Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Today Finally Caught Up With Tomorrow

This morning I had some errands to run, so I asked my mom if the kids could play with her, as that would be a lot more enjoyable for them than running around with me. She had me meet her at a splash pad, and Keith and Faye had the time of their lives!

They were so water logged and sunburned by the time I finished my errands, they looked wretched. Especially since I didn't know they were going to a splash pad, and so they were wearing their street clothes.

Faye lucked out, though. She had chosen to wear a dress with a tank top and shorts underneath it, so to play in the water, she simply removed the dress and ran around to her heart's content, while Keith trudged along with his heavy wet clothes hanging off his body.

And then we went to a different park. I had a meeting, and we had decided it would be easiest to just meet there and let the kids talk while we had out meeting. So again, they were out in the sun. By the time we got home, we were all exhausted and ready to collapse. Specifically Vince. He did not like having to run all those errands with me instead of cozy up in his little bed, all day.

We were so sun soaked and energy sapped, we all heaved an enormous sigh of gratitude when we walked into our tepid house. Vince fell asleep nearly instantly. Beth and I laid down in my bed, me trying to get her to sleep, and her, fighting it. I turned on the show I had been watching while cleaning, which is The Secret Garden, figuring it would bore her to sleep. Keith and Faye came in and joined us in watching the show. Beth quickly fell asleep, and the rest of us just sprawled, soaking up the cool air around us, grateful to be out of the heat.

Dinner time came, and no one wanted to cook. We were too hot, and the thought of going into that cramped dungeon of a kitchen didn't exactly put a spring in my step. So it became a YOYO night. You're On Your Own.

My kitchen has been a thorn in my side since we moved here. I love that I have my own kitchen, and I get to do what I want in it and with it, but frankly, it is too small, and too dark. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the previous owners would want to paint all of the cupboards black and the walls a deep red. In a large kitchen with lots of natural light, that might look good. But in my minuscule kitchen, it makes the whole thing feel cramped and unwelcoming. Considering I typically spend at least half of my day in there, if not more, you can see why it might drive someone mad.

Because of this, I have had big plans for my kitchen. I got some paint, and I was all ready to go, and then I got pregnant and sick. So, instead of actually working on my kitchen, I made plans and dreams. Some of the things I want to do will probably never happen, and that is okay. I can keep those dreams in my Tomorrow land, and when Today catches up with Tomorrow, maybe I will finally be able to make those changes. Such as knocking out the false ceiling and replacing the lighting. Or adding a bay window to the window above the sink, since it is so small and not much light gets through right now.

One of my Tomorrow dreams was to fix the counter. The previous owners had painted the under the counter cupboards black. I detest it. I have wanted to get some bead board to put under there, just to add a bit of dimension, or interest, and then paint it. And then, Today caught up with Tomorrow, and Adrienne found some bead board on KSL Classifieds for free. I just had to go and pick it up! I could not believe my luck. I texted the lady, fully expecting it to be gone, but it was all there, and I was able to go and pick it up, and now I have my bead board and I just need to get it measured, cut, and attached. Which shouldn't be too hard to do, right?

While I was picking up the board, I decided to go visit the dairy. I don't go often, because it is so far away, but I figured, since I was already up in that area, I might as well stop by and see if I could get some cream to make butter to go along with my bread. When I arrived a sign was posted saying they no longer did that, and if we really wanted some milk, we could go to their store in town. What an unfortunate thing to do for this little community. But no matter, because I got to go on a lovely drive out into the country, and the sunset was spectacular!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beware of the dough it creeps and leaps...

I love fresh baked bread. I love the comforting and copacetic feeling that comes when the house is full of the aroma of bread in the oven. I think if love had a smell, it would smell a bit like the woods in the Autumn, the salty goodness of the sea, the freedom of the mountains and a whole lot of fresh baked bread.

