Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
This is going to be woefully brief. The bike trip was adventure after adventure, lots of fun, but lots of work. Among the things you'd normally expect on a bike trip, it included four tire blowouts on the triple-tandem, a torrential downpour, a tent with no stakes, Jonathan riding on someone's back carrier platform for seven miles (and two others each wheeling an extra bike those same extra miles), lost-off-the-top-of-the-car gloves and found again, new tires but now the brakes broke, little or no cell reception, a young man left behind, a purse left in a restaurant. More details? Maybe never, because... (More)
6/28 - Noah's fourth birthday! New nephew born! Faith says, "yoo" (balloon)
Some more Faith words: "adj-yih" = chocolate; "nah-nih" = napkin; "ow-dih" = towel; "yeh" = leg
7/2 - Jonathan, "Know what I want to be when I grow up, Mom?" "What?" "An inventor. Actually, I already am an inventor, I just don't have all the right parts."
7/2 -Jonathan, "When Magic Shell ges on a bowl it's stuck like a barnacle."
Two weekends ago when we went camping and sailing, we also got to go on a friend's 25-ft sailboat. It has a cabin and a motor. The wind was lovely that day, but I learned that Noah is our Roger. "When can we use the motor? Let's use the motor! Can we use the motor yet?"
7/4 - Faith, flipping through Go, Dog, Go! : "Ay ha? No!" That is, "Like hat? No!" She repeated this for every page.
7/6 - Faith opened the public bathroom door with her paper towel.
6/11 - We planted more seeds in our garden. Faith helped me plant beans and she very carefully placed the seed in the hole and gently covered it with soil. It was so sweet to see her tender care.
I discovered a robin's nest in the bush outside our bathroom window. We watched mama diligently sitting on her eggs and papa guarding while mama took her breaks. On 6/12, we saw the babies had hatched! We watched the parents feed them a few times. But then on the morning of 6/14, I saw the nest askew on the branch and stuffing falling out. Bad sign. I took the kitchen stool outside to closely examine - all inhabitants were missing. Papa robin scolded me from a high branch of a nearby tree. Interestingly enough, Faith was the only one to ask about the birds after that. (More)
6/1 - Noah's use of /f/ in everyday speech has increased immensely and he now uses it in a substitution. 3 = "free"
6/1 - Jonathan cut Faith's bangs "because she asked me to." Forgot that part about asking Mom or Dad... He actually did a good straight job of it, so I didn't feel the need to fix it.
6/2 - Faith now says apple with two syllables, "ap-uh"
6/3 - Noah, laughing, "When I first saw Joshua's umbilical cord, I thought it was a raisin in his bellybutton!" (More)
Noah has discovered convertibles and really wants one. In a parking lot one day, we watched a man put up his roof and that was really cool. When I explained the reasons we wouldn't get one (too expensive, not enough seats for our family) Jonathan decided on our next car. A "convertivan"! Enough seats for the whole family, and the whole roof folds down into the back. He didn't try to work around the expensive part...
Faith's new words just keep coming. 5/13 - "Mom" finally!! 5/14 - "two" and I'm pretty sure she understands the concept, though she'll also say it for three. 5/15 -"ap" = lap. 5/17 = "up" she used to leave off the p and now it's complete. 5/18 - "hou" = house. 5/19 - "ep" = step. 5/21 - "lou" = loud, when describing the waterfall on our camping trip. 5/23 - "uht" = dirt, also on our camping trip. 5/27 - "ip" = drip. "drip shirt" when she spilled some water on her shirt. "nah, nah" = knock, knock; when the boys were telling knock knock jokes. 5/28 - "uht ow" = foot out (of her slipper). 5/29 - "ap" = apple; "doll"; "buhb" = bird; "ahb" = strawberry.
5/24 - We discovered that at noon, Jonathan was six years, six months, six days, and six hours old!
Faith likes to sort laundry with me and if I tell her what the name of the article is, she can put it in the right pile. This also goes for silverware.
5/27 - The boys had spilled some liquid on the counter and left it there. Faith went to the drawer and got a fresh towel and wiped up their mess, on her own initiative.
5/27 - Jon: So, how about selling our house and car and biking around the country together? Noah: Yay!!! What, Dad?
