Friday, February 26, 2010

There is No Stickiness in Space

I mentioned earlier that Jac and Mia are both really in to space right now. Well, we seem to have hit the crescendo. This week at school Jac studied space and was really impressed with the solar system model that his teachers brought in. He also had Alien Day at school, which required that all the children bring in some sort of alien head gear that they had created (with mom and dad's help) and decide what their alien's name was and what planet they were from. Jac wore a foil covered bike helmet with 10 eyes and a weird mouth, his alien name was Pollup Kadop from Jupiter.

Amazingly enough this all corresponded with our church's science night. So Jac and Mia got to see through a real telescope and play with real robots. Too cool.

Their favorite was the robot display. A big robot chased them and they held hands for support, or rather Mia grabbed Jac's hand. Then they got to drive some smaller robots via remote control. Mia could have stood there all night playing with the remote control, but it was funny because she just held down on the lever and the robot was heading across the gymnasium, so I am not sure she had any clue what she was doing.

They enjoyed seeing "outer space", but not as much as I would have thought. When Mia saw the moon through the telescope she didn't believe that it was the moon because it was so large. She said, "I didn't see the moon, but I saw something." It took some convincing but I think she got it. Every time she would hop down from one telescope (these were big telescopes that required step ladders for the little ones to get to) she would say, "I saw outer space."

The one big fat failure of the night was the Polymers display. I think it was successful for everyone but us. Some middle school kids had a display that if you knead glue and starch together for awhile it would make silly putty. I always encourage Jac to do the messy projects because I am scared that he is going to become OCD and not be able to have anything touch his hands. He is very neat when eating and playing. So this required you to roll up your sleeves and get messy but the end result was a cool ball of silly putty and for the most part everyone's hands were fairly clean.

Well, I guess there is a bit more science behind the making of a polymer. Jac started off by sort of stretching the sticky mess when in fact you need to roll it around a bit in your hands to get it to do it's thing. His never really turned into silly putty it just turned into sticky white gloves coating the front, back and sides of his hands. He never complained and he kept trying but you could tell he wasn't enjoying himself. So we finally gave up and went to wash it off, easier said than done. It took us a good 15 minutes to wash off all of the mess, it truly was sticky stuff. But that is okay, he is no worse for wear.

I love that they are getting old enough to ask questions and be interested in the world around them. This is a great age.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oatmeal Kind of Day

We have had a busy week and often when I am feeling burnt out and tired I turn to oatmeal.  Well, truth be told I turn to cookies first and then oatmeal (cookies were yesterday).  It reminds me to slow down, it reminds of my childhood and it soothing and gentle on my tummy.  Jac agrees, loves the oatmeal.  He doesn't love it in a "feed me this every day" kind of way, more in a "how many chocolate chips can I put in my oatmeal" kind of way. 

The little one on the other hand could totally do with less oatmeal in her life.  She actually said, "Mommy I just want chocolate chips, sugar and milk.  I don't like the oatmeal."  Well, well, well.  So you just want to eat melted sugar, chocolate and milk do you?  Isn't that ganache?  For breakfast?  I am old school when it comes to breakfast.  You eat it, or else and it better be something that has some redeeming quality.  Like a flax waffle, I  know you will drown it in syrup but at least there is something there.  So dear Mia, you must eat your oatmeal!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Straight From the Dentist Some Really Bad Advice


Mia has given up her diapers and is close to giving up her crib.  Why oh why must she even consider giving up her thumb? 

Well, we went to the dentist today. 

Good news is both kids have great teeth, very pretty and healthy.  Both Jac and Mia did a great job with the cleaning, they both hated the fluoride (but who likes fluoride) and they both even talked to the doctor (in grunts and nods). 

Mia still freaks out that the chair moves.  It clearly cannot be trusted to support her 34 pounds because it can raise, lower and recline all at the push of a button.  It could collapse and send her careening to the floor in an instant!  I only had to hold her hand until she knew for sure that the chair was done moving.  And when I say hold her hand, which might be a bit understated.  She practically climbed up my arm while clinging with every other limb to the chair even though it had already stopped moving.   I had them recline the chair prior to her laying back and then when it was in position we helped her scoot up the chair.  You would have thought that we were asking her to shimmy out on a guy wire in between two 50 story buildings.  But she did it, with no crying.  And after she trusted the chair she was good.

Jac did great.  I think that by next visit he will be able to go by himself.  Such a big boy.  Although when asked what flavor toothpaste he wanted the hygienist rattled off all eight flavors and he just stared at her.  So she said, "Would you like Strawberry?"  And he simply nodded.  I am positive that strawberry would not have been his first choice. 

So, when the dentist was finished looking at the kids teeth she told me that they looked great.  But Mia's bite is out of whack and as far as the dentist is concerned the only way to get that mouth back into whack is to get the thumb out.  First of all, no.  She is three and a half and she is not going to be convinced to stop sucking her thumb.  Second of all, I may be mean mommy at times but I will not and I repeat WILL NOT put yucky stuff on her thumb so she won't suck on it.  That is cruel for her and for everyone else in the house who would then have to live with her while she can't sleep and she can't soothe herself.  Third and finally, I had really snaggly teeth when I was little.  I mean, they went every which way.  I had permanent teeth coming in behind baby teeth; I had to have one baby tooth removed.  I had crazy teeth as a kid, but at some point after all my baby teeth were gone they straightened out.  They aren't perfect or movie star teeth, but they are good.  Mia has my teeth exactly.  I am not spending a dime on teeth straightening until she gets all her permanent teeth. 

