Friday, December 25, 2009


Thomas was shouting at Jonathan: "I want it, I want it, I want it!" I sat him on my lap and had the following conversation with him.

Emily: "Thomas, shouting at Jonathan is not going to make him want to give it to you."
Thomas: "Mmm."
Emily: "Shouting at Jonathan is not going to make Mommy very happy."
Thomas: "Mmm."
Emily: "So I think that shouting at Jonathan isn't really going to help you."
Thomas: "Yes it will."

Ah, logic. How I miss thee.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Early morning workout: attempted

I got up early this morning, utterly determined to get my workout in before the children got up and my busy day started.

The dvd didn't work. Stuck, stutter, stuck. Close all other programs. Stutter. Restart the computer and try again. Stutter, stuck.

Do you know how much harder it is to make yourself work out hard for twenty minutes without Jillian telling you what to do and do not stop?

Hard enough that I didn't do it.

The appraiser comes in five minutes (please pray that our house appraises for enough to allow us to refinance!) and the house is clean, the kids are playing happily and I've had a shower, and we are all well fed with pancakes and applesauce.

I'm glad I got up early.

*update* The appraiser has come and gone. The kids are outside playing and I just tried turning Jillian on again, just to be SURE it didn't work...

It worked.

Maybe my dvd player is just messed up - but I have to wonder if perhaps God wanted my morning to go a little more smoothly!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent photos

Wreath making! This:

Ended as this! Isn't it pretty? I was surprised by how nicely it turned out.

And cookie baking and decorating.

Dad, aren't you proud of my pattern nesting abilities?

We bought a St. Nicholas cookie cutter (think Bishop of Myra, not Santa) and had great fun with it. Gabe took a bite before I could get a photo, but you get the idea...

Christmas is coming SO FAST...we're getting our tree on Saturday and then only five more days! The kids think that is forever. :)

The boys are enjoying our "special Advent things" each day. Here are a few highlights:

Joy Szabo, good for you!

A few months ago Joy Szabo was in the news. She wanted a vbac and her local hospital, where she had previously had a vbac, informed her that she was required to have a cesarean. They had changed their policy since her last birth. Joy resisted, strenuously. She talked her way all the way to the CEO of the hospital, which only resulted in a threat of a court ordered cesarean. That's when the media got involved, and the hospital backed off their threat. But they still wouldn't let her try a vbac.

Joy decided not to back down. Since she did not have other local hospitals as options, she moved. Yes, moved. Alone, leaving her other children with her husband at home. And she had her vbac at a different hospital in a different city.

Do you have any idea how much courage that took?

The fact that CNN reported the story - Gabe saw it on TV and emailed me about it - just makes me happy. :) Every little step toward more knowledge and more power for birthing women is important!

Joy, you're an inspiration. Thank you for standing up for yourself, for bringing attention to the state of maternity care in America, and for making it just a bit easier for other women to follow your example.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thinking about kindergarten

Education has been on the back burner of my mind since Jonathan was just about 2 years old. Gabe and I both entered marriage with glorious dreams of homeschooling our children. Both of us were homeschooled and felt well prepared for further academics. With college degrees under our belts and (for me) an interest and calling to teaching (albeit older grades) we had a plan and thought the decision was made.

But the best laid plans don't always mesh with reality, and for the past 2-3 years I've wondered, and oscillated, and stressed, and cried, and worried about how to educate our kids. I'm not sure I'm any further toward a peace filled decision than when I started.

Jonathan is a passionate child, full of will and energy and action. He needs routine and structure to help him channel all that energy, but he also needs wide open space and time to explore and play and run. He loves people and would happily play with friends all day, every day, unless someone hurts his feelings (and that takes a lot of care to help him process). He and I have an often stressful relationship, and I wonder if having me as his teacher (as well as mother) would be too difficult for both of us. But would a teacher, with 20 other charges, be able to see him as anything other than a difficult and hyperactive little boy?

