My little "laura"

Lucy has been obsessed with "Laura and Mary" for well over a year now. I've only read her the first four books (on purpose, we own them all but I'm saving them since Laura ages with the books) but we've read those four several times and she's listened the Little House on the Prairie on audio book several times as well. So much of her pretend play involves Laura.

Sadly, I had never made her a prairie girl dress up outfit. I meant to but I wanted to "do it right" and had put it off. But last week I got an email about her upcoming American Heritage Girl mother daughter tea party. There was going to be a fashion show and the girls could dress up in one of several themes. Of course, Lucy picked her favorite book character - the one and only Laura Ingalls!

But I only had 8 days to put together a costume. And I'm having a Hashimoto's flair up which not only leaves me with little energy, but also joint pain, mostly in my wrists and elbows. I could only sew about 10 minutes before it was too painful too continue. Ack! There was no way I could pull off the authentic costume of my dreams. So, in true basement style, I compromised. We ran to the fabric store and got this sorta -calico fabric. Not totally traditional but at least a floral. I used this very simple (and free!) peasant dress pattern I'd used before (for her Laura pajamas!) and completely improvised an apron. We borrowed the bonnet from a friend but I will be making/buying one for her in the future.

And while it may not be the costume of my dreams, it is the costume of hers. And I think she's adorable in it too :-)

Tea party is about to begin. Lucy and "Charlotte" are excited!

On the cat walk

My sad attempt at a selfie

 A better shot with some help from a fellow mom


Back to the Classics Challenge: Persuasion

Ah, Persuasion. The under-appreciated Austen novel. Which is kind of ironic considering how Anne is the under-appreciated heroine in this book. But I really do like both Anne and the novel even if I forget it sometimes. I knew I read Persuasion in high school and when I made my list of books for the Classics Challenge, I was thinking I hadn't read it since but I recently realized I read through all of them back when Lucy was first born. And then of course I had to watch all the movies. That's really the big "problem" I have with Jane Austen. I can't seem to just read or watch one of her stories without going on to read them all. The struggle is real.

But every time I read this one, it grows on me more. First of all, I love Anne. If I had to describe myself as Jane Austen character, I probably would still say Elinor (which is the real reason why Lucy's middle name is Elinor. Yes, spelled like that!) but I could easily say Anne too. They are actually quite similar in character and personality I think, just different in circumstances because while Elinor is different from her mother and sister, she still has a good relationship with them and while they may not understand her, they do understand that they need her. But Anne, she's all alone. But she's so good. What else is good about Persuasion. Well, uhm, let's see - The Letter. And yes, I think it really needs to be capitalized like that. I'm not really normally a big "Romantic moment" type gal, more of an appreciate the everyday sort. But even I swoon at The Letter. It just can't be helped.

I also appreciate that it seems to be less about outside circumstances and more about our two main characters thoughts. Now, I say "seems" because I think you could make the case otherwise and there are some things that need to line up, like a certain other couple falling in love, but unlike other Austen works where I might be actually wondering how things would align so my characters could be happy at the end, in this, for the most part, we're just waiting for our main couple to figure things out. But I love how we get to watch that unfold. Add in the idea of regrets and living with past decisions, right or wrong they might have been or seemed at the time you made them, and this really is a book that ages well with a person. Those are things that are just easier to relate to the more you experience life.

Or maybe that's not it at all. Maybe it just seems fresher because I haven't read it as much as Austen's other works. Actually, I think that's my big problem with Jane Austen. I've read them all already. Oh Jane. You were gone too soon.

Persuasion was my Re-read a Classic from School selection. Head over to Books and Chocolate for more reviews!


Things I love: My Bullet Journal

I've talked about my bullet journal in passing before but it really deserves its own post. This won't be a How to make a Bullet Journal 101 post, there are tons of those around, including what I think is the original here.

This is the first year since college that I've been able to really keep a calendar/to-do organizational system going. And since I got my first smart phone around this time last year, you might think it would be related to that, but no, this thing is all paper. And I like it that way. I won't say I don't love and use my phone and its apps because I do, more than I wish to admit. But for organizing, I've determined that I need paper and pen.

