Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I took some pictures last month of the kids playing with chalk on the front porch. I was really excited to see them, but somehow my memory card was corrupted. They were lost into digital oblivion... until I used recovery software tonight to retrieve them. I know I take a billion pictures of these kids, but the thought of losing just a few was painful for me! I was so excited to get them back that I decided to forgo a half an hour of sleep to set them to music...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thumbs Up

It appears that we have a thumb sucker! The boys both had pacifiers (or "yaya's" as they decided to call them), Ivey never wanted a paci or a thumb, just Mama, and it appears that Olive has gravitated towards her thumb. She started by sucking on her hands, but in the last week she's found it. She will take a pacifier if I give it to her, but it doesn't stay in for as long as the thumb.

I know that some people have had a hard time breaking their thumb-suckers from the habit, but I am actually pretty pleased with this arrangement. Olive is such an intense little girl, she needs to be able to self sooth. I think her new comfort has helped her start to go for more than 10 minutes in the car without screaming... not much longer than 10 minutes, but I'll take what I can get! Yes, I may curse it later, but for now I will just enjoy the happiness and the fact that she can't drop her thumb in the car!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Little Engineers

Much as it's been since they were three, the boys still play with Legos as their hands down favorite toy (except for video games, of course, which Addison would play non-stop until he died of hunger or his bladder exploded, much like Jeff circa 1997). Asa still prefers mechanical endeavors. Addison doesn't care to use motors, but he likes designing Star Wars ships, tanks and army vehicles. Either way, their creativity comes to life on a daily basis. They have drawers, containers and bins full of meticulously organized pieces and parts to aid in their construction. If only they could get out and organize Jeff's workshop in such a fashion. I'm glad to see that my passion for organization has passed on to the next generation. I knew sorting those colored bears into different cups as a toddler would pay off.

When Asa needs a new idea, he likes me to help him surf around on YouTube looking for tutorials and videos to get ideas from. Lately, he's been wanting me to help him make his own videos so people can see the things that he comes up with. For a boy who can be shy and self conscious at times, I think this is a great way for him to practice public speaking and build his confidence. Addison likes to make videos as well, but I think he's pretty much topped out in the self confidence department!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shurt Onnnn

Ivey is all about dressing herself lately. Dressing herself, going up the stairs by herself (without the rail, thank you very much... rails are for sissies), buckling up in the car by herself... pretty much anything "by herself". It started with the stripping of her pajamas in the bed and progressed into demanding that she put on every shirt she sees, even if it's not hers or she's already wearing one. However, she does not pull the shirt all the way over her head. Oh, no. You see, the new fashion trend is to wear it on top of your head with your face poking through the neck or arm hole. Whether you're throwing a temper tantrum in Target or just watching Pickey Moush at home, this look is sure to have you looking your best. It's all the rage.

Ivey Passes the Test!

Ivey passed her swim test today! She had to wear pants, a shirt, a jacket, a regular diaper and tennis shoes. She LOVED wearing her jacket in the pool and actually cried when it was time to take it off! I am really proud of my little fish. It's not easy to float for 2 minutes straight!

Reaching Out

Just yesterday, Olive focused all of her little brainpower and reached out her chubby little hands to grab a toy. She's been sucking on her hands (and even finding her thumbs a few times), but yesterday was the first time she wanted to grab an object and could make her body cooperate! She is well on her way to being a more independent baby, which I think will work great for her personality. I think most of her frustration comes from being bored, as if she's trapped in her little non-functional body!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Morning Chores

It's Saturday, but since Jeff is out of town it's my day to milk the goats. Usually, I try to get up before the kids... or at least before the girls. This morning, however, they were both up earlier than usual. So, I had to set Ivey up with a sippy cup of milk and an episode of Dora and take Olive with me in her bouncy seat. Olive is usually happy out there in her seat for the first 10 minutes. After that, she's mad and lets us know it.

First, I prep the milking pot. I take our stainless steel stock pot and place a cloth on top for a filter. I use Gerber Birdseye Weave Flatfold Cloth Diapers that I had originally purchased as burp cloths. They work great! I place it on top, give it a little slack and attach it with a bungie cord loop. I then take a clean washcloth and my homemade teat wash and head out the door. For a teat wash, I use the exact same recipe as I use for my cloth baby wipes solution. Water, a drop of tea tree oil and a couple drops of Dr. Bronner's Hemp Soap. If you don't use Dr. Bronner's, I suggest it for everything! It's great. We love the peppermint variety.

Let me take this opportunity to give Jeff kudos for my milking parlor! It's a great size, keeps the rain out and gives me a space that can be used only for milking. I love it. The best part? He made it out of scavenged tin roof from the dilapidated house on our other property and pallets that he pulled out of department store trash. Total cost? $20.

I usually milk Gretta first, as she usually demands it. Milking is a time that they get to stand there and stick their head in a grain bucket and chow down, uninterrupted by their stall mate. They love it. I open up the milking parlor door and Gretta hops up and sticks her head through the station. I close her head in with the bungie cord and wipe down her teats and udder, as needed, with the solution. Next, I put on the goat hobble. This was a little pricy ($15), but it has been very worth it! It keeps their legs nice and still. No more kicky goats, knocked pails, or ruined milk because a goat foot plopped inside! Very nice.

After the hobble is in place, I get to milking. It starts out nice and easy. Toward the end, the flow slows down. I massage her udder and the flow returns. I usually have to repeat this about two or three times before she is completely empty. I wipe her down again, spray her teats with "Fight Bac" and let her loose. Okay, so with Gretta it's more like dragging her away than letting her loose. With April, things are a little different. She is still a bit skidish, so I have to do a little trick to get her on the stand. I take Gretta out and leave the parlor gate open. As long as I'm not really close to the milking stand, April will jump up and stick her head right through to eat. Then, I can reach over the parlor wall and latch the bungie cord on the milk stand to hold her in place. Once she's in place, she's perfectly fine. She stands still and is easy to milk. She's only a first year milker, so we're only getting 2 cups or so from her, but that will increase wiith each kidding.

I repeats all of the milking steps with April and then head back in the house. The milk comes straight out of the goat and through the birdseye cloth filter, but I then filter it again as I pour it into jars. The total this morning was 7 cups. We were milking twice a day, but we just recently weaned them down to once a day, which will be much more manageable. I am much faster at it than Jeff, but I get a ton more practice. Once Olive starts crying, it's motivation to move super fast. My record time is 16 minutes to walk out the door, complete the entire process and get back in the house.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swim Lesson Update

Swim lessons are going swimmingly! Ivey will be graduating eary, with honors if they had 'em. She really likes to swim, but she is floating very very well. It's just not as fun to her. We will be working for the next couple days to improve her "roll" and just to make it click for her that she needs to roll and float to get her air and to rest before swimming again. She just wants to go, go, go! On Tuesday, she will "test out", which means that she will be swimming in clothes, shoes, diaper and a jacket. Wednesday of next week will be our last day, and I will be getting in the pool with her in order for me to get a refresher on how to maintain her lessons and not mess her up as we play this summer!

While she is in the pool, the boys are able to play in the hot tub area until after the lesson is over. When Ivey is finished, and if they were completely quiet during her lesson with no distractions at all, they can swim in the big pool while I get Ivey dressed. If they whine about getting out, they cannot swim the next day. So far, the boys are the easy ones! It's Olive that is a handful! I pretty much have to wear Olive in a sling or hold her during the lessons. Luckily, Melissa (the instructor) scheduled us as her last lesson so she can give me a hand!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hanging out on Mommy's Bed

(Mommy's bed, cause Daddy usually crashes on the couch watching t.v.. Daddy's couch. Mommy's bed.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pictures are much harder with four...

We took a trip to Kierstin's house, where I snapped some pictures of Ellen, Anna & Bennet and then of Kierstin and Charlee. It was pretty easy to get those of just little Charlee, then it was more than twice as hard to get Anna and Bennett's. But, when it came to my four... let's just say I think we need some expert help! When my group was released into the yard, it was as if someone had kicked an anthill!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just hangin' around...

I have become quite accomplished at cooking dinner with one hand... or two, if she'll ride...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Swim Baby Swim

I have been debating whether or not I can bite off swim lessons for Ivey this year. With Olive's hatred for the car, it is a major stressor to make it ANYWHERE, much less make it to a swim lesson five days a week for at least four weeks. It's a major commitment. I was teetering... until I watched old videos of the boys' lessons. There they were, 22 months old and swimming like little pot-bellied fish. I decided that Ivey's ability to swim... and swim well... was more important than my sanity or blood pressure. Like Asa and Addison at her age, she loves the water and has no fear. So, I we started our lessons on Tuesday of this week.

After going through these with the boys, I knew that she would start out hysterical. Much to my surprise, she wasn't as out-of-her-mind upset as I expected. Again, she loves water. On the first day, she cried and called out for me during the first half of the 10 minute lesson, but then she either felt more comfortable or realized that it wasn't going to help. She just did her job. While she was on her back learning to float, she would sign for me. When the lesson was over, she basked in the sun and smiled. I think she was proud of herself. That night, she talked about "Silla" (Melissa) and how she went under the water. She clapped her hands just thinking about it. This was going much better than the boys' first week ever did!

Her comfort and enjoyment grew each day this week. Yes, she starts out puckering up and scared. She does cry when she has to work at her "float". But, she loves the part where she gets to swim to the steps. Yes, it is hard for me to go 25 minutes away with Olive in tow every single day.... but my little Ivey is thriving on this! In my opinion, these lessons are not just about swimming. They teach my children from toddlerhood that they can work really hard at something, even if they hate it and are scared, and then succeed. It teaches them that somethings we have to do even if we don't want to. It teaches that hard work leads to accomplishment. No, these lessons aren't consciously remembered, but I like to think they are back there, shaping their little personalities for the better. Plus, they get to swim like fishes!