Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is it really Tuesday already? Time for TTT. I'm looking forward to hearing what your tots have been saying this week.

Please join in, read what it's all about here, then go to your blog, type in your tot talk tuesday post, including the quote from your child and the following code in your post.

I've been trying to remember all mine this week. There have been a few. I need to start writing them down, because I forget so quickly...

Zoe had the hiccups this week. She came and reported to me, "Mummy, I have the wake-ups". Every time she hiccupped she followed it up with an exclamation, "Wake-up!" and a giggle.

Lana spontaneously told me the other day, "I like sleeping better than being awake....because you don't have to walk around so much"

That's all I can remember. I'm going to have to get a notebook to carry around... the mental note thing just doesn't work.

Please join in and try to leave a comment on other folk's TTT blog posts too. It makes us feel like a nice, shiny, happy bloggy family. Or something like that.

Tot Talk Tuesdays Participants
1. MrsW
2. Michelle M.
3. Kathie S.
4. Shaye @ Miller Memories
5. Herb of Grace
6. septembermom

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Water fun, butt cracks (or lack thereof), birthdays and visitors

So we did coco keys on Saturday. We had a load of fun, but Lana did get overwhelmed after 5 hours and asked if we could go home.

Mr Butt Crack did in fact make an appearance again. His butt crack, however, did not this time. Should I actually admit that I was slightly disappointed? I mean, it would have made good blog material.

And now today is Lana's 5th birthday. She's excited and overwhelmed. I'm about to take off with them to grab breakfast somewhere and eat it at a park. As soon as I've cleaned up the wrapping paper. Because we're trying to keep the house clean for our guests coming later today. My mum, little brother and Step Father arrive from Scotland later today! Woooohooo! I am so excited. What a day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How does your garden grow

I thought I'd give a quick update on the garden. My container garden is doing ok, but I haven't put as much in it as I had thought I would .

My allotment garden is...I dunno. I have mixed feelings about it.

Last weekend I was ready to give it up completely. It was 100 degrees outside, I hadn't tended to it in a week and I went there after skipping my meal and not drinking enough fluids. I was dizzy, dripping with sweat, it was in my eyes and my clothes were drenched, I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, there were more weeds than I could handle and my only tool (a hand shovel) snapped. So I had to use my hands and my finger nails broke and started bleeding. I decided I didn't want a stupid garden any more.

I drove home and almost passed out on the way. Got home to the air conditioning, a cool shower and a big drink of water.

I am still very overwhelmed with the weeding. But I am excited that my garden has started producing now, and it changes my opinion. We've brought in more turnips than we could dream of eating. And tonight I just brought home 2 huge, fat zucchinis and some sugar snap peas. I have tomatoes looking big and fat, though still green. And bean stalks flowering. Some nice tall carrot tops. I'm looking forward to more food from it.

I am totally learning as I go along. I will do tons differently next year. But, I'm doing ok. And it's so exciting to pick your own food. I've grown everything from seed, and there's something magical about growing food from something so tiny.

Anyway, sorry this was a boring post. I wanted to write something down about it though.


We're off to coco keys water resort in the morning, to celebrate Lana's birthday (her actual birthday is on Monday).

We went there a year and a half ago, for Zoe's first birthday. I wonder if we'll see Mr Butt Crack there again.

Plenty on my to do list between now and then so I'd better shot down the lap top.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesdays {4}

Happy Tuesday. I'm looking forward to hearing what cute things your kids have been saying this week.

Please join in, read what it's all about here, then go to your blog, type in your tot talk tuesday post, including the quote from your child and the following code in your post.

Then come back here and add your name and the url to your post on Mr Linky below.

Try to visit other people's entries and leave a comment on their blog too. Thanks for joining in.


I've been listening out for something this week for TTT, but nothing major came up. I did find it cute last night, when Lana and Zoe were sort of tangled up together on the floor, and Lana accidentally kicked Zoe on the knee while Zoe tried to break free. And Zoe looked at Lana and said, "Hey Lana, stop kickin' my butt".

Since one of the reasons I started this was for a way to record cute things they say, which are too easy to forget - I'm going to list some of Zoe's pronunciations at 2 years old.

Sleepy = Feepeet
Glenn = Ghenn
Like = Wike
Look = Wook
Dora the Explorer = Dora Pora
Swiper = Fiper
Bread = bed (which has caused a lot of frustration when she asks for bread and I start taking her to the bedroom and laying her down, and she starts freaking out)

Any little girl who is not her sister = Shaylee. It's the name of a friend's little girl, but Zoe insists everyone is called Shaylee. She even names her baby dolls Shaylee. And whenever we drive away from our house, she calls out to each of the neighbor girls in turn, "bye bye Shaylee" and then to the other one, "bye bye Shaylee"

Ok, I'm editing this to add a new one which just happened

Background - last year Kaya bought a bag of beads from a yard sale. We buckled them into their car seats and I sat in the front while Rene ran back to pick up a couple coffee tables (for 10 c each). In the amount of time it took for him to cross the street, Lana had managed to stick a bead up her nose and get it completely wedged way high. In fact, blogged about it. We ended up in ER, where they got me to blow in her mouth to make the bead fly out.

