Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making an Impression

I took Addison to the orthodontist today to get his impressions made.  Although he is too young for braces (and boy, will he need them), he does have to get an immediate problem corrected.  He has a crossbite, and it's getting worse rapidly.  So, he is getting braces next week just to get those top teeth to fall in front of him bottom ones.  Then, one day when all of his permanent teeth come in, we'll go back for braces to straighten everything out.

My little man was pretty nervous about today... and it was just for impressions and spacers.  When we went for his consult, he wouldn't make eye contact with anyone.  He just kept changing the subject to the salt water aquarium in the orthodontist's office whenever they asked anything.  He did, however, actively participate in the question and answer section.... when they explained to him exactly what they would do and asked if he had any questions for them.  Boy, oh boy.  It took him 30 minutes or more to get the answers to which teeth would have brackets and which would not, if having loose teeth will effect his braces, why one teeth model seemed to be plastic and the other looked more like real teeth, and on and on and on. 

Today, we went in and he sunk down into the chair.  The boy was spazzing out inside with anxiety!  He kept throwing out these weird nervous grins and squirming around.  They explained how they would do the impressions and asked him if he would like watermelon flavor.  He looked disgusted... and he decided that no flavor at all was better than watermelon flavor.  They filled up the tray, inserted it, and he realized that he had been WRONG.  Although he did gag, he didn't actually throw up.  But, he did second guess his decision on the watermelon.  They remixed the goo, put some numbing gel on the roof of his mouth (which made him FREAK OUT and think that his mouth was burning off), and did the top impressions with little trouble.

Having a little old man in a little boy's body at an orthodontist's office was quite a trip.  When they asked him to brush his teeth, he dumped out the rinse they gave him, filled his cup with water, and commented on how he just wouldn't like the taste.  When he had to throw the cup and disposable tooth brush into the trash, he commented on how much money it probably cost to throw away all of those toothbrushes.  He didn't have to worry about any of the foods on the list of "no no's", because he can't stand any of them... except for Starburst.  Considering he will only be in these for 6-9 months, I think it will be a good experience for him.  It'll hopefully show him that he just has to step outside his comfort zone, face up to his fears, and know that he's gonna live through things.

Plus, I told him that he could have ice cream each time we go in for an adjustment.  He asked how often they would be, took an average of how much time he should be in braces, calculated how many ice creams he would be getting over this ordeal, and nodded his head, approvingly.  I think he'll make it.

Close to you.

Olive, Olive, Olive. 

This little girl is a unique, feisty, chatty, stubborn little mess.  The girls have been doing a much better job at sleeping all night without clobbering each other... and Olive has even developed a polite way to try to get out of her room at night.  Instead of crying or yelling, she simply takes her bappy, her pillow, and her blanket, camps out by the door, and knocks.  She knocks until she falls asleep right there behind the door.  Like a puppy.  I'd say that four nights out of the week, we have to push the door open just enough to squeeze through and relocate her to her bed.  It looks so pitiful, but she seems pretty happy.  Funny girl!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Figuratively Speaking.

My Addison, as super intelligent as he is, has a major problem when it comes to jokes.  The figurative language skills that it takes to form a joke is just lost on the poor guy.  When kids are young, they just make up silly jokes by stringing words together.  We had plenty of that!  But, now that they are older, the other kids can all understand the meanings of jokes, the use of puns within jokes, and can definitely tell what is funny and what is not. 

At school, the kids have been telling jokes, including knock-knock jokes.  They mostly come from joke books or backs of cereal boxes.  However, some are able to make them up pretty effectively.  It was very obvious that Addison lacked these skills.  During the knock-knock jokes at lunch last week, Addison tried to chime in with a few which flopped miserable.  He just doesn't get why theirs are funny, but his are not!  Anna, sensing the uncomfortable moment (probably sensing it much more than Addison himself), saved the day by whispering a joke for him to tell to the other kids.  What a sweety!

This week, Addison chimed back up at lunch with these gems:

"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"Salesman who?"
"Don't bother with who I am!  Here!  Buy a shirt!"

