Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What today looks like...

I feel like I have been neglecting my blog....life seems to get in the way of many things I want to do....

So, I thought I would just give you a glimpse into today....

Laundry is the first thing on the agenda this morning....it seems to pile up so quickly in the summer with all the towels from the pool and football practice gear.....

This morning I had made an appointment to get Sophia's pictures taken. She had been asking since her birthday and I knew we had nothing else to do this morning so I made the appointment and planned to get a picture taken of Luke also for his July scrapbook page.....the appointment was at 10:20 AM and we actually got there about 10 minutes early, but Sophia's hair looked like crap....I was so upset that her hair looked so bad but there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. Hannah brushed it and tried putting it into braids, it didn't really help. Will, of course, had insisted on going with us and HAD to have his picture taken too, I was so frustrated with him that I couldn't even bring myself to buy any of the pictures of him because he was being such a pill.....doesn't sound very nice for me to say that I love my son dearly but didn't really like him this morning! Luke's picture turned out adorable (he was wearing a cute Ralph Lauren outfit he had received as a baby gift) and there was one of Sophia's that was OK (of course it would have been CUTER if the background hadn't had DIRT on it off of Will's shoes).....Maybe sometime in the next few weeks I can make sure that I get her hair fixed cute and then take her back and try again. Luckily I am only out $8.51 for the package and I know Luke's picture is cute!

We left the mall and decided to stop and get lunch at O'Charley's. Kind of a stupid move on my part, money is tight and I shouldn't have spent what extra I had on lunch, but the idea of those yummy rolls was just too tempting! Between the rolls and the soup my mood improved some! Hopefully I remember that tomorrow when I have to eat peanut butter for lunch!

We passed Jay as we got close to the house, he was heading out to run errands and had the three middle boys and the dog in the van with him. Of course he didn't have anyone to leave the boys with since Brett was out with Sarah. As much as I love watching my children grow, their budding social lives certainly cramp our style when it comes to having babysitters available. Not that Jay minded taking the boys, but I know how nice it is to have a quiet car ride without them!

I came home and got to spend about 30 minutes scrapbooking. I love to scrapbook and wish I could fit more of it into my schedule, but lately I have been stealing time where I can and doing a page or two....I really need to start on Luke's album, but I can't do it until I get caught up with the family album. I have so many pictures I need to print off of Costco, but no money to do it right now! At least I don't have a huge stack of prints waiting to be scrapbooked! Once I get what is printed caught up, then I will start ordering more prints. I use the scrapbook to help document our homeschool year, so I really enjoy working on it. I ran down and switched the laundry.

We had to be at dance at 3 PM. Luke was napping so I left him with Jay. Sophia had her backhandspring class. She cried, she didn't want to go to class, she doesn't like the teacher. At least she went in this week without screaming. I have no idea what I will do in the fall if he teaches her class again! She was really excited about ballet today, they started learning part of their competition routine. We left dance at 5 PM, leaving Hannah behind to catch a ride home with Catherine!

Home to a screaming Luke and Will ATTEMPTING to heat up a bottle in the microwave.....apparently no one is watching him and I walk in just as the nipple explodes off the bottle. No real harm done, I guess I need to figure out a way to get the microwave out of his reach. I sit and nurse Luke and check emails. Emily and Grant offer to walk Will down into town to the candy shop to get him some candy and to hopefully wear him out a bit. His face is BRIGHT RED when they walk back in the door.... 90 plus degree heat and a big hill are a bit much for a 3 year old!

Jay and Cade leave for football at 5:45 PM. Jacob had to be dropped off at football at 6:15 PM, so I leave a full Luke with Brett and head out the door with Will in tow. He HATES being left behind, so it is usually just easier to take him with me. Luckily Jay gets finished with Cade's practice about 15 minutes before Jacob gets done, so he will be able to bring him home.

Grant and Emily went up the street to swim at the neighbors.....I can't say I am crazy about them being there, but the parents seem responsible and they are together! I guess I can't wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them at home all the time.

