Friday, July 29, 2011

The Year of Ticks

I haven't had the nerve to post this picture and story, but recently I have heard of some other little boys having some nasty tick bites too. This is Josiah. We have all had ticks on us this year. In April and May it seemed we found a tick on someone just about every day. Recently we have not seen as many.

I removed this tick from Josiah about a week before Easter. That would have been about mid-April. There were 2 bites and the head of the tick broke off and I couldn't remove it. The bites were horribly itchy for Josiah. He would wake up crying and just claw himself when he woke up and throughout the day. I couldn't tell what was the bite and what was irritated from all the itching.

Looking at it now I'm sure I should have taken him to the Doctor much sooner, but on this particular morning the bull's eye was clear to me and I made an appointment immediately. The nurse practitioner looked at it and then called the Doctor and the student with her in to take a look at it. They presumed it was Lyme and saw no need to get blood work done. Josiah took Amoxicillin for 21 days and we put Bactriban ointment on the area until it cleared up.

It is completely healed now and he has not had any other symptoms.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Plan for Fall

I have avoided writing this post for long enough. It is time for some of the thoughts swirling around in my head to be put in writing and laid to rest!

Aliza is 5 years old and it is time for her to start kindergarten this fall. Jeremy and I have decided that the best fit for her and our family is to educate her at home.

Before I had children I never dreamed that I would consider home schooling. Jeremy and I started kicking around the idea when Aliza was 2. Over the years many dynamics have added to our decision to educate Aliza at home. Some of our reasons are more noble than others. The bottom line is that I am absolutely thrilled to give Aliza more time at home. I am thrilled to have her in my care and under our influence for the majority of her waking hours every day. I am also thrilled that my life is not yet going to be run by the school bell (that's one of those not-so-noble reasons!).

Yes, I'm thrilled and excited, on the other hand, I'm scared to death! I feel like I did at the end of my pregnancy with my first baby. I wanted that baby so bad and loved her to death already, but I was scared beyond belief. I had no idea what little personality she was going to have. I had no idea of the work load involved or how it would feel to lose sleep night after night. I also must remember that I had no idea of the depth of love I would have for her and how wonderfully rewarding motherhood is. Translate that into homeschooling and that's how I feel.

One thing that was initially important to me was to get connected with a group of other homeschooling Moms that could provide wisdom and support along the way. I met a Mom of four children who homeschools several years ago on a random trip to Barnes and Noble. We exchanged information and she has been very helpful and willing to answer all my questions. She told me about 3 umbrella groups in our area, all of which I tried to become a part of! One is full and the other two require church membership at their church to be a part of them. I admit I did develop a bit of a rejection complex for a few days. I'm over it though. There is a huge amount of freedom in homeschooling and I'm beginning to realize that it is more about your child learning in the safety and security of a loving family than about doing school the "right" way.

I have wonderful family and friends who will support and encourage me and Aliza along the way. I also have a husband who is looking for ways to be tangibly involved in school. It has truly amazed me what a positive response I have had from people of all walks of life when they find out Aliza will be home schooled.

I will be receiving Aliza's kindergarten curriculum in a few weeks. I've already reserved my spot in my parent's living room the night the boxes arrive so that I can look through all the books and DVDs in peace! Tonight I received a sequence of lessons by email and just looking at the topics for each day made me feel excited.

I'm passionate. I'm excited. I've got a little girl who is academically and developmentally ready for kindergarten. I don't think it is possible for us to fail!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To the Zoo to Meet Someone New

(I have permission from the parties involved to post these pictures!)

I had the privilege of meeting my little sister's boyfriend! We had a fun outing at the zoo and park together. I hope they thought it was fun too!
This is my sister, Linda, and Phil.

Josiah pushed the stroller. What a helpful big brother he is.

It was pretty warm, well, hot that day. The llama in the next picture agrees.

