Monday, December 24, 2007

Thank You, Santa!

A note from the Agents to Santa:Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Thought I was Worth More than This

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 16.
What is your score? Get it here.

What with a "W" and all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The House of Seven Chimneys

I love living in an old house.
Character, as they say.
That, and drafts.But it looks pretty under the snow, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Christmas Factory

The workers:

Our production line:

And the final product:

The Price of Living in Paradise

Winter hasn't even started, but I think that mr warillever is ready for spring already.
Notice that both of these pictures were taken from inside the house.....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Forget the Elves.....

I know that y'all have seen dancing elves, but how about them turkeys?

Made me laugh. Had to share.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Doesn't That Just make You Feel Festive?

A Meal Fit for a Queen

The kids have decided that they are big, so they should cook for me.

Not that nutritious gruel that I cook for them, but good stuff like french fries and ice cream and donuts and candy canes.

As I jotted their proposed menu on an envelope, Agent 002 asked if he could use the list when he drives to the store to buy food to cook for me. Because, you know, he is big enough to drive to the store, buy groceries, and cook a meal, but hasn't quite gotten down that writing words thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yes, I am one of Those People

....who gets very chipper as Christmas approaches.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Meme

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.
  2. Real tree or artificial? Real. The warillever men went out into the woods and killed it themselves.
  3. When do you put up the tree? We put it up the day after Thanksgiving, but didn't decorate it for another week.
  4. When do you take the tree down? Just after the Epiphany.
  5. Do you like eggnog? I have one glass at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My husband and daughter LOVE the stuff and could drink it by the gallon.
  6. Favourite gift received as a child? My first bike. My godfather got it for me when was three or so.
  7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes.
  8. Hardest person to buy for? Curt Jester says Jesus, and I think he's right. But as for members of my family, it would have to be mr warillever. Not because he is picky, but because I always want it to be "just right."
  9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I honestly can't remember any notably bad presents.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? The real thing, with very cute pictures of the agents as an insert.
  11. Favourite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life.
  12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Should I start soon?
  13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absolutely.
  14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Bread pudding.
  15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights on the tree, but colored lights on the bushes out front.
  16. Favourite Christmas song? Silent Night.
  17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home.
  18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Ruben and Steve?
  19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Nothing. The tree is jammed right up into the ceiling.
  20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. And all day. At least the past two years, our kids have played with each gift as they opened it, so gift-opening literally takes all day.
  21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That, despite my good intentions, it makes me frantic.
  22. Best thing about this time of year? The good will and cheer. It is the one time of the year when it is acceptable to be outright giddy about your faith. That we light up our lawns, bring wildlife into our houses, bake cookies, sing songs, throw parties, give gifts, and drink hot wine, all to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
stolen from the Curt Jester

Fitting Motto for this Blog

Only the mediocre are always at their best.
Jean Giraudoux

Friday, October 05, 2007

HT: From Under the Clutter

It may be a G-rated blog, but it is an R-rated life.... Today's drama centers around mr warillever's car, which decided to stop working in the middle lane of the highway on a Friday evening of a three-day weekend in leaf-peeping season. With no help from the tourists unwilling to slow down from the five-miles-per hour they were moving in toll traffic, mr warillever managed to push his heap of junk off to the side. The momentum of pushing got it going again, and after a dozen such stops (with help from several of our neighbors), he managed to get home.

We'll miss you, Nelly.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer : On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?

6. More than an average day.

Soup : What is one word you don’t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?

Specific. I cannot pronounce it correctly. It comes out more like Pacific.

Salad : Do you wear sunglasses when you’re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?

No. I don't wear them because they give me a headache unless they are wraparounds, and even un-fashion-conscious me knows that just doesn't look right. And I would lose them anyway.

Main Course : If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?

My honey, my bunny, and my cat. You guess which one is which......

Dessert : Name a beverage that you enjoy.

The first cup of coffee in the morning.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Family Bramble

Our Bible reading last week focused on Abraham and his family.

No fancy art projects or plastic boats, but we have been working on family trees. Which look more like family shrubs with all sorts of spiny burrs sticking out the side.....

The Agents are the ovals; parents, aunts and uncles each get a rectangle; cousins are represented by circles; and grandparents lord over the page in their roomy triangles.

Agent 002 had a great time cutting out pictures of relatives. Agent 004 loved gluing them into place. The activity was a little over F's level, but was a good experience for her nonetheless, if only to get them talking about what "family" is.

