Sunday, November 8, 2009

Are these Good?

I'm not necessarily getting into photography, but I do enjoy taking nature shots like this and I like taking pictures of old things like weathered wood or rusting metal. I like catching the beauty of it. Some things just don't 'catch' in photos. My favorite is the first one with the dying leaves on the ground.

So I have a few shots I've taken and I'm asking the experienced and inexperienced alike to give me your opinions on what you think of these photos. None of them are lightened or altered in photo shop. I can see where the water could be more in focus- but I don't have a high end camera. I can see where the water photos need more of a focal point. And then I can see that the three trunk -the one with the two knots in it- could use some lightening up.

I want to go out and do some more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Pics

Carson was a tiger, Athena was a Lion, Conrad was Indiana Jones, and I was an elf. (Those ears are not real) We did a trunk or treat, then Conrad and Athena went around the neighborhood while I passed out candy at home and put baby boy in bed. I set the candy bowl out for ten minutes while I put baby in bed. I heard three knocks while I was up there putting him down and when I came out the candy bowl was empty. I was angry about it and it stuck with me for a while. But I guess I'll never do that again. The night was just a lot of fun and I was in a trusting mood. I fantasized that the kid who took ALLL my Halloween candy had a reoccurring nightmare for a month that he was inhaling my enormous bowl of Halloween candy. Tsk tsk tsk. So vindictive. :) Bwahaha!!

Men Means... Lot's of Mans.

I was sitting/hunching over my computer- soggy posture when Athena walked and and noted my stomach. I watched her face change to one of sudden curiosity as she did a double take. She then asked, "Do you have a baby in your tummy? ...You can’t have a baby in your tummy right now. Carson is not in. He’s sleeping in his bed. You can make a baby another time."

Later she was playing with some sticky paper. She was talking to it and I caught, "And I say, 'get off my hand! Get off my hand! You stupid-naughty-paper!'"

I like hearing her thoughts stream from one idea to the next. Yesterday while we ate lunch she said, "You love me mom. I’m a baby to you. I’m not a cream cheese, or a bubble head, or uh eyeball. I love eyeballs and I can choke on them. (She’s talking about Halloween eyeball gum. And we were eating cream cheese. Not sure where the bubble-head came from though.)

Athena knows that Conrad is a man but she wasn’t familiar with the plural form ‘men’ when I used ‘men’ in a sentence.
She asked, “What’s ‘men’ mean?”
“Oh... man?” I asked her my eyes level with hers.
“No men!” She corrected.
“Men means… lots of mans.” I said simply.
She understood perfectly. “Ohhh,” she said with a smile.

It’s easy to tell when Athena is plotting general naughtiness; Just now she closed the office door so I wouldn't see her getting into things she shouldn't. Sometimes I let her believe for a while that I don’t know what she's up to- mostly I only do that when I'm too tired to stop her.

Sometimes she will say, “Mommy, go away. I want to be awone,” (so she can be naughty.)
"Do you want me to go away so you can push the bar-stool over to the pantry to get gum?"
"Yes" she says honestly. I love the sweet honesty for now. That'll change but I enjoy it for now.

A few days before Halloween she was in the office, pooping behind the door. That's where she poops- behind that door as she wears a pull up. She won't use the potty for that yet, so I let her use a pull up for now. Anyway it must have been roughly 7 minutes she was there as I busied myself in the kitchen. I realized it was too quiet and that she must be up to something. Sure enough, she had relocated to the office closet where the Halloween candy was stashed, and she had inhaled eleven or twelve peanut butter cups in that short space of time.

Just now she closed the office door while I typed in here. Then she pushed a bar stool across the kitchen floor. (I know from all the way upstairs when she is being naughty because I can hear the bar-stool scraping across the floor.) This time she climbed up to get a sucker off the counter. When she opened the office door again with a big fat sucker in her mouth I gave her a look that caused her to pause and wonder about her status. Was she in trouble? Was I okay with her sneakiness? She squirmed under my all-searching eye. You could see it in her sweet little face. She whispered humbly, “It’s okay. It’s own-ee a little bit naughty…. You’re own-ee a little bit mad.” I was enjoying the moment. I stared at her with a blank expression and she tried to convince harder, “Mommyyyy!! Your own-ee a little bit mad!” She was hoping to persuade me to be fine with it. I broke a smile and laughed. She got away with the sucker. Well, I can’t get after her for every little thing!

