Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mohawk [Witt]Man

Here's my little Wittman - we call him "Witt". His hair is growing quickly on the top of his head. I thought he would look cute with a Mohawk!

Here's a before picture:

And after a bit of water and styling, here's my Mohawk Man:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back to the Laundry Room

Before I even start, I have to give credit where credit is due. I am TOTALLY stealing Take90West's laundry room idea. Her laundry room is how we "met". I covet her laundry room. It's beautiful. And although I love her red bins and golden yellow walls, we had already purchased green paint for the room - turns out I really like the green; it brightens up the place!

So anyway, we've made some progress in the laundry room - basically just putting the shelves up. That alone has given a mores spacious and organized look.

Now before anyone asks me why we need 2 gigantic bottles of bleach, let me just tell you. Jeff uses it to clean out the A/C piping. He asked me to buy two bottles, so I did. The cheapest bleach was the biggest bottle and I was trying to be frugal. We've had these two bottles of bleach for about 3 months now. Apparently he didn't need such big bottles. Oh well. Maybe in about a year or two they'll be gone. ANYWAY... back to my copy cat laundry room.

I have narrowed it down to three choices in baskets.

#1 The Canvas Crate: handles, no place for a label, and moderately sturdy#2 The Canvas Bin: no handles, place for label, moderately sturdy, comes in a wide variety of colors
#3 The Seagrass bin: handles, no label, exceptionally sturdy, natural

What are your thoughts on the baskets? If you think I should choose canvas basket, what color should I go with (the room is actually almost lime)?

Thanks for all your comments!! When receiving talents, I obviously didn't stand in the "decorating line", because I'm quite deficient in that area! LOL!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS Shiela and Linda SS!! You are my Bloggy Giveaway Winners!! I've already emailed you, so just let me know which subscription you'd like!
If I don't hear from you by Monday morning, I'll be picking another winner... sorry gotta have some rules! :)

Check out Rocks In My Dryer for all the current giveaways going on! (Check out the Rules and Regulations there, too) After spending too much time signing up for everything, I've decided to hold my own giveaway!!

Shameless plug here! I am a Southern Living at HOME consultant and these are the magazine subscriptions we offer.

TWO lucky winners will with their choice of one year's subscription to one of the following:

Southern Living
Cottage Living
Coastal Living
Cooking Light
all you
Real Simple
Southern Accents

My Rules & Regs: You do not have to be a blogger. US Mailing addresses only. Leave me a comment on this post including your email or blog address so I can contact you if you win. I'll be choosing two people randomly on Friday at noon CST! Good Luck!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Painting of the Pumpkins

Happy Halloween!!!

This week's Unplugged Project was to have the kids paint a small pumpkin. Will and I went grocery shopping together a few days ago and he picked them out for Nathan and himself. He was very excited to hear that we were going to paint them. He told me that he was going to paint his all white. (I figured that would change when we got the paints out!)

With this painting project,I thought we'd have a little bit of fun with mixing colors. I only gave the boys red, yellow, blue, and white paints.

Will started out with the blue and yellow and had a really pretty green goin' on. Then he switched it up a bit and mixed blue and red.

Then he added some white and finished off the pumpkin in pink. It was beautiful! ;)

Nathan liked red. This is as far as he got on his "painting of the pumpkin" because...

Jeff was out there in the garage with the boys carving the big pumpkin with his roto-zip! Tools are much more interesting than paint.

I helped Nathan's pumpkin out a bit and gave it some polka dots. Happy little pumpkin!

Will wanted mean looking carved pumpkins this year - what do ya think? Are ya scared???


Visit Unplug Your Kids for next week's "assignment"! This is great fun!

Menu Plan Monday - October 29

I'm using some new recipes and I've linked them for ya! (I've already tried #1 and #4 - I rated both 5 out of 5 stars!)

1. Alabama Pulled Pig (smoked Boston Butt - sooo good!)
Baked potatoes

2. Chicken Cordon Bleu II
Yellow Squash Casserole
Steamed Broccoli

3. Church Supper: Chili

4. Chive Venison Steak
Okra Patties
Aunt Glenda's Sweet Potato Casserole

5. Grandmother's Chicken Stew
Cheese toast

6. O'Brien Kielbasa Skillet
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

7. Stouffer's Chicken Skillet (my night off from cookin'!)

Honored to Serve

1 Timothy 3

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Today Jeff was appointed to serve as a deacon for the congregation with which we worship. I post this, not in a boastful way, but as a marker of a very special time in our lives. I am privileged to be the wife of such a wonderful man and look forward to serving God by his side for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Silly Little Introduction-Making Noise-Maker

A cute little thing Nathan does is usually in the morning when we are all piling into the master bed for morning drinks (coffee and hot chocolate). He's the first one in there so it's just the three of us and he sits between Jeff and I. He will stretch out his right hand palm up in my direction and say, "Mama". Then he swings his hand over to Jeff and says, "Dada". He'll repeat, "Dada" and then swing the hand back over to me for, "Mama". After the introductions, I tell Nathan, "Thank you, I know him." :) This has been going on for a few weeks now - too cute!!!

