Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Greats.

I've been trying to write this post for awhile, but can't figure out exactly what I want to say. I'm giving up and simply giving you the pictures. What I was trying to communicate brilliantly, kindly, and in a manner worthy of that John and I have three remaining grandparents, they all happen to be on my side, and I absolutely love that our kids are able to know them. They love their 'greats' and are deeply loved by them. I have no idea how much longer the Lord will keep all of us on earth together and want to record as much as possible their times together with their Greats. I barely remember my Papaw, the only great-grandparent I met. John barely remembers his. May my kids, if they barely remember their Greats, at least have tons of memories captured in pictures to 'remember' later.

These are their O's, as they're known together. My dad's parents, Don and Sue.
Ouma and Oupa with their 3 greats

For most of my growing up they lived overseas, in East Africa or in England. They were wonderful, sending fantastic letters and quirky gifts. We were able to travel to see them once or twice and absolutely loved the times when they would come and visit. About two years ago a wonderful gift happened. They moved to Birmingham, Alabama. That means my kids can know them in a daily way now, and I am so very thankful for that truth!! We see Oupa and Ouma every time we go to Birmingham, and my kids know and count on that.

This is Nana, my mom's mom Mary Ann. Our family moved in with her 21 years ago now, while looking for a new house, and never left. She knows me so well, having seen the good and bad of me daily for so many years. It has been a privilege (with all the ins and outs of living life together) to have her be part of our nuclear family for the past two decades; and it was incredibly special to introduce (to this now 95 year old southern lady) my husband, then my daughter, and then Calvin...her 14th, I think, great-grandbaby!
Calvin at 2ish months with his Nana

Oupa and Calvin have an affinity for caps, and take advantage of frequent opportunities to match.

All three of their Greats have been able to visit us at our house, and it is really sweet to be able to share with them where we live and the kids daily play (Calvin looks chubby there!!)

 Abigail loves her Ouma, and loves how elegant Ouma always looks with her scarves, and bracelets and necklaces. She loves (she says) to look in Ouma's wallets. 

This wonderful lady turned 95 on November 13th, and I am thankful for the gift of all the big moments I've been able to share with her! She is the perfect grandmom for little kids, having incredible patience with them and their curiosity. My kids adore visiting her in her bedroom, because it's filled with treasures and big windows (Abigail says that Nana's red chair and how she can see out of her windows from her bed are her favorite things). Usually, in Birmingham, if I've lost the kids; I find them in Nana's room chatting about whatever has caught their eyes as she patiently and with delight answers their garbled speech.

I love my grandparents and am so glad our kids do too. May they always have memories of them tucked away in their hearts.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

In love with my son

Absolutely, completely, besotted. There's no other word for it.
He's a cuddler; stubborn when he wants his way; loves his daddy incredibly; will follow his sister anywhere; and he thinks I'm funny, all 19lbs, almost 29inches of him.

His 1st birthday was September 19th. 
The actual day passed without much fanfare. We sang "happy birthday Mr. Man" (Abigail's version) over breakfast and tried to make a birthday cake.
I say 'tried' because the only truly successful part was the batter-licking.

  That was a huge success, with an epic birthday bath afterwards.
The cake, after refusing to let go of the pans, became a dump cake; covered in a pool of blue icing. Not one I was taking a picture of for the files.
The image will, unfortunately, always be in my head for reference.

But birthday day aside, Calvin celebrated his 1st twice. Once with the Kirkwood side (where 8 other children helped him open gifts. It.was.hilarious) and once with the Myers side (where his favorite gifts were mylar balloons. We still have them.)

Some random facts about my son:

1.) He can put on his own hat. Or his own necklace....thanks to Abigail there are plenty of the later lying around.

2.) Pretending to be just like his sister is his favorite activity. Anything she can do he can try too. And, usually, she's a pretty good sport about it.
                        True story: Abigail ran into the column in our hallway yesterday because she was walking backwards. Calvin, tottering after, very carefully and deliberately walked himself into the column and then looked back at his daddy with a huge smile and kept on going after his ideal sister. 

3.) He loves to help with the laundry. Not just climbing in the washing machine, but transferring clothes to the drier or the laundry basket, depending on his preference. 

