Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eight Months



Less is more. Except, of course, when it comes to baby pictures. Why share one when you can share half a dozen?



Today little Caroline is eight months old. She can, as you can see, sit confidently. She can wave. She eats stage two baby food and naps regularly.



She tries to grab everything, and will roll around or scoot to get to things. She sucks her thumb regularly.



She is an inquisitive little girl. She's is always looking around and always taking things in. If you could hear wheels whirring in a person's head, I am convinced her motor would be quite loud.



She is the very definition of an easy baby. She likes being around people, but is content to sit on the floor and watch people, or babble with them. We often find ourselves remarking, "Why Caroline, I forgot you were sitting there!" She babbles and coos and smiles on cue and the three older kids dote on her incessantly. She rarely cries and is easily soothed on the rare occasions when she gets upset.



I can't remember my other kids at this age and so, Joe and I have decided, that Caroline is not allowed to grow up any more; she's just perfect the way she is.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How We Spent Our Wednesday



After my self-indulgent, manic and pathetically self-serving day Monday, today was a welcome change of pace. Erin and her darling kids visited us and everyone had a such a nice time giggling, playing at the park and setting up scavenger hunts. Erin and I enjoyed letting the kids entertain each other and spending some much needed time chatting.

Our late morning trip to the park was capped off by the kids climbing the playhouse and taking a slide off the roof. First off, Hank,



then Elisabeth,



next was Lily,



and her sister Claire,



and then, finally, Madeleine.



What a wonderful way to break up our everyday routine. Thanks for making the drive, Erin!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Club



Only twenty minutes to go until our Mother/Daughter Book Club. Wine, friends and book talk. Can't wait!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Contentment



Saying no, something I don't do well to begin with, becomes harder when confronted with faces I love covered with layers of tears. How is it that such a short, simple word can cause so much angst, frustration and sadness?

I know. Someday they'll thank me for this lesson: actions have consequences. That's an important lesson, no?

Actions do have consequences, even for a parent and seeing those tears and holding fast to what I think is right despite those tears and histrionics make me-- well, I'll be honest-- some days I question whether I am cut out for this job. Today I remind myself to take comfort that God saw fit to give me these particular kids; this unique blend of personalities. I have to remind myself that someway, somehow, I alone am qualified to mother these particular individuals struggling to assert themselves.

I held fast today; I stuck to my guns. I should feel better. Victorious, even. But that's the thing I am slowly (too slowly!) realizing about being a parent; the kids' sadness is my sadness. Their misery and disappointment is my misery and disappointment. Today I hold fast to the idea that their contentment as responsible, successful adults will be my contentment as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Finding Resemblances

I don't know what it is, but I've got a thing about comparing my kids; not in a psychologically unhealthy competition of abilities and talents, but in a way that attempts to see similarities between the siblings and see how our mixed DNA manifests itself in our offspring.

Each child of our has been unique, containing some physical resemblances to each other but, by and large, having their own individual look. Be the time Caroline came along we almost gave up trying to see resemblances between the kids. That is, until yesterday.

Yesterday Dad and I were flipping through old photo albums and I came across a picture of Madeleine at seven-months-old, which is how old Caroline is today, and I was struck by the similarities and investigated further. Tell me what you think.

Madeleine, on the left, and Caroline both under one week old.



Madeleine, again on the left, and Caroline both at seven-months-old.



These two sisters, separated by nine years, might just be the most physically similar of the four kids.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nice White



I'm a red wine girl. I'm not a seasonal red wine drinker; it's my drink of choice all year long.

However, the other day I picked up this el cheapo ($9 a bottle) bottle of white on a lark. Well, wait- I have to be honest: I never spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine. Ever. OK, maybe at a restaurant once in a blue moon, but I generally find bottles I like in the less than $10 a bottle range and I stick to that price point. So. The sommelier at a local store I trust recommended the above bottle of Goats do Roam. It's a white blend and it's wonderful. It's crisp. It's fresh. It's that perfect blend of just dry enough to not be sweet but not too dry.

Like I said, I'm a red wine girl, but this bottle may steer me off course for awhile as the weather stays nice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning Piano



Hank has been requesting, and has not yet received, piano instruction. His wish to take lessons has been noted, but cannot be fulfilled until this coming fall. So, for now, he plugs along on his own, staring intently at Madeleine's easier piano books and trying to make some sense of the notes he sees on the page.

That first day he decided to teach himself piano, it didn't take long before he found the notes on the page corresponded to a particular note on the piano, and shortly after that he was plunking out a few simple songs.

I am reminded, once again, that when a person decides they want to learn something we're, by and large, able to do so, often on our own.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Caroline Waves

Look who learned how to sit up AND how to wave!

video

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Round Up, Early April Edition



I've been in a bit of a book funk lately. I want to come across another book I just can't wait to dive back into. The last book I can recall feeling that way about was Out Stealing Horses. I mean, yeah, I always love Jane Austen and Emma was fun too, but I knew what happened and I was reading it solely for enjoying Austen's comedy and writing, which is entertaining, sure, but doesn't exactly make a book something that you are desperate to get back to.

I did recently finish Mennonite in a Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen's memoir. Eh. It was fun and Janzen did a decent job of poking fun at her childhood without making fun of Mennonites too much, but I only liked it whereas I wanted to love it.

