Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Nora: 24 months

She's two! Nora is speaking in paragraphs, loves to sing and dance, adores her baby dolls and all their paraphernalia, likes to sit in your lap to be read to, and told me yesterday she is ready to potty-train. "I potty-train now, Mama." (I guess it is about time to start that and see how it goes.) Nora loves to make us smile and laugh and she is a sweet and fun little girl. She is quite the loved "baby" girl around here!

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Best of the Best

We do a lot of reading around here. I love reading aloud to my kids and we do lots of it every day. We read picture books, chapter books, poetry, anthologies, children's Bibles, devotional books, science, history, geography--any thing the kids get interested in, we get a stack of books from the library and see what we can learn. I've used book lists from all over (Honey for a Child's Heart is my favorite, but see also: Books Children Love, Learning at Home, 1000 Good Books, God's World from A to Z, How to Raise a Reader, 1000 Great Books, Ambleside, Well-Trained Mind). We usually borrow books from our awesome public library first, and then if it becomes a family favorite I put it on the kids' Amazon lists and someday we add a copy to our home library. I've saved you the trouble of sorting through all those lists and come up with our very favorites here (more categories to be posted later). Of course, every child's interests are different and some of our favorites won't be yours. :) But if it helps, here you go!

Board books
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
Freight Train, Donald Crews
Beautiful Babies, Karma Wilson
The Going to Bed Book, Sandra Boynton
Horns to Toes and in Between, Sandra Boynton
Moo, Baa, La La La, Sandra Boynton
One Wet Jacket, Nancy Tafuri
Two New Sneakers, Nancy Tafuri
Pat the Bunny, Dorothy Kunhardt
My World, Margaret Wise Brown
Big Red Barn, Margaret Wise Brown
Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown
Jamberry, Bruce Degen
I am a Bunny, Ole Risom
Spot books, Eric Hill
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr.
Time for Bed, Mem Fox
The House in the Night, Susan Marie Swanson
Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell

Picture books, ages 3-4
Harold and the Purple Crayon, Johnson Crockett
The Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss
A Apple Pie, Kate Greenaway
Chicken Soup with Rice, Maurice Sendak
King Jack and the Dragon, Peter Bently
Little Rex Big Brother, Ruth Symes
Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker
Steam Train Dream Train, Sherri Duskey Rinker
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
One Crow, Jim Aylesworth
Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans
Fancy Nancy books, Jane O’Connor
The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Baby Wren and the Great Gift, Sally-Lloyd Jones
Do You Know What I’ll Do, Charlotte Zolotow
Big Sister Little Sister, Charlotte Zolotow
All Kinds of Kisses, Nancy Tafuri
What the Sun Sees the Moon Sees, Nancy Tafuri
A House is a House for Me, Mary Ann Hoberman
Ox Cart Man, Donald Hall
The Moon was the Best, Charlotte Zolotow
I Like to be Little, Charlotte Zolotow
Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola
On Mother’s Lap, Ann Herbert Scott
Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey
Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey
Tea for Ruby, Sarah Ferguson
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
Angus and the Ducks, Angus and the Cat, and Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack
Frances books, Russell Hoban
Harry the Dirty Dog, Gene Zion
Go Dog Go, P.D. Eastman
A Tree Is Nice, Janice Udry
Snow, Uri Shulevitz
Go and Hush the Baby, Betsy Byars
Corduroy, Don Freeman
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, Leo Lionni
Play with Me, Marie Hall Ets
Gilberto and the Wind, Marie Hall Ets
In the Forest, Marie Hall Ets
Just Me, Marie Hall Ets
Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
Come Out Muskrats and others, Jim Arnosky
Bunny’s First Spring, Sally Lloyd-Jones
If You Plant a Seed, Kadir Nelson
Jack’s Garden, Henry Cole
On Market Street, Arnold Lobel
Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney
Llama Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Picture books 5+
One Morning in Maine, Robert McCloskey
Little Bear books, Elsa Minarik
Amelia Bedelia books, Peggy Parrish (only the originals)
Curious George books, H.A. Rey (only the originals)
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, Richard Scarry
Frog and Toad books, Arnold Lobel
The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up, Alice Goudey
The Tale of Peter Rabbit and 22 others, Beatrix Potter
A Kindle of Kittens, Rumer Godden
The Golden Plate, Bernadette Watts
The Little Red Hen and others, Paul Galdone
White Snow Bright Snow, Alvin Tresselt
Building Our House, Jonathan Bean
The Little House, Virginia Lee Burton
Stone Soup, Marcia Brown
The Family Under the Moon, Nancy Jewell
The Best-Loved Doll, Rebecca Caudill
The Biggest Bear, Lynd Ward
Berenstain Bears books (some are better than others), Stan and Jan Berenstain
Now One Foot Now the Other, Tomie de Paola
The Quiltmaker’s Gift, Jeff Brumbeau
The Old Woman who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle, Rumer Godden
No Dragons for Tea (fire safety), Jean Pendziwol
St. George and the Dragon, Margaret Hodges
Finding Winnie, Lindsay Matlick
A Field Full of Horses, Peter Hansard

