Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dreams

Lately my dreams have been waking me up a lot, at least I think it's my dreams that are waking me up. By a lot, I mean 3-4 times per night. And almost every time, immediately on waking, I think to myself, I really ought to know better. As in, I should have known, while I was dreaming, that I was dreaming. Because my dreams, like most people's dreams, I think, are pretty wacky. But no. I fall for it every time. I believe that my dreams are really happening. Even when they make absolutely no sense, and I'm magically transported from situation to situation with no clue as to how the transition was made...
Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like my real life--no wonder I have trouble telling the difference in the middle of the night!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Applesauce, continued


We canned 11 and froze 1.5 quarts of applesauce on Sunday. Scott estimates that we used only 1/4 to 1/3 of the apples that we had picked, and there are still more to be picked. It's a lot of work, making and canning applesauce, but my husband assures me that it's worth it. To the right is a picture of the apple train, with some of the apples the boys picked.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Applesauce

It's applesauce making season! Here's my recipe (some people say it tastes just like apple pie):
Peel, core, and chop 3 pounds of apples (I like to use macintosh) and place in a large saucepan or dutch oven.
Add 1 c. water, 1/2 to 2/3 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.
Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered for 8-10 minutes.
Stir occasionally to break up apples.
Process in food processor or blender until mixture is the desired texture.
Three pounds of apples yields approximately 1 1/2 quarts of applesauce.
Applesauce freezes well, or if you're brave, you can try canning it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just adding a picture because I can. This was taken on a hot and very humid Labor Day at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Headquarters near LaFarge, WI. I told them to pretend they like each other :-)

First steps, continued

Caleb took 5 steps yesterday. Babies (toddlers?) are so so cute when they're taking those first uncertain steps. He had such a look of concentration on his face...and a great smile when he caught me looking at him as he plopped onto his bottom. He'll be 11 months old on Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vigilante Plumbing, first steps, and what Caleb really wants

I took matters into my own hands. I suppose that makes me a vigilante (I had to type vigilante in the body of my post for spell check to take a look at it, to make sure the title of my post is spelled correctly. Clever of me, huh?). I got tired of waiting for justice for my slow-draining bathtub, so on Saturday night, after the kids were in bed (didn't want to involve them in such distasteful adult matters), inspired by my widowed friend who has to take care of all household matters herself, I poured foaming noxious chemicals down the drain. I am happy to report that it worked, despite the hubby's protestations that it wouldn't work, that we needed a mechanical method of drain clearing...I can pour chemicals down the drain, but there's no way you're gonna get me to use a snake on the thing. Have you ever smelled the stuff that comes up when you do that? Perhaps that's why I've been waiting for Scott to do it for two years now.

I have unwittingly bestowed upon my husband an expert status for all things home maintenance. And while it's true that he knows a lot more about such things than I do, it's probably not fair of me to expect him to know what to do in all situations. The core of my small group at church contains two divorced women and a widowed woman, all of whom do not have the luxury anymore of having a husband to take care of all of the little things that go wrong around the house. So, in their honor, from now on, I might just take a vigilante stance toward more household opportunities...or not.
. . . . . . . . . . .

Caleb has been taking an unassisted step or two here and there. My baby is not going to be a baby for very much longer! I know that the goal is to raise healthy independent kidlings, but I do mourn, as we celebrate, the passing of each step toward that independence.
. . . . . . . . . . .

What Caleb really wants for his birthday:
Q-tips
my brush
deodorant
mixing bowls and plastic storage containers
a laundry basket full of clean laundry
anything that's stored in the lazy susan
small scraps of paper or wrappers, preferably spread around the house
small legos
anything that his brothers happen to be playing with at the time

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follower

According to my little google-y blog-y dashboard thingy (why do they call it a dashboard?), I have a follower. Don't worry, though. It's just my brother in law. My favorite one, actually, and he's not creepy at all...and he's not really following me, just my blog.

Running Errands

I am finding it difficult to find a good time to run errands these days. No matter what time I decide to go, I'm going to be running into a nap and/or meal time, which I don't want to do...meals, because they're messy, and naps because inferior naps are not a good thing. I've decided that for now it's best to go right after the bus comes in the morning. That way I'm only messing up the morning nap, but that's OK, I think. The trouble with that is it cuts into my blog time (oh no).

It has been 5 years since I haven't had to be anywhere at a set time on a regular basis. Five years ago Cody started preschool, and we had to be in Martinsburg at 8:45 a.m. every Friday. The appointments have changed through the years, but I have had to go into a town on a set schedule of one sort or another for 5 years. In those circumstances, you just go, because you have to. And if it messes up the schedule, so be it. Now I have a choice. The only place I have to be is home at 8:20 a.m. and 4:10 p.m., and I am responsible for choosing which part of the schedule to mess up.

