Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's a BOY!


And we're already half way through.


When you're on a trip and the miles are endless and you feel like perhaps the map is wrong and that you've indeed become trapped in a vicious circle and not getting anywhere, do you ever feel like you'll honestly never arrive at your destination?

Feeling that you'll never arrive and actually experiencing an endless road are two different things, thankfully. But, that feeling can over ride your ability to comprehend that nowhere on God's earth is there a road that has no end. Every trip has a destination.

When your computer is acting up and doing strange things in strange ways and you get really frustrated that the task you almost had completed in a certain program, had to become terminated because it committed an illegal operation, do you ever feel the sudden urge to throw your mouse into the screen?

Feeling that urge and acting on that urge are two different things. Feeling it doesn't cause the screen to crack and shatter but acting on it will. That feeling can result in a rather brash action but keeping that feeling in check, will keep your current computer problem from getting bigger. By staying calm, you can inoculate yourself to the actions of "the stupid computer" and actually impress yourself when in just 5 minutes, the whole system crashes and you remain unflustered and unfrustrated.

When your children are fussy and you've had a long day and you're tired and overwhelmed with yet another mess on the floor and suddenly, a little squabble breaks out and the littlest one gets another owie in the tussle, do you ever feel the sudden urge to open the door and start running?

Flight instinct is a very real and necessary thing for animals but for moms, it would be devastating. What could happen to your home and children in your absence? Thankfully, feeling that urge to run and acting on it are two very different things. Usually a deep breath and a whispered prayer can calm the situation enough that you quit staring longingly at the front door. At that point, you can look for the bright side (up coming nap time, hubby on his way home from work, etc.) and plunge even deeper into your home life and darling children.

When you're in childbirth and the intensity of labor has gone beyond your limit and you think in your head that this will never end, do you ever feel the sudden urge to just jump up and walk out of the room while telling the nurses and your concerned husband that you're done, this isn't working -- the baby will never come?

Most, if not all moms experience this feeling but I know of no one that successfully acted on it. Usually, that point in labor indicates to the health care providers that the end is indeed near.

There's something about our bodies and our feelings that when we tell ourselves we can take a hardship no longer, suddenly, the situation plunges even deeper and we find that what we thought was an unimaginable depth, becomes the very place where we find or experience the way out. We amaze ourselves at the hidden ability in our bodies to tolerate and endure difficulty.

No matter what road we may be on in life, this experience comes to everyone. Sometimes it's through a computer, other times its through people, and other times through physical pain. Recognizing it's challenging points, can better help us endure them long enough to realize that yes, we'll indeed survive.

Hitting rock bottom means one thing: time to jump off another cliff. But, focusing on our feelings can make us climb the rope back to the top of the problem and then we end up sitting there for unnecessary time, waiting for the situation to change. Embracing the difficulty, plunging into the the prospect of change and finding ways to overcome the problem instead of it overcoming us, are the very practices we should focus on when the feeling to run or turn around overwhelm us.

When you hit the point of no return, don't listen to your feelings; jump! And enjoy the ride down.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

P.O.T.T.S. 101

Potty On The Train Studies
How Landon was really potty trained

Nearing the arrival of Landon's 3rd birthday, I was beginning to think that there was no time like the present to introduce a potty training method in his young and impressionable life.

But, I didn't know for sure how to cross the final thresh hold from diapers into underwear without dealing with annoying accidents, pee on the carpet and just a general sense of frustration on both his part and mine.

One morning, I was contemplating the day ahead and thinking of the goals I needed to focus on for that day. Landon's potty training was persistent in my thoughts and I really wanted to give that a shot. But where should I start?

But God!

Obviously, the Lord could see my thoughts and desire to get this boy trained and being the all knowing God that He is, He could fully see my difficulty in conjuring up bright ideas in this pregnancy fogged mind of mine. So, He thoughtfully did all the figuring and concocting and firmly planted a bright plan into my head. Honestly, nothing like this plan had ever crossed my mind before that I'm convinced He sent it just when I needed it. God is good!

The plan of action

Plan and schedule. First off, I determined my schedule for that day and also the next few days... was it a good time to concentrate on one thing and one thing only? Or would I need to focus on something else for several hours over the next few days? The coast looked clear so I mentally checked that box "okay."

Evaluate and arrange. Secondly, I evaluated our house and analyzed what room would be most adequate for both him and I as we pursued this potty training. I didn't want to spend the entire next 3 days in the bathroom but neither did I want Landon streaking around the house with just cloth on his behind. The threat on our carpet and furniture was too great to allow free range of the house. So, I chose the kitchen, a logical and easy to maintain room.

Equip and prepare. Thirdly, I got the tools around needed for the actual potty training part.
  • Lined training pants (typical training pants inside but the outer is an attached rubber pants -- one accident is contained in each pair so they're more absorbent than regular training pants)
  • Potty chair
  • Splash guard (100% necessary for boys)
  • Treats
Design and set boundaries. My fourth step was setting up our classroom in the kitchen. The classroom needed to hold a distinct demand on his attention and focus on potty training but I needed to consider his energy level and keep his activities corralled in one room and spiced with variety. This way, he couldn't get too distracted and forget about the project of being potty trained. I was making it difficult for him to fail at his task of becoming trained. Following is the list of things we used:
  • Child's small table and chairs
  • Potty chair (or in our house, the potty "train")
  • Step stool next to the sink and a full bottle of hand soap
  • Beads to string and other "school" stuff
  • Timer
  • Clear and obvious boundaries in all doorways of the kitchen (for Landon, I just pointed to the doorways and told him he wasn't allowed to step over them. Depending on how the child understands verbal commands, a gate or door (if possible) would be definite boundaries set.)

Communicate and be patient. The fifth and final thing I did was have a little talk with Landon before we took the diaper off. I explained to him in simple facts that his diaper was coming off and he would wear underwear from now on. When he had to go potty, he would go in the potty chair. I stressed the importance of all the pee going in the potty chair. He understood me perfectly and was so anxious to try this new thing out.

Staying positive by remembering your focus

Then the rubber met the road and the class started. I wanted this to be a positive thing for Landon and not a negative experience. Yes, we were potty training but I didn't want to make it into a big deal as he learned to detect when he had to go and how much time he had to get to the potty chair. So often I had seen kids struggle for months being potty trained -- even with adequate treats when they did well and punishments when they failed. I wanted this to be a fun, natural process so that we would all enjoy it.

Keeping child positive with praise and incentives

I also made it "fun" for Landon to be cooped up in the kitchen. I didn't want to see him sitting in the doorways longing for freedom. He stayed very busy but considering the fact that potty training was our focus for the day, he was consistent in "trying" the chair out every few minutes. I'd set the timer for 20 minutes but he'd usually take himself there about 4-5 times within that time frame. Both he and Janae worked at their little table and then we cleared it off for lunch time. They thought it was great fun to dine in such style -- a table and chairs their size!

Using variety when change is needed

Between lunch time and nap time, Landon seemed to get hyper which isn't very typical of him. I think the tiny quarters was making him stir crazy. I did let him move around a bit but used the timer even more frequently and kept following up with him, making it hard for him to allow an accident.

