Thursday, January 28, 2010

Little Big Man

Kristy said that I needed to post some photos of Josiah so...

playing in the baby gym

flipping and flopping around to find toys

oh, hey Mommy!

crawling is really hard!

Are you looking at me, Mom? (smiling through pacifier)

Scooting, rolling and finding an Etch-a-Sketch

If only I could turn the knobs...

John will help me play.

And I can't post one kid without posting all 4! I caught Lydia in mid-giggle.

Here's John showing off his schoolwork that he's finished at record speed today.

And I can't believe that I'm publishing this photo with this messy room in the background. Cleaning the bedroom is Ethan's job, but in his defense, today was sheet day and the hamper was full. And "tidy the bedroom" is an afternoon chore and this photo was taken in the morning. But anyway, here he is looking surprised since I snuck up behind him. (And being the geek that I am, I looked up the past tense of sneak to verify what I wrote and learned that it's actually "sneaked." I also think that "sneaked" sounds ridiculous and I'm sticking to the word I use: "snuck.")

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Milestones and Abnormalities

The milestones...
Time flies by so quickly. What is life but a vapour, right? Sunday Josiah reached the five month mark. Who doesn't love to watch a baby develop during their first year of life? I completely love it. Josiah has been rolling tummy-to-back and back-to-tummy for a while. But now he can use his skills to navigate across the room. Over and over and over he goes until he reach his destination. Cute!! He's also doing the "belly crawls." He's trying to push up to crawl, but isn't strong enough yet. He'll push up very high on his hands and when pulls his knees under him, down falls the head. If he starts with the knees and then pushes up on his hands, he'll roll over to the side, becoming overbalanced. Precious, precious. We're starting lots and lots of baby food. He's not too keen on homemade carrots. I'm guessing because I steam all vegetables, which preserves flavor. His baby food honestly tastes just like what you or I would eat. I guess that since he's used to mild and bland, the taste punch that the steamed carrots gives will take some getting used to. He's working at a handled sippy cup too. He can sort of hold it, but his hands are still a bit clumsy. For Christmas we got him some of those star shaped veggie puffs. We tried them yesterday and it's so cute to see those jaws chewing. If I put a few out in front of him, he tried to pick them up, but he's just not coordinated enough yet.

The abnormal... (Daniel, if you're reading, you're going to love this story *sarcasm*)
not abnormal in a weird sort of way. But then this really is weird. Living the country is, to some, weird. Living in the country also means that things that are normal for us makes the eyes of suburbanites widen. That said, Ethan is the poster child for Murphy's Law: if it can go wrong will go wrong. If it can happen it will happen to Ethan.

Saturday we went out for a family bike ride. Off we go with Jeremy, John and Ethan on their bikes and Mom pulling the younger two in the bike trailer. (Lydia's not a proficient rider yet) The first 1/2 mile of our road is paved, but it goes back several miles until it runs into a rather large river. While going along our road, you cross a cattle gap. (I provided the link for you suburbanites. *friendly tease*) Every time that we've ridden across the cattle gap there has been dirt under it. After some heavy rain, the dirt was all washed away. As Ethan bounced over it, he lost his balance and toppled over. When he put his hands down to catch his fall, his hands go completely through the slats on the cattle gap, which are several inches apart. He takes 100% of his fall in the teeth. We're forever from home and he's gushing blood from everywhere. We're far from home and any nearby neighbors (not as if there are many) are not home. What are the chances of absolutely nothing breaking that fall?

Then yesterday (this one takes the cake of all cakes) Lydia, Josiah and I go to town. "Town" is about an hour from home. While we're gone, Jeremy is painting inside while John and Ethan are playing outside. The boys come in and excited say, "Dad! We just saw a rat!" "How about that, Buddy?" is Jeremy's reply while he's thinking "Big deal, nothing unusual about that. We see field rats often." He can hear the kids playing, but isn't paying much attention to what they are saying. Suddenly he hears a shriek. Not a "he's not playing fair" shriek. One of those "go quick, someone's badly hurt" shrieks. Blood is gushing everywhere from Ethan's pinky finger. Jeremy's able to find out that the rat they saw, they were actually chasing it and the rat had bitten Ethan. Not knowing what sorts of diseases rats carry, the boys and Dad make a run to the emergency room. On the way the boys are able to calm down enough to explain exactly what happened:

The rat was in some shrubs that line the front of the house. They cornered the rat and ... actually had caught it. (Yuck!!) They took turns petting it and it eventually the scared rat retaliated. :-P He said that when the rat clamped on his pinky, he couldn't get it off. He tried shaking and flicking it off. He ended up having to pull the rat off the end of his finger. The rat had nearly taken off the entire end of Ethan's finger. The top was hanging on by just a tiny bit of skin.

