Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's a good thing they're cute

I really thought that MB was a busy toddler - buy am I being proved wrong. I am starting to wonder how hard it would be to put a lock on our refrigerator. I can leave her playing with something totally innocent to go do something for junior, or *gasp* take care of my needs and within seconds this one is into something. Lately it has been the contents of the frig.

The white stuff above - sour cream, a brand new container. I've also caught her feeding the hot dogs to the at a time. And, this afternoon she was pouring chocolate syrup on the dogs.

Here I was feeding junior when K needed me outside. I ran out there for a minute and came back to find her feeding him. The camera, luckily, was right on the counter by the door. Her technique was pretty good - just a little fast for Mr. Vesuvius. I cannot tell you how many baths we go through in a day.


As a public service warning - if you have allergies or asthma don't plan a trip to NC any time soon. As if the run of days in the '80s, in March, wasn't strange enough... I was watering the garden this evening when I realized that the light had changed, I looked up and realized that the pollen was falling so fast and so thick it was actually blocking out some of the sunlight. The sky & air above tree level was clear - but this is what it looked like looking down our street.

All pollen in the air.

I have never seen it this heavy before and I have lived in NC all my life.

Most of the day we were also treated to low level smoke from yet more land being burned to clear for probably more stores. And, here we thought we had moved to the boonies 9 years ago. If you like to breath don't come here.

It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow which should clear the air. Of course the temps will be a chilling 30 degrees cooler too.



Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our own little climate

Central NC has its own little micro-climate happening. Every spring we seem to start budding, flowering and otherwise turning green faster than other areas of the state. My mom was the first one that pointed out to me that we are as much as a week ahead of the coast in our 'greening' and of course we warm up a little faster than the mountains, by sometimes a month.

Add in the fact the we are abnormally dry & warm for this time of year....I'm almost worried that I didn't get my spring plants in early enough. Should I start planting the summer tender crops?

This weekend I unpacked the spring/summer clothes that I feel like I just put away. I packed away our heavy winter coats. Now we can have that Easter snowstorm. It has happened before.

The worst is that I am already hearing people talk about...turning on their air conditioning. It is MARCH. I have this deal - we will swelter, wrap wet towels around our necks, even walk around the house in a less than dressed way, etc., but the air conditioning does not get turned on until June!!! It doesn't even get hot here until July.

Give us a few more years and we will be the new orange producing state, while Florida is growing bananas for us.

I've noticed that I have been a bad, bad mama and have not posted any pictures of K with all the other pictures. In my own defense, she isn't often outside participating in the mud slings and such. She asked me to take her picture Sunday, when she was 'dressed' for it. I have come to accept that I do have one "girl" in my bunch. I will be loaning her out when it comes time to teach her such things as make-up, hair styling & dressing.

Well I better go and see if I can get today started. I will be challenged by the siren call of the outdoors and the new-to-us pirate ship toy someone dropped in our backyard yesterday (yes I do know who it is from :) )



Saturday, March 24, 2007

Unschool Friday

What do you do on Friday to celebrate a very productive and successful week. We have fallen into the routine of unschooling Fridays. Generally we spend part of the time doing some big, end-of-the-week chores that are nice to not have to do on the weekends or we might tackle grocery shopping for the pay period. Then we spend the day letting the girls dictate what they want to do (within reason), generally games, computer time, a science experiment or even a movie afternoon.

Yesterday we didn't need to hit the grocery stores and not the inclination to do any big chores. It was warm (highs made it into the '80s) and clear skies. Time to head outside. MB and I discussed the merits of about 6 different parks we could go to, each with their own different habitat we could explore (some have marshes, some hiking trails, some with ducks & geese, two with small lakes, etc). We finally decided to go check out the park/playground that has a rock climbing area and a flowing, rocky stream. We called a friend, packed a lunch and headed out.

We had a quick snack at the rock climbing area while the various children climbed it. K made it up the sloped side without any help this year and MB actually tackled the vertical climb!! I guess most mother's reactions might run - oh my goodness, I'm glad she didn't get hurt. Mine was, "please don't let her here about the rock climbing gym down the road, she will never let me hear the end of it." I am proud of her though. She failed a couple of times but really stuck with it and made it.

