Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're still alive!

Barely. :p What a crazy week this has been so far! Time flies when you're having fun. :p Monday, we all left to drive up to Williams, AZ. We spent the night at the Grand Canyon Railway hotel, and then rode the train up to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. That was... Crazy! And exhausting. And fun. The train ride is a little over 2 hours, and by the end Elly had about had it. She was done. She let everyone else know, too. Once we got off the train, Bryan needed to go potty. Grandpa was nice enough to take him. He made it all the way to the bathroom, but not quite on the toilet. So, there we were, at the Grand Canyon, and Bryan peed his pants. Poor kid. Grandma and Grandpa got on their way to find a store somewhere to get some new pants for Bryan, while we took the kids to catch a glimpse of the Canyon, and then play in the snow. There was lots of snow, but fortunately it was warm enough that day that Bryan didn't seem too bothered by his wet pants. We somehow managed to play for a couple of hours, and eventually Grandma and Grandpa found us again, and Bryan got some dry pants. At this point, kids were starting to get tired and grumpy, but we still had some time to kill. So what do we do when the going gets tough? Well, the tough get ice cream, of course! No kidding! We found a nice sunny spot to sit down, and the kids all enjoyed an ice cream cone. The time eventually came for us to get back on the train, and the ride back to the hotel was just as exciting as the ride up. I will spare you details of on-board entertainment. Let's just say cowboys are not my thing, and the passenger something-or-other assistant really needs to chill out... She literally kicked Dave off the train at the end, instead of realizing that maybe he could have used some help. Since, you know, he had an array of bags, one kid without shoes that had to be carried, another kid having a melt-down because she couldn't be carried... Not nice. Overall, a really fun day, but quite exhausting. The hotel was awesome, with some great food and an indoor pool. How much better can life get? :o) Well, we're all back at our other hotel now, and will be for a couple more days. More fun to follow! That's all for now, gotta go, baby needs some nursies. TTYL, my blogging friends. And my one-and-only blog fan, Emily, who was excited to meet me today. It was fun talking to you! :o)

Friday, December 26, 2008

The fun begins!

After an awesome Christmas morning at home, we hit the road (and skies) yesterday afternoon. We made it to Phoenix and our hotel fairly late, but everyone was nice enough to sleep in this morning. Seeing as we're cool like that, we got right down to business and had my awesome friend Chalice come to our hotel room to take pictures of the kids. We were going to do them outside, but as luck would have it, it was rather cold and windy. So Chalice brought all of her equipment to our room and set up shop there. The kids actually cooperated really well, which was amazing. It's not always easy when there's four to go around... Even Elly hammed it up for the camera! You can see some of the pictures on her blog, Photography by Chalice Leaman. Our's are the "w kids", in case you haven't seen enough here. ;o) Go check them out, they're really cute! :o)

Now off for some family fun time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you to those of you who donated to baby Kaiya's funeral fund. Through all of the generous donations, her parents were able to pay for her funeral costs, just in time for Christmas. :o)

Merry Christmas!



Today, we are:
  • dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Somehow that feels wrong...
  • tracking Santa.
  • doing lots of laundry.
  • doing lots of packing.
  • hoping that Dave won't be at work for too much longer.
  • playing games.
  • getting the house ready for visitors, who will be here to greet us when we get back from AZ!
  • looking forward to Santa coming, and unwrapping presents Christmas Morning.
  • having turkey for dinner (leftovers from Thanksgiving).
  • going out to see Christmas lights after it gets dark.
  • spending time together as a family.
  • looking forward to seeing family and going on the Polar Express in AZ.
  • enjoying our new home, all decorated for the Season.
Most importantly, we are remembering our Savior and celebrating His birth. Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh man...

...I have a headache. Today was kind of a rough day. Don't know why, really, but I've been in a horrible mood lately. Maybe it's "family reunion anxiety" setting in. Believe it or not, I'm not too fond of spending a lot of time with a lot of people. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dave's family. It's just that there are so many of them. And I get total overload. I'm from a rather small family (one brother, two cousins, that's it), so getting together with the in-laws is so stressful for me. I'm afraid it always brings out the worst in me. I'm really not a people person (seriously!). I love to spend time with friends and family, but not with tons of friends and tons of family. As in, it's hard for me when there are 40some people to keep up with, all at the same time. More than half of which are 15 years and under. Oy. I'd much rather just spend time with, say, one family at a time. Of course, given the size of Dave's family, and the location of everyone, that's not possible. Hence the need for the family reunion. And I'm sure it'll be fun, Dave's parents have put a lot of time and effort into coming up with a schedule and fun things to do. And I'm hoping there'll be enough wiggle room for us to be able to still get Elly's naps in (well, at least one good one each day). So, I'll just try and focus on how excited I am to see everyone, and try my hardest to be pleasant to be around and have a good time. Wish me luck! (And I love you all, Dave's family who reads my blog! :D)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just in time!

I'm 9 months old today. Look what an awesome skill I perfected this morning!



Yay for me! I've also been working hard on my pincer grasp. Mom really needs to make sure she's keeping the floors clean now, or I may come to her rescue and do the vacuuming!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I love this picture!

So I was thinking today, about how Elly is just about 9 months old. She's been out longer than she was in! Somehow, that's always a big milestone to me. Like, wow, my baby is growing up. I was feeling a bit nostalgic, and looked through all of the pictures from her birth. I came across this one, and I just love all the details in it. Like, she's getting her newborn exam. On my kitchen table. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of that table now! It's bad enough I couldn't bring along the living room she was born in. :p Seriously, though, I love how she's on the kitchen table, getting checked over by my midwife. Notice the juice pitcher, yes, I love Pampered Chef! Notice also the empty rubbermaid container that usually has freshly ground flour in it. Why was that on the table? I have no idea. Then there's Elly's little foot. Notice her long toes? I think she got those from her dad. Notice her head, nice and round. I guess that's what happens when you just float around forever and then decide to make a mad dash for the exit. Not much time for molding! Notice also how clean she is. I don't think we gave her a bath until her umbilical cord fell off. Not even a sponge bath. We did keep her diaper area clean, of course. But I just didn't feel the need to scrub her down. I think what I like most about the picture is her finger. Notice how she's got her pinky in her mouth? She still likes to chew on her fingers like that! She almost always has one in her mouth, though not so much the pinky anymore. She's moved past that, and now prefers the index finger. She doesn't suck on them, but actually chews around. I suppose that'll work until she gets teeth. Well, without further ado, here's the picture I'm talking about. No, it's not one of those spectacular shots that come along every so often, but there's lots to love about it. :o)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Houston, we have a cruiser!

