Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Storytellers and The Worrywarts

You know how there are some people who take things out of proportion? You tell them a simple thing and they run with it, stretching it to an enormous, impossibly large size and make it all seem so crazy?

I have someone like that in my family.

So does Hubby.

You take those people and you learn that there are certain topics you don't talk about with them or in front of. You love them just the same, but also know there are limits to the capacity of their world. I do mean 'world'. They live in their own little world where they are the center of it and if it isn't right in their minds and it doesn't fit neatly into their plans, it doesn't stick and slides off their back and they decide that you are the one with the issues.

As you know, Hubby is looking for work without much success. While money is super tight, our savings are gone, and we are expecting baby #4, we are not so bad off that we are holding our hands out to family members. We have learned to live without and make do with what we have. We are finding other ways to bring income into the house, either by ebay or other means. We have had to play russian roulette with the bills some months, paying these but not those.

Someone mentioned to the person in my family that takes things out of proportion that they worried about us. Just mentioned it in passing. That person took that information and stretched it and sent an email to my mother who sent me an email this morning. The tone of the email was one fraught with worry and wondered if we needed help and now she is more worried about us than she needs to be.


We aren't upset, but now I need to smooth things over with my mom and tell her that we are ok, no need to worry, but somehow, I know that won't do. I'll have to get her to come up and see for herself that we are ok, that there is food in the pantry and there are no holes in the roof. The house is warm and the grandkids are clothed.

You know how there are some people that worry needlessly? They take every little thing and worry it to pieces, constantly rubbing it to check and see if it's alright, picking it up and looking at it in the light to make sure it still shines or there is no chip. Setting it down and picking it back up 2 seconds later. You try not to tell too much detail about such worrying issues and gloss things over a little because they worry so much.

Did I just describe every one's mother?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Very Good Day

Yesterday was a VERY GOOD day! Some of our items on eBay sold better than expected, so we had a little extra money to run a few errands in the Big town.

I really had no business stepping foot inside a thrift shop, but the local Salvation Army was calling my name and I just couldn't say no. By the time we got there, the younger two girls were fast asleep, so Hubby stayed in the van and Oldest and I went in to see what we could find. I had hoped to find more items to sell on eBay, but they got rid of their toy department. Too many recalls on toys, they said, so rather than risk selling any "bad" toys, they won't sell any at all! Anyway, no toys, so went to the glassware department and found a nice Pyrex bowl reasonably priced. One last quick look around and I almost missed it! I gave Oldest the bowl to hold and grabbed my newly spied treasure-- a vintage pink chenille blanket! No holes!! No rips!! Queen sized!! Pink!!
I only saw a tiny stain down by one of the edges, hardly noticeable unless I pointed it out to someone and I couldn't believe my lucky find!

Here's what it looks like on a twin bed in Youngest's room. Looks great with the green walls, but I already have a twin sized chenille blanket for her, and this one is going on our bed as soon as it warms up enough to not need a thick winter blanket anymore! Plus, I am tickled that Hubby likes it too and kept commenting on how cool it'll look on our bed! Gotta love a guy that doesn't care if the blanket on the bed is old and PINK!!

When we got back from running errands, I spotted a bunch of boxes on the front step left behind by the UPS guy. After unloading our goodies and getting the girls hooked up with juice and snacks, I was able to open and discovered this:: one of my Bloggy friends sent me the car seat that her baby has outgrown, knowing that I needed a car seat for the new baby.

I have never met her and only know her through our Blogs, and I am so touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness in thinking of me and my family. She asked me if I minded using her daughter's baby seat, having since outgrown it and many places refusing to accept donated car seats, for safety reasons. As you know, I shop thrift stores and yard sales, so I absolutely don't mind using second-hand items. Money is tight, and when I went to price new car seats, I was blown away by the prices compared to nearly 6 years ago when I bought a car seat for Oldest. She sent me the car seat, base, an extra base and an infant head pillow. Thank you so much dear friend!! You'll be getting something in the mail from me soon!!

I can now cross off getting a car seat off my list of things I need to get before the baby gets here. It's not a very long list, as I still have most of my baby items, and the car seat was the biggest item I needed.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Rare Day!

Today was the kind of day that I wish would occur more often! Pretty successful on several counts:: I got some organizing done, cleaned up the girl's closets and drawers, the older two girls amused themselves with a cardboard road and town and I got Youngest to take a nap!

I just got my schedule for the upcoming children's consignment shop Spring sale, which means busy days are ahead for us. I start working for the shop mid-March which leaves me about 3 weeks to sort through clothing and toys to sell. I got a good start this morning going through the drawers and closets, pulling out too-small clothing and shifting to the next girl if it was desired. I have to save some of Youngest's clothing in case this baby is a girl, but I can sell the 18-month outfits because summer clothing in the middle of winter just won't do for the baby.

