Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's Pneu?

Us, apparently.

Sawyer has a mild case of pneumonia.  Linc started coughing today, but it's been a better day and I'm hoping everyone is better in a day or two.  Sawyer ate almost a whole sausage for dinner, so I think he's on the mend.

Just a Little Perspective

This morning I was innocently drinking coffee and searching Pinterest when I was forced to give thanks.  I say forced because we had another night of no sleep, and Sawyer coughed non-stop through all of it.  Linc is now starting to get sick.  He even woke up and just wanted me to sit and touch his head--a first for him, being a totally serious and independent sleeper.  I'm tired and cranky and in want of a vacation--or just a quiet room where I could be totally by myself for an hour.  Or two.

So as I tend to do, I followed a pin I like back to its original post online, then checked out the most recent posts from the blog writer.  Who just so happened to have and lose a baby just around Thanksgiving.

It was not just the sadness of the loss, but the grace and the thankfulness surrounded the events that struck me.  (If you want to read--warning, you WILL cry--you can find her at No Biggie.) I know we are to give thanks always--I'm sure I've talked about that here before.  And yet I've been complaining and thinking about how hard things are for my kids and for me this week.  It's not to say that hearing someone's story that's worse than yours should make you suck it up and forget your problems.  Hard is hard, whether your hard is hard as another person's hard.

But I think reading about the terrible loss and also the grace with which this family (that I don't even know) handled a situation they could not control helped remind me that the struggle I'm in this week IS small.  It's just a moment.  Often in those tough moments, it's hard to see past them.  You can kind of KNOW there is an end (even if you don't see it), but that does not always bring immediate comfort.

In any case, things are still hard around here this morning.  I have been on hold with the doctor for ten minutes, trying to get an appointment.  Sawyer's coughing fit stopped, but the fever is back.  Lincoln is starting to cough.  I look and feel like I haven't slept in four days. (Because I haven't.)  But I feel a little bit lighter, comforted by someone else's struggle, and by the comfort that only God brings.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Cough That Wouldn't Stop

Sawyer got sick Saturday night.  And, like the last time he had this type of croup-y cough, I kept thinking it was getting better.  He had a mild fever, but that came and went.  Yesterday he was up an playing and I hoped to send him to school today.  Then he coughed all last night.  Argh.  I rented movies and hoped to get some work done on my book, but short of printing all my latest work to hopefully organize, I didn't get much done.

Again, Saw seemed better, and we had some fun building with legos and I let him help me make dinner.  It was nice.  And then his coughing started up and wouldn't stop.  By that, I mean he didn't go more than a minute without coughing.  He doesn't have a deep phlegm-y cough, nor is it bark-y like a seal.  Just shallow and tight.  And continual.

I even gave him some of that medicine that's for ages four and above. Basically all cough medicine is for four and above.  Did you know that?  There are a few other kinds of homeopathic meds, like Zarbees, but nothing was working.  I thought just maybe they put that warning label on there so that all of us with kids under four would have to go to the doctor.  I only gave half of the dose for a four-year-old, but that didn't help either.  Darn.

Of course it was after the doctor's office was closed so I left a message with the nurses answering service and looked up online.  Apparently sometimes the body can get stuck in a cough and the message stops getting to the brain that it doesn't NEED to cough.  I think that's what was going on.   Thankfully it's stopped and the nurses just said I needed to see a doctor and to try the cold freezer air if steam wasn't working.

I talked with one of my great friends who also has croup-y kids right now and it was so encouraging.  I hate that other people (especially ones I love!) are going through the same thing as me, but sometimes you just need to hear that it's hard.  It's really awful to watch your kid suffer, to pray for them to get better and they just don't.

And in a way that's really ugly and selfish, it can be so hard for me.  To feel so overwhelmed by the sheer neediness of your kids.  By so many hours of serving and trying to comfort and help, I felt emptied and worn down and frazzled.  Rob ordered me out to get coffee, so I hit a drive-thru for a latte and employed the butt-warmers on the van while catching up with aforementioned friend.  I came home to a more quiet house and feel a little better.