Here is the conversation on the way home.

"The dentist wants you to stop sucking your thumb." 

"Why, mommy?"

"She says that your teeth will come in crooked and you will have to wear braces someday."

"Are braces like bracelets for your teeth?" Jac pipes in.

"Yes, and they have to stay on a long time."

"How do they stay on, won't they fall off?"  Jac is interested.

"They use some sort of glue.  Mia, you don't have to stop sucking your thumb.  Big girls don't suck their thumbs, but you still need it and that is okay.  Maybe when you are four or five you can think about stopping." 

"Maybe when I am six, mommy."  (With the sound of sucking in the background, clearly we have hit a nerve.)

Seriously.  This is what my three year old said.  Maybe when I am six years old, which in toddler years is at least a decade.  What she really just said, was lay off, I will think about stopping when I am in my early 20s.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bye Bye Baby

Saturday will be a big day in our household.  Mia's big girl bed arrives on Saturday.  Well, her mattress arrives, we have yet to decide on a bed for her.  Regardless, the crib will be taken down on  Friday in preparation for Saturday's arrival. 

When asked about this, Mia seems indifferent.  She is somewhat excited about getting new bedding, and she definitely has in her mind that this bed will be "princessy" in nature.  (Which is interesting because she really doesn't gravitate toward the "princessy" items.)  She wants a canopy bed with lots of pink frothy tulle everywhere, of course I said "no" to that.  But she can have tulle, somewhere, just not a canopy. 

What she really wants is a bunk bed.  Both her and Jac think it would be really cool to have bunk beds and they both want the top bunk.  I said "no" to the bunk beds also.  Maybe if they still like each other in three years we can talk about bunk beds.  I do not need kids falling out of beds and going BUMP in the night. 

I talked to Mia about the sleeping situation when her new bed gets here.  She seems to think that for a few nights she will sleep in her bed and then a few nights she will sleep in Jac's bed.  Right now they sleep together, I really don't see that changing any time soon.  After kicking each other relentlessly before they fall asleep, they cuddle up quite nicely and spoon all night.  They both really like to have a warm body next to them.  I think that will change as they get older, but for right now I don't see it changing.  So it will be musical beds I think, a rotation through the house of whose bed we are sleeping in tonight. 

Some of you may think, why is this three and a half year old still in a crib anyway.  Actually she has been sleeping with Jac for almost a year.  So since she was two and a half she has essentially been in a big bed, just not alone.  She only sleeps in her crib to nap, and even then sometimes she sleeps in my bed or Jac's bed or we take her crib mattress out and she sleeps on the floor.  The crib is really more of a symbol at this point of giving up all things baby and neither of us has been in a huge hurry to graduate. 

She has always been quite level headed in her tantrums and although she has threatened to crawl out a quick warning of how much it will hurt would quickly quell the threat.  Jac was the one to throw himself over the edge without a second thought.  I understand why people move children out of cribs, but for Mia it never was a necessity.  We didn't need the crib for another sibling and she was perfectly content sleeping in it, so why rush?  I think I may have to get the video camera out for the dismantling of the crib.  It will be like packing away the rest of her baby clothes, it has been a mainstay in our lives for three and half years.  **sigh** 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How are babies made?

I knew that would get your attention.

Well, we haven't had that question just yet, but I know that it is around the corner.  Yesterday on the way home from dance class a lively discussion ensued.  I love listening to Jac and Mia's reasoning skills and try not to stamp out all creativity unless there are some severely wrong concepts being thrown around.

It all started with a fading sunset.  Mia has been discussing the difference between sunrise and sunset.  We were heading west and Mia said, "aha the sunset". 

"Is that the other side of the Earth?"  Jac asked.  I think what he meant was, since it is getting dark here the sun must be on the other side of the earth.  However, I had to tell him that the light we could see receding was definitely not the other side of the earth.  I told him it was probably a couple of hours away.

"We would have to fly a plane to the other side of the earth."  Mia reasoned.  (Exactly sister.)

"You could get there by boat or by plane.  You  know Jac, you have been in a plane when you were really small."  I said.

"Yeah, me too."  Mia said.

"No, you haven't been on a plane.  Well, you were in my belly so I guess you have sort of taken a flight."  I continued.

"Mommy, did we fly in a plane to Texas?"  Jac asked.  Our Texas roots run deep.

"Well, we flew in a plane from Texas to Missouri to look for houses before we moved here."  I explained.

"So the three were born here and we flew to get Jac in Texas."  From the three year old, Huh?  How did she come up with that?

"Well, you are right, Mommy, Daddy and Mia were born in Missouri, but we didn't fly to Texas to get Jac.  We lived in Texas and Jac was born there and then we moved to Missouri and you were born here." 

Oh my goodness. 

Then I thought of another conversation regarding babies in bellies that we had last summer.  Jac was asking if I came out of Daddy's belly and he came out of my belly and then with a strange look in his eye, Mia must have come out his belly......  Like Russian dolls.  And what an interesting world we would live in if that is truly how it worked.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We Love Space

Space is big in our house.  Both Jac and Mia are going to be astronauts when they grow up.  And Jac has decided to have a space themed birthday party. 

