Friday, February 28, 2014

February in Photos

I wish "photo bomb" didn't mean what it does.  I want it to mean something akin to getting slammed with photos.  Like, I'm about to drop a bomb and it will explode photos all over your screen.    ::grin::  In fact, there are quite a few words that I would redefine if I were in charge of it, but that's far off topic.  The deal is I have not been blogging about anything and everything going on in our lives.  (That's just another way of saying I'm not blogging as often as I want to).  I guess I've always wanted to blog more than I do.  Lately I think that life has just not been all that interesting, or when it is I am too busy to blog.  So I thought it would be nice to summarize February using photos (since that's all I can remember anyway), even if it is a couple hundred photos.

What? No time to look at that many?  I took over 300!  Ok...well here's the ones that tell stories...

My friend Shannon came over to hang out and convinced me to take my camera outside and get some shots of the night sky.  I have lots to learn, but it was certainly fun.  Wish I could do it with my dad.  ::heart::

 {Now this--apparently--is a photo bomb.  Way to go, Caleb!}

 {Loving these hats that came from Patrick's family in Germany!}

 {The boy is rich!  Got his first paycheck--which was smaller than he'd hoped--and his second paycheck, which was much better.  Happy boy.}

 {Cute boys ready for church.}

{Mitch buys balloons every year for his class.  Seeing the mess of balloons was a lot of fun for Mercy.}

Valentine's Day this year was pretty special.  Mitch had the day off.  He surprised me with a sort of "spa day" at the local model college.  Knowing she would love it, I asked if Eden could join me.  Mitch generously said yes.  Eden and I had so much fun!  We both had manicures, and Eden decided to get her hair colored (she has begged me to in the past--always wanted it red).  I had a facial, a hair cut, and then the stylist put my hair up "just for fun." We were gone for over 5 hours and Mitch kept the baby (and our kids and daycare kids) the whole time.  So nice!  When I got home the house was clean, the kids had made Valentine's and had a dessert. 

{Before and After}

{The flowers I'm holding are ones that Eden gave me for Valentine's sweet.}

{These flowers were clearanced out for $1.99 the day after Valentine's.  I bought them and now two weeks later they still look great.  I told Tirzah they were for her since she loves pink.}

{Banana Pudding Desert}
When Mitch's school has conferences the teachers usually do a type of pot-luck.  Mitch had a slip of paper that said he needed to bring dessert and tortillas (soft tacos).  He gave me a verbal reminder saying, "I need to bring desert."  I said, "It didn't say that, did it?"  I just couldn't imagine his coworker spelling dessert wrong.  He laughed and said "no."  But it did give us an idea.  We started brainstorming dessert ideas that we could fashion as a desert.  I used a recipe for banana pudding that I found on and used the nutribullet to pulverize banana wafers for the "sand" on top.  It was epic.  (I heard the pudding tasted good--I only used 8 oz of cool whip and probably only about 5 bananas.  I had at least three "layers" inside.}

{Micah passed his driving test at the end of January and his new license came in the mail.  It is really, really nice having an extra driver!}

{I think I see something when I hold my head just right and squint at the screen...}
My friend Shannon, who was teaching me how to take pictures of the stars, loves to "chase" the northern lights (ie: drive out of town to get away from "light pollution" and photograph the Aurora Borealis).  I have only seen them once while living up here, and it was right outside our back window.  She sent me a message to let me know there was going to be activity.  I tried shooting through our back window (it was super cold out, Mercy was crying, and I just plain didn't want to go outside), and I think that the light show was just not quite going yet.  Depending on how I look at my computer (especially in low light), I can see something in the picture above.  Maybe it's just wishful thinking.  Shannon and her family drove out of town a little later and got some AMAZING pics.  Head over to her's seriously worth the diversion.  After you do, you will wonder why I even bothered to post this picture. you would go to her blog!!!  Shannon tells me that the Aurora will be visible during the summer time, too.  If that is the case, I hope I find myself joining her on a midnight run sometime.

