Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's New Years' Eve!

Emily just asked the toilet paper at church if it was afraid of the dark. She listened to it and translated for me that it was indeed a little bit afraid... Thus ends 2009.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Tree is Down

I didn't realize a 3-year old would act like her leg was getting cut off when the Christmas tree was put away... not that I REALLY know what it sounds like when she gets her leg cut off...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Time Part 5 of 5

For Christmas Eve this year, we mixed things up. We usually venture to Tom's side of the family and this year we decided to split up for Christmas Eve so he could visit with his family and Emily and I could visit with my side of the family that we don't get to see very often.

We all had a lot of fun with our respective families this year. Emily got to meet a few new canine friends (the highlight of her night!) as well as some cousins she hasn't seen before. Pictured below are Emily with my cousins Branya and Michele.

Here's Emily sharing the love with Zippy.

Tom came home from his family Christmas Eve party shortly after we came home from ours and he brought present with him! Emily was excited to open her gift from her cousins and can be seen sporting her tu-tu and dancing shoes below.

We hope everyone had a blessed Christmas!

Christmas Time Part 4 of 5

In preparation for Christmas parties, Emily helped me make our Pretzel Rings, Rolo Treats, Rolo Turtles, or whatever you want to call them. They are so easy to make that Emily did most of them herself!

STEP 1: Find an adorable 3-year old to help unwrap 2 bags of rolos.

STEP 2: Put parchment paper on microwaveable plate or tray and set a rolo inside a pretzel ring. (I've had good luck finding round pretzels at Wal-Mart each year.)

STEP 3: Take an ice cream and hot chocolate break while Mommy microwaves the treats just long enough for the rolos to soften (less than 1 minute).

STEP 4: As soon as treats come out of the microwave, press a pecan, walnut half, m&m or other tasty morsel into the rolo top to smoosh it into the pretzel. When treats have cooled, move them to an air tight container and share with friends!

Christmas Time Part 3 of 5

December 18 was the first snow at our house this year. I learned from last year that we shouldn't hesitate when it snows because we could potentially lose it in an hour!

We made footprints on the way to the post office, knocked snow off the trees, made snow balls to throw in the creek, made snow angels, went sledding, slid down the snow covered slide and ate CLEAN snow for a snack.

After playing in the snow, Em came in and took a nice, warm bath and then later in the afternoon we visited with Tom's extended family at their Christmas dinner. Here's Em with her cousin, Rachel!

Christmas Time Part 2 of 5

Papa's lodge had a Christmas party a few weeks ago and the guest of honor made an appearance. In true fashion, Em ran across the room to give him a big hug before he could even make it to the Santa chair.

A little later that week, we were scheduled to have some new carpet delivered for our living room. The previous carpet was a lovely shade of 1970's gold. To save a little money, we (Tom) tore up the old carpet ourselves. We discovered that our prediction was correction... hard wood covers the dining room and living room floors. We decided to refinish the dining room while I'm off for Christmas break and we ordered new living room carpet.

Christmas Time Part 1 of 5

I'm posting several updates today in an attempt to get caught up on picture posting!

A couple of weeks ago, my parents got a new puppy named Zoe. On a few occasions when Emily couldn't remember the puppy's name, she would refer to it as "Baby Jesus". See if you can pick out Zoe from the picture below.

Here's Emily and Zoe a.k.a. "Baby Jesus" on their first day together.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Emily, the Librarian

Emily still loves to read.

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in bed with my laptop and am listening to Emily over the baby monitor as she's reading stories. I have every reason to believe she's sitting in her rocking chair, reading her stories out loud to her pretend audience just like her favorite librarian, Miss Susie, does each week. She's telling her "audience" about the book, then reads it to "them" and when it's all done there's a big "Yeah" from the cheering section.

She's especially fond of reading "Snow White" this morning and I've heard a little bit of "The Fussy Princess" which is a Little Critter book. I think she might be reading a story about "Ice Cream Soup" right now which will probably lead to her calling my name and asking for breakfast. Guess I should go cut her off at the pass....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Potty Training Update

Happy to say (and hoping not to jinx anything) - Emily is soooo close to being officially potty-trained. Now we just need to re-train her to use a few squares of t.p. and not a few arm lengths. I'm not sure the plumbing in our house can handle the learning curve!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Buttometer

A few days ago, Emily's buttometer told us it had been a long day.

As soon as we were out the door today I heard, "Mommy, my butt's cold!"

The buttometer rings true yet again.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

To Have The Heart of a Child...

(Note: I've added several more blog entries this evening... simply catching up notes from the last couple of weeks.)

After I picked Em up from the babysitter's yesterday, we stopped by the grocery store on the way home. As she stepped out of the car in the parking lot, I found a dime on the ground and handed it to her. We put the dime in her pocket and I told her she could put it in her piggy bank when we got home. She was very excited about our find.

We walked hand-in-hand toward the store and she was eyeing which of the "fun carts" she wanted to ride in and was talking up a storm. We took one step inside the store and she spotted the Salvation Army bell-ringers and totally switched gears. She stopped dead in her tracks, opened up her pocket and pulled out her treasured dime. Surprisingly, she also found a penny in her pocket that neither of us knew was in there. I then watched in awe as my little girl took off at a full run to the friendly folks twenty feet away at the Salvation Army collection pot. She proudly handed them her 11 cents with a huge smile on her face and told them thanks. They were very sweet and seemed to have spotted the beauty of what had just happened. They handed her the bell and she ran over to show it to me and then went back over to ring it a few times before giving it back.

I met her with the "fun cart" of her choice, told her how proud I was of her and we continued on our adventure to find some chicken for supper.

If only we could all have the heart of a child.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Another day at Children's

Em received botox injections in both calves again yesterday to help counteract the high muscle tone... She screamed and cried so hard that she actually had little red spots on her skin around her eyes -- like freckles but most likely little broken blood vessels. Today, the "freckles" are light brown in color and she's in good spirits... I'd rather be hearing about her "butt hurting" than go through that again.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How Would You Respond?

How would you respond when your 3-year old hops up on the toilet and says, "Mom, my butt hurts."? Then, without missing a beat, she sighs deeply, plants her elbows on her knees and chin in her hands and says, "It's been a looong day."

What do you do with that? :-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kid's say the darndest things...

Last night my 3-year old asked me how to turn on an etch-a-sketch... and the generation gap stretched a bit further.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bathtime vs. Sympathy Seeker

This was Tom's status on Facebook...

