Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There Are No Words

Yesterday started out just fine. We went to the farm, picked our green beans, flowers and snow peas. We visited the pigs and the kids climbed all over their favorite felled walnut tree. We got the rest of our share and came home. However, by the time we got home I had a raging heat headache. I always got them when I was a kid, and I forgot how bad they were until yesterday. I actually took a nap! When I woke up I realized it was not going away and broke down and took something for it. That helped in short order, leaving me wondering why I didn't take anything earlier. The rest of the afternoon proceeded nicely, except for this blasted heat we've been having. When it was time to make dinner things started heading south. The microwave started making some crazy sounds and sparking and smoking. I wasn't too surprised as its been on its last legs for a while now. I put the microwave out of my mind and went to making some muffins. A piece of butter got caught just right in the paddle of my Kitchen@id mixer and while I turned it off as quick as I could, it rendered my mixer useless. My precious mixer! I was so upset. I couldn't believe I managed to break both the microwave and the mixer within five minutes of each other. Talk about depressing. I was/am mostly concerned about my mixer. In all the chaos I also mixed up some steps in my second attempt at making yogurt and thought I ruined the whole thing. This morning, though, the yogurt looks like its doing what its supposed to do (thanks, Merry Jo, for the instructions!). After giving Jeff a little talk about 'letting go,' (ha, ha!) we declared the time of death for the microwave. We stayed up til 11:30 taking apart the mixer, all while I was praying that Jeff wouldn't do to the mixer what he did to my Serger, may she rest in peace. Between taking things apart and running back and forth googling for directions, we extracted the failed part, a plastic gear. So, as long as all goes well finding the part and reassembling that bad boy, I think I'll be back in business. But for now, I am kind of afraid to tough any of our appliances.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All Boy

Tyler is obsessed with the lawnmowers. (Yes, lawnmowers...Jeff has a collection) If the door between the kitchen and the garage is left open, he makes a beeline as fast as he can. If we are in the backyard, he will crawl all the way across the yard and into the garage, straight for the lawnmowers. As you can see, he climbs right up and inspects them. The other night I went out for a walk after the other two gremlins were in bed. I came back to find Jeff and Tyler out in the yard. Jeff had pulled out the lawnmower so that Tyler could play with it while they were waiting for me. I am sure Jeff is already plotting how he can install some sort of lower handlebar so that Tyler can take over mowing at at age three. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

In The Garden

Its really hot here. Really hot and sticky and gross. But I did find this cute little thing out in the rhubarb patch:

Ain't she the cutest little thing you ever saw?! :)

Sunday Stills: History (Something 60+Years Old)

This hat belonged to my Great Grandmother (I think). I love old hats. When I was in high school I had old hats hanging all around my bedroom. Now I have them hanging in Katie's room.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Are Now Entering A Designated Scistor-Free Zone

No more scissors around here. After James decided to cut his hair, Katie must have felt the need to do a little rouge scissor-work herself. She was sitting at the table, cutting paper into little tiny bits. (She loves doing this) I was making dinner. All of a sudden she came to me with the strawberry bag I just made her, saying 'You need to fix this!' She apparently decided that when paper is not enough, you should cut off the drawstrings of your brand new bag. At least that'll be an easy fix. No more scissors for a while!

