Wednesday, March 30, 2011

LP's anyone?

We've had a crate of records (mostly opera) for 2 years now and never listened to one of them. There are probably about 50 albums in it and we kept talking about how we would eventually get a record player. Last month we were given a VERY good reason to finally buy that record player.
MORE records!

A friend's friend wanted to get this collection off of his hands and knew that it would take way too much research to actually sell them. It turns out that LP's have a special grading system that is used to explain what condition they are in. Add to that the research he'd have to do to know which albums were rare and could be competitively priced and which could not. Fortunately for us, he decided he didn't have the time or desire to do that and instead offered them to friends before donating them to Goodwill.

I can't believe how many records we have now.

I also still can't believe how amazing records sound!

If I've ever heard a record before, it must've been when I was young enough that I don't remember. Eric spent the first day hunkered down in the music room dusting the records and calling out to me periodically to share a special find. Eartha Kitt's original Santa Baby?! So fun!

Then we trekked out to Target and found a really nice, and decently priced, vintage looking record player. The girls were as excited as we were about listening to these records. We found two different versions of Peter and the Wolf and the girls enjoyed listening to one of them that night.

I need to try to accurately explain the difference in sound when listening to records compared to CD's. When we're all home and one of us is listening to CD music in one room, it's easy to continue on with our own tasks. It doesn't even seem strange to turn on music or the TV in another room. But when the record player is going, noone wants to turn on anything else. And everyone feels distracted from what they're doing. We're all drawn to the music room. The music sounds bigger. It sounds more real. The quality is so much better! It's true that you have to get used to the little "pops" that come with record players, but we got over that fast.

I'm looking forward to many more nights listening to music on our record player. We've got a lot of music to catalog and it's gonna be fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Too, to, TWO!

My baby is two! She's growing up way too fast. We really struck gold with her gifts this year. She loved every one of them and plays with them all daily. It's wonderful when things work out like that!

Play food from her sisters -- to go with the grocery cart they also got her.
Earlier this week I found her baby doll sitting in the front of the cart with a wallet right next to her.

Jamberry, by Bruce Degen
Oma and Opa, she loves this book so much. It is JUST the right size for her. Now if only I could get her to let go of it long enough for us to get past the first page!

They Might Be Giants, "Here Come the 1, 2, 3's" movie and audio cd from Grandma & Grandpa. Eric and I got her their A, B, C's album. I love TMBG's kid stuff. And so do the girls! We also have "No!".

She's watched enough birthday celebrations that she knows what to do.

Here's to another great year!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My dear, sweet Esther is truly a middle child. Sometimes she plays like a big kid and other times she wants nothing more than to be a little kid. And as all middle children can attest, sometimes it just seems like everyone else has something else to do!

She doesn't know that in the coming years she will learn one of the greatest perks of being a middle child. Middle children are blessed with the flexibility to choose whether they are "big" or "little". Do any of you other middle kids out there remember this? I sure do!

There were days when I would play with older siblings (or neighbors) because I could and I loved that feeling of being an older kid. But then there were days I wanted nothing more than to play Barbies or dollhouse and warmly welcomed my younger friends and siblings. Looking back, I am grateful for that. It was a "safe" place. Room to grow, but time to do it at my own pace. This is so unlike being the oldest or even the youngest. I watch my oldest and try to remember that and give her time to grow. Hopefully she doesn't feel pressure over that. I watch my youngest and try to remember that she's going to grow up anyway and I'll need to let her grow!

I have been anxiously awaiting the stage where Miss Becca would be big enough to buddy up with Esther in their own adventures. That day has finally come! Over the last month I have seen so many changes in the way she plays. And Esther is thriving because of it. She is so glad that Becca is ready for more interactive play.

"Helping" me put together our new bed.

Waiting for their toenail polish to dry.

I have no doubt that all four of my girls will be close to each other. I'm sure the degrees of closeness will vary over the years as it has with my own sisters but I am so glad that they will have each other to confide in, to laugh with, and yes, even to fight with.

Just thinking about my girls and their friendships now and how they will grow over the years makes me really grateful for my own sisters. You guys are the bestest! All four of you!

I should have known better.

In fact, I'm sure I did know better. And yet, this is what happens when you can't hear your two-year old:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've been thinking about posting videos to YouTube or to our school blog but haven't yet. Until then, here's one of many. This was entirely Autumn and Heidi's idea. I did nothing more than turn on the video when they asked me to. They're also the ones who called them "broadcasts". Now Eric wants to teach them how to do podcasts!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nurture Shock

I'm in the middle of Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman's Nurture Shock (thanks for the recommendation, Abbie!) and it is SO great. Fascinating. I'll have to type up my notes when I'm done, but for now I want to jot down this quote from the book:

Preschool and elementary school teachers proclaim tattling to be the bane of their existence. One of the largest teachers' training programs in the United States ranks children's tattling as one of the top five classroom concerns -- as disruptive as fighting or biting another classmate.

But tattling has received some scientific interest, and researchers have spent hours observing kids at play. They've learned that nine out of ten times a kid runs up to a parent to tell, that kid is being completely honest. And while it might seem to a parent that tattling is incessant, to a child that's not the case -- because for every one time a child seeks a parent for help, there were fourteen other instances when he was wronged and did not run to the parent for aid.

When the child - who's put up with as much as he can handle - finally comes to the tell the parent the honest truth, he hears, in effect, "Stop bringing me your problems!" According to one researcher's work, parents are ten times more likely to chastise a child for tattling than they are to chide a child who lied.

Food for thought, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is it just me, or do doctors nowadays seem too busy to be bothered with being personable? It feels like it's been a LONG time since my girls have had a doctor that really took the time to make sure I had all my questions answered (I miss you, Dr. Wise! With your superb bedside manner, friendly personality, awesome waiting area, papers to take home with measurements and shots given, information sheets for shots...I haven't seen your equal in the last four years...). And what IS it with doctor's offices being COLD too? We've got KIDS people. Come on.

I think any doctor's office that cares for children, should:
- have toys or children's books in their waiting room
- talk TO the kids
- TALK to the parents
- and listen to the parents' input and concerns
- make sure the parents are done talking before you leave the room!

Is that so strange?

So, here's some food for thought. If you were looking for a new doctor and calling around, what would you ask the doctor's office if you could only ask TWO questions? What do you think would be the most telling questions to ask that would help you know what kind of office you were dealing with? What kind of questions would accomplish this without the receptionist having to say, "Um, let me check on that. Can I have your number?" (Which has happened to me, by the way...)

Okay, rant over. But seriously, I would love your input on questions to ask!