Saw is coughing less, but every now and then I can hear him starting up again and I start getting all edge-y and nervous and freaked out again.  I want him to be able to get up and run around.  I don't want him to cry because he feels so awful.  And I (selfishly) want to have a day with less neediness.  I am always amazed by how quickly I can zoom from loving my life and my kids to feeling like I'm going to run out of my house screaming.  Sick kids can take you from doing great to barely doing in about five seconds.

THIS is what I get for making that post about my immunities.  It's worse than me getting sick!  Stupid Murphy's Law.

Coffee Filter Snowballs

Last night I broke into the Christmas decorations (thanks, Robbie, for finding them in the attic!) and began  hanging things around the house. I like to keep it simple and cheap--just touches of color here and there around the house.  Mostly I just fill things with colored balls. I've been thinking about making a coffee filter wreath (sort of like the one HERE I made for Nat's shower) but then got the idea: snowballs!

It's not an original idea. I went to my go-to spot for ideas, Pinterest, and discovered all the people before me who also thought making snowballs out of coffee filters.  After checking out a few of the sites, I made my own.  My favorite kind of craft: super-easy and super-cheap.  Here is a tutorial.

 Supplies:  paper, tape (either kind), paperclips, coffee filters, and a glue gun.  Oh, and probably scissors.

 Step 1: Crumple a piece of paper into a ball.

 Step 2: Take a paperclip and straighten one side, while making a loop of the other.  Prep the coffee filters by folding in half, then again.

 Step 3:  Cover the outside of the ball with tape, just to make sure it holds its shape.  Both the clear and painting tape worked fine for me.  Stab the paperclip through the ball with the straight end, leaving a hook to hang.

 Step 4: Glue the coffee filters onto the ball. I forgot to take a photo during this stage, but I basically made a dot of glue, then pressed the corner of the filter into it, fluffing the edges until I liked them.  Repeat. I think each ball took between 10-20 coffee filters and took maybe 5-10 minutes each.

 Step 5: Hang the balls using ribbon or fishing wire or yarn or whatever.  I used some red and green ribbon from my wrapping paper supply.  I trimmed the balls as needed.  A few of them got kind of wonky.

 Ta da!  Clearly I need to do some work on my table for Christmas.  Stop judging. This post is just about my snowballs.

I think I might make some smaller ones (just gluing a few coffee filters together and trimming) to stick around the house.  I also may make some snowflakes.  If you want a tutorial on that, check out a tutorial by Holly (aka Wicked Sweet) on Roll the Maps.  If you want more links to more fun, thrifty ideas, check out the link party at Linda's Coastal Charm.

Starving in England

[This is the first installment of a new series of posts that are simply about the random happenings of my life.  Hope you're ready for some foreign travel, because we're going to London!]

I didn’t intend to go to London for weight loss, but if I couldn’t find a grocery store, that’s exactly what was going to happen.

 In 1999 no one had cell phones—well, no Americans had them. Every person in London had one and carried on overloud conversations in public places, which was weird and highly annoying, but would in a few short years become daily life. We had no internet access, no GPS, no app for that.  Without even a paper map of London, my best friend Ginny and I were relying on a pencil-drawn map to a grocery store from Mrs. George (aka The George), the British woman who was renting rooms to us for our semester abroad.

Imagine a paper with a lot of squiggles and illegible words. She explained as she drew, and we both nodded, then confessed as soon as she was in the garden that we could hardly understand a word through her accent. No matter. We were in London for adventure—I mean, studying—so we bundled up and set out with optimism, growling stomachs, and the cryptic map.