4.) He has 5.5 teeth. It makes eating apples very tricky.

5.)The highest spot he has managed to attain by himself is a tie between our dining room table and our bed.

6.) He loves dogs

7.) He hates avocados

8.) He's much handsomer now than when he was first born


I love you Buddy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sayings Lately

Things my daughter has told me lately: 

While standing half-nude in our hallway 
"Mama, I need to have no panties on today so I can get all my pee in the potty."

Right after I asked her (my first mistake) if she was whining. 
"No Mama, dat's a mockingbird noise. A mockingbird." 

Shortly after seeing a deer cross in the road in front of us (and after repeating herself 5 times as this was completely off my radar). 
" I no ever seen a deer in a wild. Not in a wild....... Ha, dat's silly Mama, a deer in a wild. Dey not gonna be dere!"

At bedtime "I want to wear underwear tonight please."
           "Abigail, you'll probably wet it. Let's practice keeping your pull-up dry."
           "But Mama, I'll jus' always pee in my pull-up. Jus' always!" we've been washing sheets every day for a week. 

Her logic is hard to argue with. So I'm glad I don't try. That's when it's extra nice to be the parent so that I can say "I am your mother. This is how it will be." Who knew those words could be so gratifying?!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

9 x 2.5

He spends most of his days crawling after Abigail. Favorite activity number two is walking himself along the furniture and climbing things. It is adorable to watch him gather his courage to reeaacchhh from one piece of furniture to the next, and when he succeeds his smile is enormous.

We have two props here thanks to Abigail. It was easier to concede than insist. So please welcome Mr. Pink Bear to the photos this month. He adds much, I'm sure.
 An extra monkey was thrown in for good measure.
Since Calvin's 9 months make Abigail two and a half, the added celebration made a few extra animals seemed a valid concession.

I'll post a few more pictures tomorrow or Friday, but I'll stop here so this can actually be posted. 

I do love these two and am so thankful for their love for me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Calvin at 8 months

 8 months. We've made it this far; and even though this past week has been crazy, life is actually settling into a rhythm a bit. Calvin is still so full of joy it spills over onto anyone he smiles at. I cannot tell you the number of people who stop us while we're out because Calvin smiled at them as they walked by.

 He is incredibly busy, having learned to crawl around 7 months and pull up a week later. He is currently adept at walking himself along a piece of furniture and has no discernment
about what can and cannot hold him up. He is gumming all sorts of food with no teeth in sight; the latest being mushrooms, cheese, and mango. No hummus though, Abigail and I laughed for a full five minutes at the hummus faces he made.

Speaking of, Abigail has really enjoyed his mobility. Once she got past the shock of Calvin's new found ability to reach her toys, she adjusted well. They'll crawl after each other down the hall, both laughing with delight.  I think she often views him as her personal minion, to be incorporated into her pretend as she wishes. He's not very compliant but that doesn't stop her trying to force feed him pretend cookies. 

 We do have really rough days where she spends the whole day trying to maim him and he refuses to stay out of her stuff, but mostly they have fun. I love, absolutely love, shooing them both out onto the back porch and watching how they play. 
They eat a lot of dirt, get a lot of scraped knees, and scatter grass all over my porch while having a tea party for fifteen (about all the people Abigail can think to name and invite).  

By 5 o'clock I'm often ready to hand everyone over to John and hide in the closet all by myself for 30 minutes, but that's life as a mom, right? And it's awfully good life-practice at depending on the Spirit's power minute by minute. Whether I want that practice or not. 

I think she was upset that he was getting a picture in her hat....even though she put it on him in the first place.
But I love them; and they love each other.  Abigail recently told me she's going to teach Calvin to turn on the TV with the remote, not push things over, and how to feed himself. Lofty goals, all three.

 Happy 29 months to my sweet punkin (she's not my baby. I made that mistake the other day and she was quick to let me know the truth of the situation. Calvin is the baby).

And may the next 8 months be filled with as much joy from this fellow as the first 8.
I love you John Calvin, and you make me smile.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When cloth diapers fail you....or at least make you want to tear your hair out.