Friday, June 25, 2010

When James Was Born

Last night I was up with Tyler. As I always do, I listened for James' steady breathing. I love that sound. Last night, all the memories of his stay in the NICU came flooding back. I remember waiting, and waiting, and waiting for them to bring him back to me after his 'bath.' (We are talking HOURS!) I remember how the nurse told me in a very snippy tone, after she finally realized that I was about ready to go all Mama-Bear on her, that 'your son is having trouble breathing. He's gagging and turning purple.' I remember asking her if he was OK, if he was going to be alright. She wouldn't answer, just said I'd have to wait to talk to the doctor. I remember being alone when she told me this. When everyone came back in I was a crying terrified mess. I tried to tell them what was going on but I didn't know much. Jeff had seen an x-ray machine going through the hall. It was for James. We all sat there lost in our own fears. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I didn't know how I could ever cope with losing my baby. My friend Candi sat with me and held my hand, and helped me though the whole ordeal. She even smuggled in Quiznos so I didn't have to eat the hospital food. James was born at 1:13 pm, he went to the nursery for his bath about an hour later, they told me at 5:00 that he was having trouble, and the doctor did not come in til 9:00 pm. It was awful, to say the least. When he finally came, all he could say is that they didn't know what was wrong. It could be one of three things: pneumonia, an infection, or Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). They were going to watch him and see. It took them til Monday (from Saturday) to decide he had RDS. Basically, he was lacking surfactant in his lungs, which allows the lungs to expand freely. For him, it was like he was trying to breath through a coffee straw. Of course, they had to give him oxygen, through CPap, which is oxygen plus pressure. No one could say whether he was going to be OK. They kept saying 'it depends on if his lungs mature.' Not the answer we wanted to hear. With each breath, his chest would cave in so deep it looked as if he had no rib cage. He would stop breathing for seconds at a time. We would watch the monitor, his chest, the monitor, waiting for him to breath again. It was scary. He didn't open his eyes, he didn't cry. It wasn't until he was several days old that Jeff saw his eyes for the very first time. We couldn't hold him for five long days. They couldn't feed him, because he needed to focus all his energy on breathing, and not digesting food. However, after 5 or 6 days of that he was, quite literally, starving. (I wish the doctor had not told me that.) So, after that he got tube feeds. He had to have a PICC(??) line that was always being moved around, from an artery in his leg to his arm to his scalp. He would try to pull at that, and his CPAP machine, so they had to tie his arms down. While other babies came and went, James stayed. He was there for two very long weeks. At one point, he got a punctured lung from the pressure of the CPAP machine. They took him off of it, and onto a nasal canula, to give him a rest but then he started doing really bad and he had to go back on CPAP. It was a lot of ups and downs. A lot of scary moments. Each night, we would stay as long as we could. It was heartbreaking to leave him. We would cry. Jeff would stop in each day on his way to work, scrub up, and go in and see James. I would go as often during the day as I could. I never wanted to leave him there. When they finally let us take him home when he was two weeks old, it was a mixture of great joy and also fear. He came home on an apnea monitor that would alarm if he stopped breathing (which only happened twice, and were short bouts) and mostly went off for accidental reasons. It was so good to have him home with us, and not have to leave him at night. I realize that all of this is a little bit out of the blue, but sometimes when I see James it all comes back so clear. All the fears and the what-ifs. Needless to say, I am very grateful that he is here and healthy and strong. I have this verse in James' baby book:

James 5:13, 15a Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


So I guess this was inevitable. One of my kids got the wild idea to cut their own hair. Last night I was sitting across from James, and I kept thinking his hair looked funny. There was a patch of scalp showing but at first I thought maybe his hair was just sitting a certain way. The more I looked at it though, the more I realized that something was not right. I went over and felt the patch. Sure enough, he had cut off a patch the size of a dime. Now he has a spot of white scalp that stares at you when you talk to him. I am just glad he didn't get the bright idea to give Katie her first hair cut! That is what worries me, since her hair would take a lot longer to grow back. We made sure he knows that he is not to cut his own hair again. When I told him it looked ridiculous, he said 'Am I going to look ridiculous at church too?' Yes, James, yes you will.

Farm Fun and Craftiness

This summer we joined a CSA farm. Basically, you buy a 'share' of what is grown. Of course, given the nature of farming you are not guaranteed a definite amount of stuff. However, the farm is very diverse so if one thing doesn't grow well there are lots of other stuff that will. Each week you get to pick up your share, and there are also 'pick-your-own' crops that you can pick a specified amount of. For example, last week was snow peas/shelling peas/snap peas. We were able to pick 3 pounds of them. Also, there are always fresh herbs. Everything is organic which is a nice plus. So far, I am very pleased. The cost of the CSA works out to $20/week, and I go home with more produce than we can eat (which is a lot). I have been freezing stuff like kale, spinach and peas. I have canned several batches of strawberry jam in addition to the copious amounts of strawberries we have eaten fresh. I can't decide what I like more about the whole set-up: all the food, or enjoying the farm experience with the kids. They love helping me pick stuff, and playing around the farm shop. There is a huge walnut tree that fell and the kids think that that tree trunk is the best playground. There are also pigs there so they like to visit them. The last few weeks I have realized that I need more bags to carry our stuff home in. Last week alone, we got 3 pounds of snow peas, cilantro, dill, lemon basil, purple basil, two huge heads of lettuce, three big zuchinni, a bunch of beets, a bunch of salad turnips, a large bag of spinach and kale, a bunch of green onions, and a head of chinese cabbage. (I feel like I am forgetting something) So, even though I have several bags, they are inadequate. When I saw a tutorial for these, I just had to make them for the kids. This one is the first one, and Katie claimed it. James has requested a blueberry bag, so that's next up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Still Processing....