After that we headed down the path to the greenway and the stream. Over the winter the stream must have had a couple of floods because a lot more rocks were exposed on the side. The place is a treasure trove for beginning rock hounds. We have a spot at a bend in the stream where it widens and is shallow. We let them play in the water, EM was soaking wet, and hunt for rocks. MB and her friend Z hunted for the biggest rocks they could carry so that they could walk up the path where the water was deeper and see how big a splash they could make - they called it "splunking".

We found smokey quartz, rose quartz, white quartz and lots of others I couldn't identify. MB brought one home that I think is some type of Mica. It is shimmery green and layered. It is also so soft I can peel the edges with my fingers. I've already made a note that we are going back there soon with our rock identification books before another flood carries all those beautiful stones away.

I remembered to take my camera to the park - but was so caught up in what we were doing, I totally forgot to take it out of my bag. I hate when I do that - there were so many 'picture' moments.

When we came home we found that a dead tree from the woods behind our house and fallen down and across our fence. Amazingly, our wandering dog did not take the chance to escape.

Our neighbor has a chainsaw so he is coming over this morning to help DH cut it up and then DH is going to see if he can repair the fence for the time being. We just need the semblence of a fence there since the children & dogs are so trained to the fact that there is a fence.

DH and I were standing around scratching our heads over the fence when I mentioned duct tape - because you can use it for anything. EM ran off to the garage and came back carrying a roll of tape to her daddy. I think she has seen us use it a time or two.

The girls are going to miss their impromptu balance beam after it is cut up today.

We needed more firewood for next is some that is 'pre-seasoned'

The rest of the afternoon I let the girls watch our "Magic School Bus" videos and MB and I put together a National Geo 'relief' puzzle of the US my mom had found somewhere for a couple of dollars.

A friend of mine that had moved recently stopped by to offer us the stove that was in her 'new' house. They are remodeling the kitchen and the stove is only a couple years old. They are going to give it to us for free and deliver it to our house!! Our stove still works, but it is nearly 40 years old (original to the house) and we are just waiting for it to give up. This will really kick start the needed - temporary renovation of the kitchen. A full renovation won't happen until after we add the new master bathroom and convert the living room to a master bed.

It was a good Friday. We have a busy Saturday planned. Cut up the tree and repair fence, then DH has to go out and do a job (his seasonal work is already starting). I'll hang out here with the young'ns and maybe tackle some of those chores from yesterday.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Fever Picture Post

Time to clean off the camera again.

The weather is WONDERFUL!! and only to get better. eee...I could enjoy this all year. Really - mid to upper 70s, no humidity. Yeah this is great.

I'm not quite ready for this, yet...

Em & MB - My December Babies

Last night MB got ahold of the camera and took some shots of us. Some are really good. As you can see Junior is really finding his place in the family with all the little mothers.

Move need to linger here. Why, yes, Junior did get my ears.

Today was garden day. We weeded, planted some more seeds, started a few tomato & pepper plants, and began our container herb garden.

See what I have already....

Baby Broccoli Plants


Leaf Lettuce - the 'variety' pack

And some Spinach, mixed in with the weeds I am afraid to pull since they might bring up the small plants with them.

See all the straw - my children helping, guess what? It wasn't seedless straw...

Here is our miniature greenhouse and herb garden. The one with greenry is the Basil that we cannot kill. I weeded it out of the garden bed last winter and as I threw it to the side some landed in this container - voila.

After we finished in the garden MB asked if she could use one of my buckets. Sure...what harm could they do....

I loved this one. I took off her shirt to find all this mud - under her shirt, and a clover plastered to her body for good measure.
MB was just as muddy, but had turned the hose on herself by this time. We'll just say the water has not warmed up quite as nicely as the air temperature.

K, the whole time - inside wearing a summer party dress.



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Homeschool Support Groups and Other Activities

I've been giving these a lot of thought, especially over the months of February and March when we have been home alot due to illness. We miss being home, we miss having our own schedule to do with what we want. It's not just K & I, the two homebodies, but even MB has talked about how much nicer our days have gone when we don't have to rush around. It is something I didn't realize when we were in the midst of it all.

