Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fun with Food Allergies

So Jenny's wheat allergy is negligible. I've considered it so for a while anyway, so that's not real news.

Jenny's egg allergy is somewhat improved. We can try giving her eggs and see if she tolerates it. Just need to keep the epi-pen handy in case she can't.

Peanut allergy is worse. No definitive news yet, but she'll likely have this allergy for the rest of her life.

No tree nut allergies. Yea! She can have almond butter and almond milk now. And I don't have to keep her away from the pistachios either.

Her milk allergy is also worse. However, she may tolerate milk cooked into things and cooked cheese. We'll only know if we try it. A little scary, but potentially worth while.

Good times.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jenny Needs

"Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

"Yes, Jenny?"

"I need . . . I need . . . I need . . . I need . . . I need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I need caaaake."

A Thank You Note

Dear Santa,

Thank you for visiting our home recently.

James would like to thank you for the rattle and teething ring. He slept through Christmas morning, but Jenny was more than happy to assist opening his gifts. Now that he has discovered he has hands, he is always looking for something to hold. Those little gifts fit perfectly in his tiny fingers and they taste good too.

Jenny would like to thank you for the beautiful butterfly bicycle and Dora the Explorer helmet. She is still learning how to push forward with her feet, rather than back, thus activating the braking system. She can get on and off the bike by herself, and loves to ride it up and down the hallway. Come Spring she will be a pro and will love the extra space she'll get riding it outside.

Brent would like to thank you for the backgammon attache. It suits him perfectly and he has spent hours stroking its fine leather and admiring the inlaid pips. The custom dice holder is a nice touch, and the dice cups are just right. He is glad he now has a board worthy of his brass doubling cube, which he has put in a satin pouch and put with the board. He hopes that you won't be offended that he has replaced the doubling cube you gave him. He has also traded out the balanced dice you gave him with some of his own that are personalized with his initials. He chose dice that coordinate with the colour of the pips. The whole thing looks custom done and is of such high quality that he is so excited! Now he really does need to participate in the backgammon tournament in Vegas next year.

I would like to thank you for my new MacBook. (Thank you, thank you!) It was very unexpected, as I understand your budget doesn't usually allow for such extravagant gifts. It was fun to get such a surprise. Perhaps I will use it to write the next best-selling teen pulp fiction novel and we can make it a tax write off.

We had a wonderful Christmas. We spent time with loving family, and that is always the best part. That and the food. The food was really good.

Hope your Christmas was just as delightful and filled with joy.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Tree

This is our tree.

This is Big Ben
that Jenny hung on our tree.

This is the snowman
that is next to Big Ben
that Jenny hung on our tree.

Here is Pinocchio
who swings next to the snowman
that is next to Big Ben
that Jenny hung on our tree.

Here are some balls
that hang near Pinocchio
who swings next to the snowman
that is next to Big Ben
that Jenny hung on our tree.

If you couldn't tell, Jenny is a fan of the "cluster method" when it comes to decorating.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Christmas Fun

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Monkey See Monkey Do

Jenny watches me teach piano lessons and has observed me writing notes in my students' books. Jenny copies this behavior, and I have to be careful that I don't leave any music I care about on the piano. Every time she sits at the piano she requests a writing implement.

Today she handed me one of Brent's laminated score cards that she had scribbled all over in wet-erase marker. She said "Look, Mommy, I made a lesson!"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Someday I hope to see this number done at my Ward Christmas Party.

Who says that being worshipful always has to be solemn?

You're welcome.

Thank you Annie, for this delightful addition to my day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Jenny has decided that having a time-out is an acceptable price to pay for certain misbehaviors.

She'll offer to have a time-out in exchange for permission to be naughty.

Today's offer was this:

"Please can I hit the kitty and have a time out?"

I thought I'd teach her about the difference between asking permission and asking forgiveness, but I don't want her in on that little secret quite yet.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Things She Says

"I want to eat pretzels and sit on the couch with Mommy and watch Gilmore Girls." (Said in a desperate attempt to put off bedtime.)

"Is [the moon] shining just for me?" (Walking to the car after the Festival of Trees.)

"I want to be a little bit not soft." (She said this one when admonished for being too rough with the baby.)

My House is Haunted

That's right.

I have a poltergeist.

I might think that the poltergeist is responsible for opening drawers and cupboards, but I'm pretty sure that's just my husband leaving them open.

Right now my poltergeist is playing with Jenny's Leapfrog learning table.

The table will be quiet for days. Weeks. Sometimes months. Then suddenly and inexplicably it will start to sing. Right now it's singing the alphabet song. Over and over.

Maybe my poltergeist is a toddler.

My toddler, however, is sleeping sweetly.

Ah, I love nap time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Favourite Books of the Year

I have read 98 books so far this year. Granted, most of them were YA, so they go really fast. For those of you who like to read (especially YA) here is a quick list of my favourites of the year.

The list is in the descending order that I read them, and in no way indicates a ranking or preference. Nor do I group them by genre as I probably should. Here you go:

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A post-apocalyptic setting wherein Katniss, a teenage girl, competes in a fight-to-the-death televised competition in order to save her little sister's life. The main character's actions during the competition spark feelings of revolution in the oppressed people of the nation. A great springboard for discussion on reality television, government, rebellion, family, and the confusion of teenage love.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Sequel to Hunger Games as the rebellion spreads and Katniss unwittingly becomes the poster child for revolution.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Actually a series of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr)
Teenage boy meets baby dragon and together they experience adventure and tragedy as they are thrown into war. Eragon must take up the mantle of the Dragon Riders and battle to save Alagaesia from tyranny.

