Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Little Boys are Made of...

It really seems like it's every day.

Run, jump, splat!  Not that he's uncoordinated, because that is not the case at all.

It's just that he's never still and is usually climbing something, or chasing something or getting into somethings, so probability would say that he would have his fair share of bangs, bumps and bruises.

The following are from the last two days.

The first is just a scabbed knee gotten from running after Jo on her bicycle,

 this next one is from him running at Jimmy's work with no shoes on.  He stubbed his toe on the edge of a mirror leaning against the wall and cut it pretty deeply.  It was bleeding all over and left a drippy path from the site of the injury to the bathroom down the hall,

and this one is where he splatted something else.  At least it wasn't him, although the victim was supposed to be part of our dinner!

 But all in all, he seems none the worse for wear!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just Peachy!

I keep thinking that today is Friday.  But it's not.  It's only Wednesday (isn't it?  I don't know anymore.  I feel a little lost!)

Anyway, for some reason I woke up in the best mood this morning!  I was dancing in the sunrise!  Well, ok, not the sunrise, but not long after.  I was so full of energy and ready to get 'er done!


Today, after I took Jimmy to work, I came back home and everyone was whining and crying about something.  Someone looked at someone wrong or someone wasn't sharing the blocks or Jesse knocked over someone's tower...on purpose!  But I was determined not to let that get me down and not to let that chase me out of the house like it usually does.

Usually if the kids are acting like that, I pile them all in the car of stroller and we go somewhere.  This house is so small, and in the summer it's so hot that after a while, we just get tired of being all on top of each other and at least in the car, they can't reach each other and if I turn the radio up loud enough it can kind of drown them out.

Plus, the AC in the Suburban is nice and cool.

Unlike in the house.

But no!  Not today!  No whinies were going to get me down!  So I told them get your shoes on, we're going outside.

But what are we going to DO outside!?!?!  

As if they don't play outside every day anyway.

I honestly don't care what you do outside, said I, just get your shoes on and out the door.  In fact, I said, I don't even care if you have shoes.  Just OUT!

And out we went.  (Jesse was sleeping, so it was do-able with the other 2.  Elizabeth was inside cleaning her room in anticipation of going on a long weekend get-away with Jordan)

So, I took Gabe and Jo, kicking and screaming all the way, out into the back yard where my mother-in-law and I proceeded to cut the brush off the fence on the driveway side of the house.  Then, I cut this ridiculous wire thing that has been rusting on the fence since we bought the house 14.5 years ago!  The mosquitoes were we were working were horrible, so Yolanda and I both had on pants, but Gabriel didn't, and, of course, he refused to listen to us tell him to play in the back with Jo on the swings, so his little legs got bitten so badly!  (But I know that he has no reaction to the bites, so I was not worried, and the little welts were gone by evening.)

Anyway, finally Jo and Gabriel started playing nicely together, so without warning I rewarded them with a Starburst that they had been wanting that for some reason had been hanging out in the fridge for quite some time now.  I am hoping that the praise and positive attention I gave them will help them be able to play better over time.  Hoping.  Against all hope, but still hoping.

Then, it was in the house to feed the baby and make lunch.

Then, Annie came over and I left the kids inside with Elizabeth and Annie while they finished lunch and Yolanda and I dug potatoes.  It was a sorry looking batch or taters we got out of our little plot this year.  Not nearly as many as last year.  I tried and different variety this year, so I will go back to the originals next year, for sure.

Then it was off to nap for Jo and Gabriel, and Jesse fell asleep, too.  Well, actually, Gabriel fell asleep, but Jo didn't and started screaming and crying that she was not tired and didn't want to sleep, so she woke everyone up again after about 10-15 minutes.

But, I was not to be deterred today!

I called a friend who has a pick-up and he came by and took some big toys out of the yard that I have been needing to donate for some time now.  Ok, for some years now.  Ok, like maybe 10 years or so.  But hey, they are those Little Tykes plastic toys, so they look the same as they did when someone gave them to me after their kids used them outside for 5 years or so.

Ahhh, but that's not it!

THEN, after dinner and assembly line bathing, the kids were playing with Jimmy and Elizabeth in the living room and Annie and Yolanda and I actually FINALLY got to can some peaches!
Here are the peaches, ready to be peeled.  They are so delicious!

(Here is Jesse.  He is delicious, too!)

Boiling water...and more water!  The one on the right is for processing, the back for sterilizing and the front  left for blanching.

I think that our peaches were not as ripe as they could have been.  They were really super sweet, but still a bit firm.  They didn't peel easily after blanching, so we had to actually cut the skin off.  Anyone have ideas on how to not have to do that again?

Anyway, here they are, sliced and heating up.

Filling the jars...

Processing...(I love the color refracting through the bubbling water.  Too cool.)

One finished product...

All of them together.  I hope they sealed well.  This is the first time  I have done peaches.
On the right is the peach juice that the peaches made when they were heating mixed with the left over hot apple juice that I used in the packing.  
Anyway, all together, I would say that it was a very productive day!

Getting Elizabeth's last school book in the mail today was just an added bonus!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Sticky Situation

I have a thing about band-aids.  Well, they would actually be called Band-Aids, or adhesive bandages, but either way, I have a thing about them.  I don't know when it started, but I think that it had something to do with working in the office and doubling as the school 'nurse' back in the day.

