Tag Archives: Family Celebration

four generations

Ok technically the photos are only three generations.  I (the missing generation) and not in any of the photos.

Grand Pat and I took the boys to see MY Grandmother, Grandma Bea.  My Grandmother, their Great-Grandmother.  See four generations (them, me, Grand Pat / my mom, and Grandma Bea)

The boys loved on her, and talked to all the residents they met in the halls.  The both gave her a hand massage and worried about her not getting to go outside, and also about her blankets.  Big Brother told Grandma Bea that ‘her playroom had the same toys has his, but no ball pit’.  He had noted their OT / PT room had many of the same toys and tools that the OT room he goes to has, but sadly no crash pad or ball pit. 

It saddens me greatly NOT to be able to take my boys each and every week to spend time with Grandma Bea.  If it was not a 7 hour drive we’d see her at least once a week if not twice.  If it, even, was only 2 hours we’d make the trip weekly.  I miss her, and the boys love to see her so much.


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Big Brother’s Last Day of Pre-School

Big Brother is 5 years, 6 months, 1 week and 4 days old!!  

Big Brother is blessed to have a late birthday (Nov) and thus by age he is not legally required to be enrolled in kindergarten till this upcoming fall (fall of 2011).  Thus, this school year Big Brother has gone to the local district pre-school classroom 3 hours a day, twice a week to meet the Speech Therapist (Miss Emily) and work one-on-one with the classroom teacher Mrs. Cramer.  This classroom time also allowed for peer interaction, his biggest challenge currently with regard to his speech IS peer interaction and being understood by strangers. 

He, and his class of 70 peers, “graduated” from pre-school Tuesday night.   

Looking at these photos I can not believe this is my little tiny, almost blue, 5 pound baby boy.  I remember the fear, the day we were to bring him home, because he weighed exactly 5 pounds, and 5 pounds was of course the bottom weight limit of the pumpkin car seat we had.  I was so worried they weight him again, or refuse to let us take him because of how small he was in the seat. 

He is a big boy now:  46 inches tall (one of the tallest in his class, course one of the oldest too) and a full 41 pounds. 



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Mother’s Day Picnic 2011

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Easter 2011


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Momma’s Bithday 2.19.2011

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Making salt dough ornamentation for Christmas

We have done this for years, at least 3 now.  Big Brother remembers and loves it; he was excited to start talking about it weeks ago.  Such a simply thing, salt/flour dough.  If you search SALT DOUGH on the Net it is amazing how many hits you get.  So many great craft sites out there; here are a few of the new ones I found that I marked to look at more – for other projects ideas.  Can’t get enough arts and crafts here, and momma is not creative or crafty.  I do ok after I have an idea, especially as my “workers” are 3 and 5, but getting the ideas is hard for me.

I do find it frustrating that the recipes vary so much for the “same thing”.  The ratio of flour to salt is all over the place:  from 4:1, 2:1 and 1:1.  That makes no sense to me.  I mean, ok I get that there is room for variation, but that seems like a big variance.  Not being able to find my tried-and-true recipe from last year (that made over 20 batches).   I have been forced to go back to the start and try different ratios.  White flour works so much better, the whole wheat stuff makes the dough so much more dry and hard to roll and crumbly.  I bought a new bag of cheap all-purpose, bleaches white flour for using in the dough.

Monday we tried the one I thought was what I remembered:  2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water.  Nope, not right.  The boys were all excited to jump right in (see photo) but the dough crumbled while still being sticky.   I managed to roll some of it out, but could not get it thin enough.  Just did not work out.

So Yesterday we tried again and things went much better.   4:1:1 ratio seems to be working for us.  The dough took a long time to form dough, but it rolled nicely.  I should have rolled it thinner, the first batch of decorations I left too thick and I am worried they did not dry all the way though.  I set our oven as low as I can, 170, and then just let them sit all afternoon and into the evening.  Tomorrow afternoon we are set to make more and I will try to get them roll out more.  I save, each year, a couple of each boys best decorations and a couple of his brother’s best decorations and label them with the year and pack them up.  So for 2009 I set back 2 great ones of Big Brother for him and 2 good ones of Little Brother’s also for Big Brother (so Big brother got 4 decorations, 2 his and 2 brother’s creation).  I set them back, year after year, and when the boys are adult they will have 20+ years of their own art and also their brother’s work.  When my boys marry I want to be able to give them their history.  With this in mind, I make sure the decorations are well “glossed”; I am hoping that will preserve them; I don’t really know and this may all be wasted effort and sillyness as in 5 years I may have to throw everything out, but I really really hope not.  So I need to make sure the decorations are nice and thin and totally dry and hard; so I am going to try to make the ones tomorrow thinner.

