Dec 30, 2010

Stinker & Sweetie

The other day, Ben plugged in a carbon monoxide and natural gas detector in the hallway upstairs. The next evening while James & Ben were upstairs, I heard it going off. I thought maybe James had pushed a button.


He tooted by it.


Yesterday I signed "I Love You" with my right hand while saying it to Madelene Kate at the same time. A moment later, she lifted her right hand to her lips and blew me kisses.


I just love being a mommy to these precious little people!

Dec 18, 2010

A little window

I wrote my aunt an e-mail today, giving her a peek into our world... and it seemed like the ideal blog post. So without further ado, here is a brief update on us.

We are well. Still not in our own home yet. Ben's mom has been incredibly kind to host us for so long. Ben has been working tirelessly at our new home. But he has continued to have problems breathing there. We have done everything we can think of to eliminate potential issues, but the ultimate cause has proved elusive. One friend suggested that we fill our home with living plants which have the ability to clean the air. Ben also just purchased an air purifier/ozonater - I think it will clean and add oxygen to the air (if I understand correctly).

With everything still rather upside down, Ben feels like Christmas cards are too much for this year. Hopefully we'll be able to send out something after we get into our house and settled. I had also wanted to do a picture gift again, but with our pictures spread between two computers and one of the computers at the new house, that is proving difficult, too!

I know the pictures paint a thousand words, but here is a little update on our "diddles"...

Madelene Kate took off walking the week after we returned from Massanutten (Dec 2). She loves to toddle around, carrying things - toys, papers, spoons. And interestingly, she only goes to the stairs when she is ready for a nap. She will walk around the main level for the longest time, not interested in the stairs, and then all at once she'll start climbing them. Every time when I follow her up and change her diaper, she lies back in my arms. So I put her in bed with her pacifier and stuffed dog and off she goes to dreamland! She still loves to put things in her mouth, although that seems to be diminishing a bit. I am very glad, for from between her clenched jaw, I have swept a spider and a stinkbug along with a variety of paper scraps and other small objects - mmmmhhh tasty! She is a fabulous eater, enjoying everything savory and not turning down sweets either. She doesn't care for anything bland. Last night she devoured dill salmon cakes with a side of mixed vegetables (smothered in farm-fresh butter and sea salt). And her favorite thing from Thanksgiving dinner was a tart cranberry sauce I'd made from scratch. She began feeding herself with a spoon last week, quite competent right from the start. Ben's mom & sister think it's early for her to be so skilled at that. She isn't talking yet, but she does say something ("es?") that sounds quite like, "This" - and she says it as if she's asking, "what's this?" or "may I have this?" And she has something that sounds like it might be a bark when she sees our neighbor, Jean, who has two dogs (Bonnie & Chloe) or if someone mentions the dogs' names.

James is a precious boy abounding with affection and not limited in energy. He is a very quick learner and doesn't prefer to learn the hard way. If someone tells him something is dangerous or could hurt him, he believes them and either alters course or avoids things altogether. What a wonderful gift in a 4 yr old! He loves to play outside, especially when it snows, which it has done twice in the past week. He is very thoughtful and kind to his baby sister (but doesn't hesitate to let me know quite loudly when she's about to "rip" something he's built). He will spend hours quietly coloring/drawing/cutting & pasting all on his own. He also enjoys playing with Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys, creating any number of structures. He is reading now on a first-grade level, recognizing words like "mountain" and reading words aloud when I type. He can look at a list of three words and pick out the right one to complete a sentence without sounding out each one. He has very nice handwriting. And he's loving the concept of adding (who wouldn't like the thought of having two cookies and getting one more to make three?!). Yesterday I used a line of cars to introduce the concept of subtracting when one would turn off the road we were traveling. He thought that was pretty great, too!

That's the fun in our little world! What a treat to live each day with eyes newly awakened with the wonders of discovery.

Dec 2, 2010


My baby is leaving babyhood behind.

She's been working at walking for a couple of months now, taking a few steps here and there, cruising along furniture, crawling to the wall to get up and walk along it, taking a few steps to a chair and walking along that until she could get to something else to hold onto (or crawling to the next crutch to climb up and cruise some more). Grammy bought a little pink walker stroller several weeks ago. She loves it. (So does James.)

But today, she fully prefers her feet to her fours.

She's walking all over.

She picks up her dog, Millie, and keeps walking.

She sits down. And stands back up again. And walks on.

Madelene Kate is a toddler.

(That happened too fast.)