Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Long Way Around

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses in the same zip codes
Where their parents live
But I, I could never follow.
Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Taking the long way.

We have a driveway! We went to see it for the first time on Thursday and I was surprised at how much our driveway fits us--it takes a while to get there, but when it does, there's something perfect at the end. (Of course, I'm just jumping ahead into the future a bit here, because all that's there now is a dirt pad, but work with me here, okay?)

I've never seemed to do things the simple way--often not to just make things more difficult, but I just couldn't figure out any other way to do them. (Math comes immediately to mind here.) I switched colleges after a semester. We took six years to get married and another four to have a child. We thought we'd have another baby when Jack was about three; this baby is coming within days of his fifth birthday.

And then, of course, there's the whole military experience. It seems like you meet a lot of people in the military who are really interested in traveling and seeing the world. Not us. Our goal since the beginning has been to get back home as soon as we could, and as soon as the end was in sight, I got pregnant, which delayed our exit by another three months.

The irony of it all is that we are really some of the most settled people you will ever meet. As we sat in the lobby of the credit union for an hour Friday*, I mentioned to Jay that we could have just gotten married when we were 18 and we would have done just fine, and he agreed. I think in the end, though, that I'm glad we've taken the long way. I got the chance to live on my own, even if it was just for six months. We know we can survive long separations. We really appreciate getting to spend time with our family. The only thing I'm still a little hung up on is that my child was born in Nebraska instead of Oklahoma, but one out of two isn't bad.

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination." ~ Don Williams, Jr.

*In keeping with the whole "long way around" theme, we had an adventure on Friday. We were all set to close the loan Friday morning (after almost a month of various hang-ups), but when we arrived at the bank, we found out they still did not have one last piece of paper. Rather than coming back and trying again next week, Jay and I drove all over town to find someone who would give us the piece of paper. We ended up having to sit in the lobby of the last place we went for an hour, but we finally got our paper and were able to close late Friday afternoon. And then we got to take a long drive home in the dark and the rain so we would be able to take Jack to zoo class this morning. The zoo class that ended up being canceled. Some day I will find a short cut!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Even though spring has been here a while, we've taken this last week to start doing more springtime activities. We worked on this spring book (from The Mailbox) for a couple of days.

We also tried out this yarn nest from No Time for Flashcards. It didn't look quite as good as a real nest, but we thought it looked pretty good for first-timers.

On Monday we were planning to take a nature walk and look for signs of spring (from an idea from the FIAR Spring Nature Study). Leslie had also suggested using a duct tape bracelet (sticky side out) for holding all those things found along the way, which seemed perfect for us since Jack can find a lot of things. Unfortunately, though, it was spitting rain and insanely windy most of the day, so we'll have to save that for another time.

Instead, we stayed inside and made dirt cups for dessert.

We made this little flip book (idea from The Mailbox) with thumbprint pictures.

Today we started a little journal for Jack. He does try to write words sometime, but he decided to dictate to me today. Hopefully over time we will want to write more on his own, but this is good for now!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Animal Babies

Last week (I am behind on blog posts!) we went to a program on animal babies. The kids got to hear an owl story and see a real owl.

Making owl eyes!

Even though the presenters reminded the kids that "red and black is a friend of Jack," Jack wanted no part of the snake. He came over and sat on my lap (or what's left of my lap) until the snake was put away.

The kids got to pet this skunk at the end of the program. It had had its scent bag removed and lots of rabies shots.

Playing with some owl talons!

I have several posts in my head, so hopefully you will see some more updates early this week! : )

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Insect Fair

Today we went to an Insect Fair at our library. Jack got to hold a millipede...

...and a walking stick.

He made a cool bug hat with antennae.

He also got a caterpillar painted on his cheek.

For some reason, this fake worm seemed to put him in some kind of trance. He kept putting it on his arm and petting it and he wanted to take it home with us.

The highlight of the event, though, was eating a bug. At first, as you can see above, he was grossed out at the thought. Then he found out that to get the prize (a little plastic bug), he would have to do all of the things on the Fear Factor card.

Apparently he really wanted that plastic bug, because he popped the mealworm (it was fried) right in! He said it tasted like a french fry!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This afternoon we did several St. Patrick's Day things. We read That's What Leprechauns Do, which I found at the library this morning.

We also made this pretty rainbow craft, which I found at The Crafty Crow.

Jack loves to hide things, so I made him some leprechaun coins. He hid them (quite well!) and I had to find them all to fill my pot of gold.

Jack also helped me make tonight's dessert: Grasshopper Parfaits!

Monday, March 16, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Holly! And I am relieved, because I told her her chances were good since things were slow around here. ; ) I have other doubles, so between now and moving day (whenever that may be) there will be more giveaways!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm Convinced

Last week was Chickadee's Birthday Bash at A Familiar Path. I don't remember exactly how I happened upon her blog, but I've been reading since last fall. If you haven't been reading already, you really should drop by. She takes beautiful pictures and I must admit I felt a little cool when I realized I have the same glasses she does (well, I'm working on my set). Anyway, I dutifully commented on all the posts, hoping to win something, and when I got home this afternoon I had an email telling me I had won a bird!

You may be wondering what a bird has to do with this post title, so let me share. I am sure this baby is a girl. This is an even better sign than when I was pregnant with Jack and my mom had a crossword puzzle with "Ava" and "Omaha" in the answers. As some of you know, if Jack had been a girl, he would have been named Ava June--Ava because it means bird, like Jay, and June after my grandmother (and the obvious fact that the baby would be born in June). This time around I am still wanting to use that for the girl name, though Jay isn't sure since he thinks it may be too popular. I am on record as thinking this is silly, since unless I have several other daughters turn into George Foreman, there's no way she's going to have a bunch of Avas in her class.