Breakfast on the plane was the last meal we’d had. Ginny and I had flown from DC the night before, and should have slept. I’m pretty sure Ginny did. But my Aunt Jo was able to find some kind of amazing deal on Virgin Air and they served coffee and tea (and Baileys!!) for free all night long. Plus the TVs on the seat backs in front of us had not only movies but Nintendo 64. I spent the night crossing the Atlantic sucking down coffee and playing Super Mario Brothers.

 A van from the university had picked us up from Heathrow and wound around the city while I stared blearily out the window to see the sights. It was all a groggy blur, except for my amazement that flowers were blooming--everywhere it seemed--in February. Ginny and I fell asleep almost immediately after The George showed us to our rooms. The grocery store search was our first venture out of the house on our own.

It was freezing, but sunny. Ginny and I were able to locate one point on The George’s map: a bridge over train tracks just around the corner. The problem was that across the bridge, we could go left, right, straight or diagonally right or diagonally left. Five ways. Houses in all directions. The George’s map showed only two squiggles across the bridge and the arrow she had drawn did not seem to go in any one of the possible directions.

We stood at the end of the bridge, then picked a direction and started walking. We walked. And we walked. Our noses froze and I was thankful for the long underwear my Dad bought me before I left. We found more homes, intersections, parks, but no stores. Of any kind. Afraid that we would get lost, we retraced our steps, re-crossed the bridge, and went back to The George’s for a second nap of the day.

I had been hungry when I woke from the first nap, but when I woke from my second nap, I was famished. My room was freezing—apparently the English only turn on their heat for a few hours a day—so I went upstairs to Ginny’s room where we huddled together under a single blanket, a space heater blowing on high directly into our faces.

We hoped the George would be around to decipher her map, but she was gone. With no options and the sun beginning to lower, Ginny and I set out again, determined to come home with something edible. Jet lag and homesickness were forming a dangerous cocktail of emotion, made worse by the freezing temperatures both in and out of the house. I was feeling decidedly less adventurous and decidedly more hangry.

Ginny and I chose a different road on the other side of the bridge, and after another long walk, finally came to a little row of shops with a corner store. Imagine a very narrow and tiny 7-11.  Definitely not a grocery store. But it had food!

Well, kind of. We navigated our first use of English currency and got back to The George’s with a loaf of bread and a package of British cookies called Hob Nobs. It’s amazing how a few calories can lift your spirits. Back in Ginny’s room, again under the blanket with the space heater, we ate half a loaf of bread and most of the cookies. We laughed about our misadventure, talked about what we missed at home, and vowed with renewed zeal and optimism to find a real grocery store.

It only took us a few more days of canned food and cookies from the corner store, but we finally found a real grocery store. Had we chosen to go left over the bridge that first day, we would have found it over a hill, a mere 200 yards away.

So we were directionally challenged. With food to survive, nothing could stop us from conquering London and possibly Europe. Except a lot of customs we didn’t understand, a horrific American professor at our otherwise British university, having to sleep in a Barcelona park, and one British dude named Pete.

The Life and Times of Kiki

I asked recently if you guys would read (or be interested in reading) some random posts about my life.  I've been wanting to record memories and different stories I have.  There wasn't a huge response, but I am not taking this personally.  Instead, I am starting today with a series of installments about studying abroad in England.  It was one of my favorite periods pre-marriage, and sadly I left my journal from the whole trip on the plane I rode back to the states afterward.  Doh.  My best friend Ginny and I went together, so she's going to make sure my memories are generally on track.  Hope you enjoy a break from the cuteness of my kids and all the poop talk.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mom Immunity

For the past three days, Sawyer has been coughing at close range into my face with his coughing, fevery germs.  He picked up some kind of bug for Thanksgiving--yay!  Today he finally emerged from his TV-coma on the chaise to play with some toys and run around outside.  (He actually helped me hang lights on our trees!)  I am hoping for a fever and cough-free morning tomorrow because Mommy NEEDS him to go to school.  If I ever want to finish this novel, that is.

