Sunday, May 30, 2010

Buckle... Buckle... Unbuckle...

Well, if there is one thing I know for sure... Ivey does not have ADD. That girl spends hours each day buckling buckles. She literally sat at the table in her booster seat for over two hours the other morning. She buckles, then asks someone to unbuckle her. Buckle, unbuckle, repeat. She buckles Olive's swing seat, the bouncy seat, my camera bag... anything she can find. When we get home from a car trip, Ivey has to get out of her seat and go around the car buckling each and every carseat buckle. Now, when Asa and Addison get in the car, they have to unbuckle their seats before they can get strapped in.

Maybe this is part of the reason we can no longer keep a diaper on her? She has developed this nasty habit of unhooking her diaper... at any chance she gets. The other morning, we were getting ready to leave for church when Jeff noticed water on the floor. Was her diaper leaking? No. Under that cute Sunday School dress was a naked little tush... a naked little tush that just peed in the floor.

When we put her to bed at night, she has to be in zip-up pajamas. I had a dentist appointment the other morning, bright and early. I left Jeff with all four kids and ran out the door. When I returned, Olive had screamed herself into a cold sweat. She was in her bed, completely out of her mind. I expected such. What I did not expect was to see Jeff leaning over Ivey who was standing the tub. It seems that she had taken half of her diaper off and pooped down her pants legs... smearing it everywhere. Needless to say, Jeff was more than ready to go to work that day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Little Miss Personality

I have called her "intense" and "spirited" and many other things that I will deny vehemently. For all of her irritability and fits of rage, Olive possesses an equally strong spunky fun personality. The girl is funny! She is very very aware of her surroundings, and she wants full attention... all the time. She wants you to look at her and talk to her, so she can giggle and laugh and smile with her huge adorably gummy open-mouth smiles. When she's happy, you want to eat her up. When she's mad, you want to pull all of your hair out. There really is no in between!

I am getting the hang of her, though. For instance, Olive loves her bed. When she is tired and cranky beyond belief, she may just want to lay down in bed. Alone. I can lay her down for a nap and she will talk to herself and look around and fall to sleep on her own. This works unless she is completely over tired and a basket case... Then, you're in trouble!

I have no doubt that my little caboose is going to be full of spunk and silliness!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birhday!

Asa and Addison celebrated the big 7 with an entire week of birthday festivities! This year, we had a family party and then a friend party... nicely divided into manageable chunks. I was even able to keep the house semi-clean in between events.

Our present to the boys was a 15' x 42" saltwater pool. This forth kid thing has really done a number on my mobility, so I knew we would be incapable of flitting off on fun little jaunts like I normally would. The pool is the perfect solution to being Olive-anchored! Since we put it up, there has only been one day that Asa and Addison haven't been in it, and that was because they were packing up and leaving for the weekend. The LOVE it!

The pool made for a wonderful party, as well. We hung out on the deck and watched the kids splash and swim. I think this pool was money well spent!

Birthdays have changed a little bit since I've met my match with baby #4. In the old days, I would concoct some awesome theme, order goodies from Oriental Trading Co, make cute photo invitations (mailing them well in advance, of course), invoke the culinary help of my mother, and make an elaborate cake or two. Let us not forget the memorable cakes from the past:
(Mom gets credit for the Nemo cakes and the amazing R2D2!)

This year, things have changed. Since I have so much on my plate, I had to cut back on the baking insanity that I love so much. I decided to just put together a simple cookie cake. No theme, no fuss, no craziness. I am just about to my limit of fuss and craziness just with everyday life now. I set the yummy chocolate chip creation on the table and we all got a good visual of just how overwhelmed and exhausted I have become....

Happy Birhday, Asa and Addison! Love, your loving mommy and homeschool teacher. Nice.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I have written about a typical day before (like here or here).
Here is the story of today...

