Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's to Eat?

I've always tried to be sure that my kids like healthy foods. When I read that one year olds generally favor french fries over any vegetable, I banned french fries during that first year. My kids get steamed veggies at lunch nearly every day. They have fruit and crackers at snack times. Dessert isn't offered daily. We don't keep juice in the house (though they can have it if we are out and it is offered), and they aren't allowed Coke/soda/pop until they are five.

Don't get me wrong, my kids like Mickey D's as much as the next kid and we do have cookies and such from time to time, but they have been pretty good eaters over all. They don't always have to clean their plates, but they do have to try all the foods. And Kate, especially, is learning where there are carbohydrates in food, as we figure insulin doses for Justin, and learning that we need some of this and a little of that, but most of all a good balance in our foods. I'm not sure if the way we have offered food has set the stage for their eating, but I figure it sure didn't hurt.

When Kate turned five, we let her have Sprite, and she hated it. She also despised Pepsi--asked us to pour it out and get her water. Last week I served Chef Boyardee. I'd never purchased it before, and actually got it accidentally--it was sitting on the edge of the conveyor belt at the grocery and must have gotten put with my items. The girls were so excited to eat this canned goody, but once they tasted it, they decided it wasn't any good (Nate gobbled it up). I was shocked that they didn't like it. Today I served steamed peas, hummus on whole wheat pita bread, cheese chunks and milk and Kate exclaimed, "This is the best lunch I've ever tasted, ever!!" Gabby, who had originally looked at it with disgust, asked if we could have it again, and Nate ate all of his too.

May they always love to eat the good stuff!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kate's Favorites

Someone from church must have introduced Kate to half years because a month or so ago she asked me if she was five and a half, which I told her she was not. I just realized that as of Saturday she is now five and half.

So in honor of Miss Kate's half birthday, here are some of her favorite things:

Book: Amelia Bedelia

Song: Big House (Audio Adrenaline)

Food: Spaghetti

Place: The Discovery Center

Game: Don't Break the Ice

Monday, March 28, 2011

Story of the World--the Nomads

We have started our first grade curriculum for social studies (Story of the World Volume 1). When I was looking it over, I found that there are more units than weeks in our school year, for our 180 day year. I thought it would be fun to starting on it some now, taking a slower pace--two or three weeks with a unit at this point.

One of our studies has been about nomads and their transition to farming. I really do like the books and the suggested books (I wish our public library had a better selection, but there are some books there that we can use, just not always the ones suggested).

We even made cave paintings.

* * *

One of the books I picked up at the library was The Big Golden Book of Cavemen and Other Prehistoric People--not one of the ones recommended in The Story of the World, but I was searching for something to fill the gaps in our study, as we were quite short on supporting literature. This has brought up the topic of evolution, before I ever planned to touch on it and Kate didn't really pick up on it at all, I don't think. It's an interesting subject. I don't water down what I believe in anyway to fit with a curriculum. I will present various religions and scientific topics with their views so that my children understand them, and how their views are different from those that our family subscribes to.

Evolution puts me into a different place though. I believe that God could do whatever He chose, in what ever way He chose, and that we as humans, in our attempt to describe Him and His creation, disagree, but that neither divinely appointed evolution nor a 6 day creation are outside of the realm of God's power.

It's not that I believe that there are errors in the Biblical account, but I have done some study, my husband took two terms of Biblical Hebrew in college as well. The Hebrew word 'yom' that is interpreted as day, can in fact mean 24 hours or it can mean a period of time, and in other parts of the Old Testament it is translated as other things--years or the passing of time (see here). The Biblical list of creation, follows the pattern that evolution appears to follow. So it is possible that the two can actually ideas can co-exist. Honestly, I don't know.

I also, honestly, don't know at what point 'people' are 'people.' Neanderthal, Cro magnon? I don't know. We have the bones, we know that these groups existed and changed over time. Were Adam and Eve the first creatures that walked up right? Did they come from some other animal and had the breath of God breathed into them or are they made separately (which is what I like to think, but can't be sure of)? Somewhere in the middle?

