Tuesday, September 28, 2010


After two years (or more) of fighting with Nathan about eating vegetables, HE FINALLY ATE GREEN BEANS!!!
I say it's been a fight, but it hasn't really been. There is no arguing. He just wouldn't eat them. At all. We always serve him whatever veggie we're having, and he would ignore them on his plate. If we tried to sneak something green in under a bite of something else the whole mouthful would come back out as soon as he tasted the vegetable.
I've been waiting for the age of negotiations. You know, like, "You can have dessert if you eat your carrots." Or, "We'll watch a movie after you finish your peas." He was getting close to the age where he'd understand that. But I found an altogether unexpected motivator....
"Ooh, look at Jacob eat those green beans! Jacob likes green beans!"
"I want some green beans!"
I about dropped my fork. Green beans is the vegetable we have the most often, so thereby is the one he's refused to eat the most. I kind of held my breath while he forked one into his mouth. He chewed it, laughed, and ate another.
This was last Friday. We tried beans again last night. Same response! And an even more enthusiastic response when I called them "green bean french fries" and showed him how we can eat them with our fingers. (Totally horrible table manners, but it reminds me of how Paul's grandma said she liked to eat green beans.)
I told Paul that I really feel like getting him to eat one green thing will open the door to him eating more green vegetables. Once he realizes it tastes okay even though it's a certain color, he'll be more open to trying other things that are the same color.
I think.
We'll see.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rainy Evening

