Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Three things:

1) Sweet Pea's school picture is SO COMPLETELY ADORABLE!

2) Last night Sweet Pea had to sleep in the guest room with nobody snuggling her to sleep, etc. I know this is not a good thing, but earlier in the day when she didn't beat the timer getting dressed I had told her she would have to sleep in a different room by herself that night so I had to stick with the prescribed punishment. Even though it was something I shouldn't have used as a punishment because it's something I do want her to learn to do ANYway, as a growing kid. I thought she was going to beat the timer. And I couldn't think of a better idea at the moment that I uttered what the punishment would be.

ANYway, this morning after she woke up, Sweet Pea bounded into our room and happily proclaimed, "that was fun! I like sleeping by myself in my own high bed (the guest bed is on a frame; the kid bed in our room is not) in a different room!"

WOW! That was cool. The girls currently sleep together on a full sized mattress on the master bedroom floor (although The Bug wakes up almost every night and climbs into the "big bed" with Slipshod and me) and while I actually like having the kids in our room, I do hope that some day they will both want to move out and into their own room. All the things I read about co-sleeping when Sweet Pea was a baby said that if kids are allowed to sleep in a family bed they will ask to move out of the bed and out of the room when they're ready, which they say usually happens between... oh, now I can't remember the ages. But 5 is about right, so there you go! It really does work!

Of course, we don't have a bed frame for Sweet Pea and she also wants to sleep alone, not with her sister anymore, so we've got a little shopping and a lot of rearranging to do, but this is exciting! I don't know if The Bug will want to move to a different room with her sister, but it doesn't matter. Since Sweet Pea is ready for her own bed we'll get another twin sized bed for The Bug and put it in whichever room she wants to sleep in. My feeling is that she will want to keep her bed in the master bedroom but she is missing her sister from their bed (Sweet Pea is sleeping in the guest room alone again tonight) so who knows, maybe she will want to move rooms too! We shall see.

3) In case I haven't been reporting this well enough, which I probably haven't, Sweet Pea's reading skills seem to be increasing daily. She is one motivated learning reader and is really really enjoying her successes. We do read with our kids every day, and work with Sweet Pea to teach her to read, but she is so interested in learning right now that we have found other ways to encourage her to keep learning even when we can't sit with her ourselves.

Since watching a number of episodes of The Electric Company (yeah, Netflix!) she completely understands the concept of the silent E and while she doesn't know yet which words have a silent E and which don't, if she is struggling to say a word and I tell her "silent E," she can immediately say it; she knows exactly what each vowel should sound like in that situation. I think it's really cool how easily she learned that and how well she knows the vowels' different sounds. The Electric company has also taught Sweet Pea how to read words with 's or 've or 'd, etc. at the end. She doesn't yet fully understand possessive uses of apostrophes, but she totally gets that "doesn't" is a contraction of the words "does not." It is incredible how easily she picks up some of this language stuff!

She's also at that really fun stage where she wants to read everything she sees. While we drive she reads words on trucks, buildings, you name it. When we walk on sidewalks she wants to read every street sign we pass. Oh, and she enjoys reading license plates as well, even though most of them are only a jumble of numbers and letters.

We also got Sweet Pea Leapfrog's replacement for the Leapdesk (her great aunt & uncle got her one a couple years ago for Christmas and she loved it but it fizzled out recently and since they don't make it anymore I don't think we can get it fixed & they've stopped making the books for it). The new product is called the Tag Reading System (which was out for trial at BlogHer in July but I couldn't get near it, it was so popular with the moms!) and it has a talking pen to which you can download up to 5 books at a time. The books are softback and hardback story books, but with the pen they are much more than a storybook because they contain games you can play with the pen, the kid can use the pen to read one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one page at a time, or the whole book (with a little sound to let you know when to turn the page). The games include questions that teach reading comprehension, and some questions send the child back into the story to find characters or other things. It is really amazing how detailed this teaching tool is. I thought the same thing about the Leapdesk. I guess this is why Leapfrog is in business: They're good at what they do!

After your child has been playing with the pen & books for a while you can hook the pen up to your computer (it comes with a USB cable) and sign into your account on Leapfrog's website and you can see what skills your child is learning by playing with the pen/books. Sweet Pea loves to show us what the pen & book can do together and when she plays with them we can hear what she's working on and learning - she's already learning about compound words (among other things) through the Ozzie Otter book.

Honestly Slipshod and I were a little skeptical at first about how much Sweet Pea could learn from a computerized pen but she really enjoys playing with the Tag system by herself sometimes and later that night she'll read us a book before bedtime! She is so interested in learning to read right now that she is soaking up every related activity she can get her hands on.

Now The Bug is pretending she can read as well. She will point to words, one at a time in order, and say something completely different - unless what she's pointing at is a book she's got memorized, in which case she's spot on. ha ha!

And now on to more immediate ponderings...
Tonight I should be doing things, but I just want to sit here. Mom is coming over tomorrow to play with the kids while I make soap, so I really need to make sure I've got all my ingredients and gear in one place, but man, when do I get a day off? I just want to rest for a while!

On Friday we have our first parent-teacher conference of the year. Sweet Pea's progress report was positively glowing. Being a returning student has given her a lot of confidence and she is branching out this year and being more social and speaking more audibly (last year she was so shy nobody could hear her when she spoke at school). She loves being at school and even though she has already been sick a couple times, she has only missed one day of school, I think.

