Wednesday, August 31, 2005

First Grade

Lillian started first grade last week. Her teacher is brand-new, enthusiastic, and fun. The biggest excitement, as far as Lillian is concerned, is eating school lunch every day. We packed a lunch for her the first day because we hadn't seen a calendar of what they were serving, but somehow, she ended up eating school lunch anyway ("Mommy, the teacher says we can bring the money tomorrow!" she said). She comes home and tells me EVERYTHING she ate, from the roll to the peas to the chocolate milk. She loves having so many choices, and for a little girl who wouldn't eat ANYTHING a year ago, this is great.

Lillian's also cute because she loves to wear her little knit dresses to school. She wore a dress every day the first week, and nearly every day this week. I'm glad I've got such a lady.

10,000 Leagues

Did you know how you can tell your husband loves you? It's not diamonds or chocolates -- it's 1's & 0's. I'm writing this on my "new" computer! My old one died an untimely death a few weeks ago. DH spent hours (& hours & hours) retrieving my data, troubleshooting, and making sure we got everything off my old machine. He stayed up way past his bedtime. But the ultimate sacrifice? He gave me his machine to use in place of mine. Which means I have a computer at home and he doesn't. Did I mention his is a better machine than mine? And that I'm really, really grateful? My old machine is still under warranty, so we sent it off to the shop to be fixed, and DH will use it when it gets back.

I finished a new kit a few weeks ago. It's named "10,000 Leagues Over the Sea," and was a kit requested by my friend Ilona. She's Dutch and works for a sailmaker and wanted a kit that would work for that. I had a lot of fun with this one and it kept getting bigger and bigger.

My other new project is a kit I'm going to call "Star Toys," in honor of my boys fascination with a certain movie. =) I'm not quite done with the kit or this page, but I just had to play with it tonight. I think it's my new favorite.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

See? This is what I'm talking about. :) These little gals get into EVERYTHING. Allison & Sarah followed their brothers out to the backyard yesterday afternoon. I followed a moment later and found Allison sitting in the garden, surrounded by tomatoes she'd picked herself and biting into a nice juicy one. They both love tomatoes; I just wish I could train them not to pick the green ones.

The picture below is the result of their foray into the pasta drawer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dynamic Duo

Well, I think we've got the "Dynamic Duo" around here now. It's started already, I'm afraid. This morning I heard what I thought was Michael in the kitchen, getting into the cupboards. I called to him to get out, but he answered from upstairs. Uh oh. I went in to find the twins having a blast. They had opened up a few drawers and found the drawer where I keep the pasta and were surrounded by little bits of spaghetti and macaroni noodles. We cleaned it up together -- Allison even picked up little bits of pasta and handed it to me. Later on, I was with Sarah and some of the other kids when I hear little "pings" in the kitchen. Allison had gotten into our pantry and found a few new toys -- she decided to mix popcorn kernals and whole wheat flour (hey, at least she's healthy), then spilled some of both on the floor.

I don't think I've ever seen anything so sweet as these two babies. Sarah adores Allison, and Allison has been covering Sarah with affection. The other day, Sarah woke up first and was on our bed when DH went to get Allison. When he came in with Allison, they both grinned. He put Allison down, and she immediately crawled over to Sarah and gave her an enormous hug. The past week have been full of hugs and interactions. When we're playing outside, I'll encourage one to go "get" the other, and they are so cute -- Allison will chase after Sarah or vice versa. The sweetest part is that the one being chased won't run away -- she'll just giggle and move toward the one about to "get" her.

I love having the river nearby. This afternoon, I took Sarah down with the older kids and we played while Allison took an unusual afternoon nap. The river has risen about a foot, which means our homemade dam which covers 3/4 of the river is now a pleasant waterfall, and the 1/4 of the river it doesn't cover moves at a fast clip, just perfect for floating. Lillian & Joey love to take their tubes up river a little bit, then float down. I love that the river is usually so low -- up to my knees all the way across.

Lillian decided to do "impressions" at one point. She sat down on a rock and said, "Who am I?" then proceeded to splash and coo and squeal. I correctly guessed Allison. Then she did another impression -- "Who am I?" she said, then she sat down daintily, bent over and touched the water gently, and cooed. I correctly guessed Sarah. It touched me that our identical twins are such individuals, that even our 6 year old daughter knows them by personality. They may look alike, but they each fill a separate place in our home and hearts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Couchful

The kids made me laugh today. We went wading in the river, and I brought the babes out with their bottles (called "boss" around here, courtesy of our last little kid who used one). They love playing on a large rock a little ways from shore. Today, after finishing their bottles, they got their thrills by dropping their bottles into the river and shrieking until Lillian or Joey chased after them and "saved" them. It was a hilarious game. Lillian would hand back the bottle to a baby, who would wait a few moments, then drop it back in again! Lillian & Joey even had a few squabbles over whose turn it was to save the bottles. They finally worked out a compromise -- Lillian would save the purple one, Joey the green one.

This morning, Lillian had an assessment at her school. She's entering first grade in a few weeks with a brand-new teacher (her first year!) and I really want to know where Lillian's at so I can help her be challenged and know where she's lacking. She's very bright and is reading chapter books. Her reading score was very high; as was the other scores. One thing that the test brought out is that her math skills are very good -- she scored a 33 on the part of the test that dealt with math application -- but her math "language" is pretty low -- she only scored a 3 on that section. She knows how to apply the knowledge and did fantastic on all the story problems, but hand her a sheet filled with problems like "3 x 2 = " and she doesn't know what it means. So I look forward to seeing her learn that this year, and I'm pleased to know now where she can make better progress.

Surprisingly, when I asked her about the test, she told me the math problems were the funnest. I need to do more of that with her. Sometimes to pass the time in the car, we make up math problems (things like "Joey has 10 trucks. 3 of them get smashed. How many does he have left?"). I hadn't realized how much she enjoys it. I need to make more of an effort with it.

I also need to do better with reading to the kids. We used to do it every night at bedtime, but since the twins are born, we're more interested in SHORT bedtime routines (imagine that!). So I've been reading more during the day, but it's been hard to make a routine of it. When the babies take their nap, I usually want that to be quiet time and don't really feel like reading. But when the babes are up, then I've got them climbing around grabbing the books and bothering everyone. Occasionally, I'll have all five kids on the couch with me while I read a story, but Allison & Sarah just can't sit still for long and I'll end up with protest from the other kids -- "Baby's bothering me!"

I just realized how silly these complaints are and I'm giggling as I type. I am so lucky to have a couchful.

Monday, August 08, 2005


This morning DH found the cat in Allison's crib -- evidently, she had hopped in there for attention, which Allison was giving to her in abundance! Allison & Sarah continue to pursue the kitty whenever they can. Sarah is much more gentle than Allison. But the thought occurred to me this morning -- does the kitty know the difference between the two? Do they smell different to her? Just curious.

Speaking of differences, Sarah now has her fifth tooth -- another tooth came in on top. But the interesting thing is that it is on the opposite side of Allison's fifth tooth. It will be interesting to see if there are more mirror-imaging traits that develop. Back when they were crawling, they each crawled with the opposite foot stuck straight out to the side.

Sarah is now walking all the time, and is almost as fast as Allison. They are starting to run in opposite directions and both refuse to sit still in the stroller when we're at the library, which makes for some interesting problems when I'm in line to check out. Luckily, I've got two extra pairs of hands in Joey & Lillian, who love to chase after the twins and grab them when they stray too far.

We did a lot of swimming last week, both in the river and at the local pool. Allison loves to play with the hose. She grabs it and sprays herself, then looks surprised when the spray goes in her face. She & Sarah have also decided they love to splash and play with the rocks in the river. When we're outside, they go over to the gate and look down expectantly. I can only imagine how hard it's going to be to keep them dry NEXT summer!

I took Lillian out on Friday to see the class lists posted at her school. Her teacher will be a brand-new teacher. I think she'll be great. She's young and enthusiastic, and I think Lillian will do fine. I'm having Lillian tested on Tuesday to see where she's at academically. I'm somewhat worried about her being challenged and having alternative work to do when the rest of the class is learning to read.

Yesterday, we took a late afternoon drive up to Cascade Springs, a beautiful springs with waterfalls and . It was quite the Series of Unfortuneate Events. Sarah & Allison weren't too happy about being in the van, though the others did just fine. Halfway there, Sarah threw up all over herself, her carseat, and her chair. We cleaned her up as best as we could, and stripped her down to her shirt. She seemed a bit better as we drove, then threw up again just before we reached Cascade Springs. We did clean-up again, but this time we had to strip her shirt off. Luckily, we had a bag of clothes for DI in the back, so I found her an old T-Shirt of Joey's to wear. It was quite a sight to see her in this large oversize old T-shirt next to her sister in nice overalls and pink shirt. I told DH if people didn't know the situation they'd think we were playing favorites. Later, we had our dinner there, a picnic we brought with us. As we were eating, DH got stung by a wasp. But other than that, we enjoyed the beautiful waterfalls and the fish.


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