I could describe Nathan as a mime that makes noises instead of motions. It's turned into a bit of a game to figure out what he wants, but other times I know exactly what he's "talkin' about":
  • If he wants a drink, he purses his lips and makes a "sssssssslurp" sound as if he's drinking out of a straw
  • When he pretends to sleep, we get a nasally "honk-shoo, honk-shoo" for pretend snoring
  • Wanting to have a bite of something to eat is always a fun one: he comes walking up opening and closing his mouth with a "num num num num"
  • He makes the noises of some animals instead of calling them by name: moo/cow, cack-cack/duck, nay-nay/horse. (Nay-nay is also what he calls himself).
  • Reference to Jeff's drill is a high pitched: "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEE"

The latest addition to his noise making is when he's asking about his Pa-Paw, Jeff's dad. He thought it was great thing to learn the sign for grandfather. So, he signs it and whispers "Pa-Paw". (I don't know why he whispers it.) Anyway, recently he spent the night at their house and I'm sure he rode some of the great big tractors while he was there because now its: "Pa-Paw brrrrrmmmmm". Every time he sees a tractor, he says it. "Pa-Paw brrmmmmm!"

And just so ya know, yes, he can talk and does, but I think he's just having some fun with this right now. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2007

How 4 Hours Can Feel Like 24

[WARNING: L.O.N.G. Post and a bit of a rant]

Well, I took Witt for his allergy testing yesterday. Man, what a stressful day all around.

First, of course, I have to time the whole nursing thing perfectly as I am not one to nurse in public. (I have NO problem with those who do, I just don't). The allergist is an hour away so I plan to get there early and nurse before the appointment. Turns out, I got the wrong directions off the computer and had to call the office and get directions from where I was (another 15 minute drive). So, I'm there about 15 minutes early (which was the time I had set aside to fill out paperwork since he's a new patient). Good thing Witt is an efficient nurser and we made it on time. (I do not like being late.)

Of course there is paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. "Fill out these four sheets and then return them to me. After that, fill out this packet of information regarding the episode and your family history. If you don't finish the packet before you get called back, just take it with you and give it to the nurse when you are done." Ok, picture me with my humongo diaper bag pulling out my PDA for contact information and my wallet for insurance information so I can fill out the mounds of paperwork while holding a burping baby. Go ahead, chuckle... I'll wait. :0)

So, we get called back and I load everything back into the diaper bag and bring my paperwork with Witt. I finish the paperwork and change Witt's diaper so I look like a good mom that never has a kid in a wet diaper (jk!). So we play a little and laugh and have a good time and then... holy moley does it ever stink in here. We have a winner! Luckily I am prepared with another diaper and a ziploc bag!

The doctor comes in and we have about a 3 minute chat about what happened. She listens to his lungs and tells me that she is sending Witt to the lab to have blood drawn. They'll do the tests for peanut, milk, egg white, and egg yolk. On babies, they like to test the blood first because there is a possibility of reaction with the scratch test. If it comes back negative, they'll have to do the scratch test anyway (because of a lot of false negatives); but if it comes back positive, they won't. (I can see the logic in it so I go along with it.) As she walks out the door, "Oh, since you are breastfeeding, you need to stay away from peanuts and milk, too." Oh man! I can handle the peanuts, but milk?

I call Jeff, who is watching Nathan since MIL has the "day off", to let him know we just need to go down to the lab for some blood work and we'll be home in about 1.5 hours. Good! He needs to get some things done at work in the afternoon.

Well, that didn't happen exactly as expected either. First another nurse comes in with information about the epi-pen and shows me how to use it with a trainer pen (no needle or drugs). Thankfully, she gives me the trainer so I can take it home and show Jeff and MIL, too. Making conversation, I tell the nurse that my dad should carry around an epi-pen, but he says he'd die before using it; he is deathly afraid of needles. I laugh. She looks sternly at me and says that he probably would die of an anaphylactic reaction if he doesn't use it. (This I know and so does Dad, it's kind of a joke, but not really - either way, I'm not here for a lecture; just trying to make conversation. sorry.)

So Stern Nurse proceeds to tell me that I need to go this lab or that lab. What? You don't have a lab here? Ugh. Where are the labs? She tells me where they are as I look at her blankly and tell her I'm not from around here. She continues to say (in a condescending voice) "Well, it's just on the corner of such-n-such" (I guess they are well known roads). I tell her again, "Not from around here. You are basically telling me to go to the corner of road A & B. I have a poor sense of direction, can you start me off from here and tell me how to get there?" The response, "I have a poor sense of direction, too. Do you know where the hospital is?" Turns out that yes, I do because that's where I got lost this morning! I can get there. I ask for a phone number in case I do get lost and she looks like I just asked her to change a dirty diaper. Ugh. "I'll just ask the lady up front."

The lady up front easily gives me a phone number in case I get lost. We load back into the truck and off we go. Witt falls asleep along the way. I finally find which entrance to go to (it's a Women's and Children's Hospital). I leave Witt in his car seat and lug him to the building. (He weighs about 18 lbs and then the carseat is 10, I think - so yes, I'm lugging.) 3rd floor - lab. ELEVATOR!!!! Alleluia!!!