Since we have done this craft for gifts for the past couple of years, I wanted to somehow make it a little different this year.  So when we pulled out our tubbie of cookie cutters, we left some of the standard Christmas images in the tub and I let the boys choose some different cookie cutters to use this year.  The 2010 decorations will include ducks and bears.  I want an angel and a Santa, neither of which I have, but I have looked in 3 stores and can not find them; I also want a snowman with a hat one, and can’t find that either.  I get frustrated with so many of the cookie cutters being so small, honestly for cookies to decorate rather than decorations to paint and hang, I’d still like a nice big 3 to 4 inch image. 

Big Brother put for real effort and concentration on rolling out and cutting out his own decorations.  He understands the process and while he can’t fully make his hands corporate he attends to it and is doing the work.  He made 6 all his own.  Little Brother was frustrated with the rolling process.  Big was last year too, but Big didn’t have a brother he saw being successful so he kept at it.  Little got more flustered watching Big Brother being able to roll the dough (struggle though it was, and Big still needs a lot of progress on that) so I rolled and let Little brother help “cut”.  He chose the cookie cutters and put them on the flat dough and helped me push them in, then relished pulling them off and seeing the cut out shape.  The joy on his face was heart warming; there are some momma moments that nothing can touch.  Both boys not only really put forth a real effort, but took their time (as much as you can, when you are 3 and 5 and excited) and took the work seriously.  They had so much fun, and the light in their eyes and the joy shining when they “created” the shapes was amazing.

Here are some recent photos of their shineing faces: 


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Advent starts tomorrow

Advent starts tomorrow.  Sunday Nov 28, 2010.  Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return.   

Today the boys and I started our Advent Tree.  It is just another example of momma winging it. 

I desire to do a Jesse Tree with the boys; but I am not going to frustrate all 3 of us.  A Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah, 11:1. A pictorial representations, the Jesse Tree show a symbolic tree or vine with spreading branches to represent the genealogy of the Christ child in accordance with Isaiah‘s prophecy.  Starting on December 1st with an empty banner or tree, a reminder ornament is hung each day until Christmas Day when the Christ child in the manger and star are placed at the top. A Bible verse is read, and the story reviewed daily. These devotions allow time every day for sharing and meditating with God’s Word.  I have momma friends who’d kids have been able to follow the Jesse Tree at ages younger than mine, but I just do not see the boys being mature enough or having the attention to follow the process and make all the connections necessary.  Maybe next year. 

So this year we will stick with our “play with” nativity and our ‘momma Created Advent Tree’.  Practicing the story of the Birth of Christ and counting the days down at the same time.  I am really hoping to engage the boys in more service activities this year, and we may “post them” to our tree. 

So to start the boys finger painted big pieces of paper green to make the “tree”.  I just had them cover big pieces of paper in paint, and then Momma cut out a very basic triangle evergreen.  Earlier today I took down the handprint leaves off our fall tree, and the pumpkins and apples from the base of it.  That same trunk then became out Advent Tree.  I thought finger painting the green of the tree would let the boys take a more active role in it, not just something Momma put up on the wall.  I like them to have some ownership, a vested interest, in the things we make and use, if at all possible (though I admit to enjoying my post-bedtime “completion of task” time too)

I  am thinking; after Advent making some kind of winter tree, then  next spring a spring tree, and so on to allow the boys to have a full year of seasons – then we can put all the pictures together and see not only how the tree and seasons changed over the year, but also how they have grown.

