My how time flies!

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let me see that!

My dad took this picture of B the other morning:

After the camera flashed, B walked toward him, reaching for the camera, and said, "Yemmie seedah!"
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sammy's aliens

We are on an alien-drawing kick this week.

I'm in semi-big trouble, and I need your prayers

Or ideas. Or both.

I might have mentioned before about pulling a muscle in my arm back on the crazy trip, and it not healing.

This was back in April or May. It is still not healing. And on top of that, I keep re-injuring it. My left arm. The one I would usually hold the baby with so I can do things with my dominant hand.

It has gotten bad. It hurts to move it, period. Some days, like today, it hurts even when it's still. My doctor and my LMT both told me, if I don't stop using it and let it heal (which they both estimated would take 8-12 weeks) that I will injure it permanently.

I have honestly *tried* to stop using it. But I can't. Sometimes just rolling over in my sleep pulls it again. The other night I lost my balance, fell, and had to catch myself with it.

I thought about putting it in a sling. I probably need to put it in a sling. But holding it (even with it resting) crooked hurts, while letting it hang there doesn't. Then I thought about putting a sock on my hand so I'd remember not to use it. But I can't stand having my fingers covered.

I just can't figure out how to function without using it at least a little bit. The laundry I figured out. But do you know how hard it is to put clothes from inside a top-loading washer on the right, into a front loading dryer on the left, with your right hand? Try it sometime. I can't wash dishes one-handed. Yet. This one I could probably figure out with practice. But... I can't change diapers one-handed. Have you ever tried to snap a cloth diaper on a still baby with one hand? I have tried, on several occasions, and I can't do it. Now how about a baby who's trying his mightiest to roll over and crawl away from you? I can't for the life of me figure out that one. I just don't think it can be done. What about a 20+ lb baby who can't get up and down stairs by himself. I have to pick him up and carry him with me any time I change floors.

The Beco has been helpful. If the baby needs held for more than a minute, into it (on my back) he goes. One night we went somewhere and I forgot it at home, so I put him in the ring sling. He was sitting on my left hip, and my arm wasn't involved in the sitting or holding him at all. But somehow that injured my arm worse, AND pulled my shoulder out of place, too.

AND, I'm using the other arm so much (95% of the time), that IT is starting to hurt, too...

I'm at a loss. I can't clone myself. My husband can't (or won't) pick up the slack around here of any of the things I can't do, except for carrying the baby the once or twice a week we might actually go somewhere together. Our closest family member lives 12 hours away. I have friends, but.... who I don't expect any of them could or would want to come spend all day with me to snap diapers or carry the baby behind me for the next 3 months.

I am fresh out of ideas. If you have any, please send them my way. Thanks!

On the homeschooling front...

I hardly ever post any more. Stupid Facebook! LOL!

It's not original, but it's probably new to all but 1 of you. These are excerpts from an email I wrote to a friend this morning. Just in case you care.

My big (big big big huge gigantic I totally suck at it) problem is the day-to-day and week-to-week consistency. And even worse than that is tracking/logging anything. We have not "done" school in a month, at least, although we do learn... just not with the boxes. Perhaps I should put a positive spin on it and say we are 100% unschoolers this last month or two!!! ;) But I will get there. I bought RightStart Math level B (used) for Sammy, plan to start that in Jan. I made him an addition chart 0-4s to fill in the other day and he thought it was the neatest thing he ever saw! He also loves the few math books and games we have. So I know we will be doing a good bit of Math when we get (re)started, just because he loves it so much. He hasn't touched his Hooked on Phonics in a month, but his reading has progressed, so I think when we get back to it he will breeze through a lot of it.
I've been putting a lot of thought the last few months into what programs to use. After much thinking, a little bit (not enough, I'm sure!) prayer, and some observation/analysis of my kids' learning styles, here is what I have come up with:
  • Writing: Handwriting Without Tears (currently doing. Both kids. Katie loves this!)
  • Music: MusikGarten classes once a week (been doing since Katie was a baby)
  • Social Studies/History/Geography: US map on wall, study 1-3 states per week. Supplement with state fact cards, and anything we care to look up online. When we're done with that, I have a world map. (currently doing)
  • Reading: Hooked on Phonics, followed by classic or Newberry award winners (currently doing)
  • Religion: learning basic prayers, reading Bible stories and stories about saints (currently doing)
  • Math: RightStart (starting in Jan '10)
  • Spelling: Sequential Spelling (starting in Aug '10?)
  • Science: Apologia (starting Astronomy in Aug '10? Or maybe Jan '11 if I am still as disorganized in Aug as I am now. LOL!)
  • Foreign Language: They want to learn Spanish. I need to look into the Muzzy program. When they get a little bigger I would love to pick up a Rosetta Stone Homeschool version for them. Also, we will inherit my goddaughter's Latin program, for when they are a little older.
  • Art: I suck in this department. Right now this is just free play with playdoh, paints, crayons, etc. Do you have any suggestions for something more directed?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This IS the Droid I'm looking for, Obi-Wan!