I would not attempt to presume that I could know and understand the mind of God. And I am so glad that I don't have to! It doesn't change my faith, it doesn't change God's love for me, it is just one of the many things I don't understand.

So for now, we're reading our books, whatever they are and whatever they say about how we got here and filling our curly haired girl's head with the knowledge that God made her and loves her.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind, where despite your very best efforts things just don't go as planned.

I hung a load of laundry out back, after checking the weather report--no rain expected until tomorrow. Now my once damp from the washer clothes are dripping wet.

I stayed up later than usual to pay a stack of bills, and then forgot to put them in the mailbox until after our mail ran for the day.

On the upside--that laundry will dry, eventually, and the trip to the post office gave us an excuse to stop by Sonic during their half price deal for drinks. The girls got to split a slush and Nate got to eat the lemon (pucker), so they were all happy. Maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all.

Friday, March 25, 2011


When Justin and I first married, he wanted to handle the finances. Then he nearly puked when he looked at the checkbook. I took over. It was daunting those first several months. We were barely scraping by and bills sometimes had to be juggled until a pay check, which was still before they were due, but the check couldn't be written the day the bill was received either. Soon after, Justin got a better paying job and check writing got a lot less stressful.

We were blessed that between our parents and scholarship money we both left school without any debt. Justin went to grad school on a stipend and we've only had to pay a little each year to keep him current, if you count $800 a credit hour as little, anyway! We have carefully stayed out of debt beyond housing and sometimes one car payment.

Last year, however, we went in to pretty major debt. We bought a house in Kansas a few years back. One we planned to raise our expanding family in. It was so close to campus that Justin could ride his bike, and I wasn't sure that we would ever move. After we settled in, we realized that we missed being close to our families. The people he worked with were wonderful, but we had some fiscal concerns about the school. We found the job here and put the house on the market.

Then we found out just how badly the market had collapsed. The house we bought to raise our family in was no longer worth what we had agreed to pay for it. Or even what we owed on it, despite the fact I dutifly wrote checks for more than the minimum payment each month. It was an awful sinking reality. The bank mentioned short sale, but we decided that ethically, we should pay what we owed, even if it was $20,000 more than we would get in the end. Check writing suddenly made me ill too. I even wondered if we should have stayed with the old position.

Last night as I sat running numbers of our tax return and some overload that we're expecting to get from Justin's work, and it looked like it will pay the last of our remaining debt. God has provided exactly what we needed, despite what seemed like a ridiculous sum of money to owe for a one income family. We emptied or savings, cashed out a retirement account, and scrimped where we can, but we were not in this alone--we have had friends come along side us to help, family who lent us money and actually asked to be paid back last, so we can get rid of our line of credit that charges interest first. And you know what, assuming Justin gets to teach the summer class that's on the schedule, it won't just be the debt from the loss on the house--it's also what we still owe on the van, thankfully not too much, so we can be 100% debt free, until we buy a house anyway, with with $103.75 to spare (assuming I guessed right on taxes). What I expected to pay on for five years, may well be paid off in one.

We truly felt led to pay what we owed. And we believe that God has been faithful to provide abundantly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mystery Teacher

Kate, who was your Sunday School teacher today?

I don't know.

Was your teacher a man or a woman?

She was a woman.

What did she look like?

We're not supposed to talk about how a person looks!

I guess she got that lesson, though perhaps a little too well!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Shiny New Library Card

Kate got her very own library card Tuesday. I had assumed we'd need her birth certificate or something, but when we asked the gal at circulation what we needed she told us we just had to fill out a form at the reference desk, but I'll let Kate tell the story...

We went to the library. I went and looked at books. Then I found a fairy book. We went to check out.

After we were done checking out, we got me a fancy library card. Mama wrote on one piece of paper. I wrote my name: K-a-t-i-e L-a-s-t.

I am going to check out books with the library card. It is exciting!

May this passport to books help you travel far and wide, girlie, I hope you get as much use out of your library card as I did growing up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Eye...Again

In case anyone that I haven't contacted directly is eye is improving. I saw a doctor (not my doctor, as he is off this week), and he tells me that the place where the old infection was is growing smaller and my vision is making improvement too.