I sneak back home and trim up my dying fern on the porch....how is it that I can grow children so well but that any plant left in my care suffers an untimely demise? Probably because kids SCREAM and DEMAND attention, a plant is much easier to ignore!

7 PM....I need to get dinner started and finish cleaning up the kitchen....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Luke has GERD

Luke went for his 2 month check-up today. They diagnosed him with GERD/reflux and put him on 0.7 ml of ranitidine 3x a day! I knew all the crying and spitting up wasn't normal and hopefully this will help. The doc said that when he lays down it feels like he is drowning which is why he screams so violently when we lay him down on his back, so we have to keep him upright for 45-50 minutes after every feeding...so basically he will be UPRIGHT all day, since he eats about every 2 hours! I cried in the van on the way to the pharmacy because I didn't realize that my baby was sick or in so much pain. She said that most babies outgrow GERD at about a year old, but that for some kids, GERD becomes a lifelong condition. The medicine tastes HORRIBLE and he isn't happy about taking it, but hopefully it will help.

So you ask, what is GERD? GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease which is chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. Your stomach is filled with acid. Its purpose is to help digest the food you eat. Believe it or not, this acid is the same acidity as battery acid. Your stomach is built to handle the acid it produces. However, your esophagus isn’t. So when acid backs up into your esophagus, it can cause the burning sensation known as heartburn. Almost everyone has occasional heartburn. But if these symptoms occur two or more days a week for at least three months, you may have GERD, or acid reflux disease. Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve separating the esophagus and stomach) does not close properly, allowing acid to back up into the esophagus. GERD is a chronic condition and may lead to more serious medical conditions, but is treatable.

Other than that things went well. As the visit was drawing to a close, I was waiting for her to say "the nurse will be in with the shots" and I had prepared myself for the whole thing and instead she says "you don't immunize right? So I guess we are all done for today. Call me in 10 days and let me know if the meds are helping his reflux".....I bet my mouth was hanging open! I couldn't believe it. I hadn't even mentioned the immunizations outright at any previous visit, just politely told a nurse when she said something about a new vaccine in the schedule that "That's fine, I don't really need that information". The only other thing would be that Luke's record might show that we didn't do the hepB at the hospital, so that may have been another clue. I am so thrilled with my new pediatric practice choice!

Luke is growing, slow but steady. He weighes 12 lbs even and is 24 1/2 inches long...... 40% for weight, 80% for height...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

He has a mind of his own

A few weeks ago (yes I am so behind on posting here) we were at swimming lessons at the Beach Waterpark. A sibling of one of the many children taking lessons was happily pushing his stroller around. He looked to be about 15 months old or so. At one point he pushed the stoller (one of those cheapy umbrella things) rather close to me and his mother came rushing over and said in a guenuinely apologetic tone "I am so sorry, he has a mind of his own." I smiled at her and replied "There is no need to apologize for that". She walked away and I know she probably never realized that I didn't just mean that she didn't need to apologize for her son almost hitting me with the stroller, but that she didn't need to apologize for her son having "a mind of his own". Why did she say it like it was a bad thing? What is wrong with independent thinking? Of course our society and its institutionalized learning isn't too fond of free thinking, it is certainly easier for those in charge if everyone is "single minded". Even at such a young age it was important to her that he conform, and not act or think, outside of the box.

Probably not even 15 minutes later, I hear a familiar scream. It is Will, arguing with a rather flabbergausted lifeguard (his swimming instructor) who was trying to take him into the bathroom. He was refusing and screaming at her, smart boy, he knows that you don't let ANYONE take you in the bathroom or take off your swimsuit, and he knew that I was close by, because I had told him at the beginning of class that I would be at the tables right by the restrooms. I walked over to rescue him from the situation and the lifeguard said, in a rather disgusted tone, "he certainly has a mind of his own." As I scooped a sobbing Will up into my arms, I looked at her and said "Yes he does, isn't it wonderful?" Of course she looked at me like I had 6 heads and turned and walked away. She probably will never give the conversation another thought.....I, on the other hand, have been pondering it for weeks now!

