Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Highlights

A brief rundown of what's been happening.  Ready?
  • A weekend trip to visit our friends in Bartlesville.  Watch fireworks. 
 (Here are the boys this summer)
(And here they are five years ago)

  • Kids develop a decided preference for listening to Ray Charles' "Hit the Road, Jack."
  • Start my new job.
  • Kids learn to swim underwater.
  • Atticus turns five.  Receives two annuls (lizards) and numerous Star Wars toys.
  • Atticus learns to ride a bike without training wheels.  
  • Atticus gets three ticks in an unfortunate place.
  • We spend an hour convincing Atticus to let us get close enough to remove said ticks with tweezers.
  • Take the kids to the animal shelter so they and the animals could entertain each other.

  • Acquire 37 chickens, 5 turkeys, 3 ducks, 2 geese, and 4 sheep.
  • Lose 1 turkey to Craig inadvertently squashing it.
  • Lose 4 turkeys, 3 ducks, and 2 geese to predators.
  • Acquire 2 livestock guardian dogs (Apollo and Athena) to stop the attrition.
  • Kids take first trip to Frontier City with Dad, Nana, and Papa:
  • Atticus learns to whistle.
  • Franny develops expert skills at catching chickens.
  • Craig shoots rattlesnake.
  • I take Bar Exam.

  • Take kids to tour the state capitol building. They think it's awesome fun.
  • Leave state capitol to discover car battery is dead in 100' heat.  Call for rescue.  (Thanks, Mom!)
  • Read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."
  • Franny, out of nowhere, moans "I'm so stressed out."
Bonus Conversation:
Atticus now insists on introducing himself to new people as "Bubba."  As in, his new elementary school principal asks him, "And what's your name?"  And Atticus looks at him and says, "Call me Bubba."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: An Update on the Ladybug

There are two qualities about my Franny girl that are combining to really keep us on our toes.  First, she has an amazing capacity for finding things.  I posted a few months ago about her knack for spotting and collecting tiny "treasures" anywhere we go.  I don't know how she does it.  It doesn't matter where we go, if there's a lost marble or penny or other trinket, she'll gravitate to it almost immediately.

 Second, she continues to be endlessly fascinated with anything that moves or breathes.  It doesn't matter if it's a bunny or a roly-poly or a fish or a beetle or a puppy or a salamander. 

Well, you can imagine where I'm going with this.  In the past three weeks, she's found and captured a caterpillar, a salamander, a tiny millipede-looking bug (ew!), an inchworm, two turtles, a number of roly-polys, stinkbugs, and ladybugs, and a grasshopper (which she brought, unbeknownst to me, into the car and then accidentally let go.) 

Every one of them, she LOVES.  She will hold it in her hand, kiss it, and say (in the voice most people use to talk to babies), "Oh, sweet little cricket!  He's going to be my pet.  Looook at this beautiful little cricket.  Do you want to pet him?"  (See video with inchworm here.)

Anyway, I'm now going to tell a story we are calling, "Franny to the Rescue."  
Craig recently acquired a number of baby chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys.  We are going to raise them on the farm, but we are keeping them under heat lamps in the garage until they get big enough.  On this particular day, the kids are with Nana and Papa, and Craig takes the birds out and lets them run around the yard while he cleans out their pens in the morning.  They all return to him, except the tiny baby turkeys, who have disappeared into the hedges.  

These hedges are THICK (the kids call them "the jungle.")  Craig cannot find the turkeys, and finally gives up.  I'm thinking, too bad Franny isn't here.  If anyone could find a tiny lost turkey, she could.  

That night I return home with the kids.  The turkeys have been out all day, and Craig has given them up for dead.  I start trimming the hedges.  Franny says, "Mom, I will help you find those turkeys."  She darts into the shrubbery, and less than a minute later calls out, "I found them!  I have them both."  And she comes tromping out with a turkey tucked under each arm.

An update on the Doodlebug

Finally.  I am done with school and we are back in God's Country.  :)

We are so happy to be back, and I am enjoying this time with the kids so much.  I always said my favorite time with the kids was from 9-18 months, because you could just see the little wheels turning in their heads and actually watch them learning new things every day.  Well, I think this might have that beat.  Both the kids are changing so fast and growing into such amazing and interesting little people.

The Doodlebug will be starting kindergarten in the fall. He still has the kindest heart in the world.  He is incredibly perceptive about everything around him, curious and inquisitive, empathetic and insightful.  

In the past few months, Atticus has learned to ride a bike with no training wheels and cast a fishing line (he's amazingly good at it).  He's becoming quite the little reader, and he also has an incredible attention span for being read to.  We have been working our way through all of E.B. White's books (Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little.)   

His imagination is exploding, and it shows all day, every day.  He's interested in Star Wars, drawing, and writing.  He listens to the news on the radio and asks questions about what he hears.  

Craig made him a bow and "arrows," and here he is playing Robin Hood. 

He dressed himself in this picture, if you can't tell.  I'm loving the stripes-and-plaid look.

Here he is cutting leaves from the tree with scissors and putting them into his [awesome Gremlins] lunchbox.  He also cut each individual leaf into multiple tiny pieces.  This was one of those things that kept him occupied for hours.  He would have kept at it as long as we let him.

(If anyone is having trouble finding activities to occupy their preschooler, might I suggest allowing them to climb on stepladders with scissors while mutilating the landscaping?)

And I'll leave off with this, another bedtime conversation:

Atticus (out of nowhere): "I'm going to be a father someday.  What will I need?  Hmm.  Well, first I'll need a nice ring.  But I don't want just a plain ring.  I want one with something on it...(long pause).  Like the Statute of Liberty!"

