Lucy's new favorite word these days is "Eric." That's "Eric" for her Uncle Eric who is here visiting for the holidays from South Korea. She loves him so very much!!! They have so much fun playing all different kinds of games together. Eric can sure get Lucy laughing!!!
I took a HRAD week off work this whole week, which is basically where I don't get paid, but get to save my PTO. Since I'm not getting paid, we decided to stay in town and save some $. We switched Lucy's daycare days from Tuesday and Thursday to Monday and Tuesday this week (since Matthew is off on Mondays).
Monday: Date day for Matthew and Me while Lucy is at Daycare
Matthew and I are trying to be better at spending quality time together. We try to have a date night at least once a month, but sometimes that turns into once every 6 weeks or once every 2 months. Well, at least for January, we got our date day in! We dropped Lucy off at daycare at 9am and then shopped at Whole Foods for a few items. We got coffee to go and went for a lovely walk along the American River. Then, we did some shopping at Target, etc. and had lunch at one of our favorite Thai restaurants (we used some of the date $ we got for Christmas). So yummy! Next, we went home and took a much needed nap. We ended the day by watching the movie, Inception (we rented it for $1 from Redbox). Fantastic movie! Fantastic and cheap date day! I picked up Lucy from daycare at 4pm and we had dinner together as a family.
We are trying to teach Lucy the difference between "fart" and "poop" so she doesn't think she needs a new diaper every time she toots. Apparently, Lucy has gone beyond just using baby signs to creating new ones! Yesterday we were asking her whether she farted, and she was doing this gesture with her hands. It looks like she is making a T for Timeout with her hand, and then rocks them back and forth like she is cradling a baby. It took us a while to figure out what she was saying (because she can actually say the words "fart" and "poop"), but it is definitely her new sign for fart! This is her doing the sign this morning when I asked her to say "fart", just to see if she would still do the sign:
There's no method of study that compares with labor. Really. There I was, in pain that exponentially exceeded anything I'd experienced to that point (or since -- my second labor was cake), feeling like the world was caving in on me every 2 minutes, desperate for some kind of rescue, saying over and over again, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life."
Someone posted a discussion of this Psalm on Facebook and it brought me back to something like a loving relationship that I have with it. I love it like an old friend.
When I look at it now I can see that these words that roll off so easily are completely the opposite of so much of the world around us, just like they were for me in labor. The pain, the devastation, the grief that surrounds us is almost unbearable and yet we say that we lack nothing, that goodness and mercy follow us, that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The contrast, I think, is exactly why this Psalm has become so dear to me. It's what it means to be (as my family called it when I was young) a Believer. One who believes. It's the root of my faith: a God who follows me with a love that knows no bounds, a mercy that is new every morning, a goodness that isn't tainted by my error, a power that goes deeper than the deepest hurt the world has ever known.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Ask my mom why she home schooled us and she will reply, "I wanted you to be peer independent and I wanted you to be life-long learners." Then she'll give a wry smile and say something like, "I think it worked out pretty well, don't you?"
Truly, my sister and I have reaped huge benefits from her work. We read like crazy, live for discussions of great ideas and generally love to learn about nearly anything.
My mom and I had a discussion recently about what we should call what we did. The term "homeschooling" brings to mind desks and assignments and grades -- school at home -- which couldn't be less like what we did. After extended discussion we decided to call it "a learning home."
We were absolutely learning all the time.
We read books together (a lot of them out-loud), went to museums and parks and monuments and science centers, we did road trips and learned everything we could get our hands on. I have more fond memories of my childhood than I could ever describe.
I think my whole adult life I've been excited about providing that for my kids -- a space that's enriched and exciting, where the world is opened for them to explore. It's absolutely wonderful that Lilia's getting to an age where she can enjoy these things with us and we're having a great time teaching her!
And I'm so blessed to have so many rich memories of my own "Learning Home" to call upon.