I haven't made any since I got pregnant with Vince, and that is a real shame, because we have really been suffering with the meager specimen offered in stores. But Jeffrey must have carbs, so bravely he soldiered on, full of the insubstantial store bought bread, telling me he didn't care so much, as long as he had bread. But I know the truth. MY bread is infinitely better, and does a much better job of keeping him filled, and his taste buds happy. And when Jeffrey is happy, it makes me happy.

Because of my apparent bread snobbery {homemade is best}, I was invited to teach bread making to the women in my ward next Tuesday, so I decided I should probably pull out the Bosch and get back into the swing of things. I have only ever made freshly ground whole wheat bread, and decided this time around, I would put a spin on things and see how my recipe holds up with white flour. Because I just know someone is going to ask if my recipe works with white. I just know they are. This is for you, white bread lovers.

Thus far I am not impressed. 

Granted, it may be a bit of my own doing. I should have known better.

I went into this, thinking in the back of my mind that I would probably need some dough enhancer. But my dough enhancer is rather old. I haven't used it since I discovered this bread recipe. So I resolved to attempt the recipe, as it is written, without any aids to the dough. If it turns out terribly, Jeffrey and the kids will happily eat it, and I can begin again, as soon as it is gone. And at the rate they eat bread, it will only take a few days.

I mixed everything up as I was supposed to. I added enough flour so that it was pulling away from the sides cleanly, and let it knead for about ten minutes. Like I always do. I took the Bosch mixer off the machine, and dumped the dough onto my freshly oiled counter...

...and it oozed out, like some sort of primordial goo.

Things escalated quickly. I grabbed some flour, dumped it on the dough and attempted to knead it by hand. Except it sucked my hands into its belly, obviously intending to keep me there 'till the end of time, and only let go with a lot of pulling and loud squelching sounds was I able to eventually free myself. Of course, I began to sing while adding more flour. And more, and more, eventually losing count of how much I had added.

Beware of the blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the blob.

When my hands were finally free, they were so covered in dough, that any attempt I made to release them only caused more dough to attach itself to my sticky claws. 

Rinse and repeat.

This went on for a good half hour.

Eventually, I got the dough off my fists, was able to knead the Blob into submission and a satiny sumptuous lump was ready to be divided, put into pans, rise, and then bake.

While waiting for the dough to rise and bake, the best thing to do is blog, obviously.

Honestly, I had my reservations. But a lovelier loaf of bread you never did see. It is quite a shame that it is so late and dark right now. I wish I could get a decent photo of it to show, because I am quite pleased with the turnout. And my house smells heavenly! I am considerably tempted to put the kettle on, cut myself a slice, and have a bedtime snack of tea and bread nearly too gorgeous to eat. With a book, of course. Quite frankly, the dough tastes as yummy as it looks and smells. Color me impressed! This recipe really is the most versatile, fool-proof bread recipe I have ever made!

For anyone interested, this is my recipe, or rather my sister's recipe that I have adapted. And for the record, next time I make it with white flour, I will add the dough enhancer.

Whole Wheat Bread
5 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 Tbsp yeast
2/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
2 Tbsp salt
10 c whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, oil, honey and salt. In that order. The oil will help the honey leave the measuring cup. The honey will help the yeast rise, and salt kills yeast, so it is important to have the honey in before adding the salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes so yeast can proof. Add 5 cups flour, and using the spring loaded position on your mixer, pulse the flour into the wet mixture. Once it is mixed in, keep adding flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You want it to be a little sticky, as that will provide softer bread, but you don't want it to be so sticky it doesn't knead properly. Let knead for 10 minutes.
While dough is kneading, prepare the pans. Using Crisco, butter, or oil (not spray oil), thoroughly grease bread pans. Set aside. Oil counter, hands, and rolling pin. Remove dough from pan into a large lump. Cut into 5 equal sections, and one by one, give a quick rectangular flatten with the rolling pin, and then roll the bread, pinching and tucking the ends beneath. Place bread in greased pan. Repeat 4 more times. For a softer crust, brush tops of dough with oil. Cover with warm damp cloths, away from drafts and let rise 1/3, or 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. When dough has risen, remove cloth and place in oven for 8 minutes. Then, without opening the door, lower temperature to 350 for 28-32 minutes. When bread is finished, remove and immediately apply a thin butter to tops of bread. This will help it maintain a beautiful glossy sheen. Let sit 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on cooling racks. Once bread has cooled, cover and store.

