Monthly Archives: September 2006

Hair Adventures


Well, thanks to some friends from church, we've discovered the magic of putting pomade in Isabelle's hair.  This probably sounds silly, but we were so excited – she could actually wear it down all day!  She loves it, and so do I since it doesn't look quite so thin and ragamuffiny.



And in other hair news, we flipped through “It's All Good Hair” to get some fresh braiding ideas for Naomi's hair.  It was fun – I tried a few different styles and settled on a new one for the week.  Doesn't she look pretty?






Tomato Staking


Recently I found this great site, Raising Godly Tomatoes. I'm sure many of you know of it, since I think I found the link somewhere on HSB, but I hadn't seen it before.  I didn't have too much time, but I thoroughly enjoyed perusing her wisdom, and gleaned much from it.  One thing that stuck out to me was the concept of tomato staking.  I had chatted with Corin about this same kind of thing a few weeks ago, and reading about it yesterday re-inspired me and also gave me some great practical ideas.  It made perfect sense – usually the times I experience frustration with my girls, it's because I'm trying to get some dishes done and I have let them go play in the playroom.  Within a few minutes I often hear them not being so kind with one another.  So yesterday when Matt was coming home late (due to his sweet idea of doing the costco shopping for me this week), I put this idea to the test.  Since we had sticky gooey rice for dinner, I didn't ask Isabelle to do her sweeping job (this has happened a lot lately with all the rice I'm making for Naomi's tummy; I figure if I have a hard time sweeping it up, it would probably exasperate my four year old to do so); instead Isabelle helped Hannah with the little garbage cans.  Then I had each girl pick only one dolly, bear, book or toy (their choice, though they all picked a dolly to take care of) and I plopped them on the counter next to me.  They all “nursed”, fed, disciplined, and played with their dollies, then rocked them and sang them lullabies, telling me the dollies were tired.  No bickering with one another, no mommy feeling like I was leaving my children to themselves, it worked well.  They did ask to get down a few times, but I said I would be lonesome without them and it wasn't time to get down yet. I think I just need to get over my modern (often subconscious) notion that kids always need to be entertained, and I'm depriving them if I don't let them play freely.   It's not a horrible thing for them (actually it's probably quite a good thing in learning contentment) to learn to be happy with one little toy for awhile.  Anyway, that was our first official “tomato staking” experience, and I think I'll keep using this idea this for those after-meal clean-up times after the girls have finished “helping”.


I had to take a few pictures, it was a funny progression of facial expressions, though unfortunately I think I erased my favorite one.





Happy Autumn!


Happy Autumn, dear family and friends!  I so love this season, and am delighted that it's upon us yet again.  While I'm sure we'll send out another letter around Christmas, the girls change so much every day that I wanted to send one now as well.  We are enjoying the season, and have started our first semi-official little year of homeschool.  We're loving the books we chose for read alouds, and all the girls love to do little projects (usually involving crayons and stickers – I'm not the most *crafty* person in the world!), play with “preschool toys” on their little carpets, and just snuggle up while we read and practice letters.  Then, of course, there's the school of daily life as they learn how to keep a house, grocery shop, take care of little ones, make bread, tidy a house, remodel a bathroom, what have you!


I am officially no longer the mother of four children under four, as our eldest just had a birthday!  Isabelle turned four a couple of weeks ago, and is already saying she's “almost about five”.  She is no longer napping most days, so I have a little cute companion with me all day (but we still enjoy quiet time together in the afternoon).  She is enjoying learning phonograms and can read pretty much any three letter, short-vowel sound word you give her.  She loves the old McGuffy pictorial primer because she can read most of it to me.  Her favorite “job” is unloading the dishwasher, which I greatly appreciate! She loves to have “coffee” (mostly cocoa and milk) or tea with me in the afternoon, and she loves “writing her prayers” in her journal.  It's funny, she likes to write from right to left!  She delights to play dress up, and twirl around pretending to be a princess (I suppose most four year old girls love this!).  She also loves to hold Juliette (though Juliette is still learning to like this :-))


Hannah, delightful as ever, is two and a half.  I've discovered this is one of my favorite ages – she's growing up and talking so much, but still likes to be called a little girl.  She loves to “help” Juliette, which usually involves sticking a spoon in her mouth – and believe it or not she is fairly coordinated when she tries to feed her baby food.  Nonetheless, I try to do the feeding myself.  Hannah loves to do projects and “letters” like her big sister, read favorite books, help me with the laundry and play “eye winker, eye blinker”.  She loves when daddy plays “daddy-tickle-monster” with her.  I've discovered recently that she dances like me (as Matt calls it, a full-body convulsion of sorts).  I'm sure this is so much cuter in a two-year old!  She's such a big girl, and helps with laundry and emptying garbage (she says the garbage can job is her favorite).  She and Isabelle both love learning the Catechism For Young Children in family worship, and she's so cute when she says that transgression is “doing what God forbibs”.  She also loves to sing or be sung to, and is very often found requesting “Thou Be My Vision” or “Joyful, Joyful”.  The funny thing is, rather than requesting a song by title, she usually says “mommy, will you sing me 'joyful, joyful we adore Thee (which she pronounces “Lee”), God of glory, Lord of Love?”  or “mommy, please sing 'I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation (pronounced “inpocation”) of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.'”


Naomi is getting bigger and bigger, and we've had lots of fun playing with new braids for her pretty hair.   She's still not talking much, but can carry a tune like nobody's business.  She amazes me, because at 19 months, I can ask her to sit and play with the dollhouse, and she'll sit and play there till I tell her to get up.   She is a big girl and tidies up her own playpen toys (after she pitches them all out!).  We've been able to keep her little tummy under control better by feeding her mostly rice, yogurt, meat and cheese.  These foods she does great with!  And she loves her herbal minerals and juice plus to round out the nutrients till we figure this out better.  She loves to dance with her sisters, be silly and goofy and snuggle.  She's getting more and more snuggly as the days go by.


Juliette is just so small and cute!  Honestly, she is SO cute, and smiley, and snuggly.  She purrs in my ear, snuggles and hugs my neck, and smiles her happy dimples all the time.  After two hefty little babies in a row, I had forgotten what it is like to have such a little tiny one, and it's great fun!  She's just about crawling, and enjoys scooting about on the floor or in the playpen.  She loves to snuggle -did I mention that already?  She's learning what “no” means and learning to be patient for her food – at least I hope she's learning 🙂 Cloth diapers are working great with her, which is nice, and she's a pretty easy little thing as she still sleeps much of the day.  God was very kind in giving us such a sweet and mellow little daughter for this busy season.  She is a delight!


Matt is working faithfully on our bathroom, and as the weather cools down I get more and more excited for that clawfoot tub!  He recently got to attend an interview and interrogation school he's been wanting to go to, and he learned so much from it that will greatly help him at work.  His big news is that he was recently accepted as a student at Whitefield collge, a reformed Christian college with online distance learning.  Thus begins his journey toward a bachelor's, and hopefully Greyfriar's Hall after that.  I'm so proud of him, and hoping to help him make time for studies.  He is, of course, adorable with the girls – I love watching him play “daddy-tickle-monster” and snuggle and sing to the girls!


I'm picking away steadily at my never-ending pile of books to read.  I'm reading a couple of homeschool books right now (one on classical education and the trivium, and one about Charlotte Mason's educational writings).  I've recently purchased a pattern for a matching Sense and Sensibility style dress for me and the girls.  It's nothing all that modern, but as much as I love a good comfy pair of jeans, it's sometimes fun to dress up, too!  I'm hoping to learn to acutally follow a pattern, but we'll see if it works.  I'm determined to start exercising to stay strong and energetic and better take care of Matt and the munchkins.  I'm swimming at the local indoor pool, and I'm very excited to start Irish Step Dance next week! I'm still having fun writing our adventures on our blog ( and posting lots of pictures, too.  It's my little family photojournalism project, I suppose. I'm still dreaming of the day when we can adopt again . . . maybe from India this time . . . in a few years, anyway!


Well, I think this letter must end now, as all my pajama-clad munchkins are waking up, and we have to clean the house today! I hope and pray all is well with you, and we'd love to hear all that is new in your lives. 



Melissa, for all of us

Matt, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi and Juliette


Hannah helping put the groceries/baby food away.




Isabelle in the skirt Aunt Jenny gave her years ago, and now it fits!


Goofy Hannah


Dimply Hannah


The girls were pretty excited daddy was home after his week at school.


Pretty Naomi


Big girl Belle


Birthday dress and pinafore for Isabelle – Grandma Anna made the pinafore.


Naomi Annie


More of Julie-bunny



Cutest Two Year Old Ever


I always think my girls are cute – I'm their mommy!  But there are some days when one or more of them is just especially endearing.  Today was one of those days for Hannah.  She happens to be one of my FAVORITE ages thus far, which is two and a half – I just love that time where they are starting to grow up so much, talking and such, but are still little and enjoy being considered so (when people tell Hannah she is a big girl, she often says, “no, I'm a small Hannah”).


Hannah's always been a mama's-girl, which is something we often strive to work on a bit.  As a general rule, she just automatically likes to sit by me in family worship and other situations.  Last night after dinner, Matt got the girls in their pjs while I was washing the dishes.  Then he played “daddy-monster” with them for awhile – you know, the age-old game where daddy chases the little ones on hands and knees growling and tickling and such.  Hannah had so much fun with him.  When we sat down for family worship, she asked “may I sit with you daddy, please please may I”?  Who can resist that?  So she sat down, with a proud and very satisfied smile on her face.  Then she looked at me and very happily said “I'm sitting with daddy, because it's my special date!”  Then she asked daddy if she could help him pray, so he let her repeat his whole prayer, line by line.  When we were finished praying, she said “I prayed the WHOLE pray with daddy!”  Next, she begged “could we play “Joyful, Joyful” – it's my favorite!?”  “Oh, could we sing Thou Be My Vision- it's my favorite too!”  Then she proceeded to ask for about six more songs.  So we sang the first two she had asked for.  She joined in with more happy gusto than I've ever seen her sing with!  Daddy asked her the catechism questions first, since she considered this her date, and she was so sweet – she proudly answered them all (90% of them correctly) in this very loud, sweet voice.  She continued to talk about her “date” with daddy all the next day.  I would have taken a picture, but it didn't seem conducive to the atmosphere of family worship.


