Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hide n' Seek

We took out the eggs and baskets yesterday for our first egg hunt of the year.  In case you need a refresher course on how it's all 'sposed to work, we thought we'd offer our services...

Shut your eyes reeeeeal tight, while your brother hides the eggs:

Choose your hiding place:
(I have no idea why an old tire is in our yard, but it does make a good place to hide eggs.  ...and incidentally, it is also fun to roll down the slide and see how far it goes, but that is another post.)

Aha!  And who says you can't hide three eggs in one place!?  Even if is 3/8 of the whole lot of them.  They're going to all end up in one basket anyway, right?

Plan your next move:

Rained-on sandbox sand will stick to eggs buried in it.  Just so ya know.

Switch!  Time for someone else to be the hider:

And seeker:

Settle under a shade tree...

and divvy up the goods....

to get ready for the next round!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Till the cows come home

Any mom who has ever breastfed has heard all the usual advice about keeping up her supply and successfully nourishing her baby.

All that business about offering both sides, and don't sleep on your belly, and so on and so on.

Well let me tell you, sometimes, in some things, following "all the usual advice" is not such a good thing.

I have learned (the hard way, I might add) that following the usual advice leaves me with way to much milk and my baby miserable.


I'm not complaining about this tendency toward abundant lactation.  No sirree.  

It turned out to be an incredible blessing when I didn't nurse for almost two weeks (and only pumped a few times for relief) when Alan had his transplant at 13 months.  Once he was well enough to nurse again, we picked right up where we had left off.

And then there was the Virus-that-almost-killed-me from Mother's Day '08.  All manner of unfortuante virus-y things, a couple of bags of iv fluids in the ER, and around 5 days of not nursing my 18 month old.  The first day we were reunited he tried to nurse and the well had run dry.  He shrugged and went about his business and I cried.  I couldn't believe it was over.  But when bedtime came around he was ready to nurse again, and with a day or two it was like we'd never been apart.

However.... there is a flip-side to that coin. 

That body that staunchly overcomes adversity to keep on makin' its milk doesn't seem to get the memo in times of .... not adversity.  Hello!  A couple of bee-hives in the backyard and we'd be living in the land of milk and honey.  With yours truly being the sole supplier of the milk.


And let me tell you - from experience - babies aren't such big fans of Too Much Milk.

Eating times are stressful.  And then their tummies hurt.  And they cry.  And want to eat again all too soon.  And eating times are stressful.  And then their tummies hurt.  And so on and so forth.

Tyler and I had some rough going from around 2-8 weeks.

And I strongly considered The Bottle.  

But after a little research online, we changed a few things in our methods and routines.  And prayed.  And within two weeks I had a whole new baby.  

I'm so glad I stuck with it.  

Even if it does mean I could change my name to "Daisy" and wear a bell around my neck!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Where is the rest?

As I understand it, Sunday is supposed to be a 'day of rest'.

God told Moses way-back-when that the people shouldn't do any work on the seventh day.

And He asks us to faithfully attend church services.  I can honestly say that most times I am glad when it is time to "go into the house of the Lord"..

My problem seems to be that Sundays often leave my house a mess and me feeling behind before the week has even gotten started.

I usually pick out everyone's clothes on Saturday night, which helps us get out the door to church relatively stress-free and (usually) on time.  Breakfast dishes may or may not get done.

And then there is lunch and the afternoon, during which we like to watch Nascar races or spend time on the computer. 

Pretty soon it's time to gather everyone up and back to church for evening services.

After that we eat again and start getting everyone ready for bed.

And then I look around at a big mess and a stack of to-dos that will be waiting for me Monday morning.  

It seems an afternoon of 'rest' leaves me feeling more lazy and behind than rested!

Which has me wondering... how do you handle Sundays in your home?

Friday, March 26, 2010

What's in a name?

1. From the day an infant Alan was diagnosed, our lives gained a new dynamic: liver disease.  

The first 18 months were the most intense.  We lived, breathed, talked, and dreamed about liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, liver enzymes, and liver transplants.  

