Thursday, April 29, 2010


Next month, Matt and I will celebrate seven years of being married.  This weekend, we will move to our seventh address. We don't really enjoy moving, but somehow we keep doing it.  Here's our history of houses:

First, our fun little yellow house in Malvern.  We lived here for almost a year.  That wasn't our cat, but it kept getting trapped under the house, so I named it.  My favorite part of this house was the lovely front window...and the hammock in the back yard. 

From Malvern, we moved to Manado, Indonesia.  This was by far our most colorful residence.
We lived here for eight months.  The house was big.  We had kittens in the attic, but they were never tame enough for me to catch or name.
From there, we moved back to Little Rock.  I don't have any pictures from our first address there.  A church let us stay in their mission house for six weeks.  We were grateful for their benevolence as it gave us a chance to find suitable housing without feeling too rushed.  I was in the throws of morning sickness and have fond memories of the comfort of the little mint green house.

We found a little apartment in Little Rock where we lived for about 18 months.
And I do mean little.  We joke that it took Eleanor so long to learn to crawl because she had no where to go in this place.  Our entire living room:
When Eleanor was 10 months old, we moved in to a much bigger apartment.
Within a week, she had learned to crawl.  This apartment was great.  We called it our treehouse because it was the second floor and surrounded by trees.  It had built in bookshelves and walk in closets. 
Eleanor loved the deck.

And so did we.
We were sad to leave our treehouse, but it was time to pack up to go to Pasadena. 

For the past two and a half years, we have lived in this house:
We have been blessed with wonderful neighbors who have become great friends.  This is the only house Eleanor really remembers and it is Charlotte's first home.
But it's small and hard for four people to live without constantly stepping on each other.  Tomorrow we move into number 7.  It's just across the street, so it won't be a big move.  I'm sad to leave our big brown house.

Luckily, Eleanor has always loved packing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Books, Books and More Books: Authors

There are some authors that we like almost all of their books.  When we go to the library, I always skim certain letters to see if there are any new (or new to us) books by these authors because I know that we will enjoy them.  A lot of these are fairly well known, but I'm going to make the list anyway.  Most of these were introduced to me by my mom, who has contributed greatly to Eleanor's personal library.

Rosemary Wells is wonderful.  I have yet to read any book by her that we don't just love.  This is one of Eleanor's favorite Rosemary Well's book, because the little girl (badger?) in the book has a doll named Elinor.  Of course, Wells is also the creator of the bunny siblings Max and Ruby (I think they have a tv show?), but they are not my favorites of her books.  Some of Eleanor's favorite books by Wells is a series that centers around a group of animal children who attend Hilltop School.  Yoko, a cat from Japan, is one of Eleanor's favorites.  We check a lot of these books out of the library and have found them helpful in helping Eleanor prepare for school.  There is also a series of DVDs (maybe a show on TV?) called Timothy Goes to School.  For a while they were on and Eleanor LOVED them.  They were fun little episodes with characters from the books.

James Marshall is another favorite in our house.  He is witty and subtle in a way that makes reading the same old stories refreshing.  He does a great job of having some things in his stories or illustrations that are entertaining to the adult reader, which is quite fun.  Most of the stories of his I've seen are retellings of fairy tales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel.  He also has some original stories that I think are hilarious.  One of my favorites is Wings: A Tale of Two Chickens.

Andrea Beck's Elliot Moose books are still a favorite around here.  These books are about a group of stuffed animals.  I like these books because they model good problem solving and teamwork skills.  The illustrations are nice too.

Eleanor loves the Ella books by Carmela and Steven D'Amico.  I like them too.  Ella is a little elephant on the Elephant Isles in the Indian Ocean.  She is timid, but kind.  In the first book (the one on the left), she is struggling to fit into a new school.  Despite being taunted she remains kind and considerate. In Ella Takes the Cake, another of Eleanor's favorites, Ella tries to find a way to be helpful to her mom.  That's behavior we encourage around here:)  In the end, Ella and her mom make a Zanzibar cake.   I searched and searched for a recipe for a Zanzibar cake, finally finding one here (under "Fun Stuff").