Kind of bittersweet for me, to pull the size 3 out of my newly-turned 4 year old's drawers and to pull the 18 month sizes out of my now 2 year old's closets. Many of Middle's clothing was still pristine, because she has an affinity for dresses and skirts and snubs her nose at pants and long sleeves. I finally wised up and had her sit with me to tell me what she didn't like, because what's the use of folding and re-folding clothing and tidying up a messy drawer, if she is never going to use it??

Oldest asked for permission to draw roads on an old cardboard box. She and Middle happily set about making roads and tunnels from a paper towel tube and brought out people and houses to play. They've been at it for several hours now, making the house the quietest I have ever experienced while they are awake!! I've even managed to write this post without being constantly interrupted!

Another happy moment:: I got Youngest to take a nap today. She has been resisting naps lately, and by dinner time is quite cranky and content to drink only her milk instead of eating her food, even if it is something she likes. No shameful begging and pleading on my part will make her take a bite, and if I manage to get a bite in her, she holds it in her mouth without chewing, the saliva building up and leaking through the corners of her lips until I give in and make her spit it out.

The potty training is going well. Yesterday was an off day for her and I changed her sodden underwear and pants no less than 8 times. Today is much better, with me asking her every 15 minutes if she needs to pee. Only one mishap so far, and I am counting my blessings!

Hubby has gone off to help a friend cut up logs for firewood. Here's hoping he brings home another load of wood to see us through the last bit of winter.

We had lots of robins in the yard today!! They give me hope that Spring is around the corner after all! I always like seeing the first robins of the year and they excite me knowing that warmer weather is on it's way!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Awards Night!

I am way behind on my 'thank you's' for these two awards I have gotten. I am having one of those days where I want to curl up on the couch, huddled under a blanket and watch movies all day. But I know the minute I do that, one of the kids need help on the toilet, another one wants chocolate milk and the other climbs on top of me, sharp elbows poking me in the ribs and a foot kicking me in the belly. Not a desirable outcome. Do they even realize that Daddy is home and he is capable of helping to wipe bottoms and fetch drinks and is much more fun to climb on??

Anyway, I need to thank Dj Kirkby, Rob Clack and Sparx for giving me this "Excellent" blog award! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I am supposed to pass out this award to 10 other bloggers, but this award has made it's rounds several times, and there are some I know that deserve this and haven't gotten one, so here goes!

I'd like to give this award to Barefoot, because she is so honest about the way she feels about her life and family. Although I don't know her personally, I feel like she is a very good friend to me. Her blog is one of the first I check on a daily basis!

I'd also like to give this to Wendy at Home Is... She writes thought-provoking posts about living sustainably and I think is very successfully raising her family on local resources.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee is an American living in the UK and is currently writing about the surprising discoveries she made when she first moved over there. Not as easy as you'd think the transition would be!

Summer at A Shot In the Dark who writes so poetically it makes me want to curl up inside her brain and stay awhile! She is pregnant and our due dates are close, so it's also a kindred spirit I find in her.

Danielle at Touch the Earth Farm is a wonderful blog about living sustainably and also providing garden goods to CSA members. I have learned quite a bit from reading her posts and I would recommend this blog to anyone wanting to start a little farm of their own.

I also have Barefoot to thank for this "Heart" award. Awww, Thanks, hon!

I am passing this award to Danielle is a Hor because she is so honest in so many aspects of her life. She doesn't care if her words are misspelled and is not afraid that she isn't being politically incorrect. Like it or not, this is her. This is quite an x-rated blog, so if you haven't been to her blog before, be warned.

This award is also going to Sparx of Notes Inside My Head who writes a hilarious account of life with her Spud and Frog. Her writing style is one that cannot be imitated though I am sure many have tried!

Also to Dj Kirkby because she writes not one, not two, but THREE blogs!! She was also recently diagnosed with Aspergers and has finally been enlightened to the whys of her past behaviours and events. I love her writing style as well, and her Wordless Wednesday posts, though I can never come up with a clever title!

This also goes to Molly of A Foothill Home Companion. She likes to re purpose things, recycle and thrift shops! A woman after my own heart. She recently posted about turning t-shirts into bags, and old sweaters into fingerless gloves! What's not to like about that?!

All of the blogs above have enriched my life in one way or another. I have gleaned lots of useful information from their posts and applied many of the ideas to my own life. A heartfelt Thank You, to all of you, for opening the door to your lives and letting me in. I promise to put everything back the way I found it! :o)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Birthday Planning

For the past 2 days now, Oldest has been cutting paper into strips and making a paper chain for her birthday party... in 3 months!

Middle is hampering more than helping Oldest and getting Oldest all aggravated when a chain rips. And yes that is the potty she is using as a table.

