Thursday, March 31, 2005

Now I Can Be As Cool As Glenn Reynolds

I just registered for BlogNashville. It's free, within walking distance, and Instapundit will be there. What more could I want?

Body Count

On Sunday I killed about 50; on Tuesday about 50 more died. Yesterday 24 were laid low. Today it was 18. The dandelions may always be with me, but I am exacting some heavy casualties.

In other news, my son has become a dandelion rights activist and it threatening to form Dandelions are OUr Friends (DOUF). He threatens legal action should any more dandelions be harmed and asks, "Can't we all just get along?"

Despite protests, the war continues unabated.

Beatle-mania

The Boy and The Girl are already fond of a great many muscians and bands that their parents like. The Boy regularly asks us to play Johnny Cash -- especially When The Man Comes Around. The Girl goes around singing an interesting medley of She Drives Me Crazy, Wild Thing, Yer So Bad and Angels From the Realms of Glory. I guess we'd been neglecting The Beatles though.

Last week I popped a Beatles CD into the car stereo and it was an instant it. The Boy was very taken with the music and is his wont for anything he's into, he asked for Beatles coloring pictures (available on the web amazingly enough) and is making us all play The Beatles. For some reason, he's decided his favorite Beatle is Ringo. His dad is now John Lennon. I requested Paul McCartney, because if I have to be a Beatle, I want at least to be the cute one. The Girl is left to be George Harrison. The Baby doesn't get a role.

I now hear Love Me Do day and night, in addition to the other music around here.

Little Things

I love that my son calls Purell "satizer." I imagine a satirist daubing it on things to make them satirical.

This or That

The Thursday Three is all about choices this week. I've put my preferences in bold.

CATEGORY 1--Food:

1. Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme
2. Cheese curls or cheese puffs
3. Chocolate or vanilla

CATEGORY 2--TV People:

1. Ginger or Mary Ann -- I always thought she was pretty when I was young. As an adult I might prefer Mary Ann, but I didn't as a kid.
2. Crockett or Tubbs -- If I knew who these people were, it would help.
3. Barney or Warren

CATEGORY 3--Potpourri:

1. 9mm or .45 -- My gun knowledge is too limited to have a preference.
2. Pro football or college football -- This really depends upon the context, but I've been to a lot more college games than pro games.
3. Boxers or briefs/thong or granny panties (or cotton bikinis)
4. Electric or blade
5. Paper or plastic -- although I like the paper bags with handles that they give you at the crunchy granola store.
6. Dark socks and sandals at the beach or barefooted -- I've spent too much time with physicists wearing dress socks and sandals.
7. Wal-mart or K-mart -- Target
8. Dog or cat
9. LP or CD -- I grew up listening to LPs long after everyone else my age had forgotten their existence, but I do like CDs better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Keep That Baby Rolling...

Below, Marc asked how The Wee One was doing and if she was crawling yet. I am able to report, for Lenise's benefit that she is indeed not yet crawling.

This not to say that she isn't moving though. Yesterday, while we worked in the yard she spent long periods wiggling around on a large quilt. We'd start her out on her tummy in the middle and she would either scoot herself with her toes over to the edge so she could grab handfuls of grass (yummy) -- a trick her older sister often pulled -- or she would roll over onto her back, get the sun full in her eyes and complain loudly to anyone who would listen and also everyone who wasn't paying enough attention to her.

Sleep has also become something of a problem. She keeps rolling over in her sleep and although she can roll from her back to her tummy, she can't do it without a lot of effort. Therefore she mostly just wakes up and gets mad when she rolls onto her back in her sleep. Since she's also a scooter, we'll start her off with her feet touching one end of the crib and throughout the night she'll scoot forward and when she starts bonking her head on the other end of the crib that makes her mad too. We need to get this child more mobile, I guess, so that she can remedy all the things that make her mad.

Most nights she winds up sleeping cuddled up with me, which is very nice -- except that she seems to prefer sleeping elsewhere, when she isn't rolling or head-bonking that is.

And there you have the baby mobility update. Her siblings crawled at six months and 5 1/2 months respectively. I suppose she'll probably follow approximately the same schedule.

If You Have to Be Contagious

Pink eye is really a great contagious infection to get if you simply must go and get sick. With Justin under doctor's orders not to go to work for two days and the two big kids also infected, we had a nice extra long weekend.

