Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Fun

7 Quick Takes on summer fun at casa warrillever

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Splendid Children

To think it was only a few short months ago that I worried about how much time I was spending on the finding a single spare moment to read the newspaper online is a rare occurrence.

The past two months have been a tizzy of activity. With the Agents, three foster children, and the Cousins, our house is never (not even at 3am) quiet.

I love it though.

Love them.

So today's "7 Quick Takes" will be quick updates about the children in my life.

  1. Agent 002: My bunny forever and always. Need I say more?
  2. Agent 004: She is growing so quickly. She will start kindergarten in the fall, and is so excited. She has risen to the challenge of being a big sister. She gently guides Foster Toddler and Foster Baby.
  3. Cousin F: Fiercely protective of her little brother, Cousin F has had a hard time accepting the Foster Agents. Now that everyone is settling in, she and Foster Preschooler (who is only one month younger than her) have become great friends. They are playing Candyland together as I type.
  4. Foster Preschooler: The big brother misses his parents so much, but really does love living here. He has made great friends -- he and Agent 002 have so much in common, and he and Cousin F have complementary personalities. His mere glance can make his sisters smile. We are trying to get him into preschool for the fall so that the transition home (if and when it happens) will be a little more smooth.
  5. Cousin P: Once the youngest, Cousin P has probably had the hardest transition to life with the Foster Agents. He and Foster Toddler are so close in age, size, appearance and personality that everyone asks if they are twins. P alone had me on my toes all the time; teamed up with Foster Toddler there is a constant destruction zone going in my house. Double the fun, right?
  6. Foster Toddler: This little girl has come so far. The first few weeks with her was some of the toughest parenting I have ever done (matched only by the first few weeks with Agent 002). She is our Jekyl and Hyde, giggling one moment, seething the next. She is enamored with mr warillever, and beams when he walks in the door.
  7. Foster Baby: My sweetheart grows every day. She has gone from a lovable lump of baby to a crawling machine. She now has two teeth, and can make it from room to room in seconds flat. If only for the 3:25am wake-up call she gives me every morning, I just might call her the perfect baby.
Don't expect to hear too much from me over the next few weeks, but once school starts I will try to update on a regular (weekly?) basis.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Warillever Madness

  1. I have been finding it a whole lot easier to stay off of the computer since we had three foster children move in with us a couple of weeks ago. Three children three and under -- a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler.
  2. Yes, that means that we have five small children in the house. Wanna do the math on what it's like when the Cousins are here? I'll give you a hint -- when Agent 002 is at school, there are six children four and under in the house...
  3. We went to a birthday party today, and I didn't realize until the host was counting out goody bags that exactly half of the children in attendance had arrived at the party in my van. Heh. My husband and I always dreamed of having a family large enough that we culd have multiple boxes of cereal open without worrying that one would go stale before we could finish eating it.
  4. Despite the cacophony, this has been a lot of fun. The kids are getting along famously, and it has been a tremendous period of maturation for the Agents. Agent 004 has been doting on the baby, and Agent 002 finally has a gearhead to pal aroundwith in the preschool boy.
  5. As much as part of me wishes that the kids could stay forever, I am pleased that the situation should be temporary. They have started visiting their home several times per week, and it appears that they will be able to return for good soon.
  6. Mr warillever has continued to read the Chronicles of Narnia to the children at bedtime. They are currently reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is still their favorite.

    Me? I have been reading all of our favorite board books.
  7. Life is good, but I need some sleep. So I am going to slack on my 7th "Quick Take."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

7 Quick Takes

  1. Last Thursday we still had a small snowbank in the shady part of the yard; as of today all of the fruit trees are in bloom! It hit 90 degrees on Tuesday, but the past three days in the high 60s have been WONDERFUL.

  2. With all of this good weather the garden has been taking off. I planted lettuce, spinach, beets, chard, turnips outdoors, and started tomato, eggplant, melon, summer squash and herbs indoors. I also transplanted a few blackberry cuttings and bought four blueberry bushes. Once I pick up my apple trees, we will have a true backyard farm.

    I'd show you a picture, but my camera is broken.

  3. No camera means no pictures of the girls' first swim lesson. It is Agent 004's first group activity ever, and she did wonderfully.

