May 31, 2006

Monkey Gland Sauce

I happened across a lovely dieting resource today. Whenever, I feel like eating, I think I'll stop by Kooky Chow. It should cure any and all appetite and desire for food.

Your Calendar or Mine?

The Boy (looking at the calendar): Dad, do we celebrate Channakuh?

Justin: No.

The Boy (in a rather exasperated tone): Then why did they put it on our calendar?

Hatching Eggs in an Incubator (or How to Grow Your Own H0t Ch*cks)

A grandmother of one of the boys in my son's Kindergarten class lives on a farm. She brought in a bunch of chicken and guinea eggs along with an incubator, so the kids to watch them hatch. So far the count is three guineas and one chicken and the children are enchanted.

Baby birds were the chief topic at the dinner table last night as The Boy went on and on about their softness and cuteness.

Finally, he turned to his dad and asked, "Dad, do you like ch*cks?"

"Oh yes," his father assured him, whilst waggling his eyebrows at me, "I do indeed."

"Well, I like ch*cks too," The Boy said. "Have you seen the ch*cks in my classroom?"

After several minutes of more of the same, I was snickering uncontrollably and Justin was making suggestive remarks right and left. The Boy merely looked bewildered and finally announced that he didn't understand what the joke was.

I wonder if he'll remember this conversation years from now and the lightbulb will finally come on?

May 30, 2006

Taking It Easy (Sort Of)

I admit it. I'm not at all good at taking it easy. I am pretty good at drinking water though and so I'm doing fine. (If I need to drink a lot of fluids to keep this baby inside and happy, can I say that my child is driving me to drink?)

I think Saturday was pretty uneventful. At least, I have no recollection of anything that happened.

Sunday, after church and lunch, we packed up the family and went to the Renaissance Festival going on south of here. We have always said we wanted to go, but have missed it every year. When The Boy heard about it though, he was bound and determined to get there. He dressed in his favorite tunic, chainmail (fabric) cowl and helmet. The Middle Girl wore pink from head to toe (which, I should note, is not unusual) and dressed as a sort of fairy/ballerina/princess hybrid. The rest of the family wore normal clothing.

Fortunately for all of us, we got there after the Sunday afternoon thunderstorms and because the site was almost entirely tree-covered, we didn't suffer too much in the heat. Although Renaissance Faires do attract more than the usual amount of tattooed, pierced walking freak shows, it was still a really fun family trip, with lots of things to see and do. The Boy really enjoyed going through a maze and riding on a camel, while The Middle Girl thought the historically questionable castle moon bounce was the best.

I indulged my inner princess by buying myself a little crown and Justin tried his hand at knife throwing. I think that career change to assassin might have to wait a little while, but I don't really consider that to be a problem.

On Memorial Day, our neighborhood has a big block party on our street. Our kids find it about on par with Christmas and were downstairs, fully dressed and screaming by 6 a.m. The actual block party doesn't begin until 11, but since we always help get things set up, we started in around 9.

The kids ran themselves ragged and I took several trips inside the house to cool off and drink a large glass of water. Although lots of fun and a nice chance to hang out with neighbors, I was more than ready for the whole thing to be over when 2 o'clock finally rolled around.

Today will definitely be a resting day for me. There's nothing that has to be done and I'm glad for it.

May 26, 2006

Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife

I just finished reading To Hell With All That this morning after I woke up way too early and couldn't go back to sleep. I read a lot of it in the hospital the other morning, between bouts of passing out due to exhaustion and morphine.

My opinion and memory of the book is therefore some what sketchy, but overall, I would give it a thumbs up. Flanagan manages to capture the various aspects of both modern and old time housewifery in both their good and bad points. Why some women were happy to be housewives; why a lot of them were unhappy and gave it up; why many modern women long for "the old days" even if they don't really have any intention of living them out.

She has an interesting perspective on the whole thing, being one who obviously loved and admired her mother and the kind of house she spent her early years in with a housewife tending to home and hearth. Yet, she is a working mom, who, even when she stayed home with her sons, still had a nanny and other help, and freely admits that she's not the one doing the dishes, washing the clothes or many of the other daily tasks of household management.

