Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2000's

Has it really been a decade since everyone was freaked out about all the computers crashing when the clock struck midnight and 1999 ended?

It doesn't seem possible, and yet . . . has it only been 10 years?

I don't have time for a long, sentimental post (aren't you glad?), so here, in bullet points, are some of my highlights of the last 10 years:

  • 10 years ago I'd either just started, or was getting ready to start a "new" job, leaving auditing behind and changing to a non-travel job that revolved around budgets and internal reporting.
  • We sold our townhouse and moved farther from work into a more family-friendly house.
  • We started our family
  • When I was 20 weeks pregnant we discovered that we were adding, not 1, but TWO babies to our family (grandparents were excited, I was SCARED . . . LOL)
  • Two perfect baby girls joined our family
  • I quit my "real job" to become a full-time Mommy (best career move EVAR!!!)
  • was started & I was asked to be a moderator, good
  • Rodney changed jobs, shortening his commute but lengthening his work-hours
  • I started LaRee's Candles (which I'd still like to re-open, maybe someday . . . )
  • I became active in the DC-area babywearing group, what a great resource for new moms to be able to get hands-on help figuring out the sometimes confusing, mostly online, world of baby carriers!
  • We survived the first 2 years with twins, and all the logistical challenges those first 2 years entailed . . .
  • I started running natural/family product co-ops to provide better prices for me and others. Lots of work, but a great way to get great products on a budget!
  • Rodney changed jobs again.
  • We moved to PA (smaller house, MUCH bigger yard, close to Rodney's work, farther from family . . . trade-offs, but overall a good move for us)
  • Added Little Bit to our family.
  • 3 trips to Disney World, Sea World, etc
  • Countless trips to Sesame Place
  • Motorhome trip to National Park sites with Mama & Papa
  • Several (4 or 5?) trips to Indiana to visit the great-grandparents
  • Camping (in the motorhome) on Asseteague Island (really need to do this again!)
  • Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown . . .
  • We've averaged a new zoo every year . . . 6 zoos that I remember, the big girls are 6 years old
  • COSI science museum
  • Our diet has more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, made from scatch items . . . 10 years ago I'd never heard of raw milk.
I'm sure I'm forgetting millions of other "memorable" moments (oh yeah, I started this blog!) but that's at least some highlights from the last 10 years. God is good!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food Reaction

Not a very interesting entry, but I want to make sure I have this documented since I'm bad at remembering things.

Monday evening Little Bit had a very runny poopy diaper, and was acting like she didn't feel good, more cuddly, fell asleep on my lap after she'd had a good afternoon nap . . . woke up and promptly threw up all over herself & me. Thankfully Daddy was home to help me get cleaned up enough to go up and get in the shower with Little Bit. Once we were both clean again, she nursed to sleep, slept awhile, and was acting better when she woke up, so I set her down to play. She did her normal "busy stuff", crawling around picking things up, examining them, moving on to other things, it's SO cute, she's very busy . . . after a little while she came back over to me & stood up on my leg like she normally does if she wants to nurse. But before I could pick her up, she threw up all over my leg. Cleaned up again. This time as I was cleaning her up, I noticed she had some hives on her stomach. She nursed/slept again, woke up, threw up again . . . now the hives pretty much covered her from the middle of her abdomen to her knees. She nursed back to sleep & nursed/slept the rest of the night (we put towels under her in case she threw up again, but she didn't. She slept "normally" and when she woke up in the morning the hives were gone.

No fever. So all things considered, I'm pretty sure it was a reaction to something she ate. My best guess is the tomatoes that were in the guacamole. She's had avocado several times and it's generally not an allergy risk. Tomatoes aren't common as a true allergen but, like citrus fruits, the acidity can cause a reaction in babies/young toddlers.

So, that was our excitement for the week. She has been acting perfectly fine ever since. I did get some children's benadryl to have on hand in case we have another incident, had it when the big girls started solids and never used it, finally threw it out when we moved (when they were 5!). Didn't think to get more when we started Little Bit on solids, so of course, we needed it . . . now that I have it, I'm hopeful that "Murphy's law" will kick in and we'll never need it again LOL.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

I'll post pictures if/when I get them from my dad &/or SIL our camera memory was full & I couldn't find the cord to download the pictures this morning, so other than a couple last night, we didn't get any (bad parents), but anyway . . .

We had a good Christmas this year. Christmas Eve I wasn't feeling good, so didn't get the cleaning and cooking prep work done that I'd planned, but Daddy helped the girls finish making the woven foam placemats they wanted to make, and we took cookies to the neighbors, though only 2 of the 5 were home, so we'll have to deliver the rest after Christmas. The big girls are old enough to have figured out patterns/traditions and so they were telling our neighbor, Judy, that they "always get Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve" so I had to mess with them abit, and told them "I didn't buy any Christmas pajamas this year" the girls weren't sure whether to believe me or not LOL. But when we got home and they got their Christmas eve presents, they were VERY excited to find that instead of pajamas from Mommy & Daddy they'd gotten Christmas NIGHTGOWNS from Mama & Papa. My mom made nightgowns for all 3 girls, SOO cute!!! And the big girls were very excited, I'm not a fan of chemical-treated polyester, so they've never had nightgowns, just the snug-fitting cotton pajamas that don't have to be treated with the flame retardant stuff. As has been her custom, A2 wore hers all day Christmas LOL. She tried to convince me that she should wear it to church Sabbath too, but mean Mommy vetoed that idea LOL.

Their other Christmas Eve presents were a Christmas veggie tale video (that we haven't had time to watch yet, should be a good CALM thing to do on the rainy Sabbath afternoon we're predicted to have this weekend) and the book The Three Gifts of Christmas we read the book, and then we did the Christmas Eve reading from the Advent Bible Study we've been doing. The big girls decided to explain each of the candles to Daddy and generally "teach" Daddy what they've been learning, it took a LONG time, but was great to hear what they had learned/remembered from it all, a very nice way to spend the evening. Before bed we quickly made our monkey bread so it could raise overnight and be ready for breakfast.

Christmas was chaotic as usual. Little Bit napped through the first part of the chaos, which was probably just as well. The big girls actually got tired of presents and wanted to sing Christmas carols, but couldn't get people to participate very well, so that didn't work as well as it could have (if I'd known ahead of time I could have had some Christmas music they could have used, but all my Christmas cds were out in the car, and I was busy with Little Bit and trying to keep trash picked up enough that she didn't eat anything she shouldn't LOL). We opened presents, have a huge meal (mostly brought by everyone else, I even flaked on the casserole I'd planned to make & just pulled a Vegetable lasagna out of the freezer instead), and that pretty much took all day.

Little Bit couldn't have cared less about unwrapping HER presents, but kept trying to get into everything else, silly kid. Once they were unwrapped she liked some of her new toys though.

The big girls got lots of books, some games, art supplies (even GLITTER, which is very exciting because Mommy's not a big fan of glitter, thanks Uncle Dan LOL), some Littlest Pet Shop stuff, and I'm sure things I'm forgetting.

This evening, we tried out one of their new games. It's a cooperative game, all about herbal remedies. One thing I wish is that it told HOW to use the herbs, even if it was just a separate booklet, would be great, I told the girls we'll play it during Little Bit's naps sometimes and look up on the computer how to use some of the remedies so we can learn that too, but still a great way to learn what some common medicinal herbs look like & what they are used for. And the girls seemed to enjoy the game.

Now we need to get back to "normal life" LOL.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This Week

We've had a quieter week this week. I was sick on Monday and the girls have had colds to varying extents all week, so we're taking it easy and staying close to home for the most part.

I had bookclub on Tuesday night, so Daddy took A1 & A2 to Chuck E Cheese, apparently they had a good time & won lots of tickets with which they purchased "cheap plastic junk" and candy LOL.

We're continuing to enjoy our Advent Bible Study, the girls enjoy getting to mark their Bibles.

We also started a lapbook on anger. We're alternating it with other "fun" crafts during Little Bit's naps, so haven't gotten very far, but the girls, especially A2 are WANTING to learn more about what the Bible says about anger and how to control it, so I'm happy to let it move at their pace :o)

We thought we were going to be able to go with Daddy to Pittsburgh this weekend, so in preparation for that, during craft time, we made travel tic-tac-toe sets, then a change in Daddy's schedule made it not work for us to go along, which is probably just as well, A1 wouldn't have felt up to the trip today anyway, not sure about Little Bit either, she's happy for the most part, but congested, and has periods of fussiness, I assume because she can't breath well. Anyway, the girls had fun making the tic-tac-toe sets and now we have them for when we DO get to travel with Daddy.

