Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is It Wrong?

Is it wrong if my 13 month old is living on Honey Nut Cheerios and formula right now? 'Cause that's all I can get in her sometimes.

That, and every now and then, at least half a dropper of vitamins.

Just askin'.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Weekend

The weekend is almost over. I didn't make it to a farmer's market. There is actually one not 10 minutes away in the refurbished downtown of the the town next door. It wouldn't have been difficult to do, but I just didn't.

Instead, I worked in the yard yesterday morning. Did I mention yesterday was my birthday? Yep, happy birthday to me! (I had to change my blog profile to reflect this.) I love working in the yard, so it was actually just fine with me to spend part of the day this way. The front flower beds may never recover from our trip to China. Well, that's not true. They may recover with the help of a bulldozer.

My first step in the attempt to help the flower bed recover came yesterday when I sprayed the weeds with POISON(!). I know, not nearly as environmentally friendly as lovingly pulling each of the little buggers out by hand. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I've lost the edges of my flowerbed and the yard is moving in! These are desperate times, indeed.

After I hit as many weeds as I could, I moved to the backyard, AKA the sunny side of the house from dawn until about 4pm. I didn't have as much to do, which was a good thing because it was, ummmm, hot.

This is the work that I actually prefer. Trimming shrubs here and there with my hand snippers. It was almost ok that it was 1000 degrees outside. I could have lapsed into a zen like state if not for the one rose thorn that reached out and burrowed itself into my arm. I almost hyperventilated - not because it hurt so much, but I had this instant feeling of being trapped and never being able to extract myself from this thorn without losing an appendage. Remember that guy a few years ago that was rock climbing and had a boulder land on his arm? He was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place with his arm crushed and couldn't move? He ended up amputating his arm like at the elbow with, I don't know, a paper clip? OK, he did cut off his arm, but I think the tool was slightly larger than a paper clip. The point is, I felt at one with him for like a tenth of a second yesterday while attached to the rose bush. Luckily, that passed, and I pulled it out, but it was kind of a weird moment.

After all that sweating, last night we went with some friends to a sushi restaurant for dinner then everyone came back here for some ice cream and conversation. The daughter of our best friends babysat Twinkle and Sparkle. It's an odd feeling when you remember a child's birth and now they are babysitting for you. She's only 12 and fairly new to the babysitting thing, so her dad came with her. He did warn her, however, that he was only here to talk to the firemen. Apparently his services were not needed, because everything was hunky dory when we returned. We did make it an early night though. Can't keep the 12 year old out until midnight.

Today I went to a bead store to get supplies to make a bracelet for a friend. I think things might be settling down enough around here that I can start making jewelry again. I checked on my website today; something I haven't done in months. I decided that I needed an "inventory reduction" sale to clear some older pieces out, and make way for the new. Not that anything new is waiting in the wings, but I can feel the creativity bug starting to buzz. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disappointment is...

Getting the package of blackberries that you bought yesterday out of the fridge, washing them and putting them into a bowl, sprinkling them with sugar and pouring milk over them...

and them tasting like the butter* we had every year at my grandmother's for Thanksgiving that had been absorbing fridge odors since Labor Day. Bleck!!!

For real.

Gotta find a farmer's market this weekend. And I need to get my mother-in-law to bring me some clippings from her blackberry bush so I can, once again, have my own blackberries in my own backyard.

*Growing up, my parents used margarine and the only time I had butter was at my grandmother's house. It wasn't until I met Mr. Swizzle that I discovered this wasn't what butter actually tasted like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crikey, I'm Tired!

Don't you miss Steve Irwin?

No this is not a post about Steve Irwin. This is a post about the beginning of school.

Yesterday, I went to Twinkle's new school for parent orientation. A delightful time wherein you learn just what you've gotten into with this whole private school/homeschool hybrid. And you learn things like, don't call them a "homeschool school" and the like (note to self.) I learned about carline. I'm happy to say there is only one page of carline "rules" unlike Elastigirl faces at her boys' schools. 40, 50 pages was it?

Most importantly, I learned what the heck it is I'm supposed to be doing at home. I went into the day feeling like I knew absolutely nothing, and I came home feeling much better. I mean, down to, "oh, that's why I needed a 2 1/2 inch 3 ring binder." And now I know it's ok that I bought a 2 inch because I couldn't find a 2 1/2 inch.

