Friday, September 17, 2010

Potluck in the Park

Asa and Addison said that it was mandatory that we have a get together with their friends before we leave.  Since we have packed up most of our stuff, our house is a wreck, and we have no food... I decided to do an easy potluck in the park.  We will definitely miss having our own personal park and pavilion right out our front door!

The kids had a great time riding scooters and bikes, and I had a great time chatting with friends that I will miss very much.  I am not good at making friends.  I can talk up a storm to random people in a check out line, I can really like people and want to hang out with them, but I rarely am able to meet people and take that step to actual friendship.  Well, it may have taken a few years, but I have some really good friends in Bethlehem that I will miss very much.  I love the community, I love our church and I love all of the wonderful people that have helped to raise my family since we moved here six years ago!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Checklist

The boys have developed a check list of all the things we need to do before we can leave.  We need to go to the Magnolia Place to eat (they call it the Okra Place).  We have to go say goodbye to the people at the post office.  We have to have one last party with our friends.  Well, yesterday we knocked an item off the list.  I took the kids to the "rock wall playground".  No, that's not its real name, but it has a little climbing wall so the boys dubbed this park the "rock wall" one.

The mornings are starting to be nice and crisp, but this afternoon proved that Fall is not quite here.  We may have roasted, but at least Ivey didn't get water in her eyes... she just had to wear her goggles.  Not a bad last day at the park!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goals For Myself

- Wear shoes more so your feet don't look like the feet of a homeless person.

- Take your hair out of a ponytail at least once every 24 hours to let your scalp take a rest.

- Stop calling four chocolate chip cookies "lunch".

- Go dancing, or at least dance at home every once in a while.

- Stop feeling guilty for taking clean shirts to the cleaners just to have them pressed. Accept that you do enough and aren't going to take up ironing any time soon.

- Keep moving those home videos to DVDs. You only have 20 more to go to catch up.

- After clipping 80 finger and toenails, give yourself a pedicure... even if you lose a little sleep to stay up and do it.

- Try to act a little more interested when Addison talks for days about video games

- Let Asa help you more often.

- Stop letting frugality take away your birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc. Saving money does not prohibit celebration. Defend it.

- When you move, make friends and actually do things with them on occasion... without children.

- Have a small amount of nice clothes that make you look/feel good, instead of owning bags and bags of cheap and/or old clothes that make you feel frumpy.

- Try not to to spiral into an emotional tizzy when you are trying to get ready to leave on a trip. Possibly delegate packing duties... it's a lot for one person!

- Listen to music that was not written by Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner or the Backyardigans.

- Don't worry about losing your hobbies... Remember that in a few years everyone will be older and you will still have your pysanky supplies, those ostrich eggs to design, pictures to take, and those books to write.

- Get back to that 30 Day Shred, even if you're at your goal!

- Stop being so hard on yourself.

- Get an actual family portrait taken.

- After working your tail off to actually get your house clean, stop actually believing that maybe this time you can just keep it this way.

- Refrain from sleeping in your makeup at least 3 nights a week so your pores can take a breath.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Addison's cure for the common cough...

As we went through our night time rituals tonight, Addison asked if he could have a big glass of water. He has been congested lately so I thought it was a great idea. I filled up a glass of cold water from the fridge and handed it to him.

Jeff and Asa just got home from a long day of fence building, mailbox post hole digging, and removing a dead deer from underneath Mim and Papa's porch. Jeff went to run bathwater but couldn't... it seems Addison was in the tub... clothed... with his glass of water... pouring it up his nose.

We inquired as to the purpose of his actions. He recalls that a grandparent told him that pouring water up his nose would help with his cough. It is at this time that he explains that he tried to stick his nose upside down under the bathroom faucet earlier today, but to no avail. This time, he was able to get some cold filtered water up there. He said it felt funny.

It seems that Grandmomma told him that saltwater up his nose would clear his stuffy nose. I'd say he heard half of it right. I wish he would listen to me that well.

Things to Ponder

We loaded up the truck and trailer and made a trip to Fayetteville this weekend. I packed up clothes, diapers, baby food, and all of the necessities for our family of six to go on an overnight stay. Ivey spent the car ride down barking orders at the boys. "Stop it, guys!", "Hush, boys!", "Quiet, Asa! Odive nite-nite!" (Asa was not even talking and Olive wasn't asleep, so this was just Ivey wanting to tell everyone what to do.) She has become quite a bossy little girl in the car.

