Because I’ve been to Boston in the Fall…

What do ducklings, blueberries, and a harmonica all have in common? Robert McCloskey. I realize he’s probably not the most prolific writer I could have picked, but the ones he does have are well worth the reading. Most are set in the era and place they were written–mid-1940’s small town America, and the charm that he found is resonated in the characters he created. From the policeman who stops traffic for ducks, to the boy who found his music in a harmonica, you’ll come back again and again to visit the people and places that live on drawings and stories of Robert McCloskey.

Besides, this last fall we visited a park in Boston where the story of one of his books was based. Awesome.

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Not Cornflakes

Sometimes I’m just really not very good at describing things. Steven Kellogg does that to me. He’s the author/illustrator for the spotlight on a-great-writer-that-also-colors-the-pictures-in-books-for-children today. I think the reason I’m having a hard time describing Kellogg’s work is probably because it’s very unique–there’s absolutely no mistaking a Kellogg book. If you click on the link above, it will direct you to his website and show you some samples of his art and characters.

The reason I’m picking Steven Kellogg, is probably because his work embodies some key characteristics of great children’s literature. The quality of the illustrations and writing is excellent, the characters are imaginative and intriguing for young and old minds alike, and they encourage young readers to finish the darn book because they can’t put it down.

So, next time you want cornflakes for breakfast, think “Kellogg” and write “visit the library” down on your to-do list.

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Children’s Literature, Bird Poop and Fat

Okay, so back nearly a year ago, I made a delicious concoction in my kitchen that I named The Fat Monkey. I then took a picture and submitted it to a website called This is Why You’re Fat. For reason’s I do not understand, there are now two websites (thisiswhyyourefat.com and thisiswhyurfat.wordpress.com) and even though I submitted to the original website, I just found out that my creation is finally posted, but on the new site. Oh well. Okay, so maybe its nerdy, but Ive been waiting a year to get that creation to join the annals of fatness. I think it’s about time to make The Fat Monkey Again. Here is the direct link to my blog post in case you want to see some pictures of the process from last time.

Next up, (yes I’m working backwards from the title) Bird Poop. Today, out of a lovely blue sky, a bird pooped on my shirt. I was sitting on a park bench and I heard a little “Plop!” I looked down and there just below my collar bone was a bird turd. Not cool. I still have the stain on my shirt to prove it…which reminds me–I’m still wearing the shirt. Is that gross?

Lastly, this week I’ll be blogging everyday with a spotlight on an author/illustrator who has written some great children’s books. I was blessed enough to have parents that valued children’s literature for it’s ability to develop reading and writing skills, imagination, and help children understand  more about the world around them in relate-able terms. I hope that by highlighting some great examples of children’s literature, you can be encouraged to spend an afternoon with your kids surrounded by a boatload of books.

There’s no better way to start this spotlight off than with Bill Peet. One of my most favorite and extremely prolific; Bill Peet’s history as a sketch artist and later an artistic director for some early Disney movies makes his books stand out for their creative storylines and excellent illustrations. All of his characters are refreshingly original, the plots are engaging, and the pictures help even the youngest listeners stay interested. Next time you go to the library (like tomorrow), make sure you bring some of these home with you.

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when rhythm isn’t a given

Today The Ugandan Orphans Choir came to our church. They came to sing traditional Ugandan songs and dance while promoting the ministry of Childcare Worldwide. I’m not sure which was more entertaining; watching the children dance, or watching the dancing children watch the white people try to clap on beat. Since AJ is a drummer, he has a pretty natural sense of rhythm while I have to concentrate to clap without biting my lip and furrowing my brow. I realize I have no place to mock others, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to watch.

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The Park of Awesome

First, thanks for all the tips for folding bottom sheets. Angela, of course–youtube! I’m just going to look up a video of it because that would probably be a lot easier than reading all your answers and trying to figure them out ;-). Also, i realized too late that the “other” answer in the poll doesn’t actually allow for actual answers. Apparently a bunch of you must have a method for folding them though…

Today we went to Forest Park in Everett. IT.WAS.AWESOME. You should go if you have children, or if you don’t.

eating fishies out of her purse on the way…

Henry was asleep until we got ready to leave.

