Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seriously, just a 48 hour break is all I need...

Lots of firsts today! Some good, some bad, all deserving of mom and dad getting a break!!!

Sedona got her first real "time out" (as time out as it gets for a one year old---one minute in the play pen with me out of the room taking deep breaths and counting to 10). I keep snacks out on the coffee table for her all day so she can graze and today she decided to sweep her arm across the table to knock them on to the floor (really not a big deal except that the dog will eat them and that's a big waste). I told her "no" (which she definitely understands) and she looked at me, made her frowny face and kept looking at me as she pushed the rest onto the floor. So into time out she went while I cleaned up the mess.

After nap time, I got out the snack trap cup---it has a plastic lid with slits cut in it so there are "flaps" covering the top. The kids can reach in and get cheerios or whatever, but the food can't fall out while they carry it around. These worked great for Sierra and we got a good 6 months worth of use out of them before she figured out she could hold the flaps down and shake the cup to get all the snacks out at once. Perhaps Sierra's been passing on secrets when we're not looking, b/c it took all of 2 minutes to get this:

Don't you love how she's all, "what do you mean I'm supposed to eat them out of the cup? They taste better if they sit on the floor for a while first."

Then we had baby's first busted lip. She may have bumped her mouth before (I honestly don't remember), but this was the all out, mouths bleed more than anything, blood all over the shirt, wiping up blood off the floor, smear blood on mom type of busted lip. Pretty much just your basic "not so steady yet" toddler fall except she happened to get her bottom lip really good with her teeth. It's not a scrape, two really good puncture wounds there. She's eating fine, so a lot of screaming, a few bloody paper towels, clean clothes, an ice cube and a dose of advil later, I guess she's feeling okay. It'll be interesting to see what she looks like in the morning. The screaming woke Sierra up from her nap. Sierra's thought on the subject: "Momma, Sedona cried and woke me up, and I didn't appreciate that" aye yi yi.

THEN, Sedona went to bed and Sierra decided she wanted to read. She flips through books all the time and I didn't pay much attention until I realized that instead of making up a story to go with the pictures, she was actually reading the book. She read all of Gossie by herself! :-o This is a for real book. It's 30 pages long and it has words like "bright" and "every" and "heartbroken" and "gosling". And she got through the whole thing. On the second to last page she finally said, "this is hard work! I'm tired!", but I helped her with the last page and then when she closed the book, she got all excited again and said, "I can read what it says on the back!" She understands the story pretty well, too--at one point she asked me, "why is she heartbroken?" and I said, "well, you've been reading, why do you think she's heartbroken?" and she answered (correctly), "because she lost her boots". I know all this a good thing, and I'm proud of her. But also shocked that she's THIS capable and more than a bit overwhelmed with what to do with her education-wise!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wise Beyond Her Years

A few Sierra stories:

Today when I picked Sierra up for school, she asked to go to the library. Well, can't turn that down, so we went. On the way home, I pulled into McD's to get a coke. She asked for nuggets. I said no. Without whining or throwing a fit, she calmly stated her case, "well, I was really good at the library, and I'd really like to get just nuggets please". Stating her case without being rude, argumentative or whining is a major thing I want to teach her, so I decided to get the nuggets. I go through the drive thru and get charged a different price than what's on the menu. The guy at the window is incredibly rude, acts like I'm an idiot and his stupid little computer is God and says, "well that's the price on the computer". I park the car and get the kids out and march inside and demand to see a manager. Get lunch for free, head back out to the car. Sierra's asking all sorts of questions and I'm explaining to her that even grown ups have to use good manners and it's inappropriate to be rude to anyone. I'm also trying to explain that when a store tells you something costs one price, they can't charge you a different price. She mulls everything over for a little bit and then she says, "you know, the people at Whataburger are always nice. Maybe we should eat at Whataburger from now on instead of McDonald's" THANK YOU!!! Seriously, if my 4 YEAR OLD gets it, the 25 year old dude working the drive thru window should have a clue.

She's also been on a kick about learning people's middle names. She doesn't seem to understand that momma, daddy, grandma, etc... have first names though. So I pick her up from school and she says she drew me a card. She hands me the paper and points to some writing and says, "see? 'momma christine hill'" The really impressive part is that you can tell she figured out the spelling all by herself and she's not that far off (for a 4 year old that hasn't even been introduced to long vowels and has limited exposure to blends). She wrote: mom cristen hill.