Liver, liver, liver. 

 It occupied our minds constantly, and although it isn't quite so much at the forefront of our minds these days, all things liver are still significant.

2. We had a very difficult time choosing a name for Tyler.  

Over the course of the second half of the pregnancy, we seriously considered around a dozen names, and another 2 or 3 dozen were thrown out as less-likely contenders.  We are only partially joking when we say that he got his name because "Tyler" happened to be the 'name-of-the-week' when he was born.

3. Along the way, one of the names we considered was "Oliver". 

 It had an 'L' like Dale and Alan.  The 'v' went well with our last name.  It is the middle name of one of my grandfathers.  

Now, since you are reading this instead of hearing it, you might have already guessed where this is heading.  If not, I'll help you out...

It suddenly occurred to us one day, what "Oliver" really says:

O. Liver.

And that was the end of "Oliver". 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Birds, The Bees, and UPS

As I sat nursing Tyler, Alan rode his tricycle up to me over and over again, pretending to be a UPS driver and delivering imaginary packages.  

He would tell me what was in each box as I "unpacked" it.  

Finally, in the last box, was:

a cell phone...

a new stove...


another Tyler.

Betcha didn't know babies came from UPS. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is 'popping' up everywhere!



Add bare tree.

Dab on budding leaves.

(Does this say anything in Chinese?)

Add glue & popcorn.

Spring is in bloom!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Alphabet Book

By choice, I haven't started much of a formal curriculum with Alan yet.  We'll probably 'do preschool' this fall, but for now we have fun with learning games, art projects, and reading lots of books.  (Hello! Sounds like preschool to me!  But you know what I mean by 'doing preschool' right?)

Any ol' way, Mom sent me the link to an idea recently and I love it!  Alan and I got right to work on our own alphabet book, following the examples from Sandy at Moments of Mommyhood.

These ideas are so cute!

I'm putting Alan's finished pages in page protectors and into a notebook for him to look at whenever he wants.

I love the simplicity of each project.  A finished page comes together so fast.  Alan loves getting to get out the paints every day, so it's a win-win!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Home on the range...

Some of my favorite mom-to-many bloggers are live-blogging their day today, so we can all get a glimpse of how life in a large family might (or might not) flow.  
You can visit them here:
In a Shoe
Smockity Frocks
Raising Olives
The Common Room

Just reading so far has been so much fun, I wanted to do live-blog my own day.  No, I don't have a 'large' family, but I've learned it only takes one kid to make things chaotic fun.  

So.... here's how things are rolling in our day today:

6:15 - Tyler wakes up and I settle in on the couch to nurse.

6:30 - Begin reading Bible and cuddling with a happy baby.

7:00 - Move happy baby to upright, chest-to-chest position.  Think "he never spits up this long after he's done eating."

7:02 - Proven wrong.

7:03 - Deposit Tyler in bouncy seat (his clothes are dry) and head to shower.

7:15 - Wrapped in towel, hear a knock on the bathroom door.  Dale would like to use the facilities.

7:17 - Vacate bathroom and check on Tyler.  Miracles of miracles, he has fallen asleep in his seat.  I had expected crying while I was showering.  Turn on computer and make the rounds, checking email, blogs, and twitter.

7:50 - Dale and I begin breakfast.  He cracks the eggs while I retrieve muffins from the freezer and start the coffee.  I experiment by constantly stirring eggs in skillet with a whisk instead of a spatula.  I learn this is a bad idea and makes very crumbly eggs.

8:15 - The two sleepy heads join us just in time for breakfast.

8:40 - We all work together cleaning up the kitchen.  Except Alan - he finds this a good time to sit on the potty a while.  And Tyler.  He's still sleeping in the bouncy seat.

9:00 - Dale starts a load of laundry.

9:10 - Dale works in his spelling workbook.  I make a coleslaw to take to a funeral later.

9:35 - Daddy goes out to till the garden.  Alan and Dale head out to watch.  They also have plans to spend time on the new swing and in the sandbox.