If anyone has any great space ideas - food, decorations, etc shoot them over to me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Starting Seeds - Onions and Cauliflower


Please don't call me crazy.  This is my hobby people.  I know it seems odd, old ladyish and maybe just a bit "I live in California on a commune and have no running water".  Just accept it, it is who I am.  I know all of your dirty little secrets.  I know that your hobbies include making endless tutus, jewelry, knitting yards and yards of scarves - and there are plenty of you out there with a closet of shame.  You know the closet (or bathtub or entire room of your house!) that has thousands of dollars in craft supplies, scrapbooking tools, paper and projects started and never finished - don't deny it!  Well, for those of us who cannot make anything that doesn't resemble a second grade project, we have to waste our money somewhere too.  My hobby is making things grow. 

It has been my hobby in some form or fashion since I was little.  My mom gave me some seed and a tiny plot of land to grow my very own Calendulas.  I did.  I stuck them in the ground, they sprouted, and they grew into beautiful flowers.  I was hooked.

This is my newest venture.  I am trying to grow veggies.  I want lots of veggies.  I want to have to give away veggies.  I want a bumper crop.  I am not sure if this is something I will do with this much gusto every year.  Sometimes I do things just to see or prove that I can do them.  But regardless, I have just started some onions and cauliflower.  Onions and cauliflower (all of the cabbage family including broccoli) go into the ground before the last frost, which means I have to grow some sizeable plants in the month or so because they don't like hot weather at all.

My veggies will be from seed and they will be as organic as I can possibly make them with non GMO seeds.  Hopefully you find this slightly interesting, because I may be talking about it a lot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day and Other Weekend Happenings

To kick off the weekend Jeff arrived home with a dozen beautiful red roses.  Valentine's Day is sort of a quieter holiday for us because it is so close to our anniversary.  In general, we don't make too big of a holiday out of it.  We always exchange something.  I don't always get flowers, but I love them!  They just make me happy. 

On Sunday I gave Jeff an iPod nano.  We really don't have a lot of gadgets, and for not having a lot of gadgets we tend to still have a large amount of adapter cables and battery packs.  I am not sure what everyone does with all of those cables when they DO have every gadget under the sun, it is hard to manage!  But I am losing focus here.  The reason I got him a nano, after telling you that we don't make too big of a deal out of the holiday, is because I lost his last iPod.  It was a tiny little iPod shuffle that was perfect for working out or running because it was so little and light.  Somehow I have lost the silly thing.  Hopefully it still turns up, but regardless I owed him an iPod.  I decided to upgrade him, even though the nano is bigger.  The shuffle only allows you one playlist which can be incredibly annoying.  Also, the new shuffle is configured different with all of the controls on the headphones instead of the body of the iPod.  I didn't think he would like that so I decided to get him a nano.  The nano also has the ability to take video which is nice if you are out running and you swear you see Jessica Alba doing laps around you (he swears two summers ago that Jessica Alba ran past him going the other way twice) your wife can then look at the video and inform you that whoever the lovely 20 year old that you skeevishly just took video of is not Jessica Alba.

We went to a friend's house Saturday evening, just the adults.  It was advertised as game night, so we knew what to expect.  She always serves lovely appetizers and then mingles that in with some fun games.  Jeff of course, was not anticipating the game portion of the evening.  He loves games, but they tend toward the physical like flag football or games without conversation, like hearts.  We ended up playing Taboo, which is a game where you have a word you need your team to shout out, but you can't use any of the "taboo" clues to get them to say the word.  Definitely, not up Jeff's alley, or so he says.  I swear he was having a ball though.  

I have played this many times before.  I would say I am pretty average at it.  In general I do pretty good with the clue giving and tend to not do so well at the shouting out of answers.  Although Saturday night I was exactly the opposite, not so much on the clue giving, but actually quite good at guessing.  My big observation was how differently the men and the women played.  (Of course the women kicked some male booty in this game, our style of play is vastly superior to the men's.)  Men basically give one word clues and then their team responds with literally one guess.  I guess they assume that their clue is so pointed that who wouldn't be able to guess the word, and then the guessing side feels the same.  Well with the clue they were given it certainly has to be this one word, it couldn't possibly be any other word in the English language.  The women on the other hand don't pause, just let the words flow out of their mouths.  No stopping, just a continuous stream of words that somehow all makes sense.   It parallels daily life between men and women, grunts and clicks from the men and full conversations with feelings and emotions from the women.  How did the male gender produce such greats as Jefferson, Shakespeare and Churchill?  It seems like a fantastic anomaly when compared to Saturday night's fun and games; the only thing that I can come up with is that they must have had amazing mothers.  To be fair, the men actually warmed up nicely and had a good comeback.  Two of the men (Jeff being one of them) did very good a couple of rounds and did better than some of the women (me).  I believe my best round was to get four clues right and Jeff's was five.  But regardless, the women totally kicked it!

Jeff also painted a bit over the weekend, with some helpers.  Patience is a virtue when painting stairs with a ladder and two little ones helping.

