Jana

Rearing and Releasing Monarch Butterflies

Just in time for our unit on insects, the “Fireflies” unit in Moving Beyond the Page, we have our first reared Monarch butterflies to release this year. This isn’t the first time we’ve done this, she knows the host plant, can spot the eggs and small caterpillars. Jana has, unsurprisingly, been exposed to a number of entomological experiences throughout her life.

As a naturalist, she is a natural. She has a good eye at spotting something new and different. She continually adds to her collection of “treasures” whether it’s a shell, smooth stone, acorn, interesting leaf or feather. She acted as one of the guides when our garden featured on our neighborhood garden tour, identifying plants, flowers and vegetables (much more knowledgeable than a number of our neighbors I might add). She also has a quick hand, strolling down our driveway she snatched an Eight Spotted Forester day flying moth out of the air asking, “what’s this Momma?” That quick hand is also a gentle hand, befriending a Katydid for six or so hours over the course of a day; or playing with a spider in the kiddie pool for over half an hour floating it on boats and letting it climb up and down her arms. Her general lack of fear of wildlife comes into play while fishing with her Dad as well, she has no qualms reeling in, grasping fish and removing hooks on her own, of which she can identify many common species. But I digress as a proud biologist Momma.

So this year with our Monarchs, we’re taking our “citizen science” a step further and participating in a tagging program through Monarch Watch. It’s just a small way to participate in the “bigger picture” with Jana. She’s four and a half. She gets it; although she was a little sad to let the butterflies go (she really wanted to keep them), she knew we have to help take care of “her little buddies.”

Curriculum
Homeschooling
Jana
My life with bugs

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5 Q’s For Kids

This week, we’re wondering how our kids think things work.  Maybe giving us a glimpse into how their minds work and how they figure something out.  I needed to expand on the question adding, “what makes it go?”   She has some basic ideas right.  I thought these were particularly fun questions which led to some impromptu lessons where Mark took the clock off the wall to show her what made the “tick tick tick” inside.

How does a clock work? it goes tick tick tick, the tick tick makes it go around

How does a train work?  it goes on the choo choo track, the engine makes it go

How does an airplane fly?   it flies in the skies, the arms of the plane do it

How does a boat work?   paddles make it go, water makes it float, water makes it sink  (a surprisingly profound answer)

How does a television work?   you turn the tv on, I don’t know  (she then went on to say, “we use our phone to paddle when the tv is in the water!” this was the hardest to get across what was meant, tried asking how we get pictures on the screen, …)

Jana
Q&A

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5 Q’s For Kids

linkbuttonnoThis week the theme is about kids.  Jana was fairly quick with her answers.

What is a kid? a little boy  -we asked her, “are you a little boy?”  No.  “are you a kid?”  Yes.  She didn’t extrapolate to little girl.
What’s the best thing about being a kid? snuggles
What’s the hardest thing about being a kid?  you can’t wait
What is something a kid can do but an adult can’t?  play with my friends
How old are you when you stop being a kid?  4, I’m going to be just a girl  -Huh, remarkably similar to Finn :)

Jana
Q&A

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A Peek Into Her Creative Process

My daughter loves to paint.  This is an understatement.  I have hundreds of photos of her using different mediums: finger paints, water colors, tempura, poster paints.   From different approaches: on her belly, at her easel, on a chair or at the table.  With different tools: hands, fingers, brushes, sponges, toothpicks or chopsticks.  And from early ages, starting at about 9 months to just today. I keep her easel set up with access to paints in spill proof cups at all times, which keep the paints fresh for the week as well, so when the mood strikes, she is ready to create! (and no, this is not disastrous, at nearly four she’s never painted anywhere inappropriate – i.e. only on paper, her hands or body.)

In a few years, I plan to put together a photo book of her early works.  I think this is an excellent way to archive the mountain of childhood artwork most parents accumulate and then don’t know what to do with.  I generally take a photo, even if it’s a not so great phone camera photo, of just about everything she paints or draws.  This way, I have the record, but not the clutter, conveniently pre-dated.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not so heartless to throw away every precious bit of her creations, because they’re all precious to her:

“Mama? Do you remember that picture, on the blue paper, that I cut up into a puzzle?  Where did it go?”  “I’m sorry Jana, we don’t have those hundreds of bits of paper from three months ago around anymore.”

I have a few choice pieces that I have in an art cabinet frame that houses and displays her work in a way that it makes it so simple to occasionally slide a new “front page” piece in.  I’ll write a date on the back and any comment deemed necessary so that when looking back in chronological order, they can stay that way and oh, yeah, that *is* a jelly fish she drew.