About 30 minutes before nap time, I gave him his juice and then had him go potty one last time right before I diapered him and tucked him in bed. I didn't care if the diaper would end up wet or dry because today we were only focusing on wake-time potty training. Nap time and bed time would come later and I didn't want to bite off more than we both could chew.

All roads have bumps -- be prepared

That evening, he had a bowel movement so that was good thing for him to get under his belt in his potty training experience. Because of the difficulty it is for him to do a bm even with a diaper on, we encouraged him through the process by reminding him of the new train engine he would get for his tracks. It was a good motivator for him and gave him the incentive to "get the job done."

The proof is in the pudding

The next morning, he went back into his "underwearems" (Landon's word) but neglected the potty chair: the regular toilet was the new fad. He was so consistent with taking himself there that I hardly had to remember we were still officially potty training. He'd jump up from his trucks, tell us he had to go potty as he ran to the bathroom. I was in the bathroom once when he came flying in and he wouldn't go until I went out. The little squirt!

Landon really took potty training seriously and acted responsibly on it. As I look back on the beginning stages, I can honestly say that I basically ended up devoting just one day to this potty training cause; he took on the rest himself. In a weeks time, we only had 3 accidents.

One size does NOT fit all!

If you read this and think, "Oh, I can do this with my child too," keep in mind that a lot of the success depends on your child's readiness to be trained. I waited until I knew Landon was ready before I got serious myself in making a plan for him. I didn't want to be trained to take him to the potty chair all the time; I wanted him to be trained to take himself.

Just because I efficiently did this once with one of our children, doesn't make me an unfailing pro! For instance, Janae will be 2 this spring and though several of her playmates her age are being trained, I know she is not ready. She's too distracted to focus on physical changes such as a full bladder, she is unreliable in relaying information and she is still too much a baby to grasp the concept of becoming potty trained.

Points to consider

In talking to other moms, I hear a frequent set of tips shared by many potty trainers regardless of the age of their children they were successfully trained.

  1. Make certain that the next several weeks are clear of any known schedule changes, travel plans, new baby coming, holidays, moving plans, or any busy work load that would effect the child and distract the mom for several days.

Tip one leads into tip two.

2. Once you start training, don't stop until it's done.

Through my own experience, I would have to say that within a half of day of training, most moms will be able to detect if their child is ready or not. Landon had at other times shown interest in being potty trained but when it came right down to it, he didn't end up being ready. I would quickly end any "training" we had started before it had made too big of an impact on him.

A little history...

Once Landon disappeared for several minutes and left no trace of where he was. We looked all over the house, out side, down the street and in every imaginable place but he was no where. Finally, a little voice was heard from the bathroom and what should be found but an underwear clad boy sitting on the potty chair! We were moving the next day and couldn't possibly take the time to consistently train him over such a busy time. Needless to say, it was a nice thought while it lasted but he was soon back in diapers and forgetting all about his short trend with the potty chair.

In conclusion

Now at last I can say that my little boy is trained and fully capable of learning the ropes with all bathroom activity. We're still teaching him that he can go in other people's toilets and are working on eliminating the diaper altogether when we go places. Bed time and naps are still accompanied with a diaper but I'm sure that eventually that will not be necessary either.

Above all, I have to say how thankful I am to the Lord for blessing me with such a smart boy who made potty training so easy. And also, the plan He etched in my mind to try that first day of training, proved to be the faultless and perfect design for us. P.O.T.T.S. is over for Landon!

Now for that girl child...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Potty Training Tradition

With the prospect of another child in diapers due to arrive in June, we were contemplating the diaper bill, the frequent activity in our household of changing diapers and just the overall demand a child in diapers can have on a mother and father. Multiply that by three and we were ready to subtract at least one child from the mess.

We had two options.

First option was to give one of the children away. We discussed that option but we couldn't decide which one to get rid of so we scratched that idea.

Second option was when Toby came up with a profound idea: get rid of 1/3 of the diapers instead. That way, we'd only have enough diapers for 2 children and the 3rd child would have to find something else to use or somewhere else to go.

That made a lot of sense to us. Plus, we liked that idea better than giving a child away.

We noticed that since we no longer have to wear diapers, surely one of our children could at least try to quit wearing them as well. It is common knowledge to realize that we inherit so many things from our parents -- either through genetics or just watching them. So, we hoped that perhaps this was one thing we could pass down to our kids. If it's not passed through DNA, perhaps we could just set a really good example.

Not knowing where to start on this example setting, we both agreed to keep our eyes peeled and our ears open to any options.

Amazingly a few days later, we were walking through the store and what should we find but a special "chair" used for eliminating diapers. Kinda like the electric chair effect only not quite as shocking. It had good ratings and there was a picture of a child sitting on one of these chairs. The child appeared to be happy so we assumed it would be safe for our children as well. We made the purchase.

We considered it an investment in comparison to all the money on diapers it would save us. We'll probably have to record this investment in our taxes as well. The IRS is sure to notice the improvement in our budget.

After purchasing this chair, we ceremoniously set it next to our adult sized toilet. We hoped that our children would notice the similarity between the porcelain bowl and this little plastic pot.

It was hardly similar though... it played music when anything passed a certain zone in the bowl part, it had no flusher and it didn't automatically refill with water when you flushed it because like I said, there was no flusher. Plus, you couldn't play with the water in the bowl since there was none in it and it wasn't as fun to fill with toilet paper as you flushed it and watched it disappear because, as previous mentioned, there was not one trace of a flusher. Also, you could pick it up and carry it around the house, even if you were only 2. We all know that regular toilets don't provide that convenience -- a grab and go pot -- like this little chair did but we still had faith that it would somehow do the trick.

At this point, we determined which child would be required to break their steady habit of diapers. We went through a very intense evaluation of each one of our children and came up with the following results:

Child #3: We realized there was no way to connect our unborn babe to the qualities of this rare chair so we crossed that child off.

Child#2: Our darling little girl. Evaluating her personality and fine motor skills, we noted that our most wild imaginations could not fathom her leaving her diaper behind. That left us with our eldest child, the one who will forever carry on our family's name.

Child #1: Ironically, he fit the bill.

The fateful day finally came when the chair and our child were going to meet. And not just shake hands and greet each other and walk away. Rather, this poor, vulnerable little child was required to strip his beloved and warm diaper off and sit his privates on the opening of this cold little chair. Not a very friendly way to greet someone or something you've never met before.

Of course, it had to happen on the very day when my child's father abandoned me and went off to make a living. He stole away early in the morning, ensuring himself enough time to not partake in the festivities looming on the horizon of that cold, winter morning.

Arming myself that morning with determination and a dislike for the diaper bill, I bravely introduced my child to this amazing little chair. Creeping carefully and softly to the shadow of this magic throne, we went through the ceremony of purging the diaper forever from the habit of my son's life. It was quite touching, to say the least.

Miracle after miracle began to happen. Trickles and tinkles were soon heard ringing from the little chair. All throughout that blessed day, such unbelievable activity was practiced around the plastic throne. Diapers were neglected and underwear were the new fad. The chair had marvelously worked it's magic.

I think we will forever celebrate this day as a holiday for the rest of our family's history. Imagine passing something down to our children so rare and profound as potty training. Yes, January 19th will definitely be considered as sacred as a national holiday.