This was the chain as seen last night. It has since grown and I had to tell her to corral it into a box to keep Middle and Youngest from breaking it. Ignore my dirty rug, I haven't been able to vacuum because something in there isn't working right and it makes a godawful sound and actually makes me dizzy when I turn it on. I leave the vacuuming to hubby now. Blame him.

Somehow, Oldest has gotten Youngest to be her little helper and she carries the tape around for her. She was showing me the latest results on her chain while I was making dinner and one broke, "Youngest!" she yells at the top of her lungs. And here she comes with the tape. "Tell her 'Thank you!'" I tell Oldest.

By the time her birthday rolls around in June, if she keeps this up, it will be able to go around the house 10 times! She will have gone through 3 rolls of tape. Her markers will dry up. There will be no paper left in the house! She will start eyeing the papers we have in the file cabinet- ack!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Flower Power

Hubby gave me flowers!!

Ok, so they're stamps.. But it's the thought that counts! He could have bought those boring American Flag stamps (nothing against patriotism) or those historical figures stamps (or history), but no, he bought FLOWERS!! This will make paying the bills a little brighter, won't they?

I'll take stamps of flowers over real flowers any day. I love flowers, but I always felt bad for recieving cut flowers that die a week later. I'll plant flowers, but I don't usually cut them and put them in vases. I'll enjoy them where they grow and sniff their fragrant beauty day after day.

When hubby cuts the grass on the riding mower, he will intentionally avoid mowing down daisies, my favorite flowers. Ain't that sweet? We will walk around the yard and I'll spot a patch of grass that he missed and turns out there is a daisy right in the middle of it. I'll look at him and he has a big grin on his face and he tells me he just couldn't mow over the daisy knowing it makes me happy. Ever since we have had a yard, he does this.

My wedding bouquet was of daisies. To save costs, I was going to make the bridesmaids' and my bouquet from daisies that I was going to buy from the Florists. I was going to do it all the day before our wedding, so the flowers would be fresh and I knew the florist closed at 5. Our wedding rehearsal and dinner ran late and by the time I got to the florists, I missed them by 15 minutes. Agh!! I ended up buying flowers from the food store and all they had was mixed bouquets of white daisies and other flowers. I bought all they had and made my bouquet with all the white daisies and the bridesmaids' with the other flowers. It turned out fine, and I actually spent less on flowers than if I had got them all from the florists.

When I got my hair done at the beauty parlor the morning of my wedding, I had them insert daisies in my hair. Big beautiful daisies in mine and small dainty ones in the bridesmaids' hair.

Needless to say, I love daisies and I am looking forward to seeing the first one of the year in our yard. I say this after we got a thick blanket of snow yesterday-4 inches- and the weatherman is calling for another snow storm in a few days. Any one else ready for Spring flowers??? I am!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Help Wanted?

Hubby is getting discouraged. He applies to job after job, ranging from warehouse work to restaurant work to road crew work and still nothing. He hits the streets once or twice a week to apply in person to jobs advertised in the paper, only to be told to fill out an application online. This is the future of job searching-- online applications where you have no human contact with anyone other than yourself. You push a bunch of keys and leave your personal information, then you get a confirmation email thanking you for your interest and you will be notified of any future contacts. Which results in nothing.

It makes it very hard to know why he isn't getting hired-- Is he too old? Age discrimination? Did he make too much money in a previous job and the future employer cannot match that income and therefore does not hire him? Does he not have enough experience in that particular field? How will he know the answers to these questions if no one calls him and takes the time to learn about him? How do these employers know that he doesn't care if this job offers less pay than his previous job if they don't talk to him? How will these people know that he is willing to learn and has more experience than the application asks about?

He talks about the "good old days" where there would be a "Help Wanted" sign in the window and you'd go in, grab that sign, look for the boss and you'd be hired on the spot. He has been background checked and fingerprinted and drug tested so many times, that he is afraid to do one little wrong thing because his record is now spread out all across the country.

It's a scary thing to have all his personal information left on all these applications either on real paper or on various internet sites. In this day and age of identity theft, his information is probably easily accessible to any one with a more than basic knowledge of computer programming. The spam we get on our email account is unbelieveable and increasing daily, but I cannot block them if one of those emails might be from a potential employer. So every day, I sort through hundreds of "make your penis bigger" type emails and "your medical order is here" emails and bogus "work from home and earn $63,986 a week!" emails.

But he is caught between a rock and a hard place, he fills out the applications because if he doesn't, it is considered incomplete and the application will not be filed.

I can see there are days when not working affects him more than others. He gets testy and stomps around the house and I know to stay out of his way, that this would be a bad time to bring up the clogged toilet or that the car needs more gas. I try to do what I can to take his mind off of his job hunt, but there is only so much I can do. It weighs heavily on him that he cannot find work and support us financially. I tell him that I will always stand by his side, through thick and thin, for richer or poorer.

