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Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Boy

I am loving the stage Justin's in right now.  This is new for me, since I mainly grew up around girls and Justin is my first boy so this is the first time I am going through this stage with a boy.  I'm so glad I get to experience both-it's fun.  It's entirely new for me though. 

He's delightfully boyish-dirt loving, gun toting, fart-joking.   He wants to be strong, he wants to be like his Dad, he wants to know when he can do adult things.  (He just asked me today when he might grow facial hair)  He's full of energy, he's very physical, fascinated with everything, curious about how the world works.  He loves to help make things or to bake.  He collects odds and ends-screws and bits of metal and whatever he picks up-and stores his treasures in his special spot for them.  (He keeps it organized)  He has money in his wallets and always wants to buy stuff. Mainly snickers bars.   He still loves to hear a story.  He's a little man of priciple.  He LOVES boomerang tv.  He likes history, outer space, the human body, tools, weapons, garbage trucks, bats, dogs, construction vehicles, guitars, superheroes, sharks, big wheels, and of course dinosaurs. 
I love him. 
:  )

Jacob & friends

Jacob and Patches
Jacob and Noah
Just Jacob

Jacob and Kobe (and Patches)

More fun with water

Not exactly water fun, but I think he kinda looks like a surfer dude here.
It didn't take long for Carolee to run inside!!

With a certain setting on the hose, you could see a rainbow

The kids all squirted the mailman (with his permission)

Water Gun Fun

The day after the Cabela's guns arrived, we got a new kind of gun.  It certainly was the right kind of weather for it! 

Memorial Day Reminder

Just sharing, sometimes adults forget the real reasons for holidays as well.  (Here's why we celebrate Memorial Day)  Looking for lessons for the holiday, and found this link to send the troops a thank you.  And another one here.   Also, a short version of the story of the Star Spangled BannerHere's a longer one.

The Unknown Soldier
You need not ever know my name
This unknown soldier seeks no fame
I'm here to bring out thought from you
May your heart see more than your view
America, we marched with pride
We gave our life, for you we died

How well we knew the time might come
When life could sound that final drum
Please think of us as life moves on
We tried so hard till that last dawn
Do let our spirit fill the land
Pass treasured freedom, hand to hand
God blessed this country with such love
Hold in your heart, abundance of
And when you stand before my grave
Think not of one, but each who gave
©2003Roger J. Robicheau

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got a little captain in him!

Ha!  Couldn't resist.  I didn't see the pose until looking through the pictures now. 

Wooden guns

New guns from Cabela's, curtesy of Nanny Sue.  She made targets with paper and cans for the boys to take aim at!  Water guns work too! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Porch tents

Just afternoon fun. 

Lemonade Stand

On Friday she sold pictures as well.  She made a nice profit, though a large portion came from our neighbor.  I think she made about $1.00 the first day and $5.00 the second. 
Leanna sold Lemonade and cake while our neighbor had a yard sale last weekend. I believe she made more money than the neighbor did at her yard sale!! 

Making the cake-I made her do it with me instructing.  She set up her table and I made her sweep up afterwards and help carry in her stuff.  I had her start rinsing the dishes but was interrupted and she didn't get to finish her own dishes, as I had intended.  I purposely wanted her to do the work as well, though it would have been easier for me to quickly make the cake and clean up.  Part of the experience should be putting the work into it too.  And Monday as part of school, we figured out the cost of supplies and subtracted that from the total amount she made to see how much profit there really was.  (though for this first experiment I supplied the cost of materials)  We talked about ways we could have done things differently to make it better.   I think she will want to try this again sometime!

The dark-caped one

The dark one roams the street!!

He tried to escape!

He stole other people's drinks!
He tried escaping into neighbor's houses!
The little bandit looked especially cute & dark with the hood up, but he refused to be photographed that way!

Crayon stubs

That's a good idea!  Collecting crayon stubbs to keep them from taking up space in landfills and making new crayons.  I like the idea of the ones that make new multi-colors. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Marry for Money?

So I made the right choice afterall!  Now they're saying that a wealthy man isn't such a great choice. 

"Release your dream of marrying a man with money. Scientists say guys with smaller paychecks are emotionally available, faithful and better in bed."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

sprinkler fun

Our neighbor put out a sprinkler Thursday afternoon and the kids had a blast!  Check out little Timothy Monroe, with the water blasting up his shorts.  LOL, it gave him a bubble butt.  Miss Leanna, posing in her new swimsuit. 

