Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's like an autograph on my blog

Did anyone notice...
Rachel Coleman, the Signing Time lady herself, commented on my Savannah's Signing post!
Someone famous actually read my blog.
And left nice, positive comments on it.
Okay, so she's not famous as in can't walk down the street without being recognized and mobbed famous... I guess the average person on the street would say "Rachel Who?!?"... but still- I'll consider her famous. And okay, I know it's not like she's just reading my blog because she finds it enthralling... I understand that she only came across it checking on the links to her site... but still- it was nice of her to comment for me.
I just found that exciting and thought I'd share. See, you all don't comment enough. Getting a comment from a stranger makes my day! Maybe some of you regular "silent" readers should give it a try!

Make. It. Stop.

Every time my furnace turns on I hear a cricket.
For weeks now, this has been going on and it's beginning to drive me nuts.
The first few days, I noticed that I would randomly hear a cricket chirping, and I thought, "wow, that's a loud cricket outside our window." But then I would hear it elsewhere in the house and think, "wait a minute... there can't still be this many crickets out; it's too cold outside." Which led to the realization that there must be a cricket stuck in the house somewhere.
Then one day I realized I HEAR IT EVERY TIME THE FURNACE KICKS ON. Just two little chirps. Which means what- that it's lying dead somewhere in the heat ducts and so when the air starts up it blows on it and makes it chirp? Do you know how annoying a cricket chirp can be?
I like the sounds of crickets... from a distance.
This past summer one got stuck in our tent and it chirped all night long. We couldn't find him but he wouldn't shut up. I thought we were going to lose our minds. Ever tried sleeping in that close a proximity of that chirping? Not a good night.
And that sound does not belong in my house either.
There it is again.


Today's To-Do's:

  • laundry
  • laundry
  • more laundry
  • order any remaining online gifts
  • work on gift projects (got one more done yesterday, but added another to the list... 11 out of 15 left to do)
  • help Savannah finish her gift projects (1 down, 3 to go)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Savannah's signing away

Yes, that says signing, not singing. My daughter will not. stop. signing.
As in sign language. I'm beginning to wonder if this is normal or if it's turning into some sort of obsession. She signs all day long. And all night. The few times I lay with her for a few minutes at bedtime, I have to hold her hands because she will just lay there and make letter signs to herself.
She *loves* to not speak to me, and talk to me by signing whatever it is she wants to tell me or ask me. She gets a kick out of signing to me because it's "quiet time" and she's not supposed to talk. Or if she's playing outside, and I'm inside and she's talking to me through the window but I can't hear her so she has to sign to me.
Little did I know, teaching her signs before she could talk would turn into such a fun "hobby" for her.

When I was in elementary and early jr high school, I was in the TAG program at school and I took a few classes of sign language. I loved learning "another language" that not everyone could understand. I taught my best friend some basic signs and we were both "fluent" in finger spelling. Well, I remember many a Sunday morning sitting in church when we were like 12 or 13 years old spending the whole church service "talking" to each other, spelling out words in ASL non-stop. We always sat together in the back, but our parents wouldn't allow us to pass notes to each other, and of course we couldn't whisper the whole time, so we would sit back there and gossip and talk our pre-teen girl talk with our hands.
Savannah kind of reminds me of doing that when I was younger, the way she enjoys using signs so creatively to get her point across in so many situations.

And I do mean creatively. I have no idea how many actual signs she knows, but she tries to make up her own on a daily basis as well. She'll ask me for a sign..."mom how do you say whatever..." and if I don't know she'll make it up, "I think it looks like this...". She comes up with some pretty crazy contortions for her little hands.

So her new favorite show to watch on tv is Signing Time. It's only on once a week right now, new, on our PBS station, but she waits all week for it, and when Monday finally rolls around, she waits all morning for it. Each show has a theme, such as playtime, or school, or family and friends. And this half hour is jam-packed with new signs; I'm talking like over 30 signs for things from colors to feelings to objects and actions. They introduce so many new signs, and each week I am AMAZED at how many of these signs Savannah retains. The show is pretty neat, the way they introduce the signs... they have the "host" Rachel sign the word, explaining a connection to the word and the sign, and then they show different children doing the sign and giving examples of what the word is. After a group of six or so words, they sing a song that incorporates all the words you've learned so far in that show.
After last Monday's show, that evening when Ryan came home from basketball, I asked Savannah if she wanted to show him any new signs she learned that day. She told/signed him these complete sentences, "My name is Savannah. I'm ready to go to school. I put on my backpack."(the colored words are the ones she signed while she said it) Except for spelling her name, those were all new signs from that morning that she remembered on her own. She also remembered a dozen words like write, draw, paint, scissors, glue, pencil, crayons, and teacher. I have to say I am pretty impressed with her. I kind of want to buy the Signing Time Videos. Savannah would be in heaven. Anyway, if you have kids, check out this show or the videos. Kids really do have fun with this.

I've contemplated before, completing a Sign Language Interpretation program. Many community colleges offer them, and I've looked into it a couple different times, as I've always had a little experience with signing. From enjoying learning it as a child, I volunteered a bit with developmental kids in school and they use a lot of signs, and then in the private school I last taught at, ASL was part of the curriculum from the toddler and preschool classes all the way up through the first grade classes. That was pretty neat. Anyway, I've often thought I would enjoy officially learning ASL and interpretation because it seems that could be used in so many different ways; whether it's as an actual interpreter or working with deaf or developmental kids, I would think there would be a lot of avenues to make that "degree" useful.
Right now, I'm feeling pressure to go ahead with that program just because my daughter wants to learn everything about signing. I feel like I need to take those classes just to keep up with her!!!

Seriously, I'm just happy that she enjoys learning this stuff and that she is so ready to absorb so much of it. Who knows, maybe by getting this early start in it, she'll do something with ASL or the deaf community when she grows up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another sunny day, another busy day

Sawyer's doing much better today. He was kind of off and on all day yesterday, but I think he's back to normal today.

I am feeling quite organized and effecient still today. I really don't know where this is coming from, but I'm going with it. I got so much done yesterday. I think Ryan probably came home and thought otherwise, because at that point the house looked a little more like a tornado hit than the clean slate I'm aiming for this week. But I did technically get a lot done and on it's way. You know how sometimes it seems you have to take a step backward before you can move ahead? That was kind of our house by the time Ryan got home last night.
I got quite a bit accomplished this morning after dropping Savannah off at school, too. I'm wondering if this weather just has me energized a little and subconsiously I want to get some of this stuff done and out of the way before the weather turns gloomy and cold or wet or snowy, because I know when that happens I'll just want to bundle up and stay in and veg out with a book or the tv or my projects.

I decided I'm going to share parts of my to-do list here (slightly edited so as not to give away any Christmas surprises for anyone) so that I have more of a reason to break it down into daily goals and be a little more motivated to get things done at a good pace. So here's my list for the day...

>get some laundry started
>clean up the kitchen (yes, again... did I mention I HATE dishes and laundry because of the fact that there is always more to do... even when you get all the laundry washed and put away, there's the clothes you're wearing right then, already ready to start the new laundry pile!!!)
>clean up and reorganize the kids' playroom, weeding out some toys to give away
>pack away the fall decorations
>work on gift projects (11 out of 14 left to do)
>decide what we're doing for, and order pictures for Christmas cards
>maybe write out a mini-letter to add to our Christmas cards

I also definitely want to spend a big chunk of playtime outside today with the kids after naps. Whether we take a walk or just play in the yard, it is so nice and warm out today, we just have to get out. Maybe we'll even venture to the park. It's been awhile since we've visited any parks.