Free thinkers, learning in freedom, embracing children for having their own minds.....that is my awesome wish for today!
Slow cooker chicken and rice

1 1/2 cup long grain rice
4 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion chopped
16 oz bag of frozen broccoli
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used canned)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I would add more next time, but I LOVE cheese)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vicki's Gourmet Potatoes Recipe #37465 (shared by Brooke)
8-10 servings
1 hour 20 min prep

6-8 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon grated onions
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 cup grated cheese (optional)

Cook potatoes in salted water until tender. (About 10 minutes from time water gently boils) Drain.

Combine potatoes with salts, onion, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream. Whip until mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Place in buttered 2-qt. casserole.

Top with grated cheese if desired. (May be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen at this point, if desired) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Variations: You can add cheese, diced ham, bacon bits, etc if you like .

Thursday, July 12, 2007

GERMAN PIZZA ROLLS (recipe from Sandra)

I made these tonight for dinner and they were a huge hit. Grant LOVED them!

8 oz Ham
8 oz hard salami
1 can sliced mushrooms (I omitted these)
8 oz (2 cups) shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
heavy whipping cream (pint container)
salt, pepper, oregano and paprika (I omitted salt, since I find ham salty)
6 - 10 Kaiser rolls

cut everything (but rolls) into small pieces (I used kitchen scissors) and mix everything up in a bowl. Cut Kaiserrolls (like for a sandwich) and put the mixer on it. Preheat the oven to 350F and leave the rolls in there for about 15 min till cheese is golden.


I made this to go with the pizza rolls. Everyone ate it and Emily LOVED it!

12 ozs. fresh spinach leaves
1 qt. fresh strawberries (sliced)
2 tsp. sesame seeds (or seed/nuts of choice, I used sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. grated onion (I omitted this as Luke seems to react to onion)
1/4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika

Wash and drain spinach, then squeeze dry between layers of paper towels, tear into bite-size pieces (or not)
Toss together spinach, strawberries, and sesame seeds (or seed/nut of choice) in a large bowl; set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together oil, sugar, vinegar, onion, worcestershire sauce, and paprika.
Pour prepared dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I Love USA
Powered by Smilebox
Click to play Make your own Smilebox

Despite the rain we had great fun on the 4th of July. Here are a few pictures.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Presidential coloring pages:

http://www.lil-fingers.com/coloring/presidents.php I was looking for pictures of past presidents for our 4-H timeline for our 4-H booth and came across this page with nice free pictures of each president.....the only thing I wish it also had on the pictures would be the dates they served, but you can't get everything for free now can you?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fair Oaks Farms
856 N 600 E, Fair Oaks, IN 47943 Toll Free: 877-536-1194

I spied this dairy on our way home from Chicago the end of May and decided that I would stop there on our return trip to Chicago in June. It is about 80 miles north of Indy or 80 miles south of Chicago on I-65 (located at Winamac/SR 14 exit 220). We highly recommend it if your travels take you up that way!

Visited on June 26, 2007 12:45 PM until after 4 PM

Admission: $7 adults $4 child 3-12 children under 2 free school groups $3 groups of 10 or more $5 . They offer a family pass for $30 which is 2 adult admissions, 2 child admissions and a $10 gift certificate to spend in the gift shop (we used ours to buy icecream and milk).

From their website: Operating dairy farm and museum where on average 80 calves are born a day. Discover modern dairy farming and the benefits of dairy products then shop the Dairy Store. The art of dairy is what we do, and on the extraordinary Fair Oaks Farms, our family is honored to make the freshest milk, award winning cheeses and fine ice cream, everyday, for you. We are so passionate about our extraordinary dairy; we invite you to visit us ­ any day and every day. Explore with us the Seven Wonders of the Dairy Adventure. The whole family is sure to share moo-mentous fun! Outstanding Field Trip. Open daily 9am-5pm, Sudays 10am-5pm.

