Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Kiddin'



I took the kids to my friend Rusty's goat farm yesterday. We've been friends with Rusty since we bought some of our first Nigerian Dwarf Goats about 10 years ago. Unlike our little herd of 6 or so, Rusty has goats, goats, and more goats! Jeff and I have been interested in the larger dairy breeds lately, and I thought it would be a great field trip to take the kids to see the goats... and to let the boys get a milking lesson to see if they could actually do it. I invited Kiersten and Charlee to come along, and off we went!

The boys had a fabulous time playing with the babies. Asa's favorite pen was the one full of the just-borns. He was upset when it wa time to leave and he couldn't take one with him. Ivey and Charlee putted around looking at the goats and the three Great Pyrenees, which looked like giant polar bears next to them! Asa and Addison got a great milking lesson from the expert... and had a great first try! It would take practice, but they could definitely gt the hang of it. They didn't want to stop and each came back to try again. We had a great field trip and came home with a quart of fresh milk!












Back at home, we enjoyed the beautiful day by hanging out with the chickens. Our two rhode island reds, two barred rocks and one buff orpington give up smalls, mediums and larges... although we have no idea who gives what. We have two araconas and one more buff orpington that will hopefully be laying in August. It's just adorable to watch the four little ones chase the kids around the yard! We get around 305 eggs per day, which we use up here and there and with a weekly breakfast-for-dinner night. On that night, we put away a solid dozen. When Ivey and Olive get bigger we'll be going through much much more!






Friday, April 23, 2010

Speakin' Out

Ivey has added quite a few words to her list, just in the past few days! She has fallen in love with Dora, and asks for her by name. I had it paused today while we ate lunch. When we came back, she saw that it was stuck on the map, who was frozen while singing his fabulously written "I'm the map" song. She piped up with "Bap!" Even though the first sound was off, it was obvious what she was talking about! From there, she said "carrot", "cheese", "light", "on", "ah-oh" and a very clear "juice". Usually, she only says the first sound of the word, or maybe the middle sound. Not today! The excited thing is that we didn't have to pry and pry to get these out of her!

Diaper Day



I was wondering just how much harder it would be to cloth diaper two babies at once. The verdict? So far, not much harder. I don't wash diapers any more often (which is good because I just can't get everything done!), I just have to do two loads on diaper day instead of one.

I have a trash can with a step-to-open lid that has a waterproof liner specially made for cloth diapers inside. After I change a diaper, I just attach the velcro to the laundry tabs inside, dump any of Ivey's solid poo in the toilet nearby, and put the dirty diaper in the pail. I wash about every 2-3 days. Not too shabby! I'm still amazed at how diaper day is still the only laundry day that is pleasant to do. Getting all of those fluffy clean fresh diapers out of the dryer and laying each one out in a pile isn't like laundry at all. I stack them into an Ivey pile and an Olive pile... too cute. It makes me wish I had had the guts to do this with the boys!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Odds and Ends

I woke up this morning to see Addison standing in the room, with a blank expression. He does this when he wants to watch t.v. or play Nintendo or play computer games. Why? Because we tell him not to ask for that so much, so he just wanders around, looking not exactly bored, but just in blank hyper controlled anticipation of some sort.

This morning, like most mornings, I woke up, saw the expression and said NO T.V. RIGHT NOW. Addison piped up with, "I just wanted to tell you this great math problem I did in my head." I felt guilty enough to actually come to and listen to him. He lit up and explained to me how he figured out how many feet were in half a mile. "Well, I know there are 5280 feet in a whole mile, so I divided the 80 by 2 and got 40 and then I divided the two hundred in half and got 100, but the 5 was tricky. I had to turn that into 250 and then add the rest. It's 2,640!" Yes, my dear. Now, let's go reward your nerdiness by seeing if that new episode of The Clone Wars is on.

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We were sitting at the table with two bags of potato chips, regular and salt & vinegar (the boys' favorite, believe it or not). Asa pointed to the blue bag and asked what kind they were.

"Salt and vinegar", I replied.

He then asked what the other kind were.

"Plain", I answered.

He thought for a minute... "Are they made of potatoes?"

"Yes. They all are." I answered.

Asa explained.... "Then there is no such thing as a plain chip, is there."


