Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

HFCC Zoo Walk 2009

This past weekend the boys and I traveled to Michigan for the second annual Zoo Walk. It took place at the Detroit Zoo, and despite some yucky weather, we had a great time. THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored the walk, and a personal thank you to those of you who sponsored James (and me). I may or may not have made James make phone calls to ask for sponsors. Somehow he is just way better at that than his mommy.
A few of these girls are in my CILT (campers in leadership training) group. It was good to see them, and I am looking forward to their visit in October!

Before the walk there were games for the younger kids, face painting, and lots of bagels and apples for all the pregnant women who need to eat every 30 minutes anyone who needed a snack. I have to laugh at this picture. First I laugh because of course Snug picked a pink heart for his face. Secondly, the girl painting his face is about the exact age I was when I took care of her as a little one at camp. Her mom was the CILT counselor at the time and she was a little younger than Snug is here.

Pop Pop was in a wheelchair for most of the walk because he had knee surgery today. He is just fine, and should start feeling better everyday. Baby J was glad to sit on his lap and have a ride while enjoying an apple.

Our two mile walk wasn't even completed before the other walkers finished, went back to the festivities, and then caught back up with us again to get a better view of the zoo (many things were closed when we first were walking because they let us in early before the zoo actually opens). I blame part of that on the fact that we had two children, a wheelchair, and a large wagon. My mom thought perhaps a bigger part of the blame could have been that I stopped to take a ton of pictures. Hmmmmm :o)


I didn't remember very much about the zoo, although I can think of at least three times that I went growing up. I did remember this fountain.

Part of the pictures I kept stopping to take were pictures of people standing next to the signs that told the walkers which way to go. I was asked to try and get them so the sponsors could have "thank-you pictures" along with their thank-you notes.

One of the perks of being there early, before the zoo opens, was seeing some of the animals eat. I don't know what this Tiger's breakfast was...but it was big.

A big monkey. I read all the signs the signs as I wrestled Baby J to sit down in the wagon, tried to be of assistance to my dad, took pictures of sponsor signs, and chatted with my mom. Therefore, I know that this is technically called a big monkey...or something.
This IS a gorilla. I'd swear on that one.

I'm not sure Snug even saw the rhinos, because they blended in with the rocks so well. I got some good pictures because my camera has a ginormous lens on it.

We also got to see the zookeeper feed the Lemurs. They were so happy to see her they were screeching and jumping all over. One of them took up residence on her back as she tidied up the cage.

Oh, look who is sitting. Pay no attention to the fact that Baby J's apple is snuggled very close to my Crocs. If you were to have an aerial view, they were not in fact touching, I assure you. You can also observe that we took no less than 5 umbrellas with us. We didn't have to use them a whole lot as it mostly was misty and not a whole lot of downpour.

And we saw a giraffe. This is where Baby J threw his apple on the ground and then wanted it back. Um...no. I think this is also the point where my mom and I were starting to get really really tired of walking/pushing/pulling. She was a very good sport.

The bears were not very active, but at least Snug knew what they were. However, I must point out that he was WAY more interested in the small plastic snake he had won as a prize while doing games earlier in the morning. Who needs live animals when you have a 20 cent snake?

After we had lunch, let Snug play on the really cool playscape, and Pop Pop went home (being in a wheelchair at the zoo in the rain when your knee is killing you was not on his top ten list in life), my mom and I took the boys to see the buildings we had missed (were closed) on our initial walk. This is the amphibian house.

Snug enjoyed the larger than life metal animals.

At one point we stopped to have a quick snack of craisins (thanks A. Kim) and pretzels. I may or may not have lured this duck really close to us for a quick photo op. I'm not sure you are supposed
to feed the wildlife (I KNOW you can't feed the zoo animals...but this was just out and about) but I didn't see any signage saying otherwise...

There were lots of nice gardens throughout the zoo. At one point it warmed up to the point where jeans and a long sleeved shirt sufficed.

They have a really neat seal and polar bear exhibit. Snug is walking through the tunnel.

Baby J is wishing he could go for a swim.