Last, but certainly not least.  Mia started sleeping all night without a pullup.  I used the last one and decided she was ready.  She had gone several weeks without using it and I think I was just holding on to it for some reason.  So, she is officially done training.  She is really very consistent and good about going when she needs to.  She rarely does the "I have to potty, but can't possibly be asked to take two minutes out to do it dance". 

That was our eventful weekend, hope your's was great!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentines Day Parties

Oh my.  I do love a holiday that comes in the blink of an eye, that is all about love and friendship and that dumps an elephant ton of candy in your lap.  Okay, I love it except for that last part.  I am sure everyone's kids love candy.  Well, mine are no exception.  Mia is generally pretty reasonable, she will eat what you allow her and not really think about it again until the next day.  She may forget altogether that she has candy; which is strange because the child has a freakishly long memory.  Maybe she just doesn't care, once she has had a taste she is good to go.  That will serve her well later in life.

Jac on the other hand, will wake up in the middle of the night proclaiming he is hungry for, take a wild guess, candy or cake or cookies.  Craziness.  He will come downstairs in the morning and beg and cry and weep for dessert.  He is a self proclaimed candy addict.  He loves the good stuff, chocolate. 

Here are some pictures of this lovely holiday.  Mia got quite the take from her "dancing Balentines party" of which she was happy to share.

And Jac was happy that she shared!

I was snack lady and mail lady for Mia's class this year. The first time that I have done this.  It was nice being the only mom and getting to help all of the little ones.

Here is Jac enjoying a ring pop a little too much!

Happy Valentines Day!  (I know it isn't Valentines Day yet, I am sure that there is still much fun to come.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mia isms - Before She is All Growed Up!


My little Mia is growing up.  I know it happens, everyone warned me.  I didn't realize that just like each passing year of my life gets faster so too does each year of my children's lives get faster.  Did that make sense?  Time is like a snowball.

So before my baby is no longer a baby I really need to capture her little quirks.  She will be three and a half on March 7th and certainly all children are unique but this one is so packed full of personality, sometimes it scares me.  I know that Jac lost a lot of his lisp and baby expressions right around four.  So her big girl voice could be just around the corner with a whole slew of big girl expressions.

Here is a list, no particular order of my faves.

  • zizzers  (scissors)
  • wipe (white, so when used in a sentence in combination with the fact that she can barely pronounce an "L" you get - "I need a widdle wip stuff out of the wipe one.")
  • Lots of pronouns still, for instance, "Somebody needs to carry me inside."  I will look around like there is a crowd of people gathered around her, nope, just me and her getting out of the car.
  • Anytime an explanation is required she starts with the word "well", except she pronounces it "whale" or "wale".  "Mia, did you wash your hands?"  "Wale, and then a long drawn out explanation about why the hands did not get washed."
  • She hates to be on the edge of anything and will freak out, but she also doesn't want to be crowded in the middle.  She did explain the other night that there can only be two people in the bed and not three when I tried to lay down with her and Jac.
  • Bezzurt (dessert)
  • She doesn't like to wear gloves because it is hard to suck your thumb through the gloves. 
  • The other day she said, "I'm almost growed up. I'm gonna get a new house."  And then, "When I am growed up like as tall as mommy. I'm gonna be a mommy or a da - -- I'm gonna be a mommy."
  • Jac is thinking he wants a space theme for his birthday party, for some reason Mia is always compelled to come up with her birthday theme at the same time as Jac even though she has three months to wait.  Last year, Jac wanted Diego and Mia wanted Dora, funny thing is my kids really aren't into Diego and Dora.  So after Jac said he wanted the space them, Mia said "and I want a car birthday party".  Did I hear you correctly little girl? Cars?  So much for the princess party I was planning.
  • Speaking of space, for anything that is large or too hard to count or really long, "as big as outer space" is a term used frequently.
  • In some areas, like buttering her own toast, pouring her own drink and helping  me cook, she is fiercely independent.  However, she doesn't like to dress herself and will play the baby card frequently when something is asked of her.  I truly don't know where she gets that.
  • I love it when she says, "Mommy...." pause pause pause "Mommy....." pause pause pause "Mommy....." pause pause pause "Mommy....".  Actually, I don't love it.  It drives me batty, I don't know if she is waiting for me to respond or if she is trying to think of what to say.
  • And of course the lisp.  All "S"s sound like "TH"s, so cute.  "Mommy, stho you need to help me with sthomeping upsthairs."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Last of the Snowmen

We have had a really hard time with our snowfall this year.  Despite our wishes, prayers and snow dances we have had very little of the white stuff.  Amazingly, everyone around us has been rolling in the stuff, literarlly.  Last year, alas, we were unable to even make a snowman because we had so little snow and one of the requirements this year was that the kiddos got to make a snowman.

Yesterday we had maybe an inch, two if it had drifted.  Somehow, our yard was completely covered and all of our neighbors yards had green poking through.  So during our playdate yesterday we all put on our snowpants and played.  It was good, we made angels, we sledded (down our slight slope in the front yard), we log rolled down the slope, we threw snowballs and of course, we built a snowman. 

So if we get no more snow, at least we have our snowman!  And here he is, I realize he is a pathetic excuse for a snowman, but look how happy they are!