Disclaimer: This post is all about cloth diapers. If that doesn't interest you then you can look through cute photos in the archived posts.

This thing below. This wondrous thing. This thing made of aplix and PUL and string.......
image from Jillian's Drawers
This thing has given me fits over the past two years when I've tried to clean it. 

"Cloth diapers," everyone said. "No problem, it'll be easy, much easier than disposables. Your kids will never have rashes and they'll potty-train by 12 months for sure." And, well, for some people it is that easy. Just not for me.

I fell hard for the promise of a land full of milk & honey.

Then I saw the giants:

Leaks, rashes, ammonia, stank (stink and stunk!), special soap, 8 cycles of washing, not to mention the thousands of choices of brands that all seemed to promise better things. After about 18 months of cloth diapering I was frustrated, and more or less ready to throw in the towel because I simply could not clean my diapers well.
I read every blog I could find that had tips. And there are some good ones. Sites like All About Cloth Diapers gave me the hope that surely just a little more information would solve my problems....but easily cleaned diapers were beyond me for some reason. My diapers always stank, leaked, caused rashes, and took 5.5 hours to wash (well, not always, but it felt like always).

If this is your experience as well, you absolutely have my sympathy and I will listen any time you need a shoulder to cry on. 

But then, one day, I had an epiphany. Not my own epiphany mind you, I borrowed it from here.  She said (and I paraphrase) "yes, using very expensive/miniscule amounts of detergent/lots of washing cycles/air drying/no bleach or additives might be what you're supposed to do to gently care for your diapers.....but will the headache all those extra steps give you be worth the extra 3 months of diaper life?"

My grey sky parted to reveal a ray of sunshine. 

So, now I use Tide. Which grates on me since I'm an Auburn grad....but I can get over it for the sake of my cloth-diapering sanity. I use the recommended amount (which was almost physically beyond me after all the cloth diaper reading I'd done. I still have to coach myself into doing it each time).
I rinse, I wash, and if it still has soap suds I'll rinse once more. Done.

 No more 5 cycles (I was literally cold-rinsing with soda; heavy-hot washing with detergent and borax; short cold cycle with vinegar; then a rinse or two; then air-drying took forever); no more tricking my machine into letting more water out by adding a wet towel (yes, we paid extra for a water-efficient washer and now spend our time/energy trying to trick it to be more inefficient); or adding in 18 things to make my diapers clean.

 I just wash them, and it's wonderful. My life is so much simpler (if you don't count the 2 other loads of wash a day I need to be doing). Everything goes in the dryer too....except for plastic training pants from Target. Those melt. Do not put those in your dryer ever. Take my word for it. They really melt.

Sure, sometimes my diapers still get a funk, but once a month I'll add in a little (key word little) dish soap or bleach (I have yet to ruin a cover this way) to strip them, and that generally takes care of things. Once I added close to a tablespoon of dish detergent and had heart palpitations watching the bubbles fill up every available inch of my washing machine. I was even this close to bringing my husband in on the situation, which would have been awful because I would have never lived down sudsing over our washing machine.

I feel like I can breathe again. Maybe that's too melodramatic, but not by much. Washing diapers consumed my life for awhile (my daughter had pretty sensitive skin and a yeast infection her first two weeks of started me down the road of Excess Care in my washing) and made it a very unpleasant experience. Plus, my diapers leaked all the time which was frustrating and time-consuming and meant I had to carry 5 changes of clothes wherever we went.

So. My Summary of Diaper-washing lessons learned:  Keep it simple. Start with the easiest method you can think of (A cold rinse, then a hot dirty wash....maybe an extra rinse, then dry everything), use your regular soap.....and only IF that doesn't work should you try something else.

 Unless you like your special soap and think this article is ridiculous, then keep doing what you're doing, that's okay too.

