Monday, October 31, 2011


"Happy Halloween!"

from the vampire,

the ghost,

and the mummy too.

The girls decided they wanted to be 'scary' this year. You're trembling, right? Once they decided on their costumes we picked Nate to 'match.' The costumes are homemade, except that we bought Kate a black dress that she can wear all fall (and the teeth, obviously!). We taught the girls "We vont to suck your blood," but we've since changed it to "We vont to eat your candy."

I know a lot of Christians don't do Halloween, but we do. We refused to give Satan even one day out of the calendar. The kids will learn only to go where they are invited (i.e. where the porch light is on), so it's not truly begging, another argument I've heard against trick-or-treating. And there will plenty of thank yous and giggles, I'm sure.

Here are some older Halloweens if you want to take a peek!

Before the blog (we really had kids and even took their pictures before the blog!):

2007 (a fairy and a pumpkin)

2006(Pebbles Flintstone)

2005 (pumpkin)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The girlies are enjoying their gymnastics classes each week. They need to work on some of the skills, namely keeping their arms and legs straight, but they are definitely improved from where they were at the beginning of the fall.

Kate has class first.

Her class alternates between learning to do these running flips with the spring board and using the high bars (she prefers the high bars) because she's intimidated by doing a flip from a full run.

(That high bar in the background with the yellow tie on it, is one that she climbs using the old horse (they don't use those anymore) and shimmies across to learn to drop to the ground--they only flip on the lower bars. They do put extra thick foam underneath it too while they are learning.)

She is learning to do a back flip by rolling over the 'barrel'

and she's getting instruction in how to do a round off.

Then Gabriella gets her turn:

Stepping through a hoop and over toys on the beam,

Learning how to do a cartwheel,

And her favorite is flipping over bars too. I think part of that is because her teacher's name here is Miss Gabby.

So that is what my biggest two monkeys are up too! I've been pleased with the increase in confidence the girls have physically. I'm not sure how long they will continue to be interested in gymnastics, but I'm glad they are enjoying it now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Um, Oops

I didn't do my research. I had a set of McGuffey's Eclectic Readers that I inherited from my grandparents. I knew they were commonly used to teach reading in schools across the country for quite some time.

We started with the first lesson in the First Reader last year with Kate's kindergarten. We didn't finish it. Then when we were ready to start this fall, I pulled out the books and it seemed that she had either picked up a lot over the summer or what she had learned last year had finally gelled. We began in the Second Reader. At our current rate, we'll finish it by Christmas. This week I started looking at the rest of the books. As I flipped open the 6th reader, where we would ostensibly be in at 3rd or 4th grade, I found Shakespeare, Byron, and Dickens. I guess these aren't a book per grade!

I suppose we'll be finding some supplemental reading to do in the next few years! On the upside, it looks like she should be able to do some more independent reading in the next little bit. One site I found tried to get graded reading levels for the readers--the reader we are in is listed at the 3rd-4th grade level.

I'm proud of my girl and we'll be off to the library to find some more books for her to read to me!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Break

We made a run to my in-laws over this past weekend, as Justin had Monday and Tuesday off for fall break (did you miss me? no? I guess auto-post kept on going!).

On our way up we got to stop in the town where we bought our first house, just outside of Cincinnati. We had arranged to meet one of my dear friends there--she was one of the very first people I met when I moved up there because she was one of the instructional assistance in my room.

When we got there, it wasn't just her. She arranged to have two of my former peer tutors meet us too. They are both married and have a child each (and she has one on the way)! It was such a pleasant surprise.

The gal was able to bring her daughter who really hit it off with Kate. (Can one not hit it off with Kate? She makes it hard not to chat with her.) Too bad it is a bit of a commute for a play date!

Then we headed on over to visit his parents.

Where we played in leaves,

Carved pumpkins,

Ate birthday cake,

And opened presents.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Gabriella is four years old today.

She is maternal and sweet with a fiery streak. She has strong opinions about just about every thing. She is independent and determined.

She is bright and has a dry sense of humor

A contagious giggle

And she promises to never grow up.

To the little gal who wants to be a mother and a wife,

I pray that you are a joy to all that know you as you reflect Jesus to your family and all who you meet. And I pray that you use your determined spirit to do great and wonderful things for Him (not to make your mother and father stay awake nights trying to come up with ways to bend it for your safety and our sanity).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Write it Down

When I was little, I remember coming home from school with marker on me.

Not like the gals did the other day though. My teacher would write on me. She would write letters I struggled with or even put a dot on my nose if I did something well. Those were visual reminders... The dots would prompt others to ask why, and we could tell what we did right. The letters or numbers on my hand were there to remind me to practice them.

I had forgotten all about that until after weeks of trying to convince Kate to memorize the addends that made 10, I remembered that little teaching tool from my kindergarten year. I wrote two of the three sets of numbers she was struggling with and by the end of the week she had them memorized. Since then I've written a few letters on Gabby's hands and a few more equations on Kate's hands. The writing reminds them, every time they see it, and it is a reminder to me to ask them about it all through the us a lot of practice in what ever we are working on at the moment.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dreams for the Future


G: When I grow up I'm going to be a mama and if I don't have any kids I'll be a wife.

M: What do you think you'll like doing?

G: I'll make pies and pizza and roast beef.

