Friday, July 30, 2010

Suckers

The other day, I pulled in the driveway and noticed some stuff out by our mailbox. Since we live on a pretty busy street, I just figured that a chicken plant worker tossed another Arby's bag out the window. As I walked onto our back deck, I saw a tiny little kitten under out table. He was pretty skiddish, but you could tell that he wanted to come close. Asa made it his mission to get the kitten to come to him, which he succeeded in doing.

Later on that afternoon, I went out to check the mail. It seems that the trash out by the mailbox was actually a quart sized ziploc bag of kitten chow and a shirt that had obviously been slept on by a kitten. This tiny creature did not wander over to our place... he was dumped off on our doorstep, complete with an overnight bag. Nice. We must look like total suckers.

This kitten is super cute and purrs whenever you look at him. Ivey can drag him around under one little arm. She calls him "baby cat". I am not saying that we are keeping this little guy, but I hope that we can find him a good home. If it's the animal shelter or keep him, I'm sure we'll keep him. For now, we'll just cover him in blankets, feed him out of tea cups and laugh at the sight of him being the height of a chicken's knees.




Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So Much To Say, So Much To Say...

When I went to pick up Olive from the nursery after church on Sunday, Miss Maria enthusiastically informed me that my little girl was crawling. Well, this may have been a slight exaggeration, but not by much! Today, two days later, Olive can make it where she wants to go. It may take her a while. She may combine a couple different techniques to get there, but she gets there. She is 4 1/2 months old.

It appears I need to lower the co-sleeper a little early for this one. The co-sleeper is basically a pack-n-play, except one long side folds down a few inches and you connect it to the side of your bed. A breastfeeding momma's life saver! Well, I'm now glad I have the large one (that can be lowered) and not the mini that I had with Ivey (which I sold, of course, for surely I was finished having babies). Yesterday, Olive had managed to pull herself up the ledge on was halfway on my bed. Today, she has been scooting around the floor. I feel that time is short... I will have a full blown, full speed ahead crawler very soon. How this will work with a full blown, full speed ahead pre-two-year-old in the house, I have no idea. Perhaps Olive needs a helmet.



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In other news, Addison is reading up a storm. It appears that he takes after his Grandmomma and loves reading like nobody's business! He is going through the chapter books "Stink" in an hour or two. We've read all that we have... looks like I need to hit Ebay!




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Ivey has decided to start calling me Holly. That's right... I have a 21 month old screaming "Holly!" from her crib. Oh, she hasn't stopped there. I heard her call Asa "Boy". She told me to "sit down" tonight. Any worry that I had about her speech is completely out the window. This girl can talk, and does talk... all day long. She know her colors... pink, blue, red, yellow, green at least. She counts to four, although she often gets stuck on a 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 loop. Ivey is putting together three words often, and says four word strings daily. Tonight, she told Jeff to "draw thunder". She's still into dressing herself and loves to accessorize, even if the accessories are wrist guards and Olive's hat. The girl is a mess.



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Asa caught a caterpillar (which I spotted crawling across the deck as I was sitting at the dining room table... I've got a great eye for caterpillars) and temporarily contained the fuzzy guy on a piece of white paper under a clear plastic cup. Within 12 hours, Fuzzy had encased himself in a caccoon... right there on our kitchen counter. As long as I don't set a jug of orange juice on top of him, we may have some wings in our future.

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As for Jeff, he began a cheese making endeavor. As I type, he is in the kitchen concocting what we hope to be cheddar cheese in a couple months. As it turns out, the discarded whey can be turned into ricotta. So, although I have to wait two months to see how the cheddar turned out, the ricotta will be made into some yummy Italian dish in the next week.

Cheese making supplies can be pricy. The cheese presses sell for about $100. If they sell for that, then people must buy them. Jeff, however, did not. He went out to the shop and created his own press out of PVC he had on hand and some leftover wood from our cabinets. He had to buy the metal rods and bolts, so it came to about $5. I'm guessing our cheese won't taste any cheaper than if we'd had an expensive model.