"What did the ice do to the ice skater?"
"Swallowed him."

"Do you know why rocking chairs like to eat rocks?"  
" Isn’t it obvious?  They have “rock” in their name!"

Wow.  I'm not sure if they offer "joke therapy" anywhere, but if so, we need to sign Addison up!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

These girls.  Yowza.

They keep the day full of squeals and screams and genuine insanity.  They keep their daddy on his toes, taking turns being the one to refuse to give him kisses.  For the last couple weeks, it has been Olive's turn.  That girl will turn away, ignore him, you name it, when he asks for a kiss.  Poor Jeff just doesn't know how to play the game.  I keep telling him... If you act like you're not interested, you'll get kisses!  That's just how us girls work!

Last night, Olive sat at the counter beside me.  Jeff asked for a kiss and she turned her head my way.  I asked for one... and SMACK!  A big one, right on the lips.  Jeff asked again... so I got another.  This went on, with her knowing full well that she was making her daddy crazy.  Later on, he read a book to her in bed.  He asked for a kiss and she would kiss the characters on the page... each and every one of them!

This, my friends, is how girls learn to play the game.  And, boy, do they play it well!  He wouldn't be nearly as interested in giving her all this attention and working to get these kisses if she just puckered up the first time!  Silly boys.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hitting a Chord with the Kids

Our Suzuki piano lessons at our little school are, in a word, amazing.  It's not just the teacher, or the lessons.... it's the combination of the comfortable setting of the school house, the beautiful collaborative learning between the kids, the dynamic teacher, and the natural method of Suzuki.  It just works, and it's just amazing.

My boys have forgotten everything they learned from Suzuki violin.  Let's face it, they have been out of it for years... and years to an 8 year old is like decades to an adult.  I'm not sure if there are little nuggets tucked away back in their minds, that they are completely unaware of, or if they are just taking to this extremely well on its own.  Each of our five students in class are doing an equally awesome job!

We began these lessons the second week of August.  Here it is, late October, and not only are they able to play a few songs with both hands, they are learning something more important:  the ability to pick out a song by ear and the familiarity with the keys to feel comfortable doing so.  Asa and Addison learned "Be Still and Know" in a week and a half.  Maybe if I had learned in a similar manner, I could have ventured off of the notes on the page a little.  Instead, I could only read and play.

Needless to say, we will be continuing our group lessons.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Final Scan.

Saturday morning, Jeff woke up to find that his wallet, which had sat on the bedside table, had been emptied.  He scurried around, looking for the missing cards... loudly asking Olive where she put them.  I say "loudly" because, even though both girls were sitting on top of me, I was still trying to sleep.  Unsuccessfully.

He finally realized that Olive had stuffed them all under the door the leads down the stairs.  Since she had been saying "milk" and "eat" as she did it, I imagine she was trying to pay the door to bring her a sippy cup and a Nutrigrain bar.

I took this opportunity to explain to Jeff, again, why I do a final scan of the house before I go to bed.  It's not because I am just uptight or because I just want to avoid laying down in a comfortable bed for a few more minutes.  I do it because you have to.  Each night I look around... move this screwdriver to the drawer.... close the bathroom door... scoot the computer chair away from the desk.  I am a zombie in the morning, so I need to take this time of coherent thought to prevent disaster at 7am.  A final scan would have moved that wallet. 

A final scan would have also helped tonight.

Tonight,I passed the parental reins to Jeff and headed out to do farm work after dinner.  I sported my awesome purple galoshes that I snagged at Target for $6 and knocked out a lot of things that I have been wanting to do for a while.  I soaked all of the chicken feeders and waterers in bleach water, cleaned out the pet carriers where various chickens and baby goats had slept (and pooped), moved limbs, moved the grain to a different container, relocated the milking stand and cleaned out the stall.  I worked until well after dark... and the only thing left on my "wanted to do" list was to scrape out and disinfect the chicken coop.