She's a smart cookie. Her teacher is thinking if her social skills catch up, and since she has an early October birthday (reasonably close to the "official" cut off date of September 1), she might need to go ahead and start Kindergarten (at the same school she's at) next year instead of doing another year of preschool. We'll see how she does and I'm planning to talk to a certain charter school here that would take her early for 1st grade.

And in accomplishments that are just as big......Sedona is working on the mechanics of feeding herself with a spoon. She does relatively well with applesauce. Apparently yogurt requires a more sensorial experience though ;-)



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just a short musing

Been following lots of the economic news going on (I'm definitely no economist, but for the record, I think there's a more than decent chance that a bigger than normal recession that rivals the great depression is headed our way no matter what and I don't see a point in spending $700 billion along the way to bail out banks just for the heck of it. And I'm super skeptical of the "regulation is bad" Republican white house being the main proponent of this massively big government, interventionist, blank check writing plan). It's got me thinking. How many people are really living within their means? I'll admit, we're very low income at the moment (stay at home mom, grad student dad....the cash inflow is severely limited), but we make ends meet without incurring any revolving debt. We do owe on our house, and we hold some student loans (all taken out over 4 years ago), but never made a late payment on those either. So, with that said, there is definitely a possibility that there's just a little bit of jealousy creeping into my thinking. Really though, I see a lot of families on the news, around town and in the stores that seem to have big houses and two new cars and expensive everything (schools, clothes, electronics, decorations, hair styles, food...) and they can still eat out a few times a week and grab lunch on the go every day and get a venti half-caff soy latte every morning. All on one income. I wish I could know how many of those people can really afford that (they carry no credit card debt from month to month, ideally contribute maximums to retirement accounts also) and how many are just running up debt, even temporarily. Like I said, I'm sure this is spurred on by a little jealousy, but if people are just running up debt, it'd make me feel better about my meager lifestyle (at least I'm financially secure), and if they really can afford it, maybe they could teach me to do whatever they do for a living ;-)

While I'm on the frugal living kick: Two friends and I have joined together to make "once a month cooking" even more awesome (if such a thing were possible). We come up with a cooking plan based on what each of us has on hand, split the remaining grocery shopping list so that everyone is contributing an equal value of food and then get together two mornings in a row to do all the cooking. This last time, each person contributed about $45 worth of food and we each ended up with (about, some of us take more of one thing, less of another): 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, a 9x13 pan worth of granola bars, 22 meatballs, 33 dinner rolls, big pan of king ranch chicken (8 adult servings, or so), two lasagna size pans of tuna noodle casserole, big pan of enchilada casserole, small pan green bean casserole, 9 breakfast burritos, 12 chicken burritos, 2 quart jars chicken tortilla soup, and a big pan of tater tot casserole. My freezer and my wallet are very very happy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ike pics

Went down to Houston on Friday to help clean up trees at my grandmother's house. It had been nearly a week since Ike hit, and you could tell a lot of clean up has already happened. Drove by 3 neighborhoods where almost all of the houses had roofs that were more blue tarp than roofing material. We were well north of I-10---came in 290 and took beltway 8 to the east---so this is definitely the more minor damage area.

On the phone, my mom warned me that this light was "out". Why, yes. If by "out" you actually mean "ripped off by the wind and completely missing, leaving only dangling wires"



Then it was time to clean up downed trees and limbs in the yard. Disclaimer--no one lives in that old mobile home you see.

Big piles of brush the neighbors had already piled up along the road. The piles were this big along about a mile stretch of road



Trees that were completely uprooted. There is a third tree just to the right that had lots of damage, but managed to stay in the ground (I guess b/c it was smaller and more flexible?)



Tree that came down over the trailer. One limb of this one went straight through the roof.



The pile of brush Josh and I built up while we were there. This doesn't include anything that got picked up this week before we came, or any of the small branches or the trunks of the 2 uprooted trees (which Josh cut up, but we didn't move). The stack on the left was at least as tall as me...I'd say these are between 5 and 6 feet high.


