Friday, January 29, 2010

Preschool Week 3!

On Tuesday we took a field trip to the Naval Aviation Museum, which was a lot of fun! Click here to see pictures from that trip! On Thursday we had our regular Preschool class. We reviewed the calendar, the letter A, the letter B, circles, sorting by color, and added the letter C. We had a great time digging through a box full of things that started with the letter C. We also used a catapult to lay siege to the backyard! The kids really enjoyed that!!

For snack we had letter C cookies, crackers, cheese, celery, cauliflower, carrots, and cucumbers, quite a spread! We also colored letter C coloring pages with crayons, colored pencils, and markers. We made cereal necklaces out of Fruit Loops after sorting them by color! We played with toy boats in the water table and read a story about boats! We also placed stickers of cars, planes, boats, and trains on a picture! The kids had a wonderful time!

Today, our Preschool group took a field trip to the West Florida Railroad Museum . David got to come too, since he was off work (he took all of the pictures). The kids had a lot of fun!!! Jessica particularly enjoyed climbing in and out of all the cars!

Both kids (some of our group stayed home sick) loved riding in the child-sized train!!

Jessica's friend particularly enjoyed the model train they had set up!

The other teacher (who had to stay home) sent a snack of grapes and railroad cookies! She baked sugar cookies with a popsicle stick in them and then iced them to look like railroad crossing signs!

Isn't this a great picture??? It seems very artsy to me! Oh and Jessica accessorized herself this morning! She felt the hat just completed the ensemble! I find it simply amazing how well she can match clothes!

It is a small museum, but it is free and a great outing for kids!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring Has Sprung.....Diapers!!!!

I am not sure what this says about me, but I was totally excited to strip all of our cloth diapers and hang them on the line to dry outside!

Only the covers are pictured....don't they look so cheerful??

I have done both line drying and dryer drying, and I have to say, line drying is definitely best for your diapers. However, I have heard an occasional tumble in the dryer can reset your waterproof layer from time to time as it breaks down!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Babies

We have been taking it easy around here the last few days, but I wanted to share a few pictures and brief update! Jessica got a package in the mail Monday from my parents (I believe the last of her birthday extravaganza will be trickling in later this week)! She was very impressed with the Cinderella costume and pink converse tennis shoes. In fact, she felt they went together just perfectly!!

If only I could get her to keep the headband on all the time, we could see her pretty eyes!

Forget glass slippers! Give me some pink converse!

Today, our preschool group took a field trip to the Naval Aviation Museum. Jessica had a wonderful time climbing on the play aircraft carrier!! She learned to say "airplane" and "A-bomb!" Her daddy is so proud!

Don't worry. I know what I'm doing!

Now let's see....I think I can fly this one too...

Mommy and Jessica's best-friends!

Having fun on the aircraft carrier....of course Jessica is driving!

Everyone enjoyed the aircraft carrier; however, surprise, surprise, Jessica spent the rest of the time continuously climbing up and down the net!!

Now THAT'S how you take a nap!!

I also got to hear John's heartbeat today. I ended up going to the doctor today without an appointment due to some recent trouble with spotting. The good news is that everything is fine. The down side is that since I carry so low and just the way things are, I'm just going to have to put up with it! On the bright side, the doctor did say I could continue all of my normal activities in spite of the spotting! At least we only have 4 more months to go! It's hard to believe we still have 4 more whole months, but I know it will fly by! I am hoping to get around to making some more baby things this week as well as starting some spring dresses for Jessica in the near future. I will be glad when my energy levels return to normal once John is born!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Birthday Bash!

Today we had Jessica's 2 year old birthday party! It was my first time throwing a kid's birthday party! Amazingly it turned out just fine! However, I am really glad to be done with Christmas and Birthdays for a while!!! The cake had to have minor surgery after being defrosted. The party favors I came up with were little flower pots, with a few pea seeds, and a bag of dirt. I thought they turned out pretty cute! (It was very economical, and they didn't end up going home with a bag of junk!) Here are some pictures from her big day!

Jessica really enjoyed unwrapping all of the presents!

She got lots of cute dress-up clothes: a doctor costume, a care bear costume, a superwoman costume, and a holiday barbie costume!

Unwrapping one of her presents with a friend!

She also got a cute summer outfit and a couple books! We had to try on the new clothes immediately!

