No Harm Done

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's A Milestone!

Colson conquered the "staying dry during the day" goal nearly a year ago, but the "staying dry during the night" milestone has been a tougher battle.

For the last two weeks we've had a "Dry Boy Chart" posted in his room, and every morning he wakes up dry he gets to put an "X" on the chart. After 12 dry nights, he got to go to Toys R Us** and buy something special.

A careful observer might notice the scribbles across the chart. Colson had made the first 10 X's very neatly and carefully. On the 11th day, Brogan convinced him to embellish the X's. Together they scribbled across the chart and onto the wall. They excitedly ran and pulled me into the room to see their artwork. They were so proud of it, and it wasn't until I began speaking again that they realized that maybe coloring on the wall wasn't a good thing.

Monday was the big day, and after school was done we hit the store. Colson quickly discovered this cache of Star Wars figures (for preschoolers), and then walked around the store carrying it as we looked at all the other toys he might like. (He wanted to be sure that he'd picked his favorite toy.) It was so cute! He looked so big carrying this box around the store on his little legs.

*sigh* No more diapers. I'll almost miss them.

**For some reason the littles have always called it "Toys By Us." I'm not sure why. It started with Brogan, and then by the time he said it correctly, Colson started in.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Well, that was predictable.

I'm a sucker for an online quiz. I found this one at my sister's MySpace page and, of course, could not resist its siren song.

Arrested Development: Which Bluth Are You?

You are Michael. You've always said that family is the most important thing. You carry the world on your shoulders. You're a good man and a great role model.
Take this quiz!

Of course I'm Michael. On one hand I'm thankful I'm the normal one. On the other hand, I'm disappointed that I couldn't have been Maeby. (Steve Holt!)

Have a great weekend! We'll be back on Monday.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So. Monday we went sledding.

The boys dressed in their warmest snow pants and gear. I don’t really have any snow gear – just a hodge-podge of stuff I’ve picked up over the years. I bought a coat when we lived in Wisconsin and I was pregnant with Colson, so it’s big enough to be worn through 9 months of pregnancy, if necessary. Now that I’m not pregnant (Colson is nearly 4), I have to cinch it up real tight when I wear it, in a futile attempt to convince people that I’m really not that big. It’s navy blue on the outside, but brick red and white plaid on the inside. As ugly as it is, it’s oh-so-warm and is perfect for sled days.

I hit the sled hill wearing Marc’s black snowpants ( MUCH too big for me), a blue scarf, and a big navy blue coat that I absolutely hate. I do not have snow boots either, so I improvised and wore my LL Bean duck shoes (which saw me through 5 soggy years in Oregon, thank you) with two layers of socks. In between the sock layers, I put each foot into a giant Ziploc freezer bag.

My fancy footwear. (And giant pant leg.)

I know. Me so sexy. I was quite a sight on that hill, let me tell you. If you squinted a little, and maybe cocked your head to the side, I think I resembled a significantly less adorable version of Ugly Betty (sans braces). But I was warm and dry.

I knew the “cool” sledding hill in town was going to be packed on Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t want to spend the day dodging children rocketing down the hill at high speeds. So we went Monday afternoon instead. We had sunny skies, a brisk wind, and the hill all to ourselves.

Unfortunately, it had been pretty well used the day before. There was no part of the hill that had “snow” left. It was a hill of solid, hard-packed snow. And grass. There were many spots where the snow had melted just enough the day before, or one too many sleds had ridden over the spots, and grass peeked through.

We decided to sled anyway, and had a blast. The hard packed snow enabled us to go at speeds we’ve never experienced. We also set distance records – the tree at the bottom of the hill had never before been a concern, as we never got close to it. But on this day we had to steer clear of the potentially face-eating tree as we shot past it.

The only exception to the speed records was the giant sled run that tempts Braden every year. It’s such a hard climb up to the topmost point. Often you’re climbing up on all fours, dragging a sled behind you. By the time you get to the top you’re huffing and puffing and ready to shed a couple layers of clothing. The long ride down is so thrilling it makes the climb worthwhile. But this time, Braden struggled to the top of the hill only to sled down it seemingly in slow-motion. It had been so over-run the day before that it had nothing left to give.

I was really proud of Brogan. This was his first time back on a sled since the Christmas Day Sledding Incident of 2005. I was worried that he would be too scared to try again, but he had no problems. We did talk about avoiding the tree at the bottom of the hill, and we did a couple of "falling off the sled" drills in case he found himself in danger of a collision.

Look at that face!

The packed-down snow was very slippery. Colson had a fun time sliding down a small slope .

(My eyes!)

There was an incident, of sorts. I'll give you the photographic play-by-play.

Here's Colson bringing his sled back up the hill.

Whoops! He slipped and fell! Colson kept trying to get up, but would slip, fall, and slide back down the hill a bit.

Colson lay on the ice and snow, frustrated, when Braden came over to help.