The thing is, I think that band-aids are highly over used.  It annoys me when kids have band-aids all over their bodies just because their sister has one, or because they bumped their knee or grazed their elbow.

Get over it.


So, here's my thing.  In my mind, it's all really just a marketing ploy put out by the band-aid companies.  True, there are times when wounds need to be covered and protected, or just covered 'cuz we don't wanna see all that, but not every little scratch.  But, what we hear is that things heal faster or better or with less scarring if we use a band-aid.  Really?  Ok, maybe, but doesn't that really just apply to deep wounds that need some extra TLC?  Is my son's bruise really going to heal faster?  Of course not!  But hey, put a band-aid on it, and it will feel better, right?

And exactly how does that work?

Out of sight, out of mind, of course.  Plus, an angry bird or two decorating your body is always fun, right?

What happened to the 'flesh' colored strips?  When did they stop being enough?

I think it was all around the time that we started giving everyone on all the soccer teams oranges during half-time of an hour long game PLUS a snack at the end of the game, as if our kids can't last til they get home to get some nourishment, and trophies for everyone.    

So, here's my thing:

Why do we do it?  Why do we give in to the cry for a band-aid?  To make the kid stop crying, of course.  We say, 'I'll put a band-aid on it.  There.  Now it's all better.'

But is it really?

Think about this:

What is in those band-aids that we slap willy nilly on our kids' tender skin?  What makes them stick so well?  How much processing and chemicals are in that little white non-stick pad?  And we are putting these on our kids right next to a part of their skin that is already compromised by a scratch or bruise.

Maybe I'm just blowing smoke.  Maybe it's all been tested by the band-aid company and proven to be very safe for our little tricycle motors, but then again, maybe not.  I honestly don't know.

In fact, I did absolutely no research before writing this post.

My only insight has been that Jo has a small rubbed spot on her foot and she is crying for a band-aid.  I, however, am being a horribly mean mother and am not giving her a band-aid.


Because I know that if I cave and give her a band-aid now, for this minuscule dot of red, it is but a short ride down a slippery slope of whining for a band-aid at every tiny bump or smallest scrape.

And I personally do not want to buy stock in the companies that produce 'adhesive bandages.'

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

She's not really leaving, but...

She's not really leaving us, thank goodness, but she is leaving her position in the children's ministry at the church, and we will sorely miss her. 

But we know that God has plans for her that are great and good, so we can only wish her well on her new endeavors.

And it is much easier to do that since we know that she's not really leaving us, just changing things up a bit.

In honor of all the years that she has been working with our itty bitties, there will be a potluck at church tonight. 

Elizabeth has decided to make a few things to take with us.  Although I am not allowed to tell what they are since the time has not yet come, I am allowed to share pictures of the bits and pieces of the unfinished products and then you can try to guess what it is that she is making.


Oh, and I forgot to mention that our honored guest has dietary restrictions, so we have never cooked like this before. 

But it's going to taste great!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


We got Joselin a bicycle for her birthday in July.  Nothing fancy, just a yardsale find that she can sit on and still touch the ground.  Thing is, though, that it sat around our shed and yard for a month because there is nowhere to ride around here that I don't have to pack the bike and everyone else up and drive to. 

Last week, however, Jimmy's boss and his family were out of town and we were house sitting for them while they were gone.  Jimmy and Mirian were still working in the basement of the house, but the rest of the house was empty, so we took full advantage of that and brought over some groceries and goodies and stayed all morning there and ate lunch with Jimmy and then either came home for quiet time or hung out there til the day was done.

On Tuesday, the idea hit me to take Jo's bike to their house because they live in a culdesac and there are nice flat sidewalks to ride on.  So, we packed up Jo's bike and Gabriel's trike and headed over there.  By Saturday, Jo could ride her bike with no training wheels and no assistance at all.  Wanna know how we did it?  I'll tell you.

First, on Monday, I lowered the seat all the way down so that Jo's feet could sit flat on the ground and I removed the pedals off the bike.  I left on the chain and everything else, I just removed the pedals.  Jo sat on the seat and walked the bike around just walking, one foot in front of the other.

Then, on Tuesday, I encouraged her to glide a bit, and she would push off a bit and pick her feet up off the ground and coast.  She also learned to use the hand brake this day since this bike has coaster brakes and one rear hand brake.

Wednesday, more of the same, but now she could really get going and get a good push and coast quite a distance.

Thursday I raised the seat so it was at the correct level of just her toes touching the ground and she worked more on balance and braking.

Friday it rained, so we didn't really go out.

On Saturday, I put the pedals on the bike and showed her how to position the pedals for a good starting position and I held her arm a bit while she got started and then let go.

By the afternoon, she was cruising around and around the neighborhood all by herself, stopping and starting all on her own.

This was the most painless way to teach her to ride and it cost nothing extra!  I didn't have to buy her a coaster bike first and then a pedal bike, I just removed the pedals.  Much easier than running along behind her and much faster than training wheels.

Jo is so proud and so am I!

Now, for a little bike for Gabriel....