So just 2 minutes ago, Lana found a bead and brought it to me and said, "Look at this bead, Mum. It's so big it would only barely fit up my nose"

I guess this is how her mind works. A good way to judge bead size is to compare it with nostril size. I of course, reminded her of that time she had a bead stuck up her nose, and why she wouldn't ever want to attempt that again.


I can't wait to read yours!

Tot Talk Tuesdays Participants
1. MrsW
2. Shaye @ Miller Memories
3. Kathie S.
4. Jana Green
5. Jo
6. Michelle M.
7. Juli

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby Ground Squirrel

I've learned some things recently, about the difference between chipmunks and ground squirrels. Such as, chipmunks are smaller, have stripes on their faces and tend to walk with their tales raised. Thank you wikipedia.

We have tons of ground squirrel holes in our yard and you see them frolicking around all the time. I *love* them. I snapped up some pics of some friendly baby ones who were popping up to say hi.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Playful Parenting

I have a lot I want to say on this subject at some point in the future. But I'll make this one a quickie.

Sometimes we go into parenting situations full guns blazing, only to accidentally shoot ourselves in the foot with said fully blazing gun. Sometimes we expect conflict, so we start reacting as though there already is a conflict, and thus we bring one about.

I just did something similar. 2 minutes ago. And it could have ended in disaster. I went through to the livingroom to see that the kids had torn an egg carton into many pieces and spilled it on the floor (an "art project") and then emptied the contents of a box of penny pasta all over the floor and couch. And thrown in some pistachios to boot.

I handled it calmly, walked through and switched off the tv and informed the children they could watch a little bit more as soon as they've cleaned up the mess. Kaya went straight through and started cleaning. She's a rule sort of person. She likes to know where boundaries are and to stay inside them.

Lana, however, is more of a beat-of-your-own drum type and prefers to govern her own world. Fine, I'm the same was as her, I get that and love her for it. However, she does have to learn how to live in a society and get along with others and contribute equally.

I heard her switch the tv back on while Kaya was working her butt off cleaning up. So I loaded up my weapons and went in, "NO Lana, you can't watch tv! You'll be banned from tv for 2 days if you don't get in there and help your sister now. It's only fair, you helped make the mess!!" yell yell, bla bla. It only puts her off. I turned off the tv and sent her through. Her head was hanging low. She didn't seem like she had a lot of energy or ambition to start helping, and I anticipated she'd probably just flop herself down on the couch.

As Jasmine Star says - "because all posts are better with a pic"

But then Kaya piped in with, "Hey Lana, do you want to feed the hungry vacuum?"

Lana's face lit up. And she got to work picking up pieces and feeding them to the vacuum cleaner. And they're still both in there just now busy cleaning away and having a great time.

If only I had thought of that! So often if we just approach an issue from a playful point of view, we'll have a much easier time getting our kids to participate. Instead of saying, "put your shoes on NOW we're 5 minutes late!", why not try saying, "let's pretend our feet are 2 birds who have lost their feathers, and they're really cold. Let's pretend these shoes are the feathers, we'd better put them on really fast before the bird gets cold". Or instead of saying, "Brush. Teeth. Nowish" how about, "I found a magical toothbrush. If you rub it against your teeth 30 times on the top and bottom, a fairy comes out and grants a wish. Would you like to go try it!"

Kids really respond to it! I might think about making a challenge or something, because I certainly need to remember this more. Maybe if I had a graphic and an official challenge it would help me remember haha. Yelling at the kids less, and them contributing positively more can only be a good thing, right?

A week from Monday...

Every Saturday, we'd spend the afternoon and usually evening (often into the wee hours of the next morning) at her house. Chatting, watching The X Factor, watching the kids be cute, having barbecues, playing on the trampoline, playing card games, being fed delicious food.

I believe I have the best Mum ever. We had a couple rough years, but she's always tried her very best. And through my teenage and adult years she's been my best friend. She didn't have her mother with her when she reached her adult years, yet she still knows instinctively how to best support me. She's never interfering. Always there for me.

She might not be happy to receive credit for this - but I consider her a huge influence on me in terms of the way I parent. She always used to say I was the hippy, Earth Mother type, and she anticipated I would parent that way. And I thought she was crazy. She wasn't that type, why would I be? I remember when she first learned about baby sign language when I was a teenager, and she said, "I bet you'll do that with your kids. It seems like something you'd be into" and I tried to be polite and sound interested in what seemed to me like a completely ludicrous concept. And now here I am, passionately teaching my kids baby signs, and teaching my older kids some ASL too.

She raised me in a rudimentary form of Attachment Parenting. She breastfed (at a time when it was not popular to do so) and she always spoke to me with respect and never demanded it from me. She earned it from me. She was gentle with me, forgiving and grace filled. She compromised with me and made me feel like my opinion was important. It made me feel truly loved and built a sense of confidence and self esteem. I strive to achieve that with my own kids.