On Monday it rained, which wasn't so lovely, but with Justin at home, I got to go to the grocery store all by myself, which is really almost a luxury these days. Tuesday was an absolutely beautiful day. We spent almost the entire day outdoors. Justin planted a few things and moved stuff around in our attempt to "dogscape" the backyard and gently encourage our pooch not to run through the flower beds. This included a bit of lightweight green fencing, some rocks, some big planters and a few stepping stones where he is allowed to go. So far he seems to be following those boundries. Now we just need to establish some other boundries in other parts of the garden to keep him out. I'm thinking about a garden bench and perhaps another pot or a piece of statuary.

While Justin was fighting the dog, I weeded -- I'm waging my annual winning war against wild onions and my annual futile war against clover, violets and dandelions. The dandelions have been eliminated more or less from the front yard, but I fear there is no hope for the back yard. And if I took out the weeds there wouldn't be any yard any way. I also worked on painting an arbor that we plan to put on the side of our house this summer. Currently, we have chain link everywhere but the stretch across the front. Eventually we'd like to replace it all with picket. For now, we just want to replace one short section on the side of our house where we currently have a gate to the backyard. The gate is placed all the way to one side and I want to center it on the space and put the arbor behind it. We'll also be building a path down that side of the house, as I've mentioned before. It's just a big mud slide right now, because not much can survive constant dog romping.

Anyway, the arbor arrived last week and although cedar is quite lovely on its own, our picket fence is white and I want the arbor to match. So we bought some Olympic solid stain, which is what we used on our front porch and front steps and I am currently painting the arbor. I got the second coat on most of the pieces yesterday. The whole gate/arbor/pathway thing won't be happening all that soon, probably because we have a lot of other things coming up, but I'll be glad to get one small piece finished.

And so, we got a lot done and Justin didn't have to spend a glorious spring day in his office looking at the building across the alley from his out of his window. We can't really say that pink eye has been all that bad really.

Monday, March 28, 2005

All Dressed Up

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Before we realized almost everyone was diseased, I got a good picture of the kids all ready to go to church.



Carrots, Noodles and Snakes

Potty training proceeds apace with daily accidents, but far more daily successes. The Girl is now wearing the world's tiniest Hanes Her Way underwear. It seems both amazing and adorable to see her running around in something other diapers. I can't believe how easy training has been this time around, although it wasn't particularly hard with The Boy either.

They are very different children even in this though. While up until a few months ago, The Boy wanted an audience and preferably "to be holded" while he did his business, The Girl generally shoves me out the door with her foot and demands her privacy. She made an exception for her brother this afternoon though. The two of them started calling out minute by minute updates on her defecation. Sports announcers, both of them -- with descriptions of the shapes (see the title above) and size and texture. Much more detail than I wanted or needed, but I suppose I do enjoy the moments when the children get along, even when engaged in seemingly unusual behavior.

People without children probably cannot know how much excitement is generated by getting one of them out of diapers, but trust me. It is truly a great day when it finally happens.

A is for Apple<br>B is for Boys<br>C is for Conjunctivitus

Somehow my family has managed to go for over five years of children in the house without pink eye. Our record winning streak has sadly come to an end. Sunday morning dawned grey, rainy, cold and with Justin complaining of a sore and red eye. The Boy told me he had a lot of "eye boogers" but I didn't think much of it -- the kids had woken up extra early, I was tired, they were hyped up on the few jelly beans I let them eat before breakfast and in the morning rush to get everyone dressed and out the door in time for church the "eye booger" comment fell by the wayside.

Clearly we should have left Justin at home, but he seemed to feel ok and I never like taking all three children to church by myself, if I can help it. By the time we got through Bible class though, Justin's eye was looking worse and I offered to take him home, but he opted to stay and merely sit in a dark classroom off the santuary so that he could listen to the sermon.

The one doctor in our congregation may be a pediatric cardiologist, but he took one look at Justin and told him he had to go to the doctor that day. So we found out where there was an open urgent care doc-in-the-box and took Justin to the doctor. The girls were asleep, so while Justin waited for the doctor, I took the kids to McDonald's and The Boy and I got hamburgers. This was the highlight of the trip. Mmmm...French fries make everything better.

So with a prescription for eye drops, we all went to the drugstore and then home, where I realized The Boy was similarly affected. This morning The Girl also had "the pink eye" as her brother calls it.

So far my eyes have not been affected and neither are the baby's. I sure hope to keep it that way. The giant supersized bottle of Purell that I bought at Sam's Club a while back has really come in handy.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Carnival of the Recipes

Another great Carnival of the Recipes is up for your gastronomical pleasure.