When I got almost all the way there, I realized that the extra large bag that I pack everyone's clothes and things in was STILL AT HOME. Everything I packed up... toothbrushes, underwear, diapers... everything... was still sitting there on the dining room table. We managed to survive, but that night each and every child slept in the buff while I washed their clothes. At least I'll have less laundry to do when I get back home.

We left to come home late last night, just Addison, Ivey, Olive, and myself. Within 10 minutes, Addison and Olive were asleep. Ivey, on the other hand, stayed up for the entire hour and a half ride, talking the whole time. She talked about airplanes and bridges and Twinkle Star. She wasn't satisfied with a one way conversation, either. So, I had to sing and talk and be thoroughly entertaining until we made it home at 11:00 at night. She is a major night owl. I was majorly exhausted!

Jeff and Asa are at the other house, finishing up the goats' new fence. Jeff said that at one point Asa looked up, deep in thought. "Daddy, wouldn't it be cool if we were the same size?" Jeff agreed that it would be cool. "What if half of us were a grasshopper... because grasshoppers have really strong legs and can jump really high... and half of us were an ant... because ants can carry like 50 times their weight. We could get a lot done then." Jeff again agreed. But, why did Asa begin this conversation with the dream of them being the same size? Because if you didn't start out the same size before you turned in to an ant and grasshopper, then morphing wouldn't work very well, of course. That's just plain silly.

On the homefront, Addison, Ivey, Olive and I are working on packing up. As I was head down in a box, I heard Ivey say, "Tail in, Momma!". Now, little kids say lots of things. All. day. long. The trick is to learn when to pay close attention. Of course, there are key words to look for, like "mess" or "uh-oh" or "potty", but sometimes things are a bit more esoteric. At this point, I am able to hear "Tail in, Momma!" and know for great certainty that there is a cat somewhere who has been sealed in Tupperware. After inspection I learned, once again, that Mommas are usually right.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Asa had a very big night last night... he lost his first tooth! He came bouncing down the stairs about 30 minutes after bedtime to make the big announcement. He is one very proud boy! Both Asa and Addison had their first loose tooth within a week of each other; the same tooth. It just so happens that Olive popped her first tooth just one week ago! It's just a month full of dental landmarks at our place!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Worm

When we began school this year, I gave the boys an incentive to read. I made up some book charts and told them that for every 5 chapter books (like a "Junie B. Jones" book, "Stink" book, etc.), they would earn a Blizzard from DQ. For each book that they read, they have to fill out a two page book report form.

Both Asa and Addison read very well. However, Addison loves it. In the past few months, Addison has become the biggest book worm ever. He reads at the dinner table, reads while he brushes his teeth, reads in bed. I've actually said the words, "Addison! Put that book down!"

I had bought three "Captain Underpants" books off of Ebay, thinking they were a little advanced for them (I wasn't crazy about the content/slang language/etc but desperate to find something that boys would like and that would spark Asa's attention.). Well, Addison picked them up and read all three in two days. I bought 9 more and he finished each and every 150+ page book in less than a week.

Last night, Jeff took Addison to Dairy Queen for his ice cream reward. On the way home, Jeff asked how many books Addison had read. Addison responded, "I've already read 7 more... I just have to do the paperwork."

Holly and the Unicookies

In school today, I told Asa and Addison that if they could take my oatmeal cookie recipe and show how much of each ingredient I would need to make a batch and a half, then I would make them. They came through, writing each ingredient down on fat lined second grade handwriting paper. As promised, I got to work. These aren't typical oatmeal cookies. They are Lactation Cookies, complete with brewer's yeast and flaxseed meal. They're very yummy, fairy nutritious, and boost milk supply.

As I was halfway through the recipe, I realized that I did not have enough all purpose flour. I did, however, have bread flour. I did a quick Google search and discovered that I may need to reduce the flour a little or add a little more liquid to the recipe. The dough looked right. I put the cookies in the oven and waited for their yummy goodness. Instead, all of the cookies merged into one mega unicookie. I scraped it off the pan, wondering what happened. The bread flour substitution would have created tougher cookies, ones that didn't spread... not this! I checked the boys' calculations and there were no errors.

Asa and Addison were thrilled. Although they were flatter than pancakes and all ran together, they were super tasty. They ate them up, humored by my confusion. As I ate a few of the crepe-cookies I wondered... Did I leave out something? They taste right. Maybe I missed an ingredient? I chewed. I thought. I chewed some more. Then it hit me... these oatmeal cookies were oatless. Somehow I had managed to leave out 4 1/2 cups of oats. Luckily, I had only baked one panful. I added the oats, minus a little, and they turned out perfect.

