Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Christian Children's Books



I was recently searching online for some good children's book ideas to read to the kids along with the Fall craft projects I have in mind to do with them (well, mostly with Caleb at this point) over these next months.

And, while it is very easy to find books about Fall, Autumn, pumpkins, Thanksgiving, leaves, etc...I was really hoping I could find some books on these topics that were written by Christian authors, with a Christian focus.

In my search, I came across this blog that so far, I am loving! It is called Christian Children's Book Review....written "for moms, by moms". Here's a quick tidbit from their profile:

We're Christian moms who not only love books, but love helping our kids learn to love books - and the Lord. This blog is our ministry, started because we couldn't find a comprehensive website of Christian children's picture book reviews. We hope you find it useful.

You can search for books by topic (ie: Autumn), by age (ie: preschoolers), or by author (ie: Max Lucado).

Each new Book Review gives you a picture and description of the book, along with the reviewer's likes/dislikes of the book, an overall rating, age appeal designation, and publisher information. And, while most books they review are Christian books, they do have some reviews for more "mainstream" books as well.

While I haven't spent a lot of time looking around the site yet, I am really liking what I see. I am not sure if it is the teacher in me, or the mother in me, or just the meghan in me, but I could spend all day looking through a site like this, concocting "lesson plans" in my head! I am really excited to use this as a resource from this point on. While there may be other (better?) such sites out there, I have not found anything quite like it. If you know of any other similar sites, please share...feed my habit! =)

Click here for their website:

Christian Children's Book Review

Labels


I recently attributed "labels" to each of my BLOG posts, which is just a way of categorizing them, for anyone who cares to read through posts of a similar nature.

So, if you look in my sidebar (to the right), you'll notice various labels...if you click on one of them, you'll be linked to that entire group of posts.

For example, if you just can't get enough of "Meredith", click on that label. =) Or, if you are really bored and want to read my posts on "pregnancy", click there!

Some are pretty general (ie: "kids"), where as some will be more specific (ie: "Monkey Joe's")!

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st Day of Preschool


Well, we did it! We dropped Caleb off at preschool this morning...his very 1st day!



His backpack was a bit heavy for him, with all of the school supplies inside! But, he didn't seem to mind...the poor kid could barely walk, but he didn't want anyone to help...he was determined to wear that backpack all by himself. (PS - in case you can't tell, his backpack is a St. Louis Cardinals one...Daddy is pretty proud!)



I am very excited for this school year...I really like Caleb's teacher, and I am excited that he'll be a part of a multi-age classroom. The school is just a couple of minutes from our house, so that is another plus! We did VBS there this summer, and Caleb had a great experience, so hopefully that will translate to a great school year for him!

For the past couple of weeks, we have been talking about school, what he will get to do and learn there. He loves to look at his school supplies and backpack, and loves to show them to anyone else who is willing to look at them! When I got Caleb up this morning, I said..."good morning, my big preschooler!" He jumped up, and said (with a HUGE smile on his face), "I am going to preschool today!" Needless to say, he was excited.



When we got there, he got to pick out a cubbie/coat hook. He got a tag to label his area, and got to put his folder into the big mailbox. He also had his picture taken by Pastor.






When it was time to go into the class, his teacher asked the kids to line up outside the door. Caleb did a good job waiting patiently in line until it was time to walk in. At one point, he said to me, "Come with me", and I worried that he might resist going in, but nope....he did great!




When the kids walked into the class, Mrs. H. asked them each to find their name in the "sign in chart". I heard Caleb say something along the lines of "My name is Caleb Kristopher Johnson," to which his teacher replied something about only having to look for the name "Caleb." =)



After "signing in", Caleb went straight to the easel.



After this, I left...I didn't want to be "that mom" that just hung around forever, as the teacher was trying to get the day started!

I can't believe that this day is already here! Sometimes I get a bit nervous, as he is so young (he just turned 3 last week!), and since he is a part of a multi-age class, there are 3 and 4 year olds. But, I really believe that this will be a great thing for our little boy, that he'll learn a ton, and that his first real school experience will be a positive one. At this point, he is only enrolled for 2 mornings a week, with the option of adding a 3rd morning down the road. We'll see!

I'll pick him up later this morning, and hopefully will hear that he had a great day!

Here we go....life as we know it definitely looks different from this point on.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

North Carolina

We spent the past week up in the mountains of North Carolina with Arlen, Rhoda, Kyle and Heidi. It was a relaxing week, and we are thankful to have had all of us together, as such a thing happens very infrequently because of the miles that separate us all.

