Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ten on Tuesday 8/26/15

  1. I replaced a bike inner tube for the first time ever yesterday. I felt very accomplished.
  2. My 5 year old has gotten in trouble about 40% of the days so far this school year. He can't stop talking! I never really thought about it, but when he's with the rest of the family, he talks constantly! But then there are times he needs his quiet time and he's silently playing by himself for hours. 
  3. Curtis and I are both leaders in Zachary's Cub Scout Pack. It's so much fun being a part of the leadership team! A different experience from being the Mission Friends Director - the Pack Committee is a team, whereas the Director is
  4. Our cat is still having trouble; she doesn't use the litter box for #2, and doesn't keep her fur clean. I need to take her in again, as soon as I feel like dropping $200 just to hear that they don't know what's wrong with her, but if I want to spend another $200 they'll do xrays and more diagnostics. Ugh.
  5. I'm very seriously considering doing something a little crazy with my hair. I'll give you a hint: teal.
  6. Tomorrow is the Boosterthon Fun Run at the elementary school. Last year I sat with Zachary while he called extended family members and asked them to pledge him. They all did. This year, however, we want to sell boy scout popcorn, so Z and D have only their parents' pledge for the fun run. 
  7. Eli is extremely competent at turning on Netflix to watch his favorite shows. He's found a little loophole though. He'll get partway through an episode (or if he's watching something that has two parts, he'll get through the first part) and then claim "that was the wrong one!" and switch to another episode. "Time to turn it off!" I'll say. "But I haven't finished it yet!" he'll say, after starting two or three different things without finishing anything.
  8. Speaking of Eli, I finally got him in to see Mrs. Becky and she's accepted him for speech therapy. It'll still be a couple weeks before we start regular sessions, but at least the ball's out of my court now.
  9. I've taken on a freelance translation job, translating marine engine jargon from English to French. It's slow going, because I simply don't know all the vocabulary, but it's fun. The hardest part is keeping Eli occupied while I work.
  10. It's put a kink into my routine that Sam's Club has suspended their online photo system, due to a third party's database being compromised. I appreciate the concern for safety, but it's still a little frustrating that it's been over a week and still not back up. This means switching to a different system to print pictures this month for Mission Friends. At Sam's, they'll print 2-up wallets for 40¢ or something like that, so we put one pic in the kids' "passport" and the teachers can use the other pic for something else or send it home. But Walgreens (my alternative since it's close to my house) prints wallets 4-up for 99¢. So it costs more, and we're left with 3 extra photos no one knows what to do with. Hoping Sam's will have their system back up soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Julia has been amazing to post at least something every day. I'm not making any promises, but I like the idea.
  2. This morning, the 2nd-grader played on the iPad while waiting for the bus, and the Kindergartener played on my phone, so I jumped on the computer while the three-year-old whined about watching tv. We're nothing if not a digital family. (The bus has been and gone, but I'm still on the computer, and the three-year-old happily got his way once his older brothers were safely on their way. He's currently into "Daniel Tiger". It's cute and he can watch it, but I can't watch too many episodes in a row.)
  3. What I can watch many episodes in a row of is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Curtis and I have been working through season 5 after the kids go to bed. It means taking a break from Magnum: P.I., but we'll go back to Hawaii once we know Equestria is safe.
  4. Today is Toilet Tuesday - that means cleaning all the bathrooms. Not my favorite chore, but it is finite (unlike laundry. O.M.G.), and if I don't do it this week, it's harder next week.
  5. Turns out, Curtis did NOT want to pick whatever he wanted to do over his birthday weekend! He wanted ME to plan it all out and just tell him what was going on. I thought I was loving on him by constantly insisting that he got to decide everything. Of course this doesn't all come out until 10pm Monday night. Sigh.
  6. I heard one bad story about Daniel's teacher (before I knew which class he was going to be in), and I didn't get a great impression of her at Open House, and now every time something happens (he had a potty accident at school one day (twice in the same day), and he got in trouble for talking too much another day), I spend the rest of the day imagining all the worst-case scenarios of having a conversation with her and it going very, very poorly.  I'm trying not to dislike her. I need to get in that classroom and help out or something so I can form a better opinion of her!
  7. I finally got the paperwork started to have Eli evaluated for speech therapy with Mrs. Becky. We had him tested for Early Intervention, but they combine the understanding part with the expressive (talking) part, and he understood EVERYTHING so well that that half of his score pulled the other half up, so he didn't qualify. He's been qualified to be evaluated by Mrs. Becky since he turned three last September, but I guess because he was speaking better than Daniel did at that point, I didn't worry about it. But he's got some major articulation problems, so he needs some help. A year ago I asked Mrs. Becky if she thought he might qualify and she indicated that he absolutely would. 
  8. If Eli goes to see Mrs. Becky, maybe I can use that time to help out in Daniel's class, just like I helped out in Zachary's K class while D was with Mrs. Becky. 
  9. Daniel has impeccable articulation now, btw. He speaks so clearly and carefully. He's careful in almost everything he does, placing items just so, or putting together the perfect outfit (to be a bunny, for example), I suppose it's not surprising. Every once in a while, beyond just listening and responding to him, I find myself really listening to how he says everything, and marveling that this was the kid who couldn't pronounce initial consonants. We love Mrs. Becky.
  10. Number 10 already? This was easy this week. I guess because it had been so long, I have lots of things to share. Those two sentences don't count as a number though, do they? Okay, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had to get two fillings last week. TWO! Of the 14 times a week that we're supposed to brush our teeth, I've probably been averaging 8-10 over the last few years. Then all of a sudden, the (new) dentist found two little spots. She called them pinpoints and wasn't too worried, but we went ahead and scheduled the fillings for the following week. Turned out, the "pinpoints" went straight down deeper than she had thought, and one of them had almost gotten to the nerve. The whole experience was incredibly miserable and I am extremely motivated that no one in our family is ever getting another filling EVER. Here's the kicker though: I skipped a few brushings here and there, but Curtis skipped brushing for AN ENTIRE SEMESTER in college and all he got were yellow teeth (easily fixed) and a scolding. The man has never had a cavity in his life (baby teeth OR adult teeth). He was very sweet to me though and never made a judgmental comment. I think he decided that the misery I experienced in the dentist's chair was punishment enough, and he was pleased at my resolution to prevent anyone else from having to go through that.
    10.5: I had one filling about 10 years ago, and I don't remember it being nearly as bad as these two were. I don't know if it's because this time the decay was so deep, or if this (new) dentist is just not as...what's the word for someone who's competent, but not as skilled at reducing discomfort for their patients. That. Whatever that is. The tech tore up my gums at my cleaning too. Doesn't have anything to do with the filling, but she did. And she didn't floss. Don't they usually floss after polishing your teeth? She didn't, which I was supremely grateful for, as I'm sure it would have been terribly painful. And she forgot to mark down that I had two spots of decay. The dentist was filling the one (actually she was still in the drilling phase, because it was so deep it took longer) and at one point when I actually had only my tongue in my mouth, I asked didn't she see another spot? and she looked and sure enough there it was. Wow, this got long. Sorry. Eli has started another episode of Daniel Tiger "I'm going to watch another one, okay?" he announces without waiting for a response, so I better go.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Surprise! Bet you thought I was never coming back, didn't you? It's been 2 years since I said I was going to try to be more consistent. That's ridiculous. So, no promises this time, okay?