In college, I used the free calendar the student rec center gave out for my calendar along with lots of random papers for my to-do lists and a mental log of where all those papers were and anything else that I hadn't written down. I'm not sure why the student gym handed out calendars but I liked theirs a lot and it was free so it worked. Then I graduated and dropped the calendar and stuck with the random paper method. Not the best idea. Add in a bit of mommy brain and I was in trouble. But I couldn't keep a system going. I tried! I did. And I'm such an organizational junkie when it comes to other things that it drove me nuts not to have a system.

Cue clouds opening and heavenly angel music, enter the bullet journal. This system is genius and it exactly what I need. And the proof is that I started December 2014 and am still using it!

It sits right here most of the time, on the far edge of my kitchen island. If it isn't there, in my purse or in my hand, I'm in trouble.

I've tweaked it a bit but it is still pretty simple. The only thing I really do differently than the video is that I use these plastic tabs to mark my most used pages. They come off the page without tearing the paper and I've used the same three all year (they are made of stiff plastic). One stays at my outdoor log so I can update it weekly and the other two move to be on the current month and daily spots. I've just added a few new ones too but I'm still deciding if they are helpful or overkill.

I keep everything in here. My written plan for AO Y1. But I actually did a some very messy pre-planning for AO Year 1 on scratch paper and then when I had a better sense of what I wanted, I wrote it here as a reference. The bullet journal does a great job of lessing my ridiculous "fear of messing it up" but it can't remove it entirely I guess. Most of my pages are NOT this neat!

 A list of what meals I have in the freezer.

My monthly spread. I know some people need the visual blocks for days but I love love love the list format!

As you can tell, mine is also pretty boring. I love looking at the colorful ones on pinterest and instagram and have tried to incorporate at least a colorful ink but it's never gonna be artwork and it doesn't have lots of inspirational quotes or fun doodles in it. That's just not how I write but it works for me. And I no longer show up to things on the wrong week or write down a really complete list and then have to bang my head on the wall when I lose it.

BuJu Inspirational links:

My current Bullet Journal, a large red hardcover squared moleskin. My brother got me this for Christmas last year (Thanks Ben!) and I've still only used about half of it. It's working great and I really have no complaints but I like to mix things up so when I do eventually need another one, I might try this dotted version  or even a Leuchtturm (page numbers already added!). I know what you're thinking. Wow, MacKenzie, using dotted paper instead of grid, that's living on the wild side! But yes, yes, I just might.

Here are some fun hacks if you like incorporating pretty stuff. Or just like looking at and dreaming of the pretty stuff.

And here are some pretty pen quivers. I'm way to cheap to spend $30 on something that holds a pen but there are lots of tutorials out there to add a pen holder with duct tape or even a button (I think that's my favorite). I really should do that.


Enemy of the Good

Ah, the basement. The never ending project, am I right? I mean, I mention our work on it one to two times a year. But this time, I won't be talking about our working on it. I'll be talking about our not working on it. Because, here's the thing. I've got a list of the things that need to happen. And once they do, I envision it being a fairly decent space. I've got a vision. But...

Life. It's so daily. And I came to realize two things. 1) As much as I would love a pretty space, it can't be a priority right now in terms of time. And money, but mostly time. 2) I wasn't quite sure how it would be used. We didn't use it because it wasn't set up but it wasn't set up because I was waiting until we finished some of the updates but I wasn't finishing the updates because (in addition to a low amount of free time), I wasn't sure how we would use it!

So Christmas day, I made Craig come down there with me and we just set it up in the way I thought would work best. We didn't buy presents for each other so I called this my present - just in case you are wondering how I convinced my husband to spend Christmas day moving storage totes and mopping. It didn't hurt that the kids got a fun tumbling mat as a present and we needed a space to set it up.

And now, they love it! They play down there a ton. Our living room has always been our playroom and I'm relaxed about messes but I do insist that things get picked up daily. But in the basement, they can set up elaborate stores that sell books and fruit and princess dresses. Or arrange big cardboard boxes into pirate ships on an ocean. And it can stay there for days, I don't care. It's still pretty ugly.

