Sunday, July 27, 2008


Just thought I'd include a picture of the little guy with the health problems. Audrey (my sister) bought the shirt and vest for him at The Children's Place outlet for $1.99 each! I thought he looked absolutely adorable for Sunday church that I snapped a picture. These are definitely his colors!

Thanks, Aunt Audrey!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kids enjoying the outdoors

For those of you who see me on a regular basis, you know that I complain about the kiddos not playing as well outside as you would think they would or should. I think it all comes back to James' influence. Evelyn is content playing by herself and Jefferson loves the outdoors, but James doesn't. And if James isn't happy, ain't no other kiddos happy!

Anyway, yesterday, they spent about 1 1/2 hours outside and a lot of the time they were in the sandbox. I know that a lot of moms are against sandboxes because of the mess, but the way I figure it is this -- if they spend 30 minutes in the sandbox and it takes me 5-10 minutes to clean them off, I still got 20-25 minutes of work/reading/computer done, uninterrupted! And, as happened yesterday, if they go from the sandbox to jumping on the trampoline, the trampoline cleans most of them off, and I have even less work to do. I snapped this picture because they were having such a good time building castles.

See how Jefferson is sitting though? I wonder if that could have anything to do with the welts on the underside of his thighs? Thoughts, anyone?

Jefferson Update

Yesterday was another big cooking day. I'll include pictures at the end. We're still debating about Jefferson's reaction to green beans, if it was to green beans at all. In the last post, I said that he had broken out on his face after every meal. He continued to do that until Thursday. Then after lunch on Thursday (while his speech therapist was there) the back of his neck had huge welts of hives on it! He was scratching away, but he never complains. He really is the sweetest boy you could ask for! The therapist thought it was because she had touched him without washing her hands, but we'll probably never know. That's how it is with Jefferson.

On Friday, his face was slightly red after breakfast, but after lunch, he was scratching the underside of his legs with a vengeance. It's not unusual to see him scratching the underside of his knees because his eczema is concentrated there, but this was higher than his knees. So I turned him over, and he had the same exact welts on the underside of both of his thighs! If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to them. Both times he had been outside, but he's been outside other times as well with no reaction. He just seems to be extremely susceptible to everything -- most of which we don't even know. We just continue to pray for God to give guidance and wisdom and direction in how we deal with him.

In addition to the cooking for Jefferson that I did, I also washed all of the produce from grocery shopping on Wednesday (grapes, kale, broccoli), cooked a triple batch of black beans (for several meals this week), cooked a double batch of rice, baked chocolate chip cookies, made homemade applesauce from apples that some friends gave us and put a chicken in the crock pot for overnight. Believe it or not, I hate being in the kitchen, but, if you looked at my pattern of life, you would never know it! I guess we all do what is necessary, huh? :-)

Peeled and cubed zucchini ready to be steamed. This should last almost a week.

2 lbs. of broiled hamburgers. I'll be cooking more tomorrow.

Steamed spinach. My mom gets discouraged for me with the spinach. A lot of leaves get steamed down to almost nothing! Jefferson loves it and he eats quite a bit. Thankfully, it's not hard or time-consuming to make!

Baked acorn squash. Another favorite of Jefferson's. This should last about 5 days.

Steamed asparagus. Not his favorite, but since he's not eating a lot of greens right now, he doesn't have a choice! This will last for a week. I tried to steam it less this time, so it's still a little crunchy. This will help for his speech therapy, and I hope it will help the taste a little. Unfortunately, this is against protocol for this stage in his diet. It's not as easily digested. I've taken some other shortcuts as well though, so we'll see how this turns out.

His speech therapy went surprisingly well. I really like this therapist and so did Jefferson. She can only come every other week right now, at least until October, so another therapist will fill in on the off weeks. They really feel like he needs weekly therapy now. She used bubbles with him, and he loved it so much that he started saying, "bubl". I spelled it that way because it doesn't quite sound like "bubble". In fact, it's hard to differentiate among "Papa", "Bapa" and "bubl", but we are sure trying. It's neat that he's saying more words!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Free Books!

Today was errand day. I try for this only to happen once every two weeks, and we're usually gone 4-6 hours. Today, we were gone for five hours and only missed one stop. That was the farm, and we'll try to do that tonight while Ryan is away.

This was the first week that I kept track of the kids' reading logs and took them by Half-Price Books to claim their $3 coupon. I was so pleased with the results!

The kids wanted a Princess sticker book (Evelyn) and a Lightning McQueen anthology (James) -- I didn't even know they had those -- but, in light of all my reading on Charlotte Mason lately, we were not going to get twaddle when we could get free Caldecott Medal winners! I had been wanting to get Chanticleer and the Fox for a long time. It's an adaptation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for children which does not skimp on language and the illustrations are quite well-done.

I have two more weeks where we can get the $3 coupons. This promotion ends on August 2 as does the library reading program. We actually combined the two programs and got credit at both the library and Half-Price Books. We read The Cricket in Times Square and The House at Pooh Corner.

For those adults who haven't read Winnie-the-Pooh books recently (I'm talking about the originals), it's well worth it. The humor is there for the adults to catch on to as well. In fact, I read it aloud one day as we were traveling and Ryan was cracking up at all the references. It would be a refreshing read.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

James -- an artist?

This weekend, for those of you who are my facebook friends, you will have noticed that I went to the library sale. It was $5 a bag day. So, I picked up 2 bags worth. We're still trying to determine where the majority of them will go! (On the side, I haven't even ordered my homeschooling materials yet, and we're already short on space!)