I have been a smartphone user for almost 5 years now. I got my first one, a Kyocera 7135, when I was a new mom fresh off of maternity leave. I completely forgot about a very important morning meeting with a client, two days after forgetting about our weekly staff meeting (can we say MAJOR mommy-brain!?!?), and my boss pretty much insisted that I get a PDA. I have always been a bit of an obsessive technophile, and found the thought of carrying around two devices (cell phone and PDA) reprehensible. So I got a smartphone. They were fairly uncommon back then. But from the beginning I was hooked. I think it was even more useful for organizing my personal life/home responsibilities than it was for work. (And it was very useful for work!)

Not even year later, when my device started acting squirrely, my TEC insurance replaced it with a Palm Treo 650. Apparently the 7135 was not compatible with the new 911 rules and was no longer being supported. It was a decent phone, and had much better multimedia capabilities. I was very happy. A year and a half ago, my cell phone carrier was offering the Palm Treo 755 for $99. I also had a new-every-two credit of $100 on my account, so I was able to upgrade phones for free. The 755p was old technology by the time I got it, and what I really (really, REALLY) wanted was the new Palm Treo Pro, but it was $200 and required an additional data plan of $50/month. Since I was now a stay-at-home-mom, I pretty much had to go with the free one. Yes, it was old technology, but not as old as the one I had been using. It was a little faster, a little more responsive, and I was still mostly happy.

But I knew what I was missing. I wanted a phone with GPS. I wanted a phone with a bigger screen. As big as the whole device. I wanted a phone with a fast web browser. A FULL web browser. (Yes, even though I never used it. I still *wanted* it!) I wanted a phone with voice recognition. I wanted a phone that was pretty much a mini-computer. I also wanted it to be a Palm, since I've been a happy customer of theirs for so long, but it seemed that Verizon was no longer carrying any of their products.

A few months ago I was thinking about switching to Sprint, to save a little money on my monthly bill, and if I did, I was going to get the newest Palm phone, the Palm Pre. Luckily, I had the good sense to ask my FaceBook friends who were Sprint users what they thought. About 80% of the replies I got were people who detested Sprint and got away from them (or plan to) as soon as they could. I also found out that a friend who lives in a more populated area of Louisiana than my parents, has very spotty service with Sprint. That was pretty much a deal-killer. Too bad, too. We would have saved over $50/month, even adding data plans. I guess you get what you pay for...

Just for kicks, I also went to the AT&T store and looked at the much-lauded iPhone. I probably would have been impressed with it if I had not been using a PDA phone for years. I liked the multimedia capabilities. But overall, it just didn't impress me. I think the thing that bugged me the most about it was that it didn't have a memory card slot. Also, I really didn't want to switch to AT&T after all the grief they gave my father-in-law about wanting to charge him hundreds of dollars for breaking his contract when he wanted to cancel my MIL's phone after she died.

Over the past year I'd browsed through Verizon's "smartphone" offerings - BlackBerries, more BlackBerries, HTCs... They were all decent enough phones. But nothing had everything I wanted in it. Nothing jumped out at me and said "I'm the phone to have!!!"

Until now.

