Category Archives: preschooler

Homestead Hunger

I have a dream.

 

I want to have a homestead. You know, grow our own fruits and veggies, have chickens that lay eggs, maybe have a beehive or two for the honey. I’d love to have a few well-producing fruit trees too. Sure, I’d like to have a few acres to spread out on and have a few goats, and maybe even a llama or two in the mix, but that might not ever happen.

So, for now, I’ll have to content myself with becoming an urban homesteader. That means that I (we, really) will convert our poor, forlorn, overgrown lawn into a homesteader’s paradise. We’ll have raised garden beds with strawberries, tomatoes, chiles, squash and the like. We’ll have a vermicomposting bin somewhere (that’s worms for those of you who don’t do garden-speak). We’ll have a special area of potted herbs, and maybe even a beehive sometime. Yes, that’s legal around here. And safer than you’d think.

Here’s the problem. This is what our back yard currently looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

Nice, huh? So how will we accomplish this monumental task, you ask? Like the tortoise, we’ll plod along slowly, testing our mettle. We’ll plant a couple of beds this year and try our hand at growing some food. Next year we’ll plant a couple more beds. And maybe a fruit tree or two. And the year after? Maybe a beehive. Or a couple of laying hens, if the neighbors don’t tell on us. You never know. The possibilities are endless.

The point is, we’ll maximize. We’ll try to get the most out of what we’ve got. It’ll be great for the girls too. They love to be outside, and if they get to help grow their own food, then that will be all the better. Now, where’s my pitchfork?

 

P.S. I don’t know what’s up with the formatting. I’ve tried to fix it. Several times. I’ll come back tomorrow and try to fix it. Again. Argh.

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Filed under composting, gardening, marriage, married life, preschooler, urban homesteading, weeds

The Merry Adventures of Droppin’ Hood

As most of you know, my little Jewel had her tonsils out last Monday. While I was not thrilled to put her through the trauma of surgery at the age of four, the procedure was a necessary evil. Poor Jewel started out with occasional tonsillitis here and there, but by the end, she was going on two months with the same bout of illness. And you should have seen the size of her tonsils. Biblical. Seriously.



Jewel did very well, the surgery was very short, and we got to come home quite soon after she was done. Of course, we had a minor hold-up in the recovery room.



NEWS ALERT: Thomas is squeamish.



He doesn’t do blood, guts, bodily goo, or general squishiness related to the human vessel (not in real life anyway). Or apparently, as we learned this time, he doesn’t do the mere suggestion of any of those things either. At least not when it comes to his family.



When Jewel was waking up from anesthesia, she started a very loud, very nasty cough. It went away quickly, but I was not surprised when Thomas said, “I’m feeling a little green.” He got up to walk around on the pretext of using the restroom. I thought, “Good. He’ll get a little air, Jewel will wake up enough, and we can go home. No big deal.”



When he returned in short order, saying, “I feel kind of dizzy,” I started to get a little nervous.



When he sat down quickly and said, “I think I’m going to pass out,” and then proceeded to do so, I started to get a lot nervous.



So, let’s recap. Here I am, sitting in a rocking chair with a 40 pound, semi-conscious child on my lap. I am both trying to comfort her and keep from mangling the IV in her foot. I am also trying to keep her from sliding off of my lap because my legs are too short for the chair. This is a two handed (and legged) job. Then, I am forced to catch my now unconscious husband with one of those already needed hands, call for a nurse (who looks worriedly at Jewel, then confusedly at Thomas), and try my best to keep him from crumpling unceremoniously to the floor.



Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!”



At this time, Thomas is unconscious, eyes rolled back, twitching, snorting, the whole nine yards. Television makes it look like people just keel over and get really still when they pass out, like they’re sleeping or something. It ain’t that pretty.



Fast forward five minutes. Jewel is still on my lap, but Thomas is in Jewel’s hospital bed, recovering sufficiently for us to go home. Jewel’s fine. She’s ready to go. Just waiting on Thomas. *suspiciously innocent whistling*



Everything turned out okay. Thomas is fine. Jewel is still recovering, but she’s fine. I’m over it. Mostly.



But hey, at least we learned something. We now know that if there is a next time, Thomas (now known as Sir Faints-a-Lot, which can be abbreviated as Sir FAL (Mwah ha ha ha!)) stays home with the kids, and Grandmommie tags along to the hospital. We’ll all be a little safer that way.

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Filed under family life, humor, infant, marriage, pass out, preschooler, tonsillectomy

Have You Met Murphy? He’s My New Roommate.

So, as you might know, today is our eighth wedding anniversary. Yay! And, you might ask, was it the grand experience of lovey-dovey-ness and general fabulosity that it should have been? Um….. no. Actually, it kinda sucked.


