Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas recap

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas recap
Current mood: thirsty

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! We've had a great time so far. We've had not one, not two, but FOUR Christmases so far, with one more to go. First at my Mom's last Sunday, then at Billy's folks' Christmas Eve, then a quiet Christmas morning celebration here to see what Santa left, Christmas dinner at my Dad's, and soon we'll travel to see extended family for our final Christmas. Sheesh! The downside of this is, of course, all the traveling and organization involved. But it has several benefits, not least of which is that I didn't have to clean my house for company, and did not have to cook for anyone other than ourselves (and not much of that). So even though I love having everyone over to my house for Christmas, this year's plans worked well.

Santa did a good job choosing gifts this year. :) Littleman and Sweetcheeks both love their gifts (and each others' gifts too!). First thing, they grabbed their swords and shields and mounted their "steeds" (scooter for Littleman, Rody pony for Sweetcheeks) and had a little joust of sorts. Too cute! It's a good thing there weren't too many things to open, because they were having so much fun that they weren't very interested in what else might be waiting under the tree. Eventually they got around to the rest of their gifts, and appreciated them too- but Santa's gifts win the prize this year. :) Makes me feel good.

There's more I could write of course, but I am tired. I'll just leave you with today's thumbs-up:
(other than Rody, who is a HUGE hit)- the award goes to these "meditation rooms" (more at ). Check them out, and breathe deeply. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cookies! And a link for knitters.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cookies! And a link for knitters.
Current mood: sleepy

Cookie Success!
Sweetcheeks' Montessori class has a holiday party and cookie swap on Friday. I'd hate to send store-bought cookies, and I also wanted Littleman to have the opportunity to help bake- but I knew trying to handle all three boys singlehandedly while simultaneously baking and monitoring Littlemanm would be cookie chaos. SO, I arranged for Auntie G and my Mom to come help. It was great! Between cleaning, laundry and caring for Babyman, unfortunately I didn't actually do much cookie preparation. But Mom and Auntie G had that covered, and both Littleman and Sweetcheeks had a blast helping! They made my Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal cookies for the swap, Sugar Cookies to roll, cut and decorate, and regular chocolate chip cookies because Auntie G requested them. :)

The Cranberry White Chocolate cookies are my own invention, created by modifying existing recipes. They are my favorite of today's baked goods:

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
just a drop of almond extract
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
- Stir butter and sugar together until just blended. Mix in flour, oatmeal, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.
- Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly browned, and tops spring back when touched. Transfer at once to wire racks to cool.
Makes approximately 3 dozen.

Oh and incidentally, this morning was really chaotic: poor Billy accidentally broke a plate, which cut his hand so badly that he had to get stitches! Good grief, the excitement never stops around here. ;) So between that, cleaning and cookies, we've had an exciting day.

* * *

Today's thumbs-up is for a blog that I just found today (thanks, stumbleupon!) but I already love:
Yarn Ball Boogie

It's for knitters, and I think it's quite cool. :)

Also, I wanted to expand a bit on the last "thumbs-up"- the hotslings. I have a hotsling pouch, and it is so awesome! I am using it a lot with Babyman, and he loves it.

I am falling asleep at the keyboard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

grocery success, fermented grape juice and Ron Paul

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

grocery success, fermented grape juice and Ron Paul
Current mood: busy

Well, I did it!
I did in fact hustle all three kids off to the grocery store yesterday evening, and complete my lengthy shopping list. I did not lose my mind, bellow madly at anyone, or run screaming from the store while pulling all my hair out. The boys were on excellent (which is relative, but we'll take what we can get) behavior. Babyman was all cozy in the sling, simply looking around peacefully at all the new sights. Eventually he went to sleep. Littleman and Sweetcheeks were driving the "car" on the shopping cart. Those carts steer like a wounded battleship, but they sure are helpful when you have multiple little ones to shop with. I only had to pop Littleman's skull once (not hard, really!) to remind him to quit touching everything on the shelves as we rolled past. Luckily, nothing fell off and smashed on the floor, but we had a few close calls. Seriously though, they were patient and pretty obedient. I breathed a sigh of relief when we hit our last stop in the frozen foods section. I rewarded them at the end of our trip by buying peppermint ice cream, which I later used as a bribe to get them to eat their dinner. (YUM! I really like peppermint stick ice cream). That was the hard part: getting everyone fed and taken care of at home in a somewhat timely fashion. But I muddled through.

I know future trips won't all be so smooth. But at least I know it's possible.

* * *

Tonight we are eating pasta with spaghetti sauce (the sauce was a gift from a friend, and YUM!! It's good), and I decided to open a bottle of wine that I've had around for some time. (It's white, and since Billy doesn't drink white wine, I was waiting for someone else who would drink it with me. Tonight I decided "screw it", and I opened the bottle anyway. I'm thoroughly enjoying a nice cool glass with my dinner). Anyhow, I bring this up because Littleman was asking me about wine, and what it's made of. I let him taste it. He asked me if there's "grapes in there". I told him that yes, wine is basically fermented grape juice. I wish I had a pic of his expression- he looked at my glass so incredulously, as if to say "Why on EARTH would anyone do THAT to a perfectly good glass of grape juice??" LOL- yes, adults are weird. :)

* * *

The day before yesterday was the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. To coincide with that, volunteers for Ron Paul's campaign organized a fundraiser to support his bid for a presidential nomination. They raised over 6 million dollars in one day. If I'm not mistaken, that's a record amount. The vast majority of his supporters are individuals and small donors, rather than the big-money sources that pour funds into more likely candidates. This really is an amazing grass-roots phenomenon.

Now, I have heard many people comment that Ron Paul hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of getting the republican nomination, let alone of winning the presidency. I've been told that supporting Ron Paul is a waste- of time, of money, of a vote if it comes to that. (I've also been told that voting Libertarian is a "wasted vote"). I would just like to note that such comments really irritate me. No vote is wasted, if you make an informed decision and vote for those you would most like to see win. This idea- that you should never vote for an underdog because your choice would be unlikely to win- is mislead, even manipulated. It is why our screwed up two-party system (two parties as unlike each other as two peas in a pod) continues to thrive. People have been bullied, confused and frightened into believing that they cannot vote for a third party, or else THEY (whichever party is "THEY" to the particular voter) will win! You don't want THEM in office, do you? Don't "waste" your vote! In the same way, people don't want to support Ron Paul. They feel he has no chance of getting the presidential nomination, therefore he's not worth paying any attention to- no matter how much they might agree with his platform.

I'd like to say that I sincerely hope Ron Paul's fundraising successes cause more people to seriously consider him as a possible presidential candidate. It's probably true that someone else will get the republican nomination. Probably. But what if? What if someone new, with fresh, more libertarian ideas and a decentralized, grassroots support system actually gives the rest of these politicians a run for their money? Dare I write it, what if he WON? It's unlikely but I'd like to say it is not impossible. I would like to say that hope is not stone-cold dead in American voters. I'd like to think that we could muster up the balls to vote for an underdog. Even if he Ron Paul does not win, if he does well enough to scare the established system, if he opens more eyes to fresh ideas and other possibilities, then he will have done well. I hope he does well.

* * *
I'm thinking I might do a regular "feature" in my blog: my thumbs-up for the day. Today's thumb-up goes to Hotslings, for their fantastic baby carriers. Check them out.

