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Thursday, August 30, 2007
That Darned English Language!
Well, Jay's at the point where he's starting to learn proper English, at least a little bit. As I mentioned, Paul's started him on beginning phonics (and he's got the LeapFrog Letter Factory video from Grandparents B towards the same end), but it's not always an easy thing to practice when your mother tongue is English (just try sounding out "practice" OR "tongue"). Granted, he's really not there yet. When he reads the letters Q U E S T and tells you, "Dat spells 'Van!'", you know he's not stumbling because of idiosyncratic spellings.

Sometimes the children seem to be halfway to speaking German, what with Jay using "mine [mein]" as his sole first person possessive pronoun, and Isaac saying "Bett!" for "Bed".

Jay's starting to get that "I" is often a better word to use than "mine", but he's not getting the irregular past tense verbs (oddly enough). He uses "sleeped", "goed", "eated" and all that, and though I correct him most of the time, I don't know where to begin to explain why!

Today we were discussing the poor behavior Isaac and Jay exhibited during an unexpectedly long wait to get the rear tires on the van replaced. After an initial statement by me to the same effect, Jay conceded, "Mine not being haive." That was too cute, since he often postpones the "ing" until too late in the sentence, and the poor kid was apparently trying to avoid correction. Maybe we should have brought the tykes up in Germany, where verbs are so much more predictably haive.

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Life-saving Tip of the Week
It's happened to all of us. One stumbles into the bathroom early in the morning, anticipating a comforting shower to help her feel ready to face the day, only to discover that gremlins (or possibly small children) have pumped conditioner over half the bathtub. If you don't have time to break out the sponge and scrubbing bubbles (and even if you have the time, who has the energy?), how does one avoid breaking her arm or leg, or even her neck?

Throw a washcloth in the tub and scoot around on it as if it were cross-country skis. I only have one handy because our beloved CEP uses washcloths (unlike the senior members of this household), and I have gathered up our scattered washcloths from closets, drawers, and laundry baskets in various undisclosed locations over the years. What a blessing is CEP!!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A Teenager, Already?
Jay just started answering questions with "I don't know" today, starting when I asked him whose job it was to clean up the playroom (guess who trashed it!) He then used that same answer four or five more times today. THAT habit didn't take long to develop!

Then, after his nap this afternoon (from which he awoke very grumpy, as usual), Jay was trying to do something with his new $.50 remote control car when I laughed (really, just chuckled) at a mishap of his. "A's not fu'y, Mama," he told me, perfectly seriously. Then I really had to stifle the laughter.

And finally, tonight, the boy said to me, "Mine not fat, Mama." Obviously, I affirmed that he is not. I don't know where all of this is coming from. Sunday, he was promoted to the 3-year-olds class at church and to children's worship, and by Tuesday, he's a teenager. Yikes!!

Of course, he also said to me this morning (again with the utmost seriousness, while tracing the edge of the lid of his sippy cup) "Mine gweasing mine wid wike a mouse."

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Monday, August 27, 2007
The Rivalry that Never Sleeps
I was going to spare you, but I had to laugh at Jay when I watched this again. Really, the beginning is the best part, but you're free to watch the whole thing.

I'm not sure why Google Videos Beta is much more functional than Blogger videos (not beta, as far as I can tell), but I suppose that's looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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Spelling Bee
Paul and Jay have been having reading lessons most nights. From what I've seen of it, the book follows a solid phonics approach, and as it comes highly recommended by Jordana, I'm sure it's an excellent book. We were quizzing Jay back in July on what letter various words started with, and he seemed to be doing very well with "B" words, and maybe another letter or two. He has an "ARMY" shirt from Grandma and Grandpa, so when he's wearing that, I'll ask him how to spell army, and he can tell me (it was pretty funny when I asked him that at our friends' wading pool- he was a little disappointed to see his bare chest).

Anyway, tonight I asked him if he had had a reading lesson today. He told me that he had, and I asked him what he had read ("Books.") "Any words?" "Me." "How do you spell "me"?" "Aaah, ummm, M?" "Yes! What's next?" "Ummm.. E!"

Not bad for a two-year old! (Yeah, yeah, so he's almost three, and he still says, "Fine!" when you ask how old he is ;) )

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Sunday, August 26, 2007
OK, So I Don't NEED a Cute Tote Bag
And honestly, it's probably too fashionable for me anyway. But it could come in handy on that trip to L'viv. Plus, I have readers who are much cooler than I. So if you want to enter to win this bag, pop over here and give it a try.