Rereading that update post (below the 10 on Tuesday) was so much fun! I'm going to do another one.

Zachary is almost 8, and he's slowly morphing in an amazing young man. He's doing better about jumping up when we ask him to, taking care of his own things, helping out without being asked... He started second grade last week and so far seems to enjoy it. It's hard to get much out of him. He loves tabletop games, and is thoroughly enjoying playing Civilization on the computer. He's not as enamored with reading as I would like to see, but he's been enjoying Magic Treehouse, and can't get enough Harry Potter (though I have to read that one to him. We're almost done with the first book and he can't wait to see the movie). As for extra-curricular, he's got: piano lessons, baseball, dance (two classes this year), AWANA, RAs (Royal Ambassadors), and Cub Scouts. The second dance class is at the same time as the church choir, so he had to make a choice on that one.

Daniel will be 6 in November and is...unique. He marches to his own beat. His favorite color is purple, and he loves cats. Over the weekend he wanted to dress up like a bunny, so found a shirt as close to white as he could (it said "Nashville Country Music" across the front, but that didn't matter), a pair of shorts with the tag on the outside, so that was his tail, and white socks with his purple flipflops. And of course the bunny ears that I'm forbidden from putting up with the rest of the Easter stuff because they play with them all.the.time. So we wore this outfit when we went out to lunch for Curtis' birthday. He looked ridiculous and adorable all at once. He has this knack of working his way into the hearts of everyone who gets to know him, and it's amazing to watch. He's probably the most introverted of our three, yet everyone knows him. This year he started Kindergarten, and I still can't believe he's old enough. He had the most wonderful year in PreK with Mrs. Martha, and he's totally ready for Kindergarten. He's not sure about his teacher though. Daniel is also in AWANA (starting Sparks this year), and his last year of Mission Friends; baseball, but we couldn't talk him into dance classes; he wants to take piano lessons (yay!), and we told him he needs to be able to read better (which is true). He'll get to join Cub Scouts next year, but in the meantime our entire family goes on most of the outings so the only difference is that he's not earning ranks yet.