Chaos has erupted around me and I'm typing so fast my fingers are smoking. OK, not really but I do have to go.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Squash recipe

Monday, December 17, 2007

Squash recipe
Current mood: frustrated

The other day, I was so proud of myself: I actually managed to cook something from scratch to feed the boys! It was a quick thrown-together idea (I had no time) that worked. Unfortunately, it did not meet the approval of my preschool taste-testers, but I think it's yummy. (Of COURSE they wouldn't eat something I'd gone to so much trouble to make for them! Sheesh).

Winter Squash with Sausage and Cranberries

1 winter squash (I don't know what kind I used- it was similar to butternut squash)
1 small summer sausage
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup applesauce (I didn't have any, so I used a baby food jar of pureed pears instead)
1 Tbs butter

- Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Place halves in a glass baking dish, peel side down. Put a bit of water in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Peel summer sausage and cut into small pieces.
- Mix sausage pieces, cranberries and applesauce in a bowl. Spoon mixture into the cavities of the squash halves. Dot with little bits of butter.
- Cover baking dish and microwave on high for 10 - 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Cooking time will vary depending on how thick the squash is).
- I like to scoop the cooked squash out of the peel and mix it all up with the filling before serving, but you could also just serve a piece of the squash to each person with the filling in the cavity- it looks rather nice that way.

* * *

Hmm. I wonder if Babyman will let me put him down so I can go eat some right now.

Incidentally I need to go grocery shopping. It's an intimidating prospect. Just getting out to do anything requires major effort, and the thought of then schlepping all 3 boys through the grocery store somehow, while keeping them under control, getting done before Babyman gets fussy, holding onto my sanity (not good for me to lose it and have my head start spinning around Poltergeist style right in the middle of the cereal aisle at the grocery store), and ACTUALLY get all my shopping done. . . well, I can tell you that thus far, I've not managed to even try. We might make it after the boys have a nap. Or we might not. It depends on their behavior, (I'll have to have some sort of cooperation) and babyman's needs. And dinner.

Yeah, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I need to fuel myself. (I am in awe of Moms with larger broods: how do they DO it?? I guess they have an older child who can help. . . is that the key? I don't know).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

my morning, and a cool link

Billy worked extra late last night, and so had requested that he get to sleep in this morning. This means that I single-handedly:
- rushed through brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom and throwing some clothes on, and
- policed Littleman and Sweetcheeks in an attempt to keep everyone quiet, while I
- nursed the baby, and changed his diaper, and managed to get him to lay down for a few seconds so I could
- take Sweetcheeks to the potty, put a clean diaper on him and help him get dressed, then
- tell Littleman for the five hundredth time to put some clothes on, for heaven's sake- and
- hurry to pick up Babyman, who is starting to fuss, then
- carry the baby downstairs as I hold Sweetcheeks' hand and carry the hotwheels cars he asked me to carry for him, and
- tidy the kitchen table and set out the cereal bowls, spoons, cereal and milk,
- holding Babyman and fielding endless questions all the while, then
- get the boys to sit down and eat, while I
- put Babyman in the swing for a moment, and
- start collecting the breastpump attachments so I can
- pump milk to clear a painful blocked duct (explaining the whole process to the curious boys), then
- add more cereal and milk to their bowls, then
- nurse the baby again (who was fussing), and put him back in the swing while I
- put the pumped milk away in the freezer and wash the pump attachments, and
- mediate a disagreement between the older boys, then
- tidy the table a little and get a bowl for myself, but
- Babyman is fussing again and wants out of the swing so I
- hold him and walk around to calm him, and
- hold him and walk around to calm him, and then
- Billy comes downstairs and I can pass off the baby-holding so I can make coffee and eat some cereal!

Then of course, it's not long till Billy must leave for work and I start the whole marathon over for the rest of the day, all through bedtime and NOW, miraculously, I have a moment to sit quietly and write about my day! Whew.

* * *
Check out this cool website- play the vocabulary quiz game and for every right answer, you help feed the hungry around the world.

* * *
And there's babyman waking. Guess this is it for tonight!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Yule Tree

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Yule Tree
Current mood: blessed

Things are blissfully quiet, but I am very, very tired so this should be brief.

Today, we went to a tree farm and cut ourselves a lovely Yule tree. The older boys had a blast with Daddy, running around with sticks, choosing and cutting our tree, exploring the farm, drinking cider and toasting and eating (too many, in Littleman's case) marshmallows. What bliss. Babyman and I helped choose the tree, and then spent the rest of the time nursing, changing diapers and sitting near the van. It was OK by me, as I had my book (I am rereading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett- a really great read) and some hot cider to sip. The weather was gorgeous- too warm, in fact! Our tree is cool- I forget the variety, but it's sort of bluish gray-green, and intensely fragrant. The Christmas tree smell is very citrusy.

We enjoyed wine and take-out sushi while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree. We found and set up the baby swing, which kept Babyman happy on the sidelines. And Mr. Sweetcheeks only broke one ornament. :P (Really remarkable, actually!) Then we all had eggnog. Mmm. I just realized we forgot the popcorn Littleman had requested, but I think I will spend an evening soon showing him how to string popcorn and cranberries. We can munch and string and sip more eggnog together, and then decorate a bush or something for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. Maybe we'll make peanut butter- pinecone- birdseed ornaments too.

I just LOVE the smell of a fresh Yule tree.
Good night.

PS- not only can I no longer adjust the font size, but my myspace smileys have disappeared too. Hmm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

trying to steal a moment. . .

Thursday, December 06, 2007

trying to steal a moment. . .
Current mood: stalked

If I am going to blog at all these days, it seems I'd better do it earlier than I used to. Night is hard enough, getting everyone fed and to bed at a sort of reasonable hour, while still taking care of babyman- I used to be able to sit and blog after bedtime, and still get enough sleep. Now I'm lucky to get to bed before 1 or 2 am, and that's by caring for kids non-stop from dinnertime on. Many nights it is tough to brush my teeth and pee before bed, because babyman typically has a fussy time every evening when I simply cannot put him down. (At least he's generally easy to soothe, as long as he's held!) So every night I think I might blog, yet I never quite get the chance.

On the flip side, sitting here trying to write carries it's own challenges now. The boys are not eating their dinner, nor are they cleaning up as they are supposed to. They are arguing over toys, throwing things down the stairs (a particular struggle right now, that habit of throwing things down the stairs)- and in general trying to distract me, egging each other on and pushing limits.

Here comes one now, crying crocodile tears and whining "mooommy!".

Ha, that was short-lived. You don't get much more fake than that. But the question remains: WILL he pick up the puzzle pieces? Or will there be a greater mess when I venture downstairs?

Now babyman (in the sling) is starting to wake. I bet he's getting hungry. And one of the older boys is coming with real tears, this time.

Now I remember why I always waited until they were asleep. Maybe I'll get the chance to try again later?

ETA: hmm, I used to be able to get smaller text??

Saturday, December 1, 2007

just random:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

just random:
Current mood: tired

Sunday, November 25, 2007

notes and transitioning

Sunday, November 25, 2007

notes and transitioning
Current mood: mellow

Well, we had a quiet Thanksgiving here at home. We picked our pre-cooked turkey dinner up from Whole Foods Market- supposedly a dinner just for two, but it was more than enough for our little family, including leftovers. It was quite delicious, and oh-so-easy. Billy had never been to the Whole Foods in Duluth, and he was very impressed. I'll have to keep him out of there unless I want to spend a fortune on groceries! "Whole Paycheck", indeed. Still, we had a lovely dinner and had some other nice gourmet treats, as well.