Flanagan isn't a conservative and as I said, doesn't even live the typical life of a housewife. Still, she certainly has her finger on the pulse of those who do stay home, cook, clean, and take care of the house and children, and those who no matter their work circumstances and busy lives, long -- in at least some amorphous way -- to be a little more like Martha Stewart.

May 25, 2006


The Middle Girl: Excuse me. I was hiccing up.

Recovering From a Sleepless Night

The night before last, I woke up at 12:45 with horrible cramping pain in my abdomen. I tried walking around, taking a shower, drinking water and various things, but the pains kept coming and going. I called the doctor on call about 1:30 and she suggested waiting some more and then if it continued coming in. At 3-something I was still getting the on-and-off cramping (or contractions or whatever), so we went in.

They won't see you in labor and delivery until after 20 weeks and I'm about 19. So they kept me in the ER, gave me fluids and that was about it. They did check to make sure my cervix was closed, which it is, but they didn't have any sort of monitors for contractions or even a doppler thing to listen to the heart beat, which was annoying, since this was at Busy Mom's Major Medical Center. I guess if you start to have preterm labor before 20 weeks they won't try to stop it with the usual drugs or anything, but the contractions did eventually stop after they gave me the fluids and morphine though.

Before they released me the OB-on-call came down and checked on me and told me to go get an ultrasound sooner than my scheduled one in mid-June. They rescheduled for yesterday afternoon and everything looked good. The baby
looks healthy and like it is developing normally. I got a nice shot of the profile and then some 3-D pictures, which are sort of interesting but also a bit weird, especially since the kid has no fat layer yet and it all skin and bones. They said my cervix was closed but on the short end of normal -- which they said might just be related to having had other babies, but they aren't sure. So now I
just have to wait and see if this happens again or if it was just a random incident.

In the meantime, I'm not on any bedrest or anything, but they suggested I drink more water and take it easy as much as possible. I think that means not doing laundry or lugging kids all over creation. Right?



May 23, 2006

I Admit It...

I do like a good, soppy romance novel.

Which country should you REALLY be living in?

The United Kingdom

You have pride in yourself and pride in your country. You believe that history and culture is an important factor to the future of your country, and that traditions and values should be upheld. You love your scones and tea, and reading soppy romance novels. The UK is where you should be...

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

From The Llamas.

May 22, 2006

Lost in Translation

The Boy: I want to go some place where we can see merritts.

Me: What's a "merrit?"

The Boy: You know, one of those small furry animals.

Me: A ferret?

The Boy: Yeah, that's what I meant.

May 18, 2006

A Sentence

The Toddler Girl has been stringing words together for a while, but I don't know if we've had too many meaningful three word sentences. Assuming, of course, that a sentence doesn't require a verb.

The Middle Girl got some beeswax out to sculpt with and The Toddler Girl absconded with it. The Middle Girl doesn't take such things sitting down and grabbed what she perceived to be her property back from her sister.

Indignantly, The Toddler Girl ran for me, yelling, "The Middle Girl (okay she actually said her sister's name) mine back!" She wanted "her" beeswax back, of course.

Since she'd seen and held that beeswax, she definitely considered it to be hers.

May 17, 2006

Mmmm...Homemade Yogurt...

Found: 0ne long lost, milk containing sippy cup

Why didn't I throw that, unopened, into the garbage? I really didn't need to smell that smell.

Nuzzling Noses

All my kids love nuzzling noses. The Middle Girl generally insists that I hold my nose still while she does the nuzzling. That's her "do-it-myself" personality. As of yesterday, The Toddler Girl has started climbing in my lap, sticking her nose in my face and saying "nuzzle." After I perform the appropriate nose gyrations, she giggles loudly and makes me do it again.

May 16, 2006

Little Albino Polynesians

The girls dressed themselves up and went dancing in the yard. They were sweet, happy, and totally pleased with their costumes.

When I showed the pictures to their dad, he described them as the title above indicates.

The Back Flower Bed

When we bought our house, the back yard landscaping consisted of one extremely large, extremely ugly bush with a million weed vines and several maple and hackberry trees growing in it.

We (well, the part of we that does most of the heavy digging around here) dug out the bush and our next door neighbor gave us a magnolia tree. After planting that, we laid out a large flower bed that wound between the new magnolia the large hackberry in the very back under which was the historic coal dump for the house and where almost nothing grew do to lack of water and soil.