I'm third in line at the lab. Now as a mom with a sleeping baby, I notice a couple of annoyances: the door bangs when it closes and the lab techs literally shout for the next person "Number 72 go to room 3! I'll be there in a minute!" Witt makes it through all the noise and continues his nap as we are shouted at that it's our turn. The lady in the room starts her data entry (she shouts, too - don't know why I'm standing right there!) Here's the conversation:

Lady: Is his first name Wittman?
Me: Yes, it is spelled W-I-T-T...
Lady: So is his last name ***?
Me (confused because it is sitting there on the paper in front of her): Yes.
She looks confused and mumbles to herself.
Lady: What's his social?
Me: I don't know. I left the card at home.
Lady: Was he born here at this hospital?
Me: No
Lady: Where was he born?
I tell her and she looks very displeased.
Lady: And he doesn't have a social?
Me: Yes, he has one. I don't have the card with me.
Lady again displeased.

While this annoying conversation is going on, Witt is waking as the nurse is checking for veins. Ok, truth be told, I was really hoping it was just going to be a heel stick to get blood like when he was a baby. Oh, no. Little veins, little needle, little tourniquet. So sad.

He sits in my lap and I hold the opposite arm down. She sticks him and then... nothing. No blood. Witt is SCREAMING HIS HEAD OFF! I don't know what's going on. After what seems like an eternity I finally say, "This has got to be hurting him!" The nurse promises she's not digging that he just keeps moving his little arm in the wrong direction and the needle is missing the vein. Not digging? Are you serious? She assures me that he'll sleep well on the way home. Again, are you serious? I DON'T CARE! I want him to stop being in pain! I'm really contemplating telling them to stop and that we'll just do the scratch test another day instead.

Finally, she pulls the needle out and they call another nurse. She comes in checks both arms, grabs a new needle and heads back to the original arm. She's in!! Thank you! Two vials and we're done! And out of there! We should have the results in about a week.

We head home and Witt does in fact sleep on the way home. We get home just in time for the next feeding and for Jeff to head back to work. The End.

Update: With all that said, let me just add that there is a good possibility that not everyone was as terrible to Witt and me as I thought they were. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bottled Memories

Image from flickr
I've been blogging for a few months now and have found that I really enjoy it. I've been giving some thought to my blog as to why I do it and what I want to accomplish with it. I continue to come up with that it is a great way to record my family. It's a way to "bottle" those special thoughts and moments of day to day life.

I have scrapbooks that I work on when I have the time for the same reason, but blogging is so much faster. I've recorded so much already in my blog and I'm so behind in all of my scrapbooks (and haven't even started Witt's). I can quickly get a blog written, search for a picture, change my font or color easily, and there you have it: pretty bottled memories.

I had been thinking about printing out my blog so I would have a hard copy of it when I ran across this at Take 90 West (a blog I drop in on). There is already a way to turn my blog into a bound book! I'm so excited. Each year, I can "slurp" my blog and have it made into a book. I can see my shelves lined with books back to back: Boys Rule My Life 2007, 2008, 2009, etc. A library of our memories in ink forever to share. Go ahead, say it: "Awwwww, how sweet - what a sap!" :)

Seriously, though. There is so much I have meant to write down in baby books that I just never got to. Little quips from inside the kids brains. This blog is going to help me keep up with all of my precious little memories.

With all that said, you'll probably be noticing lots of little random posts from our daily life from now on. I'll still do all the other random stuff I normally do, as this blog is also a way to help me be accountable for things, make new friends out in the big blog world, and generally just have fun and be a little creative from time to time. Overall though, I'm going to be more intentional about recording the things that matter to me.

I hope you enjoy the journey in which Boys Rule My Life!

Uh Oh... We Plugged Back In

Okay, admission time here. We've been watching waaayyy too much tv again. It's amazing how a little germ can throw everything off. We let the boys veg-out in front of the boob tube when they were sick and then when Jeff was sick, I left the tv on to babysit them while I finished killing the germs around the house. After that, we just kind of fell back into the old routine. Well, almost - we still weren't watching quite so much as before.

(I've always been meaning to put this side note in somewhere and this looks like a good spot: We don't let our kids just watch anything on tv. We only watch PBS and it's all educational programming. No violence. No commercials. No random nonsense. We've always been very good about the choices of shows. It's the amount of time they spend that we don't like. Jeff and I were actually tv free for at least two years before we had kids. It was wonderful. We talked, read, spent time together, cleaned, cooked, walked the dogs, lots of things. It was a much less stressful life without the veg-out. Sounds like it should be less stressful WITH the veg-out, but it wasn't. Anyway, that's my side note. Glad to have put it in somewhere. Back to our regularly scheduled blog...)

Anyway... last night was another rough night of teething for Witt and when everyone got up for the day, the tv went on. Breakfast was stressful because the boys wanted to watch instead of eat. Getting ready for school was stressful because they wanted to watch instead of get dressed. ETCETERA ETCETERA ETCETERA... This was a stressful morning.

Was it all the tv? No. Did it make matters worse? Yes. Can I fix that? Yes! :) Jeff and I have already discussed that the tv stays off tomorrow and future mornings. We're going unplugged again.

I thought it important to write about our little pitfall. There's no need to make it seem extremely easy. It's an adjustment and we're forming new habits. We - Will - Make - It!!! :)

Thanks for letting me vent for a minute. Hey, wait, this is my blog; I can do what I want to!!! (Yes, feeling a little sassy today! ha!)