Internet Woes

This is all that I have seen online for the past five days. We are up and running for the time being, but have no faith that our internet service will work consistently.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday's Feast : Up Too Late

Appetizer: How are you today?

Splendid. And you?

Soup: Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.

I honestly watch very little television. The only show that I make a point to watch is Gray's Anatomy, and I am not certain that I will bother with that this season. The kids watch Curious George about once a week, and I catch glimpses of that.

Salad: What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?

Driving to a job interview in a pre-dawn snowstorm, I spun out my car. I backed the car back onto the highway and waited for a plow to come by. I managed to follow him at a safe distance for the rest of the trip, which made for much better conditions.

Main Course: If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?

I honestly don't think that you can beat New England in the fall, so I will pass on this one. But if it were winter, I think I might want to escape to somewhere warm for a few days.

Dessert: What do you usually wear to sleep?

Shorts and a t-shirt.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ooooh! Pretty!

I have toned down the design a bit. I hope y'all like the more subdued feel of the site.

Daily Magic : The Simple Things

Once upon a time, I used to feature posts about what I was grateful for on that day. Never one to forsake tradition (even traditions I only recently created myself), I am re-instituting the Daily Magic feature on this blog. My newly-found sense of reality tells me that I won't recognize magic every day, but I do think that I can come up with something each week. Or else I'll have to make something up......

I am grateful for:

  • little kid questions. Agent 002 is the king of questions. A typical conversation with him goes like this:
    Agent 002: Is today Monday?
    Saintly Mama: No, today is Thursday.
    Agent 002: Is today Sunday?
    Saintly Mama: No, today is Thursday.
    Agent 002: Is today Wednesday?
    Saintly Mama: No, today is Thursday.
    Agent 002: Is today Friday?
    Saintly Mama: No, today is Thursday.
    Agent 002: May I have some candy, please?
    Saintly Mama: No, today is Thursday.
    There are occasions, however, when his questions are incredible insightful:
    • Is heaven far away, like Grammy's house?
    • Is Brooklyn in the United States?
    • Can Jesus hear me laughing and banging and crashing and splashing in the pool?
    • When I die, would Jesus wake me up?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where Do I Start?

This has been one of those weeks where there is so much going on that I haven't had anything to say.

Mr warillever's uncle died on Tuesday. He went into the hospital the week that Ant M died, so mr warillever and his brother visited him while we were passing through on the way home. The three of them had a nice visit.

I first met this uncle a year after mr warillever and I started dating. I was outside playing in the leaves with the nephews, and happened to spring out of a pile of leaves just as he was coming up the walk. He looked up, startled, and asked, "What is that, a @#*-ing leprechaun?" I have never lived that down (at least as far as mr warillever's brother 7 is concerned).

In other news, the agents have discovered a new game -- slapping whiffle ball bats on the surface of the wading pool to soak each other. Yes, it is the last week of September, in New Hampshire, and the kids have been swimming every day. Blame global warming. Oh wait -- we had snow on the ground in May this year, so the seasons must just be a bit behind schedule...

My internet service has been spotty (and we'll be out of town for a bit), so you may not hear from me for a few days.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday's Feast

Appetizer : What is your favorite type of art?

Poetry. But if you are asking about the visual arts, I like a little bit of everything. In other words, I do not know enough to discern well. My favorite artists are Ilya Repin (especially the historical pieces like Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan), Albert Bierstadt, and Norman Rockwell. I do not like portraits.

My favorite painting is Alexander Ivanov's Apperance of Christ before the People.

Soup : When was the last time you got a free lunch (or breakfast or dinner)? Who paid for it?

Aren't they all free lunches when you don't have a job?

Salad : On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how emotional are you?

Three. I dare any of you to argue with me!

Main Course : Approximately how long do you spend each day responding to emails?

Under 15 minutes.

Dessert : To what temperature do you usually set your home’s thermostat?

55 degrees except for a half-hour for showers in the morning and an hour for bathtime in the evening. But the with the woodstove the temperature in the kitchen and play area are in the mid-60s during the day.

I dare you to join in!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WFMW: Reading to Baby

It is Wednesday again, which means that it is time for me to pass on a tip about those things that make my life easier, but you have already been doing for years. f you have a great tip, join in the fun at Rocks in My Dryer.

We all know how important it is to read to young children, but in the rush of everyday life, we never seem to have the time to drop everything and read.

