Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We're Baaaaack!

We traveled to the East coast for the week of Thanksgiving so Everett could meet a few cousins and his Great Grandmother (Granny). Things went well....time flew by way too fast and dumped us back at home on Sunday. My mind has been reeling since...so, while I collect my thoughts and photos, I'll leave you with a few little teasers of the E man. Kid - seriously. Get a little happier why don't you:


Friday, November 16, 2012

Salt Dough Ornaments and other projects

We made salt dough ornaments among other things this week. the recipe for the dough is a 1:1 ratio of salt and all purpose flour and a 1/2:1 of water (so if using 1/2 cup each of flour and salt, use 1/4 cup water - I had to add a little more flour to the mix with this but the end result should be an easy to roll or manipulate dough that's not too sticky).

I set it up like this:

Mary Louise and David were beyond excited! They chose to use cookie cutters with their dough, but I also gave them the option of doing hand prints. I am hoping they'll agree to do the latter during the next round.

They loved smashing and cutting the dough - and the free use of cookie cutters with the promise of painting later was just icing on the figurative cake!

Some of our shapes before baking:

Poke a hole for hanging and bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours - the point is to dehydrate them completely.

Let them cool...and paint away! (you can also make different color dough by adding a few drops of food coloring. We used to make things like candy canes like this when I was little - (twist red and natural together, bake, seal and hang) After the paint dries, seal them with varnish or a spray lacquer, put ribbons or string through the hanging holes once that is dry and you have your very own homemade ornaments. Easy, so fun and, when sealed well, the ornaments can last for years.

Everett enjoyed a bit of tummy time on the trampoline while this was going on:

He can sit up - no problem and is really trying to crawl right now...

In case there was any hint of doubt left that he is (seriously) one of the happiest babies in existence: Everett woke this morning and blew raspberries by himself for almost 10 minutes. He then looked around, found his hands, studied them a bit, and tried blowing raspberries on them only to get so tickled that he started giggling and couldn't pucker anymore. I watched on the monitor - glued to it with a huge grin on my face. My cup runneth over...

Also included in this week's fun: worksheets from a pre k curriculum text, rag doll ornaments, and 2 kinds of turkey projects involving glue, glitter confetti and construction paper. We are also doing "letters of the day" a few times per week. I have to streamline this activity - but ultimately, it will involve seeing, tracing, and phonetically sounding out the letter, then doing some sort of project with that letter. We are working on the letter "F" right now as it coincides with the exercises from David's speech therapist.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Visit with old friends

To continue our St. Francisville trip stories:

McCall and I planned to meet for breakfast the day after her party. But it was voting day - the local drive ins were packed. I gave a quick call and confirmed that it'd be ok for us to barge into McCall's sweet cousin Claire's house once more. She has 4 kiddos and a 20 acre farm. I believe she owns a little piece of heaven...

We arrived to meet everyone sleepy eyed and in jammies. Mary Louise and David instantly found their closest in age playmates and were off. I would normally worry a bit about politeness and formalities - but Claire's presence and personality just put me at ease. No screaming / no blood = no worries. McCall and I visited over coffee and the kids played. The older children took care of the youngers - I was home. I nursed Everett on the sofa while people milled about and Claire reminisced about breast feeding for...what was it? 13 years? Bless her.

We caught up about old friends and new aspirations. I laughed when Claire said she expected me to be much more outspoken (it was our first time meeting face to face though I feel I've known her for decades through McCall). I am - but my approach is typically soft. I got my hard core yelling out (mostly) in my teenage angst years and learned quickly that a soft approach and sweet smile while ripping someone a new one holds much more weight than "going in with guns a blazing".

After a time, I looked around - and outside - as just out the rear windows was the most amazing play set...ever...and David was no where to be found. After taking a quick kid inventory, I realized that Mary Louise was playing "Mommy and Baby" in a room with Claire's daughter and Claire's youngest and my David were missing. I went outside - knowing that the last place I'd seen the boys was on the play set.

****an aside. Claire and hubby installed an actual water fountain by the play set. Can I tell you how very cool I think that is...sooooo cool.