Then we had to put on our new doctor's coat! (It says "Dr. Bodkin!")

All of the kids got in on the act and started digging through the dress-up basket!

Jessica had to find some matching shoes!

The cake after minor surgery. It still ended up looking pretty good!

Singing Happy Birthday to Jessica!

The kids were all about to come out of their chairs when I cut the cake!!

The cake definitely met with approval!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Preschool Week 2!

David and I had decided about a year ago that we wanted to provide preschool for our children at home. One of the biggest factors that played into this decision was the expense of sending your child to preschool. We both hate the idea of paying someone else to do something we could do ourselves! Besides, we usually get a better quality product when we do something ourselves because we are personally invested! The other big factor that played into this decision was that by doing preschool at home you are able to tailor to your child's needs. We were also very fortunate to meet other parents with toddlers in the area, particularly parents with toddlers who had different strengths from our toddler! Not only are the kids getting lots of practice with academic and social skills, but they are also learning about areas they do not excel in as much by watching each other! I also like the fact that we have the opportunity to have siblings in class together. There seems to be a more open dynamic when brothers and sisters are involved!

I forgot to take pictures during preschool again so these are from free time right after preschool. Next time I WILL remember to take pictures!!!

Today, we started out going over our calendar and talking about how it feels outside in January (I think that is a bit of a lost cause as we are wearing t-shirts again!). Next we reviewed the letter A and introduced the letter B. We went through a box of things that start with B: a picture of a baby, a book about beavers, a blanket with a bear on it, a button, a ball, a bag, a toy bed, a Bible, a toy boat, a bowl, a book about bugs, and a book about the Wheels on the Bus. Next we had a snack of apples, bananas, and letter A and B cookies! We put bug, balloon, and letter B stickers on a letter B coloring sheet, and then we went outside and played with a bucket of dried beans and bubbles!

Jessica's best-friend enjoying some puzzle time! (Jessica didn't really sit still long enough for me to get a descent shot of her!)

For the second half, we came back inside and talked about things that go in the air. The kids loved sticking the airplanes and helicopters in the sky! (Once again Jessica felt all things that go should be in the sky! I think we may have a buddying aerospace engineer on our hands!!) We plan to laminate this poster and the pieces so they can be used next year with stick on velcro! Next we read a story about things that go. Then we made airplanes out of foam, colored them with washable markers, and flew them around the room while singing flying songs! Finally, we sorted blocks by color and built an entire town!! I wish I had gotten a picture of Jessica's skyscraper! It really did look like a skyscraper! We had a wonderful time at preschool today! It is amazing to see the kids really excel at things they love and slowly catch bits and pieces of things they find less interesting!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The post Boys versus Girls has been permanently removed. While I appreciate everyone's interest in the topic, I find that it is taking more time to review and respond to comments than I have to give at this time. I really feel that while open discussion is important, this particular discussion would best be had on a message board that is set up for monitoring posts frequently.

Concerning the topic of circumcision there are many different opinions and many different research articles out there on both sides of the issue. Some of these are based in fact. Some are not. In the United States, it remains a subject that is open for further study and debate as even the American Academy of Pediatrics will not recommend for or against it. Even our legal system is not completely decided on who can legally request the procedure.

Obviously any decision concerning your child should never be taken lightly. Each parent should learn as much as they can and make an informed decision. In our case (as I said before), we have already made our decision to have the procedure done. Religiously and culturally it is a decision we both feel very comfortable with, and we would have only considered making a change if overwhelming evidence had forced organizations like the AAP to retract their current recommendations on the subject. That being said I have gone to great lengths to make sure that I am 100% informed about how and when this can be done to make it easiest on John.

I am sure that there are many people out there who will not understand this decision; however, I will not be accepting any comments on this subject in the future because I do not have the time to regulate and respond to them properly, while caring for my family. There are many message boards out there should you feel the need to continue this discussion further. Thank you again for your comments and interest!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Jessica!

