Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Saints Day

Josiah was baptized on All Saints Day shortly after he was born, so we always make a point of celebrating both the day and his baptism. We chose to celebrate on Sunday this year instead of Tuesday because our Tuesday is incredibly busy this week, and that's no way to celebrate a baptismal day!

This year I wanted a fun (simple!) visual project that the boys could do, and I found it over at Catholic Icing. (In general, I've found that Catholics tend to be really good at including their children in the church year. Love it!)

I printed a pile of coloring pages of saints - Joseph, Mary, Anne, Francis, the Archangels, Paul, Peter, Augustine, etc. - and spread them across the table with lots of markers and crayons. I also made a huge heart on butcher paper, labeled it "Saints, Our Heavenly Family" and hung it on the wall. Then the boys (and a few of their friends from the neighborhood!) colored to their hearts' content while we talked about some of the different saints. When they were finished coloring, they cut out their pictures and taped them up on the heart on the wall. I was so pleased with how it turned out!

Everyone had fun, and the neighbor kids even took a couple of saint picture home to continue coloring. This might be a perfect All Saints project for young children - extremely hands-on throughout, low prep for Mom, with a great visual result at the end!

Homemade Halloween costumes

Jonathan chose to be a king this year. I sewed his robe, and edged the sleeves, hem, and neckline with gold thread. He loved that. :) We used an existing purple cape (I made it for him years ago), added a belt with a sword, and he did most of the painting/decorating of his crown. Do you see the cross on the front of the crown? That was Jonathan's idea, and very important to him. Overall, I love the way it turned out!

Remember how Thomas wanted to be Yoda? We managed it! The ears turned out a little bigger than I meant them, but they're the right shape and Thomas LOVES them. I sewed his robe from some fabric that my brother Jonathan sent from work (thank you, Uncle Jonathan!) Isn't he just the cutest Yoda you've ever seen?

Josiah was adamant that he wanted to be Darth Vader this year. Since we already had that costume, I was happy to oblige! We purchased a red light saber for him, which actually works out great because the other boys have blue and green ones and Siah wanted his very own so badly.

These photos were taken last night, just before leaving for our church's Halloween Party (a bang-up event!)

My goal this year was to create awesome costumes for a minimal cost. I ended up spending $13 (including the light saber!) and the kids were entirely happy. I'd say that's success!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Josiah: "I am."
Thomas: "I'm not."
Josiah: "I am."
Thomas: "I'm not."
Josiah: "I am."
Thomas: "I'm not."
Josiah: "I am."
Thomas: "I'm not having this conversation with you, Siah."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Redeeming a bad day

I had big plans for today. A list of errands that criss-crossed six cities, a list of chores at home, a list of phone calls and emails that needed to be attended to.

In other words, I had insane expectations.

I have those quite frequently, unfortunately. And when I try to live up to them, I stress myself out, and then stress my children out as I bark at them to "hurry up" and move at a stressed out grown-up's pace. It wasn't a good morning.

By the time I dropped Jonathan off at school (and I did remember to stop and kiss him, I'm glad of that) I was starting to realize that my plans for the day weren't really going to work out. Still, we headed off to the first errand on my list, the one that was supposed to take 20 minutes before driving across town to the next one. An hour later I shook my head at myself and scrapped my insane plans.

We went to the library. Thomas sat on my lap during story hour, and Josiah sat smack in the middle of the crowd of kids, and both enjoyed themselves thoroughly. I read a book, snuggled my son, and remembered that I like my kids. On the way home the boys asked to stop at a park, and since there no longer was a plan, we did just that. The sun came out. Thomas made friends with a little boy his age, all by himself (a first)! I taught Josiah how to climb up and down a tricky ladder, and then sat on a park bench and ate chocolate.

I still have a very long list. But you know what? I don't really care. I'm choosing to remember that I also have many, many days to run errands. There is always tomorrow, and the day after that, and maybe some of them don't really need to be done anyway. My kids are little and need their days filled with stories at the library and sunshine at the park. Come to think of it, I kind of prefer my days to be filled with stories and sunshine, too.

In about an hour we'll go pick up Jonathan from school. I will say "I'm sorry" for being a grouchy mama all morning. And perhaps we'll get ice cream cones on the way home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Look who's three!

Josiah seems to be settling into the concept of being three years old. For the first few weeks he kept asking "Mommy, is I'm three?" I suppose I ought to fix his grammar, but it is such a cute part of his three-year-old-ness that I can't quite bring myself to do it!

He was so excited about his birthday. Everything about it: the parties, the presents, the cake with blue icing, the fact of being three!! He gets excited with his whole body, and his voice gets higher and higher and his eyes light up with joy.

He's a great helper around the house, often asking me if he can help with whatever I'm doing. He unloads the plastic dishes from the dishwasher every morning, all by himself. He helps set and clear the table, and sometimes feeds the cat. He loves to do laundry with me, especially tossing in the clothes and adding the soap, and later throwing things into the dryer.

Recently he's started "doing yoda" with me in the morning. He's better at some of the poses than I am - childhood flexibility is amazing - and we have a good time together. One of our favorites is the "dead bug" pose. Josiah thinks it is hilarious. :)

Playtime often includes brio trains, building elaborate tracks with tunnels and roundhouses. Grandmommy & Granddad, Libby & Jon, thank you for adding to the collection! He's SO enjoying them.

And painting! Oh, how Josiah loves to paint! I invested in a painting tablecloth, taught him how to get out his own supplies, and now he paints almost every day.

Star Wars is another BIG DEAL around here, and Josiah joins in with gusto. I often see him running by, in costume and with light saber in hand, singing "dun dun dun, da da da, da da dah!" (the opening notes to the imperial march). No, none of our boys have seen the movie. Apparently you don't need to in the star-wars-saturated little boy culture we're living in!

A movie that he has seen (and LOVES) is Bambi. This story has completely captured him. He'll often tell me little parts of the story throughout the day, or repeat a line that he thinks is particularly funny, giggling so I can barely understand him.

Since turning three, Josiah has happily embraced the concept of "big boys pee in the potty!" He's really training himself, and I'm enjoying sitting back and watching (and cheering and handing out chocolate chips, of course.) :)

He's a big boy, but he's not too big for snuggles yet. I still get to carry him in from the car sometimes, when he's tired. And at bedtime I lie in bed with him and sing lullabies, and he gives me sweet smacky kisses and "bear hugs, mommy, so that you go 'oomph!' "

Josiah, age two, was a bundle of fun, and I'll kind of miss him. But Josiah, age three, is shaping up to be pretty fabulous as well. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


My mom sends the boys letters on a regular basis. The last one had some fun stickers on the back, along with the question "can you make these faces?"

Jonathan was pretty good at it!

Grandmommy, Jonathan wanted to be sure that you saw these. Perhaps you could mention it in your next letter?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Say Their Names

Kirsten from team-ewan is creating a beautiful video to honor those babies, born and unborn, who are waiting for us in heaven. It is called "Say Their Names", and will simply be a video of a candle, with Kirsten off-screen reading the names of these beloved children. I'm including the names of my four miscarried babies.

Sara Elizabeth
Benjamin Joseph
Abigail Renee
Robert Emmanuel

It is bittersweet, remembering the grief and loss, but better than forgetting them or imagining that their brief lives didn't matter. If you have lost a child, consider including their name in Kirsten's project.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Penny Simpkin on delayed cord clamping

Those of you who aren't interested in birth right now can probably skip this one...but for those of you who are pregnant, might become pregnant, or just like hanging around pregnant you go. :)

This video is of Penny Simkin, a well-known author, doula, and childbirth educator, sharing the reasons for delaying cord clamping after birth. I found the information at the end, regarding oxygen levels and the need for resuscitation to be very interesting. The current standard, of course, is to clamp immediately and whisk the baby away from mama for resuscitation efforts. And while I'm exceedingly grateful for the amazing neonatal nurses and their sometimes lifesaving work, I wonder if we'd get even better results bringing the nurses and instruments to the mama, and keeping baby attached?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Yoda costume

Thomas wants to be "Master Yoda" for Halloween this year. I took one look at the prices (and the boringness) of the costumes for sale, and decided I wasn't interested. But then I found this tutorial, and it kind of sounded ... fun? Maybe?

Today we dove in. We're modifying things a bit, using what we have around the house, and hoping for the best. By the way, does anyone (in the area) have any old brown or off-white cloth lying around that I could sew into the robe? I'd rather use something old than purchase new cloth, if possible.

Thomas and Josiah enjoyed helping. Which, of course, means that they mostly watched me do it. :) Isn't that always the way with preschool projects? It was fun just the same.

Here's the balloon, partially covered with glue-y newspaper. I hope I guesstimated the shape of Thomas' head correctly! In a few days it will be dry enough to pop the balloon and see if it fits. Then...probably a few more layers for solidity, and adding the ears!