Fortunately, in our house, we have a little guy who makes us drop everything. When Baby P is hungry, he wants it NOW. So I have co-opted P's hunger for everyone's benefit. As I grab a bottle, I instruct the others to choose a book to read to Baby P as he eats. Then all five of us snuggle on the couch with a stack of books. P has his hunger satisfied, and we all get some books, cuddling, and downtime.

It's been working for us for six months now.

If you can't get enough of my bloggity goodness, you may want to check out some of my other recent posts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Girls' School

I had no intention of "doing school" with the girls this year, but we have fallen into it and are having a great time.

After our morning Bible activity we have an early lunch, then see Agent 002 off on his school bus. Cousin P is usually sleeping at this point, so it is girl time.

We finish reading whatever book we started while waiting for the bus, then one or two more books. Then we go into the "red room" (our art room) for school.

Some days we start with a game like ABC Bingo or Go Fish, but the girls usually want to get right down to work. Work, to them, is done with crayons and paper.

Agent 004 has a goal in mind; she is determined to write her name. I typed it up in 300 point dotted letters for her to trace, but as she mangled that (and got quite frustrated), I realized that she didn't know how to form the letters. I decided that she may as well learn how to write them correctly now, before forming bad habits.

I put stickers on a piece of paper as guides for each letter. For "K" I put a bug sticker at the top of the sheet and at the bottom along the left, then put a yellow star further right along the top with a matching yellow star in the middle left for the diagonal, then a blue star in the middle left, and one on the bottom right. She needed to make a line from the dot to dot, then yellow star to yellow star, then blue star to blue star. Voila! a "K."

Cousin F colors happily while Agent 004 writes. She chooses one page from the coloring book then rips it out to give to her mommy in the evening. Her coloring book is excellent -- the pictures are simple, but interesting -- but I can't give y'all a link because it is something I bought in Russia a few years ago.

When their attention wanders (after 5-10 minutes), the girls can choose any one activity from the red room shelves, which they can do for 10 minutes. F frequently writes on the chalkboard, and 004 does a puzzle or play dough.

Once the red room is tidied, we use the bathroom, then head upstairs for two pre-nap stories.

All told they spend about 20 minutes in "school," which is more than enough at this age. The best part is that they are both excited about it.

Recipe Haiku:Toddler Snacks

This week's prompt at One Deep Breath is "recipes." Here are the recipes (in haiku form, of course) for three of our favorite afternoon snacks:

Pour sauce into bowl.
Add raisins and nuts to taste.
Applesauce sundae

Boil eggs; cut veggies;
Legs of carrot; beans for arms --
Hard-boiled egg people.

Freeze a banana;
Blend with yogurt and berries.
Nutritious smoothie.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Armada of Arks

You didn't know that Noah had My Little Ponies and plastic zebras on the ark?

I'm not sure that there was much Bible-learning going on this morning, but there was a whole lot of splashing. And giggling. And more splashing.

Anybody have any ideas for a rainbow activity as we continue to read about Noah's ark?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday's Feast

...or Friday's Feast a day later....

Appetizer: When was the last time you visited a hospital?

I dropped mr warillever and his brother off at a hospital last night to visit their uncle, but stayed outside with the Agents. I went to see another uncle at the hospital a month ago, and got there just in time to walk him out to his wife's car as he was released.

Soup: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?

No negative numbers allowed? If ambition is measured in effort to gain higher position, then I don't rate on the scale. See previous post for more on this topic ;)

Salad: Make a sentence using the letters of a body part. (Example: (mouth) My other ukelele tings healthily.)

Even silly old papa has a great underwear shortage.

Main Course: If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?

PMS: Praying Mom's Society

Dessert: What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?

The first floor carpets are blue, brown, sand, gray, and maroon, which coexist with beige vinyl, white tile, slate, maple, and pine. On the second floor we have wide pine floors in the old section and wall-to-wall teal plush carpets in the ell. Oh yeah -- and plywood in the mudroom.

Invisible Woman

In my email today:

It started to happen gradually.

One day, I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand, and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, 'Who is that with you, young fella?'

'Nobody,' he shrugged.

'Nobody?' said the crossing guard, and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, nobody?'

I would walk into a room, and no one would notice. I would say something to my family like, 'Turn the TV down, please,' - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, 'Would someone turn theTV down?'


Just the other night, my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours, and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, 'I'm ready to go when you are.'