Now, if I can only remember to remove my diapers from the wash when they're clean I'll be set to go.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

7 months of life with a boy

I'm tired of starting each post saying I'll surely post more frequently. Or that I can't believe it's already been a month (or three). So, I  won't. But what I will say is that my kids are incredibly fun....when I'm not letting them drive me crazy; and life is always crazy round here right now; and I'll just have fun filling people in as I get the chance because, quite honestly, when I have five minutes I want to sit and stare into space....or read. Reading is always a good option. I have 20 chapters of Jane Eyre to read by next Thursday....think I can make it? The last time I read Jane Eyre  I was in middle school. I'm stoked to read it again because I'm positive 75% of the book went over my head, who knows what treasures I might find? If I can only pick it up and begin....I love book clubs. And I hate that a chosen book suddenly transforms into homework. How does our inner psyche do that?

I need to go to bed, but before I do: Calvin turned 7 months last week.
 He started crawling last week. I was taken aback by his voracious practice habits. From 7:30am to 7:30 pm all this boy did was try to crawl. For three weeks. The last week involved much wailing and tears. He is proud as punch. And rightly so.
He also has the most joy-filled smile this mama has ever seen. I catch my breath sometimes when he unleashes one straight at me. I wish I could catch it on camera to save forever. I know in 18 months this stage will be a haze and I'm pretty sure everything will fade to a fuzzily warm clarity.
Abigail is proud of Calvin ( Ca-in she calls him. Or Big Man. No idea where she got that moniker, it's all her own and it's adorable) for crawling but largely unsure of this new state. He's spent 6.5 months plotting out which toys he desires...and they all happen to be hers. 
 He's a sinner. A cute one, but definitely a sinner. :o) He has perfected the "I want that" cry and Abigail is quickly becoming enured to it.
The day that Calvin turned 7 months, Abigail rang up 28 of them, I celebrated my 366th month, AND John and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. How's that for consolidating dates?! 
But back to Abigail. She's entering that stage where she can more completely express thoughts and handle past and future thoughts better. All of this leads to absolutely hilarious phrases coming out of her mouth. 
Tonight she told John that he was 'quishing' her hands. Or, if she has something in her hands but wants to pick up another object, she'll look up at me with wide eyes and say: "I jus only got two hands Mama. Hep me." When she is trying to wheedle her pacifier out of me her line of reasoning runs : "I cold Mama....I hot....I sweepy....Mama, I jus' need sumpin in my mouf."  
We're also going on 8 months of potty training....I know. Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall. 

But she is getting it. Slowly. Very slowly. Slow like molasses. At least we get the benefit of comments like
"I jus' don know when my poop coming Mama." or, no matter the condition of her underwear, as soon as you take it off and wipe her bottom she'll proudly proclaim " I cwean an dwhy!" 
Her favorite place to do her business is in our WC while John is in there sitting. No joke. And he often lets her. Which just goes to show you never can tell what kind of pull a daughter will have over her father. 
Who could resist a face like this? 
This smile is her Papa's fault. He taught her how to do a grimace and it's become her go-to expression. 

 That's how we roll around here. Signing off until next time we're footloose and fancy free ( or pants-free, depending on the day)
Much love, 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Calvin at 6 months

He is 6 months old this week. It's flown. Before Calvin's birth my friend Anna, who has two children, mentioned that her second seemed like an infant far longer than her first. As if she had to wait longer to know who that baby was.

It didn't make sense at the time, but now it does. Abigial at 4 months seemed so full of personality. Every new thing she did made her seem so 'old'. Calvin has seemed like a newborn in comparison....because my comparison is running around the house in her underwear  and a tie while making up songs.
So it's been a lot of fun this past month watching Calvin start to blossom. He's sitting up, he's jabbering, he's reaching for what he wants and laughing at Abigail running around in her underwear.  He's 15.5 pounds, 26 inches long, has more smiles than any baby I've ever met, and is generally a good sleeper.
This is also his 5 month photo.....I just never got it up.
He also loves his daddy. And, coincidentally, happens to be wearing his daddy's outfit in this picture. I love that it says 'superbaby' all over. Makes me wonder if this is, perhaps,the precursor to "If you think I'm handsome you should see my daddy." and "I'm cute" .......but Calvin wears it well.

As a side note: One of my favorite aspects of digital cameras is seeing the progression of the photo shoot. Some are hilarious; this particular one was just sweet. So I'll let you see a few ( because I know you're dying to).

He makes me smile. 

It helps that I'm his favorite right now. 
Halfway into his first year we declare him a keeper.