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garfield, throwing up, and salad

For some reason, Violet always wants me to read to her from one of our Garfield comic books. Regardless of how you feel about Garfield, you must agree that it makes for some pretty boring storytimes. Case in point: here is the dialogue from two pages in the middle of the comic book.

page one:

Ring…Hello?

Yes, Mrs Feeny?…Your little dog?…Collar taken?…Shaved bald?…Painted green?…Uh-huh?…Yeesh

No, he’s been here asleep all day. Yes, all day, really. Uh-huh…goodbye.

page two:

So, Garfield

How’s the laziness business?

Slow.

Cats and mice are supposed to be enemies!

Fascinating

Merits discussion.

Cheese? My place?

I’m tired of looking at that face of yours, Odie.

Cool! Now do a hamster.

Do you understand my dilemma? I’m all about exposing Violet to different types of literature for various age groups, but comic books require a certain amount of improvisational story skills to make the story interesting.

Oh, look! Jon is going to talk to someone on the phone. Yeah, he has a phone like Mama has a phone…and there’s the kitty. His name is Garfield. See the collar he’s twirling around in the air? Yeah, he wasn’t nice to that doggy. No that’s his friend the Mouse. Yes, they’re very good friends aren’t they? See how they are sharing that piece of cheese? Yes Violet, sometimes kitties like to eat plants. I know, bad bad kitty.

Next up, in today’s edition of Boys Will be Boys, we were at a playground today covered in kids. There was an old sit-n-spin at one end that a couple of junior high boys were using in an attempt to make themselves throw up. I realized this about halfway into their “game” when one of the boys stopped spinning around and just stood there, doubled over, and holding his stomach with a string of drool coming from his mouth. The other three watched closely.

“Is he going to throw up?

“Are you going to throw up?

“I don’t know…”

“Spin more!”

“Yeah, I think you need to spin faster.”

“Can one of you guys spin me then? I’m pretty dizzy.”

Its not like they were picking on him either, the others had a go as well. Fortunately, no one threw up.

Lastly, Salad. One of the things I love about summertime is that I enjoy salads the most in the summer. Don’t get me wrong; I like salads any time of the year, but there’s something about coming in out of the cold and wet to eat something cold and wet that just doesn’t sit right with me.

Here’s the “recipe” for the salad we had for dinner tonight.

a layer of chopped romaine,

a layer of chopped tomato,

a layer of shredded carrot,

a layer of avocado slices,

a layer of red onion slices,

a layer of fresh corn,

a layer of sliced mushrooms

a layer of sliced cucumber,

a layer of shredded cheddar cheese,

a layer of chopped, cold, barbecued pork,

a layer of crumbled corn chips,

a layer of ranch dressing with dots of barbecue sauce

Okay, so maybe I added a few ingredients while I was typing. It all sounded too good. I think we’ll have the full recipe later on this week because avocados and tomatoes are on sale and I have a bunch of cold barbecued pork in my fridge. Seriously, this ain’t your grandmother’s salad.

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That’s gonna leave a mark!

Today Violet fell asleep sitting in a chair. Not a soft recliner; a folding chair. I realized she was asleep when first her head started lolling around on her shoulders in a circular pattern. When her upper body followed suit, I ran over to grab her but not soon enough. The poor little girl took a nosedive right off the chair. Sound asleep.

Violet is so precious to me, and I am very blessed to have her as a daughter.

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To Spank or not to Spank

Actually, this blog is not about spanking. Sorry. Someday I promise to blog about my opinions on the top ten “hot button” issues that aren’t a do-or-die in the christian faith.

Here’s something I’m learning. Discipline is for correction, not punishment. To correct, is to look to the future and help direct future actions and decisions, whereas punishment only dwells on the past error. This is a challenge for me because my first impulse in discipline for Violet is motivated by anger or frustration which translates as punishment for retribution. Please don’t judge me too harshly unless you’ve had kids; they may be cute as all get out but they have some pretty devious secret weapons to undermine the sanity of any adult. Here is a list of the ones I can think of right off the bat.