Given that we live in the middle of everything and it only takes 15 minutes to get to anything, one would think it was no trouble going to outside classes and such. But, each activity takes at minimum 2 hours out of our precious day together. And, they have not been generally fun two hours either. The two little ones need so much care and attention when we are in public, that I feel like I can't be there for the older two like I want to. And, recently they have not been very happy with what we have been doing.

We miss what we did before the classes and such. We could take a day and waste half of it hanging out at the little lake by us - walking, feeding the ducks, exploring the wetlands and playing on the playground. With something scheduled, in the middle of the day, everyday we can't do it. We feel like we are constantly running around. Where haave my grand ideas of homeschooling being the opportunity to let the kids just explore life.

My constant mantra has become "get .... done so we can go to ....!"

My support group has been very helpful for the first two years, but I am feeling as if I need to back out of it. We can participate in almost nothing and there is no way I can fulfill my obligation to sponsor, organize - whatever, two events by the end of summer. I've made some close friends, the girls have made some good friends. And, we can still do things together - just at times that work better for us.

MB will still have piano and soccer. K wants to drop piano, she is not happy - and I just don't think she is ready. I'd rather drop it and let her pick it back up in a couple of years. The girls are wanting to do more things at church, one of the reasons we re-joined was the strong children's programs. I don't doubt the girls' abilities to find their own socialization outlets.

Anyway, it is time for us to scale-back and try to re-enter the core of homeschooling for our family. Simplify, simplify, simplify.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pantry Loving

Recently I have been really trying hard to bring our grocery budget down. It gives us more money in other areas of our budget that need it more. I'm shopping sales, coupons (occassionally often they are not any better for me) and Aldis. Because I am cooking from scratch and refusing to buy packaged as much as possible, it is really working. We generally do between $350 and $400 a month for the family, including diapers & formula.

What I cannot do is sit down and make a menu at the beginning of the week and shop for it. I may go hog wild shopping one week, and then not shop again for a couple of weeks - letting dh pick up the necessary milk on his way home. I buy staples - canned goods, rice, pasta, frozen veggies and meat.

I plan menus based on what needs to be used up. But, because my pantry is stocked I can be flexible and it doesn't cause a crisis run to the grocery store.

Point-in-fact, this weekend we were given another gallon size bag of ham slices. This is on top of the existing 10 qt-size bags of ham & 2 ham bones already in the freezer. We had just had ham two weeks ago, for several days. But, needed to use this, plus it was Free!

Need some new use-up ham recipes. So, I head to the internet.... So many recipes, so little time. And, because my pantry was stocked there were very little recipes I could not go ahead and make. I ended up printing off 6 to try.

Tonight - Ham Jambalaya
Tomorrow - Ham & Broccoli Macaroni Casserole
Breakfast one morning - Ham & Hash Browns casserole

The other three I will try out during April.

It's nice having a pantry - and cheap!



Sacramental Living

Last summer I got a copy of "Crunchy Cons" by Rob Dreher when all the hoopla was going on about it. I read it quickly as I was in the midst of several other readings. I wanted to go back and digest it more carefully later. Fast forward almost a year and I have finally been able to read it again - with pen in hand and absorb the book.

The term that really stood out to me in this living and something that I really want to work on personally, is 'living sacramentally.' It is the pinnacle, the summation of where I want my life to go from here. It was the desire I started with last spring to make my life more simple - only I didn't have the words for it.

I can't tackle all the parts of the book at once, as I can't tackle everything in my life in one fell swoop. I've decided to start with Food to focus on. Everything starts with food, huh. We have been moving in this direction, but this summer my goal is to eat 90% of our food fresh or made from scratch in our kitchen. The kids will be dragged to the farmer's market and even better, to pick-your-own farms. We may even go visit some beef suppliers. Seeing the food at this level makes it more 'real.' It takes a lot of work and energy for food to reach our plates. And, my children they don't get this.

Too often when we say "you should be thankful of the dinner we are having" we follow it up with a lecture of a child in far away Africa. My kids are so young they don't understand that. I think what we need to teach them to be thankful of is that we have this food at all - a seed is planted, with the right amount of sun's heat and right amount of rain it grows. The farmer must weed or implement anti-weed systems. Then somebody must pick the produce, generally the poorest of our economy. It is sent to a factory where more working poor process it. That raw food is brought into the house where someone must clean it and prepare it. That head of broccoli really had to go through a lot before it ever hit our plate. Someone doesn't waste something as precious as that. And think about how much more special if you actually knew the farmer.