No, not a yacht or a motorcycle. A human cruiser! Miss Elly is now quite confident walking along the couch by herself. My baby is growing up!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I re-decorated yesterday. I got to go shopping at Target without kids, and found lots of fun things to waste wisely spend money on. I had actually bought the garland with the lights for outside, but wasn't brave enough to climb up the ladder to put it up myself (I was going to put it around the arch entryway). After it sitting around the house for a while, I realized my husband was just too busy to help me put it up there, so I decided to put it elsewhere. I actually had two 25 ft. garlands, so I put one along the railing going up the stairs, and the other one around the fireplace. When I went shopping yesterday, I found a screen to put in front of the fireplace. We don't technically need one, since ours is just gas, but I thought it would look nice. See, told you I got to waste wisely spend some money. :p

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kale Soup recipe

Here it is, ladies. Do my kids eat it, you wonder? Well, Tyler does. Bryan doesn't, but then he doesn't eat anything green, so that's not too surprising. Kaylee won't eat it from her own bowl, but will eat off her dad's plate. Go figure. :p Be warned that the recipe is one of those "throw stuff together" kind of things. There are no real precise measurements, and I think it tastes a bit different each time I make it, haha! I make this in a crock pot, cooked on high for 6 hours. You could probably cook it on the stove top, but make sure you give it enough time, otherwise it may be bitter (but don't over-cook, or it'll get a sour taste). As for amounts of stuff, it really depends on how much soup you want. If you use the max given here, you'll fill up a 6 qt. crock pot, and will have enough for, oh, I don't know, depends how well people like it, I guess. ;o)

Take the stems off of one to two bunches of kale. Cut the leaves in pieces (kind of like you may cut lettuce for a salad so it'll fit on your mouth without you making a huge mess, know what I'm talking about?). Peel and dice 4-6 medium boiling potatoes into bite size pieces (reds, yukon golds, something like that). Cut half a pound to one pound of beef into small pieces. This is optional, you can leave it out if you want to cook vegetarian. Also, if you can get your hands on grass fed beef, it'll taste tons better! Put everything in crock pot, and put in just enough water to cover everything. If you choose to go with the max amount given here, you may not be able to put enough water to completely cover the kale, as it has a tendency to float. That's okay. I usually kind of push everything down with my hands, and as long as there's enough water to cover everything while a little "compacted", it should be good. Put in a some bouillon cubes. I use two, Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon with Herbs, I've liked that the best out of all the bouillons I've tried. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours, then check progress, stir soup around. About an hour before the soup is done cooking, I usually thicken it. I take a non-stick pan, melt some butter in it (1/4 - 1/2 cup), then mix flour into the melted butter. Enough to make a thick paste. Then I use a ladle to get liquid from the soup to thin the flour mixture enough so I can pour it back into the soup. The flour mixture will be pretty lumpy at first, and you have to add quite a bit of liquid, a little at a time. So, add a little liquid, stir, add some more liquid, stir, etc. Once you have a smooth liquidy sauce, pour it back into the soup, stir, cover, and finish cooking. Once the soup is done, add salt and pepper to taste (note you may not need to add extra salt, depending on what kind of bouillon you use). That's it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Well, it's still going strong! I thought I'd quickly run out and take some more pictures, since there are no guarantees it'll still be here by morning. :p





Welcome to Texas!

To start out, we will serve you a couple of tropical storms. The main course will be a category 3 hurricane. It's so strong, it will blow you away! Dessert will be a slushie, and a complementary snow cone. We hope you enjoy your stay!



Seriously, how crazy is this place? It was 77 degrees yesterday, the high today was 36. It was snowing when I drove Tyler to cub scouts. No worries, though, it's going to be back in the 70's by the weekend. :p

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm tired

Today seriously wore me out. No wonder I never want to go to the store, it's too hard with kids in tow. Well, at least when one of the kids is a baby. And when the store is Super Target, and huge. And you have to get a million things, so it takes two hours. But hey, we now have some Christmas lights outside, Tyler has jeans that fit and a pair of basketball shoes he needed, Elly has some cozy fleece sleepers, and Kaylee has some rain boots. Okay, so all but Kaylee's boots were needed, but I can't seem to be able to take her to the store without getting her something. Make that another reason I don't often go shopping. :p She's a trooper, though, so she deserves it. Right?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Flower box

As you all know, I'm having a fun time with my garden. My flower box is something else I'm excited about. I've never had too much luck with flower boxes, but the one I have now is actually quite nice.



The pansies came up from seeds.


We brought this one from Utah. It was a present for Mother's Day.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fireplace

Okay, so I admit I've made fun of the fact that 99.9% of houses here have a fireplace. I mean, come on, it's Texas. Well, today I repent. I'm sorry I ever made fun of the local obsession with fireplaces. I'm sorry I suspected a ploy by the realtors to drive up home prices. Because you know what, having a fireplace is awesome! We turned ours on for the first time today. The whole family gathered in the living room, and by the light of the Christmas decorations and the fireplace, we sat and had a wonderful time together, celebrating Advent, and the Christmas season. I love this time of year, and I love that I now have a fireplace. Sure, it may limit the possibilites for living room decorating and arranging of furniture, but it sure is nice and cozy when it's a frosty 50 degrees outside. :p

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Nikolaus

Since we're German and all (well, one of us, and 4 that are half), we get to celebrate Nikolaus today! It's a fun little tradition leading into Christmas. Saint Nicholas comes during the night from the 5th to the 6th of December, and puts little treats and presents in the kids' shoes (which they set out the night of the 5th, before they go to bed). He's not to be confused with Santa Claus, who's a completely different person! Often, we lead into it on the 5th by having a cozy afternoon spent as a family, baking cookies, reading stories, etc. Due to Dave having a huge project due at work soon, we kinda had to skip over that part this year. Maybe we'll bake some cookies today!









Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Yum!

I went out for my first Fall harvest today. The kale looked ready, so I decided to pick a few leaves and make some kale soup. I love kale soup! The best thing about it, besides the good taste, is that I can make it in the crock pot. Put it in sometime in the morning, and then not have to worry about cooking when it comes closer to dinner time. Love it!



I realize it may not look the most appetizing, but trust me, it's yummy. Karatemommy can attest to that. Right??? :p

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I WON, I WON, I WON!!!

I won one of the prizes for blogging daily during NaBloPoMo. How cool is that? A set of handmade lace ornaments. Awesome! :D

Monday, December 01, 2008

If you have a dog...

...please don't let him/her run around outside without supervision. That's especially true if you have two dogs. And if they're fairly big. I don't care how nice or tame they are, and how they would never bite anyone. Because they will freak me out. Especially when I'm out walking with my 3 year old and my baby in the double stroller. Yes, it will scare me when they come right up to me to sniff, and then run around me and the stroller a few times as I keep walking. Yes, it will cause visions of news headlines about mauled children to pop up in my head. No, it's not the way I want to end my morning walk.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo - wrapping it up

Wow, I can't believe a whole month has already gone by! Writing a post per day was a lot easier to do this year than it was last year. Maybe I'm just getting better at rambling. Or maybe my life is just busier. Whatever the case may be, I had fun this year! I don't know that I'll keep posting daily, but I love how committing to writing every day for a month has gotten me in the habit of being more consistent. So don't worry, things shouldn't slow down too much around here. :o)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sea World!













