Showing posts from February, 2008

It's amazing every time

P. has become the newest reader in our home. There are still a lot of words that she needs help with (have you ever tried to sound out 'laugh'?), but there are many words she knows on sight plus any word that is pronounced phonetically. I have noticed there is one moment in time when several things fall together...when things just 'click'. It's at that moment I know, although the child is currently reading easy readers, the time is very short until that child is reading completely independently. What are those things? First is when a child starts to really notice the words around them. For instance, when we are driving along and I become aware that words along the way are being seen and read. It sometimes seems that before this point, the child doesn't even see the words, much less is able to read them. Next, is a willingness to keep practicing. At first, with all my children, initial lessons in reading are not a favorite activity; it's not something any on…

Why I love mending

Really, I do love it, but it wasn't always this way. When my children were younger and there were fewer of them, I would often give away clothes which had been worn for a while, but had holes or some such wear. Jeans were often the most injured item. My girls are hard on the knees of jeans, but the boys are much worse. At some point it started to bother me that the rest of the garment was fine except for those dratted holey knees. But I was stymied as to how to fix them. This was not something that had been role-modeled for me and though I knew how to sew I couldn't figure out how to do it. Enter my friend, K. K., a mother of 8, who is a few years ahead of me in parenting. She mentioned in passing that she repaired jeans with sewn-on patches and not the annoying iron-on kind. K.K. then graciously spent an afternoon showing me how she did it and that was the beginning of my love of mending. So why do I love it? Well,

1. It saves money. I tend to be somewhat of a mis…

He makes me laugh

At dinner tonight, J asked everyone to close their eyes so we could say grace. So everyone closes their eyes and holds hands. In the moment between everyone calming down and when we start to pray, we hear D say, "Hey! Why is it so dark in here?"

Flanders and Swann

We are big fans of Flanders and Swann, the vocal comedy duo who were popular in the 1950's. M and B often burst into song, singing one or a medley of their favorite selections, but recently the most sung is "The Gasman Cometh" For you poor, impoverished souls who have never been introduced to Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, let us introduce you:

(I tried to embed the youtube video...but am evidently too technically challenged.)

You just never know

I spent the evening at a memorial service for a 30 year old young woman. Last week when she went in to have an injury to her knee looked at because it wasn't healing, it was discovered that she had very advanced leukemia. Within 24 hours she was dead. It was completely unexpected and terribly sudden. She had just become engaged to be married which makes it even more tragic. My connection to her was that I was one of her junior high youth leaders, oh so long ago. I'm trying to organize my thoughts about all this, so bear with me

You just never know when your time on earth is up. There was no reason why anyone would expect a seemingly healthy 30 year old to die. I'm afraid the majority of us live our lives as if we're guaranteed that we'll have at least 70 or 80 years. But we just don't know. I've been asking myself if I would live differently if I knew my span of years or the span of years of the those I love. I'm sure I would...I'm sure we…

What were they thinking?!?

One of the hats I wear is that of children's choir director at our church. Every year, in the spring, we put on a musical. This was my least favorite part of the position when I first started ten years ago, but it has become one of my favorites. Except for today. I'm trying to cast the musical so I can give parts out at rehearsal. This is always a slightly tricky business...balancing who would be best for a part without anyone feeling slighted. (It's not an audition choir, our main emphasis is enjoying making music together while internalizing some really great words and concepts.) This year, this dreaded task is even worse. I have 6 sixth graders, all of whom are dedicated, talented and enthusiastic, and really just three parts with any substance. So my question remains, "What were they thinking?" I have used other musicals by this same team which have had a goodly number of parts, both small and large. Sometimes I've even had to combine roles (oh happy day!…

Pictures of two kitchens

It should really be three kitchens because to fully appreciate where we end up, you should see where we began. But, sadly, I have no digital pictures of the kitchen we just demolished. So you will have to picture for yourselves a very small kitchen with gray "like plastic" cupboards and (best of all) the reflective metal panelling on the ceiling. Because everyone needs a mirrored kitchen ceiling. Let's just say it wasn't beautiful.

Our current kitchen is in the basement. It's not too bad, except I really do miss the dishwasher (despite my earlier post). And I really don't recommend concrete as a choice for flooring. We've lost more dishes to breakage in the past month than we had the past year. So, for those who have asked, pictures of the basement kitchen:

Countertop and cabinets pictured here were transported from demolished kitchen down to temporary kitchen (thanks, Pete!). Stove (gift of Bidny-Paleys) is on the site of second water heater, which failed…

100th post

Instead of telling you 100 random things about myself, such as I rode on my university's equestrian team or that I once tied my brother to the top of the swing set by his belt loop, I've decided to list 100 of my some of my favorite books. This list is woefully incomplete (I'm sure I've forgotten some), and 100 isn't really enough to cover all my favorites. But it's a start. I'm sure that my (somewhat eccentric) reading list will tell you far more about me than 100 random facts. For organizational purposes, I've divided it into sets of 20, separated into different categories. Within each category, there is no order, just the order in which I came across them on the bookshelf. Oh, the (*) indicates that the book listed is the first of a series, so consider the whole series as a part of the list. Happy reading!

Children's Picture Books

1. Dogger - Shirley Hughes
2. The Seven Silly Eaters - Mary Ann Hoberman
3. Bread and Jam for Frances* - Russell Hoban
4. …

Read this book!

I have stayed up way too late finishing this book: The Baby Thief: the untold story of Georgia Tann, the baby seller who corrupted adoption. It's by Barbara Bisantz Raymond who is an adoptive mother as well as a journalist. It is both a horrifying and fascinating look at how modern American adoption developed over the course of the last century. And it eerily parrallels what is happening with current international adoption. For those who care deeply about adoption and wish adoption to be humane and ethical for all parts of the adoption triad, you need to read this book. History tends to repeat itself and we need to know our past...horrors and all...if we hope to stop the cycle from continuing.

Finally some news on the adoption front

And it is GOOD news! Our agency called this morning with the news that we have the Department of Justice approval we have been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for. As of January 28, we are officially waiting for our travel approval. So it looks as though we will miss K's 2nd birthday, but should be there soon afterward.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Simple Homemaker

I used to teach piano. I taught from home and never worked more than 15 hours a week. It was never the main focus of my day and often it felt as though it was the 'something I had to' and not the 'something I wanted to do'. But, it gave me an easy answer to those questions. You know the ones..."Hi, nice to meet you, what do you do?", "Do you work?", Occupation: _______. And while I spent far more time raising my children and tending my home, I always answered, "I teach piano." It was as if I suddenly had value. People would discuss their own piano lessons, ask about lessons for children, ask about my education, etc. It's not that these people often knew anything about music, but they were willing to discuss it. When we brought TM home, my easy answer went away. Up until the fall of '05, my mother-in-law would come to play with the children while I taught. She made up fantastic imaginary games that would involve them all …

If only they could all be this productive

I love days when I feel as though I get something done. After a day spent in the kitchen...

6 loaves of multi-grain bread

2 loaves of banana bread

1 batch of granola

and 1 pot of split pea soup for dinner.

Oh, and no dirty dishes are in the sink. I can sleep peacefully.