Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ward Party

Tonight was our ward's Halloween party. We had a great time! We had about an hour of party time indoors with a fishing pond, cupcake walk, baseball pitching, glow-in-the-dark bowling, face painting and many other fun games. After the party, we went around trunk-or-treating. This is where everyone parks outside with bowls of candy to pass out and the kids go from trunk to trunk to get their spoils. The girls did danged good this year and each brought home bags weighing a pound or two each, plus glow necklaces and other little trinkets. They had a lot of fun! We got home after 9:30 so they were asleep fast (after a quick washing up, brushing of teeth, and spiritual time).

Pictures from this evening:

The cutest cheerleaders EVER!

Go Team!

Lacy threw the baseball 12 miles per hour! Go Lacy! (Hmmm, maybe it was only 9? Not sure. Bet she could out pitch me, though!)
Dave helped at the fishing pond. Rose really enjoyed fishing:

The cupcake walk was extremely popular with both girls. Rose would walk around and around and around and had so much fun! I got a partially eaten cupcake out of the deal, too, so I wasn't too bad off.

Lacy getting her face painted:
The finished product:

Rose applying her own face paint:

I.....looooooovvvvvveeeeee cannnnnndyyyyyy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today's Events, by Lacy

Here's a little vlog Lacy did for you guys!

Oral Care

This may seem like a strange topic for a Tightwad Tuesday blog. But I'm in the thick of pediatric dental heck, and our tab just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I've learned a lot in the last couple of years, and I would like to share what I've learned with you. Avoiding cavities will make everyone happier, healthier, and just a little bit wealthier! Seriously, the money is so minor compared to all the other benefits of good oral care, but it does make a difference, so it is definitely an appropriate Tightwad Tuesday topic!

Teeth Brushing: This is so important! And it has been my biggest problem from day one. You need to start brushing their teeth the moment they get their first tooth or when their diet includes foods other than breastmilk, whichever comes later. There is much evidence showing that breastmilk does not cause cavities. However, breastmilk + food on the teeth does = cavities. So what you can do is ensure there is no residue of food on the teeth when your child will be nursing, especially if your child is accustomed to nursing to sleep.

Brushing your child's teeth can be very difficult. I struggled with this for a long time. Until my sister taught me the best way to brush a child's teeth. I had been doing it wrong for so long! I learned a little too late for Lacy and Rose (they both have pretty bad damage), but with my next baby I will for sure be brushing her teeth well as soon as she needs it! This tooth brushing method is not for the young babies so much as it is for the toddlers. What you do is you pin their arms down under your legs. Your thighs help to keep the head from turning. You may have some leg flailing going on that you'll have to take care of-- use either your legs to pin their legs down or your free hand. There will be a lot of screaming-- even at almost 2.5, Rose still screams, though she willingly gets into the tooth brush position every single night. Occasionally she will allow us to brush her teeth without pinning her down. I try it that way first every time, but if she won't cooperate we go with the tried and true pinning method. I know it sounds cruel and a bit anti-AP to some people, but there are a few things that I personally put my foot down on, and having clean teeth is one of them. It is much, much worse to go through many of the experiences we have gone through correcting the dental problems than to pin your child down for 1 minute to brush teeth several times a day. I have blogged several times about our dental woes.

My kids already went to bed, so I had to have Dave take a picture of me demonstrating the toothbrush hold on Lacy's bear, Cinnamon, for this blog.

See how Cinnamon's arms aren't visible? They are secured under my legs. If I have to, I can maneuver my knees and calves around to keep flailing legs from becoming a problem-- Rose has escaped more than once using the strength of her legs to maneuver out of my hold. My soft, coushiny thighs cradle Cinnamon's head so I can easily brush his teeth. This is not at all painful for the child, but it is essential for healthy teeth to get them brushed at least 2-3 times a day. Brushing teeth may not be the answer for everyone's dental issues, but it certainly is the best defense. You don't really even need to use tooth paste-- our dentist friend from church told us about how he once brushed his teeth with Mountain Dew. Hmmm. Okay.