Okay, really ugly! I'm almost embarrassed to post these pictures. But if you remember the befores, we are making progress. Albeit very very slow progress.

But when Lucy and Jonah wake up at 6:30 and go play down there together and let Norah and I sleep in another thirty minutes to an hour, I have to say, the ugly seems a small price to pay. 


Back to the Classics Challenge: The Woman in White

First one down! I choose The Woman in White for my Classic Detective Novel Selection. This was probably the classic I was most anxious to start and I did as soon as the clock struck midnight. Yes, I was literally reading this at 12:30 am Jan 1, 2016! I love the mystery genre and had been wanting to read it for a while. Collins did not disappoint. This is right up there with The Moonstone.

In terms of mystery, it isn't quite as strong as The Moonstone. I really had no idea how that one would play out until the very end. But there was a lot to love in this one too - the characters for starters. And the differing viewpoints. Multiple narrators is a technique I often shudder at because its so often done just to provide information for the reader that would be impossible otherwise. And if you're not going to do it right, just let your main narrator overhear a conversation or find a page of a diary or something, please. But here, while we do get different information from each viewpoint we also, and I'd say even more importantly, we really get a feel for each character. Each section is clearly marked with who is doing the writing but I honestly think you could easily figure who was narrating even if someone went through and marked it out with a sharpie. I'm not sure who would do such a thing, maybe a little brother, but my point is, each character is fully fleshed out from our loving and loyal hero to the gullible housekeeper and even the narcissistic uncle, whose nerves would rival even Mrs. Bennet's.

And when I compared the mystery aspect to The Moonstone, I didn't mean to imply it wasn't good. It isn't quite the quintessential mystery that The Moonstone is, which makes sense seeing as this was writing first and The Moonstone is considered to be the first detective novel in the English language. Even so, it's obvious Collins was getting ready to create that genre. Our main character Hartright does a pretty admirable job in his role as amateur detective and this book contains more sleuthing than some stories with a professional often do. I mean, he actually goes places and looks for information!

If I had one negative to say, its that he made my favorite female character Marian, really ugly. Why? I mean, she doesn't have to be drop dead gorgeous but must she be repulsive? Either way, she's a great character. A great character for a great book. I feel like I'm gushing but considering I read this 800 page (or so? I read it on a kindle so I'm not quite sure but its long) book in about 5 days, the numbers gush for themselves. And now that I've read several of his works, I can be confident in saying Wilkie Collins is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

For more about the Back to the Classics Challenge, head over to Books and Chocolate. It's a great place to find great old books to read! 


Year 1 begins!

Lucy and all her Year 1 books (except those that I only have on the kindle)

We started Ambleside Online Year 1 last week. I'm only planning on us doing four days of school a week so I'm treating each week as a unit so I don't feel behind when we are on week 5 six or seven weeks from now. We are almost done with "Unit" two and still have yet to have a bad day. I know we'll have one eventually, but getting through even a whole week without one is certainly nice, let alone two. I'm sure part of it was getting back into a regular routine again after the holidays but I think at least as much of that was just that Lucy's mind was needing this extra work. She was ready for some deeper ideas to think on. 

The kids and their handicraft for this semester - paper folding!