This winter has been tough.  It's been very cold and we have more snow than usual.  I think that's all I want to say about that.
{Zeke and Malachi}
{Obi and Tirzah}

{Rocking those shoes!}

This morning I was messing around with my camera and found myself giving in to a certain preschooler's cries of "I wanna see!"  So then we came up with these silly photos:
{Obi's happy face}

{Obi's angry face}

{Zeke's sad face}

{Tirzah's angry face}

I found a way for Mercy to eat applesauce with a straw that actually works, is reusable, is easy to clean, and has minimal mess.  SCORE!!

There's much much more between the lines.  We've had icky viruses, a visit from grandparents, and there's always schoolwork to do.  In addition to my normal craziness it is tax time, so I have been gleaning minutes to get that stuff together.  If you know me, you know I actually enjoy crunching numbers.  Some days I just need the diversion.  What will I do when I'm done??  Ha!  See you in March!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I told you so!

It was a few years ago, but I told you so.  You may not have been paying attention, but I insisted upon the correct way to pronounce Appalachia.  I can sometimes feel alone up here in Minnesota, where one of my greatest struggles in teaching my children at home is in teaching them phonics, but today it seems I am not alone. My sister sent me a wikipedia entry that sums it all up.  It is titled Appalachian English. I am stunned and sit here in wondrous amazement. 

My favorite  parts:

People who live in the Appalachian dialect area or elsewhere in the South pronounce the word Appalachia with a short "a" sound (as in "latch") in the third syllable, /ˈæpəˈlætʃə/ or /ˈæpəˈlætʃiə/, while those who live outside of the Appalachian dialect area or at its outer edges tend to pronounce it with a long "a" sound (as in "lay"), /æpəˈleɪʃə/.[15]

Told you so.

Short "i" and short "e" have the same pronunciation when appearing before "n" or "m" (e.g., "pen" and "pin" are both pronounced "pin"). Adjectives are often used to distinguish between the two (e.g., "ink pen").[18]
Recently (yes, as in the past MONTH, after living in MN for 17 years) I told my kids that "since" and "sense" were homophones.  I was chagrined when Mitch pointed out the error.  I'm STILL getting it wrong? After all this time?  At least today I don't feel wrong.  :)

The construction "don'" is used with transitive verbs to indicate the negative, i.e. "He don't know no better." This is commonly referred to as the double negative, and is either negative or emphatically negative, never positive. "None" is often used in place of "any," as in "I don't have none."
Just a couple days ago we watched a video filmed in Middlesboro, KY, then read a news article from the same area, and Micah rudely "corrected" someone's grammar.  I pointed out that, academically, he was right.  Culturally, he was wrong.  ::grin:: Now I have evidence to support my claim.  Booyah!

Verb forms for the verb "to lay" are used instead of forms of the verb "to lie." For example, "Lay down and hush."

Yes, please.

Oh my this is fun!  It is so fun to read the list.  I slip on my accent for dramatic effect these days.  Or when I just want to remember.  Or when I'm talking to someone I love back home.  ::sigh::  A couple months ago while cleaning we found an old cassette tape that I had recorded over when I was 19 years old and packing for a summer missions trip.  I was playing up the accent then, too.  My kids didn't even believe it was me.  It was hilarious (if I wasn't a bit embarrassed).

I think that the world may say it is a sign of ignorance to hear someone using such grammar.  Naw.  I think it's a sign of intelligence.  It's like being able to speak a second language.  Hey--there's a thought--could I teach this to my kids and get some sort of "foreign language" high school credit??  :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mercy is 11 months old!!

Mercy is such a sweet little honey.

Now Mercy

~walks on her knees or fully walks more often than she crawls

~can speak German ("nein" means "no") as fluently as she can English, I do believe!  But when your vocabulary consists of only three words, that's not too hard to achieve.

~regularly bites the tips off of markers.  She can get the lid off and do her worst.

 ~likes Micah now (except for when he puts her upside down or spins around in circles...Micah has to learn that girls are not as much fun as boys.).  I'm teasing, of course, but Mercy really does like Micah, and Eden, too.  Both of them can get her distracted and calmed down when I'm not available.  What I think is most cool right now is that Micah voluntarily asks to hold Mercy.  Maybe it's so he can get out of doing his schoolwork or out of doing a chore, but I sort of think he does it because he wants to.  How sweet!

