March 23, 2007

We came home in one piece!!

Jacob and Ali ready to go!!!

Well, we did it! We went skiing and came home in one piece! I have not skied in 15 years, and I was quite anxious about the day, to say the least. I had to borrow equipment and clothes, and I don't really like doing all that either. Anyway, I was glad we did it at the beginning of our trip so I only had to be anxious for three days!

It did take quite a while to get all of us out the door...Jen and her four, Mom, Kjirstin, Jacob, and me (after getting Mattie settled with a sitter). We got out with everything but Jacob's back we came. Second try, we got there successfully! After getting 8 kids pottied and all bundled up, then the 5 adults pottied and bundled up, we managed to make it out to the slope!

We thought it would be fun to teach Jacob to ski...Jen's 4 and Marcy's 3 kids were all skiing by his age. And Jacob wanted to learn. So, Jen took on the chore. Well...we'll just say it wasn't quite as easy as teaching him to ride a bike! For the first 45 minutes, he kicked and screamed and cried. Poor Jen! I offered for her to feel free to give up, but she assured me that most kids started this way. (And it made sense...Jacob does NOT like to be unsuccessful at anything!!) So, fighting the urge to take him in and, um, discipline him, I let her keep fighting. And he did at least stop kicking and screaming when he was told we'd have chocolate ice cream after diner if he'd ski some by himself.

After ten runs up and down the bunny slope, he was getting it (though he didn't know it at all!), we decided we'd all head up to the top of the big hill. It's no harder, just a lot longer. Well, by the end of that run, he had stopped kicking and screaming, though he was certainly not happy about the situation. And Jen was still earning many jewels in her crown!

We decided it was lunchtime. Jacob wanted to quit, but I wanted him to try one more run now that he'd had some food and was quite a bit happier. I let him choose the bunny slope or the big hill, and he chose the big one! Lunch had created a whole new attitude in him! By the end of that run, he was skiing for 20 or 30 feet by himself (tethered to Jen so we didn't lose him!) and loving it!! He was actually asking to go on a huge jump! We let him quit after that, but I'm so glad we stuck it out and pushed him until he was successful. He was so proud of himself!

He did it!!!

Meanwhile, Mom, Kjirstin and I were all acclimating ourselves to the slopes after a long separation! Mom did great! We all took a few runs down the bunny slope just to remember how it all worked, but managed to take several runs down the big hill with no face plants! I actually did way better than I anticipated, and really had a great time! I could have done 15 more runs, but had to leave to go home for Mattie.

Look at Ali go!!!

We all woke up the next morning with some reminders of muscle groups long forgotten, but it was good for us all. All of that anxiety for nothing!! I'd love to try to go once a year. Maybe I'll even head down to Ober Gatlinburg with Jacob next season!

All the girls enjoying a lunch break.

March 22, 2007

Our plane flight

Well, we've had a couple of interesting experiences in the past few days! On Monday, the kids and I flew to New Jersey to visit my family. It was a good flight once we finally got going, but it took us awhile. We got to the airport to find a 1 hour delay. I went ahead and got the kids through security since it wasn't too much longer to wait. Taking all three pairs of shoes off, putting all three carry-on bags through the machine, removing any lotion bottles from the bags, taking off my belt and watch, and folding up the stroller, all while hoping Mattie doesn't run away was quite a feat! And all this with fifty people waiting behind me in line!! So, we made it through there and got to our gate. Jacob and Mattie were having a good time running around in the airport, though Jacob was VERY excited and impatient about getting on the plane!! So, we're supposed to be boarding in 15 minutes and they announce it will be another hour. Ugh. And that doesn't go over too well with the impatient four year old! So, we pulled out the entertainment intended for the airplane ride and turned on a Thomas movie for Jacob and got Matie a pencil and paper. We finally get to board, only to find out we can't take off for thirty more minutes! Argh... the only thing worse than sitting in a terminal is sitting on a very small airplane with two small children!!! By this point, it was 3:30 and Mattie had not napped! Needless to say, keeping her happy was quite a chore. Anyway, we finally took off and Mattie finally fell asleep, for a few minutes anyway. It was a good flight, all things considered. Jacob absolutely loved the flight!! We finally pulled in at my sister's house at 8:30 that night with two very tired children!

Mattie has done well with all the new people, but was a bit shellshocked at first. Every time she woke up, a new person was here to love on her. Both kids have had a great time so far.

I need to go school the boys, but I'll write about our skiing day later!

March 19, 2007

Emotional Dressing

Well, I have decided that there must be something emotional or psychological about why we choose the clothes we put on for the day. Or why I choose the clothes I do each day. As I write this, Jacob and I are both dressed in red shirts and blue jeans...not on purpose! This happens more than several days a week. A couple of hours after we're dressed, I'll look at both of us and notice that we completely match! I've noticed it with Mattie too, and one Sunday Robert asked my suggestion on what he should wear, and I picked an outfit that totally matched mine! At least I'm consistent! Maybe there's some study on that somewhere...