Here are a few highlights from the week...


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Caleb is THREE!

Caleb turned three this past Thursday, August 26th.

Wow. I can't believe it!

My baby is three...that seems so....OLD!

This year is going to be a big one for us. Caleb is starting preschool this upcoming week, we are signing him up for soccer, he moves up a class at church, and he no longer qualifies for the free/discounted tickets at many things, as he is no more a part of the "ages 2 and under" crowd!

I have definitely been feeling a bit mushy about this whole thing recently, and have a feeling I am going to be, ahem, a bit emotional on Monday morning when we drop him off at his first day of preschool. But that will be for another BLOG post...=)

For now, sit back and enjoy a few photos from our firstborn's birthday. We celebrated in the mountains of North Carolina with Nana and Papa, Uncle Kyle and Aunt Heidi. Caleb woke up to a special "3" balloon and streamers, along with his favorite breakfast - French Toast. We spent a good part of the day at Asheville's Fun Depot, where we played mini-putt and some arcade games, and had lunch. After dinner we celebrated with brownies and ice cream (Caleb is not a big fan of cake), and presents.

We had a great day celebrating our very special boy. And, we were blessed to be able to share it with Nana, Papa, and Uncle Kyle, as we are not often with them during these milestones.

Birthday breakfast...


3 Year Old Smile!


Mini-Golfing...


He had some fun, I think. =)


The golfers (Meredith didn't golf, but this is proof that we didn't leave her back at the cabin)...


Skee-Ball!


Taking a ride...


"Happy Birthday to you..."


Yes, he spit a little bit on the brownies...


Playing the new game he got from Nana and Papa...


We love you, Little Buddy! You have blessed our lives in more ways that we could ever have imagined.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Caleb's 3rd Year - in Photos


We are leaving for vacation tomorrow, and will not be home until after Caleb's 3rd birthday. So, I wanted to post his photo slide show now!

Enjoy these photos of our special little boy, who often reminds us that he is becoming less and less little as each moment passes.

The first photo in this montage was taken on his 2nd birthday. The last photo was taken just this week. Enjoy a few snapshots of the past year.

The song included is one of his favorites that he learned at VBS this summer! **You might want to pause the music player in the right sidebar of our blog, so you can hear the song in this montage.**

Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letters of the Week - STUVWXYZ

We made it through the whole alphabet!

This was U's last week with us, we are leaving for vacation this weekend and Caleb starts preschool the week we return, so I wanted to get the rest of the letters done. And, the kids don't mind the heavy "work load"...they are always asking to do a "project"!

S...T...U...V...W...X...Y...Z!


S is for Snake!


T is for Tree!


U is for Umbrella!


V is for Vase!


W is for Watermelon!


X if for Xylophone!


Y is for Yellow!


Z is for Zebra!
(PS - Notice the little "tail"...that was totally Caleb's idea. I was so proud of him to think to put a tail on his zebra!)


The kiddos with their sticker charts. They got a star sticker for each letter of the alphabet that they completed. 26 stars later...they are obviously pretty proud!


Click here to see our other letter projects...

OPQR
HIJKLMN
DEFG
ABC

Miss Independent


When Meredith was about 8 months old, she began to refuse most foods that came to her on a fork or spoon. In other words, our little Miss Independent wanted nothing to do with her Mommy and Daddy feeding her, and everything to do with feeding herself. Which was not such a bad thing. She had pretty good pincer grasp skills, and could "chew" almost anything, despite the fact that she had no teeth. So, she began to eat everything we were eating (for the most part), cut into little pieces that she could pick up and feed to herself.

Well, here we are, and Meredith is a little over a year. And, our Miss Independent still won't take anything we try to feed her on a spoon or a fork. So, we have decided that it is time for her to learn to use some utensils all by herself.

Here are a few photos from last night's attempt to eat mashed potatoes with a fork...





Eventually, she got tired of trying to use the fork and resorted back to just using her hands. Understandable....I do the same thing at Chinese restaurants....I give the chopsticks a try, but eventually give up and use my fork!


Meredith, we love you dearly, despite your stubbornness (which, for the record, you got from both Mom and Dad).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meredith's 1st Birthday Party!


It's Fun to Be One!


