Saturday, February 28, 2009

Little Star

Roo performed a solo this evening at the ward talent show. She sings so well that I just had to sign her up, even though she's very reserved. I figured she was too little to get much stage fright, but if she did, everyone would understand. I took her over to the church earlier in the week and had her practice on the stage with the microphone. She was very excited about it, especially since I let her wear her "Angel Dress" for the performance.

When she got up there she hesitated for a few seconds,

but then she sang "I am a Child of God" all by herself.

It was a great moment.
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Something Else You Need to Know About Me

My favorite animal at the zoo is the bats.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wild Little Munch Monsters

I really get a kick out of watching my kids eat. It is emotionally satisfying watching their physical needs being met and delightful to watch the way they interact with something that they haven't lived long enough to find boring and routine. For them, eating is an adventure of discovery. The way the mashed potatoes squish through your teeth:

The way the fork sproings when you bite down on it and then flick it with your hand:

I frequently find myself giggling as I watch the way my children interact with their meal. And that helps me have a better attitude when the time comes to clean up after my wild little munch monsters.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I must admit, I'm not one for making a huge production over a first birthday party. Give 'em a cake and take some cute pictures for posterity, but don't fuss over it because they're not going to remember any of it. And when you've got a bunch of little kids, it's hard to plan and put together a big birthday bash. That being said, I do wish I could have had time to do a little bit more for the Rabbit. I mean, I could have at least wrapped her present in something other than a pillowcase.

In my defense, the pillowcase was one of her presents. I didn't get her a lot of presents because she doesn't need anything. She has tons of clothes, thanks to Cousin Sophie. She has tons of toys, thanks to the fact that she's my fourth kid. She has everything she needs and everything I want her to have except a Britax car seat, but that's a subject for a later post. I had a hard time coming up with something to buy her so she could at least have some present besides the pillowcase that Grandma made. But as I was standing in the Babies R Us toy aisle in a shopper's stupor while my four squeaky critters wriggled circles around me, I saw this boat. And it spoke to me for some reason. I'm not sure why, but it said "You need me! I will help you!" And it was only ten bucks. And I thought maybe it would help the Rabbit stop howling like a banshee every time I plunk her in the bath tub.

All the kids were keenly interested in the boat.

And within 48 hours they had all played with it in the tub.

And it did keep the Rabbit from screaming. We had the most successful Rabbit bath we have had in a long time.

Maybe I need to listen to toys more. Maybe I should go back to Babies R Us and sit on the floor of the toy section and listen. Maybe they will tell me how to get Bean to eat his vegetables. Or Fish to start asking permission. Or Roo to stop whining. Maybe I've discovered the secret to the universe. Listen to the Toys....

Either that or Fisher Price has some really sophisticated subliminal marketing techniques.

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How the Rabbit Ate Her Birthday Cake

Our Rabbit is now one year old. To celebrate her birthday, Cousin Glenda and her clan came over, bringing a Rabbit-sized birthday cake that Glenda baked and decorated just for her. We set it in front of her and stood back to see what she would do with it.

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this:

Eventually we gave her a spoon.

She never really did get that messy compared to other one year olds I've seen under such circumstances, but she'll go down in our family history as the one that went for her cake mouth first.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Almost Got It

Hang on just a minute, Mom.... just a couple more turns should do it.....

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Pincer Grasp

I love watching my Rabbit eat blueberries.

She reaches for them with her index finger:

Then she moves in for the kill:

Almost got it! Look at those darling little fingers!

The pincer grasp is a very important milestone in the development of hand coordination. They usually get it at about nine months, so the Rabbit has been doing it for awhile. And blueberries are the perfect thing to practice it on.

After all, they are her favorite food.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

A Double Win-Win Situation

Sometimes you find an arrangement that is just perfect for everyone involved. Nearly a year ago, my friend Shannon was having a hard time feeding her new baby. Baby wouldn't nurse and could not tolerate formula. Well, nursing is how I lose weight. I jumped at the chance to donate my extra milk to Shannon. That was the first win-win. Her baby got what she needed and I burned more calories.

The second win-win happened when Shannon's chickens started going bananas and laying way more eggs than Shannon's family could even begin to eat. My family adores fresh farm eggs but we typically have to ration them strictly because they are pretty spendy for our tight budget.

So once a week or so I call up Shannon. "Got any extra eggs?" I say.

She often replies, "Oh my goodness, every casserole pan and mixing bowl I own is full of them."

So we arrange to meet and swap. I give her milk, she gives me eggs. She gets her fridge back, we get free eggs, her baby gets nourished, and I shed pounds.

What a deal!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"I Want to Hold My Sister"

(This was taken right after the picture in the last post.)
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Three Things I Love

1. Lowes Build 'n Grow clinics. They do them twice a month on Saturdays and they are free. The kids get to hammer and build stuff. My boys adore them. This time around they built a jewelry box.

This is what it looks like when it's closed:

This is what it looks like when it's open:

There's even a mirror inside. Fabulous. Next time they're doing race cars. Can't wait.

2. Crayola Window Markers

Get you some. Let the kids go crazy. Just check to make sure they don't write "Help! My parents turned me into broccoli!" on the front window (that would never happen at my house though.)

3. My new pants size. I'm now only six pounds from my goal.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hi Mom!

My fabulous mother just signed up to follow my blog. She's been reading it for a long time, but now she's an official Follower. Hooray! I love my Followers! I love all my readers! I know I have tons of readers who aren't Followers. I wouldn't mind seeing some more of you in the Followers box! Especially if you already have a google account (hint to my sisters!) Following is fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Once a month we've been going to this children's art program at the local art museum. It's been really fabulous. The last time we went they had the kids do self-portraits. They let them pick out a head in a color that matched their skin tone and then they got to hold a little hand mirror and make their self-portrait.