The zoo was very nice, but both boys were more than ready for a nap. Baby J even caught a few winks snuggled up with Pop Pop's cane. If you'd like to learn more about Huron Forest Camp Cherith please feel free to check them out. And write a check if you'd like :o)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stay Tuned

I have great pictures from the Huron Forest Camp Cherith Zoo walk this past weekend.

I have one very mobile and crazy one year old.

I have a three year old pushing every button I have.

I have one little baby growing very fast inside of me making me want to eat/not eat/eat every 20 minutes.

I am so tired I could just fall over about half of the time, and end up on the couch the other half.

I have become terrible about posting...but please forgive me as I fall asleep on my keyboard!

(Actually I spend too much time reading other people's posts and run out of time for my own!)

Goodnight

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Big Brother(s)


Snug is such a good big brother. If I was to have a big brother, which I never did, I would probably pick him. I had a little brother, and so does he. That we have in common. (My little brother is an excellent uncle by the way!)

And Baby J seems pretty happy to have Snug as a big brother (wrestling is their favorite game) and happy to be his little brother. But soon HE will also be...

...a BIG brother too! Because Baby Dray #3 is on his/her way in April!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Cut Or Not To Cut

I really need to make a decision about Baby J (who we have been calling Monkey as of late) and his hair style.
I love love love his baby locks...but they are getting a bit shaggy and long.

I know though that once his hair is cut, it will never be the same. After Snug's hair was cut, it lost all baby softness.


I love his wispy look, but it is starting to be in his eyes, and almost needs a barrette at times, which, won't be happening.

So when does he stop being a baby and need a big boy haircut?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Published!

This is an exciting day! Despite being SUPER tired (I think I've been hit by a truck) and downright cranky ("Snug, will you PLEASE stop screeching, and NO Baby J I do NOT want to have you crawl on me as I attempt to lay down for 20 second on the couch!") it is an exciting day.

A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about washing wool longies or wool covers for a popular blog "The Cloth Diaper Whisperer". I had to do a few edits (because even though some of the things I wrote work fine for me, they didn't recommend them), but it was published today. I won't swear to it, but I think they did some tweeking of their own. BUT I DON"T CARE! I WAS PUBLISHED :O)

Ahem.

If you'd like to read my post, click here: http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2009/09/no-need-to-be-sheepish-about-washing.html

Thanks to Serena over at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer for giving me this opportunity! I am very excited :o)

*A special thanks to my mom for giving me all of my first cloth diapering supplies. Without her I would have never started this adventure!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Look Who's Walking

This was a great weekend for Baby J! Aside from the fact that he got to watch the University of Michigan beat Notre Dame, he also started to walk. Really walk. More than 3-5 steps walk. Now, we still have lots of crawling, but walking is beginning to take over. I call him an official walker now because he was moved from the infant nursery to the toddler nursery at church...the entrance exam for that is, well, toddling. Snug got to move before he was walking, but he was almost 15 months old and talking/throwing a ball/terrorizing the infants.

Baby J's debut in the toddler nursery was shoddy at best. I was one of the workers in his room and informed the other workers that we really should "page that kid's mother". He cried and threw fits and carried on. However, he wouldn't even settle down for me so I don't know what the problem was. After while he got his act together and settled in. I think the change of room may have thrown him a bit. Perhaps it was the fact that he got the memo that he is a toddler now, and he is sad to relinquish his baby state.

His sound system also improved this weekend. He has had better eye contact, more sounds than we have ever heard come out of him, and even said "mama" again...we haven't heard that in months. All of this, plus being able to walk makes us think the fluid in his ears has drained significantly, if not completely. Part of his not walking was being attributed to his equilibrium being off. (He has had ear infections/significant amounts of fluid on his ears since December)

We are still pulling for him to get tubes in his ears, but Children's Hospital wants to wait until he is 2...so the doctors vs. the hospital vs. the insurance company rages on. You have to love healthcare. It of course will be much better once the government takes over. Everything will be resolved.