Here's the thing: I am amazed at my immunity.  (As a result of this blog post, I will immediately and violently become ill.) Sawyer sleeps better with us than in his room when he's sick.  Or maybe we sleep better?  In any case, he wakes up like every hour when he's sick and if he's in our bed I can just shush him or hand him water or give him more medicine and not have to drag myself to his room.  It's not great sleep either way.  And he is coughing germs directly into my face at two-inch range all night long.

I am still feeling well, as of this moment.  Until this post goes up and then I become sick from the sheer audacity to mention NOT getting sick.  

Parents (and teachers):  do you feel being exposed to all the germs makes you less or more sick??




Meatloaf, Chicken Curry's Half-Step-Cousin-in-Law

In other words, menu plan fail.

I'm not giving up yet, but today I went to the store with my list I had written out last night during my planning time.  Today was meat loaf.  I had everything but...meat.  Wednesday was going to be chili, so I was going to split it up the beef.  I went to two stores to pick up sundry items and forgot the one thing I needed:  BEEF.

See why I don't plan things?  I tend to change my mind or mess them up.

But see how my non-planning helps me out of a jam? I adapt!  I am spontaneous!  We switched out meatloaf for its close relative, chicken curry.  Just kidding.  They aren't close at all.  I just happened to buy all the ingredients I didn't already have for curry today when I was NOT buying beef.  I broke in my new crock pot and used THIS recipe.  I have my own curry powder, so I didn't use any of their spices, and I would recommend putting the coconut milk in later, as mine got creepy and curdle-y.  Still, the chicken fell off the bone and Rob said it was the best meat loaf he's ever had.




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Menu Planning, We Meet Again

I am the worst menu planner.  In fact, I just about loathe all forms of planning, though I would consider myself organized.  Apparently my organization is less "traditional."  I don't keep a calendar; I keep things in my head.  I make shopping lists; then forget them at home and buy what's on sale.  I attempt a menu plan; then scrap it for something else at the last minute.

I decided with the holiday season of feasting, I need some help to keep on track if I don't want to gain 500 pounds.  Maybe, just maybe, it'd be possible to even lose a bit of weight.  The only way I think I can do it is by planning. I downloaded a template in google docs someone made for meals.  Then I highlighted in red the days I have parties or feasts or things that will mean eating not the best foods.  All other days I am planning healthy foods, making shopping lists, and getting all these things together Sunday night so I'm ready to go Monday with the foods I need at home to keep on track.  So far it's working well!

I'm planning also to try to utilize my new, huge (compared to the old) crockpot and do easy meals that I can maybe chop up the night before and stick in during the morning hours, which are much less nuts than those right before dinner time.  Pinterest is a great help for recipe searching, and for inspiration.  Who knows? Maybe this time the planning will stick, and I will become a more organized shopper and food-maker.

Thanksgiving Photo of the Day

Love the faces in the background. :)

Thanksgiving Roundup

Thanksgiving is officially over.  Now on to Christmas!  I really love this whole holiday season starting in November, despite the struggle to not get so commercial and spend too much money. Watching Charlie Brown Christmas or reading the Bible help with perspective there.   We had a lovely meal at my parents' house with the traditional fare from my family: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, very young small tender peas (that's really the name), candied yams, rolls (which I must, traditionally, poke), and cocktail shrimp.  It's sad that we used to have these huge meals in Richmond with all the old folks, but all the old folks have passed and gone.  We still have their name places, and I wish they were here!  Sawyer ate like a champ and loved the marshmallows on the candied yams.  Not so much pumpkin pie.

After that, we went to Buck and Lynn's for a non-turkey meal of great baked ham sandwiches and some homemade cheesecake that one of Denise's friends made. There were many cousins and much merriment. Then the boys watched the Aggies throw away their last game to Texas. It was disappointing.  We had a more traditional Thanksgiving meal over there yesterday where Rob fried the turkey and we discovered that Lincoln loves cranberry casserole with pistachios.  Weird.