After a particularly brutal bedtime, with both boys screaming and one sobbing for Daddy, I need to de-stress. It's raining, and I just want to curl up with a book. So I decided it's high time to update this thing. So I'm going to forego exercising (it's just yoga....an hour and a half of it), and cleaning the dining room (for now... it's been a month since it's been clean, so tonight is the night).
Paul took a week off for Nathan's birthday, going back to work last Friday. It's amazing how in just one week, the boys got used to Daddy being home so much. Him working days last weekend wasn't as hard as him working nights and being gone at bedtime, like tonight. Even though I had a to-do list as long as my arm and one of his put together, I'm pretty sure we only got one thing done on it. We had Power of the Past, family visiting, and errands to do, so we weren't home several days. And then it rained three days, too. Oh well. He's taking more vacation the week of Jacob's birthday. We're going to go to Colorado to visit his grandfather. We haven't been since his grandma's funeral in January. Whereas Grandpa is in good health, when a loved one is 87 (?) you can't really take the time left with them for granted. If we don't go this fall, it would be 6 or 7 months until we would be able to go out there, so we are going to go now. We'll just have to make it a tightly budgeted trip.
After seeing a pretty hefty amount in our savings account all summer, all the sudden I feel like we're on the brink of poverty. We got a sizeable tax return last spring, at about the same time that the wall of our cellar entrance caved in. So we sat on the return, knowing we would have the cellar entrance replaced this summer. Because of the unusually wet spring and early summer, the work was delayed. We finally got it replaced two weeks ago. So writing that hefty check, plus paying car insurance, life insurance, car tags and taxes (all due this month), and bills to two hospitals (Jacob's surgery and the boys' emergency room visits).... It feels like our checkbook is gasping for life. God is faithful. We've subsided almost entirely on Paul's income and not had to dip into our emergency savings (at least not much....yet). I hadn't babysat since April, and all the sudden the family needs me again. Literally - the day I got the bill for the cellar was the day their mom asked me if I would be able to start babysitting again. Can you say, "God provides!"?
I love being a stay-at-home wife and mother, but it's wearing on me. Not that I want to go get a job - no, definitely not. Just the stress of being at home all the time, being the sole source of entertainment and nourishment for the boys while Paul's at work (which some days feels like a huge responsibility I'm not equipped for), being the only one that cleans and cooks (The dishes. Never. End.), and having Jacob be in an incredibly clingy stage. I think it wouldn't be as bad if Jacob didn't cling so much. And if he's not clinging, he's climbing in the middle of whatever else you're trying to do - seriously: He was IN the dishwasher tonight when I was trying to load it. I took him out, and he got right back in. And I've had to take him down from the top of the piano twice this week. The reason I think I feel stressed is that there are eighty gazillion projects I'd like to (and need to, some of them) get done, yet I can't, because I always have just normal things to do like cleaning the kitchen or laundry, and I've got toddlers hanging on my legs all the time. It would probably be better if I left the house more often, but we have lots of outdoors to play in (play in the outdoors?) here, and going shopping is out of the question (and not just because I hate shopping).
Sorry to vent that. I love my life, and wouldn't trade it for anything, but we all get in funks, eh? I know some of you working moms would love to be able to stay at home and think I should just shut up. But trust me - being at home with children all day wears on you. My deepest admiration to women who have at-home daycares - your own kids. Plus other kids. All. Day. Long. I couldn't do it.
The boys are growing up so fast. I have been in an old-picture-album (and by old, I mean the last year or two) kick. Stinking Facebook always has photo suggestions in the side bar, so I get sucked into looking at my siblings or my pictures on there for an hour at a time, or the ones on my own computer. Nathan looks like a preschooler compared to a year ago, and Jacob looks like a toddler now compared to a few months ago.
Jacob is "officially" walking; however, he still knows he can get there faster if he crawls. He is 11 months old this week. He still isn't talking inteligibly. He babbles and squeals - you should have heard the noises he was making when he saw the cows at my grandpa's house today! He does make snorting sounds when he plays with the pig in our farm animals, and makes a humming motor noise when he plays with tractors. So he's getting there. Like I mentioned before, he's a climber. He can almost get up onto a dining room chair by himself. He can get on to and off of all our living room furniture.... He crawls over the back of the couch to play in the bay window, and over the back of the chair to get on top of the piano. He can crawl over the edge of the bathtub. He did it for the second time tonight while I was putting his diaper in the pail. He's such a little daredevil. He is so smiley. And snuggly - until he needs to be off to investigate something else. But when he's mad, he's mad. He's had to cry it out a couple times this week, and it is surprising how loud he can scream. He and Nathan are starting to wrestle. My hands are going to be full here in about a year.