I read somewhere recently, if everyone were to hang their problems on a clothesline, people would stick with their own problems. There are people out there worse off than we are, with empty bellies and cold concrete to lay on at night and illnesses with no cures.

Things will get better. I know they will. They have to.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I am a scavenger. I love to dig through boxes at flea markets, uncovering dusty artifacts and moving aside junk to find that one perfect treasure! I love to drive along back roads and spot a sizable trash pile with what looks like a wooden chair leg poking out from underneath a black garbage bag. I've walked through the woods and found half-buried bottles and jars and even long-forgotten toys. Whether I need to pay for a little found treasure or dig it up in the dirt, I am a scavenger at heart and I love to find someone else's trash and turn it into cash!

When we lived at the old house, in the land next to us was an abandoned, two-story wooden house. The windows were long ago smashed in, the doors taken off the hinges, the wood had faded to the color of grey headstones in a graveyard. Visitors looked at that old house and told us it was "creepy". We thought it was charming and always felt a pull to go inside and snoop around in there. There were old metal bed frames blocking the doorway that could easily be pulled aside, but living in the country where trespassers were likely shot, we kept away. Vultures made their home inside the top floor and every morning you would see them hunched up on top of the roof or in the nearby trees. I counted 17 of them once and always loved watching them fly off in great shows of majestic wingspans and watching them circle the skies before they landed.

We asked about the house and learned that it used to be where slaves lived. Up the long dirt drive that snaked behind our house, was a large brick home that was built before the Civil War and was part of a huge piece of land that, little by little, got sold off until the current owner bought it. He was a bit of a hermit, but he was nice to us and always greeted us with a nod of his head and a wave when he drove by our house, and when asked how he was, he always answered "Blessed." During the Civil War, the brick house got taken over and used as a makeshift hospital, but we aren't sure by which side.

He told us that there was a slave graveyard with no markers beyond a grove of trees near a shelter, but we couldn't tell where he was pointing to. We did slip over to the old house when we knew he wasn't home and Hubby actually went inside the old house and explained what it looked like to me. I was not as brave as he was, and imagined myself falling through the old floors that were eaten away by termites and dry rot. Our hermit neighbor had cows and he told us that the cows once got in the house and broke through the floor and got stuck until rescued with a tractor, which is why there was an old bed frame blocking the doorway. I wanted to go in so badly and I envied Hubby, but my fear was too great to overcome.

We found an old trash pile nearby the house and found all sorts of discarded glass bottles and jars. Most were still in perfect condition, though filled with dirt and muck from over the years. We grabbed a bunch and cleaned them up. Antique pickle jars, Clorox bleach bottles from the 40's, and many others. Some we kept for us, and others we sold.

We made friends with the neighbor and he invited us in to his old brick house/mansion. It was in need of repair and I don't know if he would ever restore it to it's former glory. It would be a shame if it was left to fall apart. The main part of the building was in fairly good shape and a later addition was clearly separating, settling into the ground and leaving a wide gap between the connection points. The stately front porch and rails had collapsed and he was using the entrance from the rear. Going into the door, you entered a huge foyer with equally huge stairs leading to the second floor. In true 1800 fashion, there were doorways along the foyer, which you went into a formal sitting room or a library or the kitchen. I would have loved to live there and restore it, and I hope that if he ever sells, it will be restored and not torn down.

We think about our old neighbor often and always talk about going back to visit him, but life happens and we never get around to getting up there again. One day...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hearts and Flowers..

I made good on my promise to make cookies today. Made and refridgerated the cookie dough, then the girls helped roll the dough and cut out the cookies. I baked 'em and then they helped with the frosting. Lots of licking fingers here, but it was all in good fun! Taking all of these to the party tomorrow and I hope none of them come back home with us!! They're yummy! If any came home, they'd end up in my belly!!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Every Day is Supposed to Be a Love Day!

It's nice to know that other people share my views on Valentine's Day. While Valentine's Day might be fun when you have someone special in your life, it sucks when you are all alone and all the commercials on TV talk about diamonds and chocolates and flowers, blah blah...

I can remember only one V-day when I had a boyfriend and I was 19 in college before I married my husband. We went on a double date with another couple to a really fancy restuarant ( the fanciest I've ever been to without my parents!) and afterwards he gave me a teddybear holding a photo frame and some candy. I was thrilled because I never had gotten anything on V-day from a boy before!

In high school, for fund-raising, one of the classes would sell "cupid carnations". You pay $1 for a certain color and you can include a note or send it anonymously to someone special. White for friendship, Pink for someone special and Red for love. All week, people would giggle and point when someone got a carnation from someone and when someone didn't get one. I never got one. sigh...