Hope you're enjoying your day, with whatever weather you find where you are!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quick update on the sick baby...

Okay, I really mean for this to be quick because I have a million things I want to get done today while Sawyer's napping. So bear with me if it seems I'm jumping around a bit.

Saturday was Sawyer's worst day. His temp was up to 102.5 at one point and he basically slept all day. I counted and he was awake a total of not even 5 hours that day. Poor little guy. We gave him one last dose of Ibuprofen when we went to bed late that night.
When he woke up Sunday morning, (he was awake super early and I finally went in to get him up at 6am knowing he had to be all slept out) and when I picked him up out of his crib, he practically pushed himself out of my arms and jumped down to the floor. He RAN (albeit drunkenly and off balance as he didn't take the time to really wake up and get steady on his feet- I was so surprised he didn't slam into a wall along the way) down the hall, through the kitchen and right up to his high chair. Apparently he had his appetite back!
Anyway, his fever was gone, and he was completely back to his old self. We skipped church, just to play it safe, but he spent the morning playing and running around like he had never been sick.
He was doing so well, in fact, that we decided to venture out and take a little shopping trip to the outlets in Howell. I needed to return a couple of things to a couple of outlet stores from my trip last week, so we headed out there at lunchtime and we actually got a ton accomplished! They had awesome sales going on... most of the stores we went in had at least 50% off the entire store. Ryan got some new jeans, I got Savannah's shoes exchanged and found her a Christmas dress for $11 *yay!!*, we grabbed this Milk and Cookies for Santa plate from Bombay Company (for less than it's listed there for) and we got quite a few more Christmas presents taken care of. The kids did great, we stopped and got milkshakes and snacks and then the kids napped all the way home.

But then...
after we got home and started getting dinner ready, Sawyer was getting fussy again and I noticed his eyes were getting that sick glazy look again. I felt his head, and sure enough, he was feverish again. We gave him drugs, a little dinner, a nice bath and he headed straight for bed. Ryan checked him in the middle of the night and said he felt fine. But Sawyer was awake at about 5 this morning, and when I went in to rock him for a bit, he was burning up again. He then slept in this morning till about 8:30, and he felt alot cooler. He's still been warm today, but he's had a normal appetite and been playing pretty well. Napping some long naps again though.
So we'll see how the rest of his day goes. I hope he's able to shake this off and keep it off. And I hope none of the rest of us come down with it.


I had called Nic to update her on Sawyer's fever this morning, so she took Porter to her mom's today. While my sick baby took another marathon nap this morning, I got lots done! (I also tried to get Savannah to play outside, the weather is so beautiful, but she was glued to her favorite show this morning *more on that later*.)
  • I washed and put away a load of dishes
  • Cleaned up the kitchen
  • Cleared out the back entryway (I don't know how that space gets so cluttered!)
  • Picked out photos for part of some Christmas gifts
  • Cleared out the flowerbeds on the side of the house, raked out all the dead leaves and pulled out the flowers
  • Raked up all that stuff and the side yard by the driveway
  • Raked up the remaining random leaves in the front yard
  • Took a shower and dried my hair
  • Finally hung the frame collage that's been sitting on our sideboard table for four months
  • Started getting out some more Christmas decorations
I have so many lists started of things to get done in the next couple weeks. As Ryan always says, I have lists of my lists.
I'm really trying to keep the house cleaned up and cleared away so we can pull all the Christmas decorations out next weekend and get our tree and try to keep the chaos to a minimum. And I'm trying to get our Christmas cards done and sent out this week, and all our gifts to ship wrapped and sent by next week. As far as the Christmas cards go, I'm making so many other gifts this year, it doesn't look like I'll be doing my usual handmade cards I love to do. To do that I should have started them in October this year. I just have too much other stuff going on and not enough creativity left over. So forgive me if you get store bought card this year... maybe if you're lucky you'll get a picture of the kids at least.

Alright, I'm off to work on some projects. And to find Savannah a project to do while I work.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sick Baby

Sawyer woke up with a fever this morning. He felt warm to me when I got him out of bed at 7:30 this morning, and then while he usually wants to be taken straight to his high chair for breakfast, I sat down on the couch with him to look out the window for a minute and he snuggled down on my lap and didn't want to move. That is so unlike him, I knew he must not be feeling very well. When Ryan rolled out of bed at 8, Sawyer was still sitting with me on the couch, both of us cuddled up under a blanket. He got me the thermometer, and Sawyer's temp read just 100.5, and normally I wouldn't give him meds for a mild temp like that... I kind of like to see where it goes on it's own. But this morning it seemed he was getting warmer by the minute and his eyes definitely had the sick fever look. Poor little guy. He wasn't even hungry. We gave him some ibuprofen and got a little bit of oatmeal down him, and he was back in bed by about 8:30.
He woke up at 10:30 in much better spirits. He actually ran around and played a bit with Savannah and banged on the snack cupboard for something to eat. But he didn't last long, and after a quick lunch, he was back in for another nap before noon. It's now 3:15 and he's still asleep. I want to go in and check on him, because I know his ibuprofen has worn off by now and I don't want him burning up in there, but his bedroom door is squeeky and I don't want to wake him either. So I'll give him a little longer.
I figured if I sat down to blog, he'd for sure wake up. Isn't that how it always works? But no sign of him stirring yet.

I went back to Target today and had a much better trip after yesterday. I got two pairs of jeans for $16 each. In a smaller size than the last pair I bought... two reasons I'm excited about that purchase! I also got a couple of Christmas presents for Savannah.
I'm so excited for Christmas! It'll sure be different this year with out our families around. We really wanted to spend our first Christmas in our house, here at home, so we told our families we wanted to spend the holidays here, and since we have so much room, we invited all of them to come out here to spend Christmas with us. No takers.
So it's just going to be the four of us. Which will be fun, it'll just be very different. I was thinking outloud the other day what should we have for Christmas dinner, and we realized we can have whatever we want! We can do everything however we want! It's all up to us. I wish some of our family could be here to share in some of our making of new traditions and memories, but it'll just be our own little family thing this year. So I'm kind of looking forward to it.

We spent the last hour or so outside hanging Christmas lights on our house. I can't wait till it gets dark today to see how it looks! I'll try and take a picture later. We just put up boring white lights. We started out with both red and white and we were going to pull out every other and alternate them, but it turned out the red strands actually have red bulbs, not just red covers. And they're LED's, so you can't switch out the bulbs. So Ryan ran the red ones back to the store this morning and got all white. And we got a couple strands of twinkling snowflakes I think we're going to hang on the garage. We have yet to decide on those. Ryan's still envisioning them in our front window. My opinion is, you will be able to see our Christmas tree in the front window, so we should put the lights on the garage. Ryan may be leaning towards the garage now though, after doing the house lights because it was so quick and easy. He found these no ladder gutter/shingle clips that you can put up using a threaded-end pole so it was super easy and fast. You just stick the clip on the end of your pole, put the light strand through the clip, and reach the pole up, clip it on and twist it off. He was so impressed with them, he may just want to do another little building now!