The worst days of these colds have been on weekends so far, and I'm also sending her back sooner this time. Last year I think I may have kept her home longer than necessary - or maybe this year I'm sending her back too soon - but I'm sending her when she's got her energy and hasn't had a fever for 24+ hours, etc. It's all good. I'm hoping for a better winter but it looks like she will probably get the diagnosis this winter of mild asthma. The last pediatrician we saw (last week - not her doctor - we had to see whoever had an open appointment that morning) pretty much said it sounds like she's mildly asthmatic.

Right now we're treating Sweet Pea for a very bad ear infection (the pediatrician said that it was so bad her eardrum might break but I don't think it did - but her hearing is still not back to normal) AND she's got a whole bunch of stuff in her lungs. The pediatrician said it sounded "bronchitis-like." She is still coughing up stuff a couple times per day but she only missed school last Friday. I think we've still got 5 days' worth of antibiotics to give her.

Wow, that last paragraph sounded like Sweet Pea is in awful shape, but she isn't. She was miserable last Friday - the ear infection hit her around 4am Friday morning and we couldn't get her to the doctor until 9:15 - but since then, even though she had a bit of a fever Saturday afternoon, she has had lots of energy and is acting like her regular self.

Okay I'd better go wake up Slipshod. He must have fallen asleep getting The Bug to bed. A very long time ago.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Did!

As always, if you want to see more detail click the pictures to enlarge them.

Yes, I voted on every other item on the ballot as well. :o)
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Monday, November 03, 2008


No I did not carve this freehand, but thanks for wondering. I printed a "Progress" poster off the internet & traced through it with a little poky wheel thing onto the pumpkin, then carved the lines with a knife to get the picture & then used little saws & clay sculpting tools to carve/shave. It took a really long time. AND, lest you give me more credit than I deserve, I was inspired by this website.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween 2008

NOTE: I have not been updating my blog because I have become so very annoyed with my Blogger limitation of 4 photos per post. I have looked up the problem in "known problems" but there does not seem to be a solution. Yet, I have heard from many other bloggers on Blogger that they do not have this problem. There must be something else (besides reporting in the "known problems" log) I can do to try to get the problem rectified. At any rate, I have finally decided to put up as many 4-photo posts as it takes to catch you up on all our doings around here during the month of October. So keep scrolling... there are 5 new posts - that means 20 new pictures! The first/bottom of this collection of posts is entitled "October 12th."

If you're on Twitter or have been watching my tweets go by on my blog, you know that I worked all week long to make the girls their Halloween costumes. Here, finally, are the results of all that sewing!

I just noticed that I forgot to have the girls hold up their tails, but if you look to the left of The Bug's legs in the last picture you'll see her tail hanging down, with a little ball of fluff on the end. My sister's first thought upon seeing Sweet Pea in her dress the other day was that she looked like Cindy Lou Who. ha ha! I thought the ears and tail might change that a little, but I can totally see what she's saying.

Sweet Pea only just made it out to trick-or-treat tonight. As I mentioned in the previous post, she started having cold symptoms a week ago. It has a been a very runny-nose type of cold, and for the past few days she has had a cough as well. Because of all the lung problems she had last winter after colds I've been listening but thought her cough still sounded like it was in her head and had not descended to her lungs. She's been going to school as normal this week and last night the two of us got to go back after dinner and enjoy Moms Night together in her classroom. She showed me around and taught me how to do some of the "works" she enjoys during school time. We had a really fun evening together.

Last night around 3:44am, however, she crawled into bed next to me and said, "My ear really hurts, Mom. It has hurt since Daddy left the room at bedtime." She seemed to be in a lot of pain but I didn't know what to do at that hour. I could hear Slipshod coming up the stairs (yes, he was up that late - AUGH!) and as soon as he got into the room I asked him to get Sweet Pea some Tylenol. She was able to get back to sleep but 4 hours later, on the dot, she woke up and was in even more pain. I got up and called the pediatrician's office just after 8am and they said one of the doctors could see her at 9:15 so I got myself and the girls ready and dragged Sweet Pea's leaden hiney in there. The Bug was all chipper and went wearing her entire costume down to the black cat trick-or-treat bucket, but Sweet Pea was in no mood - which was WEIRD for her. When I checked her in at the pediatrician's office the receptionist admired The Bug in her costume and said to Sweet Pea, "where's your costume" I said, "that's how bad she feels - she didn't care about it at all this morning."

By the time we got to the doctor's office Sweet Pea was starting to feel really hot and before they called us in she said she was starting to feel as if she might throw up. She didn't, but when I got her to the exam room she just wanted to lie down on the table. The doctor had a look and said, "yep, she's got a raging, bulging ear infection in that ear It might break; don't be surprised if you see fluid and blood coming out." I said, "Uh, you mean her eardrum might break? And I shouldn't be concerned about that?!" He said, "that's right. If it breaks it'll grow back together in an hour or so." He prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics as well as some numbing drops to put into her ears and we've also had her on Motrin and Tylenol all day since we got back home from our jaunt to see the pediatrician.

She perked up enough to eat and drink after we'd been home for a bit and then returned almost to her normal self for most of the afternoon, though she turned back into a puddle on the floor when the pain medications wore off. But an hour before trick-or-treating time I gave her more Motrin and then we ate dinner and she was able to walk around the neighborhood feeling pretty good. After all the anticipation and preparation it would have been a real shame for her to have missed this fun night out, so I'm glad we were able to pull it off. And I hope she feels a whole lot better when she wakes up in the morning.
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