Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's the end of November!  And though the posts weren't super stellar (too many pictures) I made it to the end.  And the best thing about this month is that it is also NoNoPneumoMo...No November Pneumonia Month.  The first November in three years that Ella hasn't had pneumonia!

Monday, November 29, 2010

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Are we done yet?

It was a long trip, very stressful.  I'm glad to be home, but we got in at 10 last night and at two o'clock I woke up with a pounding headache and sore throat.  Looks like all the stress plus crappy processed travel foods has resulted in one sick mama.  If only I had time to be sick this week: Gingerbread house to prep for preschool, pilates, hosting a dinner, Tom has a night meeting....on and on it goes!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ella and her friend Lucka at the Hawkeye women's basketball game, the day before Luci went back home to Slovenia.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, November 26, 2010

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall Table Runner

The big girls helped me cut out the acorns and leaves, and then I traced all their hands.  It went off to Grandma's house yesterday and she told me it arrived today.  A little bit of us for Thanksgiving since we'll be at the other Grandma's this year.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I know that I have things that I want to write about, and little things that I want to write down and remember, but I am finding november a little tedious these days and might just give up the NaBloPoMo efforts.  If I don't then expect lots of picture posts as Thanksgiving rolls on through.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GInger Snappish

Yesterday Ella requested Ginger Snappish tea...which does indeed taste like gingerbread cookies.  Unfortunately that flavor carries a strong butter taste, which I'm not sure I can appreciate in a cup of tea.
After dinner we played gameshow...guessing dinosaur names or random names based in descriptions Kate gave us...like Umbrella Fish House.  Lots of silliness, but all the prizes were backrubs!  So much fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yummy season

Tonight we made "Scrabble" (Tom's family chex mix, which was initially called Scramble until people discovered they'd been calling it the wrong thing for 40 years).  It is supposed to be a first snow tradition in our house but since we are in charge of treats for church tomorrow, and I had all the supplies, we made it today.
We also made Maple-Chipotle glazed nuts....yum!  I'm trying not to eat the whole pan before they actually cool.  I quadrupled this recipe:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ella was the photographer snapping cute shots of her mommy and her sisters.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Concordian Sisters, though in my household we haven't all quite come to the same conclusion regarding family size I personally find their side of the argument the more convincing one.  (Children are a blessing, one does not decline God's blessings, although this is not the same as the most questionable Quiverfull movement that advocates having as many children as possible.)
I thought of them when I read this article regarding how divorce is skyrocketing in China; marital troubles seem to be excessively prevalent in the " '80's Generation" of government mandated single children.  Having never had to live with anyone remotely their own age they find it impossible to live in a household that does not cater to or revolve solely around them.  Yet another argument for a larger family size (God willing, of course!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Dress!

Last Friday I spent some time at Common Threads for my first ever longarm quilting machine rental.  I did a couple of table runners and then spent the remainder of my (child free) time browsing.  I got a pattern from my mother-in-law awhile back for a beach dress that was dated 1963...and found some fabric that seemed to fit the bill while I was killing time in the shop.  Friday night I cut out the pieces (only two, plus a small facing for the frint/back collar areas!) and Saturday I put it together.  Even for a loose-fitting dress it was a bit too billowy, so I added a black elastic belt that in it's former life helped to hold my infant car seat onto it's not quite compatible stroller.  Sunday I wore it to church (Though I didn't get around to taking pictures until today):

And because I couldn't get my 4 year old to take a decent full shot, here are my shoes (because I love them so much):

(I'm linking this to Girls Gone Child's Good Wear post for this week.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"I two!"

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sad Käthe

...poor thing has fluid in her ear and it's really hurting tonight.  The kid has only had one infection in her lifetime, so a record of one round of abx in 4.5 years is great.  She is still prone to fluid though, and that hurts just the same.  I will be really frustrated if we have to get tubes for a kid who never gets sick!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Helping me post is boring....

...but at least the printer seems comfy.
We are hosting our first sleepover here tonight...Ella's been to several but we've never had anyone over here.  They are off at the movie store picking out something to watch; hopefully a quiet room and a calm movie after an afternoon of swimming will put everyone to sleep!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deer season

My dad called tonight to tell me that today he shot the biggest deer he's ever seen - 11 points.  It's about time...my mom got a big buck years ago, but as hunters for food rather than sport the antlers have never been a priority.  But I know that he's always hoped to get a big one.  I'm happy he got the chance!

