Friday, February 29, 2008

Reason #548 Why I Love Living In the Country

We ran to Aldi's yesterday and saw a common sight for us ~ an Amish horse and buggy parked out front. Most stores in town have hitching posts right outside and my girls love it when we happen to see an Amish family when out and about. Luna, especially, loves "heedies" (horsies) and even though it was about 6 degrees out she wanted to sit right in the cart and look at the horse until I had the groceries stashed in the trunk. While we were in the store, Kaya mentioned her tummy was bothering her. Actually, all day long she would go from feeling fine to complaining of a tummy-ache. She took a little time to work on her Alliteration Book, typing out a few pages.
As the day progressed, though, the complaints of tummy trouble became more common. She passed on dinner and laid on the couch. All of a sudden I heard, "Mama, I think I'm going to....." and she didn't quite make it to the bathroom. Blech. :shudder: Now, somehow, I can turn off my gag reflex when it comes to cleaning up the mess. But, when it comes time to stuff the icky towels into the washing machine that is another story.
Kaya seems to be on the mend today, thankfully. I'm hoping it was just a one time deal.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More of Kaya's Creativity

Because Miss Whines-A-Lot won't let me set her down for even a second, I may have to spend most of the day sitting and cuddling her. I'll add some of the pages Kaya worked on today. She is really inspired to make a whole book and I don't doubt she will cover all of the letters by next week! This A page is probably my favorite so far. I love the little alien!


For anyone who may be wondering, Kaya told me that China is a beautiful, dark-skinned fairy who lives by the sea and spends her time making magic circles around the crabs to keep them from pinching anyone. Ha!


When I told Kaya that the name Unice usually starts with an E, she said, "Weeellllll, maybe some people spell it that way, but this is my book and my character and I am going to spell it starting with a U!"



Another Virtual Refrigerator

Luna has been especially needy while feeling under the weather. The little Cling-On has had to be in my arms while awake or else she emits this high pitched whiney squeal. Still not sure exactly what is wrong with her, but it seems to be something like the flu but without a fever. Kaya has been doing some self-directed learning while I care for Luna. We were talking about alliteration over breakfast yesterday and she thought she might like to write and illustrate a book. She picked a few letters yesterday and used a word processing program to type out her sentences, pick her fonts and colors. Then she got to illustrating her work. I think her drawings are so cute!



She is already working on more pages this morning to add to her book. I can't wait to see her illustrations!

We're still waiting on a payment from Jay's customers, so the money stresses are getting to me. I'm getting creative while going through the cupboard and trying to use up what we have and feel lucky to have what we do, even if it seems like slim-pickings. I'm really hoping for word soon that a check is on the way, though.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Yesterday after lunch, Luna went down for a nap and Kaya and I headed outside to soak up some sorely-missed sun. It barely made it into the 50's but because of the frigid temps we've had recently, it seemed nice and warm out there. We hung out on the deck for a bit and then walked around the yard.

I think the sun and fresh air helped me tremendously, I felt so much better by the time we came in.




Now, flash forward to less than 24 hours later and this afternoon our deck looks like this.
They are predicting anywhere between 6" and 14" of snow over the next two days.


Poor Luna seems to have come down with something. I can't tell exactly what she has, but she has been whiny, clingy and sleepy all day. She doesn't seem congested like I was. She's not running a temperature right now either, though she was warm for most of the day on Saturday. She is miserable, though. If she's not sleeping, she has got to be in my arms or on my hip or else she is whining. Let's hope this is short lived and she is feeling better A.S.A.P.!




Monday, February 25, 2008

When the Mama is sick...

Saturday night, I started coming down with a cold. Not the Flu thank goodness, but an icky cold just the same. My head is clogged and as soon as I lay down, I can't hardly breathe for the life of me. It makes me just a *little* bit grumpy, to say the least. If it weren't for my Cough and Cold rub from Dreamseeds (http://hyenacart.com/dreamseeds ) I probably wouldn't have been able to get ANY sleep last night. Kristena makes the most wonderful products, many of them are on my "must have" list. The Cough and Cold rub has been referred to as Hippie Vicks because it is a similar type of product but made naturally and without petroleum. When you get congested, you can rub it on your chest, but I really like to soak my feet in warm water and then rub some on them and pull on thick, cozy socks.