We are now striving as responsible parents to continue being good examples to the rest of our children and also hoping that the DNA built into our other two children -- the girl and the child yet unborn -- will carry the potty training trait in them as well. Maybe someday our house will indeed be diaper free. Imagine an entire generation holding such a strong tradition as frequent and planned trips to the porcelain bowl and full elimination of all diapers.

With the first of our prodigy successfully practicing the fine tradition, we definitely have a start on such a legacy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

On Fears And Feathers

Lend my child to any stranger
and let her sit on their lap
she'll never fear of danger
nor have concern for her life

Put her with dogs and cats of all sizes
hear her squeals and giggles
as her fate she surmises
is one of only joy and pure bliss

Send my child alone in the dark
and she'll skip through the room
like a soaring sky lark
never afraid of the unknown

Let this child go out into the cold
all by herself with no one around
she'll squeal with joyous tales untold
and cry when it's time to come inside

Scream of a bug threatening your feet
and she'll run to your side
and think it's quite neat
to have such a thing in her very own house

But, drop a light feather on her angelic face
and she'll shudder with fear and cover her eyes
a dark shadow crosses where the smile of grace
used to beckon dogs and strange stingy men

Peel back the hands that shut out the sight
of the white harmless feather
floating down like a kite
nearing the face of my sweet bubbly girl

Beware my friend for now you have done
the most hideous thing
to my dear darling one
for feathers we know are only to be feared

Coming Soon...

Potty Training 101 and our experience this past week....

New baby's gender revealed and update on pregnancy....

Continued updates on the WWW work list as well as added additions to the list...

And who knows what else! So, stay tuned.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Janae And Her Fads And Pregnancy Profile Pic

Here's some before and afters of Janae...

She was quite the site when I found her in her bed yesterday evening after her nap. A rather dishevelled and uniquely dressed girl. Her latest fad is to undress during nap time and then put the clothes back on another way. Thus, the upside-down and backwards sweater. But, it didn't take long to get her looking as good as new again.

Considering she likes to get her hair fixed, I take advantage of it. Because of the amount of hair Janae has always had, she's very used to getting her hair fixed and will sit still and never fuss.

With a little primping and cleaning up, she was her own cute self again. It's amazing what braids and bows can do for a little girl.

And... here's the profile picture of me. I'm in the 19th week now and so excited to be nearing the middle of my pregnancy at last! I've never shown this much this soon so it's been fun to wear maternity clothes early on.

Follow Up Post

Before beginning every task on my to-do list, I set the timer for 10 minutes. My goal was to see if I could get the jobs done in 10 minute increments. If for some reason I couldn't, I just finished it up before going on to the next job.

I guess I could've neglected the project altogether and gone on to the next thing -- you know, sort of a "punishment" for not getting the job done fast enough.

Then, I would've been left with several almost-finished projects and perhaps that could've been good incentive to work really fast from now on. But I knew if I did that, I would never succeed... punishment or not.

With the bathroom, I finished it in just above 10 minutes but included in this task was filling the little dresser between the tub and the dryer with all our winter stuff.

Finally, our hats, mittens and other winter apparel has a place to go. When our bathroom is clean, it makes alot of other things easier and more orderly because our bathroom also functions as a laundry room.

The dining room took just under 10 minutes. That included sweeping the floor as well as the general pick-up of the room.

I always enjoy fixing the dining room up and making it appealing and ready for the next meal. It makes it easy to think about and prepare for a nice, well prepared meal.
I recently purchased those place mats from TJ Maxx on clearance for 4/$5. The table cloth came from a consignment/thrift store.
The candelabras were a recent buy from Goodwill for $0.99 each. I still need to get candles for them but wanted to look for homemade rolled beeswax candles.
The kitchen on the other hand, took 130 minutes -- I set the timer 13 times and boy was I glad to see the end of that project! Considering the kitchen needed everything done, I wasn't surprised it took that long. I had made several mental notes of what I wanted to get done in there and was thankful it all fell into place. With the recent purchase of 2 kitchen islands on a major clearance sale at Shopko, I finally had room to put a lot of my kitchen stuff. I wanted to make a baking center for one of the islands so that everything would be within easy reach.

It's amazing what happens when you put your children down for naps, light a candle, set the timer 13 times and buzz around your workspace. At last my kitchen is a functional, easy-to-work-in place. I'm so glad and inspired to concoct all kinds of goodies and time consuming meals.

You'll see the functions of the above picture displaying the islands. The little dresser in the bathroom that now hold our winter stuff, used to sit where the island on the right (above) now sits. The new set-up works a lot better.
Here are some of the details of the decor in my kitchen. The little candle on the left is a factory reject Yankee candle I found at Goodwill. The "Ginger bread spice" scent smells up the whole house and is a good invigorater for me when I don't feel like cooking or cleaning. Candles seem to really motivate me for some reason!

The picture of the dried apples was a project I did a couple weeks ago. We had a bag of grainy apples that were not good eating apples so I cored them with my handy Pampered Chef corer (that thing is awesome!) and sliced and dehydrated what used to be rather mushy apples. They look so pretty sitting on the counter in my apple kitchen so they serve two purposes: eating and decorating.

That marks the end of the first day of working off of my world wide web to-do list. I'll keep my blog updated with further achievements and aspirations.

Landon Lines

When Landon was asked to pray for breakfast one morning, his response was rather unexpected...

"I can't say the words, Mom."

"Why?" I asked him, shocked that he would turn this opportunity down.

"Because I'm too little."

Heard from the backseat while driving along a large train yard... "I just love trains so much." That was soon followed with another passionate and touching ode to yet another attraction of his, "I just love airplanes so much."

Upon hearing a belch or the sound of gas passing or even the sound of the van going over the rumble bars (the van's way of "farking"), Landon will intensely exclaim,

"GROSS! SICK!... EWWW!... That's repulsive!"

Having explained over and over to Landon that he can't go with Daddy to the jail ministry until he is "bigger," one morning, Landon happily exclaimed an amazing fact...

"I'm bigger, Mom."

"Yes, you are bigger Landon," I said in agreement.

"Now I can go to jail with daddy!" He said happily.

"Landon, Mommy has a baby in her belly that will come out and you'll get to play with it," I told him one day.

"Oh," he said, trying to sound interested.

"But it can't come out yet... not until it gets hot outside," I told him.

A couple days later, Landon looked outside and noticed the sunshine...

"Your baby can come out now Mom!"

"No, not yet Landon," I informed him.

"But, it's hot out today Mom."

Heard from the other room as Landon and his 3 yr. old friend, Joel, were discussing household items as if they had nothing better to talk about...

Landon: "Did you guys get a new couch?"
Joel: "Of course we didn't get a new couch!... but we did get a new chair though."

After both Landon and Janae behaved wonderfully at the long appointment at the midwives office the other day, I promised them a treat when we got home.

"You guys can have hot cocoa with straws!," I excitedly informed them.

"NOOOO, Mom... not hot cocoa!" appealed Landon from his car seat.

Shocked that he wouldn't want hot cocoa, I asked him why.

Thinking for a second, he sighed and said, "Hot cocoa makes me tired, Mom."

While going through the drive-through of a local coffee shop, Landon made a keen observation of the smiley, cell phone chatty, pimpled faced coffee girl as she rang up our order. Suddenly I hear from the quiet back seat, "She's cute Mom!"

