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Monday, January 26, 2009

Mama, Can I Be Your Caterpillar?

We're having recess indoors today. It is below zero and it is too cold to enjoy playing. It is, however, a clear, sunny day - a gorgeous day that makes you glad to be alive. So, Laughing Water and her friend are designing dresses. Mr. Blueberry Eyes will often lapse into a delightful imagination when he will say, "Mom, can I be your puppy?" Then he expects me to train and scold and pet and praise him. He'll say, "Pretend you are training me not to bark!" This, of course means that he feels free to bark and I am to instruct him not to. Today, however, he wanted to be my caterpiller so he could hang upsidedown to sleep!

So here is a picture of my newly tidied pantry with my grain grinder that I use to make w.w. flour for bread and waffles. I was so glad to get it cleaned out!

Now I have a question for my readers. I grew Russian Fingerling potatoes last summer that are so yummy and fun. I love to toss them with oil and rosemary and bake them. But, I really despise cleaning all the little things. Do you have any method of cleaning tiny potatoes or carrots that is less labor intensive that scrubbing them one by one?

I'll be writing again soon as I am excited to write about yesterday! Nanette

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Many Faces of Mr. Blueberry Eyes

I'm so in love with my son these days. Let me explain. Mr. Blueberry Eyes was born three weeks early - a healthy, strong little man who was peaceful and calm and very sweet. How we enjoyed those first few months! Then, when he received his 10 month vaccinations all of that changed. I clearly remember the night. We were traveling and in a hotel that night, when he began to scream. He didn't stop screaming for 2 1/2 years. There were days I wanted to run away. No amount of the normal child training worked. You just could not connect with him enough to
train him. We prayed over him. We did our best and tried this method and that. He missed stage after stage of cognitive development. He missed the puppeting stage, the why stage. As a reading therapist, I was quietly agonizing as I watched this obviously intelligent little boy struggle to bloom. His words came slowly, but clearly. Laughing Water did his talking for him, and at age 4, he had never said his own name. I would practice with him, but he refused to puppet anything. Physically, he was very active and well coordinated, but, unlike Laughing Water, hated outdoor adventures. I began to get comments about my parenting and his behavior. It was hard, but I knew, after teaching so many other children that this was quite a unique situation. We did our best to keep him on a healthy diet and limit "screen" time. He refused to pray, so I put up some lovely

paintings of Jesus helping children by his bed. Once he could visualize that, he started to pray. We enrolled him a music class for therapy. It was a real trial, but we persisted. He would rock back and forth, nearly banging his head on the floor because of the intensity of the class, but I sensed he needed the therapy for his brain. Slowly, slowly, he began to improve. He began to show an intense love of animals, (hence the arrival of The Mighty Hunting Hound). He started singing on key at age 2.
The last few months have been quite like a normal child-raising scenario. His vocabulary has exploded. He is starting to narrate stories. He even cried today when we stopped cross-country skiing before he was ready. He is so proud of his two missing front teeth.
In October, he started violin lessons and this winter, he is taking downhill ski lessons and ice-skating lessons. He is actively earning Adventurer Honors from our church's scout club.
We are taking two years to do Kindergarten in school as he was not developmentally ready for first grade. However, the last few weeks I've seen a huge surge in his readiness. So, on Thursday, I asked him if he would like his first reading lesson. He was overjoyed! And, I must say, handled it extremely well. He is so excited that he is learning to read.
So, when I say I am in love with my son, you know why. I'm glad I never had a diagnosis. I don't want to know what labels he "should" have had. I'm just thankful to have my little man back - yes, even if he does play dress-up with his sister! - Nanette

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Today has been a little out of the ordinary. We are doing school this afternoon because, for history, we watched hours of the coverage of the inauguration. I must say that I feel more hopeful than I have for a while. I'm not sure why. Other than a few environmental issues, I've always been a pretty dyed-in-the-wool Republican. However, I also come from a racially mixed family of origin and have seen first hand some of the prejudices involved. Whatever political differences I may have with Obama, I must say, this is a good day in America.
The UPS man just delivered 21 boxes of Bibles for my orphanage project. Ten boxes of books arrived this morning. Now have to get them all marked and inventoried. I'm serviously starting to have worries about running out of space for all the good things that are coming in. We have two rototillers and two lawn mowers coming in, too! - Nanette

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Doldrums

It is still winter, no doubt about that! The snows have stopped for now, but it is chilly and the inversions have come to our valley.
This is the time of year I love to take stock of my life and reorganize and take on deep cleaning projects. I have a number of cupboards in my house that could use a sprucing up.
But for today, I'm feeling lazy. I have a slight headache and tired eyes. Maybe it was because I watched "The Notebook" yesterday while I had an afternoon to myself. My friend, Fashionista Girl, recommended it. What she failed to tell me was that it was a three-hanky movie! Of course, I like three-hanky movies, but they do tend to make me a little puffy eyed for a while!
As part of my reorganization, I spent a long time planning out a food list of things our family can eat. Laughing water cannot have soy, and only a little in the way of beans and nuts. I have shown up with allergies to dairy and eggs and sugar. Now, I'm a vegetarian and am quite capable of cooking vegan. But, when one has to take out dairy, soy, and limit beans and nuts, it gets a little dicy. So I spent some serious time thinking and planning and making a list. I left the list on the table while we went to church and then on to other activities last Saturday. When we came home, The Mighty Hunting Hound had eaten about 1/2 of the list! Grrrr!
Last Wednesday, Laughing Water had a piano recital. I must say that I was delighted. I had heard her practice, but was amazed when I actually heard her perform. She put a lot of feeling and dynamics into it. I'm told that she has a guitar recital coming up on Feb. 3. Since Mr. Blueberry Eyes takes violin from that same teacher, he will also play in the recital. That should be interesting since he has only just begun his journey into strings. He is to play, "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Both of my children perform with more ease than I did as a child. They get nervous, but do play well. It is just so nice to be in the sixth year of lessons with Laughing Water as she now prefers to practice on her own and does a good job of it. She does like it when her Papa plays her guitar lessons with her, though. I've even pulled out my violin to have practice time with Mr. Blueberry Eyes. My sound is pathetic, but it encourages him to play! - Nanette