But, if you think the broccoli just magically appears on the grocery shelf one day for your convenience - it just doesn't hold the same awe. It can be wasted. Where it comes from isn't important, what it needs to grow isn't important. The value is dramatically reduced. The connection between nature-farm-home-plate has been cut. Along with it I feel that God's grace and provision has been removed from our table.

I want to re-introduce my children & myself to that relationship.



A book, a bucket, a shovel, and a magnifying glass

I don't know if people in other areas of the country have to deal with the widespread fundraising that public schools do. The elementary school alone has two fundraisers per year, and I have been hit up once by the middle school already this year. I do wonder how the PTA really feels about this prostituting of children by sending them out door-to-door in this age to earn money for their classes. What does it say about the education system?

I don't remember a single door-to-door fundraiser that I was sent out on as a child. We had book fairs, but those were at the school and the only people hit up were the parents. "Gee, mom why can't I have this 5-page Strawberry Shortcake sticker book, it's only $8?"

At the beginning of the school year each child is sent a list of materials to buy for that school year. The local stores also have copies available for each class. I picked one up last fall, just to take a peek of what a 1st grader needed. The thing was three pages - the first page was the individual child needs, which was way overkill in my mind. From notebooks, to loose paper, to construction paper and glue. I thought that they were making sure the school system no longer had to provide educational supplies at all. And, then the other two pages supplies that needed to be purchased for the 'classroom'.

I've spent less on my children, even buying some pieces of curriculum, than I would have buying materials for one child's classroom. And, yet, they still send these children around begging for more - or the parent takes the form to work so co-workers can feel guilty if they don't buy something.

All this so that the children can have a 'quality' education????

I've thought about handing one of the poor children that show up on my doorstep a nature identification book, a bucket a shovel and a magnifying glass and telling them to go outside. There is your quality education.



Monday, March 19, 2007

Sunday Baptism

We had a crazy weekend - not my normal two days of laziness that I have instilled over the winter months. Junior's baptism was yesterday - wouldn't it be nice to share pictures - yeah I think so too, but I left the camera here, sitting next to the computer.

Mom came up Saturday since she couldn't get away earlier because of judging 'Battle of the Books" for her county public school system. So, we had to compress all the errand running into Saturday afternoon. We took MB & K with us and had a really good big girls time out. Mom treated us to lunch at the mall where I had to return an easter dress that didn't work for K. Then we hit Target for a sale they had on drinks and then we went to BJs for last minute supplies and a few staples we had run out of at the end of the week.

Mom doesn't have any warehouse stores near her, so she always tries to pick up a few things that are good deals for her. It took us about an hour to wander through there. And, of course I spent over $100 like I always do. But did get flour at $4 for 20lbs and 2lbs of bulk yeast for less than $4.

We brought the girls home after that, they were ready to go play with friends and we needed to pack up the food for Sunday and take it to the in-laws house. Mom and I went back out to Walmart and then headed over to the in laws where we visited without children for an hour or so. It was after 5:30 before we finally got home.

Overnight junior began coughing and snorting, and I started with some sort of back spasms that left me thinking I was going to die. I couldn't decide if I had pnuemonia or experiencing my first asthma attack ever. The muscle spasms were wrapping around from my back to my chest and I couldn't totally expand my lungs. It was so bad I started getting shocky before dh got me into a hot shower which seemed to help the pain. By the time I got out he had feed and changed junior and set him up in the pack 'n' play in our room, sleeping in his car seat. He had also set up the heating pad for me to lay on.

I think we fell back to sleep around 4 and then back up at 7 to finish getting everyone ready to go to church.

The baptism was fine. I'm sure I would have been more into it if I hadn't been concentrating so hard on just trying to stand upright. I really wanted all the girls to stand up there with us, but Em began screaming everytime we tried to get her to come into the sanctuary. I think it had to do with the fact that when she was first in there the grandparents & aunts kept trying to keep her from 'rocking.' She rocks for comfort. I tried to explain to them that she will stop if it hurts and just leave her alone - but the minister kept wanting me to actually concentrate on the liturgical review (like we havn't done this three times already).