5/28 - Noah was talking about when he was sick last week and he said "fever" with the correct /f/ and /v/ the first time!!! Hooray! This was his first spontaneous use of these sounds. Later, he said "Faith" to me with the /f/ correct.
5/29 - Jonathan and Noah invented a game called "chuck socks" where they throw their socks at each other. They think this is hilarious and Faith also joins in "uh-ah" whenever they say "chuck socks!"
Noah had a fever on Wednesday afternoon, and was better by Thursday. Faith had it Thursday and was better by Friday. Jonathan got it yesterday and is mostly over it now. This morning his throat still hurt so he asked for a cough drop. Then later, with his mouth bulging, he got out a piece of paper and wrote to me, "Can I swallow the flewed [fluid]?" Poor guy! He's so used to his floride rinse (and the medicine probably tasted enough like it) that he thought he wasn't allowed to swallow it. He was much relieved when I said he could.
5/1 - Noah continues to update his pronunciation of words. That day it was, for battery, "baddewy" instead of "badeedee"
Faith's okay is now "o-tay".
5/4 - Faith stayed in the Bible study babysitting the whole time. Jonathan and Noah were there with her. They had a great time. When I went to pick them up, she was happily stomping around the tables with the other "dinosaurs" - when she saw me, she ran up and gave me a big hug, and then went right back to what she was doing.
Jonathan's favorite color is yellow.
5/4 - The plastic cover on the middle back seatbelt had come off and gotten lost. Noah found it and put it on all by himself.
New words for Faith: guy = "die", juice = "jew", seat = "eet", cheese sounds very close, maybe "tseese"
5/9 - Noah, rubbing the inside of his hand, "This is my palm tree."
We're not being quite as ambitious with the garden this year, so the only thing I started inside is marigolds. I planted the seeds in vermiculite inside on 5/1 and they sprouted on 5/5. I transplanted the baby seedlings to individual pots the next day and now we are waiting for after last frost to transplant them outside.
Jonathan and Noah did this a long time ago, but I don't think I ever wrote about it - how to make your own miniature lightsaber. Take a plain ballpoint pen and remove the ink. Break a hole in the end of the cap. Stick a colored paintbrush brush end down the pen tube. Slide the cap over the colored end and there you have it! A lightsaber that retracts and extends, pocket size. (I'll try to remember to take a picture)
Faith now says: sock - "ot", peekaboo - "deet-a-doo", let me do it - "Do!", "dough", that - "at", trash - "ash", okay - "o-day"
4/27 - Noah had his first piano lesson with Grammy and loved it.
4/28 - Faith had her first haircut. I only trimmed her bangs to be out of her eyes, and left all the rest as it is. She does not like to keep the clips or ponytails in and it was down to her nose and always in the way. When she is older and more ready to keep clips in during the awkward stage, we'll have her grow her bangs out. It looks good and I'm very happy with that decision.
Noah is starting to say "I" instead of "me" in the right places.
Combine shorts/shortsleeves with pricker bushes and concrete and childhood exploration. Jonathan takes care of himself now, and Noah does sometimes, but I've been doing lots of bandaging for Faith. She's pretty good about leaving them on, but when they fall off she is insistent that a new one goes on right away.
4/19 - Faith adds new words all the time now. "Dit" means sticker, this is often accompanied by pointing to the back of her hand (put a sticker there, please.) "Niw" or "miw" for milk, accompanied by the milk sign. She sounds like a little kitten when she says it! "Dide" or "ide" for outside or inside, depending on circumstance.
We have lots of violets in our backyard. Jonathan calls them butterfly flowers. I used to remind him that they are called violets, and then I read that their scientific name is viola papilonacea. It means "butterflylike violet" - so Jonathan was right! He's just speaking English and not Latin. (:
4/22 - Jonathan, sniffing deeply, "Broccoli makes my nose thirsty."
4/23 - Faith was helping me unload the dishwasher. If she picked up an item she didn't know where to put she asked me, "Doh?" ("Where does it go?") One time she picked up a small mixing bowl and put it in the low cabinet where it belongs. Later, she picked up a larger mixing bowl, and very carefully took out the previous one and stacked them according to size before replacing them in the cupboard.