Colson was afraid to stand up again, so Braden tried to get him to roll across the hill to a large grassy patch where he'd be able to get his footing.

Colson was afraid to even do that, so the ever-resourceful Braden decides to drag him over to the grass.

Still dragging....

Now he braces Colson's feet as they climb to the top.

And Braden falls right as they make it to the top!

Braden gets a big thank-you hug from Colson.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow Day!

We finally got our first snowfall of the year!

The boys and I had been cautiously excited all week. I say "cautiously" because even though the weatherpeople said we could expect snow this weekend - well - they'd said that before and bitterly disappointed us each time.

We woke up Sunday morning to about three inches of the beautiful white stuff, and the boys had a fantastic afternoon playing.

Here is our snow penguin. We're not sure what happened to his eye. It's under that snow.... somewhere. We'll look for it next week after the snow's melted. ~sigh~ For now, we're just pretending that he's penguin winking at us.

We have a slight hill by our house and the boys lost no time dragging the sleds out to conquer it. Colson doesn't remember any sledding from last winter, so the backyard hill was a perfect first experience. Today we went sledding on the "cool " sledding hill in town (I'll post about that tomorrow), and he handled that just fine.

And no snow experience is complete without a snowball fight. Here the boys are preparing their arsenal.

The battle is on! M. got in some early hits......

But the boys came right back, emptying their snowball stockpile.

Even Colson got in a shot or two! (Note the fear and apprehension on M.'s face.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kindergarten Open House

Welcome to our Open House! On good days we call our homeschool the "Cherry Creek School For Boys." On bad days we refer to it as the "Cherry Creek Correctional Facility."

I always love hearing about what other homeschoolers use, and I know that friends and family clamor for more details about our school. Okay, "clamor" might be overstating things. "Mildly interested" might be closer to reality.

A more organized person could put together one of those "Day In The Life" entries (You expect me to keep track of a notepad and paper all day long in order to write everything down?), so the Open House is the option I'm left with.

Brogan's kindergarten regimen is fairly lean when compared to his older brother's. But here is what he's doing at the "Cherry Creek School For Boys:"

Brogan's reading is humming right along. We began the year using "Sing, Spell, Read, and Write" (just the workbooks. Not the curriculum) in combination with "Phonics Pathways." For variety we'll pull out the Bob Books and read a bit about the thrilling adventures of Mat and Sam. At this point in the year, Brogan can read any word you throw at him in which there are :
a) only short vowels, and
b) no diagraphs or silent "e" words.

Brogan sounds out more and more words he sees while we're out of the house. He desperately wants to be able to read the Garfield comic books by himself, so he works hard to sound out words. We've learned that his reading skills aren't at a point where he can read much of the dialogue, but he can read all sorts of sound effect words like "bang," "smack," "plink," and "thwack."

By far Brogan's favorite subject, math usually begins our school day. We use Singapore Math's kindergarten level books. They have 4 workbooks for kindergarten. We started the workbooks books this summer, and Brogan's now about halfway through the last book. We'll move on to the first grade books as soon as he finishes.

Last week Brogan started learning about addition and doing additions problems written vertically and horizontally. (Trying to understand that they're the same problem, even when written differently.)

For Bible we use Bob Jones Bible Foundations three days a week. We've used these books since Braden was in 1st grade and really like how they're laid out. The early grades work through the major Bible stories chronologically and emphasize personal application. We began with Creation, and this week we read about Cain and Abel. We also learn hymns (and their history), Bible skills, catechism questions, and about strong Christians of the past.

Brogan would really like to have piano lessons with a "real" teacher, but for now he's stuck with me. He's working his way through the Faber piano series primer. When he finishes the primer, he can have "real" lessons. We're about one-fourth of the way through the book and he's just beginning to learn the names of the notes and where the corresponding keys are on the piano. He's very proud of what he can play, and you can listen to him here.

Co-op: (FIAR, Fitness, Choir)
One afternoon a week we attend classes for homeschoolers. Brogan's first class is "FIAR" or "Five In A Row." In this class the teacher leads the children in activities related to a story they've read. This week they read "Billy and Blaze" and did activities related to pets.

His second class is "Health and Fitness, "and blends fitness activity with discussions about health and nutrition. His teacher has a passion for teaching children about healthy eating, and talks a lot about God's best plan for our diet as laid out in the Bible.

The last class is choir. It surprised me that Brogan picked choir, because in other settings he's mostly a "listener" when the class is singing. But he wanted to try, and last semester he joined the choir. He was somewhat ambivalent about the class until the Christmas program. He had such a blast in the Christmas program that he was eager to do it again this spring.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Consider This A Public Service Announcement.

I rarely get to go to movies, but this month I've been blessed to have seen not one, but TWO movies at the local theater! Both of these films were so good that I felt the need to let all of you, my dear readers, know of their worth so that you may also bask in the warm glow of $8.00 well-spent.