I told Landon not to do something one day and his immediate response was, "Why?"

"Landon," I said reprovingly, "when Mommy tells you not to do something, don't ask why."

Proving this is becoming a habit more than a means to get information, I heard a distracted, "Why?"

After tucking Landon in one night with Curious George, I told him to shut his eyes and go to sleep.

"Mom," he said. "Tell Curious George to shut his eyes and go to sleep too."

"Curious George, shut your eyes and go to sleep!" I said to the stuffed little monkey.

Obviously considering the monkeys wide opened eyes, Landon was concerned.

"But Curious George never shuts his eyes, Mom," he said and then finished with, "Does God shut my eyes?"

While brutally kicking and stomping a pillowcase on the floor, I asked Landon what he was doing.

"I'm 'deading' this deer, Mom." He said as he continued stomping the life out of it. "See, it's dead now."

Last, but not least, I'll steal the one Britt posted on her blog...

Nearing the more successful stages of potty training, my nephew was talking to me on the phone last night. I heard his mom in the background tell him his underwear were wet.

"Landon, did you go potty in your underwear?" I asked him.

"Nope. I mean, yeah, I did." He said soberly and honestly.

Before I could respond he added, "I know Britt, it's sick." He spat the word out. "It's so repulsive!"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pre-Follow Up

Today was very productive but I'll tell you all about it later. I'm getting ready for bed and looking forward to putting my feet up. If it wasn't for this harsh pregnancy-related sciatica, I'd stay up and do a proper post right now. But, I just can't tonight.

I have lots of pictures to download and then upload to my blog. And yes, every "before" has a following "after" picture.

I'll just say that from my list, I accomplished the following:
  1. MAKE LIST (as mentioned)
  2. REORGANIZE KITCHEN (rearrange, redecorate, clean, fill new island with necessary stuff, etc.)
  7. PUT AWAY DUFFEL BAG (that's been storing winter stuff)
  12. PLAY MUSIC (actually, I played a scripture tape instead... so uplifting!)

I also did the following:

  6. TAKE PREGNANCY PROFILE PICS (actually, Toby did that.)
The kitchen was by far the biggest task but I'm so happy to say that every cupboard (except for under the sink) and nook and cranny is organized and has it's own proper place. This really takes a load off my mind. I'm looking forward to doing lots of cooking and baking now that I have such an orderly kitchen. I splurged this evening and rewarded myself with red, cheery, new kitchen rugs. Talk about paradise and pleasure! It definitely was a good prize for the size of task my kitchen was today.

Stay tuned for pictures and more updates!

To-Do List

My darling husband always encourages me to write my list of work out. I always tell him that I'm too busy to make a list. That writing a list is another job that I'd have to add to my list of things to do.

Toby is a faithful list writer. His method is to use the blank side of small 3x5 recipe cards turned vertically and then writes his list in perfect rows. His font is so small, I marvel that hands his size can create letters a zillion times smaller than his own finger print. He will keep that list on hand and though he may forget his watch or his cell phone or even his own car keys when he leaves to run an errand, he will never forget his list.

Since he has learned this method from the best (his mom), I'm taking his admonition today and practicing something that he always does very well: make a list.

If there's anyone that can take the cake for list writing, it would have to be Toby's mom. She will neatly fill a recipe card or any scrap of paper (recycled envelopes, odd pieces of card stock, blank sides to printed sheets of paper, note book sheets, etc.) with everything that she has to do -- whether it's an item to buy at the store or a reminder to ask a friend about the quality of the fabric they bought on sale the other day. EVERYTHING goes on that list. Often, she'll have more than one list on hand too.

She prints by hand her list of things to do in a very fine print and could even put Microsoft Word's 10 pt. size font to shame with how neat and precise she is. She carries that list devotedly in her pocket and will use it as a quick reference all through out her day.

I love reading her lists. It gives me an idea of what I should put on my own lists. And since she's silently and unknowingly impressed on me the necessity of putting everything on a list, I'm going to start today's list out with:
I want to seriously motivate myself to get my work done today and get on a roll for the next few days. So, I will humbly publish on the world wide web everything that needs to be done in this 1288 sq. ft. abode in the next few days. You'd think with this small space, very little would have to be accomplished. The following list will prove that whether mansion or shack, my list of things to do is overwhelmingly long and full of variety.

In order to cross something off my list today, I might as well go ahead and make the following list...
  1. MAKE LIST (as mentioned)
  2. REORGANIZE KITCHEN (rearrange, redecorate, clean, fill new island with necessary stuff, etc.)
  23. SEW STRAP COVERS (for Toby's coveralls)
  27. COVER BOX (for plastic bag holder)
  28. PUT TOYS AWAY (again)
  31. PUT AWAY DUFFEL BAG (that's been storing winter stuff)
  33. SHOWER
  34. FIX HAIR

The last few things are only there for the fun of it. And, because I'd probably rather just get right to work without taking thought for how dishevelled I am. In order to make the house get in order, I should at least look half the part of orderly. Then, when I wonder where my bench mark is in the midst of a mess, I can just look in the mirror and get re-motivated.

So, I'm off to shower and spray some perfume and twist my hair up. After that, the list is my goal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Threatening The Blogosphere Near You: Her Praising Works

After having weeks of surging energy, boundless creativity and unimaginable joy, I woke up to a crashed day. I haven't felt so behind and run down in a long time. I keep grasping for the little energy and wakefulness left around here somewhere but there's nothing within my reach.

I should've known this honeymoon phase of my pregnancy wouldn't last forever but still, I assumed it would last longer than just 3 weeks. Oh well. There's always tomorrow. Maybe today was just a foretaste of the glorious 3rd trimester.

This morning started normal. Landon came into bed and we snuggled for a little while and then he got up and got some paper and little tiny folding scissors and brought them back to bed with me. He started cutting various snips of paper as he maneuvered his thumb and finger in the little scissor handle.

I wasn't too worried about the mess: what's a little paper?

Then, another idea must've hit his little brain because he disappeared and then returned with a comb and preceded to want to comb my hair. He carefully sauntered up to the bed and told me he needed my hair.

I willingly surrendered my locks of hair, basking in the prospect of someone playing with my hair. I LOVE that feeling and I rarely get to experience it.

I happened to glance at him as I tossed my hair over and I noticed the very tips of those tiny thread scissors peering secretly out of his chubby little hand.

"I'm going to do hair cutting, Mom," he said, as if it was a productive art project.

Needless to say, I confiscated the scissors and made sure he had no other means of hair cutlery available as he stood above my head and my vulnerable tresses of hair.

After that, the day held one big threat after another. None were after my hair, thankfully, but it still evolved into a rather discouraging and worthless day. Everything I set out to do, only resulted in making a huge extra task to get done. Eventually, I was afraid to get anything done. By lunch time, I was ready to pull my hair out but thought better of it when I remembered how close I had come to losing it all earlier today.

I thought to myself as I waded through piles of newspaper, clean dishes and dirty dishes, an unorganized kitchen and a little boy getting potty trained, that I think it would be wise for me to just quit trying to get anything done. The more I get done, the more I have to do. I felt like I was on a treadmill and not gaining miles but still running as fast as I could. I know it's bad to "give up" but the reason I wanted to give up was so that at least I could say I did something today.