Me... In List Form

In no particular order, just random info about me...

1. My legal name is Rebecca, but only my Grandmother calls me that.
2. My husband called me "Miss Becky" while we dated (southern farm boys, gotta love 'em)
3. I was born a yankee, but now call the south "home".
4. I am the oldest of three children.
5. I have lived in 8 different states.
6. I am a Christian.
7. I know how to drive a 5 speed.
8. I have a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech.
9. I got engaged on a 4-wheeler in a cow pasture. (again, southern farm boy...)
10. I was a cheerleader in high school.
11. I did nothing extra-curricular in college (unless you include work).
12. I do not drink or smoke.
13. I prefer dogs to cats.
14. I love to scrapbook when I have the time.
15. I really enjoy cooking.
16. I am honest, sometimes too honest.
17. One of my pet-peeves includes incorrect grammar when speaking. (although mine isn't perfect!)
18. I have no desire to try sushi.
19. I go brain-dead when I am over stressed.
20. I function best after 9 hours of sleep (not that that happens anymore...)
21. I enjoy algebra.
22. I like to try to do things by myself first.
23. My breakfast is usually a cup of half-caff coffee and lots of milk. (UPDATE: now soy milk)
24. I want to learn how to knit (even just a blanket would be nice).
25. I don't like heights.
26. I don't keep secrets from my hubby.
27. I have 4 close friends that I can tell anything.
28. I think it would be interesting to serve jury duty.
29. I have a POOR sense of direction. (that's what the southern farm boy is for! *wink*)
30. I tend to speak before I think.
31. I would love to grow a vegetable garden. (again, that southern farm boy will come in handy someday!)
32. I love planting flowers. (I didn't say watering and caring for... so sad, poor flowers.)
33. I enjoy going to the mailbox each day.
34. I rock my babies before bed (Will gets a story or a song - his choice).
35. I love cold weather - big comfy warm clothes and blankets, hot cocoa, and fires
36. My husband spoils me. (Truly, he does in many ways.)
37. I kiss my hubby every day at the door before he leaves for work.
38. I generally fall asleep easily at night.
39. I have watched Days of Our Lives since I was ummm... born. (thanks, Mom!)
40. I enjoy computer programming (especially in VB and Access).
41. I learn best through hands on trial and error.
42. I don't take enough time for myself.
43. I prefer the mountains to the beach.
44. I have been to China. (thanks Uncle Jim!)
45. I am enjoying learning sign language and teaching my children.
46. I was almost fluent in Spanish (you lose it if you don't use it).
47. I can be sarcastic.
48. I love stationary but hardly send handwritten notes.
49. I think my boys are beautiful.
50. I am very happy where Boys Rule My Life. =)

Wordless Wednesday - Robot Dance Video

I'm feeling kind of random today! Hope you enjoy the video!

Will received one of these robots when he was 2 years old from Grampa John for Christmas! We still like to watch it dance...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Five Year Old Brain

A friend of a friend is hosting "Tiny Talk Tuesday" - how the tiny people in our lives think and speak - I thought I'd join in as I wanted to record this anyway... ;o)

My husband and I had cute little glimpses into Will's thought processes yesterday:

Jeff and I were discussing our future house plans and deciding on how to situate the rooms so that once all the kids are gone we can close off that portion of the house (for heating/cooling purposes). Will heard that and immediately said, "No, Daddy, don't sell us!!" Bless his heart.

Another cute little thought was about germs. With the stomach bug going around our house, we were teaching Will about germs and how they can "jump" from person to person. Yesterday, Jeff was recovering from his "day off" and had a terrible headache. When Will heard this, his next question was, "Does that mean all the germs have jumped into his head?" Oh, we laughed! :)

A Mom's Best Friend

With Witt going to the ER this past week, I am once again so thankful for my top of the list, puts my mind at ease, helps a momma not to worry at night, must have baby product: The Angelcare Monitor.

Through a pad that goes under the mattress, this monitor is able to detect the slightest motion within the crib . So slight as to detect whether the baby is breathing or not. If there is no motion detected for 15 seconds, a warning signal sounds. After 20 seconds, you get a full alarm.

I have used this monitor with all three of my children every night until they were at least one (it's still with Witt as he's only 5 months). Will, now 5 years old, set the alarm off twice in his first two weeks home and the doctor prescribed a monitor that stayed on him to recorded his breathing for a month. (I think he just out-grew it because he was fine after that.)

Now, don't think this monitor is only for the extreme cases. How many of you mom's out there have found yourself in the baby's room laying your hand on him/her in the middle of the night "just to check"? And then of course when the baby's sick, you check more, right? This monitor totally puts my mind at ease knowing that the "just checking hand" is alway checking - every second of every minute he sleeps.

Can I survive without it? Yes, of course, but this is a "luxury item" I have fully appreciated with each child. I know I sound like an advertisement, but I whole heartedly recommend this to every mom with a baby; it will be your best friend! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Letter to Grampa

Here's an email Will wanted to send my Dad, but we couldn't get it to go (maybe too big?). Anyway, I thought my blog would be the best way to get it to him (and I could share the sweet thoughts of a little boy with you and one of our unplugged adventures, too!).