"Emily is excited about her upcoming bath time. She's running to the bathroom, falls (not a big fall) and starts to cry. Jenni says from the bathroom, "Are you too hurt for a bath then?" Emily stops crying, jumps up, and yells, "I'm okay!" and continues to run to the bath..."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dear Emily...

It all started out harmless enough. First it was the Twix bars. Then, a few Kit Kats. Something happened to all the Snickers as well. But just so that you know I love you... there are still plenty of M&Ms left to make some yummy cookies. And, there are suckers and other yummy things for you to enjoy! I'll try to stop. Really. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Step 1 is almost checked off... as soon as I finish off this 3 Musketeer...


Saturday, November 07, 2009


There's nothing like hearing my sweet, adorable 3 year old think out loud while waiting for an H1N1 vaccine in a tightly packed public health clinic, "Peeeee-ewwwww! Mommy, that boy stinky!" {Sweet/adorable plugs nose, fans air and points in the appropriate direction at the boy beside her while his mom and family look on.}

Monday, November 02, 2009


Surprise #1: (Note - I just posted 3 entries tonight for this past week...)

I had to leave work a little early this afternoon to take Emily to an appointment at Children's Hospital. This was a simply brace follow-up and Tom had rearranged his day so he could go down to meet with our new doctor with us. We rushed home and collected everything we needed for the afternoon and while I was getting ready to head out the door I noticed my voicemail message light was blinking.

Surprise #2: A quick check of the message revealed that our doctor wasn't feeling well and left work earlier in the afternoon and we would have to reschedule our appointment. I called to reschedule the appointment for a few weeks out and we went ahead and picked Emily up early and headed out of town for a family evening out.

Surprise #3: A new wing has been added on to the mall that we like to visit and a Dave & Busters is included in that wing. I don't know that we've talked about it much on the blog, but Emily is very sensitive to loud noises. She can't stand vacuum cleaners, loud music, noisy toilets and air dryers, whistles, buzzers, car horns, loud mufflers or engines on cars/trucks, etc. so we were pretty sure she would freak out the minute we opened the door. We opened the door, stepped inside and paused for a moment to ask Emily if she thought it was too loud or if it she wanted to eat there. It didn't even phase her and she said she wanted to eat there. The meal was great and in the midst of a mid-meal potty break Em discovered there were lots of games on the way to the restroom!

To our surprise, Emily couldn't wait to finish her supper so she could show Daddy all the games that she found! Not only did she show him the games that we noticed on the fringe, but she walked through the entire game floor showing her Daddy all the blinking lights and noisy games... and Daddy helped her win a few game tickets to boot! It seems silly, but I was almost as proud tonight as I was when she started trying to take her first steps. We were still afraid of the scary automatic toilets tonight, but this feels like a giant step forward.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween Snow White!

This past Saturday was our community's Trick-or-Treat night and Emily has been looking forward to it for over a month. We surprised her with a Snow White dress and wig several weeks ago and she fell in love. We did some prep work to remind her that people would come to our house and we would give them candy. There would be some kids in funny masks and if there were scary faces, we just reminded her that they were just pretend and there were just kids under them.

Here's a look at the evening.

Ready to great her public...

At Emily's request, Nanny dressed up as the
"Apple Witch" and joined her for the evening.

It was a long, chilly night, but Emily had a blast!
She met a few scary folks early on and something
must have clicked a little later because she started
waving at them all and shouting, "Hi Funny Face!"
She got so comfortable that she nearly shouted,
"Hi Funny Face!" to a few folks who didn't even
have masks on. Awwwwwkward! :-)
But nothing a quick change of topic couldn't fix!

At the end of the night, Papa (aka The Prince)
decided to get in on the Snow White action
while sporting a little Buckeye fever...

Too funny, but a little scary. The bow
adds a nice touch I think.

Happy Halloween!

(Oh, and yes, Emily did get to go around to our neighbors,
but I think she actually preferred to hand out candy as opposed to raking it in!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Papa's Birthday and Halloween

This past week has been a flurry of activity. On Wednesday evening we met Aunts Shell and Laura for Papa's birthday dinner. Posted below are a series of pictures from the evening. Initially, I was trying to get some good pictures of Miss Em but the activity at the table in the background was just as entertaining...

And, lastly, Emily has taught Nanny and Papa the sign for "I Love You".
Papa's fingers don't work quite like they used to and Emily likes to help
him get it just right. Luckily, the meds he's been taking for his arthritis
also help lessen pain from 3-year old "helpers".

Happy Birthday Sam! We love you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's Saturday!

Em still has a drippy nose today and a tickle of a cough. We've had a pretty lazy day today. We did some cleaning and some laundry and a lot of sitting around doing nothing! Mmmmmm-hmmmmm.

This afternoon Tom was playing around with Emily and asked her, "Emily, who's the boss?" He was anxiously waiting for her to say something along the lines of, "You are, Daddy." However, following her own script, she start by half-heartedly pointing at her daddy and then twirled around quickly and said, "Mommy!" That's my girl. She makes me giggle.

A few hours later, Tom decided to pick up the game again and said, "Emily, say 'Daddy, you're the boss!'" but it came out slightly transposed. "Daddy, you're bossy!"

Only our Emily. Teehee!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Day at Home with Sickie

Emily came home last night with a drippy nose and a slight cough. Normally, I wouldn't be too concerned because we had just spent Sunday evening outdoors at a cookout and it IS starting to be cold season. However, we've had the flu running rampant in our county and surrounding counties and most doctors are calling it H1N1 since it's supposedly too early for your typical seasonal flu. A few people I know have been diagnosed with H1N1 so I felt it was probably wise to err on the side of safety. Em was supposed to go to speech therapy this morning, then to the sitters (who was going to take her along to a MOPS meeting this morning where there would be a bunch of other kids) and then I was going to pick her up in the afternoon and take her to physical therapy. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) I decided it might be a smart call to stay home until we know what's really going on.

So, what did we do today?

We did what every good mom would do with her sick kid... We read books, drank homemade hot chocolate, made homemade playdough, knitted a few hats and wrote letters on recycled homemade paper to all of our friends and family. Seriously? Are you buying any of that because I just might have some swamp land in Florida to sell ya!

We (Emily) got to have a Disney movie marathon complete with Snow White, Mary Poppins and a dash of Beauty and the Beast. We also threw in a few PBS kids shows for a sprinkling of educational value. I did make a pretty yummy lunch for her and made sure she drank lots of fluids. In conjunction with the fluids, we also kept working on potty training throughout the day. (Would love to hear any great ideas for potty training! It's been dragging on for over 6 mos. now and almost seems to be getting worse instead of better....)

While Emily was watching the boobtube, I did a little tech work, tech support and tech professional development. While I was taking a few tech calls, Em decided to mock me and even spent a good deal of time repeating EVERYTHING I was saying.

Here's a picture of her phone:

I know -- it looks like a giant wooden spoon (it is),
or a golf club but it gets great reception!
Due to her great imagination, mere seconds later
it became a shovel/pick ax like the Seven Dwarfs use.

During the course of the day, I also did some laundry, some dishes and some cooking. I enjoy reading blogs that feature recipes. The people that write these blogs tend to call themselves "foodies". Sounds a little cheesy to me. Today, I'm going to be a food blogger. Today, I'm a flogger!

Or not....

Our church was supposed to take treats to a local nursing home this Sunday but have decided to postpone it until everyone is feeling better. I wanted to try making some new recipes for rice krispy treats (using a crock pot!) and popcorn balls. The results are in!

I love using Fruity Pebbles in Rice Krispy Treat recipes. So... fruity! And... chewy! And... just plain yummy. I read online recently where a lady slowly melted the marshmallows and butter in a crockpot while she was making supper and then mixed everything together for some great treats. What a brilliant idea! No constant stirring the stuff on the stove. Simply melt, stir and mix it all together. -- Or so she said. It took quite a while for my stuff to get its melt on. It finally did and I was very hopeful that my yummy, fruity, sticky mess would turn out scrumptious. It glopped out of the crock just like I thought it should have. And, it spread onto my cookie sheet like I thought it should have.

After about 15 minutes it had cooled down to room temp and I found a knife to cut my yummy, fruity treat. Unfortunately, it required a little more pressure than I remembered. As a matter of fact, it took a LOT of pressure to cut through it. And, when it did cut through, it pretty much shattered into a bunch of shrapnel. Seriously. It hit me in the face! I deemed this particular attempt worthy of roofing shingles and unfit for senior citizens. I'm blaming it on stale marshmallows and not on crock pot user error. I decided it wasn't worth messing with and it quickly found its way to the trash can.

UPDATE 10/24/09 - I took a 2nd whack at making Rice Krispy Treats today and they turned out great! Nice and soft and chewy and the recipe came straight from the Kellogg's website. Yummers!

I've been itching to try a Caramel Apple Bar mix and finally got my chance this afternoon. We picked a mix up while we were on vacation in Tennessee that simply required adding an egg, apples, and some melted butter. I know my husband loves apple stuff and I've been anxious to make this. I added a few (optional) chocolate chips. The verdict isn't in on this one yet. I sure looks yummy but we're still stuffed from supper and haven't cut into it yet.

UPDATE 10/24/09 - We tried this one after Em went to bed last night. It was okay. I was really surprised that with all the apples, caramel nuggets and chocolate chips that I put in that it was actually rather bland. I melted some butterscotch chips this afternoon and drizzled them over the top. Maybe that will make them a little bit sweeter. Or, warm them up and load 'em up with vanilla ice cream and caramel ice cream topping!

I hear the folks at the nursing home surprisingly really like popcorn balls. I wasn't quite ready to spend a lot of time on popcorn balls so I decided to try a recipe called Honey Krunch Popcorn. It's basically caramel corn but made with a combination of honey and brown sugar. I read through the recipe and it sounded like it would work pretty easily. The only thing I was wondering was whether it was going to end up being a crunchy or a soft and chewy snack.

I started with 6 cups of popped popcorn.

In a saucepan, I melted 1/4 cup of honey with
1/4 cup of brown sugar and brought it to a boil.

I drizzled it over my popcorn, mixed it all together
and then poured it out on a cookie sheet lined with
parchment paper. I then baked it for 15 minutes
in a 300° oven, stirred it and baked it for 15 more minutes.

The results:

...another fine product for the trash can to sample!

The popcorn didn't really burn, but ended up having that almost burnt popcorn taste.
It was actually just starting to smolder when it was time to take it out of the oven!
The flavor wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that great either.

I'm thinking this just isn't a good week to try new recipes. Earlier this week, I made baked chicken breasts that turned out pretty good and planned on making scalloped corn to accompany them but I was missing some eggs. I found another corn recipe that involved corn (obviously -- or maybe not with the way my luck has been going!), cream cheese, butter and milk. I plated the food (Isn't that what they call it on the Food Network?) ...and served it up. My sweet, lovable husband knows I always want his honest opinion on the stuff I make because I want to know whether I should ever bother making again. Part way through the meal he says, "The chicken is good, but I don't understand the corn." I had to laugh... I didn't understand it either. Food improv just isn't my thing this week.

Enough confessions. Now you all know that contrary to popular belief I'm not Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray. Flogger out!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grandma I's "Tell Me Your Memories"

For Christmas 1995 I gave both of my grandmas a booklet that I picked up at a Hallmark store. It was called "Tell Me Your Memories". There was a page in the booklet for every day of the year and neither grandma fully completed their books for me but they did a great job for their ages at the time. Grandma Isler reached a point where she didn't like to write because her hand was so shaky but some of my relatives would ask her questions when they went to visit and would help fill in the blanks. Both of my grandmas have passed away and we still have some of their memories because of these neat little booklets. I love reading their handwritten responses and remembering times spent with them.

Here are Grandma I's responses:

Grandma I.

What was your day and date of birth?
Dec 22, 1913

Where were you born?
At home, County Line Rd, Marion-Crawford, Grand Prairie Twp.

Do you know any other circumstances of your birth (who was present, who delivered, etc.)?
My twin brother was born 8 hrs. before me. The doctor was Dr. Baker (Kirkpatrick). My great-aunt Lizzie Kelly - a nurse (Grandma Mapes' sister) was there.

Name your brothers and sisters and their years of birth.
Frederick, Howard F. Lusch (Feb. 25, 1912), Charles Donald Lusch (Dec. 22, 1913), Janet Ruth Lusch Lawrence (Oct. 13, 1917) {Grandpa Mapes - Charles W. M, Aunt Jeanette Marble, Howard Mapes}

What was your mother's full name?
Gladis Emma Mapes Lusch, born May 25, 1886

What was your father's full name?
Fred Jacob Lusch, born June 18, 1888 (?) in Marion

What was your mother's date and place of birth?
I think Grand Prairie Twp. They lived near the Brush Ridge Cemetery.

What was your father's date and place of birth?
June 18, 1888 in Marion, Ohio.

Tell a family nickname that you had.
None - just Dorothy.

Tell of any other nicknames in your family.Charles was called Chuck by school friends.

What did your father do for a living?
Dad was a bookkeeper and farmer. Kept books for Farm Bureau and later managed in Marion also sold F.B. Insurance. Moved to Upper Sandusky (1935-36). Managed F.B. Landmark and sold Nationwide Insurance.

Name the towns you lived in before you were 20.
We lived on a farm in Claridon Twp. and visited grandparents and cousins in Marion.

Name the childhood addresses you remember.
Mud Pike - Marion Ohio
R.F.D. 6
Columbus-Sandusky Rd. (*Note: apparently all were known as ST. RT. 98)

Tell a fond memory of your Grandpa.
Grandpa Mapes wanted us to sit quiet and listen. Don't run in the house. Keep hands off well (stairways). Don't sit on arms of furniture. Sit. Sit. Clean up your plate. He was a good guy but not much for fun.

Tell a fond memory of your Grandma.
Grandma Lusch was quiet and nice. She liked to stay home. Grandma Mapes taught us a lot of good things. I spent some vacations at their house. Also got to help her "clean house". She made it a good time to talk and learn how to clean. They had a big house in Marion, "modern" plumbing. 254 S. State St., Marion, Ohio.

Tell about a favorite Aunt.
Aunt Jeannette (Mapes) Marble - We spent summer vacations at their house. They had 3 girls. Aunt Hester (Lusch) Harraman, Aunt Kathryn Lusch. They all lived in Marion so that was different and fun.

Tell about a favorite Uncle.
Dad's brothers - Oscar, Harold, and Eddie Lusch. They talked and teased a lot.

Did any relatives ever live with you?

When you needed punishment as a child, which parent corrected you?
Mostly just "talked to". Either Mother or Dad. Mother was more often available.

What type of punishment was dealt you?
"A talking to"

Tell about the naughtiest thing you ever did.
Who me??

If you got caught, describe the consequences.

A promise for the next time.

Relate an experience or memory of a cousin.
Betty Mapes Garver (Uncle Ralph) moved here from Nebraska. She came to visit at our house. She was Janet's age. She watched milk the cows.

Did your mother work outside the home?
Chores and garden

What did you and your brothers or sisters fight about the most?
Whose turn it is to do certain chores.

Do you remember the first movie you ever saw and who starred in it?I was told it was Mrs. Wigga in the Cabbage Patch.

What was your favorite meal as a child?
Ham, browned potatoes, coleslaw, escalloped corn, devil's food cake and peaches (home canned)

What were you doing to first smash a finger?

Car door was shut on it.

Tell about a big fib you told. Not me!!

Did you ever hop a freight train? Explain.
No. I rode a passenger train to Chicago World's Fair (1933?) from Marion. We got on at the station.

Tell of a nickname given to you by friends or classmates.
"Dot". Girls on basketball team. We all had nicknames.

How did you get the nickname?
Dot - short for Dorothy, I guess.

Who was your first girlfriend?
Girls in my class and Vera Mae (Smith) Seckel, Marguirita Eichhorn (Speir)

Tell about the Valentine Day festivities at your school.
We made valentines for almost all in our room. Teachers made or covered a box like mailbox. Valentines were drawn out and delivered.

Tell about a special valentine you once gave.
We made most of our valentines from art paper. Cut out flowers and hearts and put on with homemade paste.

Tell about your first date.A double-date my parents were not to happy with but I never went with him again. We went from my girlfriend's house.

Tell about your first kiss.
Must have been from my mother or dad. I don't remember too many kisses.

Tell about family reunions in your childhood.
Lusch family met every summer at Garfield Park. Sometimes we went to cousins in Tiffin and Marysville Retterer reunion usually at Garfield Park. We took enough lemon for lemonade made there in a big crock. Ice cream was made and a lot of cousins and friends came to help eat it. There was a shelter in the park.

What do you remember as your favorite subject in school?
Reading, spelling, simple math (arithmetic), home economics, history and English.

What do you remember as your least favorite school subject?

Science (biology and physics)

What is the biggest problem you remember having in Grade School?
Fractions. Division.

What is the biggest problem you remember having in Jr. High School?
No jr. high. Just 1-8 and 9-12. We had to take an 8th grade test to get into H.S. We studied for it. Had Mr. Banning for our teacher. I did well.

What is the biggest problem you remember having in Sr. High school?
Physics as a Jr., Latin II - Soph.

Describe a place you liked to go to be alone.
? To our/my bedroom. Walk along the creek. Riffle Creek run through our farm on 98.

Tell of a place that you discovered or built as a "haven" for your gang.

No gangs, just visited some friends, played games like card games, played croquet in our yard.

Tell about a favorite "hang out" place for you and your friends in Jr. or Sr. High.
Farm kids did not do those things. Had chores and plenty to keep busy.

Tell about the best pet you ever had.
We had very nice dogs and cats.

Tell about other pets you had.
We always had cats and dogs. We liked border collies or collie dogs and cats lived at the barn.

Tell about being in a school play or program.
I had parts in a lot of school programs. In high school, junior and senior class plays and played as a "black" maid in Jr. play! Black make up. Can you imagine? Not 1996.

Tell about a school principal you remember.
They were all good to me.

Did you ever pretend to be sick as an excuse to stay home from school?

Do you have a good story about yourself cussing?
We were threatened if we said "darn". That means the same as "Damn", etc. Occasionally I did but not so Mother or Dad heard.

Tell about how you spent your Saturdays during the school year.
Helped with housework. Baked and cleaned. We went to Marion Saturday evenings to get groceries. Stores closed at 9:00.

Tell about how you spent your Sundays.
Sunday School when weather was good. Picnics, ball games, croquet, card games. Visited the grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins.

What was the naughtiest or meanest thing you remember doing in school?
Not me??

What was your favorite radio program?I liked music. Band and vocal. We did not have a radio except one run by battery till we got electricity R.E.A. about 1929?

What was your favorite movie as a youth? Why?
We didn't go to many, no money. - Maybe went w/ Mapes', it was just up State Street. ORPHEUM theater on W. Center St., Grand Theater on N. State.

Tell of a difficult school essay or term paper assignment.In my day, they must have called it something else.

Tell about your first smoke.
No first.

Do you remember your first pizza?
Box mix in the 60's.

If you went to college, tell which college you chose and why.
Marion Business College. We did not have any courses at Claridon to prepare for a job so I took a business course and got a job at Farm Bureau helping my dad. There I was given a job as bookkeeper - until I got married 1937.

Tell your major and how you chose it.
Did you ever hear of Major Bowls (on radio) (amature hour) {I suspect G'ma didn't understand this question....}

Did people wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
Not because I was Irish. Wore whatever we had.

If you ever hitch-hiked, explain. No. In my day we walked to visit neighbor kids or to pick strawberries. Had no bicycle. Just good exercise.

What do you remember as your favorite time of year? Why?
Probably - summer or fall to get back to school or to see the friends.

Describe some household chores you had as a child.
Lots of dishwashing, dusting, sweeping, and bed making...

Describe some outside chores.
Planted sweet peas on St. Patrick's Day or Good Friday -- which ever when it was dry enough.

What bones have your broken and how? None.

Did you ever need stitches?

Tell about an experience at the doctor's.Had to get a small pox shot so I could play basketball (1930). Required in all schools.

Name your best school chums.
Vera Mae (Smith) Seckel
Marjorie (Seckel) Gulliford
Louise George
Ester Haley Tittlebaugh
Hazel Trout Bauer

Tell about a practical joke or prank you played on a person.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..."

Have you ever hunted or tried to capture a wild animal?
I went with my brother to set and check traps for muskrat, mink, or coon along our creek (Riffle). It runs through our farm. Did not go often.

Did you ever try to adopt a wild animal?
Only stray dogs.

Relate a favorite spring memory."Last day of school" meant you probably wouldn't see most of your friends until next fall.

Did your Mom or Dad ever find something you had hidden?
Maybe a book or 2 I was not supposed to read. They thought it had too much "love stuff" in it. (Sex)

Share a memory of going to church as you were growing up.
We went to church in Marion with Grandma Mapes when we visited her. When weather was good Dad drove us there. We had a good teacher I remember (Aunt Matt Howser, grandma's sister)

Share a memory about a church social activity.
Church was not social.

Tell about an Easter Egg hunt.
The "Easter Bunny" always took care of that but one year after they were carefully hid - some hogs got out and found most of them.

If your family went to Easter Sunrise services, tell about it.
Some friends always had new Easter clothes but we were told that was not what it was all about.

Tell about any other Easter tradition.
Easter eggs and baskets were fixed for us. Sometimes we went to Grandmother Lusch's / Aunt Kathryn and some Lusch cousins were there.

When you played make-believe, what did you pretend?
We played house and I was the boss.

If you could return to your childhood, what would you do differently?
Try to set in the front so I could see the blackboard better.

Is there anything you would do differently as a teenager?
There is quite a difference between 1925 and 1996. We had some fun and were kept busy. We lived on a farm and did a lot of things with our family; played ball, croquet, and card games - Flinch, Muggins, Rook and Euchre.

What is the best book you ever read as a child?
I liked a book when I was a teenager called "A Girl of the Limberlost" G Jean Stratton Porter.

What is the biggest physical problem you had to deal with?
Try to keep our bedroom in order. {At least I "think" that's what it says and I won't speculate on what that means! j.h.}

Did you have any superstitions?
No! Fine a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck.

Where were your best hide-and-seek places?
Under our (Janet & my) bed.

Tell about the first time you were ever behind the wheel of a car.
Learning to drive in the lot around the (Brooder) house. (Baby chick)

Do you have a story about a big surprise?Having a daughter and having (2) sets of twins.

What childhood fear do you remember?
A Dog.

Tell about a May Day tradition.
Decoration day parade in Marion.

How much do you remember paying for an ice cream cone?.35 / 4 Leaf Clover Isaly, North Prospect St.

Did you have a treehouse?
No, but we did have an "out house". Do you know what that is?

Did your Mother ever make a special gift for you?Mother made most of our dresses.

Tell a favorite memory of your mother.
She could make the best pies, devil's food and angel food cake and she was a very good cook and very particular about housekeeping, laundry and gardening.

Tell about some good advice your mother gave you.
Little children love each other for love is of God.

Relate your family Mother's Day traditions.
Mother's Day must do something for grandmothers.

Do you remember any childhood songs or rhymes?
Home, Home on the Range.

Name some popular hit songs from your youth.
Carolina Moon
Springtime in the Rockies
Tennessee Waltz

What was your favorite singing group or band?
Wayne King
Guy Lombardo
Bing Crosby

Tell a favorite singer and a song that he/she sang.
Kate Smith sang God Bless America.

What kind of dances did you do as a youth?
Charleston, Waltz, Square Dance -- but I didn't dance.

Tell about your first dance you ever went to.
Chrystal Lake Park - north of Marion

Tell about your high school prom or formal dance.
For Jr. Prom we entertained seniors at Harding Hotel ballroom. I don't think dancing was permitted at school (Claridon).

Describe the military experience of someone in your family.
A couple uncles were in 1st World War and 2nd World War. My twin was in the Air Force in 1943-45. I believe a mechanic on planes - mostly England. (Charles D. Lusch)

Share a memory involving a war during your childhood or youth.
World War II - Young people were drafted. Some food rations. Many things were saved to be recycled - to replace rubber and metals for planes, etc.

Share another memory involving a war during childhood or youth.
1st World War - I was too young to understand "why" uncles were going to Army Camp. Food things rationed. 2nd World War - "why" Charles went to England.

Tell about your graduation exercises or traditions.
We had baccalaureates on Sun. before and graduation - we did not wear "gowns" - white dresses. Had a speaker and music.

What year did you graduate from high school?
1932 Claridon High School

How many students were in your graduating class?
11 -- Charles Lusch, Charles Howser, Walter Schwaderer, John Gruber, Georgia Kraner, Louisa George, Ester Haley, Dorothy Lusch, Cecil Palmer, Glen Pallen (?), Harold Smith

How many students attended your high school?
11 in my class - 9th
18 - 10th
4 - 11th
16 - 12th
49 plus or minus

Did you play a musical instrument?
Piano (some)

Tell of the closest friend you had during your childhood.
Vera Mae Smith (Seckel)

Tell about hot dog or marshmallow roasting.
4-H Club meetings

Did you ever go on a snipe hunt?
Yes - a neighbor's party!

What was your first job?
Helping take care of cousins when they were babies - Mostly housework, dishes and diapers.

Tell about going to a circus or chautauqua.
Grandpa Mapes took us to Elks Circus in Marion several times and I went with G'ma to the chautauqua at Garfield Park. She liked to go and I saw a lot of good shows. 1 week each summer on my vacation. I was probably 12-14 years old.

Did you go fishing in your childhood?
No. Just in the creek by our house.

Do you remember having a favorite candy? How much did it cost?
A neighbor Charlie Fetter showed us how he pulled taffy. He had a big hook on the wall doorway. When it got so he could handle it he pulled it over that hook " 'til is was ready".

Do you remember having a favorite snack that you made at home?

Tell about the best Christmas present you ever received.
Roll of pennies every Christmas from Grandpa Mapes.

Tell about the worst Christmas present you ever received.
When I didn't get anything.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Nothing really exciting has happened in the last week so I'm really struggling with what to write about today. The only thing "new" is that Emily worked up to wearing her braces all day (off at night) for about 3 days before she started limping. There were no red marks on her legs or feet and her toes look fine too. We gave her a break for a few days and when we tried putting regular shoes on her, she decided to limp then too! Tomorrow is a new day and we're going to attempt our Super Legs! again. (That's what we call them.)

Today's entry is just about facts. About Emily.
  • As of today - 1,248 days old.
  • Weight: 33.5 lbs (but feels more like 50!)
  • Height: 39 inches (and that's on flat feet!)
  • Not a big fan of bugs
  • Loves ice cream
  • Will pick a dress over play clothes nearly any day
  • Likes to put mousse on her forehead every morning
  • Adores hand-me-downs from her friends and cousins
  • Has a daddy-inspired addiction to orange tic-tacs
  • Has an obsession with birthdays and celebrates mine at least once a week
  • Head-over-heels adores her big brother
  • Still isn't potty-trained but tells me every day that she's working on it.
  • Once told me her tummy was tired (what does that mean, anyway?)
  • Pronounces Lucky Charms and Yucky Bombs
  • Is a routine girl through and through
  • Likes to put her hands up and say, "Weeee" as we go over train tracks and bridges.
  • Moving up to wearing 4T and 5T but we actually have to make sure they're long enough (I never had that problem!)
  • Shoe size is a 7 1/2 or an 11 1/2 wide... depending on the day.
  • Favorite game: Hide & Seek (and hiding in the same spot again and again)
  • Favorite drinks: milk and lemonade
  • Favorite movie: Snow White
  • Favorite books: God and Me, any Clifford the Big Red Dog books, The Way to Wyatt's House, Snow White
  • Favorite songs: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and ABC Song

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Packing List

Emily is getting ready to spend the night with Nanny and Papa at their camper tomorrow night. Tonight she was so excited that she decided to help pack her own bags. Here is the list of things piled in our living room so far that she "thinks" she's taking with her tomorrow. (Good luck fitting it all in the camper!)

  • 3 baby dolls
  • 1 Barbie doll
  • small black teddy bear
  • 6 small sheets of notebook paper
  • jump rope
  • dump truck
  • bull dozer
  • purse with pretend dog food inside
  • microphone
  • Fridge Phonics musical part (no letter included - - yet)
  • photo album of Kazakhstan trip
  • tiny stuffed red panda
  • small sticker booklet with no stickers left
  • 6 books ("Moo, Baa, La La La!", "Bear Snores On", "My Day Picture Book", "Clifford's Puppy Days", "The Fussy Princess" and "Just Go To Bed")
  • a purse with 2 Prayer Bears inside
  • flute
  • Raggedy Ann piggy bank
  • dolphin teething toy
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • sippy cup with milk left over from supper
  • play dog toy with carrier, leash, comb, jacket and food bowl
  • toddler's MP3 music player (that might need batteries before it makes the trip)
  • and finally, ONE used fabric softener dryer sheet.
Do you think she'll be disappointed when I tell her in the morning that she has to take some clothes, shoes and toiletries with her?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Brace Yourselves...

Okay, lame title. I know. But, come on. You knew this entry was coming!

Emily's braces were ready on Monday morning so Tom and I took Emily for her fitting. She did really well and was once again very brave. Mr. B was able to do his work and we walked out of there with 4 new pieces to add to Emily's wardrobe... 2 braces, a night brace and a knee immobilizer for night use. More pictures will come later, but I wanted to give you a quick sneak peak at the amazing difference in her walk and how quickly she has adapted to these things.

After work, we had a meeting with a new babysitter and her family. We went out to eat and then hit the shoe store to find a new pair of shoes that would fit over there braces. I knew we would need bigger shoes, but I never would have guessed that we would go from a size 7 1/2 to a size 11 1/2 Wide! That's 4 sizes, baby! (And she can still walk in them without tripping over her own feet!)

Monday night was my first attempt at putting on the braces. I quickly learned my mistake of not holding them open wide enough to make it easy to get her foot in there. She held it against me the rest of the week. :-/

We are working our way up to wearing these more and more each day and I've let Tom take the lead in putting them on since he's much better (and patient and calmer about it than I am)! She wore them for 4 hours this evening and did pretty well. We haven't started with the night brace or knee immobilizer yet but will integrate that into the routine once she's used to wearing the braces for longer during the day. The night brace is much more padded so it should be comfy, but she's not used to keeping her feet at that angle for so long.

Just wanted to share the video with you guys. After the braces were put on, you can see that she wasn't able to pivot quite as well as before... but keep in mind she's been used to pivoting on her toes for over 2 years now and she's wearing shoes that are literally 4 sizes bigger than she's used to! And, less than a week later and she's already working on steps and other obstacles. This kid never ceases to amaze me and is adapting to these things faster than I thought possible! Way to go, Emily!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windows to the Future

The other day I was sharing a beautiful moment with Emily. We were sitting side by side on her bed reading a lovely book when she got a bit distracted. As I continued reading from her obviously tantalizing story, Emily poked her head behind the curtain at her window and was looking outside... or so I thought.

After a minute or so had passed, I began to hear squeaky noises coming from behind the curtain. Curiosity got the best of me and I peaked to see what was going on.

To my surprise, the window was not only steamy from Emily's body heat creating condensation on the cold window but it was overly wet and covered in smeary finger streaks. Emily looked at me with all the pride she could muster and said, "See!" Yeah, I saw.

"Emily, did you lick the window with your tongue?"


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Botox Follow-Up & Braces

(Note to Facebook friends: Please click on the title and it will take you to our Blog site where you can read the whole story but can also dig into the archives and read about and see pictures of our whole adoption from Kazakhstan story!)

Emily had a botox follow-up appointment on Wednesday morning and Tom was able to join us for this one. As usual, we mentally prepped Em for what was going to happen and assured her there would be no shots! She is definitely getting more comfortable going in for her appointments these days. Since this was her daddy's first opportunity to join us for this type of appointment she took charge and showed him the ropes.

She was so full of confidence and even had an extra little spring in her step. When her name was called she marched right ahead of us, followed the nurse back to the exam room and announced to her that there would be "No Shots!" on this fine day. Right away she started asking me for her crayons. (We always take crayons along so she can draw and color on the table paper!) She carried on a pretty good conversation with one of the nurses and then hung out with us in the exam room for a little over an hour before the doctor finally came in.

I'll preface this next paragraph by saying that Emily had an excellent visit and did great the entire time. She responded to all the doctor's requests with calm self-confidence and I was so proud of her. However, I was not so proud of our doctor.

Dr. B came in over an hour after we went into the exam room. She talked very briefly with us and then worked with Emily and checked the range of the flexibility of her ankles. Emily did great and allowed her to stretch and bend her ankles.

The doctor was not impressed that Emily's range of motion didn't seem to be improving. She can barely get her right leg/foot into a 90° bend and her left leg/foot is about 7° away from getting into a 90° bend... I think she called a -7° or something like that. The doctor seemed a little frustrated or baffled or something.

The conversation then just started to get odd. She asked me if we had ever considered serial casting and that is something that we might have to consider. However, if you refer to this post from March you'll see that serial casting is something that we had been told we might need to do all along and then you'll also kindly note that it was Dr. B that told us Emily would NOT be a candidate because she was too "aggressive". Grrrr. So, yes, we had considered serial casting and our physical therapist and I actually pushed Dr. B to consider it because stretching wasn't doing the job.

Dr. B asked me to show her how we've been stretching Emily and proceeded to tell me that we've been doing it all wrong and showed us how we should be doing it. (No problem there. I appreciate constructive criticism, but didn't appreciate the accusing way in which she said it.) She mentioned that she would probably be increasing the dose for the next botox again. And then, she asked me what we knew of Emily's birth history. I told her we really didn't know anything other than the initial diagnoses she was given (and with Russian medical mindset, she had a whole list of diagnoses, most of which are very common in newborns). I told her off the top of my head I didn't remember what any of them were but that they should be in Em's paperwork because I brought it all in with me on our first visit and they made copies. At that point, the conversation got a little more odd.

The doctor asked me if we had ever had an MRI done on Emily's back/spine. (The answer was no.) At that point, she made a comment about her login to the computerized medical records being messed up and she couldn't get into the system. After joking that maybe they were telling her to just go home she left the room.... I assumed she was going to the nurses station to have one of them log in and pull Emily's records. BUT SHE NEVER CAME BACK!

A nurse came back in the room and handed us the wrap-up paperwork that listed our next appointment. Tom and I just looked at each other. Neither of us had any inkling that we were "done" with our conversation... it was almost like the doctor left in mid-thought.

Regardless, we were already not impressed with our visit that day and we were semi-okay with being done. We stopped at the front desk on the way out and set up our next appointment for mid-October and promptly asked if there are other doctors there that do the same thing as Dr. B. Out of only about 4-5 visits, Dr. B has already had 2 major strikes and 1 minor one in my book. I was hoping to give her the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to having a bad day. However, if this is our batting record, I can't afford for Emily (and us) to keep dealing with "bad days".

We WILL return to Nationwide Children's Hospital (I am highly impressed with NCH) but we WILL NOT be returning to this doctor. It's not a good fit and we have to do what is best for Emily.

* * * * *
In other news, we heard a couple of days ago that Emily's new braces are ready and we have an appointment scheduled for Monday morning to be introduced to them. I imagine they will do a fitting and tweak them as necessary but I'll post more after that appointment to let you know how it went!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh No She Di'nt!

A few days ago we were killing time waiting for a doctor to come into the exam room [more on that later]. After nearly an hour, we broke into a challenging game of "I Spy". You know, the one that starts with, "I spy with my little eye something gray!" Without missing a beat, our little cherub immediately ran over to me and pointed to my hair!

Oh no she di'nt!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ladybug Landing

Even ladybugs have to come in
for a landing once in a while.

Monday, September 21, 2009


You know, a couple of weeks ago I posted a little snippet of our visit to Saturday in the Park. What I didn't share with you was that this was Miss Em's first exposure to Porta-Pots, Tidy Tims, Jiffy Johns, you get the idea.

Oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of the neat row of those teal outhouses.

Em's still having her ups and downs with potty training... mostly downs lately but I know she'll eventually click with it. Regardless, when the kid says she has to go, I try to find a way to help her go!

On this particular occasion, the only option was to check out the teal thrones. Thank goodness, they had a handicap "throne"! I've never seen these before, but whenever the opportunity presents itself to take Em into a handicap stall and there isn't a big line of people that truly need it, I will take it. Regular stalls simply are not meant for 1 1/2 people!

Now, we've had our share of bad experiences with public restrooms as noted here but something really freaked me out about taking her to this restroom. Something about the fact that this little kid is getting very inquisitive and has an insatiable desire to touch everything! Prior to entering the teal throne room, I felt the urge to give her the rundown... this is what to expect, this is what it's going to look like inside, I will get you ready and lift you up on the seat and you are NOT to touch anything... you know, one of those kinds of schpiels. And, you know, it didn't stand a chance of actually working.

I was highly impressed with the amount of space inside and that I might actually be able to make this work. However, latching the door presented a little more of a challenge than I expected. On top of that, I had to find someplace semi-clean to set down our bags that we were carrying so I could help her out. In the very few seconds that I took to survey my surroundings, Emily touched the floor, the toilet seat, the toilet paper dispenser and everything else that she shouldn't have. Meanwhile, I'm thinking "OH.", "Oh! Don't touch that!", "Ohhhhh, Emily, you really shouldn't have....", "Oh, Em." "Okay, let's hurry up and get outta here... hurry, let's clean up." (Run away! Run away!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

She'll Take Care of Me

Em and I took a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday before supper. She knew what was on her shopping list. As she would say, "milk and..... TIC TACS!" (She and Tom have been bonding over orange tic tacs the past couple of weeks.)

As we went up and down the aisles she helped me find the carrots, the grapes (for her favorite recipe: Frozen Grapes! And, yes, there's an exclamation mark after it when she says it!), the spaghetti sauce, you get the idea.

While we were passing through the pasta aisle we passed an older gentleman who was riding in one of the motorized carts. Of course, in typical Emily fashion she very loudly asks, "What is that?!?" right as the man rolls beside her. In a more quiet voice, I told her those were his magic wheels and they help him be able to do his shopping. Without missing a beat, my little cherub started on a long discourse about when I'm old she will let me ride in the front seat of her shopping cart and she will take me shopping... and we'll get grapes and bananas and s'getti and milk and TIC TACS! (Yes, she yelled that part too.) And then she pulled my face close to hers so that our foreheads touched and our noses smooshed and she told me that she loved me.

Oh, little girl, I hope you still feel that way when I am old.

...and, good heavens, don't forget that on a previous grocery excursion you DID tell me that you would change my diapers when I was an old lady.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Glance at Emily's Last Few Weeks

After a very nice, and quite subtle hint (ahem), I've been informed that I've neglected to update our blog over the past couple of weeks. I humbly apologize. School started shortly after our last entry and we've had a flurry of activity during the days and nights since then. Enough excuses... here's what you've been waiting for.

The first picture has absolutely nothing to do with Emily except that I took it on my way home from work and was about 15 minutes away from picking her up. Luckily, I was heading into the blue skies and away from those extremely dark clouds that were in my side mirror. We got a bit of rain that night, but nothing compared to what those clouds looked like they could have produced!

A few days later, I caught Miss Em daydreaming while watching TV and holding a lovely green marker to her cheek and LIPS.

She was a little concerned when she noticed that her hands were green from wiping her face...

But she royally freaked out when I showed her what she looked like in the mirror. It was the first time I've ever seen her run AWAY from a mirror! Thank goodness it was a Washable Crayola Marker! We even had to run her tongue over the washcloth a few times before it was pink again!

A few more days after that and Emily couldn't wait to come home and help me make supper. I put her in charge of making the salad. She makes a mean lettuce shredder and was very proud of her work!

Last Wednesday, it was time for Botox: Round 4. At weigh-in, she's now a whopping 33.5 lbs and 39 inches tall. She was friendly and chipper until the syringe came out, screamed and thrashed around like a banshee and then high-fived the doctors and all the child wranglers. It's exhausting for me, but it's becoming a quarterly norm. As promised, Em was granted ice cream as her reward for being brave. Nobody wears chocolate quite like Em!

A few days after botox/ice cream day we went to Saturday in the Park and listened to our friends Keith and Jessica sing. We made a quick loop through the park, made a tie-dyed t-shirt and went to Columbus to meet Ryan for supper and to kick off our weekend.

All that running can wear a girl out. Well, that and emptying your bookshelves and rearranging all your toys when you're supposed to be sleeping. Then, it finally came.... crash!

On a side note: All the red tape has finally been cut through, our BCMH AND insurance approvals finally came through and Emily went in this afternoon to get casts made for her braces to be made from. With the help of a movie from home, she handled it pretty well. She was pretty cooperative until the scissors came out to cut off the lightweight casts. They said it will probably be about 3 weeks before the new braces will be ready for her to try on.

And finally, for your storytime pleasure... Here's Emily reading your bedtime story: "Snow White". Enjoy. (Don't worry, she's teasing me the first few seconds of the story...)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hours of Entertainment

This week I've learned several great ways to keep a little girl busy while I'm working in a tiny kitchen preparing supper. The most basic is to ask her to go wash her hands. The bathroom sink will keep her busy for a loooong time. She also likes to brush her teeth nearly every time she's washing her hands... double the benefit!

The most recent amusement I've found for Emily she actually found herself. I was making spaghetti the other night and I was using kitchen tongs to get the spaghetti noodles out of the pot. She asked me if they were scissors when I showed her how they were used she wanted to try it. So, instead of letting her use my 'sgetti-sauce-covered tongs, I whipped out a clean pair and sent her around the house to see which of her toys she could pick up with her tongs. It was a great scientific experiment for her and learned quite a bit in the process.

Em's expressions in these pictures crack me up.
At first, we're a little bummed out that we
aren't able to pick something up.

Then she becomes a little exhuberant
when she does figure out how to pick
something up. It's a giant piece of spaghetti!

Proud of her catch.

And, then she found something else
in her bedroom that she could pick up!

Ah, kitchen tongs. What will we think of next....

Friday, August 21, 2009


Our church has been experimenting over the past couple of years with different types of Vacation Bible School. We've played with a week's worth of VBS in the evenings, played with VBS over the course of a few week days and a weekend and this year we did just a few hours on a Friday for the toddlers and simultaneously covered the elementary school kids. The following Saturday was devoted to the Jr/Sr High kids and it was done similar to a day at church camp. From what we've heard so far, all 3 groups went well and the kids had a great time and learned quite a bit!

I (Jenni) led the toddler group... here's a sampling of our day.

We started out by coloring animal
posters as the kids were arriving.
Here's Emily and her good friend, Kael.

We kicked things off with some singing. Here's
their version of This Little Light of Mine.

After singing, the kids told me about the
story of Noah's Ark while I turned the
pages in the book and helped them out.

After our story time, I had them help me
tell the story again, this time we made a
picture of it as we told the story. Each kid
got to put several things on the picture.

While we were learning about Noah, Emily's
"Cowboy Daddy" aka Tom (who was really
dressed as a jungle safari guy), was teaching the
elementary school kids about Moses and the
Israelites... and glow sticks... and puppets...
and pillars of light... and snacks... and bookmarks.

Here are some of the girls adding their animals
to the ark... with the help of Abby's mom, Katie.

After story time came crafts. I believe in drilling
a story into the kidlets heads. Hehehe... Guess what?!?! The girls
are making a craft with rainbows, clouds, arks,
and animals, along with a Bible verse that reads:
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving
toward all he has made. Psalm 145:13"

Hey, we're sticking to a theme here... For snack
time, we had nilla wafers (arks) with
icing (rain clouds) and rainbow sprinkles!
The kids got to make their own snacks.

They decided it was quite yummy and
highly recommended the icing...
and LOTS of it!

(Here's Emily with her cousins, Gracie and Abby.)

While we don't normally allow this at home,
when Emily asked if she could lick the icing off
her knife I told her, "Go ahead, that knife isn't
sharp... just don't do it when Nanny's around."
Let's see if she keeps her side of the pact and
if Nanny's still reading our blog.

After the kids wrapped up their snacks, I told
them they could make another craft or keep
coloring. I went over and turned the music
back on from earlier in the evening and what
ensued was a mob of 2 and 3 years olds
(okay, 5 of them) having an impromptu
dance party!

At the end of the evening, when all was said
and done, Emily said she enjoyed the night.
And then she proceeded to show her Daddy
how she's going to earn millions.

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