Well, I'm gonna go check on the sick baby. This is going into his sixth hour of napping today. I know he probably just needs the sleep, but I'm getting worried about him. And I hope he still sleeps tonight!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Day After

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving?
We had a nice, relaxing day. It was just so nice to be home together hanging out, with nothing we had to do. And as much as we do miss our families, it was kind of nice to not have to bustle to three different houses for tukey dinners.
We ran a couple of errands in the morning... no big assignments, just things like the video store and a quick trip to Meijer for a couple of things.
Then we came home and all took some nice naps, Ryan gave Sawyer a much needed haircut, and I made our favorite Poached Pears With Raspberries and Sauce to take over to dinner at the Huffs. We then headed over to Don's parent's house for a late dinner with our "adopted family" for the holiday. They had a house full of relatives and a bunch of kids for Savannah and Sawyer to play with, so we all had fun.
I didn't eat as much as I would have liked. Too much good food, and my kids were too quick to eat and wanted to get back to playing. I barely finished up my plate and didn't have a chance to go back for seconds. That's the downside about being a "guest" in someone's home... you can't just let the kids roam free. Yeah, Mary Jo has young kids still at home, but that house is no where near baby proof, so as soon as I finally let Sawyer down from the table, that pretty much meant I was done with my meal too. I was not even close to full though, and it made me kind of sad today that I didn't indulge more last night (and I miss all the leftovers... mmmm... I think I could eat stuffing forever!). And you know what else? I didn't even have any pumpkin pie!
Anyway, we got home late and pretty much all went straight to bed.
All in all, it was a nice low-key family kind of day.

Today started off not so relaxing.
First let me start by saying, in years past, I've been very hit and miss about having any desire to brave the crowds and do some *great deal* shopping on this holiday that's come to be known as The Day After Thanksgiving Day. Some years I've ventured out; some I'm not in the mood. I think I have done it more consistantly the past few years, and I think the last two Black Fridays, Ryan's joined me in the challenge. And we've had alot of fun.
As much as getting up and out of the house in the cold and dark at five or six a.m. never sounds that appealing, there is something fun about planning out your stops and getting those great deals, and there is something really satisfying about hitting so many stores and getting so much accomplished and being done and back home by 9am.
I think it's funny how Ryan gets so into it. Yesterday he was the one making sure we went through the ads and checking who had the best deals and making lists and planning what we wanted where. And before we went to bed last night, he pulled out the list again, and says to me, "okay, lets go over our plan of attack again."
Anyway, long story short, if we spend next Thanksgiving here in Jackson, I will not be shopping on Friday morning. Can you say BAD EXPERIENCE in the retail world of Jackson? The first three stores I went to, all within 15 to 30 minutes of their opening, were out of EVERYTHING I went in there for. And at Meijer.... let's just say their emplyees are about the most clueless set of people I've ever seen. Not one bit of help for anything in the store. And it wasn't even like the crowds here were that bad. I've seen much worse and a much more competent staff.
We may be going back home for Thanksgiving next year, just for some successful Black Friday shopping. We really missed the Fred Meyer sock extravaganza. Well, Ryan did anyway. He almost wrote home and asked someone to go pick him up some new socks.

I did have better luck going to Michaels and Joanns today. I got everything I needed to make all the gifts I'm making this year, and quite a few new Christmas decorations, and then we went to Home Depot and got Christmas lights for the house. That's Ryan's job tomorrow.

Tonight Ryan's in Detriot at a Pistons game. So I just got the kids to bed and I'm sitting here eating a hot turkey sandwich (thankfully we did get sent home with a bit of turkey; thanks MJ!) and yogurt covered pretzels and getting caught up on a little blogging. But I have a short list of things I wanted to get done before Ryan gets home tonight, like putting away our fall decorations, getting some laundry started, and getting my craft table cleaned up so I actually have space to work on the projects that I have to do.
In fact, I wanted to get started on some of those gifts tonight, so I think I'm gonna sign off and get busy. Ta-ta!

***oh I forgot, I've had a few requests for the Pear recipe, so here you go....

Poached Pears with Caramelized Sauce and Raspberries
(we usually serve this with dinner as a side dish, but it's also great for dessert)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water, champagne, or dry wine or red wine (I've used champagne once, but I ususally just use water and it's yummy enough!)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 large firm-ripe Bose or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and left whole with stem on (I always cut up the pears in halves or thick slices)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

~in large sauce pan, deep enough so pears can stand up with lid on, mix sugar, water, vanilla, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over high heat.
~reduce heat to low and add pears. cover pot and let simmer about 25 minutes, gently turning the pears once or twice to make sure they're coated with the sugar syrup. (I usually end up letting them simmer for more like an hour, the pears are done when they feel tender throughout when gently tested with a fork or sharp knife)
~remove from heat; if using frozen berries, add them to the sauce at this point. cover and let sit 5 minutes.
~remove the pears and the berries with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl or deep plate. Strain the syrup and pour over the top of the pears and let cool.
~refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
if using fresh berries, sprinkle them over the bears before serving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's finally found

We have a pig who lives in our bedroom on our dresser. Normally we feed him quarters. We pop him a few every week and he saves them up for us... supposed to be for our Australia trip. Or whatever we decide to do with it.
Well, it seems somewhere along the line, he has strayed from his usual diet of quarters and he pigged out on a whole fifty dollar bill...

Our little piggy sometimes loses his "noseplug" when the weather changes or the temperature in our bedroom changes quite a bit. The cork just randomly pops out and we can see straight through his nose into his full belly. Well, this morning, as he was bending down to get some socks out of the bottom drawer of our dresser to get dressed for work, Ryan noticed the pig was missing his nose. And as he looked in the gaping hole in the front of our pig, he realized there was more than quarters in there. He pulled out a fifty dollar bill.
Now, when I lost my money a couple of weeks ago, both Ryan and I asked Savannah several times if she had found some money and put it away in her purse or her piggy bank or somewhere safe. She had answered many times that she hadn't had any money and really acted like she had no idea what we were talking about. I had seriously doubted that she would have noticed the money lying on the counter, as she can barely see over the countertop. I had wondered if it had gotten knocked or blown off onto the floor, and Ryan and I had checked both the kids piggy banks in case Savannah had found it and thought it belonged in one of their banks. But we didn't even think to check our own piggy bank. Evidently Savannah had forgotten that she had found and put that money away for us. Or else that fat little piggy got up and helped himself to a little extra moola while we weren't looking.


a few SJ quotes for you:

"Jesus makes me toot a lot."

"What is Grampa doing in the world?"
and later,
"Where were you Lammie, in the world?"
(meaning to use the expression 'where in the world' or 'what in the world',
as in "what in the world is Grampa doing?")

and noticing a blank "this book belongs to..." space in the front of one of the books she was reading, she exclaims, very worriedly,
"God forgot to tell Jesus to write my name in this book.
I know He knows that it's mine, but He forgot to write my name.
Can we pray and ask Him to remember to write my name in all my books?

Monday, November 20, 2006

And a great time was had by all...

...all two of us that is!
Two full and busy days, and our first girl's weekend getaway was a complete success! We had a blast!