Well, the doctor at the emergency room said that tips of fingers heal up nicely and quickly and that stitches wouldn't be of much help. I was totally fine with that; let the body do what it was made to do: heal itself. He also said that rats are most notorious for carrying bubonic plague, but that it is the rat flea, not the rat, that is the carrier. He had no insect bites. Since our area is under a rabies watch, we were concerned about rabies. He also said that it's nearly impossible for rats to transmit rabies.

I didn't make it to the hospital until Ethan was nearly discharged. He was very upset and in pain, but well. He's still having trouble with it bleeding and swelling. Poor little fellow. Just another day at home...never a dull moment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Answered Prayer

Josiah is precious. He's a blessing. He's so sweet and cuddly. I love the way that he loves for me to steal his kisses. I love the way he looks so prim and proper when he folds his hands.

I've been blessed with easy babies. I didn't realize it until I had Josiah. The previous three would pretty much go with whatever I did with them. Lay them down for a half an hour, an hour, whatever. It was okay with them to play alone. Josiah is very particular about what he wants. But on the other hand, he can be very easy going about stuff. I have literally been praying for months that he would start sleeping better.

One habit he has gotten into is the midnight snacking. He's been getting up every three hours and sometimes less wanting to nurse. Hey, that's all fine and good, but after nearly 5 months of it I am starting to feel run down. So, we (my and hubby) started getting him away from the midnight snack-attacks. After all, when we was waking up he would only nurse for about 5 minutes, sometimes less, and he was snoring again.

Sunday was a week ago that we quit letting him nurse at night. If he awoke then Jeremy or I would get up, rock him, swaddle him, or whatever else he wanted to go back to sleep, but NO nursing.

I was awoken several times last night by thunderstorms and heavy rain, but I woke up this morning and began my day at about 5:30. My first reaction was, "hmm, Jeremy must have gotten up with Josiah all last night." This would make sense because the night before I had stayed up with him about 3 hours. He'd wake up, I'd rock him to sleep, I'd lay him down and he's wake up again. It was the hardest night since we changed his routine. The other nights had been very easy. He's also had a stuffy nose, which adds to the problem.

Anyway, here's a clip from our first conversation this morning:

Jeremy: "How many times did you get up with Josiah?"
Me: "None...You?"
Jeremy: "I didn't get up with him."
Me: "Wow."
Jeremy: "So he actually slept all night?"
Me: "Looks that way."
Jeremy: "That's a blessing from the Lord."
Me: "Hallelujah, that's a miracle."

I'm not trying to sound cheesy. It really was a miracle and an answer to prayer. I was completely certain that it would take Josiah weeks to break the midnight snack habit. Instead it took only 10 days.

He's so happy this morning too. You can tell he's had a good night's rest. Right now he's all alone in the living room, playing with toys and cooing up a storm!

Ethan's asthma is aggravated today. I'd appreciate prayers so that he doesn't have to use his nebulizer.

Me and the babies...half of them ready for bed, half of them not. :-) And with Josiah's folded hands, as he loves to do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making Your Own

Credit for inspiration here is due to Tami at A Godly Homemaker. This looked like fun. I am prefacing this with the disclaimer that I am by no means boasting. I am thankful to the Lord that He gives me the time, through scheduling and management, the desire and the wherewithal to learn how to make things on my own and therefore helping my home and our budget.

Things I can make that are typically bought pre-made or from a box:

  • yeast breads (loaf, roll, etc)
  • quick breads (biscuits, muffins, pancakes, etc)
  • cakes, pies
  • canned vegetables
  • canned salsa
  • pickles
  • frozen vegetables
  • seasonings (whole spices, toasted, then ground...nothing is yummier!)
  • chicken, beef and vegetable stocks
  • butchering chickens for meat
  • raising chickens for eggs
  • granola and granola bars
  • baby food
  • jelly, preserves
  • butter spreads (as in honey butter spread, herb butter)
  • sauces (rouxes, gravies, marinara, etc and I have down 4 of the 5 mother sauces (bechamel, hollandaise, espagnole, and vinagrette. I've not tried my hand at a veloute. If you want a recipe that calls for one of these sauces, they can be insanely expensive to buy, especially when you learn what they are and how easy they are to make!)
  • meat jerky
  • most of my household cleaners (equivalents to Clorox Cleanup, Windex, and the like)
  • laundry detergent
  • shampoo (sort of: The Shampoo Free Experiment)
  • clothing (excluding the boys' dress clothes...never tried anything like that, nor could I make them any cheaper than I can find them on sale)
  • girl's hair bows
  • home pasteurizing raw milk
  • drying flowers and other seed pods to save for the next planting season
Things that I would love to learn to make in the future:
  • honestly, my pie crust needs some work to make it great quality, so I'll list that one
  • toothpaste (for a fluoride-free alternative)
  • deodorant (for an aluminum-free alternative)
  • dishwasher detergent (as soon as I use up what I have, I'll be starting this one)
  • butter, cheese and buttermilk (if I had only saved the cream off of that raw milk...)
  • baby formula (been reading up on that one here lately)
  • soap (then I wouldn't have to spend a fortune on Ethan's specialty soaps)
  • drying herbs (we plant fresh herbs every spring and they die when winter comes. Why have I never thought to dry them for winter use?!)
  • fruit leather (gotta do something with those watermelons and cantaloupe we can't eat fast enough)
  • more tasty and satisfying vegetarian meals (a current work-in-progress)
  • I'd love to be able to identify medicinal herbs that grow around here and prepare them for use, but that may be a little too ambitious to learn all on my own. I don't want to kill anyone!
  • crochet/knit (I've tried crocheting and failed miserably)
  • make my own patterns for sewing clothes...although most of my patterns I don't spend 3 dollars for and then I trace them so that I can use every size in the package.
  • dried beans and peas (there's only so much room in the freezer you know)
  • dry corn and grind it into meal, grits or polenta, or whatever else I may need
  • candles would be fun, but I would only make them as a light source in emergencies. I kicked the scented candle habit. Lots of carcinogens there. Then I found Scentsy and one of my very dearest friends sells it.
  • pasta (although I do not have a pasta maker)
Probably so much more that I'd love to learn to do, but I'm stopping there.

Today's encouragement for me and the verse I claim as my "life verse":

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. -Psalm 119:133

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook - January 18, 2010

For today ... January 18, 2010

Outside my window...the weather is truly a blessing from the Lord today: mild, sunny, spring-like. A high of 65 by my thermometer.

I am thinking...of an amazing Creator who devised something like seasons. Did He know that we would grow weary of the same type of weather? Just the time I can't take any more winter He sends spring. When I can't bear any more of our hot and humid summers, here comes fall.

I am thankful for...God's provision. My husband owns a small business and I am thankful that when we have things happen that seem terrible and impossible, He has promised to provide one way or another.

From the learning rooms...Tuesday will begin our school week. Continuing in the "four R's:" reading, writing, 'rithmetic and the (Holy) Record. (okay so that wasn't such a clever rendition of the three R's, was it)

From the kitchen...still trying to stick by our goal of a more healthy diet. We are still doing fairly well of eating organic meat and diary.

Before you ask, no, we are not vegetarians. The Bible clearly teaches that the animals were given to be food for man. But too much of a good thing is simply not good for you!

I am wearing...
denim skirt, tennis shoes (big shocker), teal long-sleeved shirt and ponytailed hair.

I am creating...a black and white skirt and top outfit for me. I'm brainstorming some ideas for Easter dresses.

I am going...Wednesday night for our prayer service at church. Thursday we'll be heading to our second piano lesson for the boys, and the church's chili cook-off is on Saturday night.

I am and there through my Bible, but Proverbs is always a focus of study. Nothing else than the Bible.

I am hoping (praying)...that our new methods with dealing with a nearly-5-month-old boy who insists on midnight snacking with Mom will soon pay off.

I am hearing...the children playing outside and music of the Crossroads Choir (home church of Kenny Baldwin) on hubby's iPhone.

Around the house...hubby is working toward painting the trim in the living room. It seems like everything is breaking. Once something is fixed something else breaks. Not complaining, but that doesn't mean I like it!

One of my favorite things...being a mommy and wife and realizing that life for a woman has no higher calling than that of a keeper at home.

A few plans for the rest of the week...hmmm, I think I've covered the upcoming work in the previous sentences.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

my biggest helper

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Blog

Not a new one for me, but a friend of mine, Donya, has started one. Bro. Michael and Sis. Donya are dear friends of ours, are the blessed parents of three children and pastor in the town of Burnet, Texas. They have also been friends of my husbands for years, as they went to school and church together. The blog chronicles the life of Bailey, their middle child, and the challenges they face dealing with autism. Donya has always been an inspiration and source of strength to me. She is always upbeat and joyful and has such a great outlook on life, no matter what comes her way...with special emphasis on the "no matter what comes her way" part. Have a look over at For Bailey's Sake and share in the joys and struggles of Bailey's eight years.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Have Noticed...

...that when I send an email to nearly anyone whom I have never emailed before my email is nearly always filtered out as spam or junk. I guess my email address sounds like a spammer or something. It's so aggravating.

Anyway, wasn't that a completely random thought?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Worth the Read

Yeah, I just posted something like 10 minutes ago but...

I understand that most of the people who visit my blog also visit Stacy McDonald's blog at Your Sacred Calling. Nonetheless, I still want to point out a fantastic post she did today. It is super well-worth the quick read.