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Before bed, I checked the video monitor to make sure Ivey wasn't asleep with a blanket on her head or anything... What did I see? A butt. A cute little white bootie. I turned to Jeff. "Is that a butt?!" Sure enough. The little girl has started to fill the boring period of time before falling asleep with the act of striping off the diaper. I remember this phase with the boys... pants are required from now on!

Writing Prompt

My creative writing prompt was "A long time ago in a land far away..."

Here's what Addison came up with:

"A long time ago in a land far away there was a strange creature called man. They only had paintings. But then they tascovered mooving pichers. And they got tiered of that so they made up cartoons. The end."

Mountain Retreat & Why Spelling is Important

For the last few days, Jeff and I had a huge break by only having two kids at home. If you think it's a break to only have two kids, then you've got too many kids! Randy and Linda took Asa and Addison to the cabin Saturday afternoon. The weather was perfect, and the boys had an absolute blast in the mountains. They love playing down in the creek and have been dying to go back. Randy had asked if it was okay for them to shoot 22 rifles, which we said was fine.

They were buzzing with excitement when they called me on the first night. They built a dam at the creek and found a bird in the cabin. Asa, my animal lover, was so excited that he was able to hold it and let it go. They told me all about shooting the 22. They shot at cups, and it seems Asa hit one! Addison was curious to know how it was that a gun could always be loaded. He understood to always act like it was, but to say it actually was always loaded seemed illogical.

Once back at home, I asked them in school to write about their trip. Addison wrote, "We shot a 24 rifle. I shot a cop." Ah, the importance of spelling. So glad he's homeschooled or I would have gotten a visit from the authorities.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Olive-U



Miss Olive has been a happier girl today, which means I have been a happier girl. I need to keep a journal of her mood and other symptoms, as they may correlate and point back to the cow milk protein allergy. Once I stopped all dairy, the pain and the screaming and the way she kept her legs pulled up tight to her body all stopped, but the mucousy poop and the red raised bumps on her face, neck, scalp and shoulders continued. Yesterday, her face was worse, as was the mucous in her stool. She also had more sneezing, coughing and congestion yesterday. Today, she has shown improvement. I wasn't sure if the "rash" was connected to the dairy... I'm still not sure.. but it's possible. I don't know if it is just taking a while for it to get out of her system (it can take up to a month to see full results) or if it was from those three chocolate chip cookies I ate.

It's amazing to me how much parental guesswork is involved when an infant has an allergy. It's really just up to the parent to eliminate foods and track improvement. I would have liked to have a bit more science... but, it seems they don't test babies so young because the allergies change so quickly. So, I will continue to avoid milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, whey, casein, lactose and all other hidden forms of dairy. I'm becoming an ingredients list speed reader.





Ivey's New Words and Tutorials by Asa

It was a great day yesterday!! Ivey was playing with her favorite toy (Olive's carseat) in the dining room floor. She has been spending hours and hours buckling and unbuckling. Her attention span is amazing. I was on the computer, so I could not see what she was doing. All of the sudden I hear, "Mama!". I turned around and there she was, signing help. It seems that you can't get anyone's attention by signing behind their backs. I helped her with her latch and a few minutes later...
"Mama!" It may have taken her 18 months, but she called me by name! A couple days ago, she asked for a banana by name ("nana") without being prompted or asked to repeat it. Yesterday, she let me know that she didn't want to watch Blues Clues, she wanted "Ora"! She has made so much progress in a short period of time. I am very proud of my quiet little girl!

Babies Can't Wait came out yesterday for her assessment, and it appears that she will qualify for services. So, it looks like our speech therapist will be changing. I'm looking forward to therapy at our house... and to save some money. The private therapy was getting crazy expensive!

Asa wanted me to video him slowing down his LEGO motor with gears. He spends time checking out other people's LEGO videos on YouTube looking for ideas and he said that he wanted to make one of his own.




Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super Secret Field Trip

Well, last Wednesday I decided that I simply had to take the boys to the GA Dome to the Robotics and LEGO competitions the following day. I didn't know if it was going to work or be a huge disaster, but there's no way I can know about such an event that would be perfect for my two boys and not do something about it. So, Thursday came and I informed them that we were going to load up the car and go on a super secret field trip. They were ecstatic!

First, we went to see Daddy's new office and take him to lunch. I'd never met anyone there, and here I was... pushing a stroller, Asa and Addison following me and carrying Olive, who needed to eat and was screaming her head off. I was a sight. We toured the office, the people there gaped and came to see the circus that is my life and we went to lunch.

Finally, we were on our way to the super secret field trip destination. I gave in and told them. They were intrigued and inquisitive. They couldn't grasp what I was talking about. We were supposed to meet Mom there, but she was running late, so I succeeded in getting all of us from the parking deck to the dome with no problems! I had Ivey in the single stroller and I wore Olive in the front carrier. Luckily, Olive slept like a log!



First, we went into the Dome itself and watched a little bit of the robotics competition. Then, we headed over to another building, where the LEGO stuff was set up. We watched the LEGO teams doing practice runs, which was actually better than the real competition because we were able to get right up there and see everything. There were teams from all over the globe for the world wide competition. Each team had a booth set up, so we walked from booth to booth, drooling over this motor or that gear piece. Asa was soaking it all in and getting ideas. He told one man that he couldn't wait to get home and find this stuff on Ebay!



It is obvious that we have to get involved in this program. It's not an option! We are going to start our own team of two and start in the Fall with the curriculum to start their project. We'll be in the LEGO League Jr. division, ages 6-9. Asa and Addison are still a little confused about just what to do and how to compete, but I know we'll be able to figure it all out!



Smiles and Screams



Olive has given us a lot more smiles over the past week. She is usually the happiest in the morning, which is good since I'm usually not. Luckily, she is sleeping well at night. She usually goes down for the count at 9:30 or so and wakes at 3:00 to eat and goes right back to sleep until 6 or 7. However, the daytime is a different story. She needs to have 15-16 hours of sleep per day, which means lots of napping. She should be on a sleep, eat, play, sleep cycle... which should all take place within 3 hours or so. Instead, she fights sleep... she screams when she is put down and she doesn't give in. For instance, yesterday she did not nap very much at all. So, by 5:30pm she was completely exhausted and comatose. I had to wake her up to feed her at 8:30 and then could not keep her awake. So, it ruined our night. This morning, she woke up at 6am. Instead of staying up until 7:30 or so and then taking a nap, she fought through and wouldn't sleep... even if I rocked her or held her. She then screamed in her bed until 8:30. She stayed awake through to her next feeding. Even though she was exhausted after that, she refused to sleep and fought through to the next. I fed her again at 11:30 and then she finally fell asleep. For a 7 week old to go from 6:00-11:30 with no nap isn't good... for anyone. She is miserable and just won't sleep... unless she takes a little nap here and there while being held. The swing doesn't even make her happy. Olive and I are not getting along lately. No naps, screams at the top of her lungs, and I can't eat dairy? I am at my wit's end.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Educated Decisions

Tonight at dinner, we were discussing the boys' lessons from today. We were studying ancient Greece and the different governments of its city-states. This discussion was interrupted often by Ivey, who was being her pre-two-year-old self.... refusing to eat, trying to dump her plate in her lap and sporadically squealing at the top of her lungs. After repeatedly telling her to stop being so loud, Jeff finally asked her "Ivey! Do you want a spankin'?!". At this point, she grinned eat to ear and nodded very big and very slowly like she does for 'yes'. She had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded better to her than beef strogonoff and peas.

Addison piped up, "It's just like Plato said about having to be educated in a democracy. Ivey didn't know what she was voting on!"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's Not Easy Bein' Green




Here's a shot from today. Jeff did some long overdue grass cutting and Asa and Addison ran around in the "track" that he made. Their feet are Incredible Hulk quality green.

On a completely different note, we cracked up a stranger in the cereal isle at Walmart yesterday with the following exchange:

Holly: "Asa, can you grab a box of Co Co Pebbles for Daddy?"
Asa: "Sure"
Addison: "Hey, Mom? Can I get some Bran Flakes? They're my favorite!!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

There's No Place Like... Hooommme.



Ivey has been doing so much better with her speech! In the last week, she has been mimicking our sounds... aah, oooh, mmm, ba, da, puh. She also said "cold", "coat", and "home". When she says "home" it is just about the cutest thing in the world. She says it very slowly and deliberately, ending it with claps and squeals of delight. All the claps and squeals are well placed, as she is doing a fantastic job!



As for Miss Olive, she gave Asa and I a cute little smile this morning! She's growing so fast. I know that soon enough she will be chuckling and belly laughing at her brothers and sister!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Whole New Baby



Boy, oh boy. I have a whole new baby. Olive is doing so much better it is unreal. Seeing her pain-free makes me realize just how bad she was. She no longer has a scrunched up face and furrowed eye brows all the time, she doesn't spend the entire day grunting, she doesn't nap for 10-20 minutes at a time only to wake up in screaming agony. She does not scream until she cannot catch her breath... or scream until she is hoarse. Changing her diaper is easier because she now relaxes her body and puts her legs down. What I thought was baby acne (but was on her face, scalp, behind her ears, on the back of her neck, and started showing up on her upper torso) started to clear up.

All of this started happening 24-36 hours after I cut dairy from my diet. She has only been on Zantac for 24 hours, so I don't think that was the cure. Zantac takes a week or more to have an effect. My baby has a milk allergy... and I am so glad I figured it out. Olive slept in her bed last night... instead of on me as she has every other night. She also went for 3-4 hours between feedings all day (in the past she nursed all the time as it was the only thing that made her comfortable) and she even slept for a 6 hour span last night! She and I have turned a corner and things are looking much better for us both!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sprinkler Time

I was desperate for some peace today, so I decided to stick the outdoor baby gates at the stairs and set the sprinkler up on the deck. Instant happiness... at least for the bigger three. Ivey wasn't shy about it the sprinkler at all, running through and standing right in its spray, just like the boys.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Olive

I took Olive to the pediatrician today to discuss her tummy issues. I tried my best to explain the severity of the problem... but unless she were to come home with us for a few hours, she can't see what I am talking about. The good news is that her issues aren't effecting her weight gain. My chunky monkey is 10lbs even today! I took her in thinking that maybe she had thrush which could possibly cause gassiness and irritability. The nurse practitioner said that she didn't have thrush, just milk tongue. There goes that theory. She said that it could be reflux, which seems to be the baby catch-all, and gave me a prescription for Zantac. I doubt this is the problem, but I'm desperate for solutions.

When I got home, I tried to think of what foods I could be eating to cause her problems. The nurse practitioner had asked me if I thought there was a correlation to my diet and my response was that it would have to be something that I eat a lot of every day. Well, I realized that dairy might be the cause. Luckily, I had eaten no dairy for the entire day so far. I will keep this up and see if it helps at all. Here's hoping...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010



On the Friday before Easter, I was a sleep deprived nut case. I was exhausted, stressed, and at the end of my rope. The thought of packing up for six people to go out of town for two days was too much for me to handle. I was beat. I packed up the food, church clothes, baby stuff and all four kids and we headed down the road. After about 30 minutes, I looked back to see Asa's bear feet. it seems the boy got in the car without shoes. Luckily, I had church shoes for him. He can go barefooted everywhere else.

Although we had hoped to be in town earlier, we didn't make it until after 3:00. At this point, I was completely wiped out. We unloaded the boys at Jeff's parents' house and we took the girls down to mine. Jeff and I decided to leave the kids... even Olive... and go out to dinner. I fed her one last time and we took off. It was very nice to have a couple hours off duty!

We collected the boys and headed back down to my parents' house. It was a full house. Hal, Jen, Scooter and Jodi were all spending the night down there, too. After yet another long sleepless night with Olive, we were the first two up. Asa and Addison woke to find that the Easter Bunny did find us even though we weren't at home. Ivey thoroughly enjoyed all of her fruit snacks, and all of the candy she could manage to get.

I managed to assemble the coconut cake that Randy always asks for, bathe, get everyone dressed, and get to church. I was exhausted before, but at this point, I was fighting back tears. Although I was a walking zombie, I enjoyed the great lunch and big egg hunt! Ivey slept through the hunt, but was able to play with some eggs in the yard. She was much more interested in Hal and Mike than she was going on a treasure hunt, anyway! It was a long weekend, and I wasn't in the best shape, but it was a great Easter!