Jessica, today you turn 2 years old! It is hard to believe you have grown into such a big girl! I find it incredible how much has changed in such a short period of time!! You are now 100% mobile!! You run, climb ladders (and other things), tumble, hang from a jungle gym, swim several feet on your own, and sort of jump! You have almost no fear! You have a budding vocabulary. The words you use the most are please and thank you. You are a very sweet child! It is very obvious that you care about others around you, especially small children and babies. You also have a certain exuberance for life!! There is nothing more exciting than experiencing something with you! You make the ordinary seem extraordinary! You laugh great big laughs out of pure enjoyment! You have a knack for anything procedural or mechanical. You are completely potty trained around the house, even though you still don't say very much! When Daddy is fixing something, you come running, screwdriver in hand! You also love to help around the house. You help me make your oatmeal in the mornings. You love to empty the dishwasher and are very good about putting things away. You will also get your own snack from the fruit bowl on the table and eat it without me having to cut it up for you! You are a very good eater! You eat almost anything!! When you go down for a nap, you insist on having a Bible story and praying. When you go to bed at night, you "rough house" with your Daddy using the bunk-bed as your jungle gym!! You love to give hugs and kisses, and if your Daddy tries to kiss you on the check, you will put your hands on both his cheeks and turn his head so you can kiss him on the mouth! You love playing outside, accessorizing, your baby, taking everything apart, the cat, balls, bubbles, tools, and Veggie Tales! Today we did some of your favorite things! Here are some pictures from our day:

I always thought my life was pretty complete; however, once you were born, I realized just how much we had been missing!! You bring joy to everyone around you! May you fill the world with sweetness and joy as you (slowly!!!!!) grow into the woman you were made to be!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's A....

It's a Boy!! Today we had our big ultrasound! Everything looked great and we were able to find out that it is definitely a boy! There are a couple pictures below. (David has requested that we do not publish the "It's a Boy!" picture.) We are very excited and believe that Jessica will enjoy having a brother to rough and tumble play with!! I am also getting excited thinking about what cute little things I can make for a baby boy! I have enjoyed making dresses for Jessica so much, and I am sure I will come up with some adorable things to make for a baby boy! I think I have mentioned before that David refuses to discuss names until we know what it is. I am pretty good about waiting to discuss it until then; however, once we know, I will not let him rest until we have a name!!! It took us maybe a couple hours to come up with Jessica's name. This one we came up with in about an hour!

His name will be John David, and we will call him John. Both are family names. David wanted to make sure that the name was practical: easy to pronounce, easy to spell, doesn't sound weird 20 years from now, etc. Also neither of us wanted a name that was currently very trendy, and although John is a fairly popular name, it has not been as popular in recent years. For me, the important thing was what the name means. John means "God's gracious gift." and David means "Beloved." Both names seem very descriptive of this child's place in our hearts, especially after seeing just how fragile life can be. This is also the process we used to pick Jessica's name (and by the way the "J" theme is purely accidental). Jessica means "Gift" or "God sees." Elizabeth is a family name and means "Dedicated to God." We felt this name was very appropriate since we had not expected to become pregnant at that time. So far all of our names have a Hebrew origin, mostly because of what the names mean (not to mention the Bible tends to make them classic American name choices). For now at least I will still be able to have our names in English and Hebrew with the meanings in the kids' room! We'll have to just wait and see what we end up doing name-wise for the next child!

We have a few other details we need to consider (that you will hear about later), but for the most part we are about ready for this little one to join us! I have cemented in my mind that although I did not want an induction that is the best choice for our baby. I had mentioned earlier that I am a carrier for Strep Group B in my blood and that I need 4 hours of penicillin through an IV during labor and delivery in order to ensure that I do not pass it on to our baby. Although it is not dangerous for me, it can be dangerous for a newborn, and because Jessica's labor and delivery lasted only 6 hours, we live almost an hour from the hospital, and second children usually come faster, we do not want to risk not getting enough penicillin to protect the baby. I still hope to avoid an epidural. I felt that it was a positive experience last time; however, I recognize that each labor and delivery is different so we will just have to see! We have had a very long day, and we are both worn out! I am going to go get some chores done around the house while relaxing to some Star Trek!! Perhaps I will share more tomorrow. :-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Day of Preschool!

Well, today was our first day of our neighborhood preschool using our own curriculum! I will admit I had very low expectations of how this was going to go! I expected Jessica's best friend to enjoy it, but I was very surprised at how much Jessica enjoyed it!! Many of her friends are very verbal, and Jessica is not. We do not find this surprising, since both David and I are also very spatially oriented; however, it does bother me when people comment on it or think there is something wrong with her because she is not terribly verbal. As a mother, it is always great to see your child excel at something, but it is even better when you have already seen at such a young age just how much differences can bother people. Not only did Jessica seem to enjoy the experience, but her mother received a much needed dose of confidence! Here is more about what we actually did:

It's a little empty now, but that will change over time! See the paper doll with her hat, coat, pants, gloves, and scarf I placed on the picture for January?

