Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Helper

My Kane is now 3, and loves to help with chores. I cloth diaper the youngest of our crew, and I use pocket diapers. Which means ever other day or so, I wash all of the diapers, then have to stuff the liners in the covers as well as fold the "wipes," which in our house are white wash cloths. A few weeks ago, Kane and I were sick, so Bella went to stay with Pap and Nanny for a few days. Max was playing, waiting for a diaper to be stuffed for his bare buns, and Kane was helping me sort covers and liners so I could do just that. He quickly tired of sorting those, mostly because I couldn't stuff them as fast as he was handing them to me, and decided to try his hand at folding wipes. "I can do it" are his favorite words, my little independent soul. I watched as he gently picked up the wipe and held it under his chin. He then pulled the bottom edge up to the top.

He carefully grabbed the ends and let it out from under his chin...

...folding it in half once more. Then he simply put it on the pile of wipes, looked at me with a heart-warming grin, said, "See? I told you I can do it!" and grabbed another wipe. At which time I grabbed my camera and, while greatly praising him for a job well done, asked if I could take pictures of his accomplishment. While snapping these photos, I marveled over the fact that my little guy had never folded anything before. But of course he is ever watching all that I do. And it made me realize how important all my actions are. Not just towel-folding, of course, but many more important things. With the weight of Adam's demanding schedule, my stress levels have gone up and my patience has gone down. This has made for a grumpy Mama, and I can see it effecting my kids. They are snappy with each other, and I cannot blame them, because I am teaching them to be that way. A quick-tempered, low-patience attitude only breeds grouchy, quick-tempered, low-patience children. I know that I have to turn this train around soon before it jumps completely off the tracks... But recognition of a problem is half of the battle to solving it.
So today, with all of the kids walking past our house to go to school, we went home-school shopping and stocked up on work books, pencils and erasers, markers, and other fun things. Like white wrapping paper to feet-paint on. I might have to dive in and participate in that one. How fun will it be to dip our feet in paint and walk around making art??? These things that occupy their minds always make for happier children. And we are on a only-one-Veggie-Tale-a-day week. I am striving to head down the right path with them again. And as #3 wakes up, I will go exercise my patience and tolerance in getting my teething babe back to sleep before #2 wakes up!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Mom asked the other day how to leave comments, and I wanted to let everyone know that I have made sure that my settings are saved this time so anyone can leave a comment. Now all you have to do is click on the comment button at the bottom of the post, type in your comment, and then choose the Name/URL button, and type in your name. You can all leave comments now, not just registered blogger users. And I always love receiving comments, of course. It makes me happy to know that friends and family are reading my posts and keeping up with our family in a time when it seems we don't have time to keep up with anyone!!!

Thanks! Now I am going to go nap!! Max and I came down with colds, so while he takes his (short but sweet) nap, I better rest up for the rest of the day. TTFN (for those who don't know Pooh, that's Tigger for Ta Ta For Now)!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Off Days

Do you ever have one of those "off days?" Oh, I'm sure you do. Everyone has them now and again. Every time you turn around something seems a little off, and no matter what you do, you just can't pull yourself out of the funk you've fallen into. I am operating on the day-after down of one of those off days. These are never fun. Yesterday started hopeful, and ended hopeful, but everything in between just went to pot. We started the day with a good breakfast at the dining room table and a big fat list of things to do. I really thought that with our positive, early start and my head on straight I could get most of that list accomplished and have our house livable again by bed time - food in the cupboards, dishes and clothes washed and put in their places, errands ran, dog (that we are dog-sitting) de-flea-ed, and promises to friends and family fulfilled. All done, hopefully, with smiles on our faces and happy good-night wishes at the end of the day. Instead of a timely departure,it unfolded like this: Diapers in the washer - check. Checks for depositing in my purse - check. Suit to take to the dry cleaners - check. Pictures to send to the great-grandmothers - check. Shoes on the kids - check. I better grab a spit rag, just in case. Oooo, smoke coming from the washer. This is NOT on my list!!! Grab the fire extinguisher, just in case (although it wasn't on fire)...