Lucy's doing great with narrating although I knew she'd have a natural bent for it. She's even been disappointed once or twice when I told her that was all the books for the day. "No more narration?! Not even a little bit?" We've been able to keep it at an hour or less (excepting piano and reading aloud practice which we do later on) which left us plenty of time for free play. And even with a yucky day or two, weather wise, we still managed to get outside for over 6 hours each week. I'd say we are off to a strong start. A few memories I want to save:
  • After several really good narrations, we did have one "Uhm, I don't really know what's happening" response after we read a portion of the Sword of Damocles. I tried not to panic and told her to think and she what she could remember. Then I bit my tongue and waited patiently until she eventually she came up with a one sentence narration. But that night when I asked her if she wanted to tell her dad about what she did in school, she had a whole bunch to say about that very same story!
  • I loved the morals she came up with at the end of our first Aesop Fable, the Wolf and the Kid. She said the lesson for the wolf was that he shouldn't have been distracted, which is pretty close to the original of "Do not let anything turn you from your purpose" (and I hadn't read the original to her yet) and she said the lesson for the Kid was to "listen to your mom!" which is, again, quite true :-)
  • We listened to Vivaldi on our way to and from tumbling class. It's a cd of the four seasons and every time the music changed, Lucy would ask, "Is it still spring? Is it summer now? When is winter?"
  • We had a late start one morning. Except it wasn't really a late start. Lucy saw a bird at our new window bird feeder. We got out the binoculars and I showed her how to use our field guide. I'm not sure we correctly identified it but it was a good morning. And eventually we did get to the schoolish part. We had to cut math a bit because we had plans for later that morning but nobody felt rushed and it was well worth the detour. 
  • Tea time this week was actually hot chocolate and popcorn. We're now joining the AO picture study rotation whereas before I was selecting artists that I think are especially young children friendly. I was a bit nervous but no need. Both kids liked Belasarius begging for Alms. I wasn't planning on explaining it but we were unsure which person was Belsarius was so I pulled up the extra description AO linked to and summarized it. Once I did, both Lucy and I made the connection back to...The Sword of Damocles! We talked a bit about how power can be dangerous. It was a very cool mommy daughter moment and I can't wait to have more. 
  • Since Lucy's getting all these new books, I went ahead and decided to let Jonah start MEP Reception. He loves it and at our last midwife appointment, had to tell her all about what's he's doing. 

  • While hiking, Lucy found some sort of pod that looked like a little canoe and yelled, "It's paddle to the sea!" Then she started worrying about how the boy is going to get the boat back at the end of the story if it really does start flowing down when the snow melts. I've never read the story but I'm guessing he doesn't. Hope she's ready for that when the time comes. Luckily, we have a while!
  • We watched a free kid's knife class (the one from Real Kids Cook Food, only available until Jan 18th!) and then practiced. That night, Jonah and Lucy helped me make breakfast for dinner. I tried to be very hands off and between the two of them, they did almost all of the pancakes and fruit salad, even flipping the pancakes! I realized I had been holding them at a lower level of skills out of habit but they were ready for more and when I gave them the opportunity, they did great! 

I got a request for a little more information about AO Year 1. The original booklist can be found at the wonderful ambleside online site. I am so grateful for all the work these woman have put into planning this curriculm and offering it to anyone for free! 

I'm still working out whether I prefer hardcopies or kindle (if I have the option). For this first year, free reads excluded, the only ones I think I had to purchase were the James Harriot book, the three D'Aulaire books, Paddle to the Sea and the A.A. Milne and Gyo Fukikawa poetry books. I was able to get all but the D'Aulaire books used for very inexpensive (less than $4 each) and I manged to get all the D'Aulaire books for Year 1 and 2 on sale a few months ago

I also choose to get physical copies of Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry book, the Aesop for Children, and Just So Stories when better world books was having a sale and again, I bought used hardcovers for less than a new paperback would have been. And we already owned not just one but two versions of Lamb's Shakespeare so we are certainly set on the Shakespeare front!

I'm still not sure how the e-book versus physical book comparison will go, at least right now while I am the one doing the reading. Right now we are doing school inside at the table but in the spring I'd like to get back to outside schooling so the e-books may win on the front but for now we are enjoying the hard copies. Either way, Ambleside Online is a great deal. I don't consider cost to be the number one priority for picking a curriculum but I certainly won't complain about the low cost either!


Norah Jane @ 3 months

Dear Norah Jane,

You are three months old! 

And quite a chunker at 14 lbs. I think at least a pound of that is in your cheeks.

While Lucy and Jonah both got a couple nicknames right off the bat, you're still mostly just Norah or Norah Jane. I like to include your middle name (which I never did with Lucy or Jonah oddly enough) and I think its catching on with your brother and sister. You do sometimes get called the baby or baby girl but "Norah bora" or "Norah bora bora bora- doo-lah" (taken from an Alfie and Annie Rose picture book) make an appearance from time to time too. 

