Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blanket Training

The basic idea of blanket training is to train your baby to sit quietly in a small space with a few toys.  This keeps him out of trouble and happier when mom is busy, both at home and out and about.  You can get a task done or enjoy a quick visit, and baby can play instead of cry and whine and act out!


The training turned out to be even easier than I thought it would be!  It has transformed our morning Bible time, and has also been great at church and other places.  (I started when Tyler was around 13-14 months old, but you could definitely start earlier.)


Here are my tips:


- Have a positive attitude.  You aren't sitting baby down here as a punishment or a time out.  It is a fun thing to look forward to.  Use a cheerful voice and a familiar phrase.  "Yay! It's Blanket Time!"


- Obedience is a must. Give simple instructions and insist on strict obedience, especially at first. For example, "Sit down." Do not allow baby to stand on the blanket. He must sit.  If he tries to stand, use whatever form of discipline you use at other times to convince him he wants to stay seated.  We use a swat on the bottom. (All you non-spankers are cringing, aren't you?)


- Reserve a special set of toys.  We have a shoebox full of colorful blocks that only come out for Blanket Time.  And really, they only come out for Blanket Time in the mornings when we are having Bible.  If Tyler is awake for our read-aloud in the afternoon, I pull out a set of puzzles for the variety.  For a work-day at church recently I brought our blanket and the Blanket Time blocks.


- Be patient.  I first began blanket training for us to be able to have our morning Bible time without me constantly interrupting myself correcting Tyler.  However, I had to allow time at first for even more interruptions for correcting and training.  For the first week or two, I moved from my place in my rocking chair to sitting in the floor next to Tyler's blanket.  In the end, the extra interruptions paid off, and now I only have to offer a word here and there for him to sit back down.  Also, don't start out expecting your baby to sit contentedly for an hour at a time.  We started with 10-15 minutes.  Tyler can now do up to 20-30 very well.  I expect as he gets older that time will increase.


- Enforce.  Now that we have "made it" and Tyler does well on a blanket, I don't want to relax and lose what we have gained.  So although I can often correct him with just a word and not a bottom-swat, I am still careful to make sure he is staying in-bounds.  Literally.  I do allow him to roll and waller, but not with the better portion of his body hanging off the blanket.  Over half his body must be on the blanket.  No, I haven't explained or even stated that rule to him, but believe me, he knows when he is pushing his limits.  We also do not allow the throwing of toys.


- Celebrate.  When we are done with whatever activity called for Tyler's blanket time, I turn my full attention to him and proclaim, "All done!"  I love on him and praise him for a job well-done.  Then he helps me put away his blocks and I send him on his merry way while I put up the blanket and toys.


- Be creative.  There are plenty of opportunities to grab a blanket, a bath towel, a folded sheet, small rug, or any other definite floor space and plop down a baby, toddler, or preschooler.  In a pinch, anything safe can be a good diversion: measuring cups & spoons, board books, paper and crayons (as long as your kid won't eat them, like mine does)... the sky is the limit.  Well, that and whatever you have available.  Blanket time is helpful at church, home, or anytime you find yourself in a not-so-child-friendly or child-proofed place.



I am fairly certain almost every one of these ideas came from the Duggar's book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! (Amazon Associate link), but I have seen blanket training on quite a few blogs, too.  Since it has been so great for us, it is now on this blog as well. ;)  (If I am wrong about the Duggar thing, would someone please remind me where all this came from?)



Have you tried blanket training?  What helpful hints do you have?

This post is linking up to Works-for-me_Wednesday @ We Are That Family.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When having nothing means everything

As my Grandmother is in her last days and hours, someone from our family has been with her around the clock.  Throughout the day Sunday and into the evening, things were looking pretty serious.  Quite a few of us stayed together with her until 2am Monday morning.  I fell into bed at 2:30, knowing I would have boys awake and hungry in about 4 1/2 hours.

I have been very aware in recent weeks of the words and tone I use when speaking to my boys.  I have been working to replace nagging and snapping with kinder, gentler words.  Or simply holding my tongue, if need be.  Most days I have set aside a few minutes every morning asking God for his help in that, and simply his guidance in our day.