Raise your hand if you've ever been in the grocery store and looked at the baby food section, wondering what some of it tastes like? This post is dedicated to you!! I've cut out the confusion for you and I'll let you know what to try and what to stay away from. Yes, every single item I list below I've personally tested so that you can shop with confidence the next time you go buy food for the baby that you don't have. It's odd, some of the things that you think would be horrible, like butternut squash are very good, while other things that you think would be good, like banana's are kind of blah and tasteless. In no particular order, here are some of my fav's and non-fav's.
The day after Thanksgiving is always a Christmas decorating day for our family. We pulled out the Santa's, the nutcrackers, the holly and pine cones, the wreath and greenery, the linens, the tree, the lights...you get the idea. Of course half of that stuff is sitting on my living room carpet but we did manage to get a good portion of the works up and in place. It will take me another couple of days to finish the tree. Oh and then I have pointe shoes to sew (the dastardly Gaynor-Mindens), and Colin's canvas ballet slippers as well. I really need to stop dreaming about getting back into my studio, even though the need is strong. Preparations for the Nutcracker have barely begun. My son and daughter have had several "guest" appearances in and around the area with one of the first being the Christmas parade. I did not get many pictures but these two will give you an idea of the motley crew that participated. Everyone froze. I guess that is a tradition around here. It wouldn't be the same if one could feel their hands and feet during the parade. And so, onward to the craziness. Even though I cease to exist in December, I would not have it any other way! Happy December first!
More than a month since I shot a picture of my at home packet. And it is just 3 months till we reveal the artistry of Mother Nature. I am so excited about this project and can't wait to get my hands on those papers. I have yet to get to The Studio to take shots there of the numerous packets we have hanging. So I will definitely get there before the big holiday (Lucy, I did get cards made of my Christmas collage and I want to hand deliver one). Here are some shots of my packet from home. It is hanging on a 30 foot white pine :) And here is a flash---We have snow today so the packet is almost entirely covered!!!! You go Mother Nature!
I started this work just before Thanksgiving getting the idea from the current issue of Somerset Studio. Unfortunately I do not remember the name of the artist who showcased this project. She did her Christmas collage on wood, I choose a portion of a game board that I had. I never throw anything out and just happened to have a chess board that was used for a Sesame Street version of the game. The board measured 16 by 16 and I divided into four pieces. It was coated with a plastic like material which I promptly sanded off and the rest is history. The final collage is being turned into Christmas cards at Vista Print. It was due to arrive yesterday and I still have not seen the package so I hope it comes tomorrow or Vista Print will be getting a serious email from me. Let me just say while I thought it would be charming to turn an original work into cards for all on my Christmas list, it was no cheap undertaking. I could have bought two or three boxes of the most expensive Hallmark Christmas cards and come out ahead. What was I thinking?
I have been remiss in posting Paper Packet photos from The Studio. Tami, thank you for sending me photos these last couple of weeks. Time has just escaped me but now that I have surfaced from my Nutcracker fog...I can get back to reality (more on the Nutcracker in the next post). So here is how they are looking. Lucy hung the packets in various places outside her studio in an enclosed patio of sorts. The space is surrounded by four brick walls of the adjacent buildings. It is a cute space and perfect for the exposing the packets to the elements. I will share with you a few photos so you can get an idea of how this project is proceeding. In February, we will meet to open the packets up, dry the papers, and begin the creative process.
The papers have been exposed to sun, rain, snow and ice. I have said it before, but I can't wait to take a look at some of these packets once they have been opened.
As a side note, my Christmas cards from Vista Print arrived 14 business days after I ordered them. I received an email from the company that they were to arrive on Dec 7th. I received them on Dec. 13th. Needless to say, I was not happy at all. Let me say once again, a lot of my artist Internet friends use Vista Print. However, it only takes one bad experience for me and I simply won't use them again. The quality of the cards was nice, nothing spectacular though. I just now got the last of the cards mailed. I hate working up to the last minute like this but at least they are on their way. No, I did not call to complain although I suppose I should have. I have the product, the cards are out, my form of protest will be never to use them again.
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