Not that our anniversary’s suckage is particularly surprising or anything. This, our eighth anniversary, marks yet another in a trend of bad anniversaries. How many have been bad, you ask? Well, all eight, of course! And here they are, in chronological order, for your reading pleasure.


Anniversary #1: We both had summer school finals the next day, so we ate our frozen wedding cake, said “Happy Anniversary. I love you! I can’t believe it’s been a year!” Yada, yada, yada… and we went back to studying.


Anniversary #2: We were in Chicago. This kind of sounds like a good thing, right? Well… we were sharing a hotel room with my in-laws. They are wonderful people, but not I-want-to-share-a-hotel-room-with-them-on-my-anniversary kind of wonderful.


Anniversary #3: Thomas was in Chicago in boot camp for the Navy. This was not the only anniversary ruined by the Navy.


Anniversary #4: Jewel had just arrived in the world 16 days earlier. There wasn’t a whole lot of sleeping going on. Or anything else for that matter.


Anniversary #5: This one was probably the least bad. Still, we couldn’t find a sitter, and we had to take Jewel with us for our night out. She was tired, cranky, and generally unpleasant to be around. So our nice, relaxing dinner out was not so nice. Or relaxing.


Anniversary #6: Navy again. This time Thomas was in Afghanistan on deployment.


Anniversary #7: I was horrendously pregnant. ‘Nuff said.


And finally, Anniversary #8: Our poor little Lane-girl is sick. She has a 103.7-degree fever, and she’s one unhappy girl. 😦


So, what are we planning to do to top off this fantabulous lovefest of a day? We are going to disassemble the pipes under the drain in the bathroom sink and scrape candle wax out of them. In my state of “walking disaster” clumsiness the other day, I tripped on the way to the trash can to empty out the tart burner (wax disc melting device), and I ended up accidentally pouring the wax down the drain instead. That was, incidentally, the same day I tried to take off my piggy toe with the front door. Yup. Smooth. Like buttah. That’s me.


There is an upside, though. These last eight years of marriage have been wonderful! Certainly the happiest years of my life. I am so blessed that my Nearest and Dearest and I fit together so perfectly. I can’t imagine spending the last eight years with anybody else. Here’s to many, many more joy-filled years!


Now, if we ever have a good anniversary, then I’ll start to worry.

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Filed under anniversary, baby, family, marriage, preschooler

Just Around the Bend

You know it’s bad when the plumber says, “I’ve never seen that before.” This was The Magnificent Billy’s second trip to our home. His first trip, last week, happened because our charming little Jewel had flushed her sister’s cradle cap brush down the toilet. We were all shocked it ever went down in the first place. Now, when we asked Jewel if she had put anything else down there, she said yes. She said, “I put my toothbrush in.” Hmm… okay, we can handle that. Then she said, “And I put the book light in.” She used the same nonchalant tone in which she might have said, “Mom, there’s a monster in the hallway, and he needs a pair of socks too. Can he have the yellow ones?” Or perhaps, “I want green applesauce with orange polka dots.” I attributed it to her well-developed imagination.



Still, I dutifully reported this finding to my nearest and dearest, who said, “She didn’t put the whole house down there!” I stayed silent, but secretly I agreed. Surely she hadn’t put the book light down the toilet. How would it ever get past the bowl? As it turns out, this was one of those very painful times when, as parents, we were sure our child was making up the whole thing. She wasn’t. After an additional week of toilet dysfunction, Billy the Great pulled out, lo and behold, the book light.



I really am happy to have an inquisitive child. She is so very bright, and so very curious about the world around her, and I love that. However, I do wish that all of her little “science experiments,” as I like to call them, were not so destructive. She has pulled down the curtains in her room, ripped pages out of books, unscrewed the switch from her lamp, and climbed the furniture to get to the diaper bag so she could pour out Lane’s formula powder onto the floor and make designs in it. And she’s so fast! You’d think, upon hearing these things, that I just don’t supervise her at all, but not so. She can destroy property in record time.



And as many activities as I plan to occupy her mind and energy, the second we’re done with one, she’s off into trouble. I wish I could say she did it just to be a royal toot, but she doesn’t. I can tell when she’s just being difficult, and she’s good at that too, but when she destroys things she is simply investigating cause and effect. I can only hope and pray that very soon she learns the cause and effect of misbehavior and punishment. And please, please, please pray that we all survive that long.

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Filed under marriage, plumber, preschooler, toilet

It’s a Wonderful Life

Well, we had a fantastic Christmas! We had the Hubcap’s (a.k.a. my husband) parents, Granny, and uncle up for Christmas along with my parents as well. After a great Christmas Eve service at my cousin and aunt’s church, the whole gang headed back to my cousin’s house for a sumptuous, scrumptious meal. My cuz is the hostess with the mostest. She went all out to make the evening an utterly enjoyable success. We had really great hors d’oeuvres and delectable main courses and side dishes, and we topped off the evening with a birthday cake for Jesus, complete with the Happy Birthday song. We elected not to try to fit a couple thousand candles on the cake, however. We even had entertainment. My cousin is the consummate storyteller. She can frequently send me to that really ugly laugh where I have tears rolling down my face and I can no longer control my manic, cackling grin. Not attractive in the least, but quite satisfying.