On Monday morning, somewhere between waking up at 6:30 and getting out of bed at 7:00 I realized what a challenge being patient and gentle would be on this day.  And without a Bible reading, without a formally addressed prayer, without getting up out of bed or getting down on my knees, I simply offered a deeply sincere plea for help.  I did not regret my late night, but I certainly didn't want to take it out on my boys.  And I knew that with the lack of sleep I was working with, the task seemed nearly impossible.

After my short, simple, yet extremely sincere prayer, I got up and began my day as usual.  Our breakfast, school, and even morning house-keeping time (the biggest 'be nice' challenge) were great.  I was very aware of what a normal day it was.  They weren't little angels.  There were problems.  But I was able to handle it just like I had gotten 9 hours of sleep instead of 4.  In fact, I'm ashamed to admit I've done worse on 9, some days.

Last night I was thinking over how the day had gone, thankful for not being a grouchy bear that morning.  Although I had definitely given God the credit, I hadn't realized what made it different.  In one way I had started the day just like many others, with prayer for His help.  But my attitude Monday was different, in that I knew I had nothing to offer.  I had no resources to bring to the table, no faith in myself to do what was right.  I was completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to produce his fruits in me.

The lesson learned is that is the way it should always be.

Jesus said in John 15:15, "without me ye can do nothing."  Nothing.  Not "a little bit".  Not "a few things". Nothing.  Which means, I come into every day as empty-handed as I did yesterday.  But I stay so busy trying to do my part that I am not completely dependent on him.

Now the challenge is to remember that complete dependence and put it into practice, no matter how confident I am in the abilities I think I have.  Or how much sleep I got the night before.

What a handy lesson to learn with weeks of interrupted sleep in our near future.  What a blessing to have more opportunities to remember what little I have to offer, and the perfect source of strength I have available!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Family's Current Favorite Breakfast

We love these.  We eat 'em up.  They aren't the healthiest things, but then again they've got to beat a bowl of sugary cereal, right?  And besides... they are a treat, so it's all good.


Remember Hardee's?  These make me think of that place.  These and really good biscuits and gravy.  I used to love the Sunday mornings my daddy would bring in Hardee's biscuits and gravy for breakfast!  But this post is not about biscuits and gravy, is it?


It's about these:
Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits 
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4-1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup milk
1/2 cup salad oil
Preheat oven to 450.  Mix flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add in raisins and mix well to coat.  Pour milk into liquid measuring cup.  Add oil on top of milk; do not stir.  Pour both liquids into dry ingredients.  Stir until dough forms into (mostly) a ball.  Dump onto floured cabinet and knead 5-6 times until smooth.  Pat out approximately 1/2 inch thick and cut into biscuits.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

When the biscuits come out of the oven, mix together:
2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk (approximately)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the milk in a little bit at a time.  The icing should be fairly thick and fall very slowly (not drizzle) from a spoon.  Drop the icing onto the biscuits while still warm.  The icing will spread on it's own.

Your family may like more or less icing to taste.  My guys like a lot.  And I'm a pushover.  Or maybe I like a lot, too. But don't tell them, 'kay?


Do you have a favorite breakfast treat?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alan-isms





#1 - Daddy, Dale and I are all big into Sudoku puzzles these days.  One of us has always got the book opened up to one working on it.  Today Alan grabbed it and turned to a blank puzzle and started his own.  The best part?  Hearing him talk about his "sudy-koo".  


#2 - On a related note, we have a Corduroy book that surfaces every now and then.  Today Alan checked out one identical to ours from the library.  I didn't mind though, because that means I get to hear him ask me to read "Cordy-rordy" to him. :)


#3 - We have a box of wal-mart brand 'crisp rice' cereal in the cabinet.  I keep it mostly for making the marshmallow treats (about twice a year, lol).  But Alan has decided he likes to just eat it.  Fine with me.   And since the 'suggested serving' on the box has sliced bananas in the bowl, Alan has dubbed it his very own "Banana Crunch" cereal.  (So if Alan comes to your house and asks for "Banana Crunch", now you know what he wants.) :)


#4 - One of my all time favorites is hearing Alan talk to or about our pastor.  We all call him "Brother Bobby".  Alan?  To him he's "Brubber Bobby".  Makes me smile every. time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Big News - Some Additional Details

Thanks so much for all of your congratulations!  
Yes, I am feeling well, 
no I am not showing (much) yet, 
yes, the boys know, 
and yes! they are excited!