On a different topic completely, I opened Anna's door after I tucked her in tonight and there she was on her knees. I ran for my camera and Jeremy promptly lowered the crib mattress.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Heat

Extreme seasonal weather. I finally made myself feel better this week when I realized that in the winter we have snow and sometimes lots of it and in the summer we have heat waves. But when it is snow there is something to show for it--pretty pictures of snow piling up. Heat is not pretty. Heat with intense humidity is even less pretty. That's where we are at. We are sweating it out here on the East Coast.

This is the window air conditioner unit in our bedroom. It is registering its temperature at 80 degrees. Let's just say Jeremy is researching ductless air conditioning as I write this. We need to do something.

It is impossible to beat this heat, but here are some things we have done this week to survive the heat.A beach in our backyard! This was great fun for the 2 days before it got so hot that we just could not be outside.

Curious George is great. The kids at the end of the show gave us this idea for a project. We traced Aliza's body and then she felt her own body and drew in the bones that she felt. She had some ideas from watching the kids on Curious George do it like a big bone in the head where the brain is and 3 bones in the fingers etc. It got a little carried away at the end when she was making dots in the nose and saying "and these are the boogers that we pick out." Then she colored in the whole body and we hung it on the wall to show Daddy.

Another day we we made a tent and Aliza and Josiah went camping in it.

Today Jeremy's aunt and uncle invited us to come over to swim since another aunt and uncle were visiting. It took us about 2 seconds to decide that swimming was something we definitely wanted to do. Great Uncle Buzz has a particular affection for Anna. She was in his arms just about right away. When Jeremy took Anna out to the pool Buzz was ready to introduce her to the water. This was Anna's first time in a pool. She was incredible relaxed.

Aliza really enjoyed the water too. This was the first time she was willing to be in a floatie my herself. She took a nap this afternoon....

Josiah, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the water.

He tried out the squirt gun, but got frustrated with it. It was a bit heavy and cumbersome for him to handle. He preferred to hang out with his Great Uncle Phil. They checked out Buzz's tractors and read the newspaper together. When we came in for lunch Anna drank a bottle and she and her Great Uncle Buzz took a nap.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Anna--8 Months

Anna gets anywhere she wants to go now! She has a swim motion army crawl down to a science. There is no need for her to figure out a normal hands and knees crawl she is very efficient doing it her own way! She does rock on her hands and knees and can almost get to a sitting position from crawling. Here she is getting in to things:

Found the crayons. There are black crayon marks on her cheeks.

Reaching up as high as she can to reach the magnets.

She got herself into these floaties. I'm not quite sure how she managed to do that. She looks a little surprised herself.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On Josiah

Josiah had some memorable moments recently:

I love the mix of gender colors and how it did not bother Josiah at all.
I am 2 for 2 on having extremely extended potty training experiences. Josiah has the peeing part down pretty well. He hasn't gotten the getting-redressed-after-you-pee-part down very well. Pooping is another story altogether. It hasn't happened on the potty yet. This morning he needed to poop and came asking me for his pants. I said, "No way! Go sit on the potty!" He ran exclaiming how he would get his grinder if he pooped on the potty. He sat there and I checked on him. With the biggest puppy dog eyes he says, "Mommy, will you push for me?" And with all the compassion that only a Mommy can feel I tell him that I wish I could, but there is no possible way for me to do that for him. Then he says, "But, Mommy, the poop is scared to come out." Awww.
After supper he wanted to wear one of Aliza's princess costumes to be a superhero. She has a white dress with puffy sleeves and lace around the neckline that has a red cape with it. That was his superhero costume. It soon turned into a fire fighter costume. Later, he showed me that the white dress had gotten some ketchup on it. I took it off and he told me that he was going to put it in the dryer. The dryer had some clothes in it and so I told him to put it in the "other dryer." He did and turned it on. Josiah came running back in to the living room saying, "Liza, I put your dress in the wet dryer."