Thursday afternoon

Justin, playing with Patches, and Timothy using Starfall's educational website. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Proselytising (and homeschooling stuff too)

Though this is from a homeschooling article on Enjoying the Process (as opposed to the product).  It was a good reminder for me, as there are definitely times with four young kids that I lose focus and worry more about the product than the process.   I also wanted to mention that I found some interesting thoughts not specifically related to homeschooling.  This particular part reminds me of people I know: 

"Thinking through deeper issues, including religion, philosophy, and the ultimate meaning of life and death, is also a process. We should all try to recognize that everyone needs to go through these processes on their own. Once we believe that we have discovered the truth for ourselves, there is a huge tendency to want to take that product and hand it on a platter, pre-formed and suitable for framing, to everyone we meet. While it is always fine to share, it is much better to enjoy the process of listening to others, while helping them to think through their own ideas on the subject. I figure that if I am correct in my own view of the truth, then that truth will be able to stand up to analysis and criticism from others. If there are areas where I am still in error, I may also benefit from listening carefully to the ideas of others. No matter what, each individual will need to process this information on their own, and arrive at their own conclusions. Other than planting seeds for thought, there is little I can do to speed up the process for them anyway."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I needed that!

This gave me a good laugh! 
From Awkward Family Photos website.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mr. Popper's Penguins

We just started reading Mr. Popper's Penguins tonight and Leanna and Justin were LOVING that book.  I just found this free Mr. Popper's Penguin lapbook.  Really neat.  I love that you can find so many sources of really great ideas for education.  You don't have to homeschool to take advantage of these ideas either!

Jacob argued with me that those pictures were not of penguins!  "That's bird!" he stubbornly insisted.  We did have an interesting discussion after I stopped reading about the North and South Poles.  (Justin: Can you take an airplane to the North Pole?  Me: I think you have to travel by reindeer, like Santa!  Timothy, suddenly interested: Yeah!  Santa uses reindeer!!  Justin was asking questions about where the two poles were, so I'll have to remember to show them on a map.  It was hard to explain exactly how they are at opposite ends of the earth.  I'll show them on a ball, since our globe is in a box, who knows where! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eating out with kids

I liked this post on taking kids to restaurants.  Particularly since Nanny Sue just treated the kids to a lunch at Burger King on Saturday afternoon(thank you!), and they were all very well behaved.  A lady sat nearby us with 3 girls and 2 boys and they were nicely behaved as well. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010


On a sunny afternoon, a chubby little fist, full of color and creativity! 

I was catching up on SouleMama's blog, (which is always a pleasure) and it reminded me of this picture I took last month of Jacob.  I'll make an artist of him yet!! 
He's just starting to want to draw.  This reminds me that we haven't been doing nearly enough projects lately.

Recent Crafts

On a rainy day Leanna made jewelry for herself out of pipe-cleaners, and Justin and Timothy each made some little animal crafts. 

Our street is well-protected!

Aren't we lucky?  No one will mess with us......we have superheroes living on our block!

This is my goal.....

I ran into this  article on large homeschooling families, but it really applies to any family with organizational challenges!  This is my goal for one day-when we have our own house again-because realitstically, given my personality, a husband who doesn't pitch in,  and the fact that I have four young children who carry my genes, we will never be a family with an immaculate house.  Or close to it.  But one that nurtures creativity, that I can live with.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Absorbing education

It's pretty awesome to realize that the boys are learning things, without my sitting there forcing them to go over letters or numbers.  Without doing countless worksheets.  The progress is slower this way of course.  But I think the extra time spent playing will benefit them more in the long run. 
It's hard though.  You have to shut off the voices in your head that say they show know this, this, and that already!  You're not doing enough!   You aren't providing them with enough.  Those voices are loud.

  • Yesterday Jacob pointed to a letter and said, "S" and he was correct.  I've not even tried to teach him the alphabet song yet!  
  • Timothy and I read a book about bats and on each page one bat left.  He was correctly counting how many would be left each time and found the word "BAT" five out of six times in the word find.
  • Tonight Justin told me that twice at our old house, he fell asleep simply because he kept his eyes shut.  He said he thinks it might happen two more times here.  Then he said, "that would be four times then!"  I said "Justin!  You're doing addition!!"   I've never tried that with him.
I think it's more exciting in real life than just looking at plain numbers on a page.  A lot less boring, certainly.  But it's neat to see it happen, and of course it's always nice to know I've not completely ruined them!

Allergy Fun

I just ran across this story of a family's fun preparing for an event with an allergic child.  Her child has severe allergies, and at the end of the post they tell how he did have a reaction from secondary contact-he didn't even eat the offending food!  Scary stuff. 

We're just coming down from an allergic reaction of some type.  We were in Allentown last Tuesday for an appt. and Jacob's skin was clearer than it had been, I assume from being removed from Wilson air/pollen (sue's yard is surrounded by trees and she has neighbors on both sides who don't cut their grass often).  So at first I just thought it was his skin going back to a Wilson normal.  By Friday night his body was hot all over and he was COVERED in red bumps.  He hadn't eaten anything (that we know of) and he actually wasn't scratching all that bad.  More confusing was the fact that the little boy Sue babysits had a couple bumps so they kept thinking it was something contagious.  I was pretty sure all along it was an allergy thing, but lost a lot of my confidence because everyone was panicking.  People got in a state worrying about impetigo and sandboxes.  There were phone calls and discussions with friends and neighbors!  It was turning into a VERY BIG DEAL.  We went to the doctor on Monday afternoon and they said that Jacob's body was in a weak state from the fever (and he's always compromised  because of the eczema to begin with since eczema is the immune system attacking his body) and was probably more susceptible to whatever it was that caused the reaction so that's why it spread out of control.  So now he's on 3 oral medicines and a stronger hydrocortizone and an extra skin med.(his rescue cream) plus double the normal aquaphor applications!  But it's going away! 
The good part is that Jacob is willing to take his medicines.  Amazing what a difference a year makes.  Last summer we couldn't get any medicine in him!!  He seemed to even know when it was in his food or chocolate milk, now he's willingly doing it.  No struggle!  This opens up the possibility of benadryl for whenever his skin get worse, not just emergencies. 
The little boy Sue babysits was diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease.  They said it's going around.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Internet ties