Snip Snip, Snip Snip

I’ve been cutting Conrad’s hair for six years now; and I really think it’s time I learn how to cut hair. While we were dating I half-watched his mom cut his hair: I made a mental note- Pull it up there, snip it off there. Got it. But there is obviously more to it. Every time I cut his hair I think, “oh crap - oh crap - oh crap.” Of course I never tell him this, and in the end it usually works out. Either way, he wears a hat everywhere he goes and he’s not picky about his hair. Tonight as I hacked away at the long top growth, he was anxious to get back to what he was doing. He kept asking me if I was done yet, like an antsy kid. But I was no where near hacking through that jungle.

It’s a well-known fact that Conrad’s hair is its own stand up comedian. His family always makes fun of it. When he wakes up you know he’s been switching sides all night long because his hair is standing up five inches. Straight up in one cohesive chunk. Like a stegosaurus. Every time I cut his hair I leave the top alone because I don’t really know how to cut it. This means the top gets longer every day until it takes on a life of its own and I have to shave it down for my lack of skill to know how to do anything else. So I shaved it down to an inch and a half. Ta-daa. He hasn’t showered yet because he’s playing WOW with his Bro-mance, Glenn.

Now we just need to shave the neck part.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

kiddo update

Wow- it's been two months since I've updated. We visited Jeff and Brielle and it was really fun! Carson was an angel the whole time! He only fussed during the ear-popping parts of the plane ride. Brielle let him use Austin's crib which is the same exact set up he has at home- (just diff bedding fabric) so he was as good as sleeping at home. That made our trip great! Thanks Brielle; it was nice of Austin to share. We visited Purdue and some different little shops around West Lafayette; the locals pronounce it LAH-fee-eht. That's 'Sarah phonetics,' so I hope that made sense.

Athena's newest thing is playing with her tea set she got from Grandma Patty. She sits at the barstool and has me pour juice in those itty-bitty cups. I love having that sweet girl. She likes to dance in the living room. I'll have to get some video of that for you. She also directs music with her sweet little girl arms.

In her earlier potty training Athena was trying hard to make it to the toilet but had missed it and dirtied the floor instead. She would be so frustrated with herself and cry a lot. I knew she was trying and I wanted her to know that she didn't have to be perfect right away, but I didn't want to excuse the behavior entirely so pointing at the mess on the floor in front of the potty I said, "It's okay Athena. You tried. It is a little bit naughty, but you can try harder next time." Fast forward to a few days ago- I was toasting a bagel and before it popped up she sneaked some cream cheese out of the container, (which is not really a big deal.) I looked at her and from her perch on the barstool, her head tilted, a content smile crossed her face and her big blue eyes were half shut when she said, "It's okay. It's ownee a yiddle bit naughty." (only a little bit naughty) And I had to laugh.

I think it's so funny - she doesn't know about deception yet. Lately she wants gum and will climb up the pantry shelf to get some. After I stopped her from this she said, "Mommy, I want to be awone. (alone) You and Carson doe away and I tan be awone."
To which I replied. "Do you want to be alone so you can climb up the shelf and get some gum?"
"Yes." she said matter-of-factly.
I had to humor her and smile at her honesty. (Conrad and I both want to be careful not to punish her too much when she tells the truth or she will not want to tell us the truth later.)

Her potty training is going wonderfully, though today she had many accidents which she got in trouble for. 'Trouble' means mom is disappointed with her -which she hates- and then she has to sit in the laundry room- which is just a boring hallway to the garage. If it was a very naughty thing she did then she gets a 'knuckle' (a knock on her little noggin) and sometimes a little whop on her bum before she goes in for the time-out in the laundry room. There's a child lock on the door knob in there so she can't get out; same with her bedroom. She will be outraged that she is in 'trouble' status and she will scream and throw things at or hit the door. But as soon as she calms down I open the door and tell her what she did wrong and then she can apologize. We hug and then she's not in trouble anymore.

If I get short with her over trivial things because my patience is thin that day then she will be difficult to live with; bothering/bossing/controlling Carson or general irritating pesty-ness toward me. She acts this way when I have been unnecessarily grumpy or demanding -which I should not do, but I do it from time to time. To avoid this behavior I have to sincerely say, "I'm sorry. I was grumpy. I'm not mad at you and you're not in trouble. I'll be nice now." Then she feels understood and cared about. She is a sweet angel again after that.

She often says, "I want to have uh easter hunking egg" (I want to go on an easter egg hunt). We do little easter egg hunts every now and then. 3 to 6 eggs, with whatever sweet thing I have around the house. She's excited for Halloween and talks about trick-or-treating every day! She decided herself that she will be a scary blue monster.

We haven't spent much time outside lately. The hotter weather had kept me indoors, but the cooler weather is bringing us back out so we typically swing after dinner before coming in to jammie up in front of the tv before bed.

Carson can sit! He can eat finger foods too. He won't take a sip-pie or bottle though and this is bad because he needs more liquids in his diet than he's getting from me (nursing). He's got hard rabbit pellet turds; hey, this post wouldn't be complete if we didn't mention poop at least once! Anyway I'm having to give him liquids via medicine dropper. I guess I don't mind as long as he's getting more liquids; I love looking at his adorable little face. I love to kiss his baby mouth and squish his little cheeks. I love kissing his little neck and sniffing up his naked little tummy.

I give the kids baths together and it's even more fun now that Carson can sit up. They play well together. Athena has recently begun to roll him around the floor over and over. He likes her and he smiles about it good-natured-ly. He bobs his head to music. Yesterday Athena sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Carson bobbed his head to it with an easy-going smile. He is genuinely a happy and easy baby. He will sit happily eating cheerios and raisins in his highchair for about an hour sometimes. Like all babies he has his tough days where he is more clingy, but those just end up being cuddle days which are sweet! For me, the hardest part about kids is losing sleep though. I develop some stressful anxiety if I know the kids are going to wake me up all night.

Let's see; I recently bought kid clothes at Kid to Kid. I do all my kid's shopping at Kid to Kid or Other Mothers. I love getting cute clothes for great deals. I also played soccer with Conrad's work team for the first time ever in life. The opposing team was very nice and they weren't super skilled so it was a good practice game. I loved it! But I really bunged my knee up good just from jumping around so I'll be more careful on it next week. It's mildly swollen.

I still love going to the gym but as far as weight loss goes, a person can lose weight on controlling food intake more than they can via exercise. But sometimes it's harder to say no to a bowl of ice cream than it is to just do a half hour of spinning to make up for said ice cream. For me junk food and exercise cancel each other out and I neither gain nor lose. But if I never eat junk to begin with then I can really lose something. I aim for 130 pounds by December 5th. And I'm at a rough 136 right now so that's totally do-able. I might shoot for 125 after that, but we'll see how I feel.

Lately I'm carrying around the motto's, "Leave it better than you found it," and "do it faster" (because I operate slower than your average Jane and I want to change that.) by "operate" I mean to say everything I do; showering, flossing, yawning. :) I take my sweet time, but this is a hindrance at times. The "leaving it better" motto applies to my house. If I leave each room better than I found it then I'm constantly cleaning up after myself/and kids bit by bit and not making a mess. It makes my life a little easier and less stressful. I hate when the whole place is a dump, I can't find my such-and-such, and I'm trying to hurry out the door.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Family Update

My latest thing to listen to in my minivan is Shania Twain. I love my minivan (2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limted AWD). I switched up my workout routine from straight boot camp to a mix of spinning, core strengthening, and boot camp. Straight boot camp is too much on my knees and I'm taking Glucosamine to add cushion to my knees.

I love to sniff Carson's sweet baby neck. I sniff him a lot and he likes me cuddling on him. He eats solids like a pro, but we mostly just nurse still. I love to nurse him. He is so good-natured and happy. Athena likes to hold his hand when we're in the car and he usually lets her. I love to watch how he is growing up with her. He has never known life without his big sister. I can tell that he loves her, and Athena loves him back.