Josiah crawls into bed with us every morning and promptly falls back asleep, but only after he wedges his feet between my legs or under my hip. If I try to give myself a bit of space he scoots right over and snuggles back in. I try to smile inside and remember that this won't be forever.

At mealtimes he sits beside me. He scoots his chair smack dab against mine. He would be happy if I held him, but that is not a possibility. At lunch today he was touching my shoulder and then wanted to touch my hair. He wasn't getting away with it, but then he looked appreciatively at my messy stay-at-home ponytail and said, "Mommy, your hair looks great."

For as challenging as 3 year olds are they sure are cute and loveable!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2nd Honeymoon--Day 3

On our 3rd morning I don't think either one of us could hardly fathom that we had another day to fill before we traveled home. There were a couple interesting possibilities for the day and we weren't sure what we wanted to do. We decided to go to a lake and State Park. As we had been doing, we followed Jeremy's iphone GPS app for directions. It seemed like we were consistently taking the long way over back roads, but this time it was certain. We were directed to a dirt road that ultimately led to a Danger sign saying the road was closed. We turned around and tried again.

We found the lake and it turned out to be a bit disappointing. There was only a paved path along the lake.
We were hungry and Jeremy found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommended on Yelp. They served breakfast all day which suited me just fine!

This is the largest omelet I have ever attempted to eat. It was yummy!

Since the lake was a bit disappointing we decided to visit our other option for the day, a Natural Bridge. The natural marble bridge spans the Hudson Brook over a 60 foot deep gorge. This was an area that we really enjoyed walking around--or climbing around.

A marble dam.
This is the bridge. It took a few trips "around the block" to realize that this was the bridge we were looking for! haha.

Later that afternoon Jeremy wanted to go golfing again. This time he just played 9 holes and, you guessed it, I took up my position on the couch!

That evening we went down to the pool. The only other people there was a family with 3 children who appeared to be very close in age to our children. The mom was even holding a baby. I could hardly stop looking at them. Jeremy asked me if I was ready to start driving home that night. I said the thought had crossed my mind. We didn't, but it was good to know we were both ready to go home to our family.

Later, I tried to watch a movie with Jeremy. He chose Date Night. It did not entertain me at all. Maybe I was just ready to go home. I was a bad date that night. I didn't finish watching it. Movies and I just don't get along very often.

Sunday morning we headed home. I couldn't wait to see Aliza, Josiah and Anna. Aliza jumped in my arms and hung on. Josiah wasn't sure he wanted us to be home. He told Daddy right away that he and Grandpa trimmed some trees and found a "snake hole." Then he started running circles around the house begging for Daddy to grab him in a big hug. I kissed Anna's cheeks for as long as I wanted to. =) It sure seemed like she waved to me from Grandma's arms. I'm pretty sure she is too little to wave, but there have been several times since that I'm almost sure she has waved. Otherwise, no developmental milestones occurred while we were away.

Our first evening at home was not easy. Aliza and Josiah were not fun. At all. But the next morning everyone settled quickly back into routine. I'm happy to be home. I'm also happy for the wonderful memories that Jeremy and I have of our extended time alone. I've also been frequently thinking about those hours I had to myself on the couch!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2nd Honeymoon--Day 2

Jeremy and I enjoyed a botanical gardens in Vancouver Island, BC on our first honeymoon so when we saw there was a local botanical gardens in Berkshire we thought it would be a fun stop. Nothing can rival the colors in Vancouver Island, but we enjoyed the colors here and the walk was very pretty.

(Someone took a lot of pictures of me.)

Later that afternoon Jeremy wanted to go golfing again. I felt more like doing nothing so Jeremy left me at the resort and went golfing. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely. He played 18 holes. I took a nap, read, and watched TV while I cross-stitched. I was settled comfortably on the couch for the best of 6 hours that afternoon and evening. I was a complete bum and I smile at the memory now. It was most lovely.