Here's the rundown, and I'll do my best to keep it short. We had so much fun and came home with so many stories, I don't know how successful I'll be at the shortness, but I'll try!

The drive out to Michigan City was pretty uneventful; just chugging along, chatting away. We made it there pretty quickly (after making a few u-turns and extra loops on and off the highway, but we won't talk about that), and had no trouble finding the train station. If you can call it a train station. We were a little (okay, much more than a little) aprehensive when we got there. What we thought would be a nice, fancy, real train station was a run-down, closed-up building next to a sketchy looking parking lot with one covered bench like a bus stop. The train tracks ran down the middle of this little side street along with the cars and looked to us like trolley tracks complete with an overhead cable. We almost got back in the car and drove all the way to Chicago. But then a real train pulled up, and as we settled in our seats, it turned out to be a nice relaxing way to ride into the city.

We did have a slight delay when we came to a stop in some other little town because there was a car stalled on the tracks. And while we sat there and waited for the tow truck and watched the cops gather, we kept asking ourselves, Does this really happen in real life? A car stalling in the middle of an intersection on train tracks?

So we got to Chicago and had a little lunch and decided to hit the Magnificent Mile, and do a little (a lot, really) of shopping. We walked up and down Michigan Ave, and it was so fun to be in the "big city". It really made me miss being so close to Portland. The holidays in the city just feel so bright and busy and bustling... just like in the movies. All the people, the crowded sidewalks, being all bundled up, the christmas decorations, the music in the stores... it just puts you in such the holiday mood. I decided I really want to do a shopping trip every year "downtown" somewhere in a big city. Whether we live here and it's back to Chicago, or a trip to New York, or we're back home in Portland, I want to be in the holiday bustle of the city for just a day or two and get that Christmas bug. That would be a neat tradition to start for me and Savannah.

(these pictures are from inside the four story Crate & Barrel)

Well, we shopped like crazy all day, and as the evening grew dark the streets started getting even more busy. This weekend happened to be the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and Parade, with the big lighting of all the trees lining Michigan Ave. It was kind of neat to be in town for that, although it significantly added to the crowd, but there was entertainment and carolers and extra things like that.

They closed down Michigan Ave for the parade, and while everyone was watching that, we kind of ignored the festivities and took advantage of a little bit of a lull in some of the shops and restaurants.

I say "a lull", but the wait at the Cheesecake Factory (Nic had never had the chance to experience their delectable cheesecakes, so we thought we'd try eating there) was still 80 minutes. We ditched that idea and after checking out a couple other places, we ended up at Gino's East for some Chicago style deep dish pizza. It was a fun place and the pizza was so yummy!!!

In this restaurant the walls and the seats and booths are "grafittied" with people's drawings, dates, occasions, and signitures. We added our names to the art, and enjoyed our time off our feet in this cozy pizza place.

After stuffing ourselves we headed back to catch the train to Michigan City (wondering all along if our car would still be there when we got back to that sad little thing called a train station). After walking around carrying a few heavy bags all day, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing 90 minute ride back to our hotel in MC. I didn't fully realize the crowds at the festival would be following us back to the trains. So after a very not-relaxing trip back, with a train full of people (and a few over-excited, tired kids!), we found our car was still there waiting for us, and we set out to find our hotel. Correction- our motel. Correction- our $39 motel.

And I'm happy to say we found our $39 motel and we were very pleasantly surprised. As nervous as we were about going for something that cheap, it was in a nice, main part of town and the room itself was in pretty good shape. A bit outdated, (but then again, unless you're paying well over a hundred dollars, what room doesn't have a little mauve and teal decorating in it?) but the bathroom was new and clean, and the room had a big color tv with cable and a little fridge and microwave. Really, I doubt that we would have had much better if we went with the $80 room we were originally going to book.
We breathed a big sigh of relief, settled in our two beds and flipped through magazines while flipping through the channels on the tv. We found "live" -uh, should have been "live four hours ago"- coverage of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade, and thought it was funny that we had felt a little guilty about ignoring the parade while we were there, and here it was for us to watch snuggled up and warm in our beds!

We drifted off to sleep, and woke refreshed (waaaay too early in the morning. I was kicking myself all day that I couldn't make myself do some serious sleeping in.) and ready for another day of shopping. We took our time getting up and out of there, had a little breakfast at the Burger King next door, and headed out to the outlet malls. There we found tons of stores, tons of great deals, sore feet, sore backs, and not enough energy (or money) to spend as much time there as we would have liked to. We grabbed some dinner at a Subway in Sawyer, Michigan and headed home a little after 4pm.

So we were back in town by about 6:30. It was good to see the kids and be home. Sawyer was so happy to see me he would just crack up every time I'd look at him.
I was wiped out! And it's really catching up with me today.
But it was so worth it! I am so glad we did this!!!
I know this is a forever long post, but we really did end our weekend with a million stories to tell and funny things we saw; it was hard to just keep to the bare necessities of the adventure here. I pretty much talked Ryan's ear off when I got home last night, so just feel lucky you don't have to sit through all of that!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Well, you want to know what we've been up to...

Some noteworthy tidbits of goings on around here...
  • Savannah went ice skating for the first time. Her preschool class had a field trip to the ice rink. She was super excited to go (and especially that her daddy was coming along), and she actually didn't do badly for her first time, being that she's only three, and she's well, Savannah. If you know Savannah you know she doesn't like to be cold, or wet, or on unsure/sketchy/slippery ground. Which is pretty much what ice is. And you would also know she tends to get very whiney when cold or wet or on such ground. But she did surprisingly well. She lasted about a half an hour out on the ice, which was probably the average amount of time for most of the kids. Then when everyone came in to warm up, they all got to sit down and have lunch together. That was probably the highlight for Savannah; hot dogs , french fries, Sprite, and her friends. What better combination?

  • Sawyer has been sleeping in in the mornings. I almost don't know what to do with a child like that. You may recall we've had some rough nights with this one. I've been at a loss of what to do with him, being that my other child slept through the night at 8 weeks old, never to hear a peep from her between the hours of 8pm and 6am again. Sawyer started sleeping through the night at about 12 weeks or so. Meaning that's when he stopped needing a nighttime feed. Actually sleeping through the night was very hit or miss with him for a few months. And then he did well until he was about 9 months old, at which time he decided that 3 in the morning was a good playtime. Every night he'd be up for an hour or two. I cherished the one night every two or three weeks that he would skip his playtime, forget to wake up and sleep right on through till morning- albeit his idea of morning was usually 5:30 or 6am. Well, for the past week or so, he's been sleeping through AND not waking in the morning till about 7:30 (yes, that's sleeping in around here). Sometimes it's after 8. And he's napping well. I'll take that for as long as it lasts!
  • Savannah's wearing underwear again at night. She's been dry 6 out of the past 8 nights. And I'm overlooking those two not dry nights because she was dead tired and sick with a bad cold. So, yay... we may be onto something this time!
  • We watched the movie Cars last night. (Yeah, we're dorks... a couple of grown adults sitting at home watching a cartoon. With their children asleep in bed. And we didn't even finish it. We got tired and went to bed. Hey, it's a long movie, okay?!) I have to say I was dissapointed in Disney. The movie was fine, definitely not anywhere near the top of my kid's movies list, but it was entertaining. What I was dissapointed with were the "jokes". Normally, I love a good cartoon movie because of the humor. I love when it's a good kid story with characters and pictures that entertain the little ones, with a plot line they can follow, but with lines, jokes, "cameos", and situations thrown in there for the parents-stuck-watching-the-kids-movie's benefit. The jokes or references are usually just little one liners or expressions that go right over the kids heads and make the movie entertaining for us, you know what I mean? Well, in this movie, there were a few of those here and there that made me almost chuckle, but there were also a few too many references that were I think not appropriate for a kid's movie. Especially being that Cars is probably geared toward young boys. There were just a few too many comments like "that sexy racecar", and things like that. Seriously, I couldn't beleive how many references there were to sex, getting high or "lit", and things like "-he won three Piston Cups... -he did what in his cup?". Savannah is sitting here next to me watching it right now, and I know all those things are way over her head, but I was thinking, if she were five years older, I wouldn't feel right about her hearing those things. I just don't think that is appropriate for a kid's movie.
  • And here's just a shot of Savannah I wanted to share from the other day. She sure has fashion taste, doesn't she? Well, the trend is layers this year, isn't it? And an actual count of the layers would be... 1 long sleeved pink shirt, 1 pink sweater over that, 1 pair of white tights with 1 pair of hot pink socks, 1 summer skirt with pink flowers, and to top it all off, 1 white tank top and 1 brown flower-print tank top over that. Stylish, no?