       

 

 

Archiving
Art
Book making
Jana

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5 Q’s for Kids

This week, the theme is questions about Dad, with an extra bonus question.  Jana was genuinely upset that there weren’t anymore questions.  She likes these small interviews.  But, since we want them to be more spontaneous, we can’t have interviews all the time, nor do I want her to be given ideas about answers to possible future questions ahead of time.  I want to see how she answers in the moment.

How old is dad? 40  -of course she gets his age correct :)Please Sleep In

What does dad do with his friends? goes to work, calls work friends, go fishing  -Dad works from home so she sees/hears him on conference calls a lot.

What does dad dream about? go fishing for a big adventure  -I had to revisit this question a few times, she initially said, “I don’t know” after a few minutes I asked again and she said, “I *still* don’t know!”  So I then waited a third time and prefaced it by asking  her to think about what she dreams about, what I dream about and then to use her imagination to figure out what Dad would dream about.

What does dad do after you go to bed? eats and watches a movie, play with a ball  -at first she said he comes down stairs and helps me clean up, which he doesn’t do, I reminded her that’s what I do and asked again what she thought Daddy did.  Daddy does eat a lot at night :)

What does dad do for fun? play with me inside when it’s raining, fly tying with me, play outside, work on his computer

What is dad’s job? work, on his computer, in his shop

<div align="right"><a href="http://www.pleasesleepin.com" title="Please Sleep In"><img src="http://i1347.photobucket.com/albums/p702/pleasesleepin/linkbuttonno_zpsf04e3392.png" alt="Please Sleep In" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Jana
Q&A

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5 Q’s for Kids

 

Inspired by the going back to school interview, my friend Heather over at Please Sleep In and I have decided to create a weekly questionnaire linkup for our kids and for anyone who is interested in joining in on the fun.  This week, the theme is questions about Mom.

  How old is linkbuttonnomom? 60  -well, gee, thanks, Jana… she knew Dad was 40 and grandma was 60… hrm…

  What does mom do with her friends? Play all day and knitting.

  What does mom dream about? The beach -my thoughts on the beach, *meh* it’s nice, but I certainly don’t dream about it.

  What do I do after you go to bed? Come downstairs and clean up dinner and clean up dishes then come up to bed to snuggle me    -surprisingly detailed and accurate, although there are a few hours between clean up and heading to bed.

  What do I do for fun? Play with me, go to playgroup,  knitting and  going to birthday parties. -a number of these sound shockingly like what Jana does for fun, when I tried to get her to clarify she insisted I have fun at playgroup, don’t I?


Jana
Q&A

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Back To School Interview

Yeah, yeah, we’re not heading back in the traditional sense, but I saw a friend post one and thought it would be cute to see Jana’s responses. And actually, this has inspired an idea for a weekly Q&A session with our kids as a regular feature on the the blog.

What is your favorite color? Red

What is your favorite food? Waffles -this is her choice for breakfast 6 days out of seven

What is your least favorite food? Yucky Cheese -which, she loves blue cheese so I’m not sure what this constitutes

Who is your best friend? Finn and Autumn

What is your favorite song? -to which she started singing a made up song, which she does often, so I’ll say, making up songs is her favorite

What is your favorite book? A Little Prairie House: my first Little House on the Prairie books -she had a hard time deciding, so I told her to go into the other room and pick your favorite, which she chose one that has been in heavy rotation

What is your favorite thing to do with Dad? Go fishing!

What is your favorite thing to do with Mom? Play all day

What do you want to be when you grow up? You! -I am quite flattered by this one :)

What is your favorite thing you did this summer? Go to the pool -I feel bad that we didn’t make it to the pool as much this season, it just too chilly most of the summer and the water never really warmed up. So when we did go, we would be there 20-30 minutes.

What is your favorite movie? The ant movie -aka A Bug’s Life. We have a family movie night on Fridays and we’ve repeated some of the favorites. This one has been watched a few times.

What’s your favorite sport? Tennis -that is out of left field, we don’t play or watch tennis. Ever.

What is your favorite animal? Lion

What are you looking forward to about school this year? At home

Most of these are not at all surprising answers but was a fun little exercise and it will be neat to see how her answers change over time.