Athena is very independent lately. When she gets hurt I would typically hold her, kiss it better, rub her owie gently, but now she is often annoyed by a soft touch and she yanks herself away and says, "No! Don't touch me!" because she's frustrated with herself. And sometimes I miss my cuddle-bug, but it's really fun to watch her grow into a kid. She's one tough chick. She is a tom-boy for sure. She is mostly very obedient. She can get pretty whiny though. She plays well with others, but when she's at home she often whines, yells, and gets overprotective about her toys. She plays very well with children she perceives as older than her. Some kids her same age she perceives as 'younger' and she will boss them around. But she will allow other kids who have higher confidence levels to rule the roost. It's interesting to watch how she acts and reacts differently based on her moods. I think she's moody, like her mother :) She's definitely still evolving. Who knows what she will be like next month.

She likes to hold a lot of small toys lately, and she will ask for help going up and down the stairs because her hands are so full. She gets frustrated when she can't do it by herself. She is usually holding some small toy in the car on the way to anywhere. She also holds toys on the potty. She engages in imaginative play. She'll take two toys who typically have eyes at least, and she'll have them talk to each other. It often goes something like this:
"Oh hi, I'm Athena."
"Oh hi, I'm mommy."
"You don't det yost, you be safe okay?" (you don't get lost...)
"You doe to sweep in your yiddow bed."
"mommy, mommy help!! I'm scared!"
"Don't be scared. You hode me." (hold me)
It goes on and she'll say various things, but that's the typical flavor of it.

We have very tall corn in our backyard and very chubby earwigs inside the house, which creeps me out. I will definitely put some bug poison around the perimeter of the house soon. I did it last year and no problems, but I didn't do it this year, and I keep finding those creepy earwigs in the house. Ihh! I just get the shivers thinking about 'em!

I still do a lot of editing and I really enjoy it. I have worked with six authors so far and I plan to put each one of their books on my bookshelf. I don't plan to stop editing any time soon. I just really enjoy it. I think I may take up web design though in addition. Perhaps in the winter when I have no more yard work I'll get into web design; I don't have any time for it as of now. I'd also like to learn Spanish, but that dream is a little further away. Every few months I come up with a new thing I want to be when I "grow up." Right now I'm thinking about practicing some facet of law, but I am likely to change my mind again. I would like to go back to school someday to develop a lucrative trade, but as of now I can't see myself stopping at two babies. I don't know how many kids I'll have, but I do know that I never want to live without a sweet baby to squeeze, sniff up, and hug. I just really love having a baby in the house. I just love sniffing up that Carson-babe. If you could sell happiness in a bottle it would be his scent.

Conrad plays soccer, and plays with us in the backyard and garden. He mostly spends his time working though, bringing home the money, making it all possible. I told him tonight, "Conrad I love you. You're the perfect husband; you're hot, you make me laugh, you are a great daddy, and you make good money. Thanks for being awesome."

Potty Training Woes

Tonight I watched three kids, in edition to my own two, pictured there on the left. Ages 7 months, 2 years, 2 years, 5 years, and 7 years. 2,2, and 5 are all potty training. 7 should be fully trained but she still misses the boat half the time. She did do well at my house today though, and she was extremely helpful with the little children. Most of the evening was an effort to stay ahead of everyone's bowel movements. I put them each on the toilet every hour on the hour; seems like I'd have my bases covered, but it was a losing battle. We had three defecations and four urinations all out-of-potty. As the sole cleaner-upper my hands smell like poop; which is, great. While I had one kid on the potty, the 5-year old, who knows better, was hiding behind the corn in the backyard, pooping. When I came downstairs from helping one clean up poop another one was standing at the foot of the stairs with her underwear around her ankles, soaked. All of these children were set on the potty 15 minutes prior to their voiding in various parts of my backyard and house. My own 2-year old has been good at getting right on the toilet, but with all her peers pooping and peeing on themselves today she just let herself go. And, I can't control everyone's bowels. In my frustration I had an imaginary conversation with myself, "the next person to poop on herself will have to sit at the table, and stare at her poop, on a plate, two inches from her nose. And there she will stay for three minutes, because two is not enough; and I hope you cry about it. Because then maybe you will begin to realize that poop is gross to handle, and that maybe I don't want to handle your poop."

