Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yay Josiah! and some other things...

This little man took his first steps yesterday. Way to go Josiah!

Here are two other funnyish pictures I felt like including. They have nothing to do with Josiah and his first steps.

Michael helps me feed Jo sometimes. Here, he is feeding him yogurt. Josiah has a yogurt beard. Michael wonders "Am I doing this right?" Michael is a pleaser- the very distracted kind. He often finds out, in his absentmindedness that he has not completed a task up to anyone's expectations. But he really wants to do things right.

I don't have a problem with the yogurt beard. Michael is doing a good job. I just think this is what Michael is thinking here.

Mercy helps, too. Sleepy Josiah enjoys his bottle. Mercy might not be able to see me because of the lovely hairstyle she has here. She is enjoying this moment during which she can be a mommy to Josiah without him crawling away. Because when he crawls away, she uses the "roll on and smoosh" technique to let Josiah know what she wants.

And then she gets in trouble because "we don't roll on our babies, Mercy". Sometimes when she is talking about putting Tigger to bed (Not Fuzzy Tigger) or feeding Tigger or doing some other mothering activity with Tigger, she says Josiah instead. And sometimes she calls Josiah Tigger. I think this is an interesting little piece of how her mind works with regard to her "babies" at age three.

We are off on vacation this week! Hooray!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


All of our kids have special animals or blankets that they like to sleep with.

Daniel has Woof, a stuffed golden retriever and Tee, an old, grey rowing T-shirt of mine.

Michael, our most tactile child, sleeps with Doggie (a black lab stuffed animal), Snuggle Blankie (a small blanket with several fuzzy pieces of yarn and string attached to it), and Quiltie (a quilt with little ties of yarn all over it). Quiltie was recently adopted as a night time friend. Michael likes him folded over the top of his pillow.

Mercy's most special item is Not Fuzzy Tigger but she really likes it when Not Fuzzy Tigger is wearing his jammies and is wrapped in Pinkie (a pink crocheted baby blanket). Really, I should write Not Fuzzy Tigger and Fuzzy Tigger (yes, he lives here too) their own post just so we can remember all the silly particularities Mercy has for them.

Now, on to Elephant. This is a picture of Josiah and Elephant on Easter. We can see that Josiah is now standing up quite a bit. He has one hand firmly planted on the kitchen stool and the other clenched on Elephant's ear. Josiah's transitional object is Elephant.

A closer look at Elephant reveals that one should be especially thoughtful about where she touches Elephant. I would recomend one of his feet. They never make it into Josiah's mouth. And they certainly aren't as discolored as the ears or as wet as Elephant's trunk.

At our house, and with each child so far, we've found that a "transitional object" can help in the night time sleep department. We've been thankful not to have too many night time issues (well, actually, ask me about Daniel sleeping as a baby and you'll get a different story) and I attribute that mainly to God's generous provision for our sleep needs. This provision has come in the form of sleep training, a good bed time routine and training of the kids in general but I think it's always helped to have that snuggly item nearby. It helps me anyway.

So when Josiah was about 6 months old, I began hunting for a stuffed animal. The items our other kids have loved as their own night time snuggly were given to them by family. I was excited to do the picking on my own this time around.

My criteria:

-small enough for a baby to hug
-no removable parts, ribbons, clothes
-silent (no jingle ball or music inside and no batteries)

I started putting Elephant in the crib with Josiah at around 7 months. He was with us during pre bed nursing times, too. And after a couple of months, it stuck! Josiah clearly prefered to sleep snuggled up with Elephant in his arms.

But now look at what has happened...

See what's going on here? It would probably have been better if Elephant had a pacifier for a trunk. So much for my criteria.

I'm just not sure if sucking on Elephant's trunk all naptime and much of the night is going to be good for Josiah's mouth. Or his teeth.

I mean, I think I've heard of kids who liked to stick the corner of their blankie up their nose. Maybe they twirl their hair and suck on the ends of it or even...

Suck Their Thumbs.

All those habits are kind of gross, right?

Mercy used to carry Not Fuzzy Tigger around in her mouth by his nose and I let that pass. Even when we spent a weekend camping during which she would stick Tigg back in her mouth after dropping him on the dirty ground.

I think Josiah would prefer to spend his time like this, with Elephant dangling from his mouth. But I'm a little more comfortable just saving Elephant for naps and night time at this point.

You can't learn to talk with a trunk in your mouth.

And, yes, we wash Elephant. And he still looks like that.

Did you have a "transitional object" as a child? (Maybe you still have it...)
Do your kids?

Sleep tight!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pictures

He is risen! And this is how we celebrated... With lots of pictures that took a long time to load...

Daniel, Mercy and Michael watch as Daddy prepares the egg dye...