Last night we visited our friends who have a farm and Faith several times repeated "dat" and "dod" for cat and dog. She was afraid of all the animals except the cats.
Last night was a bluegrass jam session and it was such a blast. Jon brought his guitar, though he'd not done bluegrass before. People sat and stood around a circle, playing away. It was fun to listen to and sometimes sing along if I knew the words. Young and old together, great players and medium players. Jon plucked around on a banjo for a while. There was a bass fiddle that got passed around to whomever wanted to play. The kids who were not playing instruments ran around the farm, in and out of the garage where the music was. It was a blast. Mom, you would have loved it! One of the girls led some fiddle tunes and the banjos and guitars jammed along with her. It reminded me of Janet's fiddling days and I thought of that lion-headed fiddle. They played Red River Valley, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and Rocky Top among many others. Amazing Grace, I'll Fly Away, and other old gospel hymns.
Noah and Jonathan got covered with farm dirt and bruises; Jonathan stuck a turkey feather over one ear; Noah carried a cat around for a while. Faith stuck with me the whole time, but did ride on a tricycle a bit with me pushing.
Here are my notes from when Jon was in the Dominican Republic:
Saturday - first dinner with Daddy gone - When Faith saw that Daddy was not in his chair at the table, she looked for him in the computer room. The next morning when I got up first, Noah commented that usually Daddy is up first. I asked, "Do you remember where he is?" Noah says, in an "of course" tone, "In his bed!" When I replied that he was not, then Noah remembered "minihan public."
They were really good in church, except for Noah during the sermon, wiggling and lolling. After church they were exceptionally well behaved.
Jonathan helped Noah get to bed on nights when I had to take care of Faith. Jonathan often helped me by putting on Faith's diaper and pants.
We had a relaxed pace for everything except getting to Faith's checkup appointment on time. One of the reasons Jonathan was looking forward to Jon being gone (that he was unable to articulate for a while) was that he was excited about having more of my time, that I would not be spending any time with Daddy so I'd have more time for him. This spurred me to make a special time for Jonathan more often than we had before.
I realized if something needed to be done, it was me who had to do it, so I might as well do it now since there's no point in waiting to see if someone else does it. That was not as tiring as I thought, and I thought that I should just do those sorts of things anyway even when Jon gets back.
God poured out much grace and I poured out lots of prayer.
Spring really helped - everyone was cheerful and excited and we could play outside a lot.
--End of Daddy Gone Notes-- (More)
3/19 - Mommy asks, "Where are all those hiccups coming from?" Faith responds by opening her mouth wide and pointing down her throat.
2/23 - Faith said "I love you" to me! It sounds rather like "hello" with three syllables. She also tries to do the sign, and ends up with just her index finger up. She does this when leaving my presence (yes, she's started doing that more and more!) - she waves and says "bye-eye" and waits for me to respond, "Bye, I love you. See you later!"
She now clearly and more often says "no" and "uh-huh" and "doh" (don't). She also said "aye-dow" when she wanted me to hold her upside-down yesterday.
She plays with her brothers without me a lot now, even outside. They take such good care of her. They have even been known to put on new diapers and clothes for her!
They love each other so much, it is so fun to watch them interact.
I am working on teaching Faith how to use the stool to climb up onto the closed toilet so she can reach the sink to wash her hands. She can do this now, and we're working on getting back down, which is harder. Very soon we'll do her potty-training day. I know it will be different than it was with Noah - she'll need more of my assistance - but it will be very nice to be done with diapers for the moment.
One time during school Faith made a nice design with pattern blocks that resembled a sun. She likes writing and playing with the blocks, cuisenaire rods, and balance scale. Usually, all the pieces are on the floor by the time I'm done with the boys' school. But she is good at helping me clean up afterwards.
Faith is such a joy to have in our house!
It got up to 67 F outside this afternoon. We had a picnic lunch and then spent a long time outside enjoying the sunshine (kids absorbing lots of vitamin D) and playing with rocks. Jonathan cleaned and filled the hummingbird feeder. I filled the regular bird feeder. I put away shovels and cleaned up the yard a bit (rocks from the paths had gotten shoveled into the grass with the snow). Hooray for spring! I even opened up the windows to let some fresh air in. It only lasted for about an hour because the outside temperature started dropping, but it was very nice. (More)
2/23 - Faith repeated the Church of the Ascension doorbell, singing exactly on pitch.
