29 October 2016

A quiet moment

Kit and I are sitting still in a quiet house right now, a rarity these days. The poor munchkin has a head cold, and is cuddled up snoring in my lap while Matt and Little Bear are out running errands. My to-do list is a mile long, as ever, but rather than lay Kit down and risk waking her, I'm going to stay right here and write.

How long has it been since I've talked about the kids? Longer than I expected, that's for sure. I feel like I never have time to write a long, well-thought-out post, so I just haven't been writing at all. Well, let's do a little catching up.

Kit, almost one and a half, is normally the happiest little girl. She's been clingy and whimpery for the last week or so with this cold, but when she's well-rested, her smile comes out again. She talks constantly, and is starting to put two words together more often: "milk please," "mama down" (when she wants me to be done at the table), "mama up" (when she wants to be picked up), etc. I know most of her words are unintelligible to most people, but because we're around her and talking with her all the time, we recognize more than 50 words that she uses regularly. Sometimes it does take context to figure out what she's saying though, and occasionally I can't figure it out at all, which frustrates her.

She's walking and running on her own, usually squirms to get down and walk instead of being carried, and dances/bounces whenever she hears music. Kit loves helping: she hands me silverware from the dishwasher one piece at a time, prompting me with a "tank'oo" to thank her for every single piece, and gets mad if her brother starts putting away handfuls of it by himself without waiting for her. When the buzzer sounds on the washing machine or dryer, both kids drop whatever they are doing and go running for the laundry room—I haven't had to load laundry in or out of either machine  here!

And after prayers every evening, she runs up to Matt to say "night-night," give him a hug, and brush a hand across his forehead with a "beh-oo!" (Bless you). So cute!

Little Bear, 4 and change, is generally very helpful too. He's still getting over the same cold that Kit has, so it's been a long week in the Shifflerhaus. But he does usually try to be good. He loves to help in the kitchen, and lately has been "cooking" toy food for me and Kit. The other afternoon, I had to laugh as he was talking his way through making a salad "with an orange lemon vinaigrette, and some fresh herbs, and five tablespoons of white vinegar. And I'll just lay this lemon slice on the side for a garnish, okay Mom?"

He's still excited about doing school every morning. We're doing four main subjects this year—handwriting, religion, math, and reading—along with a monthly subscription to a kids' cooking class that ties in elements of science, history, geography, and culture. He has picked up everything really well so far; he's reading stories with short-vowel words with little to no help from me, and loves using his abacus and playing math games. (We're using Catholic Heritage Curricula materials for handwriting, religion, and reading, and Right Start Math for math.)

We only have an inch or so of snow on the ground so far, but winter is definitely here; it's 32 degrees F outside right now, which is the warmest it's been in a while! Matt fired up the wood stove for the first time earlier this week, and we were all happy to find things to do in the living room so that we could enjoy the warmth. Little Bear has been itching to go play in what little snow we have, but I've been trying to keep him in until his cough lets up... Hopefully both kids are feeling better soon, and we can spend more time playing outside. For now we're having fun watching birds and animals out in the snow instead: in the last few days, we've seen a woodpecker, several squirrels, a couple of dark-eyed juncos and black-capped chickadees, and two female pine grosbeaks.

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