Anyway, we were able to avoid the procession following the baptism (where junior is carried around the sanctuary and presented to the congregants while parents follow behind) and tradition I really don't get. I explained to the minister that junior had a cold, so beyond sprinkling with water the minister did not touch junior.

After the baptism I took junior out and picked up Em in the toddler room and we spent the service hanging out in the lounge area. I just don't think any of us were up for large crowds at that point.

We did lunch and hung out afterwards at the in-laws. My family; my mom & stepfather, my dad & stepmother and step-neice had all come up, left late afternoon. We finally scooted out after 4:30 and I came home and went to sleep for two more hours. I woke up to the sound of DH ordering pizza.

Like I said I would like to show pictures, but we don't have any. Because of junior's cold I took off the extremely light-weight outfit that was his father's, immediately after the actual baptism and put him back into a sleeper. So I have been assigned to put him back into the outfit once he is feeling better and snap some pictures for everyone.

Now that the baptism is over I can concentrate on getting things ready for Easter. And, right after that MB & K have two choir concerts that I need to make them black skirts for.

Its Monday and the weather is looking good for this week. So, I'm going to log off and try to get some things done.



Friday, March 16, 2007

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Our beautiful weather week has come to a dramatic end with pouring rain all day and temps falling from 69 at 5:30 this morning to the '40s by this evening. I have not been inside much, and in fact trying to self-regulate the amount of time that I spend on the time-sucker that is a computer. I love spring, if for not anything else than the warm days and no bugs. Being able to open the doors & windows and let fresh air move through out the house. I really want to find a screen door to extend the days of open doors. It needs to be doggy-proof - Ginger dog is terrible on screens.

My spring garden is really coming along, seedlings, seedlings & more seedlings. Today's rainy weather should be a good blessing for it. The blueberry bushes have lots of buds and flowers, so we have not killed those, yet. The only thing I am disappointed in are the potatoes. I don't see anything yet. I can generally grow potatoes, by accident in the compost - but nothing here.

I think I am going to by some seeds next payday and go ahead and begin my tomato and pepper plants indoor, if I can find a safe enough spot for them. I have a couple paper egg cartons and am saving a paper oj carton, they will make fine starter pots that I can just but in with the plant. Mid-april is when we can generally plant the warm weather plants.

Instead of schooling at the kitchen table (actually we are more of the sofa schooling school - but this is for point) we have schooled this week at the picnic table overlooking the backyard. MB even took some of the knowledge she has gained through the environment/ecology project and help our nine-year-old neighbor build a model habitat for his class project. I saw the finished project and I am actually giving her points for it in our school. They did a very good job with it.

I'm kind of glad that some of our 'outside' classes and co-ops are already starting to wind down for the year. I am ready to get back to some homeschooling. We always seemed so rushed, and then I have to spend my time entertaining youngins while MB and/or K do their class. We actually have less time for the fun things in homeschooling. I am really going to have to reasses what we do and if (fingers crossed) we homeschool next year we are going to have less regularly scheduled classes and just do occassional & field trips.

Today we will be inside, no errands to run - Yeah (took care of that yesterday during MB's Piano). I need to give the house a really good cleaning as my mom is coming up tomorrow morning. Junior is being baptized on Sunday!! Oh, and the ants are trying to make their yearly migration into our abode and time to wipe those silly creatures out. My plan is to put the kids to work (already seeing a fallacy) and knock it out. Then we can have a movie afternoon, complete with popcorn and everything.



Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who's That?

So, life is a journey of personal changes - yeah, I get that. Sometimes there are rapid changes in life; I fall asleep as one person and by the next day I am someone totally different (marriage, childbirth, buying a new home) and other changes kind of sneak up on me. What's funny is that even changes that I plan for, make goals about, changes I desire - still have the ability to sneak up on me.

A little over a year ago, after the selling the house fiasco and realizing that I didn't want or need a bigger, better house. And, coming to some idea of what I was searching for in my life at the time, I made up a list of things in general that I wanted to focus on in our life.