Now that I am with my husband, I always have someone to share V-day with, except we don't really make a big deal out of it. I don't tell my husband "I love you" because it is Valentine's day. I don't go out and buy a heart card and he doesn't go out and break the bank to buy me a chocolate-covered diamond. We tell each other "I love you" all the time, every day! We have lots of love notes that we wrote to each other in the "early years" of our relationship and marriage and we saved them in a special box. I will write a letter to my husband when the mood strikes me and I feel overwhelmed with love for him, not because it is V-day.

We were out today and missed lunch, so we stopped for a late lunch with the girls. I had planned to have the girls help me make refridgerator cookies and in the spirit of Valentine's I was going to use a heart cookie cutter. But because we didn't get home until almost 4, none of us are hungry and I don't like to start baking after a certain time, especially cookies that take a little longer than usual with the refridgeration times and each tray needing to bake 12 to 15 minutes each... So maybe tomorrow, it'll be a cookie day and I'll make extra to bring to MIL's and FIL's birthday/anniversary party on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I like watching cooking shows 'cause they are about, well.. food! Who doesn't like food?? If you're going to eat, eat good! Anyway, in this particular cooking show, she was making her version of carrot-pineapple cake and I just about jumped off the couch and licked the TV, it looked that good!! For days afterwards, I was dreaming of carrot cake and remarking to Hubby how it had been awhile since I made carrot cake. I got him craving for carrot cake too! Finally, a couple of days ago, I made my version of carrot cake. Pretty much followed the Better Homes and Gardens recipe but I like to add a cup of raisins in my cake. Carrot cake without raisins just isn't worth eating. I am not a frosting fanatic, so I only made a little bit of cream cheese frosting and smoothed it on thinly-- I want to taste the cake not drown it! Too good for words and I have been sneaking bites here and there when the girls aren't looking!
I have been working little by little on the quilted centerpiece placemat for my MIL. I made the edging and pinned it on, and now comes the tedious part of sewing it on by hand. Definetely something I want to do after the kids go to sleep. Here it is, almost finished:
Now that I am looking at it from this point of view, it really looks busy, but it doesn't look so busy when I have it in front of me. Well, I know MIL will like it, and Hubby likes it too, so I'll forge ahead and finish the trimming tonight.

Woke up this morning to snow!! First thing that came to mind was that there was enough snow falling to make snow ice cream again!! I quickly set out two big bowls to catch the snow and looks like there's plenty for dessert tonight! yum!

Hope your day was just as delicious as mine!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Field trip! (sort of)

We sold enough items on eBay to make a trip to Wal-mart yesterday to stock up on some much needed pantry items. The dry cat food was down to the last scrape of the barrel, 3 cans of wet cat food and zero litter. We also had no meat for ourselves and as much as I prefer to buy the organic, free-range beef from the ranch down the road, we simply can't afford it at this point in time. So we bought some ground beef and chicken breasts in the big family pack sizes. I must have been high on Wal-mart fumes because I totally forgot about getting more bubble envelopes for mailing, so I had to venture out into our little town today.

With limited funds, it is very rare for us to make unscheduled trips now. We used to go for drives to nowhere in particular, just to look at the pretty mountain scenery and stop at the little antique shops we come across here and there. Now, the only one that goes anywhere is Hubby for interviews or job applications and if he happens to go into the Big town, I'll ask him to pick up this or that. I only venture out once a week to the food store in our little town and I am starting to feel a little cooped up. So are the girls.

It was nice to have all of us go out to Wal-mart yesterday and it felt like a field trip! The girls were excited to ride in the van and get out for a bit. We used to always go to Wendy's for lunch when we had a big shopping trip in the Big town and the girls expected to go there yesterday. Instead, I ran into the store for a loaf of bread, deli ham, chips and some sodas and we had an impromtu picnic in the car before heading into Wal-mart on hungry bellies.

Here's how Middle greeted me this morning when I was busy working in the office. She got into Oldest's purse where she kept her lip gloss and slathered it on! Too cute and then she made me laugh by puckering up and making kissy faces.

I managed to do some sewing today. Next weekend we are celebrating my MIL's birthday / 45th wedding anniversary and I wanted to make something to give. I have a stash of fabrics and decided to make sort of a centerpiece placemat, for lack of a better term. My MIL, the sweetheart, is such a girly girl and has decorated their house with lots of flowery fabrics so I chose flowery fabrics as well. It's my first attempt at quilting and going pretty good. I have it all pieced and I sewed through the batting layer and the back layer and now I need to trim and then do a border. I'll take a pix of the finished project when I'm done.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pregnancy Update

Let's have a little pregnancy update now.

Let's see, my due date is June 28th, so that leaves roughly less than 5 months to go. That means I am more than 4 months pregnant and I am starting to show. Actually, I started to show a month ago, I think that has something to do with this being baby #4 and my body already accustomed to being stretched out to accomodate a baby.