While I was out enjoying the fall night despite the poo, Jeff had bathed the girls, put them in their pj's, hopefully brushed their teeth, and put them both to bed.  He came out and we chatted while I finished up.  A few minutes went by and Mom came out.  It seems that Olive was fussy.  Not crying, but just fussy.  She wanted to know what she should do... go and sooth her or just see what plays out.  I was of the opinion that, if she is just being intermittently fussy, it would be best to just leave her for a bit.  She wasn't disturbing Ivey, so she would probably bore and just go to sleep.

Jeff and I went and checked out the progress that was made on the house next door (the house where we will hopefully be living pretty soon).  When we came back in, I marched up to the shower.  Everything seemed nice and calm.  No more whining from the girls' room.  It seems there was more going on in that room than it appeared. 

Jeff came in and simply said to me, "Just don't ask dads to do things."  I sighed.  What on Earth could it be this time?

While we were meandering around in the rest of the house, Mom was inside the girls' room.  Doing damage control.  She did decide to go and check on Olive. When Olive is ready to get out of her room, she takes her blanket, her bapie (paci) and her kitty cat pillow pet, and camps out at her door.  Tapping and knocking.  Last night, she had fallen asleep behind the door.  I had to slowly push her along enough to get into the room and then relocate her sweet self.  When Mom entered the room tonight, that's where Olive was.  Right behind the door.  Mom reached down to pick her up and Olive slipped right through her hands.  Yes.  She was slippery.  It probably had something to do with the bottle of shampoo on the floor.

My silly little girl had gone back into the bathroom, retrieved the shampoo bottle, and covered herself in it until it began to dry on her chubby thighs, and she was completely exhausted and miserable.  Mom moved her to the sink and rinsed her entire body, thinking the bath tub would be moving in the wrong direction.. and may wake Ivey.  Olive was happy, but exhausted.  Now, the super clean girl is resting peacefully, in new dry pj's.  Maybe, just maybe, the wallet/shampoo combo of the last three days will drive home the "final scan" concept to my well meaning husband.  Maybe.  Maybe I'll leave a glass of red wine next to the laptop, head to bed early, and test that theory.  Or, maybe not.

A battle of wits.

Addison takes Aikido lessons every Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Because life is so insane for us, Grandaddy takes him the vast majority of the time.  This means that those two get to spend an awful lot of time together.  They do go to Aikido, but they also go out for hamburgers afterward on a regular basis.

One night, instead of going out for burgers afterward, they went out to Mexican beforehand.  As they ate, Grandaddy noticed that Addison had downed a lot of chips, but no salsa.  It was a little hot, so Grandaddy challenged Addison, "You know, anybody who can ride 'Rockin Roller Coaster' should be able to eat that salsa." 

Addison slyly looked back and replied, "Anyone who can eat that salsa could've ridden Rockin' Roller Coaster."


Grandaddy had just lost a battle of wits with an 8 year old.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rebuilding the Flock: Take 6

We had some seriously crummy luck with chickens this year.  Let's see... we bought some young pullets that ended up having MG (Mycoplasma gallisepticum), were stupid and didn't quarentine new recruits so we exposed most of our flock (so we had to cull them), had a fox or other critter get some, had horrible luck with hatching eggs, and ended up with no birds at all.  How depressing. 

After a break from even trying to hatch again (I ran into some really bad luck on my hatches.  Humidity, maybe?), I'm giving it another shot.  The kids and I drove out to Garry Farm to pick up two dozen blue/black/splash maran eggs and a dozen lavender orpingtons ones.  We will be using these as a Life Cycle project for our class.  Hopefully, we will be able to candle them and track their development.  I put them into the incubator tonight, so technically there is a good chance some will begin hatching on a Thursday, November 3rd.  Back when my hatches were successful, we had a few that would start hatching on day 20.  The kids would love to watch as they hatch out!

 The farm visit was a good one.  It is always so nice to go to a working farm and be reminded... it's never the rolling fields and the red painted barn and matching silo.  It's real.  It's messy.  It's pieced together with what you have... and that is just fine. 

