Listening to Myself

Friday, January 13, 2006

An Announcement

Hi everyone, my blog is moving. Matt set me up with an instance of Word Press, and it is set up enough over there that I'm ready to start using it. From now on, I'll only be posting on my new blog... *drumroll please*

Rutabaga Dreams

I hope to see you all there!

100 Easy Lessons, Lesson 4

We completed lesson 4 today in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and all is still going well. (a shorter title for the book would have been nice though) She's getting better at watching the page and my finger rather than looking at me, which is making things easier. I tried having her point to the page and the letters, but it seemed like too much for her to think about at this point! For some reason though when we do the say it fast exercises, she likes to say the word fast in this breathy, whispery sort of voice that makes me think of Marilyn Monroe or something. It's pretty funny, but I'm definitely trying not to laugh so as not to encourage her. I just have her do it over again, after asking her "use your normal voice please".

We also have started working on the writing too, which is going fairly well. I realized that she didn't know how to hold her pencil correctly, so we've been working on that. In the course of doing this, I've realized that I don't hold my pencil correctly either. *sigh* At this point I'm teaching her how to hold the pencil the way I do it because I can't seem to demonstrate how to hold a pencil correctly and I certainly can't write that way at all. What's that again about old dogs and new tricks?? She's a lefty like me anyways, and I think we're doomed to write a little differently no matter what - between having to push across the page, dealing with the dreaded hook and all that sort of thing that drives elementary school teachers nuts.

I remember being in the first grade and being mortified because I was singled out to receive a special pencil with a big rubber grip on it because I still was not holding my pencil correctly. I wasn't doing the full preschooler fist anymore, but I would somehow hold the pencil between my thumb and my ring finger. Awkward, now that I try it again, but at the time it was so hard to go to anything else! I remember saying exactly what Emma said to me earlier this week - "but this way works for me, why do I have to do something else?" Definitely an interesting reversal of roles, and not the first or last time such a thing has or will happen!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Learning to Read, Day 1

Because of Mrs. Darwin's discussions of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons I decided to borrow a copy from my library and take a look at it. In the fall, I bought another book about teaching your child to read but I haven't done much with it because they want the child to know all their letters and most of the letter sounds before you start it. Also, they don't give all that much aid to the parent/instructor, so I felt a little lost with it. I didn't get 100 Easy Lessons at the time because the reviews were somewhat mixed for it - some calling it too repetitive and too scripted. Well, it turns out that I think that's exactly what we need so I think that this book is going to be the right one for us.

I read through the introduction and the first couple lessons last night, and we did the first lesson this morning. I am reasonably pleased with how it went, and I think Emma has the general idea of how it is supposed to work. I think the main complication is that when she is doing the letter sounds, she starts off looking at the page, then looks up at my face (for approval, I suppose) and doesn't see when she is supposed to stop making the sound. Telling her to watch the page made her want to put her face right up to the page, so I think that is going to take a little work. She also had some trouble repeating the word slowly to me, drawing out the sounds of the letters. She just wanted to say the word quickly - am rather than aaammm, for example.

All in all, it went well for a first lesson I think. I'll do some review this afternoon and try doing the writing portion then. The hardest part of the morning was when she asked if she could do more learning games with me, so I suggested a number game that we have and that she usually enjoys. It started out ok, but then she starting having trouble doing things that she was doing earlier, and trouble remembering a number from one moment to the next. I don't know if we had just reached saturation point or if she was getting bored or what, but it was extremely difficult to play the game with her when she all of sudden could no longer count to 8 and when she did manage to do so, could not remember that she had just counted to 8 about 2 seconds later. I was trying to end the game on a positive note, but things just were deteriorating so fast that finally I had to just call it quits before I tore my hair out. I'm not sure how to recover from this sort of situation - I'll have to give it some thought.

OK, time to make lunch for a hungry little girl (and mommy!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

2005 Reading

I've been keeping track of all of my reading since halfway through 1998. In case you're wondering why I decided to start halfway through the year, it's because I started keeping track the day after I graduated from college. It's an enjoyable exercise and even more fun now, thanks to LibraryThing. One of these days I'll get the rest of my reading log imported into LibraryThing, but right now I'm waiting for Matt to finish a script for me that would find all the ISBNs for the books in my Access database. Unfortunately, I kept all sorts of information about the books I read, except the ISBN - the one piece of information LibraryThing uses when it imports data.

I'm going to do a similiar tallying as I did last year, based on the stats at Librarian.Net's blog (via Anirvan at Bookfinder)

Without further ado, here's my reading stats for 2005.