Since we weren't going to be able to go with Daddy, I told the girls we could stay for potluck dinner after church, and the girls helped Daddy make brownies yesterday afternoon to take to potluck (along w/ a raw veggie platter, I figured if I was going to take 3 kids to potluck on my own, I better take things that didn't require any prepwork once we got there LOL. I got my Christmas present early this year, a Kitchenaid Mixer, that I ordered from amazon a couple weeks ago. It got here a week or more ago, but we hadn't found time to use it with all the sickness and such, so, dh volunteered to make the brownies so he could try the mixer LOL. Unfortunately, A1 was feeling worse this morning, and stayed home sleeping most of the day. Daddy took A2 to Sabbath School, but then had to bring her home so he could leave for Pittsburgh without us. A2 was soo disappointed to miss potluck. Even the "consolation" of getting more brownies this way didn't really cheer her up, poor thing. We've spent a lazy afternoon watching Bible videos and such. A1 seems to be feeling a little better, she complained of being hungry, and ate some cream of wheat and "ants on a log" and sat up to do a word search and such for awhile.

This afternoon A2 was bored with just watching tv. But fussy, congested baby & still not feeling real good A1, and REALLY cold outside didn't leave us alot of options. I had a brainstorm & pulled out a tub of pattern blocks. I got the pattern blocks way back when we decided to homeschool, and did some simple patterns with them at that point, but then they got set aside and we haven't used them in forever. She had alot of fun with them! We have a smaller magnetic set as well, so I think I'm going to go through the pattern books/sheets that we have and determine which of the patterns will work w/ the small, magnetic set, and then we'll take those along on trips.

And that's where things are at here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Homeschooling in December

We're mixing things up abit this month on the school-front. I gave the girls the option of taking a break from Polished Cornerstones and doing Christmas-themed Bible studies instead, and they opted for Christmas-themed. So we are using an Advent Family Bible Study that I had in my files. The girls are enjoying marking the verses in their Bibles and learning more about the prophesies and such surrounding Jesus' birth.

We've also decided to take a few weeks off from Prairie Primer and concentrate on reading Christmas stories together instead.

We're also putting a "Christmas" slant to our nature time. So far all we've done is gone on a nature walk around the property where we live (Thursday morning was absolutely BEAUTIFUL weather for it, unseasonably warm and sunny) and collected a variety of evergreen branches and other things to decorate our Advent candles. I think as we move into a new week we'll study evergreen trees and if time allows, other typical "Christmas" plants and such.

We're continuing to use Little Bit's morning naptime for crafts and such, and the girls have already made bead napkin rings that we can use for Christmas dinner, as well as wrapping up some odds and ends of crafts we'd started earlier.

Our Christmas decorating is rather non-traditional with the pink & purple trees (did I mention those yet? That's what happens when A1 and Daddy go Christmas tree shopping, sigh . . . ) but we put one in each of the front living room windows and the girls went through the ornaments and chose select ones and they don't look TOO horrible, and having them up in the window sills puts them out of Little Bit's reach.

As we go into this next week we'll also start getting ready for our first trip with Daddy for his job. It'll be a quick trip, but will give us a chance to try out taking our "school on the road". Since we've already been using spiral notebooks for copywork, etc, I think we'll consolidate each girl's spiral notebooks into a 3-ring binder, along with a "pencil case" that fits into the binder and will hold, not only pencils, but scissors, tape, glue, etc for any crafts we want to do while we're gone. They also already have travel lap desks that have markers, colored pencils, and a white board w/ dry erase markers, so those will go with us as well. So that should complete the girls' "travel school" kits, that we can grab and go as needed. Each trip will mean I'll need to plan ahead & print off, photocopy whatever we'll need for those days, but not having to pull the girls' stuff together will make things much easier, and teach them responsibility at the same time.

Thanksgiving and such . . .

These last couple weeks have been way too busy for my liking. What WAS I thinking having a December wedding 12 years ago? Maybe I need to talk to dh about changing our anniversary to July LOL. Anyway . . . first we'll talk about Thanksgiving . . .

We had a relaxed Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Lots of yummy food (we celebrated Dad's birthday (belated) while we were there too, with his (and my) favorite meal, a German/Russian dish my Great Grandmother used to make, called Cheese Dumplings), the girls did lots of bike riding on my parents' relatively flat slab and driveway (our driveway & the private road we live on is so steep that it's hard for them to do any biking here) A1 has been hesitant about riding her bike down the slight hills on my grandparents' driveway in the past, but she got over it this trip and had great fun riding back and forth between my parents' house and my grandparents'.

The big girls had been planning for a month or more a "Thanksgiving Party" during our craft time they had made placemats for everyone, baskets to hold the napkins and salt shakers, and had also made pilgrim bonnets and Indian head-dresses. They put on a "play", planned games, and gave a "speech" after dinner. Grandpa got quite a kick out of A1's phonetic spelling on the program she handed out, but it was pretty good for doing it all on her own, if you ask me. If I can figure out where her "speech" ended up, I'll post it here, it's quite cute, if I do say so myself.

When we'd been there a couple weeks earlier, Mom had taught A2 to sew buttons on, and gave her a small scrap of fabric to make a "quilt" for her doll, Sarah. A2 sewed several buttons on the fabric in an "M" pattern (not sure why) and then hand-stitched ribbon around the outside. It turned out pretty cute, and she was very proud of her handiwork.

The girls and I also visited some friends from when we lived in MD. The big girls had great fun playing with their friends while I got to visit with Laura and meet new baby Kristofer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Update on Our EC Journey

As you may remember, we're practicing part-time elimination communication with Little Bit. For the most part that's meant we offer the potty when we change diapers, or if it's been awhile and she's still dry. But as she's gotten older we've made some changes, so I thought I'd update:

Nighttime: I had no plans to do nighttime EC, quite frankly, I like my sleep! BUT . . . she had other ideas. She started getting really restless during certain times of the night. At first I thought she was objecting to a wet diaper, so I pulled out the Fuzzi Bunz we used for the girls (that have a fleece inner layer that keeps baby from feeling wet) and even tried disposables at night, but neither seemed to make any difference, so I concluded that it was NEEDING to pee that was disturbing her (and therefore my) sleep. BUT she's always objected strongly to being pottied at night. After some trial and error, here's what I figured out that's working quite well . . . instead of a regular cloth diaper & cover, I just put her in a prefold held on with a prefold belt. Then I put a wool pad down under her. I made wool pads buy getting wool sweaters from Goodwill, washing them in hot water & drying them in the dryer (to "felt" them), then cutting a sweater into one long flat pad (cut the arms off, cut ONE side seam) then I put it in a king-size pillowcase so it's not scratchy. And I got a couple inexpensive fleece baby blankets & put one on top of her. Both wool and fleece work to keep any accidents from getting on the bed or blankets. I also have a felted wool blanket on the bed as a mattress pad, but by laying her on the wool pad I don't have to change the sheets if she pees, just change the pillowcase on the wool pad.

So . . . when she gets restless at night I sit up in bed, put a plastic bowl between my legs (I tailor sit, and have a bowl just the right size to fit between my legs), then I pull the front of the prefold out of the belt, and lay her in my lap w/ her butt in the bowl & the prefold behind her, then I latch her on & let her nurse while she pees. When she's done I set the bowl aside where it won't get spilled, tuck the front of the prefold back into the prefold belt, and lay back down all while she keeps on nursing. It only takes a couple minutes, because I can do it all WHILE she's nursing she never fully wakes up or cries, and once she's peed she's able to nurse back to sleep, whew!

So that was our unintentional journey into nighttime EC.

Now for daytime, honestly how many catches we have comes down to how much attention *I* am paying, although we also have "off" days where she objects to being pottied, only to pee 2 minutes later, but oh well . . .I've found that now that she's mobile, diapers are nearly impossible to put on her. She USUALLY poops in the potty, and if she does poop in a diaper, it's solid enough to be easy to dump into the potty (and she often does it standing up which means it's not all smeared around if I catch her right away). So . . . we've moved almost exclusively to training pants! I'd gotten some Gerber 2t ones and they're a little big, but work ok. I often will use the prefold belt to add just a little extra "security" around the top waistband. I found they aren't quite absorbent enough, but I have some thin doublers I'd gotten earlier which lay nicely into the trainer and make it just the amount of absorbency we need. Then, when I went to the Amish store near us to get more doublers I found that they have Gerber trainers in size 18mo which fit even better, so I got some of them too! At home I generally keep her in just a trainer/doubler (and am working on sewing the doublers into the trainers, just attached in front, so they'll dry faster when I hang them dry) when we go out, I often have a better rate of "catches" than here at home because I offer anytime we're at the car, but if we're going to be somewhere where other people might be holding her I usually put a wool pull-on cover over the trainer so that it's water proof.