Forest Born by Shannon Hale (4th of her Bayern books)
Rin has lived in the Forest all her life with her large extended family. She has buried her frighteningly powerful abilities as she's grown up as the quiet and steady cook, maid, and nanny for her family. She leaves her family to go to the city with her brother, Razo (of the previous Bayern books), and gets swept up in an adventure wherein her dormant abilities come bursting forth. She's frightened by what she can do, fearing the her raw power will overcome and destroy her. It's a story about self-discovery, self-mastery, and self-confidence. A wonderful book for a young, insecure teenage girl.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The first time Clare meets Henry she is five years old and he's middle aged. The first time Henry meets Clare he is his twenties, and so is she. The convoluted story of their relationship and marriage as they try to live normal lives despite the genetic anomaly that results in his regularly disappearing from the present to travel into the past or future, an ability over which he has no control.

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
Autobiographical story of growing up on a street during WWI where the inhabitants of one side of the street were Jewish and the other Christian, and the events that transpired, breaking the barrier between the two.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The story of a young teenager, raised in a polygamist community, who is "chosen" to marry one of the apostles of her community. This apostle happens to be her middle-aged uncle. She fights the calling and as a result puts her whole family in very real danger from the leaders of her people. She battles between saving herself and saving her family from unspeakable horrors. A well-researched, well-written, and frightening book. Not for the sensitive heart.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Autobiographical story of fighting on the front lines in the German army during WWI. It does a wonderful job of expressing the psychological damage that soldiers suffer, and how if affects them for the rest of their lives.

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Precious Ramotswe is the first female detective in Botswana. She is "traditionally built" and adheres to traditional thought and morality. A gentle mystery with wonderful characters. The first in a delightful series.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Santiago, a shepherd boy, travels far to follow the advice of a prophet in the hopes of finding an unimaginable treasure. A story of listening to your heart, overcoming the challenges that face you, and following your dreams.

About Alice by Calvin Trillin
Columnist Calvin Trilling writes about his wife, who left him to cancer. She wasn't perfect, but she was beautiful and smart and sassy, and he loved her. Tender and sweet.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Kendra and her brother Seth go to spend the summer at the estate where their grandparents are caretakers. While there they follow a series of clues to discover the truth about the mysterious estate: that it is in fact a sanctuary for mythological creatures that are in actuality not mythological after all. They unleash an evil force and fight to save the sanctuary and protect the world from the creatures it holds. So fun. So imaginative.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Newberry winner and an absolute delight. Gaiman takes his inspiration from Kipling's The Jungle Book, telling the story of a boy whose family is killed when he is an infant. Instead of being raised in the jungle by animals, the boy is raised in a graveyard by ghosts. He nears manhood and needs to reenter the mortal world and discover the secrets behind his family's murder.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
A thief is released from prison in order to help the king steal a precious treasure from a neighboring country. Full of plot-twists and surprises. An extremely enjoyable and fun read. The first in a delightful series.

A must-read for any woman desiring a natural birth. Despite Ina May's rather far-out hippie lifestyle, her writing is still very accessible. Ina May remains an incredible resource and advocate for natural birth. She is a true pioneer in the return of midwifery. She convincingly teaches the reader that childbirth is a healthy and natural process, not one to be feared, but to be embraced. She describes labor not as painful, but as the most intense sensation that requires ALL of your attention. That perspective was invaluable to me and was in large measure responsible for the incredible birth experience I had with my son. If you're interested in natural birth, you can read my birth story here.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Ever wonder exactly why and how Hook lost his hand to the crocodile? Ever wonder what made Peter and Hook such mortal enemies and how they met in the first place? Read this book to find out. The first in a series.

Family Man by Calvin Trillin
Trillin writes about family life, fatherhood, and the delight of his children. An honest, sweet, and tender glimpse of the most important part of his life.

Private school shenanigans. Frankie is frustrated that her boyfriend won't share with her the truth about his membership in the most exclusive secret society on campus. She succeeds in uncovering their secrets, duping the entire group, and anonymously taking charge of their activities. What happens when a girl controls the most popular boys in school? What happens when she is discovered?
The title says it all. A simple story about the innocent adventures of children.

I felt understood and somewhat vindicated just by reading this book. Glad I'm not the only one who feels that etiquette and manners are important. Laugh out loud funny.

My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
A brief look at his childhood in Ohio. Humorous and full of wit, Thurber writes about the eccentricities of his family and the foibles of human nature. Would that more writers could accomplish what Thurber does in such brief sketches.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What She's Been Up To Lately

Jenny is kicked in the face by a baby's foot.

Jenny begs to watch herself in the camera.

Jenny wakes up with a rat's nest.

Jenny models the "crazy eyes" she stole from Shelley's house.

Jenny wants to be a baby too.

Jenny sings and dances and shows off her "crown" and "dress".

Goodbye Again

Recently my sister Emma and her family moved to Arizona. She came back for Thanksgiving and stayed at my house for three weeks. I loved having her here.

Here is a video of her boy and my boy.

She's back in Arizona now. I miss her already.