(We actually got about three inches last night and have a snow day today, so we will get to play some more today.)  Jac played over an hour in it, sledded, made snow balls and built some sort of artic gas station.  Mia doesn't appreciate 26 degree weather quite as much and was drinking hot chocolate in the lodge. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

My hobby is gardening. However, I don't love everything about gardening, I hate weeding, I hate removing mature plants and by the time all the planting is done I actually am not that fond of planting either. But I love to watch things grow. I love the feeling of being in a cultivated garden, where there is clearly someone tending to the plants.

Watching plants grow always reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of being in 2nd grade and coming home with the bean plant that I wrapped in a damp paper towel to make it grow; and then promptly killed because I forgot to water it. It reminds me of being a preschooler and helping my Grandma with her never ending gardening tasks in her never ending garden.

Last year I dabbled with a vegetable garden, which is totally new for me. My parents had a garden when I was little, so I am pretty familiar with most aspects. But I am definitely not an expert. I am familiar in the "this used to be my childhood home" kind of way. So last year it failed miserably. I had some peppers, tomatoes, okra, cukes, squash and one enormous pumpkin plant that did absolutely nothing. I did get a few tomatoes late in the season. I think I got two green peppers and two cucumbers. I didn't get any squash and definitely no pumpkins. Surprisingly the okra did the best.  Here is a picture of my garden last year.

It was wet last year, really wet. The wettest year on record for us. And of course the one sunny area I have is in a clay pit that is low and receives all of the runoff from my neighbors sprinkler system. So, basically I drowned all the plants.

This year I am going to be a bit more strategic. I am going to make a couple of simple raised beds to overcome the standing water problem. I am also going to try and utilize more of the yard where traditionally I have put flowers. I asked Jeff if he minded if there was broccoli in the pool area and he was fine with that!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a company that my parents discovered and told me about. They offer only open-pollinated seeds that are pure, natural and non GMO. As a grower this means that 1. the food is healthy (they have started to link GMO food with allergies) and 2. I can save seed if I want because none of them are hybrid.

When we sterilize a plant and make it hybrid we take away its purpose. I know that sounds extreme, and they still are able to provide beauty. But plants were put on this earth for a few very important and limited purposes. They are here to feed us, provide us with beauty, provide medicine, give us oxygen and cool us down. There may be more, but the point is if they die after one season it doesn't make any sense. They need to be able to propagate.

So I am going to give it another whirl. I ordered about 15 vegetable seed packets and five flower packets. I am so excited. I hope I get a few successes this year.   Here is a list if you are interested:
Tomatoes, Cukes, Bell Peppers, Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Zucchini, Beets, Turnips.

There are more and more people putting out home gardens, I know quite a few believe it or not. I was sort of shocked last year to realize that many families at least had a few tomato plants in the back.  What plants are you going to put out this year?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trucker, We Love You

Trucker is officially part of our family, if there was ever any doubt.  He is calming down and it really hasn't taken that long.  He came into our family five weeks ago, tomorrow. 

Someone told me the other day that everything takes time and everything is new to him.  I believe we were talking about the Invisible Fence.  We still don't have him trained on it.  I was lamenting this fact, when she said "everything is new, his food, his bed, his routine, everything."  And she is spot on.  How would I adjust if you picked me up and plucked me down into a new family, new town, new routine, new food, new place to sleep?  I can tell you this I would do a lot more crying than this little dog has done.

As far as behavior goes, he is doing really well.  When he gets bored or if he hasn't had a super long walk in a couple of days he will start retrieving things for me.  But he has actually been very good of late.  He is such a gentlemen when meeting new people.  He sits immediately.  Except for my neighbor who he jumps up on.  I think it is because he smells her Newfoundland whom he is dying to meet.

So everything is going good and the other day I stopped by Pet Smart and bought some more food, some treats, and a Nylabone.  All perfectly reasonable purchases for a dog owner.  Trucker has a stuffed pig that after five weeks, finally started have his stuffing pulled out.  So I decided that surely Trucker could have a chew treat.  With Trooper we never would have bought him an edible bone, he would have devoured it in five minutes and for one that is expensive, but also a bit dangerous on his tummy, at the very least stinky (doggy gas is yucky).  But Trooper also tore up everything immediately.  He really didn't have a ton of toys because he shredded them in literally five minutes.  The only toys we could give him were food puzzles (like a Kong or a food ball) and he also had a Galileo Nylabone that I believe may have been made out of concrete. 

So I bring this seven inch bone home, it is supposed to be chicken flavor.  I avoid duck flavored things and rawhide because they are known to make Golden's gassy.  Around 3:00 PM when Trucker is perking up from his midday nap, right around the time he starts barking at passersby.  Perfect timing.  Except for the fact that Jac has just asked to finish his Valentines.  So I hand the bone to Trucker, he promptly carries it into the living room where there is carpet and better leverage; then head back to get Jac set up.

Five minutes (okay to be honest this could have been longer, but really no more than ten minutes) pass and I say something like "ooh, I need to go check on Trucker with that bone."  So I hustle in there and there he is smiling, no bone.  I scan the room quickly, no bone.  I look out in the foyer, no bone.  I recruit Jac's help to find it.  Jac of course knows where to look, under the furninture.  We are on our hands and knees, then I start moving furniture just in case it has sunk down into the floor and I can't actually see it when I am level with the floor.  NO BONE!