  4. So my worries that she would not be ready for kindy in the fall? Groundless. She is very excited about school

  5. ...but she is even more excited about her new glasses. We found out at her regular checkup that our baby is near-sighted. That explains why she always grabs the book from me to study the picture! Maybe I'll post a picture (if I ever get the camera working).

  6. I have been keeping myself busy with my book club (with whom I am plodding through Theology of the Body) and a slow-pitch softball team. I don't like being out of the house so often, but once games start, I'll bring the kids along to softball. Would y'all think less of me if I admitted that my body aches from a few practices?

  7. No art gallery photo today :(

    I will, however, leave you with some snapshots from a birthday party.

    A truck and princess party for the birthday buddies F and 002.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ironic List of Links

It looks like everyone else is blogging about not blogging so much.

How's that for irony?

Then again, what is blogging for if not to share ideas?

The stifling nature of connectedness seems to be on everyone's minds these days, even the big bloggers:

At least I know that I am not alone in struggling to find balance!

Don't worry -- this is the last you'll hear from me on this topic, at least until I think of something else to say about it.

I'll be back tomorrow with "7 Quick Takes" and good stories.

I promise -- I might be more quiet, but I am not going away.

For now at least :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being Offline has Worked for Me

Works for me Wednesday is usually a time to share household tips, tricks-of-the parenting trade, or methods of increasing your blog traffic.

I've shared some good stuff with y'all in the past, like setting up the coffee maker ahead of time, my homemade personal planner, and preschool ideas.

I don't have any tips for you today.


I will tell you what has been working for me, though -- staying off of the computer!

It started out as a Lenten sacrifice -- an embarrassingly difficult sacrifice for me. The first few days were brutal. My eyes would drift to the screen as I walked past; my fingers would graze the keyboard. When the computer was on for necessary tasks, I would find myself reading email and blogs before I even noticed the transition.

These slip-ups offered a great opportunity for prayer and reflection. Why was I online anyway? What did I gain online, and what were the corresponding costs? Over time, I found myself enjoying this break from the internet. It was calming, relaxing, and even FREEING. There was no longer an obligation to read through every post, no feeling of inadequacy that I wasn't doing enough. I also found myself being more attentive to the children's needs. There was more time for the here-and-now.

On Easter Monday (Dingus Day for all of you back in South Bend), I went right back to the computer with glee. I read the paper; I checked every blog.

Then, the next day, I heard a crash from behind me as I read "just one more" email. One of the children had knocked over a tray of tomato seedlings while I was distracted by the computer.

That was enough for me; I resolved to be more responsible in my computer usage. I am still struggling to find my exact limits, but for now I have started by abandoning Twitter, reducing blogging, and marking all blogs as "read" before I turn off the machine at night. I feel no obligation to visit every blog every day, or to post the minute details of our every day.

I am enjoying some time online, but nothing like I used to. The cost, however, has been the companionship that I had been getting online from other stay-at-home moms. I will try to build some time into each day for correspondence, because it is important to stay in touch.

Has anyone found a balance that really works for them?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There is a blog post somewhere

We talk a lot about creating habits, but we rarely talk about falling out of a habit.

I just don't have time to blog. Not that I am too busy, but it has been so long since I have written for this blog that it is no longer a part of my routine.

Consider this a "test post" in the new blogging routine.

Real content coming soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Friday, April 03, 2009

7 Quick Pics

7 Quick Takes, in pictures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If Not for the Cat

If not for the cat,
and the scarcity of cheese,
I could be content.

After The Mitten's long run, we have a new favorite book in our house.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Week of Posts

There are several ways to tackle a 7 Quick Takes Post -- today I will do a quick summary of the posts that I didn't get the chance to write over the course of the week.

  1. Even if it weren't for my Lenten discipline of staying off of the computer when the children are awake, I would not have been online very much this week. For the first time in the children's memories, March has felt springlike in New Hampshire. We have spent every possible moment outdoors enjoying the tropical temperatures. For those of you south of Boston, anything above 40 degrees qualifies as "tropical" in our minds. For comparison's sake, here is a picture from last March and a picture from yesterday:

  2. Of course, there is a reason we call this "mud season."

    Any volunteers to help me keep up laundry over the next few weeks?