*Using oil instead of flour to prevent sticking is better for the bread. In the mixer it arrived at the perfect density. Adding flour toughens the bread. Using oil helps to soften the crust, and keep the bread soft and fluffy.
**Rising times may vary depending on the temperature, humidity in the air, etc.
***Place large roasting pan on bottom rack of oven, half full of water. The water will keep the oven moist while the bread is baking, thus keeping it from drying out.
****Because this bread has no preservatives, it should be eaten quickly. We have never had it go bad, but that is because it disappears so quickly at my house. The bread freezes very well, though.

And there you have it! My favorite bread recipe with all of the little tricks and tips I have learned along the way. The great thing about this particular recipe is that it works everywhere. My sister has made it at an elevation of 8,000' as well as 82'. She said it turns out great every time, regardless of the elevation, which is wonderful news when it comes to bread baking! 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Living

School is out now. The last day of school was interesting. Faye was sad because it was her last day, and Keith was feigning sickness to get out of going. What?! Who tries to get out of going on the last day of school? Everyone was awake by six that morning, and so I told them that if they were all the way ready before seven, then Keith could have a pizza to eat all by himself {the dream!} and Faye could have an ice cream cone from Macey's. Both were thrilled with their respective rewards. Keith got ready before seven, and Faye, as usually, was rushing around searching for her shoes as we were walking out the door. I really don't know what that girl does in the mornings, but while she wakes up early, she just has a hard time getting herself into gear and getting things done.

After dropping the kids off at school, I met up with Adrienne and Annie to go walking down a beautiful trail near our houses. Half way down, though, Keith called me from the school saying that he was sick. I tried really hard to talk him into staying, telling him that he wouldn't be getting that pizza if he was sick. Not as a punishment, but because if he was sick, I wouldn't want him to get even sicker, and if he came home from school, he would obviously be sick. He insisted that I come get him, so I turned back from the walk and picked up Keith. And since there were only 20 minutes of school left for Faye, I checked her out early. On the sign out book, it asks for the reason I was checking her out, I simply wrote "because." Because I didn't really need a reason to check her out early on the last day of school.

Adrienne and Annie were watching Beth and Vince at the park, and as we pulled up to the park, Faye jumped out, and Keith lingered in the van. Suddenly, from the back seat I heard, "Oh, that was silly of me. I think I just have growing pains. I'm fine. Can I go play at the park?" Sigh!

We got out to go get the other kids, and as soon as I got there, or rather, five minutes after we had been there, Beth began walking towards me as if she had just slipped off a saddle she had been riding all night long. That funny legs apart and slightly hunched down walk. "I had an accident, Mommy," she said. At that point, I was just done with the park. There were too many signs saying that is was time to no longer be there. So we went home.

Keith got inside and went to the bathroom where he let out a house shaking "bum burp" (as my kids call them). And then he said "Mom! I am all better! My stomach doesn't hurt at all anymore!" I laughed. I wish we had figured that out earlier, but what could we do? Keith and Faye then spent the rest of the day outside playing with their friends, and I was so happy to hear the laughter and squeals and the occasional shout from the back yard. I want our house to be the house where all the friends go. I worry a bit that some of these kids that come over, who are four years older than Keith, are just using my kids for their trampoline, but if it doesn't bother my little ones, I shouldn't let it bother me, I suppose.

