Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Hannah, being Hannah, loved helping me practice. The funny thing is I really started trying to learn more about photography to take pictures in low light so that I could take Michael and McKay's pictures without a flash, so I could get actual open eyes in pictures. (They are both VERY sensitive to the flash.) I think all my years of flashing them right in the eyes with my on-camera flash has scarred those two. I come at them with a camera and they RUN! I need to gain back their trust and confidence...or learn more about ACTION photography! ;)
We figured it was the electronic eyes. We thought they were probably a little off. No dice. It was the motor gear dying. The repairman showed me the metal bits all around the motor housing. So the chain was hitting those and the broken teeth on the gear and coming back up.
Soo, we are now the proud owners of a new garage door opener. Man, they cost a lot, no? Still it is a lot quieter and it seems a LOT smoother about opening. So that's a plus.
Thanks to Mom R for validating my choice of which model to pick. Darwin was at work, and not able to get to the phone, and I never make choices for $600, so it was nice of her to let me call her and get her input. It made me feel a lot calmer about making the choice. Ahh.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ella's been crawling for over a month and a half, but she is full-steam ahead now. With this new mobility comes some baby-proofing challenges. Her biggest targets to crawl towards are small items--toys, beads, cat food, cotton balls, anything little. If she sees something small she lunges at it with gusto and grabs it, stuffing it into her little mouth and chewing away.
So, now I get to try to keep the floors cleared. You'd think by baby #5 this would be old hat, but no, it is harder this time. First, because Ella seems to like to stick things in her mouth SO much more than the other kids did. And second, because the older kids are...well...older. They like older kid toys, which translates to smaller parts. Michael and McKay enjoyed (and still enjoy) younger kid toys much longer than the norm. They still enjoy the Little People. But as Michael has gotten older, he has started to like action figures with all their little accessories. McKay likes little playsets with intricate parts. Hannah has lots of Polly Pocket and Barbie and all of THEIR pieces. So now, there is ever so much more for Ella to stuff.
Wish me luck in this uphill battle.
Friday, September 26, 2008
1) I don't like to leave my house. I wouldn't say I was completely agorphobic, just that it takes a LOT for me to motivate myself to leave. Once I'm out, I have a great time. But leaving makes me feel a little jittery.
2) I am rediscovering myself lately. I am SO happy that I married Darwin. He has been the best thing ever for me. He is the love of my life. He is also extremely extremely left-brained. (This is not a bad thing.) So, for the most part, I just fall into my logical, practical side when I am with Darwin (which is most of the time). My logical side is a big part of me. But I completely forgot that I am primarily a right-brained, creative person. I majored in English! I was a band geek! I was a choir nerd! I love to draw! I like photography! I kinda let that part of me go and by getting back into contact with a lot of my college/high school friends recently (lots via this blog!), it reminded me that I need to excercise both sides of my personality.
3) I am allergic to most make-up. The fragrance gives me a headache and if it is not hypo-allergenic, I get all red and splotchy. So I usually go au naturalle.
4) I don't watch television really. We don't have cable, so we don't get any reception on our TV. (The kids watch movies on the TV and we can get PBS.) I just don't really enjoy much TV. I DO like to watch Lost and Dancing with the Stars online though. It is nice to be able to do it on my time though. However, I am finding that not watching TV sometimes leaves me at a loss in conversations with people.
5) I am adamant that laundry MUST be folded right out of the dryer. I don't allow it in baskets. It HAS to be folded as soon as it is out of the dryer. Back in the day, I would let it pile up to be folded, and that resulted in big, frusterating laundry piles. So I have banned laundry piles. And I have stuck to this for almost 2 years.
6) I am nearing the 10th anniversary of when I found out I was expecting Michael. That will also mark the fact I have been pregnant, nursing or both for a decade. So, I blame all my other quirks on this quirk.
I tag Nancy, Kim, Mary C. and Christie and Kathryn!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The kids (Michael then aged 7, McKay 5, Hannah 3, and Garrett 6 months) and I had just come home from living in Washington DC for the summer and we'd left Darwin there for another 7 weeks to finish training for his new job. School was starting, so the kids had to come back. It had been a wonderful experience that summer, but there was certainly a lot going on as well. (Hee hee, ask Kim. We had our wood floor laid while we were gone and the floor layer moved--complete with his snake--into our house!)