I don't think Bean really has green stuff coming out of his ears. I think he's standing in front of a hill. I like how much detail he put in his eyes.

Fish is evidently standing in front of a nuclear holocaust or something. But he sure looks like himself.

I sat with Roo during this exercise and I resisted the urge to do hers for her. She is warming up to the museum's children's studio. It took a little time, but she did this all by herself.

I think this was such a cool idea. I want to do these every year with the kids and see how they evolve.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introducing Badger Bucks

People in my corner of the blogosphere have been talking lately about how they do chores and allowance and rewards and all that. It's been helpful to read about different methods because we've been in the midst of changing ours and I needed ideas.

I can't believe what a complicated subject this can be. The Badger and I have debated it long and hard for years. We want to motivate our kids to do their chores but we don't want to reward them for things they ought to be doing anyway. We want them to have some money but not for nothing and not for doing things they ought to be doing anyway, but they're still too young to handle big chores by themselves to earn extra money. When we simply give them money they waste it or lose it. They quickly trashed the nifty piggy banks we bought them. We don't want to reward them with candy because it makes them hyper. But if we don't give them candy or money we forget to give them anything and then they have no motivation.

A couple years ago when the boys were 3 and 5 I instigated a point system where they got toothpicks any time they did anything helpful, kind, loving, or obedient. It was wildly successful for a few months. It died out because I was tired of Mason jars full of toothpicks cluttering up my kitchen counter and I had no time to make a more attractive point receptacle. Also, my rewards weren't working out. Either they got jelly beans, which made them hyper, or for 20 points they got to go to the dollar store and buy something, but Bean would pester me constantly to take him to the dollar store and it drove me crazy.

So we've done nothing for awhile now. The kids have bugged me and bugged me to start doing points again, but I had a hard time figuring out how to start a system that I felt we could all be happy with and stick to.

Until now! Thanks to all the discussion on the topic occurring in my world lately, both online and in person, we finally figured out how we're going to handle this.

We decided that there are certain things they need to do because they are a part of a family. These are duties. You do them each day no matter what. Because our kids are young, their duties are very few and very simple. This makes it easy for me to keep track of them and check them off on a chart on the fridge. All the kids have to help in the kitchen and brush their teeth each day. In addition, Bean has to do whatever I assign him for school and practice his piano. That's it for now for duties. Eventually I will add more. Like, what would it be like if we actually made our beds in the morning? (That would mean I would have to do it too--- aaaaack!) But that's all they can handle for now.

Anything above and beyond the duties gets them points, also marked on the fridge chart. Any time I catch them being nice or obedient or any time they help me with cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming or whatever I give them a point.

Now, this is where it gets exciting:

On Monday night, after Family Home Evening, they get to exchange their points for.....

...Badger Bucks!

And then they get to shop at the Family Store, which is only open for a few minutes after Family Home Evening. The Family Store lives in a Rubbermaid tub in my bedroom. Inside it are things I probably would have bought for the kids anyway and just given them, but now they have to earn them. (I hope this means they might take better care of them!) A lot of them are homeschool-related. Coloring books. Art supplies. Inexpensive books. Books on tape that I buy cheap on Also, healthy treats like little boxes of raisins and tubs of applesauce. Sometimes unhealthy treats too. Extra batteries for their toys. It should be easy to keep the store stocked because I can just pick things up here and there as I shop and then put price tags on them based on what I think they'd be worth to the kids. A book on tape is about 20 Badger Bucks, whereas a tiny box of raisins is 2 Badger Bucks. This week Bean earned 24, Fish earned 19, and Roo earned 9. Bean got the book on tape and a treat, Fish got a coloring book and 2 treats, and Roo got 2 treats. Some of them had bucks left over for next week. They were all over the moon.

The best part of this whole system is, as I'm sure you can see, the Badger Bucks themselves. When I discussed the store idea with my husband, he said we could do it on one condition: that we call the family currency "Badger Bucks." Of course I was cool with that, I just had to figure out how to make fake money with a badger on it. And then I realized that my husband's best friend is an artist. I told Chicken about what I wanted and he got this gleam in his eye and this crazy grin on his face and I knew I'd done the right thing. We have the greatest friends.

Aren't they just the coolest things you've ever seen?

Love 'em love 'em love 'em love 'em love 'em!!!!!!!

You know, if I were you, I would trade in your US dollars for some of these. They're generating a whole lot more excitement than the dollar right now.

So that's what we do, and while we're still in the honeymoon stage of this system I really think it's going to work for us long-term.

Especially with those Badger Bucks to back us up.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


She was born on a cold, still February night in mountain country. I had sensed that her gentle spirit was hesitant to arrive earthside, so I was not surprised that she was a week late. What surprised me was that she weighed 10 lbs 6 oz.

I had never seen a brand-new face so round and full. Nor had I ever seen one that radiated so much calm and wisdom.

During her first twelve months, we moved twice: once around the corner and once out-of-state. Her first birthday party took place in our new hometown on the Oregon coast and involved fresh-caught crab and gooey pink cake.

Just before her second birthday we moved a thousand miles inland to the Great American Prairie. She was the only one in our family who didn't seem to mind leaving the ocean.

Now, after a whole year on the prairie, that peaceful winter night 3 years ago in our snug little white house seems like a distant dream. We have come so far and she has come so far.

But she is still our peaceful, gentle, beautiful, wise little Roo.
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