Finally, I got my morning coffee at around 4:30 this afternoon and sat down and surfed through my usual homemaking blogs. As should be expected, one site after another held all the lofty things those virtuous wives had accomplished in just short amounts of time. Not just your everyday tasks either -- serious organization, craft projects, sewing items, fancy meals rich with nutrition, major cleaning and redecorating, etc.

And here I felt blessed to get my dishwasher loaded today and could still hear the glories ringing from those dirty dishes as they sang songs of praise to me for finishing my work with them. How I longed to hear more works praising me but that is just not my lot in life today.

I thought to myself as I searched their sites and coveted over their pictures of befores and afters, how come I always get stuck with just before pictures? By the time I could take after pictures, there's hardly any way you could tell I accomplished anything worth taking a picture of. By then, the room is ready for another before picture.

Day after day I visit these blogs and notice their consistent and steady virtuous spirit. Everyday holds abundance accomplishments and every tomorrow is guaranteed complete success. Maybe if I had a blog devoted to such goals as theirs, I'd be on the right track too and could avoid crash days like today. That's what I need: a blog entitled, "Her Praising Works."

As I searched on the last recipe site for the day, I wondered why I was even there considering I needed no meal ideas for tonight: we're having eggs and bacon. Simple as that. I figured if there's anything worth accomplishing today, it would be supper. So, I aimed low and hit right on the target. No big meal prep, no fuss and no frill. But we'll eat good and come away full and I'll feel like I did accomplish at least one thing today besides giving up.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Look Who's Gained Another Year!

Britt has a cute pic and announcement of our dad's birthday. Check it out here.


Proper Room Lighting

A light turned on in my head when I read the information below. I found it interesting, especially since I do this already in our home but never really knew it was correct -- even to a New York City Interior Decorator.

Wow, we're pretty upscale in our trailer home and didn't even know it. (!)

Before I entered the state of bliss that one enters when they become married, I had always dreamed of having a cozy living room with several dim lights accented evenly around the room. Now that I live in bliss and also have my own living room, I've become acquainted with the fact that I indeed share the room (and the marriage bliss) with another person.

And that certain person has at times expressed curiosity as to why there are so many lamps on but the room is still dim. Thinking they were doing our home and electric bill a favor, they bought a value package of florescent bulbs for the cozy ceiling fan in the living room and proceeded to change several light fixtures in our home.

I don't think the electric company was as disappointed in our lowered bills as I was with the drastic change of lighting.

Vital marriage communication played into the role as to what lights should sufficiently accommodate the money saving lighting. Toby had never known I didn't care for the lighting caused by fluorescent lights and I had never known there was concern with our electric bill. Now you see why communication is always important.

According to statistics, florescent lights are only efficient if they are left on for several hours. They use the bulk of their energy when you first flick the switch on. After that, they just seemingly glow and use very little power for the number of watts being burned. Turn them on and off several times and you won't be as impressed with your money saving bulbs as you would be if you just left them alone.

Until now, I never had someone to back my lighting decor philosophy up. Thanks to Scott Salvator, I have proof that dimly lit rooms aren't always bad.

To me, lighting makes or breaks your household ambiance. If you have a well decorated room with cozy couches and soft, inviting chairs and even have a candle burning and music playing, the entire atmosphere can be shattered by a bright, overhead light, or a florescent bulb glowing it's cold, yellow glow from a table lamp. Equally so, if you have to squint your eyes in order to see where the couch is, you just might need to turn your lights a little brighter or rearrange the lighting in the room.

The following title is key:

Balance, Scale and Variety

by Scott Salvator, featured by Bed Bath and Beyond

"The key to a well lit, glamorous room is to have many types of lighting and in various wattages, including table lamps, uplights, task lighting, spot lighting, etc. This allows you to dim, raise or turn off individual lights to create different scenes. You don't want one halogen floor lamp in the corner lighting your entire room. People also often choose too small a lamp, which looks ditsy and doesn't provide enough light. Formal and period lamps such as porcelain vases converted into lamps usually belong in more formal rooms. Ceramic glazed pottery is more casual and can usually be used anywhere. Other lamps are designed for certain geographic areas, such as white birch floor lamps for the mountains or palm carved lamps for Florida."

  • Tip:
    When in doubt, oversize a lamp, but do not oversize the wattage. Use several lamps around the room instead of one or two.
  • Tip:
    60-watt bulbs are good for most lamps, except reading lamps, which require a higher wattage.

credits taken here.

On Potty Training And Going To Bed

(written late Friday night -- 1-19-07)

After a delicious and overfilling meal at Macaroni Grill tonight -- thanks to our kind friends, David and Desiree (LOVED the meal you guys! Thanks!) -- we came home.

Now, there's nothing unusual about coming home after you're done being gone, I'll admit that right now. But when a sudden ailment, disease, plague and tempest strikes both of your children as soon as you cross the homey and familiar threshold into your warm house, you may naturally assume that crossing the barrier of the outside world into your comfortable four walls, can at times cause unusual and unplanned tragedies -- not that any tragedies are ever planned but you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, that was our fate tonight.

Everything was normal until we walked through that door. The entire evening out, the trip home and even the entertaining walk from the van to the house with my two-year old was normal and safe. ("Are the guys gonna put more snow on the yard again, Mom?" Who the guys are, I have no idea but I think Landon has figured out in his own little head where snow comes from and that 'the guys' send it and put it on our yard.)

As soon as I pulled the wet shoes off my son, he walked to the couch and snuggled under a blanket. I knew something wasn't right with him then. Normally a two-year old with the energy and creativity of my little boy, will not be found under a blanket smothering away all of his energetic potential and plans the last few minutes before bedtime. But this little guy was obviously ailing silently as he cuddled himself under the blanket.

He didn't seem in too much discomfort and considering the fact that he voiced his preference to just be left alone, I took it as a good opportunity to wrap up a few things before bed.

I got Janae's milk ready and was making my way to finish up another thing before attending to the rest of her bedtime needs when I noticed her peculiar behaviour.

She had bee-lined it to the kitchen, got her cup of milk and was heading down the hall, glancing over her shoulder to make sure I was coming with as she made her way to her room.

Snatching the rare opportunity to put a child to bed that actually wanted to go there more than I wanted them to, I quickly changed my previous plans and assisted her in her bedtime routine. Toby came in shortly to tuck her in and shut her light off.

Mistakenly, I mentally crossed "Janae" off my list of things to do today before heading to the next project. I just assumed she was done for the day but little did I know of the rest of her plans.

Then it was Landon's bedtime. He obediently and happily went to bed, seeming almost relieved to end his day. Toby tucked him in and thinking I had already changed Landon's diaper, he didn't attend to those needs. That worked fine though because I hadn't kissed Landon goodnight yet anyway.

Now, a little background history here...

Today was Landon's first Potty On The Train Studies. POTTS is a course in potty training that most (and hopefully all) toddlers his age go through.

Why we call it "potty on the train" is simply because somehow our friendly little potty chair has been affectionately dubbed, "potty train" so we seem to refer to the thing as such. I understand the literal translation of those words can seem rather disturbing so thus the clarification.