Thankfully, my younger girls are playing together really nicely and seem healthy. Jay is taking the day off of work to get some paperwork done and try to get a payment from his customers. If the planets align just right, I will try to catch a nap while Luna goes down this afternoon. Hopefully, I can get out of the PJ's later and rejoin the land of the healthy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Boys Invade the Girlie House!!!

My nephews, Isaac and Lucas, came over yesterday to spend the night. It is hard to believe that Isaac is 10 and Lucas is almost 14. Crazy! Isaac is such a sweetie and has a great time playing with Kaya and Luna. Luna just adores him! Funny how she can say so many words, but the way she has decided to say Isaac is, "Meena" No clue how she came up with that, but now we have dubbed him Meena.
Lucas has a great time setting up toys. He is Autistic and has always loved the process of setting things up. As a toddler, he would take Cap'n Crunch cereal and make these elaborate designs with them on the floor. These "crop circles" would often be as big as 3 foot square and if he left the room and you moved *one* piece of cereal just a fraction of an inch, he would notice it immediately upon re-entering the room. He'd get right down and adjust things back to their rightful place.

When my sister first got the diagnosis that he was Autistic, he was just a little thing. We read up on Autism and wondered if he would ever be verbal, read that Autistic people don't have a sense of humor, wondered if he would always have to be locked inside. As a toddler, there were times when he could manage to undo even the most complicated and highest locks secured to doors and next thing we'd know he'd be streaking down the sidewalk in a diaper. Now, while he does still have his challeneges, he is verbal and communicates and is quite the Mr. Comedian.


For years now, Lucas has kept these big, fat notebooks filled with all sorts of drawings and words. (As a side note, can you guess the first word he ever learned to write? Copyright. Yeah, the one word you see just about everywhere. ) I didn't have a chance to rotate the pics, but the one above is filled with the names of all sorts of animals and characters he likes. I think his notebooks are really fascinating and could look through them for hours if he'd let me. He is often reluctant to let others spend too much time with his books. I think his drawings are very intense and intricate. He will write down a lot of things he sees and observes.

Here is a picture of a neighborhood.


And here is a picture of our house. He even wrote Jay's name in cursive at the top. He added the details of rooms, stairs, and even the spare room where we have a box of movies that he loves.
Nico's not here this weekend as she came down with the flu. Yesterday I was thinking that Luna might be coming down with something because she was running hot and threw up two times, but she seems to be better today. We've got a birthday party to attend this afternoon and then possibly a sleep over with a friend tonight. A busy and fun weekend for us!




Thursday, February 21, 2008

They're right, some of the best things in life are free!


We visit our local library at least once a week, sometimes more. At any given time we have between 10-25 books checked out. In these days when things just keep getting more expensive, I get an almost giddy joy when walking out of the library with a bag full of books, DVD's, computer games and more, all for FREE!


As a home-schooling family, the library is our number one resource. Though our local branch is fairly small, they do have a decent sized children's section. Plus, our library is connected to a larger library system that allows us to get online and look up anything we desire within the span of several counties. In just a few days, faster than Netflix, we get a call from our librarian telling us that our selections are ready for pick-up at our local branch. Did I mention that it is FREE?


Our library system also carries Books Plus boxes. These are large totes filled with all sorts of wonderful supplies that go along with a theme. Yesterday we picked up our Legends, Myths and Tales box. My girls will sit for hours and pour through the contents. This latest tote contains:


Books:

Beneath the Earth

Mighty Mountains

Knights in Shining Armor

The Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Dancing with the Wind

Aesop's Fables

The Legend of Slappy Hooper

Coyote and the Fire Stick

Jack and the Beanstalk


Movies:

The Emporer's New Clothes

Nightingale

Brer Rabbit

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


Misc:

Viking hat, sheild and sword

Wizard hat

Dragon puppet

Wooden castle puzzle

Harry Potter Uno game

Ravensberger Junior Labrynth game


All told, a true treasure box of wonderful resources. Delivered to our library for us to enjoy for two weeks, and the kicker? Free, baby! Woot!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bookworms and a Virtual Refrigerator

We go to the library at least once a week and my little bookworms love lounging on the couch perusing their selections.
Now for the Virtual Refrigerator, a place to showcase the latest creations!




















Just showing off some of Kaya's recent artwork. She drew the pictures of the goldfinch and the one of Clifford and Emily Elizabeth this morning. She used birds outside as a reference for the goldfinch, but came up with the Clifford pic on her own. Kaya also really enjoys making drawings out of words, like the picture with a bear laying on a bed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In the News, but not News to us...