The "Droid." A full-phone screen. A phone with Google's Android operating system. A phone with voice-commanded GPS. A phone that multi-tasks. A phone with a 5mp camera with a flash and image stabilization. Aside from not being a Palm product (and since Palm is apparently a dying company, I'm not sure that even matters any more) it is exactly the smartphone I've been looking for. And then some.

Too bad I'm not eligible for an upgrade discount until March.

The other night I went in to the Verizon store to see it. I thought surely it couldn't be as fast and as awesome as all the hype. I thought, if I looked at it, the schoolgirl crush I had on it would be broken, and I'd realize I could wait until March (or later) for the price to come down, and to be eligible for my discount. It was a good idea right? Only, the phone really was that fast. And really was that cool. And I still can't stop thinking about it.

So if you weren't quite sure what to get me for Christmas... well, now you know. ;)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

9 months old

Dear Benny,

You turned 9 months old today. You are quite an ambitious little guy for someone so young! You have been crawling for about a month, and can get around as fast as any of us can walk. You love it when someone holds your hands, because then you can walk and run instead of crawl. You are getting pretty good at pulling up on anything that will hold still, and at balancing yourself, so it won't be long before you are walking and running without Mama's help.

Yesterday you taught yourself how to slide down off the couch onto the floor. This morning you climbed up the two steps to Mama and Daddy's bedroom with no trouble at all, even though it was your first time attempting it.

You have two teeth on the bottom, one just poking through the top, and two more close behind it. You refuse to eat baby food or anything off a spoon. If you can't pick it up with your hands and feed it to yourself, you don't want it. You usually eat Cheerios, but lately seem to really like Rudi's raisin bread.

You weigh about twenty pounds. You say "Mama," "Dada," "Katie," "bubba," "bye-bye," "bah," (ball) and "nint" (basement - your favorite place to be) on a regular basis. Your eyes are still an amazing shade of blue, and I am hoping they won't change like your brother's and sister's did about this age. You no longer have much interest in your baby toys - now you want whatever toys Sammy and Katie are playing with, especially Little People and trains/tracks. You are starting to notice their videos on the TV and will watch them with some interest, especially if you can do it from Mom's lap.

You are quite an amazing little guy, trying very hard to be big instead of little. We love you, B!

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Pajamas!

Katie took this last one. She has been fascinated with taking pictures lately. I don't know WHERE she gets that from! LOL! She did really well considering how heavy my camera is!
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Amazing Benny

Benny has mostly suspended his public speaking endeavours during the past week or two in favor of gaining some new physical feats. Today he clapped his hands for the first time, and crawled. (Well, "crawled" is a relative term in this house. Perhaps I should call it forward mobility instead...) For those of you who have seen my house, he made it from in front of the half-bath door, to the bottom of the stairs in the dining room. It took him 15 minutes - mostly because every 4 inches he had to stop and clap at himself - but he did it all on his own!

He also has the annoying habit of arching his back while he's sitting on your lap, so that he falls feet first onto the floor, and then turning his head up to look at you as if to say "We goin' strollin'!!!" I was NOT ready to be walking a baby around the house yet. Why is he in such a hurry?!?! ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A great day!

We had our first day of co-op this morning. Now we are swinging and telling knock-knock jokes. Even li'l Benny tries to say "Who's there?" with us. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009


We are at the World Arena watching Rachel compete in the USAFA National Showcase. Katie is just as fascinated with the zam as she is with all the skaters! Her big brother is ready to go home, though!

He said "Bep!"

Benny is 2 days shy of 7 months old.

He is a little communicative genius. (Katie was, too. I used to call her "Communi-Katie".)

This morning he woke up alone (unusual) and started belting out "uh-uh-uh-uh-uh" ("up-up...") This was his first word, just like his big brother before him, and he has been using it for at least 2 months now.

He's been saying "Mamamama" for at least a month. He got "Dadadadada" about 3-4 weeks ago. This week they're shortened to the more familiar "Mama" and "Dada"

He says "Nay-nay" when he wants to nurse. He's had that one at least 3 weeks. If he's really desperate, or can't seem to get my attention, it's a pathetic-sounding "Naaaaay-naaaay, Maaamaaa!" (That's 2 words together!!!!!!)

