Monthly Archives: June 2010

Please Tell Me My Children will Remember These Days

Some times you have a really good momma day, a day when you just feel like you did it right (or mostly right). 

Both boys had speech this morning, an hour for Big Brother and 45 minutes for Little Brother.  This meant rare one-on-one time for each boy with momma while the other was in group.  Big brother had “speech camp” an hour of “extended school year” for speech.  3 adults and 4 kids (I think they are all boys).  They play, do a little art and have a snack all the time practicing their speech skills.  Little Brother had Early Intervention Playgroup – one little girl in his group.  Little Brother is there for speech only.

While Big Brother had camp Little Brother and I ran a couple of errands and spend a lot of time talking and hugging.  Little has this way of taking your face in his hands, and staring right into your eyes; he could he the sole reason for global warming when he does that.  Then he smiles, tilts his head and kisses you and GRINS ear to ear.  We have a lady killer on our hands already; and I used to think Big Brother was a flirt.  We talked as we moseyed around a store, him pointing then hugging me, then pointing at other stuff before pulling me in to kiss me.  As soon as the door to the classroom opened, for Big Brother’s group to end, Little Brother sprinted into the room eager to have his turn.  He didn’t even look for me; I slipped out with Big Brother and was the only parent not to stay in playgroup.  Little Brother separates from me in a way his older brother never could have at that age; but he is all about doing anything and everything he sees his Big Brother do.

Big Brother and I played on the pre-school playground since I felt I should stay closer for Little Brother’s group.  We played “The Three Little Pigs” till I thought my mind would turn to mush, but time and time and time as Big Brother asked, I agreed happily playing out which ever role I was assigned.   I recited my lines with feeling at least 25 times.  Big brother carefully chanted out either “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down” or “not by the hairs on my chinny chin-chin” like he was deep in a struggle of good vs evil.  Big Brother carefully explained to me, each time I was unable to blow the playhouse down that “this is the brick house, momma I am the 3rd little piggy”.  He squealed with glee as the Big Bad wolf snuck around and reached in to grab him from different doors and windows.  We ended the time with a red faced, sweaty little boy who was tired but happy.

This afternoon at home we made a stack of book and Little Brother nursed happily for 45 minutes while I read.  Big Brother got to pick all the books, and snuggled in close and attended each word; shouting out the missing rhymes in a favorite Seuss book.  Momma learned that Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  Big Bother loves bats.  We also learned that bat’s have babies that are 25% of their mother’s weight at birth!!!  For me that would have been a 25 pound baby.  Big Brother didn’t make that mark till almost 3 and even my little chunk child, Little Brother, was over 18 months.

We blew up the frog wading pool and played in the oh so cold water.  They ran and jumped in to the pool.  They were fish.  I even let them throw water at me out of Tupperware bowls.  We ran around the yard and I squealed nicely each time they got him.  Big Brother told me “the running bounces my water out” and I told him “that is the idea”.  Momma ended up all wet despite the running.  Little Brother giggled and giggled each time he managed to dump any water on my feet; Big Brother yelled gleefully “I GOT YOU” each time he managed to earn a squeal from me.

Nothing out of the ordinary, just routine days.  I sure hope the boys remember these days. 

The Read-a-louds Big Brother chose for today:

 Fun with Shapes.  A Golden Share Book that was mine when I was little.

Dog Faced Bats.  A Checkerboard Animal Library Book.  A low reading level, this was bought at a library book sale.

Put Me In the Zoo.  By Lopshire.  An I Can Read It All By Myself Book.  I had it when I was little.

The Ginghames: the Backwards Picnic.  A Little Golden Book.  Mine when I was little.  I looked on the ‘Net for a link to  this book, but I can’t find it.  I’ll look again.   I have actually discovered there is no master list of the 11,000 or so Golden Books out there.  I found this but even I have 2 that are not on this list (2 of mine, from childhood, that are here for the boys).

How Much is a Million.  By Schwartz.

Today I feel Silly.  By Curtis

Please Try to Remember the First of Octember.  By Seuss

On Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  By (of course) Seuss

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vacation Bible School and BOOKS and more

Vacation Bible School:

This last week Big Brother went to Vacation Bible School. He called it “Bible School” and was as serous about it as any seminary student could be. This year was his first real VBS. He was at our home church, but it was a five church VBS so there were a lot of new faces all around. He went 9 am to noon all five days. Whew it is a long hard week on all of us; each day when I got him at noon he was a tired boy. 