I'm starting to notice a certain face she makes sometimes when she needs to potty, and sometimes she "grunts" like she would WHILE pooping, before she poops, so I can put her on the potty and then she'll poop, so I think we're getting closer to her consistently telling me when she needs to potty instead of relying on timing like I've done up until now. I'm hopeful that we'll get to a point where she makes a sound/face/sign that is easily recognizable so that the big girls, dh, etc will also be able to tell when she needs to potty. But for now, we go through 6-8 trainers a day, plus 1-2 prefolds at night, and she's definitely maintaining an awareness of her elimination which will hopefully mean easy/early "potty training".

And Now to Catch-up

Let's see . . . last weekend we ended up going to my parents. It was a last minute decision, we decided Tues night or Wed morning (don't remember which) to go down there on Thurs. So took some rearranging of our week, but we managed.

The one downside, the big girls had been doing REALLY well at doing their chores without reminders and somehow the trip seems to have messed that up, we've struggled with chores again this week, sigh. But such is life.

My aunt and uncle, and cousin were visiting, which is why we decided to go so close to Thanksgiving. The girls were beyond thrilled to get to see Cousin Dennis! They hadn't seen him since the weekend after Little Bit was born.

.sarvcravcxtvvvvvvvf, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The above is brought to you courtesy of Little Bit, I walked away from the computer for a minute and she decided she had something to say, hee hee.

What else have we been up to?

L has decided that she wants to be called by her full name instead of the nickname we've used since she was born. Which means she is no longer an "L" but now another "A". So, I guess to honor her request, even in cyberland, we will now call L "A1" and A "A2". Or at least I'll try to remember.

We've been busy doing Thanksgiving-y crafts and regular school stuff and playing outside as much as we can while the weather remains so lovely . . .

I was asked to be on the newly formed Investment Committee for the PA Conf of SDA (where hubby works) and the first meeting was last Wed. My plan was just to bring the kids along and the big girls could play in Daddy's office, or the yard outside Daddy's office, or talk to various people at the office while I was in the meeting. But the receptionist/secretary has a daughter a little older than A1 & A2, and she was leaving before I'd be done the meeting, so offered to take them home with her to play with her daughter. A was nervous about it, but agreed, and they had a blast, didn't want to leave when I came to pick them up LOL. Little Bit spent the meeting napping or crawling around under our feet (yes, I warned them before I agreed to be on the committee that baby comes where I go LOL).

In other "we're getting more independent" news, after Sabbath School this week the big girls asked Daddy "where did you go during class?" he said "I went to a grown-up class, you don't need me in here anymore" and they just said "ok" and that was that, so guess they're ok with that now too . . .

Little Bit is a VERY proficient crawler now and she continues to try to let go when she's standing up, she generally plops down or grabs back onto whatever, but still . . . she CAN stand just holding on with one hand, and even just holding onto rather unstable things, like my skirt.

She had a check-up week before last and weighs almost 18 lbs, and is doing everything a 9 mo old should be doing (she'll be 8 mo this next week) except playing pattycake.

She LOVES to eat food. Everything from cheerios to sweet potato fries to guacamole . . .

DH will be changing jobs (but not employers) as of Dec. 1. His new job will include more travel, but hopefully less weekend work. And the overnight travel, we can go with him when we want to. We're looking forward to checking out some new zoos and museums around our state, and surrounding ones and playing in hotel pools.

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but that at least gets us relatively up to date.

L's Haircut!!

I'm way behind and need to catch-up, and hopefully WILL, but before I do anything else, I wanted to post about L's haircut! A little background, last SPRING I tried to convince both big girls to let me cut their hair to a little below their shoulders. They have some straggly pieces that are that length from a toddler scissor incident (that conveniently hides well in their curly hair, but still) so I thought it would be cooler for summer and clean up those straggles. Neither of them were open to the idea at that point, but later in the summer L started saying she wanted to cut her hair like I'd suggested. I wanted to do it at my mom's since Mom &/or Grandma have actual hair-cutting scissors and some experience cutting hair, and there's a higher adult to kid ratio when we're there, and we just kept forgetting when we were there to do it. We FINALLY remembered on Sunday night when we were there last weekend, and went ahead & did it. First, here are the before pictures: L's answer to "how long do you want it" was "whatever Mommy wants" and my thought was a little below the shoulder BUT . . . see how that head is tilted for the first cut? Neither Mom nor I noticed that until AFTER the first cut, so we ended up with a little above the shoulder. But it turned out really cute just the same:
She's loving it this length and says she wants to keep it like this, and is thrilled to find that she can brush her own hair and that it doesn't hurt to brush. Daddy's not so sure about it, says she looks much too old this way, hee hee. A isn't real happy because "now we can't trick people", but is also adamant that she wants to keep her hair long for now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Last Week's Wrap-Up

I'm only a couple days behind . . . last week was a good week. We continue to have many warm, sunny days, most of which find us at the playground in the afternoon. It works out so nicely for the big kids to play while Little Bit finishes her nap (driving in the car generally puts her to sleep, just like it did her big sisters at this age) and I get to read, listen to CDs, knit, etc.

We've stretched our Halloween out abit this year, after attempting to trick-or-treat at the mall on Sat. night (a disaster, it was SOOO crowded, it is NOT worth the candy to have to stand in line forever!) we visited our neighbor, Miss Judy on Sunday night & she took pictures (which I'll post when I can get the photo adder thingy to work . . . ) and we "wrapped up" Halloween by visiting another neighbor, Miss Denise THIS Sunday evening (she wasn't home last week).

School continues . . . last week for Bible one activity was to learn the books of the Bible so we are working on that. Conveniently the girls have been learning a song in Sabbath School for the OT books, so they have a good start on those.

We finished up Little House on the Prairie and moved into By the Banks of Plum Creek. Most days, after listening to the "required" chapters the girls, especially L, ask for more, but we're trying to stay on track . . . some of their favorite assignments have been the nature/art ones, where we read about/discuss a wildflower, etc and then they get to draw a picture of it, so I decided to expand on that and let them each start a nature notebook. Each week we (them, unless they can't think of something) will choose something they'd like to learn about and we'll read about it & they'll draw a picture. We'll also try to do nature walks, etc. Yesterday when we were driving home from the playground we passed a whole herd of deer in a field, so L decided she wanted us to learn about deer this week. I happened to have a Deer Unit Study in my files so I used that to give us something to read about & today had them draw a picture of deer, then the next couple of days I have some additional "lapbook" activities related to deer that we will do, and put in their nature notebook.

Another assignment I'd given them a couple weeks ago was to do all their chores one day w/o me having to remind them. I "cheat" some and . . . warn them that I'll be checking their chart soon, but the main thing I'm trying to get away from is the CONSTANT reminders/nagging . . . if I can get it down to just reminding them 3 times a day (their chores are essentially divided into 3 "blocks") I'll be thrilled. So anyway . . . last Wednesday they finally were successful in remembering all day, so on Friday (because I forgot on Thurs, bad mommy!) we went for donuts. NOW their new assignment/challenge is to go a whole WEEK without reminders, we started yesterday, so far, so good . . . A especially is really getting into it, which is, of course wonderful . . . the next challenge will be a whole MONTH, and hopefully by then it will be a habit that won't require additional incentive . . .

Something I've been working on in the last couple of weeks is getting Little Bit's morning nap to not be a "nurping session" (nursing/napping), sometimes on weekends dh will end up taking a shower after Little Bit's been up for a couple hours and put her in the swing in the bathroom while he showers, and she would fall asleep & take a good-length nap in the swing. But I was in the habit of taking a shower/getting dressed as soon as I got up each morning, so of course she wasn't tired then, and just played in the swing during my 2-3 min shower. Which was fine for getting me clean, but . . . it occurred to me that it is very rarely that I NEED to be dressed before late-morning, so there's really no reason I can't wait & take my shower/get dressed after she's been up for awhile. After experimenting with that last week & the week before, I determined that she seems to be ready to go down for a nap about 2 hours after she gets up in the morning SO . . . yesterday I talked to A & L and told them that if they could stay focused, I thought we should be able to get our morning chores/breakfast done in an hour and then school done in an hour so that we'd be done w/ chores and school when Little Bit's ready to nap. If we can do that, then they can do their copywork (part of school, but a part that doesn't require anything from me) while I take a shower & then we can do something fun (craft, baking, etc) while she naps. BUT if they dilly dally and don't get chores/school done, then we'll have to spend her naptime finishing that up.

