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update - and a whole lotta links!

Two and a half weeks ago, we ditched cable. I don't watch television at all, Dan watches very little and we limit it for the kids. Dan suggested we get rid of it and when I found out how much we were paying each month for service, it was a no brainer to kick cable to the curb. It's been a great choice for our family! We get DVDs through Netflix and the news online. If we decide that we want local stations, we can get an antenna. Honestly, the main thing we missed about not having cable is not having the digital clocks! I realized that we do not own a single clock! This is obviously not a good reason to re-subscribe to cable... :)

I've blogged before about the book Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and I am going to do it again. The best part about this book is the section called "Best-Loved Books for Children". We are working through her book list for 4-8 year olds, using our local library, and have discovered so many special books.

Classics like this

and this

and this

Corduroy stole Jude's heart. He has wanted to sleep with this book. He told me, "I am so glad that Corduroy found a home!"

We've read books with amazing illustrations,like this one.

Simply put, her book list rocks!

I don't know about you, but for me, the library is a difficult place to be with young kids. Not only is there the required "be quiet" factor, but they also can't be pulling lots of books off of the shelves. So for us, having a book list as a guide (and the option to put books on hold) has been immensely helpful. The kids do choose a few books on their own, but I try to get in and out of there fairly quickly in order to maintain my sanity!

Another thing that's been great for our family has been implementing a "family drawing time". I got the idea from Soulemama, who writes about this in her book The Creative Family. Jude had been telling me lately that he wishes he were a better "artist". By this he means he wishes he were better at drawing. I can relate, because I am a horrible draw-er (not to be confused with drawer!). :) I think for both Jude and me, it's difficult to know how to transfer an image that we have in our heads onto paper. So, we've been googling "How to draw ____ for kids." Let me tell you, the possibilities are endless. We have learned how to draw dragons, bulldozers, boats, cats, the list goes on. Yes, it's kind of a formulaic approach to art, but I am hoping that it will be a starting place for us both. We won't always need to rely on google. And if nothing else it has been so much fun. Every day Jude asks, "What are we going to draw today, Mommy?"

Jude's rendition of a cow

I just finished listening to the podcasts from Blackhawk's latest series on the book of Luke entitled "Redefined" and it rocked my world. I am continually amazed by their ability to deliver insightful, thought-provoking, transformational messages week after week.

Finally, for those adoption families wanting to learn Amharic, I have found two good resources. I am trying to learn Amharic but want it to be fun and not stressful. So I am not putting any demands on myself and am just pursuing it at my leisure. I purchased Amharic 101 from this website and it has been good. Not "Rosetta Stone fabulous", but good. [aside: Rosetta Stone does not currently offer an Amharic program.] I was able to (mostly) learn the 33 Ge'ez symbols and their sounds over the weekend. It really didn't take too long, maybe a couple of hours at the most.

There is also this fantastic(free!)website/blog written by an adoptive parent. Not only does her blog include all of the Amharic symbols with a sound feature so you know how to pronounce them, she also teaches you how to write in Amharic. It's phenomenal. I cannot imagine how much time it must have taken for this woman to put this together, but I am grateful!

As far as a personal/family update - all is well. It feels like we are getting into a normal rhythm now. Evangeline is doing great. She is getting her two top teeth in and, as of this weekend, is now cruising furniture. She still will not eat any solid foods other than jarred baby food... and only fruit! But she's eating 2-3 jars of food at each meal! Also she completely refuses the sippy cup (or any kind of cup!). She will only take a bottle. If you have any suggestions for me on these issues, please leave them in the comments. I would appreciate it! :)

the kids at the fiesta celebration at Jude's school


  1. Yahoo for books, yahoo for no TV, yahoo for family writing time!

    No advice on the bottle thing to offer....sorry!

  2. Since we don't have cable, I let my son watch educational DVD's or Veggietales DVD's. I wrote a little post on some "Good Television."

  3. love the book ideas!
    Let her keep the bottle for a little longer. It is comforting to her. Wait until the weather gets good and hot and she and the kids are sweaty..offer her a little cool juice in a sippy,like the big works. get the little GERBERS with the really soft spouts. Pics are great.

  4. We love Corduroy and Mike Mulligan (and MaryAnne)! We started giving Markus a sippy with juice/water when he was 12 months, but it was almost just a fun toy/novelty. When he was 15 months, we started giving him one of his milk servings per day only in a sippy. He wasn't keen, but he got enough calcium and fluids from other sources, so we could afford to let him skip one instead of giving in and giving him the bottle. Also, we would hold and rock him (like giving a bottle), so he still got his cuddle time. We gradually replaced each bottle feeding with milk or juice/water from a cup. Concur on letting her have the bottle a little longer--we didn't fully wean M until he was about 18 months. Also, concur on the sippies with the really soft spouts--he liked those better in the beginning. Thanks for the library advice!

  5. Wonderful & informative post! Couldn't agree more about cable AND arriving armed at the library with a list in hand ~ its a life and sanity saver! :)

    Jude would love the Little Engine That Could if he likes Little Toot and there are more books in the Cord. series also ~ at least one in hardback and others for special holidays (like Halloween/Christmas, etc.) He steals my heart too!

    Glad all is well ~ I'm so impressed with your comprehensive links here! Thank u!

    As to the solids ~ they will come. Just keep putting out puffs, cheerios and the like in front of her during meals and eventually she will sample them! As to the sippy cup dilemna....hmmmm....have u tried a cup with straw attached? I know its a bit more clumsy and messy, but it more closely mirrors a bottle!

    Thinking of you!! Hugs!

  6. We don't have cable either!!! My daughter hated sippy cups, too. We found she would use the ones that had a soft mouth piece, similiar to a bottle nipple. Advent makes a good one. She still refused milk in it but would take juice and water.

  7. Oh we love those books! Yabbi is very slowly transitioning to sippy cups too. She is a little resistant too!

  8. Welcome to the cable-less world. :)

    Loved your book shout outs. I am also a huge fan of the Read-Aloud Handbook. It also breaks books down into age appropriate groups.

    Can I come to drawing class sometime? Sounds awesome!


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