Me: "Okay, that's an interesting start.  What else will you need to be a father?"

Atticus (matter-of-factly): "Well, a BIG bed.  And a house with four rooms.  One for me, one for the Wife, one for the son, and one for the daughter."

Me: "Are you and your wife not going to share a room?"

Atticus shakes his head no, wincing.  He says with this huge sigh, "I just want to have my room be nice and quiet."  I almost died laughing.  His dad probably feels the same way half the time, at least.  :)

I ask if his wife isn't going to sleep in his bed with him.  
He shrugs and says, "I guess if she gets scared she can."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First Haircut

After three and a half years, Ms. Frances finally got her first haircut.  

 We went to the big girl salon and she acted very grown-up.  Atticus got his first haircut at a year old, and we totally went through a rough time of not wanting haircuts.  It was nice to be able to wait as long as we did with Franny; it was a totally different experience!  You can see how funny she is in the picture. 

We didn't cut much off, just trimmed the ends up.
 I told her we were just cutting off the Tangles.  Who could argue with that?

Monday, March 4, 2013

All kinds of treasures...

I don't know how most people envision their kids learning to read, but I just assumed they would start with Hop on Pop or something, then move on to those early reader books.  Right?  

The Doodlebug has always been very take-it-or-leave-it when it came to learning to read.  He would sound out a word or two, but he was like, why should I read this when you could totally read it to me.  I hadn't had any real luck in getting him interested in or excited about reading himself.  

Along came the Wizard of Oz.  I started reading it to the Doodle, and anyone who has been around him the past few weeks can tell you that he was enraptured.  Now, if you look at a page of Frank Baum's the Wizard of Oz, I don't think you would ever (ever) think, "Oh, here's what my kid should learn to read on."  

He is totally into it.  

I read every sentence with my fingers on the words, and stop at the words I think he can sound out/recognize.  He's learned to recognize a number of words by sight, and so every day we add in a few more.  He's reading some entire sentences, and also pointed out the word "little" on a street sign to us the other day.  Apparently I just had to find something he was actually interested in? 

Here are some words he wrote all by himself.  You can tell that he sounded them all out himself, but I think he did a pretty good job:

From top left to right: Oz (the Z has an extra loop), Drthe (Dorthy), Tin Man (with a giant circle in the middle?), Lion, and Todo (Toto).

Now for my Franny-girl with her bag of "treasures."  Her treasures are mostly random things she has picked up outside, at the park and, you know, in parking lots.  (Everyone lets their kids do that, right?) Anyway, she dumps them all out the other morning and I didn't realize she still had all this stuff.  I hadn't seen some of it in quite a while.

Multiple rocks ("this is the rock Uncle Andy gave me"), a tiny plastic ball, a corn kernel, and a McDonald's toy, circa 1997:

 A button, another rock, and a plastic flower she found at the playground:

Some more random stuff and a feather:

This is not the full extent of her treasures, by any means.  It also usually involves some dried berries, acorns, coins, and who knows what else.  She appears to select these treasures primarily based on them being similar in size (all choking hazards?). She carried around an avocado pit for several days before I finally snuck it out while she was sleeping.  :)

My darling girl:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ladybug Strikes Again!

I dropped my earring in the closet this week, and I spent an entire evening pulling apart the closet looking for it.  I recruited Craig to come help me shake out all our shoes, in case it had fallen inside one.  So we are flipping over each shoe, one by one, when Craig upends one of his boots and here's what comes spilling out:

I would like to draw your particular attention to Atticus' toothbrush at the top of the picture, which we had been missing for about a week, and for which we had searched high and low.  

Also, this weather has been amazing!!  Here are a few sweet pictures from last weekend, of the Doodle helping his little sister learn to fly a kite:

Isn't that adorable?  

I really can't believe how big he is getting.  The kids both got letters this week from their beloved nanny from this summer, and after dinner we mentioned to the kids that we could write back to her soon.

The next thing I know, Atticus is yelling "I have everything ready!"  He had pulled out all of our note cards, paper, envelopes, and pens and assembled them on the coffee table.  He had already started writing, but asked me to write the rest of the letter as he dictated it to me (which is fun to do because it is always so hilarious).  He put the card in the envelope and licked it himself.  After I let him put on the stamp, he asked if he could take it to the mailbox himself while I waited on the front porch.  He was madly excited about the entire process.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Christmas Break 2012 was lovely.  The past two years, school has kept me busy right up until Christmas Eve. (As in, we barely managed to put the tree up.  Or didn't.)  But this year...ah, this year!  I finished finals the first week of December.  We decorated the tree.  I made the kids each an advent calendar.  We baked gingerbread cookies.  We hand-stamped our own wrapping paper.  Craig aptly observed that I clearly have some creative needs that aren't being met by doing legal research.  (Hard to believe, I know!)  

Our wrapping paper.  We cut the star stamps from a potato.

 My little elf making chocolate-covered pretzels.  Isn't she adorable in her little apron?  My mom got both the kids chef hats for Christmas and they love to wear them and help us out in the kitchen.

Downtown at the Christmas Parade.  The Doodlebug just sort of sat there until Miss Winter Parade or whoever came by in her dress and tiara, waving.  Then he jumped up and waved at her and yelled, "Merry Christmas!!!!  Merry Christmas!!!"  For some inexplicable reason, he also stood up and started applauding like mad for the motorcycles.

Two days after Christmas.  We are finishing our breakfast.  Snow is still on the ground.  
"Atticus, go get dressed," I say.  
He speeds off and strides back in like this less than two minutes later, leans up against the counter like he's Mr. Joe Cool, casually crosses his legs, and looks at us like, "What's up? I'm ready to go play in the snow."

Two more pictures of smiling faces: