Saturday, July 28, 2007

Introducing Our Toddler

Logan is now officially a toddler! This evening he began walking "for real." He is always more energetic in the evenings and all his activity goes into high gear ~ great family entertainment.

Tonight he began walking between James and me and then branched out to toddling around the entire living room and dining room. His walking involved equal parts toddling, tumbling, getting back up and...panting? Imagine a dizzy puppy. We were thrilled that, when he fell down, he got right back up and kept on practicing.

My friend, Rosemary, sent this picture she took of Logan walking with James at the older kids' soccer games:

Copy of IMG_2557 for web

To see video of tonight's toddling practice, click on this icon:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Book Give-Away! **Update: A Winner!**

Comments are closed. I used a random number generator to determine the winner. I am happy to announce that I am giving my book away to PEA! PEA, please check your email!!

This post is dated for Friday so that it will stay at the top of my blog all week. Please scroll down to read other posts.

I'm taking part in a give-away hosted by
Rocks in My Dryer. I've decided to give away an extra copy I own of the hardback book:

Click HERE to view reader reviews at If you would like a chance to win this book, just leave a comment. If you do not have a blog, or your comment does not link to a blog, please leave an email address. On Friday, I will randomly draw a commenter to win the book, contact the winner to get an address, and pop the book in the mail. Shipping is on me, of course!

Visit Rocks in My Dryer this week to choose from a blogload of give-aways!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

I'm enjoying some weeks of just living without thinking about homeschooling. I find it downright restful to cook, clean, organize, grocery shop and to just be with my family without the other layer of my life pressing down on me. Don't get me wrong. I like homeschooling. But, I'm not a multi-tasker by nature, and I get distracted getting pulled in so many directions. I must buckle down soon to some solid planning and then to starting school, but for now...Ah!

While James focused his attention on the garage last week, the lawn-mowing went by the wayside. The grass grew too long for Evan to handle with a push mower. However, I decided to let him use the power mower for the first time. I had him suit up with shoes, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, ran down my list of safety instructions and let him at it. He mowed the whole backyard by himself and looked visibly pleased with the work accomplished. Immediately he asked if he could start a lawn-mowing business. I redirected his energies into weed-whacking. Hurray for having a big boy!!

All of the three older kids are sooooo good with Logan as I predicted and they all love playing with him. Logan loves chasing Sophie around the house as she crawls ahead of him. Matthew holds his hands and helps him to explore on two feet. Evan elicits peals of laughter from him by playing peekaboo. They all enjoy playing with him as he splashes around in his wading pool. Hurray for big brothers and big sister!

Logan took five decent steps toward me last night. I think it will be awhile before he is walking steadily, because mainly he steps as he falls forward, but he is beginning the toddler phase. I gazed at him this morning as he nursed, delighting in the gift of the moment, while realizing the impossibility of grasping it permanently. Hurray for a growing baby!

Blogkeeping Notes

It is going to take quite awhile to move all my old posts to blogger! As I started the process, I comprehended that I've been blogging since 2004, counting my first blog at anklebiter, courtesy of Brian and Jen. It has been fun to transfer old posts, re-reading past anecdotes about our family.

This week, I concentrated on past recipe posts so that they will be in one place. I'm not sure how much they benefit anyone else, but I use the computer as a high-tech recipe box sometimes when I'm cooking. I now have linked individual recipes in my sidebar to find them easily, filing them under the heading "Our Recipe Box."

Much more work to go...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Dummy Here

The most talented ventriloquist...

Black Bean Mango Salsa

This summer, our family has a new favorite recipe to enjoy. It was posted on the Well-Trained Mind discussion board, but as usual, I have modified it to fit our tastes. It makes a great side-dish for picnics or potlucks. Add sausage to make it a main dish meal!

Black Bean Mango Salsa

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 mangoes or 1 jar mangoes (found in refrigerated section of the produce aisle) drained and diced
1 can shoe peg corn, drained
1 c flat leaf parsley or cilantro chopped
1 c leek sliced in rings (can use scallions, but leeks are more mild)
1 red pepper diced
½ c olive oil
¼ c balsamic vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for hours to let the flavors mingle before serving. To make this a main dish meal, add diced cooked sausage!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mission Accomplished

100_3194Ah! We finished the garage!

Anyone who has seen our garage will immediately know that the garage was a MAJOR project. For everyone else, be thankful that you did not see it. I did not even take Before pictures. The After pictures are my way of trying to erase the bad memories. Hee hee.

[James: I can now look forward to winter without having to scrape the frost off of the car windshield. Melissa helped me to organize and to realize what we did not need. It is now possible to keep the garage clean, and I plan to do so!]

Taming the beastly garage gave me the courage to slay the paper dragon on my desk. Today I revamped our filing system and added a binder for pressing household business that needs attention. Hopefully I now have a place to put everything.

Train them while they are young! ;-) Logan seems to think that the vacuum is his friend. He gets excited whenever it appears and will sit quietly mesmerized, watching it in operation.

He took a couple unassisted steps this weekend and again tonight, but he still leans too much to keep steadily balanced. It would be fine with me if he kept crawling for awhile longer.

He has added even more drama to his crying lately. Prior to this past week, at times when he was told no about something, he would stick his bottom lip out and let out a rather fake "WAAAAaaaaaaah" while squeezing his eyes shut tight and then blinking them. Quite the little actor! Now, mainly when he must endure a diaper change, he sounds like a miniature Tarzan. If he wants us to feel sorry for him the way he is feeling sorry for himself, it is not working! We all think it quite hilarious. Maybe I can catch him on video so that he can laugh at himself later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remembering Anna Elise

As I posted earlier, the waters of Lake Ontario claimed the life of a young cousin of mine on Sunday. I did not know Anna well, though I am close to her Grandma, my Great Aunt, whom I lived with for a semester in college, and I have gotten to know her sister, Kristen more in the past year. Though her family grieves losing her greatly, they are not in despair, because they know that she is now face to face with her Savior Jesus, and because of Him, they have the hope of the Resurrection and eternal life.

Please visit the Syracuse RP Church website if you would like to read briefly about Anna's life and death and to know how to lift the family up in prayer.

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Logan's Birthday

Logan woke up this morning a little too early apparently, because he began the morning full of yawns and fussiness. James led us in singing "Grumpy Birthday To You."

James is taking vacation time this week, and our goal is to tackle projects that need attention around our house. The thought of packing for a trip while dealing with a baby and allergy issues did not appeal this year. Though we are spending vacation time to do work, it is pleasant in that it is a different kind of work than what we normally are responsible to do, plus we are able to work together as a family.

As James began tackling the garage this morning, sorting stuff into piles, I piled the kids in the van, stopping at the Post Office to send in the boys' standardized achievement tests, at the recycling center to empty our overflowing containers, and at Target to purchase containers. At one point as we drove, Evan asked, "What time is it?" I looked at the clock to read "9:04" which was precisely the time of Logan's birth one year ago! We sang "Happy Birthday" for real... Logan hit empty on his contentment reserve before the end of the trip. The kids and I sang "Old MacDonald" most of the way home for him, covering every farm animal in existence, I do believe. We exchanged one noise for another.

Logan fell asleep earlier in the morning than usual and slept through the sound of the power saw that James used to cut openings in some of the new containers. I can say with satisfaction that a section of the garage around the doorway got dejunked, swept, and organized. Each person in the family now has a tub for shoes, boots, hats etc. and each category of recyclable material has its place. "A place for everything and everything in its place." Happy sigh.

Following his nap and lunch, in lieu of a birthday cake, Logan enjoyed a popsicle (naturally egg-free and dairy-free ;-) on the front lawn and a dip in the wading pool. At various times throughout the day, he opened gifts and played with some new toys and a book.

100_3066 100_3081 100_3088 100_3094 100_3151 100_3159
(Click on a picture to view larger.)

In the afternoon, I rocked him and sang "Happy Birthday" again with a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes as I prayed for family missing a daughter. I felt pulled between the joy of celebrating life and the sorrow of grieving its loss.

In the evening, Logan went into high gear as usual, crawling, standing, playing and babbling. He enjoyed pointing between the painting in the kitchen featuring a lamb and the painting in the family room of horses, reviewing the different sounds the animals make. It sounded to me like he said, "Neigh."

Bye Now!

Happy Birthday Logan *New Pictures Added July 17*

Worth the time to load :)...
Photo and video editing at

Please scroll down to read prayer request...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prayer Request

Please pray for a teenage cousin of mine who, while attending a church picnic today at Lake Ontario, was lost in the water. I'm not clear on the details, but the rescue effort has been called off for the night. Though humanly speaking, the situation seems without hope, please pray for her survival. Her grieving family most especially needs prayer support. Thank you.

*July 16 morning update*

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Boy After My Heart

They are home safe! James and Evan went on a backpacking trip in the Mount of the Holy Cross wilderness. Since Evan wants to blog about his experiences, I will leave most of the details to him, but I want to record a few things that I want to remember.

I sent my camera with James and Evan, begging them to please remember to take pictures so that I could get a glimpse of the beauty that they would witness. Shortly after they returned home, we downloaded pictures and enjoyed a slide show. I was thrilled to see that Evan took many pictures of wildflowers. When I asked him what was his favorite part of the trip, he quickly said "The meadows of wildflowers and taking pictures." (A few weeks ago, Matthew said that he enjoyed taking pictures, but Evan retorted that he would rather do other things.)

Evan took some clear pictures of a blue columbine from some different angles. "I took this picture, because I thought you'd want to see the long petals on the back," he explained. His comment warmed my heart that he was thinking of me. His pictures are the best gift of flowers that I've ever received!

Please click here to visit Evan's blog to read about the backpacking trip from his perspective and to see the beautiful pictures! I'm sure he would love to hear from you in the comment section. :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Picnic in the Park

We spent the Fourth of July with James' mom, his brother John, and John's family. Since Mom's birthday falls on July 4th, she enjoys quite the birthday party every year complete with symphony, cannons and fireworks!

More of the Great and Grands

To read my mom's take on their visit and for another mountain trip slide show,
click here.


I certainly have not done a great job of recording milestones in Logan's development. When my older three were babies and toddlers, I kept a calendar for each, frequently jotting down their firsts and memorable things that they did or said. I thought that the blog would be Logan's calendar, but while I've treasured each step in his development, I haven't written much down.

Perhaps he will say when he is older, "Hey! Where is my calendar?" The older kids occasionally page through theirs, giggling at what they used to be like. How else, for instance, would we all remember that "Evoo", as he called himself, liked to listen to "mookie" (music) and eat "clakelo" (canteloupe). And when Matthew took his firsts steps, I could look back at Evan's calendar and make the connection that they both began walking when they were 10 1/2 months. In fact I counted the number of days after the ten month mark for both boys, and they both started walking on the same day!

Logan will just have to console himself with the larger number of pictures we have taken as he has grown due to the film-free ease of a digital camera.

Anyway, two days ago, Logan starting saying his first word. Ironically, his first word is "Hi." I say ironically, because unlike the older three, he does not warm up easily to people outside of our family circle. He smiled the earliest of any of our babies, but he reserves a poker face for most people. Hopefully he will learn to say "Hi" to other people besides just us! We certainly enjoy hearing him pipe in with his, "Hi....Hi...Hi" in the same tone of voice that we use when we say it to him.

When my parents visited recently, Logan stood hands free for a while for the first time while we all clapped. Then on July 5th, he began practicing standing up from the floor. I did catch some of that on video (currently in the sidebar).

James, the kids and I all agree that having a baby around is great family entertainment!

Monday, July 02, 2007


Sophie told me recently, "Mom, I remember playing at a park and it was so cold, my toes were frosting!"

I couldn't help but laugh.

She knew why I was laughing and laughed too as I asked her, "What flavor? Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Strawberry or Cherry?!"

Sometimes the kids wittingly coin their own terms. On a hike, I asked Evan to give me my water bottle. He taste-tested the two bottles that he had to tell between his and mine. "Here, this one is yours, because mine is stalized."