Some people are so lucky to have good genes and even constant junk food with zero oral health care results in perfect teeth, but we have bad genetics on our side, so even our careful diets resulted in massive tooth decay. And tooth decay is costly. We have excellent dental insurance, but it doesn't cover the cost of the drug cocktail that Lacy receives before her dental appointment-- that runs us $80 a pop. Rose's teeth were much more expensive: $200 out of pocket expenses for the surgery center, $80 for the anesthesiologist, plus additional costs for what our insurance didn't cover. I still owe the dental office about $200 and will be paying another $80 tomorrow.

Aaaand on to tomorrow: I already mentioned that we will need to pay the dental office $80 for Lacy's happy drink cocktail (Evil Dental actually worked on Rose's teeth without any medication, but this dental office is so much better and would never consider doing something so horrible-- I was so scared for Rose's oral health that I actually allowed them to do that. Bad mom!). She is getting a crown on one of her front teeth. She previously had a filling, but in her eagerness to lose a tooth, she popped that filling right off the tooth. Her permanent tooth will not come in until she is about 8, so the best bet is to crown it if at all possible. It also appears that she has a few minor cavities that need to be repaired, so the dentist will repair those at the same time. He will also polish up the yellowing from the fillings on her front teeth so her pearly whites will actually be white again. Our insurance covers nearly 100% on all these things, so very few out of pocket expenses. But very few does not mean zero, which should be everyone's aim. Not only will proper oral care minimize the cost for you, but it will also improve overall health.

Oral care is very important for children and adults alike. Don't neglect your own teeth! Brush your teeth after meals and floss once daily. Eat less sugar and lots of fruits and vegetables. Take care of your teeth and you'll have them a long, long time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Studies that make me mad: Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers

There are a few studies out there that I've read about lately that frustrate me. Their conclusions are suspect and they go against much of what I stand for as a parent. I'll be checking back in with more of these as I find them, and we'll get to the bottom of it all!

Today's study is: Cloth Diapers are worse for the environment than Disposables

I have been a cloth diaper user since Lacy was a newborn. I have only used a few packages of disposable diapers because I felt like they were less convenient and worse for the environment. I've often heard critics of cloth say that the washing and drying of cloth diapers add up and make them worse for the earth than disposables. This study seems to validate the critics' conclusions.

Or does it?

Look closely at what they are saying, and you'll see that they leave out a lot of information that is important. Let's tear this apart, shall we?

In the article, it states:
To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.
First of all, one of the main reasons I chose cloth diapers was because I could reuse them from child to child. My water heater is set lower than 60C/140F (probably more like 50C/120F). While I don't hang my diapers to dry, I do wash my diapers with other items. That may sound gross, but most parents I know will wash clothing that gets pee, poop and sometimes vomit on them with other items. I also haven't changed a poopy diaper in well over a year, so that factor isn't even in the equation (thanks, EC!). I'm seriously not doing any more laundry than a disposable diaper using mother. So how would my environmental impact be greater than that of 'sposie users?

But I know I'm not typical. Most people will separate their diapers and wash them alone, often on hot, and dry them in the dryer. I think it is fairly typical to save diapers for the next child, or sell them if a family is only going to have one child.

Even with typical cloth diaper use, the environmental impact is still less than that of disposable diapers. Let's talk about the manufacture of both kinds of diapers for a minute, shall we? I found a great, unbiased article on the manufacture of disposable diapers. It talks about all the different chemicals used in disposable diapers, and how the absorbent polymers are actually waste materials from other products, so that's good. It also says, "In diaper production, however, considerable amounts of both non woven material and polymer particles are wasted." In fact, another study showed that disposable diaper's manufacture produced three times as much waste as the manufacture of a cloth diaper. Considering most people only need a couple dozen cloth diapers but babies using disposable diapers go through more than 5000 diaper changes during their diaper-wearing days, the difference is enormous. That same study also showed that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste than cloth diapers.

Also not mentioned was the issue of biological waste in our landfills. Most people will not dump the contents of their infants' diapers into the toilets, even though the package clearly instructs caregivers to do so. I don't blame them-- I wouldn't dump out a diaper if I didn't have to, either. But since I had to, I installed a little sprayer to the side of my toilet. This makes it so much easier and less messy than the way my mom had to do it. I remember her dunking my brother's diapers all the time. So gross. Good thing there are alternatives to that out there! The biological waste from my home goes into our septic tank, where it can be emptied and properly treated by waste management companies who are skilled in this type of thing.