I am loving having them home with me! We have a rule that there is one day each week where electronics of every kind are banned because I don't want my kids to spend their summer inside. Summer should be full of exploring, sunburns, messy hair, the smell of water on burning pavement, and so many popsicles. Summer should be lived out of doors! And since Keith has a tendency to spend his days inside, I am going to enforce an outdoor day. Also, they are not allowed on the computer until after they have read. And they are only allowed to be on the computer for however long they read. This way, I hope to help them keep up their creativity and keep their wits sharp. We are going to make a bucket list today, so I am thrilled to no end for the possibilities of their imaginations!

Speaking of reading, this weekend I was feeling very blah, and so I dove, head first into reading. I read five books this weekend! It was glorious. I do need to tone it down a bit, though. Except I have two books on hold at the library, and I have two more on my bookshelf that I am dying to read, so we will see how long this step back from reading will actually be. Maybe I will be able to pace myself and read in moderation? {Ha! I guess if I haven't learned how to read in moderation by now, I probably will never learn.}

While reading a book to Beth, there were pictures of lobster in it. They were cutesie lobsters. Beth asked what they were, and I told her. "Lobster," I said. "Monster," she said. We went back and forth about lobster vs monster for a while me trying so hard to help her say lobster, but she just couldn't say it. I laughed. It was adorable. Then yesterday, Jeffrey was playing Be A... with her. He said "Be a lobster," and she put her hands up in monster claws, and ran stomping around the room yelling "Rawr!" I laughed so hard! And then of course, had to explain to Jeffrey that she thinks lobsters are monsters.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beth's Eyes

Beth is my child who keeps me on my toes the most. She is accident prone, and loves danger. Like knives in the outlet kind of danger. I know this, because I have caught her with a knife aimed at the outlet several times. Last week, I found a toothpick shoved into one, and the socket cover was on the floor next to it. Sigh. That means that either I forgot to put it back on when I was finished vacuuming, or someone is getting quite good at maneuvering past my safety measures.

This week, the poor girl really lived up to her fame of being the accident prone child. On Wednesday I went to the park with my friend. she has a daughter a few weeks older than Beth. And of course, Taelyn was there, playing with them and having a grand old time. I had just finished changing Vince's diaper when I heard her start to cry. As a rule, I let my kids come to me when they cry, because usually they aren't all that hurt. But when Beth began to walk towards me, her eyes squeezed tight, a fingernails on the chalkboard sort of wail forcing its way into the shards of my heart that it was breaking, I handed Vince to my friend, and ran to Beth, narrowly saving her from walking straight into the drinking fountain.

Her eyes were caked with sand. I have no idea how she got so much sand in her eyes! I laid her on the grass, and happily, Annie had come prepared with a water bottle. she quickly unscrewed the top, and I poured it into Beth's eyes, and then wiped the sand away with a wet wipe. Because moms are prepared! But good grief, that sand did NOT want to come out! And then, once I got one eye clear, she would rub it with her sand covered hands, and then I would have to work on that eye again! It was such a traumatic moment for her.

The next day she wanted to play outside with Faye and Brynlee, and but the sun was bright and I worried about her sweet scandinavian skin being scorched, so I pulled out the sunscreen. I told her to close her eyes tight, and guess what? She somehow got sunscreen in her eyes. Even worse, I had done her face last, so there was already sunscreen on her hands, so when she tried to rub her eyes... yeah, you get the picture. It wasn't a pleasant moment for her. However, I did notice that the sunscreen in her eyes did help to cry out some of the sand that I had missed.

I sincerely hope that she isn't going to have eye problems because of this week!

And then there was Friday. We went to the bird park, and it was lovely.

She did briefly get some sand in her eyes again (go figure) but that wasn't bad at all, and within moments, she was up and playing again. But, afterwards, we went to Arctic Circle. All three of my mobile children ran to the play area and began playing while Jeffrey was ordering and I was trying to comfort Vince and get him to stop crying. Suddenly, I heard a wail. The same wail as the sand in the eyes on Wednesday wail. I sighed and hurried back to see what the problem was.