So, this morning was our first test . . . and wouldn't you know it, for some reason Little Bit was WIDE AWAKE by 5:30 (she normally wakes up between 7 & 8am, similar to when, usually soon after, the big girls wake up), sigh . . .I was SOO frustrated. I was afraid this was going to really ruin the whole "experiment" because the girls would be upset if we couldn't do things like we'd planned (since of course they weren't awake at 5:30am (thank goodness!) to start their chores, etc). BUT . . . thankfully the dishwasher hadn't been quite full the night before so I hadn't run it, so that was a normal morning chore that they didn't have this morning, when they woke up I told them "Little Bit's already been up awhile, so I'm not sure what's going to happen with her nap, but let's just try to get through things as fast as we can and see how it goes", we were through chores/breakfast in 1/2 an hour! (granted dishwasher is the most time consuming chore, but they often dilly dally over breakfast and make IT take 1/2 hour or more, just to eat their bowl of cereal & fruit). And jumped into school. We made it through Bible time (which is slightly longer on Mondays because we read a chapter out of our mission book to learn about the country we are praying for that week) but then when we started listening to Little House, Little Bit started nursing to sleep (my mistake there was sitting down to check e-mail and such while the girls were listening, me sitting down meant Little Bit crawled up to nurse, I think if I'd busied myself in the kitchen, etc she might have held off longer, although it had also been over 2 hrs since she woke up, so who knows . . .) anyway . . . when I noticed her starting to "nurp" I told the big girls I needed to go shower, I left them to finish listening to the chapter they were listening to & told them when it was done, to go ahead & do copywork. They'd finished both when I came down from my shower and Little Bit was sound asleep. So we went ahead & did a craft (they got some 3-D water-color kits in Sabbath School for knowing their memory verse every week last quiarter, so they're working on those) while she napped, then finished up school after she was awake again. . . so it was a partial success, but considering the monkey-wrench of her early wake-up, things went quite smoothly. And the big girls are very excited with that dedicated "mommy time", so it's a very good thing.

And a few more pictures to share . . .
The girls were eating lunch on the ottoman in the family room to watch tv while they ate. Little Bit kept trying to grab their food so I put some "Gerber puffs" on the ottoman for her to eat, she was so proud of herself to be eating right along with her big sisters.

And is anything sweeter than pictures of Daddy sleeping with his baby girl? I LOVE this picture :o)

Little Bit's Check-up - Seven Month

Little Bit's 7 mo check-up (yes, we're on an odd schedule LOL), was last week. She weights 17lb 10 oz and is 26 1/2" long (I think, should have written it down). The computer system only has developmental questions for 6 mo & 9 mo, so the nurse asked the 9 mo questions, and the only one that Little Bit can't do is play pattycake, which we haven't actually tried . . . I told the big girls they should start teaching her LOL. The rest of the questions were things like crawling, pulling up to stand, etc all of which she does quite well.

And really, that's about all there was to the appointment. She's growing well, nothing really to report . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week, and Last Week . . .

Little Bit isn't giving me much typing time these days, when she's nursing she's generally too wiggly &/or distractible for me to type (sometimes even for me to surf the 'net), and she no longer has a long (3+ hour) sleep stretch at the beginning of the night, so I have to greatly prioritize how I use the half hour or so of baby's asleep time that I DO get at night . . . and blogging hasn't made the cut.

So now we'll attempt it while she eats her cheerios, or at least get it started.

Let's see . . .

This weekend my parents came up. My wonderful Dad helped us babyproof by installing our gate at the top of the steps and anchoring the bookcases and game cabinet to the wall, methinks Little Bit will try scaling such things more than her sisters did, plus the bookcases were hidden away in an extra bedroom when they were her age.

On Sabbath we went to the Philadelphia Zoo. It was rainy (forecast was only 10% chance of rain but it drizzled most of the day) but that kept the crowds away and we spent most of our time in the buildings anyway, the girls spent large blocks of time watching the naked mole rats and later a family of monkeys that were eating lettuce.

We've been being more consistent about doing school each day. We're just finishing up Little House on the Prairie for our Unit Study, and we're starting on v.17 for Polished Cornerstone (our year-long study of Prov 31:10-31) we started some seeds for winter container gardening week before last and the girls are excited to see sprouts coming up already. We started lettuce, cilantro, basil, chives and parsley.

The girls have been doing very well at keeping their room clean, I'm proud of them! We're going to work on doing some additional decorating in there now, they're excited about that.

Yesterday Mama helped A to mend the dress of the doll that she got in Williamsburg, she was so excited to "sew" and L was wishing there was something she could mend too. Mama said when the girls are at their house for our anniversary, she'll help L make a bib for her doll. L is very excited and went down to my fabric box and chose the fabric she wants.

Last week the girls painted pumpkins. We'd gotten them a few weeks ago & the big girls had each chosen a big pumpkin for themselves and a small one for their dolls. When we got ready to paint them, L decided that Little Bit needed a pumpkin more than her doll did, so she painted her little pumpkin for Little Bit instead.

We started reading the Addy American Girl books. Addy was a slave girl who escaped at the end of the first book, the harshness of slave life was hard for the girls to understand. When Addy & her mother decided they had to leave baby sister behind and escape, L was in tears at the very thought of leaving Little Bit behind. A was more "practical" about it all, pointing out that there aren't slaves in this country now, and that "President Obama has brown skin, so he wouldn't let there be slaves again". The 2nd book, after Addy & mother had successfully escaped and were making their new life in the North was less traumatic for the girls LOL. For some reason it's taken almost a week for the library to get book 3 since I reserved it (and even now, it just says it's "in transit", hopefully it'll be there by this afternoon) when they had multiple copies checked in, just didn't happen to have one at our closest library, sigh . . . anyway.

Speaking of American Girls, I somehow got on the American Girl mailing list so a catalog came a week or two ago. A & L have had great fun pouring over the catalog trying to decide which doll they want (when they're 8) and generally planning out future purchases, at the time, they also were very gung-ho to start saving their spending money NOW to get additional AG stuff when they're old enough, we'll see how long that lasts . . . LOL.

Last Sabbath (a week ago) for Sabbath school Teacher Joyce went all out for the story of Jericho and made a kid-sized Ark of the Covenant to have A & L carry as they "marched around Jericho" the girls had alot of fun.

We've been having unseasonably warm weather alot of the time recently, so we're taking advantage of that & going to a playground we discovered nearby. It works out nicely to leave at naptime (or run errands before naptime, timing things for the errands to be done at naptime) and let Little Big fall asleep on the way to the playground, then the big girls get to play on the playground while I stay in the car and read or knit while Little Bit naps. The playground includes monkey bars and both girls are now proficient monkey-bar-crossers and are quite proud of themselves.

Little Bit continues to pick up speed and venture farther from Mommy in her crawling/exploring. She also is working hard to be able to stand unassisted, pulling up on things often and carefully trying to let go with both hands (she does pretty good holding on with just one hand, and enjoys having us put finger foods on a chair seat or the big ottoman we use as a coffee table so she can stand to eat.), so far she plops down on her behind when she lets go w/ the second hand, but she keeps trying. Yesterday Daddy was watching her while I was working on organizing bookcases and such (inspired by having to take the books off the non-built-ins so my dad could anchor them to the wall) Daddy had put a laundry basket across the living room doorway so she couldn't get to the entryway (a very tempting place w/ all the shoes piled by the door AND leaves that track in every time anyone comes in) but then it was very unfair that MOMMY was standing in the entryway, so she was trying harder to get past the laundry basket. She finally figured out & turned it 90 degrees then proceeded to walk (holding onto it) around it to get to me, she was quite proud of herself.

And in other "Little Bit is growing up to fast!" news, she has her first tooth! You can't see it yet, but can definitely feel it! Fri evening she was fussy in the car & I was riding next to her so tried giving her my finger to suck on (I'd forgotten her paci, which she usually likes in the car) and felt the tooth. Might actually be both of those bottom front teeth, it feels "bigger" than one tooth, but hard to tell till we can see it/them.

