Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bullet-Point Stream of Consciousness

~ It just keeps raining.  Raining and raining.  The radar shows it just swirling above us, round and round, same rain over and over.

~ I admit it's getting me down.  Too much of a good thing is... depressing, actually.

~ Also, my rugs won't dry.

~ Really, what was I thinking?  Washing rugs and hanging them out?  Like, two weeks ago?  Sometimes they get almost dry, then soaked again.  I can't ever remember to bring them in damp before it rains again.  The rest of the time, they just get wetter.

~ Two of them are supposed to go in the guest bedroom.  My Mom arrives tomorrow, but sorry, Mom, no clean, dry rugs for you. At least not now.

~ Another one is a big, round white rug, very heavy to wash, and it's been out on the patio table on the deck, getting almost dry and wet again for, um, quite a while now.  It's starting to drive me nuts.  It no longer looks clean.  I would really like it back on my bedroom floor someday...

~ My body sure has a sense of timing.  Right after Evan was born, I got a horrible UTI that went on for weeks and weeks.  Now, right before giving birth again, I had a large filling come out of one of my teeth.  It's a wisdom tooth, but no way in heck am I having it pulled right now.  (I'm terrified of that even in the best of times.  Which is why I've had them filled instead of pulled.)

~ But the thing hurts.  Not really bad most of the time-- only if I get food or cold water on that side of my mouth.  Then it makes me want to say unkind things until I can get it rinsed with warm water.

~ I had to beg the dentist's office for an appointment to get it fixed a.s.a.p. and frankly, they don't really want anything to do with me right now.

~  But I won, and have an appointment tomorrow.

~ I'm praying it'll be an easy fix.

~ I have a lot of trouble with anxiety --have had it since childhood-- and the Birth Anxiety has been about all I can take lately.   But now add Dentist Anxiety to the list and I'm  kinda past my limit here.

~ I feel about as big as an elephant right now, and not nearly as graceful.

~ But really, when I look, really look at that space where there is a little human all wadded up inside, I find it astonishing that a little 8ish pound person is all wadded up in there.

~ I shouldn't be surprised at the little butt poking out near my navel and the feet wedged under my ribs all the time and the big lumps of limb that go rolling by from time to time.    It's tight in there!

~ The wriggling gets more persistent and uncomfortable.  I always wonder if babies fuss on the inside, or if they just learn that real quick once they get outside.

~ What could they possibly have to fuss about?  It doesn't seem like there should be anything, but do they really get so good at it right away after birth?

~ (And I mean good.  My babies are good at fussing.)

~ Maybe they get a little irritable with the cramped quarters.  The little person-wad might be happier with some room to stretch, thankyouverymuch.

~ So, come on out, kid.  All the space you could want, plus warm snuggles and lots of milk.

~ But please... go easy on me, okay?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Pretty Pan Makes it Taste Better, I Promise!

Yesterday, I was gifted with a cute, little, terra cotta tart pan.

Then, today, I noticed these pears that were getting past their prime...

...So I decided that I had no other option but to try out that new pan!  It simply had to be done.

Yeah.  That's my excuse.  The pears.  They had to be used.  Now.

 I modified the Pine Grove Grange Famous Pear Pie recipe that my Mom has posted before.  It's always been a family favorite.

We didn't even save it for dessert.  It was a snack.  A yummy snack.  All the more lovely for the pan it was baked in.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wanna Leaf?

Premium Entertainment

"Oh, no!  It's happening again!"

"Eh.  You'll get used to it.  When you've been around as long as I have, you toughen up a bit."

"Heeeeeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty!"

"I am coming to get youuuuuuu!"

"I will pull your tail!"

"And generally maul you!  Because it's so fun!"


"Eh, that kid isn't so much trouble.  He can't even steer, yet."

"Yeah.  Well.  If he goes down, run.  Fast."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Math Jam

The other day, Nathan brought home two bushels of very ripe and rapidly deteriorating nectarines.  He got them practically for free, so I certainly couldn't complain.  He was afraid that I would, because it meant a lot of work needing to be done right now.  I might have been upset if he had spent $40, but at this price, I was fine with it.  (See?  It's all relative, isn't it?)

