Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Simple Things in Life.

Construction paper is a wonderful thing! With it you can make all sorts of things, as we do, often. A while back we made these spring flowers...

yesterday we made a fire...,

and then this is my favorite.

A couple of days ago Joseph decided he wanted to make a book. I stapled some construction paper together, and then he came back with a book with all kinds of drawings. Of course they were all vehicles, and the title is "All About Machines", and Joseph made sure to point out that it is written by Byron Barton (one of his favorite authors.) Many of the machines are half construction vehicles, and half service vehicles, such as "an ambulance that flats the road, but it also helps people." When I was a child I used to make books, and then my parents would write down what I narrated to them. I still have two of these books, one with my mom's handwriting, and one with my dad's handwriting. I have great memories of making these books with my parents, and I am glad that I am doing that with Joseph now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Whew, What a Day!

Today when I left to go to Walmart I deludedly thought I could get back in an hour. After two hours we finally got back home, and we hadn't dilly dallied around in the store. We didn't even stop to take anyone potty. It is just that far away, and that big of a store. Too big, really. Well anyway, after getting back home I was pretty wiped out, and we were an hour late in our schedule. To make matters worse a bad storm was coming toward Lincoln, and we had to go down to the basement right when dinner was ready. We were really lucky that it was ready though, because otherwise we would have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This storm was quite a bit more serious than the last, and a funnel cloud was actually spotted in the southwest part of the city. There were apparently some reports that it touched the ground, thereby making it a tornado, but the reports were unconfirmed. There was so much rain, that some people on the radio said there were ducks swimming in the parking lot where they were. This photo was taken in the northern part of the city (not by me, I was most definately at home.)

Two hours passed, and I started to really understand why people in the Midwest so often have finished basements. I think that that is something that I will add to my list of desirable qualities in a house for when we do finally buy one.

After the worst of the storm was past, and the tornado warning over, we went back upstairs. In the basement I didn't think I felt nervous, but after we came up I really wanted to sit with a cup of coffee. I put Tommy in the playpen and went to make myself a senseo. He stared fussing, and as I turned to get him I stepped on a ball, and promptly fell on my butt. Ouch! I just lay there, not really hurt but feeling pretty shocked. After checking to see if I was OK, Jim went to get Tommy. I just lay there trying to catch my breath, and so after a minute Jim, Tommy, and Joseph were all standing around and looking down at me. Tommy had a rather confused look on his face; after all, usually he is the one looking up at me. Well, I'll just say it one more time: Whew, what a day!

Amazing Boys

These boys amaze me everyday. They are both changing so fast it seems I can hardly keep up with it all. I want to record the changes, but its hard when so much is happening with both of them all at once. So, first about Joseph. Last night we were sorting some puzzles that he had strewn about the bedroom, and I realized that he does 25 piece puzzles with such ease that his puzzles don't seem to hold much interest for him anymore. I guess that is why they were strewn about the room, in stread of being neatly finshed. Anyway, I decided that I would take him to Walmart this morning to get a more difficult puzzle for him. Well, we didn't get moving right away because I was kind of tired from the last few days, and then we ended up writing a letter (Joseph helped.) I told him we would go get the puzzle after his nap instead if we had time, and we did. To make a long story short, in the end I wondered if we should have gone somewhere else, because there were only two puzzles that suited Joseph; a 24 piece Cars puzzle without a cardboard boarder like his others have, and a 35 piece Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle. Most of the other puzzles were at least 100 pieces, or the pictures were not interesting to him. When we got home he did the Cars puzzle immediately, and it really wasn't even much of a challenge. I guess I will have to find somewhere else where they have a better selection for the intermediate level. Tomorrow we will do the Thomas puzzle, and see if that is more challenging for him.
Another way that he is amazing me lately is in his drawing. Today he drew an Aerial lift with a bucket, and you could even see the joint in the boom. After he drew the machine he colored purple all around it and said it was nighttime, and so the machine is not working. Then this evening he drew a cement mixer in the snow!

Well, Tommy is equally amazing to me lately. He is changing at a lightening fast rate, and I just don't seem to have the opportunity to record it like I want. This is what has been happening lately. A week and a half ago Tommy was sitting on my lap and Joseph was being silly and all of a sudden Tommy started laughing real belly laughs. Jim and I just sat there watching it, and looking back to each other.
Secondly, then the last while he has been on his belly almost constantly whenever I put him down. Yesterday I put him on some blankets in the backyard and he stayed on his belly for at least half and hour straight through, and he just moved himself all around the blankets, looking around.