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Now that Olive is developing a more manageable temperament, I thought it was time to begin our Lego Curriculum. I pulled out the kit, installed the software, read over the curriculum and taught the first few lessons today. I'm sure it would be a slower go if the kids didn't already have lots of hands on experience with motors, gears, gearing up and down, making pulley systems, etc. For us, the only real lesson to teach (besides how to slow the heck down and learn and follow instructions when it comes to Legos) is how to program the computer to make the motors or sensors do what you want them to do. This is so incredibly cool. Both boys are having a great time, and momma is too. As we learned how to make simple "if/then" commands with the software's "boxes", Asa's imagination was running hog wild. He is mentally creating machines that use each of the features we have learned so far. The kid is his daddy's boy, for sure.




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Cracking the Lego Curriculum has set my brain in gear about our second grade plans. I haven't done any actual lesson planning yet, but I had at least figured out what subjects we will do on which day. I am hoping to be able to get the boys enrolled in a couple classes at the new Summit Academy homeschool classes that are going to be held about 4 minutes away from our house. They loved doing science classes at UGA, but this will be right here near us. I just hope we can swing it... we may be doing a fundraiser or something here in the upcoming months.

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As for me, I have been doing a fairly descent job of keeping up with Jillian Michaels lately. It seems that, although the 20 minute workout is incredibly intense, the hardest move of all is pushing 'play' on the DVD player. With that said, I've lost almost 3lbs in 2 weeks. I think I've made it past my little plateau. I give a little credit to my magical breakfast smoothies. I swear those things helped me lose the baby weight with Ivey. Now, just 7 more lbs to go! If I can make it through Workout Level 1 fairly easily for the next couple days, I will go on to Level 2... and no doubt to whining and hobbling around once again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Night in the Classic City

When the day comes that we actually sell our house, I'm sure a tear will be shed for moving away from the best town on Earth. I just can't imagine not being able to hop in the car and head to Athens for dinner, or to take the kids to campus for a picnic, or to actually find a sitter and go to a show. I love this town.



Jeff's birthday is tomorrow, so tonight we headed downtown to eat at the Last Resort. Sadly, there was a 30-40 minute wait, which with kids would have seemed more like a 90 minute one. So, we marched our party of six over to Copper Creek. Thankfully, Olive does not need a highchair yet. If she did, there would have only been one table there that could have accommodated our flock. It wasn't Last Resort, but it was still very good. It wasn't a date, but at least no one screamed the entire trip... not even Olive, who has found that glorious thumb of hers.



After dinner, we took a stroll in pursuit of dessert. We detoured in Wuxtry, and finally found ourselves at Espresso Royal for dessert. This is where Jeff took me on a "date-ette" over 11 years ago... for coffee and a yummy little caramel. Now, we waltz in with an entire army of yummy-baked-good-locusts in tow. By the time every morsel of brownie had been either consumed or smeared across a cute little cheek, the sun was going down. We hit the car by 9:15 and everyone but Ivey was asleep by the time we hit Milledge Ave. Ivey's our night owl. She rode the entire way telling me to "sing rock baby" and "touch toes"... and so I rode with one arm behind me, running her toes while singing rock-a-bye-baby on a loop. It may not have been a quiet dinner for two, but it was a total success.







Friday, July 9, 2010

An Antagonist Emerges



Since Ivey was born, both Asa and Addison have been head over heals for her. They'd move over if she wanted them to, let her poke them in the eyes because tell her 'no' would make her cry, and turn cartwheels to make her smile. Then, Asa hit seven years old. Addison still bends over backwards for the girl... which she totally takes for granted. Addison tries every morning to snuggle up with her. Ivey reacts the same way every morning... with a screech and scream that says, "Back off, Buddy! I don't do mornings!"

Although Asa still spends plenty of time playing with her, giving her hugs, reading her books, and all sorts of adorable things, he has started to do things just to get a rise out of her. This is completely new, and completely obnoxious. For instance, Ivey puts on these hysterical goggles in the bathtub. Tonight, she was running around after her bath, in that cute-hyper-happy mood, butt naked and in goggles.... and, for no reason, Asa tried to take them off. Last night, we asked him to clean off the table for dinner and he went straight for the toy that she was playing with instead of the entire table worth of junk.