Total Books: 61
Total Pages: 20,944
Average number of books read per month: 5.08
Average number of pages read per month: 1745
Greatest number of books read in one month: 8 (December)
Lowest number of books read in one month: 1 (October - Not sure what happened there...)
Number writen by female authors: 21 (35%)
Number writen by male authors: 38 (62%)
Collections of essays: 2 (3%)
Number non-fiction: 22 (36%)
Number fiction: 39 (64%)
Number of books I liked: 42 (69%)
Number of books I am ambivalent about: 16 (26%)
Number of books I disliked: 3 (5%)
Number of books I don't remember anything about: 0 (yippee! much better than last year)

Historical Data:
2004 - 63 books, 22,044 pages
2003 - 55 books, 15,836 pages
2002 - 70 books, 19,880 pages
2001 - 91 books, 32,494 pages
2000 - 82 books, 26,025 pages
1999 - 79 books, 28,245 pages
1998 - 58 books, 14,414 pages (only 7 months recorded though)

My post from 2004 on reading statistics

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We are all really enjoying Gregory. He's such a wonderful and amazing baby (although as his mother I suppose I'm rather predisposed to saying that). He seems older than just two and a half weeks, and not just because he's become part of our family so smoothly and easily. We're all amazed at how strong he is, and how alert. He has a remarkable amount of control over his head and even his torso, and his neck is already quite strong. He also has very long alert periods already - this afternoon he was awake and alert for about two and a half hours. I had him in the fleece pouch for awhile, and he also laid on the couch and in the boppy and watched Emma and I clean up the family room. (As an aside, I finally got the Christmas stuff put away - yippee!) He's also reached the nursing incessantly stage in the evenings, which so far has been far easier than it was with Emma. I think it helps that I know what a good latch looks like now. Ah, experience is so useful, isn't it!

I really should post some more pictures, but I need to figure out a good way to do it. Right now, I write posts on my laptop but I sync the digital camera to the desktop system upstairs. So... I need to figure out what's the best way to deal with this. I guess I could walk upstairs and post from that computer *gasp* but somehow that solution doesn't appeal to me. Hmm...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Venturing Forth

Yesterday I took my first trip out of the house with both children and without Matt. All I have to say is that it has *got* to get easier! *grin* All in all, it went pretty well, but I was definitely worn out by the time we got home. Our objective was to go to the post office to mail a box and buy stamps, then head to the library to return books and check out more. First, it took us almost an hour to get ready, with Emma helping me gather library books as I changed and fed Gregory. Matt helped me get everything and everyone out to the car, and then we were off. As we were leaving it, of course, started to rain... but I had already invested so much preparing physically and mentally for this voyage I decided to just push on. Thankfully the rain was light for the most part, and I did have an umbrella (although of course I forgot to bring a jacket for myself!). The post office portion was fine, even though the line was rather long. Getting two munchkins in and out of the car is definitely a bit more time consuming, and I am very glad that Emma knows enough to just stay by the car once she is out of her carseat. The library was a but more challenging, because Gregory was not terribly happy in the sling and the library was fairly crowded. I think the library experience was probably the hardest on Emma though, because she loves to have me read to her at the library in their comfy couches and to look at all the books we are checking out before we leave. I knew that wouldn't work, so I promised her that we'd read all the library books once we got home and she could look at them in the car on the way home, and thankfully that was enough to advert meltdown. We managed to escape the library without further incident and when we got home we snuggled up on the couch and I read all the library books as I nursed Gregory. It was quite cozy, and we were all quite happy. I do feel a little bad for Emma though, because I know how much she liked our library reading time... but I don't think that's something we'll be able to do again unless we go there alone.

Today we need to head to Trader Joe's... which should be ok so long as I can find a parking spot in their notoriously tight parking lot where I can get both the rear doors open! At least I don't have to wrestle the baby bucket carseat out of the car... I can't stand those things so I always take Gregory in and out of his seat rather than clip the seat in and out. Besides, in our car you can't really get the seat unclipped without moving the front passenger seat forward anyways... so it is pretty much a moot point.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I've been listening to people setting off all sorts of fireworks for the last half an hour, causing me to jump and check the time repeatedly. We're almost there... only a couple more minutes. I can't believe I'm still awake, I don't think I've made it to midnight on New Year's for a couple years now. Emma went down at about 8:30 and Matt and Gregory crashed together at about 10 (Gregory fell asleep on Matt's chest - so cute!! and so different from his sister!!). Can you believe I had forgotten it was New Year's until Matt said something at about 9 this evening? Sheesh.

Where do these people get all these fireworks?? They must have stockpiled them from the 4th I guess... not that they sell them anywhere around here anymore. They are coming from a couple different directions too. How strange.

Almost there..... Yay! My computer switched over. Ah, and there go the cheers, horns, and even more fireworks. Now I can go to bed. Happy New Year to you all.