Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Fourth Child


   If you are a parent of more than one child, you might have noticed that your parenting style relaxes with each child.  For those of you that know me well, you know that my parenting style was a little lax to begin with, so you can only imagine what I am like with Gretchen. 

   With Emma, she didn’t receive a single bite of solid food (that I know of) until she was 5 months old.  Then she was allowed to have cereal made with formula.  Gradually, over the course of a few weeks, vegetables and fruits were added – one at a time.  All the vegetables had to be tried before fruits so that she wouldn’t get hooked on sweet things.  After all possible food allergies had been ruled out (at about 9 months or so) she was allowed to get little bites of real food every now and then.

   Gretchen was 6 months old (new APA guidelines) when she got solids, but it was only about a week before we were feeding her off our plates.

  Now I am at that point that if it will keep her happy and QUIET for a couple of minutes, she gets it….

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  Yep, she’s got an Oreo.  They’re her favorite.  I can give her an Oreo and she is quietly concentrating on her business for a good 10-15 minutes.  Of course, there are consequences.

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   I don’t mind the mess…because sometimes she works so hard on that cookie….


…and I get an extra few minutes of peace!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I Did Over Summer Vacation

(or, Why I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school)

  I will preface this post by saying that I used to be a really light sleeper.  The least little noise would have me awake for hours.  Now I can apparently sleep through a nuclear holocaust.  I don’t know if it is my age, my medications, or just pure fatigue from having 4 kids…Jason thinks the kids know what they are doing and go into Ninja mode when they see I am still asleep.

   I think I gave birth to Dennis the Menace, or maybe Phineas and Ferb.  (I even have a Candace to go along with those two!)  Yesterday morning I awoke to my kitchen with food all over the floor, and the freezer door wide open.  Odd, since we just installed a new, higher baby gate.  Given the fog that I generally wake up in, I just cleaned up the mess and fed the boys.  I observed later how they got in…(they thought I wasn’t paying attention.  Either that, or they just don’t care.) 

   Jake got a small stool from the garage, along with a couple of towels from the laundry pile.  He threw the towels over the gate and set the stool in front.  Then he got Grady and stood him on the stool and “helped” him over the gate, where he landed on the towels.  Grady then got one of the chairs and pushed it so that it was facing the gate.  Jake could now easily climb in and out of the kitchen.

IMG_6224I don’t know what shocks me more – Jake using Grady as his accomplice, or Jake being the mastermind (he’s supposed to be “mentally challenged”, right?) 

    Later that morning, I had to put them in the tub.  I went back to my room to get some laundry together and get dressed, and when I returned there was 2 inches of water on the bathroom floor.  They had decided to stuff half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet, and flush it.  When the toilet wouldn’t eat all the paper, they kept trying…at least they apologized profusely for that  stunt.

  As I was cleaning up that mess, and then trying to get syrup off the living room floor (don’t ask) They once again got into the kitchen and into the locked pantry and brought a snack into the living room….


  It used to be a bag of Andes candies mint chocolate chips I had used to make fudge awhile back.  Now it was a Mo-Mo gravel pit/feed trough.

   All of that – before noon.  And all of this really isn’t out of the ordinary.  A couple of weeks ago my psychotherapist remarked that she felt sorry for me, and she didn’t know how I did it.  That is when you know things are bad – your shrink feels sorry for you.

   Those of you that know me well know that we have tried many forms of discipline without success.  Time out, spankings, reward systems, taking away favorite toys, verbal reasoning, threats….you name it.  My new trick is redirection.  When the boys get to be too much and I can’t handle it anymore, I put them somewhere they (usually) can only get into a minimum amount of trouble…..


  I bet I have the cleanest kids boys in town!

Thursday, July 22, 2010



  Don’t you wish you were this flexible?  And yes, he is asleep…. and he does sleep like this frequently.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let’s Build Something Together


    Those of you that know me well know that I love a good bargain – and how much better can you get than FREE?  I was searching the internet for freebies (one of my new hobbies) when I came across the Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshops.  They are every other Saturday, and the kids get an apron, goggles, building kit, and the parents get to help their kiddos build a project….all for FREE! Quality time and a cute craft? You can’t beat that!

   Last weekend was the first time we went.  It was actually an “off” weekend because they were doing a special project to celebrate Earth Day.  I of course, forgot the camera.  It was really fun -   Emma and Jake built little planters with a Plexiglas front so that you can actually see the root system as your plant grows.  My mom took the kids home with her to do the planting, so I don’t know how the flowers are turning out yet.  (A green thumb I am not…that’s why the plants are still at Mom’s.  I would probably kill them.)