Today just before the nap I put Tommy on my yoga mat upstairs because he wasn't sleepy at all. In the first couple of minutes he turned himself around 360 degrees looking all around the room, and then I put Joseph's toy clock in front of him for him to look at. Tommy reached for the blocks and got lots of them out. The last couple of days he is really motivated to move around to get to his toys. I personally think he will be crawling in a couple of weeks. Wow, this is going too fast!

Elves Again

They were back, those elves. This time they built boats, and Joseph turned one of them into a race car (the one in the foreground; click on the lower picture to see.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

That describes my life lately, so this post will be short. This week I have already had two doctor's appointments, and it is only Tuesday! Tommy came with me on the first one, but Joseph stayed with our new sitter two days in a row. It is such a relief to have found her; this way it is no problem for me to go to any appointments that I have, and lately I seem to have a lot. Joseph really likes he too. She is really good with kids and plays with Joseph in a really fun way.

Other than doctor's appointments, I have been mostly trying to stick with our new schedule (it's working!,) cleaning, and ironing (yes, I actually have time for that with this new schedule.) Well, it is pretty late, so I will leave you with this really cute photo of Joseph and Spot having a picnic. Spot has cookies, and Joseph has a rice krispie treat.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Where's Waldo the Frog?

I promise he is here in this photo. This was taken just after we let him go. Afterward we went over to this natural play area that the park just recently opened. The natural setting is really neat and beautiful too. Just on the other side of the path to this play area is the pond where we let the frog go.

That is Joseph and a friend carrying a log together. I don't have too many photos of the play area, but here in the foreground is a dirt/ sand box, and in the back ground is a platform with some wood to build things. Next to the sand box is a rack with lots of tools hanging on it, and it even has pegs to hang your coat. We have been there three times now, and I never see anyone there, which is too bad. I think it is just a little bit far off the beaten path that not too many people know about it.
My friend who came along to release the frog brought her biologist husband along as well. He studies duckweed, which is a plant that grows on the top of ponds. He told me about the species that we found (Lemna and Spirodela,) and we ended up taking them back to our pond at home (the aquarium.) Later on I discovered that we also took home a little snail. As soon as I put the plants in, the tadpoles were very interested in the duckweed and were rooting around in it, I suppose looking for food. We have quite an interesting little pond community now.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Tommy is changing so fast. The past week or so every time I put him on his back he immediately rolls onto his belly. He is desperately trying to crawl, so I bet it won't be too long. Today he was in the playpen and suddenly got really upset, so I picked him up and he got even more upset and leaned toward the playpen. What he really wanted was a toy that was just out of his grasp. He is so amazingly different from Joseph. When ever Joseph was upset I could pick him up and he would calm down. Joseph was always really social, but Tommy seems really motivated to explore the environment.

Another Great Idea...

with which I can't make any money, but at least it makes a fun gift. A couple of weeks ago I was trying to think of what to get for a friend's daughter's birthday, and I thought of making laminated drawing sheets. The idea is to make an incomplete drawing, laminate it, and then who ever is drawing on it can draw or color what ever they want (with watercolor markers.) I thought of this because as a child I remember making half drawings like this with my sister, and then having the other person finish it. It was lots of fun, and it is so much better than just coloring a detailed coloring book drawing. I have a home laminator, so this is something I can easily make, and tonight I made some because tomorrow is the party.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


On the last day at our Mommy and Me nature class one of the parents brought in some tadpoles for the kids to take home if they wanted. I thought it would be neat to see them turn into frogs over the next couple of weeks, so we took three tadpoles of each species. Here is a photo of our aquarium that we set up the next day.

The poor things had to live in a bucket of water until we got the aquarium at the pet store. The two big blurry things at the top left, and on the bottom in the middle are American Bullfrog tadpoles, the small dark things at the top right, and bottom right are, I have since determined, Western Chorus Frog tadpoles. The orange is a goldfish that was in the feeder tank at the pet store that Joseph talked me into buying. I figured for 26 cents, why not? Of course if I had thought about Jim's opinion, I could have thought of lots of reasons for why not, but that is a different story. Joseph decided to name the fish Dinosaur, all on his own. He is so creative!

Well, back to the tadpoles. A couple of days ago I noticed that one of the Chorus Frog tadpoles had back and front legs, but it was still in the water at the bottom of the tank. Later that day is was floating at the top.

By that evening it's lungs must have developed though, because then when we were going to feed them we noticed the froglet stuck to the glass on the side of the tank. He was changing really fast!