I think that's all the news from our house. Tomorrow the big girls are scheduled to give the worship talk at Daddy's office (it's his turn to have worship and they want to tell their story about the model rockets (where they lost Ashlyn's, then prayed, and found it), we'll see if they get cold feet when they actually get there, but at the moment anyway they're excited about it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another week, another wrap-up . . .

Hey look! It's Sunday & I'm actually writing (or at least starting) a wrap-up post! (and now it's Tuesday & I haven't finished this yet LOL).

Of course, not much to write about, the highlights of this week would be going to the Ren Faire last Sunday and Sight & Sound on Thursday, both of which got their own posts already . . .

Oh one thing that IS note-worthy!!! Little Bit is well & thoroughly crawling!!! Which means I'm madly attempting to declutter & baby proof and such. I ordered a gate for the top of the staircase today, now to figure out how to install it in our odd-sized, who says walls should be flat, house LOL. I was freaking out about that until it occurred to me that there's no law that says the "top of stairs" gate has to actually be right at the stairs, unless my Dad can figure out a better option for us, I'm thinking we'll have a "middle of the upstairs hallway gate, but oh well, it will work the same way.

I'm also thinking that this new development is going to result in "sweep kitchen floor & entry way" becoming a daily chore for A & L, not sure how they'll feel about that, we shall see . . . but despite what "they say" about babies not being able to pick up small things & transfer them from hand to mouth until 8 - 12 months, Little Bit is quite adept at it and I prefer she not eat the dry leaves that WILL track in off our leaf-covered porch each day this time of year.

And, speaking of that pincher grip thing, since it seemed like she was able to do the whole "pick up small things and transfer them to her mouth" thing, today while grocery shopping I picked up a container of the Gerber "puffs". They aren't health-food but they are low/no-mess for when we're out and about.

And on to the big girls . . . we learned about setting goals and taking initiative this week for Bible, they really embraced the idea of initiative, and enjoyed getting an "assignment" ("you mean we get an assignment like REAL SCHOOL?" Ahh the life of homeschoolers!) to take initiative 3 times during the week, they did it too.

We're continuing to enjoy Prairie Primer as well. Currently we're listening to Little House on the Prairie, and learning about Indians, mustangs, and building log cabins (during the description of which, A commented "that's just like big lincoln logs!" why yes, yes it is!).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sight and Sound

Thursday we went to "In the Beginning" at Sight & Sound. Hubby & I went to their Christmas show last year for our anniversary and loved it, so wanted to take the girls to see "In the Beginning" before it closes.

They LOVED it! Even Little Bit "watched" most of the first half, the angels with all their glitter especially fascinated her.

A, in typical A fashion, spent the entire show trying to figure out "how they do that". At some point we will definitely need to take her on the "behind the scenes" tour LOL.

L was next to Daddy, and it was noisy enough that I couldn't hear her comments, but apparently she liked it, since, when she came with me to get snacks during intermission, she was very concerned that we might miss something, hee hee.

I was amused at the use of "heely" shoes on the angels so they could "glide" around the stage, hee hee.

By the second half Little Bit was tired and found it hard to nurse or sleep with all the loud noises & such, so she was kind of fussy, but the positive side of all the noise was I didn't feel like she was disturbing others with her fussing, so I didn't have to miss the show, she did eventually settle down and nurse to sleep despite the noise, and stayed asleep for the ride home as well.

Both A & L picked up on the fact that they "rearranged" things abit, and showed Lucifer's fall coming AFTER creation instead of before, which I thought was rather astute for 6 yr olds.

Afterward, A was asking why they were advertising "Joseph" so much if it wasn't starting "for a year" so I explained that, while it was starting "next year" it's not a year away, and as point of reference, said it was starting "right before your birthday" to which, without missing a beat, she replied "wow, that would make a GREAT birthday present" LOL. Now here's hoping they do the educator's discount deal that we used this time, hee hee.

Renaissance Faire

Sunday we went to the PA Renaissance Faire I wasn't sure if A & L were quite old enough for it, but thought we'd give it a try. And additionally, while we went to the MD one several times pre-kids, we'd never been to the PA one, so it was a new adventure for all of us.

They LOVED it!! When we got there, I saw that there was basically "kid shows" running all day and figured we'd go mostly to those, but the girls jumped right in and enjoyed the "regular" shows. We only went to one kid show and that was a show we happened to be walking by right as it started, so stayed to watch.

They totally got into the "plot" of the main storyline and insisted we stay for the final joust so they could find out if Queen Elizabeth won or the other guy. They also asked me LOTS of questions about that particular era in history that I couldn't even begin to answer LOL, note to self, next year study up on it ahead of time LOL.

A few highlights . . .

When watching a magician do a trick, L asked me how he did it, when I said I didn't know, she replied "well, I know it's slight-of-hand of SOME SORT"

As we waited for an archery demonstration to start I mentioned that I'd actually (attempted to) learn archery when I was a kid. The girls wanted to hear about it, so I said I'd chosen to learn it at summer camp one summer, to which they both exclaimed "Mommy, you're not as boring as I thought!" hmmm . . . is that a compliment?

Little Bit enjoyed the day napping the wrap, like at Williamsburg, she got lots more sleep than normal LOL. She enjoyed guacamole for lunch, but didn't think we fed it to her nearly fast enough.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Behind Again . . . LOL

Last week was nice, nothing major going on, one afternoon L came down dressed as you see her here, she explained that she was the letter A LOL.

Our chapter in Polished Cornerstones was on being an Organized Woman (ok, those who know me, stop laughing that *I* might be attempting to TEACH this to others LOL), so we spent a good part of the week (in the little spurts of time that I could manage with an almost-mobile 6 mo old around) getting the girls' room organized. Still have a couple loose ends to tie up, waiting on Daddy to have time to help get the big bouncy horse out of there (ahhhh, that alone will make it feel much less cluttered to me! after much discussion they agreed that "Princess" the horse could go live in Mama & Papa's basement until Lina's old enough to use it. and even then, if we're still in this house, it might be a toy she plays with when we visit there, it's awful big for this small house . . .) and help us attach the finger-puppet holders to the underside of their loft bed (power tools scare me LOL). But overall, much less cluttered room, didn't get rid of much, other than actual trash (scraps of paper & such), but hopefully were able to better assign a PLACE for everything so they can better keep things organized going forward.

Carrying forward from the week before's Polished Cornerstones, the girls are helping me cook more, they helped with making stir-fry and fried rice and muffins . . . and other things I don't remember LOL.

When we stopped at Ollies we found some "Princess devotional Bibles" that include devotions and Bible readings along the them of "You are God's Princess", the girls are enjoying reading them instead of or in addition to their normal morning Bible reading. They (the books) also included some lined pages in the back to write notes on and the girls really got into that, filled the pages within about a day, so I got out some regular journals I'd picked up at the dollar store awhile back, they love having a place to write "secrets just between me and God" I love that it's building their relationships with God AND giving them writing practice :o)

Sabbath after Sabbath School we visited Grandmom. Little Bit enjoyed her lunch of canned peaches, the big girls enjoyed an afternoon of legos, crafts, and running around outside.

Sunday we went to the PA Rennaisance Faire, I think that deserves it's own post LOL.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last Week's Wrap-Up

I need to get back on track to do weekly wrap-ups, only a couple days late this week LOL.

Let's see, what did we do last week? School stuff:

  • We're enjoying Prairie Primer, almost done with Little House in the Big Woods.
  • One of our crafts this week was making wax rose pins like one of the "aunts" wore to the sugaring dance. I got a sheet of red beeswax from the craft store and we started experimenting, they turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself, the girls were very excited to show Daddy
  • Our chapter in Polished Cornerstones was on "A Woman Who Feeds Her Family Well", so I'm encouraging the girls to help more in the kitchen, which they enjoy, but often are "busy" when I need to get things done.
  • One of the Polished Cornerstone suggestions for the week was to help Mom plan the menu, so at the end of the week, the girls helped me plan this week's menu. L declared that it's "alot harder than I thought" but they did a pretty good job of coming up with the menu. They're keeping me on track too, sigh . . . no deciding I'm too tired to fix what's on the menu THIS week, the girls are determined to follow the menu they made LOL. They've also been helping fix the meals.
In other odds & ends . . . Little Bit likes roasted potatoes, and bananas, and canned peaches.