Another factor not considered is the transportation issue. For a cloth diaper, raw materials are harvested or manufactured and shipped to companies who make them into fabrics. Those fabrics are sent to wholesale distributors who either sell them directly to diaper manufacturers or to fabric shops/fabric co-ops, who sell to smaller cloth diaper manufacturers. Some of the bigger guys may weave/knit their own fabrics and make them into diapers in the same plant. Those diapers are made and probably packaged in the same plant, and then either shipped to retailers or directly to customers, depending on the type of operation you're talking about (there are literally hundreds if not thousands of cloth diaper manufacturers, many of them moms working out of their homes).

For disposables, the raw materials are harvested or manufactured and transported to a manufacturing plant, where they are made, then packaged probably at the same plant, placed on a pallet and shrink wrapped. These are shipped off to a warehouse somewhere. Then they are loaded again and shipped to a retail store where customers buy them and drive them home in their cars. It doesn't sound like much of a difference, but when you multiply it by 100 packs of diapers, it adds up quickly. Cloth diapering parents only buy diapers a few times.

Personally, I made my own diapers for the most part. I also bought a few items used and a couple from WAHM's (Work At Home Moms). Maybe 5-10 trips to the store or deliveries to me at home for the diapers I have used for my kiddos. I also have the luxury of not having a trash can fill up too quickly, having very little garbage, and only running out of diapers when the power goes out (or mama forgets to start the load... but that never happens around here!).

If you have a baby bum in your house, and you're not already using an alternative to disposable diapers, I encourage you to try out cloth or take the elimination communication plunge. Here's a shop to get you going on the cloth, and no special equipment is really needed to start with EC!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I had a big long post typed out, but I decided to erase it. What matters is that I am so grateful for the blessings that my family has been given in the last two weeks. I am feeling so incredibly blessed right now, and thankful to my Heavenly Father for all that we have been given. My stress load is substantially lessened because of it, and I am so grateful for that. I am very lucky-- I have a wonderful, hard working husband and two precious children who are a joy. I also have a home to live in, reliable transportation, access to clean water, more than enough food to eat, and warm clothes to wear. I have been blessed with many abilities-- sewing, knitting, cooking, baking, gardening, and others-- that has helped my family in many ways during our difficult summer.

Sometimes, life is tough. I really need to start thinking of my blessings first before I start thinking of my challenges. That will make life's challenges so much easier to bear.

Hey... am I turning into a grown up? When did this happen?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heat Seeker

When Dave is away, I let Lacy fall asleep in our bed. Rose sleeps in our bed every night (This is all by choice-- Rose doesn't have her own bed yet and we have never owned a crib, other than a pack n play). I have Lacy sleep next to the wall so I can more easily put Rose in bed when she falls asleep. Between them, I often put a pillow to minimize them waking each other up. Such was the case last night, when Dave was off taking his recertification class.

After an hour or two, I walked in to this. Next to Lacy is a box of books that she insisted on taking to bed with her. She loves books and reading. The second picture clearly shows the pillow that was originally between the girls.

Lacy woke up to go potty a while later, and I had her go back to the middle, replacing the pillow between the girls. And, she insisted I move her box of books to where she was now relocated. Soon afterward, this is how I found them:

I guess she really loves a warm body to cuddle up next to! I think I may have to get a double bed for them when Rose is ready to transfer out of our bed in a year or so, just so she can have a warm body to cuddle! Luckily, Lacy likes to cuddle, too, and she likes her sister, so I think we're good there.

Image Tag

My friend Kathy has this on her blog, and it looked like fun, so here goes...

What are you doing right now?
My Age
First Name
Middle Name (I don't have one, so I'll use my "made up" middle name.)
Last Name
Maiden Name
Favorite Food

Bad Habit
Past pet
Grandmother's names

Past Love

First Job
Favorite Place
If I went back to School
If I could visit any place in the World

Now it is your turn!
Go to Google.
Do an image search for your answer to each question.
Pick a picture off the first page of images that best answers the question.