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Barometric Pressure

A few years ago, I bought The Wood Artist this beautiful baraometer as a gift. Since then, we have enjoyed watching it and have noted the changes in the weather and looked to see if there is a correlation to the level in the tube. I noticed when I was reading the directions at first that it said that if the spout ever overflowed, you should take cover as there was likely a tornado or hurricane.
A few days ago, we saw this sight. It was about a half inch from the top. We indeed had a large weather system moving through, but were amazed that it was so high. Then, two days later, the spout overflowed! I didn't know what to do! The weather outside was thickly overcast, but other than that, fine. I tried to call the weather station all afternoon, but couldn't get through. I will admit I had felt awful all day - lethargic, pressure in my ears.
Does anyone know what caused this? Was there a correlation as to how I was feeling? I'd be interested in your comments.

In other news. I haven't posted much lately because my internet wasn't working well and I've also been overwhelmed with this Kenyan Orphanage project. It is coming along splendidly. My last thing I'm praying for is a good rototiller and some tools for them. Someone already donated $250 towards the tiller! This is a huge prayer for me as I feel that now that they have their well, they should have the tools they need to grow a good garden! This will help feed those malnurished little bodies.
I'm so looking forward to life getting back to normal. I want to feel what it is like to feel rested again! Nanette

Monday, January 5, 2009

90 Boxes and Bags

I'm sore today. Yesterday we spent the entire day processing, inventory-ing and packing 90 boxes of clothing, toys and books for our Kenyan orphanage project. I had two friends who graciously worked hard. One of them even let us use her house so that we wouldn't freeze in the big shop. Thank you, Joy! The Wood Artist spent most of the day hauling and transferring the 30-40 pound boxes and bags. We have more work days like that coming up, but I'm hoping to recruit more help! It would be a little easier on the back to share the load! I must say, though, that is was so fun to touch and finger the garments and toys and imagine the smiles they will bring. We still have a long way to go. I want to have some washing machines, a rototiller and some tools to include in the shipment. I don't know how to make this all happen, but I also know it really isn't up to me and we will be sent what they need to receive. My father found a commercial juicer for $300 for the orphans. I know that this would be a great blessing to help the malnutrition of the children. I'm sure the money will come through for that, too. It is all quite a faith journey.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Forecast Snowy White, Indeed!

O.k., so this is a real winter. I've lost track of how many snows we've had recently. It seems that hardly one 4-6 inch whiteness has fallen, when another is beginning. Today alone, I think we've received about 12 inches and it is still blowing. Emergency travel only, of course. The Wood Artist shoveled us out faithfully this morning, but when I went out a few hours later, there was another 4 inches on the steps. I asked him why he hadn't shoveled yet today, and he stammered something out about feeling lazy.
But I must admit, I like it. I've said it before, but I love nothing better than a good blizzard if I'm inside beside the fire with a good book! I love a strong, four season climate. One works so hard outdoors in the summer - gardening, wood getting, camping, hiking, that there is a certain quaintness in being snowbound.
It isn't so easy for everyone. I've learned that some friends and even close loved ones has Seasonal Affective Disorder. I count myself blessed to not have it personally, but still have to make sure I keep cheery lights and music going.
We returned home from our Christmas vacation on Wednesday at 4 p.m. By 6 p.m., my family was here to celebrate the New Year. We had salad and pizza. Yesterday and today, I've been cleaning like a mad woman. Its seems each January that passes, I get a stronger urge to be "Out with the old and in with the new". Since we live in a house of about 900 sq. ft. with 2 children, two dogs, two cats, two frogs and three fish, I feel a constant need to purge the unnecessary. Yesterday, we cleaned Mr. Blueberry Eyes' toybox and storage containers. Today was mostly puttering here and there, but some good did get done.
Laughing Water has a penchant for experimenting with looks of different people groups - muslim, Bible times, Medieval queens. Today has been Amish. She attatched a far-too-small bonnet to the back of her head with hair pins. Other than the color, it looked very realistic! (I had fun reminding her when she was frustrated with her brother that an Amish girl would love to cheerfully help her brother! Kinda mean, huh?!) The look sort of unraveled below the neck, though - a bright red dress! Hmmm. She had fun earlier making a very yummy snow cream all by herself.
As evening approaches I have no idea what I'm going to fix for supper. I'm tired and wish I had a full time cook!
So what are you doing now? Is it snowy where you live? Leave a comment and let me know! "May your mocassins make tracks in many snows!" Nanette