Hannah wasn't too excited when I told her that we would be breaking up our drive to Chicago by stopping at a dairy farm, but she changed her tune within minutes of walking in the door! We began by purchasing our admission wristbands at the ADVENTURE STATION and we at first disappointed when we learned we would have to wait 70 minutes for the next tour bus (we got there at 12:50 PMand the 1 PM bus was full!) When we asked what we were supposed to do for the next hour the woman at the desk gave us the run down of activities, including that we could walk to the BIRTHING BARN and hope to see a calf born.....we were so IN LUCK because we entered the barn when one of the calves had just presented its hooves (for those of you that don't know, calves are born front hooves first).....very quickly the calf was out and the mom was licking it clean! The baby calf will attempt to nurse between 20 minutes and 1 hour after birth, the calves on the farm are not permitted to nurse, though, as it messes up the milk production processes of the farm, so the calves are bottle fed. After watching the mom and calf interact for a while, we headed to the Dairy store where you could see milk and icecream production and of course taste the products! We actually almost missed our bus, because we stopped to get icecream (yummy and all natural!).

We were loaded onto the bus and taken one mile to the actual farm. We were shown the feed area, the maternity ward (where cows are kept the 60 days prior to giving birth), the nursery pens (where the calves are kept for 8 weeks before before the females calves are shipped to a neighboring farm(the males are sold, they are of no use to the dairy) , the free stall barns and finally the milking barn.

The milking barn was something to be seen......the cows get onto what they foundly call a "dairy-go-round" where their utters are cleaned, wiped and they are hooked up to the milking machine, each cow is milked for approximately 5 minutes, their utters are dipped in a protective cream, they get off the dairy-go-roungd and then they are returned to their free stall barn. The whole process takes 8 minutes...during the second 8 minutes, the milk is cooled from 101 degrees( cows body temperature) to 34 degrees...they have two pipes you can feel to see the difference in the two temperatures. Everyone is then loaded onto the bus and taken back to the adventure station, where there are tons of hands on activities for the kids including practicing hooking up a cow to the miling machine and other fun interactive activities.

Before we left, we caught another birth...this one was a bit scarier than the first. The calf, whose head was completely out and sack was broken ended up back inside the mother when she shifted her weight.....the vet had to tie ropes to the calf's legs, hook them over the fence and force the mom to move forward fast to pull the calf out! It was really scary and the calf looked dead, but within seconds its head popped up and mom was over cleaning it off, it was doing fine!

We spend over 3 hours at the farm, and could have spent at least another hour or maybe even 2 without having been bored. We ended out visit by buying a 1/2 gallon of chocolate milk and 2 hunks of cheese (farmers and butterkase).

We highly recommend the stop. Keep in mind that the birthing barn might be overwhelming to some young children, Sophia ended up walking into the post birth area (where the adorable calves where housed for the hours after their birth) anytime she found everything to be getting to be too much for her!

BTW, this place is IMMACULATE...I couldn't believe how clean the ENTIRE place was! They use methane to power the entire visitors area, and by processing the manure into methane, they reduce odor on the farm itself by 90% (the only time you smell ANYTHING is when you exit the bus to see the milking building, and the smell isn't much of anything).

What do you call a cow that has just given birth?


Yes, there are plenty of cow puns on the farm...but you won't regret the stop!

Photos coming soon!
Sign Language with children

http://www.kindersigns.com/anim_dictionary.html Check this out for anyone who is interested in baby signing. It is all free it has a dictionary and all you do is click on the word and then it shows you how to do the sign.

We did sign language with Brett because of his developmental delays when he was a baby (Brett didn't talk until he was 3 years and 9 months old). We also did baby sign consistantly with Sophia and she LOVED it...we did it some with Will and he enjoyed it, but it was extremely verbal from an early age and much prefered to talk. I have already started some sign with Luke (not that he even knows what I am doing or why I am doing it) but hopefully it will catch on. My favorite signs are MILK and MORE!

Brett, Hannah and Emily all want to take sign language as to fill their highschool language requirements. They offer classes at our local YMCA, so we plan to check it out.