They were too far gone for canning, which is really fine with me since I really didn't feel like canning.  Just the thought is exhausting.  So he helped me freeze some and dry some, and I sorted out the few unbruised fruits and put them directly into the fridge for fresh eating and baking.  I also gave away as many as I could to a couple of families I know with lots of kids who didn't mind eating piles of them, bruised or not. Evan ate so many (well, it doesn't really take much for a barely-20-pound little squirt) that today has been nothing but butt-scalding diarrhea all day.  His little bum is so raw and he just screams through diaper-changes.  Every time he so much as looks at a nectarine and says "Geeth!  Geeth!  Geeeeeth!" (translation: Please!  Please!  Pleeeeease!) I say "Don't even think about it, kid. Nope.  No.  Way."

This morning, there was still one half-bushel basket waiting for attention, so Jonah and I got on it right after our morning chores.

Jonah helped me to wash and cut the pits out of the nectarines, and then while I pureed them in the food processor, he kept track of the number of cups of puree that went into the pot for jam.

This is where homeschool really gets good, I'm tellin' ya.  The fun stuff!  And the best part is that I can engage in some Ultimate Multitasking-- combine work that needs doing with school that needs teaching! We were gone all day yesterday and didn't get any schoolwork done, so today, Jonah was going through withdrawl and begging to do school.  However, as much as he enjoys doing special projects with me, he doesn't seem to accept them as a substitute for "real school."  "But after this," he says, "can we do our other school?  I want to do my regular school."

Sheesh.  How did this kid get so regimented?

I mean, really, how can this not be the most fun "school" ever?

Every time I filled the four-cup measuring cup, he would add 4 to his tally and use the wonderful Math-U-See blocks (which I got for a fabulous deal on Homeschool Classifieds!) to help him figure it out.

We ended up with an even 40 cups of puree, and by the time I added the other ingredients (with very little sugar since the fruit was so ripe and sweet already), my big pot was filled to the brim.

"Please don't boil over!  Please don't boil over!  Please don't..."

By the way, I just have to tell you how much I love my big pot.  I just heart it.  It's a three-gallon pot and came with a big, deep colander insert, and a smaller steamer basket and a glass lid.  It has a very thick, double-clad bottom.  It got it at TJMaxx for $30 several years ago (the original price sticker said $80).  Can you believe that I hesitated before buying it?  I can't believe it now.  What was I thinking?  What if I had walked out of the store without this pot?  Where would I be today?  Lonely, sad, and desolate with my life crumbling in ruinous decay, that's where.  I have no doubt about it.  I use this pot  all. the. time.  Cheese, yogurt, stock, jam, tomato sauce, steaming, blanching, canning, freezing, and yes, even soup.  This pot gets some action pretty much every day this time of year.  In fact, sometimes I have to plan my day's projects according to the availability of my big pot. I almost need two.

Okay.  Anyway.  Now that I've shared that...

Eh-hem.  So.  26 pints of nectarine jam and one boy schooled in some practical math are what I got out of the morning's work.  Pretty good, I'd say.

Oh, and this jam is maaaarvelous mixed into a bowlful of that rich, creamy yogurt.  (Yeah, that's right... I take out the bad sugar and add back in more... bad... sugar.  Oh well.  Life is short and sugar is sweet, my friends.)

When Jonah was done with his part of the work he said, "Now can we do real school?"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Evan can't drink milk.  It just really doesn't agree with him.  Actually, the same is true for me and for Nathan.  Jonah does okay (not great, just okay) with it now, but when he was Evan's age, he would projectile vomit even the tiniest sip of any kind of milk.

And yet... we have milk goats.  Goooo figure.  And as wonderful and "more-easily-digested" as fresh, raw goat milk is, we can't drink it.

It's pretty much a classic case of lactose-intolerance.  We do fine with the proteins and other things in milk, we just don't have what it takes to digest the main sugar component of the milk.

BUT!  Wonder of wonders, if I get rid of that pesky sugar, we can have all we want, and thrive on it!  So the vast majority of the wonderful milk produced here on Our Little Funny Farm is not consumed in it's basic state.  I make a lot (A LOT!) of very sour yogurt which we all eat daily (Jonah and I love it best with a drizzle of our homemade maple syrup and some fruit or granola.  Evan and Nathan eat it plain.).  I also make several kinds of cheeses, and our cream separator provides AMAZING cream.

I usually drain some of the whey out of the yogurt (Nathan actually drinks the whey, or I use it in baking) to make it thick and creamy-- in the store it's called "greek-style".  I lovelovelove yogurt this way!  It's fantastic and regular yogurt will never again be good enough for me.  Raw goat yogurt is naturally very runny, unless you do something to thicken it, like adding powdered milk or gelatin.  I don't care for those methods, but draining makes it so yummy!