  • repeating a word over and over and over.
  • asking for something and then refusing it when you give it to them
  • speaking in a foreign language that they understand and you don’t and they don’t understand how you don’t understand them.
  • crying
  • crying
  • whining
  • begging desperately to have the owie kissed for the fiftieth time while you’re driving down the freeway.
  • lots of other things i have blocked from my memory.

All that, coupled with a lack of sleep and a strong desire to set the alarm earlier just so you can see what it’s like to wake up to an alarm instead of someone yelling your name from across the house, make for a ton of teachable moments. For me.

I could probably spend another couple paragraphs unpacking the differences in application between correction and punishment, but I’m still trying to figure that out and Henry is asleep which means I should be too. All I know is this: God is good, all the time.

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four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie

Rub a dub dub,

Two kids in the tub

And who do you think they be?

Violet the Girly and Henry the Burly,

Splashing in the tub blithely.

Yesterday I had a tupperware of cream cheese frosting sitting on the kitchen counter. I realized Violet had stretched to grab it when I heard her yell “Yaaaaaaay!” Of course I gave her a bite.

In other news, I do not have a newborn. At all. (I’m not actually sure he was ever a newborn, come to think of it.) Not only is Henry wearing all his three-month clothes at six weeks, but he is super interactive with tons of smiling and “talking”. One of these days I’m going to have to post some shirtless pictures of him so you all can see how his armpits bulge.

I’m sitting here trying to think of creative/funny/anything else to write about but truthfully the laundry/dishes/sweeping are weighing pretty heavy on my mind. Sorry guys.

Here is a picture of Violet and her adorable cousin Tom

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Duh!

Overheard during a conversation between my two youngest siblings.

“Showny, you look like a chickmunk.”

“Um, there’s no such thing as a chickmunk.”

“Hello, a girl chipmunk.

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Um…

So yesterday Henry was 6 weeks old. He’s huge. 12 pounds 3 ounces and 24 inches long, means he’s gained 3 pounds and 3 inches since he was born. Yowza. He’s so fat that his armpits bulge out like a sumo wrestler.

I don’t really have anything of interest to blog about. I am wondering if any of you have ever tried to make a homemade pinata before, because I intend to for Violet’s birthday and I’m trying to think of something interesting for her and her cousins to hit (possibly some aunts and uncles too). Would it be weird to fill it with the charcoal brickets we’ll use for grilling lunch? I’m just picturing the look on their faces the second it splits open…a mad dash towards the loot…yells of “Yaaay!…wait. What?” Pinatas are awesome. Oh, and just so you know, filling a pinata with baggies of carrot and celery sticks is LAME. If you really want your kids to eat healthy, giving them a baggy of vegetables to get over their disappointment that the vegetables aren’t candy probably isn’t the greatest way to reinforce the message that vegetables are a good thing.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet, but Henry is growing in a solid head of hair where all his hair fell out. It’s definitely blond, and its all growing in at the same length and thickness making him look like he has a tiny buzz cut on the top of his head.

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yesterday

Regret is a color only found in a photograph. Today I remembered that the life phases my children are in right now are the shortest ones of all. Someday way too soon I’ll only be looking at these moments captured in a picture and gone like the shape of a raindrop before it lands. The stillness in the photo belying all the frenetic energy, noise and color…all the smells-like-baby-shampoo moments, all the soft-round-cheeks-against-mine hugs, and all the sloppy wet kisses.

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National Man Day (it’s today)

In case you didn’t know, today is National Man Day.

