Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Tonight we had our family Thanksgiving dinner. Alice was so excited you would think she remembered last year. Or maybe she was just excited to eat in the dining room. It was a long day out with very little nap, so to keep the peace we let her sit in a regular chair, which thrilled her.

I love this picture. All three of them in a nutshell.

Obligatory food pic--Do you think it looks weird to have so many dishes from the same set? I am thinking maybe I need some solid pieces to break it up. I am sure that is a real concern and not my dish addiction speaking.

Oh, and this was on my camera, too. WalMart, if anyone feels gifty.

I made pumpkin pie from my grandma's recipe again. I said something about pumpkin pie reminding me of my grandma and that this was her recipe. Jack told me that it reminded him of his grandma because she made the best pumpkin pie. It's all the same recipe, so maybe I'm doing something wrong since my pie does not seem to equal grandma's pie.

After putting Alice to bed, this is what was left. I love that the hutch lights up, but we pretty much never plug it in. I need to do that more.

Tonight at dinner we got on a discussion about names and Jay told Jack that we had decided his name ten years before he was born. When we were 17, I mentioned liking the name Jack Henry and it turned out that that was Jay's grandpa's name.

"That's why he had to marry me," I told Jack.

"There was one other reason I had to marry her," said Jay.

"Because you wrecked my car?"

"You wrecked mom's car?"

"Because she invited me over to play Super Mario Brothers."

Not where I thought that was going, but I liked it. So tonight I am thankful for the little things that turn into big things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Years

Three years ago I started this blog to keep Jay up to date on our day to day lives while he was in Kuwait. After posting almost every single day of his deployment, there have been times when I have not been as enthusiastic about blogging, but I still enjoy recording our lives--and I need to do it here since I haven't scrapbooked in almost two years. Thanks to the seven of you that read for tagging along with us!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Alice's comment on the post about entertaining my Alice reminded me of why we don't do markers too often. She is not a half-hearted child.

Look, ma! Both hands!

And my eyelid!

Who says one is too young for lipstick? This week I caught her trying to draw her own earrings on herself. We go through a lot of soap around here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dressing Up

Clearly I know how to strut my stuff. Always have. Look at my sister and my cousins, acting so nonchalant, while I show everyone who's hot stuff.

I wish I could find the front view of this photo, but I can't, so let me help you out: pajamas, a swimsuit, and cowboy boots. Awesome.

I think they are these Buffalo Bill Wild West Show pajamas. Even awesomer.

I've clearly passed my sense of style on to Alice--her pajamas, three of Jack's shirts, and two pairs of his underwear. The laundry pile is pretty entertaining, too.

Entertaining Alice

I know it's hard to believe when you look at this sweet face, but I worry about leaving Alice to her own devices. Her own devices usually involve dangerous heights and/or the cat. Thanks to the internet--and especially Carisa's blog--I have found a few things to keep her busy without hurting herself in the process.

Alice loves buttons. We have a big jar of them that Jack used to like to play with, so I got it out for her. These trays (I saw them on Carisa's blog first) come in handy for all sorts of things!

She also likes to put them in the muffin tin.

I made her a fall-themed sensory box that she has had a lot of fun with. She also likes to chew on the beans, though.

I got these pegs and a couple of peg boards at a consignment sale and they are out almost daily. Sometimes I give her different containers to fill with the pegs.

Beanbags are also a hit.

If you have a toddler, go to YouTube and search "Hap Palmer Baby Songs"--you can thank me later. Alice watches these over and over and follows the actions. It is so cute, and you know I'm not biased.

I found those clips after searching for the rhythm stick song Alice does in her gymnastics class each week. She calls them "bup bups" after the sound her teachers make when they tap the sticks.

These things usually buy me some time to get a chore or two done or do some school with Jack. Any other ideas to entertain Alice?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Books to Treasure: Steve Jenkins

This year's Books to Treasure speaker was Steve Jenkins. I didn't know beforehand who last year's honoree was, but I knew this one because his books are amazing. Really.

He gave a very entertaining talk which included some of his earliest work, found in his mother's attic a few years ago.

He talked quite a bit about books and his kids and books he loved growing up. (This is a picture of his wife reading to their youngest child.) I found this interview and he seems like a pretty interesting guy.

After his talk, there was a question and answer session.

Jack asked if he cut out his pictures freehanded or if he drew them first. The latter, not the former.

Once again we were at the end of the line, but it seemed to move a little quicker this year. I was especially glad about that, because as we were waiting I started feeling worse and worse and my friend asked if we wanted to leave and she would get our books signed for us. I was in it for the long haul, so I stayed--and I made it all the way to the foot of my parents' driveway before getting sick, so I'm counting it as a win for the night!

Caldecott Medal Winners

In preparation for this year's Books to Treasure program, we spent our week focusing on different Caldecott Medal winners and trying out similar techniques. This year's speaker was Steve Jenkins, whose book What Do You Do With a Tail Like This was a Caldecott Honor winner in 2004.

Our attempts at cut paper collage.

Swimmy was an Honor book in 1964--it was up against Where the Wild Things Are.

We tried out printmaking to make lots of copies of the same image. I thought about making our own stamps, but reality set in and we just drew backgrounds and used stamps we already had.

I also modified a bit when we read When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry... (2000 Honor book). The illustrations were painted, but I couldn't bring myself to try paints with Alice, so we used colored pencils. I have never been a fan of colored pencils; the leads always seemed to break easily and the teachers never wanted you to sharpen them in the real pencil sharpener, so you had to use the crummy hand held one and then the lead would fall out. I grabbed a pack of Crayola's twistable colored pencils to take on our nature studies and we have been using them almost every day lately. The colors are nice and there is no sharpening drama. (Crayola didn't pay me to say that, but if they did, I would repeat what I just told you. I love them.)

Jack has become quite the tree climber lately, which lead to my next choice of book.

A Tree is Nice won the Caldecott Medal in 1957. Jack really enjoyed this one.

I had a different activity in mind, but we were rained out, so we ended up making leaf rubbings and then painting tree trunks.

Many of the ideas we used this week came from Storybook Art. This is a fabulous resource with ideas for all ages of kids.

We had a lot of fun this week, so we may try this each year!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Housewife Day

It's National Housewife Day. I'm totally not making this up. Google it and see for yourself.

It seems like I've had this job for a while now. Look at the box behind me: Baby Care, for Pete's sake. I should be much better at all of this by now.

This isn't the job I planned to have, at least not long term, anyway. I was going to go back to work when Jack went to kindergarten and the other baby was two. Except the other baby wasn't two, and when Jack was two, we started thinking about homeschooling. Four years later, the idea of working outside the home right now makes me want to curl into a little ball and cry. I have no clue how working moms do it.

Back to the housewife job, though. It's hard. It's like running a marathon, except there are more frequent bathroom breaks and if I throw down my water cup, I have to come back and pick it up myself later.

It often requires more patience than I can scrounge up. Angela had posted this in discussing parenting children with special needs, but doesn't it really apply to us all?

Teach us, good lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

There are days that I am such a cost counter you would think my degree was in accounting, not education. But what am I giving up? And what am I getting in return?

What kind of job has "afternoon sword fight at the arboretum" listed in its benefits package? The best one in the world.

In too few years they'll be out on their own and I won't be a housewife anymore. (Excuse me while I take some deep breaths.) I'm sure that the long empty stretch on my applications won't help me much, but I know that this is time well spent, even if there are days I'm not that good at it.