But this particular day was a calm, low-key, rainy early fall day. I decided to have pizza delivered to the house and I was letting the kids paint with poster paint at the kitchen table.
I went to answer the door, retrieve the pizza, pay for it, and then I returned to the kitchen. In that timeframe, Hannah grew bored of her coloring book, looked for a new canvas, found one, and filled it with green paint.
They took a moment to play in the ashes. I stripped half of Ella's clothes on the way to the tub, and then came to my senses and snapped a picture for posterity. (Garrett wisely kept his distance from the camera.) Oh and notice the remnants of Garrett and Ella's playing? I told you, they are SO funny.
So slacker mom turns over a new leaf. She has 1) cleaned out the ashes and 2) vowed to keep a better eye on the littles.
P.S. Hee hee, she is NOW CinderElla.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"Fridge, Fridge, by the wall...who is the cutest baby of all?"
And it reminded me of such a funny story.
Let's all cast our minds back to last Primary Program, shall we? About a year ago.
Songs were perfected. Lines were memorized. And practices were completed. The big performance day was here.
McKay had a little line about following prophets (or something...) He got up at his appointed time and Darwin and I leaned forward, wondering if he would say anything. Oh, he did!
But instead of admonishing the congregation to follow the prophet, he stood confidently at the microphone and said, "I'm very honored to be running for president, I promise to do the best I can." And then he sat back in his seat.
So, there you have it, folks. If you're not satisfied with your current presidential choices, you have another option. McKay for President! He promises to do the best he can.
What other politician offers that promise?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
So I thought it would be nice to give Darwin a little forum for his thoughts on the first things people should get in their quest to be prepared in the event of catastrophe. I think it always seems so overwhelming to think of everything one would have to do to be fully prepared to weather ANY crisis (physical/environmental/financial, etc.) But sometimes just working towards a small goal here and there can help us attain preparedness as well.
So, I asked Darwin what his reccomendations would be for getting things stored for an emergency. What would he do first? Below is a line-upon-line list. Just focusing on one step at a time towards being more prepared in an emergency. It is not meant to be something where you look at it and freak out. (I think one of the biggest hinderances to emergency preperation is the feeling of being overwhelmed and then just stopping in preparing.)
1) Darwin says #1 is a first aid kit. Even just a basic one. Also, in this first step, he reccomends a flashlight.
2) A 72-hour kit. There are countless links to these all over the internet. Some are VERY in-depth. Like this one. But really, even just starting out with food and water that will last for 72 hours, as well as some clothing and a sleeping bag is a good thing. Don't forget any medications you may need.
3) Bottled water/water barrels. Ideally, this water should last for 2 weeks. A gallon of water per day per person is reccomended. Here are guidelines for storing water that is suitable for drinking.
4) Darwin really really likes the 3 month food buckets at Costco. They are relatively cheap (about $70 for a bucket that would feed an adult). They last 20 years. They are just-add-water. They were also fairly palatable. (Darwin claims the powdered milk tasted better than nearly all powdered milk he'd tasted.) Obviously this is not the ONLY way to go. It is just an easy way to do it, and have it checked off your list for 20 years. ;) The point is really getting at least 3 months of food. You could also look in your cupboards and figure out how long all your cans and mixes and such would last.
5) Then gradually work towards a longer-term supply of food, as your storage space and finances permit. (Notes from Darwin: Most people will find it easier to store and use and rotate through rice than wheat. And for beans, using a pressure cooker will speed prep time.)
Here is the list we used when compiling our basic year's supply of food. (Most of these can last at least 30 years in storage.) We've added to it as we've gone, but having the basics is a good baseline from which to start.
Grains (wheat, rice, etc.) 400 lbs (per person)
Legumes (beans, peas, etc.) 60 lbs.
Powdered milk 16 lbs.
Cooking oil 10 qts.
Sugar or honey 60 lbs.
Salt 8 lbs.
Water (2 weeks supply) 14 gallons
* We got this list from The Essentials of Home Production and Storage, 1978.
For those who HAVE all of those, then you can start getting fancy with being prepared for an emergency. For those who aren't quite that far, just working on one at a time, is a good way to go. Don't focus on what you don't have, but just on what you can do.
What are your food storage/emergency preparedness tips?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
- Tells me he is a letter T or O and makes them with his arms.
- Gives me precise directions to the school everytime we go to pick up Hannah. i.e. "Turn up there mom. Now! Go straight now mom. For a long time."