The next day the tale was almost completely gone. The froglet started spending most of its time on the side of the tank. I showed Joseph how the tale was mostly gone, and he was puzzled by this. Growing legs was something he could understand, but losing the tail, now that was just too weird. Since the tadpole is now mostly a frog, we are going let it go in a pond the nature preserve tomorrow. There are lots of other Chorus Frogs there, so that should be a good place for him.

A few days ago, when the frog had his all of his legs, I told Joseph that we would be letting the frog go soon, and he didn't like this idea at all and almost started crying. I explained that it can be very hard to make sure that a frog has enough food, and that he will be much happier in the pond. After that he seemed pretty OK with letting him go, though he has been saying that we are going to keep the big tadpoles. I just said that "yes, for a while, we will." I learned through my research that American Bullfrog tadpoles take two summers to change, and they complete the metamorphosis by the end of the second summer. One of our Bullfrog tadpoles has legs already, so I think he will change this summer, but the other two don't have legs yet. My guess is that they are in their first summer. At any rate we will be letting them all go at the end of summer, because I really don't want to keep them over winter. I will cross that bridge with Joseph when the time comes, but for now he gets to watch them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's a Twister!

This evening we had our first visit to the basement due to a tornado warning. No, we didn't really have a tornado, but isn't this a nice picture? It did put a kink in our new schedule a little bit, but not too badly. Well, this post is really about our new schedule, but tornadoes are much more interesting than schedules, so I thought I would start with that.

So anyway, I finally figured out a good schedule that is easy to follow! We are getting up, eating all of our meals, and sleeping at the same times everyday. It has been difficult to get it worked out because so often my mom's group meetings, la leche league, church, library programs, etc. start and end at such different times. We have been trying it since Monday, and so far so good. In reality, evening has always been the most difficult because Joseph is so adamant about not going to sleep. He just does not like it. And he never gets tired. Well, almost never. For a three year old, I think his lack of sleeping qualifies as never. Last week I tried letting him stay up until he wanted to go to sleep, just to see what would happen. Twice it was midnight before we went to bed, and on those days he had gotten up at 8:30 am and not really had a nap. Of course the next day he felt terrible, and my day was equally terrible. So, I decided something has to change, and it is really working! He still has been waking up at 8:30 in the morning (which, in my opinion, is a really good time,) but now he goes upstairs for quiet time at 8:00 in the evening, and we turn the lights out at 9:00. I tell him a Bread Story in the dark, and that really helps to get him to agree to go to bed.

Thankfully, we are also still taking a quiet time/ nap time in the afternoon. I finally figured out to send Joseph upstairs at 1:00 so that I can clean up the house, do the lunch dishes, and hang any laundry that I have waiting. It is so hard to get those things done with Joseph around when he is tired, and I really like to have those things done before resting in the afternoon. By sending Joseph upstairs early he also winds down a bit before I come upstairs with Tommy, and that makes it easier for the transition. He still doesn't always sleep, but now he is at least mostly quiet. Notice that with this whole schedule thing I haven't mentioned Tommy. That is because he is so easy and predictable! Every afternoon he falls asleep in the Ergo (a backpack bay carrier) at 1:00 and in the evening I give him a bath at 7:00, and most nights he falls asleep right after that. I guess these two boys balance each other out.

Not So New Shoes

Well, they are not so new now anymore. They were new when I got them a month ago in the mail from the Dansko Outlet. Dansko's are the only shoes that are really comfortable for me, and also the only ones that seem to last me any length of time. Lucky for me they are also really stylish. Aren't they great?
And as an added benefit, from the Dansko Outlet they cost about half of what they sell for in a store. That means that I can get twice as many pairs, right?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I keep wanting to write on my blog and just never get to it. I have so many things that I intended to write about like elves, shoes, frogs... Well I will start with the elves. One night, after we opened the Keva blocks, the Wood Elves visited and built this little town.

This inspired Joseph to build his own town (the planes on the table were made by Jim), which was precisely the goal of the elves.

The block building was so vigorous for a while that I decided to make a dedicated block building space by the windows. This worked out nicely for a while, except that right now I have a whole bunch of seed starts on those tables, and also an aquarium with tadpoles, but more on that later. Here Joseph is building his own plane.

This building is what the elves left another time. Joseph was very excited to see that the elves had left him another surprise, and he immediately wanted to add a porch to it. Those elves are smart when it concerns influencing people for good.

Well, now it is very late, so I am off to bed. I am hoping that I will be writing on my blog every night now, because I made some changes in our schedule, but more on that later too. For now.... zzzzzzzzzzzz.