We dug out the turf along the whole new bed (and I actually did a lot of that digging) and started filling it in. Most of the plants were presents divided from other people's gardens or from seeds I begged from neighbors and tossed out to see what would happen, although I did buy a couple things. The first and second years were definitely growing years. We didn't lose too many plants, but things took a while to get used to their new surroundings and we had to add a lot of soil, peat and manure to get things started. Last year, at times, I was pretty happy with the way things were filling in, but it still had bare spots and wasn't finished.

This year, it's full. I love it. Although not much is blooming back there yet, the fullness and all the different leaves are pleasant to look at and the promise of lots of flowers to come is right there.

As my magnolia tree continues to grow and fill out, I'm going to have to move a lot of plants, what is now mostly a full sun bed will be cast into shade. I don't really consider that to be a huge problem though. It just means I'll have plants to put in all those other flower beds I'm planning in my head.


We're in the process of putting in some of the hardscaping (paths and the like) that our yard needs. There are certain spots that are, due to heavy traffic from people and a large dog, mud slides. We are planning out various paths to correct the mud features in the garden and to give us defined borders for new flower beds that I want to dig.

Before we get to the paths though, we have done some other work. Last summer Justin built a bit of fence and a lovely gate to contain the dog further back in the back yard (we moved the fence and gate from the front of the side of the house to the back). This summer, we put in an arbor, a brick area with flower beds around the arbor, and a brick threshold under the fence and gate.

Our next project will be a path from the gate to our deck. We're trying to decide whether to do molded concrete, gravel or closely set stepping stones.

After that, we have to fix the front flower bed which currently comes to a dead end in the middle of the arbor and build a path and flower beds between the arbor and gate.

It's hard to say if we can manage all that this summer, but I think we can.

The Weekend

It wasn't exactly a long weekend for us, but because some wonderful friends of ours were in town yesterday on their way from Sewanee back home to Connecticut, I had a busy day and no time to sit down at the computer.

Although we got very little work done other than cutting the grass, planting the last of the herbs and annual flowers and sweeping a little more sand into the dry laid bricks around our gate and arbor, it was a very full and busy weekend. Saturday morning we went to the zoo with my brother-in-law and his wife and then had lunch at their place.

That evening we had a potluck for The Boy's class at our house. It was supposed to be at a nearby park unless rain threatened, but the park was completely full of other people, so it moved to our house. That was fine. It meant the kids were contained in a fenced in yard and that food people didn't want to take home got left for us (mmm...cupcakes...) We kicked all the Kindergarten revelers out around seven o'clock though, because Justin and I had a date. We went to a nice little restaurant and then wandered around a bookstore for an hour. It was definitely fun to get out by ourselves, although I would have wished that everything hadn't been piled onto the same day.

Sunday was full of church, of course, and Mother's Day. Mother's Day is not a holiday which I consider to be a big deal, but The Boy made me a lovely necklace at school and drew me a card (with hydrangea blossoms in the picture -- he specified). As usual, because I'm the bad daughter, I only remembered to call my mother. I actually did buy a present (some flowers she'll enjoy in her garden, but I haven't gotten them to her yet). Sunday night we had a Bible study and another potluck at our house. Again, we got the leftovers (yay, donuts!).

Monday, as I said, our college friends turned Yankees came to see us. Justin worked from home in the morning so he could be here. They have two adorable little boys, one we'd never met and the other not met since he was a teeny baby. It's sad that so many of our good friends are so far away and spread out, but it is nice to get together and be reminded again what good friends we have all over the world.

Coming up next -- the pictures I promised last week.

May 12, 2006

We Always Said She Was A Heathen

First The Middle Girl sang her skeptics' Christmas carol, "No Way in a Manager." Yesterday, I caught her butchering another hymn.

At the top of her lungs (which is the only way she sings anything) she was singing, "Hallelujah! Mine the glory!"

May 11, 2006

Too Much Brit Lit?

The Boy announced today that it was "Jolly good" that his sister hadn't done something to his stuff. If he starts asking for a torch when the lights are off, I'll know we need to find some good old American books.