Sunday was the PA Conference Constituency (for our church, all the SDA churches in our conference sent delegates and voted on the conference officers & discussed concerns and stuff). The girls have heard Mommy & Daddy talking about it, and Daddy was working lots of evenings and such in preparation for it, and was, of course, gone to it all day Sunday. When he got home Sunday evening, the girls wanted to know how things went. They were quite relieved to hear that "Mr Ray & Mr Barry" (conference president & secretary) had been voted back in (the new treasurer hasn't been here long enough for them to know him, but yes, he was voted in as well), but then rather disturbed when dh told me the actual vote counts and they heard that there were actually some votes AGAINST Mr. Ray & Mr. Barry. Apparently, despite all the discussions, A thought it was dh's co-workers "voting" so wanted to know who had voted against them. We explained that it wasn't people from Daddy's office, voting, it was people from all the churches, for example, Miss Judy (our neighbor) was one of the people who went from our church. Of course then A wanted to know if Miss Judy voted for Mr. Ray & Mr Barry, and when dh said that yes, she had, A said "oh good, then I can still talk to her!" LOL.

Sabbath was a one day women's retreat at our church, so Little Bit & I went to that and the big girls stayed with Daddy. They were quite excited to know that they would get to "take care of Daddy", hee hee. It sounds like they had a busy day, with a picnic lunch by the pond (by our house) and then a trip to a nearby playground for the afternoon. Little Bit did well, "talking" to everyone, and perfectly happy to be passed around when she was awake, then in the afternoon she was abit fussy so I put her in the sling and walked her to sleep, then she slept ALL afternoon. She was so funny, a couple times when people laughed or clapped she startled awake, but each time she looked at the people sitting beside me & they said "it's ok, go back to sleep" and she did! I tried to convince Karin & Tina to come home with me and tell her to go back to sleep when she wakes up at NIGHT, but no such luck, hee hee.

One of my ways of entertaining Little Bit while I hang laundry is to put her in an empty laundry basket near where I'm working. On Sunday when I did that, she pulled up & was STANDING in the laundry basket, so much for that idea LOL. When it was time to take the clothes off the line I distracted her from standing by throwing the clean clothes in on top of her (hence the picture). This afternoon I tried putting her on a blanket on the grass, but no matter how careful I was to put her in the MIDDLE of the blanket, she managed to scoot to the edge and try to eat dry leaves & grass LOL.

Did I mention that Little Bit likes to "click her tongue" I'm not sure how else to describe it, it makes kind of a "smacking your lips" sound, but she's kind of sucking on her tongue, too cute! And more recently, she's started saying "baa baaa baaa baaa" haven't figured out what, if anything she means, but it's pretty cute to hear.

She's still not quite "crawling" but definitely manages to scoot short distances, I'll sit her somewhere out of reach of dishwasher door or whatever and soon she'll have managed to get over to whatever I didn't want her to have LOL.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Little Bit's Wish List

I've started amazon wishlists for each of the girls, to more easily add things I find online, you can see Little Bit's here

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

We got home from my parents' Monday. Now to get back into the swing of chores and school and such after a week of play LOL.

Some random highlights from the last week or so:

  • L is getting more willing to write phonetically, the big girls & my mom have an on-going game that mom's kitchen is a restaurant and the big girls are her helpers. I didn't completely follow the story, but apparently L met (or already knew) an imaginary woman with "20 kids plus a baby" whose husband had just died, and L invited this woman to leave her kids (all of which were 6 & under, lots of multiples in that family I'd say . . . and not much breastfeeding to spread out the gap between kids LOL, just because I'm a geek about such things I figured out that if the baby was 4 mo old (per L), and the baby & the 6 yr old were singletons, and all children were 11 mo apart, it COULD be done as long as all the ones between the baby & 6 yr old were at least triplets, and one set of quads LOL. . . anyway, L proceeded to write a list of all the kids names, need to work with her on LISTING things one to a line, and perhaps skipping a line if it's a narrow ruled paper, but readable or not, at least she's writing :o)
  • Between Little House and American Girl and I'm not sure what all else, the girls have wrapped their minds around the fact that money was worth more "back then", I missed the beginning of the conversation but something was said about a quarter & one of the girls said "that would've been alot of money back then".
  • They have also grasped the fact that we live in a much more materialistic society than Colonial America, as we were driving home yesterday talk turned to Christmas wish lists and A decided that her new (colonial) doll, Sarah, needs presents as well, there then followed a conversation between "Sarah" and L, where Sarah asked for a multitude of things on her Christmas list, and then asked "am I being too greedy?" to which L replied "not for these days" LOL
  • When A & L were using the cross-saw to saw through a log, the guy showing them how, said that children in colonial America would have learned to do that, and it would have become one of their chores at age 6. I commented to the girls that "that makes unloading the dishwasher not seem so bad, huh?" to which A replied, "but THIS is fun!!" sigh . . . I give up LOL
  • Little Bit is SO close to crawling, she can get on hands & knees and rock, she can bring her knees forward, OR she can leave her legs laying behind her (instead of being on her knees) and move her hands forward, just hasn't put the pieces together EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!
  • One thing we've been working on is being "honoring" as defined by Turansky & Miller in Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes... in You and Your Kids. It's fun to see the girls start to "get it" when I point out that they are being honoring when they do more than asked. It's also fun to hear them do the same to me "Mommy, you were being honoring when you let us write a shorter verse for copywork today" hee hee.
  • Yesterday I hit my limit on the girls' messy room, had them put away a bunch of stuff and then I got in there and got things at least looking better (there are several "stashes" of odds and ends of junky toys that I haven't dealt with yet, would like to start working slowly to get things better organized in there so it's easier for them to KEEP it clean). This morning A told me "Mommy, it's so nice to not have an obstacle course to get out of our room! she also said "we'll keep it this way from now on . . . RIGHT L?" ROFL.
  • Little Bit didn't read the books that say "pincher grip" doesn't come till 8-12 mo. Yesterday while sitting in the (desperately needs to be vacuumed) upstairs hall she not only managed to pick up the yarn "kite tail" that was laying in the hall (A's turned the playroom into a "craft store" and the sign, stuck to the wall outside the door, is a kite, complete with yarn tail) but also picked up a scrap of paper that was about 1/4" square (left over from one of the many craft projects the girls are always doing)
  • We've been experimenting with solid foods. Little Bit LOVES broccoli, continues to enjoy bagels (a "hotel treat" since we rarely have them at home), to keep her happy while we were eating various meals on this trip, we discovered she's a big fan of "ritz" type crackers, sweet potato fries, avacado . . . and last night, roasted potato.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Historic Williamsburg

From Historic Williamsburg
My parents & I took the kids to Historic Williamsburg on Wed & Thurs this week. It was the last week of their fall Homeschool Days when homeschoolers can visit Historic Williamsburg at a greatly reduced rate (the 5 of us (Little Bit was free) got in for 2 days for approximately what it would cost for one comparable adult normal-price one day pass). There were also extra demonstrations and such for homeschoolers though we didn't find time to fit much of that in, and quite abit of it is geared for age 8+.

Still, we had a great time & will definitely be back! You can click on the link under Little Bit's picture to see all our pictures.

I was thinking in terms of sweatshirts & BabyLegs not sun hats, so when it ended up hot & sunny we "had" to get straw sunhats for the big girls and a "mob cap" for Little Bit.

Our favorite "trade" tour was the silversmith, the woman in there did an exceptional job of explaining her trade on a level 6 yr olds could understand and found fascinating.

A declared the only "boring" thing to have been the guided tour of the Capital, which was led by a woman with a British (I think) accent that made her abit hard to understand and her lengthy explanations of legal process, etc were WAY over their heads (and while not over my head, much more detail than I cared to know LOL). We ducked out part-way through that tour.

Yesterday we had a less-educational, but still fun day at Busch Gardens. It rained some, but that kept the crowds away & the heat down, making it a perfect day. We also were able to visit a few minutes with our friends Keith & Christine (and kids) AND strictly by accident bumped into a babywearing friend of mine, Kim O, who was there with her family, I hadn't met her youngest yet & she hadn't met Little Bit, so that was a lovely treat.

Today we're heading toward home, perhaps by way of Oxon Hill Farm if the rain continues to hold off.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's My Blog and I'll Brag if I Want To

We've spent the last 2 days at Historic Williamsburg, it's been hot, but we've had alot of fun. And if you'll indulge me for just a minute I wanted to record a few of the compliments & comments I got about my kids while we were there.