  3. We have also been very busy learning about saints this week with two important feast days. In addition to cooking a boiled dinner for the extended family, we learned about Saint Patrick, shamrocks, and the trinity on Tuesday. We colored this shamrock and talked about how the shamrock can be used as an analogy for God in three persons. We also sang a cute "3 in 1" song sung to the tune of "Frère Jacques." On Thursday we reread a few nativity stories from the children's Bible and colored this image of the Holy Family in honor of St. Joseph's feast day.

  4. I never got around to posting this week's Unplugged project or last week's art gallery picture. Here are both:

  5. We marbelized paper by dripping colored oil onto water, then floating the paper on top. Amazing effect, but very messy project. We used syringes instead of droppers, and my fine-motor delayed child had a very difficult time. That child, however, is the one who has asked to repeat the project, so you may see more oil-slicked art in our future.

  6. I never posted books for the week either, probably because I was reading too much! Over the past week I have read The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Nourishing Traditions, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and started in on Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery. I probably owe y'all a good book post soon.

  7. In place of "Works for me Wedensday," here is my tip of the week: To make rolls, mix up your favorite bread recipe, then divide into small balls after the first rise. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then form into miniature boules. That's it! When I make rolls for salmon burgers I use Easiest French Bread, and put some kosher salt and rosemary sprigs on top of each roll. (Yes, yes, I read Nourishing Traditions and I am still using processed flour and farm-raised fish. I am trying to eat naturally, really I am!)

  8. And finally.... This week's art gallery:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Big Boy

Listen to that laugh.

Mark this date -- March 16, 2009 my bunny first rode a two-wheeler.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dinner This Week

Sunday: @ Grammy and Grampy's

Monday: C.R.A.P.

Tuesday: @ Auntie M's with the Cousins

Wednesday: Chicken Picadillo*, tortillas, rice

Thursday: Chicken Curry in a Hurry*

Friday: salmon burgers, homemade rolls, carrot sticks

Saturday: hot dogs, steak fries, spinach

Decluttering my Brain

I am one of those list people. If it is on my list, I do it (or buy it as the case may be). If it is not on my list it does not exist.

Really. Just ask my husband about all of the things he tells me about but I completely space on because they are not on the calender or grocery list.

How on earth am I expected to remember everything?

So here is my to-do list for the next two days.


  • *bank
  • *grocery shopping


  • clean refrigerator
  • inventory spring clothes -- make list of needs and wants to for upcoming season
  • check attic for clothes in agents' next size (hope this reduces shooping list significantly)
  • organize Agent 002's closet
  • pull outgrown clothes from Agents' drawers
  • oragnize attic bins


  • menu plan
  • get "certificates of foreign birth" for agents
  • find out what do we need to do to be eligible as "emergency" foster care placement


  • menu plan post
  • *post Unplugged project on blog
  • book post


  • find out when "last average frost date" is for my area
  • make chart of what should be planted when (indoors and outdoors)
  • find out what type of growing medium tomato, eggplant and parsely seeds need


  • make living/non-living sort cards
  • finish "short a" word wheels
  • make K poster (kite shapes)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the book Basket

Picture Books

  • Green Eggs and Ham
    What better way to celebrate the Dr. Seuss's birthday?
  • Snowflake Bentley
    I continue to feed their snowflake obsession. Guess what we did after reading this book? Pulled out the scissors and made more paper snowflakes!
  • We All Went On Safari
    An excellent animal counting book that exposes the children to another culture and puts animals in their real context.

Bedtime Book Club

Mama's Downstairs Books

Mama's Bedtime Reading

Book Group

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dinner This Week

Sunday: hamburgers, leftover chili, corn

Monday: crockpot pulled pork, homemade sub rolls, green salad

Tuesday: stir-fried chicken, rice, edamame

Wednesday: sausage bean soup, french bread, green salad

Thursday: C.R.A.P. pasta w/sausage and beans

Friday: eggplant caviar w/triscuits, smoothies bruschetta, deviled eggs

Saturday: dinner @ church

Monday, March 09, 2009

Live from Xubuntu

Yes, you heard it right. I am writing this on a Linux machine.

Remember the sob story I told you back in December about death, Christmas and fried computers?'