I forgot my camera when I went to my parents' house (boo!) but here are some of the other photos from the weekend.
 Red light green light is best played with a glass of beer.

 Clearly the best ways to use the car.
 I made an accidental and ugly (but tasty!) butterscotch cake.
 Oops!
 Cousin Charlotte.
 You're not going anywhere with that flat tire!
 Sunset.
 I couldn't get a good angle, but here's Mimi snuggling with her favorite grand dog, Tex.
 Braden and Linc bonded in bath time.





 Rob is our turkey fryer extraordinaire and does not disappoint!

Black Friday Deals

I really am not into the Black Friday thing, but I do snatch up great deals around this whole holiday season if they are easy (read: not crowded stores or online).  This is my second year to do CVS Black Friday.  They start their deals on Thanksgiving Day, and no one is in the store.  Which means no crowd.  Plus, if you don't mind doing a bunch of transactions, you can get tons for little.  I spent less than $20 (I think it was about $16) and got all this stuff, plus $10 in ECB to spend.  I think I did a total of like 6 transactions and kept them to about $10, so that I was getting $10 in ECB, using that $10 to buy the next items, which gave me another $10.  The only exception is the crock pot, which was $18 (with $10 ECB back).  I was so set on getting a new crock pot that I drove to four stores to find it. Don't ask me why, but the other three did not stock up on this particular item. Grr.  In any case, I got a lot for a very little and have more to spend.  And I only used one coupon for the whole thing.
If you missed out, go next year on Thanksgiving! Just not to my CVS, please--I like it with no lines. :) In case you want a list of what I got:

1 Crock pot
hair gel
Quantam dishwasher tabs
2 Advils
2 Excedrins
1 theraflu
1 cepacol
1 universal remote
1 set earphones
2 toothbrushes
1 pepto bismal
1 package listerine strips
1 fiber one brownies
1 carmex
1 toothpaste
1 soft lips
1 pack batteries (CVS brand)
2 packs mimi M&Ms (not pictured because my boys were eating them)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Conspiracy

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent, which means Christmas is right around the corner.  But you know that! You can't ignore the crazy lights or the Black Friday deals--I know I bought a few things, even if only online.

We watched a video like this a few weeks ago in church from Living Water, a ministry whose aim is to provide clean water for the world.  Clean water is something I don't think about usually--because I don't have to.  I'm not into guilt-giving, but I am into giving when being moved, so here is a video for you to watch that is really powerful.  If you're moved to give, Living Water is a great place to give.


[AC] Promo 2011 from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Big Eye-Sto, Small Clo-Yo

I'm sure he didn't coin the term, but Rob's dad likes to talk about Big Eye-Sto.  Basically, this is when your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you try to eat more than you really can.  I think this is a pretty American thing, and for sure a very Thanksgiving one. (Anyone else OD on stuffing?)

I have recently coined a term that I will call Small Clo-Yo.  Don't analyze it too much--there's no real word for the "yo" part; I just wanted it to go along with Big Eye-Sto.  It's actually a companion to Big Eye-Sto, or what happens after you eat more than you should.  Small Clo-Yo is the condition where you are shopping and think you can fit into an item of clothing based on holding it up.  But you can't.

I realized the other day while trading in clothes (and sort of shopping) at Plato's Closet (mostly a junior's resale shop) that while I know I'm not the size I was in high school (or college, or a few years ago), when I am glancing at clothes, I will totally look at something that I might have fit into back then and think, yeah, that's looks about right.  Then I'm totally confused (and bummed) when my head is too big to get through the head hole.

Okay, so my head isn't too big.  But I definitely gauge incorrectly if I'm just glancing at a shirt or dress or pants.  When it comes to food, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. When it comes to clothes, apparently my eyes are smaller than my body.  Anyone else have this issue when shopping?

Sawyer On: Thankfulness

Saw and I started a tradition the day before Thanksgiving that he seems to like and we'll continue.  It's  a sort of ping-ponging back and forth of prayers of thanksgiving. I say something I'm thankful for, then he does.  He initiated it today, so this might be something we do for a while. We should always give thanks, right?

