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Todd Daniel’s Birthday!

December 11th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren | Todd Daniel - (0 Comments)

Today is Todd Daniel’s birthday!  He was born at 1:18pm at United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls.  He weighed in at 6lb 9oz and was 19.5 inches long.  He was really similar to Russell’s size.  Preston and Russell had a good time visiting him in the hospital, and they seemed to be thrilled to get to meet him!  Donna was a trooper, and is doing great now.

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Todd Daniel: 12 minutes old

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Preston and Russell getting to know Todd Daniel

Thanksgiving is this week.  We’ve got a lot of work to do around the house in preparation for Todd Daniel’s birthday.  We’ve got his crib, which is much nicer than my bed ;).  It’s hard to clean the house up, when right behind you are two little tornadoes that are destroying at a much faster rate than you can clean.  Donna has been working very hard to get everything ready for Todd Daniel, but Preston and Russell seem to be out to sabotage her work!  We are expecting him to be born within the next couple of weeks.  We will still be visiting Mom and Dad in Ardmore for Thanksgiving, so there is the possibility that he could be born in Ardmore!  We will see…  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Books to Read to a Four Year Old

August 28th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Preston | Russel - (0 Comments)

I have been reading chapter books to Preston lately.  He really loves them, but it has been difficult to find good ones to read that I know he’ll understand (and I won’t get bored reading).  I did a Google search and found this article by Melissa Wiley which I’ve copied and pasted below:

Chapter book suggestions for a four-year-old — Here in the Bonny Glen.

All right, suggestions for a four-year-old who is ready to listen to chapter books:

• My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Our family’s favorite choice for that first “book with chapters” read-aloud. Scott is working his way through the trilogy with Rilla right now.

• My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards.

• Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley, and its sequel, More Milly-Molly-Mandy. LikeNaughty Little Sister, these are episodic books; each chapter is its own little story. Milly-Molly-Mandy’s busy daily adventures—very much rooted in simple domestic village life, running errands for her family, staying alone for the first time, deciding what to spend her hard-earned pennies on—have enchanted all four of my girls around age four or five.

• Winnie-the-Pooh (does that go without saying?)

• the first two Betsy-Tacy books can be perfect for a five-year-old, but I have found my girls really clicked with Betsy at a slightly older age—perhaps seven or eight.

• Kipling’s Just-So Stories. I began reading these to Rilla at age four and she adores them—the belly laughs are irresistible. I rather suspect, however, that she believes “O Best Beloved” is referring to her specifically and is likely to be disgruntled when she realizes I read those words to her big sisters before her, in their day.

• Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.

• The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (the very first one, which has a special kind of sweetness and earnestness to it—this was a head-over-heels-in-love book for Jane at age 4).

• Old Mother West Wind and other Thornton Burgess animal stories—now, for us these were hit or miss. I had come kids adore them, and others who found them dull.

• Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater. In our house, this is a read-aloud reserved exclusively for the daddy.

• Pippi Longstocking, of course!

• The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and The Littles by John Peterson. When it comes to tiny people living hidden in human houses, I’m a Borrowers girl all the way. Then again, the Littles have tails.

• Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn. Small animals behaving like people: almost as much fun as tiny hidden people. And what’s that other very young mouse-people series I’m forgetting? Hedge something. Brambly Hedge! That’s it.

• I don’t find Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann Stories very easy to read aloud—he tends toward the insipid—but I remember how magical I found those books as a very young child. Sodapop fountains!

• The Cricket in Times Square. The kind of middle-grade story that always seems to hold our current four-year-old spellbound when Dad is reading it to the older kids.

• The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. There’s a sequel, too—More Stories Julian Tells. I love these books! Need to pull them out for Rilla and Wonderboy.

This list could go on for a really long time. I know there are many great books I’m omitting, but these are the ones that come most immediately to mind. HOWEVER, it is almost guaranteed that as soon as I publish this post, I will kick myself for forgetting some particular favorite. Like actually just this minute I have remembered Doctor Boox. I adore Doctor Boox. I must go and find our copy of Doctor Boox immediately. Immediately!