Seed Saving part deux: Fleshy Fruits

I bought heirloom tomato plants this year specifically so I could save seeds. The cost of a tomato plant is between $2-5 at the farmer's market for heirloom tomatoes. Each plant produced 5-10 pounds of fruit. That's a pretty good deal, but an even better deal is to save the seeds and start again next year from seed! I will be planting my tomato starts as early as February this year-- much later, and they don't get big enough in our climate. I was lucky I got any ripe fruit at all this year!

Here's what you do to save seeds:

Let a few tomatoes over-ripen and get all squishy. Then you cut them across their equators and scoop out the seeds. Put the seeds and the goop around the seeds in a jar along with a few tablespoons of water. Put plastic wrap over the top and poke a hole in it, to allow air circulation. This water will get scummy, so change it every day until the seeds are naked. Then, lay the seeds out on a paper plate or coffee filter to allow them to dry. Once they are bone dry, you can put them in an envelope and save for next year.

You want some of that, don't you? Mmmmm, good.

People who know a heckuva lot more about seed saving are also on the web. Check 'em out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Name That Sidedish!

So, what is that interesting looking dish? Care to take a guess?

My weird kids

Just a couple pictures from yesterday to further solidify the fact that they are related to me and, therefore, are weird.

She thought it would be fun to hop around with a sleeping bag. Um, okay.

Seriously, I don't know what was going through Rose's head when I asked her to smile.

We were going to go take our fall pictures yesterday. We didn't because, well... the kids were being weird. And grumpy. And weird and grumpy=nonphotogenic kids, as seen demonstrated in this post.

This year, I'm voting 3rd party!

I don't have an option to vote 3rd party in the State of Washington general election because we now have a "top two" primary. Rarely are 3rd party candidates chosen to be in the general election. But the federal election has representatives from all the major 3rd parties and some independents. Let's take a look at who's on my ballot (after the two main parties):

Independent: Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzales
Socialism & Liberation: Gloria La Riva/Eugene Puryear
Socialist Workers: James E. Harris/Alyson Kennedy
Libertarian: Bob Barr/Wayne A. Root
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin/Darrell L. Castle
Green: Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clementine

I'm leaning toward either the Libertarian party or Constitution party, but I'm going to give a nice, long look at the Green party as well. I can't support either the Democrats or the Republicans in this election, and since the state will go blue anyway, it really doesn't matter for whom I vote. Therefore, I'm going with a candidate that is more in line with my own views rather than compromise for a major party candidate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This makes me sick.

This really gets my blood boiling. There is a school district in Texas that is punishing a 5 year old boy with isolated in-school detention (for the last six weeks!!!) for practicing his religious and cultural belief of wearing his hair long. The rules of this district are that boys must have hair above collar length. Their "compromise" was to allow him to braid his hair and stuff it down the back of his shirt. I don't know if any of my dear readers have ever stuffed their hair down the backs of their shirts before, but I have, and I know it is a huge pain in the rear end. Very uncomfortable, scratchy, and just a big irritation all around. And I don't live in a hot, humid environment like Huston, and I have only ever kept it back there for a minute or two. I also most likely have much finer hair than this little boy, which would mean less bulk and irritation, I would imagine.

Why is it okay for little girls to have long hair, but not boys? Why is it okay to still religiously discriminate against people in 2008? Why is it okay to bully around and shame a 5 year old boy who has done absolutely nothing wrong? How is that going to help him? I am sickened at the actions of the Needville Independent School District for humiliating a young boy in this manner.

Here is a snippet of the article:

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas today filed a lawsuit against the Needville Independent School District (NISD) for punishing a five-year-old American Indian kindergarten student for practicing and expressing his family's religious beliefs and heritage by wearing his hair long in violation of school rules.

School officials have forced A.A. into isolated in-school suspension because he and his family refuse to abide by a district mandate that he stuff his long hair, part of his American Indian religious and cultural heritage, down the back of his shirt while at school - a requirement that would cause A.A. shame, embarrassment and physical discomfort.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's a First Time for Everything!

Today, Lacy...

Was caught doing chores, without even being asked. She even did an okay job on the top half of the mirror.

Finished all of her dinner, even her onions. She asked for seconds of broccoli, too. I guess the cookies as an afternoon snack didn't affect her appetite one bit this evening. I seriously don't think she's ever finished every bit of her dinner in her whole life until tonight.