Enjoy the video of him walking :o) Hopefully being a bi-ped will agree with him.



video

Friday, September 11, 2009

Not a Happy Camper A Happier Camper *UPDATED

Today I was going to post a great recipe I made up for raspberry smoothies (nothing earth shattering, just were really good). I even had pictures for those of you (like me) who had never attempted to make their own smoothies before. But instead I came home to a terrible sight, and my smoothie blog will have to wait.

My husband called me from his SWAT school, about an hour away to tell me he had taken all of the sets of keys with him today. I was very grateful that our church playgroup (that I head up...at least for now) was at a park a short distance away. Plan B...we will all walk.

As I got everyone ready to go this morning, I realized if I locked the front door I"d have no way back in the house. I also realized I couldn't lock the front door from the outside without a key...hmm....Plan C we will go out through the garage, and we will all walk.

I also realize that we won't be able to lock either the door from the house to the garage, or the garage door to the outside. Plan D...leave the doors unlocked and hope people are really scared of our 2 dogs (which really, they should be...I would be), go out through the garage, and we will all walk.

So I pull the kids, in a wagon (because not all of us can walk, and no one would walk, along with our lunch, a few balls, the parachute, and some diapers to the park. That might technically be plan E.

The kids had a great time, and it is always nice to spend time with other moms (hi guys!). Snug had a fantastic time with a few boys he met there plus some old friends running around like mad, his little fauxhawked head getting quite sweaty, while Baby J ate some mulch, made friends with a kitten, and hung out with a friend from the nursery.

Getting home I thought I might pass out as it had gotten quite warm and I was really wishing I had my van. When I opened the garage door I noticed something I had really hoped would NOT happen. The door between the house and the garage was open. Darn it.

See, our door doesn't close quite right and as the seasons change, we have to latch it from the inside with a special lock to keep it closed. During the warm weather, the door seems to stay closed alright, we just have the problem as the weather cools down. Evidently this morning was chilly enough that it didn't latch as well I as I had hoped, and the dogs let themselves into our house.

I quickly surveyed for damage, as Lucy, our three-legged female, has a taste for all things wooden and plastic. Our male, Chester, has only chewed one or two things in his entire life that I can think of. Lucy on the other hand, has chewed most of the backyard. If you ever come over for a picnic, watch your legs as you sit at our table.

Only two things had been chewed up. One was a bag of dog treats I had stashed under the computer desk for when I really needed to pull out the big guns. She got them out of two plastic bags and finished them off. The other thing was our Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack.

You know that is, right? The white rocking base with yellow post and colored rings that stack. Oh I was so mad. Our rock-a-stack is one of the tools I use daily with Baby J in therapy. DAILY. Do you know how many toys are in our living room? HUNDREDS. Do you know how many I use with him daily? ONE. Really? She had to chew that up? Grrrrrr.

Now I really should be grateful that she did not ruin more of the toys, because if I had to pick something for her to demolish, I'm not quite sure what I would choose. So I was/am not a happy camper.

But do you know what made me a bit* of a happier camper? A friend called to see if I could watch her son tomorrow for a couple of hours. Snug will be thrilled as he and this boy get along really well. Not only that, it crossed my mind that she might still have their rock-a-stack (doesn't everyone own one? I even had one as a kid) and low and behold it was in a pile to take to consignment this very weekend! A "new" one will be coming to our house within 24 hours of the old one dying. A couple of the rings didn't get chomped, and I will hang on to them in case any of ours get misplaced.

*A bit because I don't know what theirs is, but ours was a vintage one that I found before I even had kids and just had to have for future children. There is some nostalgia lost...but I can get over it. Someday.

I am writing this UPDATE about 15 minutes after I posted. I read something over at The Mommy Diaries that you really will want to read. I think I will even go hug Lucy and forgive her.
In fact, I am feeling so much better I might just upload those photos and share my new smoothie recipe...if the kids stay sleeping long enough.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grocery Store Blues

video

After you enjoy this video of Snug "reading" Are You My Mother? You can read for yourself about how much fun I think the grocery store is.

I went to the grocery store with four children under four today, and I gave them all cookies. Each and everyone of them. So they would be quiet.