heavy stuff... but with a retreat

I've been avoiding the blog.
I can't really explain why exactly... I guess I've just been feeling so heavy... so empty... (look, I'm already not making any sense; feeling heavy and empty at the same time???). You know what I mean... when you feel so emotionally drained, you're just heavy and dragging?
I had a rough day a few days ago, with some not so pretty stuff to deal with emotionally and it's been a long week trying to shake that off. It's actually been a really good week since then... the kids are good, and Ryan's good, and we've had some really good days. I was just still a bit emotionally drained and so writing about the lighter, happier things we've been up to was just kind of hard to do.
It's just like, have you ever been in this place where you have something so heavy on your heart that it's just always there in the back of your mind, and everything else feels like just going through the motions? And as you deal with things, and time heals things, you slowly break out of that a little at a time? That's kind of how my week has been.

So not to dwell on that. As I shake that off, I'm really looking forward to this weekend!
Oh, did I forget to mention this weekend?
Well, it was originally going to be planned as a girl's getaway weekend, with Katie, Nicole, Leslie, Maria and I. And while it is still girls getting away, it's only two of us... me and Nicole. Due to work schedules, a mom-to-be uneasy about leaving town, and I don't even know what else anymore (that's a whole nother drama I won't even begin to get into), it's dwindled down to the two of us troopers. Yes, Nicole and I were bound and determined to stick to the plan of getting away from husbands and kids and having some good old fashioned girl time. No babies crawling on us, no husbands playing fantasy football, no kids waking us up at the crack of dawn. The original plan was to head up to the Huff's cottage on the river and just have some great R & R. But when that fell through, Nic and I started exploring other options, and now we're headed to the Windy City. We are heading out early Saturday morning to Michigan City, and then taking a train into Chicago to shop, eat and chat the day away. We'll spend the day there and then that night take a train back to Michigan City to spend the night. Then we'll take our time getting up and around and do a little more shopping at the outlets there in MC before we drive home later on Sunday. Now, when I say shopping, I mean most likely just a lot of window shopping for me, but I am going to try and get some Christmas shopping done. At the last minute we found a hotel... er, I mean Motel, for super cheap. As in $39 cheap. Kinda scary, but that saves us each like another 25 dollars to spend on other stuff instead of the hotel we were going with at first. It'll be an adventure!

Anyway, I have to admit that a few days ago, I was really not wanting to go. And I was angry about the fact that so much *drama* went into planning this trip (no, I still won't get into that), that there was NO WAY that I could bail on Nicole.
First I just wanted to curl up and be by myself; NOT to have to be happy and be good company and do my part in making our trip fun. And then I just wanted to stay home and be with my family... to treasure my kids and my husband and spend some good quality time together.
And now, last night for the first time in awhile, I was actually getting excited about going again. I'm ready to have fun. And as much as I know I love my family, I'm thankful that we get to go do this and that I get to take some time for myself. And take some time to get to know Nicole better. Us girls love to talk, you know! I'm just sorry all the girls couldn't make it... that I couldn't use this time to get to know everyone better. We'll just have to do this again soon!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another Best Game Night Ever

First off, Don't ask me why I'm up and at 'em so early this morning. Other than the fact that of course regardless of what time I go to bed at night, my kids are awake before 7am. Ryan did offer to let me stay in bed this morning, which rarely happens, but for some reason I was wide awake. I thought I would be dead tired today. I've been up late the last few nights, and I thought last night would be the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. I probably fell asleep at about 2:45 this morning. We had friends over last night, the last of which left here about 1am. Then when I went to bed, I couldn't fall asleep. And just as I would drift off, I would then hear Sawyer stirring (that's putting it nicely) in his room. The last time I remember getting up to tuck him back in, it was about 2:30 in the morning. All I could think of was, 7am will come way too fast!
I'm sure we'll all be taking a "family" naptime today.


So, last night was a Game Night here at the Morrison house. But not just any ordinary Game Night, (do we have ordinary game nights around here??? ...not if Nicole and I have anything to say about it!) this was an Itty-Bitty-Mini-Baby-Themed-Game-Night-slash-Surprise-Baby-Shower (how's that for a title?!?) especially planned to celebrate Jade and Leslie's soon-to-be family of three. We had lots of fun planning this one... everything was teeny tiny- our menu consisted of little meatballs, cocktail sausages, a veggie tray full of "baby" veggies, mini-muffins, and little tiny mini cookies. So cute and yummy!

And of course a cake. Reyna is the name they have picked out for her... Reyna Jade... isn't that cute!

And it's always so fun to plan a surprise!
Here are Leslie and Jade as they come downstairs and realize this isn't just any old game night...

Jade is a carpenter, so it was only fitting that we made up a special tool belt for him.... now he's fully equipped to handle whatever noisy, messy, squirmy, but surely adorable, baby shows up in February!

We played some modified baby shower games, trying not to be too baby shower-ish, but sticking with the theme. The most entertaining being when the men all had to race to drink a beer... from a baby bottle.

Ryan tried his hardest,

but then the daddy-to-be ended up cheating...

Toward the end of the night, we ended up playing another fun game of Loaded Questions, and we learned we all had many of the same answers.... turns out great minds do think alike! For example...
  • several of us believe Paris Hilton has no right being a celebrity
  • some of us had quite a mean streak when we were younger... and some just last week!
  • it's not so unusual for us girls to rub a foot against something while falling asleep
  • apparently it's common for men to sleepwalk and pee in strange places?!?

Hope you both had fun Leslie and Jade! We had fun planning this celebration for this exciting time in your lives, and we can't wait to meet little Reyna!

p.s. Happy Birthday Dad!!!! (didn't get around to posting yesterday)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One extra note...

