Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some Pictures and Stuff

Isaac's mood has finally made a come back, and we are enjoying our happy, funny boy, once again (not that we didn't enjoy him when he was crabby, it was just exponentially harder). Most evenings we now spend hanging out with the chickens. My husband did reassure me that he loves me more than the chickens. I take comfort in the fact that in my opinion, I am a more desirable mate than a chicken, and in the long run I will win, so no worries here. 

Isabella wanted a scooter for her birthday, and has quickly mastered the thing. She has said many times that the "scooter is the most amazing birthday present ever" (good job, grandma!).

Going on a bear hunt:

Isaac uses all sorts of measures to boss around the chickens.

Gentle shooing...

Sticking his tongue out...


Getting down to eye-level (a parental favorite)...

Acting like a monster...

Following saying, "no, uh"...(as it turns out, chickens do not understand sign language or Isaac-speak")

Until he finally gives up and Isabella is more interesting. 

Isabella is in a phase where she wants to pose for the camera. Disclaimer: I did not teach either one of them any moves.

Isaac came up with some poses of his own:

Do you see the baby robins?


That's all for now!


Friday, June 21, 2013

"Now We Are Six"

Now We Are Six

When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new

When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more

When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever;

So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

- A.A. Milne

Dear Isabella, 

Now YOU are six, and I know from your very proud exclamations, that "being six is amazing"! I can't deny the fact that you really are, "clever as clever" and provide daily entertainment for all of us. I dug up the journal I was writing when you were born, and read, "For once, I can say that I am proud of myself and I am proud of what I have done." Do you know, you made me a mommy? And just having you and holding you in my arms, made me feel more confidence than I'd ever felt before.   

When I walk by your room and see you dancing in front of the mirror in your underwear, I quickly say a little prayer that you will always be fully accepting of your body. I made a vow before you were born that I would never say anything negative about my own body in front of you--I hope this small act helps you when the inevitable barrage on a female's self-esteem and personal body image is tested and tried. I leave the comments up to you instead, and some days you tell me I look tired, and other days you tell me I look like a princess. Basically, I'm a tired princess. 

It amuses me that you spend so much time prepping yourself each morning. You carefully select your outfit (right down to your underwear), and carefully select each clip that you soon choose just the right spot for on your head, right after you finish putting your hair in a ponytail all on your own. Some days you still ask me to help with your hair, and of course, some days I insist on helping you with your hair, but all in all, you do it on your own and walk from your room beaming about your latest ponytail success. 

Being five was a big year for you because you learned to read (among other things)! It was also the year we decided to become a homeschooling family, and despite the fact that you protested many days of learning, you have excelled at what we've challenged you with. In your preschool teacher's words, you are "a free spirit", which I hope I never squash, and only strive to broaden your mind and imagination. You absolutely love to play outside, and even on the very coldest winter days, you bundled up and trudged out the door to explore and do whatever it is you do out there--I wouldn't know because it was way too cold for me! Your imagination inspires me, and reminds me that just as you are full of stories to tell, I have stories too, I just need my adult mind to set them free. 

You understand things most five, I mean, six year old kids don't even have to think about. You know all about speech therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy, physical therapy, and feeding tubes, ear tubes, surgeries, and much more. I can count on you to turn off the feeding pump if I can't get to it fast enough, and you are my reliable helper when it comes to other things regarding Isaac. A couple weeks ago, you randomly told me that if one day I wouldn't be able to take care of Isaac, you would just practice with the feeding tube a lot, and then you would be able to take care of Isaac. You even suggested we put a pretend feeding tube on one of your dolls, so that you could get really good at it. I wish you didn't have to think about these things, but I know you have a compassionate heart and I know that you will always look out for your brother. I watch you, patiently waiting when we are at appointments, and I know that you are also learning about sacrifice. In this life, we make sacrifices that come in all shapes and sizes, and in our days with your brother, as a family, we lovingly make sacrifices for his health and wellness, and for the doors we hope to open for him as he grows. I know by your actions and your thoughtfulness, that you understand this.

The older you grow, the more chances I get to see the depth of your compassionate heart. I watch as you long to be with your grandparents and great-grandmas. When it feels like all you want to do is be with your grandparents, I remind myself that that was exactly how I was. These are relationships to treasure, and I am so thankful that you have already discovered on your own to treasure the special people in your life. 