You have learned to roll over front to back this month, just five days after you turned 2 months old actually. You still can roll that way but you don't very much now that you've got even more head control and can stop yourself and when you do end up rolling, you often get mad. Your like a stuck turtle fussing to be rolled back over. You don't mind lying on your back when placed gently there but you love tummy time! Especially when you are next to Jonah and Lucy and can see all the fun stuff happening. You also like sitting up on my lap to watch and now that I don't have to worry about helping your head, this is fun for everyone.

That is one of the few times you fuss though. You have started to get a short fussy period in the evening after dinner until about 7:30ish. You just want to make sure you get your fair share of attention during the bedtime rush but by 8pm, you're content again. This is one of my favorite times of the day because you normally just hang out on the bed with me while I'm reading. You like to chat a bit and then when you're about to fall asleep, I tuck you into bed and get to watch you watch me while your blinks get longer and longer and eventually, you're out. You are my easiest baby to put to sleep, whether its naps or bedtime. Probably because you love to sleep.

 You like falling to sleep and you like being asleep and get annoyed when, as often happens when you are kid #3, you get woken up. You can sleep through most noises (you've had lots of practice!) so its normally when we have to go somewhere or are out and about and I can tell you just want to be left alone in a nice warm bed. We are homebodies most of the time though so its all good. Right now you are giving me a good 6-7 hours stretch every night followed which is amazing!

You've starting giggling but I have to work hard to make you. Daddy has also heard you once during bathtime (which you love, especially when you kick the water and make it splash!) but nobody else, probably because I don't normally sing and dance crazy when other people are around. No belly laughs yet. But smiles are a lot easier to come by now. We do this thing where we just look at each other and then I slowly start to smile and then you start too, just a little smirk at first and then it grows into a fully body smile for you. I love it!

I'm mad

 I'd still say you spend most of your time just content though. You're an expert and happily hanging out.

Hanging out watching the trains
Hanging out and learning about traditions

Hanging out at the park

I need to grab some board books for you because I've noticed that when you are laying next to me while I read to the big kids, you are really paying attention to my voice. You also perk up when you hear the kids enter the room. They both like you a lot but Jonah is especially enamored. You're just his favorite thing:

Look, he's even learning how to "hug" gently. 

Okay, we still have some work to do. But no babies were harmed in the taking of this picture. You didn't even get upset.

In fact, I'd say you were everyone's favorite baby around here. 


How to be a Hipster Baby Without even Trying

Hi, it's me Norah. I'm filling in for my mom while she's busying getting back into the swing of things now that the holidays are over. While I've got an audience, I thought I'd talk a bit about how I am able to maintain my hipster baby status. I know the title says "without even trying" but of course what I really mean is how to look like you aren't trying. Because being a hipster is quite a bit of work but trying, well, that's not hipsterish at all.

Watch your background. 

As a baby, its likely that you'll either be in someone's arms or on the floor a large amount of the time. Being held is nice and comfy and I know we are young and vulnerable so its allowable. It's not always cool but it infinitely preferable to being in a swing or bouncy seat. I love my swing as much a the next baby, but its just screams "big box store" so keep it out of the images, okay. The best way to present yourself is on the floor, preferable a hardwood floor. Carpet is not a good idea. If you don't have a hardwood floor, have your parents carry some laminate or even a few pieces of wood image scrapbook paper. Be creative! Now, since hardwood isn't very soft, you'll also need a rug. Handknit wool blankets or cow rugs are suitable choices.  Personally, I love my Ikea sheepskin and take it with me wherever I go. It's one of the few Ikea items I will accept in my life.

Under normal circumstances, Ikea should only be used in an ironic fashion and that's quite hard to pull off so I don't recommend it. Parents seem to love Ikea and the Trofast may have a lot to offer in terms of storage but try to convince them that wooden crates, artfully arrange in a perfectly assymetical pattern on the wall are the superior choice for toy storage.