We had a blast. :o) Though by the end of the day, I was a bit tired of listening to Christmas music. :p I had forgotten to pack the second seat for my double stroller (you have to take it off in order to fold the stroller), and was a bit upset about that. Turns out I wouldn't have really used it, anyway, as Elly didn't want to be in the stroller. She only likes to be in it when we're moving, and we stopped a lot, so she kept getting antsy. I ended up having her in the sling most of the time. She was a trooper, considering we missed all of her naps and stuff (she slept a bit while in the sling, but not nearly as much as she usually sleeps during the day). I was also pleasantly surprised to find the International Breastfeeding Symbol on Sea World's map, marking spots where you could go breastfeed in peace and quiet.



I checked out one of the rooms, and it was quite bare with just one wooden rocking chair in it. I decided to go nurse Elly outside on one of the benches, I get a bit claustrophobic like that. :p But it's a nice start in making public places more breastfeeding friendly, and I suppose someone who needs/wants more privacy at least has a place to go sit down. I'm sure it's especially nice for the hot summer months, where sitting in an air conditioned room would be preferable to sitting outside, even if the room is small. :o) The older kids all had a great time at the park. We loved the shows, and they even got to go on a few rides. Tyler was tall enough for one of the big roller coasters, and he braved it. Dave said he looked pretty freaked out when they got to the top, but he managed to keep it together. There was also a Dolphin Cove, where the dolphins came right up to the side of the pool and the kids could pet them. That was pretty awesome. Then there was the 4D theater, where we watched the Polar Express with 4D glasses on. It was about 15 minutes taken out of the movie, and was pretty cool. The day went by all to quickly, and some wonderful memories were made. :o)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Usborne Books Thanksgiving Sale!!!

Have you been thinking about getting some of these fabulous books for Christmas gifts, but can't quite decide what to get? Or don't want to spend as much money? Well, here's your chance to get a good deal! Starting today through Monday evening, Usborne Books is having a big Thanksgiving Sale! Shop early for the best selection! And remember, by buying some books you are also contributing to a great cause, as the Hurricane Ike Book Drive is still going on. Ready, set, shop! You know you want to. :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who said there wouldn't be turkey?

We made it to San Antonio around 5 p.m. (yeah, so we left a little later than originally planned...). When we walked into the hotel, I remembered that they also serve dinner on Mondays-Thursdays. Since today is Thanksgiving, they had... You guessed it... Turkey! It wasn't the best Thanksgiving meal ever, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't too bad, either. It was buffet style, so there was salad, stuffing, turkey, potatoes, yams, bread, jello salad (that's right, jello salad!), and various kinds of drinks. Oh, and cookies. Ooooh, cookies! They were delicious. Oatmeal chocolate chip, fresh out of the oven! Yep, I love this place. Seriously. $100 a night, for a 1 bedroom suite (which sleeps our entire family, quite comfortably, did I mention that already?), includes a hot buffet style dinner, and hot buffet style breakfast. Not too shabby, huh? I like it. :o)

No cooking for Turkey Day

We're leaving for San Antonio today! In just a couple of hours, hopefully. Still gotta pack... We're going out today and are going to spend the night at a hotel that has become one of our favorite chains since moving this summer (Homewood Suites by Hilton, if you must know, they have one bedroom suites so all of us can stay in one place, instead of having to pay for two rooms, as is necessary now with the number of kids we have. They also have the bestest ever breakfast included. Scrambled eggs, bacon, the works. Yum.) We should get there sometime in the afternoon, and are planning on going out for dinner. Probably a buffet type place, I'm hoping we'll find a Gloden Corral. Loved going there when we still lived in Logan, but there isn't one close to us down here. Yeah, I'm a gourmet like that. :p Now, you may wonder why we're going to San Antonio today. To go to Sea World tomorrow, of course! We figured if we left today, we wouldn't have to get up super early tomorrow morning. It's going to be a long day as it is, and we're planning on driving back home tomorrow evening after dinner, so it'll be a late night. We're all very excited to go. Dave's adviser from MIT (and later USU) is down here with his family this week, and after working with him for 6 years, we've become pretty good friends with his family. We really wanted to meet up with them while they were in Houston, but things just got too busy. They had planned a trip to Sea World for Friday, so we decided to join them. Should be fun! :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Garden late November

Thought I'd put up some more pictures. I know you've all been anxiously waiting. ;o) The garden is doing really well (once I got rid of the cutworms). The tomatoes aren't red yet, but I'm hopeful it'll be any day now. The two snap pea plants I had to re-plant are growing well, too. The zucchini seems to be growing kind of slow. I think I planted it too late, should have probably put it in back in September. I'll leave it in, but I don't have high expectations for it. Everything else is great! I put in a few more rows of spinach, and another row of kale seeds. That way we'll hopefully have an extended harvest. :o)

white kale, purple kale, spinach, and green onions


carrots and tomato plant; snap peas, parsley and chives in the background


zucchini


lettuce and sugar snap peas

What we've been up to...

Life has been so busy, I haven't really had time to sit down and write a good post. Last week, Dave's uncle John and his girlfriend Ann were in town. They are full time RV'ers, and graced us with a visit on their way through town. They actually spent a few days here, so we got to have them over for dinner and visit a few times. On Saturday, everyone (but me and Elly) went to the Space Center for the day. They had lots of fun, as the kids always do when they go. We should get a membership... :p John and Ann left for San Antonio on Monday, and we've been quite busy this week. Today, I took Kaylee for her 3 year well-check. Hey, only 8 months late. :p She's doing well, of course, and was really brave for her 2 shots. While there, Elly got a shot, too. She only cried for a couple of seconds, whew. Again, can I say how much I love our new family doctor? She's so super nice! I mean, she even managed to talk to Kaylee without getting the evil look from her. That's rare, seriously. Maybe next time she'll even get her to talk! The doctor's visit was exhausting for me. I had to take all 4 kids, since there's no school this week. They got us into a room pretty quick, but then we were stuck there forever (like, over an hour). First the nurse did her checks (weight, height, blood pressure), then we waited for the doctor. After we were done with her, we had to wait again, for the nurse to come with the immunizations. That took forever! I think we waited for almost half an hour after the doctor left. What took so long??? Beats me. But let me tell you, 3 talking children and one tired baby in a small room make for, well, lots of headache. I finally had a bright moment and got the kids (well, the boys) to play "let's see who can sit on their chair without saying a word the longest". They went for it! Kaylee still kept on blabbering away, and of course Elly was cranky, but at least the noise from the boys was eliminated. Whew. Bryan won, and I let him have ice cream when we got home. Kaylee got an extra serving of ice cream, as well, for being so brave. Glad that's over with! (and aren't you glad you weren't there with me...)

Kids visiting John and Ann's RV

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby carrier giveaway!