As for Landon's achievements, I am so happy to say that he passed his classes very well and seems to be doing superb for only one day of training. I'm hoping that the rest of homeschooling goes this way, everyday, forever until he's 18.

Not ironically, the reward upon graduation from POTTS is a new engine to his Thomas Train and Landon has made it very clear that he is definitely planning on the Toby Engine. Understandably, we are thrilled with his choice of engines and are looking forward to presenting him with his reward upon his achievement of forever relieving his dear father of all diaper duties on Landon.

History aside, reality hit when I realized that this aspiring son of mine was making obvious signs that the legendary "number 2" was wishing to present itself. Not only that but when I proceeded to change the diaper that had been worn all evening, I found it to be mostly dry and showed good signs that the wearer was indeed learning the concept of "holding" until facilities are available.

So, I made those facilities available.

Had I been in that predicament, I would've gladly taken the kind mother up on her offer to continue my POTTS education but that wasn't so with Landon. Assuming he needed his bladder made flatter, I quickly sent the child to his classroom for one final lecture on his POTTS education. But, wails and cries were heard instead of the normal grunts and pushes while the little man fought to avoid his final lesson on the little potty train.

At long last, I realized either he didn't have to go at all OR if he did, he was too shook up to go in the potty train now. With the admonishment from my husband to just let him go to bed, I finally gave in.

As soon as Landon was diapered and tucked back in bed, that other child of mine was practicing her inflections on the name/sound, "Mom." Every tone and combination of sound you could conjure from "mom" was hailing out her door and down the hall.

She wasn't giving up nor was she getting discouraged or despondent. Her pleas for "mom" were not being met by anything but empty air and she continued on in a happy attitude. I went in before that attitude changed to see what I could do to help her. I didn't want to encourage despondent behaviour by showing up after she grew frustrated with the lack of response she was getting as she practiced saying "mom."

I went to her side and tucked her blanket around her and put it by her chin just the way she likes it. She seemed pleased and content. I kissed her again and told her to go na-night and then headed out the door. But, before I walked away from her bed, I grabbed her empty milk cup and snuck it out with me. I knew is she saw me do that, she'd assume she was getting more milk. Tonight, she wasn't getting more than what she already had and I didn't want to make it any harder for her to give that up. Thankfully, she didn't see me.

By this time, Landon was becoming more uncomfortable with the nature wanting to take it's course in his diaper. I comforted him and patted him but he preferred to just be left alone.

I went back out and headed to the last of my tasks needing to be done while it was still called today.

Janae started crying then.

This time, her father attended to her and told her to go to sleep. She calmed down for the moments he was in her room but then let out the pent up wail as soon as her door was emptied of her guest.

Landon continued his sporadic wails and I simply ignored or comforted, depending on the needs at hand.

Janae's wailing turned into hiccup-styled sobs and seemed to only increase for the next several minutes. Toby checked her again and calmed her down but the fact that he continued to shut the door and leave made all her symptoms of heart broken syndrome to only keep flaring up.

After a period of time, I went in and gave her a hug and tucked her back under the fluffy blankets. I got one of her babies to snuggle with and she immediately calmed down and seemed pleased with the company of another little one in her bed. Thinking I had done the trick, I left the room over confident. As soon as the door shut, her wails resumed.

By now, Landon was obviously needing some relief and I tried talking him into trying the potty train again. But, the fact that neither my husband nor my first born son seemed very cooperative with my idea of late-night potty training, I didn't push my agenda too much.

As I left Landon's room, I noticed Janae's sobs had only increased. This time I decided to be serious about motherhood and take my responsibility to all ends. The word "comfort" struck my desperate brain and I suddenly decided that I indeed needed to comfort this child of mine. After all, isn't "comfort" a main characteristic of all good mothers?

I went in and rocked and sang quietly to her in the darkened room. Her sobs had been so deep apparently that her hiccup-styled breaths had evaded her normal paced breathing. After struggling against my arms for the first few minutes, she finally snuggled in and nestled her head into my chest. Her breaths evened out and she started relaxing enough to let her eyes close.

Here again I misunderstood these signs to actually be signs of sleep. Instead, they were deceiving and false because as soon as I laid that little girl down in her cozy bed and tucked her baby next to her as I pulled her blankets up around her face, she frantically pulled her arms out and made a very desperate sign in sign language: "more."

She needed more milk.

Needing and wanting more milk are two different things though. She thought she needed it; I knew she merely wanted it.

As I told her the milk was "all done" and signed that information to her in universal sign language fashion, she made one more desperate attempt to make herself clear to me: she reached for that empty milk cup. But, it wasn't there.

I think the whole scenario was very confusing to her and sent her even further on her emotional wreck. I comforted her again and stole aways from her, wishing I could help her give up the milk she wanted so bad. Unfortunately, that was her choice to make and not mine.

I didn't have long to feel sorry for her because that brother of hers was definitely needing someone to take him to his little potty train. Being the wise and observant mother that I am, I took the responsibility on myself and carried the wailing child all the way out to his little plastic throne.

Seeing this situation as a vital opportunity to teach my first born son that all diaper duties should actually take place in a potty chair or toilet and NOT a diaper, I set the ultimate goal for him. I explained that if he did a "diaper shape" (his word for #2) in the potty train and not his diaper, tomorrow he would get the Toby Train Engine.

Apparently, we had a deal.

Here, I will spare the reader the remainder of the events that took place. I'll just say that the coaxing on the pot for my boy and the comfort in the bed of my girl, were events that continued close to midnight.

But, miracles do still happen and this tired mother witnessed the happening of TWO miraculous events in one evening. I haven't been so relieved at that end of a day in a long time... my little girl was contentedly sleeping in her warm bed and that little boy of mine had succeeded in all his attempts on his potty chair.

Yeah, I suppose I am rather jubilant in their successes that I made sure happened but seeing the look of peace and rest on Janae's face and listening to Landon marvel over the fact that he actually did a "diaper shape" on the potty chair, meant more to me than the fact that at last I could go to bed myself and call it a day.

It was an obvious revelation to contemplate the fact that they both had to choose to do the task before them and accomplish it on their own. I could coach and coax but in the end, it was their choice. Now they are both reaping the joy of a job well done.

Deep in my heart, I kept thinking to myself all along that I knew they could do it. That thought alone compelled me to not give in to Janae's wishes to not go to sleep and it definitely helped me keep my focus when Landon was tragically fighting what obviously needed to take place. I knew Janae could go to sleep and I knew Landon could do the job in his potty chair. But, like the rest of us children of God, kids just don't get it when you tell them: you can do it. They have to try everything else before resorting to the plan that will get them to the end of their task.

You may think the kids were the ones that learned a lesson. I think we all hope that is the case, considering the sooner a lesson is learned, the easier life becomes in those situations.

But, even more than the kids, what a lesson tonight was for me: watch out for the front door.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Surviving The Good Life State

The other day, my hunny swung by home before heading out the door again to do an estimate.

"It's on 48th and Adams so I shouldn't be too long," were his words as he headed out the door.

I contemplated 48th and Adams. The particular roof he was estimating could be on any one of the four corners of that intersection. Even more confusing was the fact that the roof he'd be on, could be anywhere in the vicinity of 48th and Adams.

That's one thing I learned after I moved to Nebraska. Every building you go to is on an intersection. Every address is like a 48th and Adams: everybody lives on a corner.