Beth had fallen, face first, down the stairs of the play area. She had a huge purple bruise on her forehead, and she was bleeding out of her mouth. I left her and ran Vince to Jeffrey, and then ran back. I felt bad for leaving her, but I couldn't do anything while I was holding Vince! A kind family who was sitting in the play area got a bag of ice for her, and once Beth had calmed down a little, a worker brought out an ice cream cone for her, so all in all, it wasn't that bad. The ice helped immensely, and by the time we had gotten home, there was only slight discoloration. Her lip, however, didn't hold out so well. Because it was on the underside and top of her gums, I couldn't get her to keep ice on it, and it is still swollen. The girl has a fat lip that may stay for a few days yet.

I really hope I can keep this girl out of trouble and unscathed into adulthood!

Faye's Day

At the kids' school they have a thing called Community Circle. It is a chance for the other grades (and parents!) to see what a particular grade has been working on. They do one each month, and this past Friday was the Kindergarten's turn.

It was as adorable as it sounds.

They all got new matching bee shirts, and they got to sit in front of the whole school. Foolishly, the teachers thought it would be a good idea to put Faye front and center.

Man alive, I have never seen a more wiggly child! She was so excited that all her grandparents would be there, and that she got to do two parts! She wiggled and bounced her legs. She tucked her ankles behind the legs of the chair, gripped the sides of it tightly, and made the chair dance, inadvertently teaching all the other children near her how to make their chairs dance as well. When we all stood for the pledge, she shot out of her chair like it was on fire. Amidst all her squiggles and wiggles, I turned to my mother and asked her if I was that wiggly as a child. "Almost," she chuckled, "but no one is as wiggly as Faye."

And then, can you imagine it? 72 little 6 year old children teaching us all about bees with song, monologue, and dance. I heard one of the teachers comment that those little kids knew more about bees than she had ever dreamed it possible for a person to know.

And they are knowledgeable. You can ask Faye anything about bees, and she knows the answer. It is rather astounding, really.

After Community Circle we went to her classroom and she showed us her portfolio. Then the art room to see her lovely painting. And then she got to come home with me. Early. Earlier than early out day. She was so excited!

Because it was such a lovely day, we decided to go on an adventure. The temperature was just right, and it was overcast outside. How could we not?! We drove down to what the kids call the bird park, but is really a quite lovely aviary. And it was delightful! Faye was ecstatic!

This day was her day completely. The best bit of the whole thing was when my allergies didn't bother me at all, the whole time. I sat next to some lovely yellow roses and some snap dragons while I fed Vince, watching the bees fly in and out of the blossoms, and not one sneeze tickled my nose, or one itch bothered my eyes.

It was glorious! Especially knowing in the past I would have been a complete basket case with the itching and watery eyes, the sneezing, and the killjoy of wanting to leave immediately because of the misery I was experiencing. On Friday, however, we stayed until the park closed.

The kids wanted to go out to eat, but I had food in the crockpot, so we decided to just go home, to the kids despair. However, Vince sobbed the whole way home, and finally, when we were nearing home, we just couldn't take it anymore and pulled into an Arctic Circle so the kids could play, and so Vince could be happy. He was NOT having any more of that car seat, so help him!

Because we had been out on Friday, we had decided to not go anywhere on Saturday. Except in the middle of the night I got an email telling me that my book was at the library! And so, Saturday morning dawned and I made plans to go to the library. My day did not go how I had planned, however. Keith was sick. He spent the complete day in my bed, and fluctuated between sleep and moaning. Faye begged and begged to come with me to the library, so once I got Vince fed and his diaper changed, Faye and I left.

While we were checking out our mountain of books (because of course, I couldn't just get the ones that were on hold for me. Who does that?), we saw a sign that reminded me the book sale was going on at that moment! The library was selling their books! Of course, we couldn't resist going down and snagging a few more. I have to say, I made out like a bandit!

I love the author John Christopher. I discovered him when I was a kid, and became fascinated with his science fiction.