I love slings and baby carriers. I discovered babywearing when Bryan was a baby, and besides being good for both mom and baby, it's also been really convenient to have a sling while traveling, going shopping, or when we're otherwise out and about. One carrier I've always wanted but never was quite willing to spend the money for is the Ergo Baby Carrier. Go look at it, isn't it nice? Well, right now there's a contest going on, and you could win one! Go enter! :o)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Germany needs more Santas

This was on the front page of yahoo news. Really, front page news? Germany needs more Santas? There aren't more important things to write about? haha And fwiw, the whole Santa being pulled in a sleigh by reindeer is all news to me. Growing up, that was not a tradition for us. Maybe it's a West German thing. In fact, the only Santa I ever saw was my uncle dressed up as one, coming on Christmas Eve to deliver the presents. Gotta love commercialization...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Countdown to Christmas!

Today, I joined the ranks of people who decorate before Thanksgiving. *gasp* I had actually set a goal this year to wait until after Thanksgiving, but today the bug bit me. Dave was out all afternoon for meetings and visits and whatnot, and I was dreading trying to keep the kids entertained by myself. When Dave left, I had the great idea to get out the Christmas stuff. The kids were so excited! They were great helpers. We put up decorations, and the tree. They even decorated the tree all by themselves (after I put the lights on). It looks pretty nice. Well, not as nice as some people's, since we don't do color themes or anything. Our tree is pretty random, actually. It's pretty small, less than 5'. We put it on one of the end tables, in anticipation of Elly beginning to crawl soon. That worked out really well, as it makes our tiny tree look bigger than it actually is (especially since we have high ceilings in our living room). I was excited to have the space to finally put up most of my decorations. We even got out our big nativity, that we hadn't been able to put up for a few years because we just never had anywhere to put it. Love this time of year! :o)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

That was fast!

Literally, hehe. I ran half of my route today! That's 3/4 of a mile. I did a total of three jogging intervals. I almost didn't go this morning, but now I'm glad I went. I'm trying to figure out what my next goal should be. I need to map it out. Probably one mile total, in two intervals. I'm considering lengthening my daily route to 2 miles, too. Need to map that one out, as well. I guess that's the nice thing about the subdivision we live in, the layout really lends itself to putting together good walking/jogging routes. I played around with it a bit this morning, and I can get a 3 mile trail mapped out once I get further along in my 5K prep. It looks awfully long on the map, haha. Babysteps, right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little lies

A different kind of poll for Random Poll Friday today. This one requires you to actually comment. Pretty please! So, we've been having issues lately with Tyler telling lies. They're mostly small things, like him saying he brushed his teeth when he hadn't. And then telling me he dried the toothbrush off with the towel when I asked him why it was still dry (when it should have been wet). This has been happening a lot lately, with all kinds of things. We've talked to him about honesty, and the importance of telling the truth. He's been learning about it at scouts. In fact, we talked about honesty earlier in the week, to fulfill one of the requirements for his bobcat badge (which he got on Wednesday). This behavior is really puzzling to me. Tyler has always been a really good child, eager to please, and very conscious of the choices he makes. I'm not sure exactly what to do about him telling lies. We've gone through phases before, but never like this. What do you do when you catch your child telling lies? Do you think it's just another phase? I don't want to make a huge deal about it, at the same time, he needs to understand why it's important for him to be honest. Ideas?

Let the scrapbooking begin!

I finally managed to unpack my scrapbooking stuff. The movers had just thrown everything into a box (well, a couple of boxes), and it always seemed like such a daunting task. This morning, I decided to tackle it. Lucky for me, my friend Karin called me shortly after I started, so we chatted along as I unpacked my boxes. It made the time go much faster, and I think it kept me from getting overwhelmed and just stopping. You see, I get overwhelmed easily. If I look at something and think it's going to take me a long time to do, I just sit there and stare, unable to move a finger. Then I move on to something else, because I just don't think I can handle whatever it is. So, having a friend to talk to while organizing was tremendously helpful. Thanks for calling me today, Karin! :o)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

As you all know, birth is something I feel quite passionate about. A healthy birth is the end result of a healthy pregnancy. All too often, though, even a healthy pregnancy can end too soon, resulting in a premature baby. The March of Dimes is doing great work in the area of prematurity research and prevention, and I've been donating to them for a long time. Now, I'm not expecting you to do the same, but something you can do is sign the Prematurity Awareness Petition. Each year, the March of Dimes grades all states, comparing their rate of premature birth to the nation's objective of 7.6% or less. This year, the nation overall got a D. Of all the states, the majority received Ds or Fs. Only one state received a B. Obviously, there is much to be done to reduce the rate of premature births. Go look at the website, and take time to read what the petition is all about. Then sign it. :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy 8 month birthday, baby girl!

Me oh my, time goes by too quickly these days... My little Elly is 8 months old today. She's getting so big! She loves to stand up, and is even trying to figure out how to walk holding on to my fingers. She's also starting to try and pull herself up whenever she's sitting close to something that lends itself to being pulled up on. No teeth yet, though there's been a noticeable increase in drool and chewing. :p I just love Elly's personality, too. She's a really happy baby, loves to explore, and gets really excited when her siblings play with her. Sweet little girl. :o)

It's a giveaway!

My bloggy friend Kelley is stocking up her etsy store. To get the word out, she's having a giveaway! These two very cute bows could be yours!



All you have to do is visit her blog and join the giveaway contest. :o) Seriously, go check it out. She not only has a great bow making talent, she also makes really pretty jewelry (for you moms with boys, who have no use for pretty bows :p).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jogging progress report

Remember this post about 4 weeks ago? Well, I thought I'd give a little update on how my exercise routine is coming along. I've been really good about going for my morning walks. I've even started adding Saturday mornings for jogging practice. As you may recall, my friend's dog is too old for jogging, so whenever I go with her (which is most days), I just walk. The days she doesn't come (Thursdays and Saturdays), I add some jogging intervals to my walk. I'm amazed at how quickly I'm progressing! If you look back at my initial post, there is a jogging trail that's about a quarter of a mile long, and the first time I attempted jogging it, I got about a third of the way through. My initial goal was to run the entire trail. I did it last week! Today, I went jogging again, since my friend couldn't come this morning. Not only did I do the whole trail, I kept on going! After mapping it out, I figured that I ran almost a third of a mile. Adding my other two jogging intervals, my total jogging time adds up to almost two thirds of a mile. That's almost half of my route! Yay for me! So, my next goal is to jog half of my route, which is about 3/4 of a mile. Now, I realize that this may not sound like much to those of you out there who are runners, and do a 3 mile run just for fun. :p But hey, it's a start! I'm even playing around with the idea of signing up for a 5K fun run type of thing. Anyone in the area know where I can find out about upcoming runs? Say, in the springtime, before it starts getting too hot outside? I don't think I'll want to do a serious race, but a fun run type thing would be, well, fun. :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

RIP, little cutworm caterpillar

This morning, after my morning walk, I went out to check my garden. The spinach and kale are growing really nicely, as are the carrots. The tomatoes are plentiful, but all still green. The lettuce is growing in three nice rows. And my pea plants, they are growing, too! And there it was. Covered in pesticide dust. The little cutworm caterpillar. Paralized, apparently. It was still squirming, fairly close to one of the pea plants. Sorry buddy, you're not going to turn into a moth. You see, if you had decided to feast on something like, say, the weeds, you would be alive and kicking. Unfortunately, you decided to pick my pea plants. If you had munched on a leaf or two, I would have showed mercy. But no, you had to go and cut my plants down. Unfortunately, that meant you had to die. Sorry. RIP, and in your next life, maybe you can come back as a bee, or a ladybug, or an earthworm. You know, something useful.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not much to say