Got the fried computer running for a total investment of 15 cents and an hour of labor
So far so good except for he random fuzzing out issue. Bac to blogging soon.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Since everyone else is posting snow pictures....

Friday, March 06, 2009

Agent 004 Speaks about Mama

Copy this note,ask your child the questions and write down exactly how they respond. Please join in!

1. What is something mom always says to you?I love you.
2. What makes mom happy?Hugging
3. What makes mom sad?not loving
4. How does your mom make you laugh?I don't know.
5. What was your mom like as a child?You hugged your Mommy.
6. How old is your mom?31
7. How tall is your mom? Very tall. (How tall?) Four feet.
8. What is her favorite thing to do?cook dinner
9. What does your mom do when you're not around?read books
10. If your mom becomes famous,what will it be for?I don't know.
11. What is your mom really good at? cooking dinner
12. What is your mom not very good at?sewing
13. What does your mom do for her job?Take care of us.
14. What is your mom's favorite food?onions
15. What makes you proud of your mom? cooking dinner
16. If your mom were a cartoon character,who would she be? Sam I am
17. What do you and your mom do together? cook dinner and stuff
18. How are you and your mom the same? Mama has two ears and I have two ears.
19. How are you and your mom different? Mama has brown hair and I have blonde hair.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Saying I love you.
21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? the dump

7 Quick Takes

  1. We had an amazing weekend skiing with mr warillever's family last weekend. I promise that I will post some pictures as soon as I can.

  2. On a related note, I had not realized how quickly Uncle Ichabod's deployment to Afghanistan is approaching. Make sure to pray for him (and all of our soldiers) as well as for peace.

  3. Reading everyone's posts about snow made me somewhat giddy. Given that we haven't seen bare ground since the first week of December, we sometimes take snow for granted. Y'all reminded me how blessed we are to have this amazing play material fall from the sky.

  4. As I mentioned earlier (although maybe only on Twitter), I have lots of great books out from the library right now which have kept me offline. I am simultaneously reading Catholic Matters, Nourishing Traditions, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, and Orphan Train Rider. Lots of fodder for thought, and maybe future posts.

  5. I have a love/hate relationship with my crockpot. Love how convenient it makes stew prep, but hate how the cooking aroma makes me hungry all day. I am salivating as I type!

  6. The kids are itching to be released from "Quiet time," so I am cheating a bit on posting a #6. I hope you'll forgive me.

  7. Our art gallery:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Where the Ideas Come From

A friend of mine once commented on a preschool post that I was "so creative." Heh. If only he knew... I just creatively use others' ideas!

Since this is "Greatest Hits" week at Works for Me Wednesday, I thought I'd tell you about those great resources that I depend on to make my happy little preschool work.

Here is a quick list of the free resources I use to plan our preschool time.

  1. Books More of a background resource than as a specific planning tool, I have borrowed a number of art, activity, and theory books from the library. Currently the most influential:
    • Blogs Sometimes it is best to see how someone else manages to make preschool work in the real world. In a blog you can see how a Montessori theory applies in the home, or you can get a new angle on an old problem. You may see some of "my" ideas displayed on these blogs in particular:
    • Groups The best ideas come from those in the trenches. I have been a member of the Homepreschool Yahoo group for three years, and although the message volume has ebbed and flowed over time, the advice is always invaluable.

    • The Google - When in doubt, search the web for answers. A recent search for phonics activities netted two treasures -- Fun Fonix and the Clifford Make-a-Word game , both of which have proved very helpful to Agent 004.

    How about you? Any resources to suggest to the rest of us?

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    In the Book Basket

    Picture Books

    Mama's Downstairs Books

    • Haven't been home to read in the kitchen

    Mama's Bedtime Reading

    Book Group

    Monday, March 02, 2009

    Dinner This Week

    Sunday: {Chinese takeout}

    Monday: roasted chicken, baked potatoes, pureed squash

    Tuesday: Cranberry Pork Chops, brown rice, veggie pork chops w/sauteed apples

    Wednesday: pasta primavera

    Thursday: Chicken Enchilada Bread,** salad, carrot sticks [found via Homemaker Barbi] (using chicken leftover from Monday's dinner)

    Friday: crockpot bean chili, Italian Bread, salad corn bread

    Saturday: ???? w/Uncle On and Aunt K

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    An Expedition