucy is pretty good about sharing most of the time. I don't make her share special toys nor does she have to take turns in most situations. Whoever has it, can play with it until he/she is done. But she knows that it is okay to take something he isn't supposed to have away (like her coloring book) and give him something different (one of his toys) instead. Slowly that's lead to her taking anything he had that she wanted (fun Duplo toy) and giving him something lame (burp rag) in return. But now, some of the Duplo are hers and some are his and we all share them together.  If she fusses about his using hers, they she has to give back any that might be his...insert evil parental laugh. Please tell me I'm not the only who plots against their child, right?

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