We watched movies, hung out at home and took care of babyman. The boys got lots of good Daddy-time. It was nice, though I admit I did rather miss the whole family to-do. I just wasn't up for it so soon after having babyman.

It's raining, now. Sounds so lovely. Looks beautiful in the late twilight outside my window, with the streetlight casting a golden hazy highlight- it's contrast with the misty clear blue is straight out of a Maxfield Parrish painting.

NPR is on the radio downstairs, I'm nursing babyman, and Sweetcheeks is napping. The house is reasonably clean, and all is quiet- Littleman is with Daddy for the day. I even got a shower earlier! So it's a nice evening so far.

I am gradually transitioning into a good routine, and the boys are trying to adjust. Sweetcheeks has his annoying ways of acting out, but mostly they're not too bad. He doesn't want you mad at him for long. Littleman, surprisingly, has been more of a problem. He went to the studio with Billy yesterday, and for the first time ever behaved so badly that Billy had to bring him home early. We are hoping he will do better today- we had a serious talk about it with him, and of course now he knows that if he is bad, he WILL have to go back home.

I hope he shapes up, not only for our sanity, but also because he's decided what he wants to ask Santa for- and we told him he has to be good to get them! LOL. Lo and behold, after a day at the mall with Daddy recently, he decided he wants to ask Santa fir a scooter and a sword. How convenient! I've already ordered both. :D

Well, my back hurts in this position, and I think babyman is done. Off I go.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Check out his little website!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Check out his little website!
Current mood: full

Want a look at our sweet babyman? See a pic of him, read the birth story (if you are so inclined), vote for who he looks like, and sign his guest book!

Go to

Click on "Baby Websites"

The personal access code is 201-39205


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First doc visit today

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First doc visit today
Current mood: content

New babyman had his first doc visit today- the pediatrician at the hospital had recommended I take babyman in right away to have his weight checked, since he'd lost "so much" weight already. Babyman is now back up to 8 lbs, 5 oz (he was 8 lbs, 7 oz at birth) so he is gaining weight like a champ! I know the hospital staff won't know that and probably wouldn't care, but it still feels good- like I am thumbing my nose at them and their narrow ideas of "normal". Chalk one up for good old breastmilk!
Anyway, babyman is doing super, and everything looks good. Hooray! :)

Of course, I am already getting the inevitable question: how is he sleeping? Well, he so far refuses to sleep in the co-sleeper bassinet at night. Sleeps 5 minutes, then squirms, wakes and cries. I soothe him, put him back down. Repeat ad nauseum. Last night, I decided it just wasn't worth it, so I set him up in bed with us. He slept like an angel for 5 hours!! (I was astonished). So I guess at least for now, I will definitely consider co-sleeping an option. He is getting better about napping in the bassinet, so hopefully it won't be too long before sleeping there is acceptable at night, too. Co-sleeping is sweet, but Billy and I are both physically more comfortable when babyman's in the bassinet. I don't mind giving babyman some more time to make that transition.

I am feeling pretty good, as long as I don't overdo things physically. I have even done some laundry! I admit though, taking care of all three boys by myself is a very daunting prospect, right now. (Scary, in fact!) I will put it off as long as I can, so we all have time to settle into things more gradually.

I think I want some tea and a snack, now. Let's see if I can put babyman down long enough to do that. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Current mood: pleased

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Yes, we are safely back home! Sweetcheeks is here, and Littleman will join us tomorrow (he didn't want to miss going to some tree-lighting thing with Grandma and Grandpa tonight). The house is pretty much in the same rapidly-abandoned state that we'd left it in on Wednesday. (The poor dogsitter had to enjoy the mess for a few days! Oh well). We are all tired of course, but I'm glad to be out of the hospital. I've learned that if you wish to exclusively breastfeed, it's wise to check out as soon as possible, or else they start to give you a hard time about your baby's (perfectly normal) weight loss, and start pressuring you to supplement with formula. It's happened with every one of my boys, and every time they were perfectly fine in no time- it just takes a little while for the milk to come in and really get things going. I told the lactation consultant about it today and she rolled her eyes. I swear, I am really getting to dislike hospitals A LOT.

Anyway, on a brighter note- (I know you are on pins and needles for this, LOL)-
Drumroll please. . .

His name is Julian Martin.

Yes, I know "Martin" wasn't even on my list of possible names, but it's a family name (my maternal great-grandparents') and both Billy and I like it. It was either that or Julian Sage, which I also love. But we decided on Martin. So it's settled now! And he's home, and we're so glad to be done with most of that.

That's it for now! :)

Friday, November 16, 2007


Friday, November 16, 2007

Current mood: tired

Yes my friends-


MySpace Its A Boy Baby Graphics

Our eagerly anticipated third baby boy was born at 10:24 Thursday morning, November 15.
I will let you know his name as soon as we decide one last detail.

* * *

I went in for my prenatal appointment Wednesday morning, and everything was looking great- so great in fact, that I was already 5 cm! I was pleased with this, until the midwife said she couldn't send me home if I was that dilated. I argued, because I wasn't having any contractions at all! They insisted however, and I trusted them. . . in hindsight, I should have asked for a second opinion. . . or just ignored their advice and gone on home. But instead Simon and I went for a bite to eat, and then we went on to the hospital and checked in.

To make a long story short, it DID take forever to get labor going. It was a very irritating situation- without a doubt, I shouldn't have been there at all. I had to fight to avoid uneccessary intervention, and I did eventually cave and allow them to start contractions using pitocin. They would not allow me to go home, and if I signed out "against medical advice" then our insurance wouldn't pay. So, I didn't have a lot of choice, really. Babyman was coming whether he was ready or not.

Labor was hard and fast once it got going- I think the pitocin caused contractions to be faster and more painful than they would have been otherwise. He came so quickly, he had not had time to expel all the fluid from his lungs. Consequently, he was breathing too rapidly and was having difficulty coughing out all the fluid. He had to go to "transitional nursery" where they observed him and tried to help him cough up the gunk. Luckily, he improved rapidly and it was only a few hours before our little family was reunited, without further intervention. We were all exhausted.

We are all doing great! Despite me being unable to breastfeed immediately (and he having gotten a pacifier in the nursery), babyman latches on like a pro, and nursing is going well so far. We are going home tomorrow.

So, announcement made! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a potty training adventure

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a potty training adventure
Current mood: amused

Tonight, I thought I'd share my latest adventure in parenting.

Mr. Sweetcheeks has been expressing a random and passing interest in the potty. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I have begun allowing him to run around upstairs without pants or a diaper. This was also how I introduced Littleman to the idea of using the potty- there will be a few accidents, but for some reason they seem to catch on a lot faster if they are naked than they do when clothed. I frequently remind Sweetcheeks that we do not pee pee on the floor- that if he needs to make pee pee, he should go put the pee pee in the potty. We've had a couple successes and a couple minor accidents. I only do the nakey time for a short while- I'll increase it over time if he seems to be getting the idea.