  • The woman working at the silversmith when we went there was AWESOME at explaining her craft even to young kids, A & L were fascinated, as they listened to her and asked questions an older couple who'd come in while we were there commented on how good it is to see young kids so interested and asking intelligent questions.
  • While we were in the Governor's garden, after completing the tour of the Governor's Palace a woman commented to my mom about how well-behaved L & A were during the tour and how interested they'd been in it.
  • Numerous people commented on how cute my children are (didn't hurt any that A & L were wearing their straw hats, either on their heads or pushed back onto their backs (see picture, above) and Little Bit was in the wrap, wearing a mob cap (pictures of that to come once I get pictures off my Dad's camera).
  • As often happens people commented on Little Bit's smile and how happy she is, I've decided that's her God-given mission, at least for this season of her life, to make people happy with her ready-smile :o)
  • Coincidentally, the man who was at the gate of the Governor's Palace when we went for that tour, and conversed with A & L while we waited for that tour to start, was the tour guide when we went on the Randolph House tour. He was a GREAT tour guide, actually remembered that one of the girls' names was L (not sure if he remembered who was who, and intentionally "got it wrong" (he'd pretended to "get it wrong" right after hearing it the day before at the Governor's Palace too, so may have been pretending again) or if he just remembered that one name was "L" and randomly guessed which was which, but even remembering a name was impressive. . . partway through the tour he was talking about what age children would be allowed in the parlor and asked A & L how old they were, when they said 6, he looked surprised and commented that they acted much older, he'd thought they were 8 or 9!
  • We also got several compliments from people on tours with us, about how well-behaved the girls are, and they were VERY GOOD these last 2 days, especially considering how hot it was and how much walking we did! Dad logged over 10,000 steps each day and while he did some walking we didn't, the girls' legs are alot shorter than his.
So all in all, not only did we have a fun time (will write more on that when I have the pictures to go with it), but it was nice to have so many nice comments on my kids :o)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little Bit's Dedication

We had Little Bit's dedication at church this week (9/12/09 or I'll never remember it LOL). My parents came up on Friday to help me get ready & Dad brought the swing that he'd started installing last time, only to find that hardware stores no longer carry plain old swing seats, so he had to build one. Despite our rainy Friday, A & L were able to try it out & pronounce it perfect!
From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

The dress Little Bit wore Friday as my mom's, made for her by her grandmother, so Little Bit's wearing a dress made by her great-great-grandmother, how cool is that?!?!

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend
The lighting in the church wasn't great for pictures, but here we all are

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

And just because I love the picture, 2 of my favorite people! :)

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

It was a nice weekend, Grandmom (dh's mom) & Aunt Lynette (dh's sister) were able to come up for the day on Sabbath. Pastor Mike has been sick, so opted not to hold Little Bit like he normally does babies during dedications. We appreciate him not getting her (or us) sick LOL. We also celebrated dh's 40th birthday (which was Sunday). If you click on the link under any of the pictures you can go to the album & see the rest of the pictures, including pictures of Little Bit trying some apple (on Fri) and broccoli (on Sabbath). She's enjoying solids, especially since she gets to feed herself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Week of School

We started our new school year this past week. With Daddy home on Monday (Labor Day), Little Bit's check-up on Wed, and Mama & Papa here on Fri, we only managed to fit in 2 days of school this week, but at least it was a start.

In addition to continuing with Polished Cornerstones, we started Prairie Primer. My wonderful hubby was able to find me mp3's of the Little House books, so I don't have to re-read the whole series to the girls, we just listen to that day's chapter(s) and then get on with it.

Chapter 1: We were supposed to make a corncob doll, but I'd forgotten to get corncobs from my parents' cornfields when we were down there before our Indiana trip, so we had them bring corncobs to us this weekend, we'll make the dolls this week. We DID make "crackling cornbread" (using bacobits since we're vegetarian), and begin a book on manners.

Chapter 2: We continued our book on manners, talked about making butter (but didn't have time to actually make it, perhaps this week . . .), and the girls each drew "Jack Frost" according to how Laura describes her mental picture of him.

A has decided she wants to continue with reading through the McGuffy readers, she recently finished the Primer and started on the First Reader, which, we discovered, starts back at the "beginning" rather than continuing on from where the Primer left off, so she's easily reading 2-3 lessons each day as we review easier words and shorter lessons than she was doing at the end of the Primer. L hasn't shown any interest in continuing to read through the old SDA readers, so I'm not pushing it, they get reading practice with their daily Bible reading, reading the verse of the day for Polished Cornerstones, etc. And L generally gets a book or 2 from the library when we go, and reads those.

Instead of using handwriting paper for their copywork, this year I gave them each a spiral notebook and they write each day's copywork in the notebook, yay for not having to remember to holepunch papers & get them in a notebook, and having random papers floating around when we forget!

So all-in-all we had a good start to our new "school year".

2009-2010 School Year - Resources and Description

This year we are continuing through Polished Cornerstones for Bible/Devotions. We spend a week on each lesson, whether we end up doing school 5 days that week or 2 (sometimes if we have 2 weeks of 1 or 2 days in a row I'll use the same lesson for both weeks).

Our main curriculum is Prairie Primer. We'll be spending this whole school year doing this unit study on the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's designed for grades 3-6 so we'll be picking and choosing, and adapting, as necessary to bring it down to a K-1 level (IF the state had a right to ask me what grade the girls are in this year, which my state doesn't, until age 8, I would have them in K this year, but in some areas I think they're not quite there yet and in other areas they're probably more of a 1st-2nd grade level, the beauty of homeschooling is that works LOL).

Additionally, a month or so ago, A decided she wanted to get back to using a reading book to improve her reading skills, so she is continuing through the McGuffy readers that we started using last winter, she recently finished the Primer and started the First Reader (which starts back with VERY SIMPLE words/lessons, so she's reading 2-3 lessons per day until we get back up to level).

And in a nutshell, that's what the plans are for this year. I will list resources (from Polished Cornerstones & Prairie Primer) here as we use them, as well as anything else we decide to add in.

Polished Cornerstones; Projects for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood

The Prairie Primer: Literature Based Unit Studies

McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Bit's Check-Up

We finally had Little Bit's "4 month" checkup today (we had some scheduling conflicts that pushed it till now). She officially weighs 15lb 13oz (just over 50% on the charts) and is 25 inches long (just under 50% percentile). Everything looks good, nothing much to report.

We got the official go-ahead to start solids. The doctor recommended starting with vegetables (though her reason was "so she learns to like vegetables" which I don't buy, since A & L ate EVERYTHING until they were about 4 yrs old and THEN got picky (which, interestingly, is what I did too), but whatever . . . obviously vegetables are a good thing, whether or not they impact future picky eating), and said to drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil (or cook them in olive oil) and to add about 1 Tbsp of blackstrap molasses (though I must say, molasses on vegetables sounds gross to me . . . though as I type that, it occurs to me that "normal" people like the orange vegetables with brown sugar & such on them, so maybe that's what she was talking about, when I hear mollasses on vegetables I think of it on green beans or something, shudder . . . ) anyway . . . that was the appointment. We go back in Nov.

Ps. The picture is of Little Bit wearing the longies I made for her for this winter! Not too shabby for a first attempt huh? LOL.

What to Do about the Flu!

Partially so I remember, and partially to help out others who might be wondering, while we were at Little Bit's well-baby visit to the doctor today, Dr. F told me her recommendations for dealing with the flu. Notice that she does NOT mention anything about getting a flu shot, have I mentioned I LOVE our doctor!!!!

Throughout the season, make sure to take your daily dose of Vit D3, this dosage varies from person to person, since I'm nursing, my dosage is 8,000 units, A & L's dosage is 1,000 units . . . this should be taken all the time, but is especially important during flu season, which, of course, coincides with the time of year when there is less sunshine.

Also use hand sanitizer and wipe down surfaces as needed. She recommends using benzalonium chloride hand sanitizer rather than ethanol.

At the first sign of flu:

Take extra Vitamin D3 for up to 3 days
Oscillococcinum (you can find this at most grocery stores & such too), she said to carry a tube of this with you and use it if you even THINK you might be getting the flu! BUT she said to take 1/3 dose at a time, so instead of the recommendation of one tube per dose, split each tube into 3 doses
Ferrum Phos, also marketed as Infludoron (though I've only ever found ferrum phos LOL), also available in drops. Take 10 drops or pellets every 2 hours for 2 days, then 4 x per day. Note that Ferrum Phos is also available in 30c dosage, which is a much higher dosage, make sure to adjust the dosage or get the 6x dosage.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review: Radical Womanhood

I finished reading Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World a couple days before we left for Indiana, and didn't have time to write my review before I left.