As I watch these children, my own 2-year old included, there seems to be a sighting-to-existence ratio in effect. The more the poop is visibly acknowledged, the more it very much exists, in all it's disgusting glory. The 5-year old seems to believe that if the poop remains a hidden bulge in her underpants, where she can not see it, that it does not exist. Well, I'm not giving my 2-year old the chance to grow into that false belief. I will give her an appropriate amount of time to figure out her bowel control, but once she's capable of controlling her bowels there is no way that pooping in her pants will ever be acceptable. I will come up with creative punishments if I have to.

Aside from handling everyone's waste tonight it has actually been quite fun. We played with toys inside, played on swings outside, had a kid-friendly dinner- I was a short order cook tonight- and we made chocolate chip cookies. Then we jammied-up and brushed-up and settled down for a movie. After a while I put my own kids in bed and here I am, blogging about my day.

So, poop- it's exciting.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Athena talk

I say, “you can’t throw hard things, only soft things.”
She says, “Don’t fwo afina, cause I’m not a bah; I’m hard.” (bah=ball)

While outside in the garden; “don’t water me!”

Did you push buttons in the elevator?
“No! dats vay vay bad.” Vay = very

Fire has been more of a serious discussion as we talk about smoke detectors and firemen and loud siren trucks. She’s been somber about fire. Well, against my better judgment Conrad showed Athena a lighter. Wide eyed and serious she said, “fire… is fun!”

“No Daddy I don’t pay dubba-dubba-doo.” –playing dubba dubba doo: she invented the phrase and she says it in a sing song voice.

"stuff” –her word of the week

While playing blocks with Athena: She dropped a toy salt-shaker on the house I was building. It did little to no damage to the block house I was building, but she picked him up and said, “Oh no! You byate mommy’s house. You are nawdee. You hafa go to your woom. You hafa go to sweep.” She ran down the hall and set him in her bed. When she came back I said, “Is he sad?”
“Yes, he’s sad.” She held up a single pink block. “He needa yite.” (he needs a light.) She ran down the hall with a single block to give him as a night light.
“Does he need some chocolate milk when he sleeps?” I asked her.
“Oh, yes.” She ran down the hall again.

Sunday afternoon; “No daddy. You don’t sweep!” Then she sits on his head.
Deeper into his nap she says, “I spate daddy’s bobbin”- She ran over there, and spanked his bum.

Sitting on the swings looking at the sky- random disconnected talk:
Me: “Birds don’t have babies in their tummies. Birds have eggs, and the babies come out of the eggs.”
“Mommies have babies in their tummies. Birds have babies in their eggs.”
She thinks a while….
“You hava bird in your tummy,” She concludes.

In the highchair over lunch she recalls an occurrence from a few weeks ago:
“I pook at uh store.”
“Yeah, you threw up at the store huh?”
“Yeah. And, a daddy keen it up.”
“That was not a daddy. That was an employee. When you go to work you are an employee. Leah works at the store so she is an employee. Is mommy an employee?”
“No, mommy doesn’t go to work like daddy. Is daddy an employee?”
“Yes, daddy is an employee, because he goes bye-bye to work every day.”
“No! Daddy’s not uh… poy-ee.”
“Want to call him and ask?”
“Noo! Daddy’s not uh …poy-eee!”
We didn’t call because Carson was fussing and daddy was on a plane anyway.

“Deh smote attetter, keep me safe.” – The smoke detector keeps me safe
“Oh no! My tatters!” -my crackers!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More pictures- making up for lost time

I'm a feast or famine blogger so here ya go. More pics; pictures seem to be what people like best.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Misunderstood- odd moments

I am one of the most trustworthy people you will ever meet. Not always the most dependably punctual; but sincere, genuine, and honest -yes. My mom always knew what was going on in my life because I had to talk about it to feel even, accounted for, and set aright. I don't flatter people, and I won't tell you I like your haircut if I don't. -When I give a compliment it's genuine. I think most people see this in me and find me to be a harmless, guile-less person. But today I recall odd moments of being mistaken for a mugger, a robber, and a wierdo/social misfit.