Use Your Head

Here we have to work within the limits of biology but you still have lots of good options, especially as an older baby that actually has hair. For young hipster ladies, you're aiming for that windblow hair look. Don't try to actually use wind but have your parent arrange your hair so it looks messy and imperfect. Boys should try for a little man look. Undercuts work well as do manbuns once you start to get close to the toddler years. If you're really lucky, in both the amount of hair you were born with and its texture you can try the bedhead look. I don't have much to work with which in some ways makes things easier but I still have to be careful what accessories I allow. Slouchy beanies have been a go-to choice for the hipster baby but you have to make sure the get enough slouchy or you'll look like you just rolled out the hospital. Also, keep on eye on the trends because they seem to be getting close to being too popular. Fedoras, Trapper Hats for the boys and skillfully tied bandanas or turbans and gnomes hats for girls are other choices. And you can't go wrong with a good (organic wool) balaclava.

The pacifier

Now this is a touchy subject but I feel like I have to address it. It used to be that a hipster baby could get away with the mustache paci but no longer. Sadly, its gone mainstream. Now if you really must have a pacifer, and I know some babies like the comfort it offers, a natural rubber one like the natursutten is your best bet. And if you don't like them, feel free to skip altogether. But if you are really aiming high, you should have your parents get you a natursutten and then refuse to use it. Just calmly spit it out and leave it nearby to give you that "I could use a synthetic free italian made pacifier if I choose, but I don't need it, I'm that cool" look. That's what I did and its served me well. And if any of your older siblings seem to forget that they didn't like a pacifier either, just appease them. Take it for a second and then when the look away, spit it out again. Don't worry, they are just three. It's a phase.

I didn't choose the binky free life, the binky free life choose me. 

Well, that's all for this time as its about naptime. (And fyi, naps, as long as they are taken in tula or linen ring sling or on a organic mattress covered in neutral colored bedding, are a great hipster baby activity) I hope this has been helpful and remember, you're only a baby once!

The orange color is borderline but sometimes you just can't help it.


Things I love: My life

Getting back in the habit of blogging consistently has been a bit harder than I expected. I thought perhaps a weekly feature type post would help me out since it 1) forces me to write at least once a week instead of writing several posts in a burst of writing energy and then stop while I spread out the posting and 2) narrow down the topics so I don't freeze at all my options and pick none of them.

But what to write about? How about things I love? I love a lot of things - people, places, things, ideas. Lots of options but still somewhat focused. And if I was the type of person to be able to pick one word for the year, I might select gratitude this year. I can't actually do that because it's only the 9th day of the year and I've already thought "Hmm, that would make a good word for my year" at least 10 times. I'm just not that single minded. But if I had to pick my top ten words, gratitude would make the list. I'm pretty sure. And what better way to cultivate and share that than to write about all the things I love.

My first choice is related to the beginning of the year - my life! Now I promise that not all of my writings on this topic will be so narcissistic but its been on my brain with all the resolution type posts floating around the blog world. I realized when I was thinking about resolutions that I didn't need any huge groundbreaking resolutions. My life is pretty good how it is. Not perfect but really really good. I have restarted my bullet journal habit tracker to make sure my priorities stay prioritized. Hmm, maybe priorities should be my word of the year. (See, its a sickness!)

But anyway, I'm not resolving, just monitoring. I'm still reading, both my bible and other books. I'm still trying to get outside with kids a lot. Still trying to take the same vitamins I did last year. And tracking it all in my Bullet Journal (And now I think I'm going to have write about my Bullet Journal because yes, I do LOOOVVVEE it.)

And there are some things I'd love to add to my life but I know now is not the time. Exercise would be nice. But its tricky with my hashimotos (I have to be careful with cardio and I'm about to change meds so I don't want to add any new variables to the mix during that process) and the baby means trip to the gym are hard and honestly, I don't want to make it a priority right now so I try to spend a good portion of our outside time at least walking around and I'm okay if that's as good as it gets. Perhaps I could dress better but let's wait a few months till my weight stops changing and then I'll think about that. Until then, my one pair of jeans, one skirt and two pairs of sweat pants that fit are just fine, thanks. But losing weight isn't on my list either, I've got a handy fat sucking cutie-pie of a 3 month old on hand for that.

Not that I, or my life is perfect. But the things that need work aren't exactly things I can resolve to do. Well, I can, but I don't think the result would be any different if I didn't make a resolution. Things involving patience and parenting and praying. And some things that don't even begin with the letter p, like serving and listening. You know, all that refining by God stuff. The impossible to do on my own stuff.