If this is how she behaves on TV free days, I think we're going to have to have more TV free days in the future. Like, EVERY day! It would be hard to get used to, but seriously, it would be so worth it. I'm not sure if I'm up for the challenge. We did get a lot more preschool stuff done today as a result. And starting in November, we're starting Kindergym, which meets 3 times a week, so they'll be busier (and hopefully more tired at night! It took Rose 3 hours to fall asleep tonight).

TV Free Day

Every once in a while, I like to have a day completely free of television. Today was such a day. We decided to have a no-TV day based on the sheer number of hours of TV that the girls racked up yesterday. It is embarrassingly high, but I was also working on my callings for a while and that kept them out of my hair, plus I was tired and woke up with a sore throat, so I wasn't feeling trying to distract them with an alternative to TV.

This morning, we left at 9:30 to get to our Music and Movement class on time. We had a great time, and were excited to have Dave with us to help out.

Afterward, Dave dropped us off at home and went to meet some people he's worked with to walk through a building they're doing a bid on. He was also sent home with blueprints and other paperwork to go over. Dave is going to be their #1 guy once they get going, and he's going to work on all the bidding as well.

After we got home, it was lunch time, then Rose's nap time. Usually nap time is also TV time for Lacy, but today she colored in a coloring book with markers and glitter pens, which is one of her favorite things to do. It was difficult for her to keep away from me until Rose was safely down on her bed, and in fact interrupted us several times, but Rose eventually fell asleep, and Lacy and I immediately began working on critical thinking skills. She did great today, and is almost done with the section she's been working on. We're matching rubber bands on a peg board to the "map" in our book, and it's very challenging for her.

Once Rose woke up, we called our friend Diane, who has her granddaughter Ruby today. She picked up the girls and took them to the park, and I cleaned house. After I was done in the kitchen, I walked down to meet them.

After the park, we baked cookies and Dave came home from working on his appointments. We had a lovely dinner of venison, fries, broccoli and cantaloupe/musk melon. Yum! Finally, baths and massages, and now I'm once again helping Rose fall asleep, and Lacy is out reading books with her dad.

We had a very successful TV-free day today!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

She Jinxed Me

Rose was potty trained at 19 months. By potty trained, I don't mean that I put her on the toilet and occasionally she would go. I mean, full-on toilet independent, including wiping and washing her hands. She would go in without even telling me and I would frequently find her sitting on the potty in the dark. We practiced elimination communication ("EC") with her from seven weeks old, and it really worked well.

Of course, being only one year old, she had accidents. She just couldn't make it there sometimes, and occasionally she would just be so wrapped up in what she was doing that she wouldn't realize she had to go until it was too late. Her biggest problem was just being in an unfamiliar place and not knowing where to go-- since she was non-verbal for a long time, it was a huge challenge for us, so I got in the habit of showing her where the bathroom was right away at new places we visited. I figured it was all worth it because I didn't have to deal with poop as much, and her skin would improve just based on the fact that there was less of an opportunity for wetness to give her a rash.

You see, I have a hand thing, and my kids have eczema, which, in the case of my children, first appears as a rash as infants, around 6 weeks of age. I hate getting my hands dirty. I have to wear gloves to carry in wood, and the thought of touching chalk sends shivers down my spine. It completely grosses me out to have diaper rash ointment on my hands, and after an application of said ointment I have to immediately scrub down my hands. I figured it was just easier to potty train earlier than have to deal with rash ointments for longer. For me, it works, and it is easier. They still have skin issues, but not nearly as bad as when the rashes are in full swing with wearing diapers. It helps now that we've seen a dermatologist about our needs, and many of the issues are no longer a problem, or are infrequent inconveniences. Mainly Rose gets rashes when she wets her diaper, which she still wears for sleeping, so it's been quite a blessing that it is rare for her to do that anymore.