And a few other observations over the last couple of months:


The #1 help for 'morning' sickness: Ginger root capsules.  Wow! Greg surprised me with them one day and they are amazing.  I have never had bad morning sickness, just occasional to frequent bouts of feeling nauseous.  This was my first time to try the ginger root, and just one capsule once or twice a day if I needed it would usually knock it right out.  And - bonus! - they can be used for motion sickness too, so even though the nausea stage has passed there is a good chance we'll be getting more use out of those handy capsules. :)


The #1 question we have heard and expect to hear over the coming weeks: "Are you trying for that girl?"  While yes, we would love to have a little pink and lace in our lives, we aren't holding our breath.  Out of 10 babies born in the last 80 years on Greg's side of the family, 9 have been boys.  Nine.  


We agreed before this baby was ever conceived that we would have another even we knew 100% it would be a boy.  And it's a good thing, because that's just nearly the odds history has given us.  That said, God determined long ago what this child would be and we are already thankful for his decision.  And already getting eager to find out in a month or two. ;) 


The #1 most fun people to tell the big news: Dale and Alan!  (I told Tyler several weeks ago... he's a good secret keeper.;)  )  Seeing as how we all still see Tyler as a baby, and seeing as how the big boys don't see his status changing any time soon, the first thing they said was, "We're going to have two babies!"  Since then Dale has been busy calculating all the age differences and how-old-who-will-be-when ("When I'm 16 this new baby will be 8 years old!").  Alan almost immediately claimed the new baby for his own.  I guess it's one per customer, and since Tyler is already clearly 'mine' he figures the next one is up for grabs.  He's called dibs.  ("You can change Tyler's diaper, and I will change my baby's diaper.")  He and Dale both are busy coming up with potential (boy) names.  Some are silly, some are actually pretty good suggestions.  Let's just hope we get this one named a little quicker than Tyler. I think he was named less than a week before he was born!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guess What?

At the end of September...

...this little stinker...

...is going to be...

... a big brother!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adventure Day

I am a planner.  I like research and schedules and... well... plans.

Today, however was a departure from my way.  Today was all about Greg's plans.  

Which didn't involve much beyond our destination.  We went on a reconnaissance mission to a nearby state park.  Scoping it out for potential camping someday.  Exploring all the park has to offer.

We left with a printed map and an ice chest full of lunch.

First order of business, playground #1:


Immediately followed by a picnic lunch.

And a little more playgrounding.

Then off to a museum and gift shop on the grounds.

Dino diorama anyone?

Next stop: train ride!


Almost time to go home, but we definitely have time for one more playground:



I have to say, it was nice to just sit and ride and not worry about plans and agendas.  We all got fed, and we all had fun.  A great way to end the last weekday of spring break, and with a promise of more fun days ahead!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Lucky" day? Maybe. Full of blessings? Definitely!

What a full day we have had!


We started with a rainbow coffee cake for breakfast for St. Patrick's day.  Other than all wearing green, it is the only thing we did to acknowledge it.  And oh boy, did we wear the green.  Dale made sure of that!


After lunch Dale and Alan and I headed to the library for our weekly homeschool garden club.  
(I must, must do a blog post all about our garden club!)  This week's meeting was one of the busiest, hardest working ones.  We planted almost everything this week!  


It was also the warmest meeting yet.  At least 80 and in the sun.  We got hot!  The kids did almost as much running in to the water fountain as they did planting!  Almost.  But not quite.  They (and the adults) worked hard!


Since we were all hot from working so hard, we came home to pick up Daddy and Tyler (Daddy's spring break this week!) and went to Sonic for happy hour.  Yay Sonic!  Yay half-price drinks!  Definitely a treat.


An even better treat was getting home and discovering what my awesome husband had done while we were gardening: he shampooed and scrubbed the living room carpet!  It smells so fresh and looks fantastic!  Made. my. day.


