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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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Hard to believe I'm actually getting a "Ten on Tuesday" post up on a Tuesday!! Perhaps it has something to do with having 2 out of 3 boys asleep and also a willingness to suspend reality and pretend I have no other chores to do.

2. From 2:30 to 3am last night I sat on the couch crocheting in the dark, checking on Eli every so often to convince him he doesn't need a middle-of-the-night feeding anymore. He eventually caved and fell asleep. I went back to bed. but an hour later I heard him crying. I asked Curtis to "stick that binky back in" and he went and brought Eli back. I fed him and we all slept until 7:30. Curtis was late to work.

3. It is so awesome to watch Zachary play with the Little People nativity scene. He's acting out the story with the characters. Sometimes he lets his brother play too.

4. We found a buyer for our Risograph. We weren't sure we would but listed it on Craigslist anyway. Within days we got an email from the owner of a local roller rink. He said he'll sometimes print 20,000 copies of something, and his 30 pages/minute printer wasn't cutting it. So we unwrapped all the plastic wrap from the machine and turned it on to make sure it was working. That was when we discovered that all of the rubber bands inside were dried out as every single one broke while we were testing the thing. So the guy said he'd buy it if we could get all the bands replaced and verify that it's working fine. Here's the awesome part: he even said he'd take the 6 extra drums off our hands too! (a Riso can only print one ink color at a time, and to change ink colors requires having a different drum for each color.)

5. Today was "Goody Day" at Curtis' work. Employees' families are invited to come for a potluck lunch. We hadn't participated before but thought we would this year. It was fun. And now 2 out of 3 boys are sleeping, so it was totally worth it!

6. Tonight is the division Christmas party at Dynetics. Goody Day and the division party don't usually fall on the same day, but this year they do. Of course we're going. That's two meals I don't have to prepare and clean up! Someone called me hardcore for being willing to bring three little kids to Dynetics twice in one day. I don't think they realize how much easier it is to convince the boys to go somewhere in the car than it is to prepare food that they won't eat. And then clean up. No, no contest.

7. We got all of our Christmas cards addressed and stamped last night and they're set to go out today. We're 6 shy of the 100 mark this year, which is our limit. Next year may involve some paring down of The List.

8. Using our debit card rewards, Curtis and I bought ourselves a Kindle Fire shortly after Thanksgiving. In the less-than-4 weeks that we've had it I've read about 7 books. Hello, my name is Jennifer and I'm addicted to disappearing into a book for hours at a time. And my husband is an enabler.

9. Daniel doesn't seem to be on track with his speech development, so our pediatrician referred us to Early Intervention, a federally-funded program to help kids under 3 who are developmentally behind in certain areas. Last Thursday two evaluators were supposed to come to the house at 10am to determine if Daniel qualified for help. At 10:15 I called the office to verify I had written the date and time down correctly. I had. At 10:40 I called the office to ask if they were still coming. The gal said she'd call them at call me back. At 11:00 I called the office again. She told me that the evaluators had come to the house and got no answer at the door. However, they could hear the dog barking. I told her we don't have a dog. Turns out they went to our apartment. The one we moved out of over a year ago. All this simply because they didn't want to verify my address over the phone when I made the appointment. "We already have it in the system," they said, "It's the one the state sent us." Whatever.

10. Last Monday two ladies came to the house (which they found with no problem now that they had the correct address) and evaluated Daniel for any developmental delays. They asked me a lot of questions and they also played with him to see if he could perform certain tasks. They evaluated him in cognitive development, physical development (including vision and hearing), communication development, social or emotional development, and adaptive development. He passed all areas with flying colors except for communication, which was right on the cutoff. His receptive communication (how well he listens and understands) almost pulled his expressive communication (talking) up too far, but since he was just on the line, he does qualify for aid. Whew. It was weird to sit there and watch him, wanting him to perform the tasks and do what they were asking him to do because I know he's so smart, but at the same time wanting him to be unable to do the task so he would qualify. I guess I can be happy with landing right on the cutoff line. Sort of like the best of both worlds.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

A hair-raising tale

A day in the life...
While changing Eli I noticed a hair wrapped around one of his toes. The cute little toe was turning colors above the hair and it looked like the hair was embedded in the skin. When I couldn't get it off my first reaction was to call his doctor for advice. They couldn't see us til 2:00 - two hours away. I didn't think it should wait that long and my next thought was that I needed another adult's help, so I called my neighbor Liz. I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful neighbor! She stopped in the middle of making lunch, scooped up her son and came right over. The two of us were able to get the hair off with little difficulty. She headed back home to lunch and Zachary and Daniel came running in to say that they saw Beau (our outdoor-loving cat) catch something and take it under the patio table. We couldn't find anything under the table so I went back in to finish getting Eli dressed. The boys came back in again and it took me a few moments to realize that they were telling me they had seen Beau take his catch INSIDE the house. They had left the back door open and I had no doubt that Beau had been thrilled to bring his prize inside. Not good. Not good at all. I started looking for him and quickly eliminated rooms, until my room was left. I walked into my room, turned the corner into the bathroom and my stomach did a backflip when I saw the cat slinking into my closet, with a live rat in his mouth. A live rat. I tried to grab the cat (while holding Eli in my other arm. Was I thinking I could carry the baby and the animals outside? Or was I just trying to get them out of my closet? I don't know) and he dropped the rat. Which ran deeper into my closet. A live rat running loose in my closet. I screamed. Not a high pitched "help" scream, but a loud low noise that escaped me several times before I could get it under control. There was a live rat in the closet. Beau was not pleased that he had dropped it and quickly ran after it. As I left to set Eli down and get gloves or a bag or something, I could hear the thing squeaking. At least it wasn't running loose in my closet anymore. When I returned, Beau had dropped the thing again and fled. I now had a dead rat in my closet. I scooped it and the article of clothing it was on up into my gloved hands and carried it to the closest trashcan, then dropped the bag and the gloves into the trashbin outside. Then I washed my hands. A couple times. Ugh. I hope those boys learned why we close doors when we go out or come in! (This is not the first time Beau is responsible for creatures in our house. He once chased a lizard through the front door that I was holding open as I scolded the cat and told him to drop it. It almost crawled up my pant leg but thankfully decided against it and ran outside again. I think the rat story is worse though.)

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