Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Honey for a Child's Heart

I love reading books to the kids. I love talking to you about what books you are reading to your children, or loved from your childhood.
It is frustrating though, if you don't know where to start, and you walk into B&N or the library.
We read old books, classic books, books with silver circles on them. I don't really mess with anything new.
I had two great conversations this weekend with other parents about what books they read to their kids. Mine are just a bit older than theirs, so they were asking for suggestions. I thought I would make a list of our favorites. We mostly read before naps and before bed. I also have baskets of books around the house.
These are mostly for children ages 2-7, as that is what I do right now.

Beatrix Potter- our favorites are Jemima Puddleduck, Benjamin Bunny, Mrs. Tittlemouse, Peter Rabbit, the Flopsy Bunnies, and, well, all the rest. Lucy, especially, adopted the English phrases and went around incorporating "straight-away" and "presently" into her very limited vocabulary as a 3 year old.

Madeline (all of them)-Ludwig Bemelmans

Robert McCloskey:
One Morning in Maine
Blueberries for Sal
A Time of Wonder
Make Way for Ducklings

Curious George -H.A.Rey
Where the Wild Things Are -Maurice Sendak
Amelia Bedelia -Peggy Parrish
Miss Nelson is Missing -Harry Allard
The Little Engine that Could -Watty Piper
Corduroy -Freeman

What I am really loving now is reading chapter books to the girls. I started when Caroline was about 3, our first big book was Little House in the Big Woods. Lucy on the other hand, started with Pipi Longstocking :) at about the same age. They LOVE listening every nap and night. Here are our favorites:

Stuart Little
Charlotte's Web (I bet we've read them both 3 times. They are beautiful!)

Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Little House Series We've read all but Farmer Boy and The Long Winter
I could write a book on all I've learned from Ma. She's amazing!!

The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mr. Popper's Penguins -Atwater
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -Roald Dahl
Pippi Longstocking, Pippi and the South Seas, Pippi Goes on Board -Astrid Lindgren
The Chronicles of Narnia -CS Lewis
We are working our way through them this summer. We've read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, we are now in The Horse and His Boy. I have been suprised by how much the girls LOVE them!

An amazing resource is the book Honey for a Child's Heart. It has amazing book lists for different developmental ages. You have to have it!
Happy Reading!!

Love this post on The Importance of Reading to Your Child
What are your favorites?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sidney Bristow training day at the Lake

I've always wanted to be a covert spy, a la, Sidney Bristow from Alias. Or at least do something dangerous and exciting, for the greater good of the world.
I am not cut out for it, at all. Whatsoever.

I am a bit more like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin.
But, I have 2 daughters. They are in training.

As any self respecting boathouse roof has, there is a trapeze quite a ways out to fetch with a long pole and then you swing out and act a fool.
Like my brother, and do a pike and then a belly flop.

It's pretty high up, and as any mother would be, I was so proud when Caroline hopped up the stairs to fling herself off. She was a natural. CIA, here we come.
like I said, Private Benjamin.
You should have seen me in college playing Assassin, climbing through other people's apartment windows in the middle of the night to shoot them with a water gun. Mapping out my target's class schedule to get them on campus. Bizarre.
I could totally drop behind enemy lines, steal the secret plans and save our country.

Then send in this one to cover my back.

while this one watches out with her gun in the water, ready to swim back to shore through shark infested water, backstroke.
All safe. Preston, some drinks please!!

watch out ladies, OO7 is here

She's even got the stance
Andy wants no part of this, and, as usual, is tending to the real work.
Happy Father's Day.
Thanks for keeping us all actually safe, while we live in our dreamworld!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trouble Turns Two

Today is Preston's big day.
He is a different creature than the girls! (But then again, Lucy is TOTALLY different than Caroline.) I absolutely love raising him. He is NON-stop and ALL boy. He melts my heart!!

Birthday Suit and Boots

The higher he can get, the better. I knew I was in trouble when one of the first things he did after he started walking was pop the screens out downstairs and climb out onto the deck.