Anyhow, tonight he was running around commando, and so far so good. He's standing next to our bed, when all of a sudden he says something about pee pee. I look up quickly, asking if he made some pee pee on the floor. He checks and says "No", but something about his stance seem a little odd. Just as I am about to ask him another question, I realize that he is pooping, and it's a rather large turd.

What am I to do? Instictively, I leap over and catch the turd before it falls to the floor. (I'm cracking up just writing about it, it's so absurd). Damn, the things I'll do. . . anyhow, it was simple after that to take Sweetcheeks to the potty and toss the turd into the toilet. After I wiped him and washed my hands, we were good to go. I guess I should have explained that poopy doesn't belong on the floor either! LOL.

Oh the joys of parenting. . .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Toys for the Holidays: a list

Monday, November 12, 2007

Toys for the Holidays
Current mood: lazy

You know, one thing I just love to do is to shop for the boys. It's my retail therapy, I guess. I also love researching quality stuff, and then trying to get good deals. Every year I make a list of gift suggestions for the boys' birthdays and Christmas, for my own enjoyment and for any family members who are interested. It works out great because for me it is like window shopping with a purpose, and it also helps interested relatives choose gifts that I'll be just as pleased with as the boys are. Still however, my main suggestion to the relatives is to keep it simple and just contribute a little bit to the boys' savings accounts. If we start that habit early, the boys will never miss a bunch of gifts from the Grandparents and others.

In my last post I mentioned the boys' Christmas lists, and I'll clarify here that at this young age, I am still talking about MY list FOR them- they aren't really serious yet about having their own preferences. (I will rue the day when that changes, LOL!) It helps that we do not have TV channels, and thus their exposure to commercials is limited. I try very hard to keep my list pf purchases pretty simple each year- I do not want to get stuck in a rut with them expecting a large number of fancy gifts under the tree each year, nor a bunch of fad items that they will quickly tire of. I try to make every gift count. I hope I can keep this up, not only with my own list but by encouraging the rest of the family to do the same.

Anyway I thought it might be neat to share my planned gift list for each of the boys for Christmas this year, and some of my thoughts on the items I chose. These are all the items from parents and Santa (and from the pets, LOL- a family tradition). Perhaps it will help you find some unique, quality items that your little one will love! So, here's what will probably be under our tree- shh! Don't give it away! :)

For Littleman, 4 years old:
1) a set of rainbow wooden stepped counting blocks
- These will be great for building with, but I also plan to use them as a math manipulative in our homeschooling. They are classic, beautiful and NOT made in China. I think Littleman will enjoy making geometric designs and building structures for their hotwheels cars, pirate figures and animals.

2) a set of dominoes
- This is very basic, but Littleman has been asking for some and we do not have any. Plus, they are a great toy, both for setting up and knocking over, and for working on counting skills and matching. I don't know where this particular set is manufactered, but I think the safety risk is minimal. They are made of renewable bamboo, which is good for the environment.

3) a beeswax candlemaking kit
- This is a wonderful, simple activity that I know Littleman will enjoy. The beeswax is lovely to work with- vibrant colors, and it smells so good! Excellent activity to stimulate the senses and work on fine motor skills. He will be excited to make candles to burn and to give away. Plus, this kit is made in the USA!

4) 2 books- he is getting "Giving Thanks" and "First Encyclopedia of the Human Body"
- The first is a beautiful book with a peaceful, earth-centered tone that encourages children to find gratitude for the beauties around them. The illustations are lovely. I think this will be both an enjoyable read and a good reminder to cultivate gratitude in our daily lives.
The second is a fantastic non-fiction volume on the human body. We have other books in this Usborne series ("First Encyclopedia of. . ."), and they are great- Littleman enjoys them and learns a lot from them, and I do not expect we will outgrow them anytime soon. He is always interested in what's going on inside our bodies, so I think this book will interest him a lot.

5) probably a scooter, since he has been wanting one so much.
- I am struggling with this, because we don't want to spend a lot on it- he already has a bike he loves, and I don't expect the scooter to be played with all the time. However, finding an inexpensive scooter that is NOT made in China is proving near impossible. If I cave and buy one made in China, we'll probably get this Radio Flyer scooter. Otherwise, I'm not sure what we'll do about this. A scooter sure would bring that magic Christmas morning smile to his face, though! :)

For his stocking, he'll have some pirate band-aids, rainbow crayons, animal crackers, stickers, beginner chopsticks, a little build-your-own bird feeder kit, a Namits game, and some underwear.

That does it for Littleman.

For Mr. Sweetcheeks, 2 years old:
1) a large set of rainbow wooden arches
- These are another beautiful, classic toy with lots of opportunity for open-ended imaginative play. I know Sweetcheeks will love stacking them and making tunnels for their other toys to play in, and I look forward to seeing what else he comes up with! They can combine well with other stcking/building toys that we already have (and with Littleman's blocks, above). NOT made in China. :)

2) a natural wooden name train
- These are made in the USA, and are completely compatible with the wooden tracks and accessories we already own. We have a couple train cars made by this company, and they are beautifully made. It will, of course, spell his name. He loves playing with the train table, so it's nice to be able to give him a train that's not made in China (unlike the Thomas train stuff, some of which has already been recalled).

3) a pad of drawing paper and some beeswax block crayons
- We already have some of these crayons, and they are awesome. They provide smooth, rich color and are easy to grasp. They're natural, and they smell nice. And best of all, they are nearly impossible to break- whereas we cycle through Crayola stick crayons (even the chunky ones) like crazy, these crayons last and last. Sweetcheeks will be happy to have his own set. By the way, some "cheapo" brand crayons have been recalled in the past, due to excessive amounts of lead. And kids do sometimes ingest crayons! These are NOT made in China.

4) 2 books- he is getting "Forest Bright, Forest Night" and "1001 Things to Spot on the Farm"
- The first book has very nice illustartions, with fun details to spot of animals in their natural habitats in the forest. First you read about animals that are awake during the day (and maybe spot other animals sleeping) and then you flip the book over and continue the story with all the animals that come out at night (and spot the day creatures now sound asleep).
The second is another Usborne book, with tons of things to hunt for in the detailed illustrations. It's sort of like the "Where's Waldo" series, but with a wide variety of things to find. I saw this book, and knew instantly that Sweetcheeks will enjoy it. Plus, every review I have read or heard about it has been stellar.

5) a Rody Pony ride-on toy
- These things are wonderful fun. Sweetcheeks can climb on the pony and bounce, bounce, bounce his way around! Classic, and very active- great for improving balance and gross motor skills. NOT made in China. Plus, it's sure to bring that magic Christmas smile! Sweetcheeks will be thrilled with this.

For his stocking, he'll have some pirate band-aids, bathtub crayons, animal crackers, stickers, beginner chopsticks, a wooden slide whistle, a "big boy" fork, spoon and knife set, and some socks.

That's it for Mr. Sweetcheeks.

For both boys together, there will be a foam set of knights' swords and shields accompanied by a book on Knights: "Knights"

- They will love this, and I will love that they can beat each other up with something fun and soft, rather than with hotwheels track, wooden train track, drumsticks or the hard plastic swords that Auntie gave them this weekend. (~sarcastic~ thank you, Auntie ~/sarcastic~). Plus it will encourage dress-up and imaginative play, while the book brings a little cool history into the picture. (It's another fantastic Usborne non-fiction book). I don't know where the sword set is made- probably China. Oh, well.