Christmas morning dawned bright and not early. I think we got things rolling around 8:30 or 9:00, which is pretty late for Christmas morning with a three-year-old. We did stockings and had cranberry orange pancakes (yum!), and then we created some serious chaos with present opening. After that, it was cookin’ time! We had Honeybaked ham, pear and parsnip sauce, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, and crème bruleè (sans bruleè) for dessert. We ended up with just the crème part after a major torch malfunction. We feared for our lives, set the torch outside, and tucked into our vanilla custard.


After a superb Christmas Eve and a first-rate Christmas, I had my own little Christmas miracle on Sunday. As my dad and I were moving the couch to hang a picture (which my brother drew) in the living room, my dad found a ring. A ring which just happens to have been lost for the last three-and-a-half-years. It is my wedding ring, the one that my nearest and dearest specially ordered in my size, as it is, in fact, a replica of his wedding ring. It is very special to us, and I lost it in the move to our current house in September of 2007. I could hardly believe my eyes when that little glimmer of gold turned out to be my long lost wedding ring.


Overall, we had a blessed Christmas, and I am looking forward to a blessed year ahead. I hope your Christmas was as happy as mine, and I hope your year ahead is filled with happiness as well.

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Filed under Christmas, family, ham, marriage, preschooler, wedding ring

Conversations with Jewel: The Coffee Bean

This is our morning ritual. As I put my medium roast beans into the grinder and get my machine ready to brew my morning cup of sugary wakefulness, I hear, “Smell, smell!” Every morning, Jewel loves for me to walk over to her, canister outstretched, and let her take in eau de caffé. The smell is usually succeeded by, “Mmm,” or “That smells good,” or something similar. This morning, however, my rather strong-willed little urchin said, “Can I have one? I want to try it.”


I was now faced with two options. I could have told her no because I know it’s disgusting, and then I would have spent the next umpteen mornings being hounded for a coffee bean (Did I mention she was strong-willed?). Or… I could let her have one, warn her that it’s gross, and let her learn a little something about the world. I might even be a little bit entertained by her response. Hmm… which one, which one. Of course I chose the second option.


So, I hand over a bean with, “Now Jewel, sweetie, coffee beans don’t taste very good by themselves. I don’t know if you really want to eat it.” She returned with, “I just want to try it.” And so she did. And she loved it! No, not really. She sputtered and spewed and made horrible faces to my heart’s content. And, of course, she learned something. Two somethings, in fact. One, when Mom says something is gross, she’s right. And two, coffee beans don’t taste very good.


Now, I’m not totally heartless. I helped her get her milk and clean the coffee bean out of her mouth and off her hands (and off the couch… mental note… don’t let her eat yucky stuff on upholstery). We talked about the experience, and I made sure she wasn’t traumatized. All in all, it was a very entertaining and educational morning. I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

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Filed under coffee, family, marriage, preschooler

The First Annual Vanderburg Thanksgiving Extravaganza

Well, Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and this year, for the first time, we are hosting the meal. Wait, we’re hosting?! AAAARGGHHHH! <—— That was my panic about the impending invasion of my family and my realization that I have done pretty much nothing to prepare for it. I mean, sure, in theory I know what all needs to be done and when to do it. In theory.


Traditionally, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It was the only time all year that my dad’s entire side of the family would get together. We’re a bit stereotypical on Turkey Day in that the ladies spend the day cooking and the guys watch football, and our meal time is worked around whatever time the Cowboys game starts. We must all be stuffed to the gills before the game starts so that we can lounge around, semi-conscious, snoring, burping, and… well… you get the picture.


The past several years, since my nearest and dearest and I have lived up here, Thanksgiving has been here in Arlington, at my aunt’s house. However, she is getting too old to work so hard every year (she is a well-preserved seventy-one), and my cousin, who also lives in town, hates Thanksgiving. No, really, she hates it. She hates turkey, and she hates the smell and taste of sage. Care to take a guess what the main seasoning in the dressing is? So, she’s a no go. That leaves my dearest and I with the responsibility of maintaining my most beloved tradition. What were we thinking?!

Well, time to go do something Thanksgiving-related. Perhaps a grocery list. Of course, I’ll have to leave a couple things off so that we can send at least one male to the store, maybe even repeatedly, for the things we run out of or forget. Usually eggs. Pardon me while I add eggs to the grocery list.


Oh, and have a happy, Happy, HAPPY Thanksgiving!