My sister, Leslie, disagrees and maintains that it is far better to potty train around the three year mark. It is much easier to deal with the pee and the poop all contained in one "nice" little package, rather than have to deal with accidents all the time. Her children that potty train around age three almost never have accidents. Well, until they're 6 years old and can't be bothered to stop what they're doing and go inside to use the bathroom. To prove her point, she mentioned that Rose's bathroom independence is a hindrance at times, and that her frequent accidents aren't worth the trouble of having a potty trained 2 year old. I countered that she rarely has accidents so it's really a moot point. Well, her definition of accident is a bit different than mine: inefficient wiping which requires a later change of underwear is, in her book, an accident. For me, it's just a part of having a kid and I'll deal as I am dealt. I'm just happy not to have to clean up poop every day.

To prove that my toddler's infrequent accidents aren't a hindrance and aren't as frequent as Leslie maintains, I was going to be on "accident watch" on this blog. Put some sort of feature up in the corner saying X days since Rose's last accident, like they have at many work sites (but I think their definition of accident is quite different than the one I am referring to). But I have been jinxed. Since the original conversation, Rose has had several accidents. This is totally out of the ordinary for her. She usually has one maybe every couple weeks, but this week she has had four or five. Two were in one day... but to be fair, Rose was wearing a diaper as it was right before nap time for one of those accidents.

Thanks a lot, Leslie. I should make you do my laundry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One more... Rose Dancing

Video 3: Mostly, it's Rose dancing. Lacy also does some stretches with Rose in it, and Dave is talking toward the end. Dave didn't really know I was recording, so just ignore him and watch my darling girls.

My talented kids

I don't care what anybody else says-- my kids are the most talented children in the world. Rose will be my triple threat: she can sing and dance, and surely will be able to act based on her ability to deceive her parents at the tender age of two. She has great rhythem and is always tapping along to the music, in time, and it looks like she may have perfect pitch as well. Lacy will be the songwriter and is always making up songs or rewriting the lyrics to songs she already knows. She is an expert at memorization and can't wait to take violin lessons when she's five. As a musician myself, I am thrilled with how much my children love music. It comes so naturally to them. They will both take violin, I will teach them piano, and probably voice lessons when they get a little older, as well. We live in a great area for music and theater, so I'm excited for them to get old enough to participate in the local youth music and theater programs.

Video 1: Rose singing. I know it doesn't sound like much, but she sings like this all. the. time. And while it's just jibberish, it will eventually blossom into beautiful music.

Video 2: Lacy singing "Scripture Power." She knows the real lyrics, but altered them to her liking for this version of the song.

Baby Shower Gifts on the Cheap

When you give a baby gift this beautiful, nobody will suspect that it only cost you around $5 This is my favorite kind of baby carrier, a traditional Asian baby carrier called a mei tai. The trick is to make it yourself using high-quality fabrics that are on sale. I really like using suedecloth (or similar fabrics) that makes it to the clearance bin at the local fabric store. I only use fabric that costs $2/yard or less (though with climbing prices, I may have to raise my threshold in order to find quality fabrics). For the front panel, I use beautiful brocades that I buy on sale. Normally brocade costs about $10/yard (sometimes more), but I wait until it is on sale or I have a coupon and buy it for around half that price. I can make four mei tai carriers with one yard of fabric. It takes about two yards of fabric for the back and the straps. It is also reversable, so you can have more of a basic fabric for the days when you're not feeling as fancy. The only other things you will need are thread, and something for padding in the straps if you want. I used polar fleece scraps.

It is surprisingly simple to make, and this one only took me one evening to put together. The hardest part is making the straps look good. I added padding, so it took longer to turn the straps inside out. Anyone with a little bit of sewing experience can make a beautiful mei tai carrier that will be the hit of the baby shower. They are also very easy to use, and as you can see by my almost 2.5 year old model, they are useful for a long, long time. Similar brocade mei tais sell for $40-60 on Etsy. The savings are huge if you make it yourself!

Here is a pattern for a mei tai that is similar to the one I make. I have made a couple variations to the pattern to make it more to my liking. You may find that you make variations, too, if you make enough of them. It's a great basic pattern to get you started.

Here are the instructions for wearing. I print this out when I give a mei tai as a gift.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jury Duty, Part 2

Today I woke up at 6 am so I could get ready for jury duty. I got Lacy up at 6:30 and she and I ate breakfast together. She said, "Where are we going while it's night time?"

"It's not night time-- it's morning."