Some of the things he's thankful for:

-new toys
-Mommy, Daddy, Lincoln, Tex
-Turkey's toys
-Gammy, Mimi, Turkey, Boppy
-all his cousins
-his blue blanket
-my eyes ("They are really cool," he says.)
-toys
-ketchup

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Noses--I Mean, PHOTOS--of the Day

I bought these things for just over 50 cents each at a thrift yesterday.  Both are now broken, but we had fun for a few minutes.  There are also way too many of these pictures, but I couldn't choose.














Black Friday and Other Holiday Deals

It's that time of year!  Crazy deals and shopping galore.  I'm going to have a post later about wonderful places you can buy gifts or donate to those who are in need, but for now, here are a few links to help save you money.  Daily there are new internet deals and store deals and coupon codes to get things on the cheap.  My have sights to check out are here:  Passion for Savings, Money Saving Mom, or Couponing 101.  Often these places end up having the same deal, and there are hundreds of sites like them.  Check often, because really great deals sometimes sell out quickly and there are many each day, especially through the new year.

(None of these are in any way affiliate links; I just like these sites!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Random Idea: Want to Get Personal?

Recently, as I've been growing old, I have been thinking fondly about memories and events and the happenings of my life.  As Rob recently says, I have more random things happen to me than anyone he knows.  (Of course, he gets to hear them from me like every day a million times, so it might just be that I'm talking to him more than anyone else.)  I have been thinking of collecting these in writing, more like in  files that my kids can one day read.  If they want to.

I thought briefly of my blog, then discarded the idea.  The reason it took me so long to start a blog in the first place was that I felt like it was pretty presumptuous to write about yourself publicly, assuming people would be interested.  Now that everyone and their brother and dog has a blog, it doesn't feel presumptuous--it feels kinda like the new normal.

Anyway, now that I'm over myself and have some readers who seem to care about my random but mostly normal life, I am clearly okay sharing my life.  (Clearly.)  But since this blog is mostly about my kids and sometimes me and my thoughts, I wasn't sure if any of you would want to read random memories of my life.

So now we come to the point of the post where I just ask you:  would you want to read random stories from my life? I can't promise they are all interesting.  Or funny.  I can't promise you'll still respect me after reading them.  I CAN promise to be honest, something I like to be.

Let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in a weekly (or more) longer post with a random story from my life.  If there are crickets, I will probably only be a little offended and just write them in a private file for my kids, who better appreciate them.  If not, I'll sell them on Craigslist.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Double Single Parenting

I've noticed a trend recently in our home.  I am going to call it the double single parent.

Here's what I mean.  During the morning, Rob gets ready for work and I get the boys ready for the day.  He plays with them for a few moments while I disappear to the shower or check my email.  We spend the day apart, he at his office and me at mine.  (My office is my house and my kids, for the record.)  When he comes home, I'm spent and he'll typically run outside with the boys and dog and play for a while so I can make dinner and stare into my computer screen lovingly for a few minutes.  We've been having dinner together, which is LOVELY, and then one of us will disappear or catch up on phone calls or a household chore while the other gives the boys a bath.  He puts one to bed on the nights we're both home; I put the other to bed.

Are you seeing a pattern?

We are a set of parents, often parenting singly.  It strikes me as odd, but I'm not sure wholly bad.  When you need to get things done, trading off the kids just makes sense.  I struggle to cook dinner when I have Linc trying to pull me into his room and Sawyer asking for something totally different.  If Rob isn't home to help corral them, I just pull random things from the fridge and eat them.  No meal.  Just whatever I can gather.

I think that this is probably typical.  And again, practical.  But I have been thinking about things I want to do intentionally in my life these days, and one of them is having us ALL spend time together, wholly together.  Not while one of us is checking email on a phone or texting or playing a game or putting away dishes.  Just the four of us.  Playing or talking or going for a walk.  Something.  TOGETHER.