Monday, July 18, 2011

2nd Honeymoon--Day 1

We went to Massachusetts for our anniversary trip. Less then an hour from Albany, New York. It qualifies as "in the mountains" for us East Coast United States folks. In fact the resort that we stayed in is a ski resort in the winter.

Our trip was dubbed a 2nd honeymoon by Aliza after she read the Bearenstain Bear book A Week at Grandma's House. The cubs stay with their grandparents while Ma and Pa go on a "2nd Honeymoon." Aliza asked if Daddy and I had ever gone on a 2nd Honeymoon--a perfect opening to tell her that she was going to stay with Grandma and Grandad for 2 nights and then with Grandma and Grandpa for 2 nights. It also worked out well because she seemed to think that a 2nd honeymoon was a destination so I didn't have to tell her exactly how far away we were going.

I shed a few tears when we left. When I hugged Anna I couldn't help it. Aliza was crying too. But that stopped quickly and she was fine the whole time we were gone. I was fine too! Quite fine, in fact!

The first day happened to be our official anniversary. The last several years we have gone golfing on our anniversary so we kept up the tradition. This was the first year that I golfed too. It is far easier to golf when one is not 30+ weeks pregnant. I was pretty much horrible. Jeremy only got mad at me once for not trying. =) It was a gorgeous day and I enjoyed being outside. The course was nice and I enjoyed the views of the mountains.

Jeremy scouted out a nice restaurant several weeks before we left. It was very nice. The food was really good. We ate every bite....figured we better get our money's worth!

The "official" anniversary picture!

More to come...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Years Later...

(I thought I had Blogger figured out on how it uploads pictures, but it must have changed. My pictures are all out of order!)

We are home from our anniversary trip which you will hear much more about in the upcoming days. First I must backtrack just a bit. A close friend of mine got married 2 weeks before me and she started talking about wanting to put her wedding dress on for her 10th anniversary. After a couple conversations I caught the vision and really wanted to put my dress on. My fantasy was to actually walk down the aisle of the church we got married in, but that didn't happen this year. Maybe another time!

One night about 6 weeks ago, I locked our bedroom door and got my dress out. I put it on and confirmed my suspicion that there was no way that dress was going to zip up. A couple weeks later I took it to my Mom's house and she and Janell trip to zip it--unsuccessfully. I left it at Mom's house and on July 4th when we were there I realized it was the last time Jeremy would be at Mom's before our anniversary. So late in the evening, with no pre-planning, I pulled out my wedding dress. With much sucking in, squeezing and sheer determination Jeremy zipped my dress. It is not an exaggeration to say that I could not breathe. It is also not an exaggeration to say that I was grinning from ear to ear. I was so incredibly excited. And I sure do wish that Jeremy had brought his camera that evening....

Aliza and Josiah both wanted to marry me. They insisted on "walking down the aisle" around the house. I mentioned it was late in the evening. They had to take impromptu baths at Grandma's house because they got so dirty outside. Since it was impromptu they are wearing Grandma's t-shirts because their Mommy didn't bring extra clothes!

10 years later I can remember how much I loved that dress and how perfect it was for our wedding. I have no memory of how heavy it was! I also did not remember how huge a semi cathedral train is. I did remember all those tiny buttons all way down the back including the train. That is what I wanted and my Mom patiently shopped with me until I found it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting ready to embark on a 10th anniversary adventure!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Digging Potatoes

(I'm distracted. Josiah is begging me to read the instructions that come with tampons. From the pictures he has figured out that it must be something you put on your leg and he informed Aliza that Mommy will not read the paper. Now I will discard that paper and no longer be distracted.)

On to far less interesting topics! Friday the children helped Great Grandad harvest potatoes. What fun that was!
Harvesting potatoes is like hunting for Easter eggs. Everyone exclaimed when they found one.
They also found some overgrown zucchinis.

It wasn't long before Caleb and Josiah wanted to be able to dig too.