M: Okay, so you'll like to cook, what else do you think you'd like about being a wife or mother?

G: I'll make meatballs ans chicken fingers and an apple pie with pepper & salt & apples & crust in the pie.

M: Do you think you'll like to do anything else other than cook?

G: [Exasperated look.] Well, I'll feed my kids.

* * * * *


K: When I grow up I'm going to be a librarian.

M: Why?

K: Because I won't have to add very much and I think it would be interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's Cooking?

Our diet took a bit of a turn nearly two years ago when Justin was diagnosed as an adult onset type I diabetic. There is no longer garlic bread with pasta. We have to round out some dinners with extra carbohydrates because there just isn't enough in baked chicken and green beans to take a dose of insulin. We've mostly found our way through--finding a few foods that are filling without carbohydrates. A favorite being cheese. Snacks are virtually gone, unless of course he has a low, then look out!

A few weeks back we'd been dealing with diaper-y issues with the little fellow. We tried a day on the BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce, & toast) diet to give his system a break. When I added in yogurt the next morning, the issues were back. Wierd. Then it hit me--could it be dairy? We made a switch to almond milk that day. And 'fake' cheese. And even 'fake' ice cream. Any time he gets any dairy we are right back in copious numbers of diapers. The bigger problem isn't the number of changes that are required, it is that the poop then burns his poor little bum. Evidently that is a sign of lactose intolerance--the acid in the milk is not broken down so it is still there. I've read that lactose intolerance can be an issue for a month or so after a stomach virus, so here's to hoping we're going to pass through this faze, but Justin had about 10 years of lactose intolerance.

I've been making him some separate foods for him... He likes pizza, but obviously can't have it with regular cheese. I made him up some on french bread with soy cheese. Soy cheese isn't great, but it is miles better than plastic rice cheese. By the way, the cheese powder in mac & cheese boxes does have enough real cheese in it to cause a problem, even when mixed with almond milk.

I've put off the pediatrician, since we're handling the issue on our own without any problems and it may well be temporary. I'm not a fan of the appointments where the doctor has to tell me wait and see, and since that's what we'll likely get until after this has lasted awhile longer. I am hoping that we will be able to get an all clear on dairy before too long or at least a dosage for the lactase enzyme, when I get him an appointment for his two year visit, so the little guy can eat our normal foods again soon.

Until then I guess what's cooking is not a creamy soup or gooey casserole, at least not for the little guy. And Justin will have to keep sneaking his cheese.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


This morning my little gals brought me birthday presents.

Gabriella had told Justin I needed new bows again this year, so I gave her another idea. I told her I wanted a dark pink lip gloss. I sent a three year old with a colorblind man to choose lip gloss...I got bright red lip gloss. Thankfully it doesn't go on too thick, so it isn't as in your face as I thought it would be!

Miss Kate decided Mama needed some chocolate. Then the girls decided they need chocolate for their snack!

If you need me, I'll be eating chocolate and applying lip gloss.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What We've Been Reading

The little people and I have been reading the Little House series. If the shelves are in the same place in the little school library in my elementary school, I could walk you to the shelf where those books sat when I was 8 years old. I devoured them (those and Nancy Drew that year--I know where those were too).

When Kate and I started her writing course for this year, the first copy and narration work came from The Little House in the Big Woods. We were both enjoying the little snippets, so we picked it up at the library. We've also read The Little House on the Prairie and Farmer Boy, which we just finished. Next we'll be on to The Banks of Plum Creek.

I've taken to checking out the book as well as the unabridged audio book. We listen to it as we drive around town and then follow up at home. Since the version we've been getting (narrated by Cherry Jones--she did a great job by the way) has breaks at the end of each chapter, it is easy to find our place in changing between the two.

I love that the girls are really enjoying a story that I remember loving as a girl. These books are rich in history too. They've learned about life before all the conveniences we take for granted, about the government movement of the American tribes, and what life was like for children of that time.

Read any good books lately?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What They Say

Little boys are always supposed to love their mothers best. It has to be true, 'they' say so. You know the collective 'they' who tell us all the great truths like opposites attract and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

My little fellow...

The sweet child who loves his Mama best of all... That little darling boy who has always giggled and smiled when I kissed those cheeks...

He's started shouting, "Stop that!" when I give him kisses. Then he unceremoniously wipes his little face with his hands. It surprised me so much that I laughed the first time, which of course means we get a lot of encores of it.
I'm sure I'm in for a life time of bans on kisses and hugs, at least off and on, but he still blows me kisses when I tuck him in at night. I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Toddler Theology

God looks like air to me. I can't see air and I can't see God.

* * * * *

Jesus and God are stuck together, 'cause Jesus is God.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Teaching of Reading

I told you a little over a month ago that Gabby was able to read her first word. The little gal has taken off. She has reached the 40th lesson in the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. If you are looking for a simple to use program that works, at least for willing readers, I just thought I would let you know that she's still enjoying it. She loves the silly pictures that go with the often silly stories. She loves that it is a special time with just the two of us. And she is learning new sounds and words all the time.

I love that it is easy to sit down with the book, not a bunch of flash cards or extra things to practice it. I will note, we aren't doing the writing practice that is built in. She isn't quite four yet, so while she sometimes chooses to write, I don't ask that of her yet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lip Gloss

This is a video of Kate opening her birthday present from Gabby: