Thursday, November 20, 2014

Comfy reading chair

She has her own way of doing things. And I love that about her.

I also love the amount of patience she has for this particular little brother. It far surpasses the patience she has for the shenanigans of the elder little brothers, for reasons I have yet to understand. There's something really special about the relationship between Abby and Levi, and it's been fun to watch it develop.

When I'm not refereeing battles over Who Took My Stuff, that is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Return of the World's Greatest Play Dough

I had put it off long enough, so I finally caved to their demands for a new batch of play dough.

I kind of owed it to them, after that batch of gluten free play dough I made that will be forever remembered as the worst activity of all time. (FYI: If you see the words "gluten free" and "play dough" together, run screaming. It crumbled. It stuck. And worst of all, it got moldy in storage. That's unforgivable. From now on, we'll just commit to making sure the less gluten-tolerant among us washes his hands when we're done.)

So I whipped up a batch of the The World's Greatest Play Dough, and suddenly remembered why it is wonderful.

For a solid two hours, all four of my children sat (mostly peaceably) at the table, poking and rolling and shaping balls of dough into whatever they could dream up. And while they were at it, we knocked out a history and a science lesson, since they were all seated and quiet and able to hear me read aloud.

You know you want to make some now. Look no further. I'm totally willing to share my secrets.

The World's Greatest Play Dough

Mix together in a fairly large saucepan:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt (put in blender for 1-2 minutes and blend to fine powder)
4 tsp cream of tartar

In a separate bowl, mix together:
2 cups water
2 tbsp cooking oil

Pour liquids over dry ingredients and mix well. Stir constantly for about three minutes over medium heat.

The mixture will be ready when it pulls away from the side of the pan. It will still be lumpy (like mashed potatoes before liquid is added) but will look dry. Allow to cool for about five minutes.

Knead by hand until smooth. Add food coloring while kneading if desired. Store in sealed containers or ziploc bags. Will keep for a long, long time if kept properly sealed, or can be left out to dry for a project.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nicknames

Levi calls her "Abs," just like I do, and it makes for some adorable commentary.

"Hey, Abs," he asks, "I help you scribble math?"

Stuff like this goes on all day long at the Fisher Preparatory Academy for Excellence in Learning.

How she puts up with him is one of life's great mysteries.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sanity check

These kids can tell when Mommy's about to go nuts.

I know, because just when I think I've had it--when I can't stand the nonsense or the noise for one more second--they go and do something like this, totally on purpose.

The pantsless one, the puppy, and the shark with a colorful candy shell will one day drive me insane. But not today. Today, all I can do is laugh at them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Smashamallows

Levi knows what's up.

The second Justin started hauling in wood for our first fire of the season, our astute 2-year-old took up his chant.

"Smash-a-mallows! Smash-a-mallows!" he yelled. Alas, Mommy forgot to pick up smashamallows last time she went to the store, so the s'mores will have to wait until next time.

But at least he understands what the true purpose of a fire is. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cast of characters

We have an amazing babysitter. I know, because only someone amazing could convince Caleb to be anything but a shark for Halloween.

Instead, she took my children's obsession with The Wizard of Oz books, and planted an idea for a truly amazing family costume.

Levi only wore his costume because he loves lions. He completed it with a roar that was simultaneously ferocious and adorable. Cowardly, he was not. But cute as a button...that he pulled off with ease.

Abby was Dorothy Gale of Kansas, with silver slippers, not ruby ones, because that's what the book Dorothy wore. She had to have one braid slightly looser than the other, because that's the way Dorothy's hair was when she landed in Oz. Thankfully for me, my mom was kind enough to make me this awesome Dorothy costume when I was a senior in high school. With a few alterations, it was just right for my own little Dorothy. Last time I had to make her a Dorothy costume, she was much smaller, and much more wiggly.
2 month old Abby
Caleb's tornado costume came together with some leftover copper wire I found in the garage, some Halloween webbing, and a little duct tape. I'm not sure there has ever been a more appropriate costume than 5-year-old Caleb dressed as a cyclone. Oh, and he went trick-or-treating without shoes, because, well...he's a 5-year-old tornado, and I wasn't paying attention.

And Jacob got to be the Scarecrow, because it was a heck of a lot easier to stuff straw in a shirt and hot glue some patches to his jeans than it would have been to try to make a Tin Man costume. He was, perhaps, the most adorable Scarecrow I've ever seen. If I do say so myself.

And because it's not Halloween without a pumpkin, we carved ours into a bioluminescent angler fish. Because we're homeschoolers, that's why, and we let Caleb pick the theme this year.

Happy Halloween from the family of fish!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Triumphs of His grace

"O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!"

We traveled to the hospital again today for what would turn out to be Levi's final appointment with hematology. 

He had his blood drawn, ran into one of his favorite nurses, snagged a free pumpkin on his way out, and then we went home to wait for the call, again.


And when the call came, the doctor's exact words were "No follow up is necessary."

What that means for us is that this stupid snake thing is done. Behind us. Over. See ya later, alligator.


As far as the medical community is concerned, Levi is fully recovered.

And for that, we will praise and glorify God alone. 

Thank you to all who have prayed with us for Levi's recovery. Your prayers have been answered!

"Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare."
--Psalm 40:5

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Almost there...

Levi's smiling because he has a grape lollipop.

I'm smiling because we scored that grape lollipop on our way out of the hand surgeon's office for the very last time.

The scar tissue on his "snake finger" is healing well, and the doctor seemed pretty confident that there is absolutely no reason to expect we will need anything more than a little ongoing scar therapy to promote continued healing.

I'm pretty excited to think that after today we're likely only one more visit to the hematologist away from putting this whole thing completely behind us.

Although I think Levi is probably going to miss the big male nurse that looked like he works as a bouncer in his spare time.

"Take care, Snakebite," he said, crouching down to give my 2-year-old a fist bump and a lollipop when we checked out. "You stay safe, ya hear?"

That's the plan, big guy. That's the plan.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Neatly coiffed

What I said was "Go upstairs and brush your teeth."

What he heard was, "Go upstairs, steal Daddy's comb, and spike your hair."

Close enough.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

God is able

 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21
Big things are happening in Levi's little body!

A call from the doctor yesterday evening brought good news: Levi's PTT levels are at 39.6 (down from 69 four weeks ago). This number basically indicates time to clot, and the goal is to have that number somewhere in the range of 24 seconds. As the venom leaves his body, so do the antibodies attacking his blood that are causing the clotting issue. We're getting there! (To put it in perspective, his time to clot was 95 seconds when we arrived at the ER less than a half hour after the snake bite occurred. Stupid snake.)

Thank you for your prayers, and thank you for standing in the gap when my prayers were weak.
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