Nathan is treally in to talking and interacting with his toys - mostly his cars and tractors (because that's the kind of toy he has the most of, probably). The main characters are always Daddy and Mommy, although I have no idea what's going on in their little drama. I love it that he has an imagination. He also has a vocabulary. He strings sentances together very well when he's telling you about something.... I'm not sure if everyone can understand when he talks, but Paul and I almost always can tell exactly what he's saying. His word of the day today is, "Salutations!" (a word he learned from watching Charlotte's Web, but we haven't watched it in several weeks and he still remembered it). He also is really singing. Both the boys sing, actually, when there's music on, but Nathan sings to himself while he plays, and you can actually tell what songs he's singing. He goes through the day singing different Bible songs from a CD Paul's mom gave him. It makes me feel so happy to hear my son singing about God. I hope I can nurture the love for music, and the love for worshipping God.
The exercise program is going well. I'm on week 6 of P90X, and I've only skipped exercising maybe 3 times total (that includes tonight).... With the exception of week 5, which was hectic and I only exercised twice - so I repeated it last week. Total weight loss: a big fat zero. I've slimmed up some, and have some nice tone to my arms and legs, but it'd be nice to get rid of more fat around my middle. I'm doing decent (not great) at avoiding sugar and snacking, but some days it's hard - especially when I'm tired (which is always). Chewing gum helps - if I can remember to go find the gum when I've got the munchies. I'm hoping to drop some weight when I wean Jacob in a month or so - I've read that your body holds on to weight while you're nursing so that you'll always have plenty of stores to nourish your child. I've also heard that until you are getting uninterrupted sleep at night, you won't lose weight, and I can't remember the last time I actually slept all night without someone waking up. And all in all, I know weight is just a number; it's how you look and feel. I feel good (endorphins from exercise are lovely). But it's still kind of frustrating to be doing one of the hardest workouts you've ever done, 6 days a week for 6 weeks, and not see some serious results (subtle, yes... stunning, no). I'm proud of myself for sticking to it - this is the longest I've regularly exercised in a long time, and it's not an easy routine. But honestly, exercising is a big reason I'm so behind on housework - working out for an hour or more every day really takes away from my get-crap-done! time when both of the boys are napping. By the time I finish exercising, I usually only have about 20 minutes before Jacob wakes up. But I am not willing to give it up.... It's good for me, healthy, and honestly - I need to do something that is just for me.
Tonight I picked beans from the garden.... probably four quarts. That's about - oh.... 16 times more than we got from our spring planting of beans. I sauteed some of them up in some bacon grease tonight.... ♫Amazing!♪ (Come on - bacon grease is an oil, just like olive oil, but with a whole lot more flavor.... right?) Paul and Nathan picked a mop bucket full of tomatoes a couple days ago. I begged some off of our neighbor, and stole some from my parents, then picked a few more here tonight.... I think all combined, we should have enough to make a pretty decent batch of something. It will be either chili base or salsa - hopefully both. That's tomorrow's endeavor. Hopefully I'll be able to roust Paul out of bed to help me with them while the boys take naps - assuming I can get them both down at the same time.
Nathan started Cubbies in our church's AWANA program this week. He's a bit young, but given when we plan to start homeschooling him (the fall he turns 5), this is two years before he would start, so I wanted to get him in so he could finish both books. The first two weeks were a bit rough, as he was having trouble with sharing (there are 4 other spirited boys in his class, as well as 2 little girls), and with the whole Mommy-is-Mommy-but-she's-also-my-teacher thing. This week he seemed to warm up to the other leader, Nicki, as well as get along with the other boys better. I'm hoping to get things a little more structured for the time eventually - all those boys need some structure and boundaries!
Okay, I've covered the high (and low) points, I think. My eyeballs and back are telling me that tonight is definitely not the night for the dining room. Oh well. It's been a month - what's one more day?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Nathan turned 3 last week! I can't believe it. (Yes, I'm already saying, "It seems like just yesterday....")
Over the summer, he finally started answering you when you asked him how old he was. He would answer, "I'm 3!" This started in about June, but I figured in just a few months, he actually would be 3, so it was pointless to correct him. This year, Nathan finally "got" what a birthday is. I think he caught on when he helped me make a big deal for Paul's 30th. So when we told him we were having his birthday party on Friday (four days before his actual birthday), he was excited.
We had Nathan's party together with his cousin Mackenzie's party, at Power of the Past. We figure that all of our family is there anyways, with everything set up for a cookout, so it's easier just to take the party there. (And no house cleaning for me!) We ate supper, and the kids blew out the candles, just in time for a huge crack of lightening right above us. We packed up the whole party and moved it to the church. It ended up not really doing anything, but we didn't want to take the chance being under all those tall trees at the park.

