Monday, September 30, 2013

Natural Sense of Wonder

So it been 7 weeks since baby. Things are becoming mellow and predictable. I am finally coming up for air! And noticing how much tv Emagene has been watching and how much sitting on my ass I've been doing. I have been relying on Facebook to make personal connections and an iPad to entertain and educate my preschooler to the point I'm starting to wonder if we still have our sense of appreciation and respect for nature. Good thing our naturalist class is tomorrow!  

We're doing a monthly preschool jr master naturalist program through the rec center. These are from last month's insect class: 

She brought home a live caterpillar to show dad, which we encouraged the freeing of by bedtime. She decided the front yard would be safer so the chickens wouldn't eat him. 

Tomorrow is spiders. I hope I can encourage her to leave them all at the cross timbers pond!

We're not completely void of outside activities. Since coming up for air, we built this fairy house
And decorated it with care.
Went to a safety awareness day put on by the city
And got "face" paint.
Visited Legoland
Earthquake tested a structure,

And splashed in a puddle.

Now for this momma to find the creative juices to replace our screen time with the return of our natural sense of wonder. 

If only the Texas mosquito would find a new food source...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Soundbites: Facebook Status Updates That Could Have been

What my twitter feed would look like and why I'm not letting myself get an account.
  • hard boiled eggs are called "eggs we can peal" around here.
  • when the baby doesn't scream all evening, she's still up until forever wanting to be entertained.
  • Why does the mister think he can come home and unwind and I think I can sit down and relax when he gets home. Neither of these things can happen for a few more years.
  • A sick 3-year old who wakes up screaming because she can't breathe, wakes up the baby who was finally asleep. Baby protests loudly and can't be set down. Big girl needs to be cuddled and convinced to wake up all the way to blow her nose, otherwise she freaks out thinking we're gonna suffocate her with a tissue. Yay!
  • I've become really bad at multi-tasking. must be due to the lack of coffee.
  • Apparently feathers can get haircuts. It's incredibly messy.
  • there is a fine line between sentimental keepsakes, hoarding, and over emotional momma.
  • what do you do with a sick kid? stick her in the sun, on a swing and pour peppermint tea with honey down her throat.
  • It's only been 6 weeks, the state of my thighs and hips is not their permanent state. Must learn to ignore them for 6 more months. And buy new pants. #shoppingtime!
  • How do I explain that kissing the baby while sick is actually unloving and giving her the cold when all the preschooler wants to do is love on someone?
  • A dance class would be a great reminder to stand up straight.
  • We have 2 scarecrows in our house. One named Dewey and one Saturday. Someone is getting good at naming things.
  • Ever tried to explain to a smart 3 year old why you have to use hot water to make cold tea?
  • Just go to sleep already!!!
  • I want 8-14 hours of heavy lifting, walking, moving big things, climbing, and loud music where someone else is in charge. ASAP!

Monday, September 23, 2013


No, this is not a post about the baby's poop. It IS a post about poop though. Or, rather, how interesting it is that the body processes food to make poop. At least to a 3-year old.

You have been warned.

Back when we visited Portland in May, emagene and I stopped in at our favorite toy store. I don't even know the name of it. It's just that awesome toy store on Hawthorne to us. Anyways- while there we spent some time sitting on the floor and leafing through their books. When we stumbled upon the Usborne See Inside Your Body lift the flap book, she made me read through the page on digestion at least 3 times. This convinced me it would be a great investment, even if it only survived the plane ride home. (I don't think we even read it on the plane home. She was too busy playing three musketeers with Mickey Mouse action figures.) It has proven a favorite. Not the entire book, just the page on making poop. 

She's 3. This is a totally normal age for poop fixation.

Anyway- with a new baby in the house, digestion is a big focus. Does Aoife need a new diaper? does she have burps? Is she hungry? Real life problems addressed by this one page in a really cool book. 

And then something awesome happens: daddy stumbles upon the Magic School Bus on Netflix. Guess what the third episode is about: digestion! I don't even know how many times we've watched them drive around inside Arnold (or Ralphie as the next episode is in the blood stream). But she now constantly points out when Aoife burps its because air went down her food pipe, which is called the esophagus.

So imagine her joy, if you can, when Pete downloaded the app of the week and its all about the systems of the body! She spent a huge amount of this morning feeding a CG character and watching the food be turned into poop. (You can also see inside the ear canals, sinuses, blood stream, nervous system, etc. with labels. it's pretty cool.) Of of course her favorite is helping the air bubbles out and giggling at the fart and burb noises coming from the iPad. It's only naturally and fitting.

I really think my 3 year old could pass a middle school A and P class. I so don't care that she doesn't know her alphabet yet when she can point out that the small intestine is full of sponge-like vili that absorb food.

This post is in no way sponsored by the toy store, Magic School Bus, App of the Week, or any of their affiliates. 

Learning happens when and where you least expect it.

Update: Some of you have been asking me, so I did some research and figured out what exactly I was talking about: The App is called The Human Body by Tinybop. I do believe it is free to download this week only. 