   After last week,  we made the decision to leave Jake at home and bring the kit to him to build later.  He did great at the building part, but when we went to find seeds  he found the front loader and fork lift instead.  (After having to defend my son to an ignorant Lowe’s employee, I thought it best to let Jake work at his own pace in familiar surroundings…and Lowe’s, if you don’t want kids playing on your equipment, don’t park it in the middle of the aisle!)   The lady that is in charge of the workshops told us that she would be more than happy to send an extra kit home with us each week, so I was glad to have this time with Emma without feeling guilty for leaving Jake out.

   This week’s project was more my speed – a bird feeder.  Emma was very excited to get to work.


Thankfully, the holes are pre-drilled and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.  Emma needed very little help, and soon she had a bird feeder!


   I love these workshops for a lot of reasons – they are free, they are fun, they promote independence and a sense of accomplishment, and they are a great place to meet some new friends.   Emma is quite taken with a young man named Tyler.  His apron is covered in the patches that the kids receive when they complete the project – and he has a bunch more in his pocket that him mom hasn’t had a chance to sew on yet!


So, if you want to build something together,  join us at Lowe’s!  This weekend’s project is a really neat schoolhouse…I wonder how we are going to work it around Primary Quarterly Activity?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Kind of Girl



  She doesn’t just have her eyes closed…she’s asleep. In a bubble bath.  The amazing thing about this is that her two brothers were also in the tub -  with squirt guns, a boat, and cups to fill with water and dump on her.

   I rescued her from torture and laid her on my bed so that I could go get stuff to get her dressed.  When I came back this is what I found:









  A bubble bath and then a snuggly nap in the middle of the afternoon…what a life!

Monday, April 12, 2010

You Might Be A Redneck If…

  You go on a “camp out” in your storage shed in the backyard.


  Originally, it was supposed to be all of us, but Grady did not like the air mattress one bit . (Which explains why Jason is sleeping on Care Bear sheets with a safety rail.)  After Grady was settled in his crib, I volunteered to miss out on all the fun and sleep inside with the little bits.

  Turns out, I didn’t miss much. The space heater didn’t come on like it was supposed to and Emma woke up around 4:30 AM and told her dad that she was cold and the camp out was over. 

  Now it is time to buckle down and use the shed for its intended purpose – as a receptacle for all the junk in our garage so that it can be turned into a playroom.  Of course, it would be easier just to turn the shed into a playroom….hmmmm…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

   We had a wonderful Easter this year! We went down to Jason’s dad and Carol’s (Mimi and Papa) house and spent the night Saturday so that we could get up and go to church with them on Sunday. 

  Mimi and Papa live on the St.  John’s River. Literally - the river is their backyard.  They have a wonderful screen porch and deck, then there is a boat dock that the kids love to run down.  We ate dinner outside on Saturday evening and just sat and talked and laughed.

  We woke up early Sunday to discover that the kids had done a bit of a shuffle in the night.  Grady was in bed with Jason and I, Emma was on the floor next to Jason, and Jake had made his way into Mimi and Papa’s bed.


  After we all tried to get a little more sleep, the kids woke up to find the Easter Bunny had made it all the way down to St. Augustine!


  They were all excited to find out what the bunny had brought them – there were crayons, books, treats, and of course, eggs!  Jake quickly figured out the best way to open his eggs.  He shook them to make sure something was inside, and then dropped them to the floor where they cracked open to revel their contents.

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   After the excitement and sugar, it was difficult to get the kids ready for church, but we made it with a couple of minutes to spare.  Their church is a small community church and the spirit there is so sweet.  The service was wonderful, and we got to hear Mimi sing in the choir!

  We tried to get some pictures of the family after church, but the kids were not so cooperative.  I did manage to get a couple…




We had a fantastic lunch, and then it was time to hunt Easter Eggs.  I love to find clever places to hide them – I am especially proud of the one I put in the orange tree:


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  Gretchen wasn’t much into hunting eggs, so she just chilled in her sun bassinet.  

   It had been a fun, full day, but there was still one thing Emma wanted to do, and Jason was happy to oblige.

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  We are so glad that Conference fell on Easter this year, and that we got to spend it with Mimi and Papa – thanks, Easter Bunny!