Jana
Q&A

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One Year

While pregnant, I kept a private journal and wrote letters to ε, in that spirit, this is a love letter to my daughter the night before her first birthday:

Dear Jana:

As I put you to bed tonight, I had a moment, a flash.  I was putting a little girl to bed and thought, “how much you have changed in the 364 days since you’ve arrived.”  A year ago today, this eve, you were still inside me where you were nourished and protected. As you nursed, another moment, and I saw that 8lb newborn in your face and felt how small you were in my arms.  I hope you understand just how grateful I am that we have YOU.

Since you have come in to my life, time has played tricks on me.  The minutes and hours of the day pass so slowly, yet, I am sat here in disbelief that a year has gone by.  Or rather, it seems this journey to your first birthday started at the beginning of last year, almost two years you have been with me.

In nursing for a year now, I am still nourishing you.  I never thought I would love nursing so much and am not sure when we will stop.  It is a special time we have together, little games and songs, your smiling eyes and gaping grins on my skin.  And that laugh!  Oh, how you have that special laugh when you want or are about to have milk!  It is different from your giggles and squeals of delight.  It is your milk laugh!

Deb and JanaI have spent a year with you in my arms, your soft breath in my ear.  Where others complain their little ones no longer want to cuddle, I have relished every second that you and I have snuggled.  You have been in my arms for just about every single one of your naps (with exception of the naps you have spent in your father’s arms).  I was sad when you grew to be too big for the co-sleeper bassinet, I missed looking over and having you at arm’s reach.  Now, I have no regrets that you sleep in our bed every night, even though you do take up much of the bed.

There are not sufficient words to describe my joy, my delight, my gratitude, for your mere existence.  You surprise me everyday with what you can do and learn and communicate to me.  I can not imagine life without you.  And I never thought that I would love being a mom so much.

Tonight I put you to bed, your last night as our baby, for tomorrow is your birthday and you will be our toddler.

Goodnight my little Bunny, sweet dreams!  Love,  Ma-ma.

Epsilon
Jana
Jana Family

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Tour of Pittsburgh

Jana had some friend’s visiting her and she managed to see quite a bit of Pittsburgh along the way.

Her first trip to the zoo on Sunday yielded a chance meeting with an elephant:

Jana's first trip to the zoo!

Monday was her first encounter with the dinosaurs, minerals and bug rooms and bug folk at the Natural History Museum:

first trip to the museum for Jana!

Today was a stroll around Phipps, which I had no idea so much work was being done that it seems twice as large as it used to be!
First trip to Phipps!

Jana
Museums

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How Is It Nearly July?

Jana, 6.5 monthsWe’ve been home for a few months now and it’s been a nearly seamless transition to life in the US.  It may have been a different story if we didn’t have our house to come home to, full of furniture and belongings we left behind.  The 3.25 years we spent abroad seems as if it were a bubble in our time line and we’ve slotted right back into place.  Only now as a tiny family.

I find I have days where I don’t even open up my laptop.  I’m not disconnected in any way, I have my trusty iPhone on me always.  My online time allocated to nap times when I’m not joining in on the napping.  Jana is not a sleeper, so I take advantage of those moments when I can steal a few winks for myself.  This also has meant the majority of photos I’ve been taking and posting are camera phone shots.  It’s easy, I have the phone on me always and I can instantly upload the photo or video on the spot.  I do now wish for a point and shoot camera that I can instantly upload from, just so the photos are of a better quality than the generally grainy phone shots.

We’re still not fully settled in since our belongings were delivered at the end of April.  We have a bottleneck for storage in our house.  It’s on the long list of projects Mark is working on during this “sabbatical” from working.  Once the workshop is finished, he has a kitchen to build, crib to fabricate, a dresser to finish, an attic to transform into a walk in closet (access from our room) and eventually a Lake House to build.  What is to be Jana’s room is still full of boxes and an extra two beds.  Our office is an impromtu clothes closet.  It will be nice to have a place for everything and everything in its place when all is said and done.

Here’s where this turn’s into a “Mommy Blog” where I go on and on about this tiny being that has consumed my time and who I clad in all manner of insect related baby clothes (pictured above, a 6.5 month old Jana who has two teeth and has been sitting up on her own for a month now).  As you might have inferred from above, Jana is sleeping in our room in a co-sleeper/bassinet next to my side of the bed.  Her clothes are taking up half of my dresser and the top of which is her changing table.  Mark has a design in mind for the crib, which she will be needing soon, being in the 90th percentile for length, she is outgrowing her current bed.  My dad started the work on the dresser that will be Jana’s.  It was my dresser when I was little and it belonged to my great grandmother.  Under the layers of paint, my dad discovered a gorgeous mahogany piece of furniture.  It will get a treatment to highlight it’s lovely qualities.