Dear Grampa,
This is my Thomas movie. If you like it, please send me another email. It should be lots of different kinds of Thomas movies. Please report some more in the morning.

(These were the actual words said by Will for me to type.)

Menu Plan Monday

With everything that has happened this past week (funeral, Witt to the ER, follow up dr visit about food allergies, Nathan's new cast, and then the stomach flu), I'm going to have to reuse some of the menu plans from last week because I never got to them. I do have some new ones, though...

Crockpot Venison Steak & Gravy
Baked Potatoes
Black Eyed Peas
Pork Chops & Mushroom Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Pear Salad
Meatball Hoagies
Chicken Casserole
(a meal in itself)
Squirrel Stew
(just kidding)
Venison Shepherd's Pie
(another meal in itself)

I've got to clear this venison out of the freezer before the end of the year (hence all the extra venison menu plans - at least it's lean!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Apple Bread Recipe

Somehow I got caught up in the great big blog world out there... how could that ever happen??? Hahaha!!

Anyway, I ran across this wonderful Apple Bread Recipe. I had most everything on hand (just substituted unbleached for all the flours) and decided to make it. It is very good. Nice texture, crunchy on the outside and soft inside. Not a cake textured bread and not sweet like a cake. A good BREAD.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to prepare it because that's all it requires! Baking is about an hour. Enjoy and let me know if you try it!

Children's Artwork

In this past week of blurred mayhem, there is something wonderful I do want remember... my first painting experience with the boys. Yes, I did say first. I know, how terrible is that!! Now, I've done the water paints and the "Color Wonder" paints, but never paint paint. I've always wanted to paint, but have been apprehensive about the mess. I must say, with these washable paints that are available, the mess was nothing to be scared of!!

Now, I did need a little shove in the painting direction. Mom Unplugged issued a "challenge" to do a paint project using things we find in our own backyard. That and a new Target in our area was all I needed! =) Went to Target the next day and bought paint, finger paint, and a big pad of white paper.

We painted on the front porch of our house. The nature items we used were different leaves, sticks, and acorns. We even had a little learning time when Will asked what was inside the leaves. We talked about how leaves and people both have "veins". I think next time we do this, we'll have another "learning time" about mixing colors. I'll only get out the red, yellow, and blue; we'll come up with the rest.

So, enough jabbering from me. I hope you enjoyed our first artwork in nature painting! (Oh, Nathan thought he'd use his foot and I figured he could get anymore natural than that!)

A Mom's Day Off

Copyright © 2006 by Terri Mauro

Let me tell you about my day off. It actually started at night. Someone was here to take care of all my kids through the night. I didn't have to answer to a single peep. The next day, the caregiver stayed and took care of them as well. Someone else cleaned the house: scrubbed floors and toilets, loads and loads of laundry, and all the dirty dishes. Oh, yes, an even some light cooking. While they were doing that, I had the luxury of laying in my king sized bed taking naps at my leisure all by myself with the door closed. My beverage was changed out periodically without even asking. I received crackers and hand cut, peeled apples for a snack. The baby was brought to me for nursing and then given back to his caregiver

until the next feeding. And of course, I didn't have to change a single dirty diaper. All I had to do was relax and rest on my day off.

So, how does one get a day off like this? Try a stomach virus (I'll spare the gory details). I didn't have the energy to do anything. I didn't have the balance to hold the baby while I was standing. I was flat on my back miserable the whole day. The "caregivers", my husband and MIL, didn't really have it very easy at all as the boys were sick as well. I don't know how they made it through the day without any sleep from the night before. From my understanding, Will was up several times throughout the night visiting the porcelain pot. I think Witt screamed more through the night than he slept (MIL even took him on a stroller ride in the middle of the night to get him out of the house). Nathan was the only one that slept through the night.

Jeff did a great job getting all the germs out of the house with his scrubbing and washing; unfortunately, he came in contact with the germs too much... looks like today is his "day off". Poor thing. I'll have to check in on MIL later today; I hope she doesn't have the "day off", too.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You Spin Me...

Here's a video of something the boys love to do:

(Yes, my living room usually looks like a toy store threw up in there! LOL!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Identities

Here are the identities to last week's Wordless Wednesday:




Unplugged Adventures

I don't really know which "day" we're on in our week without tv. Unfortunately, we have not been tv free; however, we have not watched tv until about 3 in the afternoon and it's only been a little bit. I'm pleased with that.

Mornings have been less hectic. I don't have to remind Will *quite* so much to get ready, brush teeth, etc. because the tv is not on to distract him. We've played trains or read books before school every day this week. The house is quieter. It's nice.

I even fought the urge to turn the tv on last night to watch House. Jeff and Will were practicing his writing of the letters "H" and "h". I did blog during that time, though. The tv was still off and Will got some extra attention. That was our main goal.

The boys still ask for it in the morning occasionally, but we just say no politely and remind them that we aren't going to turn it on. If they try, it doesn't work because it is truly unplugged, which also means that I have to make a conscious decision to turn it back on.

Overall, I'm pleased with our efforts to keep the tv off. ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Update on Witt

After explaining to our pediatrician what happened yesterday with Witt's reaction, here's the gist of our conversation:

Dr: "Well, I've been doing this for 9.5 years and I guess this is the interesting part of the work, where you get something unexpected and unusual."