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Never a Dull Moment
So in the way of updates, I don't believe that I've mentioned our upcoming trip in these pages. We'll be traveling to Ohio to celebrate my parents' recent 40th wedding anniversary with family and friends (sadly, my army brother has army commitments), and then Paul and I will be absconding with a car of my parents' to Columbus, thence to L'viv, Ukraine (not a direct flight, I'm afraid). We'll be teaching English for a week, then seeing the sights to tentatively explore the possibility of longer-term ministry there with the offspring. Which reminds me, if anyone has unwanted reading material, it's usually a popular handout for our English students. They're mostly professionals, so we've been able to interest folks in all sorts of things.

Meantime, my parents get to celebrate by keeping Jay and Isaac ;) My sister-in-law and the boys' cousin on my side of the family will be staying for most of the time, which will be REALLY exciting (as though seeing Pop pop and Ganma weren't exciting enough!). Hopefully, they'll wear themselves out each day!

I was mentioning to church friends at lunch today that I'm a little bit worried about how Isaac will deal with the separation. I made some comment about Jay's laid-back temperament, which, judging from what followed, must have been "Jay's easygoing," or something like it, since he proceeded to say "Mine easy. Mine EAsy. I AM EASY!!!!", only more drawn out and repetitive. I'm sure we provided amusement for the surrounding tables.

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But I Really Don't Even Like Ham
You Are a Ham Sandwich

You are quiet, understated, and a great comfort to all of your friends.
Over time, you have proven yourself as loyal and steadfast.
And you are by no means boring. You do well in any situation - from fancy to laid back.

Your best friend: The Turkey Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
What Kind of Sandwich Are You?

And I like grilled cheese. Oh well!

From Jordana, a long time ago =] OK, SkinnyDan reminded me.


Saturday, August 25, 2007
Bleu Cheese, or Vinaigrette?
Out of the blue today, Jay told me,
"Mine wike sawad dwessing."
"Jay, say 'I like salad dressing'."
"I am wike sawad dwessing."

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Thursday, August 23, 2007
Remember these folks in your prayers. We met them when I was pregnant with Isaac and she was pregnant with their third. They're real gems, and we (Paul and I) really hate to see this happen to them.

New Wheels
Well, I bought a used Sit'N'Stand. I'm less than thrilled with my purchase. It's an older model, and considerably different than the one we test-drove in Burlington. Of course, we paid less than half the best list price for the new model (less, in fact, than the seller was asking), and I can fold the stroller by myself and stow it in the van. However, it takes up all the floor space in the tailgate even when stowed on its side (it didn't look like the tailgate would close with it lying flat), there are no drink holders for parent or child, the bar on the front seat does not swing out of the way (which means lifting Isaac in), and the thing is hard to steer! I imagine (optimistically) Jay will usually still want to walk most of the time once he gets used to it, because pushing the both of them around the zoo in that stroller would get old fast. For now, he enjoys riding, which isn't too bad just around town. It sure would be nice to have a drink holder and cushioned handles, though!

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Negativism, or That's My Boy!
May as well go with a Rocky-and-Bullwinkle-esque title when you can. So Isaac was practicing saying "no" at the dinner table tonight, and Paul saw an opportunity.
"Isaac, do you like the Cowboys?"
"No no no"
"Isaac, do you like the Packers?"
"Cwackers, cwackers!" (looking in the direction of the Goldfish bag)
For some reason, this struck both Paul and me as hilarious. At least he got the important question right.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007
You Sure Are 'Mart!
This afternoon, Jay was putting on his pull-ups, and I asked him for the twentieth time, "Who's on your diaper?" For the thirtieth time, Jay replied "Wight'ing MaKween an' Mack!". At this, Isaac started chanting "Keen!...Keen!" and approached Jay. "Da's a fwag, Isaac*... You sure are 'mart! A's Wight'ing MaKween! Sure is Wight'ing MaKween, Isaac!"

* He usually misses with his first stab- this time he found the dryness indicators

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Thursday, August 16, 2007
I am a Cruel, Cruel Mother
As I mentioned in this post, I think it's really funny that the very beginning of "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" always startles my children. I was really tickled today, though, when Isaac was standing up, staring at the screen, and the "Hey, kids!" startled him so badly, he started, flailed his arms to try and regain his balance, and then plopped down flat on his rear end. Yes, I laughed at him right then and there. It was too funny not too, and he's not like Jay, who always used to take offense at jokes he wasn't in on. He asked for that video, so either he likes it, or they just keep forgetting!