Jana at Deer LakesJana continues to delight.  I’ve been cooking up a storm for her as she’s started in on solids.  As people who love to cook and eat, Jana will not have a bland palate from the start.  Everything is new and exciting.  Her first solid was an avocado.  She loves her pears with ginger, her apples with cinnamon, cherries with yogurt, mangoes, blueberries; her peas with zucchini and leeks.  She likes leeks in her other veggies to which I add to make them a little more savory and flavorful.  I made a carrot, sweet potato, chicken curry for her (steamed carrots, sweet potato, chicken, onion and garlic, added cinnamon, ginger, coriander and cumin) which she devours (served with barley cereal and prunes on the side it’s more like a tagine and super tasty!) Today was batch of butternut squash, turkey, garlic and sage that she ate with gusto and ate a lot!  I also cooked up a carrot, beef, onion, garlic and tarragon dinner which is frozen in six portions in tiny cups to try in the coming days.  My freezer is full of these mini portions of fruits, veg and dinners.

I can’t say enough good things about gDiapers, both the disposable inserts and the cloth. We’ve been cloth diapering at home which complements our EC’ing efforts nicely. We go weeks without having to deal with a dirty diaper, as Jana is very good about communicating her need to use the toilet (we started this at six weeks).  The EC’ing has been so easy to do, no complaints here.

Now we just need to get this baby to sleep more consistently.   I’m going on well over seven months of broken sleep (I did not sleep well in the last few months of pregnancy).  This has me in a “zombie mom” sleep deprived state at times. I would love to have more than 2.5 hours of sleep at a time. I feel like Robert Duval in “Apocalypse Now” where adds, “Some day, this war’s gonna end,” in the middle of some unimaginable scene. As I hallucinate in a half awake dream state that Mark can share some hilarious dialogue from if I don’t get around to posting about it, I add, “Some day, this baby’s gonna sleep.”

Cooking
Jana
Moving Abroad
Simple pleasures

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My Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Sometimes, I really like the photos I capture on my phone’s camera. I just wish it took better photos :)

She is my very hungry caterpillar! 7w6d
Jana at 7 weeks 6 days!

Jana
Simple pleasures

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The start of EC’ing

I know this isn’t very exciting to all, however, amongst much cheering and excitement this morning, Jana took her first poo in the toilet! Hurray for Elimination Communication!

Her signals have been clear from the start, but now that her digestive system is a little more mature and she isn’t giving us so many dirty nappies in one day. We were able to see a couple minutes ahead of time, that yes, we should sit her over the toilet.

One less dirty nappy to flush (we’re using gDiapers, the flushable nappy). It’s a first step, here’s to future successes!

Jana

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2009 Year in Review

(better late than never, belated posting)

What a year we have had! Most of which dominated by one event. At the beginning of January, we decided to “pull the pin on that grenade” and go ahead and have a baby. In what seemed to be the longest pregnancy ever, starting with the twenty two weeks of nausea and vomiting, I eventually really enjoyed being pregnant. Epsilon got to be a very well traveled fetus, starting in Barcelona and making three trips to France, not too mention the day to day mundanity of flitting about England. Jana arrived two weeks late in December, a fantastic way to end the year.

I participated in making a video for an exhibit in the new Darwin Center. Capping off my tour of duty at the NHM before going on maternity leave by meeting Prince William and participating in the opening of the Darwin Center.

Jana’s arrival completely overshadowed our three year anniversary of moving to England (December 1st). This will be our fourth winter here. It still feels like we’ve only just arrived. That first walk down the footpath behind our house is so fresh in my mind. But that may be because I/we walk on it so much.

Jana is the best souvenir we could be bringing home from our time spent living here.

Epsilon
Expat Observations
Jana
Moving Abroad
Musings & adventures
My life with bugs
Travel

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Two Weeks Old!

Jana is two weeks old today and she got to experience her first real snow! This is only the sixth day of snow we have seen in England in the four winters we have lived here. Jana is bundled up warm in the blanket Mammam (her great grandmother) knit for her and the hat I knit for her from the same bamboo yarn:

Mom and Jana, two weeks old and first snow

Epsilon
Jana

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International Visitors

Jana has had her first international visitors, her grandparents Z, my parents, are visiting from the U.S. just to see her! We have had a lovely visit and Jana has enjoyed many snuggles (10 days old):

Jana and Grandparents Z

Epsilon
Jana
Jana Family
Simple pleasures

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Introducing Jana Elise!

Jana, day 2

Epsilon
Jana

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