Recently, I stopped spoon-feeding Evan his yogurt, and started giving him un-drained, runny yogurt to drink from a cup.  Unfortunately, spill-proof sippy cups don't seem to work well for yogurt.  So I only give it to him in a drippy-sippy.  This particular cup has Peter Rabbit on it, and used to belong to my little brother, whose name, incidentally, is Peter.

Aaaand of course the yogurt often gets dripped around on my kitchen floor, with great delight (for him) and tooth-gnashing (from me).

Evan is now addicted to this sour drink.  He prefers it warm, but will drink a little cold in a pinch.  Every morning, right when we come downstairs, I --yes, I admit I give in to this-- warm a little in a pan for him to drink.  I'm a softie, and he drinks it better that way.  He sits on the floor and sucks down the whole cup, then asks for more.

Throughout the day, he'll sometimes find the cup and bring it to me.  "Dyo-guh!" he says as he holds out the cup.  Sometimes if I'm busy and don't get it right away, he'll  just take the cup back and try to take a drink.  It seems that he thinks that by mere contact with me, the mommy and source of all nourishment, the cup will be full again.  When he discovers the error of his assumptions, he gets mad and throws the cup and screeches more more, now!

He does love his yogurt, though.  I think his consumption is approaching a quart per day, and he seems to do really well with it, praise God.  His digestion is very much improved lately, but many foods are still a little iffy.  I'm so glad to have all this fresh yogurt for him!

And --this has nothing to do with anything regarding yogurt-- he's just so cute!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Bit o' This 'n' That

My current mission in life:  bannish every speck of dust from my house.

Because it's bugging me.

Especially upstairs. Wow, that gets away from me fast!

Really, it does. It has nothing to do with how often I actually clean up there, I'm sure of it. I like to think that there is some sort of inversion vortex in my house that no matter how often I clean something, it will still be worse than seems reasonable when I go to do it again.

Evan:  will eat every thing in sight.  If you're eating something, it doesn't matter what it is, he'll have some too, thanks.

I think he's actually growing and gaining some weight again, yay!  Finally getting into a forward-facing carseat, too, just in time for his seat to be passed on to the newest member of the family.

Why can't I take a nap?  I should be allowed to take a nap.  Every day.  For two hours.  Or one.  At least.

Some days I just can't fall asleep when the opportunity presents itself.  Some days there is no opportunity.  And some days, there is a perfect opportunity, and I fall asleep easily, and I really need it, and it feels really good, and then those are invariably the days when Evan only takes a short nap and wakes up as soon as I fall asleep.  If he's happy in his bed and not crying, I ignore him for a little while (is that horrible?  Oh well, it's necessary).  But it doesn't make for a very good nap on my part and... grrr.  It just isn't fair.

I don't ever get enough sleep at night now, even though I don't have to get up with Evan any more or anything, because, well, the apartment complex attached to my front makes continuous sleep, um, challenging.

I was talking with a friend of mine today who has six young children, and she was saying how she needs to put away summer clothes and get out winter clothes soon, and what a daunting task it is.  Wow.  Yeah.  No kidding.  I was feeling overwhelmed at the idea of doing that for my TWO and getting out baby clothes (Really?  Really?!?) as well.  But now I can comfort myself by saying, well.   Well, I'm not doing it for six.

There is a mangled, dead rabbit on my front porch.  Some days I wish the cats would just stick to catching mice.  They disappear a little more neatly.  And why do they feel the need to bring their prey to the porch?  Yick.  This rabbit, though.  Ugh.  The cats and chickens have been taking turns with it.  So.  Not only is my porch a mess of rabbit, there's also the chicken poop.

Sorry, is this kind of a gross topic?

Hm.  Hope you weren't enjoying lunch while catching up on my blog or anything.

It's my life, what can I say?

I am not ready to have this baby, but I am starting to feel so. done. with pregnancy.  I'm huge.  I'm uncomfortable.  And I just don't understand people who get all glowey and gooey and effusive about being pregnant.  Yes, it's amazing, miraculous, special, etc., etc., etc., but somehow I want to serve an eviction notice.  (Not too soon!  Don't get me wrong!)  I think I mainly miss having energy (and, um, mobility, but anyway).  I remember back in the beginning of January, I suddenly realized that I had all! this! energy!  and it was soooo nice!  It had been so long since I'd felt so energetic.  I could be busy all day and not falling down by the end of it!  How I had missed this!  It was wonderful.  Evan was gong on six months old, and it was about time!  And then, two weeks later, I found myself wondering why I was soooo tired.  Was my thyroid not working?  Cuz I was really tired.  And where did all that energy go?  What was wrong with me?

