Monday, August 2, 2010

Feelin' blue...

Well, I'm sad. My kiddos are at the in-laws. Again. They've been there since Saturday afternoon. I hurt my neck carrying Bacon on the hike at Camp Wiregrass on Thursday, and since I just went about life as usual Friday and Saturday, by Sunday, I couldn't move. The doctor at the ER gave me some shots of happiness and prescribed some pills of survival, and I've been chillin' at the crib sans l'enfants ever since.

Carl actually came and got me this afternoon and I spent a couple of hours with them. I didn't pick them up or really do much but feel their gentle hugs and kisses for awhile, but my neck and shoulders were screaming by the time I got home. But it was very much worth it. And now I'm alone again. Sigh.

I thought I'd blog about it to get it off my mind, and I think it's helping some, just to get the feelings into words and out of my psyche as meaningless yearnings. Kinda' reminds me of how the Bible says the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don't know how or what to say. Hmmm... not meaning to compare my blog to deity, just, yeah, whatever.

One of the things I've become depressed about is weaning Bacon. Yes, Bacon is 14 months old, and until Saturday, I was still breastfeeding him. If you think that's weird, well, I think you're ignorant, so there's that ;) I breastfed the first two until around 20 months, but Bacon was already showing signs that he was getting ready to be weaned. I hadn't come to terms with it, yet, though. However, the doctor and I agreed on a course of treatment that would allow my injury to heal most quickly (5-6 days), but I would have to suspend breastfeeding for the week. Since I was already thinking about weaning Bacon, I decided this would be a good time to do it, but it's kind of a shock to my emotions that it's so sudden. Luckily enough, Bacon was ready, and he's doing great so far. When I visited this afternoon, Sheila placed him on my lap, and he wordlessly signaled to me that he wanted me to feed him, but I told him we didn't do that anymore, and he accepted that and just hugged me and nuzzled me instead for a minute. He's such a sweet little old man. I think he's gonna' do just fine.

Anyway, in case any of you out there in cyberspace were wondering, I'm doing fine, as long as I don't move too much. I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled for Thursday, during which I think I'm supposed to be getting a referral to a chiropractor or physical therapist or something... someone's supposed to be teaching me how to "get my spine back to a 30-year-old's spine" as Dr. Revel said. I'm also not taking all my calls, so don't get worried if I don't answer. I'll keep you updated somehow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting back to basics

I just realized something. I was shelling peas during Bacon's morning nap, and my older son, Bean, interrupted me to make him a PBJ. As I sliced the fresh, homemade bread, and slathered on organic peanut butter and blueberry jam my mother-in-law made, it hit me--we've come a long way!

My husband has fought me tooth-and-nail for every 'green' or 'crunchy' thing I've tried to do over the years. And for good reason--I can take on A LOT. But little by little we've become a much more self-sustaining family. We've love to become even more self-sustaining. If we could ever get up the courage to put this house on the market, we'd be looking for about 40 acres in the country with woods and ponds and plenty of room for veggies and animals and everything you can think of! (Side note: anyone looking for a 5bd/2ba in Opp?)

But here's the crux. I don't know what most of you guys do that's "Back to Basics"... Why don't you let me know? I'm all for hearing about your 3R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), but what else are you into? The best answer wins... my awe and admiration! No, seriously, let me know if you have any original ideas, ok?

Monday, June 21, 2010

look out world! CHOMPERS!

Oh my goodness gracious cow! Bacon finally has a tooth. One of the usual first teeth--the bottom front ones. I have never been so excited about a child of mine getting a tooth before (I mean, c'mon, I'm still nursing, so teeth are not necessarily that awesome of a deal to look forward to), but this is something I've been waiting on for the last 13 months!

Being toothless hasn't really hindered him so far. He eats strictly table food in addition to breastmilk, and he eats EVERYTHING, just about. I'm super paranoid about chokeables, anyway, so my kids always have to wait until they're three to eat any of the choke-worthy foods (popcorn, raisins, etc). It's considered some kind of big honor amongst my crew to turn three. Bean was so stoked about chewing gum, I think he would have given half his birthday presents over for the chance.

Of course, this means that the Tasmanian Barnes had better watch out, because his time is coming. My nephew never misses a chance to try to take a chunk out of my chunky monkey, and he's a little sneaky about it, too. Once he enticed Bacon into sharing a taste of his finger; another time he pretended he wanted to hug him--then tried to eat his shoulder. Once he just came up behind him and tackled him, pinning him and chomping away till I could separate them.

Naw, NJ's sweet. I kid about the kid, but he really does have a beautiful smile and a nice healthy set of pearly whites. I hope Bacon has his father's teeth when they finally fill out his father's smile, on his father's face, which is above his father's body... he's got my lighter hair color, though. Sigh...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Funnies

Happy Father's Day to my sweet hubby who is en route to the unluckiest spot in the Gulf of Mexico right now. He should be home in about a week, and the kids and I have a trick or two cooked up for then to celebrate, but for now, I decided to steal an idea from a friend to give him a smile.

I asked the older two kids (Snuggle, age 6, and Bean, age 4) a series of questions about their father (separately, I might add--so they didn't feed off each other's answers, which is quite interesting, actually... you'll see) and compiled their answers here.

Father's Day Pop Quiz

1. What is Daddy's whole name?

S: Carlton Lee Hollinghead, Jr.
B: I don't know. Carlton Lee Someone.

2. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?

S: Go camping.
B: Play games and go camping.

3. What is Daddy's job?

S: Going to the oil rig.
B: Shooting. 'Cuz he needs to get more food for the Army 'cuz the Army might starve.

4. What does Daddy do during the day?

S: He watches TV and goes kayaking.
B: Sleeping.

5. What does Daddy do at night?

S: He sleeps.
B: Sleeping.

6. What does Daddy like to wear?

S: Two shirts.
B: All sorts of stuff he has in his closet.

7. How old was Daddy when he met Mommy?

S: 16
B: 6

8. What makes you love Daddy the most?

S: That he loves me.
B: A deer.

9. What does Daddy do that makes you laugh?

S: Tickles me.
B: When he tickles Baby Trace.

10. What is Daddy's favorite book?

S: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
B: An alien book that he reads all the time.

11. What is Daddy's favorite food?

S: Ribs.
B: Chicken.

12. What's Daddy's favorite TV show?

S: King of the Hill
B: Army

13. How much does Daddy love you?

S: A whole bunch
B: (Throws his arms back as far as he can, outstretched)

14. What's your favorite memory with Daddy?

S: When we went swimming in the lake.
B: Mario Galaxy. He plays that 'cuz I like it.

15. What do you want to say to Daddy on Father's Day?

S: Happy Father's Day! I love you!
B: I love you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cool website--looking for ideas for Trace's 1st Bday?

Well, my little old man, Trace, AKA Bacon, is turning 1 year old in less than two weeks! I can't believe it! Time has really flown!

So I was doing some bloghopping today while Bacon is napping, and found this neat giveaway on this site, Moms Wear Your Tees. It's really neat. I like a lot of their giveaways, so I thought I'd tell you guys about it.
This time they're giving away a stainless steel dishware set from The Soft Landing, another neat site with cool kids stuff. So if you know a young child with an upcoming birthday and are completely stumped... try entering this giveaway! And then put a bow on it! And then come to Trace's party in two weeks! It's Barnyard Animals themed! There will be cake and cake and more cake (all over my son's face!) and tons of fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tumbling, Tantrums, and Tomfoolery

Random happenings... Bean went to his first Tumbling class today. Think it's girlie all you want. That poor boy has very little open to him for activities... I had wanted to start him in Karate when he turned four, but weeks before he did, the sign outside the karate place upped the age to 5... Did they hear something?

Anyway, my Bean had fun. He wasn't able to explain to me all he did today. He just couldn't find the words. He's getting very frustrated with himself lately, at not being able to express himself properly. Poor guy stutters worse than Snuggle ever did, and she went through TWO stuttering stages growing up. I am really hoping he's able to get into the pre-Kindergarten program at the Elementary School. The woman who teaches it also deals with speech problems, and I'm hoping she can give me some pointers.

Tantrums... this time I'm talking about the baby. Last night, Bacon, as usual, got first bath. It was Snuggle's turn for second bath (I switch it out with the older two), so while she soaped up, I got Bacon ready for bed. When he was dressed and ready, he took off for their bathroom. The pictures show what happened.

Now, I'm sorry, but I'm one of those people who think that it's cute when they first start throwing temper tantrums. I mean, granted, give me a few more, and they won't be nearly as novel as this first one, but still... Just look at that face! Don't you just want to squeeze him? And that poor little lip! All he wanted was ONE MORE BATH!

Okay, and one more thing. Sabre asked for bangs tonight. I was happy to oblige, thinking it would keep more hair out of her face... now I know why my mom always cut bangs on our hair. But she looks soooooo cute!

See? Isn't that stinkin' adorable? I keep saying I'm just not gonna' recognize her when that tooth in front finally grows in. It's been missing over half her life. I don't remember what she looked like before. Sabre IS Snaggletooth. Well, I probably don't have too much longer. She's already 6 1/2. Most of her friends have lost teeth and have long since grown new ones in. I better stock up on quarters. Or notes telling her to eat her veggies, written by the neighbor... Right, Mom?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to You!

What? Two posts in a week? Must be important. Must be earth-shattering. Must be someone's birthday!

My older son, Jon Curtis, AKA Bean, turns 4 today. FOUR. It's so sad... I always think that four is a magical age where they cease being babies and turn into actual children. You know, the three-and-under stuff doesn't apply. No more diapers, pacis, sticking play-dough in their mouths (hang on a sec while I rescue Bacon).....

Anyway, it's days like this that remind me I'm glad I have another sticky-faced rugrat crawling around, getting into everything, keeping me from making regular blog updates. I'm not ready to give up chubby cheeks, and chubby toes, and chubby... cheeks. Which reminds me...

I have a funny milestone I look forward to with each child, and now Bacon has fallen prey to... the ACCENT! Haha. It's just funny, because neither Lee nor I have a really strong Southern accent, me especially. But sooner or later, our children come down with a case of the drawls. I was sitting at the table, eating a scrumptious breakfast of apple and coffee (hey, it's swimsuit season, Y'ALL), feeding Bacon some eggs, and he started patting them (thank you Bible Class and the "Pat the Bible" song). I automatically responded with "You're making a mess!" To which my little myna bird drawled, "MAY-ETH!" (We're still working on teeth here. And hoping to get them in time to eat birthday cake in a few weeks.) It was another instant where I wished I had my camera, to capture the look of pride on his face. (It was a much nicer look than the one minutes earlier, when he was yelling, "WAN DA!" over and over again at his brother's eggs.)

Well, I must get back to the trenches. Much to do on this important day--and only half of us are dressed!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walker, Texas Ranger

Today marks a new stage in Bacon's life. First of all, he has become a TODDLER. Finally. Not that I necessarily wanted another sticky-fingered angel to chase around the house... But I did want him to be able to walk at his first birthday party. He took his first steps weeks, months ago, but he's now actually preferring to walk beside the objects he would have cruised along beside just days ago. So, walking... CHECK!

Also, he has become the newest bully in this family. You know how, when you have children close to the same age, and you tell the older one, "You just wait until he gets big enough to fight back!" That day has arrived for Bacon. He is now the attacker, not the attackee. I can be sitting near him as I was today, listening to Half-Pint read (from her new book, Cinderella III, Thank you, Gracie Gafford!) and notice Bacon is staring at Bean, who is not paying attention. When the slow smile begins forming on The Old Man's face... attack is imminent. Then he springs! Luckily (or unluckily at mealtime, anyway) Bacon STILL doesn't have any teeth, so I don't have to worry about bites just yet, but he sure can gum him to death. He's got the war cry, and he seems to know his best move is in using the center of his body mass to weigh Bean down, and then quickly wrapping his chubby little fist in Bean's hair and pulling with all his might! It looks like an actual wrestling match (as if I've ever seen one), especially when Bacon starts tapping his leg while he's got Bean pinned.

Oh, and Bacon's newfound mobility also means he has a new way of throwing a fit: heel lifts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A New Voice

Trace has discovered his inner banshee. He always used to growl at us when newly born. That eventually faded, but it wasn't that horrible when he did it. It was kind of soothing, even sweet. Now he screams.

And not just a normal scream, either. He has discovered how to force the air out over his vocal chords in such a way as to perfectly impersonate The Wicked Witch of the West. The kid is sitting in his crib at this very moment, actually, lodging a complaint in that scratchy, loud voice--"Aah, aah, aah, aah, aah!" Which, loosely translated, means, "No, I didn't give you permission to do that." It's nap time. No, I'm not letting him cry it out. I'm not even ferberizing him. Sometimes--when he's eaten too much at lunch time, usually--he's unable to self-soothe enough from nursing (in this case, his belly's already full, and he didn't want much), and he "asks" to be put down. Then he complains until he falls asleep (2-10 minutes, tops). It's not actual crying (after 3 kids, I know their tricks), and I know if I come pick him up, he'll actually become mad.

So, he's in his room. Screeching. He also screeches in a similar fashion, these days, when I'm feeding him. That time, it's a sharp, "Aaaaaah!" that most nearly means, "Faster, Minion!" (not to be confused with its alternate translation, "I'm losing my patience with you quickly, Mother," that comes as I'm attempting to snap the side of the diaper closed)

Don't get me wrong. I have said in the past--and I continue to say--that he is THE most laid-back baby I have ever had. He's sweet, and cuddly, and a complete joy to be around. And he's sleeping quietly now--now that he's had his say.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Foster Care

Lee and I are attending GPS classes. Okay, really I am, and Lee is at work, but eventually he might get to a few. I forget what GPS stands for, but it's foster care parenting training. We're working with a wonderful agency called AGAPE, and it's a good name. Because what these kids need is agape. These kids have been through so much. I've learned so much since we started, and there is always something new to learn.

For example, it never crossed my mind, when thinking about this good work that is at the very crux of my faith and beliefs... [some of? most of?] these children will NOT WANT to be in my home. No matter how kind and loving and supportive I try to be, they're just going to want Mommy and Daddy back together, in their old house. And while reunification is the number one goal, it's not always possible... but it won't keep the kids from wanting it, and trying to make it happen--which is where a lot of misbehavior comes from--trying to be bad, so they'll be sent back home.

Oh, so much to think about. I feel more enlightened, and yet, less knowledgeable, with each class, if that makes any sense. But this is something I am determined needs to be done, and I want to do it with all my heart. Your prayers would be highly appreciated.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bed's calling...

I am seriously considering burrowing back into my bed. Exhaustion like the early days of infancy is setting in. Trace has Roseola, and it has been a very, VERY long week. I apologize to those of you whose babies will shortly be contracting this. Apparently, infected children only seem to transmit the disease BEFORE they start showing symptoms. Oops. That would be Sunday. At church. You know, that place we see more people than we will see all week?

And there's also no way to treat it. It's a wirus, as my pediatrician calls it, and the only thing for it is to let it run its course. And run, and run, and run.... Not complaining, really. Trace is by and far a very healthy baby. But he sure picked a doozy. The fever period is over. That was the first three days. Now he has a rash, and still feels pretty lethargic and puny. That is supposed to last anywhere from "a few hours to a few days" (right).

Today is my nephew, Nathan's, first birthday party (I won't be going, obviously). He is a precious thing. I took him to get his pictures taken as a surprise to his workaholic mommy, my sister. That was an adventure. He has just discovered the joys of walking and cannot stand still for any length of time whatsoever. The picture I decided on blowing up to frame is of him peeking through the bars of a deck railing. I'm surprised Connie got that one. The very next shot on the CD shows him reaching out for his three-year-old monster, er, I mean sister (kidding, Melissa) and giving us a heart attack, thinking he's about to fall out!

Kids. They make life so much more interesting. I was at a hotel some time ago in Houston, eating in the restaurant for lunch with the kids, and came to realize all the tables surrounding me, perhaps the entire restaurant, was filled with young professionals, having--no, doing--lunch with colleagues. Their conversations were completely shallow and boring. I heard so much gossip about coworkers, so many useless business proposals that really did nothing at all to sell the products or programs they were pushing, and a LOT of complaining about dates. Poor yuppies, I couldn't help thinking. They look at me with pity and distaste for bringing three young children to their trendy watering hole and interrupting their highly important chatter with the incessant questioning of a three-year-old and the whining of an overstimulated infant.

And yet, my conversations--every day--were much more stimulating, more productive, and much healthier. Medical science has proven that laughter really IS the best medicine, and for me to be there with my children was stressful at times, but rather comical most of the time. I suddenly realized that all of those movies and television shows with their cynical humor aimed at showing parents as devoid of talking about anything but their children were misguided. Yes, if you talk to me longer than a couple of minutes at best, I WILL tell you the latest funny thing my kids did. But that doesn't make me less of a person. In fact, I now know, it makes me more.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Ramblings of a Cookie Craving

I have had another brainstorm. Prior to this moment, I have been at a loss as to when to do work on the computer that requires typing... I usually only get on the computer when I'm feeding Trace, and then I have to work one-handed, making typing difficult. If he's drowsy or too distracted (which is pretty much 95% of the time), typing--even one-handed--upsets him, so I'm usually limited to reading blogs and checking facebook. If there are any bills to pay, or research to be done, or (rarely, yes, I know) blogs to be written, they have to be done when I am childless and possessing two arms. That also rarely happens, and when it does, I feel guilty about being on the computer when there are clothes to fold and children to play with ....

I wonder, if I had the entire Internet community as an audience, how many thousands of mommies have already thought of this and would chuckle at my naivete (no, I don't know how to call up the menu of 'weird letters' to correctly write that French word--feel free to enlighten me, and I'll show you how to rebuild your motherboard). But here goes: I put the highchair in the schoolroom. I put Bacon in the highchair. And then.... (drumroll please) I FEED BACON WHILE I TYPE. (Right now he likes to gnaw on crackers between bites. I need to find some healthier crackers. Suggestions?)

Yes, yes, hold your applause. I have three kids. I don't always have these moments of clarity. Did I mention we just started classes to prepare us for foster care? My philosophy is if your life is crazy, make it crazier! Truthfully, foster care and adoption are two issues that have always been close to my heart. We want to eventually adopt a little girl to even out the score at Team Hollinghead, and when our kids are grown and we have more rooms (and carseats) to spare, I wouldn't mind being the next Charles and Noreta Willis! Those two are the best examples of James 1:27 that I can think of!

Now, if only that Girl Scouts lady would get back to me! I've been emailing her back and forth for almost a year now! I'm trying to start a younger troop in Opp for Sabre's age group. Anyone interested? And speaking of Girl Scouts... I NEED COOKIES!!! Where are the little girls who are supposed to be begging me to buy some? This is the second year in a row I have yet to see some cookie order forms, or girls standing outside of Wal-Mart.

People, that is your mission. Girl Scout Cookie Watch 2010. Let me know.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trace (excuse me, Three)

Certain ethnocentrists have decided my baby's name might perhaps be more "Americanized," so there you have it. Carlton Lee Hollinghead III, called Trace, or Three, by some... I call him Bacon. Or Old Man. Our poor children...

It's probably a good thing that Lee decided he wanted to recarpet instead of refinishing our 45 year old floors. They are accumulating an extra couple years' worth of scratches today. Trace has found out that a child-size chair makes the best walker EVER! You should see him. He's been cruising for a couple of weeks, but hasn't made any free-standing steps yet. But when he pulls up behind one of these chairs, WATCH OUT! I guess it won't be long 'till my nine-month-old old-man-child becomes part of the walking set.

After a brief intermission to rescue him from ingesting crayons (they're nontoxic, but he doesn't have teeth, so I guess I should take them away...), let me expound:

I've always thought of Trace as being an old man trapped in a littl'un's body. His mannerisms suggest a complacency that suggests 'grandfather'... not 'grandson'. But it's well and good that he's so adaptable, so easygoing. Being the youngest of three, it wouldn't do if he were the squeaky wheels his older siblings are. I'm just glad the other two are so in love with him. They appreciate his pudgy cheeks and slow grins as much as I do, so I know he'll never want for devotion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WOW.... 5 months already?

Well, I'm so sorry! Or, at least, I would be if I thought anybody had read this yet. What happened to make me stop blogging? Well, life, basically, but that's no excuse. Anyway, everyone I know is blogging SOMETHING now, so I guess it's time to jump on the bandwagon. Plus, I just watched Julie & Julia and I got the bug!

Since the last time I wrote, we've been to several different hotels that I haven't written about, and in a nutshell? The best restaurant servers are at the Houston Crowne Plaza on I-10, the best restaurant food is at Good Eats Grill at the Holiday Inn Intercontinental Airport Houston, the most comfortable beds are at the Courtyard by Marriot in Covington (Lousiana), the best rooms and best TVs can be found at the Hyatt in Dallas, the best pools (can you say waterpark?) are at the La Torretta Resort and Spa in Montgomery (Texas), and the best view and overall value award goes to Comfort Suites in Vidalia, Mississippi. However, our favorite place to go is "Curtis's house," a selection of the purtiest little cabins in Gatlinburg, Tennessee that you will ever see. We like to dream of owning one. Curt is pretty sure he does, and that he built it with a hammer, like Handy Manny. That boy... There you go. If you're travelling through any of those places, tell 'em Leigh sent ya! (Not really, they don't know me. They'll just look at you funny.)

What else happened? Oh, just a little scare called, "Surprise! Your husband's being deployed to Iraq!" and then, "No, just kidding!" Lee actually took the steps to request an exemption which was approved, and is now Honorably Discharged from the US Army. We are quite pleased, if you're wondering. Read: We threw a party within minutes of hearing. Did you come?

I'd also love to post some pictures of Sabre's schoolwork, so you all can see what we're working on these days--however, my scanner is sooooo much smarter than I am, so that's a work in progress... We're taking it easy, because I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. Next year, I'm going to get a curriculum that combines first and second grades because we were doing kindergarten AND first grade Math, English, and Reading this year. What she really could use work on is handwriting, but, hey, she comes by that rightly...