Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Love Lucy

Drinking lemonade at lunch with Mama and Daddy.

Our oldest girls spent the weekend with their grandmas so this mama could rest up and recover from her fall and potentially catch up on laundry. Good progress was made in both, but neither 100% completed. Sunday, we took advantage of finding ourselves with just one child and took Lucy out for an afternoon. It is so much fun to get those rare one-on-one moments with each kid.

We started the afternoon at a local burger place I was craving. Then a trip to the pet store where she got to walk rather than ride in a cart or sling. She was fascinated by all the doggies, running from us shouting "LOOK!" The kitten that looked like our cat in a cage held her attention, too. I think she just wanted to know why we hadn't thought of a cage for our cat. I wondered that, too. ;)

After that we headed to Babies R Us to look at strollers. I doubt we'll need a double stroller. She's walking more, and if we're all out together, we'll likely not even use a single since Kelton and I both love to babywear. But our full size stroller is a bit much for quick trips, especially since it's a more complicated fold involving removing a seat. I wanted to check our options for something lightweight, easy to push (a hard task when Kelton and I are 11" apart in height and he has long legs and I have short ones!), and that will take up less room in the cargo area of our van. We found one clearanced out for $80, and their trade-in event will get us an additional 25% off of that! They're holding it until Wednesday when I can get back out there with the carseat we have in the garage that expired 4 years ago to trade in. Lucy loved riding in it, which is great since she's only used a stroller maybe 5-10 times in her life and has generally hated it. In fact she got mad when we took her out of it!

It's easy with the whirlwind of life occurring around us to remember to slow down and savor each of the girls. Lucy is growing from a baby to a toddler, seemingly overnight. She's finally, at 17 months, fitting into 12 month clothes comfortably. The 3T tunic tops Reese is starting to outgrow make perfect dresses for her. She's still tiny, but getting bigger (she's like her mama, I was always the smallest in my class!).

Her vocabulary is booming. And her understanding even moreso. She fully understand commands like "take this to daddy" or "put that in the bookcase". She can name the animals by name (Guster= Guhduh, Strider= Ida, and Zeke= Eek or Ki-ee for kitty). She can point to her belly, and will "boop" your nose (poke it saying boop and laughing). She will also point out her booty, lol. If she's wet, she will bring us a prefold and lay down for a change. She says "what", "why", "yeah", "hi", and "look". She also says Anna-Lee (Ammm-Eeeee). She finally lets me read to her without throwing a fit two pages into a book, and has started bringing books to us to read to her. She shows a preference in what clothes she wears, and she is becoming a fan of shoes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to human!

This past week has been a blur. Friday night, the middle girl suddenly spiked a fever and was really lethargic. I was fine letting her rest until she also began saying her neck and head hurt. Meningitis is nothing to laugh at, so we took her in to be checked out. Turns out she had a simple viral throat infection. Let it run it's course, give her hot or cold foods to comfort her throat as needed, and give her plenty of chance to rest. Of course she woke up the next morning fine and acting like nothing had ever happened.

Later that same day, the toddler came down with same symptoms. At least we knew what was happening this time, so we focused on making her comfy and getting some snuggles where we could. We went to bed fully expecting our oldest to wind up sick by Sunday afternoon. When Sunday passed with no symptoms we counted our blessings and pat ourselves on the back for our good luck!

Enter Monday morning. Yep, the oldest had a fever. It seemed to break just a few hours later. No surprise, as she's probably got the strongest immune system of us all. We went to my chiropractor appointment and then planned to head straight home. That's when she got sick. In the hallway at the chiropractor. Thankfully he's a father himself, so it was taken in stride. We got her straight home and in bed. And cancelled her dental procedure for the next morning.

Turns out, she was fine by when her appointment would have started. But it was still a good thing we cancelled, because it was this Mama's turn! I spent Tuesday in bed unable to even lift my head off the pillow when I wanted to. No wonder I was getting so many snuggles! It was out of necessity! Wednesday I was still on the mend; not sick, but recovering and resting.

Thursday things were back to normal. A friend came over and tomatoes were boiled, peeled, chopped, mixed, and canned into 8 glorious pints of homemade salsa. Some neglected cleaning was done, real food was made for supper, story time before bed was resumed.