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since I can't lie down and rest, I thought I'd type up the recipe we recently made for something I'd been craving -- chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to try something a bit different and came across this recipe on Allrecipes.com. My recipe is a variation of this one and well liked by my children, my husband's co-workers and everyone except my 15 year old brother-in-law, who considers whole wheat and ginger comparable to poison.

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup whole wheat flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup butter flavored shortening
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2 tablespoons whole milk
* 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
* 3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a small bowl; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and milk. Gradually beat in the sifted ingredients with a mixer on low. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger with a spoon. Drop cookie dough 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet -- I think this is easiest to do with clean, dry hands.

3. Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown on the sides and the top should have lost it's shine. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Or eat while still warm, which we all know is the best way to eat a chocolate chip cookie.

I'm Not Getting Paid Enough

Today is one of those days when I wish I had a job outisde the home. If I had one, I could take the day off and spend hours in bed feeling sniffly and babying the migraine behind my eyes. Unfortunately, my current employers do not offer sick leave nor do they, they claim, understand the meaning of the word quiet. Why have I failed to turn them into mindless TV zombies would will zone out in front of the TV? Instead they run around shouting (or practicing a new talent for high pitched squeals on the part of my youngest boss) and demanding that the chief bottom wiper perform her services every 15 minutes or so. No rest of the ailing here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's Potty Time!

On to lighter subjects of little import to anyone -- we've suddenly begun the long road to diaperlessness on the part of The Girl. The Boy was potty-trained at 26 months. He was also my only child and is a kid who will usually do what you tell him to do even if he doesn't like it much. The Girl is a completely different sort of person. She is not inclined to do anything she didn't think of for herself and wants to do everything by herself. Although she's been showing many signs of potty readiness since eighteen months, she hadn't mastered everything and therefore wouldn't do it. Plus, I have been in no state either while very pregnant nor with a newborn around to want to work on potty training.

Last weekend though, we bought some Feel and Learn pull-ups at Sam's Club. On Tuesday, The Girl would pee in them, announce what she'd done, strip down and put on another pair. The feeling part was there, but not the learning. In the afternoon, I started making fun of her. She does not want to be considered a baby any more, but I reminded her that babies wore diapers and big girls used the potty. Yesterday was a great improvement.

Although she made it to the potty only about 60% of the time, some of her accidents only involved a drop or two, before she went to the bathroom to finish up. She put all the solid stuff in the toilet and that is, of course, a great improvement. Perhaps, some day she actually will be wearing the real underpants I bought her in a fit of optimism some months ago.

Through all our attempts at potty training, we've been offering a few chocolate chips as a tasty reward for a job well done. The Boy is again acting as his sister's advocate in this regard. Every time she goes, he pipes up to remind us that she should get some chocolate. At first, I was a bit baffled as to why he would care, until I realized that I had been giving him a piece or two whenever she got some. He didn't care at all about her reward, just his own stomach.

Death and Dying

Some of my friends recently asked me about my opinion on Terri Schiavo. I had not weighed into their discussion, because my beliefs on the matter are not ones I care to open up for debate. I will note that while I've read many interesting articles about the case, two I found particularly compelling were these from Slate and from my blog friend Tony Woodlief. Sometimes though, I feel like screaming to the world like Rachel Lucas. Though I try not to use those words, sometimes they seem like the only ones that fit.

As I said to my friends and said above, I'm not looking for a fight or a debate. I don't care for discussions on the matter. They simply make me sad. So, I'm not opening comments on this post.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Budding Author

The Boy has recently gotten really interested in writing books. Instead of coming up with completely new ideas, he prefers to create new stories in the style of some of his favorite authors. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. Last week he wrote his own Magic Treehouse book (click thumbnails to enlarge).

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page1thumb.jpg page2thumb.jpg page3thumb.jpg
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He also wrote multiple books in the style of Sandra Boyton, which I hope to scan eventually.

Too Grown Up

At one point on the wedding day, The Boy decided he no longer wished to be in the wedding and got rather grumpy about it all. I wanted to get some photos of the kids and could not get him to smile. My husband decided to try to help and stood behind me and made funny faces and said silly words. Finally, The Boy cracked a grin. Later he told his dad, "I didn't like it when you said silly words, but I smiled because I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Wedding And Lessons Learned

Have you been wondering if I fell off the edge of the planet? I feel like I have.

One of my brother in laws got married this past Saturday and then my in-laws stayed on with us for a few days. I feel worn out from the experience -- although not because anyone is particularly high maintenance.

Friday afternoon, my sister-in-law, her husband, their two kids and Justin's youngest brother came over. My children haven't seen their cousins in over two years, but they had a wonderful time and were instant best friends. It's a pity they live far away.