The first day Little Brother and I dropped him off, Little Brother was fine leaving the room and even the church, however when we got in the van withOUT brother, Little Bother flipped out. He was crying, and kicking and POINTING AT the empty car seat and back at the building and SCREAMING. Little Brother knew we were leaving someone, and that was not supposed to happen. The boys spend very little time apart and really are strongly connected. As parent we encopurage this bond, we are aware that the day will come when the boys have only each other to call family. When we returned to the church at 15 till noon, I got Little Brother out of the van and as soon as his feet hit the pavement he RAN to the church door and tried to open it, when THAT failed he started kicking it and yelling; it almost sounded like he was calling out to Big Brother. It warms my heart that my boys love each other so much as to actually want to be together. The other drops off were much less upsetting to the entire family unit. Big brother liked VBS and did some great art work, he liked “art time” and “eating time” and “playing time” best.

The entire family attended the picnic and program.  This event was pretty upsetting to Big Brother as he did not fully understand.  He did not want to sing in the program and we told him that THAT was fine, but he was then upset to find out the singing as the ENTIRE program.  He had thought they would play games and go crafts and the other activities he had so much fun with during the day.  He simply did not understand the program at teh picnic was ONLY the singing.  So that evening ended on a very sad and emotional note for us, but did return to VBS on Friday for his final day and had another good day.

Momma is glad the week is over, however, because finding stuff to do for 3 hours a day was tough, especially due to all the rain. I missed my big boy, but am really proud of him. One of the VBS directors was kind enough to give me a full copy of the pre-school curriculum for the week. So I have all the memory verses, and the parables and the “discussion starters” that they used. I plan to reinforce the memory verses and the parables and life lessons / life applications though out the summer. 


One day while Big Brother was in VBS Little Brother and I went to Winterset Iowa. There is a used book store there, just off the square. The store was running a 50% sale!!!! Most books there are only 2 or 3 bucks to start with and at 50% shopping can be really fun. Yes, they are used but many are in really good shape. Shhhh someone reading this is getting one as a gift, and I bet she won’t even know!! So Momma loaded up on some “new” children’s books.

I love used books stores and thrifts stores because you have such a chance of finding something older, something out of print; something forgotten, something out of the ordinary or unexpected (library sales are also good, I make it point to make as many of them as I can too). I have spent some time trolling the ‘Net in search of good books list, compilations of books (some by age, some not) of worthwhile children’s literature; many I had not heard of before, some I had and had forgotten.

Ambleside Online

I have compiled all the lists in to one master list that I keep in a binder, I deleted all the many duplicates (Blue Berries for Sal was, for example on all the list, Make way for Ducky, The Story of Ping and many others also) and now have 19 pages. I check off what we have, note what we have read and try to keep in mind books to be on the look for. Many many of the books are older, some from my childhood (Blue Berries for Sal) and some older than that, so many are out of print. Used books stores, and thrift stores are such a great place to search. I have my own wish list of sorts of books I want to gather for the boys – it is so much fun to have something different to read; I enjoy telling the boys if a book we are reading is older than their momma, or even their Grandma!!

Here is a list of this weeks great finds (all $1.50 or less):

Today I feel Silly & Other Moods that make my Day. By Jamie Lee Curtis.

Duke Ellineton by Pinkney. copyright 1989 it is a Scholastic book, so glad I stumbled over it. It is beyond our reading level now but it is a nice addition to have in our collection.

Pleaser Try to remember the First of Octember by Dr Seuss (an I Can Read It By Myself Book). No I did not misspell the name.

Animal Lullabies. By Conrad. Poetry. I admit one of my weaknesses is NOT reading enough poetry to the boys.

Dream Mouse. By Esbensen. It is a tale from Latvia. Very sweet. Pigs Can’t Fly. By Cort. I love it.

Drawing Lessons from a Bear. By McPhail

Who wants a Dragon by Mayhew. I found this on the self at my dear friend’s home this past vacation in Pennlavina. I fell in love with it and was so excited to find it in used book store. I love it.


Big brother has a stuffed monkey named Stanley. Stanley was originally bought in Feb 2008. Little Brother was in the hospital for RSV at only 12 weeks and Big Brother and Daddy bought the monkey (and some candy) for Little Brother and I stuck in the hospital. Big Brother was 27 months old at the time and chose Stanley himself at store. I should note Stanley is purple with green hearts and the perfect size for loving

Well from the beginning Big Brother has loved Stanley and the purple monkey is as close to a lovey as Big Brother has ever had. Maddie The Magic Moo Cow is a close 2nd, but Stanly is the one he goes to again and again. Brother was telling me about Stanley on Sunday. There is some of what my very loving and observant little boy told me about Stanely:

“my tummy was big when he was there, now he is born”

“when he cried it means he needs something, even if he can’t tell me what. Sometimes I don’t know but I have to just try and try and try and try”

“you have to nurse him, and hold him, and carry him, and rock him, and hold him and nurse him”

“sometimes he makes bad choices, even if I tell him not to”

“you nurse him when he cries”

I hope this is a glimpse of the daddy Big Brother will some day be, and I take heart that he is internalizing the parenting style we choose in this home (nurse him, if he cries he needs something even if you don’t know what).