Other than, why am I not taking a nap right now??? :p I suppose I could also tell those of you who are just dying to know that the stuff I dumped around my pea plants yesterday worked. No more victims of the evil cutworm in my garden. While I'm all for organic gardening, I'm not completely above using a pesticide every once in a while. After all, if my plants are all dead, there's not going to be any produce... No worries, the stuff I used is very safe, and shouldn't have any effect on the end product. Since, you know, there aren't even flowers on the plants yet. :o) I did find some cool ideas on contraptions to make to put around seedlings so the cutworms don't get to them in the first place (physical barriers). I will have to try that in the future. For now, I'm just excited I saved the remaining plants. The gardening fun continues!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kaiya's Funeral Fund

Since Kaiya's passing, Angela and her family are now faced with all the bills that come along with hospital stays, surgery, and of course funeral costs. I put a button on my sidebar that will take you to the blog of one of Angela's friends. There you can make a donation to Kaiya's funeral fund. You can also grab the code for a button to put on your own blog. Pass it on. :o)

What happened to Saturday???

I feel like I'm in some kind of time warp, haha! My day in a nutshell...
  • get up and make everyone breakfast
  • start a load of laundry
  • go jogging
  • hang up the laundry and start another load
  • put Elly down for a nap
  • take a shower
  • put Elly down for a nap (yes, again, like 15 minutes after the first time, because some loud kid woke her up...)
  • eat breakfast
  • hang up the second load of laundry
  • do some gardening
  • start diaper laundry
  • blow-dry hair
  • go grocery shopping with the whole family
  • start dough for rolls
  • take down the two loads of dry clothes, hang up diapers
  • put towels in the washer
  • put Elly down for a nap
  • get rolls ready for second rise
  • hang up towels
  • start 5th load of laundry
  • sweep and mop kitchen
  • peel potatoes and get soup going
  • take towels and cloth diapers off the line, put in dryer to finish
  • bake rolls
  • finish potato soup
  • put last load of laundry in dryer
  • make peach cobbler
  • enjoy dinner with the family and our new friend and her kids
  • enjoy peach cobbler
  • do dishes
  • figure out that it wasn't the wind that got the zucchini plant, it was a cutworm - which also got two of the new pea plants
  • go out and put dust on pea plants to hopefully finish off the cutworm
  • help kids with bath
  • sit down to blog
  • oh, and at some point, I also managed to clean the shower
Now all I have left to do is put Elly in bed (Dave's got the kids), and then give Dave a haircut. Whew. Good thing I went jogging this morning, it gave me that little bit of extra energy needed for the busy day. And that was just MY day! Dave did his fair share, too. Whew. Didn't I just write about Saturdays? Crazy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a...

Playlist! Yes, it's true. I've joined the ranks of people with a playlist on their blog. Yay for me, boohoo for you. ;o) Karin, the very first song, Wonder by Natalie Merchant, is dedicated to your beautiful daughter. :o)

Formula feeding

Random Poll Friday! Last week, I was curious about motivation to breastfeed. This week, I want to know your reasons for formula feeding. Go vote, and if you feel so inclined, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about our experience! :o)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweet Baby Kaiya

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted about my friend's baby girl who was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome. She had surgery shortly after she was born, and was recovering nicely. Sadly, she passed away last night. She had come off of most of her supports, and was doing so well yesterday. Her mom, my friend Angela, was able to hold her a lot throughout the day. I'm sure they're in shock right now, and I can't even begin to imagine the pain they must be feeling. Life is so fragile. Please, keep their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's babywearing week!

I love slings. I think they're the best thing ever, and every mom should have one. Babywearing has lots of benefits. I love it for the convenience and bonding. Here are some pictures of me wearing Kaylee when she was younger. I should get some of Elly, too!

the ring sling, which I love for little babies
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the mei tai, which is awesome for older babies and toddlers
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There is hope!

Brisk Walk Can Curb Chocolate Cravings

I crave chocolate approximately, well, all day long. Usually, the only thing that keeps me from eating it is not having any in the house. Maybe I should start going for a walk each time the craving becomes overwhelming. Wow, I might be walking, well, all day long. But hey, it may kick my weight loss into gear! I think I've been trying to lose the same 3 pounds for about 4 months now... Not to mention the 15 or so pounds I want to lose on top of that. :p

Wah!!!!

We had some strong winds last night, and apparently they managed to blow hard enough to break the leaves off my zucchini plant! All three precious leaves, gone. I wonder if that's the end of it? Fortunately, the plant Kaylee thought was a weed took root again and is growing nicely. Strangely, it didn't sustain any wind damage. Who knew it would be so difficult to try and grow zucchini??? On a positive note, my lettuce is coming up! Still waiting to get my kohlrabi seeds...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love it!

  • Rooibos tea - best tea I ever tasted! My new friend (neighbor) is from South Africa, and she introduced me to this. I'm hooked!
  • The rain stopped this morning just in time for my morning walk. Yay for exercise!
  • There were puddles for the girls to play in. Great fun!
  • Speaking of exercise, my new stroller. Did I already mention I love it?
  • The way the boys snuggle up together so Tyler can read stories to Bryan before they go to sleep at night. So cute.
  • Kaylee when she entertains Elly. And the way Elly loves it when Kaylee plays with her.




Monday, November 10, 2008

My friend, the firefighter

This has got to be the funniest thing I've read in a long time. What's even more hilarious is that she's going to do it! Now, let me tell you, Saskia and I have been friends for some 24 years. That's right. We grew up together. And over the years, we've managed to stay in touch. She's one awesome friend. And I should say I'm proud of her for taking on this challenge. You're my hero, Saskia! I still think it's hilarious. You should know the girl. She's 5'7", and weighs maybe 125 pounds - 9 months pregnant! Non-pregnant, I think it's a good day for her when she makes it to 110. I'm thinking her uniform is going to weigh more than she does! Haha. Good luck with your new calling, my friend. Can't wait to read the stories!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hurricane Ike Book Drive!

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, and I'm finally figuring out the details. You see, every year, I set up an Usborne eShow for myself. Whenever I send people book gifts (love to do this for baby gifts), I buy them through this eShow. Once Christmas rolls around, I turn in my show and get some free and discounted books as gifts for the kids. After hurricane Ike, people started asking for donations for everything from clothes to furniture to kitchen items - you name it, somebody needed it. Which is good. And I started thinking that many schools and teachers in the area probably lost a considerable amount of books to flooding. So this idea started forming in my head to donate my free books to a school. Just didn't know how to go about doing that. Well, I finally got in touch with someone who will help me do this! I'm excited! So here's the thing. Right now, my show is at $156, which will get me $20 in free books. It's a great start, but I'd love to be able to give more. So, I need YOUR help! If you're still looking for Christmas gifts for your kids, friends, or family, please consider getting some books! They really are awesome, and great quality. And you'll help me raise money to give some of these wonderful books to one of the schools that lost so much during the hurricane! If you'd like, please put a link to this post on the sidebar of your blog to help spread the word. Thank you!