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Out and About
I testdrove one of these babies at Baby Depot today with my boys on board. I like it. For starters, I can fold the thing up!! Folding up any of our strollers anymore has become a bit of a struggle (even the umbrella stroller seems to get stuck, daring me to get a nasty pinch- maybe we need to oil it!). Our "nice" stroller which came in our Evenflo travel system has held up quite well, really, considering the use and abuse it has gotten. If I could fold it by myself without a 15-minute contest (or longer), I'd have stored it in a car. Since I can't, it's been exposed to the elements for nearly 3 years and isn't looking so hot. For one thing, the padding in the seat has shrunk so that it won't reach the velcro which holds the top in with a 25-lb child in it. It's looking pretty beat-up, but it still works just fine. Jay can hitch a ride on the front footrest or in the basket (which can concern folks, just a little bit, particularly if they happen to be your husband and aren't aware of this capability but see you pushing a stroller with one child in it, knowing that you should have two.) Anyway, this stroller's on my mental wishlist. I might have to check back at BD to see if it goes on sale. Apparently, $120 is a good price for it, but it's a lot to pay when you've got a stroller that's working for you. I've managed pretty well with the umbrella stroller, even with a diaper bag and a bunch of shopping bags over the handles. A portable double stroller, though, would probably come in handy sometime next year.

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New Puppy
On Tuesday, we were walking around downtown when I noticed a sign outside the former Napa auto parts that said "Yard Sale Inside". We moseyed on in and looked through a lot of uninteresting stuff, walked right past a whole fleet of die-cast model vehicles of various types, and finally found two treasures for the sum total of $.35.

Jay now has a clip-on tie (soon he'll be expected to sit through a good chunk of the worship service, so I thought it'd be nice for him to have one) and a new old Lil' Snoopy (like this, but in better shape!). Jay walked his new puppy the five blocks home, past an antiques dealer who told me not to throw him out (I really already had a pretty good idea the toy was worth more than a quarter). Anyway, Jay seems to be torn between the names Harry and Lucky. Lucky seems to be in the lead, but you just never know which one Jay will say when you ask him what his puppy's name is. I understand where Harry comes from, since Harry the Dirty Dog is a favorite around here, and our neighbor's dog is named Harry, but I'm not sure where he picked up on the fact that Lucky is a dog's name. I was impressed.

Here's hoping my coworker's prediction that my children will use Lucky as a weapon doesn't turn into a prophecy...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Love Those Veggies!
The boys have some Veggie Tales books from Grandma B which are based on some of the Veggie Tales songs. Isaac LOVES these books. Jay likes them, but really only if someone is reading [singing] them to him. Isaac will sit with a book and sing to himself, shaking his head vigorously back and forth from time to time. I first noticed this a couple of weeks ago when he was reading Where is my Hairbrush?. He said something like, "wa wa wa buhsh!" [Oh where oh where oh where is my hairbrush?]. Tonight I was singing "God is Bigger [Than the Bogeyman]", not really reading it from the book, since Isaac was holding the same in a very possessive manner. Anyway, I discovered that Isaac was singing along, really just a word here or there, and putting in most of the ever-popular "me!"s at the end (like his brother before him). I asked him if he wanted to watch the video, which of course he did, but (probably since I had a camera rolling), he didn't sing with the tape. *Sigh*. One of these days, I hope to record it, because it's cute as [where's CEP with an appropriate southernism when you need her?? ;) ]

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Sunday, August 12, 2007
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
I actually cooked something from scratch yesterday. It was a casserole, no big deal, but still kind of hard when you are under time pressure and have to keep chasing the boys away from the stove every 5 minutes. In Isaac's case, this involves bodily removal from the room. Anyway, the whole reason I cracked a cookbook was that I had volunteered to bring some church acquaintances dinner, as they have a handsome new baby boy. I've really been feeling like I should do this sort of thing more often, because it was a huge blessing to us when Isaac was born. We got lots and lots of food!!

Anyway, I was running later than I had intended, but I finally got the food packed up when the Dad called, wanting an idea of when to expect me. I probably should have called them myself, but I didn't (it's a learning curve thing). Anyway, I was able to tell him I was on my way out the door and would be there within 40 minutes. I had already studied the map, but as I was heading down the highway, decided to go on 85 instead of 40 and avoid a bunch of traffic lights. So here I am in the far left lane, preparing to take the 85 split, when I noticed a SHP car coming up behind me, really fast. I moved into the third leftmost of the four lanes, but the car followed and turned on its lights. *Sigh* Doesn't this figure? So I crossed the remaining 2 lanes and pulled off onto the shoulder. I was going faster than most of the cars out there at the time, but not fast for that stretch of highway when I normally travel it. In any case, my speedometer (I've been told) reads high, so I thought I was going about 70, thought that's not what the speedometer said.

