Sunday, October 31, 2010

H A Double L O...

Halloween around here started on Friday morning with a trip to every thrift store in the vicinity to try to find a vampire cape for Cole. Instead, I found a bunkbed. No pictures because the lighting in that room stinks, and anyway pictures of bunkbeds are no fun. But you'll have to trust me that it's a mighty fine thrift store bunk bed, and all members of this household are happy to have more space in the boys' room.

We never found a cape, but we did find a very polyester black skirt that was quickly modified into a vampire cape. He makes a handsome vampire:



Earlier this week, the boys and I made bows and arrows out of sticks and rubber bands, which inspired Eli to be Robin Hood for Halloween. Then Rylan announced that he wanted to be Robin Hood too, so I made him be Friar Tuck. But if you ask him, he'll tell you that he was "Friar Tuck Robin Hood."



You may recognize the Robin Hood costume from a couple years ago (cleverly disguised as "Peter Pan.")

Last night was our church's trunk or treat. Holy cow. Some people really get into Halloween. I am not one of them. But we enjoyed the festivities and the candy, and Michael entered the Death Star into the pumpkin-carving contest. He didn't win, but I think it's just because no one could tell what it was supposed to be. He needed a sign.

Michael's star wars pumpkin

Michael took these pictures, and he couldn't figure out how to take good pictures of jack o'lanterns. I told him to look it up today, but his pumpkin had already started decaying by this afternoon. :(

Michael's star wars pumpkin

Tonight we skipped the trick or treating and did our usual journal time with Blood and Bones as the treat. Only, since I'm weird, I decided to try using beets to dye the milk instead of the red food coloring. It didn't work as well, but if you are looking for a dye-free way to give your kids an authentic Charlie and Lola experience, beets boiled in milk makes very convincing "pink milk."

Growing in Our Garden





Bow and Arrows

Inspired by this post from Indietutes, the boys and I decided to make our own bow and arrows. We couldn't find a stick as good as the one on the Indietutes blog, but we made do.

bow and arrows

bow and arrows

bow and arrows

bow and arrows

My Alley siblings may remember that I did this once before way back in my teenage years using some reeds, a sapling, and some twine. I think I have a soft spot for archery, and after reading the Hunger Games, I've decided I need to take a class.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vitamins and Supplements

My throat hurts today so I'm worried I'm getting a cold for the second time in two weeks, but before this, I hadn't been sick in a year. I've been trying to figure out how I went so long without getting sick, if I'm always so rarely sick, or if I just noticed it for the first time this year. But I think I usually get sick more often because now that I am sick, I'm being a total pansy and having strong feelings that I never want to be sick again when usually I buck it up and get on with life. (Maybe this explains why Michael is such a baby when he's sick.)

I read a blog post about cod liver oil today that actually made me want to start taking it. I've never been a big believer in supplements, but a friend recently mentioned that vitamin D does wonders for your energy level, so i thought I'd start taking it this winter since i tend to not want to get out of bed until spring. The cod liver oil is supposed to be packed with vitamin D and help prevent sickness, so maybe i should take that. Or maybe I should just do a better job of washing my hands before I eat and not touching things in public places.

As a stay at home mom, it is really inconvenient to be sick.

Anyway, just some random thoughts. Anyone try cod liver oil, vitamin D, or any other supplements? Or should I go with the germophobe route?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eli Says...

I was driving somewhere listening to a new CD Michael had bought (Motion City Soundtrack - "My Dinosaur Life") when the singer sang, "You stupid M-Fers." (only not abbreviated...)

Eli gasped. "Momma! He said stupid!"

(I've been debating about whether or not to share this one because it reveals that Michael and I do not always make the best music choices. But it is just too hilarious to keep to myself.)

(For the record, we do censor our music when the kids are in the car. This one caught me off guard because I hadn't listened to it before, and Michael didn't warn me.)

Rylan Says...

Last Sunday, Rylan and I were waiting for Cole and Eli outside the Primary room. Brother Carlile and his son Abraham (the same age as Rylan) were also waiting near us. Brother Carlile was admiring Abraham's picture from nursery and quizzing him about what he learned. He pointed to part of the picture and asked Abraham what it was. "The people getting on the ark," Abraham said. Brother Carlile cheered and then pointed to a different picture and asked what it was. "Moses," Abraham said. Brother Carlile cheered again.

I turned to Rylan and said, "What did you learn in nursery today?"

Rylan said, "Bubbles."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Family Journal Night

I wrote this guest post for a blog called Progressive Pioneer, and I like it.


"Journal time!" I call to my husband and three kids.

My husband gathers up paper and pens while I gather the the boys around the table.

"What day is it?" one kid asks. "What did I do this week?" says another.

