Sunday, May 31, 2009

Learning How to Pump the Swing

"Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth."
1 Chronicles 16:21

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shadow Play

While I was working on Sunday School materials today, Hunter was listening to tapes, coloring, and talking to me. Even when I can't be actively doing things with him, I still want to include him in what I'm doing in whatever way I can.

So in a moment of spontaneity, I started making shadow puppets. He laughed at the little dogs and bunnies (that's about all I know how to do) and then, as he was across the table from me, I reached my hand back towards the lamp, making my hand shadow quite huge, and jokingly said, "Roar! I'm going to get you!"

I then started moving my hand backward and forward, saying, "Big, little, big, little." I explained why, when my hand got closer to the light bulb, it was blocking more light, which made my hand appear bigger, and when I moved it far away, it was blocking less light, so my hand looked smaller.

He was cracking up.

Then of course, he had to try it. He was laughing the whole time, delighted in this simple discovery. I laughed, too, and was reminded yet again how, when you have a preschooler, life is never boring, and each day full of new discoveries. And I was thankful, so thankful, for the blessing of being a mother.





"Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily..."
Deuteronomy 6:3

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Motherly Love

I make it a point to look Hunter in the eyes and smile at him many times a day. It's important for me to connect with him, to continually let him know that he has my heart and goodwill, that I am interested in him and love him deeply.

Of course, we demonstrate our love, goodwill, and interest to our children in more ways than one, including our actions, our words, and our attitudes towards them (and around them: they pick up on more than we probably realize). But facial expression is so important. The Bible calls it "countenance". Some of my favorites:

"The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:26) God's countenance gives us peace.

"There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." (Psalm 4:6) God's countenance in us shows the people that there is good in the world.

"For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance." (Psalm 21:6) God's countenance makes us glad - exceedingly glad!

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul?... hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." (Psalm 42:5) God's countenance is our hope and help when we are "cast down" or discouraged.

"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted." (Psalm 89:15-16) People who "know the joyful sound" - who are joyful - walk in the light of God's countenance! Not only that, but they rejoice all the day and are exalted in his righteousness!

I love these verses. Reading these and the many others with that word has taught me so much. Even though I'm not always perfect, I try to always have a joyful, loving, interested countenance towards Hunter. If God's countenance is so important to his children, certainly the parent's countenance is important to theirs.

But what made me think of writing about this is Hunter's recent displaying of affection and endearment towards me. Over the last few weeks, he has been very frequently returning the favor of random smiles, kisses, hugs, and kind words of encouragement towards me. He will just walk up to me out of nowhere and give me a big hug, or smile the most precious smile towards me, or tell me that he loves me. Granted, he's certainly not perfect and is not always full of hugs and smiles, but it is so encouraging to see his recent display of not only affection but genuine appreciation for his mother. Being a mother certainly has it's blessings but it is things like these that make each day the most wonderful of days in the world.

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed..."
Proverbs 31:28

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old

Please Play With Me!

So this evening I had to spend an extended while on the computer and had Hunter playing with some toys on the floor.

He wasn't being particularly patient and really wanted me to play with him, but I kept on telling him that Mommy couldn't play right now because I had some work I had to get done so he would have to play on his own for now.

He asked a few more times over the period of time I was on my computer, until all of the sudden I heard him say, "I will pay you a dollar if you play with me!"

To which he proceeded to walk up to me and hand me one of his over-sized fake playbills from his math shelf (which was actually a ten, not a one).

Which, of course, made me feel really bad about not being able to play with him - my preschooler is offering to pay me to play with him. It made me laugh though, and it was yet another one of those humorous, unexpected life with a preschooler moments that I hold so dear.

"For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it."
Ecclessiastes 7:12

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old

Baseball Pics

These boys can't seem to get enough of baseball. Sometimes it feels like I am constantly prying gloves, balls, and bats out of their hands, and I'm beginning to conspire that those items have some sort of magnetic attraction to the house (as it seems like no matter how often I throw them in the yard, they always end up back inside!)

They're actually both really good at pitching and batting, which has amazed me for years now. I remember Hunter, when he had just turned two, could hit an over-sized stuffed ball probably one pitch out of five. (Now if you're trying to get into the pros that's not the best batting average, but for a barely-two-year-old, it's not bad).

Anthony, too, has been a sports enthusiast since he could crawl, and was throwing spiral passes with a football when he was ten months old.

But, sports enthusiasts or not, the boys had fun tossing a ball around in the yard today. It was a chilly day (60 degrees and cloudy) but they were so busy running around I don't think they really noticed.

"Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand."
Psalm 89:13

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old


Hunter has developed the obnoxious habit of screaming lately. Not screaming because he's throwing a fit or screaming just to hear his own voice, but mostly screaming out of excitement while at play.

I'm realizing that it's my own fault that it has been allowed to become a habit, but no parent is perfect and sometimes (and unfortunately) we don't notice an undesirable trait until it's turned into a problem.

In our house, my mom never let us scream, not even while running around in the backyard. It was more of a safety issue than an issue of parental annoyance, and I understand her reasoning. You see, if my mom was so used to us screaming all the time while playing, how would she know if it was an emergency? She would always ask us (or friends who were playing at our house), "Are you broken or bleeding? No? Than don't scream."

Screaming is a good indication of a medical emergency, but it is also a warning of other emergencies, too. Take abductions, for instance. We tell kids that if someone tries to grab them, then they are supposed to scream and kick and bite, etc. But if adults are so used to kids screaming in play that it doesn't even alarm them, kids have just lost their best line of defense - help.

So, today I've started tackling the habit that I've allowed to form. Earlier I came around the corner and rushed up to tickle Hunter, and he let out a blood-curling scream. I told him, "No, Hunter, we don't scream. Am I a bad guy who is trying to hurt you or take you? No? Well you never scream unless you are in danger and need help. Mommy is not a bad guy, and you do not scream unless you're in trouble."

And that should be the end of that very soon!

"And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city."
Joshua 6:16

Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Teaching and Testing

"...and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Micah 6:8

Friday, May 15, 2009

Public Domain Books

I love sharing resources, but what I love most of all is sharing resources that are free!

Here is a resource that I am very excited to share with you all, and it is a website called that has over 400,000 public domain books specifically for homeschoolers!

Books that are in the public domain mainly include those that are the work of the federal government and those that were published prior to 1923. Public domain books may be copied, redistributed, and used in any way that you like, all for free!

There are a great many books available on this site, and subjects include:

American History, Anthologies, Arithmetic, Art Appreciation, Bible & Religion, Biography, Canadian Interest, Canadian Teacher's Manuals, Character & Etiquette, Christian Classics, Civics & Government, Classic Literature, Composition, Creationism, Drama & Public Speaking, Economics, Emergency Preparedness, Fables, Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes, Fiction for Boys, Fiction for Girls, Folk Songs & Hymns, Geography & Social Studies, Grammar & Spelling, Greece & Rome, Health, Helps for Mom & Dad, Historical Documents, Historical Fiction, Holidays, Home Economics, Latin & Foreign Languages, Medicine & Nursing, Music Appreciation, Penmanship, Philosophy, Poetry, Printing Tips, Reading Basics, Recreation, Reference Books, Science & Nature, SciFi & Ghost Stories, Shakespeare & Plutarch, Spelling & Grammar, Social Studies & Geography, Virginia, World History, Women's Studies

Quite a list, isn't it?

Besides being free, older books have many advantages, and one of the main things is that they tend to have more substance, less "fluff": more quality, less silly business. Expectations for the reader is generally much higher, and the ability of children to learn was far more appreciated. McGruffy's comes to mind, with spelling words such as "pharmacopoeia" or "Winnipiseogee" - and that was for sixth grade!

The other advantage many older books have is they aren't filled with all the politically correct nonsense so prominent in today's children's texts and books. There was an unashamed discussion on issues of character, right and wrong, good and evil. And most importantly, the discussion of God and the Bible was not prohibitive.