The rehearsal dinner was very simple -- lasagna and salad -- but my mother-in-law planned for a crowd and made four large lasagnas. We've been eating leftovers all weekend -- not a bad thing.

After dinner, the rehearsal began. I've never been involved in a wedding other than my own. I've only been asked to be a bridesmaid twice and one time the couple eloped and the other time the engagement didn't work out, so I don't have a lot of experience. Somehow though, my husband and I became the go-to people. I guess we're just bossy. This leads to the first lesson learned -- -- you must have someone in charge -- even if you have Bridezilla on the loose and she wants to plan it all, you need someone to be in charge when she is up front and not available -- preferably someone who is not immediate family, knows how weddings work, and is capable of giving orders and direction. It doesn't matter how simple you want your wedding to be -- if you want an actual wedding ceremony, you need a coordinator of some sort.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law was not Bridezilla. She wanted a simple, uncomplicated ceremony. There weren't too many things she cared about, but with no one planning any of the other details -- a lot was forgotten until the last minute.

At the rehearsal point all the kids were fairly excited about being in the wedding, although The Boy was a bit grouchy, because he was going to miss the birthday party of his best school friend the next afternoon. We hadn't planned on The Girl being in the wedding, but when "the big kids" got up to practice their stroll down the aisle, she followed along saying, "Me too." Since my babysitter for the wedding day had fallen through (she's pregnant and feeling miserable), we decided letting her have a role would probably forestall fits the next day. Fortunately, I had a few dress choices at home that worked, so I didn't have to go buy a flowergirl dress at the last minute.

The next morning, we got there to the church building at 11:15. The place was pretty chaotic. The reception hall was mostly decorated, but not entirely. The arch she wanted for the church wasn't put together, let alone decorated (and as an aside, I would not recommend an arch for a wedding, they are not that great a decoration, very flimsy, and it's hard to get everyone centered on it for pictures). The groom was sitting at the back of the church picking out music for the ceremony and importing it to his computer. He didn't have a great selection, but we happened to have all our CDs in the car (I had brought them along so I could change out the few we normally carry in the car, while we were driving) and we still have two CDs of wedding music that someone bought for us when we were planning our own wedding. (The moral of that story is Never Throw Anything Away. He used them for much of the ceremony music.

Somewhere in there, my mother-in-law ran in and asked if I knew a good punch recipe, because no one had remembered to get punch (I was especially baffled by the desire to color coordinate it to the bride's colors). This was one of many, many trips to the store that morning. Others included a trip to pick up the wedding cake, by the bride's mom. Another to buy vegetables for the veggie tray. Another to buy a second guest book, because the first had been misplaced. I could go on. As I said, you need someone in charge of a wedding, with lists and a plan, or everyone runs around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I'd intended on getting all the photos taken before one o'clock, since the wedding was at two. We started taking photos around one. It was only due to Justin's running everyone in and out that even that got done. Around the time guests started arriving, I realized that without anyone in charge, there would be no one to tell guests that only the immediate family would be seated by ushers and that they should just go in and sit down. They were causing a log jam at the front door. I sent Justin out to act as an usher for anyone who wanted one and asked my sister-in-law's husband's mom to also stand at the door and ask people to be seated and to be in charge of making sure family got seated in order and that the flower girls, ringer bearers and the matron of honor went down the aisle at the correct times. I told Justin which side was the bride's and which the groom's, but he got them mixed up, so most people were on the wrong side.

At 5 minutes until the wedding was to begin, grandparents were being seated and it was time for the show. My sister-in-law's husband had been drafted to man the computer with the music and was doing a decent job. He had the song for seating family playing, and then faded to the song for the kids and the matron of honor and then faded into the wedding march. Then when the bride was 3/4 of the way down the aisle, the music stopped. And then started from the beginning of the wedding march again. What happened as it turned out was that Wes (the groom) had gotten it into his head that he should program all the filler music while guest were being seated to shut off at 2 o'clock so that the wedding could start. He hadn't told anyone he'd done this and his computer clock was 5 minutes or so behind the watches of everyone else. Another lesson learned -- practice the music and walking to it -- do not leave your musical selections until the last minute. Especially if you must use canned music and not live performers, you need to have it work perfectly. I again felt very, very fortunate that a dear friend had drafted his extremely talented father and brother to play piano and violin at our wedding.

Musical bobble-ups aside, the wedding proceeded and a very short time later, I had gained a new and beautiful sister-in-law.