- Puts the teddy bear in the carseat, complete with buckles.
Three adorable things Garrett does:
- He knows where EACH one of his siblings is at all times, even if they are not home. (Within reason--sometimes McKay's whereabouts are not knowable.) I can say, "Where is Michael?" And Garrett will reply, "At school."
- He loves to share his love of his siblings. While we were at the doctor's office yesterday, he kepts stroking Ella's face and quietly proclaiming, "I love my baby" while I spoke to the doctor. Halfway through a statement, the doctor stopped and broke into a grin and said, "Man, he is so cute, isn't he?" Why yes, he is.
- He tells me he is SuperBoy.
Three things I am grateful for about Garrett:
- He likes to clean. He might be what one would call a "neatnik."
- He has amazing speech. I don't have to worry about delays. I was worried about worrying when he was born. (Uh, that was a lot of worrying, no?)
- That he is a good listener and a kind friend.
Three amazing things about Garrett:
- Knows almost all his letters and most of their sounds and can make quite a few of them with his body.
- He knows how to count to about 8 with perfect one-to-one correspondence. Above that, it gets pretty sketchy.
- He wears 4 T footie jammies...and the legs seem a bit short. (He's barely 2.5 years old.)
Garrett, Garrett, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!! Goooooo Garrett!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So, aparantly she just *found* her right ear during the illness and enjoys playing with it. And I guess she is at that age where you just have to lay them in the crib and walk away for a bit if they pop right back up.
It's a good feeling though to know her ear is ok. I don't have to second guess if it is ok or not. That makes me feel confident.
Hopefully this is the last ear infection she has. *knocking on wood*
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
How long does it take for the antibiotics to work? When should Ella be feeling better?
She is pretty calm all the time, so her behavior is not a good indicator. But she still seems to reach up and hold her hand at her ear a lot. And she wakes right up when I lay her in the crib.
She's halfway through day 9 of 10 days of antibiotics. Shouldn't she have gotten over the majority of symptoms by now? Should I take her in for an ear check? Honestly, I kinda hate going to the doctor's office for no reason (which is why I am grilling all of YOU as to what to expect on all things ear-infection related), because I worry we'll go in with a healing ear infection and come out with brand new stomach bugs, colds and conjunctivitis bugs for our very own!
So what's your vote? On the road to health? Or antibiotic not doing its job?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Anyway, my family is all very indulgent of my playing around.
The book I've always wanted to read and am leaning towards is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. But I don't know if perhaps that won't grab people?
So, what are YOUR favorite books? What would you like to read and discuss for a book club?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
This is his third lost tooth, but the first chance I've had to take a picture of a gap. When he lost his first two teeth (on the same day!) they had been so tenacious about staying in his mouth that both of the permenent had already come up entirely.A kitty update.
He's doing great. His foot is better. His abcess is better. He's gaining weight. His fur looks marginally less matted due to 1) cooler weather and 2) letting me shave off the areas with the worst matts. (A testament to his wonderful demeanor.)
Finally, YAY! BYU shellacked UCLA (sorry Alison) with a 52-0 shut out!
Rise and shout, the Cougars are out! Goooooooo Cougars!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
"Ok, seriously, I am just done now."
P.S. Why doesn't clicking on the picture make it bigger? Any ideas?
I better get this early admission out of the way first.
I admit it. We did not see any pigs, or cows, or sheep. We saw horses from afar. We intended to see them.
But we never got that far.
We came in on the side by the carnival rides and well, we never left. The kids wanted to go on a few rides. We thought, well, sure. But the pricing was such that buying individual tickets for the rides was not a good deal at ALL. So, we got the wristbands for the kids to ride as many rides as they wanted. They had a grand time. They rode every ride at least twice. Some they rode MANY more times. I went on some of the rides with the kids when they needed an adult. I am also still dizzy from the experience.
So, there you have it. Since we spent all that money on rides, the kids rode on the rides for all the time we were not watching the Veggie Tales.
Whew, ok, with that admission out of the way, I can go on.
Since the Fair is a big busy gathering of people, we went prepared. Every child had our cell phone number on their arms in magic marker. We had water, two double strollers, extra clothes, etc. We needed it all. We were glad for some snacks and water, because the Fair prices for food and drink are...well, they aren't fair. The strollers were nice for carting around all the stuff we brought, as well as toting tired kids around as it got late. The extra clothes were good, since Ella had a blow-out early on. That was fun. Luckily, we didn't test the phone numbers on the arms of the kids.