Eli will be 4 next month, and he continues to be the sweetest little cuddle-bug ever. He has a heart of gold and would absolutely give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it. He's okay saying no to his brothers though (ha!). In the last couple months he's starting experimenting with defiance, but he shapes up pretty quickly with a little "encouragement". Eli is my little extrovert, following me around all day and talking all.the.time. He'll greet anyone who makes eye contact. (This introverted mother may not survive raising this chatty little thing to adult-hood.) He's almost the same size as Daniel, and the two are frequently confused for twins. People are astonished when I explain that they are actually two years apart. Eli is now in the 3's class at MMO, which is upstairs. He vacillates between being upset that his brothers are going to school and he's not, and being upset he IS going to school instead of staying home with me. It's a little wearisome. He's not quite old enough for piano or baseball or Cub Scouts, but this year he's excited to start AWANA (Cubbies!), and he's taking a dance class; and of course he's in Mission Friends.

Last year I agreed to take over the director position for Mission Friends, and am doing it again this year. I find it suits me much, much better than teaching little ones every week. I haven't taught Sunday School the last two years, and that suits me too. I'm glad to be back in adult SS, especially since I can't me in a Zgroup (discipleship class) on Sunday nights due to AWANA and Wednesday nights due to Mission Friends. In addition, last spring I agreed to be the secretary for the Cub Scout Pack, so once a month we get a sitter for 4 hours on a Thursday evening and have a little date night and then go to the leader meeting (did I mention that Curtis is the den leader for Z's den? He is, and that means he goes to the leader meetings too. He's been going to them for a year before I joined the committee, so this sitter once a month is new for us this year.) What else do I have going on...Oh! I resigned from AuPairCare at the end of last year. I held the position for 5 years, and it was time to hand it over to someone else. I don't miss it. Thought I would, at least a little, but I don't, so I know I made the right choice. I'm now working on Curtis' pet project, TedChef. I'll have to tell you more about it another time. I'm also working as a freelance translator, translating software manuals from English to French. It's new to me this week, so I don't have much to say about it at the moment.

Other updates....Last fall, Curtis' brother and family moved from Boise, Idaho to Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is less than 2 hours from here. It's been amazing to be so close to family! I've never experienced this before (except in Nashville, when those two were also going to Vanderbilt, but no one had any money, or time, and things didn't go so well). It's been so much fun to get together on weekends and seeing the cousins get to know each other. Titus is 10 weeks younger than Daniel and his brother Luke will be 3 at the end of this month. Titus gets along with Zachary and/or Daniel just great (the and/or is because it depends on the activity and whether certain introverts need time alone). Eli and Zachary enjoy doting on Luke since he's the youngest, and Luke loves Thomas the Train. This summer we tried out "Cousins Camp" and it was a smashing success (my kids spent a week in Chattanooga with their cousins, and the following week I had the whole brood here, minus the 2-year-old who wasn't ready to be away for that long). As of earlier this year there are now six cousins, as Curtis' sister had her little boy, Casimer, on February 2nd. She's looking at using some frequent flier miles to come visit for Labor Day, and we're really hoping it works out (her hubby will be traveling for work, so we're disappointed to miss seeing him, but any excuse to see her and that sweet baby will work for us!) ("We" refers not only to Curtis and me, but to Ben and Meaghan in Chattanooga as well, as we were already planning on spending Labor Day with them and celebrating Luke's 3rd birthday.)

I'm supposed to mow the lawn today (Curtis found out earlier this year that he's allergic to grass pollen. Great), and I have mountains of laundry, so I better wrap this up. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Two things work against me there: I'm working on the desktop that for some reason cannot access the shared harddrive (where all the pictures are), and I cannot remember my Shutterfly password. Sorry.

Oh, and we lost our cat. Beau disappeared in early June and we found no trace of him. There are tales of a coyote in the area - one neighbor actually saw it with a cat in its mouth - so we realize we'll never see him again. I miss him. The other one is sick and has turned disgusting: she poops all over the house (though she tinkles in the box just fine) and won't clean her fur. Curtis and I disagree on the best way to go forward (let's just say that his solutions usually leave us cat-less).