I was a little surprised, "You mean this isn't a normal reaction?"

Dr: "Not for a milk allergy. If we were talking a peanut allergy, I'd say it was normal."

Me: "Well, now that you mention peanuts, Nathan did have peanut butter on crackers yesterday in the living room. He could have easily fed Witt, smeared PB on him, kissed or hugged him after eating some himself. Plus, Jeff tells of a time that he kissed Witt hive-looking whelps appeared on his cheek. Jeff had just eaten PB and had a glass of milk."

Dr: "To be on the safe side, I'd get all the PB out of your house until we get this figured out a little bit better."

So, we have two main suspects, PB and milk. I don't know which to hope it is. We go to an allergist next Thursday. In the meantime I'm going crazy watching everything I touch and washing everybody's hands thinking it really could be anything.

I'm also going to have to get used to carrying an epi-pen with me everywhere I go. I took it out of the box to read the directions and the thing looks to be half the size of Witt (not really, but what a big dispenser!). I hope I'll never have to use it.

Witt has been doing fine, but a little cranky today. I had a hard time letting him fuss himself to sleep being worried that he was fussing because he was swelling up again. I know it's crazy, but it's just so raw right now.

Please keep us all in your prayers as life has been unbelievably turned upside down these last few weeks with a broken leg on Nathan, the death of a great man, Witt's allergic reaction, and just the everyday bustle of life and doctor's appointments to keep up with. I'm ready for life to slow down. Hopefully it's ready to slow down, too.

Witt to the ER

I'm going to use Talk About Tuesday to ask you mom's a question! But first, let me set the stage...

Yesterday, my husband and I were at a funeral for a dear friend in a town 1.5 hours away. Almost immediately after the graveside service, Jeff's cell phone rings. He talks for a minute and motions for me to come to him quickly. I hear the word "ambulance". Turns out, my MIL had given our infant (5 months) his first bottle of milk-based formula and he swelled up, turned red, and started clawing at his face trying to scratch. She called an ambulance to come get him because the other two boys were in bed for a nap. In the ER, they gave him shots of Benedryl and steroids. The swelling went down and he was doing much better. When we arrived at the hospital, Witt was sleeping and looked like he had the measles: little red dots all over his face. This morning he still has a few "spots" remaining and we have a follow up appointment today with his pediatrician.

My questions are: How have you dealt with food allergies? Did your children grow out of them? Are food allergies always this severe (or worse)?

I know these are questions I'll be able to ask the doctor today, but I wanted some opinions from "the field". ;0)


[Update on Witt]

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

So, today's BLOG ACTION DAY: the day bloggers all write about the environment.

I wanted to do something "profound"; something more than my previous post about going "green". (Although there are lots of great links there for you to check out!) However, with this weekend's events and a funeral Monday, I really haven't had time to put any good thinking time towards it. So, I'm just going to give you what I had as far as "notes to self".


I have really been wanting to find "green" ways of cleaning. I found a great article about how to clean your house without hurting the planet. These are some of the ideas they have listed on there that I found to be easy ways to change my cleaning habits (and cheap, too!). (I wanted to have tried these out before today arrived, but other things became more important. So, as I try them, I'll let you know...)

  • Fabric can be softened by adding one-quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle; this recently worked on several pairs of catalog-bought cargo pants made of a cardboard-stiff cotton that literally scraped a teenager's skin.
  • A quarter cup of white vinegar will also soften fabric, as well as eliminate cling.
  • For cleaning windows, fill your own spray bottle with water and either one-quarter cup white vinegar or one tablespoon lemon juice to cut grease.

I was directed to by a new blogger friend, Mom Unplugged, and found where I can get rid of the catalog junk mail. For instance, I'm receiving catalogs for the dolls. I have boys that play with trucks and trains. I have no need for that and I don't know why I'm receiving it. I won't anymore! Yipee! Less to just throw out/recycle. (Luckily I have magazine recycling in my area.)

(My previous post on going green gives the link for getting rid of credit card pre-approvals that come in the mail.)


Now for the fun stuff... the stuff you don't usually hear about...

I came across a blog written by "Crunchy Chicken". I have really found a disturbing interest in her blog. I say disturbing only because some of the challenges she poses to her readers are, well, "a little out there". Here are two examples:

  • We've all heard of cloth diapers and hand made flannel wipes, right? Well, she takes it a step further and suggests no toilet paper in her Cloth Wipe Challenge! I really had never thought about that. Not ready to try it, yet. I'll wait to see how that challenge ends first. Yes, I'm a wimp. However, I believe the challenge is still underway and you can participate if you like! :::taunting voice::: She's giving prizes! =)
  • Now, let me say this upfront: Men, stop reading here. We're now talking about our "monthly intruder". Crunchy Chicken gave a Diva Cup Challenge. The Diva Cup is a product that eliminates the need for tampons and pads, thus reducing waste in the landfills. (I'm not going into details here, you can read about it on her blog.) Now, for WHATEVER REASON (I don't know) I found this very interesting! It appears to be cleaner and less of a hassle than the standard method of dealing. And then I saw in the Diva Cup Poll that out of 154 participants, 65% of them loved it and will never go back to tampons/pads. That's pretty great odds I must say. So yes, I ordered it. I know, who would have thought?! Anyway, I'll let you know how that goes too. (Yes, I'll post a warning for men, first!)
Those are my thoughts. Nothing profound and only a couple things out of the ordinary . I hope I've given you something to think about anyway (and maybe a few chuckles).