After a bit of searching, I heard some maniacal laughing. I spied and small shed in the direction of the giggles and went to investigate thinking the whole time, I would be panicking if I were anywhere but here...but here, I know that the mischief most likely doesn't involve strangers or cars...and can therefore be fixed. My gosh. That is a wonderful feeling. I rounded the corner. David and precious friend were sitting atop a humongous 4 wheeler. David informed me that it most definitely needed batteries as they'd tried to "turn it on" but it wasn't working. I noticed the basset hound licking the ground and must have looked a bit shocked. Both boys burst out with hysterical laughter.

"We fo EGGS!" they hollered - still laughing wonderful belly laughs.

The dog was eating at least 15 raw eggs that had been hard laid by the chickens. I saw quarters - I pay over $4 per dozen for those things at the local farmers' market! (totally worth it by the way - nothing better than an egg from a happy, organically fed chicken). I was both in love and embarrassed at the same time. David looked happy. Really happy. Genuinely, glowingly happy. But I knew I had to do the walk of shame and tell Claire that her gorgeous eggs were smashed against the wall of her 4 wheeler shed.

I left the boys to play - there were no more eggs to throw anyhow. I walked in and told Claire who told me, "Heather, I get about 42 eggs a day anyhow - worse things have happened here. It's ok - really."

Home I tell you.

We played, talked and giggled a bit longer before heading out. The kids fell asleep before I even got out of the driveway...

We drove about 20 minutes to Nanny Pan's Momma's house. I hadn't seen Ms. Debbie in 4 years so I pushed it with the kids to say a quick hello before really getting on the road.

It went as well as the kids could manage. I got a quick visit in with Ms. Debbie and we got on the road again headed for home.

That's the catch up for the outing...we've been super busy with fun projects this week!! Love salt dough ornaments!!



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our New Friends:

We have.......

Box Turtles!!!

Mary Louise and David chose their very own box turtles from my cousin Mary's clan a couple of weeks ago. They were so SO very thrilled!! They have done very well with it too - not touching the turtles without supervision, washing hands when done, making sure the little ones have a variety of food choices, clean water, etc.

But the temperature dropped about 2 days after we got them home. Pecan (Mary Louise named her 3 year old turtle pecan) seems to have gone into hibernation already. Though Tank (David's smaller, 1 year old) took a little longer, he / she picked at the food a few times before digging down and burying completely. We'll see them again in a few months I suppose. So far, so good!!

(Obviously, I meant to do this post a while ago - but then life happened - and I enjoyed it without blogging...it happens.)

Welcome to the family sleepy little Pecan and Tank!

A Little Road Trip

***David and Mary Louise literally ran in circles, twice around the congregation at church during Everett's Christening service. I had to sneak attack and grab them as they flew by. 

Then, while Everett was actually being baptized, David pointed and yelled, "hahaha! yook! day put water on his head and make his hair all WET! Das so funny! hahaha!" 

Everett slept the entire time until the water washed over his little noggin...then just looked up and grinned. 

That. Those moments. The running, the sweet interruptions, the spontaneous grins when everyone, including me, would expect a wince or whine...perfect displays of what I adore about these precious babies. They surprise in the most delightful ways and make me shrug my shoulders and just let life happen when I need to lighten up the most...once more - I'm not sure who's being raised and reared here...but whatever is happening, it's wonderful and it's being done with the purest of hearts and greatest of loves.

We traveled East to St. Francisville and Zachary on Monday. We were able to tag along on Brent's rounds so that we could visit family and a few very good friends in that area for a night. Though we'd had a busy weekend, the trip was well worth it. 

My oldest friend (next to Nanny Pan), McCall, (you can "meet" her anytime on her wonderful blog: http://leemeandthegirls.blogspot.com/ and hear stories of her Africa travels and amazing mission work - yeah - she's kind of a big deal) was going to be in town having a little soiree at her cousin's house. I couldn't let her be within spitting distance and not make the trip...and honestly, it didn't take much arm twisting as the excuse to drop in on my Uncle Charles and Aunt Millie and Amanda's mom Ms. Debbie just iced the already delectable cake. 

Driving through the town of St. Francisville is the emotional equivalent of having a glass of wine for me. The hills roll gently under wheel. The mossy oak branches creep over head - carved by traffic and wind so that they shape gracefully and perfectly over the cars whizzing by...or crawling...the speed limit matches the pace of life there...

I love it - but was a little nervous about the reaction of the kids. We've had tons going on - including illness - and it's thrown our routine for a loop lately. So I knew I was pushing it by doing this - but again, sometimes I just have to let go and gamble - and this was one situation I knew I had that luxury.