Chock up another baking near-disaster to mommy-brain.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby Soup

Toddlers are picky eaters. They can love something today, hate it the next, and go days with very little food. The solution? Have a baby. Note that your toddler is incredibly interested in the feeding of the baby. Blend up your toddler's food, call it baby food, and try to feed it to the aforementioned baby. Then, be the nicest mommy ever when you let her have it instead. Bingo.

On a similar note, I cannot discern Ivey's word "baby soup", which means "bathing suit" from her word "baby soup", which is what she calls Olive's baby food half the time. I'm sure she hears a distinct difference.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Note To Future Addison...

Did I ever tell you that at about 4 years old, while swimming at the Y, a nice lady asked you where you got that scar on your tummy... and you told her it's when the doctor cut you and your brother apart?


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fashion non-sense

The answer is... yes.

In my packing up the house marathon this weekend, I went through bags of clothes that I kept from highschool. I didn't hold on to all of my old clothes, but there were some thrift store gems and sentimental items that were just too great to let go of. Flag corps uniforms, Letterman jacket, graduation smock, the leather pants that Jeff gave me when we were dating (that he showed up on my apartment doorstep WEARING after buying for me), prom dresses, favorite outfits from my combat-boots-go-with-everything-days, and so on. There were quite a few things that I am so glad I kept... the fact that I thought they were awesome then, and now pulled them out of the bag and couldn't help but think "how awesome is THIS!" makes me laugh. The difference is that now, I have inhibitions to keep me from sporting them out to dinner. I guess after the huge yard sale we are soon to have, my crazy fashion taste (or lack thereof) will be someone else's awesome Halloween costume this year!

Let's go into the Waybac Machine...

I cannot find my bowling shoes... from the bowling alley... that I wore to school. Drat.

6 Month Checkup

Friday was Olive's 6 month check-up. Our big girl can sit up all by herself for a good while before she topples over. This week, her army crawl picked up speed, causing me to frantically vacuum and baby-proof as she scooted around behind me. She is a sweetheart, and I love the fact that just by making eye contact with her she will erupt into a huge open mouth grin. We started rice cereal, and pureed fruits and veggies about a month ago, and she is doing very well. I fear she may have some of Addison's strange taste buds, as she loves green beans and gagged over peaches, though. Funny stuff. Unless she sneezes in the middle of a mouth full of sweet potatoes. Not so funny.

Any worry I had over a possible milk supply issue can be officially put to rest. (Not that I was worried, she is too happy and content for me to have a milk supply issue!) Our little girl is 24.5" long, 16lbs 10oz, and has a 16.1 head circumference. To put this on a chart, she is between the 5th and 10th percentile for both her length and her head size. However, she is between the 50th and 75th for her weight! What does that mean? It means we have a happy little well fed cute little roly poly! I love it!

This week's trip to the pediatrician was the first time I really cried over this move. I had all four kids with me as I sat waiting for Dr. Hill, and I knew it was my last trip in that office. The first time I walked into that office, I was carrying a diaper bag, two carseat carriers with two 4lb babies in them, two heart monitors and, if I remember correctly, an oxygen tank. Dr. Hill has seen us through preemie-hood, Asa's black widow bite at 11 months old, countless trips to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, ambulance rides, throats that lock up with no warning ... you name it. She knows me. She trusts me. I trust her. When she came into the room, we both cried. I know that we will have another pediatrician, and I am sure that I will find one that I will like very much, but there will never ever be another Dr. Hill and I will miss her dearly.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We've Come A Long Way

It's a quiet night. I sit here, alone, among a pile of boxes and laundry and half packed things pulled from the backs of closets and cabinets that haven't seen the light of day in years. It is a mess. It is quiet not only because it is in the middle of the night, but because Jeff has taken Asa, Addison and Ivey to his parents' mountain cabin for the weekend. After dinner, I helped him pack up the van with the kids' bags, a pack-n-play, and paintings and pictures to store at his parents' house and sent them on their way. After they had been on the road for about twenty minutes, Jeff realized that Addison had no shoes. No shoes. He had to go for an impromptu shoe shopping trip at 8:30pm with three kids, one of which is barefooted. After helping his dad for a couple days at the cabin, he will head down to my parents' house to start fencing off an area for the goats, which must be completed and ready to go by the time we move.