The reception began immediately, because the newlyweds had a 4:30 flight to catch. They hadn't planned on doing a receiving line -- thinking it was too formal, but my husband grabbed them and insisted, which meant they did actually get to greet their guests and say hello. Receiving lines are really extremely efficient. They cut the cake, circulated a bit, went to change -- I grabbed my other brothers-in-law and husband, sent them out to get some shaving cream and told them to go write "Just Married" on the car (pay back for the same being applied to my car seven and a half years ago) -- and the bride and groom took off for their brief honeymoon to Chicago -- without the groom's coat or the bride's purse. They actually had to turn around and come back for the purse, but didn't realize his coat was missing until they got there. They had to get him something in Chicago to keep from freezing.

I took all the pictures and am glad that we took photos the week before at the park, because the ones from the ceremony are all pretty crummy. I've never made any pretence of being anything other than an amatuer at photography and have always been far out classed by my father and older brother (the latter actually makes money selling art photos once in a while). I guess I picked up a few pointers along the way though, so that helped some. Everyone else seems perfectly pleased with the quality of the pictures from the wedding, but I wouldn't have been all that thrilled if those were all I'd gotten (which is far too close to the truth of what I did get for my own wedding pictures). The lesson in that is -- you get what you pay for. I'm currently fixing up photos. Photoshop is my friend.

No matter what screw-ups there were and whether things could have been better -- they are married just the same. That's what really matters in the end any way. I'm thrilled to have a delightful new sister-in-law and am suddenly amazed that the boy I met when he was fourteen when I started dating his brother has suddenly become a full-fledged, grown up man -- I suppose he's been one for quite some time now, having spent four years as a Marine and almost another three beyond, but it has only now really hit me.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

On A Roll

The Baby has decided the time has come for a little mobility. She's started rolling over. Most, if not all, the time it is as much a surprise to her as it is to everyone else when she makes it (always from tummy to back at this point) and it freaks her out a bit. Last night she rolled over in her sleep twice (Yes, she sleeps on her tummy. Yes, I know all about Back to Sleep. The crucial part missing is that there is no sleep when she is on her back or side.) Anyway, she woke up screaming both times, mad as blazes that she was no longer on her tummy. I can't wait until she figures out how to roll the other way.

Muzak

A muzikal Thursday Three this week brings the following questions.

1. What instrument do you play?


Nothing. I wish I were musical and I can remember tunes well enough to sing them after only hearing them once or twice -- usually -- but I am not good at music. In fact, I'm not even good at singing. I should be an alto, but I cannot sing harmony. I have to be singing the main tune or I'm totally doomed.

2. Which one do you wish you could play if time and talent were not involved?

I would love to play acoustic guitar. As a family we love to sit around and sing with the kids of an evening and I would love to be able to pull out a guitar and accompany everyone. When I was little my dad would pull out his guitar and do that very thing. I still remember how neat that seemed to me then.

3. Have you ever taken lessons for an instrument or voice and how did it go?

I took violin lessons from fourth grade through eigth grade. I hated practicing though and did all I could to weasel out of it. I regret that now, but my younger self didn't care.

Reasonable

After worship and Bible classes, the little kids of our congregation head up to the front to play. They like to jump off the platform and by staying up front they are less likely to bowl over any little old ladies in hairnets. Last night, all the kids were doing their best Superman impersonations and taking flying leaps off the steps when I decided it was time to get my children home. I stuck The Girl under my arm and told The Boy it was time to put his shoes back on.

"No, Mom! I'm not going yet. I need a reasonable amount of time to play!"

Naturally, I told him that the reasonable man standard did not apply to mothers and he was going to get the choice of putting his shoes on and hustling along with or without trouble, but I was laughing inside. Reasonable! Heh.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Arachnophobia

I found a dead brown recluse in The Baby's room today. The Baby doesn't actually sleep in her room, but where there is a dead spider there are sure to be live ones. Icky. I suspected we had them around -- this is, afterall, an old house in the South -- but I don't exactly like seeing proof. Growing up in Arizona, we always had to watch out for black widows and after our neighbors trimmed their palm tree we had a scorpion invasion. The black widows never seemed to be much of a problem, we usually found them outside, but my little brother spent several nights in the ICU after a scorpion sting. I hate arachnids.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Still Recovering

It was a busy weekend here at the Adams family compound. Saturday morning, my husband, who likes to be known as El Presidente (of our neighborhood association) headed out at 8:00 to the unfortunately named White Trash Cafe for our city councilman's monthly breakfast. By the time he returned, I had fed the children and it was time to CLEAN HOUSE.