9:45 - I load blogs to check on the live-bloggers.  Tyler wakes up and gets fed.  I start this post.

10:20 - Tilling is done, guys are outside.  Tyler needs a diaper.  Check back later!
10:25 - Spend 5 minutes smiling and cooing at Tyler, then remember I forgot to put on deodorant earlier.  Putting on deodorant reminds me I haven't brushed my teeth either.  (And I wonder where Dale gets his distractability, hm?)

10:27 - Change that diaper.

10:30 - Put Tyler in the floor for tummy time and pick up a few things out of the living room.

10:33 - 'Tummy time' not going to well.  Thankfully Daddy Buffalo is here to hold crying babies.  Begin pea salad for funeral food.

10:50 - Pea salad done.  Go and get the mail with Alan.  Watch Daddy leave for church to take food.  Alan provides appropriate 'beep-beep-beep' as Daddy backs up.  Clean up salad messes.

11:01 - Rescue a crying Tyler from his swing.  

11:05 - Dale comes in from sandbox and starts math.

11:09 - Tyler back in bouncy seat.  Alan entertains him while I switch out, fold, and put away laundry.

11:20 - Big boys head outside to see Daddy and discover today's big event: a bike ride along neighboring town's fancy trail.  They watch Daddy pack up bicycles and trailer.  I bounce Tyler to sleep in his seat and update the blog!
11:30 - Check in on Moms-to-Many live bloggers.

11:37 - Make PBJs for Dale & Alan.  Pour milk and slice carrot sticks.

11:45 - Put on makeup.  Scurry around gathering up stuff for the bikers and for Tyler and myself.  My mom's working odd hours today, so we're going to share leftovers with her and Gramps for lunch.  Make salad dressing.

12:05 - Gramps arrives to leave some gardening stuff we'll be borrowing.

12:17 - Everyone into their respective vehicles.  It is now that I notice the clock in the van is still on 'old time'.  I check my watch for comparison.  Huh.  Haven't rolled that forward yet either!

12:23 - One block from my parents' house and I realize I forgot the salad dressing I just made.  Drop off the food and Tyler and I turn around and go back.

12:32 - Rearrive at Mimi & Gramps'.  Begin heating food and making salad.

12:40 - Nurse Tyler. 

12:55 - Eat lunch. Clean up.

1:35 - Change a diaper.

1:40 - Update the blog!
1:40 - 4:00 - Visited with parents.  Surfed blogs, looked for ideas for house decor, and ideas for Spring / Easter activities for boys.  Nursed Tyler around 3:00.  He napped in various places for assorted lengths of time, and I changed a couple of diapers.

4:00 - The riders return!  Smelling of sunblock and grape slushes, with glowing reports of the bike trail.  And Home Depot.  Because what guys day out is complete without a trip to Home Depot, right?

4:00 - 5:15 - More visiting, and playing outside and Greg retrieves the funeral dishes from the church.

5:15 - We arrive home.  I change a diaper.  Greg unloads bicycles, the boys play outside, and I start looking for something for supper.  I put together a quick coleslaw to go with a beef n' bean dish from the freezer.  The last of our freezer meals from before Tyler was born.  I mix batter for cornmeal pancakes. Or fritters or whatever.  Can't make cornbread because the oven element is out.  Tyler cries in his swing.  Tyler cries in Daddy's arms.  Tyler cries in Daddy's chair.  

5:55 - Daddy takes over the pancakes and I sit down to nurse Tyler and work on this post.  Dale and Alan come in to set the table.
6:15 - Tyler sleeps in the bassinet while we eat.  As we finish I read aloud Dale's Bible story for the day.

6:35 - Tyler wakes up, swings.  I rotate laundry and start cleaning up supper.  Dale draws a picture to go with his Bible story.  We don't usually do school after supper.  Not sure if I'm showing off for live blogging or really trying hard to get off to a good start on our new work-box system.  I'll go with the latter.