Power line sagging over the street and the makeshift "hey, don't drive here" sign someone had put up to keep people away from it. Saw lots of leaning electric poles. Some looked ready to fall at any minute, some had been propped up by 2x4s



Haven't seen my parent's house yet. My mom is staying with my grandmother (there is electricity, gas and phone over there). My parents are in what CenterPoint lists as the "extensive damage" area. Each time a timeline for restoration of power comes out, their zip code is in the bottom group. The latest update goes through next week, and they're still at the bottom of list, which just means, "power restored sometime after Thursday, 9/25"

Keeping an eye on Invest 93 to see what happens there....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Garden

The fall garden is in and growing! There will be onion and carrot seed to go in a little later, but the bulk of it is done. The final tally:
75 various bean plants
24 broccoli
20 various squash (summer and winter)
6 cabbage
6 basil
43 various tomatoes
16 brussels sprouts
47 snow peas (these will probably get thinned more though)

and 17 strawberry plants have survived the summer and will hopefully produce next spring (not impressed at all with the nursery we bought them from...most were not well off enough to even survive, much less produce during, the first season)







The weather has turned cooler (you know you live in Texas when it gets to be 70 in the morning and your 4 year old bundles up in fleece and says, "it's FREEZING!!"). It occured to me after the cooler weather hit that Sierra doesn't have any pants or long sleeve t-shirts that fit. Shirts I'll have to buy, but pants were an easy fix! I made her some pajama pants out of old t-shirts I had saved (I think Josh secretly thought I had just become a fabric hoarder and would never find something useful to make out of 10 and 20 year old t-shirts). Now that I've made a pattern that I know fits her, I'll make her more pajama pants out of t-shirts and sweat shirts and then use the good fabric to make her some school pants that are less loose.



Two more random pictures...The girls standing at the doorway:


A picture of momma reading (again) that Sierra took:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike has come and gone

Ike has come and gone. We ended up pretty well off---the storm went further east than expected and left us well on the "good" side. The sunset last night was different than anything I've ever seen...amazing and scary. We got high winds, but nothing we felt the need to get in the pantry for. Almost 24 hours later, the rain and wind has stopped and it's hot, humid and still now. Hoping Invest 97 doesn't follow in Ike's shoes.

I'm thinking my family down in Houston will choose to evacuate for the next hurricane. They spent most of the 12 hours from midnight to noon in a closet under the stairs waiting for a tree to come through the roof. Lots of BIG trees down, obviously no electricity or water for a long time. Due to an unfortunate family emergency, a friend has had to drive from B/CS to Louisiana today--she says it's unreal, Ike was one BIG and BAD storm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kimberly the overly cautious

So, we have Hurricane Ike bearing down on us. We are way far inland and water will hopefully not be a problem (seems like it will be moving fast enough to avoid anything but some localized flooding). Wind predictions are quite scary, even for our area---80mph winds are a possibility depending on where the storm decides to go, and it's so massive, winds will keep up over 30mph for about 24 hours or so. Well, I'm all about being prepared for whatever, especially since we have two small children. I'm not willing to take any chances with them and my idea is do whatever I can to be absolutely certain I'm over prepared. Anyways, a friend said I should post my prep plans on my blog (mostly just for the novelty of it). To be clear, I am not saying all this is necessary for everyone in our area. This level of prep just makes ME feel better and more secure (which helps me act calm, which, thus far, has kept the kids calm).

House prep:
Obviously, everything loose outside has been strapped down or put away.
Shed doors screwed shut since they have some give (so they're less likely to catch the wind and get blown off)
Moved the chickens to the area most protected by the house
Turned the a/c down five degrees so the house starts out cooler if we lose power
Filled every available container with water and put in the deep freeze---this will help the freezer stay cold longer and serve as drinking water as needed
Will fill the bathtub with water to use for flushing the toilet if needed
Boxed up heavy cans and moved to bedroom closet so we can shelter in pantry (innermost room) without worrying about cans falling
Charged up cell phones and rechargeable batteries
Put ridge rests (sleeping pads), games, cards in the pantry in case we shelter in there
Fill two 5 gallon jugs with water
have 90 gallons of rain water collection that could be used for washing, or filtered and purified for drinking
All laundry washed
All dishes washed
Already had plenty of non-perishable food and easy to cook on a camp stove food
Will get everyone bathed this evening just in case we can't for a while

Put Together the following boxes to better "shelter in place" or "bug out", whichever it comes to:

Box One:
two camp stoves and fuel and lighters
camping cook set
tent and tent fly
emergency blankets
NOLS wilderness first aid manual
rope
leatherman tool
pocket knife
water filter
chemical water purification
UV water purifier
flashlights
batteries
hand held fans
solar battery charger

Box Two (first aid stuff):
bandages
gauze
tape
band aids
ibuprofen and kid's ibuprofen
benadryl
dimetapp
orajel
topical antibotics
iodine
scissors
bug spray
hydrocortisone
sunscreen
soap
aquaphor

Box Three:
baby books
car titles
deed to the house
homeowner's insurance info
cash
check books
credit cards
passports
social security cards

I'm very confident we could hang out 2-3 weeks with no electricity or water. Very very confident I could throw those three boxes in the car and head west if needed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where did we leave off.....