For new babyman, just born:
1) a set of rainbow wooden stacking/nesting bowls
- Once again (spotting a pattern here?) these are beautiful, classic, open-ended and NOT made in China. Stacking/nesting bowls are a superb baby toy- good for stacking and nesting, of course, but also for playing little hiding games, carrying around, putting things in and out, and later as an accessory to our play kitchen. Babyman will grow into these.

2) a board book: "Global Babies"
- This beautiful little book features gorgeous close-up photographs of babies from all over the world. (Babies LOVE looking at pictures of other babies!) It has simple, loving text but mostly it's about the pictures. Wonderful baby book.

And for his stocking, a HABA Zig-Zag wooden teether. (not made in China).


Wow, it always looks like a lot when I write it all down- but if you can envision Christmas morning, I think the boys will be very happy with these things without there being too much junk. I hope this list might give you some fun ideas for your own shopping!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

grown ups, pregnancy (still), veterans and toy shopping

Sunday, November 11, 2007

grown ups, pregnancy (still), veterans and toy shopping
Current mood: accomplished

Well, the boys are still hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa's with their Auntie, and still having a blast. Billy and I slept SOO late this morning (for us, anyway) and that was amazing! We've been out to eat a couple times, and were actually able to eat our food uninterrupted, while it was still hot. We have been able to converse with each other freely, like adults, without interruption. We got a little shopping done that was easier without the kids, and were able to leisurely browse in a bookstore. (WOW). It's been nice just spending time with each other.

I'm still hoping to meet babyman soon. :) These "fake" contractions are a nuisance- they can be so strong and frequent, but I'm not yet in labor. Signs do continue to improve, though- and I actally had a cleaning bug tonight- could it be the "nesting instinct" kicking in?? I did a bunch of dishes, threw out old food in the fridge, took out a bunch of trash and did a lot of tidying/organizing. I'm about to throw a load of laundry in, too. It's been awhile since I had the energy for a cleaning run like this one, so I hope it is a good sign. :) If these contractions don't peter out in awhile, I'll take a nice bath and try timing them. I just hope I can tell when I should go in- on the one hand I definitely don't want a repeat performance of last time, but on the other hand I don't want to cut it too close! So, we'll see.

One thing I have been doing is to try and find toys on the boys' Christmas gift lists that were NOT made in China. With all these recalls continuing (did you hear about Aquadots?? SCARY!) Billy and I are loathe to take chances. Besides, as we have realized how difficult it is to find stuff made anywhere other than China, we are beginning to understand that the issue goes beyond safety. It simply cannot be good for our country to be manufacturing SO MUCH of the stuff we buy overseas. I will be paying much more attention to the things I buy, and looking for stuff made in America when I can find it.

Happy Veteran's Day, by the way. If you know a veteran, be sure to thank them for their service. It means so much, and yet how often do we remember to recognize that?

I guess I will sign off for now. I do want to get a bit more cleaning done, and have a nice bath.
(are these contractions 5 minnutes apart again?? sheesh. . .)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Well, good grief.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Well, good grief.
Current mood: embarrassed

So, yesterday Billy's sister drove into town to visit. She picked up the boys, and took them to Grandma and Grandpa's for the weekend. (Woohoo!) They have been having a blast.

Being oddly free that evening, I decided to go to the mall and walk, walk, walk in hope of starting labor. ;) I went and enjoyed getting a little shopping done. Scored some great deals on some needed items for Littleman's winter wardrobe, and enjoyed the freedom of no kids, no diaper bag, not even a purse! Wow.

I did get some good contractions going but they didn't seem regular. When I tried to go to bed, I found I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I had a distinct, slightly queasy feeling that I remember from my previous labors. I decided to relax in a nice hot bath and drink some water (if the contractions were "fake", that would most likely make them go away). I timed contractions over the course of an hour and discovered they were coming about 5 minutes apart. I started to get excited. By the time I'd called Billy and the midwife, they were getting to be 4 minutes apart.

We went to the hospital, checked in, etc. The monitors revealed I was having regular contractions 2 minutes apart. Woohoo! But I was not further dilated. Hmm. By now it was about 3 am.

To make a long story short, babyman apparently changed his mind. Over the course of the night, the contractions all but stopped. I tried walking the halls this morning to get htings going again, but no luck. He's not ready. They sent me home.

It's a bit embarrassing to leave that place still pregnant, LOL! The nurses and midwives were very nice about it, but it still felt a little like going home with my tail between my legs. Plus I felt really bad for dragging the midwife out of bed so late for nothing. She'd sounded a bit doubtful over the phone, but I'd really felt sure of myself! Oops. The nurses say this is very, very common with a third pregnancy. Oh, well.

So, I'm home again, waiting. Sigh.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the waiting game

Thursday, November 08, 2007

the waiting game
Current mood: restless

I feel suspended in an odd cycle of waiting.

There are quite a few things I could be doing to have the house more ready for baby's arrival, but I feel so unmotivated- I'd really rather be holding my new baby. I am very physically uncomfortable, tired of being pregnant, SO SICK of heartburn, and tired of the uncertainty of when this baby will come and how we'll manage the details once labor begins. I manage to take care of the other two boys, and am keeping up with dishes and laundry (as well as I ever can, anyway), and keeping up with their few school/gym classes and with my prenatal appointments. That's just about all I have any interest in doing. Sometimes I feel like I am sleepwalking, or stuck waiting for someone who is long overdue (which he is not, yet). I am tired and rather irritable. I find myself wasting time when I could be cleaning, organizing or just giving my older boys some focused attention. But I am not focused- I am lamentably spaced out.

I could also try being more active, in hopes of jumpstarting labor. While I am definitely more active now than I was when I was "taking it easy", I find that I tire so readily, it's difficult to get a long walk or anything similar in. I can say I've tried a few other natural inducers, including raspberry leaf tea and eggplant parmesagn (yummy). LOL! :)

Don't get me wrong- there are definitely positive signs that babyman will be arriving before long. My contractions are increasing, even if they don't stay regular yet. And for those of you who know what I'm talking about, I've gone from 1-2 cm (on Halloween) to 3-4 cm (last Wednesday). I was so excited to hear that! My body is definitely gearing up. I'm just feeling so impatient! (Ha- I almost typed "inpatient"- Freudian slip, I guess).

I did install the baby carseat today, which then necessitated a bit of musical carseats in the van. I think I've hit on a configuration that will work.

Come on babyman, come on! :)

I am in desperate need of some antacids. Off I go.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Made it! And party time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Made it! And party time.
Current mood: cheerful

Woohoo! We made it to full term. Of course, my due date isn't for a few weeks, but baby should be just fine from here on out. So, as far as I am concerned, it's time to get moving! LOL. I'm really glad he's waited this long, but now I am ready to meet him (and NOT be pregnant anymore). ;)

Littleman had his birthday party, and it was great! We did it up at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and had a really fun time outside. The weather was gorgeous, and we played with bubbles, frisbees, Tball, the dogs, and of course pinecones, sticks and rocks. The boys stripped off their shoes, rolled up pantlegs and dangled their feet in the lake. They found all sorts of natural things to throw into the water. We watched a couple huge herons fly about. Billy and the boys tried flying a kite (the field isn't ideal for that, though). And we grown-ups really had the opportunity to chat, which was great. Pretty much everyone honored my request to NOT bring gifts, which is pleasing. Littleman came home with a small pile of cool stuff. Perfect! :)

Incidentally, the biggest hit was a set of Magnatiles. They are a cool toy- at one point all six cousins were grouped in a tight circle, building together. That's kids ranging in age from 2 - 12. It's a set of geometric-shaped tiles that are magnetic on every edge, allowing you to construct 3-D structures.