I have a whole nother batch of suggestions for a six- or seven-year-old. For a four-year-old, I’ve seen the most connection and delight with very simple, homey kinds of books. That’s why I haven’t included authors like C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Kate di Camillo, E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, E. B. White, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and Frances Hodgson Burnett—I save those for a few years down the road. (Having said that, James and the Giant Peach might be a great fit for a four-year-old. Humongous bugs! What could be better?)

For a four-year-old, I would also reiterate my enthusiastic recommendation of Jim Weiss and Jay O’Callahan story tapes.

And folk and fairy tales by the dozens.

And I’ll add this thought—although Rilla (who turned five in April) has indeed enjoyed several of the chapter books I’ve mentioned above, and her My Father’s Dragon time with Daddy is her favorite part of the day, she would rather read picture books with me than a “Long Book” at this point. Almost every day she goes around the house collecting a stack of picture books for “quiet reading time.” (By that she means being alone with me—it isn’t actually all that quiet.) ;) I haven’t added to the Rillabook list in the sidebar for weeks because lately all her choices are books we’ve read and read and read again. I find this to be very common at the emergent reader stage—as opposed to, say, a ten-year-old who seems to want new new new more more more at a rate nearly impossible to keep up with.

(I think these cycles of rereading beloved favorites and hungering for exciting new frontiers continue all through life. In my early teens, I was a binge rereader—both of my childhood favorites and of newer passions like the Pern books or—dare I admit it—the unflinchingly formulaic Silhouette First Love romances of the ’80s, for which I actually had a subscription. It makes sense that in times of great change or stress, formula fiction and the deeply familiar offer special comfort and appeal. This is probably the same psychological need that makes me crave nothing but Agatha Christie when I’m sick.) ….

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go introduce my children to Doctor Boox.

I’m Exhausted

August 11th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Preston | Russel - (0 Comments)

The title pretty much sums it up. I have had a very busy weekend, and it’s only half over! We found out a few days ago that Preston will be able to attend Notre Dame for Pre-K. So last night we bought school supplies. Today was a work day at the school. I pulled weeds and cut out weeds from the rose bushes. Then I had to leave so that we could go uniform shopping… Lots of work and money spent…

I laid down with Preston to rest and he told me that I stink. “Like pee,” he said. I told him that it was sweat. He doesn’t know how much work he is. I love that kid.

And So It Begins!

August 9th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Preston - (0 Comments)

Preston…looking bored

It seems that Preston will actually be attending Pre-K at Notre Dame Catholic School this year!  And so our journey in school begins.  I’m excited that Preston will get to go to Pre-K, even if it’s only three days a week for half-days.  Preston has been pretty bored at home, and I think he is ready/wanting something.

There He Is…

August 9th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Preston - (0 Comments)

After a few days without Preston, he’ll be coming home today.  I hope Papa and Grandma didn’t spoil him too much!

Where’s Presty?

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Preston | Russell Warren - (1 Comments)

It hasn’t started yet, but I’m sure Russell will start asking where Preston is soon. Preston’s staying the week with Papa and Grandma. He gets treated like royalty for a few days, and then they send him home to mean old Mama and Daddy. I actually look forward to being a grandpa! lol

Back to the Grind

July 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren - (0 Comments)

We had a nice trip up to Minnesota.  We got there the day before the family reunion, and so we were very busy at the beginning.  I was starting to think that we were crazy for coming.  However, later on in the week we were able to relax and enjoy our time.  Roger, Emmit, Preston, and I all went geocaching on day where we picked up a ton of caches.  I even collected geocaching souvenirs from North and South Dakota that day!  We are glad to be back home now, though!

Trip to Minnesota

July 9th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren - (0 Comments)

We leave Thursday for Minnesota. In the meantime, we’re working on cleaning the house. I don’t want to dread coming home because there’s a huge pile of dirty laundry to do and lots of other things! I’m really looking forward to the trip. It’s been a long time since we all got to go on a “vacation”.

Happy Anniversary!

June 4th, 2012 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel - (0 Comments)

Today is Donna’s and my 7th wedding anniversary.  That’s right; we’ve been married seven years!  We really don’t have any plans for this evening.  Though, Donna’s parents are taking Preston for the week (they were going to anyway, not just because it is our anniversary!).  I think Donna is wanting to eat out somewhere or do something like that.  Personally, I don’t care for eating out all that much, and I would rather have a meal at home…  We will see!  I’m sure we’ll end up doing something, but I don’t know what.

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