Thursday, October 28, 2010

Harvesting Tomatoes (or: Our Little Slave, Part I)

Cadence loved picking tomatoes for us this summer. It's a long way too, see how far she had to walk?

But I would open the back door while I did laundry, and out she would go, laughing.

All the way behind the tomato fence, to pick some yummy tomatoes.

"Hmm, this one looks good."
"I'd better taste it first, just to be sure."

"See Mama?"
She only ever picked the red ones. Then she would bring them back in to me, to put in the basket.
Tomato picking is hard work - but oh, so worth it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Missing Papa

I never dreamed he'd be gone.

We're sitting in the school room, supposed to be doing math. Instead I'm looking at his hands. Wow, those cuticles are driving me insane... I love all the creases and lines, how his hands are so big and strong, always able to do anything.

Sometimes it hits me how much I miss him.

We're driving in his truck. Rush Limbaugh is on the radio, and we each have a Coke and banana bite from QT. "Sally, why does the price of real estate effect the price of beef?" "Um.... I have no idea." "Well, if you..."

I just want to talk to him again. I don't even have to touch him. Just - talk.

Now we're at the fire station. I'm climbing around on the ladder truck. I can hear his shoes squeaking while he and Josh play a heated game of basketball.

Politics. Economics. Math. History. Sports. Any subject, really.

"Papa, what's the right way to shoot a basketball?" He puts the ball in my hands, them moves them around till they're in the right position. Jump shots, free throws, don't depend on the backboard.

I'd pay more attention. I'd listen closely. I'd focus on him - his emotions, his personality.

I'm mudding a freshly nailed section of sheet rock. I hear, scrape, thump, bang, as he walks around on his stilt shoes attaching the sheet rock with a nail gun. The swish of the air compressor. Then the propane heater kicks on. I love the smell of drywall - it always makes me happy, because I'm always with him when I smell it.

Sometimes I see his image in my mind. Snippets, frozen in time. A big, cheesy grin. Him lying in the recliner, asleep. Then I realize - I'm remembering pictures. And it hurts. It's too soon to lose him. Next time I see him, I'll memorize - Oh.

The only time I ever remember seeing him run - off the basketball court. I'm sitting in his truck, playing while he works on stripping and rebuilding a burned out house. I'm young, I don't know about parking brakes - I put it in neutral, and it starts rolling down the hill toward a pond. Why is he so worried? He'll rescue me.

There's no way he's gone. If only I could call him. Just ask him one more question. Just listen to one more lecture. Just discuss world affairs, hear his latest political solution for Israel. Just rebuild one more house. Just sit in the truck and watch him mow, or back the boat down to the water and fish one more time.

The water rocks the boat - sometimes gently, while we tie up to a pier or tree and fish. Sometimes close to shore, where I lay belly-down on the prow and use my pocket knife to free pop-bottle bobbers that have tangled in the rocks. Sometimes rough, as we race back to the dock before a storm hits. This is my favorite - sitting braced in the front seat, laughing as the spray hits me in the face, using my feet to hold on to the sides of the boat while we plunge up and down, like a jolting roller coaster.

I never dreamed there would be a last time. I would have savoured it. I never dreamed he'd be gone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

18 Month Tiger Pictures

Look - She doesn't fit on the changing table anymore!




Monday, October 18, 2010

A Quick and Easy Recipe

Another recipe we all liked! I'm not sure how good the leftovers would have been, but we may never know, because we always seem to gobble them up!

Tuna Cheese Melts

1 can tuna, drained

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp lemon juice

dash Tabasco sauce

1 cup cheese

4 English muffins, toasted and split

dash paprika

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; stir in 2/3 cup cheese. Spread over each muffin half; sprinkle with remaining cheese and paprika. Place on a baking sheet. Broil 3-4 inches from heat for 2-4 minutes or until lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Prep: 5 min.      Cook: 5 min.      Serves: 4      Tuna / Biscuits

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kitchen Troubles

Last week we had kitchen troubles. Oh, nothing horrible happened - it just wasn't a great week for cooking.

Sunday: Burned potato soup.
Monday: Not enough mustard on the Frito Chili Pie.
Tuesday: Was so bland I don't even remember what we had.
Wednesday: The chicken took so much longer to cook than the recipe said, we were almost late to church.
Thursday: I made muffins for Tony's breakfast the next day, and they were the worst muffins ever. Dry. Bland. Yuck.

Beginning to get the picture? Thank goodness for a new week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Switching to Cloth

For the last few months, Cadence has had a diaper rash that will not go away. At it's best, it just red and itchy. At it's worst, it bleeds and oozes. The only way (and we tried a lot of ways!) we can keep it to it's best is to use cloth diapers and wipes, and let her go naked for at least a few minutes each day. At first, I was trying to just put a burp rag (a.k.a. cloth diaper) on her, and slip bloomers over it. But um, let's face it... they leak that way. And it's gross. And it's a hassle. And she doesn't have that many bloomers. So I finally broke down and bought some "Real" cloth diapers and some fancy schmancy covers that velcro.