But that's another part of my life that I like. God loves me, even being how I am. I don't have to sit here with my knees tucked in, rocking back and forth because of my sins and defects. But he's not content to let me stay there. So I have faith that those things, resolutions or not, will be worked on this year. Just not by me. And that's pretty awesome too. Awesome in a scary way? Yes. Awesome in a wonderful way? Yes to that too.


The things they say

Jonah: Look mom! If I need to wipe my nose, I don't have to go get a Kleenex, I can just use this (wipes nose on arm)

Watching While You Were Sleeping with the kids in the room. Lucy actually watched it, Jonah did not, except for one scene. I bet you can guess which one it is.

Jonah: I am not wearing black underwear! I am not wearing black underwear! That's true (pulls down pants), my undies have puppies on them.

Lucy: Lucy?
Craig: Yes, her name is Lucy.
Me: Its even Lucy Elinor
Lucy: Lucy Elinor? Like me?!
What are the odds ;-)

Jonah's starting calling Norah Jane "little one". I love it!

Jonah: Hi, my little one. Are you having fun with your little brother?
Me: But Jonah,  you're her big brother.
Jonah: Oh yeah! Hi my little one, are you having fun with your big brother?

Me: Time for thank you notes!
Lucy: I am going to draw a picture of my scooter and say thank you for my scooter, I love how it is pink because that is my favorite color.
Jonah: I am going to draw a picture of a rhino and say I love rhinos.
Lucy: But nobody got you a rhino.
Jonah: So?
Lucy: You're supposed to write about things to be thankful for them.
Jonah: Oh, but I want to draw a rhino.

Norah smiles a bunch. I grab my phone and try to get a picture. She stops smiling. I put the phone down, she stars again.
Me: You little stinker. Oh well, you're my stinker so that's okay.
Jonah: She's my stinker too!
Lucy: And mine! Not just yours mom!
Jonah: Yeah, she's everyone's stinker!


Moving on up

Lucy had another visit from the tooth fairy a few days ago.

This was the first tooth that fell out on its own, the natural, growing bigger way. There was still a bit of drama involved but much less mom guilt. And it reminded me of something I had read years back - the big six year old developmental shift.

For those of you that have been with me a while, you know I love to read about parenting and educational philosophies - Waldorf, Montessori, we are all old friends. And while my heart and mind have firmly settled in the Charlotte Mason camp, I still like to glean wisdom from wherever I find it.

One of the commonalities is that they all seem to think some major changes happen around six. I know that but for some reason, I was segmenting that idea into "educational/homeschool" section of my brain and not thinking about its implications for my regular parenting. But the wiggly tooth brought it back to my mind. Waldorf seems to be the one that emphasizes the physical changes the most and we are there with that. The tooth lost is just a part of it. Her whole face has lost that baby look quite recently. I've been sorting through pictures for our 2015 scrapbook and the ones from even a few months ago make her look like such a baby compared to now. So physically, she's moving from little girl to not so little girl.

I'm also seeing a shift in her recently with discipline and emotions and how she processes and thinks about things including where I, the mom, fit into all that. If it wasn't so exhausting, it would be fascinating. Actually, it is fascinating. There are some really awesome aspects of this change if I can take the time to focus on those. But that's hard right now. I won't go into details for her privacy sake but we've had some good highs and lots of lows lately and I'm often left pulling my hair out and then praying my heart out (I probably should flip that order and maybe I wouldn't have to resort to the hair pulling but I'm a work in progress too).

Talking to other moms of girls her age and reading things like this and this make me feel a lot better. She's not quite six but tends to hit these developmental stages at the early side (I'd say her "terrible twos" were from 2-2.5ish while Jonah's began this fall right before he turned three and ended, well, they haven't, we are firmly in temper tantrum territory. But why he thinks standing and screaming with his arms flailing around in the air will get him what he wants when that method has worked exactly 0% of the time is a story for another day). They remind me that no, she hasn't gone insane. She's just changing. The scary part is that I, and my parenting, have to change with her. We're reaching a new stage. I need to get back to praying because we've got a fun year up ahead but I think its gonna take a lot of patience and a good dose of the Holy Spirit to get through it!