The late afternoon was filled with yard work for the guys.  Gramps even came over with his chain saw!  We're talking major yard work.  Tyler napped and I worked on lesson plans.  At one point there were sirens nearby and I looked outside to see this:
Turns out the house across the street behind us was being visited by a police car, a fire engine, and a handful of volunteer firemen, all with lights flashing.  A must-see for any boy, no matter what fence may be standing in his way.  


(And the firemen didn't stay long at all, and didn't go rushing in with hordes of equipment, so we gather that everything turned out ok.)


And finally, like a gigantic cherry on top, after supper I pulled the curtains and closed the blinds.  I kept Dale and Alan busy as long as I could doing a quick pick-up and putting on pjs while Daddy was busy, busy outside.  Finally, I could contain them no longer, and Daddy came in to announce the surprise:

Even as I type, Daddy and Dale and Alan are lined up in their sleeping bags with flashlights and pillows in Alan's big green barn.  A backyard camp-out.  Life just doesn't get much sweeter than that!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have Picture - Need Caption

Tyler can't eat a sandwich without disassembling it.  I love the expression on his face the day he tried to take apart his grilled cheese, but what exactly is it saying?


Any caption ideas?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The De-evolution of a Spring Break Trip

Early February, 2011 - I scheduled Alan's 6 month appointment with the transplant clinic.  Intentionally made it for Greg's spring break.  Thought in the back of my mind we might do something fun.


Late February, Early March - We made up two potential itineraries and weighted the pros, cons, and costs of spending 1 night in a hotel vs 3 nights in our camper.  Decided the camper was the better of the two options and tentatively set our plans.


March 4 - The ten day forecast showed a 60% chance of rain for the Monday of our trip, and a 40% chance for that Tuesday.  Not good for the outdoor activities we had planned.


March 7 - The seven day forecast still had a 40% chance of rain for Monday, along with a cold front coming in that night, so chilly blustery temps were in store for Tuesday.  Still not good for the stuff we wanted to do outside.  We gave up on the idea of an overnight trip.


Late pm, March 10 - The rain for Monday had completely shifted to Sunday, and the temps for Monday & Tuesday were still on the cool side, but a little milder and warmer than originally predicted.  We decided maybe we could proceed with our 3 night outdoor fun in the big city plans.  And then remembered that the camper needed its registration renewed and that office was closed until Monday.  Ne-ver mind on the camping.  For real this time.


Weekend, March 11-13 - Even if the camping was out, there was still the fact that we would be spending the gas money to get to the big city on Monday anyway, and would have an entire afternoon free.  Or we could even go back to the hotel option and have Monday afternoon and Tuesday.  We spent all weekend searching online for fun places to eat, small museums to visit... anything we could do in an afternoon (and inside, since it still looked to cool to be out) and get our money's worth.


Mid-evening Sunday, March13 - We finally decided we were trying too hard to think up some fun.  We know that coming up this summer we have more definite plans for big trips and fun times.  Plus our boys are very easy to please and we'd like to keep it that way.  So we picked out a Burger King with a big indoor playground (germaphobes do not frequent fast food playgrounds, so this would be quite a treat) and a CiCi's pizza that were on our route.  We'd choose one of those at lunchtime and head on home after that.


Bedtime Sunday Night, March 13 - We realized we had spent all of our time and energy trying to schedule fun that we had not prepared for our 5:30am departure in just a few hours.  There were no clothes laid out, no breakfasts lined up, no medicine packed away.  Oops.  We set our alarms for 4:30 (the day after daylight savings time began, thankyouverymuch) and got ready for bed.  It was at that moment Greg pointed out: "Alan and I could just go, and leave the rest of you here.  We've done that before."  Revolutionary!  He was exactly right.


So although I did feel a little guilty sending them off alone, I have to admit I was relieved.  I got up at 4:45, got Alan dressed, and packed a breakfast for the road.  Off they went.  And I went back to bed.


So far, it has been exactly the right decision!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tornadoes and Fractures, Part II

Just a second into the wailing, my ears and instincts told me this really was an injured cry and not a drama cry, so I hopped up to check it out.  My immediate fear was that Dale had fallen from his top bunk.


I found Dale in the floor, holding his arm and still crying.  I tried to calm him down and assess the situation.


I was able to gather he had been standing on the edge of Alan's bed, 14.5 inches from the floor (we measured), and had fallen and landed directly on his elbow.


He was holding his arm (and still crying more than not), but I was able to get him to bend it with some success.  I couldn't see any bumps or swelling, so I tried to help him calm down and continue getting ready for bed.


A few minutes later however, he cried out in pain as he bent his arm to put on his pjs.  And it was starting to swell.  


Greg was still away on his trip, so I called my parents and they agreed to come take a look.  As time went on and Dale's pain did not subside, we decided, yes, an ER visit was in order.


Mom and I loaded a very reluctant Dale into the van and off we went.  After finally getting an even more reluctant Dale out of the van at the hospital, he cheered up and braved up and become a model patient.  He answered questions, cooperated beautifully, and was an all around brave and good sport.


The xrays proved to be inconclusive, and because children's bones are tricky, the doctor wanted the radiologist's opinion the next morning.  In the meantime, he fixed Dale up with a temporary splint and a sling and sent us on our way.


By 11:00pm, Daddy had come home, Mimi and Gramps went back home, and we tucked Dale into Daddy's recliner for the night.


Wednesday morning the report from the radiologist was also inconclusive, and an appointment was scheduled for us at the Orthopedic Clinic for today (Thursday).


At the clinic this morning, the dr agreed the xrays did not show a clear fracture in the bone, but the tissue swelling visible on the xray and Dale's pain on examination were evidence enough of a fractured humerus.  


He was hooked up with a nifty cast in the color of his choice that he will wear for three weeks.  
video


I fully expected us to venture into the world of broken bones at some point.  I mean, really?  We have three boys.  Even so it is completely new territory for us.  Speaking of, do any of you have any helpful hints for bathing/showering and keeping a cast dry? I'm all ears!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tornadoes and Elbow Fractures, Part I

Around 5:15 Tuesday evening, an F1 tornado went through a neighborhood on the north side of our small town (we live on the south side).
  
By 8:15 that same evening, I was sitting in the local ER with Dale and my Mom.  


These two events were unrelated, but made for an exciting - and exhausting - evening.


It all started around 4:00 when I did a routine radar check.  This is not unusual because I check the weather approximatively 47 times during a regular day and at least twice that when storms are expected.


As soon as the radar loaded my heart caught in my throat.  There was a tornado warning squarely over Greg's school.  I read the warning and the news got worse, as the path of the storm was predicted to pass directly over him.  They were supposed to be leaving for a field trip of sorts and I called immediately, hoping they were already well on their way, and out of harm's way.


But no, they were waiting it out at the school.  Our signal quickly broke and the call was dropped.


I sent out a couple of quick prayer request calls / texts and alternated between frantically checking the internet for any kind of updates, and quietly, tearfully, fervently praying.  


Finally, finally, I got the call from him that the storm has passed over without so much as a hailstone.  


Oh the relief, and the many prayers of thanks.


I had been so worried about Greg's safety that I had forgotten the most basic information about our local weather.  What passes through that area is usually on it's way straight to here.  (Greg's school is about 40 miles west of our house.)


My attention quickly turned to preparing our little crew for the still-vicious storm heading our way.  The funny thing is, as upset and emotional as I had been when the storm was over Greg, I was completely calm and rational while getting ready for it to hit us.


I have no idea what it would be like to have your home destroyed by a tornado, but I always pack a bag when we know one is coming.  Hopefully, if our hiding place is such that we survive, then the backpack does too.
The first thing we always grab is Alan's medicine.  It is not available locally, and he takes it twice a day.  


After that I pack our external hard drive with all of our pictures and other stuff on it.  Sometimes I throw in a small album of wedding pictures, since they aren't on the computer.


Next comes a phone charger, video and digital cameras, and the cables that go with them.  If I think about it I throw in an extra set of batteries and charger.  


I also pack each boy 1 extra pair of underwear and socks, tennis shoes (if they aren't wearing them) and 1 set of clothing.


We have time to do all this because of that checking the weather 122 times a day thing.  We usually have a pretty good idea when a serious storm is coming.


After the bag was packed and in the closet, I returned to vigilantly watching the radar and local warnings.