I can still wear my regular clothes, though they are starting to feel a little snug around the belly now. I still have my maternity clothes from Youngest, though I was never the type to buy a whole wardrobe for less than 9 months of wear, and only have a couple of tops and pants that I rotate. I will need to buy a couple of new maternity / nursing bras, though. They are so damn comfortable that I wore them until they were threadbare!

My varicose veins have come back with a venagance! This is the reason why I don't wear shorts when I am pregnant out in public. I have heard that varicose veins can hurt. Fortunately, mine don't hurt, but they do hurt my eyes to look at-- ugh!

Plus! There are other places varicose veins can pop up! Bet you didn't know that did you? They can come in the guise of the dreaded hemorrhoids!! Ohhh! Now that's fun! Did you also know that when it comes time for labor and you are pushing the baby out of your uterus and squeezing that watermelon-sized head out of that tiny little hole, you can also inadvertently squeeze out your hemorrhoid from your other tiny hole? I distinctly remember after having Oldest and being cleaned up by the Doctor, he stuck his finger up my other hole to push in the vein I pushed out. I was too focused on the brand new baby at the time to say anything, but I asked about it later and this is the reason I know.

On the brighter side of things, I have yet to gain any weight, so I am happy about that, and hope at the most, I only gain 10-15 pounds total. Keep in mind that I haven't really lost the baby weight (can I still call it baby weight if the baby is now 2 years old??) from the last time and I had only just lost 10 pounds when I found out I was pregnant again.

I also don't have any heartburn issues like I did with Oldest, or weird food cravings, or a highly developed sense of smell like I did with Youngest. That highly developed sense of smell kept me out of the garage and the office because I couldn't stand the way they smelled. I also craved lots of coke with Youngest and had to force myself to limit one can of coke a day, after checking with the Doc that it was fine as long as I drank plenty of water before and after ( I did).

I DO have tender boobies, though. That's another unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. Your body is preparing your boobies to become milk factories and they are growing and changing and while it does all that, your kids are constantly bumping into them, the cat wants to knead them while she sleeps on your belly and the husband wants to fondle them. Too much attention on the boobies make you want to scream and slap some sort of security perimeter around them to keep kids, cats and husband away!

Oh! Have I mentioned hair??? Yes, people, a pregnant woman's hair also changes. The increase of hormonal production causes the hair to fall out! While people normally lose about 100 hairs a day, it seems like with pregnancy, it increases to 1,000!! I am a walking, talking shedding hair factory!! How can I have any hair left on my head?!? In the shower, when I wake, during the day, I find long, blond strands of hair everywhere! On the other hand, my hair looks nice and shiny and healthy, another side effect of pregnancy.

And that glow? Yep, I have it. Which is why hubby constantly keeps reaching for the boobies! Need I remind him that's how I got into this position in the first place????

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Out of the mouths of 5 year olds...

Strange weather we've been having these past couple of days.. The temperature actually reached 70 outside!! It all started on Sunday and Monday with the temperature hitting 60, then Tuesday it hit 65 and finally, today at 70. I'm not complaining though, because that was 4 days of not using the wood stove. 4 days of preserving our precious wood pile and not having to worry about running out of wood. 4 days of open windows and fresh air running through the house.Sunday we spent outdoors, Hubby splitting wood with his trusty axe, and us girls picking up fallen branches off the ground and onto the fire pit. When the wood in the fire pit is high enough, we'll have a bonfire and toast some marshmallows! yum! Monday was a busy day indoors, then Tuesday I tried to shoo the girls outside and while Youngest happily grabbed her shoes and coat and shoved them at me to put them on her, Oldest and Middle totally moaned and groaned about it. When I finally managed to shove them out the door, it started to rain 5 minutes later. Oldest came back in and said, "See! I told you I didn't want to go outside!" and plopped back on the floor in the living room. Geez! You'd think I made them go into a dungeon or something!

Hubby went a few towns over tonight to take a test for government jobs. Apparently if you want to work for the government, you need to take some tests. They only do the testing one day a month and it was at 5 o'clock in the evening. So off he went and since it was just me and the girls for dinner, I told them we were going to have just macaroni and cheese, nothing else. They love mac and cheese, so no complaints there. Before dinner, I was working on putting stuff on eBay and the girls were playing in the room where we keep our "stock", our stuff we sell on eBay. I went in to check on them and discovered Oldest had opened a few packages of cars. I got mad and reminded her that she wasn't supposed to open anything and that when daddy got home, she'd have to tell him what she did.

I tried to explain to her that people like to buy things that are still in the original packaging and pay more for something still in the box instead of something already loose. Loose cars get banged up and scratched paint and broken parts. I told her that daddy hasn't worked in a long time and we need to make money by selling things on the computer so we can pay our bills and have food in our tummies. I put it in terms that I thought she would understand and it looked like it was getting through to her and then Oldest said this: "Is that why we are only eating macaroni and cheese tonight?"