Are You Calling Me a Whitewashed Feminist?

Cold Weather Photos!

The view of the front yard...

The view of the back yard...

Looks the same, doesn't it? Okay, we missed out snow chance. No big surprise there. It was certainly cold enough, but the precipitation just wasn't there. There is no snow or ice, but I promise it is really cold.

Just showin' ya' how cold.

I took this at noon and it's still under freezing. So that may not be a big deal to you. It think of some friends of ours who used to go to church with us and are now on the mission field near Fargo, ND. The Weather Channel reported negative SIXTY with the wind chill. Our wind chill this morning was 9. It made my eyes widen until I thought of Stevie and Halee.

And I just have to share what a great idea Kimberly had to put a fire under unmotivated children! This reward method, for our children, is better than paying them for chores. They earn 10 minutes per token and a max of 3 tokens per day. They each have their own token banks also. You'll have to read her post to learn more!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Don't Hold Your Breath

Isn't that what they say...who ever "they" are? Well, snow is actually forecast for us here in north Florida. Yes, I said snow for Florida. I have lived in this area my entire life and can honestly say that I do not remember there being snow actually forecast before. has the highest probability 27% at 3 AM. I still have my doubts, but I would love for it to snow. I personally have only seen snow once in my 30 (nearly 31) years. The last time it snowed I was 13. We had about 2 - 3 inches on the ground and I can honestly say that I've never seen my backyard be so beautiful. It didn't even look real.

Anyway, I hope it does snow tonight. It may be another 17 years before we have another chance!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Cold Talk

So are anyone else's feet cold? I haven't been warm in a week! We actually have accumulating snow forecast for Thursday! The last time we had accumulating snow was in the 1993 blizzard. We'll see if it actually happens. Sometimes these forecasters make promises they can't keep. ;-)

Oh, and the quilt is now washed. Thanks for everyone's help.

I saw this in the front yard and it made my heart joyful. Thank you Lord for a family to fill up these bikes. We were actually crazy enough to go for a bike ride on day after New Years. Yes, it was frigid.

My grandmother likes to get the kids Christmas gifts, but she isn't able to get out and shop any more. So she gives them each some money to go out and buy what they'd like to have. We decided to get Josiah a Johnny Jump Up. But since his name is Josiah and not Johnny we call it a Josiah Jump Up.

Learning to turn around and around. It works well for us in our space. I can hang it here near the living room or in the school room. Where ever the action is at the time, he can be there too.

It's that baby look that makes you wonder what he's thinking. :-)

Because in Florida EVERY season is grilling season. Here is more of the deer that John killed. I usually only endure dear meat. Even at its best it's usually only barely palatable to me. Tough and gamey isn't my idea of Good Eats. But thanks to Alton Brown I sort of put two and two together and modified his pork chop brine into a deer / venison brine. One thing I learned this night: BRINE THE DEER!!!!!

  • 2/3 c kosher salt (not interchangeable with table salt. If you want to use table salt, you'll need to find a conversion)
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorn melange
  • 1 tbsp ground mustard powder (not prepared yellow mustard or mustard seed)
  • 2 c apple cider vinegar (heated, not boiling because boiling vinegar STINKS!)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 lb ice (I actually didn't have a whole pound, only about 12 oz)
It's completely imperative that you cut away as much connective tissue as possible. The silver skin will never ever be yummy and is insanely tough. Cut the tenderloin into 1" pieces and let brine for about 2 hours. Since it's winter and there was still ice in it, I just left it on the counter top, but you could do it in the fridge instead. Drain the meat. It's not necessary to rinse. Grill on a hot grill (about 400 F) 5 minutes a side. Give it a brief rest, say 5-7 minutes and I promise it'll be the best deer you've ever eaten!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Expert Advice Need from Cold Weather Veterans!

Okay, so the majority of us Americans are enjoying (or enduring) this super cold weather. Since cold weather is a novelty for us Floridians, we are really enjoying it. We're watching the thermometer every hour or so: "Woah! It's 24 outside now!" The official reading for us last night was a low of 20, but when I awoke this morning I read 18 on our thermometer.

So big deal, right? Well, I have a little problem. Ethan had an accident and wet his quilt last night. It is a full sized quilt and is very generously sized at that. There is no way it will fit in my washer. I've tried. So what do you do in this sort of situation? Normally I take it outside, hang it on the clothesline, spray it with a mixture of vinegar and soap and rinse it out. If I were to do that today it would freeze!! Now I thought that probably people would typically take it down to the basement or something, but basements are very unusual in Florida. I don't exactly know why, but I think it's because we're so close to the water table. If you were to dig out a basement, you'd probably hit water!

I would like to avoid the laundromat, so I'm asking for your ideas. :-)