As a newly wed in school I needed to trade in my ten dollars for quarters so I could do my laundry. My complex didn't have one of those 'trade-ya' machines so I went to the neighboring complex. Their laundry room was also unequipped so I set out to ask the manager if she might trade me. I had really let my laundry pile up and I needed underwear! So, I was not giving up on this. The manager was just leaving but I ran up to her car to ask her anyway. She didn't see me and she backed out. I waved her down five feet from her car window. She turned her head and suddenly I was there, holding my long black wallet. She may have thought my wallet was a gun because she looked scared and locked her door. I instantly felt like a mugger. I gave her my most innocent look; hands up, shrug- apologetic face. She rolled her window down just enough to exchange words. I told her I was hoping to trade her quarters. I felt stupid for interrupting her on her way out. She gave some excuse as to why she didn't have quarters and I didn't bother her more. Lame and defeated I walked home thinking, for the love of clean underwear, somebody gimme some quarters!

Long story short, as a teenager I got left behind while wrapping a house- that's tp'ing a house to those who don't know 'wrapped.' Everybody piled into two cars and left; each car thought the other car had me. ---skipping the long middle of the story and now arriving at the end --- After a few hours sitting in the front of the subdivision off a four lane main road I decided to see if I could find an open business so I could get a phone. I found a craft store who left their doors unlocked at all times, but monitored the store by surveillance. (Why would you do that?) Anyway I was caught on surveillance wandering through the store at 5am ish looking for a phone. A woman in a truck drove into the parking lot within minutes of my having been there, and of course, I walked out to meet her. I told her my sob story and she was very uncaring and disbelieving. She didn't let me see her face through the truck. Her voice was raspy like an experienced smoker's voice often is and she kept asking why I was in her store. I felt like a criminal, when, in truth, I was more the victim. I was able to make a phone call however, and I got out of that mess.

I had an experience being the weirdo/social misfit, but now it escapes me because my kids are interrupting me. I'll come back and write it if I remember it. Anyway, hope I'm not the only one who has been considered a criminal and mistaken for a mugger. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Update on kids

Athena’s words:
“Teenta teena yitta staR how I wonder wha-shoo are
Yite a di-mun in de sty”

Birds are chirping outside the open window and she says, “No birds, Noooo!”
They don’t listen.
How dare they don’t listen!
They fly off in the distance.

The neighbor’s dog barks; “Be tiet dod!” (be quiet dog) She yells that a few times and it’s what I’d like to say so I don’t silence her. She can get away with it, after all.

We hear her friend crying over the fence: “be tiet ayayna!” (that’s alaina)

All done in her highchair and she yells out, “mommy I wanta hava spider.”

Singing leisurely in her high chair, “Ev EE budDY tan do ….. steuf.” (everybody can do stuff.) Don't ask me, I'm just the observer.

Playing outside with daddy; she wanted him to hurry up so she said, “No daddy! No time!!” (Yes, that had to have come from me.)

Athena’s typical day:
Wake at 8:00; eat, dress
Play for an hour at the kids cove at the gym.
At home, play with toys, interact with Carson, watch tv with snacks to relax, sometimes play outside while mom does yard work.
Lunch at 12 ish
A two hour nap somewhere between one and three o’clock; or if she’s not tired, play in her room for an hour or two while mommy edits. She gets some good imaginative play in her room and she enjoys it.
Dinner at 6:30 ish when daddy gets home
Dance with daddy to music.
Play outside with daddy and mommy. Mom and dad like to garden and mow, and weed and water. We also play on the swings, or play soccer.
Bath, if she needs it, then sit in front of one of her favorite shows while I jammie her up, brush teeth and hair.
9:00 ish Now in her bed, relate what she did that day, sing songs, say a prayer, tuck her in, sing more songs, tuck her in again; she tries a myriad of things to prolong the inevitable, but finally she whispers gently, “doodnight, I wuv you, bye.”

Carson’s day is the same only he takes three naps. I love to sniff his sweet little neck and bury my nose into his tummy. He's so squishy and smiley and chubby legged.