P.S. AAAARGGHHHH!!!

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Filed under family life, football, marriage, preschooler, Thanksgiving

The Gall of It, Part 2

So, after seven months of pain and pie-lessness, I finally had my gall bladder removed. It went pretty well, I can say. The only hiccup was my blood pressure. The lovely nurse had to stand me on my head for a little while as the anesthesia was wearing off because my blood pressure was too low. If I remember correctly, and I might not since I was in a drug-induced stupor, it was down to 76/38. I also remember being just freezing when I woke up. The nurse saw my eyes opening, and she asked how I was, and the only word I managed to eke out between my full body violent shivers and my very heavy, woolly feeling tongue was c-c-cooold. She wrapped me up, head and all, in blankets straight from the warmer, and I was a happy camper in my toasty flannel pseudo-womb. I don’t remember much after that until a couple hours later when they sent me home.


I found it interesting that I didn’t make it to the operating room awake. I should have known, when the anesthesiologist was one of the folks wheeling me away, that there would be little chance of remaining conscious for long. He said, “Are you ready?” and I guess he meant it more immediately than I realized. I was out before I hit the hallway.


It’s now been four days since the surgery, and I’m feeling good. I’m still sore, of course, but I now only require ibuprofen instead of pain medication, and apart from the fact that it looks like somebody played “Where’s the gall bladder?” with my incision points (there are four, but there are supposed to be four anyway), I’m none the worse for wear.


I will be glad when I’m no longer sore, though, because it hurts to laugh. With my dearest husband, and my little three year old comedian, it’s a real challenge to remain pain free. On the other hand, I actually got to butter my bread yesterday morning, and that was exciting. It may seem trivial to you that butter is exciting, but when you’re deprived of something so simple for so long, it becomes a monumental event to revel again in glorious butteriness (yes, that’s a word).

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Filed under family life, gall bladder, marriage, preschooler, surgery

Futility Is In the Eye of the Beholder

I usually try and refrain from serious and/or depressing subjects when writing here, but in this case I felt that the importance of the subject warranted further examination. A couple days ago, a dear friend of ours attempted suicide by shooting herself in the head. We have yet to hear whether or not she has survived, and if she has, what sort of damage has resulted.


I know I just delivered this news in a rather detached and clinical way. Is this because I don’t care? Quite the opposite, in fact. The situation is so horrifying and heart-wrenching that I find myself quite unable to deal with it. This friend of ours is a total delight. Her energy and spirit always fill up any room she enters, and her empathy and sense of humor are remarkably uplifting. In short, she is adored. Not to trivialize her circumstances, but I feel as if I have undergone some sort of trauma myself, to have the memory of this lovely woman forcefully ripped from my mind and replaced with the intruding knowledge of what has befallen her.


In our country, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death, ahead of liver disease and Parkinson’s. It outnumbers homicides two to one. Worldwide, a full one million people die at their own hands every year. I can’t decide what I think of these statistics. Is life so seemingly futile for so many people that they feel they must end it? As one who has suffered from depression in the past, I can understand some of what it feels like, though I was never in the pit of despair that others sometimes experience. So, what does it feel like? I describe it as being inside with sunglasses on. Everything you see is dim, and even the bright spots in your life are considerably dulled. If you have ever accidentally worn your sunglasses inside, you know that it can be challenging to see things clearly.


I thought about this friend just the other day, only a few short days before it happened. I thought, “I need to call her, see what she’s up to.” If I had followed through on that thought, what would I have heard on the other end of the phone? Would I have heard her pain, or would I have continued on, unaware, wrapped in my own self-serving pursuits as I am most days? It’s hard to say.


Is there a lesson in all this? I hope so. I hope that somewhere in this seeming black hole, there is some small ray of light trying to escape. I don’t yet know what it might be, but I still hold out hope that it’s there. God would not let such a tragedy occur without at least some small gain for His glory.


Please pray for her and her family.

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Filed under family life, marriage, preschooler, suicide

Reading Between the Lines

I love listening to Jewel as she reads. No, she doesn’t really read. We’re still reviewing her letters and their sounds, just to make sure she knows them all before we start really reading. But Jewel really loves to read. When she’s not demanding that we read her books to her over and over, she will read them back to us. Often, when she can’t remember the words on the page, she’ll make up a story by looking at the pictures. And the funny thing is, they’re pretty close to the actual story.


Then there are the books she remembers. Who knew that she could recall whole paragraphs at a time about the doings of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Brother and Sister Bear. There’s just nothing else around that beats listening to her sweet little (loud) voice saying “The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, by Stan and Jan Berenstain.” Priceless. I look forward to the day when she will actually read the words on the page, but until then, I’m pretty content with listening to her version. It’s usually more interesting anyway.

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Filed under family life, marriage, preschooler, reading