~ Pay off all of our debts and work from a budget (this actually took several months to get dh totally on board with it) we have about one more year until we will be free except for the house

~ Declutter and figure out what we really need to be happy. Prepping the house for moving and putting a lot of things in storage helped with this process. One, I found out I really, really need my books in the house on the books shelves (knick-knacks there don't make me happy). But we cut the toy load down, our clothing amounts, etc. We try to keep up with it, but paper reproduces like weeds around here.

~ Eat more foods naturally or from scratch. This came from two different motivators. First concern over my kids reactions to additives in their foods. And, secondly, cost. I wanted to get our food budget down. We are all really enjoying this new aspect. I have enjoyed being in the kitchen all my life - but their is real joy & relaxation in the kitchen for me now that wasn't their before. I love finding recipes & changing recipes. We don't buy cookies & snacks as a rule anymore - we like what we can make in the kitchen better.

So those were my big three from last spring that we have worked on and focused on. Along the way other new ideas and goals appeared. We tried new things and enjoyed them, found that they worked for us. It is wonderful, but I find myself stopping and saying "Who's That?" to myself now. I am, in practice - not values so much, a totally different person than just a few years ago.

Today I am 'home' centered. Very focused on creating the best home environment for us. Home crafts interest me like crazy and I love trying to figure out how to use something old in a new way.

I also care about where our food comes from, the pesticide & food-borne illness concerns aside, I want to support our local farmers. I like to see the ground that the food grew in, to understand the process that goes into growing the food that we eat. It has had the side affect of really teaching me what thankfulness for food is (and it isn't just because people in Africa are starving). Growing food is hard work, nature & God are involved in it. The fact that something as small as a seed grows a head of broccoli - I'm pretty thankful I get the chance to eat that food. I can't joina CSA this year, but am planning to next year. This year we are going to set aside at least one day, if not two to hit the farmer's market. And we are going to pick-your-own as much as possible too. All in connection with trying a larger garden this year at our home.

I am actually planning to store as much food as I possibly can for the winter this year. My neighbor has agreed to teach me how to can this year and I am really looking forward to that.

Composting has become second nature and we are actually getting a bin this year, to add to our make-our-own haphazard pile. I am also researching prices to add rain barrels to our house for garden watering.

Everytime we hop in the car I think about how many errands we can combine. I try to have as many stay-at-home days as possible. As the weather warms up I am thinking about ways that I can get us to all walk (safely) to the library & grocery store to save on those trips. As it it I have managed this winter to use less than $50 a month on gas for the van!!

I'm drying clothes outside on a clothsline, instead of burning energy in the dryer. There is something soothing about watching the cloths flap in the wind when I look out the back window. I am trying to wash dishes by hand more days than we run the dishwasher - reduce our water consumption. I find that to be a very relaxing activity, and one that I get a lot of help from the girls with.

Junior is getting the full effect of my changes. We are waiting for our supply of cloth diapers to arrive and will be trying that for the first time. And, instead of passively making some baby food as I went, I am actually planning & shopping to make a supply of baby food puree for him.

I would have thought that all these things would have been difficult or time consuming. But, I feel in my gut so at peace about everything that we are doing. I am enjoying it and don't feel pressured about my time or anything.

There are more things I want to do and try, but those acutally involve a substantital monetary investment (solar collectors, etc.). Maybe down the road when we get to our house & land.

I may not be the 'person' I expected to be ten years ago - I think I like this one, though.



Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's In a Name

I saw this over at Dy's blog. How did we decide what to name our children? Where did their names come from? I can't really say that it was all that difficult. DH and I tended to be on the same wavelength when it came to parameters. It was important to me that they could have 'child' names & 'grown-up' names. DH had to run each name through the playground test to make sure that they couldn't be made into anything to ghastly. I wanted to incorporate family names as much as possible. And, it could not be a name that every other child has - the horror of being one of 7 in my school class with the name "Amy"

Child #1 - we didn't know the gender, did not want to know. Start thinking about names around the time the stick turned blue. Came up with a boys name - Brian Michael fairly quickly. Good, strong sounding name. For a girl we actually picked the middle name first, Elizabeth, and then needed to find something to go with it. DH actually came up with Mary - I liked it - good, basic name. We could call her Mary Beth and then she could decide what to call herself.