Nicole has a few really funny pictures of Sawyer, Porter and Donnie up on her blog right now. It seems lately if we ever try to actually put them together and take a picture of the three of those crazy babies, they all TOTALLY MELT DOWN! Don't know what their deal is... Some kind of pact they have I guess... 'when they sit us down and and say smile, THROW A FIT!!!'
In those pictures, Sawyer's either crying or red-faced and refusing to sit, Porter's flat out screaming, and Donnie for once, was laughing at the other two.
Oh what perfect angels we have!

Chaper One: In which Savannah saves my life

Okay, I have totally random things on my mind today, so I'm actually breaking it up into chapters.

And I'm counting backwards so when they're posted they're actually numbered in order so as not to confuse everyone. Is that confusing?


Savannah saved my life today. Wanna take a look at the BIGGEST SPIDER I’VE EVER SEEN? IN! MY! LIFE!

Seriously if, Savannah had not found this, and warned me of it, I would have FREAKED out; maybe died of a heart attack or something. It was resting nicely (or hiding!) on the backside of my seat belt this morning. Luckily, Savannah noticed it while climbing into her seat behind the driver’s seat, before I pulled my seatbelt on. “Mommy, WHAT is THAT?!?”

I tried to get a good picture, but I don’t think it actually conveys the intimidation of this thing. (I was mighty nervous taking it out of the container I caught it in to take this pic!!)
It has legs like a tarantula- really that hairy! And it’s body is so big and bumpy. I think I’ve seen crabs on the beach with smaller backs. That’s what it looks like… a small crab with hairy tarantula legs. Could you imagine pulling your seatbelt on and catching that in your hand or having it land on your lap, or worse yet, on your shoulder or *gulp* fall down your shirt?!? that would have been my luck, I'm sure!

Chapter Two: In which Sawyer claims the couch

We have an extra booster seat here so that I can put Porter in it and feed all three kids their lunch at once instead of having Sawyer and Porter whining and fighting over the one high chair we had. This booster seat is not attached to a chair, and since I only really use it for feeding twice a week, other than that I leave it on the ground and it has turned into one of the boys' favorite toys. They climb on in and sit in it all the time. When they climb in to sit down, it tips over easily, so I had put it on the floor in front of the couch.
Yesterday Savannah had pulled it over by the coffee table to make a "desk" to work on during the boys' naptime. After nap, when Sawyer noticed the chair was out of place, he picked it up and tried to carry it right back over to the couch (He managed pretty well too, considering the thing is half as big as he is and pretty awkward and heavy.). After I helped him get it situated back in it's "safe" spot, he then proceeded to climb right up the back of it and up onto the couch. He was pretty proud of himself to say the least! And that's pretty much where he spent the rest of the day. He hung out up there reading a book, or looking out the window, or just holding the remote (isn't he a little to young for that?!). Porter eventually tried to follow him up there, but it seemed Sawyer decided he was King of the couch and there was no longer any room for his big sister, let alone that little twerp...

Here comes Porter...

"Hey, Sawyer, whatchya doin?
can I come up and play???"

"Nope, no room here.
Look... there's no more room up here.
See? I'm so big, I take up the whole couch!"
(that's totally what his expression looked like! you can click on any of these to see them larger)

Chapter Three: In which Savannah turns out to be one smart cookie

...except maybe when it comes to anatomy.

Rarely do I out and out "brag" about my kids. I know everyone thinks their kids are the cutest, brightest, funniest things out there. I try to keep that to myself. Well, most of the time anyway.

But I was just so impressed yesterday with Savannah, that I wanted to take a minute and indulge in a little bragging.
She is so into learning right now, it blows me away. And let me just say, this has little to do with me. As I've stated before, I could probably pass for one of the laziest mothers in the world. Savannah is like a little sponge seeking knowledge, and she asks me all day everyday how to spell this and how to write that. It actually makes me feel a little guilty thinking about how she would probably be close to actually reading and writing whole sentences if I would actually take the time to do "lessons" and more practice with her. She is barely three-and-a-half, and if you ask me, she is way ahead of the game. (At least the game of other three year olds with non-homeschooling stay at home moms; I'm not talking about spendy over-acheiver preschools that have them reciting US Presidents and learning other languages by Kindergarten)

Savannah did this worksheet on her own yesterday. She asked me what to do, and I told her you're supposed to look at those words and read what color it says and color it that color. I helped her with the first sound of orange and she got it right away. I then simply pointed to the other words, and she rattled them off very quickly. Like she barely had to think about it. I was quite impressed! She took it over to the table and I continued my chatting with Nicole, and before I knew it, Savannah had them all colored correctly. Then she found another color sheet similar to the first one, except it had some colors that started with the same letters like blue and brown or pink and purple. She did those too and she got those right and I didn't even help her.

She is just all about reading and writing right now. It seems sometimes that that's all she thinks about all day. She'll interrupt herself to tell me in the middle of her sentences what sounds and letters words start with. She's learned the sign language alphabet and she does that ALL THE TIME. Sometimes with every word she says in a sentence, she'll be signing the first letter of each word as she talks.
We sat down to make a chart for her in the bathroom (she's been having a hard time remembering to wipe AND flush AND wash EVERY time), and she wrote it up herself, asking me how to spell each word, but already having it started with an F for flush or a W for wash.

I just can't believe how old she's getting. And how much she's learning every day.

And I know I've been slacking on recording her amusing quotes (as in recording NONE).
Maybe these will make up for that a little.
I've been wanting to share these for awhile, but I just thought they were maybe a little too... I don't know... personal to share with the whole wide world. But after telling these discreetly to a few people, and getting feedback that it's just a funny three-year-old thing, here you go.

Savannah apparently thinks men have ... er, uh, I'm just going to come out and say this: TAILS.
If she sees Ryan naked, getting out of the shower or something, she says, "daddy, I see your tail." Which absolutely cracks us up. And I don't really get it, because we've told her that it's called a penis, and that's what she calls it on Sawyer; she knows it's a penis, or sometimes we call it a pee-pee. But everytime she sees Ryan uncovered, she talks about his "tail". And (sorry for this, but I gotta say it) "how it wags when he walks". We of course, try not to let her see us laughing, but I just think it's about the funniest thing I've ever heard her say.

And the other thing is, if she's watching me get dressed, she always asks a million and one questions about my bra, and why do I put that on my "round things"?. Every once in awhile if she's playing dolls and she's the mommy or she's playing dress up, she finds balls to put under her shirt and says "look mommy, I have round balls just like you!". The other day she was evidently trying to get dressed up like this while playing with her gramma and she had a little plastic potato from her play food in one hand and she was searching the play room for another brown ball. My mom asked her why she needed brown balls and Savannah told her she needed two brown round things to go under her shirt like a mommy.

Well, I'm sorry for any unwanted visuals in relaying these stories, but I just had to share. And just in case she ever brings up daddy's tail or mommy's balls, now you know what she's talking about!

Chapter Four: To TiVo or not to TiVo

This post has been a long time coming.
Well, ever since the new Season of LOST began this fall, anyway. Yeah, sure, we've talked about getting a DVR, (digital video recorder for those less technicalogically versed... you know, like a vcr without any tape... you can record tv and play back, rewind, fast forward, whatever, all from your "cable box") but not in any real "discussion".
But watching LOST on tv this season has just about driven Ryan nuts. I'll admit it's a little ridiculous to break for commercials EVERY FIVE MINUTES! The show runs for an hour, and I bet it is seriously no more than 30 minutes long. Everytime it cuts to commercials you hear Ryan "*huge annoyed sigh* That's it! We're getting a DVR! I can't stand this!"
We missed the last two shows and Ryan recorded them on the computer downstairs that he has hooked up to the cable, so we watched them on the laptop the other night. Skipping the comercials. Ryan was a happy boy!
We would just record them everyweek, but we have no working vcr to record on and I can't stand watching the whole show on the little laptop screen when it's recorded on the computer.