"cousin" Lily (and her crate) was a huge hit!
He's figured out how to get into the freezer and pull out the ice cream. I've found him all over the house hiding with Blue Bell...
Coloring his face with markers is his idea of a craft

Yesterday, I came down from working on the upstairs and found him sitting up here, FLOODING the kitchen with the faucet that extends, on full water. There was a LOT of water. This picture is 20 minutes later when I came back from putting the soaking towels in the laundry. He's speedy! I know when I hear "uh, oh" to come running!

You are a piece of work, Preston, I adore you!! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

If my house were on fire...

I would grab all these:

After I hoisted the kids out the window, of course.

For probably 18 or so years, I've written in journals, usually my prayers. It is hilarious to read my 19 year old angst over a boy or chemistry test or reliving my 22 year old decisions (including whether or not to date my husband) The seriousness, the drama!

Some day I will laugh at my current little breakdowns from sleep deprivation or children's tempers or feeling I have screwed them up for good by yelling or not disciplining every time they backtalk or letting them watch Breakfast at Tiffanys with me.

Confessions, confessions... Marriage quarrels, confusion with where God is taking us in city, children, relationships, ministry, church... It will all be so clear when I look back. I am so thankful we have Him to go to in prayer!

Most of all though, so many joys and praises. The peaks and valleys lived out in prayers are precious to me. Friends getting married, having babies after years of infertility, relationships reconciled, loved ones finding Christ, others receiving the grace to suffer well in trial, and on and on... Our current decision to adopt is a journey in prayer in itself.

I have scripture written all throughout. I treasure these because of how clearly the thread of God's faithfulness is shown. He has taken my immaturity, inadequacy and self-focus and changed me, growing me up in him.

"We lean to our own understanding, or we bank on service and do away with prayer, and consequently by succeeding in the external we fail in the eternal, because in the eternal we succeed only by prevailing prayer.”

Oswald Chamber

My principal (because she teaches me much more than she does Caroline) has been writing about both journaling and prayer. She wrote out some tips I thought were good:

Journaling Tips

  1. Start. Even if you don’t know how, start small with a few words but do it faithfully – day after day. My first journals were merely a list of a few words.

  2. Write legibly. As I read through old journals, I find such comfort in seeing all that God has done but I grow frustrated if the writing is difficult to decipher.

  3. Title each page with a date and any significant events of the day. Make sure to mark a beginning date at the front of each journal and include an ending date when the journal is complete. Such a system will help you as you go back and search for specific information. My journals are precious memories of God’s faithfulness and a record of His personal hand on my family. Simple organization helps me find what I am looking for.

  4. Include scripture and inspirations from books you read. Write down highlights from sermons. Use one side of the journal for prayers and the other side for notes OR use a different color of ink for prayer and another color for notes.

  5. At the beginning of each journal record specific prayers you plan to diligently pray for. Be bold. Be clear. Be persistent. Prayer often does not align with our common sense but instead connects us with the supernatural power of God. Common sense has to do with our own human reasoning and all to often replaces prayer.

  6. Write down your concerns about provision, health, etc. but include spiritual and character issues as well. Watch out what you pray for however. I earnestly prayed for patience a number of years ago and God answered my prayers by teaching me patience through testing it over and over and over. (My family jokingly tells me never to pray for patience again!)

  7. Refrain from worrying about what others will think if they read your entries. It is between you and God. I warn my family that if they dare read my journals they will read the honest and open sentiments from my heart which are not always pretty. I have cried out to the Lord on behalf of my husband and children at times when I did not like how they are acting.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Practically in High School

Caroline graduated from Kinder last week.
She has had such a great year! I have loved the flexibility we've had as a family while she learns what she is supposed to from school and myself. Doing Veritas was a stretch for me personally and I lived to tell about it :). 1st grade will be a big step in the fall. She made some great friends, had a wonderful teacher, and learned her 3Rs.
Mrs. Clement gave out character "rocks" to each child.
Caroline received "Servant Hearted", I was probably most proud of the things she said about Caroline's character than anything else!!
I LOVE the other moms at school!!! I am challenged by them, and noone seems to take themselves too seriously.
After graduation, they got to change into PJs and have a little party.
My mom was able to come, which made the day extra special for Caroline.

I'm proud of you Caroline!