March 16, 2007

We got pictures taken!

Here's our day at Portrait Innovations! These are Mattie's 1 year and Jacob's 5 year pictures. I couldn't be more pleased with them!!!

March 15, 2007

Random things...

We have had a busy week!
I've been taking a week off of school (except to do some St.Patrick's Day learning) and have been attempting to cross off some things on my to-do list.

Sunday & Monday:
Completely reorganized our play/computer/school room. I moved around all of our books and toys. I hauled off two bags of random toys that had no affection in this house. I also had four WalMart bags of books to pass on. I was going to donate them, but Candace suggested I take them to McKay's, our local used bookstore. I had plans that would have me right next door on Tuesday, so I thought, "What the heck?"
I got a late afternoon call that our dental office had a cancellation and Jacob & I could go Tuesday for our cleanings that were supposed to be in April. The date I had in April was not great, so I took the cancellation.

Jacob and I went in for our teeth cleanings. This was Jacob's first appointment with the dentist, and I was quite nervous about how he would react. Our appointment had been scheduled for April, so I was planning on reading some books about it and preparing him a bit. No luck there! I told him Monday, "We're going to the dentist tomorrow and you're going to let him clean your teeth. If you're really brave you can have a lollipop, and we'll rent a movie on the way home!" For the first minute I was a bit nervous, but once we got him lying down in the chair, he did great!! (He did want to know what the poster above him meant..."Capture all the joys life has to offer." That surprised the tech a little bit.) Woohoo for Jacob, my brave little boy!!! He was sure to encourage me when it was my turn. And he told me to choose the strawberry toothpaste..."It's really yummy, Mommy! And just so you know, it doesn't hurt."

Well, I was pregnant with Jacob the last time I had my teeth cleaned, so I was well overdue. Keep in mind, I had braces on for 2 years of that time! Well, I did okay, though they worked my gums over pretty well. After getting found out that I'm not a flosser, (I just don't think about it, and I've always been told at appts that I'm doing great) I did learn that there are three important reasons for flossing.

In case you're curious...1) to get out food between your teeth. (This one I knew.) 2) To move your gums and stimulate blood flow. 3) To move your gums and get oxygen between your gums and teeth. The bacteria that cause gum disease will not survive with oxygen, so this helps kill them. (Now I'm a believer in flossing...) After getting seriously warned that "You must floss every day" and having my gums scraped like crazy, I have a new part of my nightly teeth cleaning regimen! I have to go back in three weeks to be sure that my gums are healing from their scraping/scrubbing.

So, with my very sore bleeding gums, I went next door to the used bookstore, and I got $46 in trade money!!! And proceeded to spend it all while we waited for the locksmith to come get my keys out of my car!!! (The best $6 per month I'll ever spend on our insurance plan!) So I came home with 8 books for the curriculum we're using (Five In A Row) and a bunch of other classics I've been wanting for quite some time. I was so psyched!!

I had an 8 year old Mommy's helper here today, so I tried to be quite productive, even though I felt like the walking dead.. I have been exhausted all day today! But, I couldn't waste away my time with a helper for Mattie. I finished my sorting/boxing clothes project I started two or three weeks ago. I now have almost every article of clothing in a drawer, washer/dryer, or plastic box! Then I re-caulked our bathtub and did a few other random things.

Then while Jacob and Lydia (my helper) watched Stellaluna, I got on the computer and started looking for fast food ingredient lists. I discovered that Jacob and Mattie could both have something from Taco Bell and Burger King! (We couldn't do this every day, but there wasn't any glaring corn, so we could do it every now and then.) So, you know where I went for dinner!!!! I took Lydia, Jacob and Mattie to Taco Bell and the only food I provided was applesauce for enzymes! Jacob had a cheese quesadilla and pintos and cheese and Mattie had pintos and red sauce. It was very fun! Except for the fact that both of their highchairs had broken buckles...remember Mattie's highchair habits? Yeah, NOT a sitter by nature!!! So, it goes down as the most exhausting restaurant meal EVER! At least I worked off my Taco Bell as fast as I ate it!

So, I was ready for bed early! But before bed I had my kids-are-in-bed-and-I'm-done-mommying-celebration bowl of ice cream - with chocolate syrup, no less. (I don't deny being an emotional eater.) And here I sit, at 12:51 AM. I laid in bed for an hour and read the census in "Numbers" to no avail. I heard the other day that the glare from the computer screen inhibits your body from producing melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, so I suppose I'm not helping myself. Maybe the squinting because I took my contacts out when I went to bed the first time will tire me out enough...

I guess I'll nap with Mattie tomorrow.