We'll see how it goes.  Do you see any of this double single parenting going on in your two-parent household?

Linc These Days

Lincoln is doing that thing where he grows up way too fast.

I have mentioned that people keep asking if the boys are twins.  Linc is almost as tall as Saw, but if you spend a few minutes with them, you can tell there is a marked age gap.  It's closing, as time tends to do for gaps.  Lincoln talks more now, but it's Lincolnspeak: very little of it's clear, unless you are around him enough and then you GET IT.  His favorite things to say are: uh huh (yes), mine, bye-bye Daddy, hi birdies, Sawyer (which sounds like La-ya), baby (no, we're not having one!), peas please, more please, I wanna.  He is a talker.  Babbling if he can't find the words.  Screaming if he's in the mood.  Telling knock knock jokes, which sound like this:  "NA-na.  Ah ha ha ha!"

He is still sleeping really well and taking great naps.  Yay!  For whatever reason, he has never thought about climbing out of his crib.  This astounds me. I know he could.  Sawyer figured this out when he was like a year old, maybe?  I'll have to look back at my blog to know for sure.  I'm not sad about this!  He wakes us up in the morning by banging on his wall.  I find this endearing.  Rob says we should move the crib to another wall.

He loves to sit and play with toys like a big boy, and since Colorado, really wants someone to sit with him.  I don't know if this is a phase brought on by separation anxiety (though he really just seemed to have a blast without us) or something else, but he keeps dragging me around the house and screaming if I don't come with him because I'm making breakfast or something.  We are teaching him not to scream if he wants something, but to ask please.  He's pretty teachable and will generally stop crying and do that.

Cleaning or helping is a favorite thing of his.  He'll throw things in the trash for me, put dirty laundry in the dirty clothes pile, or generally pick up or bring whatever I ask him.  He's still great with sharing if you ask, but if Sawyer just tries to take something from him, he'll pitch a fit.  Use the word "share" and he gives in immediately.  I like this pliability.

His personality is coming out more and more and he is very sunny. Hilarious and goofy. He dances with wild abandon, loves to laugh and jump around. He and Saw wrestle and chase each other and have a grand old time.  Most of the love goes one way: from Lincoln to Sawyer, but Sawyer said recently that he'll love Lincoln more when he grows up.

We are loving our not-so-little guy and enjoying the light he brings to a room.  20 months and counting!

Remove Lid from Pudding. Insert Face.

Today while being sweet and obedient boys at Kroger, Saw and Linc requested chocolate pudding. (Read: Saw requested and Lincoln said, "uh huh.")  I never buy that stuff.  I don't know why--I ate it as a kid but it creeps me out.  The following photos show what happened when we got home.  No surprises here!




I love this one of Linc reaching out to Uncle Geoff.  :)

An Open Letter to Drivers on I-10

Please do not drive at 45-50 miles per hour, especially when the speed limit is 60 and actual speed of most cars is 70+.  I realize that there are posted minimum speeds, but no one takes those seriously.  For your own safety and that of drivers around you, maintain a speed consistent with the flow of traffic. There is something called a frontage road or feeder that runs alongside the major highways.  If you are afraid or unable to accelerate above 50 mph, this is where you belong.

Also--don't forget that all cars come equipped with a high tech feature designed to help you communicate with other drivers.  It's called a blinker.  Please consult your owner's manual to locate your blinker and learn how to operate it.

Thanks!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Displaying Your Kid's Art

I love hanging up art my kids have done.  Yes, I do throw away the majority of things they come home with from school.  But I save the ones that are unique and special, and definitely like to give them a chance to do what I like to call Real Art.  No, I am not about to start a discussion on what defines art.  What I mean by Real Art is something that gets validated by a spot more permanent than the fridge.  A few scribbles in a frame or on a canvas can look smashing.  My preference is to give my boys a giant swatch of paper, colors I want for a room, and then I cut out sections I love and put them in various frames.