On Monday he said "Bye-bye Dada" to his Daddy as we were waving goodbye to him at the door as he left for work. (Another 2 words together!!!!!) He did it again today!

He says "Tay-ee" and "Nama" when he sees his sister or brother. Or sometimes even if he *wants* to see them. (I.e. "Take me to where the bigs are, Mama!!!")

When he hears his brother and sister talking, he emulates, with matched intonation, whatever vowel sounds were in the words they said. 4+ and 5+ syllables.

This morning he knocked a toy wayyyyy out of his reach. He looked at me, intently, to make sure I was paying attention to him, and said, very matter-of-factly "Bep." I asked him, "You need Mama to help?" and his face lit up and he wiggled all over. (His usual response when you understand something he's trying to get across.)

If this is normal, don't tell me. I like thinking my baby's a genius. :)

p.s. Big thanks to my speech pathologist Roomie who clued me in with the first kid that the more you talk to your babies, the faster they learn language. I have proven her right 3 times now! (Like any kids of mine had a chance of anything but me talking their ears off, right?!? But I do do it more, and more purposefully, because of what she said!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ice Kate

We had fun skating with Rachel & Felix today! Sammy gave up early on, but we had to coax Katie off the ice to go eat lunch!

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Alexander has nothing on my day!

  • 4 a.m. I wake up to find my pants soaking wet. I wonder, worriedly, if I have reached the stage of complete bladder failure. Then I realize my 3yo is sleeping with her head at the foot of my bed, and my bladder is still full. I am annoyed, but simultaneously relieved it wasn't me. Change clothes, empty bladder, strip daughter, roll wet sheets to pile in the middle of bed, put dry towel over wet spot, move self & kids to the other bed in the room.
  • 6 a.m. Fussy baby wakes up wanting to nurse. I am, reluctantly, up for the day
  • 7 a.m. Morning-person 4yo wakes up and is *very* upset that I want him to finish his "Good Morning Checklist" (get dressed, eat breakfast, etc.) before he starts his schoolwork. Pitches fit. Baby pitches fit too, just because. Throw clothes on, indending to shower/change later (when I have more time. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)
  • 9 a.m. 3yo wakes up her usual sour mood. Pitches mild fit. Baby pitches fit, too, because he's tired but refusing to nap. Put baby in Beco carrier on my back, get the dishwasher half loaded, and feel like I might actually accomplish something today.
  • 10 a.m. get halfway through school and realize the 3yo has had no breakfast, and I have only had 1 slice of goat's milk cheese quesadilla.
  • 10:20 a.m. I realize what a horribly foul mood I'm in today, and try to curtail it. I am not successful, and my efforts just irritate me further.
  • 10:30 a.m. 12:30 Zoo date calls and says they're finished with their errands early, can we go early. I say sure.
  • 10:32 Realize that last night I took the car seats apart to wash the too-oft peed on covers (thinking now we have bladder control and they'll stay clean. Right???) Frantically call friend back to explain and hope she'll reschedule. She says get there when I can. Think I probably wouldn't be so stressed about this if she wasn't waiting for me to show up with her free entrance tickets.
  • 10:33 assemble car seats, install them, try to install baybay's "big boy" (convertible) car seat that he's probably needed for 1-2m now. Realize it's threaded all wrong, have to take it apart and rethread, too. Still have to get baby dressed. I have been sweating like a pig for at least an hour. I know I'm dehydrated, unshowered, unshaven +in shorts. Know I should put pants on but am too darn hot to do it. Start to feel weak and dizzy, and wonder if I've eaten anything today. Realize wet sheets are still rolled up on the bed. Too bad about all of it - running too late to do anything but cry about it, because it's now
  • 11:55 Fill kids' rice milk cups, fix myself a big go-mug of water, take a frozen water bottle for the ride home, say a quick prayer of thanks that my friend suggested eating there because if I'd had to pack a lunch, we'd be leaving another hour later
  • 12:00 drive out the driveway. On the way to the zoo, we discuss giving Mommy plenty of lead time about needing to potty, so we have time to find/walk to a potty
  • 12:45 arrive at the zoo. When I open 4yo's door, he asks if I have any extra clothes for him. So much for the clean car seat cover. P.S., I don't. Luckily, friend loaned us some. 4yo learns the phrase "going commando."
  • 12:50 3yo says she needs to go potty. We go to the bathroom. She takes one look at the toilet and refuses. Get 4yo changed and make him carry his own nasty wet clothes out to the stroller.
  • 1:30 We finally make it to the food area. As I'm standing in line, I seriously wonder if I'm going to pass out before we get the food. Spend a small fortune on food.