6:40 - Greg starts cleaning the oven before putting in the new heating element.

6:42 - Dale asks what you have to subtract from 9 trillion to get 100.  So we get out the marker board and figure out that 9,000,000,000,000 - 8,999,999,999,900 = 100.  By "we" I mean Greg and I.

6:52 - Alan dumps a tablespoon or two of soft-scrub into the oven.  He sort of misses.

6:57 - I begin rinsing soft-scrub off all the muffin tins and cookie sheets from the under-the-oven-drawer.

7:00 - Dale's picture is done.  He 'composes' on the piano while Alan marches around playing a toy saxophone.  Tyler watches all from the swing.

7:05 - Dishes are done.  Dale narrates his Bible story for me to write under his picture.  Alan draws on chalk board.

7:07 - The new element is hot!  And orange!

7:11 - I kiss my husband in the kitchen.

7:15 - Dale and I bring in and water our seedlings.  (Are they seedlings before they sprout?  Or just cups of dirt?)

7:20 - Dale and Alan are in a tub full of bubbles and toys.  This usually results in them coming out at least somewhat cleaner than they went in.  Tyler can't decide whether to be happy or not.  I update the blog.

7:27 - Folded laundry

7:32  - Worked on menu and grocery list for Daddy's early morning trip to the store tomorrow.  Yes, he's still doing the grocery buying.

7:50 - Tyler asleep in his bouncy seat, Dale and Alan getting out of the tub.

8:11 - Two adults and two pj-clad boys gather around the table for a snack (mashed banana / peanut butter / syrup stuff with crackers & milk).

8:20 - Alan learns the meaning of the phrase "no use crying over spilled milk". And gets a new set of pjs.

8:30 - Nursing Tyler

8:40 - Boys gather around me & Tyler in living room for bedtime prayers.

8:45 - Bedtime kisses all around, and Daddy goes to tuck in the big boys.  Now I'm signing off to spend some time with my hubs and my baby.  Night all!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In a moment of frustration, a dear friend recently declared: "I don't need help.  I don't want help.  If I wanted help, I'd ask for it!"

That sentiment troubled me deeply in the days that followed.  'What a foolish and arrogant way to live,' I thought.  But I give my friend the benefit of the doubt, and hope that those words came in the moment, and not from the heart. 

A high priority on our parenting list right now is that we sometimes see this mindset in our son.  He was having trouble finding an answer in school yesterday, and his frustration was mounting.  I was sitting right there, and I gently reminded him, with a question, of what we do when we are having trouble.  He buried his face in his hands and whined, "Ask-for-help-but I don't want help!  I want to do it myself."

Again, this is troubling to me.  We aren't designed to do everything on our own.  Before God could rest from his creation, he had to make a helper for man.  We need each other.  My guess is God designed us that way to help us realized something else:

We also need a Savior.  There is an eternity that follows this earth, and the only way we will spend it with God and not in torment is with the help of Jesus.  We can't do it alone.

Yesterday was a tough day around the house.  With one kiddo gone with his Dad all day, I had high hopes of getting a lot done.  But Tyler needed to be held a lot, and school took longer than it should have, and in the end, it seemed I had done even less than usual, not more, like I had wanted.  I went to bed frustrated, glad the day was over, and ready for a new one.

But this morning I was greeted by all the messes left from yesterday and immediately felt overwhelmed.  My wonderful husband, home on spring break, jumped in and started loading the dishwasher while I was getting dressed.  But did I feel grateful?  No!  I pouted as I dressed, and these exact words came into my head: "I don't want your help."

I stopped in my tracks.

I was stunned by my own thoughts.  It made no sense!  And earlier thoughts also began to echo in my head... "what a foolish and arrogant way to live."


I think there are many reasons why we might choose to go it alone... the pride and satisfaction of having accomplished things by ourselves comes to mind.  I know in my case this morning I felt I didn't deserve help.  I had made the messes, and I ought to dig out of them alone.

But where is grace in that mindset?