I know, I know... this is just normal brother/sister behavior! It just so happens that we have had nothing but sappy love for two glorious years... so the antagonistic behavior is new for us! In his defense, I don't know many kids who would allow their little sister to jump on their chests and squeal at the top of her lungs while he's trying to watch Indiana Jones. Ivey is no wallflower. She's in the middle of everything going on, egging on tickle fights, and jumping off the furniture. But, unlike me as a kid, she manages to be rough and tough with perfectly bouncy curls.




The ripe ol' age of seven didn't just bring us a touch of picking-on-sister. Blowing out those candles also left Asa was a newfound need to be dramatic. I'm sure someone with a seven year old girl would roll their eyes at this, but this over reaction with a side of disdain is way more than I can tolerate. I hate drama. I hate the pouty-if-I-can't-have-what-I-want-I'd-rather-pout-on-the-couch ridiculousness. I just can't deal with whining. Does that mean it won't happen? No, not at all! But, I don't have to make it acceptable. Once I lower the threshold on what is acceptable, we're in trouble for sure.... we're greatly outnumbered here! There will be a day when we have adolescents in the house and there will be nothing we can do about it. At that point, there's just no way they can control their emotions. I remember it well, and I teaching middle school was a huge reminder. Yes, we'll have a lot of drama in our future. But, I don't want to put up with any more of it than I have to!

Asa may be in a behavior funk right now, but at least the child sleeps! Last night, Ivey woke up screaming, presumably of a bad dream, at 11:30. I tried to calm her down (which finally involved climbing into her crib and holding her) and finally was successful at 1:30 this morning. At 3:30am, Olive woke up for an early feeding. At 6:00, Addison was at my bedside, having severe abdominal cramps and I spent the morning with him on the bathroom floor. Thankfully, at least one child stayed in bed the entire night!

Life with kids is full of stages, and I'm sure I will make it through a seven year old Asa and a 2 year old Ivey. There's still way more sweetness than not... It's actually not as bad as I made it out to be. But, I'd better consider it a practice run, cause a couple 8 year olds, a 3 year old Ivey and a 18 month old Olive is just around the corner.




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4 Month Checkup



I took Olive in for her four month check up today. Dr. Hill came in with a medical student shadowing her. She explained to the student that I lived in a 150 year old house, so they have had to test the kids for lead poisoning (which has always been normal, of course). I informed them that the kids are now on goat milk... uh... that I milk myself. "Unpasturized goat milk?" She smiled and made a note of it. She then said that it was good that I didn't also choose to avoid vaccinations... or she would have to pull out 100 year old medical books in order to diagnose us! Yes, the medical student listened and jotted lots of notes down in his little notebook, and talked to me about how cool it is that I milk goats for the family. I love, love, love my pediatrician... the pro-breastfeeding, laid back when you need her to be but aggressive when there's something really wrong doctor who had a home birth of her own. Love her!



Back to Olive... She had three shots, but did great. Addison said that she cries harder in the car than she does getting shots. Indeed. My little butterball is 14.5lbs and 23.5" long. They said she was in the 25th percentile for head size and for length, and 75th in weight! Knew those cheeks and those big ol' chubby cute thighs came from somewhere! Right now, she is going to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 and waking up at 4:30 to eat... and going back to sleep until 6:30 or 7:00. She sleeps in the cosleeper by the bed... where she will be until she is old enough to sleep all night long and share a room with Ivey. 6:30 is too early for me, so although Olive waked up at this time, I do not. I turn on her mobile and she watches it or plays with toys for an hour until the house stirs. I did this with Ivey, too... I think it's fabulous.


I'll be waiting until close to 6 months before I introduce any solid foods. I think Ivey was 5 1/2 months when I first attempted rice cereal. No rush. She seems to be doing just fine and I'm not big on pushing the solids before they're ready... which is done so often. So, I will enjoy the next couple months of feeding my little roly poly without the need for utensils or a seat!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Accountability and the Shred

Two weeks ago, I purchased Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred off of Ebay. Olive may only be 4 months old, but I'm impatient and ready to get my old body back... not my pre-motherhood body of course, that would be unrealistic, but those 2 months where I was back into shape after having Ivey but before I was preggo with Olive would be fine by me. I am exclusively nursing, so I can't go to any extremes with cutting calories or fat. I figured I could handle this 20 minute a day workout that I've heard so much about.