(Tyler 'helping' Jeff install trim; he is very, very interested in 'guy' things already)

Tyler took his first steps yesterday. Two of them at once! And if that wasn't enough to send me into some existential meltdown, he did that two more times. I mean, part of me is excited about it but part of me is shouting 'Hello! You're my baby!!! Please, please, slow down!' But alas, he is not cooperating with my plans. So, pretty soon I'll have another kid running around the house.

And here is a random picture of fun and cuteness from last week. We went to a local park so James could ride his bike on the nice, flat sidewalks there. He is getting really good at riding his bike. Now we need to get him a bike that is more his size, and I think pretty soon he'll be ready to try without training wheels. How is it that my first baby is going to be five in September???


Monday, June 21, 2010


I just posted a whole heap o' craftiness over on the crafty blog, so if you want to see why I have no more blogging energy, click here. Meanwhile, enjoy the fringe. Jeff wants an outfit just like it :)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Tyler fell down the stairs this morning. He managed to wiggle the gate out from between the banister and the stairs, and push it forward enough to squeeze through and down the stairs. And all in no time flat. What a horrible sound that is. Fortunately he is alright, just a few bumps and bruises. James was kind enough to tell me that I 'should've run faster to catch Tyler.' And if that weren't enough, he told me that 'if Daddy were here, he would have run fast and caught Tyler, because Daddy is really fast.' Well, thank you for making me feel worse.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We're Buying Stock in Bananas

Its official. All three of our kids are banana-holics. Tyler ate an entire banana this morning and was clamoring for more. He wasn't falling for the 'here, eat this instead' trick. He was waving his chubby little hands and feet, staring at the bananas. I gave him another half which he promptly inhaled. James and Katie have gone through this phase too on multiple occasions. James still eats at least one a day. Katie is on an 'I don't wike bee-ban-ahs' kick. When I buy three or four bunches of bananas at the store people ask me what on earth I am going to do with all of them. Eat them, thank you very much.

Oh, and on a sort of random side note, Tyler weighed in last week at 17 lbs, 14 oz....having gained 10 ounces in 3 weeks. To give you a little perspective, Katie (who was small herself) weighed 19 lbs. at 13 months. James, at a year, was 22+ pounds. So, it has been concluded that he is just small, and will grow at his own pace, albeit a slow one. I am totally fine with that and very happy to have a doctor who is too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Garden!!

Things are coming along swimmingly in the garden. We had already had spinach, beets, radishes, lettuce and rosemary. Each year I learn a little more and this year is no different. I have staggered my planting so that I will get things in batches, instead of all at once. Of course I already have ideas for next year. The rhubarb is huge and it is a shame not to be able to pick any the first year but I want it to become well established. Pardon my gnarly foot but I had to show you how huge the leaves are on one of the plants. This morning we picked beets and James ate two of them. I guess he likes beets!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fun With Grammy

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

All In One Day

Saturday we went to Lancaster with some friends of ours. We toured a reproduction of the Tabernacle and the kids even lasted through the whole thing! After that we went out to lunch at our favorite place out there. And I would like to note that if you heard angels singing on Saturday, it was because they were rejoicing with me over the fact that they still had Rhubarb Pie!!! After lunch we walked out to the petting zoo-type thing next door so the kids check out the animals. It was really fun to go on a trip with friends, who also have (adorable) kids the same ages as ours. Thanks for coming with us, Jenni and Danny!

But the day was not over. We headed over to Aunt Sally's new abode and played there till about 5:00 and then headed home. Needless to say we were tired by the end of the day.

