Friday, August 29, 2014

Random Five on Friday August 29th

1. Teaching preschool Bible class on Wednesday nights sometimes requires a bit of "amazing."


2. Having a child with multiple food allergies means that a lot of things are inconvenient. Thankfully, there is a Whole Foods store conveniently located between our house and the Girls' Chorus rehearsals.

3. After taking nearly three weeks off to recover from my bicycle fall, I got back on this week. I won't be in as prepared as I hoped to be, but I'll still be strong enough to finish the sprint triathlon in two weeks.

4. I'm becoming quite a sports mom. Last weekend I took the kids to a professional baseball game, and tonight we're going to a college football game.


5. I started a new crochet project this week. I always breathe a big sigh of relief when I get the first row finished. After casting on 256 stitches and then following the directions to set up the pattern, it's somewhat of a miracle that all my counting was correct and it worked out evenly.


If you'd like to join the Random 5 on Friday fun, you can either click on the cute birdhouse button below or visit The Pebble Pond.

The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rain Boots and Tiaras {Years Ago}

When Lauren was born, Brennan had just turned 5 years old and Addison was just a few months shy of 8 years old. Thankfully our NICU allowed siblings to visit.


Many days I would bring Addison and Brennan with me when I went to visit Lauren. We were quite a sight coming in to the NICU, and I'm sure that we gave more than one of the nurses a scare.

Over the years I had learned to not worry about the little things. One of the little things that I gradually quit worrying about was what my kids chose to wear.

Brennan spent most of that year wearing bright yellow rain boots, regardless of what type of weather we were having.


And Addison often needed to wear a tiara for our outings to the hospital.


Before entering the NICU, everyone needed to wash their hands for a full three minutes. Addison was deemed old enough to wash her own hands, but I needed to wash Brennan's hands for him. After their hands were clean, I then washed mine. That left a full three minutes on the hand washing count-down clock when both kids had clean hands, but I was stuck at the sink. As the seconds ticked down, they started inching their way towards Lauren's crib. 

As I finished drying my hands and walked down the hallway, they rushed ahead -- one princess floating down the hallway and one little man cub clomping along in his rain boots.

They both knew not to touch any of the medical equipment, but they also loved to drag a stool right beside the crib so that they could climb up and peek in. I trusted that they wouldn't do anything to hurt Lauren, but more than one nurse panicked when she saw the kids leaning over the edge of the bassinet to get a closer look.

Some days just call for rain boots and tiaras -- whether you're heading out in a storm, dressing up for the Royal Ball, or just visiting a sick little sister in the NICU.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beauty Captured -- 365/365

For much of the past year, I posted a picture of something beautiful that I had seen that day. Over the past few weeks, I became distracted, took fewer picture, and stopped posting on a daily basis. The last day of our year-long Beauty Captured challenge happened a few weeks ago, probably while I was on vacation.

I want to share one more Beauty Captured. I'm calling it the final one in the series, even if it wasn't taken on day #365 and even though I'm not going to completely stop taking pictures of things that I find beautiful.


The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Q is for Question

It seems only natural that Q would stand for questions in our house. I briefly thought about trying to keep a running total of the number of questions I answer in a single day. I then realized that I would never be able keep track of it and count that much (or that high). Lauren asks the standard little-kid "why" questions and even takes it a step further by asking,  "Why don't you know?" Basically, she asks questions from the time she climbs out of bed until well after I tuck her into bed at night.

For our family, however, one particular question will always stand out in our minds. It wasn't a question Lauren asked, but rather a question about Lauren -- a question dating back to her days in the NICU.


When we were living near Washington DC, Tim used his lengthy commute to study for the classes he was taking as part of his professional military education. Since it was a military program, he spent a lot of time thinking about strategic planning, being a military commander, etc.

Sometimes all of his reading and critical thinking spilled over into his day-to-day life. When given the chance to ask questions when Lauren was teeny-tiny and very sick, he responded, "How do we define success over the next to twelve to twenty-four hours?"


I have no idea what sort of answer he got that day, but I'm sure all the NICU residents were warned to expect that question in the future.

As for success -- I think Lauren wrote her own answer. It just took a bit more than twenty-four hours to figure it out.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Kids Songs {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Lauren is quite the music lover. Frequently I hear music blasting from her room, and it's rare that she gets into the car without grabbing her iPod and headphones. The headphones are a mixed blessing, though, and lead to quite a few annoying rides where Lauren is loudly blabbering along to songs that the rest of us can't hear. (Since she can't hear herself, she can't tell when she's stops singing and starts bellowing incomprehensible syllables.)

Recently I added fifteen new songs (three albums) from Happy Kids Songs to her music playlists -- both for her to listen to with the headphones and for us to all listen to on the car stereo.


Happy Kids Songs uses quality, upbeat music to teach social and emotional skills to children from four to eight years old. They have produced eight albums covering a variety of topics such as talking, listening, bullying, fears, sharing, happiness, attitude, and more. For this review, Lauren has been listening to Friends & Sharing, Happiness & Attitude, and Manners & Character. We also received the Happy Kids Songs Workbook with activities to correspond with all forty of the available songs.