This is a picture of the vinyl shade I had David install in our dining room to use as our "focus wall!" The awesome part is that this can be used for years to come with multiple groups of children and multiple academic levels! I bought the shade, some foam letters and numbers (because they were on sale), and some stick on velcro. I printed out a calendar, used a picture from an old calendar, cut out some paper dolls I found for free on the internet, and cut out a circle using some extra foam sheets we had from another project. Overall, very low cost but very high durability! Also the shade can be rolled up once you un-velcro all the pieces! This was our lesson plan for the day:

9:15-9:30Calendar, Dress Paper doll, Introduce Letter A, box of A things
9:30-9:45Letter A Rubbing with Sandpaper
9:45-10:00Snack Time: apples and letter A cookies
10:00-10:15Story about Trains, Poster for Types of Transportation
10:15-10:30Sing Wheels on the Bus, play with electric train
10:30-10:45Sorting circles by color
10:45-11:00Cut and paste wheels on a roller skate

I went over the calendar as well as what the paper doll was wearing today. Then I showed them the letter A, and we explored a box of things that start with the letter A: alligator, anteater, ape, airplane, apple, avocado, angel, apron, and a letter A. We also took letter A's cut out of sandpaper and made letter A rubbings (Jessica really got into that)! Then we had a snack of apples and letter A cookies! I made the cookies using a recipe of my great-great-grandmother's for Tea Cakes. They are really good for using with small children because they are low sugar but high fat, which is great for developing brains! Click on the picture below to enlarge the recipe. I am guessing the recipe is older than that and was brought by my family to the New World from England.

Next it was my kindergarten teacher friend's turn to teach. First we talked about things that go, and she let the kids place pictures of different types of transportation on a poster of a landscape. Jessica insisted that all transportation belonged in the sky (We moved it later)! I told my husband we may have a budding Aerospace Engineer on our hands!

Next we sang the Wheels on the Bus song, and played with an electric train set! Finally we played a math game and created a math craft! My friend handed out colored circles to everyone and before she could tell everyone what to do, Jessica was already sorting the shapes! Next we did a cut and paste worksheet. I cut out the circles, but Jessica made sure to cut fringe around the edge of the page! (She is very into scissors right now!) Then without anyone telling her what to do, she took the circles and placed them exactly where they were supposed to go! I put the glue on the page and let her press them into place (I did not want any more mess than we already had!)

A picture from her first time using scissors!

I am teaching early reading for the rest of the month, and my friend is teaching math for the rest of the month. Tuesday we are going to see the Blue Angels practice! Friday we will have class again, and next week we are planning to go to a train museum! It should be fun!!! Sorry there weren't any pictures of the kids this time! We were a little busy figuring out how this was going to work!! Hopefully next time!

The Reason We Rarely Buy Her Toys

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Back!

I am back and completely recovered from our last week! Jessica is feeling much better, and David is home! We have had a lovely weekend!! We have had record temperature lows but have really enjoyed having a fire, eating homemade soup, and spending time together at home! I have many ideas that have been running through my head while laying around watching Veggies Tales with my poor sick and afflicted child! Once David got home, I even managed to get a couple of them done so I am excited to share those with you!!

Other exciting news around our house is that we will be getting an ultrasound done on Friday!! We will hopefully see that this child is developing just as he or she should be, and if he or she cooperates, we will learn if it is a boy or a girl! Neither of us cares if it is a boy or a girl, both are so much fun and a real blessing!! We always choose to find out because 1) I hate having to wait for wonderful surprises!!! and 2) David says it is inefficient to choose two names when you can just choose one! (It's the engineer in him...) Hopefully all that will go smoothly Friday. I must admit I always get a little nervous until I know for sure that all of the organs are there and in the right place! Other than tiring much quicker than I usually do (I never seem to get an energy boost while pregnant....just tired.....a lot!), everything is quite peaceful in our house, and it is a wonderful place in time to be at!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