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A few weeks ago I took a longarm quilting class at the local quilt shoppe - tomorrow is my first go round at using the machines. I have a practice piece and a couple of table runners that I'd like to give as gifts, so hopefully things go smoothly. Ordinarily I would be nervous about using a nearly $20,000 sewing machine on my own for the first time, but if working with FPLC taught me anything it was how to work expensive equipment without freaking out. Plus I'm not using precious samples that took weeks to prepare, nor is the equipment subject to harassment by various solutions (also made by me) whose pH fluctuations may muck the whole thing up. Fabric, needle, thread....not nearly so scary.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make new friends, but keep the old

Our dear friends from Slovenia are back in town for a visit, having returned to Slovenia last year after 10 years in Iowa. It was so great to have them over for dinner and hanging out this afternoon. I hadn't realized just how much I missed them until I was hugging everyone and crying! We will have to start planning a trip to Europe to see them and Aunt Beth in the next few years.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I wish had time for a more substantial post, but this week has me hosting 2 dinners for friends and sleepover for Ella, attending or chauffering to Pilates, Girl Scouts, a 2nd grade choir concert and an open house. Tomorrow is Kate's preschool treat day and for perhaps the first time ever we are doing a pretty lame pre-packaged treat (healthy (dye-free, lower sugar) yogurt tubes and juice). I was going to bake, but one of the cats has had a puke fest today, which means there is carpet to shampoo and a trip down to the vet tomorrow to pick up de-wormer. Ugh. Next week has to be less full, right?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sunday, November 07, 2010

My woodland fairy princess.

A cold little fairy.

And there was also Cinderella, but I seem to be lacking in pictures of her!  Time to email grandma(s) and see if one of them has some.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Block Party

Our first ever attempt at a block party is this afternoon...Everyone on the street moved in within the past year (new neighborhood) so no one really knows anyone else.  Hopefully the chilly, windy day won't deter anyone...next year we'll need to be on the ball a bit more and have it about a month earlier.

Friday, November 05, 2010


I wrote this yesterday, since I thought a practice mobile post was probably pretty lame to count as a post for the day.  (Not that this little blurb is all that deep or thought provoking) Turns out this one didn't publish...probably user error.  So I am going to let it count as today's post.  30 posts for NaBloPoMo...no one said that they had to be good!

Just a couple of little cute things:
Today I was holding her as I was making dinner and she looked into the pot of chicken noodle soup..."I like-a noodles!" she exclaimed.  After dinner when I told her she could have ice cream she looked and me and said. "Really?" in the most incredulous voice, so cute.
And yesterday when she woke up from her nap and was scared and sad I asked if she wanted to nursie..."Makes me feel better" she told me.  (Not the first time she has told me that nursing makes her "feel better" but it melts my heart just the same!)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Trying again

I tried a mobile post yesterday but got the address wrong...let's see if I can get it through today!

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Manic Wednesday

Wednesdays (and Mondays and Fridays, to a lesser extent) are getting crazy.  We have started carpooling on preschool mornings, which I love, because less driving and more days when I don't have to go anywhere are great.  But it means that on the days that I drive I need to have everyone ready to go and out the door at 8 am.  Lately Käthe has been in a foul mood in the mornings, making everything into a struggle.
Today was Ella to school, pick up kiddo for carpool, back home to get Thea dressed and throw in a load of laundry.  Down to preschool for drop off at 9, then groceries until 10:30...pause to nurse Thea...back home by 11.  Swap laundry to dryer, put away groceries, start a short blog post, and back to preschool for pickup at noon.  Home again for half an hour, then it's Ella's early out day, so back to her school by 1:00.  Home again for lunch, homework, naps, make dinner....and Tom and Thea are off to music class at 6.  The longest day of my week that flies by  in a blur because I never sit down!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Today I am...