Click Here to Start Shopping

The book drive will go through the end of December. Commission earned will be used to help me cover the cost for some discounted books, as well as taxes, shipping, and handling costs.

UPDATE: We have a school! It's actually outside of our own district, but it needs help badly. It got completely destroyed, and they're in the process of re-building. Obviously, the teachers all lost their classroom libraries. Books will be donated to these teachers, as classroom libraries take a long time (and lots of money) to build up. Thanks again for your help! Oh, and if you live close by and have books you don't need anymore (and that are still in good shape and appropriate for an elementary school), please get in touch with me!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Garden in early November

Wow, I've been a gardening fool lately! It's beginning to pay off, though. Things are starting to grow nicely! Well, except for one of my zucchini plants, which Kaylee mistook for a weed and pulled out. I put it back in the ground, but it's not looking too hot... Good thing I put in two zucchini plants! :p My purple and white kale transplants are doing great. Both the normal carrots and the purple carrots are growing, and I need to thin them out. The two rows of spinach are already coming up, and I put in a third row today. Green onions are growing, and the chives and parsley are finally coming up, as well. The five sugar snap peas are getting taller, and are beginning to hold on to the trellis. The tomato tree (we call it that cause that's what it looks like) has lots of tomatoes, and is still putting out lots of flowers. I also put in the lettuce seeds today. Now the only thing I'm waiting for is my kohlrabi seeds, they were on backorder. Go figure. I hope they'll come sometime this week, so it doesn't get too late in the season to plant them. They're fast growing kohlrabi, so we should be fine. They've got their spot ready waiting for them! :o)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Breastfeeding - what motivates you?

Random Poll Friday! Seeing as I've been nursing babies for pretty much all of the last 5.5 years, it's obviously on my mind a lot. When I had Tyler almost 8.5 years ago, breastfeeding was something I just did without thinking about it too much. I saw my sister-in-law nursing her babies, and it was just the natural thing to do. By the time Tyler was 6 months old, I switched to formula, since I was going back to school full time and didn't know much about pumping and such. By the time Bryan came along, I had read more about breastfeeding, and I knew I wanted to nurse him until he was a year old. He ended up self-weaning at 20 months. Kaylee came along just 4 months later, and she nursed until she was 30 months old (I know I know, not all of you think that's a good thing, I think it's great :p). Elly was born 6 months after Kaylee weaned, and we're still going strong. My motivation to breastfeed my babies, over the years, has gone from something that just came naturally to being something that I'm very committed to. Learning about the health benefits for babies is part of it, as well as learning how beneficial it is to mom's health. So, if you breastfeed/breastfed your babies, what is/was your motivation? You can choose multiple answers. Feel free to comment if you like!

Fun times!

My blog friend Sabrina came to visit me today. We had a great time! Amazingly, my chocolate cake didn't kill her. :p And her little boy Zane survived my currently not-so-childproof house. Which is going to need some serious childproofing soon, as it probably won't be much longer before Elly becomes mobile and figures out that we have some awesome stairs to climb on. Thanks for taking the time to come visit, Sabrina. It was fun to get to know you in person! :o)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Kaylee girl

Oh, she's so stubborn and strong willed, some days I really don't like her. Of course, I love her to death, but you know... Well, I'm sure those of you with strong willed children know what I'm talking about. :p But she's sure a cute little girl, and she's really good and well behaved (for other people). Today, I let her go to a gymnastics class, to see how she'd like it. She loves watching the boys go, and at home she always likes to practice with them when they practice handstands and headstands and whatnot. So I decided to let her give it a try. She totally loved it! It was just her and two other little girls in the class, and she did so good! As in, her behavior was good. She listened to her teachers, followed directions, and was just plain adorable to watch. Compared to the other two girls, who were cute, but were not so great at listening and following directions. Both of them kept running off, and their moms had to keep taking them back to the class. I was proud of my little girl for being obedient. Hey, I can deal with her being a booger if I know at least she's good for other people. :o)

Most delicious!

So I was craving chocolate today. And cake. And I had an overripe banana sitting on my counter. And I had an idea. The idea turned into the most deliciously moist, and extra chocolatey, chocolate banana cake. It's, well, delicious! Worthy for a recipe post. :o) I used a recipe from my favorite baking book and adjusted some ingredients, and added the banana. Here goes.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
9 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp. oil (used this to substitute 3 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate, which I didn't have)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
one very ripe mashed banana

Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix in really well. Add mashed banana, mix really well. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat really well. Add vanilla and mix. Add cocoa powder and oil, mix. Then slowly add flower and water, alternating a little at a time. Mix until everything is well blended. Pour into greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees (I baked at 300, using the convection option on my oven). Check after about 30 minutes, with toothpick. I think mine ended up needing more like 35-40 minutes, but check after 30. Let cool, and enjoy! I think cream cheese frosting would make it divine. Unfortunately, I didn't have cream cheese on hand, but I'll definitely try it next time. The cake has some serious chocolate flavor, with just the slightest hint of banana, and is super moist. Mmmmm.....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Organic lawn care

So, I'm very much committed to keeping my garden as organic as I possibly can. So far, that hasn't been too difficult. Things are growing quite nicely in my compost enriched soil, with just a bit of organic fertilizer. No major problems with pests so far, either (knock on wood). When it comes to lawn care, however, I have absolutely no experience. And our lawn has lots of problems with weeds, fungus, and whatever. Seeing as I have absolutely no clue, I've relied on the standby solutions my neighbor friend has offered. In the long run, though, I have a goal to get the lawn green without chemicals. I spent the day today reading up on eco friendly lawn care online, and I'm going to have quite the job getting all of our grass good and healthy. I started out getting environmentally friendly fertilizer, instead of the chemical winterizer. We'll see how well it works. The way the grass looks right now, there's not much damage to be done, really. I'm also going to need to get compost to spread on the grass (a thin layer), to get good microbes back into the soil - which will actually help break down the chemicals that have built up, and should also help aerate the clay soil. I hope that if I manage to get the soil healthy, it'll take care of the fungus that's ravaging the grass right now. I also learned that over-watering is a major problem, and most people water their lawn way too often. Who knew? Hey, at least we grass-cycle (we don't bag grass clippings), so we're headed in the right direction. :o)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

We have a new nephew!