The first thing I noticed about this music is that it's not just preschool sing-along songs that I've heard (and dreaded) for years.  It's quality music that I don't mind hearing while we're driving around town or while she's blasting the CD player in her room. The creators of Happy Kids Songs have produced music that younger elementary kids would like to listen to and then added beneficial life lessons that will stick with the listeners.

Lauren's favorite song is "Shake It Out and Dance" from the Happiness & Attitude album. It starts talking about how you can get "I can't" thoughts stuck in your head and then how you can shake them out to find a more positive attitude. One of the funniest lines is "I can't sing." We often hear her singing along with the song in the car, and one of the older kids always makes a comment about how ironic it is that she's singing about how she can't sing.

Her second favorite song is "Sharing Friends" from Friends & Sharing. It teaches children that they can play in small groups. It gives them words to use so that they can include a third person in the activity if they are already playing with a friend. I've often found that younger girls tend to have difficulty when there's a group of three, and the lyrics help show that its both possible and more fun to play as a group instead of leaving the odd man out.

Some of the songs and lessons are already making their way into our everyday discussions. Today at lunch I said something about how I appreciated the way Lauren had been working independently while we were unpacking the camping gear. It then dawned on us that I had just given her a kudo, as introduced in the song "Who Knows What's a Kudo?" on Happiness & Attitude.

Lauren has definite favorites among the three albums, but I find them all equally enjoyable and applicable in different situations. One of the funniest lines I heard is from "The Golden Rule" on Manners and Character:
Just do to others what you would like them to do
To you, that's what you do.
It's like my momma said with her Southern drawl,
"Y'all say somethin' nice or nothin' at all."
I'm sure I'll be quoting those lines often around here.

After looking at the lyrics from some of the songs on the other Happy Kids Songs albums, I know that I will add even more music to Lauren's iPod -- music that we all enjoy listening to while we hear encouraging words about being better friends, communicating more effectively, having positive attitudes, and more. (For the sake of all of our sanity, maybe I'll play them on the stereo instead of letting her listen to them through headphones.)


The Happy Kids Songs Workbook is a 125 page compilation of song lyrics, activity pages, and teaching suggestions. The lyrics and activity pages are available on the Happy Kids Songs website for free once you subscribe to their mailing list, but I did find it a bit easier to flip through pages in the workbook instead of printing out the separate pdf pages. The teaching suggestions are only available in the printed workbook.

Happy Kids Songs are available to download for $4.95 per album (or $0.99 per song). The Happy Kids Songs workbook has a retail price of $13.95 (currently $12.56).

Click to read Crew Reviews

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©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pizza Angel

When we lived in Northern Virginia, we had friends who lived all over the area. The first time I drove out to my friend Cheryl's house, I thought I had gone far enough out in the country to be in West Virginia. Over the years our children all became good friends, and Addison and Brennan often stayed with them when Lauren had lengthy doctors appointments.


One day we were out at their house following an appointment, and both of my big kids were hungry. Cheryl remembered that a Papa John's pizza place had recently opened in town.  (I use the term "town" loosely because town was barely a tiny spot on a map and she lived quite a ways from there.) At that time, Papa Johns was the only pizza restaurant that was safe for Brennan's allergies.

I was thrilled to hear of an easy lunch option so that I didn't have to hear the kids whine about being hungry on the hour long drive back to our house.

We called to order a few pizzas, thinking that one of us would have to run to the store to pick it up. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that they'd deliver out as far as we were -- our lucky day.

Truth be told, I didn't think much about our pizza lunch for several months. Then Cheryl stopped me at church one day and asked if I remembered ordering Papa John's out at her house. Apparently, she tried to get pizza delivered and was told that they couldn't drive out that far. When she pressed the issue saying they had delivered before, their computer records showed that our pizzas had been picked up in the store.

We often joke about how God provided a pizza angel on a day when all of us needed a little bit of a break.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

O is for Oklahoma

Once upon a time, years ago, there was a high school student happily living in Dover, Delaware, until my parents broke the news to me that we were moving all the way to Oklahoma.


I was horrified. I was certain that only cowboys lived in Oklahoma.

They assured me that I was wrong.

Summer came and we drove across the country. Late one night we finally crossed the border into Oklahoma. We weren't all the way to our new hometown, but we were in Oklahoma. We checked into a hotel and set off in search of dinner.

None of us knew that there was a rodeo in town that weekend. We walked into a steak place to eat and every single person was wearing cowboy hats, boots, and the biggest belt buckles I had ever seen.


Thankfully, my Oklahoma story has a happy ending. I joined the band, met a boy who didn't wear cowboy boots, graduated from high school, and ended up staying in Oklahoma to go to college.


I'm still moving around the country wherever the Air Force sends us, but I'm no longer quite so afraid of moving someplace where everyone wears hats and boots.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

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