One thing I've learned, though, is that we're all different. What one person can give up another person can't live without (ie I'm not giving up disposable diapers). It's a personal choice about where and how we help the environment. The point is that you need to help. (See my poll to the right for how my readers are already helping.)

One person can make a difference, but guess what, you are not the only person. There are lots of people like you and me making just small changes in our lives for the environment and the future. Our children and grandchildren will thank us for what we do today. Make a change somewhere in your life and let me know what it is. I'd love to hear about it! =)

Menu Plan Monday

I figured I might as well join in some of the other blogs on this as I am already posting this weekly. I don't designate what I'm having which day because I just never know what might come up. I will sometimes only have 5 or 6 menu plans as I assume we'll go out and sometimes I'll have more than 7 because, well, I just can't make up my mind. :)

Chicken & Rice Florentine
Yellow Squash
Crockpot Venison Steak & Gravy
Baked Potatoes
Black Eyed Peas
Pork Chops & Mushroom Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Pear Salad
Voodoo Pasta (linguine, Alfredo sauce, polish kielbasa, and spices)
Meatball Hoagies

Friday, October 12, 2007

Moment of Silence

We learned of a passing of a very dear friend of ours in Georgia. He was the preacher at the small congregation where we worshiped. He was an outstanding Christian, teacher, father figure, and just an all around great man. He will be terribly missed, but I know he is much happier in heaven than here on earth in his physical body that caused him so much trouble for so many years (although we never heard him complain).

We have lost a worker for the Lord here on earth, but he has gone for his reward, "Job well done, my good and faithful servant." I can see him in my mind walking, seeing, and hearing perfectly, looking around and saying something along the lines of, "Now this is the ticket!" He loved little sayings like this and he loved being with Christians.

He was a "walking bible". Always eager and READY to teach. This man taught by word, deed, EXAMPLE, and with so much love it radiated from him. He was someone we wanted to emulate as he was striving to be like Jesus. Although we have the Bible to teach us what Jesus was like, it was wonderful to have such a tangible example in our life today of someone striving for heaven within every part of himself.

He is the one person in this life that I can honestly say, "I know he made it to heaven."

Jeff, Witt, and I will be heading to Georgia for a short visit with the family and congregation. Our unplugged adventures will continue after we return as I am not going to ask the boys' Grandmother to keep the tv entirely off.

Please keep the Buchanan family in your prayers for comfort in their time of mourning and for us a safe journey and return.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Unplugged - Day 1

When I approached our oldest, Will, with the idea of turning off the tv, I approached it from the positive stand point of, "Do you know what we get to do when the tv is off? Have special family time together!" His eyes lit up! "Does that mean we get to play trains together?" I told him, that yes, sometimes we will play trains. I was also quick on my feet enough to throw a few other suggestions at him (coloring, reading, etc). I also explained that we will all still have chores to do; however, the faster the chores are done the more special family time we'll have. He seemed pretty ok with that.

We've always had a family tradition of piling into the master bed in the morning. Jeff is usually able to leave for work around 7:45-ish so one by one boys are added to our bed. 6:45 Nathan 6:58 Witt 7:03 Will. Jeff and I drink coffee the two older boys get hot chocolate milk and we have conversation. (Will likes this word "conversation".)

As the time approaches for Jeff to start getting ready we all head to the living room (usually to turn cartoons on). Instead, the first thing out of Will's mouth is, "Want to have some special family time playing trains with me?" Sweet, yes. Practical, no. We do have to eat breakfast, get dressed brush our teeth, and put dirty laundry in the laundry room (Will's Thursday morning chore).

Jeff leaves for work after a round of kisses for everyone (again a regular family tradition at our house.) The rest of us eat breakfast at the table (not in front of PBS). Will brushes his teeth and then gets dressed with a little reminding from me. Looking at the clock, I realize his ride for school will be here shortly and decide to let him slide this morning on the laundry. We need to have that special family time I promised. So we all head to Will's room for some train time! We had at least 15 - 20 minutes together. It was nice.

Nathan at some point during the morning signs "sign" because he wants to watch "Signing Time". I tell him no, that the tv doesn't work today. Then he says "Blah". Blah is the name his has given a little lizard on one of his Baby Einstein videos that sticks out its tongue and says "Blah!". Again, no the tv doesn't work. He seems a bit confused, but I help him find some colors and a book. We had this conversation about 3 times this morning.

As for me, I am disgusted with the number of times I wanted to check my email and thought about turning on the tv. I've changed my game plan a bit in that I will be using one of my "checks" during the time I have both boys down for a nap. That way I am always available to them when they are awake. Makes better sense.

The true test of this will be this afternoon when Will returns and I have to cook supper. I think it will be fine though. I'll let you know tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Earned a Cotton Ball!!!