Born at 3:50 p.m. PT (only about an hour and a half after I posted). Beautiful natural labor, she had everyone amazed that she didn't have any pain meds. Nice sized baby, too, at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 20". Both mom and baby are doing well. Congratulations, Keith and Nicci! :o)

Exciting day today

Whew, I feel so accomplished. I went out and bought a bunch of pansies today, and beautified our front yard. I put a bunch of humus and topsoil around the tree (200 pounds, if you must know), planted the two aloe plants my neighbor friend gave me, and then planted 24 pansies. It looks really nice. I also got two little kale plants (a blue kale and a white kale) and planted those in my garden bed. Yum! I actually got my spinach seeds in the mail today, too, so I'm going to go out and put those in the garden in a little bit. I'm also proud to report that three of the five sugar snap peas I put in are growing nicely. I put in two more seeds where the other ones didn't come up. My two zucchini plants are peaking out, as well, as are the carrots. Woohoo! I'm going to have to take a picture, maybe tomorrow. :o)

To make the day even more exciting, a new nephew is on his way out to meet the world as I type! After being a few days past her due date, my sister-in-law went in this morning to have a foley catheter placed in her cervix. She went home, and started contracting before too long. The catheter eventually fell out, and the contractions kept on coming. Last I heard, she had just checked into the hospital and was 5 cm/80% effaced. Shouldn't be too much longer! :o)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Baby Kaiya

My friend Angela (we took a few classes together at ASU) just had her third baby. Baby Kaiya was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. I think Angela and her husband are just beginning to realize the severity of Kaiya's situation, and they could really use some prayers right now. So, if you pray and feel so inclined, please think of them and little Kaiya at this time. Thanks. :o)

Halloween pics

The kids had a fun time trick or treating on Friday. They were so excited, they could hardly wait to go. Dave told them they had to wait until it started getting dark, which was just plain torture. When they were finally ready, Elly was about done sitting in the stroller, so I ended up staying home with her to hand out candy to anyone coming by our house. We only had four groups of kids come by, maybe 12 kids total. That was a bit disappointing, but what can you do? Between the leftovers in our bowl and the kids' treasures, we ended up with tons of candy. I'm going to have to sort through it and just throw stuff out, otherwise the kids are going to be on a sugar high for the next month or so... :p



Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturdays

Are Saturdays crazy for anyone else? It seems to be the day to get caught up on everything that didn't get done throughout the week around here. Like, wash the car, shop, clean the house... Saturdays are never just fun. We never seem to be able to go out and do cool things, like other people do. Maybe it's because we reserve Sundays for doing nothing but church related things. I don't know. Either way, today was a typical Saturday, with lots to do. I did laundry, Dave cleaned the car, went to home depot, we went to the garden center to pick up some fertilizer for the lawn, went out for dinner (fast food, see, we don't even have time for a restaurant...), and then went grocery shopping. Okay, so the grocery shopping part is somewhat my fault, since I didn't do it earlier in the week like I hoped to. But still... To top it off, Kaylee got her fingers smashed in the car door. Fortunately, they didn't break. They don't even look too beat up. Regardless, she cried for a while, I'm sure it hurt pretty bad. Well, I know it hurt pretty bad, because I just got my pinky smashed in the car a couple or weeks ago... Anyway, our day in a nutshell. Maybe we're still just getting used to being homeowners, and to always having something going on. Fun times!

Friday, October 31, 2008

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity

Found this on Rixa's blog. So very cool! Just one of the many things that formula will never be able to replicate, no matter how "close to breastmilk" it claims to be.

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity to Babies

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2008)
— A BYU-Harvard-Stanford research team has identified a molecule that is key to mothers’ ability to pass along immunity to intestinal infections to their babies through breast milk.

The study highlights an amazing change that takes place in a mother’s body when she begins producing breast milk. For years before her pregnancy, cells that produce antibodies against intestinal infections travel around her circulatory system as if it were a highway and regularly take an “off-ramp” to her intestine. There they stand ready to defend against infections such as cholera or rotavirus. But once she begins lactating, some of these same antibody-producing cells suddenly begin taking a different “off-ramp,” so to speak, that leads to the mammary glands. That way, when her baby nurses, the antibodies go straight to his intestine and offer protection while he builds up his own immunity...

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo 2008

November is National Blog Posting Month! Write one entry a day for every day in November. I participated last year, and it really helped me get in the habit of posting more regularly. I've decided to do it again this year. Join me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Usborne Books

Just wanted to put it out there that I do still have my website for Usborne Books. Christmas is coming soon, and if you're still looking for a little something for your kid/s, these books make wonderful gifts. Stop by for a visit! If you want to earn some free books, I can also set up an e-show for you. All you have to do is send out emails to your friends and family and invite them to do some online shopping for some awesome books. Easy, no? If you're in the Houston area and want to actually host a show to earn free books, let me know! I don't do this full time by any means, nor am I planning to, but a show every once in a while is great fun. :o)

End of shameless self-promotion. :p

New life!

The sugar snap peas are starting to sprout. I'm so excited! I think the chives are ready to pop out, too, I think I spotted a lonely sprout. Though it may just be grass, I didn't go close enough to make sure. :p

Monday, October 27, 2008

The last few days in pictures

The last watermelon. Unfortunately, it still wasn't all the way ripe. I'm thinking they just came up too late in the season. We've had unusually cool weather during the last couple of weeks, as well, which maybe hindered the ripening process. I've decided to leave watermelon growing to the pros from here on out. It was a fun experiment, but between the plants taking over the whole garden bed (and part of the lawn), and the guessing game of when they're ripe, it's just easier to buy them at the store. Seedless, nonetheless... :p


At the church trunk or treat. Three of the four costumes were recycled from last year. And the fourth was something like 75% off the original price. We're cheap like that. Or maybe the mom just isn't all that much into Halloween...


I have a thing for matching clothes. Sorry girls!


Tyler is a cub scout! And so the fun begins, haha.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a week!

Well, let's just say I'm ready for another trip to Germany, haha! We had a crazy busy week, but then that's quickly becoming the norm around here. I can't keep up anymore. I think it was a couple of days ago that I started feeling like the baby fog was beginning to lift, but it's not. I still don't seem to be able to think straight most days, and I often think I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off... It doesn't help that Dave is gone a lot, too. Saturdays are supposed to be our catch-up-with-housework days, and we like to spend time as a family, too. Well, yesterday Dave spent the day driving around a u-haul truck, picking up furniture at people's houses that they donated for families down in Galveston. He got most places, and then drove down to Galveston to drop the stuff off. He had one other guy to help him, and it took them all day. Actually, until 4 p.m., when they had to drop off the u-haul truck. I thought I'd at least get the evening, but one of the people who wanted to donate somehow didn't make it on the list, so Dave ended up going over there to help the guy load up his donations on his trailer, which he then drove to our house, where they unloaded the things into our garage. That's right, now we have stuff sitting in our garage. And I have a very strong feeling there's going to be another run with the u-haul truck in our near future, since there were a couple of other houses they didn't get to yesterday. Fun times.