This week's Mash Up

He was kicked out of the bedroom during the great flea war of spring and still protests his exile by stealing any sleeping area he can. He also laid across the laptop keyboard when I was typing and he had given up asking politely for breakfast. We were completely out of cat food. Oops!

The beginnings of something wonderful. Hopefully.

On the topic of Aoife, Emagene sums it up well: eat, poop, cry, fart, sleep.

Other Emagene sound bites:
"Swings go faster. Fans go higher" 

While Pete is talking with the baby, "I'm trying to eat here, dad!"

My living room after kids.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Full circle

A few years back, a laptop virus prompted me to dump all my photos onto Facebook for safe keeping. I've been hoping to one day get an external hard drive and pull everything offline and onto there. I finally acquired said hard drive and so I've been spending those few morning hours I have to myself cleaning off old laptops and making sure all my Facebook albums are backed up on my hard drive. This task also doubles as an excuse to revisit my early days with Emagene and compare them to now. How did we manage? What did we do to entertain ourselves? How was she such a happy infant? Is there any of then that will entertain her now as I get to know Aoife? Can I borrow some of that frame as inspiration for this autumn of transition?

I remember having a loose structure or rhythm to our days together. Pete was in school and working and we lived in an old neighborhood with a duck pond lovingly called Swan Lake. So naturally, we visited the "lake" twice a day. I greatly miss that pond right now. There is not much in the way of natural habit within walking distance of my house, except a horse pasture that only occasionally houses horses.

 In my need to find our new rhythm, I've been verbalizing - mostly to the girls- what used to work for us.

Emagene has begun a new habit of asking to watch videos of her as a baby or asking me to repeat stories of what life was like when she was little. I told her of our nightly habits once she had teeth: we would take a nap when daddy left for work, have dinner, take our walk, have a bath and then watch a video while we ate popcorn before bedtime. When I said we used to watch Thomas or Fragile Rock, she immediately asked to watch Thomas. We haven't watched Thomas in about 2 years! So after a morning walk and some lunch, we are welcoming Thomas back into our lives.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The End of the Beginning

As the last of our out of town helpers leaves on an airplane, we enter the season of learning what it means to be a family of four. Three solid weeks of meals from friends, play time with Grandmas, and chores done by Aunties made the initial sleeplessness of living with a newborn unspeakably less stressfull! I am forever grateful for all the help. Emagene never noticeably felt neglected and jealous meltdowns have been nonexistent as she truly is the proudest big sister I have ever known.

And now, this afternoon, we start learning how to be just us. What will our daily rhythm look like now that we have a tiny sleeper and a busy preschooler? How will days with away from home activities work since driving to and from the airport requires 2 nursing stops? Can we convince the baby that the car seat is a safe place to nap without forcing her to cry needlessly? Will we remember to use inside voices even when we are hungry, need to pee or feeling excited?

We are also transitioning into being the owners of only 3 chickens. Some sort of freak accident claimed the life of our biggest chicken, Minerva. She was found last night by using our noses, poor thing. She came up missing Sunday night at bedtime roll call. After Pete and I searched the yard at twilight, I assumed she was the victim of an aerial predator. The other girls had seemed nervous and skittish on Monday, but we still could not find her in the day light, even though we searched every time we went outside. Finding her under the deck three days later proved my predator theory wrong as she was found whole. I now think she got spooked while already under the deck, jumped to avoid whatever spooked her -probably my cat - hit her head and never moved again. Sadly, I think she slow death is what made the other girls nervous. Her presence is missed.

Emagene is handling the loss alright. She understood about the 'big birds.' We've talked about them liking to eat chicken and that being a motivator to lock them up at night and check on them throughout the day. But having something die due to an accident is new for her. She has said she will miss our black chicken, Minerva, but is glad we still have the others.

Another end at hand is the closing of our favorite local wholesale grocer, Ken's Produce. They had the best avocados, tomatoes, and roasted pecans in town but sadly have been forced to close due the opening of yet another commercial 'organic' grocer with promises of local produce. I already miss chats with the cashier and all the secret mothering tips we've shared throughout the last year and a half. I just wish they had stayed open another month so she could meet Aoife, and I could have learned her name.

But truly all this ending fits the season. We are entering the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. The shift away from heat and water play and the renewed focus of learning indoors is upon us. The next Season of Awesomeness cannot start until the current season ends. While we aren't heading back to school this year, we are excited to participate in activities with our rec center. And thus continues the rotation of the Wheel of the Year, with its beginnings and endings working together beautifully and seamlessly.

Enjoy the beginning of Autumn but do not mourn the Summer for it shall return.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Taking Advantage of Awesome City Programming

i just found this end of summer nightcap hiding in the drafts folder.  Thought I had posted this just after Labor Day! So... Better late than never. Enjoy!

Our rec center is awesome! This community is extremely homeschool friendly and, as half the population is college kids, the city keeps its kids' programs alive by making them super affordable! We were able to go to a pool at least once a week, attend an Ooey Gooey Crafts program every other week, and take a weekly tap class without going broke.

Here's a story in pictures of our summer fun, putting our municipal taxes to good use!