This day is the day for all men to stand up and say, “Yes, I am a Man.” And “Yes, I will step up and do manly things and whatever I want to do on this glorious day!”
Come, make history! Be a part of National Man day. Take the world by the throat and tell them it’s ok to watch Rocky movies all day. Tell them it’s fine if you sit in your favorite chair and scratch yourself. Tell them it’s normal to go shoot stuff or blow something up. Why? Because YOU ARE A MAN!!!
You aren’t some nancy that likes to frolic in the fields, unless it’s a field of mines and you have an AK47 and a hand full of grenades… Then you really are a man!
Yes on this day, men across the nation will be saying, “Screw you salad bar, with your salad and light dressings!” Men will step up and say, “I’ll take that 20 oz steak, and yes, I’ll eat it all. Because I’m a man!”
I’m not asking you to throw some sissy party, or to go buy a new power tie because you’re a man. All I’m asking you to do is step up live this day like a man would. Blow something up, shoot some animal, punch your buddy in the face for no reason, be a good father, play football and literally knock someone’s head off… Do something manly. Be a man like God intended you to be…
Take this day and celebrate your manhood

This quote was taken from the facebook page for National Man day, which I discovered after my husband decided to celebrate it. I think the thing I like about NMD is that it reminded me of elements of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge which is on my mandated reading list for pretty much everyone–men and women. It’s that good. It is so important for men to be masculine and to embrace the traits that God has ingrained in their nature. When men honor God with their masculinity, they become better fathers, husbands and friends. They aren’t afraid to champion the rights of others, they aren’t intimidated by emotional intimacy, and they’re perfectly suited to living a life of adventure and promise…even if they do pass on the salad bar and watch Rocky marathons occasionally.

Today is for all the men in my life, but especially my dad and my husband; the man who showed me what to look for and the one I found as a result.

The National Man Day website

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Badass vs. Dumbass

WARNING: the following post may or may not contain bad words, but that all depends on how you define them.

Here’s a list of things you can do that do not make you a badass:

smoking

drinking

drugs

premarital sex

tattoos

and some other things too.

Unless you are legitimately badass, like say a sniper who goes on secret missions for the government, or a winner of the Indy 500, or a navy seal; doing any of the above things will do nothing to change your status from a dumbass to a badass.

If you’re going to smoke, smoke because you like to. If you’re going to drink, drink because it’s a perfect summer afternoon barbecue or a timeless glass of wine with an old friend. If you’re going to do drugs, do them only after you’ve time traveled to the future and had your future self sign a consent form. If you’re going to have premarital sex, only do so if you’re passionately in love in a committed relationship with someone you intend to marry who feels the same way*. If you’re going to get tattoos, get tattoos of things that are deeply meaningful to you that you know will continue to be meaningful in fifty years. If you do any of these things (and some others) just because you want to be badass, you’re a dumbass.

* This is not, nor ever has been a good excuse to have premarital sex. I would never condone premarital sex. However, plenty of you either have or will have sex outside of marriage. Basically, don’t have sex just for the experience or to impress someone.

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Dentist on Trial

Today I went to the dentist. This is my 5th dentist in 5 years. I seem to have a problem keeping them. Or vice versa. I switched from two of those dentists because my insurance changed, but the other two gave me such memorable experiences that I plan on never visiting them again.

The first one left me in the chair with a rubber dam in my mouth for 45  minutes while he attended to another patient. Afterward I went into the bathroom at the office and cried. And I never cry.  The second one put someone else’s tooth in my mouth. I guess I should explain. I got fitted for a crown. The dentist sent it away to have some place make it. Somewhere in there it got switched with some other patient’s crown. After my dentist got it back, it took 3 separate visits to have it refitted because for some strange reason it didn’t fit. Interesting. I’m no expert here, but that’s my best guess–especially since the shape of the crown is different than all my other teeth. I know this much:the crown in my mouth was not originally intended for my mouth. But like I said, I’m no expert.

Here’s hoping I don’t have to change dentists for a while.

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(pronounced heh-wee)

Me: “Violet, what’s your baby brother’s name?”

Violet: “Baby Harry”

Me: “Baby Harry?”

Violet: “No, Baby Harry!”

Me: “Baby Henry?”

Violet: “Yeah!”