And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. Those checks were NOT in my purse, but in the pocket of the shorts I had taken off. There's an extra trip home I hadn't planned. Those pictures took half an hour in line at the post office to mail, during which my kids had to be separated and standing in corners half of the time. And of course, those dirty diapers, which had just started their wash cycle, had to be fished out of the washer by hand and rung out to take to a friend's house to wash. But by the time the evening was over, we had all eaten a healthy helping of spaghetti and shared a wonderful evening with friends, complete with a birthday party for little Libby's wonderful (only slightly invisible) friend, DahDah - her cat Oof had to stay home and couldn't join us. And sometimes, just maybe, the Good Lord knows what a person needs, because when Adam got home he fiddled with the washer and got all that poopy water to drain right out of it. Thank goodness I didn't have to dip it out by hand... I haven't tried to run it yet today (it still smelled a bit of burned rubber when it was draining), but maybe a prayer will have been answered and my ancient washer will work just fine.

On after-off-day days, it takes me awhile to pull out of the left over funk. Especially when nap times don't go very smoothly, with 3-year-old tempers flaring, and I'm working with 4 hours of sleep (which is my average, but none the less, not much). Days like these call for playing with cranky teething babies, ignoring that laundry piled in clothes baskets, filling up on good left-over spaghetti, and cranking up Stevie Wonder good and loud - a little I Wish will even bring a smile to Max's face. And reminiscing a little doesn't hurt, either. Which brings me to leave you with some old favorite pictures of Kane and a wish that every broken washing machine in your life brings you to friendly fellowship and the quiet inner knowledge that God has it all in his hands.

Kane at 8 months. Megan said just yesterday as we left her house that Kane and Max are twins, they're just born 2 1/2 years apart.

Kane at 9 months. Mom tried to get an 8 x 10 made of this at Wal Mart, and they made her take the negatives to prove that it wasn't a professional pic.

Kane at 11 months, my 80's rocker child.

Kane at 1 year. Love those baby toes sticking out under his jeans. He still has the same expression when he concentrates on something.

Kane at 1 year, also. The crazy thing is that Maxwell wore this same outfit this summer at 8 months old. He may just outgrow his short stocky brother.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Funerals and Teeth

Funerals and teeth seem to go hand and hand for my babies... At least for my boys. The last days of December in 2005 were the last days of life for my husband's paternal step-grandfather, best known as Paw Paw (or Great Paw Paw to our children). So the day that Kane turned 6 months, we were in Coal Grove, Ohio for Paw Paw's funeral. While staying with my husband's maternal Grandma, Kane decided to get curly hair, learn to crawl AND get his 2 first teeth in. This is the way Kane still tackles life. There is always that calm before the storm with him in all aspects of his milestones, be they emotional, physical or mental. Max has been a little more lax. Both Bella and Kane had teeth at 6 months, but Max just kept slowly working on them. For the last week or so he would pull away when I tried to check for one, and he was drooling fiercely, so I knew one was close. This past weekend we received word that Adam's paternal grandfather had passed away. Tappa had a short and hard battle with cancer and we knew the end was near. So Tuesday morning, the day before Max turned 8 months, we left for Wayne, WV for funeral services for Tappa. At the dinner that was held after the services, I thought to get a quick check in Max's mouth for that tooth, and sure enough, it had finally poked it jagged, sharp little head through his gums. So my baby boy now has his tooth. And we are less yet another great-grandparent for our children here on this earth. We want more kids, and this has me thinking that maybe we should wait quite awhile before we have another...

Our time after the funeral gatherings was spent at Adam's paternal grandmother's house, spending much needed time with his family. It had been way too long since we had visited Maw Maw, and we had the added bonus of spending quality time with the rest of Adam's immediate family without the thought of the normal hosting responsabilities. So instead of thinking of meals or cleaning, we were spending time together, chatting and laughing and playing with kids, and I was snapping pictures. I have tried to limit this post to as few favorite pics as possible. I feel like I'm jipping you, because there are many more wonderful pictures, but I won't bombard you this time.

I started by doing a little photo shoot of my niece, and ended up trying to capture a picture of each person there whom I never get to photograph. It was really nice. I have come to the recent realization that I need more photos of the important people in my life. I focus so much on taking pictures of the kids, but so little on the people that are important to them. One day those people will be gone, and I want my kids to look back and see in pictures how much those family members loved them, or how beautiful each and every one of them are. A picture can capture a moment, sure, but it can also capture a person. So it is my pleasure to leave you with pictures of Adam's family (minus his oldest brother and his wife, who weren't able to make it), each one whom I love dearly.

Miss Serena Monet, our niece, posing for the camera. She has always been a little model at heart.
Ree Ree and Bella, quite the pair.

Maw Maw (Gloria), reading to Bella.
Maw Maw and Maxwell. (There is no picture of her with Kane, because he was in need of some Chamomilla and was showing it in temper tantrums and standoffishness).

Lucian Michael, Adam's younger brother. As the future Star of Broadway is currently attending Wright State University, I have talked him into letting me do his new head shots. Aih, now I have to live up to his and my expectations of what I can do with this camera!

Gi Gi (Cecile) and Paw Paw (Ron), Adam's parents.
Paw Paw.

Gi Gi.

Adam, my darling husband.
Suzie, Serena's beautiful Mama, and Adam's little sister.

Paw Paw occupying Max as I ignored my children to take everyone's photo.

Jesse, Adam's youngest brother, in his element as the Soccer King. I am really proud of this shot.

Jesse, waiting for Maxwell to kick his soccer ball back to him (with a little help from Paw Paw). I love the warm evening backlighting on this pic.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Oh my, it's August!!

And I haven't posted since July! Sad to say, we are just now all mended and well. After Bella broke her arm I was prepared for the inevitable "ER Virus" to take us all down, but I really wasn't expecting it to be as resilient and harsh as it was. Bella got it first, of course, as her little body was fighting so hard to heal her bone and her immune function was greatly diminished. It was ugly. There were 5 days of fever, followed by much snot, yet the worst of it was that she didn't ACT as though she was fevered. So there were 5 days of her obviously fighting this virus, and no extra sleeping or moping to pass the time. I had her in a tepid bath at one point to bring down the fever because it had peaked so high, and she was talking a mile a minute the entire time. So odd. And NOTHING that I hit it with helped (for those who don't know, we treat only homeopathically, and it usually works really well). Then Kane came down with it, on the evening of my wonderful friend Julie's birthday bash. After 2 hours there, and the party just really starting, Kane was lying on our blanket in the yard, fever steadily increasing, and we had to split. Bummer. I got it 3 days later, and he also gave me the conjunctivitis that he always seems to get when he's sick. His pink-eye went away quickly. Mine wasn't so nice. But he had many days with no sleep, because he could NOT move a single breath of air through his nose. And for some reason, my kids just won't breathe through their mouths while they sleep... But, now that we are all better, I'm just dying to get back to posting!

I have to share with you Maxwell's milestone now. My baby boy has officially joined the ranks of special, lucky babies who have eaten dried leaves and gagged on countless clovers and lived to tell the story. Here's how his exploration went:
Ooo, what's this over here?

Hey, look, it's grass!
This is tasty...

Let me try for something better.

Alright! A leaf!
I wonder if these are any good?
Kinda' crunchy. I should bite a piece off and eat it. I know she just LOVES it when she finds mysterious undigested objects in my diaper the next day!
And this same day, he spent some time in his Jumperoo outside while Kane and I cleaned out the cars. I LOVE dirty, smelly, sweaty summertime babies. And this was just perfect. He had to get washed in the sink before bed, and I had to let the water out and run fresh to rinse him with because he was so filthy. I LOVE IT! There's nothing better than a filthy-stinking-dirty baby foot...