All Grown Up

Our doves have grown up and moved on. One day the mother seemed to be gone. I never saw her near the nest, although I'm pretty sure I spotted her waddling around the yard and my neighbor's yard. The next morning, we came out and one baby was gone and the other was standing next to the nest. We wished him well, returned inside and before we came outside again fifteen minutes later, he was gone. Now all that's left is an empty nest and a lot of bird poop.

May 10, 2006

And Now It is Time For Another Exciting Adventure

After lunch, when the girls are taking their naps (most days), I've gotten into the habit of reading a chapter or two of a book to The Boy. We read through The Great Brain series, which if you haven't read them is an absolutely wonderful set of books set in turn of the 20th century Utah. I loved the stories growing up and The Boy loved them too.

After we finished that series we sort of floundered. Nothing held either of our interests that long. We read one Henry Huggins book, but we'd already read most of them and the Ramona books. We read one Wizard of Oz story, but just didn't feel like reading any more. We read most of Black Beauty, but The Boy didn't like the cruely that happened to the horses and asked for me to stop reading it.

A month or so ago, I remembered another series from my childhood that I really enjoyed and this one has been a good fit for our afternoon story times -- The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. The books are some what like British Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. The plots all seem to involve many of the same elements, and yet we both love them. The Five (two boys, two girls and a dog) go on adventures to the sea, Wales, farms, Roman ruins and old castles, among other places. I find myself reading each book, even the ones I've read before and wondering what will happen next, even though I usually know or have a very good idea.

The Famous Five are not great works of literature certainly, but they are very fun reads with the right amount of mystery and action for the smallish set. They leave me wishing I could have grown up in a time when I could have gone off alone with my cousins on grand adventures, solved puzzles and found treasures that had eluded everyone else for ages.

Sadly, our library only owns a few Famous Five books, so I'm going to have to actually buy some from Amazon to keep reading them to The Boy.

Baby Update

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Not that there is much to tell on the baby front, except that my front is getting a whole lot bigger. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and due to my getting there early, I was actually done with the visit before my scheduled appointment time. I loved that.

There was a little heart whooshing away in there and my weight was *cough* within acceptable parameters. Otherwise these visits are pretty boring until the end.

Except, of course, my next visit in about five weeks, when I have an ultrasound scheduled. For those of you who don't remember, we aren't finding out the sex. I feel perfectly bonded and no more likely to actually choose a name before having the baby. Since this is my fourth baby born in the fall (I sure wasn't good at planning around being pregnant and huge all summer long, huh?) I have all the baby clothes and other junk necessary for either a boy or a girl.

I'd like to say that my fourth pregnancy is just as exciting as the first one and I am just as thrilled about the thought of welcoming Adams 4.0 as I was the first edition, but the actual growing and planning for the baby does lose a bit of luster when one has most of the supplies and very little time to sit down and think about what will come. From my vantage point, I now know I can be well prepared with stuff, and I can pray for the best, but I have no idea what this kid will be like or what will go right or wrong.

May 09, 2006

The Cutest Composter Yet

Not that I actually care if my compost bin is cute, but if the Rolypig Composter weren't $339, I'd be sorely tempted to get it. It's a pig. It's pink. You feed it compost and it poops it out the back when it's done. How much better could a composter be?

Roses and Other Plants

Thanks to suggestions from Patricia for reputable places to buy roses, I finally stopped ogling all the possibilities and finally put in an order for my garden. I hope they don't take too long to get here, because I can hardly wait to get them planted. What did I order? One William Baffin, one Antique, and two of the Lavender Floorshow, I won't mention all the others I wanted to buy. But I'll wait until I dig some more flower beds before ordering more -- maybe another year or two.

In other flower news, my earliest blooming day lily is already putting on a nice show, my Tennessee coneflower is blooming and my purple echinacea (which is different from the Tennessee variety) is about to bloom, as are my Asian lilies. I need to go get more fertilizer, but all in all, things are looking good.

And as an aside, I love the soaker hoses we laid down last summer. I feel a tad lazy not going out and watering daily, but merely turning on the hose and returning later to turn it off sure is nice. Just wait until I put in a timer system!

Language Barriers

We seem to have some language and culture confusion going on around here. And I don't just mean when the Toddler Girl calls all animals, except ducks and frogs, by our dog's name or refers to all fruits that aren't apples as bananas.