It's been hard for me lately to sort through my feelings as you choose to go off on your own adventures. It seems you want to be somewhere other than here, and I wasn't prepared for that to happen so soon. You love playing outside with your neighbor friend, and you love going over to Oma and Opa's house. You even chose to go with Papa and Gar to Columbus to see the grandmas, instead of staying here to get the chickens! I am excited for you to make these choices, and build these relationships, but it feels early to have you running off on your own adventures. You are independent, and I like that. I am reminded of the book we enjoy reading together, If I Could Keep You Little by Marrianne Richmond, who writes, "If I could keep you little, I'd hold your hand everywhere. But then I'd miss you knowing, 'I can go...you stay there.'" 

Reading. I absolutely love reading to you. I remember in elementary school looking forward to the time (usually after lunch if I remember correctly) when the teacher read aloud from a chapter book, and a big part of my childhood was spent listening to Papa and Gar read to me. So, I couldn't wait until we could move away from story books and spend time engaged in chapter books. Here is a list of what I have read to you since January of this year:  

Peter Pan (abridged) - Classic Starts, Retold from the J.M. Barrie original
A Little Princess (abridged) - Classic Starts, Retold from the Francess H. Burnett original
The Secret Garden (abridged) by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Junior Classics for Young Readers
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Ramona the Pest by Beverley Cleary
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverley Cleary
The Bear Named Paddington by Michael Bond
Black Beauty (abridged) - Classic Starts, Retold from the Anna Sewell original
Ramona and Beezus (though we gave up half way through) by Beverley Cleary
The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth
Little Horse by Betsy Byars
Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth Book 1 by Jane O'Connor
Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst
The Trumpeter of the Swan by E.B. White (definitely one of our favorites, and also a great book for teaching new vocabulary)

We have also enjoyed spending a lot of time reading poetry from these books: 

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein 
Poems to Learn by Heart compiled by Caroline Kennedy
A Child's Book of Poems compiled by Gyo Fujikawa
I've Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky 

We've had so much fun over this past year. There have certainly been the ups and downs that just come along with growing up and learning boundaries, and the ropes of give and take. I look forward to this next year with you, and I am excited to move on to first grade and the discovery of what our next year of learning together will have in store for us.

Happy Birthday. 



Saturday, June 15, 2013

We Have Chickens!

We never want life to become too slow or boring, so just to make things extra interesting, we decided to get chickens. The chicken idea came up over a year ago, when I ultimately said "no way" to chickens, and this year we revisited the idea, and I gave Walter the go ahead to work on a coop. We re-purposed a shed and turned it into a nice little home for our ten chickens. The only thing we had to purchase for this project was the fencing--how great is that? 

Sarah has been wanting to get chickens, so when we decided to move forward on the chicken project, I suggested we split the cost, and the eggs, and get five chickens each, and house all of them in our coop. Now we are enjoying joint chicken custody. 

"Now take a picture while I act like a chicken!"

Much to my surprise, Isabella chose to take a road trip with my parents to Columbus yesterday, instead of joining us to pick up the chicks from the chicken farm. She insisted that she "just needed to see her grandmas." I can't argue with that, so off she went, happy as a clam to have her own adventure.

Meanwhile, Sarah and I loaded the kids into her van, where Isaac was very upset that we'd moved his car seat and put it in a different car. Thankfully, once we were on the freeway, and he realized I wasn't abandoning him, he stopped crying. Getting the chickens was relatively painless, and as pulled out with the chickens in the back, we were certain this was either going to be a great idea, or a terrible idea, and we hoped they didn't die on the way home. I still can't believe we have chickens.

So far, Maya is the only one to actually touch a chicken. She bravely picked one up out of the bin whereas Sarah and I "gently" dumped them out. They moved as one and huddled in a corner, piled on top of each other.

A few hours later they became more adventurous, and this morning they are full of life and entertainment.

The chickens are eight weeks old, and these are the different breeds we have:

Plymouth Barred Rock (2) 

Rhode Island Red

Cinnamon Queen(2) 

Speckled Sussex 

Silver Wyandotte

Golden Laced Wyandotte

Columbian Wyandotte

Plymouth White Rock

More chicken information next time!