Finger painting is such a great sensory activity, for both boys but especially for Big Brother and sensory awareness.  Little Brother was not too interested, and only painted for a few minutes.  Once Big Brother got ‘in to the activity’ and was “slapping” the paper Little got interested and joined in for a bit, but never really put much time in.

I asked Big Brother was the paint felt like and he told me “cold, wet-ish” he told me it was “really tickle-y” and “the globs mix”.  As he got into he seemed to be noting it on his hands as he scooped it out of the tray.   He loves to mix paint, loves the colors changing.  He swirls the paint and watches it so closely.  He begs to mix colors every time w paint.  I tried to point out to him that the paint got tacky as it started to dry and he said “it gets sticky” so I was glad to see he did notice the change in consistency. 

I cut circles (basically) out of scrap paper and numbered them 1 to 27.  The idea is to count down the number of sleeps until Christmas / Jesus Birthday.  After we know the to the father. Who denyed anything wrong was happening to Lily in his home. Lily was murdered a week ago today, after being repetedly raped. In her father’s home. By his wife. The wife is in jail, but the father and the judge are not. They were the ones ultimately responsible to keep her safe, and they chose to do otherwise. date of other things, like Grand pat and Pa Pa’s arrival, Aunt Candy’s arrive, and so on, I’to the father. Who denyed anything wrong was happening to Lily in his home. Lily was murdered a week ago today, after being repetedly raped. In her father’s home. By his wife. The wife is in jail, but the father and the judge are not. They were the ones ultimately responsible to keep her safe, and they chose to do otherwise.ll note them on the correct circle .  That will also allow for some sneaky math practice.  If there are 15 sleeps till Christmas, and Pa Pa arrives 2 sleeps before Christmas there must be 13 sleeps till Pa Pa and Grand Pat arrive. 

The idea, again, momma winging it, is to take down the number each morning after we have “slept that sleep”.  We have our box of Advent books out, and we’ll be reading them.  We have our action figure Naivety set out and have already acted out the Christmas Story a few times and Big Brother hid the baby Jesus un the Virgin Mary figure “he is not born-ed [sic] yet.  His momma still has him in her” and then tried to balance her on the donkey.  🙂 That he remembers from last year / knows all on his own.  When we got the set out of storage Grand Pat sat down with the boys, they both dove into it and story right away.  Little had the angles flying around, but Big did the whole process of having The Virgin Mary and Joseph arrive and then the animals gather then the baby go into the manager; and he remembered everyone name and brought in the shepherds last.  The tree I hope will keep us on track of “time”.

Next we have to start our Christmas decorations for gifts; gonna be a lot of them to make this year with the boys in church activities and in classroom and more services at school.   

 To read more about Advent:

 To read more about the Jesse Tree (including directions and history):



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Today is day 4 of the Pray For Your Husband for 30 days Challenge http://www.reviveourhearts.com/topics/30-day-challenge.php.   Today’s challenge:

Day Four:
“…let him labor, working with his hands what is good…” Eph. 4:28

We are all accountable for the things we say, both negative and positive words. Have you embraced the challenge to speak only positive things to your husband and to others about him? Here’s a suggestion that touches the core of your husband’s world.

Some women take their husband’s career for granted, and they show it in many ways. Do you “dump” on your husband at the end of the workday, or do you strengthen and encourage him with your words? A wise wife will make her husband feel that she values and appreciates his work. Let him know that you are glad he is a hard worker. Take opportunities to praise his diligence and resourcefulness to others.

I found our next painting art project:  http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/?p=714584  it is perfect, a for the boys to get the joy of finger painting, but for the activity to last – they can smush it on the tray as long as the like.  I have a couple of old cookie sheets vith sides, unlike my new nice air-bake ware stuff) that I use for art – especially baking projects and drying paint in the over.  I am going to use the, I have to cut some pages off our big rolls of paper to use.  I am excited.  I also am going to try this:  http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/?p=714578 NOT with that many options.  But with non-standard options. 

Today the boys made a welcome home sign for Daddy, he has been gone since Monday morning and got home tonight.  Big Brother put a lot of time and effort into the sign, Little Brother did not color as much as he usually does.  Trying, and I say TRYING, to get a photo of the two boys and the dog was a feet worthy of being on of the 12 Feats of Hercules.