Friday morning I slipped in the bathroom and hurt my tailbone. It's likely a small fracture, but the more painful part was the inflammation to the soft tissues in my lower back, left hip/bottom, and my left shoulderblade area. I spent the day resting with an ice pack and taking the medicine my doctor recommended. I still wound up calling my husband home from work to take care of me, take the big girls to his mom, and help me with errands. My hero, that man. He not only did all of that, but he also took me out to eat at the place we met working almost exactly 11 years ago, AND stayed up late painting our big girls' bedroom and prepping to put down new flooring in there.

Thankfully this morning I'm still sore (especially the bone itself!) but with icy hot, ice, and just moving carefully, I'm okay. High pain tolerances are a good thing! I was so happy to be able to get laundry put away, make chili for supper, and just feel like a functioning person!

After such a week though, I am cautious to go into a new week without goals in place. This past week required lots of downtime, which can quickly become a habit, even when it isn't needed.

So, I'll post them here, as a way to make me feel a bit more accountable. My goals for the upcoming week:

-Can more produce, based on what's on sale and what we find at Farmer's Market on Thursday
-Get a homeschool schedule made, and turn in our late paperwork to the state (I was supposed to turn it in yesterday and was laid up too late to do so from falling- oops!).
-Organize the girls' room with the new flooring in.
-Buy paint for mine and the husband's bedroom.
-Take more pictures!
-Crochet. Diaper covers, camera strap cover, or handle covers for our cast iron. I don't care what; just something!
-Work with the girls on the mobile they're making for the baby.
-Keep up with daily tidying, laundry, and deep cleaning chores. This is always so much easier said than done!
-Reschedule the dental procedure for our oldest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer is slowly ending...

Late summer family reunion at the lake. Bonus 25 week belly picture!

which means the best time of the year is just around the corner! I've mentioned that summer is not our favorite time of the year here in our home. No, we are definitely autumn kind of people! Bring on falling leaves, pumpkins, apples, crisp air, earlier nights and later mornings. A dear friend and I have a description for our favorite kind of weather: hoodie and flip flop weather. When you can comfortably wear both, it's the time of year to be outside enjoying all nature has to offer! Of course, this friend and I have both been known to extend our hoodie and flip flop uniforms into late winter when the ground is heavy with snow, so use your own discretion with this. ;)

Late summer and the approach of autumn also mean it is back to school time! This has different meanings for us this year. We've considered ourselves homeschoolers for the past year or two, but have fallen more in the unschooling camp. We have focused on playing, reading to our girls, and encouraging our now six year old's natural interests. This year, however, she is of compulsory attendance age. So we have paperwork to file with our state. This includes a vaccine exemption form, and a form laying out our curriculum choices. We bought a first grade curriculum, and as all our paperwork needs to be filed by the 26th, I'm spending this weekend setting out lesson plans, and getting everything ready to submit. Organizing a school shelf in the bookcase, making a daily schedule for the girls and I so we know what to expect when, and making a meal plan so I'm not going crazy while adjusting to "doing school".

We still are focusing on making learning fun. Lately, there's been a huge interest in learning about history. Which her definition of history is "old things, like Elvis." Well, sort of, sweetie! We're reading through the Little House series with her sisters. Last week we read chapter one of Little House in the Big Woods and she painted pictures of the corn husk dolls we're going to make as soon as we dry the husks from our corn we're getting at Farmer's Market on Thursday. A couple hours east there is a living history farm that we plan to visit. I'd like to wait until it is not only cooler, but closer to Thanksgiving time, since there is an Ioway Indian village site, and I'd like to incorporate that into our learning about Native Americans.

She's been scared of storms this summer. So when our zoo (whose membership includes free IMAX movies) began showing the IMAX screening of Tornado Alley, we took her so she could learn about the storms. Now, instead of the girls being scared of storms, they tend to just ask about how bad they'll be getting, and are secure in their knowing that a storm turning into a tornado is unlikely. That's not saying they never get scared. The storm that had 70mph winds and knocked power out for 13 hours was scary to them because the lights were out at night. But they knew if it were to develop into a tornado they could simply go to the hall closet and how to stay safe.

Learning fun w/Clifford and Iowa Public TV at the Iowa State Fair!

