Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing Letters

Hunter did a great job making a birthday card for Grace today. I was pleasantly surprised when he tackled the "p's" and "b's" and such, he has been shying away from rounded letters because he thinks he can't do it (even though I keep encouraging him that he can).

But today he made a birthday card for Grace and did awesome with all of his letters! Okay, so it's not perfect or anything, but he tried! And as you can see, the "Happy" was his most careful word, then when he got to "Birthday" and signing his name he was getting a little bit tired of it. So, just seeing how well he did that first word, when he was the most interested and the most enthusiastic, was great motivation for me to keep playing the writing game (in little spurts, of course) so that he can become more confident in his own abilities, because he really CAN write when he wants to and is very good at it, too.

"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare."

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When we went for our run today there were a ton of bees on the flower patch on the corner of the track. At first we were just pointing out a few honey bees and talking about how they're getting pollen from the flowers to make honey, and observing the big yellow balls on their hind legs which is where the pollen is, and talking about how God made bees to pollinate the plants by spreading out the pollen and carrying them to all the flowers, and discussing the parts of the flower and where the pollen is, and...

But as we continued observing we kept finding more and more bees, especially when we turned the corner and found these really neat grayish-colored flowers that had a very strong scent (I sure wished I could have identified them!), and when we got there we saw tons of others, bunches of bumblebees and even a wasp. We watched at a distance, and I told him that as long as he was gentle and didn't disturb or scare them, they wouldn't bother him either.

"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Luke 12:27

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Lacing Cards

Today we got out some old lacing cards of my mom's because I've really been wanting to work with Hunter on his small motor control. He so desperately wants to write and draw but gets frustrated because his hand control isn't very good and things don't turn out the way he wants.

So we're going to be working on cutting strips, lacing cards, tracing, mazes, puzzles, anything we can get our hands on that will develop his small motor control. We're also going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen because I know helping cook is a great way to build a whole assortment of fine motor skills.

He really enjoyed the lacing cards, though, and good grief, as soon as he finished lacing the hammer and saw piece he started flinging them around going "bang, bang, bang". He's such a boy.

"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? ... Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet"
Psalm 8:3-4,6

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Studying the Alphabet Corner

Who says the preschool years have to be reserved to ABC's and 123's? How about throwing a little alpha, beta, and gama in there too?

This is our little corner of the room (on my bed) with a growing number of world alphabets. Currently: Sign Language, Russian, Greek, Hebrew, and Braille.

Hunter is quite interested.

"There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."
Psalm 19:3

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Figuring Out the Clock

I've been teaching Hunter to tell time the Doman way, which says: if you teach a tiny child the facts he will discover the rules that govern them.

For telling time, this translates into showing him clock faces and saying, "This is eight o' clock", "This is eight forty-five", "This is eight ten".

I've met so many kids (and adults) who do not know how to read a clock. My brother said that no one in his fifth grade class know how to read a clock face. These are eleven-year-olds! And a lot of people who do know how to read a clock cannot read it well - like they'll translate "2:55" into "3:55" because the short hand is closer to the 3 than it is to the 2.

So I've been teaching him clock faces. So far he has learned the clock faces for the 8:00's, the 9:00's, the 10:00's, and the 11:00's, learning every five minutes (not stuff like 9:57, just like 9:45, 9:50, 9:55, 10:00). So four weeks of me showing him these little cards with clock faces. I have never taught him "clock addition" where you show the kid where the short hand is, and then the count out where the long hand is, and then put the two together to come up with the time. We just skipped that and went straight to "glance reading" like adults do - just look at the clock (even if it doesn't have any numerals on it) and know what time it is. And, of course, I'm just teaching him the facts and letting him figure out the rules.

And today he made it pretty apparent that he had indeed figured out the rules.

It was bed time, and I informed Hunter that it was nearly nine o' clock and past his bedtime, so he needed to clean up his toys so we could get to bed. To which he climbed up on his plastic book shelf and told me, "No Mommy, I'll just turn the clock back." and promptly did just that.

He has a soccer clock that I got him from Target in the dollar isle, and though we never pay much attention to it, apparently he has figured out that the hands moving means the time changing. So, if you just turn the clock hands back, it'll mean that it won't be bedtime anymore. I guess he figured out the rules from seeing those four sets of clock faces. Too bad those aren't the rules for actual time, just clocks. He was disappointed to discover that it still had to be bedtime.

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old 

Saturday, September 20, 2008


... has invaded our house.

And my once picture-perfect shelf arrangement is now decorated with my kid's recent nature collection, dirty feathers, rocks, and dead snail shell from the bottom of a stream and all. And I don't even mind.

"Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is."

Deuteronomy 10:14

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gone crazy with his music!

Hunter was crazily excited today when he watched his new bit time video which had some new notes on it for him to learn - those of the fifth octave of the piano.

I'm not quite sure why this particular batch of notes brought about such excitement, but he sure was excited! He carefully watched each written note (which was accompanied by the corresponding sound of that note being played on the piano) and then when that section was over he jumped off my lap and went over to play the piano - he didn't even want to see the rest of his video!

He played, one by one, notes on the piano quizzing me - "Which note is this Mommy?" I was so excited that he was playing this way because for a long time he would just turn on the sound effects rather than actually playing.

After about three minutes on the piano he got out his guitar and carefully strummed each string, and played that for about five minutes.

I guess that the music is paying off! I'm so excited to be seeing results from him learning perfect pitch, note-reading, and classical music and rhythm.

Speaking of rhythm, earlier today while I was folding laundry I was singing a little tune, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be..." which has a very simple beat. He was sitting on the floor close by and started tapping a stick on the floor and said, "Look Mommy I'm making the song!" He indeed was tapping in perfect rhythm to the song. That was the first time he had done that, and I was thrilled! For a while it seemed like he was "rhythm deficient" because he just didn't quite "get it", but listening to his classical music and doing "rhythm time" (marching around with drums, tambourines, sticks, etc. to upbeat classical music) has paid off.

To say the least, I am very glad that he is becoming so excited about his music. I just can't wait to see what lies ahead.

"I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee."
Psalm 144:9

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old 

Hopping like a grasshopper

Behold, my crazy little boy, getting some pretty good air pretending to be a grasshopper. He's decided that these will be some of his new exercises 'cause it's good practice for his legs ("I've got strong muscles, you know.") He cracks me up, and makes me smile, all the time, here are some pictures of his bouncing body and joyful little imagination.

"And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation

Psalm 35:9

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Hunter has been quite interested in his "Busy Bugs" game lately, mostly playing with the bug pieces and not the actual cards. It's a sequencing game by Discovery Toys that I got at Goodwill, and it's supposed to be one of those "What comes next?" sequencing toys (like "red fly, yellow fly, red fly, yellow fly... which one comes next?").

I haven't ever really played it with him. I was waiting to do the sequencing thing until after we learned it in math (like 2,4,6,8,10,12... which one comes next?). But he got it out yesterday and I saw him figure out a couple of the cards all by himself and got them all right without it ever being explained to him.

But what he really liked was the insect pieces. He's been playing with them since yesterday and seems quite enthralled by them. Today he was lining them up in rows... not sure what he was imagining, but he sure was focused! He wanted me to "be" some of them and gave me two grasshoppers to play with.

"...of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive."
Genesis 6:20

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You at Three and a Half

Dear Hunter,

When you turned two and a half, it was somewhat of a turning point for you. Over that summer from the age of twenty-four to thirty months, you went from a chubby, babyish toddler to an undeniable, full-fledged little boy. I was amazed at how much of a turning point that age was for you, and I wondered if three-and-a-half would be the same sort of turning point. For a while, I didn't notice many drastic changes, but looking back, I see how much you have truly grown.

In the past six months, and past year, you have grown so much it amazes me every time I think about it. Not only in size but in intellect, sociability, and character. If two-and-a-half was the turning point from little toddler to little boy, then three-and-a-half has certainly been the turning point from little boy to little man.

Just looking at your pictures and seeing the difference in your face is incredible - and not just in physical features, but your whole face just shines with budding maturity. You're still so small, so young, and have so far to go - but you've come so far in the past three and a half years that it is extremely difficult to comprehend that you've only been around that long.

You want so desperately to be big, to be a man. You are always offended if anyone speaks of you as "little" or "small". "No, I'm a BIG boy!" you always say. And indeed, you are.

You are absolutely ginormous! Just a couple days ago I had to give away all of your summer clothes because you had out-grown them all. Holding up the shirts that you so recently wore, I could not believe that you actually fit into them in the beginning of the summer. You're huge! Everyone thinks you're five or four, but the thing is when you're around other kids your own age you're not really bigger than they are. Perhaps it's just the way you carry yourself and the way you talk is what really makes people think you're older.

You've also become so big with your budding maturity. It's true, you've got a lot to learn before you're truly a mature young man, but you've come so far and you're getting there so fast! You're constantly aware of your manners, of being responsible, of being big. You are reiterating back everything I've taught you, making sure you hold the door for ladies and asking before you take food. You use your toy guns to protect Mommy from villains. You love to help and want to help with everything. You would much rather fold laundry than play with blocks, much rather help move furniture than watch a video. You want to be part of real life and to be a big, strong man.