"But it's dark outside. It's night."

"It can be dark in the morning. It will start to get light in a little while."

She really didn't believe me that it was morning! While I did appreciate the early rise and ability to get things done in the morning, I don't miss the morning commute and getting two kids ready and dropped off. I can't believe I did this every day for 3 years!

I woke up Rose at a quarter to 7 and we set off for my sister's house. I dropped the kids off and left a crying and tired Rose and went to the county courthouse to report to jury duty.

After getting through traffic and waiting in a long line to go through a medal detector at the courthouse, I reported and got my number badge. I was juror number 9. Great. That means, unless they don't like me, I was going to serve on a jury. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to commit to so much time away from my girls!

I found out it was a civil case for injuries sustained during a car accident. One of the witnesses was a chiropractor. This is a chiropractor that I know, as he has filled in for my regular chiropractor in the past. They asked many questions of us, including how we felt about chiropractors. I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I think it was obvious to the lawyers and judge that I was upset at how some people talked about chirpractors being lesser than other doctors, and that they're money-grubbing quacks. After Dave sustained injuries to his back from a work accident 7 years ago, he could not walk. We had a friend carry him to his SUV (couldn't get in to our car) and drove him to our chiropractor's office at 11 at night. The doctor and our friend carried Dave in to the office. The doctor adjusted him, and Dave was able to walk out on his own. A combination of chiropractic, masssage and physical therapy brought Dave back to 100% capacity. So I absolutely believe in chiropractic as being an important treatment option that should be readily available to injured people. And pregnant people. And people that want to see one just because. I'm sure my face showed that I was disgusted with the responses of people who thought that way. Consequently I was not chosen to be a juror on this case. I still have to call in every night this week after 5:3o to see if my group is called back in. It is unlikely, but possible. I will not be reporting tomorrow. I'm glad that the experience is over, and I'm glad that I could see our legal system in action. I am also glad that they picked a different juror-- I'm not sure how unbiased I could be in a case such as this. They made the right choice to not select me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lacy and Woody

Lacy has a new best friend. Her best friend's name is Woody. Woody is not a person. Nor is he a cartoon character, or a doll based on said cartoon character.

He is a piece of wood.

Yes, my daughter's best friend is a piece of wood.

She found him in the yard when we were stacking wood and making kindling. He was a small branch off a large piece of firewood that Dave cut off with the chainsaw. She decided it was cute and wanted to keep it.

For safe-keeping, Woody lives in a jar.

That she takes to bed.
Lacy, telling us about Woody (Woody didn't have a name yet-- he was still a new addition).

Harvest Part 2/Preparing for Winter

The potatoes weren't the only thing we harvested on Saturday. We picked all the rest of the tomatoes, dug up the squashes, picked all the cucumbers (we didn't get many), picked the beans, cleaned off the peppers, and picked blackberries (those were just for munching, though).

Most of the tomatoes were still green, so we have to let them ripen. We probably got about 20-30 pounds of tomatoes from our 6 tomato plants. Hopefully they will ripen for us! They look gorgeous, even green! They are all heirloom tomatoes, so odd shapes and flaws are common (but delicious!). The varieties we planted are: valencia, burbank, brandywine, pineapple, striped german, and delicious.

We also got a couple hubbard squashes. I was really disappointed, because I expected more than two squashes from that huge plant. Another tried to grow, but it rotted off the vine for some reason. The neighbors grew pumpkin and gave one to us. Dave is severely allergic to pumpkins, so we don't grow any. Lacy was very excited to get a pumpkin of her very own! I'm thinking about covering it in glue and glitter. I saw it on Martha Stewart and it was so cute, and that way you don't have to cut it but have the fun of decorating it (Dave is allergic to the flesh, membranes and seeds, but I don't think he has much of a reaction to the hard outer shell and stem).

We got another meal's worth of green beans. I am really happily surprised at the green beans. I planted them way too late, so any harvest is good news for me. I think I planted them in LATE July, so I'm very surprised at how prolific they've been, considering how young the vines are. Next year I'm planting them in June! Or May!

Finally, we cleaned off the pepper plants. We had only two this year-- banana and serano. I'm very excited to do something with them-- just what, I'm not sure.