Okay, I think that's all for now. Maybe I'll see you again soon!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

1. I'm going to try to post a little more regularly again. The easiest way (I've found) to do that, is these 10 on Tues. posts. I may look up some prompts etc. for other posts, but we'll start with this. And alongside that, I'll be cleaning up a little too. I've already fixed the birthday tickers in the sidebar, and there are a few other things that need to be removed/updated. In the same vein, I'll probably be removing the connection to Facebook, so if you use that to learn when there's a new post, you may want to find another method.

2. As I sit here, Curtis is playing Wii Lego Star Wars with Zachary, and Daniel and Eli are entertaining each other in the office with me. One is sharing my chair (against my will) and they are giggling infectiously. They can get away with anything when they're giggling like that.

3. Daniel's potty training is going very well. It's almost easy. I cannot discount the importance of waiting until a child is ready! We'd tried with him a few times before and they were always a disaster. But this time he's ready and it's completely different! I'm really pleased to say that he had no accidents today!! This is huge. Not only did he obediently sit on the potty each time I lead him to the bathroom, but there were a couple times that he took himself! I'm so happy. Now, he didn't take care of his business, if you know what I mean, today, so he should have one tomorrow. Hopefully his teachers at MMO tomorrow won't have to clean him up like they did last week...

4. Our church offers "Summer Mother's Morning Out" to members and Sunday School attenders. It is such a blessing! As long as we reserve a spot a week in advance, we can drop our kids off for four glorious hours - for free! They even feed them (sack) lunch! Tomorrow's MMO will be cut short due to a funeral and visitation taking place at the church, which means I won't be able to eat lunch with Curtis like we usually do on Wednesdays. I'm planning to sew all morning. I have two skirts for me and an overalls for Eli lined up. We'll see how much I can accomplish!

5. I made 4 Hawaiian shirts for Father's Day this year. Before this year, the most I'd made was three. Curtis is willing to go all matchy-matchy to the company picnic on Friday, so I'll get a picture of them and post it for you. I'll probably go into all the gory construction details too, since I like rereading those posts the next time I use the pattern.

6. We're selling our futon. Do you get nostalgic over furniture? I do. It's hard to let this one go, though I won't miss the eyesore or the way it overpowers a room. When we moved from California to Nashville, we built the futon frame (with help) before we left. Then as we drove cross-country, we made a little detour in Phoenix to visit a particular futon store to get a nice, high-quality mattress. This was our couch and space bed for a long time. When we moved from Nashville to Huntsville, we sold the frame but kept the awesome mattress. After moving into our house here, we bought a frame and kept the futon in the office as an extra spare room (the "real" spare room is my sewing room). But it takes up too much space, we don't need the extra seating, and we don't need the extra bed. At least, not for the amount of space it takes up. And the boys crawl all over it and cause it to slouch down. So it needs to go. But I'm still sad about it. I keep asking Curtis, "If we need another futon, we'll get another nice mattress like this one, right??" His affirmative is the only reason I'm willing to part with it. And all this is only on my mind because the buyers are on their way and will probably be here in about 15 minutes.

7. I'm having trouble thinking of things to post...This past year I taught both Sunday School (the 4s - Zachary's class) and Mission Friends (the 3s). It was a little much to do both, but then I signed up for another year of both. We're going to change things up a little though. Curtis was my co-teacher this year, but in August he'll go back to the adult SS and be the assistant teacher there while I'll be teaming up with another teacher and we'll take on the 3s - which will be Daniel's class. She's actually staying in the same age as she taught, while I'm dropping down an age group. But I'm staying with the 3s in Mission Friends, so I'll be getting a double-dose of Daniel and his buddies each week (the class is based on the child's age on or before September 1st, the school cut-off date. It gets confusing 'cause all of my kids have fall birthdays!)

8. (Actually 7.5) So the gal I'll be teaching SS with next year is the wife of the guy who teaches our adult SS. So two couples are teaming up, which I think is really neat. I'm also Curtis will be back in the adult class because we've missed getting to know people and hear about what's going on. FB helps, but it's not the same. There were a few faces at the SS Memorial Day party I recognized from church, but I didn't know them very well. 

9. Curtis is trying to put boys to bed and I'm trying to finish this. I think I may need to just give it up though. Good night!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Well now, look at that. It's been more than a year - a year and a half! Since I last posted. I knew it'd been a while, but geez. The funny thing about that is I read other blogs on my RSS reader on my phone, and there are a couple that I constantly check "When is she going to post again??" and then I let my blog sit here, covered in cobwebs.

Anyway, I just read that post from Jan 2012 and feel compelled to update you, despite the fact that I did not plan to spend this much time on the computer and there are other things that I should be doing and I only have so much time before I need to load up 3 little boys AND 2 large cats and take everyone to the vet. FUN!! But this is more fun, so I'm going to do this because it's summer and that's how I get myself in trouble, by making decisions in this way.

Many things are still the same, but the children have grown considerably and that's where I feel I need to update you the most. Exhibit A:
Zachary is now 5.5 and will be starting kindergarten in August. Daniel is 3.5 and, well, we'll get to him in the next paragraph or so. Eli is 20mos and he'll have his own paragraph as well.

Zachary is so ready for kindergarten. And not just because he can do everything he needs to be able to do before starting K. He's been asking when school will start? Will he have homework? (and excited when the answer is "Probably") Can he have a desk in his room for his homework? With a light on the desk? Repeat ad infinitum. A couple months ago I took him to the school for his kindergarten placement test. It took all of five minutes and it was child's play to him. I mean, really. The teacher was asking him about colors, shapes, numbers, etc. and he's known this stuff for two years. He's asking complicated questions about the universe at dinner and the teacher asks if he can point to the circle. He could have started K last August and be heading into 1st, but he was born 9 days after the cutoff and so he's one of THE oldest in his class. I just hope he isn't bored!

Daniel has made huge leaps and bounds in so many ways. For one, he's talking! He completed a year of therapy with Early Intervention and then transferred to the speech therapist at the elementary school. Leading up to the transition, the EI case worker explained that his case may not be accepted by the school since they have different requirements at that level (something like the child has to have a 30% delay, not 25%, and something else), but when we actually met the school therapist (after lots of paperwork and couple "useless" meetings to make sure I as the parent was aware of my rights - they have to jump through so many hoops so the parent doesn't feel like they're being forced to help their child!!) where was I? Oh, when we met the school therapist, she barely glanced at the paperwork, talked to Daniel for two seconds, and said she'd take his case. Again, it was weird to want your kid to perform poorly so he gets the help he needs, but I guess he was so far behind that it didn't take a professional long to determine that he qualified for services. So every week during the school year I trucked three boys to the elementary school for 30 mins (Z, E, and I hung out in the library) and then took Z to PreK just a little late. Oh I forgot to mention in Z's paragraph that he graduated from PreK last month! He went to "school" at our church for 4 hours 5 days a week. Daniel went to "MMO" (Mother's Morning Out) at the same place for the same 4 hours, twice a week. Next year Z will be at full day Kindergarten, Daniel will be at MMO 2x/wk and Eli still has one more year at home.

Speaking of Eli. No, wait, before I move on, one more thing about Daniel: As of this week, I can say that he has finally said goodbye to diapers! Yes, you're glancing back up the page to check his age: he's 3.5. Well past time for potty training, you say? Perhaps, but the speech delayed him and he simply wasn't ready each time we tried it before. Now he's got it. There are still plenty of accidents, but the part inside his head that had to mature is finally there, so we're going for it. We've got all summer to make it happen and then he'll be all ready to go upstairs for MMO. They don't change diapers upstairs.

Okay, on to Eli. But I need to get the cats to the vet on time, so I'll have to save this and come back. To post now and update later or save to drafts? That is the question...


Well, it's about 4 hours later. The vet only took about 30 minutes, but then we went to Walmart and met Daddy for lunch. I mean Curtis. One of our cats (Beau) has a "rodent ulcer" on the roof of his mouth. We've been dealing with it since March, taking 1, then both cats in every 3 weeks. Cha-ching! The thing hasn't cleared up yet and today the vet recommended that we switch out all food and water dishes to stainless steel, to reduce possible allergens. (Cats are often allergic to plastic, and sometimes the paint in painted ceramic.) I didn't find exactly what I wanted at Walmart, but that didn't stop me from spending $80 there. Over lunch we found one on Amazon and I read the description out loud: "Simply sanitize the stainless steel bowl at high temperatures in your dishwasher to eliminate potential bacteria that can cause your pet harmful infections from micro-organisms, allergic reactions or skin and nose irritations." Huh. Well now. Maybe we should be cleaning their dry food dish a little more often...?

In Daniel's paragraph(s) above, I didn't mention Daniel's specific speech problem now, did I? He talks all the time, but he leaves off the initial consonants. It make him very difficult to understand and we have to use a lot of context clues. He still gets super frustrated, but he can eventually get his point across, so things have much improved. But that's why the school speech therapist accepted his case so quickly: leaving off the initial consonants is very worthy of professional help.