And finally, in keeping with our recent practice of including a list of read-a-louds, here is a sample of the books we have read together recently (in addition, of course, to our new ones):

Put me In the Zoo. By lopshire (and I Can Read It All By Myself Book). Copyright 1960. this was mine when I was little.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovle. By Burton. Copyright 1939. I had this as a child, but the boys have a new copy.

Alphabet Rhymes for Bible Times. By Augustine. Copyright 1989

Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose. By Dr Seuss. Copyright 1947. I had never even heard of this Seuss book until we found it by chance at a library used books sale. It took a while before Big Brother would let me read it, but now he loves it. Totally loves it. Big Brother asks for it over and over again. A real find, I suggest you look for it; it is really as that it is not in any of the collections of Seuss we have, it is a great story.

I Need My Monster. By Noll. This was bought for Big Brother last Christmas; however, little brother has really taken to it. Big Brother likes it a lot and will bring it to book time a lot, but was is worth noting is that is one of the few books Little Broter pulls down to look at alone, and it is the first book he really showed an intrest in. So this is a really special book for Momma.

The Goodnight train. By Sobel. The art work in this is so sweet and there is so much fun to find hidden in the pictures (like the momma owl reading a bedtime story to her babie

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

June 8 2010 Thinking about reading

Not reading as in “teaching Big Brother to read” but reading as in the “the reading shared as a family”.

I am excited for the day Big brother decided he wants to learn to read all on his own — but i am also happy to wait and not rush childhood past us.   I reassure him Momma and Daddy will not stop reading TO him when he does decide to read, and leave it at that.  The days of childhood are too short as it is. 

As a testimony to the importance of childhood, and the childhood pleasure of hearing momma (and daddy) read I strive to make sure I am sharing good books with the family, books worth the time. 

The books maybe simple, but are a story not just a phonics reader.  Many of the books are becoming more complex.  I love to watch our family collection grow, to see the books themselves aging, along with my boys. 

I seek books that offer something of value to our family.  Books that inspire, books that bring along a good giggle and a happy chat along refrain.  Books that create joy, or plant the seeds of wonder.

Also, as anyone that knows me knows I love a good list, I finding then, I love making them, and I looove crossing things off them.  Another thing anyone who knows me knows is the only better than a LIST if a BINDER.  So to that end I have started a LITERACRY BINDER. 

Eventually this binder will be the home of both boy’s reading logs, as well as a long of family read a-louds; each log complete with reflections on the books read.  For starters I am filling the binder with lists of good books; lists where I am — of course — crossing off the books our family has, or has read.   I appreciate these compellation lists, most created by mommas with a lot more years experience than myself.  Many of these books are ones I might not have encountered otherwise; not being on the shelves in our small library and certainly not being featured products in books stores or on book selling websites.

In searching my homeschooling and Classical Education resources I have found the following book lists:

and I have now combined them in to a “master list” on a word document.  I combined them, put them in alphabetical order. The list is about 18 pages long, that is however double space for easier reading.  I have gone though and marked the ones we own (51, some of them mine from my childhood) and ones we have read but do not own (6), and noted a few that I especially want to add to our family collection 🙂 (come on, this is me, that can’t be a surprise).

I have two more lists to add to my Master List. 

AMBLESIDE YEAR  0 yahoo group (


Christian Classical Education / 1000 Great Books / Primary list (1 to 3)

After I get the mast List complete and cleaned up I will post it here, or at least a link to it so that other’s can see it.  No reason for anyone else to go to the same effort after I have done it.

I am also going to retrun to my habit of logging, here, our daily read-a-louds.  This allows me an easy location to look back and see which books the boys retrun to again and again and what books i should make more of an effort to add into the rotation:

Read-A-Louds June 8:

Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy:  board book.  An old favorite.

Yogi Bear and the baby Skunk: this book is from my childhood, and looks it.  It keeps holding up, Big Brother loves this one.  Sorry i can not find a link of this book to share.  It is from 1976.

The Adventrues of Jonny and Jill:  Also from my childhood, also beloved of Big Brother.  I have taped several of the pages back in.   Sadly I can’t find a link for this one either.  (ok i am feeling old …)

Huckleberry Hound and the Big Blooming Rosebush:  Also from my childhood.  🙂

The Golden Easter Egg:  An Easter gift from a dear Auntie in China, it missed the Easter box and is still being read and read. 

IF: a father’s Advice to His Son.  One of my all time favorite poems (I am not big into poetry), it is by Kipling.  I am not so fond of the sports photos in this book, nor the broken style — but I do love this poem.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized