Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome Summer!

Today is officially the first day of summer, but here in Texas we've been living with near 100 degree temperatures (That includes several days above 100) for quite some time now. And at our house, we're braving this heat without air conditioning most of the time. We do have a little portable unit we bought when everyone had high fevers from the mysterious rash, but we don't run it often because it doesn't seem to help enough.

Here are some of the ways you too can try to beat the heat:

10. Ice Maker--currently one of our favorite appliances

9. Spray bottles

8. Wet paper towel wrist bands

7. Lying down on the floor--cold concrete cools quite quickly

6. Cook outside--added bonus, when Roger does the grilling, Melissa gets a break. We also cook roast, bake potatoes, or whatever else we can in the roaster plugged in outside.

5. "Slow cones"--known as snow cones in most places, just not our house. We crush ice in the food processor and flavor it with a mixture of Invisible Kool-aid and sugar or thawed lemonade frozen concentrate. Orange Julius for lunch is good too!

4. Munching ice--you start with a cup of ice, stick your hand in to grab it, put the ice in your mouth, then splash the water on your hand all over who ever is near you. Well, that's Grace's way. She does this while enjoying another great summer pastime--getting lost in a book. The rest of us just munch on the ice.

3. Nap during the heat of the day, then play outside later when it's cool.

2. COLD showers/baths--No one would volunteer for this picture.

And the number one way to keep cool in the summer:
1. Shave your head bald


Monday, June 16, 2008

Potty Training Recipe

1 sugar loving little girl
1 carpet free house
1 grandmother who includes panties in the birthday gift
2 weeks stuck at home with a mysterious rash
3 bags of candy (Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops are the best!)

Mix together with potty chair and toilet paper in the living room (no one's coming over anyway when the kids look like they have measles). Throw in lots of patience, towels, and diapers at night.

Let simmer for 1-2 weeks.

Yield: a potty trained girl and a proud mother

Notes from the cook and a Disclaimer: This probably wouldn't work so well on all kids. I've found that with the 9 kids I've potty trained it hasn't worked the same way twice. One thing that definitely helps though is for MOM to be ready. Gloria seemed ready several months ago--back before Ezra was born--and I wasn't. And I have to say that the carpet free house has been a HUGE help!! It created a relatively stress free experience for both of us. (I was much less patient when she had an accident while standing on her pillow!) And there was something special about the panties being a gift from someone else I guess because we've tried the new panties trick many times before. It never worked until now. Staying home was also a tremendous help.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Garden Envy and Growing Up

It seems like everywhere I turn I'm hearing about gardens.

Just today, two of the blogs I read had beautiful pictures of their gardens and my neighbor brought over some of his abundance. I'm not complaining! I really appreciate it because I have no garden yet. And if I did, I'm not so sure anything but weeds would grow in it.

My children were telling me the other day that we really need a garden because food is getting so expensive. I told them to go for it. That lasted a few minutes, but it's hard work and the weather is very hot. If only they'd felt this way in the early spring. They ended up playing Capture the Flag or something instead.

I'm hopeful though. This is the first time that they've been interested long enough to actually go outside. Maybe next year when the house is further along and we try to start a garden, they'll help me a lot. We'll see.

Yesterday Sam asked me what I think I want to be when I grow up. Aside from laughing, my answer was, "Maybe a mom."

His reply was, "No, maybe you could be a grandma."

Wow. An almost 4 yr old doesn't think his 40 yr old mother is grown up yet? I don't know if I should be flattered or worried.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Kitten Update

If you are a sensitive person, an animal lover, or whatever other type of person it would take to be upset when you hear an animal has died, stop reading right now. Just find something else to read for now.

Okay, if you are still reading, don't say I didn't warn you.

Several weeks ago I was talking to the friend from whom we got Red (the mother cat). She was telling me that she was surprised that Red had survived long enough to have her own kittens because every litter Red's mother has had since then, all the kittens have died by crawling up under car hoods, drivers unaware.

About a week ago I was on my way home from taking Gloria to the doctor and saw one of our kittens lying dead in the road. I was sure I had done it. Red, the mama cat, had been walking away from the van when I left and I was sure the kitten had been up under the hood and fell out as I left. It turned out it hadn't been the van, but the truck and Roger was very aware that it had happened.

Then today as we left for church we saw a kitten walking away from the van. I thought maybe, but probably not. But then Roger noticed a kitten in the road when he looked in the rear view mirror. It hadn't been there before we went by!

As we headed home I was hoping that the kitten would be gone so the kids wouldn't have to see it. (Ok, I realize we should have dealt with it when it happened, but we were on our way to church and the kids were all with us! They hadn't seen the kitten and we didn't really want them to find out right before church.) As we came around the corner I was relieved to see the road empty. Then, from the side of the road a big turkey vulture took off. I watched it fly away and saw our kitten in the bird's grasp. I couldn't help but laugh. This may not be a normal reaction, but it was funny to me.

Just this morning at church we'd sung one of my favorite hymns--one that I hope will be sung at my funeral some day. I'll Fly Away.

Mitchell commented on how storks bring us into the world and turkey vultures bring us out. What a great and mighty bird it must be.

And no, none of the little ones were upset. They all missed the great flight.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Birthday Bubbles

The kids have a new grandmother. Grandma Katie sent Gloria a birthday present that everyone loved--a bubble machine! There were also clothes in the box which Gloria was impressed with (she was in the middle of trying them on when the bubbles got to going). What thrilled her the most was a package of new socks. She had to try on every pair last night. I thought she just loved shoes, but I guess socks go with that.