Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Detailing the Bike

One of the things the kids love to do is get a baby wipe and "clean" the house. They ask "one wipe?" "one wipe?" and I know this is what they want to do.

The other day we were outside when Joe became concerned that the wheels on his motorcycle were dirty. I tried to convince him that this was ok, but I could tell he wanted to clean them so I gave him a wipe. I was amazed at how engrossed in the task he became.
So if you need some detailing done, you know who to call . . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Within the first day of moving into our new home, it was clear we were going to have to devise and implement new systems for getting things done. For example, the morning routine. Back at the old house we had all 3 kids in one room, with 2 of them confined to cribs. The kids would all wait patiently (ha) in their beds until I went in to get them. Here at the new house, everyone is now in a "big kid" bed. We didn't care for the idea of 3 toddlers roaming the house at 6 am, but we also knew we couldn't make them stay in their beds. So we allow them to get up and play, but they have to stay upstairs until I say they can come down. This is what my mom used to do, so I figured it must be good. For the first few days the kids tried to come downstairs before I was ready for them, but now it seems they've finally caught on.

Another system is laundry. I don't do well with laundry. At the old house, I could never seem to conquer the piles of laundry that covered every surface in our tiny laundry room. It would take an entire day just to get caught up. It wasn't until we moved to the new house that the light bulb finally came on. You ready for this? I wash, dry, and fold one load every day! Between the six of us, we dirty up enough clothes/towels/etc. for one load of laundry a day. So that's what I've been doing. It's so ridiculously simple, I don't know why I never figured it out before this.

As far as clothes storage, we decided the simplest solution is to keep the kids' clothes in the laundry room, like this: (thanks for the idea, Sarah!)
Until the kids are old enough to carry their clothes upstairs and put them away themselves, this is what we think will work for us. We don't have dressers for their rooms (except for the baby), but at this point we don't need them. I hang their nicer clothes up in the kids' closets, but everything else goes in the baskets, organized by kid and type of clothing.

You're impressed, aren't you? Well, don't be. 'Cause here's my system for socks:

And I don't see it changing anytime soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rites of Passage

Today I completed another of the official rites of passage of motherhood. It's something that I hadn't experienced yet, a rather remarkable feat considering the multitude of young children that I care for. In fact, I thought perhaps my children were a little more refined than other kids, simply because I hadn't encountered this problem with them yet. But no, the sight (and smell) that greeted me when I walked into the boys' bedroom this morning confirmed that at least one of my children wasn't going to leave toddlerhood without putting his mark on the wall, so to speak.

I won't mention names. But it wasn't Joe. And it wasn't Mikea. And it wasn't fun to clean.

Later on in the morning Mikea colored the kitchen floor in five different places with black crayon. I don't know how she did it, because I was right there the whole time. Then a few minutes later she brought me a bar of soap she'd been gnawing on.

Between the antics of the two-year-olds and a baby who's becoming mobile, these little people run me ragged, I tell you. But I sure do love 'em, poop-painters and all!

What's Up with Baby A.

Baby A. is 4 months old already! He is such a content, happy little guy who brings so much joy into our lives. He loves to be talked to and will coo and gurgle right back at you. Last week he started rolling over from his back to his tummy. Now whenever I lay him on a blanket on the floor, I have to be more vigilant because he tends to roll halfway across the room.

I would love to share photos of his gorgeous blue eyes and his ginormous smile, but since he is still a foster child I have to respect his privacy. His caseworker has informed us that she plans to recommend termination of parental rights in two more months. (Birthmom has still not contacted CPS to work a service plan.) Once rights are terminated, we have to wait 90 days before we can adopt him. We are praying that this is God's plan for us! We want this little guy to be part of our family forever!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adventures in the Backyard

I'm not the kind of person who can come up with great ideas on the spot. I need time to think, plan, and research. Unfortunately, unless I think, plan, and research the next day's activities the night before, I'm usually scrambling around trying to put together activities at the last minute. I have books filled with ideas, but they're still packed somewhere. Anyway, today I decided I wanted the kids' outside play to have some structure. But it also needed to be easy for me to put together. And easy to clean up. Hmmm...what to do. Then it hit me! Why not have the kids paint the backyard fence with water?

Look at the joy!
The concentration!

The . . . ??? (I'm not sure what Daniel is feeling here. )

All seemed well until I traded out the paintbrushes for sponge brushes. Then the flinging began.

And it wasn't long before they decided to fling water on each other.

Dan and Mikea had a pretty good battle going on before I ended it. It reminded me of yesterday when they were fighting over a truck:
They both raised their arms to hit each other but thought better of it when they realized I was watching. Needing some way to express their frustration, they began grabbing fistfulls of grass and throwing it at each other. Rather than stop them, I did what every good mom does and took pictures.