Or so you'd think by the directions they give.

I used to imagine whole sections of a city blocks, vacant and bare of buildings. But the corners would pile high with Walmarts, Targets, Gas Stations and Starbucks.

For instance, Target is on 48th and O street and so is TJ Maxx even though they're both about a block away from each other and TJ Maxx is a good 2-3 blocks away from O street.

When people ask us where we live, we tell them, "On 19th and Superior."

The truth is, we live on 20th street and not at all on a corner. But, if you said 20th street, they wouldn't know where you lived. So, you have to lie in order to truthfully tell them where you honestly live.

If you asked anybody around here how to get to their house, they'd tell you a crossroads or intersection. But, when you'd get to their house you'd find that you probably never even saw the crossroads or intersection let alone had to drive through it to find their home. And they usually never live right at the intersection.

Another thing I learned and I hope to put into the "Moving To Nebraska Survival Guide For Dummies" is the absolute need to install a compass in your car. They really should make that as necessary as license plates.

The risk of becoming lost and stranded and possibly causing your very own death which in turn would cause grief and sadness for your loved ones because of your death but grief would also be caused by your funeral because of the hacked up funeral bills that your family would have to pay all because your vehicle was not equipped with a life saving compass, you should get a ticket for not having a compass.

I would go as far to suggest that maybe you should even wear one on your wrist like you would a watch. Believe me, it would be more worth it for you to actually sell your watch and use the money to invest into a wrist size compass because you would use the compass way more than you would ever use a watch.

Plus, many banks and other business will keep you well informed of the time and temperature as you drive around. But, no one will inform you of the direction you're going. Unless you happen to spot a weather vein on the top of a barn.

While using your compass, learn your directions. Everything is North, South, East and West. Left and right are good to know if you visit the other 47 continental states but they will do you no good around here. People don't know how to use left and right. It's like the city of Ninevah in Jonah's time -- folks can't tell their left hand from their right. It's really sad.

If you get directions to go anywhere, you would be told whether their house or building is on the North, South, West or East side of the street. NEVER left of right.

If they mentioned the garbage cans on the side of their driveway as landmark for you to use, they wouldn't merely say, "side of driveway." Instead, they would give you the exact direction from the driveway that the garbage cans stood. So, make sure your compass is working.

A few days after Toby did the estimate on 48th and Adams, we happened to drive past that location. He pointed the roof out to me and sure enough, the house was several doors down from the exact intersection of 48th and Adams.

It makes me wonder how he found the exact house due to the fact that many homes in that area needed roofs and it wasn't like there was a sign out front that read, "roof repair needed here at 48th and Adams."

My final conclusion is that the home owner probably said he was so many houses North, South, East or West of 48th and Adams. And being a loyal Nebraskan, Toby knew the exact location.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

On Messy Houses and Bathroom Visits

The two littlest people in my house were quite busy today. There seemed to be a lot of activity and opportunities for character building... both on their parts and mine as well.

The unseen little one was also busy at work. Growing and kicking and keeping me well informed of what our bathroom looks like and the facilities available.

After airplaning fork fulls of lasagna for 30 minutes over lunch time, Landon and Janae finally finished their food. I'm not sure why it is so hard to get my kids to eat! All the children that come from my family are big eaters and will clean their plates with no promptings. Feeding my two little ones is like pulling rotting teeth on a horse: you have to do it to help the horse but man, they sure don't like it.

Today Landon wanted to eat salad and not lasagna. Of course, being a health conscience mother, I am pleased to see that he would enjoy fresh food over cooked but really, is a bowl of lettuce topped with "ketchup" (ranch dressing) going to be enough calories for his growing body? Especially to last him from lunch time to supper? I don't think so.

I coaxed the tomato lathered noodles and hamburger in his mouth by promising him that he could eat carrots and salad when he was done. It worked.

Thankfully, the pea-in-a-pod doesn't have to be coaxed to eat yet. Hungry or not, the food just keeps that tummy full. At least I don't have to force food into that little mouth too. Not yet, anyway.

As I cleaned up lunch, I heard Landon pipe up from the living room as he cut paper and scattered trains and a camera and semi trucks around the room...

"The house is messy, Mom."

I think he was glad to come to that realization on his own and was smugly pleased to inform me of my "new" task at hand.

A wet bed was found just before nap time and I inwardly wailed at the realization that I will probably never get my laundry done. EVER.

A puddle of what should've been in the diaper was found where a little girl had been sitting. (What is wrong with that diaper?! I just changed her...) Another reason to clean the floor again today.

A broken zipper, a stained white shirt, an unlaced shoe and a pile of tiny cut papers on the floor all are reminders to me that a mother's work is never done -- even if she gets the main house work done like meals, cleaning and laundry.

Nap time entailed another character building process. Both kids were reluctant to go to bed but their tearful reluctance confirmed how tired and weary they were.

After putting them down, I checked on a sleeping Landon awhile later and found his train laying next to him chugging away on it's side. It wasn't getting anywhere but it sure was trying to. I quietly shut it off and looked at Landon's peaceful, sleeping face that just moments before was insisting on not taking a nap.

Janae was another story. She had pulled her turtleneck shirt off and was trying to get it on her legs. I untangled her from her clothes and laid her down as she protested and tried to get her chubby arms around my neck. After I got her all settled and quieted down, she looked up at me and said a simple-to-the-point, "Bye." I guess that was all she needed.

I always enjoy nap time. Sometimes I don't like to spend it resting myself because that's the only time of day when it's "just me" up and around in the house. It's so nice to regroup with myself and prepare for the rest of the day and evening. I can blog, clean, cook and do laundry with no interruptions.

Except when I'm pregnant. Then all my activities are evenly balanced around what happens to be the center room of our house: the bathroom. I'm anxiously waiting for the day when this baby moves higher and I can get more things done than just flushing the toilet several dozen times a day. I thought about keeping a bathroom log but I'm sure I'd run out of pen and ink real fast that it wouldn't be worth it.

Today as I was watching the kids run around and play, it hit me hard that many children the same ages as mine have major health issues, physical problems and terminal illnesses. Yet mine are healthy, strong, smart and growing. All those sweet sick children have moms that had the same dreams and goals for their kids that I do for mine. Yet those poor children sit strapped to a hospital bed with wires and cords and needles sticking to them.

When Landon runs across the room or gets out of his own bed in the morning or decides he's going to go out and play, nothing stops him. He has no physical limitations except for what I implement for him.

Having said all that, when I look at my day and ponder my children and darling husband and feel the little one bouncing around on my bladder, I feel like a very blessed woman. So blessed, that when I see the house is messy again, I'm just thankful that my children are able bodied enough to enjoy life and make a house messy again. And I'm also thankful that the little one inside me is growing strong enough to kick and bounce and poke and send me to the bathroom again.
And again.
And again.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Just Another Blog

Christmas is over and the New Year is here. The deep, perplexing thought on my mind this new year is trying to figure out when the New Year is no longer considered "new." I assume as long as January lasts, the New Year is still considered an accurate description of the current time frame.