Last week, the kids and I were listening to music from one of my favorite musicals in the car. They particularly liked "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and the boy noticed Maurice Chevalier's accent. "What language does he speak? Is he Chinese?"

Another day, we went to a Turkish restaurant. The Boy kept telling us how much he loved the Greek food and we kept trying to keep his voice down.

And finally, we passed a couple in the grocery store speaking Spanish. The Middle Girl asked me if they were speaking German.

Clearly, they are going to need some work in the foreign language department.

May 08, 2006

Isn't It Ironic?

People who have studied the history of my neighborhood tell me it's always been somewhat racially mixed. Before desegregation, the population was predominantly white, but became predominantly black as a result of "white flight" in the sixties or so. But like many old neighborhoods, my neighborhood has seen an influx of white residents beginning about ten years ago, such that data from the 2000 Census show that the population is now about 53/47 black/white.

Yet, despite my neighborhood's growing diversity, marketers and political parties seem to still view it as racially homogenous. We frequently get offers in the mail to join Black Expressions Book Club and we've gotten some AOL offers obviously targeted at African-Americans. During the presidential election, the Democrats dropped off a flyer clearly targeting their traditional African-American constiuency and offering to drive us to the polls. (The Republicans, apparently drawing the same demographic conclusions, didn't bother.)

And what did I find in my mailbox the other day? An offer to subscribe to a new beatuy magazine exclusively for the African-American woman. As I, the great-great-granddaughter of late nineteenth century Danish and German immigrants, sit flipping through a magazine written exclusively for the great-great-great-etc. granddaughters of eighteenth or early nineteenth century west African immigrants, I feel like I should be having some profound insight about Race, Human Nature, or the Arbitrariness of Life. Instead, I just keep humming along with Alanis, "Isn't it ironic" -- while I use the free Oil of Olay sample that came with the magazine.

Weekend Fun

Last week was some what stressful -- filled with dentists, doctors, cranky children and lots of rain. I was glad for it to be over.

The weekend was much better. Saturday morning we added a couple of extra children to the house for a few hours while their parents went on a breakfast date. It was a lovely day -- sunny and not too hot, so the kids all played outside while Justin and I worked in the yard. I divided up some day lilies and coneflowers and moved them to my behind the fence no care alley flower bed. I can't remember what all we did and although I know I spent some portion of the morning being lazy and watching Justin work, which was nice.

The main garden activity and event included lots of digging in the dirt (for that portion of people who were not sitting around being lazy) but no actual plants. We (and by saying we, I don't actually mean I did more than move a few bricks and scrape off some dirt) finally put the brick threshold under Justin's gate, so it is no longer a big mud pit that the dog threatens daily to dig out and crawl under. We have a lot of salvaged bricks, some from an old path that was buried in parts of our yard and many from a shed our neighbor tore down and let us salvage. And as a nice extra touch, we took a old paving brick from my hometown in Ohio and centered it in the design. Perhaps, someone will one day wonder how an old Wooster Paver wound up in Nashville. But best of all -- no more mud!

Pictures to come later.

May 04, 2006


We now have two adorable fuzzy little babies living right outside the front door.

Hot Drinks

Since he was about 20 months old, The Boy has loved (as he called it then) 'RollGay Hottea. He can now say Earl Grey quiet correctly and we're working on teaching him to perfect his Jean-Luc Picard tea order.

Most mornings, the kids want a hot drink. Sometimes their dad makes them steamers, but a lot of the time they want tea. We've been out of Earl Grey for some time and The Boy has been asking for it frequently, of late.

This morning, the kidlets sipped their decaf Earl Grey (you didn't think I was caffienating the children at their tender ages, did you?) and sighing with happiness, The Boy declared, "Earl Grey is my favorite tea."

He may be a 98% miniature version of his father, but it always pleases me to see that he's definitely my child too.

May 03, 2006

Pay Raise

Anybody want to pay me what I'm worth?

Beach Kitchen

"Mom! The girls brought sand in the house!"

The kids had been outside playing in the sand box. A surprising fact, since I have three children and a very small sand box with very little sand in it at the moment. They decided there were too many critters outside and they all trooped in.

