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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The World Through Her Eyes

Today we were out running errands and as we were driving along Charissa was commenting on and questioning all that she saw (as usual).  We were at a light when we saw a small bulldozer/digger thing (we're girls - we don't know what they're called) making a hole in the ground.  This was our conversation:

CJ: What's that digger doing?
Me: I don't know.  Making a hole I guess.
CJ: Hmm ... I think he's building a home.  For a squirrel!
Me:  A home for a squirrel?
CJ:  Yah.  Isn't that so nice of them?  They are building a home for a squirrel.  Now the squirrel can be dry when it rains!

Oh that funny little girl.  I'd love to be able to see the world through her eyes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Starting to Move On

When I was lesson planning for CJ's preschool, I decided that I wanted to start each day by going over the calendar.  She could learn the months, the days of the week, and by counting up to the day, it was good way to refresh numbers.  Plus we already had a calendar from the spring when we did some Montessori work.  The problem was that our calendar hadn't been touched in months.  Five, to be exact.  And, this is what it looks like:

This calendar can serve as a visual representation of my life for the past five months.  It's been stuck.  That was the week that we lost Lucas.  And my world has been on hold.  After the initial phase, I was getting out of bed, I was seeing people, I cleaned, I cooked, I played with the girls ... but I wasn't moving on.  I was living in the loss.  Sure, I could now think about Lucas without feeling like I was having a panic attack, but I wasn't myself.  

I feel like in the last few weeks I've been able to return.  And while I am still hurting, the pain is now a part of my life, and not my whole life.  I don't think I'll ever be free of it, but in some ways I don't ever want to.  The pain reminds me of how much I love my son.  How I would have done anything to save him, had it been in my power.  How I would have loved to see my girls getting excited about a little brother.  I would have been almost 35 weeks pregnant.  

The calendar now has the month of August on it.  They say life has a way of catching up on you, but I feel like I'm finally catching up on life.  

PS - I recently finished a quilt for Lucas.  If you want to see it you can go to my other blog.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things I Love - The Pioneer Woman Cooks

I got this cookbook about 3 weeks ago and I LOVE it.  First of all, it's not just a cookbook.  It chronicles how Ree Drummond transitioned from city-girl to ranch-wife.  There are beautiful pictures of their farm and she talks about daily life on the a ranch.  So it's a really fun read.  And the recipes - A-MAZING!  So first of all, the ingredients are all simple things you've actually heard of.  You don't have to go to three different stores to find everything you need for one meal. Second, they are things MEN will eat.  And want to eat.  These aren't fancy salads and entrees, but meats and hearty sides.  My favorite so far - steak sandwiches.  I think I could eat this every week.  Ok - but let me tell you my third and biggest reason why I love this book - there are pictures for every step in each recipe.  That's right - no more wondering what your food should look like, no more wondering what the step really means - you can just see it.  It's marvelous.

What I Love About It:

  • Easy, delicious, family pleasing recipes
  • Pictures, pictures, pictures!!
  • There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  
What I'm Not Crazy About:
  • Um .... I got nothing.
In Summation:  Go out and buy it.  Your family will thank you. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preschool Has Started in Earnest!

My desk is surrounded by textbooks and flashcards and charts and workbooks!  And it's only preschool!  But we're doing this thing right.  This week we're just focusing on getting in the habit of school and going over 3 subjects: math, letters, and writing.  Next week we are going to start ALL subjects.  And what are we going to cover?  Math, letters, writing, social studies, geography, biology (with a focus on botany), coloring, fine motor skills, science, time concepts (months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, etc), money ... and on and on.  Well, not too much more.  I mean ... it's not like we're doing AP work here, but kids learn a lot in preschool.  Of course I don't know from personal experience since I skipped preschool, but from what I'm gathering, they do learn a lot.

So far I've enjoyed our first two days.  It gives me some good one-on-one time with CJ and she seems to really love it.  She asks for "school time" throughout the day and goes and looks through her books by herself.  I'm hoping that her love for learning increases throughout the year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Silly Girls

Most mornings after breakfast I send the girls into their room to make their beds and change their clothes.  Of course, Verity isn't able to do either, but it gets her in the habit of seeing what needs to be done.  Well this morning I go into their room and discover that Verity has put on 4 pairs of undies over her pajamas.  Like so:
Well, truth be told, she had them in various levels around her legs.  She couldn't quite get them up.  When she saw me she made a great show of how proud she was of herself and then asked for help to finish the job.  

And today, the big sister joined in the fun.  She decided to dress in her fluffy skirt and a pink shirt - which is backwards.  
And how about how CJ looks taller than the couch?  I was on the floor when I took the picture and I must have angled it just right to make her look like a giant.  

Later in the morning CJ decided to measure Verity a la Mary Poppins.  Her reading was "A good little sis."

Love those girls!

Things I Love - Minky Retractable Clothes Line

This summer I taught sewing lessons to a couple teenage sisters that go to our church.  We had a blast sewing together and their enthusiasm to learn was so refreshing.  But while I was at their house, I found something else that I loved (besides their mother's banana bread) - a retractable clothes line!