With the recent recall of millions of pounds of beef, the media is *finally* giving people a glimpse of the horrors that occur on a daily basis within the factory farming industry. We've known about the mistreatment and misery that the animals endure for years since we started visiting the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, a sanctuary for animals rescued from the meat/dairy industry. I've seen pictures and heard stories that have haunted me. Animals crammed into tiny pens, mangled and left to suffer and die. It happens every day. If you've ever eaten at a fast food place, I guarantee you've tasted the flesh of an animal that suffered or worse.

If you haven't seen the recent footage, I urge you to check out a few sites that show exactly what goes on before the meat reaches your mouth.

http://www.factoryfarming.com/

http://www.nodowners.org/

http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You Are Getting Sleeeeeepy...

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Today, Luna asked me for some blueberries and next thing I knew she was falling asleep in her chair. So cute and silly!

Today's gratitude is for the relief I see in Nico. As if a weight is lifted from her, and she is cheerful and happy. I'm thankful for an extra day with her. Thankful that she grinned ear to ear when I told her that her Mom agreed she can stay a bit longer and come with us to see Kaya's gymnastics. Thankful for steps toward compromise and peace within our family again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

So Happy Together!

Going 12 days without seeing Nico is hard on all of us, but it affects Kaya the most. Her whole life, she has known that she will see Nico at least half of every week and she hasn't had to really go too long without the companionship of her older sister. We picked Nico up yesterday and it so so nice to have her home.
For my Daily Gratitude, reason #342 why I am so glad to live out in the boonies. Within a few minles from our house we have two different sources for free-range, hormone and antibiotic free, fresh brown eggs for $1.00 per dozen. We've been using these eggs for about three years now and I remember the first time I was a bit leery about them because I had used store bought white eggs all of my life. Now, I don't want to ever go back. Last week, Jay brought a few leftover white eggs home from church and I was amazed at the differences. The white eggs had very thin shells and the yolks were so pale compared to the rich golden orange of our brown eggs. The scrambled eggs I made out of them were so unappealing to me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Flash from the Past

Yesterday, the girls and I stopped in to my Mom's work. She works in a school supply distribution center and Kaya was fascinated with the boxes and totes traveling along the conveyor belt system. For the rest of the day, she was talking about factories and those belts and I told her that many places have them. She asked if I could find any videos on Youtube, so we got home and I searched.

That's when I found this:
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Wow! From the first second the video started playing, I could remember sitting on our orange shag carpet in front of the TV. A total flashback!

Inspired by my friend, Joy, I hope to add some Daily Gratitude to each of my blog entries from now on. Today, I am going to say how grateful I am to have the happy memories of my childhood with my Mom and sister. I remember my Mom as being a constant comforting presence. I remember her patience... her willingness to sit and play hours of Parcheesi and Skipbo (even though she was RUTHLESS and never ever just let us win!) .. the sacrifices she made for my sister and I. I remember my big sister, Stacy, and how often she would play with me and include me in what she did. Fond memories of rollskating in our basement or cruising around in her sweet Chevelle. Now that I am older, I realize that not every older sibling is so kind to their pesky little sisters.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Buddy!




Today Jasper turns eight. It seems like yesterday he was a scrappy little kitten and now he's a big, burly beast of a cat. He came from my friend, Carlos. I went over to his house the day the litter was born and immediately knew I wanted the lone orange kitty of the bunch. I called dibs on him and went to pick him up two months later. He is an awesome cat. It is kind of sad to see him aging, losing teeth, bearing the battle scars of torn ears. I truly hope he's got a lot of good years ahead of him.




Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes I forget we're weird....


Heh, no really, I don't think we're too strange but every once in a while I get a little nudge of a reminder that we're swimming outside of the mainstream.

We ran down to the library this morning, I had two DVD's on hold that came in. One is a box set of Electric Company which I am sure will give me flashbacks to my childhoodl Haaaaay, yoooooou guuuuuuys! But, I digress... The girls were walking around the library when an older lady gave Luna a sideways glance and said, "Oh my! Quite a tushie on that one!" motioning to our Little Luna Blue.

Now, just like Kaya Jade, Luna is 100% cloth diapered. For both girls, the only time they wore disposable diapers was when we were in the hospital and the first few days of being home. I'm so used to the "junk in the trunk" profile that I don't even really notice anymore.