I wasn't paying much attention. When The Boy ratted out his siblings, I imagined some sand had accompanied their feet or perhaps they'd brought in a handful. What nobody told me and that I didn't realize until I got to the crime scene was that by sand, The Boy meant a bucket full of sand. I didn't even know we had that much sand left in the sand box, but there it was all over the kitchen. The Boy, having decided that he couldn't clean it all up, was building himself a sand castle.

Even after sweeping and vacuuming, things are just a bit grittier than usual around here.

May 02, 2006

Election Day in Nashville

For the last two months, we've seen Nashville covered in campaign signs -- most of them for judges. Either the section of town, I live in is mostly populated with lawyers (it might be), these candidates have a lot of friends, or people actually pay that much attention to the judges they elect around here. I'd like to think it was choice C, but I tend to be suspicious that it might be a combination of A and B.

As far as Nashville is concerned today is not the primary for these candidates. It's the election. As far as I know, nobody at all is running for these offices on the Republican primary ballot. There may well be no Republican primary ballot for these elections. Normally, I go vote for just about everything and I actually do care about the judges that get elected in town. However, I'm not going to the polls today.

I could go vote in the Democratic primary. All I would have to do is stop in, flash my voter registration and ask for the Democratic ballot. We don't register by party here and I could do that, but I'd feel so dirty. Today is my only chance to vote for the judges -- when the general election arrives, they'll be running unopposed.

It stinks to be in a one party town where elections are decided in the primaries and if one ever wishes for a job as a judge or any other political job one has to belong to that party.

I Make My Own Burritos

Terry nails it.

It's Raining. It's Pouring. And Thundering and Lightning!

It's a grey, wet, nasty day. I have very little desire to leave home. Unfortunately, we have 3 diapers in the house and no grownup toothpaste. I guess we do need both of those.

May 01, 2006

A Year and a Half

The Toddler Girl is eighteen months old today. Looking at her, still almost bald, short, only twenty-one pounds (or so) and sporting only ten teeth, it's hard to believe she's that old. Then I see her running, jumping, climbing, talking and singing and I realize she really has come a long way since that November evening when she arrived.

The Toddler Girl loves shoes. Not just for herself, but she also picks out mine and tries to insist that I wear them all the time. She's good at matching the pairs of shoes together, although as often as not she just wants to wear one shoe around the house at a time.

Actually, she likes playing dress-up with her sister all the time, though they tend to fight over who gets the pink necklace and the tiara. Who knew girliness came in so young? She's not all girly though. This morning she was pushing a car around the floor and saying, "Brrm brrrm."

When the Toddler Girl decided to wean a month ago, I lost something very precious. No, not just the cuddling and the comforting. I lost the ability to get her to take a nap. It's not that she doesn't need them any more, but I guess there are residual memories of a better way, because no matter how tired she is, she fights and struggles when I try to get her to sleep. When her father takes her, she falls asleep quietly in about five minutes or less. During the week, I'm left hoping that she will fall asleep in the car on the way home and that I will successfully transfer her to a bed with out rousing her. Sometimes that works. Other times, at 6 o'clock in the evening I have a very cranky toddler who hasn't napped all day.

Even without many naps, the Toddler Girl is a lot of fun and very sweet. She loves to sing. Mention singing and she'll treat you to her "La la la" song or a rousing version of the Bible class favorite "The B-I-B-L-E." Although her older sister is her rival, she's crazy about her too. When the Middle Girl came downstairs the other morning for breakfast, The Toddler Girl rushed up and hugged as if they'd been separated for months.

The next six months before her second birthday will bring large changes for the Toddler Girl and our family. Presumably she'll gain a little in weight, stature, hair and teeth. She'll talk even more and play even more. Assuming all goes well, she'll become a big sister herself and knowing her love for babies, we'll have to watch her like a hawk. We're lucky to have her in the family. I can't imagine having never known her smile.

Always Watching

I am far too well aware already that my children are always watching me. When I'm nice, so are they (some of the time). When I pick my nose, so do they (actually, they do that pretty independently of whatever I may do or say). Sometimes when I see them copying my actions though, I am surprised. Today I dropped the pumice stone while in the shower -- barefoot, gloveless gardening means I need something rough to take the mud off. The Toddler Girl picked it up and stood there trying to balance on one leg and scrub her feet.