Olive and I spent the evening with music cranked high, dancing, laughing and packing. Now, it is just me... deep into cabinets that I should have cleaned out years ago. I am not a hoarder. I know that some people have a hard time throwing things away... and although I do hold on to sentimental things, and sometimes I just don't have time to go through the medicine cabinet and pull out all of the meds that expired 5 years ago, I don't find it difficult to get rid of things. I actually enjoy it. But, I do have a quirky pack-rat side of me. I am an information hoarder. Photos, newspaper articles, school papers, year books... I even have every calendar/planner since high school. With a little digging, I could tell you when I had a haircut in 1998. No lie. I journal, I blog, I photograph, I video tape. I can't help it... that is what I hoard. Hey, at least most of it isn't heavy.

As I was knee deep in the process of packing up the bathroom cabinets, I realized that they were full of reminders of just how hard it was to make our family grow. I pulled out these items from various hiding places and laid them out on the counter-top. From high tech to out of my mind crazy, I had it all. Bottles of leftover pills with wacky names like Qing Yin Bai Du Pian, Tang-kuei, and Ba Zhen Wan. Two clear packages of Han-Yak, a substance that deserves an entire post of its own.

In a desperately infertile state, I was told by a Korean acupuncturist that I had to drink a warmed packet of this stuff each morning. To say that it was the most vile thing I have ever and will ever smell or taste is a gross understatement. At one point, I did some research to try to figure out what might be included in this concoction. Among other things, dried seahorses and ground up deer antlers. No joke. It was so completely undrinkable that I developed an elaborate routine to get it to stay down. Of course, I had to hold my nose. I actually had to hold my nose BEFORE the packet was opened. If I smelled it at all, it wouldn't stay down. So, with breath held, I would open the packet and pour it into a cup. After placing it in the microwave, I would run out of the room to take a breath, as the smell still lingered in the air. After warming it, I held my nose and placed it on the counter next to a toothbrush. Then, while holding my nose, I would gulp down the liquid hell and instantly brush my teeth.

I thought this would work, however, I quickly learned that teeth brushing was not enough to get the taste out of my mouth. As soon as I let go of my nose, the taste would overcome me and up it would come. I had to chase it with something, first. I tried orange juice, grape juice, coke... nothing was strong enough to overpower the han yak. Finally, I found the correct method for which to ingest this concoction. After warming the liquid, I would place it beside a half shot of Jack Daniels and a toothbrush. With nose held, I would chase the stuff with JD and then brush my teeth and tongue while still holding on to my nose. Spit in the sink, rinse with water, and leave the room before letting go of my nose. Success. I mean, it was successful in helping me keep that stuff down, not in magically whipping me up some top notch eggs.

Back to my cabinet. There were tons of unopened hypodermic needles, alcohol pads, empty vials which held progesterone or saline or Lupron or some other $100+ per day drug, basal body thermometers, empty LH surge kit and pregnancy test strip wrappers bought in bulk from online medical supply stores, and leftover metformin pills. The amount of money and effort and time and heartache and desperation was all laid out across my counter. To think, I now have so many babies that we have filled this house, the van, and my sanity to their top capacities. A true miracle, for sure. And, as I rake the entire smorgasbord of both eastern and western medical supplies into the big black trash bag, I think of the wild ride of infertility and how God carried us through. I heard Tom Petty singing "You belong among the wildflowers" from the computer speakers and I couldn't help but smile thinking of God's sense of humor and the little wildflower I have sleeping peacefully in the next room.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Old House Perspective

As we pack up the house, Asa and Addison have been asking what goes and what stays. Do toilets stay, do the beds stay, does the refrigerator stay, and so on. As they look around the rooms, Addison pointed out the area on the dining room ceiling where a closet used to be. The sheet-rock is damaged where the closet walls once were... and we never got around to finishing it.

"What is that?" Addison asked.
"A closet used to be there." Jeff responded.
Addison looked confused.
"It attached to the ceiling?" he asked.
We explained that, although they use a wardrobe as a closet, most people have closets that are like little rooms in their house. We call their wardrobe a closet, but it isn't really a closet.

Later on...

"Does the tub go?" Asa asked.
"No. It stays."
"But, it's not attached to the house." he replied.
I explained that even claw-foot tubs have to stay with the house.

Later on I heard Asa say to Addison, "You know what's weird? When we move, our tub and closets will be attached to the house!"

Weird, indeed.