So the DVR.
I argue that we (read: Ryan) already watch more tv than we should, and if we had a DVR, we would probably watch more shows because we could watch them when it's convenient for us. Ryan argues that we would watch less tv because it would be more "efficient" tv viewing, we would only be watching what we want to watch, and without commercials.

So what do you all think? Who has DVR's and who doesn't? What is your experience? Do you watch more tv than you would without it? (be honest!)
Should we or shouldn't we? Give me your opinion.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The SawMan's stats

In better news,
Sawyer had his one year check-up yesterday and he's lookin' good!
He weighs 25 and a half pounds and he's 30 inches tall. (he's officially moved down to just the 75th percentile for both height and weight now. Whew... I thought at the rate he was going for a while that he would pass up Savannah by the time he was two. As it is, my 12 month old and my 3-and-a-half year old get the same amount in a dose of Tylenol now!)

The doctor said he's seems to be doing great, he's ahead of the game in activity and motor skills, but he's lagging a little in the vocab. She obviously wasn't that concerned; I know boys tend to speak later than girls, and when they're learning new things like walking (or running now, in Sawyer's case), talking tends to take a backseat.
She did ask more than a few times though, "he's not saying anything?... He doesn't have his own words or sounds for things?... He doesn't even have his own name for his Sister or anything?"
And so I repeated myself a few times... "He barks. That's about it. He made a sound for "icky" a few months ago and he doesn't say that anymore. He said "da da" for about two days. No more of that either. He won't say ma ma, won't say dog, won't say hi, won't say anything close to Savannah. And he's not interested in copying words we say." He uses signs for food, drink, more, all done, bath, book, and that's all he needs to tell us I guess.
And she kept asking, "it seems like he hears well?"
Yes, he understands everything, he can follow simple directions (when he wants to), I think he can hear fine. Seriously, it seemed like I was the one to reassure her... "He just turned one three days ago. He's running around the house, playing with his sister, throwing tantrums here and there, and learning a million new things a day. If he wants to wait a few more months to talk, I'm fine with that. He's a busy guy!"
Did I mention I'm still not sure I love our new pediatrician? I just don't have quite the same confidence in her I had with our ped. back home. Yet.

Anyway, he got three shots yesterday. He didn't cry too much, but he sure gave the nurse a mean glare when she said goodbye! haha!!
And we got a new presciption for a stronger hydrocortizone for his bad skin spots. I was hoping he'd start growing out of the eczema by now, but it seems to be worse. Maybe it's the weather too.

Well, that's the update on the SawMan.
I gotta go wake him up from his nap and go pick up Savannah.

Are we sure today isn't Monday???

No, it really is Tuesday... it's just that everything in the universe seems to be telling me to climb right back in bed and don't come out till this day is over.

I woke up feeling pretty crappy. All day yesterday I felt super tired and sluggish- I found myself dozing off twice during the day on the couch while either reading with or watching tv with Savannah. That is very odd for me! So by the evening I started feeling kind of achey and my head had that "full" pounding sick feeling. I took some Cold-eez and I was in bed by 8:45, hoping I could just sleep it off.
Well, today I'm still not really full blown sick, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm trying to fight something off. Just feel crappy, you know?

Then while getting Savannah ready for school this morning, I slowly realized that I lost $50.
I had left a fifty dollar bill on the end of the kitchen counter yesterday. It sat there all day it plain sight so I wouldn't forget to put it in my purse, which was out in the car. This morning I went to put it with a stack of things I was taking out to the car, and it was no where to be found. I assumed Ryan must have grabbed it to deposit or just to keep it in his wallet. I called to ask him and he had no idea... he didn't remember seeing it at all.
I searched the kitchen, scanned the floor, and scoped out the back patio and the garage floor thinking maybe Ryan had set down his lunch on it this morning and it got picked up by accident but dropped on the way to his car. No money to be found.
I even checked Savannah's piggy bank thinking maybe she had mistaken it for one of her fives she had recently recieved in the mail with Halloween cards.
Looks like I may be out fifty bucks. That is SO maddening!!

So we head out to take Savannah to preschool and after opening the garage door (Savannah always likes to walk in the big door), and opening her car door so she can climb in, I walk around the back of the 4Runner to put Sawyer in on the other side. I don't know if I tripped or if I slipped (I kind of remember slipping; the garage floor tends to be pretty slippery with wet shoes... oh yeah, did I mention it is POURING DOWN RAIN?!?), but all of a sudden everything is moving in slow motion and I'm falling forward. It's funny how in situations like that, everything really does move in slow motion... like you know how it's going to turn out and you're stuck waiting for it to happen. In that split second before you land, you know how much it's going to hurt.
I was carrying Sawyer, so as I was falling in slow motion I was trying to figure out how to best fall to protect him. As it was, he was headed straight for the concrete in front of me, and I actually remember thinking during the five minutes it felt like it took to hit the ground, that at least Sawyer had his hood on so maybe his head wouldn't actually crack open when it hits the driveway. I did the best I could to turn while flying through the air (by they way, not so easy to manuever yourself and an almost 30lb baby in mid-air). We landed on our sides, halfway out of the garage, and halfway into a huge puddle. Sawyer was relatively unscathed; he cried, but from what I could tell it just scared him. Scared me too!!! And we were both soaked. My right hand was under his head when we landed, and that is actually where the worst of my injuries are. I have a nice bit of "road rash" covering the back of my wrist, and it's pretty swollen. I can feel bruises forming on my elbow and hip and the side of my ankle is scraped too. I got up as quick as I could and looked down at my whole right side that had been laying in the puddle. I had to run back inside (limpily run, that is) and change my clothes and Sawyer's pants because there was no way we could ride in the car like that. Needless to say, we were a little late for school.

I was planning on running a couple of errands after dropping Savannah off, but my scraped up wrist was burning so badly, I just wanted to go home (after all, I didn't have my $50 to spend anyway, right?). I decided to just make a quick stop at Walmart because we were out of milk and I could just grab a couple of other things. I went in there for 5 things. They were out of three of my five things.

How does this all happen in one morning?!?
It's only 9:30 AM!!!
I'm sore, and sick, and tired of this day already.
I'm gonna go take a nap.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Taking care

otherwise titled please read these and take note.
If you have a child in your life, here are a few important things I want to make sure come to your attention. Please pass any or all of these reminders on to your loved ones.

**If you have or are expecting an infant...
I had heard this mentioned before but then forgot about it until I came across this post from Amanda in a blog:

$12 Well Spent

Before letting Genoa sleep in Alex's old crib, we decided to wrap the mattress. I will be really surprised if any of you know what I'm talking about because every person I've mentioned this to, including the pediatrician, looked at me like I was completely crazy. Apparently, there is some statistical evidence that mattress gases cause SIDS. That when you put your newborn on a used mattress, their sweat activates some process "generated by fungal activity on compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony present in many baby mattresses."

