It’s been an eventful month for Ellie.  The bad news she sleeps much worse than she ever did.  I blame the move and many other little factors.  I keep telling myself the baby and lack-of-sleep phase is almost over for us and to be patient with the bad and enjoy the good.


Ellie often prefers to sit in a V, only going back to the W when something (i.e. a sibling) threatens her stability.


She climbed up a few stairs earlier in the month and now she can go up a whole flight on her own and is so proud of herself.  I can no longer get work done with her awake because she goes straight to the stairs.  She does a good job, but the spiral nature of our stairs make them not fall-friendly.


She climbed all the way up the foam ramp we got her for Christmas.  I’m pretty convinced that that and the foam steps helped her learn stair-smarts and that’s why she’s doing so well with the stairs  (she knows to back down them).


She cruised along the balance beam.


She can drink from a sippy cup on her own, lifting it to her mouth enough for the water to come out.


She cruised from one object to the next.


She likes to walk with the rolling cart (not meant for kids) and does a great job balancing herself and falling down to her knees when it goes too fast.


In the past few days we’ve seen her let go and stand on her own for brief moments.  Will she be our earliest walker?


She is interacting with people more and more with big smiles and attempts at words.  She shakes her head for no and waves “bye bye.”


Despite being in disposable diapers her entire life (I was just too tired to try EC) she’s suddenly using the potty and has great awareness of her elimination needs.  I plan to stay relaxed about it, but it’s great that warmer months are coming so she can just go around in a cloth diaper without anything on her legs.  Siblings are inspiring, too, I’m sure.

Posted by harp on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Edit
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Vivienne counted to 20 on her own without mistakes.  It took a few months, but she self-corrected the mistake she’s had for a long time.  So fun to see how different kids learn numbers!


She isn’t as interested in geography puzzles as her brothers, but she knows a fair amount nonetheless.  She did a US click-and-drag puzzle on on her own.


She tightened all the loose screws on the rolling cart on her own (I suggested she do it and gave her a screwdriver).


At the store the other day she picked out two croissants to buy with her own money.  She put it on the belt and paid for them herself then shared one with her brother.  I bought a croissant for me and Daniel so we would all have one when we got home.  Generosity inspires generosity.  Or are they spoiled?  I always see both sides . . .


Vivienne likes to sit at the edge of our yard looking at our neighbor’s yard, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 6-year-old girl M who lives there.  M also enjoy playing with her, so with the warmer weather they’ve been seeing each other more.  All the kids adore the neighbor kids, and the neighbor kids are great with them.  We are very thankful!


Stephan and Dad-o built a brachiation ladder for the kids room.  I can hardly believe this long-time dream of mine is complete!  The kids use it a bit throughout the day and their progress in just a few days is amazing!  Vivienne would climb up the side ladders but said she was too young to hang (she fell the first time she tried what Joseph did).  Now she swings back and forth and sits on top and climbs the length on top.  Daniel wouldn’t climb it at all, but now he can climb and hang from the first run both forwards and backwards and get back down on his own.  He’s climbed to the top and sat on it, too!  It is SO amazing what kids can do with time, no pressure to perform, and an interesting environment!  Thank you Daddy and Dad-o!!!!!

Posted by harp on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Edit
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Gashes his right cheek on a book corner while diving after a toy car.  It’s healed now but has left an impressive scar.


Our memory verse is Matthew 11:28-30 and Daniel likes to “read” it after we’ve recited it.  He says “my yoke is easy and my bird is light.”


He can control the mouse for slecting what to watch on Grandma’s Treasure Chest.  His current favorite is the US States.  He can sing nearly the whole States song, with some confusion between the North Carolina and South Carolina parts.  He can do the puzzle, and loves it.



Daniel completed a two-step command to earn media time.  I told him to pee and then put the US puzzle together and he did!


Poor Daniel has hit hard when we were sick the end of March.  He slept a lot and was pretty miserable with a cough, fever and ear infection.  It’s lovely to have our lively Daniel back!



Daniel is still a ham and he loves getting a good laugh.  Since our visitors are here he’s be playing it up even more and it’s become clear that he can get away with some things he otherwise wouldn’t because he is so cute and hilarious.  He particularly likes getting a good laugh out of Dad-o.  They enjoy rough-housing together.  We’ll have to be careful it doesn’t turn into a discipline problem, though.


Any advice on dealing with cute kids that can charm their way into anyone’s heart and get away with stuff?

Posted by harp on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 7:33 am | Edit
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Our notes are pathetic.



Painted a heart.

Does a headstand.



Sings the alphabet song.


Vivienne is social, happy, caring, helpful, emotional, able, tall, and mostly a pleasure to be around.  She loves changing clothes and dressing up in the many dress-up dresses she has.  She continues to grow in many ways and has a big heart.  She is aware socially and very able verbally, expressing her feelings and relating stories.


This past week or so we were all quite sick.  Vivienne usually struggles the most with wining and wanting lots of help with things she can normally do, but when she was sick, she had a wonderful attitude and took care of many of her own needs.  She’s like me in that way – if she gets enough attention and sympathy then she faces struggles bravely, but if she doesn’t get enough she’ll make noise to get the attention she thinks she deserves.  She recovered the fastest of all of us, too.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Edit
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I was feeling down and the kids noticed.  I decided to answer honestly and said “Sometimes I don’t feel like a good mommy.”  I don’t want to burden the kids too often with that sort of statement, but this time Joseph and Vivienne answered “You’re a good mommy to me.”  So sweet.


Joseph remembered that Grandma had made him a treasure hunt for his birthday so he made clues for a treasure hunt for Vivienne’s birthday.


We got a balance beam from IKEA and he fell and hit his chin.  We went to the doctor, but of course he was fine.



Joseph to Vivienne: I want you to be unbelievable.  (Stephan, care to explain?)


Joseph can do a headstand.


“What’s a mozzarella fox?”  (He meant Mozilla Firefox)


He made a “hinonsplodierpistole” – some time of pistol inmade-up German.  In English he called it a “pie –stole.”



We went to a homeschool gathering over the border in Aargau for the first time and the kids loved it.  I was finally comfortable enough driving to make it out there on my own with the kids.  We’ve had the car a year now and I can’t believe how much progress I’ve made and how easily because I gave myself permission to be afraid and to practice a bit at a time.


We read Stuart Little out loud and Vivienne and Joseph were captivated.  They’ve grown so much since we tried to do read-alouds last year!  At the end Stuart drives north.  Joseph connected the dots, remembering that the story takes place in New York City and asked “Is Stuart driving to Vermont?”


In a fit of frustration I wanted to start keeping track of every time the kids disobeyed and use that against them when they asked for privileges like sweets or media time.  The training from the parenting course we took over a year ago came to mind and I racked my brain trying to think of a more positive way to encourage obedience.  I decided to write their names on the whiteboard and put a check every time they DID obey.  It didn’t end all struggles, but I was shocked how well it worked, especially since there is no reward for the checks, other than the positive acknowledgement that they did the right thing.  After a week of doing it I heard Joseph say, “I obey every day.”  I love that he sees himself as one who obeys and sometimes fails rather than one who is a “bad boy” who disobeys.  It’s also been good for me to be aware of all the times they do obey and not just sulk over the times when I feel I have no control.


Example School Project

We’ve been quite free with school so far this year.  So far it’s worked out just fine.  Here is an example of the kinds of projects he spontaneously works on because he has the space, time, and resources to do it.


Joseph is often at work early in the morning before I get up.  One day in March when I came down in the morning he asked me, “Mommy, what do they speak in The Central African Republic?”


I told him to look it up, so he pulled out his list of countries and languages I’d printed for him long ago when I got tired of answering “what language do they speak” questions.


He looked it up, then pulled out the atlas and found the list of poorest countries.  He decided to make money and give it to the poor so they can have food to eat.


“I’ll make money for the Liberian people because they are poor.”


He drew and cut out several varieties of bills.



He wanted to call Grandma to tell her what he had done but I told him Florida time was our time minus six hours and asked him what time it was in Florida.  He read the clock at 6:29am and determined that it was 12:29am and realized that Grandma would still be asleep and couldn’t Skype so he asked to write an email instead.


Then on his own he printed the email, got an envelope and looked at the stamps but was disappointed to see that the 1.90Fr stamps only had photos of Daniel and there were none of him (Stephan prints stamps with family photos of the post office site).  He asked Stephan to print some stamps with himself on them, and did so in German, stopping in the middle to ask what “print” was in German (was heisst “print” uf Dutsch).


Stephan couldn’t get to it right away so the project was postponed, but this is a good example of all the different subjects Joseph’s natural curiosity brings him in contact with.

Posted by harp on Friday, April 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Edit
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