And now I am reading E.M. Forster's A Room With a View which has yet to catch me. I've only just started it though, but so far I'm having a hard time finding much sympathy or interest in Lucy, the main character. We'll see. I am also listening to Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, which I am really enjoying. The book is narrated by Lisette Lecat and I am really enjoying her melodic voice and the captivating story. When I haven't felt like picking up my earphones or a book, I've been thumbing through my current issue of Real Simple (I cannot express how deeply I love this magazine, if only for its beautiful, crisp covers) and an older issue of The New Yorker. A highlight was a fascinating article about alcohol consumption and how it relates to local culture and customs. Worth the read if you can get ahold of the magazine's February 15&22, 2010 issue.

Joe has slowly been making his way through Ron Paul's book, reading a chapter here and there and thinking about them after he's read them. For Joe, my dear Libertarian husband, Paul has always been a bit too Libertarian, especially in regards to foreign policy. However, I think Joe feels he has a much better grasp of Paul's position now, and while he doesn't completely agree with him, he now at least feels as if he understands what Paul is saying, and can appreciate the argument, even if he doesn't wholly embrace it. Joe also polished off On the Way to the Melting Pot by Waldemar Ager (translated by Harry T. Cleven), which Joe, the great-grandson of Norwegian immigrants, loved.

Madeleine is reading Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen for school, and Madeleine declared to me today, "Being Amish would be so cool; it would be so easy to play Laura Ingalls Wilder!" Madeleine said it's a great book so far. In her free time she's reading Philippa Fischer's Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Madeleine says she's addicted to Kessler's book and says she has yet to get sucked into Wonderland, but she did just start it, so we'll see.

Hank is happily reading The Report Card for his assigned reading and even thumbing through a magazine called Nintendo Power all on his own accord. Yes. I have stooped to checking out magazines from the library about video games to get my son to read. I feel no shame-- it worked!

As a family we've all been addicted to an old compilation of Grimm's fairy tales. The book is a gorgeous old edition illustrated by Mercer Mayer (an example of one of the illustrations here) that I remember requesting often as a child, and all three older kids have been requesting the grim, gruesome tales.

As always, I enjoy padding my book list with your suggestions-- I've got quite a list going and I love having a lot to look forward to reading!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Boy and His Dad

The change has been so gradual that I don't even know quite when it started. What I know, is that my Hank, my little boy, who used to look to me for all decisions to be made or any familial disputes to be arbitrated, now looks to his father. I am not saddened by this--at least no more so than I was when Elisabeth stopped breastfeeding or when Madeleine made her first solo trip around the block, which is to say I see this development as expected, a typical milestone for a seven-year-old boy on a course for eventual manhood.

Trips to the hardware store, once boring and something to be avoided, are coveted trips for my son to make alone with his father. Going to bed before Joe arrives home from work on days when he left before Hank arose is visibly upsetting to this little boy who desires, at the very least, a goodnight kiss from his dad. An opinion sought from me is now double-checked with Dad, a necessary exercise for a little boy, I suspect, who fears his mom will advise something too girly, too feminine.

Last evening, his sisters and friends from the neighborhood played and climbed trees in our backyard while Joe readied the grill.



It didn't take long for Hank abandon the kids and, instead, fully commit to his spot by the grill-- with his dad.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Playaways

One of the surest signs that something is about to become passé is that I discover it; you've all known about Playaways for years, haven't you. (The period at the close of that last sentence was intentional).

Be that as it may, I feel as if my recent discovery of Playaways has offered me boundless options that books on tape or CD do not offer.



The Playaway is lightweight and compact and its reliance on earphones is perfect for someone who, like me, is moving around in the midst of chaos. I am able to wash dishes, ignore my children and read (well, listen to) a book all at the same time.

With a Playaway in my pocket and my earbuds plugged into its side, I may actually catch up on my laundry.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Reading Outside

Last week, as soon as the first nice day hit, the kids hit the great outdoors with their books. There was nothing to be done that could not be done outside, it seemed, on those precious few warm, sunny days. History? On a blanket in the backyard. Math? On the porch. Reading? Well, see for yourself.



And now, the gray and chilliness is back, along with snow in the forecast. Those warm moments outside pouring over a good book were not to be missed!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter!

Preparation.



After our Easter service.



Looking for, and finding, Easter treats at home.



Getting ready for our Easter feast.



We had a joyous, blessed Easter, and I hope you all did too!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

Look what I found today.



This daffodil is alone, the solitary bloom amongst the spring bulbs scattered throughout our yard.

Today, this Good Friday, we remember Christ's sufferings and death and confront how utterly alone he was on the cross when he cried out, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") At this evening's service we will remember Christ's utter abandonment in our stead.

We are not ever alone, even when it seems we stick out like the first yellow bloom of spring. What an incredible comfort that is.

Best wishes for a blessed Good Friday and Easter to you all!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A chorus of birds... and not much else

Quality, not quantity. That's what is important, no?

I agree. It's just that, when it comes to this blog, this stupid, absurd electronic thing that I, for whatever reason, feel the need to do, I hate skipping a day, even when I have nothing to say.

Today was spent outside and at the dentist (you try taking four kids, three of them patients, and yourself to the dentist and see how long you're there!), but this morning at drop off I was playing with my new video app for my iPhone. The video will make you dizzy because I was walking while filming and it shows; I never intended on sharing it. However, I love that you can hear the chorus of bird accompanying us on our walk up the path to Elisabeth's preschool. And I love how the kids are racing and yelling at each other. It's just...so... everydayish.


video