The cake was a collaboration of efforts. It was Lurenda's recipe, which I baked and set up. Paul put the "siding" on, while I worked on the "shingles". Lurenda put the animals in the barnyard and piped on the doors and haymow.
Blowing out the candles (which Nathan hasn't figured out yet) at the park, right before the storm broke up the party.
On Tuesday, for Nathan's real birthday, we kept it pretty low-key. Paul and I couldn't figure out what to get him. We looked at some toys, but nothing really struck us as "right." We talked about working some more on his play house, but don't have the money to do much. We ended up getting him some balloons and a water balloon filler. I thought that was kind of pathetic, so I wrapped up some glitter glue pens that I'd bought for something else. Paul still thought it was pathetic, so when he went in to town for some errands later, he picked up a little bulldozer and dump truck (he's recently really been interested in construction equipment) at WalMart (we hadn't went there to look).
Balloons and presents first thing in the morning.
(BTW - NEVER getting balloons at WalMart ever agin. At the dollar store, they are (duh) only a dollar, and they fill them right there, so no more half-deflated balloons.)
Decorating his own "Happy Birthday" poster.

Lunchtime cupcake. I'm so lazy (ingenius).... The cupcake was leftover cake from the barn cake that I'd had to trim off to make the roof. I stuffed it into a cupcake tin and topped it with leftover frosting. And a leftover candle.

We took the boys to McDonalds for breakfast, with the promise of playing on the big slide. However, because of a rain storm the night before, they wouldn't let us go out there (tears ensued). So we took the boys to the park instead. All the people walking their dogs at 8:30AM looked at us like we were slightly off to have the boys out there already. But it was nice and cool, with no other kids to fight for the swings, or throwing rocks.

Altogether, it was a pretty low-key birthday. And that's what I want for our family. Days are special, not because we have huge parties, or spend lots of money on presents, but because we make it special by spending time together and being happy for each other.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Family Media Detox

I heard a story this morning on K-Love about a family that decided to turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and stay away from Facebook for a month. The family calls it the Family Media Detox. It was just a short blip on K-Love, so I found the family's blog online. I haven't read all of every entry, but it sounds like it was a great thing for their family.
Personally, I would love to try this experiment in our house. We may not be as bad as some, but I definitely see the potential for things to get worse. Nathan wants to veg in front of the TV for an hour whenever he wakes up, and also when he's sleepy. Being the stellar example of parenting that I am, I usually let him watch it. (However, as soon as he stops paying attention to it, I turn it off.... That ought to count for something.) Paul and I both spend too much time on the computer. We don't watch too much TV ourselves, but that's probably due to lack of choices. (We only have antenna stations, no cable or satellite.)
However, Paul isn't on board with this idea. And it's not my place to force it. So things will probably continue the way they are. Which isn't bad, honestly. I just think it could be better.
Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Harvest Hitchhikers

An Autumn Tradition Since 2008.

For once, I'd forgotten the camera. (I always have it with me when I end up not needing it, of course.) So all we've got is the low-quality cell phone snapshots.

On our way in to town yesterday, we saw a combine at the corner west of our house. We thought he was harvesting in our area, so later that evening, we told Nathan we'd go see the combine. After driving all over our neighborhood, we never did find where that combine had been harvesting, but we told Nathan we'd find a combine. We finally ended up northeast of Princeton. We've found out that anyone will stop and let you ride in your combine if you've got kids with you. (Paul and Nathan have rode with 3 or 4 different farmers over the last 3 harvests.) Although, I'm not sure who enjoys these adventures more - my husband, or my son.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Slow Down

What is it about fall that makes everyone move a little slower, breathe a little deeper, and just enjoy life?
I was thinking about this this morning, when I heard a car go by at 9:30, and realized that that was the first car I'd heard all morning (I got up at 7). Not that our road is really busy, but there's usually several more cars than that, even on a Saturday.
I just realized in the first sentance of that last paragraph, I used "this this" and "that that". Heh. (Yes, I'm easily amused.)
When I went out to the mailbox at about 10, I just noticed how quiet and peaceful it was. I couldn't hear anything but the breeze and the bugs. Everything just seemed to be basking in the coolness of the morning.
I don't know about you all, but I always feel refreshed when fall gets here. Something about the cool mornings, opening the windows for the first time in months to let the breeze blow through, piling extra blankets on the bed because it actually gets chilly at night, and the beautiful angle of the sunshine..... I don't know. I just like it. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite time of year.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Nathan: (petting Brutus) "It's Brutus milk." (points to the cat's belly)
Me: "No, Brutus doesn't have milk. Brutus is a boy. Only mommies have milk. You're a boy."
Nathan: "No. I'm not a boy. I'm Nathan."
Me: "Yes, you're a boy! And Daddy's a boy."
Nathan: "No, he's Daddy."
Me: "Daddy is a boy. And Jacob's a boy, too."
Nathan: "No, he's Jacob."

Apparently he hasn't grasped the concept of gender yet. And I wasn't up to an anatomy lesson.