There appears to be somewhat of a disconnect somewhere…

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Photoshop will be the demise of my eyes

1 down, 1200 to go. don’t be depressed by those numbers though–goodness knows I’m not. Two good reasons: First, I downloaded the month long trial of photoshop and it is really super, second…I’m pretty sure i can’t afford it so I plan to use it every day for a month because it’s so much fun. Is that wrong? Probably. I know. I know. To be fair, the other day the checker at the grocery store didn’t scan something and I pointed it out to her. $650 software, $.97 worth of bananas. Okay, maybe not a great example. I suppose this is the part where I resolve this moral dilemma.

um…

…um

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The Intangible Factor

Yesterday was my brother’s wedding. It was beautiful. The weather was the most perfect you could have wished for, the bride was stunning, the handwritten vows were tender, and the sky was as blue as a forget-me-not flower. I had the privilege of capturing this day for them as one of their photographers and while I have a ton of great pictures that will take me forever and a day to edit, the sweetest pictures of the day are the ones that couldn’t be captured with a camera.

I will always remember,

Watching my brothers find the cufflinks in their tux bags and wondering what to do with them,

The way the bride’s mother prayed out loud as she helped her into her dress,

The nervous excitement of the groom as he tried to spy the bride out of the corners of his eye while she approached him from behind for their first look of each other. “I see a corner of your veil! I see your hand! I see your arm!”

The bridesmaids trying to figure out how to pick up the groom for a picture,

All those stolen kisses,

Watching the bride and her father cry before they ever headed down the aisle,

Voices cracking with emotion while reading vows,

And watching everyone try their best to look coordinated while dancing to Michael Jackson in the dusk.

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Was that a Fat Joke?

Today I weighed Henry. He’s four weeks old and he now weighs 11.6 pounds. In case you’re wondering–that’s a lot. Suffice to say–weight gain has not been a problem for him. Not that it should be–the fat little cherub eats all the time, although I think we may be getting closer to three-hour stretches at night which I am completely okay with. Trust me.

So, I have to ask. Am I the only one who has a hard time figuring out what to wear to stuff? Case in point: my brother is getting married on Saturday and I need something to wear that fits and makes me look ten pounds skinnier. Plus, all my uh…dimensions are different (read: larger) since I was pregnant about a month ago with a gigantisaurus. All I have to say is this: my poor family. Here’s how much time it took to find an outfit that “works”:

4 trips to ross

2 trips to kohls

3 trips to target

1 trip to the mall

When I itemize it like that it’s pretty embarrassing. I’d like to believe this is a curse most women bear, right up there with child-bearing and not living in the Garden of Eden. You know, the one where you go to a closet full of clothes and wail to your husband, “But I have nothing to wear!”

Just another reason men find women mysterious.

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whoever said women have a higher pain tolerance than men was wrong.

So, a friend of mine who is pregnant with her first child posted this innocent remark on her facebook page.

“What do they say, its like pulling a lemon out of your nostril?” -Joel referring to the pain of childbirth”

At this, every woman within shouting distance proceeded to add their two cents.


It’s more like pulling your bottom lip over the top of your head. 🙂

as long as you have an epideral, there is NO pain… i….oh, and did they tell you about AFTER childbirth? how difficult it is to sit down for about a week afterward? nah, noone told me…. they give you a donut to sit on for comfort… ha…that doesn’t work… so be prepared….

for me it was like ball of slime falling out of my body

It doesn’t hurt to sit if they don’t give you an episiotomy. If you aren’t rushed, you won’t tear, either, but most doctors won’t take care with that, either. The episiotomy is easier for them, not us.

can you tell a doctor not to do that?

Make sure you let the nurses know when you first get there or you could end up like me with just some Demerol and natural childbirth unintenionally.

I agree with Kim on not having the episiotomy. I had one for my first delivery, but not the 2nd or 3rd. Much easier recovery from those.

I also delivered all 3 girls without an epidural. I highly recommend natural childbirth!

Tried to do it natural but then I had back labor, bad bad back labor. Go with the flow and listen to your body. Agree that I already forget how bad it hurt ( although I ended up with c section) because the end result is so awesome 🙂

more like a watermelon….let Joel know!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA

Every woman’s experience is different! Don’t listen to all the horror stories. Have the epidural…..you will be fine…

I rest my case.

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