After we harvested, we started getting some wood ready. To keep costs down, we like to use wood heat as much as possible. So we started stacking, making kindling, and pruning trees and cutting up the larger branches into logs. Rose was very helpful in stacking the kindling and did the whole box all by herself. Dave didn't even ask her, and every time he was done making kindling, she would take it and say, "Thank you."


You know, the words that sound like what they are? My kids are shining examples of onomatopoeia use. OK, maybe not perfect examples, but they do make stereotypical sounds when engaging in typical childhood activities. When Lacy cries, she says, "boo hoo!" When Rose laughs, she says, " ha ha ha!" When Rose was a baby, she would say "Ga ga goo goo." Seriously. And her "yummy" noises she makes (or made, as a baby) were always, "Yumyumyumyum." I think there are more, but it makes me laugh when I hear them innocently making these noises.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jury Duty

So, my notice's been sent and my number's been called, and I'm reporting for jury duty on Monday morning. I had a feeling, since my number was so low, that I would be called in. I'm kind of excited, and kind of bummed at the same time. I am bummed mostly because I will have to leave my house at 7 in the morning so I can drop off the kids and report to the courthouse. That's practically the middle of the night! My kids are going to be so tired. Hopefully I can get them to bed early the night before (not likely, with how Rose has been behaving lately) so they can get the sleep they need to be human on Monday.

On the plus side, Rose seems to be just about done with naps. So it won't be a big deal if Les can't put her down. I'm really bummed about her giving up the nap, but really it's so much better for me to have a kid that goes to bed easily at 8 than a couple hours of down time in the afternoon. I clock out at 8:30 and I really resent it when I don't get my evening! That's why I stay up too late every night. Besides, I can always put on a movie if I need a break in the daytime. Another plus-- we can have more TV free days, since the main TV time is during nap time.

But back to jury duty-- I'm kind of hoping to be picked, but at the same time, I am not sure if I can commit to being gone from my kids that long. Hopefully they will pick me for some piddly 1 day trial that will be easy. I really thought about trying to get out of it, but I have people I can call on for watching my kids, they pay you for your time (if $1 an hour counts as "pay"), and I'm really curious to see the legal system in action. Though I don't know if I'll be able to pay attention to it.

Harvest Day

Since Dave was having trouble starting the lawn mower, he decided he should do other work in the yard. First things first-- harvest the potatoes. We had our first frost last night, so it seems like the time is right.

So he started digging. And up came the potatoes. And more potatoes. And more. And more. And more! It was awesome. In total, we got about 30 pounds of red and blue potatoes. Next year, I'd like to plant twice as many. We had so much fun harvesting them today! I can't wait for some blue mashed potatoes in the near future :)

The hill was full of potato plants. Dave got the shovel and the girls were right there to help him with the harvest.
He would dig up the plants and the girls and I would pull off any potatoes hanging from the roots.

There would always be some left laying on the ground.

We had all different sizes of potatoes. Some were huge!

Some were medium sized.

And some were wee little babies! Of course, the baby ones were Lacy's favorite.

At the end, we had a huge pile of dirt left over. No, those are not potatoes Rose is holding-- she was scooping up the dirt and throwing it! Fun times.

And the total harvest was 10 pounds of reds and 20 pounds of blues. Not too bad from a couple of overgrown potatoes and a pound of seed potatoes at the farmer's market! It probably cost me about $2 to grow all these potatoes. Yippee!

We are absolutely going to grow potatoes next year. It was fun, and we got a good result. I think I'd like to do about twice as many next year, and maybe have a couple more varieties for good measure. We did find a ton of caterpillars while we were digging, and some of our potatoes looked like they had been eaten. Dave and Lacy are now on their way to get a new spark plug for the lawn mower and to stop by the market to ask some questions about the caterpillars. They brought a sample in for the master gardeners to take a look at and assess. We love our farmer's market!

I also picked all the rest of the apples off our trees today. They are tiny, but the girls are tiny, too, so they'll be perfect for one another.

Next step: Cleaning up the back yard, mowing the lawn, finishing the harvest, till the gardens, and plant some winter crops. I'm thinking some aromatics will be all that my garden can handle. I'm not sure-- I'm very inexperienced with winter gardening.