At 5:45 we went to the Grandstand and found our seats. We were SO happy we arrived early in the day and got the tickets immediately. Our seats were really good. We were on the ground and about 10 rows from the stage.
McKay was in heaven. Of course. Michael was the big surprise. He LOVED it. They had to solve the mystery of what happened to Bob and Michael was enthralled. He is really into detective stories lately. Garrett loved dancing along. Ella tried to nap (unsuccessfully, since it was loud). Hannah enjoyed catching the streamers they shot out at the end of the show. For mom and dad it was mostly just fun watching the kids have SO much fun watching the show.
I just brought my point and shoot camera. I had gotten my cool camera back a couple minutes before we left for the fair (from being fixed), but the battery was not charged and I was afraid to lose it, have it stolen, or have it break.
So, let's start with the most important part first. The Veggies!
Bob, the Tomato!
Hannah had a little mishap in the middle of the day when she lost her bracelet that let her onto the rides. It was looking bad for a bit, but we were able to straighten it out and prove she did have a bracelet, so they replaced it. I later realized it would have been easier for us to prove if I would have pulled out the camera and shown the people her bracelet in the pictures just a few minutes earlier. Oops. (So, if you lose your bracelet at the carnival, pull out your digital camera for proof.)
The kids were crashed pretty much as soon as we loaded them into the van. They didn't even fight a bath this morning before school. It was a good thing, since the water in the tub bore witness to the fact we took home half of the dirt from the fairgrounds on the kids.
A very fun, dizzying day.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
- I love my temporal thermometer. It is insanely easy to take my kids' temperatures. I remember thinking how lucky I was and how easy it was to take their temperatures with the ear thermometer, but this just beats that by a mile. I take my mommy hat off to all of the mommies past who had to do the *shudder* rectal thermometer method. They were pioneers and saints. ;)
- I love Lavender Vanilla Downy Fabric Softener. Mmmm. It just makes doing laundry nicer. I also like to imagine that the aromatherapy calming of the lavender helps in the house. Probably wishful thinking.
- I love Kirkland Signature Antibacterial Wipes. What can I say? They just make things faster
- I love my big, fast, energy-efficient washing machine. Really, I STILL think it is so cool even 10 months later. It makes laundry less painful.
- I love my blog. I love that I have somewhere to organize (and dump) my thoughts during the day. I also love being a stay-at-home-mom, but sometimes I have a lot of conversations going on with myself in my head. (Should I be admitting that? Surely all other stay-at-home moms talk to themselves in their heads?) It is nice to be able to post those thoughts and move on to others. The blog also has the built in bonuses of acting as a pretty up-to-date family history record and I love reading the comments to all my ramblings.
- I love Johnson and Johnson No-More-Tangles spray. This makes doing Hannah's hair in the morning doable. It makes it easy to brush the tangles from her hair and it wets her hair enough that her hair looks fresh in the morning, even if she has slept on it after bathing the night before, making it all wacky. (Look! Amazon sells a 6-pack!)
- I love my Phaunt Sunshine in my Hand action for my Photoshop program. It is just lots of fun. It saves pictures that I underexpose (and since I am still working on outdoor manual exposures and I am still hesitant to work with RAW since the files are SO HUGE, I do have lots of underexposed pictures) it is nice to have something to help fix that with jpegs without a lot of heartache. It's not a panacea (and I AM still working on correctly metering, using grey cards, metering once for a location and watching the histogram, etc....), but it is still nice to have.
- I love Costco! It is just a fun store. It also provides the sizes we need for most things with 5 kids. (i.e. BIG!)
- I love the state fair! They are having a Veggie Tales show tonight! We're going! Yay!
Monday, September 8, 2008
But here's the thing that makes me even more amazed about how good Ella was yesterday at Stake Conference (and everyday)--she has an ear infection! I had NO idea. She has been cheerful and happy. She just has been a bit of a fitful sleeper for a couple days, but I just thought she was having a normal sleep regression in preparation for a growth spurt. Nope, a full-blown ear infection.
Granted, none of the boys ever really had an ear infection and Hannah had like 5, but that was a long time ago. So I am kind of an ear infection novice. Still, I feel bad. I just had no idea.
So, we've got a chiropractor appointment this evening and she has some antibiotics and tea-tree oil as well as tylenol for the moment. We'll get her fixed up in no time. Poor little ladybug.