Now, of course, Isabelle is quite excited and ready for her turn for a family worship date with daddy next!


PS: I wrote this yesterday, and today was Isabelle's day.  While she did repeat daddy's prayer line by line, she also added in plenty of lines of her own.  My favorite was when she was praying for her grandparents to have a safe journey coming to visit us.  She said “I pray that they would not get eaten by any danger.”

New Schedule


Ok, it's official – I definitely need a schedule overhaul – perhaps an entirely new schedule!  I think it's like feet – every month my girls' feet seem to be three inches longer, and their old shoes no longer fit!  Thankfully, I can usually pass them along to little sisters so I only have to buy one new pair or so.  But I digress …  Half of the things I have “scheduled” for my girls to do aren't working for one reason or another – getting too old for a certain activity, not a good time for it, needs my help when it's difficult to sit down, etc.  And I am so used to doing most of “my” stuff – prepping for our day, unloading dishes, blogging, reading, etc, in the evenings since Matt's been working in the evenings till now.  But now that he's on day shift and at home at night (which I've been praying for!), I'm realizing that he just wants me to be with him in the evenings, even if we're not doing anything (the concept of which is so foreign to me! – doing nothing, I mean).  My wise mother-in-law reminded me today that this is one of our first purposes as women.  God saw that “It [wa]s not good that Man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18), so He created woman.  I am created to be with my husband; to be his helper, yes, but also to simply be his companion.  I know this is so basic, but sometimes it's the simple things I forget or struggle with.  I am SO selfish sometimes!  I was really convicted (and inspired) today that I need to stop thinking of any time as “my” time and be consistently putting others' needs before my own.  So, anyway, I need to rethink how our days are spent so that I am fully with my dear husband in the evenings. And perhaps if I were to actually follow my schedule it would help too . That's my little thought for the day . . .

For Mom


My mother wasn't able to bring her beloved hope chest (which, if I'm not mistaken, was my great-great grandmother's) with her the last time she moved. We are storing it in our home so it won't get lonesome in a storage unit.  Here's a picture, mom, so you can see it . I love storing it here – I have it adjacent to the lovely desk my dad made me before he died, so I feel like I have a little piece of my mom and dad here with me!


The hope chest

 The colors actually look much more muted, like this one


The desk my dad was making me.  It wasn't quite finished, but it's lovely nonetheless!


My Teapot Date


I have a few favorite memories of dates with Matt.  One of my favorites was when he took me on a “Princess Date”.  We dressed up and went to Leatherby's – our favorite ice cream spot in California.  While there, Matt informed me that “princesses” only ate ice cream for lunch, so I must order only dessert, no “food”.  Being the routine sort of person that I am, I was aghast at such a suggestion, but he insisted.  Later he took me to see “The Princess Diaries”, which I thoroughly enjoyed (and he sweetly sat through).  Ah, 'twas fun . . . I guess girls like princesses whether they're toddlers or grown ups!


Another favorite, of course, was when Matt proposed to me.  That was a date with our dear friends, Ray and Christine and we all had such a wonderful time (especially me and Matt since we were gooey, now-newly-engaged people!) I like to say he proposed because he lost a bet, though it's not entirely accurate and requires explaning lest it sound like he wasn't eager to propose.  However I shall leave that explaining for another day. . . suffice it to say it was a LOVELY proposal!


Even above the proposal though, in my favorites, was our teapot date.  I was very pregnant with Hannah, and my mom watched Isabelle so Matt and I could have a few hours alone before we had two little ones (which seems like nothing now!).  We went to petroglyph  (I put a link here for those of you who happen to live near one) and painted together.  Matt made a coffee cup/saucer and I painted a lovely teapot.  Oh, it was so much fun!  Pretending to be artists, and trying to paint something pretty was in itself quite enjoyable for me, but there was more than that.  Though it wasn't our cheapest date ever, it was so much more delightful than a movie, because we got to talk the whole time.  And it was awhile, as we're both slow painters.  Actually, it was probably a monologue on my part, since Matt doesn't typically talk and concentrate at the same time, but I loved it just the same.  Anyway, here's the teapot I painted, which I truly love but don't use too terribly often since it dribbles incessantly every time.  Anyone know a cure for this, aside from just putting a washcloth under the spout each time?