Although our sweet girl has had a rough few days, with multiple teeth coming in, Meredith managed to have some fun today. She loved splashing around at the splash pad, enjoyed eating her cupcake, and managed to play with a bit of tissue paper before becoming disinterested in the present-opening process.

If you know me at all, you know that I love me a good "theme". Months ago, when I first started thinking about Meredith's big birthday bash, I knew that I wanted to do something fun and colorful...two characteristics that for sure describe our little girl. And, what is more fun and colorful than polka-dots?! =)


We had a picnic at a local park, and had access to a splash pad. It was a beautiful day, perfect for some outdoor fun. Although, all the bees in Chicagoland apparently agreed and thought that they were invited to our party as well, which was a total nuisance, but thankfully nobody (that I know of!) got stung.

It was very special to us to have so many friends and family come to celebrate our daughter. God has truly been faithful to us in the friendships that he has blessed us with. To have such a great system of support and encouragement to us as parents, and a group of people to love on our kids is no less than a true blessing from the Lord. We are very thankful.



It is very surreal to realize that my Baby Girl is ONE. It honestly does not seem that it was that long ago when we discovered I was pregnant, found out she was a girl, held her for the first time in that hospital room. What an amazing gift Meredith Grace is to us. We couldn't ask for a sweeter, more beautiful daughter.

Meredith, 12 days old (photos taken by Elise)



If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.
- Vincent VanGough

Friday, August 13, 2010

Results Are In...




My original goal was to wait a little while before sharing the big news regarding our baby's gender with everyone.

But, who was I kidding...I am not sure what possessed me to even imagine that I could keep it a secret. I am just so excited, I can't hold it in! Having the chance to find out our little one's gender this morning was such a blessing!

Caleb went with us to the ultrasound appointment today (thank you to our good friend Shauna, who stayed with the other 3, in addition to her 2!), and he was extremely intrigued by the entire process. He had a lot to say throughout, and had lots of questions. He was a little confused about why he couldn't actually see the baby (don't worry, Buddy, even Momma has a hard time understanding those ultrasound images!). He also seemed to think that the doctor should just open up my tummy so that we could all see the baby that way...hmm, that would have been interesting.

We got a good report from the ultrasound tech....from what she could see, everything with our little one looks healthy and is developing appropriately. Thank you, Lord!

Well, on to what I know you all really want to know (although I bet some of you skipped the previous text to get right to the video, right?!)...here's a very brief, but very special, announcement of our news! (Oh, and please ignore the food on C's face...he was eating lunch.)

video

That's right! God is blessing our home with another little boy! We are so excited for Caleb and Meredith to have a little brother, and we can't wait to meet him!

The little guy was not in a great position for a photo shoot, so we were unable to get any really great ultrasound images on film. But, if you are a mother, and have ever had an ultrasound picture taken of your in-utero baby, you can totally understand me when I say that no matter how awkward an ultrasound photo can look, you cherish it as if it is the most well-taken photo out there!

That being said, here's a couple of pictures taken of our precious boy this morning, at just a couple of days shy of 20 weeks!





Baby Boy, you are very loved already!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Letters of the Week - OPQR

O...P...Q...R!


O is for Octopus!


P is for Peacock!


Q is for Queen!


R is for Rainbow!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meredith's Big Day

We had a great day, celebrating our sweet girl's very 1st birthday!

Pancakes for breakfast....Meredith's were heart-shaped.


Caleb and Daddy opted out of wearing the princess crowns. =)


Enjoying her meal...


Giggles...


Ready to go to the zoo...Daddy met us at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, which has become a 1st Birthday tradition for us!


Here we are!


First stop...the ducks!


Meredith loves to point at everything. She had a great time looking at all the different animals.


Kisses from the goat...gross, but cute. She loved it.


Not a bad attempt...


Exploring...


Birthday dinner....Grilled Chicken and Pasta.
May not seem like the meal of choice for a 1 year old, but she loves it. Meredith gave up eating "baby food" many months ago, and loves anything that a "big girl" can eat.


2 more precious princesses...


Say Cheese!


"Happy Birthday to You..."
(Carrot Cake...another 1st birthday tradition)


Meredith has never had cake, or any sweets for that matter, until tonight. But, I had a feeling that she would love it. I was right. She left no crumb uneaten.







Happy Birthday to our precious baby girl! We love you!

Her birthday bash is this weekend, so be sure to check back again soon for photos from that!

(If you want to look back to Caleb's 1st birthday celebration, click here.)

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