One of the books that I managed to find a home for was an Usborne book -- I Can Draw Animals. I've purchased drawing books before, but James has not shown an interest, but I thought I would just put it in the playroom and maybe he would pick it up and attempt a few.

Here is what he showed me when his rest time was over yesterday.

It brought tears to my eyes! I was really proud of his effort.

Jefferson Update

Well, we started green beans on Saturday and...the jury's still out. Yesterday, after breakfast, Jefferson's lower face and forehead was completely broken out in hives. The same things happened after lunch and then dinner. With the breakfast incident, I thought it was my fault. You see, Evelyn dropped her milk glass and it shattered, spilling the milk inside. I had to clean her up thoroughly. In the meantime, Jefferson finished his breakfast and was making it quite clear that he wanted to get down! soon as I finished wiping up the spill, I rinsed my hands, grabbed his washcloth to wash him up and got him down. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to THOROUGHLY wash my hands with soap. I only gave them a quick rinse, and Jefferson is HIGHLY allergic to dairy. So, I figured the hives were my fault because he had come into contact topically with them. Why then did he break out after lunch and dinner?

This morning, I gave him green beans. He still broke out. So, for lunch, I did not give him any. He was still broken out after lunch but less so. So...the jury's still out. See what I mean?

On a more positive note, he started saying "Grandpa" this morning. I think he's also saying "Grandma". It just happens to be "Mama"! Grandpa seems to be more of a "Bapa", but he often says "Mama" with it. He did it all while pretending to talk on the phone. I would ask him if it was Grandpa, and he would nod vigorously. When he said "Mama", I asked if it was Grandma, and he said, "Ohhhhhhhhhh" in his "Oh, I see" voice!

Always happy for little improvements! He has his first speech/feeding therapy on Thursday. I'll try to update everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jefferson Update

I'm going to start keeping up with my blog a little more since people have been asking about our family and often about Jefferson. I'm not going to go into his history here, but as I write about him, I'm sure that details will come out such that you'll soon be able to piece the entire story together.

Along those lines, I cooked his chicken today. I have to cook an entire chicken about every other day. Most weeks that means that I cook 3-4 chickens! I either roast them or cook them overnight in the crock-pot. If I cook them in the crock-pot, I don't bother making broth because the chicken falls apart. Also, I have more chicken broth than you could probably imagine in my freezer. :-)

Today, as I "stripped the chicken" (my description of my frequent activity), I became rather discouraged. This is the same bowl I use most times, but, usually, the chicken almost overflows the bowl. Sometimes, I even have to get a second container. Not so this time. In other words, Saturday night, I'll be cooking more chicken. :-(

Today, I still have to bake some squash for him and steam cubed zucchini. He's been getting better at eating asparagus and mushrooms. In fact, often he'll eat those before the meat! He really prefers his vegetables over his meat. I guess that's good -- just more cooking!

I'll start him on green beans tomorrow. They were listed as a sensitivity on his blood work. So, I will need to keep a closer eye on his physical condition. I'm excited though to add in more green veggies!

Here's a video of Jefferson saying his newest words, "Dada" and "Mama". Especially since he's about 1 year behind on saying these words, they are very precious to us.

I Cannot Keep Living Things Alive!

Most of you didn't know that we had two goldfish. That's because we only had them for 24 hours! Just so you know, for future reference, I have a very hard time keeping things alive! This does not apply to my children, but to most other living things.

Anyway, Ryan's great-aunt Betty gave us these fish. She saved them from certain destruction at the hands of those who run her assisted-living facility. She knew the children would love them, and they did. But she discounted my participation!

The water was getting cloudy on Monday morning, so I changed the water. Apparently, you're supposed to use distilled or filtered water and, according to my friend Candi, only supposed to change 20% at one time. I didn't know all of this at the time. I simply assumed that I put them back in room temperature tap water. Lesson learned!

We had a remembrance service for them, and I thought James did an excellent job delivering the eulogy. Maybe he will be a preacher as my mother-in-law predicts! Here it is for your enjoyment!

Evelyn's Ears Are Pierced!

Yesterday evening, Ryan decided to take us all out for Ritter's Frozen Custard -- some of the best custard you will ever taste! We decided to eat our custard on the umbrella-covered tables. James decided that he needed a drink, and I asked if he would take Jefferson with him. About 5 minutes later, Ryan suggested that maybe I ought to check on them, so I went inside to help facilitate the process. When I came back out, Ryan announced that Evelyn wanted to get her ears pierced!

Evelyn is going with Ryan to Uncle Bevan's graduation in 3 weeks -- yay for Uncle Bevan! He will have his Ph.D.! Anyway, I think that Ryan suggested that she might want her ears pierced for the occasion. Since we have this wonderful new outdoor mall only 5 minutes from our house and I know that they have a Claire's there, I suggested that we go there and get her ears pierced.

Of course, we didn't think of stopping back by the house to get our camera, but I took some pics this morning. She was so brave! She smiled all the way through until the first "pinch". Those of you who know Evelyn would expect very dramatic screaming and writhing, but she just cried a normal cry. You know, the kind that we all cry when we don't like something but know we have to go through it again. Not too bad at all! She even stayed still for the second ear!

Enjoy the pictures! I also included pics of her first double French braids. Those who have had girls will probably laugh at my first attempt at this, but, if it stays in until naptime, I will feel that I have had success!

She is wearing a sticker that says, "I just got my ears pierced!"