Dinner tonight was tuna fish sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and 2 chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hi, My Name Is..

Jenny and I am a Parrothead.

Ok, I know that sounds strange coming from someone that can't hear, but I do like music and up until now, I used to make fun of those so-called Parrotheads, the Jimmy Buffet music lovers. How silly, I thought they were, to dress up in tropical shirts and put fake parrots on their shoulders and drink margaritas and sing along to the music. I've even seen cars covered with "Margaritaville" bumper stickers as they proudly proclaimed their adoration for Jimmy Buffet. I would scoff and shake my heads at them.

Being Deaf, you wouldn't think that deaf people listened to music, while in fact, I know a lot of deaf people that like music. They usually go for bass-heavy stuff, where they can really hear the beat and feel the vibrations and crank the volume up. Today, I don't hear like I used to and once I take off my hearing aid, my world goes silent. In the car, I tune the radio to oldies stations because they play stuff I can recognize. I don't listen to any of the stations that play newer music because it all sounds like gibberish to me. With the older music stations, I'll recognize the distinctive beat to "Wild Thing" and start rocking out! Or something by the Beatles or Elvis will come on and I can sing along to the songs I am familiar with. Most of the time though, I recognize the music, but I have no idea who sings it or what the title of the song is, I just remember listening to it when I was younger and liking it. I can't hear the Dj announce the name of the artist or the title, so I go along listening to unknown songs. If Hubby is in the car with me, I'll ask, "Who sings that?" and I'll finally learn the identity of the song.

The other day, Hubby and I were hard at work, taking pictures of things to put up on eBay. He had the radio on and the stations he likes are classic rock or heavy metal. Don't get me started on heavy metal music-- with all the screaming and screeching guitar playing, I can't understand why it is called music, but obviously there is something I am not hearing to make it appeal to so many people. Anyway, a song came on that wound it's way around my head and smacked me awake and I instantly recognized it as a song I liked, but didn't know who sang it.

"Honey! Who sings this?!" I hollered at Hubby from across the room.

"It's "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet." he answered.

My mouth dropped. "No it isn't!" I said in disbelief.

"Yes, it is." Then he started singing the words and I could tell the words coming out of his mouth matched the sounds I was hearing. My heart dropped! I like Jimmy Buffet?! I had ALWAYS liked that particular song, but never knew who sang it, and now I wondered what other Jimmy Buffet songs I liked but didn't realize it? Then I thought to myself, well if the rest of his music sounds like "Margaritaville", then I can see why he has so many fans!

So now I admit to you: Hi, my name is Jenny and I am a Parrothead.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

They're not the same...

All I know about children is from having my own and from babysitting when I was younger. I read the magazines and I've seen the talk shows and various documentaries, and I've watched the way other people behave with their kids, but really, you don't know kids until you have your own.

With Oldest, it was a whole new experience, because never in my babysitting jobs, did I have to care for a newborn. The youngest child I cared for was around a year old, and the rest of them were toddler-aged. I learned as I went, discovering there were different cries for different things, I learned her facial expressions and which ones meant she was pooping. I watched her observe and learn to do things on her own.

When Middle came along, I expected similarities. I knew they would have different personalities, I just expected the same learning curve. How wrong I was!! Middle was content to sit in her crib in the mornings, until someone came along to get her out. Oldest would rattle the gate of her crib and eventually learned to climb over to escape her caged bed.

Middle stubbornly held onto her bottle until at 2 years old, I confiscated them all and hid them, so she had no choice but to conform to a sippy cup, showing her obvious displeasure at using one. Oldest was happy to move onto regular cups just like Mommy and Daddy used.

While Oldest was somewhat easy to potty train, and she was out of night-time pull-ups for good by 3 years, Middle refused to relinquish her pull-ups and it took lots of coaxing and encouragement to get her to use her new underwear. Finally at 3 1/2 she was using the bathroom on her own and no longer wearing pull-ups.

When Youngest came along, I had lowered my expectations and figured that she would be somewhere in between the two older sisters. I am completely blown away by everything that Youngest has accomplished at the age of 2, and I just have to write it down for my own memory's sake.

She kicked the bottle habit before she was one year old, wanting to use a sippy cup just like her sisters did. She is almost completely potty trained, with the exception of her pooping. She has skipped over the pull-ups and has been wearing underwear for about a week now and runs to me, doing the pee-pee dance, singing "pee! pee!" and we rush over to the little potty to pee. Today, she has refused to use the little potty and wants to use the regular toilet. How cute it is to see her little butt balancing on the edge of the toilet seat so she doesn't fall in, her little hands gripping my arms for support.