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Zeke: A Good Dog

We had to have our first dog, Zeke, put to sleep a few days before Christmas. He had been suffering from arthritis for years and went downhill very rapidly that last week. He was about 12 years old and has been part of our family since a few months after our marriage. He arrived in our family as a sick, sweet, stray and lived a full and well-loved life. He was supposed to be the Gent's dog but he adopted me instead (Nick, our first Golden, was supposed to be my dog--but he picked the Gent). I miss the sweet puppy who slept on the mat by the backdoor whenever I left and was waiting there when I got home, who slept at the bottom of the stairs in summer waiting for me to get up, who curled up on his bed in winter but stayed within sight of the stairs so he wouldn't miss seeing me. He had a loyal heart and he loved all his family. He was proud and sure of himself at all times, our little Napoleon. We love you, Zeke. You were a good dog.

Zeke was a sick doggie when we first got him. He was recovering from heartworm treatment in this picture. Daddy fell asleep petting him. :)
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Zeke's first Christmas. He invited himself into the picture and sat down right where he knew he belonged.
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beach trip
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protecting baby Annie during tummy time
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Nora: 23 Months

cheese face
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Almost two! I'm not quite ready for her to not be a baby anymore, but she is. Thankfully she does still like to snuggle with me. This month Nora has fallen even more in love with her baby dolls (I didn't think that was possible). She continues to love her play kitchen--especially the cupcake set she got for Christmas. She is so adorable when she sings and prays. And she talks all the time. In paragraphs. So thankful for this precious little peanut!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

6 Months

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Baby David's growth is right on track and he is an active little guy! We are enjoying each kick and wriggle. He likes to do gymnastics every night when I lay down to go to sleep. I feel great now that I am over the nausea (that lasted till 18 weeks) and barely remember I'm pregnant most of the time. The kids love to talk to David and rub my tummy and they are just so precious. The Gent and I are starting to think through some of the harder decisions so please continue to pray with us.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

littlest photographer
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the kids made cookbooks for their grandparents, filled with recipes of their choice and pictures
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attempt at family photo at church
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reading Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
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choosing just the right cookie for Santa Claus
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they're ready!
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reading T'was the Night Before Christmas with an uncooperative Nora
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looks like Santa came!
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waiting on the stairs Christmas morning
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Sophie asked Santa for glasses for her doll
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Granny reading the Christmas story
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more gifts, food, and celebrating at Granny's house
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all Jacob's pictures are blurry because he was so excited and moving fast!
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Nora cheesing it up
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attempt at a photo with Granny :)
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giggles with Papa Rick at Aunt Sandra's--one last stop for food and family and of course, a few more toys
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attempt at a photo with Bebe and Papa Rick
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staged photos may not have been a success this year, but Christmas with the kids certainly was!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Family Christmas

We celebrated an early Christmas at home before going to visit the Gent's family over the holidays. Honey and Poppa joined us and my did the children have fun opening their presents!

our advent wreath
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stockings from Honey and Poppa
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Poppa pretending to be surprised when he opened the books he'd asked for
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Nora taking pictures
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Annie requested a tea set
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Jacob was super-excited about his first Legos!
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Sophie likes her new doll carrier
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Nora loved getting an umbrella, just like the big kids
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Nora helped me open my gifts
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And she sat on Daddy while he opened his...see those little toes?
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