One funny to note. Michael still was not in top condition. Definately on the mend, but not 100%. So he stayed home again today to rest and catch up on calories. He came along with me to the doctor's office for Ella's check up. When the doctor came in, Michael ran up to him and held out a quarter and gave it to him. "Here's a tip for you!" he proclaimed. The doctor got a good chuckle out of that and then returned the quarter at the end as a reward for being such a great listener and good brother.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Since poor Michael is still sick (fever, vomiting, the works...) we have to have at least one adult home with him all the time. So Darwin went to the Adult session last night and I took the kids to the general session this morning.
I really was not looking forward to having to sit for 2 hours with 4 of the kids by myself. It turned out that it was actually a regional/multi-stake conference being broadcast from BYU to 100+ Utah Valley stakes. This is where leaving the daily BYU devotional on to listen to every morning has paid off! (It is on the local PBS affiliate, and it comes on in the middle of the PBS Kids programming each day.) McKay sat still and listened, because he assumed it was PBS Kids. :D
Hannah and Garrett did pretty well for the first hour and a half. They were pretty wiggly for the last half hour, but so were all the other kids in the room. Ella did well, but was very sleepy by the end. She came home and slept for about 3 hours.
It was a great meeting. Marlon K. Jenson had a wonderful talk about accepting everyone, even those who are considered "different", and he had some wonderful examples of his special needs brother. It was a very inspiring and peaceful meeting, but mostly, I am just so pleased with how well the kids did sitting for 2 hours and being quiet and listening.
They were awesome!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
"I fight for Jake and Toni Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Jake works on a loading dock, coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. Toni is a schoolteacher, working toward her master's degree. They have two sons; the youngest, Luke, has been diagnosed with autism. Their lives should matter to the people they elect to office. They matter to me. And they matter to you."
--John McCain, in his acceptance speech to the RNC Sept. 4th, 2008
It brings tears to my eyes.
It gives me hope.
She's crawling (albeit slowly), sitting on her own (well, for a few minutes anyway), and she can even get herself into a sitting position on her own. She watches everyone and everything and coos up a storm. Always SO much going on to see and comment on.
She fits perfectly into our family. Everyone is completely in love with her and her smiles in return just further solidify their feelings. It is very gratifying to watch as a mother.
Here's to the NEXT six months with Ella.
Cute little downward dog.The blurry, non-flash, very wiggly Camel Pose.
Ahh, so Zen.
People wonder how Darwin and I survive without cable in the house. Honestly, we're entertained very well everyday. Wouldn't you agree?
Anyway, fun stuff!
*In case you can't tell, the word Twilight quiz is the link.
A couple weeks after school starts, at least one of the kids comes down with something. Does this happen to anyone else? It happens without fail in our house.
This time Michael drew the short straw. He is S.I.C.K. He has slept for pretty much 2 days straight. He has a fever. He is throwing up. He has a congested nose. He had a hacking cough. He looks like he's been hit by a truck.
Michael is rarely sick, so this is not something he is used to. He is not pleased with the situation either. But at least he is able to sleep through a lot of it. Of course, that means he is drinking sparsely and eating even less. He is so skinny, losing weight it NOT at the top of his list of things he needs to do. I've even toyed with taking him to the doctor. This is rarely a course of action I resort to. If there is not blood or broken bones, we usually stay home. And in the end, I think I will not take Michael in to the doctor. Mainly because I am fairly sure it is viral and he got it at school, and if I go to the doctor we will be the proud new owners of a pet Strep bug and it will share the love with Michael and every other kid in the house in turn. Still, Michael is so skinny, any sickness just scares me.
I'm sure he'll be better in no time. Still, it doesn't make this moment any easier for him.
Really, does this happen to everyone else? Does the beginning of school signal a sickness coming 2 weeks down the pipeline?
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Please excuse the messy room. McKay loves pumping up balls lately. So all of our flat balls are getting fixed.
McKay and Garrett spent quite a bit of time running in the circle. The last one was how it ended. I alternately crack up and want to tear up a little. Awww.
And finally, McKay pushes Ella's swing. Look at her adoring eyes. She just LOVES her big brother. I know these are so gushy, but honestly, look at the depth of McKay's connection to the family. I know, as parents of autistic kids, we are SO blessed with how strong his bond is with the whole family and with how much outward affection he shows every single day.