He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not! No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days, I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going-- she's going-- she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip, and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
* No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
* These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see
* They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
* The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes
of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam! He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'

That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

By Nicole Johnson

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Mess in Eden

Amber likes to see my kids do messy things, so here goes:

We have been reading about Adam and Eve this week, so the children made a Garden of Eden. Not a tropical paradise as I have always pictured it, but a northern forest, because that is what they think trees should look like.

We used our arms as stamps for the tree trunks (see directions here), then painted in leaves and sky.

I taped the completed scene to the refrigerator, and then used stick figures to tell the story. Here is the snake convincing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Would Jesus Wake me up?

In typical five-year-old fashion, Agent 002 asks a gazillion questions. Mr warillever and I attempt to answer as fully as possible. What better way to learn than about those things that pique your interest?

His questions cover a lot of ground, and as a result he now understands our heating system from top to bottom ("The oil makes a small fire and then the water gets very very very hot and then it goes up a pipe and in the radiator and then my room makes it cold and it goes BANG BANG and then it goes down a pipe to get hot again.") and he can describe the entire digestive process ("I chew with my teeth and break the food apart, and then it goes down a huge pipe -- the sophogus -- then it goes to my stomach and then to my testines and then I poop and then it goes in the septic truck.").

A few months ago, his topic-of-interest was death. Looking at family pictures, he asked about Grandpa. Without skipping a beat, mr warillever told him that Grandpa is dead, and that we hope that he is in heaven.

Then my brother's dog died. My father, in not-so-21st- century style, told the kids that the dog was sleeping, and would be gone for a long time. Agent 004 (remember, she is two years old) said, "you mean, he's dead?" Grampy explained that the dog was very old and very sick, and had, in fact died.

The dog's death (followed quickly by the death of another beloved dog) led to more mealtime conversations about death, heaven, and Jesus. We determined that dogs, who lack a God-given soul, do not go to heaven, but that people do.* If you love Jesus, and try really hard to do good things, you will be with Jesus when you die.

But then we get back to Grampy's "sleeping" explanation. Agent 002 asked me if he would die when he went to bed. I reassured him that this was highly unlikely. Then he wanted to know if he would go to sleep when he died. I explained that it is kind of like sleeping, only it is forever. He looked down, pondering the situation, and then asked, "Will Jesus wake me up when I die?"

I sure hope so, kiddo.

*For more discussion of dogs in heaven, Ask Sr Mary Martha has a great post.

Out of Town

We're heading "over the river" again, so posting will be light for a few days.

Mr warillever's godmother passed away yesterday. She has been sick for a long time

The next post (about death) has been in "draft" status for weeks, but this morning's chat with the agents brought it back to my attention.

A cute aside -- We visited Aunt M in July, knowing that it might be the last time that we would see her. She completely spoiled the kids, giving them about seven lollipops each, without insisting that they eat the lunch she had prepared for them. When I told them that she died, the Agents wanted to know if Jesus will let Aunt M give them lollipops when she is heaven.

I'm glad that they have a good memory of her.

WFMW: Ready for Tomorrow

Ready for Tomorrow
Originally uploaded by warillever.
It is Wednesday again, which means that it is time for me to pass on a tip about those things that make my life easier. Join in the fun at Rocks in My Dryer.

There is no doubt that setting clothes out the day before makes the morning run much more smoothly.

Since the bathroom is so far from our bedrooms, however, laying clothes out on the dressers just wasn't working. The bathroom is our first stop in the morning and our last stop in the evening, it just made sense to store the clothes and pajamas there.

As we put away laundry each afternoon, we choose clothes for the next day. Agent 004 likes to choose her own outfit; Agent 002 is willing to comply when asked to do so.

We each have our own drawer in a three-drawer storage tower. Our pajamas are in the front of the drawer, and even my adult-sized clothes fit behind the jammies. The kids know just were to go to find their clothes, and they are starting to get themselves ready in the morning without adult intervention.

It simplifies my life, and gives the Agents responsibility. Works for me!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: Using only one word, how does grocery shopping make you feel?

Soup: What is your favorite part about the season of Autumn?
Cool breezes. Going outside without mittens or bug spray. Wool sweaters.

Salad: Have you ever had any bad experiences online?
No. Should I have?

Main Course: Name three things that make you happy daily.