Okay, so finally on to Eli. Eli will be two in September and is starting to try on tantrums for size. But he's such a tender-hearted little cuddle-bug, that they only consist of him hiding his face. There's no screaming or yelling, foot-stomping, or head-banging. He just lies face-down on the floor for all of 3 seconds and it's over. It's a good thing his face is hidden and he can't see the expression on my face when he does this, because it is the cutest thing EVER and it makes me smile every time. He's got a mouth full of teeth, minus the two canines on the bottom, which are close to the surface and will probably break through this summer. He started army crawling at 5 months, "real" crawling at 8 months, and walked at 11 months. He nursed until about 9 months. He hated formula, loved baby food, except for the stage 3 stuff, and if I hadn't read in the previous post that he took a binky at naptime I would have said he never took one after we left the hospital. He also hated bottles and went straight to sippy cups. Currently he consistently out-eats Daniel. He can say Mama and make a few other sounds that sound like words, but every time we encourage more, Daniel reminds us that Eli can't talk! Actually it's more like "E-yi an't alk" Haha, here's a funny: try saying "castle" without the "c". Yeah, that was a fun one to figure out in public!

Well that's probably enough update for now. Maybe I'll try to be a little more consistent again. To tell the truth, I'm regretting that I haven't been on here much. Rereading that post I realize there are so many little things I've forgotten (like the binky) and there are probably so many more from the last 18 months, but they're lost because I didn't record them anywhere. Never too late to pick back up though, right? Actually many of them are probably recorded on Facebook. I'm a lot more active on there, mostly because it's so easy to do from my phone. But it's only good for short little pithy things. I've also got a tumblr, but I'm as sporadic there as I am here. Oh and Twitter too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ten This Week

1. This week has been a mixture of appreciating getting back into a routine and hating getting back into a routine. Specifically, not being able to sleep in and take my time getting ready in the morning. Hopefully next week will be better. Hopefully a certain someone will start doing better at staying asleep at night...

2. We bought a space heater for Eli as his room is by far the coldest in the house. He often wakes up cold at night and no amount of warmer pjs and sleep sacks have been able to keep him warm (while in just the next room over Daniel sleeps with just a sheet and Zachary sleeps with no covers at all). Last night was the first night with the heater and although the room was pleasantly warm and Eli's little hands were toasty, the thing is rather noisy and emits quite a bit of light. Whether the heater is to blame or it's something else, Eli did not sleep any better last night. This morning was rough. In fact, I'm still in my pjs at 10am.

3. I know you've been anxiously awaiting an update on the playset. I'm happy to report that it's coming along very well and we are on track to finish it this weekend (especially since the weather is supposed to be extremely pleasant for January).
We've been wondering if anyone else has built one of these and whether they experienced the same misunderstanding regarding the time estimate? The instructions say it'll take 4-6 hours to build. It isn't taking 4-6 hours. The above progress was achieved after 3 days of non-stop work while the sun was up. While we realize our time estimate would be longer since we bought the lumber ourselves instead of in a kit (and therefore had to sand, stain, measure, and cut it ourselves, which accounts for the first 2 days), there's no way the thing could be built in half a day by one or two guys. Our only guess is that the instructions left out a bit of clarification in the time estimate, such as "4-6 hours every day for a week" or "4-6 hours for you and your 10 closest friends" or "you and your professional build-team".

4. Zachary is trying to tell time. He looks at the (digital) clock and tells us, "it's seven four four" (7:44. That was this morning. He was trying to convince me it was time for breakfast. I wasn't sure I believed him yet). Sometimes he says, "nine seven one" (9:17. Not sure why he reverses the digits on the minutes. It can be a little confusing.) The trick now is to help him understand what those numbers mean. Oh, and teach him how to read a real clock (analog).

5. Zachary is also identifying the first letter of words he says (sounding it out and naming the sound.) It's awesome. Once in a while he freaks us out when we spell a word to each other and he knows what we said. I suspect he's using context and good guesswork, but still. (Curtis said to me, "How about a s-h-o-w?" as in, "should we let the boys watch a show" and Zachary said, "are you guys talking about a show?" Curtis and I mirrored stunned looks at each other.)