...chasing aspirin with coffee in hopes of getting rid of this headache.
...playing scheduling roulette, hoping that Käthe's 2:20 physician appointment is finished by 2:55, so I can make it to school to pick up Ella.
...wishing that I could remember how to email blog posts from my phone, but I can never remember the email address.
...avoiding putting Thea down for a nap, because it is so stinking hard to get out of bed after she falls asleep. And then there's that whole leaving in an hour thing.
...hoping that we all feel better tomorrow!

The birthday girl and her sisters.

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaBloPoMo Again

Also known as the one month where my blog actually exists...when I look back it seems like we only do anything in November, and just hibernate like bears the rest of the year. I know that this year I can post from the phone, which will hopefully make it a bit easier. I have a hard time with pictures, especially...to get them off of the camera and onto the computer and then uploaded is just too time consuming.
Today is Thea's second birthday. We celebrated yesterday with cake and presents followed by trick-or-treating. Might as well get the whole sugar rush in a single day. This years costumes included A woodland Fairy, Cinderella, and a little fairy princess. Pictures forthcoming.

Friday, July 09, 2010

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, July 02, 2010

I wrote the middle section of this post a couple of weeks ago, when we had not yet gotten the full report from the psychologist. When we received the report a week ago I was somewhat surprised to see that the diagnosis also included "Reading Disability". At our parents' interview the psychologist suggested tutoring as Ella was behind for grade level, but I didn't seem to connect that with dyslexia. Perhaps she came to the final conclusion after our interview, we discussed our reading habits with Ella at home. Perhaps I was a little bit in shock and didn't really hear much of anything after the first 5 minutes!

I've been debating about writing about this topic, because in some ways it seems an invasion of Ella's privacy. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't hesitate to write about a sprained ankle or another bout of pneumonia, and this shouldn't really be any different. But for the same reason I don't often write about depression, because I don't think of myself as "depressed person", I struggle to write about ELla and ADHD - because she is not just ADHD.
We learned of her diagnosis on Monday, and somehow, even though the testing was my idea, I made the appointments with the psychologist, I filled out the behavior surveys and pregnancy, birth, whole entire life histories...I was still surprised when she said "I feel that ADHD would be an appropriate diagnosis for Ella." I'm not sure what I was hoping for - I told Tom that there were two apparent outcomes: Either there is something "wrong" with my child, or there is something "wrong" with our parenting of our child. In reality it is much more complicated than that, but at the end of the day, nobody wins.
Lots of people seemed surprised that we would have her tested, no one at school had requested it, she was doing alright academically, but those nagging little things just wouldn't go away. Her apparent lack of understanding of personal space, the attacking displays of affection, the seeming disregard for other people, the stair step pattern that her reading ability seemed to follow. She is one of the youngest kids in her grade, and it was really hard to distinguish between age-related immaturity and actual problematic issues (For example, would her attention span seem short if she were in kindergarten instead of first grade? Would she be a better student?)
She is starting a new school next year, and I am worried about how it will go. She made good progress last year, with behavior cue cards on her desk and simple reminders. One of the most frightening things the psycholigist said had nothing to do with Ella, but rather the Iowa City schools: "Our kindergartens are not functionally appropriate for kindergarten aged children."


There is a such a push to get as many kids as possible doing "well enough" that kids who struggle have to fail spectacularly to get help. It has been recommended that Ella be tested again for dyslexia by her school district (as only their testing can be used for qualification of special ed. help, etc.). Unless she tests below the 40th percentile for her grade, she won't be deemed in need of assistance. But reading is really only taught for a few years, and success in every other subject flows from being able to read both competently and quickly. Buy the time her reading struggles have compounded to the point that she qualifies for extra help, she is likely to be in an vortex of academic decline. I am so thankful that Ella's grandma is an early elementary teacher with an emphasis on reading and special ed - I can't help but feel optimistic that even though we have a lot of work to do around here we are surrounded by a bevy of qualified caring people to help us along the way.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I have spent the past week shirking my other duties to work on sewing a dress for myself. I rarely sew things for me, usually it's for the girls or gifts for other people. Sewing is a tricky hobby for me - I tend to feel a lot of guilt over the time and money that go into it, especially if things don't get finished.
My project list right now includes curtains and a bedskirt for Thea, quilting and binding my finished quilt top, and making a full quilt for the IO-DIS-E-CA quilt auction in October. I really shouldn't have added a pattern and fabric for a dress for myself to that mix, but I did. Then I sat down and gave every project a due date - the dress was first with a "finish by June 15th" deadline.
I have been using the Amy Butler Liverpool pattern and it was coming along with only minor frustrations. I upped my finish date to June 12 thinking that I would wear it to a going-away party Saturday night. And then, when I had the sleeves set in and everything finished except the buttons and hem, I tried it on. And then I cried. A lot actually. It seems a silly thing to cry over, but it didn't even occur to me that a center back seam and my scoliosis would be a disastrous combination.
I don't often think about having a spinal "deformity". It's not noticeable most of the time, and I stopped wearing my brace 14 years ago. But the center back seam, combined with a slightly protruding shoulder blade, pulled to the right in a very graphic outline of my crooked spine. I've let out the darts on the right, and taken them in on the left, and the seam looks just fine actually. There is some excess fabric on the left shoulder that no amount of taking in seams to help, and I've played around with some extra darts to no avail. It looks fine from the front, and really it's alright from the back too. But it bugs me...because like so many other things it falls into my absolutely perfect or not worth the effort personality. And because the things I sew tend to garner that coveted complimentary reaction I find myself double disappointed: No "perfect" project, no compliments, just a fat reminder that "hey those spine issues that you pretend don't exist are there" and feeling dissatisfied with my vocation doesn't mean that I should be out looking for validation elsewhere. So not a perfect dress, but perhaps an adequate one. Also not a total waste of time - my skills were improved, I know to not bother with a fitted bodice again, and hey, I had fun during the process!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're into the new house. Still unpacking, but feeling pretty settled for the most part. I finally got around to altering the big girl's curtains - an excuse to use my new rolled-hem and ruffler feet for the sewing machine. They are super cute and I actually managed to get them hung! Next is on to Thea's room - I have yards and yards of Kate Spain's Verna line waiting for curtains and a bed skirt. Until I get pictures taken of the girls' room here are a couple of recent projects:

Doll quilt and pillow:

Baby Quilt for Ella's teacher:

Same pattern, different scale. Lots of fun and quick to put together, too.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Counting down

I am kind of amazed that I am not in full-on panic mode at this point. Closing is in just a couple of weeks, we have a pending offer on this house (but the buyers' house hasn't sold), things seem to be falling into place. I tend toward expecting the worst, but every step toward this move has been a huge blessing, and I am trying hard to not let fear and doubt cloud my vision.
On one hand I am excited to be out of this house - since our offer is pending we are still showing it and having open houses. The pressure and stress of trying to get a house ready to show with three little kids following me around tends to make me not such a great mother in that last hour of frantic cleaning. On the other hand, I really will miss this little house. I am looking forward to one last Easter Egg hunt and Easter dinner!
Thea is crawling onto my lap and then onto the desk, so I think it's time to redirect my attentions!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LCMS Reporter posits "An 'educated" response to membership loss"

We received the March 2010 issue of the LCMS Reporter today, with a commentary entitled An 'educated' response to membership loss. Author Mark Blanke laments "a 15% decline in baptized members between 1976 and 2006" and asks "To what might we attribute this loss?" He postulates that parish education is to blame...but I think he might be missing something a bit more obvious: the advent of modern birth control.

A few key dates (source: Birth Control Timeline from MedicineNet.com)

  • 1965 - The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Comstock laws that banned contraception.
  • 1976 - A T-shaped IUD is approved by the FDA.
  • 1980s -The modern, low-dose, two- and three-phase birth control pills become available. 1992 - The FDA approves the first hormone shot to prevent pregnancy for several months at a time -- Depo Provera.
  • 1998 - The first emergency contraception is approved by the FDA. Women can take Preven pills up to 72 hours after sex to prevent pregnancy.
  • 2000-2002 - Four new birth control products are approved by the FDA a birth control "patch," slowly releases hormones through the skin; NuvaRing, a small, flexible ring is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones for three weeks. Lunelle is a monthly hormone injection. Mirena is an IUD effective for 5 years.
  • 2003 - The first continuous birth control pill, which women take every day to suppress their periods and provide birth control, was approved in September. Seasonale schedules four menstrual periods a year.
Blanke cites "a loss of more than 400,000 individuals". Though I don't have the resources to compile numbers, I would not be surprised to see that this overall loss could be accounted for by our failure to honor the vocation of motherhood - we are simply not replenishing "all the saints, who from their labors rest."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