And I am in heaven. They are cute, easy, non-messy, and they don't leak. Best of all - her rash has been consistently at it's best since the switch.

Now, not wanting to get carried away, I only bought two covers, and one all-in-one. This means she wears cloth in the morning and through her nap, then disposable in the evening and through the night, and I do laundry every other day, just like I was before. If you want more details about cloth diapers, how they work, and how I've organized my new supplies, keep reading. If not, enjoy the pictures of Cadence modeling her new diaper covers!

The covers are pretty simple. You lay your cloth inside them, and velcro them on just like a regular diaper. When they are wet or soiled, you take the cloth out, throw it in your bag or pail, and put in a new cloth, then velcro it back up. This way you only have to buy one or two covers for each day, since you only change the cover if it gets stuff on it.

The all-in-ones are my favorite thing in the whole wide world. It is just like a disposable diaper. You put it on. You take it off and throw it in the diaper pail. Then you put a clean one on. And you are done. The problem is you have to wash the whole diaper every time, so you have to buy 8-12 for every day. That would be way too much money for what may be a temporary switch. I use the one I bought for taking with me in the diaper bag.

Cadence's changing table has three handy little basket shelves. I have always used the top one for diapering supplies and the bottom one for toys for her to play with while I change her. Now I also use the middle one for diapering supplies.

I went ahead and folded the cloth parts as I put them in the basket, so they are ready to go straight into the cover with no extra work when I am changing her. They are in the middle basket.

Ok, a side note about a wonderful product and my extreme laziness. I have always used these, and am totally spoiled. They are reusable changing pads. You just lay it on top of your changing table, and when you make a mess, you just wash it, that way you don't have to strip the whole table cover off every time something happens. These come in a package of several (six?) and are great for this, putting under babies head when they are newborn and spit up in their cradle a lot, and changing diapers on the go.

Ok, back to cloth diapers. Since we are still using disposables half the day, one side of the basket is disposable, and the other half is diaper covers and my lone all-in-one diaper. Don't be fooled by the wipes container - it has cloth wipes in it!

Since I'm a pack-rat and happened to have an empty wipes container laying around, I am able to keep my cloth wipes right at the changing table. I filled it about half full of water, with just a tiny squirt of baby wash and just stuck the wash clothes down in the water. When I want one, I just wring it out into the tub and go.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

BNL Snacktime Pollywog In A Bog

This is from one of our new favorite CD's here at Chancellor Manor. The CD is called "Snacktime" and this is my personal favorite. Cadence loves this CD, and Tony and I do to - a winning situation for a kid's CD!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Every Baby is Unique (or, Don't Worry! They'll Be Fine)

I hear a lot of comarison about babies, especially from moms - "That baby is already walking!" "My baby isn't crawling yet, I'm really worried." "_______ is already eating baby food." "So-and-so is still nursing her baby!" Some of these comments are just that - comments. But I've come to realize, a lot of people worry about their babies not meeting milestones at the "RIGHT" time. Here's the deal:

Every baby, every child, is unique.

They will grow and develop at their own rate, the rate God programmed in their DNA before they were even born. And they will be ok. In fact, they will be great.

I think this is a pet peeve of mine because Cadence is very unique. I hear it all the time. "She is so tiny - aren't you worried about her?" "She still nurses? Aren't you worried about that? Shouldn't she be eating more food?" And before she learned to walk - "She's still not walking? Aren't you worried about that?"

All of these comments imply there is something wrong with Cadence. They imply there is some dread disease or developmental problem affecting her life. What's wrong with looking at a baby and saying, "That baby is clearly happy, healthy, and learning new things. Nothing to worry about there!"

The difference between these worry-worts and me is, they see a unique baby and think "Wrong!". I see a unique baby and think "Different!"

Maybe it's because Cadence was my first baby, and I had no one to compare her to. I just assume everything she does is right for her. When she didn't walk by her first birthday, I thought nothing of it. Ok, well, I might have breathed a sigh of relief - my house was still safe from toddler-hood for the moment! I just thought, Cadence likes to be sure she can do something before she tries. She studies things, then when she's got it perfect in her mind, she does it. Sure enough, Cadence woke up one Saturday and decided she could walk. And she did. No falling down, no having to try several times, she just did it. When she turned out to be tiny, I thought, Well, duh, Tony and I aren't exactly huge. It's not like I can force her to eat (and get fat) and I certainly am not going to stretch her out on a rack to make her taller. Since I can't change it, why would I worry about it? Sure enough, it turns out she is the perfect size for Cadence. She eats when she is hungry (she has a super fast metabolism, so this is about every hour) and she refuses to eat when she's not. She's growing slowly but surely, and will probably always be a cute, petite, dainty little girl.

Anyway, all rants aside, please take note. There's no need to worry! Babies all grow and develop at different rates, and they are all wonderful. Just look around at all the babies you know. They are all very unique, but they are all happy and healthy. And that is all that matters!