Just sharing some thought provoking posts.  One of my favorite blogs, by writer Katie Allison Granju, has multiple posts lately that really inspire thought.  Including links to posts by friends (I really like that one)  and others on the subject.  Read her post on the secret she's no longer willing to keep.  I don't have the time or privacy to fully explore my thoughts on the subjects, but to summarize:

Katie's oldest child had a drug overdose and was brutally beaten.  For several days they didn't know if he would even make it.  Now they're looking at a long period of therapy and wondering what happens to him once he is fully functioning again.  Will he take this as a sign to stop, or will they be back to square one?   Her posts make me cry.  Her love for her son shines through so clearly and it makes me feel her pain through that universal tie all mothers have.  Circumstances don't matter, you just know there is a mother heartbroken over her baby boy and you grieve with her.  It's scary because it's clear this mother adores her children and tried her best and still......sometimes that's not enough. 
 Who knows where I may one day find myself in this parenting journey.  Where but for the grace of God, go I.   I feel bad that she has to endure people's judgement at this time when she has so much to worry about.  (she's also heavily pregnant with her fifth child). I know I couldn't take the judgement she receives on a regular basis, let alone at a time like this. 
This incident has brought forth a slew of interesting topics: about secrecy and addiction (or any illness) about how to avoid drug problems, is experimentation ok?, how can this (can it?) be avoided, does calling addiction an illness actually make things worse, where are the boundaries between her life and her child's-can she talk about his life without damaging his privacy?, parental expectations about child rearing, about the recognition that some people get addicted quickly and easily while others are not wired that way, and also how sharing the difficulties of raising older children can be a relief for the person sharing and the person reading it. 
Again, I don't have the time now to write my thoughts on all of this, but I wanted to share it because there are a lot of though-provoking topics, beautiful writing, and because I think I think it's good to put these stories out there to help others. Though I don't know Katie or her family; this has affected me as well.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Kids eat free at Quiznos

For details
Unfortunately for me, it's only one kid per adult though.  Free is still free. 

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New toy for Tom

We finally got our tax rebate.  Tom got an iphone.  The 3GS.  He hasn't put the thing down since he bought it on Saturday.   Literally, he's been sitting on the couch, just playing like it's a video game!  I don't know that I've ever seen him like that before.
Me, I got some educational material for the kids.  I hit up Becker's and Borders.  I could so easily spend thousands if I could!!

EDIT: I should add though that this new phone has already been very useful for his business, and it's also a business expense that can be claimed.   Plus he was due-overdue-for an update.  

Photo mosaic

Update on Photo Mosaic

So far they show only a miniscule portion of the pictures sent in on the NYT Lens blog, but they promise more will come.
I think it's a really neat project, I'm glad I participated.   They say, "So far, that portrait seems to be one of surprising tranquillity. No one has to tell readers of The Times, or just about anyone else, how upended and violent the world seems to be at the moment. But our respondents tended to show moments of repose, rather than anxiety; of warmth, rather than heat." 
I think my picture fit in with that, it's a happy moment.  

 But I, like others in the comments, objected to this portion of the post:

" It may not constitute a “realistic” view of the human condition, but it does offer something of a balance to the images of suffering and destruction that are more often a staple of the Lens blog.
Another impulse discernible among the early submissions was domesticity. Rather than looking for broadly symbolic visual emblems, readers concentrated on showing their worlds (and maybe a few more cats, dogs, tulips and coffee cups than we hoped to see, if truth be told)."

I think the media distorts our views of what life is really like. Yes there is a lot of violence out there, but maybe there really are more happy moments, more tranquility than we've come to believe.  Maybe the reason there were more moments of domesticity was because there ARE more moments of domesticity in life.  In my humble opinion, it is more interesting to show your own world, exactly what you were doing then, than to photography something abstract or beautiful that has nothing to do with you.  Maybe our worlds ARE broadly symbolic afterall.
I thought it was rather nice that there were so many similar photos.  Kinda comforting. We're more alike than we are different, no matter where in the world we come from.    
I'm looking forward to seeing all the submissions.  It should make for an fascinating picture of our world. 

Our photo-mosaic picture

Enjoying a sunny afernoon in Utopia, PA.  

This is the picture we submitted for the NY Times photo mosaic, as I posted about before.  We took the picture at exactly 11:00 AM, Saturday May 2, 2010.