And then the quiet of concentration settles upon us as we each record the events of the week - some in drawings, some in words, some with more words than others. When everyone is done, I'll gather up the papers and store them away in a three ring binder, our family journal that the boys can flip through at will to relive the events of the past year.

This is our Sunday night ritual, a tradition my own parents started when I was little and that I revived with my family nearly a year ago. My parents did it a little differently, providing each of us with our own hardcover journal to write or draw in each week, and to this day, I love to look back at the silly drawings and simple stories from my childhood. And although my parents abandoned the journal ritual after just a few years, I had developed a personal journaling habit that I kept up into adulthood.

Why Start a Family Journal Night?

To keep a record

The year I met my husband, I wrote my journal on the computer and saved the files on a floppy disk (remember those?). Right after my husband proposed, the disk malfunctioned, and I lost the entire record of our courtship. So many times since then, I've wondered: What did I think of my husband when we first met? What did I think after our first kiss? How did I know I was in love? Even simple details like where we went on our second date have disappeared from my memory after nearly ten years.

This is not to say that you shouldn't save your journal digitally (but make sure you keep a backup copy!) Instead my point is that we forget so much so quickly when we don't write it down. And these years while my children are young - I wish I could capture every moment! I want to remember all of the cute things they said and the fun things we did, but I also want to remember what they found important and how they felt.

"What did you do this week that you want to remember?" my husband and I ask our boys every week. And how fun to see their answers!


To practice writing

In just a year, I've seen my oldest's writing develop from four or five word sentences to four or five sentence paragraphs. "What else could you write?" my husband and I ask him after each sentence. "Is there anything more you could say? What details can you add?"

My five-year-old has gone from dictating to me or his father, to asking us to spell out each and every word, to writing simple sentences on his own.

Even for me as an adult, I find value in attempting to record my thoughts in a cohesive way and to capture my voice on paper. Writing is such an important skill to acquire, and one we can continue to develop throughout our lives.

To value art and creativity

In my own childhood journal, the drawings, not the journal-writing, are definitely the real gems. I remember as teenagers my siblings and I would occasionally pull out our journals and compare scribbles and stick figures (with ridiculous labels like "Grandma doing a somersault"). My own boys labor meticulously over their drawings, and I love to see their creativity in action. And then at the end of each evening, the journal pages go into our three-ring binder, to be oohed and aahed over for years to come.


To be together

"What's that?" my oldest asks his two-year-old brother, pointing to a scribble on the page.

"Daddy's backpack," the two-year-old replies.

"What's that?" my oldest points to another scribble.

"Daddy's backpack."

"What's that?"

"Race car."

The five- and six-year-old dissolve into laughter, and I can't keep the smile off my face. These are moments that are priceless to me, moments that I want to preserve as long as I possibly can.

I've Started Teaching Joy School Again

joy school

In my fifth year teaching Joy School
, I've got a nice little class of three (or almost 3) year olds, including four boys and one girl. They've really been enjoying the superhero capes and hats - I ought to make a couple more so everyone can have one.

So far, we've learned about the Joy of the Body, and I've been very pleased with how well they all sit and listen and participate even though they're very young.

Josh (my brother, for all non-Alley readers) passed through last week on his way to Atlanta where he's moving, and hung around for the morning so he could refresh his memory on the Five Senses and play the spider game. He told me that he thinks I do a good job with the class, so I'm just putting this out here again: Kellie, you need to move to Raleigh so we can start a preschool together!

"Are you clumsy? Or just a boy?"

That's what the doctor asked Eli when I took him in on Friday to get his chin glued back together. His teacher called me just after lunch to say that Eli had busted open his chin on the playground and she thought he might need stitches.

It was Eli's second big accident of the week. Last weekend, I decided to start taking him out on the greenway since our house isn't on a good street for riding bikes but Eli loves bike-riding. We were really enjoying ourselves until Eli took a big spill going down a hill. He got going too fast and decided he needed to get off and walk, but as soon as he took his feet off of the pedals to try to get off the bike, he had no way to press on the brakes. The bike went out of control, tipped over, and Eli went flying down the hill.

When he got up, he had a ginormous bruise on his eye, skinned knees, skinned elbows, and even a skinned thumb (and he was screaming bloody murder). But Eli is such a trooper, he calmed himself down, got back on his bike, and rode the 3/4 of a mile back to the car. I don't know what I would have done if he had been seriously injured since we were nowhere near our car or any other people.

Eli bike accidentEli bike accident

Yesterday, Eli said he still wanted to go bike-riding, so I took him on a ride through Oakwood Cemetary near our house. I thought it might be less hilly than the greenway, but it turned out to be much more hilly, and poor Eli was very skittish. I really enjoy riding bikes with him, though, so I think we'll stick with it and hopefully he'll be able to work up his bravery again.

I like this one of the bird better.

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