The vision issue hasn't been a major problem, since one rarely closes her good eye to look out her bad, but I'm glad to know that it is improving. It also gives me more hope about passing the eye exam to keep my driver's license one of these days, since we hope to change counties at some point. I've been racking my brain trying to remember if I was tested both eyes at once, or individually, when we moved here. I was sure I could pass if it was both, but concerned if it was each. After today's exam I think I can pass it either way--whew! I didn't drive for awhile, though the doctors never restricted me, but once I could read the street signs again, I'd deemed myself fit--I just wasn't sure about the state yet!

Now if I can get over this lovely bug that my family shared with me, we'll be in good shape!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break

We took off Spring Break with Justin last week, and we enjoyed some time doing fun things between my (three) visits to the eye doctor (yeah--that's not over yet) and his trip to see the NP at the endocrinologist's office.

I picked up a Groupon for $15 for 5 passes to a jump place (I didn't think to take my camera, but I did get a few cell phone pics.).

Kate was thrilled.

My littlest daredevil was none too sure. It took him about an hour to warm up to the place. He eventually decided it was fun.

And then Miss Gabby, who started off utterly terrified, even when we held her in the jumpers ended by sliding and jumping, while chanting "Jumping on the bed! jumping on the bed!!"

Since we were already down town to see my doctor on Wednesday, we visited a different science museum. We didn't get through all of it, but the kids enjoyed something different.

There were cars to lift (a little red Fiat),

planets to discover,

interfaces to interact with,

ambulances to explore,

things to point at,

and Magic School Buses to ride.

It was NOT the same science museum that I visited when I was a little girl (even though it sort of is)--a lot more than the name has changed, for better or for worse. We found the loud music to be distracting, but loved the new technology that allowed for so much more information to be shared, though our kids aren't quite ready for that depth, it is nice to know it is there.

It was a topsy-turvy break, but it was so nice to be home together. We were able to go back to work and home school after a nice respite.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Kate: Mama is skinny.

Justin: Oh?

Kate: Yeah, she has more skin than me, so she's skinny.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gabby on Grandparents

I need a supa-hewo [super hero]! Call Gam an' PawPaw an' Toby!

* * * * *

Can we go drop Mama off at home and dwive to visit Gam an' PawPaw or Nan and Pop?

'Cause you know I can't go to those places...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Because I Couldn't Make This Up...

So, last week I got the new script (it was another antibiotic, by the way). It was not nice stuff. Made my eye itch and burn, made my hatred of sunlight grow to near vampire proportions, and made my pink eye turn bright red and swollen. So I called an ophthalmologist's office, in hopes he will tell me to stop taking the evil fire drops.

I show up Friday afternoon. No, actually I'm dropped off on Friday afternoon, because I can't be in the sun, remember? Justin drives the kids to a nearby park while I see this doctor. He looks in my eye and sketches on a paper for a bit silently. Then he tells me that he thinks I have an amoeba infection. That sounds so much worse than a bacteria or virus, doesn't it? He won't treat it, but tells me that he's referring me to another doctor for Monday and that he expects that I'll have to have a biopsy of my eye--um, ouch.

I spent the entire weekend trying not to worry about the pain I was expecting and what it might mean as far as taking care of the munchkins, oh and that I'd be ruining Justin's spring break. And trying not to play on Dr. Google. I wanted information badly, but what little I could read through my fingers (it was too bad to look at directly), just scared me too much to finish any of the articles.

Monday I saw a new ophthalmologist. He did run quite a few tests. He assured me that they don't do biopsies anymore, they use a special microscope now which is less barbaric (his words). That scan was inconclusive, but based on the fact that we have city water, I've not swam in any rivers, and I've not worked in brush he thinks an amoeba is unlikely--whew, because the treatment sounded rough. He took four swabbings to plate out and two scrapings. This didn't hurt at the time, thanks to lovely numbing drops, but in the evening I could tell I had little scratches on my eye. Thankfully they were better in the morning.

His preliminary assessment was that I had a bacterial infection that was healing, which was what the other doctor saw, but that the drops caused a reaction that caused the mess that was my eye.