He wrote the Tripod books, among others. I knew that they were scarce, as I had tried to check them out of the library in the past, and there was only one copy of the complete series! But, when I walked through those doors, the first book I saw was Mandy by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews. She is a fantastic children's author), but since we already own that book, I scanned the next shelf down, and about lost it. There, on that same shelf, were 6 books by John Christoper, among them, A Dusk of Demons, my favorite book of his!

Faye and I found a few more must haves and then moved over to the music section. I found the complete works of Rachmaninoff, who happens to be my favorite composer, and then, I found Vivaldi's Four Seasons. And I became as giddy as a school girl. Just last week I was asking Jeffrey how it was possible for us to not own the Four Seasons? I had decided I would buy it, and here it was, for only $0.50! I felt like I had just won the lottery. Faye and I sat down to count our books and figure out how much it was going to cost us, since I had a good chunk of the Children's section in my arms. As we sorted through our books, that precious child of mine completely blew me away.

She had picked out 5 books. One for Keith, two for her, and two for Beth. And she was planning on buying it all with her own money. That girl has a heart of gold, she does! Just last week she had gone on a date with Jeffrey, and they ended up at Barnes and Noble (I am seeing a pattern here, and think we may have a slight addiction to books). While there, she found a book that Keith would like, and was perfectly happy to get him a book, and not one for herself. Jeffrey did find one on dinosaurs that she instantly fell in love with, but in all honesty, she would have been happy without a book at all.

That little girl of mine just makes me proud and happy over and over! I am so happy that she and I were able to spend so much time together this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tea Time with Ted E. Bear

Today was a lovely day. I expected to be dead on my feet since Vince had a rough night last night, but I was incredibly surprised by my energy and lack of a need for a nap. You see, yesterday I woke up with a migraine again. I tried taking some medicine for it, but it didn't help. And so, after a few more hours dealing with the pain, knowing I would soon have sole responsibility of 6 kids, I gave in and self medicated with a caffeinated drink. It did the trick and got rid of the migraine, which was very important for my (and all 6 kids) survival. However, it caused problems for Vince, and he didn't sleep well because of it, which means, I barely slept at all, either. Which is why it is so surprising that I had such a lovely day! Granted, I didn't get any of my big plans done, but that isn't what is important. I did the important things, and it felt good.

Last night I stayed up late cleaning my kitchen and living room. I always feel so much better when those two rooms are clean. And then, while the dishes were washing in the dishwasher, I baked some cookies. My favorite kind, and I haven't had them since we moved here, so it was well past time to make them. Oatmeal cookies, but made with cloves and allspice and cinnamon. And the way they just melt in your mouth, and saturate the air with that spicy sweet smell, is just wonderful! I closed all the windows, trying to trap that smell in my house.

The kids woke up, Beth first, traipsing into my room, her curls creating a honey colored halo around her head, maddeningly speaking through her binki. She loves to be my little messenger and wake the other kids for school while I am feeding Vince.

Of course, we had cookies for breakfast.

Of course.

When Faye got home from school, she was thrilled. It was finally her turn to be the helper, which meant that she got to take the Ted E. Bear friend home with her. Which meant we needed to come up with some activities for her to do with it before she had to take him back tomorrow. She took him to piano lessons with her,

and then we decided we would have a tea party with the little bear. When Keith got home from school, of course.

And so we had a tea party. As I was pouring the tea for everyone, Keith happened to look at the clock.

Tea Time!

The kids and I laughed at how appropriate it was to be having our tea right then and there, as that is the proper time for tea anyway, according to Animaniacs, and all the other cartoons they have watched.

We chatted and drank our tea, and they were allowed one cookie each, as Jeffrey was on his way home from work, and I have seen their appetites be spoiled by treats before dinner. I love Tea Time with my kids. It is the perfect setting and opportunity to teach them about manners. While we were eating and chatting, Faye was leaning into her hands, both elbows propped up onto the table. And then a song I had learned years ago at girl's camp burst from my lips, before I even realized what I was singing.

to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It
"Get your elbows off the table, Faye dear
Get your elbows off the table, Faye dear
Get your elbows off the table, this is not a horse's stable
Get your elbows off the table Faye dear.