Wait a minute, I don't give my kids cookies, sans the one "oreo" (read; Aldi brand sandwich cookie knock-off) that my daycare kids (age 18 mos and over) get if they eat ALL of their lunch. Why on earth am I serving them in the grocery store?

Because I wanted to remain sane.

See, our local Kroger's has marketed to a young crowd. Snug could croak out the work "Krogers" by the time he was two. When you first get to the store you have a selection of carts to choose from, but when you have four or five children under the age of four along, you opt for the one that holds four children at a time. This is possible because the two front seats are in a "car", sorta like the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. Snug forfeited his turn in the car section of the cart today because he decided slapping Little Miss E in the backseat was acceptable behavior. Turns out it wasn't. Neither was pulling a jar of pickles off the shelf in Aldi and dropping them on the floor. But I digress.

As I maneuver this insanely large, yet effectively jail-like cart around the store, I must be very careful to not run over displays, other people's small children, or old ladies who take too long in the canned veggie isle. Turning this cart is...interesting, and turning it around, doesn't happen. Not only is the cart almost twice as large as normal, it is usually carrying nearly 100 lbs of children, not to mention the weight of groceries.

So as I carefully avoided disassembling the bread display, I grabbed cookies for all small children. This kept their mouths quiet, their hands and arms inside the ride, and their questions to a minimum as I dashed through the bread, past the bakery, to the deli in my quest to GET OUT as fast as possible. Baby J may or may not have had about 1/4 of his cookie because his mommy was hungry, and he hasn't really had sweets to speak of thus far in life anyway. No need to get crazy now by giving him a whole one.

All was going well and there was an open spot at the U-scan that I headed for until I heard an old man start yelling at me. This guy works for Kroger and was waving wildly at me and telling me to back up (um, sure mister, I'll get right on that). Apparently some "hooligan" had spilled pop (not soda, I assure you it is pop) and he had put some gritty stuff down for easier clean up. Only the spot was about the size of a dinner plate and I was driving a semi. Sorry mister, didn't see it. So as he continued to yell at me and I continued to try and pull my cart out of there I explain that I can't see the floor very well when I use the "car cart". He looks me in the eye and says "They don't use it lady!"

By this time other people have gathered around, as had another worker. Apparently old men yelling at exhausted women in the grocery store is a spectator event. I really didn't know what to say, and before I could stop myself I retorted "well, I can't bring four children to the grocery store and use a regular cart." I said it nicely, but the other worker cracked up and he replied that he had eight children of his own. Then the other worker shut him right up by outright asking him if he had ever helped with the shopping or taken the children anywhere in his life. He had no reply. I had finally backed up the cart and was unloading in another location. We didn't get any stickers (another marketing tool they use on the preschool crowd) on the way out as I just wanted to get out of there.

#1 said not to worry about him though when I talked to him on the phone later. The same man yelled at him (while he was in uniform) for parking (a marked cruiser) in the fire lane. #1 was there to take a theft report from the manager. The man went ballistic on him about not following fire code. #1 informed him if there was a fire, he'd be parked in that spot anyway along with the fire engines and really, you don't tell officers what to do. Perhaps he should have added not to cross mothers with many small children who have crumbs on their faces, a clear indicator that the mother has had it.

**For the record, I do this every week (minus the broken pickles, giving Baby J a cookie, and getting into it with old men) and it usually goes very uneventfuilly...I usually have #1 along!**

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Drays Attend a Wedding

#1 was in a wedding this weekend, and we had a lot of fun. Friday night was the rehersal and rehersal dinner-by then we were convinced we had made the right decesion to have Baby J "visit" some friends for the day/evening of the wedding. He does not like to be over tired and does not like to party. He was both over tired and not partying at the rehearsal/rehersal dinner. He must be a baby or something...


Here is the groom almost ready to go. He is watching football to calm his nerves, but OSU almost made him quite upset by letting Navy get so close in score. This must be the Michigan game because he is dressed. He didn't change out of his OSU jersey until the clock ran out. He may possibly be one of their biggest fans.

