Monday, July 27, 2015

Emily is 5 Months Old

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…And is cute as a button, and much more fun than a button. 

She has fallen in love with froggy, her lovey. 

She is a pacifier fan, but not an addict.

She loves real food and has already eagerly eaten egg, pancake, chicken, potato, in addition to baby food.

She rolls, pivots and thumps and moves herself a couple feet in any direction.

She likes being on her tummy now. 

She loves to gnaw on her daddy’s fingers. 

She often has a monster nap of about 3 hours in addition to one or two smaller naps a day. 

She is definitely opinionated on who holds her.  She screams till she has a hard time catching her breath most of the time when someone other than Austin or I hold her.

She jumps in the doorway jumper for ages at a time.  She jumped so much the other day she got a blister on her toe.

She loves imitating a pteradactyl, or what I imagine a pteradactyl would sound like if they hadn’t gone extinct before we could hear one (ie a piercing bird-like shriek).

She usually doesn’t eat at night… but never refuses if offered… and sometimes demands it if not topped off before I go to bed. 

She is flexible enough to drink a bottle of formula in the front pack, in the pool, naked but for a swim diaper.

She is always waiting for someone to smile at her, so she can smile back.

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History Camp

Last year the kids and I ran our own art camp for a week in the summer.  The two summers before that Tucker had attended an art camp, but the one that was close by hadn’t impressed me a lot.  I figured I could make a really cool art camp for the cost of sending him to one, it could include Molly too, and we wouldn’t have to do all the schlepping to/from camp. 

Art camp was a great success—we made drip art with crayons, suncatchers out of melted beads, fairy houses, life-sized dolls and lots of other things I’ve forgotten by now.  It was a summer highlight for sure.

This year, Tucker requested that we do history camp instead, which has also been fabulous.

We’ve been reading the Little House on the Prairie series to the kids (On #5 right now – The Long Winter) so a lot of our activities relate to that.

We’ve:

-made a button lamp (make a wick out of fabric that’s tied with a string, wrapped around a coin/button, dipped in oil and seated in a bowl of oil)

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-churned butter (I was surprised how well this turned out)

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-made beanbags for a pioneer bean bag game

-made rag rugs

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-cooked over the fire

-practiced our carving skills with soap

-made a miniature log cabin out of sticks (that is now living next to Molly’s dollhouse)

-washed clothes on a washboard and line dried them (Tucker was surprisingly good at washing clothes, but neither kid could wring them out)

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-made pulled molasses candy (Tucker liked it, Molly didn’t)

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-checked out the TV series “Liberty’s Kids” out of the library (the characters go back in time to different historical events)

-visited Fort Ticonderoga in New York (when we were visiting my mom)

-visited Shelburne Museum in Vermont

Fun!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer So Far

We had a fabulous visit in Vermont over the Fourth, though the trip there and back highlighted why flying is so awful.  We’ve had terrible luck with flights lately and this trip was no different.  On the leg that I was flying alone, we got marooned on the plane for two hours before taking off, after an hour’s delay in the airport.  Not ideal with a four month-old.  On the way home, Charlottesville airport got closed because of a bomb scare so we had a two hour delay in the Philly airport. 

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Vermont was wonderful, visiting with Go Go and generally running amock in the canoe, along the walking path, with bikes, playing pool etc.  I should’ve taken more pictures but I was too busy sorting through stuff in the attic and garages to give away.

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Back home, in addition to making sure everyone stay’s alive, I’ve been doing random little projects, like adding polka dots to the kids’ shower curtain so it won’t show dirt quite so badly:

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And making drip pots with the kids from some old terracotta pots in the basement.  Figure they’ll be good to put flowers in and give away to teachers for little thank yous.

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Our puzzle board has expanded to double its previous size, and is getting well used this summer.

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We hung a tire swing the other day,

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Also keeping us busy are these coloring pages for adults that are very fun for the kids and I.  Henny even treated us to sparkly gel pens to feed our coloring addiction.

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We’re chipping away at all of our summer goals, which continue to be fun for the kids, though Tucker at this point is so goal-oriented, he just wants to do things for the sake of checking them off, not for their intrinsic worth, leading to rushing through everything with little attention to detail.  Reminds me of someone else I know (especially at his age)… me!

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And all this togetherness recently has brought new focus in our family to how to ask for forgiveness, and how to love your sibling well.  Tucker and Molly are usually wonderful with each other, but when you share a room and are together 24/7, buttons are getting pushed to a degree we haven’t seen before. 

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One of the fun innovations (for me) of this summer is having 30 minutes of work time every day for the kids.  This is on top of their chores: making their beds, getting the eggs/taking out the compost, and unloading the dishes.  So every morning after breakfast during the week, we do half an hour of housework together.  Today Tucker cleaned the fridge and pantry and the back steps.  Molly straightened the living room, cleaned the bathroom sink and wiped up baby spit up.  Tucker’s great with fetching and starting loads of laundry, folding and putting away laundry, weeding, harvesting from the garden etc.  Molly is great at straightening and wiping up tables and using the swiffer.  30 minutes of work every week day is a great start to the day.  Often Tucker decides he wants to work longer than that to earn some money.  Tucker’s hourly rate is $2 if he’s actually on task, which is a lot of money in his eyes and is quite helpful for me.  

We recently started an allowance of $1.75 a week for him (25 cents per year of age).  In order for him to earn the right for an allowance, he had to be able to tell me the value of all the coins, and do simple math with the money (ie “would you rather have 5 dimes or 3 quarters?”) kind of thing.  Of his allowance, he needs to designate at least $0.25 each week to give away to church or a similar cause.  Other than that, it’s up to him what he wants to do with it and so far he seems to be following his parents in being a saver.  Having his own money for things has also been very helpful in situations where he wants something like a Gatorade at basketball camp.  He could bring Gatorade from home in a water bottle – or use his own money and buy one there for $1.00.  Guess what he chose? 

And here are some random pictures from outside… the bed we planted a couple years ago to block the sight of the cars is now beautiful:

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We’ve had these dwarf hydrangeas for years, and now they finally bloomed!

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We added more tin can flowers to the outside of the outdoor shower:

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And built a low stone wall out of mostly found stone from the fields Austin has worked in this winter (with the owner’s permission)

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We’ve given up on high maintenance flower pots outside, and decided to go with cacti and lavender, etc… so nice, I haven’t killed a single potted plant this year because of lack of water.  A new record!

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Ballet Camp

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Molly and her cousins did ballet camp this week.  This video is of the three of them at the end of the week performance.  The youngest cousin is only 3 and was in her own little world, entertaining us all to no end.  Molly's other cousin was not interested performing, but Molly kept her composure in the chaos.  It was very sweet.