Then we widen our perimeter.  We look in his crate, we look under every piece of furniture in the house, we look upstairs, we look everywhere we can think of, NO BONE.

I go and retrieve the package out of the trash.  It says that you should supervise, well good to know.  I call the vet in a panic.  Surely a seven inch bone couldn't be ingested in five (maybe ten) minutes, even if it was chicken flavor.  After a few minutes of waiting I find out, no harm, no foul.  He will be fine.  Maybe some gas, yuk and potentially an upset tummy, vomit and diarreah.  I am prepared for that now, because of course this is  my fault.  My punishment will be to clean up what ever comes my way.  But, he must have a stomach of steel because he is no worse for wear, you would have never known that he ate the biggest bone on the planet in five (ten) minutes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dance Class Progress

This was the fourth week of dance class.  Which sounds really impressive, although Mia goes to class just once a week.  So really it is only the fourth dance class, not so impressive.  She is progressing.  She can do a first position plie correctly.  At first she was keeping her knees together for the entire bend, which is excruciatingly painful when tried out with 35 year old knees (I just heard my ACL rip painfully, not sure how she was even doing it).  But we worked on letting light go between her knees and she got it!  So at least now dance class won't cause her to have knee surgery when she is 20. 

The teacher has started closing the blinds so I can't watch as much as I want to.  I think she wants to keep the routine they are learning a secret, which is kind of laughable.  With 15 three year olds at various levels of terrible you really can't see much of a routine at all. 

The one thing that Jac is able to report back (he can go up to the window and peer in without looking odd, four year olds can get away with things that 35 year olds can't).  Well, Mia was itchy again last night.  The last class the teacher had the blinds open for awhile and I was able to watch her dance, which is darling in its awkwardness.  Well about 10 minutes into class she starts wiggling and itching.  She is no longer dancing. 

She has her left arm down the front of her black leotard and this makes the sleeve of the leotard creep down her right arm. So now she has a whole shoulder and part of her (upper, thank goodness) chest completely bare while her left arm and hand are searching for the offensive material.  I have no idea why she is so itchy or what is causing it, but she did it again last night.

Jac went up to look in about halfway through class and came running back.  "Mommy, she's itchy again!" 

We had a conversation in the truck and I told her that she needed to not take off her leotard in the middle of class.  And if she had an issue with her leotard she could ask her teachers for help.  Well, of course she isn't going to ask her teachers for help she is going to scratch herself! 

We also got a "fun" announcement last night.   Before class, the teacher informs us that she had "forgotten all about Valentines Day".  Well, I guess she remembered in the nick of time to torture us all, and we are supposed to bring 15 Valentines for the dance class to exchange next week.  (Are you kidding me?)  I need another Valentines Day party like I need another toilet to clean.  So here we go, Mia is terribly excited.

She suggested that since Jac didn't have a dance class to exchange Valentines with that perhaps we could enroll him in a dance class by next week in order for him to have a dancing Valentines Day party.  Oh my.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blankies Are Key to a Good Night's Sleep

At least in this household anyway, we love our blankies.  Jac and Mia have had their blankets since birth.  With Jac it was a learning curve on my part, I didn't realize that you were supposed to choose the blanket for them and then let them bond with it.  I thought that he would become attached to one of the many blankets that I would put in his crib.  See, I was constantly washing his blankets, not realizing that a blankie also needs some seasoning, a bit of a smell in order to work its magic. 

I believe some wise mommy told me this and I stopped washing it (as frequently) and gave him one.  He had probably 30 blankets, I kid you not, from the luxe to the cotton he had it all and I wanted to get as much use out of all of them before he grew up!  Of course one child does not need that many blankets and I should have taken them back to the store.  After Jac gave up thumb sucking, right around the time he had is third or fourth severe ear infection he picked up the blanket and hasn't set it down since.

When he was around 15 months we realized that he wanted a specific part of his blanket.  He would wake often in the middle of the night and search and search with eyes closed, wimpering for this specific part of his blanket.  We finally realized that he was looking for the tag and that until he found the tag he could not possibly go back to sleep.  I then figured out that if I found the tag for him and waved it in front of his face and hands he would grab on like a man grabbing onto the side of the cliff to save himself, he really needed that tag.

This is a great example of how he sleeps, blankie is normally right on top.

Fast forward three years and you have a boy with a really gross blanket and a tag that is literally falling off from use.  Exhibit A shows that the tag may or may not make much longer.  What do I do?  Do I sew it back on when it falls off?  Should I preclude having this massive man hunt for a missing tag and go ahead and sew it on more securely now?  What if the next time I wash it, horror of horrors and the tag gets eaten by the washing machine? 

So I decided to go straight to the source, I asked Jac.

"What are we going to do when that tag falls off."  I asked it nonchalantly trying to keep him from seeing the wild look in my eyes.  I mean this boy didn't sleep through the night until he was (I could insert late teens here but he is only four, it just feels like late teens) I can't even say it without being embarrassed.  I take full responsibility for the sleep habits of my son, but needless to say we need that blanket!

In a very practical tone sounding somewhat like, duh mom, "We'll get a new blanket."

Hmm, not what I was expecting.  "It won't look the same and it won't smell the same," I informed him.