Watching her raise my little brother who was born when I was 16, I saw her extended breastfeeding (she took me with her to breastfeeding classes, which was incredible for preparing me for nursing my own child one day) and co-sleeping. I don't think she'd ever describe herself as AP, but I sure think she was. And she was very influential.

Mum's always been incredibly intuitive. She's always known about my pregnancies before I even did. She'd still be excited when I told her but never surprised. (Although, she may have been surprised when I was pregnant with Kaya, but that one took us all by surprise - it was so soon after losing Heather, and it's possible she was conceived when Heather was still here)

When I was 13 years old, I was at a Christian Festival, sitting beside mum, and she pointed out a guy to me, "There's this guy who I think you'd really like. He looks like Kurt Cobain". She hadn't met him either, but she had clocked him out and realized he looked just like my type. I had already noticed him too. I later found out his name was Rene and eventually married him and had his babies.

Mum just knew. She just knows. I love my mum so dearly.

This handsome young Jedi is my baby brother. He was born when I was 16 (or I guess I was just about to turn 16). I left school after my GSCE's and I stayed home with my baby brother all day and took care of him. I was his big sister and his live in nanny. And I loved him in such a deep way, he was so much more than just a brother. All I ever wanted was to be a mum, and this gave me such tremendous life experience. We spent our days together having lazy mornings snuggling on the couch, and we'd dance away the afternoon. We just danced like crazy. He thought it was hilarious and it was great exercise for me. I got to be there for so many of his firsts. Then later when he'd do it for Mum, I'd pretend like that was his first time, so she didn't think she was missing it all.

He fell so deeply in love with my kids. He was only 4 when he lost his niece, and it hit him so hard. I think he still has deep scars from it. He warmly embraced Kaya in his life, and loved her without fear or reserve. And he loved Lana too. They would play together, and he had such patience with them. He had such a special bond with Kaya. He was tender with her, he made her laugh, let her mess up his room, entertained her when we asked her to sit still and eat her meals.

Then, in January 2007, I did a bad thing. I stole Kaya and Lana, and the baby in my womb away from my mum and baby brother. I bombed out. I escaped. We moved to America. We said goodbye. Telling mum that we were leaving was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was up for 3 nights before it, crying and throwing up.

We had this Christmas together, in Dec 06, a few weeks before we left Scotland.

And then about 2 weeks later, we left. And I've missed them so sorely. Saturdays are empty. Often I still say to Rene, "What should we do today? Let's go to Mum's." and we both sigh with a little regret. Since I've been gone, my little brother has grown insanely tall (I'm told he's an inch shorter than me!) and he's gone and turned 12. Without me. Almost a teenager. Now I've made myself cry again.

The good news is.....a week from Monday, the day Lana turns 5 - June 29th - they are coming to visit! My mum and step dad and baby brother. They are extremely popular here so they will be spending half of their visit driving all over the States visiting other people who are keen to see them again. They will be exhausted while they're here. But I will treasure every tiny moment I get with them. And I am going to take so many photos they are going to be completely fed up with me.

I can't think about or talk about much else just now. Everything ends up being a conversation about how they're coming over soon. This is better than Christmas to a little kid. I am so excited to see them.

Hey, if you made it through this post, I'm very impressed. I'm sure this is of little interest to most people. To me, this is everything. Just over a week left....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Way back When-sday

I stumbled across this meme, and I think it's a great idea. I *love* looking through old photos.

Check out twinfatuation blog and join in.

I looked out some old pics of Kaya, which were some of my favs. I used to do a photo shoot of the girls in Calendar Park,Falklirk (Scotland), every fall.

That park has significance for Rene and I. He sort of almost asked me out there (he had a conversation where he hinted at it, because he was too nervous, then started talking about "our relationship" and assumed us to be an item. And we have been ever since). We had our first kiss there (um...later that same day). We had many teenage-frustrated-hormone-driven fights there. We saw Hanson play there.

We took Heather there in fall 2001. And got this photo.

The following year, we were blessed to be able to bring Kaya there.

And also the year after that

But I'm not going to post those pics today (oops, I just did).

Because I loved these ones, from fall 2004. Kaya was 2, and Lana was about 3.5 months. Such pretty wee lassies. This was actually a difficult time in our marriage. We were having issues, and hadn't started counseling yet. We were very much in a rut, and spent a lot of time fighting or crying. But we'd sometimes just get out of the house, just forget about the stresses, the lack of money, the depression, the mess. We'd get out and just be a family. And have fun. And those moments sustained us.

I remember this day. It was a good day.

Check out Daddy's beard. hehe.

I don't miss tons about Scotland, other than the people and some food stuffs. Mostly, our lives have improved so much since coming here that I hardly stop to look back and miss the place. But I must admit, I feel a longing to stroll around Calendar park again, feed the ducks, watch the squirrels. Or in summer, watch the kids on the bouncy castle. A lot of memories in that place.

Check him out

My baby boy covered in strawberry juices at the berry patch, signing for a diaper change.