Eric Carle is a prolific children's author and illustrator.  Thanks to my mom, Eleanor and Charlotte have many of his books.  For his illustrations, he uses an interesting technique of painting tissue paper then cutting it to make collages.  This gives his books a unique look.  Not all of his writing is quality, but much of it is.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar shows the life cycle of a butterfly.  Pancakes, Pancakes! catalogs the ingredients in pancakes and where they come from.  In her early toddlerhood, Eleanor insisted on Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? being read to her nightly, usually twice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Eleanor and I have been reading different Cinderella versions.  We have learned that almost every culture has a version of a Cinderella story.  These stories have a wide variety of settings and subplots, but there are some things central to all the stories we read.  Eleanor and I made a chart of those things.  (This was before we read The Irish Cinderlad.) 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Books, Books and More Books: Illustrations

 I have always loved picture books.  Since Eleanor was born I have had legitimate cause to buy or borrow many, many books.  With the help of her grandparents and other literary loving family members and friends, Eleanor and Charlotte have amassed quite the collection of children's books.  I thought I would share some of my favorites, but there are so many I like that I decided to do a few categories, the first being illustrations.

 I love the imagination and detail that these illustrations capture.  The story is of a little girl who is in time out and explaining how she is not wild, but rather is "precocious and polite."  The illustrator uses mixed media to bring the animals of the little girl's imagination to life.  There was about a month in Eleanor's toddler-hood that we read this book daily.  We still read it often and it's one that I welcome when she brings it to me.

I discovered Jimmy Liao when Matt and I were in China.  I picked up this book and fell in love with it.  From what I could gather (it was all in Chinese), it was about a little girl going blind. A couple years ago, I found an English translation.  Since then two other books have been released in English by Jimmy Liao: When the Moon Forgot and The Blue Stone: A Journey Through LifeThe Sound of Colors is still my favorite, but all three have the same whimsical, colorful style that I enjoy.

This is a book that Eleanor has been enjoying recently.  The story is a bit strange and all takes place in a bathtub, but the illustrations are amazingly detailed.  The king spends the day in the bathtub, conducting all of his business there (battle, lunch, fishing, and a ball).  The court is not too happy about this and the expressions are hilarious.

Hey, Al is another strange book with great illustrations.  I remember reading this as a small child and thinking, "That was strange."  Now I read it to Eleanor and find it hilarious. 

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough.  I sat down to pack up all the things on my desk and this silly computer distracted me.  Back to work.  We are moving this weekend into a bigger apartment, one that has closets AND outlets AND overhead lighting.  Amazing.  I should be working on making that happen, but writing about kids books is easier. 

Eleanor's Bee

"This is a picture.  Eleanor wrote it and I want you to know I know you like dark blue.  Dark blue is in the picture.  It's the sky.  And a bee is by both the flowers, but higher than the short flower and as high as the tall flower."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tutu Fun

For Christmas, my aunt and cousin made Eleanor, Charlotte and I matching tutus. Today we put them on for some dancing crazy fun.

Charlotte's tooth.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010


I took my camera to church on Sunday, thinking I could get some pictures. Unfortunately, the battery was dead. We got a new camera recently, which came with a new battery. I'm starting to think that the new battery is faulty. Anyway, Matt got a few pictures with his phone. Apologizes for the photo quality.

In these pictures, note the blue egg.

Eleanor was concerned about the sun being in Charlotte's eyes. She's such a good big sister.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Fuller Egg Hunt

I took Eleanor to Fuller's egg hunt. Last year, the toddler/preschool set were mostly not fast enough to get any eggs. Since Eleanor was on the older end of this set, before we went we talked about how she could help some of the younger kids find eggs or give some of the ones she found to younger kids. She took this to heart. As much as she loved candy, she gave away at least half of her eggs before we made it home. Also to prepare for the possibility of her not finding any eggs, she went with her basket already half full. Here she is showing off one of her eggs.
(For the record, she asked me very specifically to fix her hair in this way, "with two pony tails up here on top.")
Before the hunt even started, she shared an egg with Ainsley.

Eleanor and Eli show off their goods.
Eleanor, Eli and Ainsley post hunt. I love the look on Ainsley's face.

Charlotte woke up after the eggs were all found and came out to play. She thought she would just get some of Eleanor's while Eleanor was distracted by her candy bracelet. Charlotte is not crawling yet, but she can move many inches on her bottom. She's a lot of fun to watch.

I've got to work on taking pictures without getting my shadow in them.
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