6. Daniel's screeching is getting worse. He's so frustrated that he can't tell us something, especially when his brother is picking on him. On the other hand, his sign language is improving. The speech therapist is scheduled to come to the house on Friday the 20th and I simply can't wait. (The case worker called on Monday asking if Friday the 13th would work and I had to tell her it wouldn't. I was a little surprised that the 13th was the earliest the therapist could come and was even more surprised to hear that the next available spot wasn't until a week after that! I've gotten used to seeing the pediatrician, chiropractor, dentist, etc. right away or in the next couple of days. The exception, as I think about it, is my hair dresser, who always has the next two weeks booked. Which reminds me, I had to cancel my appt. before Christmas and I haven't rescheduled, which means it'll be at least another two weeks before I can see her. Whoops.)

7. Eli is holding his head and feet up during tummy time (looks like a seal) and sometimes pulling his knees under and pushing that cute little bottom into the air. He's rolled from his back to his tummy once or twice but didn't know how he did it and hasn't been able to consistently repeat it. He's gotten very good at tracking us as we walk by and recognizing our faces when we stop to talk to him. He likes laughing at us. Curtis has gotten one giggle out of him so far. He's also cooing quite a bit and reaching for and grabbing toys. He (thankfully) takes a binky (pacifier) for sleeping but isn't terribly attached to it. He is currently napping in his crib and I really think that it's because it's warmer in there. Previously he would only nap in the Moses basket in the living room. I thought it was because he preferred the noise. Huh, imagine that, the kid likes to be warm... (Although he's woken up a couple times and needed me to come in and each time the heater was on. I think it makes too much noise when it starts up. The older boys sleep while listening to music from an iPod. Eli has a speaker-dock in his room and I think it's time we get him an iPod too. Time for a little eBay cruising this weekend.)

8. I think most of you know that I work part-time as an Area Director with AuPairCare. If you or someone you know is considering their childcare options, would you mention AuPairCare to them? I'm trying to grow my cluster here in Huntsville/Madison and surrounding areas, but if you're looking at childcare in other regions, take a moment to learn about hosting an au pair as chances are there's an Area Director is your area who would love to talk with you! You can visit for more information about hosting an au pair and you can also visit my local AuPairCare blog here: Also, if you're a local business owner I would love to partner with you! (There's even a referral bonus available for you) - contact me for more information.

9. I mentioned in my last post that's I've been reading more since we got the Kindle Fire and asked if anyone had recommendations of books to read. Then a friend on Facebook (or was it Google+?) mentioned a website called GoodReads and I was hooked. The part I like best is that it will generate recommendations for you based on what you've read and liked. Excellent! If you're on GoodReads, look me up! My user name is wjcolion. I've been adding books I've read (and a big shoutout to my sis (in law) Elizabeth who organized our bookcases, making it easy for me to find my books and so enter them in the database!) and adding title after title to the "to-read" section. The only trouble (besides there being so, so many interesting-sounding books out there and so not enough time to read them) is that most of the books are not available in Kindle format. Don't get me wrong - I love the feel of a physical book, but if it's not on the kindle then I have to physically go to the library to get it and that requires patience... That, and it's easier to hold the Kindle while nursing.

10. The boys and I enjoy going to library on Thursday afternoons. Zachary beelines for the computers while Daniel pulls books off shelves and plays with the Lego table in the corner. When it's about time to go I convince Zachary to get off the computer by letting him pick out a DVD. Daniel also gets to pick out a DVD, though he is considerably less picky in choosing one than his older brother. Anyway, earlier this week I had downloaded a book to the kindle and finished it the following day. While the book was certainly enjoyable, I was frustrated that it was done so quickly. So yesterday at the library, I walked along the shelves looking for thick books. Anything 2" or thicker I searched for on GoodReads and if the description sounded interesting, I added it to my "to-read" list. (I was able to do this while holding sleeping Eli, by the way. Two hands are generally needed to pull a book out, read the back, flip through, and determine whether it's a possible read.) I felt rather clever. That feeling soon vanished, unfortunately, when, during my next nursing session at home, I looked up those titles and discovered that not a single one was available in kindle version. Very disappointing. So now I need to either find more interesting titles that ARE in kindle version, or log onto the library website and start using their "hold" feature in anticipation of our next trip to the library.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday This Week

1. We are thoroughly enjoying our Christmas break. Curtis had a four day weekend and then "worked from home" yesterday. We've watched shows, played games, put together puzzles, read books, and enjoyed not having any outside responsibilities.

2. You'd think I would have been able to get a "Ten on Tuesday" post up on Tuesday, but sitting on the computer just doesn't seem to happen when Curtis is home. So I'm getting it written on Wednesday, which, considering I was rarely posting at all, isn't that bad at all. I'm thinking that I should just aim to get something posted each week. As long as it's up somewhere between Monday and Thursday, I can still call it "Ten This Week", right?