Consider this my service to you.


Tonight Mrs. G. and I went to go see "Dreamgirls." We both knew that we wouldn't be able to talk both of our husbands into seeing the movie, but we WERE able to talk Mr. G. into watching all 8 children for us while we were gone.

Yes, you read correctly. 8 children. In the care of Mr. G. But you know, they were all alive at the end of the night, and their house was still standing and in good order. I was impressed!

Anyway, back to the movie. I am not articulate enough to do this movie justice. This was, by far, one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

About 8 years ago I saw Jennifer Holliday perform the song "And I'm Tellin' You" on the Rosie O'Donnell Show. (I know. I know! Hush.) I didn't like the song, then, and every time I've heard it sung since then I've disliked it. Hearing that song again was the only thing about the movie I wasn't looking forward to.

But Jennifer Hudson's performance in the movie was exquisite. Hearing her perform that song, in the context of the show and its plot, well, it brought tears to my eyes. I was overwhelmed.

Go. Go see this movie. See it on the big screen. Your tv at home will not do it justice. And Jennifer Hudson deserves whatever awards are out there for her performance.


For the past two weekends, the boys and I have been abandoned by M..... sort of. He pays lots of attention to us on the weekends, until kickoff time. This season M. has not watched as much football as he would like to, but now that it's time for the playoffs he's resolved not to miss a play.

The kids and I are on our own during those games, and when they schedule two playoff games a day, well, that's a lot of time with the boys! Two weeks ago, I decided to take them to see "Night At The Museum." It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and I made the boys eat dinner very quickly so that we could get there before the previews started.

I'm not a Ben Stiller fan. I'm not a fan of the current genre of movies that feature males old enough to be men, but who still act like adolescents. Ben Stiller seems to feature in many of those movies, so I haven't got a great liking for him. But so many people have had positive things to say about the movie that I decided to take a chance.

Well. Braden loved the movie. I loved the movie. Colson really liked the movie. It was so much funnier than we'd expected. It was exciting, and kind of smart, and somewhat unpredictable.

Brogan, however.....

Brogan was terrifed. The minute things in the museum started coming to life, he came to sit on my lap, already occupied by Colson. Once on my lap he began to moan, "Nooooooo! This is too scary! I want to gooooo hoooooome!" This is okay in our tv room at home, but people in a crowded movie theatre generally frown on loud moaning and crying children during the movie.

I could feel Brogie quivering and his heart racing, but I couldn't get up to leave at that point without disturbing everyone around us. Instead, I covered his mouth with my hand, and whispered calming things into his ear: "It's okay. It'll be okay. No one gets eaten. Look! Braden's laughing. It's supposed to be funny!" (This probably takes me out of the running for the Mother Of The Year award.)

After a few minutes of this, Colson notices Brogan and starts to wonder whether or not he should be scared too. So now I'm hugging them closely so I can whisper to both at the same time. "It''ll be okay. There's a happy ending. No one gets eaten."

The moment I'm able (after about 10 minutes of terror for Brogan), I take the littles out to the hallway and try to talk Brogan down. At first he was unwilling to go back to see then end of the movie, but after a few minutes he decided that he can be brave if he has some popcorn to eat. Colson quickly agreed, and I figured that popcorn might be a good diversion, so off we went to the counter to get popcorn and soda.

As we settle back into our seats, I realize the popcorn does help. But once it's gone Brogie's back in my lap. He spent most of the rest of the movie in my lap with my hand over his mouth, but the minute the credits began to roll he jumped up and said, "That movie was great!"

Excuse me?

Back at home, Brogan insists that he wasn't scared, and asks when we can see the movie again.

Anyway. Two good movies. Two movies that you will not regret spending your hard-earned moola on. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One More Day!

24 more hours until Jack Bauer's day begins!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Treat Your Mother Right

I pity the fool who disses his mama!

Hat Tip to Crib Chick for the video!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Flame On!

This week, I am the Human Torch!! I am impervious to freezing temperatures. (Not that we have any here. But if we did - I would be unmoved by them.)

I can go supernova at a moment's notice. (But I won't. 'Cause that would be bad. Somehow.)

Sleep has become a thing of the past.

I can speak at a rapid-fire pace that would render the Gilmore Girls speechless. I have all the characteristics of having consumed multiple shots of espresso, without ever having stepped into a Starbucks.

This week, I am hyperthyroid.

Last week I needed it. I had a ton of things to do, and needed all of the energy and speed that my fake thyroid could muster. It was GREAT! I got so. much. done!

This week, I miss sleeping

But I'm catching up on my late-night "Scrubs" reruns so, you know, there's that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Boise! State!

I've got my BSU gear on, and a stuffed Bronco at my side.

A glass for my Coke (I just can't quit you) is chillin' in my freezer.

Chocolate chip mint ice cream is chillin' as well.

1 hour until the Fiesta Bowl kickoff.

Go Broncos!!