No Place Like Home

Jack upon coming home after we all had been on vacation for a week: He starts walking around the house looking into all the rooms. “Mom, I’m just looking around at our house. I like our house. Lucie’s room looks good, my room is nice and clean. . .these curtains are nice. Yeah, I like our house.”

By the way, this was not saying he doesn’t like Deedee and Papa’s house or any other house. He tells me he likes other people’s houses all the time, including my parents’. It was so cute, though, to hear him pleased with his own home–curtains and all!

Lucie is 2!

I realize this is tardy, but here goes. Her birthday was April 26, and our poor girl woke up with a cold. We had to cancel the dinner we had planned with friends, but she was cheerful nonetheless and had a fun day despite the sickness.

It is so hard for me to wait on opening presents, so we decided to let her open the gift from Matt and me after lunch. We gave her a small wooden train set with tracks and a few accessories because she really likes “choo choos”. She and Jack got involved with the trains for a while, so we waited a little later before eating cake. Leah had been helping me out with cleaning that morning AND baked Lucie’s cake for me: pure chocolate. All I had to do was stick two candles in and sing “Happy Birthday!” Lucie did try blowing them out, but eventually Matt had to help get the job done.

While taking her nap she got a few more presents in the mail–toy cleaning supplies–and played the rest of the evening with them. Whenever she finds a rag, she starts wiping everything she can reach, so she had a lot of fun with these. It was really a sweet day despite our colds.

I guess I should write in a few ways she is growing so big! She’s still learning to talk, but here’s a list of some things we can decipher:

Otay: ok
Tay-too: thank you
Dit-dit: band-aid
Dack: jack or snack
Wash: wash (remember how she loves pretending to clean things)
Gilk: milk
Wa-oo: water
Ah-ohn-too: I want to or I don’t want to; defer to context to figure out which one
Mee-mo: Nemo
Baby geek: baby swing (recently improved from “abu-geek”)
Touch kitty!
Her clearest words are “APPLE JUICE!”

Everyday she surprises me with new words and phrases. Isn’t it a fun stage?

She also loves all the animals and especially likes to make their noises (“moooo”, “cack-cack”, meow/weow,” …)

I think what will also stand out about this year is her ability to get her way with snuggles. Because she has a queen sized bed, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s so easy to lie down next to her. She scoots over as close as she can next to me, and, well, how can I resist when she puts her hand on my face and says “teep (sleep)! Before I realize what is happening, I wake up an hour or longer later, still in her bed. ( Matt has been known a time or two to fall into this trap as well!) Sometimes it does become habitual, and then we get serious and push her to go back to sleep on her own, just so you know. Ahh, well, I will remember it with a smile.











March 2017 Update part 2

Let’s talk some about Lucie!

I’ll probably be repeating some stuff from older updates, but the endurance of some habits are sometimes fun to remember, too!

The first thing I think of when someone asks about Lucie is that she dances all the time.  Old MacDonald, Twinkle Twinkle, If You’re Happy and You Know It–you just start singing, and the least she’ll door you is bob her head.  If she hears music playing anywhere, she starts moving around, too.  If music is playing, it is as if she thinks there is a rule that mandates PEOPLE MUST DANCE.

She can sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as “Geegle, geegle . . . TAR!” and now she ads, “”Ky, Ky, Ky.” (Like a diamond in the sKY).  She sings along with the word “Bible” in “Jesus Loves Me,”  and loves to ask Jack to come sing some of these songs when she’s tucked into bed for the night.

Lucie snuggles all day long, but she’s also somehow always on the move.  She’s the first one up in the morning, besides Matt, and likes to come sit in bed with me until I get up.

She still sucks on her three fingers, and although she still will hold the back of her other hand over them sometimes, she also now likes to hold her belly button.  It’s weird but adorable.   She’s chosen a favorite stuffed dog which rarely leaves her side whom she affectionately calls “Goggie.”

Down to one nap like Jack, Most days I can get them to sleep at the same time.

She loves a crowd, and every day is a party for her.





Update March 2017–Jack’s learning and other things

I know I haven’t given any updates in a while.  Part of that is because I don’t have any pictures I can download.  My phone has started thinking that five pictures means the storage is full.  Ok, maybe not just five, but basically my phone can’t handle many pictures these days.  So, for my birthday Matt gave me “real” camera.  It’s just a Nikon Coolpix–nothing fancy, but it does LOOK fancy.  So when I have it swinging from my neck, it hopefully looks less awkward–like I’m a knowledgable photographer, being the only person in public with an actual camera and not a phone.

Taking pictures with a point and shoot is odd in that even though the camera is supposed to be for amateurs, compared to the phone cameras, I have to go  backwards a little in time and slow down–I’m told it’s an actual shutter whereas iPhones work differently (I’m now realizing what kind of magic juju is going on with those iPhones), but I’m really getting used to it (you were right, Matt).  I’m enjoying taking fewer photos, but really thinking about the ones I do take.  Besides, if I were to compare the number of photos I’m able to take digitally on my camera with our parents, it would still be excessive comparatively.

SO, you might be thinking I’m going to post a bunch of pictures.  But, no.  This camera for some reason won’t bring the pictures up on my computer anywhere, and there’s no SD card insert on my computer–I’ve even had Matt look at it, so he is buying some kind of SD card plug in thingy that will let me do what I’m supposed to do with it.

Well, that was fun.  Let’s at least get some written memories down anyway, shall we?


We go over some “letter work” about twice a week, sometimes just a quick practice of writing letters and sometimes we’ll do a game or hands on activity like lace up cards–something simple.  We got through the 3 letter word Bob books, so I need to start him on some 4 letter words so we can keep moving.  Or maybe we’ll try that 100 reading lessons book.  Or maybe we’ll just keep writing for a while, we’ll see.  He really can’t write much, so I think it’s been a good break to work on that anyway.  Although the past week, I’ve seen him–on his own–just start trying to write from memory.  He generally writes the letters in backwards order, and some of the letters are backwards, too, when he does it from memory, but you can tell what they are.  Some of them are clear, just a little wobbly.  I’ll try to take some pictures and post them when my SD card thingy comes in.

We started some addition last week, and I’ll keep working on that.  I basically have taken some fruit out of our play food stash and we count 2 fruits plus 3 fruits or 5 plus 8 fruits.  Basic, no planning or extra materials required.

I am becoming my grandmother (Cutrer) in a lot of ways with him lately.  It’s either a stage or personality, but when he attempts something physical and can’t do it right away, he wants to quit.  So, Matt and I have had to whip out some Mawmaw tactics.  I remember sitting in her house one year, probably between 7 and 10,  figuring out how to play “Jacks”: bouncing that ball and trying to swoop up the little metal pieces over and over in order to choose some doll or other prize she promised if my sisters and I would learn a new game she had presented us.  So, when Jack really wanted one of those kid’s cameras, Matt and I told him when he learned to ride his scooter all the way down the driveway without putting his foot on the ground, we’d order him one.  I’ll admit, we had to keep him focused, and some days I had to make him practice, but he finally did it!

We also tried using this tactic recently just to help him get some physical energy out. When on vacation at an indoor kids’ arcade/playground (last week with Kiki and Grampy!), we required him to do one of the bouncy castles or bungee jump rides before he could play any of the video arcade games.  In this experience he was not so much afraid, I found out, but when given the choice, he’s always going to be interested in buttons over anything else (at least at this stage).  Even though he doesn’t know it, I really believe he’s figuring out that sometimes the better fun has to be learned.  He even requested the more intense bungee jump ride when he could have just given the  bare minimum run around the bouncy castle to amuse us.  (By the way, I’ll see if Matt can send the video of him jumping this thing.)

For friends who haven’t met Jack, this may sound like this kid is a big ol’ couch potato, but he really does love to run and jump like a normal 4 year old.  He is just learning to keep trying when he doesn’t feel success immediately with things that require . . .you know . . . PRACTICE. Plus, there are ALL THE BUTTONS EVERYWHERE calling his name.

As you know Jack has been in Sunday School this year, and they’re starting on the catechism.  It’s kind of like Bible Drills for Presbyterians–you learn questions and answers about God and learn memory verses for them (except you don’t look them up and there’s not an 8 seconds timer.  I do miss those competitions!).  At this age, they memorize so quickly, and it’s amazing how often we are able refer back to those questions and answers when he has a question about God.  And he has a LOT of questions.  When you need to explain something abstract like, “What does God look like?”  Well, his catechism says, “God is a spirit and has not a body like man.”  (I think that’s how it goes.  He probably would correct me if I’m wrong!) That makes it easier for me to springboard into a hopefully helpful response for him.  He’s doing great with the memory work, and he will have a formal recitation in May sometime.  I’ll get the date and send it out.  He’s also in a choir in which they sing their memory verses. Although he was hesitant at first, he’s singing the songs right along with the rest of them now.

Thursdays we’ve consistently been going to the library for four-year-old story time.  It has really been a wonderful half hour added to our week and a growing time for Jack, too.  Just like choir practice, it took him a while to understand that the director/teacher directs/teaches him as well as all the other pupils in the class.  In other words, the group directive is for him, too.  To his credit, the library we use is a private one connected to a Christian preschool, so the kids at story time are an already established class plus Jack.  But now he’s always able to tell me the stories, he’s really involved, and to my teacher-self delight, he always tells Ms. Carol “Thank you for reading,” when story time is over.  And by the way, it’s a delightful story time.  It’s not loud and crazy like I’ve experienced at some.  She keeps it really basic:  read stories, sing some songs. And because it’s a small library, Ms. Carol, the librarian, knows Jack and Lucie by name.  She has definitely saved some sanity for me. I can come in, tell her what types of things I’m looking for, and she whips around the bookshelves pulling out just what I need while I manage the little people pulling on my legs!

I know a lot of this was educational growth, but it’s what interests me.  Formally, it is only happening about 15 minutes twice a week, but their little brains at this age soak it in so quickly, that’s all that seems required!   I think it may be the teacher that has grown in me for why these stepping stones are strong on my radar, but I really do love it!

As this is long enough, I plan to do another post on sweet Lucie pie and anything else I think of in the next week!

Jack Turns Four

I know Jack asked for talking friends for his birthday (remember, because Lucie is apparently in the lame non-talking friend category), but December is really hard to get a crowd of people together.  SO, we think we will try and do a party for him in January (?).  It’s so sweet that he wanted all his friends over.  He always asks to have friends  over–he loves people and although he can be bashful at times, he gets crazy silly and boisterous when they do come.

Who are Jack’s friends?  Our neighbors come over once every couple of weeks, and then church friends make up the rest.  Because our church is small, it’s really ideal for a four year old socially.  Not only does he play with the older kids from church (or should I say they’re really good to play with him?), but he has a Sunday School class now with about four kids his own age.   And that’s just kids. There are some special adults and teenagers, too, that take time with him.

But he’s also the kid who will sit in his room for an hour just pretend writing and listening to “Adventures in Odyssey.”  He is always asking for a notebook and pen to make “lists” on.

“Mommy, what do you need?”

“How about some apples?”

(scribble scribble) “OK. What else?”

“Ummmm, how about some grapes?”

(Scribbling again) “OK, What else?”

And on the game goes.

He can also be very affectionate, and a few times a day we’ll hear “Mommy/Daddy, I wuv you!,” especially if we’re tending to a need like putting a bandaid on a scraped knee or lotioning him up before bedtime (because his eczema skin is so dry).  He’s also prone to emotional outbursts which I believe is attributed to this sensitivity, but also perhaps some perfectionist tendencies?  Like his momma, he is not the best at being flexible either (I really try), and then of course, he is just four.  For a three/four year old, when your cupcake falls over and all the icing slides off, it’s kind of a big deal in that moment.  He’s not naturally going to respond calmly.  But, y’all he takes instruction well, even if in the moment you don’t think he’s listening.  Later and he’ll start talking about the incident and how “it’s no big deal.”

I’ll admit, this is a complaining/whining stage,  but when he’s cheerful, there’s few I’d rather be around.  He is silly, creative (right now he likes to make up new rhythms to old songs), affectionate, energetic and boisterous.

A few other descriptors you should know about this wonderful kid: determined, focused, passionate, and RIGOROUSLY INQUISITIVE. If you can’t give him an answer to his questions “Why?”, then  you might as well go home.

Some things he loves to do right now:

–Legos!  He’s really into them, even though he just received his first set for his birthday (Thanks, Aunt Amanda!).

–Painting with those Crayola watercolor paints.

–Still loves taking things apart/putting back together.

–Still loves pretending with the play kitchen.  He also loves using the play cash register.  If all he has is a calculator, he’s happy, too. You know, doors to open and close and anything with buttons is a win for him.

–Hammering things with his kids’ sized hammer (usually an old stump outside)

He can eat a ton of pizza, and he’s still off eggs and nuts right now just because it may be adding to his itchiness.  But, who knows.

We weren’t sure what to get him for his birthday, especially because it’s Christmas and he’s already getting presents.  Because he’s getting bigger and his toys are getting smaller, we thought a small table for his room would be nice (for Legos and such).  We headed to Ikea today and finally decided on a little chair and writing desk with a top that flips up so you can keep a notebook and some pencils inside. He may not actually use it for Legos, but he loves it for just the writing part, which is super cute.