We'd almost finished giving the place a basic tidying, when Justin's brother and his fiancee arrived. They are getting married this coming weekend and have asked me to take the photos of their wedding. I told them they'd be getting what they paid for, but since I do enjoyed shooting photos now and again -- why not? Since I don't own professional lighting equipment, I suggested we pick a nice day before the wedding and go to the park near our house for a photo shoot. We did that yesterday and although I kept forgetting to turn on my flash to fill in shadows, I somehow managed to bumble along and get at least half a dozen really good shots out of the 200 or so I took. It didn't hurt that the bride and groom both happen to be extremely easy on the eyes, of course.

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Photo shooting over, we went to eat at the local deli up the street (after everyone changed out of the fancy clothes, of course). Then it was time to come home, tidy things again and get all dolled up myself for Justin's firm's annual "prom" as they call it. Actually just a dinner that one eats while wearing formal clothes. We had beef tenderloin and strawberry crepes, and for a meal like that I'll dress up as much as anyone asks me to. It was a fun evening out, although upon arriving home, we discovered that The Wee One had decided it would be a good nice to sense a disturbance in the Force when Mommy left and had been most unhappy for most of the three hours we were away.

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Sunday we somehow dragged ourselves out of bed and made it to Sunday School slightly less late than usual. We used to be on time, but I think in the four months since The Baby arrived, we've only made it to church on time once. We were supposed to stay for a potluck and shower for a young couple getting married this summer afterward services, but with all the running around on Saturday I hadn't made anything and we hadn't gotten much of our weekend to do list finished, so we just packed up and came home, ate a quick lunch, put The Girl down for a nap and started ripping out bushes and hauling bricks.

The grass has never grown well on one side of our house. There are so drainage issues -- the whole yard slopes down and to that side. Plus the dog likes to hang out there. Basically it has become one big mud pit. So one of the plans for this summer is to put in a brick lined gravel path to mitigate the mud and slow the progression of any water that should choose to be rolling down that way. While we're at it, we're going to replace a small section of chainlink fence with picket to match the picket in front of our house and an arbor over the gate.

Before anything can be built, there always comes a destruction phase and that's what we are currently in the beginning of the middle of. Last weekend, Justin and The Boy dug the remnants of an old brick path, buried by about 4 inches of top soil out of the yard. They salvaged enough bricks that we were able to use them to line our 40 foot curving flower bed in the backyard with them. They aren't buried to ground level yet, but after hauling and placing them yesterday they bed already looks a lot better and tidier.

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The bushes had to be dug out, because (a) I hate Rose of Sharon and its self-seeding ways, no matter how gorgeous the blooms are in the summer (b) it was growing into the chainlink and in the way of the new path.

Then last night we hung up some Shaker pegs in the delusional hope that they will help us keep the children's dress up stuff tidier. I'm always trying to think of new and better ways to organize things in the hopes that we'll someday have the place tidier, but so far it just means the piles get rearranged.

So that was our weekend. How was yours?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Words, Words, Words

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 77% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I
can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon
intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You
have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly!
Way to go!


Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!



For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid



Found at The Good Earth

PPD

Postpartum depression is both relatively well publicized and at the same time rather hidden. Most women who suffer from it don't like to talk about it. Who wants to say they are turning into screaming monsters who want to be far, far away from the children they wanted so much and know they should love more than anything? The women feel terrible and know that they don't want to think the thoughts running through their heads, which makes them feel worse. It's hard to talk to one's husband when the thoughts are ones you want to supress and even harder to force yourself to 'fess up to a doctor. I know all this, because I've been through it, especially after my second child was born, and even now four months after the birth of my third child, I find myself fighting back the mean, nasty side of myself on many days.

I have not gone through the struggles of this as intensely as Amy nor did I have the health issues for myself or the NICU to deal with, but I can relate and understand what she writes in her very vulnerable and revealing four part story of her son's birth.

A Baby Story -- Part One of A Tale I Don't Tell

Part Two -- Birth

Part Three -- All We Need to Know of Hell


The End: The Monster


Knights and Damsels

The kids are playing knights. The title of this post is slightly misleading, because often times The Girl claims to be King Arfur, not that weenie Guinevere. First, The Boy was running around with his sword, shield and helmet fighting all the attackers -- of course to fight them at point blank range he needs to get out of the castle the two have built with the kitchen chairs. Therefore Sir Lancelot (aka The Boy) is yelling to King Arfur (aka The Girl) to raise the Fortcullis (portcullis, fortcullis, hey it is close). I guess the servents took the day off. They rush out of the castle, where surprisingly the enemies are few and far between after the evil dog has been slain. Therefore, Sir Lancelot turns on King Arfur. King Arfur starts running and yelling, "Be gone!" I love hearing my two year old say "Be gone!"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Baby News

Besides having a grandparental visit for the past week or so, we also made it through a round of doctors' visits this week. The Baby now weighs 14 lbs 9 oz and is 24 inches long -- which puts her in the short and chubby category, as if that weren't obvious just by looking at her. She put up with her shots really well and didn't spend too much time berating me for the betrayal.