A new tune, but I don't know what it belongs to
Stand up, Stand up, Stand up and show us your face, your face!
Stand up, stand up, stand up and show us your face.

to the tune of London Bridges
Round the table you must go, you must go, you must go
Round the table you must go, my dear Faye-oh!"

The kids thought it was the best thing ever, and tried to get caught after that. Beth was my favorite as she would catch herself, climb down from the stools around the table, skip around and sing it to herself. Over and over and over, like only a two year old can do. As we dined, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more birdsong than usual, coming from outside. It was beautiful to listen to the chirps mingle with the laughter of my precious, goofy children.

I think Ted E. Bear must have enjoyed tea with us!

And then the night got busy! Dinner, dance, scouts, clean up, bedtime, etc. All while Vince was very unhappy. I think his tummy is hurting him today as he has been very fussy. I can't think what I could have eaten that would bother him so much. Possibly the caffeine? But I had caffeine his whole pregnancy, and I've had it since he was born, and he hasn't been this bad. I'll figure it out, I'm sure. Just so long as it isn't those wonderful cookies, because they really are the best ever!

And then bedtime happened as if out of a story book. First Beth brushed her teeth and got her jammies on. Jeffrey helped her with her prayers and then layed down with her, telling her the story of her first two years of life. While he did that, I was reading with Faye. When it was time to pick up Keith from Scouts, Jeffrey left and I stayed with the girls. Beth came out of her room and I read them two stories. By the time I was finished, Beth was nearly asleep and she climbed onto my back while I crawl carried her back to her room, tucked her in, and she was out as her head hit the pillow. And then Faye only needed me to read one more story to her before she, too, wanted to go to bed.

Vince woke up, which put a hiccup in the storybook bit, but I fed him, let him spit up all over me, because if it helps his tummy feel better, I say "Bring it!" While I fed and rocked him, I prepared some sleepytime tea for Keith (and some more of that Gypsy Cold Care kind for me, because it was tasty! And I've had a sore throat since the beginning of April.)

We read together as we sipped our tea, and then he was ready to go to sleep! I looked around at my clean house, all the children tucked happily into their beds, and me, ready to follow suit. 

I am blessed beyond compare. I remember feeling slightly annoyed on Saturday at the mess in the house, and then I was overcome with gratitude that we have so much stuff to make a mess with! We have a house to make a mess in. What wonderful blessings those are, which are not afforded to everyone. I just hope I can always carry that sentiment, especially when I am confronted with the disaster that is Faye and everything she touches. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Let Me Formally Introduce to You

Let me formally introduce my newest favorite baby. He goes by many names. Vince. Prince Vince. Vice Charming. Vinster. Mister Vinster. Little Man. And Ginger Boy.

This boy, I can't even being to introduce him in a way that would do him justice. He has so much personality and just melts my heart a million times a day, regardless of how cliché it sounds. I used to wonder when people would talk about getting to know their babies personalities, how they could do that. I mean, babies are babies. They eat, poop, and sleep. Some cry a bit more than others, but how on earth can you determine a personality from that? Even after having three kids I wondered when people would say that. From his baby years I had no idea how imaginative Keith would be. I had no way of knowing how tender hearted or caring he is. Or how funny and energetic Faye is. We didn't know that she would be the most generous child we had ever encountered. And with Beth, how could we know from being around her as a baby what a prankster she would turn into? And how independent she would become? I just figured other parents were more perceptive than we were, because none of that was evident. Until I spent a little bit of time with Vince.  This boy... words really do fail me.