  • 1:50 sit down to eat, get hamburger halfway from the table to my mouth, and 3yo announces she needs to go potty. I lose it, speak rather unkindly to her, take a big gulp of burger, grab a handful of fries, and find the potty with her. She takes one step in the bathroom and refuses to go. I half yell that she *is* going because I am not having another kid have a potty accident at the zoo. The other 10 people in the 20 sq. ft. 3-stall 95 degree bathroom must think I'm the meanest lady in the world. 3yo screams, kicks, and tries to fight the whole time I pull down her panties and hold her on the toilet. Also refuses to wash her hands, so I have to pick her up and force her to do it. Did I mention that this whole time I have the baby in the Beco ON THE FRONT??? So I have to reach around him to do all of this?
  • 2:00 I ***finally*** get to sit down and eat. 3yo is pitching a medium fit, demanding that I sit on her side of the table and feed her. 5 bites later, still shaky and mildly dizzy, the 4yo has to go potty. And will the 3yo, who was so scared of the bathroom, stay with the friends? No. She has to come, too. So we traipse back into the 105 degree bathroom. At least there is no arguing this time.
  • 2:30 Everyone is finally fed, in a better mood. Enjoy the rest of the zoo experience, although it is hard pushing 70 lbs of preschoolers in the heavy double stroller while carrying 18 lbs of infant on chest. Luckily friend+friend's daughter take turns with me. Still apparently manage to re-injure my left upper-arm muscles which have not healed in the last 2-3m.
  • 4:00 leave the zoo and drive home, hoping everyone will fall asleep on the way and mom will get a break. Only the baby obliged.
  • 4:45 arrive home to a cleaner house. Thank God for the housekeeper. Play in back yard for 20 minutes until the rains come. Set kids up with playdough so I can cook supper. My feet & legs hurt so bad, I only find the rocker, not the kitchen.
  • 5:30 scream at kids who have shredded the playdough into little bits all over the previously housekeeper-clean floor. Threaten to send them to bed for the night with no supper. Remember to throw wet sheets in the washer.
  • 6:00 Finally got kids to put away play-doh, get table cleaned off, serve chips and salsa for supper because my legs hurt too much to do anything else. Fix myself a salad, but by the time I actually get to eat it, the croutons are soggy and nasty.
  • 6:30 Hubby comes in living room to thank me for stopping yelling at the kids, but has to stop mid-sentence to yell at the 3yo who is rolling the Little People SUV over her baby brother's head. (gently, but still...) Can't bring himself to finish the sentence after that. I feel guilty getting mad at him for yelling at the 3yo since I did it a lot more, and a lot louder, than he did.
  • 7:00 3yo tells me what a great mommy I am. I thank her for telling me that, adding "because I feel like a really BAD mommy today." And apologized for getting so mad and yelling about the play-doh. She said, "No, mom. I happy about the play-doh. You hewp me cwean up." Can I feel ANY worse today??? Dry sheets and wash diapers. Bathe & PJ big kids. Nurse baby, who seems more interested in trying out his new tooth on mom. Read a bunch of Dr. Seuss. Everyone totally forgets about bedtime prayers/Bible, which is weird. Usually at least one, if not 2-3 of us remember.
  • 9:30 last 2 kids finally fall asleep. I am ready to crash but hubby wants to watch a movie. Can't pass up this opportunity, as at this time of day he is usually too glued to his computer to notice any of the rest of us.
  • 10:15 Find hubby on his computer and ask him if he was waiting for me to do something before starting movie. He gets off his computer and starts movie. Put diapers in dryer and wash uniforms. Watch Pan's Labyrinth. Weird movie. Not sure what I was supposed to take away from it (other than the thought, "Neat visuals!").
  • 12:00 movie over. Need to dry diapers longer before drying uniforms.
  • All this time, since arriving home, my left upper arm has been hurting, worse and worse. Hem-haw about whether I need to go to the ER, but after hours of debate, massage that helped quite a bit, drinking lots, and a nearly-skin-burning bath that makes it feel SOOOOMUCHBETTER, I decide it's just the unhealing muscle(s) complaining about a really stressful day.
  • 1:30 a.m. Finally get hubby's uniform for tomorrow in the dryer. Should go to sleep but feel the need to write. Vent. Something.
  • 2:30 a.m as I'm writing this blog entry, I hear the 4yo talking (probably in his sleep) upstairs. I check on him to make sure he's OK, and he and his freshly clean sheets are soaking wet. Despite him going potty right before bedtime. I set him up a blanket on the floor (where he usually sleeps anyway!) and pull the wet sheets off his bed.
  • 3:11 here I am still typing. Why am I not sleeping again?