We don't deserve to be saved from the consequences of our sinful selves, either, but God doesn't keep score that way.  He loves us enough that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  And he loves us enough to help us through all the messes we make, by his Spirit, by his Word, and by the people he puts in our lives.

For whatever reasons, our nature is to resist accepting that help.  I know I've been humbled this morning to accept the help given, and be thankful for it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Food thoughts, and a recipe

While we aren't going for a huge diet overhaul or anything, we recently decided to make a few changes in eating habits here in the Buffalo Herd.  We're kind of extending and building on some of the good things we were already doing.

We are adding in a few more whole grains than just our usual loaf of whole grain bread. Switching to brown rice instead of white.

We're eating less ground beef.  Less meat in general.

We're eating more fish, and more veggies.

Oh - and buying organic apples.  I have scoffed more than once at the whole organic thing, but after reading several times from several sources about pesticides and apples I am starting to kind of believe it.  At least for the apples.  Do you buy organic?

We expected our healthier eating to cost us a lot more at the grocery store.  It does cost a little more, but a lot of it balances out.  Whole grain pastas are just a little more than the regular kind.  And dry beans are cheap!  And then, when you aren't buying big hunks of meat for every meal there are extra funds for more fresh fruits and veggies.  So funny how it feels like a splurge to stock up on big bell peppers and yummy avocados.  Those ought to be the types things we are eating on a regular basis!

A couple of days after a meal of crock pot black bean stuffed peppers (goodness, I think it took longer to type it than it did to EAT it!), we had some leftover black beans, so I pulled out one of our old favorites for lunch, but with some tasty new additions!

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos

1 - 1/2 cans (or equivalent) cooked black beans
2 small / medium sweet potatoes, baked
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb olive oil
chili powder

flour tortillas (bonus points if they're whole wheat!)
cabbage, in fine strips
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime
sour cream
Monterey jack cheese, shredded

While the sweet potatoes are baking in the microwave, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent.  Mash beans into skillet - a potato masher works great!  Season to taste with cumin, chili powder & paprika.  Peel baked sweet potatoes and mash into bean mixture.  Heat through.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of bean mixture onto tortilla.  I  like mine with a sprinkling of cheese & cabbage, a few slices of avocado, squeezed with a wedge of lime and topped with a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with chips & salsa.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lessons for Today:

 - When taking an alternate route in a small town, for the first time, in a big hurry, to get in front of a couple of log trucks because you do not like driving behind log trucks, because you never  know when those logs might come loose (and wouldn't THAT be scary), be sure and stay on said alternate route longer than you think necessary.  Otherwise, you will pop back onto the original route just in time to watch the log trucks pass in front of you before you pull back out onto the road.  Behind them.  Again.

And on an unrelated note:

 - Half a bottle of balsamic vinegar spilled in the back of your vehicle will smell like very dirty socks.

Just so ya know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

600 Posts!

I can't believe I have clicked 'publish' six hundred times since I started this little ol' blog.  (Actually, it's been many more times, because I don't know about you, but I never get a post 'right' on the first try.  Publish, read it, go back, fix some things, publish again, read it.... is that just me or do you tweak, too?)

Anyway, celebrating Post Number 600 has had me doing a lot of walking down memory lane, and here is what I've discovered:

 - The blog gives a pretty good picture of our life, and often a look at who I am as well.

 - I have had some fairly serious thoughts over the years, but God gets credit for planting a lot of them.

 - Having a sick baby is trying and life-changing, and yet is a blessing, too.

 - Dale has said (and done) some very funny things.  And sweet things too.

 - Alan has had his fair share of funny, sweet, and not-so-sweet moments.  And did you know he was once a baby, too?

 - I really love homeschooling.

 - Tyler joining us has been a beautiful thing.

 - I love this man a whole awful lot.

Thanks for coming along with me on this little blog journey.  Yeah, I'd probably still do it if no one but me ever read a word of it - having this record of our daily life is priceless.  But without you it certainly wouldn't be as much fun. :)