Outside the house where the guys got ready, Snug and #1 pose for a quick picture.

Snug already knew from the night before when we hung these lanterns that they were not to be played with...but man were they tempting. The wedding and reception took place outside, and the weather could not have been more beautiful.


Saying their vows...


Sorry these pictures are a tad out of order. This is actually before the wedding. Snug is being consoled by the bride's aunt...because he was in T R O U B L E. While mommy was setting up the video camera (I was sorta the videographer...there were two of us, and I am by NO means a videographer) he chose to dig in a large sandy area under a picnic table. His pants, shoes, and arms were filthy. I thought I might choke him, but I didn't. Instead he was marched into the house, I did a quick wash up job, and he was told under no uncertain circumstances to stay on this couch(?) until the ceremony started.


The bride was beautiful and I wanted to get a picture of the back of her hair/dress/veil seems how she probably never even got to see how pretty it was!


Of course I had to play with my sepia setting...




The cake not only looked pretty, it tasted really good too. I'm not that into beautiful cakes that taste like plastic.

The reception was held under a big tent with white lights and a dance floor in the middle. Each table had two pictures on it, and a number. Table number one was pictures of both of them at year one. We sat at table 16, so the bride and groom were sixteen years old in the photos!

Snug sat very nice during the ceremony thanks to a friend who sat next to him, a box of raisins, and a magnadoodle.

I think this groomsman was the most handsome of all!


Remember that the groom is a big football fan. Well, this is the cake topper...and the garter (which Snug caught with a bit of help from the bride's brother) was also OSU.
My "good" camera takes great outdoor pictures, but once it starts to get dark, or inside, it doesn't do so well. It needs a bigger flash (the one built into it is just pathetic as you can see above) and eve if I mess with the ISO it isn't very good. The quality of my reception pictures was pathetic and I erased 90% of them. Oh well. My little point and shoot takes terrific night pictures, but I forgot it.
So even though Baby J was missed, we had a great time and were relieved not to have a crying, soggy, dirty heap of a baby to take home with us that night. Congratulations to the bride and groom!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Baby J has started to imitate things he sees more and more, which is so encouraging. His language development has completely stopped and verbal communication has been going backwards at this point, but in other areas, he is doing great! I am trying not to put all of my eggs in one basket, but I am hoping that when he gets his tubes in (date TBD) his language and communication will pick right up and catch right up. We are trying to sign with him, but he wants nothing to do with it. It makes him frustrated and he shuts down.

However, he does like to do what everyone else is doing and is very proficient at things like stacking rings on his rack-a-stack, putting a ball into a toy, and running a car on the floor with "the boys". I get a kick watching he and Snug play together.

This is Snug at 20 months, and this was one of his favorite activities. I blogged about this particular day here.
So this little boy was sitting so nicely on the deck today (so sorry to my Michigan friends who are experiencing WAY too cold of weather for early September) watching Snug and Little M do acrobatics in the yard and on the jungle gym. He decided to try some tricks of his own.

First you do this...and if you don't fall...

...you can do this! I was so proud of him. And look at those chunk legs :o) Baby, you've come a long way!
Little M, Snug, and I had school again today. We will be doing it two times a week. I can't believe how much you can get done in a 30-40 minute time period when you only have 2 kids to teach. No wonder true homeschool kids (although I am "homeschooling" these guys for preschool this year, at this point I have no intentions of homeschooling) are done with their work in 2-3 hours.
Today we:
Reviewed from Monday
Did calendar time
Read/talked about a story (10 Apples Up on Top)
Sang a song ("Aa" Sound song)
Learned a Poem (Way Up High In The Apple Tree)
Painted (apple prints)
Practiced cutting
Had a snack (A is for Apples you know!)
Did a workbook page (drawing straight lines)
Did 1-1 counting to 10
Did a Bible story (A is for Abraham)
Put a sticker on our chart (For doing your best!)
That many things in my kindergarten class, back when I taught kindergarten, would have taken at least 2 hours or MORE to complete. Crazy. We also went to the library where we learned about things that are green and live in a pond. My boys were very into that theme today!