Stay tuned for more on this ridiculously long eye saga, 'cause I go back tomorrow and I'm hoping for a, "You're going to be fine now run along home," kind of report.

Oh and FYI--something I never, ever aren't supposed to shower with contact lenses in. That's my PSA for the day? month? year?

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made one of the girls favorite treats the other day. They are Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. My oldest has tried to put aside bananas to turn brown before in hopes that I will make this for breakfast if our bananas turn brown. I made them for no particular reason this time.

The original recipe came from the February 2007 issue of Guideposts, but as I can never leave well enough is no longer the recipe from the February 2007 issue of Guideposts.

1/4 cup of sour cream or vanilla or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 stick of butter or margarine softened (I just set mine out the night before)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup milled flax seed (may be omitted, but add extra flour)
2 mashed bananas
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350* and spray a muffin tin. Stir sour cream (or yogurt) with baking soda and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar. Then the egg, followed by the mix of white puffy stuff that formed with the soda and your sour cream/yogurt. Mix in the rest with a spoon. Divide evenly into a standard muffin tin to make a dozen muffins. Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Audio Books

I found a new little gem. LibriVox. There you can find books that have been recorded aloud in the public domain. I love reading to Kate, books that are often above her ability level, but I often found a wiggly little boy who is trying to get in the middle of the book and us. This way we sit by the computer and listen quietly while he plays.

We're listening to Little Women now.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Oh my children how I love you, but could you give Mama a break please?

Nate has discovered climbing with the purpose of opening doors.

So far I have been able to thwart his efforts before any knobs have been turned.

Gabriella, oh my dear. She has been going through a testing phase. She screams and cries and fights over the smallest of things. And bedtime has become her number one battle ground. Typically annoying it is harder when children share a room because she's also causing trouble for Kate, which means no down time in the evenings.

Here she is running away and crying...again.

Kate, never one to be out done, has been writing on walls.

After I removed the Sharpie marks last week with alcohol swabs, she moved on to the more permanent than permanent marker approach, etching. She took a tack used to hold up some art work and scratched a picture into her wall, oh and smeared on some lip gloss on for good measure.

In case you can't really tell there are two stick figures, smiling, which I wasn't when I found it. Smiling that is, nor a stick figure for that matter.

Needless to say creative discipline has been getting a work out. And my oldest tells me that her lips will be chapped forever, you know because I made her toss the lip gloss that caused the lovely pink smudges on the walls (yes, plural).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What is In a Name?

I went to Bible Study at church on Sunday and was chatting with one of the gals before we started. She asked me if Katie Beth was mine. It took me off guard. I know that Kate has been telling everyone there that her name is Katie Beth, but she still hasn't quite converted me.

There is just the part of me that has 'Kate' in my automatic cue, of course. I still call a fellow I went to school with Timmy because he has always been Timmy, though I got his answering machine a few years ago and he's changed on over to Tim. I can't blame him, he grew up, moved away, became an attorney, but even if I don't say it out loud he'll always me Timmy in my head.

As I thought about it more, I think I also have trouble with this name change because, when she changed her name from Katie to Kate, it seemed so fitting. When I think of Kate, I think of a strong willed, confident person. Katie Beth seems more dainty and passive to me for some reason.

So here in lies the question...will she change her name again, about the time I finally change me default to Katie Beth, or will she redefine the name for me.

At least she doesn't want me to call her Ariel...that would be the three year old.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What is it Again?

I've had this rotten eye infection that just won't quite go away--it waxes and wanes, but after nearly three weeks it's still hanging on. Today I called to see if there was something else we could do about it.

The nurse who promised to call back forgot me, so I called just before closing time so I could try and get them to write me a script or give me some advice. I've arranged my day around these phone calls, but I'm understanding. My doctor is out of town and I'm sure the nurse has had a busy and out of sorts day. She was able to talk to another doctor and secure me a new prescription.

She didn't tell me the name of the drug, but told me that I would put a drop in my eye five times a day. So I asked, "Is it another antibiotic or an antiviral?"

"It's an eye drop."

Um, yeah... I really hope she's just had a long day. I guess I'll look it up when I pick it up. Hopefully we'll get rid of this pink itchy mess that makes me want to avoid light.