Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Amazing Imagineer

I remember the first time she asked me to pretend to be Cinderella's wicked stepmother.

"Not in public, only at home," I replied.

I just didn't like the idea of the sweet girl who I had carried in my womb and nursed on my breast referring to me as "Stepmovver" at the grocery store.

It seems as if we've been living in a world of make believe ever since Grace could talk...or maybe since she discovered princesses.  (Which I never thought would happen, but that belongs in a separate post!)  In her short five and a half years, Grace has been a caterpillar, an astronaut, a robot, a puppy dog, and a queen of an imaginary land.  And that's just Monday!

Right now she is Ponyo, a Japanese goldfish who falls in love with a little boy and turns into a little girl.  We watched the movie Ponyo yesterday, and the moment it was over she was running around in circles and asking for ham (Ponyo's favorite food).  When she woke up this morning she rushed through breakfast (quite a rarity) so that she could get into her red Ponyo dress.


There are times that I tire of having to stay in character as the evil queen, the rabbit mother, or the big bad wolf.  We even have a rule that Mommy can't be asked to play make believe when we are trying to get out of the house in a hurry (read: Sunday mornings).  I will never tire, though, of my beautiful dreamer's imagination.  I am even jealous, I think, of the world in which she lives.  I want to be Lucy, walking through the wardrobe into that magical land, or Eloise, who has her run of the entire Plaza hotel, or Mulan, a soldier who saves her nation.  I can't be those girls; my imagination started to wane long ago.  I am proud and blessed, though, to be their mother.

Gypsy Girl

Dr. Gracie

Queen Amidala
Tinker Bell (with Peter Pan and Captain Hook, her favorite partners in imagining!) 
Flamingo at the zoo!
Cindy Lou Who(s)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Funny Face of the Day

Is he feeling super sultry?  Or is this just disdain at my incessant need to take pictures like this?

My Best Friend

"My beloved, you are the lover of my impossible soul." ~Sufjan Stevens

I am just so in love with this man.  He is an amazing husband, father, and friend for me.  10 years ago I was pining away for that cute boy Jesse Kafka, not even able to imagine how wonderful a life with him could be...I just wanted to hold his hand and go to the movies!  Today I know that my life would be a mess without him.  
He takes care of me, he leads me, he ministers to my impossible soul.
He has never thought twice about being a father of girls.  (Not that he had a choice!)  People ask me if he is going to make me "keep trying" for a boy.  While we both want more children, and would love to have a son, Jesse just isn't one of those "I need to have a boy" kind of guys.  He plays rough and tumble with his little girls, 
encourages them to be active and tough, but is also always willing to be their Prince Charming.

He is a SERIOUS sports fan, but I love that he has perspective!  He watches games, listens to sports radio, reads articles, and follows every major sport (and even some minor ones), but sports are not his life. 
 He is overjoyed when his team wins, but a big loss never ruins his day!

He is a serious, smart, mature man, but he knows how to have fun!  We are always arguing about which of us is funnier (it's me, by the way) but we usually just end up laughing about the dumb things we both say!

He is a great sport and even agreed to wear pink for Evie's 1st birthday party.  
(After I assured him that he looked extremely masculine in it!)

Here's something superficial I love about my husband-he is really cute...and has a big face.  I have been plagued with a large head all my life, and I'm so glad to have a husband whose head does not make mine look gi-hugic in pictures.  
Weird, but true.

He is so interested in his children.  Always willing to talk and listen to them!

He is really good at his job, and he does it cheerfully.  It is such a blessing that Jesse has a job that he loves, and even more so that he works hard to provide for his family!  I miss him so much when he is away on business, but we are all so grateful for his job!

He has never been scared of the babies, even when they were very little.  Diaper changing, supporting me through childbirth and nursing, groggily replacing the baby's pacifier in the middle of the night...he has always been a natural!

I love that all of my girls have his face!  I fell in love with that face, and I love seeing it over and over again in different shades and sizes!

He is not too grown-up to play!

He has never forgotten the promises he made on our wedding day.  I am not the woman I want to be, not the wife that I strive to be, but he loves me with the love of Christ, he cherishes, sacrifices, and daily lays down his life.  God has blessed me beyond measure with my wonderful husband, and I am forever in awe of His love and grace to us, two sinners in love.

Love never fails.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Funny Face of the Day

Newborns don't really make funny faces, it's more like they just have funny faces!  
This is one of my favorite faces Adelaide made as a new little one!

Our Favorite Book

Jesse always says I don't understand superlatives, and I guess he's right.  I have so many favorite books!  Here is a series that the girls and I have been enjoying recently.

The American Girls series Samantha is about a 9 year old girl living at the turn of the 20th century.  Samantha learns about progress in America and the price often paid for that progress.  She is a privileged young lady who learns that not everyone has the life that she does.  I also love that at the end of each book there is a feature called "A Peek into the Past," in which there are real pictures from the time period and some factual information about life in America in 1904.  In looking at the world through Samantha's eyes the girls and I have been able to discuss some hard topics, such as segregation, women's rights, poverty and wealth, death of parents, and adoption.  I know that sounds like a lot for two little girls to take, but I strive to be open with my children and pray for God's grace as they learn that this is a fallen world.  I am thankful for books such as these that present these issues in a way that is accessible to their young minds and hearts.

I loved Samantha so much when I was a little girl; I had the doll and the books, and I learned so much about American history from this wonderful series (and all of the other American Girl books; I devoured them all as a young girl!)  I couldn't wait for the opportunity to introduce Grace and Evangeline to these books as well!  The opportunity arose when we discovered the Samantha American Girl movie.  I don't usually prefer to watch movie renditions of my favorite books (Harry Potter excluded, those movie are so well done!) but with kids I have seen that the introduction to the characters and plots through film helps them to be ready to sit and listen to a more complex story.  Evie fell in love with the movie first, and encouraged Grace to "play Samantha" with her; both girls took turns pretending to be Samantha and Nellie, as well as other characters in the books.

To date we have read the first and second books in the series, and Grace is really looking forward to the third, Samantha's Surprise, A Christmas Story.  I am so glad to have the opportunity to share my favorite books with my burgeoning young readers!  

Do you have a favorite book from childhood that you look forward to sharing with your children?  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rainy Day Treasure Hunt

Thursdays are usually our homeschool co-op day at my friend Maggie's house.  It is definitely the day of the week we most look forward to, and this Thursday was no exception.  However, runny noses, croupy coughs, and rising temperatures (from our kids and theirs) changed today's plans.  Sad as we were to miss our day out, we let Jesse take the car to work and decided to make the best of a cold, rainy day at home.

We started the day with a movie (Ramona and Beezus, because Grace and I just started reading Ramona's World, by Beverly Cleary) and popcorn for breakfast!  I would have probably loved to just veg out and watch movies all day, but that just doesn't work for my active little ladies!  So while they ate lunch, I planned a Rainy Day Treasure Hunt!

The first problem with my plan was, well, not having any treasure!  So I headed up to my mom's attic and started snooping!  I found a box filled to the brim with something really wonderful...but let me not get ahead of myself.  My next task was to write the hints.  I wanted this activity to be a fun one, but also to give Grace some practice reading, so I wanted the hints to be simple, rhyming, and just a bit of a riddle!
Grace reads the "Introduction' to the treasure hunt, and the first clue! 

"Adventure!  My lovelies, 
We'll have one today.
A treasure hunt?  Yes!
You will both shout, 'Hooray!'"

And they did! ;)

Evie gets ready to jump into action!

"The first hint is this:
Practice makes perfect,
as you girls well know.
Find hint number two
behind the..."

I should note that most of the cards also had pictures that went along with each hint; in this case, music notes!


They're thinking hard.
To the piano!!! (Really a keyboard kept under the dining room table).

"You've found hint number two!  
Now what will you do?
The next hint's in the place
where we leave our..."

Evie found the hint in the shoe basket!

This is so exciting!

"Great work!  You found hint three!
Now...if you were hint four,
where would you be?
Maybe outside,
underneath a big..."

Getting ready to go find the fourth hint!

Grace is really really ready!

Now where could it be?

Evangeline has spotted the big tree!

Got it!!!

"You found hint four!
Now, do you want more?  
Find hint number five
behind a decorated..." (Picture of Aunt Emily's door)

They were a bit hesitant, but they didn't even have to step foot into Aunt Em's room, the hint was just behind her door!

"This place is a mess...(sorry Em)
but you found number five!
Isn't it wonderful to be alive?
And now for hint six,
I won't play any tricks.
Who likes to chase balls and sticks?
Go to the place
where the family pet sits!" 
 (As an English major and a writer I am disappointed in my rhyme and meter...but hey, I wrote these things pretty quickly!)

My mom's dog, Penny, has a lot of places to sit and lay around the house, so the girls had a tough time figuring out where to look first.

Nope, not there either!

Found it!

"Hint number six!
More than half way there!
To find the next hint...
Where do you keep your..." (Lousy drawing of underwear.)
This hint was also testing to see if they know where their stuff is kept!  Evie (she is our "finder") knew just where to look!

Evie pauses to check out Ramona's World.  "We just watched that!"

"Whew!  That was hard,
but you found number seven!
The next hint is in
a big book about heaven!"

They snuck upstairs quietly (Adelaide was napping) and got the next hint out of Daddy's Bible!

"Hint number eight!
Now, isn't this great? (Yeah!)
Your next hint can be found
where I fill your plate!"

They had a tough time locating this one...


"Great job, girls,
you're almost done!
Your next hint, I fear
is the last one!
To find it, look in the place
to have wet, bubbly fun!"

Evie knew it must be Grammy's bathroom, because "there's lots of room there!"

She's spotted it!

"But I can't reach it!"

 "You can do it, Evie!" Grace is very encouraging...but you don't see her climbing into the tub!

Got it!!!

"Great Job! 
You found hint number ten!
This treasure hunt will soon come to an end.
To find the treasure...
When you go to bed
where do you rest your pretty head?"

Our bed!!!

Checking behind the pillows...are they the treasure???

Found them!  Two personalized treasure boxes!

What is it?!?!?!

Books!!!  They may not look excited, but I promise they were.

Each box was filled with my old books from my childhood!  I had so much fun rediscovering them!

I LOVED Grover books as a little kid.

This was one of Jesse's favorites.  Grace wanted me to read it right away!

Grace's treasure box included lots of "I Can Read" books, including one of her favorites, Amelia Bedilia!

A treasure hunt was just the right thing to make this rainy day a fun one for all of us!  The best part was, when it was over, we got right into our next activity: reading!

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?