I read articles like this one and I think that I will never put my child in school. My best friend, a vocal proponent of public schools for all the years I was against them, decided this year to homeschool her oldest for many of the reasons outlined in the article: too much pressure and not enough play. I find it amusing that she and I have switched positions, but am happy to see that so far it seems to be working well for them.

And have I really switched positions? Not exactly, since I do still think that homeschooling can be wonderful. I'm just not sure about doing it myself, with my child. Will Jonathan enjoy doing "real school"? Or will it be an ongoing battle? And then there are all my personal fears, like how I can fit it into my already too-crowded days, and still give my small ones enough attention, and keep up with laundry and housework and getting dinner on the table?

There are so many options now, which is wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Would we use a Charlotte Mason approach, or Montessori, or go classical and teach them Latin? Math-U-See or Saxon or something else entirely? Printing or cursive and which of the myriad of styles? I swear that there are at least sixteen different methods to teach a child how to read. And where do art and music and science and languages fit in? Is it best to just pick a curriculum and follow directions, or should I try to put together a hand-selected mix (terror says follow a curriculum, guilt says hand-pick it all).

If I'm honest, I think that I don't want to do it. I'm afraid of the whole process - all the decisions, trying to fit it into our often overwhelming days, the potential for more conflict with Jonathan, the responsibility.

And yet, and yet...

When I think about sending him to school, after the initial relief of "someone else will take over", I run into all the worries about pressure and lack of playtime and not being allowed to be an energetic little boy because TESTING is so all-important.

And when we do spend time learning together I love it. Once past all the fear and the dithering and the stress of dirty floors and underwear, when we sit down and do it, it is wonderful.

So maybe I had it right in my early idealism. I'm quite sure I overlooked the realities of implementing it in the midst of real life with children, but maybe my job now is to figure out a way to pull it off anyway.

I could really use some writing on the wall this coming year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Naomi Julian Peckham

I had the joy and privilege of supporting Katie during her labor.
Welcome, Naomi!

December 12th, 2009

6:36pm 19.25" 6 lbs 13.5 oz.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas

Every year in December this version of the 12 Days of Christmas gets passed around the internet a lot, and for good reason! It is fun! Straight No Chaser started as a college a capella group and ended up going professional. They re-recorded the original 12 Days hit ten years after the first one. Here they both are: which do you like best?

The original (1998)

Re-done (2008)

The Free Shipping phenomenon

Amazon rolled out an interesting promotion this month: they offered a free trial of Amazon Prime to anyone and everyone for the duration of December. Amazon Prime, which usually costs $79 a year, gives you free 2 day shipping on all purchases. For the December deal they didn't even attach strings, as such promotions usually do; they gave you an easy option at sign up to choose not to continue as a paying customer in January.


I signed up. Why not? But then I proceeded to surprise myself by how very much I did end up shopping at Amazon. Yes, it is the Christmas buying season, but I had finished nearly all my gift purchases so I did not expect this.

Take a look:

December 4th - a book about St. Nicholas
December 8th - sippy cups
December 9th - dvd/coloring book set for kids
December 10th - rain boots for Jonathan

The fact of the matter is that when I know that I'm not going to be paying for shipping, my first place to buy is Amazon. St. Nicholas' day is coming up - get a book on Amazon! Need sippy cups? Don't bother going to Target, just get them on Amazon. Find a great deal on something you had no intention of purchasing before you saw it? It would be fun and there's no extra shipping charge, so why not? I think you get the picture.

Because the shipping is free (and I don't even have to hit a $25 minimum order amount) I found myself buying things on the spot as I remembered needing (or wanting!) them. Shipping fees have always been a built in "slow down" factor for me (after all, who wants to pay $6 shipping on a $4 item?) and once removed I found that I had much less incentive to slow down and think twice about my purchases at all!

What I think is fascinating is that I, who am so very budget conscious and always looking for a good deal, reacted this way. So I can only imagine that many, many others did so as well, probably to the tune of many more dollars than I did. I'm sure that this is exactly what Amazon is betting on. And I wonder if it will work for them. I also wonder if it will work well enough for them to try it on an ongoing basis.

They have to cover their costs, of course, which might mean raising their prices a bit more. But what if the sippy cups cost $8.99 at Amazon, and $7.99 at Target? I'd buy at Amazon in a heartbeat! Paying an extra dollar on an item to skip the extra trip out would be absolutely worth it.

I don't know anything about the ins and outs of running a large scale business like Amazon. But given my own reaction to this promotion, and assuming that there have to be lots of others like me, I have to wonder if it might be just a little bit brilliant.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Anna and Christmas

Dr. John Mark Reynolds has written a really powerful essay on Anna and her role in the Christmas story. Who is Anna, you may ask? (I couldn't remember right away, either.) But I don't think I'll forget her now, and I hope that I won't forget what she teaches us. Go, read.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I made banana bread today, and learned something in the process.

Baking soda is important.

Amazon gift card giveaway

And one more thing from the Thrifty Mama - she's giving away two $25 Amazon gift cards. All you have to do is go leave a comment on her post. Although I do highly recommend browsing her site, because she is really good at posting deals.

FREE clementines TODAY ONLY 12/8/09

If you have a Vons card, go here right now to add an e-coupon for a free box of clementines to your card. Because it will be pre-loaded to your card, it should come off automatically at checkout.

The coupon is limited to the first 25,000 people who put it on their card, and the coupon is only available to use TODAY. Also, a minimum purchase of $25 is required.

Thanks to Crystal, The Thrifty Mama (and one ofy very favorite thrifty bloggers) for pointing out this deal!

Monday, December 07, 2009

I can't say that I never win anything anymore...

Because I just won something! Lee Jeans has a promotion going on right now on their facebook page: they're giving away 120 pairs of jeans each day this month. And amazingly, I won a pair! Which is just fun. :) I'm also looking forward to trying them, because I'm still trying to figure out what brand and style of jeans works well on my post-three-children body. Maybe these will be the ones?

Anyway, if you're on facebook, it might be worth your while to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dreams of a doula-to-be

My subconscious is pretty strange right now! Last night's dream:

I had been asked at the last minute to be a doula for a girl, M, who I had known in high school but had had no contact with since then. They asked me to meet them at the hospital, which I did, only to find the room stuffed with family members. I had never met the husband, and originally mistook him for her father. I had forgotten my birth bag and ball, and was so scattered that it took me three trips back home to actually get my stuff together, and when I finally walked back into the hospital M's mother said something snarky like "I thought you were supposed to be HERE with her" (her mother in real life is nothing like that!) :) And then it was my worst nightmare of labor, really, because M wouldn't do anything I suggested, just lay flat on her back and cried and thrashed around. Thankfully, Gabe woke me up before it was over.

Don't worry, Katie, I have NO expectations of your birth looking anything like that! :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

CVS trip - free Swiffer!

I've been wanting to get a Swiffer for awhile. People who have them tend to love them, and well, I hate mopping or sweeping the floor. Something new is worth a try, right?

This week CVS has an extra buck deal on Swiffers and refills. The starter kit is $9 and the refills are $4. If you spend $15, you get $5 back in extra bucks.

That's what I went in for...and I was thrilled to discover that they (the store on Whittier and Idaho) are doing a major clearance as well! So here is what I did today:

2 Celestial Seasonings tea samplers (90% off) $0.74
12 bars of soap (90% off) $1.08
1 Swiffer $9.00
2 Swiffer refills $8.00
2 gal. milk $5.38
Subtotal: $24.20

Celestial seasonings coupon -$0.74 (adjusted down)
Swiffer coupon -$5.00
Swiffer refill coupon -$4.00
2 milk coupons -$1.00
$5/$20 purchase CVS coupon -$5.00
Extra bucks -$8.00

Subtotal: $0.46
Tax: $0.71
TOTAL: $1.17

I received $5 in extra bucks, but spent $8, for a net total cost of $4.17. Which is, please note, less than the cost of the milk. Yay! :)