We met with a pediatric dermatologist yesterday. Like our pediatrician, he's pretty conservative and not hepped on getting out a scapel and carving on my child, nor is he planning on shooting lasers at her or giving her steroids. None of those hemangioma treatments appeal to me at this time, knowing that it is still growing and knowing that it will almost certainly go away eventually.

Once the hemangioma stops growing at about 12 months, he wants to see us back and he did tell us about one procedure that we might consider at that point, although we may well leave the thing alone. They put the baby to sleep, make a tiny incision in the hemangioma and use a laser or something inside of it to kill it off without harming the skin on top. It sounds like it might be a good thing, but then again I want to study up on it a lot more. The dermatologist also told us that The Baby's hemangioma is of a type and shape that usually -- eventually -- disappears with almost no trace -- but the wait until age five to seven is a lot to ask of a child -- not to mention me.

Right now though, we are waiting and watching and praying. We've got at least eight more months to think about where to go next.

pinkberet.jpg


Lessons Learned

When you have a dog of boundless energy and large stature, you cannot just leave him in the house when you hold a meeting. Some people are not dog people and you don't want them to be bothered by the big mutt that lives in your home. Our dog is usually banished to the backyard on these occasions, where he proceeds to jump and dance back and forth along the French doors trying to get back in so he can lick all the visitors to death.

Tired of muddy doors and of having to watch him bounce all through meetings, my husband decided to try a new strategy. He took everything that could be removed out of our bathroom and locked the dog in there with his food and water. Do not do this. Or if you must, clean the dog's feet really well. We returned to the bathroom after our guests had left, to find every inch of floor covered in mud, the shower covered in mud, the walls up 3 or 4 feet covered in mud and, of course, the back of the door covered in mud. It hadn't been raining that day, so I don't know how he happened to have that much mud on him. This bathroom has now replaced the powder room my son peed all over as the cleanest in the house.

Another thing I learned is that if one has fancy toilet locks on their toilets to keep the toddlers from playing in the toilet, and one knows that these locks seem to befuddle grown up people even though your five year can work it just fine, make sure you either disable the thing or write instructions for use on your toilet. When people have to go, they have to go now and they don't want to figure out how these things work. Anyway, it is time to get another one, because mine has now been permanently disabled for me.

I think I had some more learning this week, but I'll have to get back to it, because I already know that when The Girl is playing quietly, you 'd better not leave her alone.

I Didn't Teach Her That

Presumably one would learn a lot about being a mother from one's female parental unit. However, I'm not sure where The Girl is studying these days. This morning, I found her bent over The Baby, daubing a some spit up with a rag, saying, "Don't spit up again or I'll have to give you a spank." I've never said that. Bemoaned being doused, perhaps, but never meted out any punishment to the offenders. They are just too cute and smiley after they spit up and besides, I probably overstuffed them in the first place.

Later, in the tub she was celebrating the birthdays of all the bath toys. Singing Happy Birthday in her own special way and then handing them to me to be eaten, at which point she would throw them in "the garbage" (a certain quadrant of the bathtub). As you may have guessed, we usually don't serve our children for dinner on their birthdays, nor deposit them in the nearest trash receptacle, maybe only for really special occasions. (We are the Adams family, after all.)

It Never Fails

I volunteered last night to make the invitations for our church's teacher appreciation dinner. Since I don't ever teach anything, I won't be attending, but my friend who often hanles this kind of thing is swamped and I am perfectly capable of doing basic typing, layout, cutting and envelope stuffing. I came home and in a fit of efficiency did it all last night.

As I was doing all the work, it occured to me that at some point before these inivitations were due on Sunday, I was bound to get a call making some change that would require me to do it all over again. Sure enough, this morning I got the call. The invitations are all printed, cut out, stuffed in envelopes and now I need to empty the envelopes and do it all over again. I think I may wait another day just in case there are any more changes.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Parsing Words

My children are the offspring of a lawyer and a mother who argues about way too much stuff for her own good. Obviously they've learned a thing or two from us.