Today. Oh, today. Today was the first day of homeschool. I was actually excited about it and looking forward to it last night, as was Twinkle. Always a good sign. Everything actually went really well. Up until the handwriting lesson. Even then, it wasn't horrible. But, Aye Chihuahua. I really don't want Twinkle to end up with handwriting like Mr. Swizzle (no offense, Dear). And really, I do realize she's going into first grade, and who writes well going into first grade? What pushed me to the edge was that she didn't seem to be trying all that hard.

I know, who cares if the "l" goes all the way from the top line to the bottom line? Who cares of the top of the "n" doesn't make it up to that middle line? I'll tell you who cares...Twinkle's new school. Twinkle? Not so much. I realize that they'll cut her some slack at the beginning of the year, but it is something we REALLY need to improve. Just improve. I'll take that.

I also found the school rules that were in the orientation packet interesting. I cut them out of the orientation packet to use at home. There are 5. Numbers 3 - 5 shouldn't be a problem. Number 1 is "Follow directions the first time." Number 2 is "Talk at appropriate times only." HA. I've already apologized to Twinkle's new teacher for the amount of talking. I must say, posting these at home has worked pretty well today. I've been able to point at them and remind her - and she actually stops what she's doing and follows the rule! What? All I had to do was write something down and say it was a rule she'll have to follow at school? Who knew?

All in all, I'm still really excited about this school year. She (and I) are going to learn so much. It's OK that today our phonics lesson was "What's this letter? What sound does it make." She actually looked at me like I had to be kidding. It's good that we don't have to tackle the hard stuff when we're still figuring out what we're doing.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Wow. The summer is just about over. Well, not the hot temperatures by a long shot, but carefree, unstructured days of a whole lotta nuttin' are drawing to an end.

I swore back in June that we were going to use the neighborhood pools more this summer than we did last. Well, that didn't happen. Although I have to say, I did take both girls to the pool last Friday all by myself. I was proud that I did it, but quickly realized why I hadn't done it sooner. Wow. Keeping my eye on Twinkle, while holding Sparkle wasn't easy.

We had some fun this summer AND you know, added a family member. When I think about it, that alone was enough for our summer to be complete. Everything else is gravy.

We went to Twinkle's school today for "Meet the Teacher". I'm really excited about school this year. She's starting first grade at a new school. From age 2 through Kindergarten, she went to the Montessori school at our church and loved it. This year she is going here. It's a hybrid between a private school and homeschooling. She'll be home on Tuesdays and Thursdays with yours truly as her teacher. Although I have moments of, "What was I thinking?!", I'm really glad she's going to be home those days. This is actually a reduction in "at school" time compared to Kindergarten last year. She's a very social creature, so I hope that only three days a week at school will be enough for her. I'll just have to make sure she has outside activities as well.

Which brings us to [insert ominous music] soccer. I've fought it (mostly Mr. Swizzle's begging). I just have this thing about not wanting to join the hordes that flock to the soccer fields every Saturday morning in the Fall. I finally gave in. Actually, I think I gave in to peer pressure. The friends and neighbors who've already been sucked in telling me how good it will be for her, etc. I'm sure it will be. Especially since practices are on Thursdays and she will have been home all day with me. She'll be needing others to run and play with. My only concern is her trying to take over even though this is her first year. I hope she listens to her coaches and her teammates and gets along.

While I was writing that it occurred to me - that's really what I hope for Mr. Swizzle too. Play well with others, dear. Try to be nice.

We went to a little swim party to get to know her team last night. It was nice. The parents were nice and normal. One of the other moms even said, when talking about a friend's team, "They're really, uh, really competitive. We're just here for fun. I mean, our girls play pretty well, but they aren' that." That made me feel better. A friend told me today that her son has been switched to a different team from last year and this new team practices TWO times a week, plus games. That seems like a lot. I don't know if I'd want to do that.

So, there's a whole lot of new going on here at Chez Swizzle. We need to shop for school supplies, a bookcase for the home school room, cleats and shin guards.

