Sunday, December 30, 2007

Toddler compositions

We've been listening to quite a lot of music around the house lately, and Jonathan enjoys singing to himself as he plays. Sometimes he gets pieces of different songs mixed up, and the results can be quite humorous. For example, this afternoon he's been singing "Don't build your house on a sandy night."

This is a combination of two songs of quite different origins - can anyone guess which ones they are?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Play by play

Dad, can I go potty after I eat my banana bread?

I think you should go now.

No, after I eat my banana bread.



Daddy, can I go now?

Yes. Here, let me help you undo your pants.

No, no, don’t help me!!!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I undid my snap!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I do need help; I can’t get my pants down!

(Gabe shows Jonathan how to unzip his zipper; Jonathan pushes him out the door.)

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I undid my zipper!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I got my pants off!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, my underwear is dry!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Oh no, Daddy, I had an accident. I peed on my shirt! I need a new one.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Really good Christmas thoughts

Veronica, who blogs at Toddled Dredge, is writing a beautiful, well-researched, and thoughtful series of essays on the genealogy of Christ throughout the Christmas season. I'd like to direct your attention specifically to her thoughts on Tamar: this is the best explanation and exposition of the text that I have ever encountered. Veronica's other Christmas posts discuss Jesus as descended from David, and Rahab the Caananite prostitute. Be sure to visit her site each day to read the latest essay!

Monday, December 24, 2007

This year Gabe and I watched The Nativity Story a few days before Christmas. I think it came out last year, but somehow we never actually watched it. That happens to us a lot, actually - we'll see a preview for a movie and think "that looks good, we should watch it!" and then six months or more later realize that we never actually did.

In any case, we did finally watch it, and I'm so glad we did! It is a beautiful movie, filmed well and with all ethnic actors. The actress playing Mary does a beautiful job. I can't say that I appreciated the "humor moments" with the magi, but Gabe thought they were funny so perhaps I just don't have the right sort of sense of humor. :) We plan to buy the movie and use it as a teaching aid as our kids get older. It brings the story to life while remaining quite true to the Biblical text. If you get a chance, this Christmas season, I recommend spending an evening remembering why we're celebrating.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Feeding the hungry

This site is fun and just a little bit addicting. Ok, it is a lot addicting and my husband and I are battling each other to see who can get the best ranking. But you can feel good about the addiction because you're helping feed the hungry! Read more about it, and give it a try!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WFMW - Christmas edition

Shannon has some interesting ideas for making the "get ready for Christmas" rush a little easier. So do her readers, so you should check out the links, too. And this time I have something to offer as well! :)

Last week I held my (mostly) annual Get-Ready-For-Christmas Party. I started doing this a few years ago because it sounded like fun. Apparently my invitees thought so, too, because this year I forgot all about it until a friend asked me when it was going to be!

The idea is simple. Everyone comes over with their own Christmas project in hand. It might be presents to be wrapped, or Christmas cards to write, or a Christmas craft/gift, or just envelopes to be addressed. I serve cookies and tea (although I forgot the tea this time - oops!) and everyone works on their particular project in good company with good conversation. Each year it gets a little more hectic, as we have a tendency to keep adding children to the mix! But even with our small interrupters, we generally accomplish quite a bit and enjoy ourselves in the process.

It takes very little planning (just a bit of housecleaning and a batch of cookies) to host a party of this sort, because your guests bring their own entertainment. :) And you get the fun of a party AND the satisfaction of a project crossed off your Christmas "to-do" list. It works for me!

Carpet cleaning - oh help!

This is a long shot, I know. But I'm desperate.

Some time ago I blogged about my wonderful carpet cleaner. Sang his praises up and down and didn't include his name or phone number. I tell you, that was great planning on my part. Well, I do still remember his name: Jeff Cor, of Cor's Carpet Cleaning Services, based in Orange County CA.

Unfortunately, I have lost his business card (actually I'm almost positive that my youngest child ate it) and he isn't listed anywhere on the internet and I don't have a phone book. So I'm just wondering if anyone else knows about him and knows his phone number?

You see, my oldest child decided to get up early this morning and play (unsupervised!) with paint. And although I know that red is a lovely festive color, it just isn't quite the look I had in mind for my beige carpet. So we could use Cor's service right about now.

If you don't know of this guy specifically, is there anyone else (in this area) who you would recommend as being good and not too expensive?

It is times like these that I wish I had Shannon's readership. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas cookies (and other Advent fun)

I have fantastic memories of being a kid and making Christmas cookies with Mom and my siblings each year. More than once Mom hosted a cookie decorating party for friends and we held marathon baking sessions to get ready. Picture our entire table covered with flour and cookie dough, and four children sticking their fingers and elbows in it as we all tried to "help". Poor Mom! :)

Well, yesterday I decided to continue the tradition with Jonathan. We mixed up a batch of sugar cookie dough (the same recipe that my Mom used all those years ago!) The best part, of course, was licking the beaters.

