It's Wednesday...and you know what? We're happy. And fairly normal-feeling. We went to the library, we have a little party planned for next week to celebrate Spring, and my tallest dancer has a follow up appointment in the morning. I have three piano lessons left, and then I'm on holiday for the Spring Break. 12 of my 13 students are happily working away on "dead guy" (classical) music for our May recital, and that ain't bad! I'm back to losing weight (25 pounds to go, I can do it!) and all the kids are asleep, or at least reading *very* quietly. Laundry is caught up. I made yogurt yesterday. I think I'll go plant something. And vacuum the laundry room. *
* Bobbi, if you follow that link, don't say I didn't warn you!
Poo continues to fill our thoughts and laps, but life chugs along just as surely as a washing machine running at 11 pm, right? Right? I can't be the only one who doesn't remember/have time to run the washer until nearly midnight?
(Mr. Man had his first good blowout yesterday, I'm sure you'll be pleased to know. I was insanely grateful to be wearing floppy pants that caught everything, saving my chair. They were, however, my last CLEAN pair of pants. Time for pajamas! I thought it odd that my visiting mother left a few minutes later, in a hurry, for the store. "Must have some pressing errands" I thought "and a horror of poo!" She came back half an hour later with a goodly assortment of yoga pants, stretchy shirts, and the most outlandishly-shaped shawl-sweaters that are insanely comfortable, once I find the right way to put them on! My mom is the bestest :)
Ernie is feeling better. After more than a month of stomach troubles I put her on her very favorite diet of all: The White Diet. She is living on white rice, white pasta, white bread, oatmeal, and crackers. I serve her milk, but she'll take all day to drink 8 ounces. It's taken care of the stomach issues entirely-- I don't see any lab work in our future if she's not sick. I let her have a cupcakes, and she was sick again. I DO want to get the tests done- I want to know what's going on! Ideas like lactose intolerance, parasites, giardia, salmonella, and Crohn's Disease are all being bandied about. If changing the diet stopped the issues, what does that mean? Could still be Crohns or lactose intolerance...or irritable bowel syndrome...I find myself wishing I had tacked on a medical degree in school, along with my accounting degree and music minor! I have to tell you, the stomach issues worry me more than they do her- this little girl has gas that has her gleefully exclaiming "I sound like a TRUCK!"
We spent our morning talking about rainbows- there are a LOT of rainbow songs on YouTube! Oddly, many of them sing the rainbow colors out of order....and the rest end with pink, instead of violet! The girls cut streamers from their favorite color crepe paper (pink, of course) and had a dance party in the school room.
Mr. Man was most impressed! (Have I mentioned how LARGE he is? How he's seven weeks old, and wearing 6-month clothes? Size three diapers? Oh good. He is.)
What can you say about a day that revolves around poo? Seriously, if someone would JUST write a book about kids and their poo, and how to fix everything that can possibly go wrong, and how to diagnose what's wrong in the first place, they'd make a million dollars. Seriously.
In good news, Mr. Man is no longer constipated! He is daily amazing us with his poo-ing prowess. In fact, he was SO enthusiastic this afternoon in his aunt's arms, he made her shriek out in alarm. Too bad he wasn't awake any more to enjoy the effect. (How can a tiny body do something so VIOLENT and immediately fall asleep?)
Ernie and I spent the morning at the doctor discussing an ongoing gut issue, and came home with a small bag full of cups the doctor wants returned ASAP. Umm...OK, doctor. This'll be fun.
BUT, in better news: Elizabeth is having a giveaway for a really adorable apron over at Home Musings, so go stop by and say hi! Seriously, you should go there right now, because I can't believe I just wrote a post almost entirely about...I can't even say it.
I'm here! Wow, it's been a while since I've had chores done AND kids asleep at the same time :) Mimi is hanging out with her Grandma today for some "girl time" which means Ernie and I (and Mr. Man) are having our own special day! I found a sweet piano series for Ernie, and she's loving having weekly lessons, which we did this morning. We had a great trip to the library, and I don't expect to see E at all for another few hours. Sakes alive, that girl loves to read. Today it's a whole stack of "Buzzy" books (a young zebra boy who has much to learn) and a beautifully illustrated story book "Snow White and Rose Red." I checked out Despereaux because I've never read it, and wondered when Ernie might be ready for it. I also checked out the first volume in the "Little House on the Prairie" series- in the next year, we'll be reading that series, and it might be time to start! If she's not interested in reading it, I'll see if she's interested in listening to me read it.
So much has happened in the last week and a half, friends. See that bread up there? I made it...I made bread for the first time since November! And, if you know anything about bread, you can seee HOW BADLY I did. Wow. Apparently 4 months is way too long to try and remember a recipe- I quadrupled the yeast. Yowza, it's tall and tasteless. How 'bout them apples? Sure looks pretty, though :)
Remember I teased you about what might end up in a sad, empty little corner of the yard? Sad no longer (and only slightly empty), it's the greenhouse! Time to plant some tomatoes, oh yeah! We'll get some shelves in there, get the watering situation set up, get it anchored to that patio....and Myrnie will be in business. Sweet, sunny, warm BUSINESS. Huge, huge, H.U.G.E thanks to the able bodies who helped make this happen!! (Because, I'm sure it's no shock that Mr. Man [aka the newborn] and I were no big help in this endeavor. Ahem.)
The cole crops. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower. Stringy and gutless. Guess who's going shopping for seedlings this week! Oh well, the kids enjoy watering them, and there IS something to be said to sprouting seeds around children. It's good for our souls, I'm sure. Next year, I try heat mats and the GREEN HOUSE...
Oh, and only the most important thing for last: my husband's family came to visit for a whole week! Mom, Dad, sister, and brother- it was fantastic. Once they finished painting his grandparents' house (because they're awesome like that) we painted the town red. We visited Wonder Daddy at his brand new office- it's gorgeous, in a historic old building with original woodwork and fancy scrollwork in the elevator. The kids loved seeing a fancy toy shop in town, and we all had lunch at an old outdoor market- crepes for everyone! (Except me...I found REAL dok bokki, and had to have it. I mean, I'd only ever eaten dok bokki that *I* had prepared, so what exactly is it supposed to taste like?? It's delicious :) The girls spent hours playing "Guess Who" and "monypony" with various relatives (that's Monopoly, for those un-initiated in Ernie-ese), and loved being with everyone. Even MORE family joined us later in the week when two aunts and their kids came for a big family dinner Friday night. The baby was much loved-upon, I assure you!
Speaking of our Mr. Man, he's six weeks old now. Yikes...that's not very old, but it seems like it's been forever. You know? And yes, he's still a fabulously calm baby. Yes, he likes to party for a few hours after his sisters go to sleep, but he'll stay snoozing for 3 or 4 hours at a time, so I can't ask for more. Actually, I can. I want his SISTER to sleep! I suppose it was my fault- I served all the kids' dinner last night at my family's weekly Sunday Meal. There was one pink plate, and rather than having two wailing girls I decided to have three wailing girls, and gave it to Siu Jeun. So, none of the girls ate anything. Not a bite. They all ran off to play, and ate their half-slice of cake when we all ate dessert. Mimi was up at 2...and 4...5...6...and 7! Whee!
Oh, and yes, you read that right: everyone got my dessert. It's my radical way of feeding kids. I serve dinner, and they can eat it or not (or choose bread.) If dessert is served, they can have their share. But if they're still hungry, they can have their dinner! I figure I don't want to make life into a calorie-eating contest. "I'll give you a cookie if you eat all this other food first!" Nutritionally, not perfect every day...but if they're going to eat dessert ANYWAY, why force feed them more? Obviously, I don't serve dessert very often.)
I was very, very slightly chastened by my Grandpa (inadvertently) when we went to visit him this week. He inquired after my sister, saying "How is she doing? I read her blog, of course...but she never says how she's doing!"
So Grandpa? We're doing spiffy...and plan on getting much, much spiffier as the weeks pass.
I know I keep saying this, but in fits and starts it seems like life is starting to gel again. I mean, we made it to the park this week, AND a walk, AND I taught two piano lessons, AND we drove through a rain storm to visit my grandpa, AND we even made it to music class for the first time in a long, long time. (I gave it up when I couldn't get up and down off the floor during the pregnancy. Sorry, kids.)
(In between fits and starts...when we left my sister's home the other night, all three of my children were in hysterics for various reasons, and...yeah. Picture an SUV full of crying people, with Owl City cranked up because my toddler has been asking for "Seattle" non-stop this week. "Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer...." I swear I've spent HOURS listening to that song this week.)
I found out about the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan/Hawaii (and now the west coast- apparently 4 people were pulled out to sea in Oregon) at about 3 am this morning via an e-mail from my dad. (I was up feeding a baby...Dad, what were you doing up??) The church headquarters has heard from all mission areas but one in Japan, and that remaining area (Sendai) is where one of our friends is. Anyway, if you'd like to follow a blow-by-blow translation of Japanese news sources, go find @makiwi on Twitter. She's Maki Itoh, from Just Hungry.com and Just Bento.com, and she's been translating for HOURS. She's getting a little punchy, but gracious. Twit Warrior, right there. (Should I say tweet warrior??)
Oh, since I NEVER go on twitter any more, I was amused to find out that my twitter feed has been added to someone's list called "Random Time Wasters." Since my feed consists solely of links to my posts....umm, thanks? Glad we could waste time together?
Our Mr. Man is growing like a weed- in true Wonder Family fashion, he's above 95% for height and weight. Way to go, Idaho! (Does anyone else say that?) Say hello to our 12.5 pound, 23" catch of the day. He looks more and more like his big sister!
Ernie, at one month
Mimi, 1 month- I think she's from a different mold than her siblings. Yes? No?
As I promised myself, we've been having fun with school this week. One of my scholastic goals for E this year was the ability to tell a story, in her own words. She's been enjoying reading the shorter of Aesop's fables (Crow and the Pitcher, Town Mouse and Country Mouse, Two Fellows and a Bear) and then telling the story back to me. As a special activity, the girls acted out "Two Fellows and a Bear" yesterday, it was pretty awesome. To work on her penmanship, I have her copying one line a day of a nursery rhyme in her book. If you're ever at a used book shop, you MUST look for this book- my great-grandmother gave a set to my sister and I when we were young. That set is still at my parents' house, but I found a set for my children, and we LOVE it. So much fantastic literature! The World Treasury of Children's Literature, edited by Clifton Fadiman. My sister and I had practically all the nursery rhymes and poems in here memorized when we were kids. Wee Willy Winky, Goosey Goosey Gander, The Goops, Polly Put the Kettle On, A Dillar a Dollar....oh, such good stuff! My great-grandmother was an English Professor at a university, and I love to think about her recommending this book.
I knew that February would be a slow, baby-filled month around here. We all made it back to church on Sunday- I was quite a sight, playing the organ with Baby Boy strapped into the baby carrier! Honestly, it was easier to play with him in the carrier than it had been when I was pregnant. At least this time I could see my feet :) By the end of the pregnancy, my belly was so in the way that I couldn't play the pedal notes directly beneath me. (If you haven't seen an organ up close and personal, there's a keyboard underneath we play with our feet. It takes a special kind of crazy.)
Spring is in sight, and the kids and I are getting gently back into life. We went on a long walk Monday morning- it's been a long time since we've done that, and EVERYONE was exhausted by the time we got home!
Mimi is still enjoying special time with her Grandma- when I told her it was time to go, she sternly told me "Mommy stay here. Baby stay here. Sister stay here. Mimi go to Grandma's!" She adores her alone time with Grandma!
On the mornings that we aren't "dividing to conquer" the girls, they know they have a schedule. At 6, Ernie can start reading a book if she wants. At 7, they can quietly go downstairs and watch a movie before breakfast. At some point, we're going to move the tv set upstairs- every movie in our house is pretty tame (we don't OWN anything above PG) but I'd still like to know for sure what the kids are watching. If we wanted to be really fancy and up to the minute, we'd join the rest of America in owning a flat panel tv and buy a second set, and we'd have to look at flat panel tv stands, but for now I'm going to be provincial and say that my 6-year-old TV set is just fine. (Right, dear husband?? Haha)
(If you DO have a flat panel TV, DO check out that link above- CSN has an amazing selection!)
********************************************************************************* Disclaimer: In return for this post, CSN has provided me with a gift code to any of their 200+ online stores. Over and out.
Lunch today. You want this. At least Ernie was excited! (It's hummus. Please ignore my lack of food styling finesse.) I'm pretty sure if you pair up corn chips with bean hummus, it's a healthy lunch. There was milk involved, too.
This concrete is where a hot tub used to be. Now it has three garbage cans of mulched leaves, and a whole lotta dismantled retaining wall. Wait till you see what we have planned!!
Cole crops! They're sprouted! In fact, everything but the brussels sprouts have sprouted...I don't know why I'm surprised, since those same seeds never sprouted last year either....durrr. The kids are pretty excited to see these little green things, and I'm really hoping that means some cruciferous vegetables will be eaten in a few months. Yum.
Mr. Baby Face has been a bad napper this week, and we've had insane and hail when he HAS slept....but by golly, I WILL get my peas and spinach planted soon! I've been watching Spring start to happen around here- most of my bulbs are sending up shoots, the azaleas and rhodies are budding out, and so are the raspberries and (new!!) blueberries. The birds are coming back- robins, blue jays, crows, and finches. No starlings yet, though. All their spring songs are so different, Ernie keeps asking me what the noises that she hears are! The squirrels are still running around, but that's no big surprise, they've used our deck stairs and railing as a highway all winter. The railing is actually a launching/landing pad for them, because the highway runs across the deck you see above, up the stair railing, onto the upper deck railing, and then they LEAP into the cedar tree that's nearby. (Then down the trunk, and onto the fence, and off to who knows where.) We're going to trim that cedar tree soon, it's practically growing onto the deck. And boy does my husband want a camera running when the first squirrel leaps off the deck to the tree branch that used to be there.
We started our cole crops last week, because hope springs eternal. I only tried starting brussel sprouts last year, and not a single seed germinated. (And the leeks I started all got about 3 inches tall and stopped growing, and the peppers just up and died after a week or two. I start seeds WHY??) (Oh...cole crops are things in the brassica/cabbage family. Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choi, etc.)
But, the girls and I had fun mashing seed starting mix into my tray, and throwing in seeds and labels.
These are in the sunniest corner of my house (flanked by a north AND a west facing window,) so until I have a better place to put them (oh, and I will...just wait!!), fingers crossed! I'm trying to be smart about what we plant out this year- I doubt we can use more than 3 or 4 cabbages in the spring, so that's what I'm growing. Ditto on the cauliflower and broccoli. Brussels sprouts I kind of went crazy, because NONE of them germinated last year so I'm hoping that if I plant way more than I need, I'll stand a chance to get at least some. But, you know, there are quite a few nurseries within spitting distance, so all is not lost if these don't work out! (Fall crops will be planted straight in the dirt in August.)
Now that all the snow is melted, we are over due to plant our peas. I plan on planting LOTS AND LOTS of bush peas this year- the kids love them, and they're great for the dirt. Besides, they won't need fertilizing OR watering because we're still in our wet season(s), so they're an easy thing to harvest and deliver to the neighbors for brownie points. Or to make up for the mess that our yard was last year. Or to lay to rest any niggling doubts about our choice of landscaping (urban garden.) Take your pick ^_^