"Oh," I say. "She wears cloth diapers." And immediately, the woman wrinkles up her nose and tells me, "I didn't think *anyone* used those things anymore! Why, after years of of using flats and plastic pants on my boys, it was a relief to use Pampers on my youngest!"

Now, in my head, I wanted to go on and on about the super soft unbleached prefold diapers I use and cozy wool wraps. I wanted to tell her about the ease, the comfort, how you don't even need to use pins or *gag* plastic pants anymore. But, she was on her way out so I just told her, "Cloth diapers have come along way since then!" and gave her a big smile.

Truth be told, I love using cloth diapers. Love it. When I was pregnant with Kaya in 2001, I started reading up about them and thought that maybe I would use them some of the time. I was worried that they might be a hassle when out and about or that the work involved with washing them would be too much while tending to a young babe. A few things pushed me into using them full time. First of all, when I took out the trash bag a week after Kaya was born and saw just how much waste was created from a week's worth of newborn disposable diapers, I was floored. Floored. Secondly, I realized that I have sensory issues and the texture and funky smell of disposables doesn't agree with me at all.

From that point on, it was cloth for us. The extra load or two of laundry per week is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. And, in fact, I love the process of hanging up a load of prefolds on the line in the warmth of the sun. They can print up disposables with all manner of cartoon characters and there is still no doubt in my mind, cloth diapers are CUTE too!

Well, that's enough blabbing for me today. LB just came up to me and whispered, "Ah, poop!" which means she has a little junk in her trunk. That's my cue...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Little Miss Literal

Kaya Jade just cracks me up, she is so darn literal. This morning, I was helping her get some breakfast. Luna picked out her "deereol and mewk" (which is cereal and milk for those who don't speak Eewok) and I asked Kaya if she wanted Rice Crispies as well.

Well, Kaya took on a slightly exasperated tone and said, "Mama! It is pretty funny that you always call them Rice Crispies! Don't you see the box? They're called Crispy Rice!"

Ok, ok. Point taken. We get the store brand and she is right, they are Crispy Rice. Guess I had better work on remembering that, huh?

In other news, Forgiveness has been in the forefront of everything Jay and I have been focusing on in the last few weeks. It sure isn't easy, in fact at times it seems downright impossible. We both know, though, that it is a very important step in being able to come to peace within our lives. We are already seeing how it is affecting our lives for the better and I can only hope that things will continue towards positivity.

On Friday, Jay felt an overwhelming call to reach out to his Mother. It has been years since we cut ties with her for reasons I won't go into now. But, he followed his heart and met up with her for a few hours at her home and reconnected. He was able to forgive her and start to catch up seeing as nearly 5 years has passed since they last talked. He came home with a weight lifted from his heart. Forgiveness has brought him peace, as well as his Mother I am sure.

Also, last night, Jay was able to talk with Nico's bio-mom for nearly an hour on the phone. While things are not fully resolved, I believe steps were made towards peace within this family situation. He admitted where we might have handled things wrong. He expressed a desire to work together. It seems as if she is not yet ready to accept or admit that she did any wrong in this situation and I can understand that it is not an easy thing for her to admit any wrongs when she still feels as if she is the victim in this. We will give it time. The discussion last night is a step in the right direction. A step towards peace and healing. I know we won't get there overnight, but I do have faith that things will get better.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Go ahead, call me crazy...


I don't think we've had *nearly* enough snow this Winter. I mean, I can remember 2-3 times where we got a few inches, but we've not had a real snowfall as far as I am concerned. I'm talking something closer to a foot or even more, good ol' fashioned accumulation. I love it when we really get dumped on, of course this is probably because I don't necessarily *have* to leave the house on any given day. I don't mind getting snowed in.


The last few days, we've had a bit of the sticky sort of snow. The kind that clings to the branches of the trees and looks so pretty. Here's a pic for all of my friends down South.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Normal Afternoon at Our House

video

Just about every day, Kaya gets suited up in a leotard, turns on The Beat (dance music station on Sirius) and does her dancing/gymnastics thing. Now, Luna is to the point where she will come to me proclaiming, "Preeeety!" which is how she tells us she wants her leotard on as well. While I sometimes get tired of the music and feeling like I am in a never-ending Dance Hall, I do love to watch as they shake it.

In this video, after Luna snatches the camera, I ask her to do her cartwheel. She does this funny little thing where she puts her hands down on the ground and kicks one leg into the air.