During a typical week, I enjoy trying out all kinds of fun new things and posting about how they turned out such as making a rope bed, yogurt, etc. However, this has NOT been a typical week! David had been out of town, Jessica developed pneumonia, and I ended up at the ER with her at 3 am. That was most definitely NOT in my plan for the week. I had taken her into the ER because I couldn't get her fever as controlled as I would have liked (just under 103 with Tylenol and Motrin), and her skin was very dry. As it turns out she had developed eczema because of the stress on her body trying to get over her illness. I had heard of eczema, but while Jessica does have very sensitive skin, she has never had a problem with eczema. The ER upped her dosages of Tylenol and Motrin and gave me some ideas on what I could do to help keep the fever down. Thankfully Jessica seems to be on the mend. She is not anywhere near 100% today, but we have not had to use Tylenol or Motrin to control the fever! I must say I am looking forward to David having a long weekend! I am hoping to use some of the time that he is home to decompress a little with a fun project or two, so stay tuned to see what crazy thing I decide to try next!!! :-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

It seems like everyone and their brother has been talking about New Year's Resolutions for the last several days. I used to love coming up with a list of New Year's Resolutions and looking back at old lists to see how far I had come. However, recently I have found more joy in celebrating who I am! Even my "negative" traits have positives. For example, while I was seen in school as inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, etc, I was also seen as a very energetic, fun, and creative Sunday School teacher. God gave me all of my traits both "good" and "bad," and they can be used for both positive and negative purposes. I don't need to change anything about me; I just need align myself with my Maker's purpose.

That being said, my New Year's Resolution is to watch every single Star Trek: The Next Generation episode in order! I completed my collection of all 7 seasons this Christmas.....Yes, I know I am a dork......No that's not really my New Year's Resolution, I don't have one remember? But seriously, I am going to go start watching them in order!! It is the best way to fold laundry!!

In all seriousness, David and I have a lot to be thankful for this past year and a lot we are looking forward to this next year. I also have several exciting changes coming to this blog in the near future! Expect the first tidbit tomorrow!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Homemade Gifts 2009: Part 2

Well, all of the gifts have finally been opened, and we are preparing to return to life as normal around here again! I have to say I am looking forward to it after almost a month of holiday preparations and celebrations! However, before getting on to life as usual, I did want to finish sharing the last of the homemade gifts we gave and received. David made his mom a wind-chime out of steel pipe, oak, poplar, and fishing wire. I really wish we had remembered to take a picture of it, but we forgot. He tuned it to the key of C, and I think he did an excellent job!! UPDATE: David's parents sent us a picture of the wind-chime David made. See below.

David, Jessica, and I all received many thoughtful gifts. David and I received quite a few dvds, books, and scrapbooking supplies as we anticipate more "sit down time" with the approaching birth of our next child, and Jessica received quite a few outfits, leap frog toys, a dvd, and a Bible. However, there were two gifts I received that were truly special because they were made just for me!

First, my father-in-law made me a "lazy susan" to go with our walnut dinner table. (I got the table when we got married from a Pottery Barn outlet for $50 because it didn't have any legs, chairs, or a leaf. We bought unfinished legs and used wedding giftcards to buy some cheap but cute chairs. This year, David made a leaf to go in it. Soon we hope to refinish some chairs for it that survived Hurricane Katrina!) My father-in-law made the "lazy susan" out of maple, walnut, and bass wood. I thought it turned out absolutely lovely, and it matches the table very nicely!!

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it; the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things; it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." by Henry David Thoreau

My sister, Kim, who personalized a plain white pitcher with a Henry David Thoreau quote previously, took a white sugar bowl and creamer cup and personalized them with a Hans Christian Anderson and Ralph Waldo Emerson quote respectively! I really liked the quotes she chose, and it is so much fun to use because it was made especially for me! Everyone seemed to like all of the gifts we made for them as well! Now to forget about Christmas for a while and gear up for Jessica's birthday and the birth of our next child!!

"Earth laughs in flowers." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." Hans Christian Anderson

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

Jessica got several new items for Christmas (and her birthday) and has been busy accessorizing every day. This is what she chose to wear all over town today. While this is not the best picture, it does give you an idea of her unique sense of style! Note the glittery pink slippers on her feet and antique necklaces that belonged to her great-great-grandmother! Happy New Year!