Daniel and Mercy study the egg dye box... These two are the only two who might possibly share a chair at this point for longer than 3 minutes. Not to be cynical about my kids and their friendships, it's just fact. I think it's because there's just enough space age-wise between them; Daniel is developing compassion for those that are young enough not to be a threat to him. I'm not sure how good of a thing that is... I mean it's partly good... can we talk about this later?

Daniel and Daddy look the same!

Mercy and her cuteness and her egg...

Michael's egg...

Daniel's egg...

So we dyed eggs on Good Friday together. Then I dyed more eggs on Saturday, all by myself. Then later Saturday night, Bob and I prepared these yummy things for us to eat Sunday morning!

They were really good but I think they almost needed some kind of egg side dish to help offset the sweetness. But we didn't have an egg side dish.

Truth be told, I'm a bit of an "egg snob", and I just don't see the need to add eggs to the breakfast table on a regular basis. I mean they're great as a protein source but what's the point of eating something that tastes so bland? I end up covering up their mild sulfur-y flavor with the entire contents of my fridge just so they are palatable! (Okay that was a planned diversion into the Land of What Rebecca Doesn't Like for the benefit of a select group of people. You know who you are.) I understand that I am alone in my snobbery and I'm comfortable with that.

Treats from Grandad and Grammy were on the table in the morning...

Unfortunately, this is the only shot I have of Mercy in her Easter dress. Really, I kind of dropped the ball on a group shot this Easter. Oh well. Mercy's apparel was really the only notable Easter apparel. The rest of us just wore regular church clothes. Maybe next year we'll all match.

After church and a fun church Easter egg hunt, we headed home for naps. In the late afternoon, we gathered in Seattle with Bob's family to eat some really yummy food and have the annual Egg Roll. I'm not going to explain here what the Egg Roll is, except to say that it is a game played on a somewhat sloped surface with hardboiled eggs. Generally, it is a calm game, a peaceful Easter game. It was not when played in the company of 8 children 6 and under. But that's okay. I like peace and quiet but I can be realistic.

Here are Bob, Mercy and Michael beginning the Egg Roll.

Michael rolls an egg...

Daniel holds an egg...

Overall, it was a good Easter. I don't think that sums our day up very well. On Monday, I was chatting with some other co-op moms at our homeschool co-op about the busy-ness we experienced over the weekend. The general feeling seemed to be that especially on Easter, we would like more time for thankful reflection and less bustling about. I'm not sure how to reconcile the desire to spend time with family on the holidays and the need to quietly consider the meaning of this very special Lord's Day. Any of you have any ideas towards that end?

Oh and yes, Josiah was with us this Easter. He just didn't quite make it into the "big kid" activity pictures. So there he is.

I'm not so sure he's super happy in this picture but it shows his giant front teeth so I'll share it with you anyway.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Organizing Makes Me Happy

Josiah is the only one in the house who enjoys his own room. And most of the time, that works out the best for all of us. He, being barely one year old, has different sleeping needs and abilities than the rest of us. We've just found that it works out best to keep the baby of the family in the Baby Room until someone else comes along and needs to sleep in it.

In our cozy, three bedroom house, this means that the older three, who are 6, almost 5 and 3 share their room. The Big Kid Room. While I enjoy many aspects of this arrangement; the sibling friendships that are developing and less "MY room" and more "OUR room" talk between them all, their room is extremely tight. And the furniture has been poorly arranged by the adults in this home.

This is what it looked like until last Saturday afternoon:

No, it's not "to scale" but let's just say that only one child at a time can get dressed in this room.
And that's partly due to some training issues and some bad habits but on Saturday, Bob and I were ready to make some changes to facilitate better habits for the future!

We began after the kids had taken some liberties with Mercy's mattress during Saturday Morning Chore Time. I heard words like "slide" and "fort" and then saw this mess:

Well, Bob wasn't part of the mess. No, he is part of the solution!

So Bob headed out to the workshop to build some supports for Mercy's bed that would give us some more storage space beneath it. I think he got to use his router. Here she is post-bath tonight. Beneath her, you can see two shoe bins and a plastic drawer labled "PullUps".

I wish I had a "Before" picture of the closet because it was a giant pit of dysfunction. There were two bars, one low for Mercy's clothes and one high for boys' church clothes with a shelf in the middle. The dresser created just enough of a secluded spot that many a child used the closet floor for a hiding place, knocking Mercy's dresses off their hangers. Mess, mess, mess and plenty of "I can't find my shoes!"

So the shelf and lower bar came out as did all the messes from the floor. Bob scooted the dresser into the closet and a little set of plastic drawers was reappropriated from toy storage to become underwear and sock drawers.

Now it looks like this:

And just for fun, here's the boys' side of the room at bedtime tonight:

I would love to hear any ideas for using small spaces well. Josiah's room is next on the closet-reorganization list!