Recent encounters:

The Boy and The Girl are chasing each other around the house. The Boy begins doing something that makes The Girl upset. I'm working on something, so I say, "Boy!" in a firm voice. The Boy stops the harrassing behavior for a minute. He then begins again. "Boy!" I say in a slightly firmer tone. The Boy again stops making his sister scream and I go back to the things I'm working on. A few minutes later the behavior begins again. I call The Boy to my side and say, "Boy, I told you to stop." "No you didn't," he replies, "You never said the word stop."

Another morning, The Girl, The Boy, The Baby and I are snuggling in bed. This time of family bliss can not continue uninterrupted for long though before someone gets into someone else's space and the turf wars begin. The Girl begins trying to shove The Boy off the bed with her feet. "Girl, " I say, "Stop kicking your brother." "But, I not kicking. I'm pushing."

Indeed, I really believe they might argue the time of day, the color of the sky or anything else when they are feeling cantankerous, and you have to be careful what you say, because they are listening and parsing every word.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Don't Expect To See Much of Me

I say this, though I may be in and out my usual amount, but my dad is coming to visit for his Spring Break, and so I need to do a bit of cleaning and then of course actually spend some time with him.

To keep you entertained, I recommend you go see Terry and read his Ten Rules for Good Communication with Your Wife.

You can also tell Chris what the best place in the country to live is. She didn't say this was up for a vote, but you can still tell her.

Be sure to go admire sweet Josef.

Visit my friend Kate, the liberal, as she and her family adventure through New Zealand. Lucky girl. Except for having the learn to drive a stickshift on the wrong side of the road.

I think Melissa needs a few more cyberhugs and lots of tea. Mmm...tea. Allow me to sip mine while I write this.

How many ways could you hang light fixtures in a kitchen? Kristin has been painting and spiffying (yes, I'm sure that is a word) up her kitchen. Makes me want to paint ours -- almost. Lazy usually wins around here though.

Rachel's found an unsung artist. I know a lot of those.

TulipGirl has a new meme of places you've been.

Bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

I have got to get to Louisiana and Nevada eventually.

Okay, I can't sit around and browse any more blogs right now. I must clean one child's backside, feed another and then straighten the house.

I hope to come back for the Axis of Weevil, things that make you want to hurl, Thursday Three later on.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Intentional Communities

Should anyone be wondering what kinds of things they are missing out on by not sending their children to a hippie German school, here is an e-mail I received this morning through our school listserv:
Would anyone here be seriously interested in starting an intentional community? My husband and I have been looking around for some property to build a house (hopefully straw bale with at least partial solar power). The thought occurred to me that others might be interested in doing the same. I'm not thinking a commune with bunkhouses - more along the lines of a well-designed small neighborhood with some community property (play area, garden, maybe a community house).


My husband and I were heartened to know that there might still be some idea of private property within the community, but I don't think we're going to sign up.

Laundry

Things I have learned as a parent about laundry:

(1) Never let dirty clothes pile up or something (vomit, wet beds, mud pies, etc.) will occur to double whatever pile you already had sitting around waiting to be washed.

(2) Change your children's sheets as infrequently as possible. Sure you need to change them when they get nasty and stinky, but you might as well wait as long as you can, because immediately after you change their sheets they will spit up, vomit or pee all over the nice fresh clean sheets.

(3) Always have enough sheets, puddle pads, underwear and other necessities on hand so that when you do let the laundry pile up and the children do befoul every thing they touch, you have another set of whatever it was handy.

On Sunday, I got it into my head that after two -- or was it three -- weeks, The Boy's sheets really should be changed. So while I was putting away laundry, I stripped his bed and put on clean sheets and a clean blanket. Knowing what I know, I told my husband that the new sheets would not last, but I still felt like I had to change them. He wouldn't have himself. In college, he changed his sheets at the end of each semester. I also immediately threw the dirty sheets into the washer. Now my powers of prediction were a tad off. The Boy did not wet the bed that night. Nor did his sister climb into his bed and soil his sheets in the night. Nor did they encourage a wet muddy dog to jump on the bed. The clean sheets lasted all the way up until naptime yesterday. The Girl takes her naps in The Boy's bed. Don't ask, it's just easier that way. Yesterday afternoon, she woke up coughing. She coughed so hard that she threw up -- all over her brother's clean sheets. Just call me psychic.

Last night, I noticed the sheet on the bassinet had spit-up on it. I washed it. At bedtime, The Baby was put in. Within 15 seconds the clean sheet had spit-up on it. Clean sheets and children don't mix.

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