Child #2 - Again, didn't know gender. Did not really care for Brian anymore and needed something to go with Michael. I suggested Camden (as in camden yards - dh's favorite bball team), of course we had to find something traditional. For a boy we threw out just about every possibility and were still arguing about it in the delivery room. Thankfully we did have a girls name picked out just in case. DH let me choose and I have always liked the name Katie. A Katie is spunky, but can be a little princess. But since we also needed grown-up name, we decided on Katherine Anne - good flow and as traditional as the first one.

About this time we started being asked if we were Irish Catholics with those names - No, but my ancestors were. My sister figured we had good names for when they grew up to join a southern college sorority. Anyway, we were done and didn't have to think about names again - good thing K was Katie - because we might still be arguing about the name.

Child #3 - A surprise! This time I told DH I wanted to know the gender. Just knowing that we were having another baby was enough of a surprise. So we did not even worry about names until after we knew EM was a girl. Good thing since we have more luck coming to consensus with girl names. I had thrown out Emma & Emily for discussion with #1, so this time just asked DH which he liked better - he chose Emily and I tacked on my mother's middle name for good measure - Emily Christine. A little less traditional, a few more of those floating around in the general public. But, still fits with our "southern" sorority theme.

Child #4 - One would think we could figure out where these things come from. I figured this one would be next to impossible to name - I had used up my girl name list & we never had come to consensus on a boy name. We found out that it was a boy and got to work. We knew Michael was the middle name, but needed something to call him. We went through Christian, Camden, Brian, Bruce, Samuel, Geoffery, Gregory. At the family reunion last summer I was glancing through DH's family tree and noticed that his grandfather had been named Robert. I asked him what he thought - we could call him Robbie. We actually agreed and were done!!!

I call Robbie 'junior' on here because it is leftover from his fetal name. K kept bugging me about what we were going to name him when we couldn't decide. I finally told her Bubba Junior, and it just kind of stuck, at least the junior part.

I love hearing about how people decided on names - family names, idol names, random pages in the dictionary, or darts thrown at slips of paper.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Spring Cleaning

I've been trying to tackle Spring Cleaning around here. The weather, except for yesterday, has been beautiful and warm - perfect for opening windows and shooing those germs out. I figured we had some time before the pine trees started dropping their pollen. I guess the 'mild' winter has started those trees out earlier this season. The minor cold MB & I had has morphed into pollen allergies. MB hasn't been able to sleep very well for 2 nights even taking her allergy medicine. Thankfully pollen doesn't seem to trouble K at all, Em has a minor runny nose and Junior is still trying to get rid of his head cold, although everyday he is better.

I have managed to clean, sort, reorganize the Family Room. A few more toys went to the give away box in the garage!! Yeah - beating clutter one toy at the time. It actually didn't look like a play room for one day. I also, after talking with the girls, moved EM back into the 'girls' bedroom. All three of them in there, with all the clothes & all the toys. It isn't as much of a nightmare as I thought it would be. And, the last two nights the girls have been really good about going to bed (thankfully we had enacted a staggered bedtime routine several months ago that helps).

This all means that Junior now has a room. And, I am not ready for him to go yet. We moved the changing station back into his room - but left the pack n play set up in our room. I figure we can start him off with nap times in his crib, but for a little while longer he can sleep in our room at night.

It is hard to believe that it has been five months since he was born! The time has flown by. Last night I gave him his first bit of rice cereal - he happily ate 8 spoons. The swallow reflex is all good with him, and I think the switch to solids will be pretty untraumatic. The poor boy needs the solids. Ever since his last growth spurt he takes 8 oz at a feeding (every 4 hours) and has started waking up again at night-hungry. I am already imagining the loan I will have to take out when he is a teenager to keep him feed.

My spring cleaning job today is to clean out the kitchen cabinets, if I don't procrastinate too badly. I figure we will knock out lessons this morning and then send the kids outside for the afternoon and I can have a few uninterrupted hours to take everything out and wipe it all down. Plus I can take an inventory of what we have in there, maybe stay out of the grocery store for a few more weeks.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.