Had an interesting conservation with Big Brother (he turns 5 in 10 days, how my baby, my little 5 pound baby, can be 5 is beyond me).  “When do I go to college” (note the when, not the if or the do I have to).  I told him “13 years, give or take a year”.  He looked at me wide eyed “that is a lot of years” I told him “yes but you have a lot to do, you have to learn to read as well as momma, and to write and do a ton of math and learn a lot of science and history, and learn to sleep in your own bed all night”  He miles “I can sleep in my own bed now, you sleep with me”.  I told him that was gonna have to change before college as momma is not living in a dorm again. 




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Trick or Treating 2010

I grew up in the dark ages, I am old.  I also grew up in a place Far Far Far Away.

I grew up in the South; I now live 7 hours north of my hometown.  I used to say “only 7 hours” but the longer I live here the bigger distance those 7 hours are.  I daily face reminders of the differences in HERE and THERE; and while I love some very dear people here, I don’t like a lot of the differences.

 When I grew up, where I grew up Halloween night was on – are you ready – Halloween night.  Sunday night, Tuesday night, whatever night it said on the calendar that was Halloween.  This is still the case, talked to my mom for a long time about this topic, just last night.  Halloween night.  Also when I grew up, where I grew up it was (and is) called Halloween, not Beggars Night. 

 Here the “schedule” “Beggars Night” around their own issues, I supposed.  Yes, they call it “Beggar’s Night”; like we want to encourage our children in the concept it is ok to beg door to door.  This year for example “Beggar’s Night” was on Saturday the 30th.  Strange.  The first I encountered this was in like 2003 when a dear friend I grew up with moved to Virginia, and they did it.  She and I marveled at MOVING A HOLIDAY.  When we were kids our families did not have Church obligation on Wednesday or Sunday night; so I can’t tell you what the kids of families’ that DID have though obligations did; that was for the parents to decide.  Up here the government decides and Halloween is never celebrated on a Wednesday or Sunday night.  As a parent I’d rather choose for myself if I wanted to skip Church one night, or Trick or Treat before going, or tell my children NO.  My call as a parent; it really bothers me that the town wants to take that responsibility for me. 

 I have lived in this foreign land for 7 years now (since 2/2004); and it still strikes me as so strange to see signs posted in the post office and library telling people what night Halloween, I am sorry, Beggars Night, is to be celebrated. 

 Also, here, Up North, they set a time for it!!!  Again in the Dark Ages when I was a child going Trick or Treat (not ‘begging’) the time was whatever your mom and dad would allow.  Usually when the sun started to go down till it was so dark they made you come home.  Whenever the neighbors put on their porch lights; that is after all how you know where to go, also late enough that parents were home from work, and more people were home to hand out candy!!   

Another difference, at home, in the Dark Ages (and according to my mother, still to this year, 2010) kids Trick or Treat DOOR TO DOOR, oh the amazement.  Up here, in the North where I live now, they “assign” Trick or Treat locations (the park or downtown) and while the ‘hoods still have some traditionalists that light the porch light and hand out candy, that is also limited in the hours it is “acceptable”.   We live between two small towns, both set the hours for Trick or Treating (park or downtown and neighborhoods too) and they all ended well before sundown. 

Alright anyone that knows me even slightly knows I am one of the most obsessive and over protective moms out there.  I LOVE that some communities forbid registered sex offenders from decorating and even make them post NO CANDY signs.  I am all for that and more.  Nevertheless, as obsessed and paranoid as I as a mom, even I think things are just plain silly.  “Beggars night, at the park, 4 to 6???? “   Even I am more relaxed that THAT, and THAT is saying a lot, a lot.  Again, I am the mom, I can make choices for my own family if I think they are old enough to Trick or Treat door to door (I said not this year, not alone, I can’t chase them both) and when I want to do it (time).  As I said above, the town doesn’t need to make choices for me as a parent. 

 I just have to shake my head, ah living in the North is such a culture shock to me, and continues to be.  I also, in the greater scheme of things, worry more and more about the Big Nanny (or a smaller one) try to raise my children for me. 