I did manage to get some stuff done around the house, and even got some gardening in yesterday. The kids helped me put in seeds for parsely, chives, and carrots. I should be getting some seeds for some other things in the mail this week, and then we'll pull out the watermelon plants and get more stuff planted. Yay!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Random Poll Friday - Flu shots

Okay, so it's Saturday. Evening. Life is busy... I'm sure next Friday will be here in the blink of an eye. Does that count? :p

Topic for this poll is flu shots. Do you get them? Your kids? Do you think they're helpful? Useless? Harmful? (that one was Dave's suggestion, hehe)

Friday, October 24, 2008

The new doctor

After procrastinating for a long time, I finally took the plunge and picked a family doctor. I guess it helped that Tyler started having problems with asthma; I was forced to choose someone. How sad is that? I'm sure Elly wasn't too upset about the procrastination, as it's spared her from getting shots for a few months. I delay and selectively vaccinate, anyway, but it really was time. So off we went on Wednesday. As expected, Elly is a happy and healthy baby. Not that I was worried. I figure after 4 kids, I would have known had something been seriously wrong. She got one shot in the leg, which she didn't like. But what do you do. The doctor is totally awesome. She's a family practitioner, so I'll be seeing her for myself, too. We had a FP in Logan, and I really liked having one doctor for the whole family. I've also found that FPs tend to be a lot more laid back than pediatricians, and I don't have to fill out charts about developmental milestones. Yeah, they actually talk to you, imagine that! Okay, maybe I just had a bad experience with a pediatrician... Anyway, back to this doctor. She was super nice. Dave had taken Tyler there two weeks ago, and the first thing she said when she walked in the door was "So I'm seeing Tyler's sister today!" Yeah, I liked that. :o) She looked Elly over, talked to me about her, asked questions, wanted to know if I had questions - it was great. I brought up the immunization issue with her. Sometimes doctors give you a hard time if you don't vaccinate on schedule. Not this one. She was totally understanding of my reasons for wanting to delay/selectively vaccinate. In fact, she went over the list with me and explained to me what she thought was and wasn't important. She even has her own delayed/selective vaccination schedule. Awesome. So yeah, other than Elly getting poked, it was a good visit. The office itself is huge. It's a medical group, so there are a few FPs, several pediatricians, and a few other specialists. The waiting room is more like a waiting hall. Pediatrics is on a separate floor (not the one we were on for FP), which I was actually glad about, as we weren't exposed to sneezing coughing germ distributing kids. Not that I'm a germaphobe, but there are certain places I just don't like to go. :p I was a little worried about going to such a huge practice, but overall, I had a good experience. In the end, I think it's all about the doctor you see, not so much how large the practice is. And the nice thing about them having so many different specialists is that we're already patients there, so it should cut down on the paperwork should we ever need one. Anyway, it was a good visit, as far as doctor visits go. I'm going again next month for Kaylee (and another shot for Elly), and then again in December for Elly's 9 month check-up. The doctor and I should get to know each other well. :o)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yay for exercise!

Now that I have my new stroller (which is totally awesome, by the way), I've started going walking in the mornings. I go with my neighbor friend and her dog. The walk is about 1.5 miles (as mapped out on MapMyRun, cool tool), and it takes us just under half an hour. We're fast like that. :p On Thursdays, my friend goes to bible study in the morning, so I go by myself. I've decided to make Thursdays my walk/jog day (can't really jog the other days, the dog is too old, hehe). Today was the first time I tried to do some jogging. It went something like walk 5 minutes, jog 30 seconds, walk 5 minutes... To my defense, I did push a 20 pound stoller with roughly 50 pounds worth of kids in it. Okay, and yes, I'm totally out of shape. :p The walk is just a sidewalk all through the neighborhood, but there's a short jogging trail that I go on Thursdays. It's about a quarter of a mile long. My first goal is to be able to run the entire jogging trail. I think I got about a third of it today. Told ya I was out of shape. :p

Garden in October

I put the snap peas in. And put out fire ant bait certified for organic gardening. I hope it works, they are all over the place. I need to treat the lawn, too. I've found 4 or 5 ant hills in the last few days, and with the size backyard we have, I'm guessing there's at least twice that many colonies. Yuck. I think the grass also has some kind of fungus, there are yellow spots all over the place. I'm going to order a lawn care book on amazon to see what I can do to get my grass healthy again without too many chemicals, but for this season, I'm afraid I'm going to have to just rely on the quick fix fungicide. I'm supposed to winterize now, too, or so my friend told me. Guess I'll be busy these next few days. I'm also going to need to tear out the watermelons at some point, and put in the carrot seeds. Trying to figure out what else I want to put in. Maybe kale and kohlrabi, though I need to get seeds, still. And zucchini. My tomato plant is going crazy, so we should get a good tomato harvest soon (barring any bug infestations).



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



Kaylee took this one, all I did was crop and fix the lighting a bit (it was way overexposed, you can still tell).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Productive Day!

I'm feeling quite accomplished today. I mowed and edged the frontyard, did laundry, and weeded my garden (which took 45 minutes, and I could have easily spent another half hour, but Elly was waking up from her nap). Now all I have left to do is take a shower. I'm hoping Elly will cooperate and take one more nap this afternoon. It's only 1:45 p.m., so there's hope. :p

Speaking of garden, I was in for quite a surprise when I got home. The watermelon plants decided to have another growth spurt. There are vines with flowers everywhere! I'm going to have to tear them out, since there's no way we'll get any more ripe watermelons out of those before winter. In fact, one of the watermelons is still on the vine, since Dave picked the second one and it still wasn't ripe. That marks three months from the time the plants started emerging... I'm going to give it one more week, then I'll have to tear out the plants so I can get my Fall garden ready. My tomato plant is growing like crazy, too. There are tons of flowers on it, and a bunch of small tomatoes! I can't believe how much growth happened in the two weeks I was gone. I suppose the cooler temperatures helped, and the fact that there was quite a bit of rain last week. Of course, seeing as all my plants decided to grow like crazy, it's no surprise that the weeds did, too. Thus the need for lots and lots of weeding today. I do have one spot ready for the peas, maybe I'll have the boys help me put them in after school today. Since I'm in the mood for work outdoors. :p Oh, and you true gardeners will understand my excitement at finding two huge earthworms in my garden bed today! It's nice to see the garden come to life, as I have no idea what the previous owners did with it. The only life I could do without are the ants, really. I have yet another fire ant colony in one of the corners. I just can't seem to get rid of those. I did find organic certified ant poison, but it doesn't work quite as well as the other stuff. Oh well, it'll have to do. I suppose I could do without the grubs, too, but fortunately I haven't found too many of those. Nor other pests. I'll stop there, before I jinx myself. :o)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home again

Once again, I'm amazed how well the girls did on the flight. 10 hours on an airplane certainly gets ME cranky, but they were awesome. The first night back was a bit rough. Elly was up from about midnight on, though I was able to keep her in bed and at least semi-asleep by nursing her, more or less continuously, until about 5:30 a.m. Who knew learning how to nurse laying down would come in so useful. :p I hope tonight goes better, and we all make the time switch quickly. I think the only thing worse than 10 hours on the airplane is getting over the jet lag.

While we were gone, Tyler lost not one but two teeth. Remember this post from just about a year ago? Well, teeth #3 and #4 finally came out, too. He's starting to look so grown up. And I'm starting to feel old. :p