(Hint: If you want variety of color, let the first layer dry and then let them add color.  I let the boys paint with blue, green and yellow the other day, then let Saw use red today once the others were dry.  Yellow plus blue makes green.  Red plus green makes brown. See where this is going?)

If you missed it, the other day I let the boys paint.  I've been collecting frames from thrift stores, paying no more than 50 cents to maybe $2 a frame.  I spray painted them all white and cut out interesting parts of the boys' work.  Voila!

 Ignore the creepy black cloud; it was night and my camera got confused.  I also need to hang that last frame on the right about an inch or two higher.  Tomorrow.
 Look!  Hands and feet!

Ew.  Looks like I might need to clean that corner, eh?  Anyway, I love seeing the bright colors in my kitchen and I'm learning to like white frames, which I've hated forever.  Thanks to blogs like Young House Love for showing me that white is okay.  More than okay!

Be bold with your kid's work!  Sawyer recently took Aunt Lauren to his room because he wanted to show off his art that's hanging there.  We showed these to Lincoln today and taught him how to say, "I did that."  I'm sure he'll be just as proud.  There's nothing wrong with a little Refrigerator Art (ask Allen Levi), but why not go crazy!  Do something permanent.  Do something wild.  You can be cheap like me (the total for all the frames shown was under $10) and collect a hodge podge of frames, then spray them.  Or go high end.  Either way, you can get two birds with that one stone:  make your home unique and beautiful and validate whatever kind of art your kid creates.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Parenting Moment That Made Me Cry (Happy Tears)

Okay, not really.  I'm not budging on my crying three times a year policy. (Despite the fact that I've broken that already this year.  Now it's about damage control.)  However, I did have a moment this week with Sawyer that was one of those wonderful, heart-swelling, cry-if-you're-more-human-than-me times.

I've mentioned before that he has been having some trouble this year at school. All very run-of-the-mill stuff for his age, but still, no fun.  Last week he came home and told me that he and some of the other boys were being not nice to one particular boy and that they hit him and told him he wasn't their friend.  His excuse to me: "But, Mom, we were ALL doing it.  He's not our friend.  That's what everyone says."

It about killed me to hear that.  As someone who believes that we are all born sinners, it doesn't surprise me when my kids do selfish things.  But it still difficult and sad to see these kinds of things, in a way that I couldn't explain BEFORE having kids.  Doing not-nice things is normal for this age, but adding in the whole group aspect and it sounded cliquey and like bullying.  Ugh. So Rob and I talked with him not just about loving people because Jesus said to love one another, but about doing the right thing, even if other people are doing the wrong thing.  We've been praying that same thing, with him and on our own.

When I got home from Colorado and asked how school was going, Sawyer surprised me.  He told me that he told the kids at school to be nice to the one kid.  He told them that they shouldn't say that he's not their friend and that they needed to be nice.

See where the happy tears would come in?

I was not terribly surprised, as I said, to hear that Sawyer joined other kids in doing things that weren't nice.  I was fairly astounded to hear that he took to heart what we said and stood AGAINST the group.  That's hard to do at any age.  This in no way means that Saw will be nice forever and has learned his lesson, but he did, one time, do something fairly great.

I'm thinking about giving myself at least a five-time-a-year crying allowance.  I have a feeling I'm going to need it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Painting, X2

Today, for the first time, I let both boys paint at once.  With Saw as an only kid, I was able to do so many more things like this, but Linc kind of gets the shaft.  I think this is the first time he's painting.  Which explains the fact that he used the wrong end of the brush. Doh.  They both had fun, but it was chaotic and I got a little bossy with Rob and the boys, trying to keep paint off our minivan and the driveway.  I always forget tarps.  But I DO remember that boys paint best with few clothes!










I think the hose was pretty much as fun as painting.  But I'm planning to frame the paintings in my kitchen, so I liked those too.

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