March 08, 2007

"Harold and the GIANT" by Jacob Crabtree

Harold went into the forest to hunt for a lion. He came upon a GIANT monster!

The monster lived in a GIANT cave with his four monster friends.

Harold fights the GIANT monster and wins!

After Harold fights the GIANT monster and the lion, he goes home, drops the purple crayon on the floor, and goes to bed.

By Jacob Crabtree


This week we've been rowing Harold and the Purple Crayon. It's a delightful story about a little boy, Harold, who has a purple crayon. He draws his stories as he's imagining them.
We've had a good time talking about purple, art, and imagination.

Here's Jacob's purple quilt we made with all the purples we had in our house.

Here's Jacob hard at work, creating his own work of art.

And here's the finished product! It's a rocket flying into outer space. See the rocket in the middle with the orange fire behind it? All those circles are planets, and all the brown is outer space.

And we talked about all paintings having a title. After much discussion about the title usually having some connection to the subject of the painting, he insisted that this painting's title is "Art."

And I must say, I don't see much difference between this and most of those million dollar paintings out there in museums!

March 07, 2007

Another bat...

And it wasn't really exciting this time. Just annoying...and quite traumatizing for Jacob, I think. He's the one who discovered it and immediately started crying. Then he ran to me in the other room and bumped into my front teeth and hurt his forehead!

Robert was much quicker and this time it was only 2 or 3 minutes to capture him...and this time he got a bullet in his head. No humane letting loose for us!

As I said, Jacob was quite upset this time. He was getting ready for bed (after our rude interruption) and he said, "I'm just scared of bats. I don't like them in my house." I was thinking we should pray with him before we put him in bed. He was obviously thinking the same thing. He said, "I think we should pray so I can be brave." Here's his prayer...

"Dear Jesus, please help me be brave of the bat. And please help Daddy get it fast and catch it. And please help it stay away. And please help me be brave of the bat. Thank you for keeping me safe and not letting any more bats come. In Jesus name, Amen."

It's so good to know that he knows he can count on God's help! Not sure how the conversation will go if God does allow another bat, but we'll pray for wisdom if that happens!!

March 06, 2007


Well, since we got Mattie, I have struggled to fit an exercise schedule in. It was hard to walk with a baby through the winter. Then summer came and it was hard to get a walk in outside at the dam before Mattie's first nap, and after that it was way too hot! Plus Jacob wasn't quite ready to keep up with me to walk fast enough. I finally just gave up on walking, though I LOVE to do it! For my birthday (my idea, not Robert's), I got a rowing machine. I loved the rowing machine I used in college! I was so excited to be able to exercise faithfully and get back in shape, not to mention sleep better, feel better, and be generally happier. Then Mattie started crawling, and we started finishing up the basement ourselves, then we moved Bob & Peggy down and us down. Then I started homeschooling kindergarten. Then Mattie gave up her second nap (grrrrrrr) way too early if you ask me! So, how many times have I been able to use this rowing machine since September?? Less than 10!

Well, since I won't stop eating chocolate, and I'm gaining a little bit each month (hey, it ALL adds up if it stays on!) I HAVE to find a way to fit in exercising!! This morning I decided to try something and it worked pretty well. I put Mattie in her highchair in front of Barney to eat her breakfast, and I rowed then. I got in 15 minutes, and could have done more if my muscles would have cooperated! So, I think I'm going to try this as a routine for a couple of weeks...until I got to NJ for 10 days and completely lose my momentum, that is. It will mean starting our morning routine later than I'd like, and rowing to Barney instead of Ellen, but I guess you win some, you lose some. My favorite jeans will thank me!

And this wouldn't be complete without sharing how utterly exhausted my legs are right now!

March 02, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss (and other stuff)

Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday, so we had a school day full of Dr. Seuss! First we read Cat in the Hat and made hats like the cat's. Then we made a little Cat in the Hat book (courtesy of the creative Aunt Candace).

Then Candace & I hid all sorts of hats around the house and let the kids find them. (This was a major hit!)

After that we moved on to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Here is the aquarium we made after we did our goldfish math.

This wasn't for Dr. Seuss, but I'll put the picture here anyway. We read Ferdinand this week. It's a story about a bull who likes to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers. So we made a boat out of cork and learned some other things about it, besides its buoyancy. (I never knew cork came from tree bark native to the oak cork tree in Spain.) We also learned how nasty bullfighting really is...thankfully Ferdinand didn't like to bullfight, he just wanted to smell the flowers in the lovely ladies' hair! (Jacob said, "Mom, you're a lovely lady so you need flowers in your hair!)

And here's Mattie, becoming quite scholarly herself! Actually, lately her favorite books have been Thomas and Friends books! She definitely knows there's something special about Thomas around here. I guess it was only a matter of time...