Showing posts from December, 2010

People with bodies and hands and feet

K. has been doing a lot of drawing recently.  Just about a month ago he started drawing 'potato' people for the first time.  You know, those early first people drawings which young children do with legs and arms coming straight out of the head.  Since he hadn't done anything remotely resembling a person before this, we were pretty thrilled.  But in the past two days, not only is he drawing people, but his people have bodies... and this one has hands and fingers as well.  (There is also a second, smaller person and a table in this one if you were wondering.)  And to add to his developmental accomplishments, he has also started to copy his name if an older brother or sister writes it out for him. 

I know that to many of you, the fact that a nearly 5 year old is just accomplishing these things hardly seems like news.  Many children pass these milestones two years earlier.  But if you have been following K.'s story, you know that he has overcome many hurdles to reach this…

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - Spot It! Game

We're on Christmas break here and not doing school-y stuff, but we are playing games.  We have always liked visual discernment games such as Blink and Set, and now we have a new one to add to our list:  Spot It!  This was a gift from one of J.'s sisters and it has been fun.  The game consists of circular cards with 8 different pictures on each card.  The trick is that there is only one picture that will match between any two cards.  (For some reason this boggles my mind as to how they figured out how to do that.  When I mentioned my amazement, M. said, with a bit of boredom in her voice, that she was sure there was a computer program which took care of that.)  There are four different games you can play and it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 people.  (Another plus in a large family.)  The games are quick to play and everyone has been enjoying it.  One of the things I like best about it is that to take the card you have to say out loud the picture you are matching.  For some of my c…

My turn

And it's not for something exciting.  For the past four or five weeks we have had a stomach bug running through our house.  Well, running doesn't quite capture its movement.  Crawling through our house like a snail would be more accurate.  It hits one person at a time, lasts for 24 hours, and is gone only to return 5 or 6 days later.  For the past month and a half J. and I go to bed wondering if and who we will be cleaning up after in the middle of the night.  And because it is difficult to squelch my Pollyanna side even when my head is pounding and my joints all ache, the whole thing could have been much worse.  We were able to focus on one person at a time.  (Which is a very good thing when one owns a limited number of buckets.)  All holidays and shows were missed.  And, in my case, J. is home all week so I can stay in bed and not try to parent while feeling lousy.

But I'm really done with the whole thing.  I declare us finished with this particular bug.  There is no nee…

The Day the Music Stopped DVD Review

I don't do this very often, but this post is going to be a product review.  The Juno Company sent me a DVD of The Day the Music Stopped.  It is part of a music education series aimed at preschoolers.  Since the craziness of Christmas has passed, we (the younger part of my crew and I) had a chance to sit down today to watch it together.

The premise is that Juno and her little brother RaiRai take an imaginary trip to the town of Harmonia Springs where they meet their real live pets in cartoon form.  Through a series of events, the button on the Shush Machine is pushed causing the music to stop and Juno and her friends learn about how music is made so they can make their own.

So what did we all think?  Well, it is definitely aimed at preschoolers.  The 7 and 8 year old boys watched it because it was there, but let's just say they weren't entranced.  K. on the other hand enjoyed it... plus it had a train which always strikes his fancy.  And what did I as a parent and music edu…

Pictures from Christmas 2010

Our Christmas morning begins with everyone coming downstairs in order of age.  This was a tradition of J.'s family which we have kept.  Well, actually, the morning begins with children coming in asking if it's time to get up, followed by coffee for the adults and children constantly asking if they can go downstairs.  But eventually, J. and I get things in order and they can come down.  See those pajamas?  That's the reason I spent so much time sewing this past month.  Did you know that 9 pairs of pajamas take a bit of time to make?  All I can say is thank goodness (and my mother) for my serger or else they wouldn't have been finished.
B. with G. (She is playing with one of the stuffed nativity figures I made many years ago.)