37 Days

The new house is coming along...Lights are installed, everything is painted, stone is on the fireplace. I would feel a lot better though, if this house would sell. We've had, on average, a couple of showings each week, but no offers. I think that we will reduce the price this week - I would hate to think that we would sell it for just barely more than we paid, especially since fees would eat up almost everything we have managed to gain in equity. Lest I sound like I am complaining, I am truly thankful for all the blessings that we've received in the process of getting our new house!
A few pictures of what the new place looks like these days:
Master bedroom (still most excited about my bathroom!)
Dining area, doorway into our bedroom, kitchen counter on the right:
In family room, looking into kitchen:

Things are moving fast, but I am still nervous that we will run into some huge hurdle along the way. I would even venture to guess that the nasty headaches I've had for the last 6 months might dissipate after all the closings are finished. I am carrying so much unnecessary stress.

In news of my girls, everyone is doing well. Thea had her first ear infection and antibiotics, usually we use the wait and see type of treatment, but she had been pretty miserable at for a few days already. Käthe and I were also battling colds, and Ella had progressed into full-blown pneumonia (again, second time this winter). I feel so bad for her - she is doing all right academically (at or just above grade level) but I can't help but feel that missing weeks of school at a time is holding her back. I remember reading lots of chapter books in first grade, and my mom's Christian pioneer novels by second grade (because I wasn't allowed to check them out from the school library yet - you had to be in third grade for full library access!)
I am planning on a bit of home summer-schooling so that she can make a fresh start at her new district this fall!
Käthe and Thea being silly:
Ella playing in the snow, Käthe and Thea eating it (their usual MO).

Monday, February 15, 2010

60 Days...

...and counting ' til new house closing. It is coming along quickly - almost entirely sided, it now has a front door and garage door, replacing the plywood that had been serving to keep it enclosed. Our little house is now officially for sale, the sign went into the front yard today. It is bittersweet - this is the house of all the first birthdays, Easter egg hunts, family dinners, garden fun. I have brought two brand new babies home here, and watched all three of my girls learn to walk, climb and run in our simple little abode. These two bedrooms and one bathroom are just not enough anymore, and I am so excited to have more space. Our new house is less that a mile from this one, and I think that the hardest part of moving will be driving by this one every day after we move, seeing someone else living here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little moments

My baby is getting so big...each little girl seems to grow up a bit faster, just as I wish they would all slow down a bit. Thea doesn't know it yet, but she is going to get a bed of her own when we move. She is a sleeper with specific desires...blankets are passionately hated, she needs room to stretch, she will kick and flail herself up to the headboard where she has far bypassed the nursies she wants. She has napped for more than an hour only a handful of times in her 14 months, has never slept through the night. Ella woke up smiling...Thea always, always wakes up crying. (Though she never gets to just sleep until she is done - she is constantly being awakened by her sisters.)
Some of these things are to be expected, the other girls didn't sleep through the night until they were well into the process of weaning. When Käthe started sleeping all night at 20 months I was elated; Ella was 30 months before she was doing the same. This is a busy time for all of us, and being out all day means we forget to sit down and nurse...and make up for it all night long. But we are also growing weary, both of us suffering from the lack of good sleep. It is impossible, or at least not sensible, to work on the sleeping now. Thea is usually easily calmed by her daddy in about 5 minutes, but 5 minutes of screaming is enough to wake Kate...who commences her screaming and re-wakes Thea. We are just a bit too close together these days.
Moving the baby out of my bed is bittersweet, though. I have never done so without another babe getting ready to take her place. Last night Thea was dreaming about dogs...barking in her sleep with her excited "woof, woof", then crying in fear, as she does when a dog gets too close. I held her tighter and told her I was there, so she began barking again, and whispering all those little nonsense words that mean she is talking to someone. I will miss the little sleeping laughs, the tiny mouth that still nurses in her sleep - even when the nursie has been removed. It will be great, however, to not wake up stiff and sore because the smallest person has been taking the largest portion of the bed.