He then proceeds to question me about the origins of the blanket, who bought it, where did it come from, etc.  I give him the lowdown that the blanket would definitely not be the same; as Aunt Daphne bought it at TJ Maxx and we would never be able to find the same one.

He contemplates this. 

"We can get a different one as long as it has a tag."

At first I start to fall for this logic.  It may be a couple of nights before it gets the appropriate smell, but surely it won't take long.  Then we can be back in tag heaven and not have anything to worry about.  Except then I think, well, in another four years when he is eight will we be buying another blanket?  Every four years, for who knows how long will we need to replace a blanket for Jac to get to sleep and soothe himself in the middle of the night?  How long will this go on, do I care, should I care? 

Now, Mia on the other hand announced to me today after I asked if I could wash her blanket, "Mommy, I don't need my blanket."

The shock that went past my face must have been extraordinary.  Literally, she just through an enormous fit one week ago because it had to be washed.  She has also had her blanket from birth.  Her Aunt Misty gaves us the fluffiest, silkiest blanket ever.  I knew that I needed to have it with her at all times when she was an infant for her to bond with it.  Well, bond with it she did.
--At 12 months she walked to the blanket, not me.

--At 15 months she had a sign for blanket, she couldn't say blanket yet but I gave her sign because she was constantly searching for and asking for it.  Here is a picture of her signing "blankie" and then I am sure there was a search and now you see her coming down the hall with it all smiles.  (Look at those legs!)

--At two we had to take it EVERYWHERE.  Grocery stores, malls, mommy and me classes, everywhere.

--At two and half it became not only her lovely, but her toy when her and Jac used them to play ghost, as evidenced by this post.

--At three, just this fall she threw up on the blankie.  It had to be washed, it was disgusting.  She stood up in the kitchen waiting for the blanket to be cleaned until 1:00 before she would lay down and go to sleep.  No tears, just patiently waiting.

--At three and half I show her playing doctor with Jac and the blanket is the stretcher in this post.

Here is a picture of Mia snuggling up with it after a long day at the lake, sounds cozy doesn't it?  Yuk!

Mia has loved her blanket even more than Jac if possible, Exhibit B shows a huge tear in the satin edge, this is the part that she rubs while sucking her thumb and going to sleep.  And this blanket is no longer a bright pretty  pink, it is a dull gray with unknown stains all over.

And now today, she announces, "sometimes I don't need it."  Like its no big thing.  The proof is in the pudding because not two minutes later I was decorating some Valentines at the table with Jac and she was standing beside me on our push toy school bus.  (I realize that this is highly dangerous and for whatever reason didn't notice that she had grown five inches, I was concentrating on Valentines.)  Well, of course the school bus moves, she flies into the air and comes down hard on her rear.  She cried, I held her. But blankie was in the washer, she didn't even ask for it.  Amazing.

Blankie is clean and dry now, and just as she is starting to get sleepy she comes looking for it.  I guess when she says that "sometimes she doesn't need it" she is being literal.  There are specific moments throughout the day when she doesn't need it.  But now is not one of them.

My advice for all new parents, let your child bond with a blanket.  It can do wonders at 2am when you really need some sleep.  But when you go to choose one, buy two.  That way you have a backup.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Free Ranging It

I am a free range parent wanna be.  I love all of the ideas of letting my kids grow up the way I did, back in the innocent 70's, but they still seem too young to give any real freedom to.  In our great-grandparents day they would have already been a paid employee at the shoe factory or in charge of milking Bessie every morning at 5:00.  I try though.  Especially in those times when you can make them feel like they have freedom when in reality it is just a tiny bit.

Here is a picture of Jac walking home from our neighbors after a lunch playdate.  Our yards connect although they are several houses down, I can see their back porch from my backyard.  For Jac though, there is one yard that he goes through that he wouldn't really see me yet and probably with his back turned wouldn't see my neighbor watching him either! 

He asked if he could walk home by himself.  Of course this wasn't his idea or my idea, this was my neighbors idea after she had already let her daughter walk home from our house by herself.  It makes sense that he would then want to try it and for my guy who really doesn't like to be alone, I was proud of him!  The biggest risk was that he would run out of steam and not make it up the hill (I have been known to carry him on the way home before, playdates are a lot of work!)  This was such a momentous occasion that I had to get the camera out (you can laugh at that, it's okay). 

So here's to my sort of free range kid.  I can see an independent little guy just around the corner.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Watch Out I Am On My Soapbox

Here we go.  I warned you.

Over the years I have become more and more interested in the food I eat.  I believe the catalyst was living in Austin, Texas and being surrounded by great restaurants (too many to list here but my faves are Roy's, Jeffrey's, Truluck's) amazing grocery stores (Whole Foods and Central Market) and becoming friends with foodies.  The unfortunate part of this increased interest in my food is that now I know where it comes from.

My progression into this mystery continue with Jeff reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and getting interested, I was not.  I don't like to watch documentaries, let alone read them.  At least I didn't.  I was pretty much a hardline fiction nut until my dear husband convinced me to read a few.  I think after so many years of school and a couple of degrees I didn't want any more text books in my life and that was what I viewed nonfiction as.   Then he got me to watch Supersize Me, which gives much of the same message as Fast Food Nation.  Needless to say I have never, I repeat never, touched McDonald's again. 