Decision time came.


It was the first time in my children's lifetime that I have ever actually had them get into the closet and shut the door, instead of just being ready to do so.


We were all calm about the whole thing.  Dale read a book.  Alan played between my sweaters.  Tyler sat quietly in my lap, undoubtedly wondering what in the world we were doing.  I called it a practice. 


And it turns out, I was right about it being practice.  Was it necessary to get in the closet yesterday?  


Well.... yes and no.  Everything at our house turned out just fine.  But just three miles north, an honest-to-goodness tornado touched down and ripped up trees, trailers, power poles, and aluminum buildings.


Again, we gave God thanks that the storm had passed over without harm.


Really?  I love storms.  I think they are exciting.  Until they are in my zip code.


After that, everything was topsy-turvy.  I had a splitting headache, and the boys were all hungry.


I got them fed and we spent some time trying to wind down from all the storm excitement.  All the while reports were rolling in about the damage done locally.  Our little bitty town was even mentioned on the Weather Channel!


Eventually I sent the boys off to get dressed for bed, while I sat trying to relax and rid myself of that tension headache.


It was at precisely this time I heard the thunk.  Followed by a second of silence.  Followed by wailing.


The second half of my evening had just begun....

Monday, March 7, 2011

And would you believe the whole thing was free?

As part of our current science unit on dinosaurs, the whole family headed out this weekend to see a genuine dino skeleton.


It just so happened that the day we picked out to go was the day the museum was hosting its annual dino festival.




An entire area of the museum was set up in activity stations with games, crafts, and other activities for kids.


video
Tyler's favorite was the area full of model dinosaur toys.  He had a fierce 'rahr' for each one.


Dale and Alan both got into the "Be-a-Paleontologist' area, chipping away at 'rocks' to find 'fossils'.  
Personally, I loved the safety goggles.  I could have taken pictures all day of that boy in his goggles.


But enough fun and games, we all wanted to see what we had come for: the dinosaur!
As far as I can remember, this was my first time seeing a full-size dinosaur skeleton, and it was amazing.


Awe-inspiring.
We kept circling and gaping, gazing and wondering at what amazing creatures they must have been.  Tyler even growled at it, just like he had with the toys.  We tried imagining what it would be like to encounter one covered in flesh and muscle, breathing, moving, looking.  And we might have shuddered a little bit at the thought.  

Without a doubt, we were in awe of God's incredible creativity.  I have to wonder, too, if He just wasn't having a little bit of fun when he made dinosaurs.

At any rate, we had fun celebrating them as part of His creation this weekend!

For any of you science/dinosaur buffs, the dinosaur we saw was a cast of a fossilized acrocanthosaurus skeleton found in southeast Oklahoma.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Walk, run, ride

As I have already mentioned a time or two, we are operating under a schedule again.

When I made this schedule, I put in a couple of dedicated "outside" times.  One of them even includes Tyler and me.  

As much as I think I love being outside, I often have to make myself go out.  Why?  I do not know.

This whole-gang outside time comes at 1:30 each day, and almost immediately came to equal Bicycle Time.

We don't let the boys ride their bikes in the street unless we are out to watch them (and even then I like to give them a pretty short leash).

So really, it has worked out well that there is a time each day that I make myself go outside too, because they get to ride bikes almost every day!

This morning I decided that instead of standing at the end of the driveway trying to keep Tyler herded out of the street, I would buckle him in his stroller and take off with the boys.

It worked out wonderfully!  That is, except for the fact that Alan is a lot faster than I had anticipated.  He can really scoot on the miniature bicycle with training wheels of his, and I ended up doing as much jogging as walking!

It would be nice to have pictures to share, but I didn't even think of taking the camera.  Not that I had time to take pictures moving along at those speeds!
(I searched through my files to find the old (2009!) pic of Dale above.)

I think once I get in the habit of going out every day I will be grateful outside time is a scheduled part of each day.  Especially now that the beautiful, mild days of SPRING are here!  Do you get outside much?  What do you like to do?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Runs in the family

This is my Mom's dog, Roxy:
Roxy is a fun little dog.  She's been around since the month before Dale was born and is just like part of the family.