And yet, at the end of the day, as grumpy, cranky, yelly, end-of-my-rope as I was, I feel extremely thankful. We're healthy. I have babies. I have a housekeeper. I have a hubby who is an excellent provider.

I really can't even remember what I was so cranky about.

Good night!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Found some pictures I love!

These poor things, and 1082 of their siblings, have been held hostage in my camera for something like 2 months now. I finally got them downloaded and organized into their proper folders tonight.

Here are some that I couldn't help but share:

Every once in a leap year blue moon, I take the perfect picture. One that no matter what digital enhancements I try to do to it, I just plain like the original better. This photo of Katie at a friend's birthday party is one of them.

One day in June I was crazy enough to think I could handle 3 children alone at the zoo. We had a really fun time. Here is Sammy eating his apple on a rock he climbed on all by himself. It's not a perfect photo, with the other zoogoers in the background, but it is a perfect reminder of an awesome day!

I don't even remember taking this one, but, oh! It takes my breath away AND melts my heart.

Babywearing at it's finest! Frazzled mom with fussy baby, desperate to get something done, attaches him to her back, and Voila! Super-happy baby and a getting things done mom!
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I need help with composting

I am tired of putting perfectly useable fertilizer down the garbage disposal. But I am not exactly sure where to start. Our neighborhood nazis have strict rules against offensive smells emanating from peoples' properties, so I need something that is pretty well enclosed to hold our compost. I'd like something that doesn't require us to go out and turn the compost over with a shovel every couple of days. And also something that makes it fairly easy to get the "finished" compost out without digging through all the muck at the top. And something that reasonably inexpensive. Does such a thing exist?

Also, I need a good list of what can/cannot go into our compost. I know meats are not supposed to go in. I know soft fruit peelings can. What about tough things like avacado or banana peelings? I know the coffee grounds can, but what about the filters? Are newspapers OK or not OK? (not that we subscribe to the paper, but these things are good to know...) What about things that have gone bad (like the moldy strawberries that are in my fridge right now)? Or flowers that once decorated our table but are now wilty and sad. Grass clippings from the mowed lawn? Leaves from pruned trees and bushes?

What kind of composting are you doing, and what advice can you give me?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Colorado Renaissance Festival

After almost 7 years of living here, and we FINALLY made it. What a gorgeous day! 70 degrees and sunshine, with beautiful sights, smells, and sounds around every corner!
(Click the collage to see the Picasa Web Album.)
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

He'd better have a good memory!

I'm sitting here on my computer and hear Sam on the floor behind me saying, "Let's play the memory game." I turned around to say OK and this is what I found...


My little "food magnet", who can't eat anything without getting food all over both of his hands and at least 1" around his whole mouth, just produced a finger painting only dirtying 3 fingertips. Index, middle, and pinky!

His sister, on the other hand, had no problem getting dirty!

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