 Here are the photos of the boys at “Beggar’s Night” – one small town at the park (lame, lame); other small town on the main streets of downtown (better at least people dress up, and put up cool decorations).  Auntie Pam sent the costumes from China.  I told Big Brother that they were “Green Archer” since he is all in to superheroes; as soon as he put it one he said “I look like Peter Pan” one person asked if they were the Keebler elves.  We did decide that for Christmas we’d dress the boys in these costumes, with red shirts under the green ones, for Elf photos.  Both boys loved them.

 I dressed Big Brother first and Little Brother ran back into the bedroom, got his off the floor and came and shoved it at me and laid down on the floor in front of me.  🙂  He was excited to get his on.  So adorable. 

 Little Brother did a couple of cute things.  He found a little girl (maybe 2, maybe not yet) in a ladybug costume.  A great costume, really.  He followed her and tried to get in front of her to look at her; he had to look down, oh my.  I think all the rest of the kids looked like kids to him, dressed up kids; the boys love dress up and play that a lot.  This little girl, I am thinking he was less sure about.  He was nice to her, but it was really cute how he kept tilting his head and trying to get in front of her to look right at her.  Also many people had their dressed up dogs out for the evening.  I am not really into that – there is enough chaos with a ton of kids and sugar and customs, do we need to add dogs?  Really, dogs that can die from eating most of the treats being handed out to sugar crazed hyper silly children?  Great idea.  Anyhow there were several dogs out and each one Little Brother saw he’d make an effort to go to and meeeooooow at.  I don’t know if he thought he was communication (he can MOOOO or Meow, so I guess the Meow was closer) or if he meant to taunt them.  Cute though.

 Big Brother counted the number of Ninjas we saw; and pointed out to me (several times) that Dar Vader had the wrong colored light saber.  Big Brother was so excited to see an adult dressed as a Ghost Buster.  He loves that movie and was delighted to see that adult.  I think he had a good time; I think he was expected to get to play more he kept telling me “I didn’t get to make friends”.   I love the photos of Big Brother helping Litte . 

Both came home tired and happy and we were blessed with just awesome weather.  Remembering more than one Tricker Treating in a coat, I could not have been happier for the boys (and momma).









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Random Sunday Thoughts 10.24.10

Little Brother is exploding in the language department.  He mimics me saying his Big Brother’s name; he is now yelling GO GO GO GO GO.  He now consistently finds his ears, his mouth, his teeth, his head and his nose.  However, ask him his EYES and you get toes, ask him his KNEE and get tummy – but hey it is improvement over the time when all he’d ID was his NOSE and he’d “guess nose” for anything else you asked him.  He has been mimicking several random words; the frustrating thing is that he often mimics a given word very closely ONCE and flat refused to even try it again.  Another first, this week he identified BLUE for me for the first time, first color identification ever actually, that vas really exciting.  Little Brother’s speech ability seems to be “coming along” faster than Big Brother’s did, at this age Big Brother vas not babbling nor mimicking at all.  However Big Brother used so much more ASL that his communication never seemed as limited as Little’s is still. 

Yesterday we made our fall trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  Little Brother refused to go in the bouncy house until momma did too, and then he did not want to leave.  Daddy said momma’s volunteer guards look better than the ones the Patch had for sale.  (see photos here).  Each boy got to choose 2 of their own and Momma chose a couple too.  The first got carved that night, as soon as we got home.  Big Brother choose one that vas still part green, he really anted a “funny shaped one” like in the Bernstein Bears Ghost walk book, but really here were not any mis-shaped pumpkin, and trust me we looked.  So he accepted a “strangely colored one” and I was really proud of him for being able to make that save.  Big Brother took great care in inspecting the pumpkins in the fields, turning them over and choosing, on his own, to walk away from some that were moldy or bug eaten.  Again, I was impressed by his maturity. 

 This year we craved jack-o’-lanterns for the first time.  (see photos here) I was so proud of Big Brother for reaching right in, well reaching in after some encouragement and armed with a spoon, and helping de-junk them.  Little Brother was less sure and less energetic, but did a little bit. 

Loving the GREAT fall weather here!!

Loving bubble baths here too !!



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