Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lollypops, anyone?

Today is National Lollypop Day! (Doesn't that just make you wonder...why is it National Lollypop Day, and whose idea was it, anyway?)

That aside, See's Candy is celebrating by giving a free lollypop (chocolate, butterscotch, or rootbeer) to every person who comes to their stores. I know for a fact that the store in the Whittwood Mall is participating - Josiah and Thomas and I were just there. :)

If you're out doing errands today, a quick stop might make for some very happy kids!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meet Raskol

He's home and recovering nicely after his surgery. He's doing his darndest to scratch his bandage off, though. I think the healing must be itchy.

It looks like the vet cut his head off and then sewed it back on, doesn't it?

I still kind of wish that Raskol was Hermione, but boy or girl, this is one sweet kitten. I'm still in love. I'm so in love that I'm not even complaining about the fact that he has to stay inside until his stitches come out. Sure am sneezing a lot, though!

He is a little rascal.

Oh, and the name? Gabe came up with it (of course). Any guesses as to where it comes from? :)

Jesus' daughters

Betsy Barber has written a beautifully edifying post over at The Good Book Blog. It is the sort that you should save until nap time, and then read slowly and prayerfully; savor it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Role playing

We have a dress up bin that the boys play with regularly. Usually they are knights, or star wars characters, or policemen, or firefighters. But this time? This time they recreated church! Jonathan dressed himself up as a priest, complete with vestments.

He arranged our table bench and piano bench into pews and an altar rail, invited the younger boys to come to church, and served them "communion" (crackers and water).

He was actually very good at it, too!

Thomas started out playing Josiah's Dad, keeping him in line on the pew! Later he switched roles, retrieved a bath toy boat, and installed himself as the boat boy. :)

In real life, Jonathan is scheduled to serve for the first time as an acolyte (in the position of boat boy!) on the first two Sundays of August. He is very excited.

Pretend play is a kind of practice for reality, a trying on of roles and experimenting with your place in the story of life. I love that the boys are exploring this role along with the others.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clothing, fashions, and too-full closets

I've been working on a project for the past few weeks. I'm decluttering my clothing. This has been the result of a variety of things: reading The 100 Thing Challenge, turning 30, feeling frumpy (jeans and t-shirts every day will do that to you), getting tired of feeling frumpy, and then stumbling across a couple of blog posts on "Mommy Fashion" and Cate MacDonald's interesting Twenty Pieces project.

What I finally realized is this: it is not helpful to have a closet full of clothes that I don't like, don't fit into, and don't wear.

I've had too much in my closet for a long time. Much of the problem started when I had children - instead of having one "teacher wardrobe" with a few pairs of play clothes for my days off, I had maternity clothes. And then "just had a baby" clothes. Nursing tops. Of course I kept all the "skinny" clothes, because I was certainly going to fit into them again! Multiply all this times three children, with different starting sizes each time.

Frugality (perhaps misplaced?) also played a large role here. I didn't want to get rid of anything, because I didn't want to have to re-buy it later when I either lost weight or got pregnant or quit nursing or, or, or. And because I knew that any given item was only going to fit me for a limited period of time, I tended to purchase the cheapest clearance bargains that I could find, regardless of whether I actually loved the piece, or even liked how I looked in it.

I had boxes and boxes of clothes, and too many pieces in my closet, and frankly, too many days when walking into the closet produced tears instead of a cute outfit. When you're staring at 50+ pieces, and you can't find anything that matches, fits, and makes you feel pretty, it is time for something to change.

So I'm clearing out. I don't have a specific numerical goal in mind, like Cate, although I find her minimalistic ideal highly appealing. I'm just aiming for a closet of clothing that is simple, pretty, and that I actually enjoy wearing.

First concert

We took the boys to a concert last night: the five Brown siblings, all pianists, playing an outdoor concert that included Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals". This is one of the boys' favorite pieces of music. We have a cd and book that walks you through each part, and it has been an oft-requested piece during quiet time.

Tickets on the lawn at the top of the amphitheater were quite reasonable, and it really was a perfect introduction to live music for the kids. They could wiggle as much as they needed to on our picnic blanket, and I was pleased with how well they paid attention. Their favorite was definitely the Carnival, which brought home (to me) just how helpful it is to pre-expose kids to a piece of music before hearing it in concert. They were so pleased to recognize it! Jonathan could identify some of the movements by himself, and asked for help with the others. He wanted to know how certain sounds were made (Sarah, can you tell us how the jackass' signature sound is created on the violin?) and informed Gabe that the sounds of the "fossils" were meant to be "bones rattling, Daddy!"

Jonathan also really enjoyed watching the musicians. He was especially impressed with one of the girls, whom he pronounced "pretty" and "really good at the piano". He says he wants to learn to play like she does. Well then! Piano lessons, here we come. :)

We almost didn't bring Josiah, since he developed a fever a few hours before we left. But he did not want to be left behind, and to be honest, Gabe and I were really disappointed not to be able to go as a family. So at the last minute we decided to all go and hope for the best. Josiah spent the whole time in our arms, but it turns out that he had a great time. When the music ended, Gabe asked him, "what did you think, Josiah?"
"It was awesome!"
"So you liked it?"
"Yes I do!"

Thomas, as usual, didn't have much to say. But since he usually cares quite a lot about what music gets played at bedtime, I'm betting that he enjoyed himself.

I know that the kids will be tired and difficult today, but this was absolutely worth it. Live music, some of which they were familiar with, in a setting they could manage, played by engaging young people: it all added up to a pretty stellar first concert experience.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So much for having another girl in the family...

Hermione is a BOY. So says the veterinarian, anyway, but I don't believe her. I'm attached to my little girly kitten!

The vet also let us know that we got more than we bargained for in adopting her. I mean him. It turns out that the "scar" on her neck is actually a rubber band with skin growing over it. It is restricting her breathing, and the vet said that it is surprising how well she's doing under the circumstances. I am very, very angry with whomever had this cat before we did.

Fixing this mess is costing a lot of money. Far more than I'd ever pay for a cat! (Or a dog, or any pet for that matter!) But...we love this animal now and we can't exactly not help her. So please pray for successful surgery and a quick recovery for our very expensive new pet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our newest addition

Isn't she sweet?

She showed up at our front door a few nights ago, and when we opened it to investigate, she walked right in. I'm allergic to cats, so (like an idiot) I spent the next 45 minutes cuddling her while talking to neighbors and trying to discover who she belonged to.

No one knew, of course, although most of us thought she was probably abandoned, because she has some icky scarring on her neck that looks like the result of abuse.

But she loved the kids, and we all loved her. And we just couldn't dump her back outside and go to bed. But...we can't keep a cat! I'm allergic to cats! (At least, I was expecting to get violently allergic...any minute now...) Eventually a cat-loving neighbor came home, and she agreed to keep the kitten for a couple of days until we could either find an owner or find a new home for her.

Well, we found a new home for her. She's living in our back yard, and apparently I'm only slightly allergic to her. The boys are thrilled with their new pet, and frankly, I'm a little bit in love.

What shall we name her?

Friday, July 01, 2011

Best sign EVER!

I found this at Hip2Save - she always posts a "Happy Friday" picture and this one was too good not to share!