Two nights ago, I earned a cotton ball. Here's the story:

Jeff and Will were in our bedroom. Jeff was looking at house plans, Will was playing with coins. As I remember, Jeff tells me about this conversation they had:

Will: I want to build a green house. (FYI - not a greenhouse, but a house colored green)
Jeff: You'll need to have lots of money
Will: I have these coins.
Jeff: When you have about 400,000 quarters, you'll be close.
Will holds up a quarter in each hand and says: But I only have two.
Jeff: Then you'll need 399,99-
Will interupts: 8!

What? Coincidence? I don't know, but wow! So anyway, after hearing this story from Jeff, Will and I have this conversation:

Me: Wow, Will that's great! You are the smartest 5 year old in the house!
Will: Thank you, mommy. That was very kind. You should get a cotton ball for being so kind to me.

Melt my heart! So, I earned a cotton ball. I'm so proud of that cotton ball!

We're Going Unplugged

Jeff and I have been talking about this for some time and after reading this post on Unplug Your Kids and seeing a tv commercial today showing a child coming home from school and the parents being too "busy" for their kids we've decided that it's time: We are unplugging the tv for a week.

Unplugging the tv includes not watching videos and DVDs. We will allow some educational computer games for Will as they help him with his spelling and reading. With the tv going off, it's a good thing that I have my list of "Important Things to Do" on the right hand side of my blog! :)

I'm unplugging my self from the computer a bit also. I will allow myself to check my email/blog in the morning with my cup of coffee (as has become my morning wakeup ritual). I will then turn the computer OFF until 1:00PM when I will check it again before Will returns home from school. Then OFF it goes for the rest of the day until the next morning. During these two times I will also tend to my blog and give updates on how this "experiment" is progressing. The blogs will be short and sweet. My weakness with the computer is mindless surfing. It needs to stop.

So, what do I hope to gain from this? Honestly, a couple of things. First, I don't want to rot my kids brains out. Second, I want to spend more quality time with them. I zone out in front of the no-brain box myself. Thirdly, I want our family to interact more in the evening. Especially after Witt and Nathan are in bed. We have 1 hour alone with Will before bedtime. We don't need to be watching tv during that hour. We need to be reading or playing or whatever with him. Will has to take a back seat to the little ones a lot because they NEED more from us than he does (as he can take care of a lot of things himself - not because he needs us less). This is a good time for us to show him that his needs are important too, even if he just *needs* us to play trains. :)

And what happens after the week is up? I truly hope that we'll continue with the tv off. I hope I won't be so frazzled from having lost a part-time babysitter. If we do continue with it off, I don't think we'll do it forever, but instead use the tv as a treat. And even then, make it a family event with popcorn and the whole bit. I want a much more family centered family.

So, I think I've covered it all. Goals, Limitations, Rewards, Next Steps. We're ready. Tonight after explaining to the boys about what we're going to do, we are removing the DVDs and videos from eyesight and unplugging the no-brain box.

Wordless Wednesday

These are the pictures I'll be putting on the horizontal plate rack in my kitchen. Can you tell who each one is?

For more on Wordless Wednesday: Meeyauw and 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, October 8, 2007

We've Been BUSY!!!

This past weekend we've really started talking about building a house again. With that comes getting our current house in order. So here's what's going on at our house:

1. Before Witt arrived, Jeff had moved our washer and dryer into another room. That included tearing down the old walls and putting new ones up. So this weekend, Jeff finished the walls and added some paint. Crown molding is next. Looks good, doesn't it?

The picture is the one I plan on hanging in there. It is a print of a chalk drawing. I absolutely adore it. Kids playing marbles. Just simple and innocent!

2. I got the decorating bug and pulled lots of SLAH items out of their boxes. In the kitchen I hung my plate racks that I have been meaning to hang for, ummm... since we moved in. Those are my Gail Pittmann plates and Bountiful Platter.

These are the Poppy Prints and Decorative Wall Art that hang on the opposite wall in the breakfast nook/kitchen area. They've been up for a while. I painted the kitchen to accent these prints. Now I wonder if it's all just too bright... What are your thoughts?

I also hung a horizontal plate rack in the kitchen that will eventually hold 5x7 black and white pictures of each boy from when they were about 3 days old. (The room past this door is something like a butler's pantry. Our fridge and pantry items are in there. It was part of a large dining room, but Will needed a room so we sectioned off part of it for him with a temporary wall. Hard to explain; come visit!)

3. In the living room I decorated the mantel with Fall colors. Those are my Willow Tree figurines in the center - mom with 2 boys and daddy with a baby. My happy little family.

I'm also trying to declutter our bookshelves in the living room. I'm going to need help on this one. What do you know about decorating shelves? I've seen some that look great with books and "pretty things" but I'm not talented that way.

A lot of that stuff on the bottom shelf is up there because...

4. We're getting Pergo installed!!! Something I learned from this experience: always have someone double check the quote. When we went to Lowes to pay for the Pergo, the service man rechecked our quote and said the first guy had done it wrong - we walked out paying $700 less than the original quote! WOW!

You've heard me talk about our terrible carpet. We have blue ink from me, pink chalk from Will, coffee from Jeff (or Nathan depending on who you talk to), and a hodgepodge of other things from everyone. (I didn't include the coffee stain from Deborah in the picture, but she's contributed, too!)

And now...

you'll never see it this clean again...

drum roll, please....