Vince is patient and trusting. He doesn't cry much, just grunts a lot. But if he is crying because he needs his diaper changed, as soon as I pull off his pants he stops crying. It's as if he knows that I am in the process of trying to help him. Same for if he needs to eat. He stops crying and lays patiently, just watching me with those gorgeous blue eyes of his. But when he does cry, it is the manliest cry I have ever heard come out of a baby. It is deep and gruff, and not at all wailing like most babies do. It honestly made me laugh the first time I heard it. What a manly little cry he has!

He is the smiliest baby of 2 months I have ever encountered. His favorite past time is to lay in my arms, gazing into my eyes and challenging me to a smiling contest. Except he doesn't smile for anyone except me. He may have smiled at Jeffrey once or twice. But he would smile at me all the live long day. Today as I was holding him and we locked eyes, I felt an immense pity for any girl that gets caught in the crossfire of that gaze. He had a look, and it was different than just glancing around. His eyes were so large and deep, and they completely captivated me. They were so full of love, trust, promise, and devotion all at once. If he had been able to ask me for the moon, I would have done my absolute best to get it for him at that moment. There is no way I could have said no to any request from him when he looked at me life that. Which spells out trouble with a capital T in the near future.
As for now, I am in Trouble. He has just in the past few days begun to coo while he smiles and giggles at me. He coos and makes the sweetest noises ever, and I am a goner. Add on top of that the sweet little kisses he tries to give me. When I am carrying him upright, he will try to kiss my neck. That, or he is part vampire.

Since he was born, Vinster has been a glorious sleeper. From about a week old, my gorgeous little man has been sleeping consistently for 6 hours at a time in the night. He often will give me 8 hours as well. He has begun to take longer naps, too. The other day he took a for hour nap, and I was so amazed at what I was able to accomplish not being pregnant or caring around a baby. I must admit, though, I do have to constantly check on him when he sleeps longer than 2 hours. Especially if it goes into the 3 hour mark of when he should eat next. So far, though, he has been just a wonderful sleeper.
When he is awake, Little Man is quite content to sit in his bouncer, near me, happy as a puppy, observing the world. He hates to be in my wrap, though, which can be a little frustrating when he is in the mood to be held. But really, I can't complain because I mostly love to sit and hold him. Saturday night I decided to let him do some tummy time, and he absolutely shocked both Jeffrey and me by rolling over! I am not sure he knows what he did, but the fact remains, he rolled over long before any of my other kids did! None of them rolled over before 6 months, so this is quite the milestone in our house!

When he was first born, Vince Charming took nearly an hour to eat every time he ate. That took SO much of my day away! Happily, he is just now figuring out how to eat faster and we are down to about 40 minutes each feeding. All my other kids were about 20-30 minutes total, so I am glad he is getting faster.

Not one of my kids can resist him. They all love his squishy little face.

The girls are absolutely devoted to him. I suspect he may have ensnared them with that gaze as well. Keith said he lives the silly faces that Vince pulls, and he is right, that Little Man does pull some comical faces. My favorite is what Jeffrey calls the Bones McCoy eyebrow.  

Except that sneaky boy will never let me capture it on camera. And so, yet again, a member of my family can easily raise one eyebrow, and I can only watch in jealously.

Finally, there is the matter of my Adonis' hair.

On camera it looks blond-ish. In person it becomes iridescent, changing between very blond, ginger, and light brown. I have tried and tried in vain to get a good photo of that glorious hair to no avail.

But I am so excited that his hair has that natural blush to it. I figure we couldn't see the ginger when he was first born because if sort of blended in to his jaundice tone. Now the jaundice is completely gone, that tabby hair color really is shining through. I can't figure out the origin of this gorgeous color, but keep my fingers crossed daily that it will stay. Jeffrey doesn't have anyone with red in his family line, nor do I. Both Jeffrey and my father have brown hair and red beards, but from what I hear, that is fairly common and doesn't usually climb its way on up to someone's head hair color. Regardless of how it got there, I hope and pray it stays. In the meantime, I sing Ginger Boy to him (a la the 1962 hit Soldier Boy by the Shirelles) and dance him around.