You should know, though, to never give Roxy bread products: pizza crusts, cookies, biscuits, rolls, etc.  


If you do, you will find said bread products buried between your couch cushions, under your pillow, or among the folds of your throw blanket.


You never know when you might find a crusty surprise treat.  It's a funny little habit, really.  


Lately it has come to my attention that this boy:
must be related to this dog:
I base this conclusion on the fact that in two days' time I have found both a chunk of cinnamon roll and half a dinner roll in Alan's bed.


And Roxy hadn't even been here.


Let me check.... mmm-hmm, yep.  Definitely the next-most-likely culprit:
Let's just hope they never get their stashes mixed up!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taking the bull (or the dirt devil) by the horns

One of my children has a long-standing terror of the vacuum cleaner.


I have seen his fear wax and wane, as he sometimes hides in tears when I vacuum , and other times good-naturedly watches from the safety of the sofa.


I once tried demonstrating that nothing bigger than the hose attachment could in no way get sucked up into the hose attachment.  And oh the hysteria when he thought I was going to suck the highchair right up that hose.


One day recently, when he was feeling particularly brave, his brother offered him a turn to use the vacuum and he accepted.  He has used the vacuum before, but it had been a long time, so I was a little surprised at the show of bravery.  Surprised or not, I was pleased to see it and went with it whole-heartedly.


So, my little brave one turned on the roaring machine and got to work.  Almost immediately I spotted the unraveled piece of yarn attached to the corner of the area rug.  Not wanting to frighten my fragile worker, I tried to move quickly, but not pounce.  


I should have moved a little more quickly.  


The vacuum grabbed that yarn and began to tug and pull and strain.  Again, not wanting to startle the skittish one I refrained from yelling "TURN IT OFF!!" and from frantically snatching the vacuum from his hands.  Instead I quickly and calmly as possible blindly felt for the switch to finally turn the machine off.


Already we could smell a hint of that burned-rubber smell of a belt worn through.  I turned the machine bottom side up and  began unwinding the now 18-inch piece of string from the brushes.  Once the vacuum had its bottom side exposed the burned rubber smell was strong and obvious.


After a minute or two I turned it on, just to see if we were lucky.  My fearful one backed away crying as the vacuum ran with an odd ka-thunk ka-thunk.


We parked the dreadful machine until daddy could take a look at it.  


When he did, he indeed found a ruined belt.  But even after it was replaced the ol' vacuum just couldn't rotate its brushes.  Which was no surprise or devastating loss; the thing had served us 9 years, through 4 houses and at least that many moves.


More than the damage to the vacuum, I regretted the damage to the timid boy who was using it when it met its death blows.


The dramatic increase in fear was obvious when I used a borrowed vacuum a few days later.


But things rarely stay the same right?


Last night Daddy brought home a shiny new vacuum.  While just the fearful one and I were home this morning, he wanted to take it out of its box and have a look.  


New stuff is always fun.  Even if it is a beastly vacuum.


All was well and good until packaging was cleared away and the beast vacuum stood alone, ready for use, and then the fear kicked in again.  In spite of the fact the thing wasn't even plugged in.


Still, the shiny newness and his brother's enthusiasm were contagious and when we finally did take our toy tool for a test drive he was there for every moment.


We even all took turns.  And I do mean all.


Later, after the vacuum was put away in the closet my once fearful one became a bit giddy.  He giggled and smiled and said, "I can't stop laughing!  I didn't like the old big vacuum, but I like the new red one!"


Is it really that simple?  Is the fear conquered for good?  Over?


I'm a bit skeptical it could go completely so quickly, but greatly encouraged at his recovered bravery.Even as I type, he and his brother have opened the closet to visit and admire the new red machine.


And yes, in case you're still wondering, it is Alan who has found a friend in our new vacuum.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1st

In celebration of the first day of March, a list of firsts I love:


the first sip of coffee

the first marshmallows out of the bag

the first smile from a new baby

the first page in a new notebook

the first bite of a banana

the first day of a new school year

the first daffodils of spring

the first barefoot days of summer

the first night on clean sheets

the first sleepy baby smile of the morning

the first sniff of a new book

the first tomato from the garden

the first cries of a newborn

the first day of new snow

What firsts do you love?