It sure was a nice day, and the boys had a blast.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Update- all's well.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Update- all’s well.
Current mood: sore

Well, Billy and I got to bed shortly after 4 am last night. Our friends were fantastic, playing with the boys, putting them to bed and staying until we got home. THANK YOU!! By the time Billy and I were heading for the hospital, I was reasonably sure (after a discussion with my midwife) that my pain was due to wrenching/straining the round ligament on my left side. However they really wanted to have me undergo some tests, just to be sure the baby was OK. So, in we went.

I was hooked up to monitors, gave blood for a test, had vitals taken, etc. None of that took too long. The nurse let us know that if the blood test showed everything was OK, we could go on home. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. . . This always seems to happen at the hospital, where there's some point that you really start to wonder if they forgot about you, or if they're not telling you everything you need to know. . . Finally I learned from the other nurse that the blood test takes 4 to 6 hours. WELL. Nice of y'all to tell us that to start with!

But anyway, the long and short of it is that babyman seems to be fine, I am in pain but it's not serious and it should resolve itself, and we got to come back home so I could sleep. So, all in all that's very good. Now I'm wincing my way around the house, trying to get a few things done before taking Littleman to his gym class. (I didn't even bother with Sweetcheeks' montessori this morning, being that we were all up so late).

As a side note, the monitors last night revealed that I was having regular contractions 3 minutes apart. I knew somehow that it wasn't true labor, despite them being so close and regular. I tend to have loads of contractions for days or even weeks before actually going into labor. I was worried that they'd make me stay, and I'd be stuck there for hours and hours, possibly leading to complications (such as them recommending inducement, or who knows what else). Luckily however, they checked my cervix and since it was not any more dilated or effaced since my morning (routine) appointment, they deemed the contractions "false labor" and decided I was just a bit dehydrated. So I got an IV of fluids, and they didn't worry about it after that. Thank goodness. And, sure enough, I've had very few contractions so far today. He's not QUITE ready. (But obviously, we are getting close).

* * *

Oh, and the boys had a BLAST trick-or-treating! What on Earth am I going to do with all this CANDY?? Littleman was a ghost- I'd made him a white poncho-like costume, with the word "BOO!" on the front, and I painted his face white with dark circles around his eyes. He was pleased, and looked very cute. Sweetcheeks refused to have anything to do with the dog costume I'd thought he'd wear, and said he was a pirate. We didn't have suitable clothes for that, but we tied a scarf on his head like a pirate and figured that would do. Even the scarf was rejected after a few minutes though, so Sweetcheeks went trick-or-treating as a 2 year old. Which, of course, was fine. Everyone had fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Current mood: grumpy

Blessed Samhain/ Happy Halloween!

I am sitting in my living room, goofing off on the computer and periodically getting up to distribute candy. I have an herbal heat pack on the underside of my belly, because I am in pain. No, I'm not in active labor. I'm not sure what this is, and if it doesn't go away I am supposed to go to the hospital to have it checked out. In the meantime, it's alright when I am still, but as soon as I move about much or walk/climb stairs, it HURTS. I had planned to be doing dishes and laundry right now (and boy does this house need it) but there's just no way. Sigh.

At least it's not an immediate emergency, so Billy was able to take the boys out trick-or-treating on the neighborhood hayride. Some friends of ours are along too, so if we need a sitter for awhile that should work out. I really wish this would just calm down, though, so we didn't have to fool with all that. The good thing is that new little babyman has been moving about normally all along, so he's probably just fine. But this is not a good pain- something is wrong. The only question is, is it a minor wrong or an important one?

I wouldn't feel so grumpy about it if I were in labor. That's supposed to happen; it's normal pain with a concrete, positive outcome. And I expect it sometime soon. This however, is a worry and an inconvenience. Grr, grump grump.

So, I sit here, thinking of a million things that need doing, but not wanting to aggravate the pain further. So I sit. Guess I'll just keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pregnancy update and Pumpkin Bread!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pregnancy update and Pumpkin Bread!
Current mood: uncomfortable

Things keep looking brighter for little babyman! I had a prenatal appointment today, and everything is looking great. Though I am still encouraged to "take it easy" and stay hydrated, I am now past all likelihood of being put on bedrest. Hooray! Should I go into labor, it's pretty unlikely that they would try to stop it. Now, babyman probably still has some development he needs to complete before making his appearance- lung maturity and a good breastfeeding reflex being the main things I think- but every day brings us closer to a safe, uncomplicated delivery of a mature, healthy baby. (Knock on wood, of course!)

As I've mentioned before, I am quite ready to NOT be pregnant anymore. However, whether we are actually ready for babyman to come home is really another story! LOL. I still have quite a few things to do, but I'm working my way through them slowly. And besides, we'll make do whenever he is ready to arrive- we've done it before! :)

Checked the kids' consignment store today, and scored (amongst other things) a great coat and a pair of shoes for Littleman! Perfect- I'm so happy to find them used (in fantastic shape) rather than paying full price for them new. (And higher-ticket items like coats and shoes can be hard to find in the right size on consignment!)

I forgot to mention that we went to the Montessori school's Fall Festival last weekend. The weather was beautiful, and the boys had fun. We contributed pumpkin bread for their bake sale- Littleman helped me make it. It's my Gramy's recipe, and it turned out delicious! I thought I'd share it here (with a couple modifications I made):

Gramy's Pumpkin Bread

- 2 c sugar
- 1 c brown sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 c oil (I used safflower)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2/3 c water
- 1/4 c cream or plain yogurt (optional)
- 2 c canned pumpkin (note that 2c is slightly more than 1 can- I opened 2 cans, used just a bit of the second can and saved the rest of the pumpkin for pancakes one morning)
- 3 1/2 c flour
- 2 tsp soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 loaf pans well, and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Mix the sugars, eggs, oil, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and cream or yogurt in a bowl. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Stir in the flour and soda. Pour batter into the 2 loaf pans, and bake for 1 hour.

Easy! Mmmm.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hanging in there. . .

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hanging in there. . .
Current mood: optimistic

Yes, still pregnant. Woo! Only about a week and a half to go before we're out of the woods. :D Besides being glad for babyman's sake of course, I am glad because I am SO OVER being pregnant. Absolutely done. I look forward to losing so many of these unpleasant side effects of pregnancy. . . I won't go into the gory details. Suffice it to say I will be happy to deliver this baby!

It's fun to see what people have voted for as far as baby names go. . . interesting, if in an abstract sense. So far, the top four names are William Sage, Julian Sage, Julian William and William Orion.
VOTE on my Name List

It's so nice to have some rain. . . I just wish we'd get a good gully-washer north of here, so it would help replenish Lake Lanier. These water worries are pretty scary actually.