AWESOME book!! Carolyn McCulley does a great job of condensing the history of feminism into a quick read, as well as pointing out how it has crept into our churches without us even noticing.

Unlike some books, articles, etc that I've read, she doesn't make blanket statements about not working outside the home or what your stance should be on birth control, etc. She simply provides the history, and biblical references and principals that can be drawn from those references and leaves the specifics for you to decide for yourself.

I truly believe this is a book that all Christian women should read. It is quite scary to realize how feminism has wormed it's way into Christianity, especially once you realize where much of feminism originated.

We're Home!!

To read about our trip, in order, scroll down to "Indiana Trip, Day 1", as I explain there, I wrote posts as we went but waited to post all of them until we got home.

We're home now! Yesterday dh was working, helping GPMM get their books set up. I considered taking the girls to Pittsburgh Zoo, but the timing of me having the car didn't coincide well w/ Little Bit's nap-schedule, and I figured the big girls could use a day to just chill anyway, so we hung out at the hotel all morning, the big girls played with their Little Pet Shop toys, and played school and just did their own thing. After eating lunch with dh, we went and hung out at GPMM for the afternoon for a change of scenery & bigger space, teh hotel room was getting abit claustrophobic. After supper the big girls went swimming with Daddy. Someone had left a beach ball at the pool at that hotel so I guess they spent the whole time playing a kind of catch/volleyball game where Daddy threw the ball up in the air & they tried to hit the ball as they jumped into the pool, then swam underwater back to the steps to do it all again.

This morning we took Daddy back to GPMM and then the girls & I went back to the hotel to get packed up & checked out (and the girls got some playtime in there too). Then we went to GPMM and hung out there for a couple more hours while dh finished up what he needed to do there, and then we headed home.

And now we're home, the big girls are in bed, the car is (mostly) unloaded . . . ahhhh!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Starting Home . . .

We left Indiana this morning and began our journey home . . . but it's not a "direct route" kind of journey LOL.

This morning we drove to Columbus, and spent the rest of the day at COSI. WOW! What an awesome museum! The girls had a BLAST! We were there for probably 4 1/2 hours and could have spent MUCH longer there if it wasn't closing . . . and if we didn't still have a 3 hr drive ahead of us LOL. The big girls learned about space, the ocean, Egypt (hence the camel picture), went down into a tiny 2 man submarine, learned about weather, including seeing how a 100 mph force will shoot a pencil through a board, and touching a cloud. Tried to lift a car using a lever (they weren't quite strong/heavy enough to do it, but I could LOL), L and Daddy were stuck to the wall in a spinning chamber (A was too scared, and Little Bit was too little) . . . the list goes on.

Little Bit mostly rode around in the wrap, but she did get to pretend she was a bird . . . or perhaps she was a snake, since she was trying to eat the eggs?

And played in the water at the water table for abit.

I would LOVE to live close to this museum! What a great resource! But at least we were able to enjoy it today, and I suspect will try to schedule another visit during future Indiana trips if at all possible.

We left at closing time, ate supper, and headed on toward home . . . and tonight we are in Pittsburgh. I think we've succeeded in wearing the kids out this trip, here's how L fell asleep tonight!
And after we moved the book (just because I love pictures of sleeping kids LOL):
A fell right to sleep too (did I mention I love sleeping kids LOL).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Indiana Trip, Day 4!

Yay! I'm actually writing about today . . . TODAY!
From Summer 2009

We spent another morning in the pool. Both (big) girls took their water wings off and did some "real" swimming in the 3 ft. And some jumping into the 5ft w/o the water wings with a grown up there to tow them to the edge after they bobbed under & back up. Big pool accomplishment of the day, L learned to swim on her back, she swam the length of the pool (not super big, but typical hotel-size pool). A also figured out how to swim on her back, though she's not going the length of the pool yet.
From Summer 2009

This afternoon we visited dh's grandparents. They were thrilled to get to meet Little Bit and see how A & L have grown. They'd gotten some puzzles for the girls to play with, so the girls had fun with the puzzles and also touring Grandpa's garden and such. Little Bit was fussy (one too many days of interrupted naps, plus it was very warm inside their house, despite being downright chilly outside today) but finally settled down to "nurp" (nap/nurse) while we visited.

We got back to the hotel in time to eat a light supper in the room and still get some more swimming in this evening.

Indiana Trip Day 3

Yesterday (Sunday) morning we spent in the hotel pool. There's a slide, which L loved. A went down it a few times then decided it was "too scary". Little Bit LOVES the "inflatable baby boat" we got for her, finally all her kicking gets her places LOL.

In the afternoon we headed for dh's uncle's house for a cookout with Uncle Richard & Aunt Evelyn and their kids & grandkids. A&L took awhile to warm up, but eventually did, and then had a great time with "kid cousins!" (up until now the only "cousins" they've met have been my cousins who are, of course, adults. DH's sister & my brother don't have kids and neither do any of my cousins that the girls have met), so when we explained that dh's cousins' kids were their (A&L's, and LittleBit's but she didn't care so much) second cousins, they were very excited. All the little girls (except Little Bit) had great fun playing together until we had to leave to get back to the hotel by (near) bedtime.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pooh Picture

She's 5 months old already!

From Pooh Pictures

Indiana Trip Day 2

Yesterday we went to the Columbus Zoo. It's a very nice zoo. Good sized, nicely shaded (as opposed to, for example, the National Zoo in DC, which I love but it's so hot on sunny days!). The weather couldn't have been better! Sunny but with a gorgeous breeze! Last week I FINALLY set the big girls up with their Webwilds (kind of like webkinz but different . . . from Folkmanis, great concept but they need more on their site to be worth buying any more of them) that they got for their birthday, and A discovered that they have koalas (which is what her animal is) at this zoo, so we had to go see the koala. We also saw penguins, though not the same breed as L's webwild (shh . . . I don't think she noticed LOL). I think my favorite exhibit was the kangroos. It's set up kind of like they often do birds where you can walk right in with them. Right after we walked in a kangaroo jumped right across the path in front of us! So cool!! (oh, the kids liked it too LOL). And then, just before we left we went to a new "animal encounter" area where they have select animals out where people can pet them, and one of the animals they had out when we went over there was a pair of ARMADILLOS!! A was in AWE!! She got to TOUCH an armadillo!! She has declared yesterday "the best day ever!" (until now, her "best day ever" was the day one of the armadillos at the National Zoo was awake & running around his habitat). So all around a lovely day at the zoo. L was a little disappointed, we actually went to the animal encounter area because earlier we'd seen a pair of flamingos out of their exhibit (with handlers, or zookeepers or whatever you call the people at the zoo these days LOL) and the handlers told us that the flamingos were "taking a break" but would be at the animal encounter area later, flamingos are L's favorite bird (because they're pink) so she was anxious to get to touch them, but they weren't out (and I muttered a few words under my breath for zoo employees who say things like "they'll be at animal encounter later today" instead of "sometimes they're at animal encounter, you MIGHT get to see them if you stop by later" GRRR . . . I tried to warn L, but I think in her mind the ZOO PEOPLE had said they'd be there, so they would be) but she handled it pretty well.

After we left the zoo we headed to Indiana, and The Old Spaghetti Factory for supper (yum!!!) unfortunately we didn't realize that there was some motorcycle event going on in downtown Indianapolis this weekend, so roads were blocked off, parking lots were closed, it was a mess. We thought we were very fortunate to find a small lot (that's not really a lot, more of a wide alley) right down the street from the restaurant, but when we went to leave, the car next to us was parked wrong (not angled enough) and too close together, and it was a bigger car, and of course we have a minivan . . .all conspired together to make it so we came within a few centimeters (literally) of not being able to get out. The woman who was parking cars there helped us get out & even so I don't think we would've made it if a man walking by noticed and took pity on us & he also helped, it took FOREVER, and the girls were good as gold!! We asked them (A & L) to please be quiet so we could hear each other and they WERE! More just luck, Little Bit was quietly content that whole time. Of course it meant we got to the hotel VERY late last night, and Little Bit wasn't so happy to ride so far so late, but we made it. And DH took the big girls down to look at the swimming pool (much too late to swim) and they were very excited to find out it has a SLIDE!!