We arrived at Uncle Charles and Aunt Millie's house just after noon. Miss Lucy - their boarder collie - came to meet us and Mary Louise and David immediately fell in love. They threw Lucy's ball countless times, ran around outside and in, played with Aunt Millie's crochet string and spools - made telescopes and pretended to go fishing, cleaned out the bird bath...with the hose and explored Uncle Charles' workshop.


Oh - and that workshop? It looks like a big red barn...which led Mary Louise to ask, "Where da horses for dat barn?" (seems like an obvious question right?) The horses for this particular barn...are...a little different than those she's used to, however:

They come in the 1967 GTO form...and Uncle Charles insisted I drive him to the store...I declined about 12 times before sheepishly saying, "uh. ok." 

Life changing. Driving that car was life changing.

Now, I think Aunt Millie said it best when I remarked, "I've never seen David so relaxed, so entertained, so...happy" - he rarely, if ever takes to a person the way he did with Uncle Charles. Aunt Millie replied coyly, "Well Heather, you know your dear uncle never really grew up - and kids like to follow other kids - no matter the packaging." 

If ever there was an adult who could literally keep up step for step with my big kids, it's Uncle Charles. He was one step ahead of them at all times - they never had even an instant to get bored as he moved on to his next idea before they'd even settled into doing the first thing. We spent 4 hours there and the only times David got upset were:1. when I pulled out of the drive way to take Uncle Charles to the store, and 2. when we left. This, my friends, is unheard of. 

So, about that trip to the store...

Uncle Charles wanted me to get the "full effect" of his beloved car. So, he told me to go faster (of course)...and I did. But, driving 80mph through little St. Francisville is not really the best idea, ever. So I wasn't all that surprised when we pulled into the parking lot and I saw a police officer walking up to the car. I was, however, taken aback when my sweet uncle quickly jumped out, meeting the officer half way, yelling, "now don't you come over bothering me!" 

The officer's reply? "I was going to come an bother her for her poor taste in men...but then again, she obviously has good taste in cars so I suppose I'll let it slide."

He was the son of a high school classmate of Uncle Charles. Welcome to St. Francisville. And thank you for the hot rod experience. 

When we got back, Brent drove the kids just down the road and back:

and Everett? Yeah - he did just fine:

A mother never looses her touch:

We left and drove the 20 minutes to Zachary to settle the kids in with Brent at a hotel before Everett and I left to meet McCall and friends for their Noonday party. (If you've never looked at Noonday products, they are quite amazing - fair trade, great stories, and the quality and craftsman ship is top notch: http://www.mccallaldridge.noondaycollection.com/). 

Part 2 to come!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

and Time Flies...

We are STILL mending from that nasty virus. Mary Louise had a chest xray on Saturday when concerns grew over a persistent cough. The xray was clear, but we have had to remain diligent about breathing treatments and medications. I lost my voice over the weekend and we all have runny noses though things seem to (just barely) be looking up. Though we were still borderline crummy feeling, Everett was Christened this weekend. It has been planned for about 2 months and family was traveling so we went ahead with the festivities.

Though it poured raining just as we were entering the church and I was remiss in getting photos prior to Everett tiring of his booties (the ones my Aunt Polly so graciously crocheted for me when I was a baby) and his bonnet (a stunning antique handkerchief sewn into a sweet head garb by Mere), it was a gorgeous service and a wonderful time.

With his Godparents: Uncle Doug and Aunt Juliette (Everett thought the baptismal font was just about the most amazing thing. ever.)

Our group minus Mommom and David - David was way too wound up for photos and went outside for a quick run:

We had a sweet little reception afterward:

The cake pic was necessary as mindlessly eating one slice of that mess earned me 2 absolutely sleepless nights. Everett is getting more and more sensitive to dairy. Poor bub. I am watching labels and avoiding even trace dairy products now. Hard - but absolutely worth it - he's miserable if I even think about milk, butter or cheese!

I just love this pic:


Halloween went off without a hitch. We went to a trunk or treat at the church after Mary Louise's ballet class.

BOOM~! (skeleton family - it's ok to snicker)
From Drop Box

From Halloween and E's Christening Nov. 2012

It was great fun and though I'm not sure how many more years the whole "let's do glow in the dark skeleton jammies for Halloween!!" is going to fly, it's working now and nothing is easier!

More to come - I'm beyond behind on updates!