We assembled all our supplies at the table,

rolled out our dough, stuck our fingers and elbows into it, and succeeded in cutting out cookies! Jonathan placed the cookie cutters on the dough, I lifted them onto the cookie sheets, and he sprinkled the colored sugar. Such concentration!

We even managed to be cleaned up and ready for our guests by 11am, thanks to Jonathan's excited assistance picking up toys while I cleaned up cookie flour. Yesterday was our Annual Get-Ready-For-Christmas party - everyone comes and brings Christmas cards to write or address or whatever they need to do to get ready for Christmas. The children play (mostly!) with each other and we grown-ups get to do boring tasks while

One of the best things about having kids, I'm discovering, is getting to remember and recreate bits of your own childhood. Jonathan is old enough to get really excited about all things Christmas this year, and I'm nearly as excited as he is, because I get to see it all through his eyes.

Here are a few more shots from our Advent activities:

Jonathan continues to amaze me as he moves from being a toddler to becoming a preschooler. Who knew that he'd sit for so long and paint? And ask to do it again a few hours later?

Christmas stockings

Last week Libby and Mom M. came over and we worked on Christmas stockings for a few hours. Didn't they turn out nicely?

In process:

Interior with a ribbon hanging sewn in:Finished!
Libby opted for the traditional red and white:
We're quite pleased with how they turned out!

For the Austen fans

Mr. Collins Apologizes to Aspirin.

Dr. Fred Sanders was my favorite professor in college. Torrey sessions with him were universally good ones, yielding much good thought and usually many laughs as well. Dr. Sanders blogs at Scriptorium Daily, so pop on over there. I know you'll enjoy both his quick wit and his clear thinking.

If I had piles and piles of money

I'd never shop for jeans again. I'd just buy them from this site instead. Jeans that fit, shipped to my door! Oh, the joy! Oh, the very high cost!

Still, what a cool idea! And since I'm sure that most of my readers are with me in their inability to afford jeans at $80-140 each, you just might want to enter 5 Minutes for Mom's giveaway - $200 to spend on the jeans of your dreams. :)

I took a few minutes to enter my measurements at TrueJeans' website, and this is my favorite pair that they say will fit me:

Aren't they cute? And at $132 a pair they're almost *snort* affordable. :)

Well. Maybe I'll win that $200.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some days just go right.

This morning I wake up with aching muscles and that exhausted "I haven't had enough sleep for a long time" feeling. So before I get up I ask Jesus to please (please, please, please!) help me to make it a good day for the three of us. And then I work on thinking about the day, rather than just letting it sort of happen and getting frustrated when it doesn't go well.

We start by helping Daddy get out the door, then getting the kids changed out of diapers and pjs. I always try to do this right away because I think it sets a better tone for the day. You know, we're dressed and ready for whatever comes! Then breakfast for the kids, and at least a few bites for me. :) I tend to eat my breakfast afterwards and usually somewhat on the run. This is something I'd like to change, but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen yet.

A few clean-up chores (the kitchen, mostly) and then a story for Jonathan. Nursing Thomas for his nap, then about 20-30 minutes of something new: preschool time for Jonathan. I've been thinking for some time that I needed to be more intentional about doing special "older kid" things with Jonathan - painting, stringing beads, molding with playdough or clay, etc. and after some brainstorming with Jessica last night, decided there was no time like the present. So today we painted. And I discovered that Jonathan is EXACTLY like me when it comes to creative artwork. He told me what he wanted to paint (a train, a tow truck, etc.) and when I said "great, I think that will be nice - go for it!" he looked worried and then said "but Mommy, I don't know how!" He wanted me to show him exactly how to paint a tow truck, and then he'd add a stroke or two. He wanted a certain finished result and didn't want to mess up on the way to that result! Oh my son, my poor son who is just like me. Maybe someday you'll forgive your mother for passing on these genes.

Thomas wakes up and Jonathan goes down for his quiet time. I take a shower and do a few more chores. Thomas is happy to play alongside me while I work.

We take a break for an early lunch, then the boys play (together!) while I clean up. At about 12:30pm I announce a new daily event: outside play time. Jonathan thinks this is a terrible idea and screams to be allowed back in the house. I set a timer so he'll know that this exile isn't forever, and we all head outside. I resign myself to Thomas needing to be changed and cleaned up, and let him roam. He's happy as a clam. Jonathan fusses for awhile longer, refusing to be enticed by any of my ideas, until he suddenly decides he'd like to be chased. So I get my exercise running after an inexhaustible toddler. After this he forgets to be upset about being outside and plays with his fire engine for quite awhile. I read a couple of magazine articles while keeping an eye on Thomas, who desperately wants to eat the leaves, the chalk, the dirt, and the bugs.