Last night Billy, the boys and I were at a restaurant. Littleman was charming the waitresses and others around us. Our waitress was talking to Littleman at one point, and she told him, "You are very cute!" Littleman responded, "I know." (insert my rolling eyes) Then Littleman added, "And generous!" LOL! Does he even know what that means?? I said, "Yes and so modest, as well!"

Mr. Sweetcheeks is into saying "I lub you" a lot. Especially if I get impatient or short with him. . . he'll do something he knows is wrong, or deliberately ignore me, or whatever is pushing my buttons- and when I get good and irritated he then hugs me and says, "I lub you, Mommy!" (rolling my eyes again).

Right now they are watching Charlotte's Web and I love listening to them crack up! Sweetcheeks is beside himself laughing at the rat.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Puppets! . . . a nice day

Friday, October 19, 2007

Puppets! . . . a nice day
Current mood: cheerful

(Yup, still pregnant! Woo hoo!)

Well, we had a nice day today. We got up early(ish) and drove to my Mom's intown. (Had breakfast on the way). Picked her up, and hurried to the Center for Puppetry Arts to see a production of Winnie the Pooh. I figured the boys would like it OK, but was pleasantly surprised to find they LOVED it! They were enthralled, payed close attention and giggled at the funny parts. Sweetcheeks was slightly restless, but only because he wanted to "Go up dere?"- he wanted to climb up on stage with the puppets! Both boys really enjoyed the show. (Littleman asked me in wonder, "How do they DO that??") Afterwards, we admired the exhibits of the cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and several original muppets of Jim Henson's. Both boys got a puppet kit to take home.

Afterwards, we lunched at my Mom's, played Rivers, Roads and Rails with Aaron and watched Happy Feet (Mr. Sweetcheeks' favorite movie!). Sweetcheeks is staying the night, so just Littleman and I wandered home, stopping for a couple small errands on the way.

I realized that I still haven't baked anything for the Montessori school's bake sale tomorrow, so Littleman and I had a companionable evening baking pumpkin bread together. The house smells lovely! We had dinner and a special treat of ice cream. Plus, Daddy surprised us by coming home early! So it's been a great day.

Just for fun, I made a baby name poll on a baby name website. Make your vote heard! (Though we'll probably ignore you, LOL!) :)
VOTE on my Name List

Time to tidy the kitchen and get ready for bed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

still pregnant, and fall outings

October 15, 2007 - Monday

still pregnant, and fall outings
Current mood: pleased

Well. By now I've had three instances where I was concerned enough about my contractions to pull out a clock and start timing them. So far, no problems. But, geez. I keep telling babyman just to make it through the rest of this month, as he has a bit more growing to do. . . 34 weeks is definitely still too early for my comfort! Less than 3 weeks now, and I'll be happy to have this baby should he wish to make his appearance.

Obviously, I am continuing to try and take it easy. I've had some help several days, and that's been great. It's so good for the boys too, because that way they can get out more and do fun things. I even got to go along for a couple fun little trips- yesterday, I joined Billy and some friends of ours to take the boys out to Burt's Pumpkin Farm near Amicalola. We went last year and it was really nice, so thought we'd go back for our pumpkins thus year. But, holy crowds, batman! The place was astonishingly packed. It was like being at the mall at Christmas time. Unfortunately, it was not the experience we adults had been looking forward to- but we got some nice pumpkins, and the boys definitely enjoyed themselves. We all liked the hayride again this year, too. However, I think we might try a different place next year.

This morning's little outing was more successful- a homeschooling group I am involved with organized a little field trip to a small working farm in Loganville. It's called Bay Creek Acres, and the kids had a really good time. (Grandma met us at the house and rode out with us, so I'd have help with the boys. Don't want to overdo it!) We met and petted the dairy goats, saw the chickens, and marvelled at the turkeys. (LOUD!) Then we got to watch a milking demonstration, and several children got to try it out! (Littleman was less than enthusiastic about that idea, LOL. He stayed on the sidelines). Afterwards we all trooped inside for a little taste of fresh goat milk. (Delicious! Much better, I'm afraid, than the stuff I buy for the boys at the grocery store). Back outside, they petted a soft baby chick. Finally, Littleman and Sweetcheeks played on the big mulch pile with some of the other kids.

It was really nice of the farmer to give us the tour, and I was impressed with their farm. I'm SO glad one of the moms in our group took it upon herself to organize this outing! I might call about getting a turkey there for Thanksgiving dinner. It's so nice to know where your meat comes from, and to know the animals were treated well and that the meat is fresh. Too bad I can't buy goat's milk there! (Illegal in GA to sell unpasteurized milk for human consumption).

Here's the farm:

Incidentally, that is an excellent site. I don't know if I've mentioned it in my blog before, but it's a wonderful way to locate nearby farms, farmers' markets, produce co-ops, etc.
Maybe you'd like to create your own farm field trip!

I think Sweetcheeks enjoyed the farm more than Littleman. Littleman said he didn't have a favorite part of the farm visit, because there was no playground there. (huh?) Though when asked which animal he liked best, he did choose the baby chick. He said it was soft. "I LIKE babies!" he said. Mr. Sweetcheeks said his favorite thing was "play" (I'm assuming on the mulch pile), and he also mimed milking. When I asked if he meant when the lady milked the goat and the milk went into the bucket, he grinned and said, "yeah!" He also told me he liked the "sheep" (must mean the goats), and "chicken runned away" (one turkey hen was out of the enclosure, and Griffin chased it gleefully until I made him stop). He keeps coming up with other things he remembers that he says he liked, so I think it made an impression on him. He REALLY liked drinking the milk! :)

Now all is peaceful, and I am glad to be sitting on my bed. The boys really started to get on my nerves this evening, so it was nice to get them to sleep. I can hear cricketts outside, the neighbor's dog, the click of the keyboard and Electra over there kneading "biscuits" in the blanket as she purrs. Every once in awhile a cool whiff of breeze touches me from the open windows. Ahh, nice. I will fold some laundry, refill the humidifier (Sweetcheeks has a cold, which he has passed on to Littleman and, I think, me) and go to sleep. Sweetcheeks has Montessori tomorrow morning.
Good night!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

still pregnant! and my big Littleman

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

still pregnant! and my big Littleman
Current mood: tired

Yes, I'm still pregnant! Still trying to take it easy, still counting the days. So far, so good! Just 3 weeks and a couple days, and preterm labor will be a worry of the past. It's a good thing. :)

Of course, realizing how close we really might be to having this baby, I am also realizing how rather unprepared I am. I finally got around to clearing off the changing table in our room (in the "mini-nursery" which I use for the first months of baby's life) and pulling the teensy baby clothes out of storage. The itty bitty diapers are ready, and I just have to organize the little shelf of creams, solutions and sundries at hand. I need help to move the rocking chair and ottoman back in here, and set up the co-sleeper bassinet. (We also need to drag the infant car seat out of the attic!) I have to pack my hospital bag with items I'll need for labor and afterwards, a few items for Billy and a couple things for the new baby. Because it's looking like we will have to drag Littleman and Mr Sweetcheeks to the hospital with us, so they can be picked up there by family members who are babysitting, I ALSO have to pack suitcases and supplies for each of them. And I am trying to get a few other things organized around the house, to make it easier on anyone who comes over to help out.