What fun! What fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

All That Happens

MB (are you tired of seeing your name on my blog?) had this post earlier this week. I've been pondering it the last couple of days. "...banish cares, take no account of all that happens...."

My very first thought when I read it, was about my friend J. She left the hospital over the weekend having been there for about 5 weeks while undergoing chemo for leukemia. The kicker is she still had leukemia when she left the hospital Saturday. She's taking a 2 week break at home, then going back to the hospital. At least, that was the plan when last I heard it.

Since first reading MB's post, I've had a few other things pop up that made me return to her blog and read it again. Yesterday I was catching up on blogs I haven't read with great regularity, even though some of them are listed on the right in the "Daily Reads". I came across this. This post just made me ache to the core. I can't imagine. I think it hit me because the girl is just 4 months younger than Twinkle. Just a mom. With a blog. Posting pics of her kids from one day to the next. Then, out of nowhere, the world is upside down.

This morning I received an email with a prayer request for a six year old girl (like Twinkle) not more than 5 miles from our neighborhood out doing what six year olds should be doing - riding her bike. She wrecked and hit a parked trailer which happened to have rebar on it. She's in the hospital with part of her skull removed to relieve pressure on her brain. The parents have 72 hours, at least, of waiting to see how things will go.

How do you go from day to day and manage to "...banish cares, take no account of all that happens...."? Without even taking in to account my own daily annoyances (and they are minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things) of the arguing 6 year old or the cranky 1 year old, how DO you live without feeling "stomped by 'all that happens'", as MB said?

Perhaps a "grouchy gratitude list" is in order.
  • I have a ridiculously comfortable life
  • I have a husband I love, who loves me despite me
  • Twinkle and Sparkle continue to, well, twinkle and sparkle
  • I have the best friends and family anyone could ask for
  • My roses look great, especially in the bright sunshine outside my window
  • The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and RIGHT NOW is a great place to be
It's a start.

Remember to have gratitude. And pray constantly. For J, for Hannah's family, for Alexa and her family. They are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mother of the Year

That's right. I've won. The rest of you can just take your names out of the running and concede.

As I mentioned previously, the trip to The Woods made Sparkle a bit congested. At first her nose was runny, then she became congested in her sinuses. Since we've been back from The Woods, that congestion has gone, and each morning she wakes up with a bit of a cough that goes away after she's been upright for a while.

As I may not have specifically mentioned before, I have a bit of a laid back approach to health care. I'm not one to rush to the doctor every time one of my little darlings sneezes or coughs. So, since Sparkle's symptoms started out as an allergy and have seemingly improved upon our return to the non-piney woods, I haven't been all the concerned about her recovery.

Well, Saturday came around and Mr. Swizzle took Sparkle to the doctor for her 12 month well check. Turns out? Not so much a well visit. Apparently, despite having no indication from Sparkle, she had an ear infection - bad in one ear, starting up in the other ear. Oh, and that slight rattle in her chest? Well, we need to check her blood oxygen level. Well, her blood oxygen level is 97% and that just won't do. Mr. Swizzle had to give her a breathing treatment at the doctor's office which brought her oxygen level up to 100%. They came home with prescriptions for antibiotics, a nebulizer, and associated medication and instructions to give breathing treatments three times a day for a week. Yee ha!

Now, I must say I'm still not entirely convinced all of this is necessary. But I'm not a doctor. This child has not had a fever, she has not whined or cried as if she's in pain, she has not pulled at her ears. She has done absolutely nothing but be a happy baby that wakes up with a cough. But, I will, obviously, treat my child as instructed, hoping that I'm not giving her unneeded antibiotics. At least it's only breathing treatments for a week. Hopefully giving her THAT medication won't have any long lasting effects. I'll have to research that.

It just seems to me that kids today have more cases of allergies and ear infections and asthma than ever. I often wonder if jumping on the antibiotics and other medications right away can be detrimental down the road. Obviously these things are needed, but it just seems like the body often doesn't get a chance to fight off things on its own.

But I digress.... I won't even go into a lot of detail about "the incident" at church yesterday with Twinkle that secures my Mother of the Year award. Suffice it to say that it's difficult to carry a kicking and screaming six year old out of church while wearing heels. I thought maybe the pre-Eucharist hymn that was going on at the time would cover some of the sound. Apparently not.