As we begin working on our property and laying out what we would like to raise here, grow there, and where to put this pavilion or our home, I need to keep in mind that a farm can take on many shapes.  It can fill many different needs.  Martha Stewart does not have to design my layout.  She sure hasn't designed the vast majority of the farm scenes I have visited.  Why?  Because they are bustling and growing and changing and adapting and surviving.  And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Picture Day!

It was Picture Day at our little school house!  We have been having a great time in school this year.  Actually, that was a major understatement.  The truth is, my little "hybrid school" idea is going better than I ever dreamed it would.  The kids are learning so much, they are making some really good solid friendships, and their souls are thriving.

Last week, while doing their assignments, the five kids were discussing which VeggieTales song was their favorite.  Even though they enjoy the show, this would have been squasked out of them the first week of typical school.  "You watch baby stuff!", I can just hear it now.  This morning, Addison was teaching Anna how to do division problems.... before school.... while they were still at our house.  I have to write "No practicing piano until everyone is awake" on our white board at night.  While taking individual pictures of each kid today, I had the other four make up songs, off the tops of their heads, about the life cycles of different insects.  Although I cannot remember the entire song, Addison ended his hilarious song about bees with "...and bees die after they sting you... SO... they have to watch their temper!"  At home, there is chaos, there are diapers, there are dishes.  Twice a week, there is nothing but learning all. day. long.

Call it "sheltered".  Call it what you will.  I call it "beautiful".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Why is it that moms out in the world seem so crazed?  So frazzled?  So late all the time?  Why is it that they can't get their acts together... or leave the house earlier... or just get a little organized?

Well, maybe, just maybe, they had the kids fed, changed into clean clothes, and ready to leave early for a change.  Maybe those mommas wiped faces, tidied hands, packed bags, left their little girls sitting calmly and happily at the counter and ran upstairs to get their waking babies, on track to get out the door with ample time to spare.

And, maybe.... MAYBE... they came down the stairs, after just a few ridiculously short minutes, to find that their little girls managed to cover their shirts and faces in blue paint AND pour an entire... an ENTIRE... container of non-pariel sprinkles all over the counter, themselves, and the floor.  Non-pariels... those tiny round ball sprinkles that roll and bounce into every corner of the room.

Impromptu clothing changes and vaccuuming can make even the most together people turn into late, frazzled mommas who just don't look like they've got their act together.  Good grief.  I even had them FED on time!



If you think days like previously mentioned are rare, or even sporadic, think again.  You can pretty much count on them.

Like today.

My list for the day consisted of lessons to plan, doctor's appointment to get to, worksheets to create, school lessons to go over with the boys, dinner to fix, errands to run, and so on.....

The kids' list for the day went something more like this:  ask a billion questions (and not the good kind that you like to answer, the annoying kind), hang onto my legs as I try to walk, dump yet another container of sprinkles (this time, chocolate jimmies) on the floor and play in them, refuse to eat, and so on.  Although I'm sure not actually on Ivey's to do list, she did fall asleep in my bed while watching a movie.  As an attentive mother, and always thinking 18 steps ahead, I noted that she was not in a pull-up (she needs one when she sleeps).  I grabbed a waterproof pad and slid it under her, put a pillow to block her in so that she wouldn't fall out of bed, and grinned at my masterful forethought.  That is, until she woke up in hysterics (for no known reason), flailing and rolling around in sobs, losing control of her bladder in the process.  Off of the well placed waterproof pad.  Soaking the bed.... and adding yet another unplanned hurdle to my productivity.  Sigh.

Advice?  Take that list of things you have to do, wad it up, and try to stick it in one of the many holes in your ship.  Write quickly.  New ones pop up all the time!


My little girl wanted a pirate party... and a pirate party she got!  We headed to the park yesterday to celebrate the big "3", or as Addison put it, to do some "pirate training".  I scaled back on my grand cake plans for some simple, but adorable, cupcakes, gaining me hours of precious sleep.  Mom and I made up some pirate headbands from a yard of skull and cross bone fabric.  Add some plates and napkins that Ivey fell in love with in the store (and has been toting around the house all week), and you have yourself a pirate party fit for the spunky "monster pirate" herself!