They quickly resolved their differences, however, and all was peaceful again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Messy Morning

Ever since we started getting our old house ready to put on the market this past June I've felt like I've slacked off in the arts/crafts/learning activities with the kids. But now I'm trying to get back into a regular schedule of activities (based somewhat on the curriculum at Hubbard's Cupboard), so those unpacked boxes in the garage are just going to have to wait a while longer.

We can normally get at least one activity completed while Baby A. takes a morning nap. But today he kept sleeping and sleeping so I kept on going with activity after activity.

We started with a couple of painting projects. In the first one, you paint over dried glue, place a piece of white paper on top, and then make a rubbing. I thought we were supposed to wait for the paint to dry first, but apparently not because when we did the rubbings this afternoon, nothing showed up on the white paper. Oops.

As usual, Mikea chose to interpret the activity in her own way, this time by painting her tongue. I just cannot keep this child from putting everything that she touches into her mouth. (And please forgive the condition of hair. I really should have brushed it before taking pictures, but in a morning routine that includes changing 3 diapers, giving 2 nebulizer treatments, feeding 3 toddlers, feeding 1 infant, drinking 2 lukewarm cups of coffee and feeding 2 dogs, hair brushing just doesn't always fit in.)
Next we painted some fall scenes, and then got dressed and made "Clean Mud" out of toilet paper, Ivory soap, and water. If you look towards the left in the picture, you can see that true to form, Daniel had no interest in getting messy. He preferred to stand on his head while Joe and Mikea played in the mush.
Here's a close-up of the mush. The activity was somewhat disappointing because Joe and Mikea only played with it for about 5 minutes before they lost interest. We probably won't be repeating this one.

Next we went outside to play and I took the kids into the garden to pick carrots. I'd been putting this off because the garden's been muddy, but I knew it would be such a great experience for them that I didn't want to wait any longer. We needed to wash the carrots, and I knew I could either be a micromanager of that task, or just stand back and let the kids figure it out themselves.

I decided that the entertainment value of watching 3 toddlers in charge of a water spigot was too good to not pass up. Plus, it was loads of fun for them!

All 3 kids were soaked by the time they finished. I had them strip down and dry off before going inside. All in all it was an exciting morning, and the best part was that they took the longest naps they've had in weeks. Amen to that!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nebulizers Anyone?

The two-year-olds went to the doctor today because they've had coughs, congestion, and a bit of fever for the past few days. Turns out they have breathing issues so the doctor prescribed nebulizer treatments for both of them:

The doctor said Daniel especially had really bad lungs, and that it wasn't because he was sick. He wondered if we had mold in our house but clearly that's not the problem because this house is only 2 years old and it was just inspected. Apparently it could be the dogs, it could be the change in weather, we don't really know. Both kids are going back in a few days for check-ups so maybe we can get some more answers.

Right now I just need to figure out how I'm going to give these guys their treatments in the midst of the chaos that is our daily lives. Daniel's are supposed to be every 4-6 hours and Mikea's every 6-8 hours. The treatments take about 10 minutes each, but I NEVER have 10 uninterrupted minutes to focus on doing one thing. (For example, today I reheated the same cup of coffee at least 4 times because I could never finish it in one sitting.) Maybe I can train them to hold the mask on by themselves. Poor little guys. They're troopers, though, and did really great for their first treatments tonight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Devine Acres

Saturday morning we packed up the 500 Babies and took a drive south of town to visit Devine Acres, a Christmas Tree farm that has a Pumpkin Extravaganza in October. (Thanks, Aunt Deb, for the tickets!) Uncle A.C., Aunt Beck, and Cousins Lydia and Ruth joined us for the fun.

There were cute goats:

A couple of mazes:

A hayride: (Had I known the expression on my face, I would have demanded a retake.)

Bouncy thing-a-ma-roos: (You didn't know that's what they're called?)

More cute goats (and a cute kid):

A playground with a sand area:

And a fishing pond:

We didn't have time to get to the sack races, pumpkin painting, dress-a-farmer, or marshmallow roasting. We'll definitely be back next year!

Trick or Treat!

This was the first year we took the kids out trick-or-treating. It was a good chance to walk around our neighborhood for the first time and get to know some of our neighbors. We had to distract Joe a few times when we had to walk past houses that had too-scary sound effects and decorations. That's going to be harder to do as they get older, so we'll probably have to figure out a new plan. I think the kids had fun, especially when we got home and allowed them to eat 4 pieces of candy each. Fortunately the sugar highs didn't last too long and we were still able to get them to bed at a decent time.