  1. The 1st cup of coffee.
  2. The kids' smiles when they create something or accomplish some great feat for the first time.
  3. Falling asleep next to mr warillever

Dessert: What one household cleansing or organizing item would you not want to be without?

My calendar. I broke down and purchased one this year (for $1) instead of using the free ones from church or the oil company. Instead of pictures, it has extra-large boxes. I LOVE it. I think that I may splurge on a desk blotter next year.

Sample some more feasts

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In the Beginning

....God created the Heavens and the Earth
In the BeginningHeavens and EarthSun and Moon

We have been reading the Bible each morning this week, and then depicting what they read.

All God's Creatures

Oh, To be a Cat.......

Happy Cat
Originally uploaded by warillever.
If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Motherhood is a 10 Letter Word

Two-and-a-half times more profane than anything on cable television, yet infinitely more satisfying.

MommaBlogga has a group writing project on "Motherhood is..." this week. Join in on the fun!

WFMW: Brand Loyalty

I am a frugal shopper, but there are some items that I do not compromise on:

  • King Arthur flour
  • Joseph's pita bread
  • Heinz ketchup
  • Hunts tomato sauce (which also happens to be the cheapest option as well)
  • Nabisco Wheat Thins
  • Huggies diapers
There are other items for which we have a strong brand preference, but can't justify the price differential:
  • Stoneyfield yogurt ($3.99/pint vs $1.69 for store brand)
  • Maple Grove salad dressings ($3 vs $0.99 for Ken's)
  • freshly ground parmesan cheese ($7.99/lb vs $5.49 for Kraft)
  • Pampers wipees
....and on the rare occasion that I buy a cup of coffee instead of making it myself, I buy it at Dunkin Donuts. I just can't understand why anybody pays $4 for the *&^% they sell at Starbucks.

Otherwise, I buy as cheap as possible, as natural as possible, and as local as possible.

If you want to see which brands other people are loyal to, check in on Rocks in my Dryer for Works for me Wednesday.

I've been adding as I remember more products that I am snobby about.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Our Alphabet Book

Alphabet book
Originally uploaded by warillever.
Over the past few months, we have worked on one letter per week. As a general plan, the kids color the letter (downloaded from Hubbard's Cupboard) while I show them a list of words starting with that letter. The words are glued onto a sheet of poster board and hung from the kitchen island for the week. At the end of the week we punched holes in the poster board and formed all of the previous letters into a book.

Here is the completed book. The kids can now use it to review their letters, and I can look at it to see how far they have progressed in coloring and cutting.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The August that was

In August we celebrated a birthday, visited with old friends, traveled to Canada, attended a music festival in the Catskills, toured a museum, hiked, stacked our firewood for the winter, continued a home improvement project, went to the state fair, and still found the time to write two books. Agent 002 also wore his first necktie, started kindergarten, and rode the school bus.

It was a big month.

No wonder I barely posted on this blog.

I am Nice

...or at least Amber thinks so. She has given me a "Nice Matters Award."

See me blushing?

I do try to be nice here (I have even posted about it), but it feels good to have someone else recognize me for it.

Here are some bloggers that I think are nice:

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday's Feast

I've never been one to pass up a free meal, so here's a go at the "Friday Feast" meme. Check the comments at the original post to see how other people answered.
  • Appetizer: Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?

    My husband, mr warillever. Absolutely my best friend in the world.

  • Soup: If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?

    I should say Athens (you know height of Greek civilization, democracy, philosophy and all of that), but I'll go with Tyre.

  • Salad: What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?

    What does it say about me that 12 things came immediately to mind, and all were sporting events? The coolest of which was the last out of the regional championship in high school softball, in which a rising line drive came straight at me in center field. I sprinted back, jumped in the air, and fell to the ground with the ball in my glove. At that very moment, it started to rain. I am too embarrassed to list the other 11 events, to which I was merely a spectator (on television, no less).

    Oh yeah. And meeting our son for the first time. But I would call that more nerve-wracking than "exciting."

  • Main Course: If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt?

    If I were already famous, why would I need more attention?
  • Dessert: What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?

    I'll leave that one up to God, thanks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Drama. The Drama

Let me set the scene at my house this morning:

A six month old boy with a runny nose, cough, and fever;
His two year old sister who decided today to begin toilet training;
A three year old girl with a three-year-old's attitude;
a five-year old boy on his first day of kindergarten.


a thirty year old mama who is sending her first child out into the big bad world, all the while dealing with a screaming baby, a whining preschooler, and a toddler who keeps ripping her diaper off.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while.