3. We totally took advantage of the flexibility of not having anywhere to go or anyone to entertain when it came to Christmas dinner. We bought a turkey early last week and popped it in the freezer in anticipation of a traditional dinner with all the fixins. On Thursday we decided we'd have the turkey dinner on Christmas Eve so we could just enjoy our gifts on Christmas Day while munching on leftovers. We put the turkey in the fridge to start thawing. When we got it out on Saturday it was nowhere near thawed. No problem, we'll just have turkey dinner on Christmas Day after all! When we got it out on Sunday, it was still as solid as could be. Well, guess we won't be having a turkey dinner for Christmas at all! We pulled some other things out of the freezer for dinner and put the turkey back in the fridge. The plan is to have the turkey dinner for New Year's Eve. Next year, we'll either pull the turkey out of the freezer a good week before we want to roast it or we won't put it in the freezer at all. Had no idea that chest freezer would freeze the bird so deep that it would need twice as much time to thaw as the instructions recommend!

4. Zachary crawled in our bed at 4am last night feeling warmer than he usually does (which is already pretty warm!) and the thermometer this morning showed 100.6. So he's chillin' on the couch watching Franklin with his brother. What he really wants to do, though, is play the new Wii game he got for Christmas: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. That boy is addicted to screen time.

5. We've instituted a payment system where he has to pay 5 tokens to watch a show or play a Wii game. He earns tokens by helping out around the house. It's actually working pretty well: instead of bugging me all day "can I watch a show" or "Can I play a game" he follows me around asking, "Can I help you with something?" He's getting pretty good at putting dishes away and loading the dishwasher, putting clothes in the washer, putting clothes in the dryer, emptying the dryer, sorting clothes, sweeping, vacuuming... It's amazing how many things a 4-year-old is capable of doing when he's motivated!

6. Eli's Christmas present to us was sleeping 11.5 hours straight on Christmas Eve. It was awesome. If only the other children in the house could have slept straight through the night too. It seems there's always someone up in the middle of the night for one reason or another. Eli hasn't slept straight through like that since, but that's okay. We're working on it. At least he's sleeping in his crib in his own room now. He won't nap in there - too quiet apparently. Kid seems to nap better in the middle of the living room amidst all the noise. Good thing, too, since he's got two older brothers! He naps in the Moses basket (sorry the picture is a little dark) and is actually napping there as I type. So sweet. I'll be sad when he outgrows it.

7. Remember last week I talked about our Kindle Fire and how many books I've read? Well, I've exhausted the series I had started and am a little gun-shy about choosing new books and need suggestions. Read any good books lately?

8. The boys has been saving their gift money and we are really excited to be getting a playset for the backyard! The hardware and slide arrived earlier this week and Curtis will be picking up the wood this afternoon. The plan is to stain the wood this week and build it this weekend. I'll let you know how that goes...

9. Speaking of new purchases, I fell in love with a bedding pattern at TJ Maxx and am so, so pleased it was still there when I got a chance to go back yesterday.

However, they were out of the shams and cute toss pillows and such (except one), which is really disappointing. So our bed looks like this:

(Not to mention the lack of headboard or even a bedframe...) Hey, if you're in the Huntsville area and happen to see this pattern somewhere, would you put a couple shams and toss pillows on hold for me, then come watch my kids while I go get them?? Curtis and I searched online and couldn't find it all. But even without the decorative bits, I just love the way it looks. Love it.

UPDATE: When I went back to TJ Maxx to return some other items, I dragged Curtis with me, just in case they had some of the toss pillows in stock. We ended home bringing home another quilt that I get to use as material to make pillow covers! I'm really excited 1) about a fun sewing project and 2) about having a complete, finished bed set when I'm done. Now I need to figure out what pillow forms we want. I'm hoping to have enough material to also cover the cushion on top of the cedar chest Curtis' grandparents gave us for our wedding. The current fabric is exactly the type that our cats like to sink their claws into, so it's always been covered with another fabric.

10. Lastly, how about an update on the townhouse? Our tenant of two years moved out in October. The property manager finally found new tenants who will move in on Dec. 30th. They talked us into lowering the rent but they signed a 2-year lease. There were several things that needed attending to before they could move in, so the property manager sent us some quotes. We choked and decided it would be a significant savings to drive up to Nashville and do the work ourselves. It ended up taking two trips to get everything done, but in the end we didn't spend anywhere near the hundreds of dollars we were quoted. Some of the work was fixing or installing things that we would have liked to do before we moved out but simply couldn't afford it (and the tenant didn't seem to care) and other things were just getting it ready for new tenants.

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