There are many reasons I like this theory. If it's true, it explains A LOT about SIDS statistics. Second babies are more likely to succomb to SIDS; poverty correlates highly with SIDS; the US campaign to sleep babies on their backs has helped bring down our SIDS rates. All of these could easily be explained by the mattress gases theory.

New Zealand used to have the highest crib-death rates of any country in the world, but when they started a mattress-wrapping campaign, the death rate fell by 52%. More importantly, and most convincing in my mind, is that "there has been no reported crib death among those babies who have slept on correctly wrapped mattresses." Not one. Which was really all the proof I needed to run out to the hardware store, buy a roll of polyethylene sheeting (manufactured in the US by Warp's) and wrap the fricking mattress already. Of course we could've spent $30 and bought a brand-name polyethylene mattress cover from New Zealand, but this was cheaper.

Of course, since I love statistics, I understand that this could just be a big fat load of crap. It could just be selection effects - that the kind of people who are more likely to wrap their mattresses are the kind of people who are less likely for whatever reason to have a baby die from SIDS in the first place. But, for $12 (or 30 for that matter...)? I'd rather be safe than sorry.


So I did a little more research and let me tell you, if i had known about this when my kids were tiny, our crib mattress would be wrapped right now. If we ever have in infant in our home again, I WILL be safeguarding against this.
For more info you can check
or here

**I was meaning to post the other day about some of my favorite handy things to have around the house. Like my favorite Clorox bleach pen (I am no longer afraid to put white outfits on my kids or prints with white backgrounds... the bleach pen is a lifesaver!!!) and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I bought some of the Magic Erasers before we moved while doing the deep clean of our townhouse and for scrubbing some of our stuff that had been in "storage" out on our back deck. It worked miracles, let me tell you! Just the other day Sawyer got a hold of a crayon and had pretty much covered one of the blond wood bookshelves in Savannah's bedroom. I whipped out my one remaining Eraser from the cleaning closet, and it wiped that crayon off like chalk on a blackboard. AMAZING!
Anyway, as much as I love my Eraser, one family (GO READ NOW) has an unfortunate reminder to pass on of how careful we need to be with any cleaning supplies. Please be aware that these Erasers and things are chemicals and CAN BURN your children. Please be sure your cleaning supplies and any dangerous chemicals are out of their reach... kids are so curious and quick!

**And finally; carseats.
When we moved out here, I was doing some research online for vehicle registration, state driver's licenses and such, and I came across some state regulations for child safety seats. We have a map with gov. info on it and it had said that our state only required children to be in child restraints until they were three years old. After three years they could ride in any position in the car. I hope that map is seriously outdated. According to this website, the age is now four years. But I still find that odd, because most of the surrounding states require children be in safety seats thru age 8 or 80 lbs.
Anyway, along those lines, here are a couple of links that were sent to me regarding the importance of having your children safely secured in your vehicle. This is heartbreaking, but please watch this and think about it.

I don't mean to add more fear to our lives... we already have enough to worry about with the responsibility of the well-being of our children. I know a few people who after watching these pictures, and reading this story would be worried sick about driving their kids anywhere. I saw these links this morning. And with these pictures in my mind, I did actually stop and think twice about bringing Savannah along with me on the 60 mile trek to the airport this afternoon. After all it has been said that "you are risking your child's life everytime you put them in a car." I don't mean at all to sound insensitive... there are countless families who have suffered tragic, senseless losses that I can't even begin to fathom. But accidents happen. You don't have to buy the most expensive car to be safe, or even the most expensive carseats. (they are plenty of great booster seats with five-point harnesses) Just do the best you can with what you have... be sure your seats are anchored if you have them, or that the seats are sinched in and the kids are buckled snugly. Kyle's story is certianly heartbreaking, but you cannot prevent accidents from happening. I have a friend who's child was thrown from the car in her carseat, and with what remained of the backseat of the car, they say that saved her life. I know that is not usually the case; most often kids survive auto accidents because they were SECURED in place. I'm just saying, do what you can to be safe and then know that your children are ultimately in the Lord's care. We have to trust Him with their well-being.

With all that being said, I believe that taking care of your kids -or being part of any child's life for that matter- definitely requires
*using your head
*being aware (which includes being aware of resources and using them)
*praying for our children

Please don't ever forget to regard your children as the blessing the are to this world.

And they're off...

Well, the family is all off on their way home this afternoon. Mom and Dad flew out today and Trish decided to get a hotel room by the airport in Detriot since she flies out early tomorrow. I think it was a pretty good visit, although it seems like it went faster than I expected. Probably cuz we had a ton going on; between our trip to Nashville, Halloween, birthday stuff and just the fact of planning and preparing meals for a family of 7 instead of our usual 4... it's kind of nice to have all the busy-ness over with. And have our house back to ourselves. But we'll miss 'em of course... especially the kids. They had a blast with gramma and grandpa here!!!

So thanks for coming to visit us Mom, Dad and Trish... it was good to spend so much time with you! Gramma and Grandpa, Thanks for your special weekend with Savannah, thanks for the early Christmas presents, thanks for the bed time rocking and reading and prayers, thanks for the dissapearing leaves, and most of all, thanks for being our family and still loving us even after living in our crazy house for two whole weeks!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Another day of Birthday

Today we had a birthday party for Sawyer with his little buddies.

Kid parties just don't seem very "kiddie" without a theme, so without being too babyish or cheesy, the only theme I could come up with was puppies. Sawyer just loves dogs right now (technically he seems to love all animals, it's just that he thinks they're all classified as dogs. If it has four legs, he barks at it.) so I ran with that theme. We decorated with all the stuffed animal dogs and puppies we could find in our house, I put out a toybox filled with balls and chewy toys, our snacks included "puppy chow", pretzel "sticks", Combo snacks (cuz they just look like dog treats), and we even made little doghouses for the boys to crawl in. Savannah helped decorate them and made the "name tags".

I think the doghouses were a hit. Here's the final product and the little "puppies" playing in their houses...

That's Porter, by the way, in Donnie's doghouse. Don't let him fool you. It's hard to keep those puppies straight, I know.

And of course more birthday cake

Yes, Sawyer's an old pro at the cake thing now. Sorry for the horrendous red-eye in these pics. I didn't take the time to edit these at all, I just wanted to get them up and go to bed.

Doesn't Sawyer look cake drunk in this one?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

And we have a One-Year-Old

Sawyer Isaac turned one year old today. I really cannot believe this year has flown by so fast. I could babble on and on reminiscing, but I'll spare you and just get to the pics. Here's a glimpse of our little family celebration today. click on pictures to see them larger

Singing Happy Birthday

The Birthday Boy getting a Birthday Kiss from Aunt Trish

And trying to get one from Savannah

Okay, okay, that's enough kisses, let's get on with the cake!

Are you sure it's okay that I do this?

Okay... if you say so...

Yum, yum!
(a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin frosted like a little cake if anyone's curious)

And more yum...

And here's a glimpse of the weather outside on this wonderful
early November autumn day...

Yes, those are icicles

Happy 1st Birthday Sawyer Isaac!
We thank the Lord for the blessing that you are each day.
You truly have taught us the meaning of your name.... "Laughter".