We've been outside a lot, and the computer has been tied up with
new-car-search. And I've fallen back into the habit of reading books
printed on actual paper, which really bites into my internet time

Now that we finally purchased a vehicle (a 5yo minivan. Yikes! am I
really a minvan driver?), mr warillever won't be searching the online
classifieds constantly, and y'all might hear from me a bit more.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods

.... to Grandma's house we go.

I'll be offline for a few days, but talk to y'all soon. I bet that I'll have some good stories for you -- traveling with kids does that.

And if you need something to entertain you while I'm gone, read about the indulgences you can earn while toting children around the country (by Ironic Catholic).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Three Things I'd Like my Kids to Believe

MamaBlogga is running a Group Writing Project this week. The theme is “Three things I want my kids to . . .” You can finish that infinitive with whatever verb you like (do, say, be, wear, have, get away with), and add any qualifiers you like (today, this summer, before they drive me crazy).

There have been some great posts about teaching your children to be polite, three things for kids to know about their mother, and what one mom hopes her sons will find in a bride.

I decided to go a bit more basic, and enumerate those things that I would like my children to believe:

1) one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

2) one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end

3) the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

Once we get those three down, we can work on the rest of the Nicene Creed, and all of the nice things that flow from it, like faith, love, and hope.

The Good, the Bad, and what I Actually Post

Roses are Red, Violets are Violet posted today about blogging the "not-so-pretty" things that come with raising a child.

A friend pointed out that she only blogs about the "pretty things," and ignores (at least in her blog), the ugly side of parenting. She points out that it could be fun and helpful to know how your own parents handled such situations. And she may be right.

I don't blog about the ugly things either, but that is by design. My blog is not an open door to my life; it is a selection that I have chosen to set down in writing to share. It is also what I choose to remember.

My children have their good moments and bad moments, but I love them all the time. And I want my blog to reflect that. Same deal for my husband and nieces and nephews.

I promised my husband and myself that I would never post something that would embarrass any of my children if he or she came accross my blog when they are twenty-five years old. Thus far I think I have kept that promise.

There is nothing deceitful about this -- any parent reading your blog should know that no child is always perfect, and we don't want to frighten the not-yet parents with our scary stories :)

So I think I'll keep on keepin' on with my happy-cheery blog. Because I really don't want to remember the tears, bruises, and poop stains in twenty years.

WFMW -- 15-minute Siesta

Time for another installment of "Works for me Wednesday," in which I tell you about those little things that make our lives a little easier. Check out Rocks in my Dryer for other ideas.

Life gets a bit chaotic with four little kids in the house. Sometimes I just need a break, and so do the kids.

After lunch, I tidy the kitchen, make sure all of the kids have used the toilet and/or have a clean diaper, then we read one book together, put the girls (2 year old "twin cousins" Agent 004 and Cousin F) in for nap, put the baby down on his play mat, tell my "big guy" (Agent 002 is five years old now) to lay quietly on the couch with a book or toy, set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes, and make a cup of tea.

Then I read the newspaper, flip through a book of poetry, or write in my journal. Sometimes I even post on my blog.

Once the timer beeps, Agent 002 has the option of joining me in the kitchen, but many days he falls asleep or continues to play quietly for another ten or twenty minutes.

Refreshed by the quick break, I then go on a cleaning blitz before the cacophony begins again.

Works for me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One Deep Breath -- Creepy Crawlies

One Deep Breath Week 56 -- Creepy Crawlies

Bee hovers, gnat flits,
mosquito goes for the kill --
summer has arrived.

He Really Said it

Agent 002:

Look, there is the moon. Let's go to it!
And then he started running toward it.

Yes, this is the same kid that tried to swat down an airplane with a stick.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Where we Eat

Even when the Agents sleep and the Cousins go home, mr warillever and I have full-size representations of them on the table, covered in wipe-off plastic. I wish the real kids were this washable.

Elf PortraitI traced each of the kids on butcher paper, then let the kids color themselves in. I suggested clothing, but 004 colored her whole elf pink, like her skin. Cousin F liked herself plain. I helped Cousin P a little bit with the coloring. Agent 002 is as colorful on paper as he is in real life.

Toe PaintingHere they are working on the background:
I told them that they could paint with their feet. So they painted the tops of their feet......At least the paint is water soluble.....