We come inside to clean up. Jonathan has a few slices of apple and plays by himself while I nurse Thomas down for his nap. Then we read a couple of books in his bedroom and he goes to sleep as well.

Amazing! They're both asleep at the same time!

This is time not to be wasted. :) I'm tired, but not tired enough to want to sleep this precious time away. Instead I grab a snack and read a book for a bit. The silence is restorative - I think what I miss most, now that I have two kids, is the dependable silence at regular intervals.

Thomas wakes up; too soon. I rock him back to sleep (thank you, Jesus, for this blessing!) and then head outside. The roses need to be pruned, badly, and it is the right time of year. Back inside for a warm drink (it is cold out there!) and a couple of quick chores before Thomas wakes up. When he cries for me this time I nurse him and then we play together on the bed until Jonathan wakes up. It is nice to have some Thomas-time, just for him.

Jonathan wakes up hungry, just past 4:30pm. I decide to feed him a full meal at about 5pm, rather than try to pacify him with snacks until Gabe gets home near 7pm. The evening just seems to go better this way. After supper I settle Jonathan down for a helicopter video. It is insanely cheesy, but he likes it, and I want to vacuum. Thomas is fussy, so I put him in the mei tai where he becomes quite cheerful.

I haven't finished all the chores, but I've done enough. Sometimes enough really is enough! Jonathan is happy playing, Thomas is still happy in the mei tai, and I want to sing. I'm working on learning a few pieces from Handel's Messiah, just to keep my voice in shape. It is such good music.

Almost time for Gabe to come home, and I didn't really plan for dinner. So tonight will be a pantry and freezer meal. Jonathan sits on the counter and eats frozen peas and helps me cook. Thomas still refuses to be put down, and I'm looking forward to Gabe coming home so my arms and back can get a break!

Gabe comes home and we eat dinner together. Jonathan isn't hungry (as I expected) and wants Daddy to play. We'll have to work on teaching him to either sit at the table with us, or else play quietly in his room. Hanging on Daddy's leg and whining isn't the best solution! After dinner we all work on stringing lights on the Christmas tree.

Bedtime for both boys. Blogging time for me, while Gabe works on his resume. In a moment we'll go clean the kitchen together. Maybe read for awhile, and then to bed. It has been a good day.

In the interest of repeating it: why did today work so well, even though there was so much non-child work that I needed to do?

1) Jonathan's day was very patterned. We never had a big block of time for him to get fussy in - everything was broken up by planned activities. I need to remember that even when it sounds too hard to plan activities for him, it is actually easier because he's not so contrary!
2) We all went outside to play. This is so good for us all and I must remember to do it.
3) Thomas spent his fussy time in the mei tai. Hence, he wasn't really fussy.
4) At nearly every activity change (and also whenever I thought I needed to head off some crankiness) I asked Jonathan to choose a book for us to read together. Five minutes of re-connect time over a book really seems to help throughout the day.
5) I spent very little time on the computer, and made sure it was either while they were sleeping or in tiny chunks of time.
6) Both boys napped at the same time, giving me a break and some silence. This isn't something I can control every day, but it is a goal we're working toward. Someday I hope to be able to count on daily silence again. :)
7) I remembered to ask for God's help. And really, that is the most important thing.

Grandma day

I just found a very old (six weeks old!) post that I had written and never posted. I think perhaps I meant to add a picture or two before posting, but never actually made that happen. I'm posting this today in honor of the fact that this Thursday Jonathan has another "Grandma" day planned. And there was much rejoicing from the toddler and the mommy! :)


Today Jonathan spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa Moothart. This happens about once a month and I look forward to every one. :) I think he does, too - he gets so excited about leaving he practically drags Gabe out the door! And then he cries when it is time to come home. I'd be shockingly hurt if I didn't enjoy my "day off" so much. :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

St. Nicholas' Eve

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas' Day. This evening we read a short poem about St. Nicholas to Jonathan before bedtime. Then we carefully set up his shoes outside his bedroom door and stuck a carrot in one (for St. Nicholas' reindeer - technically the tradition says "horse" but we're trying not to be TOO confusing and Jonathan already is excited about reindeer!) And Jonathan went to bed excited about the morning when he gets to look in his shoes for surprises from St. Nicholas.

Now I'm off to be St. Nicholas and find some chocolate coins to fill up those shoes. :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beyond belief

Now this is a true countertenor. You won't believe your ears. But you should, because as crazy as it sounds, these guys really do exist (I knew one in high school!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

As promised

Results from our photo shoot!

This is what happens when you ask a recalictrant toddler to sit next to his brother and look cute.

Occasionally he held still for a moment:

But not often.

After awhile we just decided to work with what we had and let him run and jump!

But when you have an amazing photographer (and he is really good!) every now and then you get the perfect ones: