Quote of the Day



If you missed the gorgeous Gerard Manly Hopkins poem posted over at a wrung sponge, it's not to late to click over there to read it.

We had such a lovely day with many reasons to be happy. Here are our top three
1. Jamie was home all day
2. My dad is doing great.
3. We mostly just slept and ate yummy food:
  • we slept late
  • we ate eggs and sausage and strawberries for breakfast
  • we did a few easy chores
  • the kids took bubble baths
  • we sat in the sun
  • the children played catch
  • we grilled halibut
  • we ate halibut and strawberries and spinach for dinner
  • we went to bed

English Acquisition for School-Age Children Adopted Internationally

So you've adopted some school-age children from a non-English speaking county and you want some hints on how to help them gain language proficiency as soon as possible.

Here is what worked for us.

Computer Software:

  • Rosetta Stone - have your child do one lesson every day. They do the same lesson over and over again until they have 85% or better. Obviously, skip the lessons that involve concepts that are beyond your child's comprehension (division and multiplication in our case).
More Software - I ordered the "old" versions of these and put them on my ancient laptop - the one that can't upgrade past Windows 95. The old versions run great and I don't much care what happens to the laptop.

DVD/Video: When I really must be child-free (bathe, place phone-calls etc.) these 30-minute videos are my baby-sitters/language tutors.
LeapPad Learning Systems: Useful for quiet play-time (headphones are Mama's friend), long car rides, etc.
These are all linked to Amazon.com so you can see what they look like, but I bought many of ours at the second-hand stores.

edited to add (for new readers) that our children came to us from Russia in September at ages 5 and 6. Less than six months in, both now know the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes, and the elder is reading simple sentences: "The pig sat in the mud." "Pam makes a cake. Pam takes the cake to Pat." We're rather amazed.



Make Mine Chocolate!

. . . just in time for Easter, a reminder that a pet bunny is a 10-year high-maintenance commitment. I'm speaking from experience here.


Welcome to my new blog!

I've long wanted a three-column blog and thanks to this cool guy, I finally have one.

I'm still working on moving my blogroll over from the old blog, so please don't feel neglected if you're not linked from here yet.

What do you think?


The kids had their first t-ball turn-out today which was lots of fun. Dandy has a good arm and hits the ball well. The most exciting thing of the day was, however, the fact that My Gift is off turn-around and was home early. He is reading books to the kiddos as I type. It is so lovely to have another grown-up in the home.


A girl's first chainsaw

no, not Juliana, me.

Jamie's Christmas present was a pruning service as we had many trees that were out-of-control. I saved money by arranging it such that the pruners did all the cutting and we would do all the clean-up. So now my yards, front and back, are covered with large branches for which I bought myself a Black & Decker Alligator; it's marvelous.

I cut it and the kids haul it away. It's way more fun than dusting.


"The pig sat in the mud" thus readeth Andy, home six months. He can also (slowly) make his way unassisted through Hop on Pop!


Re-Run Links

I'm re-posting two links to sites that helped me with my wild boy for Lisa who seems to have brought home a wild one of her own. These boys will wear us out, yes, but they will be very interesting grown-ups.

Staking Tomatoes
Calming Your Wild Child



I'm trying to focus on happier days ahead -- ones in which we get to leave the house and do normal-people things.

My calendar tells me that t-ball practice starts in two weeks. I have NO experience with anything remotely resembling athletic endeavor, so I need your help. What exactly do I need to outfit two little people for t-ball?

On which hand do they wear the glove? their dominant hand I presume? (yes, I was a nerd in school - last one picked etc.)

edited to add that we have a T and a ball and a bat and one glove.
Elle told me I need cleats. When I ebay cleats I get soccer cleats; are they the same?
When I google gloves I get inch measurements. How do I figure out the right size?
They will get team t-shirts. Do they need special pants?

edited once again to share this cool T-Ball coloring book pdf that I found.



okay, so Andy has the flu - the one with vomiting and diarrhea and a cough that keeps him up all night. Only he doesn't know barfing etiquette and runs upstairs for the sink (!), dribbling up the stairs and down the hall and so on, passing FOUR empty plastic wastebaskets as he goes. He then pukes in the sink.


I am sick (fever, achy muscles, fatigue, headache), too sick to properly care for him, too sick to be cleaning up all the pukey bits, though I do


my husband is dog-tired from 5 weeks of working 12-14 hour days -- no days off -- and is generally only home between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am, on good days. When he is home he needs to be fed and put to bed, but that isn't an option right now.


then the fun starts.

First, Juliana finds the little glass on the window sill and spills it. You know, the little glass with an inch of red wine left in it on the window sill right under the silk burlap curtains and next to the beige-ish couch.

Then, while stuffing the couch covers in the wash (whilst almost passing out, as I am too sick to be doing this) every yellow-jacket in the neighborhood comes to help me. So there I am swatting at yellow-jackets and I do confess, naughty words were escaping my lips.

THEN our dear old dog drops a puddle of pee in the middle of the wool rug and, as we rush her to the front door, she dribbles all the way. She did not even seem aware of it, or she would have been mortified.

Barf, Red Wine, and Dog Pee all in one day. What did I do? Annoy the Stain-Gremlins?



A couple of autumns ago, Jamie greeted me at the front door saying, "I had to rescue a little puppy." I think, "Puppy! Cute! Furry! Cuddly!" Then I noticed the smell, the rotten garbage smell.

"What's that smell?"
"The puppy."

He had brought home a puppy nigh unto death, full of parasites and scabies (the stench) and with completely round legs from malnutrition.

Because the scabies commanded so much of our attention (quarantine from other house-pets, stinky-stinky etc.), I had rather forgotten about the funky legs until Juliana zeroed in on them while looking at old pictures.

How are Laurel's legs now? Perfectly straight.

Why is this relevant? Laurel is not the only one who joined our family with bent leg bones due to early childhood lack of nutrition.

Edited to add that scabies are not always stinky, but in Laurel's case, they had done so much damage that her skin had started to die, hence the stench.

Our home away from home

Just got this link for the MarKuel, our first home with our children in Russia.


What's up with me?

I read Cloudscome's blog; she posts about worthy things - world concerns, quality children's literature, poetry. I post about fluffy little girl's clothes. This has been bothering me. What happened to the old me that cared about the outside world?

My analysis is that the outside world is rather bleak and sleety and whenever I go into it I walk the zombie-lined halls of a nursing home and I'm just not up to it. On the other hand, sweet little girl's dresses speak of spring, sunshine, happy play-filled afternoons, a bright giggle-filled future. I've decided that I'm not shallow, I'm just over-whelmed.

So, on that note:

Sweet Potatoes & Hanna Andersson


E-bay Therapy: Thera-bay?

okay, so I do admit I'm in a rough patch right now. Chocolate consumption is up and the on-line shopping has commenced. Here is my fav:

Stride Rite Munchkin