I loved the idea of hanging my clothes up outside, but I couldn't get excited about a clothesline hanging up all the time.  I like things put away when I'm not using them, and having to keep a clothesline up would irritate me.  So you can imagine how super excited I was about finding the Minky Retractable Clothes Line.  It's so easy to install (at least it was for Britt), and the cord is an amazing 49 feet long!  You could hang A LOT of clothes on that.  I think we only have ours set up to extend 20 feet, but I'm not hanging up all our clothes.  Lowes carries it, but I'm not sure if they are going to consider it "seasonal" and they'll stop carrying it soon.  But it's in the section with ironing boards and closet shelving/organizers.

What I Love About It:

  • At $14 it's cheap!  And no additional hardware is needed.  
  • Small isn't really noticeable hanging up on our fence.  For those of you who live in neighborhoods where clotheslines are frowned upon, this does give you a good option that shouldn't annoy your neighbors.
  • L-O-N-G!!
  • Verity's diapers have never smelled so fresh! :)
What I'm Not Crazy About:
  • Since it is retractable, you have to twist the cord around a little part on the bottom to ensure that it doesn't keep expanding as you put clothes on it.  It took a time or two to get it right, but it's not a problem any more.  
In Summation:  Love it!  Those using cloth diapers really need to get one.  And so should the rest of you. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Very Special Day

Do you know who this baby is?  This is my NIECE!!!  That's right everyone - I am now an aunt!  Which I've only been waiting on for like 6 years.  My sister-in-law only labored for 8 hours, and had NO drugs.  Nothing. At. All.  She's my new hero.  And look at that sweet face!
I didn't know how I was going to feel holding this new little one.  So many of my dear friends have had babies and I wondered if it would be the same as that.  But this was so different.  When I held her I almost wanted to cry.  That was MY niece.  She is always going to be in my life.  She's family.  I get the privilege of watching her hopefully grow into a Godly woman.  Such an occasion should not be taken lightly.  Which is why I made these:

The girls definitely needed to be showing their support of little Gillian.  And they were both so excited.  Charissa was hopping down the hall and couldn't wait to finally meet her cousin.  Verity kept wanting to stroke her head and would say, "Bay-bee".  So sweet!

And do you know what else is sweet?  How close sisters can be.  Like so:

I'd like to imagine CJ is saying, "Now tell me the truth, Verity.  Does my armpit stink?"

So glad to have another little girl in the family!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Faces to Love

Sometimes, it's best to not worry about the mess. Not worry if they get their Sunday dress dirty. But just relish the time when they are small and I can make them delightfully happy by sharing the batter bowl with them.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Things I Love - Aladdin Recycled & Recyclable Snack Container

I was at Target two weeks ago with Charissa and we decided to look through the back-to-school section, more for nostalgic reasons than looking for anything particular.  But we stumbled across Aladdin Recycled & Recyclable Snack Container.  We love it!  I quickly snatched up one for each girl.  Imagine - no more crushed goldfish/cheerios/crackers in baggies at the bottom of your purse or diaper bag!

Things I Love About It:

  • The container is slim and fits easily in my purse
  • The lid lifts and folds to flat against the body so it's not always in the way
  • It's the right size for a single-serving snack for toddlers/preschoolers
  • At $6.99 it's not unreasonably priced.  It's about the price of two boxes of ziploc bags, so it'll pay for itself quickly.  
  • No more bags!!  Not only is that better for the crumbs in my purse, but it's a more eco-friendly. 
What I'm Not Crazy About:
  • The whole in the top where the snack comes out is just big enough for Verity to put her hand in, but when she has the food in her hand she can't get it back out.  It's like one of those monkey traps ... except Verity is not of "low intelligence."  So each time we get it out we have to have a relearning session where we show her how to pour the food into her hand.
In summation: I like it, my girls like it, and my purse is cleaner because of it. It's a win, win, win!

Also, while we were there we got  "lunch purses."  Charissa got a ladybug, and Verity got a lady-frog (she has long eyelashes).  One of my favorite things about them is that they come with matching icepacks.  A-dorable.  And before you become worried about how much I spent on them, at Target the lunch bags were only $8 - not $40 like on Amazon. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Book Review - Private by James Patterson

I read the book Private by James Patterson last week.  I'm a huge fan of the mystery genre, so it's kind of surprising that I haven't read a book by James Patterson yet, but this was my first one.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I read the whole 400-page book in less than 24 hours (which is fast even for me).

Here's the summary from Amazon:

The police can't help you
Former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily--and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.
The press will destroy you
Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.
Only one place to turn: Private 
But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Morgan has to navigate a workplace love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans. With a plot that moves at death-defying speeds, Private is James Patterson sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.

My Review:
I don't think it took but one paragraph to be sucked into this book.  It was a smooth read that just flowed from page to page - which is part of the reason that it was so hard to put it down.  I really liked how there were three separate cases that they were working on because it kept the action moving at all times.  But not only were the cases interesting, but the characters had good depth and you began to care about them.  The story wasn't all about the crimes, but also about the characters.  Lastly - there wasn't a lot of sex or language.  Always a bonus.  

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend this book.