Monday, July 30, 2012

Baby Dedication Sunday

On our 7th anniversary we dedicated our daughters to the Lord.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reading Eggs Review

Cory is 5.  He'll be starting school in the fall and in fact we're in the process of signing him up for a local Montessori school.  I'm super excited about that!

But before we knew what we were going to do I was on the lookout for any curriculum or apps that would help him get started.  When the opportunity came up for us to try out a program called Reading Eggs I thought I'd give it a try.

Reading Eggs is an online learn to read program that lets your child work at their own pace.  At first Cory wasn't thrilled because it was a bit of a challenge for him.  But as soon as we figured out that you earned eggs for completing lessons and you could use those to buy clothes and other things for your avatar and his house he was hooked.  You can also use them in the arcade to play games, but he doesn't seem to care much about that.

Here's what I think about the program.

  • Individualized learning
  • Teaches the letter sounds and gives audio examples of sounding out words
  • Has short activities that come at each lesson from different angles
  • Creates an incentive for kids to keep working
  • Is NOT an annoying program for a parent to listen to and work with

  • Requires good listening skills to know what to do in each segment (I think this could be easily fixed by not allowing a child to click "next" until the directions are done being read - at least in the first few lessons or the first time a new type of activity is introduced)
  • Could teach a kid that he needs a reward for learning

Cory isn't very far into it, but already I can tell that he's learning how to sound words out.  And he's now asking to play it all the time.

Personally my biggest complaint is that it is more like a game and he's only doing the lessons to get to play the games.  I think learning is something that we need to learn to love and I don't see that happening right now.  Although once he learns to read that will open up a whole new world to him and he does like books already so hopefully that won't be an issue.

As a teacher myself I know that sometimes you just have to learn stuff that isn't super fun.  If you don't learn it you can't go on to the "bigger and better" stuff without the basics.  I don't think that everything is like this, but I don't particularly like the idea that there should be a reward for learning.  Learning is its own reward.

That being said, I think there is a place for this and since I don't seem to be as organized as I'd like (what, twins?) this is helping Cory where I can't right now.

And they are always running specials so the price is pretty reasonable!  Sign up for a free 2 week trial and see if your kid likes it first!

I was provided with free access to Reading Eggs to facilitate my review.  I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Twins?

I laid them side by side to sleep and this is how I found them later, exact mirror images of each other!  And yes, for some reason they like to sleep like cats with their backs arched and heads tipped back!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Boy Quotes #11

Cory has been gone for 2 days and Noah gets up from his nap and says, "I need Bru tum home to me, I miss him".  So sweet!

After watching Leap Frog a few times this is how Noah sings the alphabet:
ABC - EFCheese - HIJK Elmo Peas - QRS - QRS - WXY and Z
and then he yells the rest of it - Now I know my ABC's, next time won't you sing with me!

We had a pretty big thunder storm right over our house at bedtime one night and Noah was scared.  So I picked him up and we watched out their window for a little while and talked about it.  He told me "I no like YakinaQueen in the clouds" (he thought Lightning McQueen was making the lightning!)

Cory: What is that?
Me: It's Blue Cheese.
Cory: What is Glue Cheese?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Story of Baby Switching

I'm working on the girls' first 3 months baby book this week and I have made a crazy discovery...

This is Joy.  She was born first.  She has two clamps on her umbilical cord.  The time stamp on this photo is 3:13am and the second baby wasn't born until 3:15am.

The doctor wrote down that he had put one clamp on Baby A and two on Baby B.  However, my doula took a video while Baby B was being born (time stamp 3:17am - so even if her camera time is off it's still the second baby) and you can see that while he may have put two scissor clamps on Baby B there weren't two of these little plastic clamps before she was handed off to the nurses.

The nurses put the little ID bands on the girls and listed this as Baby A.  Later when another nurse and Brian looked at what the doctor wrote down they were convinced that they had been switched.  So they took the bands off and switched them.  Incorrectly.

From then on everything is accurate, but I'm not exactly sure when the bands got switched.  I think based on later evidence that it was still Hope who needed the formula right at the beginning, but that was also when I was really out of it so I'm not sure.

We brought them home with the clamps still on and I painted their toenails then so I know they haven't been switched since.  One of the main reasons I can tell them apart in the birth photos, even when they're swaddled, is because Hope only has a birthmark on one eyelid while Joy has both.

At four months old they have personalities and differences and I'm not about to switch their names or the way we dress them (Hope in pink, Joy in other colors).  I suppose it doesn't really make that much of a difference, but to me, the first baby to be born was supposed to be Hope and the second Joy.  I like the way it flows better.  And I thought I was seeing some differences in their personalities based on who moved more in the womb, but now I wonder if I wasn't just projecting.  An interesting hypothesis.

Quite the story!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

4 Month Cuties

My babies are now 4 months old!  These pictures won't do it justice since they don't interact with a camera lens, but if you talk to them and they can find your face the both will light up and smile like crazy!

They are cooing and talking to anyone who will talk and each other when they can see each other.

Watching brother who's standing next to me to get their attention

I don't know how much they weigh, but I'm guessing between 14 and 15 pounds now.  Look at those double chins!

This is my wild and rowdy bunch!

Cory wanted a photo of just him with each baby sister so of course I obliged!  Half the time he won't smile for a photo so I had to take advantage of it!

Both boys love their baby sisters and are really sweet with them, helping me out as much as they can.  Noah can be a little rough, but that's only because he's 2!

On Sunday they were NOT fans of having to sit and be photographed.  Here they're giving Daddy (standing above me) the stink eye!

They are pretty good babies, all things considered.  They love to be held and sometimes I don't hold either of them because I feel bad not holding the other one.  I'm working on getting over that.

No teeth yet, but lots and lots of drool.  Now Joy is nursing much better, but Hope has to take a turn at not sucking properly.  I'm still hoping that one day it won't be painful...

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Family Wedding Weekend

Last weekend was long... almost as long as this post (I apologize, but it's just easier to make it one post right now!) and very full and fun. But it's taken me all week to recover and now get this up!

We went down to Portland on Friday, the main purpose of the trip being a wedding on Sunday of one of Brian's cousins.  We had a very late dinner with our lovely friends Jason and Amber and then went to our also lovely hotel.

Cory being super brave!

In the morning we made good use of their gorgeous pool and Jason and Coraline joined us.

Noah being very brave too!

This is how the babies did the pool time...

It was warm and humid in the pool room and put them right to sleep.

Yay for friends to enjoy the pool with!

After we checked out (and swung by IKEA!) we headed down to visit Great Grandpa and Norma. The girls were wearing their adorable matching outfits they gave us and I didn't manage to get a picture with both of them and the girls.  Maybe in August...

 Grandpa and Hope

 This is how we go to dinner in the Manor...
What a bunch of hooligans!

Grandpa met us there and he had been at a Corvette show so we convinced him to give one boy a ride to our second hotel...

Cool stuff, first time for Noah!  
Grandpa said he didn't stop talking the whole way!

Cory got to ride the other way the next day, from the hotel to the wedding...

Speaking of weddings... we were awakened at 8am (I know, we all got to sleep in!) by the brother of the groom calling to ask a) was I bringing my camera to the wedding? and b) would I be taking pictures?  Brian hung up and said, "those were silly questions" to which I responded, "wait, am I supposed to be the official photographer for the wedding???"

Joy and Uncle Dave

Needless to say I called the brother back to get a few more details and indeed, they didn't have any one planned to take pictures of the ceremony.  Also of note, I had just picked up a new camera from my father-in-law the day before... no pressure!

Daddy and Hope

My morning got into warp speed and we managed to arrive at the site almost 2 hours early so I would have time to scope it out, feed the girls, and hopefully have it timed so I could take the pics.  Good thing there were lots of other relatives willing to hold babies and wrangle little boys!

Grace's dad sees her for the first time

The ceremony was actually very lovely outside at a State Park.  It was HOT, but not quite as hot as one we went to last summer.

Jon sees Grace for the first time coming down the aisle

Husband and Wife!

I did manage to get a lot of good shots, now the fun will be in editing them.  After I quit freaking out... because when we got home I discovered that my CS4 version of photoshop doesn't support my new camera.  Good times!  First I thought I would have to get the new version, which would also require getting Windows 7.  But I found a work around for now... gotta love technology!

Oh, and there were a whole lot of baguettes left after the reception as well as some bags of spinach... and no one had bought anything to decorate the car with.  Yum.