Meanwhile, I am trying to be all caught up on work and household responsibilities- paying bills, making sure there's enough dog and cat food on hand, making sure there's enough flea and heartworm medicine on hand (ran out of Heartguard this month), tying up assorted loose ends, making all deposits, returning library books. . .

Oh yeah, and Littleman's birthday is coming up! Whew.

* * *

Today Billy's sister came over to take the boys out to a park and play. They had a blast! After playing in the first park, they decided to drive over to a nearby playground. She didn't know the way there, but Littleman assured her that he knew the way. She knew it was close, so let him give it a shot. . . and from his car seat, he directed her right there! I was impressed and proud when she told me about it later. Who knew he'd been paying such good attention? Often my own mother can't do that sort of thing, and she's definitely past her 4th birthday. ;)

Littleman over the past couple days has been a very good helper at tidying up. Funny how these things come in cycles- a period of maddening resistence followed by a desire to be helpful, followed by a waning of interest, followed by maddening resistence. . .

Saturday, October 6, 2007

a good laugh for today

October 6, 2007 - Saturday

a good laugh for today
Current mood: giggly

I've seen this before, but someone sent it to me again recently. You just HAVE to laugh. Good therapy. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007


October 4, 2007 - Thursday

Current mood: blah

An excerpt from the book I am (re)reading, by John Holt:

(on leadership)
"Leaders are not what many people think- people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. 'Leadership qualities' are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly.

This is the opposite of the 'charisma' that we hear so much about. Charismatic leaders make us think, 'Oh, if only I could do that, be like that.' True leaders make us think, 'If they can do that, then by golly I can too.' They do not make people into followers, but into new leaders."

(from Teach Your Own by John Holt & Pat Farenga)

Now, John Holt wrote these words in the context of a book on homeschooling, and indeed they are very relevant when applied to teachers of all kinds. However these words are profound to me in many other contexts: for parenting in general, for instance. Parents must be leaders for their children, and this is a very clear and concise definition of what that means. Understanding true leadership qualities can be instumental in moving ahead in life, whether that means doing the best possible job at work, understanding how to achieve your dreams, or simply making yourself a better person.

Also however, it is very interesting to consider political figures under the light of what it means to be a true leader. How many political figures can you think of that "do not make people into followers, but into new leaders"? Are we looking for charisma in our elected officials, or for leadership?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The end is in sight

September 29, 2007 - Saturday

The end is in sight
Current mood: hungry

Barely more than a month to go, and baby will be fine if I should go into labor. No prescribed bedrest yet, hooray! I'm knocking on wood- next weekend marks the point where I went into preterm labor with Mr. Sweetcheeks. Tomorrow is a date I'm feeling a bit superstitious about: both my boys were born on the 30th of their month, and if this baby were to try to repeat the trend with a new month then tomorrow would be the day. So, I am hoping to really take it easy tomorrow. :) But anyhow, I am glad to have made it this far without going into labor- since I've gone into labor earlier each time, I really expected to be on bedrest by now! So this is great. Just a little over a month.

(Watch babyman go past his due date, LOL!)

* * *

I am ordering pizza for dinner tonight, and feeling guilty. But dammit, it sounds good and I really don't feel like fixing anything. And the boys like it. I swear I'll fix those veggies I bought before they go bad. . .

* * *

Today's the first day I opened the windows in the bedrooms and left them open all day. The house smells so much more fresh, and I love how cool it is outside. I love fall! I just wish I felt up to being more active. I'm sooo tired- not sleepy mostly, but really really tired. And I truly don't want to go into labor early. Even though everything was fine last time because they stopped my labor and I carried to term, a week's hospital stay in a month of bedrest was no fun at all. It was hard enough finding 24/7 help when there was only one child to look after- now there are two. And besides, it would be nice to avoid the medical interventions that were necessary to stop my labor last time. If I never, ever encounter Breathine (a medication) again, it will be too soon. The point of that being, that I really start to feel it when I try to do too much- I'm already having some noticeable contractions. Trying to keep up with the boys outdoors is really too much by myself. So, we are all a little limited these days. At least Sweetcheeks gets to go to the playground at school, and both boys get to do things occasionally with other family members. Plus I do manage to get them out from time to time. Just a little more than a month. . .

* * *

Time to end my mindless ramble, as I need to feed the boys (and myself!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

crime and punishment

September 27, 2007 - Thursday

crime and punishment
Current mood: exhausted

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with me being pregnant- it might, since pregnancy can make one more emotional, more tired and less rational- but I am losing it more and more often with Littleman. I have yelled at him more times than I care to contemplate. Even if it is me however, that's not the only cause. Littleman seems to think it's such a wonderful game to push my buttons and tempt fate over and over and over and OVER again. The biggie for me is being ignored- he just loves to continue doing things that I have JUST told him not to do. Or to take one million years to complete a task that I have asked of him- whether that be picking up the books in his room or simply climbing into his carseat. Now I am a very patient person- or rather, I used to be- but we are talking a CONSTANT barrage of gleeful defiance. I begin to lose my cool, and thus lose my ability to react appropriately without allowing the situation to escalate. It's hard to think of appropriate, effective "punishments" (whatever form they may take) when the straws begin to break the camel's back. Far too often I find myself bellowing in anger and frustration, (precisely the sort of behavior that I am discouraging in Littleman), and using spankings as my retaliation. I am not in control here.

I always felt that if I followed through on what I said I would do, then it would get to the point that any "threat" I have to make is respected as serious- and the boys would likely choose to do what was asked of them rather than to almost certainly have me fulfill my promise. However, almost every time I choose a "threat" and explain to Littleman his choices and the consequences, he seems to want to test this theory YET AGAIN. He grins and dallies and does anything but what I've asked, (or simply continues doing what I've told him to stop), until inevitably I have to follow through with the "punishment". No matter how much he hates the negative consequence, and despite the fact that he knew that's what was going to happen if he made the negative choice, he almost always chooses to test me and force me into following through, rather than simply DOING what I've told him to do.

It's probably a means of getting attention, but he gets much nicer attention from me when he is helpful and cooperative. Why choose an angry, spanking mom instead of one who is relaxed and smiles and gives grateful hugs? I'm really at a bit of a loss here.

It could also be partly his energy level- he simply can't control his physical movement sometimes- but I do try to keep that in mind and work around it when I'm dealing with him. Most of our battles do not stem from this, or at least I don't think they do.

Sigh. Anyway, I'm mostly complaining I guess. I hope it's partly a phase- that he will outgrow this need to test and test and retest what I say. That, even if he is still a bit defiant and always energetic, he will at least understand the simple, immediate consequences of his actions (positive and negative) and more often respond appropriately. Damn, it sure would be nice if he'd HELP me instead of making me pull my hair out. He really could be a big help, if he were interested.

I have our digital camera back, finally. Maybe it's time to make that chore board I thought of awhile back- it would be a nice, visual reminder of positive things that Littleman could do to garner my attention. In additon, I need to come up with a list of effective "punishments" that I can look toward when I need something effective in any given situation. Some things ready in my mind so I don't have to rely on a spanking when my blood is boiling. It's really hard to think of a privilege that I could remove without punishing the rest of us right along with him. And time out seems to have no effect on him whatsoever.

Hmm, Kiki- maybe it's time I revisited that idea you gave me for a card system like you use with Bird??

Well, at the very least typing it out makes it seem a little clearer in my own mind. What works for you?