2/24 - Noah was working with Jon on pronouncing "sure" correctly, having trouble with the "sh" sound at the beginning. Finally, he said to Jon, "How 'bout I just say 'mm-hmm'?"
3/4 - Faith was exploring her reflection in the convex mirror of the mixing bowl. She looked up and down, made faces in it, looked from the right and left. Very fun to watch.
Faith is running now, working hard to keep up with her brothers.Faith is using the toilet sign often now, and more than half the time, she goes. Often she'll keep a diaper dry for hours. I got the Toilet Training in Less Than A Day out from the library again and I think I'll do a session with her soon. Then she'll be in underwear! I'm debating about waiting until 20 months, which is their recommended starting age, but they do say some kids are ready at 18 months.
Today is clear and sunny and we had a picnic lunch out front, with an old shower curtain under the blanket to keep off the damp. Jonathan made a few games for us so it was kind of like a carnival! He also made us lemonade, using three cups of sugar in a gallon of drink, so it was pretty potent.I've been enjoying the snow and wintery weather (remember it did take a long time for winter to come this year!) but there just is something about the sunshine and warmth that's really nice.
2/11 - Noah, as we started school for the day, "I have my gun in my pocket in case any bad guys try to interrupt school."
2/13 - Faith says something that sounds very like "all done" when she is finished eating or going to the bathroom. She also says "doe" for toes or nose.
2/20 - Faith is now consistently using the toilet sign (it looks like she's shaking an invisible pencil). She does not use it every time she needs to go, but when she thinks about it, and sometimes at diaper changes.
Noah's work with putting the /g/ and /k/ sounds into his regular speech is coming along great! Many words now come out correctly without him thinking about it, many more come out correctly the second time. Since he is now listening and paying attention to how he is speaking, he has also improved other words, such as "seven". It used to be "eh-uh" even though he can say /n/. Now it's "eh-un." /s/ and /v/ will come later. I just ordered the second Speechercise cd and am looking forward to working on these new sounds with him.
Jonathan made a Lego olympics, with figure skaters, speed skaters, and luge riders. He even made the bench that the figure skaters sit on with their coach while waiting for their scores. (: (One of his sets of figure skaters are Han Solo and Princess Leia. Their coach is a droid!) The ice rink was a flat base turned upside down. He and Noah had two zambonis.
Jonathan has been reading up a storm. He found a Star Wars book and has been steadily working away at it.
He had been having trouble with the fact that we solve math problems from left to right no matter where the unknown is. For example, if the problem was [ ] = 9 - 5, he would write -4 in the blank spot. "Five minus nine equals negative four." He was quite frustrated with this for a few days, but the last time I gave him a worksheet with that kind of problem, I simply reminded him that the problems read from left to right, and he did fine.
2/1 - Jonathan, munching on dried cranberries, "I would have a happy life with air, cranberries, a Bible, and chips."
2/2 - Faith followed two-step directions: go get her shoes (from the other room) and put them in the shoe rack.
2/4 - Jonathan, "Life is so fun, I can't resist it!"
The last several days, Noah has been spontaneously saying words with /k/ and /g/ sounds, and coming up to us to show us that he can do it.
The boys have been praying for another baby sister. Recently, Noah thought he'd ask for two. Then he commented, "Then we would have three!" Noah can add!
I got a video of Noah showing me the bits. If he didn't know one, he'd say, "hobo" or "hada" or some such made up word. It's hard to catch what he says if you don't know it, so I'll write what he does say, "American Flag" (amehuhu a), "potato", "carrot" (eh-huh), "orange" (it's really a grapefruit, but you can't blame the mixup), "green grapes" (een ape) and my favorite "strawberry" (ah-bee-beh-hee). I'd been wanting to record him saying strawberry for a while.
Noah is doing great at his speech practice. When he thinks about it, he can do /k/ and /g/ sounds at the beginning, ending, and middle of words. Examples: "big pig" "good guy" "duck" I'm so encouraged!