Then a few forays into organic and free range, nice but expensive.  I liked farmer's markets, but everything was so..... in season.  What if I wanted an apple in the spring? 

Then, my friend Amy gave me a book, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  She had gotten me; hook, line, and sinker.  For those of you who don't want to read Omnivore's Dilemma, although I highly recommend it, watch Food, Inc.  You must watch this documentary.  I know, I know, you don't like the idea of someone shooting a deer frolicking in the wild, let alone hear about how your beef is raised and slaughtered.  Just think of it as a horror movie and bite the bullet.  You have eaten meat all your life and you owe it to those furry little animals that makes us all strong to see what their life is like.  It is not honorable, there is no frolicking, it is awful.  Just because you turn your head and don't look, doesn't mean it goes away.

Food, Inc. isn't just about the slaughter houses of America and how big business has turned our meat supply into a factory instead of a field.  It is also about the Monsanto's of the world who have turned our fields into petri dishes.  It is about obesity, politics, money, school lunches, genetically modified foods, superbugs, immigrants and cloning.  In a word it is about food.  If you are not informed about the food you eat you will enable this to continue.  Everytime you eat at a restaurant or shop in the grocery store, you vote with your dollar and it is up to you whether you vote for this to continue or for it to end. 

I could seriously go on and on about this.  But instead I am going to let you read a letter that will be dropped into the mail tomorrow which summarizes my feelings. 

January 29, 2010

Mrs. Michelle Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mrs. Obama,

As I watch your husband’s first State of the Union address I am filled with wonder about the type of person he must be to want to tackle all of the issues of our nation. I do believe that he has an enormous task ahead of him. America is an unwieldy ship that needs a strong person to Captain us and begin to move us ahead past the bickering, the terrorists, the unbelievable debt we have amassed and the unhealthy habits that we have aquired.

The most literal unhealthy habit is what I would like to ask you about; how and what we eat as American’s today. I so have admired your garden on the White House grounds as well as the way you went about implementing it and using the food from it. To show Washington DC school children that it is possible to grow your own food and to then harvest and use eat it, is a lesson that most children simply do not get today. I have been trying to give my own children this very same lesson on a smaller scale. We try to eat healthy and grow some of our own vegetables in the summer. I also want them to be aware of where their food comes from in very specific terms. Although they are young, Jefferson “Jac” is four and Mia is three, they understand that when I prepare a chicken for dinner that that chicken used to be alive. They also understand the effort involved in planting a tomato seed in the ground and waiting for three months to eat a fresh tomato. If only it were that simple.

I am appalled at the politics behind the food we eat. I am writing you a letter from a rather ignorant position. I admit that I have not researched my point of view thoroughly. I have read some books and watched some documentaries that strictly speaking share my point of view and I have not done any due diligence in asking the other side why they do what they do. However, I still want to pose a few questions to you even given my lack of knowledge.

1. Why are we subsidizing food that is completely unhealthy for Americans? Corn is highly subsidized and has taken over as the staple of America, how can this be a good thing?

o The USDA site also says that 4.1% of U.S. corn goes for high fructose corn syrup. That means that since 29.9% of all U.S. cropland harvested was planted in corn in 2007, 1.2% of all U.S. cropland harvested in 2007 went for high fructose corn syrup. That’s only slightly less than the 1.5% of U.S. cropland devoted to vegetables or the 1.6% of U.S. cropland devoted to [fruit] orchards. Jill Richardson, La Vida Locavore.

2. Why do school children receive processed food, prepackaged and simply warmed upon location? According to the Take Part website, 80% of schools serve lunches with more than the daily recommended amount of saturated fat and over 40% don’t serve fresh fruits or vegetables.

3. Why do lobbyists and VPs from Monsanto, seem to fill the ranks of the FDA, the USDA and the EPA? Is this not seen as a conflict of interest?

4. Why is Monsanto allowed to witch hunt farmers who refuse to use their genetically modified soybeans? In fact, why are Americans allowed to eat genetically modified food to begin with; the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation. And Americans can’t even get a label on which foods contain GMOs.

5. I am appalled at the ads by Monsanto claiming sustainable agriculture when they are the very definition of non-sustainable with seeds that only last one generation and also the new Sweet Surprise campaign from the Corn Refiners Association goes so far as to say that high fructose corn syrup has been demonized without cause. Where is the truth in advertising?

I completely understand that the wheels of justice turn slowly in order to be thorough and just. However, as Americans are bamboozled by big business we continue to become more and more unhealthy. It just shouldn’t be the case that unhealthy high-fat, high-sugar food is more affordable than a vegetable. And when all costs are taken into account this food truly is not more affordable as obesity and diabetes continually. It takes a lot of time to eat healthy, should it really be expensive on top of it? Should we have to worry if our food is causing diseases, cancer, allergies and other problems?

I watched a show that followed you and the President for a few days after he had been in office a few months, maybe it was a special on the 100 day mark. In the piece your assistant discussed how you follow up on letters that you receive from constituents. I do hope that is the case.

I am so excited that perhaps while your husband tackles the immediate dramatic issues in our country that you and his support team continue to remind him of a problem that is so basic; our food.

I would love to hear your opinion on these questions. Perhaps you even have some advice for me in this area.

Thank you so much for your efforts to date, I think you are doing a fabulous job.