Anyway...As we were driving home today I was thinking about the birds Amy made and how if we had a girl, we could call her Ava and decorate her room in bird things. I used the opportunity to plead the case for Ava again (and to please help me come up with some boy name ideas other than Ruttiger or Limus), because wouldn't that be so perfect? And then I got home and found my bird in my email. Don't you think that's pretty convincing?

For the record, I am not a big believer in signs, and if I am convinced of something like this, it usually turns out completely different. But I'm still pretty sure. If it is a boy, that's all good, too. The bird I won is blue, so it could be a sign it's a boy...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ezra Jack Keats

Today is Ezra Jack Keats's birthday, so as part of our unit on dogs, we read Whistle for Willie. Jack loves the books about Peter, and I think this one may be his favorite since it includes Peter's dog.

I got this biography at a recent library sale, so we looked through to see some different samples of his illustrations. After that, we tried our hands at a picture similar to the ones in Whistle for Willie.

First, we painted backgrounds.

Next we added some cut outs of animals and objects.

This is Jack's final picture: three dogs, their blanket and ball, a house, and a fence.

We also read Kitten for a Day, another Ezra Jack Keats book about a puppy who decides to be a kitten for a day. We got these kitten and puppy puppets from Rainbow Resource and the kitten puppet looks just like one of the kittens in the book, so Jack decided to use the puppets to act it out.

In the course of my weekend of organizing, I found an extra copy of Whistle for Willie, so if you would like me to send you a copy, leave a comment on this post by midnight Sunday. I'll draw a winner and send it out to you next week!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Biker Boy

We are making progress! Jack has finally mastered the art of pedaling forward continuously! Yes, he's four and a half, and many kids have figured this out much earlier, but you have to remember who his mother is. Yesterday he and Jay went out and practiced quite a bit.

This afternoon we took him to the park and he went around the track twice.

After each lap, he wanted to play.

27 weeks--just three more months to go! I am hoping that by the time the baby is here, Jack will be good enough on his bike to ride while I walk with the stroller.

And one more, just because I like it. : )


I think it may be time for Boris to go on a diet. This morning we had a 3.4 magnitude earthquake, and my first thought was that it was Boris jumping up on the bed.

Fairy Tale Wrap Up

This week we wrapped up our fairy tale unit with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We did some of the activities from the Evan Moor book I've mentioned before, and we also found some videos Jack liked on YouTube.

The Literature Pockets come with books of each fairy tale to color and cut out, but we also used several other books.
This is a book my grandparents got me for my second birthday. Jack loves it!

A while back I found this folk and fairy tale set in a book order for a good price.

I just happened across this book at the library. Jack got a big kick out of it, even though it was a lot harder than some of the other I Spy books he's done before.

Some of the other books we used that I don't think I've mentioned yet:

The Three Snow Bears

Hansel and Gretel



Jack and the Beanstalk

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sesame Street Live

This morning we went to Sesame Street Live. This was our third year to go, and we told Jack maybe next year he would want to go to something different. Later, though, he told me he would try something different next time, but after that he wanted to go back to this. We'll see.

Waiting for the show to start. We waited a long time because we got a good parking spot, and at 10:30 (when the show was supposed to start), Big Bird came over the speakers and said the show would be starting in 15 more minutes. Great! Because you know it's really fun to sit with an impatient four year old who has already been waiting for half an hour. For part of the time, Jack used his binoculars from last year to see his friend who was sitting across the arena.

I have to include this picture for anyone who has ever taken their child to Sesame Street Live. At intermission they have these guys come out with these mylar Elmo balloons that are $8. Now, I'm not a cheap person, but really? $8 for a balloon? So each year we talk down the balloons and talk up the regular souvenirs. As I was trying to snap this picture of the confetti cannons going off, $8 floated to the ceiling in front of my camera and Jay and I started laughing. It was joining at least another $40 up there.

This year Jack chose this set of Sesame Street people. He's playing with them in the bathtub right now!

After the show we went to lunch at Toby Keith's, where Jack had to sit on all of the tailgate seats.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Told You So

Some of you seemed a bit skeptical of my proclamation that spring had arrived, but look at what we found on our tree today!

And that was after we spent a while playing at the park. In shorts.

It was still warm enough after dinner for some more outside time. If you aren't having this same weather where you live, you're living in the wrong place!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood

Before vacation we were doing some activities to go along with Little Red Riding Hood. We finally finished up today! The version pictured above is the first version we read.

Jack colored a basket of things he would take to Grandma's if she were sick. On the page behind the picture he drew (from left to right) Grandma, me, and himself.

We also made puppets, a word book, and did a sequencing activity. All of the activities are from the Evan Moor Folktales and Fairy Tales Literature Pockets book.

These are the things he wanted to take to Grandma (starting with the red item): a cat, a TV to watch the weather on (the yellow streaks are lightning), a necklace, and a plant.

This was Jack's favorite version of Little Red Riding Hood.

He also enjoyed Lon Po Po, though he seemed to find it a little creepy.

I found this version, told by the wolf, at our library. Jack wasn't sure he believed the wolf.

We'll be wrapping up fairy tales this week and then it's on to a favorite subject around here: dogs!