~has learned another naughty trick...can you guess what it is?

 Watch for yourself:

~let Micah put her to sleep instead of Caleb for once.
~isn't sleeping all that great, takes two puny naps (usually less than an hour each) a day, and gets up a couple times each night.  She sleeps better if I or Caleb can hold her, but that's not usually possible for as long as a baby her age should be napping.  I am torn.  She isn't really crabby, and I enjoy keeping her close (most of the time).  So it's not so much of a complaint as it is an observation (most of the time).  Certainly there are always rough nights and days where I wish for a break. 

~is developing a great sense of balance

~loves to play with Barbies (when she's not stuffing them down the vents), the doll house, and the baby dolls

~sometimes sleeps like this.  Ok, often sleeps like this, between me and Mitch.

~is walking really well--

~says mama, dada, Tiz, and of course nein.  She may have said some other words but it's hard to tell if it's purposeful or accidental. 
~learned to wave bye
~still has only 6 teeth
~isn't biting as much as she used to (and has stopped biting while nursing too!)
~wears more size 12 months stuff now and size 3 shoes
~is back into cloth diapers, wearing one-size pockets or size medium fitteds and covers.  I like the fitteds and covers best, but I only have a few of them.
~crawls up the stairs like nobody's business, but I'm not ready to teach her how to go down yet.  I know climbing is not far behind, but so far she has only climbed on things that are within 4-5 inches from the floor (besides stairs).
~earned the nickname "Babyzilla."  She loves to dump things out of whatever they are in and throw things off (or pull them off if the case may be) of whatever they are on.  Everything must come undone.  She leaves a path of destruction wherever she roams!  She would be a great baby to train new parents the reasons behind baby-proofing...hahahaha.
~loves spaghetti, crackers, and erasers.  Yes, erasers.  No pencil is safe.  We don't recommend leaving them within reach.  She especially likes the mechanical pencils because when the eraser comes out, she can dump out the lead also.  This practice elicits a particular squeal from big sister Eden.  She also likes more approved foods such as beans, peas, corn, and many other soft foods she can serve herself.  We also discovered that she approves of nearly anything that can be drank or eaten by straw. Applesauce on a spoon?  No way.  Via a straw?  Yes, please, most ardently!  And once introduced you must remove your hand--any notion that you are going to take it back away from her will cause a fuss.
~loves water, whether it is drinking it or playing in it.  She loves it.  It is the best thing since breastmilk.  So if there's water around, guard it.  Especially if she should not have it!

February is a short month, so Mercy will be a year before we know it.  She's gotten so big, and with less than four weeks to go before her birthday, I find myself wondering how we could slow down just a bit.  On the other hand, I don't want to delay Spring, therefore I must give in!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Poetry for Valentine's Day

Zeke and Josh are using All Things Fun and Fascinating (Institute for Excellence in Writing) for their composition work this year.  I'm thrilled with all they have been learning.  The curriculum includes a special (optional) lesson on poetry to be completed around the holiday season.  We are a little behind, but now that I think about it the timing couldn't be better.  Yesterday I introduced three types of poems, and on the spot I wrote examples for two of the types (cinquain and acrostic).  Left on the board, it inspired Mitch and Eden to write some of their own poems of love. (Love?  Maybe that is debatable...hehe).  You are in for a chuckle!

Today Zeke and Josh are working hard on their own original poems.  I'm so impressed! 

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Debate

Tuesday night's debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye was absolutely fantastic. I will be talking about it long after everyone here probably wishes I would stop. For the past two days I haven't stopped posting links on Facebook, drawing diagrams on my whiteboard, or passionately bringing up points to anyone who will listen. In a moment of introspection this morning, I remembered my friend Russ Arndts. It sure would have been fun to dissect this debate together with him. Bummer for me...  :)

I'm posting from my phone, otherwise I'd share some links here. If I get time later I'll come back to it!