Utterly unaware of what to expect, I turned off the engine, rolled down my window, and waited for the patrolman to approach. He came to the passenger side, so I had to turn the accessories back on in order to roll the passenger side window down. "I stopped you because you have an expired registration," he said, after we exchanged brief greetings. I was relieved, because I am really proud of my clean driving record (which probably should have been blemished in my college years, but escaped nonetheless). Then he ran my license through the system, which took quite a while and had me wondering whether it, too, had expired. I knew there couldn't be anything else to learn from it (see above reference to clean driving record).

Eventually, my license was returned along with a citation for the out-of-date registration, and I now have to go to court in September to avoid paying a heap of money for it. Paul found the renewal notice and renewed the registration online last night, so we should get the new sticker on the plate before the week is up. Hopefully no one will stop us in the meantime!!

Thankfully, three of the four lanes go to 85, so I only had to cross one lane of traffic (I only had about a quarter of a mile to accomplish this feat, but thankfully traffic was light), and I had no trouble whatsoever finding our friends' house, getting out of the car just as the Dad rolled in on his bike with baby's angelic big sister. I really like maps!

I saved half the casserole for us, which made for a tasty dinner, and I got each of us a small pan of brownies. I also demonstrated to myself that I can cook a meal and deliver it with minimal aid from others (I didn't have to bring the kids to the store or to our friends' house). Now if I can just keep my registration updated, maybe I will make more of a habit of this!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007
Things here have been hectic. Paul has gotten a lot of work scheduled at his work-from-home listening job. In fact, I believe he's scheduled to work every Tuesday and Thursday this month. This is very good, financially speaking. It's probably even good for Paul (though this particular job can get a bit mind-numbing, I suspect). However, it puts a little extra stress on the boys and me, and potty training is right out at the moment. Why, you ask? Because there is no way to keep my two children quiet. We could go upstairs and play with Jay's train set, except that it's 100 degrees outside, and as the outdoors go, so goes the upstairs. More or less.

So we leave.

We used to like to go to the zoo of an occasional T-day, however, temperatures in excess of 90 degrees and pregnant ladies outdoors for hours on end don't mix so well. Sometimes we walk to the library and various downtown destinations, but not when it's 100 degrees out. A dear sweet friend of ours kept the boys for me this morning so I could get my ultrasound, and has invited us over for a day next week, which is absolutely wonderful! Paul's over there teaching one of her daughters piano once a week, and the boys (which is to say Isaac) have gotten rather used to our friend. Truly a friend to be thankful for!

We spend a lot of time at shopping malls. Which means I buy stuff. Today, Isaac got a cool ball that is really a bunch of rings melded together. He likes it quite well. I got Jay a toy that has chipboard lace-up shapes and foam cut-outs which can be strung. He is quite enthusiastic about it too. I've just got to stop buying stuff all the time. I got Jay his birthday present (a Lightning McQueen car that talks and drives when you shake it) and one for Isaac (Mater) back when my family was here. I also ordered him a Henry train for his wooden train set and a replacement pen for his My First Leap Pad (apparently they go out a lot, and ours has). That's really more than enough. I will stop!!!

I think I need to call up some friends with little folks and see if we can arrange a play date. At their house!

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Yep, That's a Baby!
And the official due date is Valentine's Day!

Saturday, August 04, 2007
Red White and Boys

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He'll be Missed
Shortly before the poor little guy was exiled (don't ask), this is how we found Zorro (and number one son) one morning. Both at the foot of our bed. Say what you will about his claws, but he was one brave kitten!

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New Strategy
We're going the chart-and-sticker route (today, anyway) with Jay's potty-training. I told him he could pick out new potty prizes at the Dollar General (since the gummy bears ended up in a pile in the bathroom sink a couple of nights ago, Jay cheerfully snacking on them). He was pretty excited about the idea, and we ended up finding some dinosaur stickers which came in a pack with hundreds of those half-inch round stickers and another pack of fish stickers.

The less said about trying to make a neatly-lined chart with two toddler hangers-on the better. Anyway, that aside, so far, so good. Jay colored on his chart a little, and he's up to three stickers in about an hour (one was a retroactive sticker). He also decided he wants to wear his underpants. Here's hoping the chart is that little incentive he needs!

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