Be blessed!

"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth"
Job 19:23

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hunter Goes Barber

"... the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven."
Judges 16:22

Hunter is 4 years, 1 month old
Anthony is 2 years, 5 months old

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Going to be a Mission Specialist

Hunter has a new obsession.

He is going to be an astronaut, a missions specialist to be exact.

We've been learning - on and off - about space travel, the sun, the planets, and all things astronomy since about January. It's been a lot less structured than I prefer, but he's learned a lot, and all of the sudden moderate interest has transformed itself into an encompassing obsession.

We've painted constellations on our ceiling, explored everything there is to know about the sun, talked about planets and moons, colored a printable book from NASA, read library books about space travel, and all sorts of other things, but one of the biggest things he has loved is this audio CD we have called Space by Twin Sisters' Productions.

I dug that CD up out of my mom's basement, let him listen to it once, and he has been hooked ever since.

To be completely honest with you, I originally thought he simply enjoyed it because of those dreadful, upbeat tunes (yes, the kind that drive me crazy because I get the song stuck in my head and walk around all day humming, "I'm feeling light as a feather! Bouncy as a ball!"). I didn't let him listen to it that often even though he would ask me all the time. His constant pleading got the best of me, and I had been letting him listen to it occasionally but didn't really think about what kind of impact it was having on him - that is, I thought he was listening it more for the upbeat tunes than the lyrics. Silly me.

Needless to say it took me by surprise when all of the sudden, in the past week or so, he has walking around the house telling me that he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, and that he has to be really good at math and science because he wants to be a missions specialist. I'm a bit embarrassed that it did catch me by surprise so much because, after all, I should know better. That is, that we all too often underestimate kids and how much they're absorbing, how much they're paying attention to. It's one of those, Practice what you preach! sort of realizations which actually happens to me quite frequently. Oh well, you like and you learn.

He knows most of the songs almost completely by heart, even though he's probably listened to the whole CD less than two dozen times. The first song, called When I Grow Up, goes as follows: (which, sadly, I typed these lyrics out from memory)

When I grow up I want to be
Something very interesting
The job I'll do will help a lot of people
And I'll like the work that I do

Each day will be adventurous
And I'll strive to learn a lot
Then I'll share what I know and our knowledge will grow
It's the perfect, perfect job

Space travel has always been fascinating to me
So when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut
I know I'll have to study hard in school, be in good health, and work well with others

I either want to be a pilot astronaut, or a missions specialist
If I'm a pilot astronaut, I'll first have to become a jet pilot
If I choose to become a missions specialist, I'll learn how to do space walks, satellite launches, and experiments in space!

Now science is important so I'll study hard when learning about biology!
Experiments in chemistry will help me learn to develop good hypotheses!
And I'll read and I'll read and I'll read some more,
And I'll share just what I learn

'Cause when I grow up I want to be
Something very interesting!

So there's a little glimpse into our life right now for you. Hunter, dreaming big, as all little boys do. It's fun to feed his passions, to encourage him, inspire him, because you never know whether or not he may one day realize his obsession. Perhaps, perhaps not. Either way, it's enjoyable, healthy, and beneficial for him to have a vision like that, even if it does change over the years.

Oh, and the side benefit? He has recently become hugely enthusiastic about math again. For a while, he had me worried, not worried-worried but just a little, er, curious about what he knows and doesn't know. But he's back to his normal self again, solving equations like it was nothing, loving math and also pushing me to teach him all sorts of different sciences. It's been a small breakthrough, and at just the right time, too.

It's been a fun adventure, which may last a week or a year or a lifetime, who knows. All I know is that I'm encouraging his dreams and loving every minute of it. And, it never fails to make me laugh every time I hear my four-year-old tell me he is going to be a missions specialist, (especially with his cute, minor lisp, the word specialist is incredibly adorable). It's times like these I will look back on for years to come, enjoying the wonderful world of life with a preschooler.
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."
Psalm 8:3-5

Hunter is 4 years, 1 month old