Friends of ours from college also have three children, and my girlfriend refers to her youngest as her "car baby" because he's growing up in the car as she ferries the older two to all of their activities. I can definitely see that in our future...poor Caleb.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Popular

My oldest son is 8 years old, and in 3rd grade. Yesterday, as we were talking about what he had done at school that day, he mentioned that in PE he didn't think he was going to get a popular person for a partner because he was a little bit slower standing up. Now "popular" is one of those words that sends a huge blip to my mommy-radar. Feigning nonchalance (you know, it's kind of difficult to feign nonchalance when you aren't sure how to spell it), I asked him what it means to be popular. He told us it just means that lots of people like you. The more people who like you, the more popular you are. He loves to use examples, so he gave us the example that Daddy is very popular because we all (his family) like him.

I am horrified that already in 3rd grade my son has identified that there are "popular" people in his class. It's one of those things that I feel like I need to talk with him about, perhaps pointing out that all people have value, and that being popular doesn't necessarily translate into success. In fact, in my experience, popularity is often an impediment to success. At the same time, how much importance do I want to impart to the issue by making a big deal out of it? Cody wasn't expressing any desire to be popular himself--he expressed the situation in a matter of fact way: this is just the way it is. Although it's probably just as dangerous to desire to hang with the popular kids isn't it? I should tell him that he really ought to seek out the un-popular kids to make sure they feel included. I mean, the popular kids already have more friends than they know what to do with, right?

When I got into this motherhood thing, I guess I knew that these issues would come up, but somehow I didn't realize it would be this heartwrenching. Ug. We're not even into the tough stuff yet. Pray for us.

Costumes

Yes, OK? The tree did make a sound when it fell. It's just basic physics, really. We know that the force of the tree cracking and hitting the ground (and those poor littler trees that it took out on the way down) caused sound waves to be created. That's just conservation of energy. And regardless of whether there is an eardrum in the vicinity to receive those sound waves, or a brain to interpret them, the sound energy was there. Gosh, I'm really showing my scientific bias here. I'm sure if I were more philosophical I would have a different answer. Go ahead, ask me about eggs and chickens.

So, costumes. At the school my children attend, the kids are given themes for their Halloween costumes. The younger one needs to have a nursery rhyme costume, and the older needs to have a community helper costume. I'm sure that part of the reason the kids' school does this is to take some of the costume pressure off of the parents (the themes also complement learning units, and it's difficult to come up with gory or scarey costumes that fit into the themes), but for me, the pressure is intense. Our kids don't go trick or treating (sad, isn't it?), so if the school didn't have these costume themes, we wouldn't even have costumes.

The third grader wants to be a firefighter this year. I want him to be a firefighter. BUT, I don't want to buy yet another flimsy plastic firefighter coat that barely makes it to Halloween intact, and I also don't want to spend $60 or more to get a good quality fabric one. The other day, Cody said he was going to be a National Guard member, because he already has that costume. I mentioned that I thought he wanted to be a fire fighter and he said that he did, but that then I would have to buy a new costume and he didn't think I wanted to do that. Poor kid. I guess all these years of me saying that I'm not going to buy such and such a thing because it's not on sale have affected him. So I've been trying to think of other community helpers who don't require expensive and elaborate costumes...like a park ranger. (I haven't been able to come up with any that I can make out of a white bedsheet). This morning I thought of one (Cub Scout), gasped, and said, Cody, I know who's a community helper! And he said, "me." Yes, he is. As of this morning, Cody was planning to be a Cub Scout for Halloween, and I was wondering if I have time to make a firefighter coat and pants in the next 5 weeks (yes, I am nuts).

The younger one is going to be the spider who frightened Miss Muffet away whether he wants to be or not...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama and If a Tree Falls...

Is it just me? I seem to pass scores of political signs every time I'm out and about in the 'burban, and lots of them say this:

Obama
Biden

My brain almost always tells me I'm reading Osama Bin Laden. I try not to, but it just pops into my brain. According to my Family Fun magazine, it's not just me: "Language experts aren't entirely sure why, but one theory is that we don't usually read words letter by letter, we read them as whole units. So keeping the first and last letters of jumbled words in the right positions helps us decode them." (they were not talking about Obama Biden, just mixed up/jumbled words) I wonder if Senator Obama considered this phenomenon when he chose his running mate?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Friday when Caleb and I returned from our walk, I noticed that half a tree had fallen on our property. A big one. After the initial "Yikes" and "I'm glad no one was standing there when it fell", my first thought was, gosh that would be a good place for a letterbox or geocache (there's a big hole in the trunk of the tree right above where it separated). When Scott returned Sunday night from his kayaking adventure, I told him about the fallen tree, and he (of course!) asked me, "did it make a sound?"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Work ethic

Today I was wiping off the counter in the kitchen, silently bemoaning the fact that cleaning the kitchen counters is yet another never-ending and thankless job, while my 5 year old son was sitting at the same counter eating goldfish crackers. He asked me if I was tired, and I said yes, because I was, and he told me that I was tired because I was working so much. Well, aside from the initial burst of he-does-appreciate-me-and-realizes-that-being-a-stay-at-home-mom-is-a-real-job, I had to laugh. I asked Logan if he was tired, and he said no, because he wasn't working. Then I said maybe he should do a little work so I wouldn't have to do so much work and then I wouldn't be as tired. He said he didn't want to do any work, and when I asked him why, he told me it was because he didn't want to be tired!

