Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My animal-loving son was absolutely thrilled when friends offered to let him take home some of their many tadpoles just over a week ago. With pleasure, he scooped out five and brought them home in a glass jar.

Ever since our fish died in January, our plastic fish tank has been sitting empty in the closet. Josiah excitedly filled it with water and introduced his pets to their new home, complete with pond-weed and boiled lettuce. All four of us hovered above, watching the wiggling, swimming critters with wonder. I'm not sure I'd ever seen a tadpole up close before.

When we were away for a long weekend, I was slightly worried that our tadpoles would not make it in our absence. But upon our return, we were relieved to see all five still happily swimming around. I'd had no idea how much tadpoles poop, though! The water was definitely looking a bit yucky, so yesterday, the kids and I went to the Thames to collect some new water.

Unfortunately, during the transfer of tadpoles from the old to new water, one of them was injured and we could see blood. I hoped that it would recover, but late that night, I discovered that it had died. I reminded the kids that in the wild, a significant percentage of animal offspring do not survive. Hopefully our home will provide a semi-safe space for these tiny creatures to become full-grown frogs.

Then today, Naomi came to me saying, "Mom, one tadpole has a white head. I'm afraid something's wrong with it." I was busy at the time, but later checked on the pets, only to discover that indeed, the white-faced tadpole had died.

So now we're down to three tadpoles. I'm really hoping that at least one survives to frog-hood! We're all anxiously awaiting the chance to see metamorphosis up close and personal. Hang in there, guys!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The past few months have held a number of milestones for our family. The first was Steve and I celebrating our ten year anniversary in early January. Just saying that makes me feel old! I'm grateful to God for the gift of a husband who loves me patiently and faithfully, persevering through all the ups and downs that ten years brings. Steve is the biggest blessing in my life.

Then in February, I made a concerted effort to get my kids to the pool and help them conquer their water fears. At first, Ethan would sit timidly on the steps, content to play with his toys, but crying if I carried him further into the water. Naomi and Josiah were scared to even put their faces briefly in the water. By the end of that month, Naomi was able to swim, both she and Josiah were happy to be underwater as much as above water, and Ethan was also confident in his floaty-ring anywhere in the pool.

Finally, in the past two weeks we've had two more momentous changes. Naomi has taught herself to ride a bike and Ethan is out of diapers! Naomi had some help from me a year ago, just on a couple occasions, but I was never good about following up. She's taught herself out of desperation, and even cycled the 20 minutes to church on Sunday!

Ethan also pretty much trained himself. I used candy rewards for the first two days but after that he was doing so well, I dropped the rewards. He's already using the big toilet, mostly dry at night, and has only had a handful of accidents in the past three weeks.

Even though much of our life is uncertain right now, and Steve especially is under huge stress, it's helpful to celebrate the milestones, and to remember that God is working no matter what!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The kids and I have been memorizing poetry together this school year. Our repertoire so far has been “The Caterpillar” by Christina Rosetti, “Dreams” by Langston Hughes, “Ducks’ Ditty” by Kenneth Grahame, “Silverly” by Dennis Lee, and a few short ones by authors unknown. My language arts book includes poetry memorization, but after using a few of the selected ones in the curriculum, I decided I’d rather choose our own poems.

We were just ready to begin a new poem when Spring came in all its glory. I was inspired and chose “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth for our next poem. I had memorized it as a fifth grader and still had snatches of it in my heart. It seemed fitting to learn it as Oxford’s own daffodils bloomed.

Now a few weeks later, we have learned the last line. It has been hard work, but also such a joy to say these beautiful verses together. It was a delight to hear Josiah say, “The last line is my favorite.” Yes, he actually gets excited about poetry!

“And then my heart with pleasure fills

And dances with the daffodils!”