At 2:00 this morning, I decide to stop the laundry madness and head to bed. We have a party here at the house in two days and somehow I need to get ready. The only time that I can actually use both hands is when everyone else is asleep. Luckily, Olive slept very well and didn't wake up to eat until 4:30. We both fell back asleep until she ate again at 7:30, I nursed her lying down and then we both fell asleep once more. Much to my surprise, Ivey (who usually wakes up at 9:00) either woke up late or sat in her bed and played quietly. I didn't hear anything out of either baby until 10:00. Excellent for me! Not so excellent for Gretta, who was in the back waiting to be milked.

I jump up, change Olive and talk to her to get her in a good enough mood to lay there and watch her mobile for a while. After retrieving a very happy Ivey from upstairs and changing her wet clothes, I plop her down with a cup of milk and Dora the Explorer while I run out to the goats. Gretta was very compliant as I got her onto the stand. Sadly, her big hoof lands in the bowl and I have to run back in the house to get another one before she scarfs down all the grain that is appeasing her. Note to self: bring out more than one bowl next time.

After milking Gretta I let the baby out (we have to keep Heidi locked up at night if we want to actually get any milk the next morning). Her head is stuck in the slats, and I believe she had managed to nurse that way, which would explain the fact that Gretta didn't seem full. Heidi's head is freed, the goats are fed, and I run in to check out my kiddos.

Ivey is happily watching Dora at the table. The boys are watching yet another episode of He-Man. If I have to hear "I have the POWER!" one more time I may scream. Olive was starting to get fussy, so I carry her around as I fix Ivey a bowl of yogurt and get dressed. Ivey insists on feeding herself. She does a great job, but still needs some damage control. I put on her shoes as she eats and instruct the boys to do the same. Reluctantly, we have to go to the store. We are completely out of dish detergent and we have two loads to do. Plus, I have poison ivy and need that Tecnu stuff that works so well. I re-ponytail my hair, accept that the makeup still on my face from yesterday is good enough, throw on some lip gloss and load the kids into the van.

Once at Target, I find a spot next to the buggies. Now, it's decision time. Do I use the double stroller? Nah, Olive isn't happy enough to sit in the stroller. Do I do the two-buggy approach with Ivey in one and Olive's carseat in the other? Nah, today I stick Ivey in the buggy and wear Olive in the front carrier. Everyone seems happy enough. Success. The store trip is pleasingly uneventful. Olive is rocked to sleep by the soothing bouncing of my frugal shopping. "No, you can't have that box of yogurt covered fruit snacks... this box is the exact same but costs $.65 less". "Look, Mom! Life cereal is only $2. Let's get three!" ... and so on... On the cereal isle, Addison's super-sensitive-brother-senses inform him that Ivey is poopy. I asked her if she needs a new diaper. "Yeeessss!"

After checking out, and after the cashier informs me that my daughter had her barrette in her mouth, I squeeze all five of us into the family restroom. I manage to move Ivey from the buggy to the changing table, change her diaper and put her back in the buggy again while wearing Olive against my chest. ViolĂ ! Ivey is clean and we are on our way. Realizing I had had absolutely nothing to eat or drink by this point, I pick up small slushies on our way out the door. Ivey grabs mine and I let her hold it for a while to appease her. I receive the scorning judgment of the elderly woman who was lurking near the exit. Her eyes say, "I can't believe you are letting that girl consume all that SUGAR!" Nice. Do you think I let my first set of kids have some slushy at 19 months old, woman? Of course not. But, I'm on number four now. A little slushy will not decrease her likelihood of becoming a nuclear physicist nor will it instantly propel her into the statistic of being an obese American child.

By the time we make it to the car, Olive is awake and getting grumpy. It's lunch time, and I make the fateful decision to pick up lunch for myself at Chick-fil-A. The kids would much rather eat at home, anyways. Unfortunately, everyone else in creation made the same decision. Plus, the traffic in the 1/2 mile from Target to Chick-fil-A was horrid. Oh, and since we left the store, Olive has been screaming like a mad-woman... tears streaming down her cheeks. As I wait at the window for the woman to go to Idaho and purchase the potatoes for my waffle fries, all I can do is lie my head on the steering wheel and try to visualize myself anywhere but this van full of screams. "Ma'am? Here is your order." Good grief. It took 15 minutes or more to make it through the line, gather my food and get back on the road towards home.

Back at the house, I feel my heartrate starting to climb. I get Olive out of the carseat and carry her around as I try to get Ivey to exit the van. No good. She refuses to leave a car that is full of so many wonderful buckles. Buckles are the new thing. She loves them. So, I leave her strapped in, all except for the top buckle, which she happily plays with while I help the boys. They are working like little ants, taking bags of groceries to the kitchen floor.

After bribing Ivey out of the car with her juice cup, I manage to get her into her seat for lunch. She pigs out of bits of my Chick-fil-A as I get the frozen foods put away... one handed. With my other hand, I am holding Olive as she nurses. Finally, I am able to sit and nurse her for a while. Of course, I may be sitting, but I am using the other hand as the boys are bringing me lunch supplies. I open packages and coach them through fixing their food. At this point, Ivey has jammed all of the chicken into her mouth and climbed down from the table to retrieve her bubbles from the counter.

She is hooked on bubbles. She has spent three days saying "Momma bubbles!" To combat this, I replaced out broken bubble machine with a $10 one from Target. At least it can take one thing off of my list of things to do... it can be the bubble blower. Her demands for bubbles are increasing as I try to open the package with one hand. Addison gives her an empty bubble stuff container and a wand to keep her happy while we work. Somehow, I manage to open the confounded packaging, insert the batteries and get the blower to the deck without making Olive lose her latch. Bubbles. Check.

After eating, Olive passes out and takes a nap. It's 30 minutes past Ivey's 1:00 naptime, but she doesn't seem tired yet. They play in bubbles while I wolf down my lunch and finish putting the groceries away. Much to my suprise, I am able to also load the diapers into the washing machine just in time to hear Addison, who is on the deck calling for help. It seems that he has stepped in chicken poop that was covered in ants. I give him the hose and he begins to rinse his feet. Just as I step into the house he announced that this was not chicken poop after all. He had stepped in mouse guts... and it was on his shirt, too. Why on earth is it on your SHIRT??? "Because I was wiping it off my foot.", he explained. Ah. Wiping chicken poo off of your foot with your shirt. Makes perfect sense. Too bad it was actually mouse guts, as using your shirt to remove mouse guts would be absurd. As I glance at his shirt, I see that he has red/brown guts smeared all down his long sleeve. I gag, strip him down, and hose him off. I gag again.

At this point, it is approaching 2:00. Ivey has been appeased by the bubbles, and loves the empty bottle and wand. I ask if she wants to go night-night. She says "yeeeesssss" and explains "bubbles night night". I have no problem with the bottle and wand going to bed, too. So, up the stairs we go. Ivey goes through the list of everything she needs to say "night night" to... "night night dada" "night night turtles" "night night goats" "night night dada (this time it's Asa)" "night night dadada (Addison)" and so on. I am pleased with how easily she goes down for her nap. She wants her mobile on, which she is much too big for so I have it perched on her chest of drawers so it hangs high over her bed. Drat. Dead batteries. I run down and back up the stairs in record time. Success. "Night night Ivey and bubbles"

For a few minutes, I have both babies in bed. I take a deep breath and appreciate this fact just long enough to realize that the silence that surrounded me was only due to the fact that the monitor was off. Olive was indeed awake. Sigh. Looks like I will have to teach school today one handed after all.

For the next two hours, I teach school. We only have four days left and have finished most of their curriculum, but we do have math and history to finish. During their lessons, Olive went down for another nap. I finished teaching the lessons and then straightened up the house while the boys did their work. Unfortunately, straightening up the house turned into cleaning out the aquarium, which proved to be a bit more involved than their 30 minute work allowed. After the aquarium was nice and clean, the boys returned to a grammar test as Olive started to stir. It was 4:00 and I realized this may be my last chance to actually apply the Tecnu on my itchy body.

With Olive complaining loudly in the next room, I successfully apply the poison ivy stuff. I do this while answering questions from the boys who are standing outside the door. "What does A-n-t-h-o-n-y spell?" Next, I feed Olive yet again and camp out at the table to guide the boys through the rest of school. Much to my surprise, it is 4:45. Where did the day go? It is starting to rain, so I rush Asa and Addison out the door to feed and water the chickens. It seems they are unable to gather the eggs before the downpour.

Olive needs lots of eye contact time, so I spend a while sitting on the floor, playing.... playing while making mental lists of things to do once she goes down for another nap. Because Ivey went down for a late nap, she doesn't wake up until 5:00. This was bad timing since Olive was requiring attention. Ivey gets upset when I bring Olive upstairs with me, as I cannot lift her up and give her some post-nap snuggling. So, I have to choose who I so often must do. I grab Ivey and head down the stairs, grabbing a call from Jeff who is telling me he is on his way home. As I'm on the phone, Olive is crying, Ivey is complaining loudly that she cannot have the entire bag of goldfish off the counter and Asa is asking me if he can have a snack. Needless to say, I can't hear a word. But, I do hear that he's on his way home. I also know we're having leftover vegetable soup, so I can breathe a sigh of relief on not having to concoct dinner with a baby on my hip. Hey, the other night I successfully made french toast and fried ham all while nursing. Safety first, huh?

Jeff walked in and I hand Olive off just long enough to make 6 peanut butter sandwiches. It won't be long before we're using a loaf at a time. Olive starts wailing, so I pass dinner duties off to Jeff while I take her. Dinner is served. After dinner, Jeff starts to watch Star Trek with the boys while the girls and I sit on the floor. He always gets the easy ones. I work on getting Olive to bed... he deals with Ivey. The boys decide they want to try the mulberry jelly that Jeff made last night, so they make some PB&J's and finally hit the sack.

By 9:30, I had cleaned up my room and tackled the monumental heap of dishes in the sink. A clean sink. Wow. I stand there and wait for my medal, but alas, it never comes. Although I have a billion more things to do to get ready for the party on Sunday, I have decided that I can only stay up either tonight or tomorrow night, but not both. I choose tonight to sleep. So, it's 10:00 and I am blogging, watching a bit of t.v. and crashing... for it all starts again in the morning... or whenever Olive says it does...

Thursday, May 20, 2010


We seem to have chatty girls lately! Ivey has been doing lots and lots of talking, both real and garbly-gook. She tells me "Momma sit" or "robe on" or "gone gone". She also goes on and on in pretend sentences, which is just completely adorable.

Olive is also Miss Chatty. She is a very very vocal baby, loving eye contact and cooing. I guess part of her intensity and loudness could be from having such a vocal personality. We've had enough babies to know that little things they do as babies are big clues into who they will be later in life. In the last few weeks, Olive has blossomed from the little larvae that she was to a baby with a blossoming personality!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I cannot believe that I have 7 year olds. There's no doubt, they are truly big kids now. We have a week left of First Grade and we are no longer 6. I can't quite grasp how that much time could have gone by!

We had a great day... McDonalds and the park (where we finally perfected "pumping" ourselves on the swing), followed by Daddy coming home early so we could give them their present. They have a 15' x 42" pool... or they will, whenever we can get the thing level enough to fill up!

Congratulations, Asa and Addison for being such big kids!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spring: Where Every Night is Bath Night

With the beautiful weather, the kids have been thoroughly enjoying the outdoors. Now that Ivey is such a big girl, it seems the boys have a new playmate in the "beaver dam". She grabs her shovel and gets right out there with them... filling her hair, pants, socks, and diaper with dirt in the process. Needless to say, both laundry and baths have increased since she has been introduced to the boys' play area under those trees. Now, if Asa can just keep her from filling back in his carefully placed holes....

Friday, May 14, 2010

...and in my spare time...

Our field trip to the goat farm was not exactly a random occurrence. It was actually a mission to see if the boys would be able to actually milk them. Why? Because we have been interested in getting a milking doe to provide us with our milk needs. We used to have Nigerian Dwarfs, but this time we would be going to the farther end of the dairy breeds and going with the Saanens. Saanens are the largest of the dairy breeds, but they are super duper sweet and give a lot of milk.

After a little work to get the yard back into goat mode, Gretta and Heidi came to live with us last Sunday. Gretta is a two year old who just had a kid 3 months ago. Heidi is an unrelated 3 month old doeling. We can breed Heidi in the fall and have a second milking doe. At first, we were milking twice a day and getting nothing. Well, we got a whopping 1/2 a cup each time. We were concerned that there may be a problem... and there was... just not with Gretta. It seems Heidi had been nursing from her surrogate mother. We kept Heidi separated from Gretta for 12 hours and saw an enormous difference. She's giving a quart every 12 hours, which I'm pleased with. We are hoping to get her to a once a day milking schedule in time. As for now, we keep Heidi in a pen over night and I milk Gretta in the morning. Then, they can spend the day together and Heidi can take the other quart for herself.

The kids love our new does, and the does are very calm and gentle. Ivey will stand in the yard and "baaaaa!" at them and feed them leaves. I am very happy to have goats again. I missed having them out back.

On the chicken front, it seems we have two that will not stay in the coop. Lemondrop escapes daily to lay her egg in a flower pot in the garage. A Rhode Island Red has decided that she needs to lay her eggs in the hedges by our deck. She gave herself away the other day with a loud cluck and I found a hidden stash of eggs.

Better Days!

Olive is having lots of better days! After being at the end of my mental rope, we have both seemed to turn a corner. She still hates riding in the car, but she has gotten into a rhythm lately and I haven't had the pleasure of hearing her ear splitting screams. I am still not eating any dairy at all, but I may give it a try and see if her intolerance has passed. The allergy testing came back negative, which is good. However, they did not test her for a sensitivity or intolerance. I'm playing it safe, for now.

She is 11 weeks today and just under 13lbs. She's smiling and chuckling after each nap, but after about 30 minutes, she is done. Then, I just have to keep her occupied until she naps. She's only awake now for about an hour and a half at a time. But when she is, it's all eyes on her! She isn't happy to just sit and watch her mobile for long! She loves to "talk". She coos and ooohs at me and it's just adorable. I think she's going to be my chatty girl.

I'm hoping we can stay in this pattern for a while. She is starting to go down for naps much easier. I think putting the music in the room helps. I swear, we have had that same lullaby cd playing on a constant loop 24/7 for the past 7 years!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Leftovers Makeover

Okay, I have been talking about doing this for months, and I finally have. My boys love those gross Kid Cuisines frozen meals. I'm talking fake chicken, mushy mac-n-cheese, heated bubbly plasticy pudding. Why do they love it? Because it's in a cute tray and it comes with dessert. Well, those cute trays are reusable. I am filling the compartments with an entree and a side... and of course a dessert. The dessert is what will make this work. Top the whole thing with Press and Seal (NOT cling wrap. That stuff will either fall of or all the stuff will mix together because it won't seal each section separately.), label them, and stick them in the freezer. I'll have to perfect the reheating process to see what can be paired with what. So far, I'm very pleased with the result. Today I did Chicken and Dumplins with steamed broccoli. I added a little water to the broccoli section to keep it from scalding. I will probably end up having to remove the broccoli until later in the reheat, coming to terms with the fact that those insanely complicated directions on the back of the Kid Cuisines are probably necessary and not put there just to be evil. I didn't have anything exceptionally yummy for dessert this time, so I'll wait until I make brownies tonight and add one to each tray.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Laugher? During History?

So, I'm gifted with the ability to make first graders roll out laughing, even during History lessons.

So, Asa decided to make a funny of his own...
(It is a "pear" of sticks)