When I cook, she drags the dining room chair over to help. And I do mean help! She says " 'tir! 'tir!" and tries to grab the spoon to stir whatever it is I am stirring. She names everything she sees on the counter-- knife, bowl, pan, oil, pepper, spoon, towel, 'nana, and more. She puts away the clean silverware and puts them in thier proper place in the drawers. She knows where I keep pretty much everything, as she follows me around most of the day and if I ask her to go and get something, she will go straight for it and bring it back.

Youngest talks in sentences and makes herself understood pretty clearly. In fact, I understand her better than I did Middle. Middle mumbled and made exaggerated mouth movements that made it nearly impossible for me to lip-read her and Hubby would shrug when I asked him what she said. Middle has only recently started talking clearly and has done a complete 180, from mumbled words to clearly spoken sentences. Youngest, on the other hand, talks and signs and lets me know exactly what she wants, and she does know what she wants!

I often wonder that this baby inside of me will be like. Will it be one that is reluctant to give up comforts and resistant to change the way Middle is? Will it rail against being "trapped" in the crib and protest gates in the doorways like Oldest? Will it watch the older kids and learn from them the way Youngest has? Or will it be different and develop on it's own pace, marching to the beat of it's own drummer?

I've definetely learned that I cannot have expectations for the way they develop, but I can have expectations for the way they should behave at a certain age-- learning that they need to pick up their own messes, help around the house, be respectful to each other, to name a few. Being a mother is a hard job, but is rewarding at the end of the day. I might be ready to pull my hair out on some days and start wondering if it is bed-time yet, but I can say that I wouldn't change a thing! I love watching them discover something new, seeing the awe on their faces and joy when they laugh. I love when they run to me and hug me. Each child is different and they all have different needs and I have learned how to react to Oldest and then change tactics for Middle and yet again for Youngest. I wouldn't change a thing!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Icy Wonderland

February has come in with a bang!! We woke this morning to an icy winter wonderland. Everything looks shiny and glossy and glassy and I just couldn't resist going outside with the camera. It was still raining and so I snuck outside while the girls were engrossed with a movie and Hubby could intercept them and distract them away from the windows if needed. If the girls saw me outside, they would run around in a frenzy, putting on pants and shoes and coats and wanting to come outside too!

It's beautiful out there, though I wouldn't want to be driving on twisty mountain roads if I didn't have to. We anticipated this weather and we have plenty of milk and food to tide us over.

This shot, above, is the view from the side/front yard. If I look out my bedroom window, this is what I see. Lots of dogwoods and maples, 2 pear trees and a peach tree. Then beyond the tree line is forest and trees of all description. I wanted to plant our garden here when we first moved, but this is our septic field, so that's out. If we ever got a pool, I think here would be good.

This shot is of an old picnic table the previous owners left behind. I thought it was neat to see with 2 rows of iclces hanging down. I was excited they left behind the picnic table, until I realized it was nearly rotted through and would probably fall to pieces with my weight if I sat down on it. Hubby snapped off a piece of the table easily and it is now where we scatter old bread and crackers for the birdies. The bird table is what we call it. We sort our table scraps into 3 piles: compost, cats and birds.

We feed the cats right outside our kitchen door, and place our leftover meats in their bowls. We can watch them eat from the sliding glass doors in the dining room. It amazes us when birds are brave enough to steal the scraps from the cats not 5 feet from where the cat is napping. We will have bluejays and chickadees that come around to scavenge and even fly away with bits of cat kibble! You think the baby birds will start to meow one day??

One of the outdoor cats has moved back in the house. Lucy, the only girl, looked so cold one day, I took pity on her and held the door open. She quickly took advantage of the open door and rushed inside. I put her into the litterbox, to remind her where the bathroom is, and showed her where the cat food bowls are. She has made herself at home ever since, and has claimed my blue rocking chair for her own. She makes no move to head back outdoors or stares out the windows longingly. She ended up outdoors when she started to use one of the girl's bed as her bathroom. Every day would be a pile of poo and pee and everyday I had to change the sheets and wash the blanket. It got so that I would shut the door, but the girls would forget to keep it closed. Finally I caught the culprit and tossed her outside. We let her back in after a week, and she resumed using the bed as her litterbox. Back out she went! She seemed to thrive outdoors and became an excellent mouser. Her coat grew nice and thick when the cold weather came around and she looked overall healthy and happy. Over a year later, she is back in the house again, and I am waiting for her to poop or pee elsewheres, but so far, so good. It's been 2 weeks since she came back in, and Hubby reports the extra cleaning he has to do in the litterbox. (there is an advantage to being pregnant and not having to clean the litter box!)

Tonight seems a good night for cooking dinner in the oven or the slow-cooker. Weather like this always makes me want to bake so I think that's what I'll be doing, too! Stay warm and cozy if there is snow or ice where you are!