On day 1, the boys and I filled our water bottles and hit the living room floor for a challenge. They lasted 1.5 minutes, if that. The rest of the time, they sat on the couch making periodic comments about how hard it looked. They were right. I thought I was going to die... or at least collapse. My legs turned to jelly, my heart was pounding. This was no workout for the weak! When it was over, I could barely make it up the stairs to get Ivey from her nap.

By day 2, I did a little better, even though I was working through the pain in my legs caused by the day before. My hamstrings, calves and quads were shot. I have no idea how I made it through, but I did. At the end of the disk, while we re finishing up with cardio, Jillian says, "I want to see you floating off the ground. This is easy for you. You're strong. There's nothing you can't do."

Asa said, "She's being sarcastic, isn't she?"

Over the next 3 days, I did better and better, even though two days of abs were done with Ivey laying across my belly, I had to give directions on how to load math games on the computer while doing jumping jacks, and I learned that, although bicycle crunches may be hard, I shouldn't close my eyes or I won't see the hand weights dangling precariously above my face. After day 5, I came down with a tiny cold that ended up wreaking havoc on my chest. With the chest congestion, my asthma was out of control for a solid week. Drat.

So, now I start again. Today was day 1, again...but this was an easier day 1. There are before pictures, but I;m not posting them unless I complete my challenge... else they become "what Holly really looks like" pictures. Through naptimes cut short, toddlers in the dishwasher, or whatever else may come to pass... let's see if I can make it the full 30 days this time...

Freedom!



It's 4th of July weekend! Jeff was off Friday and is off Monday, but instead of packing up for a trip, we are hanging out close to home. Jeff worked on cleaning out the workshop, and I was able to work a little on our storage room. Asa has been particularly... seven lately, so Jeff took him to run some errands to get some one on one time. I think seven year olds go through some kind of mental stagnation period... or maybe their growth spurts pull the blood away from their auditory system... because they don't seem to hear anything we say. Asa has developed this little pouty semi-dramatic personality trait that really needs to pass!

Anyways, Jeff took him on a trip to the stained glass shop and to Ace Hardware. On the way, Asa was being very chatty and animated, like he does so well. Jeff said that they were talking about the chickens when Asa said explained that we kind of have a little farm at our house, with the goats and the chickens. Jeff said he would like to get pigs, but we don't have the room. This is when Asa got to thinking... "We could get a pig and she could have babies... and then we could let them grow up and kill all of them except one... and keep that one and make more babies... and then let them grow up and kill all of them except one... and that way we would always have pigs! Do you think that's how they do it?" Jeff said that he was completely upbeat and matter-of-fact. I think we have a little farmer on our hands... or he just really likes bacon.

Last night, we headed down the road for the festivities and fireworks in Auburn. For a small town fireworks show, they are pretty impressive! Addison was nervous that it would be too loud for him... he has never liked loud noises. But, Jeff convinced him that he shouldn't watch them from inside the car. After the first "boom", he was very glad he joined us for the real thing! Ivey also began with a little caution, but watched with wide eyes and ended up with a huge smile and she cried when it was over. She loved them! Olive even seemed to enjoy the show!











We'll be split up for the rest of the holiday. Jeff was going to take Asa and Addison with him to our property to work, and then to spend the night in Fayetteville. It turns out that the boys will be heading to the lake with Mim and Papa tomorrow and then we'll get them back tomorrow night! While they were packing up to leave, Ivey kept saying "car" and "go" and "shoes". It seems that she didn't want to get left behind. So... Ivey tagged along to hang out with Grandmomma while Jeff and Randy work on the land. That leave just Olive and me. We will be spending a nice quiet couple days at home. Hopefully, I will have a nap or two and a clean kitchen... or maybe I'll stop with just the naps.