Here are a few pictures of the Amish things we saw. We stopped at a farm supply store to look for a cowboy hat. It was Amish-run and even the street lamps outdoors where not electric (see photo). They installed skylights inside for lighting. The picture of all the horses hitched up to the post was also at the farm store. The bike is an Amish bike. The reason they don't have peddles is because the Amish believe that they should be as self-sufficient as possible and rely little on the outside world. By having a bike/scooter without peddles, that is that many less parts that could break or go wrong. This modified bike is easier to maintain. The pictures of the mule team were the best I could get. I couldn't tell what he was doing, but whatever implement he was pulling had some sort of small generator on it to run whatever it was. (How's that for specific?!) Modern farming is hard enough. I can't imagine farming the 'old-fashioned' way.

Monday, June 07, 2010


One thing we saw a lot of in Florida was geckos. They are everywhere. On the windows, the walls, the sidewalks, everywhere. Apparently they also like to run into the house as you open the door. The whole week we were there we made sure to scope out the area for geckos before entering. If there's anything Grandma doesn't like (besides mice and snakes), its a gecko in the house. And here is what cracks me up. When she gets a gecko in the house, she waits til she sees it and vacuums it up. Then she takes the vacuum hose and plugs it up for a few days til she is plenty sure the gecko is dead. :)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Sunday Stills: Black and White

The door hinges on the Penney Farms Memorial Church

Katie at Anastasia State Park Beach

Green Cove Springs Park (I liked seeing the Spanish moss everywhere)

These palm fronds started out as finger sized coils, and over the course of the week became full-fledged palm fronds. As Grandma Heppner would say, 'Very interested!'

A light pole at Green Cove Springs

Friday, June 04, 2010

Fresh From the Backyard!

This year I planted some early crops, and it is nice to be able to pick stuff already. So far we have radishes and spinach. I think the next up will be lettuce mix and cabbage. I love gardening. :)

Did I Mention...

Our trip ended very differently than we had anticipated. As in, I flew back ALONE with THREE KIDS. Fun times! The (semi)short story is that my grandpa had quite the tool collection. When Grandma and Grandpa moved from CO to FL, he wanted to keep them even though he didn't really need them. He wanted to have them around, and pass them on eventually. When we were in Florida, Grandma asked if Jeff would look through the storage unit to see if there was anything worth keeping. Jeff determined that indeed, Grandpa had enough tools to outfit a small brigade of Norm Abram's. Grandma had said that whoever came and got them could have them, since she didn't want to the storage unit forever. Jeff had initially thought about coming down sometime this summer. I casually threw out the idea of him renting a car and driving back. Well, that's the way it worked out. He found a van (an act of God, seriously!) and we loaded them up and he headed off to drive 15 hours straight to Dad's garage, from FL to PA, only stopping two or three times for gas. (No sleeping or meals...good thing we sent him snacks!) He only had the van for 24 hours thus the rush. And me, well, I took three kids on the airplane by myself. I got a lot of sympathetic stares. Aunt Phylis and Grandma took us to the airport where Aunt Phylis commandeered a wheelchair to push the carseats in! I somehow managed to survive the flight, found a shuttle ride to the parking place, and drove my kids safely home. While it went pretty well, I hope I never have to do that again!!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Beach Was Glorious

We went to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine. The beach was beautiful, with soft white sand. The wind was blowing really hard but somehow not enough to make it unpleasant. We raced Cool Whip tubs across the sand, letting the wind whiz them across the surface of the beach. We lost one, as the wind was going faster than we could run. The kids were pretty upset but we distracted them with sea shells and racing the waves. The sign said 'High Danger of Rip Currents' and 'Dangerous Sea Life Warning,' so we didn't venture in in earnest. We weren't about to become shark bait, so we only dipped our toes in. James loved racing the waves as they came in. Katie, on the other hand, fell while she was running and got pretty wet, and she got pretty scared. After that, she away from the water. Tyler contented himself with eating mouthfuls of sand every time I looked away for a second. It was Katie and Tyler's first time at the beach so it was fun to see them experience that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

While We Were Away....

...I turned the big 3-0, and so far its not that bad. :) I would like to take a moment to thank my parents for not listening to the nurses, who suggested I be named Dusty or Helen. A piece of useless trivia for you: I was born in Vancouver, WA on the day Mt. St. Helens erupted. My dad had to drive me home with his head out the window of his Volkswagen bug because of all the ash.

**Tomorrow I'll post our beach pictures and then I promise to blather on about something other than Florida, maybe.***