The end of summer is also bringing an end to our first gardening efforts. They, unfortunately, haven't been very fruitful. I blame this mostly on my asthma keeping me indoors and not tending to the plants as much as I should have, as well as on our alternately too dry and too wet conditions. That's okay. This was a year to learn, not to produce. I did learn that next year we'll do raised beds, as I wasn't a fan of containers. Once our tomato plants are all done with for the season, the girls are going to paint the buckets in autumnal colors and designs, and we'll put some autumn flowers (mums I believe? I'm not a flower person!) in them to decorate the front of the house. The herbs that survived the heat (sage and rosemary) will be brought indoors, and we'll probably add some others to grow inside over the winter.

This week we will begin canning. Whatever we get from farmers market, from our little tomato plants, and produce sales will be preserved to use in winter months. Next month we'll be canning lots of apples. Apple butter, apple jelly, pie fillings, etc. We're kind of nuts about apples. We'll be experimenting with using the shed to store squashes and such over the winter, too.

Even more exciting than planning school schedules, field trips, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and Halloween is that the coming autumn brings the arrival of our new baby! Being the one giving up precious organ room and pelvic girdle comfort to house the baby's current uterine digs, I like to think this excites me the most. ;) This pregnancy has been simultaneously easy and incredibly difficult. When it's easy, it's very easy. But when the hyperemesis or symphysis pubis dysfunction decide to make it hard, it can be extremely hard! I am looking forward to labor, birthing, and mostly to having a new baby to snuggle and love on. Walking without waddling doesn't sound all that bad, either!

Yes, these "lazy hazy" days of summer are slowly dragging to an end. For many they passed by far too quickly. For us, they took their sweet time and are welcome to make an early exit! We are eagerly awaiting the hustle and bustle that autumn brings to our home. And to adding hoodies to our flip flop wardrobes!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Beating the heat means clothing is optional and Netflix isn't.

Okay, not really. But, I DO live in the midwest. And if you're not a weather junkie like I am, that means I'm smack in the middle of the longest heatwave in a long time. It's been over a month now with heat indexes regularly over 100. Today it got up to 115. And our windows are mostly facing West. So from 2pm until around 8pm when dusk shows up, we could set our thermostat to 45 degrees and the house still wouldn't dip below 79 degrees. Which means we keep the thermostat up and just suffer through. Some days I wind up leaving the house with the kids to beat the heat. But lately even the local malls and such can't keep their a/c cool enough either. The forecast is saying we'll get a break after tomorrow. I pray these weathermen know what they're talking about!

Over the past month, we've come up with some ways to deal with the heat. Lots of indoor options, since as I posted about earlier, my asthma is not taking the weather well. The heat I can do, the humidity I can't. Obviously, lots of water is ESSENTIAL. Frozen fruit and smoothies are great cooling treats, too. I make green smoothies because not only are they an easy way to get spinach in the kids in great quantity, but they are yummy and cooling. I notice that by adding the greens in, we don't get quite as noticeable of a sugar rush from the fruit. Cutting mint from our plants and putting it in our water. Ice packs, cold baths, and foil on the windows have all been used, too. Tomorrow when we have to do laundry, I am planning to let the kids wash blankets with their feet by stomping them with a little detergent (Rockin' Green, so safe!) in the tub to agitate them in the cool water. It'll free up the washer to wash other stuff, too!

With being inside comes MAJOR cabin fever, no matter the time of the year! We have plenty of art supplies in the house, but none of that helps with active kids who can see their bikes sitting outside unused, swings sitting unswung, and outdoor space just begging to be filling with running and joyful screams of children playing! So, bedtime has been pushed back a bit. We are none too hungry when it is so hot out, so dinner isn't until after 8pm anyway. Once twilight hits (and the heat index is only around 100 instead of 110!), the kids get sent outside to run. They run, pull each other and the toddler in the wagon up and down the sidewalk, put the puppy on a leash and run him ragged, and just...act like kids.

Trying out her big sister's trike in the sunset light.

The kids are, like their dad and I, much happier with an autumn day than a summer one. Tomorrow heat index is still around 110. But, I think once peak sun is over, I'm going to find our hose, hook it up, and see if they want to play. At least until the water starts boiling. ;)