Let's see....

Sedona has learned to blow kisses. She makes the smacking noise and everything. Tooooo cute. She is picking up signs left and right (no pun intended)--cracker (for animal cracker), hot, bath, thank you, please, eat, drink. And the ever effective "sign" for I AM BEING HORRIBLY MISTREATED AND THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED!!!!!---screaming and banging her head on the floor (yes, we're still doing that).

Can't believe I forgot to write about Sierra's finger. You can tell a kid ten million times to keep their fingers out of the door, but it just doesn't click. So, yeah, she stuck her fingers in the door. Let me tell you, nothing creates as much adrenalin (really, nothing....not even having your water break and knowing you're in labor) as being in another room and hearing a door slam, then, half a second later, hearing your child let out a long, blood curdling scream. Turns out she stuck her fingers in the hinge side of the door and the door got completely closed before anyone knew what had happened. Now, this is the child that can fall down on concrete, fall face first into a step and bust her lip, gash her foot open on a piece of metal, etc, etc... and not cry for more than 5 minutes. She kept crying. She started shaking. Momma decided it was time for a trip to the doc. Only her middle finger got smashed real good. The doc said it could be a tuft fracture (the last bone in her finger crushed) but there was no point in putting her through an x-ray since they wouldn't do anything for it anyway. I'm gonna say it's broken, though not horribly, b/c the first few days were real dicey---waking up crying, crying if you just brushed the tip of her finger, and consistently not using it (you know how kids can be dramatic, but then they'll forget and act normal, she never did that). She is using it more now and saying it feels better, but I notice she still favors it a bit. She will most likely lose the finger nail. There was blood under the nail about 3/4's of the way down and that ended up all getting washed out, so it doesn't look all black and yucky, but you can tell it's not attached except for in one tiny spot. Glad we took her into the doctor, he said it's a common to end up with a staph infection after a crushed finger injury and if the bone is fracture, the infection can set up in the bone. So, she got preventative antibiotics and a good lecture about washing her hands really really good (even though the soap kinda hurt at first). She's mostly fine now. And just so you know, if you need medical tape that a preschooler will keep on, they make some that's printed with princesses and another that's printed with cars---worked great.

In other news, planning to do the Hi-Fi Tri in October (the sprint distance). I won't be winning any medals, but have been biking and running for about a week now and seem to be getting back into the endurance thing quite easily, so I think my goal of "just finishing" is totally attainable ;-) Though I will say, on today's bike ride, I fell down for the very first time. I was waiting for a car to go by and unclipped one foot, realized my bike was leaning the other way, unclipped the other foot and quickly put it down. Well, biking shoes are super super slick, so that foot just slid out from under me and I kinda ended up doing the splits. Embarrassing, but funny, but I wasn't hurt at all, which is always nice. Bonus, the chain came off the gears and since my cycling guru (aka Josh) was along for the ride, he was able to give me a "field lesson" on how to get the chain back on in about 5 seconds--good to know.

And funny event of the day. We actually had cool weather this morning. It was one of those days were it was cooler outside than inside, so I left the doors and windows open all morning. At one point, I was sitting in the living room and kept hearing a funny high pitched sound. Walked into the kitchen to find a bird sitting on my table!! Poor thing was terrified and kept flying into the window (yes, the open window---and there are those make it yourself paint/cling decorations on the window too---still kept flying into the part where the window is instead of the big gaping open space). I tried to shoo it out with a broom. Shooing didn't go well---it flew over and perched on the fridge. Further shooing just made matters worse, it kept getting farther and farther away from the window. I finally gave up and closed the door between the kitchen and the living room--when I turned around it was gone. I never heard it leave, but I sure hope it did. Otherwise, I have a victim of a little birdie heart attack somewhere above my cabinets....

Monday, September 1, 2008

an update

An update on Sierra's library card.....she was so excited to have it, she slept with it last night. She's carried it around all day today too.

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