The other day my 8 year old son brought home a book order form from school, and of course, he had found something that he wants to buy in the order form. Some time ago, my husband and I came to a compromise regarding an allowance for said 8 year old. Scott wanted Cody's allowance to be tied to chores, if I insisted on giving him money at all, because Scott wants Cody to learn that you have to work for money. I wanted Cody's allowance to not be tied to chores, because I want him to learn how to handle money, plus I wanted to take the every-day decisions about spending money on silly things for my kids out of my hands and into their hands, and I didn't want Cody to have the option of not doing chores and just saying, "oh I just won't get my allowance this week." So, Cody has a base salary, which he gets no matter what, and then if he wants extra money, there are extra chores he can do to earn more money. There's a bit more to it than that, but I don't want to lose y'all.

So suddenly, Cody is faced with the prospect of earning $8 in less than a week. Hubby had one chore for Cody to do, and then I told Cody I would pay him $3 an hour to pull weeds. Now I had been beginning to think that Cody had inherited my lazy-nature, as he seems to like to spend as much time as possible (as much as we'll let him) sitting on the couch watching TV. He's also perfected the whiney-voice, which adds to the lazy-nature image. My husband has a tremendous work ethic, as does his entire family, and that's actually one of the things that atracted me to him. In fact, I think they actually like to work (gasp!), enjoy it even. Anyway, Cody came home from school on Friday and worked, pulling weeds for 1.5 hours. No breaks. I was tired of pulling weeds 10 minutes in. I could not believe this was my son doing all this work, and was so impressed with that kid. He did it again on Saturday, for half an hour, and that was enough, with his base salary, and what he already had in his spending money account, to pay for his book club item.

It's a good thing to realize that your kid is not following in your own lazy footsteps, at least not when given the proper motivation. As a mommy I worry at times that I'm not giving my kidlings the proper foundation and training so that they can be productive grown-ups all on their own. I wish I knew how to make this working thing self-motivating. I sure hope Cody thinks his super spy scope is worth it...

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

I decided to blog. All the cool kids are doing it. By that I mean my brother, my brother in law, two missionaries in Norway, and a pastor in the exciting town of Farmington, Minnesota. It occurs to me that this would have been a perfect medium for my baby updates...too late, I'm afraid. I wonder if I'll have anything more interesting to say, but I'm sure I'll come up with something, and whether it's interesting or not...well, that's up to the readers to decide (who will probably include my brother and, well, none of the other cool kids).

I guess you could say the turkeys put me over the edge into blogger-dom. The turkeys and the grasshoppers. My 10 month old son and I take a 2 mile walk every school day, and one day we were walking later in the day than we normally do and I noticed hundreds of grasshoppers, jumping around us. We're talking freeing the Israelites from Egypt frequency of grasshoppers. It was as if they were escorting us, because they were jumping and flitting about in front of and behind us, but only about 8 feet in front. It was kind of like a parade, as we passed, the hoppers would hop. This went on for about 1/4 of a mile, and I found it odd that none of the hoppers hit us. On our way back through the area I couldn't keep the suckers off of me, leading me to believe that the hoppers wanted to keep me out.

The turkeys were on a different day, same route. As Caleb and I came walking down the hill on Bluebird Drive, we flushed a family of turkeys out of the field to the right of the road. There was a mama turkey, four medium-sized turkeys, and three baby turkeys, still with fuzzy downy feathers (I hadn't realized that turkeys had more than one brood per season, but now we know). And they ran down the road in front of us. After a while they stopped running and walked, but they kept looking back at us, keeping an eye on us to make sure we weren't a threat. Every now and then the leader would start running again and all the others would join in. As they reached the corner, a second mama sized turkey flew from behind us up the road to join the crew. Now the family was divided. The first mama headed into the woods on the west side of the road, but the second mama wanted to head for the grassy field on the east side of the road. It was interesting following these birds. I could almost see them thinking, wondering if Caleb and I could be trusted.

So, how did these two experiences lead to this blog? Well, I realized that I wanted to share my experiences with someone, anyone, really, but I didn't want to impose a burden upon my friends and family by having these two stories show up in their inboxes. With a blog, they can decide when, or if, they want to be burdened with my random thoughts and experiences. Perfect.
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