So I spent the next six weeks wondering that until I finally woke up to what should have been obvious all along.  Another little tenant had taken up residence.

Now that I've spent most of the last two years pregnant, I am very, very, very excited about getting some energy back (even though it's still months off, it's in sight!).

And yeah, I'm excited to meet the newest member of this family.  Watching Evan become his own little person, and all the silly things he finds to do definitely makes me look forward to another little unique personality to get acquainted with.

I know that life will change an awful lot, and I'm trying to enjoy my last quiet evenings when I can just put the kids in bed, and they just go to sleep with no fuss, and I'm not falling into bed hoping for a few hours of consecutive sleep.  Rather, I have a little time to enjoy the quiet.  And in the mornings, Evan can snuggle in bed with me and have me all to himself, for just a little while longer.  All that is going to change (and for now I'll try to just enjoy where we are), but I'm okay with that.  I'll be happy to find our new normal.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Screaming Angels

It's September.


A little over a month left, give or take some days/weeks (babies... you can't plan these things, you know), until we are officially outnumbered.  By that I mean that the parent-child ratio in this house, currently even, will be out of "our" favor and "they" will have the advantage.

There's a line in a Jack Johnson song that always makes me smile:

She can make angels
I've seen it with my own eyes
You got to be careful when you you've got good love
'cause them angels will just keep on multiplying

They may not really be angels, but they're certainly multiplying.

I was telling my Mom yesterday that I'm finally to a point of not feeling so overwhelmed at the very idea of another baby in this house.  I'm actually... a little excited.  This is monumental, my friends, and it has taken a while (and prayer and peace from God) to get here.  I think the biggest thing is that Evan is finally doing better with all his "stuff" and is much less needy.  He reliably sleeps through the night, takes regular naps and is in a good and predictable routine.  His digestive problems are about 90% better (yay!) and it's not such a struggle to feed him anymore.  And... he's generally happy!  For his entire first year, it seems like he was either sleeping or crying.  He just fussed so much and needed me so much. And now.... now he goes off and plays.  He laughs, plays, gets goofy and wound-up, explores everything quite enthusiastically, and generally seems to enjoy life.  This is a very good thing, and quite a relief for me.  He's not quite walking yet, and I'm so ready for him to walk, but he's getting there.

He loves to stand and practices that at every opportunity, but taking actual steps is just a little too scary.  He will walk holding my finger, and with me not even really supporting him, but he doesn't have the confidence to do it on his own.  I once heard a story about a mother who gave her kid a clothespin to hold and he walked off just fine, not knowing it wasn't Mommy's finger he was holding.

Evan wants to do everything that Jonah does, and by that I mean everything.  And of course, Evan's chaos is just too much for Jonah's Limited World Order. 

Challenges ensue. 

And screaming.  Lots of screaming.

This lifting-crane project was particularly frustrating (and amusing).  Jonah lifted the blocks up, and Evan threw them down.  Jonah threw a fit, tossed Evan on the couch, from which Evan climbed down, and round they went again.
I've been doing a light version of school with Jonah lately.  I just can't quite start doing a full "school time" every day because I have to balance it with the garden and harvest work that must also be done right now.  But we're getting into a good routine, and theoretically, we can just add to it as time allows.  Right now, we have breakfast, then Mommy gets time to check email and facebook, and then it's chore time.  We try to spend 30-45 minutes on general clean-up and daily chores before we get to do school (as the "reward", see?).  Jonah is getting to be a better helper all the time.  I do not have a set chore schedule or anything, since it's just him helping me, but rather I assess what needs doing and we work together until it's done.  When Evan takes a morning nap, we get out the school books.  We always start with Bible, then I let him choose from math, phonics or writing, and he only does as much as is not fatiguing for him.  At some point during the day, whether in the morning school time, or later during afternoon quiet time, we read something together, either our current read-aloud, or some history or science books.  After school time, I get going on whatever garden things are calling me.  It's not much as far as school goes, but it works for now.  I know that as soon as the baby is born, it will all go to pot, but I'm really enjoying the routine for the brief time I get it.
"Brief time."  Ack!