Friday, October 29, 2010

Fine Arts ~ October

Shakespeare (again), Vivaldi, and Rembrandt

I've had a few other things on my plate {grin}, so my monthly fine arts features post for the month of October went by the wayside. Since it is still October (by the skin of my teeth), let's pretend that I'm still on schedule and enjoy a little culture, shall we?

In honor of St. Crispin's Day (this past Monday, October 25th), how about a lovely speech from Shakespeare's Henry V:

(Incidentally, we were learning a bit about the Hundred Years' War between England and France for Classical Conversations this month. I love it when lessons converge like that. Sweet!)

You can't go wrong with Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Autumn, of course) a la Disney's Fantasia:

Be sure to listen to the great radio shows about Vivaldi over at Classics for Kids, listen to Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery from Classical Kids, and print the Vivaldi page from the Famous Composers Wall Chart at Practical Pages. Print the composer's biography or print and play a simple version of Vivaldi's Spring at Making Music Fun.

Looking for an exquisite picture book to read while listening to Vivaldi's music? Look no further, I, Vivaldi is just the ticket.

I just can't help myself. Rembrandt's self portraits... wait for it... set to Vivaldi's Winter:

We read the Rembrandt book in the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series, but I made a lovely discovery. Our library now carries the DVD version. Score.

And here we have more Rembrandt at Garden of Praise and Practical Pages.

Let's wrap up with a few reasonable words:

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Make hay while the sun shines.

Voila, my work here is done.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


fruits of your labor

You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
~Psalm 128:2 (NLT)

1:: Continuing with yesterday's themes, I seriously have Babies on my mind.

The creativity at this blog, Mila's Daydreams, is astounding. I don't have babies who sleep that soundly. I also have laundry to fold...

2:: I mentioned this movie a while back, but had been unable to find a location nearby where it was playing. Then, voila, I found it at Netflix Instant Play! (Thank you, Netflix.)

3:: And....Education. I know that is a surprise to all of you. I figured since I managed to get a little bit of handwriting in this past week (and took a picture!), I could post this interesting article:

How Handwriting Trains the Brain: Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas @ The Wall Street Journal:

She says pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.

And one recent study of hers demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

4:: I'll roll with the documentaries and share two more. Two ends of the school system spectrum:
(HT: Jennifer @ Planted by Streams)

"Our students are pressured to perform. They're not necessarily pressured to learn deeply and conceptually." ~ Race to Nowhere

"We need to really think, 'What does it take to produce a happy, motivated, creative human being?' " ~ Race to Nowhere

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Good Life

a full belly

We're settling in. I can't believe Little Miss is two weeks old. We jokingly (but very fondly) call her our model citizen. She naps well during the day. She sleeps rather well at night. She nurses well. We're falling in love.

The book club girls (and other friends and family) spoiled us rotten. Lola is going to be one well-dressed little girl. I hope she enjoys photo sessions...

The rest of life is humming along quietly (well, as quietly as a house full of little boys can be). Levi and I are feeling much, much better, but now it is Leif's turn to be down for the count. He is currently napping (feverishly) for the second day in a row. I'm praying that this horrible bug will have finished its course within a couple days and we can enjoy a healthy month or two!

Lessons have been happening here and there. We need to pick up the pace next week when everyone is well. But until then, we'll just take deep breaths and soak up the quiet.

a smidge of school

And a quote for my ChocLit Guild girls, in light of our excellent discussion about The Hunger Games trilogy last night:

The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life.
It provides human beings with a sense of destination
and the energy to get started.

- Norman Cousins

Friday, October 8, 2010

On Kisses Fed

On Kisses Fed

{Feeling a bit better. Thank you for all the prayers and well-wishes!!}

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Little Bit of Real

I was imagining myself at this point posting beautiful newborn portraits, showing this phase of our lives as a blissful, lovely adventure.


As if being up with a coughing, non-breathing Luke all night for 5 nights while I was 9 months pregnant (and then dealing with inhalers and antibiotics) wasn't enough, Levi's lingering cough got progressively worse last week.

We were in limbo all week... I was supposed to be induced early Tuesday morning. The boys had gone Monday night to stay with various family. Then the hospital called at 6:30 and said they were really full, maybe later in the morning? Then they called and said, nope, how about Thursday at 6:30 am? I won't tell you how poorly I was dealing with the week of trying to plan the unplannable. To make a long story very short, we were in the hospital Thursday afternoon, but I was beginning to think the whole pregnancy thing was my imagination....

I'm not one for detailed labor stories. Let's just say that labor itself wasn't too bad. It was the five IV attempts, blood pressure seriously plummeting, large loss of blood after delivery (6:20 am on Friday) and subsequent nausea that wasn't so fun. Lola had the cord wrapped around her neck twice (might explain why her vitals dipped with every contraction), but she was very healthy and weighed in at 10 pounds. Holding my newborn baby girl was surreal.

The hospital stay wasn't bad (love their new restaurant-style meal service... it almost made me stay an extra day!). Later on, I started coughing. Not the tickle in your throat kind...the deep in your chest kind. Sigh. We checked out Saturday afternoon and picked up the boys. Levi's cough was much worse. He spent that night seriously sick and coughing on the bathroom floor with the hot shower running.

Russ took Levi to urgent care on Sunday as soon as they opened the next morning. Bronchitis/pneumonia and an ear infection. (Sigh. Again.) Antibiotics for him. And my cough wasn't getting better. Sunday night wasn't too bad, but Monday night was awful. I couldn't stop coughing...the turn yourself inside out coughing, had serious chills and then fever. Levi was still coughing all night long. Lola didn't want to sleep.

I went to urgent care the next morning. Probably viral. Nothing they could do. So... I hurt from head to toe. Well, my hair hurts to touch it. My toes don't happen to hurt, but they are nice and swollen. I've got to tell you, a nasty cough/ache virus right after giving birth (to a 10 pound baby), isn't so pleasant. Especially since I start coughing as soon as I lie down (and my head starts pounding...). Rest is a little hard to come by. Levi is still coughing so hard he almost throws up, and he spent last night on the bathroom floor because the steam is the only thing that calms his cough enough to let him sleep. I'm on the couch. Russ is in bed with Lola. Oh, it is an upside down world around here.

School? Bwa-ha-ha-ha!! We've gone through a stack of educational DVDs. The boys have read some. Can I just say, again, how thankful I am for Classical Conversations? Russ and my mom went with Luke and Leif on Monday. My mom has been reviewing the information with the boys during the week. Speaking of my mother, she has been an amazing help!! There is no way I could have survived this without her and my really incredible husband.

And in other good news, Lola Colette is a doll-baby. We are all smitten with her. I can't wait to see her personality develop, and we are so thankful that God brought her into our lives. The beautiful newborn photos will have to wait. We're just going to snuggle up and love each other through the next week or two. Then we'll see if life will let up a bit and make room for some rest and health and lessons and a few extra-curriculars. Like taking pictures....

Thank you soooooo much for all the kind words and well-wishes. I can't tell you how much they have meant to me!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Miss Lola Colette

Lola Colette

Introducing..... Miss Lola Colette.
Born October 1st at 6:20 am. 10 pounds. 22 inches long.
(More to follow.....)