Before my blogger account expires from lack of use, I figured it was time to blog again. It's been a long time since I updated and even now as I try to "create post," my thoughts are being derailed by the 3 little pigs story playing in the back ground. Right now it's at the part where the little pig eats a delicious wolf stew. As long as Landon doesn't turn the tape over again, I should have some peace and quiet... at least I won't have to listen to the story for the 4th time this morning.

As I revel in the "peace and quiet," an aspiring farmer brings me his little green tractor and a twist tie. How early they learn to improvise and repair machinery. Or at least, give directions on how to repair it. Surprisingly, the farmer went on his way without me doing the fixing. But, I have an idea he's collecting all the broken tractors that need new hitches and will soon be bringing me his entire junk yard collection.

Still wafting in the air is the super glue aroma that is sealing down a broken tire. The truck is resting on it's side right here on the desk while we all patiently wait for the glue to dry and fully cure. I never knew how to use super glue until I became a mom. And with as much as I use it, I've considered giving large packages of it to new moms for baby shower gifts. It is definitely a life saver, tear stopper, toy fixer and the glue that in many cases will hold your child's entire collection of toys together.

As I reflect on the past month since I blogged, my mind seems to dwell on the little moments that make each day special.

Like this morning when I left the diningroom for a second and came back only to find Landon painstakingly placing Janae's scrambled egg on her spoon and carefully setting it on the plate all ready for her to scoop into her mouth. Acting as if he always does stuff like that, he nonchalantly sauntered back to his own bowl of cereal and went on talking about his day. If only he knew that he is only a year older than her and some day real soon, folks will wonder if they're twins or ask who is older. Still, he takes his big brother responsibility seriously and makes every effort to keep his little sister well taken care of and in her rightful place: the baby sister.

But then there are the times when he'll treat her as if she's years older than just 1. Like the day we were running errands and they were both back in their car seats chattering away. Suddenly, I hear Landon shockingly exclaim between giggles, "Are you serious, Janae?"

With the passing of Christmas, Landon has gained two new occupations: train conductor and photographer. He got a Thomas Train Set for Christmas from my family and has already ran several batteries out on it. He sleeps with Thomas, eats with Thomas and goes places with Thomas.

That was, until Grandpa gave him a little toy camera on a string of yarn.

Landon wore that camera around his neck all the way home from Wisconsin. As I was paying for our lunch at Subway, I glanced down and saw Landon focusing in on the check out lady with his camera. He seemed quite pleased with the pose and resulting photo. Then, as we headed down the interstate again, I heard him talking in his seat as he snacked on fruit leather.

"I need to take a picture of my candy in my mouth."

That was followed by what I presumed to be activity with the camera (power button, focusing and zooming) and then a pleased response...

"There, I got a picture of my candy in my mouth."

He took pictures of semis and all kinds of scenery. I'd love to see what his pictures turn out like. Unfortunatly, plastic toy cameras don't come with film or ways to reproduce photos. Maybe I should just lend him our own digital camera. The results would probably be worth the danger it would be to the camera itself.

Growing in our little girl is a cute little momma. Janae got a stroller and doll for Christmas and has evolved into quite the tender mother. She knows how to use blankets and wipes and car seats and will spend hours pushing her babies around in the stroller. Landon loves to be the daddy too although he tends to be a bit overbearing and will boss Janae around about what to do with her babies. She is ever compliant and quite the follower. But, every once in awhile, she'll put her foot down and let out a wail. Just so you know, we're encouraging communication other than wails and screams although for someone that doesn't speak english yet, it seems to be quite the challenge at times.

It's ironic to me how early humans have to learn to share. It's hard for every age, it seems. To give up what I want and let someone else have it is definitely a challenge. Especially if for some reason you already don't see eye-to-eye. (She derailed my train... He kidnapped my baby again... She won't leave my trucks alone... He just knocked me over.... She bit me... etc.)

Yet I have to smile at the ways I can get in a snit over seemingly nothing. Like lastnight when Toby kindly went grocery shopping with me and volunteered to captain the ever expanding cart full of food and kids. That alone is a big relief and thoughtful offer for this sciatic plagued, pregnant woman.

As we collected items from our list in the produce department, I would tell him what to get in one section then I would move on and examine apples or pick up other food while he put his list of things in the cart.

In my mind, the plan was that after he loaded up the things he knew what to get, he would come over to me and collect the arm load of food I had. But, in Toby's mind, there was no plan.

I'd look over to where he was with the kids and see him walk right past one of the things I told him to grab. So, I'd head over to where he was, remind him of the eggs again and then dump my load in the cart.

Then, I headed over to the potatoes as he selected the eggs and since he was lingering in that department, I assumed he found other things to get and was merely making his selection. So, I grabbed a big lug of lettuce and added that to the 10lbs of potatoes.

Toby was slowly walking down the aisle observing food and what not, so I decided that since he would shortly be coming my way, I'd grab two large heads of cabbage and make his trip really worthwhile. Just as I selected the perfect cabbage and added it to my 10lbs of potatoes and large lug of lettuce, I saw him turn and head out of the produce department and straight for the candy aisle.

"SWEETHEART!" I discreetly yelled across the store but to no avail. He slowly steered down the aisle and turned and went another way.


I dumped my whole armload of food in an empty orange box and limped across the store and chased him down.

"Where are you going, Sweetheart?" I sweetly asked in a reproving voice.

He turned around and with a twinkle in his eye said, "Oh, there you are... I couldn't find you."

"I was right behind you Darling with a huge load of stuff and watched you head straight over to the candy aisle the first chance you got."

He just rolled his eyes and kindly followed me.

In all truth, he just happened to head towards the candy aisle and hadn't planned on even looking at any at all -- he was simply looking for me. I guess sweet things make him think of me so that's why he went through the candy section looking for me. So, I steered him back to our pile of food and we finished collecting our list of items.

I actually laugh at situations like this but I know that if I choose to stop laughing, I won't see the funny side to reoccuring situations that we have all the time like this: the situation may not change but a sour attitude can make a world of difference. It's so fun to share life with the one you love, even when they may do things that could annoy you. It's all about attitude though.

Well, since starting this blog, I have saved many lives, fed starving people and mended broken hearts. I should feel well accomplished, you'd think. But, alas... projects, work and a tired little boy are calling me and compelling me to put an end to this leisure time at the computer and send me back to the high calling of motherhood.

So, with that I'll close for now and wish you all a Happy New Year while the new year lasts.

A Well Put Poem On Transplants

I am Green
By Unknown
I grew up in Blue Country
My Parents grew up in Yellow Country.
They tell me I am Yellow
And sometimes we go and visit Yellow Country.
When I am in Yellow Country
I go to school with the Yellow kids.
I dress like the Yellow kids
And I talk like the Yellow kids.
But when I am in Blue Country
I go to school with the Blue kids
I dress like the Blue kids
And I talk like the Blue kids
Sometimes when I am in Yellow Country
I really miss the Blue ways
I guess that the things I do and say,
Are really rather Bluish in color
In the same way, when I am in Blue Country
There are things I miss about Yellow Country
And I am sure the things I do and say
Appear rather Yellowish in color.
All this changing around is so confusing
Blue or Yellow? Who am I really?
I wonder if there is a place where I could just be me
Where the Blue and Yellow could both run free
Sometimes when I am flying
between the two places
I want to stay up there
in the middle of all the races
If only I could stop some place in between
If only I could just be GREEN!