We've been talking so much about how to be a man, to be brave and strong and not get upset when things don't go your way. I've failed a lot in letting you pout and get upset over the years and let some ugly habits of such effect your character, but you're really learning how to be a man and "not a pouting little boy" as the result of good training. I've been really focusing on correcting any unfavorable attitudes in you and teaching you how men behave, and it's been sticking. We've been reading books like How to Be a Man: Useful Hints for Boys on the Formation of Character by Harvey Newcomb (written in 1862!), and The Book of Virtues by William Bennett and Created for Work by Bob Shultz and Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family by Steven Maxwell and, of course, many chapters each day of the Bible. Instilling in you a noble and responsible character is my main concern as of now, and you are rising to the occasion with joy and soberness.

You are so much more compassionate to the younger ones among us these days. You take great pride in taking care of your little cousins. You're so gentle with Jordan, and you love singing to him, kissing him, and talking to him. You think babies are the greatest thing in the world.

You're so much more gentle, compassionate, and concerned about Anthony now. For a while there you were somewhat of a little tyrant to him, proving always that you were bigger and stronger than him. But now you are eager to play with him, hold his hand while we walk somewhere, and are very, very sorry when you accidentally hurt him. You get mad at him sometimes when he takes your toys, but you're learning how to control yourself and ask for them back nicely without getting upset. This didn't come about overnight, and I've been encouraging you regularly to "take good care of your cousin". You've really stepped up to the plate and are becoming very responsible with him.

You love learning new information. You don't care whether it's pictures of vertebrae or famous composers, Japanese kanji or classical music - the world is your oyster and you love learning about everything there is to know.

You have me constantly on my feet because you learn materials faster than I can create them. It sometimes takes me an hour to make a set of bits for you and seconds for you to learn them. But I can truly say that of all the problems there are to have, this is one I don't mind having! I love that you're learning so much about God's amazing world and that I get to share the adventure with you! (and learn a ton of things myself in the process!)

I wouldn't trade my occupation as your mother for anything in the world. All the pleasures and riches in the world couldn't make up for even one of your precious, beautiful smiles of pure joy and delight in life and in me.

You're so happy, so joyful, so full of life and love. You love reading and science and geography but you also love finger paints and bubbles and spinning around in circles and dancing. Every day is a new adventure and you wake up eager to start life, to explore the world and to help everyone in every way you can. You're such a pleasure to be around and I love having you as my helper, playmate and friend.

Funny things about you:
  • You will test my on my knowledge on colors, animals, etc. and hold up two things and say "Good job! You're so smart!" when I get the right answer
  • You always tell me that your cousin Noah is your best friend
  • You like to spell everything
  • You swing on your rope swing probably fifty times a day
  • You want to ride on my back all the time
  • You adore your family - every last one of them
  • You love reading Beatrix potter books and those are your sole requests these days
  • You love playing with other kids, but love playing with Mommy even more
  • You love playing with your animals and want to take them with you whenever we go somewhere
  • You want to have ten kids when you grow up and teach them "how to obey God and me"
  • You're highly independent and want to do everything by yourself
  • You're much less shy than you were and love saying hi to everyone you see
  • You're actually beginning to be an honest help when we're working together and it is wonderful having you around
I am so blessed to be your mother and your friend. You are the most wonderful blessing I could have ever dreamed of and I know that you are going to change the world for the better and that you will be well-prepared for the task, whatever it may be. It is my pure delight and supreme privilege training you and preparing you for whatever special purpose God has for you, and watching you grow into an honorable young man right before my very eyes. What a blessing motherhood is! I'm so proud of you, my wonderful little man.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A puddle so big you could swim in it

I am a bit of an impulsive parent, sometimes.

There are a lot of things I did as a kid which, now that I'm a parent, I think, How could my parents let me do that? Like climbing a hundred feet up in the air in a wobbly trees. Or building crazy forts out of junk. Or playing endless hours by railroad tracks.

Now, not necessarily saying Hunter will do those things but, still, I sometimes am a little on the wild side in my parenting. I want Hunter to have good, wholesome adventure in his life, and not have to go out looking for it in video games or drugs or wherever kids tend to get their "excitement" fix these days.

Which explains why, today, I took Hunter down the road to a baseball field. Which was completely flooded. Like five-feet of water flooded.

And even though at first, I was a bit hesitant (considering, we were about to go somewhere in a half hour!), I still let him go from dabbling his finger in the edge of this "giant puddle" to stripping down to his boxers and having a swim.

And in complete honesty, if it was as easy for me to redress myself, I would have gone swimming too. Just because I'm a little bit crazy like that.

He had fun. And even though it was a bit of an inconvenience, summer is almost over so might as well get what you can while it's here.

After all, life's too short to let it pass you by without doing the inconvenient sometimes. Which includes taking time to splash in the puddles. Or sometimes, swim in them.

"The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea."
Psalm 93:3-4

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Comment

"Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee."
Psalm 116:7

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old
Jordan is 2 months old

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Apple Crisp

The boys really enjoyed helping me in the kitchen today. We made apple crisp with some apples that were close to going bad if we didn't do something with them.

They both ate up the peels as I peeled them off of the apples, which was a nice healthy snack. Measuring, pouring, and stirring was a big hit, as usual. The recipe was great, as it was sweet but not too sweet, had very little added sugar to it. Tastes great with ice cream or delicious all by itself!

6 to 8 apples, sliced
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
1/3 c. water
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. whole wheat or rye flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. butter or oil
1/2 c. brown sugar or honey
2 t. cinnamon

Put sliced apples in buttered 9 x 13" pan. Sprinkle with raisins and water. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until apples are soft. Serve warm or cold, plain or with a topping.

"Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much..."
Exodus 30:23

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old

Little Scientist

Hunter was playing with Duplos today and sure was figuring out a lot of stuff.

I had helped him create a two-sided stairs (see picture) but it wasn't staying together all that well and whenever he put one of his toys on it it fell apart.

So, on his own, he constructed a pillar and attached it to the middle of the stairs, creating a perfect support. The edges were still a little shaky though, so he made two more pillars and placed them on both sides of the original.

I know it's not rocket science, but I love watching him figure this stuff out. Figuring out why one structure stands and one structure falls. Figuring how tall you can make a tower of Duplos before it bends too far and goes tumbling to the ground. Figuring out why some things hook together and others don't fit. It's not like it's even possible to categorize everything he figures out by building, by trial and error, but it sure is fun to watch him. Kids learn through play but also think that learning is play (like learning the Greek alphabet or how to play the piano). I love that he can have both, and they don't have to be in conflict with each other.

"And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David..."
Nehemiah 12:37

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Musings on Socialization

Did you ever wonder how children survived before the invention of nursery schools? I mean, honestly, how could they have possibly developed properly without being around nineteen other kids their exact same age for six hours a day, five days a week?

Were children of the past who were deprived of institutional-socialization isolated, lonely, poorly stimulated, and aggressive? Certainly, without institutional-socialization, a child won't know how to share, won't know how to work with others, won't know how to make friends, and in general be a social misfit and outcast, right?

Yesterday we were sitting on the lawn at the popcorn fest, relaxing for a bit. It was just Hunter and I at the moment, and we started to play frisbee, until Hunter saw a brother and sister running around nearby. He told me he wanted to "play with the kids", and gave me a glancing smile as he ran off to join them in their game of tag.

The kids were probably two and four years older than him, but none of them had any reservations to their newly selected playmates. They quickly had fun in their game before ever learning each others' names, before ever sharing any information other than smiles and laughs. They soon switched their game to hide and seek, carefully discussing the rules at a nearby tree. No adult intervention, training, or hours a week of "learning how to play with each other", they made up their own rules, made their own friends. Hunter's never been to daycare, nursery school, and doesn't even attend Sunday School. Nor do I spend all my time trying to sign him up for as many play dates, sports leagues, or classes as will fit into my day. But he's socially competent, well-adjusted, and generally charming to people of any age. Yet he spends most of his life with me, his mom, not with two dozen other three-year-olds.

Watching him run around, laugh, giggle, and converse with perfect strangers (as he often does) made me laugh about how ignorant we have become in regards to the realm of socialization. Hunter defies all of the current folk wisdom about preschoolers and socialization.

How did mothers of the past schedule socialization? Well, they didn't, really. And you know what? All of our great leaders of the past didn't suffer from being social misfits. They played with other children at parks, gatherings, when families came to visit. They had siblings, neighbors, relatives. Do you really think that children who don't spend all their time locked up in an institution have no contact with other people and are going to turn into little hermits?

"And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof."
Zechariah 8:5

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Popcorn Festival

Today was the big day we've been looking forward to: the Popcorn Festival! (yes, I know: only in Indiana...)

Hunter participated in the lil Kernel Puff race this morning, which he had been looking forward to for weeks. I was wondering if he would be brave enough this year to do it by himself (last year, at age two, he was really excited, ran half way down the track and then got embarrassed and ran back towards the starting line). He was all excited about it, but got somewhat shy once he took off and was helped along by one of the workers. But he was very proud of himself once he got to the end, and admired his ribbon a lot.

But Hunter did good, and was proud of himself. And he loved watching the parade - they actually gave out a bunch of candy this year! (which, of course, was probably his favorite part)

Hunter had a good day, and was very tired at the end. Less than a minute (literally) after he sat down in Anthony's stroller he had fallen sound asleep. Fun memories, and a great day to always remember.

"I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end."
Psalm 119:32-33

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old