But wait, our weekend isn't over yet!

We were at the wedding about 7 hours total and then back to our hotel... it was a good thing we'd swum at the other hotel because this one's was completely out of service.  But we didn't really have time for it anyway.

Aunt Priscilla discovered that we were staying very close to her work so she dropped in on us in the morning... notice we are still in our pajamas!  We don't get to see and talk to her often so that was fun!

Then we went back to IKEA to pick up the second crib and headed home...

Stopping for a couple hours with my friends Amy and Jore who I met through Compassion.  The boys had a ton of fun playing at their farmhouse and meeting cows up close and personal!  Noah was fearless in feeding the larger calf (7 months) and I got slimed by that little black one who had just been weaned.  He wanted his bottle!

Finally... we took a new route home from their house, over White Pass.  The views were absolutely spectacular, but we really didn't have time to stop.  This is a mirror shot.

We got home just before midnight.  Who knew a trip that should take 6-7 hours max could take over 12?  With 4 small children I guess that's how it works!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Books

Indoctrination starts early... 

A new book found at a garage sale and purchased with his own money... he was anxious to show it to brother!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Pray for Baby AJ

A long time ago I worked at a summer camp and met a guy named Brett and his mom Yvonne.  A couple weeks ago I sold some of my cloth diapers to a mom through a facebook group.  I didn't know at the time that she was Brett's wife and the baby was AJ.

Then one week ago Yvonne posted on facebook that her grandson, AJ, had a horrible fall and was being airlifted to Seattle with a brain bleed.

AJ is 6 months old and was born prematurely in December.  Currently he's in the hospital in Seattle under sedation while they try to allow his brain to heal.  He had surgery to reduce the pressure and they left a piece of his skull out.  Then on Sunday he had a grand mal seizure and now they aren't sure if he's been having seizures since the injury or this is new.

Today he got a PICC line installed and will need a transfusion.

This little guy needs all the prayers he can get.

Brett and Sarah are now in Seattle with AJ full time so Yvonne has set up a YouCaring site to help them with their expenses.  Every little bit helps.  You can also read updates about AJ there or on CaringBridge.

Every time I look at my girls and they smile back at me I think of AJ and how his parents are missing this smile right now.  I just pray that he makes a full recovery and they see those smiles again soon.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Produce for Kids (with Giveaway)

We all know that eating more fresh fruits and veggies would help us be healthier, right?  Now we can eat healthier and help kids get healthy too.

Now through the end of July, Produce for Kids is partnering with grocery stores across the country in a Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign.  At participating Fred Meyer and Kroger locations you can make any produce purchase and the store will make a donation to the local children's hospital.  (see below for exact schedule)

And while you're shopping for your produce, keep an eye out for this display with Ideal Meal recipe cards for you to try.  Quick and easy healthy meal ideas centered around fresh fruits and veggies.  Perfect for our busy summer schedules!

Where we live there's a fruit stand on every corner and we love the farmer's markets in the summer!  So it's nice to know that our local Fred Meyer stores also source their produce locally - from the Northwest that means only Washington, Oregon, or Idaho when in season.

We've been the beneficiary of our local Seattle Children's Hospital so I'm happy to support this campaign and hope they will help many more children for years to come.

Campaign stores and dates
Northwest Fred Meyer Stores: through July 26th
Kroger Southwest: through July 24th
Price Chopper: through July 28th
King Soopers: through July 31st
Kroger Central: through July 18th

The following hospitals in our area will benefit: Mary Bridge Children's Foundation (Tacoma, Wash.), Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation (Seattle, Wash.), Providence Sacred Heart Children's Hospital (Spokane, Wash.), St. Luke's Children's Hospital (Boise, Idaho), The Children's Hospital at Providence (Anchorage, Alaska), Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel (Portland, Ore.).


I have a $25 Fred Meyer gift card for one of you lucky readers!
To enter: please visit the Produce for Kids website and check out their Ideal Meals recipes (in the red box on the right hand side of the page).
Come back and leave a comment telling me which one you'd like to try. Please make sure I have a way to contact you!

For extra entries you may:

Leave a separate comment for each entry.

Giveaway closes on July 9th at midnight and winners have 48 hours to claim their prize. Open to US residents only.

I have been compensated for my time to write this post, but all opinions are my own.