The first thing we do is gather together in the dining room to light the Christ candle in our advent wreath, read a Bible passage about Jesus' birth, and say a prayer.  Then we open stockings.
TM and D.
A. with L.
M. with G.
After stockings we eat…

Girls in Christmas dresses

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas Eve.  My mom sent the most beautiful dresses for G. and L., and I thought they deserved a post of their own.  First L.:

And G:

And why there are fewer and fewer pictures of these silly girls on the blog:

(G. on left and L. on right in both)
More Christmas pictures and the reason why I was tied to my sewing machine on Monday.

Merry Christmas!

We have had a wonderful Christmas and hope you have as well.  The Christmas pageant went off without serious incident (which in my children's choir director's book means no one threw up and no one had an accident).  We enjoyed the company of extended family and ate too much rich food.  Everyone is tired and happy and looking forward to a week of Daddy being home.  And I finally have a picture to use on our (now New Year's) cards.  This is from Christmas Eve just before we left for church.  It looks as though I spent serious time coordinating everyone's outfits doesn't it?  I hate to burst any bubbles, but it was a purely serendipitous moment when we all came downstairs and realized we all coordinated.  I suppose I tend to like the same colors in dress-up clothes, because my main concern was that everyone have something to wear... I truly didn't plan it.  I'm happy to enjoy the results, though.

Merry Christmas!

Giveaway winner

Using a random number generator, commenter #54 has won the sheet and pillowcases.  So, Genevieve at SisterlyLove, look for an email from me to get your information.

I loved reading everyone's ideas of what they would use these thrifted linens for.  There were several ideas that had never occurred to me.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life is one of my all-time favorite movies, Christmas or otherwise, and has been since I was little.  I'm sure it played a huge part in my liking of large, run-down houses.  As an adult I have felt even more of an affinity for the movie, particularly when one of my children plays the same Christmas carol over and over on the piano to accompany the general chaos and every so often someone will knock-off the top of the stairway newel post.

Which has gotten me to thinking about what our life would have been like if we had made different decisions, particularly our initial decision to adopt.  Not only did that one decision have a profound effect upon a child's life, but it also radically altered ours.  I suppose that is not surprising; adding a child always changes a family's life.  But I believe that by adopting TM, we changed our lives in ways far greater and far reaching ways than we could have imagined at the time.

What might be different?  For TM, it…

Miniature braided wreath tutorial

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway.]

I've been spending my days working with miles of flannel which means I end up surrounded by piles of flannel scraps.  While I sew, I ponder what I can do with all the scraps.  Then I remembered about the stuffed fabric wreaths that my mother and I made one year as a fundraiser.  They were cute, but large and involved much turning of long fabric tubes and then much stuffing of the tubes.  So I came up with a miniature version which does not involve stuffing and has an easy way to turn the little, tiny tubes.  Here it is:

It's hard to judge scale, but this little wreath is barely 2 inches in diameter.  I will probably use it as a Christmas ornament, though it would also look pretty cute on top of a package.

How do you make it?  It's pretty easy.  First you need to cut three strips of fabric, approximately 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.  I used flannel, but you could use anything.  I would be sure it is not too think, though.  You don…

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - white board

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway.]

My resource today isn't a book or curriculum, but an everyday object:  my large white board hanging in my upstairs hallway.  I use it for writing things that I want people to read but without asking them to read them... sort of along the same lines of leaving books in the bathroom.  I have found that asking my children to read something can cause automatic disinterest, but if I leave it about it will be read because all of my children are compulsive readers.  If there is print in front of them, they will read it.  With that in mind, I use my white board to write quotes I want them to think about or notices of things they should be aware of or things I would like them to possibly memorize.  (Because if you find yourself reading the same thing everytime you come up the stairs, you will find that thing lodged in your brain.)  So this morning I will be writing out the text of Luke 2... the Christmas story.  My plans for the white board in Jan…

Waddling ducks and other baby cuteness

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway post.]
All of you who have been waiting to see the baby ducks from Halloween in action, you have been very patient.  Finally, not only do I have new disks, M. was home long enough to act as tech support and put the videos on said disks.  Here they are, they are easier to view if you click on the little box with the four arrows which makes the video go to full view:

And here is a video of the girls that M. took this morning.  (For those of you who are not friends with M. on Facebook and haven't seen it yet.)  L. is on the left and G. is on the right.  It gives you a good sense of their personalities.

Mary was not a teenager

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway post.]

Oh, she might have been a young woman in her teen years, but she was not the modern phenomenon of a teenager.  The phrase "Mary was only a teenager" is often exclaimed by those who want to emphasize the youthfulness of the mother of the Messiah.  However, whenever it is uttered, not only does the speaker give information about the young age of Mary, but also a whole set of cultural assumptions about who they believe Mary was.  And frankly, in my book, the traits which are implied in "teenager" are neither accurate nor altogether positive.

I know I sound like a broken record about this, but really, what leaps to your mind when you hear the word, "teenager"?  This term is not a neutral description of someone's age; it carries a whole lot of cultural baggage.  "Teenager" forces a set of characteristics onto young people that they don't deserve, but which they often feel obligated to live down …

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway

Sew, Mama, Sew! is hosting another giveaway day, the day where many bloggers giveaway things they have made or supplies to make things or both.  It is great fun to visit a lot of blogs and try to win cool stuff.  So fun that I thought I would participate this year.

I had great hopes of making a set of coordinating mother/daughter aprons.  But reality reared its ugly head and I came to terms with the fact that my time is not limitless.Instead of aprons,  I must continue to spend quality time with yards and yards of red plaid flannel.  What am I making?  Well, as I tell my children, it is the season not to ask questions... I will be able to let you know sometime after the 25th.

Instead of making something, I went to my favorite thrift store and found some supplies in the form of sheets and pillowcases (some of my favorite raw material).  I'm giving away three pillowcases and one twin flat sheet.

I decided to go with bright, springy colors, because if you are anything like myself, it…

Parenting top ten list

The washer is fixed (Hallelujah!) and so now we begin the process of digging out from the incredible mounds of laundry.  Plus, the Christmas pageant rehearsals begin this morning.  So, another cheater post.  Here is something I wrote ages ago.  Enjoy.

I attended a baby shower and we were all instructed to give our best parenting tip to the new mother. I like to give advice, so just couldn't stop at one tip, but wrote 10. Here they are:
1. Look for the humor -- Being able to find the humor in a situation helps to make the stressful more bearable. Just realizing that someday the current crisis will be funny can help.

2. Hug your child everyday and say, "I love you" -- Don't assume that your child knows you love him; say it and show it everyday. Sometimes bad behavior is just a way of saying, "I don't feel loved."

3. Be the grown-up -- You are the person who needs to set rules and limits with the corresponding consequences. Your child will have plenty of f…

An Ideal Husband - Thin Ice Theater

"Simply amazing!"
--comments about last night's show, made by audience members who have no relatives in the cast.
Don't miss your chance to see this wonderful production of Oscar Wilde's play.  Performances Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 3:00.
B. (on right)
M. (on left) For the rest of the pictures, go here.  Makes you want to see it, huh?  Plenty of room... big theater... comfy seats... good snacks.

No post

D. throwing up all night.


Broken washer.  Still.

Performances all weekend.

I'll post pictures of An Ideal Husband when they are available.  Come see the show this weekend.  Email me for details.

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - Band of Brothers

When my children were much younger, I went to my homeschool support group's resource night and remember hearing one mother, whose children were several years older than mine, say that Band of Brothershad been her best resource all year.  My first thought was to write it off as something that I wasn't interested in and therefore my children wouldn't be interested in it.  My second thought was that it was an odd sort of resource to suggest. 

Well, I'm here to eat crow.  For B., Band of Brothers is turning out to be our best resource of the year.  He read it as an assignment for his 20th century literature class and has become consumed with it.  